Courtney S. Barr

Welcome to My Kingdom!
Join me, the Princess, on my Royal Adventures in the Land of Writing!

Friday, February 26, 2010

A Gnome! A Zombie! Children! Oh My!

Well I am pecking away with my left hand. It sure is loving all this time on the keys. It has always thought that the right side of the keyboard was nothing more than a selfish tease! (for those who don't know, I.. um.. injured my right hand and well typing with it is more than funny - my husband is amused that my left hand by itself is still more accurate & quicker than his two healthy hands on a keyboard :o) )

So while I was recovering from a strep-throat type of incident & the Hand Debacle of 2010, my children came for a visit. They loved Gnick and had a blast getting to know him. (no biting occurred during any point of the visit, thank goodness) He was quite smitten by the girls...

They love their uncle Marcus too!
Now as most of you know we welcomed Gnick the Gnome into our family only a few weeks ago. He had a Grand Adventure during his first week. Well, since that week we have been learning the ins and outs of our special little Gnome. MaryBeth (the lovely young lady who handled our adoption of Gnick) had already given me a few good lessons about Gnomes. So at least we weren't blindsided by some of his idiosyncrasies! But not even MaryBeth was able to prepare me for some things...

Gnick HATES to be interrupted while reading. If you do, then you will be guaranteed punishment. His favorite way to get back at you: sit on the book you are reading and not let you open it. Yes, yes he is small.... but he makes this clicking noise when angry & it is SO ANNOYING!!!...

Gnick is not a fan of crumb-ies. Now this one I can get on board with (If you are a Friends fan you KNOW how Monica feels about these)... you know when you are eating & crumb-ies get on the floor or the couch or your book or the computer and you DON'T clean up after yourself. Yeah. Gnick will collect all the crumbies you dropped then when you are sleeping he will put them in your jammies. Yeah it does NOT feel good. (ask my husband)

Then there is his ever growing demand when I am blogging. HE MAKES ME CLICK ON ALL THE BLOGS IN ONE SITTING! YES. He DOES! Normally I rotate the ones I click on so that I am not sucked into the blackhole that can be blog stalking and spend HOURS reading updates (though wouldn't it be wonderful if you could literally set aside one entire day for the WHOLE DAY *sigh*), but he likes to peruse them all in one sitting...but...I fixed that yesterday. *muahahahahahahaha*

I opened Shannon Messenger's blog not warning him about Zombiedillo... oh yeah...GNICK FREAKED OUT! it was hilarious. He ran so fast over to the bookshelf and hid behind SHIVER by the amazing Maggie Stiefvater . Marcus thought the irony of that was worth the entire episode!

So after he saw Zombiedillo, I now get to peruse my blogroll at my own discretion, then I tell him about the awesome entries..But just to mess with him...I printed out a picture of Zombiedillo and hid it in my copy of A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker,its next on his reading list, courtesy of Karen Amanda Hooper's awesome contest. Just wait until he gets to chapter 5... he will be so surprised.... *heeheehee*

Happy Friday Everyone!
(oh and to the new followers: those 4 adorable kids are some of my nieces & nephews and don't worry my craziness isn't contagious...Gnick's on the other hand...well just use antibacterial lotion whenever he pops up in an entry...)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday's Written Word: Unexpected

Ahh, its Wednesday again! The day in the middle, the day to break up the monotony! My husband chose the word for this week. He did good I think. I enjoyed sitting down with one word at the top of the page and without any pressure or direction just typed. I liked this one and my visit it again sometime. I hope you all enjoy it too!

For those of you new to this here is what Wednesday's Written Word means: To break up the monotony a large piece can bring you; especially during revision time. I will label the entries with one word. The word will somehow resonate in the entry. If anything it will be a great writing exercise when given a singular word to extrapulate!

Ahem, so without further adieu I give you: UNEXPECTED...
Long, wet strands clung to my face as I slowly crossed the parking lot. My boots, though gorgeous in the shop window, were not made for the slick black surface beneath my feet. Every few steps reminded me why I always hated those sixth grade roller skating parties. Gritting my teeth I inched towards the rows of faculty vehicles. At the end of the first row, where senior parking began I saw the safety of my Jeep.

"Almost there." I thought as I took in what seemed like miles until my vehicle.

Heavy cotton folds wrapped around my legs making every step that much more dangerous.

"It had to rain on Hippie Day." Water slid over my cheeks as I spoke through clenched teeth. It was no longer the mist I had seen begin during fifth period, it was pouring. My left arm shot out to balance on the invisible safety rail as my feet skidded beneath me again.

I could see the headlines now:

Crazy senior from Winchester Academy careens into faculty vehicles wearing new leather boots on Hippie Day! Student claims boots were protesting the lack of traction on women's shoes!

