xakara: (AWTADH)
Greetings, Kittens!

I was hit with a bit of malware on Monday that I'm still recovering, (I'll get my taskbar back yet). I don't want to dedicate any more time to the downside, just let me spread the gospel of running SuperAntiSpyware and Malwarebytes every month, every two weeks if you have Spotify or anything else that runs 3rd party apps. 

Although it took me two days to recover from it, I don't feel negative about that time. In fact, I think it was a perfect microcosm moment of what to do when things go sideways. A friend that I talked to during it, (and who I talked into running antimalware which turned up a trojan, so seriously check your systems), asked me how I kept my zen, and I outlined what I took from the incident. In case you were all interested in how my mind works, I thought I'd share it here too. Originally it was in ten steps, but I've expanded them to thirteen for your viewing pleasure.

Enjoy.


13 Steps To Getting Through An Incident Without It Ruining Your Whole Day

1st, Don’t Panic. Take a breath and step back before doing anything and see what’s fully going on.

2nd, Act Instead of React. Evaluate and move forward rather than just immediately reacting on the emotion of the moment.

3rd, Remember You’re Not Alone. Any problem you have, someone else has had it and they’ve talked about it on the internet. Go and check for solutions if you can’t handle the problem yourself.

4th, Keep Asking Questions. If the first search doesn’t turn up what you need, keep tweaking the question, type it right into the search engine and continue until you find what you need, or until you find it explained in a way you understand.

5th, Verify. Don’t borrow trouble, compare your advice and verify your sources.

6th, Pace Yourself. Take the solution, whatever it may be, at your own pace and without feeling anything but empowered to turn around the situation.

7th, Be Patient. Pardon my language, but it takes time to unfuck a situation, give yourself that time.

8th, Gain Perspective. Whatever's happened, you're there to complain about it, so it could have been worse. Every time the moment begins to overwhelm you, stop, back away, see the bigger picture and get back in there to fix it.

9th, Multitask. Whatever has knocked your day off-kilter, take the moment it presents. Perhaps you needed time to yourself to be alone with your own thoughts. Nothing hyper focuses you like trying to fix a laptop, (or car, or situation in general). Take the moment not to think about anything else. And when you can do nothing but sit back and let the scan run, (or wait for maintenance, etc), consider it that time you never get to read or watch tv or work out. I mean, why waste it?

10th, Remember, It’s Not Personal, Even When It Feels That Way. It’s an incident, perhaps a couple incidents, but that’s all they are. It’s not an agenda. Even when someone takes something out on you, it’s not really about you, so don’t internalize it as if it were.

11th, Let it Go. Whatever it is, it happened and it’s over, even if it’s not entirely resolved.

12th, When In Doubt, Dance It Out. At the beginning, in the middle, at the end, anywhere during the situation, take a music break and have a time. It will elevate your seratonin and make it all look better.

13th, Call Me. Or, you know, whatever friend you have that listens to that kind of thing. Not only will you feel better to get it said, but you might save them the trouble of flying blind when their own situation comes around.


Other Thursday Thirteeners

xakara: (GoCP)
Greetings, Kittens!

I've been so busy, I wasn't sure I'd get a chance to get in another T13 before the year ended. Luckily, things have calmed  and I can close 2011 with all of you.

Usually, I spend the last week of December and the first week of January adjusting my plan for the new year. I know that January 1st is the traditional day, but it takes me a few days to see how the year is going before I can set up goals. So that'll be next week, while this week I thought I'd review the goals for 2011.

Enjoy.

1. Finish all my writing/submission deadlines on time and with the minimal stress possible. (I have six this year...so far)

This worked for a few of the deadlines and I want to carry this over to 2012 with a few adjustments to technique, so that all of the projects can be on the minimum stress train.

2. Complete two revisions on long term projects.

Done! One was contracted and released, the other is on submission.

3. Finish BloodQueen and The Forgiven.

Not even close. They got bumped for other projects.

4. Start BloodThrone and Rise of the Morning Star.

This actually happened. I was in the mindset, so parts of both of these stories were "put to paper". I can only do so much without finishing the stories that come before.

5. Become a more active participant in reader/writer forums.

Done! And it's only going to get more involved next year.

6. Have fewer writing related obsessions.

Is television considered non-writing related obsession, if the shows inspire the desire to write scripts?

7. Read more to recharge my creative spark.

My reading time was primarily sucked up by research. I did get the recharge I needed, but I wish more of it had been fiction reading. I hope to have that in 2012.

8. Become proficient enough with my Hula Hoop to teach others.

Not even close. I got severely injured more than once, but each time has given me more insight into how to get around injuries. I'm carrying this goal over to 2012 as well.

9. Save up for certification courses.

This started, but the financial situation didn't let it continue. That should be different with new employment on the line.

10. More sex.

Done! :)

11. Complete another large crochet project. (I know that seems a strange thing to put after sex, but the last crochet project ended up being a queen sized afghan that's on our bed, so you get how I arrived here.)

It's not complete. I changed my mind a few times on what I wanted exactly, but I'm happy with the progress on it.

12. More sex. (And you get how I got back here.)

:)

13. Spend more time during the rest of the week getting acquainted with the blogs of my fellow TTers.

A partial success. I've  had the chance to see more blogs and I got to know some of you more, which is wonderful. I didn't create the blog surfing habit that I wanted, but much of that was due to writing, so I'm okay with that. Once I have my writing habit tweaked, I'll go back to building the blog habit as best I can.

Other T13ers

xakara: (Edits HurtSoGood)
Greetings, Kittens!

