Wednesday, December 30, 2009

End of the Year Stats, Favorites and the Gifts that Suck and Blow

Howdy y'all.

1. Just to clarify from Monday's post, I would never use "Death by comfy chair" as the way out of this world. Thank you for all of your virtual hugs.

In case you missed it in the comments, here is the link I provided to atone for the depressing post: (Viewer Discretion Advised)

2. Christmas Gifts that Suck and Blow

My sister got Kid C a rock tumbler. It turns ordinary rocks into precious gems. Cool, right?

I thought it would be a fun afternoon activity. So, Kid C and I put it together, throw the rocks in the barrel, and plug it in the wall.

Let me tell you, the tumbler, when it's on, is not a quiet thing. It does not purr. Imagine rocks inside a hard plastic barrel being tossed about. Cuz that's what it is.

Kid C asks me how long before we have jewels. He has to yell. I check the instructions.

"Step 2: Wait for at least 48 hours, with tumbler running. Maybe it will be ready. Maybe not."

48 Frakkin hours? Yeah, thanks, Erin.

My mom's been known to come up with edible gifts that are fairly inedible. This year it was a bag of roasted Edamame with a smattering of Wasabi.

I put one on my tongue, and it burned a hole. Sam ate one, and promptly grew a second hair on his chest.

It's okay, my mom doesn't read my blog.

3. Since I missed a lot of people for my Christmas Card, here is a virtual copy:

4. End of the Year Stats

I thought it would be fun to take a look at the numbers of 2009 for me.

Total blog hits: 20,000
Average hits per month for Jan - Jun: 1,000
Average hits per month for Jun - Dec: 2,000

Followers on Jan. 1st: 12
Followers as of Dec. 30th: 105

Hits came from 91 Countries

Interesting Search Words that led to people actually reading my blog:
"Brodi Ashton Nitrous Dentist"
"Saggy Bladder"
"How to Look Like Farrah Fawcett"
"Brain Masala"

Number of blog posts: About 150

Non-Blog stats:
Number of times I quit Diet Coke: 3
Number of Diet Cokes I've had this morning: 3

Number of Children: 2
Number of Children potty-trained: 1.5

Number of Words Written for New Book: 65,000

Favorite Television shows of 2009:
Modern Family
True Blood

Favorite Movies:
District 9
Star Trek

Days I've played tennis: 125

Times I ate at Melting Pot: 5

Favorite Books:
Catching Fire
The Dark Divine
If I Stay

Favorite pieces of Writing Advice:
Give yourself permission to write a crappy first draft.
Make sure your Main Character has a Concrete Object of Desire.
If you want to learn about description, ask Kim.

So, what are some of your end of the year stats? Favorites? Sucks and Blows?

Happy New Year, y'all. Thanks for making my blog fun. We really are going to take over the world in 2010.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Better Late than Never, Rogue Toilet Paper, and Why I Hate New Years

Sorry folks. For the late blog. I wasn't even going to blog today- due to post-Christmas hangover and end-of-year blues, but then I got a message on my Facebook wall from a reader:

"I would be a lot more productive if you would just write your Monday blog post..."

So, if your productivity depends on my blog, I am up to the challenge. Wherever liberty is threatened, or productivity is suffering, I'll be there. But remember, when you judge this post, I'm doin' it on the fly.

1. Kid C and I went to church yesterday. While walking down the hall, we noticed a section of the wall that was missing it's outer sheet rock, exposing the wall innards. Apparently, it was due to a leaky pipe.

Kid C and I stopped and surveyed the damage. Kid C shook his head, and said, "What is Jesus doing to that wall?"

2. I won iPhone Solitaire 634 times. 634. Six Hundred Thirty-four. I won't tell you how many actual games I've played, because that would be just plain sad. But I will say this: My win percentage is 15.7%. So, if you're good with numbers...

