Monday, December 29, 2008

Ta Da!

Thanks to Amy and Justin at Stonecreek Media, I now have a real live website! Check it out at As weird as it was to put up a whole website just about little old me, I think it's pretty cool.


On this date: In 1936, Mary Tyler Moore was born.

Monday, December 22, 2008

O' Christmas Tree

I think the favorite part of the holidays for our family is decorating the tree (okay, second favorite part for two of us). Our tree doesn't have any plain ball ornaments on it because there isn't any room - and because our tree is one of those that you drag out of the garage every year, it's not getting any bigger.

Opening the ornament box is like opening a time capsule every year. Every ornament tells a story and brings back a flood of memories.

(Note the foster kitten at the bottom about to pounce on a present)

Like the elf "me" that I would put on the tree every year as a kid. My mom found it and sent it to me a couple of years ago and to me, it's one of the best things on the tree.

And no tree is complete without a black Santa. This is one of J's favorites.

What mom can resist preschool homemade ornaments?

Or the ornament we got at the Tower of London one year.

I always thought this was Frosty the Snowman, but I've been told recently that it is actually Santa Claus. Who knew?

This one is from the first Christmas that DH and I were living together.

And this one is from J's first Christmas. Every year, Santa brings them an ornament of something that they are into that year. Telletubbies ruled in 1997.

Dr. Seuss. Enough said.

Mom got this because it bore a striking resemblance to my dreadlocked DH at the time.

If I don't see you, have a lovely holiday, whatever your flavor.

On this date: In 1949, two-thirds of the Bee Gees were born.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Good Holiday Read

I just finished a fun little book that was a collaboration of three of my favorite YA authors:

It's the story of one snowy night written by three different characters who all sort of come together at a Starbucks in the end. V. cute and totally appropriate for any teen or tween on your list. As I was reading I was thinking how much fun it would be to write something like this with other authors. As soon as I get some books under my belt I should get on it - Jay, Robin, Eve? Ya wanna do a foursome?

On this date: In 1937, Jane Fonda was born.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

All I Want for Christmas

Me: That's a nice bow you've got on your head.
T: That's 'cause I'm your present.
Me: Awesome. I've always wanted one.
T: You don't even know what I am.
Me: Okay, what are you?
T: I'm a hug machine.
Me: A hug machine?
T: Yeah. See how I work? (Demonstrates)
Me: I was right. I did always want one. Let's see that again.

On this date: In 1843, A Christmas Carol is published.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Done...for now

It was still technically the 15th on the West Coast when I sent my revision to my editor, so I'm counting that as on time. Yes, I did get it done and fairly painlessly, my pissing and moaning notwithstanding. This one was easy - it's the last one that is going to be hard. This time around, I know I have another chance. MK is going to write all over it in pencil and pop sticky notes in the margins and send it back to me for at least one more go round. I still have another chance. The revision that is giving me nightmares is the last one - the one where, once I turn it in goes to copyediting and then on to the printer to be set in stone for ever and ever. Ack!

On another note, it turns out that Clarion is going to make posters of this cover:

It is going to have a time zone map on the back to encourage schools and libraries to get a copy. Whoo hooo! Do you think it will be too obnoxious to plaster my car with these? Put one on the front door? Hmmm...

On this date: In 1775, Jane Austin was born.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I love Tivo. I originally got it for my hubby as a gift, but it has become my best friend. I tend to work from about 8-midnight or so, and I would miss all of my shows (CSI:Vegas - Miami and NY are cheap imitations, What Not to Wear and endless reruns of Two and a Half Men) if it weren't for the bedoop bedoop magic of the Tivo.

As we were bedooping through the commercials last night, I started to wonder if they still impregnated their message on your brain. Just because they are going by at lightening speed, doesn't mean we aren't taking them in. Even though I only sat through seven seconds of a thirty-second commercial, did the message still take? Do you have to actually look away from the thing not to be affected in your subconscious?

These are the questions that keep me up at night.

On this date: In 1928, An American in Paris debuted.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bad, Bad Blogger

I've been shirking my blogging duties lately and I apologize. I don't have any good excuse except I'm F-R-E-A-K-I-N-G out about so many things. My revisions on the novel are due on Monday and I'm at the point where I'm not sure if I've gone far enough, if the themes are strong enough, if the character comes away with the right attitude...basically feeling like I want to scrap it and start all over. I think that is stage 4.5 in the revisions process (see post of November 26th if you have no idea what I'm talking about). Luckily I get at least one more go at it sometime in January.

I'm also working on a website and doing that thing that I always do when I try to decide what to be. I just get settled on one type of website - the look, the feel, the tone of the whole thing when I see someone else's website that is TOTALLY different and think, how cool - I should do mine that way. I think that if I make any more changes my web designer is going to reach through my laptop and strangle me into unconsciousness.

Things should be back to holiday-normal next week and if the gods are smiling on me I'll be less frantic. But I doubt it.

On this date: In 1936, Edward VIII abdicates the English throne.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Art and Real Life

Most of you know that my new YA Dirty Little Secrets is about hoarding, specifically about a girl who has lived in a hoarded house for most of her life. My 'elevator pitch' for the book is: When 16 year old Lucy comes home to find her mother dead under a stack of National Geographics, she has to decide how far she'll go to keep the family secrets safe. I got the idea for the book from reading a magazine article about adult children of hoarders and how they grew up. I made up the 'dead mother' angle, because I needed a story to go along with the situation.

There was a story in yesterday's NBC Los Angeles that shows that nothing is fiction anymore(thanks to Lindsey for the link):

Elderly Woman's Mummified Body Found in NoHo Home

Updated 6:31 AM PST, Thu, Dec 4, 2008

Related Topics: North Hollywood | Hamilton

Authorities say the mummified body of an elderly woman -- possibly dead for a year -- was found in a trash-filled North Hollywood home where she had been living with her adult son.

Watch Video

Police are learning more about a woman whose mummified remains turned up this week inside her home in the San Fernando Valley.

More Details Learned in Mummified Body Case


Officers were sent to the residence in the 6700 block of Vantage Avenue on Monday evening, said Officer Julianne Sohn of the Los Angeles Police Department's Media Relations office.

The Daily News quoted neighbors as saying that 48-year-old Robert Hunt lived in the home with his mother, Barbara, who is listed as the owner and who would be 86 if alive. Police do believe it is her body. Although it's not clear why Hunt never notified authorities of his mother's death, he is not a criminal suspect in his mother's death, police later said.

The mummified remains of what appears to have been the man's mother were found in a barricaded back bedroom, the newspaper reported.

"We found the remains of an adult; we were not able to identify who that individual was," LAPD Lt. Alan Hamilton of the North Hollywood Station told the newspaper.

"I can tell you it was in female clothes, old lady clothes," Hamilton said. "We guess that the time of death was at least one year (ago)."

Police said they went to the home after being contacted by a mortgage broker who said the residence would revert to the bank at midnight Monday after going through foreclosure.

Robert Hunt was at the scene when police went to the home and was interviewed but was not arrested. No homicide investigation was started, Hamilton said, but the case was forwarded to elder abuse investigators.

Neighbors described Barbara Hunt as a woman who used a wheelchair and who rarely left her house. Neither she nor her son had taken out their trash in 30 years, despite court orders to do so, the neighbors said.

Besides the trash and debris, dozens of cats also lived in the house.

Interesting and very sad. I like to think that I do justice to people in this situation with the book, but reading real life stories about hoarding puts even more pressure on me to get it right.

On this date: In 1991, hostage Terry Anderson is released in Lebanon.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Outta My Head

Yesterday afternoon I was in a real funk-emotional and a little weepy tinged with unexplained excitement. I swear I could not figure out what was wrong. And then, as I was walking to pick up T from school, I figured it out and it was all my main character's fault.

Between Thanksgiving and now 'conference scheduling' (which means 1 week of short days and lots more bonding time with my son and his friends) I haven't been able to work on my manuscript the way I usually do. Most days, if I'm writing fiction, I like to ease into it like a hot tub on a winter's day...check out my writing buddies' blogs, read over a few chapters before I actually get down to business. With all of the craziness and only a few hours to work every day I've had to dive right in.

Yesterday, I dove into my favorite part - the last few chapters. That has a 'first kiss' scene (yes, there is romance in a hoarding book) that still leaves me all tingly and an ending where I'm cranking up the emotion by a lot. I really got into the smell and feel of the scenes and it left me a little spent. As I walked up to school, I realized that I was feeling all of the emotions that my main character was feeling and that she was totally in my head.

Weepy or not, that's a good thing, right?

On this date: In 1967, the first human heart transplant.