Friday, December 18, 2009

2009-A Look Back

A quote from my favorite musical, RENT:
December twenty-fourth, ten pm
Eastern standard time
I can't believe a year went by so fast
Time to see, what we have time to see

As the year 2009 steam rolls to an end, all I can say is wow! The skeptic in me looks back to see the things that I set out to accomplish this year and asks if I got anywhere close. In years past I can honestly say that goals fell by the wayside, but this year was different. Each of us took great strides to getting a little bit closer to our dreams. I thought I'd take some time to share each of our milestones.

Thomas finished his first full length novel shortly after ringing in the new year. After putting the polishing touches on it we sent out his first set of query letters only to learn how not to write a query. Even with the initial query he did have some bites on partial requests. We revamped and are hitting the next round very soon. He also accepted a position with the new professional dance school here in Omaha, where he will be teaching a wide arrange of theater classes. This of course is his first real passion.

I spent the year in a writing frenzy completing a number of short stories and screenplays, a full length screenplay and a novel. In the month of November I began my quest in NaNoWriMo; in which I failed due to time constraints, but learned a lot from anyway. To those of you who supported me through this thank you and yes I will be completing my project very soon as promised. On a lighter note it is my personal opinion that my second foot surgery is much more successful than the first and I will hopefully not be adding anymore titanium to my body anytime soon!

Cloudya our little superstar has had a number of achievements this year. In April, she signed with a top talent agency out of Chicago. In June she auditioned for her first film and later in August landed a national audition for the American Girl Doll Company. She spent the summer doing photo shoots and wondering around the neighborhood making movies with her friends. After doing a number of local things here in Omaha, she completed the year dancing once again in the Omaha Ballet's Nutcracker. Of course, if you ask her about her greatest achievement from the year she will probably tell you it was winning tickets to the Jonas Brother SoundCheck. In which she got to be among only 200 people to watch the preSoundCheck for their show. Later on that night she attended their concert!

Although our son doesn't do anything theatrical(yet) I feel bad leaving him out of this. Kaiden did do a photo shoot for a local Twilight event. He started his first year in hockey lessons, which people I'm telling you in my house is a BIG deal! He finished off his karate year earning his little dragon purple belt which means by this time next year he'll be a black belt.

Other 2009 milestones:

In January, Kevin Costner came to my Wal-mart and not only did I meet him, but spent the afternoon less than ten feet from him. Cloudya was super excited she got to meet the "mariner" from Waterworld. I really believe she is the only one I know that liked that movie.

In April, our family saw RENT while in Chicago. It starred Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal! I love those guys!

We spent a week in the summer in South Dakota. Visited Mount Rushmore, about died on a lake and spent the entire time being rained on.
So as 2010 approaches what kind of goals will you find yourself trying to obtain. Here's a few words of wisdom from us.

1)Writing what you know is good, but don't forget to think outside the box.

2)You are always auditioning!

3)Let your characters take over the story. After all it is theirs to tell.

4)Throw away the rules and you might just write something truly amazing.

5)Write everyday even if its only a sentence.

6)The last rule works for both publishing and acting. Remember the hardest person to beat out for the part is yourself.


Have a great holiday season everyone. I'm truly excited to see great things from you in 2010!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Confessions of a Crazy Superstitious Stage Mom!



This week and every week since September, but especially this week has been accosted by the production of the Nutcracker. Our daughter Cloudya is in production year number two with the Omaha Theater Ballet's holiday tradition. This year she's the purple Faberge egg and opens the second act. Needless to say our little theater brat enjoys every minute of it!

Let me explain for a minute the life of our theater engrossed daughter. She was one week old when she made her stage debut. Call me crazy, but yes she was a week old. Cloudya is the product of two parents who lived the crazy theater life for years. It is truly in her blood. When she was three years old we went our separate ways from the theater and took on "real" professions. Several years later Cloudya saw and met her now favorite magician Darren Romeo. His influence brought the spark of entertainment into her life. From then on it didn't matter that child wanted to be on stage.

So, I'm not your typically stage mom as many of us have gotten a bad rep over the years. Our ballet school is full of those moms and quite frankly they make me cranky and I steer as far away from them as possible. I don't run around trying to be in charge of everyone. I don't attempt to sew every costume, so my daughter can be Clara next year. Nor do I stop in on other's rooms to boss other's children around. Frankly I'm busy enough with my own child.


During the week, we try to promote the true spirit of theater in our house. Each of us who have done theater have very strong superstitions and traditions that we follow. As people arrived this year to view her show Cloudya spent time asking them about each of theirs. My brother in law use to spend time staring at the model of the Globe Theater that sat in the back of the theater in our home town. My husband would pace the hallway before production talking to himself. My own would be wearing my lucky pair of underwear. My lovely daughter now has her own preshow traditions. She brings a picture of Darren that he signed for her several years ago, her Nick Jonas necklace and any music she can get her hands on. The child sits in front of her mirror with the things spread out around her listening to music and completely going into her own zone.

As time consuming as it is, we all enjoy our part in bringing the Nutcracker to life. I get to chaperone little girls on a daily basis and make sure all their eggs crowns are on straight. Thomas takes care of the party boys and manages to get make up on five little boys in record time. Then of course Cloudya brings her character to life by allowing her sparkling personality to show through.
As the show winds down today, it brings a sense of sadness in our home. That sadness in which we are all familiar, but even more so that we are not sure if Omaha will even have a Nutcracker next year as the professional company closes its doors. While leaving the theater yesterday, Cloudya asked me how many shows she had left and I had to inform her that today would be her last show in the run. She told me she didn't want it to be over. From there we discussed how long and hard a cast works to bring a production to life and how each person we work with over the years will always have a special place in our hearts. As the discussion ended it made me feel reminiscent of my own years in the stage and how many actors were so much a part of me.

The first day Cloudya did the show this year, she walked off stage and said, "There are so many people out there mom. That's why we do this!" You could use that to describe the entire process, but in her nine year old wisdom she is right.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Writer's are Full of Useless Information

I had to giggle this week when one of my friends told me she could go on jeopardy and win because of all the random information she knows. Later on I got to thinking about the whole thing and had a realization that I was the exact same way. In my years of writing, my favorite part has always been the research piece. It brings to mind the movie quote from the funny yet overly dramatic Spice World(yes that is with the Spice Girls)..."Then there's the little Ginger one who's full of useless information."

Sometimes when I answer random questions or quote certain things I get "the look." Once I notice that I'm receiving said "look" I explain that I had to research it for a project once. Over the years I've looked up some really weird stuff and my novelist brain is thankful for my two favorite sites, Google and Wikipedia.

So for this project I had to research how many times the Stanley Cup has been won by the same team back to back. Oh wait I already knew the answer to that. I have two questions for my followers today. One, what is the weirdest thing you've ever had to research? Two, what was something you enjoyed researching the most.

My weirdest is what kind of damage could a hammer do to a human skull. Let me explain as my hometown nears the area where the Bloody Benders once inhabited. They have been an unsolved mystery there for years and intrigued me as a child. They killed travelers by bashing in their skulls with a mallet and slitting there throat.

My favorite was the filming process from script to screen. I used it to write a screenplay this summer about a director and his writer wife.

Let's see everyone else's opinions! If I don't get to talk to anyone before hand have a GREAT THANKSGIVING!

Holiday Shopping Tip of the Day:

The maps for Wal-mart's Black Friday are available on-line and they are specific for every store! Happy Shopping

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Latest Revision on Thomas' Query Letter

Thomas Dean
Mr. Blah Blah
With Blah Blah Blah
1234 Street
New York, NY
11111


Dear Mr. Blah Blah,

Secrets-the dark ones-the kind that bring shame to everyone involved are always well kept. The citizens of Cherryvale, Kansas have known this for decades, covering up the facts of the Bloody Benders and the Dalton Gang. However, what happens when the secret keeper no long wants to play the game; when they feel the need to let it all out?

