Thursday, March 31, 2011

Love in the air on Book Blurb Friday!


I've managed to make it through a week with two sick kids and the end of the third marking period unscathed thanks to a Harry Potter meme (over at Michael Di Gesu's In Time ), and tonight's Book Blurb Friday #5. If you are new, this is where Lisa Ricard Claro, from Writing in the Buff, posts a picture meant to serve as a fictional book cover, and asks us to compose a 150 word summary that might appear on the book jacket.

I loved tonight's picture and was tempted to enter the horror realm, but with all the pressures mentioned above, I needed some "happy" tonight, so a lighthearted romance is what you're going to get. Here is the picture and my story:

The Hudson River Rose

To family, Casey lived a glamorous life. She recently made partner in the prestigious Cadwalader, Wickersham and Taft in New York City, she was on a first name basis with some very rich clients, and she lived in a nice one-bedroom apartment on the upper West Side.

But most nights Casey ate alone; she was so wrapped up in her career there wasn’t much time to date, besides, who would she date anyway? The other partners were either married or in serious relationships, and dating "beneath your position" was taboo. And the firm’s social functions and holiday parties hadn’t provided many prospects.

Desperate to meet people, Casey joined The New York Road Walkers, and it was during one of their usual jaunts around the Hudson that she spied it-a single red rose and her name on a card. But several more roses later, Casey still didn't know her mystery man…(exactly 150, and I was slashing away to get this one down!)

I took some liberty with the flower in this picture-my husband said it was an invasive plant choking the tree, but how am I going to get romance out of that? I thought a nice red rose would do much better… I can't wait to read what everyone else wrote-who was brave enough to attempt a little terror tonight?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Harry Potter Blogfest: Who would be your mates?

Having just finished year seven of JK Rowlings Harry Potter series, most of her characters are still fresh in my mind. I’m a little sad that I’ve reached the end, and I put it off as long as I could since I knew there would come a time when I wouldn’t be mulling over the latest atrocities during the quiet times of my day. So when I happened upon Michael Di Gesu's meme In Time asking me to pick my two best friends from Harry Potter’s world, and write about our relationship, I couldn’t resist. All you have to do is give your reasons in 300-350 words, then link up at Michael's site. After struggling with my decision a bit, I finally decided on Hermione and Harry, and I hope my reasons for my choices will satisfy.

Since most things in my life don’t come easily, I am certain that I would be a muggle born witch and quite out of my element at Hogwarts. Naturally I would gravitate to some of the other muggle borns in my year, and since I value learning and proving my self-worth through hard work, Hermione and I would be inseparable. We would race to see who would be number one and number two in each of our classes, but as long as it was one of us, we didn’t really care. And the library would be our second home as we attempted to gain knowledge above our years in order to help Harry.

Now I didn’t understand everyone’s fascination with Harry when we first started at Hogwarts-we grew close because of our mutual friendship with Hermione, our muggle past, and because he was genuinely nice. Eleven-year-old girls usually don’t like boys, but when I learned about his connection to the-one-who-must-not-be-named, the boy who lived mesmerized me. (I like the strong, silent type, so Ginny was in for some stiff competition in the coming years!) Like Harry, I didn’t understand the categories for people and creatures in the wizarding world, and why some believed they should rule over others; I would gladly fight alongside Harry in the end.

It's your turn-who would you pick to be your friends at Hogwarts? Maybe Lupin and Sirius? What about the Weasley twins? I first thought about these two, but since they were a year older than me, I didn't think we would get much of a chance to hang out...Post about your new friends by March 30, the official start of the Harry Potter Blogfest, then link up at Michael's site. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Going back-Book Blurb Friday!

It's time for Book Blurb Friday #4! This is where Lisa Ricard Claro, from Writing in the Buff, posts a picture meant to serve as a fictional book cover, and asks us to compose a 150 word summary that might appear on the book jacket.

I was able to conjure up a story pretty quickly the last couple weeks, but although I knew where I wanted tonight's story to go, it took me a while to get there (I'll blame it on end of the week exhaustion.) But no matter how difficult it is for the words to come, there is no better feeling (it's almost euphoric!) than when you read that final copy!

Here is this week's picture and my story:

Where the Corridor Ends

Pepper packed up her office because she couldn’t handle the stress of running a magazine-then she abandoned her friends, living each day without thinking about tomorrow, feeling more and more like an outsider looking in. And when the memories came flooding back, and they always did, her only source of comfort came from a bottle, her new best friend.

