Tuesday, April 16, 2013


And so, with a little thought and a sigh, I am announcing that this blog is moving to Wordpress.com. I like the network on Wordpress. I have friends on Wordpress who have blogs. Why not?

I'll still keep all this here, but you'll still be able to find me at Southern Fried Thinker, just on Wordpress.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sidewalk Pennies

I slacked off really hard since Friday. Work closed early due to some nasty ice and freezing rain that hit a little after noon. (It did start out as very pretty snow, though.) I intended to use the extra five hours of free time to edit. I ended up watching TV and napping with Pippa. So much for that. Saturday I had a birthday party to go to. Sunday after church was busy with me playing Temple Run 2 and cleaning out my beastly old dresser so I could replace it with a smaller, lighter storage cube organizer. During all of this, I was still shaking off a cold. I was off Monday, so I slept in very late because I didn't feel good. I walked the dog, then took a very long nap. Needless to say, I didnt get to the gym or editing. About the only thing I did do was read. I was also off yesterday and felt better, but also got nothing done.

So here I am, woefully behind on editing and everything else. I did edit five pages today. I also got $50.00 from some old ChaCha.com work I did, then went to Amazon Mechanical Turk to take a peek at past earnings from there.

I realized that in the past, I've made some nice pocket change that I can put towards loan payments. I may be a little too ambitious, but anything that can reduce the amount coming directly from my checks every month is welcome. I mean, $50.00 I wasn't expecting is a really awesome blessing. I also found a penny on the sidewalk this morning.

I'm feeling not quite so overwhelmed. I have all my payment stuff planned out. If I can bring in some extra cash from different places, I'd like to slowly pay off this one private loan that has a 10% interest rate. It's not (comparably) a huge loan, but I'd like to get rid of that monster once and for all. My goal is by October.

My car's actually feeling a lot better, too. And my fiance is helping with wedding stuff, because he's awesome.

Maybe I can get some more editing done. It's a little harder now that I've decided to change the perspective, but necessary. I'd like to have the book finished and out by summer, and hopefully before.

Back to work again.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Book Review: The Toadhouse Trilogy Book 1, by Jess Lourey

I love clever books. This week's reviewed book just keeps unfolding the cleverness the more I think about it.

The Toadhouse Trilogy Book 1, by Jess Lourey, was one I found in the reviews on IndieReader.com, with a big stamp of approval on the review page. I bought it along with The Secret of Spruce Knoll and just finished it the other day. It's not a slow read, it just took me that long to get back to it. I loved it, though.

It tells the story of Aine and her brother Spenser (pay attention to the spelling) who live with their Grandma Glori in Alabama, in the 1930s. At 16, Aine is planning on moving away from the house once she is old enough, and taking Spenser with her to strike out on their own, away from the strictness of their home life. We first meet Aine when she's chasing what she sees as a miniature man through the woods, and the story turns to her and Spenser saving the life of a little boy named Tru. The possible identity of Tru made me smile a little, and you'll have to do some searching. Here's a clue: Harper Lee. This first clever turn in this book just shows how thoroughly it was written.
It all changes one day when their home is attacked by a nasty individual named Biblos. He kills Glori and Aine and Spenser flee in the toadhouse with a young man named Gilgamesh. The toadhouse is a device that travels between stories, shrinking the passengers to a tiny size and taking them to another world.

Aine and Spenser live in a book, and they have to find a clue that will lead them to their actual home, Tir Na Nog.

They journey to other books, starting with The Time Machine. (That part actually made me dream about small squads of midget ninjas dressed like the kid in Terminator 2. No, it didn't do anything weird to the original story. Eloi grunge-ninjas are exclusive to my brain.)

The only memory Aine has of her previous life in the land of fairies is of her mother, whose name is Helen. Along the way, she struggles with her decisions, slowly comes to trust the mysterious, sad Gilgamesh, and watches her little brother begin to grow up. After the last confrontation of the book, the story wrapped up very quickly and made me eager for the sequel.

What I love about The Toadhouse Trilogy is that it feels like a puzzle. There are little clever turns, and twists, and nods to other books, and only hints as to the true identity of the villain, Biblos (I just figured it out this morning.) This clever puzzle of a book kept me thinking of it after I finished it, and I want to know what happens. I care what happens. It's very obvious that Jess Lourey took a lot of care when writing this book.

