Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Still employed:                __

All teeth intact (see above):     __

Survived dog:                  __

Survived Thanksgiving:   __

Survived Christmas:         __

Survived New Year’s:       __ (pending)

Revisions completed:        ___


Oh, wait. “Revisions completed” seems to be lacking a __ .

Can that possibly be because I'm not finished with them yet?

bridealive-1.jpg picture by Isabeaulia

"What? WHAT??? How dare you insinuate this novel is a hopeless cause?"

Young-Frankenstein-bh01.jpg picture by Isabeaulia

"Shh, it's okay, it's okay...she won't hit you again, I promise."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I haven't posted anything of relevance for a while.

I'm not about to break my record.

Seriously. I have bronchitis. I've had bronchitis for, like, for-ever. This chronic lack of oxygen is affecting my ability to do anything other than drag myself to work, drag mysself back home, occasionally post a FB note--like about THE SERIAL KILLER in my backyard; seriously, the neighbors thought the smell was coming from a sausage factory?--and sleep. Antibiotics. Antihistamine/decongestant. Cough syrup. Albuteral inhaler. Hopefully I'll be recovered in time for the BOOK FAIR this weekend. I spent 4 hrs in Urgent Care yesterday and did not come out of there with what I wanted, which was steroids--Doc-in-a-box: "You're not wheezing." Me: "But I'm not breathing either!"--but this new antibiotic seems to be doing the trick.

So I blame hypoxia for my lack of writing effort. I'll flip open a file, look at it, hack and spew all over the keyboard, hammer out a word or three, then close the file out again and laspe into a coma. I can't concentrate enough to do any further revisions on LMB. And with Rinn still out to Tina there's not much else for me to do (still awaiting the ______ sucks ______ doesn't suck verdict). Meantime I've been watching a lot of TV and oinking out on leftover Halloween candy.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


What a nice little dog!

What are you going to do with my dog? Give him back to me!

All in good time, my pretty. All in good time.

Please give me back my dog!

Certainly! If you give me that manuscript!

No, no, it's not finished! And my agent, the Good Witch of the North, hasn't seen it yet!

Very well! Winged monkey, throw that basket in the river and drown that stupid dog!

No, no, no! Here, you can have the manuscript. Just give me back Elijah!

There's a good little author. I knew you'd see reason.

ARGGH! OW,OW, OW! This thing weighs a TON!

I'm sorry. I know it's rather lengthy, but--


Can I still have my dog back?

Thursday, October 29, 2009


See? Taking the stairs can be fun!

Thanks, Dallas, for the link. :)

Monday, October 26, 2009


I'm currently (well, actually I've been at it a while) struggling through a memoir written by an actor I've admired my whole life. I mean seriously admired. Like, if this actor came to my town and charged upward of $200 bucks to read the Holy Bible backwards--in Czech--I'd happily pay for a front row seat.

The book s-u-c-k-s.

Okay, in all fairness, maybe "s-u-c-k-s" is too strong of a word.

How about B-O-R-I-N-G?



Except I doubt this actor used a ghost writer only because this actor has written books in the past. You guessed it: children's books. Without launching into a Celebrities Who Decide To Write Children's Books rant, let me just say I wasn't impressed with those stories, either.

I checked out the reviews for this memoir on Goodreads (there are tons of them) and I'm amazed at the number of 4 and 5 starred reviews. The few 1 or 2 starred reviews all say the same thing: boring. BORING!

But the majority of the reviews are 4 and 5 stars. What??? Either y'all have a much greater attention span than me (which is quite possible these days) or you're hoping the author will read your review and send you a thank you note that you can sell on eBay.

It takes a lot for me to put down a book and never finish it. I mean, if I don't find a story positively thrilling, I'll least skim it, you know? And hope it gets better? This one is not getting better, which is an absolute shame because this actor lived a fascinating life. And I'm a fan...

no, not just a fan--a huuuuuge freeeeakin' faaaan!!! I should be mesmerized by every word.

<--tosses book into my NTBF (never to be finished) pile.

Haven't Posted for a While, but...

1. anywherebeyond has been posting Real Life Ghost Stories all month from fellow bloggers. Check it out! Today's story freaked me out.

2. Still shaking the Deadly Unknown Virus from God-Knows-Where-I-Picked-This-Up. It's all very well and good to say "stay home from work when you're sick"--my own workplace says that--except when you run out of sick days and don't get paid plus they'll still reprimand you for too many absences. Oh, yes.

3. So b/c of #2 I got nothing done this weekend, aside from a 20-hour nap.

4. Rinn is out to Tina.

5. LMB is going nowhere.

6. Grandma had her phone turned back on. Good! B/c I reallyreally missed those 27 calls each day. ;)

7. Someone asked me the other night if I've put on weight. YA THINK????

8. I need ice cream.

9. No, I don't. 10.

Ohhh, yes I do!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


There are no words to describe my love for this dog, even when I'm ready to kill him.

The way he looks at me, when his ears are down and his big brown eyes go all soft...well, those of you who own dogs, you know which "look" I mean.

Yesterday we went for a long walk on the bridle trail. The woods were dense, the trees aglow in color, and all was silent save for the birds and the occasional squeak of a branch. We went off the trail for awhile and climbed a fairly steep hill...Eli bounding ahead, full of puppy energy, and me, trying to keep up, breathing in the scent of fresh fallen leaves...

Till I threw my neck out.

Note to self: You are not 15 years old anymore.

I must be under a lot of stress, because then last night I had a very sad dream: I dreamed Eli died by electrocution (don't ask) In the dream I was balled up on the floor, sobbing over and over, "My heart hurts so bad. My heart hurts so bad."

I know, right? Awwwwww!

I woke up this morning, esctatic that it was only a bad dream. And in the past hour alone, I've threatened Eli's life at least 10 times:

"Drop that checkbook or I'll kill you!"

"Drop those socks (or keys, cell, envelope, pillow, rug, whatever) or I'll kill you!"

"Drop Daddy's as-of-yet-unopened-DVD-of-1,000,000 BC-with-Raquel-Welch's-scantily-clad-heaving-bosom-on-the-cover or I'll kill you!"

He knows I don't mean it.

And, no, he doesn't drop these things, either. I practically need a crowbar to pry them loose from his jaws.

Then he gives me...

Yep, you guessed it.

That LOOK!

Monday, October 19, 2009


A fitting TRIBUTE to Norma Fox Mazer, who will be greatly missed.



Congratulations to L.K. Madigan and the release of her new YA novel FLASH BURNOUT:


From Amazon: "Fifteen-year-old Blake has a girlfriend and a friend who’s a girl. One of them loves him; the other one needs him.

When he snapped a picture of a street person for his photography homework, Blake never dreamed that the woman in the photo was his friend Marissa’s long-lost meth addicted mom. Blake’s participation in the ensuing drama opens up a world of trouble, both for him and for Marissa. He spends the next few months trying to reconcile the conflicting roles of Boyfriend and Friend. His experiences range from the comic (surviving his dad’s birth control talk) to the tragic (a harrowing after-hours visit to the morgue).

In a tangle of life and death, love and loyalty, Blake will emerge with a more sharply defined snapshot of himself."

YAY, LISA! I am so proud of you!


Let me go on record as say that "PARANORMAL ACTIVITY" scared the H-E-double-L out of me!



Friday, October 16, 2009


Does it really make a difference if I write

Instead, I squeeze his hand


I squeeze his hand instead


This is exactly what slows down revisions: when the author agonizes for 10 minutes over 5 crummy words.

Or is it just me?




Grandma lives in a very nice nursing home. We pay for her private telephone line. She calls us 3-4 times a day (minimum!) to tell us the same 3 things and ask the same 7 questions, but hey, it's Alzheimers and she has NO short-term memory. Yeah, it's annoying at times, but I wouldn't dream of disconnecting her phone. Just so you know.

Somebody disconnected her phone.

I find this out, first when she calls from the nurses' station to say her phone is "broken." Then I hear it again when the nurse calls to ask me why we had her phone disconnected.

Say whaaaaaaaaaat?

When I called Phone Co. they said they got a work order from the nursing home to d/c the service. The nursing home denied this, of course, and said it was a mix-up, something to do with the room numbers being changed, and the guy came to d/c the phone (presumably for someone else) and maintenance took them to the room number that wasn't really the same room number...oh, I'm shutting up right now, because the more I write this, the more ridiculous it sounds.

