Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Writer's Wednesday: Downton Abbey Rewrite

Now that fans have had time to recover from the season finale of Downton Abbey Season 3, I thought I'd bring it up again.

Yeah, I'm a salt in the wound kind of gal.

According to my Facebook feed, people are upset about the story.

Some loved it.  Many did not. A few even mentioned they might stop watching.

One woman declared the ending was simply bad writing.   

So here's your chance. 

If you disliked the finale--or some other part of this season--write a synopsis of YOUR version in the comment section.

If you liked it, defend it.



Thursday, February 21, 2013

Step Right Up to the Game of Life

Life doesn't always play fair.

The way we deal with it makes us the people we are.

I'm not sure I've ever written about this topic publicly. 

But I share my story as a valentine to other couples who are playing the Carnival Game of Life...and think it might just be rigged against them.

Check out my story over at Oklahoma Women Bloggers today!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pecking Order is for the Birds

Flocks of hens have one chicken in charge. When two flocks combine, they fight.  This is where the term "pecking order" originated.

Papa was concerned about his smallest hen from the old flock when he saw it fighting with the largest one in the new one.  He even rescued the little bird. Ultimately, he decided to let nature take its course.

The fight began again, and he learned something.

The little hen attacked the big one.

That fearless fowl jumped up and dangled from the others ears until it was tired. It nestled under the larger hens wings in bird-brained guerrilla warfare. Rested, it clamped onto the big wattle with its beak.

Later, Papa discovered the little hen bullying the second largest hen. Eventually, they established their pecking order with the smallest one in the hen house being in charge.

We've had a similar experience in our home recently.

Alexandra flung a place mat on the floor and refused to pick it up. Instead, she wanted me to pick her up.  She cried. She hung on my leg. It was pathetic.  I almost rescued her until she finally gave in and handed it to me.

Pecking order restored. 

I think.

A few days later, she pulled me out of my chair and came after me with an inflatable light saber.

"Tzzz. Tzzz. Tzzz."

She's never seen Star Wars, but the Force is strong in that one. 

Might I add that my son had drawn whiskers and a cat nose on my face at this point in the day? Don't judge me.  It filled time and was easier than telling them to stay out of my makeup.

Yeah, it's pretty clear where I am in the pecking order around here.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

For the love

I joined Oklahoma Women Bloggers this week in their blogging challenge, but yesterday's challenge was delayed because I'd been tagged in the Next Big Thing blog hop.  Check out what my next book is about here.

Friday's challenge was the love of food, so here's a little crockpot round up. 

If I make it, it's easy. 

Except for the time I tried Paula Deen's Lemon Blossoms aka lemon bombs, and that's not mentioned in our household, but you can read about it here. If you're brave, go ahead and try it as a dessert for any of the meals listed below.

I double-dog dare you.

Crockpot with Rich Gravy  Folks, there is no going wrong with this one. Four ingredients--one of them is water. 

Crockpot Potato Soup  Perfect to have in your cauldron as St. Patrick's Day approaches!

Crockpot Dressing  Try the original recipe and you can't go wrong. It frees up your oven so the people who can cook can use it.

Crockpot Southwest Chicken Chili  Everything is in your pantry or freezer for this one.  It's the perfect thing to prepare for easy entertaining or to take to a friend.

To make life even more pleasurable, don't forget those crockpot liners. 


Friday, February 15, 2013

The Next Big Thing: Lucky Charm

Have you heard about The Next Big Thing? It's a blog hop where authors post about their work and you get to be in-the-know for "the next big thing."

Welcome to my turn!

What is the working title of your book?
Lucky Charm

Where did the idea come from for the book?
It started with the idea that any institution left to man will become tainted by man. No matter how pure the ideals are that created it, people can make it dark and dirty. Different cultures and rituals fascinate me, so I wanted to take a society of hybrids and see if it was worth salvaging.

The cool factor of Oklahoma City is a well kept secret, so it seemed a good place to headquarter an ancient secret society.  Features like underground tunnels and the fact that Oklahoma is one of the few places in the world where rose rocks are found are all due to my society. *ahem* True story.;)

I wanted a girl to meet this world on her terms even when everyone else had other expectations.  Abi learns one thing stronger than magic is fate. The only thing stronger than fate is attitude. 

What genre does your book come under?
young adult fantasy

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

 Zachary Quintos is the evil Mr. Voth.

Taylor Swift isn't young enough or short enough to be Abi, but I like this image.

I've always envisioned Isla Fisher as Abi's mom.

Abi's Pals
Naya Rivera's sensuality is the right one for Jade.

The bubbly Lauren Alaina is the right vibe for the sugary-sweet, down-home Belle.

Abi's Love Interests
Jacob Artist would make a good Moses with just a few modifications.

Of course, so would Taylor Lautner.  
Chace Crawford is too old to be Zac and too young to be his dad, but he's the right type.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Most people would believe that being part leprechaun means you lead a charmed life, but when Abi Sparks discovers she's part of a secret, world-wide organization intent on breeding its youth to create magical hybrids, there's nothing lucky about it.

Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?
Giving final touches before querying agents.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Ha!  That's an interesting question since I wrote the book 3/4 of the way three different times. Depending on your math--2-5 years? I originally wanted to try my hand at adult characters, but I felt the call of young adult literature again. Everything that mattered happened to them in high school. It's motivational for me to know what their lives might be like ten years later if certain issues about their world aren't resolved. After querying agents, I think only one or two said, "No, thank you" without reading pages. The other four requested manuscripts. And each one decided it wasn't for him or her. Since then, I've revised A LOT and switched it from third-person, past tense to first-person, present. Next time an agent requests a full manuscript, I'm hoping he or she will say, "Where have you been all my life?!"

