Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Short Story Review

My internet buddy and fellow writer, Draven Ames, has written a great short story that was recently published at SNM Horror Magazine.  The story is so good, it was named "Story of the Month."

"Nothingness" is the sad story of a couple, John and Jennifer, who recently lost their little girl.  While cleaning out his deceased father's attic, Jennifer finds a story in a shoebox that reminds her of their daughter Carrie.  Jennifer is already heartbroken and emotionally shaky after Cassie's death, and the story just makes her worse.

After a short but unpleasant phone conversation with his brother, John realizes that Jennifer has disappeared inside the house.  As he searches throughout the many rooms, he doesn't notice that house is darkening and changing dramatically.  He finally finds Jennifer standing on the ledge outside the attic.  What follows is both sad and terrifying.

In "Nothingness," Draven Ames has created a reality that is both scary and beautiful.  His personification of the Nothingness that John encounters is creepy and menacing.  I loved the imagery evoked throughout the story, and characters' emotions were very well-written.

"Nothingness" will only be up at SNM Horror Magazine until January 30th, so hurry over and check it out.  It's a great story and Draven is a great writer.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Stealing, 1/16/10

1. What time did you get up this morning?

6:50 am!

2. How do you like your steak?

Medium-rare; more towards the rare side

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?

It's been a while - maybe "Despicable Me"?

4. What is your favorite TV show?

Law and Order: SVU

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

Hawaii; it's warm all the time!

6. What did you have for breakfast?

Half of a Panera whole-grain bagel with a banana (6 points!)

7. What is your favorite cuisine?

Mexican is my favorite, but I also LOVE steak.

8. What foods do you dislike?

Anything that triggers my texture issues, like broccoli.

9. Favorite Place to Eat?

Joe's Crab Shack - can't get enough of their crab legs.

10. Favorite dressing?

Ranch if I'm dipping veggies; raspberry vinaigrette on a salad

11.What kind of vehicle do you drive?

Just got a 2011 Ford Fusion - LOVE IT.

12. What are your favorite clothes?

Jeans and comfy shirts in winter; sundresses or capris in the summer

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance?

Greece, where they filmed Mamma Mia

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full?

Depends on the type of day it is.

15. Where would you want to retire?

Somewhere warm all the time, like Hawaii or Florida

16. Favorite time of day?

When I'm first up in the morning and the house is quiet and dark

17. Where were you born?

Prince George's Hospital in Cheverly, MD

18. What is your favorite sport to watch?

I don't like watching sports; I will watch diving and gymnastics during the Olympics

19. Who do you think will never call you again?


20. Person you expect to call you next?

Either my mom or Michelle

21. Who are you most curious about their responses to Stealing?


22. Bird watcher?

Not really

23. Are you a morning person or a night person?

Since I've been sleeping better, I'm becoming a morning person - shocking for me!

24. Do you have any pets?

Three - Sandy and Jack (dogs) and Magic (kitty)

25. Any new and exciting news you’d like to share?

My writing is going well!  I'm really psyched about it!

26. What did you want to be when you were little?

A mom and a writer - I'm doing both!

27. What is your best childhood memory?

Trips to Disneyworld

28. Are you a cat or dog person?

I used to just be a cat person, but Sandy got into my heart and made me a dog person as well

29. Are you married?

Yes, very happily

30. Always wear your seat belt?


31. Been in a car accident?

Yes, but nothing serious

32. Any pet peeves?

I have a LOT - but I twitch over grammar errors and netspeak

33. Favorite Pizza Toppings?

Spinach and diced tomatoes

34. Favorite Flower?

I love looking at flowers, but I don't really have a favorite.

35. Favorite ice cream?

Coffee, preferably with Heath bar mixed in

36. Favorite fast food restaurant?

Any place I can get something relatively healthy, like McD's or Chik-fil-A

37. How many times did you fail your driver’s test?

Passed it on the first try!

