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Showing posts from November, 2007

Perfect Aim

Early this morning (very early this morning), I woke to the alarming sound of my cat puking. I say "alarming" because she sleeps on me. I have a strong stomach but even I quail at the thought of a face-full of kitty vomit.

I sat straight up and looked around (it's dark, remember, and she's a black cat so she blends well in shadows...)and she wasn't on the bed.

The sounds increased with the inevitable "hork and splat" conclusion and I fumbled around with my bedside light so I could investigate and clean it up.

I found - nothing.

The dog was sleeping beside my bed. The cat was staring at me from the middle of my bedroom floor as if to say, "What, we're getting up now?"

I decided I'd dreamt the entire incident and went back to sleep.

This morning, in the act of racing through my morning routine so I could head out the door, I found the puke.

In my shoe.

And yes, by "in" I bloody well mean in my shoe.

Yuck.

Leave it to a cat to have su…

Up It Goes

When I was little, we had a German Shepherd/Alaskan Husky dog named Daniel who would eat, quite literally, anything.

Everything.

No exceptions.

When he was a puppy, he ate my big wheel. It was a beautiful pink big wheel with tassles streaming from the handle bars. When he was finished with his afternoon snack, all that remained was the thin metal rod used as the big wheels's foundation. His poop was full of pink chunky plastic for weeks.

We moved to a home that had a plum tree in the backyard and every year, as over-ripe plums fell to the ground, he would eat them. All of them. And over-abundance of over-ripe plums is not kind on the digestive system and he would leave piles of bright violet poop all over the yard. (But hey, at least you knew where not to step!)

Once my mother decided to grow onions along the back of our home. She planted seven onion plants and nurtured them along until one night she announced the onions would be ready for harvest the next morning. The next mo…

How Uncouth Can You Be?

So last night was our company's Christmas party. This means several long tables of buffet style food. We had everything ready and called all the employees and their families to get in line and start filling their plates.

One of our newer employees was at the head of the line. I watched in complete amazement as she went through all three tables of food, filled her plate, and then grabbed a chair and pulled it up to ONE OF THE BUFFET TABLES, shoved her plate in between pans of food, and started eating.

Who does that?

We have an entire dining room full of available seats and you sit and eat where others need to get their food?

People were passing by her, staring, and NO ONE was taking food from the dishes right next to her plate. I decided to fix that situation so when I approached the table, I started moving the dishes away from her immediate vicinity. As I reached beside her to shove another casserole dish to the left, she belched.

I don't mean she burped.

I don't mean she q…

Today's Birthdays

I told you November is a crazy month for me and birthdays!

Happy Birthday to my hubby, Clint! I can't imagine life without you and am so grateful God brought us together. I love you! Here's my "gift" to you (it's the thought that counts, right?)




Happy Birthday to my friend Opal! Love you, girl, and you know it.

What Have I Done Lately?

1. Went to see Enchanted with hubby and Kelly. Paul refused to see it and went to Hitman instead. It was a good movie and one the kids will love (although, unlike hubby and Kelly, I could have done without the loooooong song sequence in Central Park. The only highlight there was when the prince got flattened by the bikers.)

2. Worked last night and realized that sadly my stupid lungs are still not quite cooperating and working more than two hours becomes difficult. Thankfully, I'm surrounded by friends who are more than willing to help me when I need it.

3. Saw a preview for the following movie - I laughed so hard during the preview that people around me were questioning my sanity. This is top on my list of things to see this summer:



4. Finished (drum roll please) ALL of my ironing. Every last miserable shirt. This, I believe, may be a first.

5. Attended my company's Christmas party last night.

6. Watched Beowulf last week. I liked it but I wish I'd loved it. I think us…

Heart Failure Imminent

In October, my hubby and I added our surrogate teenage daughter (who doesn't live under our roof but might as well) to our cell phone plan because she's 15, gorgeous, starting to date, and had no cell phone. Not the safest situation. For various reasons, her father wouldn't get her one himself so we added her to our plan (with his permission), ordered the free phone that went with it, charged her $15 a month, and, in a stroke of sheer brilliance on my hubby's part, signed up for unlimited texting at the same time.

