Friday, September 30, 2011

this. this. this.


This makes me scream inside. So pretty.

Whatever makes you feel alive, always do that.

Always.

*

less Jo, more Blair





As I get older, I find that I get more vain.

Wait, that's not right. I'm probably maintaining the same amount of vaining, but I put a lot more work into my appearance than I used to. You have to, when you're not 22 with knee-length hair, I guess.

I spent 10 minutes putting my wet hair into a French twist this morning. Ten bobby pins. And the whole thing fell out before I'd even turned off my road. But I tried, goddammit. I TRIED. I even took that picture, just so I could prove to the world that I had tried something beyond my basic wet-hair-day-dorky-librarian bun.

And recently, I started painting my fingernails for the first time.

In... pretty much my whole life.

And now I'm hooked.


So that's dark purple with an overlay of lime green glitter, then I painted the tips dark purple because they got so freakin' chipped.

At first, I was mystified as to the chippage.

"But I use an anti-chip top coat!" I wailed to myself, in private.

Then I remembered that I'm a WRITER.
I spend 50% of my waking life typing on a laptop.

Chippity chip chip, baby.


That color was especially chosen because it matches my car.

I love matching my car.

And I'm contemplating a wrist tattoo, when I sell the next book. I'm trying it out, drawing it differently every day. The current one is horizontal, which works better.


And that's from tonight.

It's a deep, dark, twilight-ly purple called Chinatown.

I want to lick it.

But I tried that, and it tasted TERRIBLE.

Not like shnozberries at all.

So I was curious.

Why, after 33 years, would I suddenly start painting my nails?

And then it hit me.


Every single color in there contains the word
INSTA
or
FAST
or
60 SECOND.

Finally, nail polishes dry too fast for me to ruin them.

I'm the least patient person that has ever existed.
I'm already bored with this blog post, and I haven't even finished writing it.
I'M READY TO WRITE SOMETHING ELSE NOW, PLEASE.

But I can wait 60 seconds.

So I think that's the difference.

I finally have time to feel pretty.

AND IT IS AWESOME.

*


Thursday, September 29, 2011

GOBBLEZ!




Good news, everybody!

We bought a turkey hat.

Seriously.
Best $2.50 I spent this week,
aside from the $3.94 I paid for my new Sherlock Holmes hat.
But that's beside the point.

I told the boy to say, "I'LL GOBBLE YOU UP!"

Instead, he said, "TURKEY GONNA EAT YOUR FACE!"
and then attacked people.

So that was some excellent improvisation on his part.


If you're at Target, and you want to be hilarious,
I highly recommend TURKEY HAT.

Or, if you're a bit more morbid, you can get the one that looks like a roast turkey.
Then you could wear it to dinner on Thanksgiving,
and pretend like nothing weird was going on.

"What are you looking at, Aunt Mabel?"
you could ask innocently.
"Is there some cranberry sauce on my face?"

You should do that.

Or just get the one we have and act like a goof.



We also taught ours how to break dance.

*

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a date.

With a book.

*

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

the magic word

The magic word?

It's not please.

Nope.

If you want me to buy something, just use one word.

TREAT.

I realized today that I'll buy almost anything if the product name includes the word TREAT. I absolutely love treating myself. I would buy a can of zombie-virus-infected human brains if they were labeled NUMMYLICIOUS CAN O' TREATS.

For example, there's a hair product by Revlon called SMOOTH DOWN BUTTER TREAT.

And I am SO ALL OVER THAT.

Smooth? I WANT SMOOTH HAIR.
Butter? I ADORE BUTTER.
Treat? YES, PLEASE TREAT ME.

I love the name so much that I've bought the stuff three times and never finished a bottle, mainly because it's not a very good product, or at the very least, it doesn't work for my hair, which is THE EASIEST HAIR ON EARTH.

I just love the idea of giving myself a smooth butter treat.

This marketing pitfall of mine came to mind today when someone I followed on Twitter immediately sent me a Direct Message asking me straight up to buy their book.

Not HI! or THANKS FOR FOLLOWING ME! or YOU SEEM COOL! Just BUY MY BOOK.

