Saturday, April 30, 2011


You've heard a few times this month about Child the First (of whom I am enormously proud), but I haven't really had an opportunity to talk about Child the Second. If I were a 12 year old boy, this child would be my twin. Child the First looks a lot like her mama (only prettier) but Child the Second got a clone of my BRAIN. That is to say... he is an odd child... (prides himself on it, in fact)

I got him hooked on Harry Potter... he got ME hooked on Percy Jackson... Our humor tends to dwell in wordplay and absurdity. I'm pretty sure he mastered sarcasm at age 5. He is a little inclined to frustration or sadness, but NEVER the raging, self pity or drama the other half of our household undertakes. He can power-logic through most things, once he detaches a little. Math comes easily and he enjoys being smart.... yes, everything about him says he is my son... erm... (except the skinny thing... that comes from his dad...)

*snort*  Oh, the mellowdrama...
There may be a large number of you who don't get this, but there are days I look at him and am SO THANKFUL not everyone in my house hates me (hubby and I have highs and lows and Child the First, inclined to drama, holds a grudge against ANYONE not giving her her way). He is also my writing cheerleader... I am married to a skeptic, and Child the First, while she is supportive if I MENTION it, I think sees this as some 'way out of poverty' rather than a personal accomplishment.

So tonight he was talking to me... pleasant conversation, but suddenly he said 'Zing!' and points at me. I turned to look and laughed. He explains that he does this to people regularly. I tried to explain mainstream popular ANNOYING culture, versus being himself, but it seems that, like the Justin Bieber hair, this is just something he needs to try for a while. I don't think you are in any danger, unless you start hanging out in his middle school... but it reminds me we ALL have to try on different personas... even is they are annoying and strange, and we are destined to be our parents in the end.

And as it is the ZED in A to Z... this round of it has been AMAZING.  It will take a little while to recoup and get back to normal, but I will... and I have met some truly fabulous people... So THANK YOU, Lee! (and all the others involved) and Thank YIBIS for playing and making it such a great month! (see yesterday if you don't know what that means) 

I will see you all Monday.  Have a great weekend!

Friday, April 29, 2011


So let's just get this out of the way. I LOVE YOU!!!

Bloggie readers, you are the highlight of most of my days. I LOVE this blogosphere!

So what is the problem?

Blog networks... they really are sort of this way, ne?
I love YOU, and YOU, and YOU, and... ...


Now Southerners have their y'all... and it's cute... but let's face it, I've never lived below the 42nd parallel. (Ann Arbor is at 42.16 and this is the farthest south I've lived)

Eugene, Oregon is 2nd at 44.04, then Portland, Oregon at 45.31 and Moscow Idaho at 46.73.  In other words, I've lived most of my life closer to the north pole than the equator (30 years above 45th, 14 years below)

That's a little scary, actually, that all 4 cities I've live in are within 5 degrees... but never mind. My POINT is it denies me authenticity with y'all. (though I retain my right to use it as I write FICTION).

Now I ALSO know that in larger, poorer cities in the Northeast there is the you'se option. (yous?  youse? --what is the spelling... I think people who use this regularly aren't actually literate, though I have some fabulous friends who joke about it in both the Bronx and Philly)  But I am currently ALSO the farthest EAST I've lived... Michigan. Which is technically midwest (though I have argued extensively on why this is really the middle east--Colorado being the MIDDLE.)

*snort* (though I'm not evil, just naughty)
So I decided... why not consult LATIN? You know... because English is Germanic *shifty* But seriously... where ELSE does one look for changing words. Isn't Latin like... the word BIBLE... wait, no, that was Greek, originally... But you know what I mean... Latin is for smart people... So I decided to pluralize YOU, I would look to LATIN...

Now there are not OU ending words according to Wikipedia (which is the most reliable source, yes?)

