Saturday, January 31, 2009

I Hab A Gowd

I ab sowwy to wepowd dad I hab a gowd. A bad gowd. I'm mizabal. An I dnow I hab no bidniz compwainigh bud sdill, I'm mizabal. Weawy. *cough*

K, so I can type without the congestion, but that's pretty much what I sound like right now. And the strange thing is, I really don't feel all that sick. I feel gross, cranky, tired, and weak. No fever. Stuffy nose, and as everyone who loves me predicted, it went into my chest a little bit. Yeah, that's bad. But Ahmed pounced upon me with many preventatives early on, and it's NOT that bad.

Only it feels like it is even though I know it isn't. You know what I mean. You feel a bit like your head is inside a fishbowl. You think the cough is under control until you laugh, sigh, or somebody asks you to speak normally, and then it's hackcoughsorrydammithackhackcoughspew... whadjusayagain? Granted, as I am told about every five minutes, my lungs are always an issue and everyone tries very hard not to breath on me when they aren't feeling well. And I appreciate that.

I even appreciate the moderate, persistent wigging out as I wait for the cold to go away. I do. People love me and want me to be ok. And I will be even--




Friday, January 30, 2009

you know you're from Western Washington when

I feel really bad about all the horrid icy weather people are dealing with on the other side of the country. Not bad enough to move...but still.

I culled some Washingtonisms I found on the net and some I made up.

You know you're from Western Washington when:
  • You know how to say goeduck and know it has no feathers.
  • You measure distance in hours.
  • You have used the a/c and the heater in your car--on the same day.
  • If someone complains about the weather, you tell them to wait ten minutes.
  • You can name five ways to kill a slug.
  • You know who the twelfth man is.
  • You remember where you were May 18, 1980.
  • June is also referred to as "Junuary".
  • You feel guilty throwing anything away that could be recycled if you were at home.
  • You have only been to the Space Needle when you have out-of-town guests.
  • You know what a Frango and a Dick's Deluxe are.
  • An inch of snow = arctic blast and all schools are closed.
  • A snow day means you have roughly four hours to play in the snow before it rains.
  • Everyone you know is pink after the first sunny day in May.
  • There are two types of sandal days: regular and wool sock combo.
  • You can pick out Starbuck's, Tully's, or Seattle's Best in a blind taste test.
  • You know more Canadian rock songs than American rock songs.
  • If someone is carrying an umbrella, you know they are a tourist.
  • Surfing requires wetsuits.
  • You don't know what a turnpike is.
  • You think it's pretty funny that people come from all over the world to get their picture taken with the Sheriff in Forks just because Bella's dad was a sheriff in a book.
  • Your restaurants have signs that say "Bella ate here" only Bella is a character and the author has never even actually been here.
  • The Christmas display at your State Capital also contains a Menorah, an atheist poster, and a festivus pole.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fiction for a Cause

So, has everyone gotten their copy of OH GODDESS yet?

If not, you really should. Not only is it hi-lar-ious, but fellow Fictionista Gwen Hayes is generously donating all author and editor proceeds from the sale of this short short to the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis. You can find out more about the foundation at And you can buy your copy here:

At just $2.25, it's a steal. Sid I mention that it's hysterical? She's one clever girl, that Gwen.

Because it's such a short read, you'll have plenty of time to finish it before DREAMS & DESIRES 3 is released on Sunday.

This is the third volume that Freya's Bower has released, and I've had a short story in each of them. All proceeds of this volume will go to St. Bernard's Battered Women's Shelter in New Orleans, which was just rebuilt this past year from Katrina. (The proceeds from the first edition go to a shelter in Florida, and from the second edition to a shelter in Los Angeles.)

You can by the ebook for $5.95 directly from Freya's Bower ( or the print version for $12.99 from Amazon (

DREAMS & DESIRES 3 features stories from (in alphabetical order of last name): Shobhan Bantwal, Marci Baun, Jenna Bayley-Burke, Mychael Black, Amanda Brice, M.E. Eillis, Gemma Halliday, Candace Havens, Babe King, Bonnie Kinsey, Adelle Laudan, Susan Lyons, Debbie Mumford, Kari Lee Townsend, Lois Winston, and Barbara Witek, with a foreword by Carol Anne Davis.

Please note: Teens, some of the stories in this book are erotic, so if you're under 18, please do not purchase this book. However, if your moms want to purchase it and allow you to read the non-erotic stories, there are plenty of sweeter romance in it, as well, including my contribution, "She's Got Legs."

