Friday, December 7, 2012

The Gall of it All

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It's been a few weeks since I posted here but in reality it seems like just a few days has gone by. Just before Thanksgiving, I was crazy busy trying to get the house ready for company and just general life type things. Thanksgiving came and went, but on the Saturday night following, I started not feeling so well.

I felt way overstuffed from a dinner that I didn't even finish. That should have been the first warning sign. Around 11pm, what has become a semi-familiar band of tightness formed around my midsection, at the base of my ribs. That was followed by the awful stabbing pain through the sternum and into the back. When it hadn't let up and was possibly getting worse by 4pm the next day, Justin convinced me to go to the emergency room. Imagine their shock when they found out that I'd drove myself! I guess that doesn't happen all that often.

Long'ish story short? Two days ago, I had surgery to remove my gallbladder. I had one large gallstone (about the size of a nickel) up in the top of my gallbladder and my gallbladder was badly inflamed. The doctor said I've probably been having problems with it for years,even though the symptoms didn't start popping up until last Spring sometime. It turns out that when you have a high pain tolerance, you don't notice the pain but it would explain the times when I just felt rundown and not well.

So, for the next couple of days, I'm confined on and off to my couch while I recover. The boys have kindly agreed that we don't need to decorate for the holidays this year. Luckily, I felt well enough to get 90% of the presents wrapped prior to the surgery. It's a good thing because I'm not allowed to lift anything more than 10 pounds for the next 3 weeks! Thank goodness for good kids who are willing to help out where they can!

Other than that, life is carrying on the best way that it knows day at a time. With any luck, my energy will pick back up and y'all will be seeing more of me here again soon!

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Lilla Rose Review & Giveaway!

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For most of my adult life, I've had trouble finding hair clips that work with my hair. The problem is that I have thick hair and according to those who cut my hair, a lot of it. Normal clips just won't hold it. I've lost track of the number of clips and barrettes that I've broken in the attempts. In the end, I resorted to just using scrunchies and let's face it, those aren't the most glamorous of options in the hair fun world.

Then, out of the blue, I received an email from Elizabeth Williams. She wanted me to try out Lilla Rose flexi clips and tell y'all about them. I'll be honest. I was skeptical. I had tried other clips and no luck. However, I wanted to be fair, so I said sure! She sent me this gorgeous clip and that was it. I was in love. The clips come in a variety of sizes so they fit pretty much any hair type out there. Did I mention that they're gorgeous too? I have no idea how many styles there are but enough that you could practically have one for every day of the year without repeating!

These are going at the top of my Christmas list. I put one in my hair and it stayed not only all day, but all night  when I forgot to take it out before bed. Combine that with just being downright pretty and you can't honestly go wrong.

Plus, Elizabeth has been kind enough to let me give one away to one of you lucky folk! Simply fill out the form and we'll be choosing a winner in a couple of weeks. A quick note on the become a customer entry. You don't have to purchase anything to do this entry! Simply click Shop Now and then New Account. Fill out the information and click Create Account and you're done!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received product in exchange for this review. All thoughts, opinions, comments and crazy hair are 100% mine.
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Did y'all know that it's only 6 weeks until Christmas? I suddenly realized that last night when I was looking at scheduling some posts over at Geekorama. Then, I had a moment of pure panic. I am just not organized about the holidays this year. Losing my grandma has thrown me all out of whack when it comes to anything that we used to spend with her. I don't even have my Christmas card list made let alone addresses collected or anything like that! Ahh!

Then I realized, may just save my hiney this year. I can go to the site, create a unique and personalized card and they can send it for me. No time standing in the store or waiting in line at the post office. Whew!

How about you? Are you set for the holidays? If not or heck, even if you are, why not head over to and try out the site? Create a card and then using the code TREATBLOGR, send off that card for Free*. Give them a shot and when you're done, come on back here and tell us about your experience. We would love to know!


*Free card offer only valid 11/19 and 11/20/2012.

This post is brought to you on behalf of All comments, thoughts and opinions belong 100% to me.
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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Shutterfly Thank The Troops Campaign

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Over 1.5 million troops serve our great nation. Many of them will be overseas, in harm’s way, and away from their families over this holiday season. Our mission is simple—to send a thank you card to every American hero. To succeed we need your support. Just select a card from 4 different designs, add a personal message (or photo) and click send.  Shutterfly will print and ship your card to the troops at no cost to you.

