Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Four or Five

1. My baby sister is on her way to Africa right now (to Capetown) to do service--helping teach children English and to read, building a home or school, and more. I have to admit, I'm jealous of her. Back when I was in nursing school, I used to dream of going to Africa on a medical service trip. My mom is a Medical Technologist and we used to talk about going together. Honestly, sometimes I think about finishing my degree someday just so I can still go do that. What an amazing opportunity for her! Just hoping she stays safe and has an amazing time.

2. I think the pools are officially supposed to open today. It's been in the 80s and even 90s for the last two weeks. Want to guess what the weather is like today? Yep, raining and chilly. Heh. That's Utah for you.

3. Change can be exciting, but it's hard, too. Another one of my sisters bought her first home this week and we are helping her move this weekend. She's staying close by, so I'm just excited for her. But one of my closest friends is moving to Texas (we're helping them move out of their house early next week) and I'm so sad to see them go. I'm happy for them to have this opportunity, but I will miss her and her family so much! Interesting how the same thing--someone moving--can cause such different feelings depending on where the move takes the people I love.

4. I opened a WIP that I started in March this week. I had two different ideas that month and started them both. Then the second idea kind of took off, and I finished that one. Now that I've got that one revised and polished (at least for now), I went back to my other one. I'm about 8,800 words in and as I reread them I thought, "hey, this is actually pretty good. It's unfortunate that I can't remember what I was planning on doing with some of these characters. Hmmm... I obviously intended for that object to mean something. If only I had a clue what it was." And so on and so forth. I have a document where I wrote notes for this book, so I remember most of it, but apparently I wasn't thorough enough. Wish me luck as I try to remember the rest of my plot so I can keep writing!

5. I think there is a skunk outside right now. It suddenly smells very strongly of skunk. Hopefully my dog doesn't need to go outside to do his bizness anytime soon.

What's on your mind today? Any fun plans for the weekend? Happy Friday!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Four or Five

1. My friend Natalie had a baby last week and boy is he cute!! I adore babies. It makes me kind of sad that Baby Girl is getting so big, so fast.

2. I love reading really good books, but there are two downsides to finishing one. First, I'm sad it's over. That's always a great sign, when I wish a book would just keep going. (And yet, I am racing for the end because I need to know what happens!) Second, I feel so inadequate as an author after. Thinking, man, I wish I could write a book like this. But hopefully reading great books helps me learn how to become a better writer. I've read a couple recently that were so well written, so engrossing, just wow. I love that, when a book exceeds expectations.

3. Summer is almost here. I looked at the calendar and realized there's only just under three weeks of school left. Whoa, how did that happen?? Since I missed most of the summer last year (on bed rest for a month, then having a newborn and not really being able to go out much), I am SO excited for the pools to open and to enjoy the sun and heat.

4. I only got about three hours of sleep last night, and I can't seem to think of anything else to write about this week. All I can think about is my empty inbox and how tired I am and how sore I am and that's all boring stuff. Oh, and now my kids are up, so I better go put on my Mommy-Hat.

What's on your mind this week? Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Like Clockwork launch

My sweet friend Elle Strauss is releasing the third book in her Clockwise series today. Read on for a special preview of the cover and the first chapter:

Like Clockwork, a companion novel to the Clockwise series, is here!!

Adeline doesn't feel she belongs in her own time, but can bad boys from the past be trusted?

 Adeline Savoy had hoped that the move west from Cambridge to Hollywood with her single dad would mean they’d finally bond like a real family, but all she got was a father too busy with his new female friends and his passion for acting to really see her.

 Instead she finds herself getting attached to Faye, the divorcee hair dresser she befriends when she travels back in time to 1955. Plus Faye has a hottie, James Dean-esque, bad-boy brother who has Adeline’s heart all aflutter.  But bad boys from the past can be dangerous. Is it possible that Adeline really does belong in her own time and that maybe the right boy lives as close as next door?

LIKE CLOCKWORK is available now at Amazon and Smashwords and soON for B&N, ibooks and other e-book retailers.

