The Sweetie Chronicles

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

Job Woes and an Editor's Passing

Yesterday was a rough day. Out of the blue, my job at the Music Academy is gone. The only reason I even got a job there or was looking for a job in the first place is because G and I are trying to raise extra money for our wedding. Some people think it's ridiculous that we don't take money out of savings to pay for it, but there's something fun about working hard to make that money without taking out loans or anything. With my paycheck from September only days away from coming in, I was getting ready to book our plane tickets, pay for our hotel room, and put a deposit on our wedding chapel... all from "extra" money made through extra teaching jobs or Everquest II or adsense. Unfortunately, it seems that I've been completely screwed by the Music Academy. Not only did I lose my job, I am also not getting paid for all the hours I worked in September. Basically, after buying teaching books that I had to have, I paid them to let me work there for two months. It sucks.

I also found out the terrible news that Kensington Editor, Kate Duffy, passed away. She was only 56, and she was well known for being one of the best editors in the business. She was also the first editor I ever sent my writing to. Brava, the line she created at Kensington, publishes Novellas, so after they ran a novella contest that I didn't place in, I decided to write another one and send it to her. About a month later, she responded to me in a personal rejection letter saying that she thought I had potential and that she enjoyed my novella, but since she recently purchased a novel with a similar story line, she was going to pass on the project. She also asked for me to send more to her in the future. I never did. She died of cancer on Sunday in New York. My heart sincerely goes out to the Kensington family. All the authors and editors who worked with her must surely be heartbroken right now.

Yesterday was rough, but today will surely be better. I need to start working on my resume and looking for other jobs that I can possibly get and make money with before the wedding. I need to keep up my exercise that has been going very well so far this week. And I need to work extra hard on getting my Desire manuscript through this second draft process so that I can send it out. Today will be a better day.

Is Heroes Losing Steam?

Last night was only the second episode of the season, and Heroes was almost putting me to sleep. The whole Sylar toying around with lame Matt Parkman's mind is already getting old to me. How come Matt is always so weak? He's got one of the most amazing abilities, but he refuses to use it? His mind is his strength, but he's incredibly weak when it comes to self-confidence and determination? It doesn't really make sense to me. Sylar is winning way too easily.

Claire jumping out of a window and being seen was interesting at the end of last week's episode, but none of that interest carried into this latest one. Noah's threat to call the Haitian got my excitement piqued, but then it died as he shut his phone and agreed to let CLaire-Bear handle her own problems. Noah as a retired man is boring me too.

Then there's Peter Petrelli. I don't think they've gone deep enough into who these carnies are to really make me interested in Samuel and his dead brother, so why do I care that they're trying to recruit Peter? Peter's been off on his own for a while now, so there's nothing really dangerous about him yet. Okay, the sinkhole thing with the guy basically killing that woman for being a bitch was interesting. But what about the deaf girl who sees sound? Is this really supposed to compare to a girl with lightning coming through her hands or a man who controls people like puppets? Seriously. Do they have newer and lamer writers this season or what?

For a series that has always been ground-breaking, it's sad to see it starting to die off. Episodes in the first and second seasons were always 'sit on the edge of your seat' type action, flipping from one story to the other... then when the episode was over, there was a hunger for more. Last night, I found myself wondering when it was going to end already. This might be a series that gets checked off my list of must-sees unless the season starts to pick up next Monday.

Exercise Essentials

With barely more than 80 days before our wedding, I have got to get serious about exercising or I am not going to fit into my wedding dress! Over the past few weeks since I bought the dress, I have only managed to lose about 4 pounds. And 4 pounds can be gained back awfully fast! In truth, to look the way I want to in my dress, I need to lose at least 20 pounds. Is that even possible in 80 days?

It better be! I am hoping that with the cut-backs in my junk food eating, adding a lot of exercise is going to push my weight loss into overdrive. I'm not lookiing for anything crazy like The Biggest Loser, losing 15 pounds in a week kind of thing. If I could lose a steady 2 or 3 pounds a week, I'll look amazing by the time the wedding is here.