Anyway. My main issue is with the Phone Co. (although the person who eventually helped clear this up was very helpful and courteous, never mind I was somewhat of a bitch, no surprise).

Issue: when I called the phone company to find out what happened, I had to talk to several people--again, no surpise. Each time a new person came on the line I again had to verify my address AND the last four numbers of my SS# because the phone is in my name and the bill comes to my house.

Now here comes the big fat WTF: *I* have to verify that information repeatedly--yet my PHONE can be disconnected at the request of some maintenance man without verifying this with the person WHO PAYS THE FRIGGIN' BILL? Yeah, that's me--not the nursing home. Does that mean I can call up and, oh, I don't know, disconnect my neighbor's phone for S&G?

My secondary issue is with the NH for not double checking with me. Seriously, why would I stop her service out of the blue? Let alone without warning them? Because Grandma's wreaking havoc up there now, asking every 5 minutes what happened to her phone. And she'll be wreaking it all weekend, till they reconnect it on Monday.

I've been assured I won't be charged the installation fee. If I am, expect another rant.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I'm sick.

I had to drop Eli off at daycare because I can't deal with him today. And I have $22 in my checking accound. Daycare is $25. Oops.

I never get sick. I get migraines and stomach problems, but not this head-full-of-snot-constant-coughing-burning-chest thing that's knocked me out for the past couple days. I have an amazing resistant to illness which I always credit to working around sick people for so many years. I rarely get colds. I've never had the actual flu in my life. The respiratory kind, I mean. Not the stomach flu, which I get, oh, once every five years).I am crabby when I'm sick.

CRABBY, I tell ya!

I need Twizzlers. Or Ben and Jerry's.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Wonderful words about Say the Word right here from Sherwood Smith. Thank you so much!

It's true we have a long way to go. I think of how my own beliefs about certain things, particularly gay rights, have changed since I was young, sheltered, and ignorant. Then I try to multiple that by millions of people, and many more years...

And I wonder, both at the possibilities, and at the seeming im-possibilty of it all.

Still, I have hope.

Several reviewers said they disliked Shawna's character because of her initial homophobia. She fiercely resents her gay mother's second family. She's embarrassed that others may think she's gay herself. Stressed out at her mother's funeral, she even makes rude remarks about several clearly gay mourners.

Because of this, Shawna didn't "ring true."

Wait. What is true? And what exactly is the issue? That you don't believe kids act like this in real life? Or that you expected a more politically correct main character?

Because if you sincerely believe that teens/young adults in this day and age are completely immune to the homophobia instilled on them by previous generations; that they somehow instinctively "know it's wrong" to dislike or ridicule or be embarrassed by someone with a different sexual preference; that the so-called zero tolerance policy for acts of school bullying--which supposedly includes not dissing others who may or may not be gay--will miraculously turn children into the most selfless and sensitive people on earth...

Well, you must live in a world quite different from mine.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I hate roaches (with heartfelt apologizes to [info]amanda_marrone ).

I especially hate BIG FAT ROACHES that make me SCREAM in a patient's room. Because when a nurse screams in a patient's room on a psychiatric unit, it usually means she's flat on the floor being pummeled within an inch of her life.

I didn't intend to scream. I intended--lacking any other weapons besides the soles of my favorite pink, fleece-lined Crocs--to place a Dixie cup over the roach and then...well, I dunno, I didn't think that far ahead. But when the cup hovered a few inches over the roach, the roach, who up to that point had sat there quietly contemplating the ways of the world, made a desperate beeline for my foot.

Must. Remember. Not. To. Scream.

Dr. B. ran in and squashed the roach. It took more than one stomp. Three, at least.

I can't believe I'm such a cliche! Just last week I screamed over a spider in my living room. A BIG FAT spider, too, though not as big as this roach. If that roach were any bigger it'd be pulling a Budweiser wagon.

Patient: "Hey, I'm not sleeping in this room tonight!"

I'm with you, buddy.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Do you ever ask yourself: "What am I if I am not a writer"?

Do you ever come up with an answer?

I was going to answer this myself.

But I can't.

I am defined by my writing.

It's all-consuming.


Thursday, October 1, 2009


YES! It's time again for the CYBILS (Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards). You can nominate your favorite books starting today, through October 15th.



bugs-bunny-debut-1.jpg image by Isabeaulia


Tuesday, September 29, 2009


The good news: Beth went back to work Saturday at her grooming shop which, as you may remember, burned down on Thanksgiving Day last year.

The bad news: With Beth gone during the day, not only will Elijah consume all of my time and energy, but he also has to Left Alone for several hours during the day.

OK, it's not like I didn't see this day coming. I could've prepared him a bit better by leaving him in his crate during the day on a regular basis, if only for, say, a single hour. He sleeps in his crate during the day and I do occasionally leave while he's asleep--but this is a whole new ball of dog fur.

Last time I left him for more than 15 min or so was when 's uncle passed away and we went to the wake. We were gone, oh, maybe 2 hours. Eli freaked while we were gone, ripped up his bedding, and halfway disassembled his metal crate. He's had extreme separation anxiety from day one. I attribute this to the fact that he was probably (from the smell of him) kept in a garbage can until his previous owners so thoughtfully took him out for a fun ride one day and then threw his butt into the snow at the side of the road before speeding off. Yeah, I'd have issues, too.

There will be a 2.5 hour span in which no one will be home, from the time I leave for work till Beth gets home. Today is the FIRST DAY we will have to do this. I swear he senses this already.

Beth:  Mom, dog do not have ESP.

Me: Yes they do.

Beth: No they don't *launches into explanation about dogs observing and recognizing the habits of humans, etc. *

Me (firmly, as Eli gives me his I know perfectly well what you're gonna do to me today look): ESP.

I can't even leave a comforting fuzzy/snuggly toy with him. Fuzzy toys immediately become fuzzy/snuggly snack. Nothing but rubber for this dude. As for the bed, well, he already ate the zipper so I guess there's not much else he can do ...except eat through the cover and gobble down the stuffing. I have it wrapped in a heavy blanket. He may eat that too.

I swear I was never this nervous about leaving my kids alone. The worst they could do was burn down the house. The worse Eli can do is eat his entire crate and then I'll be stuck paying for a doggie colostomy.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I've been interviewed by Carrie over at the amazing MOONLIGHT LACE AND MAYHEM so please stop by and say hi if you get a chance!









I don't mean the usual eye exam. I don't mean answering a few road safety questions (uh, like not straddling two lanes? not driving 15 mph in a 35 mile zone?). I mean someone in authority needs to sit his butt in the front seat with that driver, take 'em out on a main road during rush hour, and see what happens. This should be MANDATORY!

Also mandatory:

The ability to see over the steering wheel. Geriatric booster seats or whatever.

The abililty to HEAR me blasting my horn at them.

The ability to distinguish colors.

The ability to remember that for the past several decades it's perfectly legal to turn right on red. Even on green.

The ability to steer in a straight line.

Depth perception. I'm really not six feet ahead of you. More like six inches.

Maybe some ecological awareness? Because my dinky 32 mpg Saturn (10 yrs old, 157k) won't stand a chance against your big honking, gas-sucking (16 mpg) yacht-sized Lincoln Continental if you hit your accelerator instead of the brake.

Oh, yeah. And a brain with the ability to send--in a split second--the correct messages to your feet.

Disclaimer: As I'm slowly creeping in that direction myself, I feel perfectly justified in complaining about this. Someone needs to take the initiative to get these menaces OFF my THE ROAD! If someday I have to join them, then so be it. I only pray one of my kids has enough sense (and guts) to say "Mom, I wuv you--but your driving sucks. You're old. You're dangerous!" and take my keys away forever. Independence be damned. I don't want to kill someone.

I know people may argue that young drivers are just as bad. But if given the choice of sharing the road with a teenager with his temporary permit, and a 90-year-old guy on Aricept with his nose on the wheel, who would you pick?

So...Mandatory Yearly Road Tests for drivers over age 70? Bi-yearly for >75? Daily test drives for anyone >80?

C'mon, young'uns. Who's with me?

____ Yay

____ Nay

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Viva la Vida" Lawsuit

So how do you suppose they "settled" this lawsuit?


