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Suddenly, I realize my name will never grace a list of 30 whatevers under 30. Although, I have been aware of this unrelenting march towards oblivion, it seems that it has happened so abruptly that I have reached this mile marker of 29. As each day passes, we add a day to our life’s tally. The earth does not cease rotating, the hours do not stop passing, and whatever the biological mechanism that gives wrinkles, greys hairs, and brittles bones does what it does unceasing. Nevertheless, it was so suddenly that the cashiers stopped asking me for identification when I purchased a pack of cigarettes. It seemed so jarring to me the day I realized that Kurt Cobain had killed himself 18 years ago or that I had spent more years on this earth than any of the great musicians that I had loved as a little girl in the sixth grade.

Too Old for this

courtesy ifc

Now here it is the eve of my 29th birthday. I have witnessed 28 summers, falls, springs, and winters. It still feels so odd that there are people on this earth who do not have a story for where they were when the Towers fell on September 11. Yet somehow, I cannot shake the feeling that it was not long ago that I graduated from high school with all those promises of the bright future to see, the big things to do, and that feeling that I would take over the world.

A Bright Future? – courtesy biz02

So, how did it come to this? How is it that the days are closing in upon me? I have nearly 365 days left to write that novel or make the big life choices that I had naively thought I would take care of well before I was even close to being 30. It is a crushing weight to know that so many people had such high hopes for me nearly 15 years ago, even I, myself, thought that by 30 I’d be out of medical school, with a fancy house and a glamorous life.

Here I am, embarking upon the last year of my twenties, facing the truth that I have done nothing, gone nowhere, and seen little, and yet I had so much time to do it in. I can easily list people that I admire that did more than I can imagine before they were 30. Earnest Hemingway wrote and published both The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms before he was 30. George Orwell had written and published much including Down and Out in Paris and London before he turned 30. Then there are the people whom I abhor Snooki, Justin Beiber, and Paris Hilton all of whom, have been able to outpace me in writing.

And yet, I remain unpublished.

The sad thing is that I am not even sure if I will accomplish the things I want by the time I am 40. My main fear as I hit this last year of my 20’s is that if I don’t find some way to attempt to meet my goals, I’ll end up 50 years old with no discernible skills, a spotty CV, and still continuing to float through life.

I have changed the passion of my life so many times. At 15, I wanted to be a doctor. 18, a writer. 22, an accountant. 24, a writer again. 25, an editor. 26, a linguist and maybe a writer, or a teacher but mainly a linguist. Now as I approach 29, I have no clue. I am drawn to writing but also speech pathology and philosophy. In short, I have no clear idea what I want to do for the remainder of my days on earth.

However, part of my hesitation on being a writer is because I have never really gone anywhere. How can I write if I haven’t been outside of the northeastern United States other than a few trips to DC and Florida in 22 years and I don’t even know what stops me. I am a freelancer, so I am not tide down by a static career. I could go anywhere and do anything. However, sometimes in the night before I go to sleep, I fear that maybe I will never do anything.

L is for Loser? – courtesy

My grandfather once told me that someone has to be the garbage man. So what if that is it, what if I cannot write and have not done the things I want to do  because I am the person that has to be the lowly office clerk or maybe I’m the person that the universe has chosen to be a housewife and I’m just fighting it. Yet, more than that, if that is true, if when I die it turns out I never wrote a novel, never did anything that my heart yearned to do, what is the point. Why do I have such desire to do great things and yet in spite of everything I want, be unable to do any of those things at all?


Often, my writer friends will worry themselves that their first lines are not good enough and I will often point out to them, that I do not think first lines matter. However, I want to renege on that stance, or at least the general sentiment. After reading the first line of Araminta Star Matthew’s book Blind Hunger, I was a convert to the important first lines club. The very first line of the story is, “Patricia pressed her head into the plastic cocoon-hood of her Hazmat suit before sealing it shut around her collar bone.” I wanted to know what the author had planned for next.

The story is a great teen centered zombie apocalypse. Now, I know you cringe when I say teen centered, you think of pale-yet-sparkly teen vampires and listless teen girls but this story is far from that. It actually celebrates the unique viewpoints of youth. Kind of, like how John Hughes did not pander to us fans of 80’s coming of age films, this story reads true to the character.

