Smoothies for Chewy Health, Take 2

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Cooking, Fibromyalgia

At this point, I’m disgusted with Western medicine. Not because of the limitations of what they can do, they have miraculous abilities, and is a marvel, in my mind.  My beef is that they will only consider the Next Pill. Which I have to take other pills to counter-act the side effects of.

Shenanigans.

After all this time, I know that, at least in my situation, everything hinges on my whole body health. Getting those to work together are key.

In fact, I have never in my life been more aware, as the emotional aspects of my recent experiences have caused a massive increase in physical pain and complications. And while studies look promising for future Fibromyalgia treatment, improvements for patients are years away, at best. Big Pharma’s gotta keep the revenue coming in, after all, and a cure impacts that.

After nearly 5 years, we’ve exhausted what we know is out there now, but wait to see what the Rheumatologist says. I’m just grateful my Health Blahs are pain and neuro stuff and not cancer. I’ll live and be grateful for whatever condition I’m in, until I’m not. Pain sucks, yes, but I must diminish it to myself. I will not focus on it and expound on it more than necessary as a journal, when I’m already so useless most of the time. I’m using all the strength I have to ignore and overcome the pain. Believe me or don’t, I choose not to wallow in what’s so broken in me right now.

Part of my expanding practices for relief, I’ve been considering “juicing” for a couple years now, and thanks to my sister, I have a smoothie book, from the Nutribullet company. I’m only using a basic blender for now, until I decide if I want something small and convenient (possibly the bullet) or one with multiple purposes (Ninja-type blender), a la Alton Brown’s belief in never owning any kitchen tool that only does ONE thing.

I’ve already decided against using an actual juicer, which beautifully strips out all the peels and cores and seeds, but it also pulls out good fiber, which annoys me to no end. They work great, the fruit juice tastes amazing, with no texture, just juice. But since I need meal replacement instead of simply vitamin boosting, I need fiber in there, too.

I’ve been studying healthy diets for a long time. I know that I need fiber to scrub toxins out of my system, but I’m way to thrifty to tolerate dumping out fiber and then buying more to consume. Plus, I need something VERY easy to clean and those big ol’ Breville’s just look to tricksy for me to use and clean with my painful hands and poor dexterity.

On a whim a several months ago, I went through my cupboards and fridge and put together a healthy shake that was tolerable. I drank it, but I haven’t made another until this week, other than “natural” plant-based protein shakes, which I’ve had to do for years to maintain nutritional intake. I knew I would try again, but went back to Amazon reviews and blog articles and occasional conversations with experienced folks.

I know so many incorporating them, I can’t even remember who all I talked to, besides our spectacular friend (and hair stylist) and friends Jett and Chad, who have been doing it for awhile now, too. Plus, I’d sampled half a dozen different smoothies by then and enjoyed them. These are definitely not the nasty smoothies a relative once made when visiting about 15 years ago.

For that one, I took my two polite drinks, and followed the lead of another, by nourishing the shrubs with them since we couldn’t tolerate (as adults and parents) the flavor or texture or the taste of evil on our tongues OR find anyone else willing to drink them. (We did all of that out of sight, no worries. Mama raised me right!) In hindsight, since it tasted like we were drinking liquefied branches and dirt, it was the perfect spot. Circle of life and what-not.

My physical needs require them now. Many days, I am unable to climb the stairs to the kitchen. We have a mini-fridge/freezer (Food-only for years, no room for beer!), a microwave and kettle in our basement apartment, which allows me to stockpile necessaries so I don’t run on zero calories before Chooch gets home from work with sustenance. But many days, the ability of cooking an affordable dinner for us, let alone breakfast and lunch for myself, is simply not possible and is sometimes dangerous (burns, cuts, spills, broken things).

And these fruit/veggie smoothies are even helping another Fibro issue I have when eating, which is a type of throat constriction. It rarely occurs when drinking or breathing, only when eating solid food. It’s extremely painful, and in my entire life has only happened a handful of times with liquids or shakes, as opposed a a handful of times a day, with solid foods.) The pre-made nutrition shakes helped as well, but are expensive and full of chemicals and Glob-knows-what. Since another health goal is to eat more natural and as few processed foods as possible and I can’t “go natural” with Ensure’s mystery chemicals, so I’m making my own liquid nutrition now.

