Saturday, July 30, 2011

Goodbye Borders

First off, I would love to be the owner of this bookshelf, but sadly, I am not. Mine is all a clutter of books/magazines/manuscript binders, etc. Maybe one day I'll reorganize and take a picture of it (them, actually). They're a bit ridiculous.

By now most of you know that Borders is going out of business. When I heard those words, it was a shot straight through my heart. *cries!* (Ironically, I'm writing this sitting in the Barnes and Noble Cafe. *Looks around with shifty eyes* Shh...) Yes, I've gone to the dark side. I think this will give Barnes and Noble the precedence to charge whatever they want for books since they will lack any major competition, therefore driving up the price of paper books and forcing people to mainstream towards E-readers. *cries more*

I am one of those old school girls who loves the feel of a new (or old!) book. I love the smell of the ink. I love to flip the pages knowing that you're the first one to do so. I love being able to hand off said books to friends. I love dog-eared pages. I love autographed books. I. Love. Books. The tangible, joy-inducing, wonder-creating books.

That being said, at this point I do not own an E-reader of any sort. The closest I've come to E-reading is reading a manuscript on my phone for a friend and reading Midnight Sun online. Totally not the same thing. I can't imagine the downfall of paper books. Just think! No bookstores, no libraries (with new books, anyway), no used book stores. All the joy will literally be sucked out of this god-forsaken planet.

There I said it.

I'm not entirely sure I can live without these books. I keep getting visions of post-apocalyptic empty bookshelves. They're haunting my dreams and keeping me up at night. It's similar to the book burnings that used to occur. (Remember that scene in The Day After Tomorrow where the librarians freak because they're burning the books? That's ME!)

Here comes the next conundrum. What will happen to agents? Publishers? The entire writing market? As this shift happens, we're cutting out the middleman, like we do with so many other things. My stomach is tying itself into knots just thinking about it. Don't get me wrong- I love technology. But I love books more.

Once I'd joked with a friend that I could be locked in Borders for weeks and never get tired of it. I'm really that much of a bookworm, but that's beside the point. I've written (count them!) FOUR manuscripts at Borders, right there in the little cafe (that's closed now.) I put myself through school in that cafe. I met there with friends and classmates, we shared memories. I knew the baristas, I knew how the books were classified.

And now, with the closing of Borders, I feel like I'm losing a good friend. So though I took advantage of the not so good sale, I'm truly going to miss it.

Now I'm sitting at Barnes and Noble and it's similar to Borders, but it's not the same. It feels wrong to me, distracting even. Maybe I'll get over it. Maybe I'll find a new place to write. But I know this, nothing will ever compare to that first place where I found my dream.

So goodbye Borders. This writer will miss you.

All the best,

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rock Star

Do you ever have those days where you feel like a rock star? That was me today. I must have done something right because karma was good to me.

It actually started last night when my guardie Lisbeth came to visit and pick up flags. If you haven't heard, I coach a winterguard team. It's a lot like colorguard (you know those crazy kids with the flags that perform with the band at halftime?) except it's in the winter and we don't have a band. Here's a video of my kids from last season:


This isn't the best video of them, but you get the idea. (All my other video's sound got deleted. Stupid youtube.)

So anyway, Lisbeth came over last night and was talking about how much she looks up to me. Do you know what it's like to have someone look up to you? It feels really, really awesome. She told me how I'm always happy and perky even when I only have 2 hours of sleep. She said something like "You came to practice and were like: I just worked eight hours and I only got two hours of sleep. Let's practice! Woo!" Haha, yeah. I guess that's me. I put a lot into these kids because I love them and they mean the world to me. I love coaching.

So, after my high of being told how great I am (tooting my own horn, I know) I had a really awesome day today. In case you didn't read about it all over Twitter, I'm going to recap it for you.

First, I found out that I won a book! It's Dead Rules by Randy Russell. You can read the post I entered on here. That, of course, made me really excited. When I get my book and read it, I'll let you all know how it is! I'm looking forward to it because it sounds like it's exactly the kind of book I love reading. (And like a month ago I won a Barnes and Noble gift card off a blog. This is why blogging rocks my friends!)

Second, my crazy Memebow Bright meme made The Daily Meme.  Not such a huge deal, I don't think, but it's cool! (And this morning you all were trying to put some blame on me for playing the meme game. Booyah, I say, booyah.)

Third, my amazing best friend Mary Joe sent me a text regarding the latest chapter I sent her for my WIP. MJ reads all of my stuff and actually talks to me about it, even when I'm crazy and my characters come to life. She's a serious asset. Anyways, back to the text. She said (And I quote!) "You really can take an awesome character and slowly make her have a mental breakdown. (That's a compliment.)" Um hello. Yes it is! Especially when that's exactly what you're trying to do!

Thus ends my fantastic day. Let's hope tomorrow is just as bright. Maybe I'll play the lottery.

All the best,

Monday, July 25, 2011

Memebow Bright

Lately I've been getting tagged in a lot of memes. They're seriously fun and ridiculous, and a good excuse to write, even if it's about something completely silly. That being said, I've run into a huge MEME issue. It usually takes me about a week to respond to these meme things, and by that time all of my writerly friends have been tagged by other people. Either A: I need to make some more friends or B: I need to start my own meme. 

