Friday, January 30, 2009


Blog Status:
For those of you new to the blog, here's the schedule of what you can reasonably expect each week.

Monday: Relatively sane blog.(As sane as I ever am).

Tuesday: Dork Side. EFG (Especially for Geeks. We discuss things semi-geeky and totally geeky. From 24 to BSG to Vulcan dialects. Okay, not the Vulcan dialects. That's just nerdy.)

Wednesday: Mildly insane blog.

Thursday: Your day off from my blog! Hurray! Go you!

Friday: Totally insane blog. End-of-the-week, kids-turned-into-aliens, brains-turned-into-mush, crappity-crap... where was I?

Book status: Have any of you heard from Ted? You can be honest. I won't be mad. I just want to know.


So, I read two Young Adult books this week, and below I present you my reviews, in all their teenage-angst-acne-proned splendor.

-Despite the promising title, there was very little violence in the book.

-Female teenage protagonist (Cammie): Very kick-butt. High on intellect, high on martial arts, low on logical reasoning.

-Premise: setting is an all-girls boarding school that pretends to be a school for the gifted, but is really a school for spies.

-Favorite concept: Cammie and her two BFF's can break any encrypted code, but have a very difficult time deciphering "boy-speak".

Ex: Boy: "Maybe I'll see you around."
What does that mean? Should I plan on it? Is it a brush-off, or is he in love? By "around" does he mean someplace circular? Around what, exactly?


Fun read. Fun premise. I'm not quite pre-ordering the sequel (even though it's already out).

-Female Protagonist (Katie): Smart, but too eager to please those around her. Two-timing football boyfriend with another hot guy, but doesn't like either of them.

-Premise: Old guy friend (who was run out of town for turning in some cheaters from the beloved football team) returns to town four years after the fact. He's a red-head, and now he's really really hot. So, there's a third guy in the mix for Katie.

-Favorite stuff: Quahogs (pronounced KOH-HOGS can mean one of two things: they are the name of the high school football team, but they are also type of bivalve clam). Any time someone refers to "Quahogs", someone else always asks "The football player, or the bivalve?"

"I hate Quahogs."
"The team, or the bivalves?"

"Quahogs are rubbery. The bivalve kind. Not the football player kind."

For some reason, this never got old for me, because I've fallen in love with the term "bivalve." I'd like to use it somehow in my next book.

I know what it's like to go to a high school where the football team is revered. Every football season at Skyline High School, the players would shave their heads. (Get it? Bald Eagles? Ha ha.) Not that any of those supercool guys ever gave me a second glance. I was too busy deciphering Vulcan codes. I'm not bitter.

I'm not. I swear.

I'm just saying, I prefer hair. Seriously, I don't even give them a second thought. It's been 15 years, why should I care? No, really, why do I still care?

-Overall view:
You know those books where you end up yelling at the protagonist, because she's getting all caught in a web of lies, and you're thinking, "This could be so easily fixed if you'd just grow a pair!"

The author, Meg Cabot, sure gets the teenage mind-frame. She has a corner on the market. I'm a little big jealous.

I'm currently reading A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY. I'll review that next. Anyone want to join me? Interweb book club style? Anyone else have anything to say about these books? Anyone read them?
BTW: My mocha-honey Rafa plays today at 1:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time on ESPN 2.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Since Ben Ballou brought it up, I will take up the “real-life being dumped” gauntlet. And beat him over the head with it.

Translation: I will rip open my insides, and, organ by organ, lay them out on the table for all of my faithful readers.

Ummm... Translation of the translation: I present to you in Technicolor: the humiliating dumpings of Brodi Ashton. (No- not THAT kind. The rip your heart out, gut wrenching, teenage angst kind).

In the interest of time and space, I will pick the top four. (I’ve been dumped so many times, this inter-web thingee is not big enough for every one of them).

1. TITLED: I “totally and completely F**K*D up someone’s life” dump.

To protect the innocent, I have changed Dave’s name to Bob. (Just kidding Dave.)

Setting: 9th grade. I thought Bob and I were “just friends.” Like, all year long.

Then Ben Ballou and Jason Stock (of the dismembered Bambi fame) decided to thwart Bob’s graduation plans, and ask me to graduation.
(Interjection here: is it really “graduation?” 9th grade to high school?)

So, I went with Jason Stock, and we danced on his back patio to the gentle musical offerings of Kenny G.

Then, Bob called me. And the phone call was infamous.


Well, I was totally shocked. I had made someone use the F-word, in reference to me. Only adults, in rated “R” movies said that word. Not 15 year old boys, right?

All my mom said to console me was: “That’s my girl.”

2. TITLED: The “I’ll show him- I’ll crash my car in front of his high school while I’m spying on him. Then he’ll be sorry” Dump.

Setting: Junior year, high school.

So, I dated this hot guy (we’ll call him Bobby) from another school. Then one night, he says, “This isn’t working. And by the way, I’m seeing someone else.”

