Category Archives: Guest Posts

Interview with Tina Gower


And now a bit of getting to know interviews you with Pam and Tina. I (Pam) will be starting with some hopefully thought provoking questions for my friend Tina (Smith) Gower! 

If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?

I wish I could say “honey badger” with total seriousness, but I’ll have to go with wolf. I’m a huge dog fan and nature fan. I feel like a wolf melds those together. Wolves are loyal, wise, and mysterious. They have a complex social structure and that interests me.

What is the highlight of your writing career so far, or favorite moment?

I would have to say the people. Meeting other writers and talking about ideas and stories. Writing is a weird profession, but it’s nice to know I’m not the only weirdo. I try to attend workshops and conferences that will benefit me craft-wise, but also try to go to ones I know my friends will be at.

What has been the low point of your writing career, and why did you keep going?

Several points have been low. First, I’d started with no expectations. Being dyslexic, I knew I’d be nobody’s draft pick, so I had no pressure, no past experiences that indicated I’d be any good at writing. In fact, I had the opposite. Lots of people assuring me that writing was not my thing and that’s okay. We can’t all be perfect, right? But I’d secretly loved fiction and wanted so badly to tell my own stories. I wanted to be good at it. When I started writing non-fiction, I sold the first story I sent (which was to Chicken Soup for the Soul). It gave me my first taste of success and a hint that my instincts were correct. That I did have it in me. But it took me years to sell any fiction. That was really hard. And then when I did sell, it brought on a huge amount of expectation to do it again. The pressure was really intense, but it’s also motivating. When I find myself stressed, I take a deep breath. I re-examine my goals and break them down into parts. I only focus on that. I don’t try to look behind or too far ahead.

If you could travel a hundred years into the future what do you expect to see and do?

I’m sort of funny about these kinds of things. I’d want to visit family. I’d want to see how they’re doing. It’d be fun to marvel in the advancements of technology and what has happened, but I’d want to see how my future generations are doing.

Favorite guilty pleasures, books, movies, comics?

Books all the way. I’m a sucker for romance books of pretty much any sub-genre. I’d say it’s about 90% of what I read (counting all the SF/F, mystery, suspense I read where that is a minor subplot)  I remember sitting outside of class in graduate school with the first Outlander book and one of the people in my class came up and scoffed. She said she lost respect for me because I was reading not only a fantasy, but a romance. Romance was said the same way my children express disappointment for artichokes–even with the twisted face. This got everyone chiming in on the quality of literature, giving me suggestions. You know what? I spend a long time in my life reading the things other people told me were good, only to be bored and depressed–If I’m going to read for entertainment, it’s going to be something that engrosses me completely like science fiction, fantasy, or romance.

If you were on a desert island and could only take three things, what would they be?

I’m going to assume I have food, water, and shelter. Aside from that I’d bring a thick notebook, pens, and a cellphone. Because when I finish writing my stories and run out of paper I can call for someone to pick me up so I can type them out and sent them off to markets.

Feel free to ask your own in the comments section below. For every comment you leave the chances that the Star Wars sequels will actually be good increase by 10 percent. So comment away…


Links to All Kinds of Do It Yourself Cosmetic Recipes

Here is a link to an article I wrote for Rowdy Kittens: How to make your own cosmetics – In the above article I talk about how to make your own lotion and lip balm.

And another: The Secret to Curing Sniffles and Sneezes.

And a really awesome one that I published on How to Make Your Own Petroleum-Free Vapor Rub – The vapor rub can be used as a mosquito repellant and a diaper rash balm (safe to use on cloth diapers too).

Also don’t forget the guest post I did on Product Junkies Rehab on how to make Clear Mascara and a simple scar/wrinkle treatment.

A Californian in Texas

_Below is another guest post from Meghan Ewald:_


Everyone has been mentioning “Go Texan” Day all week. I’ve seen emails, I’ve heard folks talking about it, etc. I didn’t know what it was, and assumed there was a day dedicated to the Texans (the football team). I mean, it seemed logical… Texans like football, so it wouldn’t surprise me that there was an entire day dedicated to the a football team.
Then this morning, a co-worker (Tamela) said that she saw her neighbor all decked out in western gear, and that made her remember what today was.

Me: “What’s today?”
Tamela: “It’s Western Day.”
Me: “Oh.”


Me: “What’s Western Day?”
Tamela: “You know… it’s where you get all dressed up in western clothes. We used to dress up in school, and people will probably be wearing western stuff at work today.”

(I stare blankly)

Tamela: “You mean, you didn’t have Western Day when you were a kid?”
Me: “Um… no.”

You would have thought I asked, “What’s Christmas?”

I’ve been here for almost 6 years and I still feel like I’m a visiting foreign national.

Love it or hate it, you always remember your first

Editor’s note: I haven’t written a story in a while for the blog, but I hope to have a few out soon. I did manage a small coup and got one of my best friends and an awesome writer to author a guest post (with hopefully more to come!) about her first racing experience this last weekend.

Thank you Meghan!

This is a guest post written by Meghan Ewald

The race started fine. Good spirits and good weather made for a great first 5 miles. I smiled at others, chatted, even shared a bit of toilet paper I had carried with me with a woman standing at a port-a-potty (ah, race bonding moments). Police officers trundled back and forth along side the runners, and AED operators rode their bikes back and forth. The wind would gust and die periodically, but that first 5 miles was a beaut.

Just after mile 7, I turned the corner of NASA Road 1 and Space Center Blvd. I realized there was nothing to cut the wind. I was drenched with sweat and wearing a thin long sleeved shirt as wet as I was. The wind turned the shirt to ice. At first, that wasn’t so bad. I was running at a pretty good clip and the cold shirt cooled me down. That wind though… I wasn’t expecting that.

I developed a stitch in my side and slowed to a walk. Then I started getting cold. The wind blowing through my shirt and shorts caused actual pain when the material snapped against me. I started running between miles 7 and 9 only to be derailed by the stitch in my side. As I tried to walk off the cramp, a constant litany marched time with me through my head, “you have to finish, you have to finish.” Besides… the food was only 3 miles ahead and 7 miles if I turned back.

I tried to catch a few of the walkers in front of me, but I was wiped out. I was hungry enough to be shaky, I had a stitch in my side that I couldn’t shake, and my legs felt like Jello. I turned the corner just before mile 9 and walked through the water station, grabbing a cup of water. The volunteers shouted encouragements, “you can do it”, “you’re almost there”, “just a little further.” I don’t think I even smiled. Just walked with my head down.

Another runner, clearly done with the race, was walking in the opposite direction and took one look at my face. She just held up her hand for an encouraging high-five. I slapped her hand, and she kept going. She didn’t say anything, just smiled at me. She could probably tell just by the miserable look on my face that I had almost given up. That one smile from a perfect stranger was all I needed. After the mile 9 water station, I started to run.

There were markers along the last mile for those like me needing just a touch more encouragement. My favorites were those that just said “RUN” and an arrow pointing forward. Really that’s what it comes down to, doesn’t it? An arrow pointing in a given direction and a simple directive: “RUN”.

So I did.

After 2 hours and 21 minutes discouraged, hungry and wet, I finished 825th place, dead last in my age group. But, by God, I finished.

I continued beating myself up for a few days, completely discounting the first good 7 miles I put in, and only giving myself mild reprieve for running that last mile. I could only focus on the 2 bad miles I spent on Space Center Blvd wishing like hell a police officer would take pity on me and throw me over the back of their motorcycle instead of suffering one more minute.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to race again. Run yes, I told myself. Race, no. Although, now, I recognize that saying I wasn’t going to race was the equivalent of quitting running, too. Because once you start quitting on things, it gets easier and easier to do. I was tempted these last few days to cry off the Aramco Half Marathon in January. Clearly I wasn’t meant to race, what the hell was I thinking? My Easy run on Tuesday turned into a very long, very brutal Tempo run as I continued beating myself up. Consequently, my Speed workout on Thursday turned into an Easy run. I felt better after both, but not like I’d exercised the demon of my first USA 10-miler.

Then this morning, I found myself in a conversation about running. One co-worker said, with all the authority of a non-believer, “Running has to have a purpose. If you’re not chasing a ball, there’s no purpose.” I wasn’t thinking of the race, the race didn’t even cross my mind until later. I was comparing his statement to every good run I’ve ever had. The runs that make you feel powerful, as though you could go forever in any direction under just the power of your own two feet. Thinking of that, I responded, “Running is the purpose.” He scoffed, rolled his eyes, and gave me the “oh, you’re one of those…” looks.

And just like that, my faith was restored. I was a believer again.

Can I get a hallelujah.