Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mid-Year Check In

My second blog post, before I had any followers and followed anyone, was a written record of my resolutions for the year.

With this being the last day of August, the majority of yet another year has somehow passed.

Time to check in on those resolutions.

New Year Resolutions 2010

Listen to music every day. Check, especially thanks to the gym. 
Read every day. Close, but some slacking. 
Write as close to every day as possible. Same as above. 
Finish writing and editing Eternal Spring Um, well, I finished it...
Successfully grow some herbs Yes! And many other plants. :) 
Learn how to make palak paneer Hm, not yet. Totally forgot about this one, and now I'm hungry. 
Save x dollars each month with Evan Ongoing, but doing well. 
Get a bird feeder Haha, oh god YES! I LOVES my birds!
Learn to play the violin Still working on this one. Wrist is close to shaping up. 
Once wrist can handle it, get back into yoga Check! But I won't be doing any handstands. 
Drink at least 64 oz. water daily No, but trying really hard. 
Write and edit 2nd, as-yet-unnamed novel Write, check. Edit, in-progress. 
Win NaNoWriMo '10 Woot!
Find a new job, eventually This one is not happening. Yet. But I'm going back to school for a new career, so that counts, right? 

How about you? Did you make any resolutions this year, and how are they coming along? 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Round Here

Late August in Georgia is still blazing hot.
Not quite as hot as July, mostly, but still hot as Hades. And the humidity reaches all new levels.

It's awesome. No, really. I love sweating in five seconds or less. And my hair? Let's just say that those of us with curly hair really love it. Really.


It's obvious from my blog background, but I'm ready for fall. So ready. We had an unusually cold winter and were so ready for warm weather this year, but like the fickle folk we are, warm weather is now boo. Cooler weather now, please. kthnx.

Along with the desire for fall, I have been waxing some serious sentiment for NaNoWriMo the last week or so. I love the holidays, and since NaNo falls around the holidays, I guess it's just a big ol' brew of happy, y'know?

I have no clue what I'll be doing for NaNo this year so far. A few ideas have been drifting around in my head, but nothing that really reaches out and slaps me. I like to write sci-fi in the cold months. Don't ask me why...just one of my idiosyncrasies, I guess. Unfortunately, neither of the ideas I've considered for NaNo are sci-fi--not even close. I'm not worried about it yet--plenty of time between now and then (67 days, right? Oh shit.)

But I'll tell you this much: I am super pumped to have more friends doing NaNo this year! And by friends, I mean all you crazy people, of course! The progress bar speaks to the video gamer in me, and I love nothing more than to race for wordcount. So fun!

Are you doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year? Are you pumped?? 
Are you ready for cooler weather??? Are you going to send me snow this year???? 

PS: If you're in the NaNo spirit like I am, go ahead and buddy me! My username is summerbp 

Two naughty kitties want you to do NaNoWriMo

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Long December

For the past two years, my ringtone has been Counting Crows' song "A Long December."

I still have the phone, still have the ringtone, but the time is rapidly approaching in which I'll be upgrading. I'm not one of those who's obsessed with cellphone gadgetry--I drop mine far too often to think about having something that cost more than...um, $0.00. Yes. I'm one of those. The free-upgrade-phone person. I've had this Motorola Razr forever, it seems like.

I hate it. The buttons are dying, so my texts often look like a crazy lady wrote them.

But that song...I just don't know if I'll recognize that my phone is ringing without hearing that opening strain:

A long December
And there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last... 

When I first started Saving Me, back during NaNoWriMo '08, this song sort of became the theme for the book.

Still is, I guess. Since I was (and still am) completely obsessed with my book and its characters (really, how vain, right?), I downloaded the song as my ringtone, so it would remind me of Lily & Co. every time someone called.

And you know, it works.

So what will I do when I get my new phone in October? Hell, I guess I'll have to be done with SM by then so I can attribute a new ringtone to a new novel, right? That's motivation to finish revisions, isn't it?

I think so.

Ever had a song ingrain itself so completely to your novel that you can't associate it beyond that context?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Guess That Character Blogfest

It's that time! My lovely friend Jen, at unedited, is hosting her first blogfest today (and tomorrow).

So how does it go? Easy:

I post a short character-driven snippet. You get a feel for them, maybe a mental picture, and leave a guess for how they look in your head.

Tomorrow, I post a picture of my imagining of the character.

Fun, right? Let's go.


