Saturday, June 30, 2007

Zombie Woman

It's been a long, mostly wonderful day. I spent the morning with the writers of the LDS Writers Blogck and had a great time visiting with them and their families. They're a great, very talented group of people. Mostly it's been spending time with my kids and cleaning house today. Birdy made dinner with very little help on my part and did a great job. He's been begging me all week and I promised him we'd do it tonight. Taco Salad. His choice and a family favorite.

I'm dead tired and just realized I've got to teach in Young Women's tomorrow, so I'm going to keep this short for a change. It's my thirteenth anniversary tomorrow and my husband and I are taking off for an overnight stay in Logan at The Anniversary Inn. He doesn't know where we are going, just that we are. My point is that I'll be out of touch for about twenty-four hours, so might or might not have blogs up for the next two days.

Thanks to those who responded to my plea for help. I've decided to keep the scene that was giving me such heck and if the publisher doesn't like it they can let me know. I like it, it doesn't seem to be offensive, and my heart tells me to keep it, so I'm listening. It stays for now, at least.

So, off I go to bed before I turn into the zombie woman. I'm already monosyllabic. Bed calls. Must sleep. Now. Good night.

Quote of the Day: "It only takes one person to change your life – you." ~ Ruth Casey

Friday, June 29, 2007

To Change or Not To Change . . . .

I'm stuck on my rewrites for The Sapphire Flute with five chapters left to go, the five chapters with the least need of fixing, and yet I've got a bit of a dilemma. A certain someone who shall remain nameless (*ahem* Annette Lyon) stated rather correctly in her comment that I am warped. It is true, I will readily admit it. I find things humorous that are both strange and gross, and thus the dilemma: whether to keep my favorite warped scene or cut it for my submission to Shadow Mountain. I can't help but wonder just where they draw the line on these types of things, and it's not like I can call them up and ask proper etiquette here.

So, I was wondering if any of you out there could help me? Give me your feedback, opinions, critiques or whatever and let me know if you would be offended by the scene. Personally, I find it hilarious, but like I've said several times now, I'm totally, completely, and irreparably warped.

Here's the setup: A conversation between Ember, the MC, and her Uncle Shad. Without giving away the entire story, Ember has just the day before discovered that she is 1/4 wolf and a shapeshifter. All wolves are shapeshifters by nature. In trying to hide from her attempted kidnapper, Ember has disguised herself as a boy, but not just by dressing differently, no - she shapeshifted (in appearance only) and now has the dilemma of finding a way to bathe in a city where public baths are the norm. She can't go with the boys, for obvious reasons, nor can she bathe with the girls in her current form.

Here's the scene that's giving me such fits:

"Did you find one?" Ember asked, desperation oozing from her sweaty, canine tinted pores.

Shad shook his head. "Sorry, kiddo. None of the private residents were willing to share their bath with you."

Ember groaned and collapsed onto the bed. "I can't go to the trials smelling like a wolf and covered in mud, What am I going to do?"

"It's very simple, Ember. You go take a bath," he said, leaning against the door jam and grinning at her.

"I can't!" she whined.

"You won't," he said.

Ember glared at him.

Shad pushed himself away from the doorjamb and paced toward her. "Look, Ember, why is this such a big deal. You just go in when the baths are empty, wash and get out. No problem."

"But it’s the boys’ bath. I can’t go in there. And what if they call me for my trial before I get to bathe?"

"So bathe earlier. Bathe now, if you wish."

"I can't!" Ember reddened just thinking about it.

Shad sat down on the bed beside her and put his arm across her shoulders. "All you have to do is put some shorts on. Nobody will see a thing."

"But I'll still have to see them! And I'd feel stupid with shorts on. I won't be like them and that will draw attention to me, which is the last thing I want. I don't have the same parts they do, Uncle. I need to blend in, be the same."

"Then make it so," he said shrugging.


"If you're so worried about not having the same parts then make yourself some. If you can shapeshift into a wolf and change your own body, you can change that too."

Ember was too shocked to respond at first and when she did her words were a gut response and sent out with all the feeling her little body could possess.


Shad started to laugh and couldn't stop. Ember reddened.

"Uncle," she said, rolling her eyes when he did not stop immediately. He doubled over in hilarity until finally she punched him in the arm and shouted. "Uncle!"

