29 May 2013

I've Been Awarded!

I am so ashamed to say that I keep forgetting to thank those fellow bloggers that have awarded me! I know I am missing a couple others, so I apologize in advance.

But bloggers My Unpublished Life and Lena over at Pearldrops on the Page have given me blogs awards!

They both actually gave me the Leibster blog award -

First things first - eleven facts about me!

1) I like working on the re-write of my fantasy novel on my bus ride home. I'm on Chapter 7 and I will freak out like no tomorrow if this year doesn't end with that damn fantasy re-write done.

2) I recently quit a ghostwriting job that I was proud to write about being okay with back in February. I didn't quit because of ghostwriting, though, but because I just didn't get along with the person I was working for. I can't take that much rudeness and lack of respect for very long.

3) I write an anonymous blog where only three people know it's me who write it.

4) I have started coloring with pastels in a sketch notebook I bought on accident. I'm terrible at it, though.

5) I tend to stress out over what I write in birthday cards.

6) My favorite book series lately is the Unwind series.

7) I play the lottery once a week.

8) I have a really ugly bunion and corn on my left foot. I also have ugly feet and have never gotten a pedicure.

9) I splintered the screen of my iPhone last November and still haven't replaced it.

10) I'm a night owl and an early bird.

11) My new favorite song is "Carry On" by Fun.

Okay! That's the facts about me - now for the questions. It's two parts so here's what Lena wanted me to answer -

1.      What is your favorite character you have written and please explain why.

Faceless Woman. She's the primary evil in my fantasy novel and every time she is in a scene I love writing it. She's got a wickedness about her that takes joy in tormenting the main character and for some reason I love writing those scenes. That's very creepy, I know.

2.      Who is your favorite author, what is your favorite novel and what is your favorite movie?

Favorite author - J.R.R. Tolkien; Favorite Novel: I Know This Much is True; Favorite Movie: Steel Magnolias.

3.      If you could meet any famous person in the world and have dinner with them, who 
         would it be and why?

Stephen King - I want to talk with him about the characters he writes and any feedback he can give me on my writing.

4.      If you had three wishes, what would they be and why?

For my oldest brother to find a job, for my second oldest brother to be cured of Schizophrenia, and my mom to find a job. The why goes without saying.

5.      If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Bermuda Triangle to see if it's as creepy as I hoped.

6.      What is your favorite type of food, for example, Italian, Chinese, etc.?


7.      If you could have your dream job, besides being a writer, what would it be and why?

Acting, because it's another way of taking on someone else's life for a while.

8.      What is your favorite quotation?

"Don't let anyone else define who you are - you define you."

9.      Name one unusual fact about yourself.

 I don't know how to swim.

10.    What is your favorite hobby?


11.     If you could be a super hero/heroine, who would you be and why?
Cat Woman - I think I'd look good in leather.
Now, I get to award 11 people!
I don't know all of who I want to award, so here's a few people I want to definitely award -
J.L. Murphey over at The Murphey Saga
Carrie K. Sorensen - Chasing Revery
Kathy Hall over at Red Mojo Mamas Musings
Leanne Sype over at her blog
Shelly over at Life of a Novice Writer

Diane Carlisle over at Are We There Yet?

Robin over at Crime and Literature

Now, for the others...if YOU are reading this blog post, than you deserve an award. Because you are awesome and without readers, writers would just be talking to themselves. And I thank you in all seriousness for stopping by, whether or not you leave a comment!

Flash Fiction Photo Prompt - Get Writing!

It's Wednesday!! Darn that holiday making today come upon us all of a sudden.

Okay, first things first, check out the awesome stories from last week -

The Calm Before the Storm - by Lyn
The Space Station by Sydney
Regrets by Sally
Alone by Cindy

These stories are awesome!!! I need to get back into this weekly prompt - I think the sooner I do it, the better.

Don't forget to grab a copy of our free anniversary Flash Fiction e-book.

Now, let's get started!

Here are the rules:

1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story
2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.
3) You have until next Tuesday to link up your post.
4) Link up with your blog hostess (Nicole, Carrie, Tena or Leanne) when you’re done via the inLinkz linky below.
5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow.

The Words:





 The Photo:
Eerie Night

Now, let's get writing!!


