Monday, January 25, 2010

Sorry For The... silence!

My internet has been on the blink and getting to a coffee house, etc has been a bit tough with my schedule this past week. Needless to say, the technician is coming tomorrow. I should be back on the air by mid-morning. YIPPEE!! :)

I really don't have all that much to blog about...been working a ton and really just trying to keep my chin above water. Been a tough time, mostly because I've been fighting tooth and nail with a cold that is trying to latch on. I'm not letting it, though. I have no time to be sick. lol *glares at all sick germs*

I do have a book review to do, so hopefully I'll get to that soon. Other than that, I'm trying to get myself into a serious writing routine. It's tough, not gonna lie. But I must, I must... :)

Hope y'all are doing well! Catch ya on the morrow.

Friday, January 8, 2010

SOME GIRLS ARE by Courtney Summers

Well, my reading journey has officially kicked off this year. I'm proud of myself for actually finding time in my crazy schedule. That said, I may be a little tight on time in the coming weeks. We'll see if I can add another book to my list...may have to wait.


Let's talk about this book.

Brief Summary: Regina is a MEAN girl. She's been a part of the Fearsome Fivesome for a very long time and being nice just isn't the way they do things. But then one day, Regina finds herself shut out from the group, accused of canoodling with Anna 'the leader's' boyfriend. Even worse, no one else at her school wants to be her friend because she's helped make their lives hell for the past few years. She begrudgingly attaches herself to Michael Hayden, a boy who doesn't fit anywhere,and one whose life Regina has helped ruin. Terrorized by her former friends, Regina begins to face who she has let herself become.

Yeah, the new year didn't make me any better at these summaries. LOL.

SOME GIRLS ARE is a disturbing, disturbing book. In a totally good way. At first I was almost overwhelmed by it. It's told in a very in your face approach -- first person, deep deep, DEEP POV. Almost stream of consciousness. I was so inside Regina's head, I felt like I was Regina.

The thing that was really disturbing about this book was that I saw myself in a lot of the characters. Let's face it. High school was rough. I think each of us has probably known the sting of being outside a group at one time or another.. and I think each of us has probably been the one on the inside, watching, almost triumphant over the fact that we're not the one scrabbling to get "in." Feeling sorry for the wannabe's but not really willing to reach out a hand lest we lose our small foothold with whatever group.

I have to admit I spent a good deal of high school and a few years beyond trying to impress people. Stupid the knots I tied myself into at times. It's almost as though I was too afraid to be the person I was--the good and the bad--lest someone I wanted to impress not be impressed. Or find out who I really was and hate me.

Ahhhh, high school. Aren't you glad it's all over?? I will admit I had a fairly good time, tho. Just wish I would've focused a little more on discovering who I was without all the rest of the bullshit that goes along with it.

But yeah, Summers' characters are very real. I've been that mean girl, I've been the meek girl...and everywhere in between. I think that's why this book resonated with me so much. It took me back to those times of insecurity and self-doubt.

And let me tell you...these girls are MEAN. Shockingly mean. But then, so is Regina. So in the end, I wasn't sure who to cheer for at times.

This book really made me think about how perceptions of events can easily become jumbled...distorted or lied about to suit whatever purpose different individuals need filled. What may be innocent to one, may be outright treachery and reason for a complete shut out to another. And it also reminded me of how much I love writing about teenagers. The minute by minute play action that is a friendship and how sides can change SO easily.

It's a good book. Y'all should read it.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Let It Snow...


I'm tired of shoveling grass. (g)

Seriously, tho...most lifetime residents are saying they haven't seen this much snow since they were kids. This winter is a DOOZY.

The forecast? No new snow that I know of (YET)...but BITTER cold. Y'all it is two degrees at the moment according to Yahoo. The windchill factor is supposed to feel like -25...possibly -50. Tell me how much I don't want to go outside right now. Tell me how much my car does NOT want to start in that. LOL.

Gah, I wanna go back to bed. I wanna hide under the blankets until spring.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Let's Hear It For YA!

I had a bit of a rant about young adult books today over at ATWOP. Here.

And in honor of this rant, I did an impromptu worship session at church..

I got this (Do you remember the debacle with CRACKED UP TO BE?! This time they had Courtney's book In Stock. I love those two little words.)

..and this...

..and this...

..and THIS.

And in the name of getting the whole world to read YA, I'm busy scheming... My YA world domination plan is hush hush right now, but an announcement will be coming soon. :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Year Of Books!

I'm a bit ashamed of my list of books read in 2009. It's VERY short. That said, my list of audio books listened to is MUCH longer. Even though I didn't have a lot of time to read, I at least fed the literary part of my brain on a regular basis. While I didn't love every book on this list, I took something away from all of them.

I had this crazy idea of doing mini book reviews of each of these books..but yeah, too timely. Instead, I'll put *'s by each...1 to 3, 3 being a book that I REALLY loved.

Books read:

A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L'Engle***
VAMPIRE ACADEMY by Richelle Mead**
CRACKED UP TO BE by Courtney Summers**
FROSTBITE by Richelle Mead***
A STUDY IN SCARLETT by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle**
AN ICE COLD GRAVE by Charlaine Harris*
FINGER LICKIN' FIFTEEN by Janet Evanovich**
THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins**
THE DEMON'S LEXICON by Sarah Rees Brennan*
SHADOW KISS by Richelle Mead***
PAPER TOWNS by John Green**
BLISS by Lauren Myracle*
THE LOVELY BONES by Alice Sebold**
CATCHING FIRE by Suzanne Collins***+++
CITY OF BONES by Cassandra Clare**

Audio books listened to:

THE HISTORIAN by Elizabeth Kostova*
DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon**
1ST TO DIE by James Patterson*
THE RUNAWAY JURY by John Grisham*
REBEL ANGELS by Libba Bray***
THE SWEET FAR THING by Libba Bray***
SALEM'S LOT by Stephen King***
DEAD UNTIL DAWN by Charlaine Harris***
ALONG CAME A SPIDER by James Patterson*
DRACULA by Bram Stoker***
GRAVE SIGHT by Charlaine Harris**
LIVING DEAD IN DALLAS by Charlaine Harris***
PHANTOMS by Dean Koontz**
GRAVE SURPRISE by Charlaine Harris**
DEAD TO THE WORLD by Charlaine Harris***
GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell***
KISS THE GIRLS by James Patterson*
DEAD AS A DOORNAIL by Charlaine Harris***
ERAGON by Christopher Paolini*
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA by Gaston Leroux***
TRICKSTER'S CHOICE by Tamora Pierce***
JACK AND JILL by James Patterson*
A LETTER OF MARY by Laurie R. King**
ALL TOGETHER DEAD by Charlaine Harris***
THE TWO TOWERS by J.R.R. Tolkien*
UGLIES by Scott Westerfeld***
PRETTIES by Scott Westerfeld***
SPECIALS by Scott Westerfeld***
THE WASTE LANDS by Stephen King***
BOOK THE FIRST: THE BAD BEGINNING by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler)**
STRANGERS by Dean Koontz*
EXTRAS by Scott Westerfeld**
THE MOOR by Laurie R. King***
BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA by Katherine Paterson**
A TIME TO KILL by John Grisham*
WHISPERS FROM THE DEAD by Joan Lowery Nixon*
ENTER THREE WITCHES by Caroline B. Cooney**
FROM DEAD TO WORSE by Charlaine Harris***
CAT AND MOUSE by James Patterson*
DEAD AND GONE by Charlaine Harris***
TRICKSTER'S QUEEN by Tamora Pierce**
WIZARD AND GLASS by Stephen King***
THE NOTEBOOK by Nicholas Sparks*
O JERUSALEM by Laurie R. King***
ODD THOMAS by Dean Koontz**
BOOK THE SECOND: THE REPTILE ROOM by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler)**
SHOOTER by Walter Dean Myers**
THE LANGOLIERS by Stephen King**
JUST LISTEN by Sarah Dessen***
REALITY CHECK by Peter Abrahams*
REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier***
SECRET, SILENT SCREAMS by Joan Lowery Nixon*
THE FACE ON THE MILK CARTON by Caroline B. Cooney**
B IS FOR BURGLAR by Sue Grafton*
THE OTHER SIDE OF DARK by Joan Lowery Nixon*
FINGER LICKIN' FIFTEEN by Janet Evanovich***
ALONG FOR THE RIDE by Sarah Dessen***
POP GOES THE WEASEL by James Patterson*

A Year In Review

Well, we're callin' it quits on 2009. It's been quite a year for me. A lot of good stuff happened, but also a lot of bad. As cheesy and cliche as it sounds, I always take a few moments to look back at the previous year and also, look forward, to what's up next. Please humor me while a wax on for a while.

First, it's been a tough year on the writing front. Lots of reasons involved, which I'll touch on in a bit, but the end result is that I still haven't finished revisions of FI. It's frustrating at the best of times, humiliating at the worst. Especially because I keep making these promises to myself that I won't let another month, day, hour go by without doing everything I can to get to The End. The story is there--the end is in sight--but for whatever reason it feels just outside my grasp. Never thought I would be grappling with this problem, so I find myself at a bit of a loss to explain exactly what's going on.

I know I've had a lot of Real Life distractions, but regardless, I hold myself accountable for not pushing through and just...finishing, the rest be damned. Yanno?

That said, I'm making progress...slowly. The reality is that there have been some legitimate limits to my time --and in all honesty, writing took the backseat to other things this year. And while I'm unhappy with this compromise, I really had to make the tough decision to focus on things that were more important. Yes, even more important than writing. This does not make me happy. :)

It's a long story, but let me summarize briefly. I started having an issue with my foot in the latter part of 2008. I thought it was related to a stress fracture I'd had a few years earlier. It wasn't. When I went to the doctor thinking that at worst I'd have to get orthotics, I was surprised to learn I was diabetic. Guess all my late night, Mt. Dew fueled study/writing sessions were a bad idea. Especially with my genes. (g)

That said, I'll be forever grateful to my doctor for making the leap and figuring out what was wrong with me. It's been a bumpy road, but in the end, one of the best things that's happened to me. Why? Because I no longer feel like shit all the time. There's no telling how long I went undiagnosed, but I had always blamed my exhaustion and overall level of ick on stress and work...and well, law school, and writing, and revisions, and blah blah blah blah. Little did I know that I was exhausted because my blood sugars were hitting the proverbial roof...and then some.

Adjusting to life with diabetes is a struggle. I say this in present tense because I'm still adapting. There's a great deal of discomfort involved when you adjust to lower blood sugars -- the descent was, let's just say...HELLISH. LOL. Headaches, nausea,'s all just horrible. Of course, as soon as I started hitting good levels, my body just kept on going. I started experiencing extreme lows. At the moment, my doctor is reworking my medications yet again. This is the third time this year. Each time is a period of extremes, when my body doesn't know what the heck to do. I basically have to start over and experiment to see what carbs I can eat, when, how much exercise I can do without feeling faint. Etc. Etc. Unfortunately, this is probably my life from here on out. It isn't going away. I'm okay...mostly. I have a few "why me" moments -- especially in groups when everyone else can chug endless amounts of Dew and gobble down an entire pizza if they choose, and I, well, can't. Sigh. But mostly, I'm okay. Who needs mountains of cheesy pizza anyway?? Sob. (g)

The other issue I've been grappling with is my foot. Yeah. It wasn't magically cured when I began treatment. I'll cut to the chase -- my blood sugars were too high for too long. I have nerve damage in my foot--neuropathy. What does that mean? Well, I have loss of my toes mostly. My right foot has pretty much gone back to normal. There's a slight sensation loss, but nothing major. My left--the injured one that started this whole thing--isn't good. Because of the neuropathy, that foot is slow to heal. I suspect that my foot injury (I have something called plantar fasciitis) has exacerbated the problem.

End game is that last April, everything hit at once. On top of the adjustments to my blood sugars (remember--hellish), I was running about going to a gazillion doctors appointments. I had to juggle diabetic training, physical therapy sessions, podiatrist and doctors appts (including the dreaded neurologist who finally said, have neuropathy) meds...low sugars... oh, and a big move to a new apartment. Not an easy patch. Writing just wasn't an option. Nor was it an option when my meds were adjusted again that summer...

Not that I've ever let myself off the hook, mind. This, of course, didn't help the situation one bit.

I don't do well under guilt. It immobilizes me. Instead of doing a little when I could, I fixated on all the time I wasn't able to focus on writing. The time I had to spend in classes...or with the doctors...or the times I wanted to be writing but had to go out for a walk to get my sugar levels back in range.

So yeah...the end is still the same: I haven't finished my book. I blame myself even though I know there's been just cause. Even though I told myself that above all other things, I would focus on my health. In fact, I remember sitting down with family after being diagnosed and saying that my COMPLETE focus would be on my health -- book aside..awaiting agent aside... ME first. Ironic that I would consider 2009 an overall failure when I did exactly what I set out to do.

1. I'm healthier.
2. I've successfully reached and maintained an excellent blood sugar level -- to the point we're now experimenting with LESS medication.
3. While the neuropathy in my foot hasn't really improved, it hasn't gotten any worse either.

So yes...I'll try to focus on the positive for now.

Are you ready for some good stuff? Me too. :)

Some positives for the year:

1. I went to two writing retreats this year and got to meet some truly wonderful writers that I've been conversing with at compuserve for quite some time.

The first was back in March--to Myrtle Beach, SC. It was AWESOME. Jo, Beth, Carrie, Tara, Julie, Donna, and Jenny--y'all are rock stars. I had so much fun...Long live gnomies! :)

The second was to Denver and Evergreen, Colorado. Beth, Tara, Julie, Donna, and fun to spend more time with you. And SO cool to meet Lisa, Dreamer, Kari, Dyann, Julie B, Kari, Kerri, Tricia, Stephanie, and rowdy-girl Rhonddalyn!! Did I leave anyone out?? LOL. Those were a crazy few days, but it was a MUCH needed vacation and I had a total blast.

2. I attended my first writers conference. It was quite the experience. I learned a lot that weekend -- received some great feedback from one seriously stellar agent. (Thank you, Kristin Nelson!) While this year hasn't been the most productive when it comes to *cough* finishing those damn revisions...this conference renewed what fragile belief I had in my writing abilities. It made me realize that while I haven't reached my publication goals yet, I've got something goin' on. And someday...I'll get there. This little light o' mine is gonna shine. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not this year even...but soon.

3. I started a new blog with Rachel Walsh, Claire Gregory, and Kristen Callihan. All The World's Our Page is going strong and I feel blessed to be blogging alongside such three talented ladies. They're damn good people. When I'm not gaping at the fact that they let me come along for the ride, I'm laughing my ass off at our crazy antics. Seriously, our email chains are something else. LOL.

4. I have wonderful friends and family. I've been a bit absent this year, but please know all of you have been in my thoughts.

This year has been a rough one. I'm not going to lie and say it wasn't. But I have a lot to be grateful for. And though I don't want to get all carried away with "resolutions and goals," I know 2010 is going to be fantastic.

I'm ready to make some good things happen. :)