Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Why everyone should be pregnant at Christmas ...

It sounds odd, but I think every woman should go through the Holidays in a very pregnant state at least once and here's why:

10. People have to be nice to you. You can't be a Bah Humbug to a waddling basketball. You just can't.

9. Everyone carries your stuff. Cuz ya know, I can't. It's nice.

8. Strange old women at the grocery stores are too busy to come over and rub your belly. This is a true bonus.

7. Once the nesting kicks in you actually look forward to all the Christmas baking and tomfoolery. Have I mentioned that I made 8 dozen truffles in the last 2 days? I'm quite proud.

6. You get to eat all the goodies you want. And the truffle count is down to 6 dozen ... and dropping. But who wouldn't eat those? Mmm. 5 dozen. (Note: This picture is totally for Emily, who makes taking pictures of great food into quite the hobby.)
5. I don't need a coat. I take my own heater everywhere and completely avoid going from too cold outside to too hot inside.

4. I don't have to worry about looking good for family pictures. I just let that belly hang on out there.

3. You're totally allowed to forget stuff: Didn't send a Christmas card to Uncle Lewis? Sorry ... pregnant brain. Happens. Better luck next year.

2. No one asks you to plan anything. It would be more stress. :)

1. Holiday weight gain is expected, demanded by doctors even!

And now for a news bulletin: If you don't have awesome Holiday plans you should join me and my awesome writer's group, The SIX, for our minutes of fame at 7:00 p.m. MST (9:00 p.m. EST) tomorrow, Dec. 16th.

We will be doing an interview on how to have an awesome writing group like ours and how most of us (not me ... yet) have broken into the publishing world and dominated! Yes, DOMINATED!

Here's how to participate:

1: At the appointed time, dial
(long distance charges may apply, depending on your phone plan)

2: Enter the Conference Code: 245657

3: To raise your hand and ask a question, dial 5*

4: To Mute yourself, dial 4*

For more information, you can visit their site at

Friday, December 3, 2010

How writing a book is like your Christmas Tree

This year I've drawn a lot of parallels between my Christmas Tree and my manuscript. More parallels than I'd like to admit. To point them all out would make this the world's longest blog entry.

So, I'll just tell the story of our Christmas tree drama and let you find your own parallels. Or not, if you're awesome and everything goes your way, in which case kindly keep it to yourself! Your awesomeness won't be appreciated at my house today. I'll probably throw gingerbread at you.

Let's begin. So ... you want to buy a Christmas Tree. A pretty one. That all will adore. And you bring home this (courtesy of Home Depot):
OK, so that's not really my tree, or my mantle, but I promise at one point mine looked just as lovely. Then I got two dogs and had a kid. And got pregnant again. And lost all sanity. Moving along.

Time passes. Up close things are great, but when you step back to look at Christmas Tree appearance #2: Not as pretty. The limbs are not all fluffed up, a couple bulbs have gone out, my plot is on a collision course and the star will not stay on straight.

Appearance #3: All hell has broken loose. Wires are all twisted and crossed, whole strands of lights have gone out and ran away with my main character, the star is falling off at regular intervals and the 2 year old has taken up residence in the lower branches, making writing just about impossible.Which brings us to today. Hours and days later, more replacement bulbs than I care to admit, a major reorganization of scenes complete with sticky notes covering every surface of my kitchen and we are getting close friends. Very close.

If you squint it looks pretty good, right? I mean aside from the whole bottom left side not lighting up, and we're not gonna talk about the backside ... who looks back there anyway?! There is a gem in there somewhere. Tell me you see it.
And Charlie Brown's tree turned out great, right?!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Weekend Whirlwind of Fun ... and Food Poisoning

It is a well known fact that when The SIX plan a get-together, an event, a retreat ... anything fun really, that the world conspires against me. It's my punishment for being the most sane of us all.

I was bound and determined this weekend would be different -- I would be attending our impromptu retreat on Friday. And thus began the countdown.

Wednesday Night: Chinese take out. (Mistake! The skull and cross bones on the box should have been a dead give away ... pardon the pun.)

Thursday Night: Permanent residence taken up in our bathroom.

Friday: Much better, but now my husband (aka Retreat Babysitter) had taken up permanent residence in our bathroom.

