Monday, December 31, 2012

My Top 12 Moments of 2012

So much has happened in 2012, I was almost afraid to look back and find the top 12 moments of 2012. I wasn't sure if I'd go with a personal list, or perhaps a list of pop culture. I decided that I don't know enough about pop culture, so I'll do my favorites. Some of em are personal, and you may or may not get them. But they are all pretty cool. Check it out!!

My Top 12 Moments of 2012

January - Quit smoking. Yes, I finally did it. I haven't had one since January 28th. Best decision EVER. I can smell again (both a blessing and a curse, especially if my husband eats chili or eggs), I have a much better lung capacity (which is great for when I'm playing the role of rock star in my shower), and I don't stink anymore. Hell yeah! Go me!

February - Breaking Dawn Part I released on DVD, with special case and free poster. AH! I love this franchise! I went and bought this movie wehn it came out. I'm not ashamed that I'm a 29 year old woman screaming like a teenager again over fictional characters that aren't even legal in the stories. I have an obsession. Some people like their Fifty Shades of Gray (I won't even touch on that right now, but let's just say I'm less than fond of the books).

March - Gatlinburg, TN, mini getaway. My hubby and I took a weekend and disappeared in Gatlinburg, TN, for a few days. It was the first time I'd ever been there, and I absolutely love it! It's a long drive, but there's just so much to do!! I think we've found a new getaway place. SO much fun.

April - Thunder over Louisville. Now, anyone outside of Louisville, KY, won't understand or appreciate this, but during the day there is a badass air show over the Ohio River, courtesy of the USAF. Once the sun goes down, though, that's when the fun begins. Downtown Louisville is packed on the waterfront, and then we witness the largest fireworks show in the US!! It's the kickoff ceremony for the Kentucky derby, and begins the insanity season around here. It's awesome, and you can really get swept up in the hype if you live close enough to the city. Visitors seem to enjoy it. I recommend anyone who's never been to Kentucky or to the Derby or any of the festivities to come visit us on the 3rd Saturday in April, and stay through the first Saturday in May. It's worth it. :D

May - Kentucky Derby 2012. The greatest 2 minutes in sports EVER. And every year I throw a Derby Party. It's a ton of fun, and 2013 is gonna be even bigger! But being the Kentucky girl through and through, I really dig the Derby. I don't watch horse racing any other time of year, but Derby-and all the festivities surrounding Derby-is so worth the two minutes of racing. Love it.

June - Bought a new car. Well, new to me, only 2 years old, and sexy. Very me. Wish I could drive! I managed to break my car, so we bought my new one, then the hubby broke his. Man, I could NOT win...but I still love my car, so lovingly named Duckie by my BFF. (it looks nothing like the car on the right...)

July - Olympic Opening Ceremony. Yep, I watched. Nope, I wasn't impressed. Nothing will beat China's opening ceremony. But it was still the beginning of the Olympics, and the hubby and I watched most of it.

August - I made my dream a reality. I became a published author. Not everyone will agree that this was the single best thing that happened in August, but it was the best thing that happened to me. This is my list. Don't like it? Make your own. Haha, I kid. But seriously, this was such a huge accomplishment for me, and the first time in my life I really felt proud of myself. I still haven't come down from the high of becoming published.

September - Karlee Elizabeth Shuler was born. My precious and spoiled rotten niece was born 9/19/2012, and she is growing like a weed! I love her so much, though, she's absolutely beautiful!! And while I wish I got to spend more time with her, my brother, and his new fiance, as well as the rest of my brothers and sisters, I will be doing everything in my power to spoil Karlee even more!!

October - Haunted Houses galore! Oh, I had so much FUN this past Halloween season. It is, of course, my favorite holiday, but partially because I get to celebrate for a full month by going to haunted attractions. AND I started up a review blog for Louisville area venues as well. Not that I'm keeping up with it right now, because I'm without a car and have nothing to really review at the moment, but as soon as I get my car back from my hubby and get a bit more cash, I'll be back to reviewing Louisville stuff and having fun doing it! But I did review a lot of haunted houses on my other blog ( and it was a blast. I got to meet some really awesome people, and I'll be doing it again next year. LOVE!!

November - The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II. Omg, the end finally arrived, and I was both surprised and angry! And sad. Mostly sad. I don't want it to be over!! I need the next chapter to come out. you know, the one where the book version of Edward rips Bella's head off and burns her body then comes and whisks me off my feet...where's THAT part of the saga? It's not fair they left out my role! :(

December - I celebrated 10 crazy years since my first date with my husband. Ten years. That's so long!!! And I haven't killed him yet! I deserve a medal and a trophy for that one! I love him so much, and honestly, I have no idea why he puts up with me, but I'm glad he does. I'm a lucky girl. (Yes, I realize the irony of this one following my obsession with Edward, but he's imaginary and my husband is real. It's like comparing a monopoly money to actual cash. Doesn't quite cut it.)

And now, let's give 2012 one helluva sendoff!! 

Adios, 2012, and helllooooo 2013!! 

Auld Lang Syne Exposed

"Should auld acquaintance be forgot
 And never brought to mind?
 Should auld acquaintance be forgot
 And auld lang syne."

How many people sing this every year at the stroke of midnight on January 1st, ringing in the new year? Millions. Maybe billions, I don't know the exact number. Never bothered with a poll. But regardless, we all learn this song early in life, and we know to sing it at the same time each year. 

What most people don't know, however, is the origin and meaning of the song.

Auld Lang Syne is an old Scottish poem. It was written in 1788 by a Scottsman named Robert Burns. Translated, "auld lang syne" means "old long since," or more commonly, "old times." It is traditionally sung on what is known in Scotland as Hogmanay, the last day of the year, but spread quickly to other parts of the world. Made popular by Guy Lombardo in America, it has since become the staple song to be sung on New Year's Eve.

But, Ashley, what does it mean??? Hold your panties, folks, I'm getting there. But don't expect me to interpret the lyrics to the whole song, now, cause it's, like, 50 verses long. Give or take a few...

"Should auld acquaintance be forgot
 And never brought to mind?
 Should auld acquaintance be forgot
 And auld lang syne."

This is a rhetorical question. It's a reminder to not forget about the old times and friendships or relationships. A very appropriate thing to remember as another year draws to a close. Before we forge ahead with a new year, don't neglect the things that happened in the passing year.

"For auld lang syne, my dear,
 For auld lang syne,
 We'll tak a cup o' kindess yet
 For auld lang syne."

Basically, it's like saying "Cheers, for old times' sake." Here, for auld lang syne would mean "for old times' sake" and the cup o' kindness here being like a toast, or a drink shared around a circle. In modern times, I'd say a toast is a better interpretation. :)

"And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp
 And surely I'll be mine
 And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
 For auld lang syne."

There is much debate about this verse, but a pint-stowp seems to be a pint tankard, which is basically a glass. Roughly translated, from what I've read, it means we gonna get drunk, and toast to kindness and old times' sake. Some folks feel that this part means you'll buy your own pint, and I'll buy mine. Others think it means you'll be the vessel through which your own drink flows, and I'll be the vessel through which my own drink flows. Either way, drink up!!


