about the author

Awkward writers anonymous

What is it about writing something in public spaces that makes people feel entitled to ask about your writing, or even to read it? This happens to me on a semi-regular basis and I’m still struggling with ways to respond that don’t outright alienate the person inquiring or somehow embolden them and make them even more persistent in their questioning. These people approach me in the hallway, in the break room where I write during my breaks and lunches, or even on one memorable occasion in the bathroom, and they bludgeon me with well-meaning but very annoying questions that I can’t answer to their satisfaction.

It’s so very tempting to print up a blunt FAQ and tape it to the lid of my laptop monitor.

FAQ for the Excessively Curious:

Q: What are you doing on your laptop all the time?
A: Usually one or more of five things – writing, editing, reading, watching videos, or procrastinating.

Q: You mentioned writing! I know someone who writes/I always wanted to write/I am someone who reads the products of writers. What do you write?
A: A variety of writing from short stories to novellas, in a variety of genres.

Q: That was awfully broad and didn’t really answer my question. Do you not want to tell me what you’re working on?
A: It was a shallow answer for a shallow question. At any given moment I am usually working on half a dozen projects*, all of which would take too much time to explain to you in the small amount of time I can spare in this, my personal break time, during which I would prefer to be writing. If this sounds surly, you don’t know many actual writers.

Q: Okay, maybe it’s none of my business. But what you’re doing sounds really interesting despite, or because of, the enigmatically limited amount of information you’ve provided. Can I read it when you’re done?
A: What I write is such a specific sub-genre of fiction it’s not only something you wouldn’t be interested in, you would be actively uncomfortable if I shared it, so in order to spare you embarrassment and awkwardness, I must decline. I have plenty of pre-readers at this time, thanks.

Q: I’m just trying to show interest in something that you’re doing which has nothing to do with me!! Why are you so secretive? TELL ME MORE! Seriously, what are you writing?
A: ARE YOU FIVE, GO AWAY. Consider that if someone doesn’t want to tell you about something, they are probably not being coy and have a good reason for not telling you. Besides the obvious: it’s none of your business.

* Current projects:
– Just wrapped galley proof for Body Option
– Awaiting second publisher edits for Klaxon at the Core
– Working on re-write for The More Plausible Evil
– Working on pre-submission beta edits for Dragonspire
– Working on pre-publisher edit draft for Castle on a Cloud
– Writing highly illicit** Appetite-spinoff novella
– Awaiting publisher first edit for My Sexual Superhero
– Awaiting publisher first edit for Like Stolen Pearls
– Germinating ideas for mistletoe fic for upcoming anthology call
– Germinating ideas for In Lesbians (working title), my lesbian enemies-to-lovers contemporary romance
– Back burner: Which Boy (working title), an uncommon paranormal love quadrangle
– Back burner: Beta edits to re-cut Casting the Bones into a YA novel

** I’m not supposed to be working on it, look at all the other stuff I have to do.

Huh, I guess that’s an actual dozen. To be fair I’m only actively engaged in four of those and waiting on the others, or they are waiting for me to have time to work on them.

If I were a less polite, diplomatic person, this would be easier. It’s very difficult to satisfy these prurient people while at the same time honestly answering their questions and not revealing the things I really can’t tell them: in short, I’m writing something that’s not appropriate to discuss in the workplace, but I am doing it on my own time on my own laptop.

Moreover, I write queer spectrum fiction. The substantial majority of my co-workers are Christian. They don’t just read Christian fiction on their downtime. Some of them sit in that room and read their Bibles. My experience with the typical Christian has taught me avoidance in terms of discussing queer culture in general. I’m not being down on Christians, here; it’s simply how things have gone in my personal experience. The revelation that I have a female partner, disclosed to a small and select few, has already gotten me treated like I have a disability we’re all too polite to talk about. (Two of my co-workers still refer to her as my “roommate.” I have never called her that.)

