Monday, April 30, 2012

Z - Zed

Or the French letter ‘Z’- which I won’t have to explain to another student again for (at least) the next five months because I am DONE!  My contract is up -Today is my last day of work.  I’m officially on vacation/ unemployed/ a full time writer! J

And the A-Z is officially at an end! It was a great month, you guys. The blog and I are definitely making googley eyes at each other again after all this time together.

Back to my regular Mon/Wed/Fri schedule this week!

How did you guys do on the A-Z?  Was there a letter that had you scratching your head more than others? (For me, it was my lame 'L' post)  But to be honest, pretty much all of my posts were on the wrong side of random this month. Oh well. T'is the risks and hazards of the A-Z.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y - You Callin' Me Yell'er?

Well, good. ’Cause that’s what I am.

I might be brave when it comes to learning to drive in France or climbing into a thicket of unidentified greenery in order to get back a toy for one of my darling children. But when it comes to what direction I should take with my writing, the truth is I’ve been standing like a deer in the headlights for the last few months.

To self-publish or not to self-publish? (and all the introspection that comes with that)

Keep querying the romantic comedy or let it go?

What should I work on next? I haven’t written anything new in months and I can’t seem to decide what should take priority. Should I write a sequel to the maybe-self-published urban fantasy?  Start the other romantic comedy I have outlined?

I don’t know what to do!  What if just end up wasting my time!?  What if I go to write something new and it flops a few chapters in? 

What if I find I’m incapable of writing another book!!? Gah! 
*cue screaming and hair pulling*

The fear has had me paralyzed for months. But then something happened.  I had a dream (yeah, I know –original, huh?) that gave me an incredible, incredible idea for a book.  An idea that has me thinking I might just be in a little over my head but it’s worth trying.

And it seems I don’t have much of a choice in the matter.  This morning I sat down and wrote a three-page outline – more than I’ve written for either of the above projects.  This thing just kind of came fully formed.

And I wondered, why now?  Why do I finally feel ready to jump into a brand-new project?  I guess it’s because the pressure is off and the fear is gone.  I might show this project to someone once it’s done. 

But then again I might not. 

For right now, it’s mine and only mine.  I can write however/whatever I want and the only person I need to please is myself. It’s amazing the difference that makes.

Hope you all are having a great weekend!


Friday, April 27, 2012

X - X Marks the Spot

In search of treasure:

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W - Wild Thang

It seems there’s a moment for most people in their lives where they're more apt to do wild, crazy, things like hitch-hike or bungee jump (ha! I just accidently wrote ‘bungee hump’  *snicker*.)

For me, (and for many others, I presume) my time was in college.

Wild & Crazy things I will (probably) never do again:

Decide on the spur of the moment  to drive to Time Square and party New York style on a Friday night. 

Drunk-walk from a Paris pub to my apartment using the tour Montparnasse as a focal point at 3 a.m.

Go travelling through Italy with a total stranger.

Tag along to a concert in Switzerland and camp out in my car in a parking lot overrun with hostile German squatters.

Elope with a Frenchman;)

That’s all I can think of I’m willing to share;)

What’s the craziest thing you ever did while in your ‘Wild Thang’ stage? 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V - Vacuum War

Most of you already know how I feel about house cleaning. I do it because if I don’t, nobody else will.  Doesn’t mean I enjoy it. Although there is something to be said about opening all the windows and deep-cleaning the house on a bright sunny day when everything smells like spring. Unfortunately, bright sunny days are few and far between in the Parisian suburbs.

If I’m going to clean, it’s going to be on my terms.  Alas, this has lead to a vacuum war between myself and my French husband.

You’ll notice, if you type ‘vacuum’ into google images- about 95 percent of the pictures shown are like the above- an all-in-one model, with the sack and sucking mechanism included along the handle.  It’s easy to use- sure, maybe a little bottom-heavy, but also easy to store in a broom closet so you don’t have to look at the damn thing all day long. Perfect for the doll-houses with minimum storage space that pass for apartments in these parts.

If you type ‘aspirateur’ (French word for vacuum) into google images- you’ll find 95 percent resemble big hulking jet packs with a tube that leads to the long pipe with a handle and vacuum head.  Anything less is gawked at by my French counterparts as ‘inadequate’.