Then when a freelance paycheck couldn’t cover the rent of her high-rise apartment, Pepper found respite in a studio tucked inside a centuries old building, and from the offer of an equally old caretaker.

A note scrawled at the bottom of her rental agreement read, "I’ve been where you are now. Go to the end of the corridor if you wish to right the wrongs of the past." And it was here that Pepper stood, remembering the crash and her sister, and wondering if she could really go back…
(148 words)

Why don't you give it a try? If you do, don't forget to link up at Lisa's site and read all the other entries!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A New Perspective

I’m feeling a bit wishy-washy these days because I want things that are totally opposite. Since my kids are getting older I’m trying to carve a little time in the day just for me-I’m not asking for hours here, just minutes where I can pursue activities that interest just me. I sometimes think about all the things I do for them now that I won’t have to do when their older, like make their breakfast and lunch, do their laundry, supervise all bathing/teeth brushing/hair combing, and help them clean their rooms (this one always stumps me-if they can mess it up, why does it take mom or dad’s assistance to clean things up?) I am rarely ALONE!

Then, if by chance I do get a few precious minutes, I start to feel like I’m missing something-that if I don’t stop what I’m doing and connect with my kids their childhood years will just fly by and I will have missed them. I’m already experiencing the twangs of separation with some of my kids changing habits. A year ago, my son would always give me a hug and a kiss at bedtime, and we would go through the same ritual every night:

"Goodnight Mom."
"Goodnight Buster Brown."
"I love you."
"I love you too."
"See you in the morning."
"I’ll see you in the morning."

Now that little ritual is gone, and although I still give him a kiss, I guess I have cooties, because there are cries of “Yuck!” as he tries to wipe his cheek. I still get a hug, and he always hugs me before I leave in the morning, but how long will this last?

My daughter is physically connected to her electronic devices, and spending more and more time in her room. I’ve had to establish times when devices are off and although I can usually coax her to help me make dinner or bake, gone are the days when she followed me around telling me about her day. (The girl is a virtual vault these days, and I only know something is bothering her when that mouth of hers starts working over time…)

I’m constantly stretched in different directions-grow up, don’t grow up, please grow up, please don't grow up-but now I know what alone feels like. My husband’s grandmother died Saturday night, and since I don’t get bereavement unless it’s someone in my immediate family, my husband took the kids and headed five hours away to my in-laws house. I got what I’ve always wanted-plenty of kid free me time, and I hate it! I didn’t make dinner since it was just me (I had an egg sandwich and fruit), and I can’t seem to be able to sit in one spot (I finally managed to plant myself in front of the computer to type this, and even then I didn’t feel like doing too much.)I've texted my daughter all evening (the most we've talked in a while) and both my kids sounded so small when I talked to them on the phone tonight...

I’m so worried about their drive back tomorrow and about how the kids are handling their first funeral that I can hardly keep my eyes open-and after dealing with teenagers all day, I'm emotionally drained. So that being said, I’m heading to bed knowing I better be careful what I wish for…

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Focusing on Book Blurb Friday

I am now looking forward to Book Blurb Friday as I once looked forward to Microfiction Monday. If your new, Lisa Ricard Claro over at Writing in the Buff posts a picture and asks that you write a 150 word (or less) book blurb.  It's tremendously challenging and great fun.  Just head over there to link up, and then stay awhile to read some of the other entries.

I had a hard time with the 150 word limit tonight-I just had so much to say, so I started hacking away at some of the needless adjectives until I got it down to 150 exactly. Here is this week's picture and my story:

Out of Focus

Andie spent her whole life trying to please. An only child, she struggled to be everything her parents hoped she would be, but never quite lived up to their expectations-until she married Bill Peterson, a promising young politician. Andie’s parents loved Bill, and with their urging, and Bill’s perseverance, Andie decided she loved him too.

But after their much-publicized wedding and his election to the senate, Bill was no longer the gentle soul his adoring public witnessed; he became obsessed, convinced that his wife would leave him and end his political career.

He began to monitor Andie’s calls, track her whereabouts, and soon prohibited anyone from visiting the house without his approval.

