Thursday, April 30, 2009

The booths are still open!

Are you seriously going to make me post the Break-up story? You people are so mean. Skinheads don't interest you? They don't interest me either. Which is why it was such a horrible blind date! What about a sweet first kiss story? Come on people. Romantics of the world unite. 

Let your voice be heard. Or I'm keeping my humiliation in the vault. 

Monday, April 27, 2009

Judgement's got Creativity in a Full-Nelson-Music Monday

I am my worst critique. Always have been. It doesn't matter how much praise is heaped upon my little head, I just can't get past the things I feel I don't do well. My friends say I have selective hearing. No matter how much I've done well, I only hear the critic hovering over my shoulder tearing my efforts apart. In some ways this could be a good thing. I run farther, push harder and stay motivated longer because I am always trying to prove that I can be better. And I've had a great deal of success because of Miss Judgement driving her sharp nails into my shoulders.

Lately, Miss Judgement is overstaying her welcome. It's making me tired. 

For the last year or so, I've been at war with myself as I try to learn how to write. The two sides of my personality have been locked in conflict. And it keeps getting bloodier.  

See, Creativity can't coexist with Perfectionism. She has to breath. Creativity lilts around throwing ideas, ruffling linens and dancing on the tables. And she can't do that if Miss Judgement is scolding her for scuffing the floors. The more I learn about writing, the more I learn what's supposed to be on the page and the more I worry about making it right. So, I stuff Creativity in a broom closet and let Miss Judgement dictate my entire life. In fact, there are some days when I am struggling so hard between the two halves, I can barely breath. Which is sad because my creative side is pretty darn awesome.(notice how I didn't even let Creativity use the adjective she really wanted to. I can't even blog without Miss Judgement. AUGH! )

So my song for the week is about this very personal battle from one of my most favorite bands of all time. (Sorry, had to pull the video. But here is the youtube link.) Numb-Linkin Park.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Back to the beginning

Just returned from the Storymakers conference. Made some new friends. Reconnected with old ones. And finally got to meet online friends face to face. It's so hard to come home. Not that I don't miss my family when I'm gone. I do. It's just that my writer friends understand the insanity. They know the angst of trying to come up with the perfect plot twist. And the thrill of finally nailing the perfect page of dialogue. They understand insomnia and revision headaches and wondering "Why, oh why, didn't I listen to my mom and become a lawyer?" They get these things. Because they have the same fear and doubt and insanity. They even understand how an entire bag of Dried Mangos can mysteriously disappear while writing one stupid paragraph! Okay, maybe they don't understand that.
--In my defense Dried Mangos are the best.

 (excluding chocolate

and Raffaello Almond Coconut Treats. 

I'm talking snacks that won't make my long runs feel like I'm dragging a bag of sand tied to my knees. 

What I'm trying to say is that it's so great to spend time with people who get me. Even if they're just humoring me. It always feels like the conferences end a little too soon. 

I was going to wait and post a music video on Monday, but since I am still flying high from eating gelato with Dean Lorey, Janette Rallison, Matthew Buckley, James Dashner, Eric Swedin and a bunch of other very cool writers and editors. (Shari and Karen, you missed out.) I just couldn't wait. For anybody who's ever felt alone in the world, here's to finding your bees. 


So it's time to get to work on my revision. I've let my MS Cool for three weeks. I'm feeling a bit rusty and need to get cracking on it. Apparently, the concept I'm writing about is so last week. I hate the media's modern attention span. It's almost as bad as my own. 

So, I broke down and bought a new pair of Chuck Taylor's. For revisions, you know. Because you can't possibly write without shoes. Right?


Actually, I've been feeling the need to slip more fully into my characters and wanted a pair of the coolest sneakers ever! Yeah I really don't need new shoes. But they are so in character with my book, I couldn't help myself. 


I guess it's time to get back to the beginning. Wish me luck. Send chocolate. I'm gonna need it. 

Oh yes. One more thing. The very cool Ali Cross persuaded me continue the story voting. The current frontrunner is the Breakup Story. By one vote. So Don't stop commenting. I'm not sure if I want to tell that one, since I was the one humiliated. Oh, it was so bad. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Real Kissing, Embarrassing Breakups and Skinheads...Oh why?

Okay, I promised some very cool chica's I'd blog about my very first kiss. You know the one girls practice for on the back of their hand to make sure they get it just right.  (Of course I never did that.* Ahem.* I meant other girls, with rainbow pajamas and a Johnny Depp poster hanging on the wall--I love how this sentence doesn't at date me. At all. Thank you, Johnny.)  

Anywho, I agreed that I'd blog about that kiss. The Big One. My first real kiss. And it's not one of those "I kissed a guy behind the monkey bars in the third grade" kiss either. How can a kiss count when your partner smells like purple crayon and processed cheese? No my kiss came later, when hormones had fully set in. And the guy was my first real, knock me to my knees crush. Yeah that kiss. You might have had one of your own just like it. I said I'd blog about that one.

But not quite yet. 

To tell you the truth, I think they'd be happy for me to blog about any of my blush inducing moments.  

Which is why I'm not going to post about such a personal subject until I know that said chica's are actually going to read it. So here's the challenge. Let me know what you would like to most hear about. I will list three of the most significant events of my angst riddled teen life, I'll post the one that gets the most votes. 

Gulp. Seriously, I'm not going to post a word unless I know I have a substantial readership. So you better post. A lot. Or my humiliations remain my own personal shame. 

So here are your options--In no particular order. 

My First Kiss--All of the twittery, earth moving, and yes somewhat embarrassing details. 

My Worst Breakup Story--I was the dumpee on this one. And this isn't a tear jerker, this is a "Grab a half gallon of Iced Mint Tundra Ice Cream and eat it under the kitchen table with serving spoon because your life can't possibly suck any more than this," kind of experience. 

Or my Blind Date from HELL --One word--Skinhead. 

Let my misery begin. 

Monday, April 20, 2009

Music Monday- The Reason

Don't have a lot of time today. I have tons on my plate right now, with the upcoming writers conference, forensics (speech/debate) training and auditions, papers and exams to grade, training for the upcoming 180 mile relay race, responsibilities with the youth group in my church and of course, the never ending family responsibilities. 

Still. There's always time for a story. I've always liked this video. Love the song. It was also a great inspiration for my characters. I thought you'd enjoy it as well. I mean, what's more fun; grading speeches and folding mountains of laundry or being part of a vault heist?

I don't know if you've noticed but Youtube is cracking down on embedding. You're going to have to go to the source to watch the video. Ah progress. 

Monday, April 13, 2009

Music Mondays

My name doesn't fit my personality. Seriously. When I was a kid, I'd lie in bed and count the days until I could legally change it to March or Lola--something, anything--besides Kristi. What were my parents thinking? Kristi is great for the cheerleader at the annual car wash fundraiser in cut offs and a tube top. Not the girl who turned down the hottest guy in school when he finally asked her out because it conflicted with her tickets to Othello. Doesn't that sound more like something you'd expect from a Vivianne or Rachelle?

Unfortunately, we don't get to choose our names. We're at the mercy of our parents-the same people who dressed us in bell bottoms and tube socks.

No matter where I moved in the U.S., I was guaranteed at least two other girls slapped with the same moniker. We were the original Ashleys. But that didn't stop the gym coach, A beefy women with a mullet from jocking us all down to Kris. 

The one concession was that if you have a common name, you were guaranteed a song. Right? You know, with your name in the title? Stacy, has a song. Amy and Amanda got songs. Even Rhiannan got a song. Popular names have songs.It's as important as removing your retainer and shoving it in your pocket before you kiss. If you didn't have a song, what was your boyfriend going to sandwich between Depeche Mode's Somebody and Nirvana's Smells like Teen Spirit on the mix tape? Lady in Red? *Gawk*--Sorry, just dry heaved. 

Did Kristi have a song? No. Kristine got a song. There's probably even a ballad to all the Kris' in the world. But nobody wrote songs about Kristi. Man, high school sucked. 

Until Now. 

The Offspring, has finally put the angst of Kristi to lyrics. My name is finally emblazoned in vinyl! (Actually it's digital, but you get the picture.) Apparently, the Kristy they knew wasn't really all that happy, unless references to cutting and child abuse are peppy. Maybe Kristi's aren't cheerleaders after all. Anywho, I love an angst ridden song, especially with a cute guy mooning over a girl. 

So to launch the maiden post of Music Mondays *drum roll*

 Kristy are You Doing Okay--The Offspring.   (Sorry embedding has been disabled so you'll need to click on the link.) 

Note the ode to the eighties in the music. It just doesn't get any better than this.  

Friday, April 10, 2009

It's a girl!

Well, she's about three months overdue but she's finally here, in full. I am so proud. I must admit that it was my most difficult delivery. But finally she has arrived. A 66,610 word bundle of energy. 

And you know what? It's really good. I get giddy just thinking about it. It's not the story I imagined writing ten years ago. But it's definitely a lot of fun. 

I can only relate it to the birth of my first child. For nine months I imagined Jacob's curly hair, dark eyes, and Italian olive skin. After the initial shock that my daughter was going to be wearing blue home from the hospital. I realized that you can't pin expectations on your children. Oh she was gorgeous, still is. But just different than I'd imagined. She was herself and when I first clamped onto those tremendous blue eyes, I knew I couldn't have imagined anything better. 

This book has been such a surprise. Romantic, Exciting, Funny--sometimes bitterly so--but it keeps holding on and doesn't let go. I'm so grateful my characters were so strongly themselves and sometimes fought with me on where they wanted to go. They are themselves and I wouldn't change a thing, blue eyes and all. 

It's not where it needs to be. Yet. It needs trimming and color and a complete wardrobe. But it's alive and well. And that feels really good. 

As a little gift to my readers who might be wondering about this book. Here's a video by The All American Rejects. During the writing process, this video proved very, very useful. Enjoy.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Some people I obsess over. 

The checker at Walmart who's missing two teeth, the UPS Driver who delivers packages in shorts no matter the weather, the ambitious student with the amazing smile that never quite reaches his eyes or the girl in my night class that wore a blue blouse so stunning that it actually changed the color of her eyes. I wonder about these people. These are the reasons I don't sleep. 

Now before you apply for a restraining order, let me explain my obsesssion. It's not like I rifle through their mail or follow them home from the movies. I'd like too--if it didn't sound so completely creepy. But I'm not obsessing in a fatal attraction sort of way. It's just that some people fascinate me. They leave me wanting more. I want to know what makes them tick. To peel back the layers and know what's inside. Their joy and heartaches, what topping they prefer on toast, if they have strange hygiene habits or a weird little toe. I want to know absolutely everything about them. 

I want to know why the checker is missing her teeth? What's the backstory? Why doesn't the student really smile? And how does it feel to suddenly blossom?

I used to think there was something dangerously wrong with me for wondering about people, constructing imaginary backstories and relationships and tragedies. But what I was seeking was the story. I'm writing even when I don't realize it. My mind wanders and suddenly, I discover everything about the toothless girl. What beverage she drinks and what she says when arrogant college boys carelessly mock her. Perhaps you'd see missing teeth as a character flaw or a cautionary tale on poor hygiene. But for me it all unfolds and instead of a person at the checkout counter, she becomes something more. She becomes a character. A living, breathing person inside my head whispering, waiting  for her story to be told. 

What characters do you obsess over?