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Showing posts from July, 2007

Deathly Hallows

I finished HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS yesterday. Don't worry, I won't put anything in this post that will spoil the book for you if you haven't read it yet.

Truman Capote once said:

"The test of whether or not a writer has divined the natural shape of his story is just this: after reading it, can you imagine it differently, or does it silence your imagination and seem to you absolute and final."

In this case, J.K. Rowling silenced my imagination, satisfied my heart, and the Harry Potter series does seem to me to be absolute and final.

Is it too soon to yearn for another series out of her?

Lock It Up

So, as most of you know, Malystryx (aka bluedragoon25) is moving into the spare room on the first floor of our home. Yesterday, he brought over his extensive collection of swords and medieval weaponry.

Since I have three boys, we all decided it was in our best interests to lock the weapons up as none of us are thrilled at the prospect of dealing with severed limbs, gashed heads, or a tail-less cat.

Mal decided to place the weapons on the top shelf of his clost and buy a latch for the doors. This seemed like a good plan to us. My hubby and Mal took a trip to Lowe's and came home with a latch that required both pushing in a button and sliding at the same time to open it.

Perfect.

The closet in Mal's room has two doors that pull open. My hubby grabbed his drill and the latch and went to work.

For the rest of this story to make any sense, you need to know that my hubby was having the kind of day only Murphy can deliver. He has two cake orders to fill this week, one of which is an ent…

New Favorite Quotes!

I love quotes. I have a huge book full of quotes. Most of my favorites are serious stuff.

However, I have three new favorites, recently acquired.

One, from Dragonheart: "She's a - a - a Wandering Idiot!"


The second, from Eddie Izzard's riff on the Death Star Canteen where Darth Vader announces: "Death by Tray it shall be!"


The last, acquired today, from Plankton (the evil nemesis on SpongeBob): "This is a job for an imbecile!"


Shouldn't be too hard to work those into everyday conversations.

I Know What You Ate Last Summer

My father, as regular blog readers now know, is both the Master Packer and the Mechanical One in our family. He can fit five pair of shoes, twelve sweaters, a crystal vase, nine books, seventeen lemons, and a stuffed monkey into a duffle bag. He can repair anything, fix anything, and build anything with less to work with than MacGuyver.

These skills, however, do not translate to gardening.

One summer, when I was going into seventh grade and we lived in a little house on Tokay Avenue in a sunny little town in California where gardens thrived with very little effort, my father decided that we too needed a garden.

This was not true.

My grandparents lived within walking distance in the same mint green house surrounded by a lush yard where you could choose to have fresh lemons, oranges, tomatoes, grapes, berries, plums, apricots, peaches, pomegranates, tangerines, almonds...you get the picture.

There was no need for a garden of our own but my father, the Enthusiastic Gardener, was determined.

B…

Update on Malystryx

For those of you following the blog, you know that Malystryx is a strong presence on this blog - he comments often, his blog is linked to mine, and he is featured in more than a few posts.

He has changed his online identity to bluedragoon25. Midlife crisis? Hiding from the FBI? Running from the IRS? No one really knows. =)

The point is, now when you see a comment from bluedragoon25, you'll know it's Malystryx and to avoid confusion (and because I still think of him this way), I'll still call him Mal in my posts.

Anyone have the FBI's hotline??

Want Some Spit With Those Fries?

Malystryx and I were discussing pet peeves that come along with the job of waiting on people and we thought we'd put up posts on our blogs with the items that top our "shall I spit in your food for you?" list:

First, I will make it clear that no matter how much you might tick me off, I have never nor will I ever spit in, drop on the floor then serve, or otherwise make someone's food unsafe to eat. I have my integrity even when faced with a table full of mannerless idiots who, if there was any kind of justice in the food industry, would snort pinto beans down their windpipe and hack up a vital organ or two every five minutes.

I will also make it clear that I AM IN THE MINORITY. There are many servers out there who wouldn't think twice about planting a little surprise in your food if you make them mad. I am always amazed at those who treat poorly the one person with the power to wipe your steak across a toilet seat before serving it to you.

