Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays

Whatever you celebrate, I hope you celebrate big. Hope you get everything you want and deserve and I hope you spend lots of time with the ones you love.

See you in 2012!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Lazy and Confused

A week ago my husband did what he's often done for me in the last year. He took the kids completely off my hands so I could write. It was Sunday, so he took the girls to church. Took them to feed the ducks on the Delaware. Split up crying jags and fisticuffs. He even handled it when my older daughter's play date threatened to end in ex-bff tears.

I sat in various locales (Panera, Barnes & Noble, Starbucks) and revised and revised and revised, just like I have for the last three months. But this Sunday was different. I was so close to being finished. Usually I feel guilty about spending the entire day writing that I come home after a few hours. But not this time. I emailed my husband and told him I wouldn't be home for dinner, I'd stay out until I finished.

I did finish after about 12 hours out (disclaimer, this wasn't 12 hours of revising - I wandered, I walked, I flipped through magazines, I surfed, I stared into space.) I was in a Friendly's eating a garden burger with bacon (I know, Why? Don't ask. I eat weird things when revising) and I was thinking about the last page of my book. I read it over and over and each time I got a sense of completeness. I did (yet another) spell check, and googled 'manuscript formatting.' Finally, over chocolate chip ice cream, I realized that I was well and truly done. Every issue that I had with it, every issue that my three beta readers had with it had been addressed. There was literally nothing left to do.

I went home. My husband gave me a gin and tonic with a little paper umbrella in it, since he didn't have any champagne. I gave him an ice cream sundae. Then I went to bed.

Since then I've been at a loss. Whenever the kids are at school or at a play date I have that same pavlovian impulse - Quick! Write, you have a little time! But I don't know what to do. I'm not sending out queries until January, and I've already polished up my query letter. To tell the truth, I'm feeling both lazy and confused. Tapped out and, even if I were to force myself to write, not sure where to go.

So, here are my questions for you. What do you do when you're completely finished with one work? Do you automatically jump into something else, or do you take a little time 'off'?

And, bonus question - how do you decide what do write next? Maybe you can help me decide by voting in my poll -  I couldn't figure out how to put the poll in this blogpost, but it's over yonder in the sidebar - please chime in, the poll is up for a few days.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ideas and the New Baby Smell

All babies are awesome. I'm not talking about cuteness or that new baby smell or how they seem to be lit up from the inside. Even if you don't like babies and would rather chew off your own arm than change a diaper, you'll concede that babies are awesome. Because babies are possibilities. They aren't the seven year old that slams the door on your face when you ask to have a play date with their sister. They aren't the double crossing ex-friend who told everyone about your embarrassing rash. They aren't the sociopath budding into a serial killer. They're just babies, the beginning of everything.

Ideas are like babies. There are no bad ideas (ok, yes there are, or seem to be, but even bad ideas, in the right context and execution can be good ideas, like prisoners reenacting the Thriller video - which, for me, never gets old.) In fact, ideas are so awesome that it's hard to know what idea is going to blossom into a good thing.

When I went to my first conference I was freaked out. Everyone I talked to had a good idea. I definitely gravitated more towards some than others, but they all sounded good, plausible, real. All of them would make, at the very least, decent books. How could I compete when everyone drinking at the hotel bar was sitting on an awesome idea? People told me my idea was awesome too, but I was like "So what? That's like saying the earth is round!"

I have no trouble coming up with ideas. Do you? All my trouble is centered around getting the idea out and making sense. Then revising the ever living sunshine out of it. Another problem I have is falling in love with an idea that is beautiful and has a nice singing voice but is wrong for me. I usually find out we aren't meant to be after I've written three or four chapters. I think what's most addictive about ideas is their limitless potential. It can make me giddy and, sometimes, unwilling to put the work in on the other thing, the ms. that is no longer an idea but a lumbering, sometimes misbehaving, reality.

So, to celebrate the IDEA in all it's glory, here's a link to the Black List, "An annual list of Hollywood's most liked unproduced screenplays." There are some great ones here. It's nice to see that there's a screenplay for Kody Keplinger's DUFF floating around out there - hope that gets made. But my favorite idea is Maggie. Here's the blurb from the Black List:

As a “walking dead” virus spreads across the country, 
a farm family helps their eldest daughter come to 
terms with her infection as she slowly becomes a 
flesh-eating zombie. 

What's your favorite unrealized idea, be it one of your own, one on this list, or one you heard of?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Insecure Writer's Support Group - Too Much of a Good Thing?

It's the bane of unpublished writers attending holiday cocktail parties. Not what to wear or if you should take your life into your own hands and try the egg nog - I wouldn't if I were you - no, it's the innocent sounding question, "So, what do you do?"

Lots of blog posts deal with the topic of whether or not to cop to the W label, and there was an interesting take on the subject on Nathan Bransford's forums a while back. My own take is that I don't use the 'w' word when I'm in non-writer company. It takes too long to explain properly, and causes misunderstandings (wait, so I can't go to Barnes & Nobel and pick up your book?)

It's even taken me a long time to say 'writer' to my own friends and family. But the hardest part isn't that they are not supportive or don't take me seriously. The hardest part is how completely and utterly they believe I will succeed.

It's irrational. They have NO REASON to believe that I'll do more than futz around with manuscript after manuscript until I either give up or am dropped off at the nearest Center for Delusional Old Ladies. Their unconditional support can feel - at times - like an albatross. Another cart load of people to disappoint if I fail.

I know this is a purposefully negative view of what should be a source of comfort, but does anyone else ever feel like unconditional support can seem like insincere support? Or am I being a total freak?

When I give crits or talk to other writers about their work I get really specific about why what they are doing is worthwhile. I don't want them to feel warm and fuzzy, I want them to believe.

That's what I want from my (sometimes) blindly supportive friends and family (Mom, talking to you here.) I want to believe.

What about you? Is unconditional support what you want? Or are you a freaky bag of contradictory needs like moi?

This is a (totally awesome) blog hop started by the incomparable Alex J. Cavanaugh. You can find the list of participants after the jump.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Back in the Land of the Writing

Happy December. I'm back and (mostly) recovered. Have still not finished my revisions.

Before I got serious about writing I used to wish for a broken leg. I thought it would be the perfect way to write a book. I figured it was the kind of incident that, while painful, would usually not be fatal or even crippling. It would require one to be still and bored. A captive to the muse. I envisioned myself kind of like the Sigourney Weaver character in Working Girl, but not a total see you next tuesday.

