30 September 2010


Look what I got yesterday!
I'm so in the mood for guns, fighting, monsters and all around craziness.
Yes, it's been a week.

28 September 2010

Fun Size vs Bite Size

Until this evening I was unaware that there was a difference between the Fun Size of Snicker's bars and the Bite Size. I knew there were two different sizes, but I thought the little, little ones were Fun Size. Goes to show what I know. Well, I do know that I like Snicker's bars!

I guess you could eat the Fun Size all in one bite, but that would ruin the fun of enjoying the Snickers in two or three bites. You know, draw it out, savor the moment and all that. Whenever I try to take half of the Bite Size I either get the edge of the chocolate and nothing else, or I get everything but the edge of chocolate. Occasionally strings of caramel will connect the two, but not in a fun way, more like an annoying/get everywhere way. No fun in taking those little ones in more than one bite—thus the Bite Size designation.

This is a phenomenon that will need to be further investigated, and since I love to eat I think I could be the one to head up the committee. The Fun Size vs Bite Size committee. Who wants to be Vice President?

27 September 2010

Curd's got Bounce

Food. Let's start there. I eat food (which should be amply apparent from simply looking at my picture). I like food. Food likes me, which must be why it sticks around for so long after I've eaten it. We're all one, big (butt) happy family.

However, there are times when food goes awry. I'm not talking cooking. No, no, that is a subject for an entirely different day. I'm talking about when food fights back.

Let's be honest (because really, what's more fun than that?). I've got a natural shelf that tends to catch food as it jumps from the fork in an attempt to run for freedom. The shelf comes in handy—except when there is a white shirt and spaghetti sauce involved. Then I curse the shelf and hope I have a jacket in the car.

Once in a while the food misses the shelf (not sure how mind you) and goes for the pants. This morning I was eating some cottage cheese with a cut up nectarine in it for breakfast. Yummy. I'm happy to be sitting here thinking about it . . . Oh! Sorry.

So a single curd (if that's what they're called) of cottage cheese jumped from the fork, somehow managed to miss the shelf, and landed on my pants. This little guy was spry. He didn't just hit my pants once, no, he bounced around and got his cottage cheese sauce in at least four different places.

I had no idea cottage cheese curds (yes, let your mind wander to squeaky cheese curds for a moment) were naturally bouncy. I guess I learned something today. I should have learned to keep one of those Shout wipes in my purse.

26 September 2010

Dryer Sheets

In my YA novel, the magic is connected to people's senses. Because of this, since I started writing the novel in July, I've been more aware of what my senses take in. Right now I'm sitting in an old, beat-up recliner, feet up on another chair, laptop on my lap (fun how that works out) with the window behind me open.

All sorts of things come through the window. Light, heat, a nice breeze, the sound of crickets chirping (pretty sure there is a whole fleet of them out there tonight), the smell of the neighbor's barbecuing, the sound of the neighbor's kids and the other neighbor's motorcycle . . . Anything can come through.

Right now the smell of dryer sheets is wafting through the open window. The guy downstairs must be doing laundry. Just the scent of a dryer sheet brings back so many memories: clean towels, college, playing in my best friend's back yard as a kid, winter (not sure why), my parent's basement . . . the list goes on and on. Our senses are connected to so many other parts of our lives. It's amazing.

23 September 2010

Ninja Wanna-be has a Scare

Tonight I strolled into the dojo, glanced into the office and almost dropped my stuff. Not only was my instructor in there (which is pretty normal) but so was his boss, a 5th degree black belt (I think he's got 5 stripes). Yikes! This is the guy who, at my first advanced belt test, made us to a total of 450 push ups because the little kids in the group could not figure out how to line up properly. It took us 45 minutes, all those push ups and by the time we got it right he was in a really, really bad mood. Lucky for me I was still a low rank an didn't have to go outside to the killing ground like the brown belts. Oh, and don't forget he ran the black belt test I took last year. Was he back for more? Decided I didn't make the cut the first time?

To look at the guy you'd never think, “Hey, that guy can totally kill me.” Nope. He's not very tall, shaved head, strawberry blond goatee, average build, nice smile. . . but never, for one minute forget that he probably thinks of new things to do with the martial arts while he's eating his breakfast. And, he can kill you.

I'm still not sure why he was there, but he did run class, which was awesome! He's way cool, but much less terrifying when you're not on a test. We learned some very quick, very direct fighting stuff, which I loved. It was a good class . . .I'm glad I plucked up the courage to come inside instead of running back to my car and coming home to bed.