It doesn’t even matter that I write a sub-genre of fiction that none of these interested parties would ever want to read. There is a weird sense of entitlement in the people who’ve asked about my writing, as though they have a right to inquire and get answers simply because they know I write. When I dodge and deflect questions like “what are you writing” or “are you finished with that story you were working on?” with answers like “I write a lot of things,” or “depends on which one,” people get huffy that I’m not giving them straight-out answers. It’s as though they don’t recognize the social cue that a lack of answer means the answer is one they’re not entitled to. Because at the end of the day, what I write is none of their business, regardless of where I’m doing it. And I didn’t volunteer the information that I’m a writer–they asked, because they saw me doing it in a public space.

The most straightforward response would probably be to say something like “I prefer not to say,” but even then most people react poorly to being rebuffed … even when it’s something that really is none of their concern. It’s as though they think, by my act of setting up a laptop and writing in public, I have invited their engagement or solicited their interest somehow.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you get asked these or similar questions? I’d be interested to hear if you have any clever responses or alternative methods of handling the nosy but well meaning inquiries when they come up.

New author interview!

First things first!

Zeph is the winner from The Fall Guide pool and Kathleen is the winner for the Proud to Be a Vampire Vol 1 pool. Congratulations! Both winners have been contacted and their shipping details are confirmed. Thank you everyone for your participation!

Some lovely new developments in the authorial department. All About Romance picked up a review copy of The Fall Guide and said some very good things. Have you picked up your copy yet? Let me know what you think!

There’s a brand-new interview with me up on Rainbow Book Reviews. Go and check it out! You may learn something that will surprise you. 😉

In upcoming months I’ll be featured on Joyfully Jay as one of the Rainbow Con authors, and there will be other fun things to look forward to as well.

Also there’s news! I’ve signed contracts for Like Stolen Pearls and My Sexual Superhero, two stories that will release in collections/anthologies later this year. Body Option has an absolutely awesome cover I’ll reveal a little later on.

What’s on tap right now? I’ve finished Dragonspire, first draft is a whopping 150k, so I’m faced with editing. Lots and lots of edits. Time to look at due dates on some submission calls, as well.

Have a great week!

Queer Romance Blog Hop: Diversity & Inclusion Version

Welcome to the Queer Romance Blog Hop, where queer writers and readers of queer romance share their thoughts on the genre, as well as a few recommendations for books to read! Everyone participating in this blog hop identifies as queer and also reads and/or writes (or edits, or reviews!) queer romance. For our purposes, queer romance refers to books with:

1. LGBTQ+ main characters
2. In romantic relationships
3. That have a happy ending. (No Brokeback Mountain here, folks!)

I’m Talya, and I’ve been publishing queer fiction through Less Than Three Press for a little over a year now and writing it for much, much longer. I’ve been reading queer fiction since around 1997/1998 back when fiction selection was slim pickings: one shelf, and we were lucky if the bookstore carried even that much. Interestingly enough, that one shelf always seemed to be across, or around the corner from, the Christian non-fiction. I used to work at a Big&Name bookstore and I would trawl the general fiction section while shelving … sometimes you could find gay fiction that way, but it was like searching for Easter eggs. Not only was it difficult, but often you’d find something that was not really to your taste.

It’s been amazing to see how things have really grown and changed over the past decade plus, but at the same time, it seems like there’s still a lot of room for expansion.

1. Let’s start off with the getting-to-know-you stuff: How do you identify and what does that mean to you? Whatever level of detail you’re comfortable with, of course!

I am a bisexual woman, and I’ve been partnered for over ten years with another woman. To a lot of people this would mean I’m a lesbian, as though my sexual preference is tied to the person I’m with rather than who I am. Being with a woman for this long doesn’t make me a lesbian; it makes me monogamous. I think (and research supports) that a lot of bisexuals don’t self-identify because we’re not really well accepted by either straight or queer communities, so we tend to hide who we are in order to make other people more comfortable. It’s easier for someone with a female partner to simply say they’re a lesbian because that’s what most people understand. But I am, and always have been, attracted to people of both male and female genders.