And I'm gonna stop there, because I don't have interpretations for the rest, and I honestly don't have the brain power to decipher it myself. Although I will post the rest of the lyrics, and if anyone reads this and wants to contribute definitions, please feel free to comment below! 

(And if I'm WAY off base on the ones above and you know it, correct me in the comments, but blame Wikipedia and all the other random sites I researched!!)

"We twa hae run about the braes,
 And pu’d the gowans fine ;
 But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
 Sin auld lang syne."


"We twa hae paidl’d i' the burn,
 Frae morning sun till dine;
 But seas between us braid hae roar’d
 Sin auld lang syne."


"And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
and gie's a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
for auld lang syne."


There ya have it folks. In taking pride in my Scottish heritage, I too will be singing this song tonight (although my pint-stowp will be filled with soda, cause I don't drink very often at all!) and I wish you all a very Happy New Year! 

Hellooooo, 2013!!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Evolution into Crazy Cat Lady Who Misses 1999

Yup. Another year has flown by. Another twelve months of my life I'll never get back, so I can only hope like hell that I spent them well. (Yeah, I tried to reword that so it didn't rhyme, but I got nothing.) 

As this year ends and we witness the birth of another year, fresh and untainted by humanity, I know exactly how I'm going to ring in the New Year. I'm going to sit my ass on the couch and watch old movies until my hubby gets home, which should put us right around midnight, then I'll probably call it a night. 

Which brings me to the point of this post. Who the hell did I become, and why am I not partying the night away? I mean, it's not like I have NOTHING to celebrate, I survived the damn apocalypse, people! Hell yeah, I should be throwin' back drinks and dancing my ass off (seriously, it needs to go, like, NOW...), not curling up on the couch and going to bed early! I'm playing the part of an 80-year old lady who lives with thirty cats. What happened to me?

I think back to the year 1999. I was in LaGrange, and had gotten off work early. I was 16 years old, and on crutches, and I had made my way up to the courthouse lawn to party. Everyone was there, because, well, it was a big deal! Y2K! Holy monkeys, the world is gonna end, we better party like it's 1999-oh, wait, IT IS!! No, I really didn't have a whole lot of friends growing up, I'm too weird to have people stick around. but anyway, I was there, and the single most-played song of the night blaring from every speaker on the courthouse lawn was................

1999 by Prince!! 

I partied my rump off that year, and I was on crutches! Then I did go home and watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show for the first time (LOVE), which indicated an already deep seated fondness for older movies, but I still partied. 

And I remember when we rang in 2002. I was a college student (sort of) and dating a guy I had gone to high school with. He and I and a couple of my friends had gone to a party, and I had no clue at the time as to where it was or who's house we were at, I only knew I was underage and drinking, and the guy I was dating was going to town on the alcohol. I don't remember exactly why, cause let's face it, it was a few years ago, but we got into a fight and my friends and I left. We went to one of their houses, and their parents were gone, so we busted out the Jack, some champagne, and something else, and I took care of that Jack pretty well, considering the fight I'd had and sudden change in plans. But I still had fun hanging out with my girls, and we drank till we passed out. Or until I did. I don't remember much. 

Those days-THOSE days-were fun as hell. So now, why is it that I would much rather ring in the New Year with my hubby and old movies than with a bottle of alcohol and dancing? Well, I suppose part of it is getting older. Priorities change, and eventually things that used to be important-like getting drunk and dancing-are so far down your list that you forget about them sometimes. Part of it all is just that people change. So much so, that even as recent as 6 months ago I would rather go out bowling or out to the movies, or anything to get out of the house with my hubby or my friends. Now, however, when the idea of what to do comes up, I prefer watching movies at home in my pj's over the theater. I prefer coffee to vodka or Jack. I prefer playing card games or killing zombies on the Playstation 3 over bowling or clubbing. I prefer staying in to going out 3/5 times. It's not that those other things aren't fun anymore, it's just that my life and my preferences have changed and adapted to my situation. I evolved.

Evolution, my friends, is the foundation upon which our entire civilization is built.

Now I don't feel as though I'm wasting a celebration. Happy New Year, everybody. Be safe and have fun!!

Oh, and beware the zombie evolution...those bastards just won't stay dead.

Why Do I Do This??

I've been thinking. (That alone should strike fear into your heart.) My book sales need a kick in the rear, and all this time I've been wondering how to do it. 

Well, last night, I finally sat down and tried to organize my thoughts and ideas. I came up with a working draft for a marketing plan. Now, granted, it doesn't yet have a timeline or exact figures or any of that fancy crap. What it does have, however, is a goal, my mission statement, ideas that I want to use, and why each of those ideas would be beneficial to me. I still have to come up with reasons why each idea is beneficial to others, a timeline, and a budget for all this, but that's the harder part. I did the easy part last night. :)

Aside from the marketing plan, I got to really thinking about my goals and my mission as a writer. Part of me says I write for the fun of it and to entertain people. Another part of me says I write as a job, for the income, so I can help provide for our meager family (especially since the holidays drained us completely). A third part of me selfishly says I crave the attention-the fame that comes from having several best-selling books. But then, which part is the true reason why I write? After much deliberation, I decided that I write because I love it, and because I love it, I have chosen to let it become my full-time job, and if I'm going to do a job, I'm going to be damn good at it, so one day I will rank up there with the best writers of all time. So I write for all the reasons that each part of me says, but the root reason I write is because I love it. 

I love entertaining people with my words, I love the art form of the written word, and I believe strongly in the power of words. 

So there's your bit of inspiration for the day. Stay tuned for more insanity from my brain. :)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Drunken Penguin Meets an Elf - The EXCLUSIVE Interview!

The Drunken Space Penguin came back down from his spaceship, and met the strangest of characters - an ELF! The Penguin was able to interview this strange and foreign specimen, finding out some interesting facts. Read on to find out what he learned!

DSP: So, who are you, and where are you from?

Elrood: I am Elrood, and I work at the North Pole toy factory, "In the Grotto" as it were.

DSP: I've heard that before, I think. That's the name of a book Ashley's told me about, isn't it?

Elrood: Why, yes it is! Thank you for noticing. The first one is called “In the Grotto: Elrood the Elf” and contains three stories – including one where the Polar Games come North and I work on the events committee. If you thought the Olympics in London was fun, wait until you read this!

The second one is called “In the Grotto: Universal Merit,” which is about some key work being outsourced abroad to the South Pole. I go there and sort everything out. We upgrade the whole Naughty ‘n’ Nice system for the modern era.

DSP: So, these are kids' books?

Elrood: Eh, no. They’re not for kids, but they’re safe to read. You’ll find my workplace is pretty much like yours. Mad decisions are made, and the workers like me have to pick up all the pieces. Funny stuff happens and I just put it in the books.

I’m not one of those wasters you see in malls on an all-expenses paid trip to help the Boss out. I’m stuck back at the North Pole doing the real work. That’s why I decided to become an internationally acclaimed author.

DSP: Okay, then who is this Eddie McGarrity guy whose name is all over your books?

