Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Year's End

Happy holidays! Are you all surviving them? I've finally finished all my shopping, packing, and shipping, on the very last possible day available to me. I know this process would be more enjoyable if I didn't leave it until the last second, but I's just not in my nature. My husband headed to the airport this morning for some meetings on the East Coast, and tomorrow I'm joining him for a three-city vacation. It's been a big, complex year for both of us, and a little wandering time together will be just the thing to wrap it up.

This fall has been insanely busy, but I'm not complaining--I'd much rather feel like I'm running a marathon to fit in all the things I want to do than feel like I'm not taking advantage of the time I've got. At the moment I'm preparing to start writing a new book, and as I have not drafted a book since 2010, I'm pretty eager to get started. Back in school, I was that weirdo who enjoyed taking tests--not because I loved schoolwork so much (give me some credit), but because I liked the challenge of seeing how much I could remember and how well I could apply it. This is kind of similar--I learned a lot about writing a book on the first one, but how well will that knowledge serve me now? I'm optimistic, but also well aware that I may be rocking in the corner by the time I hit the second chapter. *cue nervous laughter* Anyway, I'll be working out the tricky bits on notepads during my vacation, to hopefully begin hammering away on my keyboard come January. What are your writing plans for 2013?

I won't be posting again for the rest of the year, so seasons greetings, dear writer/blogger friends--I wish you all a very happy holiday season, and a joyful and productive new year! I posted this video last year, but as a Yooper ambassador to the rest of the country, I feel the need to post it again. Please enjoy a little bit of goofy Northern Michigan holiday cheer (skip to the 1:00 mark to get right to the song):

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

SipSwap Report!

Fellow #sipswap participants: last week while the rest of you were unpacking your new mugs, a crumpled, coffee-stained note arrived at my home, scrawled on a torn scrap of paper delivered by carrier pigeon. I'd post a picture of it but the penmanship was truly atrocious, so I'll transcribe its contents instead:
Dear Rachel,
Greetings from your Mug! I hope that you are well this fine holiday season! Perfect time for hot chocolate or buttered rum, yes? Right then, so I suppose you've noticed by now that I'm not there...
Rachel, I'm just a young Mug who's never seen the world. While I'm delighted at the prospect of a lifetime in the service of your daily latte, I must confess I wasn't ready to commit just yet, and so I've decided to take a little sojourn in the South first to sow my wild tea leaves.
Currently I find myself in the beautiful rolling hills of Tennessee. Nashville was fabulous! I went to the Country Music Hall of Fame, and strolled along the Cumberland River. I've been eating Cracker Barrel biscuits n'gravy like they're going out of style. No, seriously, I kind of hope you plan on filling me up with sausage gravy when I get there.
My dear coffee-swilling Rachel, I promise I'll come out to California as soon as I'm ready. I trust you'll find an acceptable substitute until I arrive--I hear those Starbucks chaps are a dependable, if rather unexciting sort.
Until then,
Your devoted Mug 
Well, Mug, I understand. The world is a big and exciting place, so enjoy your travels. I'm looking forward to meeting you! Get here safely! And many thanks to my lovely mug buddy Sarah L. Blair for sending you on your circuitous journey.

(P.S. If you want to read about the mug gift I concocted for a certain someone, click here.)

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Monday Five

I've started a few posts in the past week but finished none, which I take a sign of continued posting burnout (actually they all just felt too navel-gazey), so I'm going to make things easy on myself and toss out some bullet points of (possible) interest:
  • Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend! My father-in-law was here visiting from Istanbul, so we've had an action-packed week touring around L.A., going out to eat a lot (so stuffed), and hitting up a Lakers game (yes Jack Nicholson was there looking like a BAMF). Back to the normal routine today, tgim!
  • The end of NaNo is nigh! Are you on track to end big? I didn't take part, but a few of my good writer buddies did and I have been jaw-on-the-floor impressed with their productivity. From what I can tell, a little thing called had a major part in their success, but I am yet unfamiliar with its magical qualities. 
  • I haven't had a ton of time for reading, what with the houseguest and all, but lately I've read The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Cat Valente, which was lovely and clever and I highly recommend. (I did find myself wondering if the people who worked on this book had some sort of shorthand title for it--The Girl Who? Fairyland Ship? TGWCFSHOM?) I also finally read Cinder, which has been on my radar for a long time. I highly recommend this one as well--great, inventive world-building and Cinder herself is an awesome character. The sequel comes out in February! And now I'm reading Code Name Verity, and I'm loving the voice, but a little afraid of what's going to happen. I'm anticipating tears. Will there be tears? 
  • We went to the theater yesterday and saw Lincoln, and overall I give it a big thumbs up. There was a little of the Spielberg slickness, but between Tommy Lee Jones and Daniel Day-Lewis (swoon), it's well worth the price of admission. 
  • Okay, that's only four, but my cat has pinned me down and there's a lovely book here waiting to be picked up again, so I'm calling it. I hope to have a SipSwap post for you later in the week...

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Room Of One's Own

Hello, writer friends! Sorry again for the infrequent posting--the past month has been on the far side of busy, and in these times, blogging is always the first casualty. Things are slowing down a bit now, and last weekend I got to hang out with some of my very favorite writer friends on a little road trip that I will tell you more about another time. This week doesn't look too crazy yet, so I might finally manage to post a saved-up book recommendation, or force another Classical Thursday upon you all.

Last week my husband, who NEVER gets sick, caught a bad enough stomach bug that he had to stay home Monday-Thursday. I myself was fighting a sinus infection for a couple of those days, so we sat indoors and enjoyed each other's company in a soggy, hazy sort of way. By Thursday we were well enough to take a long walk, and somehow we ended up in an Apple store, where my sneaky husband set about fulfilling his dream of setting me up with my own home office. One of our rooms is already a dedicated office, but he wanted me to have my own space to spread out and make my crazy messes. Actually, the major motivating factor here was that he hates seeing me write on the couch, with my feet up and my legs wrapped in blankets and cats, when all the world knows that People Work At Desks, and when my husband gets an idea lodged in his head, woe to those who would try to reason with him.