Bisexuality was something that was difficult, at first, for me to come to terms with because there was virtually no representation when I was growing up. You were either straight (the default) or gay (deviant), and I didn’t identify with either. In fact, I fought being associated with the queer community at first because I was attracted to the opposite gender, so that meant I “had” to be straight. It was only once I got deeper into researching sexuality and gender that I started to realize, and admit to myself, that not only was bisexuality an option—it’s been a part of me from a very young age. I simply never had the cultural background to recognize it.

2. What’s your preferred “flavour” of queer romance (e.g. trans*, f/f, m/m, menage with queer characters, etc.) Why?

I don’t have a strong preference for any unless being “in the mood” for one or the other would be expressing a preference at the time. I’ve read and enjoyed all varieties, from trans* fiction, to f/f and m/m, poly in various configurations, and I’d love to read and write a great deal more permutations including and beyond those mentioned above. I enjoy the full spectrum of “queerness,” if you will, and I absolutely delight in finding and reading more than the standard fare. Diversity in fiction is a hugely important issue to me, and it’s reflected in my purchasing habits.

3. Do you write/read/review? Do you think being queer affects your participation or platform in romancelandia?

I write, and I think it’s absolutely affected my participation in romancelandia. For one, I don’t see an overwhelming amount of bisexual or pansexual characters represented. Because that’s a component of my own identity, that’s something that has been reflected in my own writing. Several of my published works include bisexual characters. In one work, the world-building assumes that bisexuality is the default with acceptable preferences to either same or opposite gender. I’ve also tended to include characters that, in my opinion, go against what is generally touted in romancelandia to be the typical gay male main character.

4. What drew you to queer romance?

This seems like a simple question that has a very involved, complicated answer for me! I can’t really boil it down to any one factor. I think at first I had an intense fascination with queer fiction because it was like an entirely new realm of romance opening up to me, and it was something kind of taboo and compelling and embattled. A lot of queer people both exist outside the norm and feel like they are pushed outside it, and I identified with that very strongly and was drawn to it. I was drawn to it for prurient as well as non-prurient reasons. There was a lot of raw sexuality and boundary-pushing in queer fiction, as well as character dynamics, that didn’t exist in the hetero romances I’d read. There was also tragedy—a lot of gay fiction didn’t get happy endings back when I first started reading it, and I wanted happy outcomes for a lot of fictional characters I came to care deeply for. I’m pleased to say the happy ending has come within our grasp and become more plausible, at least. And the happy ending (not to mention the sweet, sweet sexual payoff) is why I favor romance over fiction in general.

5. What do you love about queer romance in general, and/or your specific subgenre?

I love that anything is possible. The sky really is the limit as far as the kinds of characters I write and what kind of people they become, who they love and how they choose to express themselves. There’s always something fresh and new and interesting to write, and new and compelling stories to tell.

6. What’s your pet peeve?

That’s a loaded question. I’m going to assume this is intended to mean what’s my pet peeve about queerness in romancelandia. I would have to say my biggest pet peeve is placing limits on queerness, as though your characters have to meet some marketability checklist before they’re allowed to go forward. Diversity and inclusion is an extremely important issue for me, and I feel like we see a lot of cis* white stereotypically masculine men in queer fiction when the queer community contains a whole lot more than that. I want to see more people from all walks of life.

Conventional wisdom says write what you know; I say the hell with that. Write what’s out there in the world, and if it’s not your personal experience, ask, do research, talk to people, find out more and give an accurate representation of others’ experiences. I want to see and read about more people of color, people with disabilities, people from other countries, people of different sizes and attractiveness indexes, and absolutely more queer people from across the entire spectrum. It’s not only lesbian fiction that is under-represented: it’s genderqueer people, pansexuals, bisexuals, trans* people, and asexuals. Asexuals can be involved in romance too, people!

Basically my pet peeve is lack of representation for more than just a single, narrow slice of what being queer is all about.

(*Cis = people who identify with the gender that corresponds with the sex they present at birth.)