So what exactly am I planning to do? Well, Jazzercise of course. For starters. I love Jazzercise. I don't know what is wrong with me that I haven't been going every day since I first discovered it, but it's the same kind of mental block here as I have with a few other things (like eating right). It's like the second I realize that something is good for me, I suddenly don't want to do it or I can't motivate myself the way I need to in order to get it done. With Jazzercise, I know I want to do it, but actually making myself go every morning is like pulling teeth... which is ridiculous since I actually enjoy it when I'm there. Sure, it's hard work, but it feels so good and it's fun.

So Jazzercise four times a week is part one. Part two is walking. G and I discovered some really great walking trails a few miles away that are amazing. There is a park with a lake and about four miles worth of walking trails, so my plan is to head out there at least 2 or 3 times a week from now until the wedding to walk a couple of miles. Plus, I have already been walking my dog every day, so I'll keep doing that and maybe add some distance to those walks or just try to do it more often.

Between then walking and the Jazzercise, I am hoping to kick start some weight loss this week. Wish me luck!

Amazing Race Picks

The third and final reality TV show that my sister and I watch and bet on our favorites is The Amazing Race. Out of all of the reality shows out there, this is the one that I would most like to be on, but I have never actually applied. Maybe G and I will try to get on at some point? We'll see. Maybe my sister and I should do it :P.

Anyway, since I've already put our picks for The Biggest Loser and Survivor up there (and, might I say, all our picks are still in the competition at this point, which is great), I thought I should continue with the final show.

Her picks:
Maria and Tiffany. Professional poker players and all-around hotties who comprise this season's only all-female team. Given their profession and their looks, this team is expected to go far.

My picks:
Sam and Dan. The token gay guys. It always seems like they try to diversify on this show, but from season to season, they have to have someone who is gay. So this time, it's brothers Sam and Dan. I'm really rooting for them. Their down-to-earth attitudes and their likeable personalities might take them a long way in this game.

The Amazing Race kicks of Sunday night, and on a recent commercial, I saw that one team supposedly gets kicked off at the starting line?? How is that even possible? And how much would that completely suck?? To get all the way through the auditions and everything and then get ready to go on this race around the world... then never leave the starting line? You would have to do something incredibly wrong and stupid to get kicked off that early. My vote? The yoga couple goes nude and gets booted from the game. What do you think? Just as long as it isn't Sam and Dan, I'm happy :).

Las Vegas Shows


As we plan our trip to Vegas for our wedding (only 86 days to go till our wedding day!!), we are starting to look at the various shows that are available on and near the Strip. From the looks of it, Vegas has everything from cheesy magic shows to top dollar headliners like Cris Angel and the Blue Man Group. I think we are going to be in Vegas for six nights, which means we will have plenty of time to see a variety of shows.

On our wedding night, we're going to dinner and maybe just walking around the city, but I doubt we'll go see a show. So that leaves 5 nights. We can't afford to go see a show like Cirque du Soleil's LOVE, which is a Beatles tribute,. every night. That show costs over $140 a ticket! Even the Blue Man Group is $100 each, and Cris Angel's BELIEVE is $78. We could easily spent a thousand dollars or more on Vegas shows. Since we don't have that kind of money to burn, we're looking at some of the more low-key, easy on the budget shows that might still be fun.

Like the "Dymonds", for example. $19.95 a ticket for a husband and wife Magic Revue. Everyone wants to seee a magic show right? There's a comedy hypnosis shows at the Tropicana called "Hypnosis Unleashed" where you can get tickets for $32.00/each, and you can even add in a $25.00 bar pass that includes all you can drink during the show. Tim Jones is going to be at the Bonkerz Comedy Club for only $25.00 a ticket. There's also Matsuri, a Japanese acrobatics show at the Imperial Palace for $40/each. Supposedly one of the best deals in Vegas is the V - Vegas Variety Show. For $39.95, you get a ticket and 2 drinks at the bar. Sounds good to me.

I'm so excited to be going to a city where there's so much nightlife and so many things to choose from. We are thinking of going to a club-hopping event where they have a bus that takes you to several clubs throughout the evening. Plus, then there's the casinos and the restaurants! We're planning to stay at the Mirage since it's one of the premiere hotels and has recently been renovated. I can't wait!!

If you've ever been to Vegas and know about some great deals on tickets or have an idea of a great show, please feel free to let me know what it is!

