Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Reflections

I'll be doing my own 2008 wrap-up post in the next couple of days, but thought this looked like fun. I shamelessly finked it from Carol's blog. :)

1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before? Well, I graduated law school. I can't think of anything more interesting than that. LOL.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Some of them, but unfortunately, on the writing front I failed miserably.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Claire did!

4. Did anyone close to you die? Yes. My grandmother, Ruby.

5. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? A more upbeat outlook on things -- life in general and towards my writing.

6. What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Losing my grandmother. That was seriously one of the roughest times in my entire life. I'm glad I was there when she passed, but the memory of it is hard.

7. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Goodness...guess that would be law school again. There has to be something better than that!

8. What was your biggest failure? Ugh. Falling into a funk and letting it keep me from finishing FI. That's right... _I_ let it. My fault. I'm owning it.

9. What was the best thing you bought? Nothing is coming to mind...I really haven't made any major purchases this year. Perhaps a tub of Chubby Hubby.

10. Whose behaviour merited celebration? A lot of my writer friends -- who either signed with an agent, finished an MS, sold a book, etc.

11. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? My own!

12. Where did most of your money go? Visa. :)

13. What did you get really, really excited about? Finishing law school -- not having to take finals this past fall. YAY.

14. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Sadder, I suppose...though I feel okay right now.
ii. thinner or fatter? Erm, thinner. I had some really weird weight loss earlier this year and I haven't "bounced back."
iii. richer or poorer? Poorer!

15. What do you wish you'd done more of? Writing.

16. What do you wish you'd done less of? Being sad and/or a bum.

17. Did you fall in love in 2008? Yes -- if my characters count as love interests. :)

18. Did your heart break in 2008? Yes.

19. What was your favourite TV program? Project Runway & Top Chef.

20. What kept you sane? Good friends.

21. What political issue stirred you the most? The election -- easy one this year. :) I crossed party lines, which is a pretty big deal.

22. Who was the best new person you met? My friend, Melanie. She's all kinds o' awesome.

23. Favorite book you read? The Book Thief

24. Favorite movie? Mama Mia -- what fun!!!

25. What are your plans for 2009? Finish both FI and BTPM and move on to something else! Anything else! :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Cuz That Last One Was So Much Fun!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

This Is So Wrong, It's Right! (All in honor of Courtney Summer's debut novel, CRACKED UP TO BE. May it sparkle for years to come!)

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

ETA: In case you're confused, this is the cast of TWILIGHT w/Courtney Summers.

Oh, and don't forget to check out the second video after this one -- it's Disco and totally sparkilicious.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Whoo-hoo, We're Having A Heatwave!

56 degrees today. The snow and ice are melting. Color me very very happy.

Had a great holiday, though I feel like I'm only now beginning to come out of my food coma. LOL. I had a quiet Christmas evening--fam is out of town, had the house to myself--with the dogs. I made some popcorn with my new Whirley-Pop and watched some Christmas movies. Strange choices -- The Muppet Christmas Carol and Home Alone. I began The Family Stone but fell asleep just a few minutes into it. It was a quiet evening, but a very relaxing one. I think I needed some down time. :)

Anyway -- back to work today -- and then I'm hoping to make my final push towards finishing FI. I honestly can't say whether or not I can make it by Thursday, but I'll give it the old college try. (Which is to say there's a very slim chance of it actually happening, but I'm going to pretend that I can do it and hope for the best. (g))

So what was the best gift you got this Christmas? I got a lot of gift cards to church, which is pretty much all kinds o' awesome. :) I plan on going on a worship spree that will take weeks to come down from. (g) I also got the aforementioned Whirley-Pop in the Dirty Santa game we played Christmas Eve. Yeah, so okay, it was one of the gifts I brought (I bought gifts for both me and my grandpa), but there was nothing in the rules that said you couldn't steal the gift you brought. LOL. I really wanted it! And the popcorn I made was oh so good. I can't wait to try some of the recipes that came with it. Kettle corn...mmm.

