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!


Muse, Thy Name is Sleep

There are a lot of blog posts about finding inspiration for stories. Everyone seems to have their own super special ways to get inspiration.

I get most of my ideas from dreams. For instance, last night I had a paranormal-esque dream where I was falling for a magician bad boy who bore a striking resemblance to Mark Wahlburg.
A la peanut butter sandwiches!

It was an OK dream. I'm thinking short story paranormal romance spoof. Should be fun.

Anyhow, dreams are great, but something about these pictures just ignites my imagination.

For reals?? Her name is Marilyn, guys. How awesome is that? Here's another one:

These awesome creations are the handiwork of Terry Border. He has a book full of pictures like these, and you can bet it will be at the top of my birthday list.

Where do you get inspiration?