My hubby did all of this online. One stop shopping...open your account page, add a member, choose a phone, adjust your family plan's minutes and texting options, and off you go.

Easy.

In her first week, our daughter sent over 3000 texts. 3000. In one week. We warned her of the dangers of carpal tunnel and arthritis and marvelled that anyone could find 3000 things to say through texting.

And we congratulated ourselves on having the foresight to sign up f…

Birthday Slacker

I admit it. I'm behind on nearly every aspect of my life right now. I blame 3 weeks of bed rest due to pnuemonia. Now that I'm (tentatively) back in action, I need to make up for lost time!

I missed acknowledging two birthdays this past weekend: My mom (cat lover, close friend, and fellow shoe addict) turned, ummmm, 39(!) this past Friday and my college roomie and friend Kim (Flambo on this blog) turned 33 (I think...aren't you younger than me?) Saturday.

November is a crazy month for birthdays in my life. I sat down and figured out that I have 4 family member birthdays and 7 friends with birthdays just this month. Maybe I'm attracted to people born in November? Or maybe the romance of Valentine's Day is more effective than I thought... "Here, honey, have a box of chocolates, some flowers, and a little morning sickness on the side!"

You Write - What??

A comment a few posts down got me thinking about something I posted here shortly after I started this blog. I was working through the idea of writing what I felt passionate about writing, even though I am capable of telling any number of stories.

It was me fumbling my way to a recognition that others might throw opinions and reactions at me and that I needed to learn to sift through those, looking for any grain of truth and tossing the rest out the window because really, it is my writing.

My art.

My story to tell.

And I'm getting much, much better at telling anyone who thinks I should be doing something different to just go do it themselves.

Anyone interested in my earlier post, go here.

Happy Birthday Shelley!

Happy Birthday to my beautiful sister-in-law, Shelley! She is a sister of my heart and one fun, loving, generous Texas girl and I am grateful to have her in our family (and to be a part of hers as well!)

Shelley,

Have a wonderful day with your family and know that we love you very much and we're thinking of you. And tell your hubby that if he doesn't bring you out to Nashville BEFORE summer, I will have to hunt him down and make him pay. ;)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Quote of the Day

This morning Starshine showed me a comic book he wrote in which one character brandished a sword at another character and said,

"Keep it up and you will taste my rash!"


=D

Competing With Myself

Cross-posted from my LiveJournal page:

I'm a competitive girl.

I don't think it's possible to overstate that fact: I am a competitive girl.

If I sit down to play a game, I play to win. I may love you but if you are sitting across the poker table from me, I play for keeps. If I play against you in volleyball, I will do my level best to leave you huddled in the fetal position, whimpering for your mama. If I take a class and the professor says he doesn't give out A's (happened twice in my college years), I will not only earn an A, I will do so in memorable style just to prove the man wrong.

So you'd think pursuing my personal dreams with the same single-minded passion would be a given.

It nearly wasn't.

I've wanted to write books since the second-grade when I took a one page writing assignment and turned it into a four page story told from the point of view of a poor, over-worked school bus. (Having a second grader of my own now, I can fully appreciate the…

Dinner On Murphy

Some nights at work, everything seems to go horribly wrong.

There are the nights when a guest causes it by being incredibly rude or childish (like calling me "Sweetcakes" when my apron clearly says "C.J." or letting their spawn toss forks at other tables.).

There are nights when I cause it. (like when I jiggled a tea pitcher to get some ice into a woman's glass - as requested - and ALL the ice flew out and covered the table)

And then there are the nights only Murphy can deliver.

One night in particular comes to mind.

A party of five came in and chose to sit at a four-top with a chair in the aisle. This is a common practice and really isn't a problem except that this guy's chair happened to be right beside the doorway from one part of the dining room to the next. Very high traffic area. Waiters carrying beverages and plates of food and a chair sticking out in their path are a bad combination.

