Sunday, May 30, 2010

Something To Look At Sunday - Harry Potter World Photos!

 A few weeks ago, hubs, my dad, and I went to Orlando for some fun at the parks.  We met my grandma there and had a great time (she is 71 and likes roller coasters more than I do!!).  Here are a few pictures from the trip... just for funsies. 

Stitch is one of my favorite Disney characters (probably because I can imitate his voice... lol).  Here he sits in pirate garb on top of the largest Disney store, at Downtown Disney.  He spits water out as you walk by.

The famous ball at Disney's Epcot (our favorite Disney park).  The ride inside of this thing is extremely lame, but the outside makes for interesting photos!

The Universal parks are the big draw to Orlando for my family.  There is the original Universal Studios park, and the "newer" Islands of Adventure.  Both parks are incredible, and there seems to be something new to see every time we visit. 

The last time I was here, this coaster, the Rip Ride Rockit, wasn't even halfway done being built yet.  We actually got to watch them connect a piece of the track... amazing.  Now the coaster is in full swing and it's quite the ride.  That section going straight up in the air, that's where the ride starts.  You are laying flat on your back until you tip over the top and zoom down.   And that first loop... you start going upside down, but are quickly twisted up over the top.  
You get to choose a song to have blasted in your ears, and you can't help but sing along.  At the end of the ride you discover you've been recorded on video the entire time.  Hilarious.

To my disappointment, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter won't open until June 18 (guess I'll have to plan another trip!), but I did get to take some photos.  Here is Hogwarts Castle, which houses the super secret new attraction.  I can't wait to learn what it is.

Another view of Hogwarts.  Seriously... there's no way to describe to you how massive this structure is.  You can see it from the City Walk before you even enter the park.

Here is a photo of Hogsmeade.  It's incredible to see a villiage so near and dear to our reader hearts come to life.  Absolutely amazing.  The snow even glistens in the sunlight!!!

The entrance to Hogsmeade.

Here is evidence that it's still under construction.  Sigh.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the glimpse into the upcoming attraction!  I can't wait for it to open!

Happy Sunday!!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Three (Blogging) Musketeers!

You all know I've been sourly stinky at keeping up with the blogging world lately, so some of you may already know this, but I just had to share officially.  

Blogging friend DL, over at Cruising Altitude, awarded Kimberly Franklin, Kristi Chestnutt, and myself, with


Thank you SO much DL... seriously, it's like, magically you knew that the three of us are inseparable (even though we haven't actually met...) and we email all day, everyday.  You ROCK!!

Happy Memorial weekend everyone!!  Be safe and don't forget that sunscreen (this means you, dear hubby)!!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Not another funk...

I feel like I'm letting all my blogging buddies down.  I have been soooo slacking on blog reading, commenting, posting, writing....  I'm seriously missing all of you, but I'm having issues prioritizing at the moment. I'm very behind in critiques for one of my groups (I apologize again, fair ladies), I keep having to pay late fees on my library books... hubs has said several times this past week that he doesn't understand what kind of mood I'm in (I'm sorry...)... I don't understand it either. 

I know lately I've been extremely distressed about body image (as you all know from the previous post), and trying on bathing suits (I'm determined to swim laps several days a week this summer) today was mortifying... yet I managed to supress a melt-down.  I also wonder if the foods I've stopped eating have anything to do with it...  Can avoiding foods you're used to eating make you cranky??  I mean, yes I'm avoiding dairy, but I am taking a calcium supplement for that... and I make sure to eat fresh fruits and veggies every day, and plenty of protein... so I don't know if I'm still missing something (is there a "happy" vitamin?), or if my subconscious is just really mad that I'm not eating cheese or sweets....  haha.

I've decided to ease back into skim milk again.  I miss it so much... and I think a healthy-ish cereal is a better choice over the pastries I've been reaching for... I just don't feel like making eggs (or eating them) between 6-7 am.... makes me want to GAG! 

Anyway, this was just a rant.  You've all been so encouraging to me, I don't want you for a second to think I'm reaching out for even more.  I just wanted to put the disclaimer out there, that I'm in yet another funk, and I've been MIA on your blogs.... I apologize, and I will try to make amends ASAP.

On a happier note, I'm getting great responses to the first section of my YA WIP, Anemone! That should perk me up to keep going at it... right?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Is There a Sign on My Forehead?

Maybe some little sprite affixed a sign to my forehead that says "I'm already down. Please make me feel worse about myself."

Who on EARTH asks you to your face if you are pregnant?  WHO does that?!  Within the past year, I've had two people say something to me.  The one last year was flat out "Are you pregnant?" to which I, no doubt looking horrified, answered, "No way."  Then she tried to cover her rear by saying I just had that "glow."  Really?  You ever heard of the sun?  And from the time I had met her to when she asked me, I had maybe gained 5 pounds over the course of a year... (the first year of my cubicle job... mmhmm)
Then yesterday this other lady, ALREADY turning red before she even speaks, says, "Did I overhear you saying you were buying paternity clothes?"  Okay, first of all, what are "paternity clothes"?  And second, if she means clothes for a baby boy, how the HECK does she think I look pregnant enough to even know what I'm having. And third, I was NOT talking about any sort of clothes regarding said mythical unborn child. 
I almost had a meltdown.  Hubs, as well as several friends, have reassured me that I in no way look pregnant and those people are off their nut.  Nice try, but the damage has been done. 