I hate these kinds of vacuums. 

Hate them, hate them, hate them. 

The heavy reverse-jetpack on wheels needs to be tugged along behind you as you desperately try to avoid the tubing (which often gets caught between my legs) and try not to trip over the mile-long wire that trails behind the whole as you vacuum away. And lifting the jetpack is damn near impossible. I don’t understand why there’s even a handle.  The thing weighs as much as I do. Maybe I’m just a wimp- but I find these machines more trouble than they’re worth.  And don’t even get me started on trying to find a storage space willing to accommodate the monstrosity.

That’s why I’ve stuck by my Red Dirt Devil all-in-one for the last few years- that was, until my husband and mother in law (and a store clerk) ganged up on me and made me buy a ‘real’ vacuum by their standards.

Needless to say, I remain loyal to Little Red, even if he might not have the same sucking capacity.  The ‘Heffalump’ my husband made me buy remains up against a wall in our hallway (just like I said it would because there’s no damn place to put it!)

I hate to admit it, but the Heffalump does work better. But that’s beside the point - I never needed a vacuum that could suck the paint off the walls. just have to fight for what you believe in.

I think this is my lamest post to date but the question must be asked- Do you have a preference in the war of the vacuums?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U - Unsuspecting and Naked

Yup, that’s what I was when my four-year-old informed me there was ‘a man at the door’ this morning. My husband was already at work, kids parked in front of the t.v. and I was in the shower and had just started conditioning my hair.

Now, we’ve told our daughters a million times that they aren’t to open the door for anyone.  They’re always convinced it’s their grandmother dropping by for a visit- and often times it is (she lives only a few buildings down). But you can never be too careful.

Unfortunately my four-year-old (almost five) has never held verbal warnings in much esteem.

“I can’t believe you opened the door!!!? You have got to be KIDDING ME!!!” I screeched while wiping water from my eyes. I cut the water, jumped out of the shower and threw on a towel. –Then peeked around the wall so I could see the front door.  Sure enough, there was a delivery guy standing outside the threshold, looking amused. 

“I’m sorry,” he said with a  shrug when he caught my eyes peeking out from behind the wall.

Yeah- sure you are, pal.

I pulled my wet head out of the hallway with a squeak and called “I’ll be right there!”  while scrambling to the bedroom and grabbing whatever clothes were at hand…which happened to be a pair of my husband’s sweatpants. They fell down to my ankles while I frantically tried to zip up a hooded sweatshirt of which the zipper was broken. 

I growled in frustration but finally found an over-sized sweatshirt with no zipper and my own sweatpants that were on the floor of the bathroom. I threw my half-conditioned hair into a towel and met the delivery man at the door.

“I’m really sorry,” he said again, chuckling. 

He didn’t look sorry.

“It’s not your fault. My daughter is going to be sorry, though,” I assured him with a tight smile.

Needless to say, my four-year-old got a stern *ahem* talking to and I’m taking away her sugar privileges for two days. No candy, dessert, or sugary snacks. (her personal four-year-old version of hell.)

On the bright side, her antics helped me come up with a blogpost for today- even if my hair is starting to do that clumpy-dry thing it does when the conditioner doesn’t get washed out all the way…

Have you ever been caught ‘unsuspectingly naked’?

Monday, April 23, 2012

T - Tattle Tale

There is nothing more frustrating to me than when a main character has a piece of information that would solve everything if he/she just TOLD someone!!!

They know their best friend is cheating/on drugs/running away but loyalty keeps them from telling.

They know the bad guy is up to no good but can’t tell someone because ‘tattling’ could result in harm for someone they love.

They’re being blackmailed or they’re afraid people will turn against them if they tell.

Maybe it’s just the simple fact that no one likes a tattle tale.

I know it’s a commonly-used plot device but it drives me nuts – Mostly because just as much bad comes from withholding information than good.  It’s the moral of every story and yet…it doesn’t seem to stop us from using the scenario over and over again.

Even though it builds tension and ups the stakes, I find it refreshing when books bypass the ‘tattle-tale’ scenario altogether and take the road less traveled.

