January 29, 2016

Chuggin' coffee, slappin' the keyboard, and hoping for the best. How do you write? #wip #amwriting #TGIF

Friday Feed . . . Doing things and stuff.

Call me Karen. (writing words)

This was one of those just-keep-writing-crap-for-the-sake-of-writing weeks. Well, okay, not really crap, more like the words were molasses in my brain. Took forever for them to pour out. But, they did. WOOT. Crossed over the 20k word mark and am at page 83. Feeling excited and slightly nervous, cos I'm not sure what is coming next. I do pretty much know the ending, so that's a big PLUS.

Also, got my edits back from my ahhmazing freelance editor (Danielle Fine) for my tooth fairy story. Thankfully, the plot has smoothed out a ton, but it still needs work. It'll get there though. I started on the edits earlier in the week, but I'm too in the writing mode to switch to editing... So, for now, I shall work on writing my middle grade.

Luke, I am your mother. (kiddo corner)

This week has been a busy one. Grocery shopping (holy crap, Walmart is basically purgatory), trying new recipes (and nailing them, btw), story time at the library (wherein Lukey tried to lift someone's keys from their purse), killin' myself--uh, it--at the gym, TWO playdates for Lukey, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Pix for your viewing pleasure . . . 

Just keep swimming. (all the randomness) 

Finished watching both seasons of Dead Like Me. Despite it being canceled suddenly, they did an excellent job of ending the show. I miss George already. Just hope to not see her any time soon...if ya know what I mean. Spoiler alert: She's a grim reaper. Tried to watch the movie, and it's just meh. They replaced one of the main characters with a different actress, and she just pisses me off. Let's be honest. lol Sooo, I'll finish watching that tonight.

BONUS: My local RWA chapter is having our annual conference on 5 March in Williamsburg, VA. So if you can make it, come on out. More info here.

Enjoy my Friday Feed? Here's more to delight you.


Still downloading Windows 10 . . . karen

January 26, 2016

Lost the toddler? Check the cupboards! Hiding. The new peek-a-boo. #AmazonPrime #childproof #TryItTuesday

Try It Tuesday . . . Wherein I review things and stuff.

Does your kitchen floor look like a culinary graveyard? Pots and pans marking the spots of fallen Cheerios?

Now it can be an unmarked Cheerio graveyard.

Three cheers for toddler* proofing.

*because babies can't open cabinets

Today's product: Kiscords Baby Safety Cabinet Lock

Where to find: Basically you know where I shop... Amazon
Average cost: $7.99
Lasts: A long time

Karen's rating: 

These cabinet locks are FAN-freaking-TASTIC They've kept our super-strong 16-month-old locked out. The locks are soo easy to install (no tools required). Plus, they don't damage your cabinet doors, and they're portable. 

BONUS: Looking for locks for your drawers? These have been wonderful. (Definitely FIVE balloons.) Easy installation and removal (not portable though). Check them out here

How do you baby/toddler proof? What say you?


Wanna see more red balloons go by? Thought so. Check out my previous reviews*
*Reviews are my own opinions, I am not paid to promote any items.


Stepping on Cheerios since 2015 . . . karen

January 25, 2016

This is the post you're looking for... Star Wars on writing. #MondayMotivation #writetip

Monday Motivation . . . Writerly things and stuff.

I came across this post many, many moons ago. In a galaxy far, far away...well, on the internets. Anywho, I loved the points made about what Star Wars can teach us about writing and wanted to share. I've summed bits of it up for ya, but you will wanna check out Writer's Digest for the full post by James Duncan. 

1. Even the Death Star Had a Weak Spot. 

I loved James' take on this. As writers, we struggle to find time between family, friends, kids, pets, day jobs, life in general in order to get the words on the page. And sometimes those words aren't what we hoped for. Matter-of-fact, it could be worse... We could have writer's block, or as James' calls it, the Death Star of writing. I love this because it's true. The Death Star had a weakness. And whatever problem we're facing with our writing there is always a hidden solution.