So, my BFF Sheree and I decide the best way to win Bobby back is to spy on him outside his high school. (Fool proof, right?)

Directly in front of his high school (which will remain nameless), as every Titan in the school is exiting, as I’m straining my neck to spy on said ex-boyfriend, I crash head-on into a car in the turn lane.
Totally totaled my Bronco II. Glass shattered everywhere.

Had no answer to the recurring question: “You go to Skyline. What were you doing in front of Olympus?”

ADDING INSULT TO INJURY: We always referred to the other woman as his “transitional fling”. He’s still with her today. Yeah, that one smarts.

3. TITLED: The “Wow, boys really DO cheat when they spend Spring Break in Meh-Hee-Coh. It’s not just a lie spread by the evil suits at MTV.”

Ah, Brian. I mean Bob.

Setting: College. Las Vegas Boulevard. New Year's Eve. Midnight.

We met on the Vegas Strip, New Year's Eve. At midnight.
I know what you’re thinking: Considering the meeting place, how could it NOT work out?

It should have remained a fling.

We were in love, for like, two whole months. Then he goes to Mexico with his friends for Spring Break.

Next thing you know, I’m getting “the phone call.” You know, the one where: boy goes to Mexico, boy acts like a bung-hole, boy begs forgiveness.

What would you do? Would you forgive? Well, let me answer that question by saying: “Brian” is actually Sam, and we’ve been married for ten years.

TOTALLY KIDDING!! Of course I kicked Brian’s fat head to the curb!!! Never to speak to him again!!!!! (Except when my sister Erin and I followed the Ute basketball team to the Mountain West Conference Championship tournament in Vegas, and we needed a place to stay, and Brian – I mean Bob – lived there… Then I resumed communication, for the weekend. By Monday, I was back to being mad.)

4. TITLED: The “I didn’t know we were in a relationship, and suddenly I’m being dumped.”

I’ll save this story for a rainy day. But here’s a teaser: It involves current husband Sam, a love triangle with Bob and Betty, and an automatic bread-maker.

Yes, I get dumped even by people I'm not dating. Now, that's pathetic.

Feel free to share your dumpings with the class. Love you all. Hope you don’t dump me. It’s okay if you do. I’m used to it.

Wanna know the best way to cure those dumping blues? Watching Rafa this afternoon on ESPN 2. He's never dumped me. Ever.

P.S. Utes rocked the Cougs last night. Also another great way to recover from being dumped. Go Utes!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Sanity status: Starting to jump ship.

Seriously. The above picture was taken in my bathroom.

I can't keep up with this show. I mean, what kind of show has a guy (Jon Locke) dead in the U.S. and then alive and well on the island? In the same episode? And the island's on a time skip?

Thank goodness we have Hurley to explain the first four seasons in 88 seconds, the funniest part of the entire premiere.

Battlestar Galactica: All I can say is: Gaeta never seemed so sinister. And part of me wanted Starbuck to just deck him, even if he is a cripple.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Inversion status: The snow is a welcome break. It's nice to know we are no longer swimming in our own filth, where the rain is just the Salt Lake Valley sweating.

Continuing on about getting an agent, status:
Most agents receive hundreds of query letters a week, and these letters are collectively referred to as the "slushpile."

Each one of those queries will receive one of three responses:
1. A request for more! A full or a partial manuscript! Yay!
2. A rejection. Boo.
3. Absolutely, positively, hold-your-breath NOTHING. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Big fat zero.

Rejections from agents are like rejections from boyfriends. (Or girlfriends). Each time you get one, it kind of feels like you're being dumped. The difference is, usually you're only relationship-dumped one at a time. Agent rejections, however, come by the butt-load, so it's possible to get dumped several times in one day. Hurray!

Whether it's a lover or an agent doing the dumping, they all seem to say the same thing. So below, I give you,


1. Boyfriend-speak: "It's not you. It's me."
Agent-speak: "I already have enough clients. To take someone new on, that someone would have to have written Moby Dick."

Positive Motivator: The good agents already have a bazillion clients. And since I have no intention to write the next Moby Dick, I don't take these too personally. Besides, I'm afraid of the ocean.

2. boyfriend: "You're right for someone, just not right for me."
agent: "There may be another agent out there who would be willing to gamble on you. But it ain't gonna be me."

Positive Motivator: I look at this as an optimistic response. Most likely, this phrase is already written into their automatic rejection letter, but I like to believe the agent really means, "boy, someone's gonna snatch her up, but quick."

3. boyfriend: "You just don't... do it for me."
agent: "I'm not passionate enough about your work to represent it. You want someone who's passionate about your project."

Positive Motivator: Everyone's tastes are different. Just because you don't do it for someone, doesn't mean you won't do it for someone else. (Does that make sense?)

4. boyfriend: "I don't find you attractive anymore. Have you given any thought to a gym membership?"
agent: "Your book is way too long. Find a way to trim the fat.

