Writing & Publishing

Book Club: The Girl on the Train


I finally feel as though I have my $hi+ together enough to return to book club. Liam is still sleeping decently and Talia naps well, giving me time to read and write. I’m also a bit more organized since we found everyone a routine. Also, I am finally back to not needing to nap each day either. Thank goodness! That was getting old!

While we were in Illinois last week, I picked up the book “The Girl on the Train.” I had heard great things about the movie, and the book nerd in me wanted to know about the book. I’m happy to report, the book did not disappoint!

Rachel Watson rides the train each day past her old house and the home of the mysterious new neighbors down the street. Distraught over her divorce from Tom, she spends her days drinking away her sorrows on the train and focusing on the couple at house number 23 (she used to live at 15). The couple she watches each morning seem to have it all. Rachel has imaginary names and lives for them, and wishes she had what they had, until the train stops for less than a minute and she sees something that will change her life forever!

I’m not normally a reader of thrillers, but I may start exploring this genre more! I could not put this book down. The characters are well developed and the plot is character driven. I found myself not wanting to put the book aside until I had more answers. With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday, I still managed to read the book in 4 days because I HAD to know the truth. The author, Paula Hawkins managed to take a clip of less than a minute in the lifetime of a bystander on the train and turn it into a fabulous read.

There were two things I found frustrating with the book. One is stupidly silly. The author is from England and there were several words in the book I had no idea of the translation. For example, the off-license is a liquor store (packy, package store, ABC store, etc.) Thankfully the context around most words I did not know made it easy to figure out.

The second thing I found a bit irritating was the timeline. The book is told from the point of view of three characters and the timeline jumps around. You MUST pay attention to the date at the start of every chapter. Each person is telling the story from a different place in time, and it sometimes goes back several months from what you just read.

In the end, I highly recommend this book and give it the full 5 out of 5 stars. I was really excited when my niece said she had picked up the book over the weekend and was already drawn into the story.


Because the book has been such a best seller, I imagine Ms. Hawkins will be writing another thriller. I won’t wait until it’s in mass market paperback, or a movie, to read it! I may see the movie out of curiosity, but the book was so good, I hate to ruin it!

What have you been reading? Share in the comments!

Military Spouse Life

How Carrie Underwood and I are Twinsies

Okay, the title might be a bit misleading (it was meant to be funny). While we both love country music, Jesus, and ice hockey, our only other connection (that I know of) is our new-found motherhood. While Talia and I were up at 3 am this morning for feeding, I happened to look at Twitter and see she was also up feeding her little boy.

Besides the fact our babies are only a few weeks apart (are arranged marriages allowed in the US????) we are both working our way through new motherhood. Personally, I’m sure the 3 am feedings will get old soon, but for now I don’t mind. This time with my little one is magical, and I’m enjoying it. Talia is exactly a month old today, so it’s still new!

We went for her one month checkup today, and while she’s still small (5th percentile) she is doing well!

We then headed over to school so I could apply for graduation. I filled out the paperwork and ordered my cap and gown. I’m still waiting for my graduation audit to come back saying I met the requirements for my Professional Writing Certificate, but I’m confident I have everything complete. Bill met us at school and held Little One while I took care of all the paperwork (picture below) for graduation. Having missed my high school graduation, I’m overly excited about this, even though it’s just the certificate for now!


After getting home around noon, I’ve bounced back and forth between taking care of peanut (Talia) and writing. Today I’m working on some article ideas to pitch to magazines, and of course, finishing up the sample chapter for my book “Literary Crazy.” My goal is to have everything done this week for the book proposal and sample chapter so I can send it to my English professor for review before trying to find an agent. Talia is such a good baby, I’m able to get a lot done while at home….though the pediatrician said today to get ready for the crying for no reason starting at week six. Um, I don’t remember signing up for that! I’m hoping he’s wrong!!

Back to writing.

Ciao for now!

Writing & Publishing

Do Not Pass Go, Please Return to First Grade

It happens every semester. It seems to alternate between professors and students. Someone posts something, sends an email, or posts on a discussion board, and I lose my $h!+.

Last semester I had a professor for psychology, who holds a Masters Degree, and sent an email misusing YOUR and YOU’RE.

I freaked out. You need to know how this works before you leave third grade, let alone, before you have a Master’s Degree bestowed upon you!!!

I know my grammar and spelling needs work. The entire reason I’m working on this┬áProfessional Writing Certificate is to improve these things. Even if your overall goal is a degree in something else completely, you need to care about the work you turn in to your professor.

An assignment for my Creative Writing class asks us to “Show instead of tell” something. The person to first respond turned in work with the following:

  • NO capitalization
  • Quotation marks only at the END of each sentence
  • Spelled college with an “a” to write “collage”… (This isn’t art class, honey)
  • I think she meant remember when she wrote “rember”
  • The use of God was lowercase…”god”
  • I believe “gauys” means “guys”
  • Food was spelled foood
  • Casserole became “casterole”
  • And of course she used “your” instead of “you’re”

This is not even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the mistakes on this 250 assignment. Yes, it was only 250 words.

I spoke with my father earlier today, and we had a frank conversation about children and technology. It blows my mind to see parents stick NEWBORN children in front of iPads and cell phones. (Go to any restaurant and look around). They know nothing but staring at a screen all day. They don’t understand proper grammar or even the English language in general.

Friends of my step-mother came over with children who were about eight or nine, and my father could not even get them to tell him how they were that day, because they sat at his kitchen table tuned into their tablets. We are RUINING our children by putting all these electronics in front of them for babysitters. Trust me when I tell you Talia will NOT be getting a tablet until she’s ready to leave for college!

