Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Dinner at our house is...

Dinner at our house is a noisy affair. I’d like to say mealtimes at our house are just like TV where we all share amusing stories about school and work and friends, laughing as we talk over each other, sometimes having to repeat ourselves for someone to please pass the salt. But mostly it’s the sounds of forks scraping against plates, the slurping of spaghetti noodles, the crunching of vegetables, and the ever-present sounds of tearful protest from our youngest daughter. Oftentimes, it’s usually followed by this high-pitched whining sound that teenage girls often make when they cry.

Our daughter suffers from misophonia, literally “the hatred of sound.” Depending on her mood and her hormones, we’re either disgusting creatures who have no manners, or we’re doing it on purpose to spite her. I have no idea how we’re going to survive the next five years.

Needless to say, we usually eat out. The louder the restaurant the better. Our favorite places are generally ones with large-screen TVs scattered along the walls with waitresses who are too busy carrying multiple pitchers of beer to refill our water glasses. The general cacophony of other people talking and eating does a great job at covering up the offending noises at our own table. When we do eat at home, we have to make sure the TV is on and music is blaring in the background in a futile attempt at drowning out the slurping, chewing, breathing noises that human beings naturally emit while consuming food.

Her father is the worst offender. When he chews with his mouth closed, he breathes too loudly through his nose. When he stops nose-breathing, you can hear every bite in disgusting detail. In her defense, he is the sloppiest eater I have ever met. When we were dating, people warned me he was a messy eater, but I didn’t care. He looked so cute with cookie crumbs at the corners of his mouth. Little did I realize that we would someday produce a child with misophonia.

Studies have shown that people who suffer from misophonia are creative geniuses, which is great! The world needs more creative geniuses! And according to all the child development experts, if we don’t eat together as a family, we risk raising a delinquent child who may grow up to use her creative powers for evil. So while we suffer through our noisy family dinners, self-consciously trying to make as little noise as possible, we have to remind ourselves that we are raising a child who could potentially write the next great American novel, or come up with a ground-breaking idea that may end world hunger, or maybe she’ll merely invent the next trendy dessert that will have people lining up for blocks.

Meanwhile, we just have to remember that this too shall pass. Hopefully by the time she leaves for college, she’ll have learned to tolerate the sounds of people eating and breathing. Or we’ll just have to keep the TV and radio blaring, while her dad sits at the other end of the table.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My Very First Conference

You guys, I just attended my very first conference. Why didn't any of you tell me how awesome they are?

I really couldn't pass this one up because it was held right here in my hometown of Ashland Oregon.  Jessica Morrell put together a fabulous one day workshop called "Claim Your Story" at the beautiful Lithia Springs Resort, which I'm embarrassed to say I've never been there. (They had the best peanut butter cookies in the lobby.)

Midge Raymond gave us fabulous tips about marketing, and Melissa Hart pushed us to examine why we aren't writing the stories we want to read.  And Jessica Morrell encouraged us to be brave with our writing.

I came away with new friendships (and a new local writers group!) and of course, new information and a renewed sense of purpose.  But most importantly, I was validated.  Not only with my insecurities, and this weird Job Where I Don't Get Paid And Sometimes Don't Even Show Up. But I realized I was doing it all right.  Everything. 

I used to really get on myself because I wouldn't actually sit down and "write" everyday.  But really, I was writing everyday.  I was thinking about my characters everyday.  I was writing notes about my plot everyday.  This is just how my writing process works, and it's okay.  I don't have to sit there and crank out 1000-3000 words a day.  When my characters and plotlines and crises and conversations are ready to be written, I can crank out 5000 words a day.  Easily.  But when it's not ready, it's just not ready to be written down.  And that's okay.

I had to ask myself some very important questions, the most important being, "Do I really want to do this?" and the answer was a big fat almighty "Yes!" So then why haven't I been writing? Mostly fear. Which I learned I can use! I can use all my insecurities, my fears, my quirks.

I am so excited for this, you don't even know!  I'm working on a damn fine book right now, and I can't wait to finish it and get it in the hands of agents.  And publishers.  And readers!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

This mama gets stuff done!

In the midst of holiday stuff, my family had a little crisis the other day.  Well, specifically, my teenage daughter had a crisis.  And as we all know, depending on certain times of the month, certain events can be viewed as mild, or life-threatening.

Well, her world was about to end and it was sort of my fault.

She has 20,000 followers on her Instagram account.  I know right?  How does a 14 year old get 20,000 followers?  It hasn't been easy.  I've watched her over the past year, and she works hard.  She spends more time on Instagram than she does doing her homework.  But since she's on the honor roll, and she doesn't have any missing assignments, I let her do what she wants.  For the most part.  I go in and check what she's posting, and I make her delete stuff when it's inappropriate or vulgar.

But she's learned some pretty valuable marketing skills that will help her in the future.  To put it in perspective, she has almost as many followers as the population of our small town.  That girl's a marketing genius, and I hope one day she'll be able to put this on her college applications or her resume.  Or at least help me market my book when it gets published!