So do I choose O or U... But I made an executive decision, as it's my blog and the U had the funny little line over it to tell me the pronunciation is what I wanted...:

portus, –ūs port, haven, harbor m.
Singular Plural
Nominative portus –us portūs –ūs
Vocative portus –us portūs –ūs
Accusative portum –um portūs –ūs
Genitive portūs –ūs portuum –uum
Dative portuī –uī portibus –ibus
Ablative portū –ū portibus –ibus

Now I don't know what ablative means... let's check...

Ablative: a name given to cases in various languages whose common characteristic is that they mark motion away from something, though the details in each language may differ. The name "ablative" is derived from the Latin ablatus, the (irregular) perfect passive participle of auferre "to carry away".

WTF? Random pic found in 'blogosphere' search
Okay... I can go along with that... YOU is away from ME (unless I'm feeling frisky, anyway)

So the plural of YOU would be Yibus!

Problem solved! You heard it here first. Henceforth the plural of YOU will be YIBUS...


Thursday, April 28, 2011


I am truly a lover of the strange... Oh, I know Xeno, as a prefix, generally actually refers to 'unknown' even though it MEANS strange...

My first exposure to xeno, as a prefix, was in a linguistics class in college, and I fell in love with it... as a word, as an idea. One of my cheap thrills when I was taking that class was making up words (oddly, many of them really WERE words, just words I hadn't known) but the BEST word I thought I came up with was Xenophilophobia... Fear of loving strange things... (it could ACTUALLY be applied to fear of the one-night stand... fear of loving strangers)...But I am NOT xenophilophobic... I am just a straight xenophile...

So what do I love that's so strange?

case the first... the Aye-Aye... he is so strange, but I LUUUURVE HIM!

And then there is the leafy sea dragon... WICKED!!!

And then there is Mr. Star-Nosed Mole...

Now look at this fellow. He is a Vietnamese grasshopper of sorts... very cool...

And this is called durian fruit.  I'd totally eat it.

And it's a darned good thing I'm a nudist, or I might endorse monstrosities such as this...

So there you have it... my strange-love... It may have originated in the strange love of word creation, but I know there are those of you out there who get that...

And THIS is the best strangeness I've seen in a long time... Llama font!

And finally, it's Thursday, you know what THAT means!!!

*smooches all around *

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


So anyone who stopped in yesterday afternoon has heard... I made the Amazon Semi-finals and everything else has vacated my brain. This is the only topic I am capable of speaking to.

What IS Semi-finals?

Well, the first round judged on the pitch (300 word summary and sell) [2000,0f 10,000 passed on]
The Quarter-finals were based on the Excerpt (first 3000-5000 words) [500 of 2000 passed]

Semi-finals are based on THE WHOLE FREAKING KAHUNA. That's right. Somebody –a Publisher's Weekly PROFESSIONAL--read my darned book. Anonymously without the nagging 'but I LIKE Hart—she makes me MISBEHAVE' nagging at them. This stranger READ and made JUDGMENT on my book... and passed me on.

100 of 500 pass on, 50 each in young adult and general fiction. From the original 10,000, there are 100. That is 1% and I feel TOTALLY humbled. There were some great sounding stories that didn't pass. Some of the reviews I've seen look harsh.

Now you will see, this is not all goodness and light... this book is not done (as I've been saying) but I am GIDDY at what (s)he liked about it...

ABNA Publisher Weekly Reviewer
An engaging ghost story with an unusual setting keeps the pages turning in this manuscript. Helen is a ghost who has spent 60 years as her 15-year-old self. Her suicide lead to the closing of the mental hospital located in eastern Washington State. The hospital building is now being renovated, and turned into a school to help juvenile offenders rehabilitate. As students and staff arrive, Helen is surprised to discover that some of them -- a teacher named Allan and students Daniel, Mickey, and Serena -- can see her. Allan thinks having a ghost observing the students could be helpful. Helen isn't so sure. A vicious attack makes Helen realize that the staff have failed the students. As Serena falls into deeper danger, Helen will do everything she can to protect her only friend. This dense novel has much to like; the well-worn ghost concept is modernized through the juvenile rehabilitation school setting and a subplot involving illegal medical testing on the students. Characters like Helen, Serena, and Allan are well-drawn, although the villains like Beck and Harper are rather cookie-cutter. Frequent run-on sentences create confusion and unnecessary tangents slow down the otherwise excellent pacing. Chapters from Allan's perspective in particular spell out the action a little too much, and Helen's unresolved fate makes the story feel unfinished. These flaws aside, this author has a very good grasp on how to create a well-paced story, and the originality of the plot and the interesting characters keeps the reader engaged until the end.