27 May 2013

The Real Writer's Muse - Brought to You By Rogers Family Company

Lately I've been struggling a lot with my fantasy novel. I am trying to merge my original first draft with a different plot line that needs to be weaved into the core of the story. This means that my pace at re-writing this first draft is about the pace of a snail.

This also means many late nights and since I am late night coffee drinker fan, I love exploring new blends of coffee to meet my vampire like hours.

My latest flavor came from the Rogers Family Company.

In the simplest words - the coffee was amazing. I received four different blends - Fog Chaser, Espresso Roast, French Roast, and Extra Dark Italian Blend. My personal favorite was the Fog Chaser. Not just because I'm a sucker for the name, but because it's the most rich tasting of the coffees. I would say Espresso Roast and French Roast were still good coffees, but they didn't have quite as much depth as Fog Chaser and Extra Dark Italian Blend.

I love coffee that adds a richness and a fullness to the drinking experience. If you are a coffee-lover like me, make sure you are buying whole bean coffee and get a blender to grind your own beans. This means that you are having the freshest coffee for each pot of coffee you drink. I would make sure that if you do use a grinder, to grind the beans to a fine consistency. I ran across some flavor issues when I didn't grind the beans finely enough.

By the way, I'm trying to take an active effort to expand my coffee palate and tasting coffee in a new way. This means that I'm actually trying out black coffee. I use just a dash or two of cinnamon and one Splenda. I feel like I can get a better feel for the coffee and the levels of flavor.

Rogers Family Company is exactly what you might think it is - a family owned company. They make sure to buy fair trade coffee. They also work towards reducing their carbon footprint, helping improve the community surrounding the growers of the coffee, and so much more.

And this is the most fun part - I get to giveaway the four blends that I received above!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends on June 9th.

Disclaimer: I received four blends of coffee in exchange for my honest review.

The Most Difficult Thing in the World for a Bookworm

Today I did something that I haven't done...well, ever.

I gave books away.

I made this okay for me on several levels. First, it's going to a good cause (I donated to Goodwill!). Second, these books I haven't actually finished before.

Does anyone else have a really hard time letting go of books?

Anyways, on a positive note, I have a few books on my "to buy/to get from the library" list that I am planning on getting soon.

1) UnSouled by Neal Shusterman - The Unwind Series Book # 3

If you haven't read this series, you should. It's about a world where abortion is banned, but what is in it's place is the ability for parents to "unwind" their children if they so choose. It isn't considered murder because all the parts of the body are being reused. It's creepy, and I've never felt so much for a series in a long time. 

2) Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk

Okay, I had a hard time getting a cover shot of this, but this book caught me because it's about a writer's retreat gone very very wrong. I can totally see this happening to me.

3) The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

This came up on a list of extremely scary books. In short, this book is about these characters seeing ghosts. Cool and scary? Oh, I think so.

4) The Terror by Dan Simmons

Right around the corner is summer, and what better reminder about our past chilly, freezing weather than a book about the cold and people getting trapped in it. I think this is probably one of those beach reads I keep hearing about, right?

5) The Uninvited Guest by Troy Aaron Ratliff

I have this fantasy about crashing in on some tech industry party to get all the freebies that I know are out there. Or maybe even a wedding or two. I'm sure thought that if I did - something like this would happen to me. More than likely, the evening would end and at some point, I'd be in fear for my life like these characters.

What books are on your "must read" list? What books have you given away?

23 May 2013

The Best Blueberry Smoothies Ever

I actually got this recipe from my mom (and she did say it was okay to blog about!). And I couldn't wait to share with everyone.

It's a blueberry smoothie recipe that (I think) beats out anything you can get at Jamba Juice. It's simple ingredients and extremely easy to make in the morning. It doesn't add any weird ingredients and it looks pretty (it's blue).

First, what you need -

Yup, just three ingredients. You can use any variety of brands, but the most important part of this recipe is your choice of blueberries.

First, make sure to use frozen blueberries. While fresh blueberries are good, you want the icy, frozen quality of the smoothie to come from the berry and not from any ice you have to add to make it cold (which makes it watery). The brand I highly recommend is Stahlbush Farm's Blueberries. It's the best brand and while it doesn't come by cheap, it beats out any frozen blueberry I've ever tried. Plus Stalbush Farms is a local Oregon farm and that makes it even better. I prefer their brand because most brands of blueberries end up being too tart, too watery, or end up creating a weird texture.  But these are perfect.

