Friday, December 28, 2012

The Wind Beneath My Wings...or not.

Yesterday was a fantastic writing day. I didn't get a lot of words on the page, but I did manage to get through several chapters I was revising and make it to a spot that needed lots of re-writing. I was sooo into the scene. My characters were there interacting with each other exactly the way I needed them to for the scene to work. The ideas were flowing. It was feeling... RIGHT.

Then the baby started crying.

And I went to snuggle him. I fed him and thought, ohh he hasn't slept very long today, maybe he'll eat and go to sleep early and I can keep writing! Well, if this wasn't the exact WRONG thought to have flit through my head. His eyes closed, I put him to bed, turned on the video monitor, put my fingers on the keyboard and got back to the WiP.

The next hour was spent jogging up and down the stairs to shove a pacifier in his mouth every time he spit it out and patting him back to sleep. I thought maybe if I did this enough, he would finally konk out and I could get back to my scene. But, every time I read back a few paragraphs and got my head in the right place again, he'd spit that paci out and start fussing. Finally, I thought, maybe if I just bring him downstairs and put him in his bouncy seat, I could bounce and write.

No. He just kept staring at me like this O_O

Then the dog jumped up on my lap.

Still, I thought, I will make this work if it kills me!!!

So there I was, bouncing a baby who was not only wide-awake but also blowing spit-bubbles, dog in my lap, and hubby decides to go make pancakes.

That would have been fine except that the grill started smoking and our smoke-alarm in the apartment is EXTRA sensitive so I had to open the door. Not only was it cold, but the trash heap just up the road was having a wonderfully potent evening, so the smell of trash drifted in, while I shivered and bounced baby and scratched doggy's ears and pecked on the keyboard with my one free appendage.

I spent the next FOUR HOURS trying to get my kid to sleep. Then when I put him in his crib and came downstairs, hubby said, "At least now you can get some writing done."

And I was all

because really I felt like this had just happened

I genuinely felt like I'd been run over by a truck I was so utterly, completely exhausted. The scene was SO good and my thoughts were SO clear, I just KNEW that it would be easy to wake up early and get some quiet time in the morning BEFORE the baby woke up! After all, he slept until 9:00 every. single. day. this week. If I woke up at 6:30 I'd have SO MUCH WRITING TIME!

Guess what time he woke up today?

7:00 am

Yup. I barely had the time to yawn, pee, grab a cup of coffee, and put fingers to keys before I heard that sweet little coo.

Then I was like this

...and this

I felt completely, 100% defeated. It was exactly like one of the scenes in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World where they hit the doldrums (that's when there's no wind for the sails), and if you know anything at all about a huge ship in 1805, it needed wind to make it go anywhere. I'd been sailing along just fine, the words were flowing, the ideas were splashing around in my head like giant sparkling waves, and then suddenly... nothing. All that motivation was simply... gone.

But I'm still not going to give up. The wind WILL come back. I know I will get a good breeze again and make more progress. For now, I have to make whatever words I can make which is why I'm sitting here like this...

...pecking out this blog one letter at a time. 

Because, seriously. I will not give up.

I'd love to know if any of you guys feel this way sometimes. How do you get your motivation back after the wind has been knocked out of your writing sails?

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Story By Any Other Means...

Hey y'all! I was just over on Twitter (when am I ever NOT on Twitter?) and the topic of The Walking Dead came up. Specifically, it was the discussion of whether the graphic novels or television show was better. Boy, isn't that the age old question... which is better: the book or the movie?

I'm sure LOADS of you will be all "Ohhh, Harry Potter books are WAY better than the movies." And the same probably goes for Lord of the Rings, and on... and on... and on.... but then I thought about WHY?

I've never been one of those purists, one who believes the movie should be like the book word for word, scene for scene. That kind of stuff just doesn't bother me unless they go WAY overboard and get COMPLETELY ridiculous *cough* True Blood. But even then, veering so far from the plot is not my issue with that show. Also, I enjoyed The Princess Diaries WAY better as the movies, but that's a WHOLE OTHER BLOG.

I realized that the thing about books vs movies vs graphic novels, and any other kind of storytelling is that each medium conveys the story in a different way. Not just in the obvious visual way or whatever. I mean that when you've got words on a page, it's the writer's job to paint a picture with nothing but the 26 letters of the alphabet (assuming you're using English of course). However, no matter how well they paint it, each reader's visual interpretation is going to come out differently. It's up to the reader to "see" the story. The writer has control over pacing and how the story reveals itself. With a novel, it's entirely up to the writer how to develop the characters, setting, and plot.

Graphic novels are similar, but there's less imagination involved on the reader's part because the pictures are drawn out for them. The visuals are there already, and the writer and illustrator need to work together in order to tell the story the way they want it to be told. There's still room for plot and character development, but now you've got the added medium of visual art to help convey emotion and conflict.

One step further and you've got films. This is where more people than just the storytellers get involved. There are budget concerns. Timelines. Visual FX. Release dates. Publicity tours. An actor might be PERFECT for a character, but may not be available when filming needs to take place, so someone not quite as perfect might be cast for the role instead. This is where so many outside influences affect the outcome. It's less about telling the story, more about the visuals, and even more depressingly, about the box office numbers.

