Thursday, December 31, 2009

not for the nervous

I finished reading Alfred Hitchcock's Stories Not for the Nervous yesterday. It was a very, very good book of short stories. I picked it up at the library, thinking that they would be stories written by the master himself. The books was actually a compilation of short stories by other authors. Hitchcock only wrote the introduction.

Anyway, the stories were great fun to read. A couple were mysteries and most of them would probably fall into the horror-ish genre (is that a genre? horror-ish?). The book started out with a story by Ray Bradbury. That was a good sign. I'd never heard of most of the other authors. However, judging by the quality of the writing, they were (are?) very talented.

I love how old school the stories were. Some of the dialog sounded almost a bit too formal to be realistic. But you know, I wasn't there so maybe people really all spoke like English professors back in the 60's.

Best story in the book - The Dune Roller. Intelligent characters, good plot, excellent descriptions, exciting to read. very, very good. A+!!!!!

The only part of the book that I really didn't enjoy reading was the last story - Sorry, Wrong Number. I think there was a movie based on that one, so you might have heard of it before. It was about an 'invalid' hypochondriac whose husband has disappeared. Throughout the story, she is in her bedroom making phone calls to determine what happened to her husband. She also overhears a conversation on a crossed phone line about some woman getting murdered, which freaks her out too. The story was too long, the protagonist was annoying, and the story was a little dull. There was some cliché mobster talk too, see? so that got a little chuckle.

That's all I have for now. Have a Happy New Years Eve. Be safe.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

insofar as to freeze my bum off

soundtrack of the day - Wait For Me, Moby

Golly gosh darn and fiddlesticks, is it just me or is it a little horrifically cold?
[checks temperature]
Nope, it's ten degrees. That means it's only bitterly cold. Horrifically cold usually comes in the January-February months. Looking forward to it! NOT!

People of my generation probably remember NOT. You use it thus - first you say something with the utmost sincerity (that you don't really mean), then, at the end, you shout NOT! to discount everything you just said. Doing so is quite obnoxious, which makes it sort of fun. We trained the children in this practice the other day so expect it to return to the mainstream soon. You're welcome.

yes, I have the sense of humor of a child.

Off that subject, below is a link to a totally awesome article about indie publishing. I found it really inspiring and validating. The last two sentences are my favorite.

Quote - "With each trend that threatens to rob us of our culture, a counter-trend emerges that fosters it. So begins the heyday of independent publishing."

YES! [applauds]

Also, I am thinking of changing the name of my blog soon. I grow weary of this self encouragement. I need something funny, maybe even witty. Suggestions? Comments or e-mail if you're shy.

Monday, December 28, 2009


I saw a picture of Megan Fox in a Star Wars t-shirt and it irked me a little. No, I'm not being a hater. She's beautiful and can wear whatever the heck she wants to wear.


today she is queen of the posers. Why do I say that? I would venture a guess that she is most likely not a fan of Star Wars. I would say that she probably wouldn't know a Jawa from the Rancor. She is most likely wearing that shirt for geek cred. That irritates me.

I know I'm being weird. I don't care.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

christmas pirate

This time of year always makes me think of Kiefer Sutherland tackling a Christmas tree. The video came out a couple of years ago and never fails to crack me up.

Be sure to turn up your volume so you can hear the bit of dialogue beforehand.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Ok, so when I was trying to get published the "traditional" way, I queried four agents. I received rejections from two of the four and the other two never answered me. No big deal. Rejection is a BIG part of the business. Before I even started trying to get published, I knew I was going to have a short attention span for that effort. When you have the escape that is self publishing, there is less incentive than ever to fight that good fight.

Today, one of the agents that rejected me posted her statistics for the year in her blog. She said that this year, she received 38,000 queries. 38,000. That baffles the mind. Can you even imagine? Even if that agent worked every single day this year, that would be over 100 queries a day. How do you even begin to handle that work load? I never felt bad about being rejected; I still don't. But I feel even better about it after reading that.

Of those 38,000 queries, she sold 15 books. That being said, how the hell does anyone get published in the traditional way? An agent would have to wade through thousands of amateur query letters (like mine), probably from many people who have no business writing in the first place, to find your one little letter and actually read it.

I am very happy that she posted these statistics. They just confirmed that I made the right decision in publishing my own book. A person could die of old age waiting for an agent's approval. I worked four years on my book and I refuse to let it fade into oblivion because I couldn't get someone to notice me.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

artistic endeavors

I am currently undecided on cover art. I keep changing my mind on what I want it to look like. I've posted a previous version of part of the cover art below for your viewing enjoyment.

I really liked this graphic, which is why I decided to share it. I can't just have it cluttering my desktop for no reason. After looking at this graphic for a couple of weeks, I decided that I need more drama. I'm taking some elements of this design and using them on the new cover.

Monday, December 21, 2009

random thoughts for Monday

1. best cappuccino flavoring ever - 2 tablespoons mocha kahlua and 1 tablespoon raspberry flavoring for coffee. tastes like - raspberry cordial.

2. why can't I spell cappuccino correctly without using spell-check?

3. I am sad about Brittany Murphy. She was my age. To me she always looked a little...overly alert, shall we say? God, love her though. She was cute as a button. I loved her song Faster Kill Pussycat (remake?) that came out a few years ago.

4. I may have to check into gamer rehab due to my Little Big Planet addiction. Sometimes I think about it when I'm not even playing it. argh. I should be spending time on my finishing the book instead. I = child.

5. I need some Arby's jalapeno bites.

6. Is it too late to add to my Christmas list? I really want some antique looking aviator goggles. Why? hmmm. They would be cool for pictures? I want to be prepared in the likely event that modern technology fails us and we are forced to live a steampunk existence?

that's all I have for now.

Friday, December 18, 2009

loving friday

soundtrack for a glorious Friday - Horehound, The Dead Weather

I am so ready for Friday this week.

I finished another read through for the book yesterday. They are going much faster and I change less each time. I did decide to read it one more time. How many times have I said that? I need to read through it once with leaving 98% of it alone. I think I can do that now.

