Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Juno what?

I have always had a special place in my heart for April Fool's Day. Much to my parent's chagrin. See, I always call them on April 1st and give them some "news" that's bound to drive them batty.

One of my all time gems comes from my college days. I was 18, going to school in New York City (I'm amazed my parents let me go at all in retrospect) and had run up an enormous credit card bill my first semester that caused my father to threaten me with bodily harm if I didn't stop taking all my friends to dinner. (What? I was hungry and I wanted company.)

Anyway, I called my parents and told them I was pregnant. I may have mentioned I was unsure who the father was. I believe my mother started crying on the phone.

Truth be told, I was still 100% virgin at the time. 100% nuts, too, but pure as the driven snow. I didn't drag that one on too long. After all, they were footing the college bill. Plus I may have called collect.

What's your worst prank that you've played or had played on you?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Fooled Ya!

Okay, so it's April Fool's Week here at the 'Nistas...so we're gonna talk about pranks and such.

I was a big prankster as a kid. I loved to TP houses, Vaseline door knobs, Saran Wrap toilets when boys were around...that stuff was fun.

(Do you know some people think of rolling houses as vandalism? WTH is up with that?)

Anyway, my favorite pranks were the ones where we almost got busted. There's something about that adrenaline rush of the porch light coming on and the mom standing at the door shouting, "Who's there?" while you're hiding in the shadows holding a 12-pack of toilet paper.

My senior year, my friend Jen and I had a crush on this guy named Steve. (He played the guitar and boy did he make us swoon when he would play and sing "Amanda" by Boston. We wanted to be named Amanda so he was singing about us...but I digress)

One night, Jen and I decided it was a good night to go rolling and forking. We loaded up the car and headed straight for Steve's house. Now Steve happened to live next door to our hairdresser who also had a son that we kinda liked, so we figured we'd kill two birds with on roll of TP, so to speak.

We had barely gotten started when both front porch lights came on. I had been sticking forks in one yard while Jen was working on the other. (I'm pretty sure she wasn't doing anything but lurking outside Steve's window hoping he would start playing his guitar...)

As soon as the light came on, I pressed myself up against the house behind the azalea bushes. My hairdresser was 3 feet away from me, but thanks to the shadows and my fantastic ability to hold my breath, she didn't see me.

After about five minutes, she went back inside and turned off the light. Nobody ever came out of Steve's house, but they left the light on, which freaked us both out a little. Not enough to stop us, but still...

So we finished the job. I forked the hell out of that yard, and we rolled Steve's up like a Christmas present. It was beautiful.

I'm pretty sure we didn't sleep that night thanks to the adrenaline rush.

In honor of Steve....

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Welcome Guest Blogger Maxwell

Chrissy is attending the
Romance Writers of America's
New England Chapter Conference this weekend.
She has asked Maxwell the Pug to guest blog.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Inspired and dog tired....

Hi Everyone, I'm Jax and I'm filling Gwen's shoes today...already, I've dropped the ball. Gosh, it's a little after 4:00 pm on a Friday and I finally made it. (Sorry G.)

I can blame it on one of the Fictionistas (er, Kristen, ahem) for being overworked and lacking sleep....you'll see what I mean when the time comes.

Well, being seriously deprived of R&R, after a discussion with Kristen about inspiration, I thought I'd borrow the topic.

I'm new in the world of YA writing and after discovering so many wonderful authors like Melissa Marr, Alyson Noel, Rosemary Clements-Moore, etc. etc., I was dying to write these paranormal stories swimming around in my head. After years of listening to Asian folklore from my mother, it was bound to happen. Truth be told, I'm actually a big kid at heart and I still love those Saturday morning cartoons so I knew it was time to create something that I could be proud of...especially, something my younger nieces and nephews could read. I've spent the last four years writing contemporary romance and really enjoyed this genre, however, sometimes you need to grasp your inner youth. Sometimes you need to challenge yourself and work on a new genre that will test your skills as a storyteller....and as a writer. Not only that, nothing is worse on the mind than discovering you're growing old. In my attempt to stop the aging process, I've decided to think like a teen...but a more mature one. Right. :) I already have experience being mistaken for one of my nieces friends so I'm halfway there already.

