Friday, May 28, 2010

Sam is bringing the funk with this blog post

I just found out that I am writing Brodi's blog today.  Yay for me.  Boo for Brodi.  Booya for all of you.

Brodi is currently a bit goofy right now.  She went in this morning to get an MRI (it was not supposed to be until tonight but they had an opening) and they give you Valium when you get this done.  This MRI is to get them a bit more information on her hole in the heart to see what is going in her brain, if anything.  From what I understand, Brodi would scream at the nurses, 'thats all the valium you are giving me? That wouldn't even calm a small turtle. Gimme more, gimme more.'  I think they had to taze (or is it tase?) her to stop the screaming for more valium.  The patient is doing fine and she is off in a daze half sleeping/half watching the French Open.

So, this means that Brodi will be taking the day off from blogging.  I will be filling in with this short blog post, with just a few short comments:
  • Kid C has no school today.  It is that famous holiday 'No School Attendance day.'  Seriously, that is what they call it.  It is like the school district is not even trying.  They could have said that there is no school today because of Very Important Meetings...or School review of Earthquake Preparation Day so no School...or they could have said that 'We aren't going to have school because the year is almost over and we are soooo done with all of your kids!'
  • Our new car, the '75 International Scout is doing fabulous, thanks for asking.  It is out of the shop and even though it has lived in the shop since we bought it, we know how reliable of a car it is going to be.  I think I have also lost 7 pounds since we bought it because it jiggles so much when you drive it.  It is a new and improved fat jiggler and I am reaping the benefits.
  • Random TV thought--if you have not seen the show Justified, check it out.  It is great television.  You can learn about it here Also, American Idol is over.  Egads.  Thankfully.  Not our favorite season. 
  • Our plans for the weekend?  I have a tennis match tonight and if I win, it will be a busy weekend.  We are also going to spend some time in Midway.  We also have a fun dinner planned with friends on Saturday...and yardwork whenever we can fit in.  Rock and Roll.

What are your plans for the weekend?  Feel free to also comment on how much you enjoy Brodi's metrosexy husband filling in for her on this blog as well.  Party on!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Heart of the Matter: aka Don't all Hearts have Holes?

I went to the doctor the other day, and she thinks I have a hole in my heart.

me: "You mean, like, a metaphorical hole in my heart?"

her: "Why would I talk about a metaphorical hole? I'm not a shrink."

Her theory is that I have a little hole in my heart that's allowing little blood clots to go to my brain, causing little mini-strokes. These would account for my headaches. And you know how my mind wanders, and I forget what I was... SQUIRRELS!

Personally, I think the reason I have headaches is because I sit at my computer for 8 hours straight every day. So what if my eyesight took a giant dip in a two day time span?

Anyway, the condition is called PFO. Or, PKO. Possibly it's TKO. Or DOA. 

Fine, it's D-O-G. Mixed with a little S-O-L.
So, today I'm spending the day out in B-F-E at the IMC (Intermountain Medical Center) to search for the proverbial hole in the heart. Okay, fine, it's not proverbial. It's an actual hole.

So wish me luck. And if I'm slow to respond to comments, you know where I'll be. But still send them, because I'll have my phone, and I love my peeps!

Monday, May 24, 2010

LOST, explained in Limericks. (For both fans, and non-fans)

Happy Monday y'all. 
The Winner of Sydney Salter's Jungle Crossing is...


Congratulations! Email me your address at brosam (at) gmail (dot) com

As most of you know, I am a geek at heart, so my weekend was centered around the LOST Series Finale. Don't worry if you haven't ever watched an episode. I have crafted a guide, in the form of Limericks, to tell you everything you need to know about the show.

I really need you non-fans to tell me if my Limericks make it all clear. 

So, without further adieu (what is a further adieu anyway?) I present...

THE LOST LIMERICKS! (For both fans and non-fans.)

There once was an island from nowhere
'Twas magic, so no compass could show where.
It summoned a bunch of strangers
who faced many dangers
When their plane exploded out of the cold air

There once was a doctor named Jack
whose drunken antics in the O-R garnered flack
Redemption seemed lost,
Til the island's path he crossed
Giving him the chance to defeat the man in black.

There once was an outlaw named Kate
who blew up the stepdad she hate.... ed
a fugitive on the run
til she crashlanded in the island sun
And had to decide whether Sawyer or Jack was her fate. 

There once was a scam man named Sawyer
Whose way with nicknames couldn't be coyer
He changed his rebel ways
When Juliet set his heart ablaze,
But he was shattered when a large bomb destroyed her.

