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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Socializing Sundays: I Want to be Treated Like a Queen

I would like to be a queen... but only for a day. Having to wait for someone to open the door of your car would get tedious. Every now and then I want to be treated like a queen, not too often though just so those few times are more special and "spontaneous", I like to be treated like a queen. I want the seat held out for me, the door opened, to be carried and driven to mysterious destinations. I guess what I really want is fantasy, where people and events don't really exist. Where there isn't traffic or lack of parking, where prices don't mysteriously go up or poof into existence. Well, that just sounds like blind ignorance. So what I want is to be blindfolded and taken somewhere unique where my every need is taken care of. 

Wouldn't you want to be treated like royalty for a day too?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Seattle Specific Saturdays: Painting Class at Arts n' Carafes

Have you ever wanted to be an artist? I know I have but I lack talent and skill, however, there is this growing phenomenon of classes for novice and more experienced painters! There are places cropping up all over and giving out coupons and specials (see Groupon for example) for these classes. My step-mom and I did the Renton Arts n' Carafes class and it was wonderfully fun! Even though we were painting the exact same thing, our distinct styles came through in our individual pieces. Yours can too! Just go to the website and pick a date to begin exploring your creative side!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Author Thursdays: How many people have you done away with over the course of your career?

I came across this unusual question whilst looking up interesting interview questions for authors. Does it make more sense now? 

Here are some other interesting and traditional questions that I found, as well as my answers:

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

As far back as I can remember I have thought of myself as a writer, even before I really knew how to write decently. As my father always says, I’m continually writing my autobiography and even at ten years old I thought I had a lot to say.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Not using unnecessary words like moment, as well, finally, and so, now, as well as others. These are fluff-padding words and are not normally integral to the intention of the sentence. However, I still find myself using them in the flow of my inspired writing.

If there was an article about you on the front page of the newspaper, what would be the headline?

Local Author Finds Gold on a Geocaching Adventure

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

There is usually a message in my novels that may or may not be completely clear or stated directly. In my latest work, I put a lot of stress on the randomness of bad luck and that how you respond to it really shows who you are. You are more than just a product of your environment, because your decisions influence your future.

What book are you reading now?

I’m usually ‘reading’ two books at once because I like to have an audio book for my lengthy traffic-riddled Seattle drives and a physical book for pleasure reading. Currently, I’m in the middle of my book club’s book, “Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl” by Tracy Quan. I am listening to "The Merry Wives of Maggody" by Joan Hess.

If you could be any character in fiction, whom would you be?

Princess Cimorene from the “Enchanted Forest Chronicles” by Patricia Wrede. I always loved the tomboy-younger-sister-turned-heroine character in fantasy novels. Lately I’ve gotten into the girl-must-triumph-in-the-face-of-adversity-usually-resulting-from-a-dystopian-future characters as well.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?

Sometimes in my dreams or from conversational ramblings with friends, family, or coworkers. For example, "Ataxia and the Ravine of Lost Dreams" developed out of my dreams one night, which were likely influenced by the great “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card.

Are the names of the characters in your novels important?

The names are highly important, at least to me. They are one of the most fun elements to play with and mold in a clever manner. For example, in Ataxia my main character was named “main character” for a long time in my mind just because I wanted to name her something that would live up to her personality but could never quite decide on a name I thought was good enough for her. After writing for months I grew fond of “MC” and decided that forever in my mind she would be the main character but I would give her a name based on those initials. You might notice a pattern with the love interest.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?

Keeping your notes in a safe and organized place so you can readily add or edit them.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Toiling Tuesdays: 3 Ways to Hide a Yawn in a Business Meeting

Perhaps it's early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

Perhaps you have yet to have your morning stimulants (coffee/tea/chocolate/etc)

Perhaps the meeting is about the last quarter's financial reports, i.e. boring

Perhaps the speaker has a monotone voice


Whatever the case may be to cause the yawn, it inevitably will happen. But yawning in a meeting is rude and unless you are in a college style lecture with hundreds of other people, the yawn will probably A. Be noticed, B. Be frowned upon, and C. Be rude!

How to keep from yawning you ask? Well, if you have a solution then let me know because I don't know how to suppress one of those jaw opening mouthily functions. I do, however, know some techniques to mask or hide the yawn.

