Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I know, I haven't blogged in quite a while. The holidays have been crazy with the shopping, and baking, and houseguests, and just general holiday chaos. But with the end of the year rolling around, I thought I should at least blog one more time before the new year begins.

Yes, I know, only a fool makes resolutions. And while I sometimes am foolish, I will not make promises to myself. I will however make some decisions. Those of you that know me well know that I've had a rough year. Not as rough as some others, but rough in its own right. I've had to sail through the muck to, as a good friend of mine would say, right the ship.

This last year has had its good and bad moments. I started off the year with a bang by having a nervous breakdown. My marriage nearly fell apart over it. I know I've written about this before, so I'll just touch on it. I was so severly depressed I basically gave up on everything in life, I stopped doing. Stopped being.

Lucky for me I have a husband who loves me a lot. I think most would have given up. He stuck with me, and things are good. Not perfect, as life is never perfect, but good.

I've also had my ups and downs health wise. I would say at the beginning of this year, I was the healthiest I had ever been, I was exercising, eating right, I'd dropped some extra pounds. But sometimes I eat too much, and sometimes I drink too much, and after going on a cruise in February, my health pretty much went out the window, and slowly and surely I got out of all the good habits I'd put in place. Right now I'm to the point where I feel a bit out of control.

There was one highlight to my year (aside from my marriage not completely falling apart). My trip to NY. I got to meet, in person, many of the wonderful people I'd met virtually through the abna contest, and people I'd met through Gae on Facebook. I stayed at Gae's house, and we had a blast.

So, that being said. I'm coming to peace with myself for the upcoming year. I've already started exercising. Walking hills, I'm going to be doing crunches. I'll be happy to lose 5 to 10 pounds. I think if I feel better about myself, I'll feel better about everything.

I truly want to meet more of my writer friends in person. Another trip is already in the works. Somewhere warm.

I'm determined to write more, on a regular basis, not keep churning out novels during NaNoWriMo. It takes too much out of me right before the holidays. Also going to work on getting these things published.

But mostly, I'm just going to try to be happy in life. It's all we can do, right?

Happy New Year to you and yours. Have a safe and sane holiday.

Kisses :*


Monday, December 14, 2009

More writing.

This is from my novel, What Gets You In, finished, but utterly unedited.

When Aiden realized he loved Chelsea, he knew he had to tell her about the virus. He desperately wanted to marry her, right after they graduated, but needed to give her the option of leaving before the disease took over, which one day he knew it would.

He took her to the only place that came close to rivaling her beauty, Canyon Lake. It was a couple hours drive, so he packed a blanket, and picnic lunch consisting of baguette, cheese, cold cuts, pasta salad, and wine. They sat by the lake and talked and laughed. Aiden wished their lives would play out just like that day, an eternity of happiness and bliss. He knew that would never be their future, if they even had one. It was speculative, at best, depending on how well and how long his sickness could be controlled.

He watched her with heartfelt adoration as she smiled, gazing dreamily across the lake to the canyon beyond, so peaceful, so lovely, he hated transporting her out of that beautiful serenity back into this world, this reality. He didn’t want to hide from her anymore, not for another second. He was ready to expose the truth, no matter the consequences.


She turned toward him slowly, almost as if it were painful to break away from the natural beauty of the lake and surrounding canyon. “Yes, Aiden,” she answered sweetly, the smile never fading from her face.

“There’s something I need to tell you.”

Friday, December 11, 2009

More writing

From my novel Rough Waters, a book loosely based on a cruise I took with my family earlier in the year. It's mostly fiction, some of the reality extremely embellished for entertainment purposes. Of course, some of it is entertaining without embellishment. To me at least. :)

The small crowd broke out in gasps, even me; though I’m sure my gasp had a completely different meaning then theirs. I’m sure theirs were gasps of surprise and enthusiasm, where mine was a gasp of fear and anxiety. A cruise involved my number three and number four greatest fears in the world, drowning and flying. They’re right behind something happening to my kids and spiders.

I sported a fake smile to blend in while my dad passed out vacation itineraries. I read the front page. A seven day cruise to the Mexican Riviera on Carnival Cruise Lines, departing from Long Beach in February.

“What’s the weather going to be like?” I asked hoping to at least rid myself of my Seasonal Affective Disorder for a week; the warm rays of the sun not having poked through the gray for months.

“It should be in the 80’s,” my dad answered. I let out a sigh of relief, albeit a small one.

My dad had given us a sixty-page packet of information about the cruise, being the obsessive, thoroughly organized beast that he is, with dress codes, shore excursions, on board activities, room amenities, and more. It’s overwhelming and I’m better at hearing information than reading it, so I handed the packet over to Sean without more than a glance. He sat and flipped through the pages, nodding his head and grunting from time to time.

Not only did I dread spending any amount of time on a plane or boat, but I also agonized over spending a week in a tightly enclosed cabin with my husband. Maybe agonize is the wrong emotion. Awkward would be more apropos. Just a couple weeks prior, my depression got the best of me and I told Sean I didn’t love him anymore. Though we were working through it, the wound was still fresh for him, and my issues, not entirely resolved. I hoped this trip wouldn’t be too much for us, the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back.

I didn’t know what my parents were thinking. Maybe they thought a family cruise would be just what we need to get the home fires burning again. Right. Spending six nights in a cramped cabin with four people, with the rest of the dysfunction in each surrounding cabin would a great antidote for marital problems.

I went to the kitchen and helped myself to a glass of wine. My mother followed me in. “What’s the matter Maura?”

“Nothing. Nothing’s the matter,” I lied, sipping my glass of Malbec and picking through a bowl of mixed nuts trying to find all the cashews.

“Well, you don’t seem too excited about the trip,” she said as if she’s hurt.

“There’s just a lot going on right now, you know, with the new meds, and the counseling, and all. I’m not sure this is the best time for us to start thinking about a trip.”

“Well sure it is. What you need is a little sun, a little romance. Your marriage will be right back on track.”

My mother, she always gives the simplest nonsensical answers to the biggest problems. I remember when in elementary school, I was having continual stomachaches. Any psychologist would tell you that’s a classic cry for help. That kids who are sick all the time are more than likely having problems at school. You know what my mother told me, she told me maybe if I cleaned my room more often, my stomach wouldn’t hurt all the time. Yeah.