22 September 2010

Aspiring Author Spits Something Out

Here is a little teaser from a joint story I'm involved in. The genre is Steampunk.

Before he could gather his wits two figures stepped out from behind the piles that lined the alley. Wreathe didn't have to turn to hear the pair behind him. Four against one? That hardly seemed like fair odds to him.

“Heard you had a bit of trouble with the investigators today,” one of the men in front said. Wreathe could see him clearly. He was short and stocky. Dressed in coveralls the man had a crowbar dangling from one hand. His partner was also short, but wiry. He wore the jumpsuit of an LTA repairman, but the watch gleaming on his wrist told Wreathe that neither of these men were common thugs.

Wreathe glanced over his shoulder. Sure enough, there were two back there. “Just an accident on an LTA. Probably didn't even make the news.” His eyes came back to the men in front.

“Your pretty little face is all over the papers.” The man sneered.
“Is that so?”

The man nodded, slapping his hand with the crowbar.

Today had been a long day. Wreathe was in no mood for unpleasantries. “Do you want my autograph?”

“Hah!” The man laughed and turned to his companion. “He thinks we want his autograph!” The wiry man did not smile, but the two behind Wreathe laughed along.

“No, mate,” the man's voice went serious. “We're not here for your autograph.”

Wreathe heard the men behind him getting closer.

“We're here to check on something.”

“Check on what?” Wreathe shifted his eyes, trying to take in his surroundings.

“Take off your goggles so we can talk like civilized men, face to face.”

“My goggles?” Wreathe forgot he even had them on. He always wore them. Having eyes the color of steel could sometimes be a drawback when you were trying not to be noticed. Besides, enough people wore goggles all the time that hardly anyone asked Wreathe about it.

“Off,” the man said, punctuating the remark with another slap of his crowbar.

Wreathe felt unexpected anger rising inside of him. Whoever these guys were, they were up to no good. Wreathe was almost positive he could get away through the alleys, but something in him was tired of running. Some part of him wanted a fight.

“Why don’t you boys go find someone else to bother?”

21 September 2010

Rookie Mistake-Ninja Pulls Ahead

I've been ignoring one of the first things I learned about writing. How I made it through an outline and a subsequent manuscript without this rule entering my mind is a mystery. Blond moment? Senior blond moment? Nope, not that old. Not yet anyway. So how did it happen? I have no idea, but I have to thank K for mentioning it the other night. She didn't even mean to, but she did, so I'm crowning her genius for the week. I might even make her a tiara.

Some of the most annoying stories that I've ever read ignore the rule that I almost did. They didn't stay within the laws of their own universe. To be specific, there were minimal consequences to using magic. If anyone can use magic, and they can do whatever they want, then it's not magic anymore. It's breathing. Or technology.

My YA novel is about kids addicted to magic. I worked out where the magic came from, what types there were, who had what and how to use it, but I never did figure out how it worked. What happened if they used too much? What do the users have to sacrifice? DUH! What was I not thinking?

So I spent most of my lunch and a chunk of time since I've been home from work trying to sort out the problem. As I've been jotting down ideas I've found that these rules are going to help me. Before I think I had too broad of a scope. Now that it's been narrowed down, I can find more specific problems that will build the conflict and hopefully make my story a better story.

Good thing I was reminded of this before the writing conference I'm going to in 5 weeks. That would have made me look very silly—and I really don't need any help in that department.

18 September 2010

Rorschach Test

Since you're all so "creative", what about this one? What does it look like?

16 September 2010

The Warded Man

By Peter V. Brett
As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise—demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards--symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human numbers dwindle under their relentless assault. Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past. Together, they will stand against the night .

I've forgotten how it is to read epic fantasy. I've been reading young adult books most of the year, so getting into this book was difficult. My friend read the first page and said she was both bored and intrigued at the same time. I pretty much felt that way about the first half of the book. It was good enough to keep my interest, but setting it down wasn't a problem.

However, once it got over it's own beginning, I was hooked. The characters were solid, the conflicts were varied and real and the different plot lines were easy to follow. By the end I was very invested in the characters, which is a really good sign.

The world the author built is interesting. I am reading through a friend's manuscript and every time one of her characters goes out at night I think, “Wait, the demons will core you!” Alas, wrong story. The idea is very intriguing, so I guess it's sticking with me.

My biggest complaint (besides the extra long set up at the beginning) is that the author references sex a lot. Nothing graphic, I just find it annoying and not entirely necessary, but that's just my opinion.

Anyway, it was a good book. It's the first in a series, so don't be surprised when the ending is really the beginning.