In short, I thought it would force me to write a book. I do know, honestly, how stupid this sounds. And I managed to start writing without so much as an ingrown toenail, but I couldn't quite shake the idea that convalescing will lead to getting things done.

This is a fallacy. Duh, when you are recovering you are on crack, or some other medicine. I was on percocet for a week (third hernia operation in three years. I make big babies, what can I say?). When I wasn't slipping in and out of weird dreams I was cranky. Not in unbearable pain, just uncomfy and itchy and annoyed and tired. None of these things is what you want in your writing. I couldn't get my wits together enough to even try to revise until the second week. I even tried to hit one of the two beta reader projects I'm doing but finally gave up thinking that I might accidentally say something enormously stupid or hurtful.

So, here's the short list of things I wanted to do during my recuperation time but didn't:
1) Finish revising BookEnd

Here's a longer list of things I did do:
1) Re-read the Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix. So awesome.
2) Watched Let's Make a Deal - think that was the percocet talking.
3) Watched Room With a View (Julian Sands *sigh*) and Sense and Sensibility
4) Watched new version of Jane Eyre
5) Started to read and then abandoned 5 different books
6) Did not wear makeup.
7) Trawled the internet A LOT.

Which brings us to three links to things I found and liked. They're kinda related, but not really at all. I can't blame that on the percocet. So happy to be back in the land of the writing.

Watching Julian Sands in Room With a View made me look him up on IMBD. Doing so lead to finding that he'd done a movie in 2006 with Robert Pattinson based on a book by one of my husband's favorite author, Dennis Wheatley. We got this movie out of the library and watched it during my recovery. It is so gob-smackingly bad that both husband and I were at a loss for words. Luckily we found a review of it on this neat UK site, The Medium is Not Enough TV Blog, that says it all. I especially like the bit about a jar of stunt spiders.

Review: The Haunted Airman

The New Yorker's Adam Gopnik, as always, has a great take on young adult fantasy and what makes it compelling. It may not be what you think. Read The Dragon's Egg.

Finally, I've been playing Aragorn's Quest. A LOT. Slashing orcs is just soothing when you're laid up. That got me in a Viggo Mortensen frame of mind (it doesn't take much) and I love this article in the New York Times T Magazine about him.
Photo: Cass Bird

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hiatus OR The First Cut Won't Hurt At All

Three things are happening in the next week that are cause for hiatus.

All three are painful and involve knives.

1) I'm having surgery
2) Thanksgiving
3) I'm (still) revising like crazy. (What, you don't use a cleaver to revise? Hmm, Maybe that's what I'm doing wrong.)

Guess which one is going to hurt the most?

Yes, Thanksgiving.
For some families, turkey day is a huge orgy of football, eating and running around in the leaves. I know this because I've seen many Hallmark commercials and Lifetime movies. For me, Thanksgiving is just the first salvo in the family vs. family war that gets staged every year. It's not pretty and no one really wins, we just survive.

Makes the minor surgery I have to have a cake walk in comparison.

The revisions however, will likely be a close second to Thanksgiving in the painful-olympics. I'm still struggling, struggling. I haven't given up, which is the only positive thing I can say about it.

So what I want to know, as I take some time off to play with knives, is what do the holidays do for your writing? Inspire it? Derail it? Slow it down, speed it up?

See you in December and Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Lovely Award and a Shed Load of Revisions

I know I said I was doing NaNo but somehow it hasn't really happened. Two things have waylaid me.
Most important is my revision schedule. I've said before that I am killing myself to complete these revisions. These will be the LAST revisions I make on this ms until (if) someone with a shiny agent badge asks me for more. It's root canal with a cup of tea for anesthetic, but I'm muddling through. I'm a third of a way through guts and garters revisions and my self-imposed deadline is November 18th.

The second thing that's put me off NaNo is this post from Maggie Stiefvater. At first, I discounted it. I've heard criticism against NaNo before (like this from Salon's Laura Miller last year) and it never rang true to me. But Maggie's 'dear john' letter to NaNo did. BookEnd is a NaNo baby, and though it would most likely not exist if not for NaNo, it would also probably not need such extensive revisions if I'd taken more time with the writing of it.

So, while I'm happy with the new story I've started this year in NaNo, I'm not going to worry about word count (like, not at all.) In fact, I'm using November as a springboard not to write a new book, but just to think about one.

What about you? Are you a NaNo fan forever, or do you have your doubts?

On another note, thanks to Jenna at Finding the Write Way for the "One Lovely Blog" award.

I hereby bestow the "One Lovely Blog" award on the following three blogs which are both lovely and smart:

Yvie Gonya at Wandering on the Edge of Paradise
Sharon Bayliss at The Blue Word
Jennifer Burke at Jen's Bookshelf

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bad Days - Insecure Writer's Support Group

I'm pretty sure I'm doing Alex Cavanaugh's blogfest, Insecure Writer's Support Group all wrong. Instead of writing inspirational stories of how I overcame some issue, I spend my post time moaning and whining and generally being miserable.

If you were hoping I'd say 'But not this time!' then you are going to be disappointed. Because I got no sleep last night and sleep makes me seriously half-empty.

My three year old came in to sleep with us, probably due to some post-halloween sugary imbalance. For about an hour I withstood her elbows and sticky hands on my face. Then I carried her to her bed and tucked her in. She was dead asleep. Then I tossed and turned for three hours, unable to get up, unable to play bookworm and unable to go back to sleep because I was busy worrying. I worried about finishing my revisions. I worried about how long it's been since I got a full request from my agent girl-crush that I still haven't sent because I'm not done revising (it's been six months. I suck). I mentally composed the email I'm going to eventually send to said agent when I'm ready, then discarded it as seriously stupid. I also managed to squeeze in some worry about the new wip I started for NaNo. It just goes to show how effective I can be as a multi-tasker when the task is worrying myself into an early grave.

Due to this lack of sleep, I'm completely useless today. I can barely keep my kids from playing in traffic. And my NaNo word count is hovering under 300. Today is a wash.

I know it will be better tomorrow after Tylenol PM has sorted out my insomnia, but I hate days like today. They seem like such an unnecessary waste. Do I need to have this total breakdown to get to some other 'better' place? Or, as aforementioned, do I just suck?

What about you insecure lot? What are your bad days like?

Monday, October 31, 2011


I've got:
Corpse Bride & Nightmare Before Xmas for the eldest
Dora's Halloween for the youngest
Shadow of the Vampire and Shaun of the Dead for me and husband.