Andie wanted out and finally broke the news to Bill during an anniversary dinner, but after she took a few bites, things became fuzzy, out of focus, and she heard a quiet voice saying, "You’ll never leave me."
(150 words)

Everyone saw something different with last week's picture, so I can't wait to read the other entries!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A bike, a cell phone, and vermin: what every girl wants

I apologize for being around just long enough to post for my favorite writing memes, but since Monday was my daughter’s 12th birthday, I was running around on my "free time" trying to decide what to get her. 12 is hard-she isn’t a little girl any more and yet she still is (so many opposites to deal with at this age!)

My husband and I were really at a loss about what we should get, and my daughter didn’t make it any easier-we kept pumping her for information, but all we got was "I dunno,"-enough said. (I started developing a little twitch after hearing this phrase repeated, so for my sanity’s sake…)

My husband and I happened on gift idea number one by accident-it had been an abnormally warm day back in February, and we all decided to go for a bike ride. We soon discovered that my daughter's current bike was much too small for her current height (gift #1 a bike, check!)

We also tossed around the idea of getting her a laptop, but we already have two computers, and she got an iPod for Christmas, so this seemed a little like overkill to me. Then the talk of a cell phone came up-I thought my daughter was too young for a cell phone but my husband did not. But since she’ll be in 7th grade next year and her involvement in gymnastics will continue, I thought I would look to see if there were any good deals. I was able to get her a pretty nice texting phone (don’t worry-our family plan has unlimited texts) without having to pay for a data plan-she doesn’t need the Internet because she has the iPod. (Gift #2 a cell phone, check!)

I picked up a few smaller gifts to round things off and really thought we were done-I was wrong! Now I might not have been entirely truthful when I said my daughter wasn’t telling us what she wanted for her birthday. The fact is, the one and only thing she asked for she was absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, not going to get, over my dead body.

You see, after visit to my brother-in-laws in December all my daughter could talk about was their pet rat, and wouldn’t it be nice if…? Everyone likes this thing except for me-I mean the big ears are one thing, but that long, hairless tail just gives me the creeps! I listened to all the talk about how smart it is (almost as smart as a dog-not seeing it) and how sweet it is (it curls up and sleeps along my nephews neck-um, yuck!), and it actually comes when it’s called (my brother-in-law just yells, "Here kitty, kitty," and it comes running!) but it’s a RAT!

I had pet guinea pigs when I was younger and a parakeet when I fist got married, and the nastiness of cleaning out their cages every week kept me from pursuing any other tiny creature in a cage. I thought my husband was behind me on this, until I heard he and my daughter were stopping by pet shops on the way home from her practices "just to look" (turncoat!)

Well, I persevered up until my daughter’s last meet-the day before her birthday. She was doing fantastic on floor and beam but faltered on the vault-for some reason she earned only a 7.0 on what my daughter’s coaches thought was a clean routine. She was pretty devastated-you are pretty much out of medal contention in the all-around with a score like that, and we all knew it.

She had only one routine left-the bars-and after some of the high scores she received on two previous meets, we all felt pretty confident. Well, my daughter didn’t and she faltered, slipping off the low bar on the way to the high bar-a tremendous deduction and a final score of 7.6. But everyone has a bad meet every now and then so you just chalk it up to that and move on.

Hairy is the top and Mouch below
My daughter did manage to get on the podium twice, and I was proud of her, but I soon found out how upset she was when we went to lunch afterward. She actually broke into tears when we pointed out how she medaled in two events, and I did everything I could to console her, including going to the pet shop nearby (gift #3, oh brother!)

I didn’t say anything to her, but in my mind I decided that if she wanted some vermin (no rat, but maybe a couple gerbils so that my son could have one too) I would bend. So here I sit, the mother of two humans and now mother to Hairy and (Dominique)Moceanu (can you guess which one is my daughters?), two members of the rodent persuasion. They (the rodents that is) have a three-story condo, complete with a wheel, bedding area, and a couple toys to keep them occupied, and they are currently residing in my son’s bedroom. I wrinkle up my nose every time I walk in there, but I am trying, even after they (aka the rodents) both decided to see if I was edible or not!

I'm still alive even after the over my dead body comment, and I am still wondering how a little girl’s tears can have such power. I mean what about my convictions? Oh well, I can’t wait to clean out the cage (wimper...)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Naturally" it's Book Blurb Friday!

