Category Archives: The Brave Little Toaster

Hashtag Blessed


I was nervous all day. I tried to convince my author group that I was probably going to die. (Spoiler: I did not die.)

The Beer Guy and I sat at home and had dinner before heading on over to the bookstore, and I spent the last 30 minutes before we left bouncing around our home, trying to practice reading without hyperventilating, and freaking out about the possibility that I would mispronounce “geas.” (My PSM’s sage advice: “It’s not ever really used so no one will know.” She also helped me figure out how to correctly pronounce it, because she is aces.)

My other pre-reading activity:

A glass of white while practicing reading.

At one point, it occurred to me that I read aloud almost every evening. Sure, maybe it’s to my five-year-old, but that counts, right? I decided to pretend I was reading to a bunch of children, and that actually really helped.

The Beer Guy and I got to the bookstore about 20 minutes before I was due to go on, and Elisa, who is one of the nicest humans in the world, helped me get set up and gave me more wine (and a bottle of water) to calm myself.


The room filled up with friends (thank you all so much), Elisa introduced me, and then it was go time. I’d picked out three selections. One from The Cardinal Gate to introduce Eleanor, and two from The Waning Moon.

It wasn’t until about 30 seconds into my reading that I realized that Eleanor swears like a motherfucking sailor. I mean, I knew she wasn’t avoiding the cursing, but until I had to read out loud in front of a roomful of people, I had no idea how many times she says fuck on a single page.

This is my “what? another motherfucking swear word?” face

I think it went well. I tripped over a couple words (but not geas!), but everyone laughed when they were supposed to laugh and no one fell asleep or wandered off. After I was done reading, there were questions. A fair few! And good questions!

My captive audience mingling while I was signing…

And then it was time for signing. I signed a dozen or so books, got to catch up with people I hadn’t seen in a while, and apparently had a great time.

A few of us headed down the street to celebrate me surviving my first public reading with pink champagne (courtesy The Beer Guy, who really knows me well), snacks, and excellent conversation. The five people who joined me are five of my favorite Portlanders (I have ten favorite Portlanders…only half could make it), and it was so nice to see them all together.

A regret I often have is that I don’t take enough pics of my friends when we gather together…

It was an amazing evening, and I’m so glad I did it! I am so lucky to have so many wonderful friends who gave up their time and money to come listen, ask questions, buy books, and spend time celebrating with me. One friend brought me the perfect tote bag:

So appropriate, because my uterus hates me AND my author group has termed itself the “illuterati”

My friend and fellow illuterati author Mel Sterling brought me flowers, gave me amazing advice, took some nice photos, and asked good questions.

At the end of last evening, I posted this on my Facebook author page:

And for everyone who insisted on photos and video – you have The Beer Guy to thank for that. He’s the one who uploaded everything to FB last night. He also calmed me down, carried all the heavy books, made the reservations for the post-signing drinks, and procured the bottle of champagne. There is no way I could’ve done any of this without him. I really am #blessedAF

Writerly Wednesday: So Close I Can Taste It

I am thisclose to finishing The Ruby Blade. This time I mean it. I’ve asked my beta readers (and anyone else who wants to) to publicly shame me if they don’t have the book in their hot little hands by Sunday morning.

This rewriting is awful. I mean, I love it, and I love this story, and I’m really hoping you do, too. BUT it’s so painful trying to figure out what’s wrong and why and how to fix it.

Once I recover from this process, I have to make a choice for what to do next.

  1. Start work on rewriting on book 4. I have just under 1/2 of a book done, so it’ll be less rewriting and more writing with some scenes already finished.
  2. Start work on rewriting book 1 in my Ragnarok series (this is more of a paranormal romance/mystery apocalypse book).
  3. Write completely unrelated book 1 in my newest series that I accidentally started in May. I need to take what I’ve written so far – about 10K words – and do some serious plotting before continuing. (This is definitely more PNR with a little bit of thrill worked in.)

You’re welcome to weigh in with your opinion, but in the end, I’m probably going to go ahead and do what I want.


Of course, that’s not always true. Sometimes I do what I think I should. Which is why tomorrow evening, at 7 pm at Another Read Through, I will be reading a couple selections from The Waning Moon and then answering questions and signing books.

There will be books for sale and if you buy both paperbacks, there will be a discount available!

Please come and please ask questions and please buy some books and ask me to sign them for you.


There is a small possibility that I might pass out from fear. (Funny-ish story: I dreamed the other night that the book signing was me on a high stage with a single spotlight shining on me, and everyone I’ve ever know in my life came and was given a squishy tomato upon entering the extremely large auditorium. So that’s where we are now.)

For those of you who’ve read The Waning Moon, any suggestions on what a good passage to read is? (I’ve got one picked out already, but need another.)

