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Showing posts from March, 2009

My Poor Melon

As some of you who follow me on Twitter and Facebook already know, I have a concussion. This is, of course, no surprise since I am the Queen of Unlikely Injuries. I'd like to say this particular injury was interesting, glamorous, or at the very least, not self-inflicted.

Unfortunately, I can't.

It all started when someone's kid ordered a bottled orange cream soda. I hurried back to the wait aisle, snatched open the door of the refrigeration unit we keep stocked with salads, cole slaw, butter, creamer, and bottled drinks and found that the day shift person responsible for stocking the unit had failed to do so.

This is not surprising. Irritating, but not surprising.

With no handy bottles of orange cream soda at my disposal, I was forced to race to the back walk-in cooler, where we store crates of the stuff on a bottom shelf. The space between the bottom and middle shelf is about three feet. Plenty of room to lean fully across the shelf and reach the case of soda nestled against…

Toss A Bull Into The Orchard

I did a lot of babysitting during my teenage years, and most of it wasn't very memorable. A few temper tantrums or fist fights to break up. The occasional potty training mishap. And one rather unfortunate incident with a hot burner and a (used to be) pretty little stove cover which I'd rather not revisit.

But one night of babysitting is etched into my brain with the indelible ink of WHAT WAS I THINKING and solidified with a healthy dose of NEVER DO THAT AGAIN.

And I won't.

Unless the right set of circumstances presents itself, of course. If it does, I'm absolutely certain I will once more find myself doing what, any other day of the year, would be an unthinkable course of action for me.

It all started when a family friend called up asking if I could watch their seven kids at the last minute. Seven is not a number to be taken on by the inexperienced or faint of heart. Since I was neither, and since I was perpetually short on shoe money, I agreed.

This family of seven lived o…

Ambition. He's Got It.

A few days ago, Starshine and I were discussing his plans for the future. I approached this topic with a great deal of interest. This is the child who announced at his kindergarten graduation (After a string of other kids said stuff like "Fireman," "Cowboy," and "Soldier") in answer to the "What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up" question--"I want to be an ice cream truck man. But my mom is going to drive the truck."

Naturally, I figured any occupation that left me OUT of the equation would be an improvement. I was pleasantly surprised. The conversation went like this:

Me: So, what do you want to be when you grow up?

Starshine: *considers this seriously* I think I want to work on cases.

Me: Cases?

Starshine: Yeah, you know. Gather evidence and help the cops arrest the bad guys.

Me: Wow! That's really cool. You want to be an investigator.

Starshine: Like with the FBI.

Me: I like that. You want to be an FBI agent. *is busy thinking how havi…

Great Opportunity!

Get noticed, get feedback, get an agent.

Here's a chance to have your project reviewed by one of the agents at The Knight Agency. Submit three compelling sentences (150 words max) about your completed, unpublished manuscript to submissions@ knightagency. net. Write BOOK IN A NUTSHELL in the subject line or it will not be deemed eligible. One submission per project, please. Twenty of the best submissions will be chosen and requested by various agents who will then give feedback on your work...and it may even lead to possible representation. Hurry, the deadline is April 20, 2009. Winners will be notified by May 1, 2009.

"Knowing" How To Do It Right

I didn't put this pic up because I think it's funny. I put it up because WHAT SANE PERSON DEFROSTS CHICKEN IN A BATHTUB? Blech.

I went to see Knowing last night with my hubby and Paul and most of it was really good. Suspense! (My hubby jumped at one point and now wants a t-shirt that says "I Had The Crap Scared Out Of Me By A Flaming Moose") Heart-rending moments! Interesting concept! (Albeit a tad predictable, since I called the ending twenty minutes before we got there.)

BUT ... there were three things that were just plain wrong and, as these are common mistakes writers make in books as well, I'm going to dissect them here. I'll try hard not to give any spoilers away, but it's a possibility so don't read any further if you want a totally unsullied movie-viewing experience:

* In Knowing, there are these seriously creepy albino-looking Whisper People that are stalking Nicholas Cage's kid. These Whisper People are so unbelievably freaky, they sort of …

Pick A Topic, Any Topic

1. I'm going shoe shopping this morning.

2. Before you think anything along the lines of "Ooh, how exciting!" or "C.J. must be thrilled," I'll tell you that this is the one instance in which shoe shopping is not cause for an endorphin rush.

3. I'm buying a new pair of shoes for work.

4. My uniform requires clunky black athletic shoes with slip-resistant soles--exactly the kind of shoes I wouldn't be caught dead in outside of work.

5. My old ones, however, have been worn so long my feet feel like someone is pounding iron spikes into my heels when I walk.

6. Once a month (or so) I treat myself to a drink from Starbucks or one of the many Starbuck-look-alikes.

7. Yesterday, I tried something new. Something non-coffee.

8. This is because it was warm outside and the Starbucks in our town refuse to serve decaf frappuccinos.

9. The world is not yet ready for the experience of C.J. post-grande caffeine consumption.

10. Anyway, I tried some new drink (with a pretenti…

Don't Start Something You Can't Finish

Dear Considerate Neighbor,

I want to thank you for graciously allowing your miniature poop-machine to leave his smelly offerings on my property as you walked by. One would think I would be irritated, but I've reconsidered my initial ire. After all, isn't the act of letting your dog take a dump in my yard a compliment of sorts? It's like saying, "Hey! My dog likes the smell of your grass!" and who doesn't love to hear something like that? I know I do.

Taking it one step further, however, to allowing your tiny turd machine to cop a squat on my walkway, thereby ensuring I would NOT MISS the stinky little trophy on my way to my van this evening ... well, that was a stroke of genius. I mean, if the poop remained solely in the grass, at the edge of my yard, I might miss the slippery evidence of your brief, but memorable, presence in my yard. I might lose out on the opportunity to fully appreciate the incredible gall, er, I mean commitment to peaceful co-existence wi…

Gimme Back That Fillet-O-Fish!

1. That new McDonald's fillet-o-fish commercial is a menace.

2. At first, I mocked it. I mean, come on, a singing bass serenading two guys in an attempt to reclaim his already cooked buddy?

3. I said things like "What did that ad team smoke for breakfast when they came up with this winner?" and other equally unflattering observations.

4. It wasn't until last night that I realized the true genius of the ad.

5. I can't get the stupid song (And it is a stupid song!) out of my head.

6. Gimme back that fillet-o-fish! Gimme that fish!

7. *bangs head on desk*

8. In other news, I finished revising the ending for SF, added two chapters and wrote an epilogue.

9. My CPs liked it, there were no glaring instances of absolute idiocy, so I sent it off to Holly.

10. Now I wait to see if it's submission-ready or needs another tweak.

11. In the mean time, I'm interviewing some people on the Crescent City area of California (thank you Jared for the hook up) and talking with Paul abou…

My Vote Goes To

I posted a new poll today on scariest cinematic villains of all time. Naturally, with so few slots, I couldn't give us a full range of options, so I picked three that scared me senseless because they had an element of chilly intelligence combined with a seductive charisma.

And yes, yes, I realize Norman isn't actually a true villain at the end of the movie, but you spend the entire movie afraid of him so he works.

My vote has to go to the Joker, the only villain to ever seduce me and scare me from the first second he walked onto the screen. The only villain to ever make me forget to watch anyone else in the movie.

Here's the scene in which the Joker first stole my heart.

And here's a perfect example of why the Joker makes such an excellent villain--he has no code, no rules, no conscience, and a startling ability to get under people's skin and make them do what he wants them to do in a matter of seconds.

A Case For Poirot?

This article about a famous British restaurant shutting down after scores of customers suffered vomiting and diarrhea shortly after dining there caught my eye, mostly because the cause of the gastrointestinal distress remains a mystery. Britain's Health Protection Agency and the restaurant's infamous head chef--who has earned an incredible 3 Michelin stars--are baffled.

I took a look at a list of popular items served up by the chef and I believe I may have our first clue:

*Bacon & Egg ice cream
*Parsnip cereal
*Raspberry Sorbet made with crushed raspberries and dry ice
*Deep fried meal worms (injected with tomato paste because, of course, that makes the whole experience palatable)
*Nitro green tea

And, my personal pick for the likely cause:

*Snail porridge

As this is arguably one of Britain's most popular fine dining restaurants (reservations need to be made months in advance), I think perhaps the real mystery is why none of them have yet realized that garden pests do not make…

Insert Clever Title Here

1. I now have kittens piling onto my desk each morning, sprawling across my keyboard, and chewing on various body parts when the mood strikes.

2. Tinks tried chewing on my nearest body part a few days ago and we came to an understanding.

3. She doesn't bite The Girls and I don't lock her out of the office.

4. Of course, my idea of "we have an understanding" could just be her idea of "biding her time."

5. Lost rocks this season.

6. The boys are all well enough to go to school today, which means I have uninterrupted time to write.

7. I need to revise the last few chapters, tie up some loose ends, and then run it through a couple CPs before sending it off to my agent.

8. Yes, I'm finally getting used to saying "my agent." :)

9. I saw part of a show recently where a family kept some unusual pets--including a cockroach farm. Inside their house.

10. A. Cockroach. Farm.

11. COCKROACH

12. They claim the cockroaches make excellent pets.

13. I think that qualifies …

Linkage

I've come across a few items of interest to the writing community lately and decided to post some links for those of you who might be interested.

First, here's an excellent post on how to analyze contest results and use them to your advantage, written by fellow Pixie (Golden Heart Finalist) and amazing writer Anne Barton.

Next, a member of my local RWA chapter learned of a new romance magazine currently accepting submissions of short stories for publication. I don't know anything about the magazine itself, so do your research and see if this might be an avenue of publication for you.

Finally, Writer's Digest (If you don't buy their yearly Writer's Market to stay current on who's buying and where/how to submit, you should.) is holding their annual writing contest. Deadline is coming up in May.

Flushed Away

Enjoy the laugh, provided by humorist Dave Barry.

THE COLONOSCOPY
by Dave Barry

I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy.

A few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis. Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner.

I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn't really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, "HE'S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BEHIND!"

I left Andy's office with some written instructions and a prescription for a product called 'MoviPrep,' which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven. I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America's enemies.

I spent the next several days productively sitting a…

Take That, Father Time!

Victoria's Secret has invented a bra that claims to reverse the signs of aging and make The Girls younger.

My question is, why didn't they take that technology one step further and make underwear to match?

*Thanks to Kerry Allen for the link.*

Got Pants?

If you've ever reached the middle of your manuscript before figuring out what your book was really about, you might be a Pantser.

If you start a scene thinking it's going in Direction A, only to be totally derailed by the actions of your MC who suddenly decides to go in Direction B, you might be a Pantser.

If your characters ever catch you by surprise, you might be a Pantser.

If the thought of outlining your novel before you write it gives you hives, you might be a Pantser.

If you start a 95k word novel with the vague premise that your MC is going to start in Location A, run into some pretty big Nameless Trouble, and eventually arrive in Location B with her lessons learned, you might be a Pantser.

If part of the excitement of writing is figuring out the story as you go, you might be a Pantser.

If your initial synopsis is filled with phrases like "Something BAD happens here followed by something WORSE" and "Hero somehow saves the day," you might be a Pantser.

If yo…