Sunday, February 27, 2011

You Think You Know A Person.

Its been busy in the Mckee household as usual. Finding time to write has been nonexistent, although, I'm happy to report that the bathroom redo is almost done. Thank god. I actually put in a bathroom sink myself. Faucet and everything. I'm glowing with pride at the moment, but I must confess that I keep running downstairs every half hour to see if we've sprouted a leak. 

So, with the chores complete for the day, I decided to steal away with my trusty laptop and form a few sentences, change a few things here and there, check on all my blogging buddies, and take a well deserved break (come on, I put in a sink). And what would make a break all the more enjoyable but a few Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies. Um hum. I open the pantry. They're not there. Shelf two, just beside the oatmeal. They're gone. Someones moved them. Husband begins to bite fingernails by the refrigerator. Shelf one is housing a lovely box of Peanut Butter Patties but I don't want them. I want Thin Mints. Hubby silently walks over and peeks over my shoulder to help. But nothing helps. There are no Thin Mints.

A brief investigation which included a floor to ceiling search, mild interrogations of every family member, and a mint breathalyzer test that I should patent was executed to everything that moved, except for one Great Dane who hid like a coward under the kitchen table. Guard dog my ...

The perpetrator turned out to be the very man that shares my life. My checkbook, my everything. I wash this mans underwear and how does he repay me? Does he share the last Thin Mint? No he does not. Is he showing an ounce of remorse? No he is not. He thinks this is funny. Foolish man. Does he not know that one does not mess with another persons Thin Mints? Who does that? I can't write now. I'm uninspired and frankly heartbroken. I was planning to tweak a love scene but I'm afraid an act of war would be the only thing that my mind could conjure up. And there's no reason to put my characters through that sort of suffering. No, tonight I will attempt to satiate my craving with Peanut Butter Patties, and tomorrow I will hunt me some Girl Scouts.

I'm not sure I will ever view the man I have loved the same. You think you know a person. But do we ever know what one is truly capable of?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hugging Strangers.

We've all heard about declining book sales. The closing of so many Borders Stores. The bankruptcy claims.   But I'm here to report something a little more uplifting.  I was in Barnes and Noble at the mall, and surprisingly, the place was packed. Like stand in line kind of packed. There was no sale, no giveaway, no author meet and greet. Nothing.

This is different I thought. It's not Christmas. Nobody buys books for Easter, and Valentines Day is so over. So what's going on? I meander through the aisles, watching what everybody's picking up, taking in facial expressions, reactions to certain books. It's what I do for fun. Sue me, but I enjoy pretending to be a stalker. Makes me feel reckless.

Inevitably, I make my way into the young adult section. And that's when I spot her. A young girl with a handful of books is running her fingers over a copy of Unearthly. Did I mention she had her arms filled with books? She was struggling with selections, I could tell. There were just too many great choices and I knew in my heart I'd seen that look before. The look that says you have a mental wish list of books and you're just picking them off as you go along, but you're not sure if you want to break the order of the list. I held back, but there was a huge part of me that wanted to make suggestions and thank her for coming in. But I remembered that I don't work at Barnes and Noble. On the other hand, I'm an aspiring author who supports other authors so I must support the bookstore too. And there's nothing wrong with dropping Across the Universe by Beth Revis into a young girls hands is there? I'm a volunteer. It's my duty.  I'm okay with that.

I wanted to hug her. She bought about six books. That's awesome! Hello, we're making a comeback. I can feel it. But that would have been awkward. I could hear her now, explaining to the mall cop how some older lady just outright hugged her. I did not want to end up on somebody's creep wall. Who needs that on their resume. So I refrained from hugging and simply smiled at her. But inside I was beaming. She was keeping the dream alive and had no idea.

So how do you feel when you see someone buying books at your local bookstore? Should we hug, not hug?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy Late Monday!

