Monday, November 30, 2009

Merry Christmas, You Communist Nazis!

A few years ago I was shopping for generic Christmas cards at my local generic LargeMart. Out of several boxes and varieties, I was stunned that I couldn't find any cards bearing the words, "Merry Christmas." I found "Happy Holidays", "Season's Greetings", and even a "Wonderful Winter". But no Christmas tidings.

Has political correctness gone too far when the term "Merry Christmas" can be found offensive? Are people going to start having to ask for their coffee without sugar and cream instead of black? Instead of a "live" TV broadcast will we have to call it a temporarily metabolically abled transmission? We certainly couldn't use the word 'broad'cast because that would be offensive to women.

Heaven forbid... Oh, pardon me. I mean, expanse of sky surrounding the earth forbid we offend.

So, to all of you out there, may I bestow the fondest wishes for an environmentally friendly, economically sound, gender unspecific, sexual orientation free, secular or religious persuasion winter celebration of your choice.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Blech Friday

As is our tradition, my husband and I ventured out for Black Friday shopping yesterday. This year however, we did not rise early enough to be there when the stores opened at 5 AM because we did not want to tote baby around at that hour and, frankly there wasn't anything advertised that we felt was worthy of that effort.

So, we made it to Walmart around 9:30 AM and found most things very picked over (surprise, surprise). We bought a couple things there and headed to Target, where they were doing a 2-day sale instead of a limited Friday morning period.

It wasn't very crowded at either store, no elbowing, running and diving, or sliding necessary, which was nice and disappointing at the same time. Somehow the purchase is more thrilling when you know you beat someone else to it. Is that wrong?

I did have one moment of thrill when, after being disappointed to find The Office, season 4 no longer on the shelves, my husband found it in a discard basket.

The funny thing is, even though we're being quite frugal this year, we ended up with several things not on our list because they were so cheap. Now we have to try to match these things up to someone on our list. I'm not sure my Mom really wants to own a DVD of The Dark Knight.

This is why every year after Black Friday I always feel a little dirty, like the stores know my weaknesses and take advantage of me, luring me in with their promises of great deals on things I don't really need.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Old Lady Peabody's Soup: A Publishing Analogy

So many of you may have heard about how Harlequin Publishing has opened up a self-publishing imprint (italic used here to convey the sense of "what in the name of all that is holy and good in this world were they thinking!?"). A lot of ideas have been thrown around about it on the blogosphere, and I'm not going to repeat them here.

But I am going to add an analogy to the mix. (I like analogies; they're fun to create, and they make my wife laugh a lot, even if she's just humoring me 30% of the time.)

Harlequin's creation of a self-publishing imprint is like if Campbell's Soup decided they would let the old lady down the street from their factory, who is half-blind and who owns bottled and canned food that predates the Cold War, bring a big pot of soup that she had fixed up that afternoon with who-knows-what cooked into it down to their factory to start putting in Campbell's Soup brand cans. She would then pay Campbell's a few thousand dollars to thank them for the privilege of having her soup canned in their cans and put on the shelf with their label. The FDA wouldn't know the diff. The customer wouldn't know the diff. And. AND. Old Lady Peabody could go around town saying that her recipe of soup is used by Campbell's, so everyone should buy some of her soup. Weeks later, when a number of househoulds are hospitalized for food poisoning, having ended up with what they thought was the Campbell's Soup brand, they're not going to sue Old Lady Peabody. They're going to sue Harleq . . . er . . . Campbell's.

So, is it ever, ever worth coming out with a self-publishing imprint if you are a well-respected publisher? No. Never, ever, in a million years, quadruple infinity, no reversals. The end.

DISCLAIMER: Campbell's Soup is the best soup in the whole wide world and would never, ever let Old Lady Peabody and her cat-hair-riddled soup into their factories. This was merely a satirical analogy meant to show that a soup company with as highly respected a reputation as Campbell's would be a good analogical focus in comparison to Harlequin. (although they don't put naughty ladies on their soup cans as does Harlequin . . . so it's not the perfect analogy, right? But you do what you can.)


