Entertainment · Movies · Writing

Reasons Why Stephen King’s New Hulu Show Has Me Hooked

Okay, so the Hulu exclusive mini-series 11.22.63 isn’t exactly owned by Stephen King, but he (and several other writers and directors) work with J.J. Abrams to produce an amazing depiction of time-travel and “what-if” suspense drama. Stephen King is synonymous with the phrase “the king of horror.” People just know who he is and what he is about. So I expected some gore and major suspense. Time travel is always a plus (because who wouldn’t want to go back in time a few times and witness history in the making?) So cool, yet also terrifying!

11.22.63 is about a man (played by James Franco) who goes back in time to the Kennedy Assassination. Don’t worry, I’m not here to spoil it for you. But if you enjoy suspense and creepy characters with a great plot, you’ll enjoy 11.22.63

11.22.63 show is worth subscribing to the Hulu free trial period if you do not have a Hulu account. (Hulu, Stephen King, J.J. Abrams, or anyone else is not paying me to say this, btw.)

Here are a few reasons why I love this show (no big spoilers):

  • The show transcends age-gaps. Setting and characters are in the 1960’s. For people like me, who didn’t grow up in the 1960’s, I appreciate being able to see what I think is an authentic setting for the time-period when an important event in US History took place.
  • You don’t have to be a history buff to follow the storyline. It’s important to be able to live in the present moment and also understand turn of events that brought the present moment to pass. This show, I think, is informative in an entertaining fashion. The characters and turn of events make you believe what most history majors already know or suspect…or have hoped for as the lead character in this show travels through time. To people who have a general knowledge of history, it’s even more fresh to absorb the show and events as respectful entertainment.
  • James Franco kills it. A lead character makes all the difference in if I stick with a show or save it in cache to watch when there is nothing else on. This show is FAR from cache. I’d watch the entire series (once it’s finished) more times than my niece and I watched Girls Just Want to Have Fun when we were teeny-boppers. (I’m surprised the VHS tape didn’t die on us and blast out the speakers of the television dancing to the music.)
  • Two legends combined equal darn-good happenings. J.J. Abrams and Stephen King tag-teaming a show are like two Undertakers from WWE giving you a front row seat to see them wrestle. When invited, just GO.

Speaking of GOING-it’s time to get going on more writing and who knows-I may be able to sleep better this weekend? Have a great weekend!

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Winter is coming to end, but until the sun comes out to play, why not have a preview of Serendipity Summer-my most recent romantic comedy fiction book? 

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Serendipity Summer is now available at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | I-Tunes 

To take part in giveaways and to VIP reader events, sign up for my newsletter. I send a newsletter out monthly with relevant information and fun topics. Each person who signs up for my newsletter receives georgous free printable bookmarks. 

Accreditations: 

Undertaker gif-kiia8bitw, tumbler.com; Hulu, hulu.com; Stephen King, stephenking.com; J.J.Abrams, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._J._Abrams;WWE,http://www.wwe.com; Girls Just Want to Have Fun(film),https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girls_Just_Want_to_Have_Fun_(film);James Franco, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Franco; 11.22.63 (Official Trailer), Youtube.com; Picture of Impala taillight-Andrew Beierle,http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1960-chevrolet-impala-1-1175381

Musings · Relationships · Writing

I’m Leaving Facebook

Two years ago I had started saying no to toxic situations. I’m still developing resolve to purge environments that encourage unfair comparisons, incompetent solutions to overall wellbeing, and speaking straightforward-blatently cause doubt, resentment,  jealousy, and mask support in an undercurrent of money-based deceit.

I don’t feel that I can nurture close friendships there. I no longer feel the need to have one more inbox to check. I won’t miss having to monitor my wall for fear that someone thinks I’m ignoring them. I don’t give a crickey about how someone wants to react to my posts. REALLY FACEBOOK? The new emoji madness is quite literally emotional validation times a thousand. Is it not best for humans to have non-Facebook friendships so as to SEE real faces and reactions? I can just see it now: kids years from now who need to hold up emoji signs in real life because thier emotions and faces are so frozen in emotional confusion.