The first technique involves clenching your teeth together and attempting to keep the rest of your face from twitching as the yawn escapes between your teeth. If you can clamp down your teeth tight without it contorting your face, this technique should work for most yawns that are not too powerful.

The second technique is similar to the first except instead of clenching your teeth you hold your lips together (you can bite your lip as if you're thinking about the lecture/meeting/person talking).

The third technique is for those all-powerful yawns that consume your entire upper body. If that is the case you must make an excuse to move, either by shifting your position in your chair at the same time or bending down to pick up something/scratch your foot/etc. If this shields your face then let out the yawn. If this does not shield your face, then the only polite thing left to do is cover your open mouth.

If the meeting is extra boring/extra long/extra monotone/extra lacking in coffee and you continue to yawn and yawn, try to switch up the techniques as much as possible without appearing too shifty or disinterested.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Socializing Sundays: Reviewing the Romance

I, like many others, love a good book. I love a good book with a good story. I especially love a good book with a good story about young love. That's one of my favorites. But many books portray love as simple or easy or falling perfectly in place in both persons' lives. This is exceedingly comfortable and reassuring to read, even whilst knowing that life does not follow the same footsteps as those made by authors everywhere. I, however, like to indulge inner fantasies now and then and read one of those so-called cheesy romance novels. At least in this genre, you get what you pay for, a romance. Most of the books I read involve romance of a sort, even as the main story line! Yet, they label themselves young adult, fantasy, adventure, etc. Many books and movies that I can recall (correct me I dare you) contains a romance. It is almost a shock to realize something you just read or watched is only about the bond between father and son. This is not as true regarding less mainstream films, but when just referring to the "blockbuster" hits, you get the romance. Disney? Romance. Anime? Romance. J-Lo? Romance.

I digress. I wanted to share a review I wrote for a talented writer, Victoria Bastedo and her published novel, Dear Miklos:

Dear Miklos by Victoria Bastedo opens up in the midst of a benign story; one young lady’s interest in a faraway but not forgotten Grecian young man who once saved her life. As the reader, my curiosity is piqued by the potential in this relationship but the author tears away my attention and presents me with an altogether more promising prospect, the mysterious hulking giant who threatens her life! I knew Therese would travel to meet up with her former friend and future ? I knew the mysterious man trailing her would eventually catch up. I knew she would find herself in a whirlwind of hospitable Greeks and the handsome yet down to earth Miklos. I did not know the pace of the action would pick up with the speed of a racing boat and crash together with finality that could only end in one place, the inevitable and much longed-for ending of any worthy romance novel.

To purchase this novel:

For more on the author, Victoria Bastedo:

Friday, September 20, 2013

Foodie Fridays: Eggs and Toast

One of the Simple Joys in Life:

Scrambled eggs:



cream cheese

When I think of "breakfast" I think of heart-killing calorie/cholesterol loaded foods that are slathered in grease and butter. They are both hard on the stomach and hard on your digestion. Here is a slight alternative breakfast of champions. The scrambled eggs are crafted with plenty of vegetables and only a dab of oil. The toast is homemade and you could leave off the spread because it was so fresh, even though in this instance I chose to add it. The pastrami is an elegant touch but not necessary (for vegetarian's sake). Wolf down with a cup of tea and you will be golden for the rest of the day. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Author Thursdays: Secret Order of the Overworld

I'm amassing my collection of locally authored, signed editions of various novels. I am now working through reading them and have been pleasantly surprised thus far by what I've read. The first book I read was a fantasy novel by Kennedy J. Quinn. You can purchase the novel here: Buy it Now.

This book brings to mind an idea of spirituality that you would not come across in the midst of a typical religious philosophy. There is oneness and a sense of peace that must be attained during the outbreak of a power struggle between two forces. The author drives this overarching plot with clear motivations and a realistic sense of morality among the main characters. As you read, you become engrossed in the organic flow of time and the eloquently revealed back-story. The politics of this world, of the Overworld and of the Underneath are integrated into the action so that you understand entirely what is going on, how it came to pass, and why it continues to speed down a seemingly predestined path. I did not have to take a breather from the meat of the story in order to understand how each character fit into the power struggle. The only part that broke my concentration was the free usage of proper nouns in the building of a fantastical world.

