New Winners! Of Prizes!!

A few of the winners didn't respond to my last post, so I've drawn a few new winners! Yay for you!

First of all, I was contacted by Angelina, who is already an agented writer and therefore doesn't need a query crit. Because of that, I've decided to give her the copy of BIRD BY BIRD.

The new winner of the MS read through is Jennifer.

The new winner of a query crit from Christine is Chris.

And the new winner of the violence/medical Q&A is Rachel.

So, new winners, please contact me within a week and a half (I'm giving some leniency for turkey coma) at jeighmeredith [at] yahoo [dot] com.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Winners!! Prizes!!

I had planned to have this posted early this morning, but my internet connection was on the fritz last night. Which is unfortunate for all of you, but fortunate for me because I get to use the phrase "on the fritz" like some sort of coolio from the early 2000's.


Bilbo and I were very pleased with the response to our Eleventy-First Follower Giveaway Extraordinasticganza.
As was young Frodo, bless his soul.

92 entries, after I added up everyone's points! WOOHOO! I feel like a cool kid.

Fine, I'll stop talking. Here are the winners and their prizes:

  2. Winner of I CAPTURE THE CASTLE is The Girl With A Pink Gun.
  3. Winner of BIRD BY BIRD is Taffy.
  4. Winner of the writing prize pack is Small Town Shelly Brown.
  5. Winner of a first chapter crit is Meradeth.
  6. Winner of an entire MS read through is Jenna.
  7. Winner of a query crit from Christine is Angelina.
  8. Winner of an interview on my blog is Jillian.
  9. Winner of a picture based on your hook is E.R. King.
  10. Winner of a fanfic based on your hook is J.
  11. Winner of the medical/violence Q&A is Margo.
Winners, email me at jeighmeredith [at] yahoo [dot] com  by next Monday with any pertinent info and your prizes will be on their way! (If I don't hear from you by Nov. 21st, I'll pick another winner.)

Thanks everyone for entering!


Happy October 31st!!

I'm not a fan of Halloween. Please don't smack me.


I AM a fan of today. Because the prizes came! Even though I accidentally sent them to my old address in WV and was afraid they would stay there, because you know how you can send things to more than one address on your Amazon account, so why would they bother to forward it to our new address, because what if we were actually sending the books to our friends in WV, if indeed the new people in my old house were my friends?

But they found me!

They are some of my favorite books for many reasons, now including their ability to find their way home. Good boooooks, yes you are!! *pets books*

Today is also awesome because there is now exactly 11 days left to enter my Eleventy-First Follower Giveaway Extraordinasticganza! The odds are still pretty good that you'll win one of the 11 prizes (including two special books that will always find their way back to you *pets books*), so check it out!


My Eleventy-First Follower Giveaway Extraordinasticganza!!

First off, Bilbo would like to say a few words:

"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like..."
Now, now, Bilbo. Let's not get cheeky.

So! I've finally reached (and now sailed past) eleventy-one followers, which, seriously guys, makes me so happy. I've wanted to do a giveaway for a while and this feels like the perfect time.

I don't want to do anything complicated, so all you have to do is be a follower (or become a follower) and leave a comment to be entered. However! If you can tell me in your comment, in exactly 11 words, why you should or want to win, you will get another entry. Ditto if you Facebook, Tweet, or blog about the contest.


There are 11 prizes up for grabs:
  1. A copy of my favorite book when I was 11 years old, THE TRUE CONFESSIONS OF CHARLOTTE DOYLE.
  2. A copy of one of my favorite reads of 2011, I CAPTURE THE CASTLE.
  3. A copy of Anne Lamott's BIRD BY BIRD, which is an excellent writing resource.
  4. A package including some of my favorite writing treats and treasures, including this guy. (I tried to include a picture but it wouldn't let me.)
  5. A first chapter crit.
  6. An entire read through of your MS with feedback (and I'm a fast reader.)
  7. A query crit from Christine Tyler. (I know, guys. I KNOW.)
  8. An interview on my blog with 11 tailored-to-you questions.
  9. A picture, based on your hook, drawn by my 6-year-old, Halle. (And she's got skills, mind you.)
  10. A fanfiction, based on your hook, by my 8-year-old, Jenna. (Also awesome.)
  11. The opportunity to pick my husband's brain about any medical or fighting questions you might have. He's a Physician Assistant and an all-sorts-of-violence (except real life) buff, so he knows what he's talking about.
Winners of the books, crits, and the package of treats will be awarded randomly. Other prizes MAY be awarded to my favorite 11 word comments. So entertain me, minions wonderful followers.
    The contest will go until 11/11/11, which is three weeks from today.

    So, to sum up:

    Be a follower and leave a comment--1 point.
    Leave an 11 word comment--1 point
    Twitter, Facebook, or blog love-1 point each

    Please tally up your point total in your comment (point tally not included in 11 words) and please, be honest. Remember, even if you can't see Bilbo, he might be watching you. And he doesn't like cheaters.

    *side note for my sisters and other non-writer friends: Feel free to enter, too! If you win one of the writerly prizes, I'll be happy to negotiate alternatives. So...please enter?



      I've Been Writing. Just Not Here.

      When putting the new button for Julie's Oh, The Early Work blogfest/giveaway (now extended to October 28th!) on my sidebar, I noticed my blog archives, and the sorry amount of posts I've written for September and October. (Don't look. Seriously.)

      It's just that, after months of feeling like this:


      about my WIP, I suddenly feel more like this:

      Which is creepy, but exciting, right?

      So, with my newly sprouted mini-hands, I've been writing about this:

       and including some of this:

      set someplace like this:

      Not forgetting some of this:

      And for dessert, THIS:

      Because seriously. Good. Heavens. YES.


      On Friday, Bilbo and I have an announcement!

       Come back and find out more about my Eleventy-First Follower Giveaway Extraordinasticganza! It will be all sorts of awesome and preciousssss....

      Until then, I will be staring at that kissing picture WRITING!!


      We Are Us

      There are two common interests my dad and I share: music and books.

      There are two things my dad and I almost always disagree on: music and books.

      It's sad, really.

      I mean, we agree on common stuff, like the Beatles. And the Bible. That's about where our tastes diverge.

      We're both on an unofficial mission to convert each other to the "right" side now. I recommend books to him. He makes me listen to his music. Sometimes something sticks, and sometimes it doesn't.

      This isn't a bad thing, though. We have lively discussions. Chairs are thrown! Decorative pillows are ripped! Windows beg for mercy!

      Okay, no. But, we do enjoy the lively discussions.

      I was thinking about this in relation to writing. I would love to be the next amazing whoever, but the only thing I can be is myself. I'm the only one who can write like me and that's so awesome.

      Regina Spektor doesn't sing like Colbie Caillat. If she did, people would probably rip decorative pillows, because come on, that would sound weird. They're totally different.

      So, yo, Regina (or, you know, insert your name here), KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. Because when you make your voice do that weird cool thing like only you can do, we know can write that character with a funny little quirk. Or the plotline that some people might think is too out there, but that we can pull off.

      Because WE ARE US, dang it!*

      *eloquent bits of wisdom brought to you by Jeigh. Keep being yourself.