Of course, I chose the second option because I'm funny looking and that makes it hard for me to make friends. But, on to the meme-ing! (Haha, did you notice that play on words? You did? ...Oh.  Well...pickle you kumquat!)

Show us the cutest, most adorable picture of your favorite animal:
You have five seconds to survive the zombie apocalypse. Choose one friend who would save your butt and then tell us why you chose them.
Riley Redgate. I'm choosing Riley because I know she's read more books than I can probably imagine (and that's saying something.) I'm also hoping that she read the Zombie Apocalypse Handbook. If all else fails, I'll just trip her. (Aww, just kidding. You're just a baby, I guess I'd have to sacrifice myself.)

Share a quote with us:
"How many stars in your bowl? How many shadows in your soul?" -D.H. Lawrence, The Stars Stand Still

I know you had trouble choosing just one quote. Let us have another, please:
"Nothing is free. Everything has to be paid for. For every profit in one thing, payment in some other thing. For every life, a death. Even your music, of which we have heard so much, that had to be paid for. Your wife was the payment for your music. Hell is now satisfied." -Ted Hughes, "The Tiger's Bones"

Using exactly twenty seven words, tell your life story:
I was born and did a bunch of stuff. I grew up. I got married and had a kid. I really, really, really want to be published.

Please do not throw your hands in the air. This is not a stick up:
Gay babies. (This is what one of my guard kids says whenever there is an awkward silence. I find it very appropriate for this situation.)

All dead rock legends live again. You're standing in a fifty mile long line for:
It's a toss up between Led Zeppelin and Nirvana. A sweet, sweet toss up.

Describe yourself using six words that start with the third letter of your middle name. Go!:
Rad. Ravishing. Rude. Raving (as in raving mad!) Ridiculous. Rowdy.

What is your middle name? (This is for research purposes only. Your response will not affect your chances of employment.): 

What do you think of when you hear the word wombat?
 Badgers. What else would you think of?

Tag an undisclosed (Read: 3. Or whatever. Are there any rules to these meme things? I didn't think so.) amount of people and then harass them mercilessly until they give into the insanity.

1. Riley Redgate (To make up for my zombie comments.)

2. Cherie (Because she's just so nice and always leave me sweet comments.)

3. Michelle Simkins (She's gotten me into a lot of fun stuff. It would be rude not to share the love.)

Make up a stripper nickname for number 3: Nixie Green

Confess your hidden feelings for 1: I totally idolize you and find you amazing and sarcastic and hilarious. I will love you always. Unless you change. In which case I'll still love you because you couldn't be anything other than awesome.

What is 2 doing right now?: Reading my blog and dreaming of sugar plums.

Now faithful followers, GO! Share the love.

All the best,

These are SO unfair.

Just kidding. If you guys didn't tag me for memes I'm not sure I would be keeping up on my blogging. So, thanks! And now for the moment you've all been waiting for:

The Meme is in the building.

1. Are you a rutabaga?
I am not, at this moment, a rutabaga. What is a rutabaga anyway? It doesn't even SOUND edible. Okay, so I Googled it. (I'm a Google freak, btw. Don't even try to review my searches. They're a little crazy.) Here's the number 1 Google image of a rutabaga:
Okay, so I'm standing by my initial reaction. That doesn't really look edible. But anyways, the search actually led me to a blog about rutabagas. (See how helpful Google is?) Read the blog here and give the rutabaga some love.

When was the last time you ate lion meat?
This morning. It was that or the rutabaga. I picked the lesser of two evils.

Upload a heartwarming picture of something that makes you smile.
Those are my baby boy's hands. He's adorable. :)

If you could go back in time and kick the crap out of someone, who would it be?
Uhm. This would be a tough one if I didn't hate my mother in law. It's her. I'd totally kick the crap out of her. Probably several times. (I know this makes me sound terrible, but wouldn't say that if you knew her! She's evil!)

Name one habit that makes other people plot your demise.
My addiction to my computer/writing and books. The world could end and I totally wouldn't know it if I was writing or reading.
What song would you like to be playing while you are kicking the crap out of someone?
Rootless Tree by Damien Rice. I've kind of deemed it the theme song for my husband's family. Well, not his entire family really. Just the mother in law. She truly is awful. I'm not lying... Oh. And here's the song, just in case you've never heard it. Damien Rice is epic. He rocks my socks (and other things.)

Where da muffin top at?
Hanging out over my shorts. Thanks for reminding me that I need to go to the gym. Ugh. So rude.

How many goats, stacked atop one another like Yertle’s Turtles, would it take to reach the moon?
I'm not quite sure how to handle this, but it does remind me of a comedy act I heard once that talked about an orgy. (Bear with me you dirty freaks!) It went something like this: Girl on girl on girl on guy on girl on girl on guy on girl on girl on guy on girl on sheep. (hehe, sheep.)

Describe yourself using obscure Latin words.
decorus fragorum diligo Beautiful strawberry lover. Huh. Translator machines are awesome.

Why does evil exist?
You know, I haven't figured out why my mother in law exists, but I think it starts with "when a man loves a woman..."

What the fuck are you thinking right now?
That you just said the f word and that's not very fucking nice.

