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Showing posts from March, 2008

Writing Well: Behind the Completed Novel

My first real attempt at novel writing was DYING TO REMEMBER, the manuscript that earned a semi-finalist spot in the Amazon breakthrough novel contest and recently finaled in RWA's Golden Heart.

Put like that, it sounds like writing a publishable novel comes easily to me.

This is not the case. =)

Writing is a discipline as much as it is a passion. Crafting fascinating, realistic characters, vivid setting, and pacing plot arcs that keep your reader turning the pages for "just one more chapter" is as much a process of trial and error as it is intuitive talent.

Scattered in the wake of every completed novel are discarded scenes, openings re-worked fifteen different times, characters who appeared in a series two books before their time, dialogue that ended up being the exact opposite of what that character would really say, hours of agonizing over the wording in one pivotal paragraph, and a ream of constructive comments from a critique partner who refused to allow the writer th…

T.V. Evangelist Kitty

Monday's List

1. Last week's poll placed the majority of this blog's poll-answering readers squarely in the "candy AND popcorn" camp thus vindicating C.J.'s theater choices in the face of Paul and my hubby's stubborn refusal to eat anything at all.

2. Watch a movie on the big screen without munchies? It's just unnatural.

3. As are goats.

4. But I digress.

5. Yesterday at lunch, the Scientist began asking deep, thoughtful questions about marriage (like "Why do some men choose to marry good, smart women and some just marry women who are dumb but pretty?) which sparked a discussion on marriage and the importance of choosing wisely.

6. Halfway through the Scientist's pontifications on eternal love and the wisdom of being careful whom you date, Daredevil opened his mouth and said -

7. "When I grow up and get married and she dies, I'm not going to get married again. I'm going to lay around in my own bed making my own choices!"

8. At which point Starshin…

Riding Dirty

Searching for love, or at least a decent, medieval-style brawl, Juan Pedro went clubbing in my '94 Dodge Caravan.





Sadly, even with his new theme song - Rollin' In My 9-4 -blasting out the open, child-safe windows, the Caravan failed to significantly increase Juan Pedro's street cred.

False Flushes

I do not embrace all of modern technology willingly. I think everyone who regularly reads this blog and remembers my disastrous run-in with Live Journal can attest to that. I understand the theory behind all of the conveniences cluttering up our lives, but I do not always approve.

Automatically flushing toilets, for instance.

I so don't appreciate those.

Having been in restrooms where people who were raised in a goat pen have left their business lurking in every toilet basin, I understand, and even approve, of the goal behind the invention of an automatic toilet flusher.

Not going to take two seconds to send your business on its merry way? We'll do it for you! No more walking into bathroom stalls and having the sight of someone's intestinal distress put you in danger of revisiting your lunch the hard way.

However.

Like sushi or three additional episodes of Star Wars, there's a point where too much of a good thing becomes really, really bad.

I experienced this on my last…

Week In Review

1. Where did this week go?



2. My two youngest dyed and decorated eggs on Easter, but the Scientist decided he was too old for that particular activity.

3. Daredevil and Starshine can dye and decorate a dozen eggs in under four minutes.

4. This is because they're boys.

5. Nothing involving the word "decorate" holds their interest for very long unless, of course, you are discussing an unauthorized re-decoration of the bathroom using shaving cream, toilet paper, and some minty fresh Colgate.

6. Not that anyone in this household has ever done anything like that.

7. I got the call I didn't think was coming (came in close to 5pm) to inform me that I earned a place as a finalist in RWA's Golden Heart writing competition.

8. Excitement was quickly followed by nerves as I discovered I needed a head shot, a fancy dress (okay, that didn't actually cause nerves...just a quick trip to pinupgirlclothing.com), and some press contacts for RWA's press release.

9. All this for the…

Godfather Kitty

Medieval Mosh Pit

Last night, while attending a Red concert in downtown Nashville, Juan Pedro learned three things:

1. Light as a feather, stiff as a board makes for some excellent crowd surfing.

2. When the guitarist tosses out bottles of water, the best course of action is to duck. Especially when one is wearing a face plate that interferes significantly with one's peripheral vision.

3. One may enter a mosh pit brandishing a double-edged sword but only if one wants to find oneself tossed out of the concert venue on one's ear.




He did, however, get this awesome t-shirt.

Sites of Interest

One of my favorite online clothing sites: gorgeous vintage-inspired looks here!


