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Viewing Blog: C. L. Freire, Most Recent at Top
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C. L. Freire - Tween Fantasy Author , Always Writing ~ Always Dreaming
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I have a confession. I'm officially NOT into eating skin-like things.

See, I wanted to try making spring rolls, which are apparently made with rice paper; I'd never seen them in their pre-edible form before, so I was so excited to try them. I'd also never eaten one in cold form; usually, they're fried up to a heavenly crisp.

Luckily, there's an Asian market near my house, it turns out.

So I got my ingredients together, laid out nicely and in order and broke through the round plastic packaging of these very foreign rice paper wraps, only to find this plastic sheet on top of the contents. And, what do I find upon removing it? Another plastic sheet. It took me a second to realize, "Holy S**T! These ARE the wraps?!" I thought I was buying soft, pliable sheets of hopefully-yummy wraps. After all, I'm used to tortillas, and these are just a different version, right?


So I read the instructions and found that you have to dip them in warm water for a couple of seconds, and then you can stuff and roll them up. It was the coolest thing I'd ever seen with regards to something edible. Here's the thing, though: they're so sticky, they're a little hard to work with. But I managed, and once rolled, I tried one.

Mind you, as I write this, I can feel my face twisting into various and clear-as-day reminders of my new experience, my unforgettable, no-it's-still-too-fresh-a-trauma.

I gave one to hubby to try first. He's always been the Mikey in this family. And my mother in law tried a bite of hubby's spring roll. She spit that sucker out so fast, claiming she didn't like the stickiness. Then she asked us, with the most expressive disgust you can imagine, if we actually like those things. We both said, "Of course. Absolutely! They're so good!"

And then I tried one, and I swear, I felt like someone had slipped me a Mickey. And I'm not taking about some dangerous you-won't-remember-a thing-tomorrow so or Mickey. No, I'm talking about an actual Mickey. Or at least part of him. See, the rice paper had this weird, fleshy, skin-like texture that left me feeling like an unwitting participant in some sick prank. After ew-ing and ugh-ing my way past the cannibalistic first bite, I went in for another, thinking it had to have been my imagination.

It wasn't.

So, with my mother in law eyeing me like a cop waiting for the proverbial canary to sing, I Jefferey Dahmer-ed my way through that first roll only because she was sitting in front of me, watching, waiting and watching some more.

Needless to say, when her back was turned, I threw out the spring roll and ran to the computer to find out how to make them in the oven.

So, anyone else try these things cold? Like, love, hate, or move on? Any thoughts?

Oh, and on a final note: the above picture is NOT, I repeat, NOT how my rolls looked. No. No. These are merely a picture I found on google to illustrate my point.

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2. The Hostage and The Frog

So here's an embarrassing tale to tell. One that involves something I truly never imagined myself asking a total stranger. But I'll get to that in a few minutes. First, let me start off by stating that I have no idea how one little creature managed to carry out such a calculated plan of attack on yours truly.

Here goes:

Earlier tonight, I decided to head out to my local market to buy a couple of things and drop my Netflix movies in the mailbox there. So about a minute after getting in the car, something caught my eye. A shadow of sorts on my left side. I glanced over and in a split second, my heart nearly jumped right out of my chest at finding myself staring at the underbelly of this two-inch frog. That little bugger was just sticking to the outside of the driver's side window like it was on a mission with its little feet and hands.

Had I been outside my house when I saw it, I'd have called my hubby to come free me from certain ick. Sadly, however, I was well into my drive and wasn't about to turn back. Naturally, I did what any self-respecting anti-frog person would do: I banged on the window, ordering it to go away. It didn't even flinch, I tell you. Not even a little. So, I waved at it, shouting, "Hello?! Get off my window!"

Nothing. All that little amphibious hitchhiker did was start doing that gross throat thing with its throat where the sack swells and falls, like it was calling some friends over to share in what it clearly saw as a human monkey on the other side of the frog's current landing spot of choice.

I knew at that point that I was trapped with no form of escape from the slimy little warden, so I sped up in the hopes that the rushing wind would swipe the frog away. Keeping my eyes on the road, I looked over for a second when the coast was clear of cars and what did I see but the frog plastered against the glass like it was holding on for dear life. Yup, that little sucker was apparently enjoying the ride. Not knowing what else to do, I continued on to the market in the round-two of empty hopes that some good samaritan would free me.

As I pulled into the parking lot, however, I just couldn't seem to muster up the courage to drive up to a stranger and ask for such a ridiculous form of help as a rescue from a frog. I drove around the parking lot for a good five minutes before I spotted the security guard on his golf cart just sitting in front of the market. As I approached, I had to keep reminding myself what was at stake as the battle of yes and no flooded my thoughts. And the yes won.

So I drove up to the guard, rolled down my passenger window and spoke the words I never thought I'd hear myself say to someone out of the blue, and here's what happened.

"Excuse me," I shouted out the window.

He looked over at me like I'd scared the hell out of him. "Hello."

"Hey, hi," I said with a half-smile. "Are you afraid of frogs?"

The guard's face kinda morphed into an am-I-being-punked sorta expression. I knew at the moment that I'd never get passed my hubby's jokes about this, and that the guard would certainly take home one helluva story about the crazy woman at Publix.

"I'm sorry, what?" he answered.

I took a deep breath and repeated, "Are you afraid of frogs," and I said this finally hearing it out loud and trying to imagine what he must think at that moment.

The guard looked left, then right, his mouth hanging open like he didn't have a clue how to answer me. "Am I afraid of what now?"

My head fell for a second, then I looked at him again. "Frogs."

Again his eyes shifted left then right. "Why?" he asked slowly, and I could hear the hesitation in his voice.

"I have a frog situation here," I admitted.


"I have a frog."

"You have a frog?" he asked in an obvious state of confused disbelief.

"Yeah. On my car. Outside my window." I pointed at the driver's side glass. "It's right there."

"A frog? How-how big is it?" he asked, inching back from his own door.

With my fingers, I indicated it was about 2-inches long.

All of a sudden, the guard drove off, heading to the entrance of one of the parking rows. Then he stopped and looked back at me as he pointed towards the cars and mouthed the words, "Is it here?".

Come back! I shouted in my head while wondering why he was over there. I shook my head frantically and pointed at my window.

Finally, he turned back around and drove to my side of the car. I cracked the window open a hair and explained that the frog was on my window, and that I couldn't get out of the car. I swear the guard looked at me like I was on drugs or something, but then he apparently saw the frog and backed away. He grabbed a magazine from his golf cart and cautiously approached King Ribbit and flicked it away.

As my amphibious captor flew off, I breathed a sigh of relief. I thanked the guard, but he just nodded and laughed. Needless to say, when I got home and told hubby about it, he practically fell to the floor with laughter and asked why I hadn't just come back and called him to rescue me from the great and powerful frog warrior.