“And by the way,” she said, “do you think that you and Sean could bottle up some vodka for us to take. They only let you bring wine on board, you know.”

I come from a long line of winemakers, my great-grandfather, my great-uncles, my uncles, cousins, yet I’m the only one in my immediate family who picked up the hobby. I have all the supplies I need to make and bottle wine, or make anything else look like bottled wine, including, corks, and shrink wraps.

“Yeah, sure, just bring a couple bottles over and we can do it.”

“Thanks hon,” she said, kissing me on the forehead, before heading back into the throng of energized family members.

With my glass of wine in hand, I took a seat back in the living room and waited for the excited murmurs and shuffling of papers to die down, and finally cease. I grabbed my coat, my purse, motioned for Sean that it’s time to go, said, “Thanks for the trip, looking forward to it,” and headed out the door followed by my family.

We kept silent half the way home. Finally, Sean asked, “Are you okay?”

I looked over at him, “Are you okay? With this trip I mean?”

“Sure, I think it will be fun, just what we need. I mean, I don’t think it’s going to work magic for us or anything, but I think we definitely could use the vacation.”

I studied him for a moment, wishing I could feel for him what I used to. He’s good-looking, compassionate, and working hard to save our marriage, but I had built a wall, a seemingly impenetrable one. I didn’t remember building it and I didn’t know how to knock it down. I wish I did. I would’ve liked nothing more than for things to go back to the way they were, when we were happy, and passionate, and deeply in love.

“I’m okay with it if you are,” I told him.

“I am,” he said.

“Then so be it,” I conceded.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A bit of writing.

Since I haven't really had the time to blog lately, I decided to post some random stuff from some of my novels sitting here on my computer. This is the first chapter of an untitled novel I'm working on. A dystopian piece. I have no idea where it's headed, but like it so far.

Keep in mind, completely unedited. Thanks in advance for reading.

“Come here girls, I’ll show you how to butcher a chicken,” the man said. A year ago, my children would have run away screaming at the thought. Now, it seemed like a perfectly normal skill to learn.

“First thing is to cut the head off,” he said, using an ax and a tree stump to help in his task.

“Ew,” Lily, the younger of my two said at the sight of blood spurting from the neck and the chicken’s head falling to the ground. The man laughed at her revulsion.

He took the chicken and hung it by the feet on a fence post. “Next you want to cut the skin away. He proceeded to show the girls this new talent while they pretended to be eager to learn, in actuality hoping they would never have to perform this repulsive task.

I had known the man for approximately one month up to that point, though I had yet to learn his name. He came to our rescue when The Scavengers came for my daughters. I couldn’t tell you what city we were in, but I know we had been there awhile, enjoying the new home we had come across with a well-stocked cupboard and swimming pool. It was always nice to find a house with a water source, be it a pool, a pond, or even a creek, water across the lands shut off for close to six months now.

Usually you heard them coming. They’d travel in packs of threes, honking horns, peeling out, screaming, raising a ruckus. They must have learned that stealth rather than intimidation makes for easier prey. We were sleeping, together, as we always did. I awoke to a filthy, hand smelling of a combination of nicotine, gasoline, and Vaseline covering my mouth. The girls screamed. The other two grabbed them and started hauling them off. I don’t know what they did to their prisoners, enslave them, rape them, eat them, but I was not going to let them take my girls without a fight.

I clamped down hard with my teeth; my assailant letting out a howl that would rival a giant werewolf, and released his grip. I punched him in the balls, as he doubled over I used the palm of my hand to shove his nose into his brain as my husband had taught me ages ago. He collapsed, I don’t know if out of pain or death, but I was not going to stick around to find out. I grabbed my gun from the nightstand drawer, and ran outside.

The other two were almost to their vehicle with my girls, who continued to scream and struggle for liberation. My younger, Lily, I could hear her struggling for breath, the asthma having kicked in. I aimed my gun, but did not have a clear shot. One of them pulled out his own gun. I don’t know what kind, because I really know very little about firearms, having to teach myself to shoot. I just knew his was bigger than mine, and pointed at my head. I closed my eyes, awaiting the blast, praying to a God that I didn’t really believe in anymore, to let them kill my kids quickly. I refused to think of the alternative.

I heard the discharge and waited. I felt nothing. Perhaps there is a God after all. Another discharge. I opened my eyes. Lily was on the ground gasping for breath, Sarah looming over her like death.

“Sarah, run and get the inhaler.” She immediately heeded my command.

I ran to Sarah, having to step around the two remaining Scavengers, tops of their heads missing, brains scattered everywhere. While I coerced Lily into getting her breath under control, I scanned the area trying to locate our savior. He was climbing into a vehicle, a Hummer to be exact, about a block away. He pulled up right behind the Scavenger’s Jeep and began searching its contents, pulling out the things he found useful, loading them into the back of his car.

When Sarah came back with the inhaler, I let her take over. Wanting to express my thanks, I moved toward the man, slowly. Although he saved us, I was still leery of his intentions. These days you can’t be too careful. I took a good look at him. He wore a plain green t-shirt, khaki cargo shorts, wool socks and hiking boots. He had a crazed countenance about him, hair a wild tangled mess, unshaven, dirty. He didn’t stop what he was doing. I practically had to run to keep up as I spoke. “I just wanted to thank you for that. I don’t know what would have happened to us had you not come along.”

He stopped, looked me in the eye. His eyes contradicted his appearance. They were soft, soulful, knowing, yet there were layers of pain and rage lurking just beyond their deep blue beauty. They give away his age. At first glance I would have thought him ten to fifteen years older than myself, now I would say around the same age, if not a little younger.

He spoke, his voice firm yet understanding. “They would have raped and killed you, and because of the age and sex of your children, they would have used them as breeders.” I shuddered; he continued unpacking the Scavenger’s car, packing his own. I watched.

“Why wouldn’t they have taken me?”

He looked me up and down, and said, “You’re pushing too old to be a breeder, they only take men and boys to work, and you’re much too skinny and muscly to eat.”

“Why would they not want me for their queen,” I said smirking.