7. What growth would you like to see in the genre, going forward? Any ideas on how to accomplish that?

Absolutely more representation. I think there’s so much room to grow in every direction. We need to start writing for it, but I think publishers need to be encouraged to ask for it as well, maybe by broadening their submission standards, but also with targeted submission calls.

8. Do you seek out other queer authors when you read?

I’m really wide open with my reading preferences. If the author is telling a good story with compelling characters, then I’m there. What I’ve noticed, though, is if I find out that a particular author is queer, I definitely tend to gravitate more toward their work to check it out if I haven’t already, or to continue to support and read it if I already enjoy them. I was so excited to discover Fiona Patton was married to Tanya Huff! I’d really enjoyed her Branion books and that was just icing on the cake for me.

9. How do you feel, in general, about straight peoples’ participation in reading, writing, and reviewing queer romance?

I think it’s great. I’m all for making our experiences more accessible and relatable to straight people. It’s easier for people to become allies if they have something to latch onto and understand. And fiction—telling our stories and sharing how we love—really brings people together in a way like nothing else besides food, in my opinion.

I would never tell people not to read, write, or review queer romance. I might, however, caution people who aren’t queer to keep an open mind about our genre—it’s not always going to be something from their own experience, and they ought to be prepared to be accepting of “otherness.” If a straight person says “that’s not what gay people are like,” or “that’s not what lesbian women are like,” or “there’s no such thing as genderqueer people,” you’re potentially negating other peoples’ lived experiences, and that’s going over the line from participation into imposing and regulating queerness. And that has harmful consequences on both sides.

10. Rec us 3 titles in your chosen subgenre and tell us why you love them.

This is a tough one. Limiting it to only three is really, really hard.

I don’t have a “chosen genre” smaller than queer fiction in general, so I’m going to pick three titles in that wider genre and say why they made the short list.

“Comfort and Joy,” by Jim Grimsley – I come back to this again and again because it says a lot of things about gay relationships that still hold true today, and there’s a clash of privilege, both in terms of class (rich/poor, differing job levels), and ability/disability. It addresses HIV and shows the ways in which people sometimes really have to work at relationships when they may not even be sure that they want to. All this is interwoven into a holiday tale that shows the differences between the two main characters’ very different families, the ways they are welcome and not welcome in both, and how a tentative accord is reached at the end. I also love Jim’s prose. He simply has not written a book I’ve loved as much as this one ever since.

Liquor by Poppy Z. Brite – the author now identifies as trans* and goes by Billy Martin, which I recently discovered when looking for information on whether the author would ever continue the Liquor series. Liquor and its sequels were the first domino that tipped me into a full-blown passion for foodie culture. Poppy’s queer characters were always outstanding in a landscape of literature that had formerly tipped the hat but not really “gone there.” Rickey and G-man were very real to me, and though the novels became progressively darker, they presented a lot of real issues that gay people face in the macho world of the kitchen as well as outside of it and came across in an overall hopeful, functional, lasting way.

Zi Yong and the Collector of Secrets, by E. E. Ottoman. This is the first story of E.E.’s that I’d read that really made me sit up and take notice of their writing. This is a historical, wuxia-style tale that culminates in a relationship between two women, and it was really well done, restrained and artful, and I just loved it. Between enjoying this story so much and beta-reading another ladylove story of theirs that was just fantastic, I started reading other stories of E.E.’s and the topics this author tackles, as well as the broad range of character representation, have ensured I’ll keep following E.E. for as long as they write.

That sums it up for me. If you’ve made it this far, I salute you and hope this post has given you a few things to think about.

Thanks for reading and for following the tour! Be sure to use the links below to check out more great posts from our participants!

Erasing the Bisexuals

I am a bisexual woman, and have been for as long as I know, even before I was explicitly aware of it.