It goes without saying that the sarcasm in his voice was abundant clear.

"Think of it this way, at least Godzilla wasn't there, too," hubby said through a forced straight-faced grin.

For those of you late to the this-is-what-icks-me-out party, Godzilla is what I call lizards, regardless their size and intent.

So there it is. The woeful and embarrassing tale of my capture and stint as a hostage to the slimy underground king.

Totally true story!

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3. The buffet of tetanus and the cornucopia of curses

So, this remodeling project has finally gotten on my last nerve. For the last three days (don't laugh), hubby and I have been trying to re-install our toilet. We didn't want to call a plumber because that would've been, well, stupid, seeing as how we're gutting and remodeling our master bath in a couple of months. (the current project is more focused on our room and office, while the bath is merely getting a facelift (i.e. paint, and spring cleaning of sorts).

Well,several days ago, the, ahem, "facelift" somehow morphed into a full-on rage-fueled sprint to insanity, perpetrated by a fill valve that broke when I snapped it in half in anger over another piece that would not budge. So, after the valve broke, I had to replace it, naturally...only the original nut was so shredded, it took many many curses and rants to remove it, which we could only do by removing the toilet. Hence the blackout rage that found this toilet laying helplessly on its side in our shower. Yup, I tore the toilet off the floor in a who-decided-to-leave-such-a-small-gap rage blackout. See, the toilet is so close to the wall that it's impossible to reach, much less see, under the damn thing to remove the nut thingy that holds the fill valve in place. So, with the toilet off, I stared down into this dark, deep, fume-infested hole in the floor, and all I could think was, "WHAT IN THE HELL IS THAT SMELL?"

Thanks to YouTube, I found out it was the sewer pipe that, well, you know, never makes anyone smile.

So I go to our storage shed to find the right wrench, because heaven forbid the right one would be in the toolbox that I'd already tossed around numerous times in yet another fit of rage looking for the right tool. Low and behold, as I stepped into the shed, I was greeted by creepy-as-hell array of godzilla eyes, all of which were staring back at me, letting me know I was now invading their dank home. I could just feel them there, conspiring...yes waiting to pounce (another story about my lizard phobia, for another time). So, after begging them to allow me two lizard-free minutes in the shed, I open the cabinet and stood there, absolutely marveling at the cornucopia, dare I say it, the buffet of tetanus that was just itching to fill my life with memorable amounts of pain and metallic suffering.

**Yes, I'd love a finger-sliced off by the ever-popular and super-fun ancient hacksaw sitting there with the old utility knife, and I'd also like a side of rusty nails just for sh*ts and giggles. You know, in case the first two options don't do me in.**

So, tools in hand, I headed back to the house, where we spent the rest of the day (and most of today, mind you) trying to put that damnable toilet back in place. End-result, the toilet refused to stop rocking back and forth with every attempt we made to secure it in place with the "sure-fire-fix" items I was sold at Home Depot during my five visits there in the last two days. It all came to a screeching halt when we both threw up our hands to the porcelain devil. Yes, Hubby screamed at the toilet for its mere existence. I screamed at the ceiling as I mentally targeted the abomination that originally installed this god-forsaken torture device that will forever be known as the devil of toilet-gate.

Needless to say, we've decided to extend this remodeling non-party to the bathroom, which will officially be gutted and remodeled NOW, not in a couple of months. Until then, we're forced to use any of the other three bathrooms in the house, none of which are close to our bedroom.

Oh, will this hell ever end????!!!!

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4. Hi, I'm Petrebulah...Thanks, Mom

So, it seems like the new Kardashian/West baby has been named.....NORTH. Yes, they gave their little bundle of girly joy a name everyone in the world will be using every time they use their GPS or other such tool that leads them to their destination.

You know, I'm the ultimate advocate of "Do what you will, but hurt no one", but honestly, giving a child a name THEY will have to live with is something of a heavy responsibility that I feel countless new parents don't take seriously enough.

Instead, they think only of others, like say, people they want to pay tribute to. And for that tribute, that child will spend his/her life secretly muttering, "Thanks, Uncle Barthalamew, Igor, or (the-always-wrong "girl's name on a guy, like Stacy, Lindsay, etc...)". Or, in the case of a girl, I can assure you, no girl wants to go around saying, "Hi, I'm Petrebulah."

Another misstep taken is by people who idolize a celeb and pay homage to them by passing on their idol's name. Do they really think their child wants to have to go through life say, "Hi, I'm Katie Holmes...no, not that one." Or hearing how much they pale in comparison to their name's origin.

Here's a little tidbit some don't know: Anne Rice's birth name was Howard, and the only reason she now goes by Anne is because on her first day of Kindergarten, "Howard's" teacher asked her her name, and little Howard said, "It's Anne".

Then there are the parents who simply want to "stand out", as many celebs do when it comes to their child's name(s). Gweneth Paltrow, for instance, called her baby Apple; maybe Paltrow was trying to channel her inner Gump, by investing in some fruit company back in the day without knowing where it would lead. Who knows?

But come on, folks!

Naming your child is so much more important that many realize. So, step #1 in baby naming should ALWAYS be this: Before spitting out a name to the nurse who fills in that little line that will forever affect your child's life, stop for a moment and imagine having to go through school and adult life introducing yourself as (fill in name here), and, if you can honestly say it works, and you can say it without cringing, then go for it. But, if even for one second, you find your shoulder taking on a mind of its own and shrugging, then choose another name.

General rule of thumb: Namesakes to avoid:
>Fruit-related names.
>Bodies of water (i.e. River).
>Natural occurrences, (i.e. Rainbow, Thunder (especially if the child comes from a gassy family)
>Celeb-homage names (i.e. Katie Holmes, Elvis, etc...)
>Misplaced gender names (i.e. Howard on a girl, and Lindsay on a guy)
>And, thanks to the Kardashian/West clan, I MUST add "Directional" names.

Things to consider when choosing a baby name:
>Bullies with cruel jokes and violent sides.
>Future career endeavors.
>Life-long self esteem levels, and the inevitable desire to find the nearest judge when the clock strikes twelve on said child's 18th birthday.

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So tomorrow's my dad's birthday, and it's been one helluva year, let you me tell you. I decided to click on over to egreetings.com, where you can send someone a free ecard. Well, I found one that absolutely offended me, and if you can relate to the card, you should be offended too. In a funny way, that is. It talks about how "You know you're old when: You forget why you went into a room. You buy a nice comfy pair of slippers. You accept that you'll never fit into your old pants. And finally, if you think music was better when you were a kid.