I'm back, sort of. With the exception of some trim work, the bathroom painting is now complete. Now we just have to put everything back together. As I spent the weekend painting, I couldn't help but draw the occasional comparison between remodeling and  writing. You remove this, replace it with that. It moves even when you feel like you're getting nowhere. Its moving just a little at a time, thriving to become something remarkable that ultimately takes your breath away in that moment of completion.  But that feeling of completion is short lived, just as it is when remodeling. The project is done, so you think. You stand back, take a look over the whole masterpiece and smile, but then your significant other reminds you that the whole thing would look better with new doors. You continue to smile, nod in agreement while envisioning the whole room with new doors (chapter eight could be deleted). But then you walk on and your handsome other begins to point out the chandelier from 1985 that needs to be replaced in the foyer (The first sentence of chapter two makes you sound like you're a hundred and twelve-not good). What color should we paint the kitchen? (Are there too many blue eyed faeries in the world already? Note: research this and change faerie number fours eyes to black. Wait! Scratch that, too close to Edward. Go for pink or maybe aqua marine.) Should we go ahead and get the granite counter tops when we paint next year or should we hold off? (What if my protagonist is too weak or strong? Ackola! What if nobody likes her? I can't relive high school through my own characters. I didn't like living through it in person. I just can't go back there.) What do you think of this light fixture? If the knobs on the vanity are nickel plated, shouldn't we get a nickel painted light fixture? Do you think anyone will notice if we don't? (I wonder if an editor will accept friggsville as a word. Oh god, what if said editor thinks that I might think its a real word and deems me too stupid to even have a book.) Suddenly you see everything that needs to be changed or replaced. The room begins to spin, stretch, tossing vertigo at you with every turn. Amazingly, your husband morphs into a laughing clown who seems to have snorted pixie sticks, and suddenly, just when you think it can't get any worse, the one and only Janet Reid shows up riding a saddled shark. You spend the rest of the afternoon powerless as the two of them make fun of your  bathroom design and take turns flushing your manuscript down the new toilet. So in the end, writing is a lot like remodeling, and in knowing that, sometimes all you can do is rinse out the paintbrushes, close the computer, crawl into a ball, and wonder if sucking your thumb is truly optional.

After careful review of this post, I think I'll put off resuming revisions until tomorrow. Must be the paint fumes. (shrugs)

Happy Late Monday People!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It must be done.

I'm gonna have to fall out of the loop for a few days. Funny, I was already feeling out of the loop. With all the planning for the new bathroom, regional tournaments all week for my daughters basketball team, and attempting to do my taxes, I haven't been able to keep up with much at all. At least I've had some privacy. For some reason, the family seems to evade me the minute I mention taxes. Turns out that I've been unknowingly calling the government all those names out loud. My daughter's even asked how to spell a few of them. But I'm at a loss. They're not real words, only the combination of half rants. And who knew that I could be capable of not finishing so many sentences. On a good note, I think I've mastered exhaling. By the time I get to open my WIP, I may even be able to be my own beta reader. The thing will look like someone else wrote it and the characters will be brand new to even me. That might not be a bad thing.

Happy weekend people. Think of me. I'll be painting the bathroom. WooHoo.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

And the Winner Is...

The Riddle Was:

It can be forever welcoming, yet cold and selfish. It takes and refuses to give, but for that, I am eternally grateful. It offers contrast and rest, moves but remains. It is sleek, quiet, and often in the wee hours of night, it never fails to surprise. It is peace and discord, and it is my VD present. I am happy about it. What am I?
It is something almost everyone has. Some have more than one and those who don't wish they did. It is something of need. Something made of porcelain, and most definitely, NOT something anyone usually gets for Valentine's Day. I suppose, however, such an object could hold a lot of roses and keep them vibrant for several days. What am I.
You use this all the time.

The answer is: A new toilet. Yep. A new toilet for Valentines Day. And the winner of the contest is none other than the lovely PK Hrezo. WooHoo! Congratulations! Pk, you get to pick out a book you've been wanting and it shall be yours. I'll be emailing you for your information.

