Thursday, October 31, 2013

Anti-Bully Project

If you didn't know, October was Bully Prevention Month. I wrote a guest post for the Anti-Bully Project a few days ago, titled Keeping Our Kids Free From the Collective Mind. It can be read here. There have been guest posts all month to raise awareness about bullying and to help put an end to it.

Along with my post (and many others), authors have donated items to give away. I'm donating a copy of my forthcoming book, Dissected and a swag pack. If you follow the above link, you can also find out how to enter the contest.

If you've been bullied and are looking for help, visit the resource page at the Anti-Bully Project for a list of website that want to help.

If you want to find out how to do your part in the fight against bullying, you can visit:

The National Bullying Prevention Center
Stop Bullying Government Site
Stomp Out Bullying

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

NaNoWriMo: What will you be writing?

 NaNoWriMo. For those of you who do not know what it is, it stands for National Novel Writing Month. In a nutshell, in the month of November hundreds of thousands of writers across the country will make it their personal goal to write a 50 thousand word novel.

Yes. I'm going to try again. I was successful only twice (one of those became the published Never Eighteen after loads of revision). One other year  I used the month to edit and revise a finish project (which I think I succeeded, I don't really remember) and last year I used to finish a project, in which I just got bogged down and didn't complete, then decided to put that project aside in favor of another, but did get up to 30k. Not sure I'll ever finish that one, but we'll see.

This year, I'm going to do that again, take November to finish a project I've already started. That project is my YA contemporary, A Tattered Life. Right now it's at 9,518.

This may prove to be difficult since I'm also trying to plan a release party for Dissected,  soccer season is still going, and the holidays are upon us.

If you've never done it, it's fun. If you go to the NaNoWriMo website, you can buddy up with friends (find me there and buddy with me, MeganBostic) and motivate each other. You can track your progress, post excerpts and more. Check it out.

So, are you NaNoing? If so, what are you writing?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Northwest Bookfest

If you're a writer in the Pacific Northwest, you may want to consider attending Northwest Bookfest this weekend. I was on a panel last year, as I will be again this year, and there are a plethora of resources for aspiring and professional writers.

The theme this year is Navigating in the Digital Age, um, totally could have used this a few months ago when trying to figure out how to publish my book.

The focus of this year's bookfest  is on the benefits and challenges of digital publishing. For $99, participants can attend two days of workshops, taught by established writers and trade professionals, on topics ranging from e-books and digital distribution to social networking and online marketing.  There are also a number of free panel discussions, like the one I will be on, for those who don't want to, or can't pay the $99.

Aside from workshops and panels, there are also a number of vendors at NWBF.  You'll find independent bookstores, networking groups for indie publishers, writers, distributors, crafts, editors and more.

On Saturday evening, November 2nd,  Kirkland restaurants and wine shops will team with writers for a special evening of author presentations called “Wine and Words.”

Mixing poetry with jazz is the focus of the Wine and Words evening at Parkplace Books (348 Parkplace Center) at 7 pm, which welcomes the Killer Poet Jazz Band This event is for adults only and admission is FREE!

The Writing Life will take place at Milagro Restaurant, 148 Lake Street South, Kirkland, 7pm, where the downtown restaurant welcomes authors from Seattle7Writers, a nonprofit collective of Pacific Northwest authors. Participating at the Milagro Wine and Words are Deb Caletti, Garth Stein, Erica Bauermeister, Jennie Shortridge and Kevin O'Brien. Moderator, William Kenower

 So, whether you simply need the motivation to  get your ideas down on paper or are a professional  wanting to improve your craft, Northwest Bookfest is the place to be this weekend.

Find me and you may get a signed bookmark of my upcoming novel, Dissected.


Saturday: 8am to 6pm
Sunday: 8am to 6pm

Click the following links for more info:

Contact NWBF

Friday, October 25, 2013

F³A: Little Disasters

I went to the Red Cross Real Heroes Breakfast a couple days ago. If you haven't heard of it, I'll lay it out for you. You know the Red Cross helps people all over the world with major disasters every day. Well, there are people in your community that help people with their own personal disasters too.

