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?