My Fitbit is Stalking Me

FI got a Fitbit about a week ago, and I’ve been having a lot of fun with it. I could go on about how motivating it is to have a device that tells me how many steps I’ve taken, how many calories I’ve burned, and how many flights of stairs I’ve gone up.

I could go on about all that, but I have a feeling it already knows how I feel about it.

It’s a little freaky how much it knows about me—in particular my sleeping patterns. It records when I fall asleep and get up in the morning. It knows when I wake up briefly during the night and even when I’ve simply tossed or turned.

I test its accuracy by looking at my clock when I do wake up in the night (too often, thanks to my cat) then checking the Fitbit’s data in the morning. I’m sure there are brainiacs reading this who can explain to me how the Fitbit works, but I don’t get enough sleep to comprehend any other explanation than my watch-thing is watching me.

So, with that in mind, I’ll leave you with this…

“Every Breath You Take”
by the Police

Every breath you take and every move you make
Every bond you break, every step you take, I’ll be watching you
Every single day and every word you say
Every game you play, every night you stay, I’ll be watching you

Oh, can’t you see you belong to me
How my poor heart aches with every step you take

Every move you make, every vow you break
Every smile you fake, every claim you stake, I’ll be watching you

Since you’ve gone I’ve been lost without a trace
I dream at night, I can only see your face
I look around but it’s you I can’t replace
I feel so cold and I long for your embrace
I keep crying, “Baby, baby, please”

Oh, can’t you see you belong to me
How my poor heart aches with every step you take

Every move you make and every vow you break
Every smile you fake, every claim you stake, I’ll be watching you
Every move you make, every step you take, I’ll be watching you

I’ll be watching you
Every breath you take and every move you make
Every bond you break, every step you take (I’ll be watching you)
Every single day and every word you say
Every game you play, every night you stay (I’ll be watching you)
Every move you make, every vow you break
Every smile you fake, every claim you stake (I’ll be watching you)
Every single day and every word you say
Every game you play, every night you stay (I’ll be watching you)

Every breath you take and every move you make
Every bond you break, every step you take (I’ll be watching you)
Every single day and every word you say
Every game you play, every night you stay (I’ll be watching you)
Every move you make, every vow you break
Every smile you fake, every claim you stake (I’ll be watching you)
Every single day and every word you say
Every game you play, every night you stay (I’ll be watching you)

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Name Change

So, I changed the name of my blog. I got tired of the old one, so to add a little excitement to my life, I spent the better part of a day thinking of the perfect name.

Good bye “Whims & Wanderings.” You’ve been replaced.

Why “Life Within the Words”?

Words are a big part of my life, especially written words. I am surrounded by them. Mostly I read them; sometimes I write them. I’m paid to evaluate them. I love words.

I also have a life. I’m a mom, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a sister.

The new name represents what this blog is about. I write words about people who write words. I write words of my own. I write about the words I write. But filling the spaces between the words in my world is my world—my life. I use this blog to write about my life.

I began this blog years ago. I think it was originally called “Life in Bits & Pieces.” I liked that one, but it sort of made me think of a life that had been shattered. Mine’s fine. Thank God, my life is not broken. It was about my life and all the parts of it.

Then it was called something else. Must have been boring because I don’t remember what. I don’t think I wrote much during that time. ((yawn))

I changed it to “Whims & Wanderings” because I figured I’d use it to write about whatever I wanted, unbound by a theme. It was a decent name, but like I said above, I got tired of it.

“Life Within the Words” better suits what this blog has evolved into. It’s a stopping ground for all my blog posts. When I write a post on my author blog, it will end up here. My editing blog posts will be copied here as well. Posts about my real life—where my family, my faith, and my musings reside—will continue to be posted here.

Life … within the words.

My husband suggested the name “The Junk Drawer” since everything ends up here. I like that one, but … junk … maybe not.

Anyway, if you’ve read this far, thanks! I hope you visit again.

word
Yep. I made this.

 

 

So Happy to be a Part of This!

bite-sized offerings1Final
Cover Art by André Vazquez

Bite-Sized Offerings: Tales & Legends of the Zombie Apocalypse

I haven’t blogged for a while (surprise, surprise). My excuse? The same excuse most people have for not doing the things they enjoy—work. For me, that means editing and proofreading. That is a good thing…no, that’s a great thing. I enjoy doing what I do and I love the people I get to work with.

