Thursday, March 31, 2011

Arc Alert!

Until Tuesday
by Fmr. Capt. Luis Carlos Montalvan

I can't wait to start this one! I might have to push Night Road out of the way for now...

--Me

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Internet is a Playground by David Thorne


The Internet is a Playground
by David Thorne
Humourous
Spoiler Alert: doesn't matter
Rating: PG-13
Coffee Bean Rating: an entire burlap bag full

billions of coffee beans








We've all seen it in our email, forwarded to us by a friend or co-worker. The email string is about a man who is trying to pay for a chiropractor's bill with a drawing of a spider. Then there's the Missing Missy lost cat poster. I'm always wary of the “this really happened” tag that comes along with these sorts of emails. 

But these, my friends, are real. And so is David Thorne, the perpatrator. Thorne is a native of Australia with a wicked sense of humor, which you can bear witness to via his blog, 27b/6.

The Internet is a Playground is a hysterical collection of actual emails conversations between Thorne and some poor sap (his co-workers must hate getting emails from him), complaints he gets from blog visitors and other hillarious things that will make your sides ache.

From the very first moment I picked up this book and started reading it, I was laughing. Out loud, and uncontrollably. I read it to Hubby on the car ride home the day it came in the mail, and he was laughing so hard, we almost got into an accident. Later that night, I read Hubby the email string between Thorne and his kid’s teacher. I was laughing so hard I was crying and I couldn’t get the words out. And it was that obnoxious sort of laugh that makes you talk like you’ve just sucked down a bunch of helium balloons.

I need to meet this guy. For real. I think he’s my new hero.

When I finished the book, I had to share it with someone, and since I'm not the kind of person to go up to a random stranger and hand over a book, I gave it to my mom to read when while we waited inthe airport on the way to San Fran.

She started laughing as soon as she opened it, quickly becoming my entertainment for our five-hour layover. I watched as her face contorted, eyes squinted, and then the held back laughter exploded. Seeing her react thatway only sent me into fits of laughter as I remembered a string of emails from the book.

Of course we were getting weird looks as passengers scooted to the farthest reaches of the terminal, but that only made the whole thing funnier. And you know what? I was totally okay with it.

This book instantly became one of my favorites with its laugh-out-loud-okay-to-pee-yourself humor. Read it.

READ it.

READ IT!!!

Seriously, though. Just read it. You won't be sorry.

--Me

Ohmygosh!

I'm so excited, I couldn't not share with you all!

I've been toying around with an idea for a book that I've wanted to do for a little while now. I love writing in the genre I have been (paranormal/fantasy), but I wanted to create something that was more relatable. Something that could actually happen.

I had a setting, and I said to myself, you HAVE to make this happen! So I sat down, and did. I have a general plot line sketched out and am so excited to get started on it. I don't want to say any more than that, other than you're gonna love it.

Now the fun begins! Planning and researching, here I come.

Oh! And I got another ARC. :) Dominance by Will Lavender



--Me

Freebee Friday!!!

I'm slacking with a capital S on many things this week, hopefully I will get back into the swing of things for the blog next week. But in the meantime!

ARC Alert!

The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes
by Marcus Sakey


And this Friday's Freebee: Terrified Baby! You've probably already seen this, but it's worth watching again. And again. And again...Happy Friday!






--Me

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Just Read...

The Internet is a Playground
by David Thorne

If your looking to pee yourself in a fit of laughter, this book is for you.

Book report. Check it.
--Me

Monday, March 21, 2011

Arc Alert!

TWO wonderful surprises in the mail today.

Drawing Conclusions by Donna Leon (release date April 2011)

AND

Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante (release date July 2011)

--Me

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hope Restored

This weekend I felt like giving up.


It was a pretty melodramatic event in my life, even for me.

My synopsis hasn’t been going the way I want (which is to say, any way that a synopsis is to go) and I felt like my story was falling apart. I had this image that the end of Seth and Lexi’s story was utter crap and that no agent in their right mind would poke at it with a ten foot pole, let alone Dream Agent being interested.

I actually said to myself, “What am I doing? I need to stop writing and get back to the real world.” How many of us have said that to ourselves. Luckily, we never listen.

What gave me encouragement was a friends very helpful critique of draft 5 of my synopsis. It’s like a new creature was born after he got done with it. I could actually see a half-way decent outcome that could be polished into potential goodness.

My motivation to get back to my synopsis and editing the last bit of my ms was restored. This is good, because it’s been a month since SFWC, and I need to get my query to Dream Agent. I will have it all edited and darn near perfect to submit to her on Monday. Rain or shine.

