Wordless Wednesday: Sadness

As per usual, my Wordless Wednesday has words. Just a few.

There are a lot of things that make me sad. A fuck of a lot, really. But this pretty much makes me the saddest.

This picture was taken around the autumn/winter of 1997. On the left is my nephew, Zane. On the right is my son, Corwin (and also my brother, Andrew).

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And this was taken a few years ago at the Tomorrow’s Child Memorial Baby Garden in Lansing, MI. The wording is from a poem my brother asked me to write (and read) for Zane’s funeral.

Zane's Memorial

For more Wordless Wednesday posts, click on the other bloggers’ names and see what they’ve got for you. Bet some of them have words…

Paige

Jessica

Kayleigh

Kellie

Gwen

 

 

 

My Ideal Date

I’m pretty easy to please, really.

If it’s an at-home kind of a date, bring me some of this, cwtch* up on the couch with me to watch a movie, and I’m your girl.

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If it’s a going-out-where-there-are-people-and-I-have-to-wear-shoes kind of a date, I’m good with not going anyplace fancy. I’m not really big into dressing up, and it’s better for the safety of anyone in the immediate vicinity, if I don’t try to wear heels.

Is there cheese involved? I’m probably down for whatever it is. Unless eating the cheese somehow requires wearing uncomfortable shoes. Then, I’ll pass.

Beach picnic to watch the sun go down and a storm roll in? I’m there.

New Star Wars movie? Let’s do it, but I do want popcorn.

Bookstore and you’re buying? Just let me get my shoes on.

Live music? As long as it’s an artist or genre I like (picky, I know, but try all you want, I’m not going to see Nickelback), let’s go.

Ren Faire? Let me grab that crown of flowers.

See? I’m pretty easy to please.

*  Cwtch is an actual word. It’s Welsh for cuddling up together. Weirdly, it’s also the word for that spot under the stairs. Basically, Harry Potter lived in a cwtch.

Click the other bloggers’ names to find out what their ideal dates are.

Jessica

Kris

Gwen

Paige

A Few of My Favorite Things: Beauty Products

It’s time for another favorite things post. And this month? Beauty products!  Okay, I admit, I’m constantly looking for the Holy Grail of mascara and hair conditioner. It’s an unending battle. Oh, and also the perfect scent. But I’ll share a few of my favorites with you.  Also, I apologize for all the wonky spacing with the pictures and stuff.

First up? Hair. I have stupid, baby fine hair that refuses grow much past my shoulders. It used to be pin straight, but once I had my second kid, I suddenly got all kinds of body and wave. Well, not in this one stubborn spot up front, but that’s what barrettes are for.

But here are my favorite hair products for fine, easily damaged hair.

The It’s a 10 Miracle Hair Mask gets used once a week. It helps restore elasticity and shine to my crabby, crabby hair. The Designline Olive Oil shampoo and conditioner are an every day or every other day thing depending on how often my hair needs to be washed. The It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Conditioner happens every time my hair gets washed. It does wonders to keep my hair from getting frizzy and breaking.

BP hair mask

BP olive oil

 

BP leave in

 

 

 

 

 

Next up, it’s my favorite skincare products.

Premiere face was and day lotion. It’s pricey. But holy crap, my face loves this stuff. It really helps with my rosacea and it doesn’t make my face weirdly greasy like a lot of lotions do.

BP facewash BP - PmDayComplexNormalDry2

 

BP - witch hazel

Witch Hazel. Yep. Plain old Witch Hazel. It’s the best astringent on the planet. I use it before I go to bed and when I wake up. Sometimes I use it in the middle of the day if my face feels icky. It’s also great on skin irritations, bug bites and sunburns.  And speaking of sunburns…

I avoid them at all costs, because I’m a pasty girl. I don’t tan, I just fry and then fry some more. So, I’m all about the SPF Vampire. This is what I use until they make a higher one. (Yes, I know it’s not supposed to be any more effective than 50, but whatever. I burn like a mofo, and I’ve got skin cancer on both sides of my family. I’ll take ALL the SPF, thanks!

04417c37474c1341_sunscreen

 

Nail polish! I used love wearing nail polish, but a run in with a cadaver wearing the same shade I had on, put me off it for a good twenty years or so. But thanks to my niece and Jenny Trout, I love it again. I’m particularly fond of Zoya. They’re vegan-friendly and free of five of the worst toxins like formaldehyde,  formaldehyde resin, toluene, camphor, and dibutyl phthalate. I have no idea what most of those are, but they sound shitty, so if I can avoid breathing them in, I’m down with that. Plus they have over 300 colors!  Here are a few of my favorites. Ki, Autumn, Edyta, Freja, Louise, Natty and Nimue.  Oh yeah, I’m also a huge fan of there base and top coats (Anchor and Armor, respectively) and Opi’s Rapid Dry Spray.

