Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thought Provoking Thursday: Resolve

At first, there was no way I was going to make another New Year's resolution.  Nu-uh.  No way. I went back to my last year's resolutions and you know what EPIC FAIL.


However, as you know if you've been reading me a while, it's been a rough road this year.  Breakdowns, divorce, new house, new job, it's been hard to find balance.  I've started to see a pattern though this time of year, that's right life, I'm catching on to you, so next time this year I will be ready for it. (plus having a book come out at the same time doesn't suck either)

So this is my resolve for the upcoming year.  I'm not going to promise to achieve them, but I'm going to try like hell.

I will be more physically active.  Seriously people, I've let myself go.  Haven't set foot in a gym, or exercised for MONTHS.  So I resolve to get off my ass and get moving.

And hopefully with all this action will come the dropping of a few *cough cough* extra pounds I've put on this year.

I will write more.  I did write one book this year, Cheesy, which I'm in love with, but I finished that ages ago.  I've written very little in the last six months.

I will try once again to find some peace and be happy in life.

I think the most important thing is to find out who I am.  I know the mother me, the wife me, and the writer me, but I don't really know that much more about myself.  I want to explore that and see who comes out in the wash.

I want this year to be more than good.  I want it to be epic.

So what are you resolving for the upcoming year?  What are your goals and desires for yourself?

Happy New Year.

Stay safe, don't drink and drive.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Writing Wednesday: Taking Zoey

  Small unedited bit from my current WIP.  Let me know what you think.

     I slept though it was fitful.  I had nightmares I couldn’t really remember.  I only remember waking ever so often in a cold sweat although my closet was cold as my captor had not provided me with a blanket and I hadn’t bothered to put my clothes back on.
      I woke to him entering my prison, saying nothing.  He put a lamp on the floor and ran an extension cord out to the rec room.  He turned it on and stared at me for a moment.  He threw a bag to me and said, “Here.”  Then he scanned my quarters and said, “I’m going to work, clean this mess up while I’m gone.  And don’t try anything stupid.  Champ is here just waiting for the chance to attack.”    Then he closed the door, locked it, and left.
     I looked in the bag.  Inside were a pair of pink sweats, some slipper socks, and underwear.  I pulled the underwear out and inspected the package.  He bought the largest size he could find in the girls department.  They were pristine white some with flowers, some striped.  I tossed them aside.  No way in hell was I going to wear those and give in to his perverted fantasies.  I slipped the sweats and slippers on, then started picking up pieces of glass and porcelain and placing it in the now empty bag.
     There were some good sized chunks among the debris.  I began carefully inspecting each piece one by one, searching for the perfect weapon.  I finally found it in a big hunk of glass, curved and broken into a perfect point.  I slid it under my mattress and picked up the remaining fragments.  I put my own clothes inside the bag, never wanting to set eyes on them again, and tied a knot at the top and placed it in the corner by the door.
      I sat for a minute looking around the room now that it was light.  I didn’t really get a look at it when I was tossed in the night before.  I had a wall to my back, a wall across.  Inverted stairs made up my sloped ceiling.  The stairs never meet the floor, it ends in a small crawl space.  There was enough room to lie down in, but not enough to sit up and there was a door around the corner at the end.  I wriggled toward it.  There was no handle, just another crawl space.  I tried to get my fingers between the door and wall and pry it open, but it wouldn’t budge.
     Staring at it for a while, I imagined what was beyond.  Maybe shoe boxes full of photos of him and his daughter in happier times.  Her stuffed animals and clothing packed away in neat obsessive little boxes, tied up with string.   Her dead body.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Manic Monday: Back to reality

Now that the whimsical sugar-plum-fairy-candy-cane-shopping-baking-wrapping-eating-drinking-talking-snowmen-santa-claus season is over it's time get back to it.

This includes work.  I love my job, but it's always hard getting back to it after a long weekend. 

