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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fudge induced stupor and Taylor Swift

WHAT THE HECK IS MY PROBLEM??

I think I've eaten my weight in fudge today...and I seriously have been going through sugar crashes all day.

LIKE BAD SUGAR CRASHES WHERE I CAN'T THINK AND I DON'T GET OFF THE COUCH.

Why don't I learn?

BECAUSE CHOCOLATE OF ALL KINDS IS MY FREAKING ARCH NEMESIS AND PEOPLE KEEP DROPPING IT BY MY HOUSE.  So if you're tempted...just don't, don't do this to me... I can't handle it.  I think I'm going to have to have my husband dispose of it, because I don't think I have the strength to do it myself.

While I seriously can't keep up with my normal thought process... I can however be seriously thinking about stuff that takes no thought process at all.  Like:


Why Taylor?  What are you thinking?  When the madness end?  Run Taylor, RUN!


I mean seriously, this girl obviously has a strange taste in men... um can we say:


 I think I just threw up in my mouth after posting that...but really what was she thinking??? 


I don't know if we can blame her for this next one...but really they just don't match.   Two cute people don't necessarily make a cute couple:

You are just dating because you're both named Taylor.  

And I don't know if this picture screams mature relationship but at least they were relatively the same age:
Eww...yeah this one just doesn't cut it either.  

Basically Taylor (since you're reading this blog...because I mean--who doesn't?) I know your crash and burn love fests make catchy songs for me to listen to while I write cheesy love scenes... but really Jake Gyllenhaal? Let me know when that doesn't work out for you so I can set you up with someone way better.  Really I'm a great matchmaker... um but don't ask my little sister for a reference, okay?

Thanks, 

Red  

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sleep or Write?

I have a list of priorities that's ingrained in my day.  I'm sure we all do.

Eating and using the restroom are pretty high on my list (although taking care of the kiddo comes before these oft times).
Doing chores is pretty low on the list...but I force myself eventually.

The set of priorities that keep getting mixed up are:  the whole sleep thing or enjoying my free time...
The last couple days sleep has lost, no wonder I'm so cranky this week.  

What do you sacrifices to do the things you love?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

When life hands you a bag of broken eggs, you make...



This picture summed my morning up in a nutshell.

I don't love grocery shopping, I'll just say that... so I'm usually in a hurry.

It doesn't help to have the toddler with me because I'm not thinking about what I'm doing.  So today when I swung the bag carrying the eggs from the shopping cart to the trunk I realized that none of the eggs were nestled safely in the carton...they were all loose in the bag.

As I cursed in my head (because my toddler repeats EVERYTHING she hears) I inspected each egg and stuck them back in their places, only two were broken.  Which was great!  But really really aggravating because the whole time I'm at the grocery store I'm trying to stay on a budget and think of ways to get the most out of my money--and ruining the merchandise before I leave the parking lot is totally not the way to do this!

As I drove home I thought of all the things I could do with those two eggs.  I could make...

  • scrambled eggs
  • a mini omelet
  • cookies 
  • cake 
  • brownies
  • my hair super crazy
I could do a million things with those two dumb eggs...

Or I could just throw them away.  

So that's what I did.  (My grandma probably just rolled over in her grave.  She lived through the depression and later had 14 kids. She would NOT have thrown them away.)  And maybe you're thinking:  What's the point?  Who cares?  They're stupid eggs.

But it made me realize something important.

Sometimes it's okay to quit.  Maybe that's a strange way to put it or a weird revelation to have from throwing away broken eggs...but sometimes the little things we worry about aren't that big of a deal and it's okay to put up the white flag and say:  'No, I'm not doing that.'

The other side of that revelation is... Sometimes it's NOT okay to quit.  

But you have to decide.

I recently had a conversation with my mom about the piano lessons she forced me to take...we had a good laugh.  
 
I HATED piano lessons.  I refused to practice.  I didn't like anything about it: the teacher, the recitals, reading music...and maybe it's because I sucked at it because I didn't practice.  My mom said that someday I would regret quitting piano... but she finally gave in.  She let me quit.  

To this day, I don't regret not playing the piano.  It wasn't for me.  It was okay to quit.  

I did many other things throughout my adolescence...I played the violin, I ran in Cross Country and Track, I joined the swim team, heck I even tried pole vaulting and one of the school musicals.  

Some of those things I stuck with and some I didn't.  I don't regret quiting...it gave me more time for the things that were important to me.   But I would have regret not trying. 

There are things in my life I am unwilling to quit no matter how hard stuff gets...like being a stay-at-home mom.  Sometimes I tell my husband I'm putting in my two weeks, because it is seriously the hardest job I've ever had, with the worst pay :) but it is something I can't give up.  Spending time teaching and being with my daughter is so important to me.    