 Read on to sample the first chapter:

Chapter One

Adeline Savoy

My dad still thought I was ten. That was how old I was when mymother died, and how old I was when my father crawled into his “cave,” alsoknown as his office on the 26th floor of the John Hancock tower. Six yearslater, like a bear coming out of hibernation, Dad decided his days of hidingbehind a desk were over. I thought he was going through a mid-life crisis,which was why we now lived in Hollywood instead of Cambridge. And why when Ispotted his reflection in a mirror at the cosmetic counter in the Shop &Save store, I almost dropped the ScarletPassion lipstick tester I'd just smeared on my lips.

Even though I was sixteen, I wasn't allowed to wear make-up.True. With my left hand I used a tissue to wipe the evidence off my mouth, allthe while watching my dad’s familiar profile move in and out of range in themirror.

He was laughing. I crouched down and turned, my vision justmissing the counter top, and watched. His hair had grown out since the“decision.” He used to always keep it so short, that I didn’t even know it waswavy before, and the lines on his face never used to turn upward in a smile.

I had to see who was causing this cosmic reaction in my father.The clerk who sold cheap jewelry, a pretty-in-a-fake way brunette, tilted herhead and giggled back.

My jaw dropped and something really strange started happeningin my stomach. I felt a little sick because I couldn’t believe what I waswitnessing. My dad was flirting!

Who was this man dressed in khakis, flip-flops and an un-tuckedpseudo Hawaiian shirt? My real dad only wore pinstriped suits with starchywhite shirts and a blue tie. Always. Even to bed, I was certain.

“Miss? Are you all right?” The cosmetic clerk was armed with aspray nozzle cleaner in one hand and a paper towel in the other.

I mimed as best I could, “ssh”, but apparently dad was the onlyone with acting skills in my family, since she wouldn’t leave me alone.

“Miss? You don’t look too good. Should I call for medical?”

The fake pretty lady stopped chatting when she heard hercolleague talking so loudly. Obviously, that meant my dad’s little flirtationepisode was over. And of course, my blonde ponytail was a giveaway.

“Adeline?”he said.

“Dad!” I jumped up, feigning surprise.

“What are you doing here?” he asked.

What are you doing here?I thought. “Um nothing, just looking. Thought I might buy some gum.”

Dad glanced back at the fake and I did a quick switcheroo,replacing the tester and grabbing a sealed golden tube. It tucked nicely in myfist as I crossed my arms over my chest.

“Adeline, come here,” Dad said. “I want you to meet someone.”

My legs moved toward dad and the fake without my permission.

“Adeline, this is my friend from acting class, Spring. Spring,this is my daughter, Adeline.”

Spring extended her hand. Unfortunately, the contrabandlipstick was in my right hand. I wasn’t a magician. Dad would notice if I triedto switch. I opted for the awkward offering of my left hand.

“It’s so nice to meet you,” Spring gushed.

“Same,” I said, not meaning it at all. “Not that I don’t wantto stay and chat,” I added quickly, before Dad could draw us into more forcedintimacies, “but I’ve got to go.”

“I’ll walk with you,” Dad said. But he wasn’t looking at me; hewas smiling at the fake.

“It’s okay, Dad. I’ll meet you at home.” I strutted across thefloor to the cashier. He glanced back at me as I stood in line at the register.I waved the pack of gum in the air. I paid for it and the lipstick while Dadand the fake went back to making googly eyes.

I snapped the gum in my mouth while caressing the lipstick tubein my hand. It was encased in a plastic protective seal, a perforated striprunning the length of it like a zipper. My thumb picked at the rim. All I hadto do was rip it open and it would no longer be returnable.

But I really should return it. I’d promised myself I’d give upthe greasy lip habit when we moved. It was a chance to start over, doeverything new, and be a proper daughter with a proper father.

Hrumph. Like that wasturning out. Dad wasn't exactly holding up his end of the bargain.

My breaths came out short and rapid, like a panting dog. Ididn’t realize how fast I’d been walking. I’d hardly taken in the tall palmtrees that lined the road or the sweet smell of tropical flowers I didn’t knowthe names of.

No signs of autumn in sight. In Cambridge the leaves would beshowing signs of turning color, bright reds and yellows. A little twist in mystomach. I was homesick.

And angry.

He was supposed to change, but not like that. He was supposedto notice me, spend time with me, not some flake called Spring. What kind ofname was that anyway? It sounded like a made up actress name. Her last name wasprobably Storm or Wind. My thumb picked the plastic a bit more.

