Thursday, April 26, 2012

Never let ‘em See You Blush

My palms were clammy.  I was in a cold sweat.  My nerves were peaked like I was sitting inside the electricity room at the Museum of Science in Boston.  I had a dry mouth and could barely form a thought in my head due to the tornado of feelings running through it in warp speed.  It was seven o’clock in the morning yesterday when I woke up and I knew that in eleven short hours I was going to be standing in front of a room full of published and accomplished Authors telling them all about my book.  The clock ticked far too quickly yesterday.

Public speaking has always been something I dread doing.  Those who have known me all my life are generally surprised when I make this admission.  But despite my comfort level in a room full of my nearest and dearest, I trip up when I have to talk to a room full of random people.  I knew the SSWW ladies were going to be encouraging, I knew they would smile and congratulate me on the release of Ripple the Twine.  But I was freaking out anyway.

As the day went on yesterday I kept running over and over in my head exactly how I was going to approach my thirty seconds of “fame”.

“Hi everyone!  I’m Jenn Flynn-Shon and I’m an avid blogger.  I’ve been a writer since I was fourteen and as of last Friday I can finally add the title ‘Author’ to my resume as my very first fiction novel, Ripple the Twine, was just released to the public! [pause for clapping] The story is about a Tomboy from Boston, Sara, who loves hockey, writes for a living, and meets a great guy through a close friend.  The book addresses all manner of daily life struggles of Sara and her three closest friends and how their friendship could be the very thing that saves all of their lives from internal destruction.  But I’m a sucker for a happy ending and this Tomboy-meets-Townie love story will leave you feeling upbeat and happy. Thanks!”

Awesome right?  Well I should’ve brought cue cards.

I arrived and ran into another member as I was pushing the elevator button.  She’s a woman that I’d talked with at length at the Author event the SSWW held a few months back in Scottsdale’s Mustang Library.  A guest for the evening got in with us and the three of us started talking about getting up and speaking.  The long-time member said it is so important to just get up and do it.  I knew she was right but my heart started racing as soon as we walked into the room.

With over forty women expected that night I felt that my stomach-flip showed all over my face.  But I’d dressed up in my super adorable pink and black party dress and matching pink cardigan.  I had my book in my purse.  I wore my comfy and cute patent leather flats.  I got my name tag and chatted with Patricia, the President of the group, for a minute then took my usual seat at the “shy table”.  I extracted my book and placed it on the table, ready to go.

I was, after all, armed with the best pitch ever!  The introductions began and I listened as these wonderful women got up and unapologetically told all of us about their achievements.  I internally repeated to myself (over and over) ‘you can do this, you will not be embarrassed, you will do just fine.’

It was our table’s turn at the mic.  A new friend with a book I’m dying to dive into, Thomasina Burke Author of Magic Bridge, got up and spoke.  She segued into me getting up.  There was no hiding under the table as the entire room turned to look at me and smile.  With a quick swig of water to wash down my last bite of salad (and hopefully rid my teeth of stray bits of romaine) I took a deep breath, gathered up my book and walked toward the front of the room.

I turned around with a smile to survey the space and face the crowd.  Oh my goodness.  Forty women is an endless sea when you’re nervous.  But I was prepared damn it!

I opened my mouth, promptly swallowed the microphone, and in a neurotic blur, likely shrill enough to wake up sleeping dogs all over the neighborhood, I said…

Hi I’m Jenn! skugykev vksjgoiaegv djaeklgae sdus8etrw fis90urtweg spiwstg Ripple the Twine sdghowhef, sertiuy, gljkropty, mvierg.  Self-published pyw4,ry93 06836m, perty-3t4. Oh my full name is Jenn Flynn-Shon and guess that’s it!

Clapping ensued.  I have no idea why or how anyone understood the insanity that had just flowed out of my mouth.  I know I said my name, my book’s name, held up the novel in my hand and backed off from the microphone eventually but I felt like I’d just rambled the last names of about 20 hockey players; that’s how decipherable my rambling was in my head.

But a strange thing happened when I got back to my seat.  I realized that for the first time since seventh grade I’d stood in front of a room of people I hardly knew and spoke without the slightest hint of blushing from embarrassment.  In fact, I was glowing inside.

I was still rolling on nerves by the end of my spiel but I wasn’t breaking out into hives like usual.  The entire rest of the night I simply congratulated myself for conquering something that has plagued me most of my life – the inability to just own my shit.

Our presenter was an award winning, NY Times best-selling Author of seven mystery novels and someone I’ve heard speak before, Betty Webb.  She’s funny and pointed and had the best advice I’ve ever heard – ‘Always be true to yourself in what you write. Even if it’s hard (or embarrassing) to admit it.’


Monday, April 23, 2012

Where Are We At So Far?

Well I was definitely wrong about a few of my predictions in Round one of the NHL playoffs.  Some series haven’t come to a close yet, in fact only half have secured a spot and only 1 series in the east is wrapped, but I thought it would be worth taking a look at the stats compared to my predictions.  Let’s see where we’re at as round 1 will be coming to a close this week.

