Status: Drafting the fourth book in the PERILOUS series!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

CIA Cop-out

The government is running a top-secret program to create fighting machines. These people are bred to kill, and they don't even feel pain. You have no idea who they are. It's a government conspiracy.

Wait a minute...this plot's been done before.

But who's complaining? Didn't we all love watching Jason Bourne struggle to find out who he was after Treadstone took over his identity?

Besides, it's such an easy plot device. No one can prove it or disprove it. Of course the government says it's not real. They also say that Roswell didn't happen.

But it's an old plot device. Conspiracies in high places, Interpol agents sold to the highest bidder, FBI and CIA working for the other side. I'll admit, I used it too. What good is a thriller if all the guys that appear to be good are actually good?

That's not how it is in real life, though. The good guys are good, and our government would never hire assassins. That only happens in fiction.

At least, you can keep telling yourself that.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Abandoned child!

Friday while I was at the used tire place getting a tire put on my car (before I backed into the sign and scraped the paint off my car--see Friday's post), I had an interesting conversation with the owner of the store. I suppose he told me this story because I was there with my baby, and I reminded him of the woman in the story.

He said a few days prior, a young woman had come into the front counter to ask him a question about rates. She left her baby sleeping in the car seat in the car. I don't know if she left the car running or not, but the temperature here these days is a lovely 50 degrees. Not hot.

At any rate, he said another woman pulled up to the car, got out and stood outside smoking her cigarette. Then she came in and said, "Who's car is this?"

The young woman turned around and said, "Mine."

The smoking woman said, "I'm calling the police because you left your baby in the car. I'm an RN and am required by law to report this child as an abandoned child."

The young woman did precisely what I would have done: burst into tears. After listening to this RN chew her out (and the owner put in his two cents, telling her that there was no way that child had been abandoned), she promptly got in her car and left. So did the RN.

I have no idea what ended up happening, but I'm dying to know what you think.

I'll be the first to admit I do similar things. Just today, I parked at the Honda dealership, locked the car, and ran inside to grab my new jack and spare tire key that I ordered on Friday. It took all of two minutes. Perhaps I am wrong in my justification, but if I have to unbuckle all three kids and take them in, carry out my new jack with a baby carrier on one arm and a toddler dangling from my fingers while I yell at my 5yo to walk with me, just to buckle them all back in, I've taken a simple, 2-minute affair and turned it into a 10-minute nightmare.

I'd rather not, thank you.

But I will admit that I had one eye on the car to see if anyone was stopping to check out the interior.

Where do we draw the line? When is it okay, if ever? Can we rely on common sense? What are your thoughts?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Wrong Place at the Wrong Time

Or rather, a series of unfortunate events.

I think we've already established that I have bad luck with cars. Particularly my tires. So Wednesday I ran over a pair of scissors. Not just a little bit, either: they went all the way inside my tire.

I didn't make it to my mechanic before I was on the rim. Luckily, I stopped next to a Ford Dealership, and they kindly took my tire off, sliced it open and withdrew the scissors, and tried to put my spare on.

Tried to.

Because apparently, Honda Pilots require a special key to get to the spare. And when I bought my used car three years ago, I wasn't given this key. I didn't know I needed one, so at the time I didn't notice.

So no spare. The guys at the dealership were super nice and put on a used tire that was a size too small and sent me on my way.

Fast forward to today, when I'm trying to get my car affairs in order. I stopped at the Honda Dealership and ordered the parts I needed. Then I went to my mechanic, prepared to bite the bullet and order a new tire.But since I didn't want to buy four new tires, he recommended I buy a used tire and save $100.

Well, I'm all for that! So I went to another place, bought a used tire, and was just about to leave when I noticed they forgot to put my hubcap back on. I asked them to put it on and they said, "Sure, just back into garage #1."

I did, and on the way, I backed into a three-foot metal sign they had in the driveway. Something I couldn't see from my elevated position in my SUV, but something strong enough to chip off six inches of paint on my car.

Great. There went my savings on the used tire.

I just can't win.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Blogfest FAIL

Okay, so I realized this morning I was supposed to participate in a "Show your Voice" blogfest on Monday, and I totally and completely forgot. AGAIN. This is a perpetual problem with me and blogfests. For those of you who came to my blog thinking I was doing the blogfest, I'm so sorry!

