Couch to 5k: Day Two Plus Soul Magic Promo!

Really excited to report that I completed the second workout this morning on the Couch to 5k program! Not going to lie, it was tough today! I made it through though!

I can’t believe the outpouring of support I’ve received! You guys are amazing! I’m so thankful you’re all following me on this journey and that several of you have hopped on the C25K bandwagon with me. 🙂

So I’ve gotten some pretty fantastic advice over the past couple of days and I thought I’d pass some of it along to help out anyone else considering this program.

  1. Make sure you give your legs a rest on the off days- I don’t know about you guys, but yesterday, I wanted nothing more than to go for another walk! I was so enthusiastic and excited about getting started that I just wanted to do more! But don’t give into that temptation! Your legs need the rest, especially if you’re in bad shape like I am. Instead, I did “arms and abs” yesterday with some exercises recommended by a friend. I still felt great having done something, but my legs had a day to recover.
  2. Be prepared to be hungry! — See, I wasn’t prepared for this at all. The afternoon of my first run I was so hungry! Which is really unusual for me. Have some healthy snacks around in case this happens to you too! I’ve been recommended fruit and nuts as healthy options to get me through the afternoon slump.
  3. Check out the podcasts — It really helped me on day one to have the music queues on the pre-recorded music lists I found. I used this one from Go Nicole Yourself. I downloaded 1.2 and have used it for both my workouts so far! 
So how are you guys doing? I’d love to hear some updates!
************************
In other news, I’m excited to report that I’m over at Babes in Boyland today for an interview about Soul Magic! Please go check it out…and help me blame Piper Vaughn for my pie obsession! 
Soul Magic is now available from Dreamspinner Press and on Amazon. 

Couch to 5k: Day 1

C25K

Today I’m starting a really exciting adventure toward good health: the Couch to 5k running program. Since I need a little accountability, I’m telling you all about it!

See, this writing gig I’ve got is pretty cool. It’s my dream job! There aren’t many downsides to it, to be honest. I mean, yeah, writer’s block sucks big giant hairy donkey nuts, but it’s really not the end of the world or anything!

There is one thing that is a really bad drawback though. I like to think of it as Chair Butt. You know what I mean, I’m sure. It’s what happens when you sit on your rear end all day working and not working out!

GRL Retreat, Poppy Dennison
Poppy and Amy DiMartino-GRL Retreat 2011

For the past year, I’ve been on a quest to take better care of myself. See, back in 2011 I went to the Gay Romance Lit Retreat in New Orleans. After the event, as I was sorting through the gazillion pictures I took, I found myself really frustrated with my size. I didn’t want to be that heavy and knew I needed to make some serious changes. It started with my diet and I’m happy to report that I’m down 50 pounds. It’s taken a lot of hard work, but it’s totally worth it!

Poppy Dennison, Amy DiMartino
Poppy and Amy-February 2013

My friend Amy had a similar epiphany. That gal has rocked it out and lost a ton of weight. Those of you who know her have watched her journey along with me. She’s amazing and an inspiration to me! Just over a year into our commitment to change our lifestyles and she is hardly recognizable!

Now it’s time for the next phase of my adventure: getting in better shape. And that’s where Couch to 5k (C25K) comes into play.

A year ago, I could barely walk down to get the mail without losing my breath. It’s easier now without carrying so much extra weight, but I still have a long way to go to get to the me I want to be.

Running has always been on my “can’t do it” list. I don’t know why, really. I just got it into my head that I couldn’t. For those of you who know me and the changes in attitude I’ve made over the past few years, you’ll know that the “can’t do” has become a “you can do it” challenge.

Another change in my life is that I’ve surrounded myself with people who encourage me and support me. I’m very blessed to have amazing friends. One of the things I noticed is that those friends were often saying things like “okay, I’m off to the gym”. Those simple statements became nods of encouragement to me, whether my friends realized it or not.

I finally got my head in the right space and moved working out from my “can’t do” to my “must do” list. Today, I did the Day One workout on the C25K program. And I did it. All the way through. I walked and jogged for 30 minutes and *gasp* nothing bad happened. I didn’t get struck by lightning, I didn’t fall over in a slump.