Inspiration is a funny thing. You find it in the most unlikely of places and sometimes it takes a little nudge. One of the reasons why I tried my hand at writing for young adults was because my niece is super creative and she's only 14. Sometimes I think I'm talking to an adult because her thinking is beyond any teenager I know, and maybe some adults....she's really proud of my writing career and knows I write adult themed storylines so one day she basically said, "I can't wait until I'm 18 to read one of your books. Why don't you write something I can read NOW?" Those words got me thinking and even though I pushed the idea for a long while, I finally bit the bullet and went for it. I guess one of the biggest problem was that I was scared to write YA. After all, I only read those books when I was in middle and elementary school and everyone knows kids aren't made like they used to be. We were so young and naive...so utterly innocent. And because of these reasons, I decided that I wanted to bring back the innocence of this genre. Why not? I'm sure that there are still kids out there longing for the less gritty and more entertainment, an escape that doesn't include too much hard edged issues. And I'm sure parents would appreciate it. Yes, I'm inspired to write these books that won't be banned in schools for being too graphic. I'm going to write with smarts and without insulting the reader's intelligence, but with the same innocent elements in mind....

Thanks for listening!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fanfic, sequels, and Twilight...oh my!

A fanfic author has decided to take her "Twilight" tribute out of the fanfic world and actually sell a "sequel" to Stephanie Meyers' best-selling series.

There's a pretty good summary of the issue here:

The author, who appears to also be her own publisher, is trying to claim she's safe, arguing that Meyers' characters are not copyrighted "because she never drew them or hired an artist to draw them."

*smacks head*

She argues that "copyright law will only protect the characterization of a fictional character if the character is portrayed in a copyrighted work." Um, and her point would be what?

Now I know you're going to bring up the whole point about the fanfic world. There are tons of fan fiction stories out there. (Please note, however, that this is not traditional fanfic, in the sense that this writer is commercializing on her fanfic, or at least attempting to do so.)

However, most copyright scholars would argue that it is technically a violation of copyright because you're taking someone else's characters, world, and materials and using them without permission. One of the exclusive rights of the copyright holder is the right to make derivative works. That said, fanfic has been a cultish thriving cottage industry ever since Star Trek, though one even could call the various “pastiches” of Sherlock Holmes fanfic. One reason it’s frequently ignored by the studios and networks is because it helps to stir up enthusiasm among fans.

There are some creators, though, who really hate it and a few people who campaign loudly against it, claiming that if you write fanfic, you can never be considered a “real writer.”

That being said, some authors are flattered by the proliferation of fanfic and grant implicit or explicit licenses. For example, Neil Blair, an attorney with the Christopher Little Literary Agency, which represents J.K. Rowling, indicates that Ms. Rowling is “flattered by genuine fan fiction,” and as such, she has unofficially sanctioned some fan fiction sites by leaving them alone. To those sites that feature adult material, her agents have sent sharply worded cease-and-desist letters.
As for the example of fanfic in the Buffyverse, when asked what fans should do with their extra hour when Buffy was going off the air, Joss Whedon replied “Write fanfic.”

Some writes, like the late Marion Zimmer Bradley, actually collected and edited fanfic, then put out a quite successful series of anthologies of fanfic stories. She said she was explicitly allowing new writers play in her world (called Darkover) and it opened the door for a number of now-successful writers to become known in their own rights. However, she is rumored to have been sued by one of her fan fiction writers, and withdrew support of fanfic in later years.
Some authors have found that fanfic only serves to increase the economic viability of the underlying work, as the fanfic community gobbles up more and more copies of the original story.

Some people argue that fanfic falls into the category of “parody” and is therefore protected under copyright.

I don't have time to get into a discussion of copyright law on here (darn day job getting in the way...you know, the one where I happen to be an intellectual property attorney), but suffice it to say that Stephanie Meyers and Little, Brown publishing house are going to have a field day with this one.