If you could decide whose face should go on the money, who would you pick?
People who matter. Like rappers.
If you had to pick between a pet squirrel and a pet iguana, which would you choose?
The iguana. He could hang out with my two bearded dragons, Jethrow and Abbie. (Yes as in NCIS. I have two awesome lizards.) And if I got the iguana, he'd be Dinozzo, or if it was a she, Ziva.

Tag blogger some friends, whatever random number that suits you.Ha! You can’t say “no tagbacks” because I just made up new rules! BOO YAH. Make up your own rules or be enslaved by another blogger’s. (Apparently the wonder Michelle Simkins made up this rule. Cool.)

Gah! You all do realize that I'm always WAY behind on these meme things, and when I actually get around to doing them, everyone ELSE has already been tagged.


I'm not tagging anyone and I'm going to make my own MEME. Booyah.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Rant From the Music World

So something has been bothering me lately. I tried to complain to my husband about it, but he just looked at me like I was crazy (like usual). That led me to you fortunate (or unfortunate) people! It's your lucky day.

As you probably know by now. I'm obsessed with music much like I'm obsessed with writing. (Read: there is NOTHING about writing in this post. If you want to stop now, I'll never know.) I listen to a plethora of music in just about every genre. From opera and classical to alternative and punk to hip hop and rap. It's all there, on my iTunes.

I also listen to the radio on occasion. (Very rare occasions. VERY rare. I hate commercials and morning shows. They are the bane of my existence.) On the radio is where I hear alternative songs being remade in hip hop and R & B songs. Doesn't anyone else notice this? And do you EVER hear about the alternative artist who initially recorded the track? No. No you don't. You just run around thinking, Aww man, these rappers/ R & B ers/ modern singers are so phresh (lol!) and fly.

Truth is. No. They aren't. They're just taking another artist's work and pulling it off as their own. And unless you're a music junkie like me, you don't know the difference.

SO! Now I would like to enlighten you to 4 songs. The 2 originals and then the 2 new versions. Instant cred to the original artists. (Not that I don't like the sampling in the remakes, I do! I just think there should be some sort of credit law for this. Must be the writer in me!)

Song Number One: Float On by Modest Mouse

It's a lovely tune, totally dance worthy. And there are sheep in the video. (Um pretty sure there's a goat posse out there who will at least appreciate the sheep.) Has guys with big 'staches. Retro cool.

Song Number Two: The Show Goes On by Lupe Fiasco

Also totally dance worthy. Fun. Has far less scantily clad women than expected. (Props Lupe for being different.) Has big bad ass dudes with ear pieces. Plus the Shark Week ad at the beginning features Lady Gaga's Teeth which makes me insanely happy. But I digress...

Do you notice a HUGE similarity in these songs? Seriously!  Modest Mouse rocked it out and Lupe Fiasco took it and rapped it out. Whoa? Whoa?! (Interrobang! Learned that from Michelle Simkins)

Song Number Three: Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap

A weird techy song by a chick with a rocking awesome voice. Has a bit of a lyrical twist to it. 

Song Number Four: What You Say by Jason Derulo

Oh my gosh! Did you listen while you dancing around your kitchen? It's the same lyrics. Whoa interrobang is right, my friends. Whoa, indeed. (Plus has scantily clad women. No props, Jason. None for you.) (It does have the Shark Week ad though. Yesss!!)

What it comes down to people, is cred. It should be given where it's due. I could go on, but this rant has taken up a significant portion of my morning that was supposed to be dedicated to cupcakes. (And jungle animals!)

End Rant.

All the best,

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Skeleton Key: Chapter Seven

Here it is! Chapter Seven of the The Skeleton Key. This is a Round Robin Blogvel created by the fascinating and wonderfully terrific Michelle Simkins You can find a complete list of chapters here. The next chapter will be available on Monday, July 25 at Jennifer's Blog The Demeter Diaries.

Chapter Seven

“I’ve got Jacque on call and Greta is on her way, though honestly, I have no idea what they could do to improve her.” Ashley glanced furtively at Angelica, longing clear in her hazel eyes. “Some girls have all the—” Her babbling halted with a squeak.  “Beck,” her voice dropped to a harsh whisper. Ashley’s entourage leaned in, straining to hear her words. “Don’t look now, but the next Gap model is standing behind you. He is smoking!” 
I tore my gaze from Angelica, who was glaring at Ax with palpable hostility, and followed Ashley’s eyes as they darted between Ax and me. “Um…about that…” I grabbed Ashley’s upper arm in a death grip.
“Ouch, Beck. What are you doing?” Ashley whined. Behind me, I could feel Ax’s body heat rise to scorching, and wondered idly if he would spontaneously combust. Ashley’s Jimmy Choo’s screeched in protest on the marble tile as I dragged her towards Ax.
“We must leave at once,” Ax informed me. His eyes were tight at the corners and his mouth set in a grim line. He took in Ashley, from her perfectly highlighted curls to her beachy coral toe nail polish that peeked out from her designer shoes. Jealousy bloomed in my chest. She was my identical twin after all. If Ax thought I was his mate, what did that mean for Ashley? 
            “Beck—wait,” Ashley drew up haltingly, her eyes wide on Ax. “You know him?”
            Apparently we didn’t have time for introductions, because Ax hauled us unceremoniously into the crowded New York street. I ducked to avoid a collision with a sign that read ‘Meat: God’s Perfect Food.’ I caught a glimpse of Ashley’s stunned entourage through the glass windows, and finally Angelica. She bared her teeth, but she wasn’t looking at me. Her black eyes were trained solidly on Ax’s retreating back. 
            Ax didn’t stop until we were four blocks away, inside a crowded cafĂ©. Ashley was rendered speechless, either by Ax’s rudeness or beauty—I wasn’t sure which. 
            I wrenched my wrist away from Ax’s scorching fingers, surprised when he let me.  “Ashley, this is Ax.  He’s my…friend.” How else could I describe him?  Hey Ash, this is my mate. He’s a dragon—sometimes steam comes out his ears. Don’t worry, he’s harmless.
            Ashley’s perfectly arched eyebrow reached her hair line. “Really? Fascinating.” Color rose in her cheeks and her voice turned menacing. I wasn’t really worried. Unlike Ax, Ashley actually was harmless. “As much as I’d love to stay and chat, I’ve got to get back to Angelica.” She whirled, ready to stomp from the dingy coffee shop.
            “You will not be returning to Angelica,” Ax growled. A tiny puff of steam curled from his right ear.
            “What’ll it be?”
            Startled, the three of us turned to the barista. She cracked her gum and feigned disinterest in us. “Three chamomile teas please, skim milk and honey.” Ax gave her a winning smile and she swallowed hard.
            When the barista was out of earshot, I said, “You drink chamomile tea?” I thought dragons only ate flesh—preferably still warm on the live and writhing victim.
            Ax shrugged, “It calms me.”
            Ashley looked ready to explode, her hands clenched in fists at her sides. “Look—I don’t know what’s going on with the two of you, but Angelica is waiting and I have a massage at one with Sven…” She trailed off as fresh steam wisped from Ax’s ears. All the blood drained from her face.
            Oh no, I thought, here we go. I patted her arm reassuringly, wondering if she was going to faint. Ax would probably catch her gallantly and whisk her away to safety. I put my arm around her waist, just in case. “We need to talk,” I said finally. 
            Ax retrieved our steaming cups of tea and we took a table shoved into the corner of the tiny dining area. Ashley’s pallor turned from pale to purple to sickening green as I explained the morning’s events. Her hands shook so badly that she spilled scorching tea across the table and into Ax’s lap. He jumped up with a growl.
            “Here, let me.” I pressed my napkin to the front of his jeans, until I realized where I was touching. Embarrassed heat flushed my face. Did dragons have male parts? He must, I decided. He was in a human body, after all. Ax stilled my hand with his own.
            “It’s fine.” He held my fingers a moment too long, an amused smile altering his features and darkening his eyes with something else. Desire? Longing? When he finally released me, I crossed my arms protectively across my chest, hiding my hands.
            “So—what you’re saying, what you said…what…” Ashley mumbled her first words, her eyes huge and disbelieving. “You’re crazy.” She nodded, her honey curls bobbed on her shoulders. “You’re both crazy.” She pinched her arm, wincing when nothing happened.
            I snorted. I’d had the same reaction. “Look—all you’re going to do is get bruises. You won’t wake up. Ax is still a dragon, I’m still searching for someone’s finger, and all the monsters are real.” My voice took on an air of superiority. I was older by seven minutes. It was easy for me to boss Ashley around—I’d been doing it for twenty three years.
            “No…” she moaned. “I’m just gonna go back to Chic and do the shoot with Angelica. We’re going to forget this ever happened.” She breathed heavily, like she’d just run a marathon. “None of this is real.”
Angelica. I’d forgotten about her, what with all my consoling of Ashley. I considered her long limbs and raven hair, her shiny coal eyes. I’d never seen anyone more beautiful. I wondered how Ax knew her. Neither one of them looked particularly pleased to see the other.
Next to me, Ashley hyperventilated while Ax looked on, unimpressed. 
"It's going to be fine," I crooned in an irritating falsetto. "It's not so bad."
Ashley jumped to her feet, nearly knocking over the two remaining cups of tea.  "You..." She pointed an accusatory finger at Ax. Several other patrons swiveled their heads with interest.
Before Ashley could morph into a total freak out, I pushed her towards the bathroom. Obviously, public was not the place to have this conversation. I’d warned Ax that she wouldn’t take this information well.
Ax followed us into the women’s bathroom, his expression murderous. He locked the door. The three of us barely fit in the tiny, smelly space. Ax’s shoulders brushed Ashley’s and she jumped, pressing herself closer to me.
“Please don’t hurt me,” she begged. She jammed a fist against her trembling lips and mascara streaked tears made rivers on her cheeks.
I rolled my eyes. We were better off without her. I dug through my bag for a tissue, ignoring the hummer that took up most of the space.
“What’s going on in there?” The door rattled under someone’s fist, loud enough to jar my teeth loose. Ashley mouth rounded into an ‘o’ in preparation to scream for help.
I lifted my hand to cover her face, but Ax had already pulled Ashley and me against him. We disappeared from the bathroom in a wall of flames.