I've got:
Whoopie pies in the oven
Enough peanut butter cups to fell a horse
A slightly dubious Coraline costume

I've got:
an awesome roasted pumpkin seed recipe (below)
And a little germ of an idea to attack for the start of NaNoWriMo tomorrow.

How are you enjoying your Halloween?

Finally, I leave you with a sweet, spooky little video courtesy of Spike Jones. Be forewarned, it's got adult language/situation, so if that might bother you, please censor yourself, my friend!

Spike Jonze: Mourir Aupr├Ęs de Toi on

Have a wonderful, safe, sweet Halloween!

Roasted Pumpkin Seed recipe:
(Disclaimer - I'm super sucky at measurements, so don't expect precision!)

1) Preheat oven to 350.
2) Disembowel your pumpkin. Rise away all the orange guts until you're left just with the seeds.
Dry off the seeds. (A big pumpkin will net you about a 1 1/2 cups of seeds)
3) In a bowl, combine seeds with 2 teaspoons of melted butter.
4) Throw in a couple of dashes of Worst This Year sauce. (Worcestershire to you.)
5) Instead of salt, I use a couple of sprinkles of garlic salt.
6) Spread seeds in one layer on a pre-greased baking sheet.
7) Bake for 45 minutes. Stir a couple of times just for kicks.
8) They will be burning hot when you take them out so be careful. Let them sit for 5 minutes.
9) Scarf some down before your kids get their mitts on them and eat them all.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Killer Blogfest - Unholy Triumvirate

For the last installment of E.R. King and Deana Barnhart's Killer Characters Blogfest - the baddies addition - I had trouble. It's not that I don't like villains, I DO. It's just that there are many, many to choose from. Also, the baddie doesn't have to be as good, as finely drawn as the MC. We don't need to sympathize or understand them the way we do the MC and SC. But it's so much better when we do.

For me, I picked what terrified me the most. The evil in the prosaic. Zombies and unsparkly vampires do suck (no pun intended) but they don't terrify me like these ladies do.

Dolores Umbridge
When asked what my least favorite HP book is, I answer Order of the Phoenix, hands down. I know it's unfair because it's a great story. But Umbridge nearly ruins it for me. She makes my blood boil. She makes me want to hit something. She makes me want to hide behind Peeves (which, of course, would be useless.) She's so potent because she's not a Death Eater, because she's part of the establishment that should be protecting HP and his pals instead of terrorizing them and turning Hogwarts into the gulag. She's the perfectly bad combination of injustice mixed with brutality - all wrapped up in pink tweed jumpers.

Fanny Dashwood
You don't have to raise a hand or even raise your voice to be a baddie. All you have to do is manipulate people around you to ruin someone's happiness. Enter Fanny Dashwood. In the early pages of Sense and Sensibility we see Fanny slowly chipping away at her weak willed husband's good intentions of providing for his father's widow. Even a deathbed promise to his father to take care of Mrs. Dashwood and her three daughters, a few words from Fanny and the Dashwood girls are nearly destitute. Why does she do it? Mostly it's just greed, but I think there's also an element of wanting to keep them in their place - below hers. She is insensitive and casually cruel and thinks nothing of destroying Elenor's dreams.

Mrs. Danvers
If she has a first name, I don't remember it. It's like she was born 'Danvers.' All I can say about Danvers is - CREEPTACULAR. She's the viper in the nest, a possibly psychotic housekeeper perfectly placed to make the new Mrs. DeWinter miserable. Danvers will also never let her forget that the old Mrs. DeWinter was far better, more beautiful and more accomplished than she will ever be. Danvers undermines everything the naive Mrs. DeWinter tries to do. She sabotages her and subjects her to psychological warfare. It ain't pretty, especially as Manderly burns to the ground. If you haven't read Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, you should. Danvers is seriously twisty.

So, who are your favorite 'antagonists'?

I want to give a shout out to Deana and Emily and a BIG thank you for hosting a great blogfest. Happy Halloween ladies!

Check out the other cool posts on the blogfest here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Killer Character Blogfest - Lyra Silvertongue

Dakota Blue Richards as Lyra
For the Killer Character Blogfest, there are so many good characters - I mean that's why I read books, the characters. Plot is awesome, but if I can't climb inside the characters and feel like I'm there with them, then there's no point. I digress. There are so many good main characters that I'm sure when I hit the blog-hop I'll be smacking my forehead and going "Of course! Why didn't I think of him?"

But for my MC pick, I'm going with my first thought. Lyra Silvertongue, nee Belacqua from Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy.

Here's why I love Lyra. From the time you first meet her, sneaking into a place she's not allowed  just to sate her curiosity, she's not lovable. She's a liar (that's why she gets rechristened 'silvertongue'), she fights dirty - literally throwing mud at other kids while playing 'war'. She doesn't like to learn, hates authority, is often rude and petty. Sounds like a charmer, right?

Philip Pullman never resorts to sentimentality to get you to cheer for Lyra. Sure, she's on orphan and she becomes a pawn in a battle for supremacy between two powerful factions. Bad things happen to her but you never feel sorry for her. She's not an object of pity. She's too strong for that.

It's that strength of identity that never leaves her, no matter what she discovers about who her parents are, who she is destined to be and what she's destined to do, that makes her one of my favorite heroes. These kind of revelations would throw most into an identity crisis, but not Lyra. No matter what happens and how she grows, she is never less then her self. She's irreducible. I admire that so much.

Did you ever look up the meaning of your name? I did, probably around when I was 13 and looking to figure out who the hell I was. My name comes from the greek for 'helper of man.' I can't say that knowing that formed me, after all I haven't moved to the slums of Mumbai to help the poor. I'm too selfish and fearful for that. But I do believe that names can help form identity. That's why my youngest daughter's name is Lyra.

So, who's your favorite main character and why?

Check out some of the other blogs on the Killer Character Blogfest here:

Monday, October 24, 2011

Killer Character Blogfest - Helen Burns

Elizabeth Taylor as Helen Burns
You may be thinking, who?

Helen Burns is a secondary character in one of my favorite books, Jane Eyre, and she gets my vote for Killer Secondary Character.

If you haven't heard of Helen Burns, or if you are wondering if she was the one with the axe (that was Lizzie Borden), let me elucidate.

When Jane is a child her hateful relations (after bullying and mistreating her) ship her off to a girl's school for the Perpetually Neglected. Food is meagre, it's effing cold and discipline is the only subject most teachers excel at. Jane is a stubborn, independent, opinionated young girl. In other words, she's doing the girl thing all wrong. But her classmate Helen Burns is a paragon of femaleness. She is docile, she suffers in silence, she submits to unfair punishments with grace. She's a freaking saint. Did I mention she's also consumptive? She gets a whopper of a death scene, calmly accepting her doomed fate and urging Jane (who she's developed a fast friendship with) to do the same.