Alex Mitchellson, an investigative reporter from Denver, has returned home for the first time in nearly ten years. The return is complicated by obligations, old romances, and the haunting death of two of his friends. The most disturbing complication comes in a tattered yellow envelope. The letter, although very cryptic, warns him of lies that caused him to leave his home.

As more letters arrive Alex is forced to face that there could be more to his friends’ death than an accidental drowning. With each piece of evidence pointing towards foul play and the possibility of a cover up an ever increasing danger grows.

Armed with the identity of the mysterious letter writer Alex takes the final step in unearthing what happened to his friends, and why they had been singled out. His questions are answered when he discovers the Chief of Police and his own father, the town minister, are at the root of the dark and sinister secret centered around the love the two boys shared.

Black Box Confessional is a 108,000 word mystery rooted in small town fears and the traditions they value.

As a graduate of Emporia State University I received degrees in Speech Communications, Theater and Journalism. While there I won awards for various published articles with the Colligate Press, as well as having several original short plays produced.

Thank you for considering my novel, Black Box Confessional.

Sincerely,


Thomas Dean
16228 Rolling Ridge Road
Omaha, NE 68135
402-990-5112
tlodean@hotmail.com

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Heart of Jerseys

While in college hockey goaltender, Marek Kennedy befriends a mystery girl in a bar. Later he discovers that she is Alexandria Croughlin, also a goaltender, but not just any one, the one who has been stealing all his thunder. They form an unusual romance that defines who they are, but circumstances don't play in their favor and they go their separate ways. Five years later, Marek finds himself unexpectedly playing for the NHL team in Kansas City. Which happens to be the city that Lexi has ended up living in.

My current word cloud for my WIP, Heart of Jerseys.

Wordle: The Heart of Jerseys

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cloudya's Top Ten Reasons You Should See New Moon and All the Reasons She Can't Wait To See It


Today Cloudya wanted to give you a list of reasons to go see New Moon as she can't wait for Friday.



1.) There's alot more action.








2.)For Team Jacob you'll get to see him alot more.





















3.)Edward takes his shirt off.






















4.)Can't wait for the birthday party scene, it changes everything.












5.)The Volturi are going to rock.





















6.)Bella hallucinates Edward. Can't wait to see how they do that.








7.)Edward leaves. It will be as if I never existed...YEAH RIGHT!























8.)Bella finds out Jacob's a werewolf. Does she attract this things or what?













9.)Laurent finds Bella mouth watering and it starts a new chain of events.











10.)Alice steals a car...Alice drives like a manic...Alice is my favorite character and I can't wait to see the crazy things she will do.

Holiday Madness-Saturday Edition

It's Saturday...are you going to your local Wal-mart? Let me give you some pointers for shopping during the holiday season:

1. If you can shop overnights, do it. Yes, you have to put up with pallets being in the aisle and less cashiers, but its quieter and there are a lot more associates.

2. If you call and ask for a the info on a specific item you are most likely going to get someone who really doesn't know the answer.

3. The management team doesn't know everything that's going on in the store all the time, so if you have a bad experience don't assume they know.

4. Don't wait till the last minute to exchange gifts. The closer you wait til Christmas the longer the line will be at the service desk.

5. Don't wait...Don't wait...Don't wait...shop early...shop early...shop early.

Look next Saturday for more fun filled tips:0)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Another day in the blissful paradise we call the holiday season:)

Yeap we got it...freight-tons of it. Quickly rolling is are the things that will make everyone's dreams come true for the holidays. Alot of times we store these things outside in trailers. Around one in the morning we take the extra out there. Tonight we go out and two of my associates were walking around the outside of the building holding hands. They were off work, but I asked them what they were doing and they said they were on a date. How cute! Over the years I've had so many associates meet at work and fall in love. I can't begin to tell you the number of weddings I've been invited too. I don't know why I needed to share this. Let's just say the couple made me smile. What a way to be alone, walking around the outside of your Walmart. I guess whatever works!

Countdown to New Moon!


Last year-about this time-I had a friend ask me if I'd read the Twilight series. Apparently I was one of the only people in the universe who hadn't. She informed that I would love the series and should try it. On her recommendation I did just that. I read the first five chapters and HATED it. If I don't care for a book I don't finish it. So I'm talking to my friend about it and she's like seriously get past that fifth chapter and I swear you'll love it. Then another friend told me the exact same thing. With the release of the movie I thought I would try again, so I picked it back up and read the sixth chapter and than the seventh, before I knew it the week was over and I had read the entire Twilight Saga. Well my friends were right, I loved it. I'm huge on vampire literature and so I quickly became sucked into the mania surrounding the movie.



With the release of New Moon around the corner...one week to be exact, my house is full of excitement. My daughter-who thinks Alice is the coolest thing on the planet next to Nick Jonas-is counting down the days. She's been making me quiz her about the movie and books. She proudly boosts about the many times she went to see Twilight in the theater. For her headshots in March, she wanted a set with her Alice paraphernalia. To her it made sense to do it because Ashley Greene was her favorite actress and headshots help you get to be an actress.



My son is practicing his Edward run. He keeps asking me about the baseball scene which is his favorite scene in the movie. I'm scared maybe he won't like it because there is no baseball. He asked the other day if he would be faster than Edward on his ice skates. Kaiden's favorite vamp is a toss between Edward and Emmett. He did some promotional matieral for a release party and personally he could be Dr. Cullen's son.


The Twilight mania has found the Dean home and this week we will be discussing it on our blog. First I want to know if you've read the books and if you did what you thought. It's your opinion and too each their own, but we are going to have some fun till the New Moon rises.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Writing, Dancing, Shopping and all the Craziness

Hello to everyone out there, Veronica is sleeping so you get me today(Thomas).

Well it is a new day and I have been recruited to write, which may not actually be a good thing because this means I will have written more words on here then in my novel for NaNoWriMo. Things have been crazy and it is making me more nervous than usual. The novel I wrote last year I actually wrote in the month of November so I think I should get to submit it instead of the new one, but Veronica won't let me. She keeps quoting my own words to me - "Sit Down, Shut Up, and Just Do It. No More Whining!!!"

I know she is right but wow this is just such a crazy time of year at our house, and for me in particular. I feel like there is no time to stop, in fact I am positive the same dishes have been in the dishwasher for 4 days(clean at least), there is a mound of fast food and sandwich-shop bags filling up the trash can, and of course just a total disarray of the normal tidiness of the house. You see Cloudya has had 5 ballet/Nutcracker rehearsals, along with choir, violin, guitar, a very complex president presentation and a great school performance all this week; not to mention Kaiden and hockey lessons, karate, and belt test for karate. With all of that I have filled up the car twice this week already and I am going to need to do it again before Saturday.

It is a nice change though that Veronica is finally letting the words flow, normally that is me. I have never been the one to make an outline, plot the characters course, or any of the those prewriting things. Personally I just want to let the characters go where they need to, of course I also write more of the mystery suspense style so I find it works better because I am not letting out anything too so. She has been so devoted to her comp books for outlining and character work ups that this process is really opening her up to just letting her write freely. I think I might have actually won the argument that you do not have to have every page planned in advance.

As for the rest of life, which really is only Nutcracker and getting ready for the holidays, everything is actually a lot of fun. The kids are really getting into the swing of the show, this weekend we will get the first of several 5 hour practices as they start running the entire acts and putting everything together. Still, I have to admit that I can not wait for the show to be over. It is such a wonderful opportunity for them to dance with the professional company but at the same time I want my weekends, family time, not to mention personal time back. I have a slue of movies to catch up on, cleaning that needs done, and a lot of new recipes I want to try out.