Provided I don’t die tomorrow evening, I’ll try to get a couple book reviews up in the next few days in between finishing The Ruby Blade. (I’m super hoping to get a draft of the cover soon and cannot wait! EEEE!)


The Edge of Your Seat

I know that’s where you’ve been since Friday when I posted my August goals and they included (10) going swimming immediately and (7) not vomiting in front of a room full of doctors.

I know you’re super excited to find out that I did swim on Friday. Not immediately, but fairly soon after posting. So yay! 2,000 yards in the pool on a Friday afternoon is not too shabby.

And this morning? I did not pass out nor did I vomit at the 7 am meeting in which I was to talk (for less than 2 minutes). Because we ran out of time for me to talk. I was both disappointed (my information was important!) and relieved (I could barely sleep last night due to a combination of heat and nerves and when I did sleep, I had nightmares).

But, the Chair, in his infinite wisdom, declared that my information was Too! Important! to not share and said I had to come back and present at a later date. My boss (who is hilarious) said maybe I should have an entire 45 minute meeting all for me. Fortunately, she said that quietly. So that means that at some later date, I have to do this all over again! The nightmares! The nerves! The sleeplessness! (But it really is very important information.) I just need to remind myself that I am a Brave Little Toaster and I should be okay.

Speaking of brave, check out my Bean climbing at the playground on Friday:

It took three tries, but he finally hauled his body up.

It took three tries, but he finally hauled his body up.

The brave one here might be me. I watched and recorded (take picture, mommy, I brave!) and did not intervene.

The brave one here might be me. I watched and recorded (take picture, mommy, I brave!) and did not intervene.



Three (3!) Things Thursday

1. I desperately need to go shopping. I am still a bit too big for my pre-pregnancy work clothes, and the one pair of pants I bought developed a hole in the butt (which I did not notice until the architect pointed it out at the end of a long work day). Yesterday I actually wore maternity pants to work so I could have something professional-ish to wear.


2. I really need to drink more water.  Hydration should’ve been part of my AGGRESSIVE HAPPINESSTM goals. Perhaps I will add it as AGGRESSIVE HAPPINESSTM goal #4.


3. I have not been to Toast once this year. Isn’t that crazy? I was a Toast evangelist. I did contests! And was the President! And then 2012 happened to me, and it was all too much. I needed to cut things out of my life, and that was what went. I keep thinking I’ll go back (I’m two speeches away from being a Competent Communicator). I was so into it! I wanted to be a Distinguished Toastmaster! And now I’m back at work (where my club meets), and I haven’t been back. I haven’t renewed my dues. And I feel guilty about it. But only a little…I really don’t need another thing right now, and Toast really did serve its purpose. I can write and give good, entertaining speeches now. I am no longer terribly nervous when speaking in front of a group. My graduation award acceptance speech was not so good, but it could’ve been if I’d practiced (ahem!) and not brought my baby (or ignored him). So – do I need to return to Toast? Maybe. But do I need to return right now? Not so much.




  1. 30 minutes of movement by 7 am every morning. (2 successes in the 2 days since I started!)
  2. One social engagement/week. (nothing yet – but I do have a social engagement tomorrow!)
  3. In bed by 9:30/lights out by 10 every night. (1 success in 1 night!)
  4. Three full bottles of water/day (1/1)

Better Late than Never

I was at the District 7 Toastmasters Leadership ’11 conference all day today. It was pretty awesome – I feel like I learned LOTS.

BUT – I didn’t want to miss my daily gratitude!

Gratitude Journal

November 5, 2011: I am grateful that I was able to discover enough courage to join Toastmasters. I know this sounds super cheesy, but it’s really made a HUGE difference in my life. I am a MUCH better person for the last couple of years as a Brave Little Toaster. AND I will achieve Competent Leader status by the end of November, and Competent Communicator status by the end of 2011! Also, there are days when I think I might need to find a job that involves more public speaking. Who am I?

November 4, 2011: I am grateful for the internet, which gives me the ability to work from home, in my pajamas, this morning.

November 3, 2011: I am grateful that I have a good job that is challenging & interesting, if not necessarily catering to my life interests. I have the opportunity for professional development (weekly leadership seminar today!), have a decent salary, good health insurance, and a bunch of people who are excited for my pregnancy and not at all worried about my maternity leave (in fact, they’ve told me to not even THINK about being available in May – i.e. budget season – and that they’d get through it without me, as long as I do all the prep work before I leave…)

November 2, 2011: I am grateful for the architect, who is simply wonderful. He picks up the household slack when I’m busy with schoolwork, brings me chicken fingers on his way home from work, and is simply the most wonderful husband I could ask for…

November 1, 2011:  I am grateful for my (so far, knock on wood) easy and wonderful pregnancy