Friday, December 23, 2011

A Christmas Friday 10

Nope, haven't blogged for a while. For those of you who saw my locked post a couple of weeks back, dealing with that threw me out of the loop for a while. But here I am. With Christmas two days away, I'm happy to announce that:

1. I finished all my shopping and managed to navigate every store without one single physical or even verbal altercation.

2. I wrapped every item (up till 3 a.m. last night doing it) and could actually climb up off the floor by myself without calling 9-1-1. My knees, however, may never be the same.

3. I found a happy medium between "cheap" and "extravagant." Well...I'm happy with it, anyway.

4. I'm officially flipping the bird to anyone out there who says gift cards are a crummy idea. I think they're a better idea than lottery tickets's a Guaranteed Win.

5. I'm loving my Nook and seriously hoping that Santa will be kind enough to load it up for me.

6. I ordered clothes for Grandma from some geriatric online "boutique" and literally shrieked in horror when I opened the package. DUDE! When I am that old? Please do NOT attempt to dress me in flowered dusters, dammit!

7. For the first time in several decades, because I am working, I will not be home on Christmas morning. *sniff*

8. Do you realize there is not ONE SINGLE TOY I can buy Elijah for Christmas that won't end up in his lower colon within 24 hours?

9. If nothing else, at least my hair will look spectacular for the holidays. :-)

10. The best thing? I have another Christmas to celebrate on January 7th and a whole 'nother paycheck on January 6th!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

If You're Wondering What Happened to Martha... she is, on the cover of another book:




It's kind of like running into an old friend, isn't it? :-)

Friday, December 2, 2011

AFTER OBSESSION Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel

AFTER OBSESSION by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel.


INVITATION: When you ask him in,
INFESTATION: When he destroys your home.
OBSESSION: When he destroys your body.
POSSESSION: When there is no coming back.

This story almost stopped my heart more than once. It's riveting (and scary!) and the dual POVs are beautifully done. Congrats, Carrie and Steven--what an awesome team!!!!

From Amazon:Aimee and Alan have secrets. Both teens have unusual pasts and abilities they prefer to keep hidden. But when they meet each other, in a cold Maine town, they can't stop their secrets from spilling out. Strange things have been happening lately, and they both feel that something-or someone- is haunting them. They're wrong. Despite their unusual history and powers, it's neither Aimee nor Alan who is truly haunted. It's Alan's cousin Courtney who, in a desperate plea to find her missing father, has invited a demon into her life-and into her body. Only together can Aimee and Alan exorcise the ghost. And they have to move quickly, before it devours not just Courtney but everything around her.

Loved it, loved it! :-)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Whining and Bored

I sincerely hope I never come down with a fatal disease. If I am THIS CRABBY with a simple head cold, I can't imagine how I'd behave if I were really sick.


I took a high-powered cold tablet at 1 p.m. yesterday. Next thing I knew it was dinnertime. I woke up feeling 100% better...and at midnight I was still awake. I finally went to sleep (after watching RED DRAGON for the sixty-eleventh time) and woke up at nine this morning feeling almost as crappy as I felt yesterday morning at this time.

I rarely get sick. In fact I brag about this on a regular basis. People can be dropping like flies all around me and I won't have so much as a sniffle. I always believed that working as nurse for so many years has given me an immune system of Herculean proportions. I've never had the flu in my entire adult life. This simple cold, however, has knocked me on my ass. Being knocked on my ass means I am bored beyond belief.

I don't do well with boredom, either. I once quit a job because I could pass meds on 45 patients without ever having to look at a chart.

So this morning I took a "non-drowsy" cold tablet instead. I swear if I sneeze one more time I'll splatter brain matter out my ears.


Friday, November 11, 2011


1. THE UNQUIET is available for pre-order on Amazon.
The official pub date looks like July 17th. :) :)


3601 / 50000 words. 7% done!

3. Birthday party tonight.

4. SCBWI brunch tomorrow.

5. Q: How do you tell the difference between a gall bladder attack and a heart attack?
    A: When you wake up in the morning, you know it wasn't your heart.
    Ow, ow, ow.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this amazingly beautiful story:


THE PROBABILITY OF MIRACLES by Wendy Wunder (release date December 8, 2011)

From Amazon: Dry, sarcastic, sixteen-year-old Cam Cooper has spent the last seven years in and out hospitals. The last thing she wants to do in the short life she has left is move 1,500 miles away to Promise, Maine - a place known for the miraculous events that occur there. But it's undeniable that strange things happen in Promise: everlasting sunsets; purple dandelions; flamingoes in the frigid Atlantic; an elusive boy named Asher; and finally, a mysterious envelope containing a list of things for Cam to do before she dies. As Cam checks each item off the list, she finally learns to believe - in love, in herself, and even in miracles.

This is definitely one to keep your eye out for! Loved it, loved it.

Criminally Negligent WITHOUT A DOUBT

It's making me nuts to hear so many people say that Michael Jackson was an addict, and therefore responsible for his own death.

People. Michael Jackson doctor-shopped till he found someone--Conrad Murray--who agreed to give him GENERAL ANESTHESIA every night in his own bed. Every other medical practitioner he asked turned down this outrageous request. Why? Because propofol is NOT. EVER. GIVEN. outside of the O.R. or ICUs. It's unheard of. It's beyond comprehension.


Propofol is not a sleep aid. You are not "sleeping" when you are given this drug. YOU ARE UNCONSCIOUS. You need to be heavily monitored--vital signs, oxygenation, airway, EKG, etc.--NONE of which Dr, Murray had, other than a rinky-dink pulse ox machine anyone can buy online--because you can stop breathing at any moment.
You need emergency equipment: a breathing tube, emergency paddles, medications like epinephrine, etc. Again, none of which Dr. Murray had at hand. The fact that he was found doing CPR with Michael still on the bed instead of pulling him to the floor convinces me he wouldn't have known what to do with the paddles if he had them.

Before undergoing anesthesia, you're aren't allowed to eat after midnight because you can vomit while unconscious and aspirate it into your lungs. You also have to sign a release, saying you understand the dangers. This is called informed consent. Michael should have read and signed this paper every single night.

Dr. Murray rendered Michael unconscious every night for weeks, He did not keep ONE SINGLE NOTE that entire time. Can you imagine visiting your own doctor even for a routine checkup and he doesn't write one single thing down--ever?

Then, one morning, Michael stops breathing while under this general anesthetic (i.e. unconscious) while Dr. Murray was out of the room for God knows how long. What would you do if you found someone unresponsive? The same thing any FOUR-YEAR-OLD CHILD has already been taught to do: Call 911. NOT waste valuable time on the phone blabbing to a bunch of other people, one of whom did call 911...not Dr. Murray. He then proceeded to throw out as much stuff as he could (aided by someone who testified in court) and never bothered to mention "propofol" to the emergency room doctors.

This doctor is so grossly and criminally negligent on so many levels, there aren't enough words to describe it.

To those who insist MJ miraculously regained consciousness long enough to administer his own fatal overdose...even if this is true (which defies logic, IMO) what difference does it make? Dr, Murray was ultimately responsible. He brought the drugs to him. Addict or not, Michael did not deserve to die in this awful manner, with his children nearby.

This is not the first time someone's been prosecuted for supplying an addict with drugs. Remember John Belushi?

"Cathy Smith stupidly gave an interview to the National Enquirer admitting that she shot Belushi up. She was re-arrested, and had to serve 18 months in prison for this little escapade." THE DEATH OF JOHN BELUSHI

Michael did not insert that needle into his own (leg) vein. Like Belushi, he had help--not from a fellow addict, but by a licensed physician who once took a vow to DO NO HARM.


