Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Stuff I'm Lovin' Right Now

So, I thought it might be kind of fun to do... well... a fun post.  Perhaps maybe even a little bit of a girly-fun post (Andrew, I still love you) which features the odds and ends, gadgets and gizmos I'm loving at the moment.  Pregnancy has brought on a whole slew of emotions I never fathomed possible.  Food cravings, yes, and I'll get to that, but also changes (albeit slight) in music taste, pleasure reading, clothing (and not just because I've got a basketball in the belly).  Oh, and I've a wild penchant for all things makeup.  Just ask my CP; she'll likely elaborate after about two minutes of straight laughter.

Up first is Pixiwoo.  What, you ask, is a Pixiwoo?  Beats me.  But it's compiled of two amazing British makeup artists: sisters Nicola & Samantha Chapman.  Their makeup tutorials are wonderful, extremely helpful, and feature looks from everyday work-wear to the extreme high fashion runway stuff.  They also give you the low-down on new products, complete with reviews and great visual testing. To add extra icing to the delicious pile of MAC, Chanel, and Illamasqua, they have frequent giveaways, which is great for those of us who love freebies. And that's everybody, right?

Nicola & Samantha Chapman
Twitter ~ YouTube ~ Facebook ~ Website

Next is my favorite makeup & skincare finds.  I've always been obsessed with makeup.  Color, technique... you name it, I love it.  Lancome cosmetics took up the first four years of my working career. Starting out at Dillard's, ending up at McRae's as a counter manager, I not only learned the basics of makeup application and skincare but also developed a hearty taste for finding that perfect product.  Easier said than done when there's so many to choose from, am I right, girls?  If I named every product that's ever held a close place to my heart, we'd be here all month.  So, here's my can't live without's as of right now.

L to R: Victoria's Secret Vanilla Lace Body Spray, Thymes Lavender Body Lotion,
Essence of Beauty Makeup Brushes, Urban Decay Primer Potion,
Wet 'n Wild Eyeshadows & Blushers, & Lancome Visionnaire

I'm also lovin' flat shoes.  Largely to do with the fact I'm gaining weight everyday, I am certain, but there it is.  If I'm not wearing my Ariat cowboy boots (more comfortable than any pair of tennis shoes, trust me), I'm sporting flats.

While I'd love to have a pair of these...

Glittery Ballet Flats by London Sole

I'm perfectly content (for now) with these:

Sequined Ballet flats by Arizona Jean Co.

Let's see... What next? Oh! Crazy into nonfiction, which is weird since I'm generally a fiction/tell me an awesome-not-true-but-maybe-could-really-happen kinda girl.  However, since I write mainly historical, delving head-first into research is essential. Currently on my nightstand (or wherever they happen to land--computer room, coffee table, kitchen, bathroom):

L to R: Britons by Linda Colley, Prince of Pleasure by Saul David,
Dancing into Battle by Nick Foulkes, The Regency Underworld
by Donald Low, & La Grande Armee by Georges Blond.

My next obsession needs no formal introduction...

Triple Double Oreo Cookies.
Dip 'em in milk and oh my goodness...

Lastly, the Hubby and I are loving, loving, looooving FX's new original series, American Horror Story. It's different, it's brilliant. Scary & suspenseful as all get-out. Dylan McDermott (The Practice), Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights), and newcomer Taissa Farmiga star as Ben, Vivien, and Violet Harmon, a family seeking to remedy an anguished past.  The solution?  Moving from their quiet Boston neighborhood to an old, old mansion in Los Angeles. What they don't know is that the house is haunted.  Big time.  Day and night, all sorts of strange things happen.  From break-ins, to wild dreams, to meeting up with former residents of the house--both dead and alive.  It's a complete hour of edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting entertainment.  We watch it dvr'd as we're going to bed on Wednesday evenings. Needless to say, if I wake up sometime in the middle of the night and my arm's hanging off the bed, I snatch it back with a hearty gasp.

L to R: Evan Peters, Jessica Lange, Jamie Brewer, Alexandra Breckenridge, Denis O'Hare (burning guy),
Frances Conroy, Taissa Farmiga, Dylan McDermott, & Connie Britton.

Well, that's it for stuff I'm lovin' right now.  Tell me, have you got some strong affinities of your own, recent or old?  And if so, what?

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Winner: Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga

The giveaway ended tonight and the lucky winner of an autographed copy of Barry Lyga's Goth Girl Rising is:

Blogger Lela said...

YAY BOYS! :) I can't wait to buy him all kinds of noisy toys! All my WIPs have been kind of pushed back. I always have the best of intentions to write when I'm in school but, so far, it hasn't worked out that way. My time gets sucked up by homework and family. And rescuing cats and whatnot. ;) Oh, the email is meylaran@hotmail.com
Congratulations, Lela! I just sent you a confirming email. And thanks to everyone who followed, commented, and participated. You're all my lucky stars. ;)

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Picking up the Pieces

Here's the deal: You've got stories, right? And I'm not talking about that current WIP... the one you're kinda getting sick of for reasons you cannot readily (or, perhaps, willingly) explain. I mean unfinished stories/projects. Piled in a folder on your laptop, shoved under the bed, scribbled in the notebooks cluttering either end of your bookshelf. For one reason or another, you started them, then quit. Why?

