Archive for July, 2009

fifteen for friday 7/31/09

Friday, July 31st, 2009

asyouwish

1.  Why is there a klingon at twicon?  Just wondering.

2.  So very excited to read Jackson Pearce’s brand spankin’ new novel, As You Wish.  More about that on next weeks blog!

3.  Another D-list blogger (that’s a good thing) and a spectacular writer, Cindy Fey.

4.  Yesterday it didn’t hit 90 degrees.  In Texas.  In July.  This is amazing.

5.  YA Fresh…an ahem, fresh cool site for YA lovers.

6.  Daughter’s Forget Me Nots…growing!forgetmenots

7.  We’re almost halfway there, can you believe it?!

8.  Five weeks down.  Just three more to go!

9.  I really do have A LOT to talk about…but too much more than I can put in my fifteen so you have to stay tuned for next week’s blog!

10. Seriously getting into Firefly.  We didn’t catch it the first time around so we’re watching it through Netflix.  I like this way much better, no commercials and if you can’t wait for the next epi, no worries!

11. Oh!  I had this cool/strange/funny dream where Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie stole my car and a bunch of my stuff…like they need or want MY STUFF?!

12. The central library in Ft. Worth (downtown-on 3rd st.) is really neat.  The kids section has rocking chairs and other items for kids to play with while they explore the books.  Highly reccommended.

13. Read Sarah Dessen‘s novel, Someone Like You last night.  I’m enjoying her writing more and more.

14. I wish I’d had the nerve to take a pic of that klingon.  He was huge.

15. K, I’m gonna go read now…ttyl!

swoosh cats

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

butterfly

Keep reading–it’s not all about cats.

I am writing under extreme duress; surrounded by cats who want to eat my lunch.  Their bowl sits untouched, with some of the yummiest cat food on the market (I’m guessing–I really don’t know for a fact), but me and my food pose a much more attractive prospect…a challenge.  Cally is all up in my grill(e?), as close as he dares, and my, he sure does dare closely.  P.J. inches ever closer on my other side thinking that since she’s the favorite I will just give up my lunch to her fluffy softness.  She is wrong.  If I could find my spray bottle they both would get it in the side.  There is no favoritism when it comes to my food.  They really should know this by now…  I’m thinking there must be a little button in their cute little “brains” that gets pushed whenever they smell something appetizing that prevents them from ever learning their lesson.

Whew!  K, food and cats gone.  This is much better.

Cats, unlike myself, don’t ever worry about their master plan.  After decades of observation, I know this is true.  They just do it.  Huh, maybe they would make a good subject for a Nike commercial?  I can just see it now, four leather covered paws, four teeny tiny swooshes jumping, darting, trotting.  Cute! K, K, back to the subject.  Sure, there isn’t much intentional planning happening with a cat.  But I bet they know they are going to eat and they aren’t going to let all that much come between them and a full tummy (spray bottle excluded).  They aren’t too worried about the details or if they are making the right decision or if they should take another path completely.

What I’m beating around is the fact that I have lots o’ projects on the stove but the burners are only on Low.  Or, the non-metaphor way to put it is that I’ve got so much I want to do that I’m doing almost none of it.  I’m in the paralyzed state that happens when I get overwhelmed.  It’s been a full week since I’ve written a word on my short story (which was supposed to be quick and painless, ha!).  I’ve written a small portion of an outline for the idea that I had in the shower.  And I’ve blogged.  So this is what it feels like to multi-task…I don’t like it.  So I’m writing about this because in talking to others this seems to be an issue as well.  And I’m thinking that if I write it out I can come up with a coherent resolution since that’s worked for me in the past.

The verdict – be like a Nike cat and just do it!  No more straying (ha ha get it?).  I think I can handle a blog post every one to two days while I finish that danged short story (which I love, don’t get me wrong).  After which I will work on the outline some more.  There.  Easy peasy.

hodge podge

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

I usually reserve my stream of consciousness posts for my fifteen for friday…but hey, it’s my blog I can break a rule every now and then.  Plus, there’s the fact that 3 boys, one of which I did not give birth to are shooting each other with Nerf guns all over the house.  It’s a good thing all our good stuff was broken long ago.  But still, it’s a little distracting for a deep meaningful post.  Yeah, yeah, I know I haven’t made a deep and meaningful post yet, but someday I will and I probably wont have suction cup-tipped bullets whizzing by my head when I do.

stopvoldeysign

...so, does that mean that he's the only one who has to stop at this intersection? Cool.

