Friday, October 31, 2008

Surprising Things

Things that surprise me:

1. Shopping for Toothpaste. Shopping for for teethcleaner ain't what it used to be. My dh told me at the store last night to run over and grab some toothpaste. Fifteen minutes later, I'm still there staring in shock at the dizzying array of choices. Anti-plaque, whitening, sensitive gums, floride, and any combination thereof. Then there are FLAVORS. Bubble gum mint, vanilla mint creme... that's just wrong. Whatever happened to just cleaning your teeth?

2.How Much I Love the Kids I Work With. I had no idea when I began working there just how much those little heathens would get under my skin. My mind is always abuzz with different plans on how I can help, or what would be good for them. Stay tuned.

3. How Generous People Are. I have had some wonderful donations of books from some very awesome people. You know who you are.

4. How Much I Love Writing. Can you tell it's going good right now? And I realized that the girls (Jennifer Cruisie's description of her muses) are always working. A couple weeks ago, I discovered a theme in my WIP-- that everyone is playing a part. The main characters, the people they meet on the road, even the animals. Nothing is what it seems. The girls were working and I didn't even know it. Turns out I'm deeper than I thought I was.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Woman's show and Completely Overwhelmed

The best thing about the woman's show was that I did great. The worst thing was that they didn't have my books there and they didn't validate my parking. Enough said!

Now I have to look ahead to Wordstock. Friday, November 7th, I have an author's reception. Saturday the 8th, I have my presentation/reading/signing. And on Sunday I have an hour long workshop I'm giving called The Latest Trends in Young Adult Fiction. Yeah, I have a lot of work ahead of me, especially since the power point slide is due tomorrow. Yep, tomorrow. Where did the month go?

November also brings six nonfiction assignments, two fiction submissions going out, and three chapters for two different books-- one that I want done by Friday.

Add in the holidays, the TSO concert, the new job and the whole wife and mom bit, and I am looking at a pretty busy month.

So if you hear a blub, blub, blub while visiting my blog, you'll know it's the sound of me drowning.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Things We'll Do For Research...

So Saturday night, I decided to go with my daughter and her boyfriend to a car club meeting. I'm on chapter two of Excessive Speed and needed to get some serious insight and research done. There's SO MUCH I don't know.

And besides, I just really wanted to feel cool again.

Because people, going fast in a really loud car is cool. (Getting your brains picked up off of a road isn't cool, so don't think I'm advocating speeding. No siree bob, not me.)

But, you know... sitting in the back of a seriously cool car, going to meet other people in their seriously cool cars is, well, cool.

Turns out having people check you and all your friends out in a parking lot is cool too. And Moonstruck chocolate--beyond cool.

The purpose of the evening was to all head down to an empty mall parking lot and take pix of the cars and the club members. So we jetted back down the freeway in a caravan (I can't even tell you how COOL that was.)

Once there, they talked a lot about how to set up the pix, while I interviewed various members. It was very odd to see my daughter in that environment. She and her boyfriend are a little younger than most of the people there... the pres calls them the next generation.

Lots of antics and hilarity ensued... helped by a sercurity guard, so entranced with the cars, he didn't tell us to leave and even got a ladder so my daughter could climb up on to a giant trash compacter to take shots. SO here's some pix... and I'm sorry they are so small... I can't figure out how to make them bigger.

My ride for the night. (My daughter's boyfriend's car)

One of the club's pride and joys-- a "lambo"

I got pages of notes, shared tat stories with a multi inked young man, and checked out some very cool cars.

It's a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

GCC Presents Kelly Parra

I just finished Graffiti Girl and I must get this new book. Kelly Parra is a gifted writer and a fabulous person. Check out her latest release Invisible Touch.

Do you believe in fate?

Kara Martinez has been trying to be "normal" ever since the accident that took her father's life when she was eleven years old. She's buried the caliente side of her Mexican heritage with her father and tried to be the girl her rigid mother wants her to be -- compliant and dressed in pink, and certainly not acting out like her older brother Jason. Not even Danielle, her best friend at Valdez High, has seen the real Kara; only those who read her anonymous blog know the deepest secrets of the Sign Seer.