So pray/wish/ send good vibes/cross fingers with me that what I have worked out catches her interest and she asks for more. And if it doesn’t, pray/wish/ send good vibes/cross fingers that I’m not too devastated that I don’t continue my Scully-Mulder marathon.

--Me

Freebee Friday!!!

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY! (A day late)

Yesterday was St. Pat’s, and I spent the day dancing with my Irish dance school: from 9 am ‘til 8:30 pm. We danced at our local VFW and Yours Truly won a Guinness basket! What a day, my feet are killing me! But it was fun. It always is. So, Freebee Friday!!! Is a video of us dancing at a local basketball game. And yes, I am in there...somewhere.

Enjoy!



--Me

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Visitors from Near and Far

I was tooling around on my blog today trying to avoid re-working the end of WHITE CITY so I can get it to my dream agent, when I ran across the stats info.


I love that page. It’s like I’m stalking myself. It tells me all sorts of fun stuff, like what countries are checking in to see what I have to say, how they got here, what they’re searching for that brought me up, and how many page views I get. I was shocked! Way more than I thought. Although, probably a good majority of those are from myself. :)

So, I’d like to take a minute and give a shout out to all of you who are visiting my blog. The good ole U.S. of A, Canada, eh?, the UK, Russia, Australia (David Thorne rocks, btw), Brazil, and a few I was excited to see – Malaysia, Poland, Denmark, and Iran.

So, thanks for stopping by and a loud and obnoxious…..What up!!!

Reading this? Tell me where you’re from.

--Me

Monday, March 14, 2011

Why I Love Family Outings

So Hubby and I had a fun little adventure yesterday in the Owyhee Mountains. Our family outing left me hobbling like Quasimodo and sounding like James Earl Jones. My poor butt hurts even when I sit, my right peck muscle feels like it’s been ripped from my chest and I can’t lift my arms over my head.

I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge, the outdoors, or solving a puzzle. But, when you mix those three things together with freezing rain, mud, chilling winds, night time and being an hour’s drive away from any civilization, I tend to become a little less inclined to participate. But, before I go on to tell you the story; I want to put the minds and hearts of those of you that were freaked out by my fb status, to rest.

Sass the Machine is alive and well and back at home.


Geode (Thunder egg)

I complain a lot to Hubby about how we don’t do enough outdoor activities, like hiking and camping. So, when his dad suggested a family outing, he thought I’d be ecstatic. Me? Not so much. When I envision hiking, I think of mountains and trees. Hubby’s vision: foothills, in the desert, looking for rocks. Thunder eggs, actually. But, being the AMAZING wife that I am, I agreed to go (Hubby will tell you there was a lot of sighs, eye rolling and foot stomping, but don’t believe it).




Dad's paint job

The day started off with everyone meeting at our house for a big breakfast, which was a lot of fun. Those present: Me, Hubby, Bobblehead, Hubby’s dad and mom, and his sister, her husband and their two kids (4 and 2.5). When the eating and coffee drinking was done, we all piled into two ginormous trucks and headed out for a small town an hour away. There, we met up with two more adults and four boys, ages 8 – 13 (I’m guessing here). Then, it was another hour out into the boonies, in the middle of the Owyhee Mountains with no cell phone reception.


A view through the window

The drive was long and somewhat uneventful; so we had to make things interesting for ourselves. In the giant white Ford was Yours Truly, Bobblehead, Mom and Dad. The road was (unpaved, obviously), rutted, muddy, bumpy, steep and on occasion, treacherous. Bobblehead was in the back seat asking, “Can I drive yet? Can I drive yet?” (after all, it was his car). Mom was in the front seat closing her eyes and praying for us all to arrive alive to our destination, Dad was effectively and efficiently changing the paint job on Bobblehead’s truck to a nice, muddy brown, and Hubby and I were sitting back and being entertained by his brother.


Besides the clockwork question about driving, Bobblehead squirmed out the back window into the bed of the truck to check on the two German Sheppards kenneled in the back (at one point, one of the kennels had flipped over; the poor dog pooped herself and threw us—they both get carsick). When Bobblehead returned back to the inside of the truck, he took out his .22 and unrolled the window. Time for target practice with a moving target: a salt lick.

Ping, ping, ping, ping

Mom: “Are you shooting that gun from inside the car?”
The entire truck smells of gunpowder
Bobblehead: Pause. “No.” As a shell casing lands on my foot.