The next one's out in June.

I will be splurging.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Deodorant and Bugatti

This blog inspired me quite a bit for this post. I've been reading some personal finance blogs, and this one really stuck to me. She also has a similar post, and it had me thinking of how I've had to trim things down.

I hate school loans. I like that I was able to go to college and finish in 4.5 years. I'm glad I'm not still in school. There is an upside to school loans.

I still hate them.

I'm really good at saving money. While yes, I did live in a dorm in college and did use the campus cafeteria, I still bought food for the weekends and other things I needed. My goal was to not pay more than $2.00 each for most things. Obviously things like facial cleanser cost a little more, and I did make exceptions for things like these sweet chili potstickers that I loved (and that are no longer made. Sad.) I did well, mostly.

Mentally, it made me consider needs vs. wants, like the author of My Alternate Life.

Deoderant is necessary. What isn't is the $4.00 tube that really doesn't do anything other than supposedly make your armpits beautiful or something.

That's the easy part.

I need a new car. It's not urgent right now, but my car is a 21-year-old minivan, which I have driven since high school. It was given to me when my parents bought a newer van later, and because my dad all about maintenance, it still runs pretty well. It's no Bugatti, but my commute to work is short and my van (affectionately known as Bessie, and referred to as "she" most of the time) does well.

But the old girl will not last forever. Machines don't. Soon I will need a new car. I want a Jeep Wrangler. If I had a lot of money, I'd get this gorgeous tangerine colored 2013 model I saw at a dealer outside town. If I had enough to buy an older one in cash (which I'd prefer), I'd settle for a late 90s Wrangler. They were still really good, and they hold their value. The reality is, I don't have quite enough to do that without depleting my savings, and I don't want to deal with another payment. The sad reality is, I probably have enough to pay cash an older model of something sensible.


But I still have to make those school loan payments and live on what's left of my paycheck after the damage is done. There are many times I wish I hadn't taken out school loans. I'm getting married at some point. I want a nice wedding.

I think I can afford myself that want, because I have been saving up for that since I got my current job. I'm determined to not default on my loans. My dream is to pay them off in huge chunks, because that would be the best revenge on high interest rates.

Right now, I'm happy. I refuse to let myself stress out anymore over my loans. I still hate them, but with the measured coldness of an assassin. Those loans are going down.

And when they fall, it will be a really good day.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Oh No Not Another One

I had one of those dreams again last night, as happens every few months or so. Suddenly, it's my wedding day, and I'm all dressed up, not at all how I want to be, and nothing is right and everything is ruined and there's country music playing and there are guests with jeans on.

In this dream, to my annoyance, I wasn't wearing the awesome dream dress that I had, in the dream world and in real life, already bought and paid completely for.

The ceremony looked like it was taking place in a Ruritan Club building in Dundas, Virginia (you've probably never heard of it; if you have, we might be cousins), where my mom's family has their annual family reunion. After the ceremony, when I was standing around, in the dream I said to my fiance "This isn't what I wanted. We'll have a real one later."

It's the first time in these types of dreams that I've done anything like that.

And I know why that particular dream occurred last night. Right before I went to bed, I was talking with him about our wedding, and having a little stressed moment because basically the only thing I've decided is that I want a chocolate wedding cake and also Doctor Who.

I've finally gotten him to agree to make some input. It's his wedding too. I don't think this is out of generosity on my part; I just think that the wedding needs to have elements of both of us. I need to start work on the cake topper soon. I at least know where I'm going to get the cake. I have my dress and my shoes and I need to get a good calligraphy pen so I can work at the invitations (once we set a date...) but even those are already designed. (By me.)

I don't even want to begin to think about the food right now.

Now we just need to figure out a venue for everything.

Ideally, the TARDIS would be nice because then we could just have everyone get to the church, load up, and have a nice, no fuss destination wedding (and also make a room for me and my friends to get ready on board.)

One can only wish.

The good thing is, I've now gotten my fiance into the planning process.

I was also skinny in my dream.

So at least that's something.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Book Review: Pinelight by Jillian Peery

I very literally bought Pinelight by accident, while looking for free Kindle books on Amazon's website. For some reason, I had one-click ordering turned on and one wayward click purchased the book. It was only 99 cents, but I was a little bummed at first. Now I felt like I had to read it. So I poked around to find out about it.