There once was a cripple named Locke
Who's sudden ability to walk caused a shock
A man of faith and hope
Until Ben killed him with a rope
And he became the meanest Smoke Monster on the Block

There once was a rich man named Hurley
Who, despite island diet and exercise, remained burly.
He communed with the dead
Went nuts in the head
He guarded the light and kept his hair curly.

There once was a war between the man in black and the man in white,
whose battlefield was this island that remained out of sight.
These stranded strangers fought back,
as time and space got out of whack,
and in the end... um, in the end... they ended up sitting in a church. Naturally.

Of course that's where they'd end up. I mean, what did you think was going to happen? They'd escape off the island and live happily ever after? Bah! I totally saw that coming. All seasons pointed to them one day sitting in pews in an empty church. Derh.

Anyone else see it? What did you think? And for you non-fans, if you didn't see it, did my limericks help you feel caught up?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Top 10 Life's Lessons learned from watching Season Finales... and Free Book Friday

Happy Free Book Friday y'all.

Today I'm giving away a signed copy of Sydney Salter's Jungle Crossing. 

Read to the bottom to find out how to enter.

Last night I watched the season finale of Grey's Anatomy. I'd never seen the show, but I heard there was going to be a shooter loose in a hospital, and I had to get in on that action. I discovered there's a lot we can learn about life from watching season finales, even if we don't know what's going on.

So, I present to you...
The top 10 life lessons gleaned from season finales:

1. If you're pregnant, you better hurry up and tell the baby-daddy the big news, otherwise he's likely to get shot.

2. If you're in a love triangle, and you can't decide which direction to go, there's nothing like a shooting rampage in your place of business to help make up your mind.

3. If you're in love with someone, but it's a secret, and that someone gets shot, you can save his life. Just admit you're in love with him, and he'll live. But you have to do it when the time is right, like when he gasps, and grabs your hand really hard.

4. You can order someone not to die. "Don't you dare die on me! You stay awake! You hear me?" and if you say it with enough conviction, it will work.

5. As much as I admire the truth, if I'm dying and there's nothing you can do to save me, don't tell me. 

If I say, "I can't feel anything anymore. The pain is going away. Is that a good thing?"

You say, "Yes. It's a great thing. It means the healing has begun."

Do not say, "No. That's a very bad thing. I promised I'd tell the truth, even if it's hard to hear. Probably your spleen is bursting."

sidenote: If you could've saved me, but the stupid elevator was broken, and you couldn't haul me up the stairs to the OR, don't tell me that either.

6. Just because SWAT teams have roped off the hospital due to an armed mad man loose inside, and the hospital is in "lockdown", that doesn't mean you can't cross the yellow tape and walk in and out at any moment. The officials are distracted with helplessly watching people die. They won't notice if you want to go inside and get a closer look.

7. Just because every law enforcement agency is there, and they have the situation in hand, that doesn't mean you couldn't do better. If you used to work at the hospital, or if you know someone who works there, you may be the best hope. Go on in.

8. Hospitals become very small when there's a shooter inside. No matter where you are, he's around the corner. Trust me.

9. If you run into the shooter, and he offers you a drink, feel free to turn him down. It's okay to offend the man with the gun. It means you're brave. 

Sidenote: If you dare a shooter to shoot you, he won't. It's the best way to stay alive.

10. A man who bought his first gun at a mall the day before will always be a better shot than the trained snipers surrounding him. 


When the mad-man finds you (and trust me, he will) and he asks you if you're a surgeon, and he's been shooting surgeons all day... it's okay to lie. Lie like the wind. Tell him you're a nurse, or a janitor. Those people never get shot. You can feel bad about it later.

So, what have you learned from finales? Which finales are you planning on watching? Leave a comment and let me know, and you'll be entered to win the book.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Diagnosis: A Case of the Blah Dee Blah's

I'm taking a sick day today. 

I have a scratch in my throat and I'm tired. More tired than I've ever been before. I've been revising my novel, and I get to reading one sentence, and I immediately fall asleep.

There's only one conclusion: I think I have Mono. Either that or my book is really really boring. Out of the two, I like to think I have Mono.

Other Symptoms (for those of you out there who are armchair diagnosticians):

1. I get annoyed easily. Sam's been tucking his pant legs into his socks before our bike rides. It makes me want to scratch his eyes out.

2. Everything seems loud. I gave Kid B two DS's and a computer to play with while I revised. He had all three going at once. I had to put ear plugs in.

3. Chocolate and Caffeine aren't doing their job. Yesterday, I ate an entire bag of Ghiradelli chocolate squares and 5 bottles of Diet Coke, and I still wanted to take a nap.

