Archive for August, 2009

let me explain

Monday, August 31st, 2009

USEculprit

Okay, okay…I will explain that last cryptic post.  If you clicked on it you would…well, never mind.  It still wouldn’t make much sense.

I was just messing around with my camera’s ( ‘s to show possession, i.e. the camera has features; therefore, it owns the feature(s)) video feature and found out that it was a lot of fun.  While watching the clips (no apostrophe–no possession and not a contraction with ‘is’)  back it really sounded like I had a lisp.  So I talked about this new affliction and posted it.  Strange, huh?  Then I sent the link to my husband who thought I was actually affecting a lisp.  In other words, it’s ( ‘s contraction–it is) all the camera’s (possession) fault.

moving pikchas

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Jen Learns Something New

fifteen for friday 8/28/09

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Here it is!  The much awaited return of fifteen for friday!

first day of school09 0021.  School is in.

first day of school09 0042.  Yesterday I noticed three blooms on my flower.  Normally it only has two, and when I see another about to bloom I know that one flower will fall off before it gets a chance to open.  This is the first time there have been three blooms all at once actually attached to the plant.  I was pondering the reason why this made me so happy.  It has to be that it was unexpected and it involved a pretty lilac colored flower that has a perfect yellow circle in the middle.

3.  A BIG thank you to Jodi, Coy and Amy this week for reading and giving me invaluable feedback.  You guys are great!!!

4. Fun site of the week - www.mentalfloss.com

5.  As You Wish came out this week.  Don’t forget to pick up a copy.

6.  Finally read Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen.  I’m noticing that I like her books almost in copyright date order, favorites being the newest.  In other words, I really didn’t like Keeping the Moon so much.  But I’m looking forward to Along for the Ride, the only one I haven’t read yet and her newest.

first day of school09 0067.  The forget-me-nots have grown, but why aren’t they flowering?

8.  I feel like I’m forgetting something.

9.  Good Girls by Laura Ruby –Wow, very modern.  I guess kids these days are having to deal with the issues covered in this book–everything you do can be photographed and sent to everyone you know–yikes.

10.  the sweet, terrible, glorious year i truly, completely lost it by Lisa Shanahan–I really liked this book especially following the heaviness of Good Girls…not that the sweet… isn’t heavy in its own way.  But it has a lot of very funny moments and some outrageous ones.  Gemma’s older sister is getting married and decides her theme will be animals who mate for life.  Sis dresses Gemma up as a SWAN for her flower girl outfit.  The story is set in Australia and has a few quirky words and phrases, but it’s all very followable.  I was a little confused about “the tip” which I could only surmise was a piece of undesirable land that smelled awful.

11.  Girl in Development by Jordan Roter made me realize that the way I tend to write (casual writing, mind you) in “valley girl” may not be the best idea.  Yeah, it’s cute for a little while, but it’s looking more and more immature when I read it from someone else.  I was excited about this book and picked it up because of the blurbs on the back.  It was an okay read.

12.  The three books I picked up at the library all had a copyright date of 2006.  Is that weird or what?

13.  When will I wise up and make it FIVE for Friday?

14.  Random thought (I told you this might happen…no, I did…back in the beginning) is dim sum the same thing as dumplings and pot stickers?  I could look that up, I know…just killing numbers here.

15.  Could someone please please publish me please?! Thanks.

emerson said it best

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

CLOUDSDear to us are those who love us… but dearer are those who reject us as unworthy, for they add another life; they build a heaven before us whereof we had not dreamed, and thereby supply to us new powers out of the recesses of the spirit, and urge us to new and unattempted performances.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m not sure I find the people who send me rejection letters “dear” but I do think they make me want to try harder and be better.  Here’s an excerpt from my latest rejection regarding my short story:

Thank you for submitting “In Desert Found” to (name removed). It was well received here, but after some thought we have decided not to accept it for publication.

There is a lot of potential for emotional response from the reader in this story idea.

