Friday, January 29, 2010

And the Insanity Continues

I am waving my freak flag pretty wildly right now by even posting this on my blog, but I have to share my excitement.

I purchased Tori Amos' album Strange Little Girls today. I had heard it years ago and really didn't like it, but that was when I was just being introduced to the world of Tori. Now I cannot get enough of it. This is an album of covers. She covers everyone from Eminem to Pink Floyd.

Not only that...I went a little crazy and went through her live albums and bought songs I had never heard before as well as even more covers. One of my favorites is her cover of "Father Figure" by George Michael.

Anyway...I will put the freak flag away.

For now.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hilary & Tom's Wedding

Last weekend I went to Utah for my cousin's wedding. This was my first trip out of town since the frantic, hectic, tiring, and somewhat stressful (not to mention the drama) Christmas season at Deseret Book. Needless to say (I hate that prefix simply because if it's really "Needless to say" why say it? That's beside the point) I was seriously in need of a break. So I was actually more excited about the getaway than I was about the wedding. But it turned out to be a good time even with the wedding. ha!

We drove down Friday morning. Gigi was a good girl even though she was suffering from stomach problems. She kept entertained watching Snow White and sleeping on the trip down to Utah. I was happy as a clam because I just read most of the way and never looked at the road. It's amazing how un-stressful it is to be the passenger.

On the way down we ate at a diner in Flying J. It was really questionable but I told myself not to be a pain. The sandwich was pretty good that I had there but I kept checking to make sure the chicken was all the way cooked and such. Yeah, it was that kind of establishment.

Once we got to the hotel we got settled in and then did a quick shop at Target. Then we went to my Uncle Brian's house. I got to see Ashley, Brian's son and my cousin, whom I have not seen in at least five years. He is in the Navy and is now back in Utah as a recruiter. I've always been really impressed by Ashley and have looked up to him for most of my life (not because he's taller than me. He really isn't much taller than me). So it was really good to see him again. I hardly get to spend a whole lot of time with Brian and his family. They are an awesome bunch.

That night we had a big dinner at a Mexican restaurant. It was really good food. I was slightly worried when we got to the hotel because we were just going to go to bed. Spicy food then immediate bedtime? Never a good idea. So I passed about an hour or so just reading until I figured it was safe to sleep. (I'm weird, I know).

The next day was the wedding day, but the wedding wasn't until 3PM. We killed time by going to Cabela's and Costco.

The wedding ceremony and reception were both at a country club where Hilary works. It was a really nice place, certainly one of the nicer places I've been in a long time and I think it was mostly because of the formality of it all. I thought that was interesting because Hilary and Tom and the rest of the family/friends were very informal about the whole thing.

Hilary looked great. She looked very happy. I also got to see Hilary's mom, Brian's ex-wife, Tracy. She also looks really good and seems to be happy. I had seen her a few years ago when I randomly stopped by her house when I was in St. George. Good times. My dad did married the couple and did a really good job.

I took some pictures of the wedding. We stayed for about an hour of the reception and then hit the road, heading back to Idaho. It was too dark for me to read on the way back home so I ended up watching The Neverending Story which I haven't seen in ages. That's a great flick.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the wedding.

Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Tom and Hilary Nunnelly!

Aunt Tracy with her sons Ashley (left) and Reggie (right).

The whole crew.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Before & After

Ok so I know this is long overdue but I wanted to show off.

This is me BEFORE at a hefty nearly 200 lbs:

This is the photo that motivated me to lose weight.

And this is me AFTER at a nice 175 lbs:

Update on the Novel

I am currently undergoing a major rewrite of the rough draft of my novel. The current working title is "The Shepherd of the Damned." I wish I could take full credit for the title but I can't. It comes from a song by Breaking Benjamin.

As of right now, I am on Chapter Four and the story is taking a completely different direction than the original. I am becoming a firm believer in rewriting and revising because the story has only gotten better. A friend of mine said that this rewrite is of a "higher caliber" than the rough draft. I am very excited for this change. This rewrite will be the last as far as major revamping. After this I am going to go back and fix the errors and then send it off to publishers. This has been a long and arduous process but one that will pay off in the end. Hopefully.

Above is the latest mock cover I made. A big part of the rewrite has been the change of setting. Instead of taking place mostly in Middlebury, Vermont it now takes place in Bradenton, Florida. This is a move that makes sense in several ways. 1) I've never been to Middlebury, VT. 2) I lived in Bradenton for six months so I am more familiar with the area. 3) Middlebury College, I found, will not work because they require their students to live on campus. That just won't work with my story. It will be interesting to have a vampire story in the Sunshine state. The irony!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Booyeah I've already finished two books this year! I'm already a step ahead of last year! By this time last year I was just starting Picture of Dorian Grey. I am going to keep telling myself it's not weird that I keep track of when I read books and such. I'll just hide my little journal I keep of the books I've read. I'm not crazy. Ok?

There are few books that I hate to finish because I don't want them to be over. This trio of books by Cassandra Clare was one series I did not want to finish because it meant that I could not be in that world any more. So I dragged out the last chapter and epilogue over a couple days. The more practical side of me kept thinking "Just finish it, Jake! It's driving me nuts!" Ok, maybe I am crazy cuz my "practical side" speaks to me by name. Make the voices stop!