I’ve decided to share this journey of mine with you! If you’re interested in doing the Couch to 5k program, I’d love for you to do it with me! You can find more information about it here: http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml. I highly recommend downloading the playlists so you’ll have tunes to work out to! There are several available and man, did it make today’s workout easier.

Jogging 5k here comes Poppy!

Special Announcement: Gay Romance Revue

+Rick Reed , +Paul Richmond , and Poppy 

Friday was an exciting day in Poppy-land! A month or so back, I attended the Dreamspinner Author’s Workshop in Chicago. Some of you might have seen some of the blackmail photos that were posted on Facebook from that weekend.

The Meaty Legend

I had a blast with all of the authors I spent time with over those few days, but +Jacob Flores+Rick Reed+MJ O’Shea and I really had a blast hanging out together. I’ve not laughed so hard in a long time.

You really can’t get a group of Gay Romance Authors together and have us order a pizza called “The Meaty Legend” and not expect massive amounts of laughter!

Poppy and +Jacob Flores 

The best part of the weekend was how it all ended up swirling together into a really amazing idea. We didn’t want to leave (MJ and Rick are trying to bribe Jacob and I into moving to Seattle!) so we figured out a way to keep talking…and we decided to share those conversations with our friends and fans.

We’re calling the group Gay Romance Revues and plan on talking about books (of course!), current events, and anything else that strikes our fancy! We recorded the very first episode on Friday, and it’s been uploaded to youtube for your viewing pleasure!

So take a look and let us know what you think!

Gay Romance Revue Episode 1

Suit Up Sunday: Robert Downey, Jr.

So I haven’t done a Suit Up Sunday post in a really long time, and suddenly find myself inspired to start it back up. Why? Because I saw this image of Robert Downey, Jr. and it made me whimper a little. Gah, a man in a suit just melts my butter!

I mean really…look at that smile? And in a suit?? I really just can’t stand it. I think I’ll sit here and stare for a while.

I’m still staring. Don’t mind me.

But that’s not all. How about this one?

Seriously, he’s not even smiling and I’m ready to climb him like a tree. *happy sigh*

Hmm…do I prefer RDJ scruffy or clean-shaven? Oh, who am I kidding, I just prefer him!

And then there’s this:

How is he even sexy with his scowly taking his glasses off self? It doesn’t even make sense to me, but there it is.

But perhaps my favorite Robert Downey, Jr. image is from this lovely little gif. Sassy RDJ for the win!

So which  do you prefer?

