Friday, December 31, 2010

My Last 2010 Post?

Perhaps this is my last 2010 post. Last night I went to bed with a dull headache. I went to bed early hoping that waking up early would be easy. I forgot to set the alarm, so I missed what is probably my last chance to ever see Mario Lemieux play a hockey game. I feel like a lamespice for that. I didn't wake up until 11am, but I guess the silver lining would be that I no longer have a headache.

Yesterday afternoon I sat down to write more on my Chapter Eleven. I'd already had five pages written from my August Rush post, but I decided to go a different way and deleted those five pages. Not to worry though. Yesterday I wrote another five pages and have a clear idea of where I'm going.

My goal for this afternoon is to finish Chapter Eleven. If I do, there may very well be one more blog post for 2010.

Speaking of blog posts and 2010, I obviously abandoned my blog for most of the year. That's why when I picked it back up for NaNoWriMo, I've tried to post every day since. I don't want to forget about my blog. It makes me have some accountability for my writing time. So, I hope to have a more productive 2011.

And since so many bloggers are putting up their 2011 writing resolutions, I might as well jump on the bandwagon.

1. Keep the blog going, even if it isn't every day.
2. Finish my second draft of Penalty Killer
3. Begin Between the Pillows to finish Tallulah's story
4. Find a story for Violet Kensington
5. Conquer my fear of querying and take the plunge into pursuing publication

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Excited for Potential Inspiration

I had a half hour to kill before I met my husband for lunch this afternoon. So I stopped into the Target just around the corner from where he worked and started browsing. I couldn't decide what I really wanted to look at because I really didn't need anything. I was almost set on getting a pair of sunglasses, but talked myself out of it about five minutes before I was supposed to meet my husband.

So, I put the glasses back, and start for the front of the store. Just before I get to the doors I see the music section and I just decide to mosey on over and check it out for a minute or two. Out of place and staring me in the face was the soundtrack for August Rush. Now, I'm not generally a big fan of soundtracks. I may have purchased one soundtrack in all my life, but there is something so unusual and beautiful about the August Rush music, I've been looking for a copy for weeks.

Surely Dickens himself would have been proud of the modern day Oliver Twist movie, even if most critics shunned it. If for no other reason, I recommend seeing the movie to hear the music. It is a beautiful fusion of classical composition and Irish rock. I think the movie would have been a complete flop had it not been for the power behind the music and the lyrics to the songs.

Each time I listen to Elgar/Something Inside or This Time, I can feel emotion welling in my chest and I wish I could emote the kind of longing and love in my words that these lyrics so effortlessly do. And when I hear Dueling Guitars, I wish I could play an instrument.

Anyways, it was like Fate had led me to the music section of Target (though I wish Fate would lead me to an agent and publisher, but that's another post)and practically smacked me with the August Rush CD. Of course I had to buy it. So now I've loaded it up on my laptop and music box (mp3 player)and feel like I can actually get some writing done, using the soundtrack as my inspiration.

That, and the fact that the house is/will be completely quiet when Joe heads back to work in a half hour.

If you're curious what the August Rush soundtrack sounds like, scroll down to the bottom of my blog to the music player. Scroll through the music player to the first track and have a listen.

Monday, December 27, 2010

I Can't Even Think

My cousin is living with us, along with her daughter who is nine months old. I love both of them. Heather and I have always been really close, but I can't think with Destiny here. Crying babies don't really bother me like they do some people. You won't see me get a headache or start to feel the tension and anxiety from hearing her cry, but I just can't think.

Destiny cries ALL THE TIME. She cries when you hold her. She cries when you put her down. She cries when you feed her. She cries when she takes her bottle. She cries when you change her diaper. She cries when you let her crawl. She cries when you let her sit in her play pen. She cries when she is given a bath. She cries in her sleep.

I know she is teething and it hurts and it makes her not feel well, but it's been years since I had a baby-baby in the house. My son never cried like this. He rarely ever cried at all, so I don't know if he was just the exception to the rule or if she is, but seriously, I feel like I'm losing my mind. Used to, the house was quiet during school hours and I could think, talk out loud, read, and not hear anything except passing traffic.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

Our Christmas started out like this ...

We went to the basement to open presents from Santa Claus and our three-people-family.

^ That one's from me and Joe to Christian. He wants to be the next greatest magician.

^ That one is from Santa ... A MP3 player so that when I'm feeling burnt out on U2, Christian can continue to listen to them all on his own.

^ Some kind of Star Wars Trouble. I don't know how my son picked up a love of Star Wars. I've never seen any of the Star Wars movies.

^ Life is Christian's favorite board game. Never mind the smidge of taped wrapping paper on his chin.

^ And an acoustic guitar ... perhaps his favorite Santa Claus gift. He also enjoyed several other board games, some DS accessories and a video game or two.

Then the whole family got ready for Christmas upstairs where we would exchange gifts with my parents, my brother and my step-grandma. My parents came over by 10:30am.

^ There's Destiny with her mama, my Favorite Cousin, Heather!

^ My brother, Scott, with his gift from Christian.

^ Joe getting work shirts!

^ My stepdad, Chuck, getting pajama pants!

^ Me getting a new set of pots and pans ... also my lunatic brother decided to crash my picture!

^ My mom and stepdad after she received a new skillet!

^ Christmas dinner; turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, mac and cheese, baked beans, stuffing, deviled eggs, dinner rolls, pumpkin pie and apple pie!

After dinner, we ended the day with intermittent rounds of sledding down the hill in the back yard.

^ That is my Favorite Cousin pushing me and her daughter down the hill on the sled type mechanism.

^ And here we are at the bottom of the hill!

Merry Christmas from me and my family! I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Wasting Time Again

Last night, as I watched the poorly officiated PENGUINS @ Caps game, I started filling out Post-It note sized slips of paper with numbers from 15-203. I folded each slip into a triangle and tossed it into a large Ziploc container. These numbers correspond to the prompts in Room to Write by Bonni Goldberg, that I have yet to complete. My reasoning for doing this? I figure I can spend less time browsing through the book looking for a prompt to complete if I randomly draw one from the container.

But honestly, I am more inclined to believe it was an unproductive move to appear productive.

I felt guilty for it last night so I sat down to write. Chapter ten went in a different direction than I had originally planned but I think I'm about 700 words from completing it. I'm hoping to finish Chapter 10 tonight. I'm going to relish in the quiet of the house, turn the television off, disconnect from the web, and get some writing done.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ready for Christmas

Right now, I'm sitting here in the living room, a marathon of Law and Order SVU on the television. I don't know about you all, but I can't pass up a SVU marathon. But that's okay. All my Christmas shopping is done. All the gifts have been wrapped. The ones to open up Christmas afternoon with my parents are already under the tree. All the Santa Claus presents are hidden in the house, waiting for Christmas Eve.

The only thing I have to venture out for are chocolate chips for making cookies. I'll brave the 24 hour grocery store in those few hours that Christmas Procrastinators sleep. I don't like stores during Christmas. Perhaps then I'll only have to spend fifteen minutes in the line.

Penguins play tonight ... against the Capitals.

My hockey superstitions prohibit me from saying anything more about the game or the opponent.

I feel like I could write today. Heather and Destiny are going to spend the night with Becky and I suppose everyone is going to pretend that they like each other in the spirit of Christmas. Christian is spending the night with my grandparents. Joe is working, but should be home on his break in another hour if he doesn't go play soccer. At 5pm, the house will be completely empty again and I think I'll turn the television off, disconnect from the interwebs, and try to complete the Chapter Ten I've been avoiding.