The girl TELLS the boyfriend she has feelings for someone else instead of denying them for chapters upon chapters.

The boy TELLS the authorities when scary notes start showing up on his windshield instead of investigating on his own.

When the bad guy threatens to hurt the MC’s girl if he doesn’t go along with his plan to start war between two races- he TELLS the important people and they bring the bad guy down together instead of spending lonely months turning away from those he loves in order to protect them.

Maybe it’s just me. 

Do you enjoy a good ol’ fashioned ‘I COULD TELL YOU BUT I'D HAVE TO KILL YOU’ scenario or do you prefer tension to be amplified in other ways?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

S - Subway Can Suck It in France

Even before fat Jared became skinny Jared just by eating Subway sandwiches, I was already a fan.  My dad used to bring my usual roast beef on white while I was book-keeping for our high school basketball games.  And my dorm room at UConn had Subway open 24/7 – a great place to grab a snack for 3 a.m. muchies.

So, of course, when Subway began to make their way over to France, I was ecstatic. And when one opened up only ten minutes away from our Paris suburb dwelling, I couldn’t wait to test it out.

However, there was one small thing I forgot to take into consideration while anticipating a taste of home:

This is France.

The sandwich doesn’t hold much novelty for French people since they’ve been serving baguette sandwiches for the last hundred years. But they’ve never seen a sandwich shop set up like an ice cream stand where you pick your own combination.

At first, nobody could figure out how to order. Which annoyed the staff. (again. French) and the lines were insanely long.

When you finally order, the staff treats you like you’re a moron. (just normal French procedure)

They put cheese on everything – whether you want it or not.

They put it in the oven -  whether you want it or not.

What they don’t do is put enough meat on your sandwich to reach from one end of the bread to the other.  I’m lucky if I got three small slices of roast beef.

And whereas you pay 5 dollars for a foot long in the U.S.

 In France it’s 6.20 euros. ( a little over 8 DOLLARS!!!)


While it did taste much like what I remember (the bread is the same. thank god for that), I have a feeling Subway isn’t going to make a lot of headway in the big octogon.

Are you a fan of Subway sandwiches?  Have you ever experienced a european subway?  

Hope you all are having a great weekend!

Friday, April 20, 2012

R - Raindrops on Roses and...

whiskers on kittens, la la la la la these are a few of my favorite things. Okay, Julie Andrews I am not. But I can still share a few of my favorite things:


Roche Mazet - Cabernet Sauvignon

Coté d’Or Chocolate Orange

CW Guilty Pleasure Shows

And a Friday night that involves all of the above!

What are your current ‘favorite things’? Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q - Question & Answers with Creepy

So, instead of going on about yours truly, I thought this might be a good occasion to find out more about all of YOU wonderful people!  So today we’re going to be playing question & answers with creepy.

Q:  When and why did you first start blogging?

Q: What genre books do you read/write?

Q: What is your current work-in-progress about?

Q: How long have you working towards getting published?

My answers:

A: I first started blogging in April 2010 which would make my blog two years old, already. Yikes. Time flies!

A: I write young adult urban fantasies and romantic comedies. I read just about everything under the moon but I’m mostly a ‘mood’ reader – I’ll get in the mood for a romance, or a YA contemp, urban fantasy, or a chick lit, historical, etc…and then just splurge on it until I can’t take anymore.

A: My romantic comedy KISSING FOR COFFEE is out with two agents at the moment.  It’s about a girl who, while struggling to hold on to her social standing, accidently starts a state-wide high school ‘kissing for coffee’ campaign. FOSSEGRIM -  a book about a boy delinquent-turned-mermaid is about to head into another round of revisions and I’m seriously thinking about self-pubbing it.

A: Ugh. I hate this question. (Even if I came up with it) But if I’m honest, I’ll say I’ve been trying to break into the biz about three years – since I finished my first book in 2009.

Your turn!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P - Painful Reading

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this but the kiddies are on Spring break over here in France.  TWO WEEKS of Spring break, I might add. – A very long time to be around my darlings 24/7. 

