Sugar Junkie Confessions

One cupcake was all it took...

One cupcake was all it took…

It all started with a cupcake at a wedding. I had reached my weight goal on April 1 and I decided to celebrate a little with something sweet. Just one wedding cupcake, I told myself. What could be more innocent than that?

The cupcake sparked an uncontrollable urge to splurge and I wound up sampling everything I’d given up over the past months. Chocolate, candy, cake… I found plenty of excuses to indulge. I didn’t have a problem with sugar, I told myself. I could quit anytime I wanted to. The weight was staying off thanks to all my running.

There were signs that I had a problem. The time that I ate half a box of Skinny Cow chocolate bars and then hid the package in my scooter trunk was one. It was a lot of chocolate bars to eat in one sitting, I realized, but they were called Skinny Cow. They couldn’t be bad. I didn’t even think about why I hid the package from my family.

Hiding in a Las Vegas staircase, getting my sugar fix.

It wasn’t until I found myself hiding in a dirty staircase in Las Vegas, scarfing down a marshmallow soaked rice crispy square filled with cocoa cream that I realized I might have an issue with sugar. I was in the staircase because, to be honest, I wanted to keep the treat all to myself.

I thought back to the energetic, focused person I had been April 1. She ran up to six miles a day, worked, published her own newspaper, found time to write and blog… I had changed.

Now I was tired, cranky and my foot joints hurt. I had less focus and drive. I had been suffering from melancholy, perhaps even light depression. I haven’t been able to sleep. Nothing had changed in my life but the sugar.

It’s time for me to face myself and admit that I am a sugar junkie. I love the stuff. Me having a little sugar is like a recovering heroin addict having a little heroin to celebrate sobriety.

Today I resisted the sugar (except one, tiny chocolate candy) and I already feel much better. I’ve lost the jittery tense feeling. I felt cheerful and energetic for the first time today in several weeks. My feet bones feel better.

I compare sugar to heroin, and I’m not too far off. Studies are finding that sugar is not only a poison but that it is more addictive than cocaine and heroine. There is a great article on the subject written on the Food Coach blog.

For now, I need to take it day by day and lay off the sugar, natural and artificial. I need to give up the processed grains that turn into sugar in my system. I did this once, and I can get it out of my system again.

Previous posts from my weight loss journey…

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Scribus: New Trick in the Bag

ScribusI spent the day exploring a free, open source desktop publishing program. The two industry standards are InDesign and Quark, both pricey. InDesign has gone to a cloud based subscription plan and Quark is almost $1,000. Scribus is free, and experienced Scribus users promise the program is comparable. Find more about Scribus here.

So far it’s been slow going. I started out missing a crucial piece of the download process so my image imports were buggy. After I figured that out, I saved my painfully slow progress, closed and reopened to a much smoother program. After that it went faster and I rebuilt the Panhandle Focus banner.

Scribus 2Theoretically, if I become proficient in Scribus I can rebuild all my publishing templates and then share them. Because the program is free and open source, I could teach someone else to use them. Theoretically, they would probably buy me a coffee or lunch to say thanks ;)

But first, I need to keep working with this. Anyone else have any experience with Scribus?

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Accepted to HWA Poetry Showcase

Poetry ShowcaseI am pleased to announce that my recent poem, Death Waits, has been accepted into the HWA Poetry Showcase Volume III, set to be published as an electronic chapbook later this year.

My poem, The Braid, was accepted and included in last year’s Showcase and became the inspiration behind my short story, also titled The Braid. I am currently working on a short story based on Death Waits.

About HWA: The Horror Writers Association (HWA) is a nonprofit organization of writers and publishing professionals around the world, dedicated to promoting dark literature and the interests of those who write it. HWA was formed in 1985 with the help of many of the field’s greats, including Dean Koontz, Robert McCammon, and Joe Lansdale. It is the oldest and most respected professional organization for the much-loved writers who have brought you the most enjoyable sleepless nights of your life. Find more information on the HWA at

Find past Poetry Showcase volumes by following the links below.

Poetry Showcase Volume II

Poetry Showcase Volume I

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Personal profile set to vanish…

Click "All On" under notifications to stay in touch!

Click “All On” under notifications to stay in touch!

For awhile I’ve been plagued by Facebook redundancy. I had 2,500 people on my page and 3,500 friends. When I posted something to my page I felt like obligated to share it with my friends and vice versa. This meant I was often double posting.

Today I started the great migration process to close down my personal profile and convert it to a page. All my friends will stay with me as likes and see what’s going on–but only on one page! No more redundant double posting.

The only drawback is you won’t receive notifications on what I’m up to if you don’t select them. It’s easy to do and the image shows exactly where to find that. If you don’t want to receive notifications do nothing and you will just see my news items in your regular wall feed.

To set notifications, hover your cursor over the like button on my page until a menu pops up. Simply click “All On” under notifications. All set–now you will get all my news. To say thank you, I promise there will be no political rants, limited photos of my food and probably more cute dog photos then cute cats (I have two cute dogs but the cat looks pretty unsavory).

This post will probably be redundant as I share it a few times over the next two weeks before I ‘personally’ vanish. I apologize for that. After the great migration is complete, however, you should only see things once– unless you really, really like them–but the choice will be yours.

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Why Authors Need Open Mics

Maberry snap by P. Freivald

I hold up a copy of The Braid while Jonathon Maberry snaps a photo. Photo courtesy of Patrick Freivald.

The last three years I’ve been forcing myself to participate at open mic performances, and this last week it paid off.

I had an opportunity to read to an audience at StokerCon 2016 alongside Jonathon Maberry, a New York Times Bestselling author and five time Bram Stoker award winner. Of course, I was petrified.

Maberry CaptionI don’t naturally enjoy reading in front of people. I’m happy to sit in the back of the bar and observe the performances of others. Unfortunately, sitting in the back of the bar doesn’t help get you anything but tipsy. I started forcing myself to attend open mic venues and to perform.

At first I read far too fast, holding up my poem in front of my face like a barrier. I was told no one could understand my words because they jumbled out like a puppies on a rampage. I made myself slow down, resisting the urge to rush so I could return to the safety of my seat.

I studied other performers, how they enunciated and used gestures effectively. I asked for feedback from friends that were comfortable on stage. I kept at it, each time learning to relax more. It began to feel natural to be in front of a group.

When it came time to read with Maberry, I was running on three hours of sleep and recovering from a chest cold. I wasn’t at my prime, but I forced myself to read at an even pace rather than rush. I narrowed my focus to the words in front of me. It helped and the reading went well.

Afterwards, I was excited when Maberry complimented me on my pace and story. Had I not trained for this, I would have flopped. I would have read too fast, book held up to shield my face from view. Attending open mics regularly has helped me to have confidence. Where once I dreaded the trip to the spot light, now it doesn’t frighten me.

Authors can no longer afford to be recluses, tapping madly away at a keyboard in a musty attic. With social media interwoven into nearly aspect of our lives, we need to work hard at our brand as much as our books. If we never leave the attic, however, no one will know us.

Every author would benefit from attending and participating at open mic venues. In the Panhandle area, we are lucky enough to have several. Do your career a favor and step onto the stage now. Then, when you are one day called to read with a a New York Times Bestselling author and five time Bram Stoker award winner, you won’t choke up in terror.

You can find area open mic venues listed on the calendar page at the Panhandle Focus.

This Thursday locals will have a chance to support their Panhandle authors and poets at the first birthday of Stone Soup Open Mic held every third Thursday on the month at LJ Schooners beginning at 7 p.m.

All are welcome to take the mic and share their poetry and prose and this time local authors will be selling and signing their books as part of the celebration.

I will be there with a few copies of The Braid, Pirantulas, Literary Lizard, Snakespeareand Monsters Are Everywhere.

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Back to the miles…

I depend on a good meal replacement drink at events like StokerCon.

After a week of debauchery in Las Vegas it’s good to be home. Somehow I lost a few pounds at StokerCon despite the indulgences and I think it was due to starting each day with my 310 Nutrition Meal Replacement Shakes and running up and down 10 flights of stairs multiple times each day. The elevators were far to slow.

Today was my first run back, still wearing only Xero soles, and it felt awesome. I’m slower with no running shoes but my legs and feet are starting to feel strong. I’ve lost the brittle feel in my shins and I feel springy and graceful running barefoot.

