Monday, January 31, 2011

ALL YOUR PAGE ARE BELONG TO ME

(I promise, one day soon this blog won't just be about my cats.)
(Maybe.)


video

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Support Team (lots of pictures)

If you didn't believe me before, I think the Significant Others blogfest really proved what a great, supportive man I married. He likes to tell people that I'm a writer, and he has never once begrudged me for spending time with my keyboard and fantasy men rather than with him.







   =     WIN








But I share my home with two others.

These two aren't quite as supportive, especially when it comes to my writing. In fact, if they just had some opposable thumbs, I'm pretty sure I'd come into my office one morning and discover the strewn-about bits of my computer all over the floor.

Say on the rare occasion I actually feel like being a good writer. I pull out my notebook and pen (Pentel R.S.V.P. extra-fine all the way) and sit at my desk, ready to make some character notes, or maybe plan out a chapter...


Ahhh...sleepy time!


So maybe I not-so-gently remove the offender and settle in for some serious thinking. I'm doing great, really on a roll, and out of nowhere...

This is the best spot in the house

I try to write around him, and:

Best-tasting pen ever! 

In their defense, they don't limit these helpful actions to writing. No, they're pretty equal opportunity. 

Trying to install new software:

You don't need to use the wizard with me around.

Painting:

The perspective is off.

Re-organizing bookshelves?

Heehee! Guess what this will look like after we crawl out?

Coming back to the office to work:

Whaddya mean, this is your chair? I don't think so. 


Printing homework:

All your page are belong to us.

Trying to put something together?

Woodglue = ambrosia! 


Doing laundry:

You should clean out this vent.

Also:

This pile of clean clothes > your lap. Times infinity. 


Putting clothes away?

These shirts are so last-season. 

Cleaning the bathroom?

 There are cobwebs in the corner. Also, this towel is now dirty. I won't say why. 


Can't live with them, can't live without them. 



Have some great (or not so great) support in your life? :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Top Ten Songs Blogfest!

Two blogfest posts in a row, but this one's by me. :)

I'm participating in Alex's Top Ten Songs blogfest--and I think the title is pretty self-explanatory.


I'm an unabashed lover of 90's music, probably due to too many hours watching VH1 and MTV--you know, back when they actually played music.

But I love all types of music, so I'll probably exceed 10 songs. I'll sub by genre, but they aren't in order of importance, okay?

Rock/Pop


1. Third Eye Blind, "How's It Gonna Be?", "Semi-Charmed Life"
2. Counting Crows, "A Long December"
3. Live, "I Alone", "Waitress"
4. Cracker, "Euro-Trash Girl"
5. Hootie and the Blowfish, "Let Her Cry"
6. Cake, "The Distance", "Short Skirt/Long Jacket", "Meanwhile, Rick James"
7. The Cranberries, "Zombie"
8. Alanis Morrisette, "You Oughtta Know", "Uninvited"
9. 30 Seconds to Mars, "Buddha for Mary"
10. Brand New, "Degausser", "Okay I Believe You But My Tommy Gun Don't", "Jesus"
11. John Mellencamp, "Pink Houses", "Small Town"
12. Black Eyed Peas, "Pump It", "Imma Be"
13. Colour Revolt, "Blood in Your Mouth"
14. The Rolling Stones, "Honky Tonk Women", "Saint of Me", "Sympathy for the Devil"
15. Pearl Jam, "Black", "Jeremy", "Yellow Ledbetter"
16. Kansas, "Carry On Wayward Son"


"Alternative"


1. Imogen Heap, "Hide and Seek", "The Moment I Said It", "2-1"
2. Jamie Cullum, "7 Days to Change Your Life"
3. Damien Rice, "The Blower's Daughter", "9 Crimes"
4. Jeff Buckley, "Hallelujah"
5. A Fine Frenzy, "Ashes and Wine", "Almost Lover", "The Beacon"
6. The Swell Season, "Falling Slowly"
7. Zero 7, "In the Waiting Line"
8. Gary Jules, "Mad World"
9. Anything by Dead Can Dance/Lisa Gerrard

Scores/Soundtracks


1. Lord of the Rings Trilogy
2. The Dark Knight
3. The Last Samurai
4. Pan's Labyrinth
5. There Will Be Blood
6. Schindler's List
7. Sherlock Holmes
8. Gladiator
9. Jurassic Park
10. The Red Violin
11. Braveheart
12. Road to Perdition
13. Spirited Away
14. The Hours
Basically anything scored by Hans Zimmer or Howard Shore.


