Monday, September 22, 2014

1st Anniversary Giveaway!

Book swag!
This Wednesday, September 24, 2014, marks one year since I self-published my debut novel, That Fatal Kiss, so I thought I'd celebrate with a giveaway! Three lucky winners, selected at random, will receive:
  1. 1 trade-paperback sized print copy of That Fatal Kiss
  2. 1 bookmark (in the picture, I show each side of the bookmark)
  3. 1 TFK pen, and
  4. 1 pair of what I'm calling "pomegranate seed beaded" earrings, because the seeds of this fruit play a pivotal role in the narrative (who knew fruit could be so influential?)
To enter this drawing, simply leave a comment for this post by 11:59p.m. on Sunday, September 28. All lovers of romance from around the world are welcome to enter. The three winners will be chosen using Random.org and will be announced next Monday, September 29.

And if you've a friend who digs some o' that Greek-mythological sexy, feel free to pass along the news by using one of the "Share" buttons below.

Good luck!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Duran on Film!

On September 2 (the 50th birthday of Keanu Reeves, which, due to the smashing text I received, became my birthday too, yeah), I had the following text exchange with My Dear Friend Nikki:

NIKKI: Are you around say about 7:30 on September 10th?
ME: Lord willing and the police permitting!*
NIKKI: We are going!
ME: Where???
NIKKI: Chelsea cinemas on 23rd
ME: To see what?
NIKKI:
DURAN DURAN!!!!!

ME: WHOA!!!!!**
ME: SWEET!!!!!
ME: We should probs get tix in advance, if we can.
NIKKI: Yeah babe.
NIKKI: The music's between us!***
ME: Reach up, gurl!!!***
ME: Did u buy or shall I?
NIKKI: I already bought em
ME: Yay! what do I owe you?
NIKKI: Your presence. That is all I require. :-)
ME: Aw! I went all swoony just then. ;-)
NIKKI: Aw shucks...Go on...
ME: <3

*I can't take any credit for that, as it's one of the bizarre sayings of my people.
**That was absolutely unrelated to the aforementioned birthday boy.

So she and I, like, TOTALLY went to see this last week. I admit to feeling a bit of trepidation, wondering just what the fuck David Lynch would do to my Wild Boys. What he did was simply superimpose sometimes freaky images over concert footage from their performance at the Mayan Theatre in L.A., back in 2011. On the bright side, 4/5 Duranies were in concert together (ANDY! WHERE ARE YOU, ANDY?! THEY NEEEEEEEEEED YOU ANDYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!). On the weird side, David Lynch.

Now, don't all you Lynchers get your crimson crotch-less knickers in a twist; I like Twin Peaks, and its damn good coffee, as much as the next gal. But there's no denying the man's vision is...hmmm...more surreal than Dali on angel dust (and how's THAT for a yardstick?). (Mind you, I've no idea whether Dali did the stuff or not. I'm just sayin'.)

Case in point: the shit Lynch put up over the lads as they performed the 2004 single off the Astronaut album, (Reach Up For the) Sunrise. It was the year I'd gone from a difficult job to the one I'm still at now. For me, that the boys released this fucking rocking and inspirational tune the summer in which I started the new gig revved me up in ways I can't coherently express. My Dear Friend Nikki has this song wake her up every morning, it's so friggin awesome to move one's booty to. (The bits in our text exchange with the three asterisks are lyrics from the song, except for the "gurl" part.) I can even get over the fact that, in chord structure, it follows the format of verse in minor/chorus in major that The Reflect and Electric Barbarella, and probs plenty of other Duran tunes use, I heart it so much. And here's Lynch, throwing up, of all things, a motherfucking Barbie-doll type thing, in the "nude," black circles with the letter "D" covering her tits.

WTF?

I'll admit, I LOLed the first time I saw that, which was when the chorus first played. A bunch of us in the (disappointingly small) audience did. Then it repeated and I decided I had to break out my phone so I could capture this shit. And guess what? The first image I caught was:


Count 'em, y'all—that's TWO dollies dancing over John Taylor's gaunt, I-really-need-to-gain-a-bit-of-weight face. But two dolls weren't enough for Lynch—oh, no:


Nick Rhodes got THREE o' them bitches all up in his grill! But that didn't quite satisfy Lynch, because they rapidly multiplied until:


Simon LeBon was overrun by a horde of the ungodly things, all reaching up for the motherfucking sunrise. Or his soul. Couldn't be certain, because soon after it was like a Barbie apocalypse and I may have fainted.

Now, if this shit had happened during, say, Girls on Film or, even more fittingly, Girl Panic, there'd have been some logic to it. But what the fuck am I thinking, expecting logic from the director in question?

ANYWAY, the music was pretty fucking fabulous (their dramatically slow intro into A View To A Kill, from which lyrics I derived the title of my book, THAT FATAL KISS, had My Dear Friend Nikki and me in raptures). In fact, it irked me to see only a few folks so much as bobbing their heads to the tunes, much less dance in their seats, as I did. It's like they were just Lynch fans, there to see his work, which is possibly the most surreal concept of the entire night.