This man was a nice guy. He smiled at me when I greeted the table…

Thinking of Thanksgiving

Some things I'm thankful for:

1. My Savior and the lover of my soul, Jesus Christ.

2. My incredible husband who loves me completely and who is still my favorite person.

3. My children who challenge me and amaze me and light up my life.

4. Pancakes.

5. The fact that I now know to pull everything out of the middle of the turkey before I cook it.

6. A strong sense of humor.

7. Friends who have become family (Paul, Kelly, Leigh)

8. Friends who offer love and faithful friendship (Dusty, Kailani, Opal, Drew, Tricia, Sandy, Luke, Shelley, Dawn, Sharon, John, Derreck...can you see how blessed I am?)

9. A critique partner who has also become a friend (Katy)

10. An extended family that spreads from Louisiana, through Texas and New Mexico, winds through Arizona, and ends up in California.

11. Music.

12. Writing (my own and the incredible work of other authors as well)

13. Our armed forces and the sacrifices they make for us every day.

14. Johnny Depp and Alan Rickman - two actors whose body of work I …

The Perfect Gift?

Those of you who've been regular blog readers for a while will appreciate this one: Wandereringray sent me a link to the perfect Christmas present for our friend Mal (Paul, aka bluedragoon25).

Those of you who are new to the scene can get caught up here.


Click here to see how you can make Paul's Christmas the best Christmas ever.


I personally love the warning not to use this to try to stop real bullets. Gee, thanks for the tip.

I'll Give You A Hint

Something that will show up in the Alexa Tate series:




Thank you to my friend Paul (aka bluedragoon25) for photoshopping my idea into reality. =)

On The First Day of Christmas...

*Again, borrowed the idea from LiveJournal, even though we aren't quite on amicable terms yet.*

The concept is to list some of your Christmas wishes, whatever they might be, and to browse other's blogs/journals and see if there are any wishes there you might fulfill. =)

1. This is my true heart's longing and no one but God can fulfill it but all I really want for Christmas is my daughter.

2. I would love a fancy title/heading on my LJ like all my friends have but since I am barely on speaking terms with icons (and even then, I can't change them out on individual comments/posts without changing ALL of them...*sigh*), I can't figure it out and instead, I have a bar of annoying ads on mine.

3. A new battery for my laptop. This one lasts approximately 35 seconds once the plug comes loose (which, unfortunately, happens easily) and that isn't all that helpful in the grand scheme of things.

4. A bag of groceries and some coats to a family in your area who needs it. Don&#…

Get Creative

I am often asked how I come up with my ideas. The short answer is - they just come to me. Something will catch my eye or an idea/question/phrase will grab my attention and my brain uses that as a springboard to launch into the fantastic world of "what if".

I long ago discarded any restraints to the "what if" world so that if the moon looks like the half-lidded yellow eye of a Dragon, I can quickly construct the outline of the Dragon circling Earth and imagine what will happend when he opens his gaping maw, jagged teeth dripping fiery venom as he lunges toward Earth...

But I digress.

The long answer is it's all about what sparks your imagination. I have a friend who loves pictures - she snaps pictures, she cuts out pictures and does collages, she uses photo shop like it's going out of style...that speaks to her. Another friend can see entire battle scenes when he listens to instrumental music. My hubby can envision a three-dimensional sculpture and creat…

The Soundtrack of My Life?

An idea I picked up from LiveJournal.


So here's how it works:
1. Open your music library.
2. Put it on shuffle.
3. Press play.
4. For every topic, type the song that's playing.
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button.
6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool. =)



Opening Credits: Batman Begins - Vespertilio


Waking Up: Handel - Water Music Suite #1 in F


First Day at School: Daughtry - Breakdown


Falling in Love: Harry Potter - The Werewolf Scene


First Date: Disturbed - Prayer


Fight Song: Three Days Grace - Burn


Breaking Up: Switchfoot - Redemption


Prom: Star Wars - Padme's Ruminations (are we seeing a movie soundtrack theme here?)


Life: Fuel - It's Come To This


Mental Breakdown: Celtic Visions - Spencil Hill


Driving: Snow Patrol - Hands Open


Flashback: Flyleaf - All Around Me


Getting Back Together: Atreyu - Falling Down


Wedding: Yanni - Swept Away


Birth of Child: Sarah McLachlan - Possession


Final Battle: Lord of the Rings - Many Meetings (yet another movie soundtrack…

It All Comes Together

I mentioned in an earlier post that I'm close to finishing SHADOWING FATE (Alexa's first book) and that the plot took a very unexpected twist on me.

