Monday, November 28, 2011

I haven't written in a while, and although I was tempted to write a passive aggressive status update on Facebook, I need to get this out fully and know that for the most part only strangers will read it, if anyone.

I was just looking at some old pictures. I don't think I'll ever understand how people can change so drastically. How can you go from seeing someone every single day for years, thinking that you know them better than anyone, and a few short years later not even be able to recognize them? I can't even wrap my head around the fact that this is the same person. You look like a stranger. Someone I've never met, never had any thing in common with, let alone shared some of the biggest events in my life with. But the pictures are still there, proof that once we were that close. A lifetime ago we were best friends.

I am so mad at you. I am so mad that things are the way they are. They didn't have to be like this. I didn't have to feel like this. More than I hate you, I hate the fact that after all this time I still miss you. No. I miss who you were. I don't think the person I miss exists anymore.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Staying hopeful

We all know things aren't going great in this country. I don't know anyone who hasn't been effected by the economic downturn, my fiance and myself included. I work in a restaurant, and August is never a good month in the best of times. So I haven't been working as much and I definitely haven't been making as much money as I was in the spring. My fiance started a new job a few months ago and recently got promoted to full time with benefits. But he took a pay cut taking this job, which is worth it because he isn't traveling 5-6 days a week anymore. Between the wedding, our bills, credit card and school loan debt, things are tight. And we are both stressed over money.

Then I see the headlines. More layoffs this week. The debt deal crisis. Mounting unemployment with no signs of a recovery in sight. We tell each other "Hey, at least it isn't just us." And you'd think that would make us feel better. Everyone is in the same boat. At least we have jobs when so many don't. At least we can pay our rent. But it doesn't make me feel better to know that others are struggling, many of them more than we are. It makes me feel worse.

My fiance and I are children of the 90's. My parents started out pretty poor in the beginning of their marriage as did his parents, but by the time we were toddlers things were looking up. My parents upgraded from their starter house to their custom built dream home when I was 8. Money was never an issue. There was never any doubt my brother and I would get cars when were 16. We were always told we'd never have to worry about paying for college. We got nice presents at Christmas and birthdays. We went on vacations every year. Never once did I hear my parents say "We can't afford that". The biggest news in Washington was Bill Clinton's sexual escapades.

Growing up in such a time of prosperity and relative peace spoiled me. I was always under the impression that if I did everything right: get good grades, go to college, graduate, my life would be a piece of cake. I'd graduate and get a good paying albeit entry-level job. I'd work my way up and eventually (in my mid to late 20's) I'd open my own restaurant with an investment from my Dad. He'd pay for my wedding and my in-laws the down payment for my new house.

So imagine my surprise when I did everything right....and nothing happened. I couldn't understand it. I still don't. College = good job. That's what I'd been taught. That is not my reality. I'm 24. I should be farther along. I shouldn't be hoarding spare change to pay for my wedding cake.

My fiance takes it even harder than I do. He feels that pressure to be the traditional bread-winner male that our fathers were. If things don't get better, how will we buy a house? How will we raise a family? What will life be like in this country for our children? I pray that things will turn around and that it will be like it was for our parents. Maybe this is all one big cycle. Things have to be tough so that they can get better.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Help! I'm becoming a cat lady!

Not really. But that is the name of the show I've just discovered and instantly decided to make my favorite. All in the name of research. When my fiance timidly hinted that he might want to change the channel I replied "I can't! This is good for my book!"

Why? The show is about a dating coach who helps women who are on the verge of becoming crazy cat ladies whose only human interaction is when they go to PETCO. She gets into the psychology of why they prefer cats, teaches them how to interact/meet men, makes them over, sets them up on dates, etc. And it just so happens that my MC is a dating coach/match maker (minus the only dealing with cat ladies part). This show just gave me a whole bunch of ideas of things I need to include in my book.

I love that about writing. Finding inspiration/ideas or things that relate to your writing at random times and in random places, like Animal Planet.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Unfairness of Weddings

As my wedding approaches (94 days in case you are wondering) I find myself turning into a ball of tension and frayed nerves. My neck muscles have seized up to being rock hard as only happens when I am extremely stressed. I can't sleep, and when I do I have nightmares of every possible thing going wrong on my wedding day.

Let me just say, I wasn't always like this. I started out in complete control of my wedding. Within 3 months of being engaged, I had my dress, my venue, my photographer, my DJ, my bagpiper. I laughed at the women on TV who were freaking out over their weddings. This was so easy! Who needed a wedding planner? Why had I ever thought planning a wedding was difficult?