It's not only dangerous from a "you could be completely offending their self-image" standpoint, but they have no clue what I have or haven't been through.  My best friend had a miscarriage last year, and several days later, a friend had emailed her to catch up and asked comedically casually "So, are you pregnant yet?"  Bad move.  This sent her spinning deeper into mourning and she couldn't talk to that friend for a while.  It was a relatively innocent question, but you never know, and you should be careful about potentially sensitive subjects like that.

All that being said, I was angry that I already had plans last night and they did not involve working out.  But TODAY!  That will be a much better story.  I will channel this negative energy from misunderstandings by way of idiocy (that's a little harsh... but deserved at the moment) into the second wind of my health kick, and I shall adopt my strategies I planned to introduce in June, effective immediately.  These being no candy and a dramatic cut-back in wheat products (In addition to the continuity of May's strategies: limited dairy and no eating after 7:30pm which have both actually been going quite well). 

There were a lot of health related New Year's resolutions out there this year.  How are y'all coming on those?  I pretty much weigh the same as I did January 1, unfortunately. But hey, at least the scale isn't going the other way.  And we still have over half a year left!!! 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lost part 2

It's finally OVER!!

We had a nice family gathering, complete with candles surrounded by sand and seashells, and about 20 feet of black tulle that spread across the length of the living room, draped across a doorway, zooming past the TV and wrapping around into the other room, to signify the Black Smoke, of course!

I still have plenty of questions about this series, so I plan to watch from the beginning sometime this year to see what I can catch now that it's all done. 

Why was Walt so special they kidnapped him back in the day?

Why did they give Jack a son in the "flash sideways" if they were all dead?

Why didn't Jack say, "Protect this hole in the ground with light coming out of it?  That's STUPID!"?  Seriously, why didn't anyone freak out about the sci-fi-ness of the island's ways just a LITTLE.  It was like, Oh, you need a new protector for the island?  Ok, I'll give up my life for this island without asking any pertinent questions. 

Why didn't the actors tell the writers, "Dudes... this dialogue is total cheese."?

I hear there are lots of yet to be released scenes on the DVD, so fingers crossed it answers a few more questions.  It's a bittersweet moment... for 6 years I've been looking forward to new episodes, and now there are none.  I was still in college when it started... now I've been married for 3.5 years already.... Time flies!

Sigh.  It was fun while it lasted.  Can't wait to see what other projects are in store for the actors.   

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The End of Lost

They've stolen 6 years of our lives, so what's 6 more hours... Seriously, triple check your DVR for tonight because the Lost insanity is just that.... insanity.  Don't forget to record Jimmy Kimmel after the news, too!  (Surely I will be asleep by then... some people have to work on Monday)

I am SO ready for this show to be over over over.  The last couple of episodes have been sourly disappointing and I'm not even batting an eye when a character dies now.  

Nevertheless, my family and I are sending off Lost in style, complete with a Luau themed dinner.  It's been fun, but I'm ready to say so long.  I'm not even going to GUESS what's going to happen because I have a feeling any idea I have would be better than what's actually going to play out. haha. All I can figure though, Jack is now the new Jacob, so maybe Sawyer will die (my heart can't take that one...) and the Man in Black will take over Sawyer's body like he did Locke.  Other than that... I'm just going to wait and see. It hurts my brain just thinking about it.   

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Character Dialects and Accents

Character dialects/accents/drawls can be tricky.  You want your character to feel native to their surroundings, or obviously not native, but how do you balance the clues? 

One project of mine (currently shelved), is set in Texas, mostly because it's where I'm from and I'm comfortable describing it.  I wanted one of my characters to really come across southern--a real country boy--but one of my beta readers commented that my replacing the -ing at the end of words with -in' drove her crazy.  She said, just say he's southern, we'll get it. Describe his drawl... use a word or two characteristic to the south... etc. 

I've read some stories with major dialect infused in the dialogue, and it didn't bother me.  To me, it got the point across, and kept in my mind that this is the way the character sounds.  As long it's consistent throughout the book, I didn't mind.  But I took what this trusted beta reader said as a law, and quickly amended all of that characters dialogue... and I can't even remember if I fully explained elsewhere about his drawl.  And now I don't like the idea that future readers would take it as if this character is actually saying words like "looking" or "fixing to" completely, because he's not........

What's your take on the written dialect or accent issue?  If your character has one of note, do you incorporate it into the dialogue, or just mention it and hope the reader remembers?  