“Their queen!” he exclaimed, and then upon realizing my joke gave a hearty laugh, causing his face to crack, making it seem like he hadn’t laughed in ages. Who could blame him? There isn’t much to laugh at anymore. “You’re a fiery one, aren’t you?”

He finished loading his car, hopped into the driver’s seat, started it up, and rolled the window down. “Bye,” he said, “Thanks for the laugh.”

“Wait, you’re just going to leave? You’re the first person aside from the Scavengers that we’ve seen. Let us come with you.”

“No,” he said simply.

I grabbed onto the side of his car and began to cry. “Please,” I said. I did my best, but my girls needed more protection than I could offer. And although I loved them dearly, I craved some adult companionship, someone to talk to about books, music, movies, or how things were before the world ended. I wanted to hear his story, where he came from, where he’s going, who he’s run into, who he’s lost along the way.

“I’d take you, but the children are too much of a liability. The Scavengers would keep coming.”

“They’re strong; they’ve been through a lot. They know how to shoot a gun. Their dad taught them to fish, if you don’t mind baiting the hooks, they’re still a little squeamish of worms. My older daughter, Sarah, she tells great stories, very entertaining. And Lily, the younger one, she loves to sing, she has the voice of an angel. We’ll cook and clean. I’m strong too. I can gather and split wood, and garden, I’m a great gardener.”

He eyed me long and hard, up and down. I’m sure he was pondering what else I would be good for. It gets lonely out here. I can’t say the idea didn’t cross my mind either.

“Fine,” he said, shutting off the Hummer. “Let’s get you packed.”

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Just a little poem I wrote.

I know I haven't blogged much lately with NaNo, and this impending trip to NY, so, I thought I would share a poem I wrote to include in my novel Mending Fences.

It's supposed to be written by my protagonist, Austin. He recites it to his best friend and secret crush, Kaylee.


I’m a ghost, but nothing more.
Air and vapor, invisible.
With a heart that beats a rhythm so rare
Only the stars can hear.
And she, of flesh and bone
Alive, wild, gleaming.
Hovering above I watch her
Gliding, rushing, reeling.
My empty arms reach out for her
To touch to feel to know.
Yet I’m a ghost and nothing more.
Air and vapor, invisible.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Four Things to Be Thankful For: Friends

All kinds of friends. There are those you know you can always count on. The ones that will take care of your kids, shop for you when you're sick, and drive you to the airport.

There are the ones you meet for coffee every so often and talk about old times, your kids, and future plans.

There are those that make you laugh.

Those that will listen.

Last night I met up with a group of girlfriends. We all went to high school together. Most of them I've seen about two or three times in the last twenty years. It was like we'd never missed a beat. So there's those friends you can see just every so often, and you'll know it will always be like old times.

Friends are a gift. No matter what kind of friend they are to you. Treasure them always.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Four Things to Be Thankful For: Other peoples babies.

I love babies. I love to hold them, play with them, make them laugh, watch them sleep. They make me happy, they make me smile. OTHER people's babies that is. That way you can get your baby fix, and then you can send them home. If you're holding them and they cry, you can hand them back to their parent. It's perfect.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Four things to be Thankful for.

Need to get back to blogging and since it's Thanksgiving week, I thought I would write a few short blogs about four things that I'm thankful for.

I suppose the first would be health. I'm a fairly healthy person. I try to exercise and eat right. My children are healthy, most the people I'm close to are in good health as well.

Of course, this did not come easy. I've had my share of ups and downs as far as health and weight are concerned. So, I guess I'm not only thankful for my health, but for the will power and knowledge it takes to be healthy these days. (I do miss pizza and wine and other yummy things, thank god for 100 calorie packs of Doritos)

That's all. Catch you tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hey look!!!

I'm not blogging again today. Sorry for my absence, but NaNoWriMo has taken over my life. I promise I will try, but you may not see my until December 1st.

Love you to pieces.

Ciao for now.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Four reasons it will be difficult to blog this week.

See, I told you didn't I? I've skipped two days in a row. So, hmmmm, I guess I will only be giving you two reasons, and so I will now lump the rest together into one. Everything. Nanoing, soccer, writing, now planning a trip to NYC, yep that's right. Sick kids, holidays, cleaning, dinner guests, responsibilities, emails, facebook.

I could probably continue, but I won't. I think you get the picture. Life gets busy sometimes and doesn't allow you to stay with your normal routine. I'm okay with that. I thrive on chaos. Without it, I don't think I could survive. I wouldn't know what to do with myself.

So that's it. Sorry for slacking this week.

I will do the Friday Free For All tomorrow.

Love my peeps. Happy Thursday.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Four reasons it will be difficult to blog this week.


I have not slept well for about three weeks now. I've been getting up about 4:00 am. When I go to bed I will wake up about 2:00 am and won't be able to go back to sleep.

My brain is being all used up for other things, and I just don't have the creativity to do all that and blog also.

Right now I'm so tired I may fall asleep on my keyboard.

The good thing about this is, when I go through phases like this, it usually comes to a head eventually, and I will collapse and sleep one night for about 10 hours straight.

That's all for today.

(nano words 16,969)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Free For All: A Little Rant About Stupid Crude Idiots on Facebook

I use Facebook for all sorts of things. I connect with friends who are scattered all over the country, I network for my writing, I play games. It's a fun thing for me. Something I enjoy (maybe a slight bit addicted to).

I have over 2,000 friends on Facebook. Some of this is for my writing, some for my gaming. So, I know some of these people aren't going to be a high class of people. But really, what makes a person think they can IM me and ask crude questions.

Here is an IM I received this morning from someone I don't really know, just play Mafia Wars with (don't judge me, everyone needs their fun):






may i plz ask you something?





mmm.. can you plz sit on my face?

Really? Come on. And when I ignored him, he said please. Needless to say, we are no longer Facebook friends. I get a lot of IM's about Mafia Wars, so I assumed that is what he was going to ask me about.

And this is the second time this has happened. The first time was a few months ago. A guy asked me to blow him on IM.

Do these people have nothing better to do than sit at their computers and sexually harass others? Get a life, better yet, get a girlfriend. Of course, these guys are probably so socially retarded no one in their right mind would date them.