I have a memory like a sieve.  If it is to be remembered by me, it must be written, or at least repeated many many times.  I’ve always been loudly in awe of anyone who can spew meaningful quotes at any given moment.  Quote Shakespeare and I will follow you into the depths, well not really.  But it is a gift that I wish I had.  I mention this short coming because, like many people, my best ideas materialize out of thin air while I’m in the shower.  What is it about the shower?  Anyway, I find that in order to remember the grand ideas I have, I have to repeat them over and over and over until the time that I can dry off and write them down.  I wonder how many ideas I miss while I’m remembering the one?annie

So anyway, I have this grand idea for a book…boy, I’m fickle.  I haven’t even finished my short story (although it’s turning more and more into a long one) and here I am excited about the next thing…and I haven’t gotten an agent on my first manu. yet.  Yet, there is always hope.  Sea Rose will get representation and will be sold.  Someday!  K, everyone join in…Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya tomorrow, you’re only a day away!

My site may be changing a little bit.  I tell you this so that you will not think that you are losing your mind, because that’s where I would go if I saw small things changing little by little on a much frequented site.  And this is a much frequented site, right?  right?  There may be subtle changes, and there may be larger ones as well.  And it may take a while ’cause my trustworthy husband/IT department is wayyyyyyy too busy to assist.  So I get to venture into blog tweaking territory all on my own.

Crud, I gotta go.  I think the boys are trying to figure out how to waterboard each other.

night to day

Monday, July 27th, 2009
Night to Day

Night to Day

When the kids draw with crayons or markers or when they paint I advise them to “fill the whole page with color”.  For one child this is to prevent 15 pages of paper with a single line of scribble done in under five minutes.  For another it’s to bring the very best out of him.  When you write do you know what brings the very best out of you, or are you just writing to prevent scribble?  How do you determine which is which?

My immediate response is experimentation.  Maybe seat-of-the-pants writing is what comes easiest to me, just as a scribbled line is easiest for a child.  Maybe this outline thing deserves a chance.  Who knows?  Maybe what comes from it is something greater than what I think I can do.  The trade off is time, of course, something which is in short supply as a wife and mother.  And then the joy of writing unencumbered is put off for a time.  (I’ve determined that I’m not at all a good multi-tasker.)

If you are also facing these questions, below is a link that may help you determine what to do next.  It is an excerpt from a blog titled “The Writer’s Roundabout” which is written by Rebecca Laffar-Smith.  It is part two in a series about seat of the pants writing vs. planning and discusses the pros and cons of each.

fifteen for friday 7/24/09

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Vacation Edition

1.  Sis. asked me where I was earlier this week (referring to my blog) and I let her know that I was on vacation.  Sometimes I forget to let people know the biggest things going on in my life…or maybe my brain was also on vacation; that is a valid theory and less self-involved.

2.  Schlitterbahn (New Braunfels, TX) was soooo much fun.  I’m going to brag on hubby and myself for driving 460 miles and herding 3 kids around a water park all in 17 hours.

schlitterbahn 0073.  The kids loved the grounds of the park.  There were tons of trees, plants and castles.

schlitterbahn 005

that's a rainbow in case you can't tell

4.  All portents indicated a great day.  (See rainbow pic)

5.  I’ve written more on my short story during my vacay than the two weeks before it.  But that’s okay because at this point in my non-paid career, writing doesn’t feel like work.

6.  Jim Harrington left a comment on last week’s fifteen for friday post.  I checked out his blog and found out about a really cool 24 hour short story writing contest by Writer’s Weekly.  I must look into this…

7.  I had no idea what today’s date was when I logged on this afternoon.  That is totally rad.

8.  THANKS to Blair Hurley for her super kind words about my blog…I luv writers!  (And big thanks for calling me young too.)

200px-Hp6teaserposter9.  Oh!  I finally saw Half-Blood Prince and it was as good as I expected (and I expected it to be fairly fantastic).  Of course it wasn’t nearly as good as the book; but what is better than a book anyway?

10.  Read my second Sarah Dessen novel this week, The Truth About Forever.  It was a little slow getting into it at first, but she pulled me in by the middle of the book.  I really liked it.  Please remember, I am a YA fiction writer for a reason.  I love reading the genre as well as writing for it.

11.  Oy vey Joel Stein, you make it hard to love you…but you are so hilarious…why do you do this to me?  Oh, and the week before…ick.

12.  I like Mary Ricksen’s sense of humor.

13.  One thing I really need to do is listen to the latest installment of the House of Grey.  Can’t believe I’ve let it go this long!  No, they aren’t paying me for advertisement, I just really like these guys and the work they’ve done.