Puppy Love

I just love my dog! <3

Please remind of this later...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I clicked on my horoscope this morning and it said: "Welcome to the new, Nadine!"

Um, who's Nadine? I know a Nadine. But I am not her, uh, she, uh, whatever.

"But don't think that you can reach your goals now; it's better to wait until the squall passes and your life calms down."

Whose goals? Whose squall? Mine or Nadine's? If it's my squall, and I wait for it to "pass" before reaching my goals, I'll be hunting-and-pecking away in some squalid Medicaid nursing home, tied to a 30-year-old wheelchair without any foot rests.

I'm confused.

I went to Borders yesterday and worked from 5 p.m. till they kicked me out at closing. They have free Wi-Fi now which is not a good thing. Luckily, the connection there sucks. After getting bumped off 2 or 3 times I remembered the real reason I was there: to "reach my goals."

Or Nadine's goals.

One of ours, anyway.


Nadine Jen

Monday, September 21, 2009


I never work on more than one project at a time.


First, I s-e-r-i-o-u-s-l-y have to get LMB finished. Enough is enough. Yet I'm also chomping on the bit to make a few changes to Rinn before sending her off. And now, God forbid, the (*gasp*) "S" word has hit me.

No, not synopsis, haha.

And nothing to do with bodily functions for once.

You ready?

It's not carved in stone, mind you. And considering I have a several hard drives cluttered with unfinished manuscripts, I can't even say if it's a realistic possibility.

But you know how that ~ONE~BRILLIANT~IDEA~ sticks with you and it's all you can think about day and night? Well, unless you're sleeping because then you'd be awake and thinking about it anyway and wondering why you can't stop thinking about it so you can get some sleep.

How you have no idea what someone just said to you and they get all miffed and attitudey, like, "Hello, did you hear a single word I just said?!?"

And the answer to them is NO because you're way too busy thinking about the "S" word:


There. I said it.

OMG. I said it!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


My summer TBR list is ALMOST down to zero. This amazing feat was accomplished only because I broke my own rule about not reading in the same genre while working on something of my own. Then again, I was "revising"--not actually "writing" (or so I like to tell myself).

Lee Bantle: DAVID INSIDE OUT A coming-of-age/coming-out story that resonated with me in more ways than one.

Carrie Jones (2) carriejones: GIRL HERO --a delightful and very touching MG story --a nd NEED which changed my mind about pixies (and werevolves! ahhh!) the way Maggie Stiefvater's LAMENT changed my mind about faeries. Carrie, honestly--those pointed  teeth did me in.

Sarah Littlman  [info]saraclaradara  (2) : CONFESSIONS OF A CLOSET CATHOLIC -Jewish Justine is torn between her loyalty to her Bubbe and her desire to be Catholic -- and PURGE, a bulimic girl's chilling struggle to understand her own potentially fatal behavior.

Margaret McMullan: CASHAY An inner-city teen learns that her own life doesn't end with the shooting death of her beloved sister.

Carrie Ryan: THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH When the Unconsecrated (zombies) surround and eventually consume her isolated village, Mary risks her life to discover what's on the other side of the dreaded Forest.

Elizabeth Scott (2) : PERFECT YOU Though she's convinced the guy's only out for a good time, Kate, saddled with a rapidly imploding family life, regularly makes out with him at the mall (where she's forced to work with her very embarrassing father) -- Initially I almost dismissed this one as typical teen chicklit (which I generally don't read) but it was SO much more; wait till you meet Kate's grandmother! -- and BLOOM, where perfect Lauren realizes she is NOT the girl for her perfect (and very religious) boyfriend, especially when her long-lost stepbrother rolls into town.

Susan Vaught : MY BIG FAT MANIFESTO Jamie's fat--FAT! Don't insult her by calling her "heavy" or "plus-sized"--and wants the world to know who she is. But how comfortable can she be with herself when the hunky and hefty guy she loves decides to have bariatric surgery?

Carol Lynch Williams: THE CHOSEN ONE A young girl trapped in a religious cult tries to figure out a way not to marry her elderly uncle.

Michelle Zink: PROPHECY OF THE SISTERS In this gothic thriller, twin girls--one the Guardian, one the Gate--are pitted against each other by demonic forces.

Only 2 left!:



Let me just say that there isn't a single one on this list that I didn't like. :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


1952-2009 LINK

Though no one will ever forget that pottery scene with Demi Moore in Ghost--undoubtedly one of the most sensual love scenes to hit the screen since Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr rolled around in the sand in From Here to Eternity--I first fell in love with Patrick Swayze when he starred in the 1980 mini-series NORTH AND SOUTH:


This mini-series is right up there with Thorn Birds. So if you ever have a few hours and you want to lose yourself in a historical romance, check out the DVD--you will not be disappointed!

Miss you already, Patrick.

Monday, September 14, 2009


If Serena Williams was my PATIENT she'd get a couple jabs in the hip and a time-out in locked seclusion.

Just to put things in perspective.


1. Today is the day to sign up for JoNoWriMo: "It's a bit like NaNoWriMo, only you get an extra 1.5 months AND you don't have to write an entire novel. Basically, it's a time each year that a bunch of writers get together to support and encourage one another to meet a writing goal and/or finish a project." So get over there, dudes, and commit yourselves. Jo rocks. You'll love it!

2. It's official: I'll be signing books at the Buckeye Book Fair in Wooster, Ohio on November 7. Anyone in the area, stop in (if not, road trip!) It's an awesome book fair, so much fun. More on this later.

3. Thanks for all your support in regard to Saturday's Blogger-Reviewer Rant. Isn't there a website where you can post the worst-friggin-review you ever received? I think so. Anyone know where it is?

4. Beth and I visited Grandma and Miss R. yesterday. Party in the dining room, with a band that played polkas and Big Band music and the old standards you expect to hear in a nursing home. Grandma sang along, clapped her hand and wiggled her feet--and then got up and danced with her walker! I swear she hasn't danced in half a century (and this is the woman who could barely walk a year ago). Twice she paused in front of an elderly man, took his hands, and swung them in time to the music as if they were dancing in place. The old man beamed with pleasure, and all I could think was: so what alien from which planet kidnapped that infinitely crabby woman who drove me straight up a wall for years and years, and replaced her with Miss Congeniality, the queen of the ballroom?!?

5. Kanye West previously made an A-double-S out of himself by proudly displaying his lack of literary genius, among his numerous other antics that made the news. Now he's out-Kanyed himself with his horrendously disrespectful treatment of Taylor Swift at last night's MTV Music Awards.

Stun gun, anyone?

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Yes, I'm talking to you: the person who tromped into Borders tonight after marinating for hours (maybe days) in some grotesque-smelling cologne that instantly triggered a migraine.

On the bright side, I've halfway through the rewrite of LMB. I guess four days in a row, 8 hrs a day, certainly pays off. At least till you start breathing solely through your nose, and retching, and rocking back and forth in pain.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


The reviewer known as NOT ACTING MY AGE does it again. He trashed my first book. Now he's trashing Shawna. This is one of the "nicer" things he said:

"The fact that the book is inevitably hurtling towards a happy(-ish) conclusion is about the only thing that kept me going through this masochistic love fest."

Note to Mr. Goldschmidt:

I honestly don't care whether or not you like my books. The only reason I saw your review is because, like most self-centered authors, I use Google alerts. Trust me, my starred review from Booklist, and the fact that STW has been nominated as a YALSA BBYA, mean much more to me than your sadistic bash fest. Not only is your venomous post riddled with spelling errors like "reconciliattion" and "incessent", you also fail to get the details right, e.g. Shawna's mother dies from a stroke, not from cancer (in case you don't know this, people generally don't drop over dead from cancer).

However, carry on--and thanks for the laugh. Also, you're more than welcome for the publicity this post will bring to your very unprofessionally-written (and aptly titled) blog. xox

Friday, September 11, 2009


I'm back in the Zone.

Trust me, it wasn't easy. Particularly when, after I unexpectedly get the day off, I rush to Borders at 4:00, buy my coffee, open my lap top, plug in my flash drive, flex my fingers, and--

Ditzy chick at the next table says (LOUDLY) into her cell phone: "Well, yanno, I guess I'm just not ready for a committment...but I mean, yanno, how long does it take for you to, yanno, knooowww?"