Top Ten Pet Peeves:

1. Do

Statistics

Okay, I'm going to set the record straight (And if you don't know what I'm talking about on these posts...scroll down and read. It will all make sense.)

First, I went to work (and to a job interview with my District Manager) tipsy. This was not my fault. See below to read about the cake incident.

Results of tipsy first hour at work:

1.Carried off the interview well but couldn't figure out what to do with my hands. Finally sat on them. It seemed the best decision at the time.

2. Ran smack into a doorjamb. I saw it coming. I knew I was going to hit it. But the message to "STOP" just wouldn't translate from my brain to my body and I hit it, mid-sentence.

3. I provided an endless opportunity for my co-workers to be highly entertained with the idea that the "never-even-goes-to-a-bar" C.J. was tipsy at 4 pm. I believe there was a betting pool on whether I would have a hang-over. I didn't.

Okay, next statistic. Malystryx takes exception to my c…

Update on DYING TO REMEMBER

For those of you new to the blog, DYING TO REMEMBER is my first completed novel and has been moving (slowly) through the process of being accepted/signed by Grand Central Publishing (formerly Warner Books).

Today I received an email from the editor who initially requested my manuscript and she said she still didn't have an answer for me but in the meantime, she wanted to help me find an agent. She included four names of agents she has already spoken to on my behalf and all of them are looking for my manuscript in the mail.

To say that I am flattered would be an understatement. This kind of help with networking is invaluable in the publishing business and I would be an idiot not to thank her profusely and take her up on the help!

Off to add "send major print order to Kinko's" to tomorrow's to do list.

He Really Is Trying To Kill Me

You'll recall that earlier this summer, I suspected my hubby of trying to kill me with cake. Cake on the counter tops. Cake bursting out of my freezer. Cake everywhere you turn.

So much cake (he's decorated 5 cakes in a month and that's a LOT of extra cake) that I'm over it. I can walk through the kitchen 9 times out of 10 and totally ignore any available cake. Frankly, if I never smell a cake baking again (not likely since he has 3 orders to fill in the next 2 weeks), it will be too soon.

He can't kill me with spare cake.

He's changed tactics.

For our son's birthday this past weekend, my hubby made a huge cake with a street, skyscrapers, a beach, flaming helicoptors and car wrecks, and a giant Godzilla emerging from the ocean. My 8 year old is fascinated by the old Godzilla films and this is the cake he wanted.

To give Godzilla that gorgeous green shine, my hubby used a spray paint technique that requires the metallic paint powder to be mixed with EverClea…

The Score: Malystryx - 2, C.J. - 2 1/2

And won't Malystryx be a happy camper when he reads that post title. =)

As you know, Malystryx and I are very competitive and we've lately taken that into the arena of games. As you'll recall, Mal beat me at chess and checkers, though both were close calls. I beat him soundly at Risk and, on our first checkers match, caused him to forfeit the game by throwing his checkers to the floor (poor little kamikazes).

By my count, that had us at Malystryx - 2, Me - 1 1/2 (you can't really count a forfeit as a true victory, after all).

Last night, we decided to play poker, Texas Hold 'Em style. My hubby is the expert at Texas Hold 'Em so we enlisted his help to refresh our gaming skills. I've only played once before (and beat my hubby, though we don't speak of it. Ever.) and Mal hadn't played in years.

My hubby played with us for an hour until he called it quits to go to bed (getting up at 3 a.m. for work will do that to you). When he left, he slid his enti…

Today's To Do List

Monday:

1. Collect all dirty laundry, sort, and wash.

2. Carefully remove all spare change, silly putty, dead beetles, legos, and wrappers from the pack of gum all boys swore they never touched from all pockets.

3. Go back through boys' rooms and collect another entire load of dirty clothes from under the beds, behind the dressers, on top of the stereo, and hanging from the ceiling fan.

