Friday, April 29, 2011


So I'm
Totally late
Very useful
Words and

or if I want to stick with my themes next year I might find myself in:

Scotland where I might get a
Tattoo to celebrate the
Writing and
Xerography of my recent creative

This Silliness is probably going too far. I think I only need to write to Y, but since I probably won't be able to write tomorrow I was trying to get ahead of myself. I feel like I kind of failed at the A-Z Blog challenge. School, Work, Step-momming, Wifing, House re-modeling...just kind of overwhelmed me and unfortunately my commitment to my blog had to take a backseat to other things. Only one more quarter of school and then I will be able to spend more time with my more enjoyable endeavors. Until then I just have to do the best I can with what I've got.

I also wanted to remind everyone to check out Mandi's Online Art Festivaland enter for a chance to win a fabulous prize pack that includes music, art and a novel by some great artists.

Thanks all for playing with me this April month!!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

My p's & q's and an R or 2

I got another AWARD! What are the chances? Hooray! I'm a stylish blogger! YAY!

Thank you Lisa at Inspired By Lisa for giving me this award! I feel all sparkly. The award instructions are at the end of this blog as well as the names of those blogs to whom I intend to pay it forward.

P is for Portland.

I love Portland.

Interesting Portland fact, it was almost named Boston!

You can check out other cool things about Portland here!

There are numerous reasons to love Portland, architecture, friendly citizens, excellent running trails, great food, great art scene...but you know why I REALLY love Portland? It's home to Powells Bookstore, if there is heaven on earth this store just might be it for me! Powells Bookstore mixes new and used books and boasts over ONE MILLION books!! I mean can you imagine?! The reading, the fantasy, the endless worlds that are housed within that wonderful store. Let's just take a minute to close our eyes and imagine one million wonderful books.....can you smell the crisp paper, feel the crack of the paperback binding, hear the quiet floosh of a million pages to turn....sigh...I heart Powell's.

Q - is for Quiet.

I thought about looking for a cool place to go that started with the letter Q, but you know what? The only place I really want to be is somewhere quiet. I search fruitlessly for some quiet corner of my house where a kid or a husband can't find me, or even better that I could block out the sound of my name being repeated over and over again because the yeller refuses to acknowledge that I am refusing to be acknowledged. This is why so many mom's have the same idea of a perfect evening. We want to spend one night by ourself in a hotel room, with no TV, no access to phone, access to 24 hour room service and a deep bathtub. Just one night, that's all. Quiet. Silence. Rest.

R- is for reciprocate and rest.

In order to accept this award
To accept the award, you have to do the following

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 10-15 blogs who you think deserve this award.
4. Contact these bloggers and let them know about the award.

7 Things about Moi~

a.) I'm the oldest and shortest sibling in my family. What's up with that?
b.) I'm for SCUBA.
c.) Since I was about 12 I thought the most romantic thing I could possibly do with my life was to travel across the country in a POS truck with my faithful canine companion, experiencing life in different cities and leaving a trail of broken hearts, but never settling down in one place. I know, it's kind of twisted...stop judging me.
d.) I also used to imagine that I would live in San Diego, work with dolphins and drive a mustang. I actually did that.
e.) I used to have a major crush on Orlando Bloom. He's less dreamy now that he's not an elf all the time.
f.) I can play the piano.
g.) I heard the word resilient when I was about 14 and decided that the word was so beautiful that I wanted people to think of me as resilient so I used to repeat the word over and over again to myself.

Paying it forward:

Sheila Scribbles
Dar Writes
Read My Books Lose 10 Pounds
Bat Country
Just Left of Imagnination Avenue
Rotten Mom
Ang Bouma
Palace of 12 Pillars
That's Tarable
My Next 20 Years

And finally R is for resting!

I would like to be somewhere resting. In fact, that's exactly what I am going to do...RIGHT NOW!

Yawn, Stretch... and I'm out...

Monday, April 18, 2011

N-O ... but not NO.