I say that only because the document is currently not opened so that biting, overwhelming, painful urge to avoid writing is still at bay. We shall see how the evening goes.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my mother's birthday. It is 6:34am right now, and I have yet to go to bed. Joe just left, not for work, but to help out a friend before work. Baby Destiny is spending the night with her Nana and Heather has been asleep for the past six hours or so. I'm starting to feel tired so I'm thinking after this post is published, I'm going straight to bed.

I saw my mom today (yesterday really but since I have yet to go to sleep it still feels like "today"). Christian is spending the night with her. So when I wake up in a few hours, I'll take a quick shower and head out there to give her birthday presents. Actually, I'm not sure which present to give her. I bought her a new George Foreman grill because her ancient one is starting to stick and cook unevenly. I also picked her up a Vera Wang scarf, that she asked for and just for kicks, kitchen measuring cups because the measurements on hers has washed off. Wouldn't she love me if I only gave her measuring cups tomorrow? Happy Birthday, Mom ... here is your $3 birthday gift. No, no, don't thank me. The look of appreciation on your face is all the thanks I need. (Note the sarcasm throughout this paragraph)

Is it wrong of me to think George Foreman Grill and maybe she'll be so happy she'll make breakfast for lunch? Bacon, eggs, fried potatoes, and toast .... yum!!

Anyway, tomorrow/today, I will get a quick shower, go see my mother and pick up Christian, then make it home in time to catch the Panthers @ PENGUINS game tonight at 7pm. Yay! Malkin has scored a goal in the last three games, five total. He's on the hunt for the HT and I hope he gets it tonight. Also, Crosby has at least a point in the last 21 games. I hate playing the Panthers though. The Panthers are a terrible team for the most part, but it seems like they always give the Pens a bit of a run for their money.

I can go on and on about hockey and the Penguins so I will spare you all my hockey obsession.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Character Interview

First and foremost, I need to direct you all to this blog HERE. Reading her last couple posts have inspired me to share with you the "interview" process I go through with my MCs. It sounds easy, right? Well, I'll warn you now, it's a long list of questions that I try not to rush through and I try to give thorough answers to. I sometimes complete the interview in a day, sometimes it takes a week. It just depends on how easily the character's voice comes to me.

Also, a few of the questions may repeat, but that's because I tend to add and edit as I fill them out. So, this is an interview I conducted for December Sloane, the heroine of Living Behind Glass Shadows.

1. Start out with a couple pictures of what you imagine the character to look like. December is supposed to be half Puerto Rican, so I was looking for a character who has Latina characteristics. I chose Sofia Vergara as a visual muse for this character.

2. At this point I have a general idea for the story so I tend to know the major plot points I'll be working with, which I think can either help you or harbor you when answering the following questions from the character's POV. I try to answer the questions as if the story has yet to happen. It covers a bit of everything from past to present to what the character is looking for in his/her future.

3. Feel free to copy the questions if you'd like to ask of your own characters. I keep a blank file of the questions and copy and paste them into a new document for my new characters.

4. Not everything in the interview will or needs to make it into the story, but I find that I can come up with ideas about my character's emotional state throughout the story by reading through the answers to these questions. Also, I realize I refer to her brother as both Avery and Tucker. His name changed by the time I got around to writing him.

What is your character’s full name? December Liliana Sloane
The reason behind the name? December was the only word of English my grandmother, Liliana could speak. She loved Christmas.
Nickname? Some of my friends just call me Sloane
Birth date? June 5th, 1983
Astrological sign. Any significance? Gemini. Don’t think it has any significance. Don’t believe in that stuff.
Glasses or contacts? Neither, but I’d prefer contacts if I had to.
Typical hairstyle? Long and wavy, but usually always pulled back in a ponytail.
Typically healthy? Yes.
What kind of distinguishing facial features does your character have? Big brown eyes.
Birthmark? Where is it? Small, cherry shaped brown spot on the back of my left thigh.
Scars? How did they get them? Some small scars on my hands from kitchen accidents.
Who are the friends and family? Who does he/she surround herself with? Who are they closest to? Who does she wish she was closest to? My mother is Maria Sloane. I have a sister, Harper, and a brother, Tucker. I’m the oldest. I’m closest to my mother, and although Harper and I have a bit of a rocky relationship, she and I are very close. They’re really the only family I know. I wish I could be closer to my father’s family, but they live out of state.
Where was she born? Pittsburgh
Where does she live? Pittsburgh
Where has she lived her whole life? I grew up in Pittsburgh, but moved to New York for college and culinary school. Moved back home to Pittsburgh afterward.
Where does your character go when she’s angry? The kitchen. I find myself there whenever my emotional roller coaster hits a peak in any of the emotions.
What’s her biggest fear? Who has she told this to? Who would she never tell and why? My biggest fear would probably be getting married and having a family. I’ve talked to my boyfriend, Josh, about this. I’d never tell my mother. I wouldn’t want her to feel like it was her fault.
Does she have a secret? Hmmm….I don’t think so.
What makes your character laugh out loud? I have a very dry, witty kind of humor. I like jokes and situations where you actually have to think about the words said, and process them to get it. I don’t really get into the crude humor and I stay away from anything overtly offensive.
When has your character ever been in love? Ever had a broken heart? I loved Alex Brooks. He was my first true love. And leaving him broke my heart. Now I think I’m in love with Josh.
What’s in the fridge right now? On her bedroom floor? On her nightstand? In her trash? I have a lot of things in the fridge. I’m a chef. Lots of fresh vegetables, herbs, fruits, juice, wine, milk, water, yogurts, and meats.
Look at her feet. What do you see there? Does she wear dress shoes or gym shoes? Is she in socks that are all ratty and holey? Or a pair of slippers knitted by her grandmother? My toes are painted right now, chocolate wine I think. I usually wear a comfortable pair of sneakers or dress shoes since I’m on my feet all day, but if I go out I like to dress up and I love shoes. I have a ton of high heels in my closet I rarely get to wear.
When she thinks of her childhood kitchen, what smells come to mind? Why? Lots of spices and the smell of tortillas on a cast iron warmer. Mom is Puerto Rican so our food always had vibrant colors, loud spices, and tortillas.
She’s spring cleaning. What is easy for her to get rid of? What is difficult? I don’t really have a problem throwing anything away. Except cookbooks or food magazines. I get ideas and inspiration from those so I have tons of them around the apartment.
Saturday at noon, what is your character doing? Give details. I’m either in the kitchen, in the office, or on my way to the kitchen. Work keeps me busy, especially the weekends.
What is one strong detail that has stuck with your character since childhood? Why is it so powerful and lasting? My father’s death. He was a policeman and I was with him when he died. We pulled up outside the International Grocery store and there was a robbery in progress. We were in the back of the store when we heard gunfire. Dad hid me between the freezer and a display. I saw him pull his weapon out of his holster and he left me there so I’d be safe. He ended up getting shot in the chest. But that didn’t stop him from firing two shots at the suspect. The guy who killed my father got out of the store with less than one hundred dollars. He made it three miles before he crashed the car into a stop light. He almost bled to death, but paramedics saved his life. He killed my father and two other people in the store that day and paramedics saved him.
Your character is getting ready for a night out. Where is she going? Who will she be with? What will she wear? Karaoke. I work far too long on the weekends to enjoy going out to the bar, so Nora and Spencer, Josh and I will go out on Wednesday’s for karaoke. I usually take this opportunity to break out my heel collection. I prefer jeans to dresses and a flashy little top.
What is her greatest achievement? Why? Opening the restaurant. It was something I worked really hard for, something I didn’t think was ever possible. And it’s really successful so I’m very proud.
What is her idea of perfect happiness? Perfect happiness would be a successful career doing what you love, having time to spend with someone you love, and enjoying the perks of being successful.
What is her current state of mind? Totally career focused right now.
What is her favorite occupation? Chef/Restaurateur.
What is your most treasured possession? A baseball glove. It was a gift from my father, the last gift he ever bought me.
What or who is the greatest love of your life? Bruce, my cat. He’s a short haired tabby. I named him after my father’s favorite baseball player, Bruce Kison from the Pirates.
What is your favorite journey? I kinda like the one I’m on right now. My life is starting to calm down and the pieces are falling into place. I am anxious to see where I go from here.
What is your most marked characteristic? My curves. I think it’s part of my Latina heritage.
When and where were you happiest? Dad used to take me to baseball games when I was a little girl. They’re my fondest memories. Sitting in the seats, all the screams and shouts, people we didn’t know but we were all there for the same reason. And Dad always bought nachos and hotdogs and the sweetest sodas. He was always happy and I didn’t have to think about him being a police officer. He was just my dad.
What is it that you most dislike? People who are given every opportunity to succeed and turn fail every time.