My Second Wedding

Okay, today, I am going to be a total brat, but I feel the need to get this off my chest, so I hope you'll forgive me. In a few months, G and I are getting married. As a divorced woman, this will be my second wedding... but does that really make it any less important? Not to me it doesn't. If anything, it makes it MORE important, because THIS is the wedding that will really count and that will really mean something to me twenty years from now.

I realize now just how badly I screwed up when I married the first guy. But that wedding got all the attention and money thrown at it. And don't get me wrong, it was a beautiful wedding. We had the church, the huge reception with a buffet and a big cake and a tent and open bar and dancing, etc. But did it make the marriage any better? Not one bit. It made me happy, sure. But did the man make me happy? Nope.

What I hate is that by having such a big deal wedding the first time, no one really seems to care much about the fact that I'm getting married this time. One friend sent us a congratulations you're engaged card, and for that I'm eternally touched. But no one else has really acknowledged it other than to just say congrats or whatever. No cards. No talk of honoring us in any way. And it isn't as if we've taken this so fast that no one has had any time to think about it, either. We've been engaged now for like 15 months!

Yes, I know I'm being a brat because who gets upset that no one has sent them a congratulations card?? Well, probably a lot of fucking people, but no one is bad enough to blog about it. I know it's petty and silly to get upset about this stuff, but I am hoping that getting it off my chest will help me shut up and get over it.

The irony of it all is that the man I'm marrying would hate it if we had a big wedding and got tons of attention. He wants things to be lowkey and all about the two of us. In some ways, that's what I want too. I don't want to do another big church wedding and all the hoop-lah. I just feel like everytime I try to talk about it with family or friends, it's just no big deal to them. Is it because it's my second wedding? I guess so. Or maybe it's because we're getting married in Vegas. But I remember when a friend of mine had her second wedding... people threw her bridal showers and everything the same as if it was her first. I don't need a bunch of showers or presents or anything like that, but I guess it still bothers me that no one cares to offer or think of it. At this point, I'm seriously doubting the likelihood of even getting wedding presents from any of our parents. And as cheesy as it sounds, it isn't what the presents are that matters, it's truly the thought that counts.

Omg, I know I must sound like a total whiny bitch right now, but I'm just being brutally honest. Just one offer of some kind of something to honor us as a couple or one card to congratulate us from family or something in the past year and three months would have been nice. It just really starts to make me angry with myself for marrying that other asshole and stealing some of the joy of this engagement. In the end, it's the marriage that matters, not the parties or the cards or the presents, and in that respect, I'm the luckiest, happiest woman in the world. I know that this time I've got it right and that I'm marrying a man who truly loves me and who I love with all that I am. I just wish the people in our lives were as excited about this union as I am...

Okay, bratfest/bitchfest over. As you were.

Golden Heart

Every year, the Romance Writers of America give two sets of prestigious awards at the national conference. One is the RITA, which is for published authors and, in that way, somewhat more prestigious and glamorous. The other, is the Golden Heart.

The Golden Heart is an award given to the best manuscripts written by unpublished authors. There are 10 different categories that cover everything from inspirational to historical. I have looked through the RWA website for years wishing I could join, and everytime I was always drawn to reading about the Golden Heart and thinking I would love to enter someday.

Last year, I finally took the leap and joined RWA, and I have been so glad that I did! The network of people in my community and around the US has been valuable beyond belief. Going to the conference this past summer really opened my eyes to a whole new world of romance writing. On one hand, there is so much competition out there and so many truly talented writers still waiting to get published. On the other hand, I'm out there and finally doing something I always wanted to do!

At nationals, the Golden Heart and RITA awards night was one of the biggest evenings. Everyone gets dressed in formal wear and gathers in the biggest room to hear the results. The awards are presented "Academy Award" style with the finalists being announced by a former winner and listed on a large screen. Winning isn't everything, but finaling in the contest is amazing publicity. Editors are aware of who you are. People want to talk to you about your book and your hopes and dreams. You really get the "princess" treatment if you're a Golden Heart Finalist, from what I hear.