Positive Motivator: Agents are always looking for an easy reason to reject. Word count is one of them. If your query says you wrote a manuscript that's 120,000 words long, then the agent might just reject it purely for word count.

So, in short, trim the fat.

5. boyfriend: "I'm just not that into you."
agent: "I'm just not that into your book."

Positive Motivator: drown your sorrows in Ben and Jerry's double chocolate fudge brownie.

6. boyfriend: "Have you ever considered playing for the other team?"
agent: "You may want to give up writing all together, and instead take cooking classes."

Positive Motivator: I can't cook worth a darn.

I will admit that I have been dumped by four of these six examples. It's up to you to figure out which ones!

Friday, January 23, 2009


Motivational Status: I love the above poster. My family is made up of a bunch of Shakespeare fanatics, and Titus Andronicus is the ugly step-sister nobody ever talks about.

Here's my answer to the above de-motivator: When was the last time you curled up with a good book, and it was a Shakespeare play? When I have a free moment, I am NOT about to grab Julius Caesar, just to read the Portia stabbing her leg scene. Uh-uh.

Did I ever tell you about the first time Sam met my parents? It went like this:

Mom and Dad (Bard fanatics, remember): "So, Sam, you're majoring in English? You must like Shakespeare."

Sam: "Nah, not really. The Bard's okay, I guess, but I prefer mysteries and thrillers."


We walked out of that introductory meeting, and I say: "What were you thinking?"
And he says: "I have no idea. I love Shakespeare! I swear!"

Little Red Status (name for my Mac Book): I took him on a date last weekend. Seriously. We let Sam tag along as well, since it was Sam's birthday.

I told Sam he could do whatever he wanted for his birthday. So we went up to Eccles Tennis Center to watch the Ute tennis team play Utah State. Then we went to Barnes and Noble.

I'm not kidding. I told Sam, anything he wants to do, we do. And he chose Ute Tennis and Barnes and Noble. I love Sam. He's right up there with Little Red and Rafa.

Sam even let Little Red and me have some alone time in a corner of B&N.

So I'm kind of new to the whole Mac Apple world, and I'm discovering it's truly a subculture among the humans.

Mac users love their Mac's. Like, Luuurve them long time.

I have to admit, I am assimilating quite well. Apple can do no wrong. Which is why I'll be the first in line to buy their latest product, showcased in the video below.

Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Dork Side Status: I can't believe I forgot to mention the premiere of Lost tonight. So, consider yourselves warned!

Okay, so I think Monday's post might have sounded a bit depressing and that's not what I intended at all! The post was about the difficult odds of getting an agent through the traditional query process, but seriously, if a butt-munch like me can do it, so can you!

So don't shove those manuscripts in a drawer, never to be seen again. (Although I will say, most published authors have a bunch of unpublished manuscripts in their drawers...) There I go again. But, really! If you've read my blog, you know I can be, like, neurotically pessimistic and dangerously self-loathing! Why am I even writing a blog? Readers shouldn't be inflicted by the inner-workings of my brain, right?

Yes, I am self-loathing. Yes, I am constantly doubting. But I'm also persistent. Like, stupidly so.

Did you know there are even websites, dedicated to demotivating you? Begging you to stick those manuscripts in the drawer, for good? My favorite is 101 Reasons to Stop Writing. They're only doing that to up their chances. (At least, that's what I tell myself).

So, since my last couple posts have been wallowing in the pits of despair, my next ones will be chuck full with a butt-load of hope.

For instance, take a look at Bruno Baby:
(Number 2 candidate for Alex in my book trailer, just behind Rafa)

Of course, he has to be a model, right? But did you know he was born with like no hair? Couldn't walk until he was like, 12 months old? His mother told him he would never amount to anything if he didn't do his chores and attend school. And don't even get me started on his father. (Let's just say, he worked 9 to 5, every day. Except weekends).

Now, what if Bruno Baby had listened to all of those demotivators? We wouldn't be ogling his picture today! He beat the odds, learned to walk, grew out his hair, and succeeded. And despite his IQ of 7 (which he proudly displays on his shirt), he never gave up!

My mother (an incredible writer, on the levels I could never dream of reaching) once told me there are only seven possible storylines for fiction novels. Every story ever written, in its base, falls within one of the seven. (Don't ask me what they are, I wasn't listening. I was watching Michael Jackson on MTV. It was the 80's.)

This is especially prevalent for me today, considering my sister author Bree and I apparently share one brain between us. (There are some seriously random similarities in our thought processes. Yes, she's just as twisted and dark as I am). So I thought the demotivator below very appropriate.

The way you can battle it is to reach the realization that even your most creative ideas have probably been done, in some form, before. So it's up to you to do it better!

So dust off those manuscripts, and rework those queries. Nobody gets published just sitting around. Persistence is half the battle!

