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Archive for February, 2013

I’m a little disappointed. The natural deodorant I made is causing a rash. And it’s very uncomfortable. So much that I’m not wearing ANY deodorant today. It’s a really good thing it’s winter time and we’re having cold temperatures. If it was summer, I might not smell so great. LOL. Anyway, I can’t figure out which ingredient is making me break out. It really shouldn’t be the coconut oil because that’s what my moisturizer is made with, and my face is fine. So it has to be either the baking soda or the arrowroot powder. My husband seems to think the culprit is more than likely the baking soda. Baking soda is pretty alkaline, about a 9 on the scale, I think. Not enough to be caustic, but pretty high. I have no idea about the arrowroot powder. I’m very upset about this because I LOVE this deodorant. It goes on smoothly, smells great, and seems to work really well (summertime would be the test, though). I’m not sure which ingredient actually neutralizes the odor, although I suspect the baking soda has a lot to do with it. So just using coconut oil by itself probably wouldn’t work. It probably wouldn’t dry well either. Every homemade deodorant recipe I saw used those three ingredients I mentioned. Does anyone have any ideas? Do you guys think it’s the baking soda? Do any of you have any experience with this?

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We are getting into the busiest time of year for my full time job. I now have two assistants instead of one, but here’s the problem. My first assistant is also our truck driver. (It’s a small company and we wear multiple hats.) My second assistant only works three days a week (due to school) and he leaves two hours before closing to go to his second job. And on two of the days he works, he takes two hour lunches because he goes to school during his lunch hour. So that leaves me without help a lot. Today, my phone has been ringing off the wall with customer orders. I FINALLY went to the bathroom and had two voice mails when I got back. The bathroom is next door to my office…I was only gone a short time.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because if I don’t visit your blogs as regularly as I usually do, it’s because I just don’t have time. It will be all I can do to post on my own blog. And I WILL answer all comments on my blog. I’m a big believer in answering blog comments when people have taken the time to comment on my blog. I think it’s rude not to answer, so I always do. If you’ve ever left a comment on my blog and I didn’t answer, it’s because I missed it somehow. But there are a lot of blogs I visit, and I’m just not going to have that kind of time right now, probably through April. I’ll try to stop by, but I don’t want anyone to think I’ve abandoned them if I miss a few times. So bear with me. Things will slow down eventually. I’m just happy to have a little extra help this year. 🙂

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I really don’t like to keep mentioning my diabetes on this blog. When I first found out I had it, I was determined not to make a big deal out of it. But it keeps coming up, and I realized it’s because it was, and still is, a huge part of my life. The only reason I need to mention it today is that it has impacted my writing.

When my blood sugar was high, I felt SO bad. I know I’ve said that before, but if you’ve never experienced it, it’s hard for me to get you to understand HOW bad I felt. So what happened was, I just got out of the habit of writing. I was to the point where I wasn’t writing at all. I wasn’t playing computer games, either. I was lying on the couch watching TV. At work, it was all I could do to get up out of my chair some days just to go to the bathroom or go get coffee. So now, I’m feeling SO much better. It’s amazing the difference a change in blood sugar makes. But here’s the thing. I got into a HABIT of not writing. And I’m having such a hard time breaking this habit. I’m doing more housework, I’m enjoying time with my family, I don’t leave “get-togethers” early (because I felt like crap)…but I’m still slacking in my writing.

I think part of my problem is that I’ve stopped thinking of writing as a job. I used to. When I was churning words out, I thought of it as my part-time job and something that I just DO. When I got out of the habit of writing, I started thinking of it differently, so I don’t have my mind back in the right place yet. Lagging book sales have also discouraged me a bit. There’s so much more competition now. I think if I start making myself believe again that this is my job, I’ll have more self-control about getting it done. If I can get my health habits under control, which I have, I can get writing back on track, too. It’s all about changing bad habits into good habits.

I only wrote one day last week.

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I hate the word “failure”. HATE IT. When someone feels like they’ve failed, it causes discouragement and makes one wonder if it’s worth it to go on with what they are trying to accomplish. The word failure is a nasty word and really shouldn’t be in one’s vocabulary.

I didn’t lose weight this week. Nada, zero, zilch. Did I fail? Of course I didn’t. I succeeding in finding out what happens when you don’t eat properly. I succeeding in finding out what happens if you let your priorities slide. But I’ve also succeeding in keeping my blood sugar at a normal level. Last night I went to a jewelry party, but it was also someone’s birthday. There was cake. Not the kind with the nasty whipped icing. It had real homemade butter cream, clog your arteries, icing. My favorite kind. The kind where I could just eat the icing, the huge globs shaped like roses with just a tiny bit of actual cake. It’s all about the icing, ya’ll. I resisted…and resisted. Then I thought, you know what? I’m going to have a bite. And oh that bite was good. But that’s all I had. One bite. And my blood sugar was only 122 when I got home. So did I succeed last night? Oh, yeah, I did. Do you know how hard it is to have ONE BITE of your favorite kind of cake?

So, although it wasn’t a week of weight loss, it WAS a week of success. It was a week of learning and reminding. And it was also a week of control, at least in the sweets department. And, hey, at least I didn’t GAIN any weight. 🙂

Stats for this week:
Beginning weight: 193
Today’s weight: 178
This week’s loss: 0 lbs.
Total loss: 15 lbs.

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I’m not going to link this in the ROW80 linky tool today because the majority of this post doesn’t pertain to ROW80. And there have been SOME people who get annoyed if you link to the linky and post other stuff that day. Some people do it anyway, but I would hate to annoy anyone. 🙂

Short ROW80 update. WIP is going pretty well. I’m getting a feel for what’s happening in the small Florida town, although I still don’t have a name for the town.

What I want to talk about now is what I did last night. I got all my ingredients for the natural stuff I wanted to make. I like buying from Mountain Rose Herbs, but they were out of some stuff I needed, plus they are slow shipping stuff out (because they are so popular and busy) so I got the rest of what I needed from our local health food store. Anyway, I had coconut oil, sweet almond oil, baking soda, arrowroot powder, emulsifying wax. beeswax, and a couple of essential oils. I was going to buy some more essential oils from my local store, but when I saw the prices, I decided to buy those later from Mountain Rose Herbs. Anyway, I set out to make three things…moisturizer, deodorant, and solid perfume. Now, normally, when one decides to make these kinds of things, SOMETHING is going to go wrong or won’t turn out right. I hate to disappoint you, but I have no funny story to tell. Everything came out AMAZING. The moisturizer is just the right texture. The deodorant felt wonderful. And the solid perfume…well, it turned out right, I just wish I had different essential oils. I mixed lemon with cedarwood. It was okay, but not my favorite scent. That’s just all I had.

So, the moisturizer felt great on my face this morning. I’ll probably use it for hand lotion, too, because I have way too much to just use on my face, and natural products have no preservatives. The deodorant felt so good going on this morning. I wish I hadn’t put any cedarwood scent in it just because I love the smell of the coconut oil by itself. I think if I do the solid perfume again, I’ll put it in something flatter or maybe one of those tubes like lip balm is in. This perfume is REALLY solid, and it’s hard for me to get enough on my finger to rub on my skin. It would be better to rub it directly on my skin.

So, is anyone else experimenting with any of this? If not, are you thinking about it? I’ll have to let everyone know how the deodorant works. LOL

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Hello, my name is Lauralynn Elliott, and I’m a pantser. Kait and Susan have given me a good talking to about plotting and why I should. I understand the concept. I understand the reasons for plotting. I sort of plot in my head. But, alas, I’m still a pantser. And there’s a very good reason why. Here’s the story:

I don’t know what’s going to happen. Seriously, I don’t. I get an idea. A GENERAL idea. And I know the MAJOR points I need to hit. I almost always know the ending. I know certain things must happen. But if I sit down to write an outline for the book I’m about to write, I have no idea what’s going to happen in the book. So I can’t write the outline. This is going to sound strange, but there’s something almost magical about my hands typing out words. That’s the only way I can make the story happen. I don’t even think I could dictate the story. I HAVE to be typing it out, and the story unfolds as I do. I’m very surprised sometimes by things that happen in the book. Characters do things that I don’t expect. An example: I just wrote a character in my WIP who was going to be this older, snobby, stuffy woman who owned an antique store. As I was writing the interaction between her and the main character, she suddenly became a woman who seemed stuffy on the outside, but really had a good heart and a sense of humor. I had no idea. Now, sometimes, I’ll be sitting at my desk or somewhere, and I suddenly know what needs to happen in the next scene. But even that ends up changing as I write. I’ve never been able to do it any other way.

So maybe I need another weekend with Kait and Susan. Maybe they can beat me into submission. Is it possible for me to change? Maybe. I think if I could quit my day job, my mind would settle down and be more open to plotting. If I want to eventually get into writing mysteries that have very complicated plots, I will probably HAVE to change my method. Although, some of my beta readers tell me they like the twists that have been in the books I’ve already written. One said, “You think up the best twists and creatures.” But, honestly, for something a lot more complicated, plotting is probably necessary. Stephen King is a pantser. But I’m not Stephen King. I don’t have his experience. I think I’m going to start a WIP at some point during the summer and maybe work on plotting on my vacation when I’m relaxed and my mind uncluttered. We’ll see what happens.

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I only managed to write 3 days this week. My goal is 5, so I’m not happy with myself. There was no excuse for not writing on Friday. It was pure laziness. It was me wanting to do other things. Bleh. Yesterday, I was having a pretty good writing day. I was in my office in my comfy chair. Then my son, his girlfriend, and her little girl came over and decided to stay in the room with me. My son’s girlfriend was very quiet, doing her own thing. But my son likes to talk. And he did. Here’s the thing, though. What my son has to say to me is SO much more important than what I’m writing. If you have kids, you understand. Although he’s grown, he’s precious to me, and if he wants to talk to me, then I’m going to let him. The book can wait. I still got almost 800 words in. So my total words for the week is 2417.

Weight loss and healthy habits are still going well. I try to keep that updated on “Fitness Friday” every week.

I have the print proof of Soul of a Vampire, but it looks like there are changes to be made to the spine. The title isn’t centered exactly right (CreateSpace fixed something and I think that’s why it happened), and the font is really too small to see well. Anya said she would fix it. I hate to pay for another proof, but in the long run, I think it’s better to get it right. I let my son and his girlfriend look at it yesterday. My son said he would definitely get it fixed. So I guess that’s what I’ll do. I’ll let Anya look at it tomorrow. This is the first time I’ve had to have a cover redone after seeing the proof. The measurements are SO precise when submitting a cover file.

SHAMELESS PROMOTION: Don’t forget…Soul of a Vampire, Vampires’ Curse, and The Gnome are all on sale for .99 through the month of February. These books are regularly $2.99.

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So…I had been wearing a size 18 in jeans before any weight loss. They were a little loose on me, but I couldn’t quite get into a 16 yet. For my birthday in January, my husband bought me a pair of size 16, and they fit. I was really happy about that. He remarked that maybe he could buy me a size 14 for Valentine’s Day. I said “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.” Yesterday, for Valentine’s Day, he handed me a pair of size 14 jeans and said, “Remember what I said on your birthday? Maybe you can wear these soon.” I went to the bedroom to try them on. Because, you know, I just HAD to. Then I came out of the bedroom and modeled the PERFECT FITTING JEANS for hubby. 🙂 Down two sizes!

Stats for this week:
Beginning weight: 193
Today’s weight: 178
This week’s loss: .5 lbs.
Total loss: 15 lbs.

I was a little disappointed that I only lost .5 lbs., but I’ve been losing pretty fast lately, so it had to slow down at some point. I’m happy with any loss. 🙂

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Valentine’s Special!

