Thursday, October 09, 2014

SO Excited that Fall TV Is Here!

Before I launch into a rambling and disorganized report on what I'm liking and not liking so far, I have an announcement!

October 11, 2014, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Full Fusion (as NJ Damschroder)

Cupboard Maker Books
157 N. Enola Road
Enola, PA 17025

I’ll be signing alongside fellow YA author Em Garner, with her book Contaminated. Then we’ll be participating in the YA book club discussion afterwards. Can’t wait to talk about my first YA novel with actual readers! (I hope they like it!)


Okay, let's start with Sunday and work our way through the week.

Brooklyn Nine Nine is fine, even though they backed off Jake/Amy thing. That's okay in the early seasons. I liked the first episode. One week behind.

Once Upon a Time is also fine, and I'm also one episode behind. I don't hate the Frozen addition so far. Okay, yeah, maybe it's crass commercialism, but it's not like they really had to shoehorn it into the existing mythology. The casting is weirdly spot on. I love Emma and Hook and I really hope Regina doesn't go deeper into the evil thing again. Getting tired of it.

Revenge, the jury's out. I didn't hate the first episode. We (my boss and I) talk about the show every week and agree we're very wary of the David-isn't-dead storyline, but our annoyance has been mitigated by the realization that he has no idea Emily is his daughter. He thinks Amanda is dead, and her death might have been what drew him out of hiding. We'll see. I might get to watch the second episode tonight.

Loved the first episode of Sleepy Hollow, though as much as I love John Noble, that character is going to grow old fast. The best part of the show is Abbie and Ichabod's relationship, and I don't care which way it goes. :)

The first episode of Castle was only okay. I thought Rick was too cavalier for everything that had happened, even for a guy who feels like none of it did happen. I blame direction. Haven't watched this week's yet. (Sensing a theme here? LOL)

Only watched one episode of Big Bang Theory. It's a nice diversion, but I don't mind letting them pile up. I haven't loved the show for a few seasons.

The Mindy Project was surprisingly more fun to watch when I binged it. But the quality this season is consistent and I love Mindy and Danny. (Yep, that's another theme. :) )

We enjoyed the first episode of Red Band Society enough to keep it on the list, but haven't watched it since. I think there are two episodes now. I have no compulsion to watch it, which doesn't bode well.

Now, The Flash? Totally different story. Loved the first episode. I have little knowledge of the DC Universe and only cursory knowledge of Flash's story, so easter eggs mean nothing to me (though they're fun to read about afterward :) ). I'm not speculating on whether Eddie will be Reverse Flash or if Wells is or anything like that. Wells wasn't sinister until the end of the episode. One recap I read says he's obviously from the future. I didn't see that. I only saw that he could see the future. But I guess it makes sense, bringing back technology to be the first to use it. Or eff it up, as the case may be. I love Grant Gustin and the rest of the casting. Funny thing: I said "The only poor casting seems to be his father." But then I was reminded that he's the original Flash from the previous TV series, so I guess we can give them a pass. But nostalgia versus wooden acting? I'll pass on both, thanks.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is similar fun. This is a show I'm determined to just enjoy. It's one of my favorites and I'm excited to watch it each week, and to hell with the people who want to whine about how poorly done it is. Expectations are just still way too high.

Supernatural...*sigh* It took five years, but I'm finally not enjoying it the way I used to. It was a slow fade, that enjoyment. I mean, when you have Supernatural Summer (rewatching all the episodes with friends) and go to conventions and rewatch the seasons in full every year, you're going to burn out the passion eventually. So for seasons 7-9 it was still must-watch-live, but not as urgent as it had been. We've only had one episode, but the darkness has taken over completely, and I am just not a person who wants to watch darkness.

So does that mean I'm done? Oh, come on! No way! It's still Sam and Dean! LOL

Arrow may have taken over as my top favorite, though. The action is great, the villains so hateful, the good characters lovable, and the relationships complex (or at least complicated). And the romance is finally the way I want it. I can live with Oliver and Felicity being on-again off-again six times in one episode if I can watch the crackling energy between them. I'm a huge sucker for an intense guy in love, and he's in love with the right woman. Of course, one of his trio was taken out of the picture at the end of last night's episode. We didn't like the actress, so we were glad (though I was shocked that they did it), but I do hate what it will do to Captain Lance. Laurel might become more interesting now. The Hong Kong flashbacks intrigue me. So yeah, I'm all in on this one.

Haven was one of my favorites last year. This year I'm a little on the fence. It feels like it's not really getting anywhere fast. I LOVE Mara, in terms of Emily Rose's portrayal of her. Audrey's emergences are annoyingly breathy and swoony, which isn't really Audrey, but I guess they need something dramatic to sell it. Her transitions back to Mara are awesome, though.

I'm mad at Bones. The conspiracy storyline was fine. Killing Sweets was NOT.

H50 is H50. Fine, nothing special.

Oh, I forgot about Forever. Which goes in the same category as H50. Good while I'm watching it, solid acting and writing for the most part, decent actors, but I don't think about it when it's not happening in front of me.

Modern Family is still funny, though everyone seems more exaggerated than they used to be with all their negative traits. Not digging that.

Selfie is the one new comedy I'm trying, and as horrible as it should be, it's not! I think it's because I love John Cho and Karen Gillan so much. She's SUCH a caricature but still something appealing about her. And I hope Charmonique gets a bigger role. She's great, and so is her kid.

And we end the week with Doctor Who. I don't mind the aged Doctor and I really like him being Scottish, and Peter Capaldi channels all his traits admirably. I love the better role Clara has been given, and I like Danny a lot. But I don't like the coldness they've given the Doctor, and I wish they'd explain the sudden dislike of soldiers all of a sudden. I mean, we can put the pieces together, I guess, with the whole war thing and the past he's faced, but isn't he supposed to be moving on? The self-exploration is great, but sometimes he feels like two different people.

What are you loving so far this year? What new shows have you tried and hated or liked?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

When Dreams Go to Work

Usually when I talk about dreams here, they're weird and wacky and have no grounding in reality. I don't tell you about all the dreams I have about work (whether they're about the bar where we serve breakfast and booze—at a chiropractors office—or about how they've changed all the procedures and equipment on me and I can't figure anything out) or the ones that are about the iPod game I've played too obsessively or feature auto dealer websites flying in and out of my head. THOSE support the theory that dreams are our brain discharging and organizing and all that stuff. And they're boring.

But SOMETIMES, they're helpful.

Last week, my e-mail went FUBAR.

(This week my phone did—that reminds me, I need to get a new one, stat! Hold on... Okay, done.)

I've used AOL for like two decades. I have 5 years of e-mails stored in well-broken-down folders. It's safer virus-wise, and it's on my computer. I hate webmail with a passion, and I refuse to use Outlook. But apparently the humongous (like more than a couple hundred a day) rise in stored e-mails with my increase in client work overwhelmed it, because my personal filing cabinet kept getting effed up. I lost 10 days worth of e-mails and had to go through all my old ones to restore what I needed to save. Then it happened again, and I was done.

I did some research and decided to try Mailbird. (After I crashed Thunderbird, which I've used briefly before.) It's working fine. I finally can have all my e-mail addresses loaded into the same place, and I'll get used to the new structure. I'm rebuilding folders as I need them. And it was cool that it synced with my Gmail folders so I didn't even need to make new ones. I especially like how it cheers you when you achieve "Inbox Zero." That's something really important to me. :)

The problem was how AOL categorizes mail. It splits it into "old" and "new." Once you've read an e-mail, it leaves your inbox and goes into the "old" tab. Mine had about 3.5 years' worth. Over 168,000 e-mails. And AOL told Mailbird those are all "new," so it kept pulling them into the application.

Goodbye Inbox Zero.

But did I mention that's important to me? It is. My inbox is supposed to hold only mail I have to address. There's extreme satisfaction in clearing it out after a particularly heavy period of work. Even more in keeping it empty! So the idea of never having Inbox Zero again was not a good one.