4. Discipline mind to refuse to consider the origins of most of the stains found in the laundry.

5. Clean the kitchen - load dishwasher, wash counters, wash pots and pans.

6. Spend 3 pointless minutes wondering how peanutbutter could possibly be smeared across the blinds, the wall, and the baseboard.

7. Spend another 3 minutes being accutely thankful the brown substance on the blinds, the wall, and the baseboard really is peanutbutter.

8. Finish kitchen just in time for every child to wander in bearing another three dishes out of their rooms.

9. Realize that over half of those will need to be soaked in some…

From The Mouths Of Babes

Having a six year old of my own, I can appreciate this list! A teacher gave her kids the first half of a well-known proverb and asked them to put an ending that made sense to them.

This is what she got:

1. Don't change horses until they stop running.
2. Strike while the bug is close.
3. It's always darkest before Daylight Saving Time.
4. Never underestimate the power of termites.
5. You can lead a horse to water but How?
6. Don't bite the hand that looks dirty.
7. No news is impossible.
8. A miss is as good as a Mr.
9. You can't teach an old dog new Math.
10. If you lie down with dogs, you'll stink in the morning.
11. Love all, trust Me.
12. The pen is mightier than the pigs.
13. An idle mind is the best way to relax.
14. Where there's smoke there's pollution.
15. Happy the bride who gets all the presents.
16. A penny saved is not much.
17. Two's company, three's the Musketeers.
18. Don't put off till tomorrow what you put on to go to bed.
19. Laugh and t…

It's - Where?

This morning, my Mom went shopping at Costco. My Mom is the Queen of Coupons - she cuts, sorts, and plans her trip through the store like a general planning a battle.

As we mentioned before, my Swedish genes are diluted (unlike my mother's pureblood stock) and as a result, I get excited over coupons and then forget them at home.

So, the Queen of Coupons entered Costco and began a seek and snatch mission. Granola. Check. Ridiculously large jar of peanut butter. Check. Toilet bowl cleaner.

Not there.

She searched up and down the cleaning products aisle, drifted into the toilet paper aisle and even checked near the napkins, just in case.

Not there.

Frustrated, she asked an employee to direct her to the toilet bowl cleaner. He smiled and said, "It's in the produce section."

Well of course it is. Where else would it be? Thinking that Costco had completely lost their minds, my mom opened her mouth to tell him what she thought of this when the employee continued,

"It's …

WARNING: Laughter Not Always The Best Medicine

I love to laugh. I don't do little giggles or quiet chuckles or anything like that. When I laugh, I laugh. I just let loose. I often laugh so hard, I cry.

That's not a problem. I learned early on to wear water-proof mascara.

However, I've learned other things while laughing hysterically. Here are just a few:

1. Laughing on a full bladder is risky, at best. It's better to frequently visit the restroom, just in case. One never knows when the urge to double-over with laughter will produce more than just tears.

2. Laughing while carrying a heavy tray of plates full of hot food is not advisable. For one, it makes it very difficult to maintain one's balance properly. For another, restaurant guests do not look kindly upon a waitress walking by herself and laughing hysterically. Makes them wonder who spiked the sweet tea.

3. Laughing while drinking a carbonated beverage can be disastrous. One has only three choices:

A. Choke it down and hope your lungs can clear themse…

Sappy Hallmark Warning!

Okay, this is a fairly sappy poem, I'm sure. It doesn't have any of the gothic undertones of most of the poetry I write but the theme just didn't call for it (and it's good practice to write happy, happy, joy, joy stuff now and then, right?) Anyway, see the post beneath this one to find my source of inspiration.

You

Beneath bright smiles and laughter pure
A void lingered and beckoned here
A quiet sense of loss and grief
That spoke to me from underneath

Every person who saw me and said “how strong”
I wanted to shout right back “how wrong”
Every person who said, “she’s got it together”
Then ran to hide from my stormy weather

I held them up to my inner space
Searched for truth written on their face
And every one of them was wrong
Not one of them really did belong

I needed someone true and real
Someone willing to go deeper still
Someone to love me when I was easy to take
But who loved me more when I threatened to break

Someone to listen with more than their ears
To delight in my laughter bu…

Words Fail (well, sort of...)

