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March 12, 2014

So, I noticed this going around YouTube, and I thought I’d snatch it for here. :) I haven’t been blogging nearly enough lately, so I thought this might be fun for everyone.

1: What are you wearing?
A pair of black shorts and a navy blue, short-sleeved shirt.

2: Ever been in love?
Yes! :D My husband. Love at first word, actually.

3: Ever had a terrible breakup?
Yes. Painful and lasting.

4: How tall are you?

5: How much do you weigh?
I’m obese, as some of my posts have mentioned, but I’d rather not give an actual number. Though! I will say I’ve lost 70lbs in the last year, and I plan to lose more.

6: Any tattoos?

7: Any piercings?
I have just my ears pieces, and they’re one set of tradition holes in my lobes.

8: OTP?
Dorian Gray and Basil Hallward 100%.

9: Favorite show?
To me, a ‘favorite’ show would be one I don’t want to miss a single episode of EVER, and I don’t have one. I do enjoy The Supersizers Go… and The Supersizers Eat… and, up through Season 5, I loved Supernatural. I also enjoy any show of Nigella Lawson’s.

10: Favorite bands?
According to my iTunes, my favorite bands include Adam Lambert, Lady GaGa, Kate Miller-Heidke, and Lorde. I also really like 30 Seconds to Mars, Slipknot, Three Days Grace, Ben Jelen, Breaking Benjamin, Concrete Blonde, Eurythmics, Evanescence, Heather Dale, and Meatloaf.

11: Something you miss?
Sleep. As someone who has chronic insomnia, I miss good, long, restful sleep.

12: Favorite song?
I have a lot of favorite songs. “Runnin’” by Adam Lambert, “Alejandro” by Lady GaGa, “Room 1023″ by Ben Jelen, “Inama Nushif (Montage)” by Brian Tyler, “The History of Ealdormere: Part 1″ and “The History: Part 2″ by Heather Dale, “I Miss My Sky (Amelia Earhart’s Last Days)” by Heather Nova, “The Devil Wears a Suit” by Kate Miller-Heidke, “Glory and Gore” by Lorde, “Marchin’ On” by OneRepublic, “Little Earthquates” and “Spark” by Tori Amos.

13: How old are you?
I turned 34 yesterday.

14: Zodiac sign?

15: Quality you look for in a partner?
Kindness, a twisted sense of humor, and tolerance.

16: Favorite Quote?
I’ll have to steal this from another person who answered this question because I think it’s highly appropriate for all writers/publishers/authors/everyone: “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” – Dita Von Teese

17: Favorite actor?
Hmm. I’m a fan of Kiefer Sutherland’s older work. 75% of the time, I like the films Keanu Reeves is in. 99% of the time, I love Sandra Bullock. I enjoy a lot of Emma Stone’s stuff. I’m a big John Candy fan. I like Tom Hanks’ stuff from the 80s and early to mid 90s. I always perk up when something with John Barrowman is in something new.

18: Favorite color?
Purple. Hands down. Purple.

19: Loud music or soft?

20: Where do you go when you’re sad?
The shower. >.> I just retreat to the shower and sit there for a while.

21: How long does it take you to shower?
If I’m in there to get clean, no more than ten minutes.

22: How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
If it’s just for staying around the house, five minutes. Going out to like… supper or a movie or show? Half an hour.

23: Ever been in a physical fight?

24: Turn on?

25: Turn off?
Being a dick. Seriously. If you’re an asshole in public or private, I probably don’t like you as a person.

26: Favorite books?
I read so much, this is hard! “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien is at the top of the list. The original four “Vampire Diaries” by L.J. Smith. “The Shining” by Stephen King. “The Thief of Always” by Clive Barker. “Flowers in the Attic” series by V.C. Andrews. The “Last Herald Mage” trilogy by Mercedes Lackey.

27: Fears?
I am terrified–TERRIFIED–of ants. I have a crippling phobia of people and crowds that keeps me in my home 99% of the time.

28: Last thing that made you cry?
Thinking about how much I missed Dorian.

29: Last time you said you loved someone?
Just this afternoon when I spoke with my husband after he had lunch!

