Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hey Sister Soul

Happy Halloween Everyone!  Today on My Pet Blog, the spotlight is on author Bonnie Rae.  If you haven't been by her blog, you should check it out.  I always enjoy her posts and whenever she features music, I always end up needing to download more MP3s (not that I'm complaining. I love finding new music).  And what's even better than that is that her second novel, Nether Soul, was released yesterday.

Nether World was the last place Ava Walker pictured spending the rest of her life, but after her mother’s murder, she had no choice. In order to save her little sister, Ava made a deal with the Devil, an unbreakable vow to live amongst the darkness and demons in a city of steel and fire. She's lost everything. Her mother is gone, her sister and best friend are on the run, and Kaine, the fallen angel who stole her heart, was incinerated right before her eyes.

Life couldn’t get any worse.

But she underestimates Lucifer. He goes back on his word and asks Ava to do the unthinkable: commit herself to his service and be reborn as one of the very creatures she was destined to fight. If she refuses, those dearest to her heart will be sealed with a deadly fate. If she accepts, mankind doesn’t stand a chance.
War is coming, and Ava must make a choice: die or become Death...

Nether Soul is the sequel to Nether Bound, Bonnie Rae's first book...

Both are available now  for download from Amazon (go check them out now!).  Bonnie's starting the third and final book in the series tomorrow as her NaNoWriMo project (her user name is Bonnie Rae. Add her to your buddy list today!).  You can also find Bonnie on Twitter at @BRLouwerens.

Congratulations, Bonnie, and best of luck to you!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

So The Drama (A Tuesday Teaser)

Tuesdays during the month of October have been reserved for the sharing of excerpts from my (maybe one day but I wouldn't count on it) soon-to-be published novel, Effigy.  But today I'm doing something a little different.  Don't get too excited— I'm still posting an excerpt.  It's just not going to be from Effigy.

Instead it's from Lineage, the second part of Second Nature.  It's also known as "My Craptastic NaNoWriMo Project from Last Year."  You might think maybe I'm being a little too hard on myself with that whole "craptastic" thing but here's the thing... I'm not.  I read the whole thing yesterday for the first time since I wrote it last year and it's bad.  Very bad.  Very, very bad.  Most of it will be headed for the shredder.

But there were two scenes that I intend to keep and one of these is the one I'm going to share with you today.  In one of the previous Tuesday Teasers, you read about Haleine and Dana, the two main characters in Effigy. You can read about their first kiss HERE.  They're not the main characters of Second Nature but they're still around and in Lineage, they have this scene where their entire tumultuous relationship comes to a head.

As always, I hope you enjoy it.  And thank you, all of you, for sticking with me even though I continue to do things like this.  It's the last one for a while though.  I promise...


“What business have you here?” Haleine demanded once she found a voice.

Dana stepped into the house.  “They told me you were dead,” he said.  “I came to—”

“You came to what?” she said.  “To mourn me?”

“I mourned you already,” he said, taking a step closer to her.  “I came to see if they had spoken true.  I came to see if you were, in fact, dead.”

“I do not know what I am.”

He took another step toward her.  “But you are not dead.”

“If you say.”

Another step.  “Haleine—”

“Don’t,” she said.

He stopped.  “Don’t?”

“Don’t say my name like that,” she said.  “Like you—”


“Like you love me.”

"But I do."

She shook her head.  “You are incapable of that.”

“I’ve given you no reason to think otherwise, I know,” Dana said.

“Then we are in agreement,” she said, “and now you can be on your way.”

“Haleine, you have to give me—”

“There is nothing I have to give you,” she said.  “Nor is there anything I will give you.  You think I don’t know what it is that brings you here?  You think I don’t know what it is you want?”

"Forgiveness," Dana said.

She knew she lacked the strength to stand.  She lacked the strength to do anything more than sit but still she wanted to attack him.  She wanted to throw herself at him.  She wanted to hit him, beat her fists against his chest until he crumbled beneath her fury.  She wanted to make him bleed for having the audacity to even utter such a request in her hearing.  She placed her palms on the table and used it to push herself up.  She slid her hands across the rough surface and gripped the table’s edges.

“You did not come here for forgiveness,” she said, turning her head to look at him.  “Do not try and tell me otherwise.”

“Then why do you suppose I am here, Haleine?” he asked.  “If not for you.”

She turned her body next, her left hand staying flush with the tabletop.

“No, I know you are here for me,” she said.  “But you are not here for my forgiveness.”

She shoved off the table.  She couldn’t manage a single step before she fell.  He came forward and caught her.  His arms went around her and pulled her close.  As she fell into him, she hit him.  She turned her hands to fists and beat against his chest, his face, any part she could reach.  He didn’t stop her.  He didn’t protest.  He just held her until her arms went slack.  Then he moved her back to the chair and helped her to sit down again.  When she was seated, he knelt down in front of her and placed his hand on her cheek.

She put her hand on his chest and tried to shove him away from her.  She found she lacked the strength to move him.  She grabbed a fistful of his tunic but looked away from him.

“You listen to what I have to say,” she said.  “You can’t have me.  Not for your damned war nor for anything else.  To you, to your goddess, I am dead and no amount of begging on your part will change that.”

Dana let his hand drop and she released her hold on him.  She placed her hands once again on the edges of the table, now more than ever holding on for dear life.  From the corner of her eye, she saw his jaw slacken and his mouth drop open slightly.  He covered his mouth with the hand he had used to cover her cheek.

“Laorans did not bring me here today,” he said finally.  “I serve her interests no longer.”

“Of course you do,” she said, looking at him fully.  “You have never done anything else.  You do not know how to be anything else.”

“For you, I will learn.”

“I do not want that.  I do not want you.”

“I am not anyone without you,” he said.  “Not the man I must be.  Not a man at all.  I am a ghost, a shadow.  Without you I am nothing.”

“Mayhap you should have thought of that sooner,” she spat.

Dana bowed his head.  “Haleine, please,” he said.  “I am as you command me.”

“No, I was as you commanded me,” she said.  “I was as you made me.  I made myself a liar, a whore.  For you I did this and still, you dared call me traitor.”