A trip to the dump to get rid of the extra garbage and the 500 pounds of cardboard left over from Christmas (that could be a slight exaggeration).  

I have two video book trailers to make for two 2011 YA/MG debut novels.  I'm actually almost done with one of them, just adding the titles. 

 I received my copy edits in the mail just before Christmas.  Needless to say, I've not touched them yet.  Deadline is January 10th so I've GOT to get to work.

Lastly (well, probably not but all I can think of right now) getting back in shape after letting myself go for the last six months (ugh). Why is it so easy to fall OUT of shape, but so hard to get back into shape? sigh.  I'm hoping the new xbox kinect will help.  I really don't eat all that bad but my ass has pretty much been glued to my computer chair since July.

Okay, so here I go, getting back to it.

Catch you on the flip side,


Friday, December 24, 2010

Friend or Foe Friday Is Cancelled

Instead I want to wish everyone a joyous ___________________ (insert holiday here, mine would be Christmas)

Whether you celebrate with family or friends, make it the best ever.  Eat lots of __________________(insert favorite holiday food here, mine would be gnocchi)

And I hope you get that ____________________(insert most wanted gift here, not sure what that is for me) that you've been dreaming of.

Have a safe and sane ______________________(again,  insert holiday).

Please don't drink and drive, or ________________and_______________ (pick something silly mine would be cry and make an ass of myself)

Peace and Love,


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thought Provoking Thursday: Tis the Season

You'd think this time of year people would be a little softer, a little kinder, a little more willing to put other's needs ahead of their own.  But we live in a society in which people are in such a hurry, their needs and time being more important than those around them.

This being the guy that shoots in front of you to get the better parking space then gives you a snide look like he's got one up on you.  Um, guy, I wasn't going to park there anyway.
Passing two people in the Safeway yesterday, "Come on, don't be such a jerk."  I have no idea what was going on, but the first guy probably was being a jerk, well, maybe, the second guy probably in a hurry. ugh.

The people who push and cut in front of you in the mall. ugh.

These are reasons I try to get my Christmas shopping done WAY in advance.  But that doesn't always work out (I have to do some last minute crap today, ugh)

Try and slow down this holiday season, everyone else's time is just as important as yours.  Remember to give of yourself, donate some coats and blankets to your local shelter, give the Santa ringing the bell your loose change.  Adopt a Christmas family if you have the means to (I'm going to do this next year with my girls).

Have a happy holiday.  Peace, love, and candy canes,


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Writing Wednesday: The Twelve Days of Christmas

I thought with Christmas just a couple days away, I would write an original song, sung to the tune of TDoC (see title of blog if that confuses you).  I'm not going to bore you with the repetition million lines, I'll just start at twelve and work my way down to one.  Sound good?  Here it goes.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my muse gave to me twelve advanced reader copies
Eleven pair of kneesocks
Ten great reviews
Nine blog entries
Eight knit caps
Seven beta readers
Six angsty poems
Five works in progress
Four book trailers
Three e-mail friends
Two author blurbs
And a pu-blished man-u-script!

Yep.  Wrote that off the cuff in about two minutes flat.  You can't even tell, right? lol

Happy holidays and all that junk.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2fer Tuesday: Soul Baring Solstice

My friend Hart over at the Watery Tart has decided to bare her soul in the name of the solstice.  I'm following her lead by doing the same.  She did twelve, I'm not sure how many I can come up with, these are off the cuff and in no particular order.

1. I have a thing for young actors.  Don't get me wrong, they're not under-aged (meaning I'm not a perv), just way younger than me.  Through the years I've had major crushes on Heath Ledger, Toby McGuire, Edward Norton, Elijah Wood, and more recently, Shia Labeouf, and *fans self* Zac Efron.

2. I love to sing and I'm kinda good.  I was in show choir in junior high.  I was in vocal ensemble and the musical Li'l Abner in high school.  I've been onstage in various bars in the greater Tacoma area singing with a guitar player friend, I love karaoke.  I blast music in my car and sing along, everything from the Far East Movement to Nirvana to Michael Buble.