Now, I'm not saying I'm old. I'm not. I'm like 15 inside. So what if I like comfy slippers? Who doesn't? Do people prefer uncomfy slippers? That's just stupid. And of course WE ALL think music was better when we were growing up; that's when we listened to it and developed a preference to particular styles, and now they "take us back to those times". And forgetting what you went into a room for? Who doesn't at some point. It just means you're distracted.....especially if you're a writer whose thoughts are perpetually somewhere else.

So no! WE ARE NOT OLD. We are creative. We are nostalgic. We are forever young, with a more interesting twist! Now, as for the creaks and cracks that mysteriously pop up now and then....well, that just means the bed's old and it's telling you IT'S old. Not you, and certainly not ME!

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6. HOME DEPOT: The One-Stop Shop for those who want to get screwed out of their money

Okay so as you all know, we just bought a washer and dryer set from Home Depot. Well, from the day we bought them, two things had been bothering me to no end:

#1: The fact that there was basically NO RETURN POLICY. You believe that? The girl told me that customers had a whopping 48 hrs after delivery to decide if they wanted to return such a purchase. I was floored. Turns out (and this is such a peachy nugget, folks), if after 48 hrs, we find that we don't like the item(s) in question, in this case, the washer and dryer, we'd have to call LG and "convince them" to take them back. And, if LG, in all their glorious generosity and consideration towards customers, decides NOT to take them back, we're stuck with these things anyway. I guess the company figures that 48 hrs is more than enough time to decide if we like them or not. Yeah, because that's how I want to spend the next 48 hrs. No sleep. Just using the washer and dry and really getting to try out and discover all the intricacies of machines that take at least a week of exploration and kill-me-now laundry in order to decide we like them or not.

#2: The second thing on my kiss-my-ass list was the warranty matter. I'm the iconic warranty girl who lives by the mantra that if it costs more than $100 and there's a warranty available, I'm in. Well, according to the salesgirl, Home Depot doesn't allow you to extend the warranty after the five-year run you purchase at day one.

That being said, at the price we got them, despite being bothered and bringing these issues up with the salesgirl, we went ahead and made the deal. Now, they haven't been delivered yet, and we've decided to buy them at SEARS instead, so I called Home Depot, and the girl on the phone tells me that I can't cancel the order because it's already left the warehouse.

Apparently, I need to refuse the delivery come tomorrow when they show up, and THEN, I can get my refund. Is that not the most ridiculous policy? I could give a rat's hairy butt if they've left the warehouse. If I haven't gotten these things yet, I should have every right to cancel any time, which, btw, is what the salesgirl told me I could do; apparently, she was "wrong" in telling me that. Well, I've never been one to back down from a consumer-related problem, especially when I'm the consumer in question, so Home Depot better watch out, because I don't care who I have to go to war with. I AM NOT GOING TO BE STIFFED HERE! And make no mistake: I WILL NOT BE DEALING WITH HOME DEPOT EVER AGAIN!!!!!

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7. Twilight's last flight of fangless fancy

So I've had the second half of the last Twilight flick sitting on my printer for a month now. Meanwhile, the two sides of my conscious loitering on my shoulders are stuck in a perpetual Just-Watch-it / Don't-Listen-to-her....Go-Watch the Grass Instead conflict or sorts.

Sorry Netflix members with no taste (and before anyone implicates me in that bad-taste crime, it wound up on my list by mistake and arrived without my knowledge). I've just been so busy.

I wanna see it, sort of, just to see how it ends, but honestly, the first half was so painful to get through. It's like the movie makers wanted to drain every last drop of sparkly milk from this cow, with a ten-minute movie that was drawn out for the sole purpose of beating a long-dead horse with its own heel. It's like the entire first part of this two-part deal was all about her finding out she's preggers, and us being forced to suffer her pain in real time.

So again, busyness aside, I'm trying to psych myself up to watch this longer-than-it-needed-to-be movie about things that have historically gone bump in the night but that instead, apparently sparkle in the day, have no fangs and play softball as they giggle away their bloodless hunger for all things Bella. God, it's like watching Leave It To Beaver Bling.

And don't get me started on the book. Or should I say the first book. I swear, I couldn't get through the first fifty pages of it. It was like a torturous lesson on how to write the worst characters and dialogue imaginable.

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8. Gossip Girl Here.....A Little Late To The Party, But Oh Well, It Had To Be Someone

A few years back, I learned that a new T.V. show would soon make its way into homes across America. The show, based on a popular books series of the same name, was called Gossip Girl, centered around the "scandalous lives of Manhattan's elite". Being an avid fan of YA anything, I was anxious to dive right in.

And so, when it began to air, I watched, and continued to do so for the first three seasons. But then something happened. I'd noticed that in the last few weeks leading up to the S3 finale, the show had taken on such a jump-the-shark angle, I found myself less and less excited to see what would happen next. So, when the new season began, I dropped it and never looked back. In fact, each week, I'd roll my eyes at the upcoming episode previews that aired during and after the shows I still watched.

Well, near the end of last year, I'd heard that the GG series finale would be airing, and that the identity of GG herself would be revealed. So I caught it, basically to avoid having to read about it, plus I wanted to see for myself who it was after all. Turns out it was Dan Humphrey, the most logical choice....well, at least to anyone who actually thought about it; clearly I'm not including the creators, writers or producers of Gossip Girl, all of whom obviously had their heads firmly planted up their toot-shooters.

You see, any writer worth the weight of his/her pen would have done one of two things with this show right from the start. Two options that would have saved those involved from stumbling along the halls of B*llsh*t High, where writers' skills are not only lost, but outright slaughtered.

Option 1: DON'T REVEAL GG's IDENTITY. This is a decision that SHOULD have be settled from the get-go, because by all writer's logic, it's a decision that would ultimately shape the entire series.

OPTION 2: If the goal was to reveal her identity at some point, the matter of WHO it would be should have been settled and set in stone from the moment the first line of the first script was written. Not five minutes into writing the finale episode.

And so, as I watched that last episode, breathless with anticipation, when the moment finally arrived and it was revealed that Dan was GG herself, I could literally feel my dinner threatening to make another appearance.

WHAT? It was WHO?

Perplexed, annoyed, you name it, I felt it. It was like those involved had just taken the five-year question and half-ass-answered it with a feeble whatever-just-make-it-him, throwing it out into the universe in the hopes that no one would notice how profoundly devoid of talent the writers were in their lack of forethought.

But, to be fair, it had been so long since I'd seen the show, I decided to hold my tongue until the near two-year blank could be filled in.

Enter Netflix...the T.V. show addict's very dear friend. I had known for some time that Gossip Girl was available for streaming, so, I decided to watch the show from the beginning partly for sh*ts and giggles, but mainly to see if any clues as to GG being Dan Humphrey had been planted from the start; although thinking back, I couldn't recall a single clue. Sadly, Netflix only had all episodes up to the end of season 5, so I have to wait for 6 to become available to finish it.

Now, as I began watching from the beginning, I paid close attention, and each time it was clear that Dan Humphrey WAS NOT Gossip Girl, I actually had to pause to comment to my hubby about it. He's also into writing, so you can imagine how many fascinating writing convos we've had about this show, as well as about other facets of writing.

What I don't get....what I absolutely DO NOT understand, is how the creators and writers could have so obviously missed the mark here.

End result, writers have the freedom to create as they go. This, though not my particular style of writing, is a completely valid method of story creation. BUT, that DOES NOT apply when it comes to television, seeing as how once the show airs, there's rarely room to turn back. The fact is, television writers SHOULD and MUST consider all angles ahead of time in order to avoid looking like unscrupulous, talentless hacks.

There, I feel a little better now. Well, at least until I go back to the show to see all the clues that were NOT planted in the show to indicate who exactly was spilling all the details about the scandalous lives of Manhattan's Elite. From what I understand, the book series has come to an end. An end that makes no mention of Gossip Girl being Dan Humphrey. As a writer who takes her craft seriously, I can only hope Cecily Von Ziegesar, author of the book series, is able to turn a blind eye at how the creators of the show toyed with and warped all her hard work.


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9. The Not-So-Marvelous Avengers Flick

Okay so, here's something people may not know about me: I'm a HUGE movie buff. It's one of the things my hubby and I love to do together so very much. We talk about the movies after they're over, read reviews and very few times agree with them (usually though, we gawk and "WHAT" at movie reviewers' views about certain films). One of the things we do a lot is read a few of these often-misguided reviews before we see a movie, just to get an idea of what to expect; historically speaking, when reviewers hate movies, we tend to go in knowing it's a great film, and vice versa. We never read spoilers, because, let's face it, where's the fun in that? Also, we especially love super-hero flicks (for those who might think this particular film just wasn't our cup of gamma). But, with The Avengers, it was hard not to get swept up in the hype surrounding this flick, what with all the marketing (apparently Marvel allotted approx. $100 mil just to get us to believe it was an amazing experience we just couldn't live without seeing). They were wrong. So very very wrong. To show you just how wrong they were, I'll break some parts of this review up into two sections: "What we read", and "What we saw".

Here goes:

It was a fun film, right from the get-go. Full of action. Funny as hell. Great dialogue. Great banter among the cast. The best super-hero movie of all time. AND, the piece de' resistance: The BEST rendition of The Hulk (and Banner) ever, which was masterfully-played by Mark Ruffalo.

NOW...SPOILER ALERT (if you haven't seen the film and want to judge it on your own first, come back here later...

The movie had a s..l..o..w start, in terms of giving us what we went there for: THE super-heroes. Of course being a writer myself, I know that sometimes fiction (regardless the medium) requires a slow start in order to set-up what should prove to be well worth the wait. But, that's not what this was. This movie's slow start was toooo slow-going in its attempt to gather the heroes to battle Loki, who's stolen the tesseract, an important artifact that could potentially provide the world with unlimited clean energy.

But, see, Loki had more lofty aspirations, feeling it was too important for us to simply use it as a way to shoot Big Oil the proverbial "finger". No, Loki wanted to use the tesseract to open a gateway in order to bring in an army so he could take over Earth and rule without mercy, because (boo-hoo) he couldn't rule in his own world. **insert evil laugh here**

Then there's the FACT that most of the movie made no sense. Here you have this "God" and he wants to rule our planet. Okay, lame, but I'll bite. But why force the Hulk out? There was mention of that being one of his intentions, but nothing came of it....well, nothing but the one of the ONLY mildly chuckle-worthy seconds of the movie, when, at the end of the film, the Hulk thrashes Loki around repeatedly, then throws out his one line of dialogue, which I cover in the next section, BTW.

This movie had some of the best dialogue and banter ever found in any super-hero movie (or any movie, period). Also, this movie had, without question, some of the funniest and best humor in any film. Especially an action film.

FACT: Much (if not most) of the dialogue was lame, petty, insignificant, artificial, forced, unnatural, and down-right awkward, all of which completely defied the abundance of rumors that clai

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10. A Shameful Day Indeed!

My friends, it is truly a sad sad day. A day I honestly never saw coming. Today, I actually got excited about finding hangers in one of our guest bedrooms. Yes, hangers. **head hangs in domesticated shame** See, in preparation for this trip to Pittsburgh with my Dad, I've been busy doing laundry, which I never throw into a dryer when there are shirts involved (not all that interested in walking around in clothing that shrinks to doll-sized proportions). So, I hang the shirts to dry...only I've run out of hangers. So, there's one load I couldn't do. But, as I went into one of the guestrooms, there they were, sitting on the bed, as though mocking me to all laundry hell. And the worst part is.....I actually squealed, "OMG, Hangers! Yay!" I can't believe it's come to this point in my life that finding hangers excited me. **for shame**

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11. Nightmare on my street....

Okay so, this is truly terrifying. Last night, as like 1 a.m., we had a break-in. My hubby and I were in our room watching "GRIM", and we heard this weird long beeping sound. My hubby muted the T.V. and sure enough, we heard it in the living room. We raced out there and just as we got to the living room, the alarm went off. Before we could reach the alarm pad, the alarm company called. I answered the call just as my hubby's mother turned off the alarm. The alarm company told me (after I gave him my password) that the alert was coming from the front door. I went over and almost fell over.


My heart almost stopped. I quickly closed and locked the door. My hubby grabbed some knives and checked the house while the company stayed on the phone with me. Everything was clear, but still, when I hung up with the company, I called the cops. The cop that came found no sign of someone having tampered with the dead bolt on our door. He suggested that perhaps we didn't lock up completely or something and that the wind might have blown the door open. This door is solid mahogany, three inches thick and weighs a ton. There is NO way an ordinary wind blew it open thing. Besides, my hubby and I are compulsive about turning the knob and checking that the door is completely locked. And we do this several times each time we lock it, just to be sure, and all that.

Anyway, the cop said he and the other cops who were currently at a party a couple of blocks away would canvas the neighborhood. You know, the idea of having some stranger in my house is one of my worst nightmares. I literally had chills all last night. Oh god....to think of what could have happened. And worst still....what if they come back?

2 Comments on Nightmare on my street...., last added: 4/15/2012
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12. Toddlers and Trouble In The Making

The other day, I was watching Say Yes to the Dress; seeing as how I've always loved wedding gowns, it's one of my favorite reality shows. in fact, I've always said that if I had chosen to become a fashion designer, it'd be designing wedding gowns. But, that's not the point of this blog. No, this post is abotu one thing, and one thing only:

Child Beauty Pageants.

Anyway, during my show, I saw this commercial for Toddlers and Tiaras. I couldn't believe what I saw. For those of you who used to read my blog over on Myspace, you all know that I once blogged about this issue before. Now, I'm not one for repeating myself all that much, but on this topic, I can not hold my blogging at bay. The idea that child pageants even exist is absolutely abominable. And that show, Toddlers and Tiaras is (no pun intended) the reigning example of how utterly criminal the practice of child pageants is. Little girls verbally battling it out backstage to win a stupid crown and maybe some money? And some of these girls are talking about "kicking so-and-so's butt". WHAT? Come on! These are little girls who'd rather be playing with their dolls and sipping imaginary tea, rather than being forced to practice sexy dance moves sure to entice the sickest individuals on the planet, sporting layers upon layers of makeup and dressing like mini-hookers, and overall, being trained to believe that beauty is the cornerstone to a happy life. Hell, there was even a major scandal about a woman who had her five-year-old daughter injected with Botox and had her teeth whitened. It was in the news a while back and when I heard it, I almost fell over for horror! That woman should have been jailed for life and prevented from ever seeing her kids again!

The truth is, most of the mothers of these girls are nothing more than selfish, narcissistic people living vicariously through their kids, making them take in candy-coasted doses of the very poison that comes with competing to see who's more beautiful, when in fact, they're just indoctrinating them into a way of thinking that beauty is everything? I mean, these little girls don't know the value of beauty yet. They don't know what money really is. Let's face it, they're not competing with the hopes of winning enough money to one day go to college in order to avoid the ultra-pleasant experience of taking on so much loan debt that the gift of graduating is the honor of moving into their parents' basement. These girls are forced to compete. Period! I once saw the show, more out of horror-driven curiosity than anything else, and boy did the show fall short of my expectations. There they are....little girls telling their parents they don't want to go here or do this, and they're parents demand they fall in line, suck it up and do as they're told.

Meanwhile, the mothers are living it up, no doubt do it on the money the girls win (if any money is involved, I mean). But even if there's no money, so what? The mothers are still coasting through the pageant life on the wings of the pressure they put on their daughters to win at all cost, just so the mothers have the privilege of being "the mother of the beauty queen". Like it validates their own existence or something. In their minds, it makes these mothers special. Yeah? Does it? It makes you special to be able to take credit for treating your child like a sudo sex slave. Because that's what they're doing. They're not dressing them in sweet little outfits and teaching them the value of being a good person. No. They're teaching them that beauty is key in life...that losers are ugly....that unless they win, they're useless in life....and it's all based on their looks. THEIR LOOKS? They're little girls!!!!!!!!!!

Wake up, you selfish, self-serving, self-absorbed child abusers.....PEDOPHILES ARE YOUR AUDIENCE AND THEY LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!! Think about that the next time you put your daughter into a getup straight off the latest "Here it is, come get some" runway! Let your kids be kids! Give them the gift of being able to look b

2 Comments on Toddlers and Trouble In The Making, last added: 4/13/2012
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13. Thorne is Coming!

Okay so, after much debate, I've decided to publish the Thorne book myself. You know, I've been tossing this idea around for a long time now. Held back only by the stigma that goes with being a self-published author. Well, my mind was officially made up when I came across J.A. Konrath's blog one day. Do Legacy Publishers Treat Authors Badly? is the title of the actual post that changed my view on this matter. It was so unbelievably enlightening. And, FYI, to those who might read this and say, "What else would you expect from someone who self-publishes?" J. A. Konrath has been published by some of the biggest houses, and because of his experience, he's taken his career into his own hands. And he's not the only one, btw, though I don't really want to sit here and spew off names like I'm going down a checklist.

Now, even though I don't have any first-hand experience in the industry, based on my research and findings, I truly couldn't agree more with Konrath's assessment. So, my mind is made up. Screw the stigma of self-publishing...which, by the way, was obesified (yes, I'm creating a new word here....live with it) by the elitist attitude of industry members who, to this day, are still behind the times. The fact is, there was a time when anyone with a thought felt the entire world needed to read about it, without the remotest consideration to things like editing and correct spelling. But, things have changed as technology has changed.

Today, there are countless authors who've decided to take matters into their own hands, simply because, when it comes to authors (the bread and butter of all houses), generally, publishers are...oh, how do I put this...unfair with regards to authors. I don't want someone to come in and dictate what THEY believe is the best treatment for my years of blood, sweat and tears. I don't want THEM to tell me how to write MY book, when, after waiting close to 18 months in some cases, THEY'LL give it a whopping few months to take off or fail. I don't want ANYONE to tell me I can't do things MY way! No author wants that.

So, there it is. I've decided to put THORNE out there myself. My hubby and I will design the cover (as we did with the original cover that everyone loved), and come up with another amazing cover. And when it's done, Thorne will be released. I'll let everyone know. I really want to thank everyone who's supported me through the years here. And I want to thank Konrath for his insight.

Peace! Can't wait to get it out there.

4 Comments on Thorne is Coming!, last added: 4/4/2012
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14. Cleaning is for Schmucks!

Gotta clean today. God, I hate cleaning. Spend all day dusting, wiping, sweeping, mopping, and basically running around in a desperate attempt to get a leg up on the dust that, it seems, is just hanging around waiting for you to blink before it falls back down on the very furniture you just finished cleaning. HMPH! What a monumental waste of time. Time that could be better spent on...oh, I don't know, watching grass grow, or paint dry, or even counting the patterns on a textured wall.

I swear the universe is laughing at me at this very moment. Watching me. Just laughing its proverbial ass off!

So you know what. I'm not gonna clean today.

I'm going shopping, then taking in a flick or something. Ah, submission. It's a beautiful thing when done right.

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15. To Outline, or Fly Free (As some say)

Okay so, today I was on Facebook, and saw a post involving a good friend of mine, Garrett and a friend of his. They were talking about outlines...something I have developed an opinion about, so I weighed in. So it got me thinking about outlines in general.

You know, clearly every author works differently. We all have our own ways of bringing our stories to life. Some like to wing it. Let the story direct itself, with the author being the vehicle. Way back when, during my first attempt to write a novel, I took that path of winging it, and about eight chapters in, found myself absolutely lost. I literally hit the proverbial brick wall, and eventually realized there was no story there. So I abandoned the whole project, set aside my computer, and decided to really get to know the writing life; being a writer since I was a kid, with poems and short stories, I'd never delved into writing an entire book before.

My hubby and I (he's also a writer) often talk about writing, stories, characters; we can literally talk about it for hours on end. He's the one who showed me the value in that little thing called an outline. I'd never considered doing one before. So, when I sat down to write that story that went nowhere, I did it without a plan. How could this happen, I asked myself. I mean, I had started this because I'd heard the voices of my characters in my head, and not in the "Yum, tasty Checkers," sort of way. I was absolutely stumped, and beyond frustrated.

