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November 2011
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January 2012

December 2011

Auld lang syne: Wishes for 2012

2012. I don't know if I've ever felt so apprehensive about a new year. No, that's not because I believe the Mayans have it right and this is our last one. I'm not being sucked into that whole deal. There are just so many aspects of my life right now that could go well or badly. Not just the book, either.

For one thing, I know it will be a year of change. Again, either for better or worse. Still, while I certainly have New Year's dreams for my family and I, bad habits I need to break, and plenty of room for trying to make myself a better person, there are other wishes  (serious and downright trivial) I'm thinking about as well. 

And here we go:

1) I want Katy Perry to stop singing songs that I don't want my kids to listen to and start doing more songs like Firework.  She has a great voice, but I don't like hearing kids my daughter's age singing Teenage Dream. While I'm at it, I hope she and Russell Brand patch things up. I'm thinking a divorce is a lousy way to start a new year.

2) Rath Lasher selfishly, I want this company... Paperself ... to strike it big. They make designer paper false eyelashes with intricate designs. I want to wear these--no, really! (See picture) However, I don't want to be the only one wearing them. Once they trend, I'm in! Check out all their cool designs! Which would you wear?


3) I'm hoping for both sides of the political coin to realize they are working for PEOPLE. Not just themselves, not just corporations ... not just the political party they belong to.

4) I want true journalism to come back into play.

5) I want my friends' entertainment podcast, GeekFest Rants, to go viral. (Shameless plug, yes. But they really do a nice job with genre entertainment!)

6) For Stephenie Meyer, I hope shooting of the movie version of The Host goes nicely in 2012. Aaaaaand, I hope the casting is far better than Twilight. While I'm on the topic, I hope more people realize what an amazing story Meyer created with The Host.

7) I want American Girl to come out with an alien doll. As in, from another planet. Folks have asked them for an albino doll and for handicapped dolls ... the company just won't bite. I suppose the idea isn't Ag doll profitable enough. Never mind the fact that they could do a special limited edition with some of the money going to an organization like that works  to help albino children in East Africa. You know ... help American Girls to be  good citizens of the world.  So if that's a no-go, how about going off the charts with something new and interesting that emphasizes individuality? You know, Meep Meep from Mars comes to Earth, becomes a citizen, and now is an American Girl. Of course, she comes with accessories like her hot pink ray gun that shoots rainbows, a table and chair set made with materials only found on Mars, a glog set (Martian version of a tea set), and her own pet ... a purple yip with a leash that attaches to its middle horn. 

Seriously, want to support the cause of three sisters trying to get American girl to create a doll with albinism? Visit their FB page.

8) There are several single men in my life for which I wish a serious romance in 2012. You know who you are. Ladies in their late thirties to late forties, I'm talking names! But you have to be genuine, unselfish, and have a humongous sense of humor!

9) Flying cars

10) My top wish for 2012? I want parents to stop teaching intolerance and hate to their kids, either directly or indirectly. Let's teach the benefits and value of unique personalities and interests, multiculturalism, varying points of view and different genetic makeups instead.  In other words, let's not have any suicides due to bullying in 2012. 

Oh....and there's one more:

11) I hope people stop believing the world will end in December 2012...or else it's going to be one heck of a long year!

Best wishes for a wonderful 2012 to you and your family! What do you wish for the world for 2012? And...would you wear the Paperself eyelashes? Which one?


Giveaways ... Young Adult Fantasy Novel or otherwise!

We've had a lot of disgruntled conversations about giveaways in my house recently--the type that involve spoiling movie endings, novel plots, and revealing gifts. There should be a name for that little pin that bursts the self-control bubble behind our lips when we know we should keep our mouths shut. 

Movie spoilers are the worst. My son, when watching a movie for the second time while I am seeing it for the first, is famous for lines such as "Just wait until...." Funny thing is, he hates when his friend does it. I watched three boys threaten to put tape across a fourth's mouth at my son's birthday gathering viewing of Super 8. The poor kid just couldn't contain that little pin. Then what does my own boy wonder do one week later? He sucks the suspense clear out of Rise of the Planet of the Apes on me!

In the Kindleboards community you can find authors who are ticked over reviewers who lay out whole stories (including ending) in reviews. My feeling is, is a review. The thing is, a good reviewer will indicate a spoiler alert at the start of the review. Really, that's only fair, isn't it? 