Friends With Benefits: Straight Women and Gay Men

Last week, on my drive home from seeing my brand new baby niece in Indiana, I heard a discussion on a morning radio show that had me actually yelling out loud to the poor, deluded lady who called in. See, she’d fallen into one of the pitfalls of being friends with a gay  man—she’d developed a crush on him and wanted to ask him out on a date.
As I’m speeding along on Interstate 69 (and no, I’m not making that up!), I was telling her not to do it! Trust me “Kristy” it’s a train wreck waiting to happen. Alas, the call I was listening to that morning was the follow up call. I was right. Not only did she get turned down, but her friend and co-worker filed a sexual harassment complaint against her. You can listen to her story here: 
“Kristy’s” dilemma did get me thinking, though, and for that I thank her. See, about a decade ago, I was in Kristy’s shoes.  I had a relationship with a gay man (we’ll call him “Steve” since I haven’t actually asked his permission to share our story!).
Steve and I met through work and quickly became inseparable. Everyone at work thought we were a couple—at one point Steve even had a picture of the two of us on his desk. We went on dates and bought each other presents. We’d even gone away for the weekend together, although we never had sex. After about five months together, Steve told me he was moving away. Our relationship had confused him, and although he loved me, he didn’t want to have sex with me. Funnily enough, I felt the same about him. My heart was still broken because his leaving left a hole in my life.
As I had a seven hour drive ahead of me, it gave me too much time to reminisce on the pitfalls of friendships past and present. I’d learned a lot from my experience with Steve though, most of all the importance of putting my gay friends firmly and immediately into a “friends-only” box to keep myself from having confusing feelings again. My mind was whirling though, and no one who knows me will be surprised by the fact that I wanted to talk it out. The first person on the speed dial was my amazing friend Tim.
Tim and I met about five years ago. He’s a good friend of my brother’s and when we met, we became insta-friends in a way that doesn’t happen to me very often. Tim is openly gay, so it wasn’t too hard for me to put him in that friend box. Then things got a bit complicated.  I’d gone to an event and met Tim’s family. His grandma took an instant liking to me, and she has been trying to convince Tim and I for years that we are perfect for each other! Tim and I both know better, but the lines did get a bit blurry for a while. So when I talked to Tim about poor Kristy’s unfortunate choice, he understood completely.
My question for him was primarily whether or not the reverse happened…were gay men sometimes confused by their feelings toward straight women? Tim assured me that it does happen—not often, but it does. By this point my brain was spinning with so many thinky thoughts that I probably should have stopped driving. I didn’t, of course.
What I did begin to think about was an expression I’ve heard many times in regards to straight women finding a good partner. How many times have you heard someone say “they’re either married or gay”? I’ve heard it quite a bit. And I’ve found that it’s often true. Finding a good partner is hard for most of us. If only it were as easy as we make it out to be in our romance novels, huh?
The thing is, as a straight woman, I find it difficult to be “just friends” with a straight man. In my experience, it always turns into something else for at least one of the friends. And heaven forbid you try to be friends with a married man. The lines are way too easy to cross. I’m a flirt, who also happens to be a bit on the touchy-feely side. I have to always be aware when I’m around straight men—single or married—to not smile too much, to not touch too casually, or any of those little things that I generally do to my friends without thinking. I’ve had way too many female friends get upset with me over being overly friendly with their boyfriends or husbands, even if the thought of being with them in any way other than “oh that’s so and so’s husband” had never crossed my mind. Sad, huh?
My thinky thoughts then turned to why it’s okay for me to be touchy-feely with my gay friends when I don’t do that with my straight friends. Am I being disrespectful to their relationships? Have I crossed lines there? EEK! I was only half-way through my seven hour drive and I needed to make sure I wasn’t ticking off someone’s other half!
Thank goodness for speed-dial and hands-free cell phones because I was able to pick the brain of one of my married gay friends on this very subject. After a bit of an eye-roll at the question, he assured me that it didn’t bother him at all when I touch his husband—but he had been upset before by other women who get a bit too up close and personal with his man.
Whoa. Brain spinning in loopy loops. What’s the difference between what I do and what other women do? Well, it seems like it comes back to that box I mentioned earlier. The guys I consider close friends know that I’m not thinking about what’s in their boyfriend’s pants and I’m certainly not imagining what’s going on in their bedroom. They are in the “friend box”. It’s really all about intent. I don’t want to know what goes on in my girlfriend’s bedrooms with their significant others and I don’t want to know what goes on in my gay friends bedrooms with their partners either! I don’t use their lives as fodder for my own fantasies and certainly not for the sex I write in my novels.
However, my friend assured me that not all women keep to those guidelines. Especially not women who read or write in the gay romance genre. Oh my. While this news probably shouldn’t have surprised me as much as it did, I found myself both shocked and a bit mortified that someone would be picturing my buddies in bed. (Yes, I’m blushing just thinking about it and I know the guys who I talked to about this subject know that and are already laughing at me!)
After much more thinking, I finally arrived home, and being me, immediately messaged another friend who I knew had had an uncomfortable experience with a female writer getting a bit too close for comfort. The thing is, as female writers in the gay romance field, we’re going to want to ask questions sometimes. Let’s face it, there are bits we don’t have so making sure we portray things accurately is pretty important in the scheme of things.  I know I always try to have at least one guy beta read for me, because they will find something the gals miss. 
So this friend and I spent time chatting about the difference. It became clear to me pretty quickly that while I was looking for more technical info, this other writer was actually looking to add specifics into her novels from my friend’s private life. I’m not sure if I would call what she did objectification or fetishizing, but either way, it left me feeling perturbed on my friend’s behalf.  The line had clearly been crossed and, as a result, that writer no longer has my friend to talk to. Her actions cost her a friend.
And the objectification doesn’t come only from the women. As my gal pals and I have experienced, there is a certain amount of objectification that happens with gay men and straight women, particularly where breasts are concerned. Oh yeah, I went there. But I know straight guys wouldn’t grab my chest the way gay guys seem to feel free to! And the comments. Seriously, guys. Take a minute to think before you ogle or grope, please.
As the title of this post suggests, I think there are many benefits to being friends with gay men. They just aren’t the typical “friends with benefits” that the term has come to mean in society. I love having a man’s ear to talk off when I’m having man troubles of my own. I love having men in my life who are “safe” to hug—I don’t have to worry about them thinking I want in their pants if I touch them! As a writer, it’s amazing to have someone who I can turn to for questions when I have technical questions. There are a lot of other benefits, but really, it’s just about having friends—male or female—where sex isn’t part of the equation.
What I’ve learned from talking to my friends about this is that we need to be *very* careful not to make our friends feel like research projects or science experiments. There are lines that shouldn’t be crossed.  Although our intentions may seem noble, they come across as intrusive and downright rude.
With all that thinking, I really haven’t come to any solid conclusions other than the one I’d already come up with: make sure I have my friends in the appropriate box. I have to wonder though, have any of you had similar experiences? After hearing Kristy’s dilemma, remembering my own, and talking this over with several friends, it seems like the experience is more common than I’d first imagined.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. The topic has certainly stirred up a bit of a hornet’s nest among my friends. So what do you think? Where are the lines and when do they get crossed? Have any of you lost friendships because of this?

