Monthly Archives: March 2016

19 Ideas for Me Time

ME Time


We’ve all been there. So stressed out we can hardly think. Our lives are hectic, we’ve got jobs or kids or both, we’ve got pets to care for and houses to keep clean and appointments to go to and it all creeps up and overwhelms us. That’s when it’s time to make some time for yourself. Here’s a list of ideas that can help you care for yourself. You deserve it.

  1. Get some bath bombs (I love the ones from Lush!) and soak in a hot bath. Don’t forget the candles!
  2. Read a new (or favorite) book – combine with your hot bath for something special.
  3. Get a mani-pedi. Can’t afford them or don’t have time to go out? I use jamberries, which takes like 15 minutes to do and has some amazing designs even a nail place can’t do.
  4. Go for a leisurely hike.
  5. Cuddle your pet. No pet? Cuddle a shelter animal.
  6. Get a massage – even a 15 minute chair massage can do miracles.
  7. Take time for your hobby or learn a new one – I love to crochet and sing karaoke (not at the same time!!)
  8. Go shopping, or at least window shopping. You can even just peruse a site like Modcloth for some nifty retro clothing.
  9. Join a yoga class. I love the gentle flow classes because they don’t feel like exercise, just relaxation.
  10. Grab a coloring book. Scientists say it’s the next best thing to meditation.
  11. Bake something! I love getting my hands dirty baking some cookies and then indulging in the extra cookie dough.
  12. Watch your favorite movie with some popcorn, a glass of wine (or a beer, or whatever suits your fancy), and a cuddly blanket.
  13. Do a crossword or jigsaw puzzle.
  14. Make a bucket list – what can you check off soon? Nothing is too small.
  15. Plan a “someday” vacation. I have a whole list of places to visit and I love seeing what all I can do in my different destinations.
  16. Binge watch a new show on Netflix. I’m currently watching Call the Midwife.
  17. Take a nap! Nothing like a good snooze.
  18. Dance party for one!! Put on your favorite upbeat music and dance like nobody’s watching.
  19. Go for a drive – put on your sunglasses, roll down the windows, blast your favorite music and enjoy the scenery of the back roads. It’s like a mini-roadtrip.

What do you like to do for me time?



Setting a routine for writing

One of the things I sometimes find hardest to do is have a routine and stick to it. Because I fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to writing, I have some difficulty writing when I’m supposed to. I might be scheduled to write but the characters and world want nothing to do with me. And other times I’m supposed to be doing something else, but instead the characters are clamoring for attention, even when I’m away from home and fully immersed in something else. For the most part though, on normal days, I have a routine that seems easiest to stick with, so I thought I’d share it with you.

Wake up

What kind of routine do you have?

Passing the Bechdel Test: What books meet the requirements?

The Bechdel Test is a tool that analyzes a work of fiction to see how it treats female characters. It requires a book, movie, television show (or anything else) to have at least two named women who talk to each other about something other than a man. Seems like it should be easy right? But I found it harder than I expected to find books that met this requirement. Even looking at my own books in the Freefall Trilogy it was difficult, although part of that was because I have so few characters and the main characters are a man and a woman. There are a few conversations, especially in the final book, World on Fire that fulfilled the requirements.

So I wanted to put together a small list of books that do meet the qualifications of the Bechdel test. Because I think it’s important that we have characters who are strong women doing their own thing in their books. I chose books with main characters that are female. Here are a few.

  • The books in the Raven Cycle, by Maggie Stiefvater, are a fun YA series who has one of the main characters named Blue Sargent who lives in a house replete with women (who are also awesome psychics, except for Blue herself). Yes there are a lot of conversations with boys and about boys, but she and the other women in the house, Maura, Persephone, Orla, Calla, and Neeve, have a lot of conversations outside of the boys in the story.
  • Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, is a great classic example. Another book with a house full of women who have their own lives and conflicts to resolve. Highly recommend this book to someone looking for strong women protagonists.
  • An indie book that I love, A Scarlet Fury by Bridget Blackwood, has an amazing strong female lead, as well as a lovely handful of other strong women that all have conversations with each other. Mads, the main character, deals with her tragedy, and the other things going on in the World of Shadows, by talking with other women and girls in the book, such as Rachel, Livia, and Tsura.
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Marget Atwood is a dystopian novel about a concubine named Offred in an alternate history where some women are little more than breeding stock. She’s brave enough to forge a real connection with other concubines, a dangerous prospect in a world where women are subjugated in such a horrible way.
  • The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and its accompanying books, is filled with amazing female characters in the story surrounding Camelot and King Arthur as he comes into power. The women in Avalon are all priestesses and they heavily influence the world around them in ways that require them to converse heavily.
  • Kushiel’s Dart, by Jacqueline Carey, follows the life of Phedre, a courtesan and eventual spy, who navigates the world of court intrigue both with the help of other women and with opponents who are women.
  • Lastly, a great favorite of mine, is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Lizzie Bennett lives in a family of five sisters and a neurotic mother, all of whom she has a close relationship with. I love how she and her family interact.

              What books do you guys love that pass the Bechdel Test with flying colors? I love to read books with strong female protagonists who “don’t need no man”.

Meet Sara Stone: Protagonist of the Freefall Trilogy

Spoilers for At Death’s Door ahead!! You’ve been warned!!




Last chance to turn back!!

So I thought y’all might enjoy a little insight into Sara Stone, the main character of the Freefall Trilogy, whose life is turned upside down when she’s admitted to a mental hospital with seemingly no way out until a handsome stranger comes to save her. Her son is missing and all she cares about is finding him. But her rescuer reveals that everything she thought she knew about her life is a lie. Heaven, Hell, and her own heart have other plans for her. Enjoy!



Where in the heck have I been?!

I dropped off the radar for a little while and I’m so sorry! Since my last post I finished up the rewrites on World on Fire and released it at the end of January. Here’s the info you need to snatch it up for a great read (hopefully you’ve already had a chance to read the first two books of the Freefall Trilogy!).

After her son is taken from her by The Host, and she loses the love of her life, Sara is trying to sort out what little she has left. Heaven thinks she’s dead for the moment, but as soon as they discover she’s alive, they’ll be coming for her. With Lu, a Prince of Hell by her side, Hell has temporarily marked her name off their hit list. Should they find out she’s a champion for humans, the demons won’t think fondly of her. If only those were her only problems. The world is getting bad, and fast.

Sara has to reach her son or he’ll destroy the earth by bringing about the Apocalypse. The problem is, Danny’s no longer Danny. Brainwashed by Heaven, he believes he has to atone for his existence as the child of an angel and a demon. To bring a halt to the end of the world, Sara is gathering an army. One by one the pieces fall into place as a ragtag band of rebels comes together under the Angel of Death’s guidance. She has to stop Heaven from eradicating the human race, and Hell from enslaving it. The fight for free will has never been so dire. The world is on fire, and only Sara can save it.


Purchase on Amazon

Keep an eye out for some interesting posts in the future!

See you soon,
Astrid Tallaksen