So why is this milksop my choice for killer secondary character? Because she IS the secondary character, not the star of the show, despite all her good behavior. The one the story is about, the one that you root for, the character that stays with you is the anti-feminine ideal. Plain, fractious, disagreeable and steadfast to her ideals, Jane Eyre is the hero of the story.

I love how beautifully painted Helen is, how Charlotte Bronte allows her to develop as a role model for Jane. She's tempting fruit. If Jane can be more like Helen, her life will be easier. If she just submits, follows Helen's lead, she can be as 'good' as Helen. Jane loves Helen, is drawn to her kindness and wants to protect her. But when Helen dies Jane doesn't become like her. She tames herself, finds a way to get along, but never submits, even at the end when she could so easily close her eyes to the crazy wife in the attic.

So, who's your favorite secondary character and why?

Check out some of the other blogs on the Killer Character Blogfest here:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

No, You're Wrong OR Agreeing to Disagree

Before I wrote my book I wondered how the hell I'd ever survive a critique.

I mean, I was the kid in elementary school paralyzed by scrutiny. Standing at the blackboard, 46 eyeballs burning into my back, my sweaty hand clutching a stick of chalk. I'd pray for the answer to the math problem to pop into my head or the bell to ring early, or the earth to swallow me up. Then there was college where I'd sit through excruciating art critiques, convinced that I must be bleeding somewhere from the verbal savaging I'd just gotten.

I'm not good at critique.

For sensitive people like me, critique can feel like wearing all your organs on the outside of your skin.

But I'm (pleasantly) surprised that a) all the feedback I've received on my writing has been respectful and b) that I can say, "No you're wrong."

I guess I was afraid I'd be swayed by opinion. If someone (or worse, sometwo) says "You know, this is a middle grade book." I think about it (a lot) and come back with "No." From some magical font or just from bloody mindedness, I've gotten the strength of conviction.

That doesn't mean that I disagree with all feedback, of course not. But, dammit, I've got a bell in me  that I can sound. And if it rings true, I know it. Even if I don't want it to be true, I know. Same with feedback that doesn't ring true. What the hell is this bell thing anyway? Is it confidence? Authority? Stubbornness? I don't know. But it's my frigging bell.

This is a very long way of saying that, I've learned to not be reduced to jelly by feedback. I've learned how to rely on my vision for the book and not be sabotaged by others opinions.

Can you tell I'm in deep revising again? But it's good! I am understanding things I didn't fully understand before. And the story is getting tighter and tighter.

So, how do you stand by your convictions in the face of critique? How do you say "No, I won't change that." to crit partners, beta readers, your mom?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


As usual, I don't know what kind of crack I'm smoking (and if I did know what kind, would it matter? But I digress.) I'm scheduled to have minor surgery the week of Thanksgiving, I'm trying to finish massive revisions in the next three weeks and I STILL SAY I'M DOING NANO.

But that's kind of the point, isn't it? To be as daredevil, as seat-of-your-pants as possible. If I waited for the right set of circumstances to start writing, I'd still be staring at the fuzz in my navel. Last year, NaNo helped me give messy book to my novel, BookEnd. I'm as near as dammit to final revisions on that sucker. (No, really. I mean it this time.) I can't resist finding out what the crucible of NaNoWriMo helps me create this year.

I have a germ of an idea. I don't know whether I should outline it or just jump in like I did last year. I'm leaning towards outlining since my stories tend to be multi-layered. My germ-y idea contains the following:

  • A 17 year old named Lorelei who was born without a sense of humor
  • Her sister, Sera, who's been in a vegetative coma for twelve years but who still 'talks' to Lorelei
  • A sarcastic mermaid that haunts the Passaic River

Hilarity ensues.

So, questions:
Are you doing NaNo? Are you excited? Outline or Jump? What's your idea?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

It All Comes Down to Peter Falk

Before last week, the last film I saw in a movie theatre involved a renegade stuffed teddy bear on a mission to recover stolen honey from a cell of terrorist bees. There was a manic-depressive donkey and a bunny hopped up on goof balls. Or at least that's how I wish it had gone down.

So, yeah, don't get to see grown up movies very much. But last week my (amazing) husband got a babysitter, got out of work before midnight and packed a cooler (with paris ham baguette, wine and dark choc courtesy of Pain Quotient.) He wouldn't tell me what we were seeing and even the marquee outside of The County cinema in Doylestown didn't say what was playing.

I nearly cried when I saw the ticket stub. It just said 'Wings.'

Wings of Desire is one of my favorite movies. It's a movie that is so rich in meaning and detail, passion and hopefulness, that even after almost 25 years, it still has the ability to make me think and feel deeply.

Yeah, it's about angels in Berlin, trapeze artists and Peter Falk (played by Peter Falk), but it's mostly about love in the most bald, unapologetically sentimental way a film in german can be.

I know I'm not doing a good job of selling it here, but if you haven't seen it you don't know what this film can do for you. It can strip you clean of your cynicism. At least for a while.*

The other big movie news (for me) this week was the 25th anniversary reunion of the cast from The Princess Bride (please tell me that you've seen this movie. I will have to come over with my DVD and popcorn if you say you haven't seen it.)

What can I say about Westly (sigh), Buttercup, Inigo and the rest? Should I tell you that I recently spotted Wallace Shawn having dinner with Fran Liebowitz at Cookshop? Or that I had such a crush on Cary Elwes (Lady Jane, anyone?) that I defended Men in Tights knowing it was an awful movie?

Suffice it to say that I still make my sister crack up by saying "You keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

This reunion video from GMA made me smile.

And The Princess Bride has Peter Falk in it, too. Coincidence? Not on your life.

What are your favorite movies and why?

*Not to mention, though I'm mentioning, that WOD has two of my very favorite bands performing in it. Crime + The City Solution and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Oh, man. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Hate... Writing Books

writing books nevermore?

I don't, not really. There are about 1000 creative writing books that give good, solid advice, advice I could use. But I made a mistake with writing books. I bought them by the truck load before I began writing.

This isn't as daft as it sounds. I like to learn from books, so when I was getting married I bought married-type books. When I was pregnant, I bought baby-having books. I like to be prepared, though I'm woefully aware that how-to books only give you a foundation, a peek at a real experience.

So I figured writing how-to books would do the same. They'd help me understand what was involved. You don't read a cookbook after the souffle has flattened into a discus, do you? So I figured I had to read as many writing books as I could before getting started.

