Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Battle of Balance Between MS & SO

Yesterday my ms got turned down for a second date.  Poor thing.  She was crying cybersnot out through the speakers.

 I tried to tell her it wasn’t her fault.  After all, the agent said she just didn’t fall as in love with the story as she’d hoped.  My ms turned to me then, her glossy screen eyes gone wide.  “It IS me, then!”  and started hacking up adverbs onto the table.  What’s a writer to do? 

Finally she insisted I pop in a Coldplay cd and feed her Ben&Jerry’s through the power supply and all was well.  I’ll probably take her out for a makeover this summer.

Enough about my ms’s love life.  My post today is about my OWN love life.  What do you do when writing starts taking precedence over spending time with your significant other??

Poor hubby has been a good sport.  He’s got his playstation.  His guitar.   And his iphone to keep him company most of the time.  But I have sensed the occasional ‘eyeroll’ when I say “I just need to finish up this chapter”.   

And I noticed his jaw clench just a little while I was telling my mother how my perfect evening in would be ‘just me, my laptop, and some take out sushi.’

It’s hard to give up time spent with my wip’s because it feels like I never get enough of it.  BUT truth is I wouldn’t trade my husband for the worlds next best seller. 

So what do you do with your significant other to convince them they aren’t coming in second to your wip….(besides the obvious, ofcourse:) ?

Today's question for God or Google:  when did the word 'Epic' become a popular stand in for 'awesome' 'rad' or 'the best'??  I first noticed it while watching 'The Vampire Diaries'.  They said 'it was epic' and my first thoughts were 'you mean, like the odysee?'  

Monday, June 28, 2010

Creepy's Monday Misdemeanor

Kick-ass characters kicking ass in a kickity ass setting?  What more could you ask for?

Oh, admit it- When George and Fred pulled out their flaming fireworks display during the O.W.L. exams- blew up the wall of overbearing rules, and knocked around the terrible Umbridge in their farewell shebang- you were pumped up right alongside them, weren’t you?

Or how about when the group of mismatched misfits gave Principle Vernon the run around in The Breakfast Club?

Sometimes the stakes are high enough that a little ‘disturbing of the peace’ is in order- The kind of scene that makes you wanna stomp your feet, throw a fist in the air and start chanting Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You.’

 As some of you know, I usually meet my ends in a more roundabout way with small affirmations of who I am and what I stand for. (See my silent protestation of the word ‘sneaked’)

 OK, fine!  I might have participated in my high school walkout to protest against….shit. I don’t remember.

And I might have gotten kicked out of a movie theater when I was fourteen. Well- kicked out by association. The rowdy boys we went with wouldn’t shut their traps and the usher asked our whole row to leave.  In retrospect, what was he thinking?  Who lets a group of preteens loose in the streets of downtown Bordumsville?  It wasn’t pretty.  In the end I succeeded in talking the usher into letting my friend and I back into the building so that when our parents showed up, they wouldn’t suspect that their post pubescent daughters were out wandering the streets with a group of crazed delinquents. 

A week later, however my friend’s mother told her we’d been spotted outside the local Mcdonalds that night and didn't hesitate to call my parents as well.  BAM!!!- Grounded.  Two weeks.  Ugh.  No good deed goes unpunished.

What's your favorite ‘we will rock you’ scene in books or movies?

If you'd like to catch up on Creepy's Misdemeanors- click here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Morning Bloffee

If you're looking for me, I'm over at ever-hilarious Bru's (February Grace's) blog 'Pitch Slapped'

She asked to interview me for her aspiring writers column and her questions stripped me bare. (Nothing dirty.  It's just an expression people.)  So if you wanna find out a little more (wow, that didn't sound narcissistic at. all.) - Come on over and join us for some Friday Morning Bloffee!  

Here's wishing you all a frickin fant-abulous weekend!  

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Waiting Game

I am the first to admit that I have the patience of a shitzu with bladder control issues. It’s my ‘tragic flaw’.

So as you can imagine, the waiting that goes on during the querying process is excruciating for someone like me. One week after I send out a request, my fingers start to twitch. I try to occupy myself with editing another ms, or critiquing, reading, blogging, maybe even starting a new manuscript, etc…but eventually I give in to temptation and start looking at my email 50 times a frickin day. 

