Thursday, December 31, 2009

Freezing Cold and Ants and I Chew Soul

Just in case you didn't get a chance to head over to

And another if you want to read the subtitiles,

End of the year

So this is it. New Years Eve. The day people put their bad decisions behind them and start over.

But is it really any different?

The sun will set tonight a few minutes earlier than last, but that's been happening since December 22nd. The sun will rise "on time" tomorrow morning. Calendars will change to read 2010 instead of 2009. Stores will open (mostly). People will nurture hangovers from drinking the night away (although I won't be one of them).

Then what is the big change? And why does it feel like I'm standing on a precipice, looking down on the next year and what's to come?

I think I know. I think it's the feeling inside that we're cleansed from the year. That because the calendar changes and reads something different, something inside us can change and feel different too. I suppose everyone's in need of a new start.

For myself, I want the new year to bring requests to read my manuscript instead of rejections. I've received 13 rejections so far, and only 1 request. I screamed like a 5 year old girl eating ice cream for the first time when I got the request. Really.

I'd also like to drop 20 pounds, hit the gym daily, not stress so much about the little things in life that really do seem like big things at the time...but who wouldn't. Right? Oh, and I wouldn't mind landing an agent who believes in my work like I do. One who will see my dedication, my work ethic and KNOW I could do this for the rest of my life. Yeah. That would be cool too.

Happy New Year to you. I hope your resolutions hold strong and you get the "cleansing" you're searching for.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Take a trip with me

That's right. Let's go for a drive up to the mountains. Escape the stress of everyday life and breathe in alongside me.
We're heading up to Kirkwood via Hwy 88. If you squint, you can see snow up on those hills in the distance. This was one hell of a storm, dumping white on hills that probably have never seen snow. We're talking as low as 2000 ft.
We're seeing snow sprinkling the ground now and it's getting colder. 30 degrees to be exact. Can't wait to see what 8000 ft is like...

The scenery is breathtaking. The air is crisp. Ice is on the road, so be careful and drive slow. Good thing we have four wheel drive. We should be safe. 4000 ft is looking pretty drenched.

We're getting close now. Only about an hour away from empty slopes and air so cold it stings your lungs. Snow covering the ground is littered with glitter-like frost. The ground sparkles all around.

The roads are dangerously icy. We were just pulled over by CHP for going 48 in a 25. Did you know that when chains are required the speed limit drops to 25? Always? I didn't. We plead innocent and are on our way with a stiff warning. Thank you for working hard to keep the roads safe, Officer! No one is on the roads up here. It's around 7000 ft elevation and the air is thin. Good thing our windows are rolled up. It's too freaking cold to even test the wind chill. It's damn cold. I believe it.

We're here! And here I am! If I look freezing, it's because it's now 10 degrees and I'm on top of the world, where the wind gusts are unforgiving, but the views are incredible.

See what I mean? Breathtaking, isn't it?
After a few runs, we're heading home to a warm cup of coffee and a cozy blanket. Thanks for coming with me!

Good Dreams

I had a great dream last night. Must have been the monster storm rolling through California that lulled my logical mind into deep slumber.

In my dream, I got my Golden Heart Contest score sheets back. I don't know a lick about the judging process, or how I'll receive my scores. But in my dream the sheets came by mail in the form of about 20 small papers with random pencil scratchings. Yeah, I guess in my sleep I teleport back to the 1950's.

Anyway, I flip through the sheets and see my manuscript received a solid 50 across the board with all judges. I didn't win the contest, but I definitely finaled. I was ecstatic. So ecstatic in fact that I just kept flipping through the scoresheets over and over again to make sure my eyes weren't deceiving me.

When I woke up, I was a little disappointed that my hands were clutching the pillows instead of small scraps of paper with an awesome score of 50 printed on all of them.

And I have to wait until March 31st for my scores? Bummer. Looks like this is the first of many anxiety dreams.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


This week I took to the hills to do some snowboarding. I haven't been in years and have been dying to go back. My knee injury (tearing my miniscus not once, but twice) has proven to be a hinderance in everything from daily walking to strenuous working out. I was a little scared I'd get to the slopes and have to call it a day early because of pain. Stupid pain anyway. I'm over it.

I took some advil...okay, lots of advil. And I packed a book in my backpack just in case. Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward. (Have you read the series? No? You should. They're great.) I also packed more advil, my knee brace and loads of water in case I got stuck on the mountain and had to wait for ski patrol to help me down. You could get thirsty up there, you know.

Anyway, I went up on the medium run once. And came down cautiously on my heel edge only. I am a master at the falling leaf. You beginners know what I'm talking about.

Then on my second run, I went for it. Back toward base, I turned to face the mountain and remembered what it was like to breathe that fresh mountain air and be free.

guy snowboarding

The slopes were empty. The 10 degree weather might have had something to do with that. I guess we were the only crazy ones to brave the freeze.

