Thursday, February 28, 2013

Farewell, Key Lime

As those of you who read this blog know, I have certain food obsessions.  Some of these include--

1.  Mexican Coke
2.  Red Velvet anything
3.  Brach's Malted Milk Easter Eggs (obv)
4.  Cupcakes
5.  Donuts sometimes (although this is seasonal)
6.  Chile rellenos
7.  Potato salad (I should possibly put this one at the top of my list)
8.  Cole slaw
9.  Fish and chips
10. Fries in general
11. Raisin-filled cookies (the old ZCMI bakery made especially good ones--and also they had good hot dogs, which doesn't do any of us a damn bit of good now)
12.  Rum bars
13.  Key lime pie

Okay.  A couple of thoughts before I get to my main point.  I look at this list and  see now that I might die of a stroke, after which I'll die of a heart attack.  Also, I always say I don't have a Sweet Tooth like TRQ, but really?

Human beings.  We're all about kidding ourselves.

Anyway, that's my list.  And I will drive long distances to find and/or sample said items on said list.  Even when I know that my heart will be broken, as is always the case with red velvet and often the case with raisin-filled cookies.  But whatever.

I may have to drop #13 off my list, however.  When I was in St. George, I decided to mix up my pie-eating regimen.  Instead of only ordering rhubarb pie at Croshaw's, I decided to buy a key lime pie this time around.  So I did.  A whole one, because you can't buy just one slice of key lime there.  I was a little afraid to do this, because I feared I might eat the whole thing.  By myself.  Which I did.  And it was, for the record, excellent key lime pie.

Only here's what happened.  I got dropped with the stomach flu that night--it was the flu, not just the result of overeating (I am an expert on this front)--and let me just say that the key lime pie and I revisited each other for the next 24 hours.  A lot.  And . . . wow.  I never want to make the acquaintance of another key lime pie for as long as I live.  Which makes me sort of sad.

It was a good long run.  Like Frazier.  Or Karl Malone and John Stockton.  Or Queen Elizabeth II.  Who's still running, now that I think about it.

R.I.P. Key lime pie.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Look What I Just Found on My Front Porch!

Words are not necessary.

Book signing this weekend


I'll be signing books at the Barnes and Noble in Sandy (10180 South State) this Saturday, March 1 from, 1-3.  It's an authorpalooza thing, so there will a lot of us that customers will try not to make eye contact with so they won't feel obligated to buy our books.


But not really!

I appreciate being invited, and the PR person at that particular store (Michelle Costello Sargent) does a lovely job with events.  Signings, though, can have their share of awkward moments.  I am always being asked by customers where the bathroom is or if we have any cookbooks.  In Spanish.  And why don't I write books like James Dashner, because I would certainly be more popular with the kids if I wrote books like James Dashner.

That sort of thing.

Still.  It's a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  I'll be out and about instead of at home, sitting in front of the TV watching Saturday programming, which mostly consists of stuff like Ice Dancing competitions held in remote European cities.

See you there.  (At B and N.)  (Not in remote European cities.)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Species confusion

So I have two dogs and two cats.  Also two parakeets and a parrot, although the birds don't figure into this story.  THIS story is about the dogs and the cats.

Anyway.  The two dogs get along with each other.

The two dogs get along with the two cats.

The two cats get along with the two dogs.

The two cats do NOT get along with each other.

It's been an interesting dynamic to watch.  The dogs will be sitting in the family room, emitting dog smells, when one of the cats saunters in and goes, "Yo.  Sup, Home Slices?"  And then much sniffing of front and end parts commences before they all collapse in a pile of pet to watch TV together.


When the two cats spy each other, they growl and go into attack mode and send feathers flying.  Which means I have cat feathers in my house.  Everywhere.

For years I've wondered why this happens.  And then it occurred to me.  Both of my cats think they're dogs, which means they are morally obligated to take out the cat in the room, i.e. each other.

And guess what?  I do not have enough money for all the therapy it would take for these cats to figure out who they really are.

Monday, February 25, 2013

WIFYR 2013

Hey, here's a link to a wonderful conference--WIFYR 2013.   I've taught at this conference a number of times, and I always walk away feeling like I've learned something new.

If you've been, feel free to post your impressions of the conference here.  And if you were taking my novel-writing class, what kind of guidance would you particularly like?


Sunday, February 24, 2013


Yup.  I've mostly taken the party over to facebook.