Shad swallowed his laughter and hiccupped at her but he did stop at last. He apologized, without a lot of sincerity, when he saw her reddened cheeks and tight lips. "Sorry." He grinned, not sorry at all, she was sure. He took a deep shaky breath and put his arm back around her. "The way I see it, Em, you've only got two options if you're that desperate for a bath. Either you go ahead and bathe with the boys, no matter how you decide to do it, or you go and bathe with the girls."

Ember was surprised. Bathe with the girls? How was that possible? "How can I do that? Right now I'm neither boy nor girl."

"So change yourself fully into one or the other." He said with a nonchalant shrug and a squeeze of her shoulders.

"But what about Mom? I can't really afford to -- " Shad interrupted.

"I didn't mean forever, Ember. Just to take a bath. If you're not comfortable being all boy then be a girl again and go bathe . . . before the rest of the building smells like your room. Please." He waved a hand in front of his nose and grinned.

Okay, there it is. If anyone is inclined to give me their opinion, I'd greatly appreciate it. Cast your vote, folks! Keep it or lose it? What's it going to be? Only one last request: please let me know why you feel one way or the other if you could?

Thanks in advance. You guys are awesome.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Josi Kilpack tagged me on her blog a week ago and I'm just now getting around to responding. After all, I only just got a blog back up the day before yesterday. It's not like I could do it any sooner, right? Riiiight?

So here it is.

Remove the blog from the top, move all the blogs up one, and add yourself to the bottom.

Ennui in the Grocery
The Lyon's Tale
Sundial in the Shade
A Writer's Ramblings

What were you doing ten years ago? 1997 - I'd been married almost 3 years (July 1st!) and was living with my in-laws while hubby went to school and I worked for the Utah Relay Service for the deaf. I'd just started working on The Sapphire Flute.

What were you doing one year ago? End of June 2006, I don't remember much, other than writing. It was just before the kids set the house on fire on independence day. I think the smoke inhallation sucked the memories out of my head.

Five snacks you enjoy: 1) Sunflower seeds, salted, in the shell. 2) Parmesan flavored Goldfish crackers. 3) Ice cream. 4) canteloupe and cottage cheese. 5) corn chips with cream cheese and homemade salsa.

Five songs you know all the lyrics to: 1) Crazy by Icehouse. 2) Don't Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin. 3) The Tide is High by Blondie. 4) Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics. 5) Englishman in New York by Sting.

Things you would do if you were a millionaire: 1) GET OUT OF DEBT! (Yes, I did just shout that.) 2) Take my whole family on a cruise. 3) Go to Europe. 4) Build a bigger house so we could adopt more kids and my Mom wouldn't have to do stairs. 5) Save, save, save. You never know what the future might bring.

Five bad habits: Ow, do I have to answer this one??? All right, here goes. 1) Going out to eat. 2) Pepsi. 3) Wasting time on the internet. 4) Not saying "NO". 5) Spending money.

Five things you like to do: 1) Read. 2) Spend time in nature. I love trees and the sound of water. 3) Music, whether it be listening, singing, or playing my flute. 4) Travel. I love seeing new places and enjoying new foods and environments. 5) Play World of Warcraft.

Things you will never wear again: 1) Pink eyeshadow. 2) My wedding dress (it was a rental). 3) A size 6?? 4) Spike heels. Ouch. 5) The last size I dropped from (and NO, I'm not going to tell you what it is!)

Five favorite toys: 1) My digital camera. 2) My Dell XPS laptop. 3) The new program I got that lets me make really cool slideshows with music for my pictures. 4) Motorcycles (though I don't have one right now). 5) My 80 Gigabyte iPod I use to watch Heroes with my video glasses. Super cool.

Where will you be in ten years? I'd like to hope I'll be published multiple times and have enough money to live comfortably. Tin-man will be 19 and heading off on his mission. Birdy will be 18, just out of high school. Hopefully we'll have a couple of daughters added to the family by then. I don't care where I'm living, so long as I've got some of nature's green, I'm happy.

Five people to tag:

Suzanne Reese

Quote for the Day: "Forget all the rules. Forget about being published. Write for yourself and celebrate writing." - Melinda Haynes

Fire Fairies

I had an interesting experience at girls camp two weeks ago. It was the final night, usually a spiritual time where the girls express their testimonies and comment on their favorite moments of camp. One of the girls picked up my camera and asked if she could take a picture. I was busy getting hot chocolate, so without thinking said, "Sure!"

She then turned around and snapped a picture of the fire.

I looked at her, a little strangely, I'm sure, and said "you took a picture of the fire?"

