Since I’m writing about my childhood, I thought I’d share a few throwback thursday pics.
I call this one my Anne of Green Gables look. I mean, look at that straw hat!
I knew every word. Every. Word.
Love and Green Gables,
Things are getting real at the Happiness Project today. We’re talking today about something I know a lot about. We’re talking about poop.
But we’re not talking about why it’s important to pack extra underwear on vacation. No.
We’re talking about pooping at work.
I’m betting most of you, like me, need to “drop off the occasional package” while working.
I’ve had some interesting bathrooms in my workplaces over the years. From your basic department store row of stalls, complete with screaming child trying to crawl under the dividers away from her mother, to a restroom located in the creepy cellar of a warehouse’s storage area.
The one thing that bonds us all is the fact that we all poop. Although, we don’t like to admit it. (Unless you’re me and have no shame.)
However, even I struggle with how to sneakily “pay the bowl troll” without any coworkers knowing. So when my wonderful fiance shared this video with me, I just knew I needed to pay it forward with you.
Ladies and Gentleman, I give you…
How to Poop at Work
Happy Beauty of a Woman Blogfest Day!
Today, women and men of all ages are posting around the country on the topics of women’s beauty and sexuality. It’s a celebration of what each individual connects with, be it their favorite body part, a life changing epiphany, a female mentor they have, their desires for the future, and more!
The blogfest’s creator is August McLaughlin, a writer, dear friend, and founder of the #GirlBoner movement – in which she blogs and hosts a radio show surrounding women’s sexuality.
She’s amazing. You can follow her on Twitter @AugstMcLaughlin or check out the conversations around Girl Boner or Beauty of a Woman at the following hashtags: #GirlBoner & #BOAW3.
You can read all of the posts in the Beauty of a Woman blogfest by clicking here and seeing the full list of participants on August’s blog! Guest bloggers and readers are eligible to win gift card prizes between $5 and $50!
For my part in the blogfest, I wanted to share with you a movement called 1 Billion Rising that I’ve been involved with. It stands for 1 Billion Rising for Justice, and it’s partnered with the V-Day organization. The V-Day organization was started by author and playwright, Eve Ensler, who wrote The Vagina Monologues. As a women’s studies minor in college, I took part in the annual Monolgues show to raise money for our local women’s shelter every Valentine’s weekend.
The goals of both V-Day and 1 Billion Rising are to end violence against women. Now, every February 14th, these organizations host events for victims of violence and those who support them to gather in public spaces and seek justice. The events include everything from meeting with city officials to the more emotional release of artwork and dance.
This year 1 Billion Rising is also hosting a challenge on Instagram. Using the hashtag #instaRISE, they’re calling for photos that demonstrate your inner activist – showing off the quotes, body parts, artwork, dance moves, friendships, and more so the movement keeps on rising!
It’s not to late to get involved!
Here is the #instaRISE photo challenge:
For this year’s Beauty of a Woman blogfest, I thought I’d share my #instaRISE photos because being a part of a national movement that celebrates women and stands up against violence is important – and beautiful – to me!
Day 1: Justice – Show off your inner activist! - We sold these t-shirts when I president of the Women’s Studies Student Association in college.
Day 2: JustSPEAK – Share a phrase that inspires you. - Adrienne Rich’s collection of poems, The Fact of a Doorframe, was my Bible for years.
Day 4: V-Day – Show off your Rebel Red
Day 5: V-Girls – Power Pink – A shade for every mood you’re in: sophisticated, flirty, sporty, confident, girlie?
Day 6: JustUs – Friends – Me with the cast of The Vagina Monologues, 2006 – I performed ‘The Vagina Workshop’ which is one of my favorite stories.
Day 7: JustMe – Selfie
And don’t forget to check out the other Beauty of a Woman blog posts!
What makes you feel beautiful?
I just finished reading Haven Kimmel’s book, She Got Up Off the Couch, which was part of my To Be Read Pile Challenge list.
I was first introduced to Haven Kimmel’s books by a local librarian at a book club discussion about memoirs. I immediately read her bestselling memoir, A Girl Named Zippy, and it’s quite possibly one of my favorite books ever.
In one of my FAVORITE parts, Haven (Zippy) believes her family when they tell her she was born in a gypsy tribe and found abandoned in a wagon. Also, she had a tail. For weeks, she rides around town on her bike believing she is the renegade daughter of nomadic gypsies and that her adoptive family had her tail surgically removed.
This is just genius.
