Monday, December 12, 2011

Mirabelle's 19 month old update (+20 month, 25 month)

Okay, so this post will mainly focus on Mirabelle's verbal skills. At her 18 month check-up at the pediatrician's office, her pediatrician noticed that she was speaking at the level of a 2 year+ toddler. I've long since stopped counting exactly how many words she says, but for fun I thought I'd attempt a list. I ran out of steam because honestly she says a couple of new words a day. -->
Mirabelle's 19 month old word count
200 + words

Average 18 month old: 10-15 words

go
up
kitty
puppy
pumpkin
turkey
sea horse
tiger
lion
seal
hair
clip
down
barbie
baby
shoes
on
off
boogies
nose
eyes
star
heart
cookie
circle
ball
beach
duck
pond
pants
brush
comb
toothbrush
color
book
quack
horse
pony
sheep
neigh
baa
kitty cat
puppy dog
starfish
spider
daddy
mommy
mommom
poppop
pink
yellow
green
blue
orange
white
crayon
potty
girl
boy
knees
poopie
peepee
bunny
beaver
owl
bat
ghost
snowman
tree
eat
food
broccoli
meat
strawberries
frog
banana
apple
rain
cloud
pier
ocean
water
bath
pillow
nap
sleep
boat
bird
pig
mouse
here
glasses
fire
cold
hot
water
milk
bottle
diaper
yes
no
chair
crib
rug
pony
sun
moon
goodnight
byebye
cup
juice
crab
bear
flower
monkey
cracker
egg
grapes
cereal
puffs
brush
comb
pony tail
train
car
bus
truck
slide
shoes
boots
socks
hat
coat
dress
clown
balloon
umbrella
bucket
sea shells
rocks
stroller
block
carrots
parrot
turtle
tires
pump
scissors
swing
grass
pencil / pens
table
outside
bee
fly
bugs
donkey
words
penguins
snake
bear
moose
teeth
porcupine
elephant
statue
fountain
see-saw
bicycle
song
dance
walk
again
clock
finished
pizza
sausage
yogurt
fan
top
fall
medicine
pretzels
cheese
head
cards
curtain
Christmas tree
baby
neck
bubbles
etc., etc.


Mirabelle also knows her colors and can point out if something is purple, pink, orange, white, blue, red, green, or yellow.

She also knows her shapes.

Mirabelle's having a second bout of separation anxiety, but it seems to be going away. We just celebrated my niece's fifth birthday this weekend (Dec. 10th) and Mira had a lot of fun with the kids and wasn't as clingy as she was on Thanksgiving and Halloween.

She's obsessed with bubbles, puzzles, leggos, Mini Mouse, cars, trains, ponies, puppies, kitties, and coloring. She also likes to organize things, especially little things like baby hair clips, coins, and small smartees type candy. She'll put the coins in a pocketbook, take them out again, line them up, and put them back in the pocketbook. She likes to put the baby clips in these little grooves that come in the packaging and then take them out again. She enjoys using her memory to put the clip back exactly where she took it from. She has a pack of like, 30 baby clips. Mira likes to put the candies in this little two inch by two inch game with nine slots for candy and she'll slide a little piece of candy into each hole until it's full, then dump it out and repeat. Sorry, I know all of this is hard to visualize! Maybe when I'm less lazy I'll put some pictures in this post. :)


(updated by looking on my facebook timeline!)
20 months (January 2012) - Mirabelle surprised me by counting to 13.
2 years and 1 month... or 25 months old (May 2012) - Mirabelle is counting to 29.


Monday, December 5, 2011

First Draft of "Jeremy Chikalto and Leviathan Island" finished

I finished the first draft of my second novel, "Jeremy Chikalto and Leviathan Island" (Book II of The Hazy Souls). I'm hoping to have the second draft finished before Christmas. January is an important month for my novel because Spring semester doesn't start until January 22nd (I teach writing at Gloucester County College). January = writing/editing/rewriting every day! Not to mention I have to design my cover... and do internal formatting... and the back cover. Ahh! There's so much to do before the second baby arrives in March.

At the moment I'm doing a quick read-through and marking the scenes that drag. The beginning of the novel needs a complete rewrite, but I've seemed to hit the "zone" by the middle of the novel.  I'll have to elaborate on my descriptions to better create a sense of place and time. The action scenes need some build-up too.