15 September 2010

Scary Beyond All Reason

This afternoon . . . no wait, let me back up. Last week a friend of mine did a really good critique on my New Sight Chapter 1 Try 1,10019043. It feels like that, and I'm still in the early stages of novel writing.

Anyway, she did a great critique, and I decided to incorporate some of it into the revision. Then, being insane and apparently begging for more stress, I uploaded it to Dave Farland's writing group web site (of which I am a member of Group 013) to see if anyone would critique it for me. I just checked. So far 2 people have downloaded it, but no one has left any comments. I'm scared.

I'm not so attached to the story or the writing that I would really mind changing it (although I'd be annoyed), it's more the fact that I just threw my writing out there for perfect strangers to rip apart. The last time I did that was at boot camp in April, and that time I was firmly reminded that I sucked. Ack!

13 September 2010

I'm Special!

After four weeks of buddy-taping my right index finger to my right middle finger I finally got in to see the Hand Surgeon guy.

I must admit that I felt a little uncomfortable for a few minutes. This doctor doesn't just do hands. Apparently he'll tuck, pull or puff whatever one might need adjusted on their body. Sitting next to the rack about breast augmentation was a little much for me. Don't need that, thank you very much. So when they called me back I wasn't sure what to expect.

Thankfully the doctor was nice. I unwrapped my fingers and showed him my wrist. The frown should have been my first clue. Then he poked, prodded and squished my wrist, asking each time if my fingers were going numb. Nope, no tingle.

I told him my normal doctor said it was trigger finger. He then went on to explain what trigger finger was. Yes, yes, my doctor told me all that. Then he said he thought I had trigger finger in my wrist. Duh, wasn't that what I said? He shook his head and told me this was only the second time he'd seen it in 20 years. Wow, aren't I lucky? And special!

So four weeks with the double-wide . . . all for nothing. That doesn't make me happy. Neither did the talk of surgery. However, first there is a cortisone shot that is now filling in all the extra spaces in my wrist, and that may or may not fix the problem. Four weeks will tell. At least there is no more double-wide.

12 September 2010


I never was very good at juggling. As a matter of fact, I don't think I've done it right once! Not that I've ever put much effort into it. Not after a good friend of mine went on a date with a guy and ended up watching videos of him juggling at his house all day. Kinda turned me off the whole circus performer thing.

Oh, hey, there is another classic distraction of Jo moment. Back to juggling. I've got a lot of projects that I've decided to take on. The next few months are going to be a lot of juggling on my part. By the end I might be crazy, or I might be famous! (Famous because I went postal on someone at work probably.)

Anyway, I'll keep everyone posted on the juggling. Between my YA novel (which I actually started a re-do on the outline tonight for), a new childrens picture book, Nanowrimo, a joint story with a couple of other writers (more news on that later), looking for agents for the childrens story I already have, writing not one but two query letters, helping other people with their projects and a writing conference coming up, I think I'll be a little insane by the time December rolls around.

11 September 2010

Losing My Way

Yesterday, at my private lesson for Kempo, Sensei asked me to do something with my right hand. I've got a double-wide finger on my right hand, you would think I would be able to remember which hand was which. It shouldn't be hard!

Uh, right. Lefty now thinks she is righty. Much like dogs think they are people. My left had is attempting to change it's identity to right hand. Is that like a gender change? Is there a surgery for it? I should probably check my phone for doctor's numbers that I don't remember dialing. What if my other brain side is about to take over and instead of writing and Kempo, I find myself liking pink, frilly dresses and *gasp* broccoli?

If anyone sees me eating broccoli, please capture me (watch out for lefty) and throw me in a closet for a week. Feed me chocolate and put lefty in a mitten. Thank you.

10 September 2010

So Much Better

I've only got 5 episodes left in the series! Yes, yes, I realize I'm behind.

The series is SOOOOoooo much better than the *cough* movie.

09 September 2010


I think I've got blockage of the brain. At least the creative side of my brain, that is. Wait, no, the logical side isn't doing well either. Yes, I do believe I am suffering from a brain blockage. Stuff goes in, gets jumbled around but doesn't come back out.

I've had no luck with revising my novel. I know, I know, if it isn't coming it is probably a sign that I should take a break from it. It's not the writing, it's the planning that is killing me. Too many decisions and each one has repercussions throughout the whole story. Yes, this will only be round 2 of the novel, but I'm kind of a perfectionist (shocking, I know) and I hate things not fitting nicely into place. Like a giant, Tetris game. Ooohhh . . . Tetris. I was so addicted to that game at one point in my life. That and MSN's Collapse. There it is—my dirty past.

