September 28, 2012

Tell Me About it... Stud

Let me further cement my status as a dork by admitting how much I loved Grease and Olivia Newton-John growing up. I can sing every song and repeat every word of Grease (and Grease 2, but that's more embarrassing to admit).

So imagine my joy when I saw an article online today about how gorgeous she still looks at 64! (Go to the article to see how great she looks. My operating budget doesn't allow for buying copyrighted pictures.)

If only John Travolta had aged as well (he looks more and more like an aged Eddie Munster every day). Come to think of it, a lot of the actors I had a crush on haven't faired so well: Val Kilmer, Tom Hanks, Don Johnson, James Spader and Judd Nelson. (visit here for some fun then and now images).

Thankfully, some of my teenage crushes have held up pretty well: Rob Lowe, Kevin Bacon, Pierce Brosnan, Robert Downey, Jr. and Harrison Ford. I wasn't into the obvious Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt sort of looks. But I have to admit, they've hung in there.

Oh, and I have to give special mention to one guy who definitely blossomed late in life... Patrick Dempsey. Who would have ever thought, even though I did love Can't Buy Me Love. John Cusack is another example. He looks so much better now. Did those two make a deal with the devil or something?

What star from your childhood still looks good?

Since I did mention Grease 2, Michelle Pfieffer still looks amazing.

September 26, 2012

Chewing Gum for the Eyes

I loved BlogHer's "Eye" prompt today...

Frank Lloyd Wright said, "TV is chewing gum for the eyes." What are your favorite shows to chew?

First of all, I love that quote. I am such a chewing gum fan, so this spoke to me. I don't have much free time for TV, and I have a horrible memory for what shows are on when. DVR has helped me, but time hasn't cooperated. Sometimes, I will have five or six episodes recorded and give up.

But I have a few shows I'm addicted to, some guilty pleasures, and some shows I wish I was cool enough to love.

My Favorite Shows Last Season

Castle - Big Fan of Nathan Fillon. He drew me to the show initially, but the will-they-or-won't-they dynamic keeps me coming back. (The first episode this season did not disappoint!)

Once Upon a Time - My girls and I watch this together. Love the concept of fairy tale characters living in the modern day with a curse that makes them forget who they are. Such fun.

Pawn Stars - I don't know what it is I love about this show, because normally I avoid the History Channel like the plague, but it's charming and interesting.

Chopped - When in doubt, I turn on Food Network. It's easy on the eyes and stomach!

Guilty Pleasures

Ian Somerhalder (Source)
Vampire Diaries - I never read the books, but have you seen Ian Somerhalder? Enough said. I'm pulling for the bad guy!

So You Think You Can Dance - In my mind, I'm matching them move for move. In reality, I'm a dork.

The Voice - Growing weary of American Idol, I gave this a try and really enjoyed it. I don't love it enough to DVR it, but it's an easy catch-on-the-fly kind of show.

New Fall Shows I'm Looking Forward To

Nashville - I'm a big fan of country music, and this looks like wicked fun.

Elementary - I love the concept of a modern-day Sherlock Holmes accompanied by a female Watson. I've already set my DVR to record this.

Wish I was Cool Enough to Watch

Walking Dead
Game of Thrones
Sons of Anarchy

But I'm a big sissy and prefer my TV shows to be light. I used to be a huge fan of the 30-minute comedy show, but I haven't seen one in awhile that made me want to record it.

Am I missing something? What's your favorite chewing gum for the eyes?

September 25, 2012

Getting Your eBook Up and Running Guest Post by James Keen, author

Today, I’d love to introduce you to James Keen, author of Trinidad Express.

Jim is an amazing writer and friend. He will always hold a special place in my writer circle, because Trinidad Express was the first novel-length manuscript I professionally edited. It’s an amazing read, especially for sailing aficionados. (I didn’t know much about sailing before I read it, but I sure was gung-ho to learn after reading it!)

Please welcome Jim as he shares his experiences with preparing Trinidad Express for Smashwords.