In films, however, a good screenwriter and director will still be able to convey the heart of the book, keep with the pacing, and know which parts to include and which to change or leave out completely. I'm a HUGE Harry Potter fan, but I appreciate the books and the movies as two separate ways of telling a story. The message is still there. The characters don't change because one scene takes place in a boat house rather than the Shrieking Shack (yep, you know which one I mean). ALL THE FEELS are still there!

Then you've got TV, which heaps up everything I said about films and then adds even MORE restraints. Because television is filmed week-to-week over a period of months and then years, there's even more to factor in. Will the show be renewed for another season? If it is, how do we plan out the next part of the story? How do we add enough to the characters to make them interesting, but not bore the audience over X amount of episodes? Where can we cut the episode off to keep people coming back for next week's installment? What if real-life things interfere with show things, i.e. pregnancy, previous contracts, publicity tours, an unexpected drug-overdose (God forbid). The time that passes in real-life is not the same time that passes in the imaginary world of the show. By necessity, the story must be twisted and adapted to actual events. Real-life has serious consequences on the storytelling.

When it comes down to it, there's no right way to tell a story, and there's certainly not ONE way to tell a story. It all depends on what the best way to tell YOUR story is. How do you want things to develop? How do you want to reveal your characters? What about pacing and structure? What's the best way to present your work to your audience?

I know there has to have been a time when you felt a story worked well in one medium, and not so well in another. I'd love to hear about it, and more importantly what made you feel like one way worked better than the other... *sits back, puts feet up, and sips on some iced tea*

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pitch Live!

Hey y'all! I'm doing yet another contest. I know, I know, contest fatigue and all that... but this was TOO FUN TO PASS UP! It's called Pitch Live! and the fabulous Brenda Drake is throwing it for us.

I had such a great time pitching THE SHIFTING DARKNESS at the Writer's Digest Pitch Slam back in January that I just had to get in on this. Making the video was just as fun as pitching in person, but a lot less nerve-wracking because I could edit out all the mistakes and throw them in a gag reel at the end for fun :o)

Without further ado... here's my video for Pitch Live! filmed right on my porch...

Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy/Thriller
Word Count: 67K

P.S. Monsieur Behbeh is in the video because he was being a melancholy Frenchman and insisting on being held. 
P.P.S. I want to say a special thanks to my bestie Ms. Kelli for being my Director. She's awesome, go follow her!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Baby Story

I know it's pretty pathetic that most of my blog posts start off with how I'm ashamed that it's been so long since I posted anything. You'd think I'd remedy that by posting more often, but the fact is I'm pretty lazy. Well, I was lazy before. Now I'm super busy taking care of my 5 week old baby. The only reason I'm able to sit down and type this up is because my sweet hubby is sitting next to me bouncing our little Peanut in his bouncy chair.

It's truly amazing how such a small thing could require SO much attention. I mean, it's worse than a puppy. And you can put puppies in a crate and go to a movie if you want. You can't do that with a baby. Or at least it's frowned upon in most places.

So anyway, I noticed that a bunch of my pregger pals over on Twitter had given birth a few weeks after me and already posted their birth stories. I am greatly shamed for taking so long to sit down and write this. For those interested... here it is...

The Story of Peanut and How He Came To Be In The World

After about three weeks of Braxton Hicks contractions and false-starts and wondering "Is this it? How about now? These contractions hurt, but do they hurt ENOUGH? How about now?!" I finally got the can't move, can't breathe contractions the doctor had mentioned. It was Sunday, August 19th, 2012 and we took our time about getting to the hospital because the contractions were close together, but not in a set pattern yet. Just as soon as they would get regular, they would start to fade and become irregular again. Having never experienced birth before, I had no clue whether or not anything was happening for real or not. We'd already been in to the hospital once and nothing was going on, but I also didn't want to give birth on the kitchen floor at home either.

Around lunchtime we made our way over toward El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, CA. We ate at Erik's Deli and I had a turkey sandwich with butternut squash soup. It was delicious and I enjoyed it because I didn't know when my next meal would be coming. Instead of fading like they had before, the contractions were still going pretty strong, so I was beginning to think this might finally, FINALLY be the real thing.

Instead of rushing to the hospital in a flurry of activity we went to the grocery store. By this time, the contractions were getting pretty intense, and my hubby was shopping for cheese crackers. And booze. Yes. He bought a bottle of Scotch to take the edge off. Not for me. For him.

So after we perused the aisles for a good half an hour (for you ladies out there who have given birth, you know this sucks because of the whole not being able to stand up or breathe thing whenever a contraction comes). I was especially relieved when we went to check out. But then we had to wait while he went to get some water.

THEN as we were walking out the door he says, "I need a coffee. You want anything?"

I gotta say, we almost ended up having to go to the hospital for his broken nose. However, I have the Self-Control of super hero proportions and refrained from punching him in the face like I really wanted to. It's a good thing I love my hand more than I love his nose. Plus, I was already in pain enough as it was. I didn't need any fractured knuckles to go on top of it.

Finally, after lunch... and a booze run... and a coffee stop, we managed to make our way over to the hospital and get checked in. I was nervous they would send me home again, but after hanging out for about 2 1/2 hours, they decided my blood pressure was on the high side and it was better to keep me there even though I was only at 2 cm dilated. YAY!

Some time around 7pm it was declared that my contractions had evened out and I was officially in full-labor. WOO HOO!

