Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Birthday goodness!

The first time I caught a glimpse of my youngest was at the 20 week ultrasound appointment when I was pregnant with him. "...a boy..." Who cared what the tech said other than that. The bump was real in that moment, but within minutes of her tinkering with measurements, I caught something in her face she quickly hid, but too late. Bad news. I know bad news. A person can be down the block and have bad news and I know it. His kidneys, both of them, were enlarged. "But he needs at least one good kidney," I said to her like she could change things and take back the worried look or the scary news. We watched and waited because that's all you can do when it comes to kidney issues (I learned that over the next 20 weeks and a year). 

A week after he was born he had his first invasive test. Not fun. I paced in the background as the techs tried to get him to pee. They looked at me like I was telling him to hold it and be a stinker. And then he let loose. He tagged both techs and an extra person (whatever he was there for), the equipment, and the ceiling. Despite my worry and all the other stuff a mom feels when her one week old is strapped down for a damn test, I laughed until I cried. That is my John. And it's his birthday. He's so neato.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sidekick Showcase [55] National Homeless Youth Awareness Month

Sidekick Showcase is a monthly bookish meme, hosted here by Jaclyn at JC's Book Haven. There are many secondary characters that are as great as the primaries. In some cases, the sidekicks actually steal the show and you like them better than the heroine or hero. Maybe they didn't have enough page time for how great they were. Anyone can play along! I will post my Sidekicks on the first Saturday of the month, then whichever day during the month that you would like to post yours, you can put your link in on my page. Just do the following:

• Choose a sidekick *or someone other than the hero or heroine* that you would like to put in the spotlight that fits in the week's topic
• Share a picture (if you can) and information about the character
• Give the title and author of a book the character can be found in
• Please don't include too many spoilers when describing why the character is such a great sidekick
• The day of your post, click the 'Sidekicks' link in my header and enter the link for your post. Here, you can also see anyone else that posted during the month to visit their Sidekick Showcase's as well.

Topic ideas for November are Soldier (November 10 is the birthday of the United States Marine Corps), Children (National Homeless Youth Awareness Month) or bearded folk (No Shave November).

My sidekick pick this month is Julie from the world of Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews. We first meet Julie in Magic Burns. She's a tough street kid you could accuse of being broken, but the girl never quits. Despite the total crapfest that is her life, she lights up ever scene because she is just that kind of person. I guess she's like Kate, just not beat down in the same way. I'm not sure what would have happened to Kate if she hadn't met Julie, but my guess is that Kate would have continued on the path of no attachments. She would have run from love or even the chance of love. She would have died somewhere around book 3 and then we wouldn't be biting our nails for book 8! Go Julie!

If I were to cast Julie, I'd choose Shailene Woodley (think her angsty role in The Descendants). 
Shailene Woodley - Flickr - nick step
"By Nick Step (Shailene Woodley) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons"

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Simple Pleasures

A while back I decided to write a sports book. I love sports movies. I love YA contemporary romances. And I freaking love basketball. My five year old had just joined his first basketball team. It was inspiring (and adorable).  

Obviously I needed to get into the head of my main character...meaning I had to get back to shooting hoops, something I hadn't done in over a decade. So I escaped every chance I could get and shot around. Forty-five minutes here, an hour there, and man, sore bloody fingers everywhere. I became obsessed. 

Then one day with the sun setting and the outdoor hidden away court getting dark, I tried a hook shot. I do not shoot hook shots because I sort of suck. And it dawned on me. I didn't give a shit about writing this story, not really. I didn't even have a name for my main character. I stood frozen with the ball locked in place with my feet and a scene running over and over in my head. My dad visiting from Colorado passing the ball back and forth with my son in the garage because it was raining outside. "The leukemia makes me tired," he said as he bent down to pick up the ball. Shit. 

My dad wasn't going to teach John how to play when John reached his high school years the way he taught me. Those nights on the court with my dad built a relationship I'd never had with him. We talked and laughed. One time I cussed, but we were playing 2 on 2 so it was okay. I wasn't good enough of a player to teach John. That's all I could think before I shut it down, before I gave myself the lie that a paranormal romance writer who loved the world of weird was suddenly going to go straight up contemporary. 

I shot around here and there, but it broke my heart a little each time. Then the boys were back in school. I was back at work. Life distanced me from the lie that drove me and the truth that stopped me, and the ball sat in the trunk of my car.

Yesterday after growling at my flat ball, I walked across the street and asked my neighbor if he had a pump. He did. It was the very best feeling to dribble that ball again. I smiled and shot. Maybe I bounced a little I was that happy. And then I tried a terrible hook shot and laughed. It was good stuff. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Pick me ups for your Friday!!

If you need a boost just in case it being Friday isn't enough (crazy talk!), here are a few pick me ups!
Say It, Just Say It by The Mowgli's 
I first heard this song at the end of the movie Blended with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore (fun movie). It's a dance with both arms while bouncing around and smiling kind of song.

Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt is an awesome ride! The preview and that song make it out be so dark and desperate. But it's funny too! The first time I laughed I replayed the scene because I thought I was possibly just loopy. Nope. Not loopy (people who know me don't even). And the relationship between Cruise and Blunt is a slow build. In his previous sci-fi movie Oblivion, Cruise scored with 2 different chicks even though the world had ended and the human population was close to nil (uh, I still liked it). If you want a fun, action packed movie, with tons of shit that blows up, and a dose of dark humor, jump in!

I'm late to the party, but The Mysteries of Laura is so good! Debra Messing rocks as a working mom in a tough job with a new ex-"man child" husband, two kids, and a badge. Check it out because the writing is fresh along with the snark.

And finally a book because...no because.
This looks like your typical paranormal/urban fantasy/sci-fi romance. Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews is not so much a romance as a kick ass book with a kick ass girl who kicks ass. A bit much? There's humor, family bickering/bantering, a shitty hot guy, magic, a messed up caste system, a hot guy who throws around fire so much he always ends up shirtless (don't blame him, it's his magic's fault), and to top it off, you'll fall into a mystery that only builds as the story moves along.

You all have a great weekend!! Any pick me ups you can share? Cats falling off furniture vids? Those really get me.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

When life's kicking your butt, how about a theme song? [11] Foreign language time!

Did November sneak up on anyone else? The year is almost over and I haven't been the most productive author girl. But the kids are good and I'm loving my job and it's fall! So it's all good. I've been wanting to do a foreign language song theme for a while now and here it is! I'm cheating and doing a runner up just so I can have two songs. hehe
I fell in love with Via Con Me by Paolo Conte from the French Kiss soundtrack.

And I just had to include "I Love You for Sentimental Reasons" by Karl Zero from the X-Files episode titled "Improbable" guest starring Burt Reynolds. It's one of my favorites!

How about you all? Are there any songs you love that you try to sing along to even though you have no clue what the words are?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I think middle school/puberty/7th grade homework is going to kill me.

Field with mother and young rhino - geograph.org.uk - 1007185Ever wonder how you made it out of middle school alive? My 7th grade days were not pretty, not with the cussing, bad hair phase, and determination to dismiss any and all authority. I had two best friends. One had fresh ketchup stains on her uniform shirt by the morning bell every day. The other was a living angel. Seriously a beautiful person. I had a certain rapport with the teachers. They didn't like me and I didn't like them. They actually got together and agreed to fail me if I ever turned in another paper written in cursive. Well, fine, my print was pretty terrible too. And I had an arch nemesis. She insulted me every day and I flipped her off (in my head). But I made it. Now that I'm a mom, I wonder how my mother survived my middle school years.

See where this is going? My oldest is in 7th grade. He is no longer the smiley sweet little guy who gave me pats on the back. Now he tells me, "Fine, I'll follow your lame-o rules!" He's actually very unpleasant, swears like a sailor, and can't stand anyone telling him what to do! What is that about? And school? Forget about cooperation to get him through that particular chore. Let's take his science class. 
"Will, do you have science H/W for tomorrow?" 
"Check." He checks after telling me he's tired of people bossing him around. 
"Yep." Since he doesn't have a textbook (budget cuts), I ask him what we're supposed to do. "Well Mom, you require five things to complete the task." 
"First, you need a rubber band." 
"Wait, I need five things?" 
"Yes, first you need a rubber band. Second you need wax paper." 
"Third you need a block of wood." 
"Wood? What?" 
"Fourth you need a force scale." 
"No, that's not even a real thing." 
"Fifth, you need a meter stick." Well, shit.

"Darrin Antrobus [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons"

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Feeling giddy anyone? Check out this song.

Crushing on anyone new or looking to crush on the one you've been with forever? Fall into this song (I like you by Ben Rector) and get giddy. It's a little bit of magic I tell you!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

I'm a terrible football girl

Blitz-nfl-mascotSome of you know I'm a total sports movie girl, but my mom and sister have been on a year long push to suck me into the world of the Seahawks and everything else football. I used to hang out on my computer during the games and now I growl if they change the channel to watch one of their shows before a game is over. That is not right. I'm not even sure what's happening here, but it's possible I love football. I love it when there's a loose ball and the guys just keep jumping on top of the pile. It's even more fun when the refs have to toss the players off the pile. I'm starting to have favorite players on other teams too. That has to be a bad non-football girl sign. Like Cam Newton. Wow. A few weeks ago Jon Ryan faked the other team out and instead of kicking the ball (punting?), he ran it in for a first down. I jumped to my feet, "That's just like in the movies!"

"By Doublezero at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons"

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Writers' Conference time and a few mini-reviews of some rockin stories!!!

I'm headed to the Emerald City Writers' Conference. Yay!! Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I will be in book girl heaven. I've already made a mixed CD for the long drives back and forth. The boys are already grumbling about me not being home to tuck them in. I just can't feel too bad about that because...book girl heaven people!!!

Last year I wasn't the most social girl or promotional girl either. I maybe passed out a dozen business cards. Ack! I also had to keep telling myself not to dig out my paperback in my backpack and find a quiet corner away from all the chatting. I do remember how good the food was and how much restraint it took not to get another plate of cheesecake. Oh, and one of the keynote speakers made me cry, but since I hate crying in public she made me contort my face into ridiculous expressions to keep from crying. So my plan this year is to chat, listen, promote, eat super good food, bawl my eyes out freely if the situation calls for it, and most importantly throw my business cards at as many people as possible. Okay, okay, my only real goal is to have a good time.

In the mean time, here are a few books and movies that rock the planet.

Guardians of the Galaxy! 5 STARS because this was so much freaking fun and the music is the best! The beginning is emotional, the rest is action-packed, funny, and sometimes sweet. The cast is supreme. The snark is smart and so good! I loved it. I'm going to own it when it comes out. Yep.

Divergent (the movie)! 5 STARS because I just loved it. Sci-fi/futuristic/dsytopian movies have a special place in my heart and this one did not disappoint. There weren't many surprises (even though I haven't read the book), but the story and characters compensated for that. Plus there's a sexy factor going on probably because even when you have to take a test that determines where you will spend your life, you look pretty dang good.

The Fault in our Stars (the movie)! 5 sobbing, smiling, sobbing some more STARS. Man oh man, I freaking loved this movie so much. I know I'm a terrible book girl that I like to watch the movie before reading the book, but movies, not books, offered me comfort and escape when I was a kid. It will always be that way for me, I think. This story had the most amazing characters, no villains, unless you can count cancer as a character. Maybe you can. The parents stole my heart. The love story is precious, beautiful, breathtaking, and forever.

Fanning the Flames by Victoria Dahl is such a fantastic novella and start to the Girls' Night Out series. It's sweet, sexy, and relatable. Not every empty-nester wishes her kids back home. Some are ready to let loose and this story speaks to that lying-in-wait group. Plus there are firemen. Enough said, right? 5 STARS for sure!

Daylighters (Morganville 15) by Rachel Caine is the last installment of one of my favorite series. I put this book off as long as I could and now I wish I had more pages hiding somewhere. I want more and not because Caine left us with loose threads. She did right by the fans and I am so close to starting the series all over just to enjoy it from the beginning. The gang is back with the snark and terrible life-threatening plans to save the day. The bad guys are supremely awful and deserve a manic session with the trapdoor spider that we all know and love. Who knows how the web series will be, but the book series will remain one of my top favorites. 5 STARS! Good job Caine!

Slammed by Colleen Hoover is not new to almost anyone in the blogosphere. And I am late to the party, but so what? I fell so easily into the story and even though there weren't any surprises for me I still have to get it 5 STARS because I fell in love with Layken and Will. They both chapped my hide something fierce at different times and I wanted to throw something at them, but no matter. Hoover still got me. Plus the kids were so cool! What characters.

Chained by Night by Larissa Ione is just fantastic! From the first page I fell right back into the world Ione created in Bound by Night. And never once did I feel bogged down by backstory. How did she do that? I'll have to go back and see because that's good stuff. In the set up for book 2 in Bound by Night there was a shift in the story from a great dystopian vampire story to the addition of demons. I wasn't sure at all about that. Ha! I want more of the demon now. He should at least get a novella hook up. The romance in Chained by Night was never over the top for me or too far out of the story, which happens a lot in urban fantasy. Oh, and the multiple POV's have a bit of a Nalini Singh vibe, but the style of writing is completely different. Ione is very straight to the point without too many flourishes. 5 super STARS!!

That's all I got for you. Have a great weekend!