38. Who did you get your last email from?

Somebody I'm reviewing for (yes, this sentence is a grammar no-no)

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?

J.C. Penney's

40. Do anything spontaneous lately?

Spontaneous for me these days is making a last-minute stop at the Starbucks drive-thru

41. Like your job?

Yes!  I love being a mom and hanging out with my kids, and writing is fun

42. Broccoli?


43. What was your favorite vacation?

Last summer, at the Outer Banks

44. Last person you went out to dinner with?

Chris, the girls and Chris's parents last weekend to Joe's Crab Shack

45. What are you listening to right now?

Becca's watching Everybody Loves Raymond

46. What is your favorite color?

I love blues, green and purples, like sea colors

47. How many tattoos do you have?

Three, one on my right leg, and one on each wrist

48. How many times have you tagged someone to do a meme?

None since I quit my LiveJournal and started this blog instead

49. What time did you finish this meme?

1:15 pm

50. Coffee Drinker?

Yes, but I prefer cold coffee drinks

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Writing News!

I have been asked to write a regular feature at Forgotten Flix every week!  It's called "It Came from the 80s" and I'll be writing about movies in the 80s I saw and my experiences while seeing them.  It's really cool.  I'll be featured every Tuesday.

Here is today's post:  Happy Birthday to Me.  I'm really excited about this!

Also, I've volunteered to read manuscripts for Raw Dog Screaming Press, which should hopefully start soon.  This is something I've always wanted to do.

And finally (for now, anyway), I'll also be reviewing for Necon E-books in a few months, so I'm really looking forward to that.

So the list so far:

Dark Recesses - Fiction editor
Rise Reviews    - Book reviewer
The Bag and the Crow - Book reviewer
The Future Fire - Book reviewer
Support the Little Guy - Short story reviewer
Xomba Horror   - Book reviewer, movie reviewer, essayist
Forgotten Flix    - Weekly movie reviewer/essayist
Brunswick Citizen - Occasional reporter
Necon E-books - Book reviewer (soon)
Raw Dog Screaming Press - Manuscript reader (soon)

Not to mention my blog, and I still write fiction.  I think I covered everything!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Meet Me on Monday, 1/10/11

Before I get to this week's meet Me on Monday, I have an opportunity for you to win a prize from [yellow tail] wines.  [yellow tail] (their wine is sooooo good) is holding a contest on their site - - in which you submit your thoughts on the best way to celebrate a winter night at home (300 words or less).  The prize is a six-month Netflix gift certificate (I highly recommend the movie Frozen if you win!).  You can submit your entry here.  Good luck!


1.  Have you (only you..not a group) ever won first place in anything?

When I was in first grade, I won a poster contest at school to advertise the annual spaghetti dinner fund raiser.  My prize was a free spaghetti dinner.  :-)
2.  Are your toes always painted (sorry guys...this question for girls only)?
Usually not in the winter, but once I lose my first 5%, I plan to reward myself with a pedi.

3.  What color eyes do you have?

Hazel (I hate that word)

4.  Look to your left....what do you see?
My precious Diet Coke.
5.  Soft cookies or crunchy cookies? 

Soft, definitely!  But I do like crunchy gingerbread cookies.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday Stealing, 1/9/11

Wanted something fun to do today; my sinuses are killing me.

A is for Age:  Just turned 45 (yikes!)

B is for Beer of choice: Bud Lite Lime (shut up)

C is for Career: Mom/Writer

D is for favourite Drink:  Diet Coke

E is for Essential item you use everyday:  Laptop

F is for Favourite song at the moment:  Another Girl, The Beatles

G is for favourite Game:  Yahtzee on my iPad

H is for Home town: Landover Hills, MD

I is for Instruments you play:  None

J is for favourite Juice:  If I had to pick, OJ, but not crazy about juice in general

K is for Kids:  Sarah (22), Lauren (15), Becca (12)

L is for Last kiss:  Chris, a couple hours ago

M is for marriage:  To Chris, will be 18 years in April

N is for full Name: Sherin Marie

O is for Overnight hospital stays:  Besides babies, emergency gall bladder removal in 1994

P is for phobias:  Flying, death

Q is for quote:  "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."