You guys, I was so, so, so, SOOOOO ready to not be pregnant anymore. Even though my pregnancy had pretty much been a breeze compared to a lot of other women, I was pretty miserable. For the life of me, I can't understand those perky girls who are all like "I LOOOOVE being pregnant. Having a human inside of me is the BEST. I would be pregnant ALL THE TIME if I could."

I just want to gag every time I hear that. I'm really glad they had such a great time with it, because I thought it sucked. Let those girls keep up the world's population, because I sure won't be doing it. I had over 25 weeks of morning-sickness (and that was only where I quit keeping count. It was actually longer, but I couldn't bear to keep up with it anymore). Anyone who's had morning-sickness knows that you don't only feel sick in the morning. It's 24/7. That's non-stop puketastic porcelain princess time.  During that time, my husband and I decided to move across the country. I know, right? I made friends with every toilet, trash can, tree, and bush in between Georgia and California. Who's a complete Nutter? I am.

Back to the actual Birth Story...

I was not one of those girls who goes in with a specific birth plan that MUST HAPPEN. I've seen enough episodes of baby birth stories on The Learning Channel to know better. Every birth is different, just like every baby is different. So I had zero expectations, other than to get the baby OUT.

That being said, in our childbirth class it was mentioned that most women only make it to 3cm before asking for an epidural. Me being me, my goal was to make it to at least 4cm. And I did. First, I asked for the drug cocktail that they called the Margarita, because it made you feel like you'd had three Margaritas like, instantly. It was totally awesome for about five minutes, but after about two more contractions I was done. I was all, THANKS I WILL TAKE THE EPIDURAL NOOOOWWW PLEASE!

Au Natural? Ha! No way. Was NOT gonna happen. Even when the nurse said, "You know, after a certain point it doesn't get any worse. If you can tolerate this, you can probably tolerate going all the way."


So the nurse said, "Okay."

And I got the epidural.

And it was AWESOOOOME.

Fast forward from about midnight to somewhere around 6am or so. (At this point it's all super foggy because I was half asleep)

Apparently the little booger was turned face-up instead of face-down and there was much rocking and things happening to try to get him to roll over, but he never did. So it was time to push regardless.

It took me two pushes to get his head down where he was crowning. Which is totally awesome. However, it took THREE AND A HALF HOURS to get the rest of him out. Which was totally NOT awesome.

Luckily, I'm really bad at telling time when I'm well-rested and not drugged and not trying to push a human out of my vadge. So, I didn't know that it took THREE AND A HALF HOURS until after he was already out. I was thinking I'd done it in one hour, maybe about an hour and ten minutes at the MOST.


All I remember about pushing is my sweet, amazing, wonderful (he'd redeemed himself by then) Husband standing next to me, chawing his gum, holding my leg and counting in sets of ten, about 20 gajillion times in a row. At one point the doctor mentioned the baby had hair, and I got REALLY EXCITED. At another point I started falling asleep between contractions. It was probably about the strangest dream I've ever had. Except that it was all real. It still doesn't feel real.

Finally... FINALLY at 7:18am I was able to push him all the way out. It was the best feeling EVAR. Relief, happiness, more relief... it was the best! All I could see when they put him up on my chest was the side of his head and his little arm reaching up in silhouette. He was warm and wet and it was simply amazing.

The doctor was saying things like "full-knot" and "triple-rope" and I had no idea what she was talking about, but I didn't care. I was so glad he was OUT. Later on, I discovered that "full-knot" meant that the umbilical cord was actually tied in a full knot. Not only that, but the cord was then wrapped around my little Peanut's neck THREE times, which is what the "triple-rope" meant. I knew this was a definite possibility because the child was so dang active when he was inside my belly (another reason I couldn't wait to evict him).

After all that, I had a little 7lb 11oz, 20 1/2 inch baby boy with a full head of beautiful dark hair.

The next few weeks were a blur of sleep-deprivation (there's a reason it's outlawed by the Geneva Convention, and if it's not, it SHOULD be) and excitement. Now things are starting to settle down and I'm able to sleep at night without waking up and thinking every cough and whimper that comes from the co-sleeper is the little guy in the throes of death.

He graduated to a bigger diaper earlier this week and I cried. I'm sure it will only be the first of many, many times he will break my heart. At the same time, he makes my heart smile more than it ever has before. All in all, I can say it's been worth it.

Except maybe for the stretch marks...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Another Vlog! or Query Karaoke

As it turns out, this vlogging thing is kind of addictive. Who knew? This is the one where I discuss a few random facts about myself and tell a story about my first query and singing karaoke in front of the cast and crew of the film Hall Pass

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My First Vlog a.k.a. I'm a Dork

Okay, y'all you're going to love this... My FIRST vlog. *hides under desk*

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Gangsta Style!

Well, you know you've made it to the Big Time when someone writes a rap song about you! I'm sure you all are quite anxious to see what the awesomesauce Kels came up with...

I LOVE IT!!!! *Squishes Gangsta Kels*

All right... go follow her! NOW!!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

It's Mascot Time!

Okay, for those of you who have been hiding under a theater seat in order to watch Avengers repeatedly without having to break your budget, or have stopped following me because of how obnoxious my Tweeting has become since The Writers Voice Competition began, the gracious writers who made it into the next round (I alas, was not chosen *sniffle*) have decided to adopt me as a mascot.