Ummm, okay. I don't know what to do with all this optimism. It kind of makes me uncomfortable. I might have to go find Opie and head on down to the malt shop so we can share a chocolate soda.
Lassie's meeting us there. With the Beav.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

An Obamarific Edition of the Dork Side... And the Innards of Hopelessness

Inaugural status: W-O-W. I will always remember where I was when President Obama was sworn in. I wish I was with my old friends in D.C. today. Unfortunately, I was sitting in a messy kitchen, a dirty diaper by my side. Despite the odor, I am still getting the chills.

Love my Neighborhood status: Dorien brought me sweetheart "We Love Obama Inauguration Day Cookies." Everyone needs a neighbor like Dorien.
In honor of today's historic moment, today's Dork Side post will be full of HOPE. (For those of you new to the blog, Tuesday's are reserved for Geek Talk. It's still funny, even for non-geeks. I promise.)

BSG: (You can watch the first episode here)

In that hopeful vein, I find it difficult to talk about last friday's BSG. (Battlestar Galactica). I'll try not to give away any spoilers. Everyone knows they found Earth, right? Only to discover it's a cinged, radioactive wasteland.

To summarize, a giant bomb of hopelessness exploded all over my television screen, and little bits of hopelessness innards are still stuck to the walls of my living room. It took Sam all night to scrub the slimy pieces of hopelessness brain matter from our flat screen.

Don't get me wrong, I loved it. But I found it difficult to like it. When Starbuck's faithful lapdog cylon Leoban even backed away from her in despair, I knew the human race was doomed. Don't even get me started on the reveal of the final cylon... What the Frak?

(Spoiler alert- don't read this sentence, Dorien): The only hopeful moment came when one of the crew shot herself, and I found myself thinking, at least she escaped the show...

On to a decidedly more hopeful show: 24!
(You can watch the episode here)

You know BSG is hopeless when a show about torture, poisonous gas deaths, and assassinations makes the cup look half full...

I will say, the final seconds of 24 rocked. Talk about all of my greatest fears combined: Being buried alive, shot in the neck, and covered in a layer of plastic, as dirt is poured on top.
I can barely breathe just typing about it.

OBAMARIFIC HOPEFUL MOMENT: Ummm, at least she wasn't really dead. Just suffocating. And bleeding. Ah, optimism!

I have to admit, it's a little depressing being a geek in today's world.

ACTUAL OBAMA HOPEFUL MOMENT: After outlining our nation's gloomy prospects, President Obama said this: "We have chosen hope over fear... The time has come to set aside childish things... Today... we begin again the work of remaking America."

Go Us!

Monday, January 19, 2009

GETTING AN AGENT: EASY AS A, B, 1/888bazillion

Hot Young Latino Status: So I found a picture of a model who I think kinda looks like Alex in my head. (Alex is one of the characters in my book. I think I've mentioned him. At least, I mention him to myself all of the time.)

I'm sure I can't afford the actual model (his name's Bruno, I call him Bruno Baby) but if anyone has any friends who look like him, please send them along my way. To star in my book trailer. Seriously. That's all. Maybe dinner and a movie, but really that's all.
Okay, I just crossed the line into creepy, right? (Don't you dare say, "That happened, like, eight posts ago!)

Often the question arises: How do you get an agent?

So here is the answer. It's a simple road to getting published. Three easy steps:

1. Write, revise, polish manuscript. (Plan on taking at least a month for this step. Maybe two.)

2. Query agents with a one page letter telling about your book. (This could take hours. Be prepared.)

3. Sift through the gaggle of agents clambering to represent you. (They usually respond to your queries within 24 hours, requesting the full manuscript, which they will read in two days at the most.) Interview each of them for weeks at a time, as they fly you out to New York and take you to expensive restaurants in an effort to woo you. Once you have found the highest bidder for your prized work, said bidder will immediately present you with a check, just for being you.

Easy, Peezy, Lemon-juice in your papercuts, knee to the groin, gouge your eyeballs out fun!

Queries. Hmmmmm.

So I got together with my cool writer friends today (cool, because they are all so accomplished, and I feel like a gumby-head around them) and we talked a little about the process of getting an agent. Specifically the Query process.

It's kind of a hellish thing, because you've spent years writing your novel, and suddenly, in two paragraphs or less, you have to sell someone on the idea of your novel, or they won't even take a peek.

My sister author Bree once compared getting an agent to getting into the top three of American Idol, and she's totally right. And since the new season is upon us, I thought I would delve into the analogy.

It's like you have to condense years of training and singing into a few seconds, and hope those few seconds represent your voice.

Not only that, you have to pick the right song, the right key, you have to hope you don't have a cold that day, or a serious phlegm issue in the back of your throat. (That eliminates me right now).

Furthermore, you have to hope Simon's in a good mood, Paula's not high, and Randy's not hungry. Then, there's always the chance your query will reach your target on a day when his grandma died, and he's just not feeling very paranormal at the moment.

Then, while you're waiting years for a response, you get on all of the publishing blogs, and start reading about your wonderful chances to make it on the bookshelves. (Like, 1 in ten bazillion).