I know, this is the risk I take having so many friends that I don't really know. But I should have a right to my fun without having to feel violated.

Okay, rant all done. Thanks for giving me an ear. Love you guys.

Song of the Week: Redemption Song (love me some Marley)

Movie of the Week: A Simple Plan (that is one messed up story)

Book of the Week: Twisted Tree by Kent Meyers (reading it for Amazon Vine, don't know how I feel about it yet)

Quotes of the Week: "There's nothing more dangerous than a resourceful idiot." ~ Scott Adams

"Is being an idiot like being high all the time?" ~ Janeane Garofalo

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Top Four Reasons I'm the Coolest Mom in the World: #1

It's all in the attitude.

I don't look my age, I don't act my age, therefore, I don't feel my age. I'm a friend to my kids, but not one of those "my kids are my best friend" moms. I dish out as much discipline as I do friendship.

But, I goof around with them. I tickle them. I hug them.

I act like I'm going to beat them (they think this is hilarious)

I do goofy stuff like dance in the living room and kick box in the kitchen.

I act crazy.

I play soccer with them, and when I get injured I play it up good. This always cracks them up.

I sing loudly to the radio.

I give them an hour of independence every day after school.

I feign crying, screaming, and death.

I give them money for Starbucks.

I talk to them honestly about boys, alcohol, drugs, and sex. (and am told really gross stuff in return. I have mentioned Icy Hot before, right?)

Basically, I treat them like they're human. I do little things every day to make them smile. I do big things to heal their hearts, or take their sadness away, or fill them with love.

And they may think I'm the coolest mom in the world, but I think they're the coolest kids.

(nano words, 9,436)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Top Four Reasons I'm the Coolest Mom in the World: #2

It has to be the clothes.

1. skinny jeans. I don't know hardly any other moms that wear skinny jeans. My girls think I am cool because of the skinny jeans.

2. knee socks. I wear them just about every day. With jeans, mini skirts, on the soccer field over my shin guards. It's my thing.

3. high tops. I have two pair now. both black, one with pink hearts with wings, the other pair with purple peace signs.

4. knit cap. I have invested in these almost as much as knee socks, though I pretty much just stick with the black one. It's my favorite.

5. cool t-shirts. My favorite says Bite Me. It's supposed to be a Halloween shirt, but I wear it all year long.

This is pretty much what I wear on a daily basis. The jeans are at times interchangeable with mini skirts. My kids think this is very cool. They told me once as I was sitting around with a leg up on the arm of the chair checking my text messages that I look like a teenager. I did not hate this comment at all.

(nano words, 6503)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Top Four Reasons I'm the Coolest Mom in the World: #3

I think my number three definitely has to be music. I have eclectic musical taste. From the Beatles, to Green Day, to Death Cab, to Kanye, I love it all. The only music I do not like would be country (though some cross overs are okay) and fusion jazz.

I love listening to music, and I think I've instilled my love of music in my kids too. My younger daughter, Rachel, her favorite is the Beatles, which I think is tres cool. She will listen to just about anything.

My older daughter Mary's tastes are more particular. While her favorite band is Green Day (she's liked them since she was about eight), most of the music she likes is new, either hip hoppy or poppy. She likes Kanye, Boys like Girls, Fall Out Boy, Beyonce (All of which I like also).

So, we listen to music together. We dance, we groove, we sing.

I remember when I was growing up, my parents listened to Sinatra, and Connie Francis, Willie Nelson, and Barbra Streisand. All of which I hated (of course, I have learned to love Sinatra, what's not to love). Our music tastes were like night and day.

So I love that my kids and I have this equal love for the same music. There's no fighting over the radio (though I've been listening to more indie and alternative than hip hop these days, but the kids don't seem to mind, and even like much of that too), and they think it's cool that I know the words to Low, have lots of the Now cd's, and can do the Soulja Boy dance.

(4,145 Nano words)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Top Four Reasons I'm the Coolest Mom in the World: #4

Okay, seriously, my thirteen year old daughter told me how cool the kids at school think I am, so I was trying to figure out why. Why am I the coolest mom ever? What is it about me that appeals to teenagers.

This comment was made on Halloween, so my # 4 is this: When the teenagers come to our door, we don't give them the little tiny candies you get in the 10 pound bags. We give them full size candy bars.

You should see their faces when I hand them a big Milky Way or 3 Musketeers. They light up. They become children again, forgetting all their teenage problems. Okay, maybe that's a bit melodramatic, but they do love it.

So, if you ever want to get in the good graces of the teens in your neighborhood, give them big candy bars on Halloween.

Hell, I wonder what they'd think of me if I handed out the King Size.

(2,097 Nano words)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Free For All: Why NaNo?

The question came up on an online forum, why NaNo? The poster suggested that if you're writing 50,000 words in 30 days you'll be writing nothing but crap. Right? I don't think so.

First of all, I know a lot of people who've started writing books, but never finished. I think this is great opportunity to see a project all they way through. To complete it.

And isn't every opportunity we write an opportunity to improve our craft? It is said that if you write, you should write a little bit every day. Do you do that? I know I don't. During Nano I do though. I'm practicing, honing, getting better with every word I write.

You may be writing something you're resigned to just scrap at the end. I could never do that. If I'm going to write, I'm going to try and make it something worth reading. I'm going to make it something, that when Nano's all over, I want to revise and turn into something great. Last year I wrote Mending Fences. Yes, there were about 5,000 words of crap, but when it ended, I took that manuscript and edited and revised and transformed. Now it is a novel that has garnered the interest of agents. Something I think can get me published. Definitely not a waste of my time.

Honestly, I'm always up for a good challenge. I have a very competitive nature. This is also a way to satisfy my competitive spirit.

So, why NaNo? To improve my craft, to write something, to finish something, to challenge myself. Worth the time? Definitely.

To register for NaNoWriMo click here.

To buddy up with me for NaNo, click here.

Happy Writing!!!

