Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Goals

I've noticed a lot of you aren't making goals, but alas, I must, how else would I be able to exercise my rebellious nature? If I didn't have my own goals to ignore and rules to break, I might go out there and start breaking other people's rules and who knows where that would lead me (maybe over barbed wire fences or teenager stalking again). So these are my goals that have absolutely nothing to do with writing because that is one area where I don't need to make goals (I'm already a completely obsessive freak in that area).

1. Clean my house once a day...no I mean week, once a week.
2. Make dinner at least four or three, well probably two times a week.
3. Exercise sometime in the coming year.
4. Venture out into the "real world" (church, Candi's house, or the grocery store do not count) more often than now (which is never).

Phew! Those are some lofty goals. I'm already thinking of ways to break them, thus accomplishing my overall agenda. Good luck to you with your goals as well. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Rinse and ... Repeat?

"La de da, la de da." (That's me singing in the shower--very badly)

"Gracie," I say in my mind.

"Don't call me Gracie."

"Sorry, I mean Grace. Why are you so surly? Is it because of your mom?"

"Ya think?"

"So that's it? Your mom?"

"There's more."

"What though?"

"Figure it out."

"I'm trying to. And what about IK, why are you always so happy when he's around?"

"He's funny."

"He is pretty funny. But there has to be more...hmm," I finish rinsing my hair and turn off the water. I wrap my hair in a towel and start to step out of the shower.

Did I wash my hair, I wonder. I don't think I washed my hair...did I? With a sigh I shut the shower door, turn back on the water and wash my hair.

So either I have really clean hair today or once washed hair, I still don't remember. (And please don't pay attention to the fact that I didn't wash my hair until noon)

Don't you love it when your characters are talking so loud that you can't think of anything else? I better go write.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

No More Vacation

I'm officially home. Although it was way too cold and snowy for my warm blood, I had a great time. I love my family. I married into the best family ever. And it's constantly growing. On Christmas day, my niece had a baby (congrats, Kaylie) which means I'm a great Aunt (well, I was already a great aunt, but now I have the title to prove it).

I know I said while I was out of town that I wouldn't blog, but I obviously couldn't keep myself away from you all. Now that I'm home, I've discovered something: When I take a vacation from writing the only thing it does is fill my head with new ideas. New ideas equals more work. So no more vacation for me. Back to constantly thinking about the book I'm writing so that new characters can't creep their way into my mind. But for the record, I started a new book today, just to get the idea that came to me on vacation out of my brain so that I can finish my WIP, which is halfway done.

Back to work for me. Yay! I can't wait until agents are back to work too so that I can get some more rejections. I'm ready to send out my new and improved query.

Quote of the Week

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. ~E.L. Doctorow

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Secret Formula

Okay, while we're on the topic of throw-up (and I promise you [well maybe not definitively] that I will never speak of it again) I have a secret formula for you that will save you a lot of headache (and laundry). It has come in handy over the last ten years with my four children (and myself) and since it has, I always feel the need to pass it on. Name it what you will, but I call it: the water treatment. It goes like this. You or your child throws up, don't eat or drink anything for one hour. I know it's hard, especially when your child is screaming, "Water." But you must hold out. After one hour you give them one tablespoon of water every ten minutes for the next hour. That's hard too, because they will want more. After that hour, you can give them more water and start on the BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) diet. I usually do it for that whole day. The next day, they can eat as normal. If at anytime during this process they (or you) throw up again, you must start over. I swear by this treatment. My children usually only throw up one time when I apply this process. You're welcome. :)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Blow by Blow

Christmas Eve 2008, my husband and I were blissfully watching the last 5 minutes of "It's a Wonderful Life" (I should've known right then that something was amiss. I mean don't get me wrong the movie is okay .... alright, I'm not gonna lie, I hate the movie. I know, I'm unAmerican, I'm unChristmas, I'm incapable of sympathy or compassion for humankind.) when from the back room we heard the unmistakable sounds of a sick child. We looked at each other. The theme music from jaws rang through the air. I knew we were in serious trouble. And that is how it began. Contrary to the title of this post, I will actually spare you the gory details of the twenty-four hours that followed. Now that I'm feeling better they are too painful to want to remember. But, I will give you the stats.

People afflicted: 7
Loads of laundry done: 8
Bodies used as carpet savers: 2
Baths administered: 5
Runs to the bathroom in between gift opening: 3

My oldest woke up this morning and said, "Mom, thanks, I really do love all my presents." I don't think she even realized what she got yesterday. It was quite an experience. I'm glad it's over. Now, me and my sister-in-law are going to Provo to watch Australia. What's that? I've already seen it twice? I know, but she hasn't seen it.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Santa loves me more than you

How do I know? Because for Christmas he brought me the stomach flu. How many of you got that for Christmas? I thought not. He not only brought it for me, but for the whole family. Yes, we are indeed a loved bunch. I will give you a blow by blow (wrong choice of words?) of our day, tomorrow. Believe me, it's quite an entertaining story, you're not going to want to miss it. Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The luncheon in my head

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, I am meeting Natalie and Renee today. I hope I don’t say anything lame and or awkward. *looks out the window* There she is, oh I’m so nervous. *walks down the icy front steps* Don’t slip, don’t slip, don’t slip. *opens the car door*

“Hi, so nice to meet you. Hug.” Was that lame? Did I really just announce that I was going to hug her? What if she doesn’t want a hug?

“I feel like we already know each other,” Natalie says as we hug.

Okay that’s good. *looks at Natalie* Oh, she’s super cute and super cool. She’s too cool for me. Oh no, she’s going to know she’s too cool for me. I better talk incessantly so that she doesn’t have time to think about it.

“Blah, blah, blah,” I say. What am I saying? I don’t even know what I’m saying. Oh well, I’ll just keep talking because not only am I nervous, but I am really cold.

*We get to Olive Garden and the hostess leads us to a booth where we wait for Renee. I stand when Renee comes*

Wow, she’s really tall and beautiful. “Hi, so nice to meet you.” Don’t announce your hug. Just give her a hug.

“Hug.” Doh.

*We all sit and talk for a time*

This is going well. These girls are super fun.

“Blah, blah, blah, I’m not even kidding you right now,” I say. Isn’t that the fifth time I’ve said that phrase. Do I really have to tell them that I’m not kidding?

*Waiter comes by and fills my glass for the fourth time*

I don’t believe I’ve drunk four full glasses of water. I really have to go to the bathroom, but I’m not ready to leave yet. If I get up and go to the bathroom they might take it as their opportunity to ditch me. Oh, wait, Natalie is my ride, she can’t leave me.

*Waiter starts to walk by*

“Will you take our picture?” I call out. Proof. Now I will have proof that these girls hung out with me.

And here is that proof. My virtual friends turned real world friends. I had a blast, girls. (Did I really just say blast? Is that an old lady phrase? Are they going to think I’m old? I am old.)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Chocolate



"Chaukie," my two year old son screamed, running towards the table.

"No, you've already had enough chocolate," I tried to reason.

He jutted out his lower lip and in true swiper-the-fox fashion said, "Aw man."

I placed him on the floor next to the toy cars and went back to the bathroom to finish applying my make-up.

