Friday, May 28, 2010

Five (Maybe Six) Things on a Friday-Intense Edition

Five things on a Friday:

1. I am not a robot. Are you?



Marina and the Diamonds. Debut album=Family Jewels. Get it.

This single is the free song of the week over at Itunes and the entire album is only 6.99. It's a tad depressing at times, but a GREAT listen and thought-provoking for we sensitive type A personalities with an abundance of drive and a shortage of boundaries. But what are "boundaries", really? Aren't they just modern man's psychologically-based excuse for not keeping it real? (I'm talking emotional boundaries and "polite conversation" boundaries, of course, not physical boundaries. If you get up in my space bubble, we're going to have problems. I like my space bubble. Especially if the person invading it is a scary drunk man with things living in his beard. I always attract the Winnahs.)

But yeah, I bought into the "boundary" thing when I was younger, and worried I might be "weird" because I wanted to talk to people about what I was really feeling/what they were really feeling/what's really messed up about the world, but then I got over it. Everyone is weird. This is just my own manifestation of weird and it's rather harmless, really. So, I'm going to tell you what I'm thinking and hope for the same honesty from you, so what? If you want to have a polite, surprise-free conversation that has nothing to do with getting to know the person you're talking to, you can go have that conversation with someone else. Or yourself. In the mirror. I'm sure many polite-talkers would enjoy that more anyway :).

2. I'm pissed off at BP for the oil spill and sick at heart for all the wonderful people I met in Louisiana this winter. I'm sending ya'll vibes. I hope some of them are getting there.

3. I'm also sad that many people I know have been the victims of nasty cyber and text-based attacks this week. First up, these are alleged "adults" doing the attacking and that is DUMBDUMBDUMB and also LAME. We're supposed to be the people holding society together, you turds. So quit acting like you're in junior high. We've all lived through junior high once and once was more than enough.

(To those of you actually in junior high, I send you good vibes, as well. I'd like to assure you that the social hell you may be in will improve, but... Well, a lot of adults are big nasty bullies too, so...yeah. I'm sorry. May you grow up and make the world a better place full of nicer people. I'm going to keep working out and eat healthy so I'll still be alive when you do.)

4. In less DREARY sharing, today is my old man's birthday and I am so glad he is alive. What a wonderful man, and so easy to love. May all the single ladies get some guy as good as my old man to put a ring on it. (Did you SEE all those Beyonce references there? Brilliant. I'm so fracking brilliant I SCARE myself.)

5. Also, my two little boys were dancing again last night and I laughed so hard I spit water all over my food. (Okay, so it might have been wine, not water. But whatevs. I am of legal age and I think we should set about demonizing mean people instead of adults who enjoy a responsible amount of alcohol from time to time.) I would so much rather sit around and watch them be silly than spend any more time on the Interwebz.

Begin BIG RAMBLING RANT:

Okay, so...I am nearing terminally ill sickness of the interwebz--not you, dear readers--but of the social networking crap that always leaves me feeling down. I don't like to see people being mean to each other. I just don't. And there is too much cliquey, yucky meanness going around these days. I don't know if the Internet has gotten meaner in the past five years, or if I've just grown more sensitive, but...I suppose that doesn't matter. Either way, I'm ready to take back that piece of my soul the web rips at every day.

And so. I am 3/4ths of the way to a big decision. I want close my Facebook account. I may also close my Twitter account (though I find the interaction there much more friendly than anywhere else I cyber-socially interact).

So yeah. I will continue to blog and respond to comments here (hopefully in a timely manner!). I will also continue to check my email once a day. (Yes, I'm going down to once! Once!) But that will be it. I want to devote more time to my family and friends and to spending more face time with other humans, especially readers. I have yet to go away from talking to a reader group and not felt that it was a mostly positive experience, and that I gave some good energy to people I want good things for. On the Internet...that rarely happens for me. Maybe it's me, maybe it's you, Internet. Either way, I think it's time we took a little break.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day, all. Good things and happiness to you on this long weekend,

Stacey Jay

p.s. OH, and a big note to readers. If you want to read my books, but can't find them in your library DO NOT GO ON YAHOO QUESTIONS AND ASK FOR A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN GET A FREE PDF DOWNLOAD! Illegal sharing of files is stealing. And it's stealing that will have the consequence of getting the Megan Berry series canned.