Friday 4 p.m.: I went anyway. (Note: Left husband with homemade bread, homemade chicken noodle soup ... and my son. Note 2: I am highly motivated by guilt.)

Result: Most productive writing retreat EVER! Wrote 6 pages, and then 2.5 more when I got home.

Lesson learned: Making bread gets creative juices flowing, and I may have passed my curse off to my husband ... but better him than me. He isn't welcome at the "Girls Only retreats." :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pregnant Brain

OK, so I'm pregnant, with a giant case of the Pregnant Brain (the one up there on the left is mine), aka I forget just about everything, including the fact that I have a blog, and that it has a login.

Here are some other lessons learned as a result of my pregnant brain:
  • When eating Halloween candy, and the candy is in your right hand (wrapper in your left), it is the contents in your left hand that should go in the trash. Goodbye sweet Twix.
  • When washing one's hair, rinse is critical.
  • If you're going to the store specifically for one item, you should leave with said item and not $40 of "other stuff."
  • A bra is an important part of a public wardrobe. But not as important as my Panda fanny pack!
  • If there are two words that sound kind of similar, but with completely different meanings, chances are I will use the incorrect word, I've run the gambit on that one.
  • I have an un-potty-trained child, which means I should probably take diapers with me when spending the evening at my mother's house. Pajamas would be good too. Or maybe just move to Africa, and then I wouldn't have to worry, right? And we could put him to work making bread!

I know there are myriads more, but (here comes the shocker) I can't remember. So that's my brain, how's yours?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Theory: Creative types = good liars?

So ... I've mulled over this theory for awhile, but never really wanted to say it out loud because then the inevitable question becomes: Why would you think that? Are *you* a good liar?

Absolutely ... not. I do not lie. I would never. Really, I like to think of myself as an embellisher. Because some things are just asking to be embellished. It's just like that ratty old T-shirt that you love ... put a little puffy paint and bedazzle on that baby and it's better than ever! No one will even notice the holes.

Let's take Scenario #1: Embellishing, cuz it needed it. Read on, you'll see.

I recently posted this on FB

Truth: That particular morning it was just two guys. Four sounds better, thought right? And to be fair, there usually are four of them doing this and they seem to get all the other "lifters" involved if there are any who dare to lift weights alone ... I'm sure more of them arrived shortly after I left the gym, having ran my 5 miles for day. OK, it was 2. Two miles. OK, 1.5. Really, that's the truth.

Scenario #2: Not a good liar.

Hubs: Is something wrong?
Me: No. I'm just tired.
Hubs: I don't buy it. What did I do?
Me: Nothing. Seriously.
Hubs: Then what's with the face.
Me: What face?
Hubs: The something-is-wrong face.
Me: What ... this face?

So, question. Questions, rather. 1. Are you a creative type? 2. Do you embellish? 3. Can you lie?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Learning to be awesome ... even if I'm not Brodi Ashton

Last week was LDS Storymakers conference. It was great.

I didn't win anything in the raffle, unlike Brodi.
I didn't win the First Chapter contest ... again unlike Brodi.

Are you beginning to sense a theme? It was Brodi. In all her sashay-ing glory. But even without the winning, it was fun. Here are some of the non-Brodi highlights:

My favorite quote from opening ceremonies:
"There's always a market for awesome." -- Jennifer Laughlin

Breakout Session #1 from Bree Despain on Paranormal Fiction:
"It's all about the yearning."

If you're writing paranormal romance, know what it is when you start querying. It's not this --

Breakout #2 with Karen Hoover on Pacing:
If your pacing sucks, and you're in the middle of your book ... figure out who you can kill. -- Nora Roberts

Good pacing: Doesn't notice the curtains when there's an axe murderer in the living room.
Good pacing: Doesn't shove you in a dark alley, it lures you in.

Breakout #3 with J. Scott Savage on Villains:
"Hannibal Lecter could have been the best FBI agent." The best villains are pretty close to your heroes -- they just have a different way of getting there.

Breakout #4 with Krista Marino on The First 5 Pages:
"You don't have to be too rule-followy, because this is creative writing. Just don't confuse your reader."

Don't: Have typos.
Do: Have good writing.