3. I'm a musical geek.  I have love just about every musical I've ever seen.  Grease, Evita, Moulin Rouge,  Jesus Christ Superstar, etc, etc, but my ultimate favorite is Hair. (I've never seen an episode of Glee)

4. When I was in 7th grade I wanted to start a band called Emotional Disturbances.  It never happened.

5. I used to get car sick.  Just about every family trip ended up with me throwing up in the back seat.  I always take the front seat now.

6. I play fantasy football.  The first year the league decided to let a girl in (me) I won the  whole thing.  I'm in the play offs almost every year.  I'm sure they now regret their decision.

7. I've been writing since I was in kindergarten, poems, songs, short stories.  Finally wrote my first novel at age 33.

8. When I started writing novels, I thought I'd be the next JK Rowling with my super hero series.  Um, yeah, right.

9. Back in  junior high I always like the short guys.

10. I was going to go out for a women's rugby team last year until I found out they were all in college.

11. I took me ten years to finish college.  Two years straight, then part time for the next eight.  Still, I did it.

12.  I have VERY dark days.

Hey, I did it!!

How about you?  You want to bare your soul in the name of the solstice?  Give me just one.  Dare ya.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Manic Monday

My friends think I'm dead.

Okay, maybe not literally.  But I've been a wisp of a person lately on my usual haunts.  I say on because I'm talking my friends on Facebook and email mostly because they're the ones I talk to daily.  I've actually not seen many of my tangible friends lately either.


Because I'm busy,  way more busy than I'd sometimes like to be.  Between kids, and paid work, new side biz, and writing, and now with the holidays and copy edits, and 2k11, every day is a blur of non stop non stoppiness (yes it is too a word!).

Still trying to figure how to balance it all without having my head explode.  I think once the holidays pass, I'll be able to handle it better. *fingers crossed*

So what's on your plate?  Big projects? Edits? Writing?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Friend or Foe Friday (yeah I know it's Saturday): Jim King and Bill Warrington

If you've not read Bill Warrington's Last Chance, you need to.  Because Jim King's novel, which was the winner of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest in year two, and where I met him, is becoming a MOVIE!!!  How inspiring is THAT?!?!  It's one thing to get published in the first place, but when that novel becomes film?  That's big.

And this couldn't happen to a nicer guy.  While I've never met him in person *cough, cough, come to Seattle for a book signing, cough* I've spoken to him on the ABNA threads and facebook, and he's just a kind, humble guy.

The movie is being produced by Barry Josephson,  who has been behind "Enchanted," "Aliens in the Attic," "Hide and Seek" and "The Ladykillers." *shivers shoot down spine*

So, buy your novel today, read it, give it as a Christmas gift.  Then you'll be ready when the movie version comes out.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thought Provoking Thursday: Egged

Last night as I took my daughters to see the Deathly Hallows (which totally rocked BTW) my brand new Toyota Sienna was egged in the parking lot.  I looked around at nearby cars, none of them seemed to be egged, just mine.  First of all, your kids should not be out egging cars in the middle of the afternoon.  They should be doing homework, or participating in sports or other extracurricular activities that does not involve ovum propelling.

Secondly I'm thinking, "Kids actually still do this?"  I mean, with as far as we've come technologically speaking, if they're not doing homework or sports why aren't they on their computers, x-boxes, wii's, cell phones, etc, etc.  They still get rudimentary enough to "egg"?

Then I wondered, why me?  Of all the cars in the lot, why mine?  I parked a little over the mid-line, I admit, I considered moving it, but the lot was far from full, there were plenty other places, closer to the theater to park.

Someone suggested it's because I drive a foreign car.  Doubtful.  I don't think kids care about that kind of stuff (yes, I am making an assumption that these were teens, but I really can't see an adult going around randomly egging cars, however, I know I could be wrong). 