     “Slow down,” I said, blocking another branch from whipping into my eyes. Linden squeezed my hand, our sweat-slicked palms sliding against each other.
     “Want me to carry you?” he asked, holding the Coleman lantern just below my face.
     “No, I—put me down!”
     The world spun as my feet left the ground. I threw my arms around his neck to anchor myself. His sweat-dampened skin still managed to smell delicious, to remind me of many nights of soaked sheets and basic human instinct.
     He pulled me closer to his chest, then kissed my shoulder. “Now you can keep up with me.”
     A few more minutes in the woods, and we emerged at a clearing. It’d been years since I’d visited this spot, since I’d lain on the mossy earth and looked up at the limitless mountain sky while the river babbled secrets.
     The swimming hole seemed a bit smaller and the trees blocked even more of the night sky, but the holy quality of the air remained the same.
    Linden set me down gently, keeping one of his arms wrapped around my waist. I patted my pocket and felt the crunch of paper. All there.
     Holding up the lamp so it cast the largest possible pool of light, Linden walked across the mossy ground and squatted on one of the naturally eroded granite slabs that lined the river. Even with the lantern, the water glinted black. Immutable.
     He balanced the lantern on the uneven stone and looked back at me over his shoulder. The shadows obscured the lower half of his face, but illuminated his eyes.
     “Wanna swim?” he said.


I know it's not much, but it's about the only one without some hint!

What does Linden look like? 

So lemme know what you think, and don't forget to check out the other entries!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

WTF--(is in my cupboard?)

Before I start today's topic, I have an awesome story to share:

Yesterday morning, I met Nicole Ducleroir! If you think she's awesome and entertaining and all-around amazing over the web, you should meet her in person! We had a great time, and ended up chatting for 2 and 1/2 hours. Yowza! Can't wait to do it again!

That's me on the left, looking all awkward in the photo as usual. And that's Nicole on the right, being all photogenic and wearing a beautiful sweater. And if you're wondering why 2 Georgia-living ladies are wearing sweaters in August--Starbucks is friggin' COLD! 

is in my cupboard? 

Ahhh, dinner. We all have to eat it. A lot of us have to make it. At some point or another, we all dread those six letters. 

Even though it's been a couple years since we were living the college dream, mine and E's cupboard/fridge doesn't always reflect that. I'm a lazy shopper at best, so I'm often stuck with the dinner panic and next to nothing in my cupboard. 

What to do? 

Make a random recipe of awesome, of course. 

Since this happens fairly often, I'm going to share these very random, quite basic experiments that turned out quite tasty. 

With photos. Because nothing says Julia Child like taking pictures of your dirty stove. 

Italian Sausage Goulash and Nacho Cheese (makes no sense together, right? WRONG!) 

1. This isn't actually goulash. I have no idea what to call it. 

So, here's what I had on hand:

1 Italian sausage (beef) 
A few cans of black beans
Tortilla chips 

So here's the dilly-yo:

Cut up that sausage and brown the meats. Careful--it spatters! (No cooking naked.) 

Since I'm cooking for 2, I only used one can of each. I drained the Rotel, but not the black beans. 
At this point, I also put in a hearty spoonful of minced garlic (can't have too much!) and diced a vidalia onion. 
Cook for a while--you know, till everything's nice and soft (aka, done). 

I cooked some brown rice to go with this, but we ended up not using it.

This part is easy. 

For whatever reason, I decided some homemade nacho cheese would be good with this, despite this's decidedly Italian feel. 

A lot of homemade NC is gross, but this recipe is the best I've made yet. I'll continue to experiment in the future:

1.5 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 c. milk
1 oz. cream cheese
1 c. cheddar cheese
1/8 c. monterey jack (I used colby jack, because that's what I had) 
1/2 tsp. chili powder (I used more)
1/4 tsp. paprika 

Melt the butter in a small saucepan, stir in cornstarch. 
Pour in milk, add cream cheese, and stir until smooth. 
While stirring, mix in shredded cheddar and jack cheese. Once smooth, add chili powder and paprika. Stir until well-blended (only about 5 minutes.) 

We ended up pouring the cheese on top of the fake-goulash, and it tasted awesome! 

So next time you're wondering WTF to have for dinner, maybe you should look a little harder at those random cans in your cabinet... 

PS: I never claimed this was fat-free, low-fat or in any way healthy. :) 

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Variety Show

This morning is my very last doctor's appointment regarding el wrist injury. It's pretty fitting, actually, considering that yesterday the 15th was the 1-year anniversary of the initial injury. This morning I'm going over the results of my functional capacity exam with my surgeon, who will tell me the percentage of disability assessed. From here, I'm expecting things with Workers Comp to finally start rolling, so hopefully I'll have an idea of what the future will bring pretty soon here. 

I also finally chose between the two nursing schools that I've been waffling over. The one I chose is a state school, and while it'll take me an hour to drive there, it's a fraction of the cost of the private school. It's also a different program, so I'll be attending part time over the next two years, starting in Fall 2011. There are a few science courses that I need to take, so I deferred my enrollment to this coming spring, when I'll take Human A&P I and Medical Microbiology. 

And that means I have five more months to finish revising my novel, get it to my CPs and beta readers, and figure out what the hell to do next. 