RIP, Michael. You were loved.

Monday, November 7, 2011


1. I've had a pathetic start to NaNo:

1246 / 50000 words. 2% done!

...but actually a very good excuse because I was revising a few pages of my wip (THE UNBIDDEN) after getting excellent feedback from Tina. This is by no means a "done deal"--but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

P.S. If anyone wants to join me on NaNoWriMo, my user name is JenG.

2. Creepy movies I've seen recently:

TV: THE RITE with Anthony Hopkins. Personally I loved it, as long as I didn't stop to analyze all the theological stuff.



The first one was decent. The second one sucked. But THIS one--


--scared the LIVING HELL out of me!

3. What I did this morning: tried to shake off a migraine. Yeah, a bad one. Luckily I got a vacation day so I didn't have use a sick day or--worse--drag myself in high on codeine and butalbital. The census is down because, swear to God, all my patients get their disability checks the first of the month and they're out blowing their money right now.

4. What I am doing right now: waiting for the verdict in the Michael Jackson death trial. I'm guessing he's guilty, though, after Casey Anthony, nothing will surprise me.

5. What I am doing later: hopefully, writing. :)

Monday, October 31, 2011

If You Need a Word Meter

...just click:

0 / 50000 words. 0% done!




I posted an article on FB recently that supposedly "explains" away symptoms of a haunted house.

It was pretty funny. I don't think it was meant to be.

From ages 5 through 9 I lived in an ancient old house on the west side of Cleveland. Creepy, lots of dark wood, and a cellar with rats. Yes, rats.

That was not the house that was haunted, however. My haunted house was the cute little suburban bungalow I lived in after that, till I graduated from nursing school and moved out on my own.

The article said--ridiculously enough--that doors that shut by themselves are aided by "drafts." That doesn't explain how a door that slams shut can, a moment later, open again on its own.

Footsteps you hear are supposedly caused by the "settling" of the house. Oh, yes--because the settling of a house sounds exactly like someone walking up and down the hall directly over your head. Not. Any idiot knows the difference.

The article also didn't explain how, when you are alone in the basement, a hand can reach out and gently squeeze your shoulder.

Or how a sound can repeatedly sweep through your house, a high-pitched, almost electrical wail--a sound that you never heard before and never experienced since.

Or how a voice can wake you up out of a sound sleep to the glowing image at the foot of your bed.

You either believe or you don't believe. But no one can explain it away. Those who haven't experienced it really shouldn't try.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful that I have two adult kids living at home who work full-time, don't come home drunk or high, ask me for money, party all night, or talk to me like I'm an idiot.



P.S. These are not my children. I just like the picture.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Thought on Validation

Lauren Myracle on the NBA fiasco.

Lauren says of her intense disappointment: “…it's just one more reminder not to be so invested in validation from external sources.”

So very true. Yet, as writers, from the moment we begin to put words on a page, that same validation is exactly what we crave. Validation from our first readers. From agents. From editors at publishing houses. From friends, family, and peers. From reviewers. Does it ever end? Sometimes we need to take a step back and feast, gratefully, on our accomplishments—whether it's our writing, or something else...whether humble or heroic—instead of depending so much on the praise and opinions of others.

Best, best comment ever from @librarianlost: “Husband thinks Abrams should make sticker for cover that reads: Erroneously Nominated for NBA."

Still smiling at that one. :-)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My AWESOME Box of Books!

ENVY (arc) by Gregg Olsen
AFTER OBSESSION by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel
BETWEEN THE SEA AND SKY by Jaclyn Dolamore
SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD by Lindsey Leavitt
AFTER THE KISS by Terra Elan McVoy
HAUNTING VIOLET by Alyxandra Harvey
SMALL TOWN SINNERS by Melissa Walker
SUGAR AND ICE by Kate Messner
TAKING OFF by Jenny Moss

Methodical Elimination of Suckage

I love when someone can read my wip and totally open my eyes to the suckage. :) (Thank you, Tina)

So I'm currently rewriting 100 pages and trying to go in a completely different direction. I can tell already it's the right decision.

Hopefully I can get through this revision before November 1st, because you know what November 1st is, don't you?

With Borders now gone *sob* I've been writing at Panera. The good thing about Panera's is free coffee refills.


The bad thing about Panera is the food. Cuz it's everywhere. Lots of it.

My faves:

Tuna sandwich

French onion soup



Maybe I should switch to the library...

Monday, October 17, 2011


Libba Bray tells it like it is. Hats off to Lauren Myracle for defining the word "class."

ENVY by Gregg Olsen


How can anyone resist it???


ENVY by Gregg Olsen

From Amazon: New York Times bestselling adult true crime author Gregg Olsen makes his YA debut with EMPTY COFFIN, a gripping new fiction series for teens based on ripped-from-the-headlines stories…with a paranormal touch.

Crime lives--and dies--in the deceptively picture-perfect town of Port Gamble (aka “Empty Coffin”), Washington. Evil lurks and strange things happen--and 15-year-olds Hayley and Taylor Ryan secretly use their wits and their telepathic “twin-sense” to uncover the truth about the town's victims and culprits.

Envy, the series debut, involves the mysterious death of the twins' old friend, Katelyn. Was it murder? Suicide? An accident? Hayley and Taylor are determined to find out--and as they investigate, they stumble upon a dark truth that is far more disturbing than they ever could have imagined.

Based on the shocking true crime about cyber-bullying, Envy will take you to the edge--and push you right over.

Reading the ARC now!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday 5

1. I guess the subtle change in my hair color is too subtle, notice. :(

2. How can anyone be this excited about rewriting 100 pages?

3. Yes, I am going to THE 7 FLOORS OF HELL!


4. Current read: WHERE THE TRUTH LIES by Jessica Warman


5. Working all weekend...see you guys next week!

:) :) :)






I kid you not. Total awesomeness. I'm still blown away when someone sends me a book of the blue. Getting a box of them is just like Christmas! :)

Dirty Little Secrets

OK, so I go from a meh book to a WOW book in less than a week:



From Amazon: Everyone has a secret. But Lucy's is bigger and dirtier than most. It's one she's been hiding for years-that her mom's out-of-control hoarding has turned their lives into a world of garbage and shame. Tackling an increasingly discussed topic that is both fascinating and disturbing, C. J. Omololu weaves an hour-by-hour account of Lucy's desperate attempt to save her family. Readers join Lucy on a path from which there is no return, and the impact of hoarding on one teen's life will have them completely hooked.

I was hooked, from page one, and read it in one day.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I gotta go clean something...

Grape Rating
Full bunch: X
Half bunch:
Single grape:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Stolen Innocence

I generally don't do book reviews because I hate knocking someone else's book. Yeah, I know. Luckily most books I read are pretty good. STOLEN INNOCENCE looked interesting, and it was one of the first ones I downloaded on my Nook.


"This is the shocking, timely, and inspirational memoir of Elissa Wall, the former member of the FLDS polygamist sect whose powerful courtroom testimony helped convict controversial sect leader Warren Jeffs in September 2007. Detailing how Jeffs forced her into an unwanted marriage at age 14, Elissa speaks candidly about the horrifying reality she faced as a young teenager in a devastating marriage to a man five years her senior. But what began as tragic tale of forced marriage quickly descended into madness, as Elissa's troubled relationship spiraled out of control before her vows were even spoken.The end result of the union was a nightmare of rape and abuse that Elissa suffered at the hands of her Church-appointed husband and in the name of God. Offering an unfettered glimpse into the world of the FLDS she explains how the confines of her dangerous marriage and surroundings left her with few options. Pushed out of her home by abuse, she began living in her car to avoid the crushing realities of her situation. And yet somehow, in face of this bleak reality, she never gave up on the hope that she would some day find a way out. But though Elissa won her freedom from the FLDS, she had yet to earn her victory, and here she illustrates how she used her newfound freedom to put Warren Jeffs behind bars."