If I'd known myself better, I would have realized that this was grade A procrastination. Another problem was that everything described in the how-tos was abstract. Don't use these dialogue tags. Show don't tell. Make the reader feel the emotion. These books always have example text included to show good writing and bad. The good writing is always the Great Gatsby and the bad writing is always someone you've never heard of. But until I had completed my own book and revised the crap out of it, until I understood writing terms not only intellectually but by instinct, all that advice was so much noise.

Until. (You knew that was coming.)

Hooked by Les Edgerton

My beta reader extraordinaire, Becky Levine, after reading my book's first chapter, recommended Hooked to me. The fact that she recommended a writing book to me after my first chapter made me cry inside, just a smidge. OK, a lot. I thought I was beyond writing books - I'd read them and they hadn't helped - and being told I needed schooling did not feel warm and fuzzy.

Hooked is about beginnings and how getting the beginning right can have a positive knock on effect on your whole book. The beginning is a microcosm of the whole book. And if it isn't in your book, you may have a problem.

But here's the amazing part. After reading the first three chapters of Hooked, I knew what to do. I mean, I knew exactly what was missing in my first chapter. And a new scene, with Fin, Hero, a cleaver and a chicken, bloomed in my mind, complete. It was perfect. In a short, mundane kind of scene, I set up characters, set up conflict, story problem, surface problem AND foreshadowed the end. SLAM DUNK.

I couldn't have done that without writing BookEnd first. I wouldn't have understood what was missing. I sure as heck couldn't have come up with a solution without understanding my book the way I do now that it's finished.

So, if you are just starting to write and you haven't finished your book, I say save your money for lattes and chocolate to get you to the writing finish line. Then get Hooked. It will open your eyes.

What's your favorite writing book?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Insecure Writers' Support Group - Permission to Give Up

You know how some people are afraid of speaking in public? How they are just not able to get behind a podium without shaking like jello and spilling the water all over the mic, shorting out the entire sound system?

That's not me.

In fact, I've gotten up on that stage and presented everything from budget projections to speed networking (like speed dating but without the creepiness.) But that was for clients. I can talk any kind of nonsense in front of any number of people as long as I'm representing someone else. But as myself, as a writer?

Naked. Completely, uncomfortably and embarrassingly naked. That's how I feel. So when I realized I wanted to be a writer, I tried to come up with some structure, some thing that would give me the authority to say I'm a writer.

Yep, your looking at it. This blog. Then I went out and made bloggerly friends and read a ton about the industry. I went to a conference. I went to another conference. I blog-hopped. I lurked and commented and stalked. I was faking it until I made it. And I felt pretty good, pretty official and kosher.

Until I started getting rejections. I KNOW it's part of the process and I shouldn't take it personally. Tell that to my ego which is cowering under the (imaginary) BElieve in YOUrself embroidered pillow next to my desk. Insecurity for writers is a daily work hazard.

So I'm going to share with you my secret for soldiering on. Ready? I contemplate giving up. I think about what it would look like, feel like to just stop and say "I'm done." I let the idea of never doing this again fill my soul.

After I graduated from college I moved to England with my boyfriend. I was going to graduate school  in my favorite city in the world with the man I loved. It was going to be AWESOME. Until immigration deported my boyfriend (long, long story) and I was left alone with two duffle bags full of useless stuff and not a soul to talk to. I tried to be a grown up, find a flat, store my duffle bags, figure out what bus went to my school. But I was so lonely, so completely freaked out about not knowing ANYONE that I often cried (ok, ok wept is more accurate) myself to sleep.

I didn't know how to fill my time while I waited to see if boyfriend would be allowed back in (wrong visa, delays at consulate blah blah). One day I took the train to Oxford. it was shagging down rain. I got on the Oxford sightseeing double decker anyway. I sat behind the driver, watching him give his pater into the mic while me and a couple of Japanese tourists tried to make out the dreaming spires through rain smeared windows. The rain dripped onto my head until it drove me crazy. I went back to the train station and called my dad.

Now, brace yourself. This is before email/text/cell phones. I used a payphone with a phone card that you shoved into a slot. I cried at Dad. I told him how I was feeling and everything that had happened and why everything was so terrible. And he said the magic words.

"So, come home."

Nothing stops a weepy tizzy faster than some common sense. I could go home. I could give up. It would be easy to do. He'd pick me up at the airport and we'd forget all about this little adventure. By giving me permission to say "I give up." Dad made me realize that was the last thing I wanted to do.

I stayed for almost five years. My boyfriend eventually was allowed back in the UK. And, reader, I married him.

Go on, imagine what it would be like to throw the writing towel in. If it fills you with relief then, yeah, maybe its time to take a break. But, if like me, it makes you nauseous, like you'd rather suffer any indignity other than that, then - congrats - I confer upon you the title of 'writer.'

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I Forgot Something

This is a picture of a bagel with ham and cheese I gave my three year old. That was two days ago. I found it this morning (thanks to intelligence from the eldest in my spy ring) under a pillow.

It's not like I don't know that I can't let my littlest wander off half-cocked with a sandwich. I know she's as likely to put her sandwich in one of my rain boots as she is to eat it. But I was busy, and I have a head cold and I just plum forgot.

Just like I forgot about the gun. Failing to follow through on Checkov's Gun is a classic rookie writing mistake, one I've even written about before.  I gave Fin, my MC a gun. I figured he'd need one what with a revolution going on and his own family turning on him. I gave it to him and forgot all about it. It never gets used.

This is the kind of thing that's keeping me up at night, now that the ms is in the hands of 3 beta readers. It's a huge wake up call, because before I asked for beta readers, I thought I was ready. I queried a little. I sent out partials. I don't know what kind of crack I was on, thinking I was done.

One of my beta readers has already gotten back to me on chapter one. She has figured out what's wrong with it after one reading - something I couldn't figure out after a year and a half with the frigging thing. Granted, Becky is a genius, but I'm kind of embarrassed. How did I miss that? And how many other huge OOOpsies are still lurking in my ms?

I know what you're going to say (because a magic eight ball sits on my desk, that's why) that it's just lucky that this stuff is being found out now, before it gets sent to more agents (and, specifically, my girl-agent crush, Barbara Poelle.) You're right, of course. Doesn't make it easier to bear.

At least I found the bagel before littlest rediscovered it and decided she was hungry. Yeah, she's done that before too.

What have you realized you've forgotten, only after you've hit 'send' whether to a beta reader or, gasp, an agent?