It’s like a prerequisite before I do anything else. ‘I gotta get dressed. But I’ll check my email first.’ ‘Gotta get the mail, but first let’s take a look at my inbox.’ ‘I should really make lunch…right after I take another peek. It’s been five minutes…you never know.’ Aaaaah! I’m slowly starting to go insane. I’ve had a partial ms out on submission since mid April and the twitchiness and restlessness is starting to get to me.

Some ideas I came up with so far that might help distract me:

1. 1. 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle
2. 2. Learn to speak japanese
3. 3. Start grounding my own baking flour from scratch
4. 4. Knit sweaters for next winter
5. 5. Go on a pilgrimage through the desert

       Any other recommendations for getting through The Waiting Game without going completely ‘refresh button’ crazy?

      Today’s question for God or Google  - why do we pee a little bit after doing our ‘business’?  It’s like the grand finale that says ‘yeah, you can probably get off the john now’.  Does it happen for boys too?  And if so, how do they manage that?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mama Din Ray No Fool

I was held hostage from the blogosphere yesterday.  But for good reason.  My youngest daughter Lucy turned three years old!!  My husband took the day off.  You’re thinking ‘oh how sweet, he took the day off to be with his daughter’....  Not really. France played its final match in the World Cup against South Africa:)  Which means I had a couch full of beer guzzling Frenchmen and dinner orders up to wazzoo.  Why is it that my French husband insists on eating American food while watching a mainly European sport?  I guess American BBQ is just. that. good.  In any case, we did manage to celebrate Lucy’s birthday despite the mind-numbing loss of the French team.

It’s nearing the end of the school year in France.  Tuesday is my last day and then I am off until the end of September!  -cue George Michael’s Freeeedoooom!  But until then, I am swamped up to my eyeballs in end of the year grading.  Lemme break it down for ya- I teach eleven classes twice a week each.  Each class has nearly thirty students.  I’m too tired to do that math, but basically- that’s a lot of frickin grading.  Which is why I usually save it for the end of the trimester.  And why I’ve only been posting a few times a week lately!  But rest assured, even if there’s nothing new on me blogst- I’m keeping an eye on all of yours! (I start shaking and hyperventilating and a weird rash breaks out around my fingertips if I don’t)

About today’s title- Do you ever notice shared traits with people in your family?  You’ll realize you’ve got your Dad’s smile and you’ll hear your mom break out in laughter and it’ll just hit you that you guys have almost the same laugh?  Or maybe you look just like your uncle and there’s a long running joke in the family that uncle was the ‘milkman’…Ahem, anyway-
The other day I was on facebook - I read my Mother’s status and it just hit me.  This was her status that day:

Quotes from Creepy’s Mom-

My cat thinks I'm the rudest human on the planet. I go to clean my kitchen floor, pick up his food, and he comes up behind me and says, "Dude," (my cat calls me Dude), "I was just about to eat that..."

 I go to sit down, and he jumps up on the back of the chair, "Dude, I was just about to sit there..."

 I clean out his kitty litter, and he starts pawing at the bag, "Dude, what are doing in my business?"'

That’s right people.  Apparently I’ve inherited my mother’s writing style.  I didn’t know that was possible.

Has anyone else ever noticed how someone close to you inadvertently contributes to your writing style?

P.S.- Be sure to come over to February Grace's blog 'Pitch Slapped' for Friday Bloffee-  This hilarious blogger has asked to interview me for her aspiring writer column and her questions stripped me bare.  So if you wanna know more (that didn't sound narcasistic at. all.)  Be there or be square!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Creepy's Monday Misdemeanor

Today’s Misdemeanor :             Reckless Driving         
A high speed chase in a book or movie can be a cheap thrill or a buzz kill. I admit, I enjoy the crazy maneuvering- the screeching of wheels and shifting of gears.  And my favorite is when the car ‘flies’ off of some higher surface to land with impossible accuracy on a moving object- like a freight train, boat, or big ass tow truck. 