My lips curled at the thought. It helped that my mind could still find humor after the last seven hours.

Today had been rough. Being President of the New Student Host & Hostess Welcome Committee was normally something I loved. Mostly because for about one month out of the year I get out of classes for a few days to shuttle new students around and introduce them to everyone.

It usually only occurred during August and January. Most parents tried to make transfers as smooth as possible due to the semester shifts. Not this year. It seemed that from August to October had been a new student every few weeks.

Sure, getting to skip classes is fun for a few days; but this year I was actually falling behind with all the extra time I was putting into the new students.

It's my senior year. I should be coasting along, being behind because I want to be not because I am so busy! Sheesh. It should have been easy to just say "Let someone else do it." Well, easy for anyone but me.

I focused on the midnight blue of my Jeep and continued to slide along the pavement.

My mom is the principal, School Hostess gives me extra community credit for college and puts on a good front for her; therefore "Caley can't quit!"


Today had been awful. Four new students and one that had actually arrived two days ago but had failed to meet with the counselor or me to go over the handbooks and schedules. I had stayed late again for the appointment and he had not showed.

It is homecoming week! I should be out with my friends creating memories that I will one day pretend never happened when questioned by my own children about my past. That is what Senior Year is all about - not jerks who feel their time is more important than mine!


The messenger bag soaked on my hip had become heavy even before the water weight but now it was unbearable. I felt the strap dig into my shoulder and winced. I stopped to adjust.

My fingers worked on the buckle, after fighting with the loop for a moment it finally slid out. Focused on tightening the hook and redistributing the weight I didn't hear the footsteps.

"Do you need any help?" At the sound of a voice I dropped the bag and jumped. Two books skidded across the black surface before sinking into a watery abyss and my bag lay haphazardly at my feet. It almost seemed to stare up at me. If it had a mouth it would have said one word: Crap.

Without looking up I hastily bent to grab my things, growling softly in the process. "Why would you sneak up on someone like that? Did you not see me fixing my book bag? Did you not just think to say...." Frustrated with my lack of a real argument I let the sentence drop. I hate to be startled. Control is something I strive to achieve and there is no room for surprises when you are in control.

"Sorry. Here let me help you." His voice came out soft and coaxing.

Large hands reached at the same time mine did for the last book. The folds of my skirt tangled against my thighs as I stretched to grab the spine. The weight of the outfit was too much, the angle of my body wasn't right, the boots were never meant to lift on their toes. Just as all the pieces fell into place I tilted forward. My hands scraped on the pavement and hip bounced against the hard surface; water splashed in my face and towards the intruder.

"Ouch!" The word came out louder than I intended and the pain followed as if on command.

I wanted to cry.
I needed to cry.

All I could do was stare at water flowing down the cracks of my new nemesis: a parking lot.

"Whoa! That had to hurt, are you okay? Um, I am so sorry. Did I bump you? What are you doing here so late?" The questions ran off his tongue as I sat letting the water soak into my bottom and the rain pound against my head. "Do you realize how... fluffy that skirt is?"

At the word fluffy I laughed. I could not help it, the sound just bubbled out.

It was a crazy laugh, the one I get when I pull an all nighter and drink too much soda. My eyes turned towards the hands resting on the knees now sitting beside me. Traveling up his arms I noticed strong shoulders and a broad chest. Slowly I lifted my soaking face to his.

His jawline was hard. Angles that belied the gentle tone of his voice. His lips were in stark contrast with the jaw; full peach lips that dripped with rain water. Instantly I wanted to touch them. To run my fingers along his cheek while kissing him with the rain falling over us.

I swallowed hard.
This was not like me.
I never fantasized.

It took a control that was new to me in order to continue my assessment. My eyes lifted to his and my breath caught. Cool blue eyes met mine. They were the color of a spring sky. Bright, welcoming eyes that promised adventure and warmth. He smiled at me; at once softening the angles of his cheeks and sharpening the hue in his eyes. They shined. My stomach rolled in anticipation.

I forgot the water, the long day and the books.

I no longer cared whether or not the no show new student got his welcome packet.

I only wanted to be the reason he kept smiling.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

That extra character we all deal with when writing...

I received an email yesterday containing the exciting message of a friend on the precipice of reaching the first stage of her writing dream. She is excited, shocked, tired & questioning whether or not this is a good thing or a terrifying thing. The following quote came screeching from my memory and I smiled before typing a response....

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. ~Sylvia Plath

It is self-doubt that we writers encounter every day. Even on those high moments of scene or character development. We worry that our concept won't be cutting edge enough for the masses, we hope that our technique won't get butchered by the literary classicists, we debate point of view, we argue with imaginary characters, we hit delete & backspace sometimes more than a hundred times after only typing two words. We question ourselves over everything in the process, too soon to query, synopsis is too long, the draft too short, the characters are not complex enough...will it be accepted by anyone? Self-doubt can eat us alive.