Because Kara has a gift -- one that often feels like a curse. She sees signs, visions that are clues to a person's fate, if she can put together the pieces of the puzzle in time. So far, she's been able to solve the clues and avert disaster for those she's been warned about -- until she sees the flash of a gun on a fellow classmate, and the stakes are raised higher than ever before. Kara does her best to follow the signs, but it's her heart that wanders into new territory when she falls for a mysterious guy from the wrong side of town, taking her closer to answers she may not be able to handle. Will her forbidden romance help her solve the deadly puzzle before it's too late...or lead her even further into danger?

Praise for Invisible Touch

"A magical blending of mystery, romance, and deep and dangerous secrets. Kelly Parra’s Invisible Touch is an action-packed coming-of-age novel, sure to keep readers turning pages and begging for a sequel." 
-- Laurie Faria Stolarz, Bestselling author of Blue is for Nightmares and Deadly Little Secret

"Readers are going to delight in this fast-paced, gripping story, and be kept spellbound until its surprising finish." 
 -- Tina Ferraro, author of How To Hook A Hottie

"The Gold Award of Excellence! An amazing, touching novel that deals with big issues in an original context." -- TeensReadToo

"Five out of five gold pens for Invisible Touch."—The Salinas Californian

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Verizon Burping and other Non-Consequentials

Verizon is being mean this morning and not sending or recieving emails for me. I hate that. Especially when I'm waiting to hear back on a couple of things.

I think I'm going to live, but not sure about my daughter. Finally took her to the urgent care the other night and they gave her an antibiotic. She's still home from school and has missed over a week. Not good when this is her senior year and she has a certain number of credits to get in order to graduate.

They are laying off over 140 people at my husband's company today. My dh is safe because he's been there for almost eighteen years and they would have to shut down the whole shop in order to get to him. Of course, in these economic times, that doesn't make me feel too much better. I feel for the families who are losing their jobs today. Bailout schmailout.

Almost finished with my NW woman's presentation. Just need to polish it up and make some handouts.

I need to get started on my YA workshop. That's coming up PDQ.

Okay. Back to work.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Corner VS Stage

I am going to be speaking at the Northwest Woman's show at the Oregon
Convention Center at 1:00 on Friday. The talk will be on Why your Daughters
Should Read. That sounds nice and mom-like right? (Friday is Mom's Day Out,
so I wanted something that would appeal.) Now I just have to figure out what
I'm going to say.

When they asked me to speak, they said I would be in the AUTHOR'S CORNER.
Now they are saying the CORNER, which is nice and nonthreatening, is actually
a STAGE, which is not a CORNER. Definitely NOT. And the CORNER holds 100
people. No CORNER I have ever been in holds 100 people. One hundred spiders
maybe, especially in my GARAGE which is NOT a STAGE either and does not hold

You get my drift.

So if you’re in Portland, Oregon this Friday, I would love to see some friendly faces in my CORNER.

Also, the talented Delilah Marvelle posted a fabulous PIX at the Rose City Romance Writer's Blog that is hysterical. If you're a writer, you will definitely relate. Check it out here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I Lost a Week and Want Some Fish?

I stuck my head out of my quarantined cave and found that I lost a week somewhere. A week where I was supposed to be prepping for an article due TODAY!

Guess what I'll be doing?

I did however manage to finish and polish the first chapter of Speed, which my CP's fondly refer to as the BEST STUFF I'VE EVER WRITTEN. Actually, My Cp's don't call it that, I do. But it's right up there. Every scene pops, the words flow and the pacing is perfect. Sent it off to my agent last night in a flurry of elation. Hopefully she will think the same thing.

My husband caught more fish. We have fish coming out our ears, people. Unfortunately, The Children and I HATE fish. As in, don't even cook it in the house because massive retching and gagging will commence.

My son and husband have been fishing like a gazillion times in the last three weeks and have brought home huge hulking salmonoids every damn time. They say it's like Alaska, there are so many rolling in the river. My freezer and fridge are now full of salmon steaks and bright orangy red eggs in varying degrees of curedness. This makes my son and husband really excited. Me, not so much. It's very disconcerting to open up the fridge for your morning milk and find an EYE staring back at you.

I leave you with Pix.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Girlfriends Cyber Circuit Presents Stacey DeKeyser

This week I'm touring Jump the Cracks by Stacey DeKeyser. This books looks fantastic and is going on my to be bought list. Check it out!

Jump the Cracks

What would you do?

As far as I'm concerned, there's no excuse not to be decent...Especially when you're responsible for a kid.

It just figures that fifteen-year old Victoria's dad fails once again to be at the train station like he's promised. Fuming, Victoria watches as a teen mom stashes her bruised little boy in the train's bathroom. When the mom gets off the train alone, Victoria decides she has had it with all the poor excuses who call them selves parents. Making a split-second decision, Victoria boards the next train out of town-taking the little boy with her.

No, really, what would you do? Victoria's staying on the run until everyone responsible starts keeping their promises. This kid's not falling through the cracks. Not on her watch.

Reviews for Jump the Cracks:
“Bracingly realistic….With a combination of lively adventure and humane treatment of its characters, this is an absorbing and emotionally effective read.” — BCCB
"Strong characters and fast-paced action." — VOYA
"Thought-provoking....Introspective tweeners will find plenty to chew on." — Booklist
“Teens are sure to find this an interesting read.” — School Library Journal

And reader praise:
"Teen kidnaps toddler--or does she? The story was terrific...The ending fits the story perfectly."
— Linda Sue Park, Newbery-winning author
"Julia LOVES your book. She has told a few kids in her 6th grade class about it and has informed me that they get first dibs on reading her copy before me!" — mother of Julia, age 12
“I thought it was amazing! I couldn't put it down. The end almost made me cry.” — Jessica, age 17

 Nominated for YALSA’s Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, 2009
 Nominated for the Texas Lone Star Reading List, 2009
 Under consideration for the 2009 Edgar Award

Thursday, October 16, 2008

This Magic Moment....

Imagine you were an eighteen year old boy in love with a seventeen year old girl. Imagine being led outside with a blindfold on. Imagine the Drifters playing This Magic Moment. Imagine opening your eyes to have the lights go on and a romantic meal for two is set with candles and twinkly lights.

My daughter has a way with setting a romantic scene though sometimes such as the infamous prom night, it doesn't turn out.

Last night turned out and they dined on freshly caught salmon, pasta, bruschetta and warm chocolate chip cookies served on plates drizzled with caramel. She knows the way to a man's heart. I think the romance is for her. The food is for him.

It was their sixth month anniversary.


My twentieth is coming up and I'll be lucky if I get a nap.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Have to Blow By Nothes

Yep, the Brown family has been stricken by the plague. The PLAGUE I tell you!

I missed work yesterday. My second full week of work and I miss a day. Now they know the truth, that their dedicated activist who wants to change the world is a WEENIE!

Though not as bad as my teenage daughter who lets loose with HISTRIONICS at the first sign of a sniffle. And let me tell you, this is more than a sniffle. Poor dear was practically comatose on the bathroom floor last night. The conversation went like this:

Me: Megs, if you don't take medicine, you won't feel better.
Megan: I'm dying. I can't breathe. I can't swallow. How can I take medicine if I can't swallow?
Me: Put these in your mouth and swallow.

Half hour later:

Me: Just Try.
Me: NOW! I'm sick too! I want to go to bed!
Megan: (Putting pills in her mouth, holding them till they melt, then gagging and spitting them into the tub) I told you I can't!
Megan: I want Daddy!
Me: I'm getting your father.

I tell you, it's worse than having a three year old. Her boyfriend, who's no dummy, took one look at her and ran screaming into the night. Actually, he rubbed her back and told her she looks beautiful even though she has no makeup, a red nose and watery eyes. Now that's a boy who wants something, don't you think?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Good News Bad News

Good News:) My agent loved my revised proposal!

Bad News:( I'm sick as a dog. One of the hazards of working with kids.

Good News:) My agent also loves my series proposal!

Bad News:( I have to work tomorrow... sick.

Good News::) I got a lot of assignments this month!

Bad News:( I have one due day after tomorrow and I'm not even close to being ready for it.

Good News:) I'm super excited about my WIP!

Bad News:( I have no energy to work on it.

Good News:) I get to go to bed right after dinner!

