The Liebster Award


Thank you, Sara Letourneau,   for nominating me for the Liebster Award! The award is for bloggers with 200 followers or less and allows each nominee to “pay it forward” to other up- and- coming blogs.

What do bloggers need to do when they receive a Liebster Award?

  1. Accept the award, post the Liebster Award logo at the top of your post, and link back to the person who nominated you.
  2. Answer the 11 questions provided.
  3. List 11 random facts about yourself.
  4. Ask 11 questions (different from the ones you were asked) for your Liebster Award nominees.
  5. Nominate 11 other people / blogs, and inform them of the award.

Here are the 11 Questions Sara asked her nominees & my answers:

  1. What book are you currently reading?

I just finished Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys and it was fabulous! (Book Review coming soon!)

  1. Do you read any poetry? And if so, who are your favorite poets?

I don’t read poetry very often but my favorite poets are Edgar Allen Poe & Sylvia Plath.

  1. What is your favorite “escape?” (A vacation spot, a place to do your creative work, etc.)

Anywhere near water, especially the ocean. I also love to visit my grandparents in Ocala, Florida each summer. I always feel like Cameron Diaz in the movie “In Her Shoes.” ;

  1. What song left an intense emotional impact on you the first time you heard it?

Pearl Jam’s “Black”

My favorite lyrics of all time- “I know someday you’ll have a beautiful life, I know you’ll be a star in somebody else’s sky, but why can’t it be in mine?”

  1. Are you an early worm or a night owl?

Strangely, I’m both! But I’m not an afternoon person- that’s when I feel crabby and tired.

  1. If you could pick any meal for dinner tonight, what would it be?

Grandma’s waffles with chicken and gravy.

  1. What is your favorite word at the moment?


  1. What is your favorite social media website?

My blog and other people’s blogs 😉

  1. Describe the room you’re sitting in right now.

It’s my favorite room in my new house- my office! Hard wood floors, fresh grey/blue paint, large fire place with floor to ceiling wooden bookshelves on either side

  1. If you had a newspaper in front of you, what section would you read first?

If it were a Sunday paper, I’d read the little Parade magazine first.

  1. Name one thing you’re grateful for.


11 Random Facts About Me:

  1. My favorite board game is Scrabble.
  2. I’m a coffee addict.
  3. I love to travel and have been to 38 states.
  4. I went sky diving to conquer my fear of heights but that fear intensified!
  5. I’ve had a ton of jobs- I was a coffee barista, bartender, paper girl, worked for my uncle’s paving company, was a receptionist at a hair and tanning salon, nanny, waitress at a Chinese food restaurant & a country club, worked at “Bath & Body Works” and “American Outfitters,” worked at a winery, worked at a day care, currently a school counselor…
  6. I’m an introvert but am mistaken for an extrovert.
  7. My favorite pie is pumpkin.
  8. My favorite season is fall.
  9. I was born a month early, less than an hour before Friday the 13th.
  10. I’ll be 33 in less than a month.
  11. I like olives but only the green ones.

11 Questions for My Liebster Nominees:

  1. What is an item that symbolizes you best?
  2. Do you enjoy ice cream? If so, what’s your favorite flavor?
  3. What movie have you watched over and over again?
  4. What book have you read over and over again?
  5. What is one fear you can’t seem to shake?
  6. What word describes you best?
  7. Are you more an optimist or pessimist?
  8. If you’ve read Divergent, which faction would you belong to?
  9. What was your favorite subject in school?
  10. Are you a cat or a dog person?
  11. Do you prefer coffee or tea?

My 11 Nominees Are:

  1. Leigh Giza
  2. Leila Gaskins
  3. Shawna Christos:
  4. Tammy Schmitt:
  5. The Novel Reviewer:
  6. Katherine Gotthardt:
  7. Patty:
  8. Jen:
  9. A K Anderson:
  10. Mohamed:
  11. Cary:

Blog Highlight: Peeps I find Interesting

I had to reblog Ionia Martin’s shout out to me 😉

readful things blog

Ahh Sunday. Sunday is WordPress cruising day for me when I go read everyone else’s stuff that I may have missed for the week and find new and interesting things to chat with people about. I thought I would highlight a blog that I began following a while back and I don’t feel gets nearly enough props.

