Tag Archives: friends

The Wedding(s) of the Century

Hello Friends!

Wedding weekend extravaganza is officially over. Joe and I were married this weekend…

Or were we?

That’s right, we had a bit of a surprise during our ceremony.

But now the cat’s out of the bag, and you all can be in on it too! During the wedding, we showed a slideshow, and today I’d like to share it with all of you! (It’s 7 minutes long, so those wanting to jump to the really good part, should fast forward to 4:30ish.)

*All music composed and/or arranged by Joe Gantzer, except the Greek song, all vocals by Joe Gantzer and Jess Witkins. The Disney song has been rearranged by Joe Gantzer.

 

 

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When the Going Gets Tough, You Gotta Have Your Girlfriends

I’m dedicating this Throwback Thursday to all the ladies out there! 😉

When the going gets tough, you gotta have your girlfriends. Life has a way of throwing curveballs at us. I don’t know about you, but if I’m gonna take a hit to the head, I want my best girlfriend around to see it, pretend I did it on purpose, and tell every other joker in the place that it was the most badass thing she ever saw!

I’m fortunate to have a friend like that.

This is my bestie, Cat.

cat and jessi's bdayShe’s the photogenic one.

Cat just had a total curveball thrown at her. And that’s putting it mildly. She’s in a place of deep hurt right now, and I would love it if you would give her a little shout out in the comments! She’s the toughest, most talented, most vibrant, best dancer, so comforting, hardworking, sassy little latina I know! And I just love this woman immensely.

Please send your peace and healing thoughts her way!

*****

And now for a walk down memory lane. Cuz it’s Throwback Thursday after all!

January of last year. Cat agreed to be a part of my last minute 80’s theme party. Clearly, no regrets there.

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This is Cat and I pretending to be Oscar Girls at the 2012 Academy Awards. We are now forged eternally as “Sisters in Sequins.”

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This is Cat on her wedding day. I was so honored to be the officiant for her and her husband.

Photo credit: Kelly Ottesen Photography

Photo credit: Kelly Ottesen Photography

This is Cat at Circus World in 2011. Yah, she’s the one who witnessed me smashing my face into an animal cage.

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Here we are out for Halloween 2010. She was Amelia Earhardt and I was Mrs. Peacock.

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THIS photo was captured on Cat’s birthday in July 2010 when we all went to see Little Kiss.
I believe the word you are searching for is…EPIC!

Little Kiss

This is Easter 2010, when I was still very much in Corporate America and couldn’t take time off to go home for the holiday. Cat invited Joe and I, and her husband’s family, and the group of us made the best makeshift Easter brunch ever!

Easter 2010

College. 2007. I had just crashed my car after having it about a month.
Cat and I had just become close friends.

College 2007

Girlfriends. Gotta love them. Gotta have them.
Gotta lift each other up.

You’re the best, Cat P!
(made ya laugh, didn’t I?)

*****

Who are the important girlfriends in your life? What makes them stand out?
How have you supported one another?

In the Mood: A Non-traditional Date Night

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.

VDayThe perfect romantic evening spread.

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.

HubertThe card says “We should be able to keep it alive.”

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.

#GardeningFail

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!

My Virtual Wedding Party – Guess Who’s In It!

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*

Nothin. CRAP-A-KAZAM!

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!

Our Engagement Story: AKA – The CD Case Explained

“What’s with the cd case?”

I’ve been getting that question a lot after posting this picture of Joe’s and my engagement.

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So here it is, gizmos, the story behind the cd case.

Not all of you may know that Joe is a musician. And I don’t mean he covers Green Day tunes in the basement and doesn’t shower until late in the afternoon, though I wouldn’t rule that out altogether… Joe is a bonafide, music education major, cd releasing musician. He teaches band and private guitar lessons while following his dream performing and touring with a ska/reggae band, TUGG.

When we first met, he played in a funk/rock band called Hooch. I still have one of their benefit t-shirts, on which I got his autograph – only HIS autograph. He likes to remind me of what a lovey dopey dovey schoolgirl crush I had on him. 

I didn’t even know his last name for awhile. I called him ‘Joe Paisley’ because he performed with a pink paisley guitar on stage. It was awesome. Now he more commonly plays with some kind of Les Paul, amber colored guitar with a whammy bar. It’s probably driving him nuts right now that I didn’t fact check what guitar he uses.  *shrug*

Anyway, he had a stint where he performed with a successful musician that was born in this area and came back to do some touring. I didn’t like the guy. Talk about womanizer! And I mean c’mon, who NEEDS to perform six effing encores in a row, be done dammit! Some of us have drinking to do!

*eh hem* So, fast forward to our 7 year anniversary this past October. We decided to celebrate by going to one of the joints we hit on our first date. When we got there, I see one of Joe’s buddies and his parents there – the friend that set Joe and I up on our first date!

This is where I confess to being completely and utterly clueless. I had NO IDEA the boys had planned all this together. I was all like, “Wow, that’s so crazy you’re here! It’s our anniversary today and you’re responsible for initiating our first date. How cool you’re here!”

Seriously. No clue.

So this friend of ours tells Joe he’s got a cd in his car, and it’s a recording of him with the successful musician that I do not like. Yippee!…..Not.

All through lunch, the cd is sitting in front of me. Vague and brief references to its presence are made, and I push it farther away.

When it’s time to leave, I purposely try to leave the cd there!

“Grab that please,” Joe says. I do so, but grumble about it.

We say our goodbyes and Joe and I get in the car. Our plan was to drive up to the bluffs and go hiking to enjoy the fall colors one last time before the cold really set in. He asks me if we can play the cd on the drive up.

“Do we have to?” I whine.

“Please,” he says.

I take the cd and remove the tape seal. When I open it, there’s no cd. There’s a ring! And the words: “I love you lots and lots. Will you marry me?”

2013-10-20_14-29-51_513Once I stopped stupidly muttering the words “Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Ohmygod!” I said YES!

So there you have it, our engagement story, AKA – The CD case explained.

Here’s to a year of new adventures!

If you’re married, what’s your engagement story? And for all you sassy singles, what’s your dream engagement like?

3 Lessons Learned From 3 Years of Blogging

Last month was my blog anniversary. I started blogging 3 years ago on a dare. I had just finished reading Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project. I was talking about it with my boyfriend and how I wanted to start writing again when he dared me to…

“Start a blog.”

I can do that!

So I did.

Here’s what I’ve learned over the years.

1. The Blogosphere Rocks and Comments are Verbal Gold

I am forever grateful to those first few people who started commenting on my blog, and even more so to the ones still around today. I’ve been given amazing opportunity to connect with other bloggers/writers on various projects and it’s always rewarding. Groups like the WANAs, ROW80, and the Life List Club have all helped me push forward with not just my writing goals, but personal goals as well.

Hanging with the WANAs at DFWcon

Hanging with the WANAs at DFWcon

When I made the difficult decision to quit my job, without a back up plan, my blog friends supported me and some even contacted me with potential job leads. They didn’t have to do that, and that’s why it meant the world. When I’ve shared vulnerable posts about writing slumps, not going back to school, and heck – shitting my pants! – you’ve stuck by me and your comments keep me going. Thank you!

2. Trust Your Gut

My blog has transformed many times over the years. And so has my writing. The first book I started, and consequently restarted and rewrote 10+ times, was a paranormal YA!

Noooo, there were not vampires in it. (Although, I think it would be fine if there were!)

I always wanted to write a comical memoir, but I let people or situations get in the way. When I made it a priority to “tell my story” I had the first draft written in 4 months time. I’ve never been as far in the writing process or felt like I was on the right track as I do now.

Life of a Writer

3. Change is inevitable.

Similar to the previous lesson, change is inevitable. If I stopped moving forward just because I worried about how a topic or change on my blog would go over, I probably wouldn’t be celebrating a blog anniversary right now. Allowing my blog to grow with me as I learn and reflect, benefits not just me, but my readers as well.

*****

Thank you everyone for reading!

And for joining me on my journey to make pathetic look cool. 😀

What’s a life lesson that’s been on your mind lately?

Tune in Monday to join me and my guest, Amber West, discussing cats vs. dogs, parenting advice, what to watch on television, and her thriller with a twist – The Ruth Valley Missing!

Happiness Boosters and Posts that Promote You

Hello Everyone!  I’ve been training all last week (and still am) in a new Manager Position, so forgive me for not visiting as many of you as I try to. And worse, for not working on that WIP like I should be. I’m currently sitting at 51K on Oops Baby (the WIP). I’ll update you soon! In the meantime, I’ve been reading some great stuff and thought it was time for another mash up! Grab your coffee and settle in!

Coffee Time

Happiness Boosters

With summer finally here, are you feeling like you have nothing to wear? Are you on a tight budget and trying to re-purpose your closet? Nina Badzin shares Wardrobe Rescue – Her story of getting help from a Style Expert who matched up clothes that were already in her closet!

Speaking of wardrobes…What does your footwear say about your love life? The hilarious Tawna Fenske asks herself just that in Judging My Love Life By My Footwear.

Looking for a little life recharge from the solitary writer’s life? Joe Warnimont shares Breaking Through Writing Solitude with ideas to escape cabin fever and refuel again!

The Packing Tips You Don’t Want to Miss

Romance writer Erin Knightley packs 8 days worth of travel into one carry on bag! Need to see it to believe it? She’s got a video! It’s beautiful! I will definitely be implementing her tips when Joe and I take our road trip again this summer.  How to Pack for Nationals

Wondering where to go on your next vacation? I am so excited for author Patricia Sands who joined forces with Women’s Travel Network to plan a trip to Provence, France touring the sites from her book, The Promise of Provence. Looking at the itinerary, it sounds like the trip of a lifetime!  Come to France With Us Next June!

Remember when planes were fun? People dressed up to travel and the food was elegant. Renee Schuls-Jacobson reminisces When Flying Was Fun.

Make ‘Em Laugh, Make ‘Em Laugh

Jenny Hansen of the blog, More Cowbell, shares Dumb State Laws That Made Me Laugh. A few of my favorites from Jenny’s home state, California:

  • No vehicle without a driver may exceed 60 miles per hour. (Whew.)
  • It is a misdemeanor to shoot at any kind of game from a moving vehicle, unless the target is a whale.
  • Animals are banned from mating publicly within 1,500 feet of taverns, schools, or places of worship.

Amy at Left to Write was Freshly Pressed with the post Am I a Millenial? As someone who questions this constantly myself, I feel her pain. I too grew up with a rotary phone in the house and thought the best boy band was New Kids on the Block. And yet I Instagram, therefore I am… ???

Pimp and Promote

Glitter Queen and California Girl, Tameri Etherton, is getting ready to launch her new website. She’s got a great teaser of what it looks like in the form of the coolest business cards ever as well as a name competition to name her dragon mascot!  Dragon Names! RWA Prep! Movies! It’s all here today!

One of my favorite new blogs to read is Madge Madigan‘s. Looking for a laugh from a woman with real snark spark? Ok, snark too. She’s been offering her book, When Life Gives You Lemons…At Least You Won’t Get Scurvy for great deals lately so keep posted to get your copy!

Two of my favorite ladies in one place! Tiffany A. White interviews paranormal writer/blogger Catie Rhodes! Get her take on Ghosts, Haunted Houses, and Forever Road!

Geek Goddess and Steampunk Warrior Ellie Ann has released her debut novel, The Silver Sickle, and a new website! Nab your copy today!

Post-apocalyptic writer Piper Bayard still has her Reader/Blogger Challenge going on to win some PR/Schwag in honor of her amazing new book, Firelands – which I am reading and LOVING! She recently blogged about Currency of the Apocalypse – Whatcha Got?

What did I miss?

Feel free to promote a post of your own in the comments! See you there!

Redhot Women: We Met Them on Twitter

We’re Baaaaack!  Marcia Richards and I are serving up another REDHOT edition of:

The Redhots!

Today, we’re introducing you to two women from the Twitterverse who we think exemplify what it means to be REDHOT!

Marcia’s guest will show you how to feng shui your home!  Don’t miss it!  Go say hello!

And my guest, I admit, I actually found through YouTube and then twitter stalked found her!  She’s the owner of the only beauty salon and bookshop, Beauty and the Book, plus the founder and Queen of the WORLD’S largest book club!

Introducing Kathy Patrick

JW:  You own the only Beauty Salon and Bookshop in the country.  What has it meant to work everyday at the two things you love most?  And how did your shop come about?

KP:  Everyday I wake up at the crack of dawn as I can’t wait to do what I love to do, make people feel better about themselves, BEAUTY, and talk about great reads, BOOKS, thus my shop is Beauty and the Book.  These two are the best marriage ever and for me it makes my life always a celebration of big love!  I don’t go to work, I go to play and get paid for it!  Do the thing you love and you’ll never work another day in your life but then you will never work harder.  Your work will just seem like play, at least it does for me.  If I was rich, I would do what I do for free.  Unfortunately, I have bills just like everybody else so I have to charge.

My shop, Beauty and the Book, came about because I lost my job as a book publisher’s representative.  Due to the influx of large box stores coming in to my four state territory, the independent bookstores that I called on began to close in droves.  Since I was the last one hired, I was the first one fired, as my boss put it downsized.  So it was my sister who suggested to me to go back to doing hair.  That’s how I put myself through college.  When I told her I would be bored just doing hair, she said, “Do the book thing too!”  Beauty and the Book was born!  It’s all in the first chapter of my book, When Life Hands You a Lemon, forget Lemonade, Make Margaritas.  My book is called “The Pulpwood Queens’ Tiara Wearing, Book Sharing Guide to Life” and is the first book you are to read when you become an Official Pulpwood Queen Book Club member!

You also lead the world’s LARGEST book club!  Tell us about the Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys passion for literacy and dialogue. 

I have always had my nose stuck in a book so when the local book club invited me to come join their book club when I opened my shop, I jumped at the chance.  You can imagine my surprise and embarrassment when after blurting out how happy I was to be FINALLY in a book club, the hostess pulled me out into the galley of her plantation home.  “I’m sorry, but we didn’t invite you to join our book club but to be a guest.”  This is not in my book but I wish I had put it in there as that is exactly why I started The Pulpwood Queens of East Texas Book Club “where tiaras are mandatory and reading good books is the rule!”  Our book club would be inclusive not exclusive and anybody could be in our book club.  Who makes up those silly rules anyhoo!  So six complete strangers joined me and everybody else has been joining us ever since.  We aren’t your mama’s book club and our book club is not homework.  

We aren’t your mama’s book club!

If it isn’t fun, well, quite frankly Jess, I’m just not doing it!  I challenge all my now 550 world wide book clubs to take on a literacy mission.  For me it’s The Dolly Parton Imagination Library Project which helps children get reading ready for school.  Dolly makes reading fun as each child in my county from birth to kindergarten gets a FREE book to read and enjoy.  We want everybody to understand and be on the same page that reading is the best entertainment in the world and the side benefits are if you become a real reader, school just makes more sense.  Reading is as important to a child as water, food, shelter and a loving home.  Pull a child onto your lap and read to them.  Tell me that isn’t the best way to show love to your child.

The Pulpwood Queens, like yourself, are full of extraordinary, confident, intelligent, and talented women!  You ladies know how to have fun and live life large.  Tell us a secret!  (We know you have them!)  😉

The Pulpwood Queens are the largest “meeting and discussing” book club in the world as I crown girls Queen, they lead their own book club their own way.  I give them ownership but I do ask, no wait, command as their queen to read the books I select.  I am also on a mission to not only make them read, but I select books from oftentimes first time, first book authors. I also love to help those authors whose books change lives like Sam Bracken and Echo Garrett’s book “My Orange Duffel Bag”.  Echo sent me the book and I was blown away.  Another charity of choice is their not for profit, www.myorangeduffelbag.com as this helps teens make the right choices. It’s quite a story and one that makes the world a better place.

 
Somebody also needs to introduce the next Harper Lee’s, Margaret Mitchell’s, Ernest Hemingway’s, well, you get the picture.  I also ask each chapter to champion a literacy cause and my goodness these girls are blowing me away.  In fact, I came up with a KAT Award for just that.  Last year, my winners went to my South Louisiana chapter that provides books for a whole school in Nicaragua.  My Alaska chapter started a prison chapter and have now started a paroled prison chapter.  My Colorado Queen started a brand new school library for a Native American Indian School in North Dakota.  I could go on and on and on on these girls.  We aren’t just a book club, we are literacy leaders!
 
My secret is to make reading fun!  For years I watched parents drag their children to the book store of which I was a Children’s Manager and Buyer.  Looking for books with the most points, the accelerated reading program had sucked all the fun out of reading books.  So I told them a story, the story of a boy who survived a plane crash to swim out of the plane as it was sinking with only an ax.  He had to learn how to live with that one precious possession.  Then I would stop, “More, more they would cry!”  I would then hand them Gary Paulson’s “The Hatchet” and you couldn’t keep them from reading the book, they had to know the full story.
My secret is to make reading fun!  So, I told them a story!
  
Basically it is the same way with adults so why not approach reading as entertainment than a lesson.  So we don tiaras, wear boas and leopard print.  I give them license to rule as reading queens then I select books that make them want to read.  What if a nearly broke general store owner was receiving a grandfather clock in shipment.  One that if sold could bring her out of the threat of foreclosure.  And what would happen if when a crow bar was taken to open the box and if instead of finding a clock, you found a man.  A man who steps out of the box, oh the mystery.  Hook, line, and sinker my friends, welcome to “Man in the Blue Moon” by Michael Morris.  Reading is an adventure, so we go on many literary adventures in either our book club meetings or on our literary trips.  So far we have been to Italy, France, a cruise to Bahamas, England, and I take my Pulpwood Queens with me where ever I go to book festivals, speaking engagements, and why not have some big time fun while we are at it.  I even took five of my book club members on my book tour, 27 stops, 7,000 miles, and they are my best friends in the whole wide world!


With your video chats for Beauty and the Book, you’ve interviewed and come to know many authors in such fantastic ways!  You’ve gone vintage clothes shopping with Karen Abbott, you’ve had Lisa See cook dinner for you, and you’ve gone real estate hunting with Fannie Flagg!  What author are you still wishing to meet, and what activity would you want to do together? 

Today my answer is Dolly Parton as her new book released “Dream More” and she is a literacy promoting hero!  And if I could just spend the day with her singing perhaps, I love to sing harmony, alto, and talk to her about an adult literacy idea I have involving music.  She is my inspiration, in fact, I wrote all about her in my book too!  I’d also love to meet former President Bill Clinton because after reading his books, he’s as big a reader as I am.  Or Tom Wolfe, love everything that man writes, perhaps, Barbara Kingsolver.  You’ve heard the term, “So many books, too little time”.  I feel the same way about authors.  I want to meet them all!!!

As a hairdresser, I’m sure you stay up on the latest trends, but you also focus on inner beauty with your clients.  Tell us your best beauty advice!  And ok, share a guilty pleasure beauty buy too! 

My beauty secret is common sense, good skin care and a healthy lifestyle.  But if you have to invest in one thing, invest in a smile!  The hardest thing for some people to invest in, but a smile will get you more than anything money could buy.  I work on zero budget.  I have found that being kind, loving people and being gracious when people tell you a flat out no will get you more places than expensive anything.  But don’t take no for a final answer, offer something else and if they say no, offer something else.  Pretty soon, they will say yes or at least think about your passion!  The secret to the fountain of youth is finding your passion.  It keeps you alive, vibrant, and ready for anything.  I just refuse to give up.  I’ll get there eventually or die trying!  My guilty pleasure is dreaming beyond your wildest dreams.  

If you have to invest in one thing, invest in a smile!

 What’s next for Kathy Patrick and her Pulpwood Queens? 
Well, my documentary on my reading life and Girlfriend Weekend is now finished by film maker William Torgerson.  We premiered FOR THE LOVE OF BOOKS at the Phenom International Film Festival in Shreverport/Bossier City, Louisiana and it WON the Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film!  Ta da!  I plan on taking it to book festivals across the country to share our love of reading!

 
I am also working on my next book, “Eureka”, which is a novel, no kidding!  I try to break all the rules!
 
And I haven’t given up on having my own book club talk show, so if anybody is with a network, please check out my Beauty and the Book Show at www.beautyandthebookshow.com.
 
I plan on starting next year a Writer’s Retreat and there is nothing I adore more than authors and learning the art and craft of sharing a story whether true or fiction.  The sky is the limit as far as sharing my love of books!  I would like to spend more time speaking to children, students on my love for reading and already have many speaking engagements lined up to do just that!
 
So when it comes to talking books, I am so there!  All I ask is for someone to give me that chance to help books change peoples lives for the better like they have for me!  I’ll end with my favorite quote, “Life is not made up of atoms, but stories!” by Muriel Rukheyser and to me it’s our stories that separate us from the animals, it’s what makes us real and human.  We live in the world that everyday is isolating us from each other.  People need community and I can think of no better way to create that community than through books.
“Life is not made up of atoms, but stories!” by Muriel Rukheyser
Kathy, thanks so much for sharing your REDHOT dreams and passion for books with us!  
Readers can learn more by visiting you here:
And don’t forget to see who our REDHOT guest is at Marcia’s today too!
Thanks for dropping by!  Stick around and we’ll see you in the comments section!

A ROWdate: What Exactly Have I Accomplished?

Hello ROWers!  Can it be another week has flown by already?!

Well, my ROW goals are as always, ongoing.  But after returning from vacation, I had one busy week to dive back into.  Sadly, no writing got done.  That’s the big focus for this week and I have the next two days off to get crackin’!

Here’s what I have accomplished!

I’m on track with my reading, completing 2 books so far this month!  Hope to get a third, maybe fourth as well. 

I recently finished reading NYTBS author Karen Abbott’s newest book, American Rose:  A Nation Laid Bare, The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee.  Some of you remember that Karen did an interview with me, and I must say, this book is just as great as the last one!  WOW!  I had no idea Gypsy’s story was so sordid and full of survival at the same time.

I also finished Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close, a debut novel for the author.  This book was my “I’m in a lot of weddings this summer, someone please commiserate with me!” pick.  Interestingly written.  Not how I expected it to be, but still kept my attention.  It’s as much dating sagas of the girls as it is the weddings they attend.

I did support my fellow ROWers and writers all around!

Tried to catch up on many of the blogs I missed while on vacation.  Cheered some of you on!  But also came across this post by Jenny Hansen of More Cowbell.  Jenny admitted that she, and her writing, were suffering from grief.  While she’s working on her memoir, many emotions surrounding her difficult pregnancy came flooding back.  Her post was one of great vulnerability and honesty, and I truly appreciate her sharing with us so that so many other writers had a place to speak their feelings and know we’re not alone.  She gave that gift to me in this post.  Jenny, thank you.

There is lots of love to go around, check it out!

Drumroll Please:  I successfully officiated the wedding of my best friend!

Photo courtesy Kelly Ottesen Photography

Well, she came out crying, so she totally set me off right at the beginning!  Dang you, Catherine!  But, I regained composure and it was a beautiful ceremony that demonstrated their love for one another the whole day through.  Both Cat and Aaron’s family invited me in as one of them and it was a full day’s celebration with delectable food, games, and even horseback rides!

Congrats to my best friend and her new husband!  So happy for you guys!

Other News and Announcements!

I’m so excited to share with you all now the two new adventures I’ll be taking on!  Many of you know and read about the end of The Life List Club, co-founded by myself and the talented Marcia Richards.  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to maintain enough contributing writers with everyone’s crazy schedules, so for now we put that blog to rest.  But Marcia and I are busy bodies to the core and couldn’t dream of not hanging out together!  Seriously, we’d be heartbroken.

Sooo, after some fun brainstorming sessions, I’m pleased to announce that Marcia and I will be starting up a monthly column, so to speak, called The Redhots!  It’ll be news, reviews, and interviews coming at you live from two of your favorite redheads! 😉  You can see Marcia’s intro to it here, and I promise to get mine up and running tomorrow!  We’ll be kicking off our column on August 31st with a review of Fifty Shades of Grey!

And that’s not all…

While on vacation, I was contacted by the lovely Jennifer Lyn King and Nina Badzin to be a contributing writer for a hot new blog called Great New Books.  We’re actually starting up an online book club!  We’re discussing one book – which you the readers vote for – for a whole month!  We’ll have discussion questions, interviews, and giveaways and are always looking for your recommendations.  All the books we read will be published within the last year, so we’re going to give you the scoop on what’s new that you just have to get!

Ok, that’s all folks!  How is your week going?  Hope you got more writing done than I!  Have a fabulous weekend!

Tales From the ROWd

Hello Everyone from VERY sunny Moab, Utah!

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Last week on the road, and Tuesday, Joe and I did some hiking around Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.  It was a squelching 96° most of the day which I surpassed by counting the number of water bottles I depleted and times I reapplied sunscreen. The answer is 4 and 3.  Still had a bought of heat exhaustion and literally sat under a rock for some shade while Joe took over photography duties. 

Feeling good now, although sad my trip is coming to an end. 

I am excited to get back into WordPress and catch up on all your blogs!  I’ll have more trip details to share and some other big announcements coming up.

YOU can be a huge help with those announcements on Friday’s blog.  I’m posting a poll to get feedback on my blog and I NEED YOUR OPINION!  Please share what you love/don’t love/want more of so that year 3 of the Happiness Project can be even bigger and bolder than ever!

Thank you ever so much all you awesome friends!  Now get crackin on those goals of your own cause I’ll be checking in!

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