Parents have become lazy and they are only ruining their children! Our future depends on these children, and they can’t even write “I’m” (this girl in my class wrote “i” or “i’m.”)

Why become a parent if you’re not going to facilitate their education? It’s not the job of the education system to raise your children!

Part of me wants to write the professor (whom I adore as a writer) and ask her just how she can accept this work in a college level class? Part of me wants to blast the student and call her out on her piss-poor excuse for homework. The rest of me is just shaking my head and wondering where the USA will be in 20 years when no one can carry on an intelligent conversation, let alone read or write a book, run a political office, or enlist in our military to protect this country.

I’m so disappointed in parenting today (or lack thereof) and can only find solace in the fact Talia will be so far advanced when measured against her peers!

Do you see this as you go through life? Do you notice electronics as babysitters? What are your thoughts on this? Maybe I’m being an @$$hole for calling people out on this, but someone has to do it!

Life · Writing & Publishing

The Up Side to the Flu

South Carolina loves to make lists. Charleston is usually number one in wedding destinations, travel, and friendliest places to visit. These are things I can live with. We also are 6th worst for education and tied for worst drivers. These are both things I can’t wait to leave behind when we move to PA this summer to be near my dad (for the baby…but that’s a whole other post!) This week, South Carolina, in a very unscientific study by WebMD.com, rated us 4th for the sickest state this week. Yuck! That is not a list I want to be on.

This said, I have spent the better half of what we have seen of 2015, in bed.

Days 1-3 I wanted to die. I couldn’t breathe, see, smell, taste, MOVE! By day 4 I was starting to feel a bit better, and left the house long enough to have lunch with Bill and pick up books for next semester at school. The semester starts on Monday, and I’ll finish my Professional Writing Certificate in May, so I’m VERY excited to get going!

Today I tried going into work because soon, I’ll be out on maternity leave.


I won’t get into the details, but I had to leave because I needed to be in bed.

I’m tired of being in bed.

The dogs are even tired of me being in bed. I think they have had enough of me laying around, too! They also have not been able to get into any trouble this week, since I have barely left the house.

The only positive of all this, is I have spent a considerable amount of time on my book proposal, Literary Crazy.

The idea of the book is discussing world famous authors and their mental illness(es). The subject fascinates me, and I believe I can write the book well…..it’s just trying to convince an agent and publisher of this. Thankfully, I have a secret weapon. Well, two secret weapons. The first one is Bill, who has been VERY helpful in nailing the ideas and outline down. The second one is my former English professor, who actually used the word “honored” when I asked him to review the proposal before sending it off.

Since classes start Monday (mine are all online, Bill has to go to campus because for some reason they don’t think you can learn welding at home) I’ve set a goal of having the proposal done to send with Bill on Monday, to give to my professor. I’ll probably send along some baked goods, too. Not a bribe, but a thank-you.

The only thing I am really worried about is the sample chapter. Of course everything has to be notated and cited. I hate that. Just let me write. Sitting there, citing information is rough enough for people without ADD. Forget having to look up and see butterflies going by your window every two to three paragraphs. It’s also just a tedious thing I could care less about. I rarely read something and check the notation to see where they got their information unless I REALLY want to follow up and find out more about the subject matter, but again, my ADD usually just trusts the author and moves on.

Once I get everything finished, sent along to my professor, and returned, I’ll let you in on a sneak peak of what I’ve been writing about, and which of the famous authors I…well, Bill and I…..decided should be included in the book. It’s a GREAT list!

Military Spouse Life

FINALLY DONE with Finals

I had to ask for help. I HATE asking for help. It’s not because I’m full of myself or prideful, I just like doing things myself so I know it gets done and done the way I want it (okay, that sounds snotty)… but last week being sick really threw me for a loop and classes were ending. The way the college does things now, you have a regular semester broken in half, so instead of taking six classes over 14 weeks, you now take three classes for seven weeks, have a break, then take three more classes for seven weeks. Cramming an entire class into seven weeks is no easy task…and most students only take four classes a semester, or two at a time. I have to be the overachiever and take the max amount of credits.

Anyway, I had to ask for an extension for two of my classes (just until today from Friday) to get everything done, and then rely on Bill to take care of EVERYTHING around the house….including those five crazy dogs! Ugh!

Life has kept inter-fearing with school for years now (you know, since we have that whole “have to be an adult and pay bills” thing going on!). I’m finally almost done with a certificate in professional writing and I need one math class and one science class to get my Associates from Western Connecticut State University. I have about five more classes to get my BA degree. I’ll end up with all these things eventually, but I’m just taking my time. I’m looking forward to having my certificate at the end of next semester, so I at least have SOMETHING to hang on the wall for all this hard work!

Classes don’t start back until the 12th of January, so I am willingly taking this month off and doing some writing of my own.

I hope to finish my book proposal, and finish my fiction novel. I of course also am getting married, work full time, and am getting ready to have a baby…in the middle of next semester…. PHEW! Oh, and I can’t forget about this blog!!!

I do have a lot of work to do around here. I’m going to try and get some lists together for you…books I’ve read, those I recommend, etc. I just got a new book in the other day about Emily Dickinson. I’m excited because it will help me with my non-fiction project….and I like reading about weird. I mean, we are all a little weird, and I too think the macabre is interesting, but this chick was SERIOUSLY depressed…but that might just be the thing that really makes her writing stand out. It’s fascinating to read what she wrote about death and dying. It makes me want to examine her head!

Who would you go back and talk to and ask questions to about their writing? I think Faulkner and Poe also deserve a chance at explaining themselves. Hopefully, I uncover some answers in my book. I’ll be happy to let you read some of it when I’m done with my sample chapter! Stay tuned!