Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday T is for Time Off

Yep, that's me taking time off from my blog yesterday.  Did I mean to?  No.  In fact when I sat down to write this today, I was starting the Monday Morning Blahg until I realized it was Tuesday.

That is the sign of a good weekend.  And it was, it was fun and lazy and sunny.  Friday night I stayed in and watched Black Swan which I thought was very good though a bit disturbing.  Saturday I went to a beautiful wedding with friends (one of which I would like to be my boyfriend).  Sunday, I took a totally lazy day, well, not really lazy.  I did write, and work on some marketing stuff.  But I got to take my time and take breaks.

Yesterday I worked in my yard, mostly shoveling.   Which is a story in itself.  When I moved into my house, the previous owners had these two berms in which he planted flowers, at the front of my driveway.  I thought they were ugly and I kept running over them with my car, so I decided I would turn them into tiered herb gardens.  I started digging out the edges so I could pour some concrete (to make it a little easier to back out of my driveway) and so I could edge the garden

At the corner of one of the berms, I found concrete underneath, which kind of threw a monkey wrench in my plans.  So, yesterday, I decided to dig into the berm to find out how far the concrete went.  Well, I found that it was about two feet wide, and went from the sidewalk all the way to the house.  I dug it out as far as where I wanted my herb garden, but was completely mystified as to why someone would put a flower bed, and sod over a strip of concrete.

So, I'm still going to put my garden in, I just don't really have a plan of action, instead of them being triangular, I think I'll make them square.  I guess.

Anyway, after that, I sat in the sun and read while drinking a glass of wine, took a nap (which if you know me, you know I NEVER do), watched Invictus, which was excellent, and went to bed.

I even forgot to set my alarm clock, so I woke up a little late. Oops.

How was your holiday weekend?



Friday, May 27, 2011

F³A: Time

I don't have any anymore it seems. None that's free anyway.  I work.   Then I go home and work some more.  I don't think I could possibly have fathomed how much time and energy it takes to release a book.  You write it, get a book deal, and the rest just falls into place, right?  Um, no.

First there's swag.  If you don't know what swag is, it's pretty much a group of promotional items you give away.  Most people would hire someone to design these things for them, but since I have a bit of know-how (a small bit really, but enough not to pay to have it done) I'm designing them myself.  Time.  Yep.  I just ordered buttons yesterday.  I'm designing bookmarks.  I'll probably do some stickers, pencils, and hopefully come up with some other really brilliant ideas.

Once you have the swag, it's time to make connections.  You take them to your local bookstores and libraries and ask them to carry your book.  You give them to LA teachers and school librarians to give to their students.  You send them all over the country to any of your connections that will pass them out for you to their local bookstores and libraries. 

Then there's donation letters.  I'm reaching out to any company I mentioned in the book.  Ford, Starbucks, the Space Needle, etc, and ask if they will donate ANYTHING for giveaways.  I'm still working on this one.

I've booked one release gig.  But I'll need to do at least three or four to include everyone I want to.  And this will require me talking to my local indie store, which I as of now have no relationship whatsoever.

I'm trying to put some of these things in place now because I know the closer it gets to the release, the busier it's going to get.

There's way more than that too. AND I'm also working with the Class of 2k12 on basically the same stuff.  I love it, but it's exhausting.

That's all for today.  Getting sidetracked and feel poopy. Happy Friday and have a great holiday weekend.  Remember all those who gave their lives for your freedom.

I'll leave you with the Friday Nibbles.

Random Pandora Song: Break Even by the Script.  I freakin' love this song and it's so true.

Book of the week: I'm still reading Popular by Alissa Grosso, but let's throw Tension of Opposites in there too.  It's by Kristina McBride.  Just Facebook friended her and we have a mutual friend.

Netfix of the week: The Office Season Six.  Just finished it.  Hilarious

Quote of the week: "When love is not madness, it is not love."  ~Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thought Provoking Thursday: Tornadoes

Not so much a blog today as a prayer for those living in the wake or path of the tornadoes.  So much devastation and loss.

I have friends and family in those areas and I fear for them.

Be well all of you that continue to receive tornado warnings.  Stay safe.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Writing Wednesday: A Tattered Life

This is a new WIP (work in progress for you lay people).  It's unedited.  Let me know what you think. (No I'm not done with Sad, but sometimes when an idea pops in my head I have to go with it, to at least jot a little down so I don't forget it).