4. I have an upset stomach. Chocolate and Diet Coke did nothing to cure this either. Seriously, why do I even buy the stuff?

5. I first spelled stomach as "stomache". Like, I'm French, so I have a sto-mahsh. Like panache. 

Those are my symptoms. I'm tired, annoyed, and slightly French. Feel free to diagnose. And sorry I'm taking a sick day today. I'll be back for Free Book Friday.

p.s. Sam just looked over my shoulder and said, "That's your way of taking a sick day?"

Monday, May 17, 2010

Winner of Beautiful Creatures... and Men's Tennis (i.e. Beautiful Creatures) *sigh*

And the winner (according to of the signed copy of BEAUTIFUL CREATURES is... comment #8. 

Sara B. Larson

Sara- Email me your address at brosam (at) gmail (dot) com.

We had a great discussion about endings on Friday. I have to admit I learned a lot, and I'm gonna steal all of your ideas for my book. I think y'all could teach a class on the art of the ending. (You probably wouldn't resort to a bra analogy like some people...)

With your ideas in mind, I've been taking my new ending for a test drive, and so far there has been no chafing or irritation. Hopefully I've found one that will last.

I have to give a shout out to my tennis playing boyfriend for winning the Madrid Open. 

And by "boy" I mean Rafa Nadal, and by "friend" I mean lover.

He recently trademarked his sneer, so don't try to copy it.

Rafa beat his main rival, Roger Federer, who's also a tall drink of water. But Rafa rocks the clay court, and when his knees aren't on the fritz, he's unstoppable.  He puts so much junk on his forehand, it's the dirtiest spin in tennis. (No, these are not euphemisms.)

To all of you new blog followers: Yes, I feel it is my duty to educate about the hotness that is Men's tennis right now.

I keep having this dream that Rafa and I are best friends. Like no one in the world gets us better than the other. Every time I wake up, I'm like, "I can't believe we're not best friends!" 

Tell me the truth, is that above paragraph rule #1 on the checklist to becoming a full-fledged stalker?

Okay, I'm off to revise. Now that I have an ending, I guess I need a middle, and then word on the street is that I'll need a beginning too. 
Wish me luck. What are y'all up to this week?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Free Book Friday, and How Finding the Perfect Ending for your Book is like Shopping for the Perfect Bra

Today I'm giving away a signed copy of Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's book BEAUTIFUL CREATURES.

Find out how to enter at the end of the post. (It will involve leaving a comment). 

So, the other day I tweeted about how I'm rewriting the ending to my book:

Revisions: I tried a new ending on for size yesterday. It was a little snug and a quite itchy. I hate shopping for endings. Harsh lights.
Trying on a different ending today. Gonna avoid all three-way mirrors until I get it right. #revisionsareitchy

And my friend Leisha Maw responded with this:
@Brodiashton i hate shopping for endings, too. It's like bra shopping-uncomfortable.

And I realized she's exactly right. Finding the perfect ending is like finding the perfect bra:

1. Sometimes you have to try on a few before you get one that fits.

     I'm on my third ending. The first one felt like a marshmallow bra. The second, like a wool boulder holder. The third one might be just right.

2. The perfect ending/bra must uplift (and separate). 

  This is not to say all endings must be happy, but they must satisfy the reader, and fulfill any promises that were put forth in the beginning of the book. 

ex: In Harry Potter, not everyone makes it out alive, but you can be sure Harry finally finds the place where he belongs.

3. The perfect ending/bra must have (underwire) support.

     The rest of the book provides the foundation for the ending, so when that last page comes, you don't have to be Houdini to make it work. 

     For instance, if you get to the end of your contemporary realistic book, and you find the only way your dream ending can happen is if a dragon flies into town and brings with him an alternate universe, you have a problem.  

4. Little irritations in an ending/bra can become huge rashes, but not every clasp needs to be done up.

     You don't have to tie every loose end in a giant pink bow, but an irritating ending can make a reader hate an otherwise excellent book. You want an ending that earns a place on the reader's nightstand, not a spot in their fireplace. It doesn't matter how good a drink is if it leaves a bad aftertaste in your mouth. 

I'll use some movies as examples:
Remember the movie SEVEN, with Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman? I don't want to ruin it, but let's just say there's a box at the end that holds part of Brad Pitt's wife. (Okay, it was her head). But the ending didn't come out of nowhere, and it sure fit in with the rest of the movie. I bought it, hook line and sinker, and it stuck with me like peanut butter on the roof of my mouth.