WandererInGray posted something on her LJ today that got me thinking about the people in my life who make a significant impact on me.

It's true that every person who has any sort of relationship with me has changed my life in some way - added something to make my life richer and more complete.

If you are reading this and you know me personally (or know me online like my totally kicking critique partner, KB), then you should know you're a valuable part of my life and you bring something unique to me that only you could bring.

I can't mention everyone here. I have a lot of friends.(and what a blessing that is!) Instead, I started thinking about that deeper hole in our spirits that basic friendship never touches and how, since I moved to Tennessee, my hole has been filled.

There is an emptiness, a vague sense of loss inside of us when we are known by many but truly, unconditionally understood and loved by none. True friendship takes on the shine of kindred spirits, entwined he…

Argh! My Eyes!

I work with a highschool kid whom we'll call, for lack of any other realistic images coming to mind, Breezy.

You'll soon know why.

Last night, while observing the infamous Checkers to the Death match between Malystryx and myself, Breezy commented that a friend of his had been "flapping around without any pants" that evening.

Well, eww. Thanks for that enjoyable mental nightmare. I don't wish to imagine anyone "flapping", with or without clothes. I really, really don't. (And as I've already explained my overactive imagination to you, you'll realize that I was quite hung up on the whole "flapping" visual for the rest of the night.)

Tonight, Breezy explained that yesterday he went swimming with 7 of his friends at one of his friend's houses.

Sounds like fun, I said.

He agreed it had been fun. Then he explained that immediately following swimming, all 8 of them decided to run through the streets of our city, from one friend's house…

It's All Fun & Games -

Checkers: (noun) a game whose object is to annihilate one's opponent using stealth, cunning, manipulation, bullying, and mind games.

synonym: see Open Warfare.

I rarely play games against Malystryx. The few times we've played card games with family and friends, we were a team and we were invincible. We are both incredibly competitive (there is no surrender, no backing off, no mercy), we are both stubborn as mules (of course, in my personality, this comes across as pleasantly determined. In his...well, I won't go there.), and we know the way each other's twisted minds work.

We are an excellent team.

We make fierce opponents.

Tonight, Malystryx challenged me to a game of checkers. Given that the last time he played checkers against me, he ended up throwing all of his pieces to the floorin a fit of pique to rival that of a three-year-old, I was somewhat surprised.

Naturally, I accepted, even though I knew I would lose. Why would I lose?

A) It's been years since I've p…

Random Facts

I admit it. I am just warped enough to find all of this interesting.

A shrimp's heart is in its head.

The "sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick" is said to be thetoughest tongue twister in the English language.

Rats multiply so quickly that in 18 months, two rats could have over a million descendants.

In every episode of Seinfeld there is a Superman somewhere.

A duck's quack doesn't echo, and no one knows why.

23% of all photocopier faults world-wide are caused by people sitting on them
and photocopying their butts. (Should offices institute a "wash your hands after using the copier" rule?)

Most lipstick contains fish scales.

Like fingerprints, everyone's tongue print is different.

In a study of 200,000 ostriches over a period of 80 years, no one reported a single case where an ostrich buried its head in the sand.

It is physically impossible for pigs to look up into the sky.

A pregnant goldfish is called a twit.

More than 50% of the people in the world…

Which Death Eater Are You?

My hubby got into the spirit of EVIL this weekend as we discussed how to turn our friends into authentic villains for the sake of building characters and he had a very interesting idea. (Well, interesting to those of us who adore Harry Potter.)

He and I spent several minutes discussing the different Death Eaters and which ones we would be. (again, if we were raised without conscience)

Feel free to join the discussion.

