Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Eating Blues

Let me start this blog by saying I don't diet. Ever. I hate the word, and I hate what it stands for--deprivation. I love food far too much to ever deprive myself of it. Which is laughable, because I have so many food allergies and intolerances, my body has decided to deprive me of enjoying them instead.

I'm allergic to gluten. That's a big one. It's in every processed food you can imagine, and many you wouldn't think about--soda, dressings, anything in a box, chicken, latte syrup, medication and even body products like lotions and makeup. I'm a real drag to go out with because there are very few places I can eat. No beer (which is okay, because I hated it before I knew I was allergic to it), no pizza, no pasta, no fresh-baked breads. Those things I miss.

I also have an intolerance to dairy, broccoli, kiwi, and most other grains. The latest is corn. When your body won't tolerate most grains--including the ones normally used as a gluten substitute--guess what you're left with? Lean protein, nuts and seeds, veggies, fruit, and water. Everything nutritionists say we're supposed to eat.

I crave a cinnamon rolls and ice cream desperately. Corn chowder or pizza. I'd love to go out to dinner with my husband, or enjoy a pastry at a coffee shop. Instead I have to spend hours each week getting creative with modifying recipes. I have to make excuses to well meaning friends and family who want to help, but just don't have a clue how or what I can eat. Some days I don't either. I'd love to eat their cookies/pasta/bread/homemade ice cream, but I can't.

To make matters worse, two of my three kids have the same food issues along with a few of their own. School is a nightmare. I've made more than one teacher mad after blowing a gasket because they gave my child a treat that made her sick. Birthday parties and family get togethers are horribly stressful. Some relatives even try to sneak food to my kids when I'm not looking. It's a tough thing to live with. And let me also say we're very thankful to not be deathly allergic to these foods. My heart goes out to families who deal with the threat of anaphylactic shock.

I love eating healthy. This isn't much different than how I was eating before. But I miss the occasional treat. A lot. I'd love to have the luxury of cheating on a cookie or scone. Or half a pizza. When I hear someone complain about their current diet, I have to bite my tongue. Hard. I wish I could savor a cheat meal without getting sick.

Ah, well... I can't change it, so I roll with it. I'm currently in love with my crock pot. I throw in a bunch of stuff I can eat, add my fave herbs and spices, and I can trick myself into believing it's a cheat meal. Sure it's a far cry from Chinese take out or a juicy burger, but I'll take what I can get. My next goal is to find someone to do the dishes. *winks*

What's your biggest food complaint?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Things You Should Never Say To A Writer

Until I became a writer, I had no idea how mysterious the profession was for non-writers. For the most part, I'm happy to answer questions. I try to be gracious, but there are always a few people who throw out the most bizarre comments/questions you could imagine. They always take me by surprise, but I've crafted my responses to actual comments below with a little tongue-in-cheek humor:

1) How much do you make? I think this one makes the list for obvious reasons. I will happily tell you what I make if you'd like to whip out your tax returns from the last three years along with your debt to income ratio, current credit card statements, and balance of your checking and saving accounts. What? You don't want to because that's too personal? Huh. Go figure.

2) Will you use me as a character? No. Because you're not that interesting. None of us are. That's why I write fiction. As I've mentioned previously, the only exception to this is if you make me angry.

3) It must be so nice to work from home. Um...sometimes it is. Actually go ahead and say this to a writer. Unless they have a day job, which most do. If that's the case, you should say, "Wow, you find time to write on top of a 40 hour a week job? That's amazing." Because it really is. Please don't follow it with anything related to ignoring their children.

4 & 5) Publishing must be easy, right? Followed quickly by, I should write a book. Sure it's easy. For those of us who can write. Just like singing is easy for those who have an amazing set of pipes. Or being a first draft NBA pick is easy for guys with phenomenal basketball skills. Writers work hard to master the art of story telling. Anyone who tells you it's easy is a liar.

6) Can't you stop writing long enough for the BBQ (movie/camping trip/meeting/etc.)? Absolutely. As soon as you clear it with my editor, publisher, publicist, and the other people waiting for me to make my deadline. Also, next time you have a big project due at work, I want you to skip it so we can get a mani/pedi and a latte. Sound good?

7) Said with a sneer, You write romance (urban fantasy/YA/books about Bigfoot)? Why yes, I do. Tell me again why you sell nuts and screws for a living/sit on a tractor/make sandwiches/defend criminals/answer phones/draw blood? To each their own, my friend.

8) Will you recommend my book to your agent/editor/publisher? Nope. For two reasons. First, I have no idea how well or how poorly you write. When you ask me for a recommendation, you're asking me to put my reputation on the line. Second, published writers busted their butts to get where they are. Earn your own stripes. I'll happily recommend books and websites for you to get started.

9) Can I have a copy of your book? Of course. Feel free to purchase it at the nearest bookstore or online. I appreciate your support. Oh, you wanted a free copy? Wow, so do I. Guess we're both out of luck. Wait, don't you work on a car lot? How about I'll buy you a copy of my book, and you get me a newer car. Deal?

10) How do you do your research? *wink, nudge* My ideas and research are all done via immaculate conception, of course. Wait, that's not a real thing in writing? *Sigh* I have a*grabs thesaurus*...abundant imagination. I'm a story teller. The details are important, so I research. The process is no different than the research you'd do for your latest investment/surgery/machinery. Don't be crude.

11) How did so-and-so writer get a book deal? Their writing sucks. Good question. Go ask their editor and agent, and be sure to tell them that you think the author sucks. You should also ask the thousands--or millions--of fans who bought the book. By the way, disgruntled writers are easy to spot. Instead of insulting another writer, why don't you focus on getting your own book deal?

And that, my friends, is a brief list of things you should never say to a writer. Did I miss any?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Muse Motivation

We all need a little--or a big--nudge every now and then. When you're engaged in a creative endeavor, your muse can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Here are my top muse motivators:

1) Chocolate. Did you really think I'd start with anything else? *grins* On a serious note, my muse revels in anything indulgent, but chocolate is at the top of the list. We have a fabulous chocolate shop where I live. They carry every kind of chocolate (imported and local) you could imagine. This is my writer fuel. Yum.

2) Reading a book in the genre I'm writing. I have to be careful with this one, because my TBR pile has a variety of genres represented. My muse isn't interested in working if I get distracted with a historical novel, or a book on nutrition. It's not that I don't love these books, but they don't help me with gargoyles.

3) Sam and Dean Winchester from Supernatural. 'Nuff said.

4) Yoga. Or more specifically, handstands. When the words aren't flowing, I go upside down for a change in perspective. Works like magic.

5) Music. I don't always listen to music while writing, but I do when I need a break from writing. Here again, my tastes are eclectic. I listen to a little of everything. If I can dance to it, all the better. Right now my playlists have songs from David Garrett's Rock Symphonies and Maroon 5, with a little classical piano from Glenn Gould thrown in. Yes, it's really that random.

6) Mixed martial arts. I love watching a fight (GSP, Kenny Florian and Ryan Bader are my fave fighters). The precision and athleticism of the fighters makes me think about my characters' strengths and weaknesses. I wonder how Jax and MacLean would do in a cage match? Hmm...

7) Crafts. Yes, I'm a craft geek. Knitting, scrap booking, sewing, making bath and body products, origami, collages--you name it. I've even been known to one of my kid's coloring books. The projects don't always turn out perfect, but the repetitive process of knit/purl, or the task of coloring in the lines calms my muse and gets the creative juices flowing.

8) Pulling weeds. Seriously. If I'm frustrated with a scene or sick of looking at the computer (or both), I head out to my garden to weed. Much like my writing, it always needs to be done. For some reason I don't understand, I planted a huge garden. I mean huge. Thankfully, weeding is cathartic. I hated doing it when I was younger, but now it's strangely satisfying. I don't understand that either, but it works, so I'm not going to question it. *grins*

How do you recharge, inspire or otherwise motivate yourself?


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Let the Countdown Begin...

I've been so busy with edits, writing and blogs, that I'm behind a few days or weeks. *hangs head in shame* However, when I emerged from my muse cave, I checked the calendar and noticed STONE COLD SEDUCTION is out in 20 days! September 6th, to be exact. Here's a peek:

Available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Diesel, and Books on Board

I'll be a guest on numerous blogs and review sites in the weeks surrounding the release, so check my Facebook and Twitter pages for links to win a copy. I'm kicking things off early at Badass Book Reviews on August 26th, so please stop by to comment.

I'm also part of the Qwillery 2011 Debut Author Challenge.


Parajunkee's Supernatural Smackdown starting in September. Stop by and vote for Jax! Hot gargoyles need love too. ;-)

Whew, that's all I have for now. I have to get back to those guest blogs and finishing STONE COLD DESTINY. Thank you for your support. It means the world to me.