So, now on Day 3 (in a row!) of incorporating at least one crazily healthy, Glob knows how it will taste, fruit and veggie smoothie. I’m hopeful that I can make this a daily habit in the near future. If I actually stick with it, in a few weeks, I’m going to increase it to 2 meal replacement smoothies a day, since that’s usually the minimum meals/snacks I skip. Each one I make is 2 servings, so for every time I make one, I have a spare for the next meal. I’ve had the second serving of the one I made yesterday already.

As for taste, because I’m being cautious in my selections for tastiness and longer commitment and it may be more limiting than I predict option-wise, all I can say  is yummmm… They do indeed taste better than they look.

The spinach makes it look like baby poo, but tastes like nothing and the color is the only detectable thing about it. The sweetness from the carrot and fruit easily mask it. Since I’m also adding protein powder, that helps, too, I’m sure. I have trouble tasting it over the fruit, I’m sure it’s doing some masking with the vanilla flavor, but it’s yummy so I’m not messing with it.

Ingredients:
2 handfuls of baby spinach, a fatty bo-batty carrot, a large banana, peeled and seedless mandarin orange and water (as much as needed to get the thickness I like). Also some vanilla protein powder and some almonds.

All fresh and gross-looking and weird textured and surprisingly tasty, even on Day 2, in truth.

Results on third day:
Nausea is more tolerable now, but the lack of appetite is still there. I still think that is most likely masked by the pain meds. But I’ll continue forcing myself back on to an eating schedule to avoid the pitfalls of things that taste good, rather than things that taste like ass (also a medication side effect), and the nausea aspect has me going this route.

Getting in so many fresh and raw fruits and vegetables every day, even though pulverized, has me at least thinking I feel better. There is certainly better nutrition since I’ve started, and it’s carried into other choices. I’m definitely keeping the fiber aspect and am just waiting until mid-November to buy a new machine, if I can’t ever find my blender. I’d love recommends on them if anyone has an opinion. I’m leaning towards the Ninja blender, as a friend just said she loves hers.

Two changes:

  • I gotta start with nuts in the blender first, cause it’s damned weird chewing bits from a smoothie.
  • I want to find a natural protein source that is unflavored.

Booze Bears Instructions

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Cooking, ExperiMENTAL

I don’t remember where I first tried these, but I started making them myself a few years ago. We’ve been taking them to parties, since we rarely get to host anymore, and other events where friends are indulging.

Thanks to a reminder from two different peeps, I’m sharing you the info we’ve gathered after years of testing and experimenting and have it pretty streamlined.

You need a fridge and at least 24 hours start time. (And be careful of hotel room fridges, they tend to run extra cold which slows the process. Yes, I’ve made them that way many times.)
Experiments also proved that gummies work, but not the sour gummies. It was disgusting, even more so when dumped untested in the toilet because I didn’t want that sludge in the hotel sink or trash. Unholy!
  • Start 24+ hours before you want to serve them. A few hours earlier is fine, but I never go less than 24 hours. I’ve read that you can start as early as 48, but I’ve never tried it since the results are great with at least 24 hours. No fail!
  • You want a glass or plastic container and plastic or wooden stirrers. Use no metal or tin foil, because SCIENCE! (I’ve never researched, I’ve just trusted the advice from the web sites.)
  • Place a layer of bears on the bottom of the container, I suggest only two deep for better absorption, so decide on the size of the dish accordingly. I serve them in 9×9 pyrex square casserole dish, 9×13 for bigger parties, scaling based on crowd size and number of batches and their spectacle booze interest.
  • Pour in the booze of choice. You want them covered, but not too much. Just above the bears is what I do, and add more as needed when stirring. Usually another splash around hours 12 to 15 maybe?
  • Hard alcohol works, liqueurs have not (yet).
  • Stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate on a level shelf. 
  • You’ll keep them in the fridge, covered, and stir every six hours or so. 
  • Overnight is fine, it’s not fragile enough to set an alarm just to stir. You are just going to break them up and re-coat them with booze after they start to adhere to each other.
  • Uncover and serve with a slotted spoon or something, and make sure you have wipes or napkins because hands get messy. 
  • If you use gummy worms, bear in mind those suckers are worth several bears and may absorb more than they appear. (I recommend with Tequila, for obvious reasons.)
If anyone has pix from Balticon, contact me because I don’t think I have any from the mega batches we made with Nobilis’ infused vodkas and other flavors.
The pix we have will be posted later. Enjoy!