. . . does not disappoint.  I know.  Everybody's on the Adele bandwagon.  But I think she's just great.  And I love her retro makeup, too.  She reminds me a lot of Dusty Springfield.  Go listen to "Son of a Preacher Man" or "The Look of Love," and you'll see what I mean.

Helena BC

Oh, Helena.  I remember when I first met you.  You were the fetching heroine of A ROOM WITH A VIEW.

Not that you can play "fetching" for the rest of your life.  And clearly you didn't want to.  But when did you get so birds-build-nests-in-my-hair-bat-s**t-crazy?

Catherine Zeta-Jones

. . . kind of bugs me, partly because she has a hyphen in her name.  But she's an honest-to-goodness-Ethel-Merman-Gypsy-Rose-Lee-Broadway-belting type.  And I respect that.

I did, however, see Argo

And it was awesome.  You can't not love a film with a Led Zeppelin soundtrack.  Also.  Who knew that Tehran looks so much like Salt Lake City?

And while we're at it . . .

your fave theme song?

Who is your favorite James Bond?

Tell me yours and I'll tell you mine.

I cannot tell a lie

I think Channing Tatum is adorable.

Samuel L Jackson's jacket

A nice visual, don't you think?

I can imagine him smoking a pipe and solving crimes in elegant country homes wearing that thing.

I also didn't see Life of Pi

Should I?

Claudio Miranda

Dude has serious hair.


Clooney deserved that joke re his taste in younger and younger women . . .

I didn't see Les Mis

Should I?



I will

always love Paul Rudd.

"Hey, James Bond, in America we drive on the right side of the road."

Here comes the best supporting actor award

What an awesome field.  Kinda pulling for Robert de Niro.  What about you?

It's Christoph Waltz.   So . . . okay then.

What do you think of the opening act so far?

I kinda think Seth Macfarlane looks like an Osmond.  Except through the teeth.


Good Argo joke, Seth.  I'll give you that!


Stars.  Jumping off a high dive.  Is that a reality show that's gonna have legs?

(BTW, Melissa, your brothers witnessed the first time I ever went off a high dive.  Vegas.  At the Stardust hotel.  Sometime in the 60's.  Traumatizing.)

Renee Zellwetter

I mean Zellwegger, of course.  That was a typo.  But an amusing one, I think you'll agree.

Anyway.  She doesn't look like herself.   You know how I like her best?  A little heavier, ala Bridget Jones.  And who could resist Colin Firth in the movie?  LOVED HIM IN HIS CHRISTMAS JUMPER!

Why are the producers

wearing twin outfits?  GUYS!  YOU ARE NOT THE ROCKETTES!


I do think Daniel Day-Lewis is awesome.  And is that his wife?  She looks lovely--really beautiful in a way that real people look beautiful.

What Anne Hathaway thought

K.C.  What are you most excited about tonight?

A.H.  That I'm not hosting tonight with Lord of the Bored, aka James Franco.

I want to play

"Unicorn Apocalypse."

I would probably be awesome at it.

George Clooney

I'm kind of over him, I think, although I still quote O, BROTHER on a regular basis.



The end.

How would it be?

To say like Jennifer Garner, "Gucci drew this up for me . . . "

And yet she still manages to be so down-to-earth.  Like you could call her up and say, "Hey, wanna go get a pork salad with me at Cafe Rio tomorrow?"

jennifer aniston

It's nice to see her in something other than black.    I like a wide-angle shot of the dress better than the up close look at the bodice.  GREAT JOOLS!

Favorite dresses so far?

They're asking for favorite dress votes.  Who do you vote for?  I like the giantess Jennifer Lawrence's dress.  Also Jessica Chastain's.

And will we see Kristen Stewart's underwear?  She's been showing a lot of underwear this past year.   Check in with, look up a few posts about K-Stew and you'll see what I mean.


Why are we interviewing Harry Potter again?

Dear My Sons

If you were nominated for an Oscar, would you take ME as your date?  Like Chris?  And Bradley?

(Actually, I hope you'd take your wives.  And me.)

Not usually a blue person

But Robin Roberts' dress is really, really pretty, don't you think?  And touchable.


Speaking of giantesses

Charlize Theron.

Okay.  I want to make clear that I am not prejudiced against giantesses.  I just notice them.  Because I am a short person.


AND HE TOOK HIS MOM TO THE OSCARS FOR HIS DATE!  If I were there I would so photo-bomb this moment.

