Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I missed you Internet

The internet has been down all day. It’s down while I’m writing this. I miss the internet. I even drew a picture of me missing the internet.

No. I’m not a professional artist. I’m just someone missing the internet. (I drew it with my finger on the laptop paint program.  You never would have guessed, would you?) The word internet has a beat all of its own. Have you noticed? Internet. In♥ter♥net. This makes me think of So I Married an Ax Murderer. I’d look it up on Hulu but… you know…so I’ll write my own beat poem.

Sad sultry siren of the screen.
You are out.
I am alone?
(drum solo)
I can’t look up
How the poem went
Without YouTube
Or Hulu.
(horn solo)
I blame Qwest
Or Centurylink
Or whateverinthecrap they’re calling themselves

My family misses the internet too. The kids have had to ride bikes and play with toys today. Can you imagine? Here’s what we look like without the internet.

I’d call the phone company again but the recording doesn’t answer my questions. I wonder how many other internet withdrawal customers they’ve had call them today – and last night. AAAAAHH I see the light! The little green INT light on the modem! Yay! Facebook…

Friday, August 26, 2011

Another great contest!

I found this contest http://blog.genniferalbin.com/2011/08/super-amazing-critique-contest.html on the WriteOnCon site. It looks like fun so I'm jumping in.

Also, anyone who visits, feel free to follow me. If you leave a comment, I'll follow you back.

They grow up so fast

People are always telling me to enjoy my kids while they’re little because they grow up so fast. It’s true. They do grow up fast – and I think that’s why people are able to remain sane. I love babies. They’re cute. They’re cuddly. They’re entertaining. They are also demanding, loud, and helpless. One year of babyhood is plenty.

My oldest son went off to Middle School yesterday. I was a little misty eyed at the thought of my first born growing up. I thought of his cute little squeaky voice and the funny things he used to say. I thought of the way he used to orbit me in stores. He never wandered. (I’m serious. It was weird.)

I also babysat my 6 month old niece yesterday. Talk about putting things in perspective. I love my niece’s adorable dimples and toothless grin. But I was exhausted by the time my sister came to get her. There is a reason why nap time is one of the most celebrated times in the Mommy world.
My son’s voice is no longer cute and squeaky. Now it’s cracking and he hits about 3 octaves with each word. He still says funny things, but now they make sense. He only orbits me when he’s chasing his younger siblings and bugging me at the same time. But he still doesn’t wander. I hope that stays true. I like having him around.

Kids are cute when they’re little and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. But I also rejoiced the day I threw out the diaper pail. I love that they can do things for themselves like get dressed, clean their room, and feed themselves. I will miss them while they are all at school, but I’m also looking forward to having some quiet time to write and catch up with housework. I’m excited to see what they can accomplish this school year. I’m sure they’ll grow a lot. I can’t wait to see what they accomplish next.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A touch of reality

Posting four days a week isn't going to work out.  So I'll post whenever I have something awesome to say.  I know it's hard to believe that I can't come up with awesome every day of the week, but there it is. 

I was thinking about strengths and weakness today.  My strength is humor, but not when it's forced.  There is a fine line between funny and annoying.  Of course, everyone has their opinions as to what is funny.  My weakness is spelling and sometimes grammar.  I have the basic rules of grammar down, but once people start spouting off info about participles and spliced commas, my brain shuts down. 

My kids are all above level readers.  But they have weaknesses too.  All three could work on their organizational skills.  Unfortunately, we tend to dwell on the negative.  I spend a lot of time telling my kids how they should get organized so they can, yanno, find their assignments and turn them in. I do tell them how smart they are, but I think the positive can get lost in the negative. This is partly because they no longer see being smart as a positive.  They know they're smart.  It's just how they are. They still need to hear it from me, but I need to find other positives.

My oldest son is a really likable kid.  He's nice to everyone, even the socially awkward kids in his class.  I've noticed that most kids like to be around him.  This is a strength that I hope stays with him.  I should point this out to him.  He likes hearing nice things about himself.

My daughter has a fantastic eye for the arts.  She's great and drawing and uses color well.  I'm not sure how I feel about the super realistic zombie girl she drew yesterday - but it is a good drawing.  Creepy, but good.  (Yes this is the same child that freaked when I told her we could be standing in a haunted building.)

My youngest son is fun to be around.  When he is happy, you can't help but smile with him.  (The same is true of the opposite, but I'm focusing on positives here.)

As a parent, I do have to help my kids work through their weaknesses, but I also should point out their positives when I see them.  I need to look for more positives too.  Once their positives outweigh their negatives, I hope their weaknesses will seem small and easy to overcome.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Random Thought Thursday: Adventures in Kiddyland.