Coming Soon: Soul Magic

It’s pretty crazy to think that almost one year ago, I was biting my nails in anticipation of my first book, Mind Magic. Now, a year later, the final book in that series is on the Coming Soon page at Dreamspinner Press.

Soul Magic continues the story of Simon and Gray while adding in a connection between Cormac, Simon’s vampire ancestor, and Liam, the High Moon Pack’s Beta. Here’s the official blurb: 

Blood runs soul-deep. Cormac hasn’t been the same since the night the High Moon Pack was attacked. With his magic weakened, he’s consumed by a bloodlust he hasn’t felt since he first became a vampire. His need to replenish his power makes him a danger to his last remaining family member, and his hunger makes him careless. And that’s just the beginning of his troubles. Feeding from pack beta Liam Benson was supposed to slake his appetite, not leave him craving more.

Simon Osborne and Gray Townsend are trying to fight a being history says shouldn’t exist—one with all three types of magic. The pack must use all of their resources to combat the mysterious triad, even turning to the shady Council of Mages for help. While Cormac struggles to reconcile his past failures with his current desires, Simon must attempt the impossible: an alliance between mind, body, and soul.


You can find more information on Soul Magic here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3799
At the same time, another book popped up on the Coming Soon page with my name on it. Almost a year to the date after Mind Magic’s release, it has been translated into Italian. It really boggles the mind how much support and love has been shown to this series! 
I look back on the past year and count my blessings. They are many and varied. I’ve found the path I was meant to be on, after years of struggling to find my place. Finally, my soul is happy…I am happy. I love what I do.

So many incredible people have joined my life on this journey. I’m thankful for each and every one of them. My life is enriched by their presence and they provide the fuel for my muse that helps me keep finding worlds and characters whose stories demand to be told. 

I can’t wait for everyone to read Soul Magic and complete the circle with me. My journey is far from finished and with three more books scheduled for release in 2013, I can promise that I have plenty more for you all. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.










Passing On and Passing It On

Yesterday, I had a moment of clarity that made me smile and released a huge weight from my chest. I wanted to share that moment with you, as well as a bit of sad news.

