Friday, April 30, 2010

Zany Zodiac

So I have this new best friend Jason—you wanna hear how I met him? I'll give you a hint... the title gives a hint! *cough*

So anyway... coupla days ago on Facebook I get this message from a stranger.

“So I was reading your blog. What do you know about Gemini Earth Sheep?”

Well clearly NOT ENOUGH!

I was confused and scratched my head, then looked again. You know what threw me off? The darned Sheep! Let me e'splain...

Eastern versus Western Zodiac

This distinction is only difficult if you actively avoid learning about such things. WESTERN Astrology is the stuff you see in the daily paper...


Aries begins with the Vernal Equinox (March 21, give or take) and each proceeds to last about a month and theoretically goes with a personality influence. What it MEANS is this is the sign at the BACK of the SUN on the day you were born—your sun sign. You also have a Western sign for every SINGLE other planet, and each planet (and the moon and pluto) have domains which define HOW that sign shows its influence. It's a lot of combos, and if you sit down with the list, almost everyone can spot WHY they might deviate from the standard description of their sign.

For example... I am a Cancer, which isn't terribly ME at all. Cancers are a clingy lot... emotionally insecure, home oriented... I DO identify with the crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside thing, and I definitely hang onto people, even if I lose a limb--once you're mine, I will NEVER let go *mad cackle*, but the limb grows back—resilience... but mostly... not so much..

Easily understood by my Virgo moon (so I am analytical about emotional stuff--an odd tick for an emotional sign), and my Gemini cusp (among my writer friends, there is a large flurry on this Gemini/Cancer cusp—a need to communicate (Gemini) in order to move or be moved (emotional Cancer). I think it's a perfect storm of the seeing and feeling, then being able to put it into words.

Aries is the starter............................ who never finishes anything.
Taurus is the lover............................ who tends to over indulge.
Gemini is the genius.......................... who is two-faced.
Cancer is the mother........................ who is needy.
Leo is the perfect host...................... who must be the center of attention.
Virgo is analytical and systematic...... and absolutely anal retentive.
Libra is balanced and fair.................. but can't make up his mind.
Scorpio charming and far sighted...... and secretive.
Sagittarius is happy and lucky........... and fickle.
Capricorn is hard-working............... and rigid.
Aquarius is FUN—a free-spirit........ who you probably shouldn't make plans around.
Pisces is perceptive.......................... and neurotic.

What else could there BE?

Well then we have the Eastern Astrology! The one I have learned is Chinese.

Confucius held a party and twelve animals came—he gave them each a year in the Chinese 'decade', he presented them with years in the order they showed up.

Rat was first.-- gregarious and LUCKY (Confucius' gift for being first to arrive)

Ox is hard working.
Tiger is seductive.
Cat is refined.
Dragon is charismatic.
Snake is amiable.
Horse is independent.
Goat is creative.
Monkey is clever.
Rooster is confident.
Dog is loyal.
Pig is giving.

So what was the sheep like, again? Say WHAT?

See, this is where I got confused by my best friend, Jason. OTHER countries have a few trades here... and it confuses the HECK out of me. My brother-in-law once asked me about Rabbits. (Bunny, what?)

Cat → Rabbit
Goat → Sheep
Pig → Boar

Therein was the initial confusion... Trickey Rabbit, Cats are for... well you get the idea...

Elemental Madness

To top it off, the Eastern Astrology has 5 elements (water, earth wood, fire, metal), each lasting two years, so in combination with the animals, they make up a 60 year 'Century'.

Overlay this with Western Astrology and we have 720 combinations. NOW maybe you understand why I was a little confused by my best friend, Jason's question... I mean, had he said a Cancer Fire Horse, there would have been no confusion whatsoever (or a Virgo Water Tiger—hubby, a Taurus Wooden-Pig---daughter...) but those animals that change with country—in fact a wooden boar, even though I HAVE one would have confused me.

So now YOU have heard a little something on the complexity, TOO—I know some stuff—pretty quick access to the traits that go with people I love, but some of it is harder to access, because... you know—there is A LOT OF STUFF!


And there is a celebration on Sunday, if you are in the New York area that I feel obliged to share, even if I AM jealous of anyone who might be able to participate. This is the email I got:

This is all part of a movement we are creating, called The Levity Project.

In honor of World Laughter Day, on this coming Sunday (May 2nd), we are taking to the streets of New York City to create some of this playfulness and fun, with the idea that through joy, we can all experience a bit more peace in our world.

Do you live near New York City?  Do you have friends, relatives, acquaintances that live there?  You are all invited to this celebration of fun! (please share this with those you know who live close to NYC!)

I can't think of much better (except maybe if they were doing this naked)—Peace through laughter is just ultimately appealing to me, so I hope there are some of you who CAN.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lillian Brummet

Okay, just a moment to have a brief spaz moment:  I have my 100th Blog follower!!!! SQUEEEE!  (Welcome Tina!)  *cough*  now back to our regularly scheduled blogcast...

This morning is my fourth guest author, and I would like to welcome Lillian Burmmet. Lillian and her husband Dave have been writing since 1999, originally as freelancers, expanding into other activities, like blog-radio. Together they've published three books and appear to be very savvy with all that marketing stuff. A link to their website is at the bottom and I encourage you to check it out, because it looks like... well they know stuff, and I always want you to learn new stuff! So welcome Lillian!

[note: blogger is causing me no end of grief on picture manipulation... they're here, but sorry not bigger or more varied... I will see if I can figure it out]


PhotobucketMini-Bio: Lillian Brummet: co-author of the books Trash Talk and Purple Snowflake Marketing, author of Towards Understanding; host of both the Conscious Discussions talk radio show and the Authors Read radio program Website: Blog:

You've signed the contract… Now what?

What should you expect after you have signed the contract and the book publication process is underway?
Because there are so many new authors competing for publishers' and readers' attention, that first impression is more crucial than ever. You want people to pleasantly recall their experience with you each time they hear about one of your books, your business or your name. To do this you need to employ two skills: Research and Preparation. Below, we list the first five steps you will need to take during the initial stages of preparing and researching your marketing plan. Just gather the information at first, we will help you work with the information you gather in the chapters that follow.

The first year after a book is released is often termed as the "one-year honeymoon period" by those in the industry. This is because many authors run out of contacts (friends, family, local media, colleagues, etc) and marketing tactics around the one-year mark. Therefore, we stress again the importance of a well-designed marketing plan.

The very first few steps in any marketing plan is information gathering, starting with: Start by evaluating your strengths, weaknesses, accessibility to resources, your comfort level with various technologies, and your location.