I'll write again about my novel's progress in a couple of weeks. I'm trying to keep to a pretty strict schedule.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

18 weeks Pregnant, Second Pregnancy

18 weeks pregnant, second pregnancy


Here I am, 18 weeks pregnant, at my friend Angela's wedding. There's always a time and a place for showing off one's "bump," and the wedding proved successful. I felt really good at 18 weeks -- no nausea, no back aches, a little energy restored, ah the second trimester!

Now I'm 20 weeks pregnant and it's amazing what two weeks can do to you. First of all, Halloween passed. I ate candy, lots of candy. And brownies. I just polished off chocolate pudding. I feel oafish. I'm contemplating going into the hiding stage -- that's when you refuse to have your picture taken and keep public appearances at a minimum. I'll try to push through until Thanksgiving, but there's going to come a time when I just want to wear "comfort clothes," sit on the couch, and get all pouty about my back. I've been walking a lot and my projected weight gain is 35 lbs at 40 weeks (I keep track and refer to a pregnancy weight tracker application). I was hoping to only gain 25 pounds with this pregnancy, but 35 pounds is still considered good. We'll see. The holidays will be tough. I'm already lined up to have two Thanksgivings!

18 weeks pregnant at a wedding



Monday, September 26, 2011

Second Pregnancy, weeks 5 - 14

So I'm officially pregnant with baby #2. As promised, I'll begin documenting my second pregnancy and I'll be sure to compare it to my first pregnancy. Pictures!


1 year post pregnancy, before second pregnancy
Ok, so the above picture is actually 14 months post pregnancy. I was able to lose most of my baby weight but was still ten pounds heavier than my initial weight by the time I got pregnant. I'm a little nervous about this because I had hoped to lose more weight before getting pregnant again. Now I'm 14 weeks pregnant and I'm much bigger than I was with my first pregnancy at this point.

5 weeks pregnant second pregnancy

At five weeks it looked like I was already showing! I didn't start showing with my first pregnancy until around 16 weeks.

8 weeks first pregnancy

9 weeks second pregnancy

I started experiencing nausea at around 7 weeks with my second pregnancy and I'm still experiencing it now at 14 weeks. I cannot wait for this annoying side effect to be over and done with.



13 weeks pregnant second pregnancy


13 weeks pregnant second pregnancy


14 weeks first pregnancy
14 weeks pregnant second pregnancy























So far my second pregnancy has been different in that I've gained weight quicker and have experienced worse nausea. I was more fatigued with my first pregnancy than my current pregnancy. I had this bizarre thing happen where the only thing that helps my nausea go away is to eat, and even that's a temporary fix as I only feel good when there's food in my mouth. At around 9 weeks I finally figured out that I could just buy gum to chew on instead of eat. I'm very thankful for this intervention because I was trying to only gain about 25 lbs with this second pregnancy and with my first trimester weight gain, I was looking to be way off course for my goal. Hopefully I'll be able to exercise more (walking, etc., nothing too strenuous) once my stupid nausea and fatigue go away.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mirabelle - 16 Month Old Milestones

Just thought I'd put an update on here about Mira's milestones. So now she knows too many words to count. I can draw her a picture of a shoe, a shirt, a crayon, a ball, a dog, a cracker, a dinosaur, etc., and she can tell me what it is. Some of her words are clearer than other words, but she's at a point where she can just repeat back words that I say to her and make associations. I'll try to write down words that she uses a lot.


mommy
daddy
bye
mom mom
pop pop
grandpop
kitty cat
quack quack quack (duck)
nay (horse)
oo-oo-aa--aa (monkey)
moew (cat)
panting noise (dog)
snort (pig)
buzz (bee of fly)
cracker
cookie
milk
car
crayon
shirt
shoe
bottle
ball
down
bless you (after a sneeze)
bucket
fish
book
read
star
phone
bird


Mirabelle can point to things, and if you ask her to point to her head, toes, nose, mouth, cheeks, hair, or knees, she can follow directions. She'll bring you things and all that jazz.


