About Me

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Jersey Shore, United States
In case any of my friends or family members actually read this Blog, please consider all Names, Characters, Places and Incidents to be the product of the author's imagination and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales are entirely COINCIDENTAL...Muaaah!! Now, really, about me: I bring the crazy wherever I go, so I've been told...I make fun of myself more than anyone else ever could. I hate: the awkward silence in elevators, watches with no numbers, picky eaters, Cancer and legalism. I love: coffee, stalking Hugh Jackman, my Spanx, COMMENTS, sarcasm and writing: Middle Grade, NA, YA Paranormal and Urban Fantasy.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Busy Little Bird

Hey All! Sorry if I haven't dropped any comments on your blogs over the past few days but I've been a very busy little bird. The bad news is the busy isn't going to let up until after Easter. (I will try to pop in when I can and comment)  The good news is I'm not taking a break because of my poor health! For once, my absence isn't due to doctors and.their unpleasant poking and prodding- which is very awesome news indeed!

Nope, this time I need a break because (1) I went away with the fam for a couple of days- I'll be posting more about that later on... (2) This week I'm expecting an army of hungry Italians to descend upon my nest and take over. Major preparations are being made in order to ensure we celebrate the Easter holiday right. So, it's cooking, cleaning, cooking, shopping. More cooking. All of which has to be done before Friday. It's only Tuesday and I'm already exhausted, lol.

More good news: I'll be back before you even miss me. Although some of  you are probably counting that as the bad news, lol. 

Peace- Jaybird

Friday, March 22, 2013

Reality Check

The lovely Miss Linda King, over at Excuse Me While I Note That Down, just gifted me with this Reality Check Award. I am really thrilled. Seriously, when someone gives me an award I get this giddy feeling, like I'm a little kid and my mom and dad just told me I've done something right! I decided  I like recognition. It's kind of awesome.

Here are the questions I must answer:

If you could change one thing, what would it be?
 Oh man, this is a hard one. I'd like to say I could change something, but what if it altered the course of  my life so much that it affected who I was going to marry or me having my kids? That's something I could never jeopardize. So, I'd have to pass and not change a thing. BUT if I could change something and not have it affect the life I have with my family as it is now, I wish I went off to college, straight away. I've never lived away from home. When I got married, I moved straight from my parents house into a house with The Husband. Now that I'm older that bothers me. I wish I could have had some time to live away from home with all of my girlfriends, first. Plus, I think I would have had more motivation  to finish college if I stayed up there, instead of commuting from home every day.

If you could repeat an age, what would it be?

This is another hard one. I would say my twenties, because I felt so much better then. But I was so bloody stupid in my twenties I don't know if I could voluntarily be that stupid, ever again. LOL

What one thing really scares you?
 Freaking A- every thing scares me! Movies, clowns, bugs, heights, spiders, scary dolls, camping, mean people, tight spaces, scuba diving, Ben Affleck, parachuting, bungee jumping, man my list goes on and on. Maybe I should have attacked this from a different perspective  and list something I am not afraid of, lol. 
If you could be someone else for a day, who would it be?
 Dude! I would so trade places with Barack. First, I'd run wild in the White House for a spell, then I'd have to sit in his sweet seat in the Oval Office. Next, I'd order something outrageous from the White House chef to prepare, just for me. Finally, I'd take a straight up, big pimping ride on Air Force One. It would be a stellar day (and a terrifying one for America) for sure!  

OK- time to gift this Reality Check forward. Here are my three: Mark Means, Left and Write. Cause you are not mean, even though your name suggests that you are. And the last two have to go to my Beta and CP. Rachel, at Writing on the Wall, and Faraway Eyes from the Faraway Series. If anyone needs a Reality Check, it's them. Seriously, who's crazy enough to take on a hot mess like me? I'm still in shock when I see their e-mails pop up in my inbox. It  reminds me of The Princess Bride, cause I want to shout,  "inconceivable!" every time.
What do you think about  my answers to the questions? Now, how about you? What would you do? Who would you trade places with? Do you know the reMarkable Mark Means? Faraway Eyes? or Rachel from Writing on the Wall? If you don't, please go check out their sites. They're pretty amazing. Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

It's Wednesday and I'm Looking Old, Uh, Whaaat?

Did any of you hear about this study done where women apparently look their ugliest on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.? Here's the headline-   postedWomen look their oldest at 3.30pm every Wednesday, a study has found, because that is when energy levels plummet, work stress is at a peak and the effects of any weekend late nights finally kick in. Two thirds of women experience a "slump in energy levels" mid-afternoon every Wednesday.
The research shows one in ten women (12 per cent) find Wednesday the most stressful day in a typical week. A quarter of women feel stressed several times a week - while one in five (19 per cent) admit they will work through Wednesday's lunch hour. The study, carried out by the tanning brand, St Tropez, revealed two thirds experience a "slump in energy levels" mid-afternoon every Wednesday.

DUDE! I don't know about you but don't you think St. Tropez could put their time, energy and money into doing a more positive study? Dang. As if I don't have enough insecurities about how I look, now I won't want to leave the house on Wednesday, at all. Thanks a bunch!

Now, for better news. Do any of you know my friend Ash- Matic? He's just published his first novel-  Infected Connection. And even though I am terrified of all things arachnid, I am all about promoting his work. Check out his website! It  has lots of extras and FAQs and even a mobile version!  Be sure to check out this trailer starring the man himself:

Did any of you read Ash's book yet? What do you think of this trailer? Good stuff, huh? And despite what that jacked up report says, so far I'm having a really great Wednesday. Wishing you all a non-ugly day!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Top Ten Movie Blogfest

Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and this Blogfest, over the past couple of weeks I've been enjoying a serious movie watching binge. Make sure to jump over to his blog and check out the entire list of participants in this fun blogfest. Thanks for hosting Alex!

So, I love nothing more than to pop some kettle corn, snap open a Dr.Pepper and settle onto my cozy couch to watch a good movie. But my taste in movies is just as varied and diverse as my taste in  books and music. It was terribly hard for me to pick only ten of my all time favorites. I thought it might be a little easier to choose if I tackled this in categories:

 Jaybird's Favorite Top Ten Movies of All Time. Or some of them.

10. Blazing  Saddles (admittedly Mel Brooks is not the most politically correct choice, but hilarious all the same)
9. Animal House
8. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
7. Megamind 
Here's a couple of  my favorite Megamind quotes -
"Our battles quickly got more elaborate. He would win some, I would ALMOST win others! He took the name: Metro Man, defender of Metro City. I decided to pick something a little more humble: Megamind, incredibly handsome criminal genius and master of all villainy! "

"All men must choose between two paths. Good is the path of honour, heroism, and nobility. Evil... well, it's just cooler."

"Let's stop wasting time and call your boyfriend in tights, shall we?"

Megamind: How do I look, Minion? Do I look bad?
Minion: Disgustingly horrifying, sir!
Megamind: You ALWAYS know what to say!

And here's one of my favorite Megamind moments:

6.Gone  With The Wind
5. This is a two-way tie between The Painted Veil and The Notebook, both will leave anyone with a heart full on  booger crying in the end.
4. 300
All Around Best Feel Good Movie
3. Second Hand Lions
(If you have never watched this movie, I can't recommend it enough. It is and always will be one of my all-time favorites. I must have watched it a thousand times and never get tired of it. For this fight scene alone, it will always remain on my all time top ten favorite movie list.)

Sci Fi-Like I said before, I love all kinds of movies. But Sci-Fi movies, are my all time favorite.
2. (Of  course I could list a whole sub-genre here comprised of nothing but Hugh Jackman/Wolverine movies, but I'll spare you. My number #2 pick is going to have to be all of the X-Men movies up to and including First Class. (I think the ten second Wolverine cameo in First Class is freaking brilliant in and of itself)
1. Star Wars - Nothing has been able to knock this out of my number 1 spot yet. So Star Wars it is!

Looking forward to seeing what all of you pick!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Good Writing Exercise- Never Hurts!

In this month's IWSG post I mentioned that I strongly believe in writing exercises. Working out with the right one can really help. And let's face it, any type of exercise can never really hurt, right?

*I can not take credit for coming up with the basis for this writing exercise. I'm just passing it along because it  happens to be my personal favorite out of all the challenges I've ever done. This writing exercise was initially issued a few years ago, by Frankie Diane Mallis- first to her students and then on her blog. Big thanks and props to Frankie for that!

Here are the rules: Place a bunch of random items down in the room and write a short shory incorporating every object. The items must show up as organically as possible, can not be bought at the store or found in a box.  Here are the items: a hanger, notepad, a copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales, 3 quarters, 2 batteries, a black shawl, a candle, golf ball, envelope, flower, badminton racket, box tissues, guitar/magnet, plastic fork, tape dispenser, gold Mardi Gras beads, pair of scissors.