However, it took me ages to get through it. And, to me, it's a pretty good example of how not to write a memoir.

Boring. Boring.

Did I mention...boring?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Under the Drill

Two holes in my teeth. No kidding. I knew I was in trouble when my nicotine gum started to crunch. Then, 2 weeks later, a filling fell out right in the middle of a cinnamon bagel.

My dentist loves me. Got an appointment this morning.


Monday, September 19, 2011


This movie should be listed under When Multiple Points of View Don't Work:



I give it a C+. There was one annoying character, a woman on the Let's Figure Out What To Do About This Disease committee (a CDC employee?) who was SUCH a PIA and so obnoxious that I prayed throughout the whole movie that she'd catch the PigBat disease. If I'd been allowed to her see convulsing and frothing at the mouth, I'd have happily elevated this movie to a B.

Like THE DEBT, this was another plot-driven film with little or no attention given to character development. You've probably deduced by now that I don't care for plot-driven movies. But the real reason it gets a C+ is because, after a strong beginning, the movie lagged. More than once I'd find myself thinking I hope something happens pretty soon. Then something would happen. Yay. Then it would lag again. If you're going to rely on PLOT, then by all means make the PLOT holds people's attention. The techno-babble bored me, I'm a nurse, for pete's sake.

I can't complain (for once) about the medical scenes. I thought, unlike 99.9% of others, these were very well done, although doctors don't generally stand in the middle of the hall and tell someone their loved ones have died. I let that one slide.

(By the way, did anyone who didn't know Matt Damon was in this film actually recognize Matt Damon? I didn't. He looks heavier in the movie, and--because he had nothing to smile about--his teeth didn't give him away. When I got home my husband was watching THE BOURNE IDENTITY and I thought, oh yeah--that's Matt Damon. To me, it's actually a plus when I don't recognize the actors).

So you've got a bunch of characters running around, either coming down with the disease or trying to stop the disease, and not nearly enough time spent on each one. And although this might sounds mean and shallow, all those incredibly close close-ups of Laurence Fishburn's complexion were extremely distracting. Hello! Makeup department? Can you do nothing for this man?

Finally, I was extremely ticked off because they never showed what happened to Marion Cotillard's character at the end. The best character? Jude Law, a rogue blogger with hideous (and so obviously prosthetic) teeth. He was awesome!

P.S. Best line in the movie: "Blogging is graffiti with punctuation." :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dear Live Journal

WHY don't my links work anymore?

Between this and all all your
I see why people are giving up and moving to Wordpress.

I pay you twenty bucks a year and I'm not sure why.


A dissatisfied customer

A Wednesday Ramble...

Now that my Borders cafe is gone, I've been spending time at Panera's trying to get some writing done. The problem with Panera's is, they...

Serve. Food.


I'm chewing nicorette gum like crazy which doesn't really help my TMJ, but writing without cigarettes is like dancing without feet. At least I don't have bad breath.

I'm working on a proposal for a sequel to THE UNQUIET. It's iffy, but I figured I'd give it a shot. My self-imposed deadline personal writing goal is to have this wrapped up by the end up the month. Then I can look forward to...



Both SAY THE WORD and THE UNQUIET started out as NaNo novels. I'm going to try for a third. I don't know if it'll be this one, or something else. Anyone else doing NaNo? Huh? Pretty please?

Also, I'm still on my movie kick. Beth just found two movies we've been eager to see, and ordered them online. Probably no one has heard of them but us:






Probably next weekend we'll see CONTAGION and then maybe take a break for a bit before all this buttered popcorn gives us twin attacks. :)


Monday, September 12, 2011

Movie Blather

Yesterday I was going to post my own memory of 9/11/01. But it so paled in comparison to those who actually experienced it, I decided to watch the memorial instead.

Then, to cheer up a bit, I went to the movies (AGAIN) and saw THE DEBT.


I mean, it's Helen Mirren, right?

Please. I gave it a B-minus because it kept my interest, i.e. I didn't snore through half the film. But about 2/3 of the way through I thought, Isn't this about over yet? That's never a good sign. Not with a movie. Not with a book.

I will try to avoid spoliers, but what is a spoiler to you might not be a spoiler to me, lol.

My # 1 problem was that there was no character development. The movie was driven by the plot and nothing else. Who were these three people who wanted to capture the Nazi doctor? We knew they were Jewish, that they lost family in the Holocaust.

But WHO. WERE. THEY? I had no fricking idea, which made it really, really hard to care what happened to them.

# 2: Who was this Nazi doctor? OK, anyone can guess that he was based on Josef Mengele. Near the beginning, one character skimmed through a few photos of children's corpses, presumably victims of the doctor's vicious experiments. We get no further look into what this doctor actually did, or who HE was. I'm not saying we needed another half-hour of flashbacks detailing this man's crimes. But, for me, a couple of photos didn't do it. He was OBVIOUSLY evil, and that certainly came through, so maybe the writers didn't feel it necessary to add anything else. It's just that I felt no connection to these photos; they seemed almost incidental. Frankly, given the lack of anything else to make me hate this doctor--aside from my knowledge of history and the doctor's repellent personality--the pics themselves could've been left out.

# 3: I am SO SURE anyone would believe a demented old man in a mental hospital when he says he is the Butcher of Buchenwald--let alone a journalist who, like everyone else IN THE WHOLE FREAKING WORLD, believes the doctor was killed back in 1965.

# 4: The older versions of the male characters looked nothing like the younger versions. Worse, the two guys kind of looked alike to me. Fire the casting director.

# 5: The chick (in the apartment) had a GUN. Why didn't she keep it handy? Stupid, and not very believable considering who she was, what she was trying to accomplish, and who her prisoner was. She's no Clarice Starling, that's for sure.

# 5: I found last 15 minutes of the film to be totally unbelievable.

Still, I watched it, was mostly not bored, and if you like thriller/espionage/post-Holocaust films with Helen Mirren and a couple of plot holes, go see it. :)

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Yes, I know it's a Saturday and hardly anyone will see this...but here is the final cover for THE UNQUIET.


Thank you, thank you to Melissa Marr and Lisa McMann for the following blurbs:

“Filled with romance, madness, and dangerous ghosts, Garsee’s THE UNQUIET is a haunting read you shouldn’t miss.” Melissa Marr, New York Times bestselling author of WICKED LOVELY.

"THE UNQUIET is a swirling, marvelous journey into madness...or out of it. You decide." Lisa McMann, New York Times bestselling author of the WAKE trilogy and CRYER'S CROSS.

:) :) :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

We Are Never Alone

Happy Book Birthday to everyone who helped make DEAR BULLY: 70 AUTHORS TELL THEIR STORIES a reality. A special thanks to Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones for all their hard work. YOU GUYS ROCK! Words can't describe how proud I am to be a part of this project.

After I sat down and read it from beginning to end, I realized something: I could identify with almost every single story.

Bullied and ostracized? Of course. I was there. But that's only the tip of the iceberg.

Teased because I was new to a school? Been there. Because I was fat? Been there. Because I was "different"? Been there.

Riddled with guilt because I watched someone else be bullied and didn't speak up out of fear of becoming the next target? Been there.

Trying to stand up for myself, only to have my complaints either ignored, minimized, or ridiculed by a teacher? Yes, it happened.

