Friday, February 29, 2008


Today's Breakfast: Oatmeal with fresh frozen cherries.

This is my 600th blog post! Can you believe it? Who knew I had so much to say about so little?

Speaking of which, last night I made an apple crisp, so I sent Hotrod to the store to pick up a single carton of vanilla ice cream. He came home with 2 cartons of ice cream (one vanilla, one banana split), 3 jar candles (two smell nice, one smells like an old lady), 2 jugs of green iced tea (one diet, one not), 2 bags of jalepeno flavored potato chips (which disappeared into his office) and 2 jugs of cat litter - the only other thing we could actually use.
Why did I send him to the store in the first place? I know the lure of products is too much for him. And yet, I did it. I guess I'm a slow learner.
I'll be returning the stinky candle today.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Project Outrage

Last night on Project Runway, the final four were narrowed down to the final three. Actually, it was just between Rami and Chris, to see which of them would move on to Bryant Park.

They each got to show their three strongest pieces and I'd love to show you the normally great pics of those pieces, but whoever was in charge of getting the pics did a crappy job and they're really not worth showing. You can see them here to understand what I mean. But as Tim Gunn would say, I'm making it work.
If you want to see better pics and see their whole collection, you can go here. Be warned, though, this is going to be a spoiler because it contains the final collections for Christian, Jillian and Rami too. (And oddly enough Sweet Pea. I'm not sure why.)
If you haven't watched last night's PR and don't want to know the outcome, stop reading now. Otherwise, carry on...

Rami got picked. Chris is out.

What the...??? Okay, maybe the idea of using human hair as a trim on clothes is a little out there and slightly icky, but then, people have this stuff sewn onto their heads, why not their clothes? And honestly, Chris's collection was Turned Out. The sheer black lace dress was a masterpiece. The skirt of black safety pins? Utter genius. Elegance with a punk edge. His stuff was really on point. Interesting materials, out of the box thinking, beautifully crafted. Just all around cool.

Rami, on the other hand, showed a coat that made his model look like the Sta Puft Marshmellow man, an evening gown that had extra emphasis on the hips (who doesn't look for that in a fancy ball gown?) and one really lovely draped dress. Shock and awe, he can drape! Oh wait. We knew that.
*long suffering sigh* The final competition is going to come down to Christian and Jillian anyway, so no real shock there. Both of them will show an extraordinary amount of coats and jackets. Having seen the collections, I'm going to ensconce myself firmly in Camp Jillian. Some of Christian's stuff is too costumey for me (although he seems to have edited out the feather pants Tim Gunn commented on.)

Ah well. Next week, we'll know who the real queen of the catwalk is.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Things That Tick Me Off

I consider myself a pretty laid back person. I think people who know me would agree. They'd probably tell you I'm fun to hang out with. A little goofy. A good shopper. You might even hear life of the party, but I don't want to brag. So as a rule, it generally takes a lot to get my Sicilian up. There are certain things that will do it:

1. Hurting an animal.
2. Hurting one of my friends/family members.
And now, for the latest addition:
3. Badmouthing the chapter I and the other board members have poured so much work into over the last 14 months when you, as a member who can barely be bothered to show up for monthly meetings, have done squat to make a difference except use the chapter loop to blast your promo messages on.
Yeah, I'm pretty much over that.
What ticks you off? Wanna rant about something? Let it rip, baby.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Nine pages. 9. I must write.
That is all.
Wish me luck.
Hope I write more.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Monday To Do's

The list of things to do this week isn't any longer or stranger than any other week, and yet, it seems just as daunting.

1. Make hummus - I love hummus and I try to keep it on hand for veggie wraps and quick snacks. I don't always make my own, but it is cheaper and since I have a pot of chick peas soaking, I kind of have to now. (It's super easy to make tho.)
2. Write 40 pages in new YA proposal - this is the big one. I'm really focused on getting a big chunk of this done this week to keep myself on target to finish this proposal as soon as I can.
3. Prepare Rejection workshop - I think I'm giving this talk on March 13th, so I need to gather my thoughts now.
4. Some chapter stuff.
5. Some Romance Divas stuff.
6. Some crits for CPs.
7. Some housecleaning stuff.
8. Some laundry stuff.
9. Help Hotrod move a few things out of storage so we can cancel the storage and not get charged another month. (I'm soooooo not looking forward to this. I don't like anything that potentially involves spiders.)

I'm sure there's more, but that's all I'm listing. What's on your list?

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Today's theme is apparently disdain. Something my cats are rather good at, as you can see...

