I’d love to see you at the Girls Shopping Network Vendor and Lifestyle Show in Mooresville, North Carolina!
Come out and pick up a signed paperback of Manual Exposure and my handmade items: embroidered hoops, original coffee mug designs, Cozy to Go! cup wraps, earrings, necklaces, greeting cards, key fobs, and more! Mother’s Day (May 14, 2017) is just around the corner, and Bushnell Unscripted Handmade items make wonderful gifts.
See you there! Look for my banner!
March 18, 2017
10:00 am – 3:00 pm
In the Old Burlington Mill
Merino’s Furniture & Design
This event will have a separate entrance – look for signs!
A photo posted by Jeannie M Bushnell (@jmbushnell) on
What Makes it Unique
Studio Movie Grill has the first-run movies you want and alternative/retro movies you can’t wait to see on the big screen. The in-theater dining includes the old popcorn favorite, but they have a full menu to order from, including a black bean burger for your veggie friends! There is a full-service bar, too.
As the video below shows, you push the little button on your seat table and an SMG team member appears at your seat and takes your order. You now sit back and relax in the reclining seats and enjoy the movie. Your food arrives hot (unless you order something chilled) and freshly made. The servers are not a distraction during the movie, and surprisingly enough, the smell of the various foods being eaten are not bothersome. Unless your bladder alerts you, you won’t have to leave your seat for a refill or to purchase the food. All transactions are brought to your seat.
Please note, food is not included in the Groupon ticket price, and you cannot use the Groupon discount toward food.
There are restrictions on the Groupon ticket purchase. For example, the tickets are not valid for movies at 5pm or later on Friday – Sunday. They cannot be used for Special Event movies, Crowd Sourcing, or Film Series Movies. There are extra fees for 3D movies. See the link above for additional restrictions.
Buy Tickets in Advance or in Person
If you are attending a movie where you may be running late, or you anticipate the theater will be full, then you may want to redeem the Groupon tickets online and reserve the exact seat that you want (a $1.50 convenience fee/seat applies).
Otherwise, have your Groupon ticket ready to redeem at the counter, and you can pick your seat from the ones still available. You will know going into the theater what seat number you will be sitting in. Pretty cool, eh?
Parking in Uptown isn’t scary at all once you realize that SMG validates parking (up to 4 hrs) in the self-parking area of the EpiCentre parking deck for guests of Studio Movie Grill. Valet parking will not be validated.
Be sure to check out the other restaurants and stores at the Epicentre. Fun events happen every day of the week, and if you are still hungry after the movie, you can swing into Five Guys and feed your french fry addiction. I know I’m not the only one who loves a potato.
Happy New Year! 2017! Wow. I don’t know about you, but I’m happy to see those last two digits change, and with the progression, I look forward to a blank slate–a year filled with possibility and opportunity. I’m also reminded of years past, and I grow nostalgic of certain milestones in my life.
This New Year’s Eve, I celebrated 17 years as a non-meat eater. The stark revelation of how many years it has been since that cold Illinois night when I looked down at my skillet and decided that I could no longer be a hypocrite nearly overwhelms me. That night, I put a change into motion that forever altered the course of my life. No, it wasn’t the only life-altering moment I’ve ever experienced, but it was a major one.
My family believed that if you didn’t ingest meat, you weren’t healthy. There were meals where meat was absent, but my parents tried to make sure that a meat was served at least once a day. Meat equaled nutrition to my parents. They did not see it as a bad thing, and they certainly did not have a clue as to what was happening to animals on the slaughter room floor. I never discussed the plight of farm animals with my parents. My father had hunted animals and my mother cleaned and cooked the animals he killed, but as a child, that was as close to a discussion or experience I had with them regarding humane methods of killing animals.
I never cared for meat. Yes, I ate it. I was taught to eat what was placed before me. However, when given the choice, I gravitated toward vegetables and fruits.
Educating Myself and Others…
From the age of 18, I was involved in animal welfare causes and rescue organizations. With each passing year, I became more involved, and I would later begin working with a local humane society and eventually become the vice president of the Board of Directors.
As an animal advocate, I rescued animals from horrific conditions and treatment. I saw behind the curtain of slaughterhouses when I learned how animals raised for human consumption are treated and killed. Once you know these facts, you can never “unknow” them. You can never mute the cries of pain.