Well in a final parting I wanted to add in something in the world of retail, because I know Veronica is talking about it right now. Today I was at the store waiting for her to get done and I got to witness one of the rarest of customer personalities there is. A woman was in the toy department shopping for her grandchildren and she looked about as frazzled as she could possibly be. Evidently, Veronica had already been helping her find gifts and offering suggestions but had gotten called away so Veronica sent me to go help with the shopping task(I often get roped into helping).

Anyway, we talked about Transformers, cars, games, dolls, and cupcake makers and I showed her a few of the things that I knew had been popular with our kids that are more do-it-yourself craft things. We mulled around the toy department, I took her back to the craft section and helped her pick out a do-it-yourself messenger bag along with several other things. It was like shopping with an old friend by the time we were done, and she said THANK YOU. The best though was she kept saying that she thought she should take me to pick out a gift for myself(It was very tempting I am not going to lie). The whole experience was refreshing, and then I turned a corner and got to witness what most people are like this time of year when I ran into the mess of a customer ranting very loudly about a toy not being in stock. Sighing to myself, I looked at the poor associate trying to explain the toy was going to be hard to find anywhere while the customer continued to complain. The whole situation reminded me how a little kindness can go a long way this time of year. Everyone is stressed about things but if you can be like the grandma looking for toys and offering up presents to the people that help you even as a joke the season will go a lot better.

Best wishes to you all, and to everyone doing NaNoWriMo may your word counts grow rapidly.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Smallville...Really?

So, I haven't created a playlist for my latest novel. I've blogged in the last couple months about inspiration and the different things we use to motivate ourselves to write. Music is important for me. I listen to the same playlist the entire time I write and edit WIP. Of course I've know several of you out there in the writing world that are the exact same way. My routines are the same every step of the journey, so I don't mess with the flow of the story.


NaNoWriMo is a challenge for me. I understand that it is a the same for every writer to write that many words in one month. So here's a list of my obstacles: 1)I'm a co-manager for Wal-mart. I work 16 4-hour days. On the plus side I get 4 days off. The biggest problem is where is everyone shopping right now, because it's that time of year? Yeap, you guessed it! No, we don't have any ZuZu pets. 2) I have to develop my characters by research and planning. Detailed researching and planning 3.)The outlines can be crazy, I tell you. I outline everything. 4.) What do you mean I can't go back and edit.

Other than reason one, my husband has told me for years to chuck it all out the window and than one day when I get published I can chuck number one as well. While writing in the past week, I have been so carefree. No outline, no character development, and no editing. All my rules are out the window and quite frankly it feels wonderful. Yesterday, I struggled to hit save and close my computer, so I could go to work, because my characters were in their zone...yes, their zone. All these years I've did all this crazy stuff, before I started writing and sometimes it would take me chapter and chapters, before the characters were telling their own story. Quite frankly up to that point I forced it along. I'm proud to announce that half way through chapter one it was all them.

At this point you might be wondering what I've done for music. I've broken all the other rules right? I'm not listening to music. Instead my muse has been the television show Smallville. Yes, my friends, the CW's version of Superman has kept me pumping the last week. Previous to this week, in our house we'd decided to go back and watch all the old episodes, because we didn't start watching until season 4, so every day we go get a new disc from the video store. I have made the discovery that each episode is 45 minutes long and I can write approximately 600 words in that time. This show has absolutely nothing to do with the novel I am writing; there are no superheros, tights or flights.

Well I hope this tidbit puts a smile on the faces of my NaNoWriMo and non-NaNoWriMo writing friends.



From now til Christmas the retailer in me will be sharing a tidbit that will hopefully make either your or my experience at Wal-mart a little bit better this holiday season. Believe me through the holidays I see some funny and weird stuff. I also have my pet peeves like I'm sure all of you as customers do.

Today, my beautiful and artistic daughter had a program at school for Veterans day. They were instructed in advance to ensure that they wore red, white and blue. Of course they didn't specify that if the students wore a flag on their shirts that it would need to be the American flag. The picture you see is of a couple of the participants, who felt the need to sport their Miley Cyrus style. They went to their local Wal-mart and in this case probably mine and picked something out of her new line, which is probably not appropriate for elementary students to where. The girls in this pic don't know any better, but parents the British flag really? Don't take me as Brit hater, because I'm not, but its Veteran's day folks.

Keep smiling and writing everyone! Have a great NaNoWriMo week, I know I will!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Feverish Ramblings

Okay, so this week in the Dean house has been somewhat of a whirlwind. There were birthdays, Halloween, and a ridiculous virus called H1N1 that ran rambid. If this version of the flu had a rating system like tornadoes than it would most resemble an F5 on the scale as it had a mile wide destruction path and multiple victims. In fact the only true survivor in our home has been my husband, but did he really survive having to tend to three people hacking and running fevers over a hundred? Probably not.

Well on to more interesting things. NaNoWriMo has proven interesting with the terrorist flu striking. Right now Thomas is well ahead of me in word count which is to be expected. In the end quite honestly he will have more words anyway, he always does. My last novel finished at almost 90,000 words while he's took the cake at 108,000. Really what matters to me this month is finishing this story. Not just any story either, but one that has haunted me for the last six months. I shared with a friend this week that even in my feverish state my dreams consisted of watching my novel like it was a digital movie. I love its concept. I love its characters. Now I want it out of my head. If I don't finish it soon than I'm afraid it will haunt me longer and I will never be able to write anything else again. So this week I will work on evicting it out of my subconscious.

Thomas and I had interesting discussions about agents this week. He got another rejection letter, but we haven't submitted him for anything since May. At least they responded;it just took a while. I wonder how far down he was on the slushpile. How do you get out of the slushpile anyway? Write an amazing query letter. That takes time and practice. Good thing we are revising his, because honestly his story is great. I guess we learn a little from every rejection we get. Honestly though once he does sign with someone and really its only a matter of time, readers be warned as he's been saving all his built up agent frustration for this blog.

On to my daughter's recent news. Apparently she'll be doing some video for the new professional dance school here in Omaha. Last night she asked me if she'd get to be in front of a green screen. Seriously, this is my child. The Nutcracker rehearsals continue to monopolize our time as we get closer to show time. She also has to give a report this week on one of the presidents. She gets to use a pizza box for a prop as she "delivers" her report. How fun! The assignment should prove interesting coming from a future first lady well as long as she gets her wish to marry the future president Nick Jonas. Her latest job occupation to hit her wish list is fashion designer. At least as an actress she'll be able to accomplish this much easier as Miley Cyrus continues to take over our Wal-mart with her very interesting looking line that quite frankly Thomas would never let Cloudya wear. Today her and my son are sending birthday cards to their magician mentor, Darren Romeo. Believe it or not that is were the whole entertaining started for our fun-loving red head. She saw one of his amazing shows and slowly but surely her mind worked towards the world of entertainment. Who knows maybe this year for the school talent show she'll make an elephant appear on stage. She's cut people in half with ropes, made clothing appear out fog, and used magic to let people know she wanted to be famous. Happy Birthday Darren. Thank you for inspiring my children to entertain!

During our downtime this week an interesting question was asked, "Mommy what did you want to be when you grew up?" Wow! What a loaded question. Although my answer was simple. I wanted to be a writer. Of course I went through a barrage of other ideas like actress, oceanographer and storm chaser in the end writing was truly all I ever wanted to do. It led me to wonder not where that began, but when it turned from writing for fun to writing to be published. I'm sure when I was her age I didn't even know what the New York Times Bestseller List was, but everyday I grow jealous of the people that get on it. Maybe, that's why I haven't sent out my own query letters yet or maybe its cause honestly I'm not really ready to do so.