3. Did I mention I hate New Years? Hate it. It's to do with the personality traits of the obsessively pessimistic. At this time of year, I can only dwell on everything I have failed to accomplish. The funk starts in early December, and continues on through days like today, where I'm sitting in a Borders, writing a book that sucks, and wondering if I can use the armrest of this comfy chair I'm sitting on to slit my wrists. It will take a lot of rubbing, and before the actual slitting occurs, I'm sure I will have third degree burns from the friction, which can only be painful...

Ummmm, dude, where was I? Maybe I shouldn't have blogged today. Bree Despain is sitting next to me, agreeing I shouldn't have blogged today.

4. On a lighter note: I saw Bree Despain's book out in the wild.

It truly is a rare occurance, since the local Barnes and Nobles keep selling out of the sucker. Way to go Bree. It appears she's good with the words, but not so good at keeping her toilet paper inside her restroom stall.

As I was taking this picture, a teenage girl walked into the room and gave me (camera in hand) a curious stare. I pointed to the roll of rogue toilet paper and said, "Take it! Do you know who it belongs to? Bree Frakkin Despain. Take it and sell it on eBay!"

She didn't take it. Guess she hasn't read the book yet...

How was everyone's Christmas?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Does Anyone know what Periwinkle even looks like?

The Perriwinkle Problem

Quick Post before my Christmas Break:

We had a little dinner to celebrate the birth of Bree Despain's book The Dark Divine. (The actual launch party is in January, so mark your calendars. Not sure what day. Just circle all of January.)

We were supposed to wear purple. I'm lucky if I find non-black in my closet, let alone purple.

But in the fashion of a Christmas Miracle,  I found a purple shirt to wear.

Here were the reactions:

Emily Wing Smith accused me of lying: "You can't possibly think that shirt is purple!"

Bree Despain complimented me: "What a lovely shade of lilac. I'm just happy you came."

Sara Bolton corrected her: "That's not lilac. If it's anything, it's periwinkle."

Sara's husband Ben (of the infamous fish v. amphibian debate) said: "I'm gonna wikipedia the arse off that shirt."

Kim Reid said: "At least you tried to wear non-black."

James Dashner accused me of being color-blind. He's all, "I've seen aliens with more color smarts than you."

I'm not surprised. Everyone knows that if aliens found their way to earth, they would be on a higher plane of intelligence, including a deeper understanding of the color wheel.

I told everyone: "It's Frakkin' purple! Who even knows what periwinkle looks like?"

Valynne (our group's bouncer) threatened to throw me out for such lies.

You tell me.

I'll do a longer post later on the evening's festivities. For now, enjoy the Silent Monks, singing the Hallelujah chorus.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dark Divine Trailer, and Kid C's theories on the Afterlife

Happy Monday Before Christmas, Y'all!

I thought I'd be too busy trying to get ready for Christmas to blog, but then I remembered I don't cook, and I don't shop. I barely clean. I totally have time to blog!

1. Yesterday, Kid C gave me a glimpse of what he really believes about the afterlife:

Kid C: "Hey Brodi. When you die, and then when you come back, I'll be your father."

me: "Excuse me?"

Kid C: "When you die, and then when you come back, you'll be a little baby. So I'll be your dad. Right?"

me: "Um, no." (That's all I said, because I didn't even know how to begin to tell him all the things wrong with that sentence.)

Kid C: "Oh. Okay. Then, when you come back, will I be a teenager?"

me: (just to make things easier, and evade this teaching moment): "Yes."

2. Bree Despain's book The Dark Divine comes out tomorrow. Tomorrow! Check out this trailer for it:

3. So, it's December 21st. How are all y'all's Christmas Plans going? Or, if you don't believe, how is your:
-Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus?
-First Day of Winter?
-Humbug Day?
-Look at the Bright Side Day?
-National Flashlight Day?

Yep. These are all official holidays for December 21st. I wouldn't want to leave anyone out.

I love the evening of the 21st. That's when we gather our family, and hunt throughout our house for random flashlights, and then when it gets dark, we hunt around for the batteries. And then mother (in her kerchief) yells at father (in his cap) that he should've gotten stupid batteries at the stupid store. And then we light candles, and little Timmy mutters under his breath, "One day I'll be a teenager, and then I'm outta here."