Note the lack of focus. Anybody got a shinny object? This is how my mind works these days. I start out thinking about one thing and ten seconds later I'm light years away thinking about something else. Start with moving my shoes when I get up, and by the time I get up I've forgotten about the shoes and am in the kitchen trying to remember why I was headed for the sink.

Gosh, I can't wait to get old.

07 September 2010

Left Turn at Albuquerque

Aspiring Author is up one today. At Kempo class we did knife techniques. I'm pretty good at them if I know what's coming, but when Sensei says the others in the group can cut you however they want I kind of go all to pieces. I end up in pieces. Whatever. Good thing we didn't do the (washable) Crayola marker on the white uniform drill.

This evening, before Kempo class, I pulled out my novel. I looked at the printed copy and opened my notebook. I wrote down a few ideas and then turned the page on the notebook.

I guess I'm not quite ready for novel revisions, because I started to write another rhyming picture book. I got the idea a week or so ago, wrote down a few tidbits this weekend, and this afternoon I put pink pen to paper. It's not good. It's not even finished, but it was fun to write! I'm not sure how much I should put on a (gasp) public forum, but here is one verse I jotted down. Oh, the title would be something like “What if it was Winter?”

Instead of having ice cream
or those popsicles to eat,
there should be something warmer—
like hot cocoa for a treat!

Someday maybe I'll have mad, rhyming skills. Either way, it came out pretty easy and my brain feels a little better. There will be an honorable mention about socks, of course.

06 September 2010

Knight Rider? Not Quite . . .

Two self-driving electric robot vans have embarked on an epic journey from Italy to China in a bid to demonstrate the scope of autonomous driving technology.

So these two vans will travel from Italy to China starting in July and ending in October. They can go 37mph and have to stop after 4 hours of travel to recharge. Pretty cool, really. Check out the article for more info.

After I read this, my geek brain kicked in and I wondered: Will these two vans travel the entire way to China, only to find some other self-driving machine waiting for them at the finish line? You know, like all those Sci Fi books where the first round of colonists go out on the slow ships and actually arrive after the second round who got to ride in the ships with faster than light capabilities, which were only discovered after the first round left.

That's where my mind went. Then I pictured the other vehicles looking much cooler than these vans, with drivers (not actually doing any driving, of course) who were cocky, hot Americans who would then “wave” as they went by the vans in the mountains of China. Mr. Hasselhoff, I presume?

These are the things I wonder.

05 September 2010

The Pen is Mightier . . .

I have to say that today I'm very grateful for pen and paper. I've got a lot going on at the moment (most of it running around in my head, clamoring to get out) and if it weren't for me writing things down I would never remember anything. Well, not anything cool, that is.

Sure, I can remember that I have to go to work on Tuesday (yay for Labor Day!), and I don't usually forget to dress before I leave in the morning. I got that stuff. Mostly. My problem is all the little ideas that parade in front of my conscience, do a little (and sometimes impressive) dance and then run away to hide in the recesses of my mind. Cool things like the technology hunting half-cat, half-robot that I want to put into my next story. If I hadn't written that little jewel down, I never would have remembered it. N E V E R.

Just one more proof that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword. Especially if it is an energy shooting, spider eliminating, pink-inked pen with a tassel.

01 September 2010

Beware the Groove!

“His groove! The rhythm in which he lives his life. His pattern of behavior. “ -The Emperor's New Groove

My groove is off! Lefty and the double wide have thrown off my drawing groove at work, which in turn has left me both slow and crabby. Yes, I realize that I am often slow and crabby, but this is worse . . . so much worse. Oh so much worse that I'm considering something drastic. Unfortunately, nothing appropriately shocking comes to mind (groove is off after all), so I'll just leave it at that.

I mentioned a panic attack yesterday. Well, here's what I've done to myself this time. Nanowrimo is in November, and the first week of November I've got a writing camp to go to. That's about 8 weeks away. Between now and then I want to complete round 2 of my YA novel. You know, the one I just finished round 1 on at the beginning of August. Also I need a cast of characters and a plot for my Nanowrimo novel. Oh, and I just joined an on-line writing group through Dave Farland's Daily Kicks.

What was I thinking!?! Just to get the YA novel finished I will have to blow through 4 or 5 chapters a week. They're not super long chapters, but that's still a lot. I'm freaking out here!!!

All this and my groove is thrown off. You try typing 70 words a minute with two of your fingers taped together.

Happy thoughts. Think happy thoughts.