Wednesday, July 27, 2011

On Vacation

We're gearing up for a two week vacation and I'm finding there is so much to do to get ready!

Our first week will be up in the mountains where my book DARK FOREST is actually set. That's right, the riddles in the book lead to actual locations! How cool is that?

Anyway, because it's such a remote location, I have little room for error when it comes to packing. This has me a bit harried. Also, getting my second book SILO completed and into the hands of my readers before I leave. My teens have school starting right around the time that we'll be returning so they need it "like now!" to be able to make comments. So errands coupled with writing and getting things ready for the house/pet sitter is stretching me a bit thin.

I won't be posting until I get back. For now, I will leave you with some gorgeous pictures.

My dad walking on the road. Yes, we're hard core. We don't camp where there is asphalt!

The bridge that leads to some of the upper lakes. Cross over the deep...

A meadow that I managed to incorporate into my book. Isn't it gorgeous? But danger lurks behind the beauty!

This is a 4 mile hike with a steep elevation gain. Totally worth it for this beautiful lake!

Our second week will be in Sequim, Washington. We have friends that moved up there with their three dogs, added a fourth and bought a horse! We'll be relaxing at their lovely home when we're not out hiking and having grand adventures.

Lily will be hanging out with one of her first loves, Chopper. He's the gorgeous blue Cane Corso she's snuggling with there.

We'll be wandering paths like this that lead us to...

Places like this!

And one last amazing thing in anticipation of FUN Friday.

Hope everyone has a wonderful few weeks! I will see you all the middle of August and expect great news from you!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

FUN Friday

TGIF! Let's have some FUN!

I'm in the mood for some music.

Let's start by getting down with Sesame Street!

Sesame Street breaks it down from Wonderful Creative on Vimeo.

This if for all my Harry Potter lovin' friends. (Warning: Do I really need this? We're all adults)

What's better than Justin Timberlake? Jimmy Fallon AND Justin Timberlake!

Not so many funny kids this week in Pre-School.

But when I finished the Dog Safety presentation, I had a 4 year old say...

Him: WOW! You sure know A LOT about dogs!
Me: I do.
Him: I didn't know someone could know that much about them!
Me: It took me years and years to learn all that.
Him: And you shared it all with us? Oh, thank you!

I didn't have the heart to tell the cute little guy that I didn't share very much of my knowledge with him.

FUN BONUS - Cassandra Marshall is having an AWESOME contest that ENDS tomorrow at MIDNIGHT (EST). We're talking FREE EDIT Giveaway!! Click here for more details and to enter!

Any big plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Retro Summer Blogfest

Wednesday Wishes will return next week. The kitty needed some time off and I wanted to participate in this FUN blogfest hosted by Amy over at The Ramblings of Amy. Be sure to check out the other entries!

We Got the Beat - The Go-Go's
I got Beauty and the Beat for one of my birthdays. I wish I could remember which one. What I do remember - playing We Got the Beat over and over and over and over with my friends (it was a slumber party, of course! with ice cream cake!) until my dad came out into the living room and threatened to yank the stereo out of the wall. Sorry, Dad.

Hold Me Now - Thompson Twins
Total break-up song that I cried to during one of the "off" again weeks with my high school sweetheart. Big drama. It was high school.

Should I Stay or Should I Go - The Clash
This song can still bring a smile to my face when it comes on the radio. If I'm driving, I will turn the sound way up.

Goody Two Shoes - Adam Ant
By far my favorite Adam Ant song. Listen to it and try not

Faithfully - Journey
Of all the Journey songs, really? This is the one I chose for this tape? It must have been during one of my long distance relationships. The last one I tried, he got another woman pregnant. They're still married. Was that an overshare?

You Make My Dreams Come True - Hall & Oates
This gets my feet tapping no matter where I am.

The One Thing - INXS
I remember how excited I got when I first heard this song. It was like nothing I had ever heard before. So, naturally, I had to play it until everyone was sick of it. I rediscovered it years later. Onto the mix tape it went!