I understand that you want to read "Undead Much?" and I am so so glad. If you really can't afford it, email me, and maybe I can send you a copy if I'm having a good money managing month--I have done that for many people--but please don't steal from me. I don't make that much money and I have a lot of readers who want that third Megan book written. I will not be able to do that if you are illegally downloading Undead Much? instead of chipping in to share it with one or two friends or finding it at your library. In order to continue a series, the publisher needs to see good sales numbers. Bottom line. Illegal downloads do not count as sales or any numbers except sad, sad numbers. When I see that a few thousand people have illegally downloaded my books on a site I literally want to vomit. Don't make me vomit. I would never do that to you. Because vomiting is gross.

The end.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Get Happy Series: Happiness...is an awesome t-shirt

Hello my lovelies,

It's been quite a week around these parts. Well, quite a two weeks, in fact, and all signs point to the insanity continuing well into June, with children stuff and work stuff and life stuff keeping me from playing (and blogging) as much as I'd like.

But, I didn't want to let the week get any older without sending out a dose of happy, so I give you another installment in the Get Happy series. (Which is working, because I am totally happier. I don't know about ya'll, but one success story is enough for me to keep annoying you with my blather until I have book news. Or a new cover. Or a new excerpt. Or something to report on the writing front other than: I made words today. Some of them are good. Some of them probably stink, but I will revise and make them stink less later. The end.)

So yes, happy...T-shirts make me happy. Simple, silly, t-shirts. These are from Threadless, my favoritest t-shirt shop in the hole wide worldz.

Birds of Pray: Ha!! I own this one. Love it. I wear it with jeans and boots and a piercing, hawk-like stare.



Don't own this one, but how right is this? Very right. Get to work finding that fountain, asap.



My son had this one when he was three. He adored it because all the animals had patches and he had to wear a patch on his eye for over half the day and wearing it made him feel coooool. And look cool too...that little Badass.



Ooo...love this one, but I'm not sure I can add it to my collection. Don't want to scare the children. But for those of you not around small children, I give it my stamp of approval. (Which I know you are REALLY concerned about. People line up for miles to get my approval stamp. *eye roll*)



Whee! Own it, love it, and it even has a cameo in my upcoming book, THE LOCKET (January, Razorbill books, wherever books that don't suck are sold).



And this one...well, I think it's just crying out to be made into a children's book. With really cool pictures.



Hit this link to head over to threadless and shop. It's my personal link, so if you hit it you can go to my profile and see all the dorky pictures I've posted of myself wearing Threadless shirts (because you get street team points for that shizz, I'm not just a total dork who likes to post pictures of myself on the internetz.)

http://threadless.com/?from=staceyjayya

All of you, please have a happy rest of your week. I'll try to make it back on Friday with an actual BOOK RELATED POST *GASP!!*, but if life gets too crazy, I'll see you back here next week. With book stuff, and happy stuff, and a few reading recommendations I've been dying to share.

Stacey Jay

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Weekly Round Up

WEIRD STUFF:

My husband said that he'd consider continuing our marital relations if my body were taken over by an alien virus. As long as it was a "nice" alien virus and they had fun together and blah blah blah. I was appalled! What a freak he is.

If he's possessed by an alien virus, I'm going to give him up to the Men in Black because that's what a good spouse does. You do not carry on a relationship with another soul/virus occupying your ex's shell. I know I've always told him that in the event I die an untimely death before him I want him to find love with another, but really...

SAD STUFF:

This week I tried something new. I had a running list of fun things I was going to chat about here on the blog, and was so excited to share! But now I can't read my own writing or decipher my shorthand. I have no idea what "convert rad tail, pink shoe" meant, but I'm sure it was a HILARIOUS story.

Next time, I'll try to print legibly and get more in depth with my notes. The sad part of this, of course, is that my brain is gone. Buh-bye, brain.

