Thursday, April 23, 2015

Fifteen Things No Parent Should Have to Say To Their Teen Son

     Last month I wrote about the fifteen things no parent should have to say to their teen daughter (you can read it HERE). So what about the boys? I've raised two sons, as well as daughters, and it seems that in every stage of my boys' lives, from the moment they stood unassisted to when they took their first step, there was a battery of things I NEVER imagined I would have to say to my little male bundles of joy. When they were young, it was the simple stuff like, "I know it looks like a Tootsie Roll but you can't play with the cat's poop"…..."Stop eating dirt---it's not part of the food pyramid"…... "No, that humming wand you found hidden in the back of Mommy's drawer can NOT be used as lightsaber while playing Star Wars."

     Raising boys is a whole different ballgame, and their teen years are known to reduce even the toughest of parents down to a puddle of anxiety and insecurities. Please know that if you have uttered one or more of the following statements to your teenage son, you're not alone:

*You're gonna need a chain saw to cut those toenails.

*If you keep 'borrowing' gas money from me, I'm trading in your car for a Vespa.

*Just because you have laser lights and a stereo system the size of a Winnebago in your room, it doesn't mean that you're allowed to host a rave every weekend. Our house withstood several hurricanes, but I'm not sure it'll last through the rumblings of your bass.

*Please chew with your mouth closed. I don't need to see how fast your molars can masticate a steak.

*Did you wipe?

*You're going to have arthritis in your fingers by the time you're twenty-five from using your cell phone 24/7.

*I don't care how pretty she is---when you take her out on a date, you'd better be thinking with the big head and not the little head.

*All that stinky laundry on your closet floor is making your room smell like a Porta Potty that hasn't been cleaned out in months.

*If you're going to spend THAT much time in the shower, then you need to start scrubbing all the extra  "conditioner" off the shower doors.

*Pay your speeding tickets before you end up on a television episode of Cops.

*No, you will not get carpal tunnel syndrome from flushing the toilet several times a day.

*It's going to take an ice cream scoop to clean all that wax out of your ears.

You need to make a cell phone payment instead of spending your entire paycheck on sneakers…unless, of course, you plan on ditching the wheels in favor of using your feet to get around.

*Yesterday there was a five pound ham in the refrigerator, and now it's gone. A gallon of milk, two bags of chips, a loaf of bread and an entire box of Oreos are also missing. If you step on the bathroom scale, I think I can solve the mystery of the missing food.

*Belching the alphabet is not a skill that women find attractive.

Thankfully, one of my sons is now an adult who has turned into a fine gentleman. My youngest (and feistiest) still has a few more years to go, but the way I see it, he'll be the one who ends up married with four children. Hopefully all boys.

I'd better keep an ice cream scoop in my pocket at all times…..just in case.

***This week I was thrilled to be featured on Beyond Your Blog! You can read my post about living the writer's life here:

Friday, April 17, 2015

Fly On The Wall In A Zany Household

    Welcome to the April edition of Fly On the Wall groups postings, hosted by  Baking In A Tornado.  Today, 15 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you'd see if you were a fly on the wall in their homes.
    As for my house, there has been a lot of yawning going on. Lately, I'm always tired. The Hubs is tired too, and now the teen is tired. Heck, I'm beginning to feel envious of my dogs because they get to nap all day long. I'm trying to combat my drowsiness with more coffee, but even after several cups of java strong enough to wake the dead, I'm STILL yawning at the gym and dreaming of when I can curl up on my Tempur-Pedic.

     Here's a glimpse of some odd, conversational tidbits going on around me while I was trying to sneak in a few cat naps over the weekends:

"I wish our female dog was spayed. When she gets her period, she leaves her doggy DNA all over the new carpet."

"Why don't stores sell elephant print leggings for working out?"
"Because no sane woman would wear elephants plastered all over her butt and thighs while doing squats at the gym."

"Don't bother me while I'm writing."
"Are you working on the new book?"
"Nope. This little piece is known as Book Proposal Purgatory."

"When you have A.D.D., your brain is like a computer with 20 tabs open all at once."

"You know we can't afford another car, Hon. You can still squeeze a few more years out of that 1999 Honda Odyssey minivan."
"That's easy for you to say! I'm the only man in Broward County driving the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car from hell."

"When it comes to quality time in the bathroom, our son defies the success of any odor-eliminating spray."

"Nana, do you want a lobster roll or lobster ravioli for dinner?"
"No thank you. I don't like my lobster adulterated."

"I'm convinced that stemless wine glasses were invented for sloppy drunks."

"On Pinterest, it says that pinning a dryer sheet to your shirt will ward off mosquitoes when you're outside.  I have a better idea---just pin a poopy diaper to your hat. I'm pretty sure that would keep the mosquitoes away."
"Yeah, but then you'd be inviting the flies to a feast."