At sixteen months old, Mirabelle is obsessed with wearing her shoes. She always brings them over for me to put them on her. She has a bit of temper but is usually very sweet and happy. She loves to sit down and turn the pages for books. She also loves to be read to. I'll add to this if anything pops into my head in the next couple of days, but I'm going to the beach now!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Starting a job as an Adjunct

I'll be teaching literature and composition this fall. I'm very excited, only I wish I had a little more time to prepare. It's difficult to find the time to thoroughly read through the material since I'm running after Mirabelle non-stop. Luckily, I've read most of the fiction and poetry already.

My novel, aahh! I'm almost finished the first draft of Book II, am about 80% done, but class preparation and teaching and grading is sure to curb my progress. And then there's my plans for baby number 2...

To date, I've sold about 200 copies of my book and I've received my first royalty check. My marketing efforts have been put on hold because I just have too much on my plate. I participated in a Christmas in July sales thing, and that was pretty successful. I'll vamp up the marketing after the release of the second book, for sure.

But for now, Mirabelle is napping and so must I!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Baby Mirabelle's Milestones: Birth - 14 Months

14 month old toddler
So my daughter, Mirabelle, is a toddler at fourteen months. Now she's climbing up stairs. Ugh, the stairs! It terrifies me but I know I need to let her practice.
Lately, she's been playing with her stuffed animals. She makes them talk to each other, mainly jibberish like "buu-taah, buu-taah, buu-taah, buu-taah."

Anyway, it occurred to me that I haven't been keeping records of her milestones and my memory is already showing signs of forgetfulness, so I thought I'd try as best I could to remember some of Mirabelle's accomplishments.

Tummy Time: Mirabelle hated tummy time. Screamed, freaked out. But once she started, she learned quickly. By four months, she could lift her head and look around.
By five months, she could lift her chest up and rock back and forth.

Crawling: Mirabelle crawled by seven months. I remember how I thought she'd be able to by Thanksgiving and that come Thanksgiving, I let everyone know that my prediction was correct.

Pull herself up to a standing position: Eight months for sure, since I have pictures of her at Christmas standing up and holding onto various coffee tables.

Walking: She could walk by ten months, around Valentine's Day. She was running by mid-March.

Clap her hands: I think she started at around ten months, maybe eleven months.

Words: Hmmm, this is a hard one. It's hard for me to place exactly when she first started saying any given word because she sort of eased into it. I'll just record her current vocabulary at fourteen months:

     Ma Ma

     Da Da

     Kitty (sounds like teh teh, but she's very consistent and does this noise for all cats, both real and illustrated)

     What's that? (sounds like "Whasssat?" and she points to something. Loves to keep saying this and pointing to different objects)

     Quack Quack (sounds like cack cack, in response to the question, "What sound does a duck make?" and upon seeing ducks)

     Bzzz (in response to the question, "What sound does a bee make?" and upon seeing / hearing bees and flies)

     Haah, Haah, Haah (in response to the question, "What sound does a dog make?" -- sounds like panting -- and upon seeing a dog)

     Mew Mew (in response to the question, "What sound does a kitty cat make?"

     Fish

     Book (I'll give this one to her because she makes ba / boh / boo-taah noises all the time and grabs a book)

     Ball (I'll give this one to her because she makes ba / boh / bah noises all the time and throws her ball)


Sign Language: She's been taught Milk, Food, Finished, Ouch, and Cat, but only really signs Milk and Finished. She started signing for Milk very early, at like seven months, but then randomly stopped at nine months. Recently, she's started doing it again.

There are other random words that she's said on occasion, but she hasn't been consistent. I'm probably being hard on her with regards to "counting" her words, since she makes words all the time. I just want them to be very clear and said often before I'll count them as words. That being said, her comprehension is amazing.


Comprehension: Mirabelle's comprehension is really soaring as of late. You can ask her to get her Hop on Pop book, and she'll fish it out from a pile. Then you can ask her to get her grey bunny rabbit and she'll get it. Then ask for her penguin, she'll get it. Her Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes book, she'll bring it to you. Etc. Etc. Basically, she'll fetch any of her books or toys for you if you ask for them by name. She's also good with other random simple commands. I can tell her to ring the cow's bell (there's a wooden cow in my living room with a bell) and she'll walk over to it and ring it. Outside, we have a toy house with a door bell. I can tell her to ring the door bell and she gets so excited and goes right up to it and rings it over and over again. Stuff like that. I think she'll be saying a lot of words within the next month because she's making all sorts of new noises lately and her comprehension is amazing.

Favorite Things: Climb into a chair with a book and turn the pages. She loves, loves, loves to curl up with her favorite books. She also likes to plop her favorite books in your lap and then climb up on you to have you read to her. Her favorite stuffed animal is probably her little penguin that we got her from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. She also loves to sleep with her duck blanket and her bunny blanket plush toy. Sometimes she clutches these items when you get her in the morning and she'll carry them around the house with her.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Hunger Games as Inspiration

I just finished The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Wow, that book reads fast. I wanted to read The Hunger Games for a while now, and have already purchased the second book in the trilogy. I knew I wanted to read The Hunger Games right before I really threw myself behind my second Hazy Souls novel, because I've heard such good things about it and stand by the advice that you need to read something well-written right before you write.

One drawback for me is that The Hunger Games is written in first person. My book is written in third person. I love reading first person books, it's just a little more difficult to adapt my style and pacing alongside my inspiration. I definitely respect The Hunger Games' sense of action and the immediacy of what's going to happen next. It's a real page turner. I'm hoping that my next book will be a faster read, particularly in the beginning as that is a section I've struggled with in the first book. It was also nice to read about Peeta, a good-natured boy who I didn't find the least bit boring, because I want Jeremy's character to grow to be more compassionate.

I think The Hunger Games will help me with:
1.) creating haunting locations
2.) streamlining action sequences
3.) bringing out the best in Jeremy

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Random Picture Collage: College Memories

I thought it would be fun to make a random picture / memory collage, just 'cause.

independent zombie film
At some point in college, I was in a zombie movie. Here I am running from a horde of zombies. Notice the unfortunate direction of our escape: right into the arms of two hungry zombies!

zombie attack
Yes, here we are, lifeless, after the inevitable zombie attack. These pictures were taken during the filming. Oh, college. I was actually in a bunch of college films and was even the President of the Screenwriters of Rutgers University organization, as well as the Vice President of Knight Time Productions, a student film-making club. And I worked for Rutgers Television as a host for an independent music show called Hub City, and as a host for Pass the Popcorn, a movie review show. Fun times.

decorating with boxes
Ah, my precious boxes! I love boxes. My box obsession got a little out of hand, and I started decorating my dorm room with boxes and bubble wrap. This is my dorm door. I also had boxes on the wall beside my bed and on the ceiling.

World Trade Center and Wall Street After 9/11
I did an internship at P.O.V. Documentary in New York, NY in 2006. I used to take the subway to the World Trade Center stop and I could see the charred building remains. I had to walk from the World Trade Center to my internship and go through various blockades. The blockades were set in place to prevent people from driving. There were also always armed guards with rifles.

New York armed guards by the site of the World Trade Center
There was usually someone positioned on the stairs cradling a rifle.

Completely unrelated, but here goes:

girl playing the accordion
Ah, my accordion days! Here I am, serenading the masses with my amateur accordion skillz. This accordion was my dad's when he was a child. My grandfather plays the accordion and he's really good. My dad went on to play the drums in various bands, he even played with Alice Cooper.
Here's a list of instruments that I've attempted in my life:

keyboard (I loved to make songs on the keyboard as a kid. I think I'll be attempting to teach Mirabelle how to play the keyboard / piano with Jesse's help.)

clarinet (school lessons for one or two years, I forget)

guitar (took lessons for one year, I'll still pick this up here and there to play for fun)

accordian (the bellow broke, so I stopped)

drums (play off and on for fun, just because my dad has a set)

recorder (current musical project, haven't made much progress bc I'm distracted by working on my novel, watching the baby, etc.)

voice? (I've been singing for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, I'm not great. But I can hold a tune and stay on pitch, so I'll always sing for fun. I was in choir for about five years. Jesse and I record songs together every now and again.)