Now, before any of you begin plotting on how to put my husbands head in one of these. Lemme esplain.
The picture above is not of the actual toilet. Or even my bathroom. We've been wanting to redo our laundry room/half bath since the day we bought our house, six years ago. But something more pressing always came up. We'd check out tiles, look over paint swatches, get a plan together, and then lo and behold the heat pump went out, or the roof needed to be replaced. Yada Yada. You get the picture. But not this time baby. The floor guy will be here on Monday to lay the new floor. That old toilet that I've repaired personally more times than I can count, will no longer need my paper clip technique to keep the little stopper thingy from staying up. And those paint swatches, a thing of the past after tomorrow. I'm so excited. So we made a little deal. We promised that we wouldn't really do V-day this year. Cards were permitted, but a new sink and vanity, flooring, hardware, and the shiny new toilet would be our gift to each other. Totally cool with that. I mean, just think-it, the shelf life of roses, like three days tops. But a toilet could provide a leisurely place for reading for years to come. It's a no brainer people.

But....we blew it. Turns out that he got me roses anyway and I just happened to show up at his work holding his favorite salad and baked potato from a local restaurant. Great minds think alike.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Anti Valentines Day Blogfest. (Worst Date in History)

For those of you who have been seething for about a month at all the candy hearts adorning the aisles of your grocery store and daydreaming about how much you'd love to stomp all those boxes of chocolates to bits. Beth Fred's got just the thing for you. It's the "Anti Valentines Day Blogfest" and its happening right now. Be sure to hop on over to her blog when you're all done here to check her out if you haven't already.

Ready for the worst date in history? I sure wasn't. I had married young. Right out of high school young. And as those rash decisions sometimes go, a year later I was divorced. It took me another year to feel like I was ready to start dating again and a few friends did the occasional fix up, but no one had piqued my interest.

So a few months after my 21st birthday, this guy had started to hang around the store where I worked. He didn't talk much. Seemed a little shy, but I, being the chatter box that I am, usually helped him out in that department. Then one day this lady comes into the store, finds me, and proceeds to tell me that her son (the guy) is going to ask me out. I have to say yes because he has talked about me for months to his whole family and has even sought out relationship advice from both his father and grandfather. Awe. How could I say no?

I have to admit, I wasn't the least bit attracted to him, but beauty is only skin deep, right? A great personality and a sense of humor can make anybody grow on you given enough time. Several days later, he asked me out and I accepted. The following Saturday night, he pulls into the driveway and blows the horn. Nice. I get into his car and he seems like a totally different person. Shy and quiet was suddenly arrogant and confident.

When we arrived at Burger King for dinner, I was instantly outraged over the amount of money I had spent on the evenings outfit, and my mood didn't improve the moment he let the door to the fast food chain close in my face after he went in. You can imagine my shock when he ordered his food, paid, and then walked to the edge of the counter to wait on his tray while I ordered and paid for my own. Lovely, I had 15 bucks to my name and the dollar double did not yet exist.

After eating what I assume was a chicken sandwich, he then drove us to a bar. Yes a bar. He had said very little on the way, but had managed a few glances in my direction followed by a smug little grin that left me feeling a bit confused. Ya know, one of those, yeah baby, I know I'm that good sort of grins. Did he actually think this date was going to go down as a hit? Pa-lease. And watching him dance with other girls throughout the night didn't help his odds.

I ordered and paid for my own drink of course, and then watched in awe as he proceeded to open his mouth, and show me the stem of a cherry that he had tied with his tongue. *BARF* When he tried to kiss me at the end of the night, I nearly did just that. We never went out again.

A few days later, I learned what had motivated him to be such an ass. Apparently his father and grandfather had heard that women "nowadays" liked to be treated "equally". They want to be independent and any action from a man that shows otherwise is "nowadays" considered to be offensive. They were way off.

Months later, he asked me what he had done wrong. Big mistake. I did not come equipped with a filter. And he did ask. So I told him that he had made the fatal mistake of ignoring the fine line between being a gentleman and an asshole. Independent women the world over still appreciate a gentleman. The latter, we could do without.  He actually thanked me for the heads up.  Good grief.

Hope you enjoyed the story more than I enjoyed the night.

BTW: My day after Valentines Day contest ends tonight. Check the previous two posts for the riddle and see if you can guess what I got for V-day.