(Speak some French for us, Bradley Cooper.)

Watching this google thing

. . .  makes me realize I just didn't see enough movies this year.

Wait.  Go back.  I want to see Bradley Cooper in his DeShawn Jackson jersey again.


Liev looks quite handsome, glowering there next to Naomi Watts, don't you think?


I didn't recognize Harry Potter w/o his glasses.  My son saw him do a nude scene in a London play.  So now my son knows what he looks like w/o glasses AND clothes.

Jennifer Lawrence


(And I like that K.C. just said, "I really look up to you.")


Louise Plummer made an interesting comment to me about the Oscars:  in their eagerness to attract young viewers (hence the Seth Ugh Macfarlane choice), the show's producers seem to have forgotten that young viewers don't actually care that much about the Oscars.  It's not their deal.

They don't remember watching Barbra Streisand saying, "Hello, Gorgeous," or George C. Scott sending a Native American woman to protest the Academy for giving him the prize or Cher, in towering Vegas Show Girl headgear, telling everyone that she'd made an effort to dress like a serious actress.  

They don't have an institutional memory of these moments.   And they don't care.

Meanwhile, people who've watched the Oscars forever (like TRQ, for instance) feel left out.

Interesting theory, right?

Okay.  Gentlemen (and Ladies), start your engines . . .

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A column and a case where being overly conscientious bit me in the rear

So here's this week's column wherein I write about the wrestling.

When I first wrote the column, I referred to the old pro wrestler Krusher Kowalski.

But THEN--because I sometimes get details wrong when I do the memory thing--I got online and found INSTEAD a lot of stuff about Killer Kowalski.

So THEN I thought to myself, "Hmmmm.  I must have remembered wrong."

So THEN, because I am a responsible, highly decorated columnist (said decorations mostly being earrings), I changed the name.

So THEN I starting hearing from readers saying, "But wasn't it Krusher?"

So THEN I did a little more internet digging.

And YES.  It was Krusher.  Just like I originally thought it was.

I want to draw a moral from all this--something like "Trust your gut, because you're smarter than you think you are."

But really the only true moral I can draw is this--his name was Krusher.  Not Killer.

Friday, February 22, 2013

St. George: a retrospective (long and boring post--feel free to skip)

Sometime last fall I got the idea that I could help manage my winter blues thing by heading south for awhile.  And also by eating a lot of cupcakes.  To that end I planned a St. George getaway in February.  

And ate a lot of cupcakes.

I've been down here for a little over two weeks--longer, actually, than I'd thought I be.  That last time I stayed alone for a spell in S.G. was over ten years ago while I was revising drafts of CHARLOTTE'S ROSE.  (I can't believe that book--the book I thought would alter the course of my career--is so old now.)  I remember leaving town then, thinking "I can't stay alone this long ever again, because I get weird.  I eat big steaks by myself at The Outback Restaurant and don't care if I drool."

You know.  That sort of thing.

This time, though, was different.  Not saying I haven't gotten a little strange.  But it's helped to have the dogs and (yes) one of the cats here to keep me company.  They stop me from getting too lost in my own head.  And while I didn't exercise or read or even write as much as I thought I would (although I certainly did keep up on the pie-eating front), I was productive.   Among other things I . . .

1.  Read the lovely PRINCE OF THE CLOUDS, given to me by the lovely John Merritt.
2.  Read an awesomely wonderful and strange collection of short stories by Etgar Keret, loaned to me by the fab Jake Parkinson--also dipped into an ARC called CARRY ON, WARRIOR that Amazing Anne left in my TKE box and into Susan Howe's new collection of poems called SALT.
3.   Read a manuscript by the talented Ann Dee Ellis.
4.  Read a disappointing mystery by Alan Bradley.
5.  Read the local newspaper, which is always a pleasure.
6.  Ran nearly every day.
7.  Took long, satisfying walks and heard frogs.
8.  Swam, trying hard not to think about all the stuff that ends up in public pools.
9.  Urged my agent to send a manuscript off to an editor I used to work with.
10. Contacted one of my favorite illustrators about a proposed project (he turned me down but it was nice to be in touch).
11. Wrote some scenes.
12. Forced myself to make my outline more coherent.
13. In fact, finished (mostly) that outline.
14. Wrote a synopsis so I could send out a partial on the book.
15.  But decided, instead, to just finish the book and make it as good as I can.
16.  Decided to stop being afraid of failing.
17.  Good luck with that one!
18.  But still.
19.  Blogged every day.  Even if I had to do it in the MacDo's parking lot.
20.  Watched "The Rockford Files" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"--two of the best series ever.

