Showing posts from 2012

Secret of Eternal Youth

I've seen a ton of news articles lately about exercises and food that "keep" you young.  Eat more veggies, the articles scream. Do more ab exercises, they urge.  I guess everyone is searching for eternal youth.  But in reality, the people who seem the "youngest" to me, even in their old age have a young attitude.  The people that seem old to me are the ones that are bitter, are cold, and find fault with everything.  If you want to be young, keep a positive outlook.  I look to my children.  Awe, wonder, delight, anticipation, hope, enthusiasm, forgiveness, love are all emotions that keep you young.  Want to be young?  Forget the broccoli and the crunches, let us all be like our children.

James Dashner

Trying to remember what she said she wanted to be when she grew up. James Dashner of Maze Runner fame came to St. Louis!  We took the family!  He asked the audience for what they wanted to be when they grew up.  My son enthusiastically replied, "A ninja!"  The whole audience laughed and my son cried.  He thought they thought he was being silly.  He was perfectly honest.  He wants to be a ninja when he grows up. His new series the Infinity Ring is about these kids time travelers who go back in time and fix breeches in time.  The first one starts with in the French Revolution 1789.  Must be pretty good, I haven't been able to get a hold of it to read it since everybody else (read husband and nine year old) are reading it!  Need some ideas for Middle Grade and YA fiction?  Check out James Dashner.

The Eyes Have It

Whenever I think I'm doing pretty good, cleaning my house, ensuring homework is done, sending birthday cards and thank you notes, something always happens.  It's like a little test.  "Things are going well are they?  Let's try this one on for size."  It's like I'm in my own personal Hunger Games arena, except I don't have to fight anyone to the death.  This week, and probably for the next two weeks I will be legally blind.  Last year, my son decided to exercise his Hulk-like strength and snapped my glasses in half, right at the bridge.  No matter how I tape them, they still fall apart in the middle.  That was fine, I had my contacts.  Glasses were for early mornings and late at night.  but last night, that all changed.  I was scratching my contact, there had been some build up along the edge of my contact, probably from crying so much, and I was scarping it off with my fingernail as it was irritating my eye.  Well...I guess I don't know my own stre

Why Job Searching is Like Dating

It's official!  My husband will be done with school.  We shall have to pass into that uncharted world of Job Searching. Job searching.  Sending out feelers, doing research, writing a CV, interviewing, looking and trying to show my best self.  Hm....this reminds me of something I've done before.  That's right!  Dating! Phase one: Sending out feelers In the dating world, whether you're fresh set of legs at a new school or just off a painful breakup, you have to do this initial step to form a relationship.  Seeding out the feelers is telling the world you're available.  That means you go to parties, you smile, you remember that hottie's name from your biology class. Phase two: Doing research (aka stalking) In this age of Google, Twitter and Facebook, you bet employers are doing background research on prospective employees and so should you!  Anybody in your dating pool is fair game for stalking.  Facebook, what a great invention for dating in this age.  Y

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Ok, I know I've said it on here before that I don't like fantasy boy book.  I think I've changed my mind.  I love these books.  We listened to the first three books via audio while traveling cross country.  I found myself laughing out loud, and looking forward to getting back in the car so I could hear more!  The eight book series, the eighth book just coming out this year, is about a boy-genius who continues in the family business of ill-gotten gains.  But there is a fantastical element.  It all starts when he decides to kidnap a faery for the ransom and starts a relationship with the Underground World of magical beings.  His writing is crisp, clever, and hilarious.  Check him out!


There is probably no human emotion that is more damning to my personal growth than jealousy.  It is something that impairs my creative process, my chi and my spirituality.  Yet, it is so hard not to read about someone's smash hit success and not feel the smothering green emotion.  As a writer, I can never become that which I envy.  Negative emotions do not produce good fruit.  How do I overcome these emotions?

Phrases That Have Changed My Life

"You have been called to serve as a missionary in Switzerland, Geneva..." "Will you marry me?" "Yes." "There's two pink lines.  That's positive, right?" "Congratulations, you are no longer pregnant." "I present the graduating class of 2002!" "I present the graduating class of 2005!" "You've been accepted to Washington University..." "It's positive." "It's positive."

Why I write novels...

I think about this topic so often, I'm surprised I haven't actually written a post about it.  This is a good question.  Why do I write?  Why do I skip sleep, sacrifice social interaction, food, just about every basic need a person could have to write?  There is only one answer:  Because I have to.  Writing for me is an art.  Artists are passionate to create what they see, feel or hear and then share what they see, feel or hear with others.  I've always loved making people laugh and cry.  That's why I gravitated toward theatre in my youth.  Writing is an extension of that.  And it's a cheap hobby. The other reason is for me.  I use my novels to work out my demons (I have many), express feelings I may not want to deal with in any other form, maybe even discover feelings I didn't even know I had.  Writing helps me release those feelings, deal with them and move on.  It's pretty cheap therapy.

Jodi Picoult comes to St. Louis!!

 Jodi Picoult speaking to many attendees at SLCL. Ms. Picoult and her daughter signing "Between the Lines" their collaborated YA novel. So, I have a confession to make.  I've never read anything by Jodi Picoult.  In fact, I had to Google her name to find out what's she written.  She's written some 20 books, some you may have heard of since they made it to the silver screen, like "My Sister's Keeper."  What drew me to this event, and to buy the book, was this sweet notion of a mother-daughter writing team.  How awesome would that be to work on a project with your daughter!  That would rock!  I hope my daughter wants to write when she's a little older.

Sum, Sum, Summer Time!

Bathing suits are hanging in the shower to dry.  I smell the suntan lotion and bug spray when I sniff my kids' skin.  Yup, my favorite season is here: summer!  Long days, sleeping in, BBQ, there is so much to enjoy in summer.  I love it all.  Except one thing:  Getting rid of unwanted body hair.  Can we side with the Europeans on this?  PLEASE?  I dread going out in public in a bathing suit, not because I'm flabby (I am), not because I have stretch marks from three kids (boy do I ever), but because I'm so afraid I've missed that one patch of hair behind my right knee.  Sorry, but I think the Europeans have it right on this one.  I don't understand the logic of why girls have to be hairless and smooth.  That's Hollywood.  That's the airbrushed look.  Why is it that men can strut around with a thick carpet of chest and (ew) back hair and it's okay, sexy even, but if a girl has one curly black hair sticking from her thigh, it's worthy of National Enquir

Love Conquers All

I watched Roman Holiday a few days ago.  You know the black and white romantic comedy classic, with shining star Audrey Hepburn and the impressive Gregory Peck (you have to say his name in a bass voice).  I'd seen it before, but this time, I can't help but be so sad a the end.  I mean, we know from the beginning that she's a princess.  And a princess and a reporter could never get together.  But there is still something terrible that happens within me, a heartache, a longing when Audrey Hepburn puts on her stony regal face and chooses duty over love.  Shouldn't love conquer all?  I am such a hopeful (not hopeless) romantic, that I have to rewrite the ending to the movie, where she abdicates and lives a humbler, yet happier life as a struggling reporter's wife.   They'd have to be happy.  Love has to conquer all.  To you, what is more satisfying ending to a movie or a novel?  Realistic endings?  Or romantic ones where the two lovers live out their destinies toget

Oh Crap!

So apparently "chick-lit" is dead.  See here "Pub Rants" by Agent Kristen Nelson and here an interview with another agent I researched.  That totally stinks.  My guess, from some of the comments on Kristen's blog, is that readers want something more substantial than dating and drinking, shopping and s-e-x.  Depth.  They are looking for depth.  I can give them depth, but how do I get past the stereotype of frivolous fluff?

I Covet

I really do covet.  I meet people with personality traits I wish I had, and I covet them.  And then I try to implement those qualities in my life.  I went to a party over the weekend and met a new friend with an attribute that is so enviable: she was encouraging.  I told her how I've written four novels but have not yet made a serious attempt at publication. She was so enthusiastic for me to put myself out there, asked me for my website address, asked me what kind of books I write, even assured me I had the personality to succeed--such ego fluff!  I'd just met her 15 minutes before and she believed in me!  I want to be a friend like that.  All of us seem to be trying to accomplish a difficult task.   We could all encourage each other a little bit more.  Be that friend -- the one who has a positive word, who believes in dreams against all odds.  And guess what I'm doing today--I'm writing query letters!  Believe in the impossible dream!

Chick Flick vs. Bromantic Comedies

How can you tell the difference between a chick flick and a bromantic comedy?  Both have romantic themes, but one girls babble about for hours afterwards. The other, the girl comes out feeling cheated like she'd spent two hours trying on clothes and coming home empty handed.  So what is the difference between the two types of movies?  First clue is see who picked the movie for date night.  If it's the guy, uh-oh, it's probably a bromantic comedy.  Certain actors send up red flags as to what kind of movie it is (Adam Sandler doesn't do Jane Austen).  Usually, you can identify them by the tropes that run through each of these movies. If you see this popular trope: Average Girl does something absolutely embarrassing right in front of Hot Guy, in my fantasy it's Chris Evans.  He finds it endearing, attractive even.  There is "funky chemistry."  There may be some fighting where the Average Girl treats Hot Guy like dirt.  They are separated. It seems not &qu

Great Suffering Makes Great Fiction

I have to say the last few days have been some of the hardest in my life.  I won't go into the dreadful details of my boring life, because we all suffer and because trials are meant to be shared, not compared.  As I was prostrate, crying huge sobs this week, feeling regret, pain, stupidity, guilt, I came to a realization.  I realized that suffering made me a better writer.  Not only have I earned greater depths of understanding, compassion and skepticism, I learned another great truth: Everybody loves to read about somebody else doing something stupid.

Sucess=passion, persistence, talent and...

When I was in college, I majored in theater.  I know, shocking isn't it?  Now that you've recovered, I have to tell you about something I learned while at a theater competition in California. I went to a workshop titled something like, "Do you have what it takes?" to see if I could make it big in theater.    The lady who taught the class lectured then gave us an oral questionnaire of things we needed to make it big.  She should know, she had a bit part in the Young and the Restless.  I dunno.  To me that didn't sound like wild success. But who was I to argue with someone actually making a living in my chosen field?  I found her lecture interesting and worth my time as I came away with several precious nuggets of wisdom. First, I decided I didn't want to do professional theater.  I didn't have the passion or persistence and my talent was only so-so.  Second, you need passion, persistence and talent to be successful in any profession.  Third, there is one

How a shrinking economy can shrink our wastelines

As gas hit four bucks a gallon today, I struggle to find a positive spin.  Then, I thought, maybe this will help me get skinny.  How?  Well, when gas prices go up, so does the price of everything else.  At my local farmer's market, I literally see them changing price tags as I shop.  Wow, that 5lb bag of apples was 5 bucks when I walked in and now is 6?  That's amazing.  When you are on a small budget, there are usually a good deal of fixed expenses, mortgage/rent, car payment, utilities etc.  There is one flexible expense and that is food.  We can either cut back on quantity or quality.  And make sacrifices.  We buy a smaller portion of pasta instead of going to Macaroni Grill. Both may trim us.  The other secret stores employ that help us keep fit, is to keep prices the same, but reduce the amount.  Remember when ice cream used to come in half gallon cartons?  No more.  You'll be hard pressed to find a half gallon of mint choco-chip.  For the same price you'll get usu

Stuck in a rut

I heard a story the other night about a frog stuck in a rut in the middle of the road.  You know the kind made by heavy cars in a muddy lane.  His friend came by, saw that he was stuck and asked him, "Do you need help getting out of that rut?  It looks pretty deep."  The frog replied, "No, I'm fine."  The next day, the friend saw the frog out of the rut, by the side of the road and said, "How did you get out of the rut?"  The frog said, "Oh, there was a car coming so I jumped out." Sometimes, I know this is true of myself, we sit in a rut until it is absolutely necessary to get out.  So I'm trying to create a "life and death" situation to motivate me to get out of my rut.  Some ideas to get me out of a rut: Change my routine Take a risk Think of others Service Start a new hobby Stop procrastinating Call a friend Do something with a friend Teach a child (or someone else) a new skill Anyway, I'm just trying to ke

True Story

Although this is a true story (I have witnesses!), I cannot verify the veracity of the comments or opinions of the people in this story. A few months after we were married, my husband and I were walking to school (we were both still undergrads).  I was wearing an okay outfit, sunglasses and a wide-brimmed straw sunhat.  Though September, the Arizona sun was still brutally unforgiving.  Anyway, I felt dorky wearing the sunhat around campus.  Nobody wore hats, except baseball caps, but I was tired of the radiant heat burning my face to a crisp.  So, I had this big grin on my face, feeling a little silly that I was wearing this huge hat in public, and to school no less!  Just as we reached campus, there was a group of boys lolling about, skateboards in hands.  Before passing, one of the guys said to us, "You are a lucky guy!"  My grin got only bigger.  I was sure those guys were teasing Rob, and I waited to hear riotous laughing as soon as we passed, but there was none.  My hu

All I need to know I learned before Kindergarten

So, my middle child is all registered for kindergarten.  We opted not to send him to preschool as he is one of those active, imaginative boys that probably needs more sunshine and dirt than letters and numbers.  But questions keep me up at night, like did I teach him enough?  Will he make friends? Will he be successful?  Will his teacher love him as much as I do?  He's learned so much in the first five years being home.  There are so many life skills we learn before we go to school,  more than just don't eat your boogers and don't pass gas in public.  Home is really where we learn those vital skills like getting along, taking turns, principles of work, cooperation, patience.  It's hard to let go of something you've nurtured and cared for all this time.  I just want to keep him close and savor these few last moments of childhood.

Be Grateful for the Little Things

I think one of my  most favorite things in the whole world is seeing a baby's face fresh and clean from a bath.  I love the shine of the cheeks, the eye lashes clumped together in an organic mascara.  I am so grateful I can stay home and enjoy the "little things" in life.  Honestly, I'm having a tear-jerking week and it's only Tuesday.  But I'm trying so hard to meet these challenges with faith and hope and not get bogged down by things out of my control.  Little things I'm grateful for today: --baby giggles --a toilet trained son --my son's smiles, they really do lift my day --the word REMEMBER. I love John Barry's quote:  God gave us memories so that we can have June roses in the December of our lives.  We all hit lows, we can all look back at the time when God has shown his mercy and remember that we are not alone. --Costco pizza, because that's what we're having for dinner tonight and I don't have to cook --compassion, becau

Corduroy weigh-in

Once when I was in college, I was at the high tide of a laundry pile and completely desperate for an outfit.  Buried in my drawer, was a pair of hand-me-down off-white corduroy pants, you know the kind with pleats in the front, that would make Kate Moss look obese.  I slid them on, silently praying not to run into the hot guy I had a crush on.  Well, it just so happens, that I did run into him and--get this!--he thought my cords were, ok, are you ready for this?  He thought they were s-e-x-x-y.  At the time, I thought he was kidding, as it was hard to take almost anything he said seriously and eventually I got rid of the pants.  Years later, I was telling my hubby this story and he agreed with the then-crush.  What?  Cords are hot?  Really?  Cuz, like, I don't feel very hot in them.  Maybe it's the extra millimeters of fabric on the my thighs (where I least need bulk) or maybe it's the swishing sound they make when I walk.  Everything about cords scream FRUMPY!  But maybe I

S.W.A.K. (Sealed With a Kick)

I was talking to a friend of mine who asked me to give him recommendations for a Valentine's Gift for his girlfriend of a few months. Honestly, I couldn't come up with a single good answer. Flowers die, jewelery is too generic (unless it's a ring with a huge rock on it), chocolate makes her fat. I know what I want, a clean house and not having to do it. Since I'm obviously not the typical romantic girl (I like getting power tools), I decided to compile a list of the cheesiest Valentine's Day gifts you could give. Feel free to use any of these ideas. Lighter fluid and a card that says "Baby, you light my fire." Perfume (It says: I think you stink, you should smell like Paris Hilton instead) Un-mild Salsa (then you can call her hot lips) Matches (for next year, maybe she won't remember the lighter fluid from this year) Music with cheesy love songs: Whitney Houston "I Will Always Love You," and "Nothing's Going To Stop Us Now

For dating guys: How to let a girl know you are interested without driving her away.

Since I am 110% sure that none of my single guy friends read this blog, this post will be utterly wasted. But I have to talk about something that not very many guys are aware of. Here is my little nugget of womanly wisdom: Girls want mystery. While they may say they want honesty, forthrightness in a man, what they really wants is to be driven mad playing "He-loves-me, he-loves-me-not" with a daisy. Careful, it's a delicate balance between putting a girl off and inviting her to stay interested. See, most of the guys I know are too cut and dry, black and white. If he likes a girl, he lets her know, obviously, blatantly, and then wonders why she's running away. She can't possibly know at this point whether she even likes him or not, but she's turned off because of potential relationship overload. Instead he needs to entice, intrigue and ignore--yes, I said ignore--not too much, mind you, just enough to keep her interested. Guys, if you can master this, uh,

Dating, the most painful fun!

I've been thinking about the dating relationship again, I think because, as I have mentioned before, I have several friends in the dating stage of life. What a great stage! So full of possibilities, but so many choices. But when it comes to making decisions of whom to marry, it can be daunting. If you are lucky, there are so many good choices out there. Shifting through the better and best choices can be like navigating through Costco on a Saturday afternoon, painful but necessary. There are some obviously bad choices. Those make life easy. I dated a guy who repeatedly called me fat. (In case you don't know I weigh 116 dripping wet--that's pounds not kilos!) That one, I let go without so much as a tear or a sniffle. But I dated some really awesome guys. One had chrome skull gear shifts in his custom souped up Nissan pick up truck he used for "roading" and turning "broadies."* He was a TON of fun!! He listened to Metallica and was reading the

European Vacation

Yes, I'm back from my fabulous holiday abroad. It was an adventure filled with ten other bunkmates in a hostel room complete with a bit of culture clash, Boxing Day shopping, Tube strikes, Wicked, worship at the London Temple, Chunnel to Paris, lunch at Le Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, more shopping. I'll have to say, that after living sixteen months in Europe as a missionary, I had high expectations of being able to share some culture with my sister. I wanted to share food, travel, food, scenery, good food and people. I feel like even ten days was not enough to experience it all, to have an understanding of culture. A taste, yes, understanding no. I also found out that after ten years, my French stinks. My accent is gone and my vocab is so-so. It sufficed for a tourist, but that's all. Living in a country for many months was different than being a tourist. As a tourist, I was able to let my hair down, have fun, make fun memories. I am so grateful for my mission beca