Remember the movie CITY OF ANGELS with Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan? The angel makes the monumental sacrifice to fall to earth, only to have his true love get hit and killed by a truck the very next day in a really stupid bicycle accident. I saw that movie years ago, and I still want to punch it. I want to literally punch the movie. If it showed up on my doorstep, I would knee it in the groin.

So, my question for you, dear blog readers, is: What do you expect in endings? Do they have to be happy in order for you to like a book? Does everyone have to make it out alive? What sticks with you the most? Do you remember any endings that made you want to throw the book across the room?

Answer in the comments and you'll be entered to win the free book.  

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Why I feel the Least like a Mother on Mother's Day

Howdy. So I promised a Mother's Day recap. 

Mother's Day always makes me laugh, and cry, because I hear about how real mothers are supposed to act, and I know I'm not quite there yet.

1. The women they celebrate have nothing in common with me. In my church on Sunday, children spoke about what makes mothers so darn great.

"Mothers help our garden grow."
me: I haven't touched dirt in years.

"Mothers keep our house clean."

me: Again, I haven't touched dirt in years.

"Mothers keep us fed."

me: Wait, that's my job?

"Mothers tuck us in at night."

me: Seriously, the kids won't go to bed unless it's Sam tucking them in.

"Mothers read to us."

me: This is just getting silly now. 

"Mothers fix our boo-boo's."

me: Yes! I am the band-aid queen of the world! Not only that, I drain pus. Where are the kids that say, "Mothers drain pus?" Because I have that one nailed. Boo-yah!

2. Because all mothers are gardeners, naturally, I can always count on getting at least 4 plastic cups full of dirt and some plant of unknown origin.

To make room for the new plants, I immediately clear out the window sill from the plants I got last year. (The ones from last year grew into a lemon tree and a rose bush. Just kidding, they're really piles of moldy dirt.)

I'm sure there are many mothers out there who know what to do with the plants, but my own mother taught me you put them in the window sill, close the shutter, and hope they don't grow vines that take over your house. (I already have one of those.)

3. But I have to admit, I do love the portraits of me. 

Sure, there's something strange going on with my teeth, (it's a little Moonraker)...

... but check out how skinny I am!

What are your Mother's Day traditions?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Wanna Know what Really Happens at Writers Retreats? And the Winner of Princess for Hire

And the winner of Lindsey Leavitt's Princess for Hire (chosen by is comment #19...

Kristen Harmon
email me your address: brosam (at) gmail (dot) com
On to the post:

I went to a writers retreat with a bunch of writing buddies over the weekend. There are no pictures, and I'll explain why in a bit. 

I show up Thursday night, a little late to the party, and when I walk in, the condo is dead silent except for the clickety clack of fingers typing away at keyboards. 

The scene was unfamiliar to me, as I was expecting a writers retreat, and this was unlike other retreats I'd been to. (What was I expecting, you might ask? Well, at our last one, we spent the first night giving ourselves pedicures and Bree Despain did everyone's hair.)

But Joel (the lone male at the condo) didn't look like he was in the mood to braid hair. 
I was all, "What are you guys doing?" (I whispered, because it seemed appropriate.)
Nikki Mantyla (the host of the party) replies, "We're writing." Like, it should be obvious.

me: "Everyone's writing? When is the talking?"

Nikki: "We talked for a while. Now it's time to write. Did you bring your computer?"

me: "I think so. It's in the car. I didn't think I'd be using it right away."

Eventually, I got into the groove, and the next day Sam called. I whispered when I answered.

Sam: "Why are you whispering?"

me: "Because everyone's writing."

Sam: Confused pause. "Everyone? Writing?"

me: "Yeah. It's what we do at writers retreats. duh."

Sam: "It's not what you do at writers retreats."

me (whispering even quieter): "I know. Apparently I've been doing it all wrong." 

So, that's why there are no pictures to go with this post. There was no time. We had work to do!

How was all y'all's weekend? Productive? How was your Mother's day?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Free Book Friday: Enter to Win Signed Copy of Lindsey Leavitt's Princess for Hire

Happy Friday y'all. 

I'm at a writing retreat and my internet connection is spotty, so this will be a quick post.

Up for grabs today is an autographed copy of Lindsey Leavitt's Princess for Hire. 

Lindsey Leavitt is a classy chick, and funny and down to earth and just plain cool. Her agent rocks too.  This is us at her signing.

The question you have to answer is this:

What do you think the next big trend in YA books will be? What would you like to see more of? 