--Annoyed, but hey, at least she's speaking English. It might be interesting, future fodder or whatever--

"I  mean, I haven't really mad a decision yet, but we're, like, soooo compatible--" (insert you know what and leave little to the imagination) "--omigod, I mean, yanno, blah, blah, blah..."

--Any initial sliver of amusement vanishes. Still, I don't own the place (yet). Plus her back is to me so it's not like I can GLARE or FEIGN ENOUGH MORBID INTEREST to compel her to lower her voice--

"Blah blah blaaaaaaaaah bad omigod, like, yanno blah blah blah..."

--OK. You can shut up now--

"Blahhhh blahblahblahhh..."

--I get up and walk around the store. "Eclipse" is in paperback, $12.99. Mmm, maybe some Jelly Bellies--

Back at the table: "Blah, blah, yanno, I mean, like totally blah, blah, and BLAH BLAH BLAH!"

--I stare at the screen, hating this girl. And hating, in general, people who talk on the cell phones in public places only because they tend to speak much louder than usual, the way folks in the olden days used to shout into those crank telephones. Personally, if I need to make a call at Borders, I take it outside--

"Omigod, I'm-blathering-about-crap-that-nobody-cares-about-and-it's-personal-as-all-hell-and-I'm sharing-it-with-the-whole-cafe-and-driving-people-nuts-and-I-don't-care-because-I'm-a-rude-self-centered-twit-who-rules-the-universe-and-all-these-totally-inane-details-about-my-crappy-lovelife-undoubtedly-fascinate-everyone-around-me-blahblah..."

--I stand up, pick up my lap top, and crash it down hard over her head.

Heh. Kidding.

After 30 minutes--THIRTY FREAKIN' MINUTES--Ditzy Chick snaps her cell shut and breezes out of the cafe.

Remember pea shooters?

Anyway, after that I got back into the groove and revised (re-WROTE) till 9 p.m.

Things are looking up. :)


8 years ago I remember:


Hearing the news.

Staring, transfixed, at the horrific images on TV.

That incredible sense of disbelief that sucked my heart out of my chest.


Being really afraid.

Wanting to keep my family close to me for a long time after.

Fearing for my children's future.

Thinking how I'll never feel "normal" again.

Asking myself how?


Most of all--



Monday, September 7, 2009


"Indestructible" dog toys don't exist.

I don't care who makes it. I don't what what they're "made" of. I don't care about the promises all over the labels. I don't care how many pitbulls they tried these toys out on, how many tanks rolled over it, how many alligator-infested swamps they experimeted with. I don't care if these toys survived the Chernobyl disaster.

I've tried them all, and Elijah eats them. He'd eat every shred if I didn't catch him in time and pry the soggy pieces out of his slavering jaws.

The only things he hasn't totally shredded yet are those rubber squeaky toys. And the reason he hasn't?

He won't play with them. He just gives me this "WTF" look. Then he prances over to chow down on my vaccuum cleaner hose.

I'm thinking of hauling in a hub cap. Or possibly a tire iron. Fetch!

Thursday, September 3, 2009





Couple Parted by Death After 81 Years


I especially loved this, from a related link:

"When they celebrated their 81st wedding anniversary in May, the Milfords credited daily disagreements for keeping their marriage strong. 'Not big rows, just the odd cross word,' Anita Milford told The Times of London. 'As far as I am concerned, it’s healthy.'"

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


ROBIN of TV AND BOOK ADDICT fame. Congratulations, Robin!

Congratulations also to Sherwood Smith who won a signed copy of STW in Melody Shore's contest.

And speeeeeeaaaking of Melody--check out her INTERVIEW with the psycho psych nurse passing herself off as an author (namely me, of course). Melodye's interviews are always fun and this one is no exception! :)


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

TUESDAY BLATHER (because I'm too lazy to post a Teaser)

1. Tomorrow I'll post the winner of the STW/Amazon review contest. There's still time to get a review in. Also tomorrow, check out Melodye Shore's blog--she interviewed me! :)

2. Now that my paranormal is (essentially) finished and off to beta readers, I'm back to Linnea, who has been shelved all year. This is not a revision; like Rinn, it's a total rewrite. But now I face the dilemma of changing my MC's name.


Yep, one's gotta go.

3. What happened to My Life?

4. Merricat_84 enjoyed "Coraline." This book is also stuck somewhere in the middle of my TBR pile. Sigh. It's never-ending, isn't it?

5. Dog puke. There, I said it again: PUKE. PUKE. PUKE. W-t-h is with this mutt? Aside from the fact that he considers everything within reach of his jowls perfectly edible, and that includes grass clippings. Yeah, I know he looks like a cow, but does he have to eat like one? Or, more accurately, a billygoat. Taking him for a walk is yet one more experiment in terror: "NO! LEAVE IT!" (I wrestle with his jaws, froth and grass and god-knows-what spewing) "Spit it out, you freakin' moron!" (grr, grrrr!)

6. Sookie06 on LJ reminded me that this is usually the time I do a Grapemo. Oops.

7. Isn't grinding your teeth a sign of extreme neurosis?
(me in 5 years)

Monday, August 31, 2009


Tomorrow is the final day to post an Amazon review for the Say the Word giveaway contest. Actually today was supposed to be the last day, but as I'm JUST NOW getting around to blogging this, you'll have till midnight tomorrow, Sept. 1st. I'll post the winning name on Wednesday. Thanks to all of you who've participated so far! *mwah*

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thursday Thankful 5

1. Thank you, Melodye Shore, for the review & contest for Say the Word. *smooch*

2. Thank you all for the new Amazon/Goodreads/Blog reviews!!

3. Thank you to the beta readers so far who've agreed to read my paranormal.

4. Thank God for Beth, trapped for hours and hours and hours with the boisterous, sock-eating, face-slobbering, furniture-jumping, butter-licking, toe-chewing, hair-pulling, shoe-grabbing, TV-barking, constantly-attention-seeking monster known as Elijah so Mom can write in peace.

5. Thank you, Rinn, for letting me finish your story. But seriously, girl--99,000 words???

XOX to all!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I promise to blog soon. I do. Honest.


In a effort to rack up a few more Amazon reviews for SAY THE WORD, I'm having a contest:

1. If you post a review on Amazon before September 1st you'll be entered in a drawing for a signed copy. Fear not: currently posted reviews of STW are automatically entered!

2. To increase your chances of winning, you can post your review on Goodreads, too.

3. Also, any new reviews of BEFORE, AFTER, AND SOMEBODY IN BETWEEN posted on Amazon between now and September 1st will further up your chances of winning a copy of STW.

4. When you post your review, simply e-mail me at jjgarsee at aol dot com and include the link(s).

PS Now that Amazon is letting me post reviews (yeah, we had "issues") I'm going to start posting some of my own, too. I have stack of 'em! :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


The absolutely awesome Melodye Shore has a wonderful interview on her blog with R.A. Nelson, author of DAYS OF LITTLE TEXAS. Take a peek!


Another great Y.A. novel to add to my endlessly growing list of TBRs.

R.A. Nelson's WEBSITE

Friday, August 14, 2009

Blog Par-TAY

My very good friend Nadine's having a week-long BLOG PARTY--and I'm up today. If you like, stop by and say hi. :)


80 pages left to line edit and then back to the computer. I can't wait to see how many words I chopped out.

8,000 would be nice, rounding this monster down to an even 100k.

Somehow I doubt it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Random 5

1. Just survived my 5-day stretch at work. I beleive I'll rant about this in a later post.

2. Sarah Darer Littman mentioned me on her Magical Mystery Tour!

3. See Eli staked out in backyard. See nosy little Yorkie run in our yard, yap-yap-yapping, like: "Ha, ha, you're tied up and I'm not, la-la-la!" See Eli do his monster sized WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! and catapult after the shocked Yorkie, dragging the stake behind him, and chasing Yorkie straight back to his own house. Yorkie may be traumatized for life. Eli appears quite proud of himself. Not sure if the stake survived the ordeal.

4. I'm about 1/4 way through my hard copy revisions. I love Rinn's world. I want Rinn to make me rich. Light candles! :)

5. The problem with having a relative with Alzheimers is that she calls me twenty times a day because she doesn't remember the first 19 times she called. Yet she remembers the number. Go figure.