Last in my ramblings is the incident that occurred at Fort Hood. My condolences go out to the families of the victims. The writer in me wonders how this individual went from point A to committing such a horrible act. I'm certain that we all have something that could make us snap, but maybe not so violently. I come close every year, sometime around the holiday of Christmas, when all heck breaks loose at work and as a manager you sit back and wonder where all your perfect control went. Seriously, remember before you call your local Wal-mart to ask if we have any Zu-Zu pets in stock what the likely hood of the answer will be. Lastly, as you shop tell the associates that helped you thank you as we so often rarely hear those words.

Anyway, we're off to ballet. Sorry for the feverish ramblings, but I needed to get them off my chest. Tomorrow, we will post something entertaining about NaNoWriMo and our fun competition that has invaded our house due to it.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Havoc

I'm going to be a little self-indulgent today on the artistic corner, so I apologize now as this post has absolutely nothing to do with our journey towards publishing. Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year. In fact it's the only one that we truly go a little crazy for in our house. After years of retail management Christmas is not the most wonderful time of the year and Valentine's Day can't truly be celebrated if everyone waits to the last minute to buy that something special. We do celebrate these holidays, because of our children, but it doesn't mean I enjoy them.





It gets a little crazy in our house during the month of October. Starting the first day of the month-as long as the weather cooperates-the decorations hit the lawn. Living in Omaha has proven to been a little crazy, like this year when our poor Snoopy hit the ground after we got seven inches of snow. Still, I personally would have them out sooner, but every year my husband makes me wait for the great reveal. This year, one of the neighbors asked Thomas' if he was intentionally trying to out do everyone in the neighborhood. He obviously doesn't understand our obsession. Seriously, our house looks like it could belong in Salem. Actually, its on a list of places we'd like to live.




The kids have certain books we read on a daily basis. Their favorite continues to be The Five Little Pumpkins which my son now has memorized. If you haven't read this book it's great and I totally recommend it. It puts a smile on both of their faces no matter how many times we read it.



While the children have movies they like to enjoy during this month like Hocus Pocus and The Little Vampire, the adults dedicate it to watching as many horror movies as possible. It's sad when we can pretty much quote the movie Scream word for word. Thomas' has used this time period to catch up on the Saw series.


Our traditions are deep and on a funny timeline. Every year we carve our pumpkins on our son's birthday. We do this because any earlier and the pumpkins would be mush. His birthday on the the 27th is perfect. Just so everyone knows we did take him trick or treating on his first Halloween. Yes, he was only 4 days old and yes, he had a costume.

We also have a very important food tradition in place. Every year our food for Halloween night always has something to do with scary or spooky. We have had Dead Joe(Sloopy Joes), Jack-O-Pizza(A pizza with apumpkin face), Morgue Leftovers(Chilli). Tonight though we are having Bloody Batwings(Chicken Wings) and Mummy Dogs(Pigs in a blanket).




The beginning of Halloween has many different explanations and yes I've researched them all, because that's just how I am. Regardless of any of them, this family loves the whole idea. Of course there are a multitude of things you could chalk this up to. First, I was raised in an area where the biggest celebration was Neewollah. It was the biggest celebration in the entire state of Kansas and we love it. We haven't been home in years to be apart of this, but its traditions are deeply ingrained in us. Then there's the whole theater thing. Seriously what part of us would not want to dress up in costume, being someone else for a night and actually blend in with the crowd. Then of course the kids love the candy, who wouldn't, but when I asked them today they said the thing they look forward to the most is carving pumpkins.



So to everyone who reads this blog have a great Halloween. Enjoy trick or treating and pumpkin craving! Be safe and most of all have FUN! Because in our house Halloween is the most wonderful time of the year!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thomas' Query

Thomas' query is posted over at openquery. His is the one entitled Black Box Confessional. Check it out and leave your suggestions. The ones given already have been really great. I wanted to send out a special thanks as we hit 500 hits this week on our blog.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Let's Imagine

Above my work area hangs a picture of Central Park's Strawberry Fields. I love this picture for many reasons. First, the Beatles are my all time favorite band. Second, I love New York City and getting to visit the site was on my life's to do list. Note that for this particular item it only took one trip versus seeing the Hollywood sign took multiple attempts and ultimately ended with us backing into a stranger's house. Lastly, that one simple word pretty much sums up everything that I am about.

As a child I was often called imaginative. This of course was my own doing. My nose was either stuck in a book reading or in a notebook writing. We performed plays on the front porch of my grandfather's home. It was a perfect stage. My imagination was vivid and exciting and thrives on today.

This beautifully written word entices me to create just about anything. As writers, we use our life's experiences and turn them into works of art. We manipulate a simple incident and imagine it to be much more.

Imagine with me for a moment. A friend of mine who plays hockey meets this amazing young man who also plays. They date for a short while, but end up going their separate ways. Years have passed since this relationship and although in the format of time it was relatively insignificant, she will tell you otherwise. This time-trapped relationship is laying base for my current project, The Heart of Jerseys. In deciding to pursue this, I had to ask myself the question, "Imagine if they had stayed together? What would their worlds have been like?" I want to take a second and think those of you for your encouraging words to go ahead and pursue this even through my crazy busy time of the year. You were all right. I shouldn't stop the creativity from flowing.

With that one word though I could change it all up in an instant, but then choose to manipulate it the other way. I'm sure once I begin writing that the characters will turn it in the direction they choose, just like always.

I encourage all of you this week to use that word while trying to come up with your next great project. Take that small minuscule moment in your life or someone elses and imagine it to be different. Who knows what you'll come up with.

You may say that I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one I hope someday you'll join us And the world will be as one.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

In the Great In Between

The last couple of weeks I've been sorting through the gory editing process of my latest manuscript. It is no surprise that this is my least favorite part of the writing process. I know I'm not alone here in this as several of us probably wish the story could write itself with no mistakes or lengthy changes that need to be made. Nevertheless the edit has to continue for the manuscript to move on into its next place.



It is during this time that I find myself a little unfocused. The work feels forced more than the fun I usually have during the creative part of the process. Normally, I would continue on to my next project and at least begin the ground work, but its the time of year where my life is controlled by work. After all I'm a manager for Wal-mart and our crazy time of the year will officially begin in a short few weeks. Working on anything, but editing during this time causes the writing to be what I refer to as sloppy or lazy.

This craft is not something I can easily turn on and off. I go to bed thinking about projects, wake up wondering where my characters will take me and even at work try to manipulate passages in my head. My brain and heart want to move on as the new project ideas swirl inside me. I've been trying to apse it by writing short stories for a contest, but it hasn't quite quenched my appetite.

Regardless of work, I may have to go ahead and begin the next project, so I can continue to allow my creativity to be alive.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Writing World

Wordle: Black Box Confessional


Wordle: Amidst the Fog

I've been involved in different aspects of the entertainment industry from the time I could pretty much walk. I've learned the hard way that it could be a cruel and cut-throat world. Often times the critiques we receive are based in mere jealousy than honesty. It can be dangerous to not only our psyche, but our craft as well. As my own daughter tests the waters in this world, I try to keep her guarded from those who are so malicious. I allowed myself to walk away, simply due to one person finally breaking my artistic spirit and I've spent the last several years working to get it back.

As I've stepped back into what I love so much head first, through the blogging world I've been able to surround myself with people who are like me in many aspects. Some of them are working to achieve the same goals that I am-getting published of course. Others have already taken that road and are more than willing to share their experiences with the others. Ultimately, it will make our journey less rocky.