Writing everyday is apparently too complicated for me. Either that or I just prefer doing two letters at once! So first things first...hey guess what?! I won a blog award!! WOo Hoo! First I break 50, then I go onto win an award...big things in store for this wicked woman!! :) Before I get down to the A-Z Business, I want to show off my award..Look Look it is!

Let me just throw another WOO HOO out there...WOO HOO! :) Thank you Deirdra for bestowing this lovely award on my humble blog!

I have been debating what to do about the letters N and O...they work together to form such a wonderful Mom word don't they?... N-O...NO..NO you can't go to bed without brushing your teeth!

No, you can't skip your chores and just watch T.V.
No, we are not having dessert.
No, that is not appropriate for school.
No, we can't just order pizza instead.
No, I don't want to watch Wizards of Waverly Place for family time.
No, No, No, NO! Sometimes I wonder if becoming a mom somehow limits your vocabulary. I get so used to saying no, that sometimes I catch myself saying no, just because it's easier to say no, than to deal with the logistics of yes. Is that just a wicked stepmother thing? I try to say yes to things too, but sometimes it just seems like the questions I get asked have an obvious No answer, and yet the kids ask them anyway. I wish I had been smart enough as a kid to figure out this kid strategy, ask for stupid things for which the answer will always be, no, and then spring a maybe question in there and then the parent will feel guilty about all of the previous no's, and answer yes! Tricky tricky!

Just so you know no (ha ha...know no..get it...)wasn't going to be topic of today's blog, it just came out so nicely. Which actually reminds me of what or where I had originally intended to ramble about. I'll just make it quick so that I can still feel like I stuck to my A-Z Blog Theme.

Next year it would be awful nice to be in Nice. I've never been to Nice but I hear the weather is nice. Nice is nice by the ocean. I'd like to be by the ocean next year, preferably in nice Nice, France, but I'll take whatever ocean I can get.

N is for Nice.
O is for ocean.

Wicked Step-parenting since 2007

Friday, April 15, 2011

M is for Mill Avenue

My mind is a mad jumble of a myriad of marvelous ideas! OH YES! I am totally fired up! I might as well be wearing a pleated mini skirt, letterman's sweater and shaking some pom poms! Are you excited yet?


I am feeling inspired by the letter 'M' today and I want to tell you all about it! Are you ready?


One of my absolute favorite places to go/things to do in Arizona is the Mill Avenue Arts Festival. It comes around twice a year and it takes place in downtown Tempe. I have been going to this festival for about as long as I can remember. Sadly, due to my constantly changing state residence, my visits have been less frequent over the years. When I was in my early 20's I landed a job with the non-profit organization that plans the event, and even though I was a lowly administrative assistant it was one of my favorite places to work. I got to be front and center during the planning and the reviewing of the various artists who had applied for booth space at the event. Over the years the festival has gotten very large and features artists, musicians, fabulous culinary vendors and all kinds of other amazingly talented individuals.

I discovered one of my favorite artists at the festival. Her name is Ora Tamir and over the years I have collected quite a few pieces of her art. I have also given the prints as gifts to family and friends. Here is an example of one of my favorites:

(from Ora's Art website)

I love the fluidity of her work and the colors are so full and rich I feel like I could walk right into her fantasy world.

I was thinking about all the million or more things that I could tell you about the Mill Avenue Arts Festival...and then I thought about a post I wrote a few letters back, which featured a giveaway of an independent folk musician that I enjoy listening to, Michael Salazar. And then it dawned on me, supporting independent artists isn't just about supporting the artists I like, it's about learning about the artists that move you, as well.

You all learn about me on a daily basis, but what opportunity have I made to learn more about you? Not enough I think. Not only will learning about your favorite artists help me to write better for you, but it will increase the audiences of the artists that you support. I have said before we are a community of writers, but we are also a community of readers, listeners, watchers and thinkers. As members of this community we network through each other to get our "stuff" or the "stuff" (highly scientific terminology) of those we admire supported.