"Cars, cars, cars," I heard him growl then squeal the word from the other room as he tested out different qualities of his voice.

After applying some eye shadow, I reached for my mascara. It took me a moment to realize it had become quiet. I quickly made my way down the hall, where I found my son sitting at the table, a pile of hershey's kisses in front of him, his lips outlined in chocolate, and a big smile on his face.

He met my serious stare. "Chaukie," he told me happily.

I laughed and sat down to eat a few myself.

My son's newly discovered indulgence this year is quite obviously chocolate. What do you indulge in over the holidays?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I'm here ... it's cold


This California native is FREEZING her tail off. I know, I know, I should put a coat on. Looks like I'm going to have a white Christmas this year. Like really, really white. Aren't the mountains gorgeous though?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Quote of the Week

"Writing gives you the illusion of control, and then you realize it's just an illusion, that people are going to bring their own stuff into it. " David Sedaris

Retraction

In my post, dated December 16th, I made the statement: "My husband is the funniest person I know." I have since been accused of libel by the aforementioned husband and have been asked to make a formal retraction of the statement. I have been given two phrases as acceptable replacements for the one I used. The first option I am allowed is: "My husband made me laugh once." The second choice is: "Occasionally, I find my husband mildly amusing." So, take your pick and hopefully my husband will now feel less pressure to be funny if/when he meets any of you.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Merry Christmas

Well, I'll be off visiting family for the next ten days, so I doubt that I'll be able to post much while I'm gone. But I just wanted to say I hope everyone has a great Christmas. I hope to relax, eat too much, and sleep longer than necessary. Maybe I'll even get some writing done (yeah, I know, I'm dreaming). I'm so excited to see my family and friends. Merry Christmas.

Update: Is it always the case that when you know you're supposed to be doing something (like packing) the ideas for your book seem to come more readily to your mind? I'm trying to pack and my characters are yelling so loud that I had to sit down and write a scene. I will eventually get on the road.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Be Quiet

I think my entire writer's group tonight would have loved to say those two words to me at several points during the evening. Perhaps they might have even wanted to yell, "Shut up!" You see, I'm a nervous talker. So, since my piece was being critiqued tonight, I just couldn't keep my mouth shut. Not only was I extremely nervous, but I also felt the need to explain every thing they commented on. I wanted to tell myself to shut up by the end of the night. In fact, I think I did. Sigh. It's not my fault. I like to talk. :) I'll try harder next time ... maybe.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Real World Observations

Well, as much as you all tried to talk me into staying in my house last week, I decided I would continue my weekly goal of trekking into the real world. Okay, I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t want to go. My husband “forgot his lunch” and I was compelled to leave the house. But, the point is, I did. Here is what I learned:

1. Funny people have funny friends. My husband is the funniest person I know. Granted, I don’t know Stephen Colbert or Ricky Gervais, but still, even if I did, my husband would be right up there (after Stephen and Ricky). It seems as though all his close friends are also very funny. He has a friend at work who dropped by his office today while I was there and they proceeded to spend the entire time making jokes. Among other things, the two of them think it is hilarious, to walk by the receptionists (or whoever really) and make farting noises, causing them to look around for the culprit. They just casually keep walking as though nothing happened (yes, they are very mature for a couple of stock brokers). Apparently another one of their hobbies, I found out today, is to pull up my blog and find out what is going on in my world. So, Sean, I threatened you after all your jokes that if you looked at my blog today, your name would be on here. And look at that there is your name. So no more handing out my blog address to your clients. ☺
2. Moutains are beautiful, especially if you only get to see them a few times a year (and that’s not because I don’t leave the house). I live in the central valley. Mountains surround us, but we never see them because the air is so bad. After it rains though, like it did all day yesterday, the view is clear and I just want to stare at the purple, snow-capped mountains and the endless cloud-filled sky all day long. Well, obviously not all day since I am now inside writing again.

Now, on to the second part of my new goal—the cleaning. Save me.

Monday, December 15, 2008

What?

My husband got a rejection letter today. It is so unfair because I had to write a book before I got one of those. Actually, it was meant for me, but because my email address is under his name they obviously just got it off of that instead of the letter itself. The funny thing is that it felt so much better to see his name at the top of a rejection than mine. But can you imagine if that was the actual letter where an agent was requesting more book? I would've felt so gypped. But, seeing as it wasn't, I'm perfectly fine with it. I've committed a few typos myself in the wonderful query world. One time, instead of sending Rachel Vater a query, I sent Rachel Vader one. Apparently I thought she and Darth had gotten married. Another time I left out the 'r' in University. Of all the words to misspell.

But my very favorite letter typo story goes to my good friend Nicki Broby. She's not a writer, so this isn't a query story, but I laugh about it every time. This is her story, in her own words: When using Word, the automatic spell checker’s first suggestion for 'Broby' is 'Booby.' About 2 years ago I received an email from the head guy in SLC for the humanitarian program. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t check the automatic typing his spellchecker put in. You see where this is heading… Yes, I received an important email with the heading: Dear Nick’s Booby! He then sent me a second email to apologize. I immediately sent the hilarious mistake to my entire family, and my roomies still tease me by calling me Nick’s in public.

Tell me that isn't the funniest story you've ever heard. So what about you? Do you have any funny query mishaps that you can share? We will then proceed to point our fingers and laugh at you.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I've been tagged

And can I just say I am so excited because this is my first tag ever. Thanks Renee. Hopefully I do it right. I think it's called Bookwormed.

Here are the rules:

1. Open the closest book - not a favorite or most intellectual book, but the closest at the moment - to page 56.

2. Write out the fifth sentence on the page, as well as the two to five sentences following.

3. Then open your ms to page 56 and write out the fifth sentence, as well as two to five additional ones.

4. Tag five (or more) buddies to do this same exercise.

Okay, so here you have it. I actually had two books right next to my writing chair, but since I am mad at Charles right now for toying with my emotions, I will go with Miss Ann Brashares "The Second Summer of the Sisterhood" (or SHOT 2 as Candi and I call it):

"Can you believe that? I was worried I was underdressed, but he said I looked perfect. Those were his exact words. 'You look perfect.' Can you believe that?"


And my ms:

They were back outside. She was surprised to see that the sky had darkened to ominous. Drops of rain splattered on her face. Hailey glanced over to the tree she hadn’t noticed before.

“It’s not really the jail tree,” Toby whispered, obviously noting her gaze.

“I didn’t think so,” Hailey said.

“The jail tree is somewhere else entirely.”


I choose to tag:

Linda

Britten (I know you don't have a manuscript, so either leave out rule 3 or make up something fun, I know you can)

Terri

Kristan

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Rhetorical questions are not meant to be answered...

Yesterday my five year climbed up on the arm of my chair while I was writing, cuddled against my arm, and said, "Mom, who's your favorite kid."

I smiled and said, "I don't have a favorite. I love all of you just the same."

"I know, but who's your favorite."

"I can't pick a favorite. What about you, who's your favorite, mommy or daddy?" I asked her this question to show her how impossible it would be to choose. She was supposed to say, 'I love you both.' 'I don't know' would've worked fine too.

Instead, she looked up to the sky for a moment, pursed her lips together, and then said, "Daddy."