Saying something mean to someone else for no other reason except that person was there, and vulnerable, and an easy target? Yes, been there, too. And no, I'm not proud of it. It bothered me for years and I've never forgiven myself. If I had a way to contact that person and apologize, I'd do it in a heartbeat. In fact I often wondered if the reason I was later bullied myself was nothing but simple karmic payback.

Having my heart broken when I realized my own child was also a victim of bullying? Torn between whether or not to step in, or allow him/her to work it out by themselves out of fear that the bullying will only get worse...and worse...?

Yes. I've been there. And that's a terrible dilemma to be in.

There is a story for everyone, because bullying happens everywhere, to everyone, in many different ways. It's time for all of us--without exception--to take a stand and say NO MORE.

We are not alone. We are not alone.

Each and every story touched my heart. Thank you, all of you, from the very bottom of that heart.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Please Help A Library in Desperate Need

A casualty of the floods: Kate Messner's Blog: A Library in Need.

Time A-wastin'

Thanks for your supportive comments below. I was in a slump when I wrote it. I actually still in that same slump, but dealing a bit better. I'm sure I do have some kind of attention deficit disorder, totally undiagnosed because I've been smoking all this years. It's frustrating as hell, but it won't get the best of me. So. What have I been doing while I've NOT been writing? Well, aside from work, I did see three movies in the past couple weeks:

THE HELP, based on Kathryn's Stockett's novel.


If you haven't seen the movie, see it. If you haven't read the book, read it!

Then there's FRIGHT NIGHT:


Please. $24 for two tickets because it's a 3-D movie? Me: "Goody, goody. What, we're paying for the glasses?" Beth: "You gave to give the glasses back." Me: "Bull****. I'm keeping 'em." I didn't. The thing about 3-D is, it's a whole lot of fun when you're, um, ten years old. This was an R-rated movie. Adults generally don't care one way or another if something's 3-D. We also don't think it's cool to sit there for 2 hours with those funny-colored glasses crammed down over our own glasses. If I'd known about the jacked-up price in advance, I'd have skipped the whole thing. It wasn't that great, and the CGI effects were nothing compared to the effects in the original.



Another CGI bomb. Remember the original with Kim Darby? OMG, that one scared the crap out of me. I still can't sleep with my arms or feet hanging off the bed. This version had one good scare. The rest involved little CGI creatures running around and causing great havoc for one of the stupidest families in cinematic history.

REMAKES SUCK. Being a horror movie buff, though, I couldn't resist.

Now I'm waiting impatiently for PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3.

Monday, August 29, 2011


My lack of concentration and creativity (i.e. I've written SQUAT in almost 4 months) as well as my total neglect of this blog seems to be directly related to my currently nicotine-less state.

This is no lie.


Monday, August 22, 2011

A Random Act of Idiocy

Last Thursday morning, I backed my car out of my driveway and almost hit a blue van parked at the curb directly opposite my driveway.

Hint to People Who Park on the Street: If you must park on the street, it's considered very bad form to park across from somebody's driveway. This makes it a royal PIA to back out, especially when you live on a dinky, narrow street like mine. So if you must park on the street, please avoid the driveways.

Why do I even have to explain this to anyone?

OK, it was no big deal. I braked in time, murmured a certain cuss word, backed all the way out, and went on my merry way.

That blue van sat there all day. And all night. And all day Friday. And all of Friday night.

Now all this time I am creeping slowwwwly out of my driveway several times a day, cutting sharply, running over my tree lawn and narrowly missing my mail box, all so I don't bump that stupid blue van. Everyone knows when a car bumps a van, it's the car that generally gets the bad end of the bargain. And it would be considered my fault.

I am also pissed because there happens to be A LAW that says cars can't be parked on the street overnight. I know this law exists because someone visiting ME once got a ticket for parking out there overnight.

Still the van sits. I don't know who it belongs to. By Saturday morning I'm so sick of creeping around, I finally call the non-emergency police number to complain. "It's been there 24/7 for the past three days and it's IN. MY. WAY."

Police: "Do they have permission?"

Me: "How would I know if they have permission?"

Police: "Well, if it's out there now, they're not breaking any laws."

Well, of course not. Because now it's the middle of the day. BUT IT'S ANNOYING ME.

Me: "Well, then please send someone out in the middle of the night when they are breaking a law. After all, you ticketed a friend of ours for parking out there one night."

Police: "We'll send someone out to check on it tonight."

Me: (I bet)

Sunday morning the blue van is still there. No ticket on the windshield. Not even a warning. WTF?

Sunday night, as I back out with Beth on our way to the mall, I come very, very close to hitting that damn thing again. Maybe if I had a Rio it wouldn't be such a big deal, but I drive an Impala. And maybe my depth perception isn't all that it used to be.

This time I don't just mumble the cuss word. I shriek it. I don't care if I have to set my alarm, I'm gonna call the police at three a.m. and demand them come out and TICKET THE DAMN CAR. Maybe I can complain of a bad odor...yeah, yeah! That'd work! After all, it's clearly abandoned. Who knows what's in it?

If I get no satisfaction then, I swear I will go from door to door till I find out who owns that freaking blue van, and insist they move it--at gunpoint, if necessary. My nerves are shot. My mind has cracked. If I have to back out around that FREAKING BLUE VAN ONE MORE TIME I will make CNN: Suburban Woman's Violent Rampage Stuns Neighbors.

I consider letting the air out of the tires. Hahahahaha. After all, if nobody's gonna drive it...EVER...what's the difference?

Beth: "Mom, that's vandalism."

Me: "Heh, heh. Just kidding..."

I'm truthfully on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

Miraculously, when we return, the blue van is GONE! Oh happy day. I notice it two doors down, sitting in a neighbor's driveway. I don't know these people (it's a rental house) or why they chose not to use their own driveway for four days, or why they had to park their car nowhere near their own house--but at least I now know where the blue van belongs in case they pull this BS again.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Good: I finished my copy edits at last.

Bad: I'm looking over my proposal and not feeling it right now.

Good: My house is finally cleaned up from the flood.

Bad: It might be clean but it looks like hell. Like it recently flooded or something.

Good: No more flooding, thank goodness.

Bad: But, at the moment, I am glued to my window, watching the lake in my back yard spread closer and closer toward my house. Thunder and lightning. Sheets of rain. I remember loving this when I was a kid. How things have changed.

Good: I have a steady, good-paying job that I'm pretty good at.

Bad: Otherwise, it sucks. I'm talking a why-not-just-give-up-and-and-a-nervous-breakdown kind of suckage. Or how-much-longer-must-I-endure-this-infinite-bullshit kind of suckage.

Good: I haven't gained any weight.

Bad: I haven't lost any weight--and they're building a Dunkin Donuts nearby.

Good: I have a great haircut.

Bad: My blow dyer died. Do you know how hard it is to get used to a new one? Or is it just me?

Good: I'm still not smoking.

Bad: My teeth are probably rotting from the Nicorette.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Surprise Package!

Someone sent me an ARC of THE SHATTERING by Karen Healy.


"Seventeen-year-old Keri likes to plan for every possibility. She knows what to do if you break an arm, or get caught in an earthquake or fire. But she wasn't prepared for her brother's suicide, and his death has left her shattered with grief. When her childhood friend Janna tells her it was murder, not suicide, Keri wants to believe her. After all, Janna's brother died under similar circumstances years ago, and Janna insists a visiting tourist, Sione, who also lost a brother to apparent suicide that year, has helped her find some answers.