Okay, okay. Back to not being on Facebook-it isn’t really a revolutionary thing to deactivate my personal Facebook. Actually, I’m still keeping my author page for those who do like the network.

I also love my humble blog here and those who truly care about what’s up in my life and writing can sign up for my newsletter and follow on Instagram and Twitter.

-Laurie

 

Musings · Thanksgiving

Contentment In Trouble and Fond Memories #Thankful

Happiness is …

If you have trouble continuing this statement, have no fear: you’re in control.

Okay. I’ll admit. There are certain aspects beyond control. But I’m not here to tell anyone their tragedy or what they are going through matters less than my mere musing on happiness.
No.
The ramblings in my head have more to do with overall contentment in any circumstance. Seems like a wild idea, huh?
It is.
We reflect to the world what we believe and it boomarangs back to us in spades.
A lady greets me one morning in passing. We both continue on our way doing what we need to do, but
we circle back around to one another again. “How are you?” I ask as I continue my task.
She frowns and rests a hand on her hip. “Are you one of those people who has a short-term memory? ‘Cause I said hello to you back there earlier.”
A couple of thoughts crossed my mind as she asked this question. I thought “she thinks I’m senile! How hilarious is that!” then the next thought was “why would someone be offended to be asked how they are?”
Then I noticed her cell phone.
I grin. “No. I know you did. I’m asking how you are doing today.”
“Oh, okay. I thought you didn’t remember.”
I try not to chuckle, but I know when to back off. I continue on my way, knowing she didn’t care to answer my simple question at all.
Or maybe it wasn’t such a simple question for her to answer.
I recognized a worried expression on her face as she stepped outside to answer a phone call.
I have a strange habit that seems to be rather quirky and to some people….plain out crazy. But it works. It really does.
As the worried lady and I parted ways, I silently thought blessings for her and her stress and her life.
Her stress? Yeah. Stress.
Because it takes one to know one. We all have our breaking points. Our bodies need rest. Our minds need peace. Our hearts need love. Our spirits need lifting. Our lives need joy and understanding.
Happiness is in thankfulness and it grows stronger each time we pass it on to others in love.

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I truly am grateful I have a healthy memory. My grandmother’s birthday would have been on Veteran’s day. She had Alzheimer’s toward the end of her life, but got up every morning like clockwork at seven a.m. She’d comb her hair and she’d dress for the day. Sometimes she’d stay in her housecoat, a soft zip-up robe, and she made sure it was always clean. I swear the woman looked like queen in her red auto-lift recliner and dainty housecoats. Makes me smile every time I think of it…

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When she wore her red scarf and hat, white-silver hair glistened against the garments. The powerful color, known in corporate America to signify boldness and strength was not lost on my Grandmother’s humble yet dignified presence in her last days.
She reminded me of a regal cardinal, perching on a branch. Its wise eyes honed in on surroundings and its joyous song projected only when there is something important to say. Each time I see a cardinal I like to think she’s come to visit me.
I’m thankful for memories past, present, and future.

What are you thankful for today?

Fitness · Health and Wellness · Humor · Inspiration · Movies · Musings

The Biggest Block To #Creativity and Tips to Prevent It

Whether it’s a craft project or you are fortunate to secure a creative career, being able to manage time and tasks is a big deal. Most jobs require employees and managers to perform basic tasks, such as being able to stay organized, take care of their health and communicate effectively in tandem with continuing their skillset.

At first it may seem like someone with a creative career or growing hobby is less structured, more sporadic, or that they have advantages over someone working in a more common work environment.

However, creatives have a way of becoming so dedicated to seeing a project through that surface advantages may become a block to their very livelihood: their creativity.

Time management should not be ignored, especially in creative careers. Poor planning may cause bigger problems to arise such as lost communication from valuable sources, health problems, working way too many hours and causing creativity burnout.

Here are a few tips to prevent this from happening to you.

Start the week with a plan.