I'm in the midst of edits and after reading through the manuscript four times Tuesday, things did not go as well on Wednesday. I love the story and I love the tweaks, but I've been up close and personal with it for too long. The wonderful editor suggestions are starting to feel like hurdles to jump rather than the guideposts they're meant to be. I got through the first chapter tonight and it was time to step back. Now I consider what happened next to be a bit of rejuvenation, but I can see how it may look like procrastination to others. Either way, here are the 13 Things I Did Instead of Edits.

Enjoy.


1. Watch Supernatural fanvids on YouTube.

2. Search for music on Spotify.

3. Read the political page of the Huffington Post.

4. Read the Black Voices page of the Huffington Post.

5. Read the Gay Voices page of the Huffington Post.

6. Spent hours on Tumblr...

7. Where I learned how to give Black Barbie natural hair among other things.

8. Spent 90 minutes on the coorelation between misogyny, homophobia and transphobia.

9. Took notes on a cyberpunk idea that won't leave me alone.

10. Played with my hula hoops.

11. Danced to my playlist instead of writing to it.

12. Shopped for custom sex toys for a giveaway. (Because that's how good I am to my readers)

13. Messed with my worpress blog and still posted at LJ instead.
xakara: (Default)
Greetings, Kittens!

Did you miss me while I was hard at work meeting my deadline last week? Well it turns out, I'm racing against another deadline this week, so I will do a short and sweet post of random eye candy for our collective delight.

Enjoy.

Wait, I guess I do have something to do with this one, never mind...
































Other Thursday Thirteeners
xakara: (cornucopia)
Greetings, Kittens!

Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating today! Whether you're eating turkey or protecting them, today is as much their day as anyone elses. I thought since I shared my wishes and gratitude last week, I'd give this week to the most committed partner in the Thanksgiving celebration--the turkey. In this case, the Wild Turkey.

Enjoy.

1. Wild turkeys are native to North America and there are five subspecies: Eastern, Osceola (Florida), Rio Grande, Merriam's and Gould's.

2. All five range throughout different parts of the continent. The eastern is the most common and ranges the entire eastern half of the United States.

3. Between 5,000 and 6,000 feathers cover the body of an adult turkey in patterns called feather tracts.

4. Most of the feathers exhibit a metallic glittering, called iridescence, with varying colors of red, green, copper, bronze and gold. The gobbler, or male turkey, is more colorful, while the hen is a drab brownish or lighter color to camouflage her with her surroundings.

5. Two major characteristics distinguish males from females: spurs and beards. Both sexes have long, powerful legs covered with scales and are born with a small button spur on the back of the leg. Soon after birth, a male's spur starts growing pointed and curved and can grow to about two inches. Most hen's spurs do not grow. Gobblers also have beards, which are tufts of filaments, or modified feathers, growing out from the chest. Beards can grow to an average of 9 inches (though they can grow much longer).

6. It must also be noted that 10 to 20 percent of hens have beards.

7. Wild turkeys have excellent vision during the day but don't see as well at night. 

8. Turkeys can run at speeds up to 25 mph, and they can fly up to 55 mph.

9. When mating season arrives, anywhere from February to April, courtship usually begins while turkeys are still flocked together in wintering areas.

10. After mating, the hens begin searching for a nest site and laying eggs. In most areas, nests can be found in a shallow dirt depression, surrounded by moderately woody vegetation that conceals the nest.

11. Hens lay a clutch of 10 to 12 eggs during a two-week period, usually laying one egg per day. She will incubate her eggs for about 28 days, occasionally turning and rearranging them until they are ready to hatch.

12. A newly-hatched flock must be ready to leave the nest within 12 to 24 hours to feed. Poults eat insects, berries and seeds, while adults will eat anything from acorns and berries to insects and small reptiles. Turkeys usually feed in early morning and in the afternoon.

13. Wild turkeys like open areas for feeding, mating and habitat. They use forested areas as cover from predators and for roosting in trees at night.

Bonus Fact: The Wild Turkey population has gone from only 30,000 in the early 1900s to more than 7 million today.

xakara: (Ying Yang Blue-Red)
Greetings, Kittens!

Today I was feeling rather...zen and hopeful I guess. I know that others may be feeling rather less so, and I remembered a post that I shared years back. To bring a bit of that peace and hope to all of you, I wanted to share those good wishes again. So here you are, Kittens,13 Wishes For All!

Enjoy.


13 Wishes

1. May you be truly loved, for it is said to give us strength.

2. May you truly love another, because it is said to give us courage.

3. May you know your worth, for you are a priceless being.

4. May you value those around you, for they are irreplaceable.

5. May you live your dreams, because they are unlike any other.

6. May you learn your purpose, because without you the world is diminished.

7. May you crave your own company, for in that stillness is wisdom.

8. May you seek out others, for in shared experiences are the seeds on enlightenment.

9. May you briefly be lost, because in wandering we often find ourselves.

10. May you have everything you need, and want everything you have.

11. May you connect with something greater than yourself ,and know that you are never alone.

12. May you know peace and pass that peace onto others.

13. May you forgive and in turn be forgiven.

Namaste




xakara: (AWTADH)
Greetings, Kittens!

I've often mentioned how much I love quotes for T13, but I can't remember the last time I posted any. I chose some great words on success and failure, as a nod to Veterans Day and Remembrance Day on 11/11/11, to honor the brave men and women who gave their all defending both countries, and the ideas of freedom and perseverance as a whole. I give you 13 Quotes on Seeing It Through!

Enjoy.


1. Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently. ~ Henry Ford

2. I have not failed. I’ve just found ten thousand ways that won’t work. ~ Thomas Edison

3. Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. ~ Thomas Edison

4. Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. ~Albert Einstein

5. It’s not how many times you fall down, it’s how many times you get back up. ~ Unknown

6. Eighty percent of success is showing up. ~ Woody Allen

7. Reach for the moon; even if you miss, you will land among the stars. ~ Unknown

8. Some people skate to the puck. I skate to where the puck is going to be. ~ Wayne Gretzky

9. When you are falling from a mountain, you may as well attempt to fly. ~ Babylon 5

10. The Obstacle is the Path. ~ Zen Proverb

11. Success is not the destination, it’s the journey. ~ Unknown

12. Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. ~ Albert Einstein

13. If at first you don’t succeed, try doing it the way you were told. ~ Unknown

And in honor of all the unknown quotes, and to prove politicians weren’t always like they are now: It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit. ~ Harry S. Truman

Other Thursday Thirteeners



xakara: (AWTADH)

Greetings, Kittens!

I thought we could use a bit of a pick-me-up around the web. Although only the first stanza fits, even a single stanza of Miss Maya can do a great deal to put us all in the right frame of mind. Here's the beginning of Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou.

Enjoy.


Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.



xakara: (AWTADH)
Greetings, Kittens!

Today I got the official confirmation on my Halloween Day release date for A Way To A Dragon's Heart. Yay! So today I bring you 13(ish) paragraphs from AWTADH, (not counting single line dialogue or short descrip as always).

Enjoy.


“So, you like, get scaly, and big, and stuff?”

Kryssa Drake gritted her teeth and counted to five. What she wanted to do was get scaly, and big, and stuff, and eat the annoying young woman following her around the office loft, but Human Resources had warned her about doing that again. Not that she’d actually eaten the other temps, but the way that last one had hollered you’d have thought she had him half swallowed when security showed up. It’s what they got for sending irritating, yet crunchy and salty-good humans during her period. It was a conspiracy.
Firmly ignoring the too-cute, too-blond, too-perky Barbie clone, Kryssa continued the tour to the break room, explaining the shelving and territorial marking of foodstuffs. Just when she thought the dedicated over-talking of the girl had imparted a clue to the temp, it—she—took Kryssa’s arm.

“You’re like, warm and stuff.”

She gave a slow blink as she looked at the girl. Taking that extra breath before speaking, just like they’d taught in anger management, Kryssa tucked a glossy black spiral curl behind her ear and sighed.
“The air conditioner is on low, and it’s eighty-nine degrees outside, not to mention I’m Therian and run hot. What exactly is the mystery?”

The bubbly twit smiled, tilted her head, and gave an affectionate squeeze, confirming the suspicion she had indeed originated from the head cheerleading rung of hell.

“Well, the whole cold-blooded thing, silly. Dragons are reptiles, right?”

Kryssa stared at the porcelain hand on her arm. It stood out against skin the color of gingersnaps, its paleness making it seem delicate and outright fragile. With that in mind, along with a clenched jaw, mental counting exercise, and thoughts of sitting through yet another Anger Management and You course, Kryssa managed not to crush the thin wrist as she removed the offensive touch.

“Regardless of what we shift into, Therians are mammals. We’re all hot-blooded.”

And hot-tempered and just plain hot when in a thriving environment, but that was neither here or there. Kryssa needed something to calm her nerves before she forgot herself and a simple orientation became a full-blown situation. A quick rooting through the fridge produced a large tub of raw vegetables. Almost before the top was fully off, several baby carrots disappeared into her mouth.

“Ooo, you eat vegetables too?” A slow continual nodding of the head followed the question, a trait that took the temp all morning whenever something challenged her to think too hard.

Kryssa crunched louder and groaned. “We’re omnivores, you idiot.” The last two words came out a mumbled wreck that bought her a little extra time for decorum.

“Oh yeah, okay, right. So, um, just between us girls, have you ever eaten anyone, Chrissie?”

Time’s up. “No, but give me a minute.”

Big blue Bambi eyes blinked over at her. “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand you.”

I’m not the only thing she doesn’t understand, by a long shot. “I said give me a minute. I have to take care of something.” Kryssa backed away slowly, the way you escape from a dog you think might be rabid. Or in this case, one severely mentally stunted, and therefore dangerous to your dry cleaning bill with the slobbering and the pawing. “Get familiar with the cabinets and snack machine and I’ll be back.”

Broccoli florets, raw cauliflower, and more carrots disappeared in the hundred yard dash to a neutral corner. An open concept conference room became her refuge as she ducked through the glass double doors and hopped up on the conference table. She considered the meeting going on at the time just a minor inconvenience she could generously overlook.

“Kryssa, can we help you?”

She looked to the company’s CEO and shook her head.

“Nope. I’m good. Nice suit.” She reached out and fondled the material. “Did I buy you this one?”

The handsome, regal, professional air collapsed in on itself as he looked at her. She reached up and brushed a dark lock of hair from his forehead. It was the same glossy jet black, but had the barest wave to it, unlike the tight curls pinned back off her face and spilling down her back. She couldn’t help but smile at the face, several shades lighter with its olive hue, yet otherwise incredibly similar to her own.

“Yes you did, Kryssa. Nice jeans.”

Funny, it didn’t sound like a compliment. She looked down at the black tailored jeans, matching cropped three-quarter sleeve blazer and white lace cami, unable to find anything wrong. “What? I’m still in head-to-toe Armani. Classic black and white, down to the Italian ankle boots, business casual at its finest. How can you complain, Nicky?”

Dominic Drake sat back and shook his head. “My baby sister just came in eating the equivalent of an entire salad bar and sat on my conference table to crunch her way through the middle of my business negotiations. Where should my list of complaints begin?”

