Friday, August 22, 2014

The Weirdest Book Acceptance Story Ever

This is not a dignified tale. I wish I could say I acted professional and composed after getting my acceptance letter, or that I even had a little celebration dance, or ran outside and bugged the neighbors with a few whoops and hollers, as I’d always imagined it would go down. I certainly didn’t anticipate the explosive reaction that a lifetime of waiting, hoping, praying, and repeated disappointment would elicit in me. And I don’t know if anyone ever shared the long-awaited news of their publishing acceptance with other travelers at a rest stop in the middle of nowhere.

We were driving home at the end of our vacation in the Rocky Mountains a couple weeks ago. I had crappy cell service most of the way through Wyoming, but I got a faint signal while we ate at a rest stop out in the prairies. Just enough for some emails and texts to come in while I sat in the car waiting for Lia and Emily to finish up in the restroom. The first email I saw was the one from the publisher I’d wanted for Cobalt since the beginning: Xchyler Publishing. I would have psyched myself up for the feeling of crushing disappointment I’d grown accustomed to when I was sending out The Moongate, except I saw the email header: Welcome to the X!

I sat uncomprehending for a second, then launched out of the car shrieking. Eva thought there was a bee or something in the car (we had wasp and bee problems at the resort, including one wasp that was NOT happy that I rolled over on it in bed), so Eva ran out right behind me and didn’t realize what was going on until she heard me screaming at my mom through her car window. My poor mom, she was so stressed over the problem of finding a motel for our last night on the road; she caught on but stared at me kind of shocked, until I turned and ran flapping and yelling up the trail toward the restrooms, Eva hot on my heels and screaming even louder.


People stared. I didn’t care.

Emily said she and Lia heard us coming and wondered if we were just on our way to tell them to hurry up because we needed to go, but they didn’t know why we were screaming. I burst into the restroom and found a confused Emily standing near the sinks. The exchange went kind of like this:

Me: *UNINTELLIGIBLE SCREAMING COBALT UNINTELLIGIBLE SCREAMING*
Emily: “Wait. Cobalt got accepted?!”
Me: *SCREAM GIGGLE SHRIEK BOUNCE*
Emily: “OH MY GOSH I COULD JUST KISS YOU!!”
Emily, Eva, and me: *SCREAM TACKLE HUG JUMP UP AND DOWN SCREAM*
Lia (from the stall at the end): “What is happening out there?”

And that’s the story of how I celebrated the acceptance email from my dream publisher with my kids and strangers inside a rest stop bathroom.

Our Vacation: Dying Cars and Frisky Wasps


The story is even more awesome to me considered what we went through at the beginning of the Most Stressful Vacation Ever. I won’t say Vacation From Hell, because it turned out really nice in the end, but boy did it have more than a few glitches.

We caravanned out from Boise with the intention to stay overnight in the mountains in Utah, then continue on to our family reunion at the Winding River Resort in Colorado. Just after making it into the beehive state, my step-dad’s car broke down. After attempting for hours to urge the disabled car out of the wilderness at least (big costly mistake), the girls and I went on ahead and got a room at a scary motel in downtown Ogden. My parents finally got their car towed to a mechanic and they got a room at another (and nicer) place, since ours was now fully booked.

The next day we were supposed to have arrived at the resort, but we spent the day at a public park, many of us in tears, as we tried unsuccessfully ALL DAY to find a rental car to continue the trip. My mom was resigned to staying behind with my step-dad in Ogden while the rest of us drove up to the resort, but we didn’t want to go without her. She’d planned this trip for over five months, and my brother’s girls were so looking forward to seeing their grandma. Meanwhile, my step-dad’s car needed a new engine, and as of this moment is still at the shop in Utah waiting to be repaired. Defeated, we got another hotel room that night and went to bed not knowing what we were going to do, but pretty much certain our vacation was ruined.

The next morning, my mom made a few last calls and found a rental. Once again on the road, we made it to the resort that night. We had a wonderful time with family we don’t get to see very often, and I got some pictures like these:

A wild Lia. Sneaking in for a closer picture might have been dangerous.

The adorable cabin I stayed in with three of the girls

Partyin' around the campfire

My brother and Lia jamming

Emily and my mom ;)

A rustic writer's setup (I didn't get any writing done)



Friday, July 25, 2014

Inspirations for Creepy

I love creepy. The spookier the better. In trying to figure out what to write next, I decided to give the Cobalt world a break and work on something dark and eerie (like Cobalt wasn't?). I'm still working out the details, and trying to decide between two different story ideas that are taking shape.

Like many people, I'm inspired by other stories, music, and imagery. The following are a few of my favorite spooky inspirations. For some reason, I find myself really looking forward to Halloween now.

Neil Gaiman's Coraline is just like an old-fashioned ghost story complete with nightmarish illustrations. The movie didn't disappoint either. Would have scared the crap out of me as a kid.

I just finished reading this one. The Ocean at the End of the Lane had its creepy moments, but was, overall, a beautiful story written by an amazing author.