What is your greatest fear? Failing.
What is your greatest extravagance? My apartment. It’s a little expensive, but the kitchen was perfect and I couldn’t pass it up.
Which living person do you despise the most? Alex Brooks. The guy almost killed my drive. He was one of those people that took and took and took, but never gave.
What is your greatest regret? Well, I wish I’d realized as a child how important it is to savor those moments with the people you love.
Which talent would you most like to have? I wish I could play an instrument, like the piano or the guitar or even the violin.
Where would you like to live? I loved New York but I prefer Pittsburgh. It’s home and always will be.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Watching someone you love suffer and not being able to help them.
What is the quality you most like in a man? Responsibility.
What is the quality you most like in a woman? Independence.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I avoid emotional attachments.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Selfishness.
What do you most value in your friends? My friends are fun, but also know how to be serious. I don’t have to tell Spencer that we’re at work and he needs to focus.
Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Rhett Butler. He made no excuses for the way that he was or the person that he was. He didn’t let go of the things he wanted, but he showed real change and progress at the end of the story, and that’s what life is about.
Who are your heroes in real life? My mother. She stayed single after my father’s death. I don’t even ever remember her dating. She was a nurse and she worked all the hours she could to take care of me and my brother and my sister. She never let Dad’s death destroy her. She’s always been the strongest person I know.
Which living person do you most admire? My mother. For the reasons above.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Forgiveness. I don’t know that forgiveness does much for the person doing the forgiving. It seems like a way for the wrong-doer to come to some sort of peace about whatever they’ve done. Forgiveness doesn’t set you free, it sets you back.
On what occasions do you lie? I try not to. I can’t think of anything that jumps right out at me.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? That’s the way the cookie bakes. I also use “chick” a lot. “Divine” is one of my favorite words.
If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be? Sometimes I wish I had a wild streak, like my sister. It would be so much fun to cut loose and forget about work, bills, money, and just be someone else for a day.
What are your favorite names? Haven’t really thought about it.
How would you like to die? In my sleep, when I’m ancient.
If you were to die and come back as a person or thing what would you like it to be and why? Rachel Ray … She’s living the dream life.
What is your motto? What do you want out of life? “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” I don’t want to lose my drive. I want to keep going and keep getting better.
What do you want during the course of this story? I don’t know. Sometimes I feel like something is missing. Usually I feel like I have everything I could want, but there are those few times when I think how nice it would be to get out of my own head for a while.

