Panhandle Focus, now bi-monthly

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 12.07.09 AMJust finished the September issue of the Panhandle Focus and there was so much material it was going to be a whopping, overloaded affair.

Instead, I’ve decided to share the love over the month and simply go to bi-monthly publication now. It’s been suggested and requested that we go bi-monthly many times since the first issue Aug. 1. The issues will now come out on the first and fifteenth of each month.

Enjoy this September 1 issue—it’s packed with fashion shows, charity, women making a difference, archery, animals, cornhole… we do a lot in the Panhandle worth talking about!

To view the paper, simply follow this link (The Panhandle Focus) or visit PanhandleFocus.com. You can also always find it available to the right in my sidebar.

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Made the Daily News AGAIN :)

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 8.54.40 PMTwice in a week I’ve been mentioned in the Northwest Florida Daily News—this time in an excellent article by reporter Jennie McKeon about the Twilight Zone discussion group I’ve been going to every Sunday at Cafe Bienville.

I was impressed by Ms. McKeon’s quick story turnaround. She left our group around 3:30 to 4 p.m. She had her story up by 5:30 p.m. Obviously she’s a seasoned professional turning out a well written piece of work so quickly.

You can read the story on the Daily News website. Thank you Jennie McKeon and the Daily News!

Come join the fun every Sunday at Cafe Bienville, 314 Bayshore Dr, Niceville, at 2 p.m. Each week we discuss a new episode of the Twilight Zone, available to watch on Netflix. Next week we will be talking about episode four, The Sixteen Millimeter Shrine.

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Murder the muse

Stephen King quote

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Plateau BUSTED with -1.6 pounds!

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Celebrating a successful week with a smoothie when my daughter pointed out I had a hitchhiker on my hat.

Last week my weight loss journey stalled out as I hit a plateau. I’d hit 164, and then bounce back up to 165 the next morning no matter what I did. This lasted a week and last Saturday I had nothing to report except that I was determined to fight through this.

I’m happy to announce that my weekly weigh-in was at 163.4! That means I lost 1.6 pounds this last week. What finally helped me break through?

  1. I jumped up my physical fitness by adding a 1/2 hour aerobic work out and by riding my bike to work every day for around four miles of pedaling.
  2. 20150828_220558I’ve continued drinking 310 Nutrition meal replacement drink and I started taking 310Thin supplements twice a day to get my metabolism speeded up.
  3. I started making sure I was in bed by 10 p.m., even if it meant putting my blog post off until morning.

Now that I am making progress again, I’m excited. I have seven weeks left to make my goal and 18.4 pounds to go. The August stall left me behind schedule but I am undeterred and will push on to see how much I can lose.  No matter how much I drop, I feel fantastic. I win :)

You can follow my weight loss journey…

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Mentioned in the Daily News!

I was surprised and excited yesterday when a friend sent me a message that I was mentioned in our area’s daily newspaper, the Northwest Florida Daily News.

I got my hands on a copy and found a nice write up on myself in Brenda Shoffner, the Showcase editor’s, column. I snapped a pic (highlighted the part that mentions me) and am sharing it here. Thank you to Ms. Shoffner for the nice write-up!

Northwest Florida Daily News Showcase, Aug. 27, 2015.

Northwest Florida Daily News Showcase, Aug. 27, 2015.

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I missed Nat’l Dog Day?!?

Dante is always ready for a selfie...

Dante is always ready for a selfie…

How could I miss National Dog Day? I am surrounded by dogs every day.

I have my dog, Cheeky, who looks like Anubis (the Greek name of a god associated with mummification and the afterlife in ancient Egyptian religion) and eats almonds.

My husband has a big bruiser named Dante whose hobbies include shedding, sniffing butts and licking his nether regions.

My daughter has two dachshunds, Toby and Yogi. Toby is quite rotund—I think he’s full of so much love and good nature it makes him bloated. Yogi, on the other hand, I usually refer to as “that little craphead.” But he is cute. Destructive and cute.

Maybe being surrounded by so much canine adoration is why I rarely get sick.

