Friday, January 30, 2009

This is the Post.... which I tease you incessantly. Drop hints. Dangle carrots. Play with your mind. Hahaha!

First thing's first, though. I got to see Baby Jade on her one-week birthday, which coincided with baby-daddy's own birthday. She was awake the entire time I was there, making faces, wiggling uncontrollably, and just being utterly adorable. I didn't have my camera with me (dang it!), but I'll have new pictures soon. Baby pictures. *happy sigh*

Several cool things have been developing on the Writing Home Front. One of my awesome pieces of news has to wait a bit longer until it's official, but anyone who subscribes to Publishers Marketplace (and remembers me, hehe) probably saw it.

There are some exciting changes in store at one of my favorite blog communities. Tune in Monday, February 2nd, to find out which blog and how it affects me.

I'm also preparing to potentially dabble into a kind of writing I've not tried before (and no, dirty minds, I don't mean erotica). More on that as/if it develops.

And in closing, I'd like to do my duty and remind everyone that BATTLESTAR GALACTICA IS ON TONIGHT AT 10PM EASTERN. The last episodes are upon us. *weeps*

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Thanks to Nip/Tuck...

...I'll never look at my electric knife the same away again. And being Dina Meyer, all I could think about was the Saw films.

Jennifer Coolidge, flying ashes, and the healthiest (if strangest) relationship Christian's ever been in. Yeah, just another day at McNamara/Troy.

RIP John Updike

The loss of another literary master.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Five Things I Learned.....

....on Saturday, when I hung out with one of my awesome betas for the first time.

1. Writing query letters is HARD.

2. Paying six dollars for the right chocolate bar is worth it.

3. I can walk out of a bookstore without buying a single book (YAY!). I feel guilty for leaving all of those un-adopted books behind, but I can do it.

4. There exists in the world a person called a Skimmer. The Skimmer, heretofore unknown to me, skims an entire book instead of reading it. Then they decide if it's worth it to actually read the book. Again. Now that they know exactly what happens. I do not understand.

5. The people who rewrote the Food Pyramid were wrong. The four basic food groups, in actuality, are: Protein (of which peanut butter is a major contributor), Cheese, Chocolate, and Slurpie/Coffee (we could not agree on this point, so we consider it a draw).

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Story of a Girl

The story starts with a phone call yesterday afternoon from Sister. She's been having contractions, so she's going into the hospital that night. Should deliver by Friday morning at the latest. Yay! Finally.

A few hours later, she calls again--she's progressing faster than expected, so Baby Jade will likely come along in the morning. Woo hoo! I make dinner, guzzle some coffee, and head out to the hospital. I get there around 8:30 pm. Contractions are moderately close together, but not very strong. So we watch TV, chat, and wait.

And wait.

And wait. And try to doze in very hard, very plastic chairs, by a very drafty window. The TV was on A&E most of the night, and I sort-of-watched a marathon of Parking Lot Wars episodes. Strange show. Around one o'clock they started Sister on Petocin (to induce labor). Around two, the painful contractions started, and it still took over an hour for the doc to arrive with an epidural. Sister was very happy after that.

More slow progression, but by around nine this morning she was ready to go and the pushing started. Contrary to everything you see on television, there's a lot more pushing involved in birth. An hour's worth, in this case. It's truly amazing the changes the female body goes through in order to prepare for birth. And watching a tiny life enter the world like that is truly humbling. I'm so grateful to have been a part of bringing Jade Marie Lowe into the world.

Born at 10:15 a.m., and weighing in at a healthy 8 pounds-6.4 ounces. Happy Birthday, my darling niece!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Blurbs and Babies

Another fantastic blurb has come down the pipe, and from yet another of my favorite authors.

"Action-packed, edgy, and thrilling, THREE DAYS TO DEAD is a fabulous debut! Kelly Meding's world and characters will grab you from the first page. You won't want to miss this one." -- Jeaniene Frost, New York Times bestselling author of the Night Huntress series

And on the home front, my sister's due date has come and gone with nary a sign of labor. We were shopping in Hartstrings on Saturday (adorable baby/kid's clothes), and since Sister is obviously pregnant, the lady at the counter asks, "So when are you due?"

In stereo, Sister and I reply, "Today."

I with I had a camera for the look on that woman's face. I suppose baby Jade knows it's just too dang cold right now to come out, so she's staying in where it's warm. *g*

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What Font Are You?

Found here.

Apparently I am HELVETICA.

You're an industry standard. Classic. Reliable. Okay, maybe a bit boring. But don't let the haters get you down--after all, you've still got plenty of friends who think you're the best.

I don't think I even know what Helvetica font looks like. ::off to investigate Word::

Friday, January 16, 2009

Good Night, Circuit City

Circuit City officially announced plans to close its 567 remaining stores. I admit, I've shopped in CC all of twice in my lifetime (both within the last year). The first time was when I bought my digital camera last spring, which now makes my 2-year service warranty seem a tad superfluous. The second time was last fall, because we'd earned a gift certificate rebate for...something. I think for one of our package Comcast deals when we moved.

The closings are sad (not quite as sad as closing KB Toys, because I used to love wandering their aisles as a kid), but particularly annoy me because of this quote from the linked article:

Credit Suisse analyst Gary Balter told investors that Circuit City's demise will help Best Buy cement its position as the market leader.

Best Buy makes me want to spit nails. Their customer service sucks--probably because they can't seem to hire anyone but nineteen year old boys. I went to a BB last spring during my digital camera hunt, because they had a good sale going on. Three salespeople stood chatting less than fifteen feet away from me for the entire five minutes I perused the camera section. I played, I tested, I read about the features. I even shot a few questioning looks their way. Not a single person approached me. So I left.

Back in December, I was tasked by my dad to buy a digital camera for my mom (since he was fresh out of heart surgery, he couldn't go shopping). For some reason unknown to me, I decided to give Best Buy a second chance. The camera section in this one was directly across from the front desk where there is always someone stationed. I looked and browsed and tested, and I finally picked one I liked. I stood there, looked around, waited for someone to notice me. Two people were chatting with the kid assigned to the information counter, but no one made eye contact with me.

I finally had to go over there and ask for help. The kid at the desk said he'd call someone over. I went back to wait. Stood there. Saw several of the same associates pass by me, but no one came over. I was getting seriously pissed at this point, and was tired of being ignored. I finally gave a glare at the next person to walk by me, who actually stopped and asked if I needed help. At the end of all that, the camera I wanted wasn't in stock.

So I went across the street to Wal-Mart. I found the exact same camera ten dollars cheaper, found someone to me right away, and I even got a free $10 gift card out of the deal. All in less than ten minutes.

Moral of the story? There really isn't one. Only that it sucks CC is going out of business, because I won't shop at BB again.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Awards (Not Mine) and News (Mine)

If you haven't already heard about it, check out the Urban Fantasy Land's Readers' Choice Awards and vote for your favorites! Even better, support your authors by selecting a title you haven't read yet and buying it.

A polished draft of AS LIE THE DEAD (a title I'm still not happy with, grrr...) has been sent to my agent. I'm pretty darn pleased with the story as a whole, and when one of my betas peppers the chapter breaks with "/popcorn /popcorn /popcorn" I know I've done something right.

I've also gotten the final cover copy for THREE DAYS TO DEAD. Squeeee! I don't know what the cover will look like yet, but at least I know what it'll say. Hehe.

By this time next week I'll be an auntie! Sister's due date is Saturday, but as of today she isn't even dilated yet, so..... if it comes to it, they'll induce Tuesday morning. The little bundle is already pushing past eight pounds, so she's coming out fully baked.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Free Writing Exercise

It began as a dual-purpose exercise.

Purpose #1 - Examine the backstory of one of my supporting characters, so I could better understand her current motivations. I knew a few things, but not enough. I hadn't dug deeply yet, and I was eager to play.

Purpose #2 - Word war with a friend, to keep encouraging her personal word count. For anyone not sure, Word War is something that folks do during NaNoWriMo to challenge each other. You set a period of time (half hour, hour, etc...) and you both write. Whoever writes the most wins.

So dual purposes. We started the one-hour word war at 6:45. I didn't stop writing until almost 1:30 am (minus a break for "24", although I did peck away during commercials). What I ended up with was 9553 words of backstory in about seven hours.

Talk about exhilarating. I didn't want to stop, but my eyes were about to fall out, so I picked up again this morning. The word count's jumped to around 12.5k and it's reached a point where I could stop. There's more story to tell, but it was the earliest history I needed to figure out. It lays the groundwork for this character's psychology. I haven't done this sort of free-writing in a long time. Maybe no one will ever read it, but I told her story and I'm glad it's told. I can look now at Book Two, which utilizes this character a great deal, and make her a little more three-dimensional. Add layers, now that I'm aware of them.

I love me some strong female characters, and this chick has got strength to spare.

Jack's Back (again)

SPOILERS for the 2-night premiere of 24.

Is Jack back in full-force? Yes

Did the first four hours go by too fast? Yes

Is Peter Wingfield hawt in this show? Yes

Am I glad Tony's back? Yes

Is he still bad-ass? Yes

Did I like the undercover twist? Yes

Is the show starting to make up for Season Six? Hell-to-the-yes.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Compliments From a Dog

A chihuahua, to be precise.

At work last night, I helped a very nice lady take some things to her car. She had three bags, plus a piece of boxed furniture. Since it was spitting rain and she was, er, over-fifty years old, I took two of her bags out so she could unlock the car. As we walked out, she warned me she had a chihuahua in the car, and that he barked at everyone, so I should prepare myself.

Customer unlocks the front door and puts her bag in. Little bundle of chihuahua-energy is in the front seat, wiggling and sniffing and...not barking. He was adorable, so I cooed and awed a bit while Customer put the bags on the floor. I went back inside to fetch the furniture box and loaded it into the backseat, with nary a bark from the pup.

Customer's comment went something like this: He must have picked up on your personality, because he always barks at people!

It made me smile.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Read in 2009

So you may have noticed the new sidebar, titled "Read in 2009." This is to keep me accountable for reading more this year, since I was pretty dang awful about it last year. I hadn't intended my first book to be the one I read, since I'd already started a different one. Ah, well.

I doubt I'll do this for every book, but since I keep track of things on GoodReads, I figured I'd post my first review of the year here.

Stranger Stranger by Megan Hart

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
What happens when you pick up the latest book by one of your favorite authors, intending to only read a few chapters until you're sleepy, so you can try to get some sleep even though you can't breathe laying down from a cold?

You stay up until 4:30 am to finish it.

There is something so fun and easy about the way Megan Hart writes. Her heroines are so real, so flawed, that I can't help but be drawn in. I also love that her books are all set around Harrisburg, PA, because having gone to college near there, I know the area pretty well. Local references make me grin.

Some SPOILERS be had here.

I love that, in this book, we get to catch up with characters we met in "Dirty." Especially Jack, whose scenes in "Dirty" were, ahem, seriously memorable. I was rooting for him by the end of this story, so I'm glad he got a girl of his own.

The heroine, Grace, isn't quite as emotionally damaged as previous heroines, which was a pleasant change of pace. She was my age, which was awesome, and her pop culture references made me think she could have been any of my high school friends (except for the whole funeral home thing).

And as always, there was a scene near the end that had me in tears. It can really be summed up neatly in a line spoken by Sam, the hero: One must have sorrow to truly appreciate joy.

View all my reviews.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Ringing in 2009

I had to work early on New Year's Day, so we had belated festivities last night (and way into the morning) in the form of a movie/wine marathon. And boy did we run the gamut of the surreal. We started off with Hellraiser--classic horror film. I recalled bits and pieces, but not the entire thing, which always makes for a better viewing. Then we tempered the gore with an episode of "The Dresden Files." The one with werewolves and the super-hot scene where Harry smells Heather and she looks like she's going to rip his throat out. Mmmmm...

Then (because I'd told my roomie in the past that this movie is best viewed while drinking) we moved onto bottle number two and Dancer in the Dark. The last time I'd seen it was almost eight years ago, when it first came out. Superb movie. I bawled like a baby again. By the time it was over, it was inching toward two-thirty, but neither of us was tired. So I got out my Nightmare on Elm Street collector's boxed set, and we watched Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare in its original 3-D format (the set comes with 3-D glasses!). Let me tell you, watching that after two bottles of wine is FUNNY. Of course, the movie makes no damn sense sober, so I definitely recommend my viewing method.

After that, we started looking at photo albums (reasoning defies explanation). Then, since we were in the dining room anyway, decided to finish off the third bottle of wine while removing Christmas ornaments from our dead tree. I climbed a step-stool and didn't fall. And I think we managed to successfully remove all of them, plus every strand of lights, the garland, the topper, and the tree skirt. Sweeping was left for today.

We decided the tree was acceptably naked and wandered back into the living room, where the TV had stopped showing reruns of "Three's Company" and had moved on to infomercials for male enhancement pills and, er, vaccuums. I found the remake of The Fly on AMC, and we watched that until 5:00 am, when it was decided that we should try to get some sleep.

I haven't stayed up that late in a long time. It was fun. Surreal, but fun.