Monday, November 30, 2009

No More Cakes

So I made it through THE WEEKEND OF CAKES, but just barely. I don’t want to see another egg, stick of butter or cake pan until after the New Year. I know that’s not going to happen because I’ll most likely have to make a cake for the family dinner. I also want to attempt a red velvet cake (mainly because my grandmother thinks I can only make lemon cake).

I made a black bottom cake for Thanksgiving dinner. It was the easiest cake I’ve ever made…well, that wasn’t from a box. If anyone wants the recipe, let me know-lol.

Next, I had to make little Sophie’s 1st birthday cake. Kids cakes always stress me out because I want to it to be cute as well as taste good. I left the bag of Sesame Street toys in my stepdad’s car and he went back to Delaware on Friday so I didn’t have all the things I wanted on the cake. I made her a lemon flavored cake with lemon filling in the middle.
Now, there's something about the color red that NEVER comes out right for me. I used an entire bottle and a half of red food coloring and that was the darkest I could get it. My mother said they have a paste food coloring that will work better. I think I’ll look to it because I don’t want to have a pink velvet cake for Christmas.

She's just as cute as can be. This picture cracks me up because she looks like she's crashing from her sugar high-lol
Then on Sunday my aunt got married. It was a small ceremony with a reception and my other aunt’s house. So I made the cake to reflect the fall colors from her bouquet.
Pay no mind to the mess. Those aren't balled up tissues around the cake-lol-it's parchment paper that I stick under the rim while I'm frosting the cake so there's nothing on the white base, just something to keep it looking neat.
The cake was lemon with a lemon filling (see why my grand mother thinks it’s the only kind of cake I can make, but it’s what the people ask for so you gotta give ‘em what they want!). I colored the frosting a pale orange but it doesn't show well on the pictures even though it matched the highlights in the flowers perfectly. The reverend at the reception kept asking if the cake was pink and even after I told him the cake was lemon FLAVORED with orange COLORED icing, he insisted that the cake was pink and therefore had to be strawberry…"breath in--breath out, Karen." Had to repeat that several times during the night. Especially when a seven year old brat turned her nose up at the cake and said, "This doens't look like anything I'd eat."Breath in--breath out, Karen.

So, of the cakes I made this weekend I used 22 sticks of butter, 12 cups of flour, 10 cups of sugar, 8 pounds of powdered sugar!!, and 5 cups of milk. And people want to know why I don’t do this for a living, pa-leeez! The main reason is because I’m not that good. I mean, I’m better than the average person baking a cake and smearing frosting on it, but I’m nowhere near good enough to stand with the Duffs of the world. I’ve never had a cake turn out exactly how I pictured it in my head. That’s not a good think for someone who might be expected to replicate a picture or something like that. I can’t take the stress! LOL. Give me a blank document any day and I can sit and write for hours!
So lets hope I don't wake in a cold sweat from a nightmare of a giant stick of butter trying to whip me into a nice fluffy cream.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkey Day

So I’m sure we’re all gearing up for some family, food and fun…or is it family, food and fighting? I hope it’s not the latter. My parents will come to my apartment because their house is still being built. I wish I had a house, but I will someday, so for now, I’ll make due. My aunt and my cousins are coming as well, so it should be a fun time.

I’m cooking my first turkey! I got the recipe to brine it from my sister and I hope it turns out well. My other contributions will be dirty rice and a black bottom cake. Everything else is coming by way of my mother.

After that, I have to make a birthday cake for my one year old God daughter for Saturday, and then a wedding cake for my aunt on sunday.

I’m going to say this because I have to get it out. I DON’T WANT TO DO ANY OF IT! I only want to write! I know, I know, you don't have to say it, I'm a terrible person. I don’t think my family realizes how precious four days off is to a writer who has hot things just burning through her brain to be written. Man, I’d love nothing more than to go to someone else’s house on Thursday then come home and write, then write all day Friday (staying far away from the malls) then write some more on Saturday and Sunday…sounds like paradise.