As the three dig deeper, disturbing facts begin to pile up: one boy killed every year; all older brothers; all had spent New Year's Eve in the idyllic town of Summerton. But when their search for the serial killer takes an unexpected turn, suspicion is cast on those they trust the most.

As secrets shatter around them, can they save the next victim? Or will they become victims themselves?"

Who could have done such a nice thing for me?:)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I'm Ba-a-a-a-ack!

Hello, I am back. Things are finally shaping up around here. My house looks like hell after the flood, but it could have worse. I mean, it's not like I needed to be rescued from my roof top by guys in a canoe. But without a basement, my whole lower level got soaked (I even had mulch in my family) so that's three rooms of carpeting that had to be torn out (and no, I am not replacing it---I'll just have to look at the concrete slab till I can decide what to do). A ton of stuff had to be tossed, but I look on the bright side: if it takes a flood to get me to clean out my house, so be it.

Anyway, I am in a much better mood, and currently working on copy edits for The Unquiet (though I did have to ask for a week's extension, something I've never had to do before). Did you know "meat loaf" is two words? And there's no such thing as a mannikin (duh, Garsee--it's mannequin)...and people show others the sights, not the sites, and...well, you get it. :)

LMAO at myself.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

If There Was Ever Any Doubt That YA SAVES...


Sunday Morning Naval-Gazing

No luck looking at fridges yesterday, The ones I love are out of my price range...kind of like cars, houses, purses, etc. The ones I can afford, I just didn'

Casey Anthony closing arguments today--the highlight of my weekend, no doubt. As much as I feel for Cindy Anthony, for an educated woman she is dumber than dirt.

Dog puke. It's been a while. From the amount of it, he's making up for lost time.

I really need to write another book.

I know it's too late, but I planted seeds outside (poppies and daisies). It'll be interesting to see if they'll come up.

I am boring myself with this post.

I haven't changed my clothes in 2 days.

I dreamed I went to a doctor's office for a consult for a facelift. The doctor turned out to be the psychiatrist I work with.

I've managed to stay on a diet for a solid week. I'm even eating mulch-bread instead of yummy Italian and I'm somewhat addicted to Weight Watchers' Santa Fe Rice and Beans dinner.

I love this: "I don't mind going to work--it's that eight-hour wait to go home that I hate."

I'm looking forward to the fireworks tomorrow night. My sister Karen lives a block from the park. When the kids were little, we'd all walk down there and fight the crowd for a great spot. Now, years later, we just sit in chairs on her front lawn, drink beer, enjoy the show from a distance. I never dreamed I'd be this old. It's what my parents used to do.

Why the hell can we buy fireworks in Ohio when it's against the law to shoot them off?

Have a happy--and safe--Fourth of July!

Thursday, June 30, 2011


After spending an afternoon scrubbing grit and mildew out that whole freezer (so I'd have some place to stash my WW dinners), I plugged it in and discovered...

It's totally dead.

Three hours of my life I'll never get back.

My fridge is also on its very last leg. That, however, I'm almost happy about. It's a side-by-side and I've HATED it for the whole 22 years I've had it. Skinny little freezer, skinny little fridge, with neither side good for anything. DO NOT EVER, EVER BUY A STUPID SIDE-BY-SIDE! It's the dumbest thing I ever bought besides this basement-less house. Forget throwing a pizza box or a sheet cake inside. Forget having adequate space to even stash a significant amount of leftovers. Forget freezing a TURKEY.

Now that it's leaking from the bottom and freezing my lettuce, I guess it's time for a shopping trip. Lovely. Let me run out to my backyard and grab some bills off a branch. BRB.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

25 Pounds Come Hell or High Water

Last year hubby decided we don't stock enough food in the garage freezer to justify it use. So he turned it off. I agreed at the time.

Then this spring--as I try to avoid the garage at all costs, which is used for JUNK, not cars--I noticed the freezer door was standing open. The shelves are loaded with dirt.


Hubby: I didn't want it to get musty.

Me: ??? *%#* ??? *$%# ??? %$&*!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So my job today is to clean out that freezer so Beth and I can load it up with Weight Watchers dinners. Five of us at work, plus Beth, and another friend, plan to lose 25 pounds by Thanksgiving. That's 5 pounds a month. I've even started walking (around the hospital, through the ghetto on my break, which means it's a pretty fast walk, pepper spray in hand). Plus I'm sure the 17 bags of mulch I hauled across the yard yesterday afternoon must have knocked off a couple hundred calories.

I will call this challenge...BlubberMo! :) Anyone care to join in? :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Current Addictions

1. Nicorette gum

2. The Casey Anthony trial

3., plants

4. Multi-colored Twizzlers

5. The Casey Anthony trial. Oh wait.I already said that.

6. Arizona raspberry iced tea

7. Roseanne reruns

8. Buying new underwear

9. A certain message board that shall not be named

10. Casey Anthony...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday 5

1. Decided to trim my own hair. Decided, after the fact, that that was a very bad idea. Situation rectified thanks to a very resourceful hairdresser.

2. 5 of us at work made a pact to lose 25 pounds by Thanksgiving. Anyone wanna join in?

3. We're to the point now where if one of us just starts singing "Bennie and the Jets", Eli jumps right in and howls his head off. We don't even have to play the video for him.

4. Don't you love it when people try to make you change the way you've been doing something for years, and then you later find out you were doing it right all along and they don't know wtf they're talking about?

5. Are you happy tonight? I am. I am VERY HAPPY. It's been a happy, happy day.

Have a great weekend! xox

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Writers Write About Writing: Deal With It

I love Besty Lerner’s book on writing and publishing, The Forest Through the Trees. I like it so much, I recommend it to other writers every chance I get. It's brilliant, and gives us an editor's eye-view of the whole business of publishing (and writing).

As for her blog--The Forest Through the Trees (OK, we get it) I am not so sure because I’ve only just discovered it. On first inspection it looked funny and intriguing. Chances are I'll find it to be exactly that--after my rant.

THIS WAS THE FIRST post I read, which started out with: "Why do I get so grossed out when writers talk about their craft, their process, or worst of all: their art. In part, it sounds phoney to me, as if you could qualify, quantify, codify how you work. You’re a lucky bastard if you’re any good at all and that’s all you need to know.”

And I thought, well, okay, that last part is true. You ARE a lucky bastard if you’re any good at all. You’re even luckier if you suck, and, by some miracle, you hit the literary jackpot with your 700 pages of dreck and end up with a 10-book series published in 47 languages, plus a movie franchise and a talk-show tour.

In fact, you can consider yourself lucky if you manage to complete a single manuscript. You’re lucky if anyone ever sees it who isn’t related by blood or marriage, unless it’s someone out to scam you for every dime you’re worth. You’re lucky if get a request for a partial in 212 area code, never mind the full manuscript. Then you’re lucky as hell if anyone says yes.

“It’s not luck: it’s skill.” How many times have you heard this? Hello, if it’s strictly skill, then explain why someone who writes and sells a first novel maybe never get another “yes”? What, you write one well-crafted, commercially viable novel that sells, and then nothing else you produce even garners a nibble?

Or maybe you can’t even produce? Is that even possible? Of course it is. If that’s not a butt-load of bad luck, I don’t know you'd call it.

So that part I agree with 110%. I also agree with this, which kind of goes along with what I just said: “I also think that writing is completely mysterious; you never know when the hell you’re going to make a break-through or when the words will dry up and float away like new year’s paper.”

No argument from me there.

Now read the whole piece if you haven’t already. Maybe working on a psych floor has ignited a new-found sense of paranoia in me, but why do I detect a sense of ridicule for writers (like many of us here on LJ) who choose to discuss the craft? It may not be intentional; after all, Lerner’s a writer herself. But—and maybe it’s just me, and the fact that I ran out of Zoloft three days ago—to say a writer still has her “training wheels on” because she needs to produce multiple drafts of a project to get it right…well, I found that insulting and condescending, to say nothing of...well, stupid. How many of you write a perfect first or second draft? Hands up! Anyone?

Then, speaking of insults, I found this in her comment section: “The thing that irritates me most is that they think they actually have something interesting to say about writing when they have one YA novel under their belts.”

WHOA! Stop the train. Now someone really pissed on my Pop-Tart.

Because I’m not a full-time writer who’s really “in” the business, maybe I’m safely insulated in the sense that I’ve never experienced, firsthand, that kind of contempt toward YA authors. Though I’ve heard that it happens, I’ve never been asked, “When are you going to write a real book now?” And it’s a damn good thing because I’m not sure how I’d react. To have such contempt for authors who write anything but mainstream adult fiction…well, it’s mind-boggling to me. It would never occur to me to ask, say, a picture book writer, “Hey, when ya gonna break down and write something for grown-ups?” I tried writing a picture book once. Anyone who thinks that’s easy obviously hasn't a clue in the world.

I think most authors, with a few amazing exceptions (Jane Yolan, for example) find their own niche in writing and then stick to it for the life of their careers. You’re not “less” of a writer because you write for children, More importantly, writing for adults doesn’t make you this incredible entity worthy of any more respect. It certainly doesn’t give you the right to turn your nose up at rest of us. Anyone's mother would slap you upside the head for that.

So, yes, we writers write, and we enjoy discussing the craft. How is that different from any other profession? Nurses discuss nursing, often in hideous, gut-wrenching detail. Lawyers discuss cases, and, if they lost, they analyze what went wrong and how to prevent it in the future. Don’t doctors, artists, teachers, shopkeepers, dog walkers, hairdressers, peanut vendors—any profession you can think of—all sit around and yammer about their jobs? Of course they do. It’s a part of life.

We writers do precisely the same thing. The difference is, because we are writers, we also write these things down on our blogs. No, this isn’t the way to attract readers who’ll then want to rush out and buy our books. That's not why we do it. We write these things for ourselves, and we write them for other writers.

If you don't want to read it? Don’t click on our links.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday Teaser from THE UNQUIET

It's been a while. I may have posted this before, but I'm really grasping with this one-post-a-day-thing. :-)

~ ~ ~

If Annaliese were alive, she’d be Mom’s age now. Maybe she’d still be living here, sleeping in that canopy bed.

Maybe she and her grandmother would plant flowers together. Play checkers. Laugh at TV shows. Count fireflies on a summer night. All the things Nana and I used to do.

I hear them now: Annaliese, saying, “Grandma, I love you the best.”

Mrs. Gibbons: “No, you don’t. You love your mother the best.”

Annaliese: “If my mother loved me she wouldn’t have sent me away.”

Mrs. Gibbons: “She only wants to keep you safe.”

Annaliese: “I don’t care. I love you best, more than anyone else.”

Mrs. Gibbons: “I think she might be sad if she knew you felt that way.”

Annaliese, slyly: “Then we’d better not tell her, right?”

But maybe Annaliese’s love for her grandmother won’t be enough. She’ll come home one day, call for her grandmother, and no one will answer. She’ll wander from room to room, searching, confused. She’ll reach the attic stairs and walk up them, one by one, still calling for the person she loves more than her own mother—

—only to discover a tipped chair.

A discarded slipper.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I'm Feeling MUCH Better About My Weight Today...




The 5 Best Things I Inherited from My Dad:


1. My sense of humor

2. My eyes

3. Courage

4. Patriotism

5. A love for music

Happy Father's Day, Daddy. I hope you're watching.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Some "Freak" on WN called me a bigot yesterday. I had to chew my fingers down to the knuckles to refrain from a response much nastier than the one I posted. I'm not alone in believing this guy (or girl, or whatever) is a semi-literate nutcase who gets his jollies from instigating fights--in fact, I'd say it's pretty unanimous--but still.

I'd be pretty ticked off if it weren't so ludicrous. HAHAHAHA! Get off my planet.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Next Time I'll Just Park in Front

Warning: if you pull around to the very-remote-completely-deserted-middle-of-nowhere back of a garden center, and no one waiting there to load your mulch, or your top soil, or whatever you just blew a couple hundred bucks on ($211.80 to be precise) it's probably not a good idea to park your car behind the mile-high pile of 2.0 cubic feet bags and then start wandering around, looking for dusk.

I thought that first building back there might lead to the main store, so I wandered inside, noting with distaste the plant corpses strewn about. The building led into an adjoining building, kind of a half-greenhouse, half-barn, all musty and gross with more dead/dying plants, piles of junk everywhere--and NOBODY AROUND. Not a person, not a sound--

Till something CRASHED ten feet away from me, and a giant RAT (or more likely a possum) leaped into the air and then scrabbled out of sight, knocking stuff out its way. Not particularly bothered by massive rodents, I continued, less enthusiastically, into the next building, not much more than a large shed with empty shelves and the pervasive stench of rotting plants. Oh--and manure.

No main store in this direction, obviously. Well, hell. Where was I?

I heard a distant buzz. Possibly a...chainsaw?

Then it occurred to me that my car was parked waaay our of sight from the road, and that for all I know some homicidal lunatic could've followed me here, and who would hear my screams? No one but the possum and I doubt he'd been trained to run and bark for help. Now I pictured my face plastered all over Nancy Grace (yeah, middle-class, professional white woman--a shoo-in, right?) and my husband bleating miserably into the camera: "B-but she just drove off to pick up the rest of the mulch. She had to make two trips because she was too cheap--" (notice how he's already speaking of me in the past tense?) "--to pay the twenty-five bucks for delivery. I haven't seen her since!"

And Nancy's arch-browed smirk, which of course you know means: yeah, right, buddy! Tell it to the judge.

I whirled around and raced--well, stumbled; I was wearing flip-flops--back the way I came and made the five-minute trek all the way around to the road, to the main entrance of the garden center, and grabbed the nearest clerk who then tracked down the kid who was supposed to be waiting for me.

"Oh," he said blankly. "I didn't see you pull in."

I tipped him anyway.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Hubby read my books!

It only took him 4 years.


Love ya, babe. :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Nicotine DTs

1. Drive to Borders with lap top, excited that you finally have a chance to work on Current Project.

2. Grab a medium Mint Chocolate Javakula, make yourself comfortable, rev up your computer, and settle into place.

3. Try not to think about the fact that this is the first time you've attempted to write without taking a cigarette break every 30 15 minutes.

4. Open documents. Whoops! Where's the Current Project? It's true you haven't worked on it in, oh, three months or so. But it has to be there, right?

5. Wrong Current project is not there. You never downloaded it from your old computer. Well, at least it's on the flash drive...

6. Except you didn't bring your flash drive.

7. Don't you wish you had a cigarette right now?

8. Open another file, the Dreaded Synopsis which needs serious work. At least it's something.

9. Work, work, work....then it's time for a cigarette--WAIT! NO! You quit over a month ago.

10. Whiny voice: "But--but I don't know how to write without smoking. I do my very best work under the influence of nicotine, tar, and a variety of proven carcinogens."