Zoya_Nail_Polish__Ki_450 ZOYA_POLISH_AUTUMN_450Zoya_Nail_Polish__Edyta_450Zoya_Nail_Polish__Freja_450Art of Beauty Zoya_Nail_Polish__Nimue_450928439.ZP_694_Louise_Bottle_ x400x400

BP OPI spray

 

Oh what else…  Makeup! That’s what!

There are a few Holy Grail items I’m still seeking. One is an eye shadow to replace my beloved Twig that Origins discontinued. It was the most perfect shade of taupe that ever existed. For now, I’ll just wander through the wastelands of Ulta and Sephora with the last of the Twig trying to find a suitable replacement.

But anyway, here are some products I love. Now, I don’t wear make up all the time. Hell, I *maybe* wear it twice a month – unless I’m at a conference. But, I like what I have to work and work well for my skin. Here are a few things I refuse to be without.

Eyeshadow primer is huge for me otherwise I wear it right off and it gets that awful creased look halfway through the day. I really like Shadow Worx by Coastal Scents. It’s super light and not the least little bit greasy.

Like practically everyone else in the world, I don’t get enough sleep. I also have allergies. A lot of allergies. So my undereye circles are pretty spectacular. For consealer, I really like Smashbox. It’s got great coverage without looking cakey. I’m not huge on foundation, but I like the Purminerals Powder Foundation. It’s lightweight, it blends easily and it doesn’t make me feel or look like I’m wearing a mask. And for mascara, I adore Benefit’s They’re Real! It’s fantastic stuff. The lovely @LilyElement and author, @AnyaBreton  Twitter timeline and the even better Nailed at Night beauty blog recommended it to me and @LilyElement sent me a sample because she’s amazing. I’m seriously in love with this mascara. If I wasn’t such a damn slacker, I would have taken a picture of how great it works. But…I am a slacker.

Coastal+Scents+Shadow+Worx+Eye+Shadow+Primer+Matte+Review consealerpur-minerals-4-in-1-powder BP - mascara

And lastly, scents. I love perfumes made from essential oils. I can’t wear commercial perfumes. There’s something wonky with my skin’s chemistry that just messes with the chemicals in commercial stuff making it smell positively foul. But I’m all good with essential oils.

Acorns and Alchemy creates some of my very favorites!  And every year, my sister and I go to the Michigan Renaissance Festival and create our own scents. Mine usually involve some combination of honey, dark vanilla, clove, oak moss, or nutmeg. But here are a few from Acorns and Alchemy that I’m fond of.

All Hallows Eve gypsy caravan

 

Okay, now that you probably know more than you ever wanted to know about my favorite beauty products, go check out the other bloggers and see what they like!

Jess

Jessica

Gwen

Paige

Jen

Kellie

Kris

Dear Adderall – A Love Letter

So, this week, the assignment was to write a thank you note to something that makes our life better. My choice, as you will see, was pretty obvious.

Dear Adderall,

Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, I was super distracted all the time, but I managed okay.

I parented some great kids, I wrote some books, I crafted like a mad fiend, I drove kids from point A to point B. A lot of kids from point A to point B. I edited a crap-ton of manuscripts and coordinated a lot of editing related day job stuff.

Once in a while, I burned supper, but hey, shit happens. Sometimes you get an idea for a scene and you have to write it down, and before you know it, you’re scraping charred bits off your family’s grilled cheese sandwiches because you forgot to go grocery shopping and there’s no more bread and cheese to make more.

But the point is, I was doing okay-ish. Until I wasn’t.

I started burning supper all the time (not just some of the time like usual). I left the oven on for hours until the house had that vaguely burnt smell. I sometimes would leave the burner on under a pan until the whole house filled with smoke. Sometimes, I’d get in the car with the intent to go to say…the store. Or my mom’s. But I’d get so distracted, that I’d keep driving and end up somewhere else, often having no idea how I’d gotten there. Or worse, how to get back.

The most frustrating part of all was that I couldn’t write. It would literally take all my brain power, not to mention all afternoon, to string together two paragraphs. And that, dear Adderall, is not how books get written. It’s also not how kids get picked up on time, edible suppers are made, or any editing gets done at a reasonable pace. And forget about housecleaning.