Also, NaNoWriMo '10! Yay!

I've been thinking about the blog recently, and how I've been feeling utterly uninspired for topics to post about, so I think I'm going to start branching out a bit into other interests. Writing will always be my main focus, but there's other stuffs that I like too, ya know? And some of it might even be beneficial. 

Coming up this Wednesday, a spin on a feature...

WTF? (is in my cupboard?) 

Friday, August 13, 2010

I'll Put a Spell On You

ZOMG! Write On! Con is over! NFW!

Done with the acronyms now.

Dudes, I hope you took full advantage of WOC--I know I did. And the learning! Lordie mercy, my brain be full. Especially the revision-related stuffs. 'Twas awesomeness.

This is a perfect introduction without even meaning to be. Also, it is Friday the 13th! Very fitting! Indeed!

Yesterday my favorite vodka-swiller, Simon Larter, bestowed upon me a very fantabulous award:

I guess I'm a "certain case."

(I'll copy this part from Simon, because I'm strange and lazy):

See, this is part of a contest being run by Cate Gardner, whose book of short stories, Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits, is forthcoming from Strange Publications. To enter, all one does is pass along the award to other strange types and let Cate know about it to be entered for one of two prize packages (rules here).

Now now now, I pass it on! To other strangers! (hehe) 

  • Hannah Kincade, of Musings of a Palindrome. I'm pretty sure we were separated at birth, 5 years apart. Don't ask how it happened--it's strange, people! 
  • Falen/Sarah, of Falen Formulates Fiction. Also, to George & Yvie. All pretty fucking strange folks. (You're welcome, Sarah. Hehe) 
  • Lola Sharp, of Sharp Pen/Dull Sword. She is Strange & Beautiful (I'll put a spell on you). Kudos if you get that reference. 

Simon only did three, so I will too. Because he is my role model in everything I do. Except that one thing. 

Announcements next week. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I'm basically 100% certain that if you follow me, then you already know about Write On! Con. And therefore you understand why I and many of my fellow bloggers (you?) are holding off on our own content this week. If you want something to read, just go there. Trust me.

I hope you're enjoying it as much as I am!

Monday, August 9, 2010


For the first order of business, thank you to everyone who commented on my entry for DL's High Drama Blogfest. Like most, I suppose, I always feel a bit nervous before putting up a snippet--especially one that's near and dear to my heart. Not so near and dear that I can't mercilessly rip it out during editing, of course, but near and dear enough to go into my "I love you" folder. 

Second order of business, welcome to all my new followers. I can't dance and I'm not very funny, but I can carry a tune and make a mean pizza, so hopefully we can all be friends. 

Does anyone watch that new(ish) ABC show Rookie Blue? I've been following it since inception, and I just really, really loved this past week's episode (which I just watched last night on Hulu). Talk about some high drama, and some great characterization. And sexual tension. With a bit of payoff. Then even more tension. It was beautiful. My heart raced, I cried when the MC cried, and that sexy scene...HAWT. It's a great show, and I'm thrilled that they've already picked it up for a second season. 

Yesterday I helped my husband's office out for freshman move-in day. Seriously, I don't remember being that excited to move in to college. Guess I've always been a jaded ol' bitch. 

I think my keyboard or mouse or both is dying. LAME. 

I really have nothing to say; I stayed up way too late on Saturday and got up way too early on Sunday, so my sleep schedule is thrown. 

Let me compensate with new photos of the kitty duo:

Mack just can't leave me alone, even when I'm busy. He loves his mommy. 

Saturday, August 7, 2010

High Drama Blogfest entry

Today is my buddy's DL Hammons' much-touted, highly anticipated Blogfest of WONDERS!! Or drama. 

Go hither for the festivities. 

My entry is from the recently-competed MS, Saving Me. This is a scene between my MC, Lily, and her best friend, Hannah.

Rated R  for language.


