Yearly Archives: 2010

‘True Blood’ DVD Giveaway

True Blood DVDRecently I began writing for PopArmy.com, an entertainment site owned by my friends, authors Jennifer Hudock and James Melzer

I’ve known for quite some time that these two are chuck full of great ideas, so it came as no surprise to me when they decided to launch a True Blood DVD Giveaway. Yep, that’s right. You could be the lucky winner of a copy of True Blood season one or True Blood season two. So, if you’re cringing at the thought of not getting your weekly True Blood and sexy Alexander Skarsgård fix, here’s your chance to feed your bloodsucking habit until season four begins.

To win, you have to follow the guidelines below, including commenting on this post and then commenting on the official post at PopArmy.com to inform them that you stopped by my site and left some comment love.

Any questions that you have can be posted over at the official True Blood DVD Giveaway page.

Per the official site:

Additional entries can be earned if you:

  • Follow PopArmy on Twitter and leave a comment letting us know you followed.
  • Retweet the giveaway and leave a comment with the tweet url.
  • Like PopArmy on Facebook and leave a comment letting us know you “liked” us.
  • Send the giveaway out to your Facebook followers and comment to let us know you shared it.
  • Blog about the giveaway on your site or blog and comment with the url so we can check out your site.
  • Visit our giveaway sponsors websites and leave a comment on a post there. Comment here letting us know which posts you commented on so we can verify it.  Sponsors: Paddy’s Wanderings, Chandra, Superficial Gallery, Doubleshot Reviews, Just Nikki and Tony Faville.

That’s twelve separate ways to enter, so increase your chances and do them all!

The New England Farm 2 Fork Project: Amazing Food!

When I was a kid, my mom and dad always encouraged me to try new foods. While my mom’s taste weren’t quite as broad as my dad’s, she still encouraged me to keep an open mind when it came to foods I wasn’t familiar with. So I have.

Over the course of my life, I’ve tried some foods that some people would wrinkle their noses at, but for me, they’ve all been culinary experiences that I’m grateful for and will never forget. How could I forget the first time I ever tried escargot?

When I became a mom, I knew that I wanted to instill that same openness in my daughter. I wanted her to grow up with an open mind, and she has.

At three years old, she ate fried calamari for the first time. She still eats it today. These days, she’ll eat just about anything I put in front of her, just like her mom. In fact, last weekend, she tried bourbon salmon from our local supermarket and loved it. By the time we were done, I was wishing I’d bought three fillets instead of one.

Last night, my daughter, father and I had the opportunity to go out and have a wild game dinner at Raven Hill Orchard in East Waterboro, Maine. The dinner was just one of many that have been hosted at Raven Hill Orchard as part of The New England Farm 2 Fork Project, founded by Chef Sebastian Carosi. To say this man is talented would be an understatement. In fact, none of my words can accurately describe how great of a cook he is.

My father, daughter, and I knew we were in for a special treat since my dad already knew how well the chef could cook. (He made my mom a special dinner for her birthday that they are still raving about a couple of weeks later.)

When the kidlet, dad, and I took our first taste of the Maine moose and crispy cattails, we knew our expectations would be met and then some. And we were right. The moose, bear and deer meat were cooked to perfection. I especially loved the Maine black beer ‘chimi’ with scorched local honey-smoked chili sauce. The dish had a spiciness to it that I loved. In fact, I could eat more right now.

Aside from the scrumptious dinner, it was a treat for me to see my daughter moaning and groaning over her plates. She attacked her food with gusto and made me proud to be her mom. I hope that as she continues to grow up, she keeps her mind open to all the wonderful foods that our planet has to offer.

If you’d like to see the full menu of what we ate, click on the image above. But I warn you, it may make you hungry.

Before I close, I would like to leave a special message for Sebastian and Heather:

Thank you both so much for a wonderful evening. It was definitely one I will remember forever. The food was delicious, as was the apple cider punch. And Sebastian, I must say that I’m glad my first taste of bear meat was through one of your meals. You are an extremely talented man, and I truly believe that no matter where you, Heather and your adorable son end up, you’ll be a success. It’s obvious that you have a great love for food. Keep up the great work.

Nikki

Where Has the Time Gone?

In about a week and a half, on September 2nd, my youngest will turn 3 years old. It seems like it was just yesterday that I brought Blake home from the hospital, scared and clueless about how to take care of a baby boy.

I can still remember sitting down to dinner that first night and holding him in my arms and thinking how happy I was to have him and his older sister in my life. At that moment, my life seemed perfect.

The 2nd is also a big day for someone else…Mikala.  It’s her first day of third grade. But how can that possibly be?

I still remember her first day of school, and how excited and nervous we all were to send her on her way. Prior to her first day, we took her to her school, where she met her future classmates and teacher. Us parents were informed of what to expect the following day. But nothing the teachers or principal said could reassure me that my baby would be okay without me.

When she stepped on that bus for the first time to head off to school, I swear a piece of my heart broke free. My baby girl, my beautiful baby girl, was finally venturing out into the world that I had tried to protect her from from the moment she was born. I had to trust her teacher and others in her school to take care of her and protect as though she were their daughter. I had to relinquish control, and that was extremely hard for me.

It’s no secret to those that know me that things haven’t been easy for me for awhile now. Life has been far from perfect. But through it all, my kids have been that one constant. They’re always there with smiles, hugs and laughs. Whenever I feel like crying, they’re there to brighten my day and remind that things could be a heck of a lot worse.

So as Blake turns 3, and Mikala starts third grade, I hope they both realize how much I love them and how proud of them I am. I could not ask for two more beautiful children, and I’m thankful that I was given the change to be their mother.

Mikala and Blake, I love you two more than you could ever know.

Two of My Good Friends Need Some Help

Newsflash: OUR ECONOMY SUCKS! But you probably already knew that. Last night, I found out firsthand how much it truly blows.

This month started out fantastic but it went to hell real quick like. And while I could easily bitch about the unexpected turn of events that last night delivered to me, I’m not going to. Sure, it sucked to lose a job that I really liked, but I at least still have something to fall back on. It’s not a lot, but it’s more than some people have, so I’m counting my blessings. Unfortunately, my buddy James Melzer, along with others, was not so lucky.

When I was told the news last night I was upset, but my thoughts instantly turned to James and his fiance Jenny, who is one of my best friends. See, these two want to get married, but it’s not as simple for them as it is for most of us. Jenny is from the U.S. while James is from Canada, which means he has to jump through hoops in order to marry the woman he loves.

Due to last night’s unexpected turn of events, it looks like their dream of marrying may have to be pushed back.  I love these two to pieces. They’ve made me laugh when I’ve felt like crying. They’ve accepted me the way I am and have not asked me to change, so I can’t sit idly by and allow them to go through this without some help from me.  I know money is tight for many of us, so any way that you can help would be appreciated.

If you are interested, there are several ways that you can help them out. Please check both of their sites, jamesmelzer.net and jennybeans.net for more info.

Thanks!

The From the Dark Side Anthology is Now Available for Purchase

Happy Saturday!

Yesterday was a big day for those of us involved in the From the Dark Side Anthology. Why? Because it was the official release day.

Prior to yesterday, Ms. Jenny sent each of us a copy of the anthology. I haven’t quite finished it yet, but I can tell you this, it’s full of awesomeness. None of the stories or poems are the same, and that’s what makes this anthology great.

As of last night, we had sold 29 copies. After Smashwords took their cut, we ended up with $104.34 that will be donated to The Office of Letters and Light.  Our goal is to hit 100 by the end of the day tomorrow. Yes, it’s a high goal, but I think we can do it.

If you haven’t purchased a copy of the Anthology yet, please do. The cost is $4.99. The links for purchase are below:

AMAZON
SMASHWORDS

To those of you who have purchased a copy, thank you very much. Your generosity means the world to those of us involved in this project. If you know of anyone that would enjoy reading this collection, please direct them to the links above.

Thanks and have a great day!

An interview with Patrick Pillars, a From the Dark Side Anthology contributor

From the Dark Side Anthology

Today is a very exciting week for those of us involved in the From the Dark Side Anthology. We’re all busily promoting it in many ways.

One way that I’ve chosen to do it is by interviewing my good friend Patrick Pillars, who, you may remember, guest blogged on this very site in May.

So, without further ado, here is my interview with Patrick Pillars.

Q: First, can you tell us a little about who Patrick Pillars is?

A: I was born in 1965 and being a part of that generation has shaded my writing as much as my life. I was a typical Michigan kid until I went to the University of Tennessee where I got an education in more then just English Lit.

I have been lucky to be married for 21 1/2 yrs and have 3 sons, the youngest being 4. I have dabbled in art, a rock band, and always writing. I have loved poetry since I was a wee lad and until the past couple years, few knew I was even writing poetry. Like most poets, I am also a frustrated short story writer and someday novelist. That is the condensed version.

Q: Can you tell the readers a little bit about Veil? What inspired it

A: Veil is my nemesis. Some poems just come right out, and I don’t tinker at all with them. Some are more difficult and require some writing and tweaking. Veil was tough right out of the gate. I had a vision standing on a balcony in Traverse City, MI, looking out across the bay. With that came a scene of the vanishing woman type thing and the way I went. This poem has been floating around for awhile and I never really did much with it until the Anthology came along. Then the idea of mirrors and alternate, dream-like reality took over and I worked it for over a month. I think, much like the poem, that I never quite touch what I am looking for, and maybe that was the point. Poetry can be weird that way.

Q: How did you come to be involved in the anthology?

A: One day I was talking with Jennifer Hudock and I asked her if she ever thought about doing an anthology. She said yes, a little, what did I have in mind. So we chatted about some ideas and how to get folks who write in all kinds of genres and styles together to do an anthology, and we would do it for charity. I just kinda gave her an idea and she ran with it and did all the really hard work.

Q: What do you think is special about this anthology? What sets it apart from others?
A: I think there is a big difference between this type of combined effort and other anthology works. Most anthologies are genre specific with a theme and standard submission guidelines. For this book, the people involved are poets, podcasters, and short fiction writers from a wide variety of genres. This makes this collection unique. The response has been very good from folks willing to donate their creative effort to charity, this also makes this work special. I believe that there is something in there for everyone and for the cause of literacy makes this project fun and fulfilling.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I will have a story appearing in another Anthology this summer. I also have been submitting poetry and short stories here and there and hope to have a few more published this year. Still working on that novel too.
Q: Where can fans go to find out more about you?
A: You can get a copy via Amazon or Smashwords this Friday, July 9th. You can catch updates here, from Nikki, or my blog, or from Jennifer Hudock’s blog, as well. Cost is $4.99 and benefits literacy through the fine folks at NaNoWriMo and The Office of Letters and Light Program.
A big thanks to Pat Pillars for taking the time to do this interview. Now here’s an exciting video for you to watch courtesy of Jacqueline Roth. Enjoy!

From the Dark Side Anthology News

From the Dark Side Anthology

As many of you know by now, Friday is the release date of the From the Dark Side Anthology. And I have to say, I’m VERY excited. This is the first time I’ve had a short story published, so it’s a big deal for me. How lucky am I to be included in a group of such amazingly talented people? (I’ve actually been battling a “I’m not worthy” feeling.)

So, if you were wondering what cool peeps are included in the anthology, here you go:

  • Nicole Godin
  • Joseph Bowley
  • Josh Crummer

If you would like more information on the From the Dark Side Anthology, you can visit Jennifer Hudock’s site or you can read the press release below:

From the Dark Side: A Charity Anthology

In March 2010, a group of creative types got together in search of ways to showcase their work. There were talks of collaboration which evolved into the From the Dark Side Anthology. Because there were so many people involved in the project, an equal distribution of earnings seemed silly, and so those who gave birth to the idea decided to ask contributors to donate their work.

A worthwhile cause creative-types could stand behind was not hard to find. We turned our attention to the Letters and Light Organization, a non-profit charity that promotes youth creativity.

Since most creative people have a special memory of someone who encouraged and supported them, nurtured their gift and inspired them to pursue their dreams, it seemed like an obvious choice to donate all the proceeds earned from this charity endeavor to The Letters and Light Organization.

Details: Will go on sale electronically July 9, 2010 on Amazon and Smashwords for $4.99 per copy.

Readers do NOT need an eReader in order to download and read the anthology. Amazon offers a download of their Kindle software for PCs and Macs, as well as the iPhone and iTouch. Smashwords has a wide variety of downloadable mediums, from direct browser html and PDF to eReader and Kindle, just to name a few.

A Time for Reflection

Wells Beach

Today, when I woke up, I was greeted by quite a few birthday wishes. It was a nice way to wake up and begin the day. As I’ve thanked those who have wished me a great birthday, I’ve had time to reflect back on the past year.

As those closest to me know, it hasn’t been easy year. In fact, suffice it to say, it’s been one of the toughest. I spent the first six months of my 27th year with very limited use of my left hand. It was a very frustrating time for me.

Last Christmas, though, I was the lucky recipient of a miracle, of sorts, by way of my parents Wii. (Don’t ask.)

My injury was just one problem I dealt with this year. While I won’t post info on my other trials, I can say that there have been days that I’ve wanted to stay in bed, pull the covers over my head and cry. It hasn’t gotten easier to handle, though, in recent months.

It was back in March, or thereabouts, that I started writing again following my hiatus due to my hand injury. It was slow going, at first, but what really got me motivated was The Creative Alliance, created by author James Melzer.

TCA has given me so much over the past few months. I’m surrounded by a group of insanely talented people who accept me just the way I am. They provide me with support and laughs when I need it.

Because of their support and love, I want to take the time today to thank those who made the second half of this year better than the first.

Jenny, you have been such an amazing friend to me over the past couple of years. You’ve believed in me and helped me to grow. You’ve been a shoulder when I needed one. So thank you for that and thank you for allowing me to be a part of such an amazing anthology.

James, thank you for starting TCA. Without it, I wouldn’t have accomplished what I have the past few months.

Acadia, I know it cramps your style and makes you look less tough, but thank you for believing in me and for nagging me about this site. I’ve made myself accessible to a lot more people because of you. I owe you one.

Pat, thanks for being a great friend and allowing me to guest blog on your site. It was a blast, and we must do it again.

Edit: yesterday, I forgot to include the most important person at The Superificial Gallery — Vange. (We just allow Acadia to think he is.)

So Vange, thank you for reminding me every week to floss my teeth. 🙂 I’d be lost without you.

And as a whole, I must thank Jenny, Leslie, Jackie, Mary Lou and Annie for your time, friendship and support of Second Chances. I truly appreciate it.

Before I forget, as cheesy as it sounds, thank you, Lee, for your Slumberland album. Without it, I would never have figured out my lead character’s name.

As always, I must also thank my mom, dad and brother for their support. They’ve seen me at my worst and yet, they still love me. I love you guys!

OH! One more thing, to commemorate today, here’s a look at the cover for Second Chances, which, as most of you know, is part of the From the Dark Side Anthology. Enjoy!

Thanks to Jennifer Hudock for creating this beautiful cover.

Helping out a friend

So, tonight I received a message on FB requesting my help. As some of you know by now, I’m the Lee DeWyze Examiner, which is great. I’ve met some truly nice people since starting this new topic.

One of the people that I’ve had the opportunity to get to know is Brian Friedopfer, a very good friend of Lee DeWyze. When we first started talking, I told him if he ever needed help with anything to just holler. Tonight he took me up on that offer.

Brian is trying to become the first MTV TJ, but in order to do that, he needs to be nominated, so right now we’re encouraging people to vote for him.

I even wrote up an article that includes some questions I posed to Brian so those voting for him would have the chance to get to know him more. (An excerpt from the article can be found below.)

I would like to take a minute, though, and thank Brian for asking to me help out.  I truly enjoy helping others, and I want to make a difference and pay forward all the good deeds that have been done for me.

Over the past few months, I’ve received a tremendous amount of support and guidance from my fellow TCA members, like Jenny and Acadia. There’s no words to describe how grateful I am for all the help they’ve done for me, so this was another way for me to thank them.

And Brian, seriously, it was fun working with you on this. I truly hope this works out and you get that fresh start that you need and want. You know I’m rooting for you.

Article excerpt:

Q: Why do you want to win?

A: I feel like I’ve already sort of stepped into a similar role, and this would give me a better foundation. It would definitely be a better opportunity to bring more to the fans, which is really what’s important. I think I can bring a different perspective to the entertainment world. I’d watch me!

Q: What would winning mean to you?

A: It would mean a huge step forward for me!! Things haven’t been so easy for me lately. I’m currently unemployed and have been looking for work for 4 months now, and it’s really hard out there. The economy is in really bad shape. This could be a fresh start for me — a chance to show the world who I am!! I’m excited just thinking about it!

You can read the rest of the article here.

And the Flood Gates Have Opened

I know. I know. I haven’t written in a few days, but it’s not because I haven’t been busy. I have been. I have a ton of stuff on my plate right now, and I’m trying to get it all done. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Today,  after weeks of arguing with my short story’s main character about the story was headed in, the flood gates opened, and I was hit with a diluge of ideas. They hit me one after another, and I couldn’t type fast enough. It felt like the words were pouring from my fingers like a rushing waterfall. What a great feeling it was. I felt productive and alive.

I think part of the reason I’ve felt blocked and was having such a hard time with the plot was because I wasn’t allowing myself to step out of my comfort zone and immerse myself in the world that I was creating in the story.

Part of me was afraid to open up because this story is the total opposite of Second Chances. Where SC was filled with hope and love, this story is darker, grittier and filled with images that are a bit disturbing, at times.

Now that I’ve allowed the ideas to pour forth, I feel calmer and like I can truly bring this story to life. I knew the potential was there before, but I also knew I needed some kind of breakthrough in order for the story to reach its full potential.

I think, knock on wood, that I’ll have the first draft done by my birthday on July 2nd. After that, I’ll tackle another short story that’s sitting on my desk, begging me to finish it.

But for now, my sole focus is on my current short story. I want to hold that story in my hands and feel the weight of it.  I want to see the end result. Am I scared by how it may turn out. Absolutely, but I’m also filled with anticipation because this story is unlike any other that I’ve written. So here’s to progress. Hopefully tomorrow is as productive as today was.