That didn’t leave a lot of room to argue with him, but with family, such a thing is hardly a deterrent to trying. She popped another carrot into her mouth and looked to the oval table. “First, this is my conference table. Your conference table would be two floors above, up the hall from your office. You came to my floor, and for the next two months until my sabbatical starts and I escape this place for a while, it’ll be run my way. As Chief Liaison Officer, I like to liaise in comfort so we do things rather informal here.”

She leaned across the table, smiling at the childhood friend at its other end. “You’re going to accept the merger right, Jimmy? You always were. Your sister told me last week. This is just a bit of show in order to ensure you get the east coast offices; which, let me tell you, Nicky is completely prepared to give to you. So you all may as well take an early lunch, business done.”

Dominic stood abruptly and picked her up, carrying her from the room without another word. As distractions went, it worked, and she munched contently as he strode down the hall, giving the smallest grunt when he finally plopped her down on the receptionist desk in her outer office.



xakara: (Fang Don't Blink)
Greetings, Kittens!

Thank you for all of the comments these last few Thursdays. I usually reply to each and every comment, even if you all don't swing back to read them, but these last few weeks have seen the "chronic" part of my chronic illness and I haven't been up to it. I'm feeling a bit better today, so hopefully that will change!

I've been asked the last two Thursdays if I was going to do another horror movie rules edition. I did two versions last year, one of horror movies rules on my blog, and one on horror movie pet peeves on a group blog. It's was great fun and everyone threw in their own rules in the comments section. I loved it and just couldn't pass up doing the theme again this year. So today I bring you a blended edition of the 13 Horror Movie Rules To Help You Survive.

Enjoy.

                          

13 Horror Movie Lessons ala Xakara
(In Case You Ever Find Yourself In A Horror Movie)

1. Don't Split Up: No, it won't be faster. No, you can't cover more ground that way.  Why? Because you can't move or cover ground if you're dead. If you're undead, maybe, but not dead-dead. Just stay together.

2. Evil Uses Racial Profiling: If you're the only Person of Color in the crowd of plucky, yet naughty, white folks you're going to die. Don't bother running, just turn and fight so you can go out with glory.

Exception: The Tech Guy/Occultist Chick. You've been off doing research since the middle of the second act. As long as you don't try to relay the forbidden information over the telephone while you're all alone in the middle of a storm/blackout, you'll survive to nearly die in the sequel.


3. Virginity Saves Lives: If you're the female lead and have been declared a virgin, you now possess the magical "get out of slaughter free card" and will slip the noose to fall into the male lead's arms. Unless of course he's been pressuring you for sex. In that case, he's already dead from his tryst with your slutty best friend after they went off into the woods/by the lake/[insert isolated area here], in Act I.

4. Virginity Kills: If you're anyone but the female lead and a virgin, or you are the lead but have proved to be TSTL, a major ritual sacrifice is in your future. The calvery will ultimately swoop in and prevent the apocalypse, but the virgin still dies.

5. Crows Have It Out For Us...Maybe: Whether guiding the souls of the wrongfully killed back to earth for vengence, or heralding the arrival of the Walking Dude; crows are always a danger sign. But at least they warn you with their cries, so maybe they're trying to help us. However it shakes out, where crows go, a high body count follows. That's just how they roll.

6. It's Fallen, but It Can Get Up: And it will, so don't go check for a pulse if you don't have a weapon. If you do have a weapon, aim for its head and keep shooting or swinging until there's nothing but a misty paste left. Trust me. Anything else and it's curtains for you.

7. If You Build It, It Will Eat You: Your wonderful, disease curing intentions are irrelevant. If you create a creature, especially one with human DNA, it's going to kill you. Not only is it going to kill you, it's going to kill all of your family, all of your friends, all of your collegues, and the girl that says hi to you every day in line at starbucks. However, if the two of you are spending $9 at Starbucks on a daily basis, in the middle of a recession, you both kinda have it coming. Unless of course she's made a cute joke about stimulating the economy, in that case she's totally saved.

8. Rottwielers are Evil: But only if there's a Latin choir chanting ominiously in the background. Otherwise, you're good.

9. Sleep Kills: If you're a teen or twenty-something and you either learn for the first time that a crazed, maniac killer died in your house, or you grew up with the legend of him dying in the neighborhood; on the anniversary of his birth/death/most infamous crime/[insert significant event here], you and your friends are going to die in your sleep. Insomnia is your friend.

10. Sleep Saves Lives: If you and said friends try to avoid your fates by taking caffiene IVs and going on a nodoz diet, you will inevitably collapse and some well-meaning ER attending will sedate you, spelling your doom. It's better to hit the library and check out everything you can on lucid dreaming and battling night terrors so you can learn to become a kick-ass ninja-pirate-spy when you enter REM sleep.

11. Death is Patient, but Douchey: You can avoid your lethal fate by exiting the plane/boat/car/train/other fiery death trap you were expected to be in, and live on for days or even decades. But eventually death/fate will hunt you down and kill you in the most awkward, unnecessary way just to make your obituary an embarrassment.

12. You Saw What You Saw: Your new neighbor/teacher/sheriff/authority figure/pillar of the community, really is a bloodsucking fiend or other psycho killer just like it appeared. No one will believe you. He will find out you told. MOVE.

13. Sometimes Zombies are Fast: So get the hell out of dodge...but don't split up to do it!

Happy Halloween Season, Kittens!

Other Thursday Thirteeners

xakara: (AWTADH)


Greetings, Kittens!

Happy National Breast Health Month! Yes, I know that's not what it's called, but as I've mentioned before, I would rather the focus be on working towards health, rather than fighting against disease. For today's TT I once again offer 13 Ways To Keep Breasts Healthy Right At The Grocery Store. 