In my list of turn offs, I would put this sort of aggressive marketing right next to cigarette smoking and being a fan of Albert Brooks. Even if I was interested in the book, and even if they were a good writer, I wouldn't buy their book on principle alone. It's just a horrible way to treat people who follow you. Social media, Twitter especially, is about relationships, not PAY ME NOW, STRANGER.

And I thought to myself, "Is there anything someone could write in a Direct Message that would get me to buy whatever they were shilling?"

And my answer was, "YES, IT COULD BE CALLED NUMMY BOOK O' TREATS."

So, in conclusion, please don't send me DMs asking me to buy your crap, and if you do, make sure it involves the word TREAT.

*

Anybody else have a magic word?

*

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

it's almost BOOT DAY


So for the past two years, I asked my husband for boots for my birthday.

That's right. My birthday became BOOT DAY.

This year I want black, tall, leather, with heels.

Here are the two major contenders:



I'd love to show pictures, but Amazon's so cagey about that.

Anybody care to weigh in?

the boogeyman

Guess what, guys? It's A SERIOUS POST.

Weird, I know. And it's about my greatest fear. And my greatest triumph.

I read this blog entry by my Twitter-friend and beta reader extraordinaire @quickmissive and couldn't stop thinking about the boogeyman.

I think I've mentioned the manuscript she references, INK & BONE. It's a creepy YA and a book very close to my heart. One of the central themes is that everyone has an encounter with a boogeyman, whether it's a real threat or an imagined one. I've had both.

I remember when I was in middle school, there was a big kerfuffle over a dude driving around our area, trying to lure girls into his car. It was a red Honda CRX hatchback. And for years, whenever I saw a red Honda CRX hatchback, I FREAKING RAN. They still give me the willies.

But that wasn't the real boogeyman, not for me. Mine was the boy who stalked me in high school, who lured me with a plea for help and understanding. I would have run from the red hatchback, but my boogeyman knew just how to lure me in. I wrote him into a book, too, but you'll probably never get to read that one. Let's just say the lead female turned into a zombie and bit off his... yeah. Maybe I'll self-publish that one, one day.

My point is this: The boogeyman wears a different face for everyone. And surviving him isn't about being smart or learning rules. I was smart, and I knew the rules, and I ran from red hatchbacks, and just like a monster in a Stephen King book, my boogeyman came from a different direction with a different weapon.

But I survived him. And now, when I think of my tiny daughter out in the world, I'm terrified. I want her to be better prepared to identify and fight the boogeyman. It's not always a dude in a mask in a conversion van. It might be a friend's father or older brother. It might be the dad she babysits for when she's 14. It might be a boy at high school who just wants to talk somewhere private. And I want to empower her to understand that whichever boogeyman she faces, she doesn't have to give in, she can fight. And thanks to her dad and Gracie jiu-jitsu, she can choke him unconscious.

And the other lesson that I want her to learn is the one that finally helped me heal:

Surviving is the best revenge.

The second best revenge is writing your boogeymen into books and having him emasculated by a zombie.

*

Sunday, September 25, 2011

twit beyond measure


Yes, I found the Golden Quill and got into Pottermore early.

Yes, I was very anxious about being sorted.

I know, in my heart, that I'm a Ravenclaw.

Luckily, the Sorting Hat agreed.

Which is good, because now I don't have to buy a new t-shirt.

Also, I named my tawny owl Grundy, and my wand is made of chestnut with a phoenix feather core.

What does this tell you?

1. I'm a total lit geek. But we knew that.
2. I'm completely immature. But we knew that.
3. I'm playing on Pottermore instead of writing the outline due to my editor on October 1.
4. Play is an integral part of my work process.
5. I'll still get the outline in ahead of time.

If you knew me in high school, you probably remember me wearing a ridiculous hat. I love ridiculous hats. I still wear them. You might also remember me chasing armadillos in Cloud Canyon or organizing the French club to roller skate in fake mustaches and berets while waving baguettes in the Homecoming parade or having my picture taken in front of deer antlers and shouting triumphantly, "I AM THE JACKALOPE!"

