Seriously, folks

I expect more of you! As a reader of this blog, I have my hopes and faith in you, that the readership (however small) will follow through. C'mon folks!

Thus, in light of the minimal reaction to my former efforts, I have included this brief and concise list of directions concerning the action I wish you to take. ;)

Please visit the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award webpage.

Click on "Science Fiction".

Scroll through the ranks of novels that are actually getting reviews until you find my poor, lonely entry. (Title: Traitor Defiant)

Download the excerpt.

Read the excerpt.

Then, scroll down to the Customer Reviews section, and write a review. This is not intense, people. A paragraph or two is all that is required here. You don't even have to be nice if you are not so inclined! If you don't like it, you don't like it. I will still appreciate your review.

Thanks again! Much love to you all.


I went skiing on Saturday...

...and it was pretty awesome.


The Wheels in the Brain go round and round...

Of late, it seems like there are several things that I am anxious about. None of these are life-threatening. It's just things that hover in the back of my mind, gnawing at me, occasionally making my stomach clench, and occupying a sort of ridiculous amount of my brain capacity as I ponder them continually.

1) My book. Or rather, the ABNA. I'm trying not to get my hopes up, you know? But I just keep thinking about it. I'd really like to progress to the next round.

2) THE HOUSE. You haven't heard about this for a little while, but last night, our realtor came over and I filled out the bid paperwork. My bid will be over to the seller today. AH! Nothing's going to happen quickly with this house, but I'm dealing with it, because this house feels right.

3) My new calling. I'm the visiting teaching coordinator in my singles ward. Learning the ropes and doing it RIGHT are occupying a ridiculous portion of my thoughts.

4) The volunteer work I'm doing. While this doesn't necessarily consume large portions of my time, it does end up consuming a lot of my thoughts. Poor Melinda, I feel like I drive her crazy.

5) Current writings. I'm trying to start a new series, and so far it's slow going. I whipped out the first chapter like it was nothing, but since then have struggled for each paragraph. I'm thinking about a different approach, but mainly the concern has been lack of time. MUST. WRITE. The craving is overpowering.

6) Most minor of all: I want to play softball in the city leagues this summer. Can do, but you have to provide your own team, and all of the easy leagues are already full. Which means I need to find a group, and a group who can play. The craving! So I'm nosing about my ward (via Facebook, currently) to see who wants to come out and play. If we can get enough so its feasible, I'm all over it. :)

Isn't it ridiculous how things pile up? Especially the things we can do nothing about except think about them--over and over. Hopefully I can get my brain in gear and focus today. Wish me luck!


I just love books

After waiting 13 days for a package that was "3-8 Day shipping", I finally got my order from Borders.com. I ordered three books with a gift card I got with my Cash Back bonus from my Discover Card. Sweet muffycakes, free books!

All three are in an effort to complete series that I already own, in part. I'm sort of obsessive that way. I really like to own entire series, not just scattered books. So with my free books, I completed the "Winds" trilogy by Mercedes Lackey, and I bought the third out of four in the "Protector of the Small" quartet by Tamora Pierce. Two of my favorite fantasy authors, and both series that I enjoy.

Books just make me happy. I can't help it. I love to buy new books. I really love to buy them at bookstores, but our local Borders has an absolutely terrible selection of SF/Fantasy. I think that section shrinks every time I go. And an entire shelf is dedicated to Tolkien paraphenalia. I mean, he's brilliant, but we should leave some room for other folks. When there's only eight shelves, giving an entire one over to Tolkien seems a little silly, don't you think?



Remember the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest?

I made the Quarterfinals! Since the entry date back at the beginning of February, the entrants were narrowed down from 10,000 to 2,000. Then, they were narrowed down from 2,000 to 500. These 500 were announced yesterday night, and will now progress through the quarterfinal period, in which each excerpt will be reviewed by Publisher's Weekly, as well as customer reviews on Amazon.com. In April, ABNA will announce the 100 Semifinalists, and I've got my fingers crossed!