     Hannah saw me coming up the stairs and disentangled herself from--Michael's?--lap, hurrying through the few remaining mourners to grab my hand. Smudged mascara ringed her eyes, and I could see the top of her bra where her shirt was askew.
     “Where have you been?” she said, pulling me back towards our friends. Sascha had finally shown up, after going God-knows-where after the funeral. For once she looked normal, dressed in a simple floral dress, hair in a ponytail. No flavor of the week hanging around, or at least not that I could see right now.
     “Looking for Tom,” I said. She stopped short and dropped my hand.
     “Why?” Her eyebrows furrowed. I massaged my forehead, trying to chase away the post-tear headache.
“What does it matter? I just wanted to talk to him. That okay with you?” But she still looked pissy. What the hell was her problem?
     “Linden's still here,” she said instead, jerking her thumb over her shoulder. The man in question looked pretty damn preoccupied to me, listening to Sascha tell some story that required flamboyant gesticulation and sloshing of drink.
     “Yeah. So?”
     “Are you being purposefully stubborn?” Hannah reached out and pinched my forearm. Hard.
     “Ouch! Bitch. Why did you do that?” I rubbed the spot. My headache swelled. Hannah rolled her eyes.
     “Forget Tom! Lily! Forget him! He's history.”
     “He's right over there,” I said, pointing back towards the edge of the woods. Hannah grabbed my arm and pushed it down.
      “Stop it. He dumped you, Lily? Don't you remember? In front of all your friends. Humiliated you.”
     I swallowed. “I remember. Thanks.”
     She shook her head. “Unbelievable. Do you remember how long you wallowed in the bottom of your Jack Daniels bottle after he dumped you? Do you remember who it was that brought you back to the real world? It was me and Linden, Lily. Me and Linden.”
     “I know that. What's your fucking point?” I crossed my arms and glared up at her.
     “My fucking point is that Linden's been faithfully fucking in love with you all this time, and all you can do is crawl after Tom like a dog in heat, eating up every fucking crumb of attention that he drops for you.”
     The loud crack reached my ears before I even realized that my hand had moved. And then pain tingled in my fingers and my palm, heat rushing up my arm as the perfect imprint appeared on her pale cheek.
     All conversation ceased. I felt the press of a dozen stares, heard the distant chirp of a frog. And then reality rushed forward.
     Hannah's hands flew to her face and I saw the shimmer of tears in her eyes.


Friday, August 6, 2010

That New-Book Smell...

So here's a question for you:

What kindles your flame?

Here's what I mean: you know when you get something new, and it makes you excited to use it? Like this, for instance:

I got new running shoes yesterday. My previous shoes were old and very worn; I was experiencing pain in both feet and my knees.

"What can fix this?" I asked myself.
"Shopping," myself instantly answered. "Erm, shoe-shopping, that is."

So I found some pretty new running shoes, and even though I'd already been to the gym yesterday, I kept thinking, "ooh, I should go try them out." Fortunately, I was able to wait until this morning for my usual gym time, and you know what?

The shoes were totally worth it. I'm pretty sure I could have run all day (and by all day, I mean for like 10 extra minutes).

I think this carries over into other parts of our life--new appliances, new tools, new clothes, new furniture, new toys--all just dying to be used, and us dying to use them.

So here's my question: when you've worn your MS out, and it's giving you pains everywhere and just not supporting you the way it used to, how do you infuse it with new life? How do you give yourself the urge to write/revise/edit like it's brand new?

New music?
New candles? (maybe I'm the only fire-obsessed writer)
New drinks?
Rearrange your desk?

Curious mind want to know.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

To All the Pants-ers

Evan and I watched Stranger Than Fiction last night--loved it. Emma Watson is great.

She had a line in the movie that sent me uprooting kittens and scrambling for the nearest post-it so that I could share it with you, my fellow writers, and you, my fellow pants-ers:

"Like anything worth writing, it came inexplicably and without method." 

Not to bash on the outlined organizers, of course. But this spoke to me with a bullhorn, and I just had to share.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

High Drama Blogfest/Giveaway!

I'm sure most, if not all, of you follow the wonderfully delightful DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude. If not, go! Go! DL is kind, thoughtful, amusing, and an all-around great guy (and he's not paying me to say this, though if he'd like to, I have a PayPal account. Just sayin'.)

I also consider him to be one of my friends, so I wanted to promote his awesome blogfest, coming this weekend. It's not just any ordinary blogfest--he's also turning it into a giveaway!

Go here to check out the official details.

So what exactly is "high drama"? I'll let him tell you in his own words:

So, what am I after with this Blogfest? Drama. The word is Greek meaning "action", which is derived from "to do". Though its more common usage speaks to a specific mode of fiction represented in performances, it has also come to refer to a specific genre of fiction (neither comedy nor tragedy) involving a serious mood and conflict. That’s all just literary speak meaning drama simply covers a wide spectrum of contention, action crisis and atmosphere designed to amp up the stakes in our stories. It is an element of writing that transcends genre, so everybody can contribute. I’m looking for a sample of your work that demonstrates those qualities.

I've already been thinking about what I'm going to use, but I haven't decided on anything yet. The word limit is 500, and I'm a chatty Cathy, so this might be difficult... 

What are you waiting for?? Go sign up! August 7th is right around the corner...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Aaaaand they're back!

If you're anything like me (a 20-something female), you very may well have read the Sweet Valley Twins/High books, by Francine Pascal.

If not, you should still follow this link.

Here's a teaser:

" It was as if billions of possibilities all fell together perfectly. Twice.”

If you think that's good, you should read the rest of the teaser.

Trust me, if you're feeling bad about your own writing, this will cheer you. Considerably.

pardon me while I get my pre-order on...