(I wrote this just before we hit the road so here is to being optimistic.)

If all goes well, I'm in Reno with Arlene and she is cooking up a storm. This new tradition, started last year, is one of my favorites of the holidays. I mean really, who do you know that would take into their home you, your spouse, three rambunctious kids, and a 75 pound dog for nearly a week, and not only be happy that you are all there, including the dog, but then cook for three days straight the most amazing food ever? I know right? She is amazing. I miss my family every holiday because they live 3000 miles away, but Thanksgiving in Reno makes for a wonderful holiday and then some. Happy happy, girl here.

Hope you are all having a fantastic Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Kids Can Be Amazing

I volunteer with kids a lot. During the week I'm at the school 3 out
of 5 days. Then comes the weekend and I am at church serving with the

I do the singing time at church. Every Sunday we sing Happy Birthday
to the kids with birthdays in the upcoming week. There was this one
kid who every Sunday said "Today is my Birthday!". The first time, I
felt bad that we had forgotten his birthday and then I felt foolish
for falling for his prank.

Every week after that he would shout out that it was again his
birthday. The other kids starting following suit and Birthday time
became annoying. I decided to ignore it and just move along. As time
passed his joke, that never became old to him, made me smile. For a
year and a half we had this joke told every Sunday.

A few weeks ago, it was my birthday. I was in the chapel at church
and here comes the little trouble maker with a dozen pink roses and
says, "Today is your birthday". I was blown away. I embarrassed him
by hugging him tight!!

So, in our handling with kids, we can get angry or we can smile with
them and move on. I am not very good at smiling and moving on, but I
have been impressed by others' abilities to happily deal with wise
cracks. It is my goal to smile and move on . . . and remember the
wisecracks for my writing :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I know I am not usually one to wax poetic, but with Thanksgiving practically upon us, my mind has pondered the many things I am thankful for. Please endure with me as I take a moment to be serious...but not too serious.

Above all else, I am thankful for my family. My awesome husband and children are the best, don't try to convince me that you have the best husband, or wife, and kids, because it isn't possible. I already know I do. My husband is, quite simply, the greatest man I know, my best friend, and the love of my life.

I am thankful for great friends. Friends that "get" me. That understand I don't like to cry, that know sarcasm is just a way of life, and that are willing to laugh at my bad jokes. I couldn't pay for better friends. I know, I've looked.

My writers group is fabulous. I can't believe how I lucked out with such a fantastic group of people. Everyone has something to contribute, everyone is serious about writing, and everyone understands that there is a place called "imagination land" that you can get caught in while reality fades away. You all ROCK!

I am also thankful for indoor plumbing, air conditioning in the summer, heat in the winter, chocolate chip cookies, and fabric softener.

That's my definitely not complete list, but it's a start. What are you thankful for?

Monday, November 23, 2009


No really, I'm writing...and baking pies.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Stephenie & Oprah

A post on Facebook informed me that Stephenie Meyer would be on Oprah this week in her "only interview about the New Moon movie". Although not a regular Oprah watcher, I have tuned in when enticed by one of her big, super-exclusive, extra-special episodes, so I set the DVR.

Here are some things I found interesting from the interview, which some of you more rabid Twilight fans probably already know:
  • Ms. Meyer did not plan to write a book, but the concept for Twilight came to her in a dream, and she started writing in notebooks any spare moment she had to continue the story. The dream was the basis for chapter 13 of Twilight and she wrote to the end of the story before going back to do the beginning.
  • At the time of said dream she had three kids under the age of five.
  • After finishing the story, she still did not consider trying to get published, but was encouraged by her sister to do so.
  • She received eight rejections from agents before getting an agent. It took her two years and a few months from the time she started writing it to having it on bookshelves.
  • For New Moon, she didn't originally include the section at the end with the Volturi. She had planned to introduce them later in the series, but her Mom said she needed more action at the end.