Final Hint: You use this all the time.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day. Hint # 2

 Valentine's Day is so much fun. It's that one special day where you get to carry out all those previously plotted love scenes. Hey, take notes people. This stuff could be golden later. You never know.
I bet your beloved won't care a bit if they're being used as a test subject. My better half wouldn't care if I painted his face blue, marched him off to some makeshift guillotine, and demanded he yell freedom from the backyard*good times*.

So be romantic in real life. A little of us and sometimes a lot of us is in our writing. Roll with it. Then again, I feel like blushing right now. How bout you?

Another Hint for the Day After Valentines Day Contest:  For those of you who haven't seen the previous post, scroll down. You have to guess what I got for Valentine's Day. Read the little riddle and leave your guess in your comments. I left you an extra hint below and I'm now expanding a bit. Someone has to win. 

Now for the Hints:  It is something almost everyone has. Some have more than one and those who don't, wish they did. It is something of need. Something made of porcelain, and most definitely, NOT something anyone usually gets for Valentine's Day. I suppose, however, such an object could hold a lot of roses and keep them vibrant for several days. What am I.

Scroll to Saturday's post for the first part of the riddle and thanks for playing along.  

Good luck. The winner gets to name a book they'd like to have and have they will.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Day After Valentines Day Descriptive Contest and 100 Followers Giveaway.

Okay, so I'm holding strong at 91 super amazing followers and I know I can get to 100. Call me an optimist. But surrounding ourselves with the most talented writers out there is just a blessing in itself if you ask me. So I thought we'd have a little fun to celebrate VD. This is not to be confused with venereal disease. I'm sure there are other websites out there for that. Soldier on (no judging).

So here's the down low on the contest. You have to guess what I got for Valentine's Day based on the little description below, and you must post something about this contest anywhere you choose. Leave the info in the comments section below by 11 pm, Tuesday February 15th. That's it.

And the prize is awesome. At least I hope you think so. You should. Because you get to choose your prize. Yep. No joke. Well, there are some limitations. The winner gets to choose a book, any book they've been wanting to buy. Please don't pick some collectible that costs like a gazillion dollars. You'll be disappointed. Promise. But a book from your ever growing wish list will be yours. And I may even throw in a surprise. Can't tell you about that. So here's what I got for VD. Can you guess what it is?

It can be forever welcoming, yet cold and selfish. It takes and refuses to give, but for that, I am eternally grateful. It offers contrast and rest, moves but remains. It is sleek, quiet, and often in the wee hours of night, it never fails to surprise. It is peace and discord, and it is my VD present. I am happy about it. What am I?

Friday, February 11, 2011

It was but a Dream.

Last night I had this amazing dream. I woke up wearing an elegant silk nightgown with a train that swept the hardwoods as I walked down the hall. (thank god, no swiffering later for me) There was a full pot of coffee in the Cuisinart, and there, just off the deck, was a brand new room with a sign on the door. The sign read T.C.'s Office. As I got closer to the door, I noticed the flip sign on the handle that read, DO NOT ENTER. And then it got even better. There, at exactly five feet two inches from the floor was a retina scanner. There was no doubt that it had been made for me. I wanted to run to my husband and thank him. It was just like him to be so amazing. But I knew he'd want me to savor the moment, so I stepped up to the threshold and allowed the tiny beam to read my retina. The door opened slowly, and a piano concerto began to play softly from the other side of the room, and I nearly looked around for Debussy as I closed the door behind me. This is what I saw.

I felt like this was it. It was everything I could have ever imagined an office to look like. My story could get finished now. Really finished. I'd have privacy and a lovely space to work in.
But then I woke up. And I walked down the hall in my Old Navy jammies (guess I have to swiffer now. I'm not bitter, swear)  and that's when I saw it. My real office. The one I get to muse in everyday because the teenagers took over the den where my office used to be. (okay maybe I'm a little bitter) This is now my office.

Looks almost as cozy. NOT!
Well, maybe for some. I found this in my office this morning.

Hello Cooper. Must be a faulty retina thingy.
But he was kind enough to give me this when I asked him to vacate my office.

Hum, looks a lot like the look the teenagers used to give me too. I wonder if I can resume a dream with ease. This is it people. I'm going back to my office. I mean bed! :) Happy Weekend!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tweet what?