Yesterday the 2010 Golden Heart Competition opened for entries. It's $50 to enter and,. of course, you have to have a completed manuscript that fits into the categories. Since I am finished with my manuscript and already starting revisions, I think I'm going to take the plunge and enter this year in the "contemporary series" category. The due date for sending in your manuscript is November 16th, so I have plenty of time to get it in. Hopefully it will lead to good things!!

FINISHED!!!

I am very excited to report that Friday night / early Saturday morning around 1:10 AM, I finished the first draft of my very first full-length novel! Over the past two years, I have started many projects, but I have never actually seen a full novel from start to finish. Last year's NANO WRIMO was close. I wrote 50,000 words of a novel I was calling "Into Darkness", but when I hit my word count goal, I still didn't have a complete ending to the story. Plus, for a horror novel, I really needed more like 65k or more words at least.

Last year I also finished "Steal My Heart" and sent it out to several publishers. As a novella of only 18k words at the time, I had limited options as far as where to send it, but I did get some good feedback from publishers like Kensington and Samhain. Rejections, but nice ones :PEarlier this year, I revised my novella and it became a much better 23,000 word story that I'm still waiting on results from The Wild Rose Press on. (4 months and counting there, about to lose hope that they're even going to respond).

"The Millionaire's Secret Merger", though, is different. I have been working on this novel for about 7 months, only taking time off to revise "Steal My Heart" for a month. Targeted to Silhouette Desire, the editor has requested the full length manuscript and now I am super close to being able to finally deliver. I have already started working on my revisions, and it seems to be going a lot faster than the writing itself. With hard work, I know that in a week or two, I can finish this novel and send it out. I am very excited and proud and nervous... all rolled into one!! Woohooo! A milestone for me as a writer.

So Close

At this point, I am less than 7,000 words away from finishing my manuscript for Silhouette Desire! That basically means one good day of writing (well, one best day) or at the most, two days. By tomorrow afternoon, I should be revising and reading through the finished manuscript. I can hardly believe it! Even though I technically finished a version of this a few months ago, it needed some serious help. After I sort of reworked the plot, the story changed significantly and even though I was able to use a lot of what was already written, I still had to completely re-write most of the novel.

With that being said, this version is still kind of like a first draft. There are lots of errors and it doesn't read as smooth as it needs to. Also, the dialog is certainly lacking (my weakest skill for sure). BUT - it will be finished. The revising is the easier part for me. It's the initial getting the story down that is so tough. It's the working out the plot part that seems impossible.

I have been working as a writer for about two years, but I didn't really start to find my way until I joined RWA last Christmas. There, at the Christmas Party, I met two women who asked me to be a part of their critique group, and that decision changed my life. In January we started meeting, and sometime in February or March is when I decided to write this book for Silhouette Desire. That means I have been working on this manuscript of and on for something like eight months. It will feel so amazing to have it complete and sent to New York to learn its fate. Also, I can't wait to start on my next project! Hopefully Monday, I'll be able to write that the book is finished and the revisions are either done or close! Have a good weekend everyone!

Survivor: Samoa Picks

Like I said earlier this week, my sister and I are making our picks for who we think will win our favorite reality tv shows this season. Is it crazy that I get excited about these shows starting up again? The summer felt like it was missing something without any really good reality tv (save for a really nice season of So You Think You Can Dance, of course). Okay, so yes, I know it's crazy, but it's my guilty pleasure and I love it.

With that being said, my sister called earlier this week to say that her pick for Survivor this season is "the cute young black guy". I have to assume that she means Jaison (not pronounced Jay-son like you think, but apparently Jay-sawn mmm-kay):
A 28 year old working on his law degree, Jasion is well-spoken and seems to know the secrets to a successful first few days on Survivor: don't annoy anyone or give them a reason to target you right from the start.

My pick? It's been a tough choice, honestly. Last season, we all know how poorly I chose on biggest loser... and my survivor pick wasn't much better. I first picked Sierra and she was practically the first voted off, but when we saw she was sick on the first episode, Buffy D (my sis) gave me the choice of someone else, and I forget the name of the girl I picked (Sydney maybe?) but she went not too far into the season. Here's hoping I don't choose the first person voted out this year. For a while, I was waffling between Erik and Elizabeth. I think they both seem cunning and smart enough to hang back and blend in until it's time to start making some moves. Then, read an article where Elizabeth claims that the people on the show with her were racist, and she immediately went out of my picks. Seriously? Playing the race card on survivor? I will have to see it to believe it. So, that leaves me with Erik.