“Tell me what to do,” he begged.  “Tell me what you want.  I’ll do it.  Whatever it is, I’ll do it.”

“Go away from here, Dana,” she said, “and do not return.  I have no desire to ever lay eyes upon you again and we have no more to say to each other.”

He kept his head bowed as he stood and backed away from her.  He opened the door and hovered there, one foot outside.  He looked at the floor for a moment and then lifted his head to look at her.

“Your words today have killed me, Haleine.”

She did not blink.  “Then my debt to you is repaid.”


Monday, October 29, 2012

I Do NaNo, Do You NaNo Too?

Thursday marks the start of that yearly rite of passage, NaNoWriMo.  It's been all over the blogosphere lately as writers try to prepare for this event or try to decide if they should give it a go so I don't think I need to tell you what NaNoWriMo is, but if you're unsure, look at the graphic on the left.  That'll give you the general gist of things.

Thursday also marks my first day off (The Store does not give Frankenstorm Days), begged for by me so that I could have the first day to get off to a great start.  Last year, I didn't get started until Day Five.  There was some... drama going on so my poor sad little project got bumped.  I came raring back though and limped across the 50k line with entire minutes to spare.

It was my third win.  My first year, I wrote a chick lit/romance novel.  It was an experiment because I often times make fun of chick lit/romance and I wanted to see if I could do it any better.  I personally think I did but I'm probably not the most unbiased person on this subject.  My second year I tackled the YA urban fantasy genre.  This project remains technically unfinished but there's some great stuff (again, according to me) in there and so, some day I hope to get back to it.  Someday.

Last year, I decided to write the first draft of the next installment of my fantasy series.  I did this because I thought I'd be so much further along with Effigy than I currently am.  I thought I'd have Effigy out in the world and be working feverishly to get the second book, Second Nature, done so that it too could be out in the world.

Silly M.J. (Publishing is for competent adults!)

But, alas, I didn't get Effigy out into the world and I haven't even looked at what I wrote last year.  I'm printing up a copy of it though so I can look at it because this year, for NaNoWriMo, I'm attempting to write the next installment and I thought it would be good if I knew where I had left off with everything.

Because right now, all I have prepared for NaNoWriMo this year is a stash of sugary sweets, a name for the MC and the genre in which I should write.  And I wouldn't even have the last two if I wasn't working on a continuing story.  Needless to say, I am going to need a miracle every single second I can wrest from my schedule.

It is with this in mind that I offer those who encounter me in my non-online life this helpful chart:


1.  Hey, M.J., just thought you should know that the building's on fire.

(please note, this also includes other events where if immediate evacuation does not happen, it will lead to injury and/or death)
2.  Hey, M.J., just thought you should know that Joss Whedon's here to see you.

So please consult this list when trying to decide whether to bother me during the month of November (or maybe the rest of the year too. I'll let you know) because if it's not one of those two things, I don't want to know about it.  This goes for my co-workers too.  I know technically I work for The Store but if you come across me writing a scene for my NaNoWriMo project, don't interrupt because you have a customer looking for a small snowflake sweater.  You know where the small snowflake sweaters are.  Go get it yourself.  Just... don't make a mess while you're doing it.  Which you're going to do because that's what you do.  I mean, I don't know why it's so damn difficult for you to get one single sweater off the top of a stack of sweaters without leaving the whole thing in a jumbled mess but you do it every damn time so, so yeah.  Go ahead and interrupt me when you need that small snowflake sweater.  We'll all be happier in the long run. 

Sorry.  I got a little sidetracked there. I'd tell you that it won't happen again but I think we all know that it will.

Anyway, I've got to go.  You know how it is... snowflake sweaters to fold, Frankenstorms to prepare for...  But if you're participating in NaNoWriMo this year, look me up.  I'm using the very clever user name M.J. Fifield. 

Be safe, all.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Ride

Last weekend, I told you about how my beautiful niece turned nine years old (thank you for the birthday wishes.  Jupiter loved them all).  Last Sunday I was fortunate enough to spend an afternoon with her, her mother and my brother and sister-in-law.  We went out to eat and then went shopping at the mall where I bought more of my favorite yoga pants in the whole entire world (I love being a writer).  It may seem like a small unimportant detail but it's about to get important because, before we left, Jupiter and I went on the carousel that sits at the entrance to the food court.

This is the story of that ride.

I suppose the good news is that I got on for free as her chaperone or whatever.  I really think her mother believes that when Jupiter and I are together, we require our own chaperone, but I didn't argue with the ticket girl.  We took our tickets and got in line behind one other little girl and her mother.

Jupiter said she wanted to go on the spinning tea cup.  I tried to push for one of the horses (because we're both horse crazy) or maybe that nice bench that didn't move at all.  No dice.  So I said, "Sure.  Let's go on the spinning tea cup."  Because, after all, it was a carousel in a mall.  How fast could it be?

Stupid, stupid M.J..

I handed my belongings over to my brother and sister-in-law who joked that it was a good thing I had gotten a plastic bag with my yoga pants because I would need it after the ride.  And I laughed right along with them because I was thinking, "Hey, it's a carousel in a mall.  How fast could it be?"

Stupid, stupid M.J..

When it was our turn, the little girl ahead of us ran straight to the spinning tea cup.  Jupiter was crushed.  I suggested we could go on one of the other non spinning things but then the ticket girl (thank you, by the way, for this) suggested we just wait for the next go around all together.  To which Jupiter readily agreed.

So we waited and we watched the little girl spin around in the little tea cup thing.  It didn't seem so bad.

Stupid, stupid M.J..

And as we watched, Jupiter was telling me about how fast she was going to spin the tea cup and I thought, "she's nine and this is a carousel in a mall.  How fast could it be?"

Stupid, stupid M.J..

At last, it was our turn.  Jupiter raced to get to the spinning tea cup.  I followed behind at a more leisurely rate.  I had barely sat down and laid my arms on the back of the cup before the ticket girl (who has become my new mortal enemy right behind the spinning tea cup itself) started the ride moving and Jupiter started spinning us around.