 March 18, 2011 

I’m tired.  Tired of living in this sardine can of a home with its lack of windows, torn curtains, and the smell of dog piss emanating throughout.  I’m tired of going through the motions as daughter, sister, and friend when I feel like nothing more than a speck of dust on a window pane ready to be wiped clean away.  I’m tired of the snobs and flakes and posers at school who think they’re either better than you, smarter than you, or more pathetic than you and take pride in it.  When did we come to strive for depression.  The Emo boy and girls with their dark makeup and their skinny jeans brood in the hallways acting as if their blue-collar lives are pure hell while they listen to their iPods, play on their Xboxes, and talk on their cell phones.
They don’t know what it truly is to ache.  What it’s like to watch your dad walk out the door and never come back.  To watch your mom spend every waking moment with a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other.  To be the sole provider for your family, the mother to your sister.  To be mocked and bullied at school because of it all.
And this journal, and the art, it’s not enough anymore.  I can’t do it.  I’m ready to free fall from life, to plunge into the unknown.

I’m ready to let death take me away from this place.  I don’t care what’s waiting for me on the other side.  It has to be better than this . . .

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday T is for Topsy-turvy

Have I already used that one?  I wouldn't be surprised, because that seems to be life these days.  Ups and downs, a rollercoaster ride that I can't seem to stop.  One minute things are great and calm, the next, uncertain and chaotic.

Does life ever just ride like a straight, flat highway, with no obstacles or road blocks? 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday Morning Blahg: Mechanically challenged

You know, it's hard enough to help my kids with their homework (especially math, in fact, I CAN'T help them with that anymore).  But then when the science teacher throws things in that you have to construct, that is normally beyond my capabilities.

Dioramas, I can do.  Charts, graphs, I can do.  Last night I had to help her with a balloon car.  First you have to construct the car, then you add a filled balloon to it to make it run.  My mind does not work that way.  So, one, I had to figure out what items were needed to construct a car.  We ended up using a plastic stick from the end of a helium balloon.  A crapload of tape, cardboard, dvds, and those thingies you drive into the wall to put a screw in (I have no idea what those are called.

Then I had to figure out how to put the car together without it falling apart.  This is where I'm mechanically inept.  My first try was pathetic at best.  I got the wheels on without falling off, but the didn't turn.  That car wasn't going anywhere (the teacher wants it to go five meters)

It was those screw thingies that brought it all together.  I used pieces of cardboard to kind of keep the wheels in place, then put those thingies on the ends of the sticks. 

We could not test it because I could not figure out how to get the balloon on.

Here's a pic of the end product.

I hope to god it moves at least a little bit. #mechanicalfail #crapihavetomakeformykids

Friday, May 20, 2011

F³A: Relationships

Those of you who have followed by blog for awhile know I've had my share of difficulties, mentally, physically, and emotionally (I'm not called the angsty writer for nothing).  Today marks a new chapter in my life for today my divorce will be final.

It's been a long strange trip for me.  We were married for seventeen years, had our ups and downs, but things happen along the way that you can't fix and you can't go back.  My husband and I have always marched to the beat of a different drummer.  We are a bit crazy, eccentric, weird, but fun.  Divorce is no different.  It was hard at first, but we realized we still loved each other (just not in the way we needed to, mostly on my end), and liked hanging out together.  It was very important to stay friends, for us, for our kids.  We bbq together, have gotten together for movie night, gone out to dinner.  We want each other to be happy.

We'll be divorcing together.  I'm picking him up, we're hitting Starbucks, the county/city building, then lunch (he said I have to buy).  And hopefully our friendship will remain intact.

Does it hurt?  Yeah.  Along the way I've had my doubts, but I know this is what I need right now.  My life has traveled down a different path the last few years making me a different person than I once was.  And I like that person.  Sometimes she's a bit mad, she may cry a little too much, and she gets lonely when her kids aren't around.  But she's more confident, stronger, braver, more adventurous.

So here's to closing this chapter in my life, and starting a new one.

Catch you on the flip side.


Oh yeah, Friday nibbles:

Random Pandora song (Thing Two has been pilfering my iPod as of late):  Different Names for the Same Thing by DCFC.  From my Death Cab For Cutie station

Movie of the Week:  I'm thinking Thor.  I really want to see it.

Book of the Week:  Popular by Alissa Grosso.  A take on popularity from five girls points of view.  Very interesting so far.