What I also like is that the book is clearly written by a fan of the eventual zombie apocalypse, there is a back story to the whole thing that is as far from the cliché as they come. It is in fact how I imagine the start of the eventual zombie apocalypse, in a way, I had not thought of it as happening exactly the way Araminta wrote it. In fact, Ms. Matthews is a self-described zombie enthusiast, her inspiration for the story came from her and her partner “develop[ing] zombie apocalypse survival plans.” She said, “one day while we were examining the efficacy of taking shelter in a window-less Mason’s Lodge, I began to wonder how the very young and the very old would survive against zombies.” Like all good writers she thought on it more and then as she states, “it occurred to me that many probably wouldn’t, and then I started to imagine how it would work if all the adults became zombies and children had to survive against it.”

It being the holiday season, this book is perfect for a teen that refuses to read or the Zombie fan in your life (regardless of how old they might be). Here is a little blurb that Ms. Matthew wrote up:

Blind Hunger follows a gang of youth as they battle against an onslaught of zombie adults in this zombie apocalypse tale. Featuring a nine-year-old genius, sarcastic Goth tweenager, a rebellious young teen, and a picture-perfect jock young adult, this book has been described as “Breakfast Club with zombies” by reviewers. It’s the classic hero’s quest, this time with dead things trying to eat children. Fun for the whole family!

It is a definite must buy for gifts and for yourself. I gave this book 4 out of 5 because I thought the book was awesome and would definitely recommend it to my friends and family, and even buy a couple for gifts this year.

You can like the book on Facebook here, and check out the authors website In addition, you can purchase the book for Kindle or print on It’s also available for purchase on Smashwords and Barnes and Noble.

There’s also a game called Survive (pictured below) based on Blind Hunger. You can find that also on Araminta’s website.

I want to apologize, I normally write more. I had gotten you used to a near daily post and have let it dwindle to about once a week. That isn’t what I had wanted to do and I want to get back on track.

As for my NaNoWriMo book, it’s terribly below par, everyone is at 30K and I’m sitting at a lowly 10,000 words. I’m going to make it up. If I can manage to write nearly 3,500 words per day. I know I can pump out 1,200 words in 45 minutes to an hour so It should be about three hours of writing per day to get back on track by the end of the month. So I’m going to stop being a lazy jerk, stop believing in writer’s block, and start writing.

Continue reading

As you know, I love terrible movies. So, by default I have watched an obscene amount of craptastic movies. One of those movies is Confessions of a Shopaholic. And although, it is possibly a very vain accomplishment, and while I don’t believe I actually win anything. Here I am on the front page of I’m also not terribly funny.  Click Here or the Picture below to be taken to my win and if you feel so inclined you can vote it up some more.

My Winning Gist!


I’ve also recently gone vegetarian, and am working my way towards vegan. However, as promised you will have a bunch of cookbooks reviewed by me. Furthermore, in the right hand sidebar there is a calendar with my NaNoWriMo accomplishments, it’s been at 9900 for quite some time now and still is at the time of this posting. Feel free to berate my writing laziness in the comments section. And that’s me, just tooting my own horn, just pointing you to random pointless accomplishments that I’ve made. Feel free to alert me to your pointless accomplishments in the comments below. I love all that kind of stuff.


Peace, Love and Penguins.


Welcome to Week Two of “Why Am I Putting Myself Through This Insanity?” otherwise known as NaNoWriMo. We all know the tag: “November 1st–30th. Thirty days and nights of literary abandon!” And when you see it put that way, your mind instantly snapped to this image of people sitting around a modern day Algonquin Round Table, drinks by everyone’s side and laptops and tables at the ready. And there you are, a brand new wordsmith ready to take the World of Letters by storm.

Flickr Photo: Courtesy of Laineys Repertoire

And, really, how hard can it be? 50,000 words in 30 days. You only need to write 1,666 words a day. Easy-peasy! Right?

Except here it is, 7 days in (as I write this), and you’re sitting on a collection of electronic scribblings amounting to around 3 to 5 thousand words, and you’re looking hard, very hard at that stats graph that said, right now, this very moment, you’re suppose to have 11,666 words in your novel, because, hey, how hard is it to do 1,666 words a day.

There are many emotions coursing through your mind and body. You want to chuck it all and post on your NaNo Author’s page, “No mas, no mas!” and hop on the X-Box and fire up that first person shooter and start gunning down everything in sight.