14.  We passed approximately 43 Cracker Barrel restaurants on our trip, so we HAD to stop and eat some. It was good…did you know that you can buy all of the decorations, even the stuff pinned to the walls?

15. One cool thing about Schlitterbahn is that they use the water from the Comal River in the park, untreated.  One uncool thing is not having all of the  walking areas covered so you don’t burn your feet.

fifteen for friday 7/17/09

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Okay, it’s late.  Here goes anyway:

boot which represents Fort Worth

1.  @benwhiting twitters all kinds of useful writerly information.  all day.  Oh! and he’s a fellow Fort Worthian.

2.  Hubby is officially on vacation!!! YAY!

3.  3 weeks down, 5 to go…

4.  Got stuck on this mom’s blog today.  She is hilarious!

Mr. Threepwood

Mr. Threepwood

5.  Guybrush Threepwood is the best character name ever.

6.  I’ve written approximately two sentences on my current project this week.  That is not a good thing.  ugh.

7.  Found another cool site just today.  Rachelle Gardner is a lit. agent.  Her site was listed on the Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers.  I’ve not even scratched the surface yet.

books28.  Urgh, cannot find my copy of To Kill a Mockingbird!  I have looked everywhere…it’s driving me batty.

9.  I have had approximately eight cats in my lifetime.  Only one has ever come when she is/was called.  She is the best kitty ever and her name is P.J.

10.  Watched J.K. Rowling: A Year in the Life last night and was riveted.

11.  I haven’t seen The Half Blood Prince yet, maybe tomorrow.

12.  A week without a new House of Grey episode is a sad week indeed.

13.  Grad student Blair Hurley has a super info blog.  She posts a really interesting pic weekly to get the creative juices flowing.

wizondeck14.  I’m as excited about Wizards on Deck with Hannah Montana as my kids are.  wow. that’s sad.

15.  I don’t know why I’m surprised when I look under my daughter’s bed and see that it is stuffed to the wall with toys, books, clothes, etc. I did the same thing as a kid, but it’s shocking to me that my perfect little angel would do something so devious as shove everything under her bed in order to get her room “clean” faster.

why i write

Thursday, July 16th, 2009
liljen

do not trust this little girl

I’ve been doing a heckuva lot of reading lately, and I don’t mean the fun kind.  I mean the informational kind.  The kind of which I’ve never been a huge fan.  It’s the only kind of reading that can actually make me sleepy.  I love make believe (or at most history that’s as good as make believe).  Anyway, all of this reading has me wondering how I ended up the way I did, with this fierce love of all things not real.  I’m a drama queen actress by nature and a storyteller by nurture…  All this thinking led me back, as most things do, to my childhood.

I was reminded at a family dinner recently of one of my weirder escapades (and there were many weird ones).  I don’t remember how old I was, but I was most likely the same age as in the pic to the left when a new girl moved onto our street.  She was about my age, so this was cause for serious excitement.  I immediately went out on my bike (that had a string for the door so it was easier to pretend I was actually sitting in a car) to meet her.  And I had a plan.  I was going to introduce myself as Jessica and talk about my twin sister, Jennifer.  She was pretty well on board with it until I went to go get my twin and she came out without me…in different clothes of course.  Unfortunately the girl wasn’t as big a fool as I’d hoped (even though I’d roped a sibling or two into the ruse) and my act didn’t last long.  Next came the uncomfortable scene when I had to explain why I did such a weird thing.  It was not the kind of opening that leads to a great and lasting friendship.

So I’ve never been content with life as it is…too much reading has ruined it for me I think.  But that’s okay, ’cause even if I can only live out my big dreams in my head they can eventually end up on paper and that would make them real to me.  And if someone else gets a kick out of my stories too, then that’s just icing on the cake.

smoosh mouth “pose”

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

smoosh 004Every once in a while a current phenomenon pops into my consciousness and starts to take over much more of my brain power than it should.  I mean, I only have so much of this grey matter that I have control over…so when I start thinking about origins of the word “snap” and if I, as a thirty-something woman (well, more like a girl) could get away with using it in  my everyday language…well, that is just a waste of time.

This happens much more than you think it would.  It sounds sort of niche, right?  If you’d read my about page (ahem, *clears throat*) you’d know that I work with teenagers, girls more specifically.  This means I’m privy to all kinds of useful as well as useless fads and slang.  Most notably, the term beast (or beastly).  Did you know that means awesome, only something more awesome than awesome?  It’s usage is reserved for the very coolest of cool things, such as Amelia making a B on her final…that was beastly.  I promised to only use the term once and I’m pretty sure it would get caught in my throat if I actually tried to say it out loud.

I mention all of the above to introduce the current thing that is taking up way too much time in my head.  So much, in fact, that I had to pull out my camera and test it for myself.  I don’t know the correct term for this new way of posing for cameras, so I will just call it the smoosh mouth pose.  The pic above and to the left is my lame attempt at said pose.  I just can’t get the eyes right.  I’m ashamed to say that I’ve deleted at least a dozen pics of myself testing the look.  I’m supposed to have an “I dare you to come hither” look on my face, squinty eyes to go along with the smooshy mouth.

I guess I’ll stick with a smile.smoosh 007 Sis gave me an idea…send me your best attempt at a smoosh mouth pic with a comment if’n ya can.

there’s never enough

Monday, July 13th, 2009

clockwin

During the school year I liked to write during the day.  This is understandable considering the fact that I was the only person at home.  If I didn’t feel like stopping to make lunch, I didn’t have to.  There were hours and hours, six and a half of them, in fact, that I had free and clear to do with what I pleased…for the most part.  Now it’s the beginning 0f the sixth week of summer vacation and those free hours are long gone.  I don’t even try to write during the day anymore.  I haven’t yet mastered the art of working on a project in five minute stints.  Cause that’s about the amount of time I would get before it’s snack time or lunch time or break-up-the-same-fight-that’s-been-had-every-day-for-the-last-month time.

So my production has slowed quite a bit since my natural inclination after the kids have stopped popping up for water and lullabys–is to fall stoopid on the couch and veg out to one mindless show or another (my current faves are King of the Hill and Malcolm in the Middle).  That’s why it’s taken me a coupla weeks to write a short story…which has now stretched past my first limit of 5,000 words.  Lately I’ve been wondering if it might turn into one of those cute little novella things.

I was having trouble finding an ending for a little while.  I finally got it, typed it up in short hand at he end of what I’ve already written and now I’m just waiting to finish it properly.  Normally I wouldn’t even worry about finding the ending before it just came to me.  It was the whole word limit thing that forced that one.

That’s another thing I’ve been thinking about lately.  If anyone ever asks me for an outline I’d be in trouble.  My stories aren’t planned, they just happen…kinda like the rest of my life.  I seriously don’t know what I’m going to write about until I sit down with pencil and spiral, or keyboard and monitor and start writing.  I’ve tried thinking a story out first and nothing happens.  You’d think this method would cause a lot of re-writes, but it hasn’t yet so I’m thinking about sticking with it, especially since I don’t have any other choice.  If anyone out there has that same quirk drop me a line, it would be nice to know that I’m not alone.  Or, just let me know what your odd writing quirk is…

fifteen for friday 7/10/09

Friday, July 10th, 2009

1.  With categories like Agent Blogs, Publishing Resources, and Fun for Writers, Writer’s Digest’s 101 Best Websites for Writers is a cornucopia of interesting and useful information.  Check it out here:  http://writersdigest.com/article/101-websites-2009?p_PageAlias=101BestSites

quesryshark2.  http://queryshark.blogspot.com/…sometimes bordering on mean, always hilarious this blog takes apart actual query letters, revealing their weaknesses.  The coolest part is that a participant (chum, my term) can send a revised query letter and have it torn apart all over again.  Oh, and when the query finally becomes acceptable, it gets posted with praise.  By the way, the chum is a willing victim, having to send in their query letter for mauling.

3.  Hooray to Kelsey Timmerman for conjuring a long, and obviously well thought out (not to mention fast) response from the powers that be at the Indianapolis Zoo.

4.  I luv my new dishwasher.

5.  Writing a short story is taking wayyyyy longer than I thought it would.  How the heck do I end this thing?

6.  Does anyone else have a Dear Abby addiction?

7.  I was thinking about country music earlier this week.  I listened the genre for awhile during  one of my “phases” as a teenager.  I kinda miss George Strait and Randy Travis, and even (I can’t believe I’m admitting this) Garth Brooks…’The Dance’ and ‘The Thunder Rolls’ people!  May have to investigate…lockandkey

8.  I’m thinking about purchasing a Slurpee machine…okay, not really…but man alive, they are goood.

9.  Man alive!  There are men alive in here!

10.  So I read Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen a few days ago.  It was my first Dessen novel, good read, I think I like her.

11.  How did all those turtles get on the runway anyway?

12.  Learning about how to get more traffic to my blog is really boring, like high school economics boring.

13.  Can’t help it, I have to mention the House of Grey podcast again.

14.  It is 103 degrees at 1:30 pm in Fort Worth, Texas…that’s outside, not in my oven.

15.  Whew! Made it again!