Enjoy

13 Foods For Breast Health 


Breakfast
1. Whole-grain carbs like Oat Bran cereal add insoluble fiber that absorbs excess estrogen and carries it out of the body.



2. Half a grapefruit has vitamin C, beta-carotene and folic acid believed to sweep carcinogens out of the body.



3. Papaya has vitamin C that works as an antioxidant and may reduce absorption of nitrosamines from the soil or processed foods. It also contains folic acid which is shown to minimize cervical dysplasia and prevent neural tube defects.


4. Raspberries contain vitamins, minerals, plant compounds and antioxidants known as anthocyanins that act as a protectorant.


Lunch & Dinner
5. Beans are a great source of fiber and phytonutrients and can be easily added to pasta, soups and salads that could contain...


6. Spinach with its two antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin.


7. Mushrooms such as shiitake and maitake among others contain the protein lectin which attacks unhealthy celss and prevents them from multiplying.


8. Broccoli contain indole-3-carbinol and the sprouts have phytochemical sulforaphane. If you don't like it plain, a serving of low fat melted cheese can make it into a treat. But a better dressing could be made with...


9. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a great source of monounsaturated fats that have been linked to keeping breast healthy. Garnish with...


10. Nuts containing the antioxidants quercetin and campferol that suppress unhealthy growths. Brazil nuts contain 80 micrograms of selenium that also protects the prostate.


11. Flax, which works both sprinkled over cereal and salads, contains lignans which may have an antioxidant effect and block or suppress cancerous changes. It's high in omega-3 fatty acids that protect the heart and colon as well.


12. Turmeric can season quite well, a little going a long way. A member of the ginger family, Tumeric is sites as an aromatase inhibitor which lowers estrogen in post-menopausal women. It also decreases inflammation.


13. Red Grape Juice contains bioflavonoids and polyphenols which helps neutralize free radicals.




Detailed List from  ABC News

Other Thursday Thirteen Participants


xakara: (Statue Kiss)

Greetings, Kittens!

I haven't really slept in a few days, so I'm not going to subject you all to an attempt to be coherent. Instead I shall dazzle you with visuals on, what else, Thursday 13. Here are 13 Thursday Thirteen Banners. Please pardon any blurring from scaling them to the same width. :)

Enjoy.




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Update: Sorry, I wasn't clear above, yes, I made all of these. I prefer the banners to reflect or compliment the content. Or like the Sam one at the beginning,  I make them just to make me laugh. :)

Other Thursday Thirteeners


xakara: (YinYang Dragon grey)
Greetings, Kittens!

Happy Banned Book Week! In celebration of the freedom to read what we will and as a minor stride in the fight against censorship, here are 13 Books that were Challenged or Banned in 2010-2011. They are in no particular order, and since I assume there will be other lists, I have skipped about the listing to choose my 13. A book's presence on this list is not an endorsement, as I may or may not have read or liked them. The point is that it's your right and that of everyone to read them if you choose.

Enjoy.


1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

2. Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

3. Betrayed by Kristen Cast and P.C. Cast

4. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher

5. Anne Frank: the Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

6. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

8. What's Happening to My Body: Book for Boys by Lynda Madaras

9. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

10. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

11. Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology edited by Amy Sonnie

12. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

13. The Koran (Yes, it pains me to use a wiki link for a people's holy book, but I know you all take wiki with a grain of salt, so here you are.)

Other Thursday Thirteeners

For a larger list check the American Library Association




xakara: (Hoop Life)
Greetings, Kittens!

This week finds me fitness minded after several conversations on the topic, with more to come. When I say fit, I don't mean simply being thin. I'm talking about having stamina, endurance, flexibility, strength and healthy organ, muscle and adrenal function. Regular exercise, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and proper hydration all lead to this, but you get healthy and fit, long before you get thin, so focus on the right numbers that nothing to do with the scale. Here are a few of my favorite fitness gadgets and gizmos.

Enjoy.

Photobucket

1. Pedometers: This is the number one go-to gadget out there. It's small, simple to use, inexpensive to own, and immediate feedback on your activity for the day. There is absolutely nothing else out there that beats the sheer accessibility of using a pedometer daily and building your steps.

2. Stationary Bike: Whether upright or recumbant, stationary bikes allow for intense cardio that doesn't require you to be able to stand for extended periods of time. It also saves stress on your knees and back. Recumbant bikes are especially good for back issues, but they do cause you to lose a slight bit of pedaling intensity with change in angle to compensate for that.

3. Elliptical: Gentle on joints and able to mimic running for knees that will never do so, ellipticals are a dream machine when properly adjusted to height and stride. Unless you're following a pre-programmed routine, intensity can lag, but like anything, you get out what you put in.

4. Treadmill: Adjustable treadmills are fabulous. I have shin issues that keep me off of them for now, but there is nothing like an inclined treadmill for the back of the thighs and the glutes. Interesting fact that anyone who's been on a treadmill can relate to: they were original built for prisoners as a punishment. *grin*

5. Balance Ball: I swear by my balance ball. It improves posture, works the core through simply active sitting, and supports the back during strength training and crunches. It also allows for several modifications to exercises like lunges, squats and planks to make them via to a larger audience.

6. Free Weights: I don't have any right now, they were left behind when we moved, but I love dumbbells. There's something real and solid about having a weight in your hand and seeing the number get larger as you get stronger. No amount of color coding or cord numbering with machines can replace the sense of accomplishment of working with real weights.

7. Weight Lifting Gloves: Yes, even with your tiny 5lb weights, a good pair of gloves is the difference between calloused, sore hands, and hands that are supported during your workout. Lightly padded gloves are great to keep you from gripping the weight too tightly.