Getting Your eBook Up and Running—Smashwords Style.
by James Keen, author of Trinidad Express

My first experience with digital publishing required a fair amount of work, but it was a very satisfying experience. Let me recap the process:

Start by going to
Smashwords. Then…

  1. Download their free eBook smashwords-style-guide.pdf. This is an invaluable help in digital publishing.
  2. Follow the style guide—to the smallest detail. Digital formatting is very different than print formatting.
  3. The guide requires that you start with a MS Word copy of your book, then format it by following the step-by-step procedures very carefully.
  4. You then upload your book file to Smashwords for processing by their "meatgrinder" program. The output of that program is several digital formats for different eReaders—make your choice.
  5. Expect to repeat the upload process after making format error corrections. I had to do it 3 times and still have a minor problem in formatting. Remember, your readers will be using different digital readers with different screen sizes. Your readers can also change font size, etc. which makes for a better reading experience but makes formatting very hard.
  6. Smashwords will review your book and include it in their premium catalog. It will then be distributed to Apple, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, and the Diesel eBook Store. Amazon is no longer a retail channel partner and will not be able to distribute your book from Smashwords.
  7. Cost: Nothing to create the digital copy. If Smashwords sells your book from their catalog, they take 15% commission. If an affiliate (like those listed above) sells the book, they take an additional percentage. The Smashwords contract that you sign does place restrictions on you selling the eBook on your own. You must sell through their catalog or through a retail channel partner.
  8. Smashwords automatically creates an Author Page for you that includes your book for sale. This page allows customers to download a sample of your book (I chose 15% of the text as a sample) as a teaser before buying.
  9. All you have to do is advertise your author page address. Click on my author page for an example.
  10. The Smashwords digital publishing process has no effect on your copyright ownership. You retain full rights to your book. You may remove it from the Smashwords catalog at any time.
I have only had my book with Smashwords for a short time, but I am very impressed with the service. I realized my goal of digital publication of Trinidad Express. In my print book, I was able to include only 20 pictures (because of cost), but I included over 60 online color photos in the Smashwords Edition and could have included more. I am pleased.

It’s still a thrill to go to the Nook Store and see my book offered for sale. Check it out here.

I hope you will have similar success.

Purchase the print edition here

"As for myself, the wonderful sea charmed me from the first - Joshua Slocum."


Thanks, Jim, for sharing your knowledge.

I hope everyone will check out Trinidad Express!

If you have any Smashwords pointers to share, please leave a comment below. Or feel free to leave a question for Jim. Thanks!

September 24, 2012

Seeing Through Others' Eyes

Every day has 24 hours. Each hour has 60 minutes. Yet, some days just fly by. Today was one of those. It just shows you perception can be more real than facts. To me, there's no way today had the same number of hours as a normal day.

So I'm squeezing in a post at 9pm, and tackling another BlogHer "Eye" prompt: Do you think you're good at seeing the world through another person's eyes?

Interesting. My gut reaction... of course I can do that. I'm a writer. I create characters.

But wait. Do my characters see through my eyes? Hmmmm.

Then I thought about how often my husband gets aggravated when I try to figure out other people's motives, reasoning, and perspective.

For all my trying, I really do believe we have bias no matter how hard we try not to. We are affected by our birth order, birth decade, the family we are born into, the number of siblings we have or don't have, whether we are born male or female, and so on.

So, as much as I like to try to put aside judgement and understand other people and their perspectives, I have to wonder if it's possible to truly "get" someone else's "view" of things.


September 23, 2012

Snapshot of Life

One of the prompts from last week, as part of BlogHer's "Eye" daily blogging challenge, was: Talk about your favorite photograph.

I love photographs. Each one captures a moment in time, a memory a person might otherwise forget. It's priceless and often irreplaceable. Although thanks to computer images, photos are much safer than ever before.

I decided to choose two to share...

The first so inspires me that it is on the cover of our book, Depression Cookies.

Sisterhood, such an important part of my life. When I look at this, I see the ties that bind. My sisters and I have certainly had moments that tore us apart, but we've always come back together. Usually stronger for each time we are apart.

Plus, it holds a special place in my heart because I look at it now and see my three daughters. I am so glad they have each other, and I often tell them that the best gift I've ever given them is each other.

That brings me to my second favorite picture...

Yes, my kids are going to hate me for that one some day, especially since I've used it several times on this blog. Not only does it show each of my kids personalities (mischievous grin for Reagan, old soul eyes for Jackie, and Maddie as the connecting tie), it shows how we are all bonded.