I encourage you to create a card for the troops. Give back to the people who are giving up their time with their families so that you can be safe with yours. It doesn't matter if you know someone in the military...a card is a card and when you're far from home, every little bit matters. If you're like me, getting a card in the mail is one of the most amazing feelings ever. You know that someone took the time to pick it out, just for you. Now, imagine that you're what feels like a million miles from home and you open up a card that a total stranger sent to say thank you for what you do. Be someone who puts a smile on someone's face this holiday season. I just bet that it will put a smile not only on a soldier's face but one on yours as well.


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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Book Review: A Merry Little Christmas

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Franny Martin is an Oklahoma farm girl who’s preparing to spend the holidays alone…again. Then Charlie Landau shows up one day, all wealth and polish, and offers to buy Franny’s farm. Franny has no money to speak of, but she is clever and spirited, and she’s more than happy to sell the farm and move to the city.
As Sinatra croons from the radio and Christmas descends upon her charming farm, Franny teaches Charlie the curious and sometimes comical ways of country life. In the process, they unearth some discoveries of the heart—that sometimes love comes when you’re least ready for it. Will the holidays bring their most impossible dreams within reach?

This book was a bit of a slow start for me, but once it got going, I just kept going with it. Franny is so sweet and a bit naive. Charlie is so polished and yet damaged. When they come together, a beautiful story flows.

For more information about this book, check out the blog tour landing page where you can learn about the author, the book and any giveaways that may currently be going on.


I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All comments, thoughts and opinions belong totally to me.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Book Review: Finding Our Way Home

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"When principal ballerina Sasha Davis suffers a career-ending injury at age thirty-eight, she leaves her Boston-based dance company and retreats to the home of her youth in Minnesota. But Sasha’s injuries limit her as much as her mother’s recent death haunts her. Concluding she can’t recover alone, Sasha reluctantly hires a temporary live-in aide.

Enter the übercapable Evelyn Burt. As large-boned as Sasha is delicate, Evelyn is her employer’s opposite in every way. Small town to Sasha’s urban chic, outgoing to Sasha’s iciness, and undaunted where Sasha is hopeless, nineteen-year-old Evelyn is newly engaged and sees the world as one big, shiny opportunity.

Evelyn soon discovers Sasha needs to heal more than bones. Slowly, as the wounds begin to mend and the tables tilt, the two women form an unlikely alliance and discover the astounding power of even the smallest act done in the name of love. Finding Our Way Home is a story of second chances and lavish grace."

When I chose this book to review, I had no idea that I would fall in love with it. It took me two days to read this one but only because I was exhausted from being sick. Otherwise, this would have been a one book reading. The author captures the torment of Sasha's injuries and her mental state and yet doesn't make her into something so evil that you cannot feel for her pain. Evelyn is young and in love and it makes you smile, even as you watch her life change. Of all the books I've read lately, this one is an instant favorite and I can guarantee that I'll be picking it up again and reading it over and over.

If you'd like to find out more about this book or even order a copy for yourself, just click this handy link and be sure to come back here and let me know what *you* thought.


I received this book as a part of the Blogging for Books program. All thoughts and comments belong 100% to lil ol me.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Shutterfly: Holiday Cards

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I know! I know! It's October! None of us want to hear about Holiday Cards, yet! Well, believe it or not, while some of us are cringing at the Santa Claus' in the stores, others are already planning out their holiday cards. They're browsing through all of the options and planning their family photos.

No matter which category you fall in, you cannot deny that Shutterfly has some of the greatest card choices for making personalized holiday cards. Every single year, I go there and I look through them, wishing that this year I had just a little extra money so that I could send out something like this instead of my dollar store selections. Do you guys feel the same way? If so, I have a bit of a treat for you...are you ready? How would you like the opportunity to win $50 off an order from Shutterfly? Now, I warn you that it won't include shipping and cannot be combined with other offers, but still, that's pretty awesome, right? I just love being able to bring things like this to you! Check out the Rafflecopter below and once you're done, why not browse the site a little and maybe even pick up a little something off their Special Offers page?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post brought to you by Shutterfly. All content is 100% mine because I wrote it. ) 

