Wednesday, January 30, 2013

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!

Here are my Wednesday Wishes for the week:

1) Sleep - I have always been a night owl.  Dating back to elementary school, it's been hard for me to fall asleep. I can be most productive in those evening hours when the world is still and quiet. I just took on a part-time job that is adding to my plate. I will now be working six days a week. Five of those days will have very early starts.  Coffee can help, but I want to stay healthy so what I really need is sleep. Starting last week, I've been crawling into bed at (gulp) 9pm. I don't actually fall asleep until somewhere around 10:30 or 11. But it helps crawling in earlier so I don't get all stressed out watching the clock. My goal is to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night.

2) Transporter - That new part-time I took? It's three mornings a week of a loooong drive. The mileage is short (12), but this is L.A. We're looking at an hour in rush hour traffic. I would love to be able to save that hour in the morning by having a transporter. Grab that morning cup of coffee after I'm dressed and ready to go, step into that transporter and - Hello work!

3) A little bit of Healing Magic - It looks like my mom is facing some end of life decisions with Cinder, her 17-year-old cat. Saying goodbye is never easy, but she's determined not to drag anything out or make her suffer because my mom isn't "ready." We thought we were making hard choices about a year ago and she rallied. So, if she's meant to rally again, I'm asking for some healing to be sent her way. If she's not, I'm asking for strength for my mom as she gets ready to let her go.  With the new job, I won't be able to be with her when she passes and it's always hard being in that room with your beloved pet alone. I think we owe it to them after all those years of loyalty. Still, it's always nice to have a friend or loved one there with you, though, to cry with you.

What about you - any wishes for our magic cat this week?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Of WIPs and Puzzles and My Grandma

I've been searching for the stride. You know it when you hit it - the words flow with ease and nothing can stop you!

Here's what happened: I started this YA Fantasy. Typical Jennie style, I jumped right into the action. My Crit Girlz went "whoa! I don't know these girls." So I made the mistake of going back. I needed to start earlier, but I should have finished the book first.  I added six chapters onto the beginning. They're good, solid (uber creepy!) chapters. I might have even been okay there if I had just left those first six in their New Beginning file and gone back to the existing book to continue. But, in typical Jennie style, I started moving the book over chapter by chapter.

Why is this a mistake? Because I edit each chapter as I move it. That's 30,000 words to edit. I notice inconsistencies that would have easily been addressed in the second draft of the book. I'm addressing them now. My rewrites take substantially longer than that quick, first draft.

I feel like I'm in a wagon stuck in mud.

The wheels are spinning and I can't get out. Each spin just takes me deeper in. 

Then I made the next mistake. In order to kick start the writing, I left this alone and just wrote some fun scenes. There were sizzling boy scenes, there was a killer fight scene, and last night I caught myself writing the ending.

Um, no?

I'm all over the place. I feel like I'm 8 years old again and I'm staring at all the thousands of puzzle pieces my grandma has just poured out of a box on her card table. Overwhelmed.

The good news is that grandma always, always got those puzzles together. Piece by piece, they came together. As a child, it seemed to take her FOREVER. In reality, her visits were far too short so she was completing them in a few days. If only it were that easy for this WIP!

How is your writing going? Have you ever had to wrestle one down? Had one all over the place?

Friday, January 18, 2013

FUN Friday

I am so glad to see Friday!

Friday means WRITE NIGHT with the Crit Girls. It means sleeping in on Saturday! It means Venti Iced Green Tea and Vegan Chocolate Hottie Muffins (if you really want to know, I'll email you - but the short of it is chocolate with a shot of cayenne).


I'm embarrassed to admit how many times I have watched this over the past three days. And I don't laugh any less each time I watch it.

We (Paws and Learn, my day job) get booked by many great schools, but one of the Charter Schools uses the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum. Over the past three years, it's been amazing to watch these kids grow in knowledge and compassion (for each other, for animals, for the world). They came in 2nd place this year with their PSA "Adopt a Champion Muttigree". I couldn't figure out how to embed it, so I'm going to include the link and ask you to please, please go watch it. These kids did the drawings themselves and put it together with the help of a teacher. They've done such a magnificent job that Warner Bros. has asked them to do a PSA with Scooby Doo!

This almost made me spit out my morning coffee.

Any big weekend plans?


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

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!

Here are my Wednesday Wishes for the week:

1) Time - I have enough time if I just manage it wisely. So this week, I wish to be able to shut out all distractions and use the time that I have in the way that it needs to be used. Some days I feel like I'm whirling through the hours like a tornado and when the day ends, I'm left surrounded by a mess. I don't want days like that this week. I want clear, precise lists and I want to use them. Don't get me wrong - a nap is an incredibly well used piece of time. I can take a nap if I have the time. But when I'm awake, I need to use my time to get a lot accomplished! Did that make any sense? Sometimes I feel that it doesn't make any sense at all.

2)  Glasses - I haven't had my eyes checked in a good five years. I have a pair for reading that I admit to forgetting about 80% of the time. I've had a bit of motion sickness lately and I'm noticing it's an eye thing. I need to make an appointment and get a new prescription. I don't have insurance and I know that they can be costly but I'll keep my old frames. Still, it's not even the cost. It's the hassle of making an appointment and getting them checked. I'll admit to a little bit of fear as well. I remember feeling a bit wonky and out of control when they dilated my eyes. I'm afraid of that part because I don't like to feel funny. I just need to suck it up and get in there!

3) Magical, invisible dog cover - Lily LOVES the grass. If you would let her, she would nap in a warm patch of sun on the lawn all day. But it's her worst allergy. I hate that I can't let her live her life and do what she loves. Sometimes, I give in. It makes her so happy. I let her spend a few days in the yard and we're paying for it now. Despite wiping her down, she's full of itch. We washed her last night and upped her steroids for a few days hoping to get her over the hump. I feel like a horrible owner not letting her outside after walks. I feel like a horrible mother letting her outside after walks. What am I supposed to do? Wish for a magical, invisible dog cover. She won't lay on blanket. She wants the grass. But if I had an invisible cover that I could attach to her body, we'd all be a lot happier. So please, Wednesday - you like having that stinky dog out of the house so this wish will directly benefit you as well!

Pretty boring wishes for the week, but there you have it!

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

Monday, January 14, 2013

Parenting Your WIPS

I want to start off by announcing our winner!!!


Email me at with your address and I'll get Speechless in the mail to you!

On to the blog post - I have been struggling with my current WIP. It's all over the place. I haven't been able to figure out why I'm having trouble with it. It's a great idea. I have fun writing it. I love, love, love my characters. But it's never taken me this long to crank something out. I've been very start and stop and start and stop.

Daughter B (soooo tiny!)
It hit me over the weekend that I'm trying to parent this book the same as my others and it just isn't working. I had a flashback to a conversation with my brother about my nieces and nephews. He was frustrated because what worked on Daughter A was clearly not working on Daughter B. Daughter A is a ballerina - she dances through life up on her toes, gracefully twirling through any situation that gets thrown at her. Daughter B came into this world with a bang, weighing just over a pound after not wanting to spend much more than 20 weeks in the womb. She's been on a mission to just bulldoze through life since she took her first breath. She walked earlier than they said she would, she talked earlier than they said she would, and she doesn't have a single of the disabilities all the experts said would surely come with being born that early. She's non-stop motion. Where Daughter A is tea parties and dress-up and quiet, indoor voices, Daughter B is smash-up, throw-down and laugh at the top of your lungs until your heart bursts whether you're inside or outside. Two beautiful girls. Two very, very different personalities. Daughter A does what she's told, when she's told to. Daughter B questions everything and has to get all the right answers before she agrees to do what she's told. My brother said that it took them 2 years to realize that Daughter B was not problem. They were. They were trying so hard to parent Daughter B the same exact way that they parented Daughter A. Of course it wasn't working - they were two different people! They've been adjusting their parenting style over the past six months and they're seeing much better results.

Doesn't Daughter A look like a dancer?

Hmmmm, perhaps I need to adjust my writing style?  Book A was written with a very indepth outline. As I started the book, I stopped at various points to outline some more. I had notebooks full of notes and ideas. When I finished the first draft, I did another outline. That changed the book completely. I dove in to some serious rewrites. When I finished, it didn't look a thing like the first draft. But it worked for me and I was done with it (and all the rewrites) in six months.

Book B was NaNo, baby! I started on Day One and wrote all the way through to the finish. Then, I set it aside at the end of that month.  I came back two months later to discover that somewhere in my laptop crashing and The Hubsters motherboard frying, I'd lost a good deal of the book. I dusted myself off and plunged forward NaNo style again. It worked very well for that book. I did two rewrites on it (after gussying it up with post-it notes - add this here, mention this here, tie this in here, etc.).

And now we're on to Book C. Started for NaNo. With notes. Didn't make it through NaNo, though. I wrote 20,000 words and decided that this book needed to start sooner. I'm big at jumping into the action, but it didn't fit this story. This story needed to start a bit sooner. Was it a mistake to go back instead of finishing the book first? Maybe. But back I went. I put 6,000 words on to the beginning. It changed the tone of the book. Made it much darker and creepy. Now what? I started to take what I'd already written and add it on, but I'm rewriting as I go - and I'm very, very anal with rewrites. Down to the word. So I'm having trouble getting through each chapter that I add back onto it. I take forever analyzing it. I am at the point where I admit that I no longer have control over this book. I tried parenting it like Book B and it did not work. I tried outlining it like Book A, still no luck. I have to adjust my parenting style, but I'm having trouble 1) accepting that, and 2) finding a style that works for me AND for this darn book. I'll figure it out. I'm starting notes and scenes and flushing it out. I'll get there eventually but the process on this book is going to be so different from the other two. And that is okay. I can parent them differently because they aren't the same story.

What about you - is your writing method always the same? Do you switch it up from story to story? Any words of wisdom for me?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

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!

I want to say that Wednesday went three for three on my wishes last week.  She was VERY generous!  Let's hope she is in a wish granting mood this week as well...

My Wednesday Wishes for the week:

1) Courage - I'm really struggling with my current WIP. I need courage to write it. I'm afraid that I won't do the story justice. I love it, I love the characters. It's unlike anything that I've ever written before - it's creepy, it's got elements of contemp, but it's also got elements of fantasy. The creep needs to make it through the entire book. I set high for this one and I need to have the courage to finish it.  I can do this. I just need to write the book!

2) Weekend Away - This won't be a weekend trip as The Hubster and I don't have weekends off together anymore. I took a part-time job at the local library but to get in, I had to take Sunday shifts (oh, how this has been bad for my football loving self). He works Saturdays. But I'm hoping we can take a few days off during the week to go do something fun. I don't want elaborate - just something close with some hiking and relaxing. I just haven't figured out where yet. I'd like the name of the place to just pop into my head. Or an amazing deal just pop into my INBOX!

3) Self Cleaning Rug - I've been so spoiled with my hardwood floors. We recently got a rug for the living room floor. It's not THAT big. But it would be an awesome help if it would just clean itself. Every piece of anything shows up on it. I vacuum two or three times a week with the hardwood floors, but this rug needs it several times a day it seems. I can't tell you how frustrating it is to vacuum it in the morning and have it looking dirty by afternoon (The Hubster says that I'm exaggerating, but I really don't think so!). I wish I could just say "Rug! Clean!" and a little wave would run across it, enough to gently lift the coffee table and the couch, then CLEAN!

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

Monday, January 7, 2013


I'm interrupting my I'M BACK/HAPPY NEW YEAR post to bring you a bad review (meaning, I'm horrible at reviews).

I don't read much YA Contemporary. It's not because I don't like the genre. I do. But 90% of what I read is recommended by the teens in my various Teen Clubs. They don't read Contemp. This means I read a lot Paranormal and Dystopian. Currently, I'm relieved to see a lot more Fantasy in their hands (and hello - assassins!).

Last week, a co-worker (not a teen) brought me a book. She prefaced it with "This is not what we usually read, BUT..." She said that she had no clue why she picked it up. I am SO glad that she did! Because this book has made my TOP TEN. It's just that good.

The most exciting part - because of the subject matter, I can require the teens to read it! It will fit in with our Humane program.

What book is it already?!?!

Speechless by Hannah Harrington

I could not put it down. It pulled me in from the first page and did not let me go.  Chelsea Knot has a big mouth - and she doesn't care who she hurts when she opens it. Until her words have horrible consequences and almost cost a boy his life. After attempting to right the wrong, she takes a vow of silence.

Here is why I love it - it's realistic and relatable. It doesn't sugar coat anything.  The fallout from Chelsea's mouth goes on and on and on. Doing the right thing doesn't erase the wrong thing. Through it all, Chelsea perserveres. She grows stronger, she learns.

As a bonus, the bad kids get theirs (okay, this is a huge struggle I have with the world so I admit that when I read a book that is realistic, shows character growth, and the bullies get theirs - JACKPOT).

I loved this book so hard that I am giving a copy away in each club.  I love it so hard, that I'm giving a copy away here on the blog! 

Entry breakdown:
2- for being an old follower
1 - for being a new follower
1 - for commenting
5 - if you send someone to the blog (they have to mention that YOU sent them in the comments)

Because I know I didn't do this AMAZING book justice, you can read more reviews about it on Amazon:  Speechless

Happy New Year!

Read any good books lately? 

Tell me!! I want to read them too!