These are the looks I get when I've stopped playing with the laser light too soon/I refuse to get out of bed at 5 AM to feed them/they're not being allowed to go outside/they're not being petted enough/they think they need treats/the lizard they just brought into the house has been taken away from them and released back into the wild.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Busy, Busy Day

Today, I'm off to the airport to pick up our chapter's guest speaker, author Cindy Miles. She's giving us a talk on Saturday on how to pimp your manuscript. Should be fun. What will be even more fun is the fondue party we're throwing in her honor this evening! Cheese, chocolate and a bunch of crazy writers. You know you're jealous.

But before all that frivolity, I've got to deliver the first chapter of my new, fabulous, high concept YA, The Wilding, to my agent to see if she thinks it's as fabulous and high concept as I do.

I've also got to go to the post office. Not so fabulous. Can you believe stamps are going up again? Email is great, but you can't email a package. Someone really needs to invent a transporter beam for this stuff.

What's on your Friday To Do list?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Blog Round Up

It's blog round up time! Here are some fun blogs, both industry and other, that I thought you'd enjoy. So...enjoy!

Stiletto Storytime - Cool blog by children's librarian (but so much more than YA)

Fangs, Fur & Fey - an interesting conglomerate of paranormal authors, lots of good info here.

Cake blog. Because I like cake. A LOT.

Shoe blog. Because I like shoes. A LOT.

What blogs have you been reading lately?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Brainstorm With Me

I need some help, so I'm going to ask you some questions and I want you to answer with as much off-the-walledness as you can muster. Remember, I write paranormal. Also keep in mind, this is a YA.

Okay, a little set-up. Names and places have been changed to protect the innocent.

Daughter of the king Jane lives in Otherlandia, completely removed from neighboring Normalandia. She wants to take a trip to Normalandia to see how the beautiful and curious Normalandians live, but to take this trip, she must agree to marry Bob, the power-hungry son of another royal. If she doesn't agree to marry Bob, he'll prevent her from going on the trip by raising the issue that Jane's brother died on a trip to Normalandia.

Ultimately, Jane will meet and fall in love with a Normalandian boy, Fred. Also, the Otherlandians have magic. The Normalandians don't.

1. What can Jane do to keep from marrying Bob?
2. What is the draw of Normalandia that Jane wants to go so badly, despite her brother's death there?
3. Let's say her brother is actually still alive in Normalandia - why would he have stayed? What nefarious forces could have kept him there?
4. How will Jane make things work with Fred when her destiny lies in the throne of Otherlandia?

Remember: Think big, no idea is too crazy, this is a paranormal YA. Go nuts!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

All Things Ferrety

Ferret Cam - which I am addicted to.

The book no home should be without.

And then, a little ferret naughtiness. Enjoy!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Books You Should Read

Okay, I just finished Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr and it was fantastic. I think even a little better than her first book, Wicked Lovely. (This is a complete aside, but both covers are phenomenal.) It starts out a little slow, but that soon fades away as the story unfolds.

Yes, it's YA, but I don't think any adult could read this and not be satisfied. It's rich and magical and full of emotion (oddly enough - read it and you'll understand why this is odd). At times, the phrasing will make you green with envy that you didn't write it yourself.

And it's definitely one of those books that leaves you eager for the next. I'm pretty sure there's a third book in the works, so that shouldn't be too much of an issue. Do yourself a favor and pick this up, even if you don't normally read YA. If you're writing paranormal or urban fantasy, you'll enjoy this. It's dark without being oppressive and completely entertaining.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Random Saturday Posting

Ferret Cam! - This is addictive, even though he does little more than sleep.

On another note, I'm halfway through the ARC of Melissa Marr's Ink Exchange (the follow on book to Wicked Lovely) and loving it! YA is such an awesome genre. There is so much variety and so much great storytelling.