Anywho...have a great weekend if you're still celebrating with family! :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

I'm off to my grandfather's house this afternoon -- just a short break cuz I'll be back tomorrow night. But I wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!! :)

Be safe and I'll talk to you soon!

Monday, December 22, 2008

I Kid You Not!

It is NEGATIVE 9 degrees this morning. Eeeee...that makes me...ugh....I don't wanna get out of bed for that kind of weather!

Wish me luck getting the old car started. (g)

Sunday, December 21, 2008


It's 3 degrees outside here. THREE. And that doesn't include the wind chill, which has us in the negative double digits somewhere, mid-20's, I think.

All I want to do is curl up under the covers with a good book. Unfortunately, I have some work to do on FI (yes, I said unfortunately, because I really want to just nest in my bed) and then it's off to regular job tonight. Fun fun fun.

In good news -- we had our family Christmas celebration last night -- for those of us in town. It was great fun -- fantastic food -- and puppy mania. LOL. We give the pups stockings of goodies every year and we've decided Bailey simply can't handle all the excitement. (Chloe, otoh, knows how this whole Christmas thing works and it's all old hat to her now.) Bailey, however, basically got too ramped up and became psycho dog, wanting all the toys and treats (including Chloe's) at once -- even when they were on opposite sides of the room. She spent a lot of time in time-out (her kennel) and went to bed very grumpy. I woke in the middle of the night to find her snuggled up against me, so I guess all is forgiven and she's MUCH better today.

Anyway -- I received KT Tunstall's CD, Drastic Fantastic, so I'm super excited about that. I also got the new Batman movie and some gc's to a favorite juice shop in town. So, YAY, good night. :) I'm still waiting on my fam's gifts from Cali -- but I'm fairly sure they're sending GC's so I can go worship at church. (g) You know that will make me Very Happy.

It's gonna be a crazy finish to December for me. I have exactly 10 days to make that final push in finishing FI...I'm hopeful, but we'll see. It seems like I have so much left to do. I'm going to tackle it one day at a time and see how far I get. It's going to be hard because I still have a ton of things to do before Christmas (namely buying for the fam in Cali and getting it all wrapped and shipped) and baking some goodies for my Grandpa. Not to mention making my dishes for our main family celebration on Christmas Eve. And then, yanno...Christmas. (g) I've got to be back to work on Friday, so it will be a short celebration for me.

Busy, busy, busy...but a good busy. :)

On that note, I should probably get some face time in with FI.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ice, Ice...Everywhere Is Ice

Oh man. It's going to take an hour to chip into my car. I got three of the doors open, the engine started...but I bet I could leave it running for an hour and still not be able to crack my way through. Oh joy.

Someone remind me why I moved here.

*pulls out the pickaxe (flimsy ice scraper)*


Time from when I started my car and when I arrived at work (including one sidetrip to favorite coffee shop): 70 min

Time it took to chip out my car: 25 min (prolly 45 min from when I started my car)

Number of times I questioned my sanity on the way to work: Dozens

Number of times I questioned why I moved to this godforsaken hole: Once -- right about the time I arrived at my parking lot and discovered my driver's side door had frozen shut again.

Morning, everyone! :)

My New Favorite Blog

Check it out. It's frickin' hilarious and the brother speaks the truth! (g)

A little convo between Jen and Jenna about the new discovery:

Jenna: It also makes me feel like a complete and total moron.

Jen: why?

Jenna: It's like reading the bible or...yeah, going to church. You get there and they start preaching about how us godly folk are supposed to act and you realize how much of a heathen sinner you are.

(This...THIS is why I LOVE Jenna. (g))

Thursday, December 18, 2008


To each and every member of the University of Nebraska Women's Volleyball Team.

Thank you for a great season. An amazing comeback in the quarterfinals, and a near upset in the semi-finals.