Sadly it is not like chicken pox and only comes once or twice in life; it stays with us. It waits in the wings for that first rejection and then leaps out screaming "I told you so."

I battle self-doubt every day. Each time I sit down to type or sketch out a story on a piece of paper I feel it. The thoughts of wasting my time or this won't be good slither across my skin. For creative people it rears its head with every idea. My friend is amazing, her concept is new & fun, her personality will make her shine amongst her fans, yet I still saw the doubt in her message. I hope that I replied with the kind of support she needed and if not I at least know that we live in a technologically advanced era that gives us the ability to find it.

A quick click through literary articles on being published & you will see the mounting difficulties that we can face, but then, then all you have to do is peruse my blogroll or look up your favorite authors website. It is then that we realize self-doubt is a pretty promiscuous little disease. It runs rampant through us all, not even caring to stay clear of some of those great writers of today & yesterday. It slips into the agents hand when they take a chance on something new, it fills the CEO's mind when the publishing company decides to print the controversial new book, and the book seller who decides to promote it. But no matter how they progress the disease begins with the writer even before the words hit the page. It is a battle that rages every second of our creative life. But you must realize its promiscuity is what makes it something that can only hang around during a battle, not a war.

Sylvia was right. Self-doubt is the worst enemy that we encounter when being creative. It is in the words leading up to this that I think I understand how she may have dealt with it. "the imagination to improvise" I like to believe that in those four words she is telling me how handle self-doubt. You see, self-doubt, forgets that we are the creative ones. We are the ones that throw the character from the rooftop tumbling to his death; we are the ones that change a rose into a soft, velvet, cluster of crimson petals lying against the hard, wet pavement; we are the ones who bring the lover back to life as her mate chooses to die in her place; we are the ones that find glory in the single word and contentment in a sigh. Self-doubt is something we add to a character as they discover their destiny & it is something they cast aside when the final page is turned. It is a tool, one that occasionally oversteps its bounds. In a sense it is the extra character in every story. The unruly one that you want to smack around...and you can. Take that self-doubt and make it that character, take it off of you and use the emotions that it had you rolling in. Apply them to the hero so that he/she can discover their inner strength, give it to the villain so that they can question their motives, or simply let it watch as you create a world that is uniquely your own. One truth we cannot avoid is self-doubt is going to visit; its going to have a small battle with your will & your creative juices.

But thanks to Sylvia I will always remember that it is my imagination that it is infiltrating & it is only important if I let it be. I can let it on the battlefield, study its techniques... but that is where it ends, the war is mine to win.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Real Post Tomorrow... Promise ;o)

Sorry for the lack of a post since Friday...I have injured my right hand.

Yep. I can type, it just takes a good bit longer than bear with me. I am typing a real post that you will see tomorrow.

For tonight I am pecking away and laughing at my left is excited to get so much attention ;o)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Win the WAKE trilogy SIGNED! via Shannon Messenger!

( picture "stolen" from Shannon's Blog forgive me Shannon ;o) )
Okay the books above are not just there to taunt you at awesome stories...
they are there for you to win!
Yes to win...
of course that is only if I don't get them first!
That's right, the awesome Shannon Messenger has decided to grace us with an amazing on over to her blog...enter... I dare you.
Of course, sure I am a sweet Southern girl, Princess, Royalty, face of my Kingdom...
so yeah, I will give you a run for your money...
oh yeah...
just watch out a cast iron biscuit pan throws a mean punch
or maybe just maybe I get you good...
with sugar & sweet tea & a smile...
take a chance...enter... ;o)
oh yeah ...mention me when you enter... ;o)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Another Great Contest - via The Blog: In Which A Girl Reads!

Check out the blog:

In Which A Girl Reads
She has reached 400 followers...


Her blog is a lot of fun to visit and has been one of my favorites on my blogroll for a while now.
So go ahead, click on the link, enter to win... peruse her site & add her to your favorites...

go ahead...


I was honored with the OVER THE TOP award from Frankie Writes the other day! I have to say that I definitely am Over the at least pretty high maintenance... :o)

Okay so the rules are I have to answer the following questions & pass it on to 5 bloggers...