Look closely at the back, that's my foot. Four women, together... I can only hope that the things that tear us apart will be temporary and make us stronger.

Describe your favorite photograph. What is special about it?

September 22, 2012

Check Out Blood Type: Short & Sweet Saturdays

It's the weekend, the perfect time to find out about some great new reading material.

Today, I'm thrilled to share the announcement of Melissa Luznicky Garrett's newest book, Blood Type. Not only she is a wonderful writer, but she's a friend to writers and bloggers.

I received an advanced review copy of Blood Type, and my review will be up on Mom in Love with Fiction on Wednesday, September 26. But, I'll give you a hint, count the stars... ★★★★★.

Now for the good stuff...


Since getting attacked by a vampire, I didn’t believe in beginnings. Only endings. Every person born to this world comes with an expiration date, but I had never considered mine. At least not until I met John.

Now the end was all I ever thought about. I woke up every morning wondering if that day would be my last. Venom pulsed in my veins and seeped into my bones, infecting all my vital organs and changing me from the inside out. Slowly killing me.

But I’d welcome death in the end, if only because the alternative was even more frightening.

Popular girl Blake Ehlert has it all: a prime spot on the cheerleading squad, a jock boyfriend who’s strong and sensitive, and the winning vote for Homecoming Queen two years in a row. But when she strikes up a conversation with loner John Kelly, her entire world starts to crumble.

John Kelly is a vampire—what’s known to his kind as a Compeller. It’s his job to recruit human Donors with a particular blood type.

And Blake is his next target.

Melissa Luznicky Garrett is an author of adult and young adult novels. She lives in upstate New York with her husband, three children, and numerous animals. Melissa is currently hard at work on her next project. Visit Melissa’s blog or connect with her on Facebook.

Blood Type is available in print through Create Space, or in print and digital through Amazon.

Stop by Melissa’s blog starting September 22nd and enter to win a signed print copy of Blood Type. All are welcome to participate. The winner will be chosen and announced October 1st. Also, claim your free Kindle copy of Melissa's previous YA Paranormal, The Spirit Keeper, on Amazon September 22nd through September 26th. *As always, please make sure it's marked as free before you download.*


My preteen daughter read The Spirit Keeper and loved it. You can find her review here. In addition, I read and loved her novel, Turning Point. See the review here.

Have a wonderful weekend.

September 21, 2012

Word Spy: Fascinating Facts Friday

Words fascinate me. But I have to admit, I'm a traditionalist. I don't like "new" words. I trust Webster, the original, much more than fly-by-night pretenders. Words that didn't make the original cut should be slang, in my mind.

Still, I find some of the new words interesting, and I find many of them through Paul McFedries Word Spy site.

Some fun ones I've run across there recently...

mansplaining pp Explaining in a patronizing way, particularly when done by a man who combines arrogance with ignorance of the topic. [Man + explaining.]
fiberhood n. A neighborhood that has Internet access via fiber-optic cable. [Fiber + neighborhood.]
twitchfork n. An angry or  aggressive protest on Twitter, particularly one seeking justice or vengeance. [Twitter + pitchfork.] —twitchfork mob n.
shtick lit n. A writing genre in which the author undertakes an odd or stuntlike project with the intention of writing about the experience. Also: schtick lit, shtik lit. (Note: Love this one!)
binge viewing n. A period of excessive indulgence spent watching previously broadcast episodes of a TV show. —binge viewer n.

And one I'll definitely be watching out for...
gynobibliophobia (gye.noh.bib.lee.oh.FOH.bee.uh) n. A dislike of women writers.

What do you think of "new" words constantly flooding our beautiful language? (okay, that wasn't at all a loaded question. he he)

September 20, 2012

Heartfelt Review Means the World

As writers, we have to be able to take criticism and suggestions, but there's nothing sweeter than someone appreciating your work. Better yet, someone important to you appreciating your work.

Today I wanted to share a heartfelt review story that meant the world to me.

If you stopped by yesterday, you found out about the follow up we are currently writing, but The Next Big Thing post also told a lot about Depression Cookies and why we write women's fiction.

An excerpt:

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I am one of three daughters and now have three daughters of my own. I have a vested interest in exploring the mother-daughter dynamic, as well as female relationships in general.

Life has such a funny way. I wrote that post a few days ago.

Last night, my preteen daughter came to me with a worrisome text, one from a friend that was asking if she liked another friend. My daughter has been having trouble with this friend, so red flags shot up. I coached my daughter on how to handle it.

About 20 minutes later, my daughter came down and hugged my neck and told me she loved me. Anyone who has an emotional preteen girl knows you have to take these moments when you can get them.

Then she told me...

I'm so glad you wrote your book. There was a scene almost like what happened to me. I knew you'd understand. Thanks, Mom.

At first I debated on whether she was old enough to read the book. Not just because of some of the themes, but also to make sure she could distinguish fact from fiction. After all, this book is written by her mom and Nana and a lot of it did happen. We embellished, of course, but could she understand that?

I've often said I write to work out my own feelings, a journey of self-discovery if you will. But to know what I wrote helped her, or could help any other teenager or mother (or woman), was beyond my expectations. Such a meaningful feeling.

Her few words have now become the best review I have ever received.

What review of your work meant the most to you? Do you let your children/significant other read your work?

September 19, 2012

Week 14: The Next Big Thing & ROW80 Update

Today I’m participating in The Next Big Thing blog hop. Thanks so much to Sandi Tuttle for tagging me. Below, I will answer ten questions about my current WIP (Work in Progress) and feature five other bloggers who have recently done the same.

The original rules suggested tagging 5 new authors to answer the questions. I know this is a busy time of year for writers (I, for one, am just starting to get back on my feet after a crazy summer!), so I’m bending the rules. If you’d like to participate, please consider yourself tagged and feel free to link back to my post.

Without further ado…

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing

What is the working title of your book?

Mom and I have gone round and round about the working title of our follow-up to our award-winning Depression Cookies. We’ve considered Bourbon Blues, Bourbon Haze, Straight Up, and several others. We still haven’t decided. We want to keep with a two-word title to tie into Depression Cookies. The new book will follow Krista, now 18 and heading off to college, and Abby through their continued mother-daughter journey. It will again feature two distinct perspectives, with my mom writing Abby while I write Krista.

Where did the idea come from for the book?  

So many people connected with our first novel and wanted to know more about the Simmons family. The first novel centered on Krista and the teenage years, the first time a kid pulls away and tries to find his/her own identity. The next logical step was to follow Krista to college and see how she and Abby dealt with the separation. Plus, it opens up a whole new world to Krista… that first baby steps into being an adult. Did you notice the mention of alcohol in possible title names above? Let’s just say both Abby and Krista lose their way for a bit.

What genre does your book fall under?

Women’s fiction. I love books that explore women and their relationships, particularly with each other. Sometimes we can be our own worst enemies, but for the most part, I don’t know what I would do without the women in my life. I’m sure I’m a bit biased since I have a wonderful relationship with my mom, two amazing sisters, and three beautiful daughters (plus amazing friends).  

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I covered this in an earlier post: Oprah Winfrey and Roger Ebert: Dreaming About Depression Cookies. A quick recap from that post:

Topping my list, Diane Lane would play Abby, the mother and heart of the story. Diane Lane has grace, beauty, and an amazing emotional range.

I would want Elizabeth Olsen (after she dyed her hair darker) or Lily Collins (from Mirror Mirror) to play the part of Krista, the teenager. I would have loved Jennifer Lawrence of Hunger Games fame, but I bet she’s a bit too busy. The part requires spunk and vulnerability.

The “mean girls” in the book could be played by Ali Lohan, Lindsay Lohan’s sister (since Lindsay is a bit too aged, not by years but by lifestyle), and Anna Kendrick (Bella’s friend, Jessica, in Twilight). Both could embody the “pretty on the outside” teenagers who make Krista’s life so miserable.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Two distinct voices, two stories interwoven within the walls of family and love.

I’m using this one from our Depression Cookies back cover, because it really does speak to this book as well.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

We will explore all our options. We know the value of self-publishing and doing things our way, especially now that we can apply all we learned from publishing Depression Cookies. But, we will query agents and look into small presses as well.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Still writing. Depression Cookies took us ten years from idea spark to publication. We are more than a third of the way through this book (almost halfway done!), and we are ramping up our writing efforts after a crazy summer. We are hoping to have the second book out several months before Mother’s Day 2013.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I’ve always compared Depression Cookies to Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume, except with the addition of the mom’s point of view. The same could hold true for this piece, but on an older level.

