Friday, April 29, 2011

The Debut of our Cover Band, The Barely Manilows... with video.

Some people didn't think it would happen.

Some people thought I was only kidding.

Some people thought that we would suck.

Well, 2 out of the above 3 people were wrong. I wasn't kidding. It did happen.

Our critique group The Barely Manilows (More commonly known as The SIX) sang at the launch party for the awesome Emily Wing Smith and her new book BACK WHEN YOU WERE EASIER TO LOVE.

And while we originally threatened that anyone caught filming the catastrophe, I mean, performance, would lose a pinkie finger, we have since embraced the fact that we have no control over the interwebz. So now, we would like it to go the way of a virus. 
In the video, from right to left: Bree Despain on maracas, Kimberly Webb Reid on the Triangle, Sara Bolton on Bass Vocals, Emily Wing Smith on Castanets, Valynne Maetani Nagamatsu on weird jingle bell thingee with a long red stick... and finally, that's me on the keyboard.

I tried to get a keytar, but apparently it's not 1986. Oh well.

Enjoy. (The lyrics are below for your amusement. Just follow the bouncing ego.)

Her name was Joy, and
She was dumped by Zan
he liked to wear his grandpa's shoes
And he left her with the blues

But she was clueless
Why he liked her less
And while she tried to heal her heart,
Noah Liked her from afar
And then on beverage night
He liked to drink his Sprite

They were young and they fought each other
Who could ask for more

At the Haven
Mormon town, Haven
The dullest spot north of the border
At the Haven
Mormon town Haven
Music and Passion were never the fashion at the Haven....
They weren't in love

So joy and noah
they took a road trip
so she could stalk Zan like a fool
And surprise him at his school
But there's this detour
They're stuck in Vegas
And while his car is getting fixed, then their feelings get all mixed
And all you need to know
There's Barry Manilow
And the rest you can read within the pages of the book

At King's English
You can buy copies
They'll even print you out a receipt
At King's English
The Great King's English
Reading and Passion are always the Fashion
At King's English...
Go Buy the book.

Thanks to Jenni Elyse for taking and uploading the video. 
And now, as to the comments, please be kind. :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Why Novel Writers Should Never Write Lyrics... and the Real Story Behind Copacabana

So, we had our first band practice of the Barely Manilows yesterday. Because we're performing at Emily Wing Smith's launch party tomorrow, and we didn't want to wait until the last minute. 

We also wrote new lyrics. I have since decided that writers of novels should never write lyrics. We get caught up in the mechanics. Here are some of the questions we asked while we were writing:

"I know this line makes for a good rhyme, but we haven't properly set up the character's motivation for the action."

"We can't put this here. It's chronologically inconsistent!"

"Too much description!"

"Did you really just try to sneak that -ly adverb in there?"

"Boyfriendless is not a word!"

"This line is, like, the definition of telling and not showing."

I have to say, the original lyrics have their fair share of telling, not showing.

Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl
With yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there
She would merengue and do the cha-cha
And while she tried to be a star, Tony always tended bar
Across a crowded floor, they worked from 8 till 4
They were young and they had each other
Who could ask for more?

At the Copa (CO!), Copacabana (Copacabana)
The hottest spot north of Havana (here)
At the Copa (CO!), Copacabana
Music and passion were always the fashion
At the Copa....they fell in love

If I were writing the lyrics, I would've gone with something like this:

