Archive for September, 2013

NaNoWriMo or bust!

September 27, 2013

It is nearly October, which is almost November, which is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short.  What is NaNoWriMo and why should you care?

NaNoWriMo is the opportunity to challenge yourself to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  50,000 of whatever words you want.  They don’t have to be good words or even coherent words, just words down on paper (or the word document).

Now, for the sake of it being a bit more fun than just writing down random words you should probably strive to write a story.  The important thing about this exercise is that you shut off your inner editor.  That’s right.  You are going to write and write and not worry about whether what you just spent 2 hours working on was crap or not.  Just keep moving along.

Why should you do this?  I did it because I wanted to see if I could.  I write best under pressure, or at least with goals and deadlines.  I had attempted to do this for the past 3 years but last year was the only year I accomplished my goal.  I am not sure why.  I wasn’t even going to do it last year. I was getting ready for a long distance move. It was the holidays. I was lazy. But none of that mattered once I got going. I worked my butt off and even finished my word count early. I would go on an add 30,000 more words to complete my first draft during the months after NaNo.

So, what did I do differently this past year rather than other years?  I had a plan.  I did not go in with a blank slate.  I don’t work well that way. I have a tendency to freeze up, so I wrote an outline.  I developed my characters.  I used Michael Stackpole’s 21 Days to a novel. I took his writing workshops at Dragon Co and found it helpful then bought the ebook. You can find it on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Novel-Secrets-Writing-Guides-ebook/dp/B0029O0ANM. Remember that even if you have a plan you do not need to follow it.  An outline is not there to restrict you, it is there to give you a logical structure to follow and to help develop your ideas so they don’t flounder.

Perhaps you are a seat-of-your pants type of person. Doing NaNoWriMo (or attempting to do it) has taught me that I am not that type of person.  I suspect that if you are you might want to at least consider writing down a few thought ahead of time. . Reading Stephen King’s On Writing may inspire you because that is the type of writer he is.  Even if you are an outliner you should read it.  I found it fascinating.

Another way to prepare may be to read some books on writing or listen to writing podcasts.  I love Writing Excuses (http://www.writingexcuses.com/).  They actually talk a little bit about NaNoWriMo in some of the podcasts and have done some of the pep talks that are sent out throughout November.

Why should you join on the website and participate rather than doing this on your own?  For one, it puts you in contact with other people who like to write. You can be inspired by others in the group and perhaps you can inspire others.  You can meet people in your area that are participants (this part is optional– some people I have talked to did not like this aspect but I did). It will give you goals and deadlines (to stay on track you need to write an average of 1667 words per day).  You get pep talks from authors throughout the event.

If you like to write think about participating. It’s free and fun and you can make it into whatever you want it to be.  If you decide to participate feel free to add me as a writing buddy.  My username is krinaldo.

It is time for the flavors of Fall even though it is still 95 outside…

September 12, 2013

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Fall is my favorite season.  I love the cooler weather and the changing leaves.  It is not quite fall yet (it was 95 out today- yuck!) but the Fall flavors are starting to become available.  My husband and I have been partaking of some of them.

Beer

We like beer.  Our household tends to favor darker beer that will put hair on your chest (luckily that hasn’t happened to me!) and seasonal beers.  As soon as the fall beer flavors started to appear we started tasting them.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Southern Tier Pumpking: I had this on tap at a restaurant that has an ever-changing beer selection.  I usually have it in a bottle and I think having the draught version made all the difference in me falling in love with it again.  6 or 7 years ago I had this beer and LOVED it, also in draught form.  It was so pumpkiny and flavorful, but whenever we got it in a bottle it seemed to fall short of the yum factor.  I was glad that when we had it again this year it was almost as tasty as the first time. (I will not trust that my memory of the first taste is 100% accurate- perhaps it was the new experience that first time and it will always be the best flavor)

Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale:  I thought that this was very flavorful and worth a try if you are looking for a widely available fall beer. We plan on getting a bit more of this before the season is up.