When the mc’s best friend/lover/mother/father
/sister/goldfish is in absolute danger and the author has made you ADORE this character- the high speed reckless driving scene can be essential to the tension.  You want to grab the wheel and scream FASTER! and have to will yourself not to turn a page or two ahead just to make sure they’re safe. (or maybe that’s just me)

Unfortunately, if I were behind the wheel, I’d probably end up driving my car into some obscure, completely-out-of-my-lane object (like a gas tank) and the supporting character would be toast.  Sorry.

I’ve never been a very good driver-which is why I decided to take driving lessons in France in order to survive. You can’t just get away with knowing how to drive here.  Frenchmen let out some serious inner psycho on the road.  If you can’t predict what they’re going to do-

This is embarrassing.  But in the five years I had my license in the U.S., I managed to get pulled over for:

Speeding-  1st transgression- I got a ticket for going 60 in a 45 and I decided to take it to court. (I was 18)  I told the judge that there was no way I was speeding since I had not only slowed down at the 45m sign but was going uphill and my piece of junk car won’t go faster than that when I go uphill.  (yes, I seriously did use this as an argument).  He must have thought I was funny because he went on to explain that they’d got me with a radar-but he told me to get my speedometer checked and waved the ticket.

2nd transgression-  The officer pulled me over and said I’d been going 65 in a 45.  I told him that was impossible because my car was overheating and I was crawling to get home.  My car WAS overheating.  You could see the smoke.  He let me go with a warning. (You starting to see a pattern here?)

Headlight out-  I had a Ford Probe with those stupid batmat flip-up headlights.  One of them wouldn’t open, but I had a special way of ‘fixing’ it.  When the officer pulled me over and said I had a headlight out I asked him 'if I could get out of the car?'  He said yes.  I took my hustry trusty headband, pulled up the headlight and jambed it in underneath to prop it up.  The officer scratched his chin and rolled his eyes heavenward muttering something about ‘women’ before letting me go.

Backing Down a Highway On-ramp because there was nobody around to see me....except the officer waiting for me at the end.  Sorry folks- there’s just no getting out of that one:)

What do you think about reckless driving scenes in movies and literature?  Cheap thrill or buzz kill?

If you'd like to catch up on more of Creepy's Misdemeanors-  click here.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Oh Fairy God Agent, Where ARE You?

"The Perfect Agent"Sung to ‘the Perfect Nanny’ from Marry Poppins

Creepy Query Girl
Wanted: an agent for one adorable writer

If you want this choice position
Have a cheesy disposition (it’ll help you enjoy this song…)
Rosy cheeks, no warts. (or as few as possible)
Read blogs, all sorts

You must be smart and somewhat gritty,
fairly sweet and very witty
Send my ms on outings, give it 'tweets',
sing songs, eat sweets

Never be cross or cruel
Never give my ms castor oil or gruel (who does that?)
Love it as son and daughter
And never stink of barley water (what the hell is barley water?)

If you won't scold and dominate us,
we will never give you cause to hate us.
We won't copy plots from best selling blue rays
write clich├ęs, or explicit sex in YA,

Oh- Hurry, Agent!
This means the world,


Creepy. Query. Girl.

Oh yes. She totally did sing it too...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me

After a bunch of great blogger reviews helped fill up my bookshelf- I wanted to return the favor!  I ordered the recently released 'Wolves, Boys, and Other Things that Might Kill Me' by debut author Kristen Chandler:
KJ Carson arrives at the surface of the puberty pool pretty much unscathed.  But between her tense relationship with her father, the arrival of Virgil- a shaggy haired city slicker and his hippie mother Eloise, and the town’s hysteria over whether or not the wolves in Yellowstone park should be hunted- her small world in her small town are growing more and more complicated.

The characters in this book are wonderfully flawed and believable.  KJ is not some over confident smart ass like we often see in YA lit.  She has her own set of insecurities, including a constant fear of never succeeding at anything or living up to who her father wants her to be.  Virgil isn’t a ripped Abercrombie model come to sweep her off her feet.  He’s a ‘real’ sixteen year old boy and a genuinely ‘good’ character, which is rare. 

I love how we observe KJ develop over time. She grows a backbone and succeeds in creating change in a place where things seem like they’re stuck in a time capsule.  Chandler also does a great job of showing us both sides of the story so that there’s no distinct ‘villain’, but a situation that escalates and leaves everyone the victim in some way.