The following short story ( a modern twist and re-telling of the Grimm's fairy tale Maid Maleen) is where Jaybird's crazy mind went with this exercise. Tell me what you think! And now- I'm throwing this challenge out to all of you. Can't wait to see if any of you take it on and what your brilliant minds come up with. My hope is that it helps you as much as it helped me!


It is bizarre enough to wake up not knowing where the heck you are. But to wake up as someone else, with a stranger an inch from your face, takes things to a whole new level. How did this happen to me? I have no clue. All I know is when I went to sleep last night, it was alone in my apartment, in my own cozy bed, in the year 2011. Yet inexplicably when I woke up I found myself transported back in time, trapped inside an ancient, dark, and smelly tower. I have always had a love of fairy tales and being trapped in a tower is a familiar theme to many. (Consider the love affair I had going with my copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales, officially over.) Usually, the person who's trapped in the creepy tower, is alone. Which brings me back to my most immediate dilemma, I am not. The stranger with me is a pushy young girl with dirty blonde hair, who seems to think personal space is not an issue. She's also under the impression I am someone named “Maleen”. From the minute I opened my eyes she has been talking to me like I'm supposed to know who she is. She's also been trying to shove something into my hands. I'm still in shock and am trying to process all of this. And I'm having a hard time seeing anything at all much less what she's been trying to give me since the dim flicker of one candle is apparently the only light in here.

OK. Time out for a little confession... I may have been a little bit drunk when I came home last night. Come on, don't be so quick to judge me. It's Mardi Gras and I live in New Orleans for crying out loud! The details of last night are still kind of sketchy, but I do remember something significant. The very last person I spoke to before waking up in this nightmare was a bizarre, tiny, old woman in a local bar, where I liked to hang out with my friends. There is an abundance of eccentric old women running around in the bars of New Orleans but this one stood out from them all.

She marched in the bar all hunched over, wearing a black shawl, a long black dress, and a brand new pair of Nike's. Here's the kicker: she could barely walk yet she carried a giant gym bag with a badminton racket sticking out of the end of it! Of course, out of the entire bar, she made a beeline straight for me. She walked right up and claimed the empty seat next to me. My inebriated friends who had just gotten done teasing me about my Prince Charming coming in and occupying that exact seat, thought this was absolutely freaking hilarious. The old woman, rummaged around in her giant bag to distract them. Meanwhile, with her other hand, she was expertly swiping some bills and three quarters my friends had left up on the bar. I laughed into my drink but didn't have the stones or the inclination to bust her for what she had done. She turned to me and asked if I would like to know my future.

 “Sorry mam, I'm no tourist and I don't believe in any of that stuff.” She laughed at me and said, “It don't matter none whether you believe in it or not, it don't change the truth.”

To be honest, fortune tellers were a dime a dozen in this city and I never paid them the slightest bit of attention before. That having been said, I am a daughter of the South and it's been ingrained in me since birth to respect my elders and above all, to be polite. She was staring at me expectantly, her brown eyes like giant saucers boring into mine, so I caved. “Alright mam, I'd be pleased if you'd tell me my future.”

She smiled at me, then motioned over to the band. At once, they tuned up their guitars and started playing a hypnotic, low rhythm I had never heard before. She snatched up my sweaty hands and turned them palm up. I don't remember a word of what she said, all I know is that when she was done talking, she took off some beads that were wrapped around her neck and put them around mine. I tentatively reached my hands up now, to feel my neck. I was still wearing the gold Mardi Gras beads, but not much else. It dawned on me then what the girl in the tower was shoving at me, clothes! Technically, it was a dress. Relieved, I took it from her and hastily put it on. The material was rough, heavy, itchy and totally wrinkled (I guess hangers weren't invented yet) but it was warm and it fit, so I was thankful nonetheless. I wanted to bombard this strange girl with oh, a million or so questions, but I didn't want to weird her out anymore than was necessary either.