And unlike some of the sad saps on American Idol, you seem to have EVERYONE around you telling you your book sucks eggs. And you start to believe them, and think to yourself, maybe I can be the next William Hung, and people will read my book because it IS so bad and it DOES suck eggs.

So you've condensed your 90,000 word novel into a 100 word paragraph, and you've addressed it to the right agent, and you've spelled his name right, and you've waited in line, and you're all sweaty and haggered, and full of doubts.

Then you get your one moment in front of the judges. And if the moons align, and Zeus smiles upon you, maybe your query won't sound like this:

Dear Agent:

So, like, there's this cool girl named Lane. Broken, befuddled, but, like crazy strong. Oh yeah, and she's also crazy. As in, the clinical kind. So, she goes to high school in Blackfoot, Idaho, and she wants to be a reporter, and everyone around her seems to be dead.

And aliens take over the world.

So, Mr. Agent, what do you think?

And then the agents put together their blooper roll, a collection of the biggest losers, and show it to each other over expensive lunches.

I don't know where I was going with this. Maybe it's just another love letter to Sherpa Ted.

Last week, Nathan Bransford's blog just had some very very very very depressing numbers on the whole publishing thing. It caused quite a controversy, because so many of his readers didn't want to hear about the numbers.

Moral to the story: if you want to make a quick buck, write a novel. Or win the lottery.

Moral #2: If all else fails, wear a bikini to sing.
Maybe I'll go back to searching for hot young latino guys. Much more uplifting, wouldn't you agree?

P.S. What do you think of Bruno Baby?

Friday, January 16, 2009


Perv Status: So, I'm trying once again to cast my book trailer. I've learned one thing very quickly: Don't ever type "hot young latino guy" into the search engine.

Geek status: Thermonuclear. BSG starts tonight. Promise to only talk about it on next Tuesday's "Dork Side".

Dismembered Bambi status: 15 years after the fact, Ben Ballou finally called my mom (early yesterday morning) and apologized for hurting one of God's creatures, and sticking the four legs of said creature in the snow in our front yard. (Yesterday's post). He would also like to give credit (blame) to his friend (partner in crime) Jason Stock. So, Jason, you are hereby officially blamed. Congratulations.

So, I have another song from my book's soundtrack to share with you all. It is probably the most mainstream song I have on the list. The Bravery's Believe.

The chorus hits on a couple themes in my book.

Give me something to believe
Cuz I am living just to breathe
And I need something more
To keep on breathing for
So give me something to believe

(Sorry if the lyrics are wrong. I never hear songs right. Remember Bare Naked Ladies' song, "Pinch Me" where the line goes: "I just made you say 'Underwear'." Well, for the first two years that song was out, I heard the line as this: "I just made juicy underwear". Which could totally make sense.)

It's safe to say that my main character, Lane, longs for something in this crazy world to believe in, and she's asthmatic, and claustrophobic, so she simultaneously longs to breathe as well. Sounds like a great heroine, right?

Enjoy the song, keep your underwear clean, and next week I'll start posting pics of hot young latino guys. (Now there's a sentence I never thought I'd type.)

The Bravery - Believe

Found at bee mp3 search engine

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Wednesday's blog status: Encroaching on Thursday. I will not fail you! I will get this out on Wednesday! It may be boring, it may totally suck, but I will not give in! (Not that anyone is really waiting on pins and needles, right?)

Tuesday Dork Side status: First edition of the Dork Side (yesterday's post) went better than expected. Only one person threw rotten fruit (I'm not naming names, Cam) But she redeemed herself when she mentioned deer legs in the snow.

What did she mean, you may ask?

Let me tell you a little story about Cam's husband. His name's Ben and we practically grew up together. I was the little brother he never wanted. He was the bigger brother who used to engage in a grossly ritualistic and bloody rite of passage that most Utah boys ( due to a lack of oxygen from the inversion, no doubt) have instilled in them from their day of birth.

Can anyone guess to what I am referring?

Let me preface the rest by telling you something about my mother. Insects have feelings. Fleas just want to be loved. Spiders are angels trapped in an eight-legged hairy body. The 'least of these' have been did unto (does that make biblical sense) in my home.

Every little critter was given safe passage out onto our front porch. (Except for the random rat in our back yard. Those get squished by my dad's physician's desk reference. But, I digress).

Anyway, our little innocent Ashton family woke up one snowy morning to find a most disturbing sight in our front yard. Four deer legs sticking out of a mound of snow. Yes, Bambi had been slaughtered on our door step. Her body only half buried under snow, the four legs sticking straight up in the air.

After we revived my mother, we went out front to un-snow the little darling. Only guess what? The four deer legs weren't attached to anything! Bambi had been dismembered, and her legs had been stuck into the snow mound in our yard!