      The Girl With The Pink Gun

      Just a quick post on this dreary Friday (it snowed yesterday! And stuck! Kids made snowmen! We drank hot chocolate! Cats and dogs, livin' together! Mass hysteria!).

      My friend, Eleisha, has a new blog where she reviews books! You can check it out here.

      What I like about Leish's blog is that she does straightforward, concise reviews, which is nice, and she reviews books that have been out for a while as well as more recent releases. She's already adding to my TBR pile.

      *pats TBR pile*

      *imaginary table groans under weight*

      So check it out! Because we all love books here, right? Right!


      Oh, The Early Work Blogfest

      *First off, if you feel so inclined, check out my post for the 2nd Campaign Challenge and throw me a vote! (I'm #171)Thanks!

      Today's post is brought to you by Juliemybird's Oh, The Early Work blogfest/giveaway. There will be prizes! And lots of funny stories, so go check it out.

      Also, dino love

      Since I've already written about my first, psychotic, puppy-mutilating attempt at an epic story, I'm going to tell you about a different, but just as embarrassing, early writing experience.

      There was a certain boy I pined for from third grade to eighth. He was, guys, SO cute. I can't describe him, or name names, because I'm still on speaking terms with his family and if he ever heard about this OHMYGOSHIWOULDDIE. Because I'm still twelve, apparently.

      Nevertheless, I liked him a lot.

      He inspired many a love-interest.

      We actually almost became friends. We were within the same circle, capable of almost-not-awkward interaction, and--for one glorious month and a half--racing buddies when the bell rang to come in from recess. He was the one for me, I was positive.

      And then, the worst thing possible happened: Junior High.

      He was cute, and cuteness gets you popularity in junior high. I was not cute. I didn't get popularity.

      Suddenly, my semi-friend-love couldn't bother himself to speak to me. No more racing. It was sad.

      I channeled all my anguish and angst into a story about a girl who really liked a boy, and how they used to be best friends (slight exaggeration) but now he wouldn't even talk to her. She knew they were meant to be, and one day, he finally came to his senses, swept her off her feet, and they lived happily ever after.

      I knew, I KNEW if he read it, he'd understand the pureness of my heart, that I wasn't just another spacey cheerleader after him for his rosy cheeks and curly dark hair. I saw to his soul.

      So, I wrote him a casual note: "Hey, how's it going? How do you like seventh grade? What's your favorite class? Oh, by the way, I wrote a story and I was wondering if you would like to proofread it for me. Okay, let me know." I slipped it into his locker.

      Lucky for me, he didn't answer. His avoidance of me became even more concentrated. And the bridge of our love was forever burned.

      It's for the best, though. That story was totally lame.

      What sort of gems did you write in your younger years? Link up at Julie's blog!


      Imago Ed.

      I sink lower in my seat. Dana tuts as she turns, smug. She’s always so smug.

      “Relax, Luna,” she condescends. “The imago’s part of life. Why’re you acting like such a hatchling about this?”

      Easy for her to say. She’s already shed four times. It’s whispered she’ll chrysalis any day now. Meanwhile, I’m waiting for skin shed number one. My body looks like a dandelion stem every time I check the mirror—green, smooth, flat. What I wouldn’t give for one fat roll, just one to make the boys oscitate. Dana has a lot; maybe she’d share.

      My dread drifts up into the miasma of nervous titters filling the room. Dana says, “I don’t know why everyone’s acting weird. I can’t wait for the video. I mean,” she slurps the lacuna of her milkweed stem, “I’m so close myself, but I’ve never actually seen the metamorphosis. You know?”

      Teacher gives her lecture. Imago is a natural and beautiful part of a caterpillar’s life. The changes in our body are not shameful. Blah.

      She starts the video. The monarch emerges from the cocoon, rumpled, sticky.


      In beautiful synchronicity, Dana hits the floor in a dead faint.

      It’s a good day.

      This piece of flash fiction was written for the 2nd Campaigner Challenge. The title had to include the word imago, and the story had to include the words lacuna, oscitate, miasma, and synchronicity. For extra challenge, reference a mirror (done) and make it exactly 200 words (done).

      If you liked it, please go here and vote for it. I'm number 171 (ooh, my lucky number!). The story with the most votes wins!!


      Liebster is German for "Dearest"

      This is important to know, because I was given the Liebster Award by TWO awesome ladies! Thanks to Rachel Bean and J at Concrete Pieces of Soul.

      Isn't it so sweet? Also, if my Googleized research isn't correct and "liebster" doesn't actually mean "dearest", could someone please tell me? Okay, thanks.

      This award is specifically for blogs who have less than two hundred followers, so we can share the love and get our networking skills ON!

      So here, in no particular order, are my picks:

      ThatGirlAni at Anime's Musings. She always has great music recommendations. Also, regularly scheduled pretty. (I can't remember if I've given her an award in the past, but I owe her a crit and I feel guilty so I'm throwing things at her like a bad mother who's trying to stave off a tantrum. Don't hate me, Ani! I just moved!!)

      Megan at Reading for Refuge. Megan isn't a writer, but she loves to read and she always has great book reviews on her blog.

      Red Boot Pearl at Book Savvy. Her "Becoming A Better Writer Without Writing" vlog series is hilarious. (I also owe her a crit. Here's an award!! Ack! I'm choking on my guilt!)

      Cortney Pearson. I've just met Cortney but check out the tab on her blog titled "Where Are Boys From, Uranus?" It's really funny.

      Casey Morris from Obscure and Askew. Casey is another new buddy, but guys, he likes Wolverine and Willow! So we have to be friends. It's, like, a law of the universe or something.

      Also, the rules of this award state that you must have "bloggity-blog fun!" I'm not sure I know how to do that, and no promises, but I'll bring a broom just in case.


      Hi There. You're Looking Rather Sensational.

      I'm in the middle of unpacking and settling into a new home, but I just wanted to say hi to all my new blogging buddies. Hi! Whether you've come from the Campaign, Sparkfest, or another random portal of the internet, I'm glad you're here.

      *pushes plate of cookies toward you*

      I usually try to reply to each comment through email, but with the aforementioned moving and everything, I've fallen behind, so I'm just going to start from here. If I haven't found you at your blog yet, don't worry. I will find you. I wiiiiiillllll. Pay no attention to the creepyness in my eyes. It's too late. I'm coming.

      Oh, and all my not-new followers: *secret handshake that we'll teach the newbies later*

      See how much fun we have here?


      Music Inspiration

      Ahh, unrequited love.

      Doesn't it suck?

      Don't we all remember that special boy we pined after from third grade to eighth, and even though you came close to being friends, he never saw past the thick glasses and braces and flat chest and second-hand clothes and impossible-to-style-into-popular-poofy-bangs hair and all-consuming talent for making all ordinary moments painfully awkward?

      Or is that just me?

      Anyhow, that pain of loving someone you simply can't have is a powerful hurt, and this song just throws it in your face. It makes my heart ache. And it really, really helps zero in on the emotions of one of my favorite characters, bless her pitiable little broken heart.

      Give it a listen and see what you think.


      The Spark Blogfest: Who Set You Off? (Part Five)

      This week I'm participating in Christine Tyler's blogfest and talking about who and what made me decide to be a writer.