Second Pregnancy

*Sigh*

It's that time. My little girl Mira is now going on fourteen months and I'll have to start trying again for my second baby. I wanted them to be close in age, and two years apart is ideal. I hope I don't gain as much weight as I did with my first pregnancy. I'm about ten pounds heavier now than I was going into my first pregnancy.

before second pregnancy
I still have a little pregnancy pouch belly thing going on, though admittedly this picture hides it. Anyway, I'll update you on how many months it takes me to successfully get pregnant again and all that, and I'll be sure to compare pregnancies. I'll even do a side by side weight gain per month photo analysis!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Publisher's Game

formatted manuscript


I'm trying to expand Viral Cat Press into a publishing house and so I decided to take on my mother-in-law's children's book, Mirabelle the Duck. It's an adorable story about a round bellied mallard named Mirabelle who lives in Parc Monseau, Paris. My mother-in-law wrote this book for my daughter. Adorable stuff. Anyway, she wants the book personalized with her own, well, personal photography. One of the biggest hurdles I've had with this project is the image quality of the pictures -- they were taken on her cell phone. I think I've done a pretty good job preserving the pictures and increasing the dpi, but purchasing stock photography is really the way to go.

A lot goes into being a publisher that I don't think the general public appreciates. Layout, formatting, cover design, back cover design -- all of these things take a lot of time and effort. Just taking on my mother-law's book, I'm saving her over $1,000. The "starting" rate for formatting a book is $299. Similarly, the "starting" rate for doing a cover design is $299. Then comes the ISBN number, ISSN number, and proofs. Creating an ebook is an entirely different beast. Wow, text can become super unstable. Any time you find yourself feeling superior to an ebook author because two words are inexplicably smooshed together, or periods are missing, or whatever else, check yourself because it's usually some bizarre ebook file conversion shizzle. Marketing, of course, is the most expensive, and a successful marketing campaign could cost $30,000+. I don't have that kind of money, so Viral Cat depends mostly on word of mouth via online social networking sites.

These include, but are not limited to:

facebook
twitter
myspace
goodreads
bookbuzzr
freado
librarything
blogs
websites
associatedcontent
quora
book clubs
figment
smashwords
kindle boards
etc.

I enjoy doing this. Still, unless I do a better job marketing, the book is left floating in cyber space. It all comes down to traffic and building a sturdy network of links. The more incoming and outgoing links a book has, the higher its google search rank. Every time a book is mentioned online, it creates a link in the chain. When I look at it that way, it becomes something of a challenge, but one that can be conquered with baby steps.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Indie Author Logic

I talked to an older man the other day. He had just finished reading "Jeremy Chikalto and the Hazy Souls," Viral Cat's first published book. He liked it and especially enjoyed the character Lyrna. He told me in private that he rarely reads new authors because he has thirty or so "tried and true" authors whose works are published year round. Why take the risk of purchasing a book by an unknown author when he's guaranteed a decent read by one of his thirty established authors?
.
As an independent press, Viral Cat takes on first time authors and competes with big publishing houses. But I know that indie publishing is the future. The big publishing houses are crumbling, downsizing is a nicer way to put it. Why? Because people like the older man I talked to aren't expanding their repertoire.
.
The ebook market is soaring. Big publishing houses want their ebooks to cost $14.99. Indie authors and publishers are charging $2.99. When pressed on the issue, the older man mentioned above insisted that he'd still buy the $14.99 ebook that he knows he'd enjoy rather than buy the $2.99 ebook he might not like. But what about the twenty year old reader? The thirteen year old reader? They are the future, and I'm pretty sure they'd purchase the $2.99 ebook.
.
And the big publishing houses? Well, they know their loyal clientele won't spend $14.99 on an unknown author, so they just keep publishing established authors. New authors? Well, sure, they publish celebrities with a built-in market. "Lauren Conrad? Well-known reality TV star? Sure! We'll publish your book!" says HarperCollins.
.
As established authors, er, die off, and their loyal readers enter retirement homes, indie authors will have developed a following all their own and the mystique of being published by a big publishing house will be revealed as illusory.
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Quality control will still exist because social media will help great stories go viral. Word of mouth has always been a publisher's best tool. That will never change.
.
So my message for you, indie authors, indie publishers, is to embrace self-publishing and small press publishing, have faith in social media, and don't fret rejection letters from major publishers; in fact, don't even send them your queries. The publishing world is rapidly changing and indie author success stories are on the rise. You want to ride this wave rather than get caught in the currents. Master social media. Develop a personal connection with your readership.  Understand publishing technologies. These are the tools of the new generation of authors.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

May is Indie Author Month

Viral Cat will be included in Indie Author Month!


I'll be putting some new features on the Viral Cat website in the next couple of weeks.

www.viralcat.com

Monday, April 18, 2011

Rutgersfest Rant

 I have a love/hate relationship with the comments section of news articles. People write the dumbest things, but the scary part is, I think it might be the best way to check the pulse of American popular culture. So anyway, I love to read the comments and then get all indignant. But lately, two things have happened at Rutgers University that have set me off. For one, Snooki came to Rutgers. I'm of the "I don't care" camp. I won't get into that because I managed to successfully avoid becoming vocal about that issue, so I won't dig up old feelings now. But then today I read an article decrying the violence surrounded Rutgersfest. People were all too eager to chime in about the state of Rutgers, and how its alumni should be ashamed and how the school is going downhill, etc. It's early morning, I'm still drowsy, and I did the unthinkable: I commented anonymously on the news story's comments section. Ah, it felt liberating! Below, you'll find what I wrote. Warning: it's a bit of a rant.

 * * *
I attended Rutgers a couple of years ago and only went to Rutgersfest two times out of my four years there. I had to study for finals and write papers, and the timing prevented me from going. I'm just frustrated by all the people out there who are in a frenzy to attack Rutgers and its students lately, with comments such as, "The school's going downhill!" etc. Let me remind you, Rutgers is a huge state school with amazing research professors, and so it attracts your average student as well as your top student. People go on to graduate school, and if they're lucky, are able to attend any one of Rutgers' graduate programs. If they can't get in there, they might go to Johns Hopkins or NYU. Yes, believe it or not, many of Rutgers graduate programs are incredibly competitive. And guess who those TAs are teaching? In addition to the amazing professors, Rutgers students have access to brilliant graduate students. As you can tell, I have a lot of NJ pride and Rutgers pride.

Anyway, to get on topic, Rutgersfest should continue as always, because it's a fun time, and guess what, parties happen. People get drunk, vomit, and if they get violent / irrational, well they are adults and hopefully their adult friends intervene and curb their drinking. The whole "college kids" blame-game irks me. Give the students the dignity of calling them adults, and let those of-age drink. Provide counseling to the out-of-control, out-of-towners, who probably have some family problems and lack a decent education, and start early in life. Sociologists know which populations to target. We don't need police, we need therapists and teachers.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Author Interview on Independent Paranormal

I was interviewed on Independent Paranormal, a blog for indie authors who specialize in the paranormal.

http://independentparanormal.blogspot.com/

I'm very happy for the exposure and had fun answering the questions. My only hesitation comes from the part about music. I answered honestly, though in retrospect I only touched the tip of the iceberg.

Music played a huge part of my childhood. There was always music in the background while we played. In the interview, I didn't necessarily list my favorite music, just the songs that really bring back particular memories from my childhood. Anyway, after reading the article, I've realized that people, especially young adults, judge a person based on the music they like, and might even judge my book before reading it! Music is all-important when you're younger and it defines who you are in the eyes of your peers.

So I mentioned Madonna, Duran Duran, TLC, Boys' Air Choir, and classical music in the interview. I wish I had cast a larger net. I like so many genres of music from so many periods, and I view it as a missed opportunity to relate to my readers. I could have added David Bowie, Pearl Jam, The Doors, The Grateful Dead, The Beatles... I could have listed newer artists whose music inspired some scenes in my mind, like Lady Gaga. When I hear her music, it's easy to picture a theatrical performer. It helped me to imagine Jeremy's stage presence.

Anyway, you get the point. It was a learning experience. Overall, I'm very happy with the interview and really appreciative of the opportunity to share my work with others! Plus, I was exposed to other authors whose interviews and free chapters really piqued my interest!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Independent Paranormal and The Figment Review

I was interviewed about my book by the Independent Paranormal blog. My interview will appear on the site Thursday, April 14th!  http://independentparanormal.blogspot.com/
!
I have a book review coming up by The Figment Review. Admittedly, I'm a little nervous. I hope the reviewer likes it!
!
I'll be contacting other prospective reviewers in the meantime.

Wow, so I just did a double-check on the title of this blog post and I want to apologize for the very literal nature of it. Hmmm, I think a cranky (though still lovable!) fiddler crab of a baby has temporarily depleted me of creativity. Luckily, it's almost Easter. Candy instantly recharges me.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Jeremy Chikalto and Leviathan Island

"Jeremy Chikalto and Leviathan Island"(Book 2 of The Hazy Souls) is starting up. I have the main sequence of events mapped out, but the act of writing always dishes out some surprises, even for the author. Subplots are the funnest to write because I have no idea what's going to happen next and they often change the course of the novel. So much for planning ahead.