My grandma taught me many valuable lessons. One of them was the importance of passing it on. We call it Paying it Forward these days, but it’s the same thing. When you have blessings in your life, you share those blessings with others. You don’t do it because you want something in return, but just because you appreciate all the gifts that have been given to you.

See, when my grandma was younger, they went through a pretty rough patch. Grandpa was sick and couldn’t work, and in those days if you didn’t work, you didn’t get paid. Grandma worked nights at the canning plant, but had 6 kids at home to take care of as well as a now-sick husband. Things were rough, but the VFW saw their need and helped them get groceries, put gas in the car, and even helped fix the car when it broke down.

When grandpa got back on his feet, they passed it on. They joined the VFW and made it their mission to help other families like they’d been helped. They ingrained that lesson in their kids, and it was a lesson taught to the grandkids and great-grands as well.

It’s funny. I sometimes take it for granted the way I was raised. Giving is just what we do. Yesterday, one of those moments happened for me. I had a chance to connect a couple folks who needed each other. It put a huge smile on my face, and I realized that those moments, when you give and expect nothing in return, even for the smallest little thing, those moments are the ones that fill your spirit up, that make your soul healthier, wealthier and wiser. Getting a book contract or a great review has nothing on those moments.

Grandma passed away a few weeks ago. I count it as one of the biggest blessings in my life that I was able to be with her for those last few weeks. To hold her hand and have her remind me of the lessons she’d been teaching me for years. It’s been hard for me. Grief is a difficult thing, but yesterday…in that moment when I realized that I’d done exactly what my grandma had taught me to do, when I felt my soul fill up with joy over a simple little thing, I realized I don’t have to be sad anymore.

I’ll miss her every single day. I wish I had her here to help me cheat on my crossword puzzles…how that woman knew the strangest and most random words is a secret she’d never tell me! But having her was a blessing and the lessons she’s taught me will be with me forever. A part of her lives on. She paid it forward and with 6 kids, 12 grandkids and over 20 greatgrands…she’ll be paying it forward for years to come.

Poppy’s Birthday Bash: Edmond’s Baking Tips

It’s almost the last day of Poppy’s Birthday Bash! Today’s guest poster is the wickedly charming Edmond Manning. Edmond and I bonded over vodka at the GRL retreat in Albuquerque. He’s lucky we had that moment, because the clown suit almost put me off of him for life. Seriously…clowns…*shivers* But I loved him anyway and his constant ability to make me smile. He’s arrived today with some tips of what not to do to my birthday cake. I wonder what he’s come up with…