The beginning starts too slowly and lacks conflict to hold attention. Consequently I did not sympathize with Kaylee. Internal monologue would help understand her feelings.

I hope you’ll consider us again, and I wish you the best success in placing this story elsewhere.


I love it!  My very first non-form rejection!  Notice the change in font indicating the move from form to non-form, isn’t it bee-utiful?  Okay, okay it really sucks that they didn’t like the story and yes I am a little embarrassed to share my lack of skills–but it just felt like the thing to do.  And now that I’m done lamenting the rejection I’ve been urged to a new and unattempted performance…aka more editing!

oh yeah i did

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

interviewer & ee

The self-interview is a rare occurrence.  If thought through fully, one would hardly see the benefit of asking one’s self questions and then answering them…oneself.  Half the stuff I get done wouldn’t if I thought things through fully, (and I don’t get all that much done, kids) so, anyway…what was my point?  Oh yes, instead of waiting to become published and then, of course, famous for my ah-mahzing skillz, or instead of waiting to receive a “25 random things about me” note on Facebook–I’m going ahead and giving myself the third degree.  Just so you know, I’m no pushover interviewer.  Tough questions will be asked, we’ll just have to wait and see if they are answered.  I skipped all the hellos and how-de-doos and included only the meat of the interview:

Q:  I see that you’ve been posting on your blog a lot less lately.  Is there a reason for this?

A:  Not a good one.

Q:  Right.  K.  Your public has noticed that you can’t seem to keep your blog on one subject or another…one day it’s about your kids, the next about some writerly thing.  Why is this?

A:  My kids aren’t loony enough to write about every day and I don’t actually know much writer stuff so I just write what I know, ya know?

Q:  How many freakin’ pets do you have anyway?

A:  Wow, that was really out of the blue… ah, wasn’t expecting that one.  Let’s see.  2 dogs (Sam and Lola–and no they were not named after Denise Richard’s children.  That’s just a happy coincidence),  3 cats (Cally, Lil Kat and P.J.), and 2 turtles (Squirty and Toothbrush).  That makes 7 in all.

Q:  Why the heck would you name a pet Toothbrush?

A:  I’m sorry, that’s just a little too personal.

Q:  Moving on then.  Why do you use so very very many ellipses, parentheses, and em dashes?

A:  Why not I always say!  Plus it’s how I talk…gotta get that rhythm right.

Q:  What do you hope to accomplish with this self-interview?

A:  To kill some time.  Ha ha, honestly I’m bored.

Q:  That is so interesting.  Have you ever thought about renting a personality?

A:  It’s way cheaper than buying, that’s for sure.  And then you can try as many out as you want without committing.

Q:  That was an insult.

A:  That wasn’t a question.

Q:  Okay, this interview is over.  I don’t think we’re going to actually find anything out about this person.

A:  That wasn’t a question either.

ahhhhh…. school, glorious school

Monday, August 24th, 2009

BLOGangel The dogs seemed uncharacteristically happy when I came home from dropping the kids off to school this morning.  Lola hopped around wagging her tail and spinning in the only way a barrel tummied, bow-legged, bearded terrier can.  She’d already been fed, watered and let loose in the backyard.  I could only surmise that she knew what day it was.  The start of 7 hours a day, five days a week where the only noises are Sam (my corgi mix) snoring and me punching the keyboard (or doing a little snoring myself–wait, I don’t snore).  So I danced with her for a moment, letting her get her wiggles out and exclaiming that yes, I do know that the kids aren’t here.

This is the first year my daughter actually cared what her hair looked like, “Mommy, can you make my hair so the ends point out like this?” and she swooped her hands away from her head indicating a flip hairdo.  “Yes, sweetie I sure can!”  A good hair drying with a round brush, hairspraying and curling the ends later my daughter looked in the mirror and smiled a giddy smile, “It’s perfect!”

