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Monday, July 25, 2011

The happiest place in Muggleville

A woman I know writes a popular parenting blog and Universal Studios flew her and her family out to visit the parks so she would write about them. Though Universal Studios has done me no such favor, in fact, they refused to give me back the credit card that I left in one of their restaurants, I'm still going to blog about them. Yeah, you're welcome, Universal.

Here is the entrance to Harry Potterland. I must say, it did not disappoint. Although the snow on the roofs was kind of a cruel mockery considering the sweltering temps outside. Would it have killed them to air condition the whole exhibit? Considering the price of Butterbeer, they should be able to afford it.

So, here we are entering Hogsmeade at the bright and early hour of 7 am. Staying onsite got us early admission to Harry Potter and let me tell you, you'd be a fool not take advantage of it. Once the park opens at 8, the lines for the ride in Hogwarts are many hours long. And by 9 or so they have bouncers keeping people out of Hogsmeade because it gets too full.

Yes, it is this crowded at 7 in the morning.

And here is Hagrid's Hut from line for the Flight of the Hippogriff ride, where my daughter lost not one, but two hats.

Since I'm not writing a parenting blog, I will just go ahead and tell you that you will have way more fun at the parks without your kids. I don't care if there's a Dr. Suess section-- where the Green Eggs and Ham restaurant doesn't sell ham, nor eggs, and nothing is green -- or a Cartoon Alley, or Spiderman... the kids will just slow you down. Park the kids at Grandma's and go by yourselves. They'll forgive you when you bring them a obscenely overpriced wand and a stuffed owl.

The best part of Harry Potterland, is staring at the robes and hats and shirts and wondering what house you belong in. And then laughing at the people in the Hufflepuff shirts. Well, no, the best part of Harry Potterland is the Butterbeer. But choosing your house is a close... um, well, distant... second. I was very disappointed not to find a Slytherin sweatshirt-- cause I like to wear my evil like a mantle. My youngest daughter is a Ravenclaw to the bone and my eldest is in "shut up and buy me more Butterbeer".

So...what house do you belong in?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The great experiment

Big news everyone! I have entered the world of advertising. I have jumped off the deep end and have taken out a Facebook ad for my book. When I was researching using Facebook ads for ebooks, I didn't find anything. No one had good or bad experiences to report. So, here I am, everyone's guinea pig. I have plunked down the bucks and am awaiting results.

Here's the deal. You set up a FB page for your book and then you go through their menu to say what you want your ad to say and who you want it to go to. And then, the rest is magic. Or something. I'm not really sure what it looks like to people who get the ad, but the idea is that the ad makes them want to click your page. At least that is the goal of Facebook, because that is how they get paid. My goal is for them to click to my page, "like" my page, and buy the book.

And the $60,000 question is: Is that happening?

I can tell you that since I put the ad up two days ago, I have had 76 new people "like" my page. But I have not sold a single book. At least, not on Amazon. So, it's nice to be liked but, to coin a phrase, show me the money.

My husband thinks that these "clickers" may be fake. He thinks they are Facebook "plants". I suppose that could be. They certainly have interesting names.

Of course, I must keep in mind that has only been two days. So far, though, I have spent $31 on advertising and my benefit is $0.

On the awesome side of things, when I looked at my Amazon sales, I found out that I sold a book to someone in the UK. I think that is mighty exciting. I've jumped the pond. My book is being read on two continents. Woot!

So... in summary, if you are dying to find out whether or not you should take out a FB ad for your book, I have to say, I'm skeptical, but stay tuned.

Friday, July 15, 2011

How you know you've arrived

So, I was on the Bloggess's website, trying to learn how to be funny, when I noticed that she has her own postage stamp. It is not of a giant metal chicken... although it should be.

It is of a creepy Santa.

Ok, not really. But what a freakin' creepy postage stamp. If I got a Christmas card with that on it, I'd burn it without even opening it.

Okay... so here it is really.

Pretty slick. That's how you know you are all that...when you have your own postage stamp. Like Audrey Hepburn... or Ghandi.

Okay, not really, because anyone can have their own postage stamp. I know, because I checked. It costs, like, four times what a postage stamps costs regularly,but it can be had. And if you're the shizzit, shouldn't you have a postage stamp that costs $1.67?

Yes, yes you should. Although I can never be quite as outrageously funny as the Bloggess, I can have a postage stamp. And this is what it will look like:

I bet you can't wait to get mail with that on it!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Finally, I can have Justin Beiber in my mouth!

So long, Sonicare!

Your Space-age sonic waves are no match for the dreamy sounds of a singing Justin Beiber toothbrush. Instead of two minutes of "Grunnngggggggggggg," I'll get to listen to...... I don't know, what does this guy sing?

Of course, my kids hate Justin Beiber with a passion. As a matter of a fact, they hate him so much that they would probably permanently renounce all dental hygiene in protest.

No, I don't think we are really in the market for these. But I'd still really like to see what an "adult" Justin Beiber toothbrush looks like. (Wink, wink.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

You will be baked, and there will be cake...

Today, while my youngest was at horse camp, my eldest and I had a fun-filled mother-daughter day with shopping and lunch and all that. I know I've said it before, but it's so fun that my daughters are finally shopping buddies. On the other hand, it's a sucker-punch to the bank account.

Anyway, we decided that we would bake the cake from the video game Portal. And here is our attempt. It wasn't as moist as the song claims, but it was pretty darned good.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Are vampires dead?

Ah, Drusilla, how I miss your creepy, insane vampiness.

Okay, duh, vampires are dead. Although I have never met one and taken his/her pulse so, I can't verify that. The question is really, "Is vampire literature dead?"