So, here I am today, with my own monitor at my own desk (aka our former Ikea dining table) in our guest room, the guest bed covered in blankets and knitting patterns and double-pointed needles, the bay window stacked full of books, my sketchpad and colored pencils resting on the dresser. He even gifted me with an office plant, a massive box of orchids that I think qualifies as a piece of furniture. Unfortunately the orchids are too much fun for small cats to resist, so my kitten is yowling out in the hallway where I had to shut him out. A solution will have to be found. I was perfectly fine writing in the office or on the couch, and I'll have to pack up and move out whenever we have guests, but I have to admit that it's nice to build my own Rachel Space, free of scattered bits of electronics and photos of Falcon rockets plastering the walls.

Do you have a space in your home that's all your own? What does your dream writer space look like?

The orchid jungle

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hello, Thursday

Sorry to drop off the face of earth there for a bit! My husband and I had to fly to Turkey on short notice last week for family-related stuff, and we just landed back in L.A. last night. I've been up since 5 this morning and I'm kinda whacked out on jetlag, but I'm counting on my friend coffee to help me make it through the day. MAN did my own bed feel great last night.

As the end of October rolls around, I'm seeing a lot of chatter on blogs and Twitter about NaNoWriMo. I've never done it myself, and I think I've made my feelings pretty clear about it being the Wrongest Month of the Year for a writing challenge. I mean, who has time in November?? Anyway, I *was* actually considering it for this year, since it sounds kinda fun and I had a new idea I was mulling over, but that project is going back in the steaming drawer for further marination and future exploration. Also--big surprise--November is going to be super busy, with a long-discussed vacation that may possibly still happen during the first week (I know, STAY PUT ALREADY. It's hard.), and family coming to stay with us for the second half of the month. So I'll be using my spare moments for plotting and planning and scrawling and scribbling, but it won't be too different from my usual schedule.

How about you--are you planning to NaNo your heart out this year?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Interview! With the amazing Elizabeth Briggs!

Today I've got a special treat for you on my blog: an interview with my critique partner, Liz Briggs! I met Liz about two years ago via our local SCBWI chapter's Critique Connections, and we started holding weekly meetings at Panera to tear each other's books apart. Since then we've traveled to conferences together and stood by each other through the agony and the ecstasy of querying, and through it all we've become great friends. I can say with no exaggeration that meeting her was the best thing to happen to my writing. Plus she's snarky and hilarious and so much fun! Liz is a total ninja, with a foot on both sides of the publishing world--she's represented by Kate Testerman, and she interns for Jill Corcoran. And frankly, I think the world should know more about her, so here goes:

What are a few of your favorite things?
Good books, fluffy dogs, action movies, smart TV shows, RPG video games, Comic Con, Peanut Butter M&Ms, the color green, warm coffee, swimming pools, garlic bread, French fries, rainy days at home… I could keep going, but you probably get the idea.

If your life was a movie, what would be the title?

Give us a snapshot of A Day in the Life of Liz Briggs, Writer.
For the most part it’s terribly boring and full of non-writing things like the dreaded day job, plus a few moments of interning for Jill Corcoran. I try to squeeze in writing whenever I can. And sometimes I fight ninjas. As one does.

If you won an all-expense-paid two-week vacation to anywhere that left tomorrow, where would you go?
I’d go to Italy! I’ve always wanted to visit Italy and my husband and I planned to go for our honeymoon, but for various reasons we haven’t made it happen – yet.

What type of research do you do for your writing? What is the most surprising thing you have learned in your research?
I’m a researcher for my full time job, so I research everything like crazy both before and during my first drafts. The coolest thing I found while researching was that the Russians built nuclear shelters into their subway system during the Cold War. Once I discovered that, a lot of things clicked into place and I used one of those shelters as a location in my book ALTERNATE.

What genres do you read? What genres do you write?
I read all sorts of YA and MG, and in adult I read science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and some historical romance – in particular, Regency and Victorian era. I know, kinda random. I’d love to read a YA Regency romance. Or maybe I should write one… (Editor's note: Liz must have gotten too distracted by the idea of plotting romantic young regents to share that she writes mind-bending, heart-thumping YA sci-fi!)

What one YA novel do you wish you had when you were a teen?
The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

What is easier to write: The first line or the last line?
The last line. I usually know it long in advance, whereas I tend to re-write my opening chapters about a hundred times.

What word best describes you?

Yup, I'd say that's about accurate. Thanks for being a sport, Liz! I'll see you at Panera--so get writing and bring me the first chapters of your YA Regency romance!...

Sunday, September 30, 2012

That WIP meme...

I've been tagged by the fabulous Caitlin in the WIP meme that's going around. Now, I tend to play my cards pretty close to my chest when it comes to my writing, but I like to be a team player. So I'll share a thing or two about the newest project I've been toying around with, and hopefully my vagueness won't be too annoying, ha.

What is the working title of your book?
Err, yeah, I'm pretty terrible with titles. This one's just filed under TOWER for now, and fyi, there's no tower planned in the book. Yet. My last project had the working title FAIRWEATHER, and that never ended up having anything to do with anything. 

Where did the idea come from for the book? 
Sooo...I can't really say I've got the idea figured out yet. This one came more as a desire to do some fantasy worldbuilding, followed by lists of names I liked and thought went well together, which led to an initial setup. I've got some fun characters lined up, but right now I'm testing them out in my head and trying to plan what kind of torture I want to put them through. This is about the same order of creation I went through on my last book as well.

What genre does your book fall under?
Middle grade fantasy

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I'm too unfamiliar with child actors to cast my own books in my head, though sometimes I visualize the adult characters as looking like certain actors. Not for this one yet though, sorry!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
No plot = no synopsis. No fun, right? But I'm still waiting for the pieces in my brain to settle into a configuration that grabs me. This could take a while. 

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? May we see an intro?
I've written one practice scene so far, and it's not the intro. I'm not sure how long it took me to write the first draft of my last project, because I dawdled and dawdled for ages on the first 30k, and then I finally realized OMG RACHEL THIS DREAM IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN IF YOU DON'T GET SERIOUS and set a goal of writing 1k per day until it was finished (sound familiar?), and that took about 3-4 months. And yes, the first draft was way too long.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
See my previous post re: Leonora Carrington and her demented fairytale's got me thinking that I'd like to try writing a sort of bizarro dark fantasy at some point.  