My middle child searched, yes, searched and FOUND(!!!) a belt, which I know within two weeks will be shunned for another five minutes of morning TV.  No messing with hair here, the lady at the hair-cutters unceremoniously shaved it all off a week ago (I could’ve done that for free!)  He checked and rechecked to make sure he had everything he needed.

My oldest was definitely cool about the whole first-day thing.  But I could tell he was ready to go back because he was dressed and had eaten before I even woke up this morning.

When I picked them up after school they talked over each other, mentioning old friends, favorite teachers and some not so favorite ones.  My middle child told me that he will know when his math teacher is having a bad day because he will continually brew and consume coffee during class if this is the case.  The less coffee, the happier the teacher.  We laughed.

I took them to the store to get stuff to make cookies.  We came home and my baby helped me make the dough.  I let them eat more cookies in a row than I think I ever have.  It was that kind of day.

read-o-rama

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Read a B-U-N-C-H this weekend.

thatsummer-thumb1. That Summer – Sarah Dessen – Nice jump back into Sarah-land after This Lullaby.  Love the summer setting.  I was trying to think back to my last perfect summer before “everything changed”.  I didn’t have a summer like that.  I was always looking forward and never longed for the past, but this book made me want to.  Oh, me and my never-ending teen angst!  Just call me JenX…get it?! hahaha! deenie

2.  Deenie – Judy Blume – I just felt like revisiting this old “classic” when I saw it at the library.  It amazed me how Blume can get that voice in my head to take on a Jersey accent.  It takes serious talent to get a reader to hear a character’s voice and it’s not like any other they’ve ever heard.

justlisten-thumb3.  Just Listen – Sarah Dessen – This book is now my all-time favorite Dessen novel.  Reading it made me want to write a book report about it.  I am not one who usually gets that urge…but there was so much here to learn I just wanted to take it all apart and dissect each individual piece.  For example, the Greene’s beautiful glass house.  People driving by think they can see everything that’s going on inside, but there are parts that are hidden from the street.  Beautiful Annabel is “the girl who has everything” and people think they know what’s going on with her, but those hidden spaces remain that way until she can turn on the light and open the doors to let othersdreamland-thumb in.  Oh, and Greene…her last name, “the grass is always greener…” and there’s so much more! –It was also nice to see Remy and Dexter from This Lullaby make a cameo.

4.  Dreamland – Sarah Dessen – First Caitlin is invisible, and when she finally gets a chance to be seen, she makes the worst choices.  I guess some people might read the book and think that they would never let anyone abuse them like that.  But as an older (though not much wiser) person I could see how a laundry list of bad choices and of not knowing who you really are could lead to that kind of situation.

New Dessen ranking:                 Still need to read: Keeping the Moon and Along For the Ride

1. Just Listen

2. Someone Like You

3. Lock and Key

4. The Truth About Forever

5. That Summer

6. Dreamland

7. This Lullaby

awkward

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

projectionist

Yes, I tweeted…I IM’d…and now I am blogging about the best website in the world.  It is dum-dum-dah-dum: www.awkwardfamilyphotos.com–go there, that’s an order.  The picture shown above is called “The Projectionist” and the comment below it states, “For this protective father, you can have his daughters home whenever you want, but don’t even think about taking out the projector.”  It made me laugh so hard that my 13-year-old walked in the room looking as concerned as a teen boy can and asked me if I was laughing or crying.

Even the comments that regular people leave are great–sometimes funnier than the captions and photos themselves.  It’s fun to try and figure out what the heck is going on, like Mr. Projectionist…what’s his motivation for making the projector the highlight of his family portrait?  I think I had the best theory…he obviously invented/developed/sells the projector and needed a company picture.  So the man involved his family, of which he is also fabulously proud.  Or something like that.

Be creative and tell me why the projector is the main character in this pic.