It could be because it's new and they're jealous.  And I wish they would read this because I'm going to say something.  I've never owned a new car in my life.  Could never afford to.  I always got them used, and always drove them until I just couldn't anymore.  My old car wasn't safe.  I have kids.  I came into a bit of money and decided to go for it and got a killer deal.  It's a Toyota people, not a BMW, a Mercedes, or a Rolls.

It really upset me.  It's the holiday season.  The season of giving, of being kind to your neighbor.  I was out with my kids.  I took one of their friends.  I see about one movie a year, because frankly, it's too expensive.  It saddens me that there are youth out there either not being taught about kindness and respect, or that they just don't give a shit.

That's all.  Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Writing Wednesday: Taking Zoey

     This is a bit from my new edgy YA novel, Taking Zoey.  I was inspired to write it after reading an article in the paper of an Australian girl's bones being found on a river bank.  Her name was Zahara.  How terrifying would it be to be taken like that, and if you were held for any amount of time before death, how desolate and hopeless you would feel.

Warning, this section would be rated PG-13 or R by the motion pictures association.  Consider yourself warned.

He practically threw me back in the closet.  He grabbed the lamp, my plate from the night before, and he took my clothes and left leaving me wet, cold, and in darkness.  I crawled to the little door at the end of my closet, opened it up and went through.  I continued toward the vent around the corner.  Though I was freezing, I unwrapped myself from my towel, and dropped it to the floor, then I slithered my way up into the vent.  Without clothes on, I had more room to wriggle around, but still got caught up at the hips.  Another few days of not eating would probably do it though.
     I squirmed my way back out, and was about to grab my towel when I heard my abductor coming down the stairs.  I quickly grabbed my towel and crawled as quickly as I could back to the door, went through it, and had just sat down on my mattress when my door opened. 
     “Why are you panting?” he asked.
     I had to come up with something fast, but what?  “I was just crying.”
     “Oh.”  He looked uncomfortable, which struck me as odd.  Maybe in his warped way he was actually starting to like me?  To feel for me?  To think of me as a human being instead of an object?  As a daughter figure even?  I mean, though he was a sick fuck and damaged his kid for life he must have loved her in his way?  Shown her some kind of normal affection at times.  He handed me a pair of sweats, boxer shorts and socks.
     “Thank you,” I said taking them from him.  I slid everything on immediately having been naked and freezing.   He turned to go and I said, “Are you ever going to let me go?”
     He never turned back to me and all he said was, “I’ve asked Georgia to marry me.  She’ll be moving in soon.  She doesn’t know I have a child.”  Then he left, locking me in behind him.
     So that was it.  He was going to kill me.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

2fer Tuesday: Yeah, there's a Santa Claus (by Maxwell Cynn)

My friend Max has graciously written us a holiday story for my 2fer blog.  He's a great guy, the writer of novels as well as short stories. Enjoy.