Cover Reveal for Maven by S.A. Huchton

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Books, Cool Links / Clicky Linky, Friends


Maven (The Endure Series, Book One), by S.A. Huchton
Genre: Science Fiction Romance (New Adult)
Release Date: June 3rd, 2013

How far would you go for love?

Since losing her parents at 14, young prodigy Dr. Lydia Ashley has focused on one thing: an appointment on the Deep Water Research Command Endure. Now 21, she’s about to realize that dream, but nothing is how she imagined it would be. Her transitional sponsor forgets her, her new lab is in complete chaos, and, as if that weren’t enough, she’s about to discover something so horrific it could potentially destroy all life on the planet. 

Daniel Brewer, a noted playboy and genius in his own right, may be exactly what she needs… Or he may make everything worse.

Has she finally found a puzzle she can’t solve?

Maven, by S.A. Huchton. Available on June 3rd, 2013

If you’re wondering why I’m taking part in a cover reveal for a SciFi Romance, blame the author, S.A. (Starla) Huchton. She is an award winning author, award nominated podcaster, graphic artist, vocalist, book designer and friend. Over the years, I have been many times impressed by her incredible talent, her strong female voice as a creator, her incredible energy and tireless work ethic.

So, while not my usual genre, I’m greatly looking forward to reading Maven, just to see what Ms. Huchton can enchant me with this time.

All you get today is the cover, but the book will be available on June 3rd, 2013.

Links:
Twitter: @riznphnx
MAVEN on Goodreads
S.A. (Starla) Huchton’s Home Page
Designed by Starla Website
S.A. Huchton’s Facebook Author Page

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
My introduction to Ms. Huchton’s work:

I can’t recall if I met Ms. Huchton before or after listening to her podcast novel, The Dreamer’s Thread. But I do remember how she lured me in to listening: Cheyenne Wright. He was one of the voices she assembled for the audio production. I “met” Cheyenne through Twitter and my old podcast, The City of Heroes Podcast. Cheyenne was also a player of the superhero MMORPG, and we discovered that we also share birthdays. His voice is rich and powerful and I was curious to hear what he had lent it to. No slouch himself, Cheyenne has won no less than three Hugo Awards for his work on the web comic/graphic novels/novels over at Girl Genius.

Pretty quickly, I fell in love with the world Ms. Huchton created in The Dreamer’s Thread, characters and story. Yes, I of course loved Cheyenne’s contribution, but the story and imagery held me enraptured. I devoured it, and still recommend it to any that are interested in fantasy.

What Starla doesn’t know is that back in my 4-days-a-week running days, I would take a longer route home because I didn’t want to stop listening to her podiobook, The Dreamer’s Thread. (Yay, extra calorie burn!) And in recent months, the images Ms. Huchton brought to mind in The Dreamer’s Thread have helped me on my current quest: finding silver linings, regardless how dark the circumstances. I have even been using her descriptions of finding the “thread” in one of my guided meditations (helpful with my Health Blah related stress management).

Many thanks to Ms. Huchton for her literary and personal contributions to my life and for all she brings to the world.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Author Bio:

Starla Huchton released her first novel, The Dreamer’s Thread, as a full cast podcast production beginning in August 2009. Her first foray went on to become a double-nominee and finalist for the 2010 Parsec Awards. Since her debut, Starla’s voice has appeared in other podcasts including The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine, The Drabblecast, and Erotica a la Carte. She is also a voice talent for Darkfire Productions, and narrates several of their projects, including The Emperor’s Edge series, This Path We Share, and others. Her writing has appeared in the Erotica a la Carte podcast, a short story for The Gearheart, and an episode of the Tales from the Archives podcast (the companion to Tee Morris and Philippa Balantine’s Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series), which garnered her a second finalist badge from the 2012 Parsec Awards. Her second novel, a Steampunk adventure entitled Master of Myth, was the first place winner in the Fantasy/Science Fiction category of The Sandy Writing Contest held annually by the Crested Butte Writers Conference. Maven is her third completed novel and the first in a planned series of four.