He's a 28 year old bartender who has dual degrees in sociology and psychology from Pepperdine. He's studied past successful Survivors to see what they did right and what they did wrong. Hopefully he will be a good choice for me! Go Erik!

Survivor: Samoa is the 19th season of Survivor, and premieres tonight on CBS.

Reality TV Picks

Every time one of our most favorite reality shows begins, my sister and I choose the person or team we think will win the whole thing. We don't even wait for the first episode to air, we simply go online and look at the character's videos or biographies, then choose the person we think most likely to win. We always say we're going to put money on it, but so far that really hasn't been the focus. I think it's more about the bragging rights than anything else. Here are the shows we are watching and choosing from this Fall:

  • SURVIVOR: SAMOA
  • THE BIGGEST LOSER
  • THE AMAZING RACE
Tonight is the premiere of The Biggest Loser, so my sister called to give me her pick:
Abby Rike, a 34 year old teacher whose heartbreaking story of losing her husband, 5 year old daughter and her newborn son to a head-on collision just 3 years ago is sure to bring every viewer to tears at least once an episode. Despite her pain, she seems to have an amazing attitude and the strength to do anything she sets her mind to. God Bless her if she gets Jillian for a trainer, cause Jillian won't baby her the way Bob would. Just FYI, last season, my sister picked Tara, the runner-up and possibly the most awesome Biggest Loser contestant of all time. I think she's got a good pick again this season.

My pick:
Daniel Wright, a contestant from last season who was officially named the heaviest contestant of all time. From what I hear, there is a woman who will "de-throne" that title this year, which is sort of crazy seeing how he weighed something like 450 pounds last season. Anyway, this season is all about second chances, and if anyone deserves a second chance, it's Daniel. Okay, let me simply note that last season, my pick was his partner David. How did David do? Let's just say that by the finale, I believe he went down in history as the contestant who lost the LEAST amount of weight ever on the show. Something like 10 lbs total when all these others were wracking up numbers like 200 lbs. Pathetic, really, but I always felt there was something more in Daniel. Even though he was sent home early, he still managed to take off 100 pounds on his own at home. Sadly, that still put him over 300 pounds, but this is his chance to make a difference and to slim down for good. I am rooting for you Daniel!!

More to come later this week on our picks for Survivor!!

Patrick Swayze

I was so sad to hear that Patrick Swayze finally succumbed to his pancreatic cancer. For a while there, he was the star of two of my favorite movies - "Dirty Dancing" and "Ghost". I know he starred in a lot more movies than just those two, but in my heart, he will always be remembered for those specific two. Especially Dirty Dancing. He made that movie what it was.

Something else that always touched me about Patrick Swayze was the fact that he was one of the few Hollywood stars who actually seemed to be in love with his wife. Every interview I ever saw him do, he talked about his wife Lisa and credited her with his success and happiness. They met when they were young, teenagers I think even, and were married for 34 years. I can only imagine what his wife is feeling now, and my heart truly goes out to her. They didn't have any children, so losing him must be devastating.

This has truly been the year for celebrity deaths, hasn't it? Iconic Celebrities. Patrick Swayze was definitely an icon. Pancreatic Cancer has only a 5% survival rate within 5 years of diagnosis, but he fought the battle with the disease with honor. He will always be remembered, and he will definitely be missed.

Kanye West is a Tool

Kanye West has done it again. His tirade a few years back about how a black man can never get a chance turned me off on him first, but last night's VMA's solidifies him as one of the rudest, most self-centered assholes in the world of celebrity. If you haven't heard about it, I'll give you the short rundown.

Taylor Swift, 19 year old crossover artist who is loved by millions, won the first award of the night - Best Female Video. She was up against Beyonce and others, and I guess Kanye West took it personally that Beyonce didn't win. When Taylor was accepting her award, Kanye got up on the stage and took away her moment of glory, shouting that Beyonce's video was the best video of the decade. What kind of asshole does that? I mean, write it on your blog if you want to, but don't take away her moment! These are fan-voted awards. Kanye can love whoever's video he wants, but if the fans love Taylor Swift, he can kiss her ass.