Well, I know who's not my favorite now. :) Apparently using a rhetorical question on a five year old is not a good idea.

Friday, December 12, 2008

She really is a ninja cyborg...

...and apparently so is her first paragraph because it kicked some butts, around 1300 actually (including mine). Congratulations Natalie on being one of the finalists in Nathan Bransford's first paragraph contest. According to the rules, she's not allowed to campaign for herself, but nobody ever said I couldn't. I'm being absolutely fair and impartial when I say her paragraph is the best. But head on over and decide for yourself and then agree with me because we all know I am always right. :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

In My Dreams

Last night (in my dream), my husband took me to see Australia (the movie not the country) for the third time. As we sat down, I looked over and sitting two seats away was Christian Slater (don't ask me why, I haven't been obsessed with him since my pre-teen days).

I said, "You're Christian Slater," in a very excited voice.

He responded, in his high timbre, yet gravelly voice, "I am."

The previews started showing and he was in one of them. I looked at him with a smile, "That was you," I decided to tell him. "I'm sorry," I added, "I promise I won't talk to you anymore."

He must've found me very charming and witty at this point because he reached across the seats that separated us and grabbed my hand. My husband didn't seem to mind, so I just went ahead and let him. The movie began with a scene of a bus floating down a raging river (which is not in the real movie). My mind must've decided that Hugh Jackman and Christian Slater could not be in the same dream.

This was about the time my two-year-old son appeared out of nowhere, climbing up and down the stairs. I looked over to my husband thinking, where did he come from? My husband just smiled as though he was thinking, isn't he so cute? Soon my son became unruly, though, and my husband decided to take him out, leaving me and Christian dangerously alone.

"Do you want to sit by me?" he asked.

I thought he was joking, so I just laughed. But he got up and moved right next to me and draped his arm around my neck. I was feeling slightly guilty, but also really happy. That's when I thought (and I'm not kidding you, I really thought this in my dream), I need to give Christian my blog address. :)

Just before I could, my leg started twitching. He looked at it. "Are you okay?" he asked.

"I'm fine," I responded, wondering why my body decided to invent this weird malfunction at that moment.

"I think you need to see a doctor," he said. "I'm going to go get your husband."

My husband came and we started walking down some stairs in the movie theater to a doctor that apparently held his practice in the basement. I looked at my husband and asked, "Where is our son?"

"Oh, Christian Slater is babysitting for us," he said.

"Oh, good," I said as if this was perfectly normal. And then my dream ended.

When I told my husband my dream this morning he said, "Wow, Christian Slater is really nice. He's my new favorite celebrity."

I responded, "I know, right?"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dear Charles Dickens,

Please tell me why I love you so much? You torment me with your archaic language. You spew realism as if it’s going out of fashion. You break my heart over and over again and just when I think the world couldn’t possibly get any colder than you’ve made it, you save me from eight hundred pages of misery and give me twenty pages of pure, unfettered joy. Quick, hand me “Bleak House” I need to start the process all over again.

Love, Your Tortured Fan, Kasie

P.S. A fantasy writer should not enjoy your works so much. Please tell me what sort of magical concoction you used in the creation of them that might explain my admiration.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"Real World" Observations

My brother called me a recluse the other day and I said, "Am not," with an indignant pout. But I so am (before today I hadn't left the house since Friday. In my defense, the pink eye has taken over around here) In light of admitting this, I've decided to become proactive and force myself to "live" and "clean." (This way, I have more stuff to write about) Today, was a good start. I left my house AND did some laundry. Yay me! I actually got some Christmas shopping done too. Yay Old Navy! The following are a few observations I made from my trip to the "real world":

1. I've always wanted to be a biker. Not a motorcycle rider, but a bicycle rider. Today my desire was further confirmed when I saw a bicyclist in his spandex, wearing a helmet (of course) with a REAR VIEW MIRROR attached to it. Yes, it was so cool. I wanted it for my very own. The only problem with this goal of becoming a "biker"--I'm lazy. Don't get me wrong, I have great respect for those who work out. So much respect that I contribute money to my local gym every month to support the people who use it. But for now (forever) I will only stare at those herds of bikers with admiration and longing.

2. Since we are on the theme of physical activity, I also saw today, two women out speed walking. Not only were they speed walking in sync, but they wore matching black outfits and high, messy ponytails. They were fairly young too (not that I'm saying being older would change anything) This is not okay. If you want to go speed walking with your friend, please call her before you meet her and find out what she will be wearing. Yes, the person who doesn't work out (me) has rules for those who do.

My new goal is to make a couple of observations every week to prove that I have indeed ventured into the bleakness of the outer world. I know, you should be worried about me, it's scary out there.

Have you observed anything fun or funny this week?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Yes, I'm Selfish

After posting yesterday and then reading everyone's comments today (again) with a happy sigh, it suddenly hit me. I am so selfish. I didn't even ask any of you where you draw your inspiration from. I just wrote and basically said, look at me and my inspiration, I'm the greatest, me, me, me. Now, I normally don't mind it when things are all about me (what am I saying, I never mind it when things are all about me), but then I thought ... I wonder where they get their inspiration from. So my question to you, in case I haven't made it abundantly clear up to this point, is ... well ... where do you draw your inspiration for whatever your interest is, writing, photography, poetry, etc? What inspires you to do what you do?

By the way, in case you haven't heard (I know, you already have) Nathan Bransford is holding a super cool contest where you can submit the first paragraph of your WIP. The prizes are fun, so get over there and do it. His link is on my sidebar under 'agents.'

Sunday, December 7, 2008

In the Moment

Perhaps you've noted my new theme. I love Arizona. I will always love Arizona. Some of my very favorite people live there (and not all of them are fictional). I thought, though, since I am 33,000 words into my new book that I needed to display some of my inspiration (live in the moment).

The beautiful tree (adorning the top of my blog), General Sherman, resides in the gorgeous Sequoia National Park, which is the setting for my new book. This tree is the largest in the world, standing at about 275 feet tall. The base of It's trunk has an impressive circumference of 109 feet. It is truly an amazing sight.

Whereas Arizona is a love I discovered after starting my series, this park is something I have always loved. You see, I grew up (and still live) sandwiched between two wonders of nature--Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings. Both parks are about an hour from my house. It's hard not to be inspired when visiting these gorgeous landmarks.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Take Me Away

Paint fumes hung in the air. A constant pain pulsated behind my eyes. My neck ached. My temples throbbed. In the other room I heard my daughter coughing, but there was nowhere to go. The normal places of refuge (my mom’s house or my best friend’s place) were off limits because both my kids had pink eye, not just minor cases either, their eyes were blood red and oozing with goop.

I was trying to write, but my characters were trapped behind a layer of pain and they kept trying to hurt people in the story. My supposed “cabinet painting break” was going up in a migraine inducing cloud of fumes. I went downstairs to see how much longer he would be spraying and I came to a halt when I saw the black, industrial gas mask he was wearing. My jaw dropped. He was wearing a gas mask! And there we were breathing the poisonous air like suckers.

I whirled around and marched back upstairs, retrieved a suitcase, and packed some clothes for the night. Grabbing the port-a-crib and my kids on the way out, I checked into a hotel. My kids were excited. It was like a mini vacation. They watched television and even got to play in a hot tub. After several extra strength pain relievers, my characters finally didn’t want to kill each other anymore and I was in a much better mood too.