Quickly my arms were pinned in position as centrifugal force or some other physics things (dammit, Jim, I'm a writer not a physicist) took over.  There was absolutely no safe place to look because the food court had become a blurry messy of noise.  One distinct sound I kept hearing over and over again was the gleeful cackling of my niece as she continued to work the torture device known as the spinning wheel.  That, and the short burst of laughter coming from my siblings (and sibling-in-law) every time Jupiter and I passed.

As the ride continued, I became concerned that I was going to die.  And also that maybe the spinning tea cup was just going to fly off the carousel completely, going flying into the food court and land in the middle of Mrs. Fields. I expressed my concerned to Jupiter and suggested that maybe we slow down a bit.  Jupiter told me it'd be fine and kept spinning.

Meanwhile, someone from the peanut gallery (aka my siblings) shouted, "Half way there, M.J.!"

"Half way?!?!?!?!?!?" I sobbed shouted back bravely.  "Someone get me off this thing! Bring it on!"

Stupid, stupid M.J..

I resorted then to looking at the silver bottom of the tea cup.  It was the only spot that didn't look like it was spinning.  Jupiter told me not to close my eyes because that would really freak me out.

"Already there, Sweets," I said.  "Oh god, am I already there.  I mean, I'm fine.  I'm really, really fine."

Jupiter responded by cackling some more and finding yet another gear to empower her spinning euphoria.

And just when I thought I might never get off the spinning tea cup ride (unless it was in a body bag), it came to an end.  Of course then my problem became walking without vomiting.  Jupiter bounced off the carousel like it never had been moving.  I stumbled around following the sound of my name until I found my brother waiting at the gate for me, my yoga pants stuffed into my purse and the magical plastic bag blissfully empty.

I wanted to collapse into a heap just outside of the carousel's gate and have a good cry but we walked out to the car instead where I sat in the backseat with my head out the window and my carousel sickness bag at the ready.  Jupiter sat next to me, my phone in her hands, watching YouTube videos of people spinning in circles.  I declined to watch when she offered to share them with me.

On my ride home that evening, I stopped first for Ginger Ale.  I stopped half way home (it was an hour and a half drive) for another reason.  And the next morning as I prepared for work, I packed saltines for breakfast and lunch because my stomach was still not my friend.

But I'm okay now. So long as I don't close my eyes.  Or turn too quickly in my desk chair.

And that's how spinning tea cup rides became my mortal enemy.  But, for my niece, it was worth it.  Even though she'll never get me to go on another with her again. Ever again.  Are you reading this, Jupiter?  Because I mean that.  NEVER.  EVER.  AGAIN.

Love you, Sweets.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saturday Soundbites: The Last One Edition

First of all, thanks once again to Andrew Leon who took excellent care of My Pet Blog while I was away yesterday.  Feel free to come back anytime, Andrew.

And now, the main event: last (probably) installment of my ever popular Saturday Soundbite series where I frighten you with how much television I watch in a single week (feel free to judge me in the comments. You won't be the first.).  Here are my favorite things from this past week:

"They were out of turtles. I bought a tiny cowboy hat for nothing!" ~Nick, New Girl

"They call me Giggle Bangs Rice Bowl." ~Jess, New Girl

"That girl's so whack, her first name should be nick-nack patty." ~Sinbrad (Brad), Happy Endings

"Lunesta— Nature's Ambien..." ~Adam, Happy Endings

"This one says 'I'm going comando'.  I don't really get it but I do support the military." ~ Sue, trying to choose a keychain, on The Middle

"Let me tell you why I'm so awesome... You see, even when I have no idea what I'm doing, I pretend I do.  That's why I'm good at everything."  ~Axl, The Middle

"The world needs more dreamers, Luke.  Never stop licking things." ~Phil, Modern Family

"A Gryffindor letting his mom carry his Quidditch broom?  How Hufflepuff is that?" ~Phil, Modern Family

"When you start ranting, I start shopping in the craft store of my mind."  ~Lisa (maybe? I don't know her name), Suburgatory (which I didn't even watch. I just had the TV on and overheard that part)

"If you want to get to him, you have to go through me."  (beat) "Wow.  They are probably gonna go through me."  ~Tommy, trying to protect Oliver from some thugs, on Arrow (which I love with all my heart and not just because I have a reason to post this picture:

Hello, Nurse!

And finally, these two things from Parks and Recreation:

Diane: Am I interrupting something important?
Ron:  Impossible. I work for the government.

And this, a moment so sweet and awesome, it got me all choked up inside:

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Feature: Andrew Leon

I have to be out of town today so I am turning My Pet Blog over to the very capable and very talented hands of author and master of allegory, Andrew Leon who deserves a much grander introduction than that.  Hmmm.  Okay...

Imagine the Star Wars theme song blasting through speakers (or an orchestra, your choice) while down an aisle lined with jedi knights doing lightsaber tricks (if there is such a thing) comes today's Special Guest.

And the crowd goes wild.

Take it away, Andrew...


How Do You Eat Your Serial?

Serials have been out of style for a long time. A really long time. They went from being the way novels were presented in the 19thcentury to fading out almost altogether in the 20th. There have been some experiments with serialization in the last few decades, including one by Stephen King, but they have met with limited success.

However, the rise of the e-book may be changing all of that.

My own interest in doing a serial arose after reading an article from “someone who knows” that you should never ever never do a serialization. For any of you that don't know me, I'm kind of contrary, no, wait, I'm a lot contrary, and my immediate reaction to that was “why not?” Which makes me understand, maybe, why my kids can never just do as their told. I've kind of taught them not to, so, maybe, I shouldn't get so upset when I have to tell them “why” every time I tell them to do something.

Anyway... As I said, serializations used to be the way writing was done, and I couldn't think of any good reason not to try it out. It seemed to me that short bites might be something that today's portable device people would like. Let's just call the whole things an experiment. An interesting experiment. I found out a couple of months into my whole serialization process that Amazon was opening a special serialization arm of their print division, because they see it as a coming thing. Now, I'm not saying a started a bandwagon, but it looks like I was definitely in front of it. Of course, it's too late for me to do Shadow Spinner under the umbrella of Kindle Serials, but I already have an idea for another one that I'll do through their serial branch as soon as I finish this one.