Dear reader, this is where you come in. Please, take a few minutes to read my excerpt, found here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001UG3CGW. You'll need to download it, but it doesn't cost anything. And then, if you would be so kind to write a customer review! It's anonymous (I believe) so you can say whatever you want and I won't know it's you! ;) But really, it would be great if you would help generate interest for my entry. I'm starting to get pretty excited about this contest. And of course, I want you to read my writing! Even if science fiction isn't your usual cup of tea, please humor me, and take a peek at my excerpt. If you have any questions, let me know!

Oh, and if you're interested in looking at the other entries, look here: www.amazon.com/abna


Sleep is overrated

Every night for the past, mmm well almost two weeks now, I have come home at some late hour and my mother has promptly told me that I'm crazy. Tonight my response was, "What's new?"

Seriously. I have gotten used to getting plenty of sleep, and I've gotten used to having a certain amount of free time. Well, in the past few weeks (and the weeks to come) both have been diminishing in significant amounts. And you know what? I'm pretty much okay with that.

Today was maybe not the best day. I've been in sort of a bad mood today, not for any one particular reason, but a compilation of things. A large part is that I'm feeling a little ill and rather tired. But you know? It was still a good day. I maintain that Sunday is my favorite day of the week (and you ought to know how I am with favorites--I don't have a favorite much-of-anything). I wouldn't trade this busy-ness for the lack thereof. I LIKE being busy, I like that almost-overwhelmed feeling that makes me feel productive and active and accomplished. So for now I say that sleep is overrated. Check back with me in a few weeks, and we'll see how its going.


Seeking the Muse

I went for a late night drive. I was at a birthday party with a couple of new friends from my ward, and when I told them I wanted to drive, I don't think they really understood. "Where are you going to go?" asked one. Nowhere in particular was the answer, but I didn't want to sound insane, so I replied, "I don't know."

Haven't I talked about my love of driving? I love to drive. Just...drive. I don't always have to have a destination, and it doesn't always have to be for the scenery, either. For me, I find a certain catharsis in the open road, in just...driving.

Tonight, I was seeking to clear my head and think about my writing. I'm embarking on a new project at the moment, one which may--if it works out the way I'm planning--keep me busy for several years. I've been trying to sit down and work on it all day, with very little success. My brain has been too cluttered full of other things...my Sunday school lesson, my talk for Sacrament Meeting tomorrow, my friendships and dating life, the books I'm reading, my failure to make it to various things I was supposed to do today...you can see the clutterage.

But hitting the road tonight, even if I only made it to Payson before I turned around...it was exactly what I needed. I started with Coldplay, switched to a rock and metal mix I like, then changed to Nightwish in Payson and stuck with that the whole way home. And I was able to THINK, to brainstorm. Three new characters of protagonist quality were born during this drive, amidst a great deal of world-fleshing and conflict-storming.

Sometimes, the Muse descends of his/her own accord, and ideas are just born. But sometimes I have to seek out my Muse. Perhaps now the floods will come.


I gave in

And started watching the second season of Heroes.


Ultimate Frisbee and the height of Cool

Last night for Family Home Evening, two of our groups combined to play Ultimate Frisbee in the dark. We had a glow-in-the-dark frisbee and everyone wore colored, glow-in-the-dark wristbands. And actually, it was really fun. I totally got into it, which was fun for me. Through the game, the guys (predictably) got REALLY competitive. Our FHE mom had to remind them that there were more than two of them on each team, because they weren't passing to anybody else. After that it got a little better, but they were still really competitive. For me, the choice was to either get in there and play right along with them, or not to have a good time and just be mad at them all. So, I played right along with them. I was racing all over the field, I got hit in the face by the frisbee, I got tripped and shoved, but I also tripped and shoved (not so much on purpose as in self defense!) and frankly I had a great time.

Afterward, I was at a friend's house with a small group of friends, and we were talking briefly about the game. At one point there was a touchy moment when we were talking about one of the guys who had gotten really competitive. The girls were not much impressed by this young man [we will call him Brad], but one of the guys declared, "Nah, he's so cool. I look at that guy and I wish I was him."

I started really contemplating what it means to be "cool". I was at the time thinking in reference to my singles ward. Certainly, coolness is based upon the admiration of others. In that way, Brad is certainly possessed of some coolness. In a related sense, it has to do with attention--people who are cool are people who can hold the attention of others, and then their admiration.

HOWEVER. I came to the conclusion last night that true coolness isn't one-sided. A person who is really "cool" includes instead of excludes. The people that others really admire are the ones who make them feel cool too. That's where Brad fails--he certainly doesn't make me feel cool when I'm around him (he just annoys me when I'm around him, but I'm working to overcome that). So I don't think he's cool. Our other friend feels cool around him, so he thinks Brad is cool.

I doubt this is as impressive a realization to anyone else as it was to me. I just realized that social acceptance isn't about exclusion, it's about inclusion, for real and true. People love people who make them feel loved and important. They may admire the ones who seem "cool", but they'll respect and love the ones who make them feel cool too. I guess it's really about the level of sincerity involved. Which means I need to get off my high horse and accept these boys in all their competitive, arrogant, and narrow-sighted glory. ;)

I am interested for your thoughts, if you have them. What does cool mean to you?


Reverting to Childhood

This weekend, I discovered that Wal-Mart had sidewalk chalk for $1. You would not believe the giddy delight that spread through me at the sight of it (of course, it was about 10:30pm at the time, could have been an influencing factor). For a single buck? You'd better believe that I couldn't resist.

I think my dear Melissa may have thought the activity would wait for morning, but upon arriving home at approximately 11:00pm, I immediately cracked open the little box and went at it. For at least half an hour, Melissa and I went crazy all over my parents' driveway and sidewalk--everything from suns and flowers and mountain landscapes, to declaring our BFF status, declaiming the beauty of our parked vehicles, a hopskotch and a fully fleshed decoration of "Super Val" by Melissa. The only drawback to the entire glorious experience is that I scuffed the toe of my brand new shoe. Tragedy!

With spring coming in, I would definitely endorse a few enthusiastic childhood activities. It's immensely stress-relieving. For instance, my CIO is currently building a pinewood derby car in his office. (But don't even get our boss started on men building their son's pinewood derby cars...because he just finished his half-hour rant about it!) Spring is in the air, and it's infectious!


Somehow without my knowledge or consent, my weekends have become insanely busy. Not that I mind, of course. It's just when it's unexpected that it becomes a little overwhelming. Not totally overwhelming. Just a little.

Take this weekend, for instance. It was supposed to be relatively quiet. My best friend Melissa came down from Ogden, and I was supposed to just spend the weekend with her. 'Supposed to' being the key phrase here.

I just never stopped moving. Friday night was full (and I also failed as a human being that night), and we didn't get home until late. Saturday was mostly filled by helping my friends Sam and Ashley move--Melissa had cleared that beforehand and seemed cheerful about it, but I certainly hadn't expected to be there most of the day.

I also got to show Melissa the house and it wasn't as bad as I remembered. I'm actually quite fond of it in my head, and I gained Melissa's approval. So we'll see how that goes.

Sunday was jam-packed, and I didn't really get any time alone with Melissa (story of the weekend). I hope she still loves me...I'll have to make it up to her...somehow...

After church and ward choir, there was break the fast, and while there I started playing the piano and ended up with a bunch of people singing, which was lovely. I've missed that. That evening, I got to play some pranks with my friend Cheri, played games with some friends of our ward until we went to ward prayer, and then I stayed talking at Cheri and Marjorie's house til almost one. I'm a wee bit tired today.

I can't really complain, because I had a good weekend. It was just so BUSY. And today I flipped the calendar over to March and started filling in my obligations, and EVERY WEEKEND in March is already booked! I can't believe it. I just have tons of stuff going on, it's madness. And I'm not sure I can expect the weekdays to be much better--seeing as how I'm still trying to add more activities to my life. But again...I can't complain! Busy is how I prefer to be.