Monday, May 31, 2010


So you know how on the 22nd I announced that my hiatus from writing was over? It really wasn't. I tried to get back to writing this week but it just wasn't working still. That being said, I did make some edits that I felt good about, but that was the extent of it. My re-reading of the novel was unsuccessful. It's pretty bad when the author can't make it through his own book. So I figured I needed to do some rethinking.

Yesterday I was trying to re-read again and got an epiphany that will forever change the face of the book. I'm restructuring it completely different and tightening my focus on one character to begin with: Dylan. And I'm not going with the name Dylan anymore. Her name is Gabrielle and, in modern times, she goes by Dylan because Gabrielle "is dead and means nothing to (her)." There's several contradictions with the name change so I'm going to drop the Dylan thing.

Guess I shouldn't give all my secrets away but oh well. What's going to happen is the book will be broken down into three parts. Part One focuses on Gabrielle and Sebastian. You will see Gabrielle transform from an innocent young woman to a woman in love with a dangerous man to a woman bent on revenge for the slaughter of her family. Her ultimate decision to become a vampire will be explained better. Part Two will bring us to modern times where a young man named Riley meets a ruthless and cold Gabrielle and we'll see her transform again as she tries to protect Riley's innocence. Part Three will be the showdown between Sebastian and Gabrielle's underground force.

So I guess this means the hiatus is officially over. I'm actually excited to get to writing this because I think it does more justice to Gabrielle's story.

And another clue that the hiatus is done is that I have another novel idea. I didn't want to reveal anything about this story because I don't think much has ever been done with it before. So, instead of telling you what it is, I'm just going to put some teaser covers I made last night on here and you can see if you can guess. Just let your imagination guide you.

The working title is Befall, which the idea is that subsequent books would also have titles like it i.e. Betwixt, Belittle, Between, Beget, etc. You get the idea.

Concept 1 is probably my favorite of the two...

...but I like the mystery and the colors in Concept 2.


Saturday, May 29, 2010


Here's just a smattering of random things that are going on.

1. Today I was talking to Deborah at work. Deborah is awesome, and we have a lot in common. She's a health nut too and one of her kicks is eating for your blood type. Here's how the conversation went:

Deborah: What's your blood type?

Me: 0 Negative.

Deborah: Oh, I'm AB Negative. Only 2% of the world population has that type.

Me: That's sad.

Deborah: Maybe we just need a shot of positivity. We're just a bunch of pessimists because we have negative blood.

Maybe you had to be there. It was hilarious.

2. My writing hiatus is still intact. I have tried to get back to it but find that I still have no Umpf when it comes to my novel. Stay tuned. I may try to do my other ideas but, even then, I will have to force myself to it. What is wrong with me?

3. This one has to do with #2. I can't focus.

4. I love Criminal Minds. Such a good show.

5. I'm coming to terms with the fact that 26 years old is OLD. My coworker didn't know who John Candy was today. What a sad life not to know the big man!

I told her some family favorite quotes from Uncle Buck.

What's a Shaniece?"

"They have rent-a-shoe."
"More like rent-a-foot-disease."

6. I'm getting pretty good on the guitar. Well, with the whole three chords that I know. It's been really fun. Still have no idea what to name her, but I'm not rushing that.

7. Still plugging away at The Historian. It's one of those books you that's not so much a story as it is an experience. You feel like you are right there with the characters which is a sign of a brilliant writer. More of that in my official review.

8. I just sneezed and scared my dog. It was funny.

9. Why do some girls like when a guy flirts by treating them like crap? I don't understand.

10. I need a vacation. It's been two years since I have been outside of Utah or Idaho. Too long if you ask me.

Monday, May 24, 2010

New Toy

I purchased myself a new toy today.

A beautiful new acoustic guitar!

I have wanted to learn guitar for years now and just recently decided "What's the hold up? Just do it." So I'm taking the plunge, my friends.