Western Conference

Vancouver vs. L.A. – I predicted the Canuckle heads, but the Kings took the series (in a major upset) in 5 games.  This was not, however, a major upset for me to watch the defending Stanley Cup Losers go out in the first round.  Suck it Vancouver.
St. Louis vs. San Jose – I guessed St. Louis and was right.  They took the series in 5 games.  A bit of a bummer that Joe Thornton is done now, but this one was pretty predictable with the Blues on such a streak this season.
Coyotes vs. Hawks – I put my money on Phoenix and they’re up one game on the series right now (3-2) (despite losing Raffi Torres to a 25 game suspension for a repeat offender head-to-head hit on Marian Hossa which sent Hossa off the ice on a stretcher).  If they win tonight they take it in 6, if not then Chicago ties and we go to a game 7 (exciting series!).
Predators vs. Red Wings – I was sure the Wings were going to hammer this out, so this one shocked me, but Detroit went down to Nashville in 5 games.  I have no strong feelings either way really but it would’ve been nice to see an Original 6 team beat an expansion team.

Eastern Conference

Rangers vs. Ottawa – Somewhere in the hockey-verse the gods are giggling at all of us (read: me) who picked NY to demolish the Sens.  And who would’ve thought it would be such a tough series with so many penalties on both sides?  This series has Ottawa up by a game (3-2) so they could actually win the round if they win tonight.  I’d love that because the Rangers, being the second evil empire from New York, must be stopped.  The earlier the better (read: so the Bruins don’t have to play them).
Bruins vs. Caps – I always vote Bruins, that’s no secret, but even I knew this was going to be a tough fought series when we got Washington instead of Ottawa (though I guess now I’m not sure the Senators would’ve been easier!).  Series is tied 3-3 and Wednesday night seals the deal.  Go B’s!  I think they can actually pull it out if they stay focused and maintain offensive strategy but Timmy needs a fish-slap back to his crease.  Again.
Devils vs. Panthers – Come on Jersey!  Don’t lose to a team from a state where outdoor hockey wouldn’t even be possible, I know you’re better than that! (No comments on my backing of Phoenix please)  Panthers are up one on the series (3-2) so it’s do or die time for the Devils on Tuesday night.
Flyers vs. Penguins – Another unpredicted upset.  Another recoculously over the top series for penalties, fighting majors and game misconduct ejections.  Seriously in one of the games (I think it was 3?) the combined total penalty minutes for both teams was 133.  Yes for those keeping track that is more penalty minutes (by 13) than if the guys played two full hockey games! Despite the fact that Neal and Asham seemed to be looking to take Giroux, Schenn and Couturier out of play forever, Philly managed to take the series 4-2.

On fun and funny news…

The Bruins have not only managed to get the party started again with their episodes of “The Bear and the Gang”, but Andrew Ference has once again proved he is a motivating genius (and stepping up as captain material if and when Chara ever retires).  Last year the guys had the jacket.  I’ve talked about this before but the thing was God awful and is now hanging in retired player (sob) Mark Recchi’s closet. 

They needed something fun again this year.  Well enter Jacket 2.0 – The Chain

The chain is even more God awful than the jacket (if that’s possible) and is constructed of 20 industrial weight silver links with a padlock attached to the bottom.  Andy carved a Bruin’s 8-spoked B into the lock and clicked the thing shut. 

The chain is given to the best player of the night (Kelly is wearing it above after his OT winning goal in Game 1) and the links represent the fact that among the 20 players on the ice/dressed for a game, there isn’t a single weak link in the bunch.

Plus its good for neck workouts because that thing must weigh about 600 pounds.

It sure is fun, motivating, and a nice way to thank each other for the hard work out there.  Now bring the series to a close with a win at home on Wednesday and let’s see who gets to be the hockey equivalent of Flavor-Flav for killing it in game 7 of the first round.

Picture of Chris Kelly wearing The Chain taken as a still from -

Friday, April 20, 2012

"Ripple the Twine" - A Novel - On sale today

Ripple the Twine
by Jenn Flynn-Shon
Paperback, 322 pages
Not yet rated

Price: $15.99
Ships in 3-5 business days

A Tomboy-meets-Townie love story and tale about how friendship can save your life. Sara Quinn is a Sportswriter from Boston and over the past year she has started to earn major respect in the local market. In the process, however, she abandoned her personal relationships and put her emotions in the box. Regardless of her self-imposed timeout, a friend introduces her to Ben. With blue eyes, black hair and a brogue, he's her ultimate triple threat. But they connect just as Sara learns that her friends are facing heavy emotional crises. She starts offering advice, becoming a rock for everyone else, and in the process Sara unearths her own long dormant insecurities. But a bag of peanut butter cups and a hockey game won't fix her issues. She's got to move past her emotional past without hiding behind her career for once. She needs her friend's support as much as they need hers and the four will quickly discover that, when they stick together, their offense is virtually unstoppable.