Billie Jean - Micheal Jackson
This takes me back to school dances - I can hear the squeals and feel the rush of bodies pushing past me to the dance floor.

Sister Christian - Night Ranger
My brothers and cousins (we're a musical family) actually performed this for me at our reception. Very sweet. And not as good as the version on my mix tape. But it's the thought that counts, right?

Holding Out for a Hero - Bonnie Tyler
This made EVERY mix tape and still makes every playlist that I do for writing. Okay, and even one of the workout playlists.

867-5309/Jenny - Tommy Tutone
Can I tell you how many times my phone number was said in place of this one growing up? Boys thought it was funny because my name was Jennie. I have four brothers - three of them older and all of them on the football team. Do you think anyone had a good time with me?
I hear that if you forget your card at one of the supermarkets, this phone number works in ANY area code to get you the Club Member price. Try it at your local Vons/Ralphs/Albertsons/Stater Brothers and let me know if it works for you!

She Blinded Me with Science - Thomas Dolby
I was at a family reunion in New Mexico and we were parked next to my grandparents. I had all the cousins in my car with me. When this song came on the radio, my grandpa turned it way up. Every time he said "SCIENCE!", grandpa would make a funny face, thrust his finger up and say it with Thomas Dolby. He had us in stitches. My grandpa was the best.

Come On Eileen - Dexy's Midnight Runners
LOVE this song. But how creepy was that video? Wasn't he dancing around a teen with her baby in a stroller telling her he wanted to get her naked now? So, just listen to the song and don't think about the video.

Mr. Roboto - Styx
I don't think I even need to say anything about this song. Most everyone I know has their own memories to go with it.

I had so much fun going through my old mix tapes. Spent the entire day listening to music and reminiscing. So much fun!!!

Be sure to visit all the others.

What about you - do you still have old mix tapes? Do you even know what cassette tapes are? Any of the songs I mentioned above trigger memories for you?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Creative People Are Messy

Growing up, my room was a mess (note: this is not my room pictured, but it might as well have been). I was supposed to clean it. But I never did. By middle school, my mother had given up the battle of wills with me. I was perfectly content to wait her out on restriction until she cleaned it. Maybe because she still allowed cheerleading, gymnastics and baton. It was straight home afterwards, but that just meant I could curl up with a good book in my room (no television or phone allowed). Eventually, she would get so sick of it, she would just clean it. My brothers, on the other hand, were complete neat freaks.

Looking back, I don't know how I could stand it. It wasn't quite like an episode of hoarders, but I do shudder thinking of only having a small path from the bed to the dresser to the closet to the door. My dad would always say to my mom, "Well, she's creative, dear. You know how those creative people are. They like things cluttered."

I'm not even sure where that excuse came from. My dad's dad was creative but he never lived in clutter. Of course, he had a housekeeper so maybe that's why.

Anyway, when I moved out on my own, it was a shock. Living in the dorms at USC was so much fun. I had a drama student as a made my room at home look neat by comparison. My mom would drive two and a half miles to clean my room. How embarrassing. Now. Back then, it was "OHMYGODMOMILOVEYOU!"

When I moved out and started working in television, I had little time to clean. Guess what? I did. I couldn't stand living in a sty. It stifled my creativity. What's up with that? I would work 60 hours and sleep half the day on Saturday, but as soon as I was up, the coffee was going and I was cleaning my place.

Now, I have plenty of time to clean. I could spend time every day doing something. I limit myself to once a week or writer's block. When I'm having trouble hashing out a particular chapter, the closets usually get an overhaul. If I'm avoiding the mess I've made of my character's life, I'll clean up the clutter in the house. A pile of bills will get paid and filed away. Shredding will get done. Dusting, vacuuming, steaming. I keep a clean house now - because I'm one of those "creative" types.

What about you - do you like clutter? Do you abhor it? Clean yourself? Hire someone to do it for you? And do you know where that whole creative = messy thing got started?

Friday, July 15, 2011

FUN Friday

TGIF - let's have some FUN!!