So, like with every school vacation, I prepared ahead of time – did my research and found a new adult urban fantasy series to get me through the hard days ahead. I really enjoy all types of genres but there’s something about an epic series full of life-or-death scenarios and creatures-that-go-bump-in-the-night characters that make taking my kids to the grocery store, or the town pool, playing hours of uno, or watching the same movie eleven times, well, not so bad in comparison.

That’s why February vacation was all about Jeri Smith Ready’s WVMP Vampire RadioChristmas was dedicated to Patricia Brigg’s Mercy Thompson. Last summer I got lost in Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse novelsAnd now, April vacation has arrived and I am knee deep in Chloe Neil’s Chicagoland Vampires.

However, something happened last night that has never happened to me before. Oh Ms. Neil – you are truly, heart-stakingly cruel.

She did it, ladies and gentlemen.

She killed off one of the characters that has been with us throughout four whole books.  One of the MAIN characters.  And not just any main character – the love interest.  The guy who has won our heart over and over again. Gained our respect. Earned our everlasting loyalty.
He’s DEAD! Oh my.  I sat there, kindle in hand and jaw dropped, reading the line over and over again. It couldn’t be true!  Not him!  Not now! How am I is she going to move on!?

Oh the rest of the book was painful reading.  I’m not even sure if I want to order the fifth book in the series. But pure curiosity will probably win over. Plus – the series has seriously rocked up until now.

Did you ever have a moment where a character’s death brought on real-life shock and grief?

Besides this incident, I recall getting a little weepy when Rowling killed off one of the Weasley twins and the newly married couple who’d just had a baby. *sigh*

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O - Options

I went into a bookstore the other day for the first time in forever.

As you can imagine, the books sold were in French. It’s hard to find books in English around here besides a one-shelf section in most big stores.  There’s no such thing as a Barnes & Noble in France. At least, none that I’ve seen.

But while perusing the cluttered independent bookstore, I did come across titles of books I recognized and had read in English.  Authors that I’ve come to know through the blogosphere who were lucky enough to have the rights to their books bought up by French publishers.

But instead of feeling at home amongst one of my most favorite objects and pastimes I felt...defeated. It’s the kind of defeat that comes from battling for so long and hard entering a place where your dreams are there staring you in the face – unobtainable and out of reach.  Will my book ever be sold in a store like this?  Will I ever succeed?

I know I have options and I’m weighing them carefully.  I watched a documentary last night with my husband and one of the catch phrases spoke to me.  ‘There are those who know, and those who do.’ 

I know what I have to do.

But I’m not sure when I’ll have what it takes. Some make self-publishing look so easy. But it’s not. It’s not easy to pull yourself together and give everything you have.  No excuses.  No rejection letters. No agent or editor, publisher or marketing director to blame if you don’t claim success. 

It’s just you – the work you put it into your book, your cover, and your promotion that determines whether you make it or not. Talk about pressure. But, at least today, we have options.  Which is more than most aspiring authors could have said ten years ago.  

Monday, April 16, 2012

N - The Nod

*While reading Chloe Neil’s ‘Some Girls Bite’*

  ‘ Just as Morgan cocked back a fist, I stepped forward, pushed through the remaining veil of vampires, and stretched my sword just so the tip of it lay before the pulse that throbbed in his neck. I lifted a brow at him. “I’m going to have to ask you to step back.” The ballroom went silent. His dark eyes…”

“Hey, Honey?  I was thinking about wah wah wah wah wah wawawawawa….wa…What do you think?”

“Uh huh. Sure.” I nod blankly, eyes still glued to the page.

 ‘…“This isn’t your concern,” Morgan said. “You’re only going to get hurt.”
A corner of my mouth lifted. “Because I’m a girl?”
His lips tightened, and he leaned forward, pricked his neck against the sharpened tip of the blade. A single crimson drop slid down the…’


‘… “ First Blood!” was called by someone in the crowd and the vampires around us backed up…’


‘I grinned at Morgan beneath the fringe of my bangs and called up all the bravado I could muster. “You’re here. I’m here. We gonna dance?”…’


‘His eyes widened in surprise…’


‘…his lips parting.’


‘I extended..’



“Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom….”