It's going to be weird when I finally let the book go. Working on it is a habit or like a tick, maybe even some weird kind of addiction. I carry it around with me on a daily basis. When I have quiet moments, it's there. When real life is driving me nuts, I have the book.

I have another book that I finished last Spring that is being neglected. I need to move on to those editing duties if I'm to release that next year as well.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

adorable I be

This is a picture of me at the age of 5! My dad found it at his house. I love this facial expression. I think it's somewhere between snarling and smiling. Apparently, I loved having my picture taken as much then as I do now.

As for the hair, it wasn't my fault! My mother says it was a perm given to me by my grandmother and my aunt without permission. She dropped me off with normal hair and after work when she picked me up, I had morphed into one of Charlie's Angels.

I recently heard that if you want to find your perfect hair color, you should look at a childhood photo of yourself. I am totally feeling this shade. There must be something to that logic. I recently went glam rock blond, so I'll probably have to wait a while but I plan give it a go in the future.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

hello world

The publishing industry is wildly entertaining to me. I started reading about it a few months ago and found that I really like to keep up with the happenings. It's like one big soap opera. The book business is in a state of transition so I guess a few bumps in the road are inevitable.

Self published books are gaining popularity. I read the other day that more than half of the books published today are self published. That sends the old school into a tailspin. I've written about that before so I'm not going to take up much room in this post for that subject.

We have ebooks. Discussion. Every one is discussing digital formats, where they're going, where they are or will be sold, if they will replace our beloved tree killers of old. Random House just marked their digital territory with a letter to agents and authors claiming digital rights to old titles. People are cheesed off about that.

Then there is the debacle that is Google books. If you don't know, Google books decided they could scan public domain and out of print works and slap them up on the internet for every one to see-read-download. That one has been in court for a while.

My new hobby is watching this whirlwind from a distance. It seems like any change puts the pros in a tizzy. The key word for book business in the future is ADAPTABILITY. Say it with me, now. These people getting bent out of shape are stuck in the old way of doing things. They will change only begrudgingly and then they will find that they have been left in the dust.

Ahem. Now for something that will probably only amuse computer geeks like me. When one begins to study a new programming language, educators frequently first teach you how to do a hello world program. This is a simple - look I can make it go program that spits out the words - Hello World. Upon reading about the name switch for the e-book store Shortcovers to Kobo, I clicked a link to Kobo's website and this is what I found.

Um, you forgot something, namely the entire website. But hey, newbie, at least you know that you have the power to greet the world!

Monday, December 14, 2009

random monday updates

I got my drink for new years. It's a bottle of Lucid Absinthe that came with a pair of fancy pants absinthe glasses and a spoon. Last year it was Absente 'refined' absinthe, which is missing the traditional wormwood ingredient. The Lucid absinthe has the wormwood in it. It will be interesting to see how the wormwood affects the flavor. And no, absinthe does not give you hallucinations like in the movie Eurotrip. I do not plan to see any green fairies. Well, I guess if you overdo any alcohol, it can probably give you hallucinations. I have never and do not plan to ever reach that point, thankyouverymuch.

Got the new Snoop Dogg CD and it ROCKS! We haven't purchased any rap CDs in a while because well, most of them suck. This one does not suck. Once again Snoop D-o-double G sets the standard. All you youngin's betta recognize. woo woo! Also it's called Malice N Wonderland. Best...rap...CD...title...ever.

Spent way too much time on video games. Was stuck on Little Big Planet spinning wheel of vomity death for like three days. Conquered the monster. If you are stuck in a similar situation, I will not play through the spinning wheel of vomity death for you. Also reached chapter 6 of Resident Evil 5, which is the last chapter.

There was book working too. I decided that if I ever go full time, I will probably need a good manager. I am terrible with my own deadlines. I need someone with the good sense to take the manuscript away from me. I also need someone who can edit faster than I can. If you're too close or attached to the novel, you can't just make the NEEDED changes and move on with life. There are always ways to tweak it or connect something in the story to something else.

And hence...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

how times have changed

Let us go travel back in time to when I was in the third grade, roundabouts 1985 or 1986. I fell from the top of a jungle gym in the shape of a rocket ship to land on the concrete and astroturf below. I cracked my poor little skull on the ground. I told a teacher what I'd done and in character with his usually unsympathetic attitude, his solution was for me to go and put my head down on the picnic table, which I did.

Recess passed. I returned to my classroom where my teacher proceeded to read us a book with pictures. After a while of not being able to see the book through the colored blotchies (red, blue, green, I remember them well, surprisingly enough), I requested to go to the nurse. She called my mother. My mother took me to the doctor. He looked me over, told her to not let me go to sleep and sent us on our merry way.

This brings me to the how the times change part of my post. First, the dangerous playground equipment. A tall structure for climbing over concrete and some thin carpet painted green. Someone thought that was a good idea? These days, kids have squishy mats to land on under their playground equipment.

Second, the uncaring teacher. That is so deliciously retro. I mean, what the heck did a girl have to do to get some medical attention? Cut off an arm? I couldn't see, for the love of God. Third, no emergency room? If my child had suffered a head injury and couldn't see through the colored blotchies, there would have been some emergency room action. But those were different times and I am not blaming my mom for anything. Fourth, there was no talk of lawsuit as far as I know. If that had happened nowadays, there would have been some litigation. Kids are going to fall no matter what you do. What they land on is the responsibility of the school.

Evaluating this situation 23 years later, I have determined that I am lucky to be alive. And I'm glad that my kids play on equipment with squishy mats under it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

why so serious?

It cracks me up how defensive people get over self publishing. Agents, some publishers, many writers, I swear it's like riffraff busting into an exclusive club. They think because someone is self publishing that their work is devalued.

Harlequin has introduced a vanity press. Given the uproar, you would think they are out in the town square burning some adorable babies.

Here is a link to a blog post about it that really got some people going -

There is a war in the publishing world. People on both sides of the self publishing argument are quite impassioned in their responses to news like this. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America went so far as to issue a statement indicating that they would feature no Harlequin titles on their all. I pasted the link to the statement below. There are also comments at the bottom debating the issue.

