The Sweetie Chronicles

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

HAPPY BIRTHDAY T!!!!



Just wanted to send a huge and sincerely heart-felt HAPPY BIRTHDAY out to T, one of the best friends a girl could hope for. You deserve every happiness!! I so wish I could be there with you to celebrate and go crazy, but unfortunately not this year :( Booooo! Next year, though! We'll get buck nasty! (as my brother would say) I love you girl and I am wishing you a fantastic and fun birthday!!!!!!!

Ex-Attack

My crazy ex has resurfaced. Apparently, last night he called a certain judge in my family out of the blue, claiming that I have refused to give him back some property. Also, he is claiming that he is going to hire an attorney here in my state because I haven't given him some tax documents that he needs. On top of all of that craziness, he seems to be upset that I took him off of my health insurance policy three months before our divorce was final. That was in freaking march of '07!

The property he told my uncle that I refused to give back is a mixture of stuff I still have in storage, stuff I sold long ago, and things I never even heard of. I seriously believe that this man is mentally ill. I told him 2 years ago that he was welcome to come get that shit or else he could send me money to ship it. He never lifted a finger to try to get that stuff back, so screw him. He's bat-shit crazy for calling random people in my family 2 1/2 years later threatening lawsuits.

And don't even get me started on the taxes. We owed back taxes and our divorce settlement stated that I was to choose an accountant and my ex was supposed to provide the documents from his side of the whole thing. After a year of sending out requests, he still never got a damn thing to me, so I sent one final certified letter saying that if he didn't send me his documents in 10 days, I was filing separately. And that's exactly what I did. I paid for it too. Filing separately added tons of penalties to my taxes, but dammit, I was responsible for that debt and I didn't want it lingering over my head. That was a full year and a half ago. Has he seriously still not paid his taxes??

I don't know if he will call again or if he'll try to contact me or what. There's no telling if an officer will show up on my damn doorstep trying to serve me with some stupid lawsuit or not. The thing that sucks most is that I will have to pay to defend myself if he pulls that shit. Of course, he has been threatening me with lawsuits for years now, and he has never once gotten a lawyer, so I guess I have nothing to be scared of. I just wonder why now?? You know? Why does he even still care about what's going on in my life or what happened so long ago? Why did he disappear for months and months and then suddenly resurface like this? I just want him to be buried in my past. I want to put him into a box labeled "BIG MISTAKES" and close it up, put some packing tape on it, and send it to the damn dump. I have moved on with my life, and it's about damn time he did the same.

Month to Month Blues

Have you ever noticed that some days having no money is okay? While other days, it seems like the worst thing ever? To be honest, G and I are doing just fine. We get our bills paid, which is more than a lot of Americans can say right now in this economy. We eat well. Just this past weekend we went to a movie and then to the mall where G bought me some very cute stuff at the Sanrio store. We're not destitute or anything.

But that doesn't mean we've got money either. For the most part, we live month to month. Sure, when I first moved here I was still getting a paycheck for a few months and I spent money like crazy. It was definitely fun to do. Plus we had money coming in from EQ2 at the time... often 500 or more dollars a month in extra income. Now, though, it just seems like expenses are getting high while income is getting lower.

Some days, it's no big deal to have only a small amount of extra income. As long as our basic needs are met at the moment, why do we need more? Then, other days I start to freak out. We have a wedding to pay for! Even a trip to Vegas for a week is going to cost thousands, plus our wedding rings and the certificate and everything. Just where is that money going to come from?

Getting a job in this economy has been difficult. Granted, I haven't tapped every single resource and I haven't gone into desperate mode or anything, but I put out a lot of applications and resumes and only got one single interview, which then turned out to be nothing. I imagine when summer is over, there might be more people hiring because the summer college/high school crowd will go back to school, but you never know. Mainly, what I want to do is substitute teach. For $90 a day, I could do something I enjoy and make plenty of money working only when I feel like it. Unfortunately, the school system is still on a hiring freeze. /sigh. Surely something will come through.