The beginning takes place in Louisiana, and that caught my interest. Then I clicked through the first couple of pages, and there, before the opening chapter, was a Bible verse, Ephesians 6:12. A YA book with faith-based themes, a battle between good and evil, and, it seemed, adventure. For some reason, after realizing that, it didn't seem like a typical YA paranormal romance (and it's not.) I felt a little more enthusiastic about Pinelight, and finally read it a couple of weeks ago.

Yes. This is a good book.

It starts with the main character, Clara, riding in a truck with her now former friend Erik. Because it begins in the middle of a scene, the conflict between them is slowly revealed, and I liked that. Erik has betrayed Clara's trust by finding and reading her diary. Clara's life is already complicated, because of a missing chunk of memory and the absence of her parents (she lives with her aunt.) She has one friend at school, who I hope to see more of if there are more than three books, and a nemesis in a popular girl who is just plain mean.

When Clara comes home one day to find her aunt missing and Erik prowling the house with another woman, she flees to a family friend who is much more to her than she thought he would be. After their arrival across the pond, Clara stumbles into another world. There's a touch of romance, but with a darker undertone that leads up to the end conflict.

What this Christian-themed novel lacks is exactly what makes it refreshing. Clara has absent parents, but the author doesn't crutch on making the main character a tragic orphan. Also gone is the innocent lamb sacrifice that so frustrated me in several of Ted Dekker's books. There are no perfectly beautiful and always so nice and sweet characters, like Bryan Davis. Clara is gifted, but with a much heavier burden than being nice. She and her family are bound for battle, and that is kept important.

It's not without the romance aspect, but it appears that the series (as I'm gathering from the sequel, Tigerlily) while indulging in the romantic aspect, is more taking the "sacrificial love" path. I like that. Yes, the characters are young. Yes, they are probably in love. But that's not the only part of the book; it's a much more complex story.

Okay, I'll stop gushing now.

Pinelight, by Jillian Perey, was probably the best book I've ever accidentally bought. Okay, yes, it's the only book I've ever accidentally bought, but I really enjoyed it. Highly recommended.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gut Feelings

I feel marvelously ahead on reading. I chalk it up to my tablet allowing me to read books a little more inexpensively than would otherwise be.

Right now, I'm close to the end of Lab Rat One, the second book in the Touchstone Trilogy, and I've paused for now to savor it. It's so fun! I will likely re-read this series more than once. I also started Tigerlily, the sequel to Pinelight (which I will be reviewing here tomorrow) and I really like it as well. To cap it all off, I'm about halfway through a clever little novel, book one in The Toadhouse Trilogy.

Back in the day, I used to do stuff like that, read three books at a time. I'd let my mind get comfortable in one, and later, when I picked up another one, it was always a little jarring to transition between worlds like that. Jarring, but fun. Lately, I've even been getting that same sort of feeling while editing or writing. Sometimes the characters or scenes linger long after I've shut my notebook. It's encouraging, and with 31 pages of editing to go in the draft of Book 1, it's nice to feel like I'm doing something right.

I pressed on with book 2 last night, and from this point forward will be writing in first person perspective. It's getting easier and doesn't sound as stiff. I feel like I've really found the voice of my main character, and that is a wonderful thing. Now that I've gotten all comfy with that, it does mean more editing than I anticipated, but I do feel like I've suddenly found the right direction after getting turned around in a maze. I was getting pretty frustrated before. I haven't done a test page yet, but changing the perspective feels right for me.

Don't be afraid to make changes when you really feel like you need to. When it comes to a story you really care about, gut feelings can be right a lot of the time. Of course, don't rush to change things too drastically unless you want to have more frustration later. Test the waters, try things out, and play with your story a little. You'll know if the change is right.

And now I better get to work.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Working Like I Should Be

Writers should write every day, whether they feel like it or not. When working on Book 2, I usually don't. It's changed a lot since I wrote the first semi-awful version of it ten years ago, and quite frankly, I have no idea what I'm going to do with it right now. I sort of have an idea that stems from the first book, but even that's not a complete construction. That's why this is a process.

I don't feel too inspired today, either, even though I know that once I get into editing or writing, I really get into it. That's a good thing. I'm getting lost in my own story, and to me, that means I'm really feeling it. The more that happens, the more confident I feel. Of course, lack of confidence isn't an excuse to slack off. I still have to work.