Tomorrow I'm participating in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group bloghop, so stop by and see my neurosis in all it's glorious wonder!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Betas are Better than Alphas

(Note: I know I said I'd post on Thursdays, but a sinus infection sort of obliterated 'thursday' and I woke up with an Nyquil hangover on Friday. Forgive.)

Beta SP used to be used for high end video production before everything became digital.
The Beta Band was this awesome Scottish band that was around for a nano second then gone (but not forgotten, see High Fidelity soundtrack) and that was about all I knew about beta (except it's the second letter of the greek alphabet.)

Last week I came to the realization that I needed beta readers. I have great crit partners, who have been reading my work in chunks - in real writing time - for almost a year now. They know my characters and my world inside and out. The know my motivations, where there have been major changes, and what I've been worried about. In short, they know too much. They could never read BookEnd the way a reader would - the way an agent would.

Rachael Harrie came to the rescue again with her beta swap board. I found two wonderful beta readers (hey Yvie, hey Sharon). I mean, I'm saying they're wonderful because they've even agreed to read my 85K book and that seems a huge gift. If they like it and give me some useful feedback, that's gravy. I'm looking forward to getting their work, too.

I also reached out to an amazing, powerhouse editor and writer I met at a conference last May. Becky Levine wrote The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide (essential, whether you have a writing group or not.) I asked her for some quick advice on what to look for in a beta reader. She gave me comprehensive advice and suggested we beta for each other. 


Then said, HECK YEAH!

Can't get over the generosity of the writing community.

So, below is my synthesized list (from many sources) of what I think is important when looking for a beta reader. 

Beta Readers
1) Understand the difference between a crit partner and a beta reader. Here's a link to a post by Mary Kole at KidLit that explains some differences. For me, a beta reader is the stand in for the reader (buyer) and the gatekeeper (agent). For that to work, they have to read your book when you are completely done with revising it. Also, the kind of feedback a beta would give is more general and not quite so specific (missed a comma, this is an en dash, not an em dash) - not that those kinds of things can't be included, they can. I just don't think that should be the focus of a beta reader.
2) Write a 'want' ad for the beta reader.
Include specifics about who you are as a writer, what stage you are in (querying? planning to in the next 6 months?), what the genre is etc. It might be helpful to include what you think comparable titles would be, to give the beta reader an idea of where your book would 'live' on the bookshelf. 
Then list what you want from the reader: light/medium/heavy feedback; one time beta read or ongoing beta read relationship; can/cannot handle tough love (Be honest here. everyone wants to say they can handle it, but if you truly can't, then the feedback you get from a reader who rolls this way will be useless to you).
3)Let them know that you are available to reciprocate and read for them (if/when they are ready). I believe you must be willing to do this. You want you and your beta reader to be invested in the relationship. I also offer to bake cookies for everyone who reads for me. Choc-chip-mint cookies. I know, so good.
4) Finally, don't forget to discuss what format you want to receive/give feedback in and the timeframe - is there a deadline looming for you or your reader? What can you expect and what can they deliver. Clearing that up in the beginning will avoid disappointment later.

Now a question: What do you want from a beta reader? What's your best/worst experience with beta readers? (OK, that was two questions, remember sinus infection?)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Soundtrack Of Our Lives

I have to have music on when I'm writing. But what does the music you listen to say about what you're writing? And how does it influence your writing? I don't know, but I sure do like to ponder.

Galley Cat created writers' playlists on spotify. And Stephanie Meyer's playlists are famous. Since I'm about to start reading the Magician King, here's a link to Lev Grossman's playlist for the book.

So, what are you listening to while writing today? And why?

I'm an almost ridiculously optimistic person (on the inside - outside is 100% snark), but I find myself listening to David Sylvian's Secrets of the Beehive and Joy Division radio on Pandora. It absolutely does not influence my writing, at least that I can see. But it does serve as an 'engine' that propels my writing.

Over at Waibel's World there was an interesting post about writing and music. Instead of the Ouija board, we use shuffle to determine your musical proclivities. Here's what you do:

Put your itunes (or other digital music listening device) on shuffle and honestly write down the songs that pop up in order. Then match them to the descriptives below.
It's sort of like one of those foldy-things you'd get in elementary school (cootie catcher). And it's never right. But I'm liking this playlist a lot. Might keep it.

Opening Credits:  Sovay - Andrew Bird

Waking Up: Struck by the Sadness of Love - dimbodius

First Day of School: Oh Yeah - Ash

Falling in Love: I Gave You All - Mumford & Sons

Fight Song: Steady As She Goes - The Raconteurs

Prom: Tourniquet - Drugstore

Life: Like Eating Glass - Bloc Party

Mental Breakdown: I Wonder Who We Are - The Clientele

Driving: Oxford Comma - Vampire Weekend

Flashback: Stop! I've Had Enough - Levy

Getting Back Together: Say Something New - The Concretes

Wedding: See You In The Next One - The Verve

Birth of Child: The Only Living Boy in New York - Simon & Garfunkel

Final Battle: Push - The Cure

Death Scene:  Sarah - Bat For Lashes

End Credits: 
 Believe- Trans Siberian Orchestra

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Something I Know, Something I Don't - Keeping Up with the Blogs

I am having trouble. I can't keep up with the wonderful blogs I find. I'm like a digital version of hoarders; I collect interesting, shiny, lovely blogs and then stuff them - sometimes still in their original packaging - into an overflowing list of blogs I follow. One day I'm going to be buried alive by the blogs I follow but, lamentably, don't read.

Help! How do you manage your reading list? Do you have any tools (I know Google+ seems like a good place to start) or tricks? Is there a way to prioritize your following list? Do you rotate them? Am I over thinking this? (duh)

In exchange for the answers to above I am offering something I know a lot about: Event Planning. Sure, you may not be throwing a bat mitzvah or baby shower anytime soon, but file this away for when you do.

