Life · Writing & Publishing

I’m Still Here!

Wow! It’s been a minute since I updated the blog…. So sorry!

It’s been a crazy month….and I’m exhausted. We are finally in the last trimester of pregnancy and I just have no energy. I HAVE to take a nap each day….which is making me look long and hard at my caffeine consumption from before getting pregnant. I really need to not drink so much caffeine when little Liam is out and it’s safe again.

So here’s the update!


Talia got to go on the ice for the first time:


And took off as soon as she could the second go around…


So when she turned 18 months, Daddy got her gloves and a stick:


She’s obsessed!


She loves being at the arena and was so excited to see Daddy play his first game.


She loves swim class……yes, they finally took care of the kid who made himself sick so he didn’t have to get in the pool…


She’s also enjoying her friend Wyatt being in town for summer vacation with his dad and step-mom!

When I’m not busy with Talia, I am working on my vegan sugar scrub business. It’s soap and sugar scrubs for the skin, made from sugar and essential oils (and other vegan products). I’m having a lot of fun with it. You can visit the new website here!


I also was supposed to start school today. Even though I spent all of last Monday at the school making sure everything was in order, only to get to class today and get dropped. I’m furious and have been waiting all day to hear it’s been fixed. It was their error, so they should fix it, but I’m already worried about falling behind in math and now I’m missing class time.

Because I’ve been sick and really exhausted, I haven’t been reading much. I will hopefully get back to that soon. My mom got my novel back to me and the edits are all made. I’m working on sending out my query to agents! Hopefully one requests the full manuscript and then sends an offer of representation! It’s a bit more complicated than that, but I’m hopeful!

Phew, that’s a lot! What’s new with you?

Life · Writing & Publishing

Novel or Pocket Pet?

What a week last week turned out to be! (It was so busy, Monday Book Review will be tomorrow, Tuesday. I just didn’t finish the book in time!)

I hit a big milestone last week and I can’t wait to share.

This is a picture of what 313 pages of a novel looks like for editing:


I finished editing my novel and sent it to the printer (thank you to the really nice people at Staples in Danbury, CT). As exciting as this was for me, I still have not held the book. My mom is in CT and I am in SC (USA). We are about 1,000 miles apart. She picked up the book to edit for me. Here is what it looked like when she got to Staples….


It looks more like she was taking home a pocket pet from the pet store than picking up a novel!

Her goal was to start editing right away, but my grandmother had to go to the hospital. She had been feeling ill for awhile, but she also lost my grandfather back in May. I believe in broken hearts, so I think everyone thought she was just not herself because of this. My mom finally took her to the ER only to find out she has three kidney stones. They were at the hospital all day yesterday and today it was off to the urologist. She has to have surgery later this week. I really want to just head home for a bit, but I can’t travel comfortably while pregnant.

So with this said, I told my mom NOT to worry about the novel right now. It’s true “Pitch Wars” opens up tomorrow, but I’m not worried. Pitch Wars is for aspiring novelists to enter for a chance to work with a mentor to get their manuscript perfect for submission to a literary agent. I’m still going to enter, but I’m not getting all worried and stressing about it!

With the book done and out of my hands for a few weeks, we decided to get some family time in!

Our local mall has a business called “Palmetto Clayground.” It’s a paint your own ceramics store. Talia was more about dipping the brush in the pain than actually painting, but we have a really cute keepsake and a great memory!


Of course no day out is complete without a new book!


I would be this happy too if they would let me on!


We also had our first swimming lesson this week! Sadly, it only lasted five minutes.


Another little boy with a SUPER dramatic mother, made himself get sick in the pool because he didn’t want to go in. The mother started crying hysterically and then we had the 3-year-old crying, and the mother crying. We felt bad making Talia get out of the pool because she was so excited to get in, but we will get to go back next week.


We also hit up Fan Fest with the South Carolina Stingrays over the weekend. Talia was beside herself with excitement, even though there wasn’t a game going on. She scored herself a Trevor Gillies puck and some new clothes because they put everything up for sale at 75% off! We were able to find some stuff she and the baby will be able to wear!

How was your weekend? Did you do anything exciting? What did you read? Check back tomorrow for the weekly book review!

Writing & Publishing

It’s a Hockey Life Thing

I’m not a sports person.

I don’t play sports. I don’t run, I don’t work out, I dread football season because I don’t want to hear about it.

I don’t watch sports….EXCEPT Ice Hockey.

I LOVE ICE HOCKEY!!!! (I AM a New Englander, after all!)

Bill also loves Ice Hockey….