One of the most useful things that happened here was this--I realized I really and truly can't write all day long.  When I was a young mom/writer/dreamer, I used to fantasize about getting huge chunks of time where I could do nothing but write for hours and hours and hours on end like Alexander Solschenizyn in the Vermont woods.

But as it turns out I hit a real point of diminishing returns after four hours.  The good news is that I can make four hours happen in my real life.  I don't have to hole up in St. George.  Or the Vermont woods.

Thanks for listening.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Becky's daughter

Meet the fabulous Emma Demma!  This is Becky's oldest daughter with two of her equally fabulous babies (she has three . . . with another on the way).  Emma is funny, fair-minded, and feisty.  Did I mention she's also super smart?   And as you can see from this impromptu picture, she has the best smile.  Ever.  MOVE OVER, JULIA ROBERTS!  YOU ARE FINISHED!

  Spend an hour in her company (like I did today), and you'll love her as much as I do.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013



I am freaking genius.

Oh, cake pop!

Okay.  First.  I don't know why there's an arrow right in the middle of that photo.  I didn't mean to make a movie starring a cake pop.  Who would want to watch a movie like that?  Did I push the wrong button on my camera?  Because all I wanted was a regular, normal picture so I could write a rant about cake pops which goes like this:

Dear Cake Pop,

What are you anyway?  A cake?  Or a lollipop?

 I'll tell you what you are.

You are neither cake nor lollipop.  Fish nor fowl.  Tiger nor lion.  Which would at least make you a liger.  Like Shasta.  Who used to be at the Hogle Zoo.  Even after she was dead.  Because they stuffed her.  And put her right there in the Lion House after she was dead.   That's what happened to ligers back in the day.  And by Lion House, btw, I don't mean mean the place where Brigham Young lived.

But at least if you were a liger, at least you would be cool and totally worth a mention by Napoleon Dynamite.

But no.  You are no liger.   You're half-cake and half-lollipop--two species that should never ever mate, because who wants a lollipop that doesn't last and a cake that's tiny and round, like a non-delicious marble?

Think about, Cake Pop.  You can't be both.  So choose a species and go with it.

Best wishes,

Ann Cannon

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

And now for a shoutout for our friend Valynne!

I'm so happy that Valynne Maetani Nagamatsu has been selected as a finalist for the first New Visions award.  I first met Valynne at WIFYR a few years ago and was immediately taken with her talent and her all around good egg-edness.

Good luck, Valynne!

Is this God's way of saying . . .

. . . that I have been far too guilty of an innocent arrogance about my usual good health?  And that I need to be learned a lesson?   Is that why I have been having constant visitations of colds and stomach flus lo these many days since Christmas?  If that's the case, then I make a sacred vow not to be an innocent arrogant jerk about illnesses, okay?  UNCLE.

Anyway.  I'm in the grips of The Stomach Sick again, which kept me up most of the night watching MeTV, which (I think) is a local southern Utah station that shows old programs.  Last night at midnight, I watched an episode of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE--the later Barbara Bain-less and Martin Landau-less edition, which features Leonard Nimoy looking very happy to be out of his Spock outfit and Lesley Anne Warren playing another iteration of her patented "slutty barmaid in a short skirt" role.

I watched it with great affection--enjoying the clothes and cars, marveling at the lack of slick production values.  We have become very used to TV Slick, haven't we?  Really, it looked like someone was holding up a camera in the corner of the set and filming a high school play starring Peter Graves.

Anyway.  I wanted to work hard today and take advantage of the sun--storms rolling into here tomorrow--but I think I'll sip Sprite and eat crackers instead.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Messy Middles

Dear Middle Part,

Dude!  Why you gotta be so hard to write?

I've been in deep hiding, working on this book for almost two weeks now.  I think the beginning is  . . . solid.  And the ending?  KILLER!  But the middle?  Not so sure.

I kinda feel like I'm going yadda, yadda, yadda, blah, blah, blah, so on and so forth, BUT WAIT UNTIL YOU GET TO THE END, EVERYBODY!

Maybe it's not as terrible as all that, you know?   We often feel bad about what we've written shortly after writing it, only to be surprised later on.  Hey, we say.  This isn't total crap.

But still.