Let me just say—this reviewer is exactly right... My earlier drafts DO have run on sentences, and I DO have trouble rounding out my villains! (though there is no evidence i know how to eradicate tangents) It is nice to have some constructive direction to work. And I will work it...

I sent my AGENT the world's least traditional query last night, too... I explained this dilemma... not being DONE, but being far enough I don't want to be unrepresented on the off chance I go farther. I'm sure there are perfectly done works more likely to win... but I was sure there were more done works that would beat me THIS round too...

Besides, agent and I needed to have 'the chat'--does she even LIKE YA that is this edgy? Some YA reps want sweet love stories... some want cool fantasy. I write the lousy CRAP life includes if you have too large a dose of reality. I don't have the imagination for fantasy or the patience for sweet ( poo on sweet, I say--POO!). I have a master's degree in psychology and like to watch TV shows like Breaking Bad, where good people are pushed into bad stuff by circumstances. I like my characters thoroughly damaged... it's just the way I roll... So I just thought it was time to have 'the talk' so I know if I should hold out hope, or whether I should plan on querying when this is cleaned.

And... Because I am entered in Round of Words in 80 Days: My UPDATE:

I am not DONE with my line edits of my Garden Cozy, but will be by Saturday, which was my deadline (win!)
My progress on Garden Cozy #2 has been SLOW, but once May rolls around, I plan to treat it like a WriMo until it is done... so it will be done...
AND the query letter to agent was on my list.

So I am good on my goals! YAY!

And finally, I got some serious blog love yesterday. I was FEATURED by a new reader and she was so NICE to me!!! So go check out San's Informed Sharing!

If you want to read, I am entry #19

Happy Hing Day, Friends!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Or maybe that is certifiable.... Whatever the case, through this blogging A to Z, though most people have turned off word verification (thank you, much appreciated!) a few have left it on... Now I believe this is mostly a newbie nervousness thing... not wanting spam, etc. when in reality, I don't think the WV makes much difference in the amount of spam a person gets.  I've had a couple repeat spammers that have caused most of the nearly negligible problem, but I've blocked both and so spam is really rare, and more notably, no more AT ALL than when I had WV turned on.  Word verification makes it so the page has to load an extra time...

That said, I've decided to take the opportunity to amuse you. I've written down several of the word verification words I've gotten this month and made up definitions...

Artomi: my art. With a pretentious French accent.

Entheed: what you should do if a tree starts walking.

Fracy: fancy and racy at the same time!

Hydinge: when it’s more than just a little dingy.

Nuckedi: When you are naked and playing in the mud, you get good and Nuckedi.

Obbledle: It’s like when you are yodeling, but want to be more obvious about it.

Ombeadsm: someone who advocates for jewelry makers.

Pexie: A very buff pixie.

Pholly: what happens to big fat elves who need pharmaceuticals to be happy.

I mean the little girl, if that's not clear
Queuti: When the cutie is waiting in line.

Retembo: what they will call Rambo when he goes on disability.

Sychemeg: what you do to your gullible friend.

And then some time later today:  Victory or Victim?  I will update when I learn if I passed on in ABNA or not. They announce semi-finalists today (the last two announcements have been around 1:30 EST)

I made the list!!!! (Though I'm not sure when it is I will breathe again)

If you want to read, I am entry #19

Monday, April 25, 2011


NoNo last summer at her friend's Quincenero
Sixteen years ago today, I became a mom for the first time. Life changing experience would hardly cut it. There is nothing so humbling, so frustrating, or so rewarding as parenting. And this particular child has not been without her own set of special challenges. I think though, I will give you some darned cute stories instead of kvetching on her birthday.