In She Got Up Off the Couch, Haven’s story continues, growing up in the small town of Mooreland, Indiana. The person who gets up off the couch, is her mother, Delonda Jarvis. Haven is pretty open about the fact that her family was a bit broken, though she didn’t know it at the time. Her mother spent all hours on the couch reading books or talking on the phone, until one day, she decided to go to college.
The thing is, Delonda didn’t know how to drive. So she bummed rides to the neighboring town for awhile before buying a cheap, rundown Volkswagon and learned to drive it. She graduated with a degree in English and went on to become a teacher. But the story of how she got there and how this shift in the routine impacted the Jarvis family is a page turner.
Here’s a quote about her mother:
“She had done all these things and she was going to graduate summa cum laude, which meant Good But Loud, from the Honors College, and she had done it all in twenty-three months. It takes some people more time to hang a curtain.” She Got Up Off the Couch
While the title of Haven’s book refers to her mother, it is just as much Haven’s story too. She grew up in a Quaker home, and went on to attend Seminary School, where she ended up writing her first memoir, Zippy. In this second glimpse, we meet Haven when she’s entering her early teen years. Her older siblings have moved out of the house, leaving her and her estranged parents to deal with another.
Her natural curiosity makes her a loveable character. Haven is a girl who never wears shoes, or skirts, and occasionally puts rocks in her mouth – cause she likes the way they taste. Her father is a charismatic factory worker who doesn’t work in a factory, and her mother is about to turn their worlds upside down. This is a coming of age story for all three family members, and right or wrong, each is going to make drastic changes and question everything they knew to be true before.
Looking for something to read? Definitely pick up one of Haven Kimmel’s books. I’ve purchased multiple copies of A Girl Named Zippy as gifts for friends and family. It is that good.
What book(s) have you recently finished that you loved?
How was everyone’s Valentine’s Day? Do tell. Dish!
Are you a hopeless romantic when it comes to
Cupid? Or are you more into Singles Awareness Day?
I would be ok with this.
I think Valentine’s Day is like any other holiday. Yes, of course the stores use it to make money so we’re bombarded with sales pitches and $$$ signs. Plus the media focuses on romantic love relationships, which is leaving a lot of people out.
Why not celebrate all kinds of love?
I sent Valentine’s to my mom and pop, my sis, and my bestie. No gifts. Just a nice note letting them know I was thinking of them.
There was a lot of chatter at work and online, everyone asking each other what their Valentine’s plans were. I heard the whole spectrum: from the traditional fancy dinner reservations to a Walking Dead marathon. They both sound great to me!
Joe and I started a non-traditional tradition for Valentine’s day a few years ago where we stay in and gorge on my favorite date night dinner: meat, cheese, crackers, fruit, all with a variety of spreads like pepper jams, mustard, and jelly, and of course, WINE.
Ok, ok. I know you see it mixed in there and are scratching your heads. Why, you may ask, did we watch The Silence of the Lambs for Valentine’s Day?
Well, that’s our tradition. We watch very (emphasis on the very) un-Valentiney movies for Valentine’s. I think it started the year Joe convinced me to watch Tremors.
I am the best fiance ever. Seriously.
I readily agreed to watching Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins solve the Buffalo Bill murder investigation.
I gotta say, you all cracked me up when I shared that photo online. Many of you asked where the fava beans were. And had we been smart, we would have picked out a nice chianti.
Thank goodness Joe didn’t buy me any lotion for V-Day! That might have set the creepy bar over the edge.
Instead, he got us a new plant. His name is Hubert. Say hello, Hubert.
Two years ago, Joe got me a plant for my birthday. She was beautiful with peach colored blossoms. We named her Calliope. We gave her sunlight and water and took her outside sometimes…only to learn that she didn’t like a lot of sun or weather changes or water.
We started over on last year’s birthday with a new plant we named Rue. After Rue McClanahan (Blanche in the Golden Girls). I like my plants to have pizzazz. Rue and Hubert are happily watching out the kitchen window for spring to come. Which I fear is never.
What do you think of Valentine’s Day? Do you celebrate all forms of love? What’s your favorite non-traditional date night activity you and your love share?
And stick around for some mystery this Friday when I have guest blogger, Kathy Owen, on The Happiness Project talking about Sherlock Holmes and “The Red-Headed League.” I can’t wait!
Today I’m pleased to welcome pet expert and thriller writer, Amy Shojai, to The Happiness Project! I’ve read Amy’s book, Lost and Found, and LOVED it!
She’s got bite – I mean, a great voice!
So please welcome Amy and her purr-fect Valentine’s tales!