     "Lola!" The manager had to shout to be heard above the warm-up band. "You're up next!"
     "Coming!" Lola called from the dressing room. She glanced in the mirror, pulled her dress down to there and then turned to the girl standing in front of the adjacent mirror. "Hey, Mona. Do you think these yellow feathers in my hair are a bit much?"
     The girl studied Lola, tilting her head. "I'm not sure. What are you dancing tonight?"
     Lola groaned. "The merengue and the cha-cha. Again."
     "Girlfriend, you'll never be a star if you don't switch it up now and then." With that, Mona whipped around - the ruffles from her dress grazing Lola's bare thighs - and exited the room with a flourish.
     Lola sighed. I'll be a star in Tony's eyes.
     She straightened the feathers in her hair, pulled her dress slightly past there, and made her way through the throng of dancers coming back from their number. 
     "Hey Lola!" a red-headed dancer said. "Look for the guy in the front row, with the diamond nestled in his hairy chest. He's fast with the tips. And I think he's packing heat!"
     "I only have eyes for Tony," Lola responded, despite the thrill of a gun, and the promise of chest hair.
     As she stepped out into the club, she looked across the crowded dance floor, to where Tony was wiping down the bar. 
     He'll make such a good husband, she thought. Provided his temper doesn't get him shot one day. (Foreshadowing. Zing!)
     As if he felt her gaze he raised his head, his eyes meeting hers. She pointed to her wrist, and mouthed the words, what time are you off?
     He raised four fingers. She should've known. He always worked from eight to four. So late. At least they were young and they had each other. What could go wrong?
     She adjusted her dress again - it was always riding up above there - and then she wiped a fresh sheen of sweat off her forehead as she took her place in front of the band. 
     "It's hot in here tonight," the trumpet player Mark said from behind her. 
     "I know!" Lola said. "Where are we... Havana or something?"
     "Nope. Just north of Havana."

Then: The Chorus.

Sure, the words don't really fit with the music. But isn't that the mark of a true musician? Someone who can write music to fit these words
Fellow band member Valynne made us these band costumes:

I'm not saying the t-shirt company's claim that they are "one-size fits all" is a vicious lie, but I will say Barry's face looks even more distorted than usual when I wear it. 

And, is it meant to be a crop top? 

Emily's launch is tomorrow night at the King's English at 7:00. Let's party. Who's with me? And are there any Barry fans out there?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Chimi-Challenge Update, My Trip Pictures, and My Left Shoe

Chimichanga Challenge Update:

Team Tamale (me): 1,256/40,000 words.

Team Gluten Intolerant (Bree): 17 handwritten pages/40,000 words

I don't know what that translates into, but I think Team GI is ahead. But I have some great news for those of you competing as well: The deadline has been randomly extended to May 10, 2011! That gives us all 4 extra days.

Please give me your totals in the comments if you are joining in the challenge. And if you're not, feel free to trash-talk either team.

On to the blog:

I can sum up our trip to Southern Utah in 9 words:

We hiked:

The gang: looking extra thrilled to be there, and proving that
despite their surroundings, they can still manage to look thoroughly unimpressed.
My bro-in-law Dave, on crutches and still hiking after extensive knee surgery.
My sister calls him "gimpy" and proclaims him to be useless. And that was before the injury.

We rode scooters:
My dad: proving that chemo can't hold him back.
Why drive anywhere when you can scooter?
And may I add that you have to have a surprising amount of butt muscles to scooter, even going downhill.

We dug:
Niece N: Sacrificing her arm and head for the glory of an extra deep hole.

We buried:

Kid B: trying to determine if he is indeed having fun,
considering we kept having to convince him.
Kid C and Niece N: A test run for when they are buried together.

And when the kids acted up, we banished them to the narrows. (We made them watch 127 hours first.)

Scared of tight spaces? Oh yeah, we totally hiked up that crack. IYOE. (Insert Your Own Euphemism)
At least, the kids hiked up it. I ran away screaming like a little girl. I swear that crack gets narrower every year. 

Kid C deep in the narrows. We encouraged him the entire way, and he only believed us for a few minutes when we told him he'd have to cut his arm off to make it through the last bit.
Kid C: This could be you!

Speaking of my awesome sister...
Erin, taking her cue from the English and wearing a wide-brimmed hat.

Erin is known for getting things not quite right, but almost. For instance, when talking about her love for Diet Coke, she said, "I have a wooden leg for that stuff." 

We went to a movie the other day, and on the way home we got talking about Daniel Day Lewis. She's all, "Wasn't he the guy in that Last of the Moccasins movie?"

Yes, Daniel Day Lewis starred in that movie about the day when everyone had to go barefoot in the wilderness because there were no more Moccasins left.

Then she was all, "And didn't he get an award for that other movie? My Left Shoe?"

Totally. He got an award for playing a guy annoyed by his left shoe. "My Left Shoe: The One That Itches."

So, so close. I love her so much. And does she have a hidden shoe fetish I don't know about?