R is for biggest Regret:  Getting married so young the first time around

S is for sports:  Don't really care for sports

T is for Time you wake up:  Usually around 6am these days

U is for colour of underwear:  MYOB

V is for Vegetable you love:  Spinach

W is for Worst Habit:  Laziness

X is for X-rays you've had:  Teeth, gall bladder, ankle, wrist

Y is for Yummy food you make:  I'm a great cook; it's all good  :-)

Z is for zodiac sign:  Sagittarius 

Friday, January 7, 2011

I Was Not a Loser Today - Unfortunately

Today was my first Weight Watchers weigh-in since I joined last Friday.  I didn't lose weight!  But I didn't gain, either, so that was good.  Even though I went to my first meeting last Friday, I didn't start the plan until Sunday.  I did stick to it religiously and will continue to stick with it, so hopefully I'll start seeing results by my next weigh-in.

I got a new toy a couple days ago!


A 2011 Ford Fusion - I. LOVE. IT.

The van needed repairs and maintenance which would've been more than the van was worth, plus we didn't want to put more money into a crappy vehicle.  I haven't driven a car in  six or seven years, but I'm loving it.  It's so much fun to drive.

I didn't give up on the daily blog challenge, but I haven't been inspired by the topics by the past couple of days.  Plus I've been busy.  Still trying not to have a lot of time between posts, though.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Just Who Do I Think I Am?

So as I've posted before, I've gotten into book reviewing.  I was invited by two online horror sites to join their review staff, and I've freelanced on Xomba Horror.  Today I finished a book that wasn't one of my favorites, and as I was writing the review, I thought that I had some nerve reviewing someone who worked hard on their fiction when I haven't written a book myself.  And does anybody really care what I thought of a certain book?  It was a very odd feeling, and I haven't really shaken it yet.  Chris said that one of my reviews made the book sound interesting to him (he's not a fiction reader), so that made me feel good.  Maybe once I get some feedback from others (besides family!), I'll feel more secure.

Anyway, onto today's blog challenge prompt:

Secret Single Behavior

When you were single, what behaviors did you keep to yourself?  If you are single, what behaviors do you only exhibit when you aren't around a date, etc…    {Pigging out on a tub of ice cream, etc…}

I actually can't think of anything.  Maybe watching trashy daytime TV when I worked from home?  I didn't really have much of a single life - I got married too young at 20, then had a baby at 23, divorced a couple years later.  So I was a single mom until I remarried.  I never had the single "Sex and the City" type of life.


We put my van in the shop for some maintenance and repairs, and realized that the cost of it all was more than the van is worth.  So tomorrow I'm getting a new car!  I think we're done with the minivan life; this will be more economical in the long run.  I'm pretty stoked about it.

As part of accomplishing the goals I set for myself for 2011, I finished book #1 out of 52 today.  It was the one I mentioned above.  And on the weight loss front, I am following the Weight Watchers Points Plus plan religiously.  I hope it shows on the scale this week.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Meet Me on Monday, 1/3/11

Daily blog dare post after Meet Me on Monday, plus some story news and a link!

1.  Do you have any New Year's resolutions?

Goals, baby, goals!  Check out my recent posts.

2.  What food item are you craving right now?

Just started Weight Watchers yesterday, but I'm not really craving anything right now.  This new Points system gives me more food to eat than I'm used to lately, so I don't feel deprived.

3.  When is your birthday?

December 16th - sucks having a birthday so close to Christmas!

4.  What were you doing an hour ago?

Same thing I'm doing now - hanging on the computer!

5.  Last thing you cooked?

Christmas dinner!  We've gotten a lot of take-out, but I'm back to cooking dinner regularly tonight.