Key Note with Dave Wolverton:
For a an excellent recap, visit Valynne's blog. She did a great job. But ... just because it was the one thing I did better than Brodi, all freaking day, I've included my doodles. My doodles were better than hers. And you'll notice that Valynne left out some of the more poignant bullet points in the key note ... like "Don't fake it." and "Exercise the demons."

Monday, April 5, 2010

I hate Blogger.

Had a lovely blog all ready. Hit "Publish Post" and it evaporated right before my eyes.

Tried again. Poof.
Again ... and I get this.

Alas, it was a lovely post we lost today. Truly. About Easter and my family antics about eating sacrificial lamb. Doesn't that sound fantastic? As blogs go, really, it was awesome.

After I give blogger the silent treatment for awhile, kiss and makeup and get up the courage to wrestle my toddler to gain a few more precious minutes at the computer, you may see my attempt to recreate the beauty that was lost.

Until then, hold your breath, I just might bring down the whole system.

But know that I tried my dear readers. All three of you.
Thinking of you ...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Canada's curse backfires, gives me the finger

I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday. Ours was splendid -- complete with a romp at Kangaroo Zoo where my little man climbed the world's tallest slide and had nothing but a cushion of air separating him from the thrill of his life, or possible death. It was all thrills.

Then we ate something "BBQ-ey." Per husband's request.

We had to do something exciting with our day, because I've got the fevah. The Olympic Fever. The let's-sit-on-our-butts-for-hours-and-watch-the-world's-best-athletes-compete-while-we-sit-here-doing-jack-and-eat-whole-cans-of-Pringles fever. Days have gone by and I have not showered. Little man's diaper change is long over due. We are out of Pringles. But I am not left without. I have learned things! Important things!!

This is what I've learned:

  • My writing will suffer in February. Badly. BFF Kim has a fantastic excuse: One of the characters in her manuscript is involved in one of these fantastics snowy sports. I have ... no such excuse.
  • Vancouver has sucky snow conditions -- I can tell you all about the crystal formations, the fog, the slush, and the shade brigade.
  • Figure skating is so much more entertaining when someone lands on their butt.

  • If you watch the entire moguls competitions, see Hannah Kearney win gold, cheer her onand not feel all that bad for besting Canada, and then fast forward through all the figure skating drama so you can see the podium ceremony (I mean really, what's better than hearing the anthem and seeing the flag raise? And yes, I get a little weepy. Patriotism people. Patriotism.), if you do all this, Canada will get the last laugh and give you the finger when your DVR recording cuts off right after you hear Bob at his most dramatic, "And now the Star Spangled Banner ... " Bing. Recording ended. Delete?
WTF?! Seriously? Oh phew. DVR is on it. We've recorded the program after the Olympics.

Select. Play. Here it comes!!

"And there you have it. Hannah Kearney wins gold in Vancouver."

Um ... what? Where's the close up on the flag? Where's the shot of the family crying? Where are the hands over their hearts, Hannah singing along for the "home of the brave?"

60 second lag time. 60 SECOND LAG TIME?!?!?! "THE" 60 sec lag time. Thank you very much, you suck and I got nothing. Just a big ole up yours, in your face camel cake, double finger from Vancouver.

Well curse on you Canada. Alex was great and totally deserved his gold, but curses anyhow!

I hate you DVR.

You are not my friend. Until tomorrow ... whenIneedyoutowatchmoreOlympiccoverage.
Love you!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

What happens in Vegas ...

... gets blogged, texted and tweeted.

So, get ready Kim (another requester!), because here it is: VEGAS baby. Apparently, not everything stays there. And I will continue where Brodi left off, because there are a few numbers she left out.

Las Vegas by the numbers: Part #2.

Number of times I compared the Bellagio Buffet to the Wynn Buffet: 4

Number of times my husband texted to tell me I'd never actually eaten at the Wynn Buttet: 1

Number of times Brodi tried sushi: 1

Number of times Brodi gagged and spit out "veggie roll": 1

Number of dessert plates on the table at the end of our buffet rounds: 13 (they were very little plates!)
Number of times Emily was open with her nakedness: 5

Number of times Emily bocked at the suggestion of seeing Thunder Down Under due to nakedness: 6

Number of times Emily sang the theme song for her favorite penny slot: 9 ... "Catch a Wave we're sittin' on top of the World."Number of times we sang Brodi's version of "Mandy": 17 See Valynne's blog for more details.