I was silly, back then.

I'm silly now.

I believe with all my heart that my silliness, my juvenile sense of humor, and my lack of shame regarding public ridiculousness are part of what make me a successful writer. I like telling stories, making bad puns, and dreaming up weird crap that makes no sense, like vampire bunnies. I like to have fun, but it's the kind of fun nine-year-olds like to have. I like climbing trees and playing on playgrounds and leaving silly notes for strangers.

And I hope I never, ever grow out of it.

My point here is that sometimes, being silly is the answer.

And yes, you might be laughed at.

I myself was laughed at when I preened, telling my husband I was SO RAVENCLAW and my wand was KICKASS and my owl was BETTER THAN THAT SPOTTY PRAT HEDWIG. I like that books can build a world so real, so deep, that something THIS STUPID matters to me.

I want to build worlds like that, too.

And that's why I'm off to continue the outline for book 2, which involves a floating brothel. I've been sorted, I'm chillin' in the Ravenclaw common room, and now I'm ready to get back to work.

If you're on Pottermore, let's be pals. I'm NightChaser 201, and I'm not ashamed to be playing a game meant for children.

After all, I AM THE JACKALOPE.

*


Saturday, September 24, 2011

i will never forget sarah marshall

10 things that happen in Forgetting Sarah Marshall
that make it one of my top ten favorite movies:


1. It opens with my favorite Cake song, I Want to Love You Madly.

2. It then goes on to show the main character congratulating himself on making his pecs dance, then eating Froot Loops out of a dog bowl while wearing an Edward Gorey t-shirt.

3. Russell Brand asks if anyone has seen his lost shoe by assuring them that it's the opposite of his current shoe, but that that doesn't mean it's evil or anything.

4. Jason Segel does an entire being-dumped-by-your-movie-star-girlfriend scene completely naked. That takes guts. And balls.

5. It involves a Dracula Puppet Rock Opera.

6. Paul Rudd plays a character that isn't Paul Rudd, and it is fantastic.

7. Mila Kunis goes batsh*t on her ex-boyfriend. You just never see that in movies. Girls are usually either embarrassed or angry, but they very rarely run straight at a guy and start pummeling him on a beach.

8. Russell Brand, playing rock star Aldous Snow, shows an uber-Christian virgin how to please his wife by practice humping giant chess pieces on the beach. And it works!

9. The main character isn't buff. He isn't perfect. He writes songs of self-loathing when he's drunk. He's actually a kind of weird guy with a weird dream, but the girl he likes encourages him to pursue it, even though it's a Dracula Puppet Rock Opera. Even to me, that's pretty weird. And he succeeds! It's just so refreshing.

10. Because it's freaking hilarious and contains one of my all-time favorite quotes:

When life gives you lemons,
f*ck the lemons and bail.

Seriously. Netflix it. Or pick it up for $5 at Target.
I was watching it last night as I fell asleep,
and all I could think was,
"I MUST REMEMBER TO BLOG ABOUT HOW FANTASTIC THIS MOVIE IS."

So I did that.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled really nice afternoon working on the back porch.

And by "your", I mean "my."

*

Friday, September 23, 2011

10,000 words


Normally, a picture is worth 1000 words.

But I have 40 more pages left on this revision.

40 x 250 is 10,000.

That's a lot of words.

So I've got my Benefactor Shiraz and my skull cup,
and I'm not stopping until I'm done.

Or I fall asleep. That could happen, too.

Wish me luck, friends. Ink & Bones is one step closer to reality.

*

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

writing: on plotting and pants

Back in 2003, I wanted to write a book.

I had an idea. I had a title.

A really, really clever title.

And I wrote exactly one paragraph and then froze up for six years.

SIX. YEARS.

Why?

Because I didn't know how to start.

And I was terrified that I would somehow do it wrong.

If 2011 me were to give one piece of writing advice to 2003 me, this would be it.

Before you write, figure out if you're a plotter or a pantser.

*

So they say there are two ways of writing: goodly and badly.

Just kidding.

Really, it's PLOTTING vs. PANTSING.