On Tuesday we went to Lagoon, an amusement park in Farmington Utah (Close to Salt Lake).  My kids aren't what you'd call thrill seekers.  Actually, it's safe to say they are thrill avoiders.  So when we arrived at the park we decided to go for a mild ride.  The Music Express.  That's me with my two youngest before the ride.  See the smiles?  Those didn't last long. (Okay so in this picture they weren't smiling, but I have one on the other computer where they look happy.  Promise.)
We were doing great until the ride picked up speed and the centrifugal forces squished us toward the outside.  That is where my daughter started to scream, "I'm gonna die," over and over again. 

Our next stop was The Screamer.  This was my favorite when I was young. The two oldest figured out that it went upside down and refused to get on.  The youngest followed his father faithfully on to the ride.  It wasn't his favorite.

The next ride was my husbands favorite when he was young.  The Wild Mouse. My daughter screamed, "I don't like this ride I'm never going on it again," until the ride stopped.  I agreed with her on that one.  I didn't like it either.  When we got off the Wild Mouse, she asked if it was time to go home.  So we went to Kiddyland.

There were rides that the kids enjoyed - none that went upside down.  In the evening we ventured over to Pioneer Village to ride the Log Plume and get ice cream.  My husband took the youngest to the bathroom to clean the blue ice cream off his face, shirt, hands, and shorts.  I took the other two to some of the little museums while we waited.  We went inside one little house and my daughter wanted to see what was upstairs.  My oldest son volunteered to watch for his dad outside. 

The air upstairs was really thick and hot.  It was a tiny room with old dresses and dolls and was blocked off by a large pane of glass.  The creepy factor of the room reminded me that there were rumors that Pioneer Village was haunted.  So I shared that info with my daughter.  (This is the girl who reads ghost books in bed and describes herself as Halloweenish.)  She froze and said.  "Let's get out of here."

We went downstairs and my oldest son went upstairs while we waited for my husband and youngest son.  My oldest son was not impressed with what was upstairs until my daughter informed him the place was crawling with ghosts.  This is when my husband reappeared. "It is not," he said.

"Mom said it was."

Dirty looks in my direction.

"I said there are rumors that some buildings might be haunted but I don't know which ones," I said.

The next building was a dentist office so I assured my daughter that the ghosts wouldn't go in there.  No one goes to the dentist office unless they have to and ghosts don't have teeth.  She still wouldn't go in.  So we went back to Kiddyland.

We had the kids pick their favorite rides so they could ride them again.  I noticed my daughter still looked a bit wide eyed and was chewing on her thumb.  "Why are you chewing on your thumb?"

"I'm afraid of the ghosts."

"There are no ghosts."

"You said Pioneer Village was haunted."

"I said there were rumors.  And Pioneer Village is on the other side of the park.  There aren't any ghosts here."

I think we may never get her near Pioneer Village again.

My husband wanted to ride Wicked so I took the kids to play games while he waited in line.  My daughter won a little stuffed animal that looked like a skeleton.  She gave it a huge hug. I wondered why she would hug a skeleton and give the ghosts a cold shoulder but I decided I'd said enough already.

Just one last thing I have to brag about.  My oldest son did a little golf game and got a hole in one so his little brother could have a prize.  His little brother has dragged that prize everywhere since he got it.

And those were our adventures at Lagoon.  Kiddyland was fun.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Writerly Wednesday: WriteOnCon

WriteOnCon is happening now and it's free! There is still one more day to join in the fun at http://writeoncon.com/.  I've been busy tweaking my query for So You Don't Want to be an Evil Sorceress and commenting on other queries.  I've learned a lot just from the other writers. Tomorrow I will do a real post about going to Lagoon and not seeing any ghosts in Pioneer Village. There will even be pictures or at least one picture.

Here's my query:

Mysty’s parents said her sixteenth birthday would be magical but she didn’t realize they meant literally until she accidentally transforms Eric into a frog. There goes her plans for dating him. Turns out she is an evil sorceress from her dad's side of the family and a banished princess from her mother's side. She’s no longer an appallingly average American girl. She’s an appallingly evil princess without a castle.

The forbidden woods behind her house lead to the Enchanted Forest where her family once ruled. Mysty's family has created a new life in the normal world and let go the magical world they were banished from. But the Enchanted Forest hasn't forgotten her family, or the power Mysty creates when fairy tales replay around her. Mysty's mix of villain and princess magic warps the fairy tales and people keep ending up in the hospital no matter how hard she tries to be good.

The Woodcutter from the Enchanted Forest gives Eric a temporary fix on the frog spell. He tells Mysty that if she can't fix Eric's amphibious problem he'll turn back into a frog forever. Mysty is familiar with fairy tales and knows the frog prince needs a kiss from the princess. Mysty would love to kiss Eric to end the spell but his already green tinged skin turns darker green when he gets close to her. She decides that she’ll have to find someone else to kiss Eric in order to save him. While she's focused on finding a solution to the frog spell and avoiding the big bad wolf, the Woodcutter makes plans for her future that don't involve happily ever after.

Kid Book Tuesday on Wednesday

I didn't get to post yesterday because we were playing at Lagoon all day (more on that in a later post).  So I'm putting in a quick post for yesterday and then I'll do a longer one later for Writerly Wednesday.

This is my youngest son using his fingers as a book mark.  He's also asleep.  The book is the first of the Warriors series. (Into the Wild)  It's a bit above his reading level but he's determined to read it.  My two older kids have read the series and loved it.  My youngest hates being left out.  The books are about cats who live in Warrior clans. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday Mania What I read over the weekend

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Yay! I found a book that didn't bore me to tears.  In fact this book was really good. I loved the main character.  She was tiny but strong and brave.  She also wasn't perfect, which makes her the perfect character in a book.  Divergent is a dystopian novel that takes place in a future Chicago.  There are signs of a huge war around.  Roth describes burnt out buildings and crumbling roads.  Society has been split into factions.  There's Amity - the hard workers/farmers, Candor - the honest, Eurdite - intellegence, Dauntless - the brave, and Abnegation - the selfless.  Beatrice is from Abnegation.  She isn't allowed to think of herself, talk at dinner, or even look in a mirror.  She wants out.  I'd want out too.  Roth does a great job of showing how positive aspects can become negative.  I am looking forward to the next book.

****Spoiler Alert**** Things that I think we'll see in the next book
I'll try to keep out details on the next part but I'd recommend not reading until after you've read the book.
1- The dried up rivers.  Roth touched on food issues.  I'm guessing their will be more on the war that brought them to this point and what their future will look like.
2- The lock on the city gate
3- Kissing (duh)
4-Caleb.  We saw some of him in the first book, but not a lot.  I think he'll play a larger role in the next book.
5- The Dauntless buddies.  Christina - and the death of Will will be adressed. Uriah and Zeke.  I'm hoping that Edward will return with an eyepatch and beat the crap out of Peter.
6-The bad guys. Peter, Marcus, Eric, Janean, Molly...so many villains.
7-We'll see how the other factions have turned positive into negative.  They were headed to Amity - which make me think of Jaws.  Just what is hiding in those fields of tomatoes?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Random Thought Thursday:Go Dog Go

This has nothing to do with the classic book, Go Dog Go.  Don't get me wrong.  We quote from that book all the time. We love it.  My kids love to put random things on their heads and ask if I like their hat.  And thanks to Go Dog Go, I can honestly answer. No. I do not like that hat. But I digress.

A few nights ago we were all tucked in bed, turned the lights out, and were ready for a good nights rest.  Then we heard someone yelling.

"Is that a domestic dispute?" My husband asked.

"Sounds like it," I said.

"Which house is it?"

"I don't know." This is the part where I pulled the pillow over my head and wished we had the nice field of weeds behind our house again.  Sure it was home to the largest gopher population in the state and one or two gophers might have been killed in the process of building the new homes and the gophers eat all my plants - but at least they did it quietly. (I think in run-on sentences when I'm sleepy.)

My husband gets out of bed and puts one contact in his eye, turns off the security alarm and opens the sliding glass door a crack.  He stood in the shadowy silence of our darkened home, listening.  He came back laughing.

"It's some guy telling his dog to poop."


"The guy is out there yelling at his dog to poop.  He told the dog that it couldn't crap in his house and his wife was standing in the doorway giving pointers."

I couldn't hear the yelling anymore.  "It must be done."

"Can you imagine if someone tried to call the police?" He went in the bathroom and removed his contact before coming back to bed. (He forgot to turn the security alarm back on.)

"My neighbor is yelling at his dog to poop and it's really loud." Then so as to no confuse the dispatcher.  "The yelling, not the poop."

We are giggling so hard my husband can't speak.

"The whole thing stinks," I add.

So there you have it.  Go Dog Go.  We haven't heard the yelling for a few nights so I guess it did come out all right in the end.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Writerly Wednesday: The Pitch

I've been reading Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies.  I must be a dummy because I am learning so much.  A lot is review, but there is so much to learn. I've been planning to submit my completed Novel - So You Don't Want to be an Evil Sorceress to agents.  But now I think I'll have to go over the entire manuscript again.  Sigh.  Anyway, I have a couple pitches ready and I think once I've gone over the MS again, I'll be ready to lob them at the agent world.

Pitch#1 Mysty Perilous learns she is an evil sorceress after she turns the guy of her dreams into a frog - but she can't kiss away his amphibious problem because happily ever after is not for the villain.

Pitch#2 When Mysty Perilous accidently turns the guy of her daydreams into a frog, she has to find someone else to kiss away his amphibious problem because happily ever after is not for evil sorceresses.

I'm not sure which one I like better but I'm sure it'll change.  I have plenty of time since I'm going to edit the entire manuscript again.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Kids Book Tuesday

I have come up with a plan for my blog! I will write on a certain subject Monday - Thursday.  So today is Kid Book Tuesday where I discuss the books my children are reading.  I kinda started this back when I guest blogged on my sister's short-lived blog (http://shermereem94.blogspot.com/) so I'm going to cheat this week and copy one of my favorites here. This was from two years ago and Fly Guy is still loved in my house.

Kids are so excited when they first learn to read. I love watching that light bulb go off in their eyes when they figure out that all this alphabet stuff you've been shoving in their face has a purpose. I love sharing in their pride as they polish off those photocopied books they bring home from school with fascinating titles like "Nan and the Pan" and "Lill on the Hill". Then along came my youngest child. He hasn't started kindergarten yet so I got the books from the library.

"Those are boring," he said laying sideways on the chair in typical 5-year-old style.

"It could be fun," I said. "Look! This is Nan. She has a pan."

He spins around on the chair. "It's not funny. I won't read it."

So I tried picture books.

"That's too hard," he said. "I don't know all the words."

"It would be easier if you weren't turning somersaults and looked at the book."

"You read it to me."

I love reading to him so I read the book. "Do you want to read it now?"

"No. You can read it."

Sometimes he'd agree to read one page if I read one page but he won't read anything that doesn't fit his standards. It has to be funny. Easy readers aren't really known for their humor.

So on one of our rushed trips to the library I was zipping past the JE shelf when something sparkling caught my eye. It was a shining book. I skidded to a stop and snatched the book off the shelf. It was called "Hi Fly Guy". I thought the title was cute so I shoved it in the library bag, pulled some other random titles off the shelf and continued on my way. We could still enjoy looking at the cover if it wasn't funny.

Well, Fly Guy was funny. I read it to him. He read it to me. Then he took it with him to bed. We brought it with us everywhere we went. We read it at the school while we waited for his sister to come out of a practice.

"We're reading Fly Guy," he informed the principal.

She smiled (my kids have an awesome principal.) and said, "Wow, you're really lucky."

"Yep," he agreed. Then he buried his nose in the book and continued to read.

"I have Fly Guy," he informed the office staff.

"I've never heard of Fly Guy," the secretary said.

He was happy to take it out of his backpack to show her. He then gave her his review. "It's funny."

Then we had to return it to the library. Bye bye Fly Guy. It was a sad day. So Santa got it for him along with "There was an Old Lady who Swallowed Fly Guy" and "I Spy Fly Guy". Then for Valentines day he got "Fly Guy Meets Fly Girl". There are others too. You can find them at your library. I highly recommend them for preschoolers, kindergartners, first graders, and children who are struggling to read.

Come back tomorrow for Writerly Wednesday.

Monday, August 8, 2011

This is me entering another contest

LDSWriterMom is becoming one of my new favorite blogs. She has First Page friday where a real editor critiques the first page of someones work.  I've enjoyed reading through and seeing how my opinion matches matches Ms. Shreditor.  I've submitted a page but alas it hasn't been done yet. (Patience)

Anyway, she has a new contest where if I blog about her new deal (which is awesome) I can be entered for a chance to get an entire chapter critiqued.  (Which is even more awesome.)

New novel Ribbon of Darkness is a gripping romantic suspense that will keep you turning pages all night long. Kindle edition on sale this week for $8.88 Read more at http://bit.ly/nQUGIU

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

book slump

Lately I've been in a book slump. I can't find a book I'm excited about. Have I read so many books that they all sound the same? I tried to start a book the other day. The beginning was all telling. There wasn't any action. Ugh. And this is a writer I've enjoyed in the past. I picked up another book. Kid being chased by a bully. Ugh again. I've read that so many times. When we went to the library I told the kids it was their turn to pick out a book for me since I've picked out so many for them. Daughter grabbed the thickest book she could find. I told her to go thinner. I don't have that kind of time. Oldest Son found a book that looked interesting but was a companion book to a book that wasn't at the library. Youngest Son found a book I'd already read. Finally Daughter came up with one that looked feasable. I read about half of it on Sunday. I realized on Monday I'd forgotten I was reading a book. This isn't like me. I usually devour books. The good news is that there are some books on hold for me at the library and Emma Clayton's new book The Whisper is coming out. I've been waiting for a long time for The Whisper. Maybe that's what I need to get over this slump.