31 May 2013

Catching Up

My apologies for letting the blog slack this month. I should be back to my regular schedule starting next week.

It is hard to believe that the month of May is already over and that we are almost halfway through the year. I may be used to writing 2013 but I still can't believe how time has flown by. This is actually the 10th anniversary of my high school graduation but I don't think there is going to be one. I haven't been contacted about it and the occasional time I go looking for information, there isn't any to be found. Since I made Moose go to his last year I kept thinking that I would go to mine, but I now understand his hesitation and I liked parts of high school. But to think that 10 years has passed since I was in high school is pretty amazing. I have gotten a lot accomplished in those 10 years.

I guess I will get back to the Foster Care training. We attended 8 classes throughout the month. They were all informative. In fact Moose and I think that the classes would be good for anyone who wished to have children. There were topics covered that apply to all children. Some of the stuff I will be implementing with nieces and nephews (don't worry, it isn't conditioning or anything like that). And, while I am relieved the classes are over, I am kind of sad that they are. We met some wonderful people and hopefully I will be good enough to keep in contact with them. In fact, in the next few months, we may actually have . . . a Facebook account. Granted it will be really restricted and I will probably ignore it for weeks on end but it would be a good idea for various reasons.

The last thing I wanted to talk about was regarding my work bonus. This is the first year that I have received a bonus from work that is more than $100. It was so exciting. I was talking with my coworkers about what we would each be doing with the money. One fellow got new carpet. Another fellow is going on vacation. A third is purchasing parts for the cars he rebuilds. I was able to do several things with it. The first was get a picture framed. This picture is special to me because my amazing sister-in-law painted it. (I am hoping to get a picture of it on the blog this weekend.) The other things was I bought a few books and movies (many of which I will be reviewing over the next few weeks). Three of the books are children's books. Moose and I don't have kids, in fact the kids we are hoping to help aren't going to be young, but I had to have these books. One of the main reasons was because of my Grandfather. He taught me that no matter the age, we can all appreciate a good story. (And I am hoping that nieces and nephews come to visit on occasion.)

With that I better finish getting ready for work. And tune in next week for the regularly scheduled post that will hopefully be more coherent.

08 May 2013

New Endeavors

Sorry for the late post. I thought my life would be calming down this month, but a new development has arisen in our lives. Last summer after extensive testing, Moose and I learned that biological children were not going to be in the picture in this lifetime. (Part of me has always wondered if I would have this problem. I have had enough difficulties that it just nagged at me all these years. But I am glad that there is a definite answer.)

So, we are embarking on a new adventure: becoming certified Foster Parents. I don’t know how well I will actually handle having a child leave, but I would like to think that maybe we can find some sliver of happiness in this endeavor. Becoming certified, however, is an extensive process which include night classes twice a week for a month. This means there are two days a week when I leave at 7:30 in the morning and don’t get home until around 10:00 at night. Therefore, my post did not get done on time today.

What amazes me most about this process is that when we tell people we don’t get the reaction I expect. Foster Care has some negative connotation to it, especially because of media. I have become more aware of how often characters are type-cast by the label “foster child.” What people normally say is “Oh, my friend/brother/cousin does Foster Care. Good for you.”

Now I must steel myself for the horror stories of tonight. Most of the time the stories aren’t about children misbehaving but rather about the adults who just aren’t thinking and make a situation worse. For example: Why any parent would leave any fourteen year old alone for hours with access to car keys is beyond me.

03 May 2013


by Alex Flinn

Last week I tried something new and reviewed a book that I didn’t really like. I decided I don’t like giving negative reviews. I would rather spend my time promoting books I do enjoy then telling people why I didn’t like a book.

The book BEASTLY is a modern retelling of the fairytale Beauty and the Beast. I am a fan of Beauty and the Beast stories so I thought I would give this one a try.

The things that drew me in: It is a modern retelling, but it is told as if it is the first time. The characters make no reference to hearing of anything like this ever before. They don’t mention fairytales at all though there are references to other characters in the world going through various experiences similar to other fairytales.

It is told from the Beast’s point of view. This isn’t unique to this story, but I always found it humanized the beast a bit more to understand what he was going through. And as a side note, the Beast is not physically violent against Beauty at any time. I know there are some people who have an issue with Beauty staying with a physically abusive man.

I liked the side characters/servants. I like the reasoning behind them staying with the Beast.

I liked the chat room for enchanted creatures. I thought it was a fun play on the support group idea. I didn’t add anything to the story, but it was entertaining enough for me not to be bothered by it.

I thought the cover is good. I am not a fan of stock photos and I liked how this one is simplistic yet eye grabbing.

The things that kick me out: I thought that while Kyle’s behavior was beastly it was over the top. It showed the change well, but kind of pulled me out. I know there are people in the world who have this kind of attitude, and it follows the fairytale, but I thought it could have been toned down a little.

I liked the rose garden, but this was one other aspect that I thought had a little too much drama around it. I know roses play an important part but the obsession was hyperbolic to me.

Should you read it?
If you like Beauty and the Beast then give this one a try.

Should you buy it? I probably will if I see it on sale.

01 May 2013

Holding My Breath

On Monday I received word regarding a submission I had with Baen publishers. It has been almost 2 ½ years since I submitted it. Last summer I emailed them asking about it and learned that I had been plucked from the slush pile and was in another pile designated “look closely.” I couldn’t believe it. I had made it out of the slush. I had never made it out of the slush of a big publisher before.

When I checked my email Monday night my stomach flipped. Moose could tell how nervous I was and offered to read the email for me. I bit the bullet and opened the email. I always cheat and look at the end because that is normally where the important information is. My book was not chosen. Sigh. I didn’t want to admit to Moose but it actually hurt more this time. I think it would have been better if I didn’t already know I had made it out of the slush pile.

I have always told myself that part of being an author is receiving rejection. The majority of authors have submitted dozens of works dozens of times before it happens. I actually have (somewhere) a binder with all of my printed rejections. I have a half dozen or so which don’t include the electronic ones.

I found it interesting what this particular rejection said. The first was that they thought my characters were too old and that the ages needed to be lowered for a YA audience. (I am trying to decide if this was because my reading a lot of YA has influenced my writing, or what. I want to write for the college age group I think I have heard it called New Adult.) The second was that I have a unique style of writing that the editor just couldn’t get into. The third thing was that the slush editor said she read my manuscript in two days and couldn’t put it down. Now that is a compliment.

I have submitted this particular story again without making changes. If it comes back with a similar critique then I will look into changing it. I mean so far I am fifty-fifty as far as response.