*settles in and pops some popcorn*

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

CONGRATS on the Golden Heart finals!!

It's my day to post, but I'm too thrilled to talk about whatever goofball nonsense I was going to yap about. Instead, I wanted to give a shout-out to my friends for finalling in the Golden Heart category of the Romance Writers of America contest:

Jeannie Lin, for finalling in the historical category with her lush, amazing novel Butterfly Swords.

Cynthia Justlin, for finalling in the romantic suspense category with her novel Intrusion.

And our very own Amanda Brice, for finalling in the young adult category with the fantastic novel Codename: Dancer.

CONGRATS! I'm ecstatic for you and hope for big wins, which will be announced at the RWA national conference in July.

(And here's hoping I can update this post again today with more friends' announcements!!)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hero Worship

Look! I'm a super hero! The Fantastic Slicing Angel. I bet I rock in the kitchen. Make your own here, then report back with your hero name or better yet, post the pic on your blog and share the link in the comments so we can all come and see you!

Gotta fly. Hah!

Monday, March 23, 2009

This just in

From: Mel Francis
Location: Tatoo Parlor
Re: Monday's post

Please reserve a space right here for pictures of my new tatoo coming soon:

The outline

The Finished Product: back
The Finished Product: Front
I LOVE IT and promise to blog about it next week!

(This is Gwen--it isn't every day someone texts you from the tattoo parlor and asks you to post an apology that the post is late. We can forgive her, so long as we get pictures soon!)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Fashion Backward?

When did it happen? I've never been somebody who follows fashion religiously, though Project Runway did reform me to some extent. I like what I wear, but I don't pore over magazines to double-check my trendiness, hip factor, or label compliance. So I was a little taken back when, on a sunny morning at the supermarket, a parade of teens wandered through the cross-walk and took me back 25 years.

Woah. Were those... um... peg leg jeans? Uh... was that a pair of um... Chuck

Holy craptastick flashbacks, Batman... it was!

I'm not really clear about when it happened but the fashions of the 80s have made a huge come-back. Now, let me be clear... not all fashions of the 80s should be going anywhere. They belong in the vault with Don Johnson's career. Seriously.

But there were some fun things, too. Like the peg leg jeans with moccasin boots, and Chuck Taylor sneakers with anything from blazers to grungy band t-shirts. And there was less of a focus on labels and more on the look, which was a great equalizer in my home town. Preppy existed but not that many people wore it. Flash was around, but not that many people were doing the crazt hair colors and cuts yet.

Present company excluded, I'm afraid. I had a super short cut with a tail in shocking maroon glow. Honest. Had hair to my butt one day and shaved it out the next, tinting it with beet juice. I smelled like a salad and looked like an idiot.

Hey, it could have been worse. It could have been...


Yeah, we did those, too. Flashdance and all that. What a feeling. We tore our sweatshirts, wore leggings with flat slippers, put glitter on virtually everything, and felt daring.

Hey, we were young. We belonged to the night. We belonged to the darkness.

Wait... wrong pop reference. Never mind.

Friday, March 20, 2009

On the precipice...

I've spoken to more than one writer friend lately who feels like something is just about to happen--but we don't know what. Just that feeling that energy is building and things are lining up for a push. What is weird is that publishing rumors make you think the whole industry in the tank--so why now are we feeling this shift on the horizon?

I know for me, I've had a lot of activity and interest in my writing lately. I feel like I'm in a good place to make the next move up. Yesterday, I got a Revise and Resubmit response from an agent who had requested to read my full manuscript. The thing is...it didn't make me sad at all that she passed for now. It was an awesome response with concrete things that needed to happen in the manuscript in order for the agent to pursue and partnership with me. And all the suggestions were spot on--I could see how they would make my book better, stronger.

But then I started tearing it apart last night and realized that this book is not even my best work anymore. I finished it last year, well--not even a year. I love the premise, but reading through it has shown me that I've already grown so much. The book I'm almost done with is so much better. And while that is disheartening in the way of "it's going to be a lot of work", it is exciting to know that I am improving. And if the agent liked the book I wrote last year, I bet she will love the book I wrote this year.