One of my favorite bloggers have consumed the Dean writers this week as he announced a first paragraph contest. During which writers could submit any first paragraph to a work in progress. In the end there were almost 2500 entries-which I finished reading at two o'clock this morning. What I've loved most about this is how each of us comes up with our own unique worlds to write in. How can people even say its all been done before. The better part was all the constructive comments we received throughout the process. In the end there will be ten finalists. Truthfully, I would love if Thomas and I were among them, but I found myself gaining even more from others works. I closed my laptop last night feeling so inspired by the writing community around me. Today the finalists will be announced and hopefully the constructive spirit continues.

Late last night there was an updated post that gave Thomas and I a new writing toy. It takes a manuscript(or anything you've written) and puts it into a collage format. It also allows a writer to pin point the words we use the most, so we're aware of the things we repeat. I've included ours at the top of the post for fun. Thomas' is the brown one and mine is black and white.

So until the next contest enjoy the Wordle fun and I urge all of you writers to check out the first paragraphs in the contest.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Query Me...

Folks this is Thomas' potential query letter for more agents and we need feedback. Please! He's super concerned about the beginning mainly:

Mr. Blah Blah
With Blah Blah Blah
1234 Street
New York, NY
11111


Dear Mr. Blah Blah,

A paroled child rapist, a reporter and his father the town minister along with his best friend’s dad the Chief of Police, and an old Voodoo Witch make up five of the unsettling characters in the novel Black Box Confessional.

For ten years in rural southeastern Kansas a dark truth has surrounded the deaths of two high school seniors found in a water logged truck at the lake on graduation morning. Dark secrets have always been the specialty of the town’s residents going back to the days of the Blood Benders and the Dalton Gang. However, some secrets are too sinister to stay hidden.

Alex Mitchellson, an investigative reporter from Denver, has returned to his hometown for the first time in nearly ten years. The return is complicated by obligations, old romances, and the sudden death of his two friends. The most disturbing complication comes in the form of a tattered yellow envelope awaiting him in his hotel room. The letter, although very cryptic, warns him about the very lies that caused him to leave his home nearly a decade ago.

As more letters continue to arrive Alex is forced to faces his greatest fear; that there was more to his friend’s death. With the help of his high school girlfriend, and his last remaining friend, a social shut-in, together they raid police files, blackmail one person and seduce another all in the midst of have their every move watched by a dangerous outsider. Every piece of evidence points towards foul play and the possibility of a cover up, and an ever increasing danger for Alex.

Armed with the identity of the mysterious letter writer Alex takes the final step towards discovering what happened to his friends, and to unearth why they had been singled out. His questions are answered when he discovers the Chief of Police and his own father are at the root of a dark and sinister secret centered around the love the two boys shared. In a final confrontation Alex must make a dangerous choice to save himself or his friends from the hands of the two people he thought he could always trust.

I'm a graduate of Emporia State University, receiving a double bachelor in Theater and Journalism. While there I received many awards for articles published in the college newspaper. Several of my short plays have been produced by colleges in which I was affliated.
Although, my wife believes it is against my religion to use commas.

Thank you for considering Black Box Confessional.

Sincerely,

Thomas Dean

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Conclusion

Later, she dragged herself to bed once she was done with her ponderings. From here on out, it was about her, as it should have been from the beginning. As she drifted off to sleep, she couldn’t stop all the memories flooding to her head.
The phone rang and rang, but she was in to deep of a sleep to completely comprehend it. Then the shaking began; it wasn’t gentle, but harsh and frantic.
He screamed her name-had she answered the phone? Lexi coughed in an attempt to respond, but it caused her chest to burn.
Once again she felt the shaking and heard his voice begging her to wake up. She sat up in her sleep induced haze, but found that the haze was different. Fog floated around her room and it took her a moment to realize it wasn’t fog, but smoke. The alarm within the kitchen was blaring now. How had she not heard it?
Lexi sunk down the edge of the bed now as her adrenaline kicked in. Trying to crawl, she realized that the smoke had affected her more than she thought. Her muscles were weak and she found it hard not to cough. She stopped moving, even though she knew she was standing on death’s door.
The screams became louder now and she knew that somehow Mark was trying to save her. She pulled herself forward for him. Arm by arm, she worked to the bedroom door and than out the front door.
The sound of the sirens echoed through the night and it was the last thing she remembered before she closed her eyes.
The touch was familiar and warm; it sent waves of emotion through her body that she couldn’t possibly begin to explain. Her eyelids felt heavy, but she wanted to open them. She needed to know that she wasn’t dreaming.
“Lexi, I’m right here,” Mark said. He was there and he’d saved her; she wondered if even knew that. “Zach started the fire. Then out of hatred he called and told me what he’d done. He also admitted to being one of the men Amber slept with while I was gone. I called the fire department, but I knew it wasn’t enough, I had to try to reach you, but you wouldn’t answer.”
“But you were there Mark, urging me to go on when I couldn’t. You saved me and you weren’t even there-just like you have my whole life,” she said quietly in between coughs.
Mark leaned in and kissed her. It was natural and full of emotion as if they’d been doing it their whole life.
“Will you hold me?” she asked. “You bet,” he said as he climbed into the bed with her. He’d been right along time ago, when he had said they were soul mates; they were just too stubborn to admit it. Jen drifted off to sleep in the protective arms of the only man she’d every really loved.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Part 2

Last year, Mark had accused her of lying. Amber had cheated on him and she’d found out. She thought she was doing the right thing by telling him. When he confronted her about it, Amber put the works on and he ended up staying with her. She played the jealousy card and he’d bought right into it. Regardless of what he believed, Amber had not been faithful and her lies were ruining their friendship.
They couldn’t go back now.
Pulling on her robe, she walked out of her bedroom. Lexi lived in the same house all her life. Each room held different memories of her childhood. Passing the living room in route to the kitchen, something caught her attention. The movement was subtle, if she hadn’t been on high alert she wouldn’t have even noticed it.
He sat there in his typical sleepwear-boxers and a wife beater. Lexi knew she was hallucinating; Mark was in Washington, DC-a recent post September 11th assignment. When he’d joined up, the world had been fairly peaceful or that’s what it seemed like, but now it was a whole different country.
“I don’t want to talk to the real you. What makes you think I would want to talk to the figment of my imagination you?” she said continuing to walk towards the kitchen. At first her mission had been simple-a glass of water, but now tequila was in order.
“You’ll get tired of fighting with me,” he said. The statement was already true. She hated being mad at him.
Lexi returned with her bottle of tequila and sat at the dining room table. From there she could see that the figment hadn’t disappeared.
“Why don’t you let me help you?” he said standing up.
“Because you’re not real; you’re something I’ve made up in my mind,” Lexi replied.
“All you had to do was answer the phone.”
“And all you had to do was believe your best friend.” She choked down all the hatred with a shot. “We’ve been friends since we were six years old and you chose her,” she finished taking another drink.
Mark sat down at the table and watched her chug one after the other. He didn’t say anything else; allowing her to wallow in her own self pity.
The sunlight burned her skin, but than a cool shadow blocked it. Opening one eye, she saw Zach standing over her with his arms crossed. He looked angry as if he were about to accuse her of something. Of course, that would be nothing new to her. In two weeks, they would be married. Lexi understood she should be running around preparing everything, but she just didn’t feel like it.
“Your boyfriend called me this morning,” he started, letting his jealousy shine through. “He’s worried about you. Said that he had a bad feeling about you last night and that you wouldn’t pick up the phone when he called.”
Lexi rolled her eyes, trying not to puke.
“I told him you were fine, just peachy, but clearly you’re not. I don’t even know my own fiancĂ©e and he’s half way around the country and knows.” Zach began to pick up her mess from the night before; although he chose not to do so quietly.
She didn’t understand his aggravation, but she didn’t want to fight with him either. Zach would rise to the occasion.
“You don’t have to do that, I can take care of myself you know,” she said attempting to stand to her feet. The effects of the tequila caused her to sit back down.
He stared at her for a long time and when he finally spoke he said, “The problem is you only let one person do that and he’s not here. I can’t live up to him Lexi.” When she didn’t respond, Zach walked out the back door. He liked to sulk on her patio and she knew she should go to him.
It took all of her energy to make it out there but she did. Zach sat staring into the horizon overlooking the pond behind her house. “I’m sorry,” she squeaked out still in her alcoholic fog.
“When he left, I thought it would be the best thing for us. The distance should have brought us closer, but it hasn’t,” he said.
“You don’t know what you’re saying.” It was the only response she could come up with.
“Most of our friends chalked everything up to jealousy. Until he left and than they saw everything I did.”
“He’s been my best friend since I was six years old Zach.”
“And I would kill for you to look at me the way you do him. Kill for it Lexi, but it won’t ever happen. He broke your heart, can’t you see that?” Zach shook his head. “No, you can’t, because you don’t want to believe it. He asked Amber to marry him. Did you know that? And she said yes. One year later and he’s still calling you a liar and you continue to punish yourself.”
The truth finally settled in and she knew that along the way she’d hurt Zach on her path, “If you feel that way, why are we still together?” The words came out before she could tell her mouth to stop.
“Because I love you.”
“It sounds more like you’re trying to win a competition than actually be with me.”
“Are you telling me the wedding is off,” he asked with not a stitch of sadness in his voice.
“You deserve to be happy and I don’t do that for you anymore,” Lexi replied.
Zach stood angrily and she was suddenly very aware of his body mass. He was quite a bit bigger than her. Like Mark, he’d played sports, but now he did construction which kept him muscular. Lexi knew that his temper was easily flared although she’d never been the direct target; she’d seen it at the bar. This simple gesture terrified her, but he walked out of the house anyway.
What had her miniscule life become? It had once been filled with dreams and ambitions, but she’d rearranged it for the man that had just walked out her doors. Mark had always ridiculed her for giving it all up and now it seemed more stupid than ever.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Excerpt from my new short story...