Women’s fiction is one of my favorite genres to read, but it’s also one of the most varied. What I really love is a story rich in female characters that allows me to feel the emotional results of their actions, including: love, pain, loss, strength, courage, joy, and sadness.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I am one of three daughters and now have three daughters of my own. I have a vested interest in exploring the mother-daughter dynamic, as well as female relationships in general. But at the end of the day, my mother inspires me to write. Always has.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Mom and I both know the way to get through the trials and tribulations of life is to inject humor. It’s something we’ve always done as a family, and a very important part of our writing. Sometimes the best thing to do when you feel like crying is have a good laugh followed by a hug.

We love the idea of mothers and daughters reading this book, and Depression Cookies, together in the hopes of opening up a dialogue about our choices and feelings. But beyond that, we hope all women will read it and embrace the female relationships in their life.


Please visit the following authors and find out about their next big thing.

Sandi Tuttle – An Average Woman in a SuperWoman World
Jo Michaels
Bridgette O’Hare – Random Writes of Passage
Crystal Lee ~ Author
Beth Jones – The Hungry Freelancer
Even if you don’t have time to answer all ten questions, I’d love to hear your one sentence synopsis of your Next Big Thing. Feel free to leave it in the comments section below.


A quick A Round of Words in 80 Days(ROW80) Update

Man, this round went fast! I’m finally finding my footing after a whirlwind summer followed by a manic few weeks of catch up. Writing progress: 762 words in two days. I’m back! (On second thought, maybe I’ll whisper that to make sure I don’t tempt the evil word-stealing gremlins to come back.)

Finally made a breakthrough on an editing project, and I’m excited to talk to the author about it. Reading and blogging are back on track.

I’m looking forward to starting a new round on October 1 with some fresh goals and new determination.

September 18, 2012

Best Indie Book Festival

Another fun book event brought to you by the World Literacy Cafe and its founder, Melissa Foster.

This is the time to try Indie, if you haven't already! This events features 10 award-winning books and a chance to enter to win Amazon gift cards (no purchase necessary). I don't see a downside!

Please click on the photo above (or here) to join in on the fun. The event runs today and tomorrow, September 18 and 19.

Happy Indie Reading!

Please feel free to share information about this event! You are welcome to share my post or simply pass on the event page link on Twitter (#BestIndieBook), Facebook, your own blog, Google+, and/or any other social media sight. Let's make sure readers know about this one!

September 17, 2012

Genre Favorites Blogfest

Alex J. Cavanaugh, author of CassaStar and CassaFire as well as the mastermind behind the Insecure Writer's Support Group (#IWSG), is hosting the Genre Favorites Blogfest today. All you need to do is list your favorite genre in movies, music, and books and add a guilty pleasure.

I thought this exercise would be harder, but I went with the first thing that popped into my head on each category. But I'll go on the record now saying picking my favorite book genre was the hardest, because I will read any genre. Actually, if I read too many books in a row of a particular genre, I get burned out.

On with the show...
My favorite genre of:

This was the easiest category for me. I love comedies. Life is full of enough of the other emotions, so when I go to a movie I want to escape. What better way to escape than a good belly laugh?

Sadly, really good, laugh so hard you almost pee your pants comedies are hard to come by. Some of my favorites: Caddyshack, Bridesmaids (the bathroom scene had me in tears), Christmas Vacation, There's Something About Mary, Nutty Professor, The 40 Year Old Virgin, and Beverly Hills Cop.
Music is so mood-dependent for me. When I'm going for a run, I need stuff with a great beat. When I'm sad, I'm all about the ballads. When I'm dancing around the house with my girls soaking up life, it's 80s music all the way, much to their chagrin.

To show my husband how much I care, I listen to Neil Diamond with him. See how much I love my husband!
Why do I have to choose?!
I was going to go with the cop-out answer and say... relationship books with memorable characters and storyline. It's true, but I want to play by the rules here.

My favorite is women's fiction. At the end of the day, I want to be invested in the character and their real-life struggles. As a woman, I most identify with women's issues and emotions. But sometimes I find that theme in a different genre, books like Hunger Games and The Book Thief.