The jury is still out on what this beautiful piece of wood and strings will be named so if you have any suggestions, let me know!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mean Princess

Today my nephews and their awesome mommy came over for dinner. It was good, as always, to see them. Wyatt kept getting into the plants and pulling off leaves which is a big no-no. At one point, my Mom got mad at Wyatt then Gigi stood in front of him with a big crusty, scowl on her face and said this:

I am Gigi. I am the mean princess. Don't touch Mommy's plants!

Right after that she smiled all cute and walked away.

'Nough said!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Hiatus Done?

I've been re-reading my novel, trying to get back into writing at it. It's been a few weeks away from it. While I was re-reading I began to feel really down on myself because my writing could only be described as "merely mediocre." I've reassured myself and had some encouraging words from friends so I'm just going to keep going.

Well, I must say that epiphanies come in the least expected ways and places. I woke up, stumbled into the shower this morning, and, amidst the steam and hot water I had a jolt of an idea. So I'm taking this to mean that my hiatus is over with.

Write on! (ha! Notice the little play on words...I'm a dork...)

Monday, May 17, 2010

No Bake Disaster

So I've been craving No Bake Cookies for a few weeks now. My parents went out of town so I had the whole house to myself last night, so I decided to finally break down and make some delicious No Bake Cookies.

I could just taste the gooey, chocolaty, scrumptious morsels as I poured in all the ingredients and started up the stove. I stirred with my mouth watering for some sugar. The recipe I had said to boil it for THREE minutes. I thought to myself "Self, that's a really, really long time to make this stuff boil, but who are we to judge. It HAS been a while since you made these cookies. Maybe it really is three minutes." Part of me wanted to question that but I decided "What harm could it do to boil it for three minutes?"

By the time I dumped the chocolate mixture in with the oats it was an airy, bubbly mass that had made this weird mucus at the bottom of the pot. I was certain my task had failed but I had to see it through to the end.

It looked all right at first, and I thought "Hey, maybe I didn't fail after all."

Then I started scooping it out onto the tin foil. Yeah. It was cooling and beginning to take on a very crumbly, dry, nasty texture. I tasted it. It tasted decent and I was still trying to satisfy a craving, so I decided to eat one with a cup of milk to damp down the dryness. As I was doing so the thought occurred to me:

If I'm going to get fat on cookies it had better be a dang good cookie.

So I took the dried up cookies, all that wasted sugar, and dumped it in the garbage. It was a sad ending to my story but I decided that my body would thank me for it later.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hush, Hush

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Angel Feathers

Pretty sweet book cover, eh? That is what drew me to this book. When you peruse the books in the teen fiction section these days it seems they're all the same. Here's the general synopsis I've noticed. See if it sounds familiar:

Unattached, uncoordinated girl meets dark, handsome, mysterious guy. Several events push them together. Girl falls for Mystery Man against her better judgment. Girl discovers that the mysterious one is some sort of supernatural creature. Girl still loves the guy despite the danger. All live happily ever after.

Now here's the brief synopsis for Hush, Hush.

Meet Nora Grey, also known as Unattached, Uncoordinated Girl. Nora is forced to partner up with Patch, a.k.a. Dark, Handsome, Mysterious Guy, in her biology class. Things start happening. Nora hits some guy in a ski mask with her car, blows a huge dent in the car, but then she looks and the dent is no longer there. All sorts of different illusions like this take place. Throughout several other events which orbit around Patch who mysteriously pops up wherever Nora is, she discovers that he is, in actuality, an angel. Not just any angel, but a fallen angel. For some reason, she's still attracted to him even after she finds out that her fallen angel boyfriend was really trying to kill her so he could become human. (Oh hey, that contained spoilers. Sorry.)

So. Becca Fitzpatrick's novel isn't exactly original. Yeah she plays off a lot of the mythology about angels which is interesting. Most of it surrounds Cheshvah (sp?) which is a month in which fallen angels are allowed to possess a body of a Nephilim and basically be human for that month. The mythology is interesting but it seems like she just scratches the surface of it.