Off to Borders or I won't get anything done!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Sadistic aliens have conquered Earth.

Those of you who refuse to cooperate will be bound and gagged with your eyelids clamped open (think A Clockwork Orange) and planted in front of Headline News.

You will then be forced to watch only ONE CONTINUOUS NEWS STORY.

Luckily you have 2 choices:

The Death of Michael Jackson
Jon and Kate

View Results

Monday, August 10, 2009


Your social life (??????) could suffer today because you aren't eager to spend your valuable time engaged in lighthearted banter (gossip and conspiracy issues) or playful games (umm...) that distract you from your real purpose (which is finishing this novel). It's not that you don't know how to have a good time; it's just that you would rather enjoy yourself when the pressure of unfulfilled obligations wasn't (<--is that the right tense?) weighing on your shoulders. There's no need for long explanations; just let others know that you'll be ready for fun soon enough.

"I'll be ready for fun soon enough." By 2010 for SURE.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


I'm reading CASHAY by Margaret McMullan. You know I love gritty urban fiction, and this YA novel is about as "gritty" and "urban" as you can get.


I'm only 1/3 of the way through it and all I want to do is crawl into the pages and give Cashay a big hug.

WHAT TOTALLY BITES... that I am not off till THURSDAY!


Saturday, August 8, 2009


Okay, the BEST way to edit is to read the manuscript out loud. Seriously, you (well, me anyway) find so many errors that you miss when you read it on the computer. Of course it helps to have someone to read it TO--otherwise you just sit there reading out loud to yourself and get really weird looks from people who do much weirder things than read out loud to themselves.

Like talk on blue tooths behind you in line at Starbucks, so when you turn around and go "Pardon me?" and they keep on blabbing, you decide they're schizophrenic and quite clearly off their meds, so you quickly step a safe distance away.

Then you notice the blue tooth and wanna punch 'em in the nose.

Yeah, I'm cranky. I've been cranky since a trip to the grocery store (Big Bird) yesterday. Ticked off from moment I parked my car. NOT in the "expectant mothers" space, either. Because it was taken.

1. Before I even get through the doors there's somebody standing there blocking my way. WHY are you standing in the freaking doorway? Did you forget if you're coming in or going out? You don't have a cart. GET OUT OF MY WAY!

2. Two-for-the-price-of-one dog toys--and there was only one left. Ask me if I bought it. Elijah would love it. It didn't occur to me till later that they'd probably charge me half price. But seeing that TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE sign with only ONE TOY LEFT ticked me off. So I bought a different toy instead.

Which Eli ignores.

3. I love when I grab a food item out of a case, turn around to put it in my cart, and--you guessed it--someone ELSE is blocking my way. Standing right between me and my cart. Why are YOU in my way? I should wear a T-shirt: "PLEASE NO NOT SNEAK UP ON THE PSYCH NURSE." Does the term "boundaries" mean anything to these people?

4. The whole wheat bread I like (I lost 13 pounds since switching to whole grain and shedding my Mrs. Butterton habit of using one stick per bagel) was over $3 a loaf. I....don'!!!

5. The self-serve check-out lines were full (that figures) so I moved to an EMPTY full-serve one. The cashier dude looks 14.

"Did you find everything?"

What if I said "Oh, no, wait! I need a box of Depends--can you grab one for me?" would he leave his post? Fact: I am standing in line. Obviously I found everything or I'd still be wandering the aisles listening to Barry Manilow.

He rings up one item--then says "I'll be right back" and rushes off. In the middle of ringing me up!

Stand, wait, tap my foot. Dude returns after a couple minutes which is a damn long time when you're standing in line.


Uh-huh. So he rings up most of my stuff, and pauses at the dog toy. He picks it up. He holds it up to the light. He shakes it. He studies it. He does everything but lick it.

"What's this?"

"Uh, it's a dog toy?" I mean, jeex, there's even a picture of a doggy on the label, in case you can't tell by looking at it.

"What's it do?"

"It's a toy."

"Yeah, but what's it do?"

"I may never know."

Whoosh! Right over his head. He shakes it again and throws it in a bag. THEN he commits the mortal sin of asking me if I want my milk in a bag. I liked it better when they'd say "Paper or Plastic?" because then I could stand there and look at the plastic bags, then the paper bags, then the plastic bags again, and ask "Mmm, I don't know...which is better?" just to see what they'd say. Now it's all plastic. Helloooooo, mighty landfills.


(I admit I kind of obsess over this "milk-in-a-bag" thing)

He finishes ringing me up, takes 15 seconds to count out the right change, and says, "Come again!" Yeah, hopefully on his day off.

So I was cranky yesterday, and cranky today, and I'll probably be crankycrankycranky till my next day off so I can get back to work on my second revision. I think that's Tuesday.

Or maybe Wednesday.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


108,000 words. That's one hundred and eight thousand words.

Did you guess that I finished the first round of revisions today? Tomorrow I'll print it out, proof-read (haha) and edit by hand, then make the changes and send it off to my betas.

Who will die when they see it. Seriously: one hundred and eight thousand words?????

OK, on the plus side: that's still > 10,000 fewer words than Twilight.

On the minus side: that's almost as freakin' LONG as Twilight!

Somehow I need to knock off another 8,000.

My agent says a book is as long as it needs to be. She'll change her tune when her printer explodes.

I need Twizzlers bad. Or Tums. Or Twizzler-flavored Tums.

Excuse me. I have to go take out a loan to print this out at CopyMax. After my Valium.


Yeah, I know it's not Friday. I just said that in the title.

1. I believe it's perfectly okay to blow off revisions to spend a couple of hours blabbing with a friend. :)

*waving to Susan Taylor Brown*

2. Fellow LJer Sarah Darer Littman was sweet enough to take time out from her vacation to have breakfast with me and sign her book:


Thanks again, Sarah!

3. Our power went out yesterday evening. Instant panic: HOW CAN I WORK ON MY REVISIONS? I have a P.O.S. battery on my laptop that lasts, like, a nanosecond. I couldn't watch TV. I couldn't even cook dinner (wait, wait, that's on the PLUS side) so I ran out to Chipotle's for a barbacoa burrito which not only is not on my diet, but it ripped my stomach to shreds. I ended up reading while daylight held out, then fell asleep with my iPod in my ears. At 8:00 p.m, I might add, which is why I've been up since 4:25 a.m.

4. No more day care for Elijah this week b/c there's a massive virus going around. I swear this is exactly like day care for your kids (only cheaper). Any time you get a bunch of warm bodies together in one place, sooner or later there's an epidemic of something involving rampant body fluids.

5. I've been off work this week and diligently working on revisions. I have about 20 pages left, the hardest 20 pages of the entire ms. Then I'll print it off to re-revise by hand and proofread at the same time. Right now it's a heart-stopping 108k--an improvement from the original count count, but still huge.





I Twittered that my house looks like Alcatraz. This is why:


I have three of these--one leading upstairs, one leading downstairs, and one on kitchen door #1. Kitchen door #2 has a smaller wooden gate that Elijah can jump over, so I added a bunch of junk to block it off. That makes FOUR GATES with bars in a 500 square foot area which I believe makes my house the first split-level cell block evvahh.

OK, I'm advertising this place because I love it: dog and cat owners, check out PET EDGE. You can't beat the prices, (though the shipping rates on these gates just about killed me; however, they're worth--every--penny).

Now if I can only get him to take a dump in the yard. Yeah, Elijah seems to be laboring under the delusion that the backyard is an "extension" of his house, so naturally he doesn't want to do the dirty deed there. I'll haul him around the yard, begging "Please poop! Please poop!" while he sniffs and eats grass and barks at the doxie two yards away. Eventually he'll drag me all the way to the end of the street where he'll dump on a neighbor's lawn--inevitably at the house of the two NOISY beagles he loves to harass--"Ha-ha, I crapped on your territory, you pyscho morons!"--and then I can schelp it back home in a plastic bag. A backpack is next on my wish list: "Here, mutt. Carry it home yourself."


Thursday, July 30, 2009


"Wait, wait! Who wrote this crap? Surely not me!"

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

CONTEST! Reviews Needed!

In a effort to rack up a few more Amazon reviews for SAY THE WORD, I'm having a contest:

1. If you post a review on Amazon before September 1st you'll be entered in a drawing for a signed copy. Fear not: currently posted reviews of STW are automatically entered!