Obviously, they are a tad peeved. But why punish writers who were published traditionally through Harlequin? They are taking money out of author's pockets, and if those authors are trying to live on royalties, that decision will hurt them more than it will hurt rich and powerful Harlequin.

I think that people in the traditional world are intimidated by self published authors. Aside from giving them some additional (and according to them, unworthy) competition, how does it really affect them? Self publishing probably won't change what they write.

On a side note, the self published author should be wary of the rip off operations. If it costs you thousands of dollars and you do not receive any services that substantially improve the quality of your novel, I would venture to guess that you are getting ripped off.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

argh on a Tuesday

soundtrack of the day - Beastie Boys, Sounds of Science

I am seriously considering pushing out the deadline for the novel. I had hoped to be finished before the start of November. Then I hoped to be finished by the start of December. I guess that's the advantage of publishing on your own, you can change your deadlines at will.

Pushing out the deadline is not something I really want to do, but I feel like there is too much to do yet. I'm still smoothing out the manuscript and the cover art isn't quite finished. I don't have my ISBN, so that's another factor to consider. I would like to try to get some reviews in library journals too. I've read that you have to submit those requests months before publication. Maybe I could push out to April and get everything done. Getting a book ready is a time consuming process.

I guess I just want to make sure that I get everything in perfect order before I set it free. The bad thing is, I will probably still find a way to fall flat on my face. I'm really, really good at falling on my face.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman & Dave Mckean

Somehow I found time to read a short novel. I guess if you really want to read something, you'll find the time to do it no matter how busy you think you are.

I don't usually read young adult fiction, so reading The Graveyard book felt a bit awkward at first. The language is simpler than in adult novels and it's a little repetitive. However, once I got used to the different style of writing, I loved the book.

The Graveyard Book is about a boy whose parents are killed and he ends up living in a graveyard. He's raised by spirits and a vampire.

The plot was a little patchy, like the author didn't really know where he was going at first. The action didn't really start to pick up until almost the end. After reading the acknowledgements at the end, I saw why it was patchy. The author said that he wrote chapter 4 first and that the book was written over the course of several years.

I know these sound like complaints. I guess they are, but the book is imaginative and filled with dark and beautiful imagery. It is most definitely worth the read.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

book working

I finished another draft of the demon book. This was the best version so far. I think I said that it would be the final, but I am going through it one more time. I changed too much of it to be comfortable with releasing this version without reading it.

And alas, I did not finish the cover art as I said I would in a previous post. Apparently writing something down (in this case, typing) did not actually cause me to complete the task. I worked on finishing the second to last draft instead, so I guess it's not like I slacked off. I will be happy when I'm finished and it's out there on paper and I can't take it back and mess with it.

I'm having trouble letting my poor book go. I plan to use my upcoming four day weekend to do the last read through. Then I will be ready to set it free.

As for right now, I have cover art to work on.

netfix on PS3

Netflix for PS3 is my new favorite distraction.

I was surprised when I first logged on to the system. I guess I expected to see anything and everything. There were very few of what I would call new releases, plenty of recent movies but not NEW movies. The variety is pretty good. There were even some movies that I remember watching as a kid: The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, Clash of the Titans, Conan the Barbarian. I saw some TV shows on the list too: The A-Team, The Addams Family, I think Weeds was on there, the original Star Trek.

The convenience of the system is great. It's like having a video rental store in my living room. The only thing I don't like is the lack of new releases. Maybe they restrict the new releases to DVD because they think the system could be used for bootlegging.

I can get the DVDs in the mail too. Not bad for $8 a month.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

pondering the green eyed monster

I have trouble understanding jealousy, not necessarily jealousy itself but more the way it affects the perception and actions of others. I've seen people attempt to sabotage the work others. I've seen people gravitate toward friends who have fewer material possessions than them. It doesn't even matter if it's family. If someone has jealousy issues, they might even have negative feelings toward family. I just wonder how small of a person you have to be inside to let jealousy rule your actions and your emotions so thoroughly. Are we really that greedy that we can't bear the thought of someone having something we don't or doing something we can't (or won't)? We are all individuals. We all make unique choices that lead us onto one path or another. Let us not be jerks because someone chose a different path.

To quote someone (I don't remember who) - Don't hate. Congratulate.

Monday, November 16, 2009

do not buy a verizon blitz

I know I haven't been around in a few days. I've been busy!

I'm still experiencing cellular phone drama. I went from a crapberry to a borrowed 'blitz', which was so unbelievably shitty that I could barely even talk on it. That sort of defeats the purpose of a cellular phone, don't you think? Talking on the blitz was like trying to use an old walkie talkie (full of static), only with a unique call dropping feature. The thing actually lost signal while I was sending a text message once. I have never known this to happen on any other phone.

My Saturday with the blitz was the last straw. I called my husband to see if he wanted me to pick up some Burger King for him on the way home from a function. He didn't answer and I didn't hear from him so he got no Burger King. When I arrived home he said that he called back three times after I hung up. The phone didn't ring. No calls showed up on the missed call list. I disconnected that piece and activated my old pink razor from like 2+ years ago. It has no QWERTY. It takes like 6 years to send a text message but at least I can talk on it.

My dear bother and sister in law offered me a T-Mobile Dash. It is SUCH a cute pda phone. It even has windows on it. I thought I might try to unlock it and use it on Verizon. I've never done that before, but I thought I'd give it a whirl. The unlocking seems pretty easy. You just pay some geek on the internet like $10 and they send you a code. I have that part figured out. My problem? That phone takes a SIM card and verizon phones have no SIM cards. I checked a few message boards and those people say that Verizon uses a different kind of network. An unlocked T-Mobile phone can be used with AT&T and other cell phone companies that use a GSM (?) network. Verizon and Sprint apparently use something called a CDMA network (if I remember correctly). The bottom line is I cannot use the oh so pretty dash. It was never meant to be, alas.

And so, I sit here with my old school phone, sighing when I have to take ten minutes out of my day to send a text message. On the bright side, it still has all of my old contact list and ring tones on it.