12 Things To Avoid Putting On Top Of Birthday Cakes
I’m sure many of us are considering making Poppy a birthday cake. Well, purchasing a cake. Okay, maybe not purchasing a cake, but we hope she has birthday cake. Or maybe that, you know, we had cake. Yes, fine, I’m projecting. I would like a piece of cake. I am actually hoping that Poppy mails me a piece of cake.
Let’s pretend that it’s the party moment where we’re all getting ready to sing. Poppy is a little drunk on the good cheer and congeniality of her birthday-celebrating friends (also possibly buzzed from two glasses of champagne slipped to her by her best friend) and we’ve reached the moment where someone dims the lights and we all take a deep breath in anticipation of singing loudly and poorly.
As the cake bearer walks toward Poppy, all smiles, what are the twelve things that would ruin a white-frosted cake with pink tubing and sugary red roses?
12. Broken glass
I think we all saw this one coming. Don’t put shit on a cake that has no business being on a cake. No hilariously broken Budwiser bottles, oily rags, used Kleenex, and broken pencils. I think most of us can avoid this trap, but it had to be said. No household items. Nothing from the garage. When you finish squeezing the last bit out of that toothpaste tube, throw it away. It does not belong on cake.
Poppy: Edmond, is there some cake trauma you need to share with us? I’m thinking there must be…
11. Pineapples
C’mon. Is there anything more disappointing on a cake than fresh fruit? Birthday cake = unhealthy sugar. It means indulgence. We lie to ourselves and say, “I would skip having cake, but it’s Poppy’s special day and I wouldn’t want to offend her by my not eating a piece.” Then, oops — we accidentally get a corner piece with thick frosting. Fruit on top of cake is an uncomfortable reminder that we should eat better. Nobody needs that reminder. You’re ruining our cake moment.
Poppy: Hey now! Them’s fighting words! Don’t put pineapple on my birthday cake??? Have you lost  your noodle? Have you never experienced the deliciousness that is pineapple upside down cake? There’s fruit, sure, but it’s carmalized fruit. Do you remember the caramel vodka? How yummy and delicious it was? Yeah, imagine that on a cake! Nom nom nom. Seriously, I have to stop thinking about this. I have to wait until my party this weekend to get my pineapple upside down cake…
10. Writing
 Does it really need to say ‘Happy Birthday Poppy?’ We all know it’s her birthday. We’re standing in her living room, aren’t we? We wrapped a present —it’s on the credenza. Writing gets in the way of the aesthetic appeal. The only exception to this rule is if the frosting is really, really good (i.e. lard-based sugar or chocolate. Or both).
In that case, written cake words become a vehicle for getting more sugar into your system and under these circumstances, words are permissible. In fact, with the right frosting, you might squeeze out Chapter one from A Tale of Two Cities.
Poppy: Agreed. Lots of frosting equals happy times. So write away. Or get rid of the writing and cover that cake with lots and lots of flowers. You know, the sugary ones that make you sugar hyper from just looking at them. 
9. Tiny clown heads
Are you trying to give the poor woman nightmares? They aren’t cute, they’re horrors. Did you know clowns are specifically mentioned in The Book of Revelations? Check out verse 16:3:  “Lo, and beware that you welcome unto your spirit, those who carnivalize with red noses, for they shall rend your flesh with pointed teeth and devour the meek of heart.” It’s true.
Poppy: Yes! Clowns are EVOL. I’ve been trying to tell everyone this for years. Thank goodness I finally have a verse to quote for proof!
8. A picture of the birthday honoree’s face
What better way to send a mixed message to the birthday guest than to sing a song wishing cheer and future happiness, and immediately cut up their face and canabalize it with friends? Poor Poppy. She’s trying to reflect on her life and what lies ahead. Meanwhile, you’re sticking a fork through her eyelid and pulling the sugary tendrils of her retina toward your mouth. “Oh, you’re thinking of taking a vacation, Poppy? Munch, munch, munch. That sounds great. Go to Mexico. Munch, munch, munch.  Boy, your hair tastes delicious.”
Poppy: Note to self-Never ever do one of those picture cakes again. I will never get the retina image out of my head. Thanks for that, Edmond.
7. Paper
I’m afraid this comes from personal experience. My mom likes to do ‘theme cakes.’ It’s not enough to make the cake and decorate it. Well, it’s enough for me. But mom likes there to be a thematic connection between the time of year or current events and that kid’s birthday. Two years ago, my brother and I celebrated our August birthdays together as we always do, as they are only a week apart. Mom frosted us a lovely cake, decorated with twin candy suns, spiraling out their firey heat with sliced yellow and orange gum drops. Quite charming.
She also made a small placard, attached to the cake with two straws taped to the back to lend support. The placard looked like a billboard on the cake, like someone had rented advertising space. The words she wrote on this sign said, “To the sizzling suns of summer.” Get it? Suns? Sons? She made smaller signs that had both our names on them, also paper squares.
Mom is awesome and her cakes are delicious.
However, disaster struck when metaphor and reality merged. None of us anticipated how my brother’s and my wish-blowing breath would send deadly solar wind currents directly to the cake’s paper-based explanation. While assorted family members clapped at our efforts, the cake top caught fire, and soon everything was ablaze. The straws melted, the paper turned to ash, and really, who doesn’t want to eat birthday cake covered in paper ash?
We scraped off the fire residue and glumly ate the charred remains. Happy birthday.
Poppy: Yikes! Good to know, though. Your mom is awfully clever…and hopefully good with a fire extinguisher! 
6. Hard candy / Tic Tacs
No.
Poppy: Double no.
5. Swedish fish candy
No.
Poppy: No squared.
4. Red licorice
C’mon. No.
Poppy: But I did see this really cute cake on Pinterest with licorice…oh, okay. No. 
3.  Advice
Cake is no time to get preachy. I’ve seen cakes that said, “Live well!” and “Celebrate!” Okay, well, celebrate isn’t so terrible, I guess. But for each of us, our birthday is a sacred, special thing. For some, surrounded by friends and loved ones means everything. For others, a day of quiet reflection on past and future is the thing.
Whatever your relationship with your mother, you and she did this crazy thing together, years ago. You popped out of her va-jayjay. On a less crude level, the day was emotionally draining for you (who cried your tiny little eyes out) and her. Whether she coddled you, promising to always keep you safe and happy, or she kissed you and gave you up for adoption, it was undeniably a huge day for you both.
What’s the right way for you to celebrate? Who knows?
What you don’t need is a bossy cake telling you how to live.
Poppy: Have you met my mother? 
2. Real flowers
Sure they look pretty. Orange and yellow with faint pink highlights. Or maybe soft lavender petals with periwinkle streaks leading right into the stem. Lovely. But incredibly disappointing if you think you get to eat it. I have witnessed luscious wedding and birthday cakes decorated with gorgeous flowers and thought, ‘I can’t wait to chomp the shit out of those pansies” only to discover they really arepansies. Not frosted pansies. Not candy pansies. No, just pansies.
Not cool, cake decorator. Sure they look lovely and prove you’re one-with-nature, I guess. But think of your recipients. We sing the song, we clap when Poppy blows out the candles, and then we start removing off the non-edibles. Off go the flowers? Damn. What’s left is a barren oil drum of a cake, a white-frosted shell reminding us that all the beauty is gone.
Cake decorator, I can hear you saying, “Go ahead and eat one of the flowers. They’re edible. Try one!”
Go to hell.
Poppy: And let’s face it, real flowers alongside the sugary goodness that is frosting? No. Just no. A million times NOOOO!
1. Candles.
Whose brilliant idea was this? Let’s bake a delicious cake, frost it beautifully, decorate it to reflect our love and good cheer…and then stab it repeatedly with candles and set it aflame. But wait, that’s not all. Let’s also sing a long song with multiple verses so that the candles have plenty of time to melt into the frosting that two minutes ago looked very appealing.
But wait, there’s more. Two candles? Four? Nope. Let’s stab said cake with thirty candles. Forty candles. (And in Poppy’s case, twenty-two candles, right? That is what you told me…) How hilarious to use the exact number of birthday candles so as to coat the entire frosted cake in a shield of disgusting, melted wax that you discover when your teeth tell your brain ‘I taste something that doesn’t belong.’
Whoever invented sticking candles on the cake must be laughing their ass off at all of us for embracing that tradition.
You know what we should put on top of our birthday cakes?
More cake.
Happy birthday, Poppy.
Poppy: Thanks Edmond! And yes, a double or triple layer cake sounds so amazing right about now! But don’t put candles on it. I don’t need the reminder of how old I am. The cake might as well say “Flame On”.

Poppy’s Birthday Bash: Geoff Wants to PILF

The adorable Geoff Knight always makes me smile. He’s given me some pretty fantastic advice over the past year, and I’m really glad I get to call him friend…even thought he never calls me Poppy. 🙂 He came up with a list for my birthday bash inspired by one of his many  nicknames for me.



12 POPSTARS I’D PILF!
For those who don’t know, when I send emails to birthday gal Poppy I always give her a cute little nickname—Popcorn, Poptart, Snap Crackle & Pop, and my favorite, Popstar. So I thought it would be more than fitting for my list to consist of the 12 hunkiest Popstars I’d like to f**k (PILFs, for short, kinda like a MILF but a lot more fun considering I don’t actually know any Moms I’d like to you-know-what…mainly because I’m gay, surprise, surprise.) Please note though that I’ll be taking a little poetic license and including rockstars and singers from other music genres in this list too, but categorizing them all under the label of Popstar just for my birthday girl Poppy (I’m hoping Henry Rollins won’t sue!). And so, in no particular order:

Adam Lambert

Adam makes the grade for taking the world by storm, wearing the make-up, blasting some amazing songs and performances, and never pretending to be anything he’s not.

Poppy-It’s the smirk, Geoff, isn’t it? I can never resist a man with a sexy smirk. 

Jon Bon Jovi

The man just DOES NOT AGE! I think he looks hotter now than ever before.

Poppy-Geoff, sweetheart…I love you. Really, I do. More than my luggage. But if you think you’re getting ahold of Bon Jovi before me…well, I will so knock you out. *whistles innocently*

Matt Alber

Matt’s music is sooooo beautiful and his songs are so unashamedly romantic and gay, but if you haven’t seen his music clip for The End Of The World, do yourself a favor and YouTube it now!

Poppy-Well, hello there handsome. Why have I never heard of this guy before? I shall go to YouTube and check him out. 

Justin Timberlake

He can act, write, sing, dance and crack a joke… he’s pretty much the complete package, really!

Poppy-*giggles* You said package. 

Ricky Martin

After seeing him live in Evita this year, I fell in love with Ricky all over again! It was like watching the clip for She Bangs for the first time!

Poppy-*nods* Yes…very much yes. 

Josey Greenwell
Droooooooooooooollllll


Poppy-Great googily moogily. I don’t know this fella either, but I’d arm wrestle you for him, Geoff. And I’d totally cheat. Droooooooooooolllllls with you.

Chris Martin

There’s just something about Chris that I find seriously sexy. I think it’s his energy, he seems to have a limitless amount of it. Always a good thing in bed!

Poppy-There is something really sexy about him, isn’t there? Hard to put a name to it, but good in bed works for me! 🙂

Lenny Kravitz

Sorry to turn you into an object of lust, Lenny, but it’s all about the body!

Poppy-And the dreds…and the cool style…and…and…yeah, he’s just hot. 

Robbie Williams

Robbie, that bad boy routine wins hands down, every time!

Poppy-Oh, Geoff likes bad boys does he? Good to know. Good to know…

Cosmo Jarvis

For an independent straight male singer to write a song in the first person called Gay Pirates about a sailor’s undying love for his boyfriend Sebastion, my hat goes off to you Cosmo! Plus you have the coolest name ever!
Poppy-Gay pirates? Seriously? HA! I love it. Another one I’ll have to check out. And his name is awesome!!

Keith Urban

It’s all about that naked photoshoot he did with just him and his guitar! If you haven’t seen it, google it now!

Poppy-Uh huh. Sure, Geoff. I think it’s just ’cause he’s Australian! 

Sufjan Stevens

Seriously, those eyes! That hair! The cute way he never smiles but his lips curl up just a little around the edges! YUM!

Poppy-Okay, so he’s totally adorable. 

Henry Rollins

HOT!!!!!!!! Although I’d be scared he might break me!

Poppy-Oh, he’d totally break you, but it would be very hot. Hey, how about I make a deal with you Geoff? I’ll take Bon Jovi and you can have this guy. That’s fair. *nods* 

Poppy’s Birthday Bash: Top2Bottom’s Best of 12

For today’s post, I had a hankering for the 12 Best Books of 2012. Who else to go to but my friends over at Top2Bottom Reviews! Special thanks to Michele and the rest of the team for putting together their favorite books from this year.

So here they are, in no particular order:

KingPerry by Edmond Manning

Fighting Addiction by B.A. Tortuga

Conner’s Courage by SJD ‘Jo’ Peterson
Ethan, who loved Carter by Ryan Loveless
The Statue by Zathyn Priest
Hard Tail by JL Merrow
Ruby: Lost and Found by M.D. Grimm
Loving the Boss by Shawn Lane
Caregiver by Rick R Reed
3 by Jacob Flores
Jonah Sweet of Delancey Street by Ryan Field 

A fantastic list, for sure! So what book would have made your top 12?