I've decided I like this new attitude though. From now on, I'm treating life like a Revise and Resubmit when things get a little wonky. Sometimes life is a lot of work too--but when you step back and say "This isn't working because...." and then you take the time to fix and try again, you end up better for it, stronger.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

March Madness!

It's the most wonderful time of the year!!!!!!!!!!

So far I called two games correctly. I picked Texas A&M over BYU and Memphis over whatever hapless #15 seed they paired Memphis with (looks like Cal State Northridge). But I incorrectly called Butler over LSU (LSU won...oops).

But how well will I do picking the entire NCAA conference? Ever since my stellar pool wins (once in high school, and once the second year out of college), I've generally been an Also-Ran, sometimes coming in 2nd or 3rd of my pool, but more usually than not, being somewhat average, with the occasional stinker.

I have a similar Final Four to President Obama, however, although not exactly the same. He picked Pitt over Duke, and then UNC over Pitt. But we have three of the same Final Four teams, and we both put Lousville in the championship game. No way could I pick UNC to win it all though. While that's not a bad call, it would be an anathema to everything that I stand for.

I'm not going to sell my soul to win an office pool.

Coach K jokingly said that perhaps the President ought to focus on the economy rather than the brackets. LOL! Not surprising that he might not agree with Obama's pick to win it all.

Oh, and go Devils!

So, did you fill out a bracket? Do you care about the NCAA Tourney?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Awkward Moments Day

I saw on a Twitter post from Booksamillion that today is Awkward Moments Day. Not sure if that's a real calendar day or just one they invented, but I like the idea of it, regardless.

So, yeahhhhh, awkward moments. I've had about a billion of those in my lifetime so far--like, the many times I've told a joke that fell utterly flat on a crowd. hah, that's always fun. Or back when I was dating, having the guy try to kiss me, but me not wanting it and desperately trying to think of a way to get out of it.

I'm sure I'll have a billion more as time goes on, because that's part of being human--having those moments that make you flinch.

High school's basically one big fat awkward moment for many people. I had lots of them, myself. I remember this one guy, a friend of mine, had bought me a dozen beautiful roses for Valentine's day--they'd announced over the loudspeaker for me to go to the office and pick them up. Unfortunately, I didn't really like him in that way. But I still thanked him for the lovely flowers.

What about you? Any good awkward moments you want to share on Awkward Moments Day? And please don't let my blog post be awkwardly uncommented on--that would be just TOO ironic for me. haha

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Erin Go Braugh

Today is St. Patrick's Day. As a card carrying Italian, I had to do some research to find out more about this holiday as it's not one I'm that familiar with. Here's what I found:

The tradition of wearing green actually came from a different tradition of pining a shamrock to one's clothing - "the wearing of the green" - which was a sign of Irish nationalism or loyalty to the Roman Catholic religion.

While the holiday is fairly secular in the States, in Ireland, it's still a religious holiday.

It's been around a long time. On March 17th 1780, George Washington gave his troops the day off as an act of solidarity for their Irish brothers fighting for their own independence.

One reason St. Patrick's Day has become so popular is because many people see it as the unofficial beginning of spring.

Need some Leprechaun fun? Go play this game. Then eat some corned beef and cabbage. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 16, 2009

a big weekend

I turned 40 on Saturday. I know most people dread that birthday, but honestly, I was excited about it. 40 is a big deal. It's not something to dread, it's something to embrace. And I did. With gusto.

A few months ago I decided that age as all about attitude and if I wanted my 40s to be the best years of my life, then they would be. In order to make that happen, I had to take back control of parts of my life that I had let go. My health, my weight, my attitude.

I found out that the Little Rock Marathon was the day after my 40th birthday so I decided that was fate. That was the universe telling me to get off my fat, lazy bum, and get back to me. The healthy, happy me.

So in October I started training for the half-marathon. God I hated it. Every damn agonizing minute of it. I fell off the wagon a few times. Did the self-sabotage thing I'm so good at. Whined, moaned, groaned and almost quit.