What immediately drew me to this book was its title and cover art.  ‘Wolves, Boys & Other Things That Might Kill Me’  Awesome, awesome title and flashy cover art. 

However, everything you see when you pick up the book (even the back excerpt) plays on the popularity of paranormal stories about werewolves and vampires when it has absolutely nothing to do with either.  It gives the impression that we’re in for suspenseful and dark YA when it’s really a humorous mainstream middle grade novel. 

The book is written entirely in present tense, which I found a bit disconcerting but eventually got used to.  And many of the secondary characters could have done with more physical description.  The only characters I found really well described were Virgil and his mother Eloise.  I had to let my imagination do the work for the rest, even for the main character KJ.

I stress the point that this book should be considered middle grade.  The dialogue and action were anything but edgy, with ‘Holy Smack’ being about as bad as it gets.  I was able to put it down but still thought about the characters and the story.  All in all, I found this book really ‘cute’ and would recommend it for kids eleven and up or people who enjoy middle grade in general.

Hope this helps!


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Creepy's Monday Misdemeanor

Today’s Misdemeanor:  Stalking

Boy meets Girl.  Boy follows Girl.  Boy can’t get Girl out of his head.  Boy starts showing up where the girl is supposed to be….obvious places…like her bedroom.  Sound familiar?

I think the worst ‘stalker moment’ I had while under the influence of puberty pool molecules was calling up cute boys and hanging up as soon as they answered.  Thankfully this was before the invention of caller ID.

And I myself have never been stalked by a handsome devil in black who will stop at nothing to have me (much to my dismay).  But perhaps that’s what makes the literary ‘stalker’ so appealing…

While stalking has been debated about with recent YA titles like ‘Twilight’ and ‘Hush Hush’- It’s actually been used to create romantical (yes, I’m totally making up that word) tension throughout the ages.

Romeo sees Juliette and goes a little nuts.  He throws rocks at her window, convinces her- not only to get married against her parents' will, but to down some poison to knock her out dead for a few days so they could be together.  Looked at it this way, it all sounds a bit psycho.  But Shakespeare’s play remains one of the most romantic stories in history.

'Crazy Man Behavior' (or what I like to refer to as 'CMB') shows up in a myriad of novels, genres, and scenarios.  Many people can’t make heads nor tails of it.  Shouldn’t the female mc’s be a little freaked out?  How can they find this ‘I will have you’ attitude appealing?

As for myself, ahem, I’ll be honest. I think it’s kind of flattering when the dark brooding hottie goes after the mc with everything he’s got—social norms be dammed!  

What do you think about stalking behavior in literature?  Crazy romantic?  Or just plain crazy?

If you'd like to catch up on other Creepy Misdemeanors- click here

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ten Sucky Things That Would Still Feel Better Than a Form Rejection on a Full or Partial MS

Back by popular demand. (Ok, FINE- nobody really asked for more ‘sucky things’ but I’ve always wanted to say ‘back by popular demand’….Just humor me) 
My last ‘ten sucky things’ post got some comments I wanted to share.  Apparently there are way more than ten sucky things that would feel better than a full or partial rejection! 

1.   1.   ‘I'd rather have my child projectile vomit in my face than get a form rejection to a full or partial.’- Candyland (wonderfully descriptive Candy, as usual)

2.   2. Your cat peeing on your pillow, and you not realizing it until you've put your head down... right after taking a shower.’ – Alexandra Shostak  

3.   3. ‘So mine is: Dropping a brand new jar of jelly and having it shatter...I had this last week, it is better than a rejection’- Red Boot Pearl

4.   4.  ‘Stepping barefoot on a chunk of banana laying on the nice carpet of the room you don't let the kids in (but obviously they were in, hence the banana on the floor). This incorporates the gross physical sensation plus the distress over trying to get smashed banana out of carpet with total fury at the adorable four year old who explained that she was feeding the dog (also not allowed in that room) her breakfast in there because the dog looked hungry. 