Today (if the price changes happen on time) through the month of February, three of my books, Vampires’ Curse, Soul of a Vampire, and The Gnome will be on sale for .99! These books are regularly $2.99, so you’ll save $2.00 each if you get them this month. So if you want a paranormal romance (Vampires’ Curse or Soul of a Vampire) or some light horror with a dash of romance (The Gnome) give them a try. These books will be on sale at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. For links to the books, see my “Books” page on the tab above.

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My good friend and fellow author just released her latest book, Queen Witch. Isn’t the cover awesome? And the book is FULL of awesome. I loved it!

Here are the details:

Queen Witch Cover 1200x1800

QUEEN WITCH

FOULWEATHER TWINS, BOOK ONE

Stubborn and suspicious are two qualities that don’t go over well in the Queen family…

Where does my story truly begin? Maybe with the birth of twins to a soon-dead witch. Or possibly with the name bestowed on me by the Lady, the immortal we serve. She called me Sage, and my sister Wren. The Foulweather twins. As I choose to see it, my story begins when I first participated in the course of my life. When I started making my own decisions, despite everything I’d been taught. Forced recluse with a secret life? That’s me.

Sage Brighton is a young woman of incredible power, but she doesn’t decide how that power is used, or anything else about her life. As a witch of the Queen family, and a twin, Sage will serve the Lady all her days. The immortal has plans for Sage and her twin Wren. They are to be her Hands, her enforcers in the mortal, modern world. But first Sage must survive her training, learn to control her sociopathic sister without getting maimed in the process, and all the while try to keep something of her life for her own.