Song of the Week: Soul Meets Body by Death Cab for Cutie

Movie of the Week: American Psycho (Love me some Christian Bale)

Book of the Week: The Unearthed by Brian O'Rourke (getting started on this next week, you can find my review of Bloodroot on Amazon or my Angsty Writer Book Review blog)

Quote of the Week: “Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul" ~ Oscar Wilde

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Top Four Ways to Get Through NaNoWriMo: #1 Support

It is much easier to get through NaNoWriMo with support from those you live with. I'm married with children. I'm a stay at home mom. I have responsibilities. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, etc, etc. I remember last year, thinking, I'm never going to be able to get this done. Yes, I do take time to write during the day, but I have to balance that with all the things I mentioned above.

However, unlike so many writers, I have a husband that supports my writing, and kids who are willing to help out with a little bribery.

I was AMAZED at how supportive my husband was during NaNo. He was cooking meals, doing laundry, let me write whenever I felt the need, or to finish up, or to catch up (I say let only because usually when he gets home from work, the writing stops and I hang out with the family).

See, and what if you have a day job? Then you have to write when the family is home, taking your time away from them. They have to be okay with this otherwise they will bug and pester and get mad at you.

Or you may not even be married, you may just have roommates. Will they be willing to keep the noise down so you can concentrate? Will they be able to leave you alone? Will they be mad if they hear your keyboard clacking away at 2:00 am on a Tuesday?

You may want to set the ground rules before Sunday. Tell whoever you live with what your plans are, and what it's going to take you to get there. Some days the writing will just flow and it won't take long to get your 1,700 in. Other days, when your muse is on a coffee break, or you're stuck in a section of book you just can't seem to get through, it may take all day. No matter, make sure those people in your life realize how important this is to you.

Okay, that's it for the week, tomorrow is free for all Friday.

Good luck with your writing.

Remember to register here.

And buddy up with me here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Top Four Ways to Get Through NaNoWriMo: # 2 Shutting Down Social Networking Sites

Don't kill the messenger.

I can't get through the day without my Facebook. But seriously, if you're going to write 1,700 words a day, 50,000 in a month, you have got to kick the Facebook, Myspace, Hi5, or whatever your socially networking site of choice is habit.

You may think you'll be able to just keep it open in the background, for a little distraction here and there. But I'm telling you, that distraction will turn into a couple hours, and when it's 4:00 pm and your family is going to get home soon, and you've only written 200 words, you'll regret it.

You'll go through withdrawals for sure if you're as addicted as I am. You'll miss the chat, the posts, the pictures, your mafia wars, vampire wars, farmville, whatever it is you do on there all day. In the end it will be worth it.

Warn everyone you know as well, so they don't go reporting you as a missing person.

I almost forgot, if you want to register for NaNoWriMo click here.

If you want to buddy up with me, here's my profile page.

Yes, I get that this is yet another social networking site, but it's one that's supposed to keep you on track with your writing. So just enter your word count and move on. Nothing more to see there. :)

Good luck.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Top Four Ways to Get Through NaNoWriMo: #3 Inspiration/Vices

I'm not condoning any illicit behavior here. But if something motivates you, inspires you to write, then by all means, have at it.

I have to start my day out with coffee. I cannot function without it. It's like the synapses in my brain can't find each other without caffeine leading their way.

Whatever you need music, smokes (I do not condone smoking, but you know, some people need that), sunshine, photographs to remind you why you are doing what you're doing. Whatever it takes.

If I'm writing at night (which is rare) I like to have a glass of wine next to me. Red. Only one. More than one and the writing gets all wonky.

I know it's short, but to the point. Do what makes you write.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Top Four Ways to Get Through NaNoWriMo: #4

For those of you unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, that stands for National Novel Writing Month. This is a personal challenge, the only reward is your own accomplishment. In the month of November, writers from around the world commit to trying to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November.

Last year was the first year I participated, and I was a "winner", Mending Fences being the finished product. Of course, having to write 1,600 words a day is no easy task. You don't always get your best work, but you may have something you can work with, edit, revise, and turn it into something good, which I believe I have done with Mending Fences.

This year's novel will be titled Lockdown, a YA novel about a school shooting. (cover art done by my friend Jeff Fielder)

And one of the ways I'm going to get through this is by my #4, outlining.

I normally don't outline. But I thought, if I can create some of the characters in advance, and set a time-line, this may help me see it through.

So, that's it. Good luck to all of you participating in NaNo this year.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Free For All: Inspiration

Some friends and I have been talking a lot about inspiration lately. Sometimes it's so hard to stay up, to stay focused, motivated. I admit, sometimes I am easily distracted by apathy, angst, and abjection (I know, hard to believe).

So, I have to search for inspiration. I find it in many different forms.

Quotes. You can find one for anything and everything on the Internet. I like to look them up and use them as my email signature, or post them to my facebook page where I can read it, live it. There are a lot of intelligent people in the world with wonderful things to say.

Music. What kind depends on what I'm writing. Usually I like to listen to angsty Indie, or alternative, profoundly sad or moving songs. Yes, this seems like it may depress, but actually, it does inspire me to write, especially the pieces I've been working on as of late.
Now, if I'm working on my middle grade novel, I tend to choose more bouncy danceworthy stuff. Music I might listen to while working out.

Nature. Okay, maybe not the gray skies (those of you who know me well know this). But I'm inspired by the raw sometimes cruel beauty of nature. I like to include all aspects of nature in my novels, be it a blooming hydrangea or a withering sunflower. A majestic mountain or the change of the fall leaves. I will even write about the gray skies though they cause me nothing but grief. :)

People. I have so many inspiring people in my life you'd think I would be "up" all the time. And I know who to talk to for every boost I need. I have the one who will tell me to get off my ass, the one who will tell me to man up, one to tell my my writing is awesome, one to tell me it sucks and needs work, one to tell me I'm pretty, one to tell me I'm smart, funny, ROX. One to tell me I can do anything I set my mind to. I could go on and on. Many of you know who you are (if you even read this, which I'm SURE you ALL do).

So tell me, where do you find your inspiration?

Song of the Week:
Just Breath by Pearl Jam

Movie of the Week:
Drag Me to Hell What can I say, it's October?

Book of the Week:
Bloodroot by Bill Loehfelm (I'm almost done! Look for review next week)

Quote of the Week:
“Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today.” ~ James Dean He knows better than most.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Top Four Ways NOT To Gain Media Attention: #1

# 1 is Lying about your children.

OMG, my child is in that homemade balloon that just surged up into the sky.
OMG the balloon has landed, but my child is no where to be found.
Oh, wait, he's in the attic. Silly me.