“Maid Maleen, it's your turn.” She shoved something sharp into my hands and took my place, laying down on the floor. Then she closed her eyes and instantly fell asleep. So much for weirding her out. I guess this Maid Maleen was a freak and slept naked in a cold dark tower often? I looked at the object she placed in my hand, it was a sharpened metal fork. It struck a chord in my memory. I sat there, desperately racking my brain, trying to recall every last detail I could from the story of Maid Maleen. Maid Maleen, ironically, was a character from one of Grimm's Fairy Tales. It couldn't be coincidence that I woke up in a tower, with a girl who keeps calling me by that name. I was fairly certain I was trapped inside the fairy tale and living out the story. My thoughts are going in so many different directions, (all of them crazy) but most of all, I'm wondering what the hell I'm supposed to be doing with the fork?

What do you want to hear first, the good news or the bad news? The good news is, this girl really does believe I'm “Maid Maleen”. To the best of my recollection, the girl trapped in the tower with me is Maid Maleen's servant and not some sort of deranged killer. Her name is Hannah and once I got to know her, I found she was actually quite kind, loyal and sweet. She does her best to answer all of my strange questions. Now for the bad news. I know what I'm supposed to be doing with the fork! Hannah and I have to pick our way out of this tower with it, bit by bit, trying to break through the brick or we will both starve to death. According to the tale, I was locked up in this tower by my father as a punishment for refusing to marry some Prince he chose for me to marry. Since there was nothing else I could do here anyhow, I cried and picked and picked and cried until my fingers bled. Somewhere during my pity party I remembered boxes of tissues were not readily available and I had absolutely nothing soft to blow my nose on. Gross.

So time passed, kind of like Groundhog's Day, every day the same as the one before. Hannah went about the tower, surprisingly content, making me weak tea out of some crushed leaves and some stale water. I was never so thankful for the nasty tasting liquid. I needed to take a break so bad; I had developed these wicked blisters on my fingers the size of golf balls! Since I spent every day like the day before, picking, drinking the liquid, picking, thinking, there was no way of telling exactly how much time really did go by. It must have been a significant amount, however, since my hair and my bangs had grown way out. My bangs hung in my eyes, driving me crazy. Periodically, I would blow them out of my face. Oh, how I wished for a pair of scissors! A pair of scissors, a real toilet, a hot shower, a good meal, electricity and a gazillion other comforts of home. Something had to give. After what seemed like an eternity, something finally did. The brick.

Once we were out of the tower, I foolishly thought the change of scenery might trigger something and somehow, I would find myself magically transported back to whence I came. No such luck. My (or rather, Maid Maleen's) father's kingdom had been conquered and completely destroyed while we were locked in the tower. But it was not like I was going to go crawling back asking for help from the very tool that shut me and Hannah up in that stupid tower in the first place! We stumbled along looking for food or work or anyone who would take pity on us. Hannah picked these nettles for us to eat, which is a kind of flower. They are absolutely disgusting, but we survived by eating them. (Which is exactly what happens in the fairy tale.) Eventually we came upon a big city with a huge palace. At long last we were taken in and told we could work in the kitchen as scullery maids. Hannah did her best to help me, but I bumbled a lot. Learning how to polish and wash dishes was a challenge, especially for a girl who back home, ate nothing but take out, off of plastic forks and plates.

Again, life rolled along for me, pretty much exactly as Maid Maleen's did in the fairy tale. Incidentally, Hannah did some asking and discovered that the palace where we were working, was ruled by the same King, who I/Maid Maleen had previously been betrothed to his son. Apparently, his father, had finally convinced him to give up on Maleen and found him a new bride. The bride was here now preparing herself for the wedding.

Day and night the bride-to-be called me up to her room to serve her meals. She simply refused to come down and eat with any of the others. Hannah, of course, snooped around again and found out from the bride's maid servant, she was too ashamed to come out, because she thought herself too ugly to be seen! According to her maid, she was truly as ugly on the outside as she was on the inside. She was absolutely right to be afraid the Prince would take one look at her and call off the wedding. How sad, I thought, to be too afraid to show him her face! For me, living in this time period did wonders for my self esteem. There were no perfect, surgically enhanced girls around to compete with. And since I no longer had access to all of the processed, take-out foods I loved, my skin cleared up. My face could almost be described as radiant. Another bonus  my curvy figure was considered hot here, not fat! Woot. Woot. Other than really, really wishing I had an electric razor and a couple of batteries, I was looking and feeling pretty darn good. It also didn't hurt that Hannah told me everyone in the castle whispered about my “angelic beauty”. How do you like that?

