Monthly Archives: April 2015

Killer Clown Spiders (from Outer Space)!

Yesterday (or maybe Monday…I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night and my days are blending together) I instructed my PSM that if I returned from my mini writer’s retreat without a product ready to be beta-read that she was to unleash the killer clown spiders.

Even though I haven’t yet made it to Chicago, much less back from there, she’s apparently started with the subtle threats. There was a HYOOGINORMOUS spider in my bathroom this morning.

This spider (I was unable to confirm whether or not it was clownish, alien, or both) decided that it would be hilarious to play hide and seek while I showered.

Aside: I just went to this website to try to ID the type of spider, because that seemed relevant, and now I need to burn down Oregon. Sorry!

 

ANYWAY – that’s not really the point of this post. (Although the point might now be that I will not be able to return from Chicago, due to Oregon having been burned down.)

Ummm…where was I?

Oh yes, Cat sent a possibly dangerous spider after me and that makes me think her power is even more far-reaching than I’d thought.

That means I need to woman the fuck up and cut 40-45K words out of this book in the next 10 days. If I start Monday (because let’s be real here) and work ALL DAY Monday & Tuesday, then ALL DAY Thursday and Friday (Wednesday is a travel back to the burned remains of Oregon day), that means I need to cut at least 10K words/day. That’s a lot. (Suddenly overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of this undertaking. It might be easier to just rewrite the whole damn thing from scratch.)

 

Copyright:  / 123RF Stock Photo

I’m imaging this is what I’ll look like a week from Friday. Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

So, wish me luck and fortitude (and gin), because I am not willing to unleash the killer spiders on Oregon.

I’m doing it for the children. Or me. Whichever.

Book Reviewsday: The Execution

Over the weekend I attempted to recover from my reading ennui (due to too many romance novels) by reading all sorts of not romance.

The first one I read was this one:

picture is a link

picture is a link

The Blurb

Parallel lives are fated to collide in The Execution, a medieval thriller, dark adventure, and tragic love story set in fourteenth century France.

A young priest enters the prison cell of a condemned mercenary and is shocked to see the face of this murderer is his own—a mirror image of himself. Unknown to each other until now, the twins form a bond of brotherhood, sealed with their darkest secrets. [redacted because it falls perilously close to spoiler territory, but you can read the full blurb on the Goodreads page.]

The Background

The story opens with a priest going to visit a man condemned to die to offer last rites. Turns out, they’re twinsies! They spend the night in the prisoner’s cell exchanging life stories.

The priest and the mercenary were twins, but the priest was given up for adoption (i.e. left on the steps of a church) at birth and the mercenary lived with his mother until her death from the plague a few years later.

The priest, D’ata, was raised in a noble household and given back to the church when he became an adult. He was not such a good priest, it turns out.

The mercenary, Ravan, was raised in a orphanage and then later apprenticed out to an Innkeeper (who sold him to a mercenary king).  He was quite a good mercenary.

Their tales wind round 14th century France and weave a tale of romance, betrayal, violence, and desperation. In the end, they end up in the same place – prison – one of stone and one of despair.

The Review

I thought this was overall beautifully written. I was pulled into the emotions of the star-crossed young lovers, and even though I found them a bit melodramatic and more than a bit silly (the wisdom of age, maybe?) I was still engaged in their story.

Ravan’s story was much more compelling (perhaps I prefer the slow descent into darkness rather than the sappier and more Romeo and Juliet-esque type of character development) to me. His side certainly had the darker and more disturbing events – the violence and sexual assault – but recent research prejudices aside, it all came together to make him into the man he became.

There were places in which the back and forth narratives lost the thread of the story for me, especially when the narrative was taken up by someone not D’ata or Ravan.

The Verdict

I loved it. I thought the darkness of Ravan’s life and the odd twists of D’ata’s worked together to create a compelling reason why they ended up in the same place at the same time. My biggest distraction was hardly the author’s fault.  I just couldn’t help envisioning D’ata as Data.

data-b4

TWINSIES!

 

Star_ClaimStar_ClaimStar_Claimstar 3-4

(3 3/4 stars)

 

 

I will cut you…with my unicorn

When last I left you, we were collectively basking in the radiance of my awesomeness. Since there’s only so long I can milk my brief but shining stardom, I thought it might be time to come up with some new content.