“Hi, there.”

I turned my head. Some guy riding a pink bike with a sparklywhite banana seat and matching tassels that hung off tall, wide handle barsslowed down to keep pace with me.

“Hi,” he said again. This time there was no mistaking he wastalking to me.

“Hi?” I said, not slowing down at all to do so. I may beentering my junior year, but I still didn’t talk to strangers. Janice, mybabysitter/pseudo mom in Cambridge, had drilled that lesson into me good.

“My name's Marco. I live next door to you.”

Okay. I slowed a little. “Why are you riding a girl’s bike?”Did he steal it? Why didn’t he care about how stupid it made him look?

“It’s my sister’s. I sold mine to buy something else, butriding this is better than walking.”

“I’m walking and you’re not making any better time than me.” Iwas annoyed. Why didn’t he just keep going? I preferred to sulk alone.

“You’re new, so I thought with school starting tomorrow, you’dlike someone to ride the bus with.”

Good point. Who knew what kinds of Hollywood weirdos would beon the bus? I looked Marco up and down. He was average height, shaggy hair, andwore a graphic t-shirt and surfer shorts with fat, loosely tied skate shoes onhis feet. No socks. He had nice, tanned skin and warm brown eyes that squintedto almost close when he smiled. He wasn’t hard to look at.

And he looked trustworthy enough, I guessed. Plus, he was right.I didn’t really want to go to Hollywood High alone.

I stopped and turned to him. “I’m Adeline Savoy.” I wiped thesweat on my right hand off on my skirt—sky blue, slightly flared and to myknees—and offered it wanting to start my new friendship off on the right foot.

“Cool,” Marco said as we shook. “You like to make thingsofficial. I like that.”

The sun must’ve glinted off the gold tube in my other handbecause Marco nodded toward it. “What’ya got there?”

“Oh, it’s just lipstick. I bought it, but now I’m not sure. Imight take it back.”

“I don’t know why girls wear that vile stuff,” he said. I wassurprised by the strength of his statement.

“It makes us feel good. Pretty. What’s wrong with that?”

“For one thing, you’re already pretty without it.”

He thought I was pretty?

“Besides,” he continued, “it’s made out of horse urine.”

“It is not! That’s so gross.”

“It is. That’s why it has that sticky consistency. Have youever seen dried urine around a toilet?”

“You’re disgusting! How would you know about lipstick, anyway?”

“I have three sisters, though one is only six years old andhasn’t discovered the evils of make-up and this culture’s drive to sexualizeyoung girls. It’s too late for my older sisters, but you can still be saved.”

Who was this guy? And how did he get off talking to me likethat? He didn’t even know me. I felt my lips settle into a tight line and my pace picked up.

“Hey, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you.”

How long was he going to walk with me? “Where did you say youlived?”

“Right next door to you.”

“Right next door?” This annoying person, who happened to be myonly friend, lived right next door?

“Yeah, the two storey. My bedroom window faces yours.”

“You see in my window!”

“No. I don’t…” His face flushed red.

“You do, you do lookin. You peeping Tom!”

“Adeline, I didn’t see anything. I just heard your music.”

“Huh?” I stopped and spun to face him.

A grin tugged at the corners of his mouth. “And your singing.”

“What?” I was mortified. He probably heard me singing along to  Feist, or even worse, he saw me doing myMichael Jackson impersonation. I bet he saw me doing the Thriller dance the other night. Ugh!

“Everyone can hear you. You have your window open.”

“You know what? Don’t talk to me.”

Marco seemed truly taken aback, and yet he didn’t get the hint.Not even one as direct as that. He was not only a peeper, but he was dense,too.

“I live in a house full of women. Three sisters and a mother. Iget what’s going on here. It’s PMS, isn’t it?”

Was he kidding me? Asif I would talk about something like that with him! I stopped and stared hardinto his eyes. I produced my new tube of lipstick and slowly peeled theperforated strip, letting the plastic wrapper drop to the ground. Idramatically popped off the lid and twisted the base until the bright red driedhorse urine was in full view.

Then I put it on my lips, slowly, purposefully, first the topand then the bottom, smacking them in Marco’s direction when I was done.

Take that, Mr. I Know Women.