Some of my favorite women's fiction: The Help, Winter Garden, Stones from the River, Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man, The Honk and Holler Opening Soon and Secret Life of Bees. I know I'm forgetting other favorites! Back in the day, I would read anything from Judy Blume. Actually, I still will. 
I say women's fiction versus chick-lit for a reason. I don't like the books where the biggest struggle is trying to get the guy to notice you on a crowded dance floor. I need a literary leaning.
And a guilty pleasure genre from any of the three categories!

My total guilty reading pleasure... celebrity magazines. If you think about it, it's really fiction. I go through the pictures first and then read the articles based on my interest level. (Come on guys, it's the equivalent of your Playboy. You can be honest here.)

Outside of that, it's young adult. I loved the City of Bones books (I've only read the first three), Divergent, Hunger Games, the Lightning Thief series (through book four), the Uglies series, and so on. I have a preteen daughter who loves to read, so I use that as my excuse to enjoy these books. It's been a treat for me. Not only do I get to read some great books, but I get to discuss them with my daughter. We even went on a girl-date to see Hunger Games.

I think my answers show my diverse nature. For movies, I want to escape and laugh. For books, I want an emotional roller coaster ride. For music, I pick based on mood. Finally, for a guilty pleasure, I read total fluff about celebrities or embrace what my preteen is reading. Don't try to figure it out. I know my husband has given up!

Please comment and share your favorites.

And feel free to join in on the fun. It's not too late. Just hop over to Alex's post and sign in.

September 16, 2012

Pump Up the Am: ROW80 Update

It's time to Pump up the "I Am" in my life.

Okay, it's a bit corny. But music with a good rhythm really helps me, and I am nothing if not a product of the 80s. Dork that I am, I now hear in my mind...

Yes, a cassette tape. Remember?
Get the writing going on the Word doc
Seek ROW80 that's where the party's at
And you'll find out if you're behind

Pump up the Am pump it up
A pump it up yo pump it

I don't want the words to stray
Get your fingers on the keyboard
Make my day

Now that I've shared my totally uncool ways to motivate myself, it's time to focus on the "I Am" statements.

I am going to write.

I haven't been making this the priority I should. I've overwhelmed with commitments, so I try to knock out the easiest ones first. Plus, my brain is so junked up and scattered, I'm finding it hard to focus enough to write. My priority is to write first thing in the day, before my brain can be distracted. Kids on bus, mom to write.

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit." Aristotle

Or, even more straight to the point: there will not be word progress without writing.

I am going to embrace structure.

Schedules and organization are normally my friend, but I lost my way this summer. Yesterday, I sat down and wrote out six pages of to-dos. Yes, six pages. I have been dreading writing them all down and realizing just how behind I am. But now I know. Knowledge is power, right? Beside each item I put a deadline date and assigned hours in the day to accomplish the task. I should have done this weeks ago.

"Forgive yourself for your faults and your mistakes and move on." Les Brown

I am going to stop making excuses.

My life is full. Don't get me wrong, I'm blessed. Truly. But my days are helter skelter and overloaded as so many of ours are. It's an easy excuse, but excuses won't get my next book done. I am bad about the word No, as I clearly demonstrated in my BlogHer featured post: The Art of Saying No (To More than Just My Kids).

"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." Walt Disney

Or, as we southern ladies like to say, "get to gettin'".

What inspires you to shake a bad week or shake your excuses and just move forward with your goals?


My A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) Update

Writing: I spent a lot of my hour each day staring at a blank page, thanks to my overcrowded brain. I did manage to pump out a scene or two. Not sure how good they are, but I need to get the story moving again.

Editing: I need to write a post on flashbacks and pacing and ask my writer and reader friends for input. I'm having a tough time with a current editing job on these two issues. It's such a good story, but the flashbacks are affecting the pacing, and I'm finding it slowing me down as a reader. Not I'm struggling with how to fix it.

Reading: Too many books, too little time... especially for ones that are disappointing. Although I didn't really love Anne Lamott's Blue Shoe, it wasn't enough of a mess to have me give up on her. Please keep checking Mom in Love with Fiction for my "reader" thoughts.

Social Media: This has become my albatross, the thing I just can't get out from under. I owe you all comments and support, and for that I'm sorry.