1st story:  I was REALLY good when she was little. I didn't yell. (we didn't eat junk, I didn't swear--no commercial TV)... but we had a puppy with anxiety issues. When we'd leave, he would chew up stuff... like... you know... couches... He would strew garbage from one end of the kitchen to the other... so the 'no yelling thing' had a limit...

Henry (best dog ever)
NoNo, when I was getting her ready for bed one night, was unhappy to be going to bed, so when I picked her up and said 'let's get your pajamas on' her response was “You're a dumb dog.”

Yup... that is what she'd learned someone said when they were really mad (she was two)

Second story... (about the same age)  I didn't go out much... I didn't wear make-up often... but one night I had a work party and so I was dressing up. I picked her up when I was almost ready and she scrunched her face. I said 'what's the matter?' and she pointed. “What's that?” “it's make-up. Don't you like it?” She shook her head and said, “It's too spicy.”

I love that she could always exactly express herself, even when she didn't have the words for it.

Happy Birthday NoNo! I love you!


So tomorrow is the next ABNA cut. I don't expect to make it, but I am nervous nonetheless. I'm having a great time getting to know my fellow ABNAers better, and many of them have been out for a while, so in or out doesn't matter on THAT front. It's not like they are going to kick me out of the social circle. But at the same time, semi-finalist status would change some stuff. I think that is when people NOT participating or friends with someone participating will start to pay attention. And MAN, I'd love a little attention.

That said, I've been clear all along that Kahlotus Disposal Site is not as polished as I'd like it to be. I DO think, though, that it is ultimately salable. And I am excited to see the feedback I get on it from the Publisher's Weekly review. (real, professional feedback—an AMAZING prize)

I mean seriously--the underwear ruin this picture

Let's break this down. Wear—after a word, this implies it is what you wear to do that thing. Un—this prefix makes something not so anymore. So obviously underwear is what you wear if you want to stop being a Der. If you were NEVER a Der, it is not necessary.

Say it with me. Pants are evil! Down with Pants!

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Y'all are probably all too young to remember, but when I was a kid there was a cartoon in syndication called Gulliver's Travels. There was a Lilliputian named Glum that had a low monotone voice I can still hear clearly. “We're all gunna die.” You see Glum was a pessimist.

Now I have an MS in psychology, and I KNOW that in reality, Depressed peoples' assessment of a situation is actually more REALISTIC than non-depressed...

80% of us think we are better looking than average. Not possible, right? Only 50% can be... That is the mechanism of which I speak. When we look at a situation, the NON-depressed person thinks 'I can do that!' While the depressed person sees nothing but obstacles... all the reasons they CAN'T (and probably they have a point).

But the thing is, see... I married Glum (referred to here as HWMNBMOTI—he who must not be mentioned on the internet)...

He believes if something is not in mint condition, it can't be used.
If anything might go wrong, it surely will, so why bother?
If I haven't looked from every angle, I must give it up.

But I am a PRO at making do...

Take last night for instance...

My family owns 3 computers: a desk top, and then the lap tops of my daughter and myself. The desktop (possibly because of the son) is in the shop for a virusectomy and won't be back until Monday.

HWMNBMOTI is taking a class that has some work online, so I offered to let him use MINE (nice of me, eh?)--no, he says. I've worn off the letters on half my keys. (technically, it is only 9 keys, but who's counting?)... He tries to use daughter's, but daughter's has some block for his college website (who knows what that's about?)

I told him tonight about the Monday computer back timing and so he thought he might try mine... but mine can't go upstairs as we need SOME computer physically hooked to the modem... and he says the light is too poor...

“Fine. I'll just fail this class.” (see what I mean? Glum.)