Bobby Naughton was fifteen; next Thursday. He didn't believe in Santa any more, if he ever really had. Two men in his building played Santa. They were both drunks, and one bugged him. It was the way the man looked at him when no one else was looking. His mom had said the guy was probably just gay, but Mr. Tarlton was gay, and he didn't make Bobby uncomfortable.
Christmas around Bobby's place was just another day when the heat didn't work and his mother didn't come home. He got a few days out of school, but Bobby liked school. He had friends there, and he ate a good breakfast and lunch every day. There wasn't much to eat at home. Christmas was just a week without food as far as Bobby was concerned.
He had a real Christmas once, when he was seven. He was living in a foster home while his mom was in jail. The people he stayed with had a tree, wrapped presents, and everything. They cooked a big special dinner on Christmas and people came over with more presents. It was pretty cool. Bobby figured Christmas was for rich people. They spent a lot of money, bought a lot of stuff, and gave it to each other. It was just another excuse for them to buy stuff.
Bobby left and walked toward the corner store. He didn't have any money, but he was hopeful. He was getting a little old for the sad-lost-child ploy, but the student-who-lost-his-bus-fare had been working out pretty good. Walking toward him down the sidewalk was another of those fake Santas. His suit looked a lot nicer than the ones he had seen. He must work at one of the expensive stores.
"Ho, ho, ho." the fake Santa rumbled. "Merry Christmas."
"Knock it off," Bobby jeered. "Save it for the kiddie crowd."
"A cynical young lad," Santa said jovially. "And a Scrooge."
"Scrooge was a rich guy. I'm no rich guy."
"So you are familiar with the old miser."
"I read the book, in the library. Not a bad read."
"So what would you like for Christmas, young Cratchit?"
"I'll just take a couple of bucks now, if you can spare it."
"I generally deliver presents on Christmas Eve. I don't think I have anything on me."
"Of course not. Santa doesn't visit poor kids anyway."
"Of course he does. In the very early days I dropped coins down the chimney into poor childrens' stockings. The poor are most important at Christmas."
"I asked my mom once why Santa never came to our apartment and she said because we don't have a chimney."
"How old are you, young Cratchit?"
"Fifteen, why? Gonna say I'm too old now?"
"No. I just don't know how you never got on my list."  Santa rubbed his beard.
"If you could have anything in the world, anything at all, what would it be?"
"Why? I won't get it."
"Humor me. I feel I owe you fifteen Christmases."
Bobby thought for a moment.
"A ticket to New York."
"Odd request. What is in New York? A very wonderful city, but very dangerous for a young man all alone."
"It's not for me. It's for Heather."
"She's my, ah, friend. She lives about a block from me. We're in art class together."
"So why does Heather need a ticket to New York?"
"She applied to art school there, but she has to go to an interview and show them her work. Her mom can't afford the bus ticket. So she can't go. That bus ticket would be her ticket out of here. She's good, man, real good. All she needs is a break and she'll be famous some day."
Bobby stopped himself. He didn't know why he was opening up to this Santa-want-a-be. The whole thing with Heather had been eating him up. He'd sell body-parts if he could to get the money, but there wasn't much hope. Heather was the coolest girl he had ever known. He just wanted her to be happy, and get out of this trash-dump of a neighborhood
"I'll see what I can do, young man. A noble request deserves serious consideration."
"Yeah, right. Whatever. Merry Christmas, man."
Bobby walked on past and down the street. He was feeling a lump in his throat and he wasn't going to lose it in front of the supermarket Santa. Life really sucked when someone as talented as Heather was going to lose her big break because her mom couldn't afford a lousy bus ticket to New York City. This Christmas was going to be worse than usual.
Bobby spent the next couple of days mostly at home, hungry and bored.  Heather hadn't come around and he was starting to get worried.   On Christmas Eve, someone knocked on the door. Maybe it was the police looking for his mom again. He went to the door and opened it cautiously. It was Heather.
"Hey, Bobby." 
"Heather! Where have you been? I went by your place and no one was there."
"I've been in New York, with my mom."
"New York? How did you manage that?"
"Some old guy came by the other day and handed me tickets and enough money for a hotel. Mom went with me, and they accepted me, Bobby! Were moving to New York in a couple of weeks. Mom found a job while we were there and everything. Can you believe it? I'm going to art school!"
She wrapped her arms around Bobby's neck and kissed him square on the mouth. He was stunned to say the least. 
"But I haven't told you the best part. Remember that old camera you found and gave me for Christmas last year?"
"I took pictures of all the stuff you painted in the ally behind my building, in case someone painted over it. I showed them the pictures and they want you to apply. You've got better grades than me, Bobby. They are sure to accept you. They already like your work. They said as long as your grades were good, they would give you a full scholarship."
The sound of Christmas bells rang out from the old church on the corner. Bobby didn't know what to say. Then it hit him.
"God Bless Us Every One."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Manic Monday: People who suck and other pretentious bi%*es

So Saturday night was the office Christmas party (was a blast up til 4 am. yikes).  The party is always held at a hotel, and we always spend the night.  Sunday morning rolls around, me and the girls, including my niece Gina, are waiting for my brother, whom I'm giving a ride home.  So while he checks out I decide to pull the car around so me and the girls can load up.  I pull to the front of the hotel, two cars immediately pull in behind me, which I think nothing of.  I get out, open my trunk, and I go back into the lobby.  The girls and I gather our stuff, which is right inside the door, go out and start loading up.