I have been in a long-term relationship with another woman for fourteen years. This does not make me a lesbian. This makes me monogamous and committed. I am still bisexual, and always will be. Being with a woman for over a decade doesn’t make me gay. I do consider myself very much a part of the queer spectrum – I am not straight. I’m not heterosexual. But I’m not a full-on lesbian. I exist.

Not long ago, there was a certain kerfuffle in our literary blogosphere regarding the presence of het sex in gay fiction, and one of my first reactions was “wait, are they pretending bisexuals don’t exist?” Because, believe it or not, that happens. A lot.

There is a broad, wide market out there, a rapidly-expanding niche that–I thought–was becoming ever more inclusive across the QUILTBAG spectrum. Now, preference is one thing. I understand expressing a preference for a certain type of story, or a certain kind of erotica, and that’s all well and good. Where it becomes unfair, insulting, and even harmful is imposing that standard on the genre as a whole. Because, really, are we just the M/M genre now? We don’t make room for trans*? We don’t abide lesbians? We do not suffer the bisexual women and men to live and love?

It’s one thing to state “I don’t like reading scenes with heterosexual sex.” That’s totally valid, and I support that. Depending on the characters, I may not enjoy it and would skip it myself.

It’s another thing to state, “heterosexual sex doesn’t belong in the M/M genre.” It should be labeled. It is a squick. It is an insult to M/M readers. Get out of my sandbox, you have your own.

Okay, wow. So what about your bisexual men?

They don’t exist, detractors cry. That brings us round to my point to begin with–once again, supposed allies are erasing the bisexuals.

One of the things that made it so difficult to come to terms with my sexuality, personally, was the complete dearth of bisexual representation anywhere. Media, news, conversation, you name it. Growing up, the concept of bisexuality was not shown to me anywhere as something I could be. You were one or the other, straight or gay. What I wanted, what I was, did not exist. It’s been important to me, as a writer, to show that yes, we do.

Out of the three novels I’ve had published so far, two of them feature main characters (men) who are bisexual. In one of those, it’s something of a plot point, even, with Lucas’s struggle to come to terms with the fact that he can be bisexual and committed to another man. In the other, Alex is so fixated on Nik that no one else matters–but he has a past with women, and at one point it does come under scrutiny.

I’m guessing that this has been deemed acceptable, that this has passed muster in the genre, because there weren’t any scenes that depicted the men having graphic goings-on with anyone other than their love interest, who was also male. But what if they had? What if that had been an essential element of the story? Cut it, these reviewers would say. Your audience doesn’t want to see it. The audience doesn’t want a graphic relationship between a man and a woman. There’s already a robust market for that; it’s the hetero romance genre. Your het sex scenes are not welcome here.

Does this sound familiar? “You can do _____, so long as I don’t have to see it.” “Well, it’s your business if you like _____, as long as it’s in private and you don’t rub it in my face.” That doesn’t sound like tolerance, to me. That sounds like veiled hate speech. You can do that thing I find repulsive, but it doesn’t make it right. So do it somewhere else. When you consider this may apply to bisexuals and their relationships, it starts to sound like bi-phobia to me.

Where is the market for the people who swing both ways? The recent outburst from the reviewing sphere suggests that “het scenes” have no place in the “gay market.” That makes it amply clear, once again, that I and people like me don’t exist, or we’re not supposed to. Or we can hook up with opposite-sex people, so long as it happens out of sight. If we want to have sex onscreen, it had better be with the partner whose genitals match up with what our audience is expecting.

To me, this kind of thinking is not only unnecessarily stifling, creativity-wise, but it’s exclusive. We are so much more than a narrow slice of uniformly handsome white men getting it on with other equally handsome white men. We are disabled trans*men, and capable bisexual brown women, and devout Muslim men who sleep with women but fall in love with other men, and chubby girls with vitiligo and a penchant for polyamory saving the world with their adoring wheelchair-bound genderqueer sidekick, and androgynous asexual vampires finding their one true love in a girl with PTSD. We are women falling in love with men falling for men who OTP women and so on, ouroborous unending.