Okay, so I'm rarely ever quiet unless I'm sick or reading, and even then, I've been known to croon muffled sweet nothings at Robitussin bottles or compliment my favorite authors while I read their books. My opinion seems to have it's own free will and occasionally I'm just as shocked as everyone else when I realize that I have spoken out loud. Believe me, it's not always a good thing. That whole honesty is always the best answer thing, well, I really took that seriously. But in all my incessant chatter, humor, and occasional rant, I can't find a thing to say on Twitter. Nothing. I just sit there staring at the screen thinking about whether or not anyone will give a rats patooty if I'm going to the store (for those of you who do, I'm picking up cabbage for cole slaw later, having barbecue for dinner, just a heads up). I mean, sure there is the occasional post on someones contest or a great little writing tip you found over on some amazing blog, but other than that, I've got a sock in it. I'm getting on my own nerves. Heck, I just put out a whole freakin paragraph on how I couldn't tweet. I of all people should be able to say something. So what's so weird and intimidating about two or three little sentences? Am I just feeling confined by the character limit? Anybody else have this problem?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Are you in or are you out?

I was hoping to post this earlier today but no such luck. Brenda Drake  has this great contest going on over at her blog and I wanted to let everyone know about it that doesn't know already. So head on over there right this minute and check it out (like really this minute, it ends in less than 12 hours...shoo! But come back. Pa-lease.). Now the cool thing is that you only have to list who you are, the title of your work, genre, and the first sentence. And you can hop around to other blogs and check them out while you're reading all those awesome first lines.

First lines either draw me in or they lose me right away. I can peruse through B&B picking up books at random, and generally, it's the stellar first lines that either make it a keeper or a weeper. It's not something I plan. I'm not always sure what makes it so stellar to begin with. Piquing my interest isn't a hard thing to do, however, keeping me from envisioning rouge monkey's making paper footballs out of your masterpiece is a whole other story. No pun intended. 

Those lines can be mysterious, funny, sarcastic, sexy, regretful, or even deep and emotional. But they have to make me want to read on. I've even heard lit agents who say they rarely get past the first sentence of a manuscript (no pressure). So this is why I've rewritten my first paragraph like a gazillion times. Humph. But as far as my first sentence goes...
Title: Will of the Walkers ( I've changed this a gazillion times too and probably will again.)
Genre: YA Crossover/ Paranormal Romance
First Sentence: Freaking babies? 

That's it. Short and sweet. But would it make you read on? Be honest. Spare me nothing. And share yours. I'd love to read your stellar first line.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Needing some time. Big time.

Oh my gosh people. It has been a super busy week. We're in the midst of some home improvements, which are fun, but my brain feels like mashed potatoes at the moment. Between trying to write, read, beta read ( which I don't feel I'm very good at), basketball games, and everything else I won't bore you to tears with, it's been crazy. So for my Found it Friday's, I'm actually admitting to something I need to find rather than something I've already found. I need time management. I don't how to get it. I've looked on Ebay, Craigslist, Amazon, and Overstock, and found nothing. Totally sucksville for me. So today is Fault Friday instead. Today I shall virtually stand before you and admit my biggest fault. I have no time management skills. And I don't know what to do about it. Since I became a stay at home Mom who runs a small business, I feel like I have no control over my own time. Do you guys ever feel this way? I mean its always something. Someone forgot their laptop at home and I have to run it to the school, the dog needs to go for a walk so that he can stare at a bird in the backyard again (like he's never seen a freaking bird already),someone needs something from Wal-mart, I need to exercise, whatever. Time just seems to elude me. I really will be late to my own funeral because someone will call or text me. Swear it will happen. But as I get so frustrated about not having enough time, I think about my husband who works so hard just so that I can have all this time to mismanage.   I'm a cretin. And I feel guilty now so I'm going to eat something chocolate. Don't try to stop me. It's as good as done. Instead, tell me how you do it. What's your schedule? How do you guys visit all those blogs, read all those books, write all those words, raise the kids, kiss the husband, manage the job? Tell me your secrets or point me in the direction of the lab that has been cleared for human cloning cause I need another me.