The past couple of days I have been bribed, coerced, and flattered by the teams because they all want  me for their mascot. Apparently I may have exhibited some form of hilarity and/or enthusiasm that they recognized and decided would be good to have going for them? I dunno, but THIS IS HAPPENING.

So without further ado...

BID: One can of WHOOP-ASS!
While I appreciate the camaraderie Brenda has shown me throughout this competition (more than she knows), I feel that the rest of her team was lacking enthusiasm in the whole mascot thing. They left it up to her to come up with the bid and beg for my representation. I'm going to assume that it's because she's a slave driver and has them all hard at work on their entries for the next round, because I can respect that. I'd hate to think that it was because of sheer laziness or lack of interest in me representing their team that did it. Still, as a mascot, if y'all don't show enthusiasm for me, I can't show enthusiasm for you. It's a give-and-take sort of thing, you see? I hope you understand, Brenda.

BID: Aladdin's Flying Carpet
I owe a lot to this team, because without them, the idea of me being team mascot might not have happened. I was completely flattered that they enjoyed my Tweets so much and were compassionate enough to want to adopt me for mascot. They came out strong with their bids of showering me with cheese and cake, and a clone of a pretty good looking Portugese soccer player I'd never heard of. However, their lack of research skills proved disappointing (If they'd read my blog about Regis, they'd have known to offer me an Australian hottie instead of a Portugese one). But, y'all rock. Don't forget that!

BID: A zombie pony that will not eat me and give me crime fighting powers, and a Time Machine.
This is where the bids got totally serious. I mean, really... Team Monica completely brought the Thunder with their bid. Not only that, but they also made it official in the comments section of my entry which let me know that they'd been paying attention to the criteria I'd set forth and mentioned several times throughout the bidding process. Also, Monica herself left the nicest note on my blog explaining why I didn't quite make the cut (For reals, it's good to know!) I'm a preschool teacher. I appreciate Good Listeners. Team Monica, seriously, y'all did NOT make this easy... I think if you'd offered me a Zombie Pony that actually WAS a Time Machine, it would have tipped the scales in your favor, because that would have blown my mind!

Bid: A Personalized rap video by Kels Not Chels HERSELF Posted on YouTube for all the world to see.
I was really worried that Team Cupid wasn't even interested at all, because they'd been so quiet about bidding. But, now I see it wasn't because of lack of interest, but because they were busy coming up with the COOLEST IDEA EVAR. Honestly, you guys... you KNOW you want to see this video! 
Because of the competition, and because I want everyone to do a great job, I've decided to let Kels focus on making her writing awesome first. So, I am taking this offer on GOOD FAITH and hope that I can come back and post the debut of Kels' own rap video featuring MOI no later than:

SATURDAY MAY 19th 2012

It's out there, Kels. Don't let us down! You do NOT want to disappoint a Pregnant Aries. Just sayin'. 

Doing this mascot bidding thing was a lot of fun and I got a little bit of a glimpse into how difficult it was for the judges to choose their teams. We're all good people here, working toward the common goal of getting published. We all think OUR idea is the BEST idea, and that is how it SHOULD be. If we weren't in love with our story and our characters, there would be no passion in our writing and the readers would notice. 

That being said, though I choose to be mascot for TEAM CUPIDS LC and cheer my enthusiastic little booty off for them, I firmly reserve the right to cheer for any and all AWESOMENESS that I see, because Awesomeness deserves to be recognized when Awesomeness happens!

I'd also like to say thank you to all the really cool new friends I've made through this experience. It's turned into a great community that I'm terribly excited to be a part of. If anyone needs an extra eye for their work, or a shoulder to cry on, or a hand to HIGH FIVE, I'll be right here for ya ;o)


Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Time I Almost Got Regis Philbin Hit By A Cab

Hey y'all! In order to distract myself from The Writer's Voice Contest I've decided to tell you about the time I nearly got Regis Philbin killed.

It wasn't on purpose, and it might not have been entirely my fault... well... how about I tell you the story and let you decide for yourself?

This happened waaaay back a billion years ago in 2001. I was a freshman at Pace University in New York City and best buds with my next door neighbor in the dorm. Now, I just tell everybody we were actual roommates because I really spent more time over there with her than in my own room*.

So, anyway. My next door neighbor had a huge crush on Hugh Jackman. I was head-over-heels for Heath Ledger (we both liked our Aussies!) And it turned out that Hugh Jackman was in town doing a press tour for his new movie with Ashley Judd Someone Like You. OF COURSE we had to go see him!

We even SKIPPED CLASS to do it. I know. I'd never, ever skipped a class ever. I didn't know college was different and you could show up whenever. It was a big deal. I'm a nerd. Whatevs.

My pal woke me up as she did every morning, by blasting her radio through the wall right next to my head and throwing a rubber ball just like Toby Zeigler on "The West Wing".

We did our hair and make-up and got all pretty because we just KNEW that Hugh Jackman would see us and fall madly in love with my friend. And, because Hugh Jackman is from Australia and so was Heath Ledger and since they were both actors they were automatically best friends so Hugh would introduce me to Heath who would then fall madly in love with me and they would be each other's best men at our weddings and we would all live happily ever after drinking champagne in our yachts and snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef.

By the time the subway ride was over and we made it uptown to the Live! With Regis and Kelly studio we had it all worked out. IT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN.