From WebMD—…for nearly 25 years, research has shown that living with pets provides certain health benefits. Pets help lower blood pressure and lessen anxiety. They boost our immunity. They can even help you get dates.

“The old thinking was that if your family had a pet, the children were more likely to become allergic to the pet. And if you came from an allergy-prone family, pets should be avoided,” says researcher James E. Gern, MD, a pediatrician at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

However, a growing number of studies have suggested that kids growing up in a home with “furred animals” — whether it’s a pet cat or dog, or on a farm and exposed to large animals — will have less risk of allergies and asthma, he tells WebMD.

In his recent study, Gern analyzed the blood of babies immediately after birth and one year later. He was looking for evidence of an allergic reaction, immunity changes, and for reactions to bacteria in the environment.

If a dog lived in the home, infants were less likely to show evidence of pet allergies — 19% vs. 33%. They also were less likely to have eczema, a common allergy skin condition that causes red patches and itching. In addition, they had higher levels of some immune system chemicals — a sign of stronger immune system activation.

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Cell-less

PhoneDear Diary,

It’s been less than 24 hours since my phone’s demise, but the pain of loss has only gotten more intense.

I thought the initial shock was the worst—the desperate denial was followed by the sickening realization that it was really gone and nothing I could do would change that.

I feel out of touch. Unless I’m directly tied to my laptop I have no idea what’s going on. How do I know what’s happening on Pinterest, on Instagram, on Twitter? It’s like being in a box suddenly, cut off from society.

I wanted to go to the store yesterday to get a new phone, but when I reached the end of the block I realized I had no GPS. My predicament became clear to me. I was trapped. How could I travel to get a new phone without a phone to guide me?

Now it’s just a waiting game. I can’t read, I can’t text, I can only sit and stare. What did I do before I had my phone? I can’t remember life, if that technologically deficient existence could qualify as such.

I hope I survive this…

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How to be a writer…

large_neil_gaiman_writing_quote

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Sweet & Succinct

800px-Classic_baby_shoesI am not a fan of word count. I believe word count is one of the cultural myths that add false value—better books have bigger word count, beautiful women are all size three and Pitbulls are all killers.

Stories are like children. There is no set size or style that is correct. A story grows organically, and though we do have to discipline or risk producing something wild and unpleasant, it needs space to be as big or as little as it’s meant to be.

I know plenty of writers that will add in wasted words and scenes just to puff a piece to “novel length” word count. “Almost always, high word count means that the writer simply did not edit their work down enough,” says Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest. “Or—it means they have two or more books combined into one.”

Plenty of powerful stories are packed into small packages. Animal Farm, A Clockwork Orange, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Time Machine, Of Mice and Men and A Christmas Carol are all examples of fine stories that finished when they should.

One of the  most famous short stories of all time is often attributed to Ernest Hemingway, though his authorship of it is contested. Still effective, the tale is told in only six words.

“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

It has all the necessary information that the reader needs without losing focus in details. An extreme example, the six word story is tense, keeping the reader engaged and interested. Almost too brief, it still hooks the reader and keeps them engaged.

I have no objections to longer works—how could one word of Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings be omitted? If the words warrant it, write them. If they don’t, let them be be sweet and succinct.

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Just bought Saber by Amy Eye!

Screenshot_2015-08-22-22-31-18Saber,  a beautiful new book just released by Amy Eye, is available now on Amazon! This charming story about a feisty pup on the street with trust issues. The story is a great read for older elementary readers on up.

I first read this tale when it first appeared in a Christmas Lites anthology and I loved it then. Saber is a lively, lovable canine that has some important lessons to learn, and by following the story, we can learn them too.

SaberKudos go the the cover designer, Kyra Starr, who made a bright and engaging image that communicates the feel of the story and attracts the eye.

I’m pleased to have my paperback copy of Saber on it’s way to me. I didn’t realize it, but when I bought the paperback version I get the Kindle version for free so I can start reading now. I’ll be posting my review soon!

You can find both editions available on Amazon.

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