You girls rock!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for a great match tonight! I love the fact that Penn State can say they had a perfect season...erm...EXCEPT for those two sets against Nebraska. (very big grin)

Looking On The Bright Side

This time, last year, I would've just finished two weeks of hellish finals.


Life is good. It's real good. :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Christmas Survey

I was tagged by several of the MA ladies, and I challenge the rest of you girls to respond! :)

Insert your own answers and pass it on to whomever you feel would respond – including the person who sent it to you

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Paper all the way...and good paper at that. I take a long time to choose.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Ugh, REAL. Nothing tops the scent of a real pine tree. I know it's probably all kinds o' bad for the environment, but I can't stand the fake ones. (Not that I get a choice about this, mind. I've had to live with artificial for the past few years and this year we're not even putting that up. (!!!!))

3. When do you put up the tree? A week or so after Thanksgiving (usually -- again, no tree this year. Blech.)

4. When do you take the tree down? My stepdad would say Christmas day, I would say after New Year's, my aunt would say February or March.

5. What do you do with your tree after you take it down? Trash man takes it away.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? I remember getting a tape deck and the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack, which I listened to for HOURS.

7. Hardest person to buy for? Anyone in my family. They're so picky and don't always appreciate my "creative" buying.

8. Easiest person to buy for? My mom. She always wants The Same Things.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? No. Haven't invested in one yet.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail -- nothing like snail mail.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Well, it's a two-way tie. Every year for the past few years, my family plays Dirty Santa on Christmas Eve. Our spending limit is 15 dollars, so people tend to get a bit creative with their gifts. The first year I won two pounds of tiger meat with crackers. Tiger meat, as my family calls it, is raw hamburger that has loads of spices. (blink) Things like this make me believe I'm adopted. The second was last year when I received two four-packs of Clamato beer. If you don't know what that is, it's beer with clam and tomato juice. *blech* My aunt bought it, and by God, she drank it, too. I wasn't going near that crap.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Home Alone (Cheesy, but nothing gets me in the Christmas mood quite like this move does.)

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Erm, I'd like to say early, but that's such a lie. I have, on occasion, purchased gifts after Christmas, for the following year, but it's a rare occurrence. Most of my shopping is accomplished in the last couple of days leading up to Christmas.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Not that I can, I don't think so.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Too many things to list. We have some great cooks in my family and we stuff ourselves silly.

16. Lights on the tree? The more the better.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Hard to choose. I'll Be Home For Christmas and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, and Winter Wonderland, and...okay, I can't choose.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I split my time between my mom's house in Cali and my grandparents' here. So, yeah, guess I always travel.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? You know Dasher, and Dancer, and Prancer, and Vixen...Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen....but do you recall, the most famous reindeer of all?? Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. (That would be a yes.)

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Hmm, I haven't decided yet. I like them both.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? We do the Dirty Santa thing on Christmas Eve and open all other gifts in the morning. Usually I'm the only one doing this. LOL. I DO have some self-restraint after all! (g)

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? People who complain about Christmas music. Seriously. What's up with that?

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? I don't have a theme. A number of years ago, I started collecting random ornaments -- in the hopes that someday I'll have a really great collection of unique decorations -- no two the same.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? It's all good.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Hmmm, nothing really comes to mind. I just want my family and friends to be healthy and safe. Whatever presents I get are gravy.

I Got Bookwormed!

By Beth.

The whole idea is that you pick up the book closest to you, open it to page 56, and copy the fifth sentence down, followed by the next 2-5 sentences. And for fun, you can also pull out sentences from your own book.

H'okay, here goes.

Closest book: The MOOR by Laurie R. King. (Technically it was WICKED LOVELY by Melissa Marr, but page 56 ends after 3 or 4 sentences.)

I haven't read this book yet, so let's see what she has to offer as a teaser...

"I take it you found nothing," I said as I helped him daub the leaks.

"On the contrary, I made a very interesting discovery. Unfortunately, I cannot see what possible bearing it might have on the case."

"What did you find?"

He reached into an inner pocket and drew out a small, stoppered bottle such as the chemist dispenses, dirty but dry.

DUNT DUN DUN! What's up with the vial?

And for fun -- from BY THE PALE MOONLIGHT

His words had a surreal quality to them. Just when had I fallen through the looking glass? “Moon cycle?”

A smile tugged at the corners of his mouth. “I know it sounds crazy—trust me, I know. I still haven’t grown used to it all.”

I licked my lips, my throat suddenly dry. “Just so I know we’re talking about the same thing—we’re in agreement that you’ve been changing into a we-werewolf?” The word felt foreign to my tongue.

“I prefer to call it ‘humanly-challenged.’”

I tag Jenna, Helene, Carrie, Rachel and Kristen.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Few Random Thoughts

I entered Nathan Bransford's 2nd Sort-of-Annual Stupendously Ultimate First Paragraph Challenge. (Whew! Talk about a mouthful)

I don't know why I do these things. I get all tied up in knots waiting for the results, and inevitably, I'm disappointed when my 'graph fails to impress. Must remind myself not to enter a contest when I'm feeling tender -- which is all of the time. (g)


I've been listening to a million and one audio books at work. Okay, not that many, but at least 30 by now -- more, probably. And I'm in love with this format at the moment, especially because THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak is A-MAZING. If you haven't read this book, well, I don't know what to say if you haven't. :) It's wonderful and I can't recommend it enough. But if you haven't (or even if you have) -- go get the audio version. The narrator is absolutely wonderful (his voice does Death COMPLETE justice), and I've fallen in love with the story all over again.


Tomorrow is my holiday party at work. I had to sign a waiver today because apparently there's a slight chance I could get hurt/lose a limb/have an eye poked out. How?? *long sigh* There will be dodgeball.

I can't begin to say what a bad idea this is.

I'm considering calling in sick.

Who signs a waiver to go to a party??


I've begun working on the next 50-100 pages of FI. I'm still feeling good today, but I'm tired. We'll see how far I get.


We had our "team" holiday party today. Last night I spent 2 hours making a cranberry cheesecake that turned into an utter failure. In the end, I didn't take it.

Let me break it down:

I started by making the crust. Somehow, in my tired, frazzled mind, I got stuck on the idea that 1/2 cup of butter equals 2 sticks.

I used my aunt's big ole' mixer the first go round. (Notice I said -1st-) When I went to "pat" it into the pie dish, it was awfully...gloopy and sticky. Hmm. I've made this recipe before and I don't recall it being of this consistency. (Jen eyes the mixer) Maybe I mixed it too long (I normally mix by hand). Maybe it's one of those weird cooking things where if you don't stir it for exactly the number of seconds they tell you to it becomes a big ole' mess that can't be salvaged.

But I remained hopeful. I glooped it into the pan, glooped it up the sides, frowned at the end result, stuck it in the oven, and hoped for the best.

Five minutes later, I had a puddle of dough in the middle of the pan. It had melted down the sides and was basically a big pool of butter.

It gets worse from here.

~2nd attempt~

Yes, I said second.

Obviously my failure was in thinking I could toss all the ingredients in the mixer and let it go for a few minutes. I mixed it into gloop. Hahahaha. I'm no fool. I'll do it by hand this time.

Once again:

Jen . o O (1/2 cup = 2 sticks)

(That's a thought bubble if you didn't catch it. (g))

I mix it...mix some more...crap, this is just like the last batch!

Jen . o O (*&^%$^&*&^%$#$%^&*(*&^%$#@#$%^&*(*&^%$#@!!!!!)

Mind, by now I've used an entire package of butter.

What am I doing wrong??

*hand* *forehead* D'OH!

I got the crust right on the third attempt. Amazing what happens when you follow the instructions and get the measurements correct.

Everything else went smoothly -- got the batter poured, the fruit piled on top, followed by a mixture of sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon.

(baking, baking, baking)

Delicious smells wafting from the kitchen...mmmmm.