Jon Stewart AND Jerry Seinfeld.

I had to post this because the final scene is worth it. You have my permission to fast forward until you see Costner.

What's cuter than a 3 year old explaining Star Wars?


It's summer so our main request is Dog Safety for the little kids. I was teaching pre-school this week.

One of our presentation boards is a mom dog with her babies. I took the picture at a shelter so the mom is a black lab and her babies are white and brown boxers (the boxer father was dropped off with the mom and litter). I held that picture up and the following happened:

3 year old boy: Why are her puppies a different color?
3 year old girl next to him: Because the mommy wanted them that color.
3 year old boy: Ooooooooooh.

I love their logic. It was so hard not to laugh.

When Meredith and I teach, we split up the week. This week, she taught on Monday and I taught on Tuesday. We both have blonde hair. We have Paws and Learn shirts that we wear with jeans. She's tall and thin (think size 0). I'm shorter than her and a few sizes bigger.

I had a 5 year old come running up to me on Tuesday all excited.
Her: Hey! I know you.
Me: You do?
Her: Yes, you came to my class yesterday.
Before I can say anything to her, she gets this frown on her face and says: How did you get so fat overnight?
I laughed.
Then she narrows her eyes and says all accusatory (Like I did something totally sneaky without her permission) : Did you have a baby?
Me: Yes. Overnight.

She now thinks you can grow a stomach and give birth in a 24 hour period. Was that evil?

The Hubster and I have tix for Harry tonight. Reserve seating. Which I was excited about until I realized that the theater is just off the 405 freeway and today is the start of Carmaggedon. We'll see if we can even get to the theater! But I'm excited. And scared. I know that I will cry.

What about you - what are your big plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

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 small, independent, uncrowded coffee shop. Don't get me wrong, I love my Starbucks from the Skinny Vanilla Lattes to the Shaken Iced Green Tea. But I want somewhere to write. I need to focus right now and it's hard at home with the dog wanting a walk (or getting sick from the latest breach of treat protocal - yes, it happened again thanks to the dear hubster) or a cat wanting supervised yard time or the phone ringing or a closet needing reorganizing or laundry get the picture. Our local Starbucks (yes, we have one on almost every corner) are PACKED from open to close. And I live in Los Angeles where everyone thinks they are important. And they want you to know it. So they carry on super loud conversations on their cell phones in public places. I just want a small coffee shop that isn't crowded for the few hours I want to use it. Or, if it is crowded, the crowd is MY peeps - writerly types who are quietly trying to write.

2) Magic Nails. I really hate to reveal my girlieness (totally a word!), but I like my nails to look nice. I don't always have the time to go sit in a salon. It would be so much easier if I could envision what I want, touch my nails and PRESSON! (cheap joke) - I have the color/style I want without spending the time. When I was at USC, I used to do my own nails because I redid to match my outfits. Stop. Laughing. It's true. It was too expensive to get my nails done every few days. It was exhausting trying to keep up. I am embarrassed to admit that there were a few late night panics when I realized I had forgotten to change my polish color. I would stay up to do it. By the end of each semester, I would try to coordinate my outfits to match that nail polish for at least five days because I would be exhausted. I grew older and wiser and stopped that foolish girlieness in my mid-twenties after everyone poked fun at me for matching too much. But there is a part of me that still has days where my purse must match my shoes, my eyeshadow needs to match my nails, and so on. For those days, the Magic Nails would really come in handy. I hope you don't think any less of me what I just admitted to.

3) Harry Never Ends!. I'm scared for Friday. I really am. It was hard enough finishing the books, but not impossible because we still had the movies. I don't want it to end. I suppose Pottermore could stave off all those feelings, but it's hard to know. I keep hoping Rowling will decide that SHE can't live without Harry and must write another book. What a magical world she created. We stepped off the pages into that wonderful, exciting, scary world. Harry is forever in our hearts. I'm going back and rereading the series so maybe that will help ease the heartache a bit.

What about you - what are your wishes for our magical cat this Wednesday?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Got Snacks?