It's beautiful, really.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Our Annual Holiday Book List Compiled... and Can You Believe James Dashner asked me to "Fetch"?

So, I put all of our suggested books and authors together in a nifty list. I was going to link to them and stuff, but just thinking about trying to accomplish such a task makes my lips itch, and I figured we live in a Google world.

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt
Archangel by Sharon Shinn
Fairies of Dreamdark books by Laini Taylor's
Attolia series by Megan Whalen Turner
Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Brigg
Alpha and Omega series
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede
Edgar Eager books
Lament by Maggie Stiefvater
Immortal: Love Stories with Bite by P.C. Cast
Intertwined by Gena Showalter
Wake, and Fade by Lisa McMann
The Mortal Instruments Trilogy
Invasive Procedures by Orson Scott Card
Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan
Firegirl by Tony Abbott
Savvy by Ingrid Law
Ida B. by Katherine Law
Alcatraz and the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman
Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore
When you Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Lips Touch by Laini Taylor
Impossible and Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
The Princess Bride
My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters by Sydney Salter
Jungle Crossing by Sydney Salter
Austenland by Shannon Hale
Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind by Heidi Ashworth

Authors to Read:
Lisa Shearin
Tasha Alexander
Deanna Raybourn
Susan Wittig Albert/Robin Paige

Other shenanigans at the Author Palooza:

As my last post mentioned, I went to the Barnes and Noble Author Palooza a couple days ago and here's a rundown:

-My "Essence of Jacob" hand lotion was overpowering. I think it's to do with the musky, earthy, steel-abs scent.

-Bree Despain, not believing it was so strong, decided to snort some. Seriously, Valynne held out the tiny bottle of "Essence of Jacob" for all to smell, and Bree jerked her head forward and impaled her nose on the bottle.

-Bree learned the hard way that upon contact with nasal passages, "Essence of Jacob" burns. (As it should. You've seen those abs, right?)

-I like typing "Essence of Jacob" in every sentence.

-Moving on... Stevie Wonder took our picture:

-James Dashner asked me to "fetch" him some more copies of Maze Runner. Apparently he doesn't know me very well.

-Valynne told James to "Fetch Off."

(Me and Valynne. Valynne is Secretary of Defense - aka "Bouncer" - of our Writing Group)

-James offered me his Sharpie pen he'd used to sign all night to make up for the offense. I took it and used it to sign our peace treaty.

-One of Mette Ivie Harrison's books has the word "Princess" in the title, but no actual princess in the book. So she signs it with "There is no princess in this book. Mette Ivie Harrison." I bought one of them, and when she told me how she was going to sign it, I said she might as well include, "There is no Santa Claus either."

Apparently Mette can't tell when I'm being sarcastic:

Which would be fine if I hadn't told her I was giving the book away on my blog. So apparently, only those 12 years old and older will be eligble to win, because by the time you're 12, you should know the truth, right?

-James Dashner showed off the paperback version of The 13th Reality, featuring a new artistic rendering of the main character.

When I saw it, I meant to say, "I would totally root for that boy." But it came out as, "I could totally go for that boy."

Creepy. I guess the "Essence of Jacob" went all the way to my brain.

Blogging may be sporadic for the next week or two, but I'll try to be on time.  What's everyone doing for the Holidays?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Let's All Make A Christmas Book List

Thank you for helping me reach 100 followers! 
New Follower Jenny Jackson asked what being a follower means, as in, what does she get out of it? Well, let me tell you: Not a darn thing.

I guess you get the ease of knowing when I have a new post up, but since I post pretty regularly on the same three days, I don't know how much good that is. I don't really have any newsletters. You don't get your picture in the local paper. And there is no fruit-of-the-month delivery.

But what you do get is a case of the warm fuzzies. (Cases of warm fuzzies were on sale at Wal-Mart, so I've got a bunch left over). 

Let's Start the Annual Book Gift List
I went to Author Palooza at a local B&N last night, and it got me thinking about book recommendations for Christmas Gifts.