All you writers out there--how do YOU deal with messy middles?  I'd appreciate suggestions to help my book 's middle wind up with some rock solid book abs.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Heeeeeeere's the column!

Yesterday's column.

I didn't really have an idea for a column this week, because I have been too busy knitting socks while covered up with afghans (which is what I do here in St. George when I'm not driving around in a golf cart or standing in line at Walgreen's to pick up my heart medication).

So I fell back on a technique that has served me well over the years.  I asked myself (I know you've heard me say this before) at what point during the past week was I feeling the most "in extremis" (yes!  that's me making up some Latin right there!).  By that I mean--when was I feeling particularly frustrated, angry, sad, overwhelmed, embarrassed, bored, touched, something, anything?  And as it turned out, that moment last week was when I saw THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, because even though it's a comedy, I cried all the way through it.

That's where your material resides--in those moments when you're somehow off-balance.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

This is for Radagast

Me in St. George.  Knitting a sock.  With a blanket.  And one of those neck things you heat up in the microwave.

It's true.  I have turned into Jerry Seinfeld's parents.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Cupid meets the Zombie Apocalypse

I posted this on fb yesterday--a home-made, larger-than-life Cupid on somebody's front porch.   When I first saw it, I thought briefly that it was a real person in a red jogging suit, going all Katniss on me.  SCARY.  On closer examination, however, I realized it was a Valentine's Day decoration--a paper mache thing-y with a long blond Thor-ish wig and a heart headband.  Also, there are inset eyes (marbles maybe?) involved.  And striped socks.  And oh yeah.  A bow and arrow.  It looks like what Cupid would look like if he were doing a guest turn on THE WALKING DEAD.

It is remarkably disturbing.  And GREAT.

MORAL OF THIS STORY:  Sometimes I get all discouraged and down on my fellow human beings for being so damn predictable.  And then I see something like this on an elderly person's porch, and I just go, "Rock on, my fellow human beings.  Rock on."

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I am having a very odd experience right now

The wi-fi connection in the condo is spotty, so I often head over to McDonald's (aka "my office") to get online.  Because it's morning, I am surrounded by the regular let's-have-some-coffee-and-chat crowd.    My first impulse was to think, "These guys are old.  Old guys who golf a lot."

But now I am looking at them and thinking that possibly we're the same age.  I COULD BE THE SAME AGE AS OLD PEOPLE IN ST. GEORGE.

Seriously.  If someone looked at me and Ken they would think we were part of the regular let's-have-some-coffee-and-chat crowd.

This.  Is disturbing.  I won't lie.  Because on the inside I am still in my early 30's.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I am doing something hard

And that would be this:  writing a mystery.

I love mysteries.  Mysteries are my go-to pleasure reading.  But I have never written one, mostly because I was afraid of the plot thing.  Mostly because I still AM afraid of the plot thing.  Mysteries rely a lot on plot.  And so here I am.  Afraid of plotting.  Writing a mystery.

Here's the deal.  Actions MUST grow out of character and not the need to advance a plotline.  If you violate this rule, then you have a mess.  If you're lucky you have a hot mess, which is what REVENGE  (a pretty good show at one time) has degenerated into.

And yet you must advance the action, as you must in all stories.  But especially in mysteries.

So right now I am trying to balance character with plotti-ness.

Please light a candle and pray for the soul of my book.  Thank you.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What I forgot to mention

TRQ had a good running commentary on what she was reading in The Star, including, "That J-Lo has a big butt" and also "It's just sex, sex, sex with those Kardashians."


The Poodle and Company

Here she is.  TRQ in the flesh, reading STAR Mag with The Poodle.  You know.  The Poodle whose pillow I accidentally tried to sleep on one night.  Well!  He certainly showed me!  

Anyway, I posted this picture on fb yesterday and love it so much I had to put it here.  This woman is just the best.  She asked what I wanted to do yesterday.  I said I didn't know.  What did she want to do, I asked.  Play a game of bananagrams, she said.  So we did.  She's a grand bananagram-er.  Partly because she knows a lot of real words.  Partly because she knows a lot of made-up words.

It's a blessing to be her friend.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Silver Linings

So Ken and I finally saw SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK this weekend.  I believe this means we've seen two of the films nominated for best picture, which is pretty good for us these days.

Anyway.  I loved it.  I loved the whole Eagles thing going on (I've spent a lot of time watching Eagles football over the past decade).  I loved the look of the film.  I loved the characters and their complicated relationships with one another.  I loved the performances.  Who knew Bradley Cooper could bring that kind of intensity and humor and heartbreak to a role?  All at the same time?  (A favorite scene would be Pat's rage over the ending of Hemingway's A FAREWELL TO ARMS.)   And Robert de Niro just keeps on delivering.  Year after year after year.

I think the first half of the film feels truer to real life than the second half.  But I was grateful for the hopefulness of the second half.  Yes, I was.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

In all fairness

. . . I must report the following.

You know how I said it was probably TRQ who wanted the Trader Joe's gingersnaps?  So I took my dad aside yesterday and asked him about it.  And guess what he said.  He really WAS the one craving gingersnaps somewhere on I-15 between Fillmore and Beaver.

Which only goes to prove that the longer people stay married to each other, the more likely they are to morph into one mega-person.  Who craves gingersnaps.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

red velvet shakes

So that right there is a red velvet shake that I bought yesterday for lunch.  It's a "mini" shake from the Iceberg.  I KNOW.  Based on the way we define the word "mini" alone, America is the greatest country in the world.  America is the Texas of nations.  (Even though I don't really dig Texas.)  (Sorry, my Texas relatives.)

Anyway, I had to have it because--you know.  It's red velvet.  And as some of you know I am obsessed with red velvet.  But like most things red velvet, it disappointed.   And in this case it disappointed profoundly.  Perhaps red velvet barely has an excuse to exist anyway.  And it certainly does not have an excuse to exist in the form of ice cream.

Please note that I included both a photo AND a link in this post.  I am becoming a blogging genius.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Becky again

Here's this week's column.  I was honestly surprised when I looked at the picture on my desk and realized it made me happy instead of sad.  The thing of it is (that's an expression my friend Marilyn always used--"the thing of it is"--I can still hear her say it in that fabulous husky smokers' voice she had) that the old cliche about time healing wounds is true.

I will never not miss Becky, and there are still times when the yearning to hear her voice is so fierce it hurts.  But I am grateful for this place now where I (mostly) remember how she lived.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

TRQ and the ginger snaps

So here's something TRQ has done ever since I was a little girl.  You'll be sitting in a room together, possibly along with other family members, and suddenly she'll go, "Would anybody here like a Snickers bar?"

I know.  That sounds like she's offering free Snickers bars.  But actually it's code for "I want a Snickers bar.  Somebody go get one for me, please."

Anyway, on the way to St. George yesterday she called.

TRQ:  Are you still planning on joining us in St. George tomorrow?

Me:  Why, yes I am.  I need to get out of here before my lungs collapse and leave me lung-less.

TRQ:  And while we're on the subject, is that new Trader Joe's close to your house?

Me:  Yes to that, too.

TRQ:  Your dad is craving some gingersnaps from Trader Joe's.  Will you pick some up for him, please, and bring them to St. George?

Okay.  Like his sons and daughter, the Coach does love his food.  But I seriously cannot imagine him driving down 1-15 and saying to TRQ, "Hey, you know what I'm craving?  Some gingersnaps."

I do have an idea who might be craving them, though.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

On the other hand

This morning my friend, who's a Gulf Coast southerner by birth and by palate both, told us that her daughter-in-law has decided to learn how to make gumbo.  My friend greeted this with mixed emotions as in "YAY!  Now I won't have to make this for family gatherings" and also as in "BOO!  Now I can't make this for family gatherings."

The gumbo sampling happened last night and the gumbo (apparently) was more like chicken soup with sausage in it, so my friend greeted this with mixed emotions as in "YAY!  I'm still the family gumbo-maker" and "BOO!  I'm still the family gumbo-maker."

I liked this story because it made me go, "YAY!  Human beings are so complicated" and also "BOO!  Human beings are so complicated."

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


I just looked at Lisa B.'s blog and realized I didn't answer all the questions.  Apparently this is why I never do well on standardized tests.  I just . . . you know . . . forget to read all the questions.

Additional questions--

7.  How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I've been messing around with this one in one form or another for a long time.  Fits and starts, people.  Fits and starts.

8.  What other books would you compare this to within your genre?

I don't know.  I can't remember the last time I read a true YA mystery.  My book is kind of dark, though--like all those books written by depressed Scandinavians.  For the record, I would be depressed if I had to live in Scandinavia, too.

9.  Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Well, living in the Avenues (for reasons you shall see) provided a big push start.