Vee, Nora's bff, is the most entertaining one to read. Her character comes to life for me and I actually wish Nora was more like her. Why can't the main character in these novels be a little more funny and eccentric? Why does it always have to be the girl who takes herself too seriously that ends up involved with some supernatural creature? While Nora is a reliable narrator and is a really independent thinker (unlike Bella from Twilight who becomes so obsessed with her vampire that she becomes a really weak character) she pales in comparison to her friend who has more life to her. What attracts these immortal creatures to the mundane ones? Wouldn't you think they'd want to go for the girl with more spunk? Maybe Becca Fitzpatrick will write a love story for Vee. If she does, I am so there.

I like how things all came together. There were seemingly two or three storylines going on. 1) Nora and Patch, 2) Elliot, Jules, Nora, and Vee, and 3) Nora's visits to the shrink. All of these stories combine nicely by the end, but some of it seems forced. I don't know how to explain it but sometimes Nora takes leaps in her logic and it just doesn't feel natural. As a writer, I know what Fitzpatrick was doing. She didn't know how to get the characters to a certain point so she had to force them to make silly conclusions in order to get there.

The whole Elliot thing was weird, but it made sense by the end. I won't spoil it but I knew there was more to Jules and I kind of figured he was using Elliot in some way. Fitzpatrick made that a little obvious by making Jules so quiet and disappearing all the time.

The characters are well-written enough. Patch just seems to be sort of flat. I don't really understand his motives yet because the chemistry between him and Nora isn't all that wonderful. I didn't feel it as intensely as in other books. Even Bella and Edward's lusty romance has more chemistry than Nora and Patch. Patch seems to be forced into a box though. Almost too stereotypical, nothing too surprising with him. And he never really shows emotion. Just has these dumb little smiles.

Fitzpatrick fails with creating a sense of place. There's no atmosphere. She tries. But it flops. The fog around Nora's house is too convenient. She could have done so much with that. And I never get my senses brought into the story. (This has been a complaint about my own writing so I know how difficult it is...I just figure with a published book it wouldn't be as prevalent. Maybe they just don't think teens will care. Which they probably don't...) Most of the writing relies on Nora's sight. Once in awhile she smells Patch who always smells like mint soap. She could have described Delphic more and given us a more environmental standing. During my reading of this I usually just felt like I was floating and not in a good way.

All in all, this was a decent read. The mystery aspects of the story kept me going and I actually didn't want to stop reading. While it's not literary, if you keep in mind the audience Fitzpatrick is trying to reach (watch out Twi-hards, everyone's targeting you!) then it's actually a really well-done piece of work. I give it 3 1/2 out of 5 angel feathers.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

Rating: 5 out of 5 Kidney beans

For some reason there's been an ongoing theme in the books I've read lately: the Salem witch trials. This time period is pretty fascinating to me even if it's a portion of our history that we don't really like to discuss. It wasn't us who killed all those people for supposed witchcraft. I'm going to stop that line of thought before it gets me on a tangent. Your welcome.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading this book, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't what I was expecting. Did that make any sense? Part of me thought it was going to be one of those books where they flip-flop between time periods and never really correlate the two stories. That type of story bugs me so bad. Seriously, what is the point of having two storylines if they don't correlate?

That being said, Katherine Howe's The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane may have a wordy title but at least the multiple storylines correlate. Yay, Katherine! Thank you for your intellectual insight into a devastating time in US history. Now, something I noticed was that when we first see Connie (the main character in the more modern storyline) she is basically on trial to be able to move on to work on her PhD. Butted right next to that chapter we find Deliverance Dane (the heroine during the Salem Witch trial storyline) is also on trial for witchcraft. This was an excellent move on Katherine Howe's part, starting it off right from the start to let the reader know that there were going to be ongoing similarities between the two women. Something great authors do is foreshadow without being too obvious and Howe did it beautifully.