Once you have done that task, take a good look at the list of contacts you already have… Not sure where to start? The best place is in your phone book, all the people you’ve known over the years will likely be found there. Another good place is the junk drawer where you keep all those business cards. Don’t forget to consider those outside of these sources too, such as co-workers and schools.

While you do this work, you’ll be evaluating each individual in regard to organizations they may belong to, contacts they may have or skills they may have and how this might be able to help you.  Then determine what you can offer them to entice their willingness to help in some way.

PhotobucketAuthors of:
- Purple Snowflake Marketing - How to Make Your Book Stand Out In A Crowd
- Trash Talk - Learn how you can impact the planet
- Towards Understanding - a collection of 120 poems on society, the environment & overcoming trauma.

Hosts of:

Conscious Discussions talk radio show:
Authors Read radio program


Wednesday, April 28, 2010


So I thought it had been a while since I'd been serious, but when I examine the letter X, there is only so much I've got to work with. That is topped off by me finally having to pay the piper for thinking I had a free day to NOT do a letter, when in fact I didn't, as tomorrow is a (very Xciting) guest blogger, so Friday is Z... So I am covering X and Y today and the only thing THAT reminds me of is:

PhotobucketXYZ PDQ: kid speak for examine your zipper pretty darned quick (aka: you're flashing), which as an aspiring nudist, I really never should have minded, but the truth was, when I was in elementary school I HATED sticking out, but I did. You see, I was tall—always one of the tallest—second tallest girl through most of it, and the other one was REALLY tall—she NEVER could have pleaded normal... see, I didn't want any of THAT to rub off. And we were poorish, at least until my dad died (Xplaining how the loss of an income increases sustainability has mostly to do with a lot of beer and some Xpensive toys—whatever the case, my mother made living on social security look EASY after the debt that was my father ceased to be—but I digress). So ANYWAY... being tall... and poor... meant I wore my pants for several months longer than they covered my ankles (possibly the origin of my battle with pants)... or wore hand-me-downs from my cousin Cammi... AND I was tall... (I already stood out). So standing out some MORE by flashing my daffy duck panties (because Looney Tunes put out a series through JC Penneys that I am sure I wore for several years—NEARLY to the point where I gave them up for flashing...) would have been EMBARRASSING—I could prove my Daffy Duck claim but my friend Shelley, who is in the picture with me, would surely be upset—she's much more proper than I am. And in fact I didn't really start flashing on purpose until college, when I decided it was my mission in life to make people calm the heck down over the matter—yes, I sleep naked—you would TOO if you cared about comfort. DEAL WITH IT. Your boyfriend who is lounging in the dorm hallway can deal with it TOO. And so can the 35 friends you invited to the party in your dorm room.

Photobucket*cough * So I bet you're wondering if I have anything more substantial to talk about than nudity. I DO! My second favorite topic, and the picture is courtesy of my FABULOUS friend Marian—one of the earliest in this networking thing to cross the line from casual networkee to friend... and she KNOWS what I like!

So here we have it... X-Dressing that doesn't X the clothing line too badly, because MOSTLY they are just X-Accessorized... (It is also a brilliant example of Lingerie Training, if anyone was wondering how it worked.


And finally I will step into the ring as a die-hard Xenophile. I totally dig things that are REALLY FREAKING strange... Mostly I take dares to try something new, I certainly love to GO new places, no matter HOW strange.

Am I the only parent out there unable, EVERY time I see the letter Y to say:

Y, Y, Y, Y, Yawning Yellow Yak, and Young Yolanda Yorgeson is Yelling on his back! Though the international Xenophile KNOWS Yorgeson is spelled Jorgeson. Y is really used for Yvonne (my groovy new blogger friend and Ybon, an extraordinary Basque boy I enjoyed the company of briefly when I was 18 *swoons *. Man, he was cute! Why do I need the letter Y to remind me of such things? I suppose because my REAL obsession that year was a W name, who I completely neglected to mention because I really associate him with Greenday—there is a song... it makes sense. YES, that is obtuse... I shared only the most peripheral of connections.

Y Blog?

You know, I've been thinking about this... people seem to have different reasons for themselves, including promoting a book (which is a FABULOUS reason to GUEST blog, but a bit BORING to try to have a daily blog about, with the exceptions of the JOURNEY to getting published, and my friend Helena's JOURNEY to master the skills of her super-spy character (Becoming Layla)--mostly though, there is only so many times any reader will come read about the damn book. Some people blog because they see this as a substitute, since the book isn't out and all—again, I think it's a mistake. This is a tool that will NOT become obsolete just because the book is out. The REAL reason we blog—and your readers will see it if you do it, is to CONNECT. It's so we are no longer alone in the void. Some of us blog to inform, some to entertain, but all of us for whom it will be sustainable, blog to connect to people OUT THERE—other writers, readers, blog browserly types...

So since I am apparently unable to make sense with X or Y, maybe I will go with YOWZA!

Photobucket This is the Johnny of my X-Rated dreams... I think you can see the appeal... carefree, self-indulging, but not in that manic way some people do...My favorite feature of course is the tan line—so tempting... you know they are ALMOST coming off... which is the best way for pants to be aside from ALREADY off.

And then my favorite newish pic is ready to be featured again—I'm just sure of it...


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wonderful Writers

I thought maybe I'd throw a little party today because... you know... it's Tuesday, and it's also W day for blogging A to Z, and what is W for besides Woot Woot! So I went looking for a party theme, and you know what I thought? (Course you don't—nobody has quite as twisted logic)... I have a couple friends who've had recent good news on the publishing front, so let's start THERE!

1st: Congratulations B. Miller for hearing that your short story 'Out of the Blue' has been accepted by Moonshine Review! B. has a gift for ambiance, which in a short story is no mean feat. I am very excited for her to finish the horror novel she's working on because if her shorts are any indication (not that she wears shorts—she has committed to the Naked World Domination tour *cough *) that is bound to be one CHILLING BOOK (so hurry and finish it, will you?)

2nd Congratulations, and this is a REALLY biggie: Megan Bostic has found a PUBLISHER for her Book, 'Mending Fences'. Megan is one of my ABNA friends, and I believe Mending Fences was her book that made the top 100 for ABNA in 2008, though I make stuff up, so you maybe should verify with her, though she DOES list the publisher as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and I know it is Young Adult (so see, I know stuff)...

So Congratulations my friends on your success! May it grow and spread to all!!!

Wonderful Websites

There are LOTS of can't miss websites, but you know what I like? I like informative bloggers you NOTICE YOU BACK. I mean sure, following Nathan Bransford and Janet Reid is a good idea... to get the news and all, and I ADORE Moonrat and the Rejectionist, because humor from the inside does a lot to ease the pain. But the HOW TO and the WHATUP of the writing and publishing stuff, I THINK is more fun to receive from Elizabeth Spann Craig (who focuses on WRITING) and Helen Ginger (who focuses more broadly on the business.

