Category Archives: Misc

One little way we can help

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A very good friend of mine stumbled upon this campaign, through Facebook, to donate baby carriers to Syrian refugees landing in Greece.

We’ve all seen the horrible pictures, and many of us (myself included) have lost sleep wondering what in the world we can do to help. I can only imagine how terrified and alone these parents must feel trekking across Europe, clutching the ONLY things that matter in their arms, desperate for a miracle. If not for themselves, then for their children.

As the mother of a fiercely independent toddler, I see these people as super heroes — both from a physical standpoint (the last time I had a limber back was in 2013) and an emotional one. (Just try explaining to a cranky toddler why she can’t get down … or cuddle in her bed … or eat …) Continue reading

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How Quickly the World Can Change

News on book 3 and a diary entry

I’ve never been the queen of social media. Not as a teenager. Not as a mother. Not even as an author, though I understand its importance and make an adequate effort to do my part. But even for me, my online presence over the past few months has been horrible. I only wish I had a happier reason why.

I WISH I could say that I was busy celebrating my 32nd birthday. Or getting lost in my third book. Or enjoying my first Christmas with my beautiful baby girl. But the truth is that I spent the holidays half blind (literally) and terrified.

It started with what seemed to be a tiny smudge on my contact lens — only when the contact lens came out, the smudge didn’t leave along with it. I didn’t think much of it at first. I was just tired … or had run into a very persistent speck of dust. Surely, it would disappear in a day or two, just as mysteriously as it had come.

Over those next few days, however, the smudge ballooned into a thick gray curtain that blocked out half my world. Through the afflicted eye, I couldn’t see my husband’s hand one centimeter in front of my face. I couldn’t see the bright red numbers on my bedside clock, even with my nosed pressed up against the glass. I clung to my daughter every second, terrified that the loss of sight would become permanent … or spread to my other eye as well … ending my life just when it was truly beginning. Continue reading

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Filed under Desperately Ever After, Home & Family, Misc, Writing Process

Holiday e-books and an autographed postcard to announce your gift

With Thanksgiving on Thursday and the infamous Black Friday coming right on its heels, it’s almost time to start assembling our holiday gift lists. What’ll it be this year? New slippers for mom? Golf gloves for dad? Three dozen ping pong balls for your college-age brother? (No paddles needed.)

Or how about a thoughtful selection of books you’ve chosen specifically for them? A selection you just know would replace their iPhone during the morning commute or fly to the top of the list on their Kindles.

Since you’re reading this, I’m probably preaching to the choir. But the right book isn’t just a pile of pages with an interesting graphic on the front. The right book can give someone an unforgettable adventure, make them fall in love, introduce them to lifelong friends, or change everything they thought they knew about, well, everything. Continue reading

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Best Halloween films for wussies (like me!)

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have a confession to make. I’m a wuss. Not when it comes to roller coasters, thrill rides, or soaring around Hawaii in a doorless helicopter, mind you. But put me in a haunted house and I might clock some poor 15-year-old “zombie” in the jaw … while screaming at the top of my lungs and flinging metal props to aid in my escape.

Yet despite all that, I love Halloween. I love the colors, the fanfare, and the ability to embrace some inner wild side for a day and not care what anyone thinks. (So yes, the same reason your nice muffin-baking neighbor is reading 50 Shades of Grey … again.) That said, I could do without the psychopaths in hockey masks. And the pea soup vomit. And the creepy  children with long black hair who move like spiders and climb out from abandoned wells.

That’s why my top Halloween movies* are the fun-creepy kind. The kind you watch with friends, quote at random times, and follow with a good night’s sleep. They aren’t necessarily for kids — just kids at heart. So grab a bowl of candy corn, pick a number, and enjoy:

1. HOCUS POCUS

Why: I’ve never forgotten that sizzling rendition of “I Put a Spell on You.” The bully situation is SO early ’90s (he calls the hero “Hollywood” and is somewhat obsessed with his sneakers). It has the only CAT I’ve ever actually liked. I still want dress up as part of the Sanderson trio someday (any volunteers?). And Bette Midler’s lips in this are just, like, Wow.

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2. THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS

Why: It’s a musical for people who detest musicals. It’s extremely clever. It takes two polar opposite holidays and fits them together perfectly. There’s something about Tim Burton. And the animation is entertaining on its own.


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3. THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW

Why: Tim Curry in fishnet stockings and a bustier. Plus, the Time Warp is extremely catchy; you’ve been warned.

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What’s Your Patronus?

There’s never a bad time for Harry Potter, in my opinion, but October has got to be the best. With neighborhood lawns already filling up with witches, ghosts, goblins, and all sorts of spooky … what better time for a Patronus Charm?

Thanks to M’s Bookshelf and  Sky’s Book Corner for finding this neat little quiz that predicts what your unique magical guardian would look like. A cat? A horse? A phoenix? I apparently share the latter with Dumbledore. Can’t go wrong with that!

Click here to find out yours!

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Once Upon a Time returns!

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(Warning: This post may contain spoilers from season 3!)

Summer may be the season of leisure, but there’s something truly magical about autumn. The kaleidoscopic carpet of red and yellow leaves. The smell of stripped earth. The early sunsets. The brisk nights. And the return of our favorite TV shows.

This year, however, winter descends early as the fourth season of Once Upon a Time returns with a new face in tow: Elsa from Disney’s hit film, Frozen. Will the cursed Snow Queen play a villain? A hero? A romantic rival to the long-awaited and much-celebrated “Captain Swan?”

What’s more, will the Evil Queen slide right back into her old ways now that her flame’s wife is back? Now that yet another “happily ever after” has been yanked from her grasp?

Many questions hung in the air as season 3 ended in May. Thankfully, the answers will finally start coming tonight!

Reminder: The drawing for a Once Upon a Time DVD (season 1) and a signed copy of Damsels in Distress (Book 2 in the Desperately Ever After series) ends at midnight (EST) Sunday, September 28. Click here to enter

 

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Yes, there is good in the world

Despite my résumé, I’m not a huge fan of today’s media. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying there aren’t loads of wonderful, ethical, idealistic journalists out there who want to make a real difference in people’s lives. In truth, this is probably the case more often than not, but they’re usually not the people who hold the purse strings. And those who do, unfortunately, seem to believe that sensationalized violence sells better. That evil should be slapped under a microscope and analyzed and theorized and replayed and dissected to the point where it’s absurd. That the monsters deserve more attention than the martyrs … because human beings are innately fearful … and that is an easy quality to exploit.

But I could go on about this forever and get nowhere. (As many, many others have done.) So instead, I’d like to share some of the sites I found last weekend, after I wiped CNN from my bookmarks and went on a search for “positive” news. They might just help you remember that for every horrible thing that happens in the world, there are a million other reasons to smile.

1. The Good News Network: This site gathers stories from around the globe. In addition to categorizing its stories by region, the Good News Network also makes it easy to find whatever your aura needs at the moment–be it cute pets, a good laugh, or a hero. Continue reading

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Do you believe in 398.2?

While browsing around Etsy the other day, I stumbled upon a necklace that bore these words: “I still believe in 398.2.” Naturally, having no idea what this meant, I immediately opened up a new tab and Googled it.

Now, “I still believe in 398.2” is one of my favorite sayings. It ranks just under “Live like there’s no midnight,” a Cinderella reference that I partially credit for both the name of this blog and a key scene in Desperately Ever After. The number 398.2 corresponds to the folktales, fairytales, and fables section of the library. Thank you, Dewey Decimal.*

The pendant above, offered by Newartpendants, is just one of many iterations of this saying. Check out more offerings here. Perhaps you deserve an end-of-summer treat?

*Yes, I know the founder of this system was Melvil Dewey, not Dewey Decimal. But the latter sounds so much more fun 😉

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The Giver hits Hollywood

Watch this for thirty seconds and tell me what immediately comes to mind.

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Can you say “Katniss?” Just trade Meryl Streep for Donald Sutherland and throw in a few mockingjays. The guy who plays Jonas even looks like his last name should be Hutcherson-Hemsworth!

When I heard Hollywood was making a film adaptation of The Giver, my reaction was part excitement but far more fear. Why? Because as I explain on The Love of a Good Book this week, The Giver is sacred.

giverI’ve read Lois Lowry’s masterpiece three times so far and worn my copy to the bone. (The picture at right can attest to this, though I blame the torn cover on my brothers!) The first time, I was probably about twelve years old. And while I enjoyed the story about the colorless, dystopian world that assigned marriages and careers like theatre seats, I only understood a fraction of what I would five years down the road … and again four years after that.

Assigned to read it once in middle school, once in high school, and once in college, you might think I’d be bored of the story by now. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Instead, I’ve always reached “the end” amazed that I missed so much in the past. The story seems to be constantly evolving–revealing new connections and emotions and “ah” moments depending on my current state of mind or stage in life. To me, that is the sign of a really phenomenal book. Continue reading

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Disney Couples Therapy

Infidelity. Secrets. Problems with the in-laws. A sex life on the rocks. Oh, and fairy tales. Sound familiar?

Yes, this description fully applies to Desperately Ever After. But it’s also the premise of a series of short videos called Disney Couples Therapy.

The three-minute clips show Disney’s versions of Sleeping Beauty, Belle, the Little Mermaid, and Snow White hashing it out with their romantic counterparts well down the road. They are downright hopeless compared to Desperately Ever After, and show only the couples (no girl talk here!), but fans of the book series may find them clever and definitely worth a laugh.

It’s perfect timing too, because Damsels in Distress (D.E.A. book #2) actually has a marriage counseling scene between Sleeping Beauty and her husband. Look for that August 20. But in the meantime, exercise your funny bone for a few minutes and enjoy these clips:


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