And then my brain really started revving up. I thought about my blog friend Sheila at Sheila Scribbles and how she had hosted a "Blog Yard Sale". A brilliant and fun idea! And isn't the A-Z Blog Challenge all about supporting our fellow bloggers and diversifying our experiences? I think yes! How many of my now 50+ followers (still get excited about that) found me through A-Z and how many have I found? The answer is, A-LOT!

And then I had my own stroke of brilliance...what if...I could create my own online Mill Avenue Arts Festival?! And in doing so I could support some of my favorite artists AND yours.

You're still with me right? Because here's where it gets really good!

Here's what it all boils down to, I am changing all of the giveaway rules and beefing up the now named, "Indie Artist Prize Pack"!
What on earth could be in this new brilliant new prize pack you may be asking yourself? Well, that's the beauty of this new game, my hope is that the more people that participate the bigger the prize pack will get! These things are guaranteed to be in the prize pack however;

-Signed copy of 'stories in my head' by Michael Salazar.

-A copy of one of my all time favorite books, The Book of Joby by Mark Ferrari. This book was published by Tor, so it's not "Indie", however, this was Ferrari's first novel and it's such a beautiful story that I think more people should read it!

-A 6.5 X 7.5 lithograph of Aquarius by Ora Tamir.

I have a few other ideas for some bonus prizes and if you would like to promote your own or someone elses work by adding it to the prize pack let me know and we can make the prize pack even more fabulous.

This is how it's going to work:

First, the contest is going to last through the end of April, the last day of the A-Z Blog Challenge will also be the last day to participate in the Mandi's Online Art Festival

Second, you don't have to follow the links of the artists I've mentioned here, that would be nice, and I hope you do, but it's not a giveaway requirement. Since this is about me getting to know you and spreading the word about your favorite artists, authors, bloggers, musicians etc., I want to hear about your faves!

So how do you participate to win this fabulous prize pack?

-Leave me a comment with the name and if you can a link to one of your favorite artists, doesn't matter if they are a musician, author, culinary artist, blogger...whatever, and yes you can promote your own work as well.

That's it.

At the end of the A-Z Challenge I will hold a random drawing of all of the participants Wicked Stepmom style, ie I will make my little steppie draw the name out of a hat. In the blog where the winner is announced I will also compile a list of all of the artists and links to their sites that are mentioned as part of the contest.

And remember...You can't win if you don't play! So leave a comment, and spread the word about Mandi's Online Art Festival and help me give some fun stuff away.



Thursday, April 14, 2011

Kathmandu and Laughter

I'm starting to have a habit of being always one day behind in my letters. I'm sure this wouldn't be such a problem if I would just keep my blogs short like the A-Z Blog Challenge suggests. And yet...I continue to do it my way, I like my way. What's that saying?

"The definition of stupid is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"

And still, I see no future changes. I like to refer to myself as adorably stubborn rather than stupid. But then again referring to myself as adorable kind of negates the adorable and just leaves me with stubborn. Here's to stubborn!

I asked my Facebook and Twitter friends for places that started with the letter K yesterday because I was having a hard time deciding what K place I would like to visit. Ironically, it was the very first reply that I got that reminded me of someplace that I have had a fascination with since...well a long time.

My fascination with Kathmandu was propagated by the watching of a very cheesy but totally endearing movie called, "The Night Train to Kathmandu". Haven't heard of it? That's not all that surprising although Milla Jovavich was in it. The movie is very sweet and full of all sorts of adventure that as a tween seemed entirely plausible and not the least bit corny. The movie involves a prince, an invisible city and a whole bunch of other stuff I don't remember. It was kind of like Brigadoon (another one of my absolute favorites) without the singing and dancing and set in Nepal instead of Scotland. Oh and filled with teenage angst instead of adult angst. I don't think they offer this movie on DVD or I would totally subject my little step-tween to watching it with me! I have to give the little one credit here, she is really good about watching old movies with me. I love Hayley Mills Disney movies and she patiently sat through every single one of them with me, and made me feel good by telling me how great they were. So kudos to the little one for having good taste in movies.