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Book Review : The Marriage Bargain

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Camille Chandler is a tabloid journalist whose career is right on track–until her boss sees a curious ad in the L.A. Trades.
Wanted: Single actress for an extended gig abroad.
France’s mega-rich playboy Julian de Laurent is up to something and Camille’s boss expects her to find out what. Who knew the eccentric gazillionaire was looking to hire a temporary wife?
When Camille refuses to accept Julian’s proposal–and secretly write a juicy tell-all about the de Laurent family–she’s fired and left financially destitute, forcing her to entertain Julian’s proposal for real. But what’ll happen at the end of the contract period, after Camille has spent six months as the wife of a man she learns is capable of stealing her heart?

Every so often, it's nice to be able to sit down with a book that's a nice, easy and really fun read. That's the type of book The Marriage Bargain is. I honestly read it in one sitting and didn't stop flipping the pages until I was completely done with it. The writer's style draws you into the story in such a way that you don't even realize how many pages you've turned until you reach the last page. I know that not all of you are romance readers, but if you are, don't hesitate to pick this one up off of the shelf.

Tour starts September 10th!! Prize - 4 of Sandra Edward Books in Print and a $100 Amazon Giftcard a Rafflecopter giveaway Follow the Tour
I received a copy of this book via Promotional Blog Tours for the purpose of this review. My loving this book and telling you I love it? Well, that was all me. 

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Book Review: American Tapestries

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When pampered Jacqueline Abington secretly elopes with the family gardener, she asks another woman to take her place on the much anticipated maiden voyage of the Titanic. Tessa Bowen hails from a poor corner of London but has been granted the opportunity of a lifetime—a ticket to sail to America aboard a famed vessel. But there’s a catch: she must assume Jacqueline’s identity. For the first time in her life, Tessa stays in luxurious quarters, dresses in elegant gowns, and dines with prestigious people. Then a wealthy American man takes an interest in her, and Tessa struggles to keep up the ruse as she begins falling for him. When tragedy strikes, the game is up, and two women’s lives are forever changed.

When picking up a book that you know is about the Titanic, if you're like me, you cringe just a little inside. After all, you know how it's going to end, right? Well, not in this case. While a good portion of the book takes place on board, the true story isn't the ship but the individual lives and how they weave together to tell a beautiful story. The characters were all very easy to relate to and you found yourself hoping and praying that everything would work out for them. I won't give away what happens but if you're looking for something to read that isn't all about explosions or fantasy, pick up this book for a quiet evenings reading. Now, if I only had a fireside to go with it...


A young woman traveling the Oregon Trail in 1842 must rely on a stranger to bring her to safety. But whom can she trust with her heart?

For two thousand miles along the trail to Oregon Country, Samantha Waldron and her family must overcome tremendous challenges to reach the Willamette Valley before winter. Together they weather autumn storms, hunger and thirst, and the dangers of a wild and unfamiliar country. But when their canoe capsizes on the Columbia River, they must rely on handsome British exporter Alexander Clarke to rescue them from the icy water.

Alex escorts Samantha and her young brother, Micah, to Fort Vancouver. There Samantha is overwhelmed with men vying for her affections, but the only one who intrigues her-Alex-is the one she cannot have. When his betrothed arrives unexpectedly from England to escort him home, Samantha becomes determined to create a home for herself and Micah in the fertile valley far away from the fort. But how will an unmarried woman support herself and her brother in the wilderness alone?

Then Micah disappears into the wilderness one rainy night, and Samantha must rely on the man she loves-the man she’s trying desperately to forget-to rescue her brother before it’s too late.

This is another one for the history buffs and romance lovers among us. Actually, this is one of those books that fits into so many categories. It's a Western, it's a Historical Romance...heck, it's just a good read. Unlike a lot of romances where the hero and heroine of the story are butting up against each other constantly, these two don't come together until closer to the end. It seemed to work for them and speaking of working, can you imagine months living on a trail like that? Heck, I don't know what to do with my dryer not working!


Why two reviews in one post? Both of these fantastic books are part of the American Tapestry series and as such, they're being shown to the world together. Consider it a bonus on this dreary Monday to have two more books in your to be read pile. However, if you want to go one step further, be sure to check out Where the Trail Ends and Queen of the Waves over on their blog tour homes.