I sigh when I say, I think Kanye has a serious problem with white people. Or at least with black people not getting something he thinks they should and a white person getting it instead. A few years ago, he was angry because he thought he should have been asked to perform "stronger" as the opening song and they asked Britney instead. He called her all kinds of names backstage and shouted how they "never give a black man a chance." I wanted to scream at him! Music was one of the first venues where black people in this country really were given a chance. Choosing Britney had nothing to do with black and white.... and everything to do with her being a HUGE publicity magnet. If Kanye had been doing crazy things like Britney was at the time, maybe he would have had more of a chance.

This time, his tirade wasn't even about HIM. It was about Beyonce. If I were her, I'd ream him (or get my hubby to do it for me) for even associating my good name with his racist, selfish bullshit. Luckily for her, she did win Best Overall Video later in the evening (without Kanye's help, as he was kicked from the awards early and told not to come back), and she brought Swift back onstage to finish her acceptance speech. Applause for her for not jumping on the Kanye bandwagon and choosing to be a gracious loser instead. Overall, she was a winner anyway just by how many nominations she received and how many albums she has sold this year. Kanye just never wants to give a white man a chance. Or white girl anyway.

Writers Beware

On my writer's loop this morning, I got a link to this article, discussing a man named Robert M. Fletcher who, with his girlfriend and two other accomplices, managed to scam would-be writers out of half a million dollars a year for four years. Reading through it, I started to think, who would fall for that? We're all taught that there are vanity publishers out there who will ask for money in order to publish your novel. But as I read further, I saw that they had a link to one of his "fake" websites. It looks like a real, legitimate literary agency! I could hardly believe it!

Basically, what this scumbag did was have people send in their work, just like a regular agent. After a week or so, he'd contact them with the good news that all writers long to hear... you're good enough! He'd tell these writers, who in all likelihood had sent manuscripts to other places and were possibly rejected many times for many years (some of them anyway), that they were good enough to be published. He would agree to represent them and pretend to submit their work to various publishers. After some period of time had passed, he would inform them that he was having trouble getting their book published, but that if they were serious about publishing, they could work with one of his "affiliates" to promote their work and get recognition.

That's where he started making his money. He would get these artists who are desperate to find a publisher, and he would give them hope. So much hope in fact that when the plan seemed to be on the edge of failure, he would offer them a life raft. He made it look like his affiliate was a different company entirely, thereby giving the illusion of it being legit. But in truth, the other company was just another one of his own companies. The average writer shelled out $600 for those services before they finally threw their hands up and said fuck it!

Later, Fletcher figured out a way to reel some of those people in again with a different scam about a publisher who was finally interested in publishing them, then going forward to publish their book with a vanity publisher that they had to pay for anyway.

People like this make me sick. He was living the good life with something like $600,000 a year in his pocket. He was taking people's hopes and dreams and squeezing the life out of them for a few dollars each. It's absolutely despicable! If you are a writer and you want to get published, follow one golden rule when looking for an agent and a publisher: NEVER PAY ANYONE MONEY TO PUBLISH YOUR BOOK OR TO PROMOTE IT.

A real publisher and a real agent will never ask you for money. Sure, you might want to take it upon yourself to buy some bookmarks or other promotional items to take to conferences and bookstores as a marketing tool, but a publisher will never ask you to give them or their friends $600 or whatever to promote your book. Anyone who tells you they want to publish you should be paying you, not asking you to pay them. Most publishers will pay an advance upon acceptance, while some epublishers online will pay royalties after the sale, but they don't ask for anything from you except your manuscript and your help in making sure it's the very best, polished work you are capable of writing.

People like Fletcher feed off desperation and hope. If you are a writer who has had the door slammed in their face many times, don't allow yourself to be preyed upon by someone like Fletcher who promises so much and then asks you to put some money up to help secure your spot in the publishing industry. Be careful. Be aware. My heart goes out to the writers who were scammed by this asshole and his friends.

Ellen Degeneres is the New American Idol Judge

I could hardly believe my eyes when I read this news! What? Ellen is replacing Paula Abdul on Idol? I thought it was a joke at first.