Things were going smoothly up until about a month ago. The invitations were a nightmare, literally. There was a mistake and they had to be reprinted. The RSVP cards were missing. More printing issues. Finally thought I had them altogether, only to realize as I assembled I only had enough vellum cover sheets for half. Another run-around trying to get the rest.

Then I had to reschedule my hair trial 3 times. Then the expensive personalized memorial candle holder I ordered broke. My in-laws spent days agonizing over the perfect place for the rehearsal dinner and by the way, we can only invite 30 people. Wedding bands are ridiculously expensive. Bridesmaid is MIA. Wedding shower hasn't been planned. Mom wants to hire a videographer. Should look into the marriage license, do they still do blood tests??

This is when it hit me. I'm getting married. This is it.

And now, I turn into a pathetic, cliched Bridezilla. I'm spending thousands of dollars on this one day that I'll never get to have again. It has to be perfect. The unfairness of weddings is the amount of pressure and expectation. It's not like a birthday. If you have a bad one, well, there's always next year. This is every person that you know watching you for an entire day. Judging every detail. These are the pictures and the video that you're going to look back on, going to show your kids, going to remember for the rest of your life.

In one of my nightmares, the ceremony did not go the way I wanted to and in the middle of it I demanded that we start over again. I got up and ran back down the aisle. I always thought the women who stressed over every little detail were ridiculous. It's about the marriage, about what the wedding represents, that's what's important! I thought. Who cares about favors and personalized beverage napkins?

Joke is on me. Because suddenly....I do.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Going Off Track

The hardest part of writing ( of them, anyway) for me is figuring out what to write next. When I start writing, I have a general idea of where I want the book to go. I have the characters, the plot, conflict, motivation, etc., but I don't have a scene by scene outline. I don't have specifics or little details. Usually, they come to me as I'm writing. But sometimes... I go off track.

Does this ever happen to anyone else? You're happily writing along, but you know in the back of your mind this isn't what you should be writing. It's not where the story should be going. In fact, it's not moving the story forward at all. Maybe you know where you need to be, but not quite how to get there. You have a scene in your head that is not quite ready to happen yet and you need a way to bridge to it. But you end up just getting lost. Sometimes you can find your way out and sometimes you have to hit the delete button.

Bribery: A writer's best motivation

I have found a new way of making myself write. I am easily distracted. I procrastinate. I just plain don't feel like writing even when I should and have nothing stopping me. Which has led me to a new plan of attack: bribery.

The other night, I had promised myself I would write. My fiance works from 7:00 at night til 4:30 in the morning. Meaning most nights I am sitting at home alone. The ideal time to write. But I didn't feel like it. I stalked people from high school on facebook. I looked at wedding stuff. I read. When it suddenly occurred to me I had a package of refrigerated cookie dough in the kitchen which I had bought under the guise of baking them and putting them in my fiances lunch that he takes to work (it's more like late night 2nd dinner, but whatever). But if I baked them now, I could eat one or two when they were gooey and warm. I debated for a while. Then I decided, if I wrote a certain number of pages, I would be completely deserving of a cookie.

So I wrote. And I glanced at the kitchen. I wrote some more. I checked the page number. I'd done it! Warm cookies were in my near future.

Last night, I bought chips and dip and Coke for girls movie night. If I write 5 pages after I post this blog, I'm giving myself free rein to indulge.

This tactic might not be so good for my wedding diet, but my writing has never been faster.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

REVIEW: Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares


Having read the other books when they came out (I was 14? 15?) I couldn't resist reading the last book. I'm a sucker for a series. I love not having to let go of characters as soon as a book ends.

I have to admit, this book frustrated me. It bothered me. I wanted to stop reading. I wanted to throw it (neatly contained in my Kindle) against the wall. I don't want to include any spoilers, but this book was depressing. Flat-out, depressing. The girls (women, I should say because they are almost 30) experience an extreme tragedy and react to it in extreme ways. That was my first complaint. I think I have experienced more grief than the average person, and I still can't see anyone acting the way they did in the book. It came off as very unrealistic and out of character for me. The sisterhood hasn't played a significant role in any of their lives in years and they have all grown apart to the point where you might not even classify them as friends, yet when they finally realize the sisterhood has truly been destroyed they act like it was the only thing worthwhile in their lives.

