I’ve lived in Arizona all of my life.  The summers are hot, someone suggested earlier that you would get used to the heat or you could be like me and my husband, another AZ native and get to the point where you can’t stand the summer.  It hits 100° mid May, stays 110° and hotter through June and July and if we are lucky it might cool down in October.  One year it was 100° on Halloween, I was not amused.  It makes life difficult and for the past five years or so it’s really affected me.  I know Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is most commonly attributed to the winter months but it can also hit some people in the summer as well.*

The causes for SAD are difficult to  pinpoint, some research blames the lack of light, others suggest that diminished activity may also be to blame.  I think anytime your regular life activities are limited it can cause problems.  If you want to take a walk and you can’t, it doesn’t really matter if it’s too cold or too hot.  It may sound overly dramatic but at times it feels as though you are trapped in your house, sneaking out in the early morning or late into the evening, even then the temperature is often still hovering near 100°.  It can be a bit unbearable at times and in the past I’ve really struggled to stay positive during the summer months.

For several years we would vacation for a week in the later part of July.  We would enjoy the 70° weather and then come back to the tail end of monsoon season.  The temperature would still be 110° plus high humidity and the transition from the cooler weather to the uncomfortably warm would send me into a funk.  In those times I remember feeling very hopeless and trapped.  It seemed a cruel thing to spend a week in nice, cool weather only to once again be dropped into the hell that is Arizona in the late summer.  Again, this will sound overly dramatic but I almost felt like I was being punished.

We’ve since moved our trip into August and that has helped a lot.  Now we spend those hot, humid days preparing for our trip; packing, talking about what day we are going to do what and most of all, looking forward to vacation.  I think this is important, you have to have something to look forward to.  In the past, when we got home we’d have to look forward to the weather cooling down.  At the end of July, October feels really far away.  Now when we get home most of the humidity is gone, the temperatures are a little lower and it seems just that much easier to handle.  Also, we are that much closer to October and hopefully, cooler weather.

Someday we will move out of Arizona.  It’s bound to happen given how much both Sully and I dread the weather here but for now I can deal with the weather as long as I have something to look forward to.

*You can find more info on summer depression at WebMD.


Slogging through…

It’s Tuesday, I am a day late with my post on writing…

It’s another Twitter conversation about the writing process from Kevin Hearne.  In this installment Kevin and friends discuss doubt and how to get through, over and beyond it.

If you missed my blog posts on Kevin’s other conversations here is Respecting the Process… (Writing Encouragement No. 1) and Do What Works…  (Writing Encouragement No. 2).

Writing Encouragement No. 3

Dealing with your doubt

Click here to get the full post on Storify.com

And again, here are my unpublished and inexperienced two cents…

Honestly, I have no advice to add to this.  Of course, I understand it all and I know you have to slog through it all to get the book done.  It’s just that  I struggle with doubt so much that I’ve developed a rather healthy case of procrastination that keeps me from writing, so I don’t have to worry about the doubt.  Instead, I get to worry about not writing, and about never finishing  which is then followed by a good dose of self criticism over my inability to get my butt in front of my computer.  So, like the writer’s in Kevin’s conversation, I am a weird jumble of neuroses most of the time.  

I think I am just about ready to jump back into the quicksand of rewriting my work in progress.  It’s time to set up a schedule and just get it done.  Onward and upward, right?




I haven’t watched the television coverage* of the tornado damage in Oklahoma but I’ve seen some photos and it’s unimaginable.  My heart goes out to all of the people affected by the devastation.




I have family in Oklahoma and got a text about five hours after they had gone into the cellar.  They were safe and sound but only a mile from the path of the tornado, they have friends that lost their homes.   I saw the footage taken by the KFC employee on his cell phone, seriously scary stuff.   Stay safe everyone!


*I try not to watch television coverage, it becomes addicting for me.  In my moment of wanting to help and feeling helpless because I am too far away to actually aid anyone I end up watching hours and hours of coverage.  In this age of 24 hour news, it’s not good, it causes me anxiety to watch everything over and over again and still feel helpless.