I followed my aunt's recipe card to a T -- forgetting that she always adjusts the cook time/s and temperature/s when she makes it.


It burned. LOL.

Okay, so it's not horrible, but it's definitely not something I would ever serve to people I have to...yanno...see again. (g)

Note to self: Remember when you almost said forget about it -- they can live without one more dessert?? Listen next time.


Okay, off to write and pretend I'm not freaked out by NB's contest. (Good luck to all those who entered, btw!)


I'm so excited!!! I rearranged the entire 100 pages and it is AWESOME! Everything fits together so much better now. Weird that I didn't see this earlier. Well, to be honest, I did. I knew _something_ was off, but I couldn't put my finger on it.

Now when I read the pages, it feels like a story -- no sudden jars between just...FLOWS.


And I have a pretty clear vision on the next 100 pages or so. Just need to get down and dirty and start working on them.

I think I'm still on track to finish by the end of the month...we'll see. :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cut! Paste! and Rearrange!

So, I'm not exactly moving forward on new pages of FI right now. Why? Because a new wrinkle developed that sort of changes the flow of the section I just finished working on. *smacks forehead*

At times like these, I wish -- I sincerely wish that I was a linear/outline writer.

Anyway -- tonight my goal is to rearrange everything. I would say it affects about 70 pages of the 100 I just pulled together. All because my antag decided to up the stakes a little with Maddy. The jerk. (g)

No, really -- I'm happy, but frustrated with the backtracking I have to do right now. BUT, if my speculations are right -- it will be much better in the end. Here's hoping, right? :)

Of course, this sets me back on my MA goals, but what can you do?

Monday, December 8, 2008


John Green conquers his fear of heights (sort of).

And I thought I was bad with heights! I got nothing on him.

Friday, December 5, 2008

What Goes Down Always Comes Back Up

I'm making good progress on FI. Last night I took a step back to sketch out all of the pieces I have left--seeing how they all fit together. I've had to lose some stuff I absolutely love, but I have a very clear picture of where I need to go from here on out. It's a pretty well-marked path, so I'm hoping I don't get lost along the way. (g)

Jenna said she was preparing for my next freak-out session. I do wish I could give her a schedule. :)

Anywho -- some good things to celebrate:

--I've managed to save the senior dance! (yay -- yippee and huzzah!) It'll be modified, but now it makes more sense in the overall story -- and well, it doesn't stick out like the sore thumb it was. (g)

--I filled in an important piece that explains one of my character's motivations. Makes everything flow that much better now.

--I have many, many scenes that need to be revised/tweaked, but I think I only have _four or five_ new ones left to write. (!!!!) Oh, I need to tack on little bits here and there -- transitions -- but four or five more scenes.. Good Gawd, I'm getting close.

--As much as I'll probably eat my words--maybe even by tomorrow--I'm glad I did this rewrite. My writing is stronger and the story is better for it. There have been times--and there will be plenty of more times in my future--that I've wanted to pull my hair out, but deep down I know this was good for me. I've learned a lot. And as I told Jenna, if DA doesn't want this book when I'm finished...fuch it. I'll find someone else who does. :) Yeah. (But I really, really, really hope he loves it as much as I do!)

--I've decided--with 100% certainty--that I have to write the prequel to this book someday. I want to see Drew and Maddy meet. Every time I put in a little bit of their backstory, I CRAVE time to tell their story. It's slowly filling in, so hopefully I'll have that chance someday.

--I had a really great idea pop up for book 4 or 5. I love it so much I almost started working on it last night. But no, book 1 first. :)

--I've made progress. Always cause for a celebration!

Have a good night.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Let's Kick Chicken Little Back To His Coop

A great post by Janet Reid: HERE about why we SHOULD NOT PANIC regarding all this bruhaha about Black Wednesday.

I've been saying this for a long time now -- the economy may be bad, but the panic everyone is letting take hold of them is making things MUCH MUCH worse. Chill, people. Chill.

