Monday, February 28, 2011

giving the boot the boot

The cast is off! The cast is off!

Everything in my vicinity smells like rancid-stanky-foot-cheese, but at least that sweet little leg is now open to air and cleaning and soap.

And the boy is already running. It was fun, being locked in the basement with him during tonight's tornado watch/warning/pitch-black-apocalypse, trying to get him to settle down instead of caroming around like half-broke colt.

In his words, here's what went down today.

"Went to Red Lobster with Nina. Ate biscuit. Went to see doctor. Doctor took off my boot. With saw. Loud saw. NO! NO, LOUD SAW! Look! There's my foot! My boot is in baggie. I walk now."

And then he limps away. He's pretty fast, too.

I never thought I'd be so happy to see my son run away from me without a diaper on, laughing and shouting, "No!"

Here's a hint, kids: Casts stink.

Seriously. They're horrible, and they just flat out smell.

So don't break anything. Ever. At least not until you're old enough that it's cool for everyone to sign your cast with a Sharpie.

Then it's okay.

But only for the attention.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

of gods and zombies

biscuit: THERE'S A ZOMBIE DRIVING MY TRUCK!!!

me: You'd better stop him.

biscuit: I can't! HE'S UNSTOPPABLE! AHHHHHHH!



*

t.rex: Here my airplane. Raiden drive my airplane.

me: Raiden? From Mortal Kombat? I didn't know he could drive.

t.rex: NO. RAIDEN drive my airplane!

me: I clearly do not understand.

t.rex: RAY. DIN. MOM. (lifts cockpit glass to show a box of raisins.)

me: Raisins are driving the plane?

t.rex: Yep. I eat dem now.

me: Dude, you shouldn't eat your copilot. Unless you crash in the Andes.

t.rex: Heh heh. NOM NOM NOM copilot.

*

daddy: Look, kid. You're going to have to train really hard if you want to beat a velociraptor.

*

the biscuit (talking into a plastic phone): Hi, Bear. No, you were supposed to call me. Get with the program, Bear! No, I can't go to the dance right now. My mom says I have to take a nap because I was up until a million o'clock in the morning last night. I'm probably not going to sleep, though. Yeah, I'll play with my toys. Okay, we can dance after that. Bear. Bear! I said get with the program!! (sighs) Oh, Bear. Yeah. See you later, then. Smell ya later, cabbie! (clicks phone shut)


...this space reserved for future Sunday conversations.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

short story - THE YA CLICHE

15 minute writing workshop exercise:
Write the most cliche-ridden story possible.

***
My Half-Elf Heart Belongs to Henry

The axe swung at my head, and I ducked mere milliseconds before it could cleave my neck in twain. The demonic fairy knight snarled at me in some forgotten, diabolic tongue. Little did he know that I was The Chosen One, a girl bred of humans, elves, and fairies, hidden as a changeling in a poor human orphanage until the day was ripe for my ascension. When I had first read the letter from wizard high school last week, I couldn't believe my bright green eyes. I had a destiny, and it involved killing demon fairies like the one currently looming over me. With a cry of triumph, my anointed and holy sword swung through the smokey air, lopping his foul, leering face from his body.

"You've been served!" I cried.

And that's when I woke up.

God, my dreams were, like, ten thousand times better than my waking life.

Orphanage? Chosen one? Wizard high school?

Bright green eyes?

I wished.

No, I was a normal if klutzy girl in a boring, messy, suburban bedroom, which still carried vestiges of my youth that would probably make me a laughingstock, if Chelsea Worthington and her gaggle of wannabe followers ever found out. If word got out that I still had a poster of a kitten dangling from a tree branch, there's no way I'd be able to "Hang in there!" any longer.

But since my mom had died a few months ago, I just hadn't been able to bring myself to take down anything she'd chosen or even touched. I missed her so much, but my dad was too busy being the town police chief to notice that his only daughter was having problems. My good grades were slipping, my best friend was barely talking to me, and I was having trouble concentrating at my job at the hospital.