Apparently I was living in an alternate universe (I generally am) if I thought that a week without my kitchen was going to be a vacation. Oh well, it’s done now and I’m happy with the results.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

It's Too Early

Yesterday my husband, being afflicted with pink eye, asked me to sub his early morning bible study class. This class consists of about fourteen teenagers, all juniors and seniors, who get up by at least 6am every morning to make the class that starts at 6:30!!! I am obviously thoroughly impressed by any teenager who willingly wakes up earlier than s/he must. I could hardly drag myself out of bed when my alarm went off at 5:30. As I opened the garage and saw that it was still dark outside, I moaned. No one should have to get up before the sun does. In class I played a game with the kids that I called, "how many times would the teacher (me) yawn during the forty-five minute class." The guesses ranged from two to twenty-seven (no faith in me). The boy who guessed nine won. I am not a morning person. My husband does this every single morning though. I don't know if he gave me this "opportunity" to live a morning in his shoes so that it would make me appreciate him more, but if that was his goal, he accomplished it. My husband is awesome!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Answer

When I first realized I was going to be without my entire kitchen for one week (yes, you heard that right, ONE WEEK) I nearly had a panic attack. But as the cabinet painter started covering my oven and microwave it hit me with heart swelling happiness that I would not have to cook for an entire week. Hallelujah! No cooking equals more writing, more writing makes my heart sing with joy.

I didn't draw this, but this is about the extent of my drawing abilities. And you must imagine the big, red 'X' through it.





As for the second picture (from my last post), as individuals all of those children make my heart sing. Four of them are my own, the rest are my adorable nieces and nephews. BUT, as a collective group they are capable of mass destruction in less time than it takes for me to do .... well, just about anything. All eleven of them were at my house for Thanksgiving and the following picture shows just a portion of what they accomplished. I'm having a panic attack just thinking about it again. My house still hasn't recovered.




So, I guess, technically speaking, Natalie was right with her answer of "both." And since she said her answer was up for my interpretation as to what she meant by "both," that makes her even more right. :) But everyone else's guesses were pretty close too. So you are all winners. You win a nice big, "Good job! Thanks for playing. You guys are the greatest."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Game

Following are two pictures. One makes my heart sing, the other causes a near panic attack. Tell me which is which and why. I will give you the answer in picture form tomorrow.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Quote of the Week

"Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way." E.L. Doctorow

I'm not crazy, I just have voices in my head.

"Plot springs from character... I've always sort of believed that these people inside me- these characters- know who they are and what they're about and what happens, and they need me to help get it down on paper because they don't type." Anne Lamott

I honestly believe this. Sometimes I'll start a project with only a vague idea of a plot, but with my characters firmly in mind. I did this with my WIP. I just hoped that they would eventually tell me what was going on in their world because I was at a loss. Sure enough, over the weekend, my character told me what she needed to learn and how she was going to learn it. I felt like singing Hallelujah because at 20,000 words in, I was beginning to worry.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Australia



Perhaps I am a little biased (refer to my 'Super Heroes' post), but yesterday I saw the movie Australia, starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman, and I am in love. This is the best movie I have seen in a long time. It shot straight into my top five favorite movies of all time. Three hours have never passed by so quickly. So grab your husbands (because even though it's a romance, I promise you they will like it too) and go see this amazing, action packed, heart wrenching movie, you will not regret it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My True Hero

My last post on super heroes and this time of year make me think about my first hero—my dad. As a child he was larger than life to me, at 6’4” and over two hundred pounds, he really was larger than life. And I was always daddy’s little girl. I sat in his lap until I was fourteen. I could get nearly anything I wanted with a flash of my dimples. My father loved books and we (my brothers and sisters) would often pile in my parents’ queen sized (too small) bed while he would read to us C.S. Lewis or Tolkien.

In the pool he was the shark, we were the fish, and he would really bite us. In the house, he was the tiger we were the prey, and, yes, he would really bite us … but we always wanted to play.

When I was a teenager he was the protective grizzly bear, scaring nearly every boy I brought home. I’m sure he laughed about it when they left. It drove me crazy, but I always knew he cared.

When I became a mother he was the teddy bear, big and cuddly. When my kids were little they couldn’t wait to see him. They wanted to play shark in the pool and tiger in the house. For some reason they never got bit though. He’d gone soft. He was still protective though. One time I was going to take my two girls by myself and travel to visit my husband’s family in Utah, my father said, “No.” I told him, “I wasn’t really asking for your permission, dad.” He looked at me, then at my husband and said, “You aren’t going to let her go, are you?” My husband said, “She’s a big girl, dad, I have no control over what she does.” My dad laughed. I went. Even though I was all grown up I was still his little girl.

Two years ago my father passed away very unexpectedly at the age of 55. I miss him terribly. I will forever be grateful for the 29 years that I was blessed to know him in this life. I can’t wait to see him again. This time of year especially, I think about how grateful I am that I had such a loving father. He is my hero.

So make sure you take the time (the holiday season is always a good excuse) to tell your family that you love them. You can never say it too much.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Quote of the Week

An idea, like a ghost, must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself. --Charles Dickens

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My Super Heroes

I know this has nothing to do with writing, but in light of a recent comment left on my blog (located under the ‘Raw’ post in case you missed it) I feel the need to explain myself. Is it my fault that Wolverine is so hot? There is just something about a man that has to rip apart his own flesh in order to use his super power that gets to me. I mean, come on, the self sacrifice, the will power ... the biceps.





Now, honey, (I do consider all of you my honeys, but in this instance, I am referring to my husband) don't get me wrong. I'm hot for you too. And I’m not saying that your super power doesn’t come in handy. When we are boating and I need someone to shoot lasers out of his eyes at the threatening tubers, I'll call Cyclops. Oh, wait, just kidding, what I meant to say was that I'll call you. Yes, that is my awesome husband below, defending our boat from killer tubers.



Friday, November 21, 2008

Three Cheers For Rejection

A rejection letter went straight to my spam box yesterday. Apparently even my computer is starting to sort them for me. I figured it wasn’t a good sign so I just went ahead and deleted it without opening it. Did you all collectively gasp at that last sentence? I’m just kidding, of course. I would never deny myself the opportunity for pure torture. I read every last word. I’m glad I did too. It was the most personalized rejection to date. It felt especially gut wrenching, more so than the generic ones. Yay for rejection!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Raw

Okay, since I very much enjoyed both Natalie and Kiersten's posts, and since I can't very well revel in their bravery without presenting my own offering in return, I give you: Kasie without make-up. You might want to shield your eyes, it's pretty scary. No, but seriously, I am now 32 years old and I can say, I have never been happier with myself. I definitely wasn't happier when I was a super skinny teenager and yet still always worried about what everyone thought about me. I wasn't as happy in my child bearing years when my body was always somebody else's and up and down in weight and emotions as I went through seven very difficult pregnancies. Now, maybe my body isn't as tone and thin as it was in high school, and I have crows feet and dark circles around my eyes. But I have always loved my smile, which is a good thing because I love to smile.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Sister, The Rebel (part 2)

“We’re going to take some pictures of you doing crazy things in your town,” my sister informs me as we walk down the sidewalk.