Badnews:( I have to make dinner.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Putting Together a Library

I'm dedicating a shelf at the community center where I work for teens, so I'm collecting teen fiction. Now I have a great collection myself and have donated quite a few, but I have some I just can't part with. I'm looking mostly for multicultural books. Community Partners for Affordable Housing, where I work, is an amazing organization. They own and run four properties and only 26% of the money comes from the government. One of them is for low income seniors and the others are for low income families, mostly single moms. Each property has a community center and runs an afterschool tutoring center for children k-middle school. Teens get their own parties and there is also a scholarship program in place. The programs are designed as a support for families in need. The program includes tutoring, nutritious snacks, computer time and fun and games. We also teach character traits.

I figure that having a teen library right in the community center will give these teens easy access to books that are about them. A teen hesitant to go to the public library will be able to walk over to the community center for a book. I'm planning on including a checkout program (perhaps putting a teen in charge of it) and a list of multicultural books. I am so excited about this! If anyone has a book they would like to donate, or any other ideas, please let me know!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Maybe I'm an Cynical Idealist?

So I watched the presidential debate the other night. Now, I rarely get political on my blog because quiet frankly, it's no one's business. But this is just getting too damn befuddling for me. So this is my breakdown:

Obama looks so bloody presidential. Point for Obama. Poor McCain's stiff armed stance can't even compare. Of course, McCain is a broken up man, broken up by age (ie experience)and serving our country, so point for McCain.

I want to believe Obama. I do. He has such wonderful words and says them with such sincerity. I love the idealism he promotes. I want to BELIEVE the idealism he promotes. So point for Obama because he makes me WANT to believe.

But maybe I'm just too old? Maybe I'm just a cynic at heart? And there's that whole, running for president since the 2004 democratic convention thing. I remember hearing someone say, "that man could run for president." I think Obama heard it too, because he's been running ever since.

Of course, McCain has been running for president since the BEGINNING OF FREAKING TIME, so they come out even on that one.

And did anyone else scream "HOW?" at the TV everytime one of them promoted something?

So I don't know. I know we need change (Gawd, that's a word I don't ever want to hear again!) And whoever takes over the presidency is going to have a mess on their hands.

Sigh. So what to do? I have voted in every presidential election since I turned eighteen. I was the girl who showed up at parties with voter's regustration cards in the back pocket of my acid washed jeans. I'm the young mom who treated election day as an exciting field trip and holiday all rolled up into one fun trip to the polls and the ice cream parlor.

Ten years ago, this wouldn't have been an issue. I know who I would have voted for. Twenty years ago, this wouldn't have been an issue, I know who I would have voted for. And no, in case you're wondering, it wouldn't have been the same person.

Now I'm both more cynical and more mellow.

And I have no clue who I'm voting for. Maybe it's peri-menopause?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I think I won them over...

My new job is filled with children ages 5 to 12. As any mother can tell you this is a HUGE age difference. One likes coloring, the other likes coloring her hair. One likes playing tag, the other likes tagging bathroom stalls. One likes, okay, you get the idea.

So what do we do with this group of 17 children of widely disparate ages? Homework, food, playing games/activity. Oh, and try to teach them character traits so that when they are walking home some day and someone hands them a crack pipe, they'll say "No, get thee behind me, you scuzz covered, snaggletoothed, SATAN!"

That's the idea anyway.

There's a group of fifth and sixth grade girls who come to program. They are cooler than me. They are cooler than anyone on the face of the planet. So I put my best "I'm still cool even though I'm over FORTY face", and introduced myself. Being an author of TEEN fiction gave me a step up, so I think I did pretty well the first day.

The second day, I did pretty well too, because I brought in my book. By the third day, they seemed over it and were waiting for what else I had. Sorry, girls, I'm a one trick pony. I write and that's pretty much it. I tried to be funny and earned mild amusement. So I snuck them out extra snacks. Yep, I stooped to bribery. So I think I'm "in."

Hmmm. Maybe sometime this week I'll have my daughter's cute boyfriend pick me up in his brand new WRX. That should do the trick. Right? Or my boss will misinterpret and it'll get me FIRED! The kid does look like he's TWELVE.