When I started writing Secrets, I was kind of banking on the fact that vampire fiction was played. Not just vampires...I had seen wizards and vampires and werewolves done and I figured I'd go a different direction. Not that I was dying to write vampire novel, but that was my reasoning. And so I went with aliens. I know... that's also been done...

Anyway, as some of you may know, I have taken the stance that I will only read 99 cent ebooks. I haven't exactly stuck to that, but it's close. What I have found in my sashay through the bargain books is that vampire books are alive and well. And werewolves, fairies, witches, angels ,trolls... Yeah, they may not be bestsellers, but there are plenty of paranormal books that are. So, I believe I was wrong. Vampire lit is not dead. Paranormal lit is thriving and growing.

Do I wish I had written a vampire book? Not really. Will my next book be about vampires? I guess you'll just have to wait and see!

Finally, to follow up on creepy Dru, let me finish with my very favorite vampire:

Monday, July 11, 2011

Now that's how it's done.

Ah, writing. How I wish I had time for you. Especially on a beach. I could do without the suit. As figure-flattering as it may be.

I do miss writing. Even if it were just for myself. Even if no one ever read it, it would be fun.

What am I doing instead. Well, blogging, obviously. Also, beating my head up against the wall trying to put together a website. Blogger has been pretty easy to use, but Google sites is making me crazy. It seems to be virtually impossible to put a "like" button on my webpage--even though all the articles and blogs say it is so easy. Perhaps FB just doesn't like me. But to be an effective marketing tool, I need one. Apparently. It is hard not to get frustrated with all this marketing stuff. It feels pretty smarmy and it's hard.

I know, whine, whine, whine.

Time to go back to my Happy Beer.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

It turns out I'm doing it wrong.

Mmmm. Happy Beer.

So, I was reading my swimming magazine and I came across to the story of Captain Matthew Webb... the first guy to swim the English Channel.

Here he is:

Anyway, in August of 1875, this paragon of a man crossed the English Channel.


What really impresses me here is that his pre-swim drink of choice was wine. Then he lathered up with porpoise oil and jumped in the channel, having his boat crew feed him beer and brandy, among other things, at regular intervals as he breaststroked his way from England to France.

Not only does this information
support my notion that you pretty much have to be drunk--or high--to swim the English Channel, it also makes me question my Rockstar-before-swimming ritual. Perhaps what I really need for that totally epic swim is a 5th of Jack Daniels. Or Happy Beer.

Mmmm. Happy Beer.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

It's just not meant to be.

At long last, I have accepted the sad, sad truth. I have fought it hard, but it is time to give up the dream.

The dream. Ah, the dream. The dream that I could exercise like a fiend and eat whatever the heck I wanted. A lot of it. And whatever the heck I wanted was not salad. Or cucumbers. It was rich, thick chocolate in its many delicious forms.


It does work. It works very well for awhile... and it is splendiferous... and then it doesn't. It doesn't because I get sick or I get injured or both. 'Cause the reality is that my lame old middle-aged body can't take that kind of exercise. I'm not Dara Torres or.... (insert awesome athletic 40 year old here.) I'm just not made that way. Alas. So I need to kiss this absurd eat-like-Michael-Phelps fantasy goodbye and grow up.

So sad. I love you chocolate cake. I'll always love you. (Insert sappy Celine Dion song here)

Yes, salad, I heard you. I'm coming. (Eye roll)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Finally I won't have to get out of the shower to answer the phone

My parents just replaced their old phone with a pack of cordless phones. Three of the phones are regular vanilla but the fourth, the fourth is an underwater phone. Not waterproof... underwater.


Wait, what?

So, it's not like it's a smart phone where you could check your e-mail in the tub or text or surf YouTube. It's a cordless phone. All you can do is talk on it. And if you are talking on your cordless phone underwater, what will you be saying?

"Blub, blub, blub..." That's what.

I think my parents done got swindled.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Not your bargain basement chicken

I bought a chicken.

Yes, I scoffed at the Texas lady for spending $100 on a metal chicken and yet, here we are.

So... meet "Rico", the party chicken. I wanted to call him "Steve" but was voted down. Actually, I wanted to call him "Choke". Choke, the chicken. Also, voted down. But it got props for being "delightfully vulgar."

We got Rico at Costco. Not in Costco, but at Costco. We had gone to Sequim to pick strawberries and on the way home, we swung by Costco for gas. Right next to the enormous Costco, was a tiny little house with a couple dozen metal sculptures on the lawn. Roy paused in front of the house and said, "Want a metal chicken?" and I said, "Don't be silly." But by the time we reached that pump, I had to have a metal chicken. So I jumped from the car and bolted across the parking lot to the little house.

Now, you'd think that a house next to Costco would have cheap metal chickens. Or at least sell them to you in a blister-pack of 6. But no. The man's an Artisan. Wouldn't even haggle over the price of his masterpiece. So I shamelessly shelled out roughly $100 for Rico. Who is only 2 feet tall. So I am a much worse bargain hunter than the Blogess. And here I mocked her for her impulse buy!

The story should end there, but doesn't. We get back on the road and we are all giddy about our chicken, making jokes and coming up with names and we blow past a cop at 70. In a 55. Guess what, he was not looking the other way. So, in addition to our $100 chicken, we have a more-than-100-dollar speeding ticket.

I would like to blame Party Chicken but, as Roy points out, the chicken wasn't driving.

And that is how Rico came to live with the Pardees. Please stop by to check him out. Five dollars a peep. We have a speeding ticket to pay off, you know.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Remember when the only choice you had to make was Coke or Pepsi?

I don't want to spew my "old" all over all of you, but I wanted into the drink section with two minutes to find something fizzy and not-too-sweet and this is what I faced. I mean, I'm all for selection but come one, Lychee Wasabi Nectar. WTH? Wasabi needs to stay the hell out of my beverages.