“Like what?” I ask warily.

She looks around. Up a small hill, next to a building we see a rusty replica of a relic from the mining history of the town—a transport car, sitting on some tracks.

“Go sit in that,” she says, pointing to it.

“What? No,” I say, eyeing the busy street, which we were walking down—the main street of the small town.

“Just do it.” She gives me a shove.

I perch myself on the very end of the train car (as seen in the photo) and she takes a picture.

“I swear, Kasie, you are such a wimp. Let me show you how it’s done.” She drops her purse on the sidewalk and marches up the hill.

While the cars whiz by behind me, I take the shot. (make sure you click on it to get the close up, because her face is hilarious) I’m quickly realizing (actually I have always known it) that I have a healthy fear of getting in trouble. (My parents probably loved it when I was a teenager because I never wanted to do anything that I might have gotten yelled at for.)












The following are some other fun shots from the town:


























On our way home after the incredible day, the sun setting in my rear view mirror, I decide I need one last photo—a backlit cactus. I eye the hills that surround us on the desert highway. The first one I find, we both get out of the car and trudge up a hill. (Did I already mention my brown wedges and my aching blisters?)

“Not good enough,” I say, once we’re back in the car (after much complaining about my feet) as I study the shots in the viewfinder.

My sister sighs.

We drive further and I find the perfect one. Pulling over, our headlights shine onto a barbed wire fence. “Ah, man,” I say in disappointment.

“Give me the camera.” My sister holds her hand out. I place it in her upturned palm. She exits the car.

“Are you really going to do it?” I ask, opening my own door and following her.

“Do you want the shot or don’t you?”

“I don’t know if I want it that bad.”

She rolls her eyes. “Are you going to try to kill us again by pulling off the side of the road in front of a semi and next to a railing if we don’t get this shot?”

I consider this. “Possibly,” I decide.

With a quick look around she steps over the fence. Wow, she has long legs, I note mentally. She runs towards the cactus in the distance.

“Make sure you get it from all angles!” I yell after her from my safe place on the correct side of the fence. The side that I can’t get taken to jail for. I sigh happily as I watch her take the pictures.

As she runs back towards me and moves to step over the fence I call out “Wait!”

“What now?” she askes.

“I need a picture of you and your deviant acts,” I say, reaching for the camera.

I give you, my sister, the rebel and the shot she risked her freedom for:


Monday, November 17, 2008

Sum-hurry

Okay, my series summary, in a hurry, goes something like this (as promised):

What would you do if you moved into a new house and found out that your attic held the age old secrets of a fairytale world? Perhaps you wouldn't explore them if you knew that your interference could change endings … including your own. Or maybe you would.

OR the summary could read like this:

Once upon a new town, Hailey discovers the key to a whole new world. When she unlocks the mystery, everything falls apart. Can she put the pieces back together again … and how will she separate out the pieces of her own life in the process?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What?

My ten year old told me something that no writer ever wants to hear from her own offspring.  She said (and she was very serious), "Mom, I hate to read."

"WHAT??????"  I asked, very calmly (not really).  How could she not like to read?  Where had I failed her?  By the age of ten I had read every single book in my mother's library, devoured them, and searched for more. 

"I just don't.  I'm a sporty girl," she told me casually.  

It's true.  She plays every single sport that her school offers for her age group.  She recently finished volleyball and now basketball season is upon us.  In the spring she'll do track and all summer long she swims.  I am so very proud of her.  But isn't there room for reading?  I bring home the greatest books for her, she checks out others from the library, she just isn't interested in ever reading them.

I'll blame it on my husband, the jock. (Whoever thought the nerdy bookworm would marry the popular jock?)  Standing at 6'8", this man is one of the most coordinated people I know.  He played basketball in high school and college and still enjoys a good pick-up game.  And you should see him on a wake board. (actually I'll post a pic of him on a wakeboard)  So obviously his genes are stronger than mine.  How dare his coordination genes overpower my nerdy bookworm genes.  

Sigh.  I still have hope.  There are three other children.  My influence will not be overpowered.  :)     


Friday, November 14, 2008

Forgive me, I'm tired.

Okay, while I'm waiting on some incriminating evidence (you're not off the hook, Steph), I thought I'd share with you an emotional epiphany I had on Wednesday.  You see, even though I've loved to write for as long as I can remember, I'm fairly new to the novel writing arena.  The idea for my series came to me about four years ago and, although I piddled around with it for a while, I didn't sit down and get serious about it until January of '08.  Well, since January, in a whirlwind of obsessive behavior, I have completed my series. (Granted there is still a lot of editing to do, especially in book four).  Yes, that's right, on Wednesday I wrote the last word of book four.  (Thus succeeding in my singular goal of becoming the fastest typer in the universe.  I'm sure there was an easier way to accomplish this, but I couldn't think of it at the time)  How did I feel?  Scared and elated at the same time.  This has honestly been an amazing eleven months for me and I feel like my books are like my fifth child.  Really, my main character is like another daughter to me, that is how real she is.  I know a lot of you can relate.

Anyway, so I've been nervous to embark on a new conception (if you will).  I feared I wouldn't love it as much as my first book.  I feared I wouldn't love my characters as much as my first characters.  (I feared I had reached the pinnacle of my typing proficiency) But, I've had an idea brewing in my head for the last four months.  I had even written a page long summary of it, so that I wouldn't forget.  So, on Wednesday, to reward myself for finishing my series ... I wrote the first chapter of my new book.  (only a writer would consider that a reward).  And I haven't stopped writing since.  Today I reached 12,500 words.  I am in love with my new book.  It surprised me in a wonderful way.  Since I'm comparing this to having children, why stop with the analogy?  Why did I think that writing another book would make me love my first book less?  Why did I think that I didn't have enough love to share with another book?  I have enough love.  And I love my new book!!!  I'm so excited. (I challenge each and every one of you to a type off.  Warning, before you accept this challenge, you might want to take note that my entire four books consist of the sentence "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" over and over again.  You're having second thoughts, aren't you?) 

Yes, it's official, I'm weird.  You all knew it, now it's been firmly verified.  

Friday, November 7, 2008

Guess What? I'm smart and so are your other readers.

Every other Wednesday I attend a writer’s club.  I highly recommend writer’s clubs to all my fellow writers out there.  They are both helpful and entertaining.  Anyway, we critique one chapter, from three different authors, each time.  At the latest meeting my critique for a particular piece drew ooohs and awwws, I guess they thought it was good.  Since then my friends have told me I need to post the advice on my blog.  So here goes, pretty basic advice that we all need to remind ourselves of every now and again.  This is in the context of fantasy, but I believe it can apply across all genres.

 

"Trust in your world and trust that I will learn about your world as things come to pass.  Don’t feel like you have to tell me every single thing about it.  Part of the fun of being introduced to a new world is the ownership I (the reader) feel in it as I “discover” things about it on my own.  So, pretend as though everything in your world is completely normal then you will resist the urge to explain everything."

 

Same applies to characters.  Don’t tell me who they are, just let them be who they are.  It will be obvious that they are stubborn or flirty or quick witted by how they act.