If that's not enough, how about a giveaway? Yep, this fantastic series has an even more fantastic Twitter party and giveaway going on..make sure you enter today!

I'm off to do more reading! Happy entering!

I received a copy of both of these books for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are 100% mine.
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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Home Winterization

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It's that time of year again, isn't it? You know the one..where you want to be outside enjoying jumping in the piles of crisp fall leaves but instead the wind is blowing and the rain is coming down in sheets? Yep, that's the one that's happening here right now. I had beautiful plans of finally tackling the front porch. It's still stacked with things that I needed to unload in a hurry and it needs to be done before the snow sets in. However, mother nature had ideas of her own so today, I'm stuck indoors.

Since I can't be working outside, I got to thinking about all of the projects that need to be done not only outside, but inside as well. This kind of weather is a sure sign that I need to be taking advantage of the good weather days to get the outside winterization done. On days like today, I can work on the inside jobs that come this time of year.

My current list of projects is miles long but that's just because if I don't have a project, I don't know what to do with myself! Today, I'm going to share a list of 5 simple and easy projects that you can do around your own homes to help save some money this winter! After all, we can all use a bit of extra money these days.

1. Block the drafts - Check under your outside doors. If they're anything like mine, there are drafts coming in. I have an old house and over the years, it's settled and nothing is quite square. My solution? I'll be making my own draft blocker! It's super easy and I bet any of you can do this. (Don't tell my kids where their pool tube things went, ok?) If you don't want to make one yourself, head down to any of your local department type stores and look in the holiday sections. At this time of year, they always have cute draft blockers. They'll cost you more than making one yourself, but you'll be all set!

2. Run your ceiling fans on reverse - I wish I had ceiling fans! Did you know that warm air rises and pools up around your ceiling? By flipping that switch on your fans so that the blades rotate in a counter-clockwise direction, you could save up to 10% off of your heating bills! That's insane!

3. Turn down your water heater - Do you have any idea what temperature your water heater is set at? Most installers/plumbers set them to 140F. By simply turning it down to 120, you could save 6-10% on those energy bills. Most people don't even realize the difference since a shower at 140 is so hot that we don't turn the water up that high!

4.Install storm doors and windows - This one takes actual manual labor, but can be so worth it! Did you know that simply installing a storm door can increase energy efficiency in your home by up to 45%? Also, for those of you that have storm windows installed on your home, make sure they're closed! I know you're thinking duh, but I've lived in this house for 3 years and just in the past week realized that my front door has a storm window that lowers on it! I need to check my back door now for something similar!

My thanks to Wil Wheaton and his friend Loren
for taking this picture and allowing it to be
spread across the internet. 
5. Put on a sweater - Let's face it. We're all getting older and the days of us laying about in our skivvies with 6 inches of snow on the ground are probably long past. If they're not, hey don't let me stop your fun! But, did you know that simply putting on a light sweater can add about 2 degrees of warmth to your body? A heavier sweater can add up to 4 degrees! That can easily translate into not having to have your thermostat turned up so high. Plus, who doesn't want to pull out all of their ugly sweater candidates? Make it an ugly sweater fashion show with hot chocolate going to the winner!


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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Curbside Chaos' Yard Makeover

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This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bulbs. Dig, Drop, Done.. All opinions are 100% mine.

Let's sit back and fantasize for a moment, shall we? Let's pretend that we have $5000 to spend on a yard makeover. What would we do? I know just what I would do. I'd have someone tear out those bushes in the front yard and replace them with the original wrap around porch. Then, if there were a speck of money left, I would redo the out front flower beds and finish the paver walk to the driveway. 

Sadly, I don't have $5000 but this lucky family won a yard makeover thanks to Curbside Chaos!

I love Curbside Chaos. Whenever I'm not sure what to plant and when, that's where I head. Let's face it, that's probably pretty often. I can't help it. They have the Garden Guru tool which makes it all so easy! Seriously. It's easy. Plus, y'all know that I love a company/site that gives back. For every tweet that goes out with the #CurbsideChaos hashtag, "Bulbs. Dig, Drop, Done." donates $1 to Rebuilding Together. 