Or maybe we’re not there yet. But authors ought to be able to write it, if that’s the story they want to write. And it’s still queer fiction.

Blanket directives to keep certain content such as–dare I say the blasphemous concept, heteronormative erotica–out of the genre are oppressive and they exclude those of us who cross genre constraints, whether we’re bisexual or not. They exclude certain types of characters, including bisexual and trans*, and erase or otherwise heavily edit those characters’ experiences.

When I was younger, I thought the story of Casanova was that of a bisexual man, who romped through the ranks of the attractive men and women of court. Boy, was I disappointed to find that he kept his charms solely distributed to women. I was young and ignorant but even then, looking for portrayals of someone whose attractions transcended sex or gender. In this day and age, we ought to be able to get that bisexual Casanova. And if someone from the QUILTBAG genre were to write his story, it should be the whole unedited glorious romp. Messy, “undesirable” girl parts and all.

Because we exist, and our stories deserve to be told, too–including the sex we enjoy on both sides of the “street.”

The Way to Your Heart: Food!

It will be no surprise to anyone who’s followed me for any length of time that food, in particular, is one of my delights and passions.

My entries for “The Way to Your Heart” Blog Hop continue with today’s topic: food!

Tip – don’t forget to check out Less Than Three Press‘s entry, because they have some smashing things to give away!

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I love to cook, to eat, and to watch many shows about cooking! I’m always looking for new recipes to try, from the Living section of the newspaper to the blogs that I frequent, or even recipes reblogged on Tumblr.

Today, I ate a clam and asparagus risotto that I made for lunch, and watched Top Chef season 9 while finishing up edits on The Competitive Edge. After work, I made a beef ribeye roast with a merlot-mushroom reduction sauce, broccoli, and oven-roasted potatoes for dinner (and watched more Top Chef).

And tomorrow, we’re going to La Capitale for lunch before I get quite the haircut.

Food was a big part of my life growing up, and it’s become even bigger now that I’m an adult. Sometimes I wonder, if things had been a little different, whether I might have become a chef! I think I have a lot of the qualities that I see in those competitive chefs that I so admire.

My relationship with food has … not exactly changed, but shifted a lot since I joined up with Weight Watchers four years ago. I like to think I’ve entered a permanently healthier relationship with food, and it’s definitely paid off – I’ve lost 55 pounds and counting. I’m still as actively interested in finding new recipes and cooking delicious food. Now, though, it’s important to find a balance within the quantity of food I’m eating in any given day, and making sure to abide by good health guidelines.

The purpose of this entry isn’t to proselytize for any lifestyle or eating habit changes – I’m also a big believer that you have to want to make a change, and be individually responsible for it yourself. Sharing this background is more meant to express how important the shift in my relationship to food has been for me personally.

To sum it up, food is definitely and incontrovertibly one of the ways to my heart!

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To celebrate my love for food, I’m offering an ebook copy of my book, A Cut Above the Rest, or your choice of a book from my back catalogue if you already have that, in the format of your choice – html, pdf, mobi, or epub.

And to sign up, all you have to do this time is comment! With a valid email address, please, so that I can contact you. And let me know what you thought about the entry, if you would! Giveaway closes next Friday, April 12th. Good luck, and may your meals be ever tasty and piping hot!

The Way to Your Heart: Books!

It’s the fourth birthday for Less Than Three Press, and there are so many wonderful ways to celebrate!

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I first submitted to Less Than Three Press during a very emotional, difficult time: my grandfather passed away, and for as long as he’d known I was a writer, he asked every time I saw him if I was getting anything published yet. And for all that time, I continually put him off because my interest was in writing m/m erotica, so there was nothing I could share with my family, or submit to mainstream publishers like Random House.

When he died, it was a serious kick in the pants. All that time, I kept putting it off, and what the hell for?

After confusedly posting this story of my grandfather and how he’d always encouraged me to get published, the lovely Megan dropped me a comment inviting me to contact her about getting published, and said “I think I can help you with that.”