Number of times we called Valynne "The Bux" after she exhibited mad gambling skills: 32

Number of times Valynne's mad driving skills were compared to a Vegas taxi: 2

Number of times Brodi traveled the strip standing through the moon roof: 1

Number of times we were checked out at the Craps table by men over 50: 437

Number of times Brodi gave said old men some hope by flirting back: 435

Number of times I offered to "practice my moves" on the poles in the tram: 1

Number of times there were snickers and hushed conversations in foreign languages about my moves on the tram poles: 2

Number of times we took an elevator to the wrong floor: 3

And then ... The SIX members in attendance drove home and I commenced with Part #2 of my trip: Shoe Convention with Sami. And the numbers continued.

Number of times I tried to open the wrong hotel room: 1 (Sorry 2085!)

Number of shoes I saw at WSA: 3,459,188

Number of Diet Pepsi's purchased before we found out we got them for free in the VIB lounge: 6

Number of grannies trying to touch something Australian: 4

Number of times the Australian moves made us laugh so hard we cried: 3

Pairs of Sami's glasses stolen by an Aussie: 1

And the rest ... stays in Vegas.

Friday, January 29, 2010

25 things that can't be used against me ...

OK, so Miss Cranberry Fries put in a request, and I shall deliver. I'm the deliverying kind.

But, there is an asterisk to this post: None of these things can be used against me should Brodi demand ANOTHER revote. (Brodi keeps insisting we revote on the order of Craziness in The SIX. She likes to do this when one of us is having a bad day and something atypical happens, like when Bree tries to burn her house down, or ... well, mostly when Bree is having a bad day. I know, rude right?)

I am turning 30 this next week and as well all know that week can be traumatic and we might be forced to do things we wouldn't normally do ... like wear tassels in Vegas (I'll be in Vegas next week, but not, ironically, to celebrate turning 30. I'm going for a business convention, which I'll be honest is pretty awesome. Shoe Convention. That's pic is what we call a "condo" aka booth space. See? You already it's awesome).

So, I say this list and next week in Vegas are totally off limits. And with that, my 25 things you may or may not know:

1. I am obsessed with my pillow. It's on my list of things I need to pack for Vegas. Can't sleep without it.
2. My junior high school teacher selected me as the most "recessive" person in class. We were discussing genetics and apparently I am living proof of bucking the natural trend: Red hair, green eyes, short, left-handed, weird ear lobes.
3. I cannot smell skunk. Call me a liarliarpantsonfire, but it's true. My brother can't either.
4. I can make wicked awesome "Raptor" noises. As in Veloci-raptor.
5. I suck on my bottom lip. All the time. Childhood habit that has not gone away. Leave me alone.
6. I'm a motorcycle accident survivor. Still pull gravel out of my arm occassionally and have some great scars, but the doctor assured me my head was FINE people. FINE.
7. Pink has never been my favorite color. Even when I was 4. I liked yellow. I felt like an outcast and pretended to like pink as a kid, but ew. Pink.
8. I want to be Diane Lane. The "it" factor we're all looking for? It belongs to Diane.
9. I applied to be on Ellen. I wasn't cool enough.
10. Making phone calls kind of scares. OK, really scares me. I have no idea why, so if I call you, just know I'm not being rude, I'm paranoid.
11. I have perfect vision, but always wanted to wear glasses. I wore my mom's glasses around the house all the time.
12. I cannot recall anyone teasing me for having red hair. I'm sure it happened (kids still tease, right?), maybe it didn't bother or something, but I can't remember it.
13. Growing up I never wanted to be a SAHM. I always thought I'd have a career of some sort, but really there is nothing greater than staying home.
14. Capes are cool, and I wanted one when I was little. It's why I would be a princess at Halloween. It's really not all about the tiara.
15. Secrets of Nimh is the scariest movie ever. Fellow authors need a creepy villian? An old rat and a freaky owl. There ya go. Scare the pants of everyone!
16. There is only one kind of acceptable sheet: Sateen. Go buy them now and thank me later.
17. I can swim, but am not a "swimmer." I still plug my nose. I tried practicing in the bath tub all the time, but it's true what they say ... you CAN drown in 2 inches of water.
18. I used to say "dround" ... probably until I was 18. You didn't drown, you dround.
19. The Last Unicorn is one of the best movies ever. Also has some creepy villains, but hellooo ... unicorns! I'm a-liiiiiiive. Great theme song.
20. Naive should have been my middle name as a teenager. So many jokes I didn't get ... and there are still occassions when I ask Ben to translate for me.
21. I cannot spell occassions. ocassions? occasions? Ah, that one.
22. Ironically, I won the Spelling Bee at my school when I was in the 4th grade. My winning word: Elusive. Went to Region and lost. Losing word: Census.
23. I once dated a guy who was born on Oct. 23rd and he insisted that 10:23 was a magical time or something, I can't remember what now, but that number 23 comes up all the time!
24. Peanut butter M&Ms are the fruit of the gods.
25. Uniqua is my favorite.