Lastly, I've started a new YA idea. Just 3 pages into it, but I'm liking it so far. It's nice to delve into something fresh, discover new characters, create a world no one's been to before. There's a kind of power in that. What are you working on?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Project Showdown

So...the last Project Runway decided who would be showing a collection at Fashion Week in Bryant Park and who was going home. When you look at the clothes, it's kind of a no-brainer. Well, kind of. Let's discuss... This magnificent piece of hot haute couture is Chris's. I don't care that it's reminiscent of the challenge he did with Christian (remember the dress with the big single stand-up shoulder?) - this is a winner, hands down. It's a dress to be photographed in, a dress to display in a museum, it's a fabulous, fabulous concoction and I adore it. I can't wait to see Chris's collection. Rock it out, Chris!
Remember how I said Christian's stuff looked derivative of Vivianne Westwood and Alexander McQueen? Well, lo and behold he revealed in this week's episode that he'd worked for both those designers while living in London. Points for me, people! Again, this outfit is typically Christian. Super structured, over designed, blah, blah, blah. Yes, he can design. That doesn't stop me from being over him. Moving on...
Rami, Rami, Rami. You don't get it, do you, my poor little Israeli boy? I love you and your designs, but woman cannot live by draping alone. The judges told Rami repeatedly to show them something different, but he didn't. Granted, draping is his super power, but can he do anything else? Maybe, but we've yet to see it. I guess we'll see in Bryant Park, hmm?
Sweet Sweet Pea. The judges were right on when they said you understand how to design functional, workable, wearable clothes. What you don't seem to grasp is the fantasy aspect of design. Look at this outfit in comparison to the others. It just doesn't carry the same wow factor does it? And unfortunately, this dress sent Sweet Pea home. I still think she's got a fabulous career ahead of her making women's dresses.
Lastly, we have Jillian, our Lady of the Perpetual Coat. She does jackets/coats extremely well and unlike Rami's draping, the judges don't seem to be tired of seeing them. I guess we know what she'll be sending down the runway at Bryant Park. The lining inside this coat matched the gold dress - I think that bit of unexpected pop got her the nod.

All in all, it was a bit of a surprise that the judges tied over Rami and Chris and therefore decided to send both to the finals. This means there will be four designers showing - a Project Runway first. I know, I'm all a twitter too. Whatever happens, I would love to own something made by Chris. He's my kind of designer. Campy, over the top, but able to create amazing one-of-a-kind outfits that stand out in a crowd.

Can't wait to see the collections! Make it work!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Valentine

Love you!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

We're Doing What?

So my parental units are here, which is awesome because I always have such a good time with them and my dad is super handy, so I can give him chores and they get done. Not that Hotrod won't do them, but the man travels so much I feel bad laying a major list on him when he's home.

Today, my dad wants to go treasure hunting at Sebastian Inlet. This whole coast is lousy with sunken ships and lost treasure. It's not uncommon to find some of it washed up on the beach. (Provided you have a metal detector, which my dad does.) I am apparently the cheap labor on this venture, meaning I'll be either digging or sifting.
Should be...interesting. If you don't hear from me, I've gotten filthy rich. What? It could happen.
If that doesn't pan out, later on, my dad and I will be installing a new faucet in the garage sink. Try not to get jealous of my glamorous life.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Power of Quitting

It is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich." - Henry Ward Beecher

You don't have to go far to run into a plattitude about the power of NOT quitting. And while I agree there are many times when you feel like giving up that you shouldn't. However...there are times when quitting is the most powerful thing you can do for yourself. I say to you that sometimes failure is an option. And a good one. Stay with me now.

1. When the inner critic cripples you - quit listening. Your inner critic is always going to fight your success. It's human nature. Apply your bad listening skills here and move on.

2. When you keep dating/marrying Mr. Okay For Right Now - quit settling. If the man's not worth marrying, then he's not worth one Friday night.
3. When you've edited the book 1400 times - just stop already, would you? You've got to know when to quit editing and when to start a new project. My opinion is that some people edit endlessly out of fear - fear of submitting and getting rejected. This is what writers do. We write, submit and get rejected. Sometimes we even sell. But you can't sell until you quit.

4. Smoking - Just quit already, will you? You know it's bad for you, you know it's making you look like an old hag, you know nobody wants to kiss an ashtray. Just man up and quit.

5. Perpetual whining - For the sake of your remaining friends, keep your whining over the latest rejection, bad review, poor sales figures to a two-day maximum. If your friends are writers, they understood you perfectly well after the first five minutes. If your friends aren't writers, they're going to have a hard time supporting your dreams when you don't even seem to like them yourself. Thicken that skin and quit whining after a reasonable amount of time.
Some other things to quit: feeling sorry for yourself, filling your life with negativity, that job/relationship that doesn't bring you happiness, saying yes to every request for a piece of your time.

Think you can't quit? Try this: next time you have an itch, refuse to scratch it. Practice quitting. If you can do that small thing, you can tackle the next big thing. So...what will you be quitting?

This Is Not a Blog Post

I'm not blogging today. Instead, you will have to enjoy Saturday's and Sunday's posts as I am off running errands and cleaning house in anticipation of my parents coming to visit.