I will leave it to individual judgement as to how you will interpret these tidbits, but it has proven to me again that there is no formula for becoming a phenomenon or making a gazillion dollars as an author.

Also, since I hadn't seen Oprah in a long time, it reminded me that the sketch about her "favorite things" shows on Saturday Night Live is really not much of an exaggeration (women's heads exploding, peeing their pants, etc. with excitement over Oprah's revelations). You should have seen the audience when she told them they were all getting the Twilight box set.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games is one of those books that I was very reluctant to read because it seemed so trendy. Everyone I knew, practically, was reading it, which left me feeling resistant to go with the flow. I felt the same way about the Harry Potter novels, the Percy Jackson books, and the Terry Brooks Shannara series (about a decade after they first started coming out). Also, I'd heard it ended on a cliffhanger, which made me hesitate to read it until I could see a sequel in print. Well, the sequel, Catching Fire, is out. And more good reviews from friends and acquaintances pour in.

Hunger Games is a straight dystopia with a very slight hint of post-apocalyptia (the dystopia is a result of the catastrophic civil war). Katniss Everdeen is sixteen years old and yet is the breadwinner for her struggling family: her widowed mother and younger sister, Prim. They live in the poorest district (twelve) in an empire ruled by the Capitol. In their district, people struggle to have enough food and shelter to live to see another day. Their main industry is mining, and so the coal miners and their families have very low quality of life. The Capitol government, after a rebellion from the districts more than seventy years ago, started an annual event to remind the districts of their subjugation: the Hunger Games. A boy and girl "tribute" are chosen by lottery from each district to represent their district in an arena fight to the death. The tribute drawing in District Twelve will change Katniss's life forever.

This novel is thoroughly enjoyable and is accessible to a wide audience, from middle-grade readers to adults. There are some darker themes and imagery that merit parent-children discussion for any youth reading it, but overall it crosses many audience borders.

The writing is very minimalist, clipping along at a good pace without overkill on character, scenery, or other narrative description. This is part of Suzanne Collins's talent: pacing her story to keep the reader constantly engaged and interested. She knows when to throw the next foil or twist in the plot, keeping the characters continually engaged in struggles that define them (thus describing them by their actions more than their words, thoughts, or narrator thoughts). Collins writes in first-person present, which is a risky POV. She pulls it off splendidly, and only occasionally is it a little jarring.

Thematically, Collins portrays the despotic government as a Roman Empire castoff, using such names as Cinna, Portia, and other imperial-themed monikers. This, I expect, she does to further immerse in the sense of a Roman arena fight and all the decadence and fall of morality associated with the corruption of the Roman Empire and its leaders. She marries these motifs very successfully (and believably) with the traces of the former U.S. government (as we know it). Just walking through Washington DC can quickly convey how much we are a New World Rome, and Collins gets that across--very subtly, to be sure.

The Hunger Games is an exceptional story, and I'd recommend it to just about everyone. It's a fast read, and, as mentioned earlier, has impeccable pacing that dismisses any pause or boredom.

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. 2008. Scholastic. 374 pp. $11.69 (HC).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Good Cookie. Bad Cookie.

I love fortune cookies, especially the ones that say things like, "Your dreams will come true within the year" and "Your natural talent will shine forth."

Then there are also the bad cookies. "Don't go on a trip next week." "An unexpected surprise in on its way to you." What are you a stalker? Depending on the day that last one can be good or bad in my mind, but most often an unexpected surprise comes in the form of flat tires and overdue bills.

Sometimes fortune smiles on us and sometimes it is someone else's turn.
Here's how I see it: Life isn't fair because if we all got what we deserved all the time the fabric of the universe would crumble under the pressure to stay perfectly even. AND we would never learn from our mistakes or triumph unexpectedly while others struggle on. Just imagine what would happen in the love department if life were fair. Sheesh, don't get me started on that menacing spiral.
For one thing, there would be no fairy tales at all because Beauty would have turned the Beast over to the police and Cinderella would still be sleeping by the fire.