DEATH EATERS:

1. Tom Riddle: the early version of Lord Voledemort, Tom was smooth, handsome, and charming with a thirst for power and a taste for revenge. He manipulated others into doing his bidding - either offering them a "place" in his inner circle or by terrorizing them with the consequences of disobedience. He hid his penchant for evil from most authority figures because he was very skilled at presenting only what he others wanted to see. He was also a long-term planner, always thinking of ways to ensure his immortality and his chosen place in this world.

2…

Villain Character Sheet

Here's my working model of a villain character sheet. If you can think of any question worth adding, please let me know!

Villain Worksheet


1. What are the character’s strongest traits?
2. What does the character value most?
3. Is the character motivated by winning/competitive streak?
4. Jealousy?
5. Fear?
6. Anger?
7. Sense of entitlement?
8. Does the character display emotions? Which ones?
9. Would the character take a life?
10. Why?
11. How would the character feel about taking a life?
12. What is the character’s weapon of choice?
13. Why?
14. Does the character “dress the part” of a villain?
15. Why or why not?
16. How did the character’s “villainous” career start?
17. Why did it escalate?
18. What does the character want to gain from his/her villainy?
19. Does the character have any accomplices?
20. Are they equals?
21. Are they his/her master?
22. Are they underlings?
23. Does the character love anyone?
24. Does the character respect anyone?
25. How would the character respond to a physical threat?
26…

He's Square - The Shape of EVIL!

I borrowed the title line from an episode of SpongeBob where Plankton is trying to convince Patrick that SpongeBob is not his friend so that Patrick will compete against him in the Fry Cook Games. That line always makes me laugh.

Anyway, the next post down is a very interesting exercise I did with my friend Malystryx and I think I've discovered a great way to thoroughly understand my characters and to find new/unlikely villains by doing this exercise on other people I know (not on a public forum like Malystryx and I agreed to do but on my own.)

I learned that I have a pretty accurate understanding of Malystryx's personality and that I can shape his personality to fit either hero or villain, depending on his upbringing and morals.

I could do this with other friends and find what would motivate them and how they would act if they were evil...I can see a whole range of new possibilities on the character horizon in my books. Thoroughly understanding others and what shapes them, mot…

If Malystryx Was Evil

Tonight at work, Malystryx and I had an interesting conversation about what we would be if we'd been raised in an environment devoid of morals, faith, or any sense of guilt/conscience. It started with us discussing a game where characters could choose a good quest or an evil quest and could use their particular skills/gifts to accomplish either end.

We decided to write a post on our respective blogs describing what the other would be like if, with the same personality, strengths, and weaknesses, we were the product of environments that turned us evil.

So, my job is to describe what Malystryx would be if he was evil.

Malystryx is a man of honor, integrity, pride, fierce competitiveness, a black and white sense of right and wrong, no room for error, calculating, likes to stand back and observe others, find their weaknesses, make a strategy and implement it at the maximum opportunity for success; he doesn't consider failure an option, he protects fiercely those he loves, he values…

Seen Any Black Cats Lately?

Today is Friday the 13th. Last night this sparked a conversation at work with several people and I was totally surprised to find myself alone in the view that superstitions were nothing more than self-fulfilling prophecies.

One girl said she thought most superstitions weren't true but she never walked under a ladder. Well, I never walk under a ladder either but that's only because with my lack of coordination, I would likely knock it over and injure the person balancing on the top.

One guy said he always threw salt over his shoulder, was terrified to break a mirror, and that black cats gave him chills.

I never throw salt - and encourage my children to throw food over their shoulders? I don't need that headache, thank you very much. If broken mirrors caused bad luck, my Dad will be miserable until he's 160 as he's broken every cosmetics mirror my mother ever bought. (You see I come by my lack of grace naturally)

As for black cats causing bad luck, my Taz is very pl…

My Writing Process - Part Two

My critique partner just said something in an email that sparked the idea behind this post.

Conflict.

That is an essential element to any book I write and anything I like to read. I start with a basic idea of conflict and then ask myself:

What could complicate this?