That way you can actually ask questions, and I think they're just as smart. So there...

Wascally Wabbits

The Burrow has been a hive of activity of late. (this is five of a dozen of us) Some of you may not know, but the Burrow is my writing group—three years old now, but it had only been a central core of us who'd been doing much for over a year... we've decided to revive and vitalize, so I've been... you know... doing a lot of side stuff. I am trying to still do my blog reading, but some days I have other obligations.

The Burrow has been so important to my first finishing a novel, then polishing... it is my solid core of writing support, but also my family that likes me (as opposed to the one that lives with me and is hit and miss on the liking front). It's so exciting when a few of us had felt a little like... empty nesters or something... bring everyone home and get the activity going again. Expect exciting things from us in the months to come!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Viable Variety

You know... there are an awful lot of character stereotypes with V names. I thought maybe we'd explore the pros and cons and choose some favorites...


This is a category I just can't abide. Oh, sure, if someone wants to make this choice in real life, that's their business (though I certainly don't want to hear about it *shivers*), but there is a lot of literature that glorifies this, and you know what? It annoys me.

In my American Literature class in college, my professor was clear—sex was fatal until the eighteenth century, at least (and still in, in horror movies), but mostly this whole lot of literature comes across as sanctimonious to me.


Here we have a category where I don't mind someone starting OUT this way, but they sure as heck better find some cajones somewhere along the line, or they are pathetic and dull. I find Victimization can tell us some very interesting things about a character. REvictimization on the other hand... THAT, I have a hard time stomaching...


These I find almost as hard to stomach as victims, oddly enough—only the part of the book I can cope with them is the END. Anyone who is too stereotypically heroic gets my vote for lingerie training, preferably sprinkled with a little public humiliation... ESPECIALLY if they start out in a suit *shivers*. (suits are EVIL—even more evil than just pants, as people who wear suits tend to think a lot of themselves. NOT MY THING).


These come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and mostly I dig them. I also dig visionaries with faulty vision—in fact I've got a book planned with a visionary FRAUD and I think he makes quite a suitable villain. After all, what is more evil than telling the world you know something is going to happen when you know no such thing... you just want to manipulate them... *cackles madly*


And by this, I mean anybody with silly hats. *cough* Okay, so not all of them wear hats, but... this is another category of people I am probably likely to put in a villain category... not that I have so much against religion, but ORGANIZED religion and I don't always get along, and a VICAR as I understand it is a FILL-IN for the REGULAR clergy, and so PRIME suspect material.


Oh, I'm ALL FOR anyone with vices... seriously though-- I am a bit picky about my cop lit... I need approachable, and so it needs to be written well—the Iain Pears ones were good, as the cops also have humor to their characters. I'm more likely though, to enjoy cop material if there is a dirty cop involved, so it becomes a conspiracy of sorts, or turns in on itself.


I love my sisters in naughtiness, and vixens are right up there. Oh, sure, they are a flashier sort than we subtle tarts, but I can get along with that—provided they are smart and there is no moral lesson to the story making a 'wrongness' out of this vixen behavior.

So there we have it... Any more V-characters you can think of? Any you love or hate? Any rules you'd apply—only tolerate WHEN....

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Uber Underlings

Seems I shouldn't have to say it, but if a Tart has World Domination Aspirations -particularly World Domination Aspirations as important as NAKED World Domination Aspirations (which clearly she does), she needs MINIONS-- a large army of followers set to disperse over the world and spread the plan. You know... cause otherwise the whole thing is just WORK, WORK, WORK. But just because I am an Empress/Dictator type, that DOESN'T mean I don't LOVE MY MINIONS!

Now I love a lot of people who aren't really quite underlings... I have friends set on SHARING this World Domination Role, and provided they are committed to the NAKED part, I am a sharing kind of gal. Most of my fellow Burrowers, for instance... total co-Leaders in World Domination Plans...

But what about these Younger people who will lead when she retires to her private island with her seventeen Cabana Boys? Surely there is some GROOMING involved... making these future leaders READY to promote Nudity and rule with a kindly, but sure hand.

There is also a line in my mission statement about corrupting young minds (yes, I have a mission statement—you think I'm just fooling around with all this?) And so combining these goals—molding minions and corrupting young minds has long been a part of my Naked World Domination Strategy.

Okay, so maybe the Naked World Domination Plan is a metaphor of sorts... *shifty * If you ask me tomorrow, I won't admit it... but what it is REALLY about, is encouraging the inner writer. You see, my writing roots are a little less lonely and began a little less... prestigiously than some. I began in the Fan Fiction Arena. And you know what? I will never regret it. THIS is one of the reasons.

Giving Back (A Digression)

In my day job I work with young researchers, graduate students, medical students, and sometimes undergrads. Working with them can take a significant amount of time—teaching them what to do, supervising, redirecting, teaching some more. But usually when they are done, they understand a lot more about research and have achieved something (whether it's a presentation, a poster, or in the case of the medical students, a co-authored journal article). They are then ready to go out into the world and fly a little higher, and our group is left feeling warm and fuzzy and able to say we helped launch them.

I see this writing thing as similar—somebody farther on the achievement spectrum offers some advice, or even a true hand (encouragement, critiquing, introducing, helping), and we in turn offer the same. But SOMETIMES when you offer back that help, the gratitude can be one of those things that sort of knocks you on your BUTT.

It is just such a fabulous, warm, and surprising little thing to find out there.

So today I am being Thankful for being Thanked—how is that for taking the long way to get to the point?

Kassy with a K

I met Kas when she was 17 and was writing an unlikely romance version of Book 7 in which Draco and Ginny are thrown together—both feeling outcast and desperate, and ending up helping each other. Now I don't READ romance, for the most part, but her emotion was so infused with realistic feeling, and her plotting to get this unlikely pair into a frame of mind where they might actually consider each other was so detailed (and psychologically accurate) that I fell in love with her writing and began encouraging her.

We've moved along and progressed. She is now a 20 year old college student in Psychology (my own field) and we've stayed friends. This Christmas she sent me the sweetest card, thanking me for the encouragement, and not too long ago her mom even sent me a facebook message thanking me—that floored me a little. My encouragement has moved her enough to talk about me in her REAL life, which in turn moves ME to be a sniveling idiot about it—yes, I cried.

So Kas, I love you! Good reminder for all of us to let the people who've encouraged us know, because it feels good!