I found myself on a busy city street. People bustled around us, speaking in high, melodic voices. I couldn’t understand their words.
“Where are we?” I murmured, looking around before glancing back at Ax. He was holding Ashley upright. Her eyes were rolled back in her head, the whites showing. She’d actually fainted. What a lightweight.
Ax looked down at Ashley in disgust. Her head lolled against his arm. “Is she always this…fragile?”
I laughed, “I warned you.” Behind him I spied a familiar landmark. “We’re in Tokyo?” I squealed, delighted. I’d always wanted to visit Tokyo, though I always thought it would involve tons of money, a vacation planner, and a really long flight.
Ax brusquely slung Ashley over his shoulder and firmly grasped my hand. He pulled me down the crowded street.
“Is there an embassy here?” I wondered as Ax continued dragging me, his fingers burning mine. “Do you think this one is ruined too? Where are the others?” My feet slapped against the pavement as I struggled to keep up with him. “Who’s Angelica?” Slap, slap, slap. “Why does she hate you?” Slap, slap, slap. “Why aren’t you answering me?”
Ax stopped abruptly and I smacked into Ashley’s drooping head. She moaned in response.
“Angelica,” Ax snarled. Steam trickled from his ears and his face turned beet red. He yanked on my hand, as if to continue dragging me. I dug my feet in and refused to budge. He rounded on me, enraged. Steam poured from his ears. “Why must you be so inquisitive?” He demanded.
I put my hands on my hips. “Why must you be so obtuse?”
            Ax snorted and a smile broke across his face. “Rebecca…” he trailed a hand across my cheek and I instinctively leaned into it before I realized what I was doing. I stepped away from him, but he only frowned. “I have lived for fifteen hundred years. I am the most powerful being this side of the Quaterjarnexal Complex. And yet you question me.”
            I crossed my arms over my chest and glared at him, working up my meanest expression—the one I reserved for only the direst moments. “Look buddy, this morning I found out that my coworker is a succubus, my boss is some sort of black,” I flailed my arms wildly, “thing, and was informed that the world is composed of monsters, demons, and things that go bump in the night. I was sent on a godforsaken mission to retrieve some dead chick’s finger from a murderer, and I saw a dead body.” I took a threatening step towards him. He had the common sense to look worried.
“I’ve been to Iceland, Istanbul, and Tokyo in the matter of a few hours. You’re a dragon that’s claimed me as a mate and you’re lugging my unconscious sister around like a sack of potatoes. Forgive me if I start to question you!
“Angelica,” he said very mildly, “Is my ex-girlfriend. And if we don’t find the skeleton key, she’s going to kill me.”


I have been tagged by the lovely and fabulous Riley Redgate for this wonderful post. It's dirty! It's forbidden! It's a good thing we're all friends here or this would be downright wrong! Or right. It all depends on how you look at it, I suppose.
Here goes!
What do you call your panties/underwear/undergarments? Do you have any commonly used nicknames for them?
Mostly I call them underwear. However, I do have a three year old son, and my mother (who has two daughters, and no sons) loves to call my son's underwear panties. How embarrassing. Especially in public. Especially when he repeats it. Gah! Parents...

Have you ever had that supposedly common dream of being in a crowded place in only your underwear?
No. In fact what I'm wearing NEVER comes up in my dreams. Unless, of course, I'm not wearing anything. No one is really concerned about clothes in those dreams.

What is the worst thing you can think of to make panties out of?
Sand paper.
Just sayin'...

If you were a pair of panties, what color would you be, and WHY?
I would be hot pink underwear (not panties! Gah! NOT panties!). I would also have sparkles and/or sequins. Maybe feathers. Actually I have a pair just like this. *Runs to get camera*




Oh man. Husband says that's inappropriate. Stupid responsible husband!

Have you ever thrown your panties/underwear at a rock star or other celebrity? If so, which one(s)? If not, which one(s) WOULD you throw your panties/underwear at, given the opportunity?
I have not. And probably will not. I have however been to an All Time Low concert, which is the ONLY concert I've been to where people have thrown their bras. It was weird and awkward, but the lead singer seemed to like it. So...whatev.
Also, I'm not gonna take my underwear off in public. Sick! Sick! Sick!

You’re out of clean panties. What do you do?

Are you old enough to remember Underoos? If so, did you have any? Which ones?
Underoos! Actually, no. I've heard of these, but have no clue what they are.

If you could have any message printed on your panties, what would it be?
You know all those quotes on the taco bell sauces? Those.

How many bloggers does it take to put panties on a goat?
Seven. Think about it.

Tag Four People and tell them why you are being so cruel to them.
Oh crap. Well you see...everyone I know knows everyone else so I'm sure everyone has already been tagged. *breathes*
Ok. I'm seriously hyperventilating about this. I'm not tagging anyone! Ha. Deal with it.

All the best,

Excerpt from my WIP

I have decided to grace you with a snippet of my newest WIP. There is a reason for this. You see, I'm simply in LOVE with my main character and I would like to share her with you. I'm also in love with the story line and everything else it entails.

