Friday, November 23, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

It's here!

The first copies of Thomas' book is here!  He won't be home for the week until Wednesday and its going to be very tempting not to open in!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Proofing the Confession!

The life of a proofing before printing, along with some Starbucks Java Chip Frap, and Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake...hard life but someone has to do it!!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Writers to Follow

Happy Monday Everyone!

Thomas and I are building a new page for our blog.  It is about fellow writer's blogs that people should follow.  While we have compiled a list for the writers and bloggers that we have interacted with over the years we would like your input as well.  If you know one that we should follow leave the address and name of it in the comment section of this blog or send it to me via twitter in my direct messages @deanhockeymom

We will hopefully  have everyone posted during this coming week!  In the meantime have a great week!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dance Moms

Most of our readers have seen us post things about our kids from time to time and the various activities in which they participate.  Last night Cloudy wanted to watch the season finale of Lifetime's Dance Moms.  This week the company was in LA preparing for a competition.  While there one of the mom's contacted an agent and the agency immediately set up a photo shoot for this young dancer.  Hollywood has a way of portraying things in a light that makes things look so easy when in fact they aren't.  Our children are all beautiful...mine...yours...but to simple call up an agency and get a shoot is not how things are done.  On top of that they took pictures of this young lady that were more like glamor shots than head shots and there is a big difference.

Now this may have been how it happened for her because she was already on the show and maybe the shoot was for something else entirely, but I wanted to explain how this thing typically works.

1.  There are a lot of very scrupulous characters out there and no doubt you have heard some of them on the radio advertising talent searches.  Please remember you NEVER pay an agent to represent your child.  In small and large markets you may have to pay for web fees for them to be on their website.  You will also have to pay for head shots.  Traveling to auditions in usually your responsibility as well.

2.  Research the agencies on line.  If you have friends in the industry have them make some recommendations to you.

3.  Don't be afraid to start local.  Both of my kiddos started local and for the most part have remained local by our choice.  It is a good stepping stone though for later in their career and it is usually not nearly as overwhelming as a big market.

4.  Submit what they ask you to and how they ask you to do it.  Remember that if you are submitting a child specifically a girl they don't expect to see make up on them.

5.  They will contact you if they are interested.  Waiting is painful especially when your children are involved, but wait.  I've waited as much as six weeks to get information.

6.  If they request a meeting with you go and be professional.  This is the agent's profession and ultimately how they get paid.  If your child is younger bring something to keep them entertained.  This is a way for the agent to also see how they will behave on set.

7.  If you are offered representation read your contract thoroughly!  Take it home and research the agency.  Understand as well that a lot of shoots are during the day so you will need to find out your state's policy on how many days a child may miss.  This was big for us because with the several shoots Kaiden does throughout the year plus times we would miss for hockey travel it could add up to quite a bit.

8.  If you are not offered representation don't dwell on it.  It's hard because we think that our kids are beautiful and they are, but remember that an agent may be full on that type of look.  For example Kaiden's blonde hair is pretty common, but Cloudy's bright red hair is much more unique.  Mothers of girls also have to keep in mind that the number of girls who attempt to model is VERY high versus the number of boys.

9.  Most agencies contracts are non-exclusive which means you can work with other agencies as well.  There are some out there that are still exclusive so if that is the case make sure you are comfortable with that.

Well I am not a know all when it comes to this, but I wanted to share my advice and experience from the past.  Since we just moved back to Kansas City we will be going through this process somewhat again with Kaiden, because he never modeled here.  I am including a couple pictures of the kids to this post.  One is of an actual shoot that Kaiden did for a company and one is a picture of Cloudy from her "look" shoot that her agent wanted.  If anyone wants to add comments or suggestions please let me know!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Join the Confession!

As we move closer to the release date for Thomas' book find updated info here or follow Thomas on twitter

Join the Confession!

Monday, August 13, 2012

What are you reading?

With Veronica going on one of her crazy read every book she can get her hands on binges, we are curious what our fellow writers are reading right now.  We always welcome new and independent authors as we like to support!  Leave us your suggestions in the blog comments below.  The more the merrier!


Friday, August 10, 2012

My Excuse

Miss me?  Well I've missed all of you!  Might I say as well that I would have much rather have been here than what we were doing! 

So I have been rather busy recently moving...again.  In fact this is the second time we have moved this year!!!  Luckily we got rid of a lot of the unnecessary stuff during the last move!  Here's how all this went down...

At the beginning of July my husband was out on the road helping out his dad's business.  His dad had not been in the best health.  I was diligently running our in-home daycare and working on the expansions ideas I had for it and the possible move into its own building rather than in our home.  Our daughter had just started dancing again and our son was working on conditioning for the upcoming hockey season.  Tryouts for our next hockey son had already concluded and I had begun helping getting things lined up for the rest of the team. 

My husband comes home from traveling one weekend and hits me with a bombshell about his dad's health and then tells me we should move home(to Kansas City).  I thought about the word "home" for a minute and how nice it sounded.  We had moved to Omaha for my job which I eventually left so I could go back to school and we opened our own daycare.  I'm not going to lie...I was the most homesick out of everyone in the house!  Moving would complicate things.  New schools for the kids would be easy enough.  However, hockey would mean choosing between two programs in the KC area and coaches who didn't know how far they were allowed to push my kids.  Kaiden would have to earn his black belt from a new karate school.  As it stood he would be the youngest student to earn one at the school we were at and on top of that we had been there since moving to the big O.  Not to mention we would have no new hockey sons next year and how on earth was I going to tell my daycare parents!  We were comfortable and even with bouts of being homesick I knew this.

Well we committed to the move and unfortunately due to my car breaking down while in the process I had to close the daycare well before I wanted to do so and didn't get to tell any of my kiddos good-bye.  Obviously out of everyone I miss them most. 

Now we are in that adjusting stage.  We are living with my husband's parents-whom I adore-while we find us another house although we are in no hurry.  Most of our belongings are in storage but we did swap out living room furniture for ours.  Cloudy is enrolled for school, Thomas is helping with the business and Kaiden finally hooked his X-Box up which makes for a happy boy.  I am in the process of getting enrolled for school.  What's been missing is what I like to call the mojo.  I've been so busy trying to get everything else situated that I just haven't felt like writing at all.  At first I blamed it on the fact that the house is smaller and I had no place to focus and the constant interruptions of phone calls and knocks at the door.  They are all just excuses made up in my mind!  So our house was bigger in Omaha but there was still no quiet place to write with the daycare, two children, two teenage hockey boys and the dog.  In fact it was louder there and I probably got the least amount of writing done in that house than anywhere else we've lived.

 So after I stopped making up stupid excuses for myself I did what I always do when I'm in a slump-read.  In the last two weeks I have read seven books with a page count well over three thousand.  Last night I closed the last book to a series and laid in bed staring at the glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling and finally after almost a month I could clearly think about my characters and the piece I had been working on writing.  It was a breathe of fresh air and the homecoming I had been waiting for all along.

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Little Monday Encouragement!

One of my friends loaded this on Facebook.  I know many of us who feel this way especially when the rejections start rolling arriving in our inbox!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Black Box Confessional

The preface to Thomas' book Black Box Confessional.

My hands tightened around the steering wheel, ready to jump from the starting position at the first sound of the gun.  My legs ached from the tenseness I was forcing them to adhere to, but I didn’t notice.  By now it had become second nature to be bent and twisted in the uncomfortable position.  My body shuttered in anticipation, realizing more than a few fleeting moments had passed while I waited to go. 
I knew there would be no sound of a starting pistol, no flag dropping, and no buzzers.  Here, there would be nothing at all. This was not a race, it was a meeting.  A meeting that could bring me answers to the questions that had been haunting me; or one that could send me farther on the quest to find a truth.
            Light suddenly filled the dark blackened yard causing reflections to bounce off every wet surface.  Just as abruptly as it illuminated the surroundings it disappeared before returning once more, repeating the pattern over and over again.  The process continued, until without warning it rested in the on position. 
I was being summoned from inside, by someone I could not yet see.
I needed to get out.  Still, I could not will myself out of the car and force my way to the door; through the falling drizzle that hit the car without a sound. 
The weathered yellow door, with its matching exposed yellow light looked nonthreatening.  Yet, there was something eating at my soul.  I was too uncomfortable and conflicted to escape the safety the car now offered.  My right hand uncoiled from the steering wheel and reached to the gearshift; I had to leave.
            The distant murmur of someone calling my name into the darkness over the roar of the car seemed to echo deep inside my head.  My hand continued following the directions my brain and subconscious commanded.  The voice called out again instantly stopping the advance of my limb.  It was different than the first call; now it was harsh, demanding and formal all at the same time. 
            Questions began filling my head, Could the call actually be for me?  Was that even my name? The most important question seemed to echo the loudest.  What was I doing here? 
The voice continued to call; becoming more demanding each time it repeated my name, finally causing me to sharpen my stare through the falling rain.
            A woman appeared, filling the space of the open door.  The rain blocking her details from my face, but I could make out her form.  I knew her the moment I saw her outline.  She was not what I had come to expect an informant to look like.  She was squat and plump, but not nearly round.  She looked more like someone had mashed her from head to toe making her body take on the shape of an ellipse.
            Curiosity to my inquiry and the information the short woman in the doorway held took total control of my body, overriding my brain and subconscious in the process.  I moved my clinched fist from the steering wheel and rested it on the door handle.  I had to get answers; I had to know what actually happened, what really took place ten years ago.  I had to know if the truth I’d known had really been a lie to cover up a truth the community was not ready for, a truth that I was not ready to accept. 
Pushing the door open I exposed myself to the wet that surrounded me.  I jumped from the car before I had a chance to put it in drive and barrel down the road away from her.  Running through the muddy drive and bounding up the steps I stopped under the protective covering of the small collapsing porch.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Back in the Bun!

For those of you who visit our corner frequently you will know that I often talk about the adventures of my kids as well.  This post will be no different so if you don't want to read about mama drama than move on to a different post.