Being cool is EXHUASTING! Thank God, the little ones are easy. I played 25 minutes of swamp monster tag yesterday and I'm in like Flynn. Oh, cool people don't say in like Flynn, do they?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Monday Ponderings

Coffee-- I love coffee. Has anyone noticed how coffee has become a more and more like a verb? As in let's do coffee. Time for coffee! Going out for coffee (and yes, I do realize that coffee is a noun) has become something you do. I go out for coffee with friends (though less now that the economy has tanked),go to coffee by myself (when I wish to write) and make coffee in the mornings for my husband. Now, I love me some tea and understand that in many places of the world going out for tea means the same thing... spending time with friends over a refreshment that contains caffiene. But my first love is coffee. Of course, going out for drinks means much the same thing with the added bonus of slight intoxication, so I have no clue where I'm going with this. HA! And you read this far thinking that I had some deeper meaning. I don't. I really don't.

Weddings-- I attended my neice's wedding yesterday. It was lovely. The service was lovely, the bride was lovely and the frog who croaked through the entire service was lovely. Of course, it wasn't lovely to see the father of the bride and my husband (brothers)trying to hold back the laughter concerning said frog, but hey, you can't have everything. The bride has a great sense of humor and thought it was funny while the groom's mother looked mortified. Ribbit.

Daughters-- Since the neice who is now residing in wedded bliss is barely eighteen, it makes me think about my daughter who is going on eighteen. Now, I've never worried much about her because she goes through young men like I go through, well, coffee. But she now has a swain who has been with her for almost six months and I'm starting to get a little concerned. I hear the peels of laughter coming from her room when he's over and remember how my husband and I laughed when we first got together, (still do, on occasion). I watch the way he rubs her back when she's having a bad day, or drops everything to be with her and I'm thinking. Uh Oh. This one's going to be around for a while. When he pulled out of a college that was two hours away to go to one that is twenty minutes away, I really started to worry. That, my friends, is the actions of a young man in lurve. This kid is kinda like having a third child.

I know. We're feeding him.

The week-- First full week at the new job. I'm feeling the pressure of having to be somewhere everyday at a given time. Hate that. Didn't finish my rewrite, so that's on the agenda. Also have a new month's worth of articles to do. I deep cleaned the house on Saturday and it still looks decent, so won't have to worry about that much.
Lot's of crits to get to though and no doubt stuff will come up!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Huge to do list


Were you one of the millions who watched the vice presidential debate last night? Anyone else decide they like both vice presidential candiates better than either one of the presidential candidates? Sigh.

To do list
Finish grocery list
Go grocery shopping
Finish article due
Finish chapter two of proposal rewrite
clean house
Go to high school and excuse dd's absences

Full day. Best get to it.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Yesterday, I was totally down in the dumps about the rewrite on my proposal, but today is another day and I am LOVING my story!

I'm almost halfway through the second chapter and I'm so pleased with my first chapter now that I'm dying for my other CP's to read it. The chapter now has an air of mystery about it and the characters are really coming alive. I'm having to dig deeper for this-- doing things I've never done before, but the results are going to be so worth it!

I started the new job yesterday and loved it. It was loud and confusing, but what a fabulous program for low income kids. I'm really proud to be a part of such an awesome organization. Of course, it was a bit loud and chaotic, but I'll get used to it.

Okay, now to finish off chapter two!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


it's October first and that means it's time for farms. That's what we call it in our family. Farm time. Since I had the luxury, or perhaps the insanity, to homeschool my kids, we were always going on a field trip because that's so much more interesting than sitting at the kitchen table doing schoolwork. I even wrote a book on it called Day Tripping.

One of our favorite field trips was farm time. Of course, my children being city slickers have no idea what it's like to actually live on a farm. It means getting up before school to thaw out your horse's water, feeding the damn chickens and stepping in chicken crap,changing irrigation pipes--twice a day-- cows getting out, pigs getting out, weazles getting the eggs, coyotes getting the lambs... yeah..Farm life. Dirty, smelly, far from romantic, farm life.

No, my children think farm life is bright crisp apples, petting zoo's, hay rides, fresh produce, and picking out pumpkins. And that is exactly the way I wanted it, because I was NEVER going to live the reality again. No sir, not me!


But we do love farm time. That means we get to visit pretty picturesque farms, go through hay and corn mazes, taste apples, listen to music and wander through gift stores. It means I get to come home to my snug suburban home and decorate with fall decorations while my now teens enjoy it like little kids, setting bowls of Indian corn about the house, tying up stalks of dried corn for the front porch... we pretty much go all out and have for years.

I wish they enjoyed raking leaves half as much.