Elrood: He is my typist. A few years ago I found him drunk in an alley. He was in some mess, so I cleaned him up and gave him a job typing my autobiography “In the Grotto: Elrood the Elf”. He did quite a good job but don’t let him tell you he’s my “biographer” because he’s just the typist.

I let him do the follow-up because I continue to feel sorry for him. Plus, he does make a good cup of tea.

DSP: I see. Weird. Now, I did read a little of the books, though I was drunk beyond comprehension at the time. Your book says something in the beginning...what was it? Oh, right, "It's not all jam, you know..." Well, no, sir, I don't. What do you mean by that?

Elrood: Oh, it’s an old expression used in the grotto. And by jam, I mean jelly. It just means you might think it’s great, like jelly or peanut butter, or both, but it’s not. For example, it’s not all jam, you know, being asked for autographs all the time.

DSP: Hm. I think I need another drink for this one. **Downs two shots of vodka.** Okay, better already. So you have some crazy adventures. If I want to know more, how do I find out about all your adventures?

Elrood: Buy the book, obviously. But I've got a Facebook page and you can find me on twitter on @Elrood_The_Elf. You can’t fail to find some entertainment there. I answer questions and interact with my fans as well as keep you up to date with all the political and entertainment news. For example, Double-0 Elf had a film out this year and I tweeted about that a lot.

DSP: Sounds enthralling. Well, the holidays just passed, how did you spend your time?

Elrood: That is our busiest time of year. I was working flat out until the holidays. Production had to be finished on the 23rd of December. On the 24th it was all hands on deck down at Wrapping. Once that was all done, some of us packed it on the sleigh, sorted the reindeer out, then the Boss did the rounds. Whilst he squeezed his chimney-challenged frame into the houses, we knocked off for the night and got the whole of the 25th off. That’s right. A whole day! This year I went to my Mum ‘n’ Dad’s for dinner.

DSP: A whole day? Jeez, that's awfully generous of the old man. Well, it's a little late for this year, but do you think there's a way I can get that Furby for next year?

Elrood: That depends. Have you been Nice or Naughty? And you have to send your letter off to the Boss. Other than that, because I’m such a stickler for the correct process, I can’t help you.

DSP: Oh. Damn. I'm screwed. In that case, what's new for 2013?

Elrood: I’ll have a new book out, “In the Grotto: Elrood Down Under.” I’m taking a well-deserved holiday in Australia and this book will chronicle my hilarious adventure Down Under (do you see what I did there?)

Happy Christmas Everyone, and have a Happy New Year

DSP: Right. Same to you buddy. Thanks for the coal, too, by the way. **grumbles*

Well, the Penguin isn't necessarily the most gracious, kind, or personable being in the world, but he managed to score us an awesome interview. And to the typist, +Eddie McGarrity, thanks so much for giving us the opportunity to meet such an intriguing character! I hope meeting the Penguin didn't scar the poor guy too badly...

Friday, December 28, 2012

Just Do It...A Book Signing Tragedy

I have been neglectful.

With the hype of the holidays and the excitement of publishing my second book (Daughters of Night: Possession, now available through CreateSpace and Amazon), I'm really really glad that I took some time away from committing to promoting other authors, because I would have failed them miserably. To say I've been busy is a gross understatement. Very gross.

I'm not making any commitments here, because I know me better than anyone (except for perhaps my best friend) and I know that I'll fall short of any commitment this week. My schedule is just too too hectic. There is one post that I wanna put out for you, that will be coming tonight or tomorrow, depending on when I can put the finishing touches on it. It should have been out a week ago, but again, I'm a bit unreliable right now on these things. But the upcoming post is a great interview from my good buddy +Eddie McGarrity. Well, it's from Elrood the Elf, but his typist is Eddie, and he's the one that put me in touch with the coolest elf I've ever met. Who just so happens to be the ONLY elf I've ever met. But I don't wanna give away too much yet, this upcoming post will be fun fun fun, and I don't wanna spoil it!

So, I have to share with you my fail moment today. I had two-well, I suppose really three-but they're combined into one major fail that was my Friday.

I finally got the balls to try for a book signing. I won't lie, I was absolutely TERRIFIED of the rejection. Yes, yes, I know rejection is all a part of the indie author experience. But I don't have to like it. Anyway, I changed my outfit three times on my way out of the house, which was 2 hours later than I had planned because I suddenly started chickening out. I actually called myself a pussy and berated myself in the car for chickening out. Then I went to my local indie bookstore, Carmichael's. I tried the one closer to me, and realized quickly that there was absolutely no parking lot for this building and all the parking lots around it were strictly marked for the other businesses. I drove around for probably twenty minutes looking for a spot to park where I wouldn't get towed away. No luck. I decided, then, to go to the sister Carmichael's a short drive away (I'm talking, 7 min in traffic). Barely found a spot there. I was off to a rocky start. 

I sat there, pumping myself up, yelling at myself for being such a baby, and texting my best friend for a confidence boost for several minutes before I worked up the courage to get out of my car. Forgetting my coat at home in my rush, I shivered as I walked back a block to the bookstore, opened the door and went inside. I perused the shelves of the tiny store for a few min to buy me more courage and to listen to the conversations around me, trying to gauge how friendly and receptive the people there might be. 

Finally, tired of looking at nothing in particular, I marched right up to the counter and asked for a manager or something of the nature. The guy pointed at a girl near my own age, and I immediately felt like a fish out of water, gasping for air. She didn't look friendly at all. At first. I soon found out though that she really was friendly, and she told me about a program they do, but the guy I needed to talk to about a signing was out. So I stressed myself out for nothing. Whew! I shook Miranda's hand and she gave me some info, and then I was out the door and in my car in less than a breath's time.

Now, I should add here that Miranda most likely did not look as intimidating as I had originally seen her. She was a really friendly and helpful lady, and I really like her now, but at the time, my nerves were so horrible that I was imagining all sorts of horrible terrible scary things. Things like Medusa and dragons and vermicious knids. (Who got that reference??)

Back in the safety of my car, I turned the radio up to calm me down and then I realized I was still chewing gum. The same gum I had been chewing in the store. Through the whole meeting with Miranda. 

OMG. Etiquette Rule #1, remove gum and other obstacles that could slur, blur, or otherwise inhibit clear speech, or that may seem rude, nervous, or otherwise distracting and potentially revolting to anyone you do business with. I felt so stupid. And I chastised myself yet again for not only freaking myself out so bad that I forgot to take the gum out of my mouth before I went into the store, but also for being so rude as to chew gum during what was supposed to be my first professional introduction into the world of bookstores as an author. I totally blew it. 

A little less terrified, though embarrassed at my stupid mistake, I drove on to my favorite Barnes and Noble. I pulled in, and as I parked, suddenly, I was filled with terror and dread. This was a majorly massive bookstore with thousands upon thousands of titles and authors much more accomplished than myself coming in regularly. I was a peon and I was terrified of the big bad bookstore.

I don't know why, I'd been in there a thousand times before. I suppose things change when you're on the other end of the book.