Marco bent down, picked up the plastic wrapper and pushed it inhis pocket. He straddled the bike and pushed off, turning back long enough tosay, “I’ll pick you up at 8:10 tomorrow morning for school.”


Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Motivation

"Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now. " - Denis Waitley

I think this is the trick to true happiness--to learn to enjoy the NOW. To learn what you need from the past AND THEN LET IT GO. And to make goals, work towards them, and then STOP WORRYING ABOUT THE FUTURE.

What goals are you working toward right now? What lessons have you learned from your past?

And what is something RIGHT NOW in your life that makes you happy?

It's a great way to start off the week to sit down and think through the answers to those questions. So tell me, what are your answers this week?

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Kindness Project

Too often kindness is relegated to a random act performed only when we’re feeling good.  But an even greater kindness (to ourselves and others) occurs when we reach out even when we aren't feeling entirely whole. It’s not easy, and no one is perfect. But we’ve decided it’s not impossible to brighten the world one smile, one kind word, one blog post at a time. To that end, a few of us writers have established The Kindness Project, starting with a series of inspirational posts.

BE THE PERSON YOU NEEDED (yes, my title is almost the same as Carol's... it's because she inspired me.)

Choose to be kind. It sounds easy enough to do, right? And it is... some of the time.

Choosing to be kind when it's for a friend who's hurting, or for a family member who's having a down day, or to a sweet-but-harried-looking young mom juggling three kids and a cart full of groceries... those are pretty easy choices to make. They are nice people. Being kind to them shouldn't take too much effort. And maybe we're having a good day, and feeling really generous, so we stop, make an effort, reach out, help. We choose to be kind.

But what about the times when we're wishing someone would stop and be nice to us? Or what if it's a person who has been unkind in some way in the past--or many times? Not quite as easy anymore. That's when it truly counts though, that's what this project is all about in my mind. Not just the easy choice to be nice in the easy situation. It's about choosing to consciously be kind even when I'm not in a great place myself. Even when it's to a person who isn't nice to me.

Have you ever had a day when you felt so alone or hurt that you longed for just a small glimmer of kindness from someone? I have. The kind of day where the usual carelessness of the average strangers around me stings instead of going mostly unnoticed like normal. The kind of day when the deliberate rudeness of certain people feels like salt being rubbed into an open wound that can never quite heal. The kind of day when it's all you can do to keep the tears buried, to try and stay strong and put the smile your kids need to see on your face. I have. Not often, but I've had them. And I've thought to myself, why didn't that stranger offer to help me when I was so obviously in need of it? Why can't so-and-so just smile at me and be the first one to say hi, just once? Why can't someone call me just to chat, just to let me know they care?

We all have those days. Some more than others. And we can all do something to help.

My vision for myself with this project is to be that person, the one that I long for on those days. Even if I'm the one having that day, I am committing to try and be that person. Even in those times when I long for someone to reach out to me--I'm going to try and reach out to others. I'm not perfect, and I know some days I will be better at this than others. And it's hard if people don't reciprocate. (Trust me, I know. I try to be kind to people who aren't nice back. It's hard. And I'll be honest, some days I don't have it in me to reach out and open myself up to being hurt again and again.) But I'm going to try harder. I'm going to work on being more sincere. On looking for opportunities to reach beyond myself and consciously try to be kind to everyone around me, no matter who they are or what they've done--good or bad.

Be the person you needed. If we all did that, can you imagine what would happen?

Check out who else is posting today for The Kindness Project:

Elizabeth Davis
Sarah Fine
Liza Kane
Amie Kaufman
Sara Larson
Matthew MacNish
Sara McClung
Gretchen McNeil
Tracey Neithercott
Lola Sharp
Michele Shaw
Meagan Spooner
Carolina Valdez Miller

Be sure to check them out :D We post the second Wednesday of every month. Want to join us? Grab our button and spread a little kindness.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Storymakers 2012 recap

I can't believe Storymakers 2012 is already over! It seemed SO far away when I signed up for it, and now it's done. I wish I could have gone to more of it than just Saturday, but I'm glad I got to do at least one day. My friends Kasie, Natalie and Jenn taught a couple of classes, there were some amazing agents and editors there, Renee was in town... it was just totally made of awesome.