Your Cell Phone? AWESOME
Your Hair? Long
Your Mother? Gorgeous
Your Father? Warm
Your Favorite Food? PIZZA
Your Dream Last Night? Murder
Your Favorite Drink? Sweet Tea
Your Dream/Goal? Published
What Room Are You In? Kitchen
Your Hobby? drawing/shopping/reading/traveling/ many
Your Fear? Failure
Where Do You See Yourself In Six Years? Happy
Where Were You Last Night? Out
Something That You Aren't? Tall (oh Frankie how I had to put this)
Muffins? Blueberry
Wish List Item? Finish WIP with Pride
Where Did You Grow Up? Rural South
Last Thing You Did? Write
What Are You Wearing? Dress
Your TV? On
Your Pets? Peanut Butter Barr
Friends? Supportive
Your Life? Wonderful
Your Mood? Content
Missing Someone? Friends
Vehicle? JEEP
Something You Aren't Wearing? Watch
Your Favorite Store? Barnes&Noble
Your Favorite Color? Black
When Was The Last Time You Laughed? 15 minutes ago
Last Time You Cried? Yesterday
Your Best Friend? Fantastic
One Place You Go To Over And Over Again? Barnes&Noble (no soy latte Frankie but kick a** rice crispy treat ;o) )
Facebook? Yes but only to snoop
Favorite Place To Eat? Home

Okay Over the Top Blogs:

Karen Amanda Hooper - because her mermaid concept definitely sounds Over the Top & I am loving it!
Shannon Messenger - because her USC lessons are wonderful & the fact that she shares them is just...well.. Over the Top

Mariah Irvin - because, okay lets face it who doesn't love a good Western & her "Jane's Air" sounds wonderful, plus the love for James McAvoy...Over the Top.. ;o)

Sara McClung - because that trailer for "Shattered"... um sensational & Over the Top!

Tracy of A Blissful Life - because I just discovered her blog (thank you Shannon O' ironically it is due to you already giving her this award, but I can't help it..she deserves it!) and I LOVE it! Definitely Over the Top!

So please if you already visit these blogs - bravo! If you don't shame on you & you should start now! Thank you Frankie for such a fun award!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Presenting: Wednesday's Written Word - FLICKER

I have really enjoyed all the blogfests & flash fiction contests that float around BlogLand. Each one has been a nice break from my current WIP (though I missed out on Simon's & Carol's :o( ). College was really the last time I did the short story/flash fiction concept. But now, I remember why our teachers always said that if you like to write and need a good mind exercise then try your hand at flash fiction or short story writing to break up the monotony a large piece can bring you; especially during revision time.

So what better day during a work week is there to write something quick than Wednesday? Wednesday already has the mid point stereotype, it starts with a W, to me its the oddest spelling of the weekdays (n after the d...then the e...*raises eyebrow*) and plus it just sounded like fun.

Okay then from here on the Princess is declaring Wednesday's Written Word as a weekly exercise to be done in her kingdom. Now its I need to post a idea is I just need...forgive me for going into an archive (its from November so not THAT long ago-but if you have read it via email from me, I did make some minor adjustments) but I never posted this on HERE before so....

by C.S. Barr

Bright orange flames dance atop the candles, their shadows move rhythmically against the stone walls in silence. The dark night coats the window panes revealing my reflection as I stand surrounded by the soft light.

A chill runs down my back as I hear the slow footsteps outside the door.

I know that this is it, this moment is the reason I was born. The silence has now disappeared. My heart begins to beat wildly. My ears are filled with the loud, hard pounding in my chest and the footsteps continue to come closer. I know that I should relax, that I should accept my fate. But I cannot stop the fear as it creeps into my bare feet and runs up my body. It reaches my heart and begins its climb into my mind. I worry about pain, about loss, about never knowing what could have been.

Visions flicker in front of my eyes and the window panes are no longer black. Each section becomes a montage of memories. I see myself as a child playing innocently at my home along the riverbank. The young girl I remember does not know fear, she does not know her fate, and she only revels in the sweet smell of honeysuckle and the forbidden game we played along the water.

Quickly the scene moves forward to my first love.

At fourteen I sat beside a boy along the same river. The sky was filled with twinkling stars and the cool breeze seems to stir my hair even now. My heart reminds me of that feeling; the wonder of learning to love and enjoying its innocent pleasures. Laughter and sunlight fill me as stolen moments flicker across my vision.

I see the first kiss and warmth breaks into my fear but before it can fill me the scene moves forward again.

Shimmering water glows against the night sky and now the fear grips my heart in a vice. It is a memory of only one week before. My hair glistens in the moonlight as they lay me on the grass. My guardians stand over me speaking a language that had once defined beauty. I see my eyes close as the guardian leans closer to my face. He kisses my forehead and tells me everything will be as it was meant to be. He straightens and throws a white shining powder along my body. I could feel every piece as it hit my skin. My eyes open and on my chest there is a wreath of rosemary.

I remember the scent as a tear slips down my cheek.

My heart continues to race as the doorknob turns. I want to run, to change my fate but my feet are frozen to the ground. I stare straight ahead as a large man allows a sly grin to cross his face.