Sierra Nevada Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale:  Not pumpkin, I know, but not everything about fall has to be pumpkin (I suppose, anyway). This beer was rich and tasty and well worth getting if you see it in the store. I think that we are going to add this to the beer hoard before it goes away for the season.

I really want to try Newcastle Werewolf, which is an Irish Red Ale. I like Irish Red Ales and I like the concept of werewolves associated with my beer.  I will not, however, drink wine named Werewolf.  I did that in college once and it was nasty!  Our fault from buying from the discount rack at the liquor store.

Non-beer

Apparently my experience of fall is currently only in relation to beer.  The only other fall tastes I’ve had is at Starbucks in the form of the Pumpkin Spice Latte. I have tried this 2 different ways: hot with soy milk and cold with regular milk.  My preference is the hot with soy milk.  Make sure you still get whipped cream, though, because the beginning of the drink will taste like pumpkin pie.

I look forward to all of the rest of the fall tastes I will get to enjoy as we transition into a new season. What kind of foods and drinks have you found to be good so far?  What are you looking forward to?

Become a Book Reviewer for Book Hub Inc. and receive a FREE eBOOK!

September 11, 2013

Become a Book Reviewer for Book Hub Inc. and receive a FREE eBOOK!.

Nature Box tasty snack review!

September 1, 2013

Last month I caved to marketing pressure (thank-you Facebook) and decided to try Nature Box. The concept is that each month a box of delicious goodies will be delivered to your door and you will love them because they are tasty but also natural (no high fructose corn syrup, nutritionist approved, etc.) Find out more here: http://naturebox.com/

You might be wondering if my experience lived up to the claims. Were they tasty?  Were they worth it? Should I give it a try myself?  Well, let’s all settle down for a moment and I will tell you all about it.

To start with I got my first box $10 off.  I know that this is still possible if you refer a friend (I can refer you if you want) but I just saw an ad on Facebook and with the input of a person or 2 that has tried this already I took the plunge.

After I put in the order it took a little while to get to my door.  It was coming all the way from California and it is not like they were sending it super express, but I was excited so I was waiting with bated breath.

Once it arrived the box was smaller that I had envisioned (I apparently thought that it would be the size of a box that a laptop might come in, it was more like the actual size of my netbook) but inside there were 6 bags of goodies.  I believe that you normally get five bags but with the first order there is a welcome gift included.

The box I received was in the theme of “Summer Celebration.”  Well, how festive!  I believe each month there is a theme to the box.  I like themes because being seasonally appropriate is exciting to me.  You should see the window in my office.  Is decorated with seasonally appropriate gel clings (I already picked up the fall ones!)

Ahem… anyway, this is what was in my box: 2 bags of South Pacific Plantain chips (1 was the welcome gift), Mango Almond bites, Tart & Tangy fruit medley, Cherry Crumble granola, and Tuscan summer mix.  Also included is a card with the name of each item that also has some serving suggestions.

Overall the snacks were enjoyable. For the most part my husband and I ate them along with the fruit that we normally have for our morning break.  We portioned everything out as we went and figured out the Weight Watchers points plus for them.  Sometimes we did partial servings since dried fruit and nuts tend to be high in points.  They were a nice accent to our snack.

The only one we did not do this with was the granola.  For this we got some vanilla yogurt and put a half serving on.  This was quite tasty!

After the first month I feel that I can recommend this to people who are looking for less processed food.  If you are used to eating potato chips and Oreos these are probably not going to taste very good to you, but perhaps it might be a step in the right direction.

It is also important to portion these out.  If you do not you will likely eat the entire bag in one sitting and also a ton of fat and calories.  After the first month you are able to customize your box, either adding on more bags for an additional cost or changing out some of the items. For now I am leaving mine as-is.

The thing I like about this is that I get to try different snacks that I might not have picked out on my own, but I believe it is generally cheaper than such snacks would have cost if I purchased them in a store.

I wait with bated breath for my September box.  I know that it has already shipped and I have been tracking it as it journeys across the country.  I will keep you all up to date as to what next month’s comes with.  I am sure that you are just as excited as I am.