That grew tiresome after a while, so we decided to motivate Bobblehead for something more entertaining. Like counting coup with the cows (counting coup is what Native Americans used to do with their enemies. It was considered more manly if you could touch your enemy and return to tell the tale. Dad does it with animals, so Bobblehead decided to try). Cows and their calves were aplenty on this trip. Bobblehead thought touching one of the babies would be easy. But as he said upon re-entry of the truck, “Those little suckers are like turbo cows with rockets!” (The video doesn't capture everything, but it gives you an idea)

We made it to our destination, but the mud was so bad, and the hills so steep, that we had to abandon the vehicles and hike the rest of the way in (it felt like 3 miles, but it was probably closer to 2).
Parker's Kingdom

The next 3 – 4 hours was spent hunting for thunder eggs by most of the adults. I decided to hang out with a pretty stellar kid named Parker. Together, he and I, Sass and another lab, Lucy, ran around like crazy people, climbing rocks, boulders, and cliffs. Each time Parker scrambled to the top of the tallest point, he’d yell out, “I’m on top of the world!” It was a lot of fun. We even caught a blue-bellied lizard.


A Blue-bellied lizard

Towards the end of our day there, Bobblehead and his brother-in-law decided to go and get the trucks and drive them up so we wouldn’t have to lug out all the rocks collected. Plus, we were all tired and worn out.

Very thoughtful. We’re still trying to find out whose idea it was so they can be properly thanked.

We load everything out, hop in the cars, Bobblehead’s truck leading the group, get about 20 yards or so, and I feel the entire left side of the truck sink into the mud. (pic) The inside of the car is so quiet, you can actually hear the mud swallowing the tires with a slurp.

It’s a good thing we had six grown men and three good-sized boys. And shovels. Thank God for the shovels. Upon inspection, it was documented that the tires were about half-way sunk into soupy mud. The guys all grabbed shovels and formed a chain gang, digging trenches for the wheels, while the smaller kids and women pulled grass and plants to try and soak up some of the water and give the traction tires. We felt a bit like the Hebrews making bricks for Pharaoh. At least if we were stranded in the wilderness we’d be skilled enough to make a nice, mud brick house.
Stuck the first time

Eventually, we got the Ford out, and Bobblehead gunned it back down the hill to a slightly safer area. Brother-in-Law decided to give it a shot next, with his diesel Dodge. That got stuck, too, not as dramatically as the Ford was, but still unable to move anywhere. We all tried to push it, but all that resulted was mud-splattered men and a broken bumper. Mom drank hot coffee, directing traffic as the men tried again to free the truck. Without our direction, they surely wouldn’t have been as successful as they were.



It was discussed that Bobblehead’s truck would be powerful enough to pull the Dodge out of the mud, so Bobblehead went to get the Ford. But, on his way back up the hill, it got stuck. Again. This one MUCH worse than before. It took about twice as long to get it out. Many plants donated their lives for the freedom of those honkin’ mud tires. We thank you and morn your loss. Eventually, Bobblehead and the hard work of many guys freed the truck, and it was coaxed to safety and a somewhat swamp free area a hundred yards or so down the road. Where it sat.

The Dodge
We tried again to get Dodge free, but that wasn’t happening. So, we packed out. We still had the other vehicle, a Suburban, a few miles away that we hoped would carry seventeen of us to civilization and to freedom.

Oh, wait. It started to rain. And the wind picked up. So, we piled four dogs into two kennels in the back of the Dodge (which, thank the Lord, had a camper top on it, so they were somewhat protected from the elements and the freezing temps). Tara and Icy (the Sheppards), and Sass and Lucy each sharing a kennel, and off we trudged, towards the car.


The men talking about the problem.
You can't see it from here but
Mom's directing traffic off to the left.

It’s amazing how two miles turns into two hundred when you’re in the conditions we were. By the time we all made it down to the Suburban, my jeans were soaked from bottom to top and the sun had set. We all piled into the eight person vehicle, said more prayers (something is wrong with the transmission and it periodically shuts off, the roads were still very ify, and stress was high). By the grace of God alone, we made it out of the Owyhees alive and in one piece, but let me tell you, it was touch and go for a while there, including the tranny giving out at one point.

The boys called in some favors and got another, bigger truck with a winch to go back out there this morning, in the wee hours, when the mud was frozen and managed to get the trucks out of the mud. I was told, that when they opened the back of the Dodge to check on the dogs, that all four girls gave them looks that said, “We can’t believe you did this to us. Come a little closer and we’ll eat your faces.”

Sass is in one piece, and little worse for wear, but alive. She’s been sleeping all day and trying not to move. Not even for food. I’m tired, and could probably sleep for another day. But, I’m happy to report that I have another adventure under my belt.

Moral of the story: buy foreign trucks. Better yet, just don’t go outside at all.



How we all felt on the car ride home
 
--Me

Friday, March 11, 2011

Freebee Friday!!