Now, since I just mentioned Bulbs. Dig, Drop, Done..I have to tell you that if you ever have a single question about bulbs, this is where you should be heading for information. They are chock full of useful tidbits. Plus, if you're just looking for a bit of fun, visit the site to see which of the women you relate to. For me, it's Marcy, the supermom. Ok, I know I'm no supermom but she's a lot like me...a busy life and a little it of knowledge.

visit to learn more about what bulbs can do not only for your yard, but for decorating, gift giving and livening up your indoors!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Book Review: The Trouble With Cowboys

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"Annie Wilkerson is Moose Creek’s premiere horse trainer and equine columnist for Montana Living. Money is tight as she tries to put her kid-sister through college and provide for her young nephew. When Annie’s column is cancelled, she’s given first shot at a new lovelorn column—and she can’t afford to turn it down. Only problem is . . . Annie’s never been in love.

Always resourceful, she reluctantly strikes a deal with the town’s smooth-talking ladies’ man Dylan Taylor: She’ll work with his ailing horse, Braveheart, if he’ll help her answer the reader letters."

What's better than a book about a handsome cowboy? A book with a handsome cowboy getting to know a control freak woman while they work together to dispense love advice to the lovelorn. Honestly, while I love romance books, those of a strong Christian nature aren't as often on my bedside stand. I picked this one up and after admiring the cover (I love a good cover.), I started reading. I didn't manage to stop that first night until I was halfway through. 


Denise Hunter’s “The Trouble with Cowboys” Facebook Party & Kindle Fire Giveaway 

The trouble with Cowboys by Denise Hunter To celebrate the release of The Trouble with Cowboys, Denise is hosting a fun Author Chat Party on Facebook. She'll connect with readers and give away some amazing prizes - including a Kindle Fire! 
Save the Date for October 11th!

Grab your copy of Denise Hunter's latest book and join her for an Author Chat Party on October 11th at 8:00 PM EST (that’s 7:00 Central, 6:00 MST, & 5:00 PST)! Haven't read The Trouble with Cowboys yet? That's okay, don't let that stop you from coming to the party! (You may win a copy!)

During the evening she’ll be sharing the story behind the book, posting discussion questions, testing your trivia skills, and of course, there will be plenty of chatting and fun giveaways – books, gift certificates and – a Kindle Fire! She’ll also be giving you a sneak peek of her next book too!

RSVP today and then come back on the 11th … and bring your friends!

Want to learn more? Check out more stops on this blog tour!


I received a free copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and typos belong 100% to me.

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Con Recap: Wizard World Ohio Part 2

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When last we met to talk about this con, it was Friday night and I was zonked out in the hotel room. At least I think that's where we left off. If it's not just go with it. That way we can talk all about Saturday!

Since I had covered most of the con floor on Friday, I decided to be lazy and sleep in on Saturday. In reality, I tried to. The hotel cleaning crew had other ideas. While they respected the Do Not Disturb sign on my door by not coming into the room, they didn't grasp the concept that sweeping the hall outside my door and the rooms on either side of me might be disturbing. In the end, I gave up and headed back down to the con.

This time, however, my little lot was full. So, I tried following the signs for the convention center parking. That didn't go so well. There was more construction and signs ended up vanishing before I found parking. It turned out ok, though. I turned up the one street whose name I recognized and discovered a parking garage under the convention center itself! Granted, it was at the other end but close parking is close parking and I took it.

Then, it was back to the convention. Friday night was pretty dead so I wasn't sure what Saturday would be like. It turns out that I didn't need to worry. The crowds came out in full force on Saturday and almost every single table had people standing around checking things out. While this makes my job more difficult, it always makes me happy for the people sitting behind the tables.

Blair Smith with Spiderman -- and the crowds.
As for me, I made my way back to artist alley, stopping to see a few friends along the way. In my head, I was already making my shopping list but I try to make myself finish working before shopping. Plus, if I'm buying prints, the last thing I want to do is carry those around all day and potentially damage them!

I do have to say, though, that artist alley is almost always one of my favorite places at any convention. It gives me a chance to meet some really cool people and they're almost always open to talking for a few minutes, not only about what they do but also about what I do. For example, I had the pleasure of meeting Jamie Tyndall, who not only gave me some great advice about putting together a media kit, but also donated two of his art books to our giveaway!