When I'm on a roll, I don't want to leave my computer. Meals interrupt precious writing time. They can throw me off and I don't get back to the magic. So I try to keep snacks next to me. I eat every two and a half to three hours. I'm not one for mindless snacking uness I'm sitting in front of the television (and not always then).

I start the morning with a good cup of coffee (or three). On the weeks that The Hubster works late, he walks Lily in the morning. Since I start off the day in the cool house, I can do hot coffee. My favorite since around the beginning of the year is from Gloria Jean's Coffee Bean - Madagascar Vanilla Caramel. This week, I will be enjoying that.

On the weeks that he works early, I have to walk the Lilster. It's been hot. Neither one of us really enjoys the heat. By the time I manage to get her home, the first thing I want is coffee. The last thing I want is HOT coffee. I have perfected my favorite Starbucks drink - the Skinny Vanilla Latte. I may actually make one tomorrow now that I've typed it.

Now that the important fuel the gets the fire started is out of the way, let's get to the FUN stuff - Snacks!

1) Vanilla Meringues - when I'm in the mood for a little sweet, but don't want a ton of calories.

2) Kettle Corn - Henry's Farmers Market in my neighborhood sells pre-popped in a red bag and one serving (2 cups) is under 200 calories (or 3 Weight Watchers points).

3) Watermelon - Obviously, a summer snack. Sometimes I like to throw some in the freezer. Super yummy. (Cherries are yummy too!)

4) Persian Cucumbers - so refreshing and great crunch. Better than potato chips. Okay, not really, but with a little sea salt, they're better FOR YOU than potato chips. But nothing beats BBQ kettle chips. Which is why I don't keep them in the house.

5) Special K Multigrain Crackers and a wedge of Weight Watchers Cheese - This gives me a boost with the protein.

6) Pistachios - Low calorie, super yummy and lower my cholesterol (in theory).

What about you - any favorite snacks? What fuels your writing?

Friday, July 8, 2011

FUN Friday


Did everyone make it through the week? Good! Let's have some fun!

We love Norm MacDonald's new show. He's had some GREAT skits. I don't follow boxing, but my cousins do. They are huge Manny fans. Even though I'm not a boxing fan, I still found this funny (it's Norm):
Sports Show with Norm MacdonaldTuesdays, 10:30/9:30c
Betting on Manny Pacquiao
Sports ShowNorm Macdonald#SportsShow

I love when he says to Manny: I was just at Sugar's place and you know what he was doing? He was punching another man to get ready for the fight.

Here are my cousin's twins. The one fighting the couch and pretending to be Manny is Chayse. The one just watching and being a goof is Brody.

I didn't mean to make this week so sports themed...and if you don't like football, you won't think this is as hilarious. But if you do like Taylor, you'll like it for the HOT factor. I like it for the football factor.

And some kid cuteness (this is sooo wrong, but still funny). R Rated!

While we're on the kids swearing kick, this is another adorable video. Especially when mom corrects her at the end.

I'll be hanging out in the cool air conditioned house all weekend. I have to get up early to walk the Lilster because she doesn't tolerate the heat so we'll likely share an afternoon together! This whole weekend is about staying out of the heat, devouring Patrick Rothfuss' A Wise Man's Fear and finishing up my Dystopian!!

What about you - any big plans for the weekend? How's that writing going?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

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) No More Asthma - I've been running for a few weeks now. Some nights, I have no problems. Yesterday was not one of those. I coughed for four hours afterward. I love running. I used to hate it, but it's addictive. When I put my running shirt on tonight, it slid over me and was loose. When I started running this shirt was tight and bunched at my waist! But my lungs...I was very angry the first lap I ran as my lungs tightened despite my inhaler. Then I remembered Eva. I have no right to be angry. I should be thankful for my lungs, asthma and all. But it would be nice to not have it anymore. It would also be nice if we had a cure for CF as well.