On the morning of the wedding, the Princess-to-be had me summoned to her room. Thinking she was hungry I brought a variety of breakfast foods up with me. But she didn't want to eat. Because everyone thought I was so beautiful, she asked me to put on her wedding gown and veil and take her place in the church. That way the Prince would see my face, instead of hers. Later, we would switch places and she would go to the Prince's bed chamber wearing the veil and trick him. In this era, after the wedding night, divorce was not an option. She wanted to use me to pull the old bait and switch on the Prince! I flat out refused. She threatened to have my head chopped off. Here comes the bride!!!

When the Prince saw me, he said, “Oh, you are so beautiful. You look so much like my Maid Maleen, who I lost, but never forgot.” As a side note, he was not at all what I expected either. After working in the kitchen with a bunch of rowdy, crass, kitchen servants, he was like a breath of fresh air. He was tall, broad and blond, had all of his teeth, did not smell and carried himself, well, regally.

On the way to the church, I saw bunches of nettles growing on the side of the dusty road. I couldn't help myself from stopping. I leaned down and picked one. I whispered to it, you saved me once, I wish you could again. I am not the true bride. The Prince saw me and said, “What are you saying to the nettles?” “Nothing” I replied. And we marched on. After a little while, we came upon a foot bridge, and I whispered to it, “Do not break, for I am not the true bride!” The Prince heard me and said, “What are you saying to the stones?” “Nothing, nothing, I replied.”

Just as we were approaching the church, the Prince stopped. He came over and placed a gold necklace with a sparkling ruby around my neck. It was absolutely stunning. It brought tears to my eyes as I remembered the old woman, who had placed the gold Mardi Gras beads around my neck and trapped me in this strange place, so long ago. He took my hands in his and said, “A wedding gift for my beautiful bride. I shall count myself blessed to share my life and kingdom with you. I pledge my heart to you now, so you know all that I am and all that I have, will always be yours.”
Yeah, so, this guy was starting to grow on me. I felt really bad I was about to give him the shaft and he was going to end up with the ugly step-sister.

We exchanged our vows in a long, solemn ceremony. I cried the entire time. When it was over  we had to start the tiresome journey to return home. I became more and more nervous as we approached the castle. There was going to be a huge wedding feast, one I was not to supposed to attend. Instead, I was to feign fatigue and return straight to the Princess's room. This is what the princess and I had prearranged. Instead, I sneaked into to the Prince's room and snooped around. He had a desk, and I thought, if I could just write him a note, I might be able to warn him. No one would think me capable of reading or writing. But of course, I couldn't find one freaking notepad, post it, envelope or scrap of paper to write on. There were no tape dispensers, staplers or hole punches that you would usually find on top of a desk, either. Crap, I keep forgetting where I am! I found Hannah and we went to the Princess's room together. She helped extricate me from the elaborate wedding dress. A sadness for my past life washed over me and filled me with grief. In a moment of weakness, I hid the necklace underneath my dress, feeling the Princess didn't deserve it one bit or the handsome Prince who gave it to me.

As soon as I had changed, I went back to the kitchens. It was a short time later the Princess sent for me. When she and the Prince were alone, he had asked her, “What did you say to the nettles, while we were walking to the church today?” She replied, “I don't talk to flowers.” So he said, then you are not the true bride. She called for me and asked, “What did you say, you stupid girl?” So I told her and she sent me away. A few minutes later, I was called back again. The Prince had asked her, “What did you say to the bridge?” She said, “I'm not crazy, I don't talk to stones!” He said, “Then you are not my true bride!” So she asked me again, “What did you say to that bridge you stupid, stupid girl?” So I told her. Instead of sending me away, this time, she ordered her guard to tie me up in her chambers.

At this point, I had royally pissed the Princess off and I was scared. Sure enough, a little while later, the Prince asked her, “Where is the wedding gift I gave to you today?” When she had absolutely no idea about the necklace, the jig was up. He pulled off her veil and saw how ugly her face was. He shrieked and ran, seeking the King. Furious at his rejection and her plan backfiring, she came to make good on her promise to chop off my head.

Good old Hannah was, as always, one step ahead of things. She came running up the steps with an ax, screaming like a banshee to come and save me. We were both screaming like lunatics as we attempted to escape. We were, of course, apprehended immediately. For once however luck was on my side. All of our screaming was overheard by the King and the Prince. The Prince recognized the sound of my voice and came to our rescue, just in the nick of time. He had the crazy Princess arrested immediately for what she had attempted to do. He took my hands in his and said, “You are the one I married in the chapel today. The one I pledged my heart, my kingdom, all that I am and all that I have to share forever?” I pulled out the gold necklace with the ruby I had hidden under my dress and showed it to him. He kissed me and said in a loud voice for everyone to hear, “You are my true bride!” And I didn't disagree.

My future didn't turn out at all like I thought it would, but I was truly happy. I had my Hannah; who I adored. She was without a doubt, the most loyal, kindest and greatest best friend I could have ever asked for. I lived in a grand palace and was spoiled rotten by my handsome husband who adored me and who also happened to be a Prince. All in all, I really had nothing to complain about. I guess fairy tales really do come true. Sometimes, late at night, I wake up and think about where I truly came from. I wondered if there was a girl out there who woke up trapped in another time, in an apartment in New Orleans, in a bed alone  and if her new life turned out as happy as mine.

The End.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Losing Time

Monday mornings. Yeah. Not really a fan. Especially a Monday morning where I lose an hour. I know one hour doesn't sound like a lot but to someone like me, who is always a day late and a dollar short, losing an hour matters. But I'm up and I'm here and you're here, so let's make the most of it, shall we?

This weekend was (as usual) crammed pack with lots of things I  wanted to do but didn't get to do, things I didn't want to do but had to do and a couple of fun things I shouldn't have done but I somehow managed to sneak in. :)

Friday afternoon (and into the night) I took my thirteen year old niece shopping for a bathing suit. Taking a thirteen year old girl to buy a bathing  suit is never easy, but this difficult endeavor was compounded by the fact that my niece is 5"11".   She towers over all the other girls her age. It is very difficult to find a suit for someone who is this height, yet not quite an adult. Initially, all of the bathing suits we found that were long enough to actually fit her, would look appropriate on a two dollar hooker, not my niece. After an exhaustive search, we were able to find her something decent to wear. Of course, if I had a little more time, I might have been able to find her something a whole lot less expensive and better suited for teenager, online. But she is going away on vacation with my brother-in-law in the very near future and needed a suit asap. As usual, there just wasn't enough time.

Saturday was full of awesome. I slept in. I know most people wouldn't consider waking up at 6:30 AM "sleeping in". It counts for me since my usual wake up call is about 5:30. Again, just gaining that one hour of sleep, makes quite a difference. My kids made me breakfast in bed! Which was fabulous. But then those little friglets sent me a bill! Seriously- they charged me "extra" for every refill on my coffee. I owed them a nice chunk of change before the morning was over, lol. Anyhow, since it was an absolutely beautiful day I decided we should run our errands and get all the boring stuff out of the way first, then pick up some lunch and bring it to the park. Which we did. We ate, then we walked through the trails (which the girls and I love to do). Of course, when they go to the park trails with me, we pack real food and sweet drinks and it's an easier, much more laid back affair. I tire easily. The same rules do not apply when they go with The Husband. But I'll circle back to that in a minute.

Saturday night was spent with our friends and neighbors celebrating our town's incorporation-but we call it a "birthday party". Since it falls so close to St. Patrick's Day, we always double up the celebrating and make corned beef , cabbage and potatoes. Each family that comes will bring either a dessert or hot covered dish to share. I know to you city people this might sound a little Little House on the Prairie-ish, and it kind of  is, but it's also a really a great time. We have a DJ- the kids get to dance, eat, sing happy birthday to our town, interact with all the old-timers and have a wonderful time. The hours flew by while we were there  and I consider it time well spent.

Sunday morning was church and then  I was off again with my sister Adrienne to attend a charity auction. Although neither of us won a blessed thing (and they had some sweet prizes-even the door prize rocked- it was a brand new Coach bag!) we had a really good time anyway. As always, I made new friends, talked too much, ate too much and enjoyed myself immensely. One of my best friends is a lawyer. She's a partner in her firm and has a ridiculous schedule so we don't get a chance to spend time together as often as we used to. Yesterday, she was in charge of the seating arrangements at the auction, so she "arranged" it so we could sit together. Somehow, we found a way to spend quality time together while paying it forward to charity. We lost time, but had a whole lot of fun while we did it!

While I was at the auction, The Husband had the girls all to himself. How would he choose to spend his time? The girls immediately asked The Husband to take them shooting (it's one of their favorite Daddy/daughter activities). Unfortunately, it seems everyone in our area  had the same idea. Since it was so crowded they decided to return to the range later in the week, when it wasn't so packed with the "weekend warriors". It was another beautiful day, and we had had so much fun walking the trails the day before, they asked The Husband if he could just take them back to the park. Forgetting, of course, The Husband's idea of a fun day walking the trails is no where close to mine. Oh, he took them to the park. But he and the girls hiked instead of walked, and they went way off the nice, beaten paths and trails. Then he pulled out a stop watch and started to time them while they ran  "bug out" drills.  He had the girls off grid, hiking up and down hills all day long, carrying their packs (filled with only water and a couple of protein bars instead of Dr.Peppers, chips and giant Italian subs, lol).  When I got home, they couldn't wait to tell me all about it.  They were exhilarated. But also exhausted, dirty and hungry.  And probably a whole lot less likely to ask Daddy to pass their time together on a "walk in the woods" anytime soon. (Don't  feel sorry for them. Maybe they'll think twice before they write their mother up a bill for breakfast in bed, LOL)

What about you? How did you lose time this weekend? Anyone else lamenting the loss of that hour, like me? ~ Jaybird

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Apocalyptic Sky

Only have time for  a quickie today- but I wanted to share these photos. From time to time, in the state game lands near my home they do these "controlled burns". The forest rangers did one the other day and these amazing photos of the sun are a result.

I've named this series of pictures "Apocalyptic Sky" - What does it look like to you?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Character Chemistry

It's the first Wednesday of March. You know what that means. If you don't know what that means, you need to hustle on over to  Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog asap and check it out. Welcome to the  Insecure Writer's Support Group!

My topic this month is Character Chemistry-  Just like in the real world it's pretty apparent when that spark between two people is there or it's not. When it's there, ZAP! It hits you like lightening.  If the chemistry between two characters is well written, the reader can't help but get sucked in and vested in the relationship too. A reader (like me) will find themselves  zooming through a hundred pages in what seems like a couple of minutes, without even realizing it. And there is just no way you won't go running out and purchasing or downloading the sequel, you HAVE to know what happens between character X and Z, right?  But on the flip side of that, when there's zero chemistry between two characters, nothing stalls a romance faster. Talk about boring! It's the equivalent of being on a date with someone you feel no interest in.  Wicked uncomfortable, right?

My fellow insecure writers, what do you do when you feel like things are just not working between your characters?  How do you turn it up a notch? Personally, I'm a huge fan of writing exercises.  Sometimes, the right one, can really help you out of a slump. And honestly, even if they don't particularly help, I don't think the practice could ever hurt. Does anyone know of any other techniques/suggestions to help light up that chemistry? 

What two characters come to mind when you think of INSTANT CHEMISTRY?
Oh my gosh I have so many! But some of my favorite couples who have chemistry in spades:
*Mac and Barrons, Karen  Marie Moning
*Cat and Bones, Jeaniene Frost
*Rose and Dimitri, Rochelle Mead
*Grace and Sam, Maggie Stiefvater
*Karou and Akiva, Laini Taylor
*Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester, Bronte

What about tele shows? People will tune in week after week just to see what happens between the main characters wondering if or when they will ever hook up:
*Buffy and Angel (OK,  maybe it  didn't work out so well for her when she hooked up with Angel, but its still one of my favorite episodes)
*Bones and Booth (I realize this is kind of like listing Angel twice. Just consider it a David Boreanaz squared bonus.)
*Scully and Mulder
*Carrie and Mr. Big

Don't read or write romance? That's OK friends- drop  me a comment about who your favorite couples are from tv and/or the movies and why.  For those of you who do write romance, have you ever had the chemistry stall between your characters? How did you write you way out of it? I'd love to know~ Jaybird

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Bloghop of JOY

Today I am participating in two of my fav bloggers, Kyra Lennon and Clare Dugmore's

The basic premise of this hop in the words of Clare Dugmore:

In these cold, winter months, everything can seem kind of ... bleak. However, every now and again, something small will happen that makes us smile again. It could be a random memory, something you see on TV, overhearing something that makes you laugh out loud - just that one thing that makes the clouds part, and the sunshine appear again. We're not talking life-changing moments, just the little things that inexplicably make us smile.
All you have to do to be a part of this happy hop is sign up on the Linky List, and on March 1st, post your list of joy - with a minimum of five things that put a spring back in your step!

If you haven't signed up yet, jump on over to Kyra's blog or Clare's and join in! Who couldn't use a little more joy in their lives?