The embrace felt warm like it always did; despite the fact that the rain had soaked their clothes hours ago.
The two friends didn’t care, they were saying goodbye. Months ago, Mark told her he was leaving-joining the Marines. One day he’d been considering it and the next he told her he’d actually done it. Their fight lasted for hours. Lexi refused to speak to him for almost two weeks. Standing in his arms, all that wasted time seemed stupid.
An urge to kiss him rose from deep inside; everything about it would be wrong. They’d been friends since the first day of hockey practice-they were six years old. Lexi was engaged and Mark had dated the same girl almost as long as she’d been with Zach. She couldn’t deny the feeling though; it had always been there.
He stepped back from her now. Apparently feeling the same pull she was-the same one they’d felt since they hit puberty. Mark had once joked that they were soul mates, but the subject was quickly dropped.
It was time; she could feel it. He studied her now with those eyes that could make any girl’s soul melt. That look should have been reserved for Amber-his girlfriend-but right now it was all hers. When other people were around, she knew they could see the way he looked at her. That’s why their significant others were so damn jealous.
Lexi found herself reaching to touch his cheek-memorizing him as well. He looked like a young version of Kurt Cobain: unkempt hair cut, grunge-rock clothes, and those crystal eyes.
The military would kill his artistic spirit. He’d joined on a whim to prove something to Amber.
There was no more to say. He turned and walked away from her. She watched as he climbed into his old, beat-up truck. The roar from it starting caused her to jump back into the reality of the situation.
Lexi could feel the pain inside her chest wanting to rip out, but she waited until his truck was out of view.
And than it all came pouring out of her. The coughing sobs tore through her, causing her to wake up in a panic. The phone beside her bed rang. She checked the time: 3:00am. She knew who was on the phone, but she didn’t answer. Mark must have sensed her feelings; she never quite understood the connection, but it was always there.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lunch with a Superstar

I make it no secret that I'm super proud of my daughter, Cloudya. She's a beautifully talented little girl whose also signed with an agent in Chicago. Last month her yearly activities started up full swing again. She takes ballet, guitar lessons, joined orchestra this year and is in the school All-Star choir. Sounds like she's busy as is, but than there's the auditions that occurred at the beginning of the year as well. Of course she landed a role in the Omaha Ballet Theatre's professional production of the Nutcracker. This will be her second year in the cast, but it will monopolize most of her "free" time from now until December.

After a packed summer of movie and commercial auditions, I began to become concerned that I was becoming one of "those" parents. We've all heard of them. Those parents who push their kids to follow the dreams they could never obtain. I've always sworn that I would make her stop once she said that she didn't like it anymore. I've heard the grumblings a couple different times this year, so I've been on high alert.

While talking to Cloudya after she finished her American Girl audition, I asked her if she had fun and her answer was yes. Okay, so that relieved me a little, but nothing like what happened today. Kaiden and I decided we would join her for lunch at school and as soon as her classmates saw us the questions started. They asked about the different movies she had auditioned for and if she knew anything yet about her audition in Chicago. One of them asked if they could go see her in the Nutcracker and wanted to know what nights she would be performing. Another little boy was interested in the fact that Cloudya has decided she would like to attend Kid's Eye this summer. It's a film camp for kids her age sponsored by the Rhode Island Film Festival. I overheard one little girl telling another one sitting across from her that Cloudya was famou,s because she does movies and stuff. This statement made me chuckle. The girl then questioned Cloudya about it and she responded with, "I am famous now."

My first reaction was, "Wow, what a little diva." Of course, her nickname around the house has become just that. Famous-well I don't know about that yet; she's still got a long way to go before that happens. However, it was a relief to hear that she had been talking the subject up with all her little friends at school. I knew that she is proud of all her hard work she's been doing and in the long run knows it will pay off. She's also super excited to be rejoining all her ballet friends for this year's production.

For now though I'll still have my guard up, watching for the signs. In the mean time, we probably should have a little discussion about dropping the word famous. Of course, to all of us who love her she already is.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Change on the Horizon

Most reading this blog assume that I spend all my time writing and that it's been that way for a very long time. Reading back through my posts, I thought about how much I made it seem like that. The truth is I took a break for several years; blaming everything I could except for myself. The real reason-jade. That's how I describe it. I allowed someone to finally break my confidence, which is what they wanted to happen. In the end, allowing them to get inside my head. I walked away because of one person's opinion-stupid I know. Usually criticism doesn't bother me so much. Honestly, we need it to make us better at what we do. One person doesn't define who we are as artists, but I let the jade consume me.

Luckily, sometimes we get second chances. I spent a great portion of last year, helping my husband edit his novel. For the first time in a long time, I felt whole. Sure, I wasn't working on my own writing, but it was enough to revive me. This year I was finally tired of my own self-pity. I hated how incomplete I felt. I swore I'd get back into my own routine again. It was hard, I'll admit it. Sure you never forget how to ride a bicycle, but that doesn't mean its easy when you get back on for the first time.
Then something happened to remind me just how precious all that lost time was. We all have those moments that make us look back and wonder what in the world we are really doing with our life. I had mine on the middle of Lake Pactola in South Dakota this summer. On vacation with my family, we thought it would be a neat idea to rent a pontoon boat and go fishing. The day was absolutely gorgeous. It had been the clearest day we'd seen the whole time we were there. All of us were getting bites and landing fish; which is something I don't usually do, because fish hate my hook.