I kept reading for two reasons: the writing itself was beautiful, and I knew that everything would be resolved in the end. Which of course, it was. I wanted it to be, I was waiting for it to happen, but every story line getting wrapped up in a neat little bow was off-putting. The audience for these books has grown up, I would've thought the story could grow up too. This book wasn't meant for teenagers who can't handle the fact that life is messy and things are unfair and not everyone gets a happy ending. But that's what it felt like at the end, that she just couldn't end the series without everyone being happy and content even though throughout the book they've all been miserable and whiny and depressed. I think she could've ended it on a happy but more realistic note.

In all honesty, I couldn't in my head connect the women in these books to the girls from the first few. It felt like I was reading about completely different people who just happened to have the same names. Maybe it's because it's been so long since I read the other books, but I also think that the author took all of their personality traits to the extreme in this book.

Overall, if you have read the rest of the series and want to know how it ends, I'd say read it. But have a giant hershey's bar and a box of kleenex in easy reach.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Why isn't it easier...

To forget people who have hurt you? To leave them in the past where they belong and not let them come back, creeping into a future they no longer have a part in? Even when they aren't the ones doing it. When it's you who brings them back, over and over again without them even knowing it?

To remember the people who left too soon? Why do the most important memories fade, slip away, faster and faster the harder you try to hold on to them?

To be honest? With yourself. With the people around you. Why do so many people lie, and lie, and lie?

To stop yourself from being morbid and depressing in blog posts?

To go to the grocery store and not buy chocolate?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Epic Publishing Fail

Lit Agent Needed (Anywhere)

Date: 2011-07-16, 8:15AM EDT
[Errors when replying to ads?]

I have several concepts for books and need the right agent to help facilitate them.

Please send your qualifications showing results.

  • Location: Anywhere
  • Compensation: TBD
  • Telecommuting is ok.
  • This is a part-time job.
  • This is a contract job.
  • Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
  • Please, no phone calls about this job!
  • Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.
This is a real ad I found on craigslist. Uh, wow. Just wow. I love the "concept" for books part. Agents love representing people who haven't written the books yet. I hope this person writes (or probably just has a concept for) fantasy, because they live in one.

REVIEW: He's so not worth it by Kieran Scott

Dear. God. I just finished reading this book, like, literally, 2 seconds ago. Why does Kieran Scott insist on leaving me hanging in utter shock and desperation? It is one of the things I both love and hate about her books.

I read this as quickly, or quicker, than I read the first book in the series, She's so dead to us. I have to say, Ally Ryan is one of my favorite YA heroines ever. Top 10, at least. She's so authentic and so easy to relate to. I felt so frustrated for her and all the things that were not going her way. This book and Ally's narration captured perfectly the angst of being a teenager. Hating your parents, backstabbing friends, awkward boy situations...I wish I'd read this book when I was 16 because it would've made me feel much better about screaming at my mom. I'd probably have thrown the book at her and gone "See, this is how I'm supposed to be acting!" Luckily for me, I've left adolescence and shoved all the painful memories way, way down. And my mom has forgiven me for my outbursts. I think.

The book was fast-paced and I raced through it. The narration switches between Ally and her crush Jake, and each chapter is headed with the name of who is narrating it, although a couple of times the names were wrong which threw me off for a second. Jake is a good narrator too and I think she did a decent job of writing like a teenage boy would think. I thought the way Jake and Ally resolve their issues was a tad unrealistic, but I loved it anyway. Everything else, the way things don't get wrapped up in neat little packages, was spot on. Especially when you're a teenager, I recall nothing and no one ever doing what I wanted.

Kieran Scott is an awesome writer and I would absolutely recommend reading this book.

Friday, July 15, 2011

E-readers: Great invention, or greatest invention ever?

I love my kindle. To be honest, it's my 3rd Kindle. (The reasons why will be revealed later.) For you who don't have an e-reader yet, I have just two words for you. WHY NOT?

Convenience. I have the kindle that has the ability to download books anywhere, wireless network or not. Ah-mazing.

Portability. Pre-kindle, I had to bring an extra suitcase on vacation just for my books. I'm the type of person who can read a book in a day, and 1 or 2 books for a week long vacation where I have nothing to do but read is not going to cut it.

Affordability. After the initial expense which can seem steep (but which I never experienced because mine was a gift) the books on kindle are much cheaper than print books. If you read as many books as I do, I think it definitely is worth it. Especially because there are so many books in the .99-2.99 range (although quality is not always guaranteed).

Variety. And ease of finding what you want. Beats a book store any day.