Currently, there are seven chapters of Shadow Spinner available:

Each part is only $0.99 except on the few days each quarter that I'm allowed to make them free.
There is also an accompaniment piece: "The Evil That Men Do

It's not necessary for Shadow Spinner, but it does provide some background.

If you haven't considered serializations before, they may be worth a think. There have certainly been more released this year than in the last couple of decades combined.


Thanks to Andrew for guest posting today (and raising the IQ level of My Pet Blog to an all time high)!  Be sure to check out his blog and his books.  You won't be disappointed.  Have a great weekend, everyone.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Questionable Content

As you may be aware, I've been on a quest this month to blog each and every day.  And, as this month winds down, I've been struggling a little bit more to come up with something resembling a quality post.    After all, if you're going to take the time to come here, I want you to have something interesting to look at.  Or, if 'interesting' is overstating things a little, then something that's at least something.  (That's right, folks.  I'm a writer!  Marvel at my command of the English language!)

So I am incredibly grateful that I found my way to author extraordinaire Jolene Perry's blog, Been Writing?,  yesterday and read her post "Questions... Questions..."  because now I have a post for today.  She thought about questions she likes to ask writers and posted them.  And now I'm going to answer them.

1.  Do you ever close your eyes when you're writing?

Not during the actual writing itself but if I'm trying to work out a scene or something, I might.

2.  Do you listen to music while you write?  Before you write?  Neither?

I like to have background noise when I write, be it music, Buffy the Vampire Slayer or the Red Sox game.  But I have story specific playlists that I put on when I need to work out major problems.  Not that I ever have any of those...
3.  Do you work on one project at a time?  Or many projects at a time?

I typically work on one project at a time but I always have one in  reserve to play with when/if  I need a break from that main project.
4.  Do you know when you've started writing something special?  Or do they all feel special?

Nope.  Once I started a story thinking it would be something special— the best thing I'd ever written— and well... it didn't work out.
5.  Are there projects that you couldn't imagine changing anything in the story?  And on the opposite of that, are there projects where you could shrug about change and jump in and do it?

Yes, to both.

6.  Do titles come easily for you?  Or are they more difficult?

Titles do not come easily for me.  My stories usually get three or four titles before I settle on one that isn't lame and/or stupid.

7.  Did you know you wanted to be a writer when you started your first book?

Nope.  When I started my first book, I wanted to be an actress on Broadway. 
8.  Do you think your first book will be published?

Only if self-publishing counts.

9.  Are there favorite places in your house where you like to write?  Or do you get more work done when you go somewhere else?

I love writing in my office but sometimes I get more writing done at my day job (just don't tell my boss).  There's just something about the mindless monotony of my job that frees my mind to create some awesome (if I do say so myself) stuff.  But that doesn't mean I like going to my day job.  Because I don't.  But if I write something awesome, I don't mind it as much.


Thanks again to Jolene for providing today's topic and thanks to all of you for stopping by.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I Need A Day Off.

Before I commence with the baby rant (which is not a rant against babies, just a rant that is short), I just wanted to thank everyone who stopped by yesterday.  I know I keep saying this but I really do appreciate you taking the time to come here and then follow it up by leaving me such lovely, thoughtful comments.

That said, let the ranting begin...


End rant.

No, really.  That's it.  And that's not me saying I'm the only one who could use a day off; I'm sure we all could use a day off.  That's just me saying out loud that I need a day off.  I had a crappy week last week and this week isn't shaping up to be much better and I need a day off.  Preferably before I smack my new co-workers silly.

Like this...

Or this...

Until next time, all.  Unless, of course, I snap and end up in jail.  Which won't happen.  Probably. May we all have a nice stretch of days off in the very near future!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Two Who Are The Two (A Tuesday Teaser)

Yep. Today's the day when I bore thrill you with an excerpt of my upcoming (some day before the world ends, maybe) novel, Effigy.

Last week, I shared a scene with my character, James, making a controversial decision.  Today's scene is between James and Dana, the leader of the rebellion, as they discuss what has happened and what has yet to happen.

As always, I hope you enjoy it...


“Varro wasn’t there,” James said.  “He left his men in Nechtan to go somewhere else— south, I suppose— and he wasn’t there.  So I killed his men instead.  The ones I came across in battle, the ones who surrendered afterward.  I killed them all.”
 “You didn’t do it alone.”

“It was done either at my hand or my command.  There’s no difference.”
“That’s what it is,” Dana said, “to do what we do.”
“To do what we do,” James echoed.  He looked at Dana, grunted with annoyance and stood up.  “Sit down before you fall over.”
Dana sank into the chair.  “Maybe you should take some time and go home.  Go back to Enimode and—”
“And what?”
“And remind yourself why you’re doing this,” Dana said.
“I know why I’m doing this,” James said.  “Don’t ever think I’ve forgotten that.”
“I think you’ve forgotten there’s more than what you buried that day,” Dana said.  “Sarai, Aaron— they survived, James, and you need to remember that.  You need them to anchor you to the living.  You have one foot in a grave and—”
I have a foot in a grave?  What about you?  You and Varro are racing to see which one of you can put you in the ground first and I honestly can’t say which will succeed,” James said.  “So where’s your anchor?  Who’s your anchor?  Is it my family?  Your lady’s maid?  You haven’t been near Enimode nor Eluned for months now so tell me who is it?  What keeps you tied to the living?”
Dana gestured to the tent’s entrance.  “Them?  You?”
“And aren’t we performing admirably,” James said.  “If you want me to believe that, you’ll need to stop trying to kill yourself.”
“I’m not trying to kill myself.”
“The hell you aren’t.”  James moved in a drunken circle.  “You should really get a second bloody chair in here, you know.”
“I’ll do that,” Dana said.  “Just as soon as we finish beating back the forces of darkness.”
James finally sat on the ground, his elbows resting on his knees.  “We’ll never be finished with that.  We could kill Varro, Maddox, Omur— all of them— tomorrow and still it won’t be done.  Their gods would only find someone else to do their bidding.”
“True,” Dana said.  “Still, I wouldn’t mind seeing those three dead.”
“No one would,” James said.  “How do you suppose one kills a god?”
“I don’t know.”
“We’ll have to work it through if we’re to truly end this but I can’t imagine it’s easily done.”
 “I can’t imagine that’s something a person comes back from.”
“Do you really think either of us will come back from this?”
James held out the bottle.  “Well, at least you didn’t lie about that.”