It was mostly because of the new kid. Henry Mullins. He had just started at my school, and he was my chem lab partner, even though he inexplicably hated me.

And, speaking of Henry, it was time to get ready to go to school and sleepwalk through my classes, waiting to see him and feel that odd, otherworldly pull he exuded like other guys leaked Drakkar Noir. Something about him spoke to me, and I liked what it said, even if I didn't really understand it.

I looked in the mirror and rubbed my mud-brown eyes. My skin was so pale that I looked like an albino lizard's half-breed albino baby, and my dark hair surrounded my heart-shaped face in a gypsy-like cloud. But my ears weren't even a little bit pointy, and I wasn't even a little bit special. The dream would never come true. I wasn't a half-elf. I was just half-Jewish.

The bell rang, and I looked down. No matter how hard I tried to focus on my French exam, my thoughts kept drifting across the room to Henry, who had already finished and was just glaring at me like I was his favorite kind of pizza and/or heroin. All the girls had a crush on him, but he ignored them all. In our straight-laced school, he stood out. From his long hair, to his fast motorcycle, to his stylish clothes that seemed cut exactly for his chiseled body, he was different. If my ears weren't pointy, his teeth definitely were. And in my dreams, he sometimes made an appearance as my half-elf, half-angel, half-vampire savior.

But in school, he was just my lab partner. He was unattainable, and he hated me. But not even Henry's otherworldly powers could stop me from dreaming.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

unruly soapbox: i blame pro wrestling


I keep having to field the same annoying question, over and over. So in case you don't know us well enough to have already heard the story, let me go ahead and tell you.

He was run over by a herd of buffalo.

Yes, that's why t.rex is sporting a raggedy, smelly, steps-on-your-toe-and-breaks-it cast in filthy tomato red. We were out near the buffalo wallow, picking violets, when a rampaging posse of pachyderms just ran the lad right over.

I forgot. It was pachyderms. It was really an elephant trampling at the circus.

No, wait. We were ziplining. Over a pit of sharpened stakes.

Seriously, though. These are just a few of the answers I've given when nosy strangers ask why my two-year-old son is in a cast. And I simply cannot begin to fathom how anyone thinks it's any of their business.

I find myself wanting to smile and say, "So, how much money do you make? How old are you? How much do you weigh? Does the carpet match the drapes? Are those real?"

But I don't, because I know that every person I meet might one day look at the inside back cover of one of my future books and think, "I saw that lady at TJ Maxx, and she was a biotch."

We're trained to be polite. To open doors, to smile, to say hello or excuse me. But somehow, people have forgotten that asking about an injury is a deeply personal question that one shouldn't have to answer on the fly. My son broke his leg in what is considered the #1 most common way for a toddler to break a limb, but I'll admit it right here: I'm still terribly embarrassed that it happened on my watch.

Dr. Krog and I want to raise fearless kids. We want our kids to understand that playgrounds are for playing, and we'll let them try anything they want to, as long as they are doing it themselves. If t.rex wants to try climbing a ladder, I'll stand right under him and catch him if he falls and show him where to put his feet. And, yes, we accept that accidents sometimes happen. But we want our kids to play hard and learn hard and get right back up when they fall down.

And it's apparently working, because they do.

And it has been noticed that the cast hasn't slowed t.rex down, not one iota. He's just as fast and just as into everything as he was before. The main difference is that he doesn't smell as nice, because he hasn't been fully immersed in the bathtub in three weeks.

P.U.

My point is this: If you see someone with an injury, it's not of your freakin' business what happened.

Instead of getting all nosy, why not ask how the mom is doing? She's probably suffering more than the kid, anyway.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

an honest question

So, people who read this blog. I have a question.

What do you like best?

And I do mean on this blog. Not, like, cupcakes and ponies and Star Wars and James Franco. Or James Van Der Beek. Not any of the Jameseses.