11. Mean voice: "ARE YOU STOOOOPID? This is nothing but an excuse for you not to write."

12. "Yes, but--"

13. "No buts! You're no better than a junkie. Just WRITE, for God's sake,"

14. Okay. I do. Write, write, write, I just need a break.

15. Walk around store. Look at books. You were smoking those e-cigs up until yesterday. You chomped on a couple of "borrowed" pieces of nicorette gum. Methadone for smokers. It doesn't kick you out of the habit. It just keeps you from killing anyone.

16. Like now: yes, you really want to kill someone now. That twit yammering loudly on the cell phone at the next table. That screaming kid who wants the chocolate-covered espresso beans her mom won't buy for her. Look, lady--BUY HER THE DAMN BEANS AND GET HER THE HELL OUT OF HER BEFORE SOMEONE GETS HURT!

17. Pant, pant. You're okay. Really.

18. Write, write, write. Another break, and you play on Writers Net--such fun! Seriously. Your new best friends.

19. Write, write, write...

20. Write.....wriiite.........wriiiiiite... Oh, you seriously, desperately NEED THAT CIGARETTE. Your hands are shaking. Can't be the coffee you ordered as soon as you gulped down the Javakula, right?

21. Get up and walk. Pee. Circle the bookstore again. Sarah Dessen has an entire table devoted to her books. You have no such table. You probably never will. Does this piss you off? Not if you had a cigarette right now...

22. Back to table. Write, write, write. You are getting nowhere. Every word is stupid. You start to hallucinate, believing that pen in your purse is a stray, stale, long-forgotten cigarette. You refrain from lighting it up. You take deep breaths and count to 10. You visualize yourself as a tobacco-free person who will live to be a hundred, write ten bestsellers...ohmm...ohm, ohm, ohhhmmmmm....

23. Then you stare at your computer screen. You've done absolutely nothing of any significance.


25. Abandoning your stuff (not the lap top, of course) you race out to your car, gun the engine, zoom across the street to Big Bird, grab what you need, pay for it ($50), zoom back to Borders, and fall back down at your table.

26. You rip open the package and pop the gum into your mouth. Minty fresh. It tingles! You gradually relax. You actually smile. People wonder why that glassy-eyed woman in the corner is smiling around a mouthful of gum, gazing into space.

27: Mean Voice: "You just had to do it, didn't you? No self-control what-so-ever."

28. "Oh, just...bite me."

29. You spend the rest of the time in creative bliss, hammering away at the keys, lost in The Zone, not thinking about the ditz with the cell phone, or even Sarah Dessen, because you are now calm and self-confident and loaded with minty nicotine,

It turns out to be a pretty productive day after all.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Brother and Sisters Together Again

Yes, it was a wonderful (and overdue) family reunion at my brother Tommy's wedding last week, to the beautiful Erin Mahon.


This is my brother Milan, who, as I wrote in the acknowledgments of Before/After, was the first person in the world to hear my stories. :)



My brother Tommy, the groom, and sister Mary (whom many of you already know from here and from Facebook)


And my sister Karen, aka SISSY--my best friend in the world!

I love all you guys and I AM SO HAPPY we were together in one place!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Eli's (latest) Boo-Boo


It's blurry, but look at his right eyebrow. It's bald, right? Two days ago he came home from camp with a bump and what looked like an abrasion. He plays rough, and is somewhat clumsy, so it wouldn't surprise me to learn he'd bashed into something. Beth cleaned it with peroxide. Yesterday it looked better. Then, today, he woke up with his eye half-closed.

So back to the vet for the 330th time this year. A bee sting? A spider bite? The vet's not sure, but it's likely something chomped down on his eyebrow, and probably not another dog. The vet said he'll probably lose more hair, but it'll grow back.

Oh, and to apply warm compresses. Yeah, THAT was fun.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

MyTwo Cents

Posting a link a day without much (or any) commentary on my part probably shouldn't count for my "one-post-a-day-for-the-month-of-June" vow. But work's got me down and it's been difficult to muster up enough energy to be both witty and interesting, and consistent.

Anyway. I've been following this WSJ controversy fairly closely, and I'm having regrets that I'm not on Twitter to participate more fully. Do I think the Megan Cox Gurdon is totally off the wall? Well, I realize the point she was trying to make--that YA lit has gotten so dark and so gritty, parents may be concerned about the effect these books have on their children. Point taken, Megan, I'd be lying if I said I haven't read any recent YA books that I'd be very leery of handing over to, say, a 12-year-old.

That said, my own reading material, back in the sixties and seventies, was never monitored by my parents. Nor did I ever restrict my own children's reading material. Yes, I knew what they were reading, and, in most cases I was okay with it. If I wasn't (Stephen King comes to mind) we discussed it. But I never snatched a book our of their hands and screamed why are you reading this trash? I trusted my children to make the right decisions. They read what they were interested in. I was just thrilled they were reading..

One thing that annoyed me about the article was Gurdon's not-so-subtle book bashing, e.g. referring to Cheryl Rainfield's SCARS as "dreadfully clunky." Seriously, even if she'd found the novel flawlessly and exquisitely written, would she have admitted that in print? I doubt it. After all, I think she'd avoid saying anything positive about the book. What if a positive review tempted a child to read the book and then later decide to slice herself up? I highly doubt Gurdon would want that on her conscience.

What REALLY ticked me off was her baseless assumption that "it is also possible—indeed, likely—that books focusing on pathologies help normalize them and, in the case of self-harm, may even spread their plausibility and likelihood to young people who might otherwise never have imagined such extreme measures."

Okay, Meg--show me the scientific study that says that children who read books about "pathologies"--particularly kids who might otherwise never have imagined these things--decide to try these pathologies out.What? No study? No scientific evidence. You mean it's just your opinion? Perhaps you should say so.

FYI: Funny, I've been reading murder mysteries, thrillers, and true crime stories since the age of 12 and not once have I toyed with the idea of shooting, stabbing, or dismembering anyone. Neither have my children, who grew up with the dark YA novel denigrated in the article, not to mention reality TV and video games. Neither have the children of anyone I know. And, trust me, I know a heckuva lot of people.

I've heard many, many YA authors say, and I've said it myself, that we write the kind of stories we wish had been available to us as teens. We "older" authors understand that completely. Younger authors are fortunate to have been able to experience these new and challenging stories from the get-go. For the rest of us, there's still a passion for the newer, grittier, identifiable literature that stems from our being deprived it while growing up.

And by the way, you younger authors--how are you faring after being so inconsiderately exposed to all that "damage, brutality and losses of the most horrendous kinds"? From what I've seen, you seem to be doing just fine--and writing brilliantly. :)

As Laurie Halse Anderson reminds us: "YA literature saves lives. Every. Single. Day."

Never forget it.

ETA: I mistakenly named Lauren Myracle as the author of SCARS instead of Cheryl Rainfield, which amazes me after I made a point to read Rainfield's response to the WSJ article (and BLOGGED about her, no less). Thanks to those of you who pointed out the error.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


...isn't there a way to upload photos here without messing with Photobucket? Cuz I am waaay too tired to do this right now.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


What sucks is that I can't "lock" any posts here to sure that only certain people can read them. Therefore, my juiciest posts remain over at LJ. Sorry, folks.

Rinn Wordled

Wordle: Rinn

Monday, June 6, 2011

SCARS Author Speaks Out

Cheryl Rainfield's response to the WSJ article about "dark" YA which specifically mentioned her novel: "...SCARS, a dreadfully clunky 2010 exercise by Cheryl Rainfield that School Library Journal inexplicably called 'one heck of a good book,' ran into difficulties earlier this year at the Boone County Library in Kentucky, but not because of its contents. A patron complained that the book's depiction of cutting—the cover shows a horribly scarred forearm might trigger a sufferer's relapse..."

Though it was a patron who was concerned about the possibility relapse--and she may very well have simply been making conversation--the personal opinion of the article's author did not go unnoticed.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Dark Reality of YA Fiction

DARKNESS TOO VISIBLE (from the Wall Street Journal)

"How dark is contemporary fiction for teens? Darker than when you were a child, my dear: So dark that kidnapping and pederasty and incest and brutal beatings are now just part of the run of things in novels directed, broadly speaking, at children from the ages of 12 to 18.

"Pathologies that went undescribed in print 40 years ago, that were still only sparingly outlined a generation ago, are now spelled out in stomach-clenching detail. Profanity that would get a song or movie branded with a parental warning is, in young-adult novels, so commonplace that most reviewers do not even remark upon it..."

I was going to comment. But, frankly, I think I need time to absorb it.

Full article


Friday, June 3, 2011


1. I'm currently addicted to the Casey Anthony trial. Those who know me will not be shocked by this.

2. Eli will have his fence next month. I got several estimates from various companies, all the estimates were basically in the same range, so I picked the company who had the nicest salesman. :)

3. My younger brother Tommy and his fiancee Erin will be married tomorrow, so I have a wedding to go to! Now the trick is finding something to wear. Something that, er, fits, and doesn't look like it was designed by Omar the Tent Maker.

4. Also this weekend, I have a retirement party: Norm Solomon--who makes an appearance in The Unquiet--is retiring and moving to Israel. He will so be missed!

5. I haven't smoked in a month. Yeah, really. :D

Maybe Not?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Abducted by Facebook

Yes, it's true.

So my goal this month is to write something here every day.

This is my first post. Are you riveted with excitement?






Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Neurotic, much?

Off to my (not) favorite place today: the dentist. I have a terrible habit of grinding my teeth. Because I do it while I'm awake, a dental guard's pretty useless. I do it generally when I'm under stress, which is 90% of the time. A few months ago my dentist stuck these thingies on my teeth, hopefully to keep the grinding at bay.

It worked...till I ground down the thingies, that is.

Back for more.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Apocalypse NOT

Dear Lord,

As you well know, I have a book coming out next year. Therefore, I am not going anywhere. Nothing personal.



Thirty minutes left. Someone, quick--grab my ankles!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


A (paraphrased) question I see all the time on message boards, in chats and on blogs, and in personal conversations:

“I recently completed a—” (usually first, but not always) “–novel and I’ve been revising and/or editing it for—” (X number of days, weeks, or months) “—and I’m to the point right now where I can’t look at it anymore. I want to take a break and work on—” (usually a brand new work they’ve been thinking about for a while) “—something else. What do you think?”

I think you're nuts.

OK, back up. :)

I've noticed that the majority of the time, the writer in question receives the following advice from others: Sure! Take a break! You deserve it. Go work on your Something Else for a while.

The rest the time, he talks to someone like me. And the answer I give usually isn’t the one he wants.

My Answer:

First of all, it’s always okay to take a break. Some writers burn out more quickly than others. After spending weeks and months revising, rewording, slashing, adding, and agonizing whether you’re making your story better or worse, it might be a good idea to step away for a while. However, keep in mind that, if you do step away, that first step immediately lands you on a very slippery slope.

This is why. Ask yourself the following questions:

What are the chances you WILL go back to that manuscript? How many previously unfinished projects do you have under your belt? Not necessarily writing projects. What is your history of following up on things? Because it's hard to believe you've gotten that far in your manuscript, and now you’re willing to quit because you’re tired of the work.

How many people do you know who have two, three, ten, or twenty unfinished manuscripts stashed in a drawer? Do you know why they have all those unfinished manuscripts? Because they either got bored with them, or because they realized too late how much mental labor (and time) is involved in thoroughly and effectively transforming a first draft into a final draft that's ready to to be shared with an agent or editor.

Are you serious about being published? Remember, writing is a profession. Some people write full-time, some part-time, some every now and then. Regardless of how often they're published, those who are successful begin a project and follow it through to the end. They don’t stop and start. They don’t jump from one thing to another to another, leaving a trail of unfinished projects in their wake.

Writing is a business, and a highly competitive one at that. It’s hard to break into, but obviously not impossible. You have to stop thinking like an amateur and start thinking like a pro, whether or not you’ve sold anything before. Otherwise you might as well resign yourself to writing as a hobby—which is fine, of course, if that’s all you want, and all you expect of yourself.

So aside from a brief break to regroup your thoughts, maybe do some brainstorming, or veg out in front of the TV with bonbons for a few hours—please, stop whining and go finish your manuscript!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award!

Thank you, Susan Taylor Brown, for passing on the The Stylish Blog Award to me!

stylish book award

As Susan explained, along with this award comes a few responsibilities:

1. Thank and link to the person(s) who nominated you.
2. Share seven random facts about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to five blogging buddies.
4. Contact those buddies to congratulate them.

I am in turn passing this award along to:

PEOPLE WHO WON'T SHOW UP HERE BECAUSE THEY'RE ON LIVE JOURNAL: Holly Snapp, Tiffany Trent, Jo Knowles, Melodye Shore, and April Henry.

So now that you're waiting with bated breath, here are the SEVEN RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME.

1. I do not get sick. Well, occasionally (like this week) I might come down with something. But I’m fairly certain I could stroll through the typhoid and cholera wards of the world and never pick up a single bug. I’d survive a leper colony. I’ve had patients with active TB hocker right in my face and I still test negative. Co-workers may be be dropping like flies all around me, yet I remain unscathed. I don’t even catch colds. My resistance to germs is amazing, and it can't be because of the garlic cloves I carry around in my bra, because...

2. I rarely wear one. Yes, I realize I’m old. Yes, I realize this is no longer the 1960s. Yes, of course they’re no longer bright and perky and able to hold their own in an unexpected gale. But I. Do. Not. Like. Bras. In fact, I often wear layers to work to conceal the evidence. I mean, it'd not like I just let the old girls flop all over the place; I do have some sense of decorum, after all. And I do make exceptions. Regardless, Stacy and Clinton would never approve.

3. I do not carry grudges. Lucky for you, right? Because if you tick me off in April, chances are by June I won’t even remember the episode. The two exceptions to this are:

a. if you mess with my kids, or

b. if I desperately, desperately need a non-monetary favor from you, and it’s a favor I’ll gladly return a thousand-fold, and it doesn't occur to me that you’ll turn me down, and then your reason for blowing me off is, well, effen lame and SELFISH...then I might not feel too kindly toward you for a while. Years, even.

4. I don’t play games on the computer or on the TV because I know I'll become addicted. I don’t even test-drive them, so to speak. I had Tetris on an old WP once and that was all I did from dawn to dusk for, like, one year. It’s hard enough for me to stay away from message boards when I’m supposed to be writing.

5. I haven’t had a cigarette since Mother’s Day.

6. I
don’t understand the rules of the English language
. Seriously--I am such a poseur!!! I write, right? And I do it fairly well. I can string together a sentence that’s both grammatically and stylistically correct—but I can’t tell you why it’s correct. I can’t recite the rules. I can't even recite the list of prepositions I had to memorize in third grade. I couldn’t diagram a single sentence of this post if you bribed me with a crate of White Chocolate Lindor Truffles. It’s like, I can’t say for sure what’s wrong with that dress, because it not the hem length, or the cut, or the color, or the style; it's not even your figure. All I know is, that dress SUCKS on you. That’s how I tell if a sentence is wrong: it just doesn't work. You'll have to trust me that it sucks.

7. I am old enough now to sense my own mortality. I can't decide if that’s disturbing or liberating.