Or you’re holding your head in your hands trying to figure out why your story went sidewise, and why you’re struggling with this immense writer’s block.

Or you’re staring blankly at the screen, not caring that the words aren’t moving, that they aren’t doing anything, and your fingers won’t dance across the keyboard like the did the first couple of days when you possessed all this enthusiasm for your soon-to-be-earth shattering novel, and the thought that continues to swirl about in your brain is, “What ever in the world possessed me to do something this stupid?”

You want to quit. Every logical argument you can muster says you’re 5,000 words behind where you’re suppose to be, and if you want to catch up you’re gonna have to crank out 3,500 words a day to make a dent in the slush, and since you’re not Philip K. Dick with a room full of speed and the ability to type like an insane ferret, you just know you can’t ever make this thing that you wanted to create work.

You want to quit.

You know what? You shouldn’t.

Wait, let me correct that last statement: You can’t.

A little background here, first. I’ve been trying to break into publishing for decades. I started with a creative writing class in 1986, I joined a writer’s group, and I began submitting short stories the next year. Everything I sent in—maybe 7 stories, total—was rejected.

Okay, so maybe short stories isn’t my thing. So I started on a novel, one that I felt was going to be great, one that was very close to my own heart. I wrote 500 words every morning before I left for work; I kept very extensive notes; I did research to cover those areas of knowledge I didn’t have.

I got way into this story: about 250,000 words deep. And then I quit. I couldn’t take it any more. I was in way over my head, and I kept telling myself that eventually I’d get back to it—

I did. 10 years later.

I decided I was going to dust it off and do a rewrite. And I started. And I did. And I even added another 25,000 words to it.

And I quit. Again. Why? I can give you any number of reasons, but the one that hit me the hardest was this: I actually believed I didn’t have what it takes to be a writer.

And so I let my story languish. As I did the other stories I had in my head.

So, last year about this time (Nov, 2010, if you’re keeping score) I took a couple of online writing classes. And I started to get the urge to write again. I eventually hooked up with someone from my first class, and we discussed writing, we talked writing, we even wrote a few things here and there.

Then in August I received an email. It was concerning contributing a ghost story for a Halloween anthology, and I was asked if I wanted to. The how of why I got this email is irrelevant: the truth was someone wanted me to write for them. And I thought about it, and decided I wanted to try something different. I wanted to write about the supernatural, about ghosts in Indonesia.

So I did my research. I started looking at locations, I read up on the paranormal from that area, and I started writing.

After three weeks I had a story—24,000 words of a story. This was a little more than what the people who put the anthology together wanted, so I decided, “Hey, why don’t I go the self-publish route and put it out there myself?” And so I did: I set it up on Smashwords, and it was accepted for premium publication, and the story is up on Barnes & Nobles right now. Sure, I’ve only sold, as of right now, 4 copies, but you know what? I’m proud that I have.

But lets get back to that first novel . . ..

I showed it to a friend, the person I knew from my first online writing class. She looked parts of it over, and she was flabbergasted. “You have something here,” she told me. “You can’t let this die. You have to finish it.”

Here was something that has sat in limbo for 20 years and another person is telling me, “This is great. You have to finish it.” And I believe them. I want to. I want to finish it soon . . . after I’m done with my NaNo novel.

And it’s the same thing with what you have before you, on your computer. That NaNo Novel, right now it’s still at 4.000 words and change, and it’s mocking you. It’s saying, “Are you you still there? Are you going to finish me? It’s really hard to do, you know. So I won’t blame you when you leave . . .” And you want to do just that. You want to walk away.

Because it is easy. And if there’s one thing I’ve discovered it’s that walking away is the easiest thing in the world. I did it all my life with my writing and no matter how many times I told myself I was a “writer”, there was always the question in the back of my mind, “If you’re a writer, why haven’t you finished that novel, Sparky?”

And then, when I was thinking about what I wanted to say here, along comes a post from one of my Facebook buddies, and it’s a link to one of his buddies, guy by the name of Jim Butcher. If you like to read about wizards and the such, then you know him; if not, look up his buddy Harry Dresden—

Anyway, Butcher writes about the difficulty of being an aspiring author, much like the majority of us deep in the NaNo morass. And he has a lot of great words of wisdom. Jim’s also got a lot of touch love, but the one that hits me the most is this, and I paraphrase:

When aspiring authors quit writing, they Kill Their Dream. And YOU, the aspiring author, are the only one who can do that.