But around Thanksgiving, something in my brain clicked. If I wasn't going to do this now I would never do it. And what kind of example would I set for my kids if I just gave up? So I changed my goal to run the 5K and I started pounding the pavement and training 4-5 days a week. After about four weeks, I realized I was no longer bitching about the gym. I was actually enjoying it.

What the hell had happened?

Well, I was feeling fantastic. Better than I had in years. And I didn't want that to go away.

Yesterday was the big day. I had a goal to run the entire 5K (3.1 miles). I knew it was going to be hard, the furthest I had run so far was 2.25 miles so I was basically adding another full mile to my run. Another 13-14 minutes. I didn't know if I could do it, but I was going to try.

Well, I did it.

I ran the whole way. Averaged a 13.33/minute mile and I finished in the top half of the registered participants.

I felt like a rock star when it was all over. A tired rock star, but a rock star nonetheless.

This just goes to show that no matter your age, size, or limitations, you can do anything you set your mind to. If you had asked me a year ago if I would ever run and enjoy running a 5K I would've hurt myself from laughing.

Now I'm planning to do more.

So set your goals. If I can do this, you can do anything!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Review: Hunted by PC and Kristin Cast

I've said before that if you have not discovered PC and Kristin Cast's House of Night series, please get to a book store immediately. Amid the now-dissipating Twilight frenzy and an ocean of also-ran books with a similar theme, the mother-daughter Cast duo are a pleasant surprise and richly nuanced stand-out. Their Zoey Redbird is a delightful departure from the rest of the crowd, an independent young woman who uses her head, her heart, and her gut without ever coming across as trivial, vapid, silly, or weak. Even when she's confused, even when she's embroiled in teen-angst, Zoey's choices, delivered in fresh first person, seem believable. Even better? They seem smart.

Hunted, the fifth installment in the House of Night series, arrives in a hardcover edition with a delightful surprise for those of us who can't read with a dust cover on. (The inside is worth a peek.) Zoey finds herself in exile, caught between three boys for whom she has feelings, and distracted by such trivial high school silliness as a fallen angel who works for the dark side and some Raven Mocker creatures with very bad attitudes.

And you thought prom was a nightmare.

If this series has a fault it's lag between installments, since they blend, one into the other, with fairly tight plot focus. The wait between requires the Casts to re-introduce readers to the plot in the first chapter, and leaves us hungry (and, let's be fair, a little annoyed) with a sliding conclusion. Each ends with unresolved issues and months to wait for more. In spite of this the House of Night series delivers a sharp, sympathetic protagonist in Zoey, who stays centered amid the chaos by remembering her Grandmother's love, guidance, and lessons, and by clinging to friendships among her fellow vampire students. Emerging as a new sub-group, the "red fledglings," who are closer to the traditional vampire of literature and film, present an entirely unique set of issues. Once thought to be lost souls, Zoey and her friends have found redemption for them. She has reclaimed her best friend, forged surprising new friendships, and discovered an old evil.

Kalona, a dark fallen angel with ties to her own ancestors among the Cherokee, has aligned with her old nemesis, Nerefet. If you think your high school principal is a twerp, you ain't seen nothing yet.

The most endearing quality I find in Zoey is her amazingly well adjusted sense of herself. Marked as a vampire, removed from everything she knew, and thrust into a world of danger, power, fear, and chaos, Zoey somehow approaches all her trials like any teenager who knows she is loved. And though Zoey's parents are of little use to her, her Grandmother is there, the center in the wheel of her world, guiding her with warmth and unconditional approval. This knowledge keeps her grounded even as amazing powers and terrifying circumstances swirl around her. Quite simply, Zoey is a good kid who keeps her head because, deep down, she believes in herself in spite of her teen angst and serious challenges. She may doubt her astonishing powers, she may freak out when chased by giant bird creatures, she may question her alliances and judgment. But when push comes to shove Zoey trusts the Goddess, Nix, and the woman who loved her first, best, and unconditionally: her Grandmother. With that foundation beneath her she prevails.