Second, you need yogurt and vanilla soy milk. I highly recommend vanilla greek yogurt because it's a way to get some protein in the morning. Vanilla soy milk is also the best choice because it's really sweet.

And it's basically one cup of each - one cup of frozen blueberries, one cup greek yogurt, and one cup of vanilla soy milk.

So, did you get that down?


1 cup of Stahlbush Farm's frozen blueberries
1 cup of Vanilla soy milk
1 cup of Greek Yogurt

(By the way, the ingredients above make about 24 ounces of smoothie, so if you only want a little glass, you can probably divide this between two people; double the recipe to make enough for 4).


Put the ingredients in a blender and hit blend!

And that's it! All you have to do is serve and enjoy!
If you want to change things around a bit, try these variations:
Use chocolate soy instead, and add in peanut butter.
Shake in cinnamon and nutmeg for added spicy quality.
What do you usually have for breakfast in the morning?
Disclaimer: I received two coupons for free blueberries in exchange for my honest review.


22 May 2013

Flash Fiction Photo Prompt - Are You Inspired?

It's that time again and this week I have the reigns! Yay! It's been a long month for me so far - and I have a new goal to write a story to a photo prompt once a month at least. I think I can do it - how about you?

Anyways, before we kick off the prompt, make sure to check out the amazing prompts from last week-

Imagined Dream World by Scott Taylor
Camel Man by Leanne Sype
Home Coming by Sally Stackhouse

Aren't they awesome??

Okay, now make sure you grab a copy of our Flash Fiction e-book.


Here's the rules:

Here are the rules:
1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story
2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.
3) You have until next Tuesday to link up your post.
4) Link up with your blog hostess (Nicole, Carrie, Tena or Leanne) when you’re done via the inLinkz linky below.
5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow.
This week's photo:

The words:






Oh, this should be so good.

When you're ready, post your link below -


20 May 2013

Prepare to Evict Earth...With Some Complications of Course (A Book Review)

I am such a sucker for science fiction that gets meshed in with our own reality. The funny thing is when I first got the email about this book, all I could see was the subject line that read: EVICTION NOTICE. I got the twist of panic (I'm awful with credit card bills these days) until I realized, "No, that's the title of the book."

Of course, I wanted to read it.

You first meet Alice Able, a young woman who is miserable over her life. She's preparing to end it all, but first, she has to prepare her house. She places sticky notes all over the place with notes on where things should go after she passes, until there's a knock at the door that interrupts her...

...but before we go into that, we also meet a group of teens preparing for the ultimate senior prank - crop circles. The crop circle prank serves as an homage to another great senior prank so many years ago. Hoping to cause a simple stir in the morning papers, the teens go to bed that night wistfully dreaming of the honor and  respect that will come from their classmates once everyone catches on...

As bizarre and different as the two stories seem like above, the choices and lives of these characters bump into each other and create a fantastical situation that can only be found in the world of fiction (a world I love so much). Alice Able gets jolted out of her demise and thrust into the role of leader of our free-ish world. Meanwhile, our group of teenagers follow along a brilliant little creature that was found from a fallen spaceship.

And a little town of Ogden, Iowa becomes the center stage for the end of the world as we know it (cue REM music)...or is it?

Eviction Notice by Robyn Wyrick is quite the ride, and while there were moments I had a little trouble keeping track of who was who, it was a lot of fun. Make sure you go to Amazon and grab your copy today! You can also grab it at Barnes and Noble. And don't forget to check out Robyn Wrick's website for updates.

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

19 May 2013

Find the Right Internet and Cable in Your Area

I don't know about you, but one of the most irritating things in the world is having to battle with my cable company (I won't say who it is because I'm not sure how cool that is...but I'm sure you know who I'm talking about ).

I am trying to save money regularly and this month is an especially tough month to save money (two family members out of work). Too many expenses means stress. Stress means my creative energy is down. Which means I"m miserable. And this is not a good thing.

So, how about taking the "searching" for a deal out of your hands and letting someone else do the work?

Sounds good to me!

Take a look at the site "Connect Your Home." It lets you type in your address and let you know the good deals going on in your neighborhood. It shows you everything from current cable deals, to home security to internet. Basically, it shows you how to save with the most expensive things you end up spending your money. Not to mention, it also shows home phone services you can take advantage of, too. Now I just wish it could pay my student loans for me.

So now that the stress seems to be eased a little bit...

...I can get back to writing! And that makes me happy.

Disclaimer:  I received compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.

18 May 2013

What Should I Do With 100 Postcards?

In a contest last year - or maybe it was something I received in exchange for something - I was awarded 100 post cards.

One year later, I still haven't claimed my prize. Why? Well, first of all, I have to do the design. And I want to do something different with it, and not just make a postcard of something I'll never actually use.

I thought at the time it would be a great opportunity to put my future book on the card and promote it that way. But in reality, I'm kind of tired of it just sitting there. I want to do something different, unique, challenging, or inspiring with the cards.

So, what do I do with 100 post cards?

So...give me an idea of what I can do with them. And they are not 100 different postcards, but 100 post cards that say one thing. I have to design it, too.

And I'm open.

What I probably won't use them for - thank you cards, save the date, announcement cards or "I'm moving" cards. I'm not that social.

What should I do with 100 postcards?

What Would Your Super Power Be?

So, I decided to join in the writing prompt from a really popular - and interesting - blog network called "Trash Can Bloggers."

The writing prompt this week -

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Okay, this is serious business, people. I've often thought about this, and here's how I break it down -

I wouldn't want read people's minds.

Seriously, if you are on Facebook or Twitter, you read people's minds enough. Can you imagine all the crowded thought traffic that would come through if you read people's minds?

I wouldn't want to travel with the speed of light.

I mean, don't we all know the expression, "It's not where you go, it's how you get there?" Or something like that. Well, one of my favorite ways to travel is lengthy road trips, so you can thoroughly take in scenery and enjoy every step of the way. So, sorry Superman (and Superwoman), I like to take my time.

I wouldn't want super strength.

This is a vanity thing. I'm already pretty tall for a female, the last thing I need is to be stronger than most men too.

I might consider the superior climbing ability thing.

While you'd never find going rock climbing, I think it might kind of cool to be able to swing between sky high buildings with the greatest of ease or what not. But then again, I do have a slight fear of falling so maybe this isn't a good idea.

I might consider the ability to travel through time.

I think this would be so cool to be able to go back through time and witness pretty awesome historical events. But then again, if the movie The Butterfly Effect taught us, it may not be a good idea. I mean, I wouldn't want to go back and step on an ant and come back to the present realizing we all live on the moon or something. Although...

So, if you could have any super power, what would yours be?

Save Money on Text Books - CampusBookRental.com

College Fund

Just talking about this makes me miss college.

But back in the day, I remember spending about $200 to $300 on books, which is a steep, steep price for a college student. It's places like CampusBookRental.com that makes the cost of each quarter of text books that much more manageable.

And not to mention, if you've actually coughed up the money towards your text books, you might just be able to make money off of renting your own text books.

And doesn't that leave you all warm and fuzzy inside?

It sure does me.

Simply visit CampusBookRental.com and see how much you'd have to pay for your course's text books. Not to mention, by getting your texts from this site, you are also contributing to programs like Operation Smiles as well as helping fund their scholarship fund.

I think I need to go study now.

Disclaimer: I received compensation in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.

15 May 2013

Flash Fiction Photo Prompt - Are You Inspired?

Hi friends! So much excitement bubbling around our Writer Wednesday Blog Hop community! First-- Our winner for the ad contest is Sally over at Sally's Scribbles! Here is her button to display on your site to support her blog!

sally's button

Second-- Flash 500 is now available for free via here (and in time will be available across a variety of reader platforms--stay tuned)!

This book a selection of blog hop stories from the first year of the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop. A huge thank you to our blog hop co-founders Nicole Pyles and Carrie Sorensen for all their many months of hard work and research to put this together!!

Flash 500 eBook cover
 Third-- This week's photo reveal! Here are all the stories from last week:

Burned by Cindy Cagle
What a Day by Sally Stackhouse
What's Evil by Carrie Sorensen
The Childhood Home by Scott Taylor
Dancing by Leanne Sype
The One that got Away by David Bastiani

Here are the rules:
1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story
2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.
3) You have until next Tuesday to link up your post.
4) Link up with your blog hostess (Nicole, Carrie, Tena or Leanne) when you’re done via the inLinkz linky below.
5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow.
The photo courtesy of our fellow blog hop writer Cindy Cagle
Mandatory words:
credit card

13 May 2013

Can You Stump Google?

Last summer, I started a feature on my blog about "stumping Google." I wanted to ask my readers the questions that you can't seem to find the answers to - and actually, I had some great successes with this feature!

I want to "bring it back from the dead" so to speak and offer up a chance for you to "stump" Google.

Here's how it works -

Submit your question to me via email and I'll pose the question to readers. I want the question to be something that you've never been able to find via Google. Whether it's a book or movie you can't think of the name, a gift idea you need help on, or a product that you just can't seem to find anywhere. Really - anything under the sun that you've never gotten been able to find the answers to.

I will give my readers one month to find the answer - and within that month - if someone does find the answer, they will win one month of ad space on my blog! If no one finds the answer, the person who asks the question, gets the ad space.

Okay, now it's time for me to ask - can you stump Google? Send me your questions at npyles86 at gmail dot com!

11 May 2013

Support Artists and Inspire Yourself - Novica.com

In partnership with National Geographic, Novica features artists around the world. From Bali to Peru to West Africa, you can purchase beautiful items handmade by these talented artists and support an ongoing effort to improve the lives of creatives all around the world.

I had the opportunity to become familiar with Novica's site and their products. One of their most inspiring - and fun - and addictive features is the curation section. Curation allows you to put together products and images as part of a gallery to showcase items you enjoy. It reminds me a lot of Pinterest, actually, and it allows you to search out the site and "curate" items you want part of your collection.

For this special occasion, I made a curation gallery entitled, "A Writer's Supply Closet." Here's a screen shot of what I put together -

The items you can find on this site are incredible! I can spend hours - and several hundred dollars - on this site alone.  They have lamps, notebooks, kites, and even really pretty silver pendant necklaces I couldn't resist perusing. If you do purchase through the site, I must say that I highly recommend it because not only are the products amazing, the shipping prices are incredible too.

I also love that you can purchase a loan for the artists that Novica features. It's a way of contributing to a better lifestyle for artists around the world and making yourself feel warm and fuzzy inside. Isn't that a great feeling?

So, take time today to take a look at this site - and create your own curation page! I'd love to see what you put together.

I'm also excited to announce that I am giving away a $50 certificate to Novica for an item of your choice!

Here's how to enter -

1) Required: Go to Novica.com and let me know in the comments which item you would like to buy, either for yourself or for someone else!

2) +5 Extra Points: Sign up for Novica.com and register for an account and create your own curation page. Once you've created yours, leave me the link to your page (and include a valid email address as well, so I know how to reach you)

3) +1 Extra Point: Go to Novica's Facebook page and "like it." Let me know which name you used to like their page.

4) +1 Extra Point: Follow Novica on Twitter and let me know which Twitter account you followed them with.

Contest ends on May 24th.

***UPDATE: With 46 valid entries, I rolled the dice with Random.org and I got entry # 3. Kate Fuller is the winner and has 48 hours to claim her prize! 

Disclaimer: I received a $50 gift certificate in exchange for this honest review.

Flash 500 - The Anniversary Edition - Download Your Free Copy Today!

It's here!! Okay, well right it's only 10:57 pm on the West Coast, so we're not technically late on the publication date

I'm scheduling this post for the morning though to catch everyone while you're drinking your morning coffee - that way you can download your copy of the anniversary edition of the weekly writing prompt!

Download Flash 500  today! It's a free book and it's awesome! It's also a lot of work and a lot of learning experiences along the way (makes sense, though doesn't it?)

Anyways, thank you everyone for your hard work submitting this week and a big huge thank you to Carrie for doing so much work on this!

08 May 2013

Flash Fiction Photo Prompt - Are You Writing Today?

Happy Wednesday! It's almost to the end of the week and I'm so glad. Beyond it being an exhausting - and bizarre few months - I am also looking forward to this weekend! Anyways, I hope you get inspired this week and make sure to catch my story from yesterday!  I am also pretty excited about the photo this week - the wheels are turning in my head!

My favorite part - I have a winner to announce!

Congratulations! I'll send you a note and you can let me know if you have a button or if you would like me to make one. We'll have it up by next Wednesday. :D

Last week's prompt produced some amazing creativity. I have the proof right here:

Contains Strychnine by David Bastiani
Four Years by Scott Taylor
Of Books and Fighter Planes by Anne Organista
Books and More Books by Tena Carr
Untitled by Vicki Paulus

Fantastic! There are lots of new and old faces this week, and all the stories are wonderfully matched to Leanne's great photo choice. :)

On to this week's prompt - first, the rules.

1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story
2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.
3) You have until next Tuesday to link up your post.
4) Link up with your blog hostess (NicoleCarrie, Tena or Leanne) when you’re done via the inLinkz linky below.
5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow.

This week's photo is courtesy of Flikr Commons:

The 5 must-use words:






And a quick plug - Don't forget about Flash 500 coming out on Friday via Amazon!! :-)

See all the unique takes on the prompt below and link up your own.

07 May 2013

Good Use of the Word, Darling - A Bit of Short Fiction

I was determined to write a story for the 1 year anniversary! It's about a month late, but I figured it was appropriate since this week we kick off the anniversary book. This can pretty much stand alone, but I hope you catch a few familiar characters in this piece.

"Darling, it doesn't seem like we've missed a thing," Bruce said.

Rava strolled forward and sniffed the air. "That damn ham smell is gone, too."

Bruce nodded his approval. While the ballroom was filled with the usual money grubbing snobs he liked to rub elbows with, an odd pair stood out by the buffet table.

"Rava," Bruce yanked her back to his side. Rava fell backwards and scrambled to gain back her footing.

"Bruce, for the love of God, what the hell are you -"

"Rava, who are those people?" Bruce pointed towards the buffet table.

While most of the guests in the ball wore elegant costumes for the black and white ball, the three men Bruce spotted wore plain clothes of casual jeans, pants, and sweaters. One young man, who seemed to be the most shocked of the three, wore a jacket with a college name stitched on the lapel.

"Go find out what they're doing here." Bruce demanded.

Rava brushed Bruce away. "Bruce, why the hell would I -"

"Rava, go spike the punch."

She rolled her eyes. "Bruce, really -"

Before anything could be said, the shortest one of the three hobbled over to the couple, and finished the last bit of tuna roll on the napkin he carried. He eyeballed the dancing ladies and as he got closer, he brushed off his hands.

"Pleasure to meet you both," he stuck out one of his chunky hands. "Mine name is Figaro. We have to crash your party."

"Parity?" Rava asked, ignoring his hand.

"Party," he corrected. "Do you know where we can find our way out?"

Rava and Bruce pointed behind them in the direction where they were taking everyone's coats. Before anything else could be said, a flustered skinny man rushed forward, looking furiously at the short man named Figaro.

"Figaro, where did you lead us this time?" he hissed. Realizing the company, he straightened himself out a bit, and stuck out his hand alongside Figaro's. "Mine name is Marco, and this...this is....I'm sorry, what is your name?" He was talking to a curious young man who was gazing about like a buffoon.

"Where - how - who?" the young man repeated over and over again, his eyes wide and searching all over.

"We're not sure what his name is," Marco laughed nervously.

"What, did you fall from the girders? Where did you come from?" said Bruce.

"Oh, good use of the word, darling," Rava said.

"Ah, I see our exit. Excuse the interruption, and I hope you enjoy the evening," Marco said. He headed off towards the coat check, followed by Marco, who pulled along the young man who still hadn't absorbed his surroundings yet.

"Odd trio," Rava muttered. Disinterested, she gazed down at her dressed and picked off a piece of lint. "I should never have bought this dress on sale - "

Bruce tugged on Rava's arm again. "Rava, what on earth are they doing?"

To be continued....

Word Count: 493-ish


05 May 2013

Best Experience Gifts for Mother's Day (for under $25)

It's Mother's Day coming up!

I tend to overly obsess and plan about holidays. Literally, I start thinking about a month in advance over potential ideas. So, this Mother's Day, I have been thinking a lot about what I'd like to plan that doesn't cost too much money, but can make the day special. My mom is my best friend and I want to do something that stands out just a bit.

But the question is - can you have a memorable Mother's Day under $25.00?

Yes, yes you can.

1) A day trip.

Drive By, Road Trip,

Okay, granted the price of gas these days makes a "day trip" less and less attractive, but if you plan right, you can budget your costs. Use fuel calculators to track how much fuel you will use for the trip (try this). Plus, by packing a picnic and homemaking some goodies for the trip will save you money.

 2) Breakfast in bed (or at home, in the backyard, or at the park in walking distance).

Restaurants charge too much, are overcrowded and everyone else will be at the same place at the same time. Reduce the stress and increase the relaxation by making breakfast yourself. You don't have to overcomplicate it at all - bring some fresh fruit, good bread, and figure out some great (simple) egg recipes and you have breakfast!
3) A "girl" day.
While a day at the nearest massage spa would be nice, most of us can't afford that type of gift. Treat your mom to a special day by bringing by a tote bag full of beauty supplies and create your own spa day together! Paint nails, put on tear-jerker movies, and get some recipes for facial masks.
4) Hobby supply gifts.
Cowboy Boots  
Okay, I got this idea from Martha Stewart, but it's actually a pretty good idea. Get your mom started on a hobby she's always wanted to do. It can be easy to pick up the supplies too, especially if you shop smart (think garage sales, Goodwill, and thrift shops for some deals on the basics). If it's something outside of the "craft" realm, maybe it's line dancing, or seeing more plays, visit sites like Discover A Hobby, to get ideas of what you need. Spend the day learning the line dancing moves together and learning the craft together.
 5) Go to an event!

Crystal Method Concert - St. Louis
Sometimes the best days are ones that are spent outside! Visit sites like Eventful and see what's going on Mother's Day. A lot of the events you can find have very little cost to them and this would be a great memorable day!
Anyways, I hope this gives you a few "outside the box" ideas for Mother's Day!  And don't forget, getting creative and even homemade items can be cherished and remembered for a long time! Step outside the box and make it a day your mom will never forget.
This post is an entry for a chance to win $1,000 on NerdWallet's Mother's Day Contest. Click here to find out how you can enter to win.

04 May 2013

The Real Writer's Muse - Featured Coffee by Aroma Ridge

I am a coffee drinker and I have had many late nights where my coffee has come in handy - whether it was meeting a deadline or putting in the last few edits in my work in progress. The best tasting coffee I've had is when you can taste the flavor of the coffee bean while still getting the perks (literally) of the caffeine inside.

I reviewed Aroma Ridge coffee recently and this was incredible coffee experience.


I tried their Black Gold coffee blend and sometimes the experience of a dark roast means you are losing out on flavor. When I tried this, I found the flavor of the coffee to be in tact and the taste to be rich.

Quick Coffee Tip: Make sure you like how your water tastes! I often use filtered water for my coffee instead of tap, because I hate the taste of tap water. Using filtered water really improves the taste of coffee!

Now, not only does Aroma Ridge provide amazing coffee flavors, they also provide tasty treats, such as their Wicked Jack's Tavern rum cake -

This is so tasty! It's a light sweet flavor and I highly recommend putting this in the freezer for about a half hour to make it a cold treat for the summer. You will definitely want more! And for some reason, I just love when a treat reminds me of a story (can you just imagine walking into a place called 'Wicked Jack's Tavern'? It's like something out of a fantasy story!).

And they also provide some awesome biscotti's -

The biscotti's are really crunchy and my personal favorite are the chocolate covered ones. They are perfect with coffee and not too sweet either.

And now, my favorite part! I have the opportunity to giveaway 1 pound of Mama's Roast coffee (perfect for Mother's Day!).
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Flash Fiction Photo Prompt - Anniversary Publication! #Flash500ebook

I am so proud to finally announce what has been an ongoing work in progress by myself and Carrie over the past several (and more) months -

The Anniversary Edition of Writer Wednesday Blog Hop

Also tiled, Flash 500.