A blog I find truly inspirational: quiet reflection found here.


It's like Netflix for handbags: I like to own my accessories but I still find this fascinating.


A treasure trove of inspirational images: seriously cool photographs here!

Golden Heart Announcement

I didn't tell anyone on this blog about this before now because

a) I was focused on the Amazon contest and

b) a girl has to work to preserve her air of mystery

but the truth is...I entered DYING TO REMEMBER in RWA's Golden Heart contest back in November.

The Golden Heart is the highest honor an unpublished author of one of the romance sub-genres can earn. Today RWA (Romance Writers of America) contacted those who made the cut as finalists in the Golden Heart and I am so thrilled to announce that my manuscript has earned a place as a finalist in the Romantic Suspense category.

If memory serves (I'll have to check the official list of all finalists once it goes up on RWA's site in the next day or two), there are between 5 and 8 finalists per category and one winner per category. The manuscripts will now be judged by editors which means that even if I don't win, I will still gain valuable exposure to acquiring editors within my genre.

I am SOOOOO FREAKIN' EXCITED!

The w…

Monday's List (on a Tuesday)

1. Hmm...

2. And here I thought I had plenty to say.

3. I've got some advice for Paul!

4.

5. Moving on.

6. Spent Saturday at the zoo with the kids because hubby had to host the station-sponsored annual egg hunt there. We do this every year.

7. Thankfully it didn't snow this year like it did last year.

8. That was freaking miserable.

9. Daredevil had an interesting run-in with a large catfish in the aquarium.

10. I'll blog about it soon.

11. Had a Girl's Night Out (yes indeed, those get capitalized) last night at Logan's with 6 of my friends.

12. Good times.

13. Really amazing bread.

14. *wipes drool off chin*

15. My definition of "clean" and my children's definition of "clean" are about as far apart as say...Tibet and South Dakota.

16. That's because I do not consider hiding dirty socks, wadded up paper, half-built lego cities, and rock-hard fig newtons behind your bed in an effort to make the visible floor look spotless to be an acceptable form of …

Have A Happy Period!!

Thank you Katy for the hilarious email!


Dear Mr. Thatcher,

I have been a loyal user of your 'Always' maxi pads for over 20 years and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the LeakGuard Core or Dri-Weave absorbency, I'd probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I'd certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favorite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can't tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there's a little F-16 in my pants.

Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? Ever suffered from the curse? I'm guessing you haven't. Well, my time of the month is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I'll be transformed into what my h…

Poe Shout Out

The Other Side of the Tracks

My hubby and I make it a point to go out on dates every few weeks. We have two requirements for our "dates":

1. No children can be present.

2. Grocery shopping of any kind does not qualify.

Those of you with larger families will understand the second rule completely. Those of you who silently mocked it in your minds - may you have triplets and run out of milk at 10 pm on a Tuesday.

It's been a while since we've had a date night and our friends, Luke and Sandy, decided to give us one by volunteering to hang with our kids while we hit the town this past Friday. My hubby had recently m.c.'d the Nashville Advertising Federation's banquet (or award ceremony or whatever it was that forced him to be out for HOURS on a Saturday night) and as a consolation prize (I think they referred to it as a "thank you gift"), he received a $100 gift certificate to The Palm, a swanky downtown steak house catering to people who don't know what to do with food that comes…

Things I Find Odd

1. NO, I am not going to put myself at the top of the list.

2. Why??

3. Because it's my blog.

4. I am surprised at how many people tell me they read my blog.

5. I guess because not many of you are "commenters", I don't really know who all reads this.

6. Which makes for interesting conversations when near strangers say to me "Hey! How's Starshine?" and it takes me a minute to realize they're a friend of a friend and they read my blog.

7. That, however, is not nearly as awkward as when I meet people who think they "know me" because they listen to my hubby on the radio.

8. Here are a few tips: If you don't know the name of my hair stylist, the two items I order the most off Cracker Barrel's menu, the title of my work in progress, or my cell phone number - you don't know me.

9. The South's addiction to the consumption of catfish.

10. It's a bottom-feeder, folks. It eats dirt - a habit which is directly responsible for the fact th…

Lol

Need A Raise?

Yesterday, Starshine and Daredevil were playing Guitar Hero in the living room. Starshine has surprised us all by rising to the challenge and garnering the most 100% scores in the family.

You will, no doubt, not be at all shocked to learn that I have the least.

In fact, I've only played three songs. I think Guitar Hero is Simon Says to rock songs, many of which I didn't like the first time around - never mind how I feel about them after listening to the kids play them twenty times in a row.

But I digress.

Starshine, as I'm sure you realize, can be a bit convoluted in his communication. In this particular instance, he was trying to explain something about a song and his stats and the money he'd earned to play the gig.

At least I think that's what he was saying.

Daredevil couldn't understand it either and asked him to repeat it. Starshine repeated himself and managed to sound even less clear than his first effort.

Daredevil asked for another repeat. Starshine obl…

Consider Yourself Forewarned

Random Update

1. I'm a HUGE LJ slacker, that's what I am. *hangs head*

2. Took the kids to see Horton Hears A Who yesterday and, cheesy ending song non-withstanding, really loved it.

3. The kids are on spring break this week and of course allergy season hits so two of them are little balls of misery at the moment.

4. That translates into Mom being a little miserable herself as well.

5. Going to see Doomsday Wednesday night after work with Paul and Kailani.

6. My hubby washes his hands of those kinds of movies but I find them fun. (World-wide destruction from an incurable virus whose victims look like ill-fated experiments with acid, gravel, and alien parasites? Only one woman can save the world by kicking the butts of all the tattooed nasties who somehow survived but don't want anyone else to? Government officials stay in their towers tracking the spread of the virus but remaining incredibly immune to it themselves? Sign me up!! Hey - she drives a cool car and she can wipe the pavement…

In which Ursula realizes she has become her mother.

Monday's List

1. Looks like the battle for crunchy vs. smooth peanut butter is neck and neck.

2. I'm a "smooth" girl, myself.

3. Not that there's anything wrong with crunchy.

4. I'll tell you what's wrong: chunky stuff in jello.

5. That's just ewww.

6. Well, honestly, jello is just ewww for the most part.

7. And to think, after 20 something hours of labor with The Scientist (and absolutely NO food during those hours), the good nurses of Los Robles hospital saw fit to offer me orange jello for my first meal.

8. I just endured twenty-something hours of labor, another two hours of things I won't mention to repair the damage I sustained while birthing a child the approximate size of a bowling ball, and all I get is orange jello?

9. That's just wrong.

10. Another thing I recently discovered that is just wrong: Cracker Barrel now carries the original Nestle Crunch bar (because we're really into selling vintage candy).

11. Did you know that the original Nestle Crunch was ch…

Lolcat

Highlights of the Week

1. Starshine, while earnestly explaining something to us about the legendary Dr. Suess, said that something was "True! The kind of true that isn't false!"

2. Ahh, yes, that kind of true.

3. When he saw our faces (as we struggled to contain our mirth and don expressions suitable to a serious discussion of Suess) he followed it up with "Wait...I'm a little confused."

4. *grins*

5. Saw The Bank Job. It wasn't what I expected. That's neither a compliment nor a criticism. But I wouldn't watch it again.

6. Spring is creeping up on middle Tennessee. I know this because allergy season has hit our home.

7. I strongly dislike slow computer servers.

8. I was going to just say "servers" but then I realized people might think I'm talking about waiters.

9. But actually, come to think of it, I don't care to be waited on by a slow server either.

10. Why do people assume that because I'm able to bear children I must inherently know how to hem a…

Monday's List

1. Paul steadfastly refuses to call Juan Pedro by his given name.

2. One wonders what this campaign of cruel depersonalization will do to Juan Pedro's psyche.

3. One feels the need to remind Paul that Juan Pedro carries a weapon with him at all times.

4. This latest poll garnered the most responses. I had to post this pic in honor of the winner, Lord of the Rings. =D



5. Saw Vantage Point last night with Kailani and Dusty and really liked it.

6. Saw a preview for Superhero: The Movie (at least I think that's the title) - it is to superhero movies what Scary Movie is to horror movies.

7. Laughed like a lunatic when Dragonfly "saved" an old lady from being hit by a semi only to discover he'd actually flung her (and her little dog too!) into the mouth of an active trash compacter.

8. Yes, my sense of humor is twisted.

9. Still, we decided we need a "human-size" trash compacter at work to motivate people to tip better. ;D

10. I cannot take seriously any profession…

PMS Kitty

My Children Are Not Aliens

I feel the need to state that. Publicly. Maybe it will offset the overwhelming evidence to the contrary that my children so publicly offer on a regular basis.

Yesterday, we met Kailani and Amber at the airport (bearing gifts of flowers and a hubby-made shamrock-sculpted cake) to welcome them home from Ireland. While we were waiting, my hubby was approached by numerous people admiring the large green cake he held.

Daredevil took this as an invitation to begin conversations with strangers.

This was not good.

You'll recall that Daredevil has no filter between what he thinks and what he says. And that he does not consider ANYTHING to be rude as long as he has avoided the obvious pitfalls of using profanity.

Therefore, questioning people on their way into the men's room as to the nature of their business therein falls under the category of "Acceptable" in Daredevil's book.

Also deemed "Acceptable" is the following response to those who jokingly asked "…

Dear Juan Pedro

When the slump in high-paying medieval warfare showed no signs of recovery, Juan Pedro signed on as a seasonal employee with the local mall.


Things I've Found Amusing This Week

1. Ryan Seacrest pronouncing "niche" as "neesh" on live t.v. last night.

2. Reminds me of the ever-pompous Alex Trebec pronouncing "Don Juan" as "Don Jew-an" for a Jeopardy clue and then defensively telling the laughing audience that "Jew-an" is the correct pronunciation for "Juan".

3. Bet that cleared things up for conflicted Hispanics across the globe.

4. Starshine playing Guitar Hero: total concentration and focus (for once!!) and he jerks his body forward every time he hits a long note.

5. The fact that everyone in my house seems to think that since they love to play Guitar Hero, I should love it too.

6. It just doesn't capture my interest.

7. The customer I had on Tuesday night who looked at our menu, pointed to a section and asked, "So, on these Weekend Specials...do you only have those on the weekend?"

8. You will, no doubt, be proud of me for responding with a simple "Yes ma'am."

9. Never mind that…

Lolcat

The Value of Proof-reading

Thank you to Carolyn for the funny email!

They're Back! Those Wonderful Church Bulletins!
Thank God for church ladies with typewriters. These sentences appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services (Summer, 2007 Release).


----------------------------------------------------------
The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
----------------------------------------------------------
The sermon this morning: "Jesus Walks on the Water." The sermon tonight: "Searching for Jesus."
-------------------- ------ -! ------- ------------------------
Our youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8 PM in the recreation hall. Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.
----------------------------------------------------------
Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
----------------------------------------------------------
The peacemaking meeti…

Monday's List

1. I can't believe it's already March.

2. Thankfully, the weather is beautiful at the moment and makes it feel like spring is really here.

3. This is a middle Tennesse lie, of course, since last year it managed to snow in April.

4. I put up a new poll today. I love all four series but found it surprisingly easy to pick my favorite.

5. This morning I have that nagging "I'm forgetting something" feeling.

6. Hmm...

7. Nope, I'm wearing pants.

8. Must be something else.

9. The empty house beside us finally sold and our new neighbors moved in Saturday.

10. They seem very nice and their 5 year old little girl latched onto my boys and played outside with them all yesterday afternoon.

11. My friends Kailani and Amber are currently backpacking across Ireland.

12. I'm jealous.

13. Sort of.

14. I really want to visit Ireland.

15. I, however, do not backpack.

16. I do not consider strapping a fifty pound bag to my back and eschewing all forms of public or private transportation …

Coming to a theater near you...

It Is Only A Matter Of Time

Excerpt from EVERY DAY DESERVES A CHANCE by Max Lucado (footnoted as being part of a sermon by Rick Atchely)


Excerpts from the diary of a dog:

8:00 am Oh boy, dog food - my favorite.
9:20 am Oh boy, a car ride - my favorite.
9:40 am Oh boy, a walk - my favorite.
10:30 am Oh boy, another car ride - my favorite.
11:30 am Oh boy, more dog food - my favorite.
12:00 pm Oh boy, the kids - my favorite.
1:00 pm Oh boy, the yard - my favorite.
4:00 pm Oh boy, the kids again - my favorite.
5:00 pm Oh boy, dog food again - my favorite.
5:30 pm Oh boy, Mom - my favorite.
6:00 pm Oh boy, playing ball - my favorite.
8:30 pm Oh boy, sleeping in my master's bed - my favorite.


Excerpts from the diary of a cat:

Day 283 of my captivity. My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat while I'm forced to eat dry cereal. I'm sustained by the hope of escape and the mild satisfaction I derive from ruining a few pieces of furniture. Tomorrow I …