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Showing posts from October, 2008

Get Me Started! - #1

*From Danielle Mari's first sentence.*

Jackson almost left Lucky Lo without reading the fortune cookie. If he had--if he'd just tossed his three dollar tip on the table, waved goodbye to the cute little waitress who never charged him for his drink, and slipped out the bottle-green glass door with its chiming trio of bells without attracting the attention of Madam Lo herself, nothing about his life would've changed. He'd be Jackson Pierce--ex-college football star who still drove the Chevy Nova he'd purchased when he was eighteen, still kicked himself for breaking up with Jenny when anyone could see she was perfect for him, and still played at being a private investigator while waiting for his real life to start.

He'd relived the moment a hundred times in the last hour as he lie curled up inside the trunk of Madam Lo's old white Caddy, every bump and pothole slamming his head into the metal toolbox wedged beside him and his spine into the trio of cinder blocks…

It's Like A Potluck Of C.J. Facts!

Location: My comfy over-sized writing chair, hoping the rest of the crew hit their beds soon so I can write for an hour before going to bed.

Playing on my iPod: "With You" by Linkin Park

1. Tomorrow I work from 10 am to 9 pm.

2. If you're currently thinking something along the lines of "Oh, C.J. must be excited/happy/looking forward to that" please slap yourself until common sense returns.

3. If you missed the fabulous new heels coming out in Chanel's 2009 collection, go here and check them out.

4. Yes, the black pair would be an appropriate Christmas gift for me. ;)

5. Also, if you missed it, scroll down and check out the uber-cool Halloween cake my hubby made this weekend.

6. I took the kids shopping on Saturday to figure out the whole costume thing. We're going to have two rock stars (Starshine and Daredevil) and one Army Special Ops (Scientist). My hubby is going as a wizard. I've got the stuff to be either a witch or a Celtic princess but maybe this…

Bat wing and eye of newt

Have I mentioned before that my hubby is brilliant and talented? Especially when it comes to cake?

Here's a cake he made this past weekend for a Halloween party. This is absolutely one of the coolest cakes he's ever made (in my opinion). After watching the video, would you rate it and comment on it so he can get it up to Featured Video status on Youtube? He's also entering this in a contest on cake.com. Very cool!


Halloween Cake

God Save The Queen

A message from the Queen:

To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

In light of your failure in recent years to manage your economy, or to nominate competent candidates for President and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.


** Important, please read thoroughly! **

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy).

Your new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.

Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.

A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

You should look up 'revocation' in the Oxford English Dictionary.


1. Then look up alumin…

My Personal Motto For All Things Idiotic

1. Because I have a full To Do list tomorrow, I'm posting my Friday's Week in Review on a Thursday night.

2. This shows an astonishing degree of foresight and planning on my part and should in no way alter the usual helter-skelter daily blogging you've come to expect from me.

3. Want to know which authors made the most moola over the last year? Go here.

4. I'm truly surprised Nora isn't on the list. The woman publishes four books a year, at least.

5. Recently, my children have found opportunities to lament my various domestic shortcomings.

6. I'm a great cook. I keep a relatively clean house (as long as you don't enter the landfill that is the boys' room). I don't forget to feed the animals.

7. That's the extent of my domesticity. I don't have baked goods waiting on the counters every day. I don't mop very often. And you better believe, I don't sew.(That's a post for another day.)

8. Starshine explained to me today that he wishes I were…

Get Me Started!

Once again, I'm going to let you tell me what to write. Sort of. Here's the deal (for those of you who weren't following the blog last year):

1. You think up a cool/funny/interesting/challenging first sentence.

2. You post it in the comments section.

3. I take the sentence and turn it into a short piece of creative writing.

Last year, some of you threw some fairly challenging sentences my way, and I loved the writing that came from them. Very entertaining for all of us. :)

So, give me a first sentence and I'll go from there. I only ask that there be no profanity in it. Blood and guts are fine. =D

Death By Camel

The Creation Museum in Kentucky has a petting zoo stocked with the usual suspects and a few exotic ones as well. There was a tremendously fat hog, a pen FULL of goats (Which, even though they're small, are sneaky animals who'll head-butt you or eat your pants off the second you turn your back.), a donkey, a baby zebra (who was friendly up until the moment he realized I had no food and then he lost interest), two llamas (Watch out! They spit! From both ends! Ack!), and one seriously stuck-up camel.