I started doing CTRL+A to highlight everything and then archiving it. It took a while for each batch, and after a couple of days, I'd gotten through a month. It was going to take forever to do four years! Plus, it locked up the program a couple of times, and I had to use AOL webmail. *shudder* BUT, I found that the folders I had set up in Mailbird were now available in AOL webmail. It was syncing both ways.

Enter the dream. (I know, I ramble. Sorry.) The other night, mixed with dreams about work and something else kinda weird, I dreamed that I archived all my old mail in AOL webmail, which then synced with Mailbird automatically. I tried it, and...IT WORKED. Archiving in AOL only took a handful of batches, and even though it locked up that mail folder each time, it DID transfer it. So now I have Inbox Zero! AND! Bonus! I can search all my archived mail very easily, which will limit how often I have to go into AOL Desktop for old mail.

Now I have to get paid so I can get Mailbird Pro and get ALL my e-mail addresses in here. (The free version accommodates 3.)

If you've read this far, God love ya. :) I apologize for being boring. Next post will talk about fall TV! :) Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

For the Love of Cooking Cookbook

I was honored to be invited to participate in an author cookbook to benefit a lovely organization, and the cookbook is ready for preorder! If you buy now, you will receive a free e-book version as well as your printed copy.

Here's the press release by Snap4kids:

Today’s bestselling authors have shared their tastiest tried-and-true recipes with us and we have compiled them into a single book that will be treasured for generations to come. This mouth-watering cookbook contains over 110 recipes—everything you need from appetizers to desserts. Each recipe includes the contributor’s name, so it’s easy to find the recipes of your favorite authors. And with over 90 authors (many are USA Today and New York Times bestsellers), you’re sure to find several of your favorites.

Special features include:

  • Receive a free e-book copy when you order a printed copy. 
  • Many recipes include a personal story telling how the recipe came about. 
  • Each recipe contains a blurb about the author.

This year’s net proceeds will go toward three programs:

  1. The new weekly bowling program 
  2. Pizza for the weekly youth meetings 
  3. Scholarships for summer camp

Cookbooks are $10 plus shipping and are available at

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cynthia D'Alba's Texas Twist Book Tour, with Giveaway!

Enter to Win
Gift Card, Mugs, T-Shirts, Etc

Real bad boys can grow up to be real
good men.

Hit hard by the death of her parents, Paige Ryan needs to figure out what to do with her life. She moves to Whispering Springs, Texas, to be near her step-brother. But just as she starts to get her life on track, the last man she ever wanted to see again sends it right back off the rails.

Cash Montgomery was on the cusp of having it all. Three bull riding titles, fame, fortune and respect from his family. Until a bad bull leaves him injured, angry and searching for comfort at the bottom of a bottle. With nowhere to go, he moves into his sister-in-law’s old ranch house in Whispering Springs—which he’s surprised to find already occupied.

As Cash rebuilds the dilapidated home and Paige starts out on her medical career, their old friendship begins to reemerge and sparks are ignited. Paige knows that Cash is nothing but a heartache waiting to happen. But maybe this bad boy has grown up to be a real good man?

Warning: Watch out for falling lumber, falling in holes, and falling for the wrong guy…again. You can leave your hard hat on.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Award-winning author Cynthia D’Alba was born and raised in Arkansas. After being gone for 17 years, she’s thrilled to be back home living on the banks of an 8,000-acre lake. When she’s not reading, writing or plotting, she’s doorman for her two dogs, cook, housekeeper and chief bottle washer for her husband, and slave to a noisy, messy parrot. She loves to chat online with friends and fans.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Adventures in Car Shopping

I got my first car 22 years ago, a Honda Civic hatchback coupe. Seven years after that, my husband got a company car and we traded in my Civic and I started driving his Corolla.

Fifteen years later, that Corolla is finally worn out enough that it makes more sense to buy a new car. Yay!

I spent many hours doing research online and narrowing down my options based on budget, safety ratings, reliability, and appeal. My top option was a Scion xD, in part because it was different. I hate that every car looks the same, and they're all silver, white, gray, red, or black. My entire life, I have not wanted to be one of the crowd.

So I went over to the Scion dealership and they had no xDs. He had none coming in, and none closer than 45 minutes away. There were no used ones. I reluctantly said I'd test drive the new Corolla while I was there. Instead of talking to me about the car, he used his phone to confirm that Scion is apparently discontinuing the xD. *sad face*

The Corolla didn't excite me at all. It's what I currently have, and I didn't want the same thing. They also made the steering wheel fatter with these big bumps at 10 and 2, and that just didn't fit my hands. So I was off to a discouraging start.

I stopped at dealerships to look at the Chevy Sonic (could NOT see myself in a Chevy), Mazda3 (a bit higher than I wanted to spend because you have to go up a trim to get cruise control!), and Hyundai Elantra. The Elantra might have still been on my "look at" list, but it was lower down for safety and reliability. But the most discouraging thing was that no one came out of any of the dealerships to talk to me. Apparently I wasn't worth braving the heat or something. So to hell with them.

Yesterday we went over to look at the Honda Civic and Insight. I liked the Insight okay, and it felt fine until I got into the Civic. It had firmer seats and a more "economy" feel, and since I keep my cars for over a decade, I want to be comfortable. :)

The Civic felt good, has some great features for a base model, and is top rated in safety and reliability, so I bought one! I even liked the color they put me in. The sales manager said he looked at the gray and the red (crimson pearl, which is a deep red) and decided I was more of the red. He was right! So I'm scheduled to pick it up Thursday.

Last night, I had annoying dreams. I kept rotating cars in my brain, researching and setting up test drives that I didn't go on. Then I had a real dream, with other people and events and stuff. We were going on a writing retreat, and I drove my new car that I had JUST picked up that day. I went to open the hatch (apparently I had a different car in the dream than the one I bought) and someone had backed up RIGHT against my tail. When I came around the car he pulled forward so I had room, but he had crunched my paint job and chipped a fist-sized hole right down to the metal.

The dream is probably because we were talking about whether or not to get the gap insurance, which covers the difference if your car gets totaled shortly after you bought it and the insurance company takes a few thousand off the replacement value. I still can't get the images out of my head.

Off to work, so I can earn my car payment. And then, today is FOOTBALL! *does a happy dance* What's making you happy today?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ice Bucket Awesomeness

A lot of things go viral. Some of them are silly, like dogs stealing frankfurters or Sweet Brown spawning a new catchphrase. Some are awful, showing the darker side of life or human nature. But some are pure awesomeness.

The Ice Bucket Challenge, a campaign to raise donations for and awareness of ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), has been around for a few months. But then friends and family of Pete Frates, a former Boston College baseball player, took up the challenge, and it moved like that virus on the new TV show The Last Ship.

I saw football player Julian Edelman accept the challenge—in the short video, you explain what you're doing and why, dump a bucket of ice over your head (he used a Gatorade sideline "bucket"), and challenge other people. Those people are required by the challenge to comply in 24 hours or make a donation to ALS. Then I heard that the owner of the New York Giants challenged Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, and Bill Belichick, the head coach (who had been challenged by others, too). The other day at practice, the whole team took the challenge and passed it along to the Jets (as did Jimmy Fallon; the Patriots also challenged the Dolphins and Bills). The Jets of course had to one-up them and used a fire hose.

The Kennedys took the challenge as a family, including 86-year-old Ethel Kennedy, who is just awesome. She challenged President Obama, got irritated at her granddaughter for helping her raise the bucket, and dumped it all over herself while wearing a white outfit.

This morning I found out my father-in-law also took it with a couple of his employees, challenging a fellow Gulf terminal.

So this is all fun and stuff, one of those things that penetrates the collective consciousness, brings us all together, and is just amusing to watch, right? Plus, of course, we're all saying "ALS" on a regular basis, because luckily the point of the game hasn't been buried under the friendly competition.

But it turns out to be so much more. According to the ALS Association, they have received—in two weeks!—over $4 million. That's almost four times as much as the same period last year, with three times as many donors. ALS is a 100% fatal disease with little treatment available, so the importance of this awareness and research money can't be underestimated.