Quote of the week: "There are some things one can only achieve by a deliberate leap in the opposite direction." ~ Franz Kafka

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thought Provoking Thursday: Goodreads Reviews

This is a tricky subject to cover, so I need to tread carefully.  I know I've talked about reviews, but I want to talk specifically about Goodreads reviews and some of the effects they have.

I've heard I should not read Goodreads reviews.  Yep, that's going to happen, not.  It's too hard to see that someone has reviewed your novel and then not read that review.  Do I wish they were all 4 and 5 star reviews.  Of course.  But that's not reality.  In fact I got a 3 star from the Reading Housewives on Indiana the other day that I thought rocked.  Click here to read it.  The reviewer was very honest.  She like the book, was entertained, but could not connect with my main character.  I'm good with that.  She was respectful and tactful and I appreciated that.

I recently got a horrible 2.5 star review on Goodreads (and subsequently the reviewers blog).  I'm okay with the review.  I felt the language was a little harsh, but I respect the reviewers opinion.  It's a subjective business.  As writers, we hear this all the time.

And reviewer's followers sometimes take their word as gospel.  Again, fine.  They follow them, maybe they have some of the same opinions on certain books, so they take their reviews and base their decisions on them.  I'm down with that.

However, (of course there's a however) I think if someone reads a synopsis of a novel, and they think it sounds interesting, they should make their own judgment.  Plain and simple.  I mean, reviews are important, but if you doubt that review  in any way, just pick the book up and try it out.

There was one thing that bothered me about this particular review.  It was the fact that the blogger stated that the people that gave Never Eighteen five stars must not have read the book.  Yes, she has her freedom of speech, I just find this comment reckless and unprofessional.  That's just my opinion and I'm free to voice it as well.

I was researching opinions about Goodreads reviews, and only came up with a couple sites.  I think we as writers worry about criticizing reviews, as we should, so we stay away from the topic.  Here are a couple good blogs, click here for one by Alissa Grosso about the pros and cons of the site.  And click here to read one from Faerye.net about Goodreads vs. Librarything.

As you see, I've linked to the review in question above , only so you can read it, please do not feel the need to defend me or my novel.  Like I said, it's a subjective business.  Some people will hate your work, some with love it.  My friend Gae made a good point, that the bad reviews give the good ones some legitimacy.  Balance, Yin and Yang and all that.

Even you don't read or don't like Never Eighteen, I will still love you. :)  You are my blog readers and followers and I hold you close to my heart.

I hope no one is offended by this post.  It's just something I think about and wanted to talk about.  I would love your opinions on Goodreads, review bloggers, and Amazon reviews.  Do they hold water?  Are they gospel?  Do you only trust ones from your friends?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Writing Wednesday: Sad

    A little snippet.  I'm getting close to being done.  Have to flesh it out a bit and add some elements.  Tell me what you think.
     David and I decided that if we were going to be ready together, and the night was to be perfect, we’d have to plan it.
     “Prom night,” David said shoveling some fries in his face at Baldy’s, our new favorite hangout.
      “That’s pretty cliché,” I said.
      “No, it’s not, because we’re not going to prom.”
      I stopped mid fry and looked in his eyes.  “We aren’t?”
     “No, prom is for the superficial and desperate.  We’re skipping it.”  He took a sip of his mega-pop that had to be at least eighty-five ounces.
     “What if I don’t want to skip it?” I said, finally finishing my fry.
     David gaped at me like he couldn’t comprehend what I was saying, as if I was speaking a foreign language.
     “What?”  I said.
     He pointed a French fry at me and said, “What sounds better?  Wearing uncomfortable clothes and conforming to the conventional, phony social rituals of a misguided youth?  Listening to banal music created by mama’s boys wearing guyliner whose hearts have been broken into a million pieces? Witnessing the doldrums of fake ceremonious elections for elitist snob kings and queens while everyone else’s hopes and dreams are scattered all over the floor with the leftover streamers?” He took a breath.  “Or, would you rather have a romantic evening in a beautiful hotel suite with the love of your life, feeding each other chocolate covered strawberries and drinking champagne, while giving completely and profoundly of yourself, and then tangling up together and falling asleep in each other’s arms?”
     “Well, when you put it that way—”

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday T is for Travail

Travail has two definitions.  One is to struggle, one is to become alive.  Many of you know I have had my share of struggles these last few years.  Last week was no different. Some days are good, some days are bad. Sometimes we win in life, sometimes we lose.  Amongst book releases and getting my ARCs and traveling to New York, I also struggled with bad reviews, and self doubt/loathing, and heartbreak.

The good thing is it's never too late to start over and there's no limit how many times you're allowed to. 

Life has been an emotional and physical roller coaster for the last three years.  I think I'm finally ready to jump off the ride.  To dive into a fresh start. I recently realized I wasn't even following the message of my own novel, make the most out of life, not focus on the negative, you only get one shot at it.

I have much to be thankful for, awesome friends, a great support system, I think my work in progress is pretty good, my book release gets closer and closer.  And hope.  Hope that the rest of the year gets better.  Hope that I find success with Never Eighteen, hope I find balance, hope that I find true happiness in life and become alive again.



Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday Morning Blahg: Surprises

So, I had a whirlwind weekend that only a handful of people knew was taking place.  I decided to surprise my friend, Gae Polisner, by showing up at her book release party Saturday night at the Book Revue (a wonderful Indie bookstore in Huntington, NY.  If you're ever in the area, you should go there and buy a book in support of your indie book stores)

I flew into JFK Friday afternoon, took a shuttle to my hotel, which was the Melville Long Island Marriot (which was the loudest hotel on the face of the planet.  There was a Lutheran convention, four weddings, and a graduation all that weekend and they put me on the first floor).  That night I had dinner, a couple glasses of wine, and worked on my work in progress, Sad.

Saturday I did much of the same, then had a cab come and take me to the Book Revue.  (my cab driver was extremely nice)  I walked in, first person I saw was Gae's husband, David, who did a double take, of course, not knowing I was showing up.  I searched around for Gae, but couldn't find her so I slid between a couple of bookshelves, and who do I run into?  Gae.

The expression on her face was priceless!  I wish I had my video camera going, but she probably wouldn't have let me post it anyway.

It was an incredible experience.  I got to meet authors James King (Bill Warrington's Last Chance) and Mike Sullivan (Necessary Heartbreak).  My friend and fellow writer Christine Beth Reish was there.  And I got to see so many of Gae's friends (too many to name, sorry) that I'd met last year when I ventured to NY.

Gae was brilliant, and cool calm and collected (though she'd tell you she wasn't).  She screened her book trailer, which was brilliant (and which I had a tiny hand in), she spoke about her journey, and read from her novel, The Pull of Gravity (which I read on the plane home and love love loved).  Then she signed books for a throng of people there to support her. 

We went back to her house for dinner then they drove me back to my hotel, which was nice because I pretty much just imposed on them. :)

The next day was awesome (except the flight home, not talking about that anymore, if you're friends with me on Facebook, you can find out why)  I got to hang out with Gae and Christine all day just talking about writing and life, and the publishing process, and why Christine's beautiful novel, Facade, hasn't been picked up yet (any agents reading this should contact her, seriously)

All Gae's friends kept telling me what a good friend I was for showing up and surprising her, but in truth, she's the good friend.  She has gotten me through (and continues to) many dark days. She's helped me (and so many others) become better writers, and she deserves all the success she finds.

Pic up her book, The Pull of Gravity.  I don't think you'll be disappointed.

By the way, I have a guest post, interview, and review of Never Eighteen on the Reading Housewives of Indiana blog today. I'd love if you'd check it out.

Friday, May 13, 2011

F³A: I did not blog today

Today was crazy.  Seriously.  People drama, writing drama (I'm 33K into my WIP), mama drama (not really), review drama, marketing drama.  Drama drama drama.  It's loud here.  I'm tired.  It feels like my life is chaos at this exact moment.  You know, pretty much the same as any other day. 

I really have nothing today except the drama (have I mentioned the drama?)

Writing dark and disturbing always tends to make my life more tragic than it really is.  Sometimes.

I did have someone ask me today if I was a writer as they saw me clicking away at my keyboard, which was kind of cool and made me feel like a real writer, which I know I am, but sometimes it doesn't feel like it, ya know.

Have I mentioned I got my ARCs (I know I did, I just like to mention it over and over again)

Okay, enough random thoughts.  I'll just give you my nibbles.

Random iPod shuffle song: ( I just realized I said shuffle, it's not because I own an iPod shuffle, I own an iPod touch, its just the random song that comes up when I hit "shuffle" and I have no idea why I felt the need to explain it and to have a shuffle song your iPod would actually have to turn on, which it isn't.  I'll come back to that)

Movie of the Week: Invictis. I've had it on netflix for about two weeks and failed to watch it.  I'm watching it tonight.  I love Matt Damon.