COMPULSIVE STUFF:

I'm saving three packages of wooden skewers my husband bought and thinking about planning all my meals for the next two months around food on sticks in order to use them up before we move to California. I can't move wooden skewers. I just can't. But I can't throw them away unused either. That would be wasteful...and they are very pointy. A trash man could get hurt.

PRESHUSH OFFSPRING STUFF:

Baby Lo is 18 months old. Which blows my mind. He was also too sick to get his immunizations during his "well" checkup--BECAUSE MY CHILDREN ARE ALWAYS SICK!!! ARGH! Curse you, wretched asthma genes!!--but we did find out that he is 75% for height, which is...strange.

The old man and I are both only 5'6'', so he must have gotten his size from a more distant relative. I suggested the old man's dad--who is tall--but the old man still insisted on eyeing the UPS man suspiciously yesterday. The UPS man is tall, but he's also very busy and it's doubtful he has time for dalliances. Not to mention that we had a different UPS man at our old house, where BabyLo was conceived.

But you can't explain rational things like that to a man who would keep your body around even if it was inhabited by an alien virus. (Don't ask how we get into these arguements. It wouldn't be true love if we argued about normal things.)

AND also: I have been horribly remiss in not mentioning the landmark occasion of my eldest loin fruit turning 6! I can't believe he's so big. He's an amazing guy--if I do say so myself--and I couldn't be prouder of him. He's sweet, compassionate, smart, funny, a hard worker, and a heck of a dancer. Just check out the cheesy "it's your birthday" video below.

(There's baby stuff at the beginning because I'd never made him a video and he wanted to see himself as a "cute little baby". Also, this was originally set to "Me and Julio down by the Schoolyard" by Paul Simon, but youtube would not allow that song to be uploaded even with credit given so I had to use an approved song by Ule and her Ukelele. So the music ends in a strange place and...yeah. But it's still fun. I think. At least it might make a few of you smile.)



Have a great weekend! Peace!

Stacey Jay

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sophomore Blog Tour: Sarah MacLean



Book Summary:

A lady does not smoke cheroot. She does not ride astride. She does not fence or attend duels. She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen’s club.

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried--and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she’s vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she’s been missing.

But, to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss—to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston--charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.

If she's not careful, she’ll break the most important rule of all—the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love . . .

Author Bio:

Sarah MacLean grew up in Rhode Island, obsessed with historical romance and bemoaning the fact that she was born far too late for her own season. Her love of all things historical helped to earn her degrees from Smith College and Harvard University before she finally set pen to paper and wrote her first book.

She lives and writes in New York City with her husband, their dog, and a ridiculously large collection of romance novels. She loves to hear from readers. Please visit her at www.macleanspace.com.

Additional Details:

Author Web site: http://www.macleanspace.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Nine-Rules-Break-When-Romancing/dp/0061852058

I haven't read this one yet, but it is getting amazing reviews and flying off the shelves! So ya'll go snag your copy and I'll be back tomorrow.

Have a Tuesday,

Stacey Jay

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Get Happy Series: Etsy Retail Therapy Edition

Welcome back to the Get Happy series!

Today, I'll be discussing something the frugal Irishwoman in me is a little embarrassed to admit on the interwebz. But in the name of Happiness, I will.

I, Stacey Jay, occasionally indulge in Retail Therapy. While it's true that money can't buy you love and a savings account can be your best friend and stuff is just stuff and never fills the aching void and blah blah blah.... Stuff can be fun. Especially cute stuff! That comes in the mail! And is crafty and clever and fabulous!! And comes in the mail! (I love getting my loot delivered. Anything to minimize my trips up those 19 stairs. I get plenty of exercise dragging up 30 pounds of groceries in one arm and 25 pounds of baby in the other. Seriously, after living in this apartment, I'm not sure my spine will ever be the same.)

And so, without further adieu, I give you Retail Happiness: The Etsy Edition. Part One. (Because there will be more parts. Etsy is a vast wonderland of awesome and could never be thoroughly explored in one post.)