Alas, I won’t be able to. My mother, bless her heart, tells me to go in my room and write while she cooks and she won’t bother me. She loves me and understands my need for writing better than most. But I live alone, so it’s hard for me to concentrate when other people are in the house, especially when it’s an apartment. Besides, I miss my mommy *pouts like a baby* She just moved closer to me and I like being with her. I’ll have plenty of weekends to write, so I’m going to suck it up, tuck it away, and maybe an opportunity to write will present itself. If not, I’ll just enjoy the time with my family. There, I just needed to have a minor vent session,

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday and may the tryptophan give you pleasant dreams!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Boyfriend's Ever So Dreamy...

I read a lot of novels and watch a good amount of television. The one thing I like most is when I can visualize a male character as a great boyfriend/husband. It’s not easy because he can’t be just hot…actually, I’d like it if he wasn’t described in generalizations like hot, or gorgeous or—God help me—perfect. So here’s a list of fictional guys who I think will make an awesome boyfriend/husband…in no particular order:

Peeta Mellark
From Suzanne Collins’s bestselling novels The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. I’ll admit that when I first starting reading Hunger Games, I was leaning more toward Gale, Katniss’s best friend, but the more I got to know Peeta, the more I started to fall. He’s selfless, smart, handsome and just an all around good guy. Sometimes that can be boring, but in the real world, it makes for a great boyfriend/husband, so he certainly makes the list of dream worthy guys.

Ron Weasley
Do I even need to explain where this character comes from? Well, for anyone living under a rock since the late nineties, he’s from the still bestselling J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. For me, I’m all for the underdog. Ron is self-conscious, has a heaping case of middle child syndrome (even though he’s next to the last child, he’s not the oldest, not one of the twins and not the baby so he gets a bit lost), has the uncanny ability to say the wrong thing at the wrong time, and is just a typical boy. Still, he’s sweet, brave and loyal. But it was his sense of humor that made me fall for him. I love a funny guy so even though I’d probably want to thump him on the head most of the time, Ron definitely gets my vote for good catch…plus, I have a weird thing for redheads. What is that about?

Keenan: No real photo
From Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series. I know there are hordes of girls our there who think Seth is much better, but to me, Seth is a bit boring, a bit too understanding, a bit too perfect. Keenan has a dangerous side that makes me want to be the object of his desires. Maybe not the healthiest thing to want, but who cares. I mean, come on, he’s the Summer King! Who doesn’t love summer? All that warmth and frolicking and there’s something about a guy who’s so hot he can literally burn you-lol…I might be a bit sick, so pay me no mind.

Lenard Howard
From the Big Bang Theory…okay, I know I’ll get a lot of raised eyebrows on this but I really do like nerds. I love this show and I think Lenard is so cute (not in a rip your cloths off type of way, but a cuddly, stuffed animal way-lol). I like blue collar men, guys who can do things with their hands, BUT I also like thinkers, guys who can figure out how to do things with their hands because they’ve figured it out with their brains. I know, I know…this is why I’m still single-lol!

Ian McNab: No real photo
From J.D. Robb’s In Death Series. Now, McNab is described as skinny, about 5’ 8” with butt-length blond hair, lots of earrings in his ears, and a pretty face. He wears loud colors and he’s usually saying the wrong thing. Here’s another instance where not being the hot and powerful guy does something for more. He’s an electronics wiz so there’s the nerd factor, and he doesn’t care what anyone thinks of his clothes so there’s the confidence. He loves his girlfriend, Peabody, so it makes him all the more desirable. Plus, he’s funny, so me likey. In real life, I’d probably take one look at him and move on, because the way he’s physically described is pretty out there, but if I had to work with him and got to know him, I’d probably be in love eventually-lol.
Dean Winchester
From Supernatural. Do I even need to explain this? I mean, look at him! Dean is the funny one of the two brothers. He’s totally male…eating burgers, ogling women and kicking @ss, so what’s not to love!
Jim Halpert
From The Office. Again, it’s the funny man syndrome that has me loving him. He has that cute guy thing going where he’s not so handsome you feel intimidated, but cute enough that you can sit at Pam’s desk and stare dreamily at him. Plus, the pranks he pulls on Dwight are priceless…I need a man with a creative mind like that!
And last but not least...Roarke: No real photo, but I doubt anyone could capture the perfection that is him!
From J. D. Robb’s In Death Series. This man veto’s all that I said above. He’s not particularly funny, not a nerd even though he knows electronics inside and out, and he’s slick and polished to a fault. I don’t know where J. D. Robb pulled this character from but he is the stuff most dreams are made of. He’s tall, dark, and insanely handsome with piercing blue eyes and an Irish accent. He’s dangerous, richer than damn near anyone in the world and he’s devoted to his wife. Can it get any better than that? He doesn’t always do the right things, he has a temper and he can sometimes be a bit too perfect, but hell, I wouldn’t kick him out of bed for any of that. He’s just a perfect specimen of a man.

So tell me, who are some of your favorite fictional guys?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Midweek Excerpt

This comes from chapter four of LIGHT BRINGERS. A brief summary of the scene: Ryan is with his girlfriend, Amber and they are “making up” after a minor disagreement. Ryan is a powerful Telekinetic, but something weird has been happening with his gift lately.


They laughed into each other’s mouths as the kiss intensified. Ryan sent a thought to the lamp, flipping off the light. He focused on the bedroom window and it opened wider, sending a warm breeze into the frilly bedroom. Another tingle through his frontal lobe turned on the stereo, filling the room with soft music. He smiled at the romantic scene he had just created as he dropped down to give more attention to Amber’s breasts.

God, can’t he ever do stuff like a normal person?

Ryan’s head jerked up. “What did you say?”

“Nothing, baby.” She pulled his head back to her breasts.

He broke away and stared at her.


Ryan leaned back further. “You think I’m a freak or something?”

Amber’s eyes shot wide. She sat up on her elbows and shook her head. Her strawberry-blonde hair swished over her shoulder like fine threads of silk. “I don’t—I wouldn’t...”

He got up from the bed unsure what he was feeling, but certainly no longer in the mood for sex.

“Ryan, what are you doing? Come back to bed. My parents will be home in like, three hours.”

“Where are my clothes?”

“In the dryer…you’re leaving?”

He’d forgotten that he was soaked to the bone when he got there. He wriggled his toes into those emasculating flip-flops, thanking all things holy that her parents weren’t home to see him marching through their house stark naked. He didn’t know what disturbed him more, the fact that Amber didn’t like one of the most basic things about him, or that he had heard her think it. A lot of people without gifts hated those who had them, jealous really, but he never thought Amber would be one of them. Granted, he should’ve been suspicious when she went out of her way to tell him how much she loved his Telekinesis.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Over the NaNo Hump and Bon Jovi

Well, I’m at 31,588k words on my NaNo project! I’m still ahead of the game so I hope I can keep up at this pace. My two WIP’s are moving along nicely. I want them to be done already-lol! Sometime, when I write I want to be all consumed in what I’m creating. I’m like that with one of these projects, but my mind still gets cranked up thinking about it being done. It’s not like I want it to be over because I’m tired of writing it. I want it to be over because I’m anxious to see where it’s going. I’m eager to start the query process…I know, I know, I can’t do that until it’s sat for a while, edited, beta’d and then perfected to my satisfaction, but I’m still excited.

Part of me feels like I’ve turned my back on Light Bringers. I LOVE my story and I know I’ll never be able to shelve it. Maybe it won’t be my debut novel and it breaks my heart a bit just writing that, but I also know that I need to step back from it for a while, for the sake of the story and for my sanity. I’ll live in the current obsession of Dwellers and maybe that’ll let me see things clearly with Light Bringers.

On to other things…

Did anyone see Bon Jovi on Inside The Actors Studio last night? It was AWESOME! And maybe I’m dating myself—who cares—but the acoustic version of Wanted Dead or Alive gave me chills. I remembered watching that video and thinking Richie Sambora was the hottest thing on two legs. When all of my other friends thought I was crazy because they were loving LL Cool J or Run DMC. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Run DMC and LL, but I’ve always been one to explore all types of music, why limit myself? Now, I’ve added Bon Jovi to my playlist for Dwellers. It doesn’t fit perfectly, but it makes me think of desolation, of dusty roads and being tired to the point of insanity but pushing on anyway and THAT fits my new novel. I also have Kings of Leon’s new CD and most of the songs from Linkin Park’s Minutes to Midnight DC.