Also, if you're in the Salt Lake area, know this: It's Emily Wing Smith's Launch Party for Back When You Were Easier to Love!

The King's English
7:00 p.m.

Our Barry Manilow cover band, The Barely Manilows, will be debuting our hit single, at the Copacabana! 

Seriously, I'm pretty sure this will be a one time thing, so be there or be elsewhere. Who's with me?

Friday, April 22, 2011

My Love Letter to Goodreads... I'm just Happy to be Shelved

Hey y'all. I'm back.

I'm sorry I didn't blog or even answer comments during the week. There was absolutely no Wi-fi. And I really wanted to tell Jenni Elyse that I was flattered I nearly killed her husband

I'm getting my pictures together, so I'll tell you all about the trip next week. For now, I'll tell you about something awesome I saw on Goodreads.

So, I'm in a group called the Apocalypsies- we're a bunch of debut authors who have books coming out in 2012. Get it? Apocalypse? Add on the -ies?
Because this might be your only chance.  Dunh dunh DUNH!
Anywho, one of the authors was talking about building buzz, and how she's gotten more publisher support because of the number of people on Goodreads who have marked her book "to-read". 

So, I checked the Goodreads numbers for Everneath. 

Let's just say that other author had me way beat by, like, thousands. Which is okay, because that's not what the story is about.

I know it's not coming out for awhile, so right now the numbers are small enough that I notice each person who's signed up to read it, and I feel a burst of love for that person. I heart them long time.

Not in a weird way. Okay, this post is getting off-track. My point is, it's early enough in the process that I don't have to avoid Goodreads for fear of bad reviews (because there will be people out there who hate it. Every author has to accept that.), and since I get maybe one new "to-be-read" designation a day, I feel like the book is spreading person by person, one by one. 

Anyway, I was going over the list of people who've decided to read my book. It's a crazy thing to go from begging family, friends and neighbors to please please pretty please read your book, to people on Goodreads actually wanting to read it. Without any bribery.

As I was looking over the list, I started noticing people put my book on "shelves" like: "Apocalypsies", "Mythology", "Retelling", "Paranormal YA".

Makes sense. Until I got to one reader. This reader had marked my book not as "to-read" but as "maybe-read" and then in the shelves, she had my book shelved under "Going-in-Skeptical."

I don't know why this made me smile. How honest! Maybe this reader is saying "I might read it, but I might not, and I wanted to tell you I'm on the fence about it and I'm not really expecting much."

I figure the "Going-in-Skeptical" shelf is just below the "There's-a-50-50-chance-I'll-Like-It" shelf, and just above the "I'll-bet-you-my-right-pinkie-finger-this-book-is-going-to-blow" shelf. 

And then I started wondering how I got on such a shelf. Was it my book description? Was it a sketchy blog post? Is it because I didn't have Wi-Fi this week, and the reader was all, "If I can't count on her to deliver a Wednesday post, how can I have faith in her book?"

Do I smell?

Or maybe the cup's half full. Maybe the reader was never planning on reading my book in the first place, and then saw something that made her re-think her position. (Was it the author picture with the pickle on my cheek?) Then she was all, "Well, if she's brave enough to put a pickle on her cheek, it might be worth my time. Maybe."
Here's my Hopeful Face

Now I want to thank her. Pinch her cheek and tell her I'm honored she would give me a chance, despite her low expectations. I kind of hope everyone goes in with low expectations. Those are so much easier to meet!

I know this sounds a little manic with a side of neuroses, but I really do appreciate each and every person who has announced to the world that they plan "to-read" my book. Even if they also announce they plan on "Not-Being-Impressed". 

I want to gather all my Goodreads readers and commence with one giant group hug, and possibly a spontaneous Hokey-Pokey. 
I'm the sassy girl in the green plaid skirt on the left.

I want to know what made them choose my book- the thought process behind clicking on the to-read button-thingy. 

And then I think about how a stranger, from who knows where, has chosen to invest her time in me. What an honor, and a responsibility. 

So, you Goodreads readers, this is my love letter to you. All 292 of you. I have to do it now, because in a couple months my ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) will be out. And then reviews will come in. And maybe no one will want to hokey-pokey with me anymore. 

But for now... the slate is clean. There's still the chance I might come as a pleasant surprise to this reader. 