There was only us and a couple of other stalkers fans waiting so it was super easy to get stand-by tickets. While we were waiting outside to be called and my friend and I were thinking of what we were going to name our beautiful Australian children, I glanced across the street and saw Regis Philbin at the corner carrying a briefcase.

I poked my friend and said, "Hey! Look! It's Regis!"

Now, you have to remember, this was back in the hey day when Regis was all famous from doing his show with Kelly Ripa and also "Who Wants to be a Millionaire", you know, when it was still cool and Meredith Viera hadn't made it lame yet (I saw her too, later that same day over at The View, but that's Part 2 of this adventure)

For those of you around then, remember how fun it was to yell at your friends "HEY REEG!!" every time you saw them? Yeah. There I was watching the ACTUAL Regis Philbin in the FLESH come TOWARDS ME. So, of course 19 year-old Sarey thought it would be absolutely HYSTERICAL to scream that very thing at him.

He was way across the street.

He wouldn't see me.

There were other people around.

Even if he knew what direction I yelled from, he wouldn't know it was actually me.

So I turned to my friend and said, "Should I yell HEY REEG at him?"

She cracked up and said, "I dare you!"

It was a DARE. What was I supposed to do?

I sucked in a deep breath and yelled out "HEEEEY REEEEEG!!!"

Right when he was smack in the middle of the crosswalk.

And he stopped and looked around.

Right. In the middle. Of the street.

He stayed there, trying to figure out who yelled at him. My friend and I ducked for cover, but there was nowhere to go, so we just sort of held on to each other as the light changed.


A monstrous Yellow Cab revved up its engine and started to go.

I swear y'all, time stopped. It came SOCLOSE to running right over the poor man. I thought for sure he was a total gonner.

But just in time he got out of the way and ran to the curb.

When he got to our side of the street he looked at me and said, "Was that you? You coulda got me killed!"

I seriously thought about throwing myself right out in front of traffic right then and there. I was mortified. I couldn't even say anything. I watched him fix his coat and stroll right into the studio without a second glance.

I turned to my friend and we stared at each other for at least thirty seconds before I said, "I almost got Regis Philbin killed."

She nodded slowly.

"That was SO COOL!" she said.

And we erupted into a bouncing mess of girly squeals.

"Pfft," I said. "Everybody said I wouldn't actually meet anybody famous in New York. As if!"

And that was the time I almost got Regis Philbin killed by a cab.

*Takes bow*

Stay tuned for more of my adventures and tales with famous people. I know y'all want to hear about what it was like to touch Hugh Jackman (not like THAT. Get your minds out of the gutter people! WhatEVER, I shook his hand.) I can't make any promises as to when I'll post, but now that I know more people are following this than my cousin (Hi Holley!) I'll be more likely to try and keep you entertained. Feel free to throw rotten tomatoes my way if you haven't heard from me in awhile!


*Side Note: My ACTUAL roommate was a sex crazed maniac and it always smelled gross in there. She even kept a giant cucumber in the mini-fridge. I didn't ask questions, but I really hope she used a condom. Bless her.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Writer's Voice Contest

I've always been a serious believer in the power of words. Obviously. I'm a writer.

*sips tea and settles in to rocking chair*

But, for serious y'all, words are powerful, and saying things out loud tends to make them happen. I keep telling my husband this because he has a way of speaking things into reality like no one I've ever seen before. It's a sight to behold.

Not long ago, I was discussing an idea with my friends while I was watching The Voice, saying how cool it would be if there was something like the show but for writers instead of singers...


The lovely people over at Cupid's Literary Connection, Brenda Drake Writes, Love YA, and Mother. Write. (Repeat.) are doing EXACTLY THAT THING!

See? Words = Power.

Not only that, but I totally snagged a spot and I'm ENTERED as #44. I can't wait to show off the query and first 250 words of my 65, 000 word Urban Fantasy THE SHIFTING DARKNESS. So here it is...


Twenty-four year old Sidney Lake doesn’t know if aliens or the Men in Black exist, but she does know the supernatural world is alive and kicking right under the noses of busy New Yorkers. For Sidney, hunting down the monsters with her partner Graham Williams is as commonplace as buying a cup of coffee and the morning newspaper from the cart on the corner. 
When a strange corpse is found on an abandoned subway platform and a board member conjures a demon he can’t control, it’s Sidney’s job to keep those caffeinated New Yorkers focused on their morning crossword puzzle instead of what’s going on around them.
While investigating the origins of the John Doe from the subway platform, Sidney gets attacked by two creatures that are supposed to have been extinct for centuries. Before she can manage to put a bullet through its head, one of the creatures sinks its teeth into her shoulder. Sidney wins the fight, but now her own humanity is called into question.
She turns to her boss, mentor, and sometimes lover, Mitch Harris for help and comfort. Mitch doesn’t have all the answers, but he knows someone who might. Mr. Dimitrius has information about what and who Sidney is, but it’s vastly different from anything she could have imagined. 


She smelled it before she saw it. Like always, the stink of the crime scene crept ahead of the gory view itself and Sidney Lake knew this one was bad. The meaty smell of torn flesh, the copper scent of blood mixed with the tinge of electricity buzzing from the third rail of the subway tracks below, the stink of an opened bowel swirled with the filth of scavenging rats. It all made Sidney very glad she hadn’t had time for breakfast when she’d gotten the call.

“Sorry about the late hour, Sidney,” Dr. Tom Fellows said. The New York City Medical Examiner lifted the yellow tape marking off the crime scene and Sidney ducked under.

“It’s not late anymore. It’s early,” Sidney said, and gave him a half smile to let him know she didn’t mind.

Tom would have made a good linebacker thirty years ago, if he’d been taller. Instead, he’d chosen the lab over sports. Now his shoulders had a curve to them that never seemed to go away. A result of decades of being hunched over a table dissecting human cadavers for a living.

She never saw Tom so happy as when he’d discovered something incredible in the lab, Something no one else had seen before, which happened often in their line of work. 

“Been down here too long.” The medical examiner removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes. Despite his tiredness, he was buzzing with that energy he got when there was something big going on. 

“What have you got?” Sidney asked. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Lucky Seven Meme

I got tagged in this cool beans post by the loverly Mindee Arnett!

I know it's been more than the week I promised since I posted last (more like a month really *cringes*) but I just moved into a new house so I've got a lot of Toddlers & Tiaras to watch boxes to unpack. I'm baking a baby. And on top of all that, my dog is hobbling around with a sprained shoulder. All that is, like, super exhausting, okay? So please forgive me.

Anywho, this was a fun post, and I need a nap   it was fast and easy, so I had to put it up. Plus, how can I say no to someone as super awesome and adorable and sweet and kind as Mindee?

Here are the rules for the Lucky Seven Meme:

*Go to page 77 of your current MS/WIP

*Go to line 7

*Copy down the next 7 lines (sentences or paragraphs) and post them exactly as they're written. No cheating.

*Tag 7 authors

*Let them know

Here you have it! Drum roll please.... the 7 lines from page 77 of THE SHIFTING DARKNESS:

     “Ow.” Mitch shook his hand out of Sidney's vice grip. Four red crescent marks appeared on the back of his hand where her short fingernails dug into his skin. He whispered through his teeth, “What’s wrong with you?”
     “Sorry,” she mouthed the word back at him. There was nothing more she could do, they’d caught up to Dimitrius in his office.
     “Ms. Lake, I understand you had quite a harrowing experience.” Dimitrius glanced at the bandage on her neck. “I am grateful you have come to speak with me about it, despite this being a fresh trauma. Please, do sit down.”

All right! TAG You're it...

I know you fabulous ladies are super duper busy and have lives and are writing IMPORTANT THINGS, so please don't feel obligated to participate! Just know that the gnomes are watching you... and waiting. That is all.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Famous People and Grizzly Bears

I've been trying and trying to come up with an idea for the next post on my blog, which is why it's been awhile since I posted.

Sorry about that. *pours tea*

I'd like to post once a week, but really, the ideas come few and far between and I've gotta be at least a little entertaining because otherwise y'all won't come back. I really want you to come back! *snuggles up on porch swing*

So, I finally came up with my NEXT IDEA when I was over on Twitter chatting with Jessica Negron (follow her, she's awesomesauce) about TWISTER and our mutual admiration for the genius of Phillip Seymour Hoffman. I told her Twister is the first time I ever saw PSH and you remember the great ones like that because they tend to make a big impression.

**Side Note: The first time I ever laid eyes on Samuel L. Jackson was in JURASSIC PARK and I fell in love with him for ALL TIME when he said...

Who didn't think that was freakin' BADASS, right?! :End Side Note**

Back to the thing about Philip Seymour Hoffman. Y'all hang with me, I SWEAR there's a point to this. In my last post I mentioned that Mr. Yummy Eyes himself, Jake Gyllenhaal looked right at me and said, "Hi" at which point I may or may not have melted into a puddle at his feet and dripped into the sewer outside the Tennessee Theatre. 


There was melting involved. 

Fo shiz.

Because, how can you NOT melt when Jake Gyllenhaal is six inches away from your face with THOSE EYES and saying words to you? 

Honestly, I don't know how Laura Dern survived doing OCTOBER SKY with him. And Laura Dern was in Jurassic Park which means I'm only two degrees from HOLD ON TO YOUR BUTTS!

Oh. Right. Philip Seymour Hoffman. And my point.... there IS one, I swear.

I told Jessica that I was lucky enough to get to see PSH LIVE way back when he did Chekhov's The Seagull in Central Park for NYC's Shakespeare in the Park series. (Though, why they didn't call it Chekhov in the Park, I'll never know. There was no Shakespeare involved. Whatever.) 

I mentioned that after the play when my boyfriend (he was mah boyfriend back then, but now he's my hubbers: see previous post) and I were walking back to the subway, we ran into John Goodman. Also fabulous. And when I say ran into, I mean like, literally. He's so ginormous (in a Grizzly Bear kind of way) how can you NOT smack right into him? He's like the Empire State Building with legs!

So I mustered up all of the guts I had when I was 19, which really wasn't much at all, but apparently it was enough to say, 

"I really liked the play, Mr. Goodman!" In my tiny squeaky nervous 19 year old Sarey voice.

Mr. Goodman replied in his Grizzly Bear voice, "Well, thanks! This is my exit, see you around!" 

Then he gave me a whack on the back with his GIANT (and when I say GIANT, I mean the man's hand covered my ENTIRE back, shoulder to shoulder. ALL.THE.WAY.) He made my knees buckle and I nearly kissed pavement, but I held my own and managed not to die. Or fall over. Because I would have been mortified, and who wants to be mortified in front of John Goodman and a bunch of strangers? Not 19 year old Sarey that's for sure.

Now I know what it's like to be pawed by an actual Grizzly Bear. 


Jessica told me that she's never met any famous people. It got me thinking. I've actually stalked encountered quite a few famous people. Not just stalked SEEN them from a distance. But I've shaken hands with them, or been Grizzly pawed by them, or actually looked into their eyes and carried on a conversation.

So, I'll tell you what. If you stick around, I'll have another story and some more tea for you next week. And the week after. And after that too. And so on, until I've exhausted all of my famous people encounters. What do you think about that?

Do we have a deal?

Rock on! See you next week....

*High five*

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Finding The One

When I was laying awake this morning at 3:30 staring at the little green light on the smoke detector, I started thinking about how much trying to find a literary agent is like dating.
Just so you know, I'm not the world's foremost expert on dating. I got my first boyfriend when I was fifteen and it went a little something like this:


Me: So, did you know everybody thinks we're going out?
Him: Really?
Me: Yeah, we hang out all the time. I guess they think we're going out.
Him: We do hang out a lot.
Me: Yeah. You're cool.
Him: You're cool too.
Me: So, you wanna go out?
Him: Sure.
Me: Cool. 
(Awkward silence)
Me: So we're going out then?
Him: Yeah. I guess.
Me: Want to go see Titanic or something?
Him: I've seen it three times already. Let's go Friday!


We went to Titanic. We held hands. I cried when Rose pried Jack's cold dead hand from hers and watched him sink into the icy depths of the Northern Atlantic. (By the way, why did he SINK if he was frozen? I thought ice floated...whatever) I turned to my "boyfriend" and saw him doing the Ugly Cry. Bless him.

We went to a private Christian school. The only thing I knew at age fifteen was that Gay was my mom's name. (She's a twin. Fay and Gay. It was 1941 when my Grandmother named them and it meant something different back then)

We didn't "go out" for long. We didn't even kiss. But we're still friends to this day. I like him but not LIKE THAT.

At age sixteen, I met a cute guy when I was an extra on the set of October Sky. Not Jake Gyllenhaal. Though, he DID say hi to me once, and OH THOSE EYES! You have NO idea. Anyway, he threw me up against the wall and gave me the most AMAZING First Kiss in the history of First Kisses. 

The cute guy, not Jake Gyllenhaal. 

After a kiss like that, I forgot all about Jake's eyes and it was all over. We dated for seven years before I married him. I've successfully navigated my 29 years without ACTUALLY having to date anyone. 

But, I've seen EVERY Nora Ephron, Rob Reiner, and Penny Marshall film that exists. I consider myself at least somewhat educated on the subject of dating and romance. 


For anyone who's written a book, you know it's the most special thing in the world and you want to find someone to sell it who will ALSO think it's the most special thing in the world. You're excited. You're putting yourself OUT there. The book is an extension of your soul and therefore you are putting your own self out there and facing the rejection that will inevitably come. See? Just like dating. 

There are different ways to find THE ONE. This one person who will love you (or your book) as much as you (should) love yourself (and your book). 


You've done all the research, you've got recommendations from your friends who have been out there in the world of dating (agent searching) and you know you're ready to look. You're ready to put yourself OUT THERE and let everyone know you're available. So you search the web and find a person who seems to like the same sort of things you have to offer. You both like Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain. You get in touch with him or her and send out your query. You think it goes really well, but you wait for a second call, an email, a text. ANYTHING. 

...But you never hear back.

In the world of agents, sometimes no response means NO. It's the worst kind of rejection because you're always left wondering. What did I do WRONG!? Why don't you LOVE ME!? Did I eat the cheesecake too fast? You said you didn't want any! Are you mad that I didn't give you a bite? What do you WANT FROM ME! And you sit on your bed and cry big salty tears into your Ben & Jerry's, but it's okay because it just makes the caramel swirl taste better.

Then you get over it and you're ready to try again.

So you go on another date. This time, you like each other. You get along well. He or she sends you a text afterward saying, "Had a great time. Let's do this again. How about sushi next Saturday?"

And you LOVE SUSHI so you say, "Sure, sounds great! See you at 8!"

This is what I like to call...


YAY! Your query was interesting enough to get an agent wanting more! Usually the agents will request you add in a few pages to the body of an email (NEVER ATTACH ANYTHING UNLESS THEY ASK! BE WARNED! THEY WILL DELETE IT!) just in case your ability to condense 70k words into four paragraphs isn't quite up to par (it's friggin hard, isn't it!? GAW!) You impressed your date with your charming laugh and low cut dress. 

Saturday arrives and you go out on that second date. You meet for sushi. You send out those first five chapters. But it turns out your FAVORITE kind of sushi is the Dancing Eel Roll with EXTRA BBQ Eel sauce and seaweed salad on the side. Only, your date is more of a California roll kind of chick. It's not really what either one of you expected. You part ways, amiably, at the end of the night, but the magic just wasn't there. It's disappointing, but not discouraging enough to hit up the Ben & Jerry's again.

When you get home and kick off your shoes, you're feeling downtrodden. You sit down to check your email. Lo and Behold. There's a cheerful little chime and it's announced: YOU'VE GOT MAIL! (I told you, Norah Ephron)

Guess what!? You've got ANOTHER DATE. And THIS agent wants to read your ENTIRE MANUSCRIPT!!! YES!!!