This week, I will finish my cover art. I know that has nothing to do with the rest of my post but I thought if I put it in writing on a public forum that I might actually work harder to get it done.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

teenyboppers in Zombieland

Soundtrack of the day – Black Eyed Peas, The E.N.D

I saw Zombieland over the weekend. It was really funny! I do have to say that Shaun of the Dead was funnier though.

When we first arrived, I was treated to a sight I haven’t seen in a while – teenagers under 17 trying to get into an R rated movie. Ah, the memories. I remember trying to get in to the theater to see Falling Down and the beotch at the counter wouldn’t let me or my boyfriend in.

Anyway, back to the present, there were four of these kids trying to get into the movie. One of them was 17 and he offered to show his ID and buy the tickets. By then the crotchety, old man in the ticket window was onto them and informed the kids that they would each have to show ID. See if they were smart, they would have sent that kid up by himself while they waited somewhere out of sight. He brings the four tickets back and bam, no hassle. They did not think ahead.

So while we were buying our tickets, they regrouped in the lobby area. I could tell by their hushed conversation and nervous glances into the interior of the theater that they were trying to figure out a way in.

We got our snacks and found some seats in the theater. About ten minutes later, the first teenager from the group walked in. The other three followed. Did I report them? Oh no. That would make me a hypocrite. I snuck into more than one movie when I was a teenager.

The content in the movie was barely bad enough to warranty an R rating anyway. There was some cursing and some zombie violence. Kids these days have seen and heard worse by the time they hit 15 or 16 years old.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Death of a Loyal Synonym Finder

There comes a time when we must all let go. That time has come for my Synonym Finder.

We have been together through at least two novels, countless rewrites and research papers in college. My Synonym Finder has seen me through them. It stood by my side despite the many injuries it has sustained. I remember its first trauma. A certain two year old who shall remain nameless, picked it up by the flimsy paperback cover and the sheer weight of the words within caused the cover to rip. I lovingly bandaged the dear heart, my Synonym Finder. It wasn't the book's fault. Given the length (1361 pages), it should never have been a paperback to begin with.
I did the same with its many injuries after that: falls from the arm of my recliner, dives into the iron magazine rack in the living room, rough crams into the book case, maybe even a wine spill or two. With inordinate amounts of masking tape, our working relationship persevered.

Gradually, the pages within have begun to suffer and with this newest blow (a 3" rip to the back cover), the damage is too extensive. And so I mourn the impending loss of one of my favorite books. I shall remember it fondly always, or at least until I receive the hard cover edition I plan to order from Amazon this weekend.

Friday, November 6, 2009

not the boss of me

soundtrack of the day - The Killers, Day and Age

I'm beginning to think there is something in my demeanor that gives people this undeniable urge to exert authority over me. Maybe I'm too easygoing or quiet. At least three times within the last 24 hours, people who really have no real authority over me have tried to order me around or manipulate me into doing something they wanted me to do. It's getting a little weird. I have very few issues with authority figures. My boss is my boss, etc. I get that. But why do some people try so hard to control what I do? I ain't causin' no trouble no how.

When I talk to someone and they act in what I think is an unreasonable manner, I like try to figure out what their motivation is. I have found that if they think that you've said something to devalue who they are or what they do, they have a tendency to lash out. In an effort to regain some of that value, they try to wrestle you into some action or their way of thinking.

I read once (I apologize if I misquote) that the easiest way to end a tug of war is to drop your end of the rope. These are wise words to live by. Some times you can have more fun if you let go and watch people fall on their butts.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

how many do you need?

soundtrack of the day - Adele, 19

Someone sent me a link to this product on Sephora's website today.

It's a $48 set. This is a really good deal, but the amount of makeup it comes with seems a little over the top to me. 84 eyeshadows? 60 lip glosses? wow.

What struck me as funny about this was the customer review section. One person on the first page commented that this was her second ultimate blockbuster kit. She bought the second one because it came with some items that her first one didn't. Really? You need TWO of them?!?!!? Are you reproducing the Sistene Chapel ceiling in your bathroom or something? Do you do some side work as a circus clown? Another person commented that they wished there were more eyeshadows in place of some of the lip glosses. Again, 84 different eye shadows are not enough for you?

The thing does look like fun, but I am afraid that I would end up looking like Mimi on Drew Carey.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

monsters: on my TV and in my closet

soundtrack of the day - Dave Matthews, Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King

This weekend was fun. I took last Friday and yesterday off so I could work on the writing. That didn't really happen. I spent most of the weekend eating candy and playing Resident Evil. In other words, I reverted back to ten year old me. Ok, maybe I didn't engage in those 2 particular activities ALL weekend, but that is how I will choose to sum it up. I did whatever I could to avoid working.

One of my work avoidance activities was to clean out our scary walk in closet. Most of it was okay but there was this one corner that was sort of a black hole. If something went in, you likely weren't getting it back. Cleaning the closet was time consuming but luckily not disgusting...with one exception.

Every year, my husband goes to the Indy 500. I found several of his tickets in a filing cabinet drawer, including one of them that was still in the plastic holder he wears around his neck. I should have taken a picture for the blog so that other people could share in my suffering. Perhaps we could have started a support group. Alas I did not, and now I will have to dredge up that mental image and try to adequately describe the horror.

Some sort of insect had crawled into the plastic ticket holder to die. It was the size and shape of one of those huge bumble bees (body about an inch long), but all dark brown. Its legs were still there, folded up against its belly. It was rotting, and I mean, rotting. There was a smear coming out from under its back like some of its guts had squashed out and the inside of the ticket holder was covered in little dark, brown specks. The only thing that would have been worse is if I had seen its eyes. [prolonged shudder] I have NO idea how it got there. I was deeply disturbed and I fear that it may surface in my dreams.

Trauma aside, my closet is clean and beautiful. I even opened up a section of the closet big enough to store my art supplies in a tidy manner. I gained about two square feet of floor space in there too. Unfortunately, I still have a book to edit.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

ignoramus devious

Today I read an interesting article. It was about teenagers and young adults who robbed the homes of several celebrities over the course of the past year. They “allegedly” robbed: Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom, Megan Fox, etc, the list goes on.
The burglars were finally busted.