For instance, they honored a ranger just back from Afghanistan who broke into a 2nd story sliding glass door to save a couple trapped in a fire. Five teenagers that stayed behind, while others left, to do CPR on a man who had seized after having a heart attack in a church gym. A husband and wife, who did not hesitate to come to the rescue of a couple and their two babies when they smashed their car into a telephone pole...and others. You can actually read all the stories here.

The stories are inspiring and make you want to be a better person. I feel like I'm one of those people who don't pass by when I see people in need. I think I'm that person who would run into a burning building, or initiate CPR. Even little things...

Driving into the gas station the other day and I notice this kid at the air pump. His bike is leaning up against the pump and he's fishing through his pocket in obvious need of change. For some reason, air isn't free any more. There are four or five other cars at the gas station, just ignoring him. And this kid was obviously not a derelict, meth head or crook.

How hard is it to dig into your purse, car or pocket for some loose change?

By the time I parked my car and dug for my change, the kid had almost given up.

I found some quarters, "Do you need some change?"

"I just need a quarter."

I hold my hand out and he comes to get it and thanks me.

Little disasters. A little helping hand.

It literally hurts my heart (yes literally, my chest is in pain as I write this) how apathetic we are as a society any more. Yes, it's easy not to volunteer our time, we are busy, I get that. But when you see a kid who just needs to pump his tire up...can't you at least give him some change?

I think that's why as a writer I try to visit schools and so far I've done it for free. (I think I've been paid twice, and I think those were both libraries, but I could be wrong). I am busy, my life is chaotic, hence the name of my blog, but I would like to do a better job with my volunteerism. I've already offered my services to my college alumni association and a new non-profit dedicated to at risk youth. I would also like to volunteer at my local children's hospital, but so far, only seem to have found the time to open my check book for them.

And I do hope that I am one of those people, like the ones I saw honored the other day, that can dive into a black lake to find a drowning child, or stand strong so that someone fighting for their life can find their way back.

I do not want to be one of the apathetic. I do not want to ignore those that need my help...

Okay, Friday Scribbles...

Pandora queue song: Monster by Imagine Dragons

Book of the Week: I bought Insurgent. I haven't started it yet, but I'm excited to.

Netflix of the Week: I've watched nothing this week, so, you pick!

Quote of the Week: There were actually a couple I liked...

"A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the heat of battle, heroes emerge, sometimes from the most unlikely of sources.

"I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people." ~ Maya Angelou

"In the heat of battle heroes emerge, sometimes from unlikely sources." ~ Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson

Thursday, October 24, 2013

First Review

Dissected has received its first review. I'm super excited. It's only been placed in the hands of about here.
six bloggers so far, the first, posting their review today,

Now admittedly, I've known the Watery Tart for a few years now, but as writers, we don't tend to blow smoke up each other's butts. Normally if I read a friend's book and I'm not a particular fan, I won't review it. She seemed to genuinely like Sydney's story and I know Hart likes gritty YA.

 Go check out the review and I urge you to read more of the Water Tarts blog posts. She is witty and awesome. She also writes cozy mysteries. Oh, and she's a nudist, did I mention that? Go now.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


I read a quote about kissing today and it reminded me how much I like kissing. It didn't really need to remind me really. I mean, I just really like kissing. It's funny, not everyone does. Can you believe that?

I also like writing kissing scenes.
I like reading kissing scenes.
I like kissing quotes.
Some of them take my breath away.
I'm going to share some kissing things I like with you today, because, well, I like kissing. And I'm a sap.

  • "Lips that taste of tears, they say, are best for kissing." ~ Dorothy Parker
  • "Then I did the simplest thing in the world. I leaned down...and kissed him. And the world cracked open." ~ Agnes de Mille
  • "Kisses are like tears, the only real ones are the ones you can't hold back." ~ Unknown
  • "Kiss me and you will see stars, love me and I will give them to you." ~ Unknown
  • “Kiss me, and you will see how important I am.” ~ Sylvia Plath
  • "She kissed me, and my mouth wrote a poem of welcome to her lips." ~ Ward Elliot Hour
  • "Each kiss a heart-quake..." ~ Lord Byron
  • Kissing is like drinking salted water: you drink and your thirst increases” ~ Chinese proverb
  • “At the first kiss I felt something melt inside me that hurt in an exquisite way. All my longings, all my dreams and sweet anguish, All the secrets that slept deep within me came awake, Everything was transformed and enchanted, everything made sense.” ~ Hermann Hesse
  •  “I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.” ~ Crash Davis from Bull Durham 
  • “No, I don't think I will kiss you, although you need kissing, badly. That's what's wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.” ~ Rhett Butler from  Gone With the Wind (movie)