Next goal is to get back up to three miles daily, and then lose the soles and run completely barefoot. I lost ground in my You Vs. the Year challenge. I was up in the top 6%. After a week of not running, I am back down in the 7% range. Once the miles increase I hope to get my spot back.

Las Vegas was a fun time and I was excited to go… but it’s so nice to return to routine.

Run stats 5-18-16

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Reading Locally

Read LocalThis Thursday locals will have a chance to support their Panhandle authors and poets at the first birthday of Stone Soup Open Mic held every third Thursday on the month at LJ Schooners beginning at 7 p.m.

All are welcome to take the mic and share their poetry and prose and this time local authors will be selling and signing their books as part of the celebration.

I will be there with a few copies of The Braid, Pirantulas, Literary Lizard, Snakespeare and Monsters Are Everywhere.

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Back from StokerCon 2016


Mr. Smith and I attended the gala Bram Stokers Award Banquet. Photo courtesy of S. Kay Nash.

How can I possibly express what it was like to be at StokerCon 2016?

The best of the horror community walked the halls, mingling with the up-and-comers. It was a blur of friends, new and old. There were workshops teeming with more information than could possibly be absorbed in the time allotted. The panels were full of audience participation, demonstrating what a close knit community of writers and authors the Horror Writers Association remains.

Set all this collaboration and cooperation into the glittering Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The result was a singular experience–exhausting, invigorating, thrilling–and nothing will ever compare.

There will be other StokerCons. The next one is already set to take place in 2017 aboard the Queen Mary in California, but this one will always remain at the top of the list. Mostly, it’s because it was the first StokerCon and must, by the mysterious powers of numbers, remain in the number one spot. It will also remain in the top because the horror community demonstrated that, despite growing pains, we remain together.

Words are my livelihood, but sometimes a picture can express things an exhausted writer can’t. Tonight, I take the easy route and share the images I caught over the past week. Please enjoy while I go finish unpacking.

I’ll share more details when I get caught up.

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Eating LOCALLY @Cafe Bienville

Under $8: rosemary chicken and red beans and rice!

Under $8: rosemary chicken and red beans and rice!

The other day I went to lunch a a chain restaurant (I won’t name) that claims to be gourmet and upscale. I was extremely disappointed. I admit, I might be spoiled by Cafe Bienville but they deserve the spot as #1 on my favorite places to eat list, and here’s why…

Pictured is the sandwich combo I regularly get at Cafe Bienville for under $8: a sandwich stuffed with slow cooked, hand-pulled chicken cooked in Rosemary and dressed with rosemary infused oil, fresh sliced red onions, special house herb mayo, fresh field greens and ripe tomato on fresh baked bread. This comes with a cup of red beans and brown rice stuffed full of tender Andouille sausage and red beans cooked in a savory broth with a lively kick. All of this goodness comes, as I said, for under $8 and is made on premises.

Going back to the chain restaurant, not a local eatery and with no ties to the area I call home other than they want my money… I paid over $10 for their sandwich combo which consisted of a piece of deli turkey, a leaf of iceberg lettuce and a slice of pale tomato between two pieces of pink bread that was so sweet it may have been cake. The menu claimed it was a special tomato bread. This came with a salad of iceberg lettuce and what tasted like Thousand Island dressing. This was over $10, most of it I didn’t eat and all of it looked like something I could buy at Walmart’s deli. Culinary fail.

I’ve learned my lesson. I have decided to support my local economy, the one that supports me back, by eating and shopping locally as often as I can. I’m heading there right now for a Mother’s Day lunch.


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International Barefoot Running Day!

runner_front_small-411x500I became interested in running barefoot a few weeks ago but decided not to focus on learning to run barefoot until after I ran my first 5K race. That was yesterday.

By happy accident, today is International Barefoot Running Day! No, I didn’t plan this but I do take it as an encouraging sign, an omen even, that my feet were meant to run nakey.

Today I did my first sans shoes mile and it wasn’t bad. I felt awkward while my body tried to find a new gait and rhythm but I think it will feel natural in a week. That’s my plan too–keep the barefoot runs to just one mile a day while I adjust and then I can start bumping up the mileage.

I don’t run completely barefoot. I wear running huaraches by Xero shoes. I talked about them last month here and did a three mile run in them on the first day. After my calves recovered I decided to take it slower as suggested by just about everyone.

Next goal–run a 5K barefoot!


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