I've been trying to find a video of this bit online and the best I could turn up was but a mere snippet. Instead, I decided to embed live concert footage which successfully conveys why My Dear Friend Nikki and I heart the tune so very much.






Friday, August 29, 2014

Announcing the Zombie Apocalypse: Survival Kit & Crew Bloghop!

Bodacious babes Jackie (Bouquet of Books) and Dani (Entertaining Interests) kindly invited moi to co-host their upcoming Zombie Apocalypse: Survival Kit & Crew Bloghop and, being the hip GothMom(Lite) that I am, I graciously accepted the honor. (Modestly, too.)

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you're fighting the good fight!
Dani and Jackie's excitement for The Walking Dead premiere on October 12 reanimated another blogfest idea for these groovy gals. I have to admit to being totally stoked myself (about the show and their invitation to co-host). (W00000T!) And I have a feeling, Dear Reader, that you may be stoked as well. Read on for deets...

Zombie Apocalypse: Survival Kit & Crew Bloghop

Post date: Friday, October 10, 2014 ('cause who wants to post on show day?) (Not I!)

Hosts: Jackie @Bouquet of Books, Dani @Entertaining Interests, and Mina @ Some Dark Romantic.

To help build your zombie apocalypse dream team and survival kit, you'll need to pick ONE person and/or ONE item for each of the topics listed in the below categories.

(Items you already have on your person: undergarments, shirt, bottoms, socks, tennis shoes & a backpack. If you want special shoes and/or boots, jackets, belt, etc., those are extra and will need to be listed for one of your items below.)

And since this bloghop is all about having fun, if you have kiddos and/or pets, we can assume they are safely tucked away in a safe haven while we’re out in the world fighting off zombies, so do not worry.

With the characters below, please include the book, movie, & TV show they stem from.

The Walking Dead character (crew member #1) is the only one that needs to be from a zombie themed entertainment outlet, but please feel free to choose characters from your other favorite books/movies/tv. They may or may not be zombie related. It's all up to you. Just let your imagination flow!

Crew:
  1. 1 The Walking Dead character
  2. 1 book character
  3. 1 movie character
  4. 1 TV character (other than TWD)
  5. 1 loved one
  6. 1 friend
  7. 1 freebie

Backpack:
  1. 1 comfort item
  2. 1 weapon
  3. 1 luxury item
  4. 1 food item
  5. 1 medicine/first aid item
  6. 1 hygiene item
  7. 1 freebie

Background:
  1. Outpost
  2. Outbreak
  3. Cause of it
  4. Cure (if applicable)
  5. 1 item you NEED to find
  6. 1 item you WANT to find
  7. Method of travel
  • Please display the above badge on your blog.
  • Join us on Friday, October 10, to build your zombie apocalypse dream team and survival kit.
  • Spread the word via twitter, facebook, your blog, etc.
  • Sign up in the linky, below, so that we can visit you and your crew on October 10.
  • Most of all HAVE FUN and BE AS CREATIVE as you want!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Goodnight, Tina

The Blogosphere has lost one of its brightest stars. Tina Downey, writer, blogger at Life is Good, and co-host of the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge, passed away on Saturday, August 23, 2014.

You understood, Tina, the darkness within, even while you shone out into the world. Thank you for sharing your stories. Thank you for your encouragement and support.

May God hold you close.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Out, damned spot!

I'm too sexy for this face mask.
No, this isn't a post about The Scottish Play. It's about the fact that for the past four years I've battled more zits than I had to during my goddamned teen years, for fuck's sake. Is this right? Is it just? I had the braces, the bad hair, the awkwardness around boys I liked back then. It took me YEARS to outgrow these, and more YEARS to get over the psychological trauma they caused. (OK, the "awkwardness around boys I like" continues to be a problem, I own it. Back off.) Now, NOW, when the hormones be flarin' up in advance of motherfucking menopause, NOW I've gotta fucking deal with acne like it's 1989 (when I was 18 and acne would've been totally age appropriate)???

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!

So-called spot treatments.
Anyway, yeah, I've been getting acne pretty regularly since I hit 39 or so, and it takes forever to go away, and the spots, oh, how they linger! Having had little experience with the problem when I bloody well should've, I picked up some stuff I thought would help to reduce pimples and the appearance of these frigging spots. The active ingredients in these tubes of goo which are no doubt beloved by the younger set are salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, respectively (from left to right). I say they're beloved by the younguns 'cause the reviews I read about these online were pretty positive coming from folks in their teens, even very early twenties. But for me, they really didn't help. At all.