Finally got that iPod song.  Why by Secondhand Serenade.  Don't judge my I like my Emo music.

Book of the Week:  Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach.  This is the funniest, saddest, story I think I've ever read.  Love Love Love.  Thumbs up, five stars.  Seriously, you should click that link up their and buy it.  Then read it. Then love it.

Quote of the week: "I am tired, Beloved, of chafing my heart against the want of you; of squeezing it into little inkdrops, And posting it." ~Amy Lowell, "The Letter" I just think it's beautiful.  Dark, but beautiful.

I think I'm done here.  Have a good weekend, no matter what you're up to.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thought Provoking Thursday: Relationships

Here I was going to talk about rude people today after an incident at Starbucks yesterday morning, then something threw a monkey wrench in it.

Relationships, they're kind of funny, right?  And I'm not just talking romantic relationships, I'm talking about friendships too.  Sometimes they just don't, shouldn't, or can't work, no matter how you might feel about a person.  Things can just get in the way, work, kids, time, emotions, things out of your control.

I think we take some of our relationships in life for granted.  We expect that person will always be there for us, then one day *poof* they're gone, for whatever reason, they move, they die, they move on.  Even if you think you see it coming, or expect it, the gravity of it still hits hard, makes your heart ache.

The book I'm writing now, that happens to my main character a lot.  People are constantly leaving her life for whatever reason.  She struggles because of it.  And I felt bad doing all these terrible things to her, but I didn't really know how she felt.  I do now.

Don't take for granted that someone will always be there for you.  You may get blindsided.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Writing Wednesday: Never Eighteen

In honor of receiving my ARCs yesterday, I'm going to post a snippet from Never Eighteen.

The following scene is Austin trying to conquer his fear of heights by riding the Extreme Scream at the Puyallup Fair.

The countdown begins . . . ten, nine, eight . . . Kaylee lets go of my hand and grabs on to her harness. I give her my best “What the hell?” look and she giggles. Seven, six, five . . .I’m now aware of the need to hold on for dear life, so I too grab my harness with a death grip . . . four, three, two . . . I close my eyes, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in. One . . .we shoot up the tower at what feels like the speed of light. I feel helpless, dangling, with no control of my limbs. Just as I thought, I scream like a little girl, flailing, and praying to
God I don’t piss my pants.

The ride stops as suddenly as it started, at the top of the tower. I open my eyes, take in the view of the fairgrounds below me, trying desperately not to freak out. When we plunge back down, my stomach drops to my knees and my mouth goes dry. Up and down again, up and down, slowing with each phase, until the ride finally ends and we are safely back on the earth. I’m finally able to let out my breath. I want to lie face- down and hug the ground, thank it for being so solid, and still. When my feet hit the earth, my knees buckle and I nearly collapse. Kaylee and one of the attendants grab me and hold me up.

“You okay, man?” the attendant asks. He looks just like a fair attendant should, big, bald, missing some teeth, a clichéd tattoo on his gigantic bicep— MOM in a red heart. I’m sure if he were to bend over, we’d get a view of his butt crack as well. He reeks of cigarettes and whiskey, disconcerting for someone who has just put his life in this man’s hands. The stench makes me nauseous. I run to a nearby garbage can and puke, a horrible waste of cookies.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

T Tuesday. T is for The Class of 2k11

I mention them today because 6 of the 17 members books release this week.  Alissa Grosso's, Popular released yesterday.  Today Gae Polisner's The Pull of Gravity, Amy Fellner Dominy's OyMG and Christina Mandelski's The Sweetest Thing release today.  K Ryer Breese's Future Imperfect and Sheila O'Connor's Sparrow Road also release this week.

The Class of 2k11 also consists of:

Carole Estby Dagg
Trinity Faegen
Kiki Hamilton
Carrie Harris
Geoff Herbach
Tess Hilmo
Amy Holder
Tara Hudson
Julia Karr
Bettina Restrepo
Angie Smibert

You should check out their books.  The ones I've read so far have been fantastic and I plan to have every one of them on my bookshelf by the end of the year.  I congratulate all six who release this week, those that have already, and those that will later this year.

That is all,


My Dad. He's awesome.

John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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