Anyhoo... that pretty much sums it up. Here's the goodness:

Reality flickered at the edges of my vision, bright and painfully demanding. I rolled over and pushed my head under my pillow where the sheets were still blissfully cool and not humid from my seven hours of glorious sleep.
            I’d been dreaming.
            It was a nice dream, all things considered. Nothing spectacular, it didn’t feature any hot guys that I made out with until we were both gasping and unbelievably turned on or a murdering psychopath that chased me until he either caught up and slashed me to death, or I did really something really stupid like accidently tripped and fell off a cliff to my doom.
            No, it hadn’t been anything like that.
            My alarm screeched in my ear, that annoying beep that rattles in your brain long after you’ve slapped the thing to within an inch of its miserable life. It never failed. I always woke up a couple minutes before my alarm. I didn’t know why I bothered with one when my body was so set on leeching those last couple of seconds of peaceful oblivion from me.
            I flailed at my nightstand, hitting the snooze button after several attempts, and managing to knock everything else off in the process. My dream journal, the collection of sparkly gel pens, my retainer I hadn’t worn in three months, and a water bottle all clattered to the carpet. The clock went down too, hitting the floor with a resolute thunk.
            Under my pillow, my lips curved into a smile.
            Me: One. Alarm clock: Zero.
            Oh yeah, back to my totally unspectacular dream. I’d been swimming. My arms flowed gracefully through the water like a ballerina—or a jellyfish. My legs kicked, sending up millions of tiny bubbles and breaking the surface of the ocean. I knew it was the ocean because of the salty residue on my lips. In fact, I could still taste it.
            My arms, cutting through the water.
            Okay, so maybe the dream had been a tiny bit spectacular.
            I sat up, pushing the ungodly thick and unruly tangle of red hair out of my face. No matter how tightly I bound it before I went to sleep, it always came loose, forcing me to brush it into submission every morning. It was utterly ridiculous. I had to be a redhead—a total Ginger, with freckles and everything—and I couldn’t even have fabulous hair out of the deal. Mine never did anything cool, other than frizz and basically look like a poodle decided to take up residence on my head.
            My arms.
            The dream fizzled through my head again and I took a second to relish it before I pushed it away. Even my dreams were mocking me and my lameness.
            I looked down at the stump of what would have been my left arm, if it had ever grown, that is. It stopped about four inches below my shoulder, ending in a shiny, smooth scar.
            Amniotic Band Syndrome, that’s what they’d told my mother. Nothing she did wrong, nothing that could have changed it.
            Basically, I was a morphological freak.
            Ginger. Freckles. Short. One-armed.
            “GAVYN!” my mother screamed from downstairs. I cringed. God. Did she seriously have to be that shrill?
            Oh yeah, I was also named after a boy. You’d think that after I’d come out all Ginger-like and one-armed she would’ve had mercy on me.
            But no, she’d decided instead to add insult to injury. I could’ve been a Gabrielle or maybe Katie or jeesh, I don’t know, I would’ve settled for Mary. Anything that resembled a girl’s name.
            “What?” I hollered back at an acceptable decibel. I yanked on my shade and sent it flying upwards, revealing a snowy paradise outside my second story window. It looked like I was standing inside a frigging snow globe the way the neighbor’s house was all lit up with Christmas lights. I rolled my eyes and pulled the shade back down. Christmas was two weeks ago. In another week they would be crossing a line with their festiveness. 
            “School’s cancelled,” she trilled.
            Who cares if she named me after a boy? She was the bearer of good news and I could’ve just kissed her right on the mouth.
            So I did.
            I bopped down the stairs, suddenly very cheerful. I didn’t even mind that I was a Ginger. Snow days were everything good about winter.
            I caught her by surprise in the entranceway, planting a noisy kiss right on her mouth. “You are seriously the best mother ever.” She grinned at me and underneath all the concealer that hid how little she slept, I saw her how she should be. Or how she would be, if my father hadn’t run out on us when I was only two days old.
            Two days!
            What an asshole.
            He must have been mad about the Ginger thing. My mother told me he’d been a red head, too, though he didn’t have freckles. A Daywalker, then. I certainly hadn’t gotten my awesome genes from my mother. She had long, silky dark hair and brown eyes. She was also fairly tall with long legs. Mine were nothing more than spindly stumps. Okay, well not stumps, I had both of my legs. They were just short.
            Next to her, I looked like a midget-red-headed-stepchild.
            She shoved my massive hair away from my face. “Do you want me to put this up for you before I leave?”
            I shrugged and the uncontrollable curls flopped back in my face. “I’m going back to bed.” No way was I going to waste a perfectly good snow day actually doing something. Maybe later I’d rent a bad movie on Netflix and order pizza. I’d probably not even change out of my pajamas.
            It was going to be epic.
            Mom brushed my cheek and got that sad look in her eyes. Usually she would say something about how beautiful I was or how grown up I’d become or how she was so proud of me, but today she just pulled her coat on over her purple scrubs. They had little grinning snowmen on them. How appropriate. 
            “I’m working a double and with this weather—” A double meant at least sixteen hours.
            “I know,” I cut her off. “I’ll be fine.”
            She was a nurse, which meant long hours and grueling shifts, especially in the winter. Plus we lived four blocks from the hospital and Mom always showed up for work, no matter how bad the weather got.
            She pressed her lips together, “I know you’ll be fine. Just—”
            “Call you if I need anything and Mrs. Johnson is just next door.” I pulled the fur-lined hood of her coat up. “Mom, I know.” Her eyes shimmered like she might cry. Lately she was having a hard time accepting that I was very nearly an adult. I think she was afraid for me, being one-armed and a Ginger and all, and going out into the real world. “I’m seventeen. I think I’ve got the staying home alone thing down by now.” I grinned at her, trying to cheer her up. “I promise not to play with matches and absolutely no chemicals…”
            She laughed and her brown eyes sparkled. “How did I raise such a smartass?”
            “I got all my looks from Dad and my propensity for awesome from you.”
            She got all serious like she wanted to say something about Dad, but then the look passed and she pulled on her gloves. “Love you, Gavy,” she called over her shoulder as she disappeared out the front door into the winter wonderland.
            I wasted no time. Snow days were as precious as designer shoes, or really hot guys, and were not to be carelessly tossed away.
            Two minutes after Mom left, I was curled up in my bed under my still-warm blankets.
            Snow days really were the best.