My husband was out back of the boat wake boarding. Something that only California boys can really do well. That's when we noticed the rain heading in our direction. So, I'm a good ole Kansas girl and my reaction was to grab the camera. How beautiful the far off rain danced off the lake. It didn't take long for that far off rain to be right up on us. We put up the awning, so we didn't get so wet.

The rain became the least of our worries. Hail started to pelt our swimsuit-covered bodies. We rushed to get the kids covered, but they were already screaming at the top of their lungs. The waves on the lake started to swell, making steering the boat near impossible. Thank goodness my father-in-law is not only stubborn and protective, but very knowledgeable about handling a boat in a storm.

The cold water rushed through the front of the boat where my mother-in-law and I were covered up. She realized we couldn't stay in that location. She pushed me to where my daughter was hiding from the storm. Of course, she had to do this because I was in my pre-foot surgery state and couldn't walk without a boot on my leg. When I got down there I realized my son wasn't with me daughter like I had previously thought. Panic rushed through my body as I didn't know where my son was on a boat that could possibly beat it at any moment. Not knowing where Kaiden was; what kind of mother was I? I knew Cloudya was down there and I thought I'd seen him go with her. What I'd really remembered seeing was my sister-in-law covering him up with a blanket close to her. As soon as she heard my panic and the waves settled for a second, she got him to us. Relief hit me, but we still had to get off the boat alive.

The cushions from the seats protected the children from the hail, but they were still shivering from cold and fear. As a mother I feared hypothermia and shock, so I came up with a way to keep them a little more preoccupied. Cloudya loves to be quizzed about things she knows well like Twilight and the Jonas Brothers and Kaiden likes to hear the answers so he can beat her at the next game. We do this alot on long trips. I asked Cloudya when Nick's birthday was and she screamed she didn't know. Well obviously, reasoning was out the window. Then she asked, "Can we just sing one of his songs?" So there we were, in the dark door of a near death experience and my daughter wanted to sing Jonas Brothers songs. Cloudya started to sing and than Kaiden chimed in. I took my towel off for a minute to access the sky. If there was anything I could do, it would be to see how soon till the storm cleared up. I got a clear shot of my father-in-law, he was shaking so hard from fear. It wasn't cold, I knew that, the only thing I could see on his face was solid fear. Almost everyone he cared about was on that boat, and he wanted to get them back to safety. As the kid's voices surrounded us, the sky started to look a little less bleak although the hail continued.

The hail plummeted us for nearly forty-five minutes and just as we got to the marina wouldn't you know it would stop. I learned several things about myself in those moments, but mostly about wasted time. This wasn't just about my craft, but my children and family more importantly. I knew getting off that thing that I would stop at nothing to make sure everyone of their desires came true. All the years I'd spent in my jaded state seemed stupid now. The whole thing made me remember something my grandpa had said along time ago, "An artist doesn't choose his art, but rather the art chooses the artist." I knew on that day, that I had only been wasting my talent and it was time to get over that. Shortly thereafter this blog was born and the kids got to see the Jonas Brothers in concert. Someday an art or craft will choose the two of them-of course, there's some debate on rather it already has or not-hopefully I set a good example for them and they achieve everything their little hearts desire.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Single Mother

It's bragging day on the artistic corner! I know this is something I do well, considering I have the most beautiful and talented children on the planet, but today is not about them. In fact, it's not even about me, my novel or Thomas' novel, but about a wonderful film entitled, The Single Mother. This thought-provoking short is currently touring the festival circuit and was written and directed by a friend of mine from way back, Ryan Logan. While he was much younger than me when we shared the stage in our hometown of Independence, KS, it didn't take much for me to know that this kid had something special. This summer-via facebook-I was able to reconnect with him only to learn that he'd turned into an amazing young man with great artistic vision. So I asked if I could share some of the information on his film in my blog and he agreed.





The plot outline for The Single Mother is listed as the following on its website:

Meet The Single Mother - a big-hearted transvestite reincarnation of June Cleaver, who embarks on a perilous journey to obtain the nuclear family featured in his tattered Home & Garden magazines. With the unfortunate predicament of being unable to conceive himself (but not for lack of trying), he pursues increasingly desperate means to procure a child of his own. He attempts adoption. He strives to become a nanny. He even makes a run at luring hyperactive children out of a park using candy. When anatomy gets in the way of destiny... the oven mitts are off.



Obviously, I've seen the film and I can tell you regardless of the characters intentions it opened up something in me I could never have imagined.
The main character struggles with his dream of wanting a child to raise. What I love about it, is regardless of everything else he goes for it, at all costs. This could be any of us, it could be any of our dreams; rather its wanting a child, to be a published author or to be the CEO of a company. In fact, this week I had a moment like his, in which I awoke feeling like I was right there on the edge of it all. As the rare Omaha thunderstorm awoke me at 1:30 in the morning-clearly calling to the soul of a girl who grew up watching storms roll across Kansas-I felt something new, something changing and knowing that I was at the point I would stop at nothing to obtain it. If you could talk to this character and ask him his feelings when he opened his eyes everyday, I imagine that it would be something like that, well minus the storm. Honestly, the scene in which he is trying to lure the children from the park with candy made me laugh so loud. However, at the same time that is the game I feel like I am playing with literary agents.

The coloring contrast of the film adds to the journey the character takes on his path to his deepest desire. The variety leads us through the story, allowing us to easily be invited into the character's world and leave ours for awhile; which is the ultimate goal of any movie maker. I shared this with Ryan, that I was drawn in by the colors, but I wasn't the only one who felt that way. When the QSaltLake did a spread on the film they said the film was, "A colorful story...filmed with dream sequences that rival the art found in Hedwig and the Angry Inch."


So, as the film tours the circuit this year, I urge you to go see it. Buy yourself a ticket and enjoy this marvelous film. As Ryan says, you may love it or you may hate it, but at least it's only six minutes. It premiered at the Rhode Island Film Festival in August winning the Alternative Spirit Award. You can catch it at the Seattle Lesbian and Gay film festival on October 18th. The film will have its international debut at the Image + Nation in Montreal, Canada, the week of October 22nd through the 31st. And lastly, in Chicago at the Reeling International Film Festival in November. As it is accepted to more(and believe me this incredible film will be) I will keep all of you updated. You can also get more information on Ryan's blog or on the film's IMBD page.


Thank you Ryan for bringing us this lovely film. I hope it continues to stir the hearts of all your viewers out there, the way it did mine.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Sweet Escape

This week, a friend of mine has spurred memories of my childhood. With that, I have been feeling a bit nostalgic. While I'm deep in the editing process on my novel, I've also taken some time to do my other passion, reading-I know real original. When I put down True Blue by LuAnne Rice at two o'clock in the morning, my recent feelings had to ask how I had become this way? What in my life influenced me to spend all my time either reading or writing?

In order to come to the truth, I didn't have to dig far. Some of you who read this blog have known me since I was a child, so the answer will come as no surprise. For the rest of you, I will be showing a side of my past I often don't speak about.
The answer is escape. I wasn't raised in the best home situation. In the first grade, I was introduced to the wonderful book, Charlotte's Web. The lives of the characters intrigued me and pulled me in to a whole different type of world. By the second grade, I learned that I could read at a much faster pace and began to read everything put in front of me. During the screaming and the fighting, I would escape to a special corner in the backyard, where I would loose myself in another universe.I learned how other people lived; ones who didn't have the same problems as me and ones who did. The hours I spent in others worlds refreshed me.

After moving to a new town in the fourth grade, I found myself homesick for my friends. My grandfather phoned to inform me that my dog since I was a baby had died. It was that year that I wrote my first full length story. This project was of course a school assignment, but I put my heart into every word. My dog was the subject and she had returned to welcome me to my new home. Looking back, it seems like such a simple thing to write about, but it taught me that I could write stories, like the ones I had read.

Through the years, I have been ridiculed for my obsessions. I was that girl whose nose was always stuck in a book while the world around me faded away. Talking to myself was often a problem, as I worked out my projects in my head before I put them on paper. Even now it happens when people chuckle at me, because they learned that I spent the majority of my recent time off work, in front of the computer finishing my novel.

I'm thankful though that the family I'm surrounded by, understands my craziness. Just the other night, my husband came to bed and said, "I thought you were only going to read one chapter?" Of course, he's just as bad as I am, but even worse when he's writing. Last year as he wrote his latest novel, I had to cook many meals, because he was busy and I don't cook. My mother-in-law chuckled to learn that I'd read an entire novel in one day. My sister frequently supplies me with unique names that she has learned, knowing that I have a hard time coming up with them.

I don't need the escape anymore, nothing like before. Now, I simply fall in love with the story I'm reading or writing and don't stop till I finish it. Every book I read helps to increase my skills as a writer. What ever causes us to start these obsessions is different, but I know I'm not alone in this world. Millions of people have a love for the same past time. Our tastes may vary, but the characters continue to draw us in, page after page. So read on my friends and don't be afraid to write what you know, those stories may be the best of all.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Joy of STAGE MOMS!!! BROUGHT TO YOU BY THOMAS


This week has really been a bit of a crazy mess. I have been to two different sets of auditions for our daughter, not to mention to start of a new year of ballet classes. The first audition, being the annual production of The Nutcracker, and the second Annie. I hate going to these, in fact I often try to bribe Veronica to go in my place, but alas I had to go to both. However, I have found that even though these things take hours out of my day and I generally end up dreading the thought of being there. those crazy STAGE MOMS always make me laugh.

If you know anything about the life of an actor, or if you have watched TV at all, you know the extremes of what these moms do. We have all heard the stories of the screaming moms tearing into directors or choreographers, or the ones that push their children to the point of breaking. I have also witnessed firsthand the mom chowing down on McDonald's and doughnuts, while feeding their ballerina daughters nothing, but dry carrot sticks and only letting them drink water so they will be skinny enough to play Clara, or the moms that will do anything(and I mean ANYTHING) to get their children a part. Although, some of these are scary to think about they are worse to be involved with directly, some of these moms have been right in my face as a director for a show. Still they are not the ones that I want to talk about really...even though they give me plenty of material to work with.

Like I said before these STAGE MOMS make me laugh, I like the ones that are just over the top enough to be on the funny end of things. For instance, the moms that have the same contemporary haircut as their daughters ,because it makes them look like sisters, or for some reason makes them believe they will get their own ticket into the world of modeling and acting side by side with their child. This kind of mom is not harmful like the previous ones, although their children may argue differently with me, but still no one is being threatened. Last night I got to witness the whole variety of these types of funny moms. I saw two kicked out of the auditorium for sneaking in to watch their daughters dance for a role in ANNIE, and then I watched them immediately walk up the stairs and try to get in through the balcony entrance. There was also a group of moms standing around plotting car pooling because they knew which one of their daughters would be Annie and the others orphans for sure, even though over 150 children were auditioning for 26 total roles. Yet, these moms already had it figured out before auditions even started. Lastly, somehow I got to be part of a discussion from a group of moms that were all wanting my opinion on the song their children should be singing for an audition, because I had been talking to a friend of ours explaining it was not the best idea to have her niece sing HARD KNOCK LIFE. I somehow became a guru for these moms and they all thought I had the magic key and would not stop asking for it until I told them that as a director I never wanted to hear the same song, sung badly by 90 kids and that I would pick the kid that dared to sing something different even if they weren't the best...and then I got watch the moms scramble through their Broadway Song Books looking for a new song five minutes before their children walked into sing.

Now, as funny as these moms were, the ones of Saturday was just as hilarious to me. The Nutcracker is a mess all of its own, and Ballet Moms are a special breed too. These moms will try to sabotage the other children by bringing cookies, brownies, cake, doughnuts everything you can imagine to eat...but you will notice their daughters never touch the stuff. The studio were the auditions were held, made for a very interesting experience for me this year. The rooms have very small 2'X2' viewing window, but the blinds had been pulled and about a three inch gap remained. In this little gap, moms were pushing and nudging, but nicely no meanies here, to get an eye full of the glory of the heavenly view of the inside of the studio where their daughters were dancing. Although, you could see what was happening none of it made any since to them, because what the saw were girls standing in a line being told to sit, stand, walk, stop, stand, walk, sit, stand, and sit again. However, from this little slat of a glorious viewing arena the cast had been selected in several of their minds. These moms congratulated each other. announcing the titles of the characters fellow moms would be proud to have for their daughters, and they began discussing gifts they should look into buying for the show.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am one of the proudest dads in the world when Cloudya lands a role or gets an audition for a national commercial. Still, I can honestly say that when I see these moms twice a week, and more during rehearsals, every time I simply end up shaking my head and wondering what in the world we have done to ourselves. Cloudya being the child that wants to be on stage and having two parents with a strong background in the arts does not have the edge that these moms think they are giving their daughters. Instead, Cloudya will forever have to suffer with the mother that says "Well honey if you want to do it go ahead and audition, but remember you may not get the part you want, or you may not get one at all" not to to mention having a father that does not want to go to auditions except to stare and laugh at all the crazy STAGE MOMS full on in their antics.

So just remember moms that I might be there and I will be watching you and more then likely I will write about you

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Working and Writing

After two months of what seemed like a plethora of writing time, I had to head back to the real world this week. Yes, it's true, the doctor okayed me to go back to work. So, needless to say on Friday morning I got up at six in the morning and headed back to my local Wal-mart. Now the real challenge becomes, not killing my creative time. After all, this summer I've written two short screenplays, a full length and finished my novel. All in all, I'd say it was a pretty productive time.

Pre-published authors all deal with the same situation. How do you balance working a full-time job(in my case 60 hours a week), your family and attempting to write a screenplay that "might" win an Academy Award someday? The truth is I'm not the greatest example of dealing with the balancing act. For years, I put off my writing using my job and family commitments as an excuse and that's exactly what it was, an excuse. All my life I loved to write; I often got teased for having a notebook(pre-laptop days) permanently attached to my hand.

So in the last couple of years, I've really put the peddle to to the metal. At first, when I got back into the writing groove I set a goal for myself. It was simple: Write everyday! It sounded easy at the time, but it wasn't. After awhile I've mastered it. I may only conquer a paragraph or I could tackle a whole chapter. Nowadays, if I don't do something in the process, I feel like I cheated myself. In fact, last night I attempted it, to go to bed without writing even a sentence. That lasted for about thirty minutes, when I couldn't turn my creative brain off. So, I flipped on the light, grabbed my notebook(I keep one by the bed) and jotted down some of the ideas I'd been batting around for my next project. It was a nice try.

Then there is the kids, since my work does keep me away from them, every free moment I can spend with them is precious. It doesn't answer the question of: When do you write? I like to jot stuff down throughout the day, but the process needs, a process. When my beloved little ones go to bed at nine o'clock, I get my time to hit the computer for a while. In the two hours, I have before my own bedtime I work out what I can. On my days off, which are usually during the week, I spend extra quality time on my projects. This year my goal is too get myself on a timeline, as in to set specific goals that I would like to get accomplished each week.

To sum it all up, I'm trying to get back into the swing of things. My process isn't perfect, but it will have to work until I join the ranks of the published. For all of you writers out there who are doing the same juggling act, keep at it! I write, because I learned along time ago that I couldn't live without it and when I tried I was miserable.