Twists can be good.

Twists can be incredibly good.

This one opened doors to a vast sea of possibilities and suddenly, I could see the conflict arc for the entire series, the conflict and romantic entanglements for each individual book, and what kind of stakes are needed to drive my characters to make the kind of desperate choices it will take to defeat the evil they face (and which characters will choose to join, rather than defeat!).

As I'm pouring the words out on this one, I heard back from the publisher who has DYING TO REMEMBER. She wants to re-pitch the manuscript to her new editor. Great, I say. Go for it. Then she asks "what's new?".

And I decided to take the opportunity for a two sentence pitch for DYING TO PUNISH, the sequel to DTR, and send my revised hook for SHADOWING FATE. I'll be pitching to …

Feeling Slightly Homicidal?

So Monday, my hubby made me go back to the Dr. since I wasn't really getting much better. The Dr. decided I should take steroids for five days to really give me a boost and get the infection out of my lungs.

Unfortunately, these aren't the steroids that build muscle. I might have been on board with that.

These are steroids that apparently don't really affect 98% of the population, other than giving them energy and helping them recover.

We all know when it comes to putting substances in my body, I am not like 98% of the population.

I took these steroids once before. I had a solid headache for three of the five days and when I finished the drug, I was slightly homicidal for the next two days.





By "slightly", I mean I avoided killing anyone because everyone around me had the good sense to take one look at my face and run in the opposite direction. I was Attitude with a healthy side of Edginess.

Not a great combination for a wife, mom, and waitress (some man out there…

Mysteries

Various mysteries from the land of RESTAURANT WORK:


1. People who ask for "diet water".


2. People who insist on snapping their fingers at me as if that will somehow motivate me to move faster on their behalf.


3. People who order Coke for their toddlers and then wonder why the little angel is a hyper, screaming nightmare.


4. People who order French Toast and then ask me to cut it into quarters for them - clearly they are not yet proficient in the use of the knife we so kindly provided.

5. My manager who has a nickname for me. As if "C.J." (which is already a nickname) is too much to say, she calls me "Cieje". It's marginally shorter. It's C.J. without the "ay" and I guess that makes her feel like she's managing her time better. =)

Count This

We have a running joke that I cannot count large amounts of cash. By "we", I mean my husband and every teller in my bank. No one bats an eye anymore when I hand over a pile of cash (and as a waitress by night, I do mean a PILE) and am several dollars off one way or the other.

It's not that I am unable to count. Math was never my favorite subject but I did very well until I hit the black hole that is Algebra 3.

It's that I have a hectic, crazy life and my brain constantly runs at warp speed.

Here is what it looks like when I try to count 176 singles:


Me: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Starshine: "Look at me! I'm Darth Mal!"

Me: *looks up* "Well, that explains the use of black and red markers on your face. Very nice. Now go wash."

Me: "Where was I? Did I already say 10?" *starts over*

My Brain: "You don't think it's possible he colored that marker on more than just his face, do you? Like, oh I don't know, perhap…

We Have A Winner!

Thank you to K.B. for brainstorming with me on the whole "Fate" angle and for the, ummm, creative suggestions on this blog for possible title ideas for the Alexa series.

Shout out to BubbleVicious for the idea of "shadows".


The Official Titles for Alexa's trilogy are:

SHADOWING FATE

TWISTING FATE

BREAKING FATE


At least until my future publisher decides to change them. =)

Keep 'Em Guessing

Contest News

Good news! DYING TO REMEMBER made it into the Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Contest first round.

I wasn't worried about this one...entered early and my novel avoided their list of "don'ts" (is that a word? is now).

The official word came in tonight, though, and that's nice to have because the grand prize is a whopper: a $25,000 advance (non-refundable), a contract with a top publisher, and tons of publicity from Amazon.

My critique partner, K.B. Wagers, entered a novel and it was accepted into the first round as well so Congratulatons K.B.!!

The semi-finalists will be determined after read-throughs by publishers and other book reviewers and semi-finalists will be notified by (which means smack on the date of) January 15th, 2008.

Nothing to do now but wait to hear from them, finish Alexa and send it out, and work on the sequel to DYING TO REMEMBER.