After completing her degree in Graphic Arts at Monterey Peninsula College, Starla opened up shop as a freelance graphic designer focusing on creating beautiful book covers for independent authors publishers. She currently lives in Virginia where she trains her three Minions and military husband.

From the Mouths of Podcasters

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Books, Chooch, Friends, No Whining, Podcast

As I’ve mentioned here before, I’m part of a group of podcasters talking about the HBO Game of Thrones series, called SpecFicMedia Presents: Beyond the Wall, A Game of Thrones Podcast. Oi, what a mouthful. I’ll just refer to it as BTWPodcast forever more in my personal blog.

As the HBO series season has ended, so has our podcast. For now. During one of the episodes, P.G. Holyfield made an observation about all the plotting and planning over the span of years being undone in an instant by a random and unpredictable event. While I agreed with the point at the time, it didn’t really sink in.

While running and doing a QA listen to the podcast before posting, it hit me like a brick wall. Rather than just knowing that as a fact of life, the concept has been brought home in a very painful way and absolutely resonates with me. No matter how sure your footing, with no regard to the most honorable of your intentions, things happen that can change things forever. If you’re very very lucky, you can recover. If you aren’t, then you have to find a way to move forward, if possible. In both cases, there is likely a price to pay.

Happily, unlike many events in the the book and series, we have landed in a safe and loving place. And while things are not perfect or what I ever would have imagined for myself at the age of 42, I have to say that I think we are recovering pretty well.

Definitions You Know: Steampunk

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Definitions You Know, Sci Fi

If you haven’t heard this term, then you’ve not been online in any way, shape or form for several years. While the aesthetic has been around since long before, the surge of interest in recent years has made it impossible to miss.

Steam·punk

“a genre of science fiction set in Victorian times when steam was the main source of machine power; also written steam-punk.”

I think this dictionary.com entry leaves a lot out of what is believed to be steampunk, but gets to its core. Another definition rounds out the genre/aesthetic as I understand it.

“An imaginary Victorian age, that features brass and copper clockwork and steampowered inventions that go far beyond 1800′s technology. Steam powered mechanical wonders, optimistic gear driven computers, dirigibles, clockwork firsts, and stuff like that. (But don’t forget the goggles.)

Well, something like that, anyway. Think Jules Verne.”
~From Monster Commute by Steam Cow

Brace yourselves, kittens. It looks like it’s here to stay.

And do be careful, because you can get nasty burns from steam.

 

Exquisite Photo by Kyle Cassidy of Liza James and Jared Axelrod in Steampunk Attire, featured in the Wikipedia article for "Steampunk". Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

I highly recommend you peruse Kyle Cassidy’s other fascinating works, so please visit his web site.

Vegetarian Leanings

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Breast Health, Chooch, Cooking, Cooking, ExperiMENTAL

As a bonus of all the amazing people we’ve met in the last four years, my palate has grown immensely. What with food allergies, diabetes, vegetarians, vegans and all manner of eating preferences you must either be willing to try new foods or choose to eat crap from a McDonald’s drive thru on the way to the event.

We’ve tasted a long list of new foods, most delicious but some not. One particular day in February, I had my first cucumber sandwich, my first artichoke dish and my first ever Ethiopian restaurant. My favorite? The Ethiopian cuisine, and along-side it, the Ethiopian honey wine (mead). Thanks to Mia, John, Thomas and Andrea for the experience!

When hosting or attending pot-lucks, I typically feel the need to bring dishes that most, if not all, can enjoy. Because of this I’ve done a lot of experimentation with vegan/vegetarian cooking. Some dishes have been utter failures and some have been successes. Luckily, I’m not alone in this quest since those friends are eager to share what they’ve learned over the years. Whether tips, tricks, products, or explanation of concepts, I eagerly try to absorb all they say.

One of the biggest surprises? Marshmallows aren’t vegetarian because they contain gelatin. Oops! You can make or buy vegan/vegetarian marshmallows, but you have to work hard to find them or make them. I’ve decided it’s just not worth it for the only things I use marshmallows for: Rice Krispie treats and dipping in the chocolate fountain.