Six tips for planning a party at a venue*:
Whether it's the local VFW or a swanky 4 star hotel, you need to:
1) Do a tasting. Even if you've been there before, even if everyone tells you the food is great. Taste it for yourself. Have them do a selection from your proposed menu. Ask about special meals: vegan, kosher, dairy-gluten-free.
2) Negotiate on the contract. There's never a need to be mean or bridezilla with a venue. Treat them with the respect they deserve. BUT. Know that there is always wiggle room. If you have a budget of $1000 for a small lunch, tell them it's $800 and see if they can work with you. One thing that venues can often waive if you spend enough on catering is room rental fees. See what they can do. There's no shame in asking (nicely).
3)Do you need a sound system? Music? Flashing lights? A dance floor? That all comes from A/V specialists and not from catering. It's an additional cost. Talk to A/V about what you need carefully.
4) Do I need to say this? Review the contracts carefully. There are things you will be responsible for when you sign on the dotted line. And if your expectations are not listed on the contract, the venue doesn't have to deliver. Make sure you have everything in writing. That's why email is so awesome.
5) Following up from the above, when you have a phone conversation, follow up with an email reiterating what was discussed.
6)What's a catering guarantee? Literally, it's the number of lunches/dinners/'covers' you agree to pay for in advance. That's why you never give a guarantee that's above the number you expect. You don't have to worry if one or five more people show up unexpectedly. A good venue can serve extra covers (within reason) when needed. What you don't want is to have paid for 50 covers and have 25 people show up. That's also why you don't give a guarantee until the last possible moment, when you are sure(ish) of your numbers. As a loose rule, assume 10% drop off and guarantee for that number (50 guests, 5 won't show up, guarantee for 45).
Hope that was helpful. If not, then tune in next time as I share with you my Salsa recipe.

*These are my opinions on how to plan an event.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


This is a red leaf in my green tree:

These is one of my fuzzy socks that I dug out of the crawl space:

And this (what you're looking at) is my new blog look. Do you like it? Being married to a designer gives me an inferiority complex, but I wanted a change and I got a change. That's what happens when we pack summer away in cellophane bags and shake the mothballs out of autumn.

 Autumn arrives by the clock on Friday. In my world, it's already here.

Another change: I'm going on a schedule. I will be posting on Tuesdays and Thursdays ON PAIN OF DEATH! Or, at least pain of guilt. Then, as and when I feel like it, I'll post other days. I'm participating in Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers blogfest, so I'll definitely be posting on Wednesday, Oct. 5. and I'll be bringing a big bag of neurosis, so be there or be square.

What else?
Oh, is anyone else wasting time on the beta Pottermore site? Hours run down the drain when I'm on that site, though I have yet to successfully brew a potion to cure boils. If you are on Pottermore and want to Wizard Duel instead of revise your WIP, let me know your screen name. Mine is WillowSilver82.

And that's the end of my nerding out for this week.

I'm going to go roast marshmallows with my kids.

Monday, September 12, 2011

10 Years

"Nostalgia, the vice of the aged." Angela Carter

This past weekend seemed custom-made for nostalgia. My husband and I celebrated our 20 year dating anniversary (because we're nerds - I think I mentioned this before?). It was the somber, soul-wrenching 10th anniversary of 9-11. And mom is staying with me - stunning me with non sequiters like "What ever happened to Trista?" a girl I last saw in fifth grade.

So, I've done a lot of thinking about the past in the last couple of days. Some of it good, some of it bad and some of it cringe-inducing. On balance, because I'm an insufferably positive person, I think I've done OK. I work hard at my marriage because it's worth more than rubies, and I love my kids as hard and well as I can.

But I'm proudest of becoming a writer. It's the one thing I've done completely by myself. It's practically magic, the way I 'forged in the smithy of my soul' (sorry, James) a new identity. I know, I'm patting myself on the back for something that countless others (and all of you) have done already. But for years I didn't think I'd have the courage to do it. For years I let myself believe that I couldn't, shouldn't. And then, two years ago, I stopped standing on my own way.

What are you proudest of doing in the last 10 years?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Short Fiction OR I Suck at Economy

As part of Rachael Harries Platform Building Campaign, we're doing some flashing.
I've never done flash fiction before. Seems awfully newfangled to me. And anyway, I've always been terrified of short stories. Writing them well seems so difficult, employing an economy and elegance I just don't come by naturally.

The rules are to start with "The door swung open." and hopefully, end with "The door swung shut." Extra points for having both and being exactly 200 words. I don't have a snowball's chance in hell of that, but I'll give it a go.

When I'm stuck in my wip, or just want to understand a character or situation better, I write a scene about them- a scene that will never be in the book. This is really liberating especially since my POV is first person. In these 'exploration' scenes I can really let loose. So the below is a snippet of a 'deleted' scene.

I'd love to know what you think. I'd also like to know, what do you think of writing short stories/flash fiction? Can anyone do it, or is it a special talent?

Update: I think I was supposed to say that you can 'like' my entry here. I'm number 196. thanks!

Rachel Sew and the Gold Man

     The door swung open and Rachel stopped dead. It was only the black cat she sometimes fed, come for more scraps. It was well past dusk and the gold man was late. He’d said to leave her things behind, but it pained her so. On the day she’d been made, she’d been given clothes, a word locket, a home and a living. But it was a long time before she could barter for things she chose herself.
     The first time she’d gone into the package store with a basket of woven flax, Mr. Tend gave her the credit to buy anything off the first shelf. She looked at each item carefully, picking up a tea set, so delicate and white that it had a bluish cast. She passed on to the next item, a clothes mangle that would make washday easier. It was the practical choice and she felt like she should want it, but didn’t. She passed on again.
     When she saw it, she blushed. She wanted it desperately, and she was sure wanting something that much was wrong. Still, the shawl was exquisite. It was black and satiny with a fringe that tickled her arms when she tried it on. Embroidered roses bloomed across the shawl; red, yellow, blue, purple. Rachel was sure that there were no such roses in all the world.
     The door swung open. The gold man’s shadow fell across her doorway, her cat twining around his legs.

     “Aren’t you coming, Rachel?” She wrapped the shawl tighter around her shoulders and stepped outside as the door swung shut.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Building that Bridge

I’m taking part in Rachael Harrie's wonderful platform building campaign. I think it’s a fun, community building event and I like poking around other people’s blogs, having them poke around mine.

But there’s a bit of controversy about author platform building. At conferences, everyone attends the platform building session. There are online classes on it on Writer’s Digest, Media Bistro and Pennwriters Online, to name a few.

And agents weigh in on it’s importance on their own blogs and in agent chats.

So everyone’s talking about it. But not everyone agrees that it’s a good thing. Some say that the author platform is the single most important investment of time and resources a writer needs to expend. These people are usually selling something. Others say that the only thing that a writer should do is write – the rest is someone else’s job. These people are usually living in their dad’s basement watching too much Comedy Central.

