Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mother Goose



I wish I'd gotten a close-up of her face. She positively snarled at me!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happy Birthday, Grandma!

Grandma's birthday

Yes, she just turned 87 and is still kicking butt at the nursing home. The whole family stopped by to see her:

Grandma's birthday

Beth and Chuck (who has since lost the Grizzly Adams look after months of nagging)

Grandma's birthday

Miss Ruth, Grandma's roommate (love her, love her, love her! --I swear it's like being in a college dorm) and Nate

Grandma's birthday

And even Eli, who has his very own Special Visitor's Card!


Of course, all those wags and kisses wore him right out. :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pictures from Easter Sunday

Lydia serves up the paska--

Easter 2011

--and the stuffed grape leaves (which she rolled herself!)

Easter 2011

Beth and Leah hang out:

Easter 2011

Genevieve kicks back:

Easter 2011

Ruthy's all smiles, as usual. :)

Easter 2011

Sissy shows off her $85 lamb (Nate: "I'll have ten dollars worth, please.")

Easter 2011

The poison eggs:

Easter 2011

My husband's pic disappeared, Nate hid, and I'm the one behind the camera.

Confessions of a Semi-Hoarder, or Mommy Dearest is a SLOB!

You know those huge Dumpsters they haul up to clean out those houses on "Hoarding: Buried Alive"?

There is one in my driveway.

I've always been of the mind that if you haven't looked at something in ten years, it's time to throw it out. You cannot hang on to every single thing, regardless of the sentimental value. Because everything has sentimental value. Well, maybe not that rusted tire iron. Or the leftover paneling we dragged from our old house (not MY idea) 23 years ago. But I did find a copy of PEOPLE magazine published the week Bette Davis died, with Bette on the cover. And about 2,000 photographs that never managed to find their way into an album (and probably never will).

I also seemed to have hung on to Every Single Bit of Artwork--And Schoolwork--My Children Ever Completed. I especially love the drawing of my husband, with the caption underneath: MY DAD IS HANDSOM. HE TAKES ME TO BUY LOTTERY TICKETS.

But so far, my favorite has been this...which, I'm terrified, may very well reveal my unintentional Mommy Dearest personality.

The paper, written by Beth in elementary school:


On Monday my Mom told me to clean up my room. I forgot and got messyer! I still forgot to clean my room!

After dinner...I had to clean my room! It was so messy! I ran upstairs to clean. I looked at the big, big mess. Theair was so much stuff on the flor!

First I... put my close away and started on my poasters.

Next I...put my toys away and mad my bed, threw junk away.

Last I...picked up papers and threw them away to, Then it was clean!

Then Mom came and need to pick up the play room because it was even messyer than your room!

Did I REALLY say that? Beth doesn't remember writing the paper--"I just did the papers and then tried to forget them as soon as possible!"--so there's no way to know if whether or not she made the whole thing up. But I suspect every word there is true.

Now a Nice Mommy would've said something like "Good job!
I'm proud of you!" But noooo, Mean Mommy tells her to go clean another room after she busted her 7- or 8-year-old butt getting the first room cleaned.

Yet I'm the one with a garage crammed to hilt with shit, paying $266 for a five-day Dumpster rental because I'm sick of scraping ice and snow off my car every winter, and it'd also be nice to get to the fuse box or the freezer once in a blue moon.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Easter 2011

...what would happen if I licked this?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Nothing Like a New Handbag!

Looks like Rowan takes after her Tante!



I was discussing rejections the other day, and kind of chuckling over one rejection (for SAY THE WORD) that stated they "loved the story except for the plot and the characters.” No kidding—that’s practically verbatim. The conversation turned to reviews, and I was asked, “Does it bother you when you get bad reviews?”

Hmm. I guess it does, though it doesn’t keep me awake at night. I mean, we all work very, very hard on our novels. Naturally we want readers to like our stories. Though we expect our books to be reviewed in a professional way, we have to take into account who is doing the review. Though editorial reviews, in a professional sense, are probably the most important, there are also a lot of blogger reviewers I respect; a lousy review from one of them wouldn’t exactly make me jump for joy.

Recently I discovered three reviews of STW on a very prominent YA review site. All three were dismal, written (I'm fairly certain) by teens, and it would’ve been nice to see one positive review on that (highly active) site. Also, not being a Google-Alert addict, I’m sure there are more out there I don’t even know about. I hope the many excellent reviews STW has received far outweigh the crummy ones—but why expend valuable energy worrying about it?

Anyway, this led me to Goodreads to check out other reviews—in a curious-but-unmasochistic-way—where I discovered several amusing tidbits.

“I didn’t like the main character Shawna and her multiple personalities – I’m pretty sure that she was schizophrenic.”

Well, I’m pretty sure a psychologist didn’t write this; she would know A. that Shawna did not have a mental illness, and B. schizophrenia has nothing to do with multiple personalities.

“The heroine is still using some sort of email system that would leave messages on her hard drive where her father can find them. Why would she not have Yahoo or Gmail like everyone else? Why isn't she using social networking sites? And why oh why can't she just empty her computer's Recycle Bin?”

Because, as anyone who watches Law and Order, Forensic Files, etc., knows, nothing is ever erased from your hard drive unless someone goes in and erases it—something a typical 17-year-old girl isn’t about to do.* It’s also something her father probably wouldn’t do either, but considering that he opens her mail and God knows what else, it makes sense that she’d be suspicious. Would Shawna really trust Gmail to “delete forever” every single one of her e-mails? I doubt it. I also addressed the reason Shawna didn’t belong to a social network, but apparently this reviewer skimmed right past that.

* If I'm wrong about that hard drive thing, please let me know and I'll be happy to concede.

“People that would hate this book would be people who are not so interested in lives of other people.”