You've received what the literary world refers to as...


After you do a few (or twelve) cartwheels around your living room and scare the shit out of your dog with the volume of your screaming, you run to the bathroom to shave your legs and brush your teeth. At the same time. Exactly like Michelle Pfeiffer did in One Fine Day when she wanted to make out with George Clooney. 

Your date is COMING OVER. He or she wants to see EVERYTHING you have to offer. So you dash around like a squirrel on crack, trying to make everything perfect. You shove the dirty laundry under the bed. Clear out last night's take-out containers. Light some candles for MOOD.

And you click SEND.

Then you wait.

...and wait...



You click *refresh* a hundred million times. You don't DARE leave in case you miss the reply. You're ready. You want this. You want this SO BAAAAD!

Then you look at the clock and realize only five minutes has passed. 


Did he get stuck on the subway? 

Is he flying in from Albuquerque and the plane was delayed? 

You check Twitter. 

He's watching Downton Abbey? What? He's supposed to be on the way to your apartment. The candles are burning! Literally! Why is he watching Downton Abbey when he's SUPPOSED to be reading your MANUSCRIPT!

So your head explodes.

It takes you hours to clean up the mess. Then you hit up the Ben & Jerry's and throw in Titanic and weep some more. "I'll never let go, Jack! I'LL NEVER LET GO!" 

And there's a knock on your door.

It's your date.

It's 2 am and you're in your bathrobe and your mascara is running and there's Whirled Peas smeared across your face but HE'S THERE! FINALLY!

So you invite him in.

Only he says, "You know. This isn't going to work. I like you. A LOT. You're a great person. Very talented. You have merit. But you just don't fit my list. It's not you. It's me. Really."


Well, okay.

At least he was nice about it. 

And he DID say you have merit. You have a good book. It just wasn't for him. That's good right? He LIKED it. Maybe there's someone out there who will LOVE IT!

So you send out some more queries. You wrote this book. You put time and energy and sweat and BLOOD into it for Pete's sake. How can you stop after someone said it has MERIT?

Then your friend calls you up and asks if you want to go speed dating with her. You think. Sure. Why not? Couldn't hurt.


You know you're ready for this. You're a REAL writer. Your book is finished. It's all polished and shiny and REAL agent says it has MERIT. So you decide to hit up a Writer's Conference. A really good one in New York City! There's going to be 60 REAL LIVE AGENTS there for you to pitch your book to. You've practiced your pitch. You've honed it down to 48 SECONDS. You are SO READY!

The Pitch Slam is mass chaos. The line is HUGE. The agents are ready and the doors open. For three whole hours you get to hit up as many agents as you can manage. For three whole minutes you get to sit down in front of an agent and receive his or her UNDIVIDED ATTENTION!

 You want them to love your book as much as you do, because after all, it has MERIT.

You're as ready as you can be and the line creeeeeeeeeeps forward. Before you know it, the bell dings and it's YOUR TURN.

What if you open your mouth and no sound comes out? What if it's like that dream where you're naked in the cafeteria and everybody's laughing and you scream at them to STOP! only the louder you scream the less sound you make? What if you THROW UP ON THE AGENT!

But none of that happens. You're prepared. You glance down at your notes once or twice, but you maintain eye contact and your face only twitches a teensy bit. Your knees are knocking under the table, but it's okay, because you're PITCHING TO A REAL AGENT.

Then he interrupts you and asks a question. You answer it, and what comes out of your mouth is even more awesome than anything you could have prepared beforehand. This is YOUR book. You KNOW these characters better than ANYONE. You LOVE this book and you've been waiting SO LONG to talk out loud about it to anyone who will listen. This is your CHANCE!

You have no idea what you said by the end of it, but it was GOOD because he's slipping you a card across the table and saying, "I'd like to see more." But you don't actually hear the words because the blood is rushing through your ears (is this what a stroke feels like?), but he said YES!

YOU DID IT! You got through your FIRST PITCH. You didn't die! You didn't fall into the abyss! And he said MORE!!!!

You stand in line again and again and again and again, and more agents give you more cards and say MORE!

By the time the three hours is up, you're a total PRO. You could waltz right up to the President of the United States and pitch him your book. No problem!


So you send out the requested pages....

and wait....

...and wait.... 

and wait...

....and.... wait... 

and *refresh*



... and watch more Titanic...

"I'll never let go!"

... then... when you're wading through the sea of empty Ben & Jerry's containers on your bedroom floor and you've gained 10 pounds... and you can quote every single word of every single Norah Ephron movie... and you've watched so much HGTV that you're pretty sure you should change careers and be an interior designer AND a real estate agent....

You click *refresh* 




...and it's there....

A little blue box with a white bow.

You open it up and there's a diamond the size of the Rockefeller Skating rink inside.

He gets on one knee and says, "I love it."

Those three little words you've been waiting your whole writing career to hear.

Of course you say, "YES!"

And it's perfect! And wonderful! And rose petals and glitter fall from rainbow clouds overhead! And you ride away on a Unicorn into the Great Beyond! Together. Forever.

Yes. It is EXACTLY like that.





Then come the edits.

Have you ever seen Tom Hanks in The Money Pit

Yeah. That.