The suspects were teenagers and people in their 20s. Per the news article, some of them graduated from something called a “continuation campus”. I had never heard of this kind of school before, but apparently it is a school dedicated to educating students who can’t quite cut it academically in a regular school.

I hate to be mean (ok, maybe I do), but these young adults are clearly not the brightest bananas in the bunch. The whole debacle is sort of like an LD Ocean’s Eleven. Yet, not only did they pull off the heists, they got away with the crimes for almost a year.

Um, wow.

I also had to wonder how lax the security at these celebrity’s homes is.
They entered one of the homes through a doggy door. A doggy door?!?!?! When one is wealthy and/or possesses expensive items, perhaps it would be prudent to 1. not have such easy access into the home as an unsecured door and maybe 2. invest some of that designer dud money in more effective security.

Regardless of whatever consequences the suspects face now, they will probably end up with millions of dollars when they strike a movie deal with whomever. If they ever get out of prison, they’ll be able to buy those Chanel boots for themselves. Maybe that was part of the plan the whole time.

Here is a link to the article in case you want to read it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

netflix rules

soundtrack of the day - Robin Thicke, The Evolution of Robin Thicke
reading - my manuscript, still

Yesterday I read that Netflix is going to start offering streaming movies through PS3! This is me jumping up and down and clapping with delight. Once they get that whole thing going, I plan to abandon Blockbuster. Let us review what I will not miss.

1. Blockbuster's high ass per rental prices
2. Blockbuster's snotty ass employees. I mean, really? You wear a uniform and make like $7 an hour. Puhlease don't treat me like a subhuman.
3. The crowd/line on Fridays and Saturdays, screaming children, rude yuppies, giggling teenagers, that jerk at the front of the line that is somehow taking 20 minutes to check out
4. The new release that I want to see being out of stock
5. The drive to the store and the drive to return the movie. Did I mention I was lazy?

Ah yes. It will be worth every penny.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rambling Tuesday

Have you ever tried to encourage silence by being silent? It doesn’t really work.

So, what’s going on today? Hmmm…I finished listening to an audiobook – Undead and Unwelcome by MaryJanice Davidson. It was ok. The main character was pretty shallow. The writing wasn’t fantastic. I liked the story though, that’s the most important thing, well not that I liked the story but that it was good. Was that a run-on sentence? Probably yes. It’s staying.

Cell phone picture of the day – butterfly in the parking lot at work. This is from a couple of months ago, but hey, it’s new to you!

Monday, October 26, 2009

jubilation and lamentation

soundtrack of the day - Seal, System
reading - demon book manuscript

The birthday weekend was pretty cool. My husband prepared my requested dinner of steak and pineapple upside down cake with perfection! I got to use the new camera at grandma's giant birthday party. The food for that function was just as good as Friday dinner. I think I probably gained around 5-6 pounds this weekend. I wasn't even hungry this morning, which is weird. There will be much working out and eating lite this week.

The drink of the weekend was a white russian made with raspberry vodka, skim milk instead of cream, and kahlua. LOVE it.

Now for the lamentation. My beloved EnV2 has croaked. Just so you know, if you break your phone in the middle of your contract, Verizon has no love for you. The website informed me of their generous offer to 'allow' me to upgrade for full retail price. Um, gee that's great, thanks. I mean, really? I can't get like fifty bucks off or anything? I've had phone service through them for like, seven years maybe? I didn't want to pay full retail for a new phone, so I hooked up my mother in law's old blackberry. It has no camera, cannot even receive picture messages and is apparently unable to download games and ringtones from verizon's website. Yet somehow, it costs $30 more a month than the service my EnV2. I appreciate the generosity on the part of my mother in law, but I despise this phone. It's an 8703e, in case you were wondering, and it is the least user friendly phone I ever ever seen in my entire life. It is my dream in life to smash this phone into bits and pieces against a wall. Every menu has a submenu. Settings that I should be able to change, I can't. For instance, I can supposedly remove password protection so that I don't have to enter the password every time I pick the damn thing up. It won't let me. That option in that submenu does not function properly. Joy. I have nicknamed it the crapberry. I am turning it off today.

so is my suffering.

Friday, October 23, 2009

happy birthday to me

soundtrack for the day - happy birthday song
reading - chapter 4-5 of the demon book manuscript

Today is my birthday! Oh yes. And I have requested a menu.

new york strip steak (on the grill if it isn't still raining)
baked potatoes
king's hawaiin sweet rolls
and pineapple upside down cake for dessert

yes!!! so wonderful. I feel very spoiled. Hopefully I can squeeze in a workout to work off some of those calories before I commence book working.
My present was a very nice camera so you can expect to see more pictures on the blog!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

whining while I work

soundtrack of the day - Madonna, Confessions on a Dance Floor

reading - demon book manuscript

I am feeling frustrated. I spend so much of my day doing stuff that I don't want to do that I have very little time to work on editing the book. Who do I write to get 2 more hours added to the day? In a perfect world, I could write full time. That would solve many issues for me. Unfortunately, I can't do that. Noooo, I have to be a responsible adult and make a real living. growl.

I know this hectic way of life won't go on forever. I just need to focus on doing what I need to do to get to where I want to be.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

on a Tuesday

soundtrack of the day - Silversun Pickups, Carnavas

reading - demon book manuscript

Today, whilst exiting the restroom stall at work, I was looking at the floor for some reason and I hit myself in the forehead with the stall door. Yuck and ouch.

So, my birthday is Friday! YAY me! My birthday is on the cusp between Libra and Scorpio. My sign varies sometimes depending on who writes the horoscope. In the wikipedia, 10/23 is listed on both the scorpio and libra pages. Maybe I have a split personality?

Now we will examine the differences in personality traits.

Scorpio is loyal, passionate, observant and dynamic, but is also jealous, obsessive, and suspicious.
Libra is diplomatic, graceful, peaceful, but is also superficial, vain, indecisive and unreliable.

[source -]

I guess that makes me an indecisive beotch.

Also interesting is the fact that Libra and Scorpio are romantically compatible signs. Good to know if I ever decide to date myself. Why, self! I never thought of you in that way.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Grammar Rant – Know Your Language

No one uses perfect grammar all of the time, except for maybe crusty old English professors who probably would not be first on your party invitation list. That being said, there are some aspects of our great language that all adults who have had the privilege of attending third grade grammar class should know.

Today’s rant is about using correct words. While some words may sound similar when you say them out loud, they are not spelled the same and the definitions are not interchangeable. Allow me to demonstrate.

Oh yes. I see this problem often – people use except when they should use accept. Thou shalt not be a moron.

Except is when you exclude something as in, “I think my coworkers are somewhat intelligent EXCEPT for the ones don’t know their native language well enough to piece together a coherent sentence.”

Accept is to willingly receive something or to believe something as in, “I accept the fact that I cannot raise the IQs of other people by writing a blog.”

When something can be accepted, it is ACCEPTABLE.
EXCEPTABLE is not the same thing.

Here we go.
Their = possessive form of they. “THEIR friends probably speak that way too.”
Easy enough, eh?

There = adverb for that place, you know, that place over there.
“The dictionary is over THERE. Seriously.”

They’re = contraction, word combo of they and are.
“THEY’RE not doing their English teachers any justice.”

It’s important to use words correctly, especially simple words. If you don’t, people like me will make fun of you.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

is it Friday yet?

soundtrack of the day - Adele, 19

reading - demon book manuscript

Have you ever gone into something, knowing that it's a mistake but you do it anyway? That's what I'm doing. Generally, when one is editing their own work, distance is imperative. You set it aside for a while to distance yourself from it. It allows you to evaluate it more objectively. I don't have time to do that. I need to finish this draft by the end of this month to leave myself enough time to get the author website going and do some other miscellaneous promotion activities by January. I really like the word miscellaneous, don't I? I used it in the entry for yesterday too.

What I really need is a vacation day. I can sit in my quiet house and read my butt off for hours.

I want to finish this draft before I pick up anything else to read. I have decided what I'm reading next though. I've been thinking a lot about Alfred Hitchcock lately, maybe because it's October. I remember reading his stories as a child but I don't remember much of what I read. I feel like I need to revisit the genius.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

stupid dentist

Soundtrack for the day - Amy Winehouse, Frank
Reading - absolutely nothing, should last about 24 hours

I went to the dentist today. I am not fond of the dentist. It was awful. He is a cruel, cruel man with long needles and other miscellaneous instruments of torture. I had three cavities drilled and filled. I am just now getting my feeling back. The left side of my mouth is, however, still having a little trouble keeping up with smiles and talking. On the up side, no one else at my dinner table noticed that rice and veggies kept falling out of that side of my mouth.

On a different note, I'm finishing the changes to the demon book manuscript. What happens next? I back up the file like three times, reprint (kill some trees) and give her another go round. Hopefully there won't be too many changes. I hate to obsess about it, but the story is so good that I'm afraid my writing won't do it justice. That probably sounds cheezy but oh well. I will not obsess. I will let the demon book go...eventually.

have a lovely

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

the jester

soundtrack of the day - The Clash, London Calling

I finished The Jester by James Patterson today. It was an okay book. Writing was meh, as it often is with Patterson books. The action and pace of the story was good so that made up for the aforementioned meh writing.

The Jester is set in medieval times. It's about a man who leaves to fight in the Crusades and comes back to find that his wife and his infant son have been killed. He sets off to avenge their deaths and ends up leading a rebellion against some very naughty nobles. The death toll in the story was rather high. I guess that's the way it worked during medieval times. Lots of children in the story died. That kind of thing always upsets me. I know, sometimes it's integral to the story and I'm probably a big baby, blah, blah, blah. It's still a turn off for me. There was a plethora of dick jokes too though, which was nice.

Overall I give the thing a 7 out of 10.

Monday, October 12, 2009

inane post of the day

on the mp3 player - Killers - Day and Age

This just passed weekend was rife with junk food and lack of working. I attended a wedding in South Bend, which quite a jog from where I live. It was okay but SO long. It was a Catholic wedding. Catholicism is really interesting to me. They have all of these tools and apparently programmed audience responses. The priest would speak and then out of nowhere, the audience would mumble something back to him. A couple of times, he held up a round thing and sort of sang some words. They also had holy water in a dispenser at the back of the church and little plastic flasks if you wanted some holy water to go!!! How awesome is that. It took all I had not to grab some holy water to go. Alas, I wanted it for the wrong reasons. I wanted it for the novelty of having it, not because I actually wanted to use it. And I don't think that keeping it around in case a vampire stops by the house counts as a valid use.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Who is Irving Penn?

I saw that Irving Penn died yesterday. I had no idea who he was so I looked him up. This man was a truly great photographer. When I saw his work, I felt a little guilty that I didn't know who he was. I'm not really tuned into the photography world, I'll admit. The only two photographer names I knew previously were Ansel Adams and Annie Leibovitz.

The world lost a phenomenal artist when Penn died. Here is a link to a gallery of some of his art. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. The website text is in another language but it doesn't detract from the photos themselves.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


mp3 player - Black Eyed Peas, Monkey Business

I finally finished Inferno yesterday. That thing took forever! It was really awesome but by the end, it was starting to feel like homework. Inferno is totally worth the time to read though. There are many references to it throughout literature and movies, etc. Basically, our 'modern' idea of Hell is based on some of the imagery on Inferno, down to Lucifer having bat wings.

The torture the souls receive is of course, based on the sins they committed in life. Sound familiar? Some of the descriptions are deliciously disturbing. The souls are either mangled or bound in some kind of way. I guess that is the point of Hell, isn't it? To be at least slightly uncomfortable for all eternity?

In the Inferno, your offense also determines your location in the circles. You've probably heard the expression, the ninth circle of Hell? Well, that's a location. And, surprisingly enough, it's made of ice. In the center, people cry and their tears freeze to their body. And Lucifer? He's half immersed in the ice. How much would that suck? He also has three faces and chews on sinners like they're bubble yum. delish.