So to wrap up the letter 'K' - Kathmandu, I would like to go there based solely on the memory of a movie that I watched as a 12 year old. Just between you and me, I'd probably spend half of my time there looking for the invisible city...or at least making one up in my head!

And L - Next year whether I'm in Disneyland, Jamaica or Kathmandu I hope I am laughing. And in honor of laughter I would like to share this very funny story with you.

I went to the gym today. It was the first time in 3 months. I was excited to get back and to feel strong enough to get in a good cardio workout. I was going to a writing group at the Starbucks next door after my workout so I showered at the gym and this is where the fun begins.

I get a little weird about bacteria and germs, I'm fairly certain that this is a result of one too many Microbiology classes in my 7 years as an undergrad (that's right I said 7, and nope not a Dr.). So anyway, I have a habit of checking out a couple of shower stalls before choosing one, because I want to have the cleanest stall you know!? I pick my shower stall, it looked pretty good (not that any of them looked's just I like to have the best). I turned on the water and let it run to warm up while I set up my stuff.

Everything was going fine and then I got into the shower. I hadn't been in the shower for more than a minute and a half when the trouble started. I had shampoo in my hair and then out of nowhere the water turned FRIGID, not mildly cooler, not a little cold, like shards of ice flying out of the shower head at my body. I immediately grabbed the shower head to direct it away from me when it POPPED OFF and flew at my head before landing in my hands. SO now the water is jetting out directly at my face in a solid stream of ice, I've got shampoo running down my face into my eyes, I'm holding the shower head in my hands and blindly trying to turn the shower off, while trying not to scream in pain and frustration.

I finally get the water off, I put the shower head back on grabbed my towel and immediately turned on and jumped into the next shower stall without checking it first. As soon as I got into the shower I was in more trouble, the water which had started to warm up was cooling down and forming a small lake at my feet. SO GROSS! I hate standing water, but I'm trying not to be freaked out I just want to get clean, but the water was getting colder and the pool at my feet was getting deeper and all I could think about what the kinds of things that are attracted to standing water. What do I do? I of course turn off the shower jump out and immediately jump into the next stall where wouldn't you know it the hot water works great, the drain is draining and me...I've got no soap, no conditioner, nope not a drop of cleaning solution within 3 shower stalls of me. On the other hand I had hot water, hot water and clean hair. I guess it could have been worse!

Happy Thursday my wonderful readers ~ May your showers be warm, you soap dish be full and your cities full of invisible wonder!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I am Juggling (A.K.A. - I & J)

Okay so I and J are not really for I am Juggling, it's just what I feel like I am doing right now. I don't think that I am doing a particularly fabulous job of it either. I'm dropping balls right and left...OY...could I get an extra clown out here for the juggling act please??

I feel better with that out of the way.

I is for the current and future support of independent artists. I love that just about anywhere you turn you can find some unknown brilliant artists just singing, writing, painting or drawing their hearts out. Maybe that's just because I'm one of them (maybe not quite the brilliant part, but I'm working up to it), but I definitely like to support those independent artists. In honor of that and in honor of the fact that I broke 50 followers this weekend...

*brief pause for the party noises in my head*
woo hoo WOO HOO woo hoo!

I am going to give away a signed CD by an independent musician that I have had the great pleasure of getting to know. His name is Michael Salazar and like me he is from Arizona. He currently lives and works in San Diego. He is a folk/acoustic artist with a great deal of talent and soul. My favorite song on his most recent album is "Goodnight Elizabeth", it's one of those songs that has an emotion for every note and every lyric. Listening to it I found myself getting lost in the musician's thoughts and feelings. I like it when a song does that for me.

**If you followed the link previously it took you to Michael's CD site, the new link will take you to his homepage where you can listen to full versions of songs and learn a little bit more about Michael**

The rules of the giveaway will be posted at the end of the blog...right after a word from the letter J.