My big mistake was thinking that wanting to write was enough. See, for me, what I learned in an utterly frustrating and most Rogaine-inspired way was that without a plan, there's little to no follow through, and if the end does come, it'll be through a crap load of blood, sweat, tears, broken plates, many collectibles lost in the battle to break through that brick wall I'd hit, and a sudden need to find a hat big enough to cover the bald spots born during this so-called creative process.

Well, when I started working on the Thorne series, I fell so deeply in love with the story and the characters. I mean, I really wanted to do it (and them) justice. So, I took the time (a year, to be precise) to plan everything from the entire series, the characters (and their arcs), to the city, the world, the magic, the history. Hell, I even created stores, shops, shop owners, employees, and all their back-stories, just to really and truly bring this world to life. Then I plotted out all the books, so when I was ready to start writing the first book, I wouldn't fall into that same pit of "give me something to break". When I was done with the outline, the story pretty much wrote itself.

And therein lies the problem some authors see with outlines. Personally, I prefer this method, but like I said, we all need to find our own way of doing things. There are authors who say outlines ruin the process because it deprives them of surprises during the writing process. But, from what I've seen, those authors can sometimes find themselves stuck. Those are the authors who sometimes say they don't know how the story will end, what will happen in the book, or where they're taking it. And that's fine, if it works for

4 Comments on To Outline, or Fly Free (As some say), last added: 3/27/2012
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16. TOR Update.

So they said no in a form rejection that, frankly, surprised me. I was sure my book would fit in nicely there. Oh well. Life goes on. My book WILL be out there someday. Someday I'll look back on these blogs about yesteryear and laugh. But for now, I'm pushing on, determined to get this out to the world one way or another. It's taken every ounce of my heart and soul to put write, and I refuse to let anyone in this industry tell me I can't do it!

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17. Magic in a New World

Okay so, I've been hard at work on my new series. Well, the first book in the series, anyway. Actually, what I've been working on is putting the magical world together; you know, creating the magic system, the beings, the rules, and all that. It's so much fun, I gotta say. I really do love writing. It's so much a part of me that I actually think about it 24/7; I could be watching T.V. and in the privacy of my thoughts (and outwardly too, since my hubby's a writer as well), I'm rewriting the show or movie I'm/we're watching. And when I read, sometimes I rewrite parts in my head. Even as a kid, I used to spend a lot of time saying things like, "Imagine if...". I guess I just can't seem to turn that part of me off, even for a minute. Not even growing up. But hey, I don't want to. It makes me who I am.

Maybe it's just a writer thing, you know? I love that. I love writers, you see. I find them to be among the most creative bunch of people in the world. People with endless imaginations, generally expansive vocabs, and extremely out-there ways of thinking.

Anyway, the point is, the new series is coming out great. Like I said, I'm working on the magic system, and honestly, I can't wait to get back to the writing part of it. I actually started the book, and got about 232 pages in. But I took a break to iron out some details and get a better feel for the world I'm creating for this series. Like the THORNE series, it takes place in a city, of course. But this one takes place in our world. And I made a really cool, amazing decision, which will be revealed later. Like when the book's ready to go, I mean. I think people who read both this book and the David books are really going to be like, "Ohhhh." At least I hope so.

Anyhoo, just wanted to update everyone on what's going on with the new series. So, a quick recap. It's a first-person, YA urban fantasy. I can't wait to post part of it. I posted the original first chapter here a while back, but I've rewritten it, so it's really different now. Better.

Have a good one:)

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18. Agent update

Okay so, you all know I submitted to the Ethan Ellenberg Agency a few weeks ago. According to their guidelines, if an author hasn't heard back from them within two weeks, they're to assume it's a "NO". So, as it goes, it's clearly a no. Oh well. As I mentioned before, I'm a silver-lining kinda gal. So, if an agent isn't interested, then it's obviously not a good fit for either side. If they were, they sign the book.

Well, no time to cry over another rejection. Countless authors have walked the same long road, and many of come to that point where someone says yes. And it only takes one, as they say. I'm still hoping to find that yes. For now, I'm keeping my hopes high and my fingers crossed for something better. TOR. Yup, I did it. After a long inner debate as to whether or not I should hit up this publisher myself, I took the lunge. TOR is where my book belongs. They have such an amazing reputation, and frankly, it would be an honor to be part of the TOR family of authors.

So, the other day, I put together the submission package, which included the first three chapters (up to 10k words) along with a synopsis. My fear is that they'll reject it for my own stupidity. See, it wasn't until after I sent it off that I realized that I had forgotten to include my email addy and phone number. Even though I did enclose a SASE. Hopefully they won't flat out reject it for something like that. Oh, and another line of stupid just hit a second ago, when I went back to the letter I sent that and found that it mentions how I'm including the first three chapters, when in reality, since they allow you 10k words, I actually included the first four chapters. Oh god. Please don't let them turn it down because of that....

Here's hoping.....

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19. The River, The Dolls, and The Chills That Kept Coming

Okay so, the hubby and I finally found time to watch a new show, which aired this past Tuesday, Feb 7.

**huge thanks and a major shout out to the inventors of the DVR.

Anyway, so ABC ran the pilot of The River, a new paranormal drama from Oren Peli, the genius behind the Paranormal Activity, which were, without question my favorite (and in my opinion the scariest) ghost movies ever. I honestly can't thank Oren enough for the chills that run up my spine each time I think about his "P.A." movies, or whenever I hear the slightest sound in my house at night, or when I feel like someone's watching me. Yeah, I'm not scarred at all.

Enter, "The River", a haunting show about a famous explorer/adventure/tv star who went missing in the Amazon. The show (which we're told is the footage from his wife's attempt to find him) opens six months later, when, after learning that her husband's private beacon was picked up, his wife leads an expedition into the Amazon in search of her husband, Dr. Emmett Cole. At every turn, it seemed, the closer they got to the signal, the creepier the show became; sounds, voices, and frightening discoveries that I won't give away here, as I'm not a walking spoiler.

One thing I will tell you all is this: there was this one part, where they entered an area of the jungle. In the center of this area was the most horrible thing they could have stumbled upon. It was this enormous tree full of old, beat up, broken, dirty, and terrifying dolls, all of them either hanging from the branches, or simply tied to the tree in one way or another. One of the creepiest moments in that scene was when one of the dolls' head turned on it own.

**gotta go to a happy place**

Now, I have to say....there are several things in this world that absolutely terrify me to no end: listed in no particular order, mind you...although the last two are easily the top ones.

#1 Zombies: A fear that keeps me at the ready in the event that the zombie apocalypse ever breaks out.