I spent a majority of my time educating the public about humane animal treatment. I opposed dog fighting and worked to enact legislation that would increase the penalties for participating in the activity. I worked diligently to help provide a voice for the animals who had none.
Suddenly, on New Year’s Eve in 1999, as I stood above my skillet filled with popping fried chicken, THE truth hit me, and I could not unring that bell. How could I, in an attempt to raise funds and awareness for abused animals, participate in a fundraiser where I served a meal that included animals who were treated similarly or far worse? I was a hypocrite, and I did not want to be one. The only difference was a label–one is pet and the other is a commodity. Pain and suffering spans all species and labels. I turned off the skillet, and over the next few days, my three dogs would consume the chicken that pushed me into a new year and awareness about my life’s journey.
I lived in a rural part of Illinois. The small store twelve miles from my house sold pantry staples, but if you wanted something else, you had to travel to one town 45 minutes away, or drive over an hour in the other direction. It was 1999, and meat substitutions weren’t on every store shelf and readily available. I didn’t have a friend who was vegetarian or vegan, so I didn’t have a model from which to learn or emulate. As a lover of food, especially southern foods, I really didn’t know what to do, but I knew that my days of eating meat were over. I became a vegetarian.
I embraced the challenge, and on New Year’s Eve in 2009, I became a vegan.
Seventeen years later…
“I couldn’t live without meat” is a comment I’ve heard many times. Well, look at me, eating a plant-based diet for 17 years and living just fine! Deciding to leave animal products and by-products out of my diet is the best decision I have ever made. Unlike other decisions, I’ve never regretted it.
Happy New Year! May 2017 be a year of growth and success for you.
Starting in September, Carowinds becomes SCarowinds. It is a haunting event for the young and old!
For $8.00, you can purchase a plastic necklace that features a glowing pumpkin to alert the costumed employees that you do not want to be scared. I know, there are some of you who think this is ridiculous. After all, you’ve come to SCarowinds to be scared, right? Well, while I didn’t purchase one of the necklaces (because I think they cost too much and I didn’t see them offered until I was leaving the park), having had the experience of the employees getting a little too close for comfort and screaming in my face, I can see the value of purchasing such a necklace.
No, I don’t like to be scared. I like to stand back and admire the scary displays and costumes, but I do not like to be screamed at or grabbed, and I’m not a fan of someone coming up behind me in a darkened walkway to scare the crap out of me. Nope, not a fan.
Mazes and Scare Zones
I went through the Seventh Ward maze (aka haunted house), and had the actors refrained from shouting in my face or reaching into my personal space, I would have enjoyed it. The strobe lights and mirrored walls didn’t help. The maze is indoors and very detailed and interesting, but I couldn’t enjoy it due to the constant onslaught of people screaming in my face.
I didn’t want to go in any other mazes after touring the scary “mental institution” that I’d raced to get through. My friends (two adult males in their 40s) went through the Cornstalkers maze (which they found scarier than the Seventh Ward), and the Zombie High maze (which they also found spine-tingling).
There are also established scare zones. The Bloodyard resembles a junkyard where you are surrounded by thirsty vampires waiting to turn you into one of their own. The London Terror scare zone doesn’t look too bad, but the small area in which there is to walk, and the mass of costumed characters waiting to scream at you make it less than a welcoming stroll down the streets of London.
If you love haunted houses, I think you will love SCarowinds. If you don’t, I think you should invest in a glowing pumpkin necklace or just skip SCarowinds and stay home where you can watch a scary movie with the mute button depressed to prevent hearing the horrible scary music and sounds from reaching your sensitive ears and heart. Is that just me?
Delights for the Ears and Eyes
The employee costumes and makeup is definitely my favorite thing about the SCarowinds experience. With over six hundred monsters to create for the event, the work of the makeup artists really shines. Read more on the SCarowinds blog to discover what goes on behind the mask. The article states that each artist is given 8 – 12 minutes to complete the makeup, and as someone who has toiled for hours to get Halloween makeup 1/2 as good as what the employees of the park are sporting, I am amazed at how quickly it all comes together every night of the event.
Rated PG-13, Leave Your Costume at Home, & You May Not Re-enter
The park states that the event is rated PG-13 and may be too intense for young children. I saw plenty of small children in the park enjoying themselves, but I know that won’t be the case for all young children. The younger children (or scared adults) can always come to Carowinds during the day before SCarowinds opens in the evening, and there is even a Great Pumpkin Fest to enjoy.
There is one extremely odd caveat to the SCarowinds event: guests cannot re-enter the park if they leave for any reason. It is normal for Carowinds guests to receive a stamp on the arm upon exiting so they can re-enter the park during the same-day visit with ease and no extra charge. This is not happening for SCarowinds. Everyone is held captive to this rule, so don’t think you are exempt Gold Card Members. I’m not sure why they’ve put this new rule in place, but that means guests can’t take a break to exit the park during their SCarowinds visit. What makes the SCarowinds event so special that guests cannot leave the park and return? I have no idea. If you find out, let me know. I asked several employees during my visit but none seemed to understand the arbitrary rule, either.
Darkness & Security
The park is too dark during SCarowinds. The regular low lighting that is used at night is made worse by colored bulbs and fog machines that occasionally make it hazardous to walk. There was security presence at the park, but the two people I saw aren’t enough for such a large crowd. The lack of security is one of the features that most people find disconcerting during regular Carowinds hours. Considering that the majority of the employees are teenagers, the park doesn’t exactly feel like the safest place at all times. While I know that many people feel safe allowing their teenagers to go to the park alone, I would not allow a minor to go to the park alone with the current security presence.
Scary Deals & Dates
The best deal (outside of the regular Carowinds Gold Pass) is the Haunt Pass which allows for unlimited admission to SCarowinds. You can attend every night of the SCarowinds events for a low price of $59.99. If you have a regular Gold Pass to Carowinds, you can also attend every night of SCarowinds, too. If you don’t have a pass, prepare to pay $15.00 to park.
Do yourself a favor and check the site before you head out to the park. If you are looking for some Halloween night fun, the park is open from 7:00 pm until 1:00 am. Have fun, but you won’t see me there. I’ve had my fill with the one night I attended. But then again, I’m a scaredy pumpkin.
I’d love to hear about your visit to SCarowinds!
Hours for SCarowinds:
Fridays & Saturdays
7:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays
7:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Late Night Closings
October 24 & October 31
7:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.
Banned Books Week – September 27, 2015 – October 3, 2015
I love reading banned books. It encourages the tiny rebel that lives in a dark corner of my psyche. Who are YOU to tell ME what to read?
I don’t know about you, but when I look at the titles on the banned book list, I see books that have made a profound impact on my life. The books are deep, thought-provoking literary guideposts that reflect our culture and experience on this planet. What one person labels “dirty” or “inappropriate” shouldn’t be the deciding factor on whether or not another person has the opportunity to read a book. Parents who protest a book’s inclusion into the school library because it speaks about slavery or homosexuality should be allowed to have their child excluded from reading the book, but they shouldn’t be allowed to speak for every parent and child.
There are those who defend the censorship, but when you show them the banned books list, they are dumbfounded when they realize one of their favorite books is included on the list. Well, some people will have this reaction and others will continue to blindly defend the censorship.
While things appear to be quiet around the site, my life has been anything but silent and boring.
I really don’t know where 2015 has gone. The stores are filled with all things fall, Halloween, and Christmas. I understand why this is necessary from the retail perspective, but it is also a good illustration of how crowded the end of the year becomes for most of us. I love this time of year, and as a result, I am more creative during this period. This increase in creativity and productivity can sometimes push me to the limits of my energy supply, but as the saying goes, “I can sleep when I’m dead.”
Here are a few updates about my site and my work.
The “Shop” tab isn’t new, but the items in it are new and shiny. Now you can purchase paperbacks of my book (signed, of course), and you can pick up some other awesome items like embroidered wall art, cup cozies, altered notebooks, embroidered key fobs, and more. I have many products in development and hope that you will turn remember to shop with me when you are looking for a little treat for yourself or that perfect gift for someone else. As an illustrator and artist, I’m excited to offer you additional products that reflect other sides of me.
I’ve also added a tab for “Stuff Jeannie Loves at Amazon” below the “About Me” tab. There are links to products I’ve reviewed and products that one could find within the pages of Manual Exposure. I’ve also added categories for the reader or writer in your life. Stay tuned, as this store will continue to grow and expand.
There is a third “shop” option that exists through my Zazzle store. You can purchase items that I’ve personally designed with my illustrations, photographs, and sayings. There are items related directly to Manual Exposure and there are general items that target readers and writers in general.
Events in my personal life, including issues with health and family, have pushed my writing to the back burner. I haven’t stopped promoting and expanding the reach of Manual Exposure, but I haven’t been able to suspend all other activities in my life and focus on completing my second book. I’ve been working on it, and I can’t wait to give you more details, but I haven’t been able to devote the time to it that it deserves. I hope the remaining months of 2015 will be dedicated to bringing more life to the pages of my second book.
I’m focusing on getting Manual Exposure on the shelves of more independent bookstores and creating opportunities to meet you at book signings and readings. My “Events” page is the place to watch for all the latest dates and occasions that may be near you.
There will be new essays coming to the blog, as well as a new segment that follows my travels. I like to take weekend or day trips to little spots near me, and I hope to bring these adventures to your inbox.
I can simply state that more podcasts are on the way. I love offering you the podcasts, but they do take a good chunk of time to edit. There are more book reviews and author interviews planned, so keep your ears open for a podcast update!
If you haven’t already, you’ll want to sign up to receive my newsletter. There are giveaways, updates, teasers, and special deals that are either offered exclusively or early to my newsletter subscribers. Don’t worry, I won’t drown your inbox with junk, and you can unsubscribe at any time if you find it is not to your liking.
Thank you to all who continue to support me by spreading the word about Manual Exposure and those who loyally return to the digital pages of this blog. I appreciate each of you, and I hope that you will continue to send me your notes and comments. I love reading them and responding to you. Thank you for taking the time to reach out to me.
I’ve sold eBook and paperback copies of Manual Exposure, but until the Bookmarks Festival of Authors and Books, my book has never been available for purchase at a local venue where any member of the public could pick up the book, flip through the pages, and feel the weight of my words in their hands. As a child and teenager, I attended book festivals and dreamed of the day I would see my book offered to interested readers. Thanks to the local Charlotte chapter of the Women’s National Book Association, I was able to reach that important milestone.
Fellow members of the local WNBA traveled to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to promote both the organization and member authors at the festival. The volunteers set up a lovely booth that featured published works from the members of the organization. Can you spot Manual Exposure on the table?
Between you and me, I would have happily stayed and watched the people come and go from the booth all day. I enjoy watching them scan the books and pick up the titles that intrigue them. I closely watch their reactions as they read the cover of the book and make a momentary judgement as to whether or not that specific title is destined to go home with them. I am frequently that reader, but I’ve never seen anyone do that with my book, and frankly, I can’t imagine ever growing tired of watching that dance.
I’m a new WNBA member, and I’m so glad to see the local chapter working to expand the name recognition for both the organization and the members. It takes time, money, and a great deal of energy to make it to an event like Bookmarks, and I appreciate the efforts and challenges the volunteers faced during the day. The calendar may have rolled forward to September, but this festival day was hot and humid. The volunteers always had a sweet smile and greeting ready for all who stepped up to the booth, and I can’t thank them enough for the work they did.
I really didn’t anticipate that I would sell any books at the festival. Aside from the big names that drew the crowd to the event, there were hundreds of titles waiting to be gobbled up by excited readers. Just having my book available for purchase was a big deal to me. I am the type of person who celebrates the little moments that others tend to overlook or downplay. When Manual Exposure went live as an eBook, my eyes were filled with tears. I felt the same giddiness when I saw my book on that table at the festival as I did when I hit publish on Amazon. Every step of this journey is a dream come true, and I don’t intend on ever forgetting it or ignoring how it makes me feel.
“Shut up!” were the first words out of my mouth when I checked back at the booth during a mid-day break. The volunteers told me that I had sold a book, and I couldn’t have been more excited and shocked if they had told me I had won a lottery jackpot. This was my jackpot. They explained that the woman had liked my cover and thought the summary sounded interesting. She loved that I’d signed the book, too.
Just as they were telling me the news, the woman who purchased the book returned to the booth and I was introduced as the author of her new book purchase. Seriously, that alone was enough to make me want to squeal.
She said that the cover of my book was beautiful and the photograph just drew her in. As a photographer, the title and photograph on the cover were big pulls for her. I desperately tried to not burst into tears. I took the cover photograph in Asheville, North Carolina, during the peak of the fall season of 2011. My husband and I had driven our beloved dog, Grandbury, on the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. Grandbury had such a wonderful day in the sun as he watched the landscape swirl around him. I’m so thankful that I captured that beautiful day and moment. Later that day, Grandbury would have the first of many seizures that indicated the likelihood of a brain tumor.
If it isn’t clear, my love for Asheville runs deep and in every pore of my being. To see someone connect with a photo that I took, a photo that is washed in memories and love, a photo that represents Asheville to me, means the world to me.
Her excitement about reading a book by some unknown author tickles me to no end. I’ve been that reader. I’ve been drawn to a book and purchased it for no other reason than liking the cover or book synopsis. Except now, the book that drew someone in and prompted them to take a gamble with their time and money–is mine. My book, my words, and ultimately me.
I’ll admit that I am not a cool author. I walked to the next discussion panel with tears in my eyes and the goofiest grin on my face. That reader will never know what her purchase meant to me, and I hope that she isn’t disappointed and loves my story and characters. Because of her, I ached to go home and get back to work on my second novel. Seeing a person connect with my book on a personal level is the most addictive part of being a writer. Knowing that I have had an impact on someone as so many authors have had on me is almost impossible to perceive.
You’ve been warned. I’m not a cool author. I may appear shy at your praise because I’m afraid if I open my mouth I may howl with tears of joy. I’ll try to get better; but never doubt that sweet words from a reader go straight to my heart and inspire me to return to the page. I never want to be so cool that I ever forget this feeling and what it means to connect with my readers. I always dreamed of it, but as a child who grew up in many trailer parks, I never knew if I’d ever get to see someone point to my book, choose it over the other selections, and take it home as a new treasure they had discovered.
I’ve now seen that happen in my lifetime. To other writers, young and old, I hope you dare to dream that for yourself. The time it takes to get to that moment doesn’t matter. I just want you to know that it can happen. No matter your circumstance, I encourage you to dream that your work and words will and do matter. The key is never to forget that this is what you wanted and to recognize the moment when it happens. Should a moment like this ever fail to impress you or mean something to you, for your sake and that of the readers, I hope you put the pen down.
As for me, I’m writing. I am uncool and greedy. I want to experience that moment again and again.
This is my college reader copy of The Romance of the Forest by Ann Radcliffe. This was her third novel, and it was first published in 1791.
Those who love a mystery with elements of the supernatural and impending threats of horror and terror should reach for a Gothic novel. Radcliffe is a wonderful place to start, as she was the best-selling author of the genre. While she may not be very well known today, she was enormously popular in her day.
Many readers seek out this book because it is referenced in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. Interestingly enough, those same readers don’t often enjoy Radcliffe.
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume should be required reading for every adolescent. Ms. Blume is one of my idols, and I appreciate her ability to write books for children and young adults that are honest and humorous. I bow to Ms. Blume.
Watch Ms. Blume perform the breast-enhancing exercise from the book. Adorable, thy name is Blume.
The Birdman of Alcatraz is a haunting read. Once you’ve been told the story of this man’s life, it will never leave you. Robert Stroud served 54 years in prison, and 43 of them were in solitary confinement.
After you read the book, watch the 1962 movie of the same name; it is also very good.
The Bell Jar by American poet Sylvia Plath celebrates its 51st year in print. The semi-autobiographical book was published in 1963 in the United Kingdom a month prior to her suicide. She was thirty years old. The first edition was published under Plath’s pseudonym, “Victoria Lucas.” It wouldn’t be published in the United States until 1971. My edition is from 1971.
Her only novel, The Bell Jar is “the heartbreaking story of a talented young woman who descends into madness.”
Listen to Ms. Plath read “Tulips” during her 1961 appearance on the BBC radio series, The Poet’s Voice.
The Little Locomotive by Ib Spang Olsen, 1976 edition. This little book was/is so dear to me. I loved the personification of the train. I don’t know how I came by this book, but I’m thankful it was always a staple in my room. I’m surprised I was allowed this book, as I’m certain my mother would have viewed it as something more appropriate for a boy. I’d love to know the story behind my coming to own this book.
Watch Ib Spang Olsen, Danish writer and illustrator, draw and paint in this video.