I've been thinking about possibly posting some short stories here, but then I realized that might bore you to tears.

Then I thought I should write controversial mothering things, because that seems to garner a lot of comments.

And then I thought about just enjoying myself, posting silly pictures, haikus, horrible movie reviews, and bizarre dreams.

Anybody got any preferences? The last thing I want to do is bore you.

I take that back. The last thing I want to do is eat cow intestines while hung over, because I heard a story about that today, and it just sounded awful.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

bad movie night: haikus

may i introduce
megapiranha?
no? too bad. S/HE'S HERE.
*
cheese fondue was yum
chocolate fondue was yum
movie was... um... chum.

*
starring tiffany.
i think we're alone now, but
greg brady's here, too.
*
ready for the plot?
toothed fish grow, grow nuts, go nuts
awesomeness ensues.

*

the hero is fitch.

a dude. that does stuff. with guns.

just go with it, k?

*

go, fitch, go. save us!
save us by never kissing
that hag tiffany.

*

the effects. dear god.
please don't do your CGI
in MS Paint, yo.

*

hermaphroditic
whale-sized piranhas. that's right.
THEY JUST ATE YOUR MOM.

*
and the fish explode
for no good reason. again,
just go with it, k?
*
a guy just blew up.
fitch shot a flare in his mouth
(NOT EUPHEMISM.)

*

empty car. full car.
even the clothes switch sides. um.
editing might help.

*
this movie is sooooooooooo
much better if you're drinking.
so please pass the Scotch.

*
(to be quite honest
i love living in a world
where this crap exists.)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

10 things I learned by watching Glee

10 Things I Learned
by Watching 4 Episodes of Glee in a Row Last Night
Instead of Going to Sleep Like a Sane and Reasonable Person


1. The best singer at my high school wasn't 1/10 as good as the worst singer in Glee.

2. Men with curly hair might consider not wearing a gel helmet.

3. Even if the male lead is married to the most horrible woman on earth, I still get uncomfortable when he flirts with the OCD chick.

4. Apparently, there are schools where guys walk around carrying brightly colored Slurpies, and they throw them on thin, attractive, talented girls who publicly admit to being interested in sex.

5. Watching a car hit a mailman never gets old.

6. Chris Colfer is so adorable that I want to put him in my pocket. Not the one reserved for James McAvoy, though. A different pocket.

7. Erections can pop balloons, even through denim.

8. Brown loafers can look great with the right jeans, t-shirt, and professionally sculpted physique. If a stylist is involved, that is. And if there isn't too much hair gel.

9. It's possible for the name "Puck" to invoke something other than that guy on MTV who ate his own scabs.

10. I would like to watch more Glee.

*

Things I already knew because I love Best In Show:

The chick who plays Sue Sylvester is AWESOME.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

a somewhat pathetic plea regarding a gnome and my gneeds

If you love books, and if you think Jeremiah Swakhammer is the perfect name for a jewelry artisan's pet gnome, and if you like me and want me to win a custom necklace from one of the coolest people I know, I humbly beg of you to go to this awesome blog and vote in the Gnome Gnaming poll.

No, this is not another one of my wacky, nonsensical dreams.

I want that necklace.

And I want to know that the gnome carries the marvelous moniker from Cherie Priest's steampunk book Boneshaker and not the current #1 name in the poll, Gnomus Maximus, which honestly just makes me think of a wrinkled, gnomey peep.

I know I ask a lot. I know. But I'm in second place. And I firmly believe that gno gnome should have to be gnamed Gnomus Maximus when the obvious choice is JEREMIAH GODDAMN SWAKHAMMER.

And I want that freakin' necklace.

caine't hardly wait

Further proof that all my dreams are coming true.

Well, except for the one where I was driving Bella Swan's pick-up truck past a SWAT team Thriller flash mob and ran off the road and accidentally hit a vampire ostrich. And it wouldn't die, so I kept staking it through the neck again and again while it hissed at me.