It’s Monday. There are pages of files not put away because of much-deserved time off after working a six-day work week. Email is overflowing, and you’re certain you’ve deleted that important message from a lead client. You feel sick because you haven’t been eating well. Who has time to cook when you could be working?
Also, your three points daily checklist goes out the window when a co-worker needs your guidance to work out details of a project at the last minute.

As soon as you’re aware you have an hour of time to think about your schedule and upcoming events for the next week, outline touch-points as a day-by-day reminder. You may even do this as you go, and keep lists with reminders and alarms on Wunderlist or another app. An hour is a small price to pay, especially when due dates and deadlines are looming.

The point is to be aware of what is ahead. After adjusting the reminders a few times, you’ll have a fail-proof routine.

Busy doesn’t always equal productivity. I like how Kory Kogon author of The Five Choices distinguishes “busy” from “productive” in this video on inc.com.

Reserve thirty minutes to file away emails and messages every week.

If you’re unable to manage that, take fifteen-minute breaks daily, to ensure your files are in backup storage files and are sorted. Gmail requires users to make use of folders, tags, and favorites to sort. If convinced your computer is on the verge of crashing while typing an important document, set up a free account on Dropbox as a backup on the cloud. Double save files. The only drawback to this system is that you have to be consistent saving files to your main saving source plus remember to back up the file on Dropbox time. Once you’re in the habit of keeping a filing backup system, you won’t have to worry about recovering files or paying someone to do it for you. Instead, you could buy your dog a year worth of treats so this doesn’t happen or buy ridiculous items like the tiny broom slipper.

Write email responses or messages ahead of time and send them at the beginning of the following work week.

Set an alarm for every couple of hours (or your preferred time increment) to remind you to get up and walk around if you have a sedentary job at a computer or sitting constantly.

Walk for 15 at least twice a day. The health benefits of walking is far better than the risk that comes with always sitting without exercise–blood clots, heart desease, and diabetes are leading health complications related to not exercising. (American Heart Association.)

Pre-prepare super simple meals ahead of time.

Quinoa can be prepared in five minutes, is gluten free, and packs protein to keep a stomach full. There is instant oatmeal, and add raisins, Splenda sweetener, or berries (unthawed in the fridge overnight) to enhance a bland breakfast into morning fuel.
Oatmeal is one of the wonder foods in whole grains and has been proven to curb high-cholestorol.

Coffee is usually good in moderation, but some side-effects like ulcers can cause discomfort. Also, caffeine is addictive. Instead try this: eat an apple. No joke. This works every time. Sure, it will take time to get used to, but it’s better than keeling over in pain from an ulcer.

How you like them apples? (quote from the movie Good Will Hunting.)

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Make a brief outline of the week ahead, even if you get off track.

Daily checklists are bound to be rearranged and moved around unless your sole mission is to be a robot. The fact is, we’re humans (gasp) I know. Surprise, surprise.

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Image Source, Jo Gibney 

So it’s good to note to pre-write those emails even if you don’t get around to it. Set reminders to take care of the most pressing issues on the days when you know you’ll have a pocket of time to deal with them. Preferably not on lunch break. Take lunch with a friend or watch a favorite show or read a physical book. Start a creative hobby you want to excel at and take note of your progress. Maybe join a creative community in real life or a nearby city.

You’ll be surprised at how encouraging it is to do a different type of creative project and be great at it. Soon the creativity starts flowing; the creativity blocks aren’t quite as high, and the less-stressed side of you is free to deal with the issue at hand:

What the Kardashians are doing today.

Oh, no. Wait. That’s not it.

What is for dinner.

Hmm. Probably good to know, but what I mean to say is:
Don’t give up, plan for the best, and if it doesn’t turn out right, keep creating something and being proactive until it happens.

Tiny Disclaimer: I’m not a weight-loss, health, or time-management guru by any means, but the tips in this post are brought to you by things that work in my own sometimes chaotic life.

I’m happy to share with you: Serendipity Summer, my first book with Booktrope Publishing, will be re-released soon! I’m planning fun giveaways, contests, and you’ll have the opportunity to access first news and more freebies by signing up for my newsletter. My promise to you is that I will not spam my newsletter to your inbox. It shall be a wonderful a glorious way to keep in touch with those who follow my blog and publications, so they have first dibs on the most awesome events,freebies, and opportunities. For now you can follow my blog and be updated by email when a new post is up or if you haven’t checked out my author website–what are you waiting for? 😉 

Laurie's Works Of Fiction · Media and Appearances · Relationships · Things That Matter · Weight Loss · Writing · Writing Life · Writing Tips

Deep Gratitude Hits Home – My First Booksigning Event

 

This year has been a roller coaster. Not just for me–for many of my friends and family, for just about everyone I know. Then there is the gratitude that comes with knowing we are all not alone. We can laugh together. We can still hug our loved ones through the doubts. And those who have lost loved ones understand another’s loss–they send encouraging thoughts, offer their help, and when there are no words…simply pray healing for that person’s heart. This type of community derives from a sense of caring, compassion and being motivated to help one another knowing we are all, in some way, broken, but not defeated.

The morning after my first book signing, I awoke at 2 am to journal. Journalism is nothing new. The insomnia has to be fed in positive and constructive ways, and sitting down with pen and paper to write down things running through my head is a natural occurrence.

What was different that morning, however, was waking up in the middle of the night feeling an overwhelming sense of gratefulness.

I curled up in my robe with tea and wrote in my journal, teary-eyed and smiling. I knew this type of ‘knowing everything is going to be okay’ was beyond anything I could describe here on the blog. My heart beat with meaning, with a satisfying love, and with contentment… is how to describe it.

An author from whom I had bought several of her books had endured the death of her husband only the night before my book signing. I didn’t want to type my condolences in some thread on Facebook (though I am grateful for those who did), but I wanted to hug her.

I wrote about my first book signing, too, and what a wonderful experience it was. Not bragging, but seeing those in the community come out to buy my book. To talk with me about my book and to see, in action, what beautiful people surround me on this journey. I was overwhelmed with love and happiness at what I thought would be a room of empty chairs.

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~ Morning of book signing photo, as I wrote out an outline on flashcards for the event. ~

My sister helped to take a few pictures of friends, family, and new acquaintances approached the signing table. I had a great time speaking with individuals one-on-one. I’m not one for sitting around when socializing, especially as the guest-of-honor at an event.

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Look! No sweater to cover up those arms! Insecurities, be damned.

People showed up. More people than I ever thought possible. It wasn’t the mosh pit of a concert (thank goodness), but it was a gathering of smiling faces, a pleasant reunion with some I haven’t seen in quite a while. Even the local Italian bakery my family and I frequent made a delicious cake for the event as soon as they found out about it. My husband and daughter had surprised me with the cake only moments before I spoke to the small crowd.

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“CONGRATULATIONS!”

I hugged my husband and daughter when I saw the gift they had bought for me, and later laughed when my husband told me the pastry chef and bakery owner asked him what message to put on the cake…this was his reply: “You’re asking the wrong person. My wife is the writer and would know what words to put on there.”

As you can see, the message is simple, but still, looking at it now, it makes me smile.

The stack of books of my new novel, Serendipity Summer, soon dwindled down to small stack as people offered warm smiles, questions, book chat, and I got to catch up with a couple of good friends. My family gave hugs and congratulations as their kids were hanging out with my young daughter in the childrens part of the library. Though not everyone was blood related, I felt at home as I handed each person who showed their support by buying my book a copy of Serendipity Summer with a bookmark and the pen I signed it with. The potpourri mason jars, once filled with pens, emptied by the end of the event.

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The front book on top of the table, beside the business cards, is my original proof copy. I read the excerpt from it, and the big jar in the back, was for the giveaway of the self-spa gift set raffle.

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It was a wonderful time of celebration and beautiful memories. The morning after the event my husband asked when I had woken up. He always seems to know when something is off or if I’m going through an emotional time.

My daughter was shuffling around in her pj’s, petting the dog and yawning while my husband was turning omelets on the stove, with a spatula, for breakfast. I had a cup of coffee this time and looked at him with watery eyes as I wrapped my hands around the warm cup.

“What’s wrong?” He asked.

He stood holding the spatula, eyebrows crinkled, while my daughter and dog began to fill my lap, offering kidlet hugs and puppy kisses.

I chocked up but finally got out what I wanted to say.

“Nothing. Absolutely nothing.”

He turned the heat down on the stove eye and started towards us.

“Happy tears?”

I nodded as he embraced all of us in a big hug.

Fitness · Health and Wellness · Mental Health · Musings · Weight Loss · Writing Life

Practicing Self Acceptance

The past couple of months has been a huge challenge in self-acceptance for me and our family. Like so many others, we try to stay optimistic though there is uncertainty about bills and unexpected crises arising that could make or break being able to ‘get by’ comfortably.

I am tired of the doubt. I am sick of the stress. It will always be there, but one thing I know for sure-I’m the person who has to account for my thoughts and actions throughout and at the end of the day. The best thing I can do for myself and my family is to be myself and accept it no matter where the cards may land.

I’m lucky to have a husband who loves me for who I am. But it isn’t what he thinks–or what anyone else thinks, for that matter–that keeps me going.

My fuel comes from knowing what I am capable of regardless of what I think people think of me. It’s about caring less about what others think of me and caring more about myself. I’ve lost and have kept off ten pounds for a month. I’m getting to where I want to be.

I see people’s selfies all the time on social media. I love seeing others be confident and happy…and even silly. But I cannot stand to see a full body photo of myself. Yesterday I took a full body picture despite my insecurities. The photo was originally shot without my short-sleeve sweater on…but then I saw my arms and covered up more. My husband sighed. He loves it all. Even the wiggly bits.

I’m a big woman with a big heart and an even larger dream of succeeding as an author in a society where the skinny ladies get all the compliments and admiration. But you know what? I’ve decided self-image is what I make it. But I’m no longer going to hide. Good for the “skinny” girls. They are more than a number on the scale, too.

And good for me for taking this Halloween full body photo with my sweet pumpkin husband.

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Me after our Halloween night out with family. Happy to be ME:

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© Laurie Kozlowski 2014-Present All Rights Reserved.

Contemporary Romance · Erotic Fiction · Fiction · Humor · Inspiration · Musings · Writing · Writing Life · Writing Tips

Proving And Proofing Yourself As A REAL Author

Who is the better, smartest, most valuable, and successful author? One writer works years to write a 400-page book best-selling series. Another writer works for months on scraps of time to push together an (eventually) best-selling series of short stories.

So, which of these two writers have proved themselves to earn the honorable title of AUTHOR? First of all, I’d like to take a chance at offending any and all egos of writers and authors everywhere. The most obvious thing that stands as a ginormous roadblock on the way to each of our successes: Stop the comparisons. It’s killing your dreams

I’m not sure how many times I’ve rolled over in my mind for the past year negative thoughts concerning forging forward as a writer. In case anyone else has gone through this, I’m going to state my negative thoughts and reveal the actuality.

KILLER COMPARISON #1 – I don’t have the resources other successful authors have to write and publish a book and be successful myself.

ACTUALITY #1 – Shut it. Do you mean to tell me Indie authors such as Jasinda Wilder, Beverly Kendall, Bella Andre, and Bella Street got handed a silver spoon then suddenly POOF! – Miraculous transformation into the life of proven authorship! No. Hell, no. They, like every other writer, was first and foremost doubtful. The difference is–They informed themselves, persisted, took chances and finished something.

Are you a mother or father of three in debt up to your eyeballs feeling trapped by the daily grind – but hey, you can write amazing short stories in the spare time you make for yourself like Jasinda Wilder? YOU HAVE THE RESOURCES. Pen, paper, a free blog to voice your work. There are Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for promotions (not a good idea to spam links, btw. But interacting and building relationships creates opportunity for those you connect with and yourself when those “big breakthroughs” happen. They will happen, so don’t give up!)

Hmm..where was I? Oh!

There are free apps for your freaking android phone to post to your blog on the fly, FREE publishing through Createspace on Amazon. COMPARISON DEBUNKED.