Please feel free to leave a review of this book on this post, at my Goodreads Author page, or directly on Lulu.  Thank you for supporting Indie Authors!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Celebrating Randomness

A long time ago, couple years now at least, I used to do this blog thing that I dubbed Broken Thought Process Thursday.  It was pretty much a means to post random shit and attach a catchy hook to it that other bloggy friends could use when they were feeling spent on things making sense and just felt like rambling.  It worked well and there are a lot of them now (which I’m far too lazy to go back & find to link to, just click on the tag at the bottom of the post if you’re so inclined to read mine sometime).

Nowadays I don’t really label my randomness anymore, I just kind of ramble on & on until I feel all comfortably purgey.  Guess BTPTh is my typed equivalent of bulimia or something.  I take in so much in any given week that at some point most of it is going to have to come back out or my overfilled brain may just explode.

So today I’m feeling a little rambling goodness coming on.  And would ya fancy that, it’s even Thursday!  Get ready to downshift quick folks.

First of all, I’ve removed the captcha crap from my comments page.  Blogger captchas used to be cool and I loved trying to figure out if they could be a word or a name or something else fun.  Now they just look like a bunch of black mohair yarn tossed at a white background that I’m supposed to decipher.  Plus, I think my readers are savvy enough to figure out that, if an idiot posts a nonsensical comment with a link, they shouldn’t click on it.  I’ll be monitoring and deleting stuff like that and that is way less irritating than deciphering black string words.

Tomorrow at 10AM Arizona Mountain time that link over there <-- is going away and Ripple the Twine will be released to the public for consumption, enjoyment and/or ridicule!  I can’t wait!  My first book on shelves before I’m forty years old feels like a pretty sweet accomplishment.  Mostly because it’s the first thing in my life I’ve ever seen through to the end (marriage to Matt notwithstanding seeing as though the end is death & I’m not really asking to speed that shit up).

So anyway, if I sound like a broken record too bad dang it, I’m selling a book!  If you want to get it at the reduced price and with free shipping you’ve got just about 24 more hours to click on BUY NOW.  After that it’s on to Lulu!

Music and water and memories and pain.

That could be the title of a country song, but it’s pretty much the description of my brand new tattoo!  I got this as a dedication, shout out, tribute to my four grandparents and it was done yesterday.  Matt got me a gift certificate for Valentine’s Day to Divinity Tattoo here in Phoenix.  I looked through every portfolio online and decided on Ryan Campbell as my artist.  I felt Ryan had the most fluid lines and similar creative vision as I have.  He did a rough sketch and we came together in approval.  The stencil went on my back.  I approved the placement & overall design concept. 

And then there were the hundred-thousand needle jabs.

I started to mantra myself – breathe like its yoga, and, if you can sit for 2 hours in a dentist chair and get a tooth pulled you can deal with this pain for the beauty of the art that is to come.  Ryan exceeded all my expectations for creativity & talent for my very first piece of body art.  He complimented me for doing so great with my first one and I complimented him for capturing exactly what I wanted.  Love it!

For those not on Facebook or text, we had our short sale purchase approved!!  Woo hoo!  I’m totally looking forward to getting this thing finished and moving back into our own single family house (and out of apartment complex purgatory).  We’ll own our own home for the first time since our bankruptcy in 2009.  (Bankruptcy - A process that actually began the day we closed on the Vacation House in the Ghetto in June of 2002...something about hindsight can insert here I think).

At least this time we’ll be happy to move into the place because we’re intending to live there.  Happy there isn’t much to do for move-in preparations other than a little patch and paint.  But even happier that over time we can do anything we want.  And that it’s in a really decent neighborhood.

Today is our home inspection.  Appraisal is getting done tomorrow.  If all goes according to plan we’ll be wrapping up on this baby by the end of the month.  Fingers (toes, arms, legs, eyes…) crossed for a smooth transaction!

I was in desperate need of a haircut before a friend’s birthday celebration this past Tuesday night so I set out to the cheapy salon in town.  Now before you call me an idiot, depending on your experiences at the lower priced walk-in type places, I needed a cut when we were starting to save for the house and didn’t want to spend a lot so I went to Great Clips.  Since I go pretty short the only travesty was going to be if it went too short and looked like a boy.

When I got in the chair Edna actually cut my hair better than ANY $50+ cut I’ve ever gotten.  No I’m not kidding.  She took the time to ask what I wanted, and then she listened to what I said.  A very important thing because most hair dressers I’ve had didn’t care about my requests.  Edna cared.  Edna gave me a perfect cut that was the exact length, shape, style and texture I asked for.  I love it!

Anyway, all the haircut madness is a lead in to what I did before my fifteen minute, $15 haircut.  I went thrift shopping.  Oh did I ever.  I’m a huge fan of Goodwill.  Not because I can’t afford Old Navy or Gap or whatever, there’s just something about the thrill of the hunt in a thrift store.  You never know what you’re gonna get.  Other than a lot for a little.