I'm glad that life isn't fair. I'm just wishing it was a good cookie day more often.
Anyone else have a good cookie story?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Wheels On the Bus

A few days ago I boarded a bus with about 56 fifth grade girls, 8 other moms, loads of gear, and one cool bus driver. We were headed to an overnight field trip near the little mountain town of Scofield.

The girls, as soon as we were moving, shouted (that is the primary way of communication for 10-year-old girls) to the bus driver to play the Mile Cyrus song, Party In The USA. The super-cool bus driver obliged them and cranked up the song. Here is the surprising part: I was sitting next to my daughter (that part is NOT surprising, she still likes me--I know, my days are numbered). When the chorus came on, ALL the girls on the bus sang and danced along. By the time we returned to school the next day we had heard the song a total of 7 times. I had never heard this song before, I didn't know my daughter knew it either. I looked at her dancing and singing along and smiled.

My daughter, who is in a special advanced class, knew the songs, knew the bands, and knew what all the fifth grade girls knew--even though she is surrounded by braniacs. It was a great moment!

Part of the fun was that all the girls had fun. There weren't many pouters. There weren't many mean girls. These girls still had self-confidence--they hadn't been shot down by the trauma of middle school. It was just pure fun. And I got to be there and have fun with my daughter. It was a once-in-a-lifetime shot to be with her.

Sadly, the wheels of time will roll for these girls. They will grow up, they will suffer through adolescence, they will make decisions that will make us cry. I wish I could instill in every girl a knowledge that they are amazing, that they will survive if they will just persevere. I wish someone could tell my girls that they are special (they won't believe me, they know I am too biased).

Maybe we should take some time to tell these girls that they are special. Each one of them is amazing and bursting with potential. Maybe we can be the difference in a girls life because we took the time . . .

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Holiday Season is Almost Upon Us! Hooray!

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I find my thoughts wandering more to the arena of food rather than the arena of writing...slightly. My husband helped me make out the holiday menu yesterday by being my scribe while I made dinner. He's very helpful that way. :) Anyway, back to the point which is: We have a tradition in my house that everyone gets to pick their favorite pie for Thanksgiving and I make it. I don't care if only one slice gets eaten, as long as everyone gets the kind that they want. It might seem wasteful except that the other half of that tradition is that the next morning everyone gets to have pie for breakfast. It's quite possibly one of my favorite traditions of all time. So I ask you: What's your favorite holiday tradition and why?

Did I mention my 'why'? I thought it was obvious, but just in case...because I get to eat pie for breakfast. Duh! :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Divine Bree Despain

Last Wednesday our writers group had dinner with the ultra fabulous Bree Despain. She told us about her journey into authorship (which really could be a book in itself), and gave us some fabulous advice. I like Bree. A lot. She is down to earth, easy to talk to, and cute as a button. Because of this, I will admit, I was a little nervous to read an ARC of her book, The Dark Divine (available December 22). What if I didn't like it? What if it was poorly written? Could I still respect her in the morning?

Well, I had NOTHING to worry about. Her book is amazing.

The story revolves around Grace Divine, a girl torn between loyalty to her brother Jude, and love for Daniel, the guy he hates. There is a dark history and secrets aplenty, plus an interesting mythology that keeps the reader engaged.

But aside from a great story, Bree is a great writer. Her descriptions are fresh, and far from the cliche crutch some authors depend on. Her characters are well developed and individual. Her voice is unique, giving us unexpected moments of humor and emotion so real I got goosebumps.

On December 22, go buy this book. Pre-order it on Amazon. Walk seven miles in the snow, uphill both ways, to find it at your local bookstore. But whatever you do, read it, love it, spread the word.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


At my house everyone is in various stages of sickness, again. This does not bode well for winter. I may take up wearing a mask everywhere I go, and masking the children a la the late Michael Jackson.

