Tuesday, June 30, 2009

When did today become yesterday?

I've come to a conclusion. It's one that many before me have reached, and I'm just a little slow to the party. And what is this grand epiphany? It's two-fold:

1) I have an addictive personality--to chocolate, screaming dill Pringles chips, books (I have at least 45 unread ones sitting on my shelf waiting to be read and all I want to do is run to Borders right now to use my coupon), blogs (they are like cocaine ... or at least they're like what I think cocaine is probably like), refreshing my email, social networking/online activities in general, etc.

2) There are not enough hours in the day to satisfy my addictions. The chocolate and the dill pickle chips I can manage (unfortunately) without too much time lost. (Now, the gym visit that should accompany such caloric consumption is another thing entirely.) The book buying (and shopping in general, if I'm being honest), typically only affects one or two days of my week. But the rest of the stuff, the things that I do on my lifeline ... er, I mean my laptop? Yeah, not so much. I sit down to "just check my email and browse the blogs," and BAM! It's two hours later and I'm almost late for work, or it's the next morning already and I have to wake up in 3 hours.

Right about here is where it seems appropriate to say, Hi, my name's Jessica, and I'm an addict." I've decided to put myself on some sort of restriction, so that I can get a few other things done--like work, writing, and finishing up our house. But the thing is, falling off the wagon is a legitimate possibility for me. Maybe I should get a sponsor? You know, someone to yank my laptop out of my death grip arms when I'm covered in sweat and convulsing on the floor and in need of just one more little hit.

Either that, or I need to talk to the time gods. Get a couple extra hours shoved in each day so that I can get things done that I need (and many times want) to get done. Or perhaps I just need a light dusting of time freezing ability ... Hmm. I think I may have something. *off to find the magical time fairies*

Friday, June 26, 2009

Because laughing is important.

If you're a fan of Edward, or if you hate Twilight but you love Buffy, or if you just want a good laugh, you have to watch the clip below. Yes, I demand it.

I stole it from the folks over at The Book Bind. You can see it over there, too, as well as the newest New Moon book cover (same link).

Thursday, June 25, 2009

More awesomeness for teens, and for YA writers.

For those who haven't heard: the folks over at Publishers Lunch reported (sometime last week; I'm a bit behind on my email) that Simon & Schuster has developed a teen social networking site, called Pulse It, for teens ages 14 to 18 (not fair!!).

The awesome factor(s)? Site members get to read one book online for free per month, and the books will be a combo of new releases and those that are soon to be published. AND you get points for things like reviews (I'm not sure what you do with these points, but it still sounds really cool). AND you can win free books!!

I am SO jealous to be a twenty-something right now. Maybe I can sneak in the teens only door and pretend to be an 18 and a half-ish year old when I get caught? I'll even paint a little "No Drinking Under 21" stamp on my hands.

Yeah. Seeing as how I hardly get carded for a margarita anymore, I don't think so. But here's to wishful thinking ...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A crowded little picnic.

I'll preface this post by saying it is ENTIRELY (eek! adverb alert! and exclamation overload!) random and nonsensical.

Now on with the craziness.

I didn't do anything at work today. Well, I did go to court for about 30 minutes for one hearing, but other than that ... nothing. I'm not lazy. Okay, so maybe I am. But today it wasn't my fault. You see, we're moving offices. This morning, when I got in to work, the phones and the internet were already down.

Gasp!! No Internet/phone---back in the Stone Age!

I had all my boxes packed, and the movers weren't coming until Thursday (tomorrow). No internet + no computer + no files (all stored away somewhere) + no phone to return client calls = bored out of my flipping mind.

So I sat in my chair with my feet propped up on my desk, and my coworker sprawled out on the floor with her head in the paper confetti (from where we shredded a bunch of documents the day before and created a tiny little mess), and we played stupid games that involved zero movement.

Game 1: I spy with my little eye something ....... brown. In my office, everything is brown. Walls, ceiling, carpet, furniture, boxes, chairs--all brown, or at least some putrid shade of beige. We laughed like we were high on helium.