Gah! “Yes?”

My four-year-old's round face enters my field of vision. It's covered in chocolate and some other unidentified sticky substance that seems to have gotten in her hair, making it stand on end.  She stares blankly back at me a moment, forgetting what she wanted. But then raises one dubious eyebrow. "I'm hungry."

My eyes start straying back towards the page.

“Uh huh.”

‘…his gaze went hot, voice dropping down to a fierce whisper. “Yield, damn it. I won’t fight you. A fight isn’t the thing I want from you, Merit….”’

“So, Mom, can I wah wah wah wah wah wawawawawa?”

“Uh huh.” I nod. “Sure.”

Needless to say, the ‘reading-a-good-book-don’t-bother-me nod’ has resulted in the hubs purchasing an electronic drum kit, my promising ice cream and lollipops for lunch (which I belatedly retracted when my four-year-old started clamoring loudly through the cabinets in search of sugar) and my agreeing to a trip to the town-hall swimming pool with all three kiddies in toe this afternoon (my own personal version of hell). Lovely.

Have you ever agreed with something against your better judgment while in the throes of a good story?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

M - Move Back, Dammit!

A complete disregard for personal space is something I’ve gotten used to living in France.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been bumped, pushed, or stepped on while waiting in line at the grocery store, post office, or bank.  People just don’t seem to have a problem standing on top of one another.

But at least, in those circumstances, a loud sigh and annoyed scowl can usually ward the person off…a few inches.

The problem is, this kind of ‘closeness’ can also be a habit of people I work with.  I have two (female) colleagues in particular who are always stepping reeeaaally close to me when they talk.

The first time this happened, I tried leaning/stepping back a foot or two but they just popped my invisible personal space bubble and slid right back in. 

I realized this is just the way they are (probably a habit formed from trying to converse in low voices about students who are getting on their nerves). I noticed a lot of teachers are always hunching really close to each other when they talk and there are students around.

But the American in me tenses every time they step in for conversation.  I tell myself  ‘Stay still, Katie. Just stay still. Their face will have to stop heading towards yours at some point. They need at least an inch of air to speak, right? ’.

Then I have trouble concentrating on what they’re saying with thoughts like:

 ‘Her face is taking up my entire field of vision.’

‘I can’t see anything but her face.’

‘ I don’t even look at my own face this close in the mirror.’

‘I bet I could totally apply my makeup using my reflection in her eyes,’  

I think if I were in America, I wouldn’t have a problem with telling someone to move back into their own zone. But here in France, I tend to try and be more tolerant – even if it drives me nuts.

What do you do when someone keeps popping your personal space bubble?

Friday, April 13, 2012

L- Lame

Yup. That’s what this post is going to be.

First thing to come to mind this morning was that song ‘L is for the way you look at me’.

Now I can’t get it out of my head.

Then I started out with L – Lonely.  But talking about loneliness made me kinda…well, lonely.

Then I tried ‘Laugh Lines’.  But since 30 is quickly approaching, I don’t want to think about any lines in my face right now.  Not even the happy ones.

During the drive to school drop-off, I kept thinking:




Lipo Suction!

 Ew. No.


Really? What the hell could you possibly have to say about Listerine?


Kind of feels like you had one this morning.

Lazer Tag.  Leprechauns.  Lap Dances, Life after Death…


So there you have it. I am completely uninspired by the letter ‘L’ which therefore leaves me with this ‘Lame’ post.

I hope you all have a great weekend!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

K - Killing Me Softly

No matter what version we’re talking about (yes, I was first introduced to it by the Fugees and memorized the words like any other 14-year-old of the time.) - I love this song. You all know it. The lyrics are about a woman going to see a concert and she ends up relating to the musician's words and music on a really deep, emotional level.

Haven’t we all been there?  Been surprised by a song that throws us off our game?

Now, some people put all their favorite songs on an ipod and listen to them while walking/running/taking the bus/at school/at work/going to the bathroom – (and let’s be honest. Sometimes you’re listening to a song and feeling like you have a soundtrack to your life. Who hasn’t discreetly listened to ‘stayin alive’ while walking down the street and strutted around like John Travolta in tight pants. No one?  Guess it's just me then.)