I've got a fab post for you tomorrow, tho! Now go write. Max is watching.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I've Been Tagged: 6 Unimportant Things About Myself

Thanks to Gwen, you're going to learn some very boring things about me. Here are the rules:
1. Link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Share six unimportant things about yourself.
4. Tag six random people at the end of your blog entry.
5. Let the tagged people know by leaving a comment on their blogs.


1. My brother was my only real playmate for most of my childhood. (There weren't many kids - and none of them girls - in our neighborhood.)
2. I was horrifically unpopular in high school.
3. I told people (incorrectly) I was allergic to shrimp and orange juice for years to avoid have to consume them. I actually love shrimp now. OJ, not so much.
4. Unlike some people, I've never had the mumps.
5. If I could be any animal, I'd a house cat. I'm 100% sure I would excel at lying around, eating and sleeping.
6. I can sing the scales backwards and forewards.

I tag Jill Monroe, Louisa Edwards, Lara Santiago, Jennifer Shirk, Heather Harper and B. E. Sanderson.

Saturday, February 09, 2008


Things my kittens are good at: Having their picture taken.


Helping in the office.
What are your cats good at? Share!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Project Pile Drivin' Glamazon

I think we all breathed a sigh of relief when Project Runway was back on. And by we, I mean me. Whatever. I love this show! Here's my take on Wednesday's episode, where the designers had to create an wrestling costume for some chicks from the WWE. The idea was they could wear them in the ring. Or at their second job, working the pole at the Crazy Horse. Kidding! I kid. It's what I do. Let's discuss, shall we? This was the winner, and I think rightly so. I adore that hoodie! You can't really make it out in the photo but the black fabric parts are glittery and look really awesome. My only beef with this outfit is in order to wear those shorts, you'd basically need a Brazilian wax. Ouch! But I'd totally rock that hoodie. Totally. I covet it, actually. Nice job, Chris! I think you're my favorite designer right now.

This is Jillian's design and it made top three, which I thought was fair. It's really a sharp take on the whole tomboy idea with the sport-inspired stripes and gym shorts. Hate the white knee socks with the patent heels. Um...gross.
This was Christian's, if you couldn't tell. On a personal note, he really needs to find a new word beside fierce. We get it. You're fierce. Your designs are fierce. You have fierce friends. What are you? A lion tamer? Anyway, this outfit was just okay for me, despite the top three placement. But then, when you see the bottom three, I think you'll know why...
Okay. First impression? Rosie Perez in a bad (were there good ones?) Paula Abdul video. This got Mr. Weepy Hat Boy sent home. Hallelujah! I'm so over his pitiful designs. If this challenge had been Design Hootchie Swimwear, he might have won. (No, probably not.)
Sweet Pea, Sweet Pea, Sweet Pea. I think you've got a potential career at Frederick's of Hollywood. While this outfit has some cuteness, it didn't fulfill the client's wishes and ultimately reminded me of those cream cheese angel commercials. I don't think clothes that remind you of cream cheese are good things. Anyone have a bagel?
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Rami took a swing and miss this week with this barftastic pink puddle of vomit. Look at this girl. Could she be any fitter? Probably not. And yet, this outfit makes her look hippy. For a guy who drapes and dresses women so beautifully, this was a complete disaster. He's lucky this didn't send him home.
Very clear winners and losers this week, in my mind. Here's hoping next week they ditch the shock-value challenges and design something real. Like dresses. Remember dresses? Those long pretty things women wear? Might want to look into that, Project Runway, 'cuz last time I checked, Donna Karan wasn't making her money off wrestling outfits.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Michael Hauge Notes - Part Three

Okay, today is the last day of notes I'm going to post. There is more, but unless you attended the lecture the essence/identity stuff just isn't going to make as much sense. I highly recommened buying his books, though. Good stuff.

5 Ways to Create Empathy
1. Make your hero the victim of some undeserved misfortune.
2. Put your character in jeopardy.
3. Make your character likable - show character as well liked by other people.
4. Make your character funny.
5. Make the character powerful (hero worship, we want the powerful experience.)

*The #1 problem with love stories that don't work is that there's no logical reason why the hero/heroine are together.

- The reason the romance character (his term for the love interest/heroine) is the hero's destiny is because she sees beneath the hero's identity (basically his false persona) and connects with his essence (his true, hidden self.)

- The essence is the promise of who the hero can be.

*Two Other Characters
1. The Nemesis - the character who most stands in the way of the hero's motivation. Inner Journey - Nemesis embodies the hero's inner conflict.

2. The Reflection - Outer Journey - the character who is there to help hero achieve goal. Inner Journey - Reflection is conflict, because reflection reveals inner conflict. Think Donkey in Shrek.

*Three Major Themes of Most Hollywood Movies
1. Integrity - becoming honest
2. Stand up for one's beliefs
3. Need for connection (isolation to connection)

Okay, that's it. I hope you've gotten something out of this! Now go write!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Michael Hauge Notes - Part Two

Outer Journey

*Plot Structure - events of a story and their position in relation to each other - the sequence of events that illicits maximum emotion.

-Proper structure means the right thing happens at the right time.

Stage One - The Setup
- approximately the first 10%
- Introduce hero and show them living every day life (big moment has not yet occured)

1st Turning Point - The Opportunity
- this takes your hero into stage two and the new experience.
- creates the preliminary desire, just enough to take hero into new situation
- often creates a change in geography

Stage Two - The New Situation

2nd Turning Point - Change of Plans
- something happens to turn story in a new direction - here and only here, the hero's goal becomes evident (goal is established)
- in a romantic comedy, hero often has two goals, the second of which is always to win love
- in a love story, this is the point where the audience wants the hero to fall in love

Stage Three - Progress
-Hero has goal and decides on a plan

3rd Turning Point - Point of No Return
- Hero burns bridges
- in a love story, often the point of love making
- declaration of love, desire is spoken outloud
- outside world starts closing in
- obstacles come from outside goal

Stage Four - Complications and Higher Stakes
- Now if hero loses, they lose much more
- lose destiny

4th Turning Point - Major Setback
- Something must happen to make goal seem unachievable
- In a love story, hero/heroine break up or are torn apart
- "All is lost"

Stage Five - The Final Push
- Hero wants to go back to the way things were, but can't

5th Turning Point - Climax
- Hero must give everything
- Peak emotional moment
- Point which clearly resolves physical goal

Stage Six - Aftermath
- New life the hero will live having completed the journey
- Transformed existence

That's it for today. I know this probably won't make as much sense as if you heard it being explained, but there's a lot of good stuff here that makes sense when you look at it in comparision to a movie like Shrek (which Michael uses as an example quite frequently.) More tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Michael Hauge Notes - Part One

*Your hero (and hero is a broad term basically used to describe the protagonist) must be introduced at the point of changing destiny.

*The primary objective of any story/movie/work of fiction is to illicit emotion. As such, all stories are based on the foundation of three things:
1. Character
2. Desire
3. Conflict

*There are two levels of hero desire/conflict. These two levels are the hero's two journeys - the Inner Journey and the Outer Journey.

The Outer Journey is a journey of accomplishment. It has a visible goal, visible obstacles, visible finish line. The outer motivation is this finish line that the hero must cross by the end of the story.

There are four basic goals in almost every movie/story:
1. To escape (a bad situation)
2. To retrieve (find something of value and bring it back - could be person or object)
3. To stop (something bad from happening)
4. To win (a competition or LOVE)

What was our main goal? To illicit emotion. Emotion grows out of conflict. Remember that. More to come soon. Questions so far?

Monday, February 04, 2008

I'm Home!

I'm back from the writer's retreat and it's really an understatement to say it was a fabulous weekend. It was SO much more! It was energizing, enlightening, fun, concentrated, connecting, relaxing, hilarious, bonding perfection. In short, a perfect writer's weekend with no pressure.

Michael Hauge really presents his info a way that is easy to grasp and makes sense. Sure, he's talking about screenwriting to some extent, but he's tailored it to books and it still rings very true. And his examples (mostly movies we've all seen) make his techniques crystal clear.

Now, I'm still recovering so I'm not posting any notes yet, but I will soon. Let me reorganize a bit and I'll talk about what I learned and what resonated the most for me.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Have An Awesome Weekend!

I hope you all have a great weekend! I'm off to a writer's retreat with pals Roxanne St. Claire and Lara Santiago. The retreat is sponsored by the TARA (Tampa area) chapter of RWA (which we're also members of) and features special guest, screenwriter Michael Hauge.
I've never heard him speak, but everyone who has says he's really good, so I'm hoping to come away from the weekend with a few lightbulb moments and some great ideas on how to make my stories better. I'll try to share a few things when I get back.
Considering my roommates, I'm sure there will be a few fun stories to tell as well.
What are you doing this weekend?