Of course, the biggest thing right now would be for me to sell a book. A decent advance with the promise of eventual royalties would be huge for us right now. I just have to keep working hard every day to get ready for nationals. 7 weeks left. Meanwhile, though, month to month living means that there's one week left in this month... and I'm broke. I'm definitely looking forward to June 1st.

Try to be Good

I really do try to be good. My intentions are usually the best. But somewhere along the way I tend to fall short of that. This morning, for example, I intended to get out of bed around 9 and get to work just as if it were a normal day rather than a holiday. G is home so I knew it was going to be better than your average day, but I still planned to do work and get writing and laundry and things done today. When I went to bed last night, it was almost 3 am, so I set my alarm for 9:30 thinking that would be plenty of sleep. I woke up at 11 :(. Booo. Best of intentions, but I just couldn't follow through. Of course, that doesn't mean that the whole day is shot. It just means that I overslept. Not the end of the world.

There are other things, though, that are more frustrating than sleeping late on a holiday. Like losing weight and exercising. Writing and making money. I want to do all of those things. While the writing is certainly coming along (and I have high hopes of making good money soon enough), the exercise is pretty much nonexistent. I really need to get my butt in gear, though, or I'll still be overweight for our wedding this fall. The problem is that I'm just not sure what goes wrong between the point where I set goals and intentions and the point where I follow through. There's some kind of fatal error with me there. The goals are easy to set, but the follow through part is the part that matters.

The good news is this: It's never too late. As long as I keep setting the right goals for myself and keep trying to follow through, I know that I am heading in the right direction. Right now, I'm moving very slowly, but that doesn't mean I should give up. It's never too late to reach for your goals.

Out of Reality TV, Back to Reality

Now that all of my reality tv shows are over (except So You Think You Can Dance, but that isn't one of my primary loves, haha), it's time to get back to reality. And reality is that time flies by way too fast, so if you don't make the most out of every day, life is going to start passing you by.

Okay, so it's almost impossible to make the most of every single day. Some days we all feel like crap and there's just no getting over it. But hopefully there are days where we also feel amazing and get twice as much done. With any luck, they all balance each other out in the end.

Motivation is a constant theme in my life. How to be motivated, how to work hard, and most importantly, how to STAY motivated. I am the queen of finding late-night motivation and telling myself that tomorrow I will start working harder towards my goals. But when tomorrow comes, I might make it one day with good results. But one day does not get me to any of my goals. I need straight months of nonstop motivated action. But how the hell do I do that? It sounds like it should be easy, but it isn't. Not at all.

What it seems to come down to is this: How badly do I want it? That seems like it should be the number one question in my mind when it comes to goals and motivation. If I wanted to lose weight badly enough, the motivation would be there every day. Somehow, though, it doesn't work that way either. There's something in my head that says to me, "You're not good enough. You can't do it. There is no point in trying to change." Or something along those lines... and I just want to quit. It's that voice that holds me back. It is me, and yet it is not me at all. I don't know how to separate myself from that voice. Drown it out. Kill it.

If my life, I can only hope that the days where my goals win out over the voices of self-destruction are more plentiful than the other days of self-doubt. I feel ridiculous to be fighting this battle at 32, yet here I am. Surely, I am stronger than this?? Surely I am capable of more. I wish I could prove that to myself.

Kris Allen Wins American Idol


The finale of American Idol last night was like the Grand Old Opry for Rock Stars. It's as if the producers just have to make the show bigger and bigger every year! At least this time it was filled with genuinely good music-making instead of countless boring clips and fluff. Fergie and the Black Eyed Peas were there, Rod Stewart, Lionel Richie, KISS, Keith Urban, Queen (which, is it really Queen without Freddie Mercury?) and even Queen Latifah. We got to see all of the top 13, and let me tell you, it was all too obvious that some of them simply don't have the chops to have made it that far. Like the little black girl, not lil' but the other one. What's her name anyway? She couldn't sing for shit last night. She looked cute, but damn, how did she make the top 13?