Check out the cover -

I am so proud how this is all working out!
Our publication date - and mark your calendars - is May 10th! And it actually looks like we will actually make the deadline!
It was so tough going through the stories over the past year and figuring out which ones to publish in the anthology. If you don't see yourself on the list of writers that made their way in, please continue to contribute to the blog hop. We are so honored by everyone who contributes each week. This was an impossibly difficult decision.
Anyways, a special thank you to the writer's who contributed their work to the publication -
Carrie K Sorensen - chasingrevery.blogspot.com (WWBH co-host, co-editor)
Emily Jean Roche - emilyjeanroche.blogspot.com
George Beckingham - whyhowwhatif.blogspot.ca
Krystal Wade - kyrstalwade.blogspot.com
Leanne Sype - leannesype.wordpress.com (WWBH co-host)
Randy Lindsay - randylindsay.blogspot.com
Scott (and Roman) Taylor - scottywattydoodlealltheday.blogspot.com
Sydney Aaliyah - sydneyaaliyah.wordpress.com
Tena Carr - jottingsandwritings.wordpress.com (WWBH co-host)
A huge thank you to Carrie for taking on a lot of the work in compiling everything together! (I owe you a mojito! ;))
We hope to see everyone at our next writing prompt! Here's the link to our recent prompt if you want to join in on the fun!

01 May 2013

How Do You Manage a Busy Schedule? How Do You Break Free from Stress?

I stumbled across a blog hop while perusing the latest posts of some blogs I follow and I thought...hey, this sounded fun!

You answer two questions, post two of your own! And try to answer some of the questions of the other responders. 

Questions from the Host Blog

Question # 1 - Does exercising come naturally to you? What do you do for exercise?

It does! For the most part anyways...since I was a young teenager, I have exercised in some way. My mom and I started out by walking around the block, then racewalking, and then gym time. It has evolved in it's own way, but it's been a consistent for me.

Lately, I walk a half hour during my lunch break Monday through Friday. I know I need MORE exercise than that, but it's something.

Question # 2 - Where do you do your exercise?

The area around my work! It's actually a really pretty area, and I love the shops (walking past them, of course, ha ha) Plus, there are decent number of hilly places, so I get an extra workout in that way. It's a nice way to spend my lunch break and it's easier to do with the sunshine.

Questions from another blog

Question # 1 - What would you have done if you knew what you know now about blogging and social media?

I would say that I am still learning about blogging and social media. I would say remaining engaged has been my biggest success with these things. Always be willing to evolve and redesign how you approach things.

Question # 2 - Would it help you carve your niche faster?

Uh, niche? What niche?

My turn!

Lately, I have been really bogged down with a high amount of stress and a lot that I have going on. I try to do a little bit of my projects each day and I've even been able to work on my fantasy novel during my bus trip home, so I'm not missing out too much on creative time.

But there is still so much to do! And I can't help but feel overwhelmed (which leads me to writing late night blog posts, such as this...I'd like to say this post has been productive, but...I'm not too sure...)

So, my two questions for this prompt -

1) How do you manage a busy schedule? How do you still manage to fit in "you" time?

2) How do you break free from stress?

I hope I did this right, and if you are curious on how to join in, visit the blog hop prompt page for more details!

Flash Fiction Photo Prompt - Are You Inspired?

Some exciting things are happening around these parts! More to come later, but it's so fun to see how this weekly prompt has evolved (and will evolve!).  Anyways, I'm hoping to get some time to respond ta a prompt this week...and I hope you do too! Leanne has the reigns this week, so here we go!

Aw yeah! It's Wednesday which means two awesome things:

1) We're halfway to Friday!
2) It's time for the Writer Wednesday photo prompt!

We have two story submissions from last week's photo, and you should definitely read them. :)

X Marks the Spot by Carrie Sorensen
Low Risk, High Value by Leanne Sype

Whether we have two stories or 12 stories, we love them all and invite you to join the blog hop community. It's a great way to meet fellow writers, exercise your fiction-challenge writing muscles, and let others know about your blog. Here's a little button to add to your site if you like being a part of the blog hop:
Alrighty... here's a brief rundown of how all this works:

1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story
2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.
3) You have until next Tuesday to link up your post.
4) Link up with your blog hostess (Nicole, Carrie, Tena or Leanne) when you’re done via the inLinkz linky below.
5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow. And now for this week's photograph:

Child in Awe
(Randomly generated) Mandatory Words:
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