World's longest blog post. Thanks for sticking around for the whole thing.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Debunking the Myth: Why I am not Crazy, and the reveal of Crazy Cat Lady.

OK, so if you read Emily's blog, you know that once upon a writer's group we discovered that writers tend to be a little crazy, and that each of us was in some respect or another, a little bit wack.

We took a vote. And these, my friends, are the reasons why I am not crazy:

1. I've never had a brain tumor, or any tumor for that matter. I remain tumor-free.
2. I sleep in the same bed as my husband. All night long.
3. I do not touch the locks on all the doors before I can safely retire to said bed.
4. I am not afraid of fast-growing, vine like plants. In fact, I have one in my bathroom.
5. If we are at a restaurant and have been waiting long past our given "wait time," I have been nominated as one of two individuals in The SIX (the other individual is obviously The Bouncer) who should approach the hostess, because I have that look ... the look that says "Take me seriously and find us a table."
6. I have zero food allergies.

These reasons were apparently overlooked:
1. My husband is the official King of Wikipedia. (Note: We do not donate to Wikipedia)
2. I am a redhead. I married a redhead. That, is craziness!
3. I paid money for Thing #1 and Thing #2, seen here taking their Sun
day afternoon nap.

4. My dreams are right out of The DaVinci Code, writing in blood and everything.
5. My car is yellow. Crazy Yellow!

And I'm not really sure why I'm less crazy than Kim. She must have that crazy look about her ... And now there's proof: Video of her crazy cat lady look! (She's the one holding the cat in the video ... petting it and everything!) Cr-azy.
That's my story, what's yours?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

And so it begins ...

There was a challenge.

Brodi delivers her manuscript. I deliver a blog.

I'm not sure which one was harder really -- because I really don't fancy myself an excellent blogger (I know ... way to entice my readership. But if I don't have a readership, does it matter? There's a joke in here somewhere about my readership being in the woods and a tree falling, I just know it) and Brodi is the world's fastest writer.

Needless to say, I received an email this morning, containing the majority of her mss. So here I am.

I have this inate fear of the blog. I shouldn't though, because doesn't everyone blog? Not that "everyone doing something" removes fear, but blogging should just be common place. No big deal.

But it is. A big deal.

First, there's the blog name. All these clever names to compete with ... I don't have a clever name. I am what I am. The most clever name I came up with, pretty much after 5 years of brainstorming is ... drum roll ... "Nuts & Bolton." Get it? Like nuts & bolts, except Bolton. I know. It's lame, but it's all I got.

Second, the layout. I could spend hours pouring over websites all containing cute layouts that essentially do not matter. So here is the first layout that does not completely offend my sensitive eyes.

Third. Time. I have none. I know everyone says that ... but I'm a SAHM for this guy (he made that face when we told him I was starting a blog),

I run a home business, I work part time as a data analyst, I'm part of The SIX -- a very active writers group, AND I've been given a deadline of June 1st for a full first draft of my manuscript. That pretty much leaves 2 minutes in my day to make dinner, shower, and now blog. And they voted I'm the least crazy. Seriously people?

Crazy or not, here I come, blog world. How am I doing?