J is for many things, but for me mostly J is for JAMAICA Mon! Wait I should rewind...mostly J is for Josh because I love him and he is my one and only for ever and ever. And THEN J is for JAMAICA MON! We recently took a fantabulous albeit late honeymoon to Jamaica and ever since we came home I've been looking for opportunities to go back. Jamaica, Sandals, indulgence, Honeymoon suite, towel art, SUNSHINE, ocean....I don't know if you really really understand just how much I loved being in Jamaica.

Conversations in Jamaica
M: Would it be okay if I got a second dessert?
Server: No Problem Mon!

M: Umm...would you mind if I had an extra appetizer?
Server: No problem mon!

M: Will you open this coconut?
Server: Mon, I will climb up in that tree and get you a fresh coconut!
M: Really? Thank you!
Server: No problem Mon.

M: I can't decide between a cosmopolitan or the white wine, can I have both?
Server: No problem mon! get the idea...oh make me smile (incidentally, a Jamaican Smile was a delicious icy beverage, one of my favorites).

sigh....but enough of that, on with the giveaway!

The Contest and the Rules have changed, to participate in the bigger/better version follow me here!

That's all for now~
Thank you to all of you for taking the time to read my blog, I love all of your comments and encouragement, it always brightens my day!

No Problem Mon!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

H - is for...

So far I have mentioned a whole lot of things/places that I will/want/could/should be doing/going. But today I would like to give homage to something I will absolutely NOT be doing next year.

That's right...


I will not be doing homework next year. And next time I get some wild hair up my rear to better myself through education I hope someone will remind me how difficult I was to live with while I pursued my Masters degree. Because lets face it, this time around I made an attempt to stay on a timely course (7 years for a bachelors degree is apparently an inordinately long amount of time) and I managed to live up to my brainy roots and maintained a 4.0 gpa (yes I'm bragging...but I'm just so stinkin' proud of myself I can't help it). Those two things have made me a little more than a pain to live with and every time I say to Josh, "I can't wait til this is over"! He says back to me, "yeah, you and me BOTH"!

Here's to 15 more weeks of what feels like an educational beating and the light at the end of the tunnel and that heavenly, homework-less place! Hallelujah!

Counting the homework assignments til I'm done,

Friday, April 8, 2011

G is for Gardening

I got a treat today.

Not the chocolate covered kind.

Not the kind that's alcoholic and comes in a box.

Not the kind that fills up my bank account (speaking of which...cross your fingers and toes that all in D.C. goes well tonight or my bank account will have no presents going into it on the 15th)

Nope, I got the wonderful shiny gift of sunshiny shininess.

I took my happy little errr...big butt outside and I gardened and pulled weeds like it was going out of style. It wasn't particularly warm, but every so often I would sit in the same place long enough that the sun's warmth would build up to a nice little kiss on my cheek or my back. I felt the earth between my fingers and inhaled all the wonderful scents that only come from being close to the earth. It reminded me that there are good things in Washington (aside from great friends and super Starbucks dates).

I've rambled about the wonders of Arizona, but there is one thing that sometimes feels impossible to do in AZ, and that's grow something!! OH don't get me wrong things will start to grow, but halfway through a beating summer all of the leaves on the plants have pretty much fried. It doesn't really seem to matter how often you water, it's just never enough. Here in Washington however, EVERYTHING grows. I can't stop things from growing! And for the most part it's pretty awesome. I love watching the leaves of plants push themselves out of the ground or unfurl on the long branch of my blueberry bush. I love the way the air gets so fragrant with blossoms that I could just sit outside and breathe deeply getting lost in the colors of everything I smell.

There is a very real possibility (assuming the government wheels can manage to keep themselves turning...which I know they will) that next year I won't be living in Washington anymore. I don't know where I will be, but wherever it is, I hope I can still find a patch of earth to grow things!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Editland and Final Draft Land

I'm late for E and I've been so distracted that I haven't even decided what to say about F. I'm having Blog failure. :(

I'm just going to start and see where things go.

I talked about the wonderful and magical place called Disneyland, a place that I very much hope to be visiting next year. Now it seems like I should talk about a place maybe a little less happiest place on earthish and a little more, this is the reality of being a writerish. A year from now I hope that I am in that dark and scary writer land known as "editland". (Hope to be there you say...why would you hope to be in such a tumultuous and exhausting place?)As a newbie I have not spent very much time in this most legendary of places. Having not ventured to deeply into this place I have only cautionary tales about writers who went in but never came out. I have developed my own theories about Editland.

I think of Editland like the Jedi training that Luke Skywalker had to undergo before he could be a true Jedi. He had to face challenges and fears and go up against his worst enemies in order to get stronger and come out as a Jedi. Now granted he didn't complete his Jedi training, and maybe this is why he ultimately got his hand lobbed off, which is a cautionary tale in and of itself. Anyway, the point is that Editland is a necessary mastering ground where writers are able to turn their raw talent into jedi bad ass-kicking reading material. Or something like that. Of course everything isn't always rosy after Editland, there are still the challenges of Critiqueland...Queryland...But I'm choosing to think of Editland as the training ground to produce a warrior of Jedi caliber capable of navigating the exhausting trials and tribulations still to come.

I'm skipping some of the in between lands and going right to my F-topic...Final Draft land. I haven't gotten there yet, and the only theory that I have about it is that there will be champagne. I like champagne...therefore I think I will like Final Draft Land.

Whew...all caught up!

May the Force be with you

~Padawan Mandi

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

D = The Happiest Place on Earth


First things first:

I would like to wish everyone a very happy "City of Fallen Angels" Day! The book is now in my hands and I would please like to go unbothered for the next ohh 10-12 hours oughtta do it. :)


Alas, that probably won't happen, which really just means I that I won't be sleeping tonight. Thankfully the hubby is currently waist deep in book 2 of the Hunger Games series, so he might be preoccupied as well!

Right now, I am flustered beyond belief with one of my professors, I won't go into detail, but this is the perfect time to talk about being in the Happiest Place on Earth, one year from now. Heck if I could go there now, I'd sprinkle myself with pixie-dust, sprout some fairy wings and fly into the impossible to see through the cloud cover, Washington sunset.

I WANT TO BE IN DISNEY...(land/world take your pick)

Aside from the obvious reasons to go to a Disney theme park I have a few of my own more unique reasons for wanting to go.

My reasons include but are hardly limited to:

Rebecca. Tiffany, Mickey Mouse, Rainier, a really cute little spade fish, Tanya, Crush, Jackie, the Rockin Roller Coaster, Fantasmic, The Main Street Bakery, Wishes, Illuminations, drinking around the world, and last but not least my former flame Tarzan (your show may have been cancelled but you, your loin cloth and all your goofy roller-blading monkeys will live on forever in my heart....)

I had the fabulous privilege of being employed by a mouse for a several years of my life. My jobs ranged from working in the Main Street Bakery, to operating the Rockin Roller Coaster (and by the way if I tell you your kid is too short to ride the ride it really is for his/her own safety so please don't argue), to SCUBA diving in the 6 million gallon aquarium at the Living Seas EPCOT.

During my tenure I met a wonderful former Navy dolphin named 'Rainier' (he was named after the Mountain in whose shadow I now live), I helped Steven Tyler onto his own ride, and I even made friends with a little spade fish who had lost its tail and rarely ever ventured out of his little hiding place in the aquarium.

I also lived with one of Mickey's very best friends, and fell in love with Tarzan at his show about once a week. And of course there are some of my very best of besties still living and working with and for the mouse.

Going to Disney is a lot like a homecoming for me, so the fact that it's been over 3 years since I have set foot into a park makes me very sad. Maybe one year from now, or maybe even sooner I will find myself back in those familiar magical lands surrounded by some of my most favorite people and characters.

It's funny, I always knew I would go back to my fairy tale kingdom, but I kind of expected to do it as the Princess, not the Wicked Stepmother. Then again I'm also starting to learn that the role of the Wicked Stepmother just might be more interesting than that of the princess! :)

Faith, Trust & Pixidust


Monday, April 4, 2011

C is for Community

Today I am going to follow the assignment directions. I've been up since 5AM and my brain has been bouncing off the darn walls with creativity for my characters (maybe those should have been my C words today)!