So, I'd like to dedicate this post to flu season and propose an exercise to work our writing muscles. In three sentences or less, describe the sickest you have ever been. It doesn't have to be a masterpiece, and please don't spend more than a few minutes thinking about it. Just off the top of your head - Go!

Here's mine:

Pain attacks every inch of my body with merciless force. I lie, helpless, alternately burning and freezing, my throat raw and thick. I dream of sleep, of a moment of relief, and to dwell with society again.

Friday, November 13, 2009

After Apple-picking

It's that time of autumn that's just perfect for one of my favorite Robert Frost poems. Enjoy!

After Apple-picking, by Robert Frost

My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it’s like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Am I Not a Man? The Dred Scott Story

What a privilege it is to share with you my thoughts about Mark Shurtleff's book, "Am I Not A Man? The Dred Scott Story." I expected this book to be an important story and it did not disappoint.

It holds a magnifying glass to a pivotal moment in the history of our nation. Not the gun fired by an advancing army or the election of a president, but the moment that turned the tide of public opinion and apathy into an inferno of action and decision that led ultimately to the Civil War. It is a story of determination, faith in God and Justice, hope, friendship, loyalty and freedom.

Shurtleff weaves moving passages of narrative with historical accounts and events in a rich tapestry of story. There is a range of perspectives in the story from the main character, Dred Scott, to historical figures through generations. The enormity of Dred Scott's case is described through an array of times and places and people. At times the different characters and histories slow down the story and take it from a 'quick-read' to a more thoughtful inspiring novel. If you are looking for something to get your heart pumping and the adrenaline flowing with fast paced action then this is not what you're looking for. It will appeal to history buffs and to students of the Constitution. Anyone who wants to know, feel, and ponder the injustices of man will find all of it in this story.
Overall I feel like this story is something I can recommend to all of my friends as one of those stories that it is important to remember. Read it, love it, and live more like Dred Scott the 'little giant."


I am non-confrontational.

I hate conflict. I shy away from it. Even in books, if there is a particularly nasty, devious character, I hate them and struggle reading the book.

However, a book without conflict is very boring. And a writer cannot write a book that is all roses. (There is a reason why my nickname is rose.)

Last night at writers' Group I shared my story idea with the group and Sir Kirk-A-Lot kept wondering where the conflict was. I need more conflict and struggle. I need to let my characters fail (even though I never fail). Ha!

So now I have the daunting task of finding conflict, even though I want to stay away.

What I really need though is a great antagonist. My personal antagonist is time. Maybe that is young Mr. Jones' antagonist too.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'm on a Sugar Bender

I need an intervention. Some candy is great to have around when you're up till midnight writing, but somebody please come and rid my house of the Halloween candy! I've been binging since Oct. 31st and, at this point, I don't see an end until the last piece is eaten. But on this subject, I'm very sad when I go through the bags of candy and realize the variety has completely changed since I was a kid. I'm almost strictly a chocolate girl, so I almost haven't noticed the disappearance of some candies until recently. For instance, does anyone else remember those sort of peanut butter nougats? They were almost like taffy, but they melted faster in your mouth and they had actual pieces of peanut in them. And they were always wrapped in black or orange wrappers like pieces of taffy. They were strictly Halloween fair and I don't think I saw one this year. And the Bit O' Honeys! I could eat those till I was sick. Again, not one in the kids' pillow cases. (yes, my kids took pillow cases. They trick-or-treated till they couldn't hold them anymore). Also, there was a shocking lack of jaw breakers and lemon heads. The travesty! I should weep for my childhood days.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Only Me

I often speak that phrase. Or am told, "Only you." Why is this? Perhaps the Karma Gods take vengeance on me in a series of small moments that add up to one big cosmic come-uppance. I'm not sure but here is one example. Those with a weak constitution may want to look away.