Curses, Ben Ballou! Curse your deer appendages!
Now, if it had been anybody else, my mother never would have found the good graces to forgive. But this was Ben. Granted, he would soon find out he owed her a lifetime of servitude, but he was eventually forgiven. I never understood, until one day she told me she always wanted just two children: my sister erin and a son.

Let me just say that despite his infantile, and often juvenile influence, I kept my dignity. Ben's childishness never rubbed off on me, as I constantly refrain from stooping to his level. (Although he is very tall, passing six feet, so he has to stoop really really low to reach my level, and then I stoop even lower to show where his level really is, if it were physically possible for him to get that low).

So I leave you, Ben, with this one eloquent thought (Imagine me saying it in my best hoity-toity voice):

Please understand that Ben brings out the three-year-old in me. So, Nyah Nyah Na-Nyah Nyah.
Thanks for the memory, Cam! I love you both!

And now that I have gotten that small little belch out of my system, I'm going to go make myself a cup of tea. Below, as promised, part two of Catch the Frak up!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Book Status: To keep all of us mostly sane as I wait for the next revision letter, I will switch to a "when there's news, I'll let you know" strategy on the book status. I know we will all be much happier that way.

BTW, have any of you heard from Ted? Let me know, kay?

Now have you heard from him?

Little Red status: He lifts me up where I belong, where the Eagles fly, on the mountain high. (picture me in Little Red's arms, cue credits)

*for those of you new to the blog, Little Red is my computer. Yes, I name my laptop. Yes, this is a pattern you will find in most of my posts. Yes, I cremated my old laptop (Newt). No, I'm not clinically insane. Yes, sometimes I talk to myself. What do you mean, I'm fat?

I usually post on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, so I'm thinking that Tuesday is the perfect day to post some of my whackier, geekier stuff. (You didn't think that was possible, did you?)

Do any of you know my favorite thing about January? No, it's not Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). No, it's not the "beef stew" we refer to as "air" in the Salt Lake Valley. No, it's not the deflated holiday reindeer scattered in the yard that look like they've all been massacred by my hunter ex-boyfriend.

It's because January 2009 means the beginning of the final half of the final season of the fraktacular Battlestar Galactica! This Friday, the cylons and the twelve colonies are back. Who is the last cylon? Adama? Starbuck? Rosslyn? Apollo? I have a theory that it's Apollo. They finally found Earth, only it's a cinged crusty wasteland. What-the-Frak?!

If you are not quite up to date on everything, here's your chance to catch the frak up. (It's like 9 minutes, so watch it when you have a longer moment). For an overview, it is quite funny. It's part one of two. 2nd part to come tomorrow. **Sam is making me warn you all there are spoilers. So if you haven't seen any of the show, and you want to start from season one, and you want to be surprised, be forewarned.)

So, I'm thinking as a blog community, we should reserve Tuesdays to dish about the latest episodes. I promise to keep my mother-frakkin geek-pie-hole shut on the other days. And for those of you who are nervous about tripping over to the Dork Side, join me. Take my hand. Together, we will search for that elusive thirteenth colony.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Book status: Revision Complete! Emailed to Ted last night (this morning) at 1:30 a.m. Signed email with this little gem: "I go ni-night now." Yes, I wish I had just used "sincerely" but hopefully Ted's accustomed to my verbal vomit by now.

Sister Author status: My sister author Bree Despain (one of Ted's other clients) just sold her book! It's huge news, and you can read about it here. (She also has a really cool soundtrack for her book, so check it out). Sherpa Ted rules the world!

As is the case whenever I've been working on a revision, my house has gone to pot, and my brain has gone to goo. I started working on the house problem this morning, but before I cleaned my computer desk, I just had to take a picture of the mess.

I defy any of you to find the following items on your own computer desks: Entertainment Weekly, Michael Moore's Election Guide 2008, a random shoe, spaghetti noodles, a candy cane that's actually a pen, and the rest of the junk.

How did the shoe get there? Why was there only one? And what was I planning on doing with the Spaghetti noodles that required close proximity to my computer? These are questions I will be asking myself over and over in the coming weeks as I slowly go crazy waiting for Ted's next revision letter.

Last night, I took a break to watch the season premiere of '24'. Any 24 fans out there? I got to thinking how cool Jack Bauer is, and how if he were in my book, he would totally kick alien butt.

He'd grab any sharp object (like a ball point pen) and hold it over the bad alien's ear, like he's about to skewer his brain, and then he'd yell something like, "GIVE ME THE CODE!" or "TELL ME WHERE THE BOMB IS!" or "GUESS MY FAVORITE COLOR!!! NOW, PUNK!!!"

His interrogation methods always work, because the guy with the pen at his ear has most likely heard of Jack Bauer, and his kick-butt-i-ness, and he knows Jack doesn't bluff. If he doesn't guess Jack's favorite color, he's going to get a pen through the ear.

Sometimes Jack's methods don't win him any friends. His methods tend to get him kidnapped by the Chinese Government. His methods also tend to get his daughter attacked by a Puma in the wilderness. But, his methods save lives.