We all have our reasons for being in NaNo. For me, I have an idea, and this is one way to get it out. I know it’s hard; I’ve been busting my butt to writing. And I’m not just running up a word count, but like the majority of you, I’m writing.

But I also know NaNo isn’t Richard Bachman’s The Long Walk. There isn’t a half-track with solders behind you ready to put a bullet in your head if you fall behind; if you don’t make 50k come 12:01 AM on 1 December, your world will not end.

That novel though . . . do you want it to die?

There are many reasons to quit writing this week. And there’ll be a lot of reasons next week as well. And come Thanksgiving week, oi! All sorts of reasons why you should quit.

But there is always one very good reason you shouldn’t.

You are building a dream. Piece by piece, you are building a dream. And you might not “win” at the end of the month, but you have something that needs to grow. And it needs to live. And you need to finish it.

We all got dreams, and during my lifetime I’ve killed far too many of them.

Flickr courtesy of: mpclemens

Don’t make the same mistake.

Hey, is that your novel I hear calling your name? It’s probably lonely.

Go do some writing. You are going to thank yourself later.

This has been a guest blog by Ray Frazee writer of Wide Awake but Dreaming.
His about me states: At one time I thought I was this nut with a problem . . . I’m still nuts, but that’s not my problem.
I still look for work, but I’d rather write because, well–can you take Corporate America these days?
My friends keep me honest and they keep me writing.  I’ve finished my latest story and I’m starting work on two novels.  Trust me: my best is yet to come.
I am a Roleplaying God . . . Have Dice, Will Modify.  The ass clowns I’ve gamed with in the past–and you know who you are–can simply suck it.
How’s it going to turn out?  One day I’ll let you know.

If you haven’t started your NaNoWriMo Novel. Please do. It’s still an attainable goal.

If you start ON THIS DAY, You have to write THIS AMOUNT per day to make the goal of 50,000 words.

11/05/11 – 2000
11/06/11 – 2083
11/07/11 – 2174
11/08/11 – 2273

Personally, I think that over the 2,273 words per day mark is a little too daunting for me. Some people have already finished by writing like the flash. Maybe they have those pills from Limitless or something, if so I’d like them to share!

If you haven’t started, You are in a good position right now, you have no words to lose. Some people in various settings I have told me about how they have lost all their writing due to some kind of problem. Maybe they had a computer error, some people forgot to save, and another person’s drive was corrupted. So please do, save in multiple places. I at this moment am in a kind of weird position, because some of my writing only exists in one place, but I plan to remedy that in a moment. Here are some choices for you when it comes to backing up your work.



With every Hotmail or Live email account, you have the option of using SkyDrive. You get 5 gigabytes of Storage free. Skydrive allows you to sync your files with the online drive so that at the time that you save your file on your desktop it also is saved in your Hotmail account. Cost: free.



I love DropBox, they give you 2GB of storage free but there is an option to purchase more space. You download the Dropbox software which is a shared folder and when you save an item to either the dropbox root or a folder within it is synced upon closing your files. I like Dropbox because it works on my Android phone, Ipad, Computer, laptop. All my stuff is put in one place. Cost: free


The Amazon Cloud Drive is online storage provided by the Amazon shopping website. They provide 5GB of free online storage, which you can upload any file type, especially mp3 files. A bonus with the Amazon online storage is you can stream mp3s onto your Android phone. Amazon charges a dollar per year for every extra GB of storage if you need more cloud space.

Cloud Drive

I think the best approach is to download the software for Dropbox and Skydrive and then synchronize your folder with both programs. That way, your files are automatically backed up by both services. If one of the websites has an extremely rare cataclysmic crash, your files would still be saved by the other site. In addition, you should upload your files once a week to Amazon just in case a file becomes corrupt and that ruined file syncs to Dropbox and Skydrive. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

So I’ve been more busy writing my novel, which is currently untitled, lately. I should be posting and continuing to provide you with New material and ramp up the excitement for NaNoWrimo.

So go check out an old poem of mine here: A thought on poetry and my latest poem Metnal « Write, Read, Watch.

Or you can get in on the NaNoWriMo antics and join up. You’ve only missed 4 days, You can still catch up.

Also I’ve been checking out this website I Write Like it’s kinda fun. Some stories are different and the badges I get are different depending on what story I put in to be analyzed for style markers. Continue reading