As I'm loading stuff into the back, this woman approaches the van and asks the girls, "Do you know who is driving this van?"  Number one, dumb question you idiot.  I don't think three teenage girls would climb into the van of a stranger.

I say, "I am," as I continue to load bags in the back.

She says, "Well, we need to pull our car up so we can load our bags."

I hope the look on my face said it all, I have no idea.  My first inclination was to bitch slap her.  But you can get arrested for that these days.  So I just said, "um, I'm loading my car."  What I wanted to say was, oh, sorry, I didn't realize you were the only and most important patron at this hotel you pretentious $&#^()(@%&#*(#*^.

And then I stewed and stewed and stewed.  If you're reading this, country- club- snob- at- the -Inn- at -Gig Harbor, you suck.

That is all.  Thanks for reading.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Friend or Foe Friday

I've been inspired by so many lately, tis the season I suppose, I can't possibly name one person today.  There are my email writing friends who make me laugh every day and are always there when I need a sounding board.
There's my 2K11 group, basically we're all in this crazy rollercoaster that is the publishing biz together.  It's nice to have that kind of support.

Some of the people in my office went to the Red Cross Real Heroes Breakfast this morning.  I didn't go this time, but have in the past.  The people honored there are those who go out of their way or risk their lives to help someone else, a stranger even.  If that's not inspiring, I don't know what it.

Rusty also has been inspiring me to keep  my chin up and look at the good all around me.  If you read my post yesterday, he's the one who told me when I'm feeling down to think about what I'm thankful for and why.

Basically I'm surrounded by goodness, and people who have my back, and support me, and that makes me want to be that kind of person too.  Not just during the holiday season, but all year round.  Emerson has a wonderful quote.  "Scatter joy!"  That's what I want to do.  I don't always want to be the angsty writer, but the scatterer of joy, the sprinkler of bliss, the caster of rapture.

It's a choice.  We all have it.  I choose it. 


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thought Provoking Thursday: Cancer

I read a blog the other day about what Elizabeth Edward's death and what it might mean to people.  At first I thought, why would it mean much to me?  But upon further reading, I realized what the blog author was saying.  Cancer death.  It speaks to people.  For those with cancer,  it may bring thoughts of their own personal battle with the disease.  They may reflect on their own life, their own mortality.

The good thing is, as the blog author states, there are no two cases alike.  And Elizabeth Edward's fate will not be every cancer patient's fate.  While it's inevitable some will pass, others will prevail, survive, and have long lives ahead of them.

For those of us who have lost a loved one to cancer, we think about all the others out there struggling with the disease.  I'm reminded of my mother-in-law and her last days and how I wish they would just find a damn cure so no one else has to suffer like that.

I also wonder what I'd do if I contracted the disease.  I know I would try to make the most of every single day I had left.  Here's another thought, we should be doing that already, because you never know where life will take you.  Maybe you will get cancer, maybe you'll get hit by a bus.  You're not guaranteed a long and healthy life.

This is why I wrote Never Eighteen (This blog is soooo not about my book, but it organically led me there, bear with me).  It's a reminder that you only get one shot at life, so take advantage of it.  I admit, I don't always do it.  There are days in which I brood, days that I feel sorry for myself.  Days I'm lonely, days I'm frustrated.  I need to start taking the advice of my own novel and just enjoy the time I have left here.