My knee didn't twinge at all. And no ski patrol had to be called. But the J.R. Ward stayed in my backpack. That is a tragedy all its own.

Pictures are coming soon. I promise.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Golden Heart

I entered my baby, my time and hard work, my manuscript, into RWA's Golden Heart Contest yesterday. It was like sending off my child to college, though I wouldn't know what that's like. At least not yet. But that's how I imagine it would be.

Did I make it strong enough to survive first cuts?

Did I give it enough tools and depth to flow through the rounds to final judging?

I think I did. But I'm just a proud parent, aren't I?

There's something very personal about writing. You pour your heart into it. You ignore the chores another day, you let your refrigerator grumble from hunger pains, and you put every ounce of brainpower into creating this work. It consumes your thoughts. Everything you see, hear, read, could be twisted to fit into your story.

So to let a part of me go out into the world is just...scary. But I sent it off. Double, triple checked the package to make sure I was sending it to the right place. I paid the postage and the mail lady took three months worth of work to the back bins.

Now, what's left you ask now that my nest is empty? I wait for judging score sheets to come out in March. Until then I query the hell out of my book and hopefully catch an agent who wants to buy it.

I'll keep my fingers and toes crossed for good scores and hope my baby takes off to new heights!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Malibu vs. Bel Air

For those of you who've ever heard the expression, "They don't make cars like they used to."

Thank God for that.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A list...

...of things I can't live without...

  • my family
  • love
  • laughter
  • the smell of fresh picked roses
  • the sound of waves crashing nearby
  • fettuccine alfredo
  • local taquerias
  • foot massages
  • TiVo
  • chocolate
  • breakfast in bed
  • a good rainstorm
  • a quiet house

...of things I can live without...

  • drama
  • dirty diapers
  • parents who think their children can do no wrong
  • war
  • monopoly
  • pie (you name the flavor, i don't like it)
  • traffic
  • gusting wind
  • drivers who stop in the middle of on ramps
  • cell phone (this one would be tough, but hey, i could do it...i think.)

Have you made a list lately?

to do list Pictures, Images and Photos

Monday, October 5, 2009

This, That, and the Horrible In Between

I'm a writer. I'm not yet an author, but I'm working on it. Last month I entered the "Heart to Heart Contest" put on by the San Francisco Area Chapter of Romance Writers of America. The rules stated to enter the fifteen pages where your hero and heroine meet for the first time. Score sheets would be provided after finalists were chosen.

I thought, hey, I'll get feedback either way, right? This is a win-win situation. If I win, I get my book in the hands of an editor or agent. If I lose, I get feedback from people in the biz to make my book better. Awesome.

I got my score sheets back tonight. The first one I opened killed my scene. She hated it. She said she didn't understand my undertones, my heroine was unlikeable, and my motivations were shallow. Ouch. Yeah, that one hurt. But most of what she said stemmed from the fact that she didn't read the first 20 pages of my book. She only read a small section from the middle. Okay, okay, my heroine needs to work on her likability. I'll take the blame...I created her after all.

But the second one I opened lifted my spirits. The judge stated she'd "definitely read this WHEN it hits bookstore shelves". She stated my conflicts were well-rooted, my characters popped off the page, and I painted a clear picture of my backdrop. Yeah, I'm patting myself on the back right about now.

But the problem is, the one horrible score sheet and the one fan-freakin-tastic score sheet made my average a sucky-not-winning one. My scene was not "stellar" and was not good enough to win.

The moral of the story? Take some negative, stir in some positive, and come out with some real average stew. So for the next month I'm going to be cooking up one hell of a feast to make this thing sell.

I wonder if I could get the name of Judge #2? ;)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

What do men really want?

After Friday night's football game I know the answer to this simple question.

Football and boobs. Large ones, apparently. Allow me to elaborate on my epiphany.

I was at a high school football game watching my alma-mater smash another local team. (Our team won 44-0 by the way. Rah!) And the team was pumped! Lights were bright, cheerleaders were peppy, the coaches were pacing the lines like wild animals. It was a fantastic night.

And I realized something. Freud discovered that people use defense mechanisms to protect their ego's from harm. Sublimation was one of these defense mechanisms and is defined as using aggression in a socially acceptable format. (And I'm summing up his whole theory here, so don't harp on the details.) And men, otherwise known as testosterone-raging-ego-maniacs, need and love football so they can release these tensions in a positive, acceptable way. I get it.

But as I was leaving I overheard a conversation by two high school girls. I've changed names to protect identities. ;) Let's listen in...

Girl 1: "He TOTALLY like you Gretchen."
Girl 2: "He does not. Forget it."
Girl 1: "No, he does. He talked to you every single day this month, but he only answered my texts once. He TOTALLY likes you!"
Girl 2: "Sarah, I have big boobs. That's why he likes me." And she rolls her eyes.

I love Girl 2. Love her to death. She's all of sixteen years old and gets men. She is the yoda and the other girl is her grasshopper.