Game 2: Guess what number I'm thinking? It's somewhere between 1 and 1 million. I'll tell you if you're high or low. -- That lasted 2 rounds.

Game 3: the picnic game. If you've never played it, it's where you say, "I'm going on a picnic, and I'm taking __________ (something that starts with the letter A)." Person 2 repeats what you said, and then adds something starting with the letter B. And so on and so on, until you either reach Z, or someone screws up and can't remember one of the letters.

I lost. Twice. But we kept playing until we hit the ending. And just for fun, here's what Coworker and I took on our little picnic (I was first; she was second):

An apple. (because i'm boring)
A bear. (to eat us or the apple, i'm not sure ...)
A crayon.
A dolphin.
An elephant.
A fig. (yep, just one)
A gorilla.
Some hair. (because, ya know, everyone needs hair at their picnic)
An igloo.
A jumper. (the clothing, not a suicidal kid)
A kissing booth.
Some lima beans.
Some moonshine.
Nudists. (it seemed natural, after the moonshine)
An octopus.
Paneling. (inspired by my lovely office walls)
A radio.
A self-adhesive envelope (I refrained from bringing an SASE, but just barely)
A tricycle.
A unicorn.
A whistle.
Xanax. (you'd need some on this picnic, too)
A yuletide fairy (nope, no idea what this is, but i'm bringing it)
And, of course, a zebra.

Game 4: Some other take on the alphabet and animals, but our brains were shot.

If you live in Florida, then this is what your hard-earned (or your parents hard-earned) tax money got spent on today: for the state to pay me to create a picnic list whilst staring at my creepy beige ceiling.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

And now I must show off my shiny new toy ...

The lovely Ms. Abby has given me my very first blog award, and it is oh-so-cool and oh-so-shiny and oh-so-pretty!

If you haven't been to her site, check it out. She's informative and relatable and funny and relevant and all that other good stuff. :)

It's fun to get awards, don't you think? Makes a day of crappiness less crappy. So thanks, Abby. I hope to continue to make you laugh, whether it's at me or with me, I'm not really picky.

Okay. I'm finished now.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

When a problem comes along, you must WIPpet ...

Today is one of those days. The kind where work sucks something major, I can't get into my MC's brain (I've even offered him money), and I'm hating everything I've written thus far. All ... 17k'ish words of it. Well, maybe not ALL of it, but you get what I'm saying. (Right? Or is it just me that goes through the rough patches with my significant other?) So before I do an injustice to my lovely characters, I'm peacing out. Don't want to say or do anything that I'll regret later.

To heck with my 1k goal for the day (okay, so this part is still killing me, but I'm letting it go ...). I'm settling for about 100.

But ... in the spirit of Devo, here's about 200. (small intro: My MC violated his probation and is getting sent to a school for at risk kids. He's in the car with his social worker right now.)

“Buck up, kid,” Tony tells me in the car. “It could’ve been a lot worse.”

For the past five miles, I’ve stared out the side window, my headphones on but no music playing. I forgot to charge the battery.

I move my lips to imaginary lyrics, but Tony isn’t deterred.

“Seriously, Drew, what’s this make … seven, maybe eight, VOPs? You’re lucky the judge didn’t send you to the big house.”

The big house = the local jail. I spent the last twenty-one days in the juvenile center, which, compared to the alternative, is a slice of apple pie.

“You knew this was the last straw. I don’t know why you couldn’t …” Tony pauses and sighs. “Your new school is out of county, so I won’t be able to check on you as much. If there’s any trouble, I’ll get another worker assigned to you. I hear they’re not as easygoing in Bristol, so will you at least try to behave?”

A thin mist settles onto the front windshield of Tony’s silver Jetta. He flips his wipers onto low, turns up the radio, and taps his fingers against the steering wheel.

We spend the next three hours in silence, Tony waiting for an answer that never comes.

Happy Wednesday to all, and to all a good night!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Singing in the rain ...

I don't know what it is about rain, but I find it fascinating. I've always wanted to dash out in the middle of a storm (sans lightning) just, ya know, to do it. But there's always something else I just oh-my-god-have-to-do at that moment. Or I don't feel like getting my hair wet I just spent an hour drying it. Or, well, my new neighbors would have me committed.