Speaking of cool people that were hanging out back in artist alley, I also got to meet these guys:

Aren't you envious? These guys were totally awesome and even let me hang out behind their table(s) for an hour or so. I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciated that. Convention floors are almost always concrete which is just miserable to walk around on all day. I was lucky enough to have an in because they knew Keith. Remember Keith from yesterday? Yep. Looking for him on Saturday turned into an adventure, but scored me a chair. He was forgiven for being elusive. 

What else can I tell you about Saturday? The people I got to meet were awesome. The traffic congestion in the convention hall wasn't misery. There were some pretty awesome cosplayers walking around. Don't believe me? Check out these costumes:

I love when people take the time to put together awesome costumes. I honestly have no idea how they do it. I think that we saw these guys on Sunday, but either way, awesome costumes were all around. As Saturday drew to a close, I yet again missed dinner with Blair and Keith. Turns out they were looking for me as I was looking for them. There was a whole slew of mis-communication and failed attempts so I ended up back at the hotel doing some ordering in from a local pizza place.

The bonus of being back in your hotel by 7:30? You get to have amusing Facebook conversations with some of the very people you just missed for dinner, plus, you get to be extra organized for the next day. Here's what I mean: 

From Back to Front, Clockwise : Giveaway, Stuff for the kids, My goodies!

Review Stack!
Sunday dawned and I headed back down to the convention center one last time. First, I made one quick stop. The guys at Zenescope had been talking about how much they loved White Castle so I picked them up 10 burgers. I love doing little things like that. They're small but they can change someone's whole day. Their faces were priceless when I dropped the bag off at their table on my way in.

Other than that, truth be told, I spent the entire day socializing and hanging out with friends, both new and old. As much as I enjoy the bigger shows for work, I enjoyed this smaller show for the chance to see people that I adore. I even got the chance to man another table, thanks to Jon Lennon.  Plus, just for a bit of fun, we took over a table for about ten minutes while I was waiting to see Keith one last time. 

Don't know about the new site yet? You'd best go check us out over at! 

Keith's things were behind this table and so I was guarding them while I goofed around with the folks at Last Call Comics. After this, I went around and said my goodbyes to folks and then it was back to the "porno room" at the hotel to relax and watch some tv while I packed up for the drive home on Monday.

 Oh! I almost forgot to share one last picture with you! This is Pat Shand, writer at Zenescope with Keith, writer of awesomeness. Turns out they were roommates over the weekend. Either way, they're both great guys and great writers. Pat has a brand new book out, Robyn Hood. You should read it. We'll be reviewing it here soon. 
Keith and Pat
So, my over all take on Wizard World Ohio? It was small, but good. Small let you have a chance to really meet and talk to people. It also gave a chance to catch up with friends. Plus, let's face it, it can be fun to "stalk" your friends around the convention floor. If you're looking to dip your toes into the convention world, this might be one you want to check out next September.


We received a press badge for the purpose of attending this event. All commentary, thoughts and ramblings are 100% the authors. All pictures, except the one of me, are thanks to Keith Thomas and Blair Smith.

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Con Recap: Wizard World Ohio Part 1

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Like any con that I attend, this one started out with travel. I am thrilled to report that my 5 hour drive to the Columbus area was uneventful. Pretty exciting start, huh? Don't worry. I promise it gets better.

My first stop was to check into my hotel room. Now, since we're still pretty small, we went with a pretty small priced hotel. Someday though, we'll be among the awesome who stay at convention hotels. Luckily, I don't mind a bit of adventure when it comes to staying in a hotel. Besides, quite often I walk away with a story to tell. This con choice? The Microtel on Stringtown Road in Grove City. Yep, Stringtown Road. I think I giggled every single time the gps told me to get off there. It's just such a fun name. I figured a fun name was a good start for what would hopefully shape up to be a fun weekend.

Getting to the hotel was a bit of a hassle. The directions said to go past the hotel and make a u-turn. The only problem? U-turns weren't allowed at the next intersection so I ended up pulling onto the street, into a shopping center, driving all the way around the shopping center, coming back out onto the street, turning onto the correct road and then into the hotel. Whew! Check in was a breeze, even if the girl at the desk didn't seem to really love her job. She wasn't rude, just sort of bored. I managed to get everything inside and down to the room...opened the door to find...1970's porno room! Woo!