I complained to my freaking awesome therapist about this bullshit, and she decided that we should play a game. A Bron Answers 100 Questions kind of game. So we did. And you know what, dear lovely Adderall? I scored super high on the Attention Deficit Disorder scale thingy. As it turns out, I have Inattentive ADD. I was stunned. How could this be? I wasn’t like the other people in my family who have ADD. However, it should be noted that when I shared my startling revelation with those closest to me, no. one. was. surprised. Literally, no one. Not my husband, my kids, my friends, my former daycare children, my siblings, no one. Nobody. Only me.

Apparently, I’d had some pretty stellar coping mechanisms in place, but time, and the fucktacular hormones related to the onset of peri-menopause set in, my coping mechanisms began to fracture and fail. Spectacularly. And that’s when my therapist said, “Hey, you know…they make stuff to help with this sort of thing.”

I admit, I was resistant to the idea of taking medication. I didn’t want to have to take something to be “normal”. I worried that I might be focused enough to write but that my creativity would be stifled. I worried that you, dear Adderall, might make me less me. Even though my therapist assured me that you were more akin to putting glasses on my brain rather than altering my thought processes, I was still nervous. And then I nearly started the kitchen on fire. Again.

I got the prescription filled. And it was like having glasses on my brain. I could think again. As soon as that stuff kicked it, I decided to open up my manuscript and attempt to write. And you know what? I wrote over five hundred words in under half an hour. And they were good words. Words I didn’t feel the need to rewrite or delete.

I was thrilled. Still a little cautious, but thrilled. It’s been nine months, and I know we’re probably still in the honeymoon phase of our relationship, but I don’t get in the car and end up in strange places any more. I don’t wander away and leave the gas burner on the stove going. I don’t forget to pick up my kids. My editing process is amazingly smooth and fairly organized. And Adderall? Dear, lovely, sweet Adderall, I can write again. I’d forgotten what it was like to write words without struggling to the point that I wanted to scream. I’d forgotten how much fun writing is when I’m not practically weeping at the difficulty of stringing together ideas in any kind of coherent way.

So, to sum up, Adderall, my sweet. Thank you! Thank you from the bottom of my easily distracted little heart. You’ve made my brain work again, and I feel a zillion times less likely to burn down the house, or get lost and far more capable of finishing books. You’re a lifesaver. And I love you.

Thanks for being awesome,

HUGS

Bron

 

Check out the links below to see what the other bloggers want to thank.

Jess

Jessica

Kris

Kellie

Gwen

Paige

How Writing Affects My Life & Vice Versa

My writing affects my life and my life affects my writing. Or  something.

This seems rather like a Schrödinger’s cat kind of thing.  Maybe? Kinda? Let’s roll with it because this graphic amuses me.

Schrodinger's Cat

 

Rather than going into a long, drawn out treatise on how this all works, I’m just gonna share some examples of things that happen around here that will illustrate this phenomenon.

My life affects my writing. 

I’ll hear some bit of random conversation, and it’ll spark an idea.

I’ll hear something hilarious and want to work it into a story.

I’ll (or someone I love will) do something stupid, and it’ll give me a story/scene idea.

Life sometimes is so damn crazy, I don’t have time to write as much as I want.

Not writing makes me cranky.

My life is hectic, so I have to write with interruptions or just write for short bursts at a time.

Sometimes, I have to keep really shitty hours just to get some words in.

My writing affects my life.

This is more like my writing affects my family’s life, but I always get great ideas while I’m either showering or driving so my poor family is constantly having to take notes for me. Unfortunately, if it’s a saucy bit, I’ll have to use a special kind of shorthand, because while my children and I have a very open relationship, they don’t need their mom dictating questionable dialogue so she doesn’t forget it later.

My head is almost constantly in my story. Grocery shopping? In addition to buying a lot of fancy cheese, I’m choreographing a fight (or sex) scene in my head. Pumping gas? Yeah, but I’m also figuring out the transition between once scene and another. Driving from point A to point B? I’m thinking about the next big plot point, or, in the case of this current story, the big black moment. Sewing? Knitting? Playing with clay? Probably thinking about dialogue. Whatever story I’m working on is running in my head like a background program on a computer. I might not be even actively thinking about it, but it’s there.

I write erotic romance. If there’s a dirty joke to be made, I’ll make it. Usually with all of the aplomb of a twelve year old boy.

I see story ideas everywhere.

Songs/Cds are often stuck on repeat (much to the dismay of my family) while I’m working on a story.

I know there are more things I’m forgetting, but I’d also like to finish this chapter tonight, so I’ll leave you with the other bloggers’ thoughts on this topic.

Jess  (Heads up, blog people, Jess has been having some trouble with her blog, so if her post isn’t up when you click, it hopefully will be soon.)