If you didn’t already know this, the independent author community is filled with some of the most generous, kind people I’ve met. Ever. Sure, there are a few bad apples in the barrel, just like in any community, but I won’t go there.

Tonight, I’m going to focus on some good ones…specifically, the ones who gave their time, creative talents, money, and support to a project designed to help a friend, whose daughter needs heart valve replacement surgery.

The friend: A supporter, provider of encouragement, friend, and promoter of many independent authors who write dystopian and post-apocalypse fiction. This beautiful woman goes out of her way to help others when needs arise. She has organized auctions, online fundraising, and gives financially when she can. She is a generous soul.

The reason: Emalee.
She is Mysti’s thirteen-year-old daughter. Em has an extra chromosome. That means she was born with Down Syndrome. Em has had several surgeries in her young life and will soon be going through one of the most important surgeries of them all. She needs her heart valve replaced. As we all know, not all medical expenses are covered through insurance. There are many expenses that those with a chronically ill child pay out-of-pocket: second and third opinions, specialists, travel…just to name a few.

Almost everyone needs help at some time in their life. This is one of those times for Mysti and her family.

The project: Bite-Sized Offerings: Tales & Legends of the Zombie Apocalypse

The Background: This all began from a casually tossed out idea on Facebook. I used my author page to start a conversation about zombie fiction for kids. I was lamenting the lack of good, age-appropriate zombie books for my sons and former students who love zombies. A friend and fellow author…we’ll call her Lori (cuz that’s her name) threw out the idea of putting together an anthology of zombie stories for kids.

I must have been in my I-can-conquer-the-world mode, because I thought it sounded like a great idea. But only if the money—assuming the book would sell—went to a kid-related charity. But which one? Who would be the beneficiary of our vast wealth? Who could use a whopping five bucks?

Lori suggested Mysti. It was one of those moments when you say, “Of course! Why didn’t I think of that?” Emalee and her brother, Mason, love zombies. It was meant to be.

Then I put it on the back burner. Exit: I-can-conquer-the-world-and-everyone-in-it mode; Enter: I-want-to-hide-from-the-world-and-live-in-a-dark-cave mode. 

Fortunately, Lori, a dynamo of a woman, wouldn’t let it go. She got the ball rolling and I got excited about it again. I envision it like this: Lori packed a fistful of ice, rolled it over one author, who said, “Heck ya! I want to be a part of this!” She grazed it past another author, who also said yes! Those authors rolled the ball over more authors who wanted to help Mysti. And it grew. It…ready for this?…it snowballed. I’m a So Cal native; humor me while I talk about something I know nothing about.

Before we knew what was happening, more authors stepped up, wanting to be a part. Why? Mysti; that’s why. 

I’ll spare you all the wonderful details…the contracts, the editing, deciding on a title, working with the cover artist, etc. The bottom line is, we ended up with thirty-four awesome zombie stories. Each one is unique. All of them are appropriate for middle school-aged kids. The quality of the stories make the book appealing to all fans of zombie fiction.

All profit goes to Mysti to help with Emalee’s health- and surgery-related expenses.

The contributors:  From three different countries, all different backgrounds, and with different takes on the zombie apocalypse. One common goal: to help a mutual friend in need.

W.J. LundyShawn ChesserArmand RosamiliaTed NultyMichael RobertsonHeath StallcupSaul TanpepperMike EvansBrian ParkerJ. RudolphT.W. PiperbrookVeronica SmithJack WallenA.R. ShawJohn Gregory HancockWilliam AllenMichelle BryanP Mark DeBryanS.G. LeeJames DeanShannon WaltersShaun PhelpsJoseph CautilliMarisha CautilliEdward P CardilloAdrianne LemkeToni L.H BoughtonH.J. HarryJeffrey ClareChris BosticRich BakerCedric NyeGreg P. FerrellAllen GamboaLori FontanezE.S. OakesAndrew KishTorchbearer Editing Services

Q is for Quetzal

Q is for Quetzal

A Quetzal is a type of bird found in Central America and Mexico. They have beautiful feathers. I don’t want to use someone else’s copyrighted image of a Quetzal; that would be wrong. I also can’t take my own photo of a Quetzal because I don’t live in Central America or Mexico. But don’t worry! Luckily for you, I have a paint program on my computer, and with it, I can “paint” Quetzals. Without further ado, I present to you my very own rendition of a Queztal.