That means that you either plot out your entire story first or just write by the seat of your pants.

So how do you know whether you're a plotter or a pantser?

Look at your grocery list.

Is it a fill-in-the-blank computer list of things you always buy? Is it in store-order, numbered, or based on a cleverly organized system of couponing and moon cycles?

In short, is it precise and well-planned?

If so, you are probably a plotter.

That means that before you start typing IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT, you should sit down and hammer out an outline. Knowing the direction of your story will help provide the structure you need to relax and let the words flow. Give it a skeleton, and then just fill in the blanks in the correct order. First this happens, then this, then this.

Maybe you like the whole I. A. i. a. 11th Grade English Paper Outline thing. Or perhaps you like regular old numbers. Or graphs. Or spreadsheets. Or a whiteboard. Or a series of index cards or Post-It notes all around the room. Choose your poison and start plotting. And if you still want to hammer out that first paragraph, go ahead and hammer it out. Save it. And forget it.

Then finish your outline, plotter.

On the other hand, maybe your grocery list started with HONEY, because you're out of honey. Then you added SOCKS and BATTERIES and RED MILK, which isn't communist, just whole fat. Maybe you have to cobble your grocery list together from two receipts and a bookmark in the bottom of your purse. Maybe you've written the pertinent items on your arm with a Sharpie.

Maybe it's not so much a grocery list as a compilation of crap held together by random threads of memory and hunger.

If so, you might be a pantser.

I'm a pantser myself. I start a document and write everything I can think of. Scenes I envision. The end of the book. Character points. Whatever. All in random order, in big chunks. I thunk in URLs and definitions and bits of dreams and songs.

And as other points come to me, I write them on receipts or in notebooks or on my arm. I add them into the info-chunk portion of the document, embellishing or deleting as needed. But the process isn't organized at all. It's organic and flowy, with plenty of room to move things around or have interesting sidebars.

And when I have enough chunks, I start writing.

Eventually, if history proves anything, I have a book.

*

Is that all?

Of course not. Don't be silly.

But I think that discerning my method really helped the first book come out. Knowing how to work freed me up to actually work and not feel like the novel was a huge, amorphous, terrifying beast that I would never master. I looked at those chunks of story and finally realized that they all added up to a book that I very much wanted to write.

Plotting and pantsing are simply your way to a first draft.

And the first draft, as we all know, is just the beginning.

*


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

33 is the new 13




Pretty cool, huh?

That's right. I had my quarterly circus class again last night.

And I'm proud as hell, seeing that picture.

I always thought that after I left my 20s behind, fun was past.

Hell, no.

I'm having more adventures now than ever before.

And I'm in better shape than I was in high school or college.



33 is kind of cool.

But did you know it's

ALMOST MY BIRTHDAY??

*

Monday, September 19, 2011

the letter why

Before I had kids, I would dream of magical afternoons spent in sunbeams, counting piggies and answering questions.

Mama, why is the sky blue? Where do unicorns come from? Can I go to the moon?

I was anxious to answer these questions. I couldn't wait to tell my children about narwhals and bats and elephants who are reunited with their friends after twenty years. I couldn't wait for the WHY stage, as they call it.

Joke's on me, right?

Because they don't ask reasonable, magical, practical questions. They spend two excruciating hours asking in different ways why you have to paint the house.

Here are just a tiny fraction of the questions shouted at me today:

1. Mommy, why is THAT GUY?

2. Why did somebody fall off the roof?

3. Where did that tree go?

4. Where did this (a minute piece of trash) come from?

5. Why is outside?

6. If my teacher isn't married anymore, why did she tell me to give her a present?

7. If a bad guy comes in the house, can I kick him?

8. Why can't you make more batteries?

9. If that girl can have candy, does her mommy love her more than you love me?


Seriously. I'm going insane.

But it makes sense. Childhood isn't linear. It's confusing. Kids are trying to make sense of a huge world that we adults can barely comprehend. So why would the questions be easy? At least they're asking questions, and I'm doing my best to answer them.

And at least no one has yet asked me where babies come from.