It's time for another go at Book Blurb Friday , where Lisa Ricard Claro, from Writing in the Buff challenges you to take those first few steps toward writing that novel you've always dreamed about-in book blurb form that is. But there's a catch-you have a 150 word limit! So take a look at this week's picture, write your entry, then link up over at Lisa's site where you can enjoy other talented entries.

I don't know if the this week's picture was more inspiring than the first, or if it was my mood, but I was able to crank a blurb out in record time-at least for me. So what did I see when I looked at the beautiful trees? Love... Here's this week's picture and my entry:

Crossing Sycamore Park

Spring means change -when Mother Nature throws aside her drab winter wardrobe in favor of something a little more flattering, at least that’s what Sam always thought. Born Samantha Jean Smith, family and close friends always addressed her with the more masculine moniker, but although her athletic build and tough girl attitude made the name stick, Sam never liked it much. Unfortunately, the nickname wasn’t the only thing she disliked these days.

Sam truly disliked her ex-husband Rick, a tall, dark and handsome type who could make every girl go weak in the knees, and did so often. Then there was her ex-best friend Laura, the latest in Rick’s history of weak-kneed girls, her dead end job, and her war torn appearance…

But a chance encounter soon blossoms into something much more, and Sam’s personal metamorphosis begins to take shape.

(Okay, I used Word for my word count and it came out to 140-not including the title. I then tried about five different word counters online and got word counts from 138 to 147-hence the reason for going to five different word counter sites! I finally found some counter links on Freelance Writing Jobs website. If you're interested, here they are: Word Counter Tool, WiseGary, and All World Phone. By the way, all these are just copy and paste reporting, and all came out to140... What is everyone else using?)

There have been a lot of changes in my household lately too, and this is the reason for my blogging absence. Stay tuned for an upcoming explanation, and my newest review/giveaway.

I can't wait to read everyone's entries!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Time moves on...

Time is once again the subject of Microfiction Monday #73. Susan, over at Stony River, delivers a challenge once a week-we are to write a story about a picture she posts in 140 characters or less (including punctuation and spacing)and then link up back at her site.

I loved this week's picture because it conjured up all kinds of images relating to past loves, lives torn apart... Yes, it's my usual deep stuff again, but I go with whatever pops into my head. Here is this week's picture and my first entry:

Anna inhaled sharply when she saw it-closing her eyes she caressed the gilded frame, willing the photo to come alive, to go back in time. (138 characters)

Now for an attempt at some poetry

Life, so grave,
To women and men.
Never a smile,
In photos back then.
Icy stares,
Looking so bold,
What are the secrets,
They never told?
(140 right on the dot...)

The poetry for this one was hard, mainly because the words I chose had quite a few syllables, and the character counter had me in the 160 range until I made things much simpler. (I think I like my prose better this week.) Since the subject looks a little on the angry side, I'm expecting great things from the humorous among us-I'll be by your blogs as soon as I can!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Book Blurb Friday #1

Did you every fantasize about that next great novel? Well, here might be your chance. Lisa Ricard Claro, from Writing in the Buff is starting a new writing meme called Book Blurb Friday. All you have to do is look at a picture she posts on her site like it is that next big novel, and write a book jacket blurb in 150 words or less. Then just link your post to her site, and sit back and enjoy some of the other participant stories.

I was really excited about Lisa's idea, but it proved harder that I thought. (In fact, I hate to admit it but it took over an hour to get my words just right, and another 20 minutes for a title-maybe you can do better!)

Anyway, here is the book cover picture

And here is my entry.

They Only Call at Night...

Everyone is dying to get into The Vue HarborEast condominiums. Who wouldn’t want to live in a quiet, majestic tower residence with views of the harbor? And Dana Parker, an up and coming reporter at WBALTV, is no exception.

Dana breezes in and out of her new condo residence always looking for that break out story to get her noticed. She partners up with Tom Clancy and Melanie Ambridge, her co-workers, on her time off, and likes that her neighbors keep to themselves.

But Dana’s desire for fame might come at a price; her once ideal home and silent neighbors become the subject of an investigation, and as the death toll mounts, Dana’s professional and personal life will now be inextricably linked.

Strange horrors are happening at night, but will the culprits be caught, or will Dana become the morning news?

(146 words with the title-but you don't have to count it)

So what do you think? I can't wait to read your stories too!  (*I came back and reworked my next to the last paragraph a little bit, increasing my word count by five, but I like it better...)