 

I know you’ve heard it all before, but sometimes hearing it a different way is helpful. 

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Quote of the Week

I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter.  ~James Michener

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

America Rocks

I love the elections—Americans taking a stand for who or what they believe in.  Even when everything doesn’t turn out exactly as my heart wishes, I revel in the process.  I take pride in the knowledge that a country, so divided one night, can come together in acceptance and strength the following morning.  To think that often times such changes in power can only be had by wars or revolutions.  Our forefathers fought hard for the system of democracy we now enjoy and I thank them for it.  I have faith in our Constitution.  It has held strong for many years and I know it will continue to hold strong through all winds of change.  I am, indeed, proud to be an American.   

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I have a query for you ...

My stomach is in knots, the kind that creep up on you when you're trying not to think about them and tighten to painful.  Yes, you guessed it, I sent out a few queries over the weekend.  So this leads me to my query for you.  Email queries or snail mail, which do you prefer?  I like the ease of email queries, but they tend to make me obsess.  I can only check the physical mailbox once a day, the email box ... at least a million times.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Freeway Freak

The car was like a sauna, the heat so thick it pressed against me.  I wanted to push it away, but instead it filled my lungs as I took a deep breath and continued to heat me from the inside.  I cranked the a/c, which did little to relieve my discomfort because it started as hot wind blowing directly onto my face.  I shifted into gear and began to drive.  The steering wheel didn’t allow much contact without searing pain, so my fingertips became our navigator. 

 

I looked over at my sister, who had her mouth open and her tongue stuck out as though that would bring the relief she desired.  I tried it, just in case it was working.  It wasn’t.  We both laughed.

 

After a few minutes the a/c brought us salvation and we settled in for the ride.  This day we were to visit the town in which my books take place.  A one-hour car ride would take us to the high school.  I was ecstatic.

 

On the freeway, my hands now able to fully grip the steering wheel, I pulled into the fast lane.  Coming up quickly behind me, a large white van crowded against my bumper, too close for comfort.  I changed lanes to let it pass.  Instead of passing by, it stayed even with me.  Sensing the driver of the van trying to get my attention, I kept my focus straight in front of me, grateful for the visor that I had earlier moved to the side window to block the sun and that now provided a perfect block for the crazy man next to me.

 

Three possible explanations raced through my mind as to why this driver was behaving in such a manner.  One, road rage, for some reason he thought I cut him off and now he wanted to give me a piece of his mind (I tried to look as penitent as possible to diffuse his rage).  Two, freeway flirting, he was trying to pick up on me and thought somehow he could communicate his unwanted phone number through two rolled up windows (I moved my wedding ring laden hand higher on the steering wheel).  Or three, I was overreacting and he was just trying to drive. 

 

As I hoped for the third explanation, the van slowed down suddenly and moved behind me.  Now the likelihood of the first possibility (road rage) caused my heart to pick up speed.  Next he moved into the lane to our right.  My sister and I both looked over as the van inched its way forward.  If he wanted to yell at me, I decided to give him the opportunity so that he could drive on and leave us alone.

 

What came into view as our windows finally met, caused the tension in the car to melt into laughter.  A man, wearing a red and black devil mask, held up a rocker sign and nodded his head a few times before he sped away. Apparently the devil thrived in the Arizona heat.

 

“Awesome,” my sister said in a low voice.

 

“This is going to be a great day,” I added.

 

We laughed again, turned up the radio and sang our way to the high school.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Arizona here I come

I am so excited.  I get to go to Arizona in the morning.  My sister and I are making a road trip out of it.  I love road trips.  Especially ones that involve loud music, long stretches of scenic desert highway, and loads of talking.  I can't wait!  

Quote of the Week

"A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit."  Richard Bach

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Ranting Review

I saw the worst movie of my life last night -- "Nick and Norah's infinite playlist".  Now, I am usually a sucker for a teenaged drama/comedy/romance.  Especially one that is adapted from a book.  Ask my friends, I've probably seen every one that exists.  But, by the time this movie was over, I was ready for a shower.  It started right away with dirty mouths, not just cussing, but crude comments.  Then, the underage drinking began.  It was not only unexplained as to how they got alcohol at public night clubs, but was made to look easy and cool.  The culmination of the drinking came when a character threw up in a subway bathroom then reached her hand into the toilet, fished out her gum, and stuck it back in her mouth.  Yes, I almost threw up myself.  

The main characters had potential, I thought, for a sweet romance.  In fact, the buddy of Nick, gave him this big speech about how all girls wanted was to hold hands.  How physical stuff didn't matter if you just made them feel important.  Great message, I thought.  Well, apparently the writers just put that in for ... why did they put that in if they were going to turn around and proceed to have these two teenagers (who had just met that night mind you) get it on.  And it wasn't just implied.  They let us listen.  I was so embarrassed I plugged my ears.  Believe me when I say, I'm being kind.  There was so much more and this movie was rated PG 13. 

Am I being naive here?  Have I been out of the world so long that this has become the norm?  Seriously?  This is what our teenagers are watching?  Is there any hope for the future morality of the world with these kinds of examples being glorified on the big screen?  Believe me, I know all entertainment offered isn't a ray of sunshine.  But when something is rated PG 13, I at least expect to see something I would feel comfortable letting a 13 year old watch--this did not even come close to that definition.

I would like to make the argument for teenagers everywhere that they don't want to watch garbage any more than we do.  They like to leave a movie feeling good and uplifted,  just as much as we do.  They deserve good examples that reaffirm the good choices they are making in their own lives.  Examples that help them know that they are not alone in their desires to want to be good.   

 

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

In the Still of the Night

As a mother of four, and now a writer, I have spent many late nights awake while the rest of the house lay sleeping.  I will never forget one of those very nights when I was awake, rocking a little one.

 

Shadows darkened the corners and crept outward in an attempt to overtake the entire room.  The only sound to be heard was an occasional creaking as the walls settled in for the night.  The gentle back and forth motion of the gliding rocker was not only putting the baby back to sleep, but forcing my eyes to close as well. 


A single noise brought me back to my senses instantly.  A low moaning broke through the silence.  My heart raced and I looked around cautiously.  The baby became restless, perhaps responding to my sudden tension.  The moan continued, low and raspy, and I concluded the noise was coming from behind the couch in front of me.  This deduction did nothing to calm me.  Gripping my baby closer to my chest, I prepared to make a run for my husband who lay asleep in the back room unaware of my imminent death.


Just as I shifted my weight to the front of the chair, a robotic voice, sounding a lot like Winnie the Pooh, said, “Change my batteries.”  Resisting the urge to scream, I relaxed back into the chair and began a fit of hysterical laughter instead.  Not because I thought it was funny, but because that voice and command creeped me out even further.  I did not like toys in my house that demanded things of me.  It was too reminiscent of murderous dolls that I had seen in movies when I was a teenager. 


The next day the batteries in Winnie the Pooh came out for good.  I couldn’t risk him turning against me at a future date. 


Some of you may think I made this story up.  After all, I am a writer and I do love to make up stories.  But, this story is one hundred percent true.  Perhaps, when this doll was being designed, the makers didn’t take into account the possibility that a late night demand might nearly cause a poor woman a heart attack.