Anyway, when it was all said and done, the point of the show was to crown this season's American Idol. I've said it before and I'll say it again, this was not the best season ever. It was kind of a disappointment really. And last night was no exception. When Ryan announced that this season's winner is Kris Allen, my jaw almost dropped to the floor. What?? Seriously?? Don't get me wrong, the guy is talented. He's definitely good looking and likable and a great singer, but Adam was the one I was expecting to win it all. Even Kris was speechless. When Ryan asked him how he felt, Kris said, "I don't even know. Adam deserves this. I don't even know." I think he was completely in shock. He showed up to the finale glad to have made it and happy to watch Adam take home the title. Either way, they'll both have record deals.

All I'm hoping for is a better season come January. And I must say, I'm looking forward to tonight's season premiere of "So You Think You Can Dance." Singing, I can do. Dancing? No fucking way. I just sit in awe of these people. If you've never watched the show before, give it a try. It's fun to watch. Besides, all of my other favorite reality shows are over. I need something to carry me through the summer!

American Idol Finale: Adam Lambert or Kris Allen??


Season 8 of American Idol ends tonight and a new American Idol is going to be crowned. To me this season has been a dud compared to last season, but that doesn't mean there isn't any great talent. I just didn't seem to get close to any of the contestants. I really loved Allison Iraheta, but she didn't get to the top two like I hoped she would. Instead, the finale last night was Adam Lambert and Kris Allen. Two very different kinds of performers, but both very talented.

In some ways, I would love to see Adam win just because he's so unique and just so damn cool. There are articles and pictures that have surfaced all season about how he's gay and kissing other guys and how he's done shows in the past in full drag. I love that none of that has made a difference in his success. Why should it? It's not like he's up there making out with men on stage, in which case it would make a difference because while I don't mind it if he's gay, I don't want to see anyone making out on stage. Straight OR gay. In the audition shows, Adam really stood out because he had that theater vibe and amazing vocals. Usually the judges shun that kind of talent, saying they belong on Broadway but not rock. Adam's different though, because he has one of those crazy amazing rock voices as well. His voice is so versatile. He did a great job last night in the finale.

Kris Allen, for me, is a huge surprise finalist. I never in a million years would have put him in the finale. Early on, I probably wouldn't have pictured him in the top 10 to be honest. Not because he couldn't sing, but because he didn't stand out for me. Alexis Grace... she stood out. When Kris and Megan Joy both made it to the top 10, I was shocked. Kris is definitely a cutie, but what had he really shown in terms of stand out vocal talent?? The past few weeks have really shown why he made it this far, and I enjoyed his performance last night. I don't know if he can win, but he certainly put up a good fight. And, as horrible as that finale song was that Kara and friends wrote, it sounded better in Kris' voice than in Adam's.

So who will be crowned as the winner of Season 8 tonight? Overall how did Kara DioGuardi do as the new judge this season? (Personally, I didn't like her.) And do you want to see more seaons of American Idol or has it lost its appeal? Feel free to share comments.

SendMe Mobile Ringtone Scam

Yesterday we got our cell phone bill. It was $25 more than usual, and in these times where every little bit counts, we had to look twice at why it was so much more.

Some of it was just because we changed our plans. G added on 300 text messages with picture mail to our accounts, which was $5.00 each. Okay, so where did the other added charges come into play?

There was a charge on our bill for "SendMe Mobile Ringers". $9.99. What?? I had never heard of it. But then I remembered something and went digging through my text messages just to check. Sure enough, there it was.

On facebook last month, I took an IQ test. It was advertised as a free test, so I thought it would be fun to take it and see what I got. They also, by the way, gave me some scores for a few of my friends that were on face book, so I thought it would be interesting to see how I scored in comparison.

At the end of the test, however, they didn't give me a free score. They asked me to enter my cell phone number so that I could receive a text from them with my score in it. I did that, thinking it was no big deal, and they sent the score. (122, btw, according to them. Not too shabby, but not as high as my score has been in the past, so who knows. I doubt it was a professional IQ test after all :P) I thought that was the end of it.