Another surprise was that granulated and brown sugar are not always vegetarian. Sugar cane is frequently processed with bone char to remove color. Artificial sweetners (Splenda and the like) are also off limits because of the animal testing that was done to get them to market. That leaves some raw sugars and agave nectar. I’m finding that converting existing dessert dishes is problematic, especially since my cheesecakes are a big part of my repertoire. I’m mainly trying new recipes that already call for these ingredients, and have found great success there.

And while I know there is controversy, I use meat substitutes when I cook vegetarian. I have to. My husband doesn’t eat beans of any kind, and I have to get more protein in the dish somehow. I only use the ones I think are tasty, and only in ways that I think are flavorful. Thanks again to friends guiding me to the better products and how to best use them.

There are breast cancer risk concerns about having too much soy, but we don’t eat soy meat substitutes more than maybe twice a week.

If I’m cooking vegan or vegetarian and my husband isn’t going to be there, I happily use beans. He dislikes them intensely and will not eat them because of an allergic type reaction. Growing up, I had beans a few times a week, so this has been a big sacrifice. I miss beans in some family favorite recipes, but I still get them a few times a week.

Favorite Products:

  • Earth’s Balance as a butter substitute. For years I used Smart Balance, but thanks to Andrea Gideon I now use EB instead as a spread and in cooking/baking. It has a truer butter flavor, even in pralines! You heard me, pralines!
  • Paulette Jaxton introduced me to Field Roast brand sausage substitutes. The Italian variety tastes better than any other Italian sausage I’ve ever had, possibly because there are no weird hard chunks that make me wonder what part of what animal it came from. They also offer an apple sage and chipotle variety that I have yet to try.
  • Fake meat crumbles, again thanks to Paulette – Morningstar crumbles are great in spaghetti/nacho cheese/soups. They break down more than ground meats, so you won’t keep that chunky texture. But you will add low fat protein, and it absorbs flavors wonderfully.
  • Gardenburger’s black bean/chipotle patties are seriously tasty. When I need to eat something quickly, this is what I reach for. A patty on a whole wheat sandwich round is filling and delicious, especially topped with romaine or spinach and salsa. It also packs a nice protein/fiber and nutrient-rich punch.
  • Beans – Black and Pinto are my favorites. Both are loaded with antioxidants on top of protein and fiber. I use them when eating alone at home. I typically toss them into a salad or season them chili powder and cumin as a meat replacement in Mexican food.
  • Egg replacer – Ener-G is the one that I keep seeing referenced. Of the two baked dishes I’ve made, one turned out great and the other was disgusting (family brownie recipe) and tossed out. I’ll continue experimenting, but only at home.
  • Thanks to Keith and Jenn of Ditched by Kate, I’m now a huge fan of Maple Agave Nectar. It’s a delicious and much healthier replacement for traditional maple syrup. I’m also converting us from Splenda to Agave, once and for all. I think it’s worth the modest calorie increase to alleviate concerns about dangerous risks when using sugar substitutes.

For ourselves, I’m finding that we have about 3 “meatless” nights a week now, and we’re eating far more chicken and turkey than beef these days. The overall result is that we’re eating healthier and I’m feeling better. While I still enjoy meat, I’m finding that I’m tipping ever closer to vegetarian living. I’ve never liked fish, no longer eat pork, and won’t eat anything on the bone or resembling what it came from. I buy boneless/skinless chicken breast ONLY and never look directly at the Thanksgiving turkey that I don’t cook. And how I love those little packages in the meat section, I can almost pretend that it’s not from an animal that way! I even have to be careful of seeing others as they chow down on things like shrimp, drumsticks, mussels (thanks Chooch) and the like, or I’ll lose my appetite. I’m just one bad experience away from being a full-on vegetarian, I think.

It will be interesting to see how my sons react to our increasingly different menu items, as only a few of the regulars they are used to remain and have typically been altered somehow. Naughty Bear experienced a wide variety of choices this weekend, but I don’t know how much he actually tried of the vegan/vegetarian variety.

