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.

An Interesting Take on HARPER LEE

HARPER LEE: Silent All These Years


Sunday, May 8, 2011


I'm so burned out on American Idol, I'm not even watching it this year. Until they limit the votes to a certain number per phone and eliminate any kind of computer dialing, there's no way the voting can be fair. How many of us have grown weary of seeing truly talented artists voted off in favor of the laughably inept? I have.

So, instead, I began watching THE VOICE: "...a vocal competition series modeled after Holland's top-rated vocal talent discovery show, The Voice of Holland. Hosted by Carson Daly, the show features four musician coaches: Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, who will coach only the most talented vocalists.

"The show's innovative format features three stages of competition: the first begins with the blind audition, then the competition enters into a battle phase, and finally, the live performance. The show's casting team is working with the music industry and searching the country for the best singers to bring to the blind audition process.* During the blind auditions, the decisions from the coaches are based solely on voice and not on looks.**"

*I don't know why I assumed these singers would be non-professionals. I guess if the "music industry" is involved, it stands to reason they aren't out there yanking folks off the street. They have Connections.

**Great premise, and what drew me to the show in the first place (thinking of the amazing Susan Boyle).

The show's contestants included a very talented young girl named Dia Framptom who told the host that she writes children's novels "on the side." Intrigued, I checked out her page on The Voice's website: "This 23-year-old singer-songwriter from St. George, Utah is half Korean and half Dutch. Her career aspiration has been to be a voice-over actress, but her considerable singing talents may just steer her elsewhere. A life-long bookworm, Dia also writes novels and children's books."

Further intrigued, I Googled her some more and couldn't find a single thing she'd written. However, I did find on her Wiki page that she is the lead singer in a band that includes her sister Meg, and others, and that they've recorded several albums, including one for Warner Bros. So this is how I really figured out why The Voice doesn't subject us to weeks of excruciating auditions, not to mention the profane, delusional ramblings of those who get kicked out. The Voice's singers are not newbies to the business. While I have no problem with that, I think the commercials for the show intentionally mislead viewers to believe that the contestants are not professional singers.

Well, that's fine. I still enjoyed the show. However, I wonder why contestant Dia didn't mention that she'd had previously record deals and some moderate success on the indie circuit?

Photobucket She did, however, mention to the host that she wrote children's novels "on the side." The way she said it, it sounded as if she, yanno, really wrote books--as in having published books. I mean, I Googled her instantly because I admired her audition, and wondered what she'd written, if she had a website, a blog, etc.--and found squat about her writing, but plenty about her recording.

I wonder why, if writing is simply a hobby of Dia's--and what an awesome hobby, right?-- why not mention it as such? Then again, she never mentioned her record deals. What does this mean? That she is a professional singer posing as an amateur singer? A hobby writer posing as a professional writer? She doesn't mention a freaking album she recorded for Warner Bros....but she pretends to be in the publishing business?

Anyone else confused?

Who cares, right? :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Doggie Donut

For those of you who aren't following me on Facebook, I noticed a sore on Eli's paw a week ago. Not right on his paw, but a little above, not on an area that he steps on. Nobody is sure if he caught it on something, if it's an insect bite, or what. We took him to the vet on Saturday, he was put on antibiotics, the wound was cleaned any dressed...

And he is not allowed to go for walks or to go to camp.

This is a Very. Big. Deal. The mutt is going NUTS, and driving the rest of us nuts, too. He chews the bandage no matter how many times I rewrap it, and eats the tape. He gets into everything, and becomes very snarky if we try to take something out of his mouth. He's also gained pound from lack of exercise. We have to wrap his leg in plastic whenever we take him outside, and this whole ordeal has become one royal PIA.

So today we take him back for his follow-up appointment. Of course Beth and I are both hoping the dressing can come off since we're tired of tackling him every three minutes. Plus, we've been lucky: one of us has been home in the afternoon to keep an eye on him. Left to his own devices, I'm sure he'd tear the whole thing off in five minutes flat.

I hauled out the old donut this morning because Beth and I both have to work today (and my lips still taste like rubber from blowing it up). But the donut is pretty useless--Eli can still reach the dressing--though he's surprisingly good-natured about wearing it. Bitter Apple, unfortunately, doesn't slow him down one bit. He actually likes the taste.


Luckily I did manage to wrangle the day off (the units are combined again--oh, what fun!). I'm doubly happy because I have line edits to do which I need to get back to my editor by the end of the week. With any luck I can zip through them tonight.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It Just Goes To Show You:

Wealth, title, and upbringing have nothing to do with a sense of fashion.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Petition and Contest ala Sara Darer Littman

Please check out Sara's post: "Help us stop dangerous practice of weight grades and enter to win a copy of PURGE"

As someone who has also struggled with weight issues and a distorted body image, I'm horrified that children would be subjected to this. Thank you!


So long, Osama. My fervent hope is that you saw the bullet coming.


God bless America!


I always enjoy author Melodye Shore's In The Author's Tent--and just found out I WON a copy of HUMMINGBIRDS: Facts and Folklore from the Americas by the very talented Adrienne Yorinks and Jeanette Larson:


From Amazon: "Hummingbirds are fascinating little creatures that have captured the imagination of people for thousands of years. Since they are only found in the Americas, the myths and legends about this tiny bird originated from the peoples of North and South America. These native cultures wrote stories to offer explanations for the behavior and physical characteristics of this graceful species: Why does the hummingbird drink nectar? What accounts for its amazing flying abilities? Why is the hummingbird attracted to the color red?

"Jeannette Larson and Adrienne Yorinks have compiled facts and folklore about these intriguing fliers that will answer these questions and many more. Readers will also get a glimpse into the different cultures that have been transfixed for centuries by this bird, as well as learn many interesting scientific facts discovered by modern-day ornithologists. Adrienne’s bold and unique mixed-media quilts illustrate the hummingbird in nature and the mystery of these birds in ancient folklore."

Thank you, Melodye, Adrienne, and Jeanette!

Photo source