"I'm so full from dinner, I feel like someone put a sandbag in my stomach."

"It doesn't matter if you're in your 80's---you can still join a Cross Fit Class. But it will have a different name----like "Wheel Chair Aerobics" or "Walker Workout."

"If you eat that blueberry, raisin, and apple bran muffin before going to Zumba, you're going to end up with fruit flavored flatulence at the gym."

"After all the margaritas I've consumed tonight, I think the last mosquito that just bit me is going to be hungover for a week."

Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:                          Baking In A Tornado                          Spatulas on Parade                          Follow me home                          Menopausal Mother                        Stacy Sews and Schools                                   Battered Hope                                  Just A Little Nutty                                        The Momisodes                            Someone Else’s Genius                                Disneyland in Kentucky                    Searching for Sanity                                Sanity Waiting to Happen                             The Sadder But Wiser Girl                                   Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                         Juicebox Confession

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Puzzle

Sometimes things snap perfectly into place like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

Sometimes they don't.

There are days when we feel blessed to be able breathe deep the sweet smell of spring, to hold the hand of someone we love, and to fall into bed at night with the peace of mind that everything is working out the way that it should.

And then there are the other days…..the ones that are tough to get through. Life feels as though it has become unhinged, a crooked painting that can't be straightened, a dull ache in the pit of our stomachs that keeps us awake at night. The tightening in our hearts make us wonder if things will ever be right again.

When certain pieces of the puzzle don't fit together, we try to squeeze them into place even though we know they'll never fit. If one of the pieces is missing from the box, the puzzle is worthless. Instead of throwing it out, we place it back on the shelf in the hopes that one day the missing piece will appear when we least expect it.

People are like puzzle pieces. Each one has different edges, different colors, and they don't always align to make a unified picture. Their shapes may look similar to one another, fooling us into thinking they're a perfect fit. We push piece after piece into the puzzle until we find the one that fills the empty space.

Once the puzzle is completed, we stand back and admire the picture we've created out of dozens of colorful, cardboard pieces.

But sometimes, the picture doesn't meet our expectations. It's not as vibrant as the photo on the cover of the box, and lacks the depth of the original print it was intended to reflect.

Some people are like this, too. They lack the depth of compassion and the vibrancy of love. Their muted colors dull the image that is nothing more than a cheap imitation of the original print.

A puzzle can never be whole once its pieces are broken or missing. The empty spaces leave the picture incomplete, its odd configuration a reminder of what has been lost. You have a choice; you can search for the missing piece that will complete the puzzle, or you can discard it.

The choice is yours.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Order Of Seven Book Review

When I learned that my dear friend Beth Teliho had a book coming out, I was excited to read it because I've been a huge fan of her writing since I first stumbled across her blog, Writer B is Me, last year. She has written an amazing YA novel, and even though normally I don't read that genre, Beth had me hooked after reading the first page. The book is THAT GOOD. Here's a little background info on the novel, followed by my review:

Eighteen-year-old Devi Bennett is surrounded by mysteries: her unknown heritage, a recurring dream about an African tribal ceremony, an inexplicable attachment to a certain tree and a psychic ability she’ll never understand—unless she finds her biological parents. Things take a shocking turn when she meets Baron, an intense and alluring energy healer who receives prophetic dreams which all seem connected to her. Devi must rely on an empath, a seer, and Baron to help research her roots to discover who she is and what she is capable of. But when Baron’s visions lead to an ancient legend which may link to her birthright, Devi learns her gift is more imperative than she thought imaginable. Equal parts suspenseful and sexy, philosophical and adventurous, Order of Seven delivers a story that will leave you questioning everything you thought you knew about the hands that carry fate.

"Beth Teliho's SEVEN is a compelling YA novel filled with mystery, suspense and intrigue. The distinctive characters she has created in the book are gifted with paranormal abilities that quickly pull the reader deep into her imaginative world during Devi and Baron's unpredictable journey of self-discovery. Beth Teliho provides a detailed history along with rich imagery and a suspenseful plot line that keeps the reader engaged page after page. The sensual tension between between Devi and Baron is palpable and alluring, which adds to the mystique during the journey they share while tracing Devi's heritage. SEVEN is the perfect balance of suspense, romance and adventure. This beautifully written book is a must read for followers of YA novels."

What are you waiting for? Order Beth's debut YA novel right HERE.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor: Book Release Announcement

     I am beyond excited to reveal the news of a groundbreaking anthology that has been released today! Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor (SMITH) is a compilation of stories from 36 writers who share their stories of coping with various mental illnesses, from depression, to OCD, suicidal tendencies, Bipolarism, anxiety, phobias and many more. This book has it all. What makes the collection unique is the tone of the book----some stores are written from a humorous angle, while others take you deep into the heart of the illness with a painful, yet revealing glimpse of what life is REALLY like while living with a mental illness. The book as a whole represents a unified voice to eradicate the stigmatization of mental illness in today's society.