I got 3 pairs of cargo capri pants (2 blue, 1 linen), 1 pair of Levis, 1 skirt, a long sleeve blouse, a tee shirt, a pink biz-casual sweater, a dress that I also just happened to find a perfect cardigan to go with, and 3 purses (1 of which will hold all my usual stuff plus a couple books).  That shopping spree ran me under $80.  Yup, you heard right.  Plus, every stitch, seam, inch of fabric is inspected for anything wrong.  And ours is all clean and spiffy with locking fitting rooms.  I think I tried on 5 times as much as what I bought.

It was so time to do this.  I have to be in the public eye now.  And I’m not a personal trainer or Long Island soccer mom so a track suit is just not acceptable in daily life.  All those years while I was painting meant I got rid of a lot of corporate type outfits that I’d kill to have back now.

Of course none of them would fit me anymore so there’s that.  And with that is the final update…we started our crazy P90X workout routine again.  Sadly pre-tattoo.  And now I’m not allowed to sweat for about a week.  So the big push is on hold but I’m ready to bring it as soon as I can.

As a hibernating bear cooped up in my den all winter (read: a writer working on the end of her manuscript, avoiding the outside world and consuming obscene amounts of caffeine), I’m now emerging from the long nap to get back out and catch some fish again.  Or maul people.  I can never really be sure.

Do bears drink coffee?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Feeding the Beast

Or, Marketing 101 and how a brand new Author can learn the best ways to get herself and her book out there when she is somewhat  shy, new to the area, and no-joke broke.

Yeah that should be someone’s book title on Amazon.  I’d buy that eBook if it gave detailed and specific information on exactly what to do at this stage of the game.  Sadly I haven’t found one yet but I’m still looking.  And no, before you ask, I don’t want to write it.  If I knew how to write it I wouldn’t be in this lack of knowledge mess over my own marketing plan right now, you dig?

Anyway, I’m basing my ideas of how to proceed with marketing myself and my book on stuff I’ve heard – go to conferences, blog, guest blog, do a virtual book tour, write a press release, join some writing groups, hire a PR Rep or Marketing Manager, get out and meet people, go on radio/talk shows, get interviewed for the local paper, talk about what you do whenever anyone asks, give out business cards, etc.

Anything and everything on that list of stuff that’s free, I’m on it like blue bonnet.  But here’s the thing, the ‘no-joke broke’ part is certainly me right now.  I write for a living, it’s just that I don’t really make any money doing it – YET – so attending conferences and paying PR/Marketing people is a little out of reach at the moment.

People say you have to spend money to make money.  Well I’ve spent some recently, and I think it’s even been in the right places.

I love being a part of the Scottsdale Society of Women Writers group!  They only meet once a month though so finding another similar group would really be ideal.  And it would be great to find a group just as supportive but who write similar to how I write.  I had no idea but finding fiction writers with a somewhat jagged edge to their wit is actually pretty tough.  Most of the ladies I’ve met write memoir or self-help style books.  They’re brilliant writers but I write Gen X humor love stories.  Yeah.

Fiction, especially genre fiction not about vampires/zombies/death and destruction, is much more difficult in today’s world.  But I’ve always written girl-meets-boy and just because I missed out on the “Sex and the City” wave doesn’t mean I’m going to stop writing what I’m good at!  Besides, interest in vampires/zombies/death and destruction stories will come and go but people will never stop falling in love, so, frankly, I feel I have the long term edge.

Getting my foot in the door at local radio and television stations (or even a local paper) would be great.  But I don’t begin to know what door to knock on so I can insert that foot, so I spend countless hours researching.  Which of course takes away from getting out there and selling my work.  Which in turn means I can’t afford to hire a PR Rep.  Which means I’m back to the vicious square one again.

For now I’ll just work with what I’ve got which is a semi decent social media presence, friends and family who are so supportive I can’t even BEGIN to thank them enough, and a brand new geographic region to explore.  And who knows, maybe I’ll happen across the right contacts in the process.

All of this selling stuff is exhausting!  But if nothing else at least it’s fun trying to learn.

Can't we just get to the rich & famous part?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Round One NHL Playoff Prediction Post

Say that five times fast…

Earlier this morning my friend Chris posted a nice NHL Playoff prediction post.  I started to reply to him and suddenly realized that my comment was encroaching on the length of his post to begin with so it seemed just as good a time as any to throw out a playoff prediction post of my own.

So I’ll start off by sharing what I was writing back to him.  If you didn’t get over to read his post first that’s probably a good idea so you know where I’m at.  See the link up there?  Yeah click that and I promise it will open in another window.  Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

Interesting choices right?  And by “interesting” I mean spot on (mostly).  In quotes is my reply to him because I’m too lazy to go through & fix all the pronouns…

“I agree with all but one of your predictions (have to disagree on Nashville).

I tried to avoid even reading the paragraph on the PA teams because frankly no matter who takes the series both teams scare the begeezus out of this Bruins fan. Of course to play either of them means one or the other has to get through the Panthers or NJD.  Lord willing its NJ because I have no love for FLA.  Then that of course also means the B's have to take the Caps (as you predicted, though I see it in 5 not 7 JMO) AND then take the Rangers (because seriously, sorry Ottawa but it was really nice of you to try).

Anyway, that's about all I can think about at this point and its all projections based on fandom where I try to imagine the B’s in the Cup Finals again more than anything else.  Here’s why…we just found out that Horton is shut down for the rest of the season (sadly that’s not a shock but still a morale blow to the guys). 

Quaider won't be playing game 1 (and I predict he's done too but I can hardly bring myself to even say it out loud) and its possible Boychuck won't be playing game 1 either.  That's 2 of our strongest D which means we have to make a choice on who to play instead - Mottau, Krug, or (oh god help us all) Corvo.  Two newbies (1 B's newbie, 1 NHL newbie) and an idiot who hasn’t learned over the course of an entire  season how to play our style of hockey.  Sigh.

And then there's the question of Rask.  Thomas can't play every game so we'd get Khudobin which would be great if we knew how the kid played but, as Yoda would likely say – one start does not a playoff goalie make. 

Not going to blame a shallow talent pool if we go down to NYR in the semi's but we'd have to work our freaking asses off to take that series.  Did it last year but the spirit was way different (as I've already said in a prior post).

So my thoughts on all the first round teams are as follows (no thoughts on number of games though, I don’t go that far):

Eastern predictions...
B's over Caps
Rangers (shudders) over Ottawa
Pens over Philly (though I don’t like saying it out loud because the name Malkin haunts me at night…)
Devils over Panthers

My predictions in the west...
Vancouver over Kings (the rioting will have to wait at least one series)
Blues over San Jose (if the Sharks took this I think it would be the biggest upset in hockey right now)
Red Wings over Predators
Coyotes over Chi-town (and though you know I'm a huge B's fan I'm also a hockey fan so to see these guys win it all this year is a secret wish of mine so the team would find it just a bit difficult to move...but don't tell anyone, gotta protect my street cred)”

Now, to expand on that whole last thought about the Coyotes.  Of course I’d love to see the Bruins in the Finals, of course I’d love to see them win it again as proof it wasn’t a 39 year broken curse fluke.  I mean hell I’m a huge fan, no question about that.  And some of those guys aren’t going to be playing maybe ever again so to get their name on another Cup would be like validation for the lack of penalties / punishment handed out in response to their injuries.

But (and it’s a big one) I live in Phoenix now.  This in no way, shape or form means I’m no longer loyal to my team though.  The reason I’d love to see the Coyotes win it all is truly because I just love hockey and I think there can be a place for the Coyotes here in the desert.  They need to stick around.

It isn’t like we don’t have talent out here, Smith is actually a pretty decent goalie.  Sadly their defense is somewhat lacking (other than Yandle who’s at 40 something points on the season…and it doesn’t hurt that he’s from Boston originally.  Not the team, the town.  And you all know how I feel about my Townies).  Offensively we have a decent number of good players too – Doan, Torres, Vrbata to name just a few.

I think they can certainly make a really good run for it this year and if the Bruins happen to make it all the way too you can bet your ass you’ll see me in the stands.  Secretly wishing for a Coyotes win but wearing my black and gold.

Pic courtesy but I edited for my semi finals predictions in my trusty Photoshop program.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Daffodils, Cherries, and Outdoor Seating at Happy Hour

This morning I was thinking about entering a contest to win a virtual crate full of spring & summer reads over on Jen Lancaster’s blog.  All I had to do to enter was leave a brief response as to my favorite thing about spring.  Sounds easy.  But this is me so of course I sat there staring at the comment submission box for like ten minutes.

I grappled with what I really love about spring.  I analyzed exactly what makes spring so great.  What do I really and truly love about the return of plants and all that stuff?  I wanted it to sound genuine whether that turned out to be a witty reply or not.  I wanted to sound like I understood the assignment deep in my soul but without rambling on and on.

There would be plenty of room to do that over here.

Why I did all of that analyzing, I have no idea.  It isn’t as if saying ‘brandy in a bathing suit’ or ‘flowers sprouting’ or ‘having sex without a comforter’ or ‘lemonade’ would generate any different of a response.  Not from her or any of the other people leaving comments.  Not like she’s going to give a hoot what I say.  At the contest deadline she’ll go to and throw in the final count, click ‘generate’ then report the winning entry.

We don’t have to make her laugh to win.  We don’t have to be awesome to win.  We just have to say something.  I could’ve said ‘everything’ and it would have been just as valid as saying ‘rainbows that shoot out of a Leprechaun’s ass after a warm desert rain’.

What the heck is my problem?  Could I be more of a dork?  Haven’t I already gone through this recoculousness once before with this woman?

Anyway, I entered by answering with the exact words of my title.  It’s still a little fun but also it is exactly what I genuinely like about spring’s return.

So then that got me thinking.  (Gee, shocker huh?  Yeah, I know.)  It got me thinking about all the other stuff that’s cool about this season.  The end of hockey season, the return of baseball, Matt’s birthday, beginning to plan trips (this year it’s the Lake, former years included the Martha’s Vineyard annual adventure), windows down in the car, returning temperatures and sunshine, etc.

This year also has me looking forward to new stuff like getting my first tattoo, receiving the title to my car because its paid off (the first ever woo hoo!), a first spring in a new state, buying and moving into our new home, and of course releasing my first book Ripple the Twine. (Pre-order your copy today and save, just click on the book title here or go to the Buy Now button on the left sidebar! <-- I should add ‘shameless self-promotion’ to my list of spring favorites but that pretty much takes place all year long so…)

In Phoenix we’re lucky enough to have temperatures that don’t go much below 60 degrees at any time of year so we’ve been hanging out with the windows open for well over a month now.  Last night in fact, for the first time this year, we actually had to kick on the air conditioner for about an hour.  It had gone up into the mid-90’s yesterday so an hour of regulation didn’t seem all that odd.  The fact that it’s early April had me struggling to wrap my head around the concept though, I’ll admit.

But I’m not in the northeast anymore so I guess I should just go with it.

Kind of like when I got the hell over myself and posted as commenter 1345 over on Lancaster’s blog. 

Fingers crossed, I could use some good reading this season.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tear Me in Two

Obsession has been my middle name since the day I learned that my parents didn’t bless me with a real middle name.  Things haven’t changed much these days.  I still latch onto my flavor of the moment and, with OCD-like stealth, learn as much as I can about whatever it is until all the learning is used up.  I bleed it dry and then I move on.  Kinda like a vampire.

As a little kid I was obsessed with learning – Sesame Street singlehandedly taught me how to count, and spell the word chloroform (Or was it photosynthesis? Mum, care to weigh in on this one?) at the age of like four.  As a tween I was obsessed with reading.  Particularly the Nancy Drew series of crime fighting and mystery solving books.  As a teenager my obsession turned to Hollywood celebs, teen brat packs, and cute boys.  Born of that, of course, was my propensity for scrapbooking and quoting.

Quoting is a delicate art, one that requires impeccable timing and attention to the situation at hand.  You can’t just pull out any old movie quote at any old time and expect it to go over.  Like right now I wouldn’t be tossing out something from, say, The Lion King because it has no relevance to the situation at hand.

Anyway, after the teen years of celebrity gossip mag buying, I moved on to stuff like clubbing every weekend, partying and all that crap.  Then, as most of you who’ve been around here long enough know, Jason Mraz took over for a while.  A really, really long while.  But, like most other things, I eventually bled it dry and moved on.

Which brings us up to date with my obsessive need to get my book done so I can move on from this part of the process.

I’m still working on finishing the book.  Duh, of course I am.  And of course I’m going to talk about it ad infinitum because as I’ve already explained – “What’s up obsession?”.  I’m literally on the last step.  My mom has worked quintuple time getting my graphics done for the cover, Matt read at the speed of light to make sure spelling errors were as nil as possible and I threw myself into learning this whole business of self-publishing.  To the point of nothing else to talk about.  Nothing else to think about.  My project showed me its neck and I bit right in.

I bought books, saved about 16 billion websites to my favorites that I read and re-read as many times as I could just to be sure I had it all down.  Documents were formatted to be all perfect and I even created myself a Publishing House to put the book out under.  Ta-da right?  Wrong.

Lulu doesn’t let you look ahead.  I had my graphics created separately – front, back, spine.  Lulu doesn’t let you insert your own spine.  That is unless you create one full sized cover.  But they don’t tell you that until you’re already in there uploading the graphics your mom spent way too many hours creating already.  As if she doesn’t already have her own shit going on.  Ugh.  Oh and I still can’t figure out how to get the barcode to look right even though I’ve allegedly followed all the right steps.  Ugh times two.

So I say to hell with Lulu, “I’m Audi”, and start looking into other self-publishing options.

I started with CreateSpace.  Yeah well they don’t tell you anything either.  So I started reading…

I think you can see where this would have been going if I hadn’t gotten on the phone with my mom this morning to just talk it all out.  And Lulu it is.  She is generously going to recreate the graphic as one document because she’s frinking awesome that way.

A side note here - Frinking is my new favorite curse word that my Aunt made up one night when we were Facebook chatting real-time during the Bruins game.  She didn’t intend for it to be a curse word.  She was trying to type drinking.  But that D and F are a little too close on the keyboard and FB doesn’t really have a spell check feature.  So now I’m borrowing it as my new favorite create-a-curse word.

And let me tell ya, I’m frinking freaking out right now.

But instead of getting all nuts and taking up my long time want of practicing rooftop archery, instead I revived an old and almost forgotten obsession with vampires to take the edge off reality.

This particular fixation began back in sixth grade when I won some kind of contest in my grammar school library.  It was probably for the kid who took out and returned the most books in a month or something.  With that Nancy Drew thing going on I was an easy target.  Anyway, after winning whatever it was I was offered a prize.  I could pick from a stack of different posters.

I was eleven years old.  A girl.  Shy.  Listened to Michael Jackson.  Wore pink.  So what the hell else would I pick but the dark and ominous poster of Dracula standing full-on tooth-faced in front of a gloomy fog, right?  That puppy went right on the inside of the bedroom door.  I shared the room with my sister and we slept in bunk beds.  I was older and I guess that meant I got to pick.  Of course I wanted top bunk.  Duh, who wouldn’t?

One night I guess the poster decided it wanted out of my room because I started getting chased by zombies in my dream.  This is long before I even knew what a zombie was but let me tell you, at eleven you sure know you don’t want them chasing you in your sleep.  The dream was one of those where it was so real that even 27 years later I can still picture the entire thing in my head.

Everything around me was varying shades of gray.  It was the middle of the night.  I was running down a dirt road with a looming gray fog rolling in behind me.  Something was chasing me and it was gaining.  I couldn’t tell if it was the fog but I didn’t want to find out.  I could feel a threatening presence at my back.  Right at my back.  Fingers were reaching out to grab me, to take me into the fog.  My lungs were aching from breathing so hard from all the running but I picked up the pace anyway.  Hundreds of forest trees whipped past my sightline but just past them it was pitch black forest.  I turned to look back, to make sure I was safe and had gotten away.  When I turned back to keep moving forward is when I plunged off the side of the cliff at full speed.

I woke up face down on my bedroom floor. 

The poster went in the trash the next day.  But it was too late, I was hooked on the darkness.  I wanted to figure out if there was a way I could have escaped without plunging to my doom.  I needed to know what it was that was really chasing me because the Dracula character on the poster wasn’t it.  Of that I was fully certain.

Of course The Lost Boys came out in 1987 and blended in quite nicely with my thing for Corey Haim.  But I was really sad when they killed David, it wasn’t his fault that Max turned him and he went all crazy.  He was just a vampire trapped in the body of a bad-ass motorcycling riding teenager.  Tragic.  Yup, happens every day.

Years went by while I got all pop princess on everyone’s ass.  I started working at a movie theater in town.  What came to our theater - Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  I was curious.  I had to know what it was really all about.  So I saw it and watched with trepidation because I was convinced the nightmares might come back.  But I literally fell in love with the movie.  I was in love with the entire theme that “He was just a guy who wanted to be loved.

So much so that I tried to read the book.  But that was written in the late 1800’s sometime and I could not get into it at all.  So I just went out and bought the movie when it came out on VHS and watched it on loop.  Obsession.  Every time Dracula turns into fog and engulfs Mina I kind of wish they actually existed.  That would be so frinking cool.

And then I was introduced to Anne Rice’s books right before Interview with the Vampire was released in theaters.

Without revealing too awful much, during those club days I was what many would call, um, a big old slut.  In my early twenties I was probably going to sleep with you if you were cute enough.  So with that said pretty much anything sexually related was going to grab my interest.  Anne Rice wrote about Vampires with a slant on erotica as well as a deep seeded interest in showing that these creatures of the night actually had a soul.  Kind of.

Interview was amazingly well done as a movie, however, her other books were so much better than any movies released in their name.  But it was cool because who cared, vampires were cool.  I was a vamp groupie.

And then Quentin Tarantino had to go and fucking ruin it all by releasing From Dusk til Dawn.  Really dude?  What the hell were you thinking?  I was officially off vampires for a long time.

No matter how much my BFF tried to convince me that I’d love the Twilight series of books when they first came out, I resisted.  No matter how much my sister tried to convince me that the movies were amazing when they first came out, I scoffed.

And then there was Lost.  And there was Boone.  And then they went and killed Boone and I cried.  And then I found out that Ian Somerhalder had a new show.  And they all rejoiced.  Yea.”.  I added it to my Netflix queue anticipating watching it when the series ended.

So we’re down at my sister’s house last weekend, all three of us including Matt were stressed about work – hello, book obsession – so when Wendy put on the first episode of The Vampire Diaries I was too weak to protest.

We watched the entire first two seasons over the course of the past week.  Holy crap that show is good.  The fact that one of the hottest men on television plays a lead role as the bad-boy-turned-good-turned-bad-turned-we’re-not-entirely-sure-anymore-if-he’s-the-good-or-bad-vampire-brother was all it took.  Obsession revived.  In spades.

So what does this whole post mean?  I don’t know, maybe I’m just obsessed with blogging or something.  I certainly didn’t give you much to latch on to.

*Title is courtesy of my favorite chorus from a Stroke 9 song:
Tear me in two
Bore a little hole that I can see right through
Your diversion’s my digression
Take me apart
Suck my blood until you stop my heart
You encumber my progression
And then you save me

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

And the Award Goes to…

Me!  I was not prepared to win, I don’t even have anything written on a little scrap of paper stuffed into my bra that I can pull out and read on stage.  Being nominated was an honor all by itself.  I don’t have anyone to thank really except Chris who has bequeathed me with this honorable mention.  I am overwhelmed and thank the Academy for this glorious treasure bestowed upon me.

So in case you hadn’t picked up on the bantery tone in my fingers, I was given a blogger award by The Pedestrian Writer, linked right up there ^.  Chris is one of my newer bloggy friends but he’s like that bloggy friend you have no idea how long it’s really been since you started reading each other’s stuff because it’s like you’ve always been reading each other’s stuff.  I suggest everyone get over & read his blog like now.  Well okay not right now, stick around and read this bunch of random babble first then get on over there & search the archives.

Anyway, he’s given me the Kreativ Blogger Award.  Rad! 

I may or may not have received this award years ago when blog awards were handed out in such a haphazard manner that they were everywhere.  Not to diminish the receipt of any award but when they’re so readily available as if they were a joint in a high school parking lot on a Friday night, some of the meaning behind it kind of goes by the wayside.

So for the longest time I stopped doing the award thing.  Stopped accepting them, handing them back out, talking about them, posting their pictures on my blog.  Probably because I started smoking weed in the high school parking lot on a Friday night and kind of forgot about doing all that other stuff…someone pass the Munchos would ya?

Well I’m accepting this award and thanking Chris for coolly saying what I’ve been trying to shove down everyone’s throat for so long - that my blog kicks ass.  

And good luck to you for reading this because we’re already at close to 400 words & I haven’t even posted the picture of the darn award yet.

Today’s Seven Facts

1. I am a total sucker for men who have that whole “Black Irish” thing going on.  Even if they’re not Irish it’s the fair skin, black hair, blue eyes thing that makes me swoon.  Every. Time.  Here’s a good example of what I’m talking about: Ian Somerhalder.

The guy isn’t just hot though, he’s an environmental activist.  And he owns a reclaimed wood upcycling company with his brother.  Which means he’s in construction too.  Plus he plays a Vampire on TV (more on this old, & recently revived, obsession in a later post).  And the cherry on top, he’s a fucking Writer. 

God has a great sense of humor giving us ladies (and probably a whole bunch of guys that aren’t a-scared to admit it because, seriously, look at the guy!) this gift of man-candy and then not having enough to go around.  Luckily Matt has a sense of humor too or he’d get pretty tired of seeing my drool bucket.

2. I’m a creature of habit in the morning.  And by habit I mean a complete and total cranky bitch.  Last night Matt told me he thinks maybe I’m part Vampire because if the red velvet blackout curtains in our bedroom aren’t pulled tight in the morning I’m essentially evil.  Seriously, one peeking ray of sun and I wake up “screaming” like the daylight just lit me on fire or something.  Not only that but I need my life-blood before anything else.  That would of course be coffee.  But same dif right?

3. Certain turns of phrase that have become popular in modern day speak drive me out of my mind – easy peasy, preggers, and hubs are the worst.  Yes I’ve used them all.  And I die a little inside every time I do.

4. I think the arbitrary number of things required to share just to accept this award is totally odd.  Why wasn’t it five?  Or ten?  Seven just seems super strange to me.

5. If the seven things were five, I’d be done now.

6. Horror movies and ghost stories freak me the hell out.  I can’t sleep if I watch them and I will never willingly go on a ghost hunt or any of that strange stuff.  Anyway, I hate blood and gore in movies and psychological thrillers that involve spirits trip me out (but yes I’m totally cool with Vampires, again, this is for a later post).  I have many stories of living in houses that contained spirits where inexplicable things happened.  Like lights turning on in rooms with no one inside and no timer on the lamp.  Like one wall (an interior one) always being cold and having a cold breeze coming off it even in summer.  Like a ghost living in my bathroom.

So we owned this Vacation House in the Ghetto and I am telling you, there was a ghost living in our upstairs bathroom.  At night if I had to pee I could feel it hovering in the doorway so I’d always go downstairs to the main bathroom.  And I always held on tight to the railing because I could actually feel it behind me as I descended the stairs.  I think it was trapped up there though because I never felt it on the first floor.  It was totally freaky but I never felt threatened per se.

7. I’ve developed allergies since moving to Phoenix.  Before I had a chance to think of a seventh thing to talk about I literally sneezed seven times in a row.  How’s that for irony huh?  Lots of different plants and stuff out here in the desert.  No Vampires in the desert though.  Well, at least according to my sister.  Must be that whole sunlight & werewolf thing instead.  But you never know…

So here’s the thing, I hate picking people to pass these on to.  I always feel bad if I choose someone and then someone else gets sad that I didn’t choose them.  But I’ll do it because I’m feeling generous and I wasn’t born with a guilt gene so there’s always that too.  So here you go…please read these people, some are new friends & some are old but they’re all awesome.

Anna at My Two Cents
Karen at Karen Cooks
Jim at Suldog (and yes, I'm fully aware what this could mean but no pressure)
Kate at Plan Q.3 (good to see you blogging again my friend!)

And now back to my draining schedule.  Ha, get it?  Vampires? Draining?  Luckily I’m easily amused…and equally lucky that I amuse myself…