Monday, October 22, 2012

In Which I Screw Up (Must Be Monday)

So, here's the thing... today I was scheduled to participate in Kyra Lennon's Letting Go bloghop but last night when I sat down to pre-write this post, I completely spaced on it. I feel horrible because I don't have time to go back and write a new post so I apologize to Kyra and to any of you who stop by here because my name's on the participant list. Kyra's new novella, If I Let You Go, is now available for download so be sure to check it out. It's getting some great reviews!

And now...Onward!

Last week, I participated in The Nineties Blogfest.  This week, I find myself needing to revisiting this topic because there were things I had forgotten.  This always happens to me when I make these types of lists.  I look at the lists that others have made and end up doing one of those mental head slap things because how could I possibly have forgotten about X, Y and Z?

So today's post is devoted to some of those things I forgot to mention the first time around.

The Hunt For Red October

This Jack Ryan adventure starring Alec Baldwin and Sean Connery (as the only Russian submarine captain with a Scottish accent) was hugely popular in our household growing up.  I don't know why it clicked with us so damn much but it did.  It was at the point where we could recite the entire movie from beginning to end.  The most popular lines were: 

"Some things in here don't react well to bullets."
"The hard part about playing chicken is knowing when to flinch."
"Next time, Jack, write a goddamn memo." 


I wrote about this cartoon during the A to Z Challenge this past April but I still feel remiss that I didn't mention it again as it was truly a premiere cartoon of the 90's.  The Warner Brothers and the Warner Sister, Pinky and the Brain, Slappy the Squirrel (my personal idol) and more.  Plus there were nifty quotes like...

"All we know is that we like you. We have no taste, but we like you."
"And the moral of today's story is: If you can't say something nice, you're probably at the Ice Capades."


Brain: Pinky, are you pondering that I'm pondering?
Pinky:  I think so, Brain, but where are we going to find a duck and a garden hose at this time of night?

Plus, there are awesome songs like this one...

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Album: Blood Sugar Sex Magik, specifically the tracks "Breaking the Girl" and "Under the Bridge"

The first time I heard "Under the Bridge", I was wasting away in geometry class and someone outside in the parking lot was playing this song.  I liked it so much, I tracked it down and bought the cassette single.  Yep, that's how old I am.  I bought a cassette single.

And "Breaking The Girl" is just a damn cool song:

The Simpsons

I didn't get to watch The Simpsons much when they first came out because my mother wasn't a fan of Bart Simpson.  But I happen to see The Treehouse of Terror episode from their second season.  This was the one that contained their version of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven".  I made a habit of showing this episode in my classroom whenever we read this particular poem.  It made me very popular with my students.  For about twenty minutes. I included a clip of it below. The quality isn't fantastic, but it's still fun...

So that's gonna do it for me today.  I'm off for another action packed shift at The Store.  Catch you all tomorrow...


Sunday, October 21, 2012

In Which Jupiter Turns Nine

One of my favorite October posts every year is the one in which my beautiful niece, Jupiter, has her birthday.  I'm struggling with it a little this year as I can't believe I seriously just typed 'nine'.  I suppose it'll just be worse next year when she hits double digits.  I mean, c'mon!  She used to be this little:

And now she's turning nine...

Happy Birthday, Jupiter!  We love you!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday Soundbites: The Day Job Edition

This past week at The Store is what the stock crew (oh wait. That's just me now.) refers to as "hell week" because our receiving numbers skyrocket, old product is moving back into the stockroom at an alarming rate and new product is trickling out.  You test the stockroom's Mary Poppins magic carpet bag ability as you attempt to fit it all in.  And you spend a lot more time at the day job than you do almost any other week of the year.

A lot more time.

What it means for this post is that you don't get all your shows watched, you don't get any books read, you don't do anything but wonder why the new employees insist on asking if you're having fun yet while resisting the urge to hit them with the new foldable shovels you just unpacked.

So here are my meager soundbites from this past week:

"This place is on lockdown.  It'd be easier getting into Tim Tebow's pants."  ~Virginia on Raising Hope

 "If we stopped having sex every time someone died in this town, we'd explode."  ~Tyler on The Vampire Diaries 

"For future reference, when I say I agree with you, it means I'm not listening."  ~Sherlock on Elementary 

and finally this conversation between Sheldon and Leonard during a "find Waldo" competition on The Big Bang Theory:

S:  How could you not find him?
L:  Because he's hard to find.  If he was easy to find, the books would be called There's Waldo.

 Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Feature: Danni Foley

The spotlight today is on that jill-of-all-trades, Danni Foley from Random Thoughts By Danni.  If you're not already following her blog, you should give it a look because this girl's amazing.  And I'm not just saying that because she's a devout Whedonite who's interested in joining me in stalking Joss the Boss professionally (although that's very awesome).

She's also a writer.  Her first novel, Impact, was released this year.  It's a NaNoWriMo book even and she'll be writing the sequel to it next month.  If you're a NaNoWriMo author and are looking for buddies to add to your list, her NaNoWriMo name is randomdanni.  The more the merrier, as Danni says.

Danni's first book. Now available on Amazon!
In addition to writing and blogging and tweeting (@dannifoley) and worshiping Joss Whedon (I'm sorry but that's very important to me), she finds the time to have her own YouTube channel, CrazyOnPaper.  I am very ignorant when it comes to YouTube (I didn't even realize one could have a YouTube channel) but I have seen some of the videos she's posted and they've all made me laugh.  Especially the one about where elf babies come from.  I laughed so hard I may have fallen out of my chair.  But you can't prove it.  Unless my dogs took a video of it and posted it on their own You Tube channel without my knowledge.  Wait... my dogs wouldn't have a YouTube channel, would they?

Never mind.  I'm getting sidetracked.  Sorry, Danni.

Anyway, this morning Danni posted a new video announcing a giveaway for her book:

So please be sure to check it out and please be sure to enter and give this amazing girl some love. Click HERE to do so.