30: Meaning behind your Twitter name?
Originally, my Twitter handle of peachesandjasmin, though I changed it to _slarmstrong when I began publishing my books. The original name refers to the way Roger (my husband) said I smelled when we first were married. I used a peach body wash and wore a jasmine perfume. :)

31: Last book you read?
“Where the Heart Is” by Billie Letts

32: The book you’re currently reading?
“It” by Stephen King

33: Last show you watched?
The Supersizers Eat… The Twenties.

34: Last person you talked to?
Kris, as she’s sitting on my bed right now. :D

35: The relationship between you and the person you last texted?
I don’t text. Ever.

36: Favorite food?
Angel food cake. It’s something I loveloveLOVE to eat when I make it.

37: Place you want to visit?
Maine. Ireland. Japan.

38: Last place you were?
Umm… the bathroom? XD

39: Do you have a crush?
Not really.

40: Last time you kissed someone?
This morning when Roger was leaving for work.

41: Last time you were insulted?
Openly insulted? Probably a couple of months back.

42: Favorite flavor of sweet?
I love rootbeer candies… and I’m a big fan of hazelnuts and chocolate.

43: What instruments do you play?

44: Favorite piece of jewelry?
My wedding and engagement bands.

45: Last sport you played?
Umm… I can’t remember. XD

46: Last song you sang?
“Bones” by Little Big Town

47: Favorite chat up line?
Chat up lines are horrible, tacky, and I don’t like them at all.

48: Have you ever used it?

49: Last time you hung out with anyone?
Kris. Now. :D!

50: Who should answer these questions next?
Anyone else who feels like it!

Review: Where the Heart Is

March 11, 2014

Where the Heart Is
Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I truly enjoyed this book! While I’ve always loved the movie, the book was so much better. There was more depth to all the characters, plus so many characters we didn’t get to see in the film. Lexie was a much more complex character than I’d imagined, and the trials her children go through are heartbreaking. While I do love Novalee as a character, she was so unbelievably perfect at times. Everyone loved her. Everyone helped her. Everyone loved Americus. I found those aspect difficult to suspend disbelief over, and she walked the line of Mary Sue too much for my liking most times. Willy Jack was a much more nuanced asswipe in the book than he was in the movie, and I found his moment of redemption more fulfilling in the book. He took responsibility for his life, knew he wasn’t a good man, and he tried to bring light to his lies.

Forney was a delightful man in the book, and it was so good to see him wanting to bestow knowledge on Novalee and Americus. His joy in learning and books touched on my same love for reading, the joy of immersing oneself in knowledge so readily available for free. The slight love story at the heart of this book was tasteful and sweet, and it didn’t lessen everything else around it.

All in all, this is a book I would recommend to anyone who enjoys women’s literature, as I highly enjoyed the quick read it provided me.

View all my reviews

Review: Riding In Cars With Boys: Confessions of a Bad Girl Who Makes Good

March 10, 2014

Riding In Cars With Boys: Confessions of a Bad Girl Who Makes Good
Riding In Cars With Boys: Confessions of a Bad Girl Who Makes Good by Beverly Donofrio
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I read this book because I was a so-so fan of the film. I wanted to read the actual memoir.

Bev is an self-centered woman who regrets the conception, birth, and life of her son. She only cares about herself, and there were moments where she seemed to glory in her child’s misery. The scene that really stands out to me is when she tells Jason that Ray is gone and she seems to say how they’ll be without money or food over and over until Jason breaks down, scared and unhappy. What sort of mother does that?

Her heavy drug use, her use of men while having a young child in the house, the drinking, everything led me to asking why did no one take her child from her? She was a danger to herself and her son, though she didn’t care. Someone should have. Though I hope that Jason grew up to be a lovely, well-adjusted young man, I can’t help but think he’ll carry scars that will bleed over into his own child rearing.

I read the book quickly, but I was angry throughout most of it. Bev’s behavior, her acidic and unloving thoughts of her child, and her unjustified hatred/resentment of her family just blew me away. Most of what I read, I couldn’t believe anyone would openly admit to, and I felt sorry for Jason. This book immediately went into my ‘resell on Amazon’ pile once I finished it, and I cannot recommend it to anyone. It’s just an awful, self-indulgent vomit session of a selfish, narrow-sighted woman.

View all my reviews

Finally Writing Again!