These pictures honestly don't do it justice. It was just beyond weird to me that the mirrors were placed like that. Ok, it's kind of weird to have a giant mirrored wall to begin with.

After getting over the shock of the mirrors, I headed down to the convention center. My directions were pretty clear which as y'all know means absolutely nothing when the very exit you're supposed to take no longer exists! I tried following signs that said to convention parking..that didn't help. Luckily, my phone has a built in gps app and it saved my buns! I even got super lucky and found parking in the tiny lot that was right next to the entrance!

After parking, I headed in and stood around  hung out with other fine folks waiting to get their press badges. Right on time, they were handed out and even came with an offer of an introduction to any celebrities and artists that I might want to talk to. It felt really good to be appreciated for what I was there to do.

Once I received my press badge, I got to hang out with two of the volunteers and an on site security guard while I waited for the doors to open. It turns out that the security guard was from Flint. We talked a bit about what it was like and had a great time joking around until it was time for me to get to work.

First stop? Zenescope. I didn't mean to. I'm not addicted to them. Really. Actually, I stopped by because Keith Thomas was standing at their table. If you're not familiar with Keith, you should be. Not only is he a great guy but he wrote one of my current favorites, Cricket for Big Dog Ink. Cricket is a one-shot that should be turned into a mini-series with Keith at the helm. Seriously, it's good stuff.

Tyler Kirkham with the awesome Keith Thomas. Watch out for these two!

Since he was standing there, I stopped by and said hi to him and the Zenescope guys. After some chitchat, it was time for me to really get to work so business cards in hand, I worked my way around the convention floor.

This convention is much smaller than others that I've attended but that didn't prevent it from having some seriously quality people there. I confess to sighing longingly at the Doctor Who store and finding it very cool that there was a booth/table where you could go and they would make you fangs that were quality and would last a lifetime if you took care of them.

Since the con was pretty small, I actually managed to cover all of the floor and about half of artist alley on Friday night. I even had the chance to stop by and say hi to friends like, Dirk Manning (author of Nightmare World).

At the end of Day 1, my feet were tired and I was tired from a long day, but content. I wrapped it all up by being brave and grabbing some White Castle for dinner before relaxing on the bed at the hotel. Why brave? I haven't had White Castle since our whole house got food poisoning in 1996 from some frozen burgers gone bad. All in all, I'll give them an "it's ok." They're not my favorite, but they were ok.

Make sure y'all come back tomorrow where I'll fill you in on the rest of the convention and share lots of pictures that I stole totally took with permission from Keith and Blair.


Life With Katie received press passes for the purpose of this con writeup. All thoughts, comments, fan girling and porn room photos belong to the author. All other pictures belong to their respective cameras. 

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What Facebook Taught Me About The Debate

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Since I was down and out tonight with a massive headache, I just didn't feel up to watching the debates. Instead, I used social media to learn everything I needed to know. Since I know there are those who couldn't watch or weren't up to watching, I thought I would share the list that I made to help all of you make an educated choice before you vote. Ready? Here goes:

* This is not a debate
* Someone was lying at 5 minutes and 17 minutes ...and 20 minutes...
* The candidates look like shit
* People like drinking games
* Middle class taxes were lowered but some are paying higher than ever
* Donald Trump is a small business
* Romney has a smarmy grin
* People would like to see the candidates box
* Obama thinks he is the second coming of Clinton
* PBS has good fellas
* 25 minutes in and some people are in alcohol induced comas due to the drinking game

The debates in a nutshell.
10 first guy: "You said you were gonna do such and such."
20 second guy: "nuh uh"
30 first guy: "yuh huh"
40 goto 20
It's like watching toddlers debate!

*The correct term to yell out is Democracy, not Bingo.
* There should be a disgusting food challenge to this debate.
* The candidates are trying hard not to roll their eyes.
* Social security and women's health care are somehow the same thing.
* Living wills will fix the economy.
* Politicians cannot tell time.
* Punches come in percentages.
* Politicians use ambiguous statements.
* Romney has a staring problem.
* There's a smug jackass on tv.
* The candidates sound like the teacher from Charlie Brown.
* Obama is acting like McCain - old, tired & confused.
* Romney likes to nuke people. (10th Amendment)
* Obama will give me land to build a college.
* Politicians like to use big words and talk so the normal people can't understand.
* Awesome is a grade for schools...
* Presidents don't get facts, just houses and airplanes.
* Closing remarks are tedious.
* Romney wants to kill Big Bird.
* The debate was very freewheeling - big wheels would have been more fun to watch.
* Romney thumped Obama. 