What could stop the positive outcome?

What could distract my heroine from her mission?

What could cause my heroine to lose her purpose?

What internal conflicts existed in her before she faced this external conflict? Do they need to be resovled before she can be victorious?

I love to layer the internal and external conflict to the point where the reader can't see how my heroine could possibly triumph (and often I can't either until I get there...usually at 3 am). If a reader can accurately predict the ending to the story and the road I'll take the get there, what would be the point of reading?

All good stories have strong conflict, vivid characters, a clear setting, and a central theme or two to tie it all together.

T…

My Writing Process - Part One

I was thinking it would be interesting to do a series of posts in the next week or so about my writing process. (and the great thing about having MY blog is that if I think it's interesting, I can do it.)

It's fascinating to me to see the differences in the writing process of successful authors. Stephen King locks himself in his office and writes for as many days as it takes to finish the book (usually 2-3). If you've experienced the size and complexity of his novels, this is completely mind-boggling. Of course, I'm sure it's a rough draft and he does a lot of editing and polishing but - still.

Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb approaches her writing like it's her job - she writes from 8-5 Monday-Friday and she does 3 entire drafts of each book. Celeste Bradley lets a book run around in her head for weeks until she can clearly hear her characters and see the story arc and then she writes each scene, later putting them in the order that works for that novel.

I write novel…

Writing Songs

Here is a song I recently wrote. My inspiration came in part from watching the Elektra video and in part from some music (no words) I was listening to.

Break

Blood red spills
Across the sky
And I
Am not afraid

I see the lie
Beautiful disguise
Would you die
Just to bring me shame?

Don’t let me be
Don’t let me breathe
Or I might scream

I will take what’s left of you
And drown it down below my skin
I will stake my life on you
Never seeing what I truly am
I’ll break you
I’ll break you

Did you forget?
You asked for it
Crimson regret
Bleeding on this ground

Now all has changed
It’s rearranged
I’m far too sane
To let you keep me bound

Don’t let me be
Don’t let me breathe
Or I might scream

I will take what’s left of you
And drown it down below my skin
I will stake my life on you
Never seeing what I truly am
I’ll break you
I’ll break you

I can lie here
I can cry here
Till you turn your back on me
I can take it
You can’t make it
You won’t make it away from me


The following song was inspired by some music that reminded me of an emotion…

Fourth of July Cake (blown to pieces)

My hubby hasn't finished the video of making his 4th of July cake yet but here is the video of our friends blowing up the top layer. We had to quickly rescue the rest of the cake before they decided to blow up the whole thing.

I think we've found a new holiday tradition.

Contest Reminder

Entries for the "Deli Naming Contest" will be accepted up until midnight Friday the 13th. If you haven't entered yet but you want a chance to have a character in Alexa's story named after you (or the person of your choice!) and a chance to receive an autographed copy of the book when it hits the shelves, ENTER!!

Sometimes I Wonder

Some of life's deeper questions:

1. Why is there braille on drive up ATM machines?

2. Why does McDonald's have a sign saying "Picture Menus Available Upon Request"?

3. Why do my children wake me up to tell me they are using the bathroom?

4. Why does my cat believe all fur balls should be regurgitated on my side of the bed in the middle of the night?

5. What is the point of goats? Really?

6. Why get tattoed on an area of your body that hundreds of generations of women before you have proven will sag below your belt before you turn 75? Unless, of course, the tattoo is of Gumby, in which case, it will make perfect sense.

7. What possesses my children to store already chewed gum in the refrigerator?

8. Or on their wall?

9. Or next to the bathroom sink?

10. Or on the dog?

11. Why does Taco Bell's drive-through have a sign stating "If You Can't Read English, Ask For Assistance"?

12. Does anyone really need to read English to order from Taco Bell?

13. Why are there 7 …

Characters vs. World

I'm curious. What element in a novel is most important to you as a reader?

Do you read primarily in one or two genres and anything in that field interests you?