Hope. It's what I live on.

If you would like to put me on a shelf of your making, you can do it here. I don't care what the shelf is called. I'm just happy you would shelve (shelf?) me. My whole life, I've dreamed of being shelved. 

What do y'all think about Goodreads? Are you a member?

And has anyone seen the new Jane Eyre?  

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Trip to Hurkin, A Woman from Hungary was Hungry, and the Best way to Kill a Red Ant

Word progress for TEAM TAMALE: 7/40,000

Yes, you read that right, but there's a very good reason. I forgot to tell you all that the day after I started the Chimichanga Challenge with Bree Despain, I went on a family vacation. So, the first five days are going to be rough. 

By the way, the seven words I wrote were: "She wakes up and senses a problem." Are you totally intrigued? What problem would she immediately sense? Had she been snoring?

Are you hooked?

... okay, I know. I'm a slacker.

So, I'm out of town in beautiful Hurricane, Utah. (pronounced You-Taw.) Oh, and for those of you not from Utah, "Hurricane" is not pronounced "Hurr-ih-cane." It's pronounced "Hur-Kin". No Foolin'. It's one of those Utah quirks. 

Hurricane is one of the towns near Zions National Park. We paid $20 dollars to get in, to see scenes like this:

but really we spent the day doing this:

Kid C and his cousin Necie. Buried together, just the way the like.
About five minutes into our hike, the kids saw a pile of sand, and 3 hours later we were still there. What is it with kids and sand? Makes me think I should've remodeled our house with sand. It would've saved us a lot of money and provided an endless source of entertainment. Vacuuming would be a thing of the past. 

The only problem would be the red ants. You know what happens to red ants when you stomp on them in the sand? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Smothering them in sand doesn't work either. The only thing you can really do is wet the sand under them and then stomp on them, so the wet sand creates a hard surface. 

This technique took me about 3 hours to perfect... after which Kid C, with tears in his eyes, informed me red ants have families too. 

I distracted him by throwing sand in his eyes. Then he was crying for a different reason. A better one.

The crew. Plus two friends.

Kid C was excited to learn that many of the tourists at the park came from different countries. He started asking people where they were from. He got answers like Australia and Jordan, but he was confused when he asked an older woman - who didn't know any english - where she was from.

The woman smiled and motioned to her son to answer Kid C's question, but before the son could interpret, Kid C spoke loudly and slowly to the woman again... "DO... YOU... KNOW... WHERE... YOU'RE... FROM....?"

Because speaking loudly and slowly is the universal language.

The son replied, "Hungary."

Thinking the boy answered "How are you feeling right now," and not "Where are you from", kid C just looked at me and shook his head. He was lost in translation. He gave up.

Blogging will be sporadic this week, as I have discovered that Wi-Fi is not one of the naturally occurring elements in Zion National Park. I still don't understand how it is not universally available. 

How's all y'all's week going? Is it Spring Break for anyone else? Anyone going topless in Cancun?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Three things, A Rant, And the Return of the Great Author Smackdown

Word Progress: 0/40,000*

*This will make sense once you read the blog post.

Hey y'all. Three things on this sunny Friday Morning:

1. A rant.

This morning, I had a doctor's appointment scheduled. I've been waiting six months for this appointment. 

The doctor's office called me several times during the week, warning me not to be late. They are not forgiving of new patients who are late.

About a half hour before the appointment, I received a phone call, telling me the doctor had to cancel because she was off delivering a baby.

That's all fine. So I call back to reschedule, and the office person says the soonest she can fit me in again would be in six weeks. 

What the WHAT? Six weeks? They cancel on me 30 minutes before the appointment, after warning me all week about the dire consequences if I was late, and the soonest they can reschedule is in six weeks?

Does anyone else think that's crazy? 

The scheduler asked me if the end of May was good for me. Because I am not afraid of confrontation, I replied with a scathing "Um, yeah. That should work fine."

Why am I so scared of schedulers? Because my uncle was killed by a scheduler.

Kidding. I suck.

2. Lady of Leisure

Kid C (8 years old) said to me the other day: "Brodi, I think you are the most relaxed person in our family."

me: "What do you mean?"

him: "You don't go to work. You don't go to school." Thoughtful pause. "There must be something you can do..."
3. An Author Smackdown: The Chimichanga Challenge Returns

40,000 words in 21 days. 

Many of you will remember that Everneath came about because of a contest I had with author Bree Despain: The Chimichanga Challenge. It was a race to finish our novels.  (Mine became Everneath, hers was the sequel to The Dark Divine). 

Side note: I can't really remember why we called it the Chimichanga Challenge, but I think it was because we were talking about it in the parking lot of Costco when a strange man tried to sell us tamales out of a zip-lock bag he was carrying.Tamales... Chimichangas.... there you go.

To motivate each other for our current WIPs (Works-in-Progress), we are having another race. Here's the rundown.

Team names remain the same:
Brodi.... Team Tamale
Bree......Team Gluten-Intolerant

Object of the Race:
To reach 40,000 words (in addition to the ones already written) by May 6, 2011. 21 days from now.

The Rules:

a. Never talk about Fight Club.
b. Never get involved in a land war in Asia.
c. Never bury the lead.

The Point:
Brodi finishes EVERNEATH 2
Bree finishes DARK DIVINE 3

We will blog about our progress, and we will trash talk each other. (Can you believe she can't handle dairy products? Wuss.)

And, dear blog readers, you can divide yourselves into teams as well. Join one of our teams, or form your own team and start writing! And contrary to many religious zealots, you can bat for both teams if you want.
Here's the best part: If we all reach 40,000 words in 21 days, we all win! Yay! Winners can treat themselves to whatever they want. Everyone can win!

But I will say: Last time, I totally won. 

So, what do you think? Do you want to form your own team? Do you want to join one of ours? Who do you like better, me or Bree? What do you like better? Tamales or Gluten Free Rice Bread?

Do you think the doctor totally should've squeezed me in before six weeks?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Here's to Kneeing Cancer in the Groin

Hey y'all.

So, I'm a little late to post today, because I've been waiting on some news about my dad... and the news is good!

My parents flew down to Houston to MD Anderson for his first CT scans since his diagnosis- to see if the chemo had any effect on the tumors in his lungs.

The scans showed that the largest tumor had shrunk by half. The other smaller tumors had shrunk as well, some appearing only as little shadows. (side note: the words "had shrunk" never sound right. Never ever.)

The doctor's computer crashed several times as they were comparing the results, and he said, "I think the computer isn't accustomed to such positive results. We don't normally get those."
He speaks the truth.

We are ecstatic. I have finally emerged from the fetal position I first assumed on Monday. We are blessed. 

Of course we know we are not out of the woods. The woods are infinite in cases of pancreatic cancer. But, as Martha Stewart would say, holy crap, Batman, this is a good thing!
I will leave you all with a picture of my dad's grandkids at his clinic. They all went together to get their immunization shots. I don't know why I found it so cute. Maybe it's because they looked so happy even though they knew what was coming. 

Here's to all of us looking that happy in the face of pain!

Love to you all.

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Sneak Peek at the Plot for EVERNEATH 2

Good Monday, yo. 

Thanks for all your questions in Friday's post. Because of you, we are sure to have a stellar debut of our vlog: Three Authors answer Questions. (We're trying to come up with a more descriptive title...)

So, on to the post. The truth is, I've been sitting in front of a blank blog post for about half an hour. This is probably due to two things:

1. I worked out this morning. Now I can't move. Even to type.

2. Now that my copyedits are in, I really have to focus on finishing EVERNEATH BOOK 2: NIKKI'S DANGEROUS RIDE.

I can't give away too many details, but I will say that Nikki takes a ride on her boyfriend's motorcycle against her mother's express wishes, and ends up in a horrific crash that leaves her in a coma. When she wakes up, she's not the same girl she used to be.

She's rude, selfish, and completely unsympathetic to her family's concerns.

And oh yeah, now she has a twin sister. 

So anyway, I have a lot of work to do... wait. Sam is reading over my shoulder. He says the plot of book two sounds contrived. And a little familiar. 

Hold on a sec...

Okay, apparently that is the same plot as Sweet Valley High #7: Dear Sister. 