Untitled
Not going to quit my day job. And this took up way too much of my time.

M is for Mom Plays Minecraft

M is for Mom Plays Minecraft

Once again, I am behind schedule with the A-Z Challenge. I have a lot of catching up to do.

This will be short and… well, short.

Minecraft is fun. My kids got me into it and now the whole family plays. Just for fun, I’ll share some of the screenshots I took recently of my Minecraft world.

Fullscreen capture 4172015 102805 PM
I’m collecting chickens. Yes, those square things are chickens.
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My player (MCMom70) surrounded by chests… and chickens.
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A Minecraft sunset.

L is for Lucky

L is for LuckyL

Luck (noun): a purposeless, unpredictable, and uncontrollable force that shapes events favorably or unfavorably for an individual, group, or cause (source: Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary)

I don’t really believe in “luck” as it is defined above. If I am going to analyze words, I have to say that fortunate would probably be the better word for me to use. But people relate to the word “lucky” and it’s a big part of our vernacular, so I use it.

Fortunate (adjective): receiving some unforeseen or unexpected good or some good not dependent on one’s own efforts  (source: Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary)

Here is just one way I feel “lucky” tonight. I posted on my Facebook wall that I needed suggestions for the letter “L” for my blog post. What followed was a lengthy string of comments by numerous Facebook friends. Some suggestions were serious and some were funny. I had fun laughing and discussing the suggestions… and it felt good.

I couldn’t help but think how I am blessed… fortunate… lucky to have so many people who are willing to take time out of their night to laugh with me and engage in fun dialogue with me (and each other).

No one suggested the word “lucky,” but that’s how I felt when it was all said and done… lucky!

My First Comic-Con

Authors A.R. Shaw, Doug Bornemann, me, David Forsythe, and Kathy Porter
Authors A.R. Shaw, Doug Bornemann, me, David Forsyth, and Kathy Porter (not shown: Dan Williams)

Last weekend, I had the honor of representing some of the fabulous authors who are a part of Monique Happy Editorial Services at the Long Beach ComicCon. Even though I live in San Diego, where ComicCon is HUGE, I’ve never been to one. I’m so glad I got to attend!

Shawn Chesser and W.J. Lundy sent some promotional goodies to pass out and they were snatched up quickly! The attendees were a lot of fun and I got to talk with lots of zombie fiction and horror fans. My goal was to introduce fans of zombies and shows like The Walking Dead to some of the amazing zombie fiction authors (like Chesser and Lundy).

I only started reading zombie fiction when I went through The Walking Dead withdrawals. When I shared this with people, they laughed and said they understood the feeling. Many fans seemed very interested in checking out zombie literature, so hopefully they will!

The best part of the weekend was getting to meet some great writers. They were very generous with their advice and encouragement. As a new author, I appreciate the time they spent talking with me.

If I’m given the opportunity, I will definitely do this again. I’m not a salesperson and tend to be a bit shy about talking to people I don’t know. I surprised myself, though– turns out I’m pretty good at promoting people and things I truly like.

Now that I know what to expect, there are a few things I will change for the next time I go. I want to have actual books available for purchase. Hopefully, I will have a few of my own by then. People in that environment seemed excited to purchase autographed books from authors they could meet and talk with in person. I will also come with some sort of graphic to catch the attention of people passing the booth. Most people didn’t stop until I asked if they like zombies*. I want people to know right away what the authors I am representing are all about.

*The most common answer: “Who doesn’t like zombies?!”

In all, Comic-Con was a blast! The people were friendly and happy to be there. It was a people-watcher’s paradise. My husband took pictures while I worked the booth. Below are just a few of the amazing costumes we saw.

Many thanks to David Forsythe, author of The Sovereign Spirit Saga books and Sedulity, for arranging everything, setting up the ApocaCon booth, and inviting others to take part in this great opportunity!ii gg

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