Blogging: When will I ever learn? Blogging daily is just not what I need to be doing right now. In October, I'm going back to Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday. It's enough. Why not now, you ask? It's a quirk in my character. Once I say Yes, I'm no quitter.

Hope everyone is Pumping Up the Am!

September 15, 2012

Savvy Seuss: Short and Sweet Saturdays

Dr. Seuss, aka Theodor Seuss Geisel, created beautiful stories for kids with many lessons meant just as much for adults. Whenever I sit down and read a Dr. Seuss book to my kids, I realize how mature the themes and lessons often are.

For example, The Lorax. My kids always loved the book and then the movie. But it's really a lesson for all of us to care for our planet and watch our greed.

I stumbled across this quote today...

Be who you are
and say what you feel,
because those who mind don't matter
and those who matter don't mind.


The older I get the more I realize how true this is. Knowing yourself is a gift. Those who accept that knowledge will enrich your life; those that don't, won't.

What is your favorite Dr. Seuss line or book?

September 14, 2012

The Mystery of Scientology: Fascinating Facts Friday

There's no rhyme or reason to my inspiration for Fascinating Facts Friday posts. Actually, I shouldn't say that. Most often, I pick my Friday posts based on a subject that comes up that I don't know much about. Curiosity sends me to the Internet and the interesting things I find end up in a FF post.
Over the last several weeks, the Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes split has been celebrity magazine news. More interesting to me, all the information leaking out about Cruise's elusive Scientology leanings. I have to admit I know little to nothing about the "religion."
So off to the Internet I went.
Fascinating Facts about Scientology
L. Ron Hubbard
Scientology was founded by L. Ron Hubbard, an American Pulp Fiction author.
According to Wikipedia: After establishing a career as a writer, becoming best known for his science fiction and fantasy stories, he developed a self-help system called Dianetics which was first published in May 1950. He subsequently developed his ideas into a wide-ranging set of doctrines and rituals as part of a new religious movement that he called Scientology.
Scientology teaches that people are immortal beings who have forgotten their true nature.
"In the primordial past, thetans brought the material universe into being largely for their own pleasure. The universe has no independent reality, but derives its apparent reality from the fact that most thetans agree it exists. Thetans fell from grace when they began to identify with their creation, rather than their original state of spiritual purity. Eventually they lost their memory of their true nature, along with the associated spiritual and creative powers. As a result, thetans came to think of themselves as nothing but embodied beings." (Source)
Note: I was going to put this into my own words, but quite frankly I wasn't sure I could.
A creature from another planet, Xenu, features prominently.
"Xenu, also spelled Xemu, was, according to the founder of Scientology L. Ron Hubbard, the dictator of the "Galactic Confederacy" who, 75 million years ago, brought billions of his people to Earth in a DC-8-like spacecraft, stacked them around volcanoes and killed them using hydrogen bombs. Official Scientology scriptures hold that the essences of these many people remained, and that they form around people in modern times, causing them spiritual harm." (Source)
"The thetans who were captured and exploded on Earth are the origin of body thetans. Each human has his or her own thetan, which Scientologists purify through auditing until the practitioner reaches a state of Clear. While a Clear's own thetan is now free of destructive engrams, his physical form is still inhabited by body thetans: clusters of these ancient, executed thetans." (Source)
Note: Again, I would have attempted to put this into my own words, but I found the task near to impossible. It's a bit out there, if I may say so.
Formally recognized as a religion in 1993.
The US granted full tax-exempt status to the church in December 1993. In 2007, the church claimed 3.5 million members in the US. But in 2008, the American Religious Identification Survey found that the number dropped to 25,000. (Source)
But, this quote from L. Ron Hubbard (LA Times, 1978), is what I found most fascinating...
"Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wanted to make a million dollars, the best way to do it would be start his own religion."

My husband joked that I shouldn't publish this post because it would ruin my chances of working in Hollywood. I'll take my chances. If I manage to land a movie deal one of these days, you'll all support me and swear you never saw this post, right? (Since I'll promptly delete it!)
Actually, if you think about it, writers everywhere should rejoice. If L. Ron Hubbard can write science fiction so well that it becomes a religion, it shows the power of the pen. Now, if I can just start my own mother-daughter revolution, Depression Cookies will fly off the shelves.
What author can you imagine spearheading the next religious movement?