Obviously I've left off a ton of music that I love, love. But I'm already bending the rules, so I'll leave it here before I just import my entire iTunes library...







Friday, January 21, 2011

Significant Other Blogfest WITH ANSWERS. For realsies.

Sorry about the delay, guys. I take full blame for just plain forgetting about it...

Anyway, in-between lunch with his co-workers and driving and watching an old lady hit a truck in a parking lot, I got him to answer! Here we go:


What is it like to be married to a writer?
   Pretty much like being married to anyone else who likes doing something. Summer's pretty normal as far as stereotypical "writers" go. She takes showers, wears makeup, doesn't go out in public with paper crinkles in her hair--you know. Writing is her hobby. I don't care if she never gets published, as long as it makes her smile, it makes me happy.

What would you change about my writing habits? 
   Summer always wants to talk about her writing right before bed. Or she gets new ideas as we're laying down to sleep, and invariably turns on the lamp and grabs a notebook. Most of the time she wants to talk to me about it too, even if it's past midnight.
   The other thing is that I never know what project she's working on at any given time. Or she'll go long stretches without talking to me about her novels, so when she asks me for help, I'm about eight revised ideas behind, so sometimes it's hard.

What food/drink is always guaranteed to snap me back from a bad writing day?
   There's something that does that? :-)
   Summer loves Taco Bell and Candy Cane Lane tea. She could probably live off of those.


Final Thoughts/Comments?
   Sometimes I think Summer, or any unpublished writer, puts too much pressure on herself to "have proof" that what she's doing matters. I think that as long as it makes you happy, then you shouldn't have anything to prove to anyone, especially yourself.


Isn't he wonderful? He's the most supportive guy I know, in everything we do. 

Significant Other Blogfest

**Coming Soon**

Yes, I'm sorry, I forgot to ask husband his questions. BUT, I promise to plague him at the lunch-break. So check back in a couple hours!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Real Life Experience

A week and a half ago, the day before Snowmageddon 2011 shut down north Georgia, Evan and I decided to break out of our usual routine.

And by "decided," I mean I begged and pleaded and cajoled until I brought him around to my point-of-view.

The day was cold, but still sunny, and knowing that most likely we'd be trapped inside for a few days, I thought it would be nice for us to get out in nature, even if just for a little while.

So we decided to drive up the road to visit Tallulah Gorge, which is some sort of natural canyon in the Appalachians. The GA State Parks website says that it's 2 miles long  and nearly 1,000 feet deep.

This place is about 20 minutes from our house, so we bundled up, grabbed a camera, and hit the road.

I had faulty directions, so the first place we stopped was actually not the park or a good view of the gorge, but it was still pretty. We did the picture thing, then got back in the car.

 The dam.

We figured out that the actual gorge was just a little further down the road. There was a tottering souvenir shop nailed into the side of the cliff, plastered in signs boasting of their "best view of the gorge," so we stopped. 

The wind was howling, and tiny snowflakes swirled all around, despite the bright sun. It was beautiful:



Feeling happy-go-lucky, we decided to go into the store and browse around. Lots of fun, cute stuff. We bought some hot cider, then went out on the porch to see the sights with a little protection from the wind. 

This was actually at the first spot, but demonstrates out happy-go-luckiness. 


The entrance to the state park was just a few hundred yards away from the shop, but Evan wanted to go home. Neither of us had dressed warm enough, so I agreed. We got back in the car and drove a little ways more, eventually crossing into the uppermost county in the state, then pulled a u-turn and were on the way home. 

Now, ever since we'd gone to the first viewpoint, we'd noticed a white Toyota following us. We didn't think anything of it, even when I noticed it again at the store, and again when we made the u-turn. 

The Toyota followed us all the way back to the town where we live. We were a little uncomfortable, but still figured it was coincidence. As we approached the first turn-off for our neighborhood, Evan decided not to put on his turn signal, so he made the turn suddenly. 

Toyota followed, and parked at the bottom of the hill. 

Now, I was more creeped out than Evan at this point, so I asked him to go straight over the hill and drive the loop around the neighborhood, rather than pulling directly onto our street, where the car driver could see us. He did, we parked at the house, and went inside. 

We needed to go back out to the grocery store, but for whatever reason we puttered around inside for about 25 minutes before going back outside. Just as we approached the car, we happened to look up at the road--to see the white Toyota driving by. 

Coincidence? 

We got into the car and started back onto the road. Just down the hill from our house is the tiny "town center," which consists of a post office, bank, and police station/city hall, all in the space of about 500 square feet. 

As we approached the post office, we saw the Toyota sitting on the edge of its parking lot, facing the road. Not parked, but waiting. 

As we drove by, toward the traffic light, the Toyota pulled out and followed us. 

We turned left. He turned left. 

He followed us all the way to the grocery store. 

Now, keep in mind that we were in the house for almost half an hour--and this guy was circling our neighborhood, looking for us (we guess). 

Evan still thought it was coincidence, but I've had nearly 25 years of worried mother in my head, advising me not to trust anyone, so I was already determined that something was Wrong. 

When we got to the grocery store, Evan turned toward the gas station instead of the parking lot, and the car followed. We did several strange maneuvers, all of which the car followed. At this point, it was pretty damn obvious, even to Evan, that we were being followed, still. 

So instead of parking, we went back to the road and turned down the road for the next little town. I wanted to go to the police station, which I'd always been told to do in these circumstances, but we didn't know where it was exactly. 

As we approached the town square, Evan pulled off into another parking lot near a bunch of restaurants and parked. As the car turned in after us, I grabbed Evan's arm and asked (told) him to back out and keep driving. As luck would have it, the police station was behind these restaurants, and we drove straight into the parking lot. 

Now, I didn't see what happened, but Evan said that when we pulled into the parking lot, the white Toyota went straight down the little road instead of parking. So when we parked at the police station, we didn't see the car. 

I ran inside, only to find the place was locked. Locked! On a Saturday! There was a little foyer, so we stood there while Evan called one of his co-workers, who gave us directions to the sheriff's department. 

To sum up this long story, we went to the sheriff's dept, filed a report, and a deputy followed us back home. We didn't see the white Toyota again. 


Why was he following us?
Why was he circling our neighborhood? 
What if I hadn't gotten Evan to drive the long way to our house? 
Did he see where we lived, for sure? 

Evan and I didn't even have so much as a baseball bat at the time. But we live in the basement apartment of a house, and we're surrounded by 5 other families, all within 30 feet. Not an ideal place to try and rob, if that's what the guy was after. 

I know appearances can be deceiving, but it was a nice car--nicer than ours, for sure. Probably a 2008 Corolla SS, GPS on the window. Guy was dressed for cold weather, but had on sunglasses. I saw a wedding ring glint in the sun at one point. 

Who was he? We still don't know.

Going to sleep that night was terrifying, and the next day we bought some motion-sensor security lights. Then the snow came and trapped everyone for a week. 

All I can hope is that the guy was trying to pull a very not-funny prank on a young couple. 


Has anyone else had this experience? What did you do? 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snowmageddon

If you've watched the news/weather at all, you probably have heard that a big winter storm was getting ready to pummel the South.

Well, it did.

As I'm writing this post, there's probably eight or so inches on the ground, and it's coming down steadily. Tonight they're forecasting freezing rain to top it off, so needless to say, I don't think any of us are going to be moving any time soon.

For my northern readers, this is no big deal. But I haven't seen more than one or two inches since 1993, when the Storm of the Century gave us 3 feet and completely shut down the state. I was seven, but I remember we didn't have any power, and we had to cook dinner over a fondue pot burner.

But today we've got power, video games, food in the fridge, and no class or work for Evan. The view outside is simply beautiful, and the kittens are hilarious as they rush from window to window, meowing and chirping, and generally trying to figure out WTF happened outside.

Happy Snow Day!

Or Monday, for you unlucky ones.






Friday, January 7, 2011

A Writer's Thought for the New Year

[I will be splicing this together, so where you see an ellipses, it's where there is original text missing.]

From Letters to a Young Poet
Rainer Maria Rilke


February 17, 1903

You ask whether your verses are good...You compare them with other[s], and you are disturbed when certain editors reject your efforts...I beg you to give up all that. You are looking outward, and that above all you should not do now. Nobody can counsel and help you, nobody. There is only one single way.

Go into yourself. Search for the reason that bids you write; find out whether it is spreading out its roots in the deepest places of your heart; acknowledge to yourself whether you would have to die if it were denied you to write. This above all--ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night: must I write? Delve into yourself for a deep answer. And if this should be affirmative, if you may meet this earnest question with a strong and simple "I must," then build your life according to this necessity; your life even into its most indifferent and slightest hour must be a sign of this urge and a testimony to it.

 Then draw near to Nature. Then try, like some first human  being, to say what you see and experience and love and lose...Avoid at first those forms that are too facile and commonplace: they are the most difficult, for it takes a great, fully matured power to give something of your own where good and even excellent traditions come to mind in quantity.

Therefore save yourself from these general themes and seek those which your own everyday life offers you; describe your sorrows and desires, passing thoughts and the belief in some sort of beauty--describe all these with loving, quiet, humble sincerity, and use, to express yourself, the things in your environment, the images from your dreams, and the objects of your memory...

Try to raise the submerged sensations of that ample past; your personality will grow more firm, your solitude will widen and will become a dusky dwelling past which the noise of others goes by far away.

And if out of this turning inward, out of this absorption into your own world verses come, then it will not occur to you to ask anyone whether they are good...For you will see in them your fond natural possession, a fragment and a voice of your life...

I know no advice but this: to go into yourself and test the deeps in which your life takes rise...

Perhaps it will turn out that you are called to be an artist. Then take that destiny upon yourself and bear it, its burden and its greatness, without ever asking what recompense might come from outside...

...Keep growing quietly and seriously throughout your whole development; you cannot disturb it more rudely than by looking outward and expecting from outside replies to questions that only your inmost feeling in your most hushed hour can perhaps answer...


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2011 Reading Goals

Since I'm going back to school this year and my income was cut by 33% after getting laid off last year, I've had to tailor my reading goals to focus on books that I either already own or can get from the library.

Even though I read close a hundred books in 2010, I didn't scratch the surface of the lofty list I made for myself , so with that in mind, I'm giving myself a nice mixture to start out with.

If I read these 30 books, then I will have read every book I own, and I think that's something worth saying. So without further ado, here's my beginning reading list for the year:

  1. The Gargoyle, by Andrew Davidson
  2. The Looking Glass Wars, by Frank Beddor
  3. The Plague, by Albert Camus
  4. Gods in Alabama, by Joshilyn Jackson
  5. Magic in the Blood, by Devon Monk
  6. Magic in the Shadow, by Devon Monk
  7. Magic on the Storm, by Devon Monk
  8. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz
  9. Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides 
  10. The Horse Whisperer, by Nicholas Evans
  11. The Unvanquished, by William Faulkner
  12. The Gatekeeper, by Michelle Gagnon
  13. I, Claudius, by Robert Graves
  14. The Clan of the Cave Bear, by Jean Auel
  15. Hood, by Stephen Lawhead
  16. The Black Prism, by Brent Weeks
  17. Dune, by Frank Herbert
  18. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
  19. Outlander, by Diana Galbadon
  20. Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy
  21. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, by Carson McCullers
  22. Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry
  23. Atonement, by Ian McEwan
  24. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
  25. Kushiel's Dart, by Jacqueline Carey
  26. Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett
  27. A Place to Come To, by Robert Penn Warren
  28. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
  29. The Skystone, by Jack Whyte
  30. Shadowfever, by Karen Marie Moning

I'm not going in any particular order, but hopefully putting it here will keep me honest. :)

Any recommendations for me to add to my list?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Show Me Yours Blogfest

Today's the triad-hosted blogfest, in which we share a cleaned-up passage (500 words or less) from our 2010 NaNoWriMo novels.

For the complete list of participants, you can check here or here.

I had a lot of passages I liked from Dry Run, but I decided to share the end of the novel. Yes, that's right: the end.

It's 647 words long, but I think the extra 147 words were necessary for setting the scene.
Thanks for stopping by, and please be sure to check out the other entries!


*******


Donovan burst onto the scene, nausea pounding through his throat, spinning his head. He felt the collision with her time bubble, and the impact sent him over the edge. His weak body convulsed on itself and he fell forward, stomach heaving. Stars danced across his vision even as he struggled to finish, to climb to his feet.
She stood at the focal point, the three men dangling in the air in front of her. Each expression frozen. Anger, hatred. And the fear born of pure love.
Pushing himself across the frozen ground, he grabbed her ankle, fingers nearly unresponsive from the cold.
She jerked, then looked down at him. He felt the automatic battering of her power against him, but he was ready. Deflected it off with a simple shrug. And then the surprise of recognition flared across her face.
“Stop.” His voice sounded weak, and he burst into a coughing fit. She stared at him, expression morphing from shock into anger, and then resolution.
“I can’t.”
Sorrow drenched her words, hitting him in the gut. But still he dragged himself standing. Both their shoulders heaving. Gazes locked through the inky air.
“You can’t change it.”
She snapped her gaze away from him, locking it on the man in the middle of the air. A lock of hair fell forward over his left eye. At her sides, her fingers curled into fists.
“Yes I can.”
He felt her intention shift before she moved. Even as she brought her hand up, resolution blazing in her eyes, he hated himself for what he had to do.
Their hands met in a burst of light, red and gold mixing like fireworks. A supernova star. She pushed against him, her will nearly overpowering.
Around them, the bubble of time warped.
Hardening his heart into the solid core of ice he’d come to embrance, he whipped his left hand forward. It struck her directly on the temple, the perfect amount of pressure to knock her brain into her skull.
Their eyes met, and in the last flash before she collapsed to the ground, he felt every nuance of her hurt and sorrow rend his soul.
And then she hit the ground with a solid thud.
Time snapped back into instant play, and Donovan let himself fall to the ground beside her, eyes trained on the scene in front of them.
The primal’s strike flashed forward.
Adam Savage’s lips formed his wife’s name even as the silver blade burrowed into his throat. A crimson arc sprayed into the air, and then he was falling, falling.
Donovan bent forward over Claire, covering her body with his. Hiding her unseeing eyes from the vision before them.
Adam hit the ground, hand splaying open toward his wife. Dark eyes locked on Donovan.

And then the air around them twisted into a vortex, and Donovan dug his fingers into Claire’s clothing, holding her against him with all his strength as the purchase he’d made slammed its bargain home.
Darkness swept around them, tucking them into its frigid womb. Like the center of a tornado, everything screamed and whirled until he thought he might separate from his soul.

And then it all went still.
Donovan Stryker opened his eyes, feeling the sticky resistance of blood seeping from his tear ducts.
Beneath him, Claire Savage lay still, like a doll. Chest rising and falling. His head spun with a whirlwind of emotions, fear and anger and rage and terror and love all mixing and pummeling him until he almost wished that he’d stayed behind.
Maybe he could leave before she woke. How many times would he be the cause of her heart breaking? How many times could one man break a woman until she was gone forever?
He pushed himself to his hands and knees, chest constricted. Breath ragged. Stomach twisting, mouth dry and sour.

She opened her eyes.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

One Year

I read this blog's inaugural post yesterday. It was a bit depressed, hopeless--but I made a few goals.


And I'm pleased to say that I met--and exceeded--them.

Last year (2010), I wrote 3 novels and two short stories. A grand total of approximately 250,000 words.

I'm proud of that.

I met all of you amazing, wonderful people. I've been fortunate enough to meet a couple of you in real life (DL and Nicole), and I've found a critique group that I look forward to being part of for years to come.

Honestly, I'm not sure what I did with my morning before blogging. Anyone remember? Anyone?

2010 wasn't my favorite year, though it had its ups. So all I can do is focus on making 2011 even better than I could hope. I'm wishing for positive energy for you all in this new year, many creative impulses, and much love and laughter.


(Don't forget the Show Me Yours blogfest on Monday, Jan 3rd!)