Any suggestions on a great title using the word "fate" in it somewhere? ;)

Monday's Update

I'd like to say that this post is the start of a new habit - posting an update every Monday on where I'm at with, well with whatever...my blog, remember? - but because that indicates I would actually remember to post this every Monday, I'm not going to commit to it.

I have enough on my plate as it is. =)

But here it is:

Health:

I'm still sick with pnemonia, a fact that frustrates me enormously. I don't make a very patient sick person. How can I? There's so much to do and I have to just sit in bed all day and rest. Fortunately, my hubby did absolutely everything around here all weekend (left me a nice clean house today!) and I got to rest so hopefully I'll be up and around again in a couple days.

What a boring topic. On to something better.

Books I'm Currently Reading:

CREATION IN DEATH by J.D. Robb. Can't wait to gobble those up as soon as they hit the market. It's one of the only series I buy in hardback because I can't stand to wait for …

Eat Godzilla!

In the category of "Better Late Than Never", here are pictures of Daredevil's birthday cake (yes, yes, from July...I'm a busy woman). He's 8 and he adores the old 60's Godzilla flicks so he wanted Godzilla rising from the ocean and destroying a city. =) My hubby does amazing work.





Umm, Hello?

Okay, today is the day Amazon.com gave as their "we'll send you an official email letting you know that your entry qualifies for our Breakthrough Novel Contest" and the chat forums on Amazon are absolutely buzzing.

This is the first day I've actually headed over there. I dislike reading chat forums as a general rule.

As I was browsing, I remembered why I dislike chat forums so much.

One contest entrant went on a rant about the sorry state of the publishing world today and how all the literary agents out there weren't giving the time of day to someone with a, and yes, I'm quoting, "fairly decently written novel".

Umm, hello??

You think you're going to get published with what you yourself admit is a "fairly decently written novel"?

Get real. Grow up. Learn your craft. And for Pete's sake, stop whining that you just want an agent to read your work, see past the amateur blunders (again, I'm not making this up, folks) and say, "…

Counting Blessings

I've been lying in bed for the past few days trying to recover from pnemonia. My kids keep wandering in and out of my room, wanting to do things to help me feel better. Here are a few of their helpful ideas:

1. Starshine cut out a balloon-shaped piece of paper and wrote "Fell Well Zoon" on it so I could have a get well balloon.

2. Daredevil (my middle child) fetched me a bottle of Crystal Clear (the flavored, carbonated water I like to drink) and shook it all the way up the stairs before handing it to me.

3. Starshine fetched me a towel.

4. A good friend of our family brought over a card and, knowing my weaknesses well, a fresh peach pie. This is the same friend who introduced us to the Devil's Bread a few Thanksgivings ago. He is, from this moment forward, banned from bringing any food items into our home.

5. The Scientist (my oldest) brought up a piece of peach pie with most of the top crust mysteriously missing and traces of crumbs around his lips.

6. Starshine dec…

Another of My Many Muses

What Works?

I've been thinking about the vastly different approaches to writing I and various author friends of mine use.

One writes 10,000 words a day, five days a week, no matter what. She believes in treating her writing like her day job and putting in the hours accordingly.

One has an office away from her home specifically for her writing (clearly this is an author who already sells nicely so she can afford it!). She thinks it's best to separate her home life from her writing life so she can be "all business" without any distractions.

One keeps the entire book running around in her head until three or four weeks before deadline and then pulls as many all-nighters as it takes to get it written in one shot. She thinks an author can't write every single day because you have to be living life and experiencing things to write about.

All three of these women are successful bestselling authors.

I find these different philosophies encouraging because I'm still trying to find my…

Golden Poop

I saw an article today (click here to read) that introduced the world to America's latest accomplishment: the $25,000 dessert.

This chocolate sundae earns it's exorbitant price tag because it is laced with edible gold on a bed of edible gold and topped with - you guessed it - edible gold. A diamond crusted spoon is the eating implement of choice and the sundae goblet boasts a 1 car. diamond bracelet at its base.

The jewelry, I'm fine with. The spoon is, quite frankly, impractical to the point of being ridiculous. What are you going to do with one, diamond crusted spoon? Frame it? Buy another three sundaes so you can have a matched set?