If you had to choose one event in your life that most shaped who you are what would it be? Definitely would be my father’s death. It opened up a lot of things that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. When he died I kinda became a mom to my brother and sister. I learned to cook because Mom was working double shifts at the hospital.
Who is your mother? (name, occupation, birthday, personality) Maria Sanchez Sloane, February 14th, 1959, Small and petite, but very strong and courageous. She’s quiet, but definitely the kind of person you don’t want to cross.
Who is your father? ( name, occupation, birthday, personality) Charles William Sloane, August 17th, 1956, He was tall, very handsome. He was funny and kind, very brave, always giving people the benefit of the doubt.
Do you have any siblings? What is your relationship with them like? I am close with both my brother and sister. Avery is in the military so we usually communicate through written letters. He’s quiet and smart, brave like our dad. Harper is a little annoying at times, but I’m more like her mother than her sister. We’re close, but our relationship is complicated.
Describe the place and people you live with or near. My apartment is on Carson Street, in the artsy district of Pittsburgh. There are exposed brick walls, big windows, hardwood floors and exposed beams and pipes. It’s colorful with lots of warm colors like red and orange and yellow. The living room has lots of shelves for books and pictures of my family. The kitchen is extensive and contemporary. The bedroom has a big bed and cool colors for soothing and relaxation. The bathrooms are simple but elegant, definitely for relaxing in a long, hot bath.
What is your occupation? Do you enjoy it? Chef/Restaurateur. Love it.
Write a full physical description of yourself. Height, weight, race, hair and eye color, style of dress, scars, flaws, best features, distinguishing marks? 5’8, 145 lbs., Latina American, brown eyes, dark brown hair. I love jeans and girly blouses. I’m more flirty than girly in my dress.
Is this physical assessment accurate? Yes.
To which social class do you belong? The working class. Middle class.
Any allergies, diseases or other physical weaknesses? Nope.
Right or left handed? Left hand.
What does your voice sound like? Soft, kinda husky, a bedroom voice.
What do you have in your pockets right now? A grocery list for the restaurant and one for the apartment, my keys, and a pen.
Do you have any quirks, strange mannerisms, annoying habits or other defining characteristics? I bite my bottom lip when I’m nervous or thinking. Sometimes I talk to myself in Spanish, especially if I’m cooking and things are too hectic.
What is your earliest memory? My earliest memory is of Dad taking me to the hospital to see Mom after Avery was born. I was only three, but I remember the day really vividly. My parents were so happy and they had this chubby little baby in their arms, and I wanted to be jealous that they were so doting toward him, but I just thought it was amazing that this little baby belonged to our family.
How much schooling have you had? Did you enjoy school? I spent four years at a culinary school in New York, but also got a lot of on the job training in various restaurants along the way. I loved culinary school and excelled there, but I wasn’t a great high school student.
Where did you learn most of your skills and other abilities? Culinary school and various restaurants, as well as in my kitchen at home.
While growing up did you have any role models? Who and why? My father for his bravery, my mother for her strength.
While growing up how did you get along with your family? Yes.
As a child what did you want to be when you grew up? When I was a child I wanted to be a ballerina or an astronaut, or a doctor.
As a child what were your favorite activities? I loved playing Hide and Seek, coloring, and playing sports.
As a child what kinds of personality traits did you display? I think I was always really strong and level-headed. I was the leader.
As a child were you popular? Not really. I had some close friends, but once I was off the bus, I had to take care of Tucker and Harper. So I didn’t get to play much with the neighborhood children.
Who were your friends and what were they like? Brittany Campbell was my best friend in elementary school. She was a bookworm, very quiet, but she didn’t take to bullying at all. Spencer Steele was always my best friend. We went to school together and even moved to New York together. His modeling career didn’t go so well so he followed me back to Pittsburgh. I think people are given friends who were soul mates in past lives. Spencer is definitely mine.
When and with whom was your first kiss? Spencer. We were barely ten years old, and he said he didn’t like girls. So we kissed to see if that would change things. And it didn’t.
When and with whom did you lose your virginity? Seventeen … Bobby Reese; my high school crush.
What do you consider the most important event of your life so far? Opening the restaurant.
What is the most evil thing you’ve ever done? Left Alex with months of unpaid bills before leaving him without a word. He deserved it. He didn’t work. I did and went to school. He was a mooch who needed a lesson taught to him.
Do you have a criminal record of any kind? No.
What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you? Coming up topless in the pool at a party.
If you could change one thing from your past what would it be and why? The only thing I would want to change is my father’s death. Other than that, I think I’ve been really lucky that my life has been on track.
Optimistic or pessimistic? I am optimistic.
Religious views? More spiritual than religious. I believe in reincarnation and karma.
Political views? Independent.
Sexual views? Whatever bakes your cookie.
Are you able to kill and under what circumstances? I’d like to think I could if my life were in danger, but I think that’s one of those things you never know until you’re in that situation.
In your opinion, what is the most evil thing a person could do? Lead someone on, pretend to be someone you’re not, or not ready to be.
Do you believe in the existence of soul mates or true love? Yeah, to some extent.
What do you believe makes a life successful? Being the best person you can be and knowing that it’s a journey.
How honest are you when it comes to your true thoughts and feelings with yourself and others? I try to be as honest as possible, but sometimes it’s difficult to know what your true thoughts and feelings are.
Do you have any biases or prejudices? Stricter punishments for criminals. I don’t think bad people should be given chance after chance to do bad things.
Is there anything you absolutely refuse to do under any circumstances? Why? I’m sure there are things, but nothing springs to mind right away.
Who or what would you die for? My family.
How do you treat people in general? Does your treatment of them change depending on how well you know them? I am generally accepting of people. I like to be friendly and have fun when it’s time to have fun. I don’t allow people to hurt me more than once. I suppose some could say that I’m a little too hardcore and that I can carry a grudge, but I just see it as protecting myself.
Who is most important in your life and why? Bruce, my cat. Josh, my boyfriend. My family. Spencer and Nora. They are who I see every day, they are who I love.
Do you have a spouse or significant other? Describe them. Josh Logan. He’s tall, finger-length dark hair, a bit of a scruffy beard. He’s a very athletic and a workaholic. He’s an architect. Honest and trusting. Brown eyes. A nice smile. Sensitive guy. Smart, sometimes oblivious.
What do you look for in a potential lover? Someone who’s honest and doesn’t need a lot of time or attention to feel like he’s in a relationship. I need someone who isn’t afraid of a strong woman, and someone who understands me and accepts me for who I am.
Have you started your own family? Do you want to? Why or why not? No, and I don’t see myself as a mother. Maybe later, but not now. I just spent too much of my childhood being a mother for my siblings. I’m not ready to go there again.
Are all your children with the same partner? What is the custody agreement if not? N/A
How do you relate to children? I understand children, but I choose to avoid situations where I need to relate to them.
Which child is favorite and why? N/A
What is your favorite memory of child or children? Least favorite? N/A
Relationship to children important? N/A
Who would you turn to if you were in desperate need of help? I have a few people. Mom would be a last resort. I wouldn’t want her to worry. I’d go to Josh or Nora before my mother, and to Spencer before them.
Do you trust anyone to protect you? Who and why? My friends, my family.
If you died or went missing who would miss you? Spencer and Nora would be the first to notice because of work. Harper would be next because the girl always needs me to clean up her messes so I’m sure I’d miss some catastrophe she’d need me for and then realize I was missing. Then it would be Mom. I see her often so she’d be worried if it took more than a few days to hear from me. But she knows I’m strong so I think it would take her a while to come to the conclusion that I’m not okay. Then Josh would probably be last. He works so much that it’s not unheard of for us to go a few days without speaking or seeing each other.
Do you tend to argue with people or avoid conflict? I avoid conflict if I can, but I’m not afraid of it.
Do you tend to take on leadership roles in social situations? Yes.
Do you like interacting with large groups of people? Why or why not? Yeah, it doesn’t make me uncomfortable. I have a lot of confidence in myself and my abilities.
Do you care what others think of you? To some degree, but not enough to worry about.
What are your favorite hobbies and pastimes? I love catching baseball games. I like playing sports, karaoke, catching any kind of sport game actually. I love to cook even when I’ve cooked all day at work and I come home. I love to travel and wish I had more time to do so.
What is your favorite color? Least favorite color? Emerald green is my favorite. My least favorite would be pink.
Favorite food? Something spicy like fajitas, fresh from the grill.
What do you like to read? Cook books, new recipes I’ve found on the internet, food magazines, and the occasional romance novel.
What is your idea of good entertainment? A good movie, a quiet night of dancing, great food, time with friends or family. I like being outdoors.
Do you smoke, drink, or use drugs? If so, why? Do you want to quit? No.
What if anything shocks or offends you? The usual. I’m not easily offended or shocked.
What would you do if you had insomnia and had to find something to do to amuse yourself? Create a new recipe.
How do you deal with stress? Cooking. Trying to come up with new dishes or perfecting old ones.
Are you spontaneous or do you always have a plan? I always have a plan for work. At home, I just kinda leave things to what may come.
What are your pet peeves? I don’t like when people ask if you know what they mean. It drives me insane. And people who smoke in obviously smoke free places including businesses and homes.
Describe the routine of a normal day for you. How do you feel if this routine is interrupted? I get in some kind of morning exercise, shower, head into work and check to see if there is anything I need to get from the store, get into the kitchen, start working, go home and make a quick meal then watch a movie or catch up on emails. I also go to Mom’s a few times a week with frozen meals for her and Harper.
What is your greatest strength as a person? Weakness? My greatest strength is my strength. I know I can make it through anything. My weakness is sometimes I’m a little too emotionally distant.
Introverted or extroverted? Extrovert, but a healthy dose of the introvert as well.
Organized or messy? Mostly organized, especially in the kitchen.
Name three things you find yourself to be good at and three things you’re terrible at. 1. I can take care of myself and the people around me. 2. I’m responsible to a fault. 3. I’m an excellent cook, very creative and modern with a homemade flair. Terrible … 1. Sometimes hard for me to admit my feelings, especially if it’s an overly emotional thing. 2. I can’t parallel park at all. 3. Laundry totally gets the best of me.
Do you like yourself? Yes.
What goal do you most want to accomplish in your lifetime? I’d like to have another restaurant or two, maybe even outside of Pittsburgh. I want my restaurant to be successful.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Maybe married, no kids. Working on a second restaurant and actually scheduling time for a vacation.
If you knew you were going to die in 24 hours, name three things you’d want to do. 1. Be with my family, tell them all how much I love them. 2. Make love to my boyfriend. 3. Get my finances in order.
What is the one thing you’d most like to be remembered for after your death? That I was always the best person I could be and that I tried to learn from all of my mistakes, no matter how big or small they were.
What three words best describe your personality? Friendly, Funny, Creative
What three words would others use to describe you? Hardworking, fun, dependable
What advice would you give your character? Every day is a learning experience. Taking your heart out of the equation only makes the lesson you need to learn longer.
What do you like to eat for breakfast? Grapefruit, oatmeal, omelet, or toast
Night owl or early riser? Both
How old are you? 26
Favorite music? Artist? Album? Band? Instrument? I like indie music, especially from movies or shows that I like. I like music with lyrics that actually mean something. I like Gavin Degraw, Mat Kearney, Carolina Liar. Instrument: acoustic guitar.
Favorite book? Author? I don’t really read much outside of cookbooks so I can’t really say.
Expletives? Don’t really use anything too graphic. The occasional damn or hell, but that’s it.
Mode of transportation? A Ford Explorer, 2007, Green, Eddie Bauer Edition
Cautious or daredevil? Same when you’re alone? I’m cautious, same when I’m alone.
How do you spend a rainy day? Cooking, or browsing cook books, or visiting my mother and sister.
Close to your co-workers? I work with my two best friends. The other employees respect me because I treat them well. Happy employees are loyal, hardworking employees.
What is the one even that would most throw the character’s life into turmoil? Why? Pregnancy. The restaurant is popular and well liked. The last thing I need is a child or pregnancy taking me away from that momentum.
Soft spot? Is it obvious to others or not? I have a soft spot for people who try to do better for themselves, but hit speed bumps along the way. It’s not obvious, but if it were, then people would stop trying so hard.
Which of the seven deadly sins does she give into willingly or unwillingly? Lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, pride? Probably pride.
Which of the seven virtues does she have or fight against? Chastity, abstinence, liberality, diligence, patience, kindness, humility? Diligence is mine.
Talents? Cooking, and singing one heck of a rendition of Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own.
Has she ever cheated on significant other? No.
Favorite clothing? Why? Least favorite? Why? Jeans and a nice blouse. It’s feminine and flirty, but still casual. That’s me. Least favorite would be turtle necks.
Jewelry or other accessories? I like earrings and necklaces, not big on bracelets or rings.
Does she shop frugally? Yes, on some things. Never on food.
What does she do too much of? Too little of? I work too much. I don’t enjoy time off nearly enough.
Is she depressed most days? Ever considered suicide? Not usually depressed and never considered suicide.
Wear skinny jeans? Yeah, if they fit right. I’m a curvy chick so it’s not always possible to wear skinny jeans.
Favorite actor or actress? Denzel Washington, Sandra Bullock
Favorite alcoholic drink? Chardonnay
Favorite non-alcoholic drink? Water
Favorite song? I don’t know. I like a lot of music and my favorite songs change all the time.
Does she write poems or stories or songs? Not usually. I write recipes. That’s about it.
Favorite flower? Gardenias
Afraid of thunderstorms? No. Love them.
Favorite animal? Cats. They’re independent.
How often do you take a shower? Every day.
What is your favorite kind of chocolate? Dark chocolate, rich and luxurious
Favorite candy? Chico-stick
Do you floss? Yes. Every day.
What side do you sleep on? Middle of the bed.
What’s your favorite restaurant? Mine.
Favorite holiday? Christmas.
Ever kissed in the rain? Movie theater? Underwater? Yes, yes, no.
Are you a tease? No, especially not intentionally.
Do you flirt a lot? Yes, sometimes.
Longest relationship? Josh …. Three years
Shortest relationship? Alex …. One and a half years
Have you ever gotten a poem? No.
Ever get flowers? Yes.
Do you drink coffee? Sometimes, not often.
Would you ever hook up with someone of the same sex? No.
Have you ever kissed two people in one day? At the same time? No. No.
Ever cried over someone of the opposite sex? No.
Ever been dumped? Ever dumped someone? Yes and yes.
Ever been rejected? Yes.
Do you have a lot of exes? No.
Are you a slut or ever been called one? No, and yes.
Shoe size? 9
Favorite number? 71
Do you sleep in your bra? Yes. My girls are far too big to be running around free at night.
Do you enjoy drama? Nope, not at all.
Are you a girly girl? Nope.
Small or big handbag? I usually don’t have a handbag. I carry a wallet.
Do you think you’re conceited? Nope.
Do you dress up on Halloween? Sometimes, for a party.
Double jointed? No.
Where is the weirdest place you’ve slept? I try to never be in a situation where I have to sleep in a weird place.
Has anyone touched or smacked your butt? Yes.
Do you call anybody by their last name? My brother Tucker.
Wear makeup? Yes.
Ever cried at a movie theater? Yes.
Can you put on mascara without opening your mouth? Yes.
Hoops or dangling earrings? Both.
Ever slapped someone in their face? No.
Cried yourself to sleep? Yes.
Ever wish you were famous? Maybe a time or two.
Funny or serious? Both.
Favorite season? Spring.
Would you move to another state or country to be with the one you love? Maybe.
Do you believe everything happens for a reason? Yes.
Which one of your friends do you think would make the best doctor? Nora.
Are you afraid of falling in love? Why? Eh, I’m not afraid of love. I’m afraid of what comes after.
Ever been in a bar fight? Yes.
Last person to lay in your bed? Josh.
What was the last TV show you watched? Something on Food Network

Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter Storm

We are supposed to get another 3-5 inches of snow tonight. I'm guessing Christian's last day of school before Christmas break will either be cancelled or on a two hour delay, which means the phone will be spending the night in our room awaiting the news from school.

And what was I doing today? Well, once again I slept in late. Joe took Christian to school this morning then came back to bed. I'm going to blame the cold and snow on all they sleepy days the past week or so. Afterwards, I had to brave the license branch, but only the renewal machine. I cleaned the house, did a million and one dishes, and sprayed the bathtub with cleaner but never got around to scrubbing it out. I made bisc-tacos for dinner again, and washed three loads of laundry.

The Pens killed the 'yotes tonight. And if I'm not mistaken, Malkin has a goal in each of the last three games. Is it just my imagination or is Malkin looking like he's back at full strength and ready to be a beast? I'm thinking we won 1-6, but the text message I get with game updates said 0-6. I don't know if that is a mistake or if Toronto took the 'yotes goal away. I didn't get to finish the game ... Monday Night Football for Joe and since he only has Monday's off, I couldn't rationalize hogging the television.

I want to write tonight. I will write tonight. Got to find my headphones so I can stop hearing Favre's name every fourteen seconds. It's aggravating and I need to concentrate. My goal is to finish Chapter Ten tonight.

Color Treatment

(From Room to Write by Bonni Goldberg)

Prompt: Make two lists: One of colors that attract you, and one of colors the repel you. Choose a color from each list. Approach each of them from your other senses. How do these colors sound, smell, taste, and what is their texture? Which images that emerge can you use in a current piece? Or, begin with the word color and use it as a diving-off place. Or, write a poem or short piece in which every line or sentence mentions the same or a different color.

"Painting is silent poetry, poetry is eloquent painting." ~~ Simonides

Colortry (Like Poetry)

From pink cheeks to crimson lips
Ivory skin hidden beneath white slips
A black heart behind slate shadowed eyes
Chestnut hair pulled away from all her russet lies
Gleaming navy irises shooting cobalt daggers
Sunshine painted fingertips and red hot kisses all that matters
Purple love and lust divine against a golden sunset sky
Midnight mascara lashes do hide all the silver coated tears she cried
Fiery orange betrayal revealed drenched in jealous emerald words
Sepia toned dreams long forgotten on the wings of ebony birds
A little of gray mixed with less of blue
She is Hazel, lost before she knew

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Today Was Just Today

Today, I did little more than just shower and get dressed. I left around mid afternoon to pick up Christian from my mom's. It's been a few days since we've had any real snow so this is what today looked like.