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
Hmm, ask me again in a few months and I might have an answer. I'll leave you with this image instead:

Monday, September 24, 2012

Words and Words

After the glut of middle grade I've been reading lately, I needed to change up the pace a little and went to my friendly neighborhood to hunt down an out-of-print copy of The Seventh Horse, a collection of short stories by Leonora Carrington. Ms. Carrington was a British surrealist painter who spent the majority of her working life in Mexico. Her art is less avant-garde than Man Ray, more digestible than Salvator Dali--to me it looks like the illustrations of crazy fairytales. I only learned about Leonora Carrington last summer, but I like her paintings a lot, and I was pretty excited to find out she was also a writer. I guess I was not expecting a surrealist's writing to be quite so...surreal.

Here is an excerpt from her short story, "The Skeleton's Holiday":
It happened one day that the skeleton drew some hazelnuts that walked about on little legs across mountains, that spit frogs out of mouth, eye, ear, nose and other openings and holes. The skeleton took fright like a skeleton meeting a skeleton in bright daylight. Quickly he had a pumpkin detector grow on the side of his head, with a day side like patchouli bread and a night side like the egg of Columbus, and set off, half-reassured, to see a fortune-teller.
What the what?? Was that just a well-played game of Mad Libs? That's the end of the story, by the way. Leonora Carrington was deeply interested in spiritualism, alchemy, and the occult, and apparently she used a lot of code words to dictate meaning to her art, so I will probably never know what meaning she hopefully intended with her writing. At least not without more research on the subject than I am willing to participate in.

But as crazy as they are, I'm actually kind of enjoying these surreal short stories. As readers, we're used to a predictable progression of words, building sentences with understandable meaning that form stories with a beginning, middle, and an end. Reading about a philosophical skeleton who likes to play dirty tricks for no discernible reason (and for what it's worth, the excerpt I posed was really the most extreme thing I saw--it's not all quite that nuts!) or a three hunters cursed so that all their trophies turn into sausages--well, they're not nearly as satisfying and it's certainly not for everyone, but as an occasional detour, I think they're worthwhile just for the marvelously bizarre imagery.

What do you read when you want to switch gears?

Self Portrait, 1937

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Michigan Girl

Growing up in the Sault, I used to tell my classmates that I was from Ohio. It made sense to me--my parents were from Ohio and all my relatives still lived there, and we traveled back regularly. I wanted to draw a firm line between myself and what I considered the local kids, the ones whose relatives all lived within an hour's drive, who went to school with their cousins (or, in some cases, their aunts and uncles). I was even born in Ohio, which helped my credibility, but I'd only spent my first year there before being whisked off to the Upper Peninsula. So really, looking back now, my claim was a little thin.

I may choose not to live in Michigan anymore but I can't deny the twenty years of my life spent there, and when I come back to these cool blue lakes and piney forests, it sure feels like home. I get a little thrown off guard by how friendly and straightforward so many of the people here are. Not that everyone in L.A. is a savage, but it seems like the bigger the city, the more guarded and short-tempered its population, and when that's your norm, Midwestern friendliness can make you almost suspicious! Yikes. So here I'll share a few shots of where I'm from. I may seem like an ocean-loving, road-raging Angeleno, but at my core I'm a Michigan girl.

The world famous Soo Locks!

This is how you trap tourists: FUDGE

Lots of nature here in the U.P.

Tahquamenon River

Tahquamenon Falls

Whitefish Point and icy Lake Superior

Mmmmm pan-fried lake perch...

Setting up for a bonfire on a balmy September day

Pumpkin season!

Monday, September 10, 2012


Stealing this from Jessica Love, who stole it from Kate Hart, who stole it from somewhere else. I do not have the time or brains to compose my own post today.

Loving: A quiet morning with a dozing kitten stretched out beside me. This is my very favorite time of day.

Reading: Neversink by the excellent Barry Wolverton. This will put me halfway through that stack of MG books I posted about. If I can finish Breadcrumbs before the week is through, I'll be happy. I never thought I'd make it through all those books in time anyway, and honestly I need to switch gears and read something else for a while. This will probably be high on my TBR list when it comes out.

Watching: The Alien movies! I'd never seen them before so husband is making me watch all of them. We watched Aliens this weekend, and destroyed the dvd in the process. Have you ever had a player just eat a dvd and make it unviewable? I didn't even know that was possible.

Thinking about: Veganism. I don't know if I can go 100% but I'm toying with the idea. Dairy seems to be a problem for me and my wretched sinuses, and I want to scale back on how often my husband and I eat meat, for health reasons. But I prefer moderation over hardcore, and I don't want to be that person who gets invited over to someone's house for dinner and eats the rice and side salad, so maybe I'll just be a social meat eater.

Anticipating: My trip home to the Upper Peninsula later this week. I haven't been home since I started this blog almost two years ago. I'll try to post some pictures this weekend.

Wishing: For a calm fall. This summer was so busy, I just want to hunker down at home for a while. The outlook for this: not favorable.

Making me happy: My two sweet cats who keep me company. My husband grinning at me during a 7 a.m. spin class this morning. The cheerful "good morning" I heard from everyone in the grocery store today. The fact that there will be a new Killers album out in a week!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ear To Ear

First off, a huge THANK YOU! to everyone for the kind words left here and on Twitter about my good news. Having friends share in my excitement just makes everything that much better!

Now the party's over and it's time to get back to work. In the spare minutes of my day, not only am I trying to squeeze in my own writing and the (admittedly fun) task of critiquing for my CPs, but I've also set up a kind of ridiculous reading challenge for myself. In general, my book-buying rules are: cookbooks in book form, fiction in e-form. I've seen some of your pictures of overflowing bookshelves rooms, and I would be in the same boat if I didn't buy the majority of my reading as e-books. The only area I break this rule is for middle grade, because I when I'm done with those books I like to send them to my nephews.

Here is my current stack of unread middle grade:

Three of these I bought just last week in a fit of "I'll just make time!" delusion.

The challenge I'm facing is that I'm flying to Michigan in mid-September to visit my parents, and my brother is bringing his family to visit too. If I can read all these books by then, I can bring them with me and avoid shipping them. More importantly, I'll get to talk with my nephews about the books and tell them which ones were my favorites and ask what they've read lately. Right now they really love to read, and I'd like to keep encouraging that.

What do you think, can I read these six middle grade books in 22 days? I'm a fast reader so this sounds ridiculously doable to me, but the determining factor is free time, of which I have very little. How much time are you able to set aside for reading?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Happy news!

It is my absolute delight to announce that I am now represented by Joanna Volpe of New Leaf Literary! Joanna reps some really excellent authors like Veronica Roth, Kody Keplinger, Susan Dennard, and Leigh Bardugo, and I can hardly believe that I get to work with her!

For those of you interested in how this came about, the answer is: massive amounts of serendipity. Joanna has actually been closed to submissions for a while now--you may have heard how she recently opened her new agency? But back in May she offered a full manuscript critique by random drawing to anyone who pre-ordered a copy of Leigh Bardugo's SHADOW AND BONE from Books of Wonder in NYC. I was all, Hey, a fabulous signed book and a chance at a great critique? I'll buy a ticket in that lottery! And then holy crap, I won! I won't share the chat I had with my CP Liz when I got this news, because it's about 85% shocked profanity. I was so thrilled.

Like most (all?) writers, I am a daydreamer. I imagined how cool it would be if she read my book and loved it. I didn't realistically expect this to happen--it wasn't like she'd requested material from me, you know, on purpose. So when I got her email asking if we could set up a phone call, I told myself, Don't get your hopes up, lady! Maybe she just wants to tell you in person that your story is crazypants!

But instead she told me she loved it, and she offered me representation. And then my head exploded.

I've been busting my tail on the same book for a long time, revising and tweaking until I wanted to club myself unconscious rather than open that doc again. I've learned a ton from the entire process, and I wouldn't even be close to this point if it weren't for all my awesome critique partners. And for SHADOW AND BONE--which, by the way, is an *excellent* book. Buy it, read it, love it!

And Leigh Bardugo, if you ever read this: I think I owe you a drink.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Classical Thursdays: Schubert and the Smurfs

No, I haven't given up on my dream of bringing classical music to the several with my Classical Thursdays feature. In fact, today I'm going to present you with a piece that's already received considerable modern play due to its being used in that beloved (or, if you were me, filler) cartoon of the 80s, The Smurfs.

Did you know that The Smurfs was noted for its frequent use of classical music as background or theme music? (See Wikipedia confirmation of this fact here.) Little nine-year-old Rachel never realized this when she was watching the show, but fast-forward ten years later when I was an exchange student in Bielefeld, Germany, and my host mother took me to a Sunday morning symphony. As the orchestra played Schubert's Unfinished symphony, it struck me that I had heard this piece before. I'm not sure how long it took me to figure out where: the first movement is better known to us children of the 80s as Gargamel's theme song.

What do you want to bet they didn't use this piece as his theme song in the creepy-looking 2011 Smurfs movie? Aannnnnnd sigh. Do you recognize this piece?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Jetlag Rambling And An Excellent Book

I've been up since 4:30 this morning, giving me about four hours of sleep out of the last 40, so please forgive me if I'm a little incoherent. My husband and I got back last night from our two-week jaunt abroad, and I nearly fell to the threshold and kissed the floor when we walked in. The cats are still alive, hooray, and the older one has been following me around the house with moonbeams in his eyes. So what I'm saying here is it's good to be back.

The trip was fun--a few days in Paris, and then we rented a car and drove down to the south of France, through Italy to Zurich, and up to Munich, spending three days in most of the places we stopped. We ate like hogs. The entire time we were accompanied by between two and six friends, and the itinerary didn't allow for much (any) downtime, so by the end my solitary soul was a little oversocialized and starved for some me-time.

Because of the busy agenda, I didn't get to do as much reading as I'd hoped. I finished Jellicoe Road on the flight over, and it was as wonderful as everyone promised. On the second week of the trip I read The Westing Game, mostly during an afternoon at the Deutsches Museum, which I've already been to and is way too technical for an exhausted Rachel to enjoy. And on the flight home, I read Paolo Bacigalupi's The Drowned Cities. While I liked his last book, Ship Breaker, for its amazing world building and descriptions, this new one belongs to the slim collection of books that I find to be just about perfect. Here's the jacket description:
In a dark future America where violence, terror, and grief touch everyone, young refugees Mahlia and Mouse have managed to leave behind the war-torn lands of the Drowned Cities by escaping into the jungle outskirts. But when they discover a wounded half-man--a bioengineered war beast named Tool--who is being hunted by a vengeful band of soldiers, their fragile existence quickly collapses. One is taken prisoner by merciless soldier boys, and the other is faced with an impossible decision: Risk everything to save a friend, or flee to a place where freedom might finally be possible.
The story was absolutely brutal, exciting and hopeful and sad and horrifying. I suppose it fits under the dystopian label, but it's not like most of the other dystopians I've read where the "dys-" element is based on something fairly fantastical happening to our DNA or moral code. The horrors in this book are rooted in current events and the possibility that the ever-worsening environment could drive our society into the kind of chaos you'd think could only happen in a third-world country. It's an extreme view, but it's thought-provoking and, most importantly, a really great story. Two thumbs up. 

I plan to dive into that thick stack of ARCs I got at ALA over the next few weeks, and then, o happy day, the Summer SCBWI Conference is upon us once again. Shout out if you're going--I'll be there!

Yet another gratuitous kitten photo

Monday, June 25, 2012

Greetings from the cat farm

Gratuitous kitten photo
Things are going well at the Venice Chump House for Destitute Felines. Our sweet new kitten, whom we've named Jack, is settling in nicely, and our other cat, Simon, is grudgingly adapting to his new roommate. I've purchased a family-size pack of Allegra for myself. In a stroke of bad timing, my husband and I are going on a two-week vacation to Europe very soon. I hope whoever's watching them doesn't let them kill each other while we're gone.

One of my favorite things about long vacations, as I've mentioned before, is all the free time for reading. And after visiting ALA Anaheim this weekend, I've got an incredible stack of ARCs on my nightstand, including Libba Bray's The Diviners, Sarah J. Maas's Throne of Glass, Andrew Smith's Passenger, and Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys, among others. It feels like Christmas! Yesterday I flipped through all the books, figuring I would start reading the one that grabbed me the most. To my surprise, it was one that hadn't been on my radar, David Levithan's Every Day. I'm already halfway through it and folks, it is excellent. I can't put it down.

I've also got a copy of Leigh Bardugo's fantastic-looking Shadow and Bone that was waiting on my doorstep last weekend when I got home from my work trip, and a handful of other hardcovers that I picked up at different events over the last few months. So much good reading! Unfortunately, I don't have room in my suitcase to take physical books with me on our transcontinental road trip, so I'll have to choose from the 30+ books waiting for me on my e-reader. This is a good problem to have. 

I may not post for a little while, seeing how this week is going to be very busy with travel prep, but I'll still be checking out your blogs and babbling away on Twitter. Are you traveling this summer? Or are you avoiding the crowds and enjoying the hot months with backyard sprinklers and homemade popsicles? 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Life Gets In The Way

Well, I started out the weekend with An Agenda for getting things done. It seemed pretty reasonable, too. Then this happened:

Thursday evening, just when I was settling down with my laptop, my neighbors banged on my window to tell me that one of their dogs had just chased a tiny kitten into my parking area. It had climbed up under the hood of my car, and so I lay on the ground and coaxed it out with food. Its eyes were just about crusted shut, and it was filthy and terrified. I wrapped it in a blanket and carried it, squawking and wailing, up to our guest room.

Clearly that does not sound like the cat pictured above. One trip to the vet for flea/mite meds, antibiotics, and eye drops, about a pound of wet food, and many hours of sleep later, he's feeling pretty perky. He's very playful, and enjoys a good belly rub and snuggles. If our cat ever forgives us, we may just keep him.

What this all means is that those revisions I was planning to have done by today are still awaiting my attention. BIG SIGH. What can I say, sometimes life gets in the way. I'm heading up to the corporate mothership tomorrow for the week, so hopefully I'll have some downtime in the evenings. And maybe, just maybe, I'll finally get to some reading that I've had to put on hold. Here's hoping!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Classical Thursdays: Chopin's Tristesse

I was intending for my Classical Thursdays to be a weekly thing. Goodness knows there's enough great music for that. But somehow last Thursday slipped past me, so I guess it will be a catch-as-catch-can arrangement.

Today I want to highlight a piano piece by Frédéric Chopin, who I would say is in my top three favorite composers. His Étude Op. 10 No. 3, in E major, nicknamed Tristesse (sadness), is slow and lovely, and the asymmetrical structure of the melody was pretty advanced for its time. Chopin is said to have thought this was his most beautiful composition. When I listen to it, I think it sounds like regret.

Here's a great quote about Chopin's creative process, written by his companion of ten years, George Sand:
Chopin is at the piano, quite oblivious of the fact that anyone is listening. He embarks on a sort of casual improvisation, then stops. 'Go on, go on,' exclaims Delacroix, 'That's not the end!' 'It's not even a beginning. Nothing will come ... nothing but reflections, shadows, shapes that won't stay fixed. I'm trying to find the right colour, but I can't even get the form ...' 'You won't find the one without the other,' says Delacroix, 'and both will come together.' 'What if I find nothing but moonlight?' 'Then you will have found the reflection of a reflection.' source
I feel like that sometimes when I'm writing--I'm trying to find the right color, but I can't even get the form. I think what the artist Eugène Delacroix meant is that you've got to start somewhere, and eventually it will start to resemble what you see in your head. Art doesn't just happen--it's hard work.

In other news, I am a complete ninny and forgot to point out that last week, my CP Liz Briggs interviewed me on her blog! To read my embarrassing answers to her questions and see a mortifying high school photo of me, go here.

I was also interviewed a little while back by Deborah Blum, who I was in a critique group with the past couple of years. Check it out here!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Final Frontier

You might have figured out from my background pictures here and on Twitter that I'm a bit of a space junkie. It's the great unknown, and the possibilities of what could be out there are enough for a lifetime of daydreams. I love a good space movie! Ever seen Sunlight? And don't even get me started on how excited I am for Prometheus.

In reality, space adventuring is still an impossibility. But last night, I stayed up late to watch this:

Unfortunately, since they launched at night, you can't see much. If you want to watch the coolest part after liftoff, skip ahead to 4:17 to see the first stage of the rocket separate, and the second stage engine ignite. And if you're curious why I'm so into these rockets, scroll over to 12:55 and look for the fellow on the right rolling backward and fist-pumping in his chair. So proud of that guy ;)

But the part of all this that had me bawling on my laptop last night was the following video and accompanying sounds. This is such a tremendous achievement. I can't wait to see what happens in the next few days of this mission.

Congrats to all the brilliant, hard-working people at SpaceX!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Squees With Friends!

Just a quick Friday post to share some things I think you should know about:
  • My wonderfully talented friend Cortney Pearson is participating in the multi-blog Writer's Voice competition on Team CupidLC with her creepy YA horror, PHOBIC, about a girl caught in a struggle against her evil house. Check out her entry here! I've just started reading PHOBIC and so far I'm loving it. I think Cortney's going to clean up the competition! 
  • My awesomely creative friend Karen Akins just sold her debut novel, LOOP! Go check out her blog to read the official PM posting and tell her congrats! I read an earlier draft of LOOP and fell in love with Karen's sharp, witty voice and smart mystery plotting. Can't wait to ask her to sign my copy!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Classical Thursdays: Dvořák

So I've noticed from your music-related posts and tweets that in general, popular tastes in these circles run to indie and classic 90s. I guess people don't listen to classical music much, unless you're a music major or one of your parents was, and I understand that. The pieces are loooong, and there are no lyrics to enjoy, and frankly it can be as boring as a 14-hour plane flight. But there's some good classical out there, stuff that will make you fist-pump or weep or dance around like a hyper idiot, and I think it's a shame that it's only heard in movie scores and commercials.

In the spirit of my Blog Me MAYbe Thursday assignment of telling you about someone else, I'm going to try something new here. Every Thursday, I'm going to post a piece from my morning playlist of favorite classical music, along with some interesting details about the piece or composer. A lot of them you'll probably recognize from movies or Saturday morning cartoons. One of them makes me cry every single time I listen to it, but I'll save that one for another day.

Today I'm going to start with the 4th movement from Dvořák's Symphony No. 9 in E Minor "From the New World." Antonín Dvořák was a Bohemian native, born near Prague in 1841. His father, an innkeeper, butcher, and professional zither player, wanted him to be a butcher as well, but he chose to pursue music instead. He wrote this symphony in 1893 during a visit to the "New World," aka the USA. He was especially interested in Native American music and African-American spirituals, which he considered musically very similar, and used these influences when composing his symphony.

The 4th movement is called "Allegro con fuoco," or fast and fiery, which is exactly how it sounds. Clearly John Williams loves this piece, because you will hear first Jaws, and then Star Wars when you listen to it. Also this video is awesome because the conductor, Gustavo Dudamel, currently the music director here at the LA Philharmonic, is a riot to watch. It's pretty long, but I encourage you to at least listen to the first couple of minutes.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

BMM Blogfest: Myself in survey form

Last Tuesday, all the cool BMM kids were filling out this A-Z survey from last month's blogfest, so this week I'm following their example:

A is for age: Halfway to seventy, baby, as of tomorrow.
B is for breakfast today: Latte (which is what I call my morning ritual of espresso and nuked milk, not sure how legit that is) and a homemade breakfast burrito, which I make ahead in large batches and freeze like the Suzy Homemaker I am.
C is for currently craving: Red velvet cake. Always.
D is for dinner tonight: Going to try the paella for two from Cooking for Two 2009, my current favorite cookbook.
E is for favorite type of exercise: Running or rollerblading on the beach.
F is for an irrational fear: Two things I worry unnecessarily about are getting caught in a fire and home invasion. Hooray for fear-based media!
G is for gross food: I'll eat just about anything, including offal. The only thing that really turns my stomach, if you can call it a food, is chewing gum. Blarg.
H is for hometown: Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, the oldest European settlement in the Midwest.
I is for something important: Health. As long as you've got that, everything else is gravy.
J is for current favorite jam: Raspberry. Blueberry. Rhubarb. I'm a fan. Oh wait, you meant music? I'm not terribly savvy...We Are Young is a fun one. Right now I'm listening to Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 in E Minor. I'm kinda all over the place.
K is for kids: Not yet, but I've hit The Age, so...I'll keep you updated.
L is for current location: Home office, curled up on my chair in a most un-ergonomic way.
M is for the most recent way you spent money: Registering for LA SCBWI 2012, baby!
N is for something you need: Me time.
O is for occupation: i'm in ur internets, cleaning ur searches 
P is for pet peeve: People who make a right turn on a red light when there's oncoming traffic. It's an LA thing.
Q is for a quote: "Precision of language, Jonah." -From The Giver.
R is for random fact about you: I used to play on an adult kickball team with Mena Suvari. 
S is for favorite healthy snack: Baked kale chips!
T is for favorite treat: Paaaastries.
U is for something that makes you unique: My middle name is Zouri, and I've yet to meet anyone else with that name.
V is for favorite vegetable: Cauliflower, kale, pretty much fresh anything. Love all my veggies.
W is for today’s workout: Yoga at lunchtime.
X is for X-rays you’ve had: Broken foot, dysfunctional sinuses.
Y is for yesterday’s highlight: Tennis class and dinner with two of my oldest LA friends.
Z is for your time zone: Pacific--it's 500 feet from my house!

Can you see the tiny sliver of beach visible from my office? It's right behind the tattoo parlor...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Blogfest: MAY I tell you something about myself?

Today is the first day of the Blog Me MAYbe blogfest, hosted by Sara McClung. Jump over here to check out the other participants' entries!

Tuesday's writing prompt is: MAY I tell you something about myself? Since I might be getting some visitors today who've never been to my blog before (Welcome!), I thought I'd give the quick and dirty version of how I got to this point.

Elementary school: Win a blue ribbon at a Young Authors event in first grade. Write stories obsessively throughout the rest of elementary.

Middle school: Decide I want to be a nurse. Still enjoy writing stories.

High school: Start studying French, go on a trip to Morocco. Pick up Spanish and German courses as well by the end of high school, decide I want a glamorous international job that requires foreign languages, intend on being fluent in at least six. Still enjoy writing stories.

College: What else could I become but a diplomat? Major in Political Science, second major in German and near-minor in French. Story-writing ceases entirely.

Post-college: Move to Germany on scholarship. Intern at U.S. consulate, decide I should become a lawyer and get a job at a patent law firm in Munich. Worst-looking career ever. Office mate presents the idea of studying journalism because I like politics and writing, which leads to brief stint in Istanbul writing for English-language daily paper. Creative writing idea flutters like a tiny, near-dead moth in the back of my head.

Grad school: Realize within a month of starting journalism school that this is not the field for me. Also within a month of starting j-school: 9/11, which shapes the entire experience. Squeak through with an internship in copy editing and a thesis in photo (wanna see the pics? more on that here).

Real world: Land a great job at a great company, who could ask for anything more? Using my foreign language skills, job satisfaction high. And yet. These stories, they keep popping up in my head, and so little by little, in my spare time I begin trying to write them down. And they're awful. But I keep starting stories, and eventually one sticks, and I finish it. And it's awful. And then I begin the very long process of learning how to tell a story.

So that's me and my writing journey in a nutshell! Did you tread a similar path?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Well hello there

April is nearly over, and I just realized that I haven't blogged yet this month. Oops. There's been lots going on, and it's not stopping anytime soon. We've got an old friend coming to stay with us this weekend, and the following weekend one of my college roommates will be passing through for a conference, and I hope to spend some time catching up with her. It scares me how long it's been since college, because when I think about those days, it seems like it was just a year or two ago.

I'm also suuuuuper excited about an amazing writing retreat that I'm going on in about two weeks. I don't think any of my fellow retreaters have blogged about it yet, but a small group of us are heading out to a cabin in the woods for a long weekend to write and it's going to be awesome. I was hoping to start working on something new since I've got about five fun ideas bouncing around inside my head right now, but it looks like I'll be diving into some rewrites instead. Pretty jazzed about those too, though, so it's all good.

Because I've been such a lazy blogger lately, I've signed up for Sara McClung's Blog Me MAYbe blogfest, where we'll have a different blogging prompt for each day of the week. Go check it out if you're interested in joining. I think it's going to be fun!

And finally, here's a little wake-up music for you. Sometimes I like to listen to a little classical first thing in the morning while I'm gathering my wits, and right now I can't get enough of this piece. I used to play piano pretty well back in another life--I even auditioned in college--but then I dropped it entirely, and now all those pieces that used to live in my muscle memory are only ghosts in my fingers. But I still love to listen to them.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Favorite Writers: Poe Ballantine

When I lived in Munich, one of my favorite possessions was a copy of The Best American Short Stories 1998. Most of the time I read German literature, an attempt to improve my vocabulary, but when my brain was fried from too many 25-letter-long words or from looking up what Verfügbarkeit meant for the fifteenth time, I would pick up the slightly worn, lime green book (guest edited by Garrison Keillor), and read a short story.

The story I loved the most was a melancholy one about troubled kids born into dysfunctional lower class families, written in strange and wonderful imagery. This story has stuck with me over the years, popping into my mind at random times. It's called "The Blue Devils of Blue River Avenue," by Poe Ballantine. The prose is straightforward, just simple enough to accommodate the quirky descriptions and observations. To my delight, I just found that this story is available online. I found it by searching for "poe ballantine wolf," because this is the image that sticks in my memory:

"My mother didn’t like my going over to the Sambeauxs’. There was something mysterious and menacing about that house: a bloodcurdling scream, a silhouette of a knife in the window, a wolf on its hind legs with a leather tail scuffling along behind the juniper trees."

Here is another one I like:

"His hair was short and fair, and he had the polite and unassuming stride of a farm boy. From a distance, the Sambeaux house must have appeared to him to be the place to make friends. There were children everywhere: peeping from windows, lounging against cars, hanging lemurlike from trees, barelegged, barefoot, the spirit of Peter Pan and Tobacco Road. There were paper clouds above the Sambeaux roof, pink pastel streaks painted across the sky, devils on the rooftop, monkeys on wires. A big cardboard vulture squealed over. Homer knocked on the door. Roland and Langston ushered him in."

Here's a great description of the narrator's mother:

"My mother cut sharp glances at me. She had the kind of vision that went right through you and saw into your future. She saw me taking LSD, or driving drunk off a cliff, or marrying a Filipino go-go dancer with a long scar across her abdomen. She saw weeds coming up in the garden of my innocence, and wormy, wild apples waving in the wind.."

Rereading this story now, I still love it just as much as I did back in 1998. I could post a hundred more excerpts--the writing is a dream, so elegant and controlled and interesting. Poe Ballantine is the kind of writer I aspire to be like. If you liked these excerpts, I highly recommend that you go read the full story here.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Huzzah for my CP!!

Just wanted to take a moment on this wonderful, drizzly Friday to spread the word that my fantastic, amazing, probably-hiding-a-superpower CP Liz Briggs has just accepted an offer of representation from her dream agent, Kate Testerman of KT Literary.

Hooray Liz!!!!!!
I would add some sort of fancy animated fireworks here, but that is beyond my limited skills. So here:

Besides being CPs, Liz and I keep each other sane during our day jobs by keeping up a near-constant stream of chats, and last Wednesday she tortured me like this:

Liz: OMG 
me: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      what what what
Liz: omggggggggggggg
me: NOW

It was so much fun to watch this all unfold. Querying is no fun, and Liz did some hard time in the query trenches. But she's a smart cat, and she used every bit of feedback she got to improve while querying. And it doesn't hurt that her book is AWESOME, with exciting high action, tech geekery and swoooony romance. Believe me, you want to read this. So head on over to Liz's blog to congratulate her and read the full story!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

My 2013 Oscar Predictions

I know they're no true measure of artistic excellence, but as a guilty pleasure, I love the Academy Awards. I like the predictable seasonal shift when fall comes and the quality (or pretentiousness) of movies increases, and I like trying to guess which ones will be recognized or which performance will get snubbed, and keeping my ear to the ground for unexpected dark horse buzz.

Sadly, this year Oscar season came and went like a fart in the wind. I haven't seen The Artist yet, and I'm sure it's good, but overall my reaction was: meh. So a few days ago, I was listening to the Chicago soundtrack and lamenting the lack of big budget extravaganzas at the cinema, and I took a look to see what next year's crop of Oscar bait might look like.

And friends, things are looking very good indeed. Here's what I'm salivating over for next fall:

The Great Gatsby - Baz, Leo, Tobey, Carey. I've never been a huge Leo fan, but I feel like he's growing into himself, and the stills from the set are luscious. And that's not even a word I use.

Lincoln - Spielberg's next offering on the alter of Oscar looks like it could be mind-blowingly good. I was sad when I first heard that Liam Neeson backed out of the title role, but his replacement, Mr. Day-Lewis, is even better. Add some Joseph Gordon-Levitt and some Sally Field to the mix, and I'm a happy girl.

Django Unchained - This could quite possibly be horrendous, but I enjoyed Inglourious Basterds, and based on the cast, I have high hopes for Mr. Tarantino's slave revenge fantasy. And look, there's Leo again! Let's hope he takes himself a little less seriously in this role.

Les Miserables - Hmm, we'll see. I'm kind of already over another Les Mis film, but the director gets props for making The King's Speech last year, and I am always a sucker for a musical.

Skyfall - Daniel Craig is back as 007, and this time he's facing off against Javier Bardem. I can't say anything else, because my head just exploded.

The Hobbit - Yaaaayyy Peter Jackson I'm so glad you resolved your differences and decided to direct this one. I expect nothing but excellence.

Hyde Park on Hudson - I don't know how this one snuck past me, but it's already in the can. Bill Murray as FDR? The pictures look convincing, but I'll reserve judgment until I see a clip. Mr. Murray must have gotten a taste for the gold after his nomination a few years ago, eh?

Life of Pi - I have no idea how they'll pull off a film of this excellent book, but it's Ang Lee, so...good luck.

And if next fall is too far away, even the summer blockbusters are looking better than usual: The Dark Knight Rises (huzzah!), Dark Shadows, The Hunger Games (not that I'm complaining, but who releases a blockbuster in March?), The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man...

Are there any other movies coming out this year that you're excited about?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

In The Weeds

If you hadn't noticed, I've had to abandon pretty much any intentions of social networking lately. Last week was delightful, but very very busy with work and social engagements and other commitments. I just dropped my husband off at the airport for a quick business trip to Ankara, and now it's time to wind down and catch up on what's happening in the world.

This is coming a little bit late, but I want to thank Cherie of Cherie Writes for tagging me a while ago for an award on Valentine's Day. Thank you Cherie! I've also been tagged by Caitlin at All About Growing Up And Becoming A Famous Author to answer her 11 questions. Thanks Caitlin! I'm always in the mood for some fun questions, so here goes:

1. Cadbury Cream Eggs, yes or no?
Yes, fondly, although I've kinda cut back on the sugar, so I think I could only handle a bite or two now. But I think they're lovely.
2. Do you like to do writing prompts or continue with free writing time while editing?
Well, I've never really done any writing prompts outside of school, and when I'm revising, I'm revising. I'm more likely to start writing a second project while drafting something else. I'm prone to tangents, I guess.
3. Where do you spend most of your time writing?
Used to be on the couch, under a blanket, with my cat on my feet. But that's bad for the old wrists, so these days it's at a desk in my home office.
4. If you could be one person for a day, fictional, real, alive, or dead, who would you be?
Bella Swan! No, just kidding. Hmm, maybe Kara Thrace, being badass and fighting Cylons. 
5. What's the biggest writing pet peeve that you catch yourself doing?
Writing the longest sentences ever, with maybe one conjunction, or sometimes more conjunctions, so that the sentences goes on and on until your eyes glaze over and you start thinking, gee, maybe I should go get some cheese or start that load of laundry that I meant to do yesterday, but didn't get around to because I had to finish working on that chapter I was revising. Okay, I'm not that bad, but I do love my conjunctions.
6. Do you prefer to write on the computer or by hand?
Computer! My hand is not fast enough. Also I have terrible handwriting.
7. Are you as terrified of having to come up with 11 questions for someone else as I was?
Um...will you hate me if I don't do that just now? It's Saturday night, and I've got a hot date with my Kindle and the second half of Paranormalcy. 
8. Do you like to snack while you write, or does it distract you?
It doesn't distract me the way noise does. I guess I go ahead and snack if I'm hungry?
9. What is the most mundane task that has given you inspiration for writing?
That's a hard one. I can't think of anything. A lot of my inspiration comes from music.
10. Why did the chicken cross the road?
Because he was seeking enlightenment. Or maybe just trying to get to the beach.
11. Would you rather write well and never be published or write terribly, be published, and be loved by millions?
Writing terribly will probably never be a goal of mine ;-)

Alright folks, brain is shorting out and I still need to go write an email to my mom and dig up some dinner. I'll try to get around to more blogs soon. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I Hug You All

Happy Valentine's Day! Please accept a virtual hug from me, since I cannot virtually share the delicious Coffee-Rum Truffettes I made last night for the occasion. (Tip: They are super easy to make, especially if you skip the dipping and just roll them in cocoa powder. Also they are addictive.) (Bonus tip: If you decide to make them and think that it would be smart to scoop them out with a melon baller, be aware that a melon baller is quite sharp. It will cut a deep channel in the pad of your thumb if you let it.)

I don't have too much else to say today, so in honor of my dear Valentine who likes gypsy music, I will share this song that I cannot get enough of lately:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Few Good Reads

So I just caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror, whilst tossing more decongestant down my gullet, and what I saw made me pause. Sure, I've been sick the past four days (again? yes, again), and I've spent most of my time sleeping and sweating and not grooming, but I had some ridiculously big purple bags under my eyes. I wondered, Am I really that sick? I thought I was getting better?

And then I remembered that I finished reading The Fault in Our Stars this morning. Those swollen lids are little mementos of how hard I sobbed. Oh John Green, have you no care for your readers' delicate eyelid skin?

Of course it was an amazing book. Augustus Waters is up there with my all-time favorite characters. And I count myself lucky to have been able to get a ticket to John Green's book tour when he came through L.A. last week--if you think he and Hank would probably put on an awesome show together, you would be right.

I also recently attended Robin Mellom's release party for her debut, Ditched. She was absolutely lovely in person, and I won the raffle basket (put together by her parents!) which had all kinds of cool schwag (including but not limited to FUNYUNS!) and an ARC of her upcoming MG book, The Classroom. Yay me! I haven't read Ditched yet, but I'm looking forward to it--it looks like such a fun book.

Other books I have read recently: Chime by Frannie Billingsley (a little slow and very different, but by the end I really liked it), and Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley (unique and lovely, with a plot that comes together so neatly). Right now I'm working my way through A Game of Thrones, which I'm embarrassed to say my friend's husband lent me lo these many years ago (before the HBO series was even announced), and I only just now took interest in after watching said series and needing to know right now what happens next. The epic fantasy, she is not my first choice, but the storytelling here is excellent.

Anybody out there read epic fantasy? Is there anything else amazing that I'm missing?

Monday, January 16, 2012

On Wordiness

Sorry for the lack of posts last week--I know you were afraid I'd died of the common cold. Nope, I caved and went for some antibiotics, and I'm feeling almost like myself again. Did anyone watch the Golden Globes last night? Maybe I need to watch this movie again, but I did not love The Descendants when I saw it in the theater last month. I think my perception was skewed by my expectation that it would be funny like Sideways, when it was actually horribly depressing.

So I was going over my WIP recently, for the millionth time, and I have to say it never fails to amaze me how many superfluous words I end up cutting every time I do a pass. So many words! I think I tried to use every possible word on my first draft. I feel like a gardener doing hedge trimming. Are my words sprouting words?

I once thought I might write literary fiction (why? were you like this too?), and so my affection for pretty pretty language still comes through in occasional fits of wordiness. Why use one adjective to describe something when you can use two? Why not include that beautiful turn of phrase, even if it makes the reader scratch his/her head? One nice thing about wordiness though: when you've gained enough objectivity to be able to see it, trimming it out is extremely satisfying. Are you like me, or do you write lean and flesh it out later?

Happy Martin Luther King Day! We're all in this together, so let's be good to one another.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

When Cameron Was In Egypt's Land...

Double bonus points to you if you get the title reference. Great movie. Anyhow, that's the scene that's been flashing through my head every time I try to peel myself out of bed for the past few days. So much for keeping resolutions when you get flattened by the cold of the century on the second day of the new year!

I probably shouldn't be posting when I can practically feel the little viruses dancing through my bloodstream, but I've got cabin fever, ya know? The cat doesn't make for very good conversation. Before leaving for work this morning, my husband set me up with a giant bowl of Turkish scrambled eggs (feed a cold!), Dayquil sinus tabs, and a full season of Suits. I'm only two episodes deep, but so far I'm liking it. There was a funny line about being someone's pony that I'd quote for you, but...pfft. My brain is mush.

Since I'm only allowed to watch four episodes, if I'm still alive later this afternoon, I'll probably be reading Graceling until my stamina gives out. I've also read Anna Dressed In Blood and Shine this past week, both very good reads. I wasn't expecting Shine to remind me so much of Winter's Bone. Or Anna to remind me of Nightmare on Elm Street, at least a little.

And, if you didn't get the title this. Then go watch the movie. Forget about Matthew Broderick, this is Alan Ruck at his finest!