I can’t even remember if this was good review or a bad review. Guess I should’ve checked out the number of stars.

And I posted this one on FB a couple weeks ago. It’s currently my favorite, mostly because--again--I can’t tell if it’s positive or negative: "There is nothing in this book that I disliked, other than most of the characters.”

It’s true: I can find humor in anything. And, because these are reader-reviewers, I do want to say, whether you liked it or not: Thank you for reading my book. <3 I sincerely mean that.

OK. What I really object to is when a reviewer inserts his or her own beliefs/prejudices/whatever into the review. For instance, when a reviewer says they wouldn’t have done such-and-such. Well, no, you wouldn’t---but this particular character did, and if it wasn’t out of character, why lower your overall rating of the book? Hello, am I writing about you?

Another reviewer disliked the whole gay/lesbian theme, which doomed the review from the get-go. But didn’t they know what it was about before they decided to review it? Um, flap copy, folks. Oughta check it out sometime.

Then there was the reviewer who lambasted STW because of a scene where Shawna drinks while driving a car. She was Utterly Appalled that Shawna suffered no consequences for this, i.e. I didn't make her plow her car into a tree or run through a crosswalk of kindergartners. I do not, by any means, advocate drinking and driving—but the fact is, people do make bad choices all the time, and no, they dont always suffer any consequences. If I made my characters suffer each time they made a bad decision or did something wrong…well, they’d all be dead and buried before the end of the first draft. And there would be no book.


We are most amused. :)



Monday, April 18, 2011

Friday, April 15, 2011

The COOLEST Fan Letter!

This so made my day:

hi! my name is (redacted) i go to (redacted) I just finished your book "Before, after, and Somebody in Between."
it was such an amazing story. i read it in 5 days. i could not put the book down, not kidding! i stayed up until around 2 a.m. one night reading it. (:
i am in the middle of doing a project on the book as i am typing this wonderful message(:
i just wanted to tell you that you are an amazing author, and i was sad when i finished the book cause i couldnt read it anymore!!! (:
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEAAASE keep writing more amazing stories <3

Thanks, sweetie!

Friday 5

1. OK, so I've decided to start cross-posting between Livejournal and Blogger again. I have no idea why because no one reads me at Blogger--besides, which, I've gone through TWO GRAPEMOS since the last time I posted there. Today I transferred a few recent posts, then lost interest. I will try harder now. Maybe I'll make some new friends?

2. I rented a Dumpster. Seriously. They're delivering it next Friday so I can spend Easter weekend throwing crap out. What's it like to be able to park your car in a garage? I don't remember. And how long has Grandma been in that nursing home? Going on 4 years. Her whole apartment is still packed into my house. This is not an exaggeration.

3. Read two wonderful books sent to me by Tina-- 100 CANDLES:


and FLIP:



4. I am thoroughly enjoying my second day off in a row (and trying not think of dragging myself back in there at 7 a.m. tomorrow)

5. I can believe Eli slept here beside me the whole time I've been playing around online and didn't bug me one single time. :)

6. I need something to write. WAIT! I snuck a sixth one in. Does it count?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Music Therapy for a Very Crabby Person

Ahhh, music.

Some days just start out stressed,

1. Can't find my hairbrush for second day in a row: stress. I have nothing to brush out my hair with. It has to be This Particular Kind of Brush, not just any old one lying around house. My mom hammered it into my brain for years that you never, ever use anyone else's brush. Of course at the time she was thinking: lice. No, no one in my house has lice. But I can't use their brushes. Mine is special.

2. Out of coffee: stress. All we had left was flavored. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

3. Overstuffed garbage pail left over from last night: stress. Seriously!!! Can you NOT see the trash falling out of the can? Are you going for some kind of world record to see How Much Trash Can You Shove Into A Single Can?

4. Grocery store: stress. Stupid*** self-serve registers are only a step above the stupid*** full-serve. Hmm, lets see how many times we can set off the flashing HELP light, Why will the register accept two coupons but then reject the third--which, as summoned cashier admitted, is actually the NORM? How about the cheap bags that break as you're schlepping your groceries to the car? (when I use the full serve registers I insist on bagging my own--double bagging, that is--thus subjecting myself to the stinkeye from the highly affronted cashier).

5. Work: stress. Yes, just thinking about how I am Not Off Till Thursday already had me in a tizzy on the way home from the store. I hadn't washed my hair yet (because I had no hairbrush, duh) and wasn't sure if I had any clean scrubs, and what I really wanted to do was to go back to bed.

And then, while punching radio buttons, I stumbled upon the overture from The King and I.


Suddenly, everything's fine again. :)

I am happy. I have music. I'll be humming the soundtrack all day.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Friday 5


2. April is movie month for me. JANE EYRE is next. Last week it was INSIDIOUS.


Best scene in that? Claws sharpening on a spinning grindstone...clomping cloven hoofs...and "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" playing on a gramophone. The adrenaline kicks in just thinking about it. I'm also considering the remake of ARTHUR but, hmm, I dunno. I still have such a soft spot for the Dudley Moore version.

3. I still haven't received my invitation to The Royal Wedding so I guess I'll have to watch it on TV with all the other peasants. I doubt my manager would've given me enough time off anyway. Who's with me? Shall we make a party of it?

4. I spent 4 hours yesterday revising an older project and 15 minutes deleting 50% of my revisions.

5. Anticipating a rollicking night at work tonight. I may very well be the only one on the schedule. For some reason 95% of the staff gets Friday nights off. Go figure.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I won a signed book mark for JULIA KARR'S XVI by posting an April Fool's prank in her comment section. Yay! Because I almost never win anything (though I did get lucky with a lottery ticket recently).


Thank you, Julia!

Friday, April 1, 2011