8. Door Gyms: Sometimes real weights aren't an option due to safety issues or convenience. Adjustable door gyms can take you all the places that a set of weights can and they can do it anywhere you have a standard door. They have the smoothness of machines with the portability of fitness bands.

9. Heart Rate Monitor: These come in all makes and models and you can benefit from even the simplest design. Not only does it allow you to gauge your intensity, but it is a direct measure of your fitness improvement as well. From your resting heart rate, to your 80% max, a good HRM can guide you on your fitness path like little else.

10. A Bodyfat Scale:  If you're going to get caught up in the numbers, then have all the numbers. Bf scales aren't as accurate as going to the doctor or a fitness center, but with a good scale, the numbers will be consistant and you can monitor changes in body composition that aren't going to show up on a regular scale.

11. Pilates Equipment: Pilates is a great way to stretch, build strength and work the core, all in a gentle, but continuous routine. Mat pilates is great, but eventually you'll need some sort of resistance equipment to keep pilates challenging. These are as simple as cords, similar to powerbands, or as complicated as dedicated pilates machines that take up an entire room. I suggest the Pilates Power Gym or something similiar. It's like a mini version of the Total Gym, but constructed with pilates in mind. It takes up little room and allows for marked progression in strength and flexibility.

12. DVD Routines: I prefer to workout at home and dvds offer a wide variety of options from walking routines, to bellydancing, to Tai Chi, to Tae Bo. You can walk, kick, punch and shimmy your way to great health, all in the privacy of your own home.

13. Great Shoes: I'm a New Balance girl myself and I hear wonderful things about Ryka, but any brand that gives you proper support and won't break your budget is a good choice. That said, make sure to expand your budget as much as you can, proper shoes are an investment that will keep you from spending even more to rehab an injury.

Other Thursday Thirteeners

xakara: (DEL)
Greetings, Kittens!

I still haven't managed to restructure my days enough to visit all of you during the rest of the week like I want to. Today, I thought I'd share my week with you since we got the chance to hang out last Thursday. So here you are, 13 Things from My Week!

Enjoy.

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1. (Friday) Crush of the Week ~ Lena Headey @ Erotic Diaries.  Crush of the Week is a regular feature at Erotic Diaries, where I've been alternating actors and actresses who supportive of social issues, body positive, sex-positive, and so far, who bring genre television and movies to new heights.

2. (Saturday) Writing From the Middle: The Pansexual's Delimma ~ Accuracy vs. Visibility @ QMO.  Writing From the Middle is a recurring feature currently seen three times a month, once at QMO and twice for Menage Mondays at Michael Mandrake's.

3. (Sunday) Six Sentence Sunday #11 Saint Valentine.  This is the first snippet shared from Saint Valentine for Six Sentence Sunday. It went over very well and I'm excited to share more from it at future dates.

4. (Monday) Launch of Silken Sheets & Seduction.  This is a brand new erotic authors site and there's a huge giveaway of over 75 ebooks, gift cards, and a Kindle! Please stop by and get your name in the running. Winners will be announced October 1st.

5. (Wednesday) Wednesday Ramble ~ What is Sexy? @ Silken Sheets & Seduction.  Wednesday Ramble is a brand new bi-monthly feature at Silken Sheets & Seductions. It brings my total to 5 other blogs you can find me on monthly, consisting of 10 posts a month--before any other random invites. Yep, I'm being social! :) I'd love for you all to come and weigh-in on the posts!

6. I got a job interview.  Well, I got scheduled for a job interview. I'm waiting to hear back on the hard date and time. It's the first interview for me since I was laid off in February, 2010. I'll let you know the outcome next Thursday. 

7. I decided to take a vacation from writing.  Not that I've been getting an abundance of writing done while sick, but once my current projects are wrapped up, I'm putting everything else on hold until January. I'm also limiting myself to four projects for 2012. Let's see how that turns out.

8. I caught up on Sons of Anarchy.  I still don't know how I feel about this show. I love Jax and Opie, but I'm used to being endeared to each individual in an ensemble cast and there are some characters in this show that I just want to see die! It's an odd place to be in, some three seasons in. It proves I love my husband-like-person! I watched only because he puppy-dogged me into it, and now I'm committed and conflicted.

9. Started a 1000 mile journey.  Well, I started it before this last week, but this week is the first where I've made daily progress. My health and energy have been very poor, and in building back, focusing on the next 1000 miles seemed a fitting goal. I'm using a recumbant stationary bike and a pedometer to count my miles, but the pedometer has gone MIA, so I'll be estimating errands as a single mile until I get a new one.

10. I set a year health goal.  I can't undo the CFS, nor can I force it into an upcycle. I can make significant health strides and regain where I was three years ago. That's what this year will be about.

11. I realized I was depressed.  This sucks, but at least I know for sure that it's part of the problem and can deal with it. It was difficult to separate from the insomnia and blood sugar instabilities, but now I know and will go from there.

12. I was bombarded by four story ideas.  None of which are on the list for the projects I'm working on next year. *headshake* If I slept like normal people, this wouldn't happen to me. Ah well.

13. I watched three of the first offerings of this new fall season.  I'm reserving judgement.


Other Thursday Thirteeners
xakara: (Drow Fairy)
Greetings, Kittens!

I'm experiencing a bit of melancholy right now, so I'm using my favorite mood booster--music. Don't try to find any rhyme or reason to the song mixture, just take in the variety. *grin* Here are 13 Random Songs from my many playlists*.

Enjoy.

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1. Find A Way ~ by SafetySuit

2. Everything ~ by Lifehouse

3. You Could Be Happy ~ by Snow Patrol

4. St. Lawrence River ~ by David Usher

5. Comin' Home ~ by City and Colour

6. Get Stoned ~ by Hinder

7. Protect Me From What I Want ~ by Placebo

8. Words I Couldn't Say ~ by Rascal Flatts

9. Wreck of the Day ~ by Anna Nalick

10. Love the Way You Lie ~ by Eminem featuring Rihanna

11. Love the Way You Lie pt II ~ by Rihanna featuring Eminem

12. I Gave You All ~ by Mumford and Sons

13. 9 Crimes ~ by Damien Rice

*The links supplied are to neutral vids containing the lyrics to the songs. They are not the vids from my youtube playlists. Those are primarily Supernatural fanvids and likely only of interest to me.

Other Thursday Thirteeners



xakara: (Drow Fairy)
Greetings, Kittens!

Happy September! Today I'm focused on all of the things I need to get done during this brand new shiny month. Due to the long illness of August, I'm far behind, so I might share the second part of the list next week as well. For now here are 13 Things to Do in September.

Enjoy.


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1. Finish Saint Valentine ~ Originally I wanted a chance to get this out and into the world for Christmas, but as I wrote I realized it was more properly set around Valentine's Day. I wanted to send it in by the September 5th deadline, but I was too run down the last three weeks. Instead I'm aiming for September 15th and will pitch it as a single title.

2. Revise BloodSprite ~ I have two separate publishers interested in two different revisions, so I had to put this off until I could dedicate my full attention and energy and this month will be part of that.

3. Revise Ronin StillSkin ~ This is only hours from being done. I just need to do a readthru and send it out the door.

4. Schedule the next 18 months ~ Yes, I do my writing schedules 18 months in advance. It helps me to prioritize plot bunnies so everything can get its moment in the sun.

5. Get Well ~ I'm so sick and tired of being sick and tired. I can't magically cure the CFS, but I finally have enough energy to do the work that will get me back to median. I've been able to ride the stationary bike a bit and I just want to increase that bit by bit until I build back enough strength and stamina that I can push through the exhaustion like I used to.

6. Settle the Job Question ~ Perhaps I can't control who will call in this economy, but I can change my mindset and narrow the field to those jobs that would be a benefit to our situation rather than cast so widely that I end up facing something that could be a detriment.

7. Settle the bills ~ Let's leave that as is.

8. Prioritze my obligations ~ I took on quite a few things in July and there are still a few things sneaking up for more of my attention. I like all of the things I'm a part of, and I'm excited about my release in October and the inevitable uptick in obligations. That said, I need to figure out which ones are mandatory and which are negotiable. Some weekly appearances may need to become bi-monthly.

9. Volunteer ~ I don't know where, how often, or even how practical this is, but I want to do it.

10. Network ~ I think I've done well with this, but I have several things I want more information and insight on, and I want it from the personal experiences of people, so I need to find more people to share content.

11. Choose my promo ~ This ties into prioritizing my obligations. I need to choose specific promotional options for my next release that can be done around any lingering illness and any change in schedule brought on by working outside the home.

12. Sleep ~ It may not always be restorative, but it needs to be there regardless and it's been slipping away. I've got to fight my way back to it, even if it means meds for a few weeks. Sigh.

13. Experience a windfall ~ This solves so many things that it deserves to be on every list. Wish me luck! *grin*


Other Thursday Thirteeners
xakara: (Default)




Greetings, Kittens!


There's been a lot on my mind while I've been sick these past weeks. Primary among my thoughts have been two things. The first, my UI runs out in ten weeks and there have been no callbacks on my numerous inquiries. Second, as bad as things might become, right now I'm doing better than many others and for that I need to be grateful, compassionate and giving when viable. There might be a donate button popping up on my site sometime soon, but for today I bring you 13 Ways You Can Be The Change & Save A Life.


Enjoy.




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1. Hunger in America ~ In 2009 50.2 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 33 million adults and 17.2 Million children. $25 = 200 meals. That's just $5 from you and 4 friends. If $10 would be easier, you can text FEED to 50555 and then reply to the confirmation text with YES. No fuss, no muss!


2. The Horn of Africa ~ Plumpy’nut®, a vitamin enriched peanut-paste, plays a critical role in meeting the nutritional needs of impoverished countries quickly and effectively. This project will provide enough Plumpy'nut® to reach 40,000 children in it's duration. $25 = A month of meals for one child. Again, $5 from you and just 4 friends.


3. Charity: Water ~ This non-profit brings clean, safe water to developing countries. Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of diseases and kill more people than all forms of violence including war. 100% of the donation money directly funds sustainable water projects. $20 can provide clean water for one person. That's $5 from you and 3 friends.


4. Feed A Child in Guatemala ~ The lovely Plumpy'Doz nutritional supplements can keep a family of four from the threat of malnutrition. $15 = A month of relief. That's $5 from you and two friends.





Feeling geared up? Let's talk about fostering nutritional independence.


5. Goats for Guatemala ~ This project not only provides a source of diary, protein and vitamins & minerals to supplement meager meals, it allows for long term prosperity and increased nutritional options from selling the excess milk, cheese and goat hair. $40 dollars = 1 goat. That's $5 from you and 7 friends.


6. Donate a Pig ~ In rural Haiti pigs are a measure of wealth. They insure an education, proper nutrition and a full quality of life. The pig population has been on the decline and now a grassroots organization wants to begin a breeding and education program. $25 = A quarter share in a pig. $100 = 1 pig and $200 equals a breeding pair. That's $20 from you and 9 friends.