That's gonna do it for me today.  As always, thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Reader Appreciation

So today I am the recipient of the Reader Appreciation Award, courtesy of the thoughtful Tara Tyler from Tara Tyler Talks.  If you're not already following her blog, you should.

Recipients of this award are asked to name seven things about themselves but the thing is, I'm kind of running out of things to tell you about myself.  My fault.  I should be more interesting.  So instead of seven random facts, I shall offer you seven tweets that I have favored since my Twitter experience began.

1.  Annalisa Crawford (@AnnalisaCrawf)- Wrote another great sentence today.  If I continue at this blinding rate, I'll have a completed book in 2074!  See you there :-)

2.  Nathan Fillion (@NathanFillion)- I love when people tell me they are huge fans of mine.  It loses something when they say their favorite was Serendipity.



5.  Sarah LaPolla (@sarahlapolla)- Ah! Our receptionist was just casually whistling "Early One Morning" & now I have the urge to turn someone into a vampire. #BuffyFansGetIt

6.  Tahereh Mafi (@TaherehMafi)- No one ever tells you that 86% of writing a book is staring at walls, spinning in your chair & talking to yourself in a British accent.

7. Jen Daiker (@jenunedited)-  You know you're a writer when progress is putting clothes on before noon.

aaaaaaand maybe one more just because it was super nice...

Christa Desir (@ChristaDesir)- Am reading @AuthorMJFifield's epic fantasy and am completely enthralled. I might be changing my mind about this genre.

(If you're reading this, Thanks again, Christa...)

So those are my seven things.  The second part of this award is the part where I bestow this award upon others but, as you probably know by now, I never do that part.  I nominate all of you because I really, really do appreciate each and every one of you who take time out of your day to come here and see what madness I'm spouting now.  So, if you're so inclined, please consider yourselves tagged.  And if you're not so inclined, forget I mentioned it.

But don't forget that I really do appreciate you.

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What Writing Looks Like

This post was inspired by a bloghop that took place on Monday.  I was participating in The Nineties Blogfest and therefore couldn't take part in something that sounded like a lot of fun (not that The Nineties Blogfest wasn't fun. Because it was.).  So I'm doing it today on my own.

The point of the What Writing Looks Like bloghop is just what it suggests.  I am going to show you some pictures of some of my notebooks.  Preparing for this post made me realize just how many notebooks I have kicking around this house.  The Man suggests that perhaps I have too many of them but that can't possible be true, can it?  You be the judge:

Okay, so that's not a tiny amount and it is perhaps made worse when I tell you that these are just the most recent notebooks I had in my office and that there are others, older notebooks, in other parts of the house.  But dammit, The Man just doesn't understand.  I'm a writer.  I need my notebooks.

Let's get back to the actual point of this post: what's inside the notebooks—

On some pages, you can tell what I was watching and/or listening to at the time because lines from shows or songs are scribbled in the margins or just in the middle of the page:

This page features a dialogue on the left and one of my many "Punch Lists" (where I detail exactly what changes need to be made to what scenes/chapters) on the right:

Here's another look at another punch list:

What does your writing look like?

As always, thanks for stopping by.  I'll try to do better next time.  Cheers!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tuesday Teaser: You Won't Like Him When He's Angry

It's Tuesday so that means it's time, once again, for an exciting excerpt from my soon-to-be (in theory) published novel, Effigy.

Today's offering features one of the series' major characters— one of my favorite characters— James ap Seoras.  He's always been one of the crankier and sarcastic characters in the series.  Maybe that's why I like him so much.

Anyway, James is a member of the rebellion, the second in command.  In the scene you're about to read, he is the one in charge and he's reaching his breaking point.  Another battle has just come to an end and he knows it won't be long before the next fight begins.  He's tired, he's angry, he's really angry, he just wants this whole ordeal to be over and he's totally pissed off.  He knows there's no end in sight and did I mention he's angry about that?

As always, I hope you enjoy it.


James swore and then walked the line of captured men, all bound and kneeling on the ground.  None of them lifted their heads to look at him.

“Where is your leader?” James asked.  “Scampered off, has he?  Left you to die?  Or did he send you to die in his place?”

“It doesn’t matter, James,” Ilya said.  “Let’s send them off and get back to what needs to be done.”

“Send them off?” James said.

“We send them back to Eluned.  We send a message to the king,” Ilya said.

James shook his head.  “Every battle we send what’s left of the king’s men back to him, in defeat, in shame.  And do you know what they do?  They get new swords, more swords, and they march again to destroy some place else.  I won’t have it anymore,” he said.  “This time we send a new message.”

He went to draw his sword.  Ilya grabbed his wrist.

“They surrendered,” she said.

He shook free of her grip.  “Their mistake.”

“Dana wouldn’t do this,” she said.

James nodded.  “Maybe that’s the problem.”

He drew the sword and swung it in a loose circle before taking it up and driving the blade through the first man’s neck.


Hmmm. This would be the part where I told you when you, if you were so inclined, could read Effigy in its entirety but, truth be told, I have no idea when that will be.  Maybe this year.  Maybe next.  Anyone suggesting the next decade would not be accused of crazy talk.  But at any rate, I want to thank you for stopping by today.  It's always appreciated!

Monday, October 15, 2012

I Love the 90's

Today is The Nineties Blogfest hosted by Dave over at Dave Wrote This where participants are asked to post a favorite something for each year of this truly awesome decade. (click on the picture below for a list of all participants)

The 90's for me were my high school and college careers.  So, just... keep that in mind as I reveal my list of awesomeness.  This list will be comprised primarily of movies, music and television because, honestly, I can't remember what I was reading back then.


Saved By The Bell episode "Jessie's Choice"- This was the show about a group of high school kids— Zack Morris, Kelly Kapowski, Jessie Spano, AC Slater, Lisa Turtle and Screech— and their not-at-all realistic misadventures.  The episode I've chosen to highlight is the (now) infamous ep where Jessie gets addicted to caffeine pills and eventually has this total freak-out/meltdown:


Point Break- the movie where Patrick Swazye plays a wave riding bank robber and Keanu Reeves is the undercover cop who's going to stop him.   Besides being totally awesome, this happens to be the very first R rated movie I ever saw.  Just don't tell my mom.