If you haven't discovered Etsy--the premier online marketplace for hand made clothes/crafts/jewelry/zombie dolls/etc--then you simply must! I stumbled upon it last year--because I am always the last to know about cool things--and I am an addict. Original pieces, great prices, and wondrous, amazing variety can keep me browsing for hours if I'll allow it. Here are a few of my recent Etsy finds. I hope you'll find them as happy-making as I did :).

Scarves:



Somewhere in Time Scarves: http://www.etsy.com/shop/SomewhereInTimeScarf

I love scarves! With hair as long as mine and time for styling scarce, I spend several days a week sporting the double-braided look. Which would be fine...if I could ever get my part straight. But like a neglected child whose mother never learned to use a comb and probably has a few extra thumbs, my part is always crooked. Rather than challenge myself to improve my hand-eye coordination or discover other ways to get the thing straight, I just tie on a pretty scarf and cover up that crooked part! Voila! Almost adult style accomplished.

And scarves are so fun. They add a carefree gypsy feel to any outfit, and who doesn't want to be a carefree gypsy I ask you?

I've ordered from Somewhere in Time Scarves once and I will definitely do so again. The seller's prices are SO reasonable (the scarf up there is less than $4) and she gently launders and irons each scarf before shipping and packages them with obvious care. So she rocks. And has scarves. Double bonus for her.

Zombie Sock Monkeys:



Sock Zombie by underroos: http://www.etsy.com/shop/underroos

LOVE sock monkeys, love zombie sock monkeys even more. (That one up there is also a ninja, which is also cool, though my 5 year old has an unreasonable fear of ninjas so I couldn't buy it for myself.)

I ordered a zombie sock monkey over a year ago from underroos, when they were a little less pricey, but I can testify that it is a quality-made item. And cute and creepy and soft and looks neat hung on the wall. (Though I had to take mine down when we were trying to sell our last house because I got the vibe that the zombies and Undead Dolls were creeping out prospective buyers who perhaps didn't appreciate my gothic wall stylings. And then I lost my sock zombie somewhere in a box in our storage nook. But hopefully I'll find it when we move again. In two months. Ack! Not going to think about that. Let's look at more Etsy stuff instead.)

Zombie Mommy Dolls:



By Nitebyrd, whose shop you can visit here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/nitebyrd

Rhianna turned me on to these adorable ladies and I had to buy one. I was helpless to resist. What mommy hasn't felt like a zombie now and then? And I love the spiders stitched on her dress. She's going on the wall next to the voodoo ginger girl from Jill at Square Books Jr as soon as she arrives!

Vintage Tattoo-inspired Jewelry:



By Wicked Minky (whose shop has TONS of nifty stuff, that is also reasonably priced.) http://www.etsy.com/shop/wickedminky

A Day of the Dead Hello Kitty. Need I say more? Sooooo cute. I think I might be getting this for a late mother's day present. Either that or a zombie swallow, which is also VERY exciting. Yeay! Can't wait for the mail to come!

And well, I could go on and on, but I won't. I have to save a few of my favorites for another post.

And I also wanted to take a moment to hit a much more serious note and urge you to donate to the flood relief in Nashville--if you haven't already. Those poor people have really been through hell. You can read more about that, and get information on where to send money and unused gift cards that will be given to needy families at the Suburban Turmoil blog: http://suburbanturmoil.blogspot.com/

Have a wonderful weekend,

Stacey Jay

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sophomore Blog Tour: Sydney Salter

And now I give you, the always adorable Sydney Salter:



Book Summary:

You’d think Polly Martin would have all the answers when it comes to love—after all, her grandmother is the famous syndicated advice columnist Miss Swoon. But after a junior year full of dating disasters, Polly has sworn off boys. This summer, she’s going to focus on herself for once. So Polly is happy when she finds out Grandma is moving in—think of all the great advice she’ll get.

But Miss Swoon turns out to be a man-crazy sexagenarian! How can Polly stop herself from falling for Xander Cooper, the suddenly-hot skateboarder who keeps showing up while she’s working at Wild Waves water park, when Grandma is picking up guys at the bookstore and flirting with the dishwasher repairman?