You might be asking how does community have anything to do with where the Wicked Stepmother might/could/should/will be a year from now?

You might be wondering the following:

1. Will she have finally fallen off the fence and joined up with the forces of evil?

2. Is there a Wicked Stepmother Community Help Program that she plans to start or join? (Now there's an idea)!

3. Will she have transformed herself into a Good Witch who always does and says the exact right thing?

The answers to those questions are

1. Tempting...but unlikely.

2. Again I say....tempting...but no that's not the community I'm looking at.

3. The Witch part might be true in a year...but then again depending on who you ask it might already be true...Which kind of (remember I said 'kind of') brings me to my point.

I've been thinking a lot about this whole this time next year thing and I keep coming back to the same thought. Anywhere, that I might want to be in a year really starts with where I am right now. In terms of community, I want to continue developing friendships within the writing community. I feel like over the past several months I have discovered a precious treasure trove of writer friends both online and in real life.

When I first made the real deal commitment to myself to fulfill my dream of writing, I really thought that I was going to be on my own. Writing always seemed to be a lone wolf effort. It was something that those of us with overactive imaginations did to keep from driving everyone around us crazy (or that might just have been me). Writing also seemed so big that it was hard to imagine going through the process alone. It was a scary thought. I wondered who would tell me if I wrote crap other than agents? Who would help me to fine tune and sharpen my story ideas? Who would help my with my terrible use of punctuation? It always seemed like such a big effort to take on single handedly.

Until recently, I had no idea that so many of you were out there, sharing so many of the thoughts and feelings that I was also having. And now suddenly, I find myself settling into a community, both online and off and it feels like the right place to be. It is astonishing to me how kind and supportive everyone has been since I introduced myself to the world as a writer. I expected to be laughed out of the blogosphere, I really did. I suppose there is still time for that though.

So that's my C-word, Community. Today, one year from now or ten I hope to always be a member of the writing community and I look forward to building great relationships and hopefully making some future scared newbie writer feel at home in this community.

With many grateful thanks,

P.S. Guess it wasn't as short as I promised...sorry! :)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

B is for Basking in Brilliance...

Did you ever have one of those "I think I misunderstood the assignment" moments? (Kudos and extra points of you can name that movie)

I totally had an A-Z Blog Challenge, assignment misunderstanding.

I was cruising through some A-Z Blogs and I came across one of the host's blogs and it said something along the lines of:

"Keep it short"


Well I wrote a short blog yesterday, but it was most definitely not my Blog Challenge Blog...oops.

I have a tendency to ramble and once I get on a topic I like I just go go's hard to stop. so now I know that I misunderstood the assignment, but I can't guarantee you that I will follow the directions. I have just never been much good at direction following. So I apologize in advance for almost following the directions, but I just can't help myself....

So...on with B...

B is for basking in sunshine. I'm into about the 14th day of rain and oppression in Washington, and this Arizonan is definitely not throwing her hands up in the air in jubilant gratitude. So I devote today's letter B blog to all of the places I could be basking in sunshine next year...

*Starts humming 'come on pretty mama'*...(Don't know you did too)
Boston (not always guaranteed sunshine, but it's gotta be better than WA)

The traveling to these places will of course be sponsored by the massive advance given me by a major publishing company after they fall head over heels in love with my novel and can't wait to get my work out into the mainstream for all to read. (Hey, a girl can dream...can't she?!)

Happy B-day, as in Blogging about B, Day! Or maybe B is for Blogging in which case it would be happy Blogday! Either way have a happy day!

B is for Ba-Bye!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Win Fabulous Prizes

Want to win a book..actually a pair of books? Check out Diana Paz's Blog and fill out the little form. You get your choice of two books in a series. Wake & Fade by Lisa McMann or Wicked Lovely and Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr! Go on ...head over there...what's better than books...except FREE books. Eventually I'm going to do some giveaways on my blog too so it will be good go.. :)

I'm going...I'm clicking here...I'm headed out to win a book or TWO!