She grinned at me, huge as could be, and said, "Of course. I want you to always remember how beautiful it is."

I laughed. "Yeah, because there's a lady dancing in there, right?"

"Right." She said and handed me my camera.

I glanced down at the picture and just about dropped the camera in shock.

"Holy crap! There really is a lady in there!" It gave me chills. I'd heard of such things, of course, but had never caught them on film. Don't believe me? Here's the picture:

Do you see her? How cool is that? If she still remains hidden, look near the center, just to the left of the upstanding logs. Her knees are bent in profile, her arms upraised, her head a crown of flowers.

Still don't see her? Look below:

This is what I love the most about my imagination. I see things that I know aren't really there, but it makes it easy to believe the "What if's", and rather than be known as the schizophrenic down the street, I write it out. Don't be surprised if the fire fairy turns up somewhere down the line.

In other news, I'm starting a website. It should be available sometime this week. Well, it's available now, but only half done. I accidentally published it before it was finished. I know. My bad. As soon as I get it right, I'll post the address and you guys can come visit me there. I've got some fun ideas for contests and will give you the opportunity to help me with my writing. Really! I promise! So stay tuned. More details will follow soon!

Quote of the Day: "Detail makes the difference between boring and terrific writing. It’s the difference between a pencil sketch and a lush oil painting. As a writer, words are your paint. Use all the colors." - Rhys Alexander

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Bald Moms

It's been one of those days. You know the kind, the ones that leave your gasping for breath and wondering why you aren't bald from the stress. So it started like this: I went to work at 4:30 (yes that is a.m.) on 3 1/2 hours of sleep. I work part time in the bakery of our local grocery store, and really, I love the job, I just hate the hours. Problem: I'm a night owl. I work early mornings. Not a good combination.

So, I check out at 8:37 and get in the car to call my husband to be sure he's got the kids up so they can go to Boys and Girls club. Conversation starts like this:

Me: Good Morning! How are you doing?

Him: Terrible.

Hmmmmm. Not such a good response, so I try again.

Me: I'm sorry. What's going on?

Him: You didn't tell me I had to get the kids up.

Oops. Now, technically this isn't true. I did tell him . . . last week. I kind of forgot to remind him and he'd just gotten off working night shift, so wasn't in the best of moods anyway since he was half asleep. My bad. I went home to find him fixing kids' lunches. I rush them off in the car to the club and at the last minute ask, "did Daddy give you your medicine?" (They both have ADD) Of course the answer is a big, fat "NO". I tell them I'll bring it down later (and promptly forget), then rush off to the chiropractic appointment I was 15 minutes late for, and THEN decide to get my hair cut, since I'm not quite ready to go home to a grumpy husband.

After that I could hardly keep my eyes open, so home I go, only to find hubby cleaning house. I was grateful, but feeling a little chastised that he was doing it when I hadn't. We both go to bed at that point, he with the intention of sleeping the day away, and me only wanting an hour and a half to two hour nap.

Four hours later I wake up to the phone ringing. It's two o'clock. The kids are supposed to have therapy at 2:30 and the therapist called to say he was rescheduling. Fine, no problem, except that I'd been planning to write during the day. I'm in the middle of these blasted edits for The Sapphire Flute and have been stuck on chapter 18 for weeks. I get up, dress, grab my laptop and decide to get out of the house for a while so I can avoid the distraction and drama. So where do I go for lunch and quiet writing time at 2:30 in the afternoon?

Pizza Hut. Yep, you read that right. They've got a salad bar, so I get my veggies and don't have to feel guilty for the personal ham and pineapple pizza I gobble down with it. I had almost three hours there by myself, nobody in the restaurant but people doing pick ups and the employees, and with a set of earplugs I'm not even aware of them. So, I finish chapter 18 at long last, (HOORAY!!!) run to the store, pick the kids up from club, run home to find out when Tin-man's baseball game is and read "5:45". Kids fold laundry, very reluctantly because of the lack of meds and constant distraction. In the process, we come to discover that they have NO SOCKS. Thus begins the search for all the dirty socks, which were found in various places in their room: The ledge above the door, the toy baskets under their bed, in the corner, with their various halloween costumes, etc., etc., etc. We finally come up with about 10 pair of dirty socks and they've got a slew of toys and garbage to pick up from the search.