So I thought about options. I moved a light so it was a little clearer, but you know... rubbed off is rubbed off...

It occurred to me that at one point we had STICKER letters, but I couldn't find them. What I DID find was a sheet of OTHER stickers, so I cut little white squares, WROTE the letters and stuck them on my keyboard. HA! I WIN! Hubby can do his stuff with no claim of not knowing which key is what letter!

So sometimes a refusal to admit defeat gives you the UMPH needed to figure out the answer.


Hope you all have a great weekend!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Silliness Sisterhood

My blog title is an answer to the question 'What to slags, slugs, soup and sophistication have in common?'

We had so much fun on Monday with all of us posting on the same four wacky words that we thought maybe we'd do it again. Each of the four of us came up with a word.

Tara, being Tara, thought of Slag (which is an affectionate term for the party girls of Cardiff, meaning SLUT, but in a nice way—oh, those nutty Taffs)

Cruella likes only ONE thing almost as much as giraffes... that is SLUGS.

Rayna is the classy one... she really ought to be prime minister or queen compared to the rest of us goofballs. She chose Sophistication/

And me? Soup. Why? I like soup. I even can MAKE soup, which if you knew the rest of my culinary skills, would impress you.

So I thought I'd drabble you a little tale (and then give brief evidence that the silliness sisterhood is not limited to us)


The Slag Sonya saw snotty Sara smirk and swallowed suspicion. She shunned shopping silver stilettos and sauntered several streets, seeking solace. Shallow Steve, the snake, spilt secrets regarding silk sheets and savored sweetness. Showy sophistication seeped southward. Steve was a SLUG! Still, several saved screen shots showed Steve stripping—silk scarves slung sexily, strawberry syrup strung on his solarplexus. Sonya pictured Sam and Sully sneering at their supervisor. She supposed snickers swayed soon. She stared at her Sony, savoring suspended revenge. Several sister slags sang songs and sought studs. Sonya sipped soup and pressed send. Steve would see submission before sunset.

79 of 100 words start with S... Not bad...


I'm terribly curious to see how this compares to Rayna's drabble... for Thursday twins with similar perspectives, we sure are different on some thing... teehee...

And... to show my sisterhood is more a FLOWER with lots of petals, rather than a circle with just one type... I wanted to share the conversation that most amused me yesterday... Stacy and Rissa are both FRIENDS with my fellow Burrowers, but they are a separate set—when I dived into the Harry Potter thing... BEFORE I knew I was going to give writing a change, these were my Wizard Warrior Peeps. They are both writer's at heart, Stacy with a few publishing deals in process, Rissa earlier in her writing life (and needing encouragement) but also having great artistic skill (painting, drawing).

This was copied from Facebook as best I could figure out with my limited technical skill... (for those of you new around here, in another life, I am Tami)

Stacy Gail-Author: I loved writing the steampunk story, but I have no idea if it's ACTUALLY steampunk. I seem to recall I had the same uneasy feeling when I finished the cyberpunk project... :/

    • Tami Hart So do they have Agripunk and Ironpunk, or is it just the last two ages that have had punks?
    • Tami Hart CAVEPUNK!
    • Stacy Gail-Author HA! Cavepunk will be the next best thing, better than sliced bread!

      Y'know, there's no rule that says we can't create our own. How about, erm... Currentpunk? Nah. Cavepunk still rules. :D
    • Tami Hart Inquisitionpunk. Oh, I could do this all day...

    • Marissa Montano Oh come on, you guys have completely overlooked the great IcePunk and EnlightenedPunk . . . not to mention JurassicPunk!

    • Tami Hart HunterGathererPunk!

    • Tami Hart DOH! Punkpunk!

    • Marissa Montano BronzePunk . . .that just sounds nice *grrr*

    • Stacy Gail-Author For the Dark Ages we could go for DarkPunk. And for an insane asylum story you could do DaftPunk. Oh wait, that's a band... never mind! XD

    • Stacy Gail-Author It just hit me! Guys, we should do an entire series on this, self-publish, and become ZILLIONAIRES! As a plan, it's foolproof.

    • Marissa Montano Fantastic . . . noone can resist a series with Punks in it, and there is no end. Space Punk, Medievil Punk, DepressionPunk --maybe not

      *giggles*  Aren't they fabulous!?  I love my silly sisters!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

R is for Russell! (Brooks)

Those of you new around here may not know this, but I periodically host fellow authors when they have a book release. If YOU have a book release and are interested in visiting, I suggest looking at the guidelines link in the GuesTart box to the right. Past Guests also includes some impressive people, INCLUDING... Russell Brooks, last time he had a book release.

Tomorrow though, Russell is releasing Unsavory Delicacies—Three Short Stories of Suspense. And so Just for YOU, Russell is getting Naked!!!  Thank you so much, Russell, for the delightful show we're about to get!!!

Why drop the price of my novel? I’ll go nude on my book cover instead to attract buyers.
by Russell Brooks.

One of the benefits of being an indie author is that we always have the final say on how our novels appear. That includes everything from story length to the cover art. Speaking of cover art, many of us were told when we were in elementary school that we should never judge a book by its cover. Yeah right. I’d love to track down the teachers that told me that and ask them how many books they’ve sold lately. The reality is that a book’s appeal has everything to do with the cover art, or more specifically, the visual aspects on a book cover. This may also include the author’s photograph.

Do author’s need to post sexy pictures of themselves in order to gain a platform? Sexy movie stars sell more movie tickets than the average-looking ones. Singers also use sex appeal to sell albums. Besides, is it really a coincidence that a nude full frontal picture of Chris Brown went viral over the internet around the same period that his new album was about to be released? I don’t think so.

So where does that leave authors? Could I have used the above picture as an author’s book cover picture? Yes. Had I used this picture, would I have sold more novels? Maybe. However, most authors are seen as intellectuals, and not as sex objects. I found no evidence that either Stephen King or James Patterson used sex appeal in order to gain a fan base. The shirtless picture of myself, had it been displayed on my book cover or in any other magazine, it may have helped me to sell more copies of my debut action/thriller, Pandora’s Succession. It’s also safe to assume that I would’ve attracted a different kind of audience at the risk of losing my integrity as an author. However, in the case of eBooks or print books, shoppers most likely may not have seen my picture because most people do not look beyond the book’s cover when they see a novel for the first time.

What’s important for authors is to have a kick-ass book cover. Whether authors are selling their novels online or in a bookstore, the first thing browsers will notice is the cover art. That’s a powerful way to attract new readers. When my cover designer, Carol Webb of, asked me what I wanted on the cover of Unsavory Delicacies—Three Short Stories of Suspense, the image of a homicidal chef came to mind. This was because each of the short stories involved someone having a deadly or embarrassing experience within close proximity of the dinner table. This resulted in the picture seen on the right (Culinary Crimes was the initial title I thought of). When Carol emailed me this photo, my first impression was, “Blahh.” It didn’t impact me the way I was expecting. This is something that’s very important for me because my first impression may be the same impression thousands of potential buyers may have. And if it’s only a “blahh,” chances are I wouldn’t pique the curiosity of readers who would’ve enjoyed reading my book.

I was in a conversation with Carol’s business partner, Signe Nichols, the following day when she mentioned that Carol kept two back-up pictures of photographs that appealed to her in the event that she couldn’t find the initial one that I wanted. Curiosity got the better of me and I asked Signe to send them to me. What I saw blew me away and opened my mind to another type of book cover. I immediately emailed Carol and asked her to drop the first image. I spent some time making a rough draft of the preferred cover image and emailed it to Carol with some suggestions to help improve it—since I’m not a professional cover designer. The end result is what you see on the left. Not only does the image stick with my original theme, but it also has sex appeal. Certainly a lot more than the first cover image.

Will more shoppers notice this image over the previous one? I believe it would be safe to say so. Will this lead to more sales? It would be a safe bet to say “Yes.” I may not be the greatest marketing expert, but I’ve learned two important facts. The first is to never reinvent the wheel. The other fact that I’ve learned—and it is probably the most ancient of marketing techniques—is that sex sells. I’ve mentioned in the past that a great novel will have a story that elicits an emotional response from its reader. In my opinion, a great book cover should also elicit an emotional response from the potential reader.
As to whether I’ll ever put partially nude photos of myself on future hardcovers (no pun intended), I think I’ll pass because I won’t have to. I value my integrity as an author.
Unsavory Delicacies—Three Short Stories of Suspense, is now available as an eBook through Amazon,, Smashwords, and through Russell Brooks is also the author of the action/thriller, Pandora’s Succession.

Thank you so much, Russell!  That was fabulous!   Don't forget, gang!  R is for Russell!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q is for Passed!

I know... I have never been one to keep my Ps and Qs straight, but yesterday I explained good and well, so I am not going to repeat myself (much). If you want the full scoop, yesterday is where to find it...

I spent last evening PANICKED!

You see, my daughter will be Sixteen on Monday, and last night was... her driver's test. She's had her permit for a year now—Michigan has a graduated license system, so they take driver's ed, get a PERMIT and then spend at least 50 hours driving with a parent in the car. That parent was usually me, as the other one can be persnickety. Certainly he is patronizing. Perhaps he is even a pest. It's a good thing he has a cute pompi. *shifty *

So Primary Progeny and me went... with all the paperwork to the parking lot... of the WRONG CHURCH (my bad—oops—I get something in my head sometimes and am sure I'm right and don't doublecheck) There were certainly palpitations, but we managed to call little brother and get it sorted and the person performing the test was a prince. He nodded, had to get the poles back out (the cones hadn't gotten put away yet, so we had that going for us)

Primary test was parking, parallel and pulling in backward. Then primary progeny DROVE... She performed like a pro. I think she only had one point marked off but it was because some pompous prick pulled into her lane—she went into the next lane (surely full points would have been given had she just popped him the bird)-but the point takage was about turning into the wrong lane (I don't know—avoiding being hit seems like a redeeming quality)... but students can have up to six point off before they fail to pass... so she PASSED!

When we got home I called the insurance to add her, and now I need a Percoset.(which is not remotely like a marmot).

You know what... I'm PROUD. She worked her tail off for the Lifeguard Certification that she earned last week, and has been so diligent and cautious (if perhaps a bit bossy) learning to drive... and next week she will be 16 and perhaps I'm a bit pensive... she is growing up.

Love you NoNo!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

P is for Query

Erm... Okay, so maybe it's not, but in the spirit of Ps and Qs being largely interchangeable, except not so many Qs are needed (since they're twice as big and all), and because of my FOMS (fear of missing something), I thought it was best just to swap them out and call it good.

I suppose it's possible I should explain the origin of the statement 'Mind your Ps and Qs'... when I was a kid I was under the impression it meant peace and quiet, or some such nonsense... NONSENSE! This is DRINKING SLANG! Mind your Ps and Qs means mind your Pints and Quarts (or watch how much you drink--oh, if my mother only knew! She used to say this a lot). The pub I worked at in Portland had a sign, written backward, posted behind the bar so the customer could see it the right way in the mirror. I liked that... clever beer pushers...

Anyway... back to the post...

You see there is a Query Blogfest today, whereby we can get some FEEDBACK on our Queries... and I thought... it's just ONE DAY. What harm can there be? I've never been one to follow rules to the letter ANYWAY (get it? To the letter? That's clever, eh? *cough*)

So the query I'm working with here is for my second book, currently waiting for 5th (6th?) revision. I've gotten great feedback from several great friends, but I do have my work cut out for me. My biggest problem with this book will probably be the genre waffling (it is about tweens and teens but for adults--and NO, I don't want to make any characters older to make it for upper teen, or mellow the content to make it appealing to younger kids... I believe the adults are the market for the match of character and story here--it is the story that needed to be told)... that said, let me try to sell it...