And, oh, wow, did she ever! Not three months later, I was signing contracts and prepping manuscripts for final submission.

My grandpa didn’t live to see the dedication on my novel, From the Inside Out, but he’s still with me, and I’ll never forget what he did for me.

And I’ll never forget what Less Than Three Press and their lovely ladies have done for me, either.

That brings me around, in a roundabout fashion, to the blog tour at last. From April 1st to April 14, assorted authors and associates are hosting entries and giveaways around the theme “the way to your heart.” What’s the way to my heart? I could probably write a half dozen entries…

Today, I’m writing about books.

I became hooked on the printed word when I was ten years old, and discovered a fluent grasp of sustained silent reading. I went eagerly through everything intended for my age group, then kept going. At eleven, I had a vocabulary that was intimidating to my mom and step-father.

Books were my friends, my companion, my escape.

They became a hobby, a passion, a lifelong obsession. I’d go to the corner bookstore across the street and spend hours browsing the shelves, reading summaries and inside cover excerpts, flipping through pages and deciding what was amazing enough to buy with my hard-earned pocket money.

Growing up, my biggest ambition was to be a writer – an author. Such an amazing, lofty goal! The most compelling and incredible thing, to me, was to be capable of creating worlds and characters that people wanted to lose themselves with, the same way I’d done (still do) with the books I became immersed in, myself.

Today I’m going to link you to the Less Than Three giveaways that feature a book. And Friday, I’ll be offering one of your choice from my current catalogue of e-books. Enjoy so many chances to win something I hold dear to my heart!

Megan Derr
Sasha Miller
Julia Alaric
Isabella Carter
Alessandra Ebulu
T. T. Kove
Lacie Archer
E. E. Ottoman
L.J. LaBarthe
M.J. Willow
Mell Eight

There’s more to come! I’ll be making a few more posts on the “way to your heart” theme, and come back on Friday for my giveaway!

A day in pictures

Today was fun-filled and tasty! Probably a little too tasty; I’ve only been working out four days this week, and I’m down to half an hour from that hour-long Insanity workout.

This morning, I woke up to this cute little face.

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We’d planned an outing to Bridgeport today, which meant late lunch, because first up was a showing of Jack the Giant Slayer.

Delightful movie, it hit all the right high points and had enough conflict and high stakes to keep things interesting. Nicholas Hoult was adorable if not quite strong enough to carry the hero role, but I really like his geeky, lanky, somewhat awkward looks. We enjoyed him so much in the movie, we want to go see Warm Bodies next weekend.

It was a nice day at Bridgeport Village!

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Bit chilly, but the sun warmed things up later on. After the movie we went to Sinju Sushi for a tasty lunch.

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I had to get a shot of the bamboo outside our window. We declined patio seats but the hostess wanted to give us a seat near the sunlight.

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One of my favorite parts, the miso soup. The sunomono has a bit too much sesame and I didn’t want to fill up on it because we had this coming…

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Tasty, tasty sushi. This is a tuna avocado roll with tobiko on the outside, and I had to get some salmon which was so very delicious, it practically melted in my mouth.

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For my lunch, I opted for the combo lunch with Sinju steak and mixed tempura. It was all really good, and didn’t give me as much trouble as fried food usually does.

After lunch we walked around a bit, picked up food for dinner at Whole Foods and some olive oil at a discount because we tend to go through a ton, and stopped by Starbucks before we hit the highway.

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I had to give the hazelnut macchiato another try! It’s nothing that really hooks me, I think, but it’s a tasty change of pace.

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To finish off the day we picked up a few cupcakes for later. The “Wedding” cake, almond cake with almond buttercream, was absolutely divine. The one problem I have with their cupcakes is that the frosting ratio is too generous.

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That was my foodie adventure for the day! Now I’m going to settle in with some television and catch up on my nail polish tumblr, before surfing for recipes to adapt for next week’s nourishing but yummy lunches.

Drop by tomorrow to catch the first day of the giveaway for A Cut Above the Rest, and gear up for the Tour de Foodie!