Things are a movin' and a shakin' at your local Sbux thanks to their 40th birthday.

I heard from a friend in New York that their new Tribute blend is pretty tasty.

They also have new mini desserts they call Petites (and if you go in from 2 - 5 pm, from the 10th - 12th) you get one for free when you order a specialty drink!

You've no doubt seen their new logo by now, but did you know they've had four of 'em?!? Apparently I've only been a devoted follower since 1992.

And last but not least, the introduction of their newest size, the Trenta. At 31 oz (916 ml), it's officially larger than the average adult stomach (900 ml). It should be out by May 3rd.



Happy Friday, everyone!

--Me

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011

Looking for Inspiration

Lucas Matthews and Kimber Barnes.

Tell me their story.

--Me

Just Read...

First Grave on the Right
By Darynda Jones
Paranormal Mystery/comedy/little bit o' steam


This is a funny and fast-paced debut novel with a paranormal element--but not overbearingly so. Charley Davidson--part time police consultant, part time PI, part time Grim Reaper; full time sass--gets more than she bargains for when three dead lawyers show up at her front door and she finds that her romanitc dream boy is a prison convict in a comma.

--Me

Read my book report, here.

Reading Challenge New Selection!

Random.org has happily supplied me with my next reading selection!




#99 - Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

:) I'm pluggin' along...

--Me

Friday, March 4, 2011

Freebee Friday!!!

Bahahahaha! G-dangit! This guy reminds me of someone I went to high school with...Sit back and enjoy!





--Me

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Silent Spring, Burning Bushes & Dancing Tragedies: What I learned in San Francisco


(By guest blogger and instant life-long friend, Dave)

Hello to all you awesome writers. Whatever you’re working on, if you’re working on it you’re worthy of respect.


Over Presidents’ Day weekend I attended the San Francisco Writer’s Conference. In addition to making fantastic new friends including RaeLynn (yay!), I learned two things in particular I thought worth sharing.

First, some intellectual sharpening with Amos White, a classical haiku poet. Sitting in a café in San Francisco’s famous North Beach, Amos introduced me to the theory of haiku. We probably know it intuitively as writers, yet we struggle with execution. It's this: The combination of two opposing ideas, creating for readers a cognitive gap or dissonance – I believe Amos referred to it as a “vacuum” – that 1) draws the reader’s attention, and 2) creates the potential for the reader to grow in his or her understanding of something (provided the reader decides to pursue their curiosity, rather than to tune the dissonance out).

“Haiti is a land where tragedy is music the people dance to.” This was either the first line of the pitch, or possibly the first sentence, of a non-fiction book that was discussed in one of the SF conference workshops. The book’s title: “Best Nightmare on Earth: A Life in Haiti.” A good nightmare? Dancing to tragedy? Suddenly, I’m curious.

My classic example of this is the Old Testament story of God’s call to Moses to lead the people. Once upon a time, God wanted to get Moses’ attention. How did He do it? By showing Moses something that brought two opposing concepts together: A burning object that wasn’t consumed. Here was Moses’ reaction to what he saw: “I will go over and see this strange sight – why the bush does not burn up.”

“Burning Fire” sounds a bit redundant and predictable. But “Unburning Fire?” Amos practiced these kinds of things on me and then would exclaim in triumph, “See, your jaw just dropped for a second!” That visceral reaction is what we want to create in our readers, whether we want to teach them something or just keep them turning pages.

The late Sol Stein devotes a chapter in his “Stein on Writing” to choosing a title for your story. He looked at best-selling fiction titles in the early 1990s and found that most of them were analogy or metaphor that brought two dissonant concepts in together. My mind goes immediately to Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring.” I think of springtime as anything but silent. I think of rampaging rapids swelled with snow melt, of animals and people coming outside to enjoy warmth again, of kids playing baseball. But a “Silent Spring?” With that title, Carson gave voice to arguably one of the most enduring worldwide movements of the last 100 years.

My other big takeaway from the conference: Those of us who up until now have dismissed thoughts of e-publishing out of hand – in my case, my mind always goes straight to the term “vanity press” and that is quite pejorative – we need to re-think this. E-publishing is gaining legitimacy every day as a way for good authors to establish a platform and make money. This was the background music to the entire conference. The challenge is for writers like me, who are as yet unpublished, not to rush to get our work out there. A lot of really bad writing has been e-published, so it’s just as important as ever to get professional critiques, edit and re-edit, and put the best possible stuff out there. As one speaker said, "Everything you put online is your resume." But there are more and more examples of writers who are earning themselves a healthy following by doing it digitally.

--Me (Well, actually Dave)