Although, if I were to go vegan, I’m pretty sure Chooch would sacrifice me to his love of cheese, and I just can’t risk that. I’m pretty sure our unconditional love would suddenly have a condition attached. But I love my mouse!

The Dragons Are Coming. Prepare To Dance.

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Books, Cool Links / Clicky Linky, No Whining

Most likely, you already know that HBO is currently hard at work creating its newest series, “A Game of Thrones” based on the epic and epicly beloved George R. R. Martin “Songs of Ice and Fire” series.

Today I discovered that there is a release date for the long-awaited fifth book in the series, A Dance with Dragons. We only have to wait until July 12, 2011. There was much rejoicing and squealing!

You can now pre-order the book from Amazon, using our affiliate store. It costs you nothing extra, but puts a few pennies in our coffers. Many thanks if you choose this option.

Enjoy the inserted post from Martin’s very own blog below:

[first posted at 9 am EST on my website]No. Sorry. Not done yet.

I’m close, though. Watch this space. When the book is done, you will read it here.


original cover 2006

Meanwhile… there is news. Big news. The end is in sight, at long long last, and we’re close enough so that my editors and publishers at Bantam Spectra have set an actual publication date.


revised cover 2007

A DANCE WITH DRAGONS will be in your favorite bookstore on

TUESDAY, JULY 12, 2011


new cover 2009

Yes, I know. You’ve all seen publication dates before: dates in 2007, 2008, 2009. None of those were ever hard dates, however. Most of them… well, call it wishful thinking, boundless optimism, cockeyed dreams, honest mistakes, whatever you like.

This date is different. This date is real.

Barring tsunamis, general strikes, world wars, or asteroid strikes, you will have the novel in your hands on July 12. I hope you like it.

((For what it’s worth, the book’s a monster. Think A STORM OF SWORDS))


final cover? 2011

The dragons are coming. Prepare to dance.

And hey… thanks for waiting.

~~~~

Update on Charity Book

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Books, Breast Cancer, Breast Health, Firsts, No Whining

I’m definitely moving forward on this. I intend to meet with my father as soon as he’s able to discuss and hopefully attain the rights. If I’m unable to get them, then I have a story in mind to use as the center piece in its place.

I’m also considering following the advice of a friend to shop the book around to publishers. There are significant pros and cons to this, but I’ll make that decision once I have the completed manuscript in hand.

For those interested, please email me at VivMuse@gmail.com to join my contact list. Once I have more information I will contact those folks first, and will then post here as well.

Many thanks for the stories shared with me from the few that showed interest in this project. It’s definitely motivated me to move forward and inspired me to seek out works from other venues.

And extreme gratitude to those that have offered assistance in the hopes of helping to make this a successful venture.  It means so much to go from a whimsical thought to knowing that I have the help of seasoned professionals to keep me from ruining the noble intention of this book.

Gauging Interest on Stories for Charity

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Books, Breast Cancer, Firsts, No Whining, Soulful, Too Long For Twitter

Edit – March 3, 2011 – This project is definitely moving forward. I’m fine tuning details now and will post an official announcement with submission guidelines shortly. Thank you for your interest. ~Viv

~~~~Original Post~~~~

I am contemplating seeking out the rights from my father to publish a story my mother wrote about the death of her beloved grandmother.  I don’t want to make money off of it, I just want to share it. Chooch and I discussed podcasting it, but I think I would prefer something Greater be done with it.

It’s the only complete story of hers that I’ve found, or likely ever will find, so I can’t do a collection of her stories. I’m considering making it the centerpiece in a book I hope to write about her. For this I would need time and distance from the subject to not feel overwhelmed and never finish it.

The other idea is to do a compilation of stories from other people that have been impacted, preferably on breast cancer but may include a wider variety of cancers. All profits would go to fund cancer research, if any are made. What I would need for this is submissions from folks that have a story to tell regarding breast cancer. While the story can be fictional, my preference would be that the author has either battled the disease or knows someone that did and was impacted by their struggle.

Again, my preference would be breast cancer stories since it has devastated my mother’s and my own life so profoundly with the loss of my mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great aunts. It also looms greatly over my sister and I. That said, having lost my husband’s beloved brother to a different form of cancer, let alone several others, I’m not going to rule out including other cancer stories if I don’t have enough breast cancer stories to make a nicely sized anthology.