The other day I was in quite a dark state of mind.  A friend said, don't think about all the bad things in life, think about all the things you're thankful for and why.  Your mood will turn around. 

So, here's a challenge, join me if you will.  Whenever I'm feeling sorry for myself I will 1) Think about something I'm thankful for.  2) Do something, big or small, that if I died today, would leave me without regret not having done it (yes, that's not a well formed sentence, but in the scheme of things, it doesn't really matter, does it?)

Wow, this blog ended up way longer than I intended.  I digressed a bit, but it's all connected.

Thanks for reading.  Catch you on the flip side.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Writing Wednesday: Lockdown

Since my friend Caron Guillo edited this novel for me (and she's really good, mine you), I've been excited about doing revisions on it (no time yet, but it will come).  Here's an excerpt:

     We got off the bus, and Brady and I headed to our lockers, which were right next to each other.  That’s how we met.  I remember the first time I laid eyes on him I nearly melted.  He has these sexy blonde curls that shine like the rays of the sun, a nice smile with perfectly straight white teeth, the cutest dimples you’ll ever see, and eyes so blue they’ll break your heart. 
      I’d try to talk to him all the time, small talk, about the weather or school, or movies.  He wouldn’t say much.   I thought he wasn’t interested.   Then one day he walked right up to me and said, “Kat, I think you’re the cutest most interesting girl at this school.” My heart pounded loudly in my ears, and I could feel all the blood inside me rush up to my cheeks.  We’ve been pretty much inseparable since then.
     The day in question, I remember, I was leaning up against my locker and he whispered in my ear.  I can’t remember now what he said, but I remember his words tickled, sent shivers down my spine and caused a break out of goose bumps down my arms and legs.
     Matt’s locker was on the other side of mine.  Whenever I saw him, I made it a point to say hello, to connect with him.  We were friends once, best friends, really, all the way from kindergarten until about sixth or seventh grade.  He lived across the street from me.    We were the kind of friends that had our very own secret hideout, unknown and hidden from the rest of the world.  The kind of friends that made pacts in blood, and the friends that promised each other if we were still single by thirty, we’d marry.  But things change.  People change.  We began liking different things, hanging out in different groups, drifting apart.  It happens.
     I tried to reach out to him because I worried about the path he was heading down.  His parents?  They fought all the time, always have.  I don’t know the why’s or how’s about it, but sometimes they were so loud I could hear them through my bedroom window.  Matt turned to pot and video games to drown out their voices, to escape it.  I don’t think they knew or cared very much, so who could blame him?  I can’t imagine what it would be like to live with two people that hated each other, that seemed to hate their own child. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

2fer Tuesday: Val Conrad

Blogging.  I learned a great deal about the history of blogs (short for Web Logs) and other Internet marvels in a Jeffrey Deaver audio book while driving south across Texas to a Christmas Festival where my publisher is featuring some of its authors.  In case you’ve never driven across Texas, imagine going from New York City to Atlanta, Chicago to Oklahoma City, or Portland, Oregon, to San Francisco – minus most of the traffic. Megan now resides in one of my favorite places in the country in the Pacific Northwest (because I now live in West Texas, where there are about as many trees and hills as your dining table), and I’m not-so-secretly jealous of her for that.  I miss green.  I even miss the rain.  And I miss there being something visible above the flat horizon – but hey, in my part of Texas, we do have some fantastic skyscapes and sunsets.
Geography aside, back to Mr. Deaver.  With the first book of his I read, I was hooked on how subtle he was in leading the reader to think something happened that did not.  Kinda like how you watched the whole movie The Sixth Sense, believing that Bruce Willis’s character was alive and trying hard to be helpful.  Praying for Sleep (1994) was what I considered to be the ultimate in suspense.
So I opened a file and started typing one day in 1995, hoping to find that breathtaking feeling in my own novel.  I had no idea writing it would take me ten years, and getting it published with an independent press another five, but it is now a book.  (And here’s there shameless self-promotion that it’s available through, and its sequel should be listed there mere days from now.)  My first scene isn’t even in the book now when 180,000 words got whittled back to about 110,000. And I realized, explaining the story to another legendary author – Jodi Thomas – that I’ve known my protagonist longer than I’ve known my husband.
I don’t know if Megan’s had characters rattling around in her head that long, or if she’s ever had one tap her on the shoulder and say, “Nope, I won’t do THAT.”  Apparently this seems absurd to my friends who don’t write, but those who do write understand.  I’m not really suffering from schizophrenia. The world in my novels is fictional and it’s all in my head, but it’s real to me. Most of the time, I even know the difference.  Now if I could just find a way to imagine I was back living in the Northwest... 