So go forth and by some great books and feel good about contributing to worth causes while you're at it! Let's see how much money we can raise!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Is it springtime yet?

Welllll, I'm having a crappy month, LOL. The class I was going to teach this semester was cancelled due to low enrollment. My daughter had to have last-minute surgery last week, and we were in the hospital for 5 days (she's recuping very well, thankfully). Also, some other writing-related stuff has not gone well.

Needless to say, I've been struggling with what to write on here that would sound even halfway positive. LOL.

And to top it off, the weather is wretched in northeast Ohio--we're getting dumped with a bootyload of snow. I got my car stuck in the driveway this morning and had to shovel myself out...only to spend 1 1/2 hours on the highway trying to get to work, in drenched jeans and with sopping-wet hair.

Calgon, take me away! LOL

So, since I desperately need cheering up, PLEASE post on here and tell me something good that has happened to you recently (or if more than one good thing happened, share share share it all!). I need a little early springtime, and your positive comments will help pull me out of my funk.

Thanks so much, guys!! I'm going to make a good cup of tea...surely that'll help, right? :D

And to start things off, I'll even post something that's a positive--I'm 73% done writing my third novel in the CUPID trilogy. YAY for progress!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Original Bard

It's no secret I'm a fan of Shakespeare, although I don't exactly go around quoting him. Or do I? Actually, we all quote Shakespeare a whole lot more than we realize. You see, Shakespeare "invented" about 1700 words and a ton of phrases. Here are just a few:

  • accommodation
  • aerial
  • amazement
  • apostrophe
  • assassination
  • auspicious
  • baseless
  • bloody
  • bump
  • castigate
  • control (noun)
  • countless
  • courtship
  • critic
  • critical
  • dishearten
  • dislocate
  • dwindle
  • eventful
  • exposure
  • fitful
  • frugal
  • generous
  • gloomy
  • gnarled
  • hurry
  • impartial
  • inauspicious
  • indistinguishable
  • invulnerable
  • lapse
  • laughable
  • lonely
  • majestic
  • misplaced
  • monumental
  • obscene
  • perusal
  • pious
  • premeditated
  • radiance
  • reliance
  • road
  • sanctimonious
  • seamy
  • submerge
  • suspicious

  • Phrases:
  • all that glitters isn't gold
  • barefaced
  • be all and end all
  • break the ice
  • breathe one's last
  • brevity is the soul of wit
  • catch a cold
  • clothes make the man
  • disgraceful conduct
  • dog will have his day
  • eat out of house and home
  • elbowroom
  • fair play
  • fancy-free
  • flaming youth
  • foregone conclusion
  • frailty, thy name is woman
  • give the devil his due
  • green eyed monster
  • heart of gold
  • heartsick
  • hot-blooded
  • housekeeping
  • it smells to heaven
  • it's Greek to me
  • lackluster
  • leapfrog
  • live long day
  • long-haired
  • method in his madness
  • mind's eye
  • naked truth
  • neither a borrower nor a lender be
  • one fell swoop
  • pitched battle
  • primrose path
  • strange bedfellows
  • the lady doth protest too much
  • the milk of human kindness
  • to thine own self be true
  • too much of a good thing
  • wear one's heart on one's sleeve
  • witching time of the night

  • Have you invented any words or phrases? Tell me what they are!

    Monday, January 26, 2009

    Channeling my Inner 16-year-old

    First off, thanks so much to the Fictionistas for letting me crash your blog! I always wanted to be in with the cool kids. ;)

    Secondly, I must admit, I am not a fully initiated YA writer yet. Three years ago a friend of mine suggested I might start writing YA. She said I had a natural voice for it. ‘K, I wasn’t sure if I should be flattered she thought I’d be a natural at something, or offended that she was calling me immature. So, I blew her off. Two years ago, she suggested that YA might be a good direction for me to go in. I write adult fiction. You know, ‘cause I’m an adult. Again – blew her off. Last year, repeat. This past December, persistent thing that she is, my friend again suggested YA. Okay. Fine. For the love of heaven, I’ll try it if you just stop hounding me. But I’m not going to be any good at it. It’s been years since I was a young adult. Teenagers are going to know I’m a total fraud. I’m not hip. I’m old.

    But, to shut her up, I started writing. And you know what? As soon as I did, I realized something about myself. I am not all that adult after all. Deep down (okay, maybe not even that deep), I’m still pretty much 16. And, as I started writing about my sixteen-year –old character, the story flowed so naturally, it was like I was back there in high school again in a heartbeat. How fun is that?! Can I just say, my friend is a genius. YA rocks.