Beauty and the Beast- the animated Disney film.  I used to love Disney animated movies.  I still do.  This one featured a smart girl who liked to read.  And while I was never (and still aren't) particularly smart, I do like to read.  Plus, I love to sing the songs.


Aladdin- I told you I loved Disney animated films.  This movie I saw on the night of my Junior Prom with my BFF, Heidi.  We said we were skipping the prom because we didn't need no stinking dates.  I can't speak for Heidi but in my case, it was probably more that I didn't have one.


Counting Crows- Anna Begins (from "August and Everything After").  One of my all time favorite songs.


The Lion King- I can't even begin to tell you how many times I saw this in the theater.  And how many movie snacks I snuck in with me.

Dave Matthews Band- Lover Lay Down from "Under the Table and Dreaming... I worked backstage security for one of their concerts and fell in love with the music.  This song was the one I listened to the most. Much to the delight of my dormmates.

Pearl Jam- Better Man from "Vitalogy"... another of my all time favorite songs.



Alanis Morissette- You Oughta Know from "Jagged Little Pill"... my dormmates were glad when I bought this album because, at least, they got to listen to something new.

Jewel- Foolish Games from "Pieces of You"


Twister-  I love big dumb action movies.  This has remained one of my all time favorites.  Most quoted line in the house?  "This is like Bob's road."


Liar, Liar- This Jim Carrey comedy just kills me.  The most quoted lines in the house are "The goddamn pen is blue!" and "Even the wonderful Jerry lies!"  We also like that one outtake where Jim Carrey crumples a piece of paper and says, "A goose!"  It's possible we're strange people.

Small Vices by Robert B. Parker- This Spenser novel remains one of my all time favorites in this entire series. A routine case takes Spenser places he never expected to go. There's some quality bromance with Hawk and I don't hate Susan in this book as much as I do in most of the others.


Finally!  A year where I remember what books I was reading!  I don't think I need to say anything more than...

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets


Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode "The Prom"- while it remains true that season three of BtVS was one on its best, I've always had a soft spot for this particular one.  The prom, Buffy getting her Class Protector award, and... oh yeah.  Buffy and Angel's dance to "Wild Horses".  I would've posted a video of this moment but I couldn't seem to find one.  Very disappointing.

Angel episode "I Will Remember You"- the episode where Angel becomes human (however briefly) and he and Buffy get a taste of what their life together could be like before Angel decides to go back in order to protect them both.  Bring on the kleenex.
 That's gonna do it for me today as I have yet another action packed shift at The Store.  Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Zombies Are Coming! The Zombies Are Coming!

Last night I was plagued with zombie apocalypse nightmares. The Gator Girl and I (don't know where the boys of the family were) were hanging with some survivors on a fenced in athletic field somewhere that I think was Minnesota.  Things were great until the zombies showed up.  Then there was a terrific action sequence of me running like hell until I woke myself up and kept myself up until I thought there would be no chance of me slipping back into that dream.  (which didn't work) 

I hate zombie apocalypse nightmares but I usually only have them after I've watched an episode of The Walking Dead. And yet, I keep on watching the show because I think the show's worth a night of restless sleep.

But The Walking Dead doesn't return for its third season until tonight...

So the nightmares are starting already.  Swell.  I'm really starting to feel a need to go out and stock  up on weapons and water and non perishable food and possibly treadmills...

 But I suppose I will settle for the building of a zombie proof house...

Open Sesame!

Zombies on their way? No problem! Close Sesame!

 What about you?  Planning to tune into The Walking Dead tonight?  Have a zombie survival plan in place?  Have a zombie proof house?  And, if you, can I (and my dogs) come live with you?

Happy Sunday all.  I'm off to hide under my bed.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Saturday Soundbites (the Dr. Horrible edition)

So it's time, once again, for me to reveal the best things I've heard over the past week.  The best news is that Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog aired on the CW network last Tuesday so I can include it in this particular post!

(pause for cheers)

But first, here's what I wrote down this week that didn't come from Joss's head...

"I'm a best selling author.  Why wouldn't I have two grand in my pocket?"  ~Richard Castle on Castle

"I wish I knew more about you so I could come up with a better insult."  ~Virginia on Raising Hope

"I want to care about something as much as you care about ruining Schmidt's life."  ~Winston on New Girl

and this conversation from Arrow between a guy (Oliver) who spent five years shipwrecked on a deserted tropical island and his friend (Tommy) who didn't: 

O:  Which one is she?
T:  The one who looks like the chick from Twilight.
O:  What's Twilight?
T:  You're so better off not knowing.

And finally it's time for... 

Here's what I managed to write down before I just dissolved into hysteric giggles of sheer happiness and overloud (but lovely) singing (think I'm joking?  Ask The Man.  He closed the bedroom door and put on headphones to help down out the sound).

 "The status is not quo."  ~Dr. Horrible

"The world's a mess and I just need to rule it."  ~Dr.  Horrible

"I don't have time for a grudge match with every poser in a parka." ~Dr. Horrible

"It's curtains for you, Dr. Horrible.  Lacy, gently wafting curtains." ~Captain Hammer

"What a crazy random happenstance."  ~Dr. Horrible

"The hammer is my penis."  ~Captain Hammer

"I'm moist.  At my most bad ass, I make people feel like they want to take a shower."  ~Moist

Oh, and then there was Nathan Fillion's  (Captain Hammer) live tweet about Dr. Horrible...

"Apparently you can flip the bird on the CW."
(which leads me to imagine CW network execs squinting at the screen saying "Crap.  When did he do that?")

And just one last thing before I jet off to another action packed shift at The Store...

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Inner Workings of My Mind

Well, today was supposed to be the latest installment of my new segment Feature Friday or Friday Feature (I can't decide between the two) where I put the spotlight on a fellow writer/blogger, but that's not going to happen today.  So instead, I am going to post a draft of a post from June that got the kabosh at the last minute and never saw the light of day before I participated in NaBloWriMo and needed a post at the last minute.  Yay!

The title probably doesn't require me to offer you any further explanation except that yeah, I'm a writer and an insomniac and more than a little crazy.  But you probably knew that already.