Our attempt at snowman building but the snow wasn't sticking.

This is me today, once again wearing my favorite blouse/jacket combo.

And here is Christian being silly as he played yet another game of Madden on the PS2.

Haven't seen my husband today. I heard him leave for work this morning but have yet to see him. He made sure to set his Packers/Patriots game to record though. I love him anyway.


I am a journal lover, but not a ridiculously faithful journaler. I usually always have my journal with me, whether I'm at home or out shopping. I rarely ever (okay, never) write in my journal as I'm browsing aisles at the grocery store, no matter how interesting the overheard conversation might be, but I feel slightly incomplete if my journal is too far away from me at any given time.

When I was a teenager, I would write in my journal (a plain old spiral notebook) every day. I'd write about everything; what I'd dreamt through the night, what happened that day, what I was feeling, family drama that seemed to be on an ever revolving loop. It was so easy then.

Now as an adult, my taste in journals has changed. You know the semi-fancy journals that come blinged (you will never see me use that word again, I promise) out with journal type accessories? Yep, those are my favorites. The bookmark ribbon hot glued to the internal spine of the journal is a must-have for me. That same bookmark ribbon probably jacks the price up another $2 at Borders when I could probably do it myself for .02¢ and 47 seconds of my time, but hey, it's journal bling ----> It's close to "blinged" but not the same. I swear I'll never use either again.

Another journal accessory that really bakes my cookie? Magnetic flap thingys. Oh yeah, I'm all about the magnetic flap thingy. I once bought three black journals from Borders because they were on clearance for only $3 each and they had both the magnetic flap thingy and a bookmark ribbon. It didn't matter that they were hideously ugly, even though they were all black. They had miniature airplanes and other random modes of transportation on them. But they all had journal blin--- er, accessories. So I guess that makes me a journal snob? My current journal is green with white swirls. It has a green ribbon bookmark that I had to reattach with a hot glue gun because I accidentally yanked it out. It doesn't have a super special magnetic flap thingy, but Joe picked it up for me so I can't complain. Obviously he isn't aware of my journal snobbery.

Also, I guess this makes me a pen snob too because I only write with my Sharpie pen. I once bought the pack that came with red, black, blue and green pens. I found that I didn't much care for the red or black pens. I have a severe, almost obsessive dislike of black ink. It totally freaks me out and I can't really say why. But I love the blue and green. Sharpie figures if you want the green pens you have to buy them in the multi-color pack, but if you're a fan of blue ink, you can buy a whole package of blue Sharpie pens; which is what I do.

But anyways, the point I was getting at is that it isn't as easy to fill the pages nowadays as it was when I was a teenager. That urge to document every single thought, action, memory, feeling of the day no longer makes me feel guilty if I skip a day or a month. Instead, I find my journals more filled with notes and chapter outlines for stories I'm working on. Sure, there are the occasional rants and raves about what has happened that particular day, but more often than not, my journal has very little "real" journaling in it.

I'm not really sure how I feel about that. I mean, on one hand, I never began writing in the journal with the thought that one day when I'm old and feeble someone will pick them up and read through my life story to find humor or sadness or some kind of life lesson to reflect in their own struggles so it shouldn't be that big of a deal what is in my journal.

On the other hand, I feel perhaps this is a laziness I should be afraid of. Perhaps avoiding the journal with any real emotion on a regular basis is potentially hazardous to my fiction writing. After all, if I can't muster through a brief summation of the day in my journal now, how will I ever continue writing novels for the next fifty years?

Eh, here is my current journal.

(Above) Notice the green cover with decorative white swirls and the way the camera flash glistens on the cover. Also glaringly noticeable is the absence of the beloved magnetic flap thingy.

(Below) Notice the matching green ribbon bookmark and excellent penmanship in Sharpie Blue.

Most Sincerely,

The Journal/Pen Snob

Saturday, December 18, 2010

100 Page Hump

I am sitting high atop the 100 page hump. Another 700 words or so and I will be at page 101. I can feel some of that tingly good writing juice slowly defrosting my fingertips. I'm sorta super excited.

Critical Mass

(Taken from Room to Write by Bonni Goldberg)

Prompt: Turn your internal critical voice into a character. What is its gender? How does it look? How does it smell? Who are its favorite writers and why?

"Most of the methods of training the conscious side of the writer--the craftsman and the critic in him--are actually hostile to the good of the artist's side; and the converse of this proposition is likewise true. But it is possible to train both sides of the character to work in harmony; and the first step in that education is to consider that you must teach yourself not as though you were one person, but two." ~~ Dorothea Brande

My inner voice is female. I imagine she is reminiscent of old Hollywood and picture her in a sparkling gown atop a piano with a glass of whiskey at her side. When I hear her voice, it is a bit smoky, raspy, but poised, always pointing out what I first assume is irrelevant but actually ends up meaning the most to me. She has a cigarette wand, much like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's, although I often think it is more for show than actual use.

She has sleepy eyes, the kind that were so seductive in 1930's Hollywood. She's a golden blonde with short hair in the traditional deep set fingerwaves set close to the head. Now that I think about it, I think she has become Tallulah Bankhead's image in my subconscious. She is mostly quiet, choosing to nip casual remarks at my writing, but the kind of remarks that make you question every word before and every word after. She is always serious, her facial expressions rarely changing, unless a scandalous quip or reference brings a smirk to her face. She makes no excuses for what she says or how she feels. Often there is the scent of delicate perfume wafting around her, mingling with the smell of cigarette smoke and stale liquor. She often looks sad or lonely but she is neither. And the only time she is quiet is when writer's block has a stranglehold on my internal pen. Then she chooses to luxuriate in expensive gowns and mink coats, effortlessly sipping at the glass of scotch at her side, an all knowing expression behind her eyes. It's almost as if she is happy by my silence, but there is some anxiety in her gaze, as if she is silently cheering me on, waiting for the next line to dissect and scrutinize.

Her favorite author would be VC Andrews, a woman who lived a quiet life but wrote about such dark and twisted events with a poise and flow that totally enveloped you in that character's world.

Good Afternoon


Spent the day being lazy. Christian spent the night with my mom, Heather took Destiny with her to spend the weekend with friends, and Joe is at work. I have the house all to myself faced with the decision to keep watching the same Christmas shows I've seen a hundred times before, or actually get some writing done. As I'm typing up this blog post, I'm watching Ralphie in Christmas Story sitting down at the radio after his father displays the leg lamp in the window facing the street. As soon as this post is published, I swear I'm shutting the television down and getting my journal out for notes on Chapter Ten.

Oh, after Christmas I'm getting a haircut. I think I want to go a couple inches shorter and let my bangs grow out, because as my son says, I look weird with bangs ... haha

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Introducing ... Gennadi Kozlov

It's no secret (or perhaps it should be) that I am totally and completely in love with Evgeni Malkin. Yeah, I know, he's not exactly the best looking guy to take up a Penguins roster spot, but he's my hockey crush. You might have guessed he is the inspiration behind NOPB in the first place. I wanted to write a story with a hockey backdrop and thus the birth of Gennadi Kozlov (Gennadi because it is similar to Malkin's nickname, Geno and Kozlov for the reason I loved hockey to begin with so many years ago, Viktor Kozlov)

Side note: You can't tell out there in the interwebs, but all these Russian names have that red squiggly line underneath them as if they are spelled incorrectly and it is driving my inner writer insane.

Anyways, I did a character interview for Gennadi as well, trying not to let the influence for his character come screaming out. Also, as a Pens fan it killed me that Gennadi has to be a Bruin but I think it was important to keep that theme of the story where she runs from one extreme (the far east coast) to an opposite extreme (the far west coast) and back again. Perhaps in the third installment, Tallulah will be faced with a job offer in Pittsburgh and with Kozlov retired, maybe they will find themselves in my wish-it-were-mine hometown.

Introducing ... Evgeni Malkin as Gennadi Kozlov

And my weak Paint.Net skills to showcase my favorite self-created couple ....

Introducing .... Doctor Tallulah Elizabeth Madison Kozlov

I'm sure that every writer has a different process for imagining their characters. My way is to do a character interview with them. It's a lengthy process that has very personal, deep questions mixed with fun, intrinsically useless questions. It helps me get a feel for who the character is, what makes the character laugh, what makes the character smile, what kind of secondary character would make a good best friend for this primary character.

I also need visual assistance too. Not that I don't already have a picture in my head of what the character looks like. I start out with generic details like hair color, eye color, height and weight. Then I do some Googling until I come up with a photograph that instantly screams that characters name.

When I first started the NOPB story with Tallulah I had a rough idea of what I was looking for. She would be tall, curvy, very dark haired, strong and smart but a little internally insecure. My first thought was Sara Ramirez from Grey's Anatomy, but that seemed too mirrored of the character, especially since Tallulah is a doctor.

I found this photograph and I just knew, when I saw it, that she was Tallulah. Not exactly, but mostly, and it would be a great visual aid.

Her real life name is Christina Schmidt and she was an actress on Degrassi several years ago, but now seems to be a plus sized model. But I saw this picture and I thought her image was much the same as I envisioned Tallulah. She is beautiful, but not "Hollywood" either. She looks very strong and sure of herself, but there is still enough youth and innocence in her eyes to imagine she isn't quite as sure of herself as she should be.

So there you have it, Doctor Tallulah Elizabeth Madison Kozlov.

If you had to visually assign a Googled photo to one of your favorite main characters who would it be and why?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Right now, I want to scream 349 expletives at a familial relation. She has me completely and utterly annoyed. Perhaps because my team lost tonight. Perhaps because she grates on my nerves like a kitchen knife on a major artery. The woman is almost 40. Does she seriously need to play high school games? I feel like I'm on the verge of combusting (is that even a word?).

Tomorrow, when she comes to pick up the baby, I will hold my tongue. Unless she says one thing out of the way. And then the fight will begin and I know we will both say things we can't take back, but honestly, it wouldn't bother me if I never saw/heard/dealt with her again. Yeah, I know. Not very holiday spirit of me, but I don't really care.

Just thinking about it gives me a headache. Since I have to get up with the baby at 6am, I should get to bed.

Monday, December 13, 2010

*Happy Dances* and Other Internet Actions Depicted Within Asterisks

Today, I do a *happy dance* and *rugby tackle* anyone around, and possibly *blow kisses* to unsuspecting strangers who pass in front of my kitchen window, probably still recalling my post about heaving stray cats, but I think that's another blog post on another blog from long ago.

What makes me do actions depicted within asterisks? Well, today I finished Chapter Nine of Penalty Killer. I don't have any notes for a Chapter ten, but I'm on the abyss of 100 pages, which really makes me feel incredible. I have a generic idea of where Chapter Ten goes, but I don't quite have the details hammered out. This draft is so much more detailed than the first draft so I'm feeling like I'm writing a completely different story even though I'm not.

My plan to write an entire day will be a little bit impeded tomorrow since a.) Christian has a two hour snow delay for school and b.) we have house guests and bitter family drama ... you know the kind you only see on daytime soaps and think to yourself, this stuff doesn't really happen and it's so stupid. Well, it is stupid, but it does indeed happen.

I'm hoping we can put our collective brain powers together and figure something more permanent out in the light of a new day.

Oh, and keep your fingers crossed for no snow on Monday and Tuesday. I have been wanting to catch a Penguins game with my mom since the season started and finally, a game will be on tv in our area, but I refuse to drive in the snow on back country roads, especially in the darkness of late night so I need some cosmically collective good vibes sent my way.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Busy Saturday

Today, Christian and I woke up late, but my excuse is that I didn't get to bed until 4am anyways, so technically, I got just the right amount of sleep. Anyway, I had planned on procrastinating the Christmas shopping that needs to be done, with a plethora of excuses that includes such classics as "I only have a few more people to buy for", and "I'll wait for a less rainy/snowy/cold day of the week". Since this is the Midwest, a less snowy/rainy/cold day of the week in December isn't likely.

So, we bundled up on this upper 30/lower 40 degree day and valiantly decided to get the shopping done. I had three people to buy for; my mother, my stepfather, and my brother. Getting to the mall wasn't a bad trip. It took a little longer than usual, but we made it without trouble. Went to Kohl's, looking for mother type gifts and stood in line for a little over 15 minutes for one purchase. Got back out to the car, fought for a new parking space at another store, and clawed our way inside.

This store was quite a bit more crowded and busy, with far less polite people, but we got all our shopping done. We came home, I fixed breakfast for lunch and then we wrapped presents. Christian had several gifts of his own to wrap from the Secret Santa Shop at school. We watched The Santa Clause on ABC Family as I waited for my game to come on (Go Penguins!). Um, why does Santa deliver presents to all these children and their parents never notice? We then decided to try out some homemade chocolate chip cookies, you know, because we want to get it right for Santa on Christmas Eve.

Anyway, at 7pm I watched the Penguins take on the Sabres. Good game. Lots of emotion, lots of goals, lots of scraps-that-could-have-been-good-fights-if-only. The Pens win 5-2 in Buffalo and extend their winning streak to 12 games in a row, as well as Crosby's point getting streak to something like 19 games in a row. Would be awesome if we could get another eight wins in a row to beat the 1993 Penguins record of 19 wins in a row.

Oh, but if I go off on a Penguins/hockey tangent we might be here all night, so I'll just move right along.

Christian and I watched the mini-marathon of Ghost Adventures, one of his favorite shows. We tried to scare Joe when he came home, hiding in the dark, but of course he had to be all manly and try to scare us instead.

All in all, it was a wonderful day!

Penalty Killer Update

Worked on Chapter Nine today, well, kinda currently working on Chapter Nine. Wrote eight full pages today that I feel really good about. I'm at page 95, lingering on the cusp of a page 96. I think once I get over the 100 page bump, things will pick back up again.

I'm hoping to get a little writing done tomorrow and spend the day working on my writing Monday.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My Writing

Perhaps I need to buckle down, disconnect from the web, and seriously set my mind to work. I cannot sit down at this computer with my PK document open. I feel bad when I look at it and I swear I've never had writer's block this bad before. I actually never have writer's block. There are always plots, schemes and character voices running around in my thoughts. My usual problem is putting too much time into my stories and neglecting my real life world. I don't know what this funk is or how to get out of it but maybe I need to spend a day working on prompts.