Hopefully this helps all of you when you're trying to decide who ought to be the head of our country!


* My thanks to friends on both Facebook and Yahoo who shared these gems with me as they watched the actual debate.
* I may or may not have twisted a few of these when I wrote things down.
* Please do not take this list as a serious list of reasons you should vote for anyone. Do your research and homework so that you make an intelligent and educated decision.
* This site does not lay claim to either candidate. We still live in the People's Republic of Katrina.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Book Review: The Accidental Siren

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Mara Lynn is the most beautiful girl in the world. James Parker is the ordinary boy who discovers her power. The year is 1994. James, a pudgy twelve-year-old, responds to an ad for a used camcorder at a mysterious suburban home. Before he can knock on the door, he notices boys–a dozen at least–frozen amongst the trees behind the house. Their faces are blank. One boy presses “record” on a walkman and holds it above his head… and then James hears it, the voice of a little girl. Sweet; high like a songbird without the shrill. It was a church song. It came from inside the house. James doesn’t know it yet, but the girl he’s about to meet is a modern-day siren. The Accidental Siren depicts the joys and consequences of young love as Mara and James meet, shoot a movie, fend off bullies, and explore the potential of infinite beauty.

Review: This is one of those books that hook you from the first page and you don't stop until you've reached the last page. You start with James and his desire to make a movie and can't quite figure out what role the girl in the house will have. Then suddenly, everything shifts. I was pulled into the story. It was one of those books where you recognize the characters and almost become a part of it. I won't give away the ending, but trust me, you'll want to pick this one up and check it out for yourself..and not just because the author is one of Michigan's own.

Follow Jake Vaner Ark on his  Official Site and BlogFacebook , Twitter and on Goodreads . Feel like you want to buy the book? It can be found on:  Amazon / Lulu /Barnes & Noble Prefer yours in an eBook? Kindle /iBookstore /Nook /EPUB from Lulu / Smashwords (Free until October 16th)

About Jake VanderArk

“What I really want to do is direct.” Yeah, I was that kid. I spent my high-school career as the ghost of the art room, passionately constructing a portfolio that would provide the first step toward a creative occupation. Luckily, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago didn’t consider GPA when selecting applicants, so I was immediately accepted into one of the most prestigious art programs in the country. Unfortunately, the only thing I learned in art school was how much I hated art. But I found myself! And that’s important, right? I graduated with a BFA in 2006 and moved to Los Angeles to harness my dream of becoming the next Ingmar Bergman (thanks a lot, art school). In LA, I began writing screenplays as a means to direct. I found a job reading screenplays for the same reason. I read a lot of crap. I wrote a lot of crap. But little did I know… I was learning. In the three-year process of creating short films and pursuing funding for features, I learned that directing came naturally to me, but producing did not. I wasn’t able to get a project off the ground. When my father was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009, I moved back to my hometown of Grand Haven, Michigan with nothing to show but three screenplays. One day, while working as a stage manager for a national dance competition, I had an epiphany that only a repressed, depressed, living-with-his-parents artist could have: what if I wrote books? Unlike screenplays, a book is finished when it’s finished. When the final draft is complete, a book becomes a marketable product. If I work my butt off, maybe I could actually make money doing what I love! I’m not a millionaire yet… but I did write four novels in three years and I’m proud of the accomplishment. Currently, I’m engaged to my soul-mate, self-publishing all four books, and developing a sequel to The Accidental Siren. Dreams, here I come. The Accidental Siren is FREE until October 16th on Smashwords.

*The Accidental Siren* is one of four books in the "Blank Canvas Series." They're all very different books, but all related thematically. The other books are *Lighthouse Nights*, *The Brandywine Prophet*, and *The Day I Wore Purple*. The first three are all available on Smashwords and Amazon.

The author is having a giveaway! Fill the form out below to enter for a chance to win :

a Rafflecopter giveaway


I received a copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts, comments, and typos are 100% mine.
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