This series has dark themes and subject matter, but the Cast team delivers them with sparkling dialogue, wry humor, and realistic characters driven by genuine humanity. Simply put, the books can traverse murky waters, deal with serious issues, and enter very dark territory without floundering because the themes and subject matter are not delivered with brooding self-indulgence or melodrama. They are served up at an effervescent pace, never wallowing in grandiose preachiness. PC and Kristin give us vamps, gods, creatures, death, life, and teen pissyness without ever falling into the common trap of sounding like a goth teen wrote the novels.

Not naming any names, but there are a few authors out there making a lot of dough who might benefit from a healthy dose of that delightful delivery style.

If I had a complaint about this series it would be the open-ended feeling each novel leaves me with. But to give this devilish duo their due, that's the style of the series. I checked the House of Night Series web site and found no reference to the next book, but Hunted left dangling ends flapping like Raven Mocker wings, so I live in hope. (Incidentally... that may be the coolest website I have ever seen.) Though Zoey's seemingly endless choice of boyfriends does seem to spiral round and round, she also finds opportunities to think, grow, and learn about being a woman through them. Fans will have to indulge her, and the authors. And if anyone gets buzz on book 6... LET ME KNOW!

Edited by Gwen: Also, Happy Birthday to Melissa Francis, Fictionista Extraordinaire. We love you.!

Friday, March 13, 2009


You heard me.

Paraskavedekatriaphobia is the fear of Friday the 13th.

I am not afraid of Friday or 13. In fact, I am generally not superstitious at all, but I find them interesting. For instance, did you know that the play "Macbeth" is supposedly cursed and it is considered bad luck to say the word "Macbeth" in a theater unless you are performing in the actual play? Or that in Sweden it is unlucky to place keys on a table? And in Russia, it is considered good luck to sit on your luggage before traveling? (But then, who doesn't have to sit on their luggage to close the zipper anyway?)

What about you? Do you have any good luck charms? Do you knock wood? Avoid ladders? Do you carefully avoid saying the word "pig" while on a ship? Tell me about your quirks.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Heathers, the Musical

"Lick it up, baby. Lick it up."

Seriously, this cracks me up. The 1988 cult teen flick "Heathers", starring a young Winona Ryder, Shannen Doherty, and Christian Slater, is being turned into a stage musical.

Andy Fickman, director of "Race to Witch Mountain" and the musical "Reefer Madness", is developing a musical based on the high school black comedy for production in 2010, first in regional theatre and hopefully later with a Broadway run.

Currently reading the part of Veronica (originally played by Winona Ryder) is Kristen bell of "Veronica Mars" and "Gossip Girl"-narrator fame, but her availability when the play is mounted is unsure.

Director Fickman says that the film offers some fantastic lines, which he is excited to work with muscially. "'I love my dead gay son.' If you can get that into a song, then that is just perfect," he said.

Seriously. It *would* be perfect. And legions of 80s-era teens (now 30-and-40-somethings) will be rushing to Broadway to see it.

I know I will. Especially since RWA Nationals are in NYC in 2011. Road trip!!!!!

So, what's your fave line from the movie "Heathers"?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Favorite Things

Hey, lookie there--it's my day to blog. Obviously, you can see I'm super-prepared, so I'll be pulling a topic out of my hiney today. haha. So, here's a seriously random list of a few of my favorite things (I could go on and on, but that would be super boring). Please feel free to post your own list of fav things in the comments--the more, the merrier!!

--raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens (okay, I had to say it. LOL)
--warm, chocolately pop tarts, fresh out of the toaster
--the sudden burst of inspiration that makes my story gel on a whole new level
--my family and friends
--jeans that fit perfectly and look fabulous
--no traffic on the highway when driving to work in the morning
--Twitter (this is a totally new fav thing of mine...BTW, you can follow me HERE!)
--finding extra money in my pockets, on the sidewalk, etc
--sushi (yummmmmmmmm)
--watching a super fabulous movie or TV show
--a delish glass of reisling wine
--reading a book that totally draws me in
--writing "the end" on a novel
--making someone laugh, hard
--the words "dude" and "uber"

Okay, your turn. What are a few of your favorite things?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Things I See In My Backyard

Is this a sign of spring in Florida? The random roving armadillo? Not sure, but this little guy was going to town in our backyard a few days ago, snuffling through the grass for bugs. Every time the cats came out to look at him, he'd curl up and go very still. The cats would get bored and walk away. I think they thought he was a rock.Unfortunately, we think he also chewed through one of the wires that connects the solar heating element to the pool pump. Good thing it was still under warranty. Other than that, spring comes to Florida the same way summer does in other states - days that reach into the low 80's, but the nights are still high 50's, low 60's. It's a lovely time of year since there is very little humidity. We call it our Hawaii season and live with the doors wide open. Yesterday all I wanted to do was lounge in front of the open slider where I could see the blue sky and the sunshine and listen to the birds and the sound of the water.

What's spring like in your neck of the woods? Are there signs of it yet?

Monday, March 09, 2009

season's first dose of Vitamin D

The sun was out all weekend here in Little Rock, AR and it was fabulously almost HOT! 75-80 degrees all weekend long. The wind gusted occasionally, but for the most part, it was just a steady kiss of air that kept me cool.

This is my favorite time of the year. The very first dose of springtime sunshine and that big shot of Vitamin D. The first week of spring weather makes winter worth suffering through. (Not that we have a 'real' winter, but honestly, there is a reason I don't live any further north. Snow should never stay on the ground for more than a minute.)

I started a new book this weekend and I spent most of my time outside, soaking up the sun and creating brand new teenage angst. (I do love playing God with my characters. Such a power trip.) Yesterday I went to Riverfront Park nestled on the banks of the Arkansas River in downtown Little Rock. I sat in a chair, listening to Staind and the water lapping the shore, and wrote. It was a great day.
I felt rejuvenated and refreshed. Like my well had just been refilled after a very long drought. I wouldn't do well in areas with no sun for months at a time...I need my vitamin D!

How was your weekend? Do anything special or fun? Did you refill your well?

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Spring Forward

It was 62 degrees in Green Harbor this morning, and the air smelled of promises. So I woke up, got dressed quickly, and took kept one.

Tonight we are due to "spring forward," turning our clocks ahead an hour to adjust for the coming change of season. It's a few weeks off yet, that chiming of SPRING on the calendar. But the signs are about. One of them has had Max wigging out every time we drove by this week.

Yes, the Dairy Queen opened this week.

I allow Max to have DQ once in a blue moon. I once had an animal become ill and all she could manage was dairy, but having been weened off the stuff, the milk we gave her was brutal on her stomach. A very wise vet recommended we keep our critters tolerant of lactose for this reason, with occasional "light" dairy treats. So while I really don't give him people food, occasional sweetened dairy is the exception. Because of this, Max is a big fan of Dairy Queen. We can't drive by without him whimpering, snotty little nose pressed against the glass of my SUV.

What are you going to do when he begs?

You're going to give him the treat.

Because you PROMISED.

So what are the rites of spring that propel you forward? And don't forget those clocks!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Good News and stuff

I've had some confidence building news this week--for a change--and I wanted to share.

I just found out I finaled in The Marlene Writing Contest with my YA time travel: The Totally Tubular Adventures of Carrington Morris. This is great news because my partial manuscript gets in front of an editor AND if I win first place, I get a manuscript critique by Gena Showalter. I heart Gena Showalter very much. Did I ever tell you about the time I got to be in her hotel room at Nationals? ....I digress. Anyway, this is Big News for Gwen, so everyone please keep your fingers crossed for me.

My inbox contained more good news this week. Not one, but two agents asked for a partial manuscript. I needed the boost and my morale is much higher now, thank goodness.

So, did I tell you about the time I got to be in Gena Showalter's room?

(hint: Look for me in the "crowd scene" in Gena's room. I'm the last one of of the room and I say "Jill Monroe isn't a very nice person."

Happy anniversary to me!