*

Disclaimer: For the love of all that's holy, DON'T BE THAT PERSON who tells me:

a) how brief childhood is, and to enjoy every moment,
b) that answering questions/caring for kids is my job as a mother, or
c) that I was probably just as curious at that age and am now being repaid by karma.

I KNOW, okay? We're good. I'm just venting.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

it be almost pirate day, mateys!


Yarr, me hearties!

Talk Like a Pirate Day is Monday, which means on Saturday,
we celebrated with...


Pirate Day makes me ridiculously happy, even if it's not a cake-centric holiday. I mean, Halloween used to be our only adults can dress up like pirates and swagger around day, but now we have TWO of those days, and that's why 2011 is fabulous.

Last year, we were rocked by D's Hurricanes.

This year, something went wrong with the Hurricanes. Half of them tasted like the bottom of a Sonic cherry limeade, and the other half were like sipping cherry cough syrup. We renamed them Tropical Depressions and cleansed our palates with hot beer cheese and Rice Krispy Treat boats, because that is what pirates do.

We also watched the movie Your Highness, which is like Dude, Where's My Car for the medieval set. It's pretty clear that Natalie Portman and James Franco sold their souls to the devil at some point, and the devil called it in for this movie, because one of them gets 95% nekkid and the other one gets molested by an elderly alien, and I'm not saying which was which. Let's just say it wasn't 127 Hours of Oscar-worthy Black Swan.

In conclusion:

1. It's really hard tucking in a poet's blouse.
2. Grog tastes better out of a skull mug.
3. I only like beer if it's in my cheese.
4. I need to see the end of Your Highness.
5. Pirate Day is AWESOME because my friends are AWESOME.
6. Is it Halloween yet?

*


Thursday, September 15, 2011

write from your... kidney.


You know how they tell you to, "Write from the heart?"

Hogwash.

It's better to find a less conflicted organ and write from there. Like your kidney, which would be helpful as a filter. Or possibly your tonsils, since they're somewhat mysterious and vestigial. Or, as House would argue, a sphincter

See, I recently wrote a YA book that was... far too close to home. It was twisty and deep and drew on the best and the worst of my teenage life.

I bled for it. I cried for it. I was proud of it. I was in love with it.

Aaaaaand that's where the problem started.

Sometimes, when you write from the heart, as when you're a doctor treating a friend or relative, you get too close to be objective. If you want to be published, you can't just go into labor, push and squeeze for a while, and then toss a moist and heaving pile of papers on the table and call it done. Finishing the book is the easy part. It's the revisions that are the hard part. And revisions mean looking critically at your own work and inviting others to rip it to shreds.

If the book is too close to your own heart, it's very difficult to do that.

They say, "This isn't realistic," and you shout, "BUT IT HAPPENED!"

They say, "Move it around; massage it," and you shout, "BUT THAT'S NOT HOW I ENVISIONED IT. THAT'S NOT THIS BOOK!"

They say, "The main character is too conflicted and wishy-washy," and you say, "YES, BUT THAT'S EXACTLY HOW I FELT AT THE TIME!"

In short, they bring up perfectly reasonable points... for a book.

And you defend... your life.*

And you know what that doesn't produce?

A good book.

If you want a book to survive, you must be willing to put it on the operating table and cut it wide open. It will stop breathing for a while. You will think it is dead. You will use those outrageously horrible rib-spreader things to open it up and expose the hideous disease within.

And then you'll shock it back to life and set about fixing the mess.

It's a lot like watching House, actually. Accept that your book is not a special snowflake. It's messed up, and it lies, and it's going to freaking DIE if you can't figure out what's wrong with it.

The good news is: IT'S NOT LUPUS.

The bad news is: It's got to crash at least once before you can figure out the problem.

But if you can rise above it, you can save it.

That's your job as a writer: To rise above the personal and keep the book alive, no matter the cost. And if you have to play catch with a tennis ball or break into someone's house or get hooked on valium to do it... well, I wouldn't do that. I would stick with coffee and cupcakes.

And next time, do yourself a favor. Write from the sphincter.

Or just write up your last dream about vampires.