This list could go on and on and on. Battery life. Adjustable font sizes. Lack of glare in sunlight. Instant reviews of books. Etc, etc.

Now, to be seen as unbiased (although clearly I am not) and to be honest, I have to admit there are some cons to the greatest invention ever. Ahem.
Durability. I am on my 3rd kindle. My first, a Christmas gift, broke a few days after receiving. The screen suddenly went wonky, lines going through it, etc. Fiance, who had purchased it for me, called up Amazon and new one (free) was on it's way to me that day. At the time, Kindle was extremely new and I chalked it up to a glitch in the technology as many people had problems, but fiance confessed months later that he had sat on it and possibly caused the damage. My 2nd, the replacement, met a similar fate when fiance stepped on it and again destroyed the screen. Which was, although a tragedy, also a blessing because I got the newer, sleeker version this time which has yet to be crushed.

In addition to a somewhat delicate screen (although, not so delicate as my smartphone which has chunks of glass missing) I have a habit which makes my fiance cringe. I like to read my kindle in the bathtub. Now, dropping a paper back in the water is certainly not ideal, with a kindle, might be a bigger problem. But I am supremely careful. Usually.

Next con: New releases. Are not always on the kindle. For example, I was tearing through the Pretty Little Liars series, when I discovered that the next book wasn't available on Kindle. In my desperation, I was forced to buy it in hardcover, which meant I had the entire series but one book on my Kindle. Annoying.

Those are my biggest gripes about my Kindle, and while there may be a few more little ones, overall I would highly recommend everyone get an e-reader. Stat.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Do Less

To me, this is how writing should be. You can't try to be a writer.

Don't try to write. Just write. "Just do it, feel it!"

Monday, March 14, 2011


LAST SEEN 02/04/2001
As Evidenced in the short story "Herbert Moopy and The Tragic Space Incident"
Answers to ridiculous pet names and unforseen plot twists
Dearly missed, please return alive and willing to cooperate
(a mention in the acknowledgment of someday published book)

In tragic news, it has been brought to light that aspiring novelist Danielle has, in fact, lost her creativity, or a rather large portion of it. It was last seen several years ago holding a Mary Poppins-esque carpet bag on the side of a major interstate with a cardboard sign that read "Will Be Original for Food and Shelter". It is unknown if it was ever picked up by a passer-by, as Danielle did not notice it's loss until quite recently (perhaps her indifference led to it's abandoment).

It was upon the discovery of a paper written in 9th grade, the aforementioned short story "Herbert Moopy", that the missing creativity was finally noticed. A story so creative and outlandish yet endearing and charming it made all subsequent writings, previously thought to be of some value, appear as they are: stale and over-thought. Although devastated by the loss, Danielle admits she didn't value and treasure her creativity the way she should have. Now sucked into the practical "real world" of being an adult, Danielle finds herself unable to think freely and without the restraints of her all-too logical mind. Any help or information leading to the recapture of said missing creativity and the restoration of Danielle's child-like thinking would be greatly appreciated and rewarded.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Puppies Preventing Unplanned Teenage Pregnancy

Is the name of my new (read: nonexistant yet) charity. I think it has a nice ring to it, no? PPUTP, for short.

After many long hours spent watching 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom, I realized that there is a very simple solution to the epidemic of teen pregnancy in this country. And that solution is puppies.


*Please note, while I'm somewhat joking, I'm also kind of serious...**

Let's think about this. Why do teenage girls get pregnant?

1. They want someone to love them unconditionally.

2. They want something cute to name, play with, and dress up.

3. They think being responsible for another living being will be easy and fun.

4. They want to keep their boyfriend around.

5. They can't remember to take their birth control properly.

6. They want something that belongs only to them and which no one can take away (well, except for social services)

7. They want to prove that they are mature and independent

Now, can you see how having a puppy would solve many of these issues?

1. There is nothing better than coming home at the end of a long day of high school and part time work at the Quik Stop to a bouncing, tail-yagging puppy that is ecstatic to see you. Sure as hell beats a screaming, poopy baby.

2. Puppies, while squirmy, are still able to be squeezed into baby clothes. Plus it's perfectly acceptable to give your dog a ridiculous, celebrity-inspired name that no child should ever be saddled with (Mango, Rocket, Denim, Kortny, etc.)

3. Ever stayed up all night with a dog who is throwing up two bags of Valentine's candy? Yeah, I haven't either, but my mom did once.

4. I'm not sure a puppy could get a guy to stay in a failing high-school relationship, but it could offer comfort when he inevitably cheats/gets arrested/gets a girl without a puppy pregnant.

5. This is the best one yet. So a lot of teenage girls can't remember to take their pill, right? If they had a puppy, they could just keep it with the puppy's food and take it when they fed the puppy!! Brilliant, I know. Unless they forget to feed the puppy...

6. Well, I suppose animal control could take a puppy, but I hear they are much nicer than the people who take kids. Plus it won't screw a puppy up too bad to be put in a new home wondering what happened to its original mommy or be raised by grandma

7. Nothing like screaming at a cowering puppy after it has had a horrible accident on the carpet and begging your own parents to help you clean it up because it's making you gag to make you realize you are completely unprepared for true parenthood.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Shows you shouldn't watch with your guy

1. Bridezillas/Say Yes to the Dress/My Fair Wedding/4 Weddings, etc.
- Especially if your angling for the ring. He doesn't need this preview of what his life and your sanity might deteriorate into once he's popped the question.

2. Snapped.
- A particular favorite of mine. Turns out making comments like: "Don't these women learn? The hit-man always talks. And a new insurance policy? Dead give-away. **Snorts** Idiots," aren't exactly beneficial to your relationship.

3. 16 and Pregnant/Teen Mom/I didn't know I was pregnant
- Basically any show that has to do with unplanned pregnancies are major no-nos.

4. Bad Girls Club
- Watching trashy drunk girls bitch slap each other might be amusing for you, but...well, actually, he might like that. But the sloppy hook-up sessions and the constant high-pitched screaming? Better save this one for when he's at work.

5. E! News/Entertainment Tonight/Extra/TMZ
- Yes, you need to know which A-list celeb is knocked up by her boyfriend of 2 months, but he probably doesn't even know who she is, much less care what ridiculous inanimate object she's going to name her bundle of joy after.

In addition, if you value your sanity and your relationship, don't try and watch his favorite shows. Yes, he might like you playing the cool girlfriend who hands him the remote, but just one episode of MythBusters or Futurama might be enough to make you question how you can be with a guy who finds this stuff interesting and entertaining.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Starting a new chapter, in more ways than 1

In typical slacker form, it's been almost a month since I posted. Buuutttt, I have an extremely valid excuse in the form of this lovely diamond ring:

In addition to getting engaged (sorry it's kind of a crappy picture), I finally started my new job (going extremely well, thanks) celebrated the holidays, and spent time with friends I hadn't seen in waaayyy too long. Needless to say, all of this craziness left me with about, oh, -10 seconds to write. And to be brutally honest, writing, or at least working on my MS, is not at the top of my priorities at the moment. Sad face.


As a delayed New Year's Resolution, I have resolved to stop buying women's magazines. And to write my blog not just about writing (which hasn't been working too well anyway) and to branch out to write about things I think women might truly care about, find interesting or humorous, etc.

Every month I would stand in line in the grocery store, seduced by glossy magazine covers graced by my favorite celebrities. And every month I was disgusted and bitter that I had spent $4.29 to read "WHAT IF YOUR BOYFRIEND IS SECRETLY GAY!?" or "WHY TAKEN GUYS SEEM SEXIER" (real titles, btw). I cannot even begin to tell you the ridiculous questions I peppered my boyfriend...ooh, fiance!..... with after reading these articles:

Me: Honey, is it possible you're gay?
Him: WHAT!? NO!!
Me: Are you sure? Because this woman in this article was engaged to this guy for YEARS and never knew he was gay!
Him: **rolls his eyes and walks away*

Me: Would you tell me if you cheated on me?
Him: (suspecting a trick question) I would never cheat on you.
Me: Yeah...but if you did. Would you tell me?
Him: What? Yeah, I guess I would tell you. I mean, wait, no! I wouldn't cheat on you! Why are we having this conversation!?
Me: Well, I just read this article....
Him: **rolls eyes and walks away**

I have finally come to the realization that no matter how cute the covers or enticing the titles, these magazines are actually kind of detrimental to women. Their advice is often contradictory and pandering. Telling women that a relationship can come from a hook-up is not empowering. Talking about nothing but sex and clothes and make-up is not empowering. Scaring them with articles about their impending fertility is not helpful. Yes, there are on occasion genuinely interesting and educational articles, which is what I read these magazines for, but they are so few and far between that it's just not worth it.

So, here's hoping that I can make my blog something worth reading.