       I know this blogfest is all about what got us started as writers, but I wanted to take a moment and talk about some people who keep my enthusiasm spark crackling: my crit partners.

      There was a time, early in my writerly journey, that I used to covet a certain critique group that I saw floating around the internet. This group was so cool and funny and smart; I spent all my wittiest comments on their blogs. I just knew that if they noticed me and my funniness, they would beg me to join their group.

      It didn't work.

      I was dying to have some writer friends who I could share inside jokes with, who I could talk story with, who could assure me that my dread fear of an apocalypse before I'm published is, in fact, a valid and normal fear.

      Bit by bit, I found some friends, and bit by bit, I made the connections. Now I have some awesome crit partners and that other group? Eh, they're still cool, but I'm lucky to have the best crit buddies in the world!

      Thanks, guys, for keeping me on track!

      (a special note to Julie Hunt: I've got my eye on you...you'd better be writing!)


      The Spark Blogfest: Who Set You Off? (Part Four)

      This week I'm participating in Christine Tyler's blogfest and talking about who and what made me decide to be a writer.

       When I started writing seriously about a year and a half ago, I was reluctant to tell people what I was doing. I knew I wanted to be a published author, but I was afraid that if I told people, then I was setting myself up for failure. What if it didn't work out? What if I didn't have what it takes? So, I kept it to myself.

      Secretly, I bought a book on writing by Gail Carson Levine called Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly. It was geared more toward kids, but something about her words bolstered me up and gave me confidence in myself. I liked that feeling, so I bought more of her books.

      Here she is, by the way. Is she not the cutest EVER???

      Later, while I was still keeping all writerly things secret and therefore suffering with my self-doubt all alone, I read one of Gail Carson Levine's novels, called The Two Princesses of Bamarre. I don't think I can explain exactly why this book touched me so deeply, I only know that it did. It's about a girl who has to find courage when she doesn't believe she has any, and the strength of sisters, and the importance of bravery when all hope seems lost. I read late into the night and finished with tears of bittersweet joy smeared all over the front of my shirt. (And then the adrenaline rush hit and I was bouncing around the house, but that's not important right now.)

      From her books--all her books, but this one especially--I just felt right about writing. I felt like she was personally giving me permission to admit that this is what I wanted to do, and that I could do it in my own way, with my own voice, and that it would be great.

      Gail Carson Levine will probably never know the impact she's had on me (unless some day I get the chance to meet her in real life and manage to say more than, "Uh...derr...I'm in love with your pretty books...") but she set off a spark that reminds me when I doubt that I can do it, that what I have to say can be meaningful and perfect to someone else.

      So thank you, Gail Carson Levine! I think your books are pretty!


      The Spark Blogfest: Who Set You Off? (Part Three)

      This week I'm participating in Christine Tyler's blogfest and talking about who and what made me decide to be a writer.

       Okay, for the past two days I suppose I've done enough psychoanalyzing on defining moments of my childhood and how my mom figures into all this. Let's move on to the big sparks, shall we?

      When I was in sixth grade, it became my personal quest to read every book in the school library. It was part of our morning ritual; my teacher, Mr. Banning, would take roll. He'd read any memos from the office, talk about any upcoming events. Karl Tubbs, who sat next to me, would be bouncing in his seat, whispering, "Did you finish? Are you done?" When Mr. Banning called my name for roll call, I would say, "Here...Can I go to the library?" The room would explode with exclamations. Didn't I get a book yesterday? Was I really reading them? Was this some elaborate scheme to skip the first ten minutes of class every day? Why can Jeigh get a pass to the library when I can't even go to the bathroom?? [because you abused the privilege, kid.]

      It made me feel really cool at the time, but now I look back on it and realize it's...kinda nerdy.

      Moving on.

      There was one book a boy in my class did a book report on called "Dragon's Milk", by Susan Fletcher.

      I had loved a lot of books by the time I read this one, and I'd written a lot of little stories, but this book ignited that first big bomb in me, and inspired me to attempt my first epic fantasy novel. I shamelessly ripped the story off. In Dragon's Milk, a girl named Kaeldra uses dragon milk to save her little sister and then has to travel with and protect baby dragons. In my story, a girl named Kiera has to travel to find a magical plant called the Heart of Gold, which has healing properties needed to save her little sister's life. She's accompanied on her journey by her pure-white husky named, uh, Journey, I think. Sadly, at the end of the story, she realizes the Heart of Gold is not a plant as was previously thought, but the literal golden heart of her beloved dog, and she must cut it out, sacrificing her pet for her sister.

      I never actually finished, but man, that's kind of sick...

      Regardless of my early tendency for tragic love stories (some day maybe I'll tell you about "The Oyster and The Pearl"), this book lit the fuse and made me realize that I wanted to write something that could move someone to tears like this had done for me.


      The Spark Blogfest: Who Set You Off? (Part Two)

      This week I'm participating in Christine Tyler's blogfest and talking about who and what made me decide to be a writer.

      I've mentioned before being painfully shy growing up. It's a bit melodramatic to say, I guess, but there's a reason they call it painful. It's...painful. (See how good I am at writing down the words?? I'm a writer, yo.)

      I won't go into particulars, but I pretty much tried to fake-sick my way all through first and second grade. All that shyness did wonders for my imagination, though. I couldn't manage a conversation in real life, but in my head, they were wonderful. My in-my-head friends weren't scary. The situations I imagined myself in weren't uncomfortable. Everything was sunshine cupcakes and daisy popsicles.

      Maybe confessing this makes me sound nutty, or like an emerging serial killer, but it's not like I was imagining myself rocking in the middle of a white room, surrounded by my mother. In my head, I was brave. I was strong. In my head, on the first day of school when the teacher inevitably came to my name on the roll and asked how to pronounce it, I could jump up on the desk and shout, "It's JEIGH! Like sleigh and weigh and neigh!!" instead of whispering, "It's just Jeigh," and having to repeat myself five times in my whisper-voice while all the kids stared at me in that annoying and nosy way all kids stare.

      Surprisingly, the summer before high school, at a camp for the young women in my church, I just decided one day that I didn't want to be shy anymore. So I wasn't. I got out there and dorked it up in my own, special way and made a ton of new friends. But I never forgot that living in my head was a fine alternative when real life was scary or boring.

      It may not have been a defining moment in wanting to be a writer, but every writer needs a kick-a imagination first, right?


      The Spark Blogfest: Who Set You Off? (Part One)

      This week I'm participating in Christine Tyler's blogfest and talking about who and what made me decide to be a writer.

      I don't think there's one, huge defining moment or person who inspired me to be a writer. As long as I can remember, when people asked me what I wanted to be, I told them an author. (Okay, no, that's only half-true; in my painfully shy days, when someone spoke to me, I would squeak and hide behind my mother. And then she would tell them I wanted to be an author.)

      My love for words and books started at a young age, so I might as well start at the beginning. My favorite book when I was little was "A Pocket for Corduroy".

      I loved this book with an obsessive love that defines four-year-olds. I wanted it read to me over and over and overandover. My mom was really good about reading to me, but it is a wordy little storybook, and a mom has to make dinner sometime, so one day, after our fifth-in-a-row reading, she set it down and got up from the couch. I begged for another read through. I was denied.