KILLER COMPARISON #2 – I don’t have the time other writers have to write. The quality of my work is suffering; for this reason, my writing is an unattractive hemorrhoid on the buttocks of the most revered authors of all time.

ACTUALITY #2 – Sit your (hopefully hemorrhoid-free) ass down for ten solitary minutes a day and write something. Hell, think about what you’ll write in the next 10-minute break and jot down your ideas when you hide from your family in the locked bathroom (not that I’d ever do that 😉 )

Three ten-minute breaks a day – no distractions, focus, quiet – is 30 minutes toward your goal. You’re furthering yourself, developing your style and voice, and most importantly producing something that is meaningful to you. Think small goals: complete them, celebrate them, then continue working toward the big picture for your future. Whatever you do, keep reminders around of your progress and continue on the path of most resistance.

The more you challenge yourself to stay flexible while pursuing your dreams, the less cumbersome you’ll feel during the journey. You’ll begin to value your system of progress as goals unfold before your eyes. It will be fuel to continue.

Now all you have to do is put that paragraph, poem, short story, instructional manual on How Many Licks It Takes to Get to The Center of a Tootsie-Pop–if that’s your thing–write it and put yourself out there.

KILLER COMPARISON #3 – It’s overwhelming. I don’t have the support or connections other writers have.

ACTUALITY #3 – I’m going to be gentler here. Time to out myself, once again.

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Do you realize how many days I’ve told myself, “no one cares about the story I want to tell.” Or, “I have nothing of intelligent value to contribute because I prefer simpler-stated and more direct jargon.” OR – this one was a real winner – “writers have suffered in silence for ages. I don’t need to let anyone in because it may hurt my creative groove.” (Um. Reluctant ego butthurt, much?)

Here’s the thing I’m learning about support and connections. Both are acquired over time and require a whole heck of a lot of persistent effort. I’ve had to seek support continuously. It’s an on-going thing, where you draw from several avenues and resources to finally find somewhere where you’re at home and feel comfortable. You have to nurture these connections and support avenues so they are beneficial.

Something I’ve had to keep in mind is to stay fluid and tolerant of my real life situations. Right now I’m usually MIA during prime social media hours because I have a young child, need to take care of my health, and nurture my marriage more. It’s (mostly) accepted in my household now (after a lot of verbal scuffles) that I need my writing time. I just DO. My family is happier because I’m happier, and so forth.

First and foremost, I write. The way life is going now I feel the wisest way to connect with others is to keep those connections behind the scenes. Writing groups and a few good friends who are gracious enough to share writing tips and resources as I stay involved when I’m able to, help.

Find what works for you, but try to keep writing something.

KILLER COMPARISON #4 – I don’t have the voice or influence other writers have to make things happen for myself.

ACTUALITY #4 – I vote we all synchronize our social media channels to simultaneously crash in the event we make an event out of our insecurities.

Everyone is scared. Not many openly admit it, but they are.

Something that has helped me is to voice my insecurities. It could be through a journal entry or a fiction story or blabbing into thin air – but I work them out. I’m learning it is vital to appreciate weaknesses as well as strengths without discouraging myself into a loop of never-ending discontentment.

You never know who may need to hear what you have to say until you say it. 

If you go around all hunky-dory happy smiley face, then suddenly quit – you can be sure it wasn’t a sudden decision to give up on yourself. You’ve nurtured that negativity by ignoring your problems. I’ve done this so many times I’ve lost count. Now I’m beginning to recognize this pattern and change it.

Remember to be open to others as they share their experiences with you. Most writers want to lift one another up. Don’t worry about the haters – let them hang themselves with their own rope.

WHEW. I had a lot to say on this. Thanks for staying with me and making it through this far. Something lit my fire, and I wanted to share with you the inspiration as I’m coming along with the writing. I hope you take something valuable from this post and can use it to help inspire yourself and others. I’m reminding myself to have fun along the way and think outside the box.

Now only one question remains: Who wants to tackle the daunting task of writing the instructional manual on how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie-Pop? 😉

I’m sure whomever it is will PROVE themselves to be REAL author if they’ll only just try. 🙂