Much better than that.

Monday, February 14, 2011

the big deal

I'm happy to announce that we're expecting!

That's right, guys.

*

*

*

We're expecting my paranormal romance,
BLUD,
to be published in 2012.


BLUD was purchased at auction this week by editor Jen Heddle of the Pocket division of Simon & Schuster in a 3-book deal.

Big thanks go to:

* My amazing agent, Kate McKean of Howard Morhaim Literary Agency.

* My new editor, Jen Heddle, for believing in me.

* My beta readers: Ericka, Charis, Janet, Carrie, Debbie, Kathy, and Austin.

* Everyone who follows this blog and chats with me on Twitter, for encouragement, support, and validation.

* My family, for putting up with me.

* My beloved husband, Dr. Krog, without whom there would be no BLUD.

BEST. VALENTINE'S DAY. EVAR.

dear dr. krog


I like you.


You're not like the other people here, in the trailer park.


Oh, wait. It's not really love if you're quoting the Dead Milkmen, is it?


But it's true. My Krog is not like the other people here, in the suburbs. There's a sort of quiet ferocity in him, the strong pause of a dam holding back millions of gallons of deathwater. He's like a catastrophic force of nature barely contained by a striped blue tie.

Wait, that's not saying it right.

Let's just say that he's a psychologist with callouses on his thumbs from perfecting his chokeholds. Does that explain it? He's the smartest person I know. He's funny. He's silly. He knows me well enough to manage me. He once described me as a Jaguar among women, something beautiful and old fashioned and unfashionably curvy that requires a great deal of behind-the-scenes management to keep purring.

He's not entirely wrong there.

The history can explain it, maybe.

One time, we were broke, back when he was in grad school. I wanted to paint. He told me to put it on our very-high-APR credit card, because my painting was more important than our debt. Then he got his PhD and paid it off. If I ask him if I look good in an outfit, he'll actually tell me if I don't. He gave me a tactical baton for my birthday once, then taught me how to use it. He made me smile by reciting T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland while wearing a shirt with a panda bear on it. When I bring home a new pair of boots, he congratulates me. He told me to write a book, and I did. And even though he's the most professional, intelligent, and driven man I know, he gets excited about playing My Little Ponies with his daughter.


He likes to be Rainbow Dash.


I guess what I'm saying, is that I was hard to please. I needed a challenge. I needed a genius and a cave man, a goof and a critic. I needed someone fearless. I needed someone who would never let me rest on my laurels and be complacent. I needed someone to take me seriously and then make me laugh until I cry.


I needed an equal.


I found one.


Happy Valentine's Day, sweetheart. Only one more month till the Ides!
love, d.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

a brief introduction to Twitter

If you're not on Twitter, you're missing... well, something very strange.

I use Facebook to connect with people I've actually met, but I use Twitter to talk to writers, agents, publishers, and various forms of the Hulk, WHO ALL TWEET IN HULK FASHION, SO HULK TALK ONLY IN ALL CAPS.

Each missive is restricted to 140 characters or less, so you're challenged to be succinct, witty, and hopefully not insane.

For example, here are some of the things I've said in the past 15 minutes or so:


If that doesn't convince you, nothing should.

Twitter: It's weird, it's awesome, it doesn't make much sense. But I still love it.

Friday, February 11, 2011

friggin' censorship

I think I'm becoming THE MAN.

I've always hated censorship. I don't believe in book burning, black bars, FCC bleeping, or that annoying sticker that Tipper Gore put on CDs in the 90's that almost kept my mom from buying the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Blood*Sugar*Sex*Magic CD for me in 8th grade. As an artist, I've always believed that a well-timed swear word can be entirely apropos.

That is, of course, until my daughter asks me what a feckinvegetarian is or my son begs to watch Lady Gaga videos on YouTube and then points at the screen and says, LADY GAGA BOTTOM!

Now, I'm not so sure.