So today I'm going to start a list of my favorites and I want everyone to contribute. I know I've talked about these books before, but we're gonna compile them all in one place so people all over the world can come to one post... this post... for their Christmas needs.

I'll start with the obvious:

Hunger Games and the sequel Catching Fire. (Dark Dystopian)

If I Stay. (Realistic, Literary)

The Dark Divine. (Take on the Prodigal Son with a Paranormal Twist)
(Available Dec. 22nd)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. (View Discretion Advised. Written by one of my favorite people of all time, Sherman Alexie)

Shiver. (Werewolves)

Beautiful Creatures. (Don't know yet, haven't finished reading. But enjoying it so far.)

Keturah and Lord Death (Fantasy. Your old "Girl Meets Boy. Boy is Death. Girl tries to Fall in Love with Someone Else...)

So, what's on your list? What are your faves? What are you planning on reading?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fine. I'm a Liar Pants on Fire.

1. My friend gave me a Christmas card that I thought was hilarious. It showed her three young sons, hands clasped together, eyes closed.

Below the picture, large bold words read, "We Are Praying for Your Salvation." I couldn't stop laughing. Apparently some people thought she was serious.

Speaking of which, I am finally done writing our Christmas Cards. If you want one, send me an email with your address. (Email address in sidebar).

2. I'm a Big Fat Liar.

Emily Wing Smith has long been wary of my truth-telling ability, but I learned at our Writer's Retreat that she officially thinks I'm a big fat liar. Her reasoning is two-fold.

a) I tried to pass off my first attempt to darken my hair as "brunette".

b) During an intense Scattergories battle, I tried to convince her a "grouper" (the fish) was an amphibian.
(Grouper- Not an Amphibian)

In my defense, my hair looked brunette to me, and then when Scattergories asked for an amphibian starting with a "g", "grouper" was the first thing that came to mind. I should've said "guppy".

But now, Emily thinks everything that comes out of my mouth should be questioned.

me: "I'm fine with the air mattress."

Em: "I don't believe you. Take the couch."

me: "Okay, I'm fine with the couch."

At this point her head exploded as she tried to figure out which one was the lie.

To be fair to Emily, I did lie to her on purpose once. When we were in L.A., she confessed she was deathly afraid of an earthquake hitting us while we were in the hotel.

So I told her that's ridonkulus and I explained why. Our hotel was curved like a half-moon, and this meant our hotel was convex, and everyone knows that in an earthquake, the convex buildings are the most structurally sound, so she didn't have to worry about the building crumbling down.
(Our hotel. From the Concave side)

I would've gotten away with it, but she kept asking me in earnest if it was true. I had to admit it was just a working theory of mine. But I wanted to make her feel better. Does that really count as lying?

3. BFF Bree Despain's book The Dark Divine comes out in 10 days. Have you entered her Huge Frakkin' Giveaway? She's got some seriously cool prizes and the contest ends today, so go check it out. (Of course, stay here til the end of the post, leave a comment, and then go check it out).

4. I would like to reach 100 public followers for Christmas. Can anyone help me pull that off? I only need six more...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Stealing from All-A-Dollar... Does it get Whiter Trashier than that?

Yay Friday, Y'all.

1. I'm slowly making my way through the entries in the Free Query/First Page Friday Challenge, so if you've sent me something, they are getting done. On a first come first served basis.

Here's an excerpt from Cam Ballou's entry.

I know what you are thinking, how horrible that sounds…someone praying for death when, on the outside, they don’t have a thing in the world to be unhappy about. In my defense, I am only trying to eat myself to death, which all in all is a very long and drawn out method of suicide which will likely only result in high cholesterol, diabetes, heart problems, cancer and obesity and get me nowhere.

I think this is a great example of "voice". Every editor and agent talks about voice, but it's very hard to explain other than to say "I know it when I see it." For me, when I read this, I don't hear the writer; I only hear the main character with a glimpse into her life.

Anyone else want to define "voice"?