My marriage is another thing I can't give up...we have had our rough spots and marriage is HARD (Why is it that no one tells you this when you're young?  Or is it that they tell you and you don't really care to listen??) but it's something I can't quit.  (Don't take this offensively... I know there are situations where divorce is the right answer...but it makes me sad to see marriages crumble that could have lasted with the right support)    

Writing is something I'm not willing to quit.  I don't think I could even if  wanted to... I enjoy it too much.  Sure I go through rough spots where I'm not meeting my goals or things aren't clicking, but I can't quit. It doesn't matter if anything ever comes of it.  I won't quit...It's something I HAVE to do.

There are things worth fighting for...things that you have to refuse to quit--but you have to decide what they are.     

Next time you get a bag of broken eggs...  the choice is up to you :).

 

    


Monday, December 6, 2010

Overdose


Oreo Truffles are the WORST invention ever.  Don't even think about making them unless you want to gain about fifty pounds this Christmas season. But if you do want to gain fifty pounds or you have way more self control than a tired, cranky, hormonal, pregnant woman who is addicted to anything with chocolate or cream cheese in it, HERE is the recipe.

I really want to try them with like mint Oreos, but that would be double trouble for me--so maybe I'll leave it up to you.

Today I'm cranking out...and I think that's because I'm tired and ate too many truffles.  But that's beside the point...  I'm in serious need of ideas to crack out of my cranky mood.  I really wanted to write during these precious nap time moments (that will probably end when I start writing...my two-year-old has been yelling:  "Mom! I'm finished sleeping!" when she's done, which is way better than crying...but still it always comes a little too soon).

But Taylor Swift just isn't pulling me out of my mood and neither are Christmas lights or reading blogs... so I'm out of ideas.

What do you when you are too cranky to do something??

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Grammar Book No. 1


Painless Grammar--I checked this baby out from the local library.

Sounds like a good one right??

Here is where I have to admit I thought I was so much above this book.  I mean, come on...it's for middle school and high school students.

I've graduated college.  I've had English classes.

I decided that the public library didn't have a lot to offer in the way of grammar books and I was going to have to get my husband to check out a few from the university in our town.

Then I started reading and doing a couple of the practice exercises (which are not called practice exercises to try and fool you) and I realized I so don't remember/never cared to learn the intricacies of "showing possession when the noun is plural".  Sounds easy right?

Maria's cat is ugly.

Yeah, yeah... I know all about that.

Then we get into:

The boy's coat v. the boys' coats

okay makes sense

And then more...

Paul's and Miranda's cokes

versus

Paul and Miranda's coke

Yes as I type this it all seems to click like...duh.  But have I been doing all this correctly when I'm writing a mile a minute?  Uh... 

Mr. and Mrs. Jones have a new dog.
The Joneses have a new dog.
Mr. Jones's dog is new.
The Joneses' dog is new.

Pretty much what I've learned is no more character names ending in 's'. (jk)

Maybe this book is totally above you.  Much of it I am skimming over...and then I'm like wait what?  Mental note...take out crazy antecedents.

Moral of the story:  not checking out college level grammar book until I've mastered middle school all over again.  (Kind of sounds like the nightmare I had last night, who wants to go back to middle school, right?)

Wish me luck.

p.s. hapy thanxgivin' 

This is kind of how I feel in the grammar department...but I'm not giving up! 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Why I hate(d) G&P

Dear Mrs./Mr. (Insert all English teacher names I've ever had... and some of the Spanish ones too),

I hate grammar.  I do.  I still hate it.  I hated all the worksheets, all the work book practices 1a-14j, all the tests multiple choice or not.  It all sucked, it was boring.  I don't have the kind of brain that processes that information easily.

But I really, really hated it because I didn't understand why it mattered.  

THIS is why it matters.

So I'm making a pledge...to not hate grammar, because I need to learn the ins-and-outs like...a couple of years ago.

I'm going to find myself a grammar book and I'm going to read it...and I may even do the practice exercises from my sisters high school textbook.  I may not love it, but I will trudge through until I understand it.

And it will make my writing BETTER.

So I'm sorry for hating your lessons on grammar (and maybe you for teaching them).  I'm sorry for rushing through the work I labeled "busy".

I still may not regret quitting piano lessons... but I do regret slacking in the grammar department.  

Sincerely,

Red  

Friday, November 19, 2010

Back in the Saddle...

I've failed at Nanowrimo. But I'm excited.

My word count for the month is way under even 5,000 words.

I've been writing again.

Period.

And that's what's amazing.

And I realize that not only was my writing slump attributed to being in my first trimester, it was also because I was scared to write my really good idea. The other ideas that I thought were good just weren't pushing me to finish... the stakes weren't high enough for me.  And if they weren't high enough for me to write it, why the heck would anyone want to read it?

So I'm working on the new WIP with actual enthusiasm and can't wait to see all the places it takes me.

Side note... I do want to write those other books someday, they are still good ideas... but I can't write them until I figure out how to up the ante.

Back in the saddle again :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Slump

I'm in a slump.

That pretty much sums it up.  I'm in a writing slump, house cleaning slump, playing all day with a toddler slump, being whiny slump... the list could go on.

I'm taking a vacation from my blog again... because for some strange reason not writing in it is stressing me out.

I'm annoyed because I keep setting goals and then I don't do them.  I need to be more realistic...I just don't have the time/energy/will power to do my normal routine right now.

So here's one last book recommendation before my vacation:

  
Pretty much you need to read this book if you ever even think about being pregnant.  Don't get me wrong, we're excited baby no. 2 is on the way, it's just the whole pregnancy thing... it sucks.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

WIP Wednesday

Word count:  4218

I'm kind of bummed.  I only worked on this project once in the last week, but lately my free time has been entirely gone--so I need to grateful I even got this much done.

Goal for next week:  AT LEAST up to 5500

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Life Lessons from Sesame Street




So this morning while watching Sesame Street...


(Heck yes I watch Sesame Street. I know it's probably my best time of the day to do dishes, or fold laundry because the two-year-old is occupied... but why do dishes when you can sit on your couch with your toddler and watch Sesame Street) 


Anyway, I was saying... I came across this video and it totally made my day.  I think it's something everyone needs to hear (especially writers who are sick of getting kicked to the curb).

But... we are special, we need to dream big and realize we just need to keep our heads up high...


I'm the only me.  And I love me. 


My sister and I used to play the "I love me because..." game.  Which sounds totally vain and weird, but it actually is a really good self esteem booster to realize what you love about yourself... and realize being you is amazing--even if you're the only one (you know of) who loves you.


So what do you love about yourself?


Seriously.  


I love me because I can (usually) cheer people up when they are feeling cruddy.


What do you love about you?  I really want to know.       



Monday, September 27, 2010

Powerless by Matthew Cody


Title: Powerless
Author:  Matthew Cody
Genre: Middle Grade, Superhero
Rating: Thumbs up (Best MG book I've read this year)

What I liked:  This book is so cute.  It has really great twists for a superhero story.  The main character has no powers and this is what actually helps save him and his friends (who do have superpowers).  I think this would really resonate with Middle Grade readers, because everything revolves around the time before you grow up.  No grown-ups have the powers, only the kids.  I just love this idea.  This is a great boy book if you know any guys this age, especially if they have a hard time finding books (girls will love it too though :) ).  My favorite line of the book trailer is:  "You don't need superpowers to be a hero."

Synopsis:  http://www.matthewcody.com/books.html

Really cute book trailer.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Brain Malfunction

So I have brain problemos sometimes.  

Maybe it's just following directions issues... but either way I posted this a while ago.  I guess it was supposed to be today... so anyway without further ado, my link to writing compelling characters...


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

WIP: Sick


I think I'm really over my cold.  (crossing fingers)  This wouldn't be such a huge deal if I weren't involved in a relay race on Saturday...where I have to swim 1.2 miles.

In  other news, I'm also so sick of my old WIP and have decided it's officially time to move on (until Natalie gives me her feedback...which will probably send me into a whole new slew of revisions...).

I'm so excited about this new idea...because it's fun.  I've been chewing on it for a long time and it feels so great to start it.  I'm such a dork.  I get these bursts of inspiration where I'm cracking myself up while writing.
I love writing a first draft.  I don't hate doing revisions...because I usually figure out how bad the first draft is and I love rewriting scenes to make them better.

But there is something about having a blank canvas again.

It's a little scary and super exhilarating...

I have an outline, but I don't get detailed.  I just write and see where things go.  I love this part of writing... all kinds of crazy things pop up that leaving me saying:  Really?  And then I grin and think:  Yes, really.

And even though I know I will eventually hack it to bits and make it better... it's awesome just to word vomit and not care if my ideas seem lame in another month--because you have to have these 'awesome' first ideas to build on them later and make them magic...

So official word count of shiny new WIP = 3529 only 56471 to go... yes!

I'm shooting for 60,000 because last time I totally over shot and had to hack away a lot of words, we'll see how this goes.

Final (kind of) word count for E.I.G. =   68,998

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My day just got made :)


So I just won this contest.

Hip Hip Hooray!  Hip Hip Hooray!  Hip Hip Hooray!

I was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Really.  REALLY.

But that just totally made it better... that and the fact that my sister was able to help me take care of my two-year-old, my friend decided to make me dark chocolate, craisen, nut clusters... and my husband got to be home early today... You'd think it was an awesome, spectacular day.  Which in many ways it was... except for I've spent the last three days lying on my bed/couch feeling rotten--like I'm-dying-in-the-pits-of-hell rotten, but I think the sun is starting to come out.  (yeah I didn't even check my email, that's how bad it was)

Anyway, I guess that's all for now, because my eyes are starting to cross.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11

I just read this blog post by Meg Cabot about what it was like to be in New York City on 9/11.  I was a junior in High School  when the attack happened.  I was sitting in Mrs. Ackerman's English Class watching  the news and just plain shocked at what was going on.

Grab a box of kleenex before you read it.

I really just want to say how grateful I am to live in a country where Terrorist attacks aren't part of every day life, that I have a safe place to raise my family, and for people who risk their lives to help others.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Four Step Friday: Writing Compelling Characters...

1.  Examples:  

Pull out your favorite book.  Hunger Games, Stargirl, The Giver, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Heist Society, Unwind, Paranormalcy...Whatever.  Yes, Twilight is fine. 

What about this book makes it good?  I'm sure, somewhere in your list of praise...it will include "compelling characters".  

So what about the writing makes us want to know Stargirl, to be Katniss, or fall in love with Edward?   

They seem real.
  
2.   Details: 

What makes a character real is their depth.  You want them to have layers, motivations, emotions, likes/dislikes.  They need to be tangible to you before they can be tangible to anyone else.

Interview your characters:  Have a survey for each one of them.  This is more important than knowing what they all look like (even though your questionnaire can include that).  This is where you discover who they are, what kind of report card they get, how they like their eggs, etc.  Know them inside out and then incorporate their personality quirks in your writing.  

3.  Flaws:

Perfect is boring.  
All Characters need a flaw.  Something they are bad at... even Edward has flaws.  He's just plain stupid over Bella sometimes...

Katniss is an awful actress.
Percy Jackson has learning disabilities.
Connor, from Unwind, has a temper that gets him into fights. 

What I love about these flaws is that they are short comings, but the characters are made more endearing by them...

We love Edward because he's so ridiculously in love with plain ol' Bella.  
Katniss can't fake it, but being herself is all anyone really needs.
Percy may have felt like a misfit because of his learning disabilities but then he finds out his brain is really programmed from Greek...
Connor only fought when he was standing up for something or someone.   

4.  Arc:  

People change.  Characters should too...  but realistically and sometimes subtlety.

You don't want your character to be an entirely different person at the end of the book!  You want your character and their voice to be consistent.  But you want aspects of that character to change, their perspective, or facing a fear or coming to terms with things... This should be gradual in your writing, and is a definite show not tell situation.  Put your characters in positions where they learn something and then stick them in another where they use the wisdom they've gained...    

Back to Connor from Unwind.  I love his transformation because the author, Neal Shusterman, took his flaw:  fighting--made you realize he fought for the right reasons and because he was an alpha--had another character point out that fighting wasn't always the best option and then put him in situations to test what he had learned.  By not fighting Connor was even more powerful and a better leader to the other 'unwinds'.    


Example of a Character Sketch/Interview: 

1.  What's their favorite... food, drink, color, music, hobby?
2.  What kind of personality do they have?  
3.  What's under their bed?
4.  Who do they go to for advice?
5.  What is their biggest strength?
6.  What's their weakness?
7.  Who are their friends/What are they like?
8.  What does their bedroom/locker/the inside of their fridge look like?
9.  How many siblings do they have?
10.  Where is there favorite spot?

Good luck creating your characters, I'm looking forward to meeting them.  

What questions do you like to ask your characters? 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Book Monday: Paranormalcy



Paranormalcy and I texturing the garage.  
I think Evie was having more fun than I was, at least she got to wear  her super cute prom dress...  

Title:  Paranormalcy
Author:  Kiersten White (she has such a great blog go check it out) 
Genre: YA Paranormal :)
Rating: Two Thumbs up

What I thought:
Oh bleep, where to begin.  Loved Evie.  Loved her.  The voice in this novel is so fun.  It was a light, funny read.  Really entertaining.  I really enjoyed the love interest in the story and seeing their relationship develop.  I liked the baggage of Evie's ex-boyfriend.  This is really different than other paranormal books out there.  It's kind of like Men in Black but with a Paranormal twist... There is a government agency that supervises all paranormal activity and Evie is a sixteen-year-old who works for the agency because of a special ability.  I really liked that I couldn't guess where this novel was going.  It was a great read.    



(The pic above is for a contest Kiersten has on her blog, it ends on Sept. 12 so go hurry and buy a copy of Paranormalcy and enter the contest



Wednesday, September 1, 2010

WIP: Brainstorm Edition


My last Beta read my MS.  Dun Dun Duuunnnn!

I've got some tweaking to do.  Tweaking's good.

Need to fill out the ending.
Beef up a couple of characters.
Sprinkle in with some minor details.
Play with the idea of a Prologue.

And then Viola... I'll be done and buy a ticket to query land.

Wait what?  A PROLOGUE...but you never even read those... 


Yes I know a Prologue.  I've started sketching out a couple.  IT'LL BE SUPER SHORT I PROMISE.  We'll see how it goes... If I can possibly insert some of the information/story of my villain in a different way--I will do it.  But right now this seems like the most smooth/best way to get 'er done.

What do you think?

Do you like writing or reading prologues?

Are they confusing? Do they add anything?

I'm curious what other people think.  In the meantime I'm going to keep reading this awesome blog I just found:     Between Fact and Fiction--Natalie Whipple

She has amazing insight and has helped me not throw in the towel... go check out her archives with stuff about:  writing a synopsis, critique groups, querying.  It's great.

 I'm seriously addicted to chalk... 

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday Flash Fiction/OOD

This is a writing prompt otherwise known as an OOD or Obect of Day.  I pulled it from the "inspiration box" my sister made me...  I started doing this in effort to keep writing new things, as I obsessively edit my WIP.  Leave your own piece in the comments : )  I've decided to give myself a word limit:  100.  So here goes:  

Postcard 


“If you can hold it...I would,” I said to Suz.

“It’s that bad?”

“I haven’t seen a toilet like that since the rest stop in Amarillo.”

“How far until the next town?”

“60 miles.”

“I’ll take my chances…”  Suz tapped open the door with one finger. 

I strolled the isles of the station and piled my stash on the counter:  water, gum, snickers.  The clerk beeped each item into the bag.  I grabbed a postcard off the rack on the counter.  I wasn’t ready to call Mom.  But at least we could let her know we were alive.          

Monday, August 30, 2010

Awesome Series...


Title: Mockingjay
Author: Suzanne Collins
Rating: pg-13, Thumbs-up
Genre: Dystopian YA

What I thought:  This book was so intense.  It had to be to top off the build-up from the previous books... but I found my jaw dropping frequently.  Collins was so true to her characters and the situation it was amazing.  I couldn't have done that.  She put them through so much pain and really reflected how they would feel.  I felt that the first hundred pages were long because I was so used to Katniss being in the middle of combat, but at the same time it was necessary to the story.  I really liked the turns in the plot...I can't say I was happy at the end of the book because of the emotional roller-coaster I had ridden, but I wasn't disappointed.    

Synopsis:
Book Trailer


Title:  Only the Good Spy Young
Author: Ally Carter
Genre: YA
Rating: G, Thumbs up

What I thought:  This was the best of the Gallagher Girl Series.  I loved it.  The plot was awesome:  Super cute and suspenseful at the same time.  I love the characters, it's fun to watch them grow and change with each book--they are really tangible.  I'm so excited for the next book.  

Synopsis:
http://www.allycarter.com/books/only-good-spy-young/synopsis

Friday, August 20, 2010

Contest: Musings of a Restless Mind

Anyone with a query they want critiqued?

There is a contest on the blog Musings of a Restless Mind... to win a query critique.  

Go enter it!  The better your query the better chance someone will pull it out of the slush.  

  

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dinosaurs, Adoption and Cool Blogs

We're back...

We lived.  It was a stinking long time in the car... First the nine hour drive to San Antonio to see Shamoof (no that's not a typo, my toddler renamed Shamu while we were down there) and back for a total of 18 hours... and then the other trip that was 20 hours in the car... we took two days to get there and two days back (40 hours!), with only three days in between.  So really this August my daughter and I have spent 58 hours in the car!

This pic is before the 2nd ride home...we still look okay. I have to find an after pic--but I think my husband already saved them in some goofy folder I don't know about, because they are no longer on the card.

She started to bawl when I put her in her carseat yesterday.  Can I blame her?  No.  I can't.  I told her, we were just going to the Grocery store.  I don't think she believed me.

As I've started catching up with blogomundo... I wanted to post some blogs that really should be visited.

First my brother and sister-in-law have just been approved for another adoption (Yea!):


They are so cute, here  is their profile--just trying to spread the word, feel free to do so as well.  They are awesome parents to my niece Halle who was adopted in 2008.  This is their adoption blog.

Another awesome blog belong's to my sister-in-law's (pictured above) sister Jenny... are you confused yet?
This is her blog.










And this one 29 not dead but dying, is amazing... Raven Blackmane rocks... and in case you were wondering I don't think 29 is very old.

My little sister also started a blog.  I took this picture... caught her mid boogie wipe :)

I'm trying to catch up, I'll get there soon.  Other things have taken precedence in the moments since our arrival... like laundry, loads and loads of laundry, grocery shopping, putting away all the crap we brought on our trips... it's been crazy.

So anyway--we're back.  And if you haven't seen the movie pictured at the top.  It's a must see.  No really.  It is.

Monday, July 26, 2010

So long cruel blog-o-sphere

Road trip with the sibs... except the youngest...who wasn't born yet.   Yes that is me on the right. 


I'm taking my WIP on a roadtrip.

Yes, I know, I know...we're not leaving until Sunday... but... we've got oh so much to do before them... and one of those things is finish my WIP so I can read it out loud in the car to my husband who said if he'd only read it if I made it an audio book...  (there is a strange sort of irony to that sentence) 

I'm whittling away my fingers just to type this post so I can go back to editing. 

I'm taking a blogging vacation from now until Aug. 18... 

What?

Yes that's right.  Aug. 18

WHAT?

I know, will I be able to live without the internets for that long?  Probably not but I'm going to try...really really hard.  (My internet fast doesn't not include google maps) 

H.A.G.S.--I don't think I've written that since my 7th grade year book...I feel so nostalgic


Yes this probably sums up all road trips in a nutshell... 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

WIP Thursday

I'm experiencing burn out...

I want to work on my WIP--I've had more major editing ideas/I'm still streamlining my MS... but it's just not working today.

I think it has to do with sleep deprivation and a busy/unpredictable schedule.

Time to pick out a book and recharge.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Parenting

I had a different blog post in mind, but it seems really trivial now--after I read this about happiness in life and being a parent.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

ODD: Glasses



The glasses slid down my nose as I drove with the windows all the way up.  The air conditioning was shot… and so were the small levers that powered the glass up or down.  I was being roasted whole.  I’d never make it to 7/11 in time.  That was my dying wish—a slurpee.  But the car wouldn’t go fast enough.   It sputtered up the hill before stalling out in the middle of the intersection.  I started moving back and forth thinking maybe, just maybe my momentum could get the clunker going again.   A  Jeep full of teenagers flew by and honked at my stopped Buick—they were all holding ice cold beverages…   laughing and guzzling…I envied their brain freeze. 

 I had done something to anger the slurpee god’s and now they were mocking me.       

Monday, July 19, 2010

Book Monday: Unwind


Title: Unwind
Author: Neal Shusterman
Genre: YA Scifi
Rating: Amazing!  PG-13

What is Unwind... and Neal Shusterman's Face Book Page...and a Movie?

What I like:  This book was awesome.  There are three main characters, with very different backgrounds--all running from the same problem.  I loved the multiple perspectives, it really helped you understand what was going on from so many different angles.  I loved the characters in this book--they are multidimensional.  Each go through major metamorphoses and learn to turn their weaknesses into strengths...which is essential in their fight to stay alive when the world is trying to harvest their body parts.  I was so impressed with this book I already have a few other Shusterman books in my to be read pile!  Go check it out!  

Synopsis:
The Heartland War has ended--but there are no winners in the second Civil War.  Trying to appease both sides of the pro-choice, pro-life debate--there is a new law in order.   Parents now have the option to unwind their children when they turn thirteen until they are eighteen.  Their lives will not end, but continue...as part of other human beings.  There are many reasons parents have elected to unwind their children:   delinquent behavior, not meeting potential or a religious tithe.  But once the papers have been signed there is no turning back.  

Conner, Risa and Lev are scheduled to be unwound.  Despite their different backgrounds and personalities, they try to band together to beat the system.

This story is so cool--I don't know how else to put it.  If you need a good summer read...this one won't last long.  I couldn't put it down.  It was a one day-er.    

Friday, July 16, 2010

Random Friday--POW

It's time for a Pearl of Wisdom:

Preparation is like a monocle chained to your vest, always there when you need it.

Ideas are like Cowboy boots--you never know where they'll end up.

Earmuffs are love for your ears.

Love is like sunblock, when applied thickly you feel warm and gooey, when spread thin...you get burned.

Most of these came from a writing exercise I did in the class I'm taking with the Flying DutchPig.
It's really fun all you need to start with is a list of concrete items and a list of abstract ones.

Concrete:                                                            
1. Pineapple                                                                          
2. Lemon                                                          
3. Shoe                                                              
4. Bunny Rabbit                                    
5. light bulb                                                                   

Abstract:
1. Hate
2. Love
3. Happiness
4. Peace
5. Success

And then you mix and match until you have a comparison you can throw in your WIP...

Hate is like a lemon, they both do ugly things to your face.
Peace is like a bunny rabbit, soft and quiet.
Success is like a light bulb, the newer it is the brighter it burns.
Pineapple is happiness.  Yellow and sweet.

You get the idea...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

OOD: Watch


Posted by PicasaThe watch stopped.  8:44 a.m.  Where am I at 8:44?  I was going somewhere, doing something.  But now it’s stopped.  And not just the watch I’m afraid.  Time is standing still.  I scream as I inch forward.  Time is not still but moving slower than it ever has before. 

The car is stopped, but the pieces are still moving.  I wear metal and glass as the hissing grows louder.  I close my eyes.  Whatever is happening doesn’t matter.  Wherever I was going doesn’t matter.  Breathing matters.  I try to suck in the air.   The airbag so forcefully knocked the oxygen from my lungs.  My neck burns from the seatbelt, my head pounds.  The only thing I can think is “Will someone please turn off that siren?

Link to an awesome Contest


I really want to read 'Anna and the French Kiss' by Stephanie Perkins... maybe you will too.
This is a contest by Myrna at Night Writer to win a pre-order of AFK and 'Paranormalcy' by Kiersten White 

The contest closes tonight at midnight!  So hurry on over!




Wednesday, July 14, 2010

WIP

I've been hiccuping on my WIP...

I worked hard for about a week, and then WHAMMO...I haven't worked on it in four days! 


My hiccups have been induced by having some awesome plot twisting ideas... and putting off making the changes. (I've been studying up on "raising the stakes" and character motivation) 

I'm on my 8th draft. 8th. 

And I just realized that I need to add two major threads to my story...

I had just successfully chopped my word count to:

79496 (which is still kind off long, I'm shooting for 75,000)

Bummer, because that's about to go back up.  Here's me putting on my writing hat...and then back to the chopping block. 

Yes.  That is my thinking sombrero and my lucky machete.  


  


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Thale's Folly

 
Author: Dorothy Gilman (Famous for Mrs. Polifax series)
Title: Thale's Folly
Rating: PG, Thumbs up
Genre: light mystery... (yes I just made that up...but I have no idea how else to describe it :)

What I liked:  This book was really cute, I liked the characters, especially the protagonist and his transformation. 

Synopsis: (From back of book)  At the request of his father, New York novelist Andrew Thale tackles an odd assignment--to check out an old family property in Massachusetts, neglected since Aunt Harriet Thale's death years ago. But far from being deserted, Thale's Folly as Andrew discovers, is fully inhabited--by a quartet of charming squatters, former "guests" of kindhearted Harriet.  There is elegant Miss L'Hommedieu, Gussie the witch, Leo the bibliophile, and beautiful Tarragon, who is unlike any girl Andrew has ever met in Manhattan.

Andrew is entranced by these unworldly creatures and their simple life.  Yet all is not well in Thale's Folly.  A thief breaks into the farmhouse, an old friend of the "family" disappears, and Andrew and Tarragon are drawn into mysteries they cannot fathom...



Friday, July 9, 2010

Part 4: Fruit War (go back and start with part 1 first...)





Okay so this last video had nothing to do with Bruce, but while digging through little bro's youtube channel, I ran across this and thought it was so cool...

Anyway, I also wanted to extend warm welcome to Avner--my bro's new pet... who almost made me throw up just thinking about him... really you can ask my parents and brother about it. 



No this isn't really Avner--I think Avner is even bigger and blacker... but both make my skin crawl...

-Pearl

Part 3: Bruce and Matt



And more Bruce...

Part 2: Mattatouie



Pets have been on my mind with all the dog watching/adoption in the extended family...so I couldn't let pass the opportunity to pay tribute to Bruce, my little bro's tarantula of three years.  And even though I couldn't attend the funeral, which I heard was really nice, I wanted to pay my respects and show the best memories I have of Bruce.  




Part 1: A tribute to Bruce

You'd think I was an animal person... we had so many pets growing up though, I think I was cured of it...

My sister, the Flying Dutchpig got a dog within the last couple of weeks.  Her name is Lovey, and we love to visit her, but I'm glad she stays at their house...


Especially after we had to dog sit for the other side of the family for the last two weeks--Meet Marshmallow 


and Gizmo... 

They seems like nice dogs--and they are, but still I'm cured of wanting a family pet (other than our fish) especially after they started fighting when baby-Pearl and I were trying to feed them... Baby was in between them, lets just say it didn't take long for the Mama Bear to pop out of me... I still haven't forgiven them for knocking down/stepping on my baby... 

Stay tune for Tribute to Bruce parts 2-4... 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

OOD 5


The string webbed through the mimosa tree, fern like leaves and feather like flowers.  I tugged on the string and the branches shivered, but nothing gave.  The dragon kite was perched on the highest arm laughing at me with bugged eyes and flared nostrils.  I stamped my foot as its tonuge slithered out mocking me.

I pulled up on the lowest branch and kicked at the trunk until I could grasp the next limb.  I shimmied up the tree.

The kite was only five feet above me--I could make it if I was careful.  The limbs grew smaller as I squirmed upward.  The swayed underneath my weight.  I held on tightly, my knees knocking at the precarious situation.
My arms became sore clinging for my life, my hands pinched and raw.  I was stuck.  The kite barely out of reach.  I was too high up to safely climb back down.

I bit my lip holding back my tears.

"Mom? What are you doing in that tree?"
"Robbie!  I took your new kite for a test run.  Go get your Dad--tell him to bring the ladder, the one we use for Christmas lights."

I swallowed the lump in my throat, as I watched Robert run towards home, help was on the way.  Darn kite.  

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Query 911, does your query suck?

No my husband and daughter won't respond to Query calls... but the picture is so darn cute.  

Query 911:

Places to send your letter before querying: 
QueryTest (easy to use, fun, lots of response)
Query Shark (not for weenies)
Public Slush Pile (haven't tried this, but response level seems hit and miss)
Ask Daphne (query reviews on Fridays)
Nathan Bransford (does query reviews and first pages weekly)


How to write it:
Elana Johnson--awesome query writer...and gives great tips here, hook--here, setup--here, conflict--here, consequence--here, everything else--here   She just posted about how querying is a game
Pub Rants  goes through successful client queries and why they work
Anatomy of a query letter  by Caren Johnson Literary Agency

Author Query:
Heather Brewer (I found this when I was first trying to figure out what a query is, it's cool that she posted her letter...because it worked)

Finding Agents to Query:
Query Tracker
Agent Query

So I want to know...

What have you done to work on/perfect your query?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Writing Books

Three steps for writing a book:

1. Get idea (let it fester) 
2. Write (at least 500 words a day for about 6 months) 
3. Revise (until it sings) 

See writing a novel is easy... it's the whole publishing thing that seems to trip us up.  As I have not yet queried my novel I'm not sure how well these books work, but they have given me a lot to chew on... 




See Jane Write, a Girls Guide to Writing Chick Lit by  Sarah Mlynowski

This book got me started, it helped me set goals and see that the first step to writing a book is...duh writing it...but so many people quit before it's done, just by finishing your MS you are leaps and bounds ahead of millions of others who want to write a book... p.s. my novel is YA, not Chick-lit--this book can be applied to other genres. 



Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass
This is a really good book to help you develop your ideas, even if they are lame...into break out novels, by building a breakout premise--making something plausible, conflicted, original, emotional... it can take your writing to the next level--this book has given me so much to think about!  



The First Five Pages: A Writers Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile by Noah Lukeman 
I'm still in the editing stages of  my MS and I want to make it the best I can--to do that I need to realize what my story is lacking, i.e. see the blind spots, this book can help you see the areas you are weak in... 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

slacking and rejection

So I'm slacking on my OOD posts, I had my writing class Tuesday and I did write one yesterday...I just didn't post it... but I'm still editing my WIP so all is well.

I just read this blog post about rejection and the comments have some good words of encouragement for those going through it!

Monday, June 28, 2010

OOD 4




I popped the quarter in the slot and cranked the metal handle.  I cupped my hand at the bottom of the spout ready for my treasure—but nothing came.  The greedy machine wouldn't give me my candy or the quarter.

I tapped, I turned, I twisted.   Nothing.  I had to find another quarter.  My mouth was cotton, I needed that gum.  I circled around the machine hoping to find some money; the circumference grew as I scoured the pavement.  Around and around I shuffled until I saw a scuffed up quarter.  I bent to retrieve it, but it was stuck I couldn’t remove the money from the asphalt.  I pulled and bent my fingernails, the quarter didn’t budge.

I stalked up to the machine and gave it one final thump with my fist.  I walked away without my quarter, without my gum, but at least I had a nice bruise to take with me.  I rubbed my sore hand and went home.   


     

Friday, June 25, 2010

OOD 3



The mutant octopus slimmed towards us, it’s large tentacles glowing with bubbling yellow toxin.  We weren’t going to make it.  Fin smiled sadly. 

“I’m sorry! It wasn’t supposed to be this way,” I cried.

“What? The neon yellow octopus wasn’t part of the date?”  He was trying to be funny.  It made me sick.  Here we were on the deck of my father’s sailboat, floating in an oil infested ocean with a giant suctioned cupped cephalopod on the deck, and sharks darting around the boat.

I closed my eyes and prepared myself for the sting of the poison as a tentacle hovered over me.  Make it quick, just make it quick.  
    
Thunk!

I peeked open an eye.  A large hunk of octopus flesh sat before me, bubbling and oozing.  The sea creature let out a horrible shriek and turned it’s full attention towards Fin who was now holding a large machete. 

“Where did you find that?”

“It was next to the life jackets and some aerosol can of something…” Fin puffed as he thwacked off another arm.  I smacked my forehead and ran for the can underneath the bench.   I pulled out the sea monster repellant as more octopus chunks flew. 

“Back up!” I ordered Fin.  I sprayed the pink foam over the intruder.  His bubbling skins started to hiss, as orange  vapor poured out of him.  The octopus slid back off the edge of the boat and deep into the ocean.  

“Phew, that was a close one…” Fin wiped his face with his t-shirt.

“Yeah it was, do you want to have our picnic now, or wait until we’re on shore?”

“I’d take some lemonade.”

“Sure thing.” 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

OOD2


Stars twinkled overhead as she belted out her favorite tune.  Her cheeks were wind whipped but her spirits were still up as the moon arched it’s way across the sky.  It was only three hours past her bed time, but it seemed to matter less with every s’more she ate.  A belly laugh like a baby tiger, the girl tickled her daddy next to the campfire. 

“Ticka, ticka, ticka.”

“Hmm, I think it’s time for someone to go to bed,” Dada said.

“I no wanna go to bed.”

“Yes but you should.”

“Dada’s right sweetie, if you want to go swimming in the morning you have to go to bed,” Mom started up. 

“I wanna watch a show.”

“Sorry pumpkin, there’s no tv out here.”

“Maybe we should have brought one…” Dada rubbed his head.  His musing was interrupted by a sharp cracking sound in the woods beside them.  Gizmo, the family dog, perked up at the disturbing noise.  An English bulldog ripped through the brush and straight for the beloved family pet.  Dada grabbed up the baby, while Mom kicked off the intruder.   The dog slowly backed away, with low throaty barks escaping through it’s horrible mouth.

“That stupid thing bit me,” Mom grumbled.

“Is it bad?” Dada asked.

“No, I think it only had one tooth, but maybe we should sleep in the car.”

As the family tossed and turned in the car, the little girl requested the Barney song to lull her to sleep.  This is when Dada decided that maybe they should just pack it up and go home.  The family decided to campout In the family room and fall asleep to Blues Clues, making the girl extremely happy.  It was the best camping trip ever.