If you really want to please your partner this Valentine’s Day buy catnip and chew toys (and pet-centric books!) instead of chocolate. Love me, love my pet is the new Valentine rule of paw.
Cats and dogs show affection and devotion in very different ways. What some folks might find objectionable actually is the ultimate in a kitty or canine compliment! Here are a few examples:
- Cats hop on our laps—then present their ass-ets for a sniff. (It’s sort of a backwards kitty compliment).
- Dogs jump up and knock us down or ruin outfits. They’re trying to reach/lick your face, a way of saying “you’re the boss, I love you.”
- Cats claw your most favorite chair—marking something that smells like you as their most favorite territory.
- Dogs chew up your favorite purse—again, it smells like you and he wants to be close to his beloved.
I’ve written and lectured and been quoted about dog and cat behavior and care more times than I like to admit—in dog years, I should be dead! Lately, though, I’ve branched into fiction writing to bring the “good news” about pets to a whole new audience. People who have no interest in a how-to pet care/behavior book lap it up like BACON when presented as doggy (or kitty) litter-ature.
My dog viewpoint thrillers feature a German Shepherd service dog, a trained Maine Coon cat, and an animal behaviorist. The newest HIDE AND SEEK was just released, and here’s a teeny BACON-flavored taste to tempt you to learn more:
“HIDE AND SEEK masterfully blends ripped-from-the-headlines urgency with an emotional story of real characters in escalating dangers. Written with authority and deft brilliance that any lover of animals or nerve-jangling thrillers will cherish.” James Rollins, New York Times bestseller of “The Eye of God”
“HIDE AND SEEK is a creepy must read mystery for animal lovers. Animal behaviorist Amy Shojai knows her stuff.” J.T. Ellison, NYT bestselling author of “When Shadows Fall”
“A shocking betrayal, a reality TV show gone horribly wrong, and murders related to an unthinkable cause, HIDE AND SEEK is a mystery/thriller you won’t be able to put down!” Alan Leverone, best-selling thriller author of “Mr. Midnight” and “The Lonely Mile”
“Recommended for anyone who likes a ‘bite-your-nails, hold-your-breath’ kind of thriller.” Dr. Lorie Huston, veterinarian and Cat Writers’ Association president
I adore my main characters in these stories (the first was LOST AND FOUND) because they’re real to me. Shadow the dog and Macy the cat love their human, September Day (a behaviorist) unconditionally just like my “real” pets Magical-Dawg and Seren-Kitty love me. What we’d do for those we love—human and furry—really drives these thriller stories. And in real life, we love our pets back. Some of us wish our human loves were more like the pets.
Don’t believe me? Get a load of this! A few years ago, a joint global poll by Reuters/Ipsos of 24,000 people in 23 countries found 21 percent of adults would rather spend February 14 with their pet than their spouse. And the American Kennel Club (AKC) surveyed dog owners and found even more startling results. Nearly 90 percent of women wish their boyfriend or husband was more like their dog. More than a third of women said, “If my dog was a man, he’d be my boyfriend!”
Men also wish their significant other shared some of the same qualities as their dog, especially the quality of “always being in a good mood.” Only 23 percent of men surveyed agreed with the statement, “If my dog was a woman she’d be my girlfriend.”
Based on the results, men and women should go to the dog for hints on pleasing the special humans in their lives. In fact, people have such strong bonds with their dogs and cats that the human in your life may become jealous. Reasons include dedicating “too much” time to the pet, preferring to cuddle with the dog rather than their mate, or that the dog “likes me better.”
Canine qualities women look for in men include a perennial good mood, willingness to spend time together, eagerness to cuddle on the couch, and being happy to eat her cooking without complaint. The survey also indicated women appreciated how dogs helped motivate them to exercise. Canine qualities that men appreciate in women include being as happy to spend time at home as out on the town, offering enthusiastic greetings when he returns home, and not getting mad when he wants to watch sports. Men also liked it that dogs were “up” for anything he wants to do.
So this Valentine’s Day, let your romantical inclinations take into account the cats and dogs that your two-legged honey adores. That’ll have them wagging their virtual tails in purrfect bliss!
Amy Shojai (www.shojai.com) has been reinventing herself for years. She’s a certified animal behavior consultant, and the award-winning author of 27 best selling pet books that cover furry babies to old-fogies, first aid to natural healing, and behavior/training to Chicken Soup-icity. She is the Puppies Guide at puppies.About.com, the cat behavior expert at cats.About.com, and hosts a weekly half hour Internet Pet Peeves radio show. Amy has been featured as an expert in hundreds of print venues including The New York Times, Reader’s Digest, and Family Circle, as well as national radio and television networks such as CNN, Animal Planet’s DOGS 101 and CATS 101.
