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.

Right.

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.

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennifer_Wilbanks
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Sanford#Disappearance_and_affair
http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-10-17/11-craziest-media-hoaxes/2/

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.





References:
http://www.bspcn.com/2007/08/31/top-10-greatest-hoaxes-of-all-time/
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/08/080820-bigfoot-body_2.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bigfoot#Hoaxes

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.

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fake_memoirs

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:

Memo

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.

SPECIAL ALERT REGARDING MAXX
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.

Top Four Reasons to Join my Friend Gae's Fan Page on Face Book #4


# 4 This is the most obvious. It's because she's getting published. Gae is a friend I met through the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. She has since become one of my best friends, though we've never met in person. Her YA book, Steinbeck, the Scoot, and the Pull of Gravity is getting published by a major press. No details yet, the details come later.

Here's a little taste of what it's about:

Nick Gardner is having a rough year. I mean, it's hard enough to be 14. Add to that your brother's a jerk, your big fat dad has hit the road, and your sort-of best friend is dying, and it's enough to wear you down.

But when a water tower, a broken leg, and a television news crew put Nick on a collision course with one Jaycee Amato -- a girl with Siberian Husky eyes -- his whole life begins to change. Together, they set out to deliver a gift for his dying friend.

Will they find what they set out for, or merely discover the beauty of Steinbeck, the crappy truth about plans and a few small facts about gravity?

Steinbeck, The Scoot and the Pull of Gravity is a coming-of-age story about first love, friendship, and the true nature of family.

So, support the arts. Become a fan.

You could also become a fan of yours truly, if you want.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Free For All: Pets


Thanks if you read my blog this week about middle school.

Today I want to talk about pets. I don't have any. My kids are constantly talking about wanting a puppy or a kitty, and while at times I feel guilty not allowing this inalienable right awarded to most children, it is impossible.

I know having a pet will teach my kids responsibility, but I have allergies. To everything. So, there's that. We also like to travel , and we house sit at this amazing house quite often, with pets we would either have to pay to kennel, or get someone to feed the animals.

But there is a more pressing issue at hand. My kids. The kids who want to feed, and bathe, and love an animal cannot even put their clothes in the laundry room. Or their dishes in the dishwasher. These kids who want a kitten to pet and hold on their laps cannot replace a toilet paper roll or put their things away when they're done with them. These kids who want to clean up dog poop complain when asked to set the table or tidy the bathroom or take out the recycling.

So I've decided to get them a pet. A rock. Rocks are hypoallergenic. They do not require food or water. They need not be petted or entertained. They will not bark, whine, or rub up against your pants leaving a mess of hair. They will not pee on the couch, poop on the floor, or throw up in your bed. They do not need to be kenneled or pet-sat. They do not lick or bite or rub their wet snotty noses against your cheek. They don't need to be taken for walks and you don't have to clean up after them.

So, my answer to my girls request for a pet will remain as it's always been, when you move out of the house you can have a pet.

Music of the week: I think I'm going with The Airborne Toxic Event. Check them out.
Movie of the week: Couples Retreat. Haven't seen it, but dying to.
Book of the week: Bloodroot by Bill Loehfelm. So far it's really good. You'll see my review soon.
TV show of the week: Hell's Kitchen. You gotta love chef Ramsey

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Top Four Worst Things About Having Kids in Middle School # 1 Sex

Sixth graders having sex. Can you imagine? I never even thought about it until, well, never mind. My eighth grader has come to me with more questions that I ever thought I would have to answer at this age. I will not repeat them, as some of them are a bit, er, graphic. I've been open and honest with her, told her the true answers to everything she's asked. And she says, "Ew" or "Why would someone DO that?" So at least there's that.

My daughter has known of two pregnant eighth graders in her time in middle school.

Apparently, many kids start experimenting in middle school. And, um, some do a little, and some do a lot. And some do things I've never even heard of. My daughter has told me things and I go, "Ew." Can you say Icy Hot? Ugh. The kids she's told me about, they are also the ones experimenting with drugs and alcohol as well, so they seem to go hand in hand.

Now I'm starting over again with the sixth grader. I think she will be way more disturbed than my eighth grader ever was.

The thing is, we talked about sex, and drugs, and things like that before they started middle school, and they're coming home with questions I never thought I would have to cover. So, if your kids have not reached middle school age yet, be prepared for some hard questions. Talk to them BEFORE they enter those doors. Talk about pregnancy, and STD's, relationships. I find the most important thing is the open communication. No, I really DON'T like answering those questions, but I'd rather they hear it from me than find out on their own one way or another.

My Dad. He's awesome.

John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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