This blog is operated by Kristy  F Gillespie and is called Keep Calm and Write. Kristy is a thoughtful book reviewer, an interesting person to chat with and just an all around nice person. If you haven’t visited her blog yet and gotten a sense of her writing style, you are missing out.

So please, when you have a free moment, go check out her blog and see what I mean. She does a lot of things on her blog, including letting us all know what captivated her senses for the week. I…

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I’d Rather Write Than Bake Gobs

ImageThis morning I was in a bit of a funk. A question kept swirling around my brain like flies on cow patties: What if I’m the only one who reads what I write? Then clearly, I should quit and start doing something useful with my time. There are so many things I could improve such as:

A. Learn how to properly cook and bake. I tried to make gobs once. For those of you who aren’t from western Pennsylvania, gobs are small cakes (usually chocolate but I’ve also had pumpkin, banana nut bread, and a bunch of other flavors) with icing on the inside. The gob recipe that I was following called for ¾ cup of cocoa but I couldn’t seem to find cocoa at the store. Instead of asking for assistance, I grabbed a container of Swiss Miss, because that’s cocoa, right? Wrong. My chocolate gob cakes tasted like watered down spice cake. And they didn’t rise properly. (Come to think of it, they kind of resembled cow patties).

B. Learn a new skill by working a part time job. For most of my life I’ve worked multiple jobs. Problem is, I tend to spend a significant amount of money from that part time job at the part time job. I worked two years at a winery and now I’m stuck with a ton of wine gone bad. (Sadly, Virginia wine doesn’t last for years and years- even keeping them in a cool basement didn’t work. If I do learn how to cook, perhaps I could utilize the bad wine in my dishes). In college I worked at Bath and Body Works and I still have shoe boxes full of old body sprays that are now expensive air fresheners.

C.  Learn how to sit still. I’m the poster adult for ADHD. I have to use a kitchen timer in order to keep my butt glued to my desk chair (my blue owl timer is my new best friend). I’ve tried meditation but one of two things happen; I either fall asleep while sitting up or my mind races with all of the things I could be doing instead of sitting Indian style in the dark.

But do I honestly want to do any of these things? If I did, then why am I sitting here writing? If I’m the only one who reads what I write am I really going to stop?  No, that would be ridiculous because most of the time I’m happiest when I’m writing. If no one reads any of my book reviews, does that mean I should stop reading? Umm, no. So I’ll continue churning out blog posts and short stories, and eventually my novel JADED will be published. And hopefully, somewhere down the road, you’ll read something that I’ve written. And believe me, it can’t be worse than my cooking!

Remember: “There is no agony like having an untold story inside you.” –Zora Neale Hurston

The gob recipe that I attempted to follow:

Make History

ImageI just read “You’ve Got to Sell Your Heart,” a fabulous post by Christian Mihai. Mihai mentions a letter written in 1938 to Frances Turnbull by F. Scott Fitzgerald. At the time, aspiring writer Turnbull sent a short story to family friend and prolific author, Fitzgerald. His response to her story was candid: “I’m afraid the price for doing professional work is a good deal higher than you are prepared to pay at present.” Essentially, he encouraged Turnbull to move past the superficial bullshit she had written and delve into the dark recesses of her heart and mind; that was the key to creative success.

Therefore, don’t hold back. Don’t edit the heart out of your story. Dare to pick at the scabs covering pieces of your heart. Put yourself out there even if it makes you uncomfortable- especially when it makes you feel uncomfortable. Dare to be different. Dare to speak your mind. Dare to be controversial. Push the envelope. Don’t be boring.

Pulitzer- Prize- winning Professor Laurel Thatcher Ulrich says it best: “Well-behaved women seldom make history…”  (I’d like to add “and men” to that quote).

Check out Mihai’s post here:

To check out Fitzgerald’s book on writing:


ReflectionI tend to reminisce about the past- about how thin and in shape I was, about the guy I dated who looked like he stepped out of an Abercrombie & Fitch ad, about the college years I spent partying, about my youth…

And I often dream about the future-about the possibility of becoming a successful writer, living near the ocean, traveling to all 50 states, enjoying retirement…

Therefore, I have to remind myself to live in the present which let’s face it- isn’t always easy. For one, I owe $40,000 in student loans and my husband owes $30,000, I don’t like where I live, I don’t love my job…

Funny how I dwell less upon the dark times in my life- my parent’s divorce, not having a relationship with my biological father, growing up in a small town that I couldn’t wait to escape…

And I hardly ever think about the negative possibilities and inevitableness of the future-health issues, my grandparents dying, growing older…

Clearly I need to focus more on the here and now and the parts that I do appreciate- a steady income, road trips with my mom, (38 states visited) my dogs & cats, my amazing husband, family & friends, taking a walk outside today in 68 degree weather in January!, writing not because I have to but because I want to…

Writing Group

SBC Photo

* A few of the Sarcastic Broads: Leila, Beth, Me, Kristi*

On Saturday I met with my fabulous Richmond writing group. We call ourselves “the Sarcastic Broads.” (We started a blog in 2010 but haven’t written a post since June 6, 2006! We’re going to re-launch shortly).

First, we ate goodies and caught up on gossip. Second, we discussed our latest TV, movie, and book obsessions. And then we discussed writing. Kristi asked each of us about our 2013 writing goals. We talked a bit about self-publishing and serial novels.

Leila read a quote by producer Guillermo del Torro: “A ghost is an emotion, bent out of shape, condemned to repeat itself, time and time again, until it rights the wrong it was done.” She suggested that each of us write a story off this quote which I think is brilliant! I’ve had numerous ideas including- a depressed school counselor/ wannabe writer who dies the day she retires. She won’t rest until her daughter finds a publisher for her book. Or a 1920s flapper girl wrecked with anxiety whose desire to perfect the life she left behind outweighs an afterlife. But I think the story I’d most like to tell is the story about the ghosts that haunt my parent’s home. Because, like Mark Twain said, sometimes “truth is stranger than fiction.” I’m so excited to write it that I turned off “Love It or List It” on HGTV. I realized that I had a bit of a TV addiction when Shawna sent me a link- 10 Books you should read instead of watching “Buckwild.” Yep, I watch that, too.


encouragement002I love when I run across something that encourages my writing when every cell in my body doesn’t want to. I was planning on being lazy tonight (even though I really have to finish an outline for my next novel) when I read “What Bestsellers Do Differently Than Everyone Else” on the Writers Digest website. The writer of this list, Brian Klems, mentions the following four things:

1. They Are Intent On Seeing The World- meaning they notice things that others don’t. I need to work on this one. I’m not a stop to smell the roses kind of person.

2. They Know How To Beat Resistance- meaning the voice inside your head that makes up excuses why you don’t need to write. I feel that way now. After working and exercising, I’m ready to bum around. Both my mind and body are tired but I have to push past the tired.

3.They Have a Bizarre Capacity For Punishment- meaning writing is hard. It’s difficult and lonely sitting for hours in a room by yourself with only your computer for company. To tell your friends “no” when they ask if you’d like to go wine tasting on a beautiful Saturday. To force yourself to type after a long day at work when the TV, Facebook, YouTube, your spouse, your pet, etc. is calling your name. (In fact, my dachshund keeps trying to knock the throw pillow I’m using to balance my laptop on as I type).

4. They Do Not Understand the Word “No” – meaning no matter how badly you want to (and most writers want to at some point) you press on. I tell myself that the only way I’ll have regrets about my writing is if I don’t write.