HIDE AND SEEK published by Cool Gus Publishing is available in Trade Paperback for $11.99 and all Ebook formats for $4.99 (for Kindle, Nook, iPad, etc.). You may order the book via online stories such as amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. Find out more at Amy’s Bling, Bitches & Blood Blog at http://amyshojai.com
I’ve been working on wedding planning…which let me say, is NOTHING like the Disney movies depicted. Snow White had it so freakin easy. Seven little men to boss around and she SLEPT through the whole planning process! She just woke up with her prince there!
Sign me up for hibernation until the honeymoon!
How do I make THAT happen? *waves magic wand*
Well, Joe and I decided a long time ago we would not have a wedding party. A non-traditional, but more intimate, part of our day that I’m happy about. I like it that the only one I’m going to meet at the alter is him.
And let’s be honest, I’ve been in enough weddings to last me a great while, so I don’t need a bridal party to complete the day. I used to tell Joe I was going to write a book about us, and I would call it Every Role But the Bride because I’ve literally been EVERY ROLE but the bride: junior bridesmaid, maid of honor, bridesmaid, flower girl, officiant – in that order, no less. I know, it confuses me too.
Now I’ve taken to referring to our story as That Book About Us. It is our own. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Since I don’t have a
swarm group of bridesmaids, and we’re still figuring out the details for other wedding necessities, I thought I’d break away for some fun by planning my virtual wedding party!
Jess’s Super Awesome Virtual Wedding Party
Officiant > Gene Lempp My longtime writing partner, beta reader, and best of all, friend, who I will always refer to as the “Writer Whisperer” because no one can talk down my spaz like Gene has to be the officiant because he sounds like Barry White. (I know, we’ve spoken on the phone.)
Matron of Honor > Marcia Richards My Redhots bestie who started up the Life List Club with me, is the most positive person I know, overcame cancer, and my favorite – lost her whole manuscript and sat her butt in the chair to REWRITE the whole thing because she cares about her work! We’ve never met in person, but we’ve chatted on the phone and sent care packages to one another for years. Two rules for you, Marcia: #1 – Do not mention Fifty Shades of Gray in your reception speech and #2 – Bring cookies.
Bridesmaids > Misty Laws I met Misty in the comments section of Renee Schuls-Jacobson’s blog, where we could’ve filled an entire blog with just our comments on the movie Singles. What more do you need to know to love this woman?
Renee Schuls-Jacobson Renee is one of those people who could spit on a page and it would come out being the most beautiful poem you’ve ever read. The girl is TALENTED! She’s going through a tough time right now, so send her lots of love and healing, because I want her to dance at my party!
Julie Glover Julie’s been my DFWcon roomie for two years, and I’m sad I won’t see her this year. I expect her to kick off karaoke at my bachelorette party.
Flower Woman > Diana Beebe I love making this lady laugh. I interrupt her often on Twitter re-making song lyrics to help her boost her word count.
Wedding Planner > Jenny Hansen Let’s face facts. Jenny has an arsenal of decorating supplies and ribbon, so I’d be a fool not to take advantage of her skillz. Plus, can you IMAGINE the crazy things she’d bring to the bridal shower? I’m already blushing!
Caterer > Mark Petruska Mark and his wife, Tara, are both foodies. Plus, they live near Portland, which is Joe’s and my favorite city. I see voodoo donuts for everyone!
Photographer > Tameri Etherton And on the wedding day Tameri said “THERE SHALL BE BLING!”
Music > August McLaughlin I trust August with anything. She would play beautiful guitar ballads for our ceremony, but even if the airline lost her instrument, and all she had was a set of spoons off the buffet table, I know it would still make me cry. August, you should probably start practicing the spoons…just in case.
Dance Party > EVERYONE ELSE! Now that you’ve all learned how to successfully dance like Peanuts characters, let’s boogie!
Thanks for joining my virtual wedding party y’all!
Now show me those dance moves!
There have been some great blog posts lately, all of which are motivating me to stay focused on my goals. I hope to be 3/4 of the way done with edits by my April writers conference. I’m also working on author branding and hope to create new business cards as well as start up a pinterest page. Any advice from you all is greatly appreciated.
I know many of you are hard at work on your own goal list: figuring out which conferences to attend, starting new novels, finishing drafts, or maybe just planning a romantic night out with your honey.
If so, I’ve got you covered! Pull up a chair, wrap your fingers around a mug of your fave beverage, and happy reading!
In Preparation for Valentine’s Day:
- Emma Meade interviewed erotica author Kitt Crescendo on her latest release (of the literature sort) in Blogger Pal and Author of Steamy Fiction. *Bring a glass of water to cool down after you read Kitt’s book excerpt!
- Shannon Donnelly guests at Writers in the Storm to answer What Makes a Romance? with seven tips for helping anyone on the fence about whether their book fits.
- Liz from Be.Love.Live. is celebrating February by Learning to Love Yourself Through a Photo a Day. She’s hosting a photo a day challenge to take 28 selfies that share something beautiful about you! Aww.
- Shameless plug: Stay tuned for a Valentine’s Day guest post from pet behavioralist and thriller writer, Amy Shojai, right here on the Happiness Project!
- Adam from Roof Beam Reader gives his take on the J.K. Rowling interview in J.K. Rowling Can Say What She Wants. Have you heard about this?! Rowling was interviewed (by Emma Watson, the actress who played Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films) and commented that intended for Hermione and Harry to end up together in the end, NOT Hermione and Ron. It’s a fascinating conversation and I would LOVE to hear your opinions on it.
- Speaking of Harry Potter, author Ginger Calem’s daughter snapped the cutest picture of a Harry Potter fan ever. Check this adorbs out! And follow Ginger on Instagram!
Is this cute or the cutest?
- Piper Bayard and co-blogger/author, Holmes,
kidnappedinvited bestselling author Ellie Ann to their blog to discuss the Steampunk trend as well as Enhanced Books. Fab interview on these new medias. Steampunk and Books That Sing
- Julie Glover discusses the power of book’s first line with great examples from both classics and her own works. I love that she includes Daphne du Maurier’s wicked character Mrs. Danvers to illustrate! Kickin’ It Off Right: A Novel’s First Line
- Bradley Somer posted in Wordbitches What We Talk About When We Talk About Our Writing, which is filled with great tips for anyone who has, or wants to have, speaking engagements like book readings or presentations.
- Kristen Lamb shares Why All Writers Should Attend a Writers Conference which is full of useful networking advice, tools and updates on the publishing industry, as well as information about an upcoming online conference!
What goals are you working on? What are your Valentine’s plans? And what blog posts inspired you this past week? Feel free to share links!
I know, it’s been awhile. I’ve been a naughty blogger. I didn’t post at all last week cause I was sick with a cold and pretty much had no idea what to write about. I did get some work done on my book though, which is good and bad. Good – because my goal is to be a published, professional writer. But bad – or maybe more accurately sad, because I missed you all and felt guilty for ignoring you in favor of sweatpants, Echinacea, kleenex, and the Harry Potter marathon that was on all day Saturday.
Which leads me to an update. As much as I hate to say it, and I really do, I’ll be cutting my posts back to once a week. I have to focus on edits right now, and I need the extra time to get them done. There’s going to be a lot of this going on…
I will have some awesome guest bloggers joining me next month so stay tuned for guest posts from animal expert Amy Shojai and mystery writer extraordinaire Kathy Owen – both of whom have new books coming out! Holla!
In procrastinating writing a new blog post, I perused my recent blog stats page to see what amazing search terms led people to my blog.
You know what I learned?
I’m apparently writing an educational blog series!
I mean, people are popping over here to learn all kinds of information. Just in the last 30 days, here’s a list of topics I’ve been their go to source for:
- Mount Rushmore holes in eyes – um, ok
- how to do the Peanuts dance – well sure
- dino erotica – this will not be on next year’s syllabus
- Barret Oliver
- what defined the 80′s
- things to blog about that start with ‘S’ – don’t ask me about the letter ‘E’, I have no idea!
- do older ouija boards work better – I don’t know, I don’t plan to touch one ever again.
wicked musical party supplies – I’m better with Oscar parties.
- reports of vampire attacks in 2013
- claimed vampire attacks in 2013
- covered up vampire attacks
- vampire attacks – For. Realz.
- missing your dad who died from positive quotes – I have a question for you, how does one die from the power of affirmation phrases?
- travel necessities in Korea
- how long does it take for a tarot reading to come true
- how many nominations did The Hobbit get
I’m so pleased I could be your reference on so many broad topics. I shall strive to elaborate and educate on many more in 2014.
Now, raise those hands. Who’s got a topic they want to talk about in class?