10.  What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

An awesome cover.  Do you hear that, future editor?  I want this book to have an awesome cover, possibly (in complete defiance of Radagast's wishes) featuring witches and/or trolls, even though witches and/or trolls are not involved.

Also, I think we should tag Radagast, don't you?

Tag! I'm it!

Hey!  Look at this!  My incredibly kickass friend Lynn Kilpatrick tagged me with a writing assignment about writing.  Thanks, Dr. Write.  Here goes.

1.  What is your working title of your book (or story)?

Wow.  For the first time ever I don't really have a title in mind other than "This Book is Set in the 70's in Salt Lake and Really, Really Bad Crap Happens to a Girl Who's Got a Lot to Learn."  I can only imagine how y'all are clamoring to read this now.

2.  Where did the idea come from?

The plotline grew out of a secondary plot in THE LOSER'S GUIDE TO LIFE AND LOVE, which I eventually abandoned.

3.  What genre does your book fall under?

Young Adult Mystery wherein really, really bad crap happens.

4.  Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Okay, so when I watched (part of) the Golden Globes I realized I don't know who anybody is anymore.  I would need young actors, right?  And I don't know any right now, except for Honey Boo Boo.

5.  What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

After the strange disappearance of a new friend, my heroine goes on a dangerous quest to discover what has happened to her.  (Man, I am BAD at pitches!)

6.  Will your book be self-published or represented by an agent?

I hope my fabulous agent wants to represent it!  We'll see.

And now I tag Ann Dee Ellis, Carol Williams, and Louise Plummer.  Meanwhile, if this assignment inspires you, go for it and send me a link to your blog so I can visit!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Mormon salads

My friend Stef isn't a Mormon, but she does love Mormon cookbooks, which she peruses with a sense of affectionate (I think) awe and amazement.  She's a first-rate cook--a pastry chef (among other things) by profession--who likes to dabble in all kinds of food genres.

Anyway.  When we made arrangements to watch the Super Bowl together, she left me with this cryptic message:  "I already know what I'm bringing."

I was intrigued.  And, of course, hopeful.  Hopeful that she would bring her great guacamole and home-fried tortilla chips, because those are awesome.  What she brought instead was perhaps even awesome-er.  That strawberry/cream cheese/pretzel "salad" thing that has graced the holiday tables of many, many a Mormon family for the past forty years.

Okay.  Time for a takedown.

First.  Salad.  Don't you love how my people call desserts "salads"?  Obviously we like to trick ourselves into thinking we're eating something healthy when we do that.

Second.  I always wonder how certain dishes came into being.  Like, who woke up one morning and went, "I know!  Pretzels and cream cheese and Cool Whip and strawberry Jell-O (with frozen strawberries thrown in) WOULD TASTE SO DAMN GOOD TOGETHER!

Third.  As is often the case with these things, it tasted shockingly divine.

Mormons are geniuses when it comes to salads, don't you know.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Getting Ready

. . . to watch the Super Bowl.  I've thought about live-blogging the event, and maybe I will a little bit.  But I think I might just sit back and watch what I hope will be a tough, gritty, defensive battle.

Ah, football.  I love you.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Yup. Another column.

The sun!  It's shining!  So different from when I wrote this earlier in the week!

Friday, February 1, 2013

An assessment

These, you might recall, are my writing goals for 2013.  Let's see how I'm doing, shall we?

1.  Getting serious about sending the first few chapters of a YA mystery out there.
(Okay.  I've been wearing my serious face.  I'm all serious about this.  Serious, serious, serious.  And, actually, I have experienced some movement here.  So, score!)

2.  Developing an idea for a middle grade series--and speaking of middle grade, maybe starting a novel suggested by an experience my friends and I had while walking Hadrian's Wall.
(Have thought a little about this.  Have kind of an idea, which is better than nothing at all, right?)
3.  Publishing something (things?) online and seeing where that takes me.
(UGH.  I still want to do this.  But since learning how to turn on my own TV was a major milestone for me in 2012, this one will be hard.)
4.  Writing a column for the Trib every week and keeping it fresh.
(Don't know how fresh it is, but yes.  I've provided the Trib w/ a column every week.)
5.  Developing one magazine story a month and seeing if I can sell it.
(Have an idea.  Have started a story.  Barely.  Gotta get this one on my radar more.)
6.  Blogging every day for the year of 2013.

(YES!  I WIN!)