Last weekend I was barraged with Facebook posts, blog entries and articles about the hullabaloo with Disney over the apparent makeover of the Brave character Merida.  I looked at the pictures, read a few articles and decided I wasn’t all in dither like the ‘other sane’ women reading the same stuff.  I mostly kept my opinion to myself sharing it with Sully, Boo and Faith.  

It’s been a week and people are still talking about this and now I am just annoyed about the whole thing.

I saw this article on Comic Book ResourcesDisney Reverses Merida Makeover, but Still Seems to Miss the Point’

I commented at that website and I’ve put it here too…


There are so many other things to worry about that the look of a Disney princess doesn’t really rank high up there on my list. Now that this has gone on for more than a week I am annoyed and so I am commenting. She’s dressed up for her Coronation, people dress up for stuff like that even when they don’t want to. I also wouldn’t think she would show up for her own coronation armed with her bow and arrow. 

Last week when all of this started, I found it ironic that the people that complained the most were the same people that had just posted pictures of their daughters dressed up for Prom. They added comments like, “My ‘Julie’ is a bit of a tomboy and never wears dresses but she was excited for Prom and even wore makeup.” I guess I should have left comments that ‘Julie’ was a sellout or how this would put her morality into question.

My daughter will have a good body image because we (her parents) are teaching her that people come in all shapes and sizes. There is no one size fits all. My daughter loves Disney but she knows the difference between reality and storytelling, As much as we might want flying carpets, talking animals and birds fixing us breakfast, our family is aware that it’s not going to happen. 

I am a mom of an eleven year old daughter, so I get this issue, I really do.  The important thing here is that women don’t have to choose between being strong or sexy.  I love to watch football and I can wield power tools like a pro, and yet, I am also a bellydancer and like to get dressed up on occasion.  And I have a geeky side that loves Sci Fi and goes to comicon every year.  Just because I am wearing a dress doesn’t mean I couldn’t kick some ass, and I think the same goes for Merida.   


Something else to add or just think about too.  Should we be judging Merida by her clothing and appearance?  I thought one of the key arguments of the equality fight was that a person’s actions are far more important than their appearance, income, religion, or …I could go on.  


I’ve added two images that clearly show Merida with her bow and arrows.  All of the posts, blogs and articles I read showed the same two images, the movie version of Merida with her bow and arrows and the makeover unarmed version.  In the comment section of one of the articles someone brought up the fact that there were other images of her with her bow and arrows.  A quick Google search brought me these two images.  I probably could have found more but I thought two was enough.  It’s clear that these are Disney images and that the invitation to Merida’s Coronation was put out some time before May 11th and well before the hullaballoo broke out.




D princesses















In recent weeks I have been looking for some different tools to help me work out some of the funky parts of my current writing project.  This book is my second but it’s really the first of a series, so there’s a lot to keep straight.

In my research I found Mural.ly, which is described as a visual collaboration.  For me, it’s an online bulletin board, you can drop in websites, photos and audio.  You can add notes, pins and arrows to connect different elements.

I made up a sort of sample board to show here.

We’ve recently started watching the show Castle and I thought it would be fun to use it here.

Mural sample 1

You can zoom in and out easily, leaving this large overview or focusing on specific parts of the board.

I used different areas of the board to separate my different sections.  I dropped pictures in of the characters along with their names, I could add a sticky note with more info or stickers to highlight something or someone.  I put a chapter (episode list) in the middle that I could draw lines and arrows to connect characters and events to a specific chapter.




I like using family trees and floor plans to keep track of my characters and where the action is happening.

Family tree

I dropped in a family tree of the British royal family rather than building my own.  It was a bit quicker and only a few of the Castle characters are related so it would be a small family tree.


                                                      For the floorplan,  I’ve used a sticky note along with some lines and arrows to label and tie things together.

On the board for my work-in-progress I have my characters, floor plans, a family tree, a section of sticky notes for the mystery subplot, a section for my chapter flow and an area with notes for things that needed to be added or changed.  It’s great to have everything on the same board, rather than here and there or photos in a file that I have to pull up.  I can’t wait to get a second monitor so that I can keep Mural.ly up while I am writing.

In some future posts I will discuss some other tools that I use to help me keep track of things.