Friday, October 29, 2010

FUN Friday

Behold, my reward for myself when I finish NaNo. Yes, the entire half a dozen. In one day. If I did them in one sitting, I would make myself ill and that would defeat the purpose of the reward. Sprinkles Cupcakes. I'll get 2 Chocolate Marshmellow, 2 Cinnamon Sugar, and 2 Red Velvet. Yuuuuuum.

I've decided I don't need a House Elf for the month of November.
I need JESSE!!

What do you think?

My classroom funny for the week:

After teaching 3rd Graders City Wildlife in which they learn all about the cool animals and insects that live right here in our own neighborhoods, what their important jobs are and why daddy should NOT beat them over a head with a shovel until their head breaks open (yes, this has been told to me NUMEROUS times), I opened the floor for questions.

First question: Is it true that Indiana Jones got bit by 12 different snakes?

I'm used to questions like "is it true cats have 9 lives?"

This was my most creative question yet.

I said: "I believe it was 13 and only 3 of them were poisonous."

Next question?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Gearing Up for NaNo

We are 4 days away from the start of the NaNo.

Are you excited?

Are you nervous?

I am BOTH!

Here is my checklist for NaNo:
Green Tea
Diet Pepsi
Pumpkin Muffins
Coffee (yes, I know it's on here twice...)
Microwave Popcorn
WW Cookies
Diet Pepsi (yes, I'm aware of the duplication)
WW Ice Cream bars
Coffee (wow - three times! Have to be sure we have that liquid inspiration)
Bed Buddy (if you don't have one of these for your headaches, you are missing out! Click the link for more info or hop on down to Target this weekend and get you one!)
Colored Pens
Post-its (What if I have an idea for later on during a crucial scene that I don't want to stop writing?? Have to jot it!)
Notebook (I am still teaching so I'll need to be writing at the schools my three days a week)

Have I mentioned Coffee? And I've gone all out - The Grind Winter Blend, Gloria Jeans Coffee Bean Madagascar Vanilla Caramel AND their super yummy Spiced Butter Rum, Starbucks Espresso with sugar free vanilla syrup AND pumpkin spice (yes, Jenny - I can make one at home!!!). I'll alternate days so that I don't get burnt out on one single flavor.

The afternoons will be fueled by Diet Pepsi or a Venti Iced Shaken Green Tea with two spendla (made here at home because who will have the time to leave???) using Tazo Zen tea.

And I've stocked up on good eats (fruits as well) so that I can munch but not gain 10 pounds, which is really easy for me to do!

Lola has some sage advice on her blog here, read the whole entry because anything she writes is muy fabuloso but the NaNo stuff is at the bottom. If you're not already following her, you will definitely want to. She's going to give more advice the closer we get. Check in daily to be sure you don't miss it!

And, of course, friend me here if you haven't already.

Good luck and godspeed with those little fingers on that keyboard!

How are you preparing yourself for NaNoWriMo???

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday Wishes

This is Wednesday leaning out of her cat tree. She may look like just your average gray tabby cat, but she has many skills. Most of these skills, she uses for The Good. Okay, 'most' might be a slight exaggeration. Wednesday is a good little kitty, though, at heart. She loves her family, loves her sisters, loves annoying those sisters and she also loves to grant wishes. Every Wednesday morning, I will rub the side of the cat house and summon our magic cat!

My Wednesday Wishes for the week:

1) Scented Candles. That's right. Not much of a wish, but I'm running low on my stock. I pulled an old Fresh Baked Cookies candle out of the closet this weekend, so desperate I was for scents! Guess what? Totally works for writing. Turns out, any scent does. It just helps me focus. I mean, there are fresh baked cookies in the forest, right? Well, somewhere in my forest there are! I need a good sale on scented candles this week. Or a box full of them to magically appear on the doorstep courtesy of the Candle Fairies! I'm seriously only asking for scented candles for Christmas and my birthday this year. Okay, maybe not. But right now, that seems to be all I want. That and Starbucks gift cards. I'd be set for a year.

2) A Vacation. Not a big one. Just a nice weekend out of town - the hubster, diggity dog and I. Somewhere like Santa Barbara where we could hike. It just seems like I always have things to do - fundraisers, community events, conferences. I want a weekend out of the house! I want to sleep in, then eat a muffin and coffee at a little cafe with outdoor seating, then hike through "forests" (we don't really have much of what I consider real, true forests here in SoCal). I want to fall into a bed at a hotel each evening. I don't even mind taking the kid (the four legged one. we don't have a two legged child.). Maybe I should look at La Jolla instead so we can drop her off at Grandma's for dogsitting while we have a nice, dress up, sit down, grown-up dinner!

3) Jessica Lindsay. This is a special wish for a very special person. Have you ever met someone and instantly connected with them? You just knew right away that you would be good friends? You could tell that there was something about this person - they were kind, good-hearted, talented, AMAZING. That's what it was like when I "met" Jessica. You can tell she's special just by interacting with her. And her writing? Just adds to her awesomeness. This wish is that all of Jessica's wishes this year come true. ALL. OF. THEM. Because she deserves it. She's had a rough year so this birthday should be a turning of the page. No, it should be an opening of an entirely new book. Everything should be wondrous and magical in her life for the next year (and beyond, but let's just start with this year). That's what my third wish is. For my friend, Jess.

What about YOU? What are your wishes for Wednesday this week?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Never-ending Scene Blogfest Entry

Brenda Drake is having a FABULOUS Blogfest! Below is my entry. Please check out the other cliffhangers as well!

The first explosion rocked the room, sending her books flying off her desk. The second one made the floor beneath her tremor and the lights flicker. Her teacher grabbed the large desk at the front of the classroom. She braced for a third and didn't have to wait long. This one sent the glass jars flying off the walls, smashing onto the carpet. The smell of alcohol and death filled the science class.

"Everyone remain calm," Ms. Clark said.

"Should we get under our desks?" Christopher asked.

Liz didn't wait for a response. A hand slipped into hers, strong and warm. She smiled without looking over at him. She knew every callous on Christopher's hand. And the wart he kept cutting off that stubbornly grew back on the inside of his thumb.

No sound as the ground shook again. The lights went out. Screams and sobs reverberated over the din of the creaking building, its beams groaning in protest at the ceaseless movement beneath it.

Ms. Clark was shouting but Liz couldn't make out the words over the crashing,
popping and screaming. She held onto Christopher's hand as though it were an anchor in the stormy sea.

She chewed on her bottom lip as her mind raced. We have to get out of here. If this were a terrorist attack, the air outside might not be safe to breathe. But if they stayed here, they would be buried under the rubble. Liz would rather die than be buried alive. She needed air. Blue skies.

Her desk hit the crown of her head as a ceiling tile fell on it.

"I'm going," she heard herself say.

"What? Where?" Christopher responded.

"We need to get outside," she said, louder so that the whole class could hear.

She didn't let go of Christopher. With her other hand, she grabbed her backpack and
made for the door. No one followed them.

She felt his hand leave hers as she reached freedom. Liz spun around to see the doorway collapsing over him. A scream rose above the noise. She realized it was hers. It ended in a cough as the dust flooded her mouth and her nose.
Though she struggled to breath, she threw herself onto what was left of science class. On her knees, she clawed at the huge pieces of concrete that separated her from her first love.

Strong hands grabbed her roughly from behind, pulling her up.

"No," she yelled.

The arms carried her away, through the schoolyard and past the pandemonium. The man did not stop for anyone – not for the teenager with blood running down her forehead, not for the teacher who was missing his hand.

She fought as hard as she could, all one hundred pounds of her. Kicking and screaming and biting as the man walked her calmly to the waiting car. He shoved her inside the back of the limo, slamming the door behind her.

Liz tried the handle. It wouldn't open. She kicked the window as hard as she could with both feet. Pain shot through the bottoms up to her knees.

She felt the first tear as the car lurched forward, screeching out of the school parking into the chaos that surrounded it.

A Boy In Search Of a Good Puddle

Little boys LOVE puddles.

My nephew, Dillon, can't resist them.

He searches for them on rainy days.

Finding none, he must settle.

Hmmmm...will this do?

Let's try it.

Yep, that works!

He's only four and a half so the world is still a magical place - when the puddle isn't there, he just imagines one. When I write, I try to revert back to my childhood - imagining the things that aren't there; creating them and seeing them in my mind before I transfer them onto the paper. Instead of puddles, I have elves, fairies and a sorceress to contend with this week. Those will bring me as much joy as this "puddle" brought Dillon.

When we write, we have to let our imagination go. Squash those voices that tell you 'there is no such thing as (magic, dragons, vampires, zombies, spirits, mystics, miracles, prophecies, whateveryouchoose).' Let yourself write as a four and a half year old - the world wide open. Nothing is impossible. Make those puddles appear!

Spill it - do you write with a child's imagination? Can you still imagine puddles?

Friday, October 22, 2010

FUN Fridays

My mom is coming to visit tomorrow! She'll be helping out with our fundraiser on Saturday. It's always FUN when mom comes to town. Lily gets excited to see her. She hikes with us. We get some shopping in. You still need Mom Time, even when you get older.

When she arrives late Friday afternoon, we'll go for coffee, then a bit of shopping, then Indian food! Saturday will be the Paws and Learn Annual Hike Fundraiser followed by a nice Italian dinner and a movie on Saturday night! Sunday morning brunch, then she'll head back to San Diego again.

In honor of Moms everywhere, and tying in with our FUN Friday, here is a video that I have seen numerous times, but still laugh...

This is Lily giving kisses to our neighbor's Jack Chi (jack russell, chihuahua mix).

And now for our comedy portion of FUN Friday!

The funny thing about this bit by Bill Burr is that I guarantee you that The Hubster felt the same way when I came home with Lily. Now? He tells everyone she's the best dog he's ever had. Lily doesn't have much pit in her (she's 80 pounds - 40 pounds too big to be an American Pit Bull Terrier), but she can still clear the sidewalk!

And what is it that makes kids with accents so adorable??

What are YOUR FUN plans for the weekend?

P.S. - I just noticed that I'm almost at 100 followers! When I hit it, I will have a FUN giveaway so stay tuned for that!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Let's Talk Hero

"Men are afraid to rock the boat in which they hope to drift safely through life's currents, when, actually, the boat is stuck on a sandbar. They would be better off to rock the boat and try to shake it loose." - Thomas Szasz

I've been thinking a lot about heroes this week. We've watched Robin Hood all week - four different versions (including Men in Tights). One movie each night. I love the story. To me, the romance isn't in the relationship with Marian. The romance is in the tale of Robin Hood himself. The heroism - no matter which version you watch. Robbing from the rich to feed the poor. Standing up for what is right no matter the cost. Rise and rise again until lambs become lions.

Nobility is not a birth right. It is defined by one's actions.
- Robin Hood

A true hero does what must be done, even if it means peril and personal sacrifice. Courage and honor drive them rather than fortune and glory.

Being good with a sword, or a bow (or both) are helpful. Unless we're talking modern day heroes, then you might want to take away the weapons. Perhaps your 2010 hero uses words, or his fists (or both).

A sense of humor doesn't hurt either.

What makes a hero a hero to you? And which is your favorite version of Robin Hood?

In other important news:

Alex J. Cavanaugh is having a Kickoff Contest. His debut novel, CassaStar was released yesterday.

From his site:
"To pilot the fleet’s finest ship…

Few options remain for Byron. A talented but stubborn young man with a troubled past and rebellious attitude, his cockpit skills are his only hope. Slated to train as a Cosbolt fighter pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth and begin a new life as he sets off for the moon base of Guaard.

Much to Byron’s chagrin, the toughest instructor in the fleet takes notice of the young pilot. Haunted by a past tragedy, Bassa eventually sees through Byron's tough exterior and insolence. When a secret talent is revealed during training, Bassa feels compelled to help Byron achieve his full potential.

As war brews on the edge of space, time is running short. Byron requires a navigator of exceptional quality to survive, and Bassa must make a decision that could well decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission that may stretch their abilities to the limit?"

If you can't wait, like me, you can order it at
Amazon or at Barnes & Noble.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wednesday Wishes

This is Wednesday leaning out of her cat tree. She may look like just your average gray tabby cat, but she has many skills. Most of these skills, she uses for The Good. Okay, 'most' might be a slight exaggeration. Wednesday is a good little kitty, though, at heart. She loves her family, loves her sisters, loves annoying those sisters and she also loves to grant wishes. Every Wednesday morning, I will rub the side of the cat house and summon our magic cat!

My Wednesday Wishes for the week:

1) A Personal Shopper. Not for clothes shopping or shoe shopping. Not for FUN. For grocery shopping. I could hand her my Target shopping list and off she would go. That way I wouldn't go over $100 because SHE could be trusted to stick to the list. I would have that extra $100 to spend on something useful for myself (yes, another purse would be useful!).

2) To Win The Lottery. The Hubster TiVoed a billion episodes of How the Lottery Changed My Life. I don't want the Corvette. I don't even need a mansion on acres of land. A small home with a few acres outside of Portland, a cabin in Lostine, a condo in La Jolla and a house in Sequim would do nicely. Wait, that's a lot. Too much. So just the home in Portland and a nice motorcoach to travel to the other places in. I would love to throw the dogs in and hit the road. There is so much I still haven't seen and at my age it's really a shame. I don't need to go abroad when there is still so much here that I haven't seen. I could give money to my favorite charities (including my own non-profit who could hire a replacement for me while I roadtrip it). I think that I would also like to choose two people to send to each SCBWI conference, all expenses paid. I can't afford to attend all the conferences I would like. It would be great to give someone else an opportunity once I could afford it myself. Dream big, I say. So I'm not wishing for a small lottery win. I watched a couple who won $125 million tonight. Imagine THAT! What would YOU do if you won $125 million???

3) My Brother. He really dodged a bullet. He has exercised two out of the last three days and I just want so badly for him to keep this up. I know that this should be his wish and it won't make a difference if it isn't. I'll wish that this becomes his wish. How is that? Too confusing? Wednesday knows what I mean!

What about you? What are your wishes for this week?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Love of Post-its and Other Randomness

"When you write a story, you're telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story." - Stephen King, On Writing

In the land of rewrites, I decided that I was going to chuck my original outline and reoutline. Is that a word? Well, it is now. I have the book written. Complete. But not finished. It's not working. The rewrites aren't work. The main story rocks. The bits around it? Wobbly bits. I've been trudging along and now I've realized that I need to tell myself the story again. Just to be sure I've got it right.

How much do we love post-its? Tomorrow's agenda will be to write a short summary for each chapter on a post-it. Toss the post-its that aren't necessary. Then start a new outline. We'll see how that works for me. Maybe it won't. I'll let you know if it ends up being some brilliant new way of rewriting so you all can get in on it.

Have you ever tossed a good bit of your book and started over or around or through it? I'll probably end up saving half of it in a document on the desktop never to be seen by anyone's eyes again but me. That's okay. I'll be getting rid of the parts that are not the story.

I need to get my behind in gear because November is fast approaching. November means NaNoWriMo. NaNo means brand spanking idea!

Bits of Randomness:

Are you doing NaNo? If you are, add me as a writing buddy (Jennie Bailey). Let's do this together!

Meredith is having her FIRST contest ever - and it's a GREAT one. Even though I really want to win the copy of HALO by Alexandra Adornetto, I'm letting you in on the contest because I love you all too much not to. And maybe you'll send it to me when you're done reading it! Enter here. Also, you need to be following her blog, if you aren't already. Fairy Tales and Cappuccino - I just heart that name!!

KILLER CHICKS is having one KILLER contest - 3 separate contests with prizes totaling $100! Gift cards galore. If you haven't checked out their blog, you're really missing out. Hop on over there and enter the contest while you're at it!

Are you having a contest? Let me know and I'll add you to my SIDEBAR!

Cuteness of the day: As I was leaving a kinder classroom after teaching Dog Bite Prevention, a little girl said to me in a very tiny voice, "Ms. Jennifer, my heart is breaking. I'm going to miss you and Cooper so much!"

It's okay, you can melt. I did.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Climbing Mount Everest

This rewrite has really felt like climbing Mount Everest. I can see the Summit. I really can. But getting there? LOTS of climbing.

Each base camp represents one of my critiques. The oxygen = notes. I make my stops overnight, gather my notes and trudge on up to the next level. That group of rewrites gets done and I have to stop for more notes. I can't make it to the top without them. Well, I could, but I would be hallucinating thinking it was much better than it was. Those notes are crucial.

But I'm not in this alone. I'm hiking with a group. We're tied to each other and committed to making sure we get there. We can learn from those who have gone before us - successfully.

Elana Johnson has some great advice here and here.

Laini Taylor helps here and here as well!

The great thing about climbing Everest is that others have done it before us. Those who are full of the awesome we seek to find are very, very generous with their advice.

But at the end of the day, WE are the ones who must make it to the summit. They can only advise. Our critique groups can only offer us notes. They can't finish the book for us.

We have to keep the summit in sight, keep on trudging till we reach it and thrust that flag in!

How is your writing going? Are you trudging along or making great gains? Passing those base camps and just heading straight for that summit?

Friday, October 15, 2010

FUN Friday

My little brother had a heart attack this week at 37. It woke him up at 2am on Monday. He doesn't have health insurance so he didn't go to the hospital until he passed out at work today in the Nurse's office. He's in overnight as they run tests to see how much damage has been done. 37 is too young for a heart attack. I'm not even 40 yet and I'm too young to lose my baby brother. I thought my FUN Friday post would be a few fun stories about Drew to entertain you and to make myself feel better. I'm probably breaking a million Blog Rules by posting this AND one of my stories, but I don't care. I don't blog for rules. I blog for ME.

I can't share my favorite Drew memory with you because we're sworn to secrecy and will carry it to the grave.

When he was born, I was thrilled to have a baby brother. My mom couldn't put him on the floor because I would instantly smother him with kisses.

As he got older, though, I wished he was a baby sister instead. So I dressed him like one. He let me. Mom took pictures. They were in frames on my desk when I worked in production. He did as well, though we always on separate tv shows. I would get calls from him every so often after a mutual friend had stopped by my office to say 'hi'. "I thought I told you to take those pictures DOWN!" he would yell. "You're ruining my rep!" 5'11", 250 pound men don't like to be seen with dresses and hats on, you see. I would apologize and swear that I was putting them in my desk, but I never took them down. His reaction was too much fun.

When he was four years old, I caught him at the end of the hallway stuffing cotton up his nose. We had to go to the hospital so that they could pull out. I tormented him on the way there with images of loooooooong needles they would stick in him. Because I'm that kind of sister.

When he was seven, he was chasing me with a grasshopper (which I was terrified of) when he tripped on the rug in my grandma's kitchen and split his lip open on the foot of her dining room table. He spent Thanksgiving in the ER getting his lip stitched. When we lived together after college, I paid to have that dining room table brought up from San Diego when my grandparents were going to donate it. I told him that I wanted it to be a constant reminder to him what would happen if he tried to chase me with anything. Because I'm that kind of sister.

I quit drinking nine years ago. We had season seats to the San Diego Chargers together (that's him, Bren and Sean). I had been sober for less than 48 hours when we went to a game together. I was sitting in my seat when he came down the stairs with the biggest beer I have EVER seen. The plastic cup was so full, the alcohol sloshed over the sides, some of it onto me. He heaved his giant frame down into the seat next to me, his eyes on the field, completely oblivious to my disbelieving gaze. I cleared my throat. He looked over at me and said, "WHAT?" "Do you MIND?!?" "Jenn, you're going to have to get used to it if you're going to stay sober. You should be THANKING me." And with that, he took a lusty gulp complete with the "AAAAHHHHH!" after he swallowed. That's my baby brother. I'm laughing now as I'm typing this and I can't tell you how many times I've shared this story today.

Before you label him a tool, let me tell you that this is the brother who came to my aid at 8pm on a Friday night when I was working on a pilot and my Production Assistant quit. I had 26 scripts that had to be delivered. As the Coordinator, this now fell on my shoulders. My brother, who was all of 23 at the time, gave up clubbing with his friends to come help his sister. He spent an hour pouring over addresses, labeling the envelopes and dividing the deliveries (yes, network people, producers and actors want their scripts delivered no matter what). He took 13. But not just any 13. He took the 13 that had to go the farthest because he didn't want his sister out delivering scripts until 2am (which is when he finally got home).

(from left: Drew, Sean, Bren, Drew's son Dillon, and Dear Ol' Dad)

So while he can be selfish at times, he can also be incredibly giving and caring on other occasions. Just like baby brothers should be. He has been my biggest tormentor and my biggest defender. We have shared 37 years of hopes and dreams and triumphs and pain. It would suck to lose him now. Hopefully, this is the wake up call he needs to change his lifestyle, to go back to being the carefree brother who used to roll with the punches even when he ran out of film in the middle of a Friday night shoot.

He is the funniest guy I know. I love him dearly. 37 years is not even close to being enough time with him. I want at least 37 more.

Who is your closest relative? And what is your favorite story?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Casting Yourself Hunger Games.

When you read a book, do you picture yourself as the character? And do you have people in mind as your supporting cast? Sometimes when I'm caught up in a book and the MC is super cool (for lack of a more eloquent term - think strong, intelligent, kick ass), I will picture myself as that character.

Just for fun, here was how the cast of Hunger Games looked in my mind as I was reading.

Katniss (this is a much younger me)

GABE (Kevin Durand)

PEETA (Josh Gates - and if you haven't checked out Destination Truth on SciFi on Thursdays, you are missing out!)

PRIM (Emily Osment - I used to babysit her and her brother, Haley, when they were really little. Emily was only two at the time)

HAYMITCH (I think a lot of us pictured him this way)

RUE (Elle Fanning - Another one that I have seen multiple places)

EFFIE (Julia Sweeney)

CINNA (Ian Somerhalder)

PORTIA (Sofia Vergara)

Oh, I almost forgot my mother...

When I read the trilogy, that is who I pictured.

What about you? Did you have specific actors in mind? Did you picture yourself as Katniss?

Wednesday Wishes

This is Wednesday leaning out of her cat tree. She may look like just your average gray tabby cat, but she has many skills. Most of these skills, she uses for The Good. Okay, 'most' might be a slight exaggeration. Wednesday is a good little kitty, though, at heart. She loves her family, loves her sisters, loves annoying those sisters and she also loves to grant wishes. Every Wednesday morning, I will rub the side of the cat house and summon our magic cat!

My Wednesday Wishes for the week:

1) A Remote Control For Life. This way, when I'm sick or not feeling well, I can FAST FORWARD to tomorrow (for migraines) or a few days later (for a virus). When I've had a particularly rockin' week, I can REWIND to relive those days again. Or TiVo them to replay.

2) Another Dog. There are so many great dogs dying in the shelters right now. If I take a chihuahua, I could even get TWO more. Another pitty. But a real one this time that won't grow to be over 40 pounds. Not a possibility right now, though. Not enough time for another two dogs. Not enough space in the house for another two dogs. Except for that itty bitty chihuahua.

How CUTE is she??? She'd fit in my purse! But I can't talk The Hubster into it. He's not a fan of little dogs given how many times Lily has been bit by them.

3) Gas. In my car. I want to go out in the morning and have it be magically FULL! I was too tired to stop for any today and I'll be in need of some tomorrow. Maybe the GAS FAIRY will come in the middle of the night like Santa and fill my tank with GAS. What do you think?

What about you - what are your wishes for Wednesday this week?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sick Day

I was forced into bed early last night not feeling well so I'm taking a sick day from my blog.

I apologize!

Back tomorrow (hopefully!).

What are you favorite things to do when you don't feel well? Do you snuggle up with your favorite movie? Or book? Or both?

Do you flush it out with water, juice and/or tea?

Or do you eat it out? Stuffing your face with yummy comfort food?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Time Capsule

Let's pack up a time capsule for future generations.

We're setting the dial for the year 2210.

You and I won a drawing - we each get to include one book or series in the capsule.

Pretty big responsibility. We want to make sure those kids/teens/young adults fall in love with reading like we did. Of course, there will be plenty of writers in 2210, but we want to share some of the great literature being written right now!

My first books that would go into the capsule would be
If you haven't had the delight of reading Laini Taylor yet, rush to your library or bookstore tomorrow and get this series. I'm no good at book reviews so I won't stumble through one. In a word: delicious. Reading her words is like biting into a ripe, juicy peach and having the words run down your mouth. You can taste it, smell it, feel it. Character names - Magpie Windwitch and Whisper Silksinger. How gorgeous are those names? These are books that are on my shelf and will be shared with my children, just as my mother shared her favorite books with me.

Who would you include?

What book?

What series?

Friday, October 8, 2010

FUNNY Friday

I'm in the mood for some comedy.

For all of my LOST friends. If you didn't see the alternate endings on Jimmy Kimmel, you missed out. If you did, they're still just as funny now.

Which one is your fave? Mine is the first. "I'm sorry, Sayid. The tribe has spoken."

I have a lot of "Persian" (you know, like the cat...Meow!) friends and they have passed their love of Maz on to me. I now bequeath it to you.

I feel guilty laughing at this kid but he is just so cute and funny. What a little stinker. It's so cute that he doesn't want to admit HOW he got back there!

"Thanks for saving me. Now could you get the police car out of there?"

Hope you have a FUNNY Friday and a GREAT weekend!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Who's On YOUR Cheer Squad?

Writers, like cheerleaders, need a solid base underneath them. My rock is The Hubster. He holds me up high and steady. My first reader. Usually my most critical because he can't stand YA. This is a good thing. If the story can suck him in, I'm on the right path. He also has questions. Questions that need answering. Also, a good thing. Because we miss things. The picture in our head doesn't always make it to the paper. Sometimes there are things missing - from the background, from the foreground, from the face...

While it's fine to have that one rock solid person beneath you, look at how much more you can do with a BIGGER group!

You can build higher. And you have people you trust to catch you if you fall. Then launch you right back up there!

Which brings me to my expanded Cheer Squad.

I got my first rejection. It was the classic mistake everyone makes in submitting too soon. But it was one little contest that promised a short critique of everyone who submitted. The Top 3 winners got to submit a full manuscript. It was my first complete book...and a first draft. There was NO WAY I would win. I just wanted the feedback on the first three chapters from a professional. Silly me. I placed in the Top 3. Then I panicked because I knew what I had was not worthy of the editor or the publishing company, but it was too late to back down. I sent it off, then beat myself up mentally for making the mistake others had warned against. What was done was done. Back to the rejection email...

It stung a little. Very little because it was well written and not much in it was a surprise. The editor took the time to give me great feedback that will help strengthen my writing. I printed it out and slid it into a frame. Silly me. I can't help it. I'm still proud of it, rejection or not.

I also sent the email to my cheerleaders (without the editor's email, name or publishing company on it - simple cut and paste of the content so that they can see what we'll be working on in critique group).

One of my cheerleaders took that rejection letter and pulled out only the positive, emailing it back to me like this:

Let's count her words "wonderful" "intriguing" "promise" "sucked me in" "great" "strong, capable, knowledgeable, and intelligent" " easy charm" "winner" "you write it well" "lovely intriguing story" "fantastic potential".
And such helpful advice - such solid concrete direction. You book is going to be even more excellent with this review. I can help too! You will be published. You are just steps away!

How AWESOME is that?!? Because now I can do this:

She flipped me right back up. (Amanda, you ROCK!)

Still have work to do, but keep soaring. And I'll keep flipping you right back up there until you have that trophy.

Until WE have that trophy.

Because as writers, we never do it alone. We have our cheer squad helping us along.

That's what Acknowledgments are for.

Who's on YOUR cheer squad?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday Wishes

This is Wednesday leaning out of her cat tree. She may look like just your average gray tabby cat, but she has many skills. Most of these skills, she uses for The Good. Okay, 'most' might be a slight exaggeration. Wednesday is a good little kitty, though, at heart. She loves her family, loves her sisters, loves annoying those sisters and she also loves to grant wishes. Every Wednesday morning, I will rub the side of the cat house and summon our magic cat!

My Wednesday Wishes for the week:

1) Protection from the wicked stomach bug that is going around. Odd request? Throwing up is my worst fear. I'm obsessed with NOT vomiting. There's a nasty bug going around and two of my friends ended up in the ER over the weekend because of dehydration. Couldn't even keep water down. I had a nasty bug just before my wedding which I was kind enough to share with The Hubster and that was bad enough. Every half hour in the bathroom for eight hours before it stopped. Ever since then, the thought of catching a stomach flu can send me into a panic attack (truly). So I want an invisible bubble around me that keeps me safe while I'm teaching today and Friday.

2) Hocus Pocus FOCUS! I'm having trouble focusing this week. The perfect weather conditions have come through. Nice chilly days with splattered with rain. I need to be writing. Instead I'm blogging or baking or cooking. On Monday, I made dinners for the week, pumpkin muffins and No Pudge Fudge brownies. I spent four hours in the kitchen! That isn't like me.

3) Krav Maga. Have you heard of it? It's Israeli hand to hand street combat. It's what I imagine my characters can do to get themselves out of any situation. I want to take classes. But the center is far from my house. And expensive. I wish that I just knew how to do it. I woke up magically one morning with the ability to fight myself out of any situation. Any. Anywhere. Whether it's a bar fight today or in the 1300s or in some magical land.

What about you? What are your wishes this wonderful Wednesday?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Yesterday was the PERFECT writing morning.

It started with this...
I threw open the windows so I could hear the soft fall of the rain on the grass in the yard, the roof, the pavement. The wind brushed the chimes on the porch occasionally, adding to the wonderful sound!

The cool breeze woke me up, but I added a few cups of this...

Next ingredient...
To be honest, I lit the Mulled Cider first because it can really wake up your senses...and your hunger so I had to blow it out. I didn't want to be distracted from my rewrites by a prematurely growling stomach.

A dash of this...

A hint of this...

Heaping handfuls of this...

And we can't forget to throw in the snores of this great beast:

It made for a very productive day!

What are your favorite things when you write?

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Importance of Routines

I prefer to get my writing done in the mornings - set aside a few hours of quiet time for just me and my project. Sometimes, though, life reaches a large hand in and snatches that morning time clean away from me. What then? Then I make time to write in the evening. I find that a daily routine is important to me, but just as important - being flexible with that routine.

What if I'm not inspired? I write anyway. I don't wait for inspiration to strike. I need to be writing whether I feel motivated or not. If I wait until I feel like doing something, the house would NEVER get cleaned. The laundry would never get done. I wouldn't exercise. I don't believe that true writer's never have to force themselves to sit down and write. Hogwash. There are days that we don't feel well, that we have other things on our mind, that we'd much rather watch shows on TiVo or go to the movies/coffee/lunch with our friends. What makes us writers is that we WRITE. Consistently. Not just when we feel like or inspiration strikes. If my tush isn't in my chair with my laptop on, I might miss out. Thirty minutes into struggling with something, I might hit gold (I often do). That carries me through the rest of the writing time I have set aside, and sometimes takes me over it! If I had made an excuse not to write that morning, I wouldn't have that new little plot twist.

What if I don't have a lot of time? Some days, I don't. I teach three days a week. I know that I have to come home and walk the dog, feed myself, tidy up. I still set aside time. Even if I can only get 30 minutes in, I take it. I sit down and write something for that 30 minutes. I have found that my writing routine can come on vacation with me. It's completely adaptable to whatever and wherever. I was camping - I still had time for a long hike every morning, then family time around the campfire every evening, and daily naps! I told myself I would write for an hour each day. It ended up being a minimum of two hours every afternoon. I didn't always work on the three projects I had going and that was okay. I wrote short stories, poetry. But I wrote. Every day.

Do you have to write everyday? No. I have friends who set aside time three days a week. They write those three days. The other four are too busy. One of my three-day-a-week friends is far more productive than I am. Those three days are precious to her. She gets the most out of the time that she has. It's an easier commitment for her. It works quite well. I have another friend who writes for 8 to 10 hours a day when he is working on something. At the end of the day, our writing routine needs to work for us or we won't be successful.

What is your writing routine? Do you write every day? How long do you write for? What works best for you?

Friday, October 1, 2010

FUN Friday

How can you not smile watching this?

It's FUN Friday so I am REMAKING the World!

In my NEW world, the following is true:

Right ALWAYS wins.

Life is totally fair.

Mean people are frozen into statues (permanently).

Starbucks delivers.

Ben & Jerry's is a food group.

Everyone sparkles in the sun (not just vampires). (My niece insisted on this one...she also insisted on sequins being a mandatory part of everyone's wardrobe, but I overruled her.)

Manicures and pedicures are free.

So are massages. And they happen daily.

Let's make Starbucks free as well.

Pajamas are acceptable to be worn in public.

It always rains directly over my house except for two hours every afternoon so that Lily can lounge in the sun.

There is no pollution. I can breathe freely, deeply.

The house cleans itself. We're talking top to bottom, spotless!

And all the neighborhoods ban together to make it look like THIS everywhere:

(I got this from Laini, who got it from Stephanie and it's a REAL program!)


What would YOUR New World be like?