I still believe that art is, by nature, sometimes lurid or obscene. But I also believe that 4 and 2 are way too young to understand that. Thus far, I'm drawing my own lines in the sand: I put a hand over Lady Gaga in her thong, and I either turn down the volume or fake sneeze during the really bad swear words on my music. I'm just never going to be one of those moms who plays the Wiggles in the car.

And it's working, because they love music. I beam with pride when my four-year-old requests Nirvana, Asteroid Galaxy Tour, the Civil Wars, or, my personal favorite, "that lady who sings ska." And when t.rex croons along with Mumford & Sons, my heart nearly bursts with happiness, even if their biggest hit is riddled with the F-bomb.

In any case, I finally understand why some people get so up in arms over censorship. They want to protect their children at all costs, and for some people, a blanket statement is easier than making individual decisions on what is and is not appropriate. But I want to be the one making that choice for my kids-- not the government, not religious groups, and definitely not other parents. And I especially don't agree with banned books.

Which brings up a new thought. One day, the Biscuit is going to ask what my books are about. And one day, when she's MUCH older, she's going to read BLUD, whether I want her to or not. And then she's probably going to want to gouge her eyes out with a grapefruit spoon, just like I did when my mom lent me Jean Auel's Valley of Horses in 7th grade.

I want my kids to grow up loving art and literature and interesting music. I just don't want them to read my paranormal romance books.

But you know what? It's going to make Career Day at school a lot of fun.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

then and now, UGA edition

Today's visit to the Myers quad at UGA,
where we fell in love back in 1997.

THEN: To go to a show, you put on your steel-toed boots, jeans, and a shirt that can moulder in in a closet for two weeks until you can take it home and wash it at your parents' house, because the dorm washers can't handle that kind of smoky funk. You get moshed on. And sloshed on.

NOW: To go to a show, you put on a pretty dress, heels, and fancy jewelry. Even if the only person more dressed-up than you is on stage, you give everyone a beady eye until they assume you're important for some reason and quit gawking, because you only get to dress up, like, once a year.

And then you force your husband to take pictures of you in the pretty dress.
So you have proof.

***

THEN: You have a pocket full of quarters, so you go to the cheapest of the three pizza dives and order the Sicilian, because it's thicker, which means more pizza for your pizza dollar.

NOW: You ask the shuttle driver where the grown-ups eat. And you get a second glass of wine.

***

THEN: You can't figure out why everyone is wearing overly baggy jeans and Birkenstocks.

NOW: You can't figure out why everyone is wearing overly tight jeans and moccasins.

***

THEN: You eat dinner, and if you have enough money, you order your favorite red velvet cake, even though it costs $6. If the cost means you have to split it with a friend, you try to stuff the cake into your mouth faster than she can.

NOW: You go get the red velvet cake to go and eat half of it before dinner, then contemplate going back for a to-go-again slice.

***

THEN: You are amazed at what a strange city Athens is. The air smells of promise and oily garbage. Street people with cardboard signs sit outside smoking as rich girls shop for expensive dresses in stores called Posh Pony. Bookstores crowd up next to tanning shops, topless bars, and yogurt bars. You could sit and watch people for hours. You often do.

NOW: Exactly the same, except you can only people-watch for half an hour because you miss your kids. And it's freakin' cold.

***
Thanks to The Civil Wars for putting on a great show and jerking us out of the suburbs for twenty-four hours of fun in the town where we fell in love over ten years ago.
And thanks to my mom for watching the kids.

It's been a long, strange journey. But there was lots of cake, and it turned out well.

Friday, February 4, 2011

this ain't Barbie Swan Lake

I saw Black Swan last night. Here's how it went.

(BEWARE. SPOILERZ AHOY.)

me: This is my third attempt to see Black Swan. I swear to Woden that if the sleet makes that impossible, I'll commandeer a biplane and stab some clouds.

