writing

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Spoiler: My haircolor isn't natural.

While I try my best to share what’s new with me, both work-wise and in general, sometimes, I don’t do such a hot job. For example, have you seen my cool new pink hair? Oh, right. I actually did that at the end of September. Whoops.

And if I can’t even keep y’all up to date on what color my hair is, I’m probably not batting a thousand at posting my work that’s scattered across the web.

So, like so many bloggers before me, I’m going to try to do a weekly (or semi-weekly, or whatever) roundup of things I’ve written, and maybe I’ll even take a cue from The Bloggess and use it as an excuse to share things I think are super cool but maybe you haven’t seen.

Fit Bottomed Girls

ING Miami Half Marathon race report. Read it and weep (with me).

My 2012 fitness goals. I guess I’m going to have to keep working on that PR.

How to become a runner. This is awesome advice and it’s okay for me to say that because I just asked the questions. Susan Lacke (follow her on Twitter now) gave the answers.

War wounds. They’re embarrassing as hell, but at least I know I’m not alone.

Jared’s getting in on the fitness action. He’s so cute. Seriously.

Rules of the run. What are yours? Is there beer involved? There should be.

Vetstreet

Goldendoodle Smiles for the Camera. Sometimes I do research-intensive, hard-hitting pieces. Sometimes I post cute videos.

Orphaned Baby Otter Finds Home at Shedd Aquarium. And now I need to take a trip to Chicago.

TODAY

They want to be buried in a pet cemetery. Read it before you judge.

MSN

Popular puppy and kitten names. Yet another hard-hitting expose. I know, I should really lighten up.

… and just because:

This video is my favorite thing I’ve seen all week. You don’t have to like hockey or beer or even sports to enjoy this, although if you DO like any of those things, oh, man. Hold on to your butts.

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Janet Evanovich and yours truly. That's as small as my smile could get. Seriously, you should see the other pictures.

What’s that? You didn’t know I was writing a book? That’s because haven’t started it. Or, maybe it’s more accurate to say that I’ve started it at least 300 times. But, whether I’m putting a pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, or just thinking things out in this slightly beleaguered brain of mine, I’m always, always writing a book.

I’m also often reading them, and as often as not, they’re by Janet Evanovich. I adore her, I think because she writes the way I do (only, you know, a wee bit more successfully). It’s the characters that draw you into her books — the plot is always fun to follow, but every time I turn the final page of one of her books, I wonder what the characters do after that last scene. I find myself truly caring. I love it. And I love that she’s committed to keeping the violence off stage, the pets alive and well, and the language appropriately vulgar. Fuckin’ A, man.

Basically, I want to be her. And this weekend, I took a step toward that. I met her. And it was glorious.

I think my mom had just as much fun as I did.

My mom and I went down to Orlando for a book signing — the only book signing Janet is doing for Explosive Eighteen, btw) — and despite getting there at 9 a.m. when we thought the store was opening, we ended up in the third group. Which, you know, wasn’t so bad when we realized that, although we were Group C, there were people in Group H.

Knowing her most famous character, Stephanie Plum, had a keen affinity for Cheetos and Tastykake treats, I swung by Publix to pick her up a gift bag of goodies — I figured it would be a long day for her, and we all need sustenance, right? Although, I’ve got to say, she was sucking down Diet Cokes like a champ. And if that’s any indication of how to be a super successful author, well, I’ve got at least part of it down.

We waited quite a while in line, although between the Barnes and Noble staff and Janet’s people (including her daughter and husband, who I may or may not be BFFs with now), it went by in a flash. I guess she collects the kind of fans who just like to be happy, because as the hours went by, nobody near us complained. I think we were all just really excited to meet her.

I tried not to build it up too much in my mind. I knew she had to sign a million books and I didn’t want to expect too much more thanĀ  passing hello, but oh. YOU GUYS. She couldn’t have been more wonderful. I brought my copy How I Write(her book about, uhh, how she writes), and mentioned that I’m a writer, and she turned right to me and asked what I was writing.

I loved these ladies. They'd driven up from Miami and made a whole girls' weekend of it, and they were a hoot. And also smart -- ALWAYS bring water to a book signing. Always.

