Category Archives: Ramblings

Favorite Movies of All Time

I’m not sure these are my favorite movies, but I watch them over and over. Yes, I point out their flaws:

I hate musicals so we’ll start there:
Singing In The Rain–I’m a huge Debbie Reynolds fan. Always have been. It was my destiny because Debbie is my first name. (Michele is middle, but I think it’s a better-sounding name, so that’s what I use.)

Auntie Mame–Not sure why I like this movie, but every time it’s on, I can’t turn it off. It contains some of my favorite quotes, like, “Life is a banquet and some poor suckers are starving to death” and “Live, live, live.” I guess I like that it’s very positive and life-affirming, especially in the face of tragedy and hardship. I had it on my DVR, but then I got rid of Directv when I switched to streaming services, so now it’s gone. Yeah, I could buy the DVD, but then I wouldn’t get the joy of squee-ing whenever it comes on TV.

Action-Adventure:
The Long Kiss Goodnight–Geena Davis is simply stunning as a strong woman who will take no shit from anybody. She protects her family and friends, kills the bad guys, and gets her man.

The Crow–I watched this 100 times as I hand-made a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt for my dad, so it has sentimental value and a freaking awesome soundtrack. The images shows blocks from the current GFG I’m making (all sewn by hand because I am not comfortable with a sewing machine.) This one has a coral reef theme, so the colors are all bright. The first one I made, years ago, had garden colors with a green path. This one will have an aqua-blue path.

Comedy:

What’s Up Doc?–My wife introduced me to this one. I’m not a Streisand fan, so I avoid movies where she sings. I loved the comedy in this one, as well as how they all end up in court. It reminds me of The Bachelor and the Bobbysoxer or Seems Like Old Times, both excellent movies.

Overboard–At the core, this movie is sick and sadistic, but I write a lot of sadism, so perhaps it follows that I’m okay with a movie about an amnesiac who is kidnapped by someone who wronged her and made to believe she’s his wife. The movie ONLY works because Kurt and Goldie are together in real life. I did not bother to see the remake.

If these movies seem old, it’s probably because 1) I don’t watch many movies anymore and 2) I’m not good at remembering names of movies and Wife isn’t awake for me to say, “What’s the one with the car chase?” and have her know exactly what I’m talking about.

What movies do you love and watch over and over?

Characters I’d Name a Baby After

This is the perfect spot to share some of my all-time favorite characters with you.

  1. Sabrina from Letting Go (Awakenings 1). This is the second heroine I created–the first is in an unpublished book that will never see the light of day–and I named her a name I wanted for myself. I also liked it as a baby name, buy my significant other hated it, and she can’t control what I name a character. Sabrina is smart, driven, and emotionally strong. She’s searching for something more in her life, and she embraces the journey of life. I love that about her.
  2. Samantha Carter from Stargate: SG-1. She inspired Samantha Spencer who appeared as a supporting character in Letting Go, and she’s the heroine of Owning Up (Awakenings 3) which won’t be out until June 2019. Dr. Samantha Carter is a scientist who is great at computers, engineering, and all sorts of physics. She can math like nobody’s business. (Yeah, I used “math” as a verb. I’m creative with words, not numbers.) My character is an artist, not a scientist, but she’s sensitive and caring like Major Carter.
  3. Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird. She’s a beloved character for a reason. I’d name a dog Atticus. I read this book as a teen, and I liked it. I read it again as an adult, and I loved it.
  4. Darcy from Re/Bound (Doms of the FBI 1). Darcy is also another name I wanted that my SO rejected. She’s also strong (I prefer strong and intelligent heroines, so that’s what I write.) Life has dealt her a fistful of tragedy, but she won’t let it break her. I’d like to think I’d react with the same resiliency, though I wouldn’t wish her life on any baby.
  5. Jolinar, also from SG-1. This is the name of the Tok’ra symbiote who was briefly melded with Samantha Carter. Jolinar is a derivation of the name of Thor’s hammer from Norse mythology. We threw this name around when I was pregnant with twins, but ultimately we gave that name to our cat. Jolo was feral when we got her, but toward the end, she turned into a sweet kitty who liked to roll around the floor while we sang to her.
  6. Patrick from Auntie Mame. This is one of my all-time favorite movies, and I hate musicals, so that’s saying something. Watching him grow as a person throughout the movie always tugs at my heartstrings. If one of my kids had turned out to be a boy (I had twin girls,) I would have considered Patrick. Knowing me, I would have called him Trick for short.
  7. Westley from The Princess Bride. It shortens to Wes, which I like, or West, which I’d do because it’s unique. Westley was always calm in the face of anything. In the book, which I also loved, he spent years studying to master his crafts. The book also goes into great detail about the backstory of Inigo and Fezzik, so I highly recommend reading it, especially if you love the movie.