So I commissioned Jack Bauer to revise my book. I told him he could use whatever methods he wants, as long as Little Red is in no way harmed.

So Jack took a pen, held it to my manuscript's ear, and started shouting, "GIVE ME 5,000 WORDS! NOW!!!!"

My manuscript whimpered, "But, Mr. Bauer, every word is important to the plot! I swear, none of them are expendable."

My manuscript obviously had not heard of Jack Bauer's famous interrogation techniques.

By the time he was finished, Jack Bauer had shot my manuscript in the knee, and ripped my manuscripts nails out, until my manuscript finally said, "Okay, Mr. Bauer. I'll give you what you want. I'll give you 5,000 words. Take them. Please."

So as you are revising your own personal manuscripts, remember this piece of wisdom:
When you come face to face with Jack Bauer, you can do things the easy way or the hard way. The easy way is ingesting your cyanide pill.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Little Red status: We're in the Honeymoon stage: blissfully in love, but still working out the kinks.

Why on earth did anyone make a computer that doesn't have two separate buttons for the delete function? Like a 'backspace' button, and a second 'delete' button that sucks the characters right after it into oblivion? Am I crazy? Don't any of you answer that!

Book status: Nearing the end of revisions. To get rid of words, I've taken to rewriting nearly every sentence to make it them each one word shorter. I'm beginning to think this may not be the most pragmatic approach. So next, I'm trying a machete.

So, book trailers. Have you heard of them? There are a ton on You Tube- It's like a trailer for a movie, only it's for a book. My new author friend Emily Wing Smith has a Young Adult book out called THE WAY HE LIVED (excellent read) and she has just finished creating a trailer for it. Click here to check it out.

Do any of you know how to do something like this? Or know someone who can? I would appreciate references! I think Emily's is seriously so cool. So naturally (because it's all about me) I started thinking about my own book trailer. About what my characters look like, and who I would pick to play their parts. I hesitate to do this, because I value what readers create inside their own heads. I loved hearing who my nieces would pick, and I didn't want to influence.

But if I don't do this, I won't have an excuse to show you gratuitous pictures of Rafael Nadal. He is the honey. And the jam. Yummm.

He's like number one in the world for tennis, and last month when I received my Tennis Magazine it was like Christmas came early. Actually, since it was last month, it was like Christmas came right on time. He is tall, Spanish, flowing hair mocha goodness. Coolest nickname: "Rafa".

Now I don't want to spoil anything, but there's a chance one of the characters in my book resembles him.

Check out his centerfold.

I'm only showing you this so you can get a sense of his... technique. Especially in the top left picture, which gives us an excellent perspective on the western grip of his racquet. What? You can't see his racquet in the top left pic? Hmmmmm. Well, study it a bit longer. All day, if needed. Now do you see it? Okay, try closing your eyes. Now do you see it?

The top middle shows you his playful side, with his devoted fans. He's like a soccer star! They cheer, and wave flags, and start brawls, and ingest a few pints during the match, and then when Rafa wins at Wimbledon, they stampede the royal box, trampling the Duchess of Kent. Every year! Rafa is so good, England has run out of Duchesses for them to trample.

And check out the left middle. He can do a one-handed push-up without even his feet touching the ground. He's got superpowers.

And he knows how to win matches. At the high cost of everything around him. He'd break his own bones, just to show the matches that he loves them. Wait a sec... I'm getting him a little confused with my book.

I can't really remember what my point was... Something about honey? Oh well, I'll just have to find some articles to read while I try to remember... As I come across possible candidates for my trailer, I'll post them.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Today's post will just be a series of status updates, for your sake and mine.

Book status: cut all the "that"s. Turns out there were 10,000 of them. Just kidding.

Newt status: I have officially transferred over to Little Red (My Mac Book. I thought about calling him "mac", but that seems too obvious.)

In a last ditch attempt to grab my attention, Newt went out and got implants. I had to break it to him gently: implants just don't do it for me.

He asked to be cremated, and his ashes spread all over the new Mac Book. I agreed to cremate him, but instead of smothering Little Red, I told Newt he would leave his legacy by causing a small hole in the ozone. (What with the burning plastic and all.)

In fond farewell, he has left you all a message, and I quote: "WHHHHHIIIIIIRRRRRRRRRRR"
(That's the sound of his fan working overtime, to no avail. The darn thing still burned a hole in my blanket).

Sanity status: abandoned ship long ago. Thought of creating an Oedipal complex just for fun, but couldn't find any spare daggers. Anyone have a few windmills I can chase? Speaking of windmills (which I'm sure you all were), I always wanted to marry someone with the last name Quixote. I would have changed my last name for that one. Just say it. Brodi Quixote. Marrying Truman Capote came in a close second. Just random facts to illustrate the sanity status.

Archie the Great: still a tool. But, when he attacked me yesterday, I laid a trap for him. Yes, he killed most of my troops, but my troops took half of his cavalry with them. My soldiers were very brave, and died honorable deaths. The ones who survived have been charged with the task of revising my book. I can't wait to see what they come up with.