      I didn't let it deter me. I don't remember wondering if I could read it myself. I just remember opening it up because I didn't want it to be over.

      The first sentence is, "Late one summer afternoon Lisa and her mother took their laundry to the laundromat." I asked my older sister what each of the words were, and then read the rest myself. And then I read it again. And then I read some more. I started reading everything. (side note: early reading is great, but can also cause panic attacks, like when I read the symptoms of prostate cancer [getting up at night to pee!], and, even though I had no idea what a prostate was, convinced myself that I had it.)

      I guess loving to read doesn't always equal loving to write, but it's where I started. It was my first spark.

      **Also starting today is Rachael Harrie's third Writers' Platform-Building Campaign. It's a great way to network and make new friends and Rachael is super-awesome, so go check it out!


      Fantasy Casting Call: Who Would Play Your Love-Interest?

      *If you missed the rest of this series because of a little thing called WriteOnCon, you can find my fantasy MC pick here and my villain here.

      This one is so easy for me.

      Aiden is sixteen. He's Tenny's next door neighbor and best friend. He's funny, hotheaded, cute, an excellent liar, and...he can't sing like Blake. Or CAN he?

      The obvious choice, because his voice inspired my entire story, is Asher Book.

      Guys, have you heard him sing??

      Not that Aiden sings. I mean, maybe he does. It's a mystery...

      Aiden is also an Eagle Scout. These are his badges. He loves to hike. And rock climb.

      And he's always more than willing to help helpless people cross the street.

      He's a deep-thinker. And he communes with nature on a regular basis.

      And if that's not enough, guys, have you heard him sing? This is the scene that started it all.

      Who would play your love-interest?


      Fantasy Casting Call: Who Would Play Your Villain?

      The villain in my story is a seventeen-year-old boy named Blake. Blake is HOT, you guys. He's charismatic. Remember how music is important in my story? Well, Blake sings. Awesomeness seeps out of his pores.

      Also, he's a total poser.

      That's right. He may be hot and charismatic and able to sing angels to shame, but he's a creep.

      Since music is such a big part of my story, I went off the beaten path and cast this one with my ears.

      I would choose Kris Allen.

      Because really, you shouldn't trust someone who's that nice AND that good-looking.


      Nice try, Blake, but I know better.

      Now, we know he can do charisma, but can he do mean? I'm thinking yes. You wouldn't believe how impossible it is to get a picture of this guy not smiling or looking goofy, though.

      This will have to do:

      What dastardly plans are you forming behind that pretty face, Blake? Don't make me send Tenny after you!

      *ahem* I'm not flirting with the villain. I'm not.

      So, who would play your villain?


      Fantasy Casting Call: Who Would Play Your MC?

      This series shamelessly yoinked from Christine Tyler.

      I'm sure I'm not the only person who daydreams about who will would play their characters when if their book ever forthelove gets published and makes it to the big screen.

      Am I?

      Nope, didn't think so. In fact, I waste a lot of time Googling pictures of different actors, agonizing over the different choices so much you'd think it was my sworn duty to find actors IMMEDIATELY to fill the roles of the characters in my...thus far rough, rough first draft story. *cough* Don't worry, I'm working on it. Any day now.

      My main character is a sixteen-year-old girl named Tenny. She loves music, and music is a huge part of the story. She's friendly and level-headed, with a girl-next-door vibe, but also naive and yeah, a bit spoiled. She also has an ethereal look about her that makes her freaky at all the right times.

      For her I would choose Annasophia Robb.

      Not only is she lovely, she's tomboyish, too!

      And, she can bring the attitude. BRING IT.

      Don't mess with her when she's in this mood. Or if you're the bad guy.

      I think Annasophia (did you guys know she pronounces it "AHH-nuh"? I didn't, but it makes me like her even more.) could do it all.

      The pretty:

      The quirky:

      And the cool:

      Who would play your MC?


      Announcements of an exciting nature

      Today I'm being interviewed by Michelle Merrill at Perfecting the Craft. (The eye makeup, you guys! The eye makeup!)

      She's totally awesome and I'm really excited that someone actually asked for my opinions. Gosh.

      So head over and say hello!

      In other news, I'm officially on Twitter! My handle is @jeighmeredith. I'm still getting my feet wet, but I'd love to have some new tweeting buddies.

      Have a great weekend!


      And now you'll see how insecure I really am

      Today I read a really dumb book. I mean, I don't want to be catty or anything, but I really didn't like it.

      I read the blurb and thought, "Okay, well, I think I know what's going to happen, but hopefully there will be some good old plot twists to shake up the norm."

      Oh, plot twists, where art thou? It played out exactly how I thought it would.

      No surprises. Cliches galore. Contrived plot. Stereotypical characters.

      It was torture. TORTURE I TELL YOU.

      Now, you may be asking why in the world I kept reading if I didn't enjoy it, so I'll tell you: it's good for my self-esteem.

      Yeah, I know, that sounds really catty, but let me explain a little better by telling a story. One day I was trying to revise part of my story but I wasn't feeling it. Everything I did felt wrong and I was writing in big, fat, smelly, ugly circles. I decided it was not my day to write, so maybe I should do some reading, because we all know reading inspires writing. Right? We know this. We do this.

      I grabbed the first book on my shelf, which just happened to be Hunger Games. Here's a little advice: If you're feeling crappy about your writing ability, don't read Hunger Games. Just don't. My self-esteem, clinging to the edge by a few shaky fingernails, took a lumbering dive into the abyss and I spent the rest of the day stress-eating and sporadically crying.

      I love to read awesome books. But sometimes, I don't mind reading a mediocre book, because I can see where it's not working and what I would change if it was my story. Then, my self-esteem can push the Wild Berry Skittles to the side, scuttle away from the edge, and say, "Hey, I'm not doing such a bad job after all! I'm on track! I'm okay!"

      Also, after I read it, I was so fired up that I threw down 1,000 words, BA-CHOW, in no time flat. So next time you're reading a book you're not so hot about, try to see the educational aspect in it.

      And let's save the Hunger Games for the more stable days, shallll we?


      You want whipped cream with that?

      There is a charming little shop in my hometown called the Pie Hole. It immediately brought to mind thoughts of this show:

      I may have squealed. A PIE HOLE?? Right here in my little town? Visions of bright colors, quirky waitresses, and cute pie-makers filled my imagination.

      Cherry pie actually is my favorite! How did he know?
      I drove past The Pie Hole several times and noticed that it was open until 5am. More romanticizing began. How awesome would it be, after all, to get a slice of pie in the middle of the night? There would be gingham! And dollops of ice cream! And I would probably get called "Hon", which I don't generally like, but seems to fit in a pie shop.

      So for weeks I dreamed of having a reason to be up in the middle of the night and hungry for pie. I told my husband we should just go some night, just go like crazy teenagers in love who didn't care about proper nights sleep or indigestion.

      He was totally down with that, but then we kept falling asleep too early.

      Finally, my time came. In my town, there is also an awesome theater that has midnight movies for a dollar on the weekends. My husband and I decided to go, so of course we planned on a pie-eating stop on the way home.

      The first thing I noticed as we pulled up in front of The Pie Hole was the drunk people. Lots of drunk people. And the place was bumpin', which didn't fit my fantasy of a romantic pie-for-two date.

      Nevertheless, I was undaunted. I had primed my belly for pie, and by dang, I was GOING TO GET MY PIE.

      We wove our way through who I assume was the entire starting lineup of the local college's football team, loitering on the front stoop of the shop, and stepped through the doors.

      Loud music blasted our ears. Bright, graffiti-ed walls seared neon colors onto my retinas. The waitress, who was NOT wearing a gingham apron, was wearing a trucker hat with devil horns and sporting some very impressive cleavage. I looked at my husband. He said, "It smells like beer in here."

      Beer and pie didn't make much sense to me, but whatever.

      I pulled my husband through the shop to the counter and looked up at the menu, and then I realized...

      ...this was a pizza joint.

      A PIZZA JOINT!!! Seriously?

      I didn't want pizza in the middle of the night! Heartburn, people! I'm old now! I have to think of these things!

      We left.

      And I've been craving cherry pie ever since.

      Moral of the story?

      First off, seriously have a notebook with you at all times, because The Pie Hole would make an awesome setting in a story and I should have written down all the details.

      Second, make sure the details in your story aren't too vague. I feel that you don't have to describe each room down to the brass knobs on the cupboards, but a few well-defined touches brings the whole place to life.

      Beer, loud music, brightly painted skateboards doubling for the seat backs of booths, devil hat=obviously a pizza place.

      Quirky china plates, gingham aprons, gleaming checkered floor, and sweet little bouquets at each table=my Pie Hole. Let your reader know where they are before they get confused. (Also, if they bothered to peek in the window before they actually went in, all the better for them.)

      And third, a pepperoni pizza painted on a shop window can easily be misconstrued as a cherry pie. It's okay.  I won't make fun of you if you make that mistake. (Unlike my parents, who knew the truth about the Pie Hole and didn't tell me.)



      I'm starting to think that maybe long, stuttering breaks in my blog posting are good for my writing career. That, or my last post came across pathetic enough that people pity me.

      Either way, I got a couple awards, so WOO!!

      The first is from Julie, who always has a list of books and TV shows for me to check so that we can geek out about them together. I'm pretty sure her master plan is to own my brain through various types of media, and it's WORKING!

      She gave me this one. Did my brain inadvertently tell her I love strawberries best?
      The other award is from Christine, without whom I'd be flopping prematurely at the bottom of a slush pile, dying an ignominious death. Also, she's the ONLY person allowed to read my manuscript in an epic fantasy voice. Got that?

      She gave me a puppy! My kids will be so excited.

      Since I've already done the seven things about me required by the Strawberry Award, I'm skipping right to the Puppy Award and telling about 5 TV shows/books/movies I've enjoyed in the past while.

      1. TV: I'll start with the one that's been claiming my evenings lately: Arrested Development. Everyone in my husband's new job told him he HAD to watch it, and since we want to fit in and suck up, we did. Hilarious, guys.

      2. BOOKS: I've been reading like a crazy person lately, but one series has really stood out among the masses, and that's Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness. All three books in the series--The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and The Answer, and Monsters of Men--are excellent, so go check them out. Seriously, I would love to be able to write a story like this some day. And come on, how cool are those titles?

      3. MOVIE: I went on a date with my husband to this obscure little foreign film called "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2." It was pretty good. I mean, England has a whole culture that I wasn't aware of! "Wizards", "Death Eaters", "Horcruxes". It was a fascinating study.

      4. BOOK: I also just read Shannon Hale's "Book of A Thousand Days" and liked it very much. Her writing is sweet and unimposing. Also, I love a strong-willed heroine in the style of Gail Carson Levine's characters.

      5. TV: I don't know if I've ever mentioned my deep-abiding love for Survivor. Have I? I really love it. It's pretty much the only reason I still own a TV.

      Lucky for me, I happen to know quite a few irresistibly sweet and seriously cute bloggers who I'd like to pass these awards on to: 

      Ruth Josse from Ruth+Writing. I wiggle like a puppy every time I see a comment from Ruth, because she's so stinking funny. She doesn't just save her funny for me, either. Check out her blog if you don't believe me...and also, check it out even if you do believe me.

      Jess from Falling Leaflets.  I like Jess's blog because she links to a lot of valuable information that I don't have to hunt down myself. Plus, look at her profile picture and tell me she's not adorable.

      Michelle Merrill from Perfecting the Craft. First off, she has one of the coolest headers I've ever seen and I'm insanely jealous every time I see it. Secondly, Michelle takes the time to interview other aspiring authors, which is awesome.

      Lindsay Currie from Tiptoe Kisses. She first won me over with a post about Harry Potter. For the life of me, I can't remember what she said, just that I thought, "Ooh, I need to stalk make friends with this girl."

      Carrie from Carrie Keeps Typing. Go ahead and tell me her post, "I Wish Eggs Were Transparent" is not the most brilliant thing you've read.

      Madeline Bartos from Capricious Existence. If you're looking for some excellent insight into the mind of a teenager, Madeline is your girl, seeing as she's in the throes of teenagehood-dom. She knows what teens are looking for in a book and she'll let you know! Also, when she's caffeinated, she is ridiculously cute.

      Go check out these blogs and maybe, just maybe, they'll share the strawberry cake and let you play with their puppy.

      (I...already ate my cake...but my puppy is available.)



      I think it's kind of cute when bloggers start a post by saying, "Sorry I haven't posted for so long!" Because really, it's okay. Everyone has a life outside of blogs (hopefully) and we aren't waiting on the edge of our seats for the next installment (usually).

      That said, I am sorry I haven't posted for so long. I didn't mean to get behind, but life came and did a slam-dance against me. Hard.

      I won't go into nitty-grittys**, but it involves the city's fourth of July fireworks show, a ride in an ambulance and several eye surgeries for my husband in Salt Lake City over the next month. Also a funeral, but that was unrelated to incident #1 (although they happened simultaneously). Add a bit of house-hunting, lots of traveling, and a two-year-old who has hit her tantrum stride, and we've got ourselves a party!

      I'm overwhelmed. No, no. I'm making up a new word for the occasion: UBER-whelmed. I'm totally uberwhelmed.

      But I've been missing my bloggy friends, and all your blogs, and the whole writing thing, so I wanted to check in. I'll be back soon!

      In the meantime, check out the blogfest Christine Tyler is hosting. There are prizes! And new friends! And new friends are a prize in and of themselves but there are also gift cards! Retail therapy for the uberwhelmed!

      **But if you want to know the nitty-gritty, you can friend me on Facebook (Jeigh Hardy Meredith) and read all about it. See, I know how to network.


      Music Inspiration

      Confession: I'm pretty sure that when I was a teenage girl, if some guy had sang to me, I'd have turned into a puddle. (I'm pretty sure I did once or twice, actually.)

      Yeah. I'm one of those types.

      So this song creates puddle-worthy moments in my head. I can't get enough of it these days.

      It came out a while ago and I was hoping there would be a music video, but instead we've got lyrics! We all like to read, right?

      Also, if the guy had an entire orchestra backing him, it would've been a bonus. Amiright?


      I love the local newspaper

      The latest, ripped from the headlines!

      "French Bulldog Puppies, $1800. Pure Bread."

      Now, I don't know about you guys, but I can make my own bread for a fraction of the cost. Maybe it's the special, bulldog shaped pans they use. But still.

      "Long-sought Fugitive Turned into Police"

      Stop! Police! Somebody grab that guy! *POOF* Oh, no, wait. He's one of us. Never mind.

      Have a great weekend and mind your grammar!


      Lessons from the circus

      I was supposed to post yesterday, but my parent's neighbors gave us some children's tickets to the circus (free with the purchase of one adult ticket! Is that really a deal? Because I see those tickets everywhere.), so we spent the afternoon at the fairgrounds.

      It was fun! AND, I actually noticed some things that I'm unabashedly going to compare to writing. Kind of.


      #1. Don't overuse words like AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL and TERRIFYING. Especially don't use the word GIGANTIC when referring to the main ring, which is only about 20 feet across.

      #2. If you have three jugglers (or characters) doing an act together, make sure their names match. I'm not talking Lacy, Casey, and Stacy here, but Dimitri, Svetlana, and Jeremy? It throws me off.

      #3. You can say a lot without speaking. The chair stacking guy climbs onto yet one more wobbly chair, holds out his arms, and boom, instant applause. Why don't we clap before? Same with the trapeze artists, the tiger tamers, the spinning-on-rope girls. They show all their actions through movement, and when they've achieved their goal, they give us the arms. Ta-da! The Globe of Death cyclers pump their hands up and down to get more audience participation. Actions speak louder than words, especially when there's really loud music playing.

      #4. Someone should tell the hula hoop girl that anyone can twirl 20 hula hoops for two seconds. That was anticlimactic.

      #5. The Power Puff Girls are alive and well, enjoying middle age as circus performers. They have grown but unfortunately, their costumes have not. (This really has nothing to do with writing, but I just thought you might like to know.)

      Can you think of any more circus-related writing advice?



      I have a confession to make: I haven't written in a month and a half. Besides nonsensical emails to friends bemoaning the loss of my muse, my hands have been sadly separated from my keyboard. Even when I found time to sit down and write, I haven't worked on my WIP, or my new ideas, or my secret-project-that-I-shouldn't-think-about-despite-its-awesomeness-because-it-distracts-me-from-my-WIP.

      I know. And I call myself a writer.

      I panicked for a while. Have I run dry? Have I lost interest because it's hard sometimes? Do I really not have what it takes? Should I stop blogging about writing when I'm so obviously a poser?

      But then, a few days ago, I had a breakthrough. I was reading a book that I really enjoyed, but when I finished I thought, "That ending was anticlimactic." It wasn't terrible. The story was good. It just wasn't...earth shattering. 

      And then I realized that I'd paralyzed myself while waiting for my writing to become earth shattering, too.

      Now, based on my blog posts, I'm sure you all would be expecting nothing less than deep and profound from me (why are you laughing?), but its not likely to happen. I write for fun, and I expect people will read my stories for fun, and if I inspire the odd revolution, well, that's really just icing on the cupcake.

      I don't need to shatter the earth. I have a story to tell. It's a good story. People will enjoy it. So now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to take my self-inflicted pressure suit off (*psshhhhh*) (That's me taking off my pressure suit.) and write with reckless abandon. Reckless, I tell you. With maybe an anticlimactic plot twist or two.


      The pictures that are not to be.

      Sadly, the USB cable for my camera (which I called the HDMI cable in my last post like a dork) is packed somewhere, along with my muse and my inspiration. (More on that later, though.)

      That means that you're just going to have to use your imagination as I talk about the pictures from the Utah Festival of Books.

      HERE'S ME AND NATALIE WHIPPLE. Note how cute she looks in her blue top and how I kept my sunglasses on so that she couldn't see my eyes watering, on the verge of tears even, because I was so nervous to meet her. She was WAY nice, guys, and mildly freaked out by my fangirlness. But, she liked my yellow shoes. !!! I know! Also, I may have accidentally screamed in her face with excitement.

      HERE'S ME AND JAMES DASHNER. Don't I look extra cute in this picture? He was such a nice guy. I told him I hoped to someday write a story as awesome as The Maze Runner and he asked if I was a writer. I told him I was and he asked what I'd written. I said, "Well (*shuffle shuffle*), I'm still practicing, I'm not very far along..." My SIL cut in and told him I've written a novel. "A whole novel?" James Dashner asked. "You actually finished it?" I continued to downplay, saying how it's really rough, I'm rewriting it, etc., but then he said, "That's huge! Lots of people start, but not many finish." Seeing that I still wasn't convinced, he leaned forward and said, "Really. You should be proud of yourself. That's a big accomplishment." I replied by grinning like an idiot.

      Take home lesson: Don't sell yourself short. Also, support James Dashner, because he's my new BFF.

      OHMYGOSHYOUGUYS, HERE'S DAVID ARCHULETA!! I promise I didn't scream like a teeny-bopper when I realized he was there. Not twice, at least. And see how close I was to him? I'm pretty sure I could have touched him before anyone tackled me, but I still had other signings to go to. AND, he was there to talk about his new book, and he didn't sing. At all. WHAT THE HECK, DAVID ARCHULETA?!? I missed his signing by about 2 minutes, but when we got to the table where he wasn't, his marker was still there. I almost stole it, but my conscience (and the look of disbelief on my SIL's face) stopped me. Because seriously, I don't even really like him that much.

      HERE'S ME WITH KIERSTEN WHITE. See how we're the same height (when she's wearing heels) and therefore automatically look like sisters? And see how she put her arm around me and so I did likewise? !!! She was really cool, too, and really funny. Also, she recognized my name from her blog comments! !!! I don't remember what happened after that, because I died in a happy little heap at her feet. She asked, "Do you remember that one time we had a discussion about your name on my blog comments?" and I said, oh-so-coolly, "Uh, YES, I kind of have it bookmarked." That thread can be found here, just in case you were curious about my moment in the sun. I had her sign a piece of paper and three bookmarks before I remembered later that I'd brought a copy of Corsets and Clockwork for her to sign. So I went back and had her sign that, too.

      HERE'S ME WITH ALLY CONDIE. You know how Ally Condie is really pretty in every picture you see of her? That isn't airbrushing, people. She really is that pretty. So don't look at me so much in this one. It was the end of the day, I was melting from heat and over excitement, and I'd just finished a sno-cone. But look at Ally! So pretty. Also, she is a really nice person, and impressed that I knew the name of her next book, which I gushed about on and on. I gush when I'm nervous and excited.

      FINALLY, HERE'S A PICTURE OF ME AND MY AWESOME SISTER (IN-LAW), LUANNE. She isn't a writer, but she is a reader, and also she loves me, so she agreed to come. I'm so glad she did. She got Natalie Whipple's attention for me. She said everything at the same time as me when we first started talking to James Dashner until he finally asked, "Are you guys sisters or best friends?" Both, JD. Both. She took all these lovely pictures and said, "Perfect!" every time. And she kept me talking to and from Provo, which is about a three hour drive each way. She is such a great friend and was such a great support in this, my geekiest moment. Thanks for the fun trip, Lu!

      And I hope you guys like my pictures. Feel free to copy them for your own albums.