When I go to bed, I lay in bed thinking of these brilliant scenes or dialogue exchanges but the thought of getting out of bed to write them is intimidating. And in the morning when I wake up, all that motivation is gone. It's like my mind shuts down when I open the document.

Today, the only writing I've done is the notes I took for Chapter Nine. I wonder if I need to put Tallulah and Gennadi away for a while, and focus on something else. Maybe it isn't the writing itself. Maybe it's the story.

Blah Blah Blah

Today I don't think there is a word for how I feel. The chilly cold cuts down to the bone even though I have every possible heat source going in the house. I need to go grocery shopping but Joe wants to come too, so we're waiting for his lunch break. At least his car should be warm by the time he gets home. I feel sluggish today. I don't really hurt or feel ill, but I just want to have a lazy day without the computer. I need to go in there and iron some shirts for Joe, but that's the last thing I want to do.

Oh, another thing on my mind ... why does ABC Family continue to put the classic Christmas cartoons/shows on at 8pm when they go off at 10pm? Don't they realize the little ones with whom we big kids want to watch these heirloom shows have bedtimes within that range?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lost Notes

I seem to have lost the notes I'd constructed on Tallulah and the very important details that go into Penalty Killer. I'm so frustrated right now. I don't know if it's just being tired and not seeing what's there, or if I'm overly angry at what really isn't there. I could have sworn I jotted notes down in my journal, but no, not there. Could have sworn I included these updated notes on her bio document but not there either.



Tried to go to sleep at about 12:45am but apparently it wasn't happening. Fast forward an hour later and I'm awake, staring at the ceiling, thinking about my writing. Or more specifically, Tallulah and Gennadi. It's cold right now or maybe I'd go out to the nearest gas station and pick up a generic latte. No, it's more than cold ... it's bitter.

I'm tired, but not tired enough to feel like sleeping. And I'm not awake enough to feel like I can write anything of quality. I think I will try to get some sleep now so I can have a full day of writing tomorrow.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Penalty Killer Ch. 8 (preview)

Here is a small preview of chapter eight. I need to dig one of my old journals out and find some notes to finish out the chapter.

Once again, the following preview is my personal work and it is NOT permissible to copy or change it.

The private lab was the epitome of scandal with dark tinted windows, a nondescript name, and neutral colored furnishings inside. There were very few cars in the parking lot, the sun brimming in the distance. I glanced in the rearview mirror to see Max fast asleep. I couldn’t see Marina but I assumed she was asleep too. There was no music on the radio and no conversation. A car pulled up next to us, and my heart started to pound so ferociously I had to concentrate on breathing just to keep from passing out. Cody, his eyes red and swollen, a full day’s worth of scruff coloring his jaw. Eyes closed for just a moment, I tried to forget how truly sorry and regretful he seemed.

“Do you think you can get Max? I’ll get Marina,” Kozlov grumbled when he saw Cody. I nodded, not really sure of anything except that I wanted to be anywhere else but here. I opened my door and went to the back seat for Max. The buckles of his car seat took some finagling but I managed to get them undone.

“Do you need some help?” Cody asked over my shoulder.

“If she needs help, I’ll be the one to do it,” Kozlov growled. He was already outside the car with Marina in his arms so I couldn’t see his expression but I imagined it just the same. Max barely acknowledged me when I pulled him from the car. My back ached and toting him around was doing me no favors, but I would keep that to myself.

I followed Kozlov up the pavement and to the door that Cody held open. This was excruciatingly embarrassing. My husband was not a jealous man, and this was not jealousy that made him dislike Cody. To him, it didn’t matter that Cody was helping us, hoping to stop Kip in his tracks. When he looked Cody I knew exactly what he saw; the man who had walked away, left me defenseless. The man who looked so similar to our daughter. That was what stung the most; seeing him in her face.

“Good morning! You have the six a.m. appointment don’t you? Let me show you back to the room and we’ll get started,” said a lady in a lab coat. She knew who we were, could see the recognition in her eyes. Well, she knew who Kozlov was anyway.

Max in my arms, I followed the woman, careful not to let my gaze wander to any of the other sleepy eyed technicians who were already sipping coffee at their respective desks. Elevator music barely buzzed from behind a closed door. The lab coated lady led us to the last door down the short hall and flicked the light on as she stepped inside.

“We’ll be right back. Do you have that paperwork filled out or do you need more time?” She stood to the side as Kozlov and Cody filed in behind me. The kids both twitched, Marina the only one waking enough to open her eyes and groan about the lights.

“Yes.” I shifted Max to my hip and reached for the paperwork in my purse. My back was aching, my pelvic muscles tightening with cramps. I handed the folder to her, our paperwork and various identification inside. Cody did the same. Now it was a waiting game, eerie silence with the muffled hum of music in the distance. I sat with Max on my lap, cuddled up against my chest. The smell of fruity watermelon shampoo was overwhelming so I tried to breathe in through my mouth instead of through my nose.

It took only a few seconds for the next technician to open the door, but it felt like half an eternity. Kozlov stood with a sleepy and grumpy Marina in his arms. Cody pressed against the wall, trying not to stare at any one thing too long. I knew he was fighting the urge to look at Marina, to study her face one more time. Maybe he was even fighting the urge to look at me, a son in my arms that didn’t belong to him. A happy family that he would never belong to. I wanted to feel sorry for him, but I too focused on something else, like the pattern of gray tiles on the floor.

“Doctor and Mr. Kozlov, I see we have a simple,” he paused, unsure of his wording in front of the children, “cheek swab today.”

I nodded, and Kozlov shifted Marina in his arms. The technician opened a new buccal swab, holding the long stem between blue gloved fingers. First was Marina. She was so sleepy she hardly put up any resistance at all and when the technician smiled at her and said she was all done, Marina closed her eyes and turned her face to Kozlov’s neck.

“I’ll take the kids out to the car,” he said, shifting Marina to one side as he leaned down for Max. Gennadi was not a very physically imposing man. He was tall and lean, but I never doubted his strength, even when we first met. Careful not to run into anything in the small space, he maneuvered between me and the technician, slipping out the door with both children in his arms. Though I was sure he wanted to get the kids to the car and out of the small room before either of them began to ask questions, I knew it was more about getting away from Cody. This was so difficult for him; much more difficult than he would ever admit to.

“Okay Doctor Paulson, your turn,” the technician said, another buccal swab in hand.

I stood, a wave of nausea and vertigo almost taking me to my knees. One hand against the wall and the other over my abdomen, I closed my eyes as the technician swabbed Cody’s cheek. This was ridiculous. Even when I was pregnant with Marina the symptoms were never so debilitating. If it kept up, I knew the Chief would have to restrict my surgeries.

“You’re pregnant?” Cody asked from his side of the room. His face was red, eyes swollen, but I saw no tears. Maybe, like me, he’d cried himself out through the night. That didn’t stop the sudden look of betrayal that swept over his face as I nodded.

© 2010 by Tracy Zavaleta as Common Law Literary Property

Saturday, December 4, 2010

PK Update

Working on Chapter Eight right now. Not sure how well it will go. I am hoping to be able to see the game tonight but if not, I'll be listening to Mike Lange call it, so I will be quite distracted. I'll try to get to it during intermissions and I'll post a sneak peek when I'm done. I'm halfway through the chapter anyway.

Winter is Upon Us

This is the weather we woke up to today .... Excuse the photo quality. I couldn't find my camera so I had to take them with my phone.