It worked for me and Stephenie Meyer.


***

* Kind of like that Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep movie with the angel togas-- Defending Your Life. I hated that movie.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

the future is now, and it is indeed bright

This week, I've been especially impressed with the futuristic aspects of 2011.

For example:

1. I bought DVD-Rs instead of CD-Rs, mainly because they had a pretty pattern on them. I lost the receipt. But I simply gave the girl at Target my credit card and the DVD-Rs, and she scanned them with a magic gun. POOF. $8 back in my account. LIKE MAGIC.

2. I got a letter from the gas company saying that if I didn't make plans in the next 30 days, my rate would double. I went online to a different company, got an even lower rate than the original, and googled for a coupon code that offers $75 in rebates. Then I switched gas companies online. I NEVER HAD TO TALK TO A SINGLE HUMAN BEING.

3. Yesterday, as you may have noticed, my editor gave me permission to post my book cover. Which I did. A lot. Someone on Twitter retweeted the link, and a book blogger I had never heard of found it and mentioned it on her blog in the nicest way ever. I thanked her, followed her blog and on Twitter, and added her to my "please review my book one day because you are awesome" list.

4. In just one day, thanks to the brilliance of the internet and some very kind people, I've got 76 likes on my Facebook author page and am meeting lovely people all over the world. And the book doesn't even exist yet!

That's some kind of magic.

I will now consent to wait for my jetpack just a leeeetle longer.

*

Monday, September 12, 2011

THE COVER REVEAL!


Ladies and gentlemen, step right up!

It's time to meet Criminy Stain.

* * *




Coming next spring from Pocket/Simon & Schuster.

Hot guys. Top hats. Steampunk. Carnivals. Vampires.
Corsets. Krakens. Dirigibles. Freaks. Villains.
Bloodthirsty rabbits.

All that and more.

Won't you join me in the marvelous world of Sang?


* * *

Note: Learned today the cover artist is Tony Mauro.
He did a cover for RED DRAGON, y'all. I swoon.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

your quote here

Sometimes, especially on Facebook, I think,

I WISH THERE WAS A QUOTE TO PERFECTLY SUM UP HOW I FEEL.

Then I remember that we can make up our own quotes.

Seriously, at any given moment, we can just invent a quote. We don't need Google or a pocket-sized gift book from the rack by the front counter of a bookstore. There are no laws about quotes. There's no quote police. There's no "You must be this tall/witty/famous to make a quote" rule.

We are totally free to make up our own quotes.

So here are some made up quotes. Please, make up some of your own.

ON JOY:
There is no deeper joy than being exactly where you're supposed to be, except being there and eating a cupcake.

ON CAREERS:
Whatever you like to do best, someone is getting paid to do it, so you just need to figure out how to make that work, unless it's being a man-whore. Then you should do what you like to do second best.

ON TATTOOS AND PIERCINGS:
This is not a dress rehearsal, so you might as well enjoy your body and make it as interesting as possible, so long as you don't get a crazy face tattoo or stretch out your earlobes long enough to jump rope with.

ON HAVING CHILDREN:
Anyone who tells you it's easy just wants to smell your baby's head and play with her toes before handing her back to you and running out the door, laughing.

ON COFFEE:
I didn't know how much I loved it until I needed it, and I didn't know how much I needed it until I became a writer.

ON PLAYING:
Never stop playing, because when you stop playing, part of you dies inside, and that part smells and starts to make all the other parts wonder what died, and then they force you to buy smelly old lady perfume and you are officially OLD.

ON HAVING GOOD TASTE:
Having good taste is overrated. Just like what you like without shame. Enthusiasm goes a long way when you're dressed as the devil from Legend, and you'll probably get a free latte at Starbucks just for being interesting and getting your horns caught in the door.

ON HALLOWEEN:
Who cares if you're the only one dressed up? You're probably the only one smiling and making memories. Being boring sucks even more on the one day a year everyone gets a pass to be interesting.

ON SOCKS:
Life's too short to wear matching socks.