February 10, 2014

When I completed the sixth episode of Immortal Symphony: Overture in August 2013, I had no idea how hard it would be for me to pick up the pen next time to write. I have a couple works in progress, most 1/4 to 1/2 complete, and I knew I could finish them quickly if I only focused. Problem was, focus was hard to come by.

In June 2013, I had a last minute move (as in, two weeks to find a new place, pack, move, unpack, and get settled). That delayed IS:5 and IS:6.

At the beginning of August 2013, my husband lost his job, which was scary and stress inducing. He wasn’t able to secure another job until the end of September 2013, and then we had to wait three weeks for his first paycheck.

In November 2013, Kris lost her job (the company she worked for went out of business). Also in November, my youngest cat, Dorian, became ill. Then there was Thanksgiving.

In December 2013, Dorian’s illness became worse, and we had Yule and Christmas.

In January 2014, Dorian’s illness worsened again, and we had to put him to sleep. He was my cat, my precious boy, and I was devastated. I still am. My grieving has been intense and lasting. Some days are better than others, but it’s only been three weeks since his passing, and I know it will never get better, but it will become easier. But his loss left me reeling and unable to concentrate on much of anything.

This past weekend, though, I did sit down to write to Human Rights and managed close to 3K words! :D! I finished the sixth chapter, broke 20K, and passed my halfway point in the outline. *does happy dance*

Today is a day where I am doing some typesetting to prep for a release tomorrow, and then I am going to write out the 7th chapter to Human Rights. I’d like to get that manuscript into my editor’s hands by the end of February/beginning of March. So, I leave you with a little teaser from what I wrote Saturday night!

Once we were home, I was rushed into the bathing room where Hosanna had already drawn a steaming bath. Sir Jiat removed my leash but left the fine collar around my throat.

“Into the tub,” Sir Jiat ordered, and I happily complied.

I couldn’t help but moan. Even in the safety of the carriage, there had been a bit of a draft. My toes were so very cold, and my joints still ached. The hot water lapped at my body, chased away the worst of the chill. When I opened my eyes after settling into the tub, Sir Jiat was gazing down at me. There was an odd look to his amber eyes, something curious and uncertain. I didn’t understand it, but still, my cheeks tinted red. I could feel them throb with the blush.

“I am truly yours, then?” I asked, my voice soft in the echoing room.

Sir Jiat gave a small nod. “Yes,” he murmured, and the word sounded almost like a purr. By the stars, I wanted to hear him purr. I wanted to feel his purr, know that my hands, my body, made him purr. “No more trips to the pound. You belong to me.”

I shuddered, and he had to have seen it. It made the water ripple. “Good,” I breathed. I didn’t want to belong to anyone else, not even the High Lord himself.

After another moment of watching me, Sir Jiat grabbed a bar of soap and a sponge. He knelt beside the tub and began to wash me. I didn’t need to be washed. Warmed, yes, but not washed. Hosanna had bathed me this morning before breakfast in preparation for the trip to see Dr. Tawin. So, why was Sir Jiat washing me now? He had to have given Hosanna the order to wash me. He began with my back, and I moaned again, letting my head fall forward. Whether I’d been washed that morning or not, I loved feeling Sir Jiat’s hands on me. It didn’t take long before his paw replaced the sponge, the bare pads soaped and slick over my wet skin. That intimate touch did things to me I was both ashamed of and desperate to experience.

His hand moved along my chest as I lay back against the slanted side of the tub, my legs stretched out in front of me. The gentle slosh of water and my own breathing were the only sounds as Sir Jiat’s fingers slid over my nipples. I was hard. There was no hiding it. He made me want in ways I didn’t understand, but I didn’t care. He was touching me under the thin guise of washing. Still, I knew he was touching me because he wanted to. It was there for me to feel as his paw slid down my stomach, over a hip. The want I felt was inside him, too, but as his fingers brushed just below my navel and I held my breath, I didn’t know if he would act on our mutual want.

A Sad Day

January 17, 2014

It is with a sad heart that I have to announce that our kitten, Dorian, succumbed today to his illness. The diagnosis ended up being Feline Infectious Peritonitis brought on by the Coronavirus. There was nothing we could do and the virus had just worked its way into his nervous system, so we said our goodbyes and let him go. He went peacefully with us by his side, petting him and telling him we loved him. Thursday, we will go collect his ashes and bring him home a final time.
Our hearts are broken, to say the least.
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.