#2 The Dark: A fear that ensures I'll never loose my eye sight due to eye strain (that's my rationalization and I'm sticking to it).

#3 And the worst one of all: DOLLS! I hate them. Even as a kid, I hated them. And I know why. When I was little, I went to my friend's house (she was three years older than me. There, I discovered her and her older brother, along with some friends of his watching some movie. Of course, I happened to walk in at the worst possible moment: there was this woman trapped in a small room, and these bald, pale-faced dolls with black eyes were tearing into the walls to get to the woman. It scared the hell out of me, and I've never forgotten it; I also have forgotten how I ran from the house so fast, I almost got hit by a car charging across the street to my house. And let me tell you, for a long while, I tried to get over that fear of dolls, but it seems Hollywood was adamant that my fear stay right where it was; a fact I came to realize after watching Poltergeist for the first time, long after that incident with the dolls. And what did it get me, but another fear I stand by, even today: my next biggie. #4 Clowns....nuff said.

Anyway, there it is. The River is a great show that might have sat better with me had it come with a personalized warning about the doll scene.

So, what are some of your fears?

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20. Gender Wars

You know, my hubby and I were talking today about relationships and the general gender differences. In this day and age, why is that men and women still feel the need to feed into stereotypical gender wars?

We see it everyday.

Men: "Come on, Dude. You can't let a girl beat you."

Women: "Yeah. Girl Power."

Women who don't like sports go for guys who do, and then they complain about how the guy's obsessed with the very thing she knew about from the get-go. And men; they like women who take care of themselves, and yet, when their girlfriend or wife gets her hair done or goes shopping, the men complain, claiming the woman's obsessed with her to-do's. I can go on and on about the various ways men and women can nip at each other, but right now, I'm more interested in what you think about the whole thing.

1. So, where do you stand on the Gender Games?
2. What do you think is the biggest difference between men and women?
3. What would you change about either, if you could?
4. In terms of individual aspects, what do like most (or don't like) about the opposite sex?

I'm dying to see how people answer this.

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21. First Chap of my new book

Okay so, as far back as I can remember, I've always loved YA books, so I knew I'd inevitably throw my hat into the YA ring someday. Well, for a few months now, I've been working on a YA series about a small-town girl who moves to the big city, where she soon discovers that the world around her isn't what it appears to be, and neither are the new people in her life...namely, her new friends and Jack, her first love. So, I really would love to get some feedback here on this, the first chapter of the book.




When I got home from school, I found my parents huddled at the rustic, dining room table, grinning like kids with a juicy secret. It didn’t surprise me to see them there since they were both authors and were virtually always around. But Dad, he was currently working on his second novel, with a nagging deadline right around the corner. And Mom, she was in the I-can’t-wait-for-you-to-read-this-chapter stage of her first book; she’d been raving for the past few weeks about how she was dying to finish it. So why they were slacking off in the middle of the day like that was beyond me.

Tempted as I was to ask them about it, I just sighed and went to my room. I felt kinda bad not feeding into whatever surprise they clearly wanted to share with me. My parents, Jessica and Jonathan Chase were, without question, the only interesting people I knew. They were the highlight of my life, and no, that wasn’t sarcasm. I really do love being around them. They’re easy-going, laid back parents who actually see me as a person, and not a mindless, fragile object they have to watch over until it’s time for me to head out into the world.

But it had been a long day, fraught with boring classes designed to lower I.Q. points by the second, and an endless parade of gossipy, dim-witted, hum-drum nimrods that share the collective belief that all is great and dandy in Bumpkin Land, the tiniest, most uninteresting hole in America.

Honestly, the only smile-worthy moment of my day was when I punched one of the brainless Bumpkinites that I’m always oh-so-thrilled to be around every freakin’ day of my life. Her name’s Marley Waters. She’s this horse-faced pig in my English class who’d decided that this would be a good day to test her chances of survivability by telling the entire small-town-and-still-smaller-minded school that I had a crush on our tenth-grade history teacher, old Mr. Anderson, a bald, bow-tie-wearing relic who smelled like feet and a variety of foul and mysterious cheeses.

“Zoey?” Mom’s voice seeped through my door, deep and serious, which alone was enough to rattle me; she’d never taken that tone with me before.

“What?” I grunted, hurling my plaid backpack at my closet door.

“Zoey, your mother’s calling you. Now get in here.”

I kicked off my sneakers and shot them at the wall beside my wooden dresser, then popped my head outside my room. “What?”

“Zoey Chase, get over here this instant, Young Lady!”

Great. First Mom, now Dad? He’d never Young-Lady’ed me before. Not even when I got into that fight with Cheryl Mosley, back in eighth grade; I’d discovered she was the one who’d told everyone I was born a boy because someone had told her that her boyfriend liked me.

Somewhat shaken by Mom and Dad’s newfound experiences, I couldn’t help but wonder if the Principal of my school had called to rat me out for punching Marley, the horse-faced pig.

“Zoey!” my parents shouted as one.

“Coming.” I lumbered into the dining room with as much interest as I had in throwing on a wicker hat and dancing around a haystack; sadly, that was the pastime of choice in this kill-me-now part of the world. “What is it? I’m tired.”

“Tired?” Mo

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22. The Journey We All Take As Writers

This morning, I checked my messages over on FACEBOOK and found one by a good friend of mine, Garrett. He asked me something that got me thinking not only about my personal journey as a writer, but also those of other writers out there. In essence, when do we move on to another story? When do we convince ourselves it's time to walk away and begin something new?

I think it's a question every writer eventually asks him/herself. I mean, how can we not? We put ourselves out there in the most vulnerable way, expressing our thoughts, our emotions and the stories that make us who we are today. Without such deep contribution to our work, it can easily fall flat, bordering on two-dimensional. So, with so much vested in the books we write, when is the right time to walk away without feeling like we're actually taking the easy way out of being dragged down by our own sense of perfectionism?

Being a perfectionist myself, I can tell you what I told Garrett. Only we can judge for ourselves when the time is right. I still remember when it began for me. The day I first started working on David Thorne, back in 2003. It started with my drawing a creature I created, which I still have. She'll make her debut appearance in book four (I believe it's four, if not five). I remember so clearly, sitting there, in bed, with a sketch pad leaning against my legs, pencil in hand, my mind filled with a sense of giddiness I hadn't felt before. So I drew her, thinking, "Is this ever going to be anything?". Then, it was like the floodgates opened, and out came a million other creatures, characters, ideas, names, story lines. But most importantly, possibilities. I loved it. I literally thought about the book (and the series as a whole) 24 hours a day, driving, cooking, shopping. It didn't matter. I was consumed.