The hardest part is when I feel so dissatisfied with what I've written that I'm not sure where to take it or what to do with it. Deep down, I know that working anyway will fix the problems. It's just the absolute massiveness of it.

I started writing in the new perspective last night, when working on the raw draft of Book 2. Blech.

But it will get better, as long as I keep working.

And maybe keep making charts. Those are fun!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Change

So I figured I'd dash this off post-workout. I've been working away at Book 2, writing a page at a time, and it's developing more nicely than I imagined it would. Still a long ways to go.

Last night, I made a decision about my books that will change them quite a bit, though for right now, until I play with a page or two, the change is only tentative. I'm changing the perspective of my books. What I have now doesn't feel quite comfy enough. This isn't something I'm going to dive into, but I hope that it will turn out well in the end. Of course, this means a more editing than I expected, but ultimately it will end up more satisfying, even if the overhaul doesn't work out. Now that I've made this tentative decision, I feel a little more excited than before, and that's always a great feeling.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Slacking Off

This weekend, I chilled out and read. A lot. Most of Saturday, actually.

I read so much that day that I did absolutely no posting, editing, or writing. Sunday, I at least did 20 pages of editing. And yes, that does take priority right now, but I hate the sad little black Xs on my chart. That's the motivation. I know it's a self-imposed requirement. Nothing terrible will happen if I miss a day or two here and there. But it bugs me, and if sticking it out and working at it every day is going to make me get this book done, then I will do the work.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Book Review: The Secret of Spruce Knoll

I like trying new things, especially when it comes to books. Lately I've been delving more into YA indie fiction, and I feel like I've been rewarded for doing so. I read more now, because indie digital books are cheaper. I'm changing it up a little, and this week's book review is on a good old paperback.

The Secret of Spruce Knoll by Heather McCorkle was reviewed on IndieReader.com, and since the reviews on Amazon were pretty favorable, I decided to check it out for myself. I ordered both it and The Toadstone Trilogy Book One and got them right before Christmas.

The story follows newly orphaned Eren Donovan as she moves halfway across the country to live with her aunt in the tiny town of Spruce Knoll, Colorado. Her ancestry is half-Irish and half-Maya, something the townspeople seem to automatically hate her for. She makes a fast friend in Aiden, a fellow orphan who lives with his adopted parents and adopted siblings. The secret in question is that the entire town is made up of channelers, or people who manipulate energy from the earth to fight or heal. Almost from the very beginning, Eren gains her powers. What follows are mysteries, sinister townsfolk, a lot of commentary about racism, and an epic-ish battle as she discovers what really happened to her parents.

I finished this book with a meh feeling. It felt like a cross between Harry Potter and Twilight, only harder to get into. The structure of a good story was definitely there, and the characters were okay, but I felt like it could have used a little more work to open things up a little. Some characters changed very quickly, or were never surprising, and the book when on a lot about how much everyone hated mixed-blood kids, only to drop it later. I don't like the feeling of floating outside the story, and I truly wish it had been more captivating.

Overall, I thought The Secret of Spruce Knoll was okay, but not a series I could really get behind and become a huge fan of. I don't think I'll be getting the sequels.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Parkwood Mall

I missed yesterday, I know, and it made me sad to put a big black X over the square.

Back in November, the owners of the Wilson Mall in my town announced that they would be closing and demolishing the inside portion to develop it into an open shopping center. Some stores and the theater will stay. The rest of it's going.

I have to admit, I kinda saw this coming. When they updated the mall in 2005, in hopes of attracting businesses, the mall had been on a steady decline for a few years. It was old, mostly empty, and pretty sketchy. People stopped going because the neighborhood isn't great.

But back in the day, it was our mall, and it was pretty cool.

My earliest memories include Santa Claus, the talking Rudolph, the only Chick-fil-A in town then, a pizza place, an arcade, and the Stride Rite, which had Yoshi in the window. I used to think that Parkwood Mall (the old name) was the coolest thing ever because it had a toy store.

In sixth grade, I once hung out with friends there, on a Sunday. We were allowed to walk around by ourselves. That was huge for me. The bookstore, B. Dalton, even had the really cool American Girl books. Sometime soon after that, we got a Bath and Body Works store. The sight of that red checkered awning was pretty awesome, because that was a store that went to bigger malls, not little Parkwood.