Today's Bloggy Mom's Blog Dare prompt is:

The Morning Routine

If I don't do/have this in the morning, it offsets my entire day!

For a while, after suffering from mono, bronchitis, and a sinus infection, I got whammied with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  I was constantly exhausted, yet also had insomnia.  I would go to bed at night, take a while to fall asleep, then wake up throughout the night.  Then I'd sleep until 1 or 2 in the afternoon.  It was awful.

My doctor finally came up with a cocktail of meds that have improved my life immensely.  I'm on meds for depression, but also Lunesta to help me sleep and Ritalin to fight daily fatigue.  Lunesta is a WONDER DRUG.  It helps me go to sleep gently; I sleep through the night unless I get up to go to the bathroom, but I can get right back to sleep.  Then around 6:30 or 7:00 in the morning, it's like a switch is thrown and I'm UP and ALERT.  I love it so much.

So now my morning routine is to go downstairs as soon as I wake up.  Becca is usually waiting to go out to the bus so we hang out and talk.  Then I get my ice water (crave it when I wake up) and mix in a packet of Crystal Light energy (has caffeine), and take my Ritalin.  Then I get on the computer for a couple hours and write or read or just surf.  It's quiet because Chris and the dogs aren't usually up yet and the girls are at school.  I love that I've gone from constantly exhausted and spending most of my life sleeping to a morning person who gets things done.


I have a story up today called "The Gift That Keeps on Giving" at Support the Little Guy e-zine.  I'd love for you to read it and comment on it!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

What Will I Accomplish this Year?

This is Prompt #2 for the Blog Dare Challenge at Bloggy Moms:

The 2011 To - Do List

What would you like to accomplish this year?  What are the places you would like to visit in 2011?  What do you hope to check off your bucket list in 2011?

Here is my list of things I hope to accomplish by the end of the year:

1.  Lose the weight!  I started Weight Watchers today; I can do this.

2.  Read at least 52 books; hopefully closer to 100.

3.  Write more, and improve what I do write.  

4.  Be more active; exercise with the Wii Fit a couple times a week and walk when it's nice.

5.  Cook dinner more often instead of relying on take-out or make-your-own. Cook healthy.

6.  Try to get out of the house more, even if it's just going by myself to Starbucks or Borders.

I think that's enough to work on for now!  As for going places, we plan to take our vacation at the Outer Banks again, so I'm looking forward to that.  I also like taking the girls on day trips during the summer.

Still waiting to hear on a couple of fiction submissions!  I hate waiting; I keep checking my email, hoping for word - a good word.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

As part of my last blog post about goals, not resolutions, today is the first day of taking the Blog Everyday Challenge.  Here is today's topic:


What is your resolution for 2011?  Do you often make a resolution and not keep it?  What is the longest you have kept a New Years resolution?  What is your most often chosen New Years resolution?  What do you think about New Years resolutions?

I already wrote about my goals for the year (referenced in the first link above), but in answer to a couple of questions, I always make resolutions and then don't keep them.  This is why I decided on goals for this year instead.

Of course I always choose the weight-loss resolution each year.  Sometimes it works; most times it doesn't.  I think it's because I put too much pressure on myself to try to be as thin as I was back when I was a teenager.  I've finally realized that after having three kids and being in my 40s, that just can't happen.  So I'm setting a reasonable goal this time, and hopefully that will work.

I have nothing against resolutions; they just don't work for me.

Onto some exciting stuff to start my year!

I am a book reviewer for two different online horror sites, and my first reviews for each site debuted today!  Here are the links:

Disaster Park by Mark Konkel, reviewed on Rise Reviews.

Alice on the Shelf by Bill Gauthier, reviewed on The Bag and the Crow.

Still waiting to hear on a submission to the monthly Necon e-books flash fiction contest, and waiting for a link to be posted to the latest issue of an online magazine I have a story appearing in and also another review.

Great start to 2011!