I haven't known Alicia as long—we really got to be friends during the NaNoWriMo this year—I encouraged a number of HPANA people to just on the bandwagon, and she was an early taker (and the first one done). She reminds me a little of ME, oddly enough. I think he mind is capable of the twisty, bendy thing (she certainly seems to appreciate it) but she also has that tenacity to take a project and dive in with full force.

She took a blogging break recently, but on Thursday (Earth day) in honor of the Au Naturale aspect, dedicated her RE-dive-in to ME. Probably appropriate—being delusional Thursday and all.

So I love you, too, Leesh!

And for all the rest of y'all—don't forget to thank those who've helped you a bunch, and encourage and help those who come behind—this is the BEST part of this cycle!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Turbulence and Time

Oh, the ready underminers of any plan... This week has been a HECK of a week, good, bad, amazing, horrible. It's ALL been there, but there has just been TOO MUCH of it.

The Good

On Monday I finished CONSPIRACY. I had to restart the ending three times and I'm still not quite happy with it, but I am happy enough to think as a TRILOGY, I can go back and rewrite the FIRST and all the details will be right... I mean there won't be a point in polishing the second and third if nobody wants the FIRST, but I wanted the entire story written in first draft before polishing the first because I DIDN'T want to be written into a corner (and I'm glad I did—some important things HAVE changed.

The Bad

DEADLINES, DEADLINES, DEADLINES at work (plus a coworker who is acting off—I am not sure if she is mad at me about something or having personal problems, but it is sort of passive aggressive and reminding me of my mother at the moment). I have reasonable tolerance of grouchiness, but feel people have an obligation to either say WHY or swallow it. Snarkiness needs justification.


The editor wants to see revisions, but ALSO said she thought she could work with me on the cozy... It is a deadline, but it is also an INTERACTION with real life publishing professionals... it is a REAL chance.

The Horrible

Mr. Tart has had his panties in a bunch about pretty much EVERYTHING, all week. He is periodically impossible. His temperament tends to the morose, which on some level (the dark bad boy one) is appealing, but when he gets like this, he blames ME for his misery, and no many how many times I try to calmly tell him he needs a time out, a spanking, a chill pill, or a therapist, he STILL is no fun. I think we've reached the end of it, but when he is like that, he frequently disrupts me and makes it hard to do my editing or writing.

It ALSO is my daughter's birthday tomorrow, so there has been a mad quest to learn about cameras (we've finally come round to giving her money, which she will save until Christmas when we will pay for the REST of the camera, as she wants a photography camera with all the lenses and such, but digital—we just can't do over $400. Over two occasions though, when she is thinking photojournalism as a career, I can be more comfortable, even if $200 per occasion is more than we can really do. (Besides, if it is for Christmas, I can shoot for a black Friday sale and maybe get a really good deal).

Fitness Blog, Say What?

Yes, Saturday is my fitness day, and HONESTLY, this is ALL related. Time crunches and stress are HUGE obstacles to doing what I am supposed to. The exercise still fell into line, but I had several eating SNAFUs. When I am feeling sorry for myself I crave crunchy, greasy or alcoholic. I managed to lose half a pound, but I was over points several times. Measurements aren't down at all (in fact upper body is all up half an inch) from two weeks ago, in spite of weighing 2.5 pounds less, but it is all MUCH less than when I started, and I know half an inch can be as easily explained as pizza last night (only 2 pieces, and my day's eating was on points—but it is a bloaty sort of food, yes?)

I need to spend a little time thinking about the safety net for when life gets manic like this... I need to do a little shopping so I have some easy, satisfying snacks that trick me when I am feeling pouty. Diet Coke seems to be one of the things that helps—feels splurgy. I try not to have one every day, but this week I definitely did (never mind that half the time I added rum to it).

The next two weeks are unlikely to improve matters, and then May 6 I go on a business trip where for three days it is virtually impossible to eat right or fit my exercise in. I will try though, and vow to spend a little time planning for damage minimization...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Melody Dempsey

This book has an intriguing premise-- a product designed to make something old new ACTUALLY opens a time portal that allows three trees to travel through time. As part of this blog book tour cycle, I would like to welcome my third guest for her blog book tour. Please join me in welcoming Melody Dempsey.

Benefits of English Class!

I remember as a child, I wanted to be an English Teacher. As I grew older, my interest turned towards the Health Care field.

English was always my favorite subject all through my school years, even college. I have to say, the benefits I reaped from my English classes, espcially from my college English classes, most certainly helped me in writing my college term papers and my book.

I also believe that my experience with writing the many term papers in college was a great benefit to me, especially with doing the research for my book. I used the research skills, ( I did a LOT of research during my college years), to delve into life in Florida in the 1900,s. My main focus was to have an accurate description of what the homes were like, what kind of furniture was used, what it was made of. I also researched what a typical small town in Florida may have looked like in 1908. I wanted to have an insight to that time period so that my readers could visualize the characters' surroundings.

Now some of the surroundings, such as the olfactory, (smells), and taste of food described in my book, came from some foods I experienced when I was first married. My husband's grandmother and great aunt were a couple of very old fashion ladies and made everything homemade. They would grow and can their own vegetables, they made cakes and cookies from scratch. Those two old ladies could cook! Their mother, (my husband's great grandmother), was a young mother back in the early 1900's. She taught the two sisters how to cook and according to my husband's grandmother, her nor her sister ever strayed away from what they were taught as children. It was truely a blessing that they didn't! I looked forward to going to my husband's grandmother's for dinner. Her and sister's cooking could not be matched! They are gone now and I not only miss their cooking, but I miss them. They were two wonderful people. Other environmental surroundings described came from my reading experiences and movies I viewed throughout various times in my life. I also used quite a bit of my imagination.

I came up with my characters from different people I met throughout my life. I thought about some of the physical and personality traits that interest me about some of these individuals and used them, although most of the make up of my characters were born out of pure imagination! I remember as a child, when I read a book, I would always place myself in the world of the characters I was reading about. As a child and even a teen, I never really thought about just how well written those books were. I just knew that I was enjoying them at the time I was reading them. As I grew older, I started to appreciate just how wonderful those Authors' were for their thoroughness and just how well written their work really was. You see, I never forgot those stories.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sadistic Sickos

I read about the intentional conflict Elizabeth is maximizing in her characters and I chuckle. I read the open letter of murderous intent B. Miller has written to her character and I cackle madly. I read the summary of an alien race decimating humanity one mutant cell at a time in Lisa K.'s summary (Heart of the City) and I shouted 'YES!'

What kind of wack job am I?

What kind of wack job? I hear all of you. You don't think I'm a wack job AT ALL, at least not for these murderous leanings... Oh, sure, you might think I'm a nut for eating peanut butter and dill pickles on toast, or for trying to convince y'all to get naked all the time, or even for practicing Delusional Thursday with some regularity. But for cackling wildly at these sadistic scenes? You're with me. I know it. Because we are the freakiest bunch of psychopaths out there... on paper.