Do you need vivd, life-like characters?

Do you crave heart-pounding, can't-put-the-book-down-suspense?

Do you love imaginitive world-building?

Do you have to have a satisfying romance?

Does humor float your boat?

Do you seek authentic, interesting voices, regardless of plot or genre?

For me, I need, first and foremost, an authentic, interesting voice but that alone isn't enough. I crave suspense, world-building, and vivid characters too with dashes of humor. Also, the book must be well-written. As a writer and former English teacher, I can't help but read with an imaginary red pen. The writing has to be extraordinary enough to make me forget that pen even exists.

The authors that consistently deliver this for me are J.K. Rowling, Tolkien, J.D. Robb, Dean Koontz, Stephen King new authors Melissa Marr and Rachel Vincent,…

Avada Kadavra!

Last night (okay, technically, early this morning), my hubby and I went to the midnight showing of Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix.

Never mind that the theater was crammed and we were near the front (not the easiest seat for viewing fast camera shots...), nevermind the midget who kept going in and out of our row (and hitting my leg with his hand when he wanted back in instead of just saying "Excuse Me" like a decent, well-mannered person would) or the fact that I got about 4 hours of sleep -

It was FUN! (In an "I won't be doing this again for a looong time sort of way.)

The movie was one of the best in the HP series...captured the plot, the characters, and the darkness to the action scenes better than any movie since the first. The visuals were vivid and intense. Dolores Umbridge was exactly as I imagined her from the book. Alan Rickman delivered another impeccable performance.

The real fun was being surrounded by die-hard Potter fans dressed in capes, carry…

Read This

I just finished reading THE HUSBAND by Dean Koontz and I highly recommend it. Koontz is a rare species of writer able to combine chilling plot turns with beautiful imagery. I read his books as much for his lovely turns of phrase as I do for his ability to make me lose a good night's sleep. With Koontz, I am always plunged completely into the world of his making, only coming up for air after the final sentence.

For more on this satisfying book, click here.

Happy reading!

Revised Again!

Earlier, I posted a revised beginning to Alexa. Several readers commented, either on this blog or through email. I listened to your comments (which ranged from "LOVE the new one, much better" to "Hated it, want the old one back"). I decided to do a hybrid of the two.

My goal is to keep a fast-paced, suspensful tone while incorporating Alexa's voice in an opening that flows smoothly. Let me know what you think of this one.

CHAPTER ONE

Evil has a voice all its own. It sounds like insatiable greed, impotent rage, and terrible grief blended into one throbbing hunger for power. To the best of my knowledge, I am the only one who hears it. It haunts me, compelling me to make it silent.

I have no control over the fact that I can hear the worst people have to offer. I do, however, have complete control over my wardrobe. Few things are as thrilling as hunting down evil in a kicking pair of four-inch stilettos. I never know when the need to hunt will strike and the fact t…

I'm Sensing Something Here...

So, I was just surfing the web for athletic clothing (researching Alexa's wardrobe) and I saw a picture of tank top. The title said "Hind Motion Sensor Top".

I laughed so hard I cried.

I can tell you what would happen if I wore that while exercising - that sensor wouldn't know what hit it.

"Sir, Sir! We are sensing movement. Definite movement."

"Tighten that spandex! Bolster those seams! Hold your positions. Hold....HOLD, Sergeant! I don't care how much g-force you're experiencing, you've been given a direct order and you will suck it up, soldier, and endure!"

"Sir, she's going to jog."

"Not the jog"

"Good God, man, not the jog!"

"Oh the humanity!"

"What, are you crying???! There's no crying in battle!"

"We have a breach!"

"Stretch, man! Stretch!"

"We can't hold her, sir! It's impossible!"

"Retreat! Retreat!"

Hmmmm, I may have to get one …

Early (waaaay too early) Morning Ruminations

Sometimes I struggle with insomnia. I freely admit that this is because my brain races in too many directions at once.