This weekend, I finally made it happen. Okay, I didn't do anything, except go to a concert at an outdoor, uncovered amphitheatre on a day with a high forecast of rain, without an umbrella or a poncho, with the hubby, the lil' sis, and a couple of friends. And here's what I learned:

The Fray + nighttime illuminated by stage lights + 2 hours of nonstop rain + not giving a what about weather forecasts + a couple of overpriced cocktails = Sheer. Freakin'. Awesomeness.

There's something about tossing your head up at the sky and shouting "here comes the downpour" along with Isaac Slade and thousands of others (the half of us that didn't make the dumbest decision ever and bail out) that just screams, "This is life."

Far and away one of the greatest moments of my life. I'd live it over and over and over again if I could.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What the hey. I'll WIPpet with the rest of them. :)

Okay, so ... I'm only 10k or so (give or take a k) into my newest WIP, so this is probably a bit premature. But ... I'm gonna post it anyway. Why? Because my MC is a male, and he wants to make sure I'm getting his voice right. He says I can't post chapter 1, though, because he doesn't want that info out of the bag just yet.

So, here's 200'ish words from Chapter 2. Any feedback (yep, even if you hate it) would be great.

Chapter 2

I know guys aren’t supposed to care about this kind of stuff, but orange really isn’t my color. I look like a pumpkin, my pale skin glowing in the dark, my cheeks hollowed out from missing seven straight meals.

Bracelets don’t suit me, either. At least not the unbreakable metal variety.

“No issue with probable cause, sir,” some frump in a suit says.

No issue? Geez, way to bend over and take it. I hope my guy is better than this one.

The grim reaper narrows his brow, beady eyes stern as he glares at the twelve-year-old prepubescent who spray-painted the high school gymnasium with half naked men. (Guess which half?) I was impressed. Thought he deserved a round of applause and a moment to take a bow. The court? Not so much.

“Twenty-one days in a secured detention center,” the reaper says, his voice spitting gravel. He glares at the half-chewed pencil on legs. “What do you have planned for your life, kid?”

Kid shrugs. Mumbles something about how he doesn’t know, hasn’t thought about it. Which is a bunch of shit, really, because I’ve seen the graffiti. I’ve seen the property he made palatable but is now accused of defacing.

Justice sucks.

“State versus Cleary,” says a woman with shoulder pads almost as big as her hair.

The rent-a-cops puff out their green polyester chests and close in on me.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I'm so addicted to, all the things you do ...

Hi. My name is Jessica, and I'm an addict. Really. To you. And by "you," I mean the ever-growing list of bloggers I follow.

Don't worry, I'm not just a creepy stalker. I mean, I'm addicted to other things as well. Chocolate. Starch. Television. Shopping. Chocolate. You get the point. But man, does this blog-stalking addiction really dominate lately!

I don't mean to say that it's a bad thing, mind you. Stumbling upon this little writer's blogosphere was one of my favorite accidents. I've learned a lot. A. Lot. I've entered contests. I've received critiques. I've gotten better at my writing. I've laughed and empathized--with others at similar stages in their writing careers, as well as with those eons ahead of me. I've learned that agents really are people, despite my previously held beliefs.

All of this is to say ... thank you. You're all awesome. And, in those moments when I look at my computer clock and think, "Where the hell did the last 3 hours go?", you all suck. :D

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

"Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever."

So this email made its way to me through a friend of a friend of my husband. He thought I would like it, and he was right. Thought I'd post it for you all. 3, 6, 7, 9, 16, and 20-22 gave me a particular chuckle. Especially 7, 21, and 22, for whatever reason. 14 made me shudder (eek! Memories of math word problems!). Anywho. Similes: Check. Metaphors: Check. Over and out.

Why English Teachers Die Young
Every year, English teachers from across the country can submit their collections of similes and metaphors found in actual high school essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of teachers across the country.

Here are last year's winners.

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances, like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E.Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.

8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.

9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.

16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.

18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

23. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.