Don't get me wrong, I love Ellen. I think she's hilarious. But what experience does she have in the music industry? What expertise could she possibly bring to the show? Maybe the producers are just trying to even out the whole "package" and industry talk of new judge Kara Dioguardi by bringing in someone who has no clue about that shit. Ellen, I guess, is supposed to be the token judge who only listens to music for music sake and doesn't know or care about the technical or the industry standards. She'll just say the same kind of things that those of us listening at home think and feel about the performers. I guess.

When Ellen was a guest judge on So You Think You Can Dance this past season, I thought she was funny, sure, but it was obvious that she didn't really know how to critique them as dancers. Critiquing music will probably be easier for her since knowing what to listen for and look for in a singer is sometimes more familiar to the general pop. What I'm afraid of, though, is her being long-winded in an attempt to get a good laugh. I'm afraid she'll be the focus as the performer and take the spotlight off the singers. I will say this, though. Ellen should be a positive voice to replace the always positive Paula. But can you ever really replace Paula? She was an original and she will be missed. Looks like it is time for a new era in American Idol.

America's Next Top Model Begins Tonight!

Yay for ANTM! It has to be one of my favorite reality shows of all time. Mostly because I love to watch the photo shoots and to see the final results, which are almost always beautiful or interesting or, in some instances a complete mess. I like to watch the drama between the women in the house, and tonight's premiere should be FULL of drama.

Cycle 13 of America's Next Top Model is all about petite women. With the exception of Eva Pigford, (now Eva Marcille - guess 'pig' isn't conducive to getting modeling jobs) who won cycle 3 at a modest 5'6", most ANTM contestants have been well over 5'7". In fact, after Cycle 3, Tyra instated a rule that models had to be over 5'7" to even audition. Cycle 13 is going to be different, because instead of being OVER 5'7", the rules this season are that you have to be 5'7" or SHORTER. The result? A group of women who, as far as I can tell from the website, are petite, almost all very young (18), and "cute" more-so than "fierce", but under Tyra and Mr. Jay's tutelage, I'm sure some fierceness will be found.

In the NYC auditions earlier this year, it was all over the news that a riot broke out in the streets and the auditions had to be canceled. Tonight's audition episode is sure to give us all the dirt on those auditions. I'm dying to know what happened to spark such anger in these petite model wanna be's.

As always, I will be doing my best to post recaps and updates on the cycle on my blog, ANTM RECAPS, so please check it out and feel free to vote or comment anytime. ANTM makes me happy! I'm so glad it's back!

Forty Dollars

That's about the extent of our flea market experience. We made $40. And that's NOT profit. I'm talking about forty bucks total... then subtract $20 for the entry fee and another $8 for the table we had to rent, and we have only $12. I don't even know what all the materials cost for the stuff I made and took out there, but that's not really a loss if I can try to sell it somewhere else like ebay or whatever. Of course, then we also got some food while we were there, since it was six a.m. when we arrived and almost 5pm by the time we left. Overall, it was definitely NOT a money making experience.

It was, however, a day of sunburn. G and I both came home with pretty heinous sunburns. Most people out there had tents, but renting one costs $25, and that would have put us in the whole, so no tent. Only an umbrella that apparently did me no real favors. We had fun, though. And it was a learning experience. We just weren't that lucky selling things. A lot of people walked by and made comments like, "Oh wow, look at those cute clipboards." or "Mom, look, Halloween flower pots!". But apparently buying them never really crossed anyone's mind. :P Oh well. I was hoping for some good money to put towards the wedding, but we'll have to try something else. If anyone has any idea about a good money-making endeavor that we could pull off with minimal money investment, I'm all ears :).

Flea Market Crafts

This weekend G and I are taking the leap... we are taking some of my hand-made crafts to the flea market! In a desperate attempt to make more money, G and I have been working on various craft projects and cleaning out our closets. On the craft side of things, we have been painting wooden letters that my father cut out with his machine (don't ask me what it's called). Also, I have hand-painted flower pots, beaded jewelry, and decorated clipboards to sell. Of course, I have NO CLUE what to charge, especially at a flea market where people are looking for deals... but I'm sure we'll figure it out after some trial and error. On the other hand, we also have some 'yard sale' type castaway items like a quilt and some used books to sell.