      A random list

      I was going to blog all about the Utah Festival of Books but the HDMI cable for my camera has yet to surface, so that will have to wait. Also, it's dinnertime, so I have to hurry, and the book festival requires a post crafted with loving, tender care. (And lots of exclamation points!) (!!!)

      Instead, here's what's on my mind *ahem*:

      1) I've mostly caught up on replying to comments on my past few posts. If you didn't receive a reply, please understand that this afternoon, my computer decided, "Well, that's enough replying for YOU!" and wouldn't send replies anymore. Mysterious. But thank you all for your encouraging words. I kind of thrive on feedback.

      2) I'm starting to get spammy-type comments. Just a few, and they're not out and out spam, but not real comments. I might have to activate word verification again for a while. Sigh.

      3) SCBWI. Is it worth it? My chapter meets in SLC and Boise, three and four hours away, so I don't know. But James Dashner, my new BFF, told me I should join.

      4) I don't actually know what to make for dinner. Kids eat free at IHOP. Why am I resisting the temptation?

      5) On IMDB it says David Archuleta is 5'8". This is a lie. He's tiny. There's no way he's a half foot taller than me.


      POSSESSION! Show some love, people!

      Elana Johnson's debut novel, POSSESSION, comes out this Tuesday!


      If you don't recall, even though I tried to brag long and loud, I was one of the lucky readers of an ARC, and I loved it. You can check out my full review here.

      After you've read my smashing review and/or read the first two chapters for free at the Possession website, head over to Ali Cross's blog for a chance to win a signed copy of your very own! There are also links for other contests there. It's all sorts of smorgasbord-y, really.

      In other, barely related news, I'm going to the Utah Festival of Books in Provo tomorrow, where I'll be sure to dork it up in front of real-life authors! (And David Archuleta, who I just found out will also be there. *piddle*) (I may or may not have a huge crush on his vocal cords.) So, are any of you going? I'll look for you and you look for me, okay?


      Why don't you run up an alley and holler fish?

      I was at the grocery store today. Since it's just a small store, there isn't a conveyor belt to put your groceries on, just a small platform about the size of two gallons of milk and a bag of Red Vines (standing on end.) That means that you have to wait until the person in front of you has been rung up before you can drop your groceries on the little ledge.

      The man behind me had his arms full; he must be from the same camp as me, the I-only-need-milk-crap-I-also-need-eggs-oh-and-also-mayo-and-I-almost-forgot-bananas-are-those-Ding-Dongs-on-sale-I-don't-want-to-go-back-up-front-and-get-a-basket-dangit-hurryuphurryuphurryup-checker-outer-lady. As soon as my last can of nacho cheese had been cleared, he unloaded his food pile. He did it so quickly that the checker looked up, surprised and asked, "Is this all together, then?"

      I, with my extraordinary ability to make all normal situations awkward, turned red and said, "No." Blush, blush, blush. Perhaps sensing my (not really, but seeming) embarrassment, the checker said, "Oh, okay...unless you WANT to pay for his, too."

      "Hahaha" went the checker lady.

      "Hahaha" went the overburdened man without a concrete grocery list.

      "Hahaha...nooooo," said I in a weirdly sing-song, strangled voice that suggested I thought they really would make me pay for his groceries.

      Then I stood there, marinating in the awkward silence I'd single-handedly created, wishing I could be more witty on my feet. Only as I walked away did I think of the comeback: "Only if he pays next time."


      Okay, still not perfect, but better.

      Anyway, it got me thinking about realistic dialogue in stories, and how much it bugs me when people get this witty banter back and forth and back and forth and backandforth, because yo, I never think of the right thing to say in front of people, much less the guy I'm crushing on. (My actual response one time when the cute guy in my class spoke directly to me: "Mehhrgplbbb." Followed by raucous laughter from the whole class.) Why can't we read more of that??

      I'm pretty sure a whole book of two people hemming and hawing would get boring fast. And isn't it kind of therapeutic to get some snappy comebacks in when two of your characters are arguing?

      There's an old Don Knotts movie called "The Ghost and Mister Chicken" that I love. Don Knotts plays, of course, a bumbling sort of guy and one of the things about him is that he's very tongue-tied when he gets nervous, which is pretty much the whole show. At one point, the mean guy yells, "Who do you think you are?" and he responds with, "Drop dead, that's who!" and then he storms off. I die laughing every time. He is also the mastermind behind, "Why don't you run up an alley and holler fish?"

      I love that his character isn't putting the bad guys in their place. He's just a normal guy, trying to be brave but getting it all mixed up anyway. Making normal stuff awkward. My man. *fistbump*

      So, the question is, how do you make sure your dialogue sounds realistic, without getting too ho-hum? Do you like it when characters are all quick and witty and snappy all the time?


      "I highly doubt that."

      Today I got a text from a writing buddy who just finished her first draft. She's floating on quite the cushy cloud right now and said that even though she knows she should be sitting back and not diving in to another project right away, all she wants to do is write a short story. You know, like true writers do.

      I had just finished a long, self-absorbed emo-fest in the shower when I got her text where I'd convinced myself that maybe I wasn't cut out to be a writer, since it's been forever since I've worked on my story, and when I do find some time, all I can manage to think about it is, "Bluuuuurrrrrggggghhhhh."

      So I texted her back, all cheery and sunshine, and said, "Sadly, I seem to have lost that writing spark...perhaps I'm not meant to be a writer after all?"

      Her answer, among other encouraging things, was, "Well, I highly doubt that." And it was just what I needed to hear. She helped me back on my writing horse and slapped its bum and sent me back on my way.

      Aren't writing friends awesome? My husband is supportive, my family is supportive, but writing friends are there to say "I KNOW!" when you worry about really dumb things like an apocalypse coming before you can get your book published.

      So, here's to writing friends. Many posts of praise to come, I'm sure, because YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST!



      *blink blink*

      Oh, hello. It's me again.

      I almost didn't find myself under piles of boxes and dirty laundry that I'm preeety sure were breeding like rabbits in the back of the moving van for the three-day journey from West Virginia to Idaho.

      Yeah, kinda like that.

      Everything went smoothly, though. My two-year-old even conked out for the last leg of our flight and I got to read! A book!

      Also, SkyMall Magazine has something that I really, really need. It's not even a want.

      Accio Survivor!
      See, this wand can be trained to take over your remote control's functions. An upward flick of the wrist could up the volume. A twirly figure-eight and the TV turns off.

      Holy cow, guys. You can't get closer to real wizardry.

      My birthday is in July, by the way...

      Anywho, I'm thinking maybe I should take more long, languishing breaks, because I got two awards and a meme shoutout while I was gone!

      Thanks to Keriann at Novel Beginnings for:

      And my fab crit buddy Ani from Anime's Musings for:

       You make a girl feel so loved, really.

      Along with these awards (I'm kind of mooshing the two and their requirements together) I'm supposed to tell seven facts about myself.

      1) I put way too much thought into random lists like this. I think about them for days or weeks (Ani gave me this award almost a month ago and I've been thinking since then) (I took a good 2 months to write a random 25 list on Facebook). Sometimes, I'll think of a random Jeigh-fact and think, "Ooh, that's a good one!" but then I think maybe it's not quite random enough. Since most of you don't know me personally, though, I'm trying to keep the nit-pickyness to a minimum.

      2) My name (pronounced "Jay" for those of you unsure) is actually a typo. It's the name my parents intended me to have, but I was named after an ancestor named Leigh. In my mom's copy of our family history her name was misspelled and my mom loved it. Later she found out it was wrong, but kept it anyway. I hated my name when I was younger because it drew a lot of attention to my shy little self, but now I like it.

      3) Speaking of shy, I'm not any more, really, but you'd never know it by talking with me face-to-face. I have this unfortunate habit of turning lobster-red at inopportune times. Like, when people speak to me. Or sometimes when I get caught talking to myself in the grocery store. And especially when people point out that I'm turning red. That doesn't help, people. I also blush when other people do embarrassing things. The worst was in high school, when the guy in front of me farted and I very kindly took the blame away from him by lighting up like a Christmas tree. Did I mention my crush was sitting right next to me? He was.

      4) Because of genetic misfortune, I'm missing most of the permanent teeth in the top half of my mouth. The teeth I have are either baby teeth or surgical implants, except my two, large, squirrelly front teeth. Sadly, I never had access to the tooth-shrinking spell Hermione did, so they just stand out.

      5) I consider myself exceptionally dorky. My awkward years started early (1st grade) and lasted long (10th grade? Maybe still going...?) I've made peace with it, though. Hi. I'm a dork.

      6) I am a sucker for color and patterns. I'm not very crafty, but I've got a huge collection of fabric and scrapbook paper and all sorts of embellishments that are just so. darn. cute. that I can't help myself.

      7) I want to own a Great Dane just because I think it would be so awesome to walk a dog that came up to my chest. I would name her Regina, or maybe Ingrid.

      The other requirement of these awards is that you pass them on to other deserving bloggers. I'm going to beg moving brain/jet lag privilages, though, and only pass it on to two bloggers who I know without checking haven't gotten it yet.

      Emily at Book Savvy. She won me over back in the day with some hilarious commentary on Taylor Swift's love life, among other things.


      Julie from rosewood pencilbox. She laughs at all my geeky jokes. And makes geeky jokes back. And I'm pretty sure we're twins separated at birth because SHE CAN READ MY MIND.

      So go check out their blogs and send a little love their way.


      Who the...? What the...? How the...? Why the...?

      I'm elbow-deep in boxes, preparing to move across the country in a week and a half.

      Garbage bags full of stuff headed to Goodwill line my hallway.

      Grandparents are flying in next Tuesday and Friday for my husband's graduation on Saturday.

      We caught a newt and he's now safe and secure in a Mr. Potatohead multi-part bucket, eating dried bloodworms and hiding under a rock.

      We bought and picked up a 7' x 14' trailer to pack all our stuff in. My husband, dad, and father-in-law will drive it from West Virginia to Idaho. I'll be flying with my four kids, my mom, and my mother-in-law.

      All of these (mostly) related things have kept me busy the past little while, and today, while I was wandering about, I was thinking, "Wednesday, Wednesday, what am I supposed to be doing on Wednesday?"

      Then I remembered, my self-imposed goal to blog Wednesday and Friday each week was starting to peter out. Oops.


      I've had a lot on my mind. So, instead of trying to keep up, I'm taking a small blog-cation, until I'm settled in Idaho. And by settled, I mean there long enough to plug in my laptop and get online. Because I'll miss you all. *sniff*

      So, a question before I deep clean my oven and vacuum underneath my bed: Any advice for transporting a newt on a three-day journey? Flying with four small children (without Benadryl)? Looking hot in graduation pictures? Not falling asleep during commencement? Crafting a wand from a twig and a stray buzzard feather so that I can magically pack and clean while sitting on the couch and watching the entire Veronica Mars series before our free Netflix trial-offer ends?


      The Fortune-Telling Monkey On My Back

      Did you know there is no fortune-telling monkey in the newest Disney movie "Tangled?"

      You did? Me, too.


      Did you know there used to be?

      So THAT'S who drank my caramel-apple cider.

      I was watching the special features on the DVD the other day, and one of the deleted scenes was a quirky bit where they run into a gypsy and her pet monkey, who just happens to tell the future. It was cute. It was entertaining. But, I could see the parts of the story that it told, and I thought, "Huh. They don't really need that monkey."

      I kind of held my knees up against my chest and rocked back and forth in excitement, because my story used to have a fortune-telling monkey, too!

      No, not really.

      But kind of.

      My first draft had some scenes that I reallyreallyreally liked. Only problem is, they didn't drive my plot forward. They were simply episodic. Cute, funny banter, or thoughtful, empty prose. Sure, if I turned my head a certain way and squinted my eyes, they served a purpose. I guess...

      I've cut most of them, but it wasn't as painful as I thought it would be. The funniest banter finds its way back in, one way or another. The details that made those scenes "important" in the first place have usually been shown somewhere else.

      So if you notice a cute, fortune-telling monkey in your story that doesn't quite fit, don't be afraid to cut it. Your story will be great without it, I promise!

      Now lanterns, on the other hand...My story must.have.floating.lanterns.


      The POSSESSION Show the Love Tour!!!

      So, guys. I feel so cool. I read my very first ever ARC this week.

      For you non-writers (Hi, sisters!), that stands for Advanced Reader Copy. I got to read a book not available to the public yet!

      I have arrived.

      (*to those people who read ARCs all the time and are laughing at me right now, I say, "Shhh. Shhhhhhh. This is my parade. Take your rain elsewhere.")

      As far as ARCs go, I think I got pretty lucky, too. POSSESSION, by Elana Johnson, is awesome. Here's the blurb from the back cover:

      Vi knows the Rule: Girls don't walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn...and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi's future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.
       But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they're set on convincing Vi to become one of them...starting by brainwashing Zenn. Vi can't leave Zenn in the Thinkers' hands, but she's wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous--everything Zenn's not. Vi can't quite trust Jag and can't quite resist him, but she also can't give up on Zenn.
       This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.
       I got the book on Monday. I started it at 10 am and finished just before 2 pm. It was awesome. I read pretty much straight through, except the 2 minutes it took to throw frozen corn dogs in the microwave, squirt ketchup on paper plates, dump out Goldfish crackers, peel tops off applesauce cups, and throw the lunch at my kids like they were birds in the park as I dove back on the couch.

      Longest two minutes of my life, yo.

      This book sucked me in from the beginning and didn't spit me out until the end. And even then, it had to spit me out against my will.

      Vi is an awesome girl. She's tough and smart and really funny. And holy cow, can I just talk about the awesome names in this book for a moment? Vi, Jag, Zenn, Pace, Blaze, Sloan, Gavin, Ty. So cool. There's tons of action in this book, lots of twists, lots of mmm-hmmm romance, and a kick-a heroine.

      POSSESSION comes out June 7th for all you commoners. (Okay, sorry, I'll quit being all braggy. Out loud.) In the meantime, check out Elana's blog and Like "POSSESION by Elana Johnson" on Facebook. You can also find out more about POSSESSION here.

      *side note: Elana's crit buddy, Ali, is responsible for the Show the Love Tour. You can get more info on the tour from her blog, or by tweeting #POSSESSIONlove. (I don't do Twitter stuff. I don't even know if I said that right.)

      And remember: Don't plug in! Bad is the new Good!