2. Alice Pope from Children's Writers and Illustrators Market spotlighted me, Bree Despain and Emily Wing Smith on her blog. Check it out if you get a chance.

3. I've been finding those mini bottles of Diet Coke, which make me feel like I'm ingesting less of the hard stuff.

But then, I went to All-A-Dollar, and guess what I found? Mini old-fashioned Coke glasses! Can you believe it? It's a Christmas Miracle.
(Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong)

I grab 40 of them, and remark to the woman next to me, "Can you believe the treasures here?"

And she's all, "You're blocking the Smershey's Shmocolate Kisses. Can you be crazy somewhere else?"

I pack the glasses tightly into the store basket, and I receive permission from the manager to take the basket off the premises and to my car. But once I'm at my car, I realize I can't have these loose little gems rolling around everywhere on the drive home, and possibly breaking.

What would you do?

Me too. I stole the shopping basket from the Dollar Store. Aside from placing dirty diapers in our porch planters, this is the most white-trashy thing I've done.

4. Sam and I came out of a family Christmas party to see Kid B, asleep in the car like this:

That's gotta win some award, doesn't it?

5. I was checking out the search terms that lead to my blog the other day. I found "alien boobs."

First off, I have never blogged about alien boobs. Second, *who types this as a search term? I mean, seriously?

*If this was you, I apologize.

7. So, what are y'all doing this weekend?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Being a Brunette is Hard... People get hurt.

Whoa. Late start today.

So, on to the hair. You may recall that Bree Despain said I lacked the skillz needed to pull off being a brunette. She threw down her gauntlet (a ski glove) and I picked it up and slapped her cheek with it.

It was on.

I tried. I'm telling you here and now, I really tried. But after the first attempt, there was some argument as to whether or not I was truly brunette.

Here's a pic the day after I got my hair done with some of the writer peeps and my cousin Debbie and her blogger/writer friends. I admit, I can see why a select few thought I was still blond. (I'm the brunette on the left toward the back).
(Olivia, Heidi, me Emily Wing Smith, Sara B., Valynne N., Bree Despain, Debbie)

So I decided to try again. But I ran into another issue most everyone faces when they are making the jump from blond to brunette: If I go any darker, how will people be able to tell me apart from Sara Zarr?
(Sara Zarr, me)

Aside from the hair, we're practically twins, from our tiny little ears to our expressive eyebrows.

Despite this, I decided to go darker anyway. I've always wanted a twin sister. Sara will be so pleased.

So the writer peeps and I scoured the aisles of Walmart until we found the perfect shade for brunette virgins. Emily and Valynne got in on the coloring action too.

After the 2nd attempt to become brunette, my hair ended up... dark dark dark blond. Which I thought would be okay, until I got a peek at the result under the harsh flourescent lights of Walmart, and nearly popped my gizzard. I was pretty sure I'd seen the same shade of blond/brown caked onto the soles of my husband's shoes.

Even the lady at the checkout treated me differently. She took one look at my hair, and said, "You're gonna have to push the 'okay' button on the credit card machine extra hard."

me: "Why? Is it because I'm a brunette, and life is just more difficult for brunettes?"

her: "Lady, that ain't brunette."

Then my hand got caught in the twisty-turny bag thingee, because apparently brunettes are clumsier too.
Emily dressed the wound, and told me I needed to disinfect it immediately since the injury was sustained at Walmart, and that means there was a 98% chance I'd lose the hand.

I raced back to the house, and, being the calm rational person that I am, grabbed the remains of Emily Wing Smith's coloring bottle and tried to go dark a third time. THREE TIMES.

The result? Red.
I know. I thought it was successful too. 4 out of 5 writer peeps liked it. (The dissenter was Bree Despain, who believes as much as I try, I will never grow the cajones needed to be a brunette. She also believes hair is a precious commodity, and what I had done to mine was tantamount to inflation. Upon seeing the color, she said, "Why do you hate hair? Why??!!")