I've missed the deadline, no agent is going to look at my excerpt, but I'm going to participate anyway. The blogfest was to post the first 250 words of a manuscript. So here it is, the first 250 words of Inevitable, my paranormal YA that I hope to start subbing out in the next few months.

The smell always hits me first.

I noticed it right when I opened the office door, and I paused. It was a lemony smell, like walking through a citrus grove. Growing up in New Jersey, I didn't know much about citrus groves, but I was sure that’s what it would smell like.

Mr. Harris looked up and gave me a smile over his dark brown glasses. “Ms.—” he glanced down quickly at my resume on the mahogany desk. “Lockwood. Please come in.”

I swallowed and let myself in, the wooden door behind me closing with a swish. Just don't look into his eyes. This was not going to be easy. I kept my eyes on my polished black heels, trying to ignore the sweat beading on my forehead. I was glad I had worn a black blazer over my white button-up shirt. Clutching my spiral notebook to my chest, I sat in the chair across from him. I already knew I wouldn't take this job.

“Thank you for showing interest in our internship position, Ms. Lockwood.” Mr. Harris's voice was kind, and I knew he thought I was nervous. “I see from your resume that you write the sports column at your high school.”

I gave a nod. “That’s right.” How could I escape this? There was no point in continuing. I examined his desk, determined to avoid eye contact. My eyes landed on a picture of Stephen, wearing his navy blue and white lacrosse jersey. My stomach plummeted even further.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sunshine Day!

I love days like today.

Days when the sun is shining. Through the giant windows in my living room, I can see wind blowing the bare branches. Birds are chirping and flying through the air, a pale blue sky setting the scene behind them.


It's the BEST. 

Suddenly I find myself more at peace with the dirty dishes, the rice all over the table, the 2-year-old kicking the bedroom door instead of taking his nap. I find myself more willing to overlook the six pairs of boots and pants that somebody left on my bedroom floor, more willing to forget about the people who took three hours to answer the phone at the health department.

I'm getting excited, thinking about flying kites and taking walks and going to the zoo. I want to get out and play with my children, feel the sunshine on my arms.

I think I am a better, happier person in the spring.

For those of you who had to bear with me in the winter...I'm sorry. I'll make it up to you.

And you? What's your favorite season? Happy for spring??

Friday, March 18, 2011

Jaci's jog

This is a scene from chapter one that was cut because it slowed down the action. It's a retrospective scene, where Jaci is jogging home through the streets of Shelley, Idaho, thinking about her life and her friends.

Time to go. The wind would dry her off. She pulled her jeans on over her Speedo brand swimsuit, grimacing at the way they stuck to her wet legs. She yanked her t-shirt over her head and slid her wet hair into a ponytail. She always wore it up. Grabbing her socks, she jerked them over her feet. “Bye,” she said, slipping into her shoes and breaking into a run.

“Bye,” Callie echoed, almost to the shore.

Jaci started out in a hard jog, then slowed, establishing a comfortable pace. She allowed herself a small smile, glancing left before she crossed the street.

There were no cars parked in front of the narrow brick post office. It was too late in the day. Jaci glanced at her wrist before remembering she’d lost her watch. She sped up, again concerned that she wouldn’t make it home in time to baby-sit. It had to be past four-thirty for the post office to be closed.

Amanda was getting on her nerves. She always tried to run the show. She’d only moved in six months ago, and they were pretty much forced to be friends, since she and Callie hung out all the time. But she bossed everyone. She got jealous if Callie spent too much time with Jaci, also.

She rolled her eyes. Home wasn’t much farther now. She glanced up at the blue sky and uttered a sigh. “Help me be more patient, Father,” she whispered.

Blue shutters adorned the red-brick, multi-level house. She ran up the porch steps and let herself in, the screen door bouncing back once before it slammed shut behind her. Upstairs, something fell with a loud clang.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

All the Beautiful Lonely People

There is something about beauty that inspires us to worship it. It dazzles us, inspires us, awes us.

It also intimidates us.

We see someone who looks like an angel, or a god, and we feel somehow that we're not worthy to talk to them. That they wouldn't condescend themselves to our level.