I'm in a restaurant. My kids have been sick, but in a shining afternoon we're all doing well and decide to go out. We have just started to enjoy the soup portion of our meal when I notice something. My baby, who is in his carseat, has had a diaper explosion, up his back, down the sides...parents of children know what I'm talking about. Non-parents, well, diaper explosion pretty much sums it up. I reach for my diaper bag only to find *gasp* I have no diaper wipes. No problem. In MacGyver-esque fashion I'm planning to clean him in the bathroom and fashion a new set of clothes out of paper towels and used cardboard dispensers.

But then I find out the really good news.

The water has been shut off in the restaurant. They are closed (but are allowing us to finish eating) because a water main broke. NO WATER, FOLKS!

I told this to fellow Inker Donna, and her response? "You are the only friend I have who would call with a story like that. Really, only you."

Thanks, Donna :)

Of course the diaper experience is added to my incredibly "only me" week with my uncelebrated birthday because of sick kids, being sick myself, having a crown put on my tooth (that had cracked for no apparent reason), and another experience where I went to the gas station, forgot my wallet, and had another child throw up in the car.

And while writing this, my two year old just spilled Root Beer all over the counter.

Only me.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

When Words Hurt

I have been trying to hang in there with the new television series "Flashforward". The premise was intriguing to me and I like several of the actors in the cast. However, there have now been five or six episodes and the dialogue is so bad it sometimes causes me physical pain. I literally get a stomach ache, it is so disappointing.

It has made me realize how key dialogue is to keeping the viewer/reader interested. Man, nothing pulls you out of the story faster than lame dialogue. I feel sorry for the actors for having to say some of this stuff, and frankly, they look pretty uncomfortable too.

I am not good at pulling up dialogue from memory, so I borrowed this example from a reviewer at who has the same complaint. This is from a scene where the lead character, FBI agent Mark Bedford and his co-worker, Janis have traveled to Germany to try to get information on the blackout from an imprisoned Nazi (the premise of the show being, everyone on earth blacked out at the same time, for two minutes and 17 seconds and saw a glipse of the future six months later):

Janis: Isn't this where Sophie Scholl and the rest of the White Rose Nazi resistance group were executed?

German Prison Guard: If I'm not mistaken, your country eradicated its idigenous Indian population and practiced institutionalized slavery for 250 years.

Mark: We also gave the world Brittany Spears.


The acting is also painful, which I'm blaming mostly on the writing and partly on the direction. You can only do so much with this kind of dialogue and I have seen most of these actors do much better work. I also wonder if the acting is suffering because several of the leads are foreigners trying to pull off an American accent (see Joseph Fiennes, Bryan O'Byrne, Sonya Walger). Joseph Fiennes has a perpetual look of angst on his face, so he's either concentrating too hard on the accent or he is constipated.

So, I'm wondering if I have a right to complain when I am still watching it. I'm intrigued enough by where they are going with the story to hang in there, but I beg the producers to call in a script doctor, stat. Or even better, a whole new team of writers.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Ambiguous Social Networking Posts!

Don't you hate it when people leave ambiguous posts on their googlechat/facebook/twitter?

I have one friend on googlechat who always, always has something like "hmmm..." or "Jill is anxious" or "Jill is worried" or "Jill is waiting" and you're just about going nuts thinking, What the heck is going on? Inquiring minds must know the details!

I think I've come up with a way to cope with these tediously ambiguous posts. I make up little vignettes about what's happening. For example, when "Jill" has something like "Jill is dreading tomorrow..." I fill in the blank with "because she's going to find out that her husband is really a stinky werewolf" or "because she knows that the sky is falling." Or when "Jim" says he's worried, I figure he's probably worried that he has to pay protection money to the mob before they send Bruno over to break his legs or possibly worried that he's started to grow a third eyeball in the back of his head.