The writing isn't drop-dead wonderful but it flows nicely and transitions well. Some of Howe's things that she does get old. For instance she continually does this, I guess you would call it, passive thing. I can only explain it by giving an example. Connie, our 1991 heroine, is sleeping and is awakened by a knock on a door and a man's voice. The man's voice belongs to Sam, who is the love interest and also someone we've already met, yet Howe makes it seem like it's going to be a stranger by the way Connie reacts. Howe does this little thing frequently, and maybe I'm just being nitpicky. Good news is: that's basically my only complaint about the novel!

Moving on.

Howe's characterization is awesome. She uses dialogue to her advantage. I liked that she didn't get too carried away with exposition or dialogue. It seemed like there was a nice balance. Connie is a likable character. Oh, just remember another complaint. Connie goes to Marblehead to try to sell her grandmother's ancient house. Does she do anything with it really? Nope. The whole book she seems to be lazing around. Ok. I'm done nitpicking. I guess it's one of those things where there's nothing obviously wrong so you just have to make something up.

Let's talk magic surrealism. There's a trick authors do (the good ones make it work to their advantage*) in which they make magical events seem like an every day occurrence. I'm not talking about Twilight in which vampires suddenly became an every day, casual reference. I'm talking about the unexplained, paranormal, magical, surreal stuff. Howe works her magical surrealism beautifully. Connie "accidentally" makes a practically dead plant come back to life with an old incantation. Connie has "daydreams" that are written as if she's seeing ghosts. These little visions become an every day occurrence to her.

I have to say this was an enticing read. It's been awhile since I've not been able to put down a book and actually got excited about the book. This one woke me up from a coma that I didn't even realize I was in. Thank you, Katherine Howe, for your "bedeviling" book.

Go out and read this one, quick, folks! You won't be sorry! I give it five out of five kidney beans.

*For examples of magical surrealism check out Jodi Picoult's Second Glance which was my first brush with magical surrealism. Also check out Ann Hoffman's Ice Queen.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Papa Made Me Sad

So I came home from work today and the first people I saw were my parents. No big deal, but usually I see Gigi first. This made me think that something was wrong. Either Gigi had gotten in trouble or she was playing downstairs or something. After I put my stuff down and talked to my mom for a minute I went in search for her.

Me: Where's Gigi?

Mom: She's here.

Gigi pops up around the corner in her pajamas and cute little pig-tails.

Gigi: (looking up at me with big, brown, puppy-dog eyes) Papa made me sad.

Me: (laughing) He did?

Mom: (carrying a bunch of Gigi's clothes to the washer) Pick up your stuff and bring them to me, Gigi, or I'll make you sad too.

Gigi: I don't make you sad, Mama, I make you happy. (After the fact I realized this didn't quite make sense but it was awesome when she said it.)

And later...

Me: (reading a book)

Gigi: Want to hide in this blanket with me?

Me: (shaking my head while reading)

Gigi: There's enough room in here for you.

Me: (shaking my head)

Gigi: See. I hide here and you hide there (spreading the blanket for me which is clearly not big enough for the two of us).

Me: I'm reading.

And just a few minutes later she's off the blanket thing and onto something else:

Gigi: Want to go to my bedroom? (This is something she always asks and something I hope she doesn't ever ask a boy in any time in the future.)

Me: (closed my book, having given up on reading with Gigi around) Not really. What's in your bedroom?

Gigi: (thinking about it seriously) Mmmmm...some clothes, toys, and beds.

Me: There's beds in your bedroom.

Gigi: Just my bed. Your bed is downstairs.

Me: Oh. I had no idea. (I should probably cool the smart alecky business with the two year old but I can't help it.)

That was a glimpse into my night with Gigi. Good times for all! She went to bed really nicely tonight which means she's been trained well. Some nights aren't as easy.