I read this book as an adult and had nightmares. I can't see the upcoming movie being as creepy as the stories in this book and its sequels, but maybe we'll be pleasantly surprised.

Stolen Babies knows how to do creepy when it comes to music and costumes. Heavily influenced by Oingo Boingo and Tim Burton, this band brings graveyards or nightmare carnivals to mind. Grubbery is about a couple of hillbilly cannibals who get a dose of karma when they find out their dinner doesn't like being dug out of their graves. :)


One of my friends on Facebook posted this great link on a gorgeous photo project that brings Grimms' fairy tales to life, and provides more than enough inspiration for surreal settings and spooky forests.

And then...

Like her sister before her, this creepy 8-year-old left a bunch of scary photos on my phone that she edited herself.






She also touched up this one of her sister, which is creepy in a different way.



Do you have any other spooky or disturbing books, movies, or pictures to add to my list?

Meanwhile, Cobalt is on an editor's desk awaiting approval or rejection and my fingers are cramping up from weeks of crossing them. Cross some of yours for me too, please!


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Steamphone Shenanigans (Steam Powered Giraffe fans will see what I did there)

Just like Lia's thing is to troll my manuscript, it seems Emily's thing is to leave all kinds of crazy pictures on my phone. She'll frequently steal borrow my phone for Snapchat and Instagram, and I never know what I'm going to see when I get it back. The following are a few of my recent favorites:
















Oh, and hey guys, look what I did to my new leather phone case! I glued some gears on it and called it steampunk. It's the closest I've come to steampunk in freaking forever.







Saturday, February 8, 2014

Blog blog noodle noodle

So at the beginning of January, I got excited about finishing Cobalt and all the other positive changes that are happening in our lives, so I got bold and tempted fate with a Facebook status update guaranteed to induce an epic fail:


Sure enough, within a couple of days, the epic fail showed up like this:


The van was totaled, and now I'm stuck at home with a serious case of cabin fever. I hate losing my independence! Plus, it was my mom's van I broke. :( She's just glad we're all okay.

I'm not one to be daunted, however. Cobalt's rewriting is going well, I've lost six pounds, and I'm gaining all kinds of editing experience with my new work responsibilities. And I narrowly avoided another fail by deciding to keep my phone's insurance when I was in the AT&T store a couple weeks ago trying to get my bill reduced. The very next day, my smartphone decided to derp out. So my insurance mostly covered a shiny new Android without requiring a new contract or anything.

On the subject of fails, texting fails are some of my favorites. I've had a few good ones, like this one when I was apparently sleep-texting Emily:

All I remember about this is that I actually thought I was answering her question when she was reading Cobalt.

Another good one:



Here, Anya got ahold of my new phone.

Autocorrect struggles are my very favorite kind:


I had a lot more like those saved on my old phone, but they were forever lost when it died.

Now it's time to take care of my procrastinating fail, I guess, and start working on my legal articles!


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Our 2013 in pictures

Blogging the other day was so much fun I decided to do it again! I thought I'd make some kind of year in review thing. No weighty resolutions, nothing fancy - just a buttload of pictures of memorable things that happened in 2013. But some funny things first...

A friend sent this to me from this fun blog. I died. Because everyone loves grammarrrrtically correct pirates.


Don't you hate it when Michael Buble messes with your presents?


And now. Lots of fun things happened this past year that I didn't have my camera handy for, such as when we went to Lagoon and I decided to put my phone in a locker after it fell out of my pocket on a roller coaster (thank goodness it was picked up by a park employee). Most of the time, however, I obnoxiously have my phone on hand to get lots of embarrassing pictures.

Like when I had too many kids to fit on the church steps on Easter.


Or when the kids did weird things at a museum.


We found strange but friendly livestock in our neighborhood.


And snakes!


Someone finally got a job and made something of her life.


And someone got really weird outside the mall.


I turned the big 4-0...


And we had a couple other important birthdays. :)



The cats discovered they're comfortable to sit on.


And I discovered a pretty (but uncomfortable) couch for $16 at Savers!


I lost weight (but not too much).


The girls freaked out over meeting this famous YouTuber in Salt Lake City (same time as the Lagoon trip), mostly known for his hilarious life stories.


We went on a midnight hike and picnic in the desert...


And brought home a cool pet!


Some of us suffered horrendous injuries.



And Emily kind of went insane or something.


We got lost in a lot of corn mazes. I mean A LOT. I didn't know there was so much corn in Idaho, I thought it was supposed to be potatoes?


And we geeked out over some pretty awesome movies.


All in all, 2013 was a pretty good year, and I'm excited to see what 2014 will bring!

While I was looking up a good Olan Rogers video to link to, I found this new video he posted about his Eat A Slice With Me tour. Wow. He's just an amazing guy. Apparently our part of the tour was a bit of a turning point for him, which he starts mentioning about four minutes in, and there are clips of the hours-long line we stood in. Worth every minute.



And now I'd better stop procrastinating on an assignment that's due in the morning! Have a wonderful, happy new year, all you nice peeps. :)