Kris

Jessica

Paige

Kellie

Gwen

 

Inspiration A to Z

Today we’re talking things that inspire us – from A to Z.  Of course there are the usual things like friends and family who inspire me, but I’m going a different route. So…this should be interesting. Probably because I’m going to treat it as some sort of free association psych test. Feel free to interpret at will. I’m not sure how much this will relate to writing.  Aaaannd go!

A is for Arthurian legend and lore. If you’ve been around at all, you know I love this shit. And I have forever. Twenty-some years ago, my friend Margaret stole an ad off a bulletin board for some campus group at MSU. She mailed it to me, I framed it, and it still hangs in my office, today.

Death of King Arthur

B is for Books.  Okay, I realize that this is probably a given, but I love books and I find them inspiring. I like holding them reading them, and falling into other people’s stories inspire me to write my own.

C is for cats. Judge me all you want. I like cats. They’re cuddly and comforting. And some of them have resting bitch face which I rather enjoy.

naughty cats

D is for Drum Circles. I love drumming. I know…I know. No one is surprised. But hear me out. There’s something that’s inspiring about helping create a primal rhythm – all those people playing at once, some of them dancing, some of them singing – all that energy. I’d go to drum circles all the time if I could find some good ones.

E is for Elaborate Grilled Cheese. What, might you ask, is elaborate grilled cheese? Only my most favorite inspirational comfort food. Thick homemade bread, herbed goat cheese, sharp white cheddar, smoked gouda, some sort of horseradish-garlic cheese, crispy bacon, fresh spinach leaves, thinly sliced kumata tomatoes, and thinly sliced honeycrisp apples all toasted together.

F is for Fairy tales and Faeries. I’ve always loved fairy tales – I’ve got shelves full of them.  I also love faeries and faery lore. It’s cross-cultural and fascinating the way the way the various cultures intersect.

G is for Gypsy Wagon. I love vardos. I would love to have one out in a field some where. It could be my office. Or my little mini-writing retreat. I would find writing in that atmosphere very inspirational.

caravan-1_1947598i

H is for Hugh Dancy. Whatever. I find him inspirational. Judge me all you want.

I is for Ireland. And Irish accents. And things that come from Ireland like Aidan Turner and Colin Morgan and Eoin Macken and Colin O’Donoghue. WHAT!?

Ireland-Sightseeing

J is for Jareth.  Jareth…also known as The Goblin King. You might wonder how the Goblin King is inspirational. #MagicBulge, aside, he takes troublesome children away and turns them in to goblins, he gives you crystals that show you your dreams, he’ll be your slave if you just worship him, plus he throws some badass parties.

labyrinth-the-movie-sarah-and-jareth-ballroom-scene

K is kids. I find all kinds of inspiration in my own kids, because, frankly they’re fabulous. Whatever, I know all parents think that. But I also find inspiration in kids in general. I love the way their minds work as they’re figuring out the world, and I love their energy and enthusiasm and curiosity and creativity. I think, as people, we’d be happier if we had more of that.

L is for Lake Superior. There’s a reason it shows up in a lot in a lot of my stories and a reason I love to write by its shores. It’s hypnotic and beautiful and rarely the same lake two days in a row.

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M is for Music. I love listening to music, playing it on the few instruments I can actually still play, singing. I listen to it while I’m writing and driving. I sing in the shower. There’s always a song playing in my head.

N is for New Ideas. There’s nothing quite as inspiring or exciting as a shiny new story idea just waiting to be written.

O is for Originality. I love people that look at the world a little differently – who don’t do what’s expected and unapologetically do their own thing. I love this in all arenas, but I especially appreciate it in fiction. Often, something – a genre or trope will suddenly explode in popularity and you’ll see tons of books with those elements flooding the market. It’s fine if there’s some kind of original twist, but copycat stories really annoy me.

P is for Pinterest. Where else can I find craft patterns, pictures of the places I’m writing about, character images and crock pot recipes for those deadline week – all in one place? All hail Pinterest.

Q is for Quirks. I find people’s quirks endlessly fascinating. Granted, sometimes, they piss me right off. But sometimes they inspire characters.

R is for Road Trips. I love packing up and taking off and just driving. Well…let me qualify that. I don’t like city driving and I really hate driving anywhere near Chicago or busy places like that, but I love taking back roads and exploring. Especially when I’m already on vacation.