But my blond hair is still rejecting the color. After 24 hours, the red/brown had already faded to this:
And this morning, I found some blond hairs peeking through.

Fine. I admit it. I have no idea how to go brunette.

How's y'all's week going? It's 6 degrees here in SLC and I can tell you from personal experience that brunettes don't do well in the cold.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Beautiful Creatures Launch Party

Sorry so late today! I spent the morning driving home from my writer's retreat through a blizzard...

1. So, Free Query/First Page Friday was a huge success. I received more entries than I thought I would, and I can’t wait to read them all. Early trends: fantasy.

I thought it would be fun to share some tidbits from the samples in the next few weeks. (Don’t worry... if you sent me something I won’t share anything without permission).

Here’s the first line from Jenilyn Tolley’s page:

“I used to believe that my real mom was a stripper.”

I remember reading her first page at BYU over the summer, and I thought, Why would someone think that? Made me read on.

2. We went to the launch party for Beautiful Creatures the other night. The book is getting great reviews, and it’s already been optioned for a movie.

I’m about halfway through and savoring the gothic southern tale.

What makes it even better is that the two authors, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, are two of the coolest women around. I first met them when they recruited me to participate in a Writing Partners project where we exchange writing samples with a 4th grade elementary class.
(Kami, Margie, Me)

Other shenanigans at the party:

*In a unanimous vote, nobody thought my newly-darkened hair is brunette, so I vowed to show them. Show them all. (We played with color at my writer's retreat. I will unveil the new hair on Wednesday. Please don’t tell my mom I used store coloring kits without adult supervision. She’d kill me.)

*We met a book blogger of Tongan heritage. Emily Wing Smith said she knew Kika was Tongan because she was wearing flip-flops. (Emily is a friend of the Tongans, and has learned this little secret.)
(Sara Zarr, Valynne, Emily, Me, Bree, James Dashner, Kika, Kika's Friend)

*When Kika said she was an accounting major, I accidentally said, "Oh, that's great. If accounting were actually fun, I'd like it." Sorry Kika. And all of you accounting majors.

*Sara accused Emily of making sweeping generalizations about Tongan footwear, to which Emily responded by swiping her with my Pashmina shawl.

*We met Robbie the "boy with books" blogger. He told me that during a “which Glee character are you?” discussion, he was voted most like Rachel. He also gave Beautiful Creatures 5 stars.

(Emily, Sara Z., Heather Gardner, me, and blanket of Robbie)

*We went to dinner with Utah’s number one book blogger, Natasha Maw. She ate the last appetizer, even though I made her aware of my diabolical plan to steal it. It was like I told her, she shrugged and reached across the table to grab it and eat it.

*We discovered that Sara Zarr’s happy face looks the same as Sara Zarr’s annoyed face, except for a slight arch in the eyebrows.
(Sara Z. happy, and Heather Gardner)

*Apparently we all need hearing aids. When Emily told us she bought Sara Z. "Jesus Pens", I heard "Jesus Pets". I was a little surprised Emily would purchase a Jesus-themed Chia Pet.

*When I told Bree and Valynne they had "Thick boots on", they heard "thick boobs on." For some reason, they didn't question me about it. Apparently, That sounds just like something I would say.

*At dinner, when the waitress commented on my cool phone cover, I told her I bought it to match my brunette hair, and she didn't bat an eye. (Is it bat an eye, or an eyelash?) Anyway, so she totally thought I was brunette. And I trust random waitress girl over writer chicas.

*Somebody at the party kept spontaneously forcing his 2-year old to do pushups.

*Okay, it was James.

So, I dyed my hair twice last night at our writer's retreat, despite Bree Despain's best efforts to convince me Hair is a Many Splendored Thing.

I will say this: the hair resists brown. It does, however, prefer red. Can't wait to show you all the pictures. It's a good thing my mom doesn't read my blog...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Do you Have a Query or First Page you'd like to Share? and The True Meaning of Gauntlet.