He says nothing but steps back for me to exit.

Surprisingly my feet move and I leave the chamber. As the door slams behind I am encased in darkness. At first its startling but then my eyes relax and I see the shapes all around me. Hundreds of figures fill the area. Their silence is forgotten for the sound of my heartbeat. As one they separate allowing me to walk through them. They wear long dark robes identical to mine. There is no break in the lines of bodies; it is as if they became a single organism. In the corner of my eye their heads seem to blend as my feet carry me across the room.

After what seems like forever I reach a stairwell. Two figures stand at its edge. My palms are sweating as they remove the robe I wear. I stand there in a pale white gown of silk with my head bowed. The man who removed me from the room stands behind me and places a rosemary wreath on my head. Again the scent moves me to tears. He does not follow me as I move upward.

Silently I begin the climb. The soft fabric sweeps along the stairs with every step. The stone walls seem to close in on me the higher I climb. I reach the top of the stairs to find a door. The dark chestnut wood reminds me of my home and I smile a little. I reach forward and touch it. Course veins of wood meet the soft skin of my fingers. The grooves remind me of my riverbank and my skin tingles from the connection to something familiar. The large trees that had brought me freedom and comfort as a child rest softly in the recess of my mind.

Daily I would climb quickly to the top and see the world below every chance I could. The gnarled door before me invoked feelings of home. Wood from the trees held me safely above the ground, we used it to keep the house warm and the walls sturdy. I had been taught of its importance.

This element of the earth reminds me that fear is not what controls me. I chose to break the rules. This is my fate. I was destined to make the choices that brought me here. Unexpectedly my heartbeat slows down and I feel the fear loosening its hold.

I straighten my shoulders and reach for the knob.

When it opens I hear the ocean and feel the salty breeze as it licks at my face. The wind seems to be pulling me over the threshold. I step across and the full force of the night hits me.

No longer am I at the river.

The darkness of the chamber no longer blinds me.

The moon shines along steep cliffs of deep blue rock. Swift wind greedily grabs my gown and wraps it around my body. It seems to be waiting; hungry for my soul. No longer can I hear my heartbeat. Though it beats hard against my ribs, it is the sound of crashing waves that fills my mind. I cannot see below but I hear the applause of the sea. The foamy water claps excitedly as I take another step. I feel the edge of the stone now. The ledge was only a few feet in length, long enough for me to understand that distance in all things is irrelevant.

I stare straight ahead knowing the final step is already determined. I see a spark of light fly across the midnight sky and everything stops.

A falling star.

I forget the elements and their demands. In that second I am rewinding the visions from earlier finding the one that is most important. I see it; that day at my riverbank. It is the morning the cycle began.

Hoof beats in the distance told me he was close. I remember the excitement, the anxiousness. We were to leave that day. The fog had been thick and he had been late. Fear of rejection had me thinking he would never arrive. My heart leaped as he stepped from behind our favorite tree. I ran to him. His arms wrapped around me tightly but only for a moment. It was long enough for me to feel the goodbye. I clung to him as he pulled me back and told me that love cannot conquer what I am. I began to shake as I tried to argue. I screamed his name while the tears flowed and he turned away from me.

Then I felt the weight of the limb in my hands as I swung at his back. I felt the blood trickle over my fingers as he lay in the water. I watched the sadness in his eyes as he slipped away forever.

My toes are curled on the edge of the stones. The rosemary wreath has begun to slip on my head. I put my hands out to the sides and look down at the ocean.

They told me that I was destined to change everything.

They told me that it was why I was born.

They told me that I would be the ultimate burden.

My feet feel the open air as I begin to fall.

The wind whips my hair yet I do not scream, I no longer fear the inevitable.

I simply fall, accepting that they were right....

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Girl who Loves to Shop...

LOL. Yes 3 posts one day... by me...wowsers.

The first one about the amazing Maggie's contest was such a blast to put out there! So awesome. Then Princess Bookie (I mean I can never ignore a Royal friend) surprised with her contest as well, so how could I not post more than once? Can you not feel the contest excitement? ;o)

Well on other notes I discovered today an interesting thing about myself: I am sometimes indecisive when shopping.

*BWAH HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA - maniacal laughter of the husband & family members & friends-that already knew this and are laughing at my attempt to feign ignorance*

ahem, yes indecisive... and picky (hush mom ;o) ) I was minding my own business and shopping at Charming Charlies during my lunch break. For those of you unaware of this utterly female store let me explain:

Upon entering Charming Charlie's a a hummingbird cannot compare to the beat of a woman's heart as she gazes at the array of items to covet.

Her wallet crawls to the edge of her purse peeking out at the plethera of jewels, handbags & clothing that will drain it of the money she has hidden deep within the zip pocket.