    Though, I will admit, I did have to go find myself a focus group of teenagers because, even though it was scary easy to slip back into the mindset of being 16 again, the fact remained that the world has changed a bit since I was in high school. I found myself having to make a few minor adjustments as I went along.

    High School in the ‘90’s:


    High School now:

    (I just got my first iPod. Have I figured out how to load songs on it yet? No. But it looks shiny and pretty.)

    High School in the ‘90’s

    Passing notes

    High School now:

    (Whoever invented this is a genius. The guy who’s even more of a genius? The one who invented unlimited texting plans. I bow to your greatness, sir.)

    High School in the ‘90’s:


    High School now

    (Who knew sweats were so stylish?.)

    High School in the ‘90’s

    Kurt Cobain

    High School now:

    (Yay, rock is cool again! Ya’ know, as long as you bathe and shave and trim your hair now and then.)

    So, anyone else have any teenage 2009-isms I should know about? Bring ‘em on. Now that I’ve discovered the joy of YA, I need all the help I can get dragging my inner sixteen-year-old into the new millennium as I write this first new adventure.


    Saturday, January 24, 2009

    Trusting the Muse: Reflections on Jo Rowling, Harry Potter, and Resisting Outside Influence

    I'm not sure about the state of YA literature, but I have decided to ignore it. A few weeks ago, caught in a terrible funk, I picked up Melissa Anelli's Harry, A History. I know Harry Potter is passe, but I remain a loyal fan. One of the reasons is the story behind the story, both JK Rowling's astonishing journey and the phenomenon of Potter-mania that grew with her work. It is the stuff dreams are made of, not just for readers, writers, and artistic souls of all other ilks, but for anyone who believes in their potential, or hopes to reach beyond the limitations in which so many of us find ourselves mired.

    Really, it's quite simply the Impossible Dream.

    Anelli's book was, for me, a light and chaotic read. She swings between biography-- chunks of personal experience that sometimes appear out of nowhere-- and snippets of interviews done for her site, The Leaky Cauldron. Anelli founded it, along with a few other passionate Potter-heads. Her dedication to the site, the series, and the integrity of the fan community took her on an interesting journey, with some delicious moments including rather remarkable access to Jo Rowling, a notoriously private person.

    What left me feeling uplifted, encouraged, and moved were the occasional glimpses into Jo Rowling's experience, and the genuine love her fans have for her books. Much of what has been written about the author has been exaggerated, overstated, spun. But she was a struggling single mother. She did search everywhere for a publisher. She has conquered the unconquerable: the publishing community's resistance to anything different.

    Anelli puts it succinctly:

    Harry Potter has actually been a very intimate phenomenon, the story of small groups of people acting in ways they shouldn't, doing things that usually wouldn't, and making the kind of history that, without Harry, they pretty much couldn't... They sold things that aren't supposed to sell, at a time when fantasy books weren't supposed to appeal to a generation of people who weren't supposed to care. At almost every step of Harry's early journey, things occurred in ways they shouldn't, confounded expectations, and nearly didn't happen at all.

    The danger
    for writers,
    I have come to believe,
    is in worrying
    about trends

    The danger for writers, I have come to believe, is in worrying about trends, reading too much industry-speak, and ignoring our muses. Jo Rowling's jumped up and down on her head on a train ride, refusing to shut up about orphaned boy-wizards and magical schools. She wrote a book that was gigantic, set in a world publishers found improbable and unmarketable, about a character they didn't think anyone would like. She wrote it anyway. Rather than pick up magazines or google young adult fiction incessantly, she sat down and wrote. And had the perfect storm, outlined in Anelli's book, not occurred, she'd still be teaching or working at Amnesty International. This would be fine, of course, except that we never would have experienced the wonder of her world. And I wouldn't have a hero, one who defied convention and just did it her way.

    So often the best things in life happen because somebody refused to listen, or made an error and embraced the results, or just embraced, honored, and nourished a dream. Toll House Cookies were an accident. When Fred Astaire first auditioned the studio hack wrote "can't sing, can't act, can dance a little" on his card. And Jo Rowling wrote a book that nobody would want to read. But she wrote it. She loved Harry, gave him his story, and let fate take it from there.

    Thanks, Jo.

    Friday, January 23, 2009

    I've been simming

    I think I have compulsion issues.

    I realized it might be a problem when I haven't written a word in a week, yet I've managed to stay up late every night playing the Sims 2. It's like once I get hooked into something, I cannot seem to make myself do anything else.