I've never had an up close and personal encounter with a camel. I don't think I want to ever again. I've decided the camel rivals the goat for Freaky Semi-Trustworthy Animal status.

This camel was, in short, a Diva. With large, flapping lips. She stalked around her pen, moving too fast for comfort, whipped her head toward me so we were looking eye to eye, and crowded her Wow I'm Big body next to mine against the fence.

Now, I should tell you the staff there have the goo…

You Can't Take It Back

A friendly word of advice to my fellow authors: publishing is a small industry. Blogs and loops are read by many authors, agents, and editors alike. If you feel upset or dissatisfied with something--be it a rejection letter, a suggestion for revisions, the outcome of a contest--you're much better off sharing that frustration with one or two trustworthy friends IN PRIVATE, than venting to the world at large via a loop or blog.

You have no idea who reads your words.

It's very possible the person you are venting against will read your post, alter their opinion of your professionalism (because what you're doing is NOT professional), and refuse to work with you. Others who read your words may wonder if you'll react so badly to them and won't want to work with you either.

So, here's the deal. Publishing is tough. You get rejections. You get bad reviews. You don't win contests. Suck it up. Be gracious. Take what you can from the experience to make your writing better…

It's All Fun And Games, Y'all!

Instead of my usual Monday list, I thought I would give you the inside scoop on my recent trip through Kentucky. We left Thursday around lunch time with the goal of reaching our destination (Florence, y'all!) by dinner. Florence is right next to the Ohio border, facing Cincinnati.

I've been to Kentucky before. We usually make an annual summer trek to Bowling Green (just a few miles over the border from Tennessee) to play at Beech Bend Park. I've always considered Kentucky to be a beautiful state but it took driving through the whole state to fully experience the, um, cosmopolitan flair that is Kentucky.

What? You think Kentucky isn't cosmopolitan? I beg to differ. Driving through Kentucky is like having a short tour of some of the world's international highlights. Here are just a few of the cities we passed:

Glasgow
Warsaw
Elizabethtown
Somerset
Sparta
English (not to be confused with French or Hungarian which, while they weren't listed along the highway, must surel…

"Jobs" is a Three-letter Word

1. I'm posting my usual "week in review" on Thursday because I'll be offline all day tomorrow.

2. *gasp, choke*

3. I don't know how I'll survive.

4. My hubby showed me a video clip of Biden saying McCain's economic plan didn't address the number one issue facing the middle class--a three letter word---JOBS.

5. Daredevil instantly pointed out that "jobs" has four letters.

6. We told him that knowledge qualified him to be Vice President of the United States.

7. He wasn't interested.

8. He says it's because being VP sounds like a stupid, boring job.

9. We think it's because he clings to his dream of world domination and, to date, no VP has ever managed that sort of global impact.

10. The Explorer is fixed and back in action.

11. I'm still considering the vehicular arson option I mentioned earlier.

12. I know it's only a matter of time before the Piece and the 9-4 conspire against us again.

13. My parents are visiting until this coming T…

I'd Like To Buy A Vowel

Not long ago, I promised to tell you the story of my failed attempt at securing a spot as a contestant on The Wheel of Fortune. I grew up without a television for most of my childhood, but my grandparents owned one, and as they lived five blocks away, I was often at their home for dinner.

My status as cherished granddaughter did not, however, give me control of the remote. Dinner time meant one thing in my grandparents' house. Wheel of Fortune followed by Jeopardy!, that nefarious concoction of Merv Griffin's designed to make its audience feel either astronomically foolish (I'm supposed to know which general died first in the second skirmish preceding the War of 1812?!) or incredibly irritated with the oh-so-pompous Alec Trebec.

I much preferred Wheel of Fortune.

I was good at Wheel of Fortune.

WoF is all about words. The ability to spell. The instinct to know which letters are the most probable combinations. The skill to take pieces of a phrase and quickly fill in the gaps.

I…

What Happens When Pumpkins Drink?

1. It's official. Johnny Depp signed on for Pirates Four and the story is completely about Captain Jack Sparrow.

2. Yes, that noise you hear is me doing my Happy Dance.

3. Midnight showing? Dressed as a pirate? You betcha.

4. I'll even bring the rum.

5. You'll recall the 9-4 recently misbehaved and spilled an entire tank of gas all over the highway before costing us a pretty penny to fix.

6. Not to be outdone, the Explorer (otherwise known at The Piece...long story. Hilarious. I'll have to post about it.) just broke down and we received the unhappy news that it will cost over $700 to fix.

7. Since I don't know where that money will come from and I absolutely have to have a car next week to start my new job, I'm advocating taking it out back, shooting it, and putting in an insurance claim for a new one.

8. Anyone own a bazooka?

9. Starshine wandered up to me on Saturday and announced that, just for the day, he was going to be an eyeball.

10. I no longer question these …

Starshine the Multi-Cultured

Tonight I took Starshine with me to pick up Chinese food from our local restaurant. Because we're adopting a baby from China, we've been learning simple Chinese phrases. Starshine has mastered one.

When we walked up to the counter, the proprietor looked at us and Starshine said, "Ni-how!", which means "hello" in Chinese.

The proprietor smiled and asked "You know how to speak Chinese?"

To which Starshine replied, "Si."

Hey, it's not every seven year old who can conduct a conversation in both Chinese and Spanish, right?

Interview With Author Peter Von Brown

Peter and I met online via a mutual blogging friend (Danielle Mari). The first time I checked out his site, I was immediately captivated by the cover of his first novel, Peter Pan's NeverWorld. We began a conversation about that novel, and about writing, and I was so excited about his concept, I asked him to be a guest on my blog.

When did you start writing novels and what made you choose to pursue publication?

Though I remember myself as always writing, I had to admit my penchant for being verbose in middle school. However, my first novel of note came about in high school. Short stories are not my forte. My short pieces exist, but I’m not entirely happy with them. Maybe with some expansion…

When word gets out one is a writer, a variant of the question “Oh, have you published anything?” invariably follows. So my publication endeavor is partly a result of encouragement. I figure the notion of being able to make a living doing something you’d be doing anyway would appeal to anyo…

An Open Letter

Dear Mr. McCain, Mr. Obama, and President Bush,

Dictionary.com's definition of the term socialism is this:

Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy.

Socialism is the slanted ground between capitalism and communism.

To see the end results of socialism, please visit China, North Korea, Cuba, or the debris that is now Russia.

The fact that you assume I, as a middle class American, am too panicked by the constant media frenzy over a potential economic meltdown to understand a sweeping piece of socialism when I see one is insulting.

The economy is in trouble because banks speculated too much and gave loans to anyone with a paycheck and a pulse. Since I bank at an FDIC insured institution and have less than the $100,000 insurable limit in my account, their crisis is not mine.

The economy has slowed down because a) recession ha…

If You've Got 'Em...

When I was studying at Pepperdine for my teaching credential, I had the joy of student teaching at a local high school. This involved me taking over a classroom of students, most of whom looked about my age, and executing a fun, informative lesson plan under the eagle eye of my lead teacher and often the intense scrutiny of my credentialing advisor as well.

Since I planned my lessons well and am an interesting teacher (gestures, sense of humor, an effort made to entertain while I teach), these observed teaching periods didn't phase me.

Until the day the one contingency I never thought to plan for happened.

I was teaching a unit on Antigone. I'd divided the class into teams, one for each main character, and given them the responsibility to list and defend their character's actions while simultaneously giving a logical reason (based on the text) for blaming the outcome of the play on one of the other characters (they got to choose their scapegoat). My kids were excited about t…

A Piece of History

1. Yesterday was Kelly's birthday (Paul's wife, one of my best friends).

2. I was going to say "one of my bffs" but I just cannot bring myself to use that particular piece of lingo.

3. Anyway, my hubby made a cake for her. A pink flip-flop (the girl doesn't like stilettos...I still don't understand it). Here's a video of the cake, start to finish:



4. Today, an original copy of the Declaration of Independence is at the Nashville Public Library until 2 pm.

5. I'm taking the kids out of school early so we can all go see it.

6. This week I have another author interview, a fun creative writing post, and whatever else happens to run through my busy little brain while I'm blogging. =D

7. I'm still working out, showing that sassy little Wii Fit who's boss.

8. I finally wrote my way past a really difficult chapter. I don't know why it was so difficult except that I wasn't sure how I wanted to handle the subject matter, and I wasn't confident …

Good morning, Starshine!

Starshine has had a busy weekend. He made a youtube video with his friend in which the two fight a light saber duel to the death. They titled it "You Shall Die."

No, I don't worry about my kids.

Also, Starshine and my hubby were playing a game of catch with a football when Starshine grabbed the ball, ran for a touchdown, and tackled himself.

Yes, you read that right.

He seemed to forget we were even there, grabbed the ball, began a sport's announcer's running commentary, hiked the ball to himself, called the play, tackled himself, got up, ran, tackled himself again, and managed to get up and make it across the goal line before being tackled by the entire opposing team, who mercilessly threw him onto the ground several times and pummeled him until he lay still.

We just watched in awe. It's not every child who can play every member of both football teams plus the announcer without assistance.

Today, Starshine received a bandanna at church and was allowed to write hi…

Holy Mutinous Muscles, Batman!

Playing on my iPod now: Sounds Like War by P.O.D.

1. The weather's changing here. We actually need a light sweatshirt at nights, even though the days are warm enough for t-shirts. The leaves are changing and we're gearing up for fall. Tennessee autumns are the most beautiful autumns I've ever seen.

2. The results of last week's poll are interesting. 12 voters said Dragons used to exist. 9 felt they are nothing but myth.

3. Naturally, I voted that they used to exist. =D

4. I've worked out five times in the last three days.

5. Today, I rolled out of bed and realize my muscles had staged a mutiny.

6. Something along the lines of "What are you, freakin' CRAZY?"

7. Also, they questioned the wisdom of having our bedroom UPstairs.

8. I'm going to finish this post and do another workout just to show them who's boss.

9. As you know, I rarely watch tv. Fringe is the only show I'm watching at the moment. I like to keep it to one show so my time is free for ot…

Alexa's On The Map

Someone recently found this blog by Googling Alexa Tate. That has to be a benchmark of some sort. =D

Debut Author: Beth Trissel

When I finaled in the 2008 Golden Heart, I joined a loop with the other finalists and met a group of amazingly talented, supportive, FUN women. We began sharing our milestones on the journey to publication--agent requests, finaling in other contests, finishing our WIP, and, of course, sales.

Right out of the gate, fellow-Pixie Beth Trissel announced a sale to The Wild Rose Press (a really cool e-publisher that has EVERY genre you'd ever want to read in an instant-gratification format!). We congratulated her. Then she announced another sale. And another. And another. Four sales in the space of a few weeks, all to The Wild Rose Press.

You don't get to that level of accomplishment without discipline, talent, and years of hard work. Beth's first novel, Somewhere My Love, hit the digital bookshelves last Friday. I couldn't wait to get her on my blog to talk about writing, her beloved Virginia mountains, and the all important Stiletto Vs. Flip-Flops question.

When did you star…

Mid-Week Madness

Random facts you don't yet know about me (unless you're one of the few who read my thoughts on a regular basis):

1. C.J. is not the name on my birth certificate but over the last few years, it's become the name almost everyone uses for me.

2. I get asked often what C.J. stands for and, of course, I tell the truth: Calamity Jane.

3. One of my friends started calling me Cieje (pronounced "siege") because apparently the last "ay" sound is just too much to get out.

4. The other day, someone at work called me the Ciejinator and that is taking Ridiculous to previously unexplored heights.

5. I read The Lord of the Rings trilogy when I was in fourth grade and loved it.

6. I wrote my first story in second grade.

7. I was the last kid in the first grade to learn how to read.

8. While I've never run with scissors, I have, on several occasions, nearly put out an eye.

9. Usually someone else's.

10. I like pepper more than salt.

11. I think white chocolate is one step a…