No advice column can prepare Polly for what happens when she goes on a group camping trip with three too many ex-boyfriends and the tempting Xander. Polly is forced to face her feelings and figure out if she can be in love—and still be herself.

Author Bio:

Sydney Salter has never had an ex-boyfriend or worked in a water park, but she did once babysit a bulldog. Sydney now lives in Utah with her first and only boyfriend (now her husband), two daughters, two cats, two dogs, and a pair of tortoises. She loves reading, writing, traveling, and really tall, really twisty water slides. She’s also the author of My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters and Jungle Crossing. www.sydneysalter.com and www.mybignose.blogspot.com

4 Questions!!

1. You're stranded inside during an ice storm and you're all out of milk and bread and can't make a sandwich or...drink milk with that sandwich. What book do you reread for comfort?

With a teetering to-read stack, I rarely reread books. But since you've got me stuck in a sandwich-less ice storm, I'd pick up Wuthering Heights, one of the few books I reread in my 20s. Ah, poor tortured Heathcliff... Ooh, but then there's Mr. Darcy. Okay, I'd read something about boys.

2. (fill in the blank) + (fill in the blank) = funny. Why?

Strawberry smoothie + my nose = funny. Because I'd just talked tough to the Ford service technician--only to slide into my front seat to catch a glimpse of myself in my rearview mirror. A nickel-sized circle of dried strawberry smoothie covered the tip of my nose. I didn't feel so tough anymore. And all I could do was laugh at myself. Or die of embarrassment. I chose laughter.

3. If you could erase one word from the English language, what would it be?

Vacuum. I can never remember how to spell it. And I sure don't like doing it.

(Stacey intrusion: Amen, sistah!! Death to vacuums!)

4. What always makes you smile? (Visual aids welcome.)

Besides smoothie dried on my nose? My husband can always make me smile, even when I'm feeling crabby. But crabs also make me smile... Let's just say it doesn't take much!

Additional Details:

Author Web site: http://www.sydneysalter.com

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Swoon-at-Your-Own-Risk/dp/0152066497/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1257803462&sr=8-1

Monday, May 10, 2010

Get Happy Series! and a Contest

Happiness.

We all want it, but it seems too many of us are having a hard time capturing that elusive feeling of contentment, mixed with a dash of anticipation, and finished off with a flourish of deserved satisfaction.

There's no easy way to "get happy"--from what I've gleaned thus far in my life, it seems to involve a complicated formula of work and rest and generosity and selfishness and stubborness and forgiveness and questions and faith and a bunch of other contributing factors including chocolate and red wine--but I thought I'd start doing my best to spread some happiness here on the blog. And what better day to spread happiness than a Monday? Especially a gray, yucky, rainy Monday like we're having here in the Mid-south?

So let's kick off the "get happy" series with a few happy songs. There's nothing like a happy song to pull you out of a funk and get the good vibes flowing. Here are a few of my favorites:

Today by the Smashing Pumpkins

Listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHUd896Sur0&feature=related (The embed feature was disabled for this song, but it's worth venturing over for a listen. This is probably my number one get happy song, though I'd never seen the video before this morning. There appears to be a LOT of heated kissing going on in it, however. I have no problem with that--since heated kisses are also happy-making--but if heated kissing kills your vibe, maybe just listen without watching the video.)

My Sweet Lord by George Harrison

Love this song. It makes me want to put flowers in my hair and spin through a field and kiss strangers and the dirt and fluffy kittens.



I'm So Happy by the Salteens (from Yo Gabba Gabba) (My kids and I get our ska dance on to this almost every day. Sometimes several times a day. It's the best kid song ever. I defy you to listen and not bounce around!)



And in other happy news, the Geek Girls are running an awesome contest. It's open to readers worldwide and chocked full of goodies--including signed copies of both UNDEAD MUCH? and MY SO CALLED DEATH, and two book-inspired tote bags from moi. Go check it out and enter to win more happy-making things:

http://thegeekgirlsguide.com/wordpress/?p=1588

So what are some of your happy songs? Let me know and we'll start a playlist. When we get a good 10-12 happy songs I will buy them on Itunes, make a mixed CD, and send those out to a few people in need of some happy. The more happy you make, the more happy you take, after all.