Her shoes will shed a tear at the realization that they have just become yesterday's favorites to the many shelves of sandals, flip flops & heels that fill the adorable modern store shelving.

Her clothes will be in turmoil...the soft white cotton top will be excited at the prospect of pairing with the sea foam scarf hanging on the back wall, but will shutter to think of how it will end up in the hamper due to the bright yellow blouse that beckons her over.

After the initial shock of the sheer size of the store and its many items her mind rests on the organization of it all. Yes - the store's layout will make you swoon... COLOR CODED. OMG! For someone like me, a bit of a control freak & healthy addict of specific colors, not only is this perfect for my mind to map out but also for me to drink in colors I normally skip.

So as you can imagine I walked in slowly, allowing myself to breathe in the accessories that seem to whisper to me. I itch to search for the perfect items to spend my Valentine's Day giftcard on. Then it happens...the animal is loose!

I move from section to section, finding at least one thing in every one! My feet are quick along the tile floor, I skirt other women as my eyes catch sight of my prey. I smoothly pick up a tunic laid down on a shelf and deftly maneuver carrying three purses & two boxes of shoes. I pile clothes on my arm, not caring about tangled hangers I smile as I march to the dressing room.

I try them on. Select half to look at a second time. Then pair it down to a few items that I absolutely adore...then it happens. I stand in the oversized dressing room looking at a bench and there lay 4 tops, 3 dresses, 1 pair of shoes, 5 purses & some earrings. I CANNOT buy it all it is more than the giftcard amount - I still have books to purchase after work at Home #2 (Barnes&Noble)...HOW DO I CHOOSE??

For a moment I want to just hug each piece. Instead I pick them up and sit on the bench examining each one & its uses. Then after thirty minutes I narrow it down: 2 tops, 2 dresses, no shoes, no earrings - 3 purses...still not where I need to be. I decide to do the annoying thing. Cart it all up to the counter & make that split decision as the total builds on the register.

Yeah, that's me, long blonde hair, blue eyes, turquoise top, black pants, black heels standing at the register biting her lip as the girl begins to ring up my selections.
"Wait." I whisper. She pauses.

I look down at the items, a sigh escapes my lips. "Just these today." I say and bow my head, defeated by that annoying little voice ("Marcus will kill you - you better not get it all!").

A small smile at the one dress, one shirt.

But WAIT! The dress is on sale! The dress is on sale!
She smiles at me and waits as I must choose. OH DEAR LORD! I had just gotten comfortable with the decision! Now I look back at the pile, ask how much my total is... is still under the giftcard amount...a devious grin spreads across my face and I put the purse in front of her.

She nods conspiratorially, that female understanding of shopping.

So yes, I walk out with one shirt, one dress & one new purse... and $0.71 cents left on my giftcard...head held high I step out the door and turn to the right...there is still time to head across the street to B&N...

ANOTHER way to win Linger!!

I am so excited to do a back to back post on ways to win LINGER by Maggie Stiefvater!

Yep you heard me!
Holy Werewolves!


Enter to win a copy of Linger at:

Hurry click on the link, go enter - be like me and help your odds by trying to discover as many ways as possible to win a copy of LINGER!
I cannot wait to hear more from Sam & Grace!


Okay seriously if you have not read Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater you are missing out... not only is it a captivating story it is perfect for this cold winter we are having! Maggie is graciously giving away NINE ARCs - YES NINE!!! OMG! I am holding my breath, saying a little prayer & wishing on all the stars for this one! It does not hit the shelves until JULY!!!

So here are the deets:

Linger Cover LargeIn Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love -- the light and the dark, the warm and the cold -- in a way you will never forget.

Comes out in stores everywhere July 20th. Pre-order here.

Enter to win an advanced review copies of LINGER, Sisters Red, The Dead-Tossed Waves, and The Replacement on Maggie's blog

Remember - go get SHIVER - you will not be disappointed. Be sure to check out her blog too, she has a hellcat named Monkey who likes listening to Audioslave...yeah, you heard me...

Sunday, February 14, 2010


I hope that your Valentine's weekend has been a wonderful one...
Mine was superb:
Valentine's Day the movie & dinner on Friday,
Saturday morning with my husband and dog;
lunch and an American Idol themed birthday party with my niece & nephews;
Karaoke with the kids at the party & in the car;
Percy Jackson with my nieces & nephews Saturday night;
lunch, an afternoon of romantic movies and cuddling with husband & dog;
this was a wonderful Valentine's Day!
Now to continue the evening of great, sappy cinema...
Sweet, good night! This bud of love,
by summer's ripening breath,
May prove a beauteaous flower
when next we meet
Good night, good night!
as sweet repose and rest
Come to thy heart as that within my breast!
Ahhh sweet Juliet... Shakespeare definitely new his love and his tragedy...

