Friday, November 28, 2008
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
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
Sunday, November 23, 2008
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
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
“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
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
Friday, November 14, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Now, it may seem as though up to this point my sister was merely along for the ride, observing her big sis on another crazy adventure. But, don’t let her fool you. Just because she looks sweet and innocent, and isn’t obsessed with teenagers, doesn’t mean she doesn’t have her own crazy quirks. And one of them is my books. She is in love with them (which, of course, makes me love her all the more). She was my first reader (along with my other sister) and thus my first fan. She holds the title high and proud, fulfilling her sisterly/fan duties by calling me every day and begging me for more of my book to read. Anyway, there is a point in telling you this (besides self-indulgent bragging) and here it is, the story that illustrates her obsession:
“What did I tell you, creepy, huh?” I said as we stared at the back of a stringy-haired mannequin, which appeared faceless from every angle.
My sister looked down at the thigh-high picket fence that formed our only barrier to the life-sized scene.
“What are you thinking about?” I asked warily.
“I could totally climb this. It wouldn’t even be hard,” she said, placing her hands on top of the fence and testing its strength. “We have to make sure she has a face.”
“Hailey did it,” she huffed.
“Stephanie, no,” I said as though talking to a child or a small dog who was trying to pee on the carpet.
“Oh, come on, I won’t get caught. Hailey did it,” she said again as if saying it a second time would make me see the logic in the completely irrelevant argument she was attempting to make.
“Steph, Hailey is not real,” I felt the need to point out. (Hailey is the main character in my books and I often have to say this same line to myself, so I thought she might need to hear it as well.)
“I know,” she said with an impatient sigh, “but wouldn’t it be fun to reenact the scene, me playing the role of Hailey.” She had a twinkle in her eye, indicating she was beyond serious.
“No,” I said firmly. I already felt like enough of a rebel because my really cute, but uncomfortable, wedges were tucked inside my purse due to a few large blisters that had formed on my toes. I was walking around a public establishment barefoot! Surely, had I been discovered, they would’ve yelled at me.
My attempts to dissuade her weren’t working and she, checking to see if the coast was clear, looked around. So did I, in desperation. I suddenly felt like a little dog about to pee on the carpet.
“Look,” I called out in relief, “a security camera.” I nodded my head towards my saving grace that was mounted high on the wall to our left.
She crinkled her nose. “You’re no fun.”
I took a deep breath of relief and led her away from the temptation.
(Oh, just wait there is more deviance, much more, with pics to prove it. Speaking of, Jenny, will you email me those pics?)
Monday, November 10, 2008
“There’s another one!” I screamed, the car veering slightly as the steering wheel moved with my lurching motion.
“And?” my sister asked. I couldn’t see the eye roll, but I could hear it in her voice. “What exactly do you want to do? Follow her?”
“Kind of,” I answered. Was there something wrong with that?
“She's probably just going home. Are you going to sit in her driveway and stare at her house?”
“Fine,” I sighed, “let’s get something to eat and then we’ll go to the museum.”
We pulled into the parking lot at Taco Bell and, proving right away that we weren’t from around them parts, yanked on the locked door at the front of the building. It rattled loudly, causing several heads inside to turn our way.
“Okay, we’re huge dorks,” I said, as we walked around to the open side door.
Once inside I came to an instant halt and stood in awe struck wonder. One entire corner was teeming with teenagers. I’d struck gold. There was exactly one empty table in the midst of the group.
My sister, obviously seeing me eyeing it, or perhaps noticing the way I anxiously rocked back and forth as we stood in line, said, “Go sit down and save it. I’ll order your food.”
“Thank you,” I said, nearly kissing her. I practically tripped over myself on my way to the table and sat down.
After our food was long eaten, I continued to sit, listening to them chatter happily around me.
“They think you are really crazy, Kasie,” my sister informed me.
“Because I’m staring?” (I totally was.)
“No, because first we were at their school and now we’re sitting here in complete silence. That’s weird.” She slurped the remaining bits of drink from her soda.
“Well, they probably think we’re moving to (insert name of the town),” I said, apparently loudly because the mohawked boy at the table next to me whipped his head around at the mention of his town’s name. We met eyes and stared at each other for a good ten seconds, me with a cheesy grin on my face, him with a skeptical glare.
He looked away first, and me and my sister laughed.
“Great, now you really are a creep,” she said.
It was in that moment that I realized that in the future, once my books are published, that if these same kids started stalking me, I would have no reason to complain. I decided that the teenager obsessed author, needed to leave the poor teenagers alone.
Now what place could guarantee to be void of anybody under the age of fifty? You guessed it, the museum. So that was where we went. (Stay tuned, because this was where my previously logical and level-headed sister, turned deviant.)
Friday, November 7, 2008
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
I tried not to follow too close or stare too long. I didn’t want to appear creepy (my sister says I failed). I couldn’t help it. I was giddy. Teenagers everywhere. My teenagers. They walked around my high school, ate at my cafeteria, sat at my tables. (Okay, perhaps I’m getting a little possessive. Just because I write about something, doesn’t mean I then own it … wait, does it?) It all felt like a part of me. The place and people had spent so much time in my mind and flowing through my fingers onto the page that we were one (sure, the fact that they were unaware of our “oneness” may have contributed to the “creepy” vibe I was sending off, but whatever). I loved them all.
After an hour long, self-guided tour, (it’s amazing what doors a visitor’s badge can unlock for you—absolutely none—I take that back, one door was unlocked for us, literally, the gym door.) we settled onto a bench at a plastic-coated-to-red, metal table in front of the cafeteria. I waited anxiously for the bell, signaling the end of school, to sound. It came and the kids poured out of buildings, across a small bridge, and surrounded us. I was in heaven. Could life get any better?
And then one approached.
“Uh, you aren’t who normally sits here,” he said and began to list off the group of boys whose seats we had stolen. “And I normally sit right here,” he finished, pointing to the empty bench across the table from me.
“Then have a seat,” I told him. Did my voice sound unnaturally high, I wondered.
He lowered himself awkwardly and rested his hands on the table. I was beginning to feel that perhaps my creepiness was becoming obvious. But he was talking to me. I couldn’t let him leave.
“Aren’t you hot?” my sister asked him. We had already noticed that most of the kids donned sweatshirts. It wouldn’t have seemed odd anywhere else, it was October after all, but we were in Arizona, sweating. (Refer to my ‘Freeway Freak’ post for a description of just how hot it was).
“This is nothing,” he informed us. “Besides, it was cold this morning.” (seventy-five degrees)
He asked us what we were doing and we told him we were checking out his town and school. He went on to inform us of how much he liked both. He didn’t have to convince me, my love of the school and town bordered on obsession. (Okay, fine, I’m beyond obsessed)
One of his friends approached cautiously. The first boy held out his hand for a shake, or perhaps a high five, the second, stared at the offering, unmoving.
“Don’t leave him hanging,” I said in my dorky, trying to sound cool, but not even coming close, way.
The kid slowly turned his gaze from the expectantly raised hand, to me. That was my cue. I stood.
“Nice to talk to you,” I said, dragging my sister away. Back to stalking from a distance…I was better at that.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
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.