    When I watch TV, it's on DVD and I tend to watch the episodes back to back to back. I discovered House earlier this year and my husband and I watched all available seasons in about two months. And do not get me started on Buffy the Vampire Slayer again. I completely disappear from civilization.

    I got on an 80's movie kick not too long ago. And when I feel like knitting, I knit non-stop for a week or two and then want nothing to do with it for a year or so.

    It's like I don't understand moderation.

    So as I sign off to go play with my pixelated people (I'm breeding dogs to see if the puppy will look like Wiley), I'll leave you with this question: Do you get obsessed with your hobbies and get sucked in until you burn out? Or are you able to set aside a certain amount of time for your distractions so that you can still function in the workplace, school, or in your family?

    P.S. I did manage to get my act together enough to be a proper guest blogger at Killer Fiction Blog on Saturday the 24th. Please come say hi.

    Thursday, January 22, 2009

    A New Era

    One of the things I love most about our nation's democracy is how we're able to transition power without riots starting. The outgoing leader doesn't simply declare the election results illegal and seize control of the government with martial law. It's peaceful and jubilant, with a lot of pomp and circumstance.

    I've been living in DC off and on for the past 9 years and have been here during the last 3 inaugurations. Maybe it was the historic nature of swearing in the first African-American president, but this one was entirely different from the previous two.

    The closest thing I witnessed to a protest (let alone a riot) was a few peoplle carrying signs proclaiming that the rest of us were going to Hell unless we repented and some vegans who were passing out literature stating that to mark this historic era of change, President Obama (wow, that's fun to say!) should have banned all meat from the inaugural festivities.

    During the first Bush inauguration, however, the law firm I worked at had thrown a party for their clients to watch the parade from their offices (right smack dab in the middle of the parade route at 8th and Pennsylvania), and as an employee, I was expected to attend, which meant that I had to cross the picket line of at least two causes I supported. It made me feel sad to do that, but as a student of politics and history, I did want to be there (even if I hadn't voted for the guy).

    But at least those protestors were peaceful. What I witnessed from the 5th floor office of my boss was decidedly not. You see, a group of anarchists had decided to rip down the American flag from the Naval Memorial and replace it with a black flag. Almost within seconds, they were descended upon by a swarm of police in riot gear who started beating them down to the ground in submission with nightsticks.

    So needless to say, I'm thrilled that this year's experience was the exact opposite.

    As a writer, I rarely find myself without words adequate to express my emotions, but still two days later, I must admit to this inability this time. Just being there on the Mall or walking around downtown, I was faced with an electricity from the crowd that was stirring. And it wasn't just Democrats, either. I met plenty of Republicans who had not voted for President Obama (still get excited when calling him that!), but who wanted to be there to witness history.

    It's fitting that the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States occured the day after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 80th birthday. I only wish he had lived to see it because it truly was the realization of his dream.

    Race relations in our country are far from perfect, but I'm truly hopeful that we will one day reach a point when we really are colorblind. This is a remarkable step closer to that day.

    OK, enough sentimentalism. Let's get to the pictures!

    Military presence was high, as security was stepped up.

    We got to Sunday's concert at the Lincoln Memorial around noon-ish (for a 2:30 pm start time), but many people had been there since 6 am. Considering that it was bitter cold, I'm glad we waited and got there a little bit later, even if it meant that we only got as far forward as the very front of the reflecting pool. Of course, there were still probably at least 400,000 people behind us (all the way past the Washington Monument!), so we got fairly far forward, considering.

    This is how far back we were when we first arrived. Fortunately two of our friends had gotten there earlier so we decided to try to go find them and got a lot father forward. Well, hey, what else were we going to do during a 2-hour wait, if not try to find our friends???

    Some people decided to climb trees to listen to their favorite performing artists. It was the first time I've ever seen U2 or James Taylor live, and it was awesome!

    Walking around, exploring the crowds.

    MSNBC...the place for politics!

    Mike Barnicle leaves the mobile news room. It was way too cold out to stay to try to watch "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" taped. So we watched it in the comfort of our living room instead.

    Soledad O'Brien takes photos of the crowd during a commercial break from CNN.

    I get my 15 seconds of fame on the local NBC News and when shown a tiny lunch sack and told that was as large of a bag as they would be allowing along the parade route and then asked what I would bring in it if I went, I said Chapstick (because it was so cold) and an ID. Oooh, brilliant, Amanda! In my defense, it was freakin' freezing and my brain froze.

    Christina and I are klassy in our boots with ballgowns on the Metro!

    I'm taking you inside an inaugural ball now. It's kinda like prom, only you can drink legally and there are random secret service agents hanging around.

