Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 in Review

Since today is New Year's Eve, it seemed the best time to look back on this strange, wonderful, scary, frustrating, and rewarding year. I'd taken a blogging hiatus this time last year, mostly due to work stress and anxiety, so I don't have a list of goals to check. I'm sure, though, I started 2008 with the same goals I'd had in previous years: get an agent and keep writing the best stories I can.

Guess that worked out, huh? In May, I signed with a terrific agent. In August, we accepted a two-book deal. I also moved closer to home, put one of my cats to sleep, wrote my second contracted book, started two other WIP's that have stalled around a hundred pages, bought a website, lost an uncle, paid off three credit cards, and supported my parents while my dad had quadruple bypass surgery. Hence the long list of adjectives in the first sentence of this post--it's been quite a year.

I also commented to a friend that I've read more books since October than I had the entire preceding nine months of the year. I really don't know why that is, but I'm glad for the change. I feel fresher, a little more open-minded, as I feed my brain with other people's stories. My list of books read isn't terribly long, but here are my five favorite from the year:

5. Riding the Storm/Unleashing the Storm, by Sydney Croft. I don't know who the two halves of this writing duo are, but this series is super-cool. The ACRO world is fascinating, and I am just mesmerized by their supporting cast.

4. Dirty, by Megan Hart. I fell to pieces reading Hart's Broken last year. This one packed a similar emotional whallop, and was one of the few non-paranormal books I read this year.

3. Savor Me Slowly, by Gena Showalter. I almost put Gena on my list twice, for this one and for the Lords of the Underworld series. But something about SMS just hooked into me and didn't let go. Maybe it was the fact that it started with the hero in mid-torture and it brought out the hurt/comfort lover in me. But I've read several of Gena's books this year, and this one is definitely my favorite.

2. Halfway to the Grave/One Foot in the Grave, by Jeaniene Frost. Dark, sexy, and limit-pushing in some ways, I adore these books. And it doesn't hurt that Jeaniene herself is a very kind, generous author.

1. Storm Front, Jim Butcher. Great hero, amusing voice, very well-built world. It's the book I really wish I'd written. The next three Dresden books should be arriving from Amazon soon. I can't wait.

Monday, December 29, 2008

It's Been a Long Time...

...since I've read a book in one day. A really long time. As a kid, I used to read at least that many in the summer, usually sprawled on a giant swing at my grandparents' house. Reading and getting a tan--yeah, that was nice.

I wasn't so much about the tan today, since I was curled up in bed with a marathon of "Psych" playing in the background. I hadn't even intended to spend the day reading (::eyes the open and untouched WIP::). Just picked a book off my shelf to verify if was my next choice*, glanced at the first page...and kept going. Four hours and 2/3 of the book later, I surfaced from the words because I really had to pee.

What's the book?

One Foot in the Grave, by Jeaniene Frost. Fantastic book. I tend to latch onto supporting characters, and boy howdy, someone hand me Tate wrapped in a big red bow, and nothing else. Please? If you haven't read Jeaniene's Night Huntress series, go do it now. Seriously.

Book three, At Grave's End, released tomorrow. My timing is (abnormall) impeccable.

*I stayed up late to finish reading Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris. Can't believe I haven't picked it up before. Awesome book (and again with the supporting-character-love, if I can't have Tate, I want Sam). Now I really can't wait for "True Blood" to come out on DVD. Or iTunes. Anything, so I can watch it!!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Worst Feeling in the World... being absolutely certain you have something, but being unable to find it.

Last night, I wrote out the last check in my checkbook. Not a problem, I had a box of a hundred more (I'd just ordered them back in July and rarely write more than four checks a month for various bills). I also knew I'd just seen them a week or two ago, so they should be easy to find.

Nuh uh.

I searched in every drawer and even in those plastic tub things under my bed. Twice! No dice. That box of checks is well-hidden. I'll probably find them in March. I'm not panicking, because I know they're in the house. And I suppose it's as good a reason as any to order new checks with my new mailing address.

Still! I hate not being to find something I know exists! Grrr....

Anywho, I'll be off to my grandparents' house in a few hours for Christmas Eve festivities. Since my roomie is going to out of state to see her family, I've got the house to myself tonight. I think this is the first Christmas Eve night I've ever NOT spent at my parents house. Just me and my cat.

Oh, and the fudge? Semi-sweet chocolate with orange extract. YUMMY!!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Top Ten Christmas Movies

Shopping is complete. Presents are wrapped. Cookies are mostly done. Still need to make fudge tomorrow. But all in all, I'm looking good (and feeling better, if I could just get rid of this daggone cough!).

One of the things I remember most about Christmas is decorating the tree with my parents and sister. My mom would string the lights. My sister and I would put on the ornaments. My dad would sit on the sofa and watch. In the background, we'd play a stream of Christmas specials - Charlie Brown Christmas, Mickey's Christmas Carol, Christmas on Sesame Street, etc... All of those old videos hold a special place in my heart.

I also try to watch my favorite Christmas movies around this time of year. Haven't gotten to many of them yet, but I thought I'd offer my top ten (and if anyone feels like sharing, please do).

1. The Ref
2. Scrooged
3. A Muppet's Christmas Carol
4. The Santa Clause
5. Home Alone
6. Mixed Nuts
7. The Family Stone
8. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer
9. Trapped in Paradise
10. Gremlins

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holiday Musings

Saturday came and went pretty darn fast. Technically, there are still five hours left, though, so not quite done. I spent late morning and early afternoon visiting my dad. Trying to offer a bit of relief from house-bound boredom. And lunch from my favorite local deli, Capriotti's. Their sandwiches are amazing--they use real chunks of turkey and beef and chicken, not deli slices. As Rachel Ray would say, "Yum-O."

On the drive home, I had holiday baking on my mind. Mostly because it's December 20th and I haven't done any, yet. In my defense, I've hosted both Thanksgiving dinner and a baby shower over the last three weeks, so I think I've done my fair share of cooking. I just love holiday baking. I love making cookies and cheesecake and candy and fudge. Especially fudge. There's this super-easy recipe on the side of marshmallow whip jars, and two of the ingredients are vanilla extract and chocolate chips--two things I love to tweak. I'll play around with extracts and chips to make fun new flavors. This year I have a bag of chocolate-raspberry twist chips that will become fudge.

At least my shopping is basically done. I need to pick up one more thing for mom/from dad, and still something for my grandmother. Wrap the last odds-n-ends, and then I'm done. Well, except for Christmas cards. I am always so late in sending those out. Always.

Oooh, the timer is beeping. Another batch of cream cheese cookies is ready for extraction!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Trailer Out

I suppose I could have saved my 200th blog post for something with a little more meaning and substance, but it's Hugh Jackman! And it's X-Men!

The trailer is out, and OMG, I am so excited to see this movie. May 1st cannot come soon enough.


SPOILERS for trailer content!

Duuuuuude, they've got Gambit! And Liev Schreiber as a young Sabretooth. And Deadpool! OMG!

And could I use any more exclamation points? Probably, yes. *g*

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Amazing (and humbling) Blurbage

Now that I've come down off the ceiling, I can share the two amazing blurbs I've received for THREE DAYS TO DEAD. For anyone curious about blurbs, take a peek at the cover of your nearest paperback. See those quotes adorning the cover, the ones from published authors, endorsing the book? That what I just got. *g*

The first is from bestselling author Gena Showalter (long time blog readers know I adore her books):

"Dark, dangerous and delectable. A fantastic debut impossible to put down!"

The second came from the lovely and talented Jackie Kessler (if you haven't read Cat and Muse, you are so missing out!):

“THREE DAYS TO DEAD is one of the best books I’ve read. Ever. Evy Stone is a heroine’s heroine, and I rooted for her from the moment I met her. Kelly Meding has written a phenomenal story, one that’s fast-paced, gritty, and utterly addictive. Brava! More! More! More!

I am so over the moon right now!

Monday, December 15, 2008

FF&F Member

I've mentioned the amazing livejournal community Fangs, Fur & Fey many times, and after joining as a Member last month, I finally posted my Intro. Come by and heckle me, if you haven't already. I'm really excited to be part of this fantastic community of writers (also a community of fantastic writers).

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Why Do Today -- Follow Up

Several follow-ups, actually.

Well, Dad was supposed to come home from the hospital today. Unfortunately, his heart went into a-fib. They got it back to normal and have him on a new drip. The doctors assured us it happens with heart patients. *sigh* We've got our fingers crossed for no more problems and getting him released tomorrow. His dog is just beside herself missing him.

I've also been thinking more about "The Dark Knight." Even before the phone call last week, watching it again on DVD just didn't feel as...awesome. The more I thought about it, the more I came to this conclusion: TDK is a movie theater experience. It translates well to the small screen, but watching it at home doesn't have the power of widescreen, surround sound. The explosions and car chases and the musical score....I didn't get the same power from those things last week, not like I did after seeing it twice in the theater. It was almost disappointing.

I wonder if anyone else felt that way after seeing it at home.

And on a HAPPY personal note, yesterday's Big Sister Baby Shower went off smoothly. I had a lot of fun and, apparently, so did my guests. Lots of compliments on the decorations and the food (YAY!). Big Sister got lots of cool gifts. I got to see some family I hadn't in a long time. I was completely exhausted after I finally cleaned up and was able to sit down. I was in bed at 10 pm, which is hugely early for me. I'd been planning this for two months; now that it's over, I still feel like there's something I should be doing for it.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Why Do Today....?

...what you can put off until tomorrow?

So yesterday (Tuesday), my dad had another morning in the cath lab, getting a balloon inserted into a clogged artery. He's had these before. No biggie, right? Until my mom calls me last night at 9:15 pm (yes, that late at night). We're watching The Dark Knight and, ironically, it's the hospital scene with Joker and Harvey Dent. I pause the movie and answer the phone. Mom asks if I have a few minutes to talk about the day. I say sure, figuring it's just a quick update, Dad's fine, blah blah.

Nope. Apparently, they found more blockages that they couldn't get with a cath, so guess what that means? Yep. Coronary bypass surgery. You know that feeling where the world just goes very still for moment? That happened. She said the surgery would be early this morning, and that she'd call when she had details.

I made it through the rest of the movie, but for all the love I have for TDK, I just couldn't pay attention. Worried all night. Worried all morning. And then I get the new message--they're postponing the surgery until Thursday. M'kay. In a way, I suppose it's good news, right? It means he's not critical, but it also means more waiting. And I hate waiting.

My awesome boss gave me the day off tomorrow, so I can take my mom out to lunch and distract her for a while. She has to do so much of this by herself, but I'm so grateful to be closer to home now and able to be there.

But you want to know the ironic part of my day? For all of the stress and worry over this surgery, I was bouncing around my bedroom tonight--got my very first cover blurb! It's an awesome blurb from a super-awesome author. I promise to share as soon as I'm able.

All in all, it's been a very mixed-up twenty-four hours.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Random Musings

I've been flittering all over the place lately, hence the lack of blogging. No one single thing I've done has seemed all that interesting, so I figured I'd save up and spew all at once.

I finally finished reading Storm Front, by Jim Butcher. Oh Harry, how do I love thee? Apparently Butcher likes to whomp on his characters as badly as I do. I adore hero who takes his licks and keeps on pushing forward. I haven't bought any others in the series, because my TBR pile can't support anymore dead trees. But I will, now that I know what other fans are raving about.

Agent Nathan Bransford is having another CONTEST. Go. Play. Enjoy.

Two agency sibs, Mai Sato-Flores and David Oppegaard, have new releases. Congrats to both!!

Dollar Tree is one of the best stores ever. Especially if you can find a massive one, like I did. Seriously.

I'm almost done Christmas shopping. Yay! Now I just need to organize and start wrapping. After the baby shower. Which is in five days. *checks list of things still to be done*

*starts to panic*

In actual writing-related news, I'm almost finished round-one editing on AS LIE THE DEAD, and it will be out to my critters soon. Woohoo!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008