2. To increase your chances of winning, you can post your review on Goodreads, too.

3. Also, any new reviews of BEFORE, AFTER, AND SOMEBODY IN BETWEEN posted on Amazon between now and September 1st will further up your chances of winning a copy of STW.

4. When you post your review, simply e-mail me at jjgarsee at aol dot com and include the link(s).


C'mon! You know you want to! :)


Apparently some pro-adoption groups believe that if prospective adoptive parents see ORPHAN they might think twice about adopting an older child.

What part of FICTION do these people not understand? Note that the studio agreed to remove an "offensive line" from the ad: "It must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own."

I can see why this line may upset some viewers sensitive to the subject. Adopted kids, for instance, who may not be secure enough in their new family. However, why aren't there isn't there some child advocacy group out their protesting all the sex-oriented TV ads. I mean seriously, there's nothing like having your child ask you right in the middle of a bite of pizza: "Mommy, what's erectile dysfunction?" I may even start my own group protesting all these "Boo-hoo, the IRS took my last forty bucks!" commercials. Hey, I pay my taxes--what's wrong with you, you pathetic deadbeat loser?

I'm so ticked off by yet another group dictating their beliefs to those in the entertainment business (and this includes writers, people) that I'll definitely be seeing this movie. Maybe twice. Even if it sucks.

LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR didn't keep me out of nightclubs. That's where I met my husband.


POST OFFICE DRAMA (I'll take it where I can get it)

I'm standing in a long line at the post office (I'm next, thank goodness) and listening to another customer argue with the lady at the desk. The customer, a well-dressed, attractive woman with THE most incredible air of entitlement, is picking up a package for someone else. They want her to sign for the package.

She does not want to sign. She hauls out 80 pieces of ID to prove who she is, but the person who asked her to pick up the package specifically told her not to sign for it. How fascinating. So she argues with the lady behind the counter who says several times it is against their policy to relinquish this particular package without a signature. By then, of course, I'm dying to know what's in it.

This goes on for a couple minutes and the clerk finally tells her to get her skinny self important ass out of the way to please step aside. Customer refuses and asks for the supervisor. Clerk says she will call the superivisor but to please step aside.

Customer: "I'm not stepping aside. I said I want to talk to your supervisor!"


Customer's jaw drops. It's hysterical! I burst out laughing, and people behind me--after a moment of shock--start laughing, too.

Oh, don't you wish you could be that clerk just once in your life?

P.S. The supervisor tells her to SIGN FOR THE PACKAGE!

Friday, July 17, 2009


1. I've been having a TERRIBLE time with this ghost story revision. Somethng wasn't jelling, it drove me nuts, and I honestly didn't know how to fix it.Then, in a 7-hour writing marathon yesterday (after meeting another_wip at Joseph Beth for coffee and writerly talk, I fixed it. I fixed it! Still, this is clearly the worst first draft I've ever slogged through and I still have a buttload of cutting.The good news it, it'll soon be ready to be read by my trusted betas. :)

2. Not to bring my favorite subject up again, but Elijah barfed up an inch-long hunk of Busy Bone last night, so that's what I was doing at 2 a.m.--washing the cover to his pillow and scrubbing out his crate. Yes, they're digestable but you have to chew them, you dumb dog! Then he was up at 5 a.m. tfor breakfast. Needless to say I'm still not getting much sleep.

PS Thanks to susanwritesfor the bully stick idea, thought at $5.00 + apiece these are definitely reserved for a special treat (or to get his slobbery face out of my hair for a bit) ---beside which, I'm sure they're equal to a human consuming a dozen Krispy Kremes

3. My current TBR list includes:

NEED by Carrie Jones (now moved to the top)
BLOOM by Elizabeth Scott
PERFECT YOU by Elizabeth Scott
CASHAY by Margaret McMullan

4. I did a masochostic thing yesterday but I can't discuss it. No, it didn't include include pain. Yet.

5. I forgot to post about the Billy Joel/Elton John concert. Well, of course it was awesome even with our $100 nosebleed seats--although when Billy first walked onstage I didn't recognized him, and thought "What the heck is George Carlin doing here? Isn't he dead?"

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Why is it nobody can believe this is my new favorite song???
*Explicit lyrics*

Go figure.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


AOL had a List of the 20 Most Worthless Items in Your House:

20. rice cooker (amen)
19. massaging insoles (no clue)
18. Polaroid camera (bummer!)
17. iron (I just threw mine out last month)
16. hobby kits (bad gift)
15. tie rack (I disagree--what else do you do with them? Stuff 'em in a drawer?)
14. giveaway flash drives (disagree; you can never have too many)
13. trade show freebies (yep)
12. bargain DVDs (although as the atricle says they make handy coasters)
11. ear candles (wtf are these?)
9. home theater sound systems (all you do is trip over the wires and dust the speakers--and then, like me, there's always a chance a critter might make a nest in it)
8. ice cream makers and bread machines (amen, esp the ice cream maker)
7. VCRPlus gizmos (yep)
6. ionic breeze (whatever)
5. single slot piggy bank (unless you collect antiques)
4. Ab rollers (I knew that without ever trying one out)
3. radar detectors (don't go there)
2. wipe warmers (??? what are we wiping here that it has to be warmed?)
1. Happy Meal toys (crap)

Yes. AOL in all its brilliance listed BOOKS IN A KINDLE WORLD as the 10th most worthless item in your home.

"Given his love of the printed word, it's probably strange that this blogger is eager to see the Amazon Kindle take over. On one level, the little plastic reader signals the death of an industry: more convenient and potentially less expensive than traditional books, it seems quite possible that they will end up squeezing out many publishers, printers and booksellers. On the other hand, Kindles could also prove the salvation of reading. With their cheap downloads, small size, and light weight, they are far more convenient than traditional books."

If I see one more article abut how Kindle is going to be the death of the publishing business, I think I'll barf.

Monday, July 13, 2009


I just wrote this loooong post about how I gained so much weight since I started in psych (partly because I'm not burning calories by schlepping fat people in and out of bed) and how nothing I own fits, and how I was harangued yesterday by SUSAN and ELAINE to step on the scale only to learn I'm at my all-time high, that I didn't weigh nearly this much when, two decades ago, I was screaming in labor. Quite a witty post, if I say so myself. I typed it all down while gobbling my fat-free cottage cheese, and then:

I hit the wrong key. POOF! My whole post disappeared.

This is a SIGN that I'm not supposed to obsess over this--particularly since *I* am the one who complains about people who whine, whine, whine about how faaaat they are *sob-sniffle-reach-for-the-Krispy-Kremes* instead of either




Sigh. I'm going for number two unless I want to run out and buy another wardrobe a full 3 sizes larger than I wore last year. Either that or go back to a medical floor where I'll be moving more than my mouth.

Ah, no.

Friday, July 10, 2009


One of the nicest things I've heard from a young reviewer at TV and Book Addict (FYI, spoilers in the full review):

"After reading it I was left with this feeling. I don't know how to explain it. It's just so great and satisfying. Once you read it, I hope you feel it too."

The icing on the cake of a very productive day. :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I just heard Mariah Carey sing "I'll Be There" at Michael Jackson's memorial service, and realized for the first time the influence he had on my life. Although I liked his music, I've never been what you'd call a die-hard fan, meaning I don't own any of his albums, nor would I camp out for 3 days in L.A. for a glimpse of his hearse--and yet I feel the loss.

And I feel strangely sad. I hope Michael's remembered for his music, not for the controversy. His talent was such an incredible gift to this world.

"Let me fill your heart with joy and laughter--
Togetherness, well that's all I'm after.
Whenever you need me, I'll be there..."

How Do YOU Name Your Characters?

--and how many names did they have? Did you change them as you were writing, or are you still searching for the perfect name? How do you choose them?

SAY THE WORD: Shawna was originally Jena Gallagher. Then I wanted a female derivative of a male name so she could be named after her father. I changed it to Erica (and made her father an Eric). She was Erica Gallagher for a couple hundred pages before I changed it to Shawna and turned Dr. Eric Gallagher into a John.

Susan was an Olivia, and Devon was something else, too, but I forgot already (Pam/Holly/Char: do you remember?)