Let me be specific here, the story doesn’t have to be about the disease itself. For example, my mother’s story is in the voice of a child, and mentions aspects of the disease but is not clinical in nature. I envision a paragraph at the beginning of each story by the author, and this is where the inclusion of the story can be explained if not directly obvious.

Also, I plan on accepted works being paid an extremely modest fee.

What I’m asking is for anyone interested in submitting a short story to send an email to VivMuse@gmail.com and include:

  • Your level of interest (Definite, unsure)
  • What type of cancer your story will involve (so I can determine how many breast cancer stories are out there)
  • The expected length of your submission. I’m willing to consider anything up to 30k words, be it flash fiction, poetry, short story or novella.
  • An estimate of how quickly you think you can submit the work.

Please do not make submissions at this time.

If I move forward, this will likely either be a long-term project (as long as 16 months) or a short-term project (preferred – as short as 5 months), depending on the response that I get, so please be honest about your turn around estimate.

Please note, this will likely be the first publication in the publishing house that Chooch and I have been planning to start for over three years now.

And if you are someone that has never written beyond work or school requirements before, be fearless! If I move forward, I will accept submissions from anyone, regardless of experience level.

I humbly request that you share this post far and wide, even if you are not interested in participating yourself.

~~~I’m closing comments here, as I prefer that all discussion occur via email. ~~~

Harry Potter Movie Marathon

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Anti-Health, Books, Chooch, Cooking, Exercise, Friends, Health, Movies

Late Friday night, dear friend Jett Micheyl arrived so we could rise early and begin our long planned Harry Potter Marathon in preparation for the release of the seventh installment in the movie series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One.

Although it was just the three of us (including Chooch, of course), Jett began long ago planning out theme foods for the weekend. Much to the doom of my health plan, she succeeded in making adorable and delicious sugar mice and horrifically addictive pumpkin pasties. And by horrific, I mean the screams coming from my bathroom scales when I stepped on them this morning. The work she put into them was richly paid off as both her desserts were gorgeous and delicious.

My contribution was a batch of chocolate frogs and pumpkin juice (which Jett ended up doing most of the work on), as well as regular meals. I’ll be honest when I say that I was unfamiliar with all but the chocolate frogs before settling in on Saturday morning with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. But we literally squealed with delight when we saw the sugar mice being chomped on by Harry and Ron in the first movie. Later in the weekend, when Jett dropped a chocolate frog she was eating, I couldn’t resist saying “What a shame! They’ve only got one good jump in them.” And I imagined that every time they sat with the orange colored beverages in front of them that it was pumpkin juice. In truth, I’m already eyeing some recipes for butterbeer in preparation of a sudsy beverage on movie launch. If anyone has a recipe they like for it, please link to it in the comments.

Fear not for our health, dear readers, for we planned to counter all this gastronomic delight with a healthful jaunt. We went for a brisk hour-long walk in my neighborhood, on a route I had long wanted to share with her. We braved dogs off leashes and an aromatic gift from Kaylee. We prevailed against these hazards and immediately settled back into the movie marathon, refreshed and ready for the remaining adventures of Harry and his posse.

Having only read the last few books only once each at the time of their releases, I find that I’m really missing that world. The movies are fantastic and truly enjoyable. Particularly in watching the kids grow up in a seeming fast forward effect when watching them all back-to-back. But there is simply no way to pack all the charm and depth of the books into the movies. This is proven by the nearly unanimous acceptance of us devoted Harry Potter fans of the seventh book being broken up into two parts. After all, the one continuing complaint since the movie franchise started up was that the movies were too short and left too much unseen.

I will say that thanks to the tantalizing draw of TuacaCon, created, planned and executed by P.G. Holyfield (with help from Chooch, Rich Sigfrit and others), I understandably missed parts of the movies. I’m tempted to watch them all over again, before the movie is released in theaters on Friday. I would feel that was obsessive if not for the fact that Jett read the entire series TWICE since we started our planning. Time is short this week, with two exams and much work to be done. If only I had a time turner. *sigh*

Judge us all you like, but we had a truly magical time geeking out to our approximately 16 hours of immersion into Harry Potter’s world. And I can’t wait for more!