When I started reading the Jedi Apprentice book series in seventh grade, I'd always go to B. Dalton in the mall to get the newest one. Books-a-Million never had them. B. Dalton always did.

I bought accesosories at Claire's and eyeshadow at Bath and Body Works (remember the makeup in the silver containers? I loved that stuff.) I had my makeup done once, for fun, at the Clinique counter in Belk's. I even *gasp* used a tanning bed a few times. My first pair of glasses, and my first pair of contacts, came from the Sears in the mall.

An especially vivid memory is one of my birthday parties. A few of my friends had slept over the night before, and the next day, my mom dropped us off at Parkwood (so grownup, right?) to roam a little. We saw a limo parked outside the entrance, and asked the driver who was in it. He answered, with a smirk, Michael Jackson. We rushed inside to see if we could catch a glimpse of someone that famous in our little mall. Obviously, that didn't happen. It still makes me smile. By then, the mall was beginning to look a little worn. We went to one of those sketchy stores down near the arcade, and my friends tried on some trashy clothes (jeans with big cutouts and stuff. It was fun to laugh at.)

The theater held on for a good long while. That was the theater that had three rooms (one very skinny), an old lobby, and sticky floors that you never could quite see. My dad saw Star Wars there, and I'm pretty sure my parents' first date was there. I saw The Fellowship of the Ring, among many others, at Parkwood Theater, and in 2003, went to an R-rated movie for the first time, without an adult present. (The Matrix Revolutions, in case you're wondering.) They tore it down a few years later. I remember this particularly cloudy day, before the building was gone, where the marquee just said "Closed." I'd half-grown up in that theater, and though the one we have now is much newer and much nicer, I was a little sad to see it go. There's a McDonald's there now.

Though the worsening economy, the bad neighborhood (gang activity pushed many customers away), and nearness of Wilson to Raleigh (with its great shopping) probably made the closing of Parkwood Mall inevitable, it is bittersweet. I made memories there, ones that still make me smile, ones that make up my story and shape my life. As bad as the mall got, there at the end, it wasn't always that bad. I believe in this case, what used to be is a perfectly fine thing to reminisce about.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Worth It?

There are lots of articles and blog posts and such that will tell you that if you're stressed at work and it's really causing you problems and you want to quit your job, you should. Be ready to face the consequences, and don't assume it will get awesome after that, but go ahead.

Pretty convincing, right?

Heck yeah. We all want that validation that the not so great idea we have is indeed the right course of action. The reality is, a lot of us have bills to pay, and the tiny bit we get in exchange for loads of our time is hard to part with. If my fiance makes enough to support us both, I'll definitely want to write full time. But right now, I can't.

I think everyone faces that day when they realize that "help me out" means "do my work for me" and "community effort" very likely means "get the part-timer to do it." But hey, money.

If that's the kind of job you have, never stay comfortable. It won't get better, barring your employer firing himself and everyone but you. What can you do? Make it better. Apply for something else. Something better. Odds are you have the experience. And when you get that job, quit your old one.

Only you can improve your own situation. Never forget that.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Revelations of Editing

As I get further through the manuscript I printed, I'm starting to see a pattern. I edit fewer things. I like it more. There's a definite disconnect somewhere. The beginning moves to quickly to be believable right now, and the overall effect is of two different books. But the pattern I'm starting to see in the part I'm editing is a settled one. When I write the part I'm adding to the front, and when I put in the little details that need to be everywhere else, it will feel finished. But for now, my decisions on the story are settled, and it's a pretty good feeling. I suppose that's the entire point of editing.

In other news, I think I'm going to do some redecorating around here, visually, so stay tuned for a new look. I'm also planning on adding some handbags to my Etsy shop, which has nothing to do with my book, but it's fun and occasionally brings me in a few extra bucks.

I'm psyched for the finish of my book being so near, and though I can't realistically give you a deadline, I do hope to have it out by the beginning of April as an e-book. I know, if I keep working hard and keep the hunger and focus that I need, it's going to happen, and that is what keeps me going.

I Missed A Day

Yesterday, I worked on Book 2 not at all. I didn't realize this until this morning when I realized that I also forgot to mark the squares on the chart. Oy.

I don't want to be all "this doesn't bode well" because things like this happen. I was very tired yesterday after I got off work. I did write in it today, and this is the post. I'm going to finish editing the ten pages I started yesterday. It also appears that I will have another book review for this Friday, so yay!

Okay. Off to the pages.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


It's already one in the afternoon, and I haven't done much in the way of my daily goals. I've managed to fill in four blocks for each set, and that feels really good. I started book two with two scenes that had only been pictures in my head, and they're now a little more fleshed out. They still feel awkward, but it's the raw draft. It's the time for the scenes to feel odd and awkward and not quite right. It will be worked out later, but for now the process has begun. But I haven't written a page since last night.

I've also managed to edit every day, but I'll admit that the first day wasn't too efficient. I wouldn't get as much done as I wanted to, despite aiming for ten pages. To combat this, I found a big paper clip, an every day I put ten pages together and aim to just edit those. I can edit more if I want, but ten pages is the bare minimum, and it works. It feels faster and more manageable. I still haven't started today, though. I do have ten pages set aside, so maybe I'll get to it.

So far today, all I've done is this post. I'm tired. I've had like five hours of sleep, and if I were a person who relied on the movement of the muses to make me work, I'd never get anything done. I'm jumpy, irritable, and frustrated. At the very least, I haven't gotten any requests for pointless tasks.

I don't ever want to get into the mindset, no matter what setbacks I have, that my work is pointless. It isn't. I will finish and publish this book, but I promise you it is seeming easier (more depressing, but easier) to just stop. To shove this book in a drawer for never.

My brother was talking about climbers on Everest who never make the summit bid. They work for years, training. Months, climbing the mountain. They spend money. They spend their time. And too many stand on the mountain, and the summit is within sight, and they can almost stand on the top of the world and look out and know that they have conquered the ice and the cold and the thin air.

And they quit. They stop. They make the choice that they cannot keep going. Physically they're fine. Mentally, they've allowed a mountain to psych them out and drive them back down at the moment when it's almost in their grasp.

The thought of that makes me sick inside.

It's not that I don't want to give up writing this book; it's that I can't. It drives me and has for more than ten years now. That hunger is there and it is never ever satiated, and it never should be. I want this too bad to be satisfied with turning back and saying "well, I made a good go of it."

I better get to work.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Book Review: Stained by Ella James

Last week's book review was on a really cool book I got for free.

Maybe I should do weekly book reviews here, because I've got another one for you this week. Yes, it was indie. And yes, it was free.

After getting my Google Nexus 7 all charged up and ready to go, I went ahead and downloaded the Kindle app and two books to the device. Stained by Ella James was the first book I picked of the two. It's a YA paranormal romance, with angels bad guys and such, and it was pretty good.

It gets down to business quick, immediately stealing everything important from the main character, Julia, and shoving her out into the cold world in the sketchier neighborhoods of Memphis, Tennessee. But Julia isn't a spoiled kid with no idea how to survive. She's actually a recently adopted teenager, fresh out of the foster system, and not quite normal herself.

She meets (and heals) this guy named Cayne. It's not a love at first sight kind of deal. Though her internal thoughts do admit this guy to be hot, they don't get along. They agree to travel together to attract the bad guy who almost killed Cayne. Eventually, they do become friends, and more, as is to be expected, and both discover more about themselves that they didn't know before. What follows is adventure, but frightening and perilous, and the ending leads directly to a sequel.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a nice quick read with snappy dialog, a pretty neat tour of the United States, and decent storytelling. I felt at first that Julia was a little bit emotionless until I got further into the story, so don't be turned off by that.

I'm not decided on whether I'll get the sequels or not. I can't really spare for a paperback right now, and the digital copies come in at $2.99 per book. I might, because I do want to know how this story ends. We'll see.

At any rate, Stained by Ella James is free in the Kindle store and a fun read. Recommended.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Adulthood is the only time we humans revel in the loss of something that defined us as children.

As children, we gaze at our world with wide open eyes at everything we see in our world. We think so seriously about going to the moon, maybe as a whole family, and wouldn't that be fun? We excitedly await Christmas, scan the heavens on Christmas Eve for a red nose and maybe some snow. Summer is barefoot time, an eternity long, full of that word we don't yet know but will later understand as opportunity. Potential. And maybe, sometimes we will call it magic.

It's hard to point out at what point the process of loss begins in us. It may come fast and harsh, not so much a process as a moment where we are changed. It may begin slowly, with little things here and there, always different for everyone. The kid who tells his group, in hushed tones, that he found all his presents in the closet before Christmas. Or it might be the day when, as you are showing off your wealth from the night before, gained for only the price of a tooth under your pillow, a classmate yells out "fairies aren't real." Yet we still argue, still hold on a little longer as these things steal bits and pieces of who we are, until one day it happens.

We let go of our wonder.

And we are only happy to let it drift away. It's a mark of being grownup, like wearing makeup or shaving for the first time.

And after being content to leave it alone and let it drift for awhile, we dive eagerly away from it, into darker waters.

We eagerly describe ourselves as cynical and jaded. We take on these world-wise titles while telling others how naive they are. And the world welcomes it. It was others who first told us to stop being naive, to stop being amazed and awed. We are forced by the pressure, so like a wave beating us into the sand, to accept that the faeries in the photographs aren't real, that it's just too warm for snow, that we will never stand on the moon.

And it makes us sad, so sad, that we must reminisce and laugh at our younger selves not for pleasure, but maybe in hopes of revisiting the wonder that we let drift away so long ago. We claim to hate hiking in the summer because of the bees, while at the same time staring at a photograph of a path that leads into a forest, and we long to follow.

And then there are more children, so like the way we were, so full of the joy at existence that it's contagious, and we marvel at how funny they are, knowing deep down we were like that. They grow, and we say, "heh, they're lucky they don't have work. Just wait...."

Yes. Wait. They will be like you one day, falsely jaded, lying about their cynicism to hide that maybe they miss the one thing they left behind when they crawled onto the shore and found themselves firmly rooted instead of floating.

There are times, always, for everyone, where something in the distance flickers, beckoning us, saying "Come here. I have something to show you" and we draw near to find that the wonder we thought we'd drowned, that we thought was gone forever, has followed us and never left.

It will never be what it was so long ago. It can't. We are different, and it has changed too.

And though we might not stand on the moon, or have snow in 50 degree weather, we can still gaze at the heavens, not seeking glowing red noses, but a vast universe of things we can't begin to imagine. We can revel in the sounds from a guitar amp. We get excited over a plot twist we never saw coming. We watch life push and struggle and be and we study it so much closer to know why it is so wondrous.

We are all geeks over something we hold dear. It's not an obsession or unhealthy or strange; it is hardwired in us. It is the sense of wonder that we let go, refined by the waters, following us onto the shore, tied by a rope so fine that we can ignore it, and calling to us when we find it again. It has grown up with us, become specifically tailored to us. It is us.

We are creatures of wonder, in a universe built for it, and in a time after time, when all the tears are wiped away from our eyes, we will know the greatest wonder of all.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What We Can Learn from Twilight

What, you say? Impossible! Nothing can possibly be learned from the Twilight books.

Indeed, ladies and gentlemen, I believe something can.

It all begins with glittering vampires.

This often ridiculed attribute of Meyer's take on the vampire does, in fact, go along with her own rules. If vampires are basically enhanced humans, then so too is their skin enhanced.

It's an intersting fact that human skin, when healthy, also reflects light. When you are tired, or malnourished, or just dry, it doesn't.

Dead skin cells, even when moisturized, must be sloughed off to make room for healthy cells that properly reflect light. Since the vamps in the four-book series are always technically healthy, they always have skin that reflects sunlight.

So what can we learn from Twilight, folks?

Exfoliate. Always make sure to exfoliate. It does a skin cell good.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

I Like Charts: 31 More Days

Happy New Year!

I made two more charts for my wall, little squares that I will fill out in crayon.

One is for keeping track of things like Pippa's walks, because she's full grown now and sorta gaining more weight than I'd like her to do so.

The other is another writing chart. It has three groups of 31 squares for each group.

 One is for editing, which I am working on for the first book. Another is for working on Book 2, which I will be starting later tonight. The last is for blogging about it, because it's a good warmup and the activity that helps the other two get done.

So basically, I'll be posting every day for 31 days (the month of January, basically) so I can get more stuff done. Pretty exciting.

Book 1 is coming along nicely, and will be longer now that I've changed a scene to make it part of something longer, part of the mystery that leads to the climactic scene in the book...which just makes more questions for my characters. Making this story is so much fun, and expanding it and making it better is even more fun.

So here's to 31 days of working away at a goal. May it be an awesome 31 days.