So the first thing I did was roll down my window and spit out my gum. I was NOT making that mistake again. Then I rolled the window back up and panicked. I decided perhaps some lip gloss would give me the courage I needed. Then I decided the circles under my eyes were too noticeable. The blemishes were too obvious. I ended up applying full face makeup, simply because I was too nervous to go in without a mask on. I will admit, I felt more confident when I was dolled up, and with renewed confidence I grabbed my bag and walked in the doors. (PS, that's me dolled up on the right. The lip gloss didn't last long, I hate the stuff!)

I browsed for a few minutes, trying to get my bearings even though I knew the store well. I browsed and browsed, and finally got the guts to walk up and talk to the customer service desk. On my way there, I passed the restrooms and my bladder screamed, so I took a few extra minutes for a potty break and a touch-up in the mirror for one last confidence boost. 

I strutted out of the bathrooms and made my way to the customer service desk. There were two people there, so I patiently waited my turn. The lady working finally looked at me and I stepped up. I asked for the event coordinator. He had left less than fifteen minutes before. I thanked her for the time, rushed to my car, and jetted out of there, tail set firmly between my legs and hating myself for letting my nerves waste my chance at talking to the person who handles book signings, therefore wasting my time. Had I not browsed for 20 minutes, I may have a book signing scheduled right now. Maybe not. But now I'll never know, because my chicken nature was a-cluckin' away. 

So, that being said, I would like to give a word of advice to any brand spanking new authors out there who, like me, are horrifically intimidated by the daunting idea of asking a bookstore to let you do a book signing. Do whatever you think gives you the most confidence. Even if you think you don't need it, do something that will make you feel beautiful. Put on those spectacles and look smart but sassy. Give yourself an extra confidence boost before you leave your house, and bring something to push that confidence up one more notch for when you get there. It's scary. Yes, it's scary for no reason, but it's scary nonetheless. For those of us not accustomed to walking up to strangers and asking them to promote you as an author, it's terrifying, and it makes you feel like you don't deserve to be there.

But when you're done, at the end of the day, you will feel so much better about putting yourself out there than if you had pulled up, got too scared, and drove away. Go for it. The worst they can say is no, and then you're no worse off than you were, save for a bruised pride that you WILL get over. I sit here sharing my embarrassing moments with you in hopes that you will realize that your pride will recover no matter how dumb you think you feel or how poorly you think you did. What matters is that you put yourself out there. No one can ever take that away from you. So go for it. And when you do, come back here and give me a virtual high five!

Oh, and don't chew gum.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve's Top Ten - Christmas Movies

I cannot tell a lie, I have watched very few Christmas movies this year. Not because I didn't want to, but because I've been too busy to breathe, let alone pause long enough to watch movies. But since I've gotten my second book published, and I'm on vacation until after New Year's, I have time to catch up on my crocheting and my movies and my blog...haha, yeah, I've been neglecting the blog too. I promise to keep it up as much as I humanly can!

In light of that, let's move on to my Top Ten Christmas Movies!

10. The Santa Clause. Even though I'm not a huge Tim Allen fan, these movies are cute. I happen to like Martin Short, so my favorite one is the third installment, so cleverly named The Santa Clause 3. It's clean family fun, and enjoyment for all ages.

9. Gremlins. Okay, I may be dating myself here, but I remember watching this movie when I was a little girl. How many of you even remember this movie? Now how many of you remember this is a Christmas movie? Yeah, I didn't either, till recently. With as much as I love this movie franchise, it's quickly become on of my new favorite Christmas movies. It also single-handedly spearheaded my obsession of Furbys.

8. The Nightmare Before Christmas. Tim Burton is the master of all that is dark and creepy and weird in the world of Hollywood. And I like dark and creepy and weird. So it should come as no surprise that the Tim Burton movie that weaved together two of my favorite holidays into one, then made it dark and weird and creepy, would be one of my favorite Christmas movies.

7. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Let's face it. The Griswold's are America's favorite dysfunctional family that has done all the stupid and outrageous things we have all done in our own families. The holidays are incomplete unless you watch Randy Quaid cause an explosion by dumping his RV tank into the sewer. And who doesn't love a turkey so dry it deflates and falls apart when you puncture it? Loads of slapstick laughs that make you appreciate your own dysfunctional family.

6. Santa's Slay. Many of you probably haven't heard of this one before. Well, that's because it wasn't a mainstream movie. I believe it went straight to video (or DVD, for you young whippersnappers that have never had to put the tape back into a VHS and pray it still works), and is not for the faint of heart. This comically dramatic movie is jam packed with violence. This makes Bad Santa look like Mother Theresa. And I freakin' love it.

5. Fred Claus. I'm a HUGE Vince Vaughn fan. Like, majorly. And when I found out he was doing a Christmas movie, I was immediately hooked. LOVE this movie. Vince Vaughn stars as Santa's screw-up big brother who almost ruins Christmas and closes down the whole toy factory in the North Pole. But in true Vince Vaughn fashion, a very heartwarming lesson is learned in the most hilarious way.

4. Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The debate rages on as to whether the cartoon or the live action version with Jim Carrey is the winner of the Grinchmas movies. I personally like the live action because of the higher quality (and budget) that is a bit more eye appealing. But then again, the cartoon version is a classic, the one we were all raised on, and it's really tough to beat a classic. Which do you think should win the battle?


3. Scrooged. I swear, just looking at Bill Murray makes me wanna giggle. He plays the asshole so well in this slightly more modern version of the classic Charles Dickens tale, A Christmas Carol. If it were redone for next Christmas (to commemorate the 25th anniversary, perhaps?), it would no doubt become another Christmas classic, however even this 1988 version is phenomenal. I love it. I watch it every year that it comes on.

2. Black Christmas. Yep. Another horror movie about Christmas. My hubby and I always go see a movie on Christmas Day to celebrate the anniversary of our first date (yes, it's really on Christmas) and this was the one and only time I got him to go see a Christmas movie with me. It's got gore, scares, and sorority girls getting mutilated by a serial killer. God bless dead sorority girls.

1. A Christmas Story. Okay, I have to jump on the bandwagon with this one. The kid is annoyingly cute and dorky, and while parts are dry and can be a bit boring, the scene where he drops the "F-Bomb," the dogs eating the turkey, the Chinese restaurant singers trying to sing Fa-rah-rah-rah-rahhhh, rah-rah-rah-rahhh, not to mention the infamous leg lamp...priceless moments.

There are so many more that didn't make the list, but these are my favorites. Feel free to share your own in the comments!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Twelve Days of Writing

On the twelfth day of Christmas, The Penguin gave to me, twelve misspelled words, eleven sentence fragments, ten extra spaces, nine sentence fragments, eight mega migraines, seven wrong pronouns, six verb confusions, five different fonts, four different uploads, three sleepless nights, two backup files, and a book that was worth all the work!!

Yep, that's right. After all the ups and down, the highs and lows, the sleepless nights, migraines, multiple uploads, stupid's finally done. Daughters of Night: Possession, is finally available from CreateSpace and Amazon. And in honor of that, I'm having a free Kindle promo for not just one, but BOTH books, just to say Merry Christmas to all the readers out there. So December 24th and 25th, enjoy a free Kindle copy of both Sanctuary (if you don't already have it) and Possession.

Merry Christmas to the best readers in the world. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Rantings of a Frustrated Writer...

You don't have to read this. I'm just rambling on about nonsensical baloney. In fact, if I make any sense during any of this, it is purely accidental and coincidence. 

So, the most frustrating thing about writing a book? All the little steps that everyone seems to conveniently forget to mention when they tell you all about their fantabulicious experience with self-publishing. Don't get me wrong, it's still the bomb diggity. But make an adjustment. Save. Upload. Wait ten minutes. Review. Find new minor mistake. Repeat. This gets really old after the first seven times. Now imagine doing that over the course of a month. My head is about to explode. I'm so sick of the upload->wait->proof->find problem->edit->upload....yeah, it's a helluva lot better than uploading anything but a perfect manuscript, but damn. This sucks.

It also puts me in a relatively sour mood. I swear I have been overly critical, overly moody, and overly sensitive to everything and everyone lately. I was watching the news today, and they were talking about the snow up in the northern states, and for whatever reason, I started crying. Just teared up and let it loose. Then they showed a commercial about...hell, I don't even remember now, but it was stupid, and I cried over that too!! Not to mention I've been snapping at my husband and finding zero pleasure in anything I normally do lately. Maybe I really am bipolar, but I'm blaming editing.

Oh, my file finally uploaded. I'm off to proof it again, hopefully for the final time. Wish me luck!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday's Daily Top Ten - Things That Make Me Smile

I have arrived at the conclusion that I will never catch up from the hectic insanity of this week, so instead, I'm  holding my head up, pulling myself out of this stupid funk, and announcing that Daughters of Night: Possession, will have to be postponed for at least one more day, and we're kind of playing it by ear right now so I'll just surprise everyone when it's ready. I'm also just moving forward instead of playing catch-up on my Daily Top Ten posts, because there's no use in trying to cram another one in and not give it fair attention. 

So, now that I got that off my chest, please enjoy Friday's Top Ten - Things That Make Me Smile (Christmas Remix).

10. Decorating. Yes, I do realize the opposite was in yesterday's post about pet peeves. That's because putting up the decorations is freaking fun, while taking them down is a nightmare. I simply love putting up the wall clings and window clings, the lights outside (although the horrendous wind yesterday forced my outside lights down), the Christmas tree, lighting candles, switching out the fake flowers and candleholders for winter appropriate decor...and then we break out the yummy Christmas candles that make the whole house smell like and edible heaven. Yes. I love decorating.

9. Yummy Christmas goodies. Whether it's Christmas cookies, horrible fruitcake, pepermint blizzards, gingerbread mocha frappes, whatever. Even if I don't like the taste, the smell is divine. Oh, and let us not forget the ten thousand times we're going to be eating on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Oh, we are gonna get so FAT...

8. Hot chocolate. Christmastime is when I typically start drinking hot chocolate. I did have a mug of it on Halloween this year, but that's because I was dressed up handing out candy for two hours in a ripped up t-shirt and jeans while covered with coagulating fake blood. Needless to say, I still woke up sick the next morning. But this is when my mugs start getting used. I LOVE hot chocolate, especially with the little marshmallows, and it's great for cuddling up on cold Christmastime nights in front of a fire or a TV with the tree lit up and the candles burning...ohmigosh, it's awesome. 

7. Candy Canes. Oh. Em. Gee. Have you ever been able to be angry when you're eating a candy cane? I mean, come on, folks. You gotta give that hook-shaped Christmas delight credit. Unless, of course, you don't like peppermint. In which case, I feel for you, because you just do NOT know what you're missing.

6. Snow. Now, anyone who knows me at all knows I typically hate snow. This is mostly true. But we have to narrow this down just a bit. I hate DRIVING in snow. I hate scraping it off of my car (before I had a garage). I hate being cold, and snow is cold. But what a lot of people don't realize is that I think snow is beautiful. I love to look at it, and I actually love playing in it as long as I'm bundled up enough to not get too cold. Watching the pure, innocent falling snow as it gently floats to the earth, blanketing the world with immaculate white kisses is magic. Okay, maybe that was a bit much, but you get the point. It's pretty.

5. Christmas music. Now, I am going to red flag this one with a giant neon sign that warns "IN MODERATION!!!" When the Christmas music starts playing before Halloween, I hate it. Starting the day after Thanksgiving, I'm good as long as I'm not being bombarded nonstop. I still like my country, rock, alternative, and a little pop music, and I'm not willing to completely give that up for Christmas music all day every day, but I do enjoy it when I'm decorating or wrapping gifts. Or painting. Courtesy of Aly.

4. Spending quality time with family and friends. There are so many gatherings that are going to suck, but the good ones are so worth it. The joy on the kiddo's faces, the love between a couple, the excitement of new babies...they really make the holidays worthwhile. Honestly, would you celebrate Christmas if you had to celebrate all alone? Didn't think so.

3. Giving gifts. I intentionally put this one on here because we all know the "reason for the season" and all that stuff, but what really makes you feel like a good person is giving people gifts that you just KNOW they're going to love. And even if they don't, they usually fake it and you still walk away feelin' like the bees knees.

2. Christmas movies. Now, you'll see a post about my favorite Christmas movies soon, but I love watching all the best Christmas movies. A Christmas Story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Nightmare Before Christmas, Black Christmas, Bad Santa...but that's another post. The point here is that you snuggle up with your loved ones-or even alone-and watch these awesome Christmas movies that you wait all year to see. It's a snuggly good time.

1. Christmas breakfast. Some of you right now are scratching your heads and thinking I'm stupid. Well, hang on just a minute longer, let me explain. Every year on Christmas Eve we go to my grandmother's house for the big family gathering, but on Christmas morning, my hubby and I make the 45 min drive to my mom's house at the butt crack of dawn to watch the kids open gifts, and while the little ones take a few of their toys upstairs and beg the rest of us to open at least four gifts each, my sweet mommy goes in and fixes a hugantinormouslytastic breakfast. It's so flippin' good I had to create another soon-to-be-famous word for it. I wait for this breakfast for 365 days. Like clockwork. It's like she plans it or something......

Anywho, that's it for today, catch me tomorrow for a new Daily Top Ten list!! :D

I Survived...Or Did I?

At 12:01am on 12/21/12, I looked at the clock on my laptop and smiled.

Pft. Stupid Mayan calendar. Stupid people who misinterpreted the rock. I'm still here, and it's supposedly the end of the world. Hm. I have to admit, it's quite the letdown.

I saved my work on my laptop, powered down, and closed the lid before pushing away from my desk. With an enormous stretch and a few inhuman guttural sounds, I worked up the energy to stand up and walk away from my office. Ten hours of sitting at a desk staring at my computer screen had ever muscle in my body tense and aching.

I grabbed a bottle of water from the kitchen, turned off all the lights in the house, and meandered into my bedroom. I set the bottle on the nightstand, right next to my alarm clock and the power cord for my phone, which I had forgotten in the office. Swearing under my breath, I stumbled around the house until I reached the office, and still fumbling in the dark, I managed to locate my phone before returning to the bedroom.

Placing my phone on the charger, I double checked the time. 12:09am. Still no signs of the Apocalypse.I had a Facebook notification that someone had commented on my status, and a Twitter notification that I had new interactions. I hit the clear button and put my phone to sleep. I turned the TV on to a recorded episode of Futurama, took my sleeping aid, and snuggled in with my body pillow and comforter to watch mind-numbing TV until I fell asleep.

My sleep was sound. I got a full eight and a half hours in, and woke peacefully in my bed, the television still turned on with Celtic music playing in the background. 

Over the sound of the TV, however, I heard something else. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but it was definitely new. I muted the TV, and determined the sound was coming from outside. I pulled on my robe and wrapped it around me before making my way to the front of the house. The noise was much louder in the front of the house, but I still couldn't place it. I peered between the blinds to see if I could determine what was making that sound.

To my horror, there was a man with a chainsaw running down the middle of the street. I couldn't see his features very well, they were all smeared with blood.

I put a hand over my mouth to hold in the scream. If a man is running maniacally up and down your street with a chainsaw, you absolutely did NOT want to draw attention to yourself and let him know your location.

My brain was screaming at my body to move, to run, to do anything other than stand there and watch as a woman came running out of the house across the street. I couldn't tear my eyes away as I watched the man with the chainsaw stop, spin around quickly, and take off running after her. She stumbled and fell. The idiot was wearing heels, and one of them got caught in a crack in the pavement. The man with the chainsaw approached at full speed, and instead of getting up, the stupid woman just laid there, screaming, throwing one arm up in front of her like that was going to save her from a most certain death.

She was wrong.

The man with the chainsaw reached her in no time, and in one fluid motion, sawed the woman in half. Her blood squirted out and splattered all over the pavement around her body, which twitched for a minute, then was still. I continued to watch as the man used the chainsaw to saw her head open, and I watched the top half of my neighbor's head flop off and roll a foot away from the man, toward my house. 

He dropped the chainsaw, and it turned itself off as it hit the ground. He knelt down beside her body, and grabbed the top half of her head. I watched in horror as he lifted it to his face and opened his mouth. He bit into the soft, squiggly tissue of her brain, slurping it into his mouth like some disgusting chunky soup. Bile rose in my throat, and I looked away to keep myself from vomiting. I still needed to keep quiet.

I backed away from the window, and silently returned to my bedroom. I grabbed my pistol and the three cartridges of ammo I kept in the interior door of my bedside table. Then I grabbed a couple of flashlights and called for my cats. We silently made our way to the basement, and I barricaded the door behind me.

At the bottom of the steps, I armed the trap I had set to crush the skull of anyone who tripped the wire. I ushered my cats into the steel room I had had built in the basement years before. Before bolting myself in, I pulled my emergency phone out of the bag I had been keeping in the basement for an occasion such as this. I dialed my mother's number. No answer. I tried her cell. No answer. I called my husband, who had stayed out all night helping his boss redo the tile floors of two separate stores in the franchise. No answer. 

I was all alone, with only my two cats for company.

I grabbed the bag and ran inside the steel room, bolting the door behind me, and activating the air filtration system. Despite all my friends and family calling me paranoid and stupid, I had spent a lot of money and time getting my bunker ready. One can never be too careful. This room was guaranteed to withstand damn near anything, apart from a black hole and the earth swallowing the room up and pushing it to the molten center of the earth. I had it stocked with dehydrated and ready to eat meals, several gallons of purified water, and plenty of cat food for my little ones. Not to mention a large rack of ammo and an assortment of weapons, a bed, a refrigerator that will last for 5 days on it's battery even after the power goes out, two radios, several changes of clothes for both me and my husband, plenty of flashlights, batteries, candles, three power outlets connected to a backup generator, a portable camping stove and gear to cook with, kerosene lanterns and a large supply of kerosene, and a mini television that picks up both digital and analog stations. There was no shortage of necessities in my bunker. Hell, there was no shortage of luxuries, either.

I settled down on the bed, turned on the radio, and waited for someone to come on and tell us what was going on.

          *                    *                    *                    *                  *                    *

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wednesdays Top Ten - Christmas Frustrations

Yeah, I'm late. Hopefully, if all goes according to plan, we will have a Daily Top Ten for Wednesday and for Thursday today. I have no idea for sure, though, because I've been frantically working on my book, trying to get it completed before the apocalypse. That, and I had to do my Christmas, yeah, here's Wednesday's post!! :)

Every year around the holidays, most people tell you how wonderful everything is and how they love the season and all the ooey gooey foofey mushy blippity blah that's supposed to make everyone feel all warm and fuzzy. But we neglect the stuff that drives us batsh*t crazy. Which is stupid, because the struggles are what make the ooey gooey foofey stuff worthwhile.We wouldn't really appreciate the goodness of the holidays if we didn't have to go through hell to get there. So, I present you with my personal countdown of My Top Ten Christmas Frustrations.

10. Taking down the decorations. Oh, yeah, putting them up is fun as all get out, but what happens AFTER the holidays?? You have to take all that crap down and start decorating for the next season or holiday. Or, you could be like me, and still have traces of your Christmas decorations on you window from two years ago. (That fake snow spray is a nightmare to get off, and I have a desk blocking the window. It's staying.) Either way, at some point in time or another, you're going to take down the tree, the lights, the candles and candleholders, the window clings, the yard decor, the wall clings, all that crap has to come down. Yeah. How jolly are we now thinking of all that hard work?? :D

9. Overpriced sale items. "Oh, wow!! That big screen TV is marked 50% off, it's only $2999.99 instead of $4999.99!!" Dude, no. That TV that you're willing to pay $3k for just because it's such a huge discount?? It's originally $899.99. And that Furby your kid wants that's $55 at Walmart, and it's SUCH a great price compared to what the tag says it should be? Ten years ago you could get em for half that. They're gonna be around $30 or $40 after the holidays are over. I don't know about you, but I hate overpaying for stuff, especially when they say I'm getting a crazy-good deal.

8. Family get-togethers with that one drunken idiot. Every family has at least one. Some families have multiple, and in some families that's all there is to the family. But dear mother of all that is holy, I hate hate HATE going to a family gathering to celebrate and exchange gifts and all that fun stuff, and that one person walks in drunk as a skunk and causes all kinds of trouble. Or they sit and drink way too much and THEN cause trouble. Then there's the drama queens, the cheek pinchers who don't care that you're fully grown, and the people who never come to see you and you barely know acting like your best friends. Oh, I've been to many family gatherings from many different branches of my expansive family. There's always something to mess up the holidays. 

7. Wrapping gifts. Oh, my goodness, I have OCD and if my gifts don't look like a professional elf straight from the North Pole wrapped them, I flip out. I cannot stand poorly wrapped gifts. Maybe this is just a me thing, I don't know. I love the act of wrapping gifts. I guess it's the re-wrapping that I hate, and all the time it takes to get them all perfect. I don't even have that many gifts, but it's literally a two-day job for me to wrap the ten gifts I have. I recruited help this year. Screw that nonsense, I'm not about to waste any more of my precious time when I'm already too busy to breathe or sleep. (Thanks +Alyne Shaffer!!)

6. Santa. That's right, I said Santa. Have you really stopped to think about this?? We tell our kids there is a magical man who lives in the North Pole with a bunch of elves and his wife, they work all year to make toys for all the little boys and girls all throughout the world, he watches the kids 24/7, he lives off milk and cookies, he knows everything about everyone in the whole wide world, he magically flies around to every house in the world in a magical sleigh pulled by magical reindeer, he goes to all the houses in one night delivering presents to all the children, and he magically drops down and back up the chimney while you sleep. Break this down. This guy is magical, yet we teach our children that real magic is bad bad bad or that it doesn't exist.This guy defies the laws of physics and yet we still expect children to excel in math and science. He eats nothing but milk and cookies yet we want our children to eat their veggies and whatnot. This guy is stalking your children and then once a year he breaks into your house, and you're okay with it because he's got something good for your kids. Yet we want to instill morals into our children, and teach them that breaking and entering is very wrong, and stalking is a horrible thing. Parents, do you wonder why your children stop listening to you???

5. Shopping malls and other stores. UGH. I literally will visit the mall once-MAYBE twice-between the day before Thanksgiving and the first week of January, and that's only if I absolutely have to. I can't stand these fifty bajillion people running into me, not watching where they're going, shoving me out of their way, giving me dirty looks, crowding around me...all so I can get some damn panties from Victoria's Secret?? Are you freaking kidding me? I don't really want to ride the "Standing in Line" game for an hour. Hell, I get cranky when I have to stand in line for more than five minutes. No. No thank you, I'll shop online and have it delivered safely to my home, and I won't have to brave the weather or the crowds or any other pet peeves.

4. Finding the perfect gift for "xx" number of people. I don't care if you're buying for one person or a hundred, you are going to put some kind of thought into finding just the right gift. If you get someone a gift card, it makes you look lazy and like you didn't really care. If you buy the wrong thing, people think you're just stupid, uncaring, or that crazy aunt from A Christmas Story who sent Ralphie that giant pink bunny suit. Either way, bad times. So you have to find just the right gift for each person on your list. I had to shop for 12 people, and I'm STILL shopping! (Yes, I'm a last minute shopper. It's because I don't WANT to go out and fight the crowds!!)

3. Traffic. Holy monkey turds, have you seen the idiot drivers out there?? I mean, come ON, have we ever even heard of a turn signal? And why does everyone feel the need to drive 15 mph UNDER the posted speed limit. They are merely suggestions for a minimum speed anyway, learn where the gas pedal is, people! It's the one that makes you GO. I swear, I don't care if you're going across country or the 4 blocks to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription, the minimum driving time is 20 min, and that's not even including parking. (Which I intentionally left off this list, specifically because I don't have enough words to describe my feelings for the pitiful excuse for a human that drives a truck WAY too big for them and takes up 2-3 parking spaces so I have to walk half a mile. God help that person if I ever get a hold of em...)

2. Credit card bills. Yeah, buddy. When those credit card bills start coming in, and you realize that you spent more than 3 mortgage payments combined just on Christmas, I betcha you feel real good about that. I mean, don't get me wrong, Capital One, Bank of America, and all the other credit card companies LOVE you. But boy those gifts get really expensive when you start adding interest fees to them. Unless you're just so damn well off that you don't have to ever worry about that and have more money you can spend. If that's the case, comment below with your email, and I'll send you the address to send me a big fat check to help me pay my bills. :)

1. Political correctness. Oh, now here's my biggest pet peeve. I don't give a rat's bum if you're Christian, Wiccan, Jewish, African, Buddhist, Muslim, or Atheist. If someone tells you Merry Christmas, you say Merry Christmas back. If someone wishes you Happy Hanukkah,  you say Happy Hanukkah right back. Your God or deity of choice is not going to be angry with you for wishing someone well. It's like if I go to Mexico and someone says hola, I'm not going to be offended because they told me hi in their own language, I'm going to say hola right back to them and hope they speak English for the remainder of the conversation, because it's been a long ass time since I took Spanish. Seriously, people. Ninety nine percent of all Americans have ancestors who immigrated to the US a bajillion years ago (not exact time frame), many of them escaping religious persecution. Land of the free? If we have to hide our religious beliefs in order to avoid possibly offending someone, that's not freedom. It's religious intolerance. And it's stupid. And I'm not going to be afraid to say Merry Christmas anymore.

Merry Christmas. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tuesday's Top Ten - Favorite Christmas Songs

My Top Ten Favorite Christmas Songs. 

Yeah, everyone's doing it. They do it every year. That's why I'm doing it first and getting it over with! So without further ado, let's count them down from ten to my number one favorite Christmas song. 

10. The Night Santa Went Crazy - Okay, with all the recent violence in schools and all the recent deaths, I may catch some hell for this one, but if you set aside recent events and take the song for what it really is, you'll see it's nothing but a parody, just a Christmas song with a twisted plot. Anything by Weird Al Yankovic is bound to be filled with weirdness and potentially psychosis, but I think that's what makes me continue to listen to his songs. It's different, it's funny, and it makes me smile when I watch the video.

9. Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer - A classical Christmas tune about a little old grandma who perhaps should have gone a bit easier on the eggnog, and met her demise courtesy of a reindeer pulling Santa's sleigh. How can you not know and love this song? It's so much fun! An unlikely tragedy, but nonetheless fun.

8. Do You Hear What I Hear - Another Christmas staple, and one of the few slower, non-parody, non-funny songs that I truly enjoy each Christmas season. This one reminds me of being a child and attempting to grow up in a world filled with chaos. It was spending time with my family, decorating the Christmas tree, wrapping presents, and everything that Christmas encompasses. 

7. Sleigh Ride - Come on, like you don't sit there and tap your toes at this one? It's so darn fun! Plus, this one also has special meaning for me, it was a song we played when I was a band geek in high school. Or maybe middle, I think it was high school. Either way, I really loved band, and I remember the first time I heard this song and I loved it right away. Everytime it comes on, I'm dancing around and acting like a fool. 

6. The 12 Redneck Days of Christmas - Now, not many people can appreciate this song for what it truly is. This song, while it is a bit of an exaggeration, depicts the story of what a redneck may potentially receive as gifts, and each one has a meaning. Being a bit of a redneck and coming from Eastern Kentucky (Google it if you've never been there, or you cannot appreciate this reference either) I find this to be very fitting. I love it, because I can relate as well. And it's frickin' funny as hell.

5. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - I know what you're thinking. Yes, I'm really including this one in my top ten, and here's why. As a child, we all wanted to stay up late and see Santa. We all needed that verification that he really truly existed. Now imagine, if you will, waking up and heading out to the living room (or wherever your tree may have been) only to find out that mommy is a whore and is cheating on daddy. Now imagine all the stinking presents you're gonna get for keeping this knowledge to yourself. Well, at least in theory, anyway, because you don't yet know that Daddy is Santa. And just imagine them trying to explain their way out of this one to an eight-year-old.

4. You're a Mean One (Mr. Grinch) - Now we're really getting into my super awesome favorites. While I love a lot of Christmas music, this one should make us all feel like kids again. I can't go a Christmas season without watching certain movies (that's another list for another day...) and this song strikes a chord that makes me wiggle and sing along every time. Try it. Try to not sing along. It's too darn catchy. Now, try getting this beast out of your head.

3. Christmas Don't Be Late - Ah, the beloved Chipmunks Christmas song that will never ever ever die. It's the only Christmas song sung by fictional characters that captured the hearts of all children and kids at heart, and has only gained fans over the years. It's a true classic, and a fun song all-around. It has been remade into a remix version for the live-action movie. It needs no further introduction.

2. Christmas Comes But Once A Year - Many of you may not know or recognize this song, but when I was younger and my little brother was barely more than a baby, we used to watch this old cartoon by the same title, involving an orphanage wracked by devastation on Christmas morning and a character named "Grampy" making it a thousand times better. I have this song rattling around in my head every so often and up until this year, I hadn't seen the cartoon in nearly 20 years. (I feel old that I can say that and remember 20 years ago...) Luckily for you, the whole cartoon is below. Enjoy a piece of my childhood.

1. Mary Did You Know - To say I'm not a religious person is a gross understatement. But this song grips my heart in a way that I didn't know possible. I love this song. I wait all year to get to hear this song, and the video makes me cry. I love it. Their voices sound so beautiful together on this song, and I'm a far cry from a fan of either of these artists. I truly love this song more than I should. I heard it when I was younger, and it stuck with me for even longer than my #2 song. I will listen to this song over and over and over again this year. 

And there you have it. Agree with me, disagree with me, either way, this is my list of my Top Ten Favorite Christmas Songs, and I even included videos. Up next for Top Ten Pet Peeves of Christmas. Oh, this should be a good post...stay tuned for drama out the wazoo!!

Monday, December 17, 2012


Whelp, looks like I get an extended vacation from interviewing authors. This weeks leading lady hasn't gotten back to me yet, but I'm clinging to the idea that she's just away from her computer and will send me something this week. Until then, though, I'm claiming this week in the name of Ashley, posting my own thoughts, randomosities (yeah, I know, it's not a real word, but I'm creating it, so :P ), and writing bits. Hey, what perfect timing, since my book is coming out this week!!

Before I get too far ahead of myself, please join me in thanking author Matthew McFarland for joining us this past week. I know that I didn't do him fair justice on his week, because his work really is phenomenal, but it was a very emotional and trying week for me, and I'm still recuperating. But he deserves much better, and I was honored to have had him on the DSP. It was great getting to know you and reading your works, Matthew, and the Drunken Space Penguin wishes you nothing but the best in all your endeavors!!

Now for something completely different...

Christmas is upon us, and despite recent events, this is still a time to be happy and joyful and all that sugary sweet gooey goodness. In fact, these recent events SHOULD make you focus more on your family and friends, including those that you don't get to see all the time or don't say "I love you" to often enough. This time of year should be bringing families together, and knowing what's happened lately should only intensify those feelings. I want everyone in the world to be happy and joyful. So I plan to spread my Christmasy cheerfulness to you poor unsuspecting victims by posting a Daily Top Ten all the way up until Christmas. Some Daily Top Tens may be from other folks, but most will be from me. Cause, you know, I'm awesomtastical. (I should really stop making up words that make no sense...)

Be prepared, today's Daily Top Ten can come at any time. You never know. It could be in five minutes, it could be in five hours, it could be at 11:59:59p...I'm random like that. So. There ya have it. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Yule, and for all other religious or non-religious holidays, happy that too. :D

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Drunken Penguin Reviews!! **GASP!**

Hey boys and girls! I know I said I'd be trying to post my thoughts on the book Fifty/Fifty and Other Stories, by author Matthew McFarland, but I cannot tell a lie, I've been busy as a bee on the first day of Spring, so I only made it through a couple of the short stories. But I can tell you what I've found so far...

The first short story, The Burning Bar, is a very quick read, and tells the story of Joe, the owner of a nightclub, and his journey into the building blazing with fire. His only mission? To rescue a girl who we know very little about, but who Joe couldn't let die. I'd love to know more about this girl-who she was, where she came from, how long she'd been working for Joe, what kind of relationship they'd had-but alas, we only know that another man wouldn't have put himself in such danger to rescue her. It would be hard to really rate this story, simply because it was so incredibly short and left a lot to the imagination, but it was intriguing. Kind of a teaser, something to get you hooked. I get it. You're teasing us, aren't you? You sneaky author you...

The second story, Defenestration, is also a quick read, but much longer than the first. This one lets the reader get inside the mind of a man plummeting to his imminent death. It's a rare treat that we are given a peek inside the final seconds of a person's life, especially one who sees it coming and can do nothing to stop it. My own mind is already scattered and littered with randomness, I can only assume these are the kinds of things that would flutter through my head if I were crashing to the earth and my inescapable demise. Oh, and the descriptions of everything from the city skyline to the very vivid dream were very, well, detailed! The author took the time to describe minute details that, at first glimpse, may not seem so important. But they stick with you. They set the scene and the atmosphere. Oh, they're important. And I have a special weakness and fondness for those writers who go to great lengths to describe something to thoroughly and accurately that the reader can literally feel, hear, see, smell, and taste it. 

(This could also be what makes me a Stephen King fan. I've read books by that man where he takes 5 pages to describe a road. Mock it all you want, THAT takes time, patience, and the ability to get inside the mind of your audience to see what it takes to make them really grasp the imagery! But that's another discussion...)

The third story in Matthew's book, Lansdowne Road, is a very vivid description of a rugby match in Ireland. Now, I have to say, I've never once seen a rugby game. I know nothing of the sport. In fact, I know very little about other sports. But I know excitement, and this boy's first rugby game was excitement bottled up and tossed about on a "pitch." And for those who don't know what a pitch is, compare it to the American football field. Once again, the description was very vivid. Despite knowing nothing of the sport, I still understood the story. To make ME understand things is quite the accomplishment indeed...

There are a lot of terms, phrases, and even some descriptions that I'm not familiar with, but then again, Matthew is from Ireland and I'm from America, and I'm willing to bet I could manage to confuse him with our Americanized broken English. (Let's face it, folks, we don't speak English. It's just some watered down lazy interpretation of the English language...) So cultural differences aside, I'd say there are a lot of very positive things about these short stories, starting with the ability to read one in a very short amount of time, like on your breaks at work, sitting at the bus stop, or math class, because admit it, you either have no clue or no interest in what's going on in math class. Or you're so darn smart you already know it all anyway, so what's the point? (Joke, by the way! School is cool!) 

I'll try to get more read by Sunday. Tomorrow will be hard, I have a very important familial gathering to attend, and then an evening in with my bestie. But stay tuned, I'll have something for you tomorrow one way or another! Till then, liebe und wahnsinn für alle!