The second book will definitely be easier for me to write. 

In the second book, there will be more romantic tension and some competing love interests. Also there will be more paranormal activity and some new characters.

It's kind of weird to write right now because I'm listening to the Madonna station on Pandora and I'm singing along in my head.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Novel available on Amazon.com!

Yes. My baby (other baby) is out and about interacting with the world!
My very own Jeremy Chikalto, who was once a hand-crafted paper doll crumpled between my child fingers, is now a Book Mr.!

A Book Mr. Hmm, yes that's his title. Not to be read, "is now a book, Mr!" No, he is now an exalted Book Mr.

It's late. What can I say? I probably need to go to sleep...

Anyway, so "Jeremy Chikalto and the Hazy Souls" (Book 1 of the Hazy Souls) is now available!

Print copy is on Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/giz211
Kindle version on Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/ggo9PP

And you can also get the e-book version on Smashwords, in multiple formats: http://bit.ly/e8ViJr

Soon it should be available for direct purchase at Barnes & Nobles and Borders!

I need herbal tea.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Novel Proof

I'm expecting the second proof of my novel, "Jeremy Chikalto and the Hazy Souls," to arrive early next week. If all is well, I'll publish and start upping my marketing. Marketing is kind of awkward. I'm excited about that stage of my novel, but also a little nervous. I'm not exactly an extroverted type. I've read in interviews with Amanda Hocking (successful young adult author) that she never even felt like she "marketed" her book, she just found that many of the so-called author marketing tactics coincided with her daily routine. Hmm... so I guess I'll just try to focus on my current online hangouts. I've got this blog, viralcat, facebook, twitter, freado, figment, youtube, amazon, and smashwords (er, soon smashwords). I think I'll have fun trying to build an online presence. The baby, of course, requires a lot of my time, but when she naps I'll be all for marketing. I'll post my progress on here and assess the efficacy of different author platforms. Fun times. Like, dancing fun times.

And the baby is totally awake right now. I'm only able to type because I'm letting her watch Dora the Explorer (guilty).

I want ice cream.

Monday, February 14, 2011

glasses / reputation rant

I. Hate. Glasses. That's a bit strong. I dislike glasses. Rather,    i      dislike     glasses.      They make me feel small, like some background character. But,      I.    AM.    LAZY.    (yes, all caps) and glasses are so easy to put on and take off. Sure, different types of glasses exist and offer some style flexibility. But they're all lame. I love my eyes, probably my favorite feature about myself. Glasses rob me of the pleasure of batting my eyelashes. People don't see behind the glasses! I have nice blue eyes. They're kind of an aqua-marine / green type blue. I'm sure there's some fancy name out there to describes my eye color and I'd love to look it up, but again    I.   AM.   LAZY.

So yeah, in the future I see myself breaking down and buying contacts. Maybe even getting eye laser surgery.

But, on the   I.   AM.   LAZY.   front, I'd like to say a few words about reputations. I have to secure an elastic band around my wrist and snap it every time I participate in Tiff-trashing. Honestly, I'm not lazy. Isn't it strange how reputations work? It's like, you belong to a group. In that group, the need arises to have different characters. There's the funny one, the shy one, the awkward one, the promiscuous one, the pragmatic one, etc. If your personality leans in one direction, before you know it, you're the embodiment of that trait. It becomes your *thing. I think I've heard a lot of lazy tiff / frazzled tiff / absent-minded tiff stories in my day. It becomes a self-fulfilled prophecy. I don't really mind, but it can be detrimental to one's sense of self. I wholeheartedly embrace my being absent minded. A bundle of quirk-sticks. It can be endearing. Lazy? That's hardly ever a good thing. I just think I like to make a big deal about my comfort. There's nothing quite like sleeping in, wearing pajamas all day, complete with a big, bulky nan bun on top of your head. (Nan bun, see? My laziness even has it's own terminology.) I like camomile tea, calm, soothing. I like furry slippers. I like a big fat cat on my lap, another resting against my side. Is that a crime?

I should point out that the last 10 months, having a baby and all, you can scratch out the "sleeping in" thing.