That's right. We're Writers.

So what kind of NUT is drawn to this way of thinking? And is this any worse than the voyeurs who READ the stuff? (well... probably I should admit we wouldn't WRITE it if we'd never enjoyed reading it, so maybe we ARE twice as awful) but why is it so much FUN to torture characters?

Manipulating Emotions

There is a little bit of a rush to making our fellow man (or woman) cry. It's sort of a power trip when said man (or woman) says “I used a whole box of tissues!” or “I had nightmares!” Or (this is my favorite) “I soiled my armor, I was so scared!” Oh, sure, it can be really sweet and touching and yada yada blah blah blah to make them go, “Awwwwwww,” over something sweet, and there is a definite bonus to making someone fall off their chair laughing... but those negative emotions? We could rule the WORLD with that stuff! I definitely know when I bawl my eyes out WRITING something that I'm onto something... BOTTLE IT, SISTER!


Some might claim by getting all our homicidal tendencies out on PAPER, we no longer feel the need to murder our family members. Not so. Why just last night, when I took my thankless first born her mouth guard because she'd forgotten ALL HER WATER POLO stuff in her LOCKED high school (she could borrow everything but the bloody mouthguard for the game) she snarked at me. I told her I was done doing her favors, as she was always thankless over it, and she told me not to come to her game. At that point I considered retroactive infanticide... never mind that I was nearly 15 years late. So as catharsis, it is apparently inadequate... then again, I haven't murdered anybody in weeks... wait, no... not true... I finished CONSPIRACY on Monday night, and there WAS a death involved... yeah... if this was catharsis, it was inadequate...

Moving the PLOT

Are we REALLY such a bunch of geeks that we want horrible things to happen to people to MOVE THE PLOT? I'd say there is a definitive YES, going around. But it is a 'yes but not sufficient'... There are plots with pointless murder and death, and THOSE don't move us. Murder and death that moves the other CHARACTERS though... that's good. Murder and death that sets up a whole bunch of QUESTIONS (whether technical: who dunnit?) or philosophical (why is there death?), practical (who will take care of me now?) or emotional (how will I live without her?). Whatever the case, death is one of life's big events... the BIGGEST, aside from birth (at least if it's your own). Death also sets characters into conflicting patterns of behavior (some people turn into themselves, some act out, some hide the bodies, some solve the crime). Death is NOTHING, if not interesting. It's an excellent story device.

Death and the Tart

So in real life, I've actually seen a lot of death, but... okay, this sounds a little cold... it was paced well. I was born with 7 great grandparents, 5 of whom I knew. And real old, sickly people dying is a little sad... but if you've seen it 4 times by age 6 (the first one I remember, and I probably only remember because there are pictures) then it sort of is just... part of life. After THAT, the next one was my dad, and that was obviously very hard... young death is ALWAYS harder. Sudden death (car accident) is ALSO... maybe not harder at the time, but harder to recover from because there is no chance for good-bye... then I got back to great grandparents, a grandmother...

I'd never claim it didn't SUCK, but I think the pace of exposure has made me rather philosophical about it. But I keep wondering if that is holding me back from dealing with it in my writing...

The murder mystery doesn't seem to hard. THERE the first body isn't known very well, and typically the second (maybe 3rd) are negatively entangled enough to have been suspects... they don't tend to be people we have gotten attached to (at least not in cozies, and honestly, I haven't seen any 'genre mystery' that is that way—occasionally a mainstream mystery is...)

In my suspense books though... MAN... that death I wrote earlier this week has been planned for two books and I STILL wrote it the first time with the person recovering. I went on autopilot and COULD NOT write instant death. But then when I got to the 'clean up' chapter, I realized there was a conflict in the case of life, so I went back and rewrote.

I've written faked deaths... (those are FUN), I've written madness (another favorite) so why is someone at peace with death so hesitant to write it?

I'm thinking I need to write something from a villain perspective to get over it. (Talk about a sadist!)

At the moment though, I am just going to say, I've never claimed to be evil. I'm just naughty. Maybe a little evil though, might be good for me.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Revision Ready--

So the call came... but it was only ALMOST the call... (this is all about my audition for the Cozy gig, in case you're lost already)

*ring ring *

“This is Tami.” (some of you might not know, but in the day time I have an extra name..erm.. I mean two—Tami is a grunt who does menial labor, and Tamera publishes scientific manuscripts and signs legal documents—I was in grunt mode)

“I'm looking for Hart Johnson?”

“Speaking!” (Instantly alert—there are only so many people OFF line who call me that.)

“This is EXXPT.” (that is code for the agent's as yet to be disclosed name *cough *)

“Yes, hello!”

“I wish I had really good news,” (heart stops) “but it's not bad.” (heart starts again) “The good news is she really likes your voice,” (heart speeds) “but she thinks maybe the details flow too fast, there is too much, so she wants to see revisions.” (heart resumes normal pace)

You see THIS is territory I am familiar with.

Tamera (the one from the scientific manuscript part of my life) is well aware that when you submit to a scientific publication the possible responses and likelihoods are as follows:

“Accepted as is.” (happens if your name is Linus Pauling or Albert Einstein.  Possibly Oppenheimer...)

“Accepted with revisions.” --this means they tell you the exact changes they want and if you make them, you're in. (happens once in a leap-yeared blue moon)--oddly, I've experienced this twice in my 10 publications, but I am only first author on one, and THAT isn't one of them.

“Revise and Resubmit,” (meaning it has enough merit we will look at again it if you address the problems listed)--top... maybe half... maybe only a third... I might be slanted by working with people high in their fields... might only be 20%--these are typically eventually publishable, but sometimes take several rounds and several journals.

“Rejected” (the rest) –contrary to how it reads, these find publication about half the time, too. You just have to aim lower.

I think y'all are smart enough to see how my professional life has prepared me for this SINGLE ASPECT of trying to publish a book. I can take criticism, specific or general, and do a pretty good job telling what it is that's wanted. And I am REALLY HOPING that is going to work for me here.

On the down side 'revise and resubmit' delays the ultimate decision by a couple weeks, but honestly, it works pretty well with timing. I have a conference coming up... I hope to get it back to MY AGENT by the time I go, give her those few days to give feedback, turn it back around and have it to the editor in the 3-week window requested.

Revision Plan

Tonight I will read it. Nothing else.

Tomorrow night I will read it marking what needs expanding (my intention is to put MORE action and relationship stuff, to slow things down a little), what needs eliminating (mostly descriptions of characters that can come later, people who need delay of mention (I have a party and suspect that needs to be streamlined)).