I looked up Dante in the wikipedia after I finished reading Inferno. I realize that wikipedia is not considered a reliable source for research, but guess what. It's my blog and I'm not trying to turn it into an official research paper. So anyway, Dante had some issues. He chose the losing side in a battle for power in what is now Italy and eventually ended up exiled. This irked him because he loved Florence. I think he wrote Inferno primarily out of frustration and to sort of 'call out' bad behaviors of the people who wronged him. There is one particular part of Dante's Hell which is reserved for corrupt religious leaders and such. That losing side of the battle that I mentioned earlier? Yeah, that was the side that wanted less papal control over the government.

Reading that wiki article took some of the mystique out of Inferno. But it was still a good read and if you want to be in on the references in literature and TV, you might want to pick it up.

That's all I have for now.

Monday, October 5, 2009

mo mo mo monday.

Ugh, happy Monday. Is it ever really a happy Monday? I didn’t get as much done on the book this weekend as I wanted to, which was heartbreaking. I am trying to get it ready to roll by January. I don’t think that’s going to happen. I keep plugging away at it but it seems like I have less and less time to work on it every day. I made it through almost three whole chapters. I need to focus. I need to not try to watch television while I’m working. It’s difficult though because all of my favorite shows are coming back on.
I did have a fun distraction this weekend. We went to the zoo. Here is a delightful photo I took of a meerkat sitting on another meerkat’s face as he lounged on his back. Perhaps he was trying to teabag his friend? Maybe not. Either way it makes for a highlarious picture, even if I do say so myself.

It is entitled Meerkat Teabag, copyright, bitches.

Friday, October 2, 2009

work and the pansy vampires

on the mp3 player - Sarah Bareilles, Little Voice

reading - Inferno (still)

Ugh, I have so much work to do this weekend. I have six chapters edited on paper and I need to transfer the changes onto the computer file. This is one of my least favorite writing activities. Tonight I am putting on the XM chill station and working as late as humanly possible. If I can keep from consuming too much beer in the process, I should be able to finish three of the chapters. That's my goal, at least.

Ok, so I was waiting for CSI to come on last night and there was nothing on that I really wanted to watch. I turned on the Vampire Diaries to pass the time. Is that thing runny crap on a stick or what?? It consisted of a bunch of well-dressed prissies running around making snarky comments to each other. There was pretty much ZERO action going on. In most cases, I couldn't even tell if someone was a vampire because they weren't doing anything. I picked out probably three of them for sure. It was very much a soap opera.

I haven't read the books so I can't really compare the TV show to them. Hopefully the books are better. Ok, that's enough on that subject. I won't spend too much time making fun of the pansy vampires because making fun of pansy vampires is almost as played out as the pansy vampires themselves.

That's all I have for the moment. I need to get to work.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dear Oscar Wilde

Dear Oscar Wilde:

I listened to The Picture of Dorian Gray today. It is a beautifully written story. Your descriptions of  the various luxuries Dorian admired were incredibly detailed and the flow of the writing was quite poetic.

However, if some day you are reincarnated and blessed with similar literary prowess, I would like to request that you incorporate more action and less blah-blah.

Thank you, kindly.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

RES 5!!

I FINALLY got Resident Evil 5. I ordered it used from Amazon because paying $60 for a video game hurts my heart.

I played and finished Resident Evil 4 on wii earlier this year. That was a great game. However, the graphics were meh. Really, wii graphics are never great. I don't know the numbers, the bit number or twatever. My geekiness does not extend that far.

Resident Evil 5 so far is, well, evil! The zombies are wicked fast, maybe even faster than they were in RES4. The initial setting is a dirty, ramshackle village in Africa. Like RES 4, you have a partner, only this time, you can't kill her, which is a plus for klutzes like me. Anyway, the speed of the zombies, this is me focusing. I played through the first chapter yesterday. With the new zombies, you see one from a distance, it sees you, then you have maybe five seconds before it races in your direction and tries to bite your face off. Seriously, it's nerve wracking when there are like 50 of them chasing you.

I'm still adjusting to the controls and I feel totally awkward. One change the developers made is that the game doesn't pause when you enter the item menu. In every other Resident Evil game that I've played, if you enter the item menu to heal or make an adjustment to a weapon, whatever, the game pauses. Not this time.

I guess I'll just have to be on my toes a little more this time around!

Monday, September 28, 2009

tea time

on the mp3 player - Estelle, Shine

This weekend was interesting. On Saturday, I photographed a tea/fashion show at my mother's church. Now there's something I never thought I would do. She volunteered me and my moderately lame 8 megapixel Canon PowerShot. In return, I received free lunch. Always a plus! I have never photographed an event for other people before. It was really nerve wracking. I kept worrying about the pictures coming out blurry, so I used the automatic settings on the camera. I got to use the tripod I bought last winter, so that was cool.
It was mostly adorable little old ladies and little old lady clothes. They cracked me up. One of the older ladies at my table was singing the words with the piano music. It was also funny when they were oohing and ahhing the jackets. The fact that one of them was reversible seemed to be a big selling point. I had more fun with it than I thought I would. Here is a picture of one of the table settings. Fancy, right?

On book working news, I ditched the cover design that I've been working on part time for about three weeks. It looks good but as a thumbnail on Amazon or other book sale sites, it's not going to work. There's just too much detail. It was about 15-20 hours of work to get this far, so it kinda sux to head back to the drawing board. However, I did learn a lot in Fireworks so it wasn't a complete loss. You live, you learn, you move on.

Friday, September 25, 2009


on the mp3 player - Katy Perry, One of the Boys

reading - Inferno

The season premier of Ghost Whisperer is on tonight! YAY! I just turned it on. Yes, I know it's cheesy and they jumped a big fat shark the season before last when her husband died and came back to life in the body of another man. I don't care. I love it anyway. I love the creepy parts, and J. Love and her over the top girlie girl outfits and Jamie Kennedy.

On a comparably geeky note, Wil Wheaton is soon releasing a book about Star Trek TNG and his experiences on the show. I cannot WAIT! I LOVE Star Trek TNG. I remember every Friday night (I think), my parents would order pizza for dinner and let us eat in the living room while we watched it. I was so sad when they canceled that show.

He posted a few podcasts of excerpts from the book on his blog -

They are so funny! I hope I can get my grubby little paws on a signed copy when it comes out. That would make my whole year!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

lightning source

Hey there! I am looking for input from someone who has had experience publishing through lightning source to possibly (and pretty please) offer feedback on their experience, info on the cost and such. It would be even better if that someone could compare that to publishing through lulu. thank you so much to anyone who responds!!!
e-mails with any attachments will not be opened.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Gargoyle

I finished The Gargoyle today. That was a really good book. The narrator starts out as a physically beautiful porn star. At the beginning of the book, he has a car accident that burns most of his body. He loses fingers, toes, ears, most of his hair and perhaps most tragically, his dick. A lady named Marianne Engel finds him in his hospital room and she changes his life.

He spends the story recovering from his burns and Marianne is there to help him through it by telling him stories of their past lives together. The amount of detail (and probably research) that went into this book, not just the burn part, but the history and language and religions, etc. amazed me. There are many, many references to Inferno by Dante. I actually picked Inferno up at the library yesterday and it was helpful to see what Davidson (the author) was doing. That isn’t a requirement for keeping up with the story though.

I have one complaint about the book and that was that some of the phrasing was a little repetitive. For instance, people stuck out their chests or pulled up their chests a lot. However, given that the book is 528 pages long, I can’t hold it against him. If I tried to write something that long, I’m sure I would repeat myself too.

I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone who might want to read it so I won’t go into much detail. I will say that this book is very intelligent without being uppity. I think that’s a difficult balance.

Monday, September 21, 2009

burning trees

Monday - back to corporate grey reality.

On the mp3 player - Incubus Monuments & Melodies
reading - The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

I spent most of my weekend work time painting burning trees in Fireworks for cover art for the book that I plan to release in 3/2010. I don't really want to reveal the title for the book. Not that it's the greatest title ever mind you, I just really suck with titles and I don't want to have to try and think of another one. From here on in, I will refer to it as the demon book.

Anyway, if you don't know me, you might be asking, why the heck is the author doing the cover art? The answer is that I am publishing on my own through lulu. I came to this decision after about two months of research into the publishing industry and four queries to agents (2 rejections, 2 no replies). I decided before I even started looking for an agent that I wasn't going to bang my head against the wall too long before I went to lulu. Life is too short to spend waiting for some stranger's approval, especially when it isn't required. That is time better spent writing another book.

So, here I am - editing, working on cover art, and moving toward some sort of marketing activity. I don't mind the work at all because I'm pretty much a workaholic when it comes to artistic endeavors. It is a lot to handle though. On the bright side, I have learned that I can do a lot more in Fireworks than I ever imagined!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Dionysus be praised! Chateau Thomas has created wine with no sugar and no carbs! I had some this weekend and it was just as tasty as the wine I usually drink. I was a little worried it would taste like kool-aid or like Boones. It didn't! It actually tasted like wine. I had the blush. Where has this been all my life?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Kafka vs. Perkins Gilman

So, I finished Metamorphosis. It was different, for sure. I saw some similarities between Metamorphosis and The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The latter is in my American Gothic Tales book and one of my favorite stories.

Both characters went through a major life change. Gregor (Kafka) transforms into a large insect. Gilman’s narrator’s husband has moved her to the countryside for the summer.

Both narrators spend most of their time in the story in one room, pretty much isolated from their families and everything else. When the narrators get antsy, the walls become an expansion of the space in which their oh-so-considerate family members have decided to stash them. Gregor literally climbs the walls, dropping off the ceiling for fun. The crazy, yellow wallpaper lady is obsessed with people she sees in the wallpaper and ends up thinking that she is from the wallpaper herself.

What caused me to notice the similarities between these stories was the way the narrators in the stories approach their abnormal dilemmas with somewhat rational lines of thought. Gregor, even though he has transformed into a large insect, is initially most concerned with how his condition will affect his ability to go to work and support his family. This type of thinking carries on throughout the story: he worries about their financial wellbeing without him, the jobs they take on, how the other family members get along, etc. Yellow wallpaper lady is not quite as calm. She grows increasingly paranoid but everything she does is rational to her. Even at the end of the story, when she’s completely lost it, her internal voice is operating in a coherent manner.

Anyway, they’re both worthwhile reads. Yellow Wallpaper is better though. Boo yah.

Here is a cell phone picture of the day. I call this 'eeewwwww, dead snake under a swingset'. I’m not really a morbid person (ok, not a morbid person all of the time), but this is something I don’t see every day.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I am

A good way to start out a blog, I think, is an introduction to the person who is writing it.

My name is Lea Ryan. Most of my waking moments are spent either writing or reading. My day job, which I deeply appreciate having at the moment, consists of writing mundane, vanilla corporate blah.

I continue plugging away at the keyboard when I get home because that's what I do best. I am a writer. I'm not tired of writing at the end of the day. I am tired of the blah, so I turn to fiction. That is my party time.

As far as personal interests go, I am basically a ten year old boy trapped inside a 31 year old woman's body. I enjoy many things geek, which you will see in later posts, I'm sure. I love video games, Star Trek (next generation, baby!), Star Wars, old horror movies. I grew up on geek with my Commodore 64, original nintendo and atari consoles and piles and piles of books. I could go on, but I won't because that would be boring.

I like to read when I'm not watching movies or writing. I just finished Whitley Streiber's The Grays and I started Kafka's Metamorphosis. Yes, yes, I haven't read Metamorphosis yet, hard to believe.

I grew up on classic literature, thanks to my mother. My heroes are Poe and King. I'm partial to Shaekespeare too. The dialogue between his characters just amazes me. It's so complex. He was something beyond genius. I've been reading some James Patterson lately, Daniel X and Maximum Ride. I wouldn't call him a literary genius, but I like that his books are short and easy to read. They're also full of action, which is a plus.

Anyway, that's all I have for today.