It's scary, yeah, but seriously...let's break it down:

1. Good books WILL get published. (The publisher's have all said this.)

2. We should all be striving to write good books.

3. If our book isn't good enough to get published, then it doesn't matter what the state of the book industry is. We're not ready.

On a personal note -- I simply can't worry about this crap right now. I have a book to write. I'm scared enough about the idea of it not being good enough, irregardless of the economy. You can say I'm sticking my head in the sand...I'm okay with that. Hopefully I'll be able to get this dang book finished while I'm in hiding.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Winter has officially arrived with our first accumulated snow. To add insult to injury, we also had a nice sheet of ice all over the roads. It took me 40 minutes to get to work--making me late--when it usually takes about 10. Granted, I saw a woman stop in front of me and slide a good 6 inches to the right (that when she was probably going 2 miles an hour)...but goodness.

It doesn't really put me in a good frame of mind to work this morning. And my good mood is usually tenuous at best when I arrive anyway.

I want summer. I miss fall. Come on spring.

(Okay, I wouldn't grouse this much normally -- I love snow (for at least the first month of winter! Swear!)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Best Lunch Break Ever

Have you ever read a scene you think is going to need a lot of work and feel yourself completely engrossed -- edge of your seat tense -- wanting to know what happens next?

I just read through a scene that I worked on for a very long time. I "finished" it this weekend and thought it had some issues I'd have to cope with before it was final draft ready. There are still a few bumps, but this thing read really well. It gave me shivers. :) It felt like someone else had written it.

Gah, I love this feeling. I'm so excited to finish this book.

I can't wait to get home so I can discover what comes next (I still have to write the next transition between this and another big chunk).

Happy writing to everyone! :)

I Wanna Be A Punker Rocker, Too!

Thanks to Nina for introducing me to Sandi Thom's "I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker!"

What a voice!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Is It Me?

Or does anyone else miss the pic of Ty?

FI Update

I know it probably doesn't seem like I've been focused on writing (it may have something to do with my plethora of really random posts the last week or two), but I have been trying to keep to some sort of schedule.

I've also spent a good chunk o' time pulling out my hair and stressing about my filing system.

{Quick aside: With the first version of FI, I literally wrote the first 80-90% of the book in _one_ file. You read that right. One file -- scenes all randomly out of order, placed as I wrote them. I know that sounds like a logistical nightmare, but it worked great for me. I knew exactly where every scene was--similar to how the person in your office who has the messiest desk knows exactly where that small post-it with that email addy on it is. You know someone like that, don't you?

Anyway, I tried breaking up this version into separate files, and I'm so screwed up. I have a million versions floating around and I _really_ need to go through them and delete/move the irrelevant ones to an entirely different place. But that would take hours and right now I just can't justify the time. Sigh. Next time I'm going back to my tried and true. One big fat file (backed up many times, of course (g). And printed at strategic times. :)}

I'm making good progress, though. The MS is hovering around the 85-90K mark now. There are some things I know will need to be cut, but I'm just trying to push through to the end at this point. I keep saying I'm close, and it honestly feels like I am, but this time I really am getting close. This puppy WILL be finished before Christmas, and ready to go out to D.A. sometime soon after the New Year. I'm not going to rush it just to get it to him, but I'm going to give this book 100% of my attention from here on out. My friends won't even know my name by time I get back in contact. (g) Not that they've seen much of me the way it is. :) As for sleep...what? Who needs sleep?! Not me.

On that note...I'm going to get in a few hours now. I'm starting to pull the next few chapters together--plugging in any holes and adding transitions to make it all flow together. It's tough, tedious work...but alas, it needs to be done.

Sometimes I really envy linear writers. You see this stuff as you go. Me, I have to wait until the very end to see those pages all together. It's such a great feeling. I'm holding on to the memory of the first time I finished this blasted book...those nicely stacked pages...MY STORY. Yes.

Okay..I'm off!