THEN I will begin page by page with what I've marked and delete and write as needed for revision.

I don't have any non-necessary people—I was careful on that, as it was ENOUGH to get all the necessary in there, but there ARE some who can be delayed. I THINK my aesthetic description was fine—it wasn't hugely heavy, and these are themed books, but I will watch for it.

Whatever the case, I feel confident I can do it AT LEAST enough that MY AGENT sees I've met the spirit of the request... The EDITOR is a less known quantity and may have something in mind that is hit and miss, but the way I figure it, if the agent believes in what we submit—that I've met what was requested, even if it isn't exactly what the editor MEANT, then I've preserved the relationship enough for a serious read of something later. Unknown is... you know... unknown... this is a negative where the editor is concerned—I can't read her mind. But this works FOR ME with the agent, for whom I am no longer unknown and am 1) being cheerful and cooperative about making requested changes, 2) meeting my deadlines 3) providing writing in a likable voice. I'm hoping when I send her LEGACY (cuz y'all voted and it won) that she will at the VERY least give it a read because she knows I'm easy to work with.

That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

Reggae on the River (A Digression)

So in Portland I worked with the world's NICEST guy, though I'm glad he was not my partner, son, child, or... employee... as part of WHY he was so nice was his daily pot use, which made him excessively mellow and excessively underambitious... but underambitious boy still managed to attend an organizational meeting for Portland's Reggae on the River. Do you know ALL seven people who showed up were left handed? How the HECK do you figure that happened (it is a statistical impossibility, or nearly, that this happened by chance). What part of your brain is it that determines 'you will be left handed and adore Reggae music' (I mean I like it, but not enough to organize a freaking festival—apparently for THAT, you have to be left handed.)

Roly-Poly—just put one outside. The spiders I squash. The rolly-polies are the only ones with so many legs I don't decimate if they enter my domain (though 6 legs or less gets a reprieve if they have no wings)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Nedyne Shorts-Nettles

Today is my second Guest Author. I'd like to welcome Nedyne Shorts-Nettles, a name that makes me happy, as when I was growing up in northern Idaho, there was a movement to create a local mythology and the first 'being' of the area that I heard about was a witch named Nettles. Nettles can be easily seen if you look at a map of the state of Idaho and look for a face looking into Idaho from the Montana border (don't forget the brim of the witch's hat). As you might imagine, Nettles is prickly, but she was also delightful.

It looks like the story told here has a touch of that prickly, painful, poison, but of course that makes for fabulous literature. Please join me in welcoming Nedyne!


My name is Nedyne Shorts Nettles and I am a first time author. My book is Poison Reality: a symphony of bittersweet, and I am a nurse. I am married with two children and currently in the Psychology program at Argosy University.

I have found that each of my characters speak to different types of individuals, for instance moms who have two jobs and don’t have enough time to monitor their children. Women who are so beat down by their partners they have lost a sense of self. These women refuse to walk away because they think eventually the situation will change, also women who take in men that they know nothing about only later to find that there is something wrong with the individuals. It portrays the good kid that gets into a situation and can’t get out of it. The theme of the story is life. The reality of life can direct people’s lives in ways they didn’t see coming. An example of this was Vierna and Greg and her empowerment after the divorce. I would one day like to see this book made into a movie. Most people I talk to comment this book was a page turner and could not be put down.

Poison reality: A symphony of Bittersweet an except:

Vierna Bates, a woman scorned, finds herself staying in a hotel the local newspaper labels “A rape den”. She decides to stop moaning her pending divorce and venture to go downstairs to the club. As fate would have it something held the elevator door opened. As she got closer, she saw the limbs of a person.”Help” she yelled. This began a Kaleidoscope of events.

            The woman Vierna helped was an old classmate named Terry Trainer. Terry, a student of Wallerton College, was attending a travel and tourism convention, an event sponsored by the hotel. “..
The woman Vierna helped was an old classmate named Terry Trainer. Terry’s life now presents purpose and she vows to live everyday to the fullest. Terry will not rest until she finds her attacker, had her attacker been a friend or foe.

Captain Bill Meays, a handsome investigator finds himself enthralled in a significant case that involves several woman acquaintances. One woman in particular holds the key to solving the puzzle but time is not on his side. This is a spellbinding heart stopping saga echoing the poison reality of life. Life isn’t always harmonious but is a symphony of bittersweet.

Where did get the inspiration to craft this surprisingly potent tale?

I have always been a people watcher. I love to journal about things and people who interest me. The story came together like a picture on a canvas my inspiration was soaps or novellas. I love the way people are interacting through their lives struggles. Movies like Life as a house, Color purple, Goodwill hunting ect. Are all movies showing human characteristics as they are. My novel also focuses on people.

How much of the book (if any) is based on your own personal experience.

Each character has my voice. I decided they should be as real as I could make them. For instance, Vierna was a typical women scorned. I have met many women going through a divorce because their husband found someone new. I attended a travel and tourism convention so the description of the event was how I remembered it. The Ned character one of the central hubs of my novel moving from woman to woman is someone we see time and time again. He is a man who is nice looking and the woman just wanted him as an arm piece. They don’t take time to find out much about him. They are just tired of being alone. So if I placed a numerical figure I would say the book is 1/3 of my own experience.

Do you think Vierna’s personal story is one to which many readers relate?

Yes, I do because Vierna had been with Greg were together since high school and she still loved him. People are often asking me why Vierna took Greg back. My answer is love makes you do strange things. She was supposed to be over him but she wasn’t. There are a lot of women who get divorced only to return to a former mate, For example, Elizabeth Taylor.

Was it difficult to create each character and give them authenticity?

No, again the slate of the pages started our blank but the characters took on a personality with every stroke of the pen. They became real to me. I have always been a journal writing person and it contained things I would note in people. I guess you can call me a people watcher, some of which I used in the characters base.

What kinds of responses have you gotten to the book thus far?

I have been given favorable response. People love the easy reading format. They love that it engages you at the beginning but they hated for the book to end.

How has your publishing experience been thus far with Publish America?

Publish America has been very supportive and have distributed my books nationwide. I appreciate them for believing in me. They are always accessible and I would publish another novel by them.

What are your future writing/publishing aspirations?

I plan to continue to write, because it is enjoyable. I have started a novel and in the near future plan to finish it. People have asked me if I would write a sequel to this book and I might.

If anyone would like to stay in contact with you where can they go?

My website is Http:// or they can look me up on face book and add me as a friend.