Soooo – what’s been going on these last two weeks? Fuck if I remember. It’s been a whirl of press junkets and fending off the crazed and drunken groupies who came out of the woodwork when I published my essay on…post-partum depression.

Hmmm…that’s not even remotely plausible, is it?

I’ve been continuing my triathlon training, although the last seven days sucked. My legs felt like they were skin sacks filled with lead pudding. It wasn’t pretty.

I’ve been drinking wine outside (last weekend, when it was so nice) and reminding myself that I was awesome (last week, when it wasn’t nice and I was über stressed). I threatened to stab a lot of people with my unicorn. I’m not sure if that actually alarmed anyone. (It should’ve.)

IMG_1140 IMG_1141 IMG_1144 unicorns

Yeah – I have a LOT of jpgs for unicorn stabbings. Maybe someone should be alarmed.

I made a hyoooge decision last week that I’m not ready to talk about yet. Give me a couple of weeks, and then you call all be enraptured by the anti-climacticism of that decision which will not be interesting to anyone. At all. Ever.

I’ve been taking a ballet class (my fifth class is tomorrow night). My tri coach is deeply skeptical of the wisdom of doing this (and then not telling her about it) during my half-iron(wo)man training. BUT BUT BUT there’s wine after the dancing, so it’s practically active recovery. Except for the part where my hips and knees hurt after and I can’t drag my ass out of bed on Wednesday mornings to run. (Hmmm…maybe the coach knows of which she speaks.)

Ballet bonus – it’s on my life list (#44), and now I can cross that off, even if I have to drop out half way through.

The project I’m working on with my PSM is slowly sapping my will to live read. For the first time in my entire life I find myself procrastinating reading instead of procrastinating BY reading.

I’ve pretty much gone from this:

This is how I USED to feel about books

This is how I USED to feel about books

To this:

ARGHHH! My eyes! Why was that scene in there?

ARGHHH! My eyes! Why was that scene in there?

To this:

Again? Really?

Again? Really?

To this:

prince-doves-cry

 

And that should pretty much bring you up to date on my life, through the magic of amusing pictures I’ve found on the internet.

 

Hold me and tell me I’m pretty…pretty talented

Okay, internets. Today is part three of a three-part scary thing that’s been happening this year.

Scary Part 1: The First Scare

In January, I sent an essay off to a real publication in the hopes that when they rejected me, it wouldn’t be too harsh. It was a second submission for this essay, and I’d reworked it mightily since its first rejection.

I then promptly put it out of my mind and did my best to forget about it. I put a reminder in my calendar to maybe follow up in about 8 weeks and then deliberately thought of other things. (Like impromptu trips to South Dakota.)

Scary Part 2: The Elation-Laced Scare

Less than two weeks later, I got an email from the Editor-in-Chief of the magazine letting me know that my essay had been selected for publication. She also said many nice things. I was pretty freaking excited. I’ve had a couple short short fiction pieces published in “inaugural issues” of publications that had, at best, about 3 issues. This publication has a leetle more staying power. Also money. They have money.

Then, an editor was assigned to work with me to make my essay better. That was terrifying. And awesome. And she really did make it so much better. It was my first experience working with an editor and it was great. Scary.

We did two big rounds of edits and a couple little “clarifying questions” type of edits. All of the easy things she did (like punctuation stuff and consistency stuff) was easy. It was the hard questions of “how were you feeling when this was happening?” and “can you make that more” that were the scary bits.

And now, a couple of months later, here we are.

Scary Part 3:The Scarening

So, today is publication day. My essay has been published. It is out there on the “Web Exclusives” section of this magazine’s website. With my words and my name and my author bio at the end.

In addition to it being scary because they’re my words, the essay is deeply personal.

But now, I’m going to put on my big-girl pants and share the link. This is both exhilarating (I’m an author!) and frightening (you might judge me!).

I feel that logically, other people liked the writing enough to publish it, so it’s probably not horrible. But logic is not working on me right now.

Deep breath.

My essay (currently one of four on the mag’s home page…ahhhh!) published in Brain, Child’s web exclusive section today!

Check out the amazing illustration they selected!

Check out the amazing illustration they selected!

 

Thirty-six (36!) Months with Alvie Bean

Dearest Bean,

Today you are three. I am blown away both by the fact that you’ve seemed three for ages and that you’re already three.

You are such a little person! You have opinions (so many opinions) and thoughts and preferences. It’s crazy.

Birth Day!

Birth Day!

You challenge me. Continually. Both with your questions that I cannot always answer (“But mommy, how does the piston work?”) and your behavior which is very demon monkeyish from time to time.

1 month old

1 month old

You are simultaneously fearless and fearful and already Mommy’s kisses are not enough to scare away the bad things in the dark. “Your kisses are broken mommy. I still scared.”

Two months old

Two months old

I look at pictures of you from those first months when you were a squishy lump of love that scared me more than delighted me and I’m amazed at what you’ve become.

Three months old.

Three months old.

I want so much for you and it’s hard to start letting you choose your own adventure. Especially when that adventure is 100% cake based.

Four months old

Four months old

You love to laugh (“Mommy, let’s laugh together, okay?”) and to make others laugh. You are a tiny ham and a miniature stand-up comedian.

Five months old

Five months old

You like to do yoga with me every night before bed. I like to believe that it helps you calm and center yourself so that you can sleep (knock on wood, that’s going really well lately), but I think you just like to stick your butt in the air and wiggle it around.

Six Months Old

Six Months Old

You are so very smart. You recognize a lot of words, regardless of context (Open, stop, exit, your name and the names of all your classmates) and have memorized a couple of books so that you can read them to your Lightning McQueen.

Nine Months

Nine Months

In fact, your intelligence is such that I occasionally forget that I’m talking to a preschooler with insufficient frontal lobe development and try to use logic when there is no logic to be had. I get frustrated almost as much as you do when I’m trying to explain a complicated concept (like why we don’t go to school naked).

One Year old!

One Year old!

You teach me, more than anything, patience. Not just patience with you (although I need that a LOT), but patience with me. It’s easier to be kind to myself when you’re watching.

1 1/2 Years

1 1/2 Years

You love books almost as much as I’d hoped, and only slightly less than you love your trains. OMG your trains! Your favorite show is Dinosaur Train (thanks be to Freya that we’ve moved on from Daniel Tiger) and you know your favorite episodes by heart. You build train loops that stop in the Cretaceous Time Period. TIME TUNNEL APPROACHING!

Two Years Old

Two Years Old

In the last year you’ve grown almost a half a foot (last fall was crazy! you’d wake up complaining that your legs were broken). It’s slowed a bit now, probably because you refuse to eat dinner most nights. The other day you took four bites of the soup I’d made and I almost called the national news to let them know. I hope that means we’re approaching the end of the “I won’t try new things unless they’re fruit or chocolate” days.

2 & 1/4

2 & 1/4

Your memory is amazing, but your sense of the passage of time frankly sucks.  (“Mommy, we went camping at the lake last night and I had a walking stick and we slept in a tent.” “Mommy we went to a party at that building last night and I saw…[exhaustive list of every single person we saw at the party. In December.]”)

2 and 1/2

2 and 1/2

You are amazed at all the wonderful things we can see and learn. You love to look at books that are far beyond your age level and ask questions about the pictures. We looked at a Childcraft book on “Our Bodies” the other day and you asked a lot of questions (“I want to see your bones and blood, Mommy. Take them out.”) and made some very astute observations (“Mommy, those people don’t have penises or vaginas. Are they broken?” “No, just desexed for the kids, I guess.” “Mommy, where are the books with penises? I read those books.”)

Fashionista

Fashionista

You have very strong opinions about your favorite colors (pink and red and orange) and the clothing you wear. You dress yourself (with help) most days. Your fashion sense and mine don’t always mesh, but if it makes you happy to wear your Christmas pajama pants with a Spiderman shirt, who am I to argue?

I grow my hair long so I can have more ponies!

I grow my hair long so I can have more ponies!

When I asked you what you wanted for your birthday, you said you wanted a Dinosaur Train Cake and a beard.

With pink frosting and sprinkles.

With pink frosting and sprinkles. Beard forthcoming. No, really.

These last three years have been amazing and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. At least not today when you’re being amazing.

My favorite kiddosaurus rex.

My favorite kiddosaurus rex.

This morning, you were delighted by your birthday shirt, blown away by the Dinosaur Train cupcakes, and demanded that I sing “Happy Birthday” to you.

I love you like crazy, Bean. When you open your arms and say “Oh, Mommy. I love you. I’m so glad you and me are friends. Let’s cuddle,” I die.

IMG_0828

Happiest of birthdays, my darling.

Love,

Mommy