Big hugs and happy Monday to you all,

Stacey Jay

Friday, May 7, 2010

Five on a Friday

1. First up, I've got to say I feel bad about my post yesterday. I would delete it, but I try not to do that too often. I endeavor to keep myself honest on the blog and that means leaving things I've said stand. But yeah...I do feel bad. I adore my children and husband and they always try to give me a nice Mother's Day and I would never want to make them feel bad and I really don't care about gifts or "stuff" or anything like that.

Most of my angst stems from being a full-time stepmom for nearly four years. I was doing all the work of raising my stepdaughters and yet still was considered "Stacey the fake mom" who didn't deserve a mother's day card by everyone in their lives. (Teachers, their extended family, etc.) And it hurt. And it made me angry and bitter and cranky and colored my whole view of Mother's Day. I only had one Mother's Day with my oldest boy before I became a stepmom so...yeah.

Anyway, I don't blame my stepdaughters for that, or anyone else, really, it's just that the world doesn't know what to do with full time stepmothers just yet. And now the girls live with their mother, so I guess it doesn't really matter. Now I am the fun weekend mom who doesn't care if she gets a card because I am not doing all the laundry and cooking and running to the doctor and school and etc. So. The End! I'm sorry if I was annoying yesterday. I'll try to be less annoying in the future.

2. I'm going to be at the middle grade book fair at Barnes and Noble in West Little Rock tomorrow from 1-3 p.m. so stop by if you're in the area. I crave conversation while sitting behind a table pimping my wares and would love to see you.

3. I can't believe it's already 1:42. Why aren't my words done yet? Why am I blogging when my words aren't done?

4. Um...I can't think of a fourth thing. Is my life really that beige? Yes, perhaps it is. Or I'm just that tired.

5. I had a dream the other night that my husband had been transformed by an evil witch into a lap dog made entirely of boiled shrimp. He wanted me to kiss him to change him back into himself. I did and I swear I could actually feel the texture of boiled shrimp on my lips in my dream. I woke up before he turned back into himself. I'm pretty sure I don't want to know what this dream reveals about my psyche.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Stacey Jay

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Another Mother's Day, Most Depressing Holiday Ever

Mother's Day...

It's supposed to be a time of year when we hard-working moms feel extra loved and appreciated. But it never turns out that way. Never. After years of sucky mother's days--despite the best efforts of my loving husband--I thought I'd kept my expectations nice and low this time around. I thought I was prepared, I thought I had steeled my heart and girded my loins and all those things you do when readying for an onslaught of blechk.

Then...yesterday...my nearly six year old brought home this:



Now, I can forgive the fact that he can't spell my name correctly. He's in kindergarten! Who knows how to spell Mom's name in kindergarten? But then, I read on, to discover I am 42 years old, like to go swimming, love Mexican food, and that "he doesn't know" if I'm ever funny.

The decade added to my age...okay. It stings a bit...but okay.

But I not a fan of swimming--especially with little kids who fill me with the stress that they are about to drown at any second. (There is a reason I am so pale.) I also don't really care for Mexican food. I hate the way it makes my hair smell like onions and the only reason we take the kids to our local Mexican place so often is because the folks there are the speediest, sweetest people around and always bring the food before the baby starts to scream or Five complains about how boring it is to go out to eat. (Since he doesn't eat. Ever.)

And I'm not funny? I roll around on the floor goofing off with these kids all the time. And he can't remember any of the times we laugh together...sniff...sniff...

This evil card. It is just evidence that I am an invisible servant whom my masters can not see for what she is. A person. With likes and dislikes and hopes and dreams!
Sigh...sigh....



Mother's Day. It strikes--and sucks--again. But at least I got this cool bracelet:



Now I just have to show Five how FUNNY I can be in it, so he remembers next year.



Hope all you Mom's out there have a lovely weekend.

See you Monday!

Stacey Jay