ON PRETTY THINGS:
Pretty things are good for the soul. Choosing things that speak to you further defines who you are. Never underestimate the moxie of a good hat. All the boys should grow out their hair and wear vests.

ON EMOTION:
It doesn't matter if you're happy or sad, just make use of it. Make it mean something.

ON CUPCAKES:
Cupcakes: The only way to not eat the whole cake.

*

Anyone else want to pen a quote today?

Friday, September 9, 2011

um.

So I just turned in my first revisions to my editor. According to my usual cycle, I would be gearing up for some big blog humor, or at least cogitating the seed for another book.

But you know what?

I got nothing.

I need to do some maintenance. The house needs cleaning, of course. The laundry needs washing. I should probably buy a new vacuum cleaner. And that doesn't even include all the writing tasks put to the side while I rushed to hit my first deadline way early.

But you know what?

HONEY BADGER DON'T CARE.

It's Fall.

Fallish.

It's time for skinny jeans and high boots. It's time to crunch leaves and drink hot coffee and break out my pumpkin perfume oils. It's time to wear copper-colored eyeshadow and shop for cute jackets. It's time to sit outside and just breathe, hoping for some wind-inspired goosebumps. It's time to start planning Halloween costumes. It's time to spend the evenings barreling through the second season of Community, a TV show that pretty much represents my brain in sitcom form. It's time to lay in bed in the morning before the alarm rings, wiggling my toes back and forth and trying to remember dreams.

It's time to roll through the Krispy Kreme drive-thru just to ask when the pumpkin donuts will be available and then thank the guy very kindly when he gives me a hot donut to take away the pain of waiting another month.

It's Fall.

It's my favorite time of year.

Please expect me to be in a metaphysical hammock for a little while, listening to music you can't hear and waiting for the air to smell like smoke.

Pity me not, for I'm a victim of my own contentment.

*

Sunday, September 4, 2011

we holla for hula

Two years ago, it was fairies, princesses, and ballerinas. Hence FARBIE.

Last year, it was Star Wars. Hence YODA.

This year, it was hula dancing, coconuts, and leis. Hence...



Here's how it happened.

Step 1: Bake a chocolate-pumpkin bundt cake.
Stick an old Barbie in it.
Glue her in with gooey, hot brownies.
Eat as much brownie batter as possible.



Mmm. Chocobarbie.

Step 2. Mix up some green buttercream and start piping it on.
Realize it looks like slime and do the grass skirt texturizing with a fork.
Lick the fork.
A lot.


Step 3. Realize that the skirt is a little lumpy,
but no one will notice because it's so freaking YUM.

Spackle it with glittery green sugar crystals, just for funsies.

Step 4. Add candles, sing, serve, eat.

And eat.

And eat.



See the other cake in back?

It occurred to me at the last minute that there might not be enough cake to go around.

And even worse, there might not be leftovers.
So we picked up another one at Target.
It was pretty, went with the theme, and tasted excellent,
although not as good as Hularbie.



Step 5. Put the last slice of Hularbie in the freezer in case of emergency.

In short, it was an excellent party.

8 big girls in hula skirts and leis, tearing up the house.

Hula heaven.


My little biscuit is growing up.

5 whole years of biscuit.

Sniffle.

Hula.

Sniffle.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

DBF


So this morning I swallowed my fear and drove to Decatur, aka THE NEXUS OF EVIL to meet my Twitter friend Harley and rub elbows with authors at the Decatur Book Festival.

For example, here is me with Myra McEntire, author of the fantastic YA book HOURGLASS.



I learned several things today.


1. Signed books are prettier.

2. No one can spell DELILAH on the first try.

3. The Brick Store is the coolest restaurant ever and made me feel like I was in The Hobbit, but with skateboards and pierogies.

4. Pierogies? THEY ROCK.

5. When going to a festival, wear comfortable shoes, and by comfortable, I mean NOT YOUR CUTE NEW HEELS, MORON. My blisters have blisters.

6. Meeting your writing friends in real life and talking about writing is the most writingly writersome thing ever, and now I understand why people go to conferences to talk about their jobs.