 

I’ll spare you the full dialog, but she was smart and funny and encouraging and amazingly chipper considering she’d been signing books for almost four hours and probably had more than that left to go. When I mentioned something about “if I write a book” she cut me off immediately and corrected me.”When you write a book. Always when.” And then, she said maybe the coolest thing ever: “Once it’s published, I expect to be getting your signature.”

Well, clearly I’m going to hold her to it. But I guess that means I need to get my ass in gear and start, like, writing. But I will, and when it publishes and I go on an amazing book tour and I have tens of people (hey, in this fantasy I’ve already written and published a book and somebody has asked me to sign it — that’s enough for me, for now) waiting in line, Janet will have a personal invite to one of the first spots in line.

(After Jared and my folks, of course, because, let’s get real. Janet has provided incredible inspiration and I’m super grateful, but who do you think is going to be keeping me in Coke Zero and Mexican food while I scribble down page after page?)

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I used to be great at holiday shopping. I made my lists well before Thanksgiving, I spent time cultivating great ideas, and then, when deals cropped up, I snagged ‘em like Meeko snags every featherweight tee I own. I haven’t been doing such a great job the last few years, but, this season, I’m at least making things a bit easier for you.

(And yes, this is a bit of shameless self-promotion. I almost never do it, and you really wouldn’t find these articles otherwise, so hush!)

Savannah Bee Company is a terrific organization that makes quality honey products (as well as goodies from beeswax) and, to make it even better, they work with Heifer International. You can learn more about their charitable Peace Honey Project at SpecialtyFood.com, or you can just go ahead and order me a jar of cheese honey right now. It’s cool. I’ll wait.

If you like the idea of a gift that gives back but want to make it super green to boot, might I suggest one of these 10 virtual green gifts I’ve listed over at My Life Scoop? Or, if you have your own go-to green gift, be sure to tell me all about it in the comments. I love that stuff.

If you’re feeling a bit stressed, don’t worry — technology’s got your back. And so do I. Check out these great apps to relieve holiday stress, also found at My Life Scoop.

I did a couple more gift guides at That’s Fit, one for guys and one for gym buffs (and for these I owe several of my friends a great big thank you — y’all know who you are), and I’ll have several going up at Paw Nation before long.

Moment of truth, and don’t be shy — where are all of you on your holiday shopping?

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What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

I saw this quote for the first time a couple of months ago, and it’s stuck with me — no, plagued me — ever since. Because I just don’t know the answer.

I mean, there are a few obvious things. If I knew I couldn’t possibly fail, I’d find cures for horrible diseases, and bring about world peace, and probably make a bunch of money doing it. But those things all require skills I don’t actually have (unless you count knowing which bras create impressive cleavage, because that, I’ve got down pat). No, what’s really getting my goose is the fact that I’m not quite certain what I would attempt that’s even somewhat within my grasp. But I have a few ideas, and I hope you’ll share your ideas with me, too.

Yes, I would write a novel. A really funny one that would make people smile. I would come up with great fundraising ideas for my favorite causes, like PHF and the Alzheimer’s Association. I would train to be an impressive athlete. So why am I not doing that now? Am I that concerned about failure? Because I don’t really think I am.

I think the thing that’s getting me all worked up is that I’m not sure how I define failure. My parents raised me to believe I could do anything, and a part of me really holds on to that. Like, with a white-knuckled death grip.

Like, at present, I’m not working a novel, but I am writing and editing for a living, and even being called an expert (I KNOW!). I wouldn’t have guessed that possible five years ago, but, there you go.

I’m not able to pull in millions for the charities close to my heart, but I did help raise a few hundred bucks for the Alzheimer’s Association this year, and I’m currently heading Silent Auction efforts for next year’s Puppy Hill Farm Gala. Plus, we’re fostering our second adoptable dog, Millie, and I’m sponsoring Knudley, a Sanctuary dog at PHF. It’s not a lot, but every little bit helps.

I’ll probably never run a marathon, but I’ve completed other races I’m proud of, and I’m training for another one. I mean, there are millions of people who would never even dream of setting foot on a start line, so that’s something, right?

It seems to me that, if you don’t put a static definition on failure, you don’t have to fail. Working toward your goals should never feel like failure, even if your dreams and reality never quite meet. Even those setbacks you experience in that journey generally serve a purpose — you learn, you grow, you move on. I’m only 29 (for a few more weeks, anyway) — I plan to have many more years of not failing before I’m through.

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