Thursday, February 26, 2009

Everyone Needs A Simon

It's no secret that I'm a huge American Idol fan. And perhaps I've mentioned before that I have a slight crush on Simon. As I was watching last night, I realized that when Simon compliments a contestant, they are the most flattered. So why is this? Well, I think it's because even though Simon is heartless at times, they know that he's honest. And if they listen to him, they can improve.

Relating this to writing, I'm grateful for my Simons--the people who will honestly (hopefully not brutally however) tell me exactly what didn't work in my story. And when I listen, it really does make my story better. I think my Simons out there know who they are and that appreciate them. I also love my Paulas. Because even if my chapter stunk, I really do want to know that my MC's outfit was cute. In other words, I love to hear a few positive things mixed in. It helps me to know that I'm not a complete failure. Plus, I need the motivation so that I'll keep writing. So, what I'm trying to say is, a varied panel of judges on my books have really helped me. (Plus I wanted a good excuse to put a montage of Simon on my blog).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Query help

Dear Agent:

Have you ever wanted to read the world’s most awesome book? Well hold on to your seat because now you can. This book is “Enchanted” meets “Star Wars” meets “Harry Potter” meets “Narnia” meets “Lord of the Rings” meets “Princess Diaries” meets “Twilight” meets “Shrek.” I know, sounds atrociously awesome, right? It is. But before I tell you about the book, let me tell you about me.

I’m a stay at home mom who’s done everything cool that you can ever think of and has decided to take her coolness and transfer it into a book. I graduated from college, but my degree has nothing to do with writing. I like food, especially chocolate. I also like the ocean. One day, I’m going to live by the ocean. After I get this book published, that is, because then I’ll be super rich. And if you want to be rich too, you should really sign me.

I have four kids who keep me super busy. But I’m also very good at ignoring them so that I can write. I think that makes me a multi-tasker. Or a neglector of all things non-writing related. Either one makes for a good client.

My book is about a seventeen year old girl who gets taken into another land and has to figure out how to get back. Now if you have read all the books/movies I mentioned above then you will have an even better understanding of my book. If you haven’t and want to save some time then just read my book because it has all the best elements from each, making it the pinnacle of awesomeness. Well, I’m certain I’ll be hearing from you soon because you would be crazy to pass up this opportunity.

Kasie West

I don't understand why I'm not getting any requests from this query. Any ideas? (If you want real query advice, visit Nathan Bransford's site, he's super helpful)

Monday, February 23, 2009

And the Oscar goes to....

Okay, I'm not saying I was disappointed with last night's show. I'm not saying there was a certain movie that was neglected in every single category. A certain movie that I saw three times in the theater and am counting down 'til March 3rd when it comes out on DVD so that I can obsessively watch my favorite parts over and over again. No, I'm not saying that at all. I'm just saying I thought I'd give out a few of my own awards. So here they are:

*Best romantic movie in the entire universe: Australia

*Best actor who can also sing and dance without coming off as cheesy: Hugh Jackman

*Best intense looks during fake horseriding scenes (what? It should totally be a category): Hugh Jackman

*Best Australian accent (ok, it's his real accent, but, sigh, it's so dreamy): Hugh Jackman

*Best bucket of water pouring: Hugh Jackman

*Best biceps: Hugh Jackman

Anyway, you get the picture. I had to do it. After all my bragging about Australia and Wolverine, you all know I was in heaven last night. I mean, first with the oscars and then the Barbara Walters special. Everything was coming up Hugh Jackman last night .... well, accept the awards themselves. Oh well, my awards are just as honorable, aren't they? So there you go, Hugh (yes, we're on a first name basis) I'm sure you don't need another award in your entire life after these.

P.S. There are no trophies that go along with these awards. Just the satisfaction of knowing you won them. And by the way, only one person

Friday, February 20, 2009

Confessions of a Shopaholic

I love seeing movies that are based on books. Because let's face it, if you're a writer, that is like the ultimate dream-- to see the characters you've only ever seen in your head, played out on the big screen. So, tonight I saw "Confessions of a Shopaholic" based on the novel of the same name by Sophie Kinsella. And I must say I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was cute, clever, and clean. And oh so funny. Wasn't a huge fan of Hugh Dancy before this, but his adorable British accent, and charming personality won me over. By the end of the movie I was thinking, yeah, he's pretty hot. So, anyway, if you want to be entertained and not have to worry about shielding your eyes in discomfort (like I had to do at a movie last week) then this is a must see.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

You owe me fifty bucks

This is my daughter's "go to" phrase these days for anything that goes wrong in her life. The other night we told her she could watch Harry Potter. She put the movie in, but the DVD player didn't work. What did she say? You guessed it, "You owe me fifty bucks." Why? I have no idea. We had no previous wager on the DVD player's workability. She didn't say, "Mom, do you want to make a bet that the DVD player doesn't work?" All she asked was to watch a movie.

So I'm thinking that perhaps she is billing me for her time. The DVD player disaster was quite obviously my fault, it took ten minutes of her life, I therefore owe her fifty dollars. It makes perfect sense.

