10212017 (General updates–plus a new book announcement!)

Since it’s been so long since I last updated, this is going to be a kind of long, rambl-y post…with lots of pictures :). I’ll do my best to keep it organized in some fashion, though.

Where to start?

The summer went by so fast!

Back in July Steve and I saw Matthew Sweet live. This was a dream come true for me and I sort of blubbered all through the show.

I know, how embarrassing :X.

I hadn’t expected to get that emotional but sheesh…so many of his songs just mean so much to me! Hearing them played live made me think about the past, and what a lonely and depressed teenager I was back then. It’s not an understatement to say music was one of the things that got me through those rough years, and some of Matthew Sweet’s albums in particular, helped me so much. So, yeah. That show was an a-m-a-z-i-n-g experience for me. I just wish the audience had been livelier. They just sat there–while I wanted to go nuts, lol :).

Matthew Sweet marquee

I also got to see Guns N Roses live again in September, in San Antonio. They put on a really great show, of course, and it was doubly wonderful because Steve and I were able to catch up with some old friends before the concert, too! Later in the month we saw The Descendents, one of Steve’s favorite bands, which was also a lot of fun.

In August, we continued with our 6pack 5K Beer Challenge and completed the course at the Southern Star Brewing Company in Conroe. This race benefited Toys for Tots. It was super fun, as all of these races have been. The breakfast tacos afterward were dee-licious, too!

Toward the end of August, Hurricane Harvey hit and everything went haywire. Or at least, that is what it sort of felt like down here in Houston! I’m thankful (very, very thankful) our home did not flood. We were without power for a couple of days, but that was it.

scrabble board

We played Scrabble by candlelight :).

It was heartbreaking to see so much damage all around us, though.

We have made some donations to relief charities and Steve and I will be raising money for the Houston Food Bank when we run the Aramco Houston Half Marathon for the tenth time this year. This is an organization that we have donated to and volunteered with many times in the past, and I think they are great. Here are some stats about their recovery efforts, from an email they sent me. (And if you’d like to read more about them and their ongoing work, please click here to go to their website!)

Houston is my home, it has a big piece of my heart, and I hope we can do at least a little something to help out around here.

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A Rodeo Clown IPA from Karbach Brewing Co.’s “Happy Hour for Hunger” back in September — another fun event, and for a good cause!

At the same time, I know we are far from the only area to be devastated in one way or another, lately :(. There have been hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and that terrible shooting in Las Vegas, just to name a few.

I know bad things happen all the time but it really feels as though 2017 has been an especially tough year for a lot of people.

I’m not one to blog very much, either here or on social media, in general and honestly, lately it has been even harder for me to get motivated to do so. In the face of so much tragedy, what do you even say? Particularly when you are someone who spends a lot of her time writing (ostensibly) funny stuff. You can begin to question what you do, whether it is important at all, or a worthwhile contribution to the world. I think about this a lot anyway, but lately it has really been on my mind.

BUT…a couple weeks ago, Steve and I saw horror-comedy director Adam Green speak before a screening of Victor Crowley and he talked about this very topic. He said (and I’m totally paraphrasing here) that, in a way, it’s more important than ever to share a laugh together after something bad happens, because it reminds us that life isn’t all one thing.

There’s good and there’s bad, and getting our minds off the bad, even if it’s only for a short while, can be really helpful sometimes.

I think that makes sense. I know it’s true for me. A few years ago I had some health problems and was having to go to the doctor a lot, while they tried to determine what was wrong with me (it ended up being nothing too bad, thankfully). I was reading Meg Cabot’s Abandon series at the time and I remember being so grateful for the distraction. Her funny, happy books almost always put me in a good mood! I would love it if anything I wrote or did was ever able to lift someone’s spirits in a similar manner, even temporarily. That’s part of why I do what I do, to entertain and encourage, and it’s extremely humbling and fulfilling for me when someone does seem to get something worthwhile out of my work :).

So, um, I guess I’ll keep doing it. Particularly since I can’t seem to stop, anyway.

All of which leads me to…book news!

The Goodreads giveaway for The Real You ended on September 10th. There were almost 1500 entries all told, which is awesome! All of the books have long been packaged up and sent out, I just hadn’t gotten around to writing about it yet (big surprise). Thanks to everyone who entered! I had such a blast with this, I may just have to do another one again sometime soon ;).

And last but not least…I’ve written another thing.

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Adorable cover by Steve, once again :).

This is a short novella, about 33,000 words (130 pages) in length, and I hope to have it out soon. Very soon.

As in very, very soon.

You know, seeing as how it is set at Halloween and all..! 🙂

This story (which I’m so far referring to as a “Bonus Holiday Special”) takes place about 2+ years after the end of The Real You. It features Rourke, Dallas, and a bunch of other characters from The Real You, as well as Fear and Laundry and Fear and Laundry 2. I have no idea if anyone will be interested in reading this (and, really, that is true of everything I’ve ever written in my life), but I wrote it anyway because:

  • A) I like Rourke and Dallas, they wouldn’t leave my mind, and I wanted to write a little more about them.
  • B) I enjoy writing about holidays, and since Halloween is my favorite, I wanted to write a story set then.
  • C) And yeah, I wanted to put the characters in funny costumes and send them off to a haunted house :D. Why not, I ask you?

I hope at least some of y’all will check it out and get a kick out of it. I’ll post the release date as soon as I know what it is. (Edit: As of October 28th, 2017, A Very Merry Carreen Halloween is now available in the Amazon Kindle store :)).

‘Til then…thank you for reading this and take care, y’all!

With love and gratitude,

XOXO,

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The Real You

So, I’ve got a new book out :).

It’s actually already been out for a couple of weeks but due to my inability to ever post about anything in a timely fashion, I am just now getting around to saying anything about it (well, I did announce it on Facebook :)).

Thanks to everyone who has downloaded The Real You already, either to buy or to borrow; I really appreciate it. If you haven’t gotten a copy yet and are interested, here’s the link.

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After publishing my 2nd book, Fear and Laundry 2, I had no intention of writing any more books set in Carreen, TX, at least not for a while. I spent a year working on a completely different project, but when NaNoWriMo 2015 rolled around, I decided to take a break from that new book and write something else.

I started from a few notes I’d made regarding the epilogue to FaL 2, and the character introduced there, named Rourke. I’d thought I might write a short story about her, but I wound up writing a full-length novel, which became The Real You. Since it came together much faster than the other project I had been working on, I decided to concentrate on Rourke’s story, instead, for a while and then go ahead and put it out.

I loved writing it and I hope y’all enjoy reading it. Much love,

Elizabeth

Happy New Year!

Yes, I realize it is already a full week into 2016, but as it’s likely clear by now, I am not the greatest at posting in a timely fashion. Ah, well. I’m sorry. But I hope everyone had a nice holiday season — and a good 2015, for that matter.

Looking back, it was a really fun year for S and me. It seems like we went a lot of places and did many interesting things. Our most involved travel adventure was a road trip we took to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to see Rob Zombie and Korn (plus a ton of other bands) back in October. Along the way we stopped in Hope, Arkansas (where we toured the childhood home of Bill Clinton), Memphis, Tennessee (Graceland) and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (The Warhol). We had a blast!

Here are some pictures of the fried peanut butter and banana sandwich I tried at Graceland. Mmm, yummy! S, for some odd reason, does not like bananas so he didn’t partake, but he had a veggie burger that was pretty good, too :).

PB and banana sandwich

What else can I say about 2015? As the year came to a close, I found myself not feeling the need to make a ton of resolutions, for once. It feels odd saying it but I think I’ve gotten to a point where I am just generally happy and content with the way my life works. I’ve managed to cut out a lot of excess and focus on what matters most to me:  my marriage and home life, reading, and writing as much as possible.

Speaking of which…I blew my yearly reading goal out of the water. I read more books in 2015 than I ever have before in my life (or at least since I started keeping track) — 86! I know some people regularly read way more than that, but for me 86 is a crazy-high number. I usually hover somewhere around 50. The greatest part of this is that 40 of those were “old” books, or titles I’d had in my possession prior to Christmas, 2014. So I was able to wipe a whole bunch of reallly old stuff off my TBR list. This makes me happy. Very happy. So even though I didn’t do so well at controlling the number of new books I acquired (I bought 73, all told, and that’s not counting Christmas presents), I still feel pretty good about the progress I made in this area. Here’s hoping this year I can beat the reading record again, as well as actually stick to my rules of not buying stuff I can’t read right away. I still need a bit more discipline in that area, it seems.

On the writing front, I also probably wrote/revised more in 2015 than ever before, too. I’ve got a couple of long-ish projects in the works right now, but am too superstitious to say anything else about them at this point :). Soon, I hope.

And on the minimalism front…the other day I went into Walmart and didn’t buy anything that wasn’t on my (very short) shopping list. If that doesn’t say I’ve turned the minimalist corner, I’m not sure what does. And it’s not like I wasn’t tempted. I almost bought pumpkin pie- and cake batter-flavored ChapSticks. And a Star Wars puzzle. These things may or may not have gone for a little ride in my shopping cart. But the important thing is, they saw their way back out of there before I left the store! There’s a time when that wouldn’t have happened. I felt so much better having said “no” to these things, though, not because there’s anything wrong with buying them but because I know I didn’t need them and I would have regretted buying more stuff for no good reason. This year I hope to continue to buy less, get rid of more, minimize and just generally continue to simplify my life. It feels so much better this way.

Hoping your year has gotten off to a great start, and wishing you a wonderful 2016,

Elizabeth

Happy Holidays (and a book announcement)!

I’ve baked entirely too many cookies over the past two days, only about half of which have turned out decently :(. Ah, well, they can’t all be winners, I guess. And it’s still fun to make them, even if they turn out ugly!

Here are a few before they went into the oven (for the record, these turned out okay :)).

DSCF3070For those of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope you are having a wonderful one!

But regardless of how you celebrate (or don’t), I wish you all the best of the season and hope you are enjoying some fun with family and/or friends.

I also wanted to let everyone know that my latest book, Fear and Laundry 2will be going on sale over the weekend! It will be available from Amazon for $.99 beginning Saturday, after which time the price will increase to $1.99 for a few days and then finally return to the usual amount of $2.99. So get it soon!

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And if you haven’t read it yet, the first book in this series, Fear and Laundry is always available for $.99. So if you are looking to read a couple of cute and lighthearted YA romances (the first of which was honored as a notable entry in Shelf Unbound Magazine’s 2013 Writing Competition for Best Independently Published Book), I encourage y’all to head over to my author page this weekend and put that Amazon money you got for Christmas to good use ;)!

Also, I am always interested in learning about and supporting my fellow authors, so if you’ve written a book, too, LMK with a like or a comment! I would love to check out your work.

Happy holidays,
Elizabeth

NaNoWriMo is interfering with my reading schedule.

It’s Tuesday, but I don’t really have anything book-related to report :(.

I’m still reading Dracula. I’m not very far into it. Normally I’d be further along, but…NaNoWriMo!! It’s been a few years since I participated and I’d forgotten how much time it can actually take up. Especially when you fall behind for two days (as I may or may not have done over the weekend :(). I’d also forgotten how much fun this challenge can be, though. I’m enjoying my story so far. It’s so freeing to just write whatever and not have to worry about how it sounds (yet)!

Anyway, instead of books, I do have this picture of some vases I bought at Goodwill over the weekend. Now, I have downsized my possessions a LOT over the past few years and I’m still trying to get rid of stuff, so I’m usually loathe to bring in anything new. In fact, I wouldn’t normally step inside the Goodwill for fear of coming away with something I don’t need, but…S and I had some clothes to drop off and were wanting some other specific items, so we decided to take a look around. We didn’t find what we were looking for, but I ran across these. I already wanted at least one other vase (I’d accidentally broken one of the two clear ones I’d kept a while back) and they match my kitchen/dining area color scheme, so…I got ’em both. Look how cute they are! I love cobalt blue stuff.

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They actually do not match perfectly. The one in the back has a swirled pattern on it and has a slightly bigger mouth than the other. But I actually like that they’re not exactly the same.

S and I also bought a really cute, actual-wood (our last one was particle board) dining table off Craigslist on Sunday. S found it and arranged everything with the seller, so he should really get all the credit. Now, thanks to him we are all set for Thanksgiving! Except for the food. I am still trying to figure out what all to cook. I have a set of favorite recipes for mashed potatoes and dressing and whatnot that I rely on, but have never been completely satisfied with the vegetable sides. Maybe this will be the year, though. Maybe roasted Brussels sprouts will be my answer :).

Ok, time to go get some other stuff (like novel writing) done. To everyone else out there doing NaNoWriMo, I wish you all the best of luck!! Hang in there.

Elizabeth