After I saw the charge, I went online and saw that there are all kinds of sites out there with people arguing that they got scammed into signing up for a monthly ten dollar charge and that the company refused to credit their money back or stop the charges. I just rolled my eyes. I have dealt with these kinds of companies before. They trick you into signing up and then they put their office hours at weird times so that you can never call to cancel. Or they make their cancellation policy something ridiculous like having to get a notarized letter in the mail giving permission to stop the charges, which is crazy seeing how it was so incredible easy to sign up that you did it without even knowing.

I found the number online and since it was like 11:30 at night, they were actually open. Ha! If I tried to call them now, at 9:00 AM, they probably are closed, and won't open until 8:00 tonight or something. The lady that answered gave me her written speech when I told her my issue. I'm sure it's what they get paid to say, and I know she's just another person like me, but these companies really piss me off. She said something like, "Yes, but when you put your phone number into the website to receive your score, you agreed on the monthly membership." I have dealt with companies like this before. They aren't going to stop giving you reasons why you should stay signed up or why they can't refund your money,etc. Everything you say, no matter how logical, is going to be refuted by their little script in front of them. I HATE companies like that. Their entire business plan is to make money by tricking people.

Well, I just cut to the chase and said, "Ma'am, I know what you're going to say and that you're going to try to say it over and over to convince me that you cannot reverse the charges, but let me tell you this, I have read all about your company online. I know that you are scamming people. I don't want to hear your little speech, I just want my money refunded and my account cancelled." Sure enough, she started with her speech anyway. "Yes, but when you agreed on the charges, you were locked into that membership..." I interrupted her, which is rude, yes... but come on. I shouldn't have to put up with that when I was very clear about what I wanted.

Basically, I just had to interrupt her a couple more times by saying, "I am not going to sit here and listen to this. You need to cancel my account and refund my money." After just a couple of times, she finally agreed. Now, we'll have to wait and see if the money actually does get refunded or if she was just using another one of their tactics to get you off the phone. Either way, I write this to tell you to be wary of any online quiz or fun test that makes you put in your cell phone number in order to get the results. You could be signing away more of your hard earned money than you intended.

Agent and Editor Sign ups!

I have been waiting for today for weeks now since I signed up to go to the RWA national convention in D.C. in July. Every year at nationals, agents and editors make themselves available for appointments to hear "pitches" from authors wanting to get their books published. In the hierarchy of RWA, (Romance Writers of America), people who are up for awards this year got first dibs, then published authors, then PRO authors (which is basically people who have finished novels just haven't sold them yet but are seeking publication of a work 40,000 words or longer, which mine is only 20,000 so doesn't count), and then general members.

I was so nervous that after all those other people got to sign up, there wouldn't be any other openings left. My two current works in progress are on opposite sides of the spectrum really, with one novel targetted at Silhouette Desire, which is a line at Harlequin, and the other being a young adult novel about the zombie apocalypse. I want to publish them both, though!

So imagine my excitement when I signed on this morning and was able to get an appointment with the senior editor for Silhouette Desire as well as an agent from New York City who specializes in Young Adult novels!! I could scream I'm so excited!!! I only get something like 5 minutes to pitch my ideas, but damnit, I'm going to make the most of those 5 minute appointments!!

I have so much work to do now to get both of my novels completed before I leave in July. Yikes!!! This is definitely going to mean late nights and nonstop writing, but I'm ready for it and excited about the possibility of taking another step towards being a published author!

$100!!

I did it! I finally reached the $100 mark on google adsense! After 40 something hubpages and a few other places where I put adsense on the web, I finally got to the landmark number that actually means something with adsense.

See, if you've only got $50 in adsense, it hardly even counts as real money, because you can't collect it until it reaches $100. And now I did it! When I first started out, I was making about $2.50 a month. Then, it slowly creeped up month by month up until I made $21.00 last month. Already in May I've made $7.50 which pushed me over the one hundred dollar mark and means that in a month or so I will actually be getting a check from google. I am so excited!!!

Now, I have motivation to work even harder so that I can grow to my next landmark goal: $100 a month. I know I can do that (and a lot more) as long as I don't give up and keep trying. Happy Friday all!

Three Down, Two to Go: Teyona wins ANTM

One of my guilty pleasures is watching reality tv. Sure, there are some regular shows that I enjoy, specifically Heroes, but for the most part, I like watching competitions. It's just fun to watch people who really want something compete for a prize (usually money or fame), and each of the shows I love is different in the way they move toward that goal. Unfortunately, however, most of my shows that I love are coming to an end.

I haven't totally been keeping up with every episode simply because I can't sit in front of the tv every night to watch them. Instead, I usually sit in front of the computer all night, but that's not the topic here so let's move on :P.

The Amazing Race, which ended last Sunday, is always a great show. My sister and I love watching it and usually pick one team at the very beginning to win, then place a friendly five dollar bet on it. The odds of actually picking the winning team are usually 1 in 12 or something like that, so it's not too bad. Last season, I won the five dollars when my brother sister team came in first. This season, my sister took the five bucks back when her brother sister team won. My pick, the blonde flight attendants, were out of it after like four weeks or something. Either way, the show is over until they start again, which probably will be in the fall.

The Biggest Loser is another one that we bet on, and I loved this season. Last season, there were actually some players that I didn't like at all (namely Vickie), but this year I was rooting for everyone to lose the weight. My sister picked Tara right off the bat out of 22 competitors. I, sadly, picked David from the orange team. In the finale Tuesday night, Tara came within 5 pounds of winning the prize, but lost out to Helen in the end. Still, though, she lost over 50% of her total weight and was a record breaking player! The guy I picked lost a measly 10% of his weight, which was the lowest percentage of everyone by 12% percent. Most people lost about 30% or so. How did I pick the very worst guy on the whole show? He must not have even been trying, which sucks. And the funny thing is that the website says he lives in Fuquay Varina, NC, which is just minutes from where I live (part of why I picked him). I should go over there and make him explain to me what the hell happened! But I'm not a stalker chick, so I think I'll just leave him alone. I'm sad the show is over though.

Last night, my very favorite show, America's Next Top Model, also ended its season. Teyona, a black beauty from New Jersey, was named the Cycle 12 winner. My sister doesn't watch the show, so no bets here, but I think Teyona definitely deserved to win. Alison, the second runner up, was also one of my favorite contestants of all time. She was so unique and beautiful and sweet.

So that makes 3 of my favorite reality shows going off the air until the fall. Last night on American Idol, the top 2 finalists were announced... and I was surprised to see that it is Adam and Kris! And by that, I mean excited! Danny Gokey was eliminated, and although I think Danny can really sing, I was never really comfortable with the way he seemed to pimp his dead wife's memory for sympathy votes. Adam and Kris are both young and fresh and super cute, so I think this will be a good finale. All I have to say, though, is that American Idol better get some good female vocalists next season. This will be the second year of two guys in the finale and I hate it. Alison Iraheta was awesome and I would have loved to see her in the finale, but seriously she was the only great female this year besides Lil. I think Adam will win in the end, but you never know. Either way, the show's finale is next week, which is just sad.The final show that I love, of course, is Survivor. This is also a bet on show between my sister and I. We both came really close last season on our picks, but once again, I got it all wrong this season. I originally picked Sierra, but after a rough first day on the show, my sister let me change my vote to Sidney. Neither one of them made it this far, but Sierra did make it further which just proves that I was full of bad choices this season. Erin, my sister's choice, is still in it, but is probably not going to win it. Tonight is the next to last episode where it will be whittled down to only 4 survivors. Then, Sunday night will be the two hour finale. I think JT will win it all, and I am very happy with that. He's a good, genuine kind of southern boy that I think has given the south a good name with his intelligence, loyalty and hard work on the show.

With all five of my shows ending, what in the world am I going to watch next? So You THink You Can Dance is starting up on May 21, and that's an awesome show. Does anyone else know of any good reality shows starting up that will run through the summer? My sister and I are looking for a couple of fun ones to bet on that are coming up soon.

Ant Invasion!

I went down to the kitchen this morning all sleepy-eyed, ready to cook some eggs for breakfast, and I nearly screamed when I looked at the counter tops. Ants! Traveling all along our countertops in neat little rows, then fanning out all over the damn place.

It was my fault, really. I didn't clean up the salad from yesterday's meal. I just put the bowls in the sink and said fuck it, I'll do it tomorrow. That's when the ants moved in. They must have been watching me from the shadowy depths of the kitchen's walls, waiting to attack.

Luckily, we have some heavy duty ant spray we keep under the sink, because let's face it, where we live an ant invasion is practically unavoidable this time of year unless perhaps you're Nancy Neat Freak, which, as we all know, I am not. Yes, I'll admit that I sometimes leave dishes from dinner till the next morning. Sometimes worse. So sue me.

Hopefully I killed most of the invading ants and obliterated any trail they might have established in the night. My kitchen looks like a war zone. Ant carcasses everywhere. But the salad bowls are cleaned and for now, the counters are doused in ant killer. Now, let's just hope I can get them clean again enough to prepare food on.

I fucking hate ants.

New WIP - Young Adult Novel

My new WIP (work in progress) is a young adult novel, and I think it's starting to drive me insane. I feel like a have a good premise and some good ideas for how the plot is going to go, but I'm having a hard time with some of the other decisions. Like what time do I want to set it in? Present day? The future? And what type of personality do I want my heroine to have? That's a big one.

I have thought of making her more of a misfit. Kind of like a goth girl with piercings who hates her parents and strays from the conventional. But then I also think of making her popular, but clueless. I know what type of person I want her to eventually become (similar to Alice in Resident Evil), but what I have to figure out before I start the book is where I want her to start out. Shy or outgoing? Clumsy or agile? I have no clue.

Don't get me wrong. The choices are exciting. But they are also infuriating. When the possibilities are endless, it's difficult to know which decision is the right one. If I make my heroine a goth girl misfit, it will be a totally different book than if she's a happy cheerleader type. How do I know which book is better? I don't. I never will, probably. I just have to go with my gut reaction and hope for the best.

'Steal My Heart' Finished! Again!

I have finally finished 'Steal My Heart'! Again. Hehe. I finished this novella the first time back in October I believe, and sent it out to several publishers. The reaction was great... as far as rejections go. But no one was willing to buy the story.

When that opportunity to pitch came up with Wild Rose Press last month, I decided to revamp the story line and see if I could make it work. The editor requested the manuscript, but of course, it was not rewritten yet and I had work to do. It sucks that it's taken me a month to get it done (when I was hoping I could do it in a week or so), but the operative word here is DONE!

Last night around 2am, I finally finished it!! This second version is, in my humble opinion, a thousand times better than the first one. I am going to wait to see what my critique group has to say about it so that I can make some final revisions and give it some more polish, but I feel good about it overall. Hopefully I can get it sent off to the editor who requested it within the next week.

Now, it's on to the next work in progress. "The Millionaire's Scandalous Secret". Nine weeks until RWA Nationals, and I'm well on my way to having some good material to pitch while I'm there!

Face Transplant Amazes Me


I remember hearing about the first official face transplant in the US around Christmas or the beginning of the year, and I wondered what on earth that really meant. The woman who had it done wanted to stay anonymous and no one was giving out the details of what they did to her or what exactly was wrong with her to begin with. Now, the face transplant recipient has come forward and identified herself.

Her name is Connie Culp, and she used to be beautiful, at least on the outside. I don't know much about her personality or her spirit, but I imagine she is a fighter and a survivor... and a victim. She didn't want to talk about the details of how her face became so mutilated, but reporters tell us that her husband shot her in the face at close range outside a restaurant, then shot himself. What amazes me about the story is that neither one of them died, but the bastard only is in jail for 7 years. Really? Seven for attempted murder? It sounds completely ridiculous to me, but I'm not a judge so whatever. Poor Connie is all I can say to that.

The gunshot to her face took her nose, her upper jaw, and most of her cheekbones. She has not been able to smell or eat normal foods since. With the help of a donor, who has not been identified but who in death has become a hero if you ask me, Connie got a new nose, a new upper lip, cheekbones and a new lease on life.

The before and after pictures of the surgery are shocking. You can tell that she is still swollen and that her face still doesn't look quite normal, but she looks like a woman again. There are still a few surgeries to go, but I think that once the entire process has been finished, she will be so much happier and look so much better than she ever dreamed possible. It just amazes me what science and technology can do for someone with almost no hope.

As a message to Connie: You are an inspiration to us all. Life is unpredictable, and no one knows when they might find everything changed in the blink of an eye, be it from a wreck, a storm, or another person's anger. But you have taught us that there is hope when all seems lost. You are an inspiration in your bravery and your ability to keep going and not give up hope.

The Biggest Loser Contestants Run a Marathon


After 18 weeks, the final four contestants on this season's The Biggest Loser, have completely transformed themselves. On last night's episode, their final challenge was to complete a marathon. For those of you who aren't sure how long that is: 26.2 miles! These people were 250 to 400 pounds just a few months ago! And every one of the final four, even Ron with his serious knee and other health problems, completed the marathon.

Tara completed the 26.2 miles running after about 5 hours. Helen also ran and came in just about an hour after Tara. I was so proud of them for doing that! Helen is 48 years old! Six months ago she weighed over 200 pounds and would have never thought she could run a marathon, but she did it. And, by the way, she looks so beautiful! I was so proud of both of them.

Ron and Mike both had to walk the marathon. Ron because of his chronic health problems, and Mike because he hurt his hip training for the run and doctors wouldn't allow him to run it. As much as I sometimes don't like Ron, I cried when he finally walked over the finish line, something like 13 hours after they started. The fact that he could even walk that far was a testament to his determination and how much he wanted to prove himself to his children.

In the final on-campus weigh in, there were no big surprises. Constestants found out that the top 2 weight losers would be guaranteed a spot in the finale, while the bottom two would fall below the yellow line. Then, America would get to vote on which of the bottom two should be in the final three. Tara, who is the first contestant never to fall below the yellow line, was number one in her final week. She has to be one of the most determined people I have ever seen. She's the type of person I wish I could be friends with and know in person. I personally hope she wins the money as well. I'm rooting for Helen too, who came in 2nd place and looks fantastic.

The bottom two are Ron and Mike, father and son. And it's up to America to vote on which of them should be in the final 3. I voted for Mike on NBC's website today. You can vote up to 10 times. Mike, to me, deserves a chance to weigh in that final weigh-in. Ron has been up for elimination so many times I can't even count them. He's only stayed in because he had friends who refused to vote him out for personal reasons. I think that if Ron goes to the final 3, Tara will probably win the title and Mike will probably will the at-home loser title. If Mike goes to the finale, Tara will still probably win but I think it will be close between the two of them. Of course, you never know. Helen could come in and surprise us all!

No matter who wins, though, I always love the final show. Just to see how far these people have come in such a short amount of time. 18 weeks plus the time between whenever they taped last night's show and the live finale Tuesday. It just goes to show that if you set your mind to it and decide to change your life, anything is possible.

Breakfast rules

My fiance and I have been trying something different for the past couple of weeks, both in an effort to save money and to eat healthier. (And to lose weight for my part) Our "normal" schedule before this was to have something light, if anything, for breakfast. We would have a strawberry milkshake or a bowl of fiber one cereal some days, nothing but orange juice on others. Then, we would eat out almost every day for lunch. Chick-fil-A, McDonald's, pizza buffets, Japanese, etc. At dinner, we would also eat out usually. If you start adding up the money we spent eating out (and the calories), it makes perfect sense why we are struggling with money some months.

Now, we are trying something new. We did this last week too, but we are really giving it a 100% try for the month of May since we get paid monthly. We went grocery shopping, looking for deals on good food, and we are also expecting a delivery from Schwann's Home food delivery service next week. In the mornings, I make breakfast every single day. Usually this involves eggs and juice. Today, for example, we had white wheat toast with egg and cheese sandwich.

Sometimes I make biscuits or whatever, but I make breakfast every day. Then, since we ate a larger breakfast, we can eat a very light lunch. Fruit, yogurt, something like that usually. For dinner, we have something light as well. Last night we had strawberries with homemade shortcake for dinner. Granted, we didn't have any vegetables, but I am still working on the meal plans. We are doing our best to keep the eating out to a minimum and to use whatever we have here in the house instead. It sounds pretty simple, but after years of mostly eating out, it's definitely a change for us.

I am hoping that at the end of the month, there is money to spare and I can finally fit into my jeans that are a size down. It would be heavenly to fit into a size 9/10 again before my cousin's wedding in June.

RWA Nationals - 10 weeks and counting

10 weeks from tomorrow I will leave for Washington D.C. and my first Romance Writers of America National Conference. I am so excited and nervous and crazy and happy all at the same time!

I met with my critique group yesterday, and we decided that it's time to step it into high gear. One out of the three of us is already a successful published author of 13 books (with 2 more contracted to come out this year from Harlequin Blaze), but the other two of us are still aspiring. The two of us are looking to Nationals as a place to schmooz with editors and agents, and hopefully even get in an appointment or two so we can pitch our novels. Of course, in order to pitch, you actually need to have finished a novel. And that's where "high gear" comes in.

I have 3 projects in the works right now. There's the novella that was requested by Wild Rose Press that I still have yet to finish revisions on. It's about halfway done, so this week is going to be dedicated to getting it done. By now, it's a sort of do or die situation for that story. Second, there is the Silhouette Desire novel that I lovingly call "The Millionaire's Scandalous Secret". Total, I have 11,900 words finished on that and my goal is about 50,000 total. My third project is a bit more tricky. I want to write a young adult novel. I have ideas floating around about what I want it to be about and who the characters will be, but the ideas still need work. I am hoping that by the time I finish these other two, the ideas will be more fully formed, and I will have a chance to write some (if not all or most) of the novel before RWA nationals.

Too much to get done in 10 weeks? Am I being too ambitious?? Probably. But I have this hope that someday my high and impossible ambitions will actually be surpassed by the hard work I put into it. Who knows? I might even surprise myself this time.

Harry Potter Still Amazes Me


Yesterday, I decided to pull out my copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Book 1 of possibly one of the very best stories ever written. After all these years and after reading them all once already, it's amazing how much the story still draws me in. Rowling sets the entire series up so perfectly with her explanation of the Dursley's and the delineation between the Muggle world and the Magic world. Her tone in the first book is almost a bit more childlike than I remember, but it fits so perfectly since Harry is just 11 at the beginning.

In a world where so many things are overrated and disappointment abounds, I think that Harry Potter is one of the few truly worthy of its amazing reputation and the money it has made. JK Rowling deserves every penny of her millions (Billions?). The basic story of a boy wizard who fights an evil sorcerer is not really that unique. It's the WAY she tells the story and the characters she creates that make the difference.

I find myself wanting to beat my head against the wall and scream, "How?! How do you write like that?? Dear God! I can't do it, I can't do it!" And the truth is, I probably can't. No matter how much you study, you can't recreate someone else's voice exactly. And I don't want to be her. I want to be. I just want for me to be the type of writer who can amaze someone and touch someone's heart and make people fall in love with my characters so much that they stay up way past their bedtime reading. Maybe someday I will.

Sarra Cannon

Young Adult Indie Author

I always secretly wanted to be a cheerleader. And a witch. Now, I write about both. The first five novels in my Peachville High Demons Young Adult Paranormal series are available now in ebook!

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Sarra's bookshelf: sarra-s-favorites

Beautiful DemonsThe Time Traveler's WifeLoveroot: PoemsFear of FlyingWe the LivingAnthem

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