I know I make this mistake. There is a woman at the gym I go to who is strikingly beautiful. She is athletic, graceful, petite, and pretty. She's also very nice. I've spoken to her a few times and she always has a quick smile, and is very friendly.

And yet, every time I see her, I have to swallow my nerves and gather my courage just to say hi.

Something similar happened when I went to college. The very first day of freshman orientation, I saw this beautiful redhead with sparkling green eyes and huge dimples when she smiled, which was often. Her name was Abby, she looked gregarious and social, and I instantly worshiped her. I was also terrified of her.

I never would have spoken to Abby if she hadn't sat next to me on the first day of class. But since she sat next to me, I talked to her. And she responded, and I met a soul mate. We were inseparable, joined at the hip, and I get a tiny chill when I think of the friendship I would've missed if I had allowed my insecurity to impede a friendship.

Insecurity is a good word for it.

Perhaps being beautiful is a sentence to a life of loneliness. I propose that we stop comparing ourselves to them. It's doubtful that they even realize they are beautiful, and they simple desire love and friendship like the rest of us. Or maybe I am the only one who has this problem?

Abby and I are still friends today. We both have kids while our husbands are in the army. She even wrote me while I lived in Brazil as a missionary. And the funny thing? Abby has no idea how awesome she is. In fact, she says when she saw me, she thought the same thing about me that I thought about her.

Maybe we just need to see ourselves with someone else's eyes every once in awhile.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Not a Phone Person

First I have to say, I'M BACK! And I'm so so happy to be back!!! Good grief, from the piles of laundry to the :::gulp::: 600 new emails, I feel swamped with things to do. I love vacationing, I really do. But I missed my routine and am so happy to get back to it!

But anyway. It came to my attention a few weeks ago, when my husband really wanted me to call someone and I really didn't want to, that I'm really not a phone person. So, okay, I already knew this. I still haven't made a dentist appointment because I don't want to pick up the phone and call. But I can text, email, facebook, and chat in real life till the cows come home. (And who really knows when that is, anyway?)

When I mentioned this on facebook, I got a TON of sympathetic responders. Turns out I'm not the only one! Why is that? All of this pondering led to many many facebook discussions and I realized I had enough for a blog post. So, here are my thoughts:

I dislike talking on the phone BECAUSE:

1) I don't have time for it. If I need to make an appointment, set up a visit, find a babysitter, or anything like that, I don't want to be on the phone chatting for fifteen minutes. I can't verify how long the call will be, but I can verify how long the text will be.

2) I can't think of anything to talk about. Unless it's my friend from college and I know we're going to talk about how different our third pregnancies were, I have no guarantee that I'll have entertaining subject matter after five minutes of cheerful chatter. How embarrassing is that?

3) My children. Need I say more? The moment I get on the phone, they start screaming. No one wants to stay on there with me for long.

4) I've been traumatized. In college I worked for a telephone marketing research company. We cold-called all hours and people were MEAN. Now, I break out in a sweat whenever I have to call someone!

5) I'm a writer. I express myself better in a text, if you know what I mean.

I haven't always been this way. When I was a teenager, I could tie up on non-cordless-phone-that-didn't-have-call-waiting for hours at a time. My dad loved me for it. (Insert sarcasm.)

What about you? Phone hater or lover? Same reasons?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Journey of Honor

Today I'm participating in Jaclyn M. Hawkes's blog tour for her newest book, Journey of Honor.

Journey of Honor is a western romance with definite Christian overtones. There's lots of high adventure, crazy things like snowstorms and diseases and even death. But the driving factor to the story is, of course, the romance. I personally thought the story was a bit predictable, but there were a few places that caught me by surprise. I love the idea of how the two lovers originally got together. I did feel like the author failed to fully take advantage of the opportunities for love and passion that presented themselves!

But this is a clean book that is appropriate for all ages. It's also a very quick read. And it got my mind thinking, "What if?" Which is always a good thing.

Good luck, Jaclyn! Strike it rich!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Why I've been MIA

I'm at my in-laws house in Montana, and they don't have wireless internet. My father-in-law is usually in his office and I feel like an intruder going in there. So, he's out running errands this morning and I hooked my netbook up to the internet to tell you all-- I WILL BE BACK. :)
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