LeeLee was always LeeLee, which is my niece's nickname. I took her last name from Jane Velez Mitchell. Her real name, Ophelia, is the name of friend's mother. I also had an Ophelia in Before/After which I eventually cut out entirely. Guess I missed her.

Penny was always Penny, though I had to hit a baby name book to come up with her given name, Sonia. Sorenson was a classmate from high school. Fran was always Fran, and I took Goodman from one of my favoite childhood books. I had to ask for suggestions from a friend to come up with Nabil.

Shawna's father's girlfriend, Julie, had about a dozen names (she started out as a Mary) till I found one that fit.

Arye and Schmule had those names from the beginning (although Arye was originally the little one--till I decided I couldn't picture Shawna sucking face with a "Schmule" ha-ha). I knocked the final H off "Aryeh" because my crit group harassed me.

I have a friend named Charles. Hence the dog. :)

There's a Dr. Felker, named after a wonderful doctor I used to know. He died in an accident, so I immortalized him.

Jonas Dunn is a name very close to the name of my first crush.

BEFORE/AFTER: Martha was a Martha from the start; I was following the Michael Skakel/Martha Moxley trial when I first started writing it which shows you how frigging long it took me. I wanted a plain, old-fashioned, not-too-popular name. Agnes, Blanche, and Beulah were OUT.

Chardonnay was always Chardonnay (it's one of those names that just "come to you') but her best friend Shavonne started out as Sharnelle. Then I decided Char(donnay) and Shar(nelle) were too close, so I changed it to Shavonne (I was watching Ryan's Hope reruns at the time and changed the spelling from "Siobhan") because I couldn't have a Shavonne and a Yvonne, which was Aunt Gloria's original name.

Jerome was always Jerome. His cousin Anthony started out as Andre, but I changed it when I decided Bubby's real name should be De'Andre (Bubby told me this himself, so who was I to argue?).

I took the names Mario and Zelda from my kids' favorite video games.

I named Wayne after a total CREEP I met in real life. In fact, he was a composite of several creeps I knew.

Nikki and Rachel Brinkman started out as Melissa and Hanna, and Richard was a George, but Claudia and Danny named themselves, too.

Professor Moscowitz was named after someone I once knew. Well, the last name, anyway. I never knew a "Leopold."

(I use names of real people, too, e.g. Danielle WALSH and Jerome LINDSEY, named after coworkers; GALLAGHER is a relative's maiden name; Mr. TWOHIG, after a teacher--he was originally a Cruickshank (after a patient) but my agent wondered if that was a reference to Harry Potter; the answer was "no" b/c I never read HP or saw the films, but I changed it anyway. Likewise, Schmule's headmaster Mr. DICKERHOOF was named after a patient ( I swear).

I'm sure there are others, but this is off the top of my head.

OK, your turn. Play along! Give examples!

Next: Killing off characters

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Thursday, July 2, 2009


You know how it is when you fall in love? You're dying to spend every moment with that person. You think about him nonstop every waking moment and resent every little thing that keeps you apart. You count the hours till you can see each other again. He's all you can think about when you're not together.

You dream. You fantasize. You count every minute.

*Insert Tchaichovsky's Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet*

That's me and writing.

Seventeen more hours...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Today's my fifth day of a 5-day work stretch. I scheduled this on purpose so I could have 5 days off in a row to work on these revisions--although with the holiday it'll only be 3.

This is killing me. Yes, the "not-revising" part, but especially this 5-day stretch. For those of you who normally work 5 straight days, I better not hear you say: "Awww, poor you!" I usually work 2 or 3 days at a time and my poor fat disgusting body's not used to this kind of abuse. My days are hectic: 8 endless hours dealing with an extremely high noise level, non-stop psychotic babbling, breaking up altercations, and periodic rounds up and down the hall to make sure nobody's engaged in any illicit know, sex, drugs, trying to off themselves, etc. It's freakin' exhausting after a single shift, let alone five; by tonight I'll be ready to check my own self in.


Monday, June 29, 2009


Jen came home from work yesterday, got her lawn chair, a book, a beer, and her puppy and sat outside to while away the afternoon.

Puppy knocked beer over. Beer spilled into the grass.

Puppy proceeded to snarf the grass. He was quite perturbed when Jen pulled him away.

This morning puppy ran back to the same area to snarf some more. Again, not happy when his mommy dragged him away.

Now Puppy eyes that beer-y patch every time Jen takes him out. And lunges for it.

What is it with dogs and beer?

Luckily it's supposed to rain today.


This has been a great reading week for me.

Carrie Jones's GIRL, HERO--how did I miss this one when it first came out??? Absolutely beautiful:


April Henry's SHOCK POINT and TORCHED--both YA thrillers and definitely page turners:



Carol Lynch Williams's THE CHOSEN ONE--mysteriously sent to me in the mail and one I absolutely could not put down (I read it in several hours):


Susan Vaught's MY FIG FAT MANIFESTO which I'm reading right now--not your stereotypical fat-girl-wallflower-with-no-self-esteem character; this fat girl rocks!


Why am I reading instead of writing? Especially since I, as a rule, try never to read YA when I'm working on a novel?

Oh, gimme a break. :)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Puppy Post Op


"Dude! Get this OFF me!"

Yeah, it's not working out. Supposedly this lampshade, aka "Elizabethan collar", keeps keep him from licking his incision.

Nope. Not only can he reach the incision, and licks it every chance he gets--a baaaad idea--but he also:

1. Bumps this contraption into walls and furniture, over and over. This cannot feel good and he must have a headache by now.

2. Rams it into ME constantly! I'm black and blue! OW! OW! OW!

3. Has some trouble swallowing because he can't quite tilt his head the right way. He walked around earlier with a piece of cookie in his mouth. So I take it off when he eats, but then it's a major-two person-15 minute-chase-the-puppy-around-the-house-and-tackle-him production.

So I Googled around and found soft, inflatable collars. No, I don't want to order it online. I need it NOW. So I phone PetSmart because I found it on their site. Petsmart, I hope you Google your name because this is how it went down: first I get one of those long "press this, press that" messages, which ends with "press zero" if you have a question. Um, you guys couldn't put that first?

Petsmart: "Blah blah blah"--a mumbled greeting that I honestly couldn't understand.
Me: "Do you carry those inflatable E collars for dogs?"
PS: No.


Me: "Well, do you carry anything besides the lamp shades? Vinyl, maybe?" (because I know these exist, too)
PS: "No."


Me: "So the only way I can get one is to order it online?"
PS: "Yeah."


O-kayy. After this mind-boggling wealth of invaluable information, I phone Pet Supplies Plus. Not only do they carry it, but they have it in stock, and the clerk--who can luckily manage more than one syllable at a time--kindly puts one aside for me.

So as soon as Elijah wakes up from his nap we'll give it a shot. BTW, he's not supposed "run, play, or jump" for 10-14 days. I did try to explain this to him, but... *shrug*

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Good thing I revised for 6 hrs yesterday. Today I planned to go to (a different) Borders after dropping Beth and Elijah off for a hike. Thing is, the hike was out in the Middle Of Nowhere and the nearest Borders was in Medina. Plus the hike that I thought (for what reason? I dunn) would be all afternoon turned out to be only 1.5 hrs. They had fun! Eli just crashed out. Beth, probably not too far behind.

Why did I think Hinckley was so close to Medina--cuz it AIN'T--and there was absolutely no other place to go. NO civilization what-so-evah. This city girl drove, drovedrovedrovedrovedrove down loooong country roads with an occasional car zipping around me at 60+ mph (I know, because I was doing 45-50) and idiots pulling out of parkways without looking, and unexpected stop signs (WTF am I stopping for? Chipmunks?)--not to mention idiots on bikes. Sorry if you're a biker but it Pisses Me Off to have to cross the double yellow line (which is breaking the law) so I don't run you over in the middle of MY lane.

I make it to Medina after 30 minutes (hit a Panera's b/c it was 1000 yards closer than Borders) which gives me a whole 30 minutes to work on revisions. Like a dutiful little author, I do exactly one page ("Hmm, that adjective could go...this whole line can go...let's change that word to x-x-x... OK, done!") and then sign onto Twitter and blab on the phone.

Tonight: grilled salmon and rice pilaf, with Grandma over for dinner to celebrate Father's Day (he's getting the same thing he gave me for Mother's Day) and then, hopefully, early to bed. Didn't this weekend go FAST?