But sometimes you can’t see the solution no matter how hard you try, so remember…

2. You Can’t Always Be Your Own Hero 

It's true. Do you think Luke blew up that space station by himself? Nope. He had Obi-Wan Kenobi telling him all about the Force. Han Solo was all ready, aim, fire on the enemy so that Luke could do what he had to do. 

James recommends finding your own Obi-Wan. Someone who can offer support and push you to constantly be better. But also have a Han Solo, someone who isn't a writer and will be able to offer honest, constructive criticism. 

3. Get In That Trash Compactor 

This one, struggle with I do. It's easy to say and soo hard to do. Jump into your work-in-progress no matter the smell. Sometimes things aren't going as planned, or there are grammatical errors, or you can't quite phrase something the way you'd like...keep going. Writing means getting dirty. If you don't keep at it then you'll never type The End. So dive in.

4. It’s Not Wise To Upset a Wookie. They’ve Been Known To Pull People’s Arms Off. 

Definitely good advice. Be careful when you base fictional characters on real people, especially if they're family or friends. They will most likely see themselves in the story, and if it's in a negative light you don't want to offend them or end up in a civil suit. EEP. James suggests combining personality traits into one character. Check out his post for more helpful tips, cos let's face it...we don't wanna lose an arm.

5. I have a really bad feeling about this.

"Most major Star Wars characters have uttered this quotable line, and it’s always true." Go with your gut. If you feel like something isn't working, then it probably isn't. This can be tough, especially if you think an entire chapter or story thread isn't working and you have to delete, delete, delete. But in the end it will make you and your story stronger. This may, however, require a great deal of Force. (bwahaha) Just sayin.

6. Welcome to Mos Eisley

Love this. James recommends finding your own Mos Eisley. A place outside of your comfort zone. Someplace with vivid people and lots of excitement. A great place to draw visual and dialogue resources just by people-watching...you know, stalker-mode. But you gotta check out his post to see his Mos Eisley suggestions. 

7. The Force vs. Tricks & Nonsense

This is your freebie cos it's just awesome. 

And I quote:

Ben Kenobi: Remember, a Jedi can feel the Force flowing through him.

Luke Skywalker: You mean it controls your actions?

Kenobi: Partially, but it also obeys your commands.

[Luke gets shot by the remote.]

Han Solo: [laughs] Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.

Skywalker: You don’t believe in the Force, do you?

Solo: Kid, I’ve flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything to make me believe there’s one all-powerful Force controlling everything. There’s no mystical energy field that controls my destiny. Anyway, it’s all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense.

In this scene in Star Wars: A New Hope, we see the philosophical dichotomy within this group of heroes. You have the idealistic and solemn believers, and you have the gritty, fun-loving, tricks-and-nonsense crowd. I think the same goes for writing. There are a lot of factions, but the only way to really make an impact, just like in the movie, is to combine those two sides into one.

Writing is a holy thing. It’s the ancient skill of conveying ideas, beliefs, mores, happenings, and entertainment from one person to another, or from one person to millions. It makes us feel godlike, and it’s vital to everything we’ve ever accomplished in human history. Excellence in literature should be respected, pursued with diligence and reverence, and held on a pedestal to be admired.

But just like life in Han Solo’s world, everything about writing is made up of simple tricks and nonsense. If you can’t maneuver the there/their/they’re game, forget it, you’ll be called out as a hack. You’ve got to know the nuts & bolts, the nitty gritty, the hands-on skills, and understand how to play the games to find yourself on the successful side of publishing. But you’ve got to have fun doing it too, and scoff at the rules from time to time. If you do the same thing as everyone else, just as you’re told, you’ll never find your own voice. You need to fly from one side of the galaxy to another with wild abandon, and you need to go through this writing life as if you have a bounty on your head—never stop working, never stop trying new genres, never stop reading, learning, writing.

And of course, you need some…

8. Luck

Sometimes we have to make our own luck. Take a chance. Put yourself out there. As a writer and a introvert, I'd much rather stay on the Millennium Falcon than try to save a planet...because what if I fail? But you'll never know until you give it a fighting chance.

And most importantly, don't forget...

Want some more motivation? Who doesn't? Check out my other Monday posts.