Leave a comment with an answer, and you'll be entered to win! (Any thoughts on the subject will be accepted. As my long-time blog readers can tell you, I'm not picky when it comes to contest entries.)

p.s. There are two winners from the WIFYR who should be getting free books from me. You know who you are. Can you email me your addresses again? My has exploded since that contest.  brosam (at) gmail (dot) com

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

If You're a Writer and you Submit, Rejection Doesn't Stop at Any Stage... (To be sung to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It."

Hey y'all.

I loved this post from YA author Lisa Schroeder. If you're like me, when you see Lisa Schroeder, you say to yourself, "Now she's got it made."

But her post shows that even after three stellar books, she still gets rejected.

I remember back in "the day" (you know, that one day I realized I was ruined for traditional jobs, and so I decided to make money by my pen... which, as it turns out, would've only happened if I sold said pen, but anyway. Where was I? Oh yeah... ) Back in the day, I used to think if I could only get an agent, then my path would be made, and just like that Michael Jackson video, my steps would light the way.

Flash forward a short ten years later, I got my first agent (after something like 92 rejections. I'm not exaggerating. If I were exaggerating, I'd say 486, because whenever I exaggerate, the number is always 486.) Anyway, I had an agent. I'd made it. Looking back, I have no idea what exactly I'd thought I'd made. Perhaps a big pile of goo? I don't know.

Anywho, after a short year and a half of revisions, and a bunch of submissions, and a plethora of rejections, and a smattering of no replies, my "making it" resembled a big fat zero.

Subsequently, I stuffed that big fat zero, painted it donut-color, and hung it above my fireplace over a painting of a glass of milk. 

Some people get inspiration out of rejections. Stephen King used to nail his to the wall. I prefer mine to elicit happier thoughts, like daydreams of donuts and milk. Because twelve and a half years of the daily vein-tapping-that-is-writing should be worth something more than a big fat zero, right? I should at least get a wall-hanging that resembles a pastry. 

Or, better yet, a gold star, telling me I've almost made it.

Well, stupid Star, it just so happens I can't paint, except to draw a house. And I don't know why you're getting all snippy, Star, because at least I have an agent. And the agent author relationship lasts for eternity, because it's true love. And true love frakkin' conquers all!

Oh yeah, Star? I'll show you. I'm going to write a second book. And it's going to be better than the first one, because-

How do you know he thinks that?

Right. Tell me, just what does a Golden Star eat for lunch?

Listen, Star, I'm taking this new book, and I'm gonna query, and I'm gonna find an agent, and we're gonna take off like a rocket ship!

You know what, Star? I found a fabulous agent, who loves the new book. And I had multiple offers.

Suck it, Star.

I guess my whole point is, I think rejection is a constant for writers, and it never stops no matter what stage you are at in your career. Except maybe for Stephenie Meyer. But how many of us are Stephenie Meyer? Unless there's some weird alternate universe thing going on, I'd venture a guess that just one of us is Stephenie Meyer.

But here's the silver lining: It's a good thing we write for the pure joy of it. Otherwise, those stars would turn into Chinese Stars, and impale us all with their sharp points.

Not good enough? Here's another silver lining: At least you'll have something to blog about.

Still not impressed?

How about I throw in a set of steak knives? And a t-shirt that says, "How many times do I have to push this effing rock up this effing hill?"

I heart Sisyphus.
Kill the Fluffy White Bunnies and then go write!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Twitterpations of a New Relationship... and Why I Won't be up for Mother of the Year.

Good morning, yon bloggerville. 

Thanks for all the congratulations on Friday, and over the weekend. Many of you asked what happens next.  Well, now I get to work on revisions. Michael definitely had the tallest order in terms of plans for the book, so I have a lot of work ahead of me before it's ready to go. 

I feel like last week was a week of speed-dating, where I had a five minute date with each agent. Now we're in the getting-to-know-each-other stage, where I try to put on my best face (I keep it hanging in the closet for special occasions, so it doesn't get too wrinkly), put my best foot forward (the trouble is attaching it... my best foot tends to be a little squeaky) and finally I keep a breath mint handy for all of our phone calls. 

In anticipation of the time I'm gonna have to put in, Sam went on Craigslist and bought the boys Nintendo DS's that actually work. (We had ones that didn't work before, and they couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about. We told them they had to use their imagination to picture what was happening on the screen, and if they were bored, it was because they weren't being creative enough.)

Over the weekend, Kid B walked into the living room, looking like this:
In his left hand the broken DS, in his right the new one, a bottle of milk balanced precariously between his wrists, and still in his underwear at 4:00 p.m. on a Saturday.

Let the neglect begin! 

p.s. Don't judge me.

And to celebrate the new agent, I'm going to reinstitute Free Book Fridays! Watch out this Friday for the first one. Thanks again for all the support, y'all.