So here are the pros and cons as I see it.
If you are a newbie, or you are newly committed to making writing a priority, having a blog (and following other blogs) tweeting, facebooking, google+ and whatever else the evil geniuses come up with - it's all good. It will all add to your knowledge of the industry and other writers. 
You're name in lights! 
You can be googled (for more than your lame tumblr pics). An agent who requests pages, or who just likes the sound of your query can find you online and see  that you are engaged in a professional way.
Discover your voice
Nothing begets writing like writing. How you communicate across your platform says a lot about you. I don't mean that your writing voice needs to match your author platform voice, not at all. But it's another way to develop your professional 'writer's' voice.
Whether it's feedback on your writing, your query letters, your synopsis – or your new haircut, there are voices out there that are listening. You may feel like you are in your cubicle, closet or bathroom, typing away in solitude, but you're not. 

What you are learning is subjective, sometimes inaccurate and often contradictory. You can't swallow it whole, you can't agree with everything or you will go mad. You need to develop discernment pretty sharpish. 
Your Name in Lights!
And your bitchy book reviews, your f-bombs, your semi-naked new year's photos. You need to be careful of what you put out there.
Discover your voice
And it's scratchy and unappealing. You sound like a teenaged seal with croup. What I mean is that you need to discover and hone your voice. And, just like in your writing you need to edit.
You’re preaching to the choir. Most of your followers are other writers, not (necessarily) your reader sweet spot. Are you gaining an audience or just hanging out with other writers waiting for a reader to walk by? (I know, writers are readers.)
And the biggest con?

Time spent shoring up the platform is time NOT spent writing.

But I think that time spent thinking of writing can be just as important as writing.

Do I have to be the cornball to say it? A platform can easily be turned into a bridge (geddit?)

So, what do you think? Author platform, hype, essential or somewhere in between?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


This week is so warp speed, it's plaid, so apologies for the lack of posts. I will resume intelligent (ish) blogging on Thursday, once the little yellow rocket has left the bus stop.

In the mean time three things I found cool:

1) People spend too much time in the office:
French office workers are communicating from building to building using post-it notes as pixels.
A Swiss political party wants to ban Powerpoint, which is a shame because I rock pie charts

Started watching Torchwood: Miracle Day while folding laundry. Am now obsessed. Have been reading episode synopsis into the wee hours.

3)Wordplay - great podcast, terrible name.
Nathan Bransford, James Dashner and J. Scott Savage have launched a weekly podcast. Talk about a powerhouse team. Bransford and Dashner I'm firm fans of and now I want to read Savage, as my three year old says, very much a lot. But Wordplay is a terrible name. Makes me think of Will Shortz.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sparkfest #2 - Inspiration is Weird

Yesterday, as part of Sparkfest, I posted about how Angela Carter sparked my desire to be a writer.
Today, I'm going to tell you what sparked the idea for my current (currently in revision hell) wip.

It's really the fault of Jasper Fforde, Jane Austen, Harriet Walter and the Garden State Parkway.

If you haven't read anything by Jasper Fforde, I feel bad for you. Go out and remedy that at once. Start with the Eyre Affair. One of the premise of Fforde's books is that book characters are real. Sure, they live in another universe (books) but that doesn't make them unreal. I love these books and I guess the idea of real and unreal has been percolating in my mind for a while. (PS, his books are damn funny. My wip is short on larfs.)

So, I was driving on the Garden State Parkway to visit my mom in law and I started thinking about Harriet Walter, what an awesome actress she is and how she's often cast in period dramas as hard, unlikable characters. Fanny Dashwood came to mind. Evil character that she is, she gets her garters crossed good and proper at the end of Sense and Sensibility. Edward marries Elenor despite her machinations. She probably feels that she's the victim in the story, that she's been treated badly.

And then it happened. I imagined a regency era Fanny walking over a grassy knoll up to a gate. A teenaged boy was by the gate and he opened it for her. She starts talking to him about how important she really is, how he should respect his betters. He laughs and leads her to the door of his farm house. Behind the farmhouse is a great big recycling factory. He just keeps leading her, gently, into the farmhouse. He shuts the door and says, "They all think they're real!"

That's it, the seed of an idea. As I played with that scene in my head, sometimes it was Willoughby being high and mighty. But the teenaged kid, he thought it was funny because he knew that they were all only characters in books.

Talk about a spark. I don't know how that little daydream turned into a 300 page conflagration, but it did.

How did your wip get it's spark?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Too Much Information - The Underwear Meme LIVES!

I remember Underoos fondly. Along with white bread, a cool lunchbox, and neon orange legwarmers, these were on the long list of things that I desperately wanted but couldn’t have.

I don’t think my parents were being cruel when they said no, they were just being foreign. Some of those things were just expensive, but the other ones were just impractical, so why would I want them.

Underoos, I imagine, my mother thought was weird. I think having faces on underpants freaked her out.

A while ago, Jen Burke threw her panties at me. Well, she threw the Too Much Information Underwear Meme at me, same thing. I was busy with Write On Con so haven’t had the chance to respond properly. Since I’m currently wearing both long and short underwear, I guess now’s as good a time as ever.

Do you have any commonly used nicknames for them?
For a while, while living in London, confusion reigned supreme. I would say something innocent to a co-worker like “I like your pants.” And they would say “You can see my pants!!?” Eventually figured out that ‘pants’ are undies and ‘trousers’ are pants. I use the following terms: Undies, panties, underpants, bombacha (Spanish) and undermapants.

Have you ever had that supposedly common dream of being in a crowded place in only your bloomers?
Nope. I’m astounded at how little I dream about underclothes.

What is the worst thing you can think of to make long johns out of?
 Barbed wire.

If you were a pair of small clothes, what color would you be, and WHY?
 Viridian. Because it sounds like several colors at once.

Have you ever thrown your bloomers at a rock star or other celebrity? If so, which one(s)? If not, which one(s) WOULD you throw your bloomers at, given the opportunity?

No. Throwing panties and burning bras is so last century. I just don’t think that undergarments have as much power to shock anymore. I see under wear all the time, peeking out of low slung pants (trousers). Throwing them in public is kind of a big yawn.

You’re out of clean drawers. What do you do?
 Wash some? Put on yoga pants and a cute dress? Bathing suit bottoms? Depends on where I have to be.

Are you old enough to remember Underoos? If so, did you have any? Which ones?
 See above.

Abandon all hope ye who enter here…
 Should be written across a pair of Victoria’s Secret sweat pants instead of ‘Pink’ or “Hottie.” Those I’d buy in a nano second.

How many bloggers does it take to put small clothes on a goat?
 You mean before said goat eats them? Like the owl in the Tootsie Roll Pop commercial, I’ll say, THREE.

Now, I’m going to throw my (pink with purple polka-dot) undies at:
Laura Campbell
An Alleged Author
and Misha at My First Book
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