P.S. Ignore any and all crossbow, compound crossbow and turtle references on the comments portion of www.awkwardfamilyphotos.com.

so many words

Monday, August 10th, 2009

thislullaby-thumbThis weekend I read This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen – I hate to say it but I didn’t enjoy this book.  I kept waiting for something to happen and it just never did.  It won’t put me off Dessen forever or anything…here’s my ranking so far of Dessen novels in order of enjoyment: 1. Lock and Key 2. Someone Like You 3. The Truth About Forever 4. This Lullaby.  I expect that This Lullaby will remain at the end of the list however long it gets.

Another, much more enjoyable read this weekend was Boone’s Lick by Larry McMurtry.  Funny, I just realized that I kept waiting for something big to happen in that onebooneslick too.  There was definitely more action than in the Dessen novel (did I just compare YA fic with a western?) but it wasn’t up to McMurtry’s normal heart-pounding and gut-wrenching abilities.  It wasn’t nearly as serious as the Lonesome Dove series but not as comedic as Sin Killer either.  I get the feeling it was written for fun–as an easy-going western.  That said, it was still superbly written with McMurtry’s trademark realistic almost lyrical back woodsy prose.

I don’t know if it’s a great idea to jump from reading a pulitzer-prize winning novelist’s book to editing my own un-published work, but that’s exactly what I did.  Then again, maybe it was good, since it made me realize that my manuscript needs a massive overhaul.  It wasn’t my first hint.

oleander aka sea rose

oleander aka sea rose

After an excellent tell-it-like-it-is reader told me like it was, I recognized there were some serious issues.  1st massively major edit: Switching from omniscient point of view to first person.  This will not be the first time I have done this…just the first time I’ve had to do it with 65,000 words.  It means that scenes will have to be cut…the scenes that my protagonist, Cate wouldn’t have seen.

Which leads to 2nd massively major edit: I will have to shimmy the information in somewhere else.  Thus creating the major overhaul.  Another good thing…I hadn’t written really much of anything for years and years when I started Sea Rose.  It’s safe to say that I have a lot more written words under my belt at this point so re-writing is a positive.

Some might say, why not scrap the whole thing and start over if you have to change so much?  I think the main story is good and I really think there is still a lot of good writing that I could make great.  So wish me luck, folks!

fifteen for friday 8/7/09

Friday, August 7th, 2009

someonelikeyou-thumb1.  Finally found a crit partner (actually three).  Already found about five ways to improve my manuscript.

2.  Oh!  Good news!  I finally finished my short story!  To celebrate I lopped off about 1,500 words while editing.

3.  Anyone know any good places to send a short story that runs about 8,200 words?

4.  Read another Sarah Dessen, Someone Like You.  Surprise!  I liked it.

booneslick5.  Currently reading Boone’s Lick by Larry McMurtry.  It’s a nice change of pace from YA fiction.  I wonder if Mr. McMurtry hangs out at his bookstore every day (does that sound stalkery)?

6.  I think I’m getting used to Splenda Diet Coke.

7.  Just won AMIGOLAND by Oscar Casares from Little, Brown for twittering about it!  I love #freebiefriday!amigoland

8.  Lately I’ve been spending about 90% of my “free” time networking socially and only 10% writing (or reading).  Maybe it’s time for a priority check.

9.  Still getting a huge kick out of visiting Jackson’s site.  Check out her haiku…

10.  I don’t really get the bubbl thing…but if it can help someone else (planners in particular) I’m happy to pass the link along.

11.  17 days until school starts.  I’m looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time.  It will be nice to have quiet days to work…but then there’s homework and lunches and uniforms and supplies, oh and money for this, that and the other thing.

12. Crit Partner Match is a site that helps hook you up with a crit partner.  Not super user-friendly, but it does give you a small pool of people to choose from.

13.  Excited to check out Dollhouse.

14.  If your maiden name was Weadon would you write under that name hoping to receive some kind of noteriety from Joss Whedon’s success?  Would it be wrong, right or neither?

15. How Fail Went From Verb to Interjection http://bit.ly/HJ8VK