It's time for Jessica to be the responsible one...  will she ever get the old Elizabeth back?
I don't know why I didn't notice. I guess it is true that there is nothing new under the sun. But I should've realized something wasn't quite right from the start, given that Nikki's mother is dead, so how could she warn Nikki about the danger of motorcycles?

The bigger question is: why did Sam know this?* 

Okay, looks like I'll have to go with plot idea #2: Don't Let Nikki Drive the Bus

All 17-year-old Nikki Beckett ever wanted to do is drive the bus. But a traumatic event from her past (her mother's death, and her twin sister's coma) resulted in a psychological block in Nikki's brain that left her with no opposible thumbs. 

When a strange apocalyptic event leaves everyone in Nikki's small town armless, Nikki must make a decision: Let the pigeon drive the bus to the grocery store... or drive the bus herself, opposible thumbs or no.

Will Nikki let the pigeon drive the bus? Or will she overcome her psychological shortcomings to...

wait. It's Sam again. He says that although the idea isn't as tired as the first one, it still might sound a little like this:
Is it really something that needs to be pointed out? It sort of seems like good common sense.
Fine. Looks like it's plot #3: EVERNEATH 2: THE TRUTH ABOUT STACEY.

Nikki's best friend Stacey has a secret. She isn't feeling well-


FINE! There goes my "Best Friend Gets Diabetes" plot.

Back to the drawing board.  

Do any of you have any plot ideas? Preferably ones that don't involve comas, diabetes, or ornithological anomalies? 

*In the interest of protecting Sam's manliness, I'll admit he had nothing to do with this blog post, and he has never read a Sweet Valley High book, and we did not bond over Sweet Valley High #10 Wrong Kind of Girl.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Questions from the Question-Maker, and your chance to BE the Question-Maker

It's that time of the month again... when we travel to the void between the mountain and the rainbow and wake that sleeping giant known as the Question-Maker.

Questions from the Question-Maker

QM: *Yawn... stretch* Hey y'all. It's great to be back. Let's get down to business. *cracks knuckles* So, B-Dawg, how are your copyedits going?

I'm glad you asked! They're going great. In fact, I turned them in yesterday. 

QM: I know you thought your book was perfect before... did the copyeditor find any problems? Or did she just fill the pages with smiley-faces and praises of your work?

Well, I didn't think it was perfect, but there was this one thing she caught that was sort of embarrassing. About halfway through the book, the main character has a dream, and then about four chapters later, she had the same dream. Exact same dream. Word for word.

I felt like a dork. I mean, I've read the thing 485 times.

QM: Hmmm... Lately your low self-esteem seems to be good common sense. 

Hey! At least my pljues never dribbied.

QM: Moving on. What happens now? 

I work on Book 2, and wait for ARCs to be printed.

QM: For those of us not fluent in publishing-speak, what are ARCs? 

They are Advanced Release Copies, also known as Bound Galleys or just Galleys. It's where the publisher prints the book in paperback form, cover and all, and then sends it out to reviewers and book bloggers and such. 

QM: Who is "such"?

It's a colloquialism weak writers use as a crutch. 

QM: How very telling. When are these so-called ARC's due to hit the universe?

In a month or two. *does a little freak-out dance that's sort of a mix between the Rumba and Mexican Hat Dance*

QM: So, in a month, your life's creative work will available for people to praise... or trash?

Um... yes *Mexican Hat Dance turns into the Sink-to-the-floor-and-Shiver Tango*
But it's okay, because I have my rebuttal planned for any reviewer who fails to see my genius.

QM: Erm... see, that's probably not the smartest way to respond to negative reviews-

Oh yeah, Question-Maker? You can stick your smart where the sun don't shine, and then blow it out your pie-hole! (See? Awesome example of a reasonable rebuttal. How can it go wrong?)

QM: You're right. It can't go wrong. Rebut away.

I'll rebut your butt off.

QM: How eloquent. I'm audi 5000. See y'all next month!

So, dear blog readers, would you like a chance to be the question maker for a day? Have I got an opportunity for you! 

I am getting together with two other awesome authors (Bree Despain and Emily Wing Smith) for some vlog action. We will be filming short videocasts (?) (I'm not quite down with the lingo yet) where we answer questions about publishing! 