Your guess is as good as mine. But here's the thing: Ain't it a good feeling, knowing you can always go back, pick up where you left off? Or, in most cases, read from the beginning, edit (because you're so much better now than you were then, yeah?), weed out the unnecessary rubbish, adverbs, et cetera, and finally move on with the story. The story you started, because it convicted you at one time. Made you believe in the characters, the plot, the space and time, the list goes on and on.

That's where I am right now. I started a story (historical romance) and got about 8 chapters in before calling it quits. However--and to make a long, drawn-out, pity-party tale short--I sort of had an epiphany the other evening and came up with this: It's a good story and there's no reason at all I shouldn't finish and sell it.

Easier said than done, I realize, but I can't allow myself to think on the negative. I won't. So, here's my plan, my intended course of action for picking up the pieces. If I wrap up the story within 25-30k words, I can edit, edit again. And again. Probably another time for good measure. And then I can offer the story to Harlequin Historical (UK).

In order to do that, however, I've got to push my Pantser tendencies to the side a smidge (just a smidge, mind, because I am a Pantser by nature), put on my Plotter panties (sorry, I couldn't resist), and outline the rest of the story. Complete with character arcs, GMC, satisfying ending, all wrapped up in a big red bow--or maybe a Redcoat, since this is about a British soldier post-Waterloo--and ultimately, ultimately feel some satisfaction for mapping out a game plan, then executing it.

I guess you can say Baby Jake's given me a sudden burst of energy. And confidence. Can't forget that.

So, I ask you, gentle reader:  Have you started a project... and it can be any project; a story, home improvement, organization, something work-related... but have you started something you really feel as if you should revisit and, ultimately, complete? If so, what?

By the way, don't forget the Barry Lyga Goth Girl Rising book giveaway! The deadline's this Saturday @ 10 PM CST and, yes, I will ship overseas. Good luck to all!

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,


Sunday, October 16, 2011

I'm Back! And with a Book Giveaway!

Wow, it's been a while, hasn't it? I can't lie--life is still running a bit hectic around our household. The day job has gotten almost out of hand, it's so crazy-demanding. Sometimes I wonder how people with equally or more time-consuming, stressful jobs actually find time to write. Don't get me wrong; I love my job. Really. It's fun, interesting, and there's never a dull moment to be had. But it's physically and mentally draining, especially when you're nearly 5 months pregnant.

But enough of that. I really didn't have anything planned for today. Well. I haven't had anything planned for a while, which you're all quite aware of, I am certain. Writing is slow for me. I've gone back to my first love: historical (adult) romance. Not to say I won't eventually go back to YA, but for now I've gotta do what's best for me as a writer. And that's to write for me and me alone and quit worrying about this enormous publishing industry. The very idea of it has almost totally taken the fun out of the art for me.

And, yes, I'm well aware that was one too many "me's". Somewhere across the bridge, my CP is on the verge of conniptions.

So, here's what made me get off my keister, march on over to the keyboard (with a cup of coffee, mind, because I can't very well write without it--at least not this early in the morning), and kick up a new blog entry:

1. To let y'all know that I'm expecting a baby boy next March. (Yay!) This will be my first, and though my husband is skeptical because of his own dreams of a football star, I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that our little prince will be the next President of the United States or knighted by the (future) King of England or both. Wouldn't that be awesome?!

Jacob's (Jake's) Coming Home Outfit

Ahem... Moving on...

2. Evanescence's new album is incredible. Beyond incredible, it's phenomenal and smart and, oh my goodness, the guitars and vocals are so amazing you'll swear you're listening to Eddie Van Halen rocking alongside the Heavenly Hosts. It's totally got me in a Gothic mood (great for Halloween!), which leads me to... (after the picture, of course... wait for it...)

3. I am giving away an autographed copy of Barry Lyga's current release Goth Girl Rising. If you missed out on my last post, Barry Lyga is a comic book guru/young adult novelist extraordinaire who writes real, raw stories for teens and adults alike. After reading Boy Toy, he made a lifetime fan out of me and the CP, and that's a pretty big feat these days. Not too many people wow us anymore, but this guy... he puts the awe in awesome. And he was cool and kind enough to send me a book for YOU, dear reader, to win.

Yes, this is the actual book. Woo hoo!

All right, so, yeah! Autographed copy. Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga. How do you win it? Easy! Just leave a comment about your current WIP (what are you writing? how's it going?) --or-- what you're going as (or, perhaps, wish you were going as...) for Halloween --or-- both! Include your email address, and I'll pick a random blogger on Saturday, Oct. 22 @ 10:00 PM CST to win the brand new paperback pictured above.

Good luck, readers! And thanks for sticking with me.

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints (and cute itty bitty baby booties!),

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