You see, you love her too, don't you? She's epic.
All the best,

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Shoe Tree

This is a deleted (and mostly unedited) scene from Stepping Stones.  Yesterday, I visited the shoe tree and I thought I would share it with you, with pictures, of course!!  Useless scenes can be rich with interesting history, anyway!

At the end of a long road he stopped and we piled out of the car.  Hanging from the branches of a tree were hundreds of pairs of shoes.  I snapped a few pictures of the tree, and since no one else asked, I did.
            “Why are there shoes in the tree?”
            Everett shrugged.  “I’m not sure, but the story goes that a serial killer took the shoes from all his victims and hung them in the tree.”
            I shivered, thinking I probably could have gone on not knowing that. 
            “How do you know so much about Michigan?” I asked Everett, knowing that I had lived here forever and didn’t know half as much as he did.  A breeze blew the branches of the tree and the shoes swayed.
            “I’ve had a lot of free time on my hands,” he explained.  He walked up beside me and took my hand.  I wanted to ask him what it meant, but I knew this wasn’t the time or the place.  Not that he’d probably tell me anyway.  Everything with Everett was cryptic with hidden and double meanings.  It was part of the mystery.
            “This is awesome,” Hunter said, getting into the spirit and taking off her pink Vans tennis shoes.  She knotted the laces together and attempted to throw them in the tree.  “They’re old anyway,” she explained as they missed and fell back to the ground.  It took her three tries, but eventually they wound around a pair of Converses and stayed.  “Sweet!” She exclaimed, and then she looked down, wiggled her toes, and finally realized that she didn’t have another pair of shoes.  “Damn,” she shrugged, “Oh well.”
            Everett and I burst out laughing, and Mandi just sighed. 
            Once we’d had our fill of the shoe tree, and taken dozens of pictures of Hunter’s shoes, we headed for home.
            Once we hit the highway, Everett turned on a classic rock station and we sang along

to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody’.  Eventually my eyes grew heavy; it had been a long day. 

I laid my head against the buttery leather seat and fell asleep.

All the best,

Oh the life of tags

Thanks to Greenwoman who tagged me solely because I'm CUTE!  Aww! Isn't she SUPER sweet?  Of course she is!  In order to accept this cute tag I must tell you 5 things that I have watched/read in the past year.  Oh! Are you in for a treat, because I love my reading and watching folks!

Let's get down to business:

1. The Vampire Diaries:  I'm talking the television show here, though I have read the books by LJ Smith.  Sadly, I must say that shows got it right and the books were sorely lacking.  If you love vampires (and let's be honest, who doesn't love a HUNKY, well-muscled vampire?) you need to watch this show.  It's early yet, only starting the third season this fall.  After a few episodes you'll be swooning over sweet and sensitive Stefan and drooling over dangerous and dark Damon.  And then you'll be totally jealous, because Elena and Katherine are played by the same actress and she gets to make out with both of them.  So. Un. Fair.  Check it out here:  The Vampire Diaries.

2. The Mortal Instruments:  If you have not read Cassanda Clare's absolutely intense and amazing series, you need to get with the times, people!  Start with City of Bones.  If you're not hooked, then you're not alive.  Which, according to recent trends, is always a possibility.  If you read my blog, then you will know that I'm absolutely in love with Cassie Clare.  She is my hero and one hell of an awesome writer.  She draws you in, twists you around, and some how at the end you still love her for her cleverness and ingenuity.  Not to mention, she's got a hunky main character Jace!  And let's not forget everyone's favorite man couple Magnus and Alec.  They are too adorable!  Oh! And they are being made into movies.  It doesn't get any better!  Read about it here:  The Mortal Instruments.

3. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah.  This book is amazing.  It takes you through the lives of Tully and Kate, best friends all the way from childhood to adulthood.  You will laugh, you will cry, you will tell everyone about the crazy things the characters do.  More than anything else, this book has heart.  You find a bit of yourself in the characters, you wonder "what if."  It's a must read!  (In fact, all of Kristin Hannah's books are must reads!)  Here's her website: Kristin Hannah.

4. Seven Pounds.  Okay, so maybe I watched this MORE than a year ago, but shh...don't tell!  In the spirit of keeping things secret, I will just tell you that you MUST watch this movie.  It will change how you look at life.  Don't read up about it, don't look for spoilers.  Just. Watch. It.  It's possibly the movie with the best message behind it. Ever.

5. Water for Elephants.  This is a two-for.  I've read the book and watched the movie.  Both are equally good.  (Plus, I'm absolutely IN LOVE with Robert Pattinson. Anytime. Anywhere.)  The book is rich in period goodness: It's set in the thirties and follows the life of Jacob who is a circus worker.  Incredible.  Once again, this book induces laughter and tears.  It's told from two points of view, young Jacob and old Jacob.  Both of which are equally witty and smart.  It'll move you.  Enjoy!  Here's the trailer for the movie: Water For Elephants.

Upon review of my list, I realize that you must truly be dead to not know about these things.  Regardless, I hope that I've enlightened you with something.  Now, for the moment you've been waiting for!  I'm going to tag three fabulous (and CUTE!!) people to complete this task!

Much love to:

1. Stephanie from Stephanie Diaz.  She is an awesome writer/blogger/cool person extraordinaire, plus a fellow ACQer.

2. Ashley from Inner Owlet.  Ashley (aka AM Supinger) is an ACQ groupie as well.  (Seeing a trend? ;)

3. Katie from Katie On Fiction.  I won a gift card to Barnes and Noble from Katie's blog simply because she's a nice and sweet person.  Aww Katie.  I bought books.  That's how much I loved the gift care.  XOXO

All the best,

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Friday Five

I've been so focused on my writing (and my hectic life) that my blogging has slacked.  Here is my attempt to bring it back.  If nothing else, I will bring you the Friday Five!  (Which is nothing more than five things I want to share with you today!)

Number One:  A Piece of Advice

Do not attempt to write/edit/get agented/published without a HUGE support network.  Find a support group.  Meet a bunch of new people.  Get to know other writers.  Writing is an amazing thing that draws people together.  Here's a cool quote I saw on Twitter today: "There are no faster or firmer friendships than those between people who love the same books." ~Irving Stone  How true is that?  And thanks to Lit Gal for retweeting that awesome tidbit.  Writing has led me to amazing people--people I never would have met otherwise.  I now have friends that span across the country.  And the best part?  I know that I can turn to them if I need to.  SO! Dust off that friendly internet smile, you've got work to do.

Number Two: Dance is EPIC.

Anyone out there was So You Think You Can Dance?  Last week they had a performance that literally moved me to tears.  It was so good I'm tempted to write an entire novel about it.  To make things easier for you, I'm just going to post the link so you can watch it.  GO HERE. Look closely at the end.  See that gunk on Caitlynn's face?  Yep.  That's blood.  Her partner punched her in the face and it was still THAT amazing.  *Sigh*  Epic.  

Number Three: I have a terrible phobia of large objects.  

I know you all are snickering now because your minds are thinking dirty.  Let me EXPLAIN!! Geesh...  Please don't make me stand next to the airplane, it makes it hard for me to breathe.  The cruise ship?  Oh my god, I think I'm going to die.  Even worse, those fuel drums on that barge?  I think they're going to swallow me alive.  The Empire State Building?  Eeekk...HUGE!  (And yes, I've been to the top, here's a picture to prove it) Don't laugh at how terrible I look, it was a 14 hour bus ride in July with NO AIR CONDITIONING. 

Here's a few other things that freaked me out.
Fighter planes in San Diego.  It's a double whammy because they're on the USS Midway, which is a huge ship.
The Quebecois in the Sault Sainte Marie Locks.  
 Ah.  That's enough torture for me for one night.  Moving on.

Number Four: Thai Food

Thai food is kind of an obsession of mine, and it's recently discovered.  I could eat my weight in chicken pad se-ew.  Never had it?  TRY IT!!  It will rock your taste buds.  In fact, I haven't had anything Thai that I haven't liked.  Mmm Mmm Mmm.  I'm getting kind of hungry.  And make sure you get it spicy.  It's not worth eating if it doesn't burn your face off, too!  Oh soooo good.

Number Five: Share the love

It's a holiday weekend, so I'm going to give you my famous JUNGLE JUICE recipe.  It's really quite simple you see.  Make it, drink it, be drunk my friends!  (Except you, Riley Redgate!!  No booze for the young ones! :)

A fifth of rum.  You can really choose any kind.  It works well with parrot bay coconut and pineapple.  Also good with the the captain.  Mix two kinds, add more than a fifth, it's ALL gooood....
One or two large cans of tropical fruit.
One bag frozen strawberries or mixed fruit.
Three cans of frozen concentrated fruit juice. Mix it up!  Apple, blueberry, strawberry, mango, cranberry. (Use one of the cans and add six cans of water)  You can also use regular apple juice (or any kind of juice.  Open the fridge, scrounge, pour!)  If you don't use the frozen concentrate, don't add any extra water.  Be forewarned, if you use any dark colored juices, the punch may turn a funky brown color.  Have no fear! This does not affect the taste ;-)
Mix all ingredients together in a large punch bowl.
Get crunk.
For an added surprise at the bottom of the bowl, soak the tropical fruit overnight in rum.  Yum yum rum fruit!

This recipe has been tried and tested.  It's mother approved!!

Happy Fourth everyone.

All the best,