Have any of my fellow night owls had any nighttime scares?   

Monday, October 13, 2008

I love to edit

If I say it one hundred times, maybe it will eventually be true.  How many times can one book be edited?  Here is my dilemma, I love my series.  I especially love books two through four.  My problem lies in the first half of book one.  This is a major problem because this is the hook to the entire series.  If someone can't make it past the first part of book one, they will never get to the rest.  I think this is partially why I am putting so much pressure on myself to make it perfect.  I have done three major rewrites on the first fifty pages of my series. (not to mention all the minor ones I am constantly doing)  I still don't know if I'm satisfied.  Every time, I feel a little closer to where I want it to be.  At least I know I am in good company.  Ernest Hemingway said, "I rewrote the ending of 'Farewell to Arms' 39 times before I was satisfied."  So does that mean just 36 more edits to go? (maybe more, because I am no Ernest Hemingway)  I know that I'll know when it is right.  I have other areas of my book that I have hardly edited at all because they felt right from the  moment they were written.  Ahh, if only it was all that easy.  I must say, I have a new-found respect for writers.  Who knew that writers had to do so much hard work to make reading so easy?  I will never read a book the same way again.   

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Quote of the Week

Writing is a solitary occupation. Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of the writer. He must be alone, uninterrupted, and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking.

Savage? Not me.

Yesterday my two-year-old threw a hand towel in the toilet.  Today I fished it out.  How is that for savage?  Thank goodness we have three toilets in our house.  Tell me I'm not alone.  Have any of your passions/obsessions ever turned you savage?  How?  

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Perhaps that title should be my writing motto…but I’ve always been the fast and obsessive type.  J  Some weeks, when staying up way past my bedtime and letting my house go to shambles, I think to myself, I really need to exercise moderation.  But when you’re on a roll, how can you stop yourself?  I recently read a post from a fellow author’s (Angie Ledbetter) blog that spoke of searching for balance.  I need some of that.  Searching For Balance


 Some weeks I experience the opposite problem where I can’t drag a single new thought out of my head.  Those are the weeks when I relentlessly edit (because there is always editing to do).  But if my “writer’s block” persists for more than a week, I begin to panic.  I found an article on overcoming writer’s block that helped me a lot.  Ten Tips for Writer's Block    


So, Terri asked me how my writing was going this week (thanks for the interest, by the way) and to answer her question, in a very long winded way (I'm a writer, did anyone really expect me to just say, 'fine, thank you').  I’m in a fast and obsessive downward spiral.  The end is near.  I wrote about 10,000 words last week.  Balance, Kasie, balance.    

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Worst Mother in the History of Mothers

by, Kasie West

Now that’s a title to be proud of.  My seven-year-old daughter bestowed it upon me a couple of months ago when I wouldn’t give her what she wanted.  The exchange went something like this:

“Mom, can I have a brownie?” she asked with the look in her eye that told me she had already had several without asking.  It didn’t help her case that several bits of crumbled brownie clung to her lower lip.

“How many have you had?” I asked. 

The sweet smile, which she had plastered on her face in her attempt to con me, immediately turned into a scowl accompanied by an eye roll.

“No, you don’t need any more,” I assured her.

“Fine, then is it my turn on the computer?” she asked, pointing to her sister who, obviously hearing the exchange, yelled,

“I just got on!"

“Go set the timer and you can have a turn in ten minutes,” I said, in my best attempt at diplomacy.

That’s when the rage set in.  Her hands flew to her hips, her foot stomped angrily on the floor, and drawing on all the powers of indignation that a seven year old could possibly muster, she screamed, “You are the worst mother in the history of all mothers!"

Maybe I shouldn’t have been, but I was impressed.  In the entire history of mother’s, I was the worst?  I had never been given such an absolute title before.  I felt proud.  “Thank you,” I said sincerely.

That was the wrong response.  Her lips pursed, her nose wrinkled, her arms became stiff boards at her sides, ending in her tightly clenched fists.  “NO!” she wailed, before running up the stairs and shutting herself in her room.

Ever since that day, I have tried my hardest to live up to my title.  I wouldn’t want to let her down.  It’s worth it for those days when the Sunday School teacher or her Second Grade teacher tell me that she is one of the most well behaved children in class.  The worst mother in the history of all mothers must be doing something right.  And occasionally, when she offers me an unasked for hug or cuddles up next to me on the couch, I sigh happily.  Perhaps she hadn't really meant “in the entire history of mothers”.      

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Agent Blogs

To all you would be writers out there, I found my new favorite blog:  pubrants.blogspot.com  This agent, Kristin Nelson, is an amazing blogger with vast amounts of information for a newbie like me.  She claims she's not an author, but I think she needs to come out of the literary closet, because her blog is funny, well written, and keeps me going back for more.  I'm so glad agents, like her, take the time to give knowledge to peons, like myself.  Maybe with her help I can finally compose a query letter that will get me noticed.  Wish me luck.  As I reach 100,000 words in book four, I feel the end of my series drawing near (probably another 20,000 words or so)  It's almost time to send out my next round of queries.  Eeekk!  I'm so nervous.  

Monday, September 29, 2008

My Lost City

by, Kasie West

Things were going missing in our house, important things like Blue Tooth ear pieces (both of them), sunglasses, remote controls, money.  What was going on?  It was frustrating.  We blamed everything and everyone:  our poor organizational skills, our two-year-old son, the dog.  We looked everywhere:  under cushions, inside pockets, behind couches.  We offered bribes to whichever child could find them first—all to no avail.  What had become of our things?  Would it forever remain a mystery, like the case of the one missing sock or the city of Atlantis?  When I was ready to give up all hope, just as I had in the previously mentioned mysteries, the case was solved. 


It was a normal summer day in Clovis, hot beyond comprehension.  I was in the car.  The sun was blinding as it radiated off of everything around me, the dashboard, the windshield, the neighboring car’s side mirror.  I squinted, in need of relief.  I reached over to the passenger seat where my oversized purse rested.  I had never been a “big purse” girl before.  But I was visiting New York, it was red, a gold emblem that said Dolce & Gabbana adorned the front, I thought I was cool.  I forked over the thirty dollars to the street vendor and began totting around my larger than necessary purse.  Now, inside my car, in the bright sun, I just needed my sunglasses that resided somewhere inside the ginormous sea. 


I blindly felt through the contents as I continued to watch the road.  Eventually my hand felt my glasses, but they were trapped behind a thin layer of material.  I couldn’t free them.  When I finally arrived home, eyes watering from lack of proper protection from the unrelenting sun, I pulled my purse onto my lap.  Once again I found my sunglasses, but now I could see that they were behind the lining of my purse, stuck.  I was confused.  How did they get in there?  I searched in vain for a way in.


Eventually, I unzipped the little side pocket and found the hole that had been eating my stuff.  I pulled things through it one by one, my sunglasses, a box of tic tacs, the ear pieces (both of them), money, pens (ten pens to be exact), the only thing I didn’t find was the T.V. remote, oh, and the city of Atlantis (it wouldn’t have surprised me if I had).