Flying through space . . . karen

January 22, 2016

Writing words, cleaning up oatmeal, seeing dead people. *shrugs* All in a week's work! #FridayFeed #WIP

Friday Feed . . . Doing things and stuff.

Call me Karen. (writing words)

You know how sometimes you have just-keep-writing-crap-for-the-sake-of-writing days and then somewhere along the way you have fantastic-awesome-all-the-feels-good-writing days? Well, I'm happy to say, this week has been full of the latter. 

It's definitely not always like that, but when it is, it's important to savor it. Wrap it up in your arms and squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. Mmmm...

I'm so truly, madly, deeply in love with this story. Now you're thinking Savage Garden...when was the last time that happened, am I right? 

Anyway. There are plenty of crap days out there. But when the awesome ones come around, enjoy them. 

Writing, for me, really is about the journey.

Luke, I am your mother. (kiddo corner)

This week I went to check out a church preschool that an acquaintance recommended. Really liked the director, the program, and am thinking it'd be fun for Lukey to get his social butterfly on. So when he's two, he might be packing his little bookbag and heading to preschool for a couple hours, twice a week. 

Pix for your viewing pleasure . . . 

Just keep swimming. (all the randomness) 

I'm obsessed with the show Dead Like Me. It's like grim reapers are part of a supernatural temp-agency. Really well scripted and acted. (Is there a book series it was based on??) Have you watched it? But it leads me to this question... How, HOW, is there only TWO seasons?? While The Vampire Diaries is seriously on like season a thousand?? 

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, the next Fever book is out. HOLLA. My FAVE urban fantasy series. Love me some Karen Marie Moning. She's so talented!

Enjoy my Friday Feed? Here's more to delight you.


Stepping on Legos . . . karen

January 19, 2016

Cozy, comfy, cheap. The three Cs of sock shopping. #AmazonPrime #productreview #Snoozies

Try It Tuesday . . . Wherein I review things and stuff.

Warmth + Style = Perfect mates

I heart Snoozies.

Today's product: Snoozies foot coverings 

Where to find: I've been given a pair for Christmas and purchased a pair, both from Amazon. But I've seen them all up on the interwebs.

Average cost: $10.99 to $12.99 (Found a pair, size Small, on sale for $7.99 at Hanes.)

Lasts: Depends on how often you wear/wash them. (I'm going on day 21 of daily wearing the ones I received as a gift--no washing yet for this pair.)

Karen's rating: 

Snoozies are like the fuzziest-most-softest-sock-ever meets a bedroom slipper, only uber flexible and slip-proof.

Note FOUR red balloons go by: This is due to the fact that the sizing was off. I wear a US size 9 shoe, which the Snooize chart suggested I get a size Large. That was wayyy too big--even after washing them. A Medium was a perfect fit. They do stretch out a tiny bit after a couple wears, and they will shrink a tad after washing them.

Have you slipped on a pair? What say you?

Wanna see more red balloons go by? Thought so. Check out my previous reviews*

*Reviews are my own opinions, I am not paid to promote any items.


Click your heels together three times . . . karen

January 18, 2016

A pantser, a plotter, and a psychic walk into a library... #writemotivation #amwriting #WIP

Monday Motivation . . . Writerly things and stuff.

Are you a pantser or a plotter? Or some kind of hybrid, like me? Sometimes being a writer makes me feel like a psychic looking into a crystal ball. I can see bits and pieces but not the entire picture.

When I'm really lucky, I can see the opening scene and the ending. But, let's face it, my luck ain't that great. Ha. So, I have to either wing it or try and plot it.

Depending on my mood and the personality of the story I'm writing, I'll know how to get started and maintain momentum.

Most of the time I have an overall idea for a story. A hook, if you will. Then, the characters will either whisper sweet nothings in my ear, or I have to go diggin' around in the deep, dark, crevices of my fertile mind for the little darlings.

Once I have a glimpse at the character's goal, motivation, and conflict I start writing. Flyin' by the seat of my pants, baby.

Around chapter three, I yank out my handy dandy plot structure chart by Michael Hauge. Love him, btw. Normally, this ignites more ideas, and the picture in my crystal ball becomes a little less fuzzy.