Here is the part where I burst bubbles. I don’t believe in naming kids after anybody. I caved when my wife wanted to give her grandmother’s name as one of the girls’ middle name, but that’s it. The girls each have names we liked and considered strong (and also weren’t names my students had) but that weren’t ones other people we knew had. Names are powerful, and I think everybody deserves a blank slate to fill in for themselves. I know lots of people disagree and like to name kids, particularly sons, after other people. To each their own.

Favorite Things to do in Winter

Living in Michigan, winter vacillates from cold to freezing to “holy shit, it hurts to breathe” and then we’ll get a day in the 40’s to remind us that spring will eventually return. I’m not a fan of being cold, so much of my winter time is spent inside. To me, this is the perfect time to corral my kids and spend some quality time with them.

People who love the snow go snowboarding, skiing, or ice skating. I lack things like balance and athleticism, so I avoid those things. I have a pond behind my house that’s perfect for skating. If it’s not too cold (in the 20’s is okay) I like sledding or “ice skating” on my shoes. In this first picture, it’s after the first snowfall, and the pond isn’t yet frozen. It’s up to 12-feet deep, so it freezes relatively quickly. (It’s frozen now, but it’s -10 and windy, so I’m not going outside to snap a more recent picture.

Off the lower patio, which is covered in snow (look for the grid pattern that’s the same as the upper patio,) the yard drops a little more than a story. When the pond is frozen, we can sled down the hill and onto the pond. After a few trials to tamp down the snow, you can get up quite a lot of speed, especially if you go to the right, where the pond stretches for a ways. (It’s a huge body of water, but there’s a lake across the street that hosts at least 6 subdivisions, so this is called a pond.) Here’s a summer picture to compare. That’s the lower patio and the view to the right, including the beach. We sled to the left of the maple in the foreground, and with enough weight, we can make it halfway across the pond on a sled.

As I said above, my favorite thing to do is spend time with my family. We have teenage twins who are growing up too fast. This winter, we’ve played Telestrations. It’s fun to play the original way, but we’ve combined it with our Cards Against Humanity set, so we’re illustrating things like “Three dicks at once” and “micropenis” and “not reciprocating oral sex.” We laugh so hard that it hurts. I highly recommend it, which is why I’ve embedded a link in the name of the game above. We also play trivia games a lot. It’s a house of nerds and geeks. One of the coolest things about game nights is the fact that my kids talk to me in a low pressure situation–no schoolwork is mentioned–and the dumb things that end up on the illustration cards trigger some great conversation topics that I never would have thought to bring up. Plus, it’s nice to just laugh with the people you love.

I also do a lot of writing. This winter, I’ve written about 90K words. I finished up a draft of Owning Up (Awakenings 3) that’s 124K words and I’m about 50K in on Doms of the FBI 8 (untitled). I’ve also prepared Letting Go for re-release. (Details below.)

An Impulsive Proposal…

The terms of Sabrina’s grandfather’s will require for her to be married in order to gain her inheritance. In a moment of weakness, she proposes to a handsome stranger at work. She needs someone to play a part, and she’s willing to sleep with him to sweeten the deal.

A Promise of Passion…

With a failed marriage haunting him and something to prove, Jonas Spencer jumps at the chance to have sex with a beautiful, intelligent woman for a whole year. It would be fun, and he could use some fun in his life—as long as she lives by his rules. He is a Dominant, after all.

A Powerful Desire…

No man has ever satisfied Sabrina in bed, but Jonas is willing to peel away her carefully constructed façade. Layer by layer, he reveals the depths of her passion. As Sabrina falls in love with Jonas, she forces him to confront his dark secrets.

Can she help him let go of the past, or will he use it to throw away the future?

Pre-Order Today!

Buy from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07M7XJ8CL

Universal Link: https://www.books2read.com/u/brGDe7

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Those People Who Sit Outside the Polls

I voted today. I’ve voted in every primary and election since I turned 18–except one. (I missed a special millage vote that happened in May one year. May elections are rare in these parts, and the postcard from the school asking for the tax increase came two days after the special election. I still feel bad about missing it.)

Voting is not only a privilege, but a civic responsibility. If you don’t vote, I question whether you deserve citizenship. (I also an in favor of automatic registration and removing impediments that interfere with people finding time to vote. The system should work FOR people.)

Every time I vote, there are people standing outside that 100-yard perimeter handing out pamphlets for candidates. I’ve done this myself, mostly in school board elections and when Wife ran for Township Supervisor.

Today, there was a “pro-life” advocate. Normally I’d ignore those people, but today the pair of women got under my skin. Two white, over-50 women who, from the way they were dressed, do not have the slightest clue what it’s like to scramble for a meal, stood there, smiling and making snide comments. (My main issue with “pro-life” people is that they abandon the child/family as soon as the kid is born. Also, my cousin’s wife was forced to carry a dead fetus from the 7th to the 9th month because of a ban on late-term abortions. Put yourself in her shoes for a day and let that horror sink in.)

In their “discussion” as Wife and I left, they made negative comments about candidates who were not vehemently “pro-life”–and then they started bitching about the gays being allowed to marry.

I did not punch anyone.

I did turn around and say, wide-eyed, “Oh, no! Not the gays!” I would have said more, but Wife pulled me away. Seriously–they’re upset about marriage equality. I spent the next two hours fuming. I hate that I let these bigots get under my skin. Hate it.

And that is my voting adventure for today.

Workout 2018: Working Out is a Hoax

About 18 months ago, I started gaining weight rapidly, like a half pound a day. I’d gain 2-3 pounds, and then it would plateau long enough to give me time to come to terms with it. My eating and exercise habits hadn’t changed. Then I’d gain more. Eventually, I was up about 15 pounds. That may not seem like a lot, but I’m short, so everything shows up.

Last November, I made a point of recording a workout diary. Since this a blind blog (no readers,) these posts are mostly for me. I’d actually been working out since October, when my doctor diagnosed me with low blood pressure. It turned out that low blood pressure was just as bad as high blood pressure. Now that I’m wearing compression socks (and making some bold fashion statements,) I have energy, my hair isn’t falling out, my oral health is better, and my heart isn’t doing weird things anymore. Oh, and I don’t swell up, get nauseous, or pass out when I’m physically active. That’s always a bonus.

Despite doing some serious aerobics and weight training faithfully for months, I lost no weight. Yes, I moderated my diet. I ate three small meals a day, and I had two small snacks (like an apple or piece of Dove chocolate. I’ve never been a big eater. My wife openly worried for my  health because she didn’t think I was eating enough.

I felt good. My ass tightened up. My weight stayed the same.

Desperate, I even utilized my accidental fall-back plan. Years ago, at my peak weight, I lost 30 pounds by taking Claritin-D. It’s not a diet med, but it speeds up my metabolism and takes away my appetite. Also, I don’t sleep, so I found I could only take half of one.

It didn’t help.

Fast forward to the past two weeks. Since summer vacation has started, I’ve been going for walks outside instead of hitting the gym, and I’ve been binge-watching House and The Closer like a boss. And I cut my Claritin-D intake down to a quarter tablet, mostly because I like to sleep, and yet I have the snotty allergies.

In the past two weeks, I’ve lost 6 pounds. It’s mostly fat. I can tell because my fat areas are thinner. Like magic, the weight is melting off. Eating healthy and working out didn’t help, but walking my dog and having popcorn for dinner while watching Brenda Lee close another case did the trick.

Or was it just hormones? I don’t know, but I’ll be happy to get back into some of my nicer work clothes this fall.

Working Hard–New Series

For the ten of you who follow this blog, I wanted to touch base. I haven’t posted in a while because I’ve been busy. Drawing on Love was supposed to come out. this month, but Editor-Wife has come down hard on the edits. Basically, that means this is going to be a two-parter. It’ll be my first. I’m in the process of writing Broken Love right now. It’s coming along fairly quickly, so I’m looking at a July release date. Though this is part of the SAFE Security series, this arc stands alone because it really doesn’t have anything to do with David and Brea.

That makes 3, I guess. Forging Love is the prequel, and it sets up what happens in Drawing on Love, and the story will conclude in Broken Love. Since Jessica and Jesse have waited for so long to get together, it looks like they have a lot to say!

So, hang in there. I’m putting together a rollercoaster experience for y’all.

P. S. I’ve had requests for Frankie and Dean’s stories. They are not in the works, but I’m thinking about them!

Social Media…Secrets?

I’ve spent the past few years writing books and trying to figure out this “social media” thing. This blog is part of the social media experiment, as was my involvement with a couple other author blogs. Mine is equal parts “here is information about my next book” and “I don’t know what the hell to write.” In the past couple of years, I’ve experimented with content. I’ve run tours, posted reviews, featured excerpts of my own work and that of close friends. I’ve posted original content (like this). One factor remains constant: Nobody is reading this blog. Few who buy books see my posts on FB or Twitter, and I see no point to Instagram. I’m not one of those people who takes pictures of things.

The fact that nobody reads my blog doesn’t upset me. I mostly wanted it so that I could link my website to excerpts from my books. However, I’ve forgotten to do that in 99% of cases. It might be on my mind now, but it’ll be gone in 5…4….3…2…1…

In an effort to get more personal, I posted my workout diary. Note to self: Look up synonyms for “boring.” At the very end of one, I confessed to being disheartened with the 80% drop in sales I experienced in 2017, and that I’m contemplating throwing in the towel.

In this one, I’ll confess that I can’t stop writing, so I’m currently throwing books onto Amazon KU under another name as fast as I can write them. I’ve put up two this month already, and I’m halfway finished with another. These 30K stories are simple love stories, so they’re quick to write. They’re selling as well as, or better than, my MZ titles, so I may just keep going that route. Who knows what the future will bring?

This has led me, so far, to conclude that social media is a lie. Posting on FB and Twitter haven’t netted me any sales or increased my exposure. How do I know? Because I did zero marketing and promo for my new pen name and series, and it has sold more copies this month than Re/Captured, which came out last month. The first book garnered 8 reviews, none of which came from a review team or marketing efforts. These were people who read the book and felt compelled to post reviews. The 2nd book came out yesterday and already has a good review and is gathering steam as far as sales go. Again, NO MARKETING, no social media plan. The FB page I threw up for this new pen name has zero likes. Nobody is seeing that content. Nobody. And it doesn’t seem to matter.

So what is the secret? Apparently, going on Amazon and seeing what’s selling, then popping off a simple/cute love story in 3 days sells. No additional marketing necessary. So, I guess that’s where I am right now. And I’m kind of happy to be writing something that people are reading.

Workout 2018 Volume 10: In Which I Feel Great

Obligatory disclaimer: This record is for me. So far, it has been enough for me to cut back on the chocolate and keep going to the gym.

 

Day ???: I’m ready to give up. Not on working out, because I actually feel better and my wife is great about doing this with me. I’m thinking 2018 will be my last year for new releases. Sales are way down (80% drop,) and I’m weighing the cost of time spent writing/away from my family vs. income gained. So basically I’m just getting in shape and wrestling with the “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” question. Right now, I have no plans for anything new after this fall. I’ll re-release Awakenings in 2019 once I get the rights back. Then what? I seriously have no idea.

~MZ

 

Workout 2018 Volume 9: I have not given up yet!

Again, this is for me, encouragement to keep up my workout regimen. Usually I quit working out after I get sick, but this time I’m still going strong! I want to tentatively say that I’m down a pound. Here’s hoping I don’t gain it back.

Day 48: Nothing. Sad day. I lost a family member.

Day 49: I’m up to 50 minutes of aerobic exercise. I’m varying the incline and resistance to get a better workout. After 17 minutes on the treadmill, my legs swelled up and itched. Instead of going home, I took a brief break and went for the elliptical. Good call, because I the swelling went away.

The cutest couple came in while I was on the elliptical. They got on treadmills in the row in front of me. They were larger people, and I’m guessing they decided to get in shape together. Anyway, they were so inspirational. They kept tapping each other each time one of them increased their pace. The other would look over, smile, and give a thumbs-up. They kept doing this for at least the last ten minutes I was there. I loved their energy and enthusiasm. It was catchy, and they kept me going. I only stopped because Wife said it was time to go.

Day 50: Yoga, bitches! I did a challenging workout, and I was up to the challenge. Today’s workout featured upward-facing plank. I’m usually okay with my hands pointed toward my ass, but when I have to point them away from my body, that’s when I run into issues. Not today. I’m getting stronger, and I’m able to hold poses for a lot longer. No trembling or pain today, except a little in my wrists. I have tiny, skinny wrists that were meant for a petite person’s body. I have an average build not a petite one. I guess nobody sent the memo to my wrists. Ah, well. Nevertheless, I persisted!

Day 51: Family time. My parents are up for the funeral. So sad.

Day 52: 17 min on the treadmill, and my entire lower half starts itching. Did weights (not a lot–I’m a wimp) and then 30 min on the treadmill. A political survey company called (my music is on my cell) and ruined my rhythm. I spent the next ten minutes have nasty conversations with them in my head. IRL, I hung up and put Wang Chung back on. Everybody Have Fun Tonight.

Day 53: Twin #1 made me walk around the track with her, which was great until she stuck her headphones in and abandoned me to run. I’m not a runner. So I went downstairs to the fitness room and did 30 min on the elliptical. I ended on the machines that let me work on weaker leg muscles so that my knee stops hurting.

RANT WARNING–There are sanitary wet wipe dispensers all over the fucking place. Why are women the worst when it comes to wiping down equipment? I got on a machine after another person–a woman, and she left a trail of sweat dripping down the backrest. She just walked away. Afterward, Twin #1 said the woman did the same thing with at least 2 other machines. And then she said the woman had been her elementary art teacher. As a woman, I want to remind all the other women that being female doesn’t mean you get to be an asshole. Wipe down the machines when you finish. Open doors for people. Move out of the way when someone coming in your direction is carrying something. I see men do this all the time, and frankly it’s maddening to see all these women who feel like they are entitled. You know what? EVERYBODY is entitled to be treated with respect. Use your fucking manners!

Day 54-55: Wife had surgery, so I’ve been taking care of her.

Day 56: Elliptical, weight machines

Day 57: I finished writing a short novel.

Day 58: Elliptical, weight machines.

My overall weight is down, and my pants aren’t as tight. This is the longest I’ve ever gone without giving up on working out!

Workout 2018 Volume 8: On my way to a better me…hopefully

My workout diary. This is pretty much for me and not anyone else.

Day 38: My sister came over and my stomach rebelled. These events are not related, but both kept me from working out.

Day 39: I did not take an Airborne, which was what seemed to have caused my “issues.” I came home from work and knocked off some serious yoga. By serious, I mean that some of my muscles hurt. Yay, pain.

Day 40: I have no excuse except laziness. I hope this isn’t the beginning of the end. Wife said she’d make me go to the fitness center tomorrow, so there’s that.

Day 41-44: I have a freaking cold, a bad one. No working out. On the plus side, when I had to hover-pee at a public toilet, my thighs were up to the task, and I didn’t have to hold the walls for balance.

Day 45: Inspired by my ability to hover-pee using only the power of my thighs, and because I’m feeling a lot better after two days of sleep, I pushed myself at P&F today. I feel great. Wife said my ass was getting firmer. I mentioned that my hamhocks made it look like my ass was really long instead of round. She objected to me naming my fat deposits, so I shook my jelly roll at her and took a shower. Yeah. Married conversations are weird.

Day 46: I snuggled under the covers and worked on revisions. I forgot to get up. I did, however, try a Slim Fast. It’s a chocolate shake with vitamins. It tastes okay, but it did not fill me up. I followed up with chips and hummus, and some popcorn.

Day 47: I weighed in at a half pound less. Was it the Slim Fast? I don’t know, but the gas is not worth the hassle. They didn’t start until later in the day. I have a slow digestive system, and I didn’t eat anything else out of the ordinary today, so it had to be the Slim Fast. Anyway, I went to P&F, did aerobic and some leg weight thingies. My thighs can squeeze 30 lbs. Tomorrow is a snow day, so I have plans to whip out the bellydancing DVD.