A is for Almost Arizona

Welcome to day number one of the A-Z Blog Challenge. I was beginning to wonder if my day one blog would get off of the ground. I almost wrote this in advance, but I almost to do a lot of things. It actually works out better because I have so much more to say than what I had originally had planned. My original plan was to start something like this...

A is for Arizona, my home state, my touchstone, my security blanket. I hope in one year from now I am sitting in my parents living room giggling with my nieces and being scolded by my mother for putting to much strain on my gimpy shoulder.

That was how it was going to start. I was then going to throw in something about how A is for 'Almost' on of the most popular excuses in my household. As in:

M: Did you do your chores?
R: Almost.
M: So you started your chores?
R: Almost.
M: Hmm..What have you almost been doing for the last 45 minutes?
R: I don't know.

Yeah, you know how it goes. Here's an almost conversation with my hubby...

J: Are you asleep?
M: Almost.
J: I wanted to talk to you about something.
M: .....

And just because it isn't fair to pick on everyone else and not give one of my 'Almost' moments:

J: Honey, I know you hate the dentist, but have you made your dentist appointment yet?
M: Almost.

A week later.

J: Did you make your dentist appointment?
M: Almost.
J: Almost won't keep anaerobic bacteria from growing.
M: Eww.
J: Don't you have a degree in Biology? So you didn't do it then?
M: I almost did it yesterday, but I got sidetracked.
J: Promise me you will make the appointment?
M: Okay

A Week later.

J: Did you make your appointment?
M: Almost.
J: You promised.
M: It's on my 'To Do' list!

I really hate the dentist, and it always takes me a good 6 weeks to muster up the courage to make my appointment and then go. I think I must have been almost tortured by a dentist in a former lifetime.

I've derailed, haven't I?

So I wanted to say a little about why I thought I would be in Arizona. It seems like a rather innocuous place to want/could/should/would be in a year. But as I have already told you it's my home. I used to think that Arizona was this miserable barren desert where nothing really interesting ever happened (I was a teenager, isn't that pretty much what we are all supposed to think of our hometown?). It's taken traveling all over the country to realize just how desperately beautiful my home state truly is. Driving through the desert I experience a kind of exquisite loneliness.

It's true that the desert is barren, and that inspires the lonely feeling. But somehow I always feel protected. Surrounded on all sides by mountain chains, I am sealed and comforted. The stoic exterior of the mountains makes me feel like I am enveloped in protective strength. In the middle of the barren desert surrounded by mountains for protection I think that this is where I can fall apart, this is the place where all of my vulnerabilities can be safely exposed. I am alone, but protected, I am safe, I am certain. The mountains are my fortress and everything I need is safe within the valley.

The night is darkest in the desert, but those of you who grew up in a desert know that the desert at night is as unique as anything. My favorite scent for as long as I have been able to remember is the smell of the desert at night. The scent is quiet. If you didn't know to look for it you might miss it. It is the delicate lilting wisp of the desert flowers. They blossom at night protected from the fierce daytime sun. When the sun sinks beyond the mountains they find the courage to blossom and they reveal themselves and all of their beauty to those who are paying attention.

A true Arizonan can smell the rain in the desert before the first drop has hit the thirsty desert floor. We are all thirsty and we know the scent of rain better than anyone else, because we don't take it for granted. The rain makes us dance. Before the first thunderbolt has clapped across the sky we are outside throwing our hands in the air in jubilant gratitude. Rainy days are meant to be exalted in the desert, in that lonely thirsty place where I am, where the deepest parts of my soul will always live and always return.

Arizona is the alpha and omega of who I am. That is why it is the perfect place for me to start my exploration of all of the places I could/should/will be a year from now. Arizona, my family, it's the place that I can always return. It's the place that I know will always be a fountain of courage and my creative resource when I'm parched. The sands of the desert wind through me like veins of gold in a mine. The desert and I are inextricably connected. I would start where my heart started, where it goes for strength and where it will ultimately return.

A is for, while writing this I was Almost in Arizona.