At the very least, I hope it makes you laugh...


Well, it's 1:30 in the morning and I'm not sleeping.

This shouldn't be a big deal.   I am, after all, a frakking insomniac and not sleeping is kind of the definition of being an insomniac, frakking or otherwise.

But tonight (this morning?) it irritates me because I really want to be sleeping.  I am tired.  I am so frakking tired but I can't stop thinking.  And I keep thinking these thoughts in a big endless loop.

So since I can't sleep, I thought I'd post the thoughts running rampant through my head.  You know, the thoughts that are keeping me awake.  Seen here in the order in which they run:

—My eldest niece graduated from high school yesterday.  I am immensely proud of her for doing so.  Even if seeing her in her cap and gown did make me feel über old.  Congratulations, hon.

—Pomp and Circumstance followed by a rendition of my high school's school song.  (Yes, I still know it)

—I had not one, but two, beta readers make it all the way through my book.  If you know my sad, sad history with beta readers, you know what an exciting development this is for me on its own.  It's made even better when neither of them came back saying, "Yeah, you should probably give up the writing thing in favor of flipping burgers."

—Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun. (complete with hand jive. For real.)

—Of course, it would seem that I have, once again, frakked up not insignificant portions of the book (dear betas, please note I am not frustrated with you.  Just me.  You did what you were supposed to do and in splendid fashion.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart).  How many rewrites will it make for me to stop frakking up this story?  My characters, perhaps, deserve a better author.

—This conversation I had with The Man:
Him:  What are we doing for dinner tonight?
Me:  (taking mental inventory of all the food NOT in the house) Cheese and crackers?  (opens cupboard) Cheese?  (opens refrigerator)  Take out?

—I don't want to do another major rewrite.  Do I have to do another major rewrite?  I mean, how major of a rewrite do I really need?

—I am the very model of a modern major general.  I've information vegetable, animal and mineral. I know the kings of England and I quote the fights historical from Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical.  I'm very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical, I understand equations both the simple and quadratical.  About binomial theorem, I'm teeming with a lot o' news with many cheerful fact about the square of the hypotenuse...

—Am I going to make my deadline?

—Crap. If I go through with this whole publishing thing, I'm going to have to write a blurb for the back of the book.  Could I just write "Hey, buy this book. Every copy I sell gets me that much closer to quitting my day job!"

—And I need a job, so I want to be a paperback writer, paperback writer...

—Crap.  If I publish Effigy, that means I'm going to have to work out the plot problems I'm having with Second Nature.

—Why is it only midnight?  Why isn't it later?

—Maybe I don't want to publish a book after all.

—I like traffic lights, I like traffic lights but not when they are red.

—Of course you want to publish a book.  What else are you going to do with yourself?  Precision fold denim for the rest of your life?

—I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay.  I sleep all night and I work all day!

—I'm a writer and I'm okay.  I lie awake all night and I play solitaire all day!

—My eldest niece graduated from high school yesterday.  I am immensely proud of her for doing so.  Even if seeing her in her cap and gown did make me feel über old.  Congratulations, hon.

—Pomp and Circumstance followed by a rendition of my high school's school song.

—Hey look, kids!  There's Big Ben!

And so on and so forth... you get the idea.


It's not a pretty scene in my head, I know.  I'm sorry to have subjected you to it.  We'll be back on track (maybe) tomorrow.  Until then, cheers!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Vacation Slide Show

Here it is, kids, the day you've all been waiting for.  The continuation of my Key West vacation diaries.  Otherwise known as the one with all the pictures.  But, truth be told, I didn't take all that many pictures.  I usually take a hell of a lot more.  My first (and, sadly, last) trip to Ireland, I went through six rolls of film (yes, I am very old).  But here are the pictures I did take...


I found this van on Duval Street.  Whoever painted this is pretty damn talented.  I love it! 

They weren't lying.  And who says there's no truth in advertising? 

And here's the spot where I was going to post a picture of the giant cookies I found at a sweets shop on Duval street but there's something wrong with the file and the damn thing won't upload.  The important thing to know about these cookies is that they really were giant.  I mean, I could've put my hand on one and drawn a Thanksgiving turkey on it and still had room to spare.  The same establishment also had half pound brownies.  I wanted to live in that shop.  Unfortunately, they closed on Columbus Day.


In which we go to the beach.  The main point of our vacation was to spend the majority of our time lying on a white sand beach.  So on Wednesday, we went to Smathers Beach to do just that.

The Man worked on his tan and I found out one very important thing about beach vacations: I suck at them.  Contrary to popular belief, I am not good at lying around and doing nothing.  Instead I watched some people do battle with a hungry, hungry sea gull.  It's always kind of funny to watch people unfamiliar with sea gulls deal with sea gulls.

In the end, the sea gull won out.  The pringles were his.  Afterwards, I started reading Maggie Stiefvater's new book The Raven Boys.  This turned out to be a very bad idea.  I should've known better than to start that book while lying on my stomach in the hot southern Florida sun.  All I'm going to say is that I'm so very glad my bikini bottoms aren't any smaller.


Since we were both sunburned (apparently, The Man sucks at putting on sunscreen. Not that I'm one to judge), we stuck by the hotel pool, in the one shady corner, where we were joined by a special guest:

We also made another visit to the giant cookie store where the cashier thanked me (well, the Red Sox) for my team sucking and helping his team (the evil empire) win the division.  I rose above it and still left the guy a tip.


Still sunburned but determined to go to the beach anyway so we walked to Higgs Beach.

where we hung out with the sea gulls and pelicans and skipped going in the water when we saw this sign:

Yes, I'm a chicken.

For dinner, we had chocolate cake and key lime pie.  Hey, it's a vacation.


Our last day in Key West.  We ate lunch at The Lazy Gecko, the home of the southernmost Red Sox Nation contingent.  I picked this place because I knew it would be one place where I would not get shit for being a Red Sox fan.  Sometimes you want to go where everybody loves your team.

And then there was one last trip to the giant cookie store because I wanted a giant cookie to take home with me.  Turns out, it didn't make it out of Florida but hey, at least I tried.