Val Conrad, RN, BS, BSN
Author:  Blood of Like Souls
...and coming soon - Tears of Like Souls

I met Val a couple years ago through a mutual friend.  She's right about the Pacific Northwest you know, I wouldn't live any where else (well, I might like to take a few weeks in AZ in the winter).

And yes, my characters are constantly rattling around in my head telling me what comes next, almost to the point of annoyance because many times I am so far away from my computer (work, driving, hell, okay, maybe not that last one) I can't get it down.

Thanks Val for being part of my Tfer Tuesday.  Check out her book, Blood Like Souls, paperback or Kindle, it sounds great (haven't read it, going to order it today) it's got some fantabulous reviews. 

Oh, look, and here's the sequel. 

Thanks for reading.

Catch you on the flip side.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Manic Monday

More like Panic Monday.  I went to a book release party the other night for the charming Holly Cupala.  As I stood watching a video she and her husband put together, and seeing the name Ellen Hopkins pop up on the screen saying how wonderful Holly's novel is, I started to panic.  Just sitting here writing it I'm starting to panic again.

I started thinking about my novel, Never Eighteen.  Wondering if anyone would say nice things about it, like Ms. Hopkins did for Holly.  Wondering if I would get an author to blurb it for me.  Wondering if people would love it or hate it.  

I have to step back from the ledge and realize, some people will not like it.  It's just a fact.  As far as blurbing?  I hope I get blurbs from authors, but if I don't, maybe it's not the end of the world?

Okay, enough panicking. 

Now I'll just lament.  Looks like I lost a blog follower. :(  Such is life.

Tomorrow's Twofer Tuesday will feature author, Val Conrad, so be sure to come check it out.

Be great today everyone.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Friend or Foe Friday (er, Satruday this week I guess)

So, yes, once again I missed my blog day, but I've been busy, and here I am making it up and stuff.  So on Friday's I've decided to blog about someone who has either inspired me or pissed me off to the point that they end up in my blog.

Today is inspiration and that inspiration is my friend Gae.  If you read my blog, you are well acquainted with her already.  But every day this woman does things that amaze me.

I met her in the 2007 ABNA (Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award) contest, and we became fast friends.  We're like sisters now.  Sadly, we live clear across the country from each other, but hey, in the technology age that hardly matters, right?

Gae was the first of my writer friends to land a book deal, and rightly so.  The time and dedication she puts into her writing astounds.  This on top of a job, two boys, a husband, etc, etc.  And her writing is amazing.

But on top of all that, she is also a champion for the unpublished writer.  She is constantly reading and editing manuscripts and query letters helping those still on the journey perfect them.  She did this with Never Eighteen, and I know she helped make it a thousand times the book it was.  I try to emulate her in this by helping people with their writing as well, but it's hard and it's time consuming (I do help a bit).  So I admire her for doing this for others.

She's faced adversity, had her ups and downs, but she always comes out of it, brushes it off, and begins again.  Plus, she's charming, brilliant, hilarious, and beautiful.

She is what writers, mothers, wives, and women should aspire to.

Her novel, The Pull of Gravity comes out next May from FSG, Frances Foster books.  You should buy it.

Thanks for reading.


My Dad. He's awesome.

John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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