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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Friday, May 31, 2013

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse

Hey all! Sorry I have been out of commission lately, but this Bird has a LOT going on. When I have a chance, I will post more about that later. But now I am very happy to be participating in The Armchair Squid 's first meeting of the Cephalopod Coffeehouse. Go grab a latte or a cuppa or whatever floats your boat because we're here to hang out and chat about our favorite book we read this month! If you are interested in joining, you can go check out the list and sign up over at the Squid's blog..

For me, the best book I read this month was a sequel. It was Dark Triumph, by Robin LeFevers and it was awesome. Dark Triumph is Book II in the Fair Assassin series. I loved reading this sequel for a number of reasons, the first being that our introduction to the main character Sybella  happens in book one, Grave Mercy.  Sybella shows up at a convent in the middle of the night, stark raving mad. But the nuns of Saint Mortain and their charges are not what you expect. There will be no coddling, no forgiveness preached or kindness taught to her there. Nope, the Good Sisters at Saint Mortain serve Lord Death. They are responsible for teaching all the young girls who enter their order the art of  killing and seduction. The Sisters entice the girls into joining by promising to provide them with the means and the opportunity to exact revenge against the men who have wronged them.

Sybella's unpredictable nature and the haunting, tormented past that led her to the steps of Saint Mortain, is expertly revealed page by page in Dark Triumph. Sybella's story makes a very interesting read. I found myself not able to put this book down. Equally horrified at finding out what she lived through and what she has endured, as well as  intrigued at what her present situation would bring, I was compelled to finish this book in two days!

This book is full of  twists and turns, action, a broad spectrum of human emotion, romance, intrigue and kept my interest from page one straight through to the end.  It could very easily be a stand alone, but I  highly recommend reading Grave Mercy first- either way you can't go wrong with this series.

And now, (because I am the WORST Sunday school teacher ever) but mostly because I promised my pal  Melanie from Sporkin' on Down the Road, please behold The World's Most Phallic-shaped Water bottle Ever Invented, courtesy of the American Heart Association. Hope it makes you laugh as much as it made me! Happy Friday Everyone!!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Play Lists, Inspiring Oui or Non?

Happy Friday Everyone! (And Happy Memorial Day Weekend to all my fellow Americans) I don't know about you, but I am really looking forward to this three day weekend!

So, Play lists? Yes or No? What do you think? I am a huge fan, myself. I wouldn't dream of writing without  blasting  listening to music. Music goes hand in hand with just about everything I do in life. Come to think of it, I honestly don't know if I'm capable of driving without  the proper tuneage to ride along with me. And you can forget about cooking or baking, without me listening to my music, real loud.  The louder the better I always say! But this really pisses The Husband off.  He and I, of course, have opposite taste in music. 
Just like any good sitcom, The Husband knows full well I am going to go bananas but that doesn't seem to stop him from doing this time and time again. What does he do? Every time that rat bastard takes my car, he changes all my pre-sets to his crap stations! Oh yeah, The Husband and I have had all out battles over music.  Mostly because he wouldn't know good music if  it bit him on the ass cheeks. Sometimes, when I am cooking and I have my music blasting, he will sneak in the kitchen all stealthy like and grab the remote. Then he will hide somewhere close and hit the mute button, just to mess with me. I'm not sure what pleasure he derives from this because as soon as he does it I immediately turn the music back on. (Even louder than I had been playing it before) Yep, we really are that stupid and immature! But, I digress...(as usual).

Anyhow, recently I blogged about how frustrated I had become with my NA paranormal romance, Breaking Cardinale Rules. I was so stinking stymied and started to hate even looking at it anymore. It left me feeling like a total hack and after I vented my frustration in last month's IWSG post, I received many wonderful comments and advice to put it aside for awhile. I decided that would be best and placed my story on the back burner. But I am happy to announce, the minute I heard this Imagine Dragons song, Demons, a little glimmer of interest came trickling back. Their song and it's lyrics are a perfect fit for my WIP and I couldn't wait to add it to my play list.

So, I'm hereby officially naming Demons, my BCRs theme song.  And I hope listening to it over and over again will give me that final push I need to dig deep, pull back out my WIP and get to work on finishing my revisions. Who knows, maybe I'll take a swing at it over the long weekend!

Have a listen:

Playlists, oui or non? Do they inspire you or do you feel the need for silence while you are working? Does it drive you bat-crap crazy when someone messes with the pre-sets in your ride like it does  to Jaybird? What song are you listening to right now?  (FYI, right now I'm kicking it old school and listening to Sabotage, by the Beastie Boys.)

*Although I am sure this will morph into something else before my WIP is all said and done, here are the songs on my play list so far:
Demons- Imagine Dragons
Red Jumpsuit- Facedown
Rise  Against- Saviour
Fire Woman- The Cult
Zombie- The Cranberries
How's it Going To Be- Third Eye Blind
Somebody Told Me- The Killers
She Talks to Angels- The Black Crowes
My Heart is Broken-Evanescence
Hurt-Nine Inch Nails
Last Man Standing- People in Planes
Three Little Birds-Bob Marley
Back to Black- Amy Winehouse
All or Nothing- Pennywise
Little Talks – Monsters and Men
Hey Ladies- Beastie Boys
Flagpole Sitter-Harvey Danger
Toxic-Melanie Martinez
Scar Tissue- Red Hot Chile Peppers
She Will Be Loved- Maroon 5
I Will Possess Your Heart- Death Cab for Cutie
Jealousy- Good Charlotte
Chasing Cars-Snow Patrol
Jenny Was a Friend of Mine-The Killers
My Chick Bad- Ludacris (don't hate)
Switchfoot- Dark Horses Acoustic Version
Pardon Me- Incubus
Stuck on You-Meiko



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Secondary Characters Blog Hop

Today my lovely, sweet and super-talented friend who  also  happens to be one of my CPs Rachel  is hosting the Secondary Characters Blog Hop along with these fabulous co-hosts  Theresa Paolo, Kelley Lynn, Jessica SalyerJenny Morris and Suzi Retzlaff .  **Look for Rachel's e-book Secondary Characters, which releases on May 28th!!

I'd have to say my favorite Secondary Character of late has to be Fat Amy from the movie Pitch Perfect. Rebel Wilson took that film from comical, to hilarious. If you aren't a teenage girl or don't have any in your family to sit you down and make you watch this movie over and over (like me)  Fat Amy and her one-liners definitely steal the show. One of my fav Fat Amy lines- "I'm going to finish him like a cheesecake."  Here's a small sampling of some classic Fat Amy moments in Pitch Perfect:

OK- I have to admit, I don't really watch much television. But I had to throw in my favorite Secondary Character from a TV show I'm currently loving- Loyal friend, vegan, antique clock- repairing Blutboten (werewolf)  Monroe from Grimm. He is so rich- and multi-dimensional. Just love this character. I think he steals the show!  
The reason I don't watch much TV is because I prefer to have my face stuffed in a book. And as far as books go, I have so many Secondary Characters I'm crazy about, it was really difficult to choose. I'm going to do my best to try to keep this list down to a minimum. But man, is it  hard to narrow this down! (And I'm sure I'm forgetting somebody I love) But here goes:

Piggy from Lord of The Flies
Zuzana, Karou's bestie from Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Melanie from Gone With The Wind
Brienne of Tarth, Game of Thrones
Lonn Hammond, Jr.,  from The Notebook
Linden from The Chemical Garden Trilogy
Monsieur and Madame Th`enardiers  from Les Miserables
Bubba from The Southern Vampire Series
So stinking many from Robert Jordan and The Wheel of Time can't even begin to list them all!
Lily from Rosemary and Rue
Gabe from The Scorpio Races
Myrnin from The Morganville Vampire Series

And so many more... Each of those literary Secondary Characters I've listed above I love for a number of  reasons. Some intrigue me, some disgust me, others are just hella cool. I can't wait to see what Secondary Characters you came up with (and who I forgot to list). Happy Blog Hopping!


Friday, May 17, 2013

Best and Worst Movie Remake Blogfest

This is another fun blog fest that I signed up for as soon as I saw it.  And thanks to Alex Cavanaugh,  and his awesome don't forget about tomorrow's blog fest e-mail I am happy to say I remembered to post this  today.  Thanks for the reminder Alex! (This busy momma appreciates it.) This blog fest is not only being hosted by Alex, but Stephen, Livia and Al. too! Thanks for hosting guys!

I always  like to start with the good news. So, my favorite remake would have to be: The Fly.

Jeff Goldblum, mid-transformation in The Fly.
I know some of you will be shocked by this choice because I am not a horror  fan by nature. But I was indeed, a HUGE fan of this classic movie starring Vincent Price. That creepy voice of  his delivering those two famous words "Help me"  haunted my ears for decades. When I heard they were  attempting a remake, I was skeptical and a little afraid. But after seeing it, I have to say, I was blown away. Besides the obvious up-grades in special effects and writing, casting Jeff Goldblum   sold it for me. There is just something about that guy that makes "crazy scientist" so believable. His performance was stellar! So, my vote for best remake I've seen so far, is The Fly.

Original cover with Vincent Price
Now  for the worst- I'm sure I'm going to be heckled hard for this choice, but it's....:  Red Dawn. Don't shoot me. But here's why I hated it. I was SO  excited to see this remake since the first Red Dawn was one of my fav movies of all time. As soon as it started, I was let down. The acting was crap. Although I was a fan of Helmsworth in both Thor and The Avengers in Red  Dawn I found him lacking the passion Patrick Swayze was able to convey and so richly deliver as Jed, in the original. Swayze's performance stirred up all kinds of emotion in patriotic guts all across America. Helmsworth on the other hand, although nice to look at, was one-dimensional and flat.

And, my other big disappointment with the movie- using the boy formerly known as the chubby kid from Drake and Josh (Josh Peck) to play Matt? That was a total casting nightmare. If you ask me Peck did a pitiful job that was painful to watch. He whined every line just like he did through all the seasons of Drake and Josh. I wasn't even all that impressed with his whining. Geez, I have three girls, we  could have taught him a thing or two about champion whining. So there it is: Red Dawn as my choice of worst remake. Don't hate. It's just my humble opinion. Even my brother disagrees with me. (He loved the first one and we watched both the first and the second together. He really loved the remake.). But I stand by my opinion.

Now as a bonus: Best/Worst Remake of a Song.  My BEST Remake Choice:

Best  Remake Ever:  Hurt by Johnny Cash. JC just absolutely SLAYED this Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) song. Hands down my favorite cover of all time. And supposedly once Trent Reznor heard Johnny Cash cover it,  he reportedly said, "It's not my song any more. It's his."

And Worst Song Remake:  I am not going to even link to it because it's so bad nobody should have to suffer through hearing it.  My vote is for Madonna covering American Pie.  Worst remake ever. Trust me and save your ears from  bleeding-every note she sings of this song, is like nails on a chalk board.

Now I'm off to see what great Best and Worst Choices you all picked! Have a great weekend everyone.

Monday, May 13, 2013

My Cup Runneth Over

This Mother's Day weekend  was just incredible. The cards I received from my girls and The Husband made me so happy. I honestly would have been thrilled with just the cards, but they had much more in store for me.
She's not going to win any spelling bees with this, but I don't care. I think that adds to the precious factor.
 I plan on laminating these cards and keeping them forever!  

The family and I were able to spend time with my mother on Friday night and my mother-in-law on Sunday afternoon. Honestly, I can't even believe how lucky I am when I think about who God gifted me with as a mother. The Husband  always says that he has the absolute best mother-in-law in the world and if he had to name her one flaw, it's that she loves us too much. And as far as mother-in-laws go, I hit the stinking Mega-Million Jackpot. She is reserved and quiet and never, ever bosses me around. More importantly, my mother-in-law only gives advice when solicited.  (Some of my friends have openly admitted to hating me for this, LOL) I actually pester call her for her opinion and child-rearing advice, all the time. She had four children, is a RN and sat on the Juvenile Board in our county as an advocate for abused children. PS: She's also a psychologist and taught the subject at a local college, for years. I'm convinced there's nothing she can't do.

My mother-in-law has my sincere respect and admiration. Not just for all she's accomplished, but the fact that she accomplished it-all on her own. Her husband suffered from Hodgkin's Lymphoma and in between taking care of him until he passed away (at age 42) she somehow found time to raise her children, put herself through school to earn her Master's and work long, hard hours as a supervising RN at the hospital. (Somehow she also  managed to fit in volunteering at her local church) She moved to New Jersey from the deep South when she married her husband and had zero family up here to lean on or help her out. My mother-in-law is afraid of nothing and is one of the toughest women I have ever known.  When I say this, I mean it the most complimentary way. I want to be just like her when I grow up.

My Mother's Day dinner table- set by the girls.
Instead of taking me to an over-crowded restaurant for dinner or picking up Chinese take-out, (which I wasn't really in the mood for) my little Chef Faith surprised me by recreating all of  my favorite dishes, here at home. Still can't believe what that eleven year old kid can produce, off the fly, without the benefit of  a recipe or any culinary experience. Dinner was awesome. When I consider all of my Mother's Day Blessings, I can't help from thinking, my cup runneth over!

Homemade Vodka Sauce-  My favorite! I'm going to ask Faith to post the recipe on her blog.
It was so creamy and fantastic. The whole family loved it!

Best Chef Ever, holding just one of the app trays she made  for me. :)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Please sir, more.

Do any of you know someone who has never had to struggle financially? Maybe you are in that position. I'm not hating on the high-rollers. Really, I'm not. I have a lot of friends (and even some family) that are very well off.  I'm honestly not jelly and wouldn't begrudge them a thing. But when someone has never had to pause for a moment to think about the cost of something before purchasing it, their perspective on life and mine, differs greatly.

God love them,  a lot of my friends were born into homes where everything they could possibly want, was provided for them. They never experienced what it feels like to want or to go without. They never had to scrimp and save or sweat over purchasing something. One of my friends, has never worked a day in her life. But that's not the life I was born into or anywhere close to the life I live. And some high rollers can't seem to grasp the concept of not having the money to do something.

I'm not trying to demean anyone or put them down, it's just that sometimes, their reality is so  different from mine, it's like we come from different planets.  Of course, I'd love to be able to provide certain opportunities for my girls that The Husband and I can't. And I'm thrilled that they can do that for themselves and their children. But having a  conversation with some of my more affluent friends, is a bit comical. They are just flabbergasted that The Husband I don't go right out and do certain things for our kids. And they want to know why.

"Why don't you take Faith to all of the restaurants she likes so she can order and sample the menus she wants to review?"
"She saves up her money and when she has enough, we take her."
"Why don't you just give her the money?"
"We don't always have it. The restaurants she likes to review cost a lot of money."

"Why  don't you go buy Farrah that microscope she wants? And send her to that Marine Biology Camp?"
"The microscope costs close to $1,000. And  the camp costs even more."

"Why don't you just take Frankie to New York every day for casting calls?"
"Um, because it costs $50.00 (one way) and takes two hours to take the bus into the City. And then I have to wait around in crowded hallways with psycho stage moms that give me the stank eye. When they finally call my kid into a room, they take literally five seconds to look her over and decide whether or not she's what they are looking for. And then we get to ride the bus two hours home, which costs me another $50.00. If she gets hungry or thirsty during the hours we are waiting, I  have to purchase something to eat. (I've tried packing. Most food gets soggy on the bus. And granola bars will only hold you over for so long.) That's easily another $30-40 bucks if I'm being conservative. SO I will be out close to $140 bucks and she may not have even be cast."
"So, what's $150 bucks?"

To me, $150 bucks is a lot of toilets. That's how I think of things since that's what I must scrub to pay for all the little extras my kids want.  (How many toilets are we talking about?)

Bottom line, all of the things my kids need, like love, acceptance, food, shelter and clothing, are  provided for them. But my girls, (even if I could suddenly afford to) unlike my friends' kids, will NOT be receiving the keys to a brand new car, the day they turn seventeen. The Husband and I will expect our girls to work in some sort of capacity, when they are legally able to, just like we did.  Personally, I am of the mind that if you are handed things, without ever having to work for them, you never truly appreciate what you have. Maybe my opinion is in the minority.

What's your perspective? Perhaps  you were raised in a home where everything was handed to you. Maybe you were expected to work for things.  How do you feel about parents who hand over whatever their kids want, without making them earn it?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Reflections on A-Z

Every night at dinner, I force  very politely ask my kids to tell  The Husband and I what the best and worst parts of their days were. I decided to attack this reflections post the same way.

Best Part of the A-Z Challenge:

1. I discovered a lot of cool new blogs.
2. I met a lot of awesome new bloggers.
3. New followers!  This rarely happens over here. Honestly took me close to two years to get three followers. Two of which were related to me, the third was me.
4. I realized I have a ton of random shiz to spout on and on about everyday. More than I thought possible. (Hmm, probably why I find it hard to gain followers)
5. Unlike the majority of  bloggers, I believe not having a theme actually worked in my favor, instead of against me. Not being tied down to one specific topic made it much easier for me to keep going. (or maybe that's just my ADD coming into play)
6. There were some really cool themes out there and I learned a lot of really interesting things from them. I even collected some really fantastic recipes. 
7. I received many wonderful comments/positive feedback  about my writing that made me ridiculously happy.
8. Closely related to #7  was how touching I found it to see  my blogging friends who  dropped by and commented every day. (Some weren't even  participating in A-Z Challenge. They just wanted to lend their support- Like Faraway Eyes and A Beer for The Shower. So great big Thank You for that!!)
9. I realized I can multi-task like a damn champion!
10. I finished.

Worst Part of the A-Z Challenge:

1. Wish I had the time to get around and visit more new blogs than I  did. I shot for five a day and still feel like that was just a drop in the hat.
2. I accomplished absolutely zip on any of my revisions or WIPs.
3. Dirty dishes sat in my sink every day for the entire month of April.
4. My poor CPs think I fell off the face of the earth.
5. I realized no matter how hard I tried, I will never be able to get to the bottom of that list!
6. Some days, because I was sick, tired and just overall crazy busy, I felt really overwhelmed.
7. My family had to eat a lot of take-out.

In the end, the good outweighed the bad. Overall, I found my first time doing the A-Z to be a positive learning experience that I am glad I challenged myself to.  How about you? Did you take the Challenge? Why or why not? Would  you do it again? Now- I'm off to do some dishes!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Ah Fanabala!

Ah Fanabala! In case you never heard those words before, let me explain: they are a not very nice Italian-American expression. And it's what I've been yelling over here at the Bird's Nest for the past five days. Because this was NOT a very nice week.

If this were Facebook, I'd be dropping all kinds of cute words on you pretending my life is just one big, fantastic slice of heaven. But that's not me. I can't front like that. When I'm upset or something is wrong in my life, I'd rather put it out there. Somebody else may have gone what I'm going through or I may be able to help someone who's about to go through it. So here it is:

One  of my girls caught lice from  school. To most people this is an annoyance or a mildly unpleasant experience and nothing more. To me, this is a monumental horrific trigger that could end up with me being committed. It messes with my head in more ways than one. Lice are bugs. I know I jack around a lot about having panic attacks, OCD and  phobias, but I seriously suffer from all three and the thought that bugs were on my kid's head, on her pillow, in her clothes, in my house, makes me crazy. Literally, crazy. Certifiable.

Needless to say the response I had to this discovery threw me into an all out OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) fit.  I had an immediate panic attack and couldn't breathe. I started to freak out and I didn't know what to do. I couldn't calm down. Nothing The Husband said or did helped me and he didn't know what to do. So he called in the big guns: my mother. She came over and was able to talk me down (a bit). Believe it or not, my mom just happens to be an RN who started out  her career working in a psychiatric hospital. Later in life after she had me and my brother and sisters,  she decided to take a job as a school nurse. Having worked in both capacities she knew exactly what to do and how to help me. Thank  God she came right over. I was absolutely petrified and paralyzed with fear. Before she got there I couldn't even calm down enough to sit down or touch anything in my house:  I was convinced that everything had bugs crawling on it. 

It's been quite a week! My hands are raw from washing them so much. My POOR, POOR kid's head is so sore from me obsessing on getting every single nit (imagined or otherwise) off of her head. No exaggeration, I think I went over her head a thousand times, pulling each strand of her hair, just to make sure there is nothing left. (It took me seven hours before I was satisfied the job was done.) I threw away every pillow in our entire house. I washed all the girls clothes, sweatshirts and coats, (even if they didn't wear them) and sanitized them. I tossed every single brush, head band, comb and hair ribbons my girls owned-out in the trash and made The Husband put the trash cans out down at the curb, because I couldn't handle thinking there were still close to our house. I threw away all of the sheets and the comforters on all the beds, just because I couldn't handle the thought of any of them possibly having any bugs on them. I had my cat dipped and then barricaded her in my room while I opened all the windows and sprayed poison all over the house. I would toss out all of the furniture too, but that's where The Husband drew the line.

The thought that the lice could possibly spread to MY head, has kept me up all night phantom itching and scratching and imagining all kinds of horrible things are crawling on me. This entire week, I made my mom come check my head, over and over and over again. While I cried and sprayed vile, filthy cusses out of my mouth in both Italian and English. I would say something particularly fowl and then immediately start apologizing to my Bible-toting, God-fearing, never uttered a cuss in her life-was- going-to-be-a-nun until she met my Dad mother!  Thank God my momma loves me unconditionally and has a great sense of humor. Because she started laughing and said "I knew you had OCD, panic attacks and all of the other phobias but I didn't know you could add Tourette's to that list!"  She has been so patient and kind and I realize without her tremendous support and help this week, I might just be sleeping in a hospital bed.  (Which brings on a whole other bunch of phobias and fears but I'm not going to allow my mind to go there.)

This was a week I'd never, ever care to repeat. Unfortunately, the treatment of lice is not considered complete until the infected head is retreated with the shampoo, 7-10 days from the date of the first treatment. This is NOT what I wanted to hear.  I can look forward to repeating this horrific pattern all over again, in another week from now. Cue the "Ah Fanabala!"  And again, just  like I said to mom, I'm sorry but I can't seem to stop the cusses from flowing whenever I think about this.

Has anyone else ever had to deal with head lice? How did you handle it? Did any of you start hyper-ventilating or cussing like a drunk Italian sailor?  Anyone start getting itchy and scratch their head just from reading this post?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

IWSG: Insecurity Times Ten

Good Morning Everyone. If you are not familiar with the IWSG, go to http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com to find out more.

I'm drowning in my insecurities this month so I'm afraid this IWSG post is going to be pretty depressing friends. My revisions on my WIP have not been going well, at all. No matter what I do I can't seem to find the right direction I want to go in anymore. I used to love my characters so much! I used to have so much enthusiasm for this manuscript, once. But now I kind of hate it. I don't think my pacing or plot have the ability to pull someone into my story. And it's killing me. I want to scream! I want to throw things! My WIP has become no fun to work on. The insecure writer in me is thinking it's time to throw in the towel and give up. I honestly feel like I have no right to even call myself a writer anymore. Who am I kidding? Maybe, I have been fooling myself this whole time, thinking I ever could be? Will this doubt and insecurity always plague me because I am the type of person who is really hard on herself or is it because I really, truly suck? Is moving on to another project the answer? Or will I finish that and find myself right back in this spot, hating it just as much in the end? I really don't know what I should do. I'm stuck in this heart-breaking spot, not really knowing which way to turn.