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Paranormalcy meets Matched.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
When I wrote Glamour,  I wanted to kill the fairies, but felt like it wasn't the nice thing to do.

I yearned to write a book that is as true as I know how to be--regardless of whether or not it is nice. With a couple of characters, I had to turn off my filter and just let them go. It was such fun!

Speaking of fun... Thanks to Sonia Gensler for tagging me in this blog hop.

I hope you hop over and see what Dee Dee Chumley's next big thing is.

Next Friday, check out picture book author and "celestial wizard" Wayne Harris-Wyrick, as well as novelists Christine Denise Jarmola and Jennifer McMurrain.

Thanks for reading about Lucky Charm.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

For the love of ... love

Today is supposed to be about love.

Garrett and I may be complete opposites in most things, but we love to travel.  We've complained recently we haven't gone anywhere in the last four years.  But that's not exactly true.

Traveling from here...

February 14, 1998 here...
September 2012 a long way to go.

It may not always feel like a vacation, but it's probably been the greatest journey of our lives.

Who needs Paris? We've been there. All we need is love.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

For the love of . . . friends

I've been writing along with the Oklahoma Women Bloggers Challenge this week.

Monday: The Love of Music

Tuesday: The Love of Knicknacks

Wednesday: The Love of Friends

Which reminded me of this post about The Sisterhood of the Traveling Jewelry.

I am blessed to have so many different kinds of friends in my life--childhood, college, married, church, mommy, yoga, work, club, etc.  Each friendship has its own lifetime.  And I'm grateful for the existence of each one.  Wicked's For Good pretty much says it all:

Take a little time and check out Oklahoma Women Bloggers.

You may just meet a new friend.

For the love of ... knicknacks

Grandma worried about me.

She had a china cabinet stacked with teetering towers of coffee mugs from places she'd visited.  My brother had a bulletin board filled with pins about politics, bands, or silly sayings.  My mom even had a display of thimbles from different states.

I collected diddlysquat.

Grandma decided I was to collect spoons.

It soon became clear to me that these spoons weren't used for cooking or eating or anything else.  They had no soul. They were made to sell.

So my well-intentioned Grandma went on her trips and brought me back spoons. One with a hula girl.  One with the Statue of Liberty. Spoons.

I preferred money. 

Only after I realized that it could be seen as a detriment did I discover I did collect something.  I had a little tin of coins people gave me from their travels.  A peso.  A Canadian penny.  A buffalo nickel. I wondered about all the people who had held them and what purchase had caused them to part ways.

My coins had soul.

But by the time I realized I did collect something, Grandma was too invested in the spoons.

Now, I don't collect coins.

Or spoons.

But I still collect stories.

Monday, February 11, 2013

For the Love of ...Music

Back to the Future had it all wrong.  A time machine isn't something you crawl inside.  Time travel can happen with a song...

Excitement electrified the air of the sorority house as girls giddily banged on the hallway doors telling everyone to go downstairs on Valentine's Day.  Following them, I saw what the big deal was.  About thirty guys from a fraternity were standing in our living room holding flowers or guitars.

And they sang.

They sang about someone brushing her "long brown hair," not blonde.

They sang about how she looked and how she was "wonderful."

Afterward, each guy gave each girl a rose.

Garrett stepped from behind a bunch of guys, and he was holding a bouquet of daisies.

My favorite.

He said, "I remembered you mentioned you didn't like roses.  I thought these looked like something you'd like."

I'm not a rose kind of gal. At that point in my life, I was actually a bit of a snot about it. If a guy gave me a single rose, it was a one-way ticket to NotGoingOutWithHimAgainVille.

Even now, they seem so cliche. Like something a bunch of fraternity boys would take to a sorority house when serenading them on Valentine's Day.

But he remembered.

So, when I hear Wonderful Tonight, I remember how a string quartet played it at our wedding as well as that day (nineteen years ago this week) that a bunch of guys sang to a bunch of girls.

And I remember how my guy stood out from the rest.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Fast Trikes and Hair Bows

Photograph courtesy of Alecia Mitchel Photography

Enjoying her fluffy hair bow and sassy boots, Alexandra toddled happily around Max's school when we dropped him off yesterday morning. 

I said, "Let me carry you up the stairs.  I don't think you can make it."

"Sure, I can." She lifted her tiny foot high in the air, pulled on my hand, and climbed the stairs.

Max's eyes were as wide as mine as we both laughed.  Not only did her speaking astonish us, but she'd spoken in a sentence!

Alas, this mama's heart wasn't done with surprises that morning.

The three year old class was playing outside as we left.  Most of the boys zipped around on tricycles.

Alexandra waved at them. 

One of the little boys removed his feet from the pedals to slow down. "Hi, cute baby."

My heart seized.

In a very short period of time, those trikes will be replaced with fast cars. 

Those beautiful, round faced boys will be handsome young men with muscles.

And my eager little girl who scampered away from my hand to clutch the fence just to be closer to them will be . . . a teenager.

For now, though, she still wants to triumph over walking up stairs while holding my hand.

I'll follow her lead and take it all one step at a time.