Last night, for example, I went to bed around 1am because I was writing and didn't realize how tired I was until I finished the chapter. You'd think, after putting in an 11 hour day on the job and then staying up to write, I would fall instantly to sleep.

Not me.

I had too many things to think about. Someone once suggested that if I write down the ideas racing through my brain, I can somehow empty it out and sleep. (This person obviously missed the point that once I start writing ANYTHING I get so interested in the process that I lose another hour or two without realizing).

Anyway, in the spirit of following that advice (and just to see on paper what kept me awake until past 2), here is what I obsessed about last night: (in no particular order)

*How do I explain ______ about Alexa?

*How many more seasons of Lost will they produce before they pull the plug and le…

Let Freedom Ring

It's July 4th and before I head out the door to a cookout and an obscene amount of fireworks, I decided to spent a moment considering what freedom means to me.

Freedom means I can say what I think about our country, our laws, and our leaders without going to prison.

Freedom means I can believe in God and worship God without fearing for my life.

Freedom means others who worship differently from me can do so without fearing for their lives either.

Freedom means the government does not control the press.

Freedom means I can live anywhere I want.

Freedom means I can choose any career I want.

Freedom means I can have as many children (or choose not to have any) as I like.

Freedom means my life, my liberty, and my pursuit of happiness cannot be taken from me without due process.

Freedom means even if I completely screw up, the government will still make sure my rights remain unviolated as I go through the court system.

Freedom means my children will not be taken from me because of my religious be…

Revise, Revise, Revise!

Fitzgerald once said that the act of writing was really the act of rewriting. I've certainly found that to be true. In the spirit of getting under Alexa's skin and in response to a constructive comment from a published author, I decided to revise the first few paragraphs of the novel.

I hope this captures Alexa's voice better than the original and transitions smoothly to her clinging to the side of that apartment building. Let me know what you think.

ORIGINAL:

Evil has a voice all its own. It sounds like insatiable greed, impotent rage, and terrible grief blended into one throbbing hunger for power. To the best of my knowledge, I am the only one who hears it. It haunts me, compelling me to make it silent.

It’s not as crazy as it sounds.

Why else would I be clinging to the side of an old brick apartment building on Fifth Avenue wearing a little red dress and a gorgeous pair of leopard print Manolo Blahnik stilettos?


REVISED:

Few things are as thrilling as hunting down evil i…

Cake Results

Thanks to all of you who put your two cents in on choosing a name for my hubby's new cake decorating/sculpting venture.

We've decided to name it Once Upon A Cake. He's working on building the web site now (and finishing the Fourth of July cake we're taking to a party tomorrow...we'll be lighting fireworks out of the cake. I'll try to post a video.) and when the site is up and running, I'll post a link.

Character Building

As I get deeper into writing the first book in the Alexa Tate series, I'm realizing that to capture the complete essence of my characters, I need to know every little thing about them, even the things I'll probably never use.

With that in mind, I thought I would share some of the facts about Alexa that I'm using to understand how she acts/reacts/thinks/feels.

MUSIC: Alexa likes alternative rock with a bite. Her current favorites are Evanescence, Linkin Park, Breaking Benjamin, and Three Days Grace. I think it's because no one who hunts villains (even a girl who hunts in stilhettos) could possibly listen to anything less than hard, edgy rock and roll. I also think the darker undertones in her life find a voice in these type of lyrics. Whatever her reasons, she relaxes better listening to Evanescence's FALLEN than to anything else. Her MP3 player is her lifesaver when she wants to go anywhere and stay blissfully ignorant of any evil intentions. Of course, with Ale…

Welcome Home Mya Leigh

My good friend and sister of my heart, Leigh, and her husband recently brought their first daughter home from India. They struggled for years with infertility and the adoption process itself was (as ours is) a long, sometimes painful journey. Check out the link below for a heartwarming news story done on their little family.

Click on the following link and go down three or four articles to the "Answered Prayers" with the picture of beautiful Mya Leigh and then click on Watch the video