But the best is when a song comes on that makes you feel when you least expect it.  It might be a song you’ve heard a hundred times, but it just happens to pop up on the radio in your car or while you’re out shopping and for some cosmic reason – it speaks to you in that moment and makes you feel things you weren’t feeling seconds before.

There are certain artists who manage to do this to me repeatedly. Like Adele. Oh Adele!  Her music doesn’t always touch me.  I mean, once you’ve heard her hits a million times, they tend to lose flavor. But the first time I heard each of her songs, I couldn’t help but get swept away.

What was the last song that changed your mood unexpectedly?

For me it was Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know. It’s relatively new (actually, I just saw it was used on GLEE tuesday so it must be getting good coverage) and I didn’t recognize the offbeat, somewhat sexy rhythm. The singer’s voice is clear and emotion-filled and the chorus has an old school POLICE-type feel to it. It immediately put me in this relaxed, almost feline mood the first time I heard it on the radio.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J - Jackass

We all have those moments.  The times we look back upon and cringe at our lack of foresight, etiquette, restraint…underpants.

Like most people, I have plenty of jackass moments to mull over – like that time I went to meet the new boss.  Or the time I wore through the back tires of a car because I didn't realize the parking brake was up.  

The car wasn't mine.

But most often than not, my jackass moments are only witnessed by a few close friends or family members.  Rare are the occasions where we make a fool out of ourselves in front of a large audience of people we don’t know.


But they do happen. 

At least, in my case.

It was sophomore year of college.  I had a presentation to do for Connecticut History class – the kind of presentation where you prepare slides that are flashed up on the big screen in front of an amphitheater full of students.

We had to pick a moment in history and show how it affected the people of Connecticut. I did mine on prohibition.  I had a blast looking through old journal articles and collecting scandalous stories about organized Connecticut crime families, shoot outs, and farmers and factory workers who were secretly making moonshine and running underground speakeasies. 

I usually do okay in front of an audience- once I get going.  I remembered to project my voice, stay focused and only look down at my documents to remind myself of the next major points.

I gotta admit, my audience seemed pretty attentive.  Compared to the Great Depression or fish farming - prohibition was a fairly interesting topic to my peers.  It dealt with alcohol, breaking the rules, and secret parties, after all – everything you need to inspire a roomful of college students.

I was closing up my presentation when the professor opened the floor up to questions.  There weren’t many and I can’t even remember most of them.

But I sure as hell remember the last one.

A fellow student raised his hand and asked ‘So, are you of dry or wet sentiment?’

It was a stupid question.

I should have thought about it a little longer.  I should have phrased things in my head. But, like the jackass that I am, I took the bait and replied without thinking:

‘Oh, I’m totally wet.’

The room went silent and I immediately closed my eyes and cringed.  ‘Katie…did you really just say ‘you’re wet’ in front of a hundred or so college sophomores?’


Yes, I did.

And it didn’t go unnoticed.  The snickers could still be heard as I packed up my presentation and took my seat.

Such is the life of a jackass.

Any jackass moments you’d like to share?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I - Inappropriate Itching

Yeah. Why does my nose only itch at the most inappropriate times? (You didn’t think I’d talk about that other kind of itching, did you? Ewe. -  Although Ash-matic did have a very interesting post a couple weeks ago about that kind of itching, if you want a good laugh)

 After I take such care with my complexion-calculated base to cover up all the red spots and freckles and I finally get to the work/party/dinner/other-location-where-I-want-to-look-spiffy,  that’s when my nose starts to itch like some kind of invisible fairy is twitching a feather under my face.  And let's face it- there's no pretty way to scratch your nose. No matter what you do, everyone thinks you're picking it.

But when I can get a moment alone, of course I take the bait and rub, sniff, wipe my little heart out and end up looking like I’m suffering from severe allergies – and of course, I end up getting face-colored gook on my hands which transfers immediately to my black satin blouse/purse/pants – whatever makes it stand out the most.

Oh, the trials and tribulations of being a woman…


Almost forgot to post today. 

Welcome to the randomness that is the A-Z!

Do you have any inappropriate itching stories?


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