Then there are good giveaways! If you read my last post, And so this is Christmas..., you know I'm about to do a giveaway. And here it is:


Just answer the three questions below in a comment on this post. On Friday, December 30th, 2011, I will put all comments through a randomization program. I have one print copy (will be sent via mail) and two ereader versions (via coupon code on Smashwords) of Treehugger to be given away. So there will be three winners. First place winner gets choice of print or ereader version.


Kindle profile TH copyQUESTION ONE: What is the most important thing you accomplished in 2011?

QUESTION TWO: Which of the posts on my blog did you enjoy most so far?

QUESTION THREE: One of the underlying themes in Treehugger is deep friendship. On a scale of 1-10 (ten being highest) how important are your friendships to you?

Thanks for entering and good luck!




And so this is Christmas...

 XmasEvery year (for more years than I will admit to) I dread hearing that Lennon song that goes,

"And so this is Christmas,
And what have you done?
Another year over, 
And a new one just begun."

Why? Well, for one thing, I'm not a big Lennon / Beatles fan. (Go ahead, chuck a few messy things at me. I'll wait.)

(Wiping tomatoes off my face...) The main reason that song irks me is because of my own shortcomings. I mean who wants to be reminded that another year has gone by and you still haven't accomplished a particular goal or goals? For me, every time heard that song, I would think of the novel I've worked on for so long. Sure, I needed to develop the confidence to finish. Sure, having two kids and a job means time is at a premium. Still, it was a thorn in my side every year. 

Not so, this year! Bring it on, John! I might have just made it in under the wire for 2011, but I did do something this year. Treehugger, the novel, is out! As in, finished...up for sale...not nagging at me like a invisible tack. What an odd feeling. Of course, finishing this thing leads to a whole new list of things to accomplish. But I'm not going to think about those things now. 2011 is ending, 11 happens to be my favorite number, so I'm good. 

Anyway, I figure that when you accomplish something, it's good to look back at what you learned from the experience. So what have I learned? Self-confidence is critical in life and I have gone too long without it. Having finally found it, at least when it comes to Treehugger, I have to ask myself, "how?" How did I finally acquire it? Friends were helpful, that's for sure.  Any of those people who are reading this know who you are. I think that, maybe, having the ability to take things into my own hands through Amazon's indie author offerings helped as well. I didn't have to keep stopping and waiting for someone else to approve my story, my writing, my ending, my cover, my marketing plans. If I second- and third-guessed something, it was my gut telling me to do it. When you suddenly have all those responsibilities in your hands, you have to either drop it and run away or run with it to get to your destination before it all gets too heavy. And I think faith has something to do with finishing this book, too. I really wanted this. Prayed on it, begged to have it. As a result, this was the one story that I could not drop. No matter how much time went by after I had given up, no matter how "don" I was, the characters and story would always come back to nag at me. 

And so this is my Christmas. Treehugger is a gift from me to myself. Perhaps a gift from above to me.  To celebrate, I will be announcing a book giveaway (print or ebook) here on my blog in the next couple of days. So keep an eye out! And start thinking about what you have done this year, big or small, monumental or teensy, because that will have something to do with the giveaway!

In the mean time, I'm going to go listen to some Lennon and Beatles tunes to try and gain an appreciation......psyche! (Sorry Mike, Jen, Dina)


Suckers for Tortured Monster Souls

From female teens to old women and those of us (ehem!) in between, an epidemic plague took root years ago and shows no sign of dying off: Many of us have lost the instinct to run away from things that go bump in the night. Vampires? Werewolves? Bring them on, we say! And let them approach us with candy, roses, a bottle of wine, or just a simple, "Hey, how you doing?" Sometimes I wonder what would happen if someone stuck Taylor Lautner's face on Frankenstein's body or George Clooney's mug on a mummy or ghoul. Interesting thought, no? Would a whole new monster obsession be launched this way? "What Mr. Lautenstein? You can't speak? That's okay, you don't have to." Either that, or "What George? You're trailing mud and rotting bones through my house as you walk? Can you still give me that trademark grin? Yes? Then don't worry about it, baby." 



So why do so many women gravitate toward monsters, anyway? I would say the reason has something to do with an attraction to the tortured soul -- the plight of the monster who would do anything not to be a monster, and our female tendency to want to heal or validate the downtrodden. Add a bit of danger to the mix and we're hooked! My theory begins with Louis of Anne
Rice's Interview with the Vampire and the books that followed. Was there ever a more tortured creature than Louis? While his maker, Lestat, might have had a large following as well, who couldn't feel for Louis, who tried to right his own wrongs and the wrongs of vampires against humanity? Poor guy just couldn't be happy, but all he needed was the right girl to love him, right ladies? I think Louis was my first monster crush. (I'm thinking Lestat was more the "bad girl's" tortured soul.)


It's no Twilight-Book-Cover wonder the Twilight saga is as popular as it is. Meyer matched up a tortured soul (Edward) with a rather lost girl who didn't have much going for her. Call her emptiness lack of confidence or the result of coming from a broken home, but Bella found herself and found a home within Edward and his vampire clan family. (I'm sure she found a bit of herself in werewolf Jacob, too. But I'm Team Edward, so I'll focus on him.) The whole, "I'm a nobody, help me feel like somebody" coming from Bella and the, "You, Bella, are everything, but I'm a monster, not worthy of your love," coming from Edward is a perfect recipe for conflict, romance, and a potential happy ending. I adored these books (less so, Eclipse. Really Bella? You had to kiss Jacob?) The movies, while I've seen them outside of the theater, are a poor substitute, badly cast for the most part, and make the whole story line look cheesy. Although, to be fair, I have not seen Breaking Dawn yet. Yes, I've probably ticked some of you off with that statement. But, really... if you loved the books, can't you think of quite a few ways you would have made the films better? 


My favorite tortured soul monster isn't a traditional sort of monster. Sam Winchester of the WB's Supernatural has been referred to as a monster because of the bit of demon blood he ingested as a baby. That snack eventually brought on some mind power abilities and put him in line tSamo have Lucifer take over his body. On top of it, Sam has made huge mistakes in judgment that have resulted in deaths, opening the gates of hell, and, oh yes, the Apocalypse. The wonderful part about Sam is that those mistakes in judgment have always resulted from trying to do the right thing out of his love for humanity. His heroism, love for his brother, and self-deprecating nature is a stronger lure than any vampire's sparkling skin. (At least to this author!) I mean how can any monster compare to this one who has literally been to hell and back to save the world? The poor guy was even separated from his tortured soul at one point.

Who is your favorite tortured soul?



No (wo)man is an island, but it sure would be nice to own one!

For most of my lif Kirrin usee, I have imagined what it would be like to own my own island. Not something like Maui. Something small. Say an island that would take fifteen minutes to walk across. The thought came up again today when I was disappointed that my daughter can't get into the series that I loved way back when: The Famous Five. You might not have heard of it ... it was a British series and many of the books were sent over to me from my mother's childhood home outside London. The books were written by Enid Blyton and involved the mysteries solved by siblings Julian, Dick, and Anne, plus their cousin, tomboy Georgiana and her dog, Timothy.

George owned her own island, which had been passed down through mother's family. Kirrin island was the backdrop for some of the kids' adventures. They would row a boat over and always seemed to have great picnics packed for the day. I loved these mysteries and found the old-fashioned British terms and ideas completely charming. Since they were written in the '40s, you can imagine the stories were not exactly Harry Potter or Twilight in nature.

Anyway, my daughter couldn't wrap her head around the first book and its "archaic" language, so I started tellling her about Kirrin island with its castle ruins.  (The island and castle were based on Corfe Castle on the Isle of Purbeck.) I received a blank stare. Apparently, I will be visiting that island alone in my head! Although any thoughts of The Famous Five usually get me thinking about other islands....

There are the islands I visited, via  Mombasha useice skates, many years ago at New York's Mombasha Reservoir. I think there are two tiny bits of land lined up behind each other in the center of the lake, but in my memory there were many more and I went from one to the next, to the next, to the next. I wished I could name one and make it my own for picnicking on, or perhaps even find something mysterious there. Think I need to take a boat there again. Kris...this spring or summer? What say you?

 Like anyone else with kids and/or too much on their plate, the thought of running away by myself to an island for a little while is a serious temptation. However, my venture into publishing a novel reminds me that no man or woman is an island. True, writers spend a lot of time alone in front of a keyboard or paper and pen. When we edit, our hair roots are the only ones we get to tug at. Honestly, we spend a lot of time in our own heads. Whether our work turns out to be epic or shlock, we fill it with energy. In case, that means someone else often switches over the dishwasher and deals with other everyday tasks. For me, my husband has picked up a lot of the slack. And I thank him for that. In fact, if I do own an island one day, I'll let him join me.