Final thoughts:

My final thought is that we only have one life to live and we should use it to leave an indelible print on the world. By writing this novel I have inspired a lot of people to write. I believe everyone has a story the challenge is getting it down on paper..I am an ordinary person who had learning disabilities early on and overcame this through my mom. And now just like in the movie PAY IT FORWARD, I am encouraging others to take a chance with their stories and see where it takes them. Your story needs to be told that is the Poison Reality of the situation.

Monday, April 19, 2010


One year ago I began my attempts at getting CONFLUENCE published. I sent out seven query letters, opened my facebook AUTHOR profile, and started to think seriously about publishing. I was SURE I would find an agent, then a publisher in a matter of months, and worried what I would do for insurance, because obviously I would want to quit my day job and writer full time after I was offered some $50K for my book.

Oh, MAN, was I in for a series of shocks.

My seven queries led to six rejections and an echoing silence. One of those rejections came within half an hour (a woman I would STILL love for an agent—we are soul mates; I KNOW IT. I just wish she did, too, but apparently I am not communicating adequately...

So after I excitedly peed myself, sending these early queries, I met a woman, though a neighbor of mine, who is a local writer. I asked her to look at my query and she quickly spotted the sticking point.

-----> 200,000 words.

Did you see it, or was it too subtle for you? Never mind that I happen to prefer my books upward of 500 page. Apparently debut authors have about the probability of a snowballs chance in HELL of publishing that long a book. I quietly stuffed the knowledge that one of the successful people at this, Elizabeth Kostova, shares my city limits. It doesn't happen to REAL PEOPLE. Because HONESTLY, The Historian hit that Vampire wave before it really even started, so someone with LITERARY fiction skills (and I say that in both the positive and the negative—The Historian was a GREAT book, and VERY dense, in my opinion—I have a hard time believing all the Americans who bought it were actually capable of reading it *cough* Sorry—snob moment there). So my cult of nuts isn't apparently the next vampire wave... No 200K book for me.

I spent the summer shortening the book, got it down to 150K and in August tried again. I sent fifteen, I think, ONE of which resulted in a request for 20 pages. Two got responses that were “no thanks we're not taking ANYBODY” (though websites had not said that)--I think I got 10 or 11 rejections and a few no response... hmph.

But near the end of August, when the queries were out, I went on my wild ride of writing LEGACY in just six weeks, then began ILLUSIONS, then took a brief break for NaNo and wrote DENIABILITY, then FINISHED ILLUSIONS in December... in 4 months I wrote 3 books. None of them is yet POLISHED to querying point, but it is NUTS how fast that all went.

In December and January, I then turned to a further polish of CONFLUENCE so I could enter the Amazon contest (had to be under 150K)--and got it down to 137K. In January I queried once again. THIS TIME, I had three interactions where agents wanted to see more, one of them 75 pages. It was a MUCH better ratio. But I have decided since that time, that while I love CONFLUENCE, I think it is really complex enough that it is a hard sell as a first book. It is the kind of book someone will say is their favorite one day, but it is too hard to describe to get a reader to pick up when they've never heard of me. I want to sell (maybe two) other books of mine before trying with CONFLUENCE again. I want an established success record.

So on this queriversary, I want YOUR opinion on which book I should polish first. The following descriptions are not polished pitches—that will come and will take time, but I would love to hear where you think I would be best off dedicating my next round of editing time.

LEGACY: Nine year old Peter hides and watches as his father is executed by invaders. Thirteen year old Athena narrowly escapes the drug dealer her mother has traded her to for a heroine high. Peter and his siblings hide in the attic of their family home as Athena takes to the streets of Portland. A chance meeting at Pioneer Square brings these children together, only to find that the Legacies they've inherited from their parents are intertwined and include spying, smuggling, and the politics of a country on the other side of the world. They decide unraveling this legacy is the only way to shake off the criminals who are now after them, and might lead the Popescu children to their missing mother. Sometimes though, you get more answers than you've bargained for. (this is the first of my trilogy)

DENIABILITY: Liza Dahlmer works for a super secret branch of the CIA charged with keeping operatives paranoid by exposing their vulnerabilities. She is a Watcher.. She tracks, photographs, steals from, and entraps the best and the brightest in American intelligence. Unfortunately, nobody knows—and she's not telling. When she is arrested for murder and taken before the intelligence committee to determine where she ought to be tried, she has nothing to say for herself, but psychiatrist, Philip Landauer believes there is more to the story. He begins an investigation, sometimes with Liza's cooperation, though usually without, as she is convinced her life will end if he unravels the wrong thread. The two play a game, he determined to save her, she determined to just go to prison and bide her time, until the powers that be decide she has shared anyway, and the two have to run for her life. This psychological thriller explores how nothing is ever really buried for good, and how sometimes the best way to get away, is to confront the thing you are running from.

For the former, I've been reading art theft tales. For the latter, I've been watching back episodes of Alias and La Femme Nikita. I think I am ready to dive into the next iteration of either one, but I'd LOVE to choose the one you think has the best shot of MAKING IT as a debut novel.

So THANK YOU for any help or insight you can give on where I ought to start! Happy Queriversary!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Propriety Plague

I would have been a really BAD Victorian because nothing bugs me quite as much as proper people, but if I lived in a society where EVERYBODY bought into that crap, I'd be in a lot of trouble. I suppose it is grounded in my issues with rules. Say it with me: RULES SCHMOOLS! But there is also a judgmentalism to it and judgmentalism bugs me even MORE than rules. And you know what ELSE bugs me more than rules? POMP. It drives me CRAZY when people act better than everybody else and one of the things those pompous, judgmental people do is act PROPER! Grrrrrrrr.

My mom used to drop the 'ladylike card' when I was cartwheeling in dresses or eating with my mouth open. I'm willing to bet to this day she doesn't see how the feminist “you need to make your own options, because there are no guarantees anyone will take care of you,” ran contrary. Did she want me to act like a lady or be an independent person? I didn't really see that the two were compatible.

No, if proper behavior didn't include baring my bottom before the relatives, I didn't want anything to do with it.

So in an effort to tempt the rest of you away from propriety, I am presenting the prisoners. You see, in the Tart Dungeon there is a Posse of Prisoners for my Pleasure.

Parade of Prisoners

Aragorn was one of the original prisoners and he's been very helpful keeping the other prisoners in line because he's... you know... a MANLY man.  He's been largely resistant on the lingerie training, and he is disinclines to dance like I like, but MAN can he use his sword!

Another early entrant is Captain Jack. He wins kudos for his ability to turn pretty much ANYTHING into a toy, if you know what I mean, and for having that 'look' in his eye that tells me he is one of very few people on the PLANET who thinks thoughts as naughty as mine.