    Mr. Brice and I, all dressed up!

    Christina shows off the only two Donkey cookies we could find. On most dessert trays, there were only Elephants left.

    Wednesday, January 21, 2009

    Random picture day!

    It's RAAAAANDOM PIIIIICTURE DAAAAAY at the Fictionistas!! I'm going to post a few images I have saved on my computer:

    This is a shot I took of someone dressed like Aang (from Nickelodeon's Avatar cartoons) at an anime convention I attended last summer. Yes, I'm a nerd. Yes, it was massively crowded (there were like 14 billion teenagers and adults), and insanely hot and sweaty. Yes, I dressed in a costume (I was a geisha). And yes, I had an utter blast!! I spent a lot of money, ate delicious Japanese pocky, watched anime, and lived it up with my fellow nerds. FUNNETY FUN!!

    Here's a picture of my dog, Leela. This was right after we adopted her--we found her at a shelter. She was seriously underweight, and her belly was droopy because she'd just had pups--they weren't with her at the shelter :-( . She's been with us a year now, though, and we're happy to have her!

    Here's a shot of my daughter wearing big red glasses. Yeah, I don't know what that's about, either, but isn't she cute? haha

    Ahhhh, the infamous meat machine at my work--aptly named because of the fish, chicken, beef, and other kinds of scary meat products they a vending machine. Sadly enough, they took it out a couple of weeks ago and are supposed to replace it. But in the meanwhile, we can enjoy these pictures of such savory snacks as the...pasta(?) on the left, and the buffalo chicken sandwich on the right. A couple of years ago, one guy made it a challenge to eat one of everything in the machine. He no longer works here...a correlation? I gotta wonder...

    Here's a shot I took of the Romance Divas dinner party in San Francisco, at the RWA national conference. The food was sooooo good...and who is that blurry lady in the front? Why, I believe that's a shot of our own lovely Gwen! LOL don't kick me, Gwen...

    Here's a shot of a food store front window in Chinatown in San Francisco...appetizing, eh? haha

    Well, that's it for me. Stay tuned in the future for another episode of RAAAAANDOM PIIIIICTURE DAAAAAY...

    Tuesday, January 20, 2009

    Going, Going, Gone!

    Hey y'all! Blondissimo (my jewelry company) has donated some fun pieces to the auction Gemma Halliday is sponsoring to raise money for a homeless fan and her mom. You can read about it and place some bids at Romanctic Inks. Here's what I've donated:

    A beaded book thong:

    A crystal heart necklace:
    Now go bid!

    Monday, January 19, 2009

    And The Oscar Nomination SHOULD Go To...

    In three days, the Oscar nominations will be announced.

    It's looking pretty darn certain that Heath Ledger will be nominated for Best Supporting Actor, and almost certainly win the Oscar.

    And I'm delighted. First, because his performance was truly astounding. And second, because a movie that didn't have "Oscar" written all over it from its inception may take a major prize.

    I wish that happened more often. I love all kinds of movies, but I think that nowadays, for some sad reason, "entertainment" is the kiss of death with the Oscars.

    It wasn't always so. Once upon a time, movies like The Wizard of Oz, Music Man, Jaws, and even Airport regularly drew major nominations.

    Okay, then, let's pretend you're a member of the Academy, and can right this wrong. So what "non-Oscar-typical" movies or performances would you be nominating for Oscars this week?

    If I were voting, I'd start with Wall-E for Best Picture. (I've seen most of the major award-winners this year, and I thought Wall-E was better than any of them...and by that, I don't mean that Milk or Frost/Nixon weren't worthy, but that Wall-E was just that good.)

    Then I'd throw in Robert Downey Jr. as Best Supporting Actor in Tropic Thunder. (Admit it: that was an amazing performance! And the fact that it was hysterically funny shouldn't count against it.)

    And if they gave an Oscar for best hair, I'd give it to Twilight. I love the way Jasper's hair reveals his nineteenth-century origins, how Edward's hair looks right for the 1980s (a decade whose music he loves)...

    I might even throw in a Best Picture nomination for Iron Man, for its razor-sharp dialogue, for another great performance from the versatile (and suddenly buff) Robert Downey Jr., and for its sheer entertainment value. (I had more fun at Iron Man than at any other flick this year...though Twilight and Wall-E both came close...)

    So, how about you? What picture or performance do you think the Academy will overlook, but really shouldn't?

    Cara King, who celebrated her geek credentials by seeing Iron Man and Twilight three times each in theaters, and Wall-E twice