7. Project Rise ~ The Rural Irrigation System for Ekumdipe will introduce framing techniques for the 6 month dry season, allowing for year round growing in the Ekumdipe community of Ghana. Turning the 6months of no income and inescapable poverty into a growing season will completely transform this community. $25 = A full sack of seed for dry season crops. $5 from you and 4 friends.


8. Homegirl Cafe ~ This project helps transition disadvantage and at-risk girls from gangs and impoverished living conditions to full-time employment at the Homegirl Cafe, a full service restuarant in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, California. The concrete skills learned through the program allow the girls to enter and compete in a highly in demand job market, taking them out of chronic poverty. $35 = Supplies for basic food preparation skill class. That's $5 from you and 6 friends.


Want to help in your community? Let's look at Feeding America where $45 will feed a family of 4 for a month:


9. The Mobile Pantry Project ~ Mobile pantries expand the reach of food banks, extending service into otherwise overlooked regions. You can find out what your local foodbanks are doing HERE.


10. National Produce Program ~ Formerly the Fresh Food Initiative, Feeding America established the National Produce Program to increase the network's capacity to handle fresh foods. This changes the program from simply fighting hunger to helping increase health and true nutrition.


11. Kids Cafe ~ This is an afterschool feeding program that provides meals and snacks to low-income children. The genius behind this is that it takes place where kids already congregate after school: local Boys & Girls Clubs, churches, public schools and neighborhood rec centers.


12. Summer Food Program ~ Over 20 million children were part of the free or reduced cost school meal programs, but less than 3 million children received meals during the summer because of lack of programs. Food banks stepped up to begin summer meal programs and must continue to expand. Does your community have one?


13. Relief Fleet ~ The price of transporting food has caused some food banks to have to turn down donations. This program works to lower the transportation cost so that all viable donation sources can be accepted. Every $1 saved on frieght provides 7 meals.



Other Thursday Thirteeners



xakara: (DEL)

Greetings, Kittens!

I'm rather under the weather right now but I come baring treats! Today I bring you guest Gabriella Hewitt and a bit about her book Out of the Shadows.

Enjoy.


Hi Xakara! Thank you so much for having me on your blog today.

I am happy to share Thirteen Things about my newly released novella, OUT OF THE SHADOWS.
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THIRTEEN THINGS ABOUT OUT OF THE SHADOWS



1. Aztec Mythology: Set in the present, this story weaves Aztec mythology into the story.

2. Wolves: My hero, Tomas, is a wolf shifter with major attitude.

3. Hummingbirds: In Aztec mythology, the souls of warriors who died in battle turned into hummingbirds and followed the journey of the sun for three years before ascending to "heaven."

3. Sonoran Desert: Out of the Shadows is set in the Sonoran Desert, an area that straddles the U.S.-Mexican border and covers part of Arizona.

4. Huitzilopochtli: He is the Aztec god of the sun and war, and he plays a role in this story. 

5. Chalchiuhtlicue: A mouthful, isn't it? She is the goddess of water, among other things, and her name means "She of the Jade Skirt." 

6. Tzitzimime: These are celestial demons. They are said to come down from the sky and appear as beautiful women, who tempt men, only to devour their souls after. I've taken some liberties with them in my story, but they make great bad guys.

7. Secret: My heroine, Carolina, guards a secret that has been passed down to her from one generation to the next.

8. Shadow Warriors: Aztec warriors chosen by Huitzilopochtli to stand between humans and the demons sent to earth to destroy them.

9. Water: Carolina possesses power over the element of water.

10. Series: OUT OF THE SHADOWS is the first story in the shadow warrior series. Shadow Vision will be next and there will be others. 

11. Stubborn and Independent: Qualities both Carolina and Tomas possess. They'll have to find their way past the tough barrier they present to the world to reach each other's hearts.

12. Excitement. Suspense. Passion: I always deliver ESP in my stories. You'll find plenty in this one.

13. My cover: I absolutely adore my cover: the colors, the imagery. Samhain Pubishing's Art Director, Scott Carpenter took a simple art form I filled out and came up with this gorgeous interpretation. I'm in love. ( :


Out of the Shadows, released on August 16th from Samhain Publishing. It's available through Samhain Publishing, Amazon and ARebooks. If you pick it up, drop me a line and let me know how you enjoyed it. I enjoy hearing from readers.

So, what aspects of a story attract you most? The cover? The blurb? The genre?

Leave a comment and be entered into the OUT OF THE SHADOWS blog tour contest.

Winner announced on Aug. 26th will receive a $25 GC to Amazon.com. Official rules are here.

For your added enjoyment, here is a tantalizing excerpt from OUT OF THE SHADOWS, available from Samhain Publishing.

Other Thursday Thirteeners





xakara: (DEL)

Greetings, Kittens!

I've had a lot of multitasking over the last few days and will have more over the next week. I also wrote two articles on polyamory, a topic that certainly deals with multitasking! I decided to combine them and find poly words and tell you the multiples they deal with. So here you are, 13 Polys!

Enjoy.
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1. Polysexual ~ Attracted to multiple gender identities

2. Polyamory ~ Having multiple loves

3. Polygamy ~ Marrying multiple spouses

4. Polyandry ~ Having multiple husbands

5. Polygyny ~ Having multiple wives

6. Polytheist ~ Believing in multiple gods

7. Polyarchy ~ Governing by multiple leaders

8. Polyglot ~ Speaking multiple languages

9. Polysyllabic ~ Consisting of multiple syllables

10. Polydemic ~ Native to multiple countries

11. Polygenesis ~ Arising from multiple origins

12. Polydomous ~ Living in multiple nests or homes

13. Polyhedron ~ Having many faces or facets

Other Thursday Thirteeners



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