If you're going to tell the world what you're doing or feeling, let's be more specific, people!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Rejection Therapy Session

I am seeking some therapy. I just received the official news that I didn't make it into the final round of a contest to which I submitted the first 25 pages of my current project. Here's the low down.

Judge One (let's call her Snarkaviscious) is a published romance author. She gave me 116,000 'you rock' points out of a possible 150,000 (point values have been exaggerated slightly) mostly taking points off for the formality of my voice. Her feedback went like this: "Although I was FORCED to judge you on mechanics such as mechanics/grammar etc., I do not think this is publishable as it is because your voice is so formal and stilted. My 13 year old daughter (let's call her Louis Denominator) wouldn't want to read this."

Judge 2 (let's call her Intelligencia the Editor) is a professional trained in writing. She gave me 142,000 YOU ROCK points out of 150,000. She made the following remarks. "You have a nice writing style and a great voice. Be careful of your pacing and comma splices (Yes, I missed some in the new material like 10. Shhh, Kirk.) You have an interesting plot and conflict"...yadda yadda

So here is my question: WHY is it that no matter who looks at this story I can't get a consensus of opinion? It seems that people either love it or hate it and for the exact same reasons. It's not like Snarkaviscious hated Kaya or thought she was uninteresting. She said my voice wasn't clever or edgy enough to be published. While Intelligencia touted the very things that the Snark hated saying that my voice was clear and readable.

Can I please get a great big GRRRRRRR! and maybe a hug? Cause I think I'm about to cry big ol' baby tears of frustration.

I am not new to rejection this is the umpteenth time this year I've dealt with it. Somebody please tell me why we as writer's keep subjecting our creative genius to this type of scrutiny and subjectivity. Is it insanity? Is there a pill to cure it?

The Body

This week I've been thinking about the body--more specifically, my body.

When there is a minor ache somewhere, it is usually ignored. If I have some strange shooting pain in my toe, I'll ignore it until I can't walk anymore. If my eye feels weird, I'll ignore that till I need glasses.

I was raised with a nervous mother. She took my sister in so often for x-rays, the Dr. finally said that my sister couldn't have anymore--she was getting too much radiation. Since I have grown, I've become hesitant to rush to the Dr. Office. I hate hearing, "It's just viral, there is nothing we can do." Which translates to me, "You are a fool for coming here. You've wasted $30."

Then, this week, I got another minor ache, it is more uncomfortable than painful. It is just a little weird. I ignored it for a week and then decided I needed to see someone about it. You see, the reason why I'm rushing for medical help is that the little weirdness is happening in my heart.

The heart is kinda important. People have lived with amputated toes--some have even cut them off themselves. Very few people live with amputated hearts. So I rushed to the Dr. and today I get to have a little monitor attached to me to see what the heck is going on.

So, wish that little monitor luck--its got quite a day of running to do with me!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dress It Down

Halloween left me a little shocked. And appalled. That's right, shocked and appalled. I could not believe the array of, dare I say, skanky costumes walking the streets (pun intended) this year. Here are a few examples of what I saw.

A young, teenage girl in a batgirl costume. Super short, super tight and sleeveless. I figured if I, a married woman with kids, noticed her boobs, then certainly the boys she was with noticed them as well.

A sixth grader in slashed tights and shorts so short you could see her butt when she bent over. And the tights were slashed. Trust me, they didn't really cover anything.

A girl in a devil costume, red fishnet stockings, red spaghetti strap dress, low cut in front and slit to her unmentionable area. Very slinky and sexy. And, oh yeah, the girl was in SECOND GRADE!

I live in Utah. Although seasonably warm this Halloween, it's still too cold to wear things I'm used to seeing on the beach.

I know it's fun. I know for the most part, it's just kids being kids, an innocent break from the drag of normal clothes. But consider this. July is one of the highest birth months of the year, a mere nine months after October. Perhaps the dressing up, or lack thereof, isn't so innocent.