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I've been up since 4:45 a.m. This is after going to bed at 7 p.m. because my stomach was killing me. Seriously, I've been on the Protonix for a week and I'm really no better. Dr. B suggested I add Pepcid to the regimen so I guess I'll be stopping at the drug store today.

I've cut back on the coffee (down to 2-3 cups a day instead of my usual 2 pots). Me giving up coffee is almost as bad as me giving up cigarettes: once I stop hyperventilating, I want to rush to the car and stuff a couple bags of Seattle's Best under the seat. Just in case, yanno.

I gave up the Nicorette gum because that was most definitely the nail in the coffin. I'm wearing the patch and taking it off at night so I don't A. wake up every hour, or B. wake up exhausted from those long epic dreams, or C. wake up with muscle twitches, or D. not wake up.

I took Elijah for a walk, but he acted like such a butthole I gave up and cut it short. I just can't take him sniffing every-single-damn-blade-of-grass, or standing in the middle of the sidewalk for 5 minutes to stare at people across the street. Plus it was raining. Plus he took a dump on a lawn which meant I had to scoop it up in a bag. And carry it. Like, forever. Now, back home, he's into everything. Why does it seem my vocabulary lately is strictly limited to "NO" "GET DOWN" "LEAVE IT" "MOVE" "QUIET" and "DROP IT" ?

I ate twice, which technically means I already had breakfast and lunch. Now I'm thinking about dinner. Probably by dinner time today I'll be ready for tomorrow's breakfast.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Puppy is sick. :( Vomiting. I know he ate something he shouldn't have on a long (3 mile) walk on Sunday. I I wrestled with him like crazy, but couldn't get it out of his mouth without him taking off my hand (yeah, he was that--pissed) Up till yesterday he was fine: eating, pooping, drinking water, playing, etc. I called the vet yesterday when he threw up breakfast, but they were of the mind that if he's been pooping, he probably passed it, especially since he was playing and acting okay.

Well, he went to camp yesterday and was fine. Then he puked in the evening, mutiple times. He refused a bland dinner of rice and broth. He slept like the dead all night, which is not unusual for him on camp days. This morning he again refused the rice (I can't believe this chow hound refused to eat something!!!) so I gave him yogurt and oats, which he loved.

Now he's sleeping. I'll see how he is when he wakes up, but I have the feeling I might be taking him to the vet today.


When you click on that story link about the puppy being flushed down the toilet, you see two different rants from commenters: 1. that the parents are to blame for not watching the child, and 2. conversely, kids can't be "watched every minute."

Last night, sadly, I attended the wake of a baby who couldn't be "watched every minute."

Nineteen months old. A beautiful baby girl with huge blue eyes who crinkled her nose when she smiled. I could barely reconcile the photographs of her displayed in the viewing room--the baby in a purple Easter dress, laughing at the camera, cuddled on the couch with her old sister, etc.--with the tiny casket that looked more like a plastic, upside-down planter.

It only takes a second to look away while your precious toddler wanders off and falls into a pool. The memory of finding that floating body will haunt everyone involved the rest of their lives. The faces of the family will haunt me: the great-grandmother, teary-eyed but tenuously stoic; the very young dad, red-eyed and awkward; and the teenaged mom who had to be forcibly removed from bed and escorted to the wake 20 minutes before it ended.

Don't look away, people. Keep your babies close to your heart.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Lucky dog! Check out Elijah's blog to see how he spent the day. :)


I'm not perfect. My kids aren't perfect. But even my kids at four years of age would not be STUPID enough to try to bathe a one-week-old puppy in the toilet.

Nice supervision job there, Mum.

PS How you "accidentally" flush a toilet? I can't even get people in this house to flush it on purpose!

Monday, June 15, 2009


A wonderful review for Say the Word from Becky's Book Reviews:

I especially like this:

"If the characters weren't so human, if they weren't so complexly drawn and brought to life, then his novel mught be too issue-driven. A novel about all the shades of prejudice and discrimination. A novel about the inadequacies and injustices of life."

Thanks, Becky!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


My bad not to mention that the reason I won this--


--was because of 's contest on LAURA'S REVIEW BOOKSHELF. Thank you, Laura! :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday 5

1. Back to work tomorrow after a week off. But it's Saturday, I work with a great crew, and I've had a decent rest and I'm in a pretty good mood.

Don't worry. It won't last.

2. I won a signed copy of Michelle Zink's YA fantasy PROPHECY OF THE SISTERS!


Thank you, thank you, thank you!

3. Dear Elijah,
Please refrain from eating my cell phone in the future.
You know I love you. But if chomp my phone one more time I'll crunch you like a Milkbone.
xxx Mommy

4. I've revise MORE this past week than I've done all year. This is by far the worst first draft I ever plodded through and the more I revise the longer the word count (120k). But no point in panicking--there's one whole section I plan to slash out. That should take care of, oh, three or four hundred words...

5. Chasty Bono's having sex change. Wait. What? I thought she was a gay woman. Now she's a man? I am sooo confused.

The "Procedure"

Here goes:

The day before the scopes--uh, upper and lower--I can have nothing but clear liquids (nothing red). Plus I have to drink 4 liters of this stuff affectionately known by nurses as Go-Deadly.

1. Ocean water
2. Motor oil
3. Napalm

First I have to take an anti-nausea pill which is nothing but a waste of a $10 co-pay. Then I'm supposed to drink the Go-Deadly in 4 hours. It takes me 8. Each glass I have to chase down with a swig of fruit punch. Yes, RED fruit punch. If they can't tell the difference between fruit punch and blood, then I want a different doctor.

Green Jello works, too.

I want to die. Because it tastes exactly like the ingredients listed above. I've since found out that it comes in flavors. Yes, flavors! Be sure to file this away for future reference.

The Go-Deadly kicks in. Use your imagination.

Then I wake up in the morning with a full blown migraine. This rarely happens any more because I take Fiorinal #3 which knocks it out before it gets to this point. But:

1. I'm not supposed to take anything by mouth after midnight.
2. Even if I did slip myself a F#3 it has aspirin in it. They specified No Aspirin Products. No hemorraghing allowed.
3. It also has butalbital, a sedative. They're knocking me out this morning and I'd like to spend the rest of my life not in a persistive vegetative state.

So I don't take it. It's five a.m. I have to be there at 8:30. Any other day I'd be in the emergency room begging for narcotics. Worse this is that I can't even throw up! Nothing left in there, of course.

I swear it's the longest 3.5 hours of my life.

Nate drives me to the Clinic. I retch the whole way. I retch during registration. I retch while changing into that backless Vera Wang original gown.

See Jen retch. Retch, Jen, retch.

The nurses are sweet. They turn off the lights, try to make me comfortable--but they can't give me anything for migraine till they talk to the doc who's busy ramming tubes through another patient's orifices.

Nurse: "If you keep this up he might not be able to do the test. He can't do the EGD if you're vomiting."

Me: "Well, if he doesn't do it today it's never getting done because I am NEVER going through this again!"

Retch, Jen, retch.

Oops. My dry heaves are no longer "dry." Can that possibly be green Jello? I hope so, because if it's not I have a bigger problem than I thought.

Nurse starts an IV. They wheel me back. Nurse asks what my anxiety level is on a scale of 1-10. They already know what my pain level is.

Me: "Eight. But I'll be knocked out, right?"

Nurse: "No, you won't be knocked out. It's called conscious sedation."

Me: "I don't want to be conscious anything. And now it's a ten, thank you very much."

I guess the retching doesn't concern the doc as much as the nurse thought. Immediately they shoot me with 100 mg of Demerol. *squirt, squirt in the IV tubing* The doc peers into my face and asks, "How's the headache now?"

La, la, la-la-laaaahhhhhh....! Headache? What headache?

They stick a bite block in my mouth.

I don't care.

The doctor, who I now absolutely love--I'd offer to bear his next child but the bite block prevents me from speaking--says, "And now we'll give you some Versed..." *more squirt, squirt into the IV tubing*

I don't care.

I'm in heaven.

And then...I wake up. It's totally over and I didn't feel a thing.

Result: My stomach is seriously messed up (like I needed a tube shoved down me to tell me that?) but nothing that can't be fixed with medication and a few "diet adjustments," the worse one being: