Archive for February, 2013

Aunt Janet and Uncle BillThree months ago my Great Uncle Bill suddenly passed away. His wife had had a massive stroke and was in the hospital under supervision. Uncle Bill went downstairs to get something out of his car when he collapsed in the parking lot. Despite still being near the hospital, no one could help him. He died right then and there. I can’t say it was much of a surprise. He was 78 years old and had struggled with heart conditions for a while.

Last week, on Friday, my Great Aunt Janet passed away, following in Uncle Bill’s footsteps. She had Alzheimer’s, and coupling that with the stroke and a bout of pneumonia, we knew it wouldn’t be too much longer.

But I’m not here to pine away about the loss of two people who were, quite literally, the pillars of my family. My family isn’t good at crying. We’re not good at sharing feelings. We’re not good at taking situations seriously. We laugh loudly and obnoxiously. We crack jokes during inappropriate times. We heal by remembering the good times, not focusing on the sad ones.

So, I want to tell you a love story. I want to tell you about my aunt and uncle. I want to share with you the wonder and amazement and brilliance that they brought to my life, in the hopes that, although they’re gone, their love can help others.

I’m not a mushy person. I’ll take an action movie over a rom-com any day of the week. I don’t like getting cards and flowers on Valentine’s Day. I don’t believe in love at first sight. Heck, I barely believe in True Love. Not the kind of fairytales, at least. Life just doesn’t work that way.

But if there was one couple, one pair of people on this entire planet, that could make me believe in True Love, it would be my Aunt Janet and Uncle Bill.

Aunt Janet was a fire-cracker. She was just a few years younger than my uncle and had fiery red hair. It was all natural, of course. She didn’t dye it. No, not once. 😉 She was as Irish as they came. Thick brogue and a sense of humor that could bring you to tears. She always acted younger than she was. And she loved unconditionally. She was a beautiful person.

Uncle Bill was a bit more laid back. He was an army man back in the day. He was tall, well built, and had a sort of aura about him that commanded your attention. But he wasn’t intimidating. He was like a second grandfather to me. He was the type of person that always asked you how you were and actually wanted to know the answer. He always had a minute to spare. He always listened, and listened well. And he loved unconditionally. He was a beautiful person, too.

My aunt and uncle met in America, shortly after my aunt came in from Ireland. I’m not sure of the exact story. I don’t need to know. The details are unimportant, though I do know it was love at first sight for my uncle. What is important, however, is that they were married for 51 years. They had two wonderful children, many grandchildren, and even a few great grandchildren. I’m sure they had their ups and downs, just like everyone else. It’s normal, but that doesn’t make their relationship any less perfect.

My uncle always said that once my aunt went, he wanted to follow right after her. There would be no point in living in this world without his soul mate. Every time I saw him, he would turn back to look at Aunt Janet and say, “I love her so much. I’m so lucky.” After 51 years of marriage, how many people still had that kind of relationship? In my family, unfortunately, it’s next to zero. We don’t have much luck there. But Aunt Janet and Uncle Bill defy the odds.

Aunt Janet was something else. She always had something witty to say, some wise crack and a wink in her arsenal. Even after she started getting Alzheimer’s, she didn’t change. Sure, she was a little quieter, and she’d repeat herself every now and then, but she was still Aunt Janet.

Aunt Janet: “Do you have a boyfriend?”

Me: *blushes* “No.”

Aunt Janet: “Smart girl.” *winks*

Ten minutes later…

Aunt Janet: “Do you have a boyfriend?”

Me: *blushes* “No.”

Aunt Janet: “Smart girl.” *winks*

My running joke was that at least she was consistent.

Uncle Bill worried a lot. He loved her so much, and she loved him right back. It was tough near the end, and in a way I’m glad they’re both gone, because wherever they are now, at least they’re together. They led a long, strong, beautiful, loving life. My family is a lot to handle, and considering they were the leaders of the family on my mother’s side for quite a few years, they did a pretty good job.

The biggest lesson they taught me, something that I’ll never forget, is to just love. It’s easy. It’s simple. It’s freeing. Just love. Everything will work out in the end. Everything will fall into place. It’s corny and silly and cliché, but all you need is love.

Because without it, everything else is meaningless.

But with it, you can do anything. You can defy the odds. Nothing can hold you back.

I hope that, however long I end up being on this Earth, I have just a tiny fraction of the happiness they had while they were here.

In loving memory of Aunt Janet and Uncle Bill.

You will be loved, forever and always. RIP.

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My initial plan for today was to give you guys a run down on what I thought of The Host. However, that plan was quickly laid to rest when I found out we’re embargoed, even after being told something different at the event.

Bummer.

So, instead, I’ve got another featured video for you guys. I usually try not to do them back-to-back like this, but this one is so beautiful and powerful I couldn’t pass it up. I came across it thanks to the ever-fabulous Kait Nolan, who posted it on Friday.

This resonates with me, not as someone who got bullied, but as someone who was often neglected in school. I was always one step out of sync with everyone else, and although it usually didn’t bother me, I can’t say that I never wished, for once, that one of the popular kids would invite me to sit with them at lunch.

I’m much more confident today than I was back then, and that simply came from accepting I was different. From being proud that I wasn’t the same as everyone else. That I had higher aspirations and an outlook that meant I never quite saw things the same way as my peers.

I hope this poem and video helps other people realize they are who they are, and the sooner they accept that, the better off they’ll be.

Please share it with someone you think will appreciate it.

ROW80LogocopyAs the title indicates, I got nothing done this week. Again.

But, unlike last week, I’m totally fine with that. I actually got a little bit of a break on Thursday and Friday (see List of Awesome), and spent the first part of the week preparing for that.

So, in my eyes, it was well worth not getting anything done. And I also feel like I’m at a point now where I can get back into my routine. Better late than never, right?

Main Goals

  1. Write or edit every day. 0/7 Nothing for this week, though I did manage to blog three times, which is a definite win in my book.
  2. Read every day. 0/7 I’ve been too busy and too tired to read recently, but I want to get through Beautiful Creatures and into something else and SOON.
  3. Exercise twice a week. 0/2 Too busy and too distracted, but I’m definitely looking to remedy this for this week.

Bonus Goals

  1. Rewrite chapter 1 of L1. Nope.
  2. Keep writing W2. Nope.
  3. Update my contests doc. Nope.

List of Awesome

  1. I went to Philly and met up with two of my Hypable co-workers (for the first time, no less) to see a pre-screening of The Host. We also went to a book signing by Stephenie Meyer, and the two main guys (Max Irons and Jake Abel) were there as well. It was a great experience, and the most fun I’ve had in a long time. I think I enjoyed just being with two of my fellow staffers more than the movie and the signing, ha!
  2. I got some pretty fantastic news while I was away, which made those two days infinitely better. You want to know what it is? Well, do ya? Okay. …I’M GOING TO SAN DIEGO COMIC CON AFTER ALL. With a little bit of finagling, Andrew (Hypable co-owner) was able to squeeze me in. I was all just like, OMG ASDFGKJBNFGH!!!1!!! To say I was excited was an understatement. MY CALIFORNIA DREAMS ARE NOT CRUSHED, YOU GUYS!!
  3. The third and final episode of Prime Asset is live! Check out C.G. Cooper’s latest creation.
  4. Christopher Stocking is putting his first book of the London Darkness series, Infernal Inventions, on sale FOR FREE. Go check it out. What have you got to lose!?
  5. Hypable is going to be at the Oscars tonight! The lucky son of a gun Jimmy Bean is going to knock it out of the park. If you’re interested, just hop onto Hypable.com tonight and check out all our coverage. It’ll knock your socks off.

Points and Words

Each of my main goals gets FIVE POINTS. Bonus goals get TEN POINTS if they’re completed.

  • Week 1 – 95 points
  • Week 2 – 100 points
  • Week 3 – 50 points
  • Week 4 – 90 points
  • Week 5 – 60 points
  • Week 6 – 10 points
  • Week 7 – 0 points

This week I wrote:

  • Week 1 – 8,284 words
  • Week 2 – 13,697 words
  • Week 3 – 5,365 words
  • Week 4 – 9,310 words
  • Week 5 – 2,777 words
  • Week 6 – 0 words
  • Week 7 – 0 words

That brings my total words for the year up to: 48,256 words written since January 1, 2013

Did you get any good news this week? Share!

What I wouldn’t give to play ONE of these instruments HALF as well as she does.

Do you ever feel like some people are just too talented for their own good?

Forest of the Forsaken by Joanne BrothwellAnother quick book recommendation for you guys. This one is called Forest of the Forsaken by Joanne Brothwell. She’s a self-pub author and this book is…it’s just fantastic. Trust me.

It’s a modern retelling of Hansel and Gretel, but it’s not just a different spin on an old tale. She takes the most basic concepts of the story and incorporates them into something completely different. You can feel the basis for the original in there, but overall it looks completely different.

The book is sexy and thrilling and exciting and funny. It’s full of characters that have tragic pasts and are so well written that they leap off the page and into your room to act out the scenes in front of you. It’s scary and exciting, and there are a couple of great twists as well.

However, note that this book is not for the faint of heart. She classifies it as New Adult, but it is borderline erotica. The great part about this is that these scenes support the story – they don’t overtake it. Yeah, there’s sex. And yeah, there’s adult material. But the plot – the story – is always at the forefront. And that’s what makes it an excellent book.

Here’s the description:

Forbidden love. Buried secrets. The ultimate betrayal.

Following her mother’s death to cancer, Meg’s world crashes in around her. Her father re-marries within weeks of their loss, her step-mother is cold and rejecting, and her new step-brother, Joey, has some rather unusual sexual preferences. Meg’s only hope is to move away and leave her father and the dark memories behind.

When her father forces her to attend his honeymoon with this new and unwanted blended family, Meg finds herself in the remote wilderness of the Rocky Mountains, miles from civilization. Meg begins to see things in the forbidding forest—strange, unexplainable things she believes are the result of compounding stress. But when her father and step-mother disappear, leaving Meg and Joey to fend for themselves, lost and without supplies, she realizes her terrifying visions are not merely her imagination after all.

Will Meg and Joey find their way back to civilization? Or will they submit to the darkness within the Forest of the Forsaken?

In this eerie, erotic adaptation of Hansel and Gretel, the fairy tale ending may be far from happy.

You can check the book out on Amazon. If you do end up buying it and reading it, please remember to leave her a review! That makes or breaks self-pubbers, and I know she’d really appreciate it.

Let me know what you guys think of it as well. I have a feeling some of you will really love this. (And it’s not just me! My friend bought it after my recommendation, and she really enjoyed it as well.)

It’s been a while since I did a post in my Rising Stars series, but this is one for the history books. Thanks to Kaitlin Branch and this post, I came across the wonderful, talented, beautiful, and brilliant Lindsey Sterling.

To say I went from zero to obsessed in six seconds is an understatement.

Lindsey takes music to a whole new level. Yes, she plays the violin, but it’s fun. It’s upbeat. It isn’t classical music. It’s hip-hop and dubstep. It’s something beautifully different. Her videos are gorgeous, she’s a wonderful dancer (yes, she dances while she plays), and she’s a nerd to boot.

There’s literally no reason not to love her.

Here’s my favorite song. Yes, yes it has zombies. But I promise I like the music more than the video. (But the video is pretty flipping sweet too.)


 
Doesn’t that just make you want to get up and dance!?

These are original songs by Lindsey, and most of the time she plays a large part in putting together the videos too. She gets people to help her – makeup artists and directors – but she’s very hands on. Sometimes she’s even the one that edits the videos. She did this one:


 
I wish I had found her sooner, as she’s got a massive following and her videos hit well into the millions. And for good reason, as they’re all well done and appeal to a lot of different types of people. Plus she’s got nearly fifty of them online – including behind the scenes vids and tutorials. She’s one cool chica.

I never find a new artist and then go download their CD. I’m actually pretty picky about what I put on my iPod, and I tend to listen to the same songs I’ve listened to for years. But I bought her CD immediately. She’s just that good. And her music is perfect for writing – no words, but fun and upbeat.

I’ll leave you with a final video before I beg you to watch the rest of them and then subscribe to her YouTube channel. You won’t be sorry.


 
Website
Twitter
Facebook
YouTube Channel
Tour Information

Have you heard of Lindsey before? If so, what’s your favorite song? If you’re just discovering her, what do you think!?

ROW80LogocopyThis week was just…blah.

I didn’t get anything done, except a whole lot of editing on other people’s stories. Productive, I guess, but not for my own personal goals.

I didn’t even blog once this week. Le sigh.

Oh, and my California dreams have been crushed. No San Diego Comic Con for me this year. *lip quiver*

Main Goals

  1. Write or edit every day. 0/7 Writing? What’s writing? Do I even remember what my story is about at this point?
  2. Read every day. 1/7 Still reading Beautiful Creatures, but I haven’t picked it up since Tuesday.
  3. Exercise twice a week. 1/2 After feeling like someone took a baseball bat to my legs last week, I finally got around to exercising…once.

Bonus Goals

  1. Rewrite chapter 1 of L1. Nope.
  2. Keep writing W2. Nope.
  3. Update my contests doc. Nope.

List of Awesome

I really wanted to forgo even putting up a list of awesome this week, but that’s not how I roll. Seeing as this post is already pretty depressing to look at, I figured I should try to do something to infuse it with my usual positivity.

  1. Next week I’m travelling to Philly to meet up with a couple of my fellow Hypable staffers. We’re going to see a pre-screening of The Host and go to a book signing with Stephenie Meyer. The two male leads will also be there to sign posters.
  2. I’ve been podcasting like crazy. Last night we talked about none other than Firefly. Yeah, epic awesomeness coming to Hypable soon.
  3. One of my friends picked up a copy of Forest of the Forsaken after I recommended it, and she liked it a lot! So don’t just take my word for it. 😉 (And this week I promise I’ll do up the post about it I said I would do last week.)

Points and Words

Each of my main goals gets FIVE POINTS. Bonus goals get TEN POINTS if they’re completed.

  • Week 1 – 95 points
  • Week 2 – 100 points
  • Week 3 – 50 points
  • Week 4 – 90 points
  • Week 5 – 60 points
  • Week 6 – 10 points

This week I wrote:

  • Week 1 – 8,284 words
  • Week 2 – 13,697 words
  • Week 3 – 5,365 words
  • Week 4 – 9,310 words
  • Week 5 – 2,777 words
  • Week 6 – 0 words

That brings my total words for the year up to: 48,256 words written since January 1, 2013

How do you pick yourself back up after a week of getting absolutely nothing done?