The last photo I took with Dorian, taken November 2013
May 2012 – January 2014


Happy New Year

January 11, 2014

Well, it hasn’t been a very happy one for us.
I’m making this post a bit short and sweet. Our cat, Dorian, who is only 20 months old, is very sick. We don’t know yet what’s wrong with him, but two vet trips later and a lot of tests, there’s only one path we can go down: ultrasound and surgery. In order to help offset these costs and treatment options, we’re asking for help. We’ve set up a fundraising page for Dorian at :) If you can help–even $1!–that would be awesome. We know times are rough, so if you can’t help financially, maybe signal boost? Share the link on social media? Post it to your blog? You can see out fundraising page here.

Dorian, just before his second vet trip in January.
Dorian’s Medical Care Fund.


Happy Thanksgiving + What I Am Thankful For

November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Day

Things I Am Thankful For

1. My husband, Roger. He has supported and loved me, held me when I cried and laughed with me. He’s given me everything and anything my heart desires, and he’s the mate of my soul. I can’t imagine my life without his smile, his laughter, his love. He’s the other half of me, and I am so very grateful to have found him early in my life.

2. My partner, Kris. Kris has been there through so much, and she’s become as important to me as Roger. I love her, and I can’t imagine my writing, Storm Moon Press, RainbowCon, or KS Charms being half of what they are without her. She makes me laugh, infuriates me, appreciates my cooking, and shares half a brain with me. Our worlds are rich and varied, and she can finish my thoughts so very easily. I am thankful for having her in my life and heart.

3. My mother, Gail. Despite those rocky teen years, my mother has been one of the greatest foundations in my life. My mother taught me to be who I am no matter what, that who I am is nothing to be ashamed of, and that her love came without strings, without conditions, without judgment. She has struggled so much in her life, and she’s done without so I could have, and I am so very lucky to have her in my life.

4. My father, Don. When Roger and I were flat on our asses and in need of help, guidance, and a home, my dad was there. When some parents would ignore a call for help, my dad always had his hand out, ready to help me back up. He gave me the opportunity to have what I do today, and I am forever thankful for that.

5. My brother, Christopher. Though we were very adversarial growing up, in my adult years, I came to appreciate my brother for the loving, hardworking man he’s become. He makes me so proud to see who he is.

6. My pets. As a woman who cannot have children of her own, my cats and dogs are my children. I love and pamper them as if I gave birth to them myself, and they help soothe so much hurt that I’d be a miserable mess without them. They bring me joy and peace.

7. My home. This is the first single family, detached home I’ve lived in since my parents’ home, and I am so utterly grateful for it. I am truly happy in this home. It suits our needs, and it allows me so many joys I never could experience in an apartment. I am deeply grateful to have a roof over my head, but even more so to have that roof be exactly what I dreamed of.

8. The staff of Storm Moon Press. It took a lot for me to realize I needed help, and when I did, I was so very lucky to have the support staff I needed so close to me. Amanda, Dionne, Kat, and Cat are the greatest assets SMP has, and I am so very thankful for all their hard, diligent work.

9. Roger’s job. Though it takes him away for vast parts of the day, I am so thankful that he found a job in this economy.

10. My artistic talents. I sometimes take for granted that I was born with a talent for art. Painting, singing, writing, jewelry, cooking, baking, photoshop, etc. If there’s an art form that draws my interest, it doesn’t take much for me to be able to pick it up and excel at it. I have been gifted in that, and I forget it far too easily. I’m so glad I’m an artist, even if it drives me crazy sometimes.

11. For being alive. Every day I wake up. I walk. I talk. I eat. I breathe. I laugh. I cry. I do thousands of little things some people simply cannot. I am alive. I am in relatively controlled health. I am 95% happy most of the time. I have awesome friends, a great support system, and I am alive. For that, I am thankful every day I wake up.

Bonus Thankfulness: Annie and Matthew. OMG, meeting them, loving them, has been one of the highlights of the last almost five years. :D I know my life wouldn’t quite as full without them.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!



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