Football and boobs.
Football Pictures, Images and Photos

Need I write more?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


There has got to be a place things run off to when you can't find them. I've decided.

The washer or dryer eats socks all the time at my house and I don't complain too much. It's expected now and again. Even angry washing, drying monsters have to eat, don't they?
monster Pictures, Images and Photos

But what about jewelry? That gold post from the back of a favorite diamond stud that isn't attached to the back like it should be. The dreaded dig through the jewelry box to find that your favorite "pair" of earrings has now been reduced to the dreadful status of "loner", aka "never to be worn again". Or what about the necklace that you could've sworn you put back on its proper hook, and after a thorough search of the bedroom and bathroom, can't locate?

I'm in such a situation today. And it's driving me mad.

About three years ago, I had a dream about a silver embossed, heart-shaped locket on a sturdy dog-tag-like chain. I was captivated by this locket immediately. I combed jewelry stores, antique fairs, mall chains, and couldn't find what I was looking for. I wasn't about to settle for just any locket. I wanted the quarter-size, antique looking, smooth feeling, locket from my dream.

And I was lucky enough to find it on a random trip to the mall (which don't happen often as I try to steer clear). An antique fair had set up booths in the center and as I walked by a counter I caught sight of "it". It was beautiful and exactly as I pictured in in my dreams. Better, even, because I could touch it and hold it in my hands. The word "kindred" comes to mind.
Ashona's Locket Pictures, Images and Photos

So I wake up this morning, decide the locket would go great with my outfit...but the locket is not hanging on its hook as it should be. The dog-chain-like necklace is there, but with no heart-shaped locket attached. I'm bummed.

I search the entire box. Twice. I check the bathrooms, the floor beneath my dresser and my bed, my car glove compartment, pockets and pouches in every single purse I own, my luggage, my coat pockets. And it's not there. It's not anywhere.

I want my locket back. I want to know where it vanished to. Is it lonely and cold, shivering in the early autumn air? Does it long to be looped from my neck again, safe and close to my heart?

Maybe it's with all the other lost things in some distant place having a margarita, celebrating clavicle freedom from its oppressors.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Change of profession

Everyone has heard the common saying that people change careers (on average) seven times in their life.

When I was younger I thought, no way. I want to be an English teacher. That's it. All rolled into a nice ball of wax. I'll graduate high school, graduate college, get my credential, and teach. Voila!

But now that I've reached a ripe old age of 29, I'm starting to rethink things.

Career Change Choice Pictures, Images and Photos

It's highly possible for someone to enter college, take a couple courses in their initial career choice and think "no way, this isn't for me", and change paths. Then, what if they get into their career and receive the dreaded layoff notice. Seriously, this has become a major concern in our struggling economy. So they switch jobs, and we're already at three careers before thirty years of age!

My father in law retired after a gazillion years of working for the government. He receives a paycheck that pays his bills and is happy to stay home and not work for "the man" anymore. He's his own boss. But most days I think he finds himself bored. After the lawns mowed and the bills are paid, he tinkers with things and gets in trouble, as he would say, for anything and everything. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that he decided to get another job to keep him busy. Many people retire and return to work. Baby boomers won't go down easy workforce, so watch out.

In my case, I love to teach. I taught high school, middle school, and loved the bright light that would go off in some students eyes when they finally "got" Shakespeare. It was awesome.

BillyShakes Pictures, Images and Photos

But it's not enough. There's something creative stirring, and I'm willing to put time in to see where it goes. Would I love to teach again? Yes. Would I love to stay home, frequent coffee shops, and get paid handsomely to write everyday? Abso-freakin-lutely.

That'd make second career change, for those of you counting. *grin

Friday, September 18, 2009

Titanic dreams and unforeseen icebergs

I've been fascinated with the Titanic since I was a little girl. There was something about the disaster, and the inability to stop it from happening, that gripped me. Still does. It's like fate staring you in the face. And I can't help myself from staring back. Many people don't realize the pile of things that contributed to the Titanic's demise, and I'm not about to go over all of them yet.

But, I will tell you that fate works in our lives, whether we believe in the hype or not.

Had the lookout found their lost binoculars, they might have spotted the iceberg that pierced the ships hull in time to avoid the collision. Had the ship been built with a larger rudder, it may have been able to turn quicker, sharper.

Had the Titanic hit the iceberg head on, it would have stayed afloat. The first two watertight compartments would have flooded, leaving the ship wounded. But alive.

So this is how I'm facing my dreams. This is the reason for the blog. I may not be able to see everything lurking on the horizon that's going to stand in my way. I may not have all the tools to make the right choices, the right turns, to get where I need to be. Yet.

But I will have faith in my gut that writing is what I was born to do. I will learn what I need to do to get where I need to be. And I will face adversity head on, trudge into the night, and keep my fingers pounding the keyboard every day.

I will be a published author someday. Watch my Titanic dreams come true.