Oh, but about the absent minded trait. So I like it, but there have been times when it's been frustrating. When all you know is your position in one social group, or two social groups with a common link, being marked as a personality type can make you feel a bit trapped. Limited, like you can't express your full range of personality. But something amazing happens when you participate in more than one group. I'm talking about having different sets of friends, each set being markedly different from the other. Suddenly, you're not "quirky, absent-minded tiff" but instead "sweet, docile tiff" or "helping hand tiff" or, the worst, "smart tiff." I like being smart, but trust me, when you're in a group and that's your "thing," man, that is one of the most limiting, boring positions to occupy in a group. People think you're no fun. No one wants to crack jokes with you. You're seen as serious, a person whose services are best reserved for "figuring out the answer."

So yeah, I've been in a lot of groups. It's amazing how much you appreciate the labels once they're denied to you. When I'm "smart tiff," I miss making people laugh. When I'm "absent-minded jokester tiff," I miss being taken seriously.

Of course, it's never black or white, but varies with each of the, oh, ten or so groups I socialize with. You can tell who your closest friends are because they allow you to have a range. I don't begrudge anyone for putting me into a category, we all do it. It's just no fun when you do it to yourself. So, I am not lazy.

Something about glasses...?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Book Trailer!

I've finished my book trailer for my debut young adult novel "Jeremy Chikalo and the Hazy Souls." I was undecided whether I should wait to publish my book trailer until after my book was published, or to plunge into the water, trailer-first. I thought it might be nice to embed a link to my book on Amazon into the book trailer.  But advanced publicity is always a good thing, so I figured "meh," *shoulder shrug,* I'll do both. So without further ado, here's my book trailer for "Jeremy Chikalto and the Hazy Souls."


 


The video of the book trailer is a bit small on this screen, so if you want a larger screen viewing experience, click here.



Sunday, February 6, 2011

9 month post pregnancy

I've just updated my post-pregnancy pictures: click here

I'm still 15 lbs heavier than I was before pregnancy, but I'm inching closer. Meh. I miss snacking on tea and hot dippins'. I've been dieting and doing jumping jacks and walking with the babers. Here's a sample menu of my diet:

8:30 am   - orange juice, banana
10:00 am - green tea w/ a little skim milk
11:30 am - handful of peanuts or almonds
12:30 pm - spoonful of baby's fruit puree
1:30 pm   - 3 tofurkey slices, spinach, tomato, cheddar cheese, mustard sandwich on whole wheat bread
2:00 pm   - chamomille tea
3:30 pm   - couple spoonfuls of vanilla organic yogurt
5:30 pm   - handful of peanuts or almonds
6:30 pm   - small serving of chick peas, potato, carrot, broccoli curry

w/ lots of water, of course...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

exercise dance parties

It's hard for me to find time to exercise. I basically just sit in my small studio apartment with Mirabelle, go out for a walk, come home, and sit with Mirabelle some more. Watching Mirabelle takes a lot of energy, but it's mainly emotional energy. Like, oh she's crying, have to shake this toy in her face. Oh, she's crying, better read her a book. She wants to practice talking, so I'll let her blabber at me and comment. She's hungry, have to make her some food. It's all about these 10 - 15 minute activities, back to back, nonstop. And of course there's time to exercise while she's asleep, but I like to use that time to write. Okay, so I'm really just physically lazy. I have to trick myself into exercising and that's where the dance parties come into play. I enjoy a good funk on pandora. The funkier, the better. We have a nice closet mirror in our place that makes it all the more satisfying. I can keep my hips in rhythm, but my arms like to flail. Honestly, I think flailing is funner. Funk music is like my coach. The funkier it gets, the more I flail my limbs. It beats me up 'til I'm out of breath.
<3 exercise dance parties.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Jjeremy to Jeremy

My upcoming young adult fantasy novel "Jjeremy Chikalto and the Hazy Souls" has officially changed its title to "Jeremy Chikalto and the Hazy Souls." Ambitious, right?

I just got back from a farmers market stroll with the babers. Everyone's always like, "Aww! Hey baby! Hey baby! Blaaarrrghhhufff" and they wave and click and make faces and each time I have to plaster a fake smile to my face. I'm happy that strangers interact with my baby because she's entertained, but why do I have to be involved? I just want to buy some apples.