Friday, May 14, 2010

Guilty Pleasures

Any of you into The Vampire Diaries?  If you aren't, I promise it's NOTHING like Twilight (though also a Guilty Pleasure of mine).  If you are... could you BELIEVE that season finale?? SO GOOD!  I'll probably watch the season over again this summer when it comes out on DVD, also a good idea for those of you who skipped out on this series.  It's worth it.


Another show I've watched for the past what, six years?, is LOST.  With two episodes left, the ending can't come soon enough.  I've been sourly disappointed in the past few episodes, ESPECIALLY this week's.  I thought I had the TV on the wrong channel and was watching a bad Sci-Fi movie. I'm just ready for them to end it.


Hubs and I have been watching Friday Night Lights, and it has something for both of us.  Football and man things for him, and teen drama for me!  It's seriously good.  We just finished season 1 and are an episode or two into season 2.  Love it!


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

From my YA WIP, "Anemone"

I stepped off the bus into the warm sunshine and waved goodbye to the guys as they walked toward their street. The bench caught my eye, almost glowing with its emptiness. I slung my messenger bag over my shoulder and turned to head home.

As the roar of the bus faded behind me, I heard a hesitant voice.


I turned again and saw Reagan sitting in the same spot as this morning, wearing the same clothes. Her eyes looked worried.

“Where did you come from?” I asked.

“Here. You walked right past me.”

I raised an eyebrow and laughed. “Okay. Where are the cameras?”

“This isn’t a joke, Brady,” she said in a raised voice. There was that anxious vibe again, emanating off of her like steam.

I sat next to her with a mock stern look. “Because if I’m going to end up on some reality show, I feel like I should comb my hair or something.” That made her smile. “There it is.” I smiled back.

Monday, May 10, 2010

And the Winner is...

Congrats!  You've won a signed copy of Kristi Chestnutt's The Wolf Within!!

Please e-mail me at kristinrae023 at gmail dot com and tell me where you'd like it sent!

Her entry:

"I'm trying to tell you that I'm different, and it's not safe for you to be around me."
"I don't care what you are. I'm in love, I tell you. Love!"
"You don't understand! I'm a I give up. What hasn't been done?"

So very wonderfully done!  I loved reading all of the hilarious cheese! Thanks so much to everyone for participating!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Giveaway Reminder, and Other Things

Here is a reminder that my now 202+ Follower Giveaway ends TOMORROW!  Up for grabs is a signed copy of our blogging friend Kristi Chestnutt's The Wolf Within!

Enter on this thread HERE
(Blogger has been majorly stinking it up lately, so if that link doesn't work, there is one on my sidebar)

And speaking of sidebars!!  If you haven't checked out my Etsy store yet, please do!  I only have three photographs listed at the moment, but I've got more coming in from the lab on Monday, so by mid next week I should have more!  Thanks for the feedback I've gotten so far.  Even though I still haven't gotten any bites yet, I still feel excited about this venture.  I'm still learning how to promote the store, so if any of you have Etsy stores, please share what you do to promote yours :)

I've started a MAJOR health kick again, this time, it's going to stick.  I can feel it.  I've stopped buying dairy. That's right.  No milk in the house, no cheese... It's hard, but I figure if I don't eat it at home (and that's mostly where I eat), I will be cutting back dramatically.  Of course, I will still allow myself the occasional pizza and frozen yogurt treat (because it's freaking hot outside... I live in TEXAS for crying out loud), but that's about it.  I plan to try this for at least a month and see how it does.  This isn't for allergy reasons, this is for weight loss reasons.  I drink a LOT of skim milk... and the commercials say it helps weight loss... well, apparently I have one of those bodies that didn't take that claim seriously.  It LAUGHS at those commercials and says, "Oh yeah?!  Well watch THIS!" and poof, lets tack a muffin onto her hips! 

Anyway, I know you've all seen me declare a health kick several times this year alone, but this one will stick I tell you.  It MUST.  (And we thank you for your patience).

Happy Saturday!!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Etsy Store is UP!!

The day has finally come!!

I've opened my Etsy store!!

As of this blog post, I only have two listings.  I'm learning as I go, so I'm sure I'll soon discover short cuts to make listing faster and easier.

Please check it out and let me know what you think!!

or click the link in my sidebar.

And spread the word!!!!


April in Review... Hello May!

I've been a little silent lately, and I apologize.  I just got back into town last night, so I have a lot of blog catching up to do!  I will post some photos of my trip soon (just regular photos for funsies... I didn't bring the "good" camera. lol).

Don't forget to enter my giveaway! Link is on my sidebar! Ends this Sunday!

How was your April?  Hard to believe another month has come and gone, right?

Somehow, I only managed to read three books in April, which is a significant decrease from last month.  I hope to do better in May.

April Books:

The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen *4/5
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld *4/5
Sea Change by Aimee Friedman *4/5


Prom Nights From Hell by Meg Cabot, Kim Harrison, Michelle Jaffe, Stephenie Meyer, Lauren Myracle
I read a short story and a half out of this and felt like I was wasting my time, so I brought it back to the library.  It just wasn't interesting enough to hold my attention.

Words Read in April: 986
Words YTD: 5740