Sometimes, I really wish I could be the Queen of Plotting Land, but, that's just not me. And ya know what? That's okay.

There's no right or wrong way to eat a Reese's--I mean, write a book. Same thing.

How do you do it?

Want some more motivation? Who doesn't? Check out my other Monday posts.


Fueled by coffee and brownies . . . karen

January 15, 2016

*sings* I will, I will, write you. And other legendary things I did this week. Go ahead, click that link. #amwriting

Friday Feed . . . Doing things and stuff.

Call me Karen. (writing words)

Crossed over the 10k word mark in my work-in-progress on Tuesday! Started writing this book mid-December of last year. So, so, sooo very excited about it. I'm being uber secretive with this one, because top secret stuff is top secret. Tease. Yup, I know. Bwahaha

Just wish I could write as fast as Jim Carey in this GIF. LOL Oh well. I am happy to report that meeting my daily word count is going well. I've actually gone over it on a couple days. Yay!

Luke, I am your mother. (kiddo corner)

Because I know you've been waiting with baited breath, Lukey's diaper rash has finally cleared up! Phew. Let's hope that doesn't happen again (wishful thinking). 

He is currently trying to use his words more. We always tell the #demonpup (Rusty) goodnight before bed, and on the way up the stairs Lukey turns back, waves, and says: Nigh, nigh, Russy. Cue the feels. All of them. :D

Pix for your viewing pleasure . . . 

Reading is FUN

Just keep swimming. (all the randomness)

Got over 100K page views on my blog this week! Whaa?? Super pumped. 

Been a busy week for this bee. In between all the usual work-at-home mom things (AKA cleaning, cooking, finding lost items), I've been blogging, taking care of a sickly Hubs (had a cold but is better now), writing all the words, brunching with friends (cos you know that one is suuuuch a chore), going to the toddler reading program at the library, and hosting TWO playdates. It's been a productive week, if I do say so myself. 

In order to unwind I dashed out and bought some colored pencils and markers, cos this gal is gettin' her coloring on. Oh yeah, baby. How else does one adult?


Friends is gonna have a reunion episode on the 21st of February. WOWZA. I know. Check it out.

Ohhh times two. Do you read theSkimm?

What is it? Glad you asked.

It's "the daily e-mail newsletter that gives you everything you need to start your day. We do the reading for you and break down the latest news and information with fresh editorial content."

That's a mouthful. Basically, it's world news summed up in a hilariously tactful way. Cos let's face it...the news can be pretty dark, depressing, and oh-my-gawd-that-is-happening-what-why-FML most of the time.

Anywho, be like me, sign-up for the daily email. It's how I start my mornings. And coffee, of course.

Enjoy my Friday Feed? Here's more to delight you.


Waiting for the sleeping dragon to awaken . . . karen

January 12, 2016

It's hot. It's hot. It's hot in here. There must be a noodle in the atmosphere. Delicious, baby. #productreview

Try It Tuesday . . . Wherein I review things and stuff.

I'm all about food. Looking at it. Talking about it. Eating it.

So naturally, I was interested when the Hubs said he'd ordered a box of fancy ramen noodles. 

My first thought though was: Um, I ate ramen in college, and it was less than mediocre. But then! we got them two days later in the mail (via magic AKA Amazon Prime) and OMG, new addiction. Yeah, I eat them for lunch at least five times a week.

Today's product: Nongshim Shin Ramyun Black Noodle Soup (that's a mouthful)

Where to find it: I've only purchased them on Amazon, but I'm sure the interwebs can locate them elsewhere.

Average cost: $2.42 per bag or $.53 per ounce

Lasts: Depends on how many you eat per day

Karen's rating: 

So why is it so cool??? Welllll, it's HOT actually. (Couldn't resist.) Anyway, hot AND spicy. The brand has a medium-ish heat level also. But I digress. They taste amazing! I add avocado, frozen peas, corn, and these little cilantro/chicken dumplings to mine because yum. They are delish au naturel though too.

Have you tried it? What say you?

Wanna see more red balloons go by? Thought so. Check out my previous reviews!

Let them eat soup . . . karen