Friday, February 12, 2010


Well it is now 12:30 p.m. CST.

Yep. The generator has spoken.

That means that the winners of my contest should be listed here. Right Here. You know, on the screen... the one you are staring at... look hard... where are they? You will just have to wait before I tell you who won...

Well before I direct you, please note: I received some of the most heartwarming, beautiful stories of Valentine's Day acts, mishaps & miracles. They were all so wonderful! I hope that as you each commented you read them...I wish I could just retype them all here, but since they are in the comments I hope others who did not participate will filter through them. I would however like to mention three that brought immediate tears to my eyes -

Awww that is soooo sweet! I want to enter, but I have no experience with valentines day-single girl! It's actually my brother's birthday and the day that my grandfather (whom Im named for) died. So my mom always said that my brother was born that day as her father's way of giving her a gift from beyond. Does that count? I might have to go hug Felix the Frog now and hope he brings me some luck in love.

Frankie - Yours was a valid entry. It was also one of those beautiful silver lining, mother's love, wonderful view of life stories. I smiled when I realized I knew the mystery behind your name but more importantly we all love your blog, your enthusiasm and your obvious good heart. This small snippet told me a great deal about where that comes from. *Give Felix a big KISS!* ;o)

But first, my sweetest Valentine's story...something simple. There are, of course, some really great moments with my husband, but for now, let's go back to second grade. I was a new resident of the US, and I spoke virtually no English. But I was befriended by this little boy who was actually supposed to be in the class ahead of me, but was set back because of his physical disabilities (I still am not quite sure what it was, but he was not able to walk, and sometimes it took him a while to respond verbally). Anyway, it was Valentine's Day, and he brought me the sweetest wooden heart, about the size of my hand, that he and his dad had made with a little looped twine on top so you could hang it from something. On it, it said, "Be my Valentine." And I remember sounding out the words, asking my mum what they meant. But I didn't have to know the words to know that it was special, that it was mine, that it was freely given--and this meant a lot to me because not everyone had been so accepting of me like that. To this day, I hang that wooden heart on my annual Christmas tree. I'll never forget Joel.

Oh my! this brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful story. Love in its purest form. To me it can be so amazing when it is shown in the most simple acts of kindness between children. It was the last two lines that had me beaming. You still have the gift. Beautiful.

We don't celebrate V-day, but I can tell you a great story! On our first date my now husband picked me up from work and took me to a restaurant. He excused himself to use the restroom and was gone for 20 minutes or more. I was very concerned that he may have decided to dump me! He had not brought any cash and this was before debit Visa cards and he did not use credit cards. He had driven down tot he nearest gas station to see if they had an ATM, they didn't. We had already ordered and the food brought to the table by the time he had returned to give me the bad news. Needless to say, I paid for dinner.
It is not over yet! He stopped at an ATM on the way to the movie theater and attempted to pay me back for dinner. We get to the movies and the one we wanted to see had sold out so we saw Zorro (with Antonio Banderas) instead. While eating popcorn and watching the movie my date had to sneeze...with a mouth full of popcorn. The popcorn landed all over me!!
I guess the look of utter horror on his face endeared him to me becuase I couldn't stop laughing! When he dropped me off we made a date to go to a heritage fair the next day. He took my daughter and I and when people told him he had a beautiful daughter he would smile and say thank you, again endearing him to me. Sixteen months later he asked us to marry him, shortly thereafter he adopted my daughter, who is now 17 and she now tells everyone she gets her green eyes from her daddy. I don't need Valentine's Day, I have it every day of the year!

Shawn - wow. This made me laugh then made me cry. It is by far one of the sweetest true stories I have heard in a long time. I am so glad that you laughed and that you accepted his invitation to the fair. But it is how your daughter tells everyone of her eyes that speaks more loudly than just I Love You. What a wonderful life.

Okay so who won... where are the winners...

Oh! Here they are...


1st Prize goes to:


2nd Prize goes to:

LISA AND LAURA!!!!! *throwsheartshapedconfettiwonderingwhichsisterwillwinthebattleofwhokeepsthepurse*YIKES*

Okay ladies please send me your address to following email:


If you get them to me before 5 p.m. CST the prize will ship today, if not then it will go out tomorrow.

CONTEST O'LOVE - ONLY 3.5 Hours left to Enter!



Enter by Noon CST!!

Hurry scroll down & enter!