S is for Standing Stones. I find them endlessly fascinating. I love rocks anyway – it’s cool, you can roll your eyes. I’m used to it. But standing stone sites always seem so peaceful and mysterious. And i want to know more. And also hang out there and write. Someone send me to the UK, quick!

carig_sampson_2LR

T is for The T.A.R.D.I.S. Look, I find the T.A.R.D.I.S. inspiring. Time And Relative Dimension in Space. TIME TRAVEL. How is that not inspiring? And also aliens and outer space. That’s cool, too. But I’m really about the time travel aspect here.

U is for (the) Upper Peninsula. It’s no secret I love Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It’s my go to spot to get away from things. You basically time travel back the 1950s, there are very few people, the scenery is breathtaking and it’s inspired many a story…including my YA, Eventide!  (That’s Miners Castle – and yes, it really looks like that.)

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V is for VW Microbus. Go ahead and laugh, that’s fine. But I would love to take one of these on the road for and go off on a cross country inspiration adventure!

vw-camper-van-for-sale

W is for Water and Waves. I love being by the water. Doesn’t matter if it’s a stream, a small lake or a huge body of water like Superior. There’s something about watching and listening to the waves or the trickle of water over rocks that sets my mind free to wander and I come up with all kinds of good ideas. Maybe that’s why I get good ideas in the shower, too.

X is for Xena Warrior Princess. Badass…warrior…princess…lesbian subtext…Lucy Lawless all in a cheesy as hell TV show. What’s not to love?

Y is Yarn. Yes, yarn. I have mad, mad love for yarn. Particularly the hand spun, hand dyed variety and that inspires me to spend money on yarn. Oh, and also knit stuff.

Dark plum yarn

Z is for Zone. I love being in the writing zone and falling into that groove where I can write and write. Doesn’t happen often enough lately. But it’s inspiring.

 

I can’t wait to see what inspires the other bloggers. Click their names below, and don’t forget to welcome Paige – the newest member of the Wednesday Random Bloggers!

Paige

Jess

Jessica

Kellie

Kayleigh

Kris

Gwen

 

Soul Mates? Love at First Sight? Fate? Destiny? – Taking on the big questions. Or perhaps just rambling incoherently. You be the judge.

So this week, we’re tackling questions like whether or not we believe in the existence of things like soul mates or love at first sight.

Let’s start with the concept of love at first sight. The short answer is: nope.

The slightly longer answer is that I totally think that lust at first sight is totally a thing – but not love. I think you can have a strong connection with someone you’ve just met. Certainly enough of a connection want to get to know them better or to find a convenient place to have sexy times. But I also don’t believe that sex = love. I believe that love is more of a gradual process. Attraction can be instantaneous, but love requires more time to get to know someone. It also requires discovering their faults and realizing that the positive outweighs the negative.

Next up is Soul Mates. Now, I guess this one depends on your definition of the idea of soul mates, but going with the common idea of there’s exactly one perfectly perfect person out there for everyone. Short answer: Nope.

The slightly longer answer for this one is that I think there are plenty of people out there that we can love deeply and truly and have that love returned. I don’t think there’s only one person and one person only. And I also don’t think the idea of soul mates is strictly reserved for romantic love. I think friends can have that sort of soul-deep connection, too.

The even longer answer is that I do believe in the idea of past lives and soul mates in that sense of the term. (Yes, I know. Crunchy Granola Hippie Alert!) But, I think that we often reincarnate with the same group of souls because we’re all learning and figuring out our shit together. And for me that’s the more accurate definition of soul mate rather than one person for everyone.

And lastly, is Fate and Destiny. Again with the short answer: Nope.

Often you hear that phrase, “(wasn’t) meant to be” and, hell, I’m guilty of saying it myself. I think “(wasn’t) meant to be” is a more of a platitude than anything else. We say it when things don’t work out the way we’d like to comfort ourselves. We say it when things do work out because we wanted to believe that there’s some order in the universe and that something was fated or destined to work out in a certain way.

But I believe we all have that nifty little thing called freewill. And having freewill and exercising it means we can affect the outcome of events in our lives. And yes, some things are out of our control, and a lot of those things aren’t great – debilitating diseases, accidents, random acts of violence, but that doesn’t mean they’re fated to happen. I don’t believe we’re all wandering around, acting out the pre-written script for our lives.

For instance, I don’t believe that today was the day that I was fated to step in cat puke and nearly fall down the basement stairs. Had I put on my damn glasses so I could see where I was going, I would have avoided the pile of pukiness. But instead, I exercised my freewill and walked down the stairs blind because I was too lazy and tired and chose not to put on my glasses.

So…super short answer to all of these mysteries of the universe: Nope.

What are your thoughts on any of the above topics? I’d love to hear them! And check out the other bloggers’ thoughts on the topics by clicking on their names.

Jess

Jessica

Kris

Gwen