But what gets me the most about this is the edible gold. Edible gold. Not gold you can wear. Not gold you can look at. Not gold you can save as a worthwhile investment. Gold you eat.

And what happens to everything you eat?

It turns, eventually, into poop.

I think this is a perfect example of greed swallowing us whole.

Don't get me wro…

And Now For A Little Inspiration

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

Honestly, People...

Another entry in the continuing Saga of Stupidity at work:

A man asked if he could just buy half a piece of pie.

Well, no, you can't.

He was angry. He wanted half a piece of pie, doggonit, and who were we to tell him no? What kind of restaurant doesn't serve half-sized portions of their desserts?

Ummm, pretty much every restaurant.

But, he insisted, he really wanted just half a piece of pie. $2.99 was too much to pay for a single dessert.

My response?

"Sure thing, sir. You can have half a piece of pie. That will be $2.99."

"But the whole piece of pie is $2.99!!" He said.

"Yes, well, as I may have mentioned one or three times already in this conversation, we only sell pie by the entire slice."

"But you said I could have half a piece!"

"You can. I'll bring out the pie. You eat whichever half you choose. Everyone's happy."

Oddly enough, he chose not to order any dessert. Maybe he'll have better luck at McDonald's orderin…

May The Force Be With You

Starshine uses Darth Vader to finish off Obe Wan.

The State Of Things

This afternoon, in a routine inspection of the upstairs, I had the grave misfortune of wandering into my boys' bathroom.

One look around and it was clear I was viewing the aftermath of what happens when you combine a dreamer, a scientist, and a daredevil with unlimited access to water, toothpaste, and, umm, the product of various bodily functions.

Here is what I saw:

1 tub FULL of murky, sudsy water.

1 toilet FULL of...well, full. Let's leave it at that.

1 empty toilet paper roll tossed in the general direction of the trashcan.

1 counter streaked with toothpaste, calamine lotion, and wet strips of kleenx.

2 sinks creatively decorated in toothpaste, pencil shavings, and toys.

3 instances of clear evidence that the toilet paper ran out before the need for toilet paper was filled.

4 instances of clear evidence that while the perpetrator might have been aiming to spit his mouthful of toothpaste into the sink, he missed. By a mile.

7 handprints of the filthy variety located on the lightsw…

Adventures in Traveling: Part Four

In N Out Burger is a fast food franchise unique to the West Coast. In the 11 years we lived in southern California, my hubby developed a strange fixation with In N Out. If there was an In N Out in the vicinity, he and his friends would go.

He defined "vicinity" as being anywhere in a forty mile radius.

When we moved to Nashville, my hubby grieved for two things: the ocean and In N Out.


In N Out is a peculiar fast food restaurant. They have an extremely limited menu - no salads, no kid's meals, and no chicken of any kind. They are burgers, fries, shakes, and soda. And that's it.



I never developed the same fascination as my hubby. I like their hamburgers well enough (I can hear my hubby and the entire West Coast In N Out cult screaming "Sacrilige" as I type this) but their shakes do nothing for me and I absolutely loathe their fries.

The day after we arrived in California, my hubby took the kids over to Grandma's house and let me sleep a couple more hour…

Adventures In Traveling - Part Three

We arrived in my parents' mid-sized California town at 11 pm, pacific time. That meant 1 am, our time. My boys (hubby included) snored through the entire 1 1/2 hour car ride home.

My Dad, you'll recall, is the Mechanical One, the Enthusiastic Gardener, and the Master Packer. He is also the Fidgety Driver. He is patently unable to drive without messing around with something.

He adjusts his seat, turning to explain with enthusiasm the lumbar support in his van's captain's chair. Unlike me, he drives a minivan by choice.

He flips radio stations, searching for one that plays his favorite: classical. When I point out that this might not be the best musical choice, given the fact that my Dad likes to be in bed asleep by 9 pm and it is now past 11, he turns the volume up to something right above mute.

I smile.

My Dad is classical music. He lights up when a particularly intricate flute passage plays in Handel. He taps out the beat to Beethoven, sways to Chopin, and enth…

An Unholy Alliance?