7. Eric Wight is a very cool guy, and I need to read his books about Frankie Pickle.

8. Grown women can be reduced to quivering fangirls by meeting their writing heroes. AND I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE, PEOPLE.

9. You can't get into a panel five minutes late at the Decatur Library or the door guard will say nasty things about you and send you away. But you can take off your shoes, eat a granola bar, or let your hoobies flop out of your shirt, and the security guard won't care. (I only did 2 of those 3 things, for the record.)

10. I should get out of my comfort zone more often. I met lovely people and had a wonderful time. I ate a wonderful Cornish game hen. I bought wonderful books. I wore a wonderful wrap dress. And I didn't have a single freakout attack. OLD DOGS REALLY CAN LEARN NEW, WONDERFUL TRICKS.

Next year: Dragon*Con, baby.

*


Friday, September 2, 2011

also a dare.



That's me in 2003 during my first and only public bellydance performance.

Why I am showing you this?

1. Because it was part of a convoluted dare/bet/punishment on Twitter.

2. Because every cell in my body has been recycled since then, so technically, that isn't me. That's some other girl, and I have some of her memories and also the same Cheshire Cat tattoo.

3. Because I can't dress up as slave Leia and go to Dragon*Con.

4. Because I feel like if I post something on my blog, I'll have it forever, and I found the photo today and didn't want to lose it, because I never want to forget what it felt like, dancing for the crowd as they clapped and stomped.

5. Because I miss having hair past my waist.

6. Why the hell not? HONEY BADGER DON'T CARE.

*

Please don't make me regret it. No laughing. Okay? OKAY?
I will never again confuse Spielberg for Lucas while half asleep and Tweeting about hats.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

what was missed

Computer died Saturday. Here's what happened since then:

1. WENT INSANE.

2. Got cute haircut from my adorably pregnant hairstylist.

3. Tried on a dress that looked like it was made out of monarch butterflies. Did not buy.

4. Sent the wee lad to preschool. Celebrated with beignets and cafe au lait.

5. Got that song about dancing on the edge of the Hollywood sign stuck in my head.

6. Went to Borders. Bought 4 books. Read 2 of them, plus one on the Nook, plus 2 I won in Twitter contests.

7. Had mysterious headaches every night.

8. Belatedly realized mysterious headaches were caused by frantically power-reading 6 books in 5 days while wearing contacts.

9. THAT SONG IS STILL STUCK IN MY HEAD.

10. Held a birthday party with a hula Barbie cake in which the cake was a chocolate pumpkin cake and brownie mound slathered in homemade buttercream and forkingly decorated to look like a grass skirt.

11. Ate an awful lot of Barbie's skirt.

12. IT'S MY PARTY, DANCE IF I WANT TO, WE CAN BE CRAZY, LET IT ALL OUT. YOU AND ME AND WE'RE RUNNIN' THE TOWN, AND LA LA LA.

13. Watched the movie Take Me Home Tonight, which was adorkable, if somewhat painful. I hate watching nice people get caught in stupid lies. YOU DON'T HAVE TO LIE TO YOUR HIGH SCHOOL CRUSH, TOPHER GRACE.

14. Read a Glamour magazine that had Demi Moore on the cover. She's been so Botoxified and airbrushed that I thought she was Annie from Community. I get the aging gracefully thing, and I'm not enjoying it myself, but it just creeps me out that she looks 23.

15. IT'S ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT, AND WE'RE DANCING ON THE ROOFTOP, TOP OF THE WORLD.

16. Seriously, it's like that song and the song about shuffling and everything Katy Perry ever did are trying to beat me to death with my own neurons.

17. I need new music.

18. What the hell was I talking about? Oh, yeah. Things that were missed.

19. I miss Nirvana. The restaurant and the band.

20. I basically went crazy. I need this laptop. I need to write. I need to do work. I need to communicate and share tidbits. It's become such a part of who I am. It's my diary, my photo album. It's almost like I'm outsourcing my memories. DON'T LEAVE ME AGAIN, HELP-er. I NEED YOU.

I also need sleep. Hularbie pictures tomorrow. Maybe.

If you're good.

*