Here's a little background information on the book from the creators of the SMITH anthology, Alyson Herzig and Jessica Azar:

Living with a mental illness is a journey that one in four Americans will travel at some point in their lifetimes. The stigma and misinformation surrounding the public perception of mental illness is appalling and unfounded. Those with symptoms fear judgement and being ostracized, leaving many to suffer in silence. Awareness and understanding are crucial in eradicating negative attitudes about those with mental illness. By creating an honest dialogue about the highs and lows of mental illness, the non-suffering public will gain a better understanding, and those suffering may be more likely to seek the support they need.

In discussing their own personal experiences with mental illness, popular bloggers and creators of the anthology Alyson Herzig and Jessica Azar envisioned a book that would squash stigma and support readers that are facing their illnesses alone, Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor was born. They gathered a group of talented humor writers who personally battle mental illness. The authors willingness to share their personal stories is inspiring, and shows that living with mental illness doesn’t have to equal a life of endless miseryWhile the lows of living with mental illness can be devastating, the disease doesn’t define the lives of these contributors. Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor contains essays that will make the reader’s heart ache, as well as ones that will make them cry with laughter. The groundbreaking anthology leads the mission to ‘laugh stigma into submission’ by inspiring attitudes of acceptance and compassion.
For more information on Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor, check out

I am proud and honored to be a part of this amazing compilation that I truly believe will help so many others suffering from these debilitating diseases. Oddly enough, the story that I contributed to SMITH is not one of the humor essays as you might expect. The creators of the book chose a poignant story that I submitted---one of the most difficult and revealing posts I have ever shared publicly. And I'm not the only one who opened a vein to write a story----there are 27 essays in the book guaranteed to pull on your heartstrings. There are also 14 humor stories in the collection to give a broad perspective on dealing with mental illness.

I'm sharing a small excerpt from my contribution to the book in the hopes that it will entice you to buy a copy and to spread the word: End The Stigma of Mental Illness.

"The well is deep, and beneath the murky water at the bottom lies the secret place where fear and sorrow hide. This is the place that haunts my dreams, a world of seamless shadows tearing at the fabric I've carefully woven to mask what sleeps inside me. Hopelessness, emptiness, deceptively calm waters drowning my soul as it slips beneath the depths of depression to rock bottom. Many people try to fix me, but no one can throw the rope that will pull me out of the darkness.

My eyes are reflected in the water's smooth surface, the curve of the iris where it meets the black onyx pupil. There, beneath the green blue shade so similar to the sea, is sorrow. A defining moment that has shaped who I've become. Years of tangled emotions fall like bitter rain from my eyes and threaten to pull me under. The bite of a blade against my pale wrist—sharp teeth that draw the first beads of blood."

You can purchase a copy of the SMITH book on Amazon HERE.


Nicole Knepper (Foreword)
Alyson Herzig
Jessica Azar
Kimberly Morand
Kathleen Gordon
Sherry Vondy Beaver
Marcia Kester Doyle
Brad Shreve
Carin Ekre Anderson
Andrea Keeney
Carrie Groves
Leigh Baker
Kristin Kelley
Lea Grover
Lauren Stevens
Noelle Elliot
Lance Burson
Kathryn Leehane
Audrey Hayworth
Zoe Lewis
Tammy Rutledge
Barbara Trainin Blank
Michelle Matthews
Jenn Rian
Linda Roy
Lynn L. Shattuck
Abby Heugel
Sarah del Rio
Leighann Adams
Katie Heiner
Veronica Leigh 
Angila Peters
Tricia Streams
Stephanie Marsh
Joy Hedding
Nicole Leigh Shaw
Dr. Margaret Rutherford (Epilogue)

Friday, April 3, 2015

How To Slay The Evil Monster That Is Writer's Block: Guest Post By The Insomniac's Dream

I'm thrilled to have a very special guest on my site today who is here to discuss something most writers experience at one time or another during their careers----writer's block. As a matter of fact, I feel like I'm going through a bit of a dry spell myself since most of my time lately has been focused on query letters and proposals. When my guest writer today asked what topic I was interested in, I jumped at the chance to get her feedback on writer's block.

Please welcome my dear friend Starr Bryson, author of the blog, The Insomniac's Dream. She has some helpful advice to share with writers like me who are stuck in a writing rut!

There's another reason I wanted to feature Starr today on my blog….I'm EXCITED to announce the "coming soon launch" of her new company, Starry Knight Word Slayers! She offers writing, editing, social media marketing, and promotional services for authors. How cool is that? If you're working on a book, this is the woman you need to contact. Starr is an exceptional writer and has a sharp eye for detail. I've been an admirer of her work for a long time. Do yourself a favor and check out her website---I know who I'll be calling on to help me with book promotions from now on!