When I told my mom about my new venture, which in all honesty, had been brewing in me since I was a kid, she asked when I'd start writing (I was still in the development stage). I told her what I'd told my hubby on day one. "I'll start writing it when I know I'm ready." And so I did....exactly one year coincidentally...from the day I drew that first creature. In that year, I developed the characters, their back stories, the world, the magic, the history of the magicals and the tales that brought them to present day. I even created stores, shops, restaurants, the food they ate, the music they listened to, the hobbies they had, how they played. I mean, every conceivable detail. And when I was done, I started writing the first book.

Interestingly, the original first book was nearly 700 pages. I finished it three months later and when I was done, I actually sat back and smiled. I thought I would explode. I ran to my hubby and shouted over and over, "I did it! I finished! I wrote a book!" He was so happy for me. But then he said something that I will never forget, as it still haunts me today (and we still laugh about it to no end, believe me).

He said, and I quote, "Now the hard part starts."

I looked at him like he was crazy. He'd been there with me every step of the way as I worked on this book. He knew how much of myself I'd put into it. That was the hard part, fun as it was. But I wrong. Not about the fun aspect of creating and writing DT. But about the hard part beginning with typing that last word in the book.

Of course, the next day, it made sense. That was when I started the dreaded editing process. A process every writer hates more than bomb-wielding nut-jobs. Okay, maybe not that much, but you get the idea. I went through that book over and over, changing this and rewriting that for six months. And when I was done, it was sightly longer, though tighter. That's when I began looking up agents and publishers. I'd never done anything like that before, so just seeing the term Literary Agent online made me squeal like a school girl, and it yet terrified me. Had I bitten off more than I could chew? Was I

3 Comments on The Journey We All Take As Writers, last added: 1/28/2012
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23. I Love My Kindle

Okay so, as many of you who follow me on Facebook, I recently bought my first Kindle Touch 3G. Thanks, by the way, for all the advice and info on my new toy. So far, I'm loving it! I love that I can sync it with my Android and read books from either. This weekend, I'm diving into the first book in the Hunger Games trilogy. There's a Hunger Games movie coming out soon, so I want to finish the book before I see the flick. Don't want to be veered from the author's vision, and all that. When I'm done with the book, I'll post my thoughts on it here.

Anyone else read it? If you have, share your final comments on it here, but please, no spoilers.

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24. Let The Games Begin

Okay so, I just queried Ethan Ellenberg, of the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency. They are, without a doubt, top notch! Fingers crossed. I know I said I was done with this process, but the truth is, I want it. I want it so badly I can taste it. I want my book to fall into the right hands. I want readers to fall in love with my characters, my stories, all of it. I just feel this is the right thing to do for me...going the traditional route. Who knows. Maybe one day I'll look back and wonder, but for now, it's what I have to do. I don't want to live my life under that proverbial question mark. The one that will haunt me with the eternal mystery of what would have happened had I not taken this step.

Truth be told, it's taken me a long time to be able to do this again. Query agents. Those of you who know what happened to me and numerous other authors at the hands of one unscrupulous b*****d, know that those types of scars can leave a lasting impression on one's confidence. Well, mine was damaged to no end. I suddenly found myself beat down, and frankly, I hated feeling that way. I hate the idea that that loser took us all for such a horrible ride. I hate that it's taken me so long to get back up. But I'm here. I'm up again, and honestly, I will NEVER let anyone beat me down like that again.

So for now, I'm back on track. Doing what needs to be done to realize my dream as an author. Anyone else who feels the same, I congratulate you, my friend.

I'll post updates as to what happens with the query to Ethan Ellenberg.

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25. The Ghosts That Would Not Be Ignored

Who here believes in (and is afraid of) ghosts? I kinda' sorta' believe in them only because I've had some chilling encounters that still give me goosebumps.

The first one took place when I was about fifteen years old. I remember being home alone (I lived with my mom and 5-yr old little sister at the time). I was in the kitchen, when all of a sudden, I got this sense that I was being watched, so I turned to the counter that led to the dining room. And then I saw it. A thin, pale forearm dipping below the counter, as though someone was there and had just ducked out of sight. I freaked! I didn't know what to do. Should I call the cops? And tell them what, I asked myself. "Hi, there's an arm in my house." I felt like an idiot just thinking about that call, so instead, I looked around for a knife. Sadly, the closest thing to me was a spatula. Before I could grab it though, my mom and sister came home. They found me still standing in the kitchen, shaking. I checked around the house, but there was no sign that anyone had been there but me.

Okay, now that I think about it, that wasn't so much scary as it was ridiculous. Now, that is. Back then, it scared the hell out of me. I guess you had to be there.

A moment of silence to let the blushing smirk on my face pass with a little dignity.

Now, here's the encounter that was downright frightening. It's the kind of story that opens a movie about a haunting that ends with a resounding, "Holy crap!"

This was a long time ago. My mom and her boyfriend were going to Venezuela for four days, so they wanted me and my hubby to stay at her house to watch over my then 15-yr old little sister. The first night we were there was a Wednesday (I remember it clearly because Dawson's Creek was on). At the time, our dog, Gypsy, had just had eye surgery, and she needed some eye drops applied every day. So just before eight o'clock at night rolled around, my hubby went home to give Gypsy her drops really quick. My sister, who'd left when he did, went to my older brother's house. He and his wife lived two doors down, with both my father and little brother.

So there I was, alone in my mom's house, curled up on the sofa with the remote and the giddiness that came with watching Dawson. Not five minutes into the show, I heard voices coming from my sister's room. I didn't freak out, only because I knew it was the T.V.. I got up to turn it off, then came back to the family room, and after I sat down, I heard the T.V. again. Now I freaked because I'd just turned it off. What could I do but get up to do it again, but I did so thinking something must be wrong with her set. So again, I turned it off, but this time, just as I turned my back on the T.V. to leave the room, it came on again. A chill came over me so badly, so I turned back to the room slowly, shaking, not having a clue as to what to do. I was sure someone was in the house, screwing with me. I looked around for something to protect myself with, but the closest thing at my disposal was a flat-heeled shoe that could have easily passed for a slipper. Yeah, go ahead and laugh. Hell, my hubby still refuses to let me forget what my weapon of choice was.

So I grabbed the shoe, which, no doubt would have done nothing more than make the intruder die of laughter before he could attack his slipper-wielding killer. Anyway, so, with shoe in hand, I checked on the other side of the bed where the T.V. was, but there was no one there. I giggled to myself and made to go back to the family room, when suddenly, there was a thud in the hallway in front of me. My first thought was, "Holy crap, someone IS in the house." Now, what would any self-respecting person do in such a situation? Run? Call the cops? Grab a knife? Any of those would have sufficed in preserving my dignity. But no. I ran to the phone, shoe still in hand, and called....wait for it...my little sister.

"Jenn, someone's in the house."

"I'll be right there," she said firmly before hanging up the phone.

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