Let's look at my stats. I've been writing pretty solidly for a year now. I'll just say around 300 days (because I'm sure I've missed a few). I probably write about 5 hours a day (okay, more like 8, but I don't want to look like an obsessive freak by admitting that). So that makes 1,500 hours. Alright, that's it, someone owes me fifty bucks.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I'm a huge wimp

Yes, it's true. I like to keep scary news to myself. For example like when I get pregnant (this is not an announcement, just an example, I am not pregnant), I don't like to share until I'm well into my second trimester. Why? Because half my pregnancies end in miscarriage and as much as I love telling people good news, I hate telling people bad news. But, in my attempt to put myself out there, I will say, that, yes, one of my books is under agent review. I'm crossing my fingers. I'm holding my breath (but only for short amounts of time because, well, because I need air). I'm expecting the worst and hoping for the best. Now, if in four weeks I have to share bad news with you, I will be sad, you might be sad, and we can all collectively pick up the pieces of my shattered life and move forward. LOL Now, commence to shower praises upon me so that my head gets nice and big and I don't lose all my confidence in four weeks if I'm faced with my own personal tragedy.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Rarity

Finding my husband and I in the same picture together is a nearly impossible task. Usually one of us is behind the camera. When the rare event occurs, I am always pleasantly surprised. My father-in-law sent this to me, a shot he captured over Christmas. I was so happy that I felt the need to post it.

One of my hobbies is photography. If one were to flip through the scrapbooks, which depict the last ten years of our life, my face rarely makes an appearance. (not that I'm complaining, I prefer to be behind the camera. My kids are way cuter.) What about you? Do you find you're in front of the camera more or behind it?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I finished my book Captivated over the weekend and am now setting it aside for a week before I read through it and start on edits and add some final touches.  I changed the background on my blog to celebrate my little flower fairy.  Finishing a book is definitely a bitter sweet feeling.  I always miss my characters when I'm done writing them.  And for the first time in a long time, I don't have a project to jump right into.  So it may be time for a little break.  (we'll see how long that lasts.)  

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Family Blog Has Arrived

So, I know a lot of you "lurkers" out there follow my blog to get a glimpse of the fam.  And I've been promising for a while to start a family blog so I could stop boring you all with my quirks and crazy writer talk.  Well, Jared finally did it.  He started the blog.  Now, I know he's twice as funny and five times as good looking, but don't completely abandon me for him.  If you're interested in getting family updates though (Mother West, I know you'll be happy) go to:  (you might want to push mute before you head over--Jared's choice in music is ... uh ... interesting)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Why I should stop going to the gym.

Okay, so maybe I'm just looking for excuses. Maybe I'm sabotaging myself. But, I believe that working out is actually doing me more harm then good. Let me explain before you lecture me. You see, this last year I lost thirty pounds by changing my diet, eating smaller portion sizes, and writing like a madwoman (thus resisting the urge to snack). So, I thought to myself, self, it is time to get back to the gym and tone up. This last week I went three times. I know, you're super proud of me, right? Seriously, I was pretty proud myself because let's face it that is more times than I worked out in the entire year of 2008.

Well, I noticed a horrible attitude I have adopted as a result of working out. And that attitude is that since I worked out, and the stair stepper told me I burned a whopping 200 calories, I could now treat myself to that 900 calorie vanilla ice cream twister with oreo mix ins. Hmmm. It was so good. And I definitely deserved the half a bag of mini candy bars I consumed the next day, right? Oh, my goodness, if I keep working out, I fear I might gain all my weight back. Sigh. I guess I'll just stay home and write. Or perhaps....maybe.....I don't know.....I could work on exercising a little self control. Any advice? Do you find that working out helps you justify extra snacking??

Disclaimer: Working out has in fact been proven in who knows how many studies to be a benefit to your health and longevity. Please do not follow any of my advice. Please do not take me seriously at any time. Please do not eat oreo twisters while working out. Do not tell your doctor and/or personal trainer that I told you to stop working out.  And definitely do not attempt to eat half a bag of mini candy bars while writing a fight scene in your MS.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Do you like to flush money down the toilet? I know I do.

"Um, Kasie," he said, looking at his hands for a moment before meeting my eyes again. The nervousness was apparent on his face.

"Yes?" I asked warily, not wanting to hear the dire verdict.

"Looks like you're going to need two new toilets. I can't seem to get whatever is stuck in the elbow out."

I looked past him to the toilet that was off its bolts and lying on its side in the middle of the bathroom. "You're kidding, right?"

"I'm afraid not. I wish I was." He proceeded to demonstrate by winding a toilet snake up through the hole. It got stuck halfway. "What did he flush down there anyway?" he asked, looking at my two-year-old son who I held in my arms.

"Toilet!" my son yelled out happily. For someone so adorably cute he sure could get into a lot of trouble.

"I have no idea."

That night, my husband and I stood in an aisle at Lowe's trying to decide on which toilets to pick. 'Just don't go with a cheap one,' the handyman's words rang through my head. 'Or it will just happen again.'

"Honey, this one claims we can flush an entire bucket of golf balls down it without it getting clogged." I said as my children whizzed past me, screaming.

"Golf balls are round," he responded with a sigh. "Did you know toilets were so expensive?"

"Yes, I buy them often."

After settling on one of the many that claimed to be "virtually clog free" we had them installed the next day. As I stood talking to the handyman he said, "You should get toilet locks so that your son doesn't do this again."

"Yeah, I know, I'm already planning on it."

Right at that moment we heard a giggle followed by the noise of a flushing toilet. I took off running towards the bathroom, the handyman at my heels.

"Toilet," my son said with a laugh when we arrived in the bathroom. A whole roll of toilet paper lay soaking in the toilet.

"Man, he's fast," the handyman said.

"I know. I know."

Monday, February 2, 2009


Remember that goal I made on New Year's Eve about my resolutions for the year of 2009? I know, how can you forget, right? Well, I went to the gym today so I can officially check number (uh, I don't remember what number it was and I'm too lazy to look [hello, I went to the gym today, I'm exhausted]) off my list. Wahoo! I'm doing great.

Have you ever noticed that when you stop going to the gym for a period of time that you can't lift as much weight as you used to? Well, I noticed that today. It's frustrating to go backwards. I think the same applies to writing (of course I would relate it) if I don't do at least a little every day then I have to recondition my brain. Fortunately, I'm much better at writing every day than I am at going to the gym.