If you're going to pull a hoax like this, you may want to coach your child a little better. "You said we did it for the show."

Yes honey, that's right. We wanted to get our stupid balloon thingy on the news and the only way we could think to do it is to pretend you crawled into it, took off, and plummeted to your death.


Okay, and the most hideous and devastating of all hoaxes is when Susan Smith told authorities her car was carjacked with her two young sons inside. She was all over the television begging for the release of her sons. She later confessed to rolling her car into a lake with her children inside so she could have a relationship with a man who was not interested in the package deal.

She's serving a life sentence in prison. Hardly seems like enough, does it?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Top Four Ways NOT To Gain Media Attention: #2

#2 is Disappear

You will only end up looking foolish.

This last June South Carolina governor Mark Sanford did for six days once. He said that he was going hiking in the Appalachians to clear his head. Um, yeah. If you're going to lie about this, you might want to answer your cell phone. A reporter intercepted him at the airport flying back from South America. He admitted that he was with his mistress and "soul mate" (ugh). Okay then. His wife and sons moved out of the governors mansion and he has been asked to resign or be impeached. Was it worth it?

Remember Jennifer Wilbanks? The Runaway Bride? She disappeared right before her wedding and called her fiance to tell him she'd been kidnapped spurring a nationwide manhunt. There was also speculation that her fiance had killed her. She was indicted under felony charges to which she pleaded no contest. She was given two years probation, 120 hours of community service, and had to pay $2250 to the sheriff's office. Needless to say, the fiance married someone else.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Top Four Ways NOT To Gain Media Attention: #3

# 3 Discovering or reporting on something that isn't real.

Let's start with War of the Worlds. A brilliant piece of broadcasted fiction. Who knew it would terrorize a nation and cause mass hysteria? er. It was Halloween people. Sheesh. And this one ended okay. Some did not. There was a broadcast in Chile in 1944 that caused panic and the governor mobilized troops. And in Ecuador in 1949 listeners were so incensed by a deceptive broadcast that they set fire to the station killing twenty people.

Many of these instances were harmless enough. Loch Ness, Big Foot, Alien Autopsy for example. I'm sure you've heard of those. Another was the Piltdown Man. Lots of info on this one. Too much to write about. You can find out about it here.

Then you have those like the men who claimed to have found frozen Bigfoot. They apparently collected $50,000 from Searching for Bigfoot Inc. for the body. The CEO of that company then was going to charge people to view the body. The ending details are sketchy as some may believe the CEO of Searching for Bigfoot might have been involved in the hoax. Maybe he was just trying to save face for being duped.

You may think the people behind these hoaxes are funny or clever. Outside of Orson Welles, and the guy behind the Alien Autopsy, I think they're idiots. Personal opinion of course.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Top Four Ways NOT To Gain Media Attention: #4

Write an autobiography that's not really an autobiography.

Okay, is some cases this will get you published. Probably the most famous fake memoir is James Frey's A Million Little Pieces. And really, if the writing is good and the story is interesting, you'd think it could get published on its own merit, right? Wrong. Breaking into the publishing world is difficult. Trying to make it in this industry myself, I can kind of understand the method behind their madness. If they couldn't sell their stories as fiction, why not try to sell them as non fiction, right? Unethical, yes. I wouldn't do it, but sometimes integrity wavers in the face of desperation.

And it's probably not worth all the trouble when you get caught. I mean, would you want to be reprimanded on national television by Oprah? Me either.

Some fake memoirs have been relabeled as fiction and sold, others are not so lucky.

Take Margaret B. Jones (really Margaret Seltzer) for example. She wrote Love and Consequences: A Memoir of Hope and Survival. This was supposedly the story of a part white and part native American girl, who grew up in South-Central Los Angeles, a foster child in a world of drug dealers and gang members. When it was found out that she was actually a rich white girl, the book was recalled by the publisher.

The Honored Society
, by Michael Gambino was supposedly his story of life as a gangster as Carlo Gambino's illegitimate grandson. Gambino’s real son, Thomas Gambino exposed the book as fraud, and it was withdrawn by the publisher.

I could go on and on, but I won't. You get the idea. Lying about your life in book form is not always a good idea. Attention grabbing? Sure. In a good way? Not usually. James Frey is the exception, not the rule.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Free For All: Phishing

So the other day I get an IM on Facebook. It's from someone in the publishing industry who has worked for some BIG publishers.

This person said they were on vacation in UK and were mugged at gunpoint and needed to pay their hotel bill and get a flight home. They ask me to wire $900. I immediately said no, because um, I don't HAVE $900 to begin with. They said any amount would help. I asked if there was someone I could call or can the US embassy help. They changed the subject and I got distracted. That's just me. Oh look a shiny thing!!

Okay, I look at the profile page, google the person, everything looks legit (and selfishly I'm wondering how my helping this person could help me get published. Come on! I'm only human). My soft heart is thinking she really needs my help. But my head knows better.

I tell my husband. I know he'll stop me from doing anything stupid and of course he immediately tells me I'm crazy for believing it for even a second (yes I know he's right, but I'm a gullible softy. I can't help it) He says they probably got phished. And I know all about phishing. Not to this extent, but once a while back I clicked on a link, which immediately sent this link to most of my Facebook friends and screwed up my computer by putting a Trojan virus in it. sigh. Not a good day for Megan.

Luckily, this person's phone number was right on their profile page. I do a reverse look up, to make sure it is who it's supposed to be, and call the number. The person answered (and I was thrilled that they knew who I was by name alone) and told me it's already been reported. Their account got hacked and they can't even access it anymore.

I immediately contacted all our mutual friends to warn them.

The phisher sent me another IM later and asked if I'd wired the money. I told them no, good luck with your scam, and they called ME a fool. Silly phisher.

Here's the deal. Be smart on the computer. Don't trust anyone you don't know personally. Don't click on links that look even the slightest bit funky. And never never never send people money.

Bad things can happen on the computer. Believe me.

Song of the Week: Fireflies by Owl City

Movie of the Week: Identity

Book of the Week: Bloodroot by Bill Loehfelm (yes, I'm a slow reader. I squeeze it in where I can which is between writing, revising, cleaning, videos, children, husband, and soccer, but watch for my review on it soon)

Quote of the Week: "Evil is a point of view." ~ From Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Top Four Crazy Things About Catsitting My Dad's Cat Maxx: #1 Technology and Intelligence

Okay, those seem like two things, but they really count as one.

Let's start with a couple of toys Maxx has. Maxx has a camera you can hook onto his collar. I like to call it the CatCam. You can set it to take pictures at different intervals and see what kind of trouble Maxx gets into when he's out and about. Some have been boring, some have been hysterical. I wish I had copies to show you, but they are sadly at my father's house.

Maxx also has a tracker attached to his collar. When you want to find him, you just take the remote, push the button, and it will lead you to Maxx. It reaches 300 feet, which Maxx rarely exceeds. I thought this to be kind of a silly toy until his collar went missing this week. It came in very handy. I am surprised that my father hasn't hooked him up with GPS yet.

Maxx wants to be a star and he's so smart that whenever I'm filming one of my writing videos at his house, he subtly works his way into the frame and steals the scene.

Maxx is so highly intelligent, he is able to send me emails. I wish I had saved some of them, but I'm sorry to say I have not. Normally he will write just before it's time to cat sit and ask what time I will be over, or to demand my presence at a certain time so that he's not alone for too long.

He has also texted me on occasion for the same reasons. I often wonder how he can text with those furry paws of his.

If he doesn't text me, his mother (my dad) will. Here are some recent ones:

Go C Maxx (this is the day we started cat sitting)

When U getting cat? (this is when we had to kennel the cat because we had to leave town while cat sitting)

When I can will send email re Maxx ID (this is when his collar went missing)

Get Maxx email on Facebook?

This last text brings me to Maxx's recent acquisition of a Facebook profile. Which can be found here.

Maxx currently has 24 friends. Maxx has people leaving him messages on said profile. He also has uploaded 3 profile photos. Two of him, and one of the pope. (I'm serious, no one could make this stuff up, go see for yourself)

He has also messaged me on Facebook. Here is the last message I received from Maxx, it's in regards to us losing the collar and saying we found it:

Maxx Messina October 12 at 6:46am
Did you really find it or only say that to make the oldmanhappy? If so, go to Humane Society today and get me licensean d ID with a new collar. What hapens if I get lost????? BTW, thanks for the trim. Feels a lot better and don't for get my dollop on hyour finger every other day or you will be picking shit out of my ass.

His spelling isn't very good, but you have to forgive him, he is a cat after all. And he's right. We did say we found it to make the old man happy, otherwise he would worry and worry. We did it for his own good. We hadn't had enough daylight to look, but the next day we took his little tracking device out and found it.

Up on technology, utilizing the internet. Find me a smarter cat. Bet you can't.

That's all on Maxx. Thanks for reading. Catch you on the flip side.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Top Four Crazy Things About Catsitting My Dad's Cat Maxx: #2 Meds

Yes, Maxx is on numerous medications.

Yesterday I told you about the laxatives, so I'll spare you that at least.

I am to put 3 Pro Dent and 3 Active Care in his food with a dollop of vitamins. (One is for his joints, the other for tartar) He will not eat any of it independent of his food (this is the part I skipped from the memo)

I have had to shove pills down his throat when he's been injured in fights and squirt some liquid meds down his throat also.

None of this is fun.

He does like the taste of the laxative though.

And I will add, Maxx puked on the carpet yesterday. This has nothing to do with this meds, but everything to do with taking care of him and cleaning up after him.

I've just realized this is not near as funny as yesterday's post. I should have switched them. Or maybe saved the laxatives for today,but it was just too funny to wait.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Top Four Crazy Things About Catsitting For My Dad's Cat Maxx: # 3 The Memo

My dad leaves us a memo every time we cat sit for him. Some of it regards watering plants and taking the garbage out, but mostly it's about Maxx. And Dad, if you're reading, you KNOW this is funny.

Here is a sample:


1. Maxx (the usual): Leave Maxx in if you are gone for a long time.

His vet is Doc (make up name): (make up phone number). After hours clinic is (make up another phone number)

You know how to feed Maxx. Food and vitamins. (I am skipping part of this because it is for tomorrows blog). Now, he has all sorts of treats in the 3rd drawer down you can give him a few times a day. He loves the Greenies. The latter are good for his teeth and he should get 12 or so a day. They can be used to tempt him to come into the house. (The section about the Greenies is highlighted)

Leave our bedroom door open as he likes to sit on the bedroom love seats outside and inside bedroom proper.

Leave him in at night in the computer room. Do no let him out after 8 PM so you can get him in before bedtime.

He drinks out of the guest bathroom. Leave lid up and flush twice to insure clean water.

Mary and Rachel: pet him a lot. Keep his toys visible and, if you want, use the mitten to brush him and the vibrator. (no I'm not making this shit up)

Directions regarding boarding Maxx

Maxx has a reservation at the Puget Sound Pet Pavilion (address, phone and directions follow)

Maxx is also scheduled for a bath and trim (that's all). You can pay the boarding by credit card, but the groomers want cash or check. Mom will leave some. When you get him, make sure they have returned his collar. I once had to go out there and get it because they did not put it back on after his bath.

He has been constipated lately. I assume you do not want to be pulling crap out of his ass (you will know when he needs it by the painful meowing and hissing), so I have some medication. It is on the counter with this other meds and vitamins. I have figured out the meds. Too much diarrhea; not enough constipation. So, one little dollop on your finger tip every other day is the ticket. It must taste good, as he licks it right off. I did it on Mon. and Wed. So I suggest you do so before and after his trip to the kennel and on Tuesday the 13th. Thanks. (then he goes on to talk about the stuff I'm using tomorrow again) He has treats in the 3rd drawer, but only really likes the Greenies. You can give him a dozen pierces a day or a bit more.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Top Four Crazy Things About Catsitting My Dad's Cat Maxx: Insanity.

The cat is crazy. That's all there is too it. He's very quirky. I think he resents not having a tail.

One minute he'll be sitting on your lap, getting petted, purring, the next he'll be trying to bite your hand off.

His favorite thing is to come up behind you and start nuzzling your neck. If you let him get away with that, he will start licking it, then he drools on you. It's very gross.

When he wants to go out, he starts darting around the house, up and down the stairs at rocket speed. Most cats just sit at the door and meow, which is funny, because he's about ten years old, and JUST started meowing a few months ago, as if he just found his voice.

He has fresh water daily in his water bowl, yet chooses to drink out of the toilet.

When I put him to bed before he's ready he will leave me a nice poop. I'm sure he pees too, as the room in which he sleeps always smells of cat pee. (this can be very gross as his fur is like velcro and things often cling to it, like leaves, and poop, and small animals)

He has disappeared twice for a week at a time. When he has returned he acts as if nothing strange has happened. I think he might go on catnip benders with his friends, and when it gets to be too much, he returns home to come down.

So, that's number four, the cat is insane.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Free For All: Guest Blogger Gae Polisner's Anatomy of a Book Deal

Anatomy of a book deal.

For nearly ten years, I have been trying to get a book deal. Ten years, if you count the years trying to get an agent, which is almost a necessity if you want to get a decent deal. The agent came a year and a half ago. I have three manuscripts she’s been shopping.

During those pre-agent (and post-agent) years, I received a fair amount of praise for my writing, if not always for my ability to weave a commercial enough or “formulaic” story. But, the bottom line is that endless rejection, even smattered with praise, is difficult to push through for so long.

So, last May, when my YA mss landed in the hands of a legendary YA editor who read and “loved” it, the hope that I so often fought to pummel down, rose to the surface of my psyche. And when she sent me a private email quoting from the book and telling me to “sit tight,” it sprouted wings and poised itself to fly.

So you can imagine how crushing it was when three weeks later, she came back with a note explaining that while a second editor had also loved it, a third editor had not, and that, without his approval, the publisher would not put the money behind she believed the manuscript deserved. With a sentence that started, “In another economy…” and contained the word “heartbroken,” she passed on the book.

Summer came and I fought to regroup. I embarked on massive revisions with the understanding that, in September, my agent would send the manuscript out “wide.”

And then my agent received the following note from the editor: “Usually, when I pass on a mss that is it for me. But, I can’t stop thinking about Gae’s manuscript.” She asked for another brief exclusive in September, and hope took wing once again.

In July and August, I revised for over 100 hours, trying to take into consideration all of the concerns of the “unadoring” editor, while preserving the parts of the book she loved. As well as addressing the other concerns and suggestions of my agent. On September 15 we sent it out to her. We gave her a two week exclusive.

On October 1, the last day of the exclusive, having heard nothing and beginning to despair, I found the following note from my agent in my email. It was only a subject line, there was nothing else at all in the email: “ Frances has made an offer. Call me.”

Ten years is a long road. And (almost) totally worth it to read those seven little words.

Gae H. Polisner is a writer of women's and young adult fiction. She is excited to announce that her young adult novel, Steinbeck, The Scoot and the Pull of Gravity has just been signed by a major New York publisher. Her novel, The Jetty (women's fiction), was a Top 100 Semifinalist in the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Her third novel, Swim Back to Me (women's fiction), is also making the rounds to publishers. She is represented by Michelle Humphrey of Sterling Lord Literistic in NYC.

Don't forget to join her fan page :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Top Four Reasons to Join my Friend Gae's Facebook Fan Page: # 1

She's inspiring. In so many ways.

I told you about her road to publishing. How hard she worked, writing and revising for hours at a time. She's inspired me to do the same. She read my manuscript, told me what she thought it needed based on her feedback from her agent and publisher. I think she's right. So I've started revising. Now, if you know me, you know I hate editing and I hate revisions. But Gae got me excited about it. Almost like I'm working on a new project instead of perfecting an old one. And I know she has inspired others in the same way.

Just seeing her get this book deal makes me believe it can happen for me too. Not that, if she can do it, I can do it, but if you dedicate yourself and research and toil and the writing is good, it can be done.

Gae has always been a support to all her writing friends, cheering us on, commiserating with us, telling us to get to work. She is honest with her opinions about our work. Tells us what's good, and what's um, not so good.

She makes us strive to be better.

She inspires.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Top Four Reasons to Join my Friend Gae's Facebook Fan Page: # 2

Dedication. She is not only dedicated to her writing, but to her friends (and I'm sure her family, though being 3000 miles from her, I'm not witness to it).

It has been a long road for her to get Steinbeck, the Scoot, and the Pull of Gravity published. She got an agent. Agent said, revise, she revised, agent said revise again, she revised again, agent sent to publisher, publisher said revise, she revised again. Voila. Yes that is the short version. I've seen how long and hard she has been working on this novel.

Like I said, she's also a dedicated friend. She has helped me with both my query letter and my novel. And I know she has helped countless others as well. She's selfless, she's busy writing and revising her own work, but has the time to edit my manuscript, call me on the phone to talk about it, send endless emails about how to make it better.

And it's not all about the writing. She comes through in all aspects of life. Personally, she's helped me through some personal stuff that I don't think I would have made it through without her.

Join her fan page. You won't regret it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Top Four Reasons to Join my Friend Gae's Facebook Fan Page: # 3

She's hilariously funny. She without fail makes me laugh every single day. Even on my darkest days. Here are some Gaeisms:

This is what she said when I told her I was going to blog about her fan page. "make me witty, and clever, and overall smokin hot. Oh, yeah, and I write well."

Her favorite phrase is "bite me" If she says it to you, she probably likes you. If she doesn't like you, believe me, you'll know.

Much of her funny is too racy to post here. Just sayin'.

Here are some funnies she posted on a forum we used to frequent.

"A crazy few months of my life started once by accidentally calling myself Gea. There was soccer and some nakeness involved. I can't go back there."

"I found a life for the last 24 hours. Don't worry. I've misplaced it again."

Honestly, I could go on and on and on, but you get the picture, right? So if you want to be witness to this brilliant insanely funny sense of humor, join her fan page. You should be constantly entertained.

If you're not, you're probably doing it wrong.

My Dad. He's awesome.

John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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