But what is it really about? From the Lulu description:

"Gabrell and his beloved Majeska are pulled into a power struggle between a Sisterhood using Visionary prowess to punish Overling men's corruption in the secret realm Underneath, and the desire to follow the Catalyst to the peace prophesied by the Predecessors for the Overworld. This edition includes Book One, UNDERNEATH and Book Two, OVERCAME."

To get more tantalizing bits from the author, check out her blog at

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Toiling Tuesdays: How to Succeed in Blogging Without Really Trying, 4 Ways to Boost Your Blogs'

At one of my current jobs I have been researching SEO (Search Engine Optimization) practices and stumbled over a couple of gems for optimizing my blog. One I would recommend you at least skim through is from (my newfound favorite SEO company based locally here in Seattle!).

The article, 5 data insights into the headlines readers click, talks about the importance of your headline. Well duh! The headline is like a book title. It might be all your potential readers see and your only chance to grab their attention to make them read more (click through).

1. Use excessive superlatives or none at all

5 Ways to Boost Your Blog
5 Best Ways Ever to Boost the Amazingness of Your Awesome Blog

Am I doing it right?

In my opinion, the latter example is less believable for containing critical information or information with evidence to back up the claims made but hey, the data don't lie.

2. SOME RESPONDENTS don't even MIND when you YELL at them

Again, this would strike me as the tabloid type yuppie article with no real or new information or information without evidence.

3. Write headlines that leave no ambiguity

I want to hem and haw over this one because I enjoy writing mysterious headlines that I find intriguing but maybe I'm wrong and I'm turning away readers who would rather know exactly what they are getting out of my blog post. What do you think?

4. The type of headline that generates higher click through rates is one that contains numbers, check the headline for this post for an example.

I think this one ties into leaving no ambiguity. The reader knows what you will say and how many things you will say about it.

Want to read the original article?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Socializing Sundays: What Is Love?

Baby don't hurt me....

     There comes a point in many a relationship where you reach the next level and give it that controversial label: love. What is love? In my opinion there are many types and levels of love. At the base, there is the love for inanimate objects in general and activities. For example, I love chocolate and geocaching. The next level is love for specific objects and/or activities. In this case, I love kit kats (above other chocolates). My love for these "things" is unwavering but may fluctuate in intensity from day to day or week to week.

     More so than an inanimate object is the love for a person. Still, this love is broken up into levels and types. I love my mother (what some would refer to as unconditional love). Love for family is a bit different than the love you might feel for a good friend. "I love you, dude!" may be a sarcastic remark but it can hold true. There is and can be love in a friendship. Friends are like family some would say and even though blood is thicker than water, my love runs deep because we chose to be friends with one another.

     Then there is the love of a significant other. The problem with this type of love is that there are so many expectations placed on it that it is doomed to fail from the start. Love that lasts a lifetime is a rarity and doesn't take into account that people change. You may not have the same friends you did several years ago, they fade in and out of your life, not a big deal. But when lovers come and go, it is more consequential. Is there lasting love? Is romantic love restricted to one at a time, aka serial monogamy? Or is there a "soulmate" for everyone, meaning you get one and only one chance at happily love ever after? There are so many questions in regards to this type of love, that you may begin to question the very essence of love. What is love?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Author Thursdays: Writer's Relief Presents

The Submission Process, In Reaction GIFs:

My favorite is the "Getting rejected within 24 hours."

Although the one they didn't include was getting rejected by two publishers on the same day

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wildlife Wednesdays: A Labor of Love

The cost of a garden: seeds + equipment + soil/compost + labor + water = $$$$
The fruits of your labor: Priceless

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Toiling Tuesdays: The McOffice

You May Work in a McOffice When:

  • You reside in a cubicle
  • Your job hours are 9-5 with strict breaks at certain times
  • You have to clock in and are paid hourly
  • You're told to turn your music down or put on headphones because you are distracting the other McPeople 
  • You need constant guidance in your job role or the reverse: you are being constantly supervised
  • You catch the "Mondays"
  • There are more power cords than outlets around you
  • You alternate use of your desk with the evening/afternoon/morning workers
  • You share a phone

What are some characteristics of YOUR McOffice?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wildlife Wednesdays: A Wild Cat Appears!

Here comes the cat strong and brave, here comes the cat...

your life is.... Hey look a rabbit!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Miscellaneous Mondays: E-book titles

What if e-books had moving jpegs as their cover? Wouldn't that be cool! Integrating a "moving" picture as the cover, reminds me of Harry Potter.