Don't let my gorgeous cover influence you
Sometimes the only thing more dangerous for a teen than life on the streets, is life staying at home. Athena Garnett, thirteen, has to bash her mother's drug dealer over the head to escape; she sees her mother passed out on the floor, having not raised a finger to protect her daughter. Athena knows in the moment all she needs is out. Unfortunately, after not very many blocks of running, she realizes she has nowhere to go. Nowhere.

Across town, Peter Popescue, age ten, hides as his father is executed. When he relays events to his brother and sister they know it is time to do what they've been trained to do—disappear. They hide in secret rooms of their home, going out rarely, never coming or going in daylight, and sticking to parts of town where no one would know them. They keep hoping their mother will return, but it looks more and more like she was abducted before their father was killed.

A chance encounter and some observed coincidences bring these children together in downtown Portland, and a familiar name alerts them to a shared history that began before they were born. The children dive into the mystery, looking for clues about the missing mother. They encounter stolen art, thieves, a treasure hunt, kidnappers, and a tapestry of treachery and espionage where they cannot trust anyone but each other.

Legacy, an adult novel of family-based suspense, is complete at 100,000 words. It is about survival, street smarts, and loyalty, but ultimately, is about what happens to children left holding the explosive pieces of their parents chaotic lives.


So there you have it. I would LOVE totally honest feedback. If you want to pick it apart line by line, it might be better to email me: hartjohnson23(at)gmail(dot)com, though I'm not shy if you want to do it here.

And come back tomorrow for a doover on P!

Gorgeous cover designed by Joris Ammerlaan

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ottoman Orgasm

But first... My friends are quite insane, which you may already know. But yesterday on FB, there was some discussion as to lack of an O topic... Cruella had suggested Ottoman, but Tara wasn't biting... and then I entered the convo saying WHAT besides Orgasm was there to TALK about? Tara had been thinking that was OF COURSE the obvious one (Tara and I sharing certain dementation qualities) but you know... It was... OBVIOUS... so the three of us agreed (or rather thought Cruella was onto something when she suggested it) we REALLY ought to discuss Ottoman Orgasms, as that's just a little less obvious *shifty*

Now you really should also read THEIR blogs, as I'm sure our takes on Ottoman Orgasms is quite different, even if none of us could stop laughing when we agreed on the subject...

Giraffability of Digressions
Princess of Procrastination

OH!  And this just in. Rayna joined us at Coffee Rings Everywhere!

Now this is a tricky topic, as Ottoman has two meanings... (both in Orange)

There is an Ottoman (with corresponding penis-shaped chair)--yes, the footrest is an ottoman...

And the Ottomans (actually, I am assured the orange designates these as Dutch, but the lederhosen are a pretty sure sign they are at least ottomatons...(you know, of the Ottoman empire)... (and I can't help but be a little curious as to how the 4th man manages the full tiger face in his pants...)

Not being terribly picky about the source of my orgasms... *cough* I thought maybe both were worth exploring...

As for Ottomans...

According to private Baldrick, World War I began because Archie Duke shot an ostrich because he was hungry. He makes a very convincing argument, if you'd like to see it... Which is funny, but not quite orgasmic...

I think though, it is possible this guy might do it for me...

The OTHER Ottoman is really more a matter of technique, I think...

The footrest definition is well known, and the look of it doesn't matter much, but... An ottoman equipped with... Maybe one of these... would be much more enjoyable...

Or a set of these... Italians and Ottomans makes it international, yeah? Good for the World Domination plans!

Though this fellow here promises to bring out the full range to which an ottoman might be used... creativity is ALWAYS helpful. And you know what his image file was called? O. Just O... Talk about a promise I'd like to hold him to!

Hey, it was O. What did you expect!?