Excerpt:
     “Wren, take it easy!” I shouted to my sister over the howling winds that whipped along the rock-studded beach and stirred the crashing waves into froth.
     Instead, my twin threw all of her power against me, knocking aside the rock I’d held there for her, hovering in mid-air despite the fierce wind. I scowled, but played along, raising rock after rock as she dashed them back to the earth.
     Wren’s expression was a mirror of my own as we faced off. We were identical, on the surface, even if we had little in common outside the physical. The wind had already stripped strands of Wren’s long dark hair out of the braid I’d done for her not half an hour ago. Deep gray clouds studding the horizon spoke of a rainstorm on the way.
     Finally, Wren threw one of the stones far. It flew past me, into the waves. I made sure not to gape; she loved to show her superior strength in these games, and I wasn’t about to give her the satisfaction of knowing it bothered me.
     “My turn.” I told her, watching the trail behind her for any sign of movement. If the aunts caught us at it, we’d be days recovering from the pile of chores that would result. Since we hadn’t started twin school, we were supposed to use our powers sparingly. Too many twins explored their powers in dangerous ways without the proper training and ended up dead before they could be of any service to the Lady at all. But tell that to a pair of fourteen-year-olds who could move matter with their minds. We couldn’t resist.
     Wren raised a boulder first. A bead of sweat rolled down her temple as she concentrated her energy on the single rock. Instead of doing as she’d done, I twisted it, raising my own rock and beating it against the boulder, attempting to dislodge it and send it back to sea or sand. One rock wasn’t enough, so I was in the middle of raising an army of rocks – not one of my better ideas – when we were interrupted.
     A ball of white fur hurtled toward us. The dog had gotten pretty close before I noticed it, and Wren’s back was to it. It started barking before I could warn her, a sharp yip that made Wren jump. She dropped the boulder, which shattered into two pieces as it hit the rocks below. I stared at it for a split second. Breaking rocks. Now that was cool.
     I didn’t have time to say anything before Wren twisted to face the dog, now a scarce ten feet from her. She threw up a hand and a wave of sand and rock lifted the dog off its feet, and sent it flipping through the air.
     It was then that I noticed a man running toward us from farther down the beach, obviously coming after his dog. He stopped, confused, when he saw Wren’s action. I couldn’t be sure what he thought he saw, but I let out a little shriek that alerted Wren to his presence. If there was any rule that governed our lives, it was don’t use powers around strangers.
     The dog landed on all fours and gave a final yip before scurrying off with his tail between his legs and his ears flat against his head.
     I grabbed Wren’s hand, holding tight despite her protest, and ran toward the wooded trail. I expected to hear the man yell behind us, but if he said anything at all, the wind tore the words away before they reached my ears.
     Around a bend in the trail I slowed and dropped Wren’s hand angrily. She clasped her hands together and looked at the ground. She could tell I was mad, but I knew she had no idea why. That frustrated me even more.
     “Wren! You cannot lash out like that with your power. Don’t you know you could hurt somebody?”
     “It was a dog. An annoying dog,” she told me resentfully.
     “Did you see the man running toward us?” I didn’t even have to ask. “Wren. We’ve been over this. We’re not even supposed to use our powers like that around the aunts, much less around a stranger. You can’t act like that. We don’t own the beach, you know.”
     “We were there first.”
     “No matter. If you can’t control yourself, I’m not playing.” I stalked off, too upset to say more right now. I might say something I’d regret. Not that my sister would notice. She could be selfish, not to mention dangerously out of control. Our temperaments were polar opposites. My sister was quiet, shy, and didn’t care for people. In fact, as she’d just shown, she could be dangerous. It wasn’t that Wren actively disliked people; it was that she didn’t care. Another person’s joy, or their pain, never really got through to her.
     I stayed ahead of Wren the whole way home, taking our usual path alone. I don’t know if she trailed me or took another route. Sometimes I got tired of caring. She could find her own way home. She was capable of that much.
     I strolled by my friend David’s house, but didn’t see any signs of life no matter how slow I walked. I hadn’t seen him in weeks, which was unusual for the summer months. His family lived in the city, but came to their coastal cabin for many weekends, regardless of the time of year. In the summer even more so, as his mom exchanged the heat of city sidewalks for the serenity of a beachfront paradise, taking her kids along. David’s mom always dressed in flowery prints, bright and sunny, just like her smile. David was lucky; his family was nice. Normal.
     I’d known David since I was six. When he stayed at his family’s cabin, we had a secret way to exchange messages, and several secret places we loved to meet.
     I hoped he’d be back soon. I was getting lonely with no one but my twin for company. You might think that would be enough, a twin to share everything with. I loved my sister, but sometimes she wasn’t great company. And I had no normal friends, not the way most kids my age had friends, from what David said. I didn’t go to school. A cousin who lived in the cliff-top house with us home schooled Wren and me. We didn’t really see anyone besides cousins, aunts and uncles. Some of the cousins were close to our age, but none of them were twins. That set us apart, in our family.
     Among the Queen witches twins were precious and saved for the family’s immortal patron. Twins like us were raised to serve the Lady, as her Hands. In some ways, my twin was the only person I was taught to rely on. Our duality shaped our world and our obligations. I was only a kid and already I’d noticed that. The rest of the family held us apart, somewhat reverently, but that didn’t help children who just wanted to get in on their cousins’ games.
     I continued along the small winding road toward home, a chill running through me when I considered what had almost happened on the beach. Wren had almost hurt someone. Would she ever learn caution? Would I always have to remind her to control her emotions, and her power? Would I always be there when she needed reminding?
     These thoughts woke a fear that had long lived under my skin. What would the Lady do if she knew how Wren sometimes lost control and struck out with her power? The Queen witches hid their powers from the world. We lived outside of everything, having only as much contact with the mainstream as necessary. We didn’t mix, it was just too dangerous.
     The Lady made her family from distinguished magical bloodlines, adopting and even rescuing witches as they were persecuted across the centuries and around the world. Regular people didn’t understand witches; especially witches bred to their powers like thoroughbred horses to the race.

Bio

J.R. Pearse Nelson is a fantasy and paranormal romance author. Her work is fast-paced, adventurous, and sometimes dark.

J.R. is a native Oregonian, residing in the beautiful Portland area. She lives with her husband, two small daughters and the family dog. J.R. is always searching for the magic in our world. She weaves tales rooted in mythology, bringing legend to life in modern-day and fantasy settings. J.R. is the author of the Children of the Sidhe paranormal romance series, and Queen Witch, the first installment of the Foulweather Twins series.

You can connect with J.R. online at her blog. Visit www.jrpearsenelson.com

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