Cheap Thrills status: nothing more entertaining right now than the U.S. senate showdown. Here's hoping it turns into an Old West shootout. (A girl can dream, can't she?)

Any more suggestions as to words I can cut, send them along my way.
For those of you still reading, thank you for hanging in there!

This may be the crazy in me talking, but I love you all. Like really really a lot a lot. (I stole that last line from my book. Stellar isn't it?)

Monday, January 5, 2009


Book Status: Must cut. Must fight strange compulsion to add and add.

In order to cut, I ask for your help. Please send along a list of words you could live without, and then I'll cut them from my book. The problem is, my book currently feels like it's exactly 5,000 words long, and I'm supposed to cut 5,000 words. I'll cut a 'the' from the manuscript, and then I'll re-read it and the entire book falls apart in its absence.

I need to not be so attached. So I keep chanting to myself: Kill those darlings! Kill them all! Death to words!

In all seriousness, Sensei Ted has once again proven his worth. His changes really have made it a better book. Curses!

Newt Status: Divorce proceedings have begun. I got me a shiny new Mac Book. I'm trading Newt in for a newer model. Not in the 'younger hotter wife' sense, but literally a newer model.

My new Mac Book is beautiful, and red. But it currently falls in the same category as my remodeled kitchen: It's too pretty to mess it up by cooking something in it. So for now, I'm typing this on trusty old Newt, and the Mac Book has been bronzed and is hanging above my fireplace.

Geek status: Enormous. Bigger than ever, and here's why. I've been playing this online game called Travian. I've built my own little kingdom, and I'm not going to tell you the name of it, for fear of being targeted, but I will say it's something along the lines of Brodilvania, or Ashtontonia, or even geekier. Here is an example of what a village looks like.
And let me tell you, it takes, like forever, to build up your resources and your village. Seriously, I've had to hire an extra nanny just to give me the freedom to do this.

Anyway, over the weekend, another village (whose leader calls himself Archie the Great!!) attacked me over and over, and raided my kingdom, and massacred my troops. And my little dog too.

It was so rude. And I cried. Out loud. My only excuse is that my revisions have messed up the emotional cortex of my brain.

So here is my second plea... If any of you are on Travian, or know of someone who is, could you pull some strings and attack Archie the Great!! for me? (When you are searching for his village, include the two exclamation points). He's a big fat meanie, and he needs to be destroyed.

That being said, I am fairly certain none of you even know what I'm talking about, because my readers have a higher coolness quotient than I do, but just in case there is a fellow geek out there, who can feel my pain, I am swallowing my pride (as I do nearly every post) and asking for help.

My sis-in-law Eden says with this new little obsession of mine, I have surpassed even trekkies in geekness. To which I reply: I may play Travian on my computer, but I have never dressed up as a "land-owner" or an invading "conquerer", I have never donned any sort of alien pointy ears, and I have never adopted any sort of catchphrases like "Live Long and Prosper" or "Darn you Kahn, Darn you straight to Heck!"

To the members of my Travian alliance (the totally cool "Wolf-Divine Light" pack), I leave you with this message: "Loyalty to the alliance, now and always!"

What? You're telling me that's a catch-phrase? Crap. Well, one for three ain't bad.

Friday, January 2, 2009


New Year's status: Survived the first day of 2009. No bloodshed. Maybe this is the year we have Peace on Earth...

Book status: I thought there was no bloody way I would have to add 5,000 words. So, I'm halfway through my revision, and I've added 4,998 words. Crap. At this rate, it will be 10,000 words too long. (Because for every word I add, I have to take another one away.)

Needless to say, this will affect my...

BLOG STATUS: sporadic, at best.

But I would like to leave you with this quick thought:

Meet Smoky the Hairless cat. Believe it or not, Smoky was our cat for an entire two week period.

Isn't he cute? Kind of like a chihuahua had a forbidden love affair with a rat, or possibly a menage a trois with the addition of a bat.

Why did we only have this dear cat/rat/bat for two weeks, you may wonder? Well, I am insanely allergic to cats, and apparently it has nothing to do with hair.

So Smoky went for an extended 'sleep-over' to my sis-in-law's Eden. (We told little Carter he was just visiting. He's now been there for three months.)

I know what many of you are thinking when you look at his picture: Is there anything creepier on the face of this Earth? Or in Hell? those are demon eyes!

Before you go thinking you're all that, with your normal eyes, and your over-rated hair, and your non-creepy ways, ponder this:

Smoky's friend list on Facebook has topped 200. And he's been on Facebook for only a couple months. I've been on Facebook longer, and my friend count is only at 135.

Now, don't go shaving your head just yet, but take away from it this eloquent lesson:
(To view lesson, look at picture and press "play")

His latest friend request is from a cat named "Bogey Sniggles", so I guess that makes me feel a little better...