If you had asked my daughter two years ago(and well any year before that) what she wanted to be when she grew up she would have said an actress.  If you had asked her last she would have specifically said not an actress.  What changed?

A bad experience at a dance school.  A bad comment regarding Cloudy's body made by an instructor to a parent.  How did Cloudy find out?

She was standing behind the instructor and they didn't know it.  Now that wasn't the only thing that had happened that year, but that was the reason Cloudy went from taking eight dance classes to only classes her dad taught.  In an attempt to save her love for dance she tried out for a production by Ballet Nebraska.  The only problem is this company was loathed by the director of our school due to personal conflicts.  Once she found out my husband no longer taught at her school.  Of course those weren't the reasons stated but everyone in the Omaha dance community knows they were.  Cloudy finished the production and hasn't danced all year in fact she has insistently refused to do so.

Last month we stopped to get sno cones and they had just opened a new dance school over by it.  I jokingly asked Cloudy if she wanted to check it out.  I was surprised when she said yes, so we went inside.  Where is she today?

She is trying out for a production they are doing!  She has a list of other things she wants to do with Ballet Nebraska.  If you had asked me a year ago if I thought she ever would have danced again I would have said no.  All I know is a young women who was so bitter at people she trusted and had to watch those people do bad things to her family finally realized that the only person she was hurting was herself.  What have I learned from this that I need to pass on?

1.  Be careful who you trust to teach your kids.  And when you think you are starting to trust them...make sure you really do!
2.  Back your children up!  It's their dream and as their parent you should be their biggest supporters.
3.  If they want to give up on it(and this was hard for me)sometimes you have to let them.  Don't push it, because sometimes they will realize how much they loved it.

Special thanks to all the people who supported Cloudy through that time and into her new endeavors!

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Witch and The Rockstar!

It is finally that time for me to start laying out my new manuscript.  For those of you who didn't know my husband has been out of town for almost a month(a long month) and I have been running our business.  He will be returning on Monday and I will be handing the business reigns over to him! 

My completion goal is August 31st.  The date leaves me with a word count goal of a little under a thousand a day.  This is very achievable and I am ready to rock and roll!

Stay tuned for details regarding the characters!  The first character you will meet is Deliverance(the witch) based on my daughter.  Actually the whole project started with some random thing she said one day.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Water Rat

Kaiden and his buddy Crush at the Omaha Zoo.  Every time we visit this turtle follows Kaiden through the aquarium tunnel
Summer is almost here in the big O and we are super excited in my house!  My kids will return to their summer water rat status and Thomas and I will keep ourselves busy writing. 

My current WIP is about witches and not just any witches but the descendants of the Salem witches.  My main character Deliverance has a relationship with water like no normal person.  A trip to the zoo last week with Kaiden's class got me thinking about all the possibilities behind it. 

What would you do if you suddenly figured out that you could control water in ways you never thought possible?  Kaiden's answer was simply as he just wanted to be able to swim as well as his old buddy crush.  Me on the other hand would love to make rain dance.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I Need to be Outlining...but Can't Focus!

I do know where my focus is this week!  Maybe the Easter bunny needs to bring me a giant basket of it!  I need to be outlining!!!  My entire WIP is stuck in my head and I'm afraid if I don't get it out it will make my brain explode!  At first I blamed my problem having bought a new house this year.  You see when I outline I use sticky notes(everywhere).  The problem is I have no idea where to stick them!  It's an excuse...plain and simple excuse.  However, on Friday I was so ready and excited that I went out and bought my two whole new packs of sticky notes.  I haven't even opened them.  I held them in my hands for a while today but couldn't get any farther then that.  Does anyone else have this problem during the outlining and planning phase and if so what do you do to fix it?

Friday, March 23, 2012


This morning I woke up and the first thing I did was reach for my phone and send my SIMS to work for the day.  I came downstairs for the day and my husband is playing Words with Friends on Facebook.  Later on that day I am watching a movie with my daycare kiddos and reach for my phone again.  I stop myself for whatever reason and a thought pops into my head about all the time I waste on these type of apps.  Recently they have been the first thing I've done in the morning and the last thing I do at night.

Thomas is a champion at pretty much every Facebook game or app there is out there.  Both of us get into one, grow tired of it and find a new one.  Today though I wonder how much creativity has been lost by us putting time into apps instead of our projects.  Did whoever created these things know that when they did it would cause people to be more focused on them than their own lives? 

I know we shouldn't be all work and no play and as humans deserve some stress relief, but like most people I tend to play on these far more then I should.  If I worked out half as much as I played on my apps than I would most definitely weigh what I should.  As our slow season begins(the one where we are not at the rink five nights a week) I question if I'm ready to take on the projects I wanted to get done.  I have a new WIP that needs to get out of my head, but instead of outlining it like I should have the last couple weeks I played apps!  Now I find myself staring at my first free weekend since October not ready to start writing like I should be. 

Is it just us out there that finds ourselves so distracted by these things? Is anyone else willing