There is one thing that we writers fear above all else. More terrifying than a rejection letter, more horrifying than a bad review or critique, certainly more heartbreaking than receiving your piece back from the editor torn to shreds; the dreaded writer’s block.

Writer’s block creeps in like a whispered fog through the window cracks, a ghost on the edge of your vision to rob you of all creativity, steal your words, and muffle your Muse. It drifts like smoke to blur your vision and rob your voice of the story that was on the edge of creation.

Writer’s block is an ugly parasite, a thief, our worst nightmare.

Yet, there are those who still say they do not believe in writer’s block, as if it were a fairy tale told to bad writers at the midnight hour to keep us on our very best behavior. A monster invented only for a campfire tale, and not a tangible beast. Write, they say, and you do not have writer’s block. There is no such thing, only excuses, laziness and distractions.

But I have been on the dark side of the night, sitting paralyzed at my keyboard, awaiting the words to spill out of me and instead receiving only mockery; a haunting laughter that rings through my ears and echoes in the halls where once my Muse and I would dance.

We’ve all felt the cold touch of writer’s block. Dare I say, even those who claim they do not believe in the myth. How do you shake off the shadow, resuscitate the muse, and get the words to flow once more?

Go for a walk

When the words won’t come, don’t sit at the computer and stress. Going for a walk is one of the best ways to shake off those writer’s blues. Just put one foot in front of the other, free your mind to work through whatever issues are blocking the words. Some of my best ideas come to me when I’m out for a walk.

Take a hot shower or a bath

This is a favorite tactic of mine, even when I don’t have writer’s block. Next to walking, the shower is where all of my greatest ideas happen. This is a soothing, relaxing activity that will ease all of your sore muscles and those kinks in your neck from hours at the computer. Don’t think – let your mind wander and the words will come.

Do some housework

Don’t look at me cross-eyed with that murderous gleam. This is a fantastic way to allow your mind to do the real digging. Standing at the counter with a sink full of sudsy water, mindlessly washing dishes while staring off out the window is a perfect way to open that part of your mind where the Muse hides. If you hate dishes, try vacuuming, I find this be a soothing, almost hypnotic chore and I’ve had many breakthroughs while pushing that sweeper back and forth across the carpet while losing myself in the designs it makes in the threads.


Nothing inspires us to create quite like reading the stories of other writers. Lose yourself in someone else’s story, and your story will creep back in, whispering gently that it wants to be told. Try reading something in the same genre that you write, and if you’re really stuck, go far out and read something vastly different than your usual style.


Force yourself to write through the block. Keep pecking at the piece you’re currently working on, write something new, or try stream of consciousness. Allow the words vomit out of you, even if they’re awful and the worst thing you’ve ever written. Eventually they’ll make something beautiful.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re not the first writer to suffer from this malady, and you certainly won’t be the last. It is not a reflection on you was a writer, but rather a side affect of having a creative mind. Sometimes, it just needs to shut down for repairs or reboot.

I struggle with the beast often, and I’ve put many a “work in progress” on the back burner when I was stuck. They wait patiently for my return.

In the meantime, I’ve made it my mission in life to help other authors. Taking my passion for reading, writing, and absolute admiration for self-published authors, I’m launching a new business that encompasses my freelancing career and adds a new exciting twist: book promotions for indie authors.

You can read the story behind the business on the Starry Knight Word Slayers Indiegogo crowd funding page. We love donations, because they’ll help us launch, but if you can’t spare a buck, we love shares, too. And be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date on the campaign.


Starr works from her home in Pittsburgh as a freelance writer. Her professional work includes editing, Social Media marketing and management, ghost writing, content management and SEO for websites, entertainment journalism, and book promotion for self-published authors. In the past, she has taught classes at writers’ conferences in Pittsburgh about freelancing as a career and the best practices for blogging and social media.

Starr’s creative writing ranges from humor laced snarkfests, gritty and painfully raw non-fiction all the way to the dark world of Erotica. The author behind The Insomniac's Dream, she claims blogging was only the beginning of an amazing freelancing career.

In her spare time, Starr writes fiction and is working on a paranormal novel and companion serial. In addition, she writes short stories and manages a local writing group. When she’s not writing, Starr is kept busy by her two hilarious and fantastically disgusting boys.

Starr enjoys adult grape juice, reading in her non-existent spare time, the occasional Netflix binge, and connecting with other writers and her readers. She loves Halloween, Zombies, and all things horror. She aspires to be a Vampire someday.

Her claim to fame is her caustic wit, copious swears, and an ongoing battle with insomnia. You can catch up with Starr on her blog, Facebook, and Twitter. You can see what Starr has published by visiting her Amazon Author Page.

Indiegogo Campaign :


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