So now they've got to clean their room on top of folding the laundry, which they proceed to do even more reluctantly, with Mom getting increasingly frustrated and waspish. Finally they get it done and it's time for the game. I ask Tin-man to look on the calendar and find out the location. He joins me at the car and tells me "DJ1". I race to the ball field only to find no team, so I call home and ask Birdy to look on the calendar to be sure we're in the right place. He says, "5:45 at Eagle field". It's 7:20 at this point and I'm pulling my hair out wondering what went wrong. I'd looked at it earlier and it had said 7:15 at DJ1, I could have sworn.

So, I tell Birdy to give the calendar and phone to Grandma to double check. She tells me three times the same thing he did, so I finally get a clue and ask her to look at the Tuesday before, the 19th, and tell me what it said there. Of course it said "DJ1 at 7:15". I'd looked on the wrong day and missed Tin-man's game. I felt like a WONDERFUL mother at that point and pouted all the way home.

The evening continued along those lines and right now all I want is a trip up the mountains to stare at the stars, but I'm going to have to settle for the trampoline and my laptop. At least I can breathe the fresh air for a while and get a little more editing done. I'd really like to move on to chapter 21 while I've got some momentum going, but I've got to work again tomorrow and it's almost 10 pm already. *sigh* Another late night, I guess.

Do you ever wonder why more mothers aren't bald?

Quote for the Day: "God has plans for your writing. And believe me, they're better than any plans you have for yourself. Let Him be in charge, and let Him delight you with what He has in store." - Virginia Smith, author of "Just as I Am"

Monday, June 25, 2007

If At First You Don't Succeed . . . .

So, my last blog up and disappeared one day with no way to find it again or mine the depths of wisdom I'd posted there. I say that tongue in cheek, of course. I decided that blogging is very therapeutic and it would be well worth the time it took to start a new one. Thankfully, I don't think Blogspot is going anywhere anytime soon. I probably should have come here to begin with. Oh well, thus is life.

I'm a casual writer, much more focused on expressing my voice than on the particulars of the english language, at least in the blogging atmosphere. What you see is what you get here. Some people might take offense at that, and if so, please feel free to vent about it in the comments trail, I don't mind. We're all different, all free to express ourselves in different ways. That's what makes life so interesting, in my opinion.

A little about me - I was born in California, lived in Washington, Oklahoma, Utah, and spent eighteen months as a missionary in Connecticut, Vermont, New York, and Rhode Island. I'm back in small town Utah now, and loving the beauty of the Rocky mountains, though not so much loving all the rocks in my yard. Have you ever tried putting a sprinkler system in ground that produces rocks the size of dinosaur eggs? I wouldn't suggest it. Hire it done. Let the professionals break their tools and backs. Believe me, it's worth the money.

I'm the mother of two very active boys, age 9 and (almost) 8, whom I adore and want to throttle on a regular basis. They've got a lot of challenges from their past that make life a little different for them. We adopted them when they were 3 and 4 after having them for a year in foster care. We also had their baby brother for 7 months, which was wonderful and heartbreaking both. We were able to experience every stage of babyhood, from the sleepless nights with an infant who couldn't even turn over, to a toddler just learning to walk on his own. It was very fulfilling to the mothering part of me, since I'd not been able to give birth, though about broke my heart when his birth father took him away. It was where he needed to be, I felt that very strongly, though it wasn't what I wanted. I needed to have my full attention on my boys, tin-man and Birdy. I'll talk more about them at a later time. They will take up a big chunk of space on this blog over time, I'm sure. I love them dearly, but wow, they're a lot of work! When we were in training for foster parenting the teacher told us that most of these abused kids were just like other kids, they just lived their lives in hi-definition, surround sound stero. Everything's bigger, brighter, and louder. Boy, was she ever right!

I've written two books, both fantasy, and am in the process of shopping them out right now. The Sapphire Flute will be in the mail (as requested) within the next week or two, though it seems I've been saying that forever. The Misadventures of a Teenage Wizard is going to an agent I admire as soon as the other gets in the mail. We'll see what she thinks of it. If it works, awesome, but if not, I'll just continue to send them out and keep writing. Some days I wonder why I still do this, why I torture myself with rejections and work that doesn't pay in spendable rewards, but then remember, I can't help it: I'm a writer. It's not just what I am, it's WHO I am. I'll do it until the day I die, published or not, though I can't help but feel that if I try long and hard enough it will happen. It feels right.

So, that's me in a nutshell. I plan to use this blog better than I did my other. Having it be so casual takes the pressure off to write something profound. I can be myself here and I can't think of anything I'd rather be.

Quote of the Day: "A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit." - Richard Bach, author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull