Monday, October 27, 2014

Big News: time to celebrate

So you might recall several months back I mentioned taking a class. A soul-sucking class that met three times a week and buried me up to my hairline in homework.

And if you follow this blog you may recall my mention of the morale-busting test I took back in June (and that I received my scores in July).

You may have noticed I never mentioned what the class was for. Or the test.

That's because sometimes, even in the wild world of social media, we have good reason to play things close to the vest.

Just like you wouldn’t broadcast every submission, response, and rejection to your query on twitter. Some secrets should just be kept. On submission to publishers? Another secret that should be kept. And outside of the writing world there are good reasons to keep secrets.

But I don’t need to keep this secret anymore.

The class I took was to prepare for the LSAT. That’s the Law School Admission Test. A test I took in June. The scores of which I received in July. Law school applications went out in September.

And just this month I received my first acceptance to one of those schools.


That's right.

I’m going to law school!!

Sure, it’s a long way off. I won’t start until Aug 2015. I’m just so thrilled to be going. I’ve wanted to do this for so long. Almost as long as I’ve dreamt of being a published author. So unlocking this achievement is monumental. It’s huge. It’s bigger than big. And it's real. Really real.

As I'm sure you can guess, I'm not the average age of the average law student. And you know what, that's okay. Sometimes life doesn’t go exactly as planned. Sometimes we have to be tested to determine if we really want what we want. My road to law school has been just that - bumpy. I’ve been tested and I had a lot of time to search my soul.

During that time I re-affirmed that I want this. Not because I was told to want it. And not because it's what I think I should be doing in order to meet someone else's definition of success. I want this. For me.

I mean I really REALLY want this. Maybe even more now than ever before. Because that’s what waiting does. It makes you hungry.

So I’m thrilled to be taking this step.

It will be a strange, challenging trip. It will require a lot of changes in my day to day life. Changes to my day job. Changes to my writing schedule. Changes to my work out scheduled. Basically everything is in flux. But it’s exiting. And I’m celebrating. Because it’s not every day you get what you want. #nevergiveup #neversurrender

What victories are you celebrating?

Monday, October 20, 2014

DIY Rapunzel Running Costume #runDisney

As you know, my hubby and I are running the Dopey Challenge in 2015. The Dopey Challenge is 4 races over 4 days beginning with a 5k and increasing in distance, culminating with a full marathon. Whether you’re planning your first Disney race or your tenth, you may want to consider a costume. See my post about Disney races and costumes here.

Last month I posted about my Tinker Bell costume for the upcoming 2015 Dopey Challenge. That's one costume down, three more to go.

Tink was a simple, all-store, no-sew costume. Unfortunately, not all of my costumes are that way. I cracked out the Singer for my Rapunzel costume. Here's my inspiration for the costume:

I knew I wanted to make a Rapunzel costume almost right away. Tangled is one of my favorite Disney movies of late (yes, I liked it better than Frozen *gasp*) and I love her story.

But I knew I wasn’t going to tolerate running in a wig or anything like that. Rapunzel's hair (oodles and oodles of hair)is probably her most unique identifying characteristic but I decided not to replicate it. What does that mean for my costume? Well, it means my outfit was going to need to be kick ass in order to evoke the Rapunzel image.

I started with a sparkle skirt from Sparkle Athletic. I love these things. They are light, breezy, and stretchy enough you can pull them over any of your standard running clothing.

Next, I pulled an old Nike athletic shirt that I’ve had for ages. This is a tech shirt (so no cotton, yay!) and it’s tried and true. I know it will be comfy for the entire run (did I mention I plan to wear this one for the full Marathon?).

If you've been following my costume posts you know of my abhorrence for thigh rub. I mentioned it in my Running Costume Tips post here. So, IMO, no costume is complete without shorts to prevent the dreaded thigh rub. I got mine (pictured above) at Dick’s sporting goods. They were in the softball area (I think) and they hit below mid-thigh. Perfect. I love them.

Next, I grabbed some simple spools of ribbon at Walmart. I knew I wanted ribbon with some substance. Grosgrain would have been best (because it doesn’t unravel after it’s been cut) but I couldn’t find it in my Rapunzel colors. (Hint: a legit craft store like Hancock Fabrics or JoAnn’s would likely have it).

Once I had my ribbon and lace I pinned it in place on my shirt.

Now you could sew this by hand – if you had no machine available – but the machine is better suited for this task. Sewing on the machine stresses me out to no end. I know people who find it relaxing and peaceful but I don’t. So believe me when I tell you I avoid the machine at all costs. I just couldn’t justify doing a project this size by hand. (Note: if you want to use fabric glue be careful. Often, fabric glue hardens and changes the flexibility of the fabric. Not something you necessarily want on a shirt that will be rubbing against your skin for 26.2 miles).

Rapunzel's dress has three-quarter sleeves which I love but I didn't want to run in long sleeves. I shortened some amazingly sparkly running sleeves from Sparkle Athletic.

And since Rapunzel's sleeves have lace I added some.

It’s the details that make a costume really stand out. I had to have a Pascal (from Disney store) and a frying pan (from a children’s kitchen set from Amazon).

Last, but not least, I wanted a crown. Most of my costumes for the Dopey are not, technically, princesses. But Rapunzel *is* a princess.

So I wanted to do it right by adding a crown. But I’ve run a marathon in Mini Mouse ears and it was torture. I couldn’t just buy any crown, plop it on my head, and run. Nope. So I started with a visor.

I grabbed a visor from Sparkle Athletic (same place I bought my purple skirt and elements for my Tink costume). These visors look small but they are all stretch. I wore mine around the house for a few minutes and it felt great. Note: I’m writing this before my scheduled training run in costume. I haven’t forgotten my own advice. I plan to run in full regalia. Just haven’t done it as of this post.

Next, I bought a Rapunzel tiara from the Disney store. These are heavy duty metal crowns. I probably would have preferred a cheaper plastic one…but ah well. My hubby, Handsome Jack, helped me clip the metal edges off the crown. From there I glued and stitched it onto the brim of the visor.

Here’s a glimpse at the finished crown/visor product.

I love this costume so much. It’s my favorite so far. It’s comfy (I especially love the shorts - they stay put and don’t ride up during runs) and glittery. Even though I didn’t do anything special for the hair I feel like this details on this costume make it obvious that this is a Rapunzel costume.

Decided on a #runDisney costume? Already run a race in costume? Share your stories and advice here:

Want more on #runDisney costumes? Check out these blogs:

More Rapunzel ideas from I LIKE TO DO CRAFTY THINGS

Interested in buying costumes? Try iGloRunning

Some sage advice from Megan at Running Toward The Prize

Monday, October 13, 2014

Dystopian Fiction: A love story

I hear a lot of buzz on agent/agency websites about how Dystopian MS’s are unsellable, dead-for-at-least-a-few-more-years, put-that-baby-in-the-corner-NOW sorta work.

Just like Paranormal, before it. And I hate to hear that. For one, I absolutely love Dystopian and Paranormal. If I had to pick a favorite it would Dystopian. And it just gets under my skin that the genre is dismissed. I’m confident that Dystopian will always (yes I said always) be relevant and here’s why:

We could be living in a dystopia reality right now.

This. Very. Second.

Yes, now could be dystopian.

And I know you are probably thinking, "What the what? Has there been for of apocalypse that I missed?"

No. Have no fear. You didn't miss the end of the world as we know it. Well, unless you live with me when I recently gave up CokeZero....whoa, that was tough.

But seriously, there are a boat load of definitions of Dystopia. My favorite definition is: a community or society that is in some important way undesirable or frightening.

It can exist after some apocalyptic event. Or, more likely, it evolves slowly over time.

I like to think about the past, always have. History was one of my favorite subjects. Mostly because I loved to day dream bout what life was like for those ancient peeps. And when I picture it I can't help but imagine how they would feel about life today. It was only a hop, skip, and a jump until I realized every day of our present existence could be a dystopian future for a past civilization. Let’s pick through a few cultural groups and see how dystopian our current day is:

Could the native peoples of, heck, I don’t know, ANY continent yearned for the lifestyle they have today? Would they see our current reality, our 'now,' as undesirable or frightening? I’m guessing yes. (Oh, and btw, if you are fascinated by the Native American culture like I am, you should check out The West. It’s a very interesting documentary by Steven Ives and produced by Ken Burns. Currently available on Netflix.)

Okay, granted, native peoples received a raw deal. What other populations from the past might find our 'now' disturbing?

What about pirates, explores, adventures, etc. from Regency/Victorian/other-period-of-time? I doubt they longed for a future where nearly every inch of sea and earth had already been mapped, plotted, and/or dominated?

Yes, lots of people from the past would find modern life to be utterly kickass. (Remember the scene in the mall from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure? Yeah, like that. After all, our current existence is pretty awesome. It’s comfortable and we eat well, we live long lives, and, for the most part, we thrive. But if you were to pluck a person from our past, 100 years ago, 200 years ago, and drop them into 2014 do you think they would find our current, busy, nosey, gluttonous lifestyle a little frightening and undesirable?

They definitely wouldn't find our 'now' utopic.

Shoot, we don’t even find our current life utopic. We take the good with the bad. And there is bad. The bad in our 'now' is what makes the Dystopian story ring true. It's why stories shinning a light on what-if's of the future are enthralling and exciting.

The bad stuff in our 'now' is why we look longingly to the past. Right?

I bet years from now, the people of the future might look back on the early-to-mid 1980’s (let’s say) and think “Oh gosh, what a paradise it would be to live without email and cell phones (or some new evolution of tech that we can’t even dream of yet) constantly demanding your attention.”


Well, for one like to think it's because as we move forward we shed bits and pieces of what was old. Sometimes what we shed is good and sometimes it’s not. Sometimes, we leave behind a bit of personal freedom, or a glittering, impossible fiction explaining the unknown.

We struggle with that loss. It reminds me of the tender moment in Pirates of the Caribbean movies, when Cptn Jack Sparrow is confronted with the dead carcass of his old nemesis, the Kraken. Cptn Barbossa says the world is getting smaller but Jack corrects him, saying “The world is the same, there is just less in it.”

Dystopian stories tap into that collective sentimentality for a simpler time by showing us the extremes people, and societies, can reach. Dystopia stories have, share at their core, I dare say, a collective guilt over innocence lost in the evolution of progress. Because these stories are so often able to scare us and intrigue us I believe they should, and will, always be relevant.

My love for dystopian is strong.

And a little piece of me is sad that these book babies are being put in a corner and forced to wait. Luckily, there are a lot of good dystopian out and about today. Enough to keep me reading and exploring until publishers make room on their lists for new Dystopian stories. Just like they made room for Contemp when it came back into fashion. It's only a matter of time, and I am good at biding my time. Heck, I'm a writer, aren't I? Waiting is what we do.

Want more on trend chasing?

From Jack Croxall : Why I love post-apocalyptic fiction

From MSFV: on trend chasing

From SLATE: Why Teens Love Dystopian

Monday, October 6, 2014

Cross training to keep it interesting.

You probably already know that I’m a runner. I don’t exactly look like a runner but I do, in fact, run for fun and exercise.

It’s something I really love to do. But I’m also getting older. And my body isn’t what it used to be. Joints hurt, muscles ache, and both my hubby and I were plagued with nagging injuries.

It's akin to reading burnout. The things you enjoy just aren't as fun anymore. So to handle my physical burnout I took a piece of advice out of my writing life: when burn out happens, change it up.

My hubby, Handsome Jack, and I decided running, alone, could no longer be our only exercise method. We decided to experiment with cross training.

At first we did things on our own, DVDs like insanity and yoga and stuff like that. (Did I mention I love yoga? Well, I do). But we weren’t seeing results like we had with running only. We started packing on pounds and eventually gave up.

After surgeries and rest we finally decided to tackle running again. But this time we knew we couldn’t rely on running alone. So we joined a gym. And we paid extra for the personal training sessions. We figured we didn’t know enough about training the body so the sessions would almost be like ‘work out school’ and the trainer, our ‘teacher.’

And we loved it.

The trainer we have is amazing. He’s not a yell-in-your-face kind of trainer. He’s just encouraging and he knows a lot about muscles. He pushes us to try harder. Here’s an overview of our sessions:

30 mins 3 times a week

Mon – chest and tri

Tues – back and bi

Fri – total body focus on core

The work outs are high intensity. We almost always use our legs while we work out another muscle group (like doing bicep curls while in a deep lunge. It burns, baby. It burns).

Of course we kept running. Mostly on the elliptical 30 mins before or after the personal training session. It wasn’t until we signed up for the Dopey Challenge that we took our running back outside and started tracking mileage.

We are super happy with the results so far. I’m murdering hills on the trails during our long runs and I know that’s because my legs are so much stronger than they used to be. I’m also happy with the strength in my back and arms. It feels really empowering to be able to pick up heavy stuff without hurting yourself. And we have had less muscle injury (I’ve had a few injuries related to my general clutziness but none, yet, due to overuse or muscle strain).

But the best part about cross training with a personal trainer – variety. We mix it up. We are always learning something new and it’s a lot more fun than playing the same DVD over and over again.

I wish I would have taken a before and after pic….

How do you cross train? What’s worked for you?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I Can Haz Productivity: September 2014 Month in Review

So autumn is finally here! I’m so excited. I love fall. And of all the fall months, I love October best (so I'm excited for October to be here). That's not to say I don't enjoy September. September is pretty freaking awesome, too. And this September was no exception, here’s why:

1. I finished my WIP. First draft done baby. I finished it early in September. Put it away for a few weeks and then tackled my first round of edits. The project is currently with some trusted CP’s/Beta’s. I’m really excited to get their feedback.

2. The weather is starting to turn. The best part about fall is the change in seasons. The air starts to crisp and the humidity dissipates (at least usually) and fall fashions come back (tights and dresses and boots, oh my!). Fall is perfect running weather and Handsome Jack and I hit the trails a few times in September.

3. TV shows!!! I love a good story, regardless or the medium used to tell it, so I get excited about TV shows returning. This year I was eagerly awaiting the return of The Mindy Project. Such a great show. Oh, and I can’t stop watching Sons of Anarchy, even though I’m angry with the writers for what they did at the end of last season. (You know what you did)

No out of town travel this month meant I was able to work my tail off and I’ve been happy with the results. Here are the details:

1 Just for fun project started (sometimes you just need to have fun)
1 Partial beta for CP's (story seems very cool so far)
0 runDisney costume completed (but many in progress – updates to come)
1 novel read for fun
3 long trail runs
9 gym workouts (including elliptical and personal trainer)

And words!!! *does happy dance* For a grand total of 11,782 words. This brings my total ‘tracked’ word count to 124,354 for the year!

And as for miles ran, I am happy to report, 27 miles logged. Which brings my total ‘tracked’ mileage to 172.5 miles this year. I’m happy to be falling in love with running again.

All in all, it’s not a bad month. When combined with Aug, July, and June I feel like I'm on a roll! I'm looking forward to what the holiday season will bring.

#NeverGiveUp #NeverSurrender

How are your writing goals coming along?
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