I was ecstatic.  The mystery was solved.  No longer could I blame my sub par organization, no longer would our two year old son get the suspicious looks, and no more would the poor, innocent dog be thought ill of.  I had found my lost city of junk inside the vast depths of my sea.


Have I since gotten rid of my purse that is bigger than the ocean?  Did I mention it says Dolce & Gabbana on the front?  I still tote around my fake designer, but now when my husband asks, “Hey, honey have you seen my missing sock?”  I say, “Have you checked my purse?”  

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Quote of the Week

"The great thing about revision is that it's your opportunity to fake being brilliant." 

-Will Shetterly


Editing

The quote of the week is to kick off my first day of really ripping into book three.  It has a few sections that I’ve been avoiding and I know it’s time to give them some love.  I constantly have to remind myself that editing is where I get to make myself look good because I would much rather be writing than editing.  Writing is fun, new, and exciting.  Editing is torturous, painful, and slow.  It is always worth it in the end, though.  


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How to become the laziest person on earth in seven days (or less)

by, Kasie West

Day one:  Practice the art of asking others to do what you can easily do yourself.  For example, if you are sitting on the couch and you would like a drink and someone else is anywhere in the vicinity, see if you can get said other to get you said drink.  Try to look busy.  This normally helps.  If it’s not too much effort, hold a magazine and pretend to read.  Or intently stare at the television as though you are learning something of great value.  If no one else is in the house, refer to day six for your solution.

Day two:  Do not do things that, if left undone, will eventually be taken care of by “fairies”.  For example, do not waste your time and energy on dishes.  When the sink gets full and you have run out of clean dishes, improvise.  Be creative.  A pan can double as a cereal bowl, a ladle as a spoon.  Eventually the “Dish Fairy” will come and you will have clean dishes again.  You will be grateful you held out.

Day three:  Do you make your bed every day?  Stop that, it is a pointless chore due to the fact that in less than twelve hours (or maybe closer to nine, depending on how successful you are in the art of laziness) it will be slept in again.

Day four:  There is no need to fold clothes and put them away.  Keep them in the dryer.  Eventually, as you remove the items one by one to wear them, the dryer will be empty and ready for another load.  Make sure you smell the clothes that have been sitting in the washer.  They might need to be run one more time to remove the mildew (if that’s too much work, the heat of the dryer and a nice dryer sheet might take away the stench).

Day five:  Have you been staying awake all day like a sucker?  Midday naps are a perfect cure for that after lunch burst of energy.  Eventually your body will get used to this routine and will no longer try to encourage you to be active.

Day six:  Eating is a key factor in keeping up on laziness.  It takes a lot of energy to be lazy.  Make sure you are feeding your habit properly.  If you are forced to get up and get your food or drink yourself, better double up on whatever snack you are retrieving.  Think of all those calories you burned walking to the kitchen.   

Day seven:  Rest.  It has been a long, hard week of being lazy.  Take a break.  You deserve it.

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Although I kid and have perhaps portrayed some of my habits in their most extreme form, I oftentimes feel like one of the laziest people on earth.  Most days are spent behind my laptop in my big comfy armchair, wondering when the fairies are going to come and take care of my chores because my imagination and me are too busy writing.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Arizona

Many of you have asked why the template for my blog is Arizona scenery.  After all, I am a California girl, born and raised.  Okay, actually nobody asked about the template.  Why don't you people ask about my template??  Sorry, I'm known to whine on occasion.  Well, since I have now forced you to ask yourself, I will now proceed to tell you.  This blog is a tribute to my books and my books, well part of my books, take place in the coolest little town in Arizona.  Before I started writing my first book I had never even been to Arizona (unless you count the little corner you have to drive through on the way to Utah).  So, I did a lot of internet research, viewed a lot of pics and started writing.  Since writing, I went to visit and let me tell you that pictures don't do Arizona justice.  In my personal, completely unbiased, opinion, Arizona is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been in my life.  Sure, I've never been anywhere before but...no, I'm just kidding, I've been lots of places and the landscape in Arizona is amazing.  Have you ever seen a cactus before?  How about hundreds of them stretched out for miles along red, rocky hills?  Blue skies, only interrupted by an occasional cloud.  And then, during the right season, when the clouds do decide to roll in, they assist in creating the most amazing sunsets in the world.  Sunsets where the whole sky is on fire.  My good friend, Nicki, sent me a picture of an Arizona sunset and I'm going to add it to my slideshow so that you can see what I'm talking about.  So, for those of you who asked (none of you) about my template, that explains it.  

Quote of the week

 "You can't wait for inspiration.  You have to go after it with a club."  -Jack London


Friday, September 12, 2008

Phases of the Moon

You may have noticed that I have a gadget that depicts the phases of the moon on my blog.  I love the moon.  I love when it’s a sliver in the sky, just a hint of light peeking out from behind shadows, but I especially love when it is full and bright.  I was thinking this morning, as I noticed that the moon was climbing towards full again, that if I had not had that gadget on my blog, I wouldn’t have known.  Every twenty-seven days a full moon lights up the sky and even after admitting how much I love it, I can’t remember the last time I took the time to notice it.  Tonight, I'm going to go outside and look at the full moon.  I'm going to notice the way that its increased brightness lightens the dark shadows of the night.  I'm going to notice the way its glow makes its edges a little fuzzy.  I'm going to be in awe, once again, at one of the miracles of nature.  

What else am I not taking the time to notice?  What else do I wish I had a little icon on my blog for?  My oldest daughter turned ten last month.  If she were depicted as an icon on my blog, she would be shown as half full.  Half full?  What have I missed?  What have I not taken the time to notice?  I think back to when she was just a little light peeking out from behind my shadow.  Now she’s becoming brighter as she climbs towards full.  Have I appreciated each step along the way?  Unlike with the moon, if I miss one of her phases, I don’t get another chance to view it again. 

So, to my four little moons in their various stages, I’d like to say, that I will pause more each day to notice your phase, to appreciate your beauty, to bask in your light.  I know I'm going to be in awe, once again, of your miraculous natures. 

Friday, September 5, 2008

My Series

Okay, so maybe I should actually write a little about the series I'm working on.  It's a young adult fantasy series that will consist of four books and possibly a prequel. Three of the four are completed and in the revising phase, which process, in my opinion, is harder than actually writing the books.  Why?  Because not only do you have to pick apart every aspect of your book, but as you are studying each individual sentence you start to wonder if your book is any good.  Then you have to quickly remind yourself that a book doesn't consist of one sentence and move on to the next sentence where you will have to remind yourself again.  On top of that, you have to read your book over and over and over....and over again.  I have probably read my first book fifty times (thank goodness I love it) and even though I'm prone to exaggeration, I am not exaggerating.  Anyway, I don't want to say too much about the plot of my books because I am in the process of trying to get them published.  Let me give a very brief synopsis, however, with the qualifier that this is, indeed, very brief and doesn't even begin to explain the story.  

A modern day girl finds herself in a distant fairytale world where she must piece together the familiar stories of her childhood in order to get home.  She soon discovers that the stories she had heard her whole life, played out a little differently when they were real people and real places.

I know it's vague and it doesn't say a whole lot, but what can I do?  Hopefully, very soon, you won't have to read a two sentence synopsis, but will actually be able to read my book(s).