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Earn extra entries by
+2 Tweeting about this contest
+3 Blogging about this contest
+1 New Follower
*old followers automatically get an extra entry*
Also just for the guys:
If you are a male follower & decide to forego the mentioned female items you have your choice:
$20.00 Gift Certificate to LOWE's or HOME DEPOT or AMAZON or whatever choice you would like that has web access to a gift card... ;o)
In honor of Valentine's Day....please welcome the
Behold the Prizes

Limited Edition, COACH Purse.
"Always the Bridesmaid" by Sarah Webb

Amy's life is not working out the way she always dreamed it would. She's about to turn the dreaded three-o, her career is going nowhere fast and her love life is not exactly flourishing. To make matters worse, while things are falling apart for Amy, they seem to be coming together for everyone else in her life...

Visiting her friend Jodie, Amy finds that she and Jack, the man she once thought she might marry, have spent the night together. Her younger sister Suzi has just arrived home with her "Golden Delicious" Australian fiance in tow and announced their May wedding. And now Amy discovers that her best friend Beth is also planning on tying the knot, and Amy is asked to be a bridesmaid. With a sinking heart, she remembers that old saying: always the bridesmaid, never the bride... Surely it can't be true?
And for the RUNNER UP:

Nicole Miller Purse
What do you do to win these you ask? Oh & fellas you should enter this one, just in case you forget to get her something, one of these just might make up for it ;o)
Well, it just so happens that I love Valentine's Day.
I mean sure I try to show my family & friends how much they mean to me year round, but this day is just full of fun ways to spread the love.
So here is your challenge:

In the comments, please share with me the most memorable Valentine's gift or experience you have ever received or shared.

Pick your brain, go back to Billy's kiss on the cheek on the kindergarten playground or the first long stem read rose you were given or when that certain someone gave you the Oreo half with the cream on it...It can be anything!
I will randomly select the winners.
It's only fair to share mine:

Mine is from my hubby. 4 years ago, the year we were married, he gave me a handmade cutout heart with a cherry heart sucker taped on the inside. In marker he wrote the following words: To the most beautiful woman in the world. Do you love me? Check Yes or No.
I love you.
Yep he is that cute. He also gave me a gift card for a mani-pedi, but it was the card & the fact that he took time to cut it out himself & write the message that made me tear up. I won't ever forget that one.
This is because I will be shipping the prizes (PROMISE) on Friday so that come Monday, the 15th, you will have an extended Valentine's Day.
Open to the US & Canada
Have fun, I anxiously await your comments!

Friday, February 5, 2010

I ran away.....

Not really... but in a way it feels like I have been on some crazy train ride to everywhere these past 13 days...

13 DAYS!! OH MY GOSH! Where have I been? What have I been doing? Where has Gnick the Gnome been? Do I have anything to show for my absence?

eh. Yes & no. After Gnick's first week of all out extravagance we let him cool his jets and just relax. Then we headed off to HOT-LANTA for a weekend of fun! We went over to my sisters and had a wonderful visit. She & I tried on a hundred 1980's style dresses by request of the nieces, bought some pretties, enjoyed some yummy food, got mischievously toasted for a few hours of card games & thoroughly loved every minute!! By the way there are some interesting dresses in this world today...just say'n...

Then this week, oh this week. I have been working the day job hard & heavy but during all the spare time I can find I've been throwing myself into my WIP. Which I must say has been wonderful.

But as I read through some emails, did a little online shopping, enjoyed dinner with a friend, caught up with family, cleaned up my kitchen (it was really bad), finally put the last of the Christmas stuff in the basement, read a chapter from an amazing writer *cough* - wait, not cough - HOLLER *Frankie* HOLLER*happydance*, told Carol that her prize had shipped (YAY!) and realized I had a few boxes in my computer room that need to ship *ahem*2 prizes from December*ahem*sosorry*, I discovered that life is pretty dang good. lol

Seriously, here I am moving through the second month of Twenty-Ten and I am working on a manuscript, visiting family, shopping, having a blast with the hubby, holding contests and all out loving this crazy life.

There are moments when I look around and just grin at the possibilities, then there are the moments where I question which possibility will be right for me. That second, the tiny second of wondering "Am I headed in the right direction? Am I sure? Do I really want to go that route?" is exhilarating. Seriously, it is in those moments that I am most aware of being alive. I get to forge this path or just relax & choose one to follow. What better existence is there?

So as I return to my semi-normal schedule you will see me commenting on your posts, leaving notes on here, being silly, having fun, questioning the big things: "Do i want that Golden Oreo? Oohh, love that bag, do I want to get it myself or leave hints for Marcus?" :o) but most importantly I hope to continue to see a bright & beautiful life all around me (this time of year is when the doldrums usually set in so I am heading them off at the pass!!).

Oh & by the way - in the spirit of LOVE. I am hosting another for it... its a doozie!

P.S. I know you are dying to know: Yep, just popped a Golden Oreo in my mouth...nom nom... lol