Free Query Friday

1. To fill the void left by Free Book Friday Holiday Hiatus: Do You Have a Query or a First Page you'd like me to read?

Occasionally I get asked to read queries or manuscripts, and too often I don't have the time, or I'm not able to get it done in a timely manner, or people realize I just can't read good.

But I thought it'd be a fun holiday experiment to change that. So, if you'd like me to read your query or first page, send it on over. You can even request "no feedback" if you'd just like to share it with me.

I hesitate to call it a present, because that implies my feedback is worth something. But I will say sometimes, as writers, we need to bounce stuff off someone who doesn't know a thing about the story.

So, I'm opening it up now. Email me your query or first page, or any other one-page piece you've been working on. Share. Tis the season for sharing and stepping out of your comfort zone. (My personal favorite Christmas Carol- "Step out of your Comfort Zone this Season")

My email is on the sidebar. It will remain anonymous. Nobody has to know. And if I get some good ones, maybe I'll post them and we can discuss why they're so good.

It's a challenge! Will you take the gauntlet? (Which, by the way, I always thought a gauntlet was some sort of weapon, like a sword, but it's really a glove. Did you know that? Me neither. So I've been trying to use it in a sentence: "Boy, it sure is gauntlet- weather out there. It's so cold.")

2. Kid C brought home his latest self-portrait from school: It's cute and all, but it sorta makes me worried I'm going to walk into his bedroom one day and find an ear lying there on the floor.

3. I live in Utah, so I found this funny:
(There are some adult references... it's a prime-time show. Viewer discretion advised.)

4. I'm going to a book launch party today for Beautiful Creatures, so I will stock up on signed copies for when Free Book Friday gets going again in January.

5. Next week we'll begin compiling our lists for good books to give away as presents, so be thinking!

Anyone doing anything fun this weekend? I have a family party, a family party, and a family party.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Placenta that Never Died

Hey Y'all. How's the week going?

1. I don't kill puppies on my blog

Let's just get this out of the way right now... Puppies will never die on my blog. Spiders may die, plants that grow through walls may die, but newborn puppies will never die. Not on my blog. Not on my watch.

Wherever there's injustice to puppies, you'll find me.
Wherever puppies are suffering, I'll be there.
Wherever liberty is threatened, you will find... The Three Amigos. (Why would I go somewhere where liberty is threatened?)

2. Do you want a little parental leverage for Christmas?

My friend developed this iPhone app called SantaMessage2U. You can record messages to your kids, and the app will distort your voice to sound like Santa.

I like to record messages like: "Ho Ho Ho. Hey kid C, Santa is watching you. No, seriously, I'm outside your window every night, watching you. Ho... ho... ho..."

3. The Placenta that Never Died

After sis-in-law M gave birth to twins, the hospital took her placenta to test whether or not the twins were identical.

They never got back to her, so she had the twins' DNA tested to confirm what anyone with two working eyes could figure out: niece E and niece E are indeed identical.

About a year later, a friend who worked in the hospital told sis-in-law M that some hospital employees were going through the fridge at work, and they were all, "Who in the world is Marnie Jorgensen, and what is her placenta doing here?" (I changed M's name to protect the placenta.)

Yep. Her placenta was just hangin' out in the fridge for a year. And I'll tell you now, placenta doesn't keep that long.

This post brought to you by the commenter who pointed out I haven't blogged about bodily functions in a while.

4. Starting Friday, I'm going to be posting about book choices for Christmas Presents, so start thinking about your favorite books you've read this year.

5. You wanna know who gets forgotten at Christmas? Teens in the Foster program. This year, instead of buying presents for my family, I'm donating to Very Merry Teen Foster Christmas.

Don't tell my family, though. I still want them to think they have to buy me presents.

Check it out, if you get a chance. It really is so much easier than shopping. And it's one of those things your family can't say 'no' to.

For instance: "Hey Bob, I was thinking we should forgo presents to each other this year, and instead provide Christmas for Foster Teens. What do you think?"

What can Bob say? Bob: "No way."

"Bob, why do you hate teens? Why?"

6. So, what do your families do for Christmas? Anything like this?