So last week, Instagram decided they were going to automatically reset her password, and in order to enter a new one, she had to retrieve an email and follow the link and jump through a few minor hoops.  The problem was, when she started her Instagram, she used my email.  And a few weeks ago, I got rid of that email.  So we had no way of getting the password reset instructions.  How was I supposed to remember that when she first started this account, she had used my email?  Right?  Well, she wasn't buying it, either.

So, I scoured the internet looking for a way to get her Instagram back.  And let me tell you, Instagram makes it impossible for you to contact them.  They have these "report a bug" forms, but I don't know where it goes once I hit the "submit" button.  And they have no phone number and they even say on their website that if you got rid of the email address you used, well, sorry!  Nothing we can do about it!  Sucker!!

So I sent a private Facebook message to Mike Krieger, the co-founder of Instagram.  He's like the Mark Zuckerberg of Instagram.    I sent him two messages.  I was very polite, but I let him know that this was a life or death situation for my daughter.  She was losing followers and she was panicking.

Lo, and behold, he replied!  And he took care of the situation.  He sent me a link with the password reset instructions.  And all is well in our household once again.  At least, until the next crisis hits.

But for now, this mama is a hero.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

NaNoWriMo Fifth Year Senior

So apparently, I should be proud of myself for at least attempting to write 50,000 words in a month.  I received a very nice email from the folks at NaNoWriMo telling me that I shouldn't delete my WIP or hide it away in some hidden subfolder.

But in my defense, I started a week late and I managed to get about 40,000 written in less than four weeks, so I'm damn proud of myself.  I never expected to finish on time anyway because of that neat little calculator on the NaNoWriMo website that showed your progress and how much you needed to write per day in order to finish.  My goal is 70,000-80,000 words anyway, and I always exceeded my daily goals.

What this whole experience has taught me though, is discipline.  Even though I took two years off from the actual act of writing, I didn't take time off from plotting and thinking about my WIP.  Maybe that's why the writing has been so easy because it's pretty much already written in my head.  But as we all know, you still have to sit down and write.  And that's the most important lesson I've learned from NaNoWriMo.  Something about that little chart that would track your progress kept me going.  It would actually bug me to see a few stagnant days when I couldn't sit down and write (Thanksgiving was hard).

And when I exceeded my daily goals, something about seeing that number really inspired me to keep going.  So I've made myself a little chart on excel to track my progress from now on.  With the holidays coming up and visitors and all that, it's going to be hard to write everyday.  But as long as I'm still writing, I'm making progress.

So, if any of you want to be beta readers for me in a few months, hit me up!

Friday, November 15, 2013

The 90s: The Lost Decade (for me)

My WIP takes place in the 1990s (part of it) and as I've been frantically writing, I've realized I'm either getting so old that large chunks of my past are missing, or the 90s weren't all that special.

It's not that nothing happened to me in the 90s, because everything happened for me in that decade.  I graduated college in 1993.  I got married in 1996.  My first child was born in 1999.  But why am I having such a hard time remembering anything else that happened back then?

Current events, movies, songs.... I have no clue.  I remember Nirvana happened.  And Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.  But wait.  That was 1989.

Thank God for google because I would be completely lost.  What did writers do before google?

If you're reading this, please help me out.  What else happened in the 90s?

Thursday, November 7, 2013


I've been so out of it (meaning, out of the writing world) for so long that I completely forgot about National Something Writing Something.  Hold on, while I go look it up.

National Novel Writing Month!

Just googled it, and there's a website and everything!  Was there always a website?  I don't know.  Well, this is perfect timing, because I am writing and writing and writing and the words are a-flowin' and a-ccumulatin'!

So if you are participating in NaNoWriMo, hit me up and join my buddy list or whatever it's called on the website

I also set up an Instagram account.  So if you're on Instagram, follow me!  I seriously have like one follower right now.  It's pretty pathetic.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Judging Books by Their Covers

I'm writing!  And it's going really really fast.  I'm kind of shocked at how the words are just flowing.  A lot of it is crap right now, but I'm not beating myself up about it.  There are a lot of sections where I've just typed a;sldkfjkdls to stand in place of a minor character's name because I just didn't want to stop to think about it.  But I'm writing!  Yay!

But in other news, I just recently ran across an article from New York Magazine that came out in October about YA and how hot it is right now.  Which didn't surprise me at all because I jumped on that bandwagon way before I sat down and started writing (and about half of what I read nowadays is YA).  Even books that weren't written for a YA audience are getting a YA makeover and selling a lot more books.

Pride and Prejudice was given a new Twilight-esque cover and sales went through the roof.  What's this all about?  I know that book covers are important, but this seems a little wack.  And the new gorgeous cover that was just released in September has sold 5k in less than two weeks  (reminds me of the Luxe series). 

I guess people are judging books by their covers.