2) Pajamas - I go through phases where I obsess over different things. Sometimes it's the usual like purses and shoes. One year, my bestie Leslie and I went through a sock phase. You can't be in a bad mood with fun socks on! Try being in a bad mood with Strawberry Shortcake on your socks. Or Happy Bunny saying something funny and insulting. The Hubster hated my Hat Obsession. When I would put on a beanie, he would say, "Off to rob another liquor store?" Well DUH. That's why I got a "pit bull", to give me that gansta image and make my liquor store heists more legit, yo. At the moment, I heart pajamas. You can never have enough of them. Nothing feels better than settling into a pair at the end of the day to lounge around and watch your favorite shows. Come to think of it, I like slipping into a new pair in the mornings on my day off and settling in before the computer with a cup o' joe. Oh! Slippers...that would make my outfits complete. I think I have the next obsession picked out already! But I would love a walk in closet full of pajamas - warm, fuzzy pjs for cold nights, short sleeve cute ones for warm nights. Just rows and rows of neatly arranged pajamas!

3) This little guy - How cute is he? 3 month old puppy surrendered to the shelter because he is deaf. I just don't understand people. When I volunteered at a shelter, we had a beautiful white boxer surrendered one afternoon. I handed the man an intake form and under "reason" he wrote:
Dog is STUPID. Can't learn sh*%.
(Yes, he capitalized STUPID. And he spelled out that last word.)

Nice. The dog was DEAF. I did a few tests to show the owner, then I took the leash and said, "Who is the stupid one?" If they'd taken a real training class, the trainer would have spotted that the minute they walked in the door. Deaf dogs are the best. Their focus is spot on - they have to be looking at or they miss your direction/command so their eyes rarely leave your face. This little cutie is going to make a family very lucky.

Those ears KILL me.

So yeah, this sweet little pup.

What about you - what are your wishes for our magical little cat?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Don't forget - Jennifer Hillier's CREEP comes out today! If you have a local indie bookstore, pop in there and pick up your copy. If you don't, pop into one of the biggies and buy it.

It will give you CREEP happy face.

For your ordering convenience, I'm also including linkage:
Barnes & Noble

I promise you that you will not be able to put this book down. I don't recommend starting it before bed. Nor do I recommend reading it if you are alone in the house at night. But it's definitely a MUST READ. So order it. And bump it to the TOP of your TBR pile.

You can thank me later.

Friday, July 1, 2011

FUN Friday

If all roller coaster instructions were done like this, I'd ride more roller coasters. Okay, not really. But this IS entertaining. Can you imagine a 16 mile track?

I love this scene from Cop Out. This little kid rocks it. (WARNING: Graphic language)

And speaking of cute kids...

"No" is so adorable when it comes out of this little mouth!


I was teaching Dog Safety to a pre-school class. The cutest little three year old boy asked if he could pet my dog, held his hand out to get sniffed, and pet Cooper on his side. I moved on to the little girl next to him, but before I could say anything, I felt a tiny hand on my arm.

"Teacher! I get to see my grandparents this weekend!"

I love when they say random things out of the blue like that. Especially when it's non animal related. It's precious. He was so excited about seeing his grandparents that he told me two more times after that.

Teaching Kindness to 2nd graders, I always wrap it up at the end by asking the kids to raise their hands and tell me something kind they can do for their (dog/cat/rabbit/bird).

Girl: You can take them a shower. Even though they don't like it, it's more funner to play with them when they are clean.

And what is more funner than a friend's book coming out? We are CREEPing ever closer to Jennifer Hillier's CREEP! You owe it to yourself (and anyone on your gift list) to buy this book. It's CREEPtastic. It will keep you up at night. Probably not more than two nights in a row, though. You won't be able to put it down until you've finished it.

Hardcover on Amazon, click here.

Kindle on Amazon, click here.

If you have pets, please bring them in on 4th of July. It's the busiest night at animal hospitals because fireworks are very, very scary. Dogs get spooked, get out and run, run, run. They can get hit by cars or lost. No one should end the weekend on a sad note! We leave Lily in the living room with the tv on for background noise to help her.

Have a safe and Happy Holiday weekend!