Now, I will give a warning about these books. There is a certain point in the plot (and it's a HUGE part of the plot) that can make some squeamish. I'll just say it (SPOILER ALERT!): The two main characters fall in love, right? But then they are told that they are brother and sister. It's a huge letdown at the end of the first book because they have such great chemistry. Never fear though. Clare hints that something BIG is coming that will allow the two to be together. I won't give that away. You have to just read the books! Trust me, it's worth it.

I usually would hate a book that had anything with incest in it because, come on, that's GROSS! But Clare handles the story so deftly and magically that you don't care. You just want them to be together. Her writing is beautiful. I'm still floored by some of her very vivid descriptions.

This last installment in the trilogy takes place more in the Shadowhunter world of Idris. The City of Glass is Idris. It is enthralling to see this world completely unfold that had, before, only been talked about and shown in glimpses. You can tell Clare has fun with sharing her City of Glass with us. Some elements of the story are predictable but then Clare throws in some exciting little twists to make it worth it. She doesn't pretend that her reader is dumb and doesn't know what is going on which is quite a breath of fresh air for the teen fiction genre.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I am going down to Utah tomorrow for my cousin's wedding which will be a good event. It sounds bad but I'm more excited for the time off work. I get today off in which I get to just do whatever: change the oil in my car, go to lunch with my friend, get a haircut, go on a date, etc.

Let's hear it for not having to work for a few days! Granted, I will not like the next paycheck, but my mind will be able to do some recharging so it will be worth it. And I plan on working on the revision of my novel as well. (It is going superbly, by the way.)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

I just finished the second installment in Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments Trilogy. Clare's writing is magical. Her descriptions are vivid and paint a colorful picture of this Invisible World she has created. I love the way she has combined religion and myth in a believable and fantastic way.

Rather than go off on the plot and summary and characters, for this book review I am going to share a couple favorite quotes. The dialogue is witty and just fun to read.

..Have you fallen in love with the wrong person yet?'
Jace said, "Unfortunately, Lady of the Haven, my one true love remains myself."
..."At least," she said, "you don't have to worry about rejection, Jace Wayland."
"Not necessarily. I turn myself down occasionally, just to keep it interesting.""

"'We came to see Jace. Is he alright?' -Clary

'I don't know,' Magnus said. 'Does he normally just lie on the floor like that without moving?'"


"I was alive when the Dead Sea was just a lake that was feeling a little poorly." Magnus Bane


"I don't want to be a man," said Jace. "I want to be an angst-ridden teeenager who can't confront his own inner demons and takes it out verbally on other people instead."


"'the cuckoo bird,' she said. 'You see, cuckoos are parasites. They lay their eggs in other birds' nests. When the egg hatches, the baby cuckoo pushes the other baby birds out of the nest. The poor parent birds work themselves to death trying to find enough food to feed the enormous cuckoo child who has murdered their babies and taken their places.'

'Enormous?' said Jace. 'Did you just call me fat?'

'It was an analogy.'

'I am not fat.'


"That does it," said Jace. "I'm going to get you a dictionary for Christmas this year."
"Why?" Isabelle said.
"So you can look up 'fun.' I'm not sure you know what it means.""


"Mom. I have something to tell you. I’m undead. Now, I know you may have some preconceived notions about the undead. I know you may not be comfortable with the idea of me being undead. But I’m here to tell you that undead are just like you and me…Well, okay. Possibly more like me than you.


‘Well, I’m not kissing the mundane,’ said Jace. ‘I’d rather stay down here and rot.’
‘Forever?’ said Simon. ‘Forever’s an awfully long time.’
Jace raised his eyebrows. ‘I knew it,’ he said. ‘You want to kiss me, don’t you?’


"The boy never cried again, and he never forgot what he'd learned: that to love is to destroy, and that to be loved is to be the one destroyed. (Jace Wayland)"


That is just a taste of the witty dialogue found in Cassandra Clare's books. I highly recommend them. Jace, Simon, and Magnus Bane are the funniest characters I've come across in a long time.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010: A Year of Goals

New Year's Resolutions for 2010:

1. Finish second draft of the novel, do rewrites and revisions as needed, and have it ready to be sent to publishers. (I am currently working on setting an actual date for when I want to have this done.)

2. Travel like crazy! I currently have the option to go to either Hawaii or Europe (I will most likely choose Europe) and I am planning on going to several other places within the US.

3. Get a new job. I need to get out of retail and Deseret Book fast because this situation is not good for me right now.

4. Stay in shape, keep working out, lose at least 5 more lbs. I actually want to focus on getting a little more ripped now, possibly bulk up a little but have a nice toned shape.

5. Be unafraid to try new things.

6. Do more service. Random acts of kindness are the best.

7. Pay off my car loan! Yes! It should be all paid for by July but I want to get it paid for earlier than that.

8. Find someone to love, but not rely on that to give me happiness.

9. Do Jacob-Gigi dates like Brittany wanted me to do. I've been slacking on it. Britt always mentioned that I should take Gigi out once a month.

10. Organize my life!

That is all I can think of at this juncture. I will add more as time goes by I'm sure.

Hope this year is one of happiness, blessings, and growth for everyone. Love you all!