[Edited 8/24/24: An article posted 8/19 stated that $15 million had been raised, and then on 8/22 was updated to $53 million. !!! The article also talks about whether the ALSA stands up to scrutiny as a charity.]

So I'll take ubiquitous food pictures and the occasional moronic uproar on social media, because the technology and societal factors that make stupid things possible also help make awesomeness possible, too.

[Edited to go along with the above edit: It is irrelevant if this is "episodic" giving that won't result in repeat donations. That doesn't negate they money and awareness that has been raised already, and I doubt the decline will be to baseline. Also, people DID give to other/additional charities during this viral challenge, and always will. Disasters and fun awareness campaigns help us focus our giving when otherwise it's a blur of noise and desperation making us feel that what we do is never enough. So I'm still all for it! :) ]

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


What do you think of the new look?

If you subscribe to the blog (or are viewing it elsewhere), you have no idea what I'm talking about. Click here and check it out, if you're so inclined. :)

I started blogging originally on LiveJournal, mainly because I thought blogs were a cool way to say what I was thinking without having to bore the people around me. I'm kind of an opinionated person.

*pause for the fake incredulity and sarcasm*

I added a Blogger blog somewhere along the line, because people had their preferred formats. I posted the same thing in both places. Then eventually I let LiveJournal go, mainly because I'd outgrown a lot of the communities I'd kind of become part of. Except one person. Hi, Gail! :) (Gail is awesome, and I will always think of LiveJournal fondly because it made our friendship possible.)

As time went on, "author branding" grew more and more important. Everyone lives online now, and Internet real estate is vital. My writing has coalesced, so that all of my books, however different they may seem on the surface, are similar at their core.

My paranormal romances (Goddesses Rising and the Soul Series) have kick-ass heroes and heroines who are trying to save their world and each other, and some of those people have otherworldly abilities.

My romantic adventures feature kick-ass heroes and heroines who are trying to save their world and each other, but there's nothing paranormal or otherworldly about them.

My YA books are going to be slightly different, in that the same heroine will be the protagonist of many books, and the romance will be stretched out through them. But they're still about teenagers kicking ass and saving the world—while they figure out who the hell they are and how they fit into the world they're saving, of course.

I don't want to import this massive blog to my website, smart as that would be, but the time had come to tie it a little more closely to the rest of my online property. So I renamed it using my author tagline, Love with a Shot of Adrenaline, and changed the template. Climbing a mountain in the rain generates adrenaline, I bet. And the colors tie in to everything else.

You know what else generates adrenaline? Being overworked. It's not something I want to complain about. I'm very happy to have the amount of work I'm doing, and it's of a type I enjoy. But when Monday kicks you hard in the face, and you're like me, that nonstop adrenaline has bad side effects. Like dreaming about work when you're not checking the clock every half hour. And getting your heart flutter back.

My problem is that I care too much. It's not okay that I left work on my desk yesterday, even though I got all the urgent stuff done. It's not okay that I had three client projects in my inbox when I went to bed, even though I have to, you know, at least try to get half a night's sleep. It's definitely not okay when my daily word count doesn't get done, and it's especially not okay when work takes me away from my kids and husband—even if they're doing their own thing and wouldn't be hanging with me even if I wasn't working.

I'm a crusader for pushing my friends to be good to themselves and not beat themselves up for what they don't do, and to be happy with whatever balance they achieve. It's stuff I believe with my entire being.

Except, apparently, for myself. :/

Over on Everybody Needs a Little Romance, we had a recent guest who pulled soul cards (kind of like tarot) for all the commenters. I was floored by what mine said. I taped it over my desk:


It's time to let go. You're entering a period of gracious ease and flow. All is unfolding perfectly and with good timing. Everything is falling into place because you aren't resisting the drift of the great river of life.

When you're in a state of flow, you aren't pushing the river to go faster, and you aren't swimming against it. You just let go of the shore and enjoy the ride. If you aren't feeling the smooth currents of life, it might mean that you're trying to control situations in your life, or your'e being self-critical or judgmental. The way to move into the flow is through gratitude and appreciation, and by allowing others to support and help you.

I'm trying. Failing more than half the time, but trying!