If I profane with my unworthiest hand

This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.
Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this;
For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.
Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?
Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.
O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;
They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.
Saints do not move, though grant for prayers’ sake.
Then move not, while my prayer’s effect I take.
Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged.
Then have my lips the sin that they have took.
Sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged!
Give me my sin again.

First (and almost) kisses from my own writing...(I think these scenes may have been before editing, just FYI)

Never Eighteen...On a haunted house ride at the state fair...

Face after hideous, chilling, menacing face comes at us, and Kaylee’s body shudders and jolts with each one. I put my arm around her and pull her in. She lays her head down on my shoulder and takes my other hand in hers on my lap. I feel my body start to react to her; my heart feels as though it will tear through my chest. I turn toward her; she’s so close, I can hear her breathe. I kiss the top of her head. She shifts beside me. Th rough the green, blue, and black lights, I see her turn her face up toward mine. I bend in for that kiss I’ve waited so long for. Just as our lips are about to join, our car bursts through the doors at the end of the ride, an ambush of bright sun blinding us. a kegger...(and she's a mythology freak, hence the word 'ouroborus')

He turned to me, our faces so close together I could smell the beer on his breath intermingled with his cologne. He brushed his lips against my cheek and up to my ear. “Thank you,” he said. He kissed my earlobe, my neck. His lips found mine and our tongues intertwined like an ouroborus. We both placed our cups on the floor and fell back onto the bed. We kissed, our hands wandered. Then it stopped. More accurately, I stopped. He backed away and stared at me.

Girl in Motion...after getting beat up...

I looked in his eyes, eyes I was starting to fall in love with, and though it hurt to talk because my lip was so big and puffy, I said, “I couldn’t quit now even if I wanted to.”


     “Because that means he wins.”

      He grabbed my hand, and said. “So let him win. Who cares?”

     “It’s not just that. This is important to me. I’m doing it for me, my dad. I can’t just quit. I need to do this.”

     “But look at yourself,” he said stroking my cheek with the back of his hand. “You’re getting all bruised up here,” he said then leaned in and kissed the side of my face. “—and here,” then he kissed the spot between the bridge my nose and my eye. “—and your lip is getting all fat and ugly.”  He looked in my eyes, then leaned in and kissed my lips. And it hurt but there was no way in hell I was about to stop him. “Chelsea,” he said, then he kissed me again, and I let him.

    “Yeah, Tommy?”

     He put his forehead against mine and surprised me by saying, “I love you. Please don’t go through with this.”

     “I have to Tommy. I’m sorry.”

     He backed off and said, “I guess there’s only one thing to do then.”

     “What’s that?”

     “Have your back,” he said giving me a cute little smile.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A new writing space

I got rid of my old desk. There was nothing wrong with it really. It just took up too much room in my office and for some reason, I didn't like to write there. I bought a new desk. It's smaller. It has a built in book case. Since it's smaller I also bought ANOTHER book case. My books overflow, so now I have room on my desk and a new four shelf book case to store them (I've yet to put the book case together.

My only challenge is to keep my office clean and organized. It's where I keep my filing. I think however, if I start writing in there instead of my kitchen table, I'm more apt to file things more efficiently and keep it tidier. *fingers crossed*

So here is the new desk I built last night.

On the desk itself I've got pictures of my kids. I have a hand stamped Sylvia Plath plate that sits next to my "Writer's (paper) Block" and 1969 replica Ford Mustang that represents Never Eighteen. There's also mug one of my kids made that holds my pens, a stuffed monkey from the book kit, I Love Monkey by S. Kaufman and some other office supplies.

That first book shelf holds To Kill a Mockingbird, A River Runs Through It and Fahrenheit 451, some favorite books I've read.

The upper shelf holds some favorite books and some on my 'to be read' list. Divergent and Insurgent are up there. I've read the former, the latter is next on my list. Then I have of Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan, Paper Towns, and The Fault in are Stars by John Green, all signed by Green to me, all I've yet to read. On the other side are Catching Fire and Mockingbird and my friend Gae Polisner's Pull of Gravity.

On the very top is a vintage typewriter, sock monkey, a picture from my trip to NY with friends Tracy Walshaw, Gae Polisner, Lori Landau and Christine Beth Reish, and set of gel pens.

Yes, I think I can finally write in that room. At least I'm willing to give it a try. What do you think?

Friday, October 18, 2013

F³A: Traffic signs that should not be mere suggestions

I travel back and forth from the beach quite a bit, and I tend to be on the lead footed side, which shouldn't really bother anyone, I don't believe I take it to the extreme where I'm a danger to myself of anyone else. Needless to say, I get frustrated with people who take some of these signs as suggestions instead of actually listening to what they are telling them.

How hard is this one to understand? If you're not passing someone, get your slow ass over. Period. This next one is related...

If you see me coming in your rear view, move to the right. That's what I do. I don't care if I'm going the speed limit and dagnammit I shouldn't have to move over...really? You want that guy rear ending your for ten miles? Or a dose of his road rage? I mean, I'm not that guy, I'm the guy who as soon as it's clear will just pass you on the right, which I shouldn't have to do, but some people aren't so nice.

I don't see these signs any more. I miss them...

...but we still have these...

I think if you've got four or five cars trailing you, you are a slow vehicle and you might want to consider pulling your ass over.

Any signs you wish drivers would heed more often?

It's Friday, so here are my Scribbles.

Pandora queue: Lost by Coldplay.

Book of the Week: Still reading Joe Peace by my friend Kerry Dunn. I'm about 3/4 the way through and it's a darn good read. Check it out my people.

Netflix of the Week: I haven't really watched anything this week. Sooo, I'm going to suggest rewatching the Hunger Games since Catching Fire comes out in theaters soon. Oooh, I can't wait.

Quote of the Week: I failed my Driver's test. Driving teacher: "What do you do at a red light?"' Me: "I usually respond to texts and check my Facebook." ~ Unknown

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Stuff that makes me feel stupid when I write

Similes and Metaphors 

I never remember the difference. I suppose this doesn't make me feel stupid when I'm writing, but it does when I'm talking about writing.  So, here is the difference between a simile and a metaphor:

Simile: a likening of one thing to another or a figure of speech in which two essentially unlike things are compared, the comparison being made explicit typically by the use of the introductory 'like' or 'as'.

Here are some well known similes:

My love is like a red, red rose ... Robert Burns

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate. Shakespeare

Metaphor: A figure of speech in which a term is transferred from the object it ordinarily designates to an object it may designate only by implicit comparison or analogy.

Here are examples of  metaphors:

I shall never get you put together entirely
Pieced, glued, and properly jointed.    Plath

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.  Shakespeare

Lay and Lie

I'm going to keep it simple...

To lay, to put or place something down. Present tense lay(s), past tense laid, past participle laid, present participle laying.

To lie, to rest or recline. Present tense lie(s), past tense lay, past participle lain, present participle lying.

Farther and Further

Use farther for measurable distances. Use further for abstract lengths you can't always measure.

Affect and Effect

Think of it this way, an affect is almost always a verb that means to produce a change in something, the effect is what is produced by that affect.

For instance, Video games affect kid's minds. The effect of video games on kid's mind is bad. (This is not something I necessarily believe just an example)

However, effect may sometimes be used as a transitive verb, which means to bring about or make happen, for example, I will effect the changes to my blog on Monday. 

And affect can sometimes be used as a noun, such as, The killer showed no affect when showed photos of his victim.

Of course those last two examples just totally confuses everything, so just say no and don't do it.

Then and Than
Use then when discussing time, use than in comparisons. (sometimes I still get confused with this because sometimes it's not always about time or comparisons, or at least doesn't seem to be)

I don't misuse these words, but you may want to look them up:


And watch your punctuation or you might turn into a zombie.

There are more of these errors I run into, and forget and use incorrectly, but this blog is long enough already (or is it all ready? ;). Maybe I'll write on the subject again next week.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Writing Wednesday: A Tattered Life

I posted part of this on my Facebook a couple days ago, got some positive comments, so thought I'd post it here. 

Setting it up a bit, this is my book about a journal that travels some miles in a tornado and ends up in the hands of a teenage boy, Jaden Hatch. The journal is written by a girl down on her luck, who at first Jaden thinks of as a loser, but eventually becomes attached to.  Jaden is a douchebag, cheats on his beautiful girl friend, Ava, with Payton, a girl he considers white trash, he's a bully, homophobic and takes his mother, who has raised him alone for granted.  It's prom night and he and best friend Eli are going to pick up their tuxes.

I realize I never asked Payton if she was going to the dance. I’m curious. I text her. Will I c u 2 nite? I throw on sweats and shoes, grab my keys and take off for Eli’s. Time to pick up the tuxes. When I get to his house, I check my phone to see if Payton has texted back. Nothing.
Eli jogs out, dressed much the same as me, and we head to one of the only two tuxedo rental shops in town, Threads. On the way, I say, “You know, you should officially make Maddy your girl tonight.” Maddy is Eli’s prom date and happens to be Ava’s best friend. It would be perfect.
Eli turns to me, lowers his head, raises his an eyebrow and says, “No thanks.”
“But dude. She’s smokin’ hot. And that ass?”
“Again, no.”
“She’s not my type.”
I look over at him to see if he’s full of shit. He looks dead serious. “Are you kidding me? Maddy is everyone’s type.”
“Not everyone.” I shake my head, not believing what I’m hearing.
We enter Threads, and though there’s a line, we’re helped immediately because, well, I’m Jaden Hatch. We pick up our tuxes, mine, black, black shirt with a red vest and tie. Eli’s is all white with a pink vest and bow tie. “You know how gay you look in that?”
“Fuck you, Hatch,” is all he has to say to that. I drop him off and go home.
“Let’s see it!” Mama calls right when I walk in the door.
“Can’t you just see it later?”
Brows wrinkled, pouty lip in full action she says, “I just want a sneak peek.” 
“Fine,” I say rolling my eyes.
I go to my room and lay the tux on my bed. Before taking it out to Mama I check my phone one more time for messages. Have a couple silly texts from Ava about how excited she was about prom, which I care little about and immediately delete. Then Why aren’t u texting me back? Again, delete. Then there was one from Payton. Not if I c u 1st. Lol.
 I unzip the plastic sheath that reminds me of those bags they put dead people in; I pull it off, and when I take the tux out to Mama, she squeals and claps, jumping up and down like a child. When she stops, tears well up in her eyes and she says, “You’re going to look so handsome.” She gawps into my face. “When did you get so old?” She reaches up to brush some hair out of my eyes and I playfully swat her hand away.
“Oh Mama, you’re being silly.”
She wipes her tears away. “Maybe. Now go get your chores done before you run out of time.”
“You’re making me do chores today?”
“Did I stutter? Is it your birthday or some kind of national holiday? No. It’s prom. Now get your ass going.”
“Yes, Ma’am.” I hang the tux up in the kitchen doorway.
“Okay, have fun, now. I’m headed to work.”
“Wait. What? Work?”
As she grabs her purse Mama says, “Yes, boy, how do you think that tux and tonight’s dinner and limo are getting paid for. Mom doesn’t stand for Made Of Money. I’ve had to pull extra shifts at the hospital. Make sure Ava’s parents take lots of pictures. Have them text me some.”
Saying nothing, I stand there, nodding stupidly as she leaves. I’m dumbfounded. Mama’s never missed any of the important events in my life, not a football game, an awards assembly…a formal dance. She works a lot, but her nursing job is flexible and she usually takes time off or switches with someone—she doesn’t grab her purse and walk out the door.
I do my chores, and not the half-assed job I normally do, but I do them meticulously because suddenly I’m realizing what Mama sacrifices for me. Maybe I’m still being a prick because this time I see how it affects me, I don’t know, but at least I’m finally noticing, right?

My Dad. He's awesome.

John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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