So naturally, we couldn’t wait to bring Talia to her first game. The best part? The Stingrays made history the night we brought her (Friday)…they also haven’t lost a game since she was born! I think that makes her a good luck charm…also, if we weren’t moving over the summer, I would say they need to give us season tickets to keep the momentum next year. They won their 14th straight game that night! Since then they’ve won two more!

We bought special ear protection for her, but tough girl wanted nothing to do with it. She didn’t seem upset at any of the noise though, even when they scored and the crowd would go nuts. She slept through most of it actually.


I just love this picture of Bill holding her. He’s just such a great daddy!


Of course I needed one with her, too.


I always look so silly trying to do “selfies.” Ugh!


Yes, I freaked out a bit when Bill handed her over to the mascot (who willingly took her).

I also started baking again last week. I had to make 45 Mudd Pies. Let me tell you, it’s great to be back where I belong….IN THE KITCHEN!!!


This is our signature pie. It’s a chocolate crust with a soft, baked chocolate bottom, topped with pudding and whipped cream. We boxed them up for bridal shower favors. It was so much fun, and I can’t wait to get back to baking full time.

In the meantime, the first half of the semester is now over. Since they split the semesters in half, I’m actually done with 3 classes this semester already. I pulled 2 A’s and 1 C. The C was for a class I HATED because of the content and format, so I’m not too upset. Also, I did manage 2 A’s, so I’ll focus on the positive. I also had a baby this semester. I think I get extra points there.

Tomorrow we have an appointment at the pediatrician for Talia and then I head over to school to submit my application for graduation. I’m not getting a degree, but a Professional Writing Certificate. Who knows when I will get around to taking the math and lab science (both require I go on campus) so I’ll take my certificate! I still get to walk in graduation and it’s something I’ve really worked for, so I’m excited! I also missed my high school graduation, so I’m due for getting a cap and gown!!!

With the rest of this spring break I’m working on my sample chapter for my book “Literary Crazy” about mental illness and our most beloved writers. It should be done before we go back to school on Thursday. Talia is a DREAM baby, so I’m getting a lot done!

Ciao for now!

Military Spouse Life

Love a Vet

November is always a crazy month with the start of the holidays, school being in session, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and of course, ICE HOCKEY SEASON!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So of course it’s the best time to also start a blog. Too bad I’ve neglected it the last week and a half (though I’m doing okay on Twitter if you would just log onto that and follow me at @tinarussokinney).

Today I’m finally off from work (playing waitress so we can put money away for the baby) and it is November 11th….VETERANS DAY.

Why is this so important? Well for me, it’s a day to honor my great grandfather (whose dog tag I still wear around my neck) who fought in WWII; my grandpa who fought in Korea, and of course, Bill….he is a vet of OIF/OEF (Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom). I don’t understand why we just can’t call it like it is….a war. My (almost) husband fought in a war, but let’s be all PC about it now and call it an “operation.” Whatever. I digress.

My life is also blessed with a multitude of brothers and sisters I now have because of Bill. You hear people talk about their military “family” a lot, but until you’re actually blessed to be a part of it, you really can’t describe the feeling of knowing there are hundreds of thousands of people out there who would do anything for you (include give their life) because you are first and foremost, an AMERICAN, and because you are military affiliated.

Yesterday we celebrated the 239th US Marine Corps birthday by going out with another Marine (from Vietnam era) and his wife. I met them while working at the cafe I work at. I have the USMC Eagle, Globe, and Anchor proudly displayed on the back of my server book. He saw the sticker and asked if I served. I laughed. Nope. I did not serve. I recognize I have a problem with authority and would NEVER make it through boot camp, but I am in love with a Marine who did 8 years, 4 tours in the Middle East, hit 7 IED’s, rated for a Purple Heart, and who sadly is no longer physically fit enough to serve.

Before dinner, Bill and I hit up Mr. K’s Books (a used book store near us) and got him a book as a USMC Birthday present. Bill, in turn, picked out a few books for Talia (our baby!!!) He can’t wait to read to her! There is something so incredibly sexy about a man who not only reads, but is excited about teaching his daughter to read!

Right now Bill is in class (thank you GI Bill for footing the bill on that) and so I headed out to Barnes & Noble…one of my favorite places, so I could do a little work on my novel, my non fiction book proposal, and of course, this blog.

My goal is to get the non-fiction book proposal to my English Professor (along with a PIE) before Thanksgiving so he can look it over before I send it off. This only gives me a little over a week! I also have a 10 page history paper due on December 5th. Thankfully, I have a kick @$$ history professor, and he’s open to us choosing what our paper is on. The paper will actually end up being the sample chapter from the book proposal. It’s a total win-win! In English we are reading Chaucer, which, if you’ve never had the pleasure, absolutely hell!!!! It makes up for the fun of doing my history project!

So with that, I better get to writing…. If you see a Vet today, THANK THEM!