       And: having the lady waxing your eyebrows ask if you also want her way your mustache. I have a mustache? *Cry*’- Erin Kane Spock

5.   5.  being stuck in a lift when you need to go loo’- Nicole MacDonald
      6.  ‘Forgetting about the six paper cuts on your hands before dousing them in sanitizer.’- Tamara Naryan
      7.   While shaving in the shower, I reach for what I thought was a new razor only to discover the blade was old after painfully running it down the front of my neck."’- Slamdunk  (Thank God I don’t shave.  My face.)

8.   8.  ‘ stepping in dog poop BAREFOOT.’- Shannon Whitney Messenger 
      9.   ‘for me a rejection letter is worse than waxing my bikini line.’- Helena Soister
     10.    ‘my toddler niece whacking me over the nose. That has got to be more fun. :)’- Lindsay (aka Isabella)

      What sucky things do you think feel better than a rejection?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

'Snuck' Doesn't Suck!

(yes, today’s title is pure poetry isn’t it?)
I’m not an unreasonable person.  I’ve never chained myself to a tree or picketed working conditions.  I live in France, so I could totally get away with that sort of thing, but my point is-

There’s really only one thing I am completely, totally adamant about.  I will never, EVER use the word ‘sneaked’ in any of my manuscripts. 

Maybe the day will come when some will try to get me to bow to pressure…. 

“But everybody’s doin it!!?”

“Too bad.”  Creepy crosses her arms, her chin lifted in defiance.

“It’s grammatically correct!”

“Pfft.  According to who? - Who in their right mind said “hey, just for shits and giggles- lets say that ‘sneaked’ is the correct form of the past tense and past participle of ‘sneak’!  It’s awkward and will having people tripping over their words until the END OF TIME! Mwa ha ha!”   

“You’ll never change it.”

“Well, I’m going to give it my best shot.  It sounds wrong, dammit!”

“It isn’t.”

“It’s like my mouth is having a spasm.”

“It’s not.”

“Yes it is.  Just looking at the word creeps me out.  What the hell is wrong with ‘snuck’? It flows better.”

“Well that’s not for you to decide.”

“Maybe not, but sometimes…” Creepy gazes out into the sunset and nods. “…you just have to fight for what you believe in.”

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Why Your Reviews Matter

Oh, how I long for the days when I could have strutted into Barnes & Nobles and spent umpteen hours carousing the bookshelves.  Hundreds of titles at my disposal, comfy chairs and a Starbucks to boot.

It’s not that they don’t have book stores in France. The ‘Fnac’ is huge.  But what they don’t have a lot of are books in ENGLISH!  Maybe I’m just a language snob.

It’s not just books either.  If I can’t go and see an American movie in VO (Original Version) I almost don’t want to see it at all.  It’s not that the French don’t know how to translate.  I’ve read a lot of books in French that have processed as though I was reading in English.  But they never capture subtle undertones, the humor, or the intricacy of the English language.  What can I say?  I love my mother tongue!

That’s why it is SO important to me to not only order original books off the internet, but to order GOOD books off the internet.  Sometimes I could stare at until I go cross-eyed trying to find great reviews.  And even then, after an experience where the book was raved about and I found it incredibly lacking- I now know that you can only really trust half of what is said.  And, after scraping my way through to find a book deemed ‘worthy’, I then have to transfer to and make sure they even HAVE IT! 

So I am hereby sending out a huge THANK YOU to all of you wonderful bloggers out there that share reviews!  Without you, my bookshelf would have remained empty the last few months.

Stina Lindenblatt turned me onto Perfect Chemistry and The Vampire Academy series and I couldn’t be more grateful.  All really great reads!

I recently ordered ‘Wasted’ by Nicola Morgan- a women with a wonderful blog who also does great reviews.

And ‘Wolves, Boys & Other Things That Might Kill Me’- a brand new novel by debut author Kristen Chandler. I ordered this book not only in support of debut authors but also so that I myself could give back and post a review.

Books on my waiting list:

-          ‘If I Stay’ by Gail Forman-   
-          ‘Shade’ by Jeri Smith Ready-
-          ‘Demon Princess: reighn or shine’   
-          ‘Twenty Boy Summer’
-          ‘Deception’- Lee Nicholas Review by

 So once again, THANK YOU to all you reviewers out there.  They really matter more than you know!


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