You can ask about anything: 
Querying, getting agents, submission, writing, anything!

So, do you have a question? You can leave it in the comments. Please ask a question. Pretty please? Otherwise, we will resort to filming a vlog about the best way to extract belly-button lint. (Don't worry, we'll film this no matter what).

If you don't have a question, you can just tell me what you're up to this weekend. But I will like you better if you have a question. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

In which our Hopes and Dreams Crash and Burn at the Pinewood Derby

Last night was the pinewood derby. Remember that chunk of wood I showed you last post? Well, look what we turned it in to...
Kid C and his Pinewood Derby Skateboard, powered by the Force.
Yep, that there is Yoda at the helm. Followed closely by Shadow Storm Trooper, R2D2 with a storm trooper on his shoulders, and bringing up the caboose is a rebel fighter.

The other cars had no idea what they were in for. Can you imagine seeing this in your rear view mirror?
Yoda's coming to getcha!
Because of the obvious aerodynamic shortcomings of the car, we warned Kid C that he should get used to being in everyone's rear view mirror. The people in his scout pack are obsessed with the science behind the speed of the Pinewood Derby car, so we didn't even attempt to compete. We went for style.

Unfortunately, Kid C was pretty sure the Force would compensate for any drag. Here's what happened:

And that same result was repeated several times throughout the night. Kid C's car was the slowest. And he knew it.

Kid C was a little disappointed, but we tried to teach him a valuable lesson. Sometimes it's just as important to be unique as it is to be the best. 
Standing out from the pack.

And his mom learned a valuable lesson. You don't have to be the fastest, but next time aim for somewhere in the middle. 

My conclusions after our first ever Pinewood Derby? I hereby vow to be conveniently out of town for every subsequent one. It is not worth the stress.

What do all y'all think? Which car would you pick from those pictured above?

Monday, April 4, 2011

What do Copyedits and the Pinewood Derby have in common? (Hint: They both suck)

This week, I'm experiencing two things I've never experienced before in my life.

Thing #1:
I'm getting my copyedits today.

Keep this under wraps. This is an actual page from chapter 3. Not my best work.
I really like the sentence about the "Pljues dribbyng" down the street. My mom taught me to never let my pljues dribby, especially on a public street.

My editor warned me that apparently my characters "looked down" a lot in my book. And when they weren't "looking down", they were "looking" in general. 

Now every time I think of my book, I picture random people wandering around, "looking". 

What was I thinking? I shouldn't have to point out that they're looking. Basically, if their eyes are open, they're looking. It should be a given. Give the reader a little credit, won't ya?

And when they're not "looking", they're "feeling". What a bunch of pansies.

When my copyedited manuscript arrives today, it's going straight to a time out, and it's not getting free until it can prove it only "looked" around a reasonable amount.

*by the way- shout out to the copyeditors out there. They are superhuman.

Thing #2:
There is a phenomenon out there, unfamiliar to those of us who grew up with only sisters. It is a strange event that turns men into boys and boys into sea monkeys. (I won't even tell you what happens to the sea monkeys).

It is... The Pinewood Derby. Second in manliness only to the tiger fights in the Coliseum of ancient Rome.

And yes, that is Sam cutting the wood with a butter knife.

I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of the boy scouts. Their uniforms are expensive, they wear kerchiefs, and they don't have Thin Mints.

And once a year (after they take a chunk of balsa wood, drill holes in it, add weights, sand, paint, and attach wheels) they meet in the gym of the church house and test their manhood. If they don't measure up, they lose their man parts. It may sound extreme, but how else will they learn what's important in this life? 

The Derby is tomorrow, so naturally Sam started on Kid C's car around midnight last night. He has exactly 24 hours make his chunk of wood look like this:
We aren't going for speed. We'll never win that way. We're going for style.

If he succeeds, Sam will earn his "Dads really do all the work, and the kids get the credit" merit badge, bumping him up to the Webelo level. (As a side note, I used to think a "webelo" was a sort of cockroach.)
Finally, here's a video of Sam, who thinks he's posing for a picture:

What about all y'all? Have any of you ever made a pinewood derby car? Have any of you let your pljues dribby lately? I have a picture of my pljues dribbying. If you're nice, I'll show it to you next blog post.