More research revealed that middle-aged users of clay masks sometimes found relief from their way-adult-onset-acne. Sweet! I'd used a white clay mask from Lancôme in the past, just not often enough to develop any thoughts about it as a zit-fighter. I thought about breaking it out to deal with a Frankenzit from a few months ago (a Frankenzit is what I call a trio or more of pimples that unite to conquer my face/peace of mind by flaring up quickly and so close together it looks like some alien life form's about to burst outta my damned cheek), but worried it wouldn't work well or quickly enough. I read a lot of favorable reviews for this Fresh Umbrian Clay whatsit and dropped a load of ducats to try it. Result: well, I liked its earthy scent and I guess it did provide some overall goodness to my skin (I have to say, Fresh doesn't tout it as an acne-buster, but some of its users who've reviewed it have). But when a few weeks' (WEEKS!!!!!) usage, even to the point of dabbing some of the stuff on Frankie and leaving it overnight, didn't yield the desired results I went back to the Lancôme clay and, actually, I think it worked better for my skin. I mean, Frankie didn't disappear, nor did the marks of bygone zits, but his size and redness was somewhat reduced. I don't mean to damn the Lancôme with faint praise, though—so far, it was the first product to help even the littlest bit!

But that pernicious Frankenzit still scoffed at me, so I betook myself to the local drugstore to see if I could find any anti-acne products containing sulfur.  And not because I'm all "diabolical Goth Mom (Lite), I've the forces of Darkness at my beck and call, oooh, fear my wrath!" or anything, but because I'd used a Murad product in the past that had sulfur and did seem to help, only THEY FUCKING DISCONTINUED THAT SHIT. *Ahem.* I did find this Bye Bye Blemish stuff, which looks weird and smells camphor-ish (which I reckon beats rotten-eggy). BUT it helped more than even the white clay stuff**. I mean, it's this weird silty stuff at the bottom of the bottle with clear liquid at the top into which you dip a cotton swab (no double dipping!) and apply the resultant mixture to your spots and leave on overnight. No, you're not supposed to shake the bottle. You're NOT. It says so, like, a gazillion times on the box AND on the bottle. I think it'd be like crossing the streams or some shit, and suddenly, instead of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, you've got a fucking gargantuan pustule roaming your city and ruining your urban skyline and whatnot. Or similar.

**Curiously, it seems the first time I use either the Lancôme or the Bye Bye Blemish, I get pretty good results, but the SECOND time it's like my skin's all, "Yeah, yeah, been there, done that—you don't seriously expect this shit to work twice in a row, do ya?" So a second application the day after the first doesn't seem to do much, but if a week or so passes before the next application, it does. I think? GAH! OK, so spot treating proved slow going, but I had a couple of weapons in my arsenal, which was two more than I'd had to begin with. Still, it was a long, arduous war, and I hoped to shorten the time Frankie would occupy the battlefield. As it were.

I began to wonder if maybe it was time to retire the moisturizer I'd been using since my mid-30s. I mean, it was possible that my changing body chemistry no longer cottoned to it. In any event, it didn't really seem to do anything spectacular for me, so L8RZ. More research revealed that the argan oil to be found in Josie Maran products (among others) had proved beneficial to skin conditions for quite some time, and the reviews I read for the stuff on Sephora were very encouraging. I got a super small size of just the oil, which I tried with some trepidation, its positive reviews notwithstanding. I mean, I've got fair, dry, sensitive 43-year-old skin that freaks out when I try new things (so, I rarely try new things), and here I was, about to put OIL on it. Well, I tried it. No harm, no foul, and it actually made my face feel lovely. I found it a bit difficult to apply the oil, though, as no sooner did I drop a bit on my fingertips than it would slide down them and into the juncture of my fingers. Ick. So then I tried a cream-to-oil version, which had a light citrus scent (not my fave thing, but OK), proved easier for a klutz like me to apply, and also felt great. Both products did subtly improve the general condition of my skin but didn't make the zits go away. (Over the weeks I've been using the argan oil products, I have seen stuff slowly fading, which I attribute to the use of the oil, but still, it's very slow going indeed.) Regardless, I like these and plan to keep using them. (Also, running a bit of oil through my freshly washed/towel-dried hair's ends makes 'em look purty.)

Uh...it's not what you're thinking. This one
really is for massaging one's face. Honest.
All this time, in the back of my tortured mind was the thought of investing in one of them electronic face brushes. Again, folks who used them and reviewed them online raved about how well the devices cleaned their faces and how many of the gals (and some guys) experienced far fewer breakouts since using them. I asked my boss, who's a year older than I am, if she knew anyone who used a facebrush and she told me that she did and also noticed a reduction in hormonal acne. Great! The recommendation of hundreds of strangers and one person actually known to me was encouraging. The price tag for the thing was not. Still, if I could just reduce the instances of breakouts, perhaps it'd be worth it. So I got me a Clarisonic Mia2 in a gorgeous purple color they call "Siren," 'cause that's just so TOTALLY me (the lighting in the pic doesn't do it justice, alas). Anyway, I sucked it up and coughed up the cash to buy it. Started using it just a week ago, so it's still too soon to tell if its efficacious as a preventive measure. But I live in hope.

So now I've got stuff to prevent, stuff to ameliorate the overall condition of my skin, and stuff to lay on the next zit that rears its ugly pus-filled head. Which, being that I'm due to get my period any day now, proved to be today. Excuse me while I head over to the bathroom with my Q-Tips and a bottle of pink silt.

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