Renee and I even got asked if we were sisters! I took that as a compliment since she's so pretty. Plus, I love all four of my little sisters, and I love Renee, so she totally can be my honorary sister. :-)

 Jenn, me, Renee, and Kasie. (Natalie had already gone home - the poor thing is not only about to have a baby any minute, she had kidney stones!) They totally rocked their classes, and it's always so much fun hanging out with all of them. Love all these ladies (and the ones at dinner in the picture below, as well). There was a lot of love this weekend, heh.
 Dinner after the conference with so many fabulous people, including Kasie and Kiersten White's rockin' agent, Michelle Wolfson. She's so hysterical-- and the tiniest little spitfire you'll ever meet. She's seriously tough, people. Even though I'm like a foot taller than her, I'm a little bit afraid that she could beat me up. Not that she ever would. But she could. Anyway, we were all laughing so hard. It was such a fun night.

I also got to hang out with Holly Root earlier in the day--she's seriously so beautiful and really funny. Somehow we ended up swapping stories about our awkward stages in life, among many other things. And man does that girl know how to pack efficiently! She's awesome, I'm so glad I got to meet and talk to her.

I also got to meet and talk to Molly O'Neill, the editor for the Divergent series (among many others), and she, too, was so nice and fun to get to know. She's even introducing me to a Weird Al Yankovic remake of the music video to "my" song. (My name is Sara, I'm sure you can guess which one.)

It was such a great opportunity to meet these incredible professionals in the industry and I'm so glad I was able to get to know each of them a little better. (And I even made Michelle's twitter feed as one of the "glamorous" GIANTS in the back of the car on the way to the restaurant hehe.)
Kasie and Michelle. Aren't they both too cute? Love 'em.

Okay, recap (and gushing) is over. Basically, it was awesome. Meeting new people, learning about the craft, hanging out with friends, being surrounded by people who love writing and books as much as I do... A little slice of heaven.

Can't wait for next year!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Storymakers 2012

This weekend I'll be at a conference here in Utah. I love going to conferences, seeing my friends who are here from out of state, meeting agents and editors, finding corners to do nefarious activities in... ha ha ha. Oh, the memories that get made at conferences. I love them!

Are you going to any conferences this year? What is your favorite part of going?

If any of you will be at Storymakers this Saturday, I hope I see you!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mr. Darcy and kissing and bangs and whips and more

Today's random post brought to you by Analytics. Here is a taste of some google searches that brought people to my blog recently:

#4 on the list was: Mr. Darcy! I'm happy that many Darcy lovers have been guided here. I'm not sure that I've posted about him THAT often, but I do love him. Let us all pause and think of Mr. Darcy for a moment. *sigh* *dreamy eyes* Ahem. Ok. Moving on.

Right underneath Mr. Darcy however at #5 was "22 inch baby." Apparently the length of Baby Girl (did I even mention that on this blog? I guess I must have...) has garnered a few people's interest. When they got to this blog, they probably weren't too excited to realize it was an author blog and not a mommy-blogger or something. But if you stuck around, Yay for mom's with LOOONG babies!

"Being married to a writer" also made the top of the list. SHH would be thrilled to know that, since that was his guest blog post (which I have to say was quite good).

Also in the top ten was "brunette bangs." Not even sure how that would get anyone to my blog. Hm. I suppose I have them, but don't recall ever mentioning that. Maybe they saw a picture of me? Eek, that kind of freaks me out actually. Heh.

And #10 made me smile (and scratch my head since once more, I don't remember ever blogging about this specifically): "Ky and Cassia kiss." Yay for Ally's books! Yay for Ky and Cassia! But intriguing that such a search brought them here.

In fact, kissing is a theme of sorts. Besides that there was also: "fun with romantic kisses" and "kissing scenes from movies." Do I talk about kissing that much?

Other random searches:

"Despicable Me castle." Absolutely no clue what that even means.

"Cute girl holding a whip." Yikes. Again, no clue.

"My husband is hotter than me." Yes, I refer to my hubby as "SHH" (super hot hubby). So, I guess that might be why. And he probably is hotter than me, too. Let's be honest here. :-)

And not to be outdone, Mr. Thornton showed up a few times, too. Love him just as much as Mr. Darcy. *sighs again* Love those Regency Men.

So, yep! There's a random roundup of just some of the whacky searches that brought people to my blog recently.

Happy Wednesday!