What’s on your playlist for your current WIP?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Things in YA Fiction That Will Make me Roll my Eyes

A few days ago, I read a great post here about what will make you put down a book… more specifically a YA book. As I read a lot of YA, I wanted to do my own list. Steph Bowe (the blogger from the post above) is 15 years old, and her list is pretty awesome so you YA writers out there take heed!

I don’t really want to say what’ll make me put down a book as I try really hard to finish everything I pick up. So I’ll just say:

Things That Will Make Me Roll My Eyes in YA Fiction:

1. When the hot new guy comes to school and he’s dark and dangerous for no other reason than to be dark and dangerous. (This does make me pause, because I have a new guy in my latest WIP, Platinum Diaries. He’s cute, but not really hot and he’s also weird, so I hope his odd behavior will make him less of the clichéd new kid, plus his hair is red…so we shall see-lol)

2. When everybody in the book is beautiful. Come on…I know in my high school, not only were there a lot of unattractive people, but some of them were even popular, some of them were even funny and athletic and had lots of friends. Some of them were even overweight and had lots of friends, boys/girls who wanted to date them and ‘til this day still get recognized from high school (okay, I’m speaking of myself here. But my point is, I wasn’t slim with the perfect figure and I was still very popular in high school. The pretty people didn’t rule at my school and that’s the way it is sometimes.)

3. To piggyback on number two…When everyone is the same ethnicity. Now, it depends on where the book takes place, but most places in the US are melting pots. When all the characters are of one ethnicity it makes me wonder if the author just didn’t feel like investing the time and effort into creating characters of other races—not that there is too much effort to put into that—still, it makes me roll my eyes.

4. To piggyback onto number three-lol…When characters of other ethnicities are stereotypes. Now, I know some people are just stereotypes, after all, the stereotype had to come from somewhere. And I’ll be the first to tell you that I know some walking, talking stereotypes, but when you have carte blanche to create people anyway you want, why not let the tall, athletic black kid be a skateboarder instead of a baller, or the emo kid think that his parents are awesome instead of hating the very air they breathe, or the Asian kid suck at math instead of being a wiz at all academics. It’ll make for much more interesting characters.

5. When the characters are Passive. Now I know that some people are just passive and sometimes, in order to represent the way the world is, you’ll have to create a character that will lie down and make a doormat of themselves. I understand this, but it still makes me roll my eyes. A book I just finished, which I’m not going to name, constantly had the main character saying things like, I wanted to say _____, but I didn’t...I wanted to do____, but I didn't. I wanted to scream after the fifth time this character’s internal dialogue expressed what she wanted to say/do but she never had the balls to carry through.

6. When people fall in love too fast. This bugs the ba-jesus out of me in ALL fiction, not just YA. I’m a bit more lenient on YA because I know what it was like to be a teen (it hasn’t been that long) so I know when you have a crush and those feelings are so intense you can’t breath, but when it’s in a book, it just seems lazy to me. Give us reasons for these people to love each other and not just because he’s gorgeous and she smells good. I want to be able to fall in love right along with the characters.

7. When girls are too giggly. I was not a silly, giggly girl in real life, and I’m not a silly giggly woman—okay, some would argue the silly part—but I just can’t stand reading about girls who would just die if they don’t get asked to the dance, or if they don’t get a certain pair of shoes, or heaven forbid, if someone else wore the same shirt that they had on. I don’t scream when I find a nice pair of shoes, I don’t squeal when a cute boy is near (never did…I played it cool-lol) and I don’t talk a mile a minute about purses and nail polish and lip gloss even though I love all of those things. Silly, giggly girls just plain get on my nerves and when I read them in books (especially if it’s the MC) it makes me roll my eyes and seriously consider putting that book down. This isn’t usually a problem because if it even seems like the character is going to be silly when I read the back summary, then I put it back on the shelf!

My list could go on, but tell me, what are some of the things that push your buttons in YA fiction?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Midweek Excerpt

This week's excerpt comes from my current work in progress: PLATINUM DIARIES. This is also my NaNo project (or one of them...see here).
To give you a bit of background...
Sayra Nieves has the ability to see the furture through her dreams. Her dreams have always been typical teen angst type dreams and they have ALWAYS come true. One night, she dreams of the violent murder of a man she does not know and the scene below is of her telling her best friends about it.

Hope you like it!


As usual, Ivan arrived first. He looked a question at me, but I only shook my head, knowing it would be easier to tell them both at the same time. I didn’t think I could repeat it anyway. He sat beside me on the steps and took my chin in his long fingers—ideal for stroking the keys of a computer. His thumb ran over the crusted scrap on my chin and the welt on my cheek.

“You fall off your bike?”

I nodded, unable to go into detail about how I’d been nearly mowed down by Chaz’s car. A few minutes later, Penelope zipped into her parking spot and hopped out with her usual bubbling energy. Her smile fell away the moment she saw me.

“Sayra, please tell me you aren’t still moping over that parking space.” Then her eyes narrowed. “No, this isn’t about the spot.” She stooped in front of me. “What happened?”

With both of them there, I simply opened my diary and handed it to her. She stood as did Ivan, curving his long torso over her back. As if sensing the seriousness of what he was about to read, Ivan didn’t make his usual joke about hoping I’d dreamed up a girlfriend for him. They both scrunched up their faces and I realized how sloppy my writing must’ve looked. Short, choppy, scribbles made by a frightened hand, but even if I’d decided to write it over again, my hands were no less shaky.

Penelope gasped and a second later, so did Ivan. She flipped the page and Ivan snatched it back, scowling as he read the last few lines, lagging behind Penelope. The headache ratcheted up the back of my head and stuck behind my eyes. I didn’t want to talk about the dream, but I knew I had to. I couldn’t just pretend it never happened, no matter how hard I prayed.

“Maybe,” Penelope began, holding the book in her palm like it might explode,” maybe…it was just a nightmare.”

I shook my head.

Ivan sat beside me again. “Haven’t you ever had a dream that was just a dream?”

Again, I shook my head.

“Maybe this is the first,” he said hopefully.

“Yeah,” Penelope added.

They were trying to make me feel better, and I loved them for it, but there was no denying it. I dreamed that man’s murder and it was going to happen. The diary was snatched out of Penelope’s hand before any of us knew what happened.

Monday, November 9, 2009


This is not a post about losing my NaNo buzz. I don’t need a pep talk, even though I’ll never turn down encouragement. I was perfectly jazzed about my new WIP and was kicking away at full speed for the last week, cranking out twice the suggested amount needed to have 50k by the end of November.

But then something happened.

Another story highjacked my brain and I mean HIGHJACKED it. Friday morning, I woke up at 5am because my bladder demanded it (which pissed me off because my alarm goes off at 6am and so I was cheated out of sleep). As I lay in bed, cursing the bottle of water I drank too close to bed time and my bladder for not holding on for another measly hour, this scene popped into my head: A girl rigging a bomb while a guy stands guard. Then they are running, trying to out run the rising sun, trying to out run the mutated people climbing out of the burrow holes in the ground around them.

I tell you, it just kept growing and growing and I haven’t been able to think of anything else. I haven't even been able to write up another interview with the next character from LIGHT BRINGERS. (You can check out the other two Interviews here, and here).

I forced myself to go back to the NaNa WIP on Sunday and I still love that story, I’m just cheating on it for a little while. It’ll understand. I’ll bring it some flowers, maybe a diamond, take it out to dinner. We might need to go to counseling, but it’ll forgive me eventually.

This new story will be my NaNo story now. I don’t think NaNo cares, as long as I write daily and the words total 50k, that’s all that matters. I feel confident that I’ll meet that goal between the two stories. I’ve just never had anything like this happen to me before so I thought this could mean something and so I shouldn’t ignore it.

Tell me, ever have a story highjack your brain?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Midweek Excerpt

This excerpt is from Chapter Two of LIGHT BRINGERS:

Kalie dressed in a powder-blue bikini, ready for a day on the water, then slipped on a pair of denim cut-offs. It was still pretty early so the house was quiet. She headed down the hall to Ryan’s old bedroom and listened at the door, hearing his low snoring from inside. She opened the door a crack.

He lay sprawled like a starfish with his neck bent at an awkward angle. At six-foot-four, he took up the entire bed. His big feet hung off the end, and Kalie had to resist the urge to tickle them. Ryan hated being tickled. She crept inside, because to wake him before he was ready would be like poking a hungry bear with a short stick. His cell phone sat on his head by his temple. He had apparently fallen asleep while talking to someone. God help him if it was Amber. Kalie snickered, hoping that he had indeed drifted off on the bimbo he called a girlfriend.

Hugging his pillow, Ryan farted so loudly that he woke himself up with a snort. Kalie jumped back, clamping her hand over her mouth and nose. His unfocused eyes blinked angrily at her as if she was responsible for waking him. He grumbled “Shicken wings,” and then flopped back to the bed, fast asleep.

“So gross.” She rushed out of the room, holding her breath.

Quietly, she headed down to the library or study or whatever they were currently calling the room with the family computer and hundreds of books. She rooted through several bags filled with newly purchased books, and just then decided to have everything read before the start of her first semester at Lawrence State University. Evolution of Endowments: Effects of the Solstice was not on the required list for her courses, but Kalie wanted to read it first. She stuck an ink pen between her teeth, grabbed a legal pad, tucked the thick book under her arm, and made her way into the back yard.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Entertain Me!

I’ve been watching a lot of action-adventure movies lately and one thing I’ve noticed is the abundance of cheesy dialogue. Honestly, I’ve always noticed craptastic lines in movies, but what struck me this time was how it made me roll my eyes and almost stopped me from enjoying the movie all together. I’m really getting sick of cheesy movies. My friends think I’m overly critical of films, like I REALLY have to be entertained or else I’m pissed…well, DUH! These people are getting paid MILLIONS of dollars to entertain me, and damn it, I want to be entertained!

I don’t want cheesy lines delivered with all seriousness—just saw this on an episode of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, or is it called Terminator? Who knows—“Come with me if you want to live.”

Of course I want to live, dillhole!

Or my all-time favorite, “Stay alive, I’m going to get help!”

Oh, wow, thanks for telling me to stay alive, because I was going to die without that bit of instruction.

But I must say, the funniest 3 minutes in The Office history was when Dwight set a fire and panic ensued because he blocked all the exits. As Oscar climbed into the ceiling he shouted to Angela, “Stay alive, I’m going to get help!”
Priceless. I think I laughed until my stomach hurt at that episode. See, when it’s used mockingly it works.

My peeves aren’t only for cheesy dialogue, but also crappy graphics. I don’t want to know that I’m watching a CGI. I want to think that Keanu Reeves is really kicking the @ss of a hundred Agent Smiths (that scene SO pissed me off).
If Supernatural, a freain' tv show, can pull off excellent graphics than surely a big budget move can do better.

And I’m not sure if any of you have seen the previews of New Moon yet, but I saw a trailer in the movies as well as recently on tv and both times I was like…um, am I the only one who sees that big cartoon wolf? People around me in the theater were ooh-ing and aww-ing—okay, it was giggly fangirls—but I was looking at the graphics thinking, I’m SO not going to see this movie. Is it so hard to make a believable wolf? (So um…I don’t want to be flamed by graphic artist, please. My bro-in-law is a graphic cartoonist…I love you guys, but really, can we do better?)

I remember seeing An American Werewolf in London and being scared out of my MIND! The transformation scene was, and still is, one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen. Then, years later when they made An American Werewolf in Paris (when graphics/technology should have been and was much better) the wolves looked like cartoons and I was not at all scared.

I think about this when I’m writing. No matter how easy it is for my characters to say or do certain clichéd phrase/actions, I resist. There is nothing an author can do when their book has been optioned into a movie and then their wolves are turned into cartoons, but I guess what I’m saying is, as writers, let’s free the world of clichés. Be it novels, stage, film or the small screen. We owe it to the people reading, hearing, and seeing our work not to give them lazy dialogue. It’s not hard to do. I could tell you how to avoid clichés in your writing…but then I’d have to kill you.