Here's Jaybird's Top Ten Eleven List of  little random things that make me smile or fill me with joy:

11.  If  any of you watched the Oscars you would have already seen this footage of Jennifer Lawrence tripping over her gorgeous but ginormous couture dress. Watch it again now but look closely at something besides Katniss. It makes me smile every time I see  this. Because out of  all the A-listers sitting in the front row, look at who jumps right up out of his seat to offer his assistance.  That, my friends, is the one and only Mr. Hugh Jackman, the man who's made up of   Awesome Sauce.

10. Today is March 1. It's my brother's birthday.  You know what that means- time for another  Italian House party.  Happy Birthday Chris!! When are we having cake? LOL
Happy Birthday Brother. xo
9.  I have a soft spot for strays. Animals or people, I take in All Kinds. About a month ago, this orphaned  Ginger Boy showed up on my door step crying. He must have instinctively known the one giant and three little girls that lived there would just melt when they saw him-
 Now that he's older, his coat is much more gingy than white.

8. A hot cup of coffee is priority one for me in the morning. So it fills me with pure joy when I wake up and find a cup of java already made for me.  Starbucks has nothing on my girl. Best Mocha Maker Ever. Thank you Faith!!

7. As a mom nothing warms my heart like catching a sweet moment of solidarity between sisters  like this:
Frankie  and Farrah, holding hands at the Cape May Zoo

6. OK, this is SO stupid. But I have to tell this story-because it's  still one of my favorites, even all these years later. Back in high school I was (as usual) feeling sick  and miserable and had to take a minute to rest in the nurse's office. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself  when this commotion broke out and  interrupted my pity party. IDENTICAL twin sisters just got caught beating the piss out of each other in the hallway. They came bursting into the nurse's office still kicking, clawing and throwing insults  at each other. The nurse was doing her best to calm them both down, so she pulled the curtain and sat one of the girls down on the cot next to mine. Even though they were separated by the curtain, it didn't stop this girl from screaming through it at her sister: "You're an ugly bitch!!"  I know it's dumb and I'm sorry but I could not stop laughing then and it still makes me laugh when I think about it now-  Who the hell insults their identical twin  by calling them an ugly bitch?

5. My Wolverine Bobblehead fills me with joy. I love that thing. It sits on my dashboard and nods along, agreeing with me and my choice of tunes as I go cruising down the road.

Come on, you knew there would have to be a nod to Wolverine to  make my list complete! LOL
4. Finding and reading a good  book! That always fills me with joy.  I am an extremely fast and voracious reader. Every rare once in a while, if  a book  is really, really good it can actually cause me  to  slow down and savor the pages.  Like I said before it's a rare occurrence, but when it happens, woo hoo,  I LOVE it!!

3. Followers and Comments on my blog. Man, do I love my followers and their comments!! It fills me with pure  joy when people respond to what I've written. I've come a long  way from when I first started blogging and had no followers or comments except from my sister (and she mostly likes to heckle me, lol). Even now, I am blown away by the comments I get and the amount of amazing followers I have! ** Bonus trivia- what was my favorite comment ever? Check out my answer at the bottom of this post if your interested in knowing more on that. **

2. Princess Filamena Joy. My cat. I know, I know, but I am secure enough in my crazy cat lady status to admit it.  My cat fills me with joy. Take a look at the picture below. Do you see that jacked up yellow thing my cat is hugging on? That's her "Honey Bunny".  It's her favorite toy. And over at the Bird's Nest there is a little game we play with it. Very similar to Where's Waldo my cat will hide Honey Bunny every night and in the morning, she will torture us  carry on until we go hunting for that stinking busted bunny. It always makes the girls and I laugh when we find Honey Bunny in all kinds of weird places  :)

1. My girls-they are my joy.
One of my  fav old pics-  Dressing my girls up for Halloween always makes me smile!

*** Bonus trivia question answer:  My favorite comment was from Frankie Diane Mallis. She posted the rules of  a writing exercise she just handed to her students at Arcadia College and challenged any of her followers to give it a go - so I jumped on it.  
Her comment to my entry was one of my favorites because she praised my efforts. (I worked really hard on it too) I'm in awe of Frankie's talent  and her opinion of my work matters a whole lot to me. Because I'm an uber-dork  I actually commited her comment to memory. She said,  "Hi Jaybird. Wow! This was so impressive and creative. I love how you incorporated and drew inspiration from the objects into the story. You'd definitely earn an A in my class. I'm so glad you liked the exercise!" - Cue swooning and instant dorkitude... LOL