Tomorrow Mr. Brice and I will have been married for 5 years. Whoa, pretty crazy, huh?

Prior to this relationship, the longest I'd ever even dated someone was just over 2 years, so to have been with the same guy for more than 7 years, 5 of them as Mr. and Mrs. is really cool.

Anyway, we're escaping the snow and ice here in DC with a short getaway to Miami and the Bahamas. Today we're flying to Miami and will spend the night in South Beach. Then tomorrow we board a cruise ship and set sail for the Bahamas!

Right now, the plan is to swim with stingrays in Nassau (actually at a little island nearby called Blackbeard's Cay) on Saturday (and then spend the rest of the day exploring the historic downtown) and then going snorkeling and lounging on the beach on the cruise line's private island on Sunday. Then we return to Miami on Monday to go explore the Everglades.

And it's back to reality on Tuesday. Boo!

Anyway, happy anniversary Mr. Brice. I love you so much. You're the bestest husband a girl could ever ask for!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Marriage proposals

I heard a funny story yesterday on the radio about a marriage proposal that made the news. Apparently, a guy had first met his girlfriend on a group date at Wendy's, so to propose to her, he decided to do it at Wendy's with all of those friends around him. The friends knew he was going to pop the question...and that he had buried the engagement ring in her frosty.

Well, the guy's friends had decided they wanted to speed up the process, so they challenged the girl to some kind of frosty eat-off. You can see where this is going...the girl totally ate the engagement ring and didn't know! LOL

It took a lot of convincing for her to realize what had happened--and a trip to the ER, complete with a stomach X-ray, showing the ring in her stomach. At this point, their friends pointed out that the guy hadn't actually proposed yet. So the guy, x-ray in hand, proposed to her there, and she said yes. Even though she had to wait for nature to call until she got her ring back. ROFL

Know how the manpanion popped the question to me? He called me upstairs and told me to look under my pillow. I did, and saw a tanzanite ring in there. It was gorgeous--and my favorite stone!! So I thanked him and put it on the ring finger of my right hand...LOL. I was totally certain it wasn't an engagement ring and didn't want to get my hopes up and go down that road.

Anyway, so his face turned beet-red and he said: "Well, you can put that on your other hand, if you want." LOL

The kids still tease him about never "officially" proposing to me.

Of course, after he said that, he did say a lot of very romantic stuff. All in all, it was funny and romantic at the same time. :D

By the way, when I called my mom to tell her I was engaged, she instantly said, "In what...felonious activities?" Apparently, she never thought we'd actually do it since we'd been together for two years at this point with no apparent engagement in sight. hahaha

What about you? Any good proposal stories to share? Share a shocking or funny or romantic proposal story with us--I'd love to hear it!!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

What's your daredevil level?

I consider myself a risk taker. I'll talk to just about anyone, say just about anything. I'm not afraid to stand out in a crowd (and often do when I'm wearing heels) and be noticed. I'm a culinary risk taker too - there's not much I wouldn't at least taste once. I've traveled to a lot of interesting places, including Morocco, where I got my picture taken in the kasbah with a snake around my neck - something neither my husband or my dad would do.

However, when it comes to physical risk taking, I'm more likely to be on the sidelines. I've been white water rafting and deep sea snorkeling, but that was at a fairly young age. I'd rethink even those things now. Bungee jumping? Not a chance. Skydiving? No way.

How about you? What level of risk do you stop at? What's the riskiest thing you've done?

Monday, March 02, 2009


I hung out with some friends from high school over the weekend and had the best time ever. It's really hard to believe that I've known some of these guys since I was 5 years old! And that we're still friends.

I've said it before, but I was one of the few folks who actually enjoyed high school. Sure, I had moments of drama like everyone else, but overall, my HS experience was fantastic. I made a lot of friends, knew a lot of good people and count myself very lucky that many of them are still in my life.

I wanted to scan some old pics and post for you here so you could see then and now, but I didn't preplan enough in advance. So I'll just post a group pic of now.
Take a good look at the people around you in high school now...you may find yourself playing with them 22 years later. What a great feeling that is.