(Lightning strikes, an old hag cackles. Little do I know how true that will be. Or, at least, the bi part, the stab part, and the fluffy white thing part...)

my friend: Yay! Girl movie!

me: Um... the word I hear most associated with it is "mindf*ck".

my friend: And... ballet? And bulimia?

me: No. Mostly just mindf*ck.

***

Here are my thoughts:

1. Wow, she's thin. Like, skeletal. And she spends half the movie barfing, or trying to barf. I'm caught-- part of me feels like an elephant comparitively, the other part wants to eat a hamburger on her behalf.

2. Yay! She's got Morgellon's! There's more crap coming out of this chick's skin than that guy in Hellraiser, and Hellraiser made a hell of a lot more sense.

3. Okay, so in order to accept his movie's set-up, I have to believe that a 28-year old bulimic ballerina who lives with her mother in a pink bedroom with no lock and has no friends would already be not crazy. And I'm not buying it.

4. WAIT. He's kissing her. And she bit the crap out of him? That didn't happen in Centerstage! Surely egomaniacal ballet directors aren't all taking advantage of their innocent ingenue proteges.

5. Okay, my knowledge of ballet comes from 3 years of classes before they told me my body was all wrong (which feels great when you're 8, by the way), followed by 300 viewings of Centerstage. But there's no way I would have chosen this chick as the Swan Queen. Every second that she's dancing, she looks like she's fighting off a case of the runs while listening to Radiohead's experimental albums. In pain. And confused.

6. Who viciously cuts their fingernails with scissors? I can't watch!

7. Who stabs people with fingernail files? I can't watch!

8. Who makes out with strangers at clubs while on ecstasy? I can't watch?

9. Wait, what's she doing with Mila Kunis?

10. WAIT, WHAT???

11. Uh. That was different. You know, in one way, it's weird to think about Padme Amidala making out with Meg from The Family Guy.

12. You know what would be totally ironic? If Hayden Christiansen was in this movie, just sitting around in pajamas while Natalie Portman went all crazy-pants and turned into Swan Vader.

13. I'm totally going to be a Black Swan for Halloween. I'll do the makeup, the black crown, the tutu.

14. And a shirt that says "Hack Swan". Or maybe "Demon Goose". Or maybe "Future Foie Gras of Doom".

15. OMG. What's real? What's false? Surely the filmmaker understands how confusing this is! I can't tell if... oh. She's having a psychotic break and taking us along for the joyride. I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE.

16. Credits. We sit there. Stunned.

***

my friend: ...

me: I know, right?

my friend: MY DAUGHTER IS NOT TAKING BALLET ANY MORE.

me: Taking ballet is okay. The ballet wasn't the problem. It was the mom and the never eating.

my friend: Yeah. No.

me: P.S. I'm getting you a nail file for your birthday.

***

In conclusion:

I enjoyed it. Black Swan was definitely the most different movie I've seen in a while. It was visually intriguing and kept the viewer thinking.

My biggest complaint? The take-home message, to me, was that in order for an artist to access their dark side and passion and reach their true potential, they have to be self-destructive and/or suicidal. And I don't think that's true.

I could blather on and on about naivete, maturity, growing stronger from pain, welcoming one's dark side, and finding balance as a human being. But you know what? That sounds like one boring movie to me.

It was an interesting story, and it makes people think, and that's a good thing.

You win, Black Swan.

And now I'm having another bowl of cereal, because I don't want to get too hungry and start peeling my fingers like bananas.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

reasons now is awesome

1.


I get to color ponies every day.

Can you guess which ones are mine?
I couldn't find Kraken Pony,
but I guess that wouldn't even be a challenge,
guessing who made her.
She has a giant squid on her butt.
And she's crayoned in Asparagus,
arguably the ugliest color Crayola has ever conjured.
And yes, Tesla Pony has lightning all over her.

2.


My kids are really, seriously cute.
Especially when the Biscuit reads to her brother.
And did you see the chunka-munka-yummy knees on that guy?

I like now, is all I'm saying.