Lucius runs my cabaret. He took to the Lingerie training like wildfire and actually has some skill as a choreographer, so when we have special guests to the dungeon, I lean on him a lot to organize the entertainment.

And then there is the new cast... (my friend Stacy is responsible for their attire.)

And our new special feature:

First we spend a little time getting really dirty...

Then we get clean again!!!!!

See, isn't this more fun that being proper?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Obesity OVER!

Ever wish it was like a computer command? Or a magic spell? GORDOGO! At the moment I am technially OVERWEIGHT, not OBESE, but the fact that I've spent more of my adult life obese than normal weight is not lost on me.

Looked at differently though... perhaps there IS a bit of a spell to it. OBESITY OVER!

Are you confused yet? I am talking about the mind games we play with ourselves. I've been on diets several DOZEN times. And do you know something. EVERY TIME it really TAKES... EVERY TIME things are working and I succeed in the longer term, I know at the start that my head is in the right place. I'm not sure why I can't remember and spot when it's NOT, but when it IS, I feel it. It's like there is a yell in my head. OBESITY OVER! I suppose it's possible there is just a fed-upness that sets in.

So I guess what I want to explore is how we turn on that right frame of mind. I don't know how to do that, except by exploring the commonalities between the times that have worked, that are sometimes missing when things DON'T work.


Some people need to 'not think too much'. ME? I need to mentally prepare. I've had 7 or 8 big, successful weight losses. All but two have started on New Years. The first that didn't was the only time it didn't happen on purpose... when I was a Freshman in college I lost weight... a fair amount. But I lost it slowly. It was the first time in my life I didn't have free access to food. It was easier to make smart choices if I only had to do it three times a day... no cupboard of cookies and chips. I mean SURE, I could BUY those, but here's a secret I try to use when possible. I am TRULY CHEAP. And as a freshman I had a limited supply of money... an allowance, if you will, that was adequate, but NOT generous. And frankly, indulgent nature aside, I ALSO am practical. Money spent on CLOTHES gives you something that lasts (erm... this was before the nudist movement set in during daylight hours). Money spent on PIZZA, doesn't. So this limit on extra FOOD, plus living in TRACK TOWN, meant my prior inclinations to try and be a runner finally TOOK. Less intake, MORE output... You do the math. I lost 21 pounds that year and other than a brief lapse working at Pizza Hut the next summer, kept it off until I graduated from college.

But exception aside... On to New Years... If I set some OTHER start date, it doesn't work... single exception (inspired by hitting 190 the first time and PANICKING)... but the New Years option has worked... maybe 40% of the time... so while it isn't a SURE thing, it is a lot better odds than 1/20. Oh sure, it's psychological, but knowing that doesn't change it (proof is the times that HAVEN'T taken, ne?)


On the day I actually begin, I have to have the STUFF I need available. What do I mean?

See... I like to eat. Several rounds of this have taught me I will feel deprived if I don't eat much, so instead of cutting way BACK, I make my choices SMARTER. I buy veggies. Vegetables in larger portions give you more on your plate, and more in your tummy, for virtually FREE. Stewed tomatoes added to black beans make an already efficient food even more so (ONE point for a whole cup and a half—added to three points worth of rice, that is a GENEROUS lunch. My Squash soup is FREE and makes a half sandwich or a salad satisfying. Last night we had chicken breasts and salad (there were rolls that I skipped) but by putting the chicken ON the salad, I felt like I had a nice plate of dinner. So having all those veggies around to bulk up meals that would not otherwise be satisfying is crucial.

In fact the times I fall off almost ALWAYS fall when I feel hungry and healthy choices aren't readily available.


The opacity of my meaning here is probably excessive because I use those terms statistically, so I may think of things differently than most of you. Orthogonal things are related to each other in predictable ways (typically at right angles). Oblique things are less predictable, so while still related, you don't know what you're in for. On eating at exercise I happen to know stuff about a few of my habits... eating right and exercise are Orthogonal to me. Confused? You see, exercise ALWAYS happen if I am eating right—so KNOWING I AM eating right answers that question. However, if I am NOT eating right, then it is hit and miss on whether I am exercising. It is entirely independent. So one answer gives you your other answer, the other does not. HOWEVER the other way around is, you know... the other way around. Exercising tells you NOTHING about whether I am eating right. NOT exercising however, answers your question. If I'm not exercising, I am CERTAINLY not eating right.

So that was a long way of saying exercise is my minimal bar. If I'm not doing that, I'm not doing ANYTHING. Which means I need to make sure that habit is in place solidly BEFORE starting the other... I can start an exercise plan ANY old time, and while I may have trouble convincing myself it is time to be a runner again, convincing myself to power walk is NOT a problem. I only ever fall off when the weather is super sucky or life gets super stressful and my sleep patterns get messed up anyway.


There are all sort of obstacles to the BIG picture...stress, schedule... those are my biggies. But when I am GOING, it seems there are really two. When I get super busy and put off eating, it typically backfires and I eat too much or eat the wrong thing after... bad idea. And the BIGGEST? The big giant thing will come in while I am in the bath tub and harp on me about something, so I get ticked. If it is a weekend, it puts me off of going straight to bed, because who wants to sleep with the world's most ANNOYING person? Not me. At least not in this stage in my life.  He never HAS mastered the 'make it up to me' favors.

So I go downstairs and get on the computer. It's late. I'm hungry. And I'm feeling just a little self destructive because I am married to the world's most ANNOYING person. (you might be able to tell this has happened last night recently. And I turn to potato chips.

I have an extra drink or two with more regularity that I should confess to (I figure I exercise a lot, and mostly the scale has allowed it) but this whole damn annoyed potato chip eating is my single food faux pas. I've done it a handful of times and it is always the same set up. I seem unable to help myself. Ah well...

OPROGRESS *shifty*

I lost two pounds this week, in SPITE of the ornery potato chip incident. This is only down one pound from TWO weeks ago, but it is all the right direction, ne? Down 39.5 all together. And this was the first week that it never budged back up over that 200 mark (three weeks saw a little waffling there down, up, down, up), but the BIG fun thing? I work with a medical resident—she has taken a year off of residency for some medical stuff, and decided doing research would at least allow her to be productive, but has a far more flexible schedule. She took her boards though, a few weeks ago, so she'd taken a few weeks off. I think I hadn't seen her since February. When she came in this week, she was STUNNED. She told me I looked like a different person. It felt really good. The people who see me daily, don't notice--it comes off too slowly. And the people who see me REALLY irregularly were probably shocked when it went UP, and so the DOWN is just a return to normal, if you know what I mean... but this woman I worked with from July through February, and then there was a break... It was a really nice reinforcement.

So good luck to anyone ELSE out there who is working on it!