In some ways, this is a scouting mission. We're taking small quantities of lots of different types of things out there to see what garners the most attention and sales. The fee to buy a space for the day is $20, so the goal is obviously that we make at least that back so we don't lose money. The hope is that we make $100 or more, which would rock. It's scary to be trying something new and putting yourself out there. What if we don't sell anything? I guess the worst that can happen is that we wasted time and a little bit of money on some products and we had a different and hopefully interesting day of people watching at the flea market.

Either way, it's exciting to be trying out new ideas that we can work on together to pay for the wedding. If this works out and we do make a decent amount of cash, we'll probably be making a lot more of whatever product sold the most and then going back out to the flea market and selling online as well if we can. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Wedding Invitations

I've been thinking about our wedding a lot lately and wondering what to do about wedding invitations. With a wedding for two in Las Vegas, we aren't actually inviting anyone to our wedding. On the other hand, we probably will be choosing a chapel and a package that allows people to either watch the ceremony live or either watch it for a short period of time after the wedding online. G expressed his desire that we choose a place that archives the wedding so that he doesn't feel like everyone is watching him at the moment we get married, so I'm looking for a place in Vegas that will give us at least a week or so of online broadcast time. We'll see.

As far as invitations go, I was thinking of sending out a casual and fun announcement saying that we are tying the knot in Vegas and invite everyone to go to our chapel's website to watch the wedding. If there is a code involved, I"ll include that and if not, I'll just post the website. I've also been working on a wedding blog with the idea that the week we are in Vegas, I will update with pictures and a daily wedding/honeymoon blog for our family and friends. On the invitation, I will probably invite everyone to also go to our blog for more information.

The question is... is that tacky for a wedding invitation? I guess as long as I keep it fun and casual, it should be fine. After all, it's our wedding right? I just don't want people to think we are sending them out fishing for gifts or anything. Mainly, I just want people to know we are finally getting married and that even though we aren't having any guests there in person, they can still be a part of our joy by watching it online. Besides, dammit, I have a gorgeous dress now and I want people to see me in it!

It might be fun to design my own invitations and make them myself. That way I can hopefully save money without having to buy cheap and cheesy heart invitations or something. I was thinking about designs where I could incorporate either the Vegas skyline or the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. Either way, it should be fun to come up with something that is fun and unique for G and I! Now that the dress has been purchased, everything else is starting to fall into place. We've been engaged for so long, and now I can't wait to be his wife.

Sex and The City 2 Filming!!


Yay! The first images of SATC 2 are starting to explode across the internet, and I can't wait to see more! Carrie Bradshaw is the only one spotted so far, and man does she look HOT. Wearing Christian Louboutin gold sparkle heels that cost more than my engagement ring, Carrie was seen sauntering down an NYC sidewalk.
So far the biggest gossip going around is that even though Mr. Big has been seen during filming, there have also been scenes where Carrie is not wearing a wedding ring. Personally, that has been the main thing on my mind as well. To finally see them get together and get married after so many years, I will definitely be sad if something happens to break them up. I was hoping this movie might concentrate more on Carrie becoming a mother for the first time or something along those lines. Of course, I know there has to be trials and struggles, but do we really have to see Carrie and Big break up? I hope not! The other buzz is that a former Mr. Croatia has been cast to play one of Samantha's love interests in the film. In his picture, he looks to be about 24 years old, so you go Sam :P

In some ways, I am scared of what a second movie might bring to our girls, but in other ways, I just want to see them again. They are my old friends, and whenever we are apart, I miss them. Watching them go through more heartache won't be easy, but in the capable hands of Michael Patrick King, I am sure the movie will be well worth the wait. It is slated to come out in May 2010.

Cooling Down

September is here and, like a miracle, the cooling down has already begun. Don't get me wrong, I love summer, but after August's hundred degree heat, I am so ready for some cooler days. Getting up this morning, I could tell it was already a little cooler, but when I walked outside to feel the cool, crisp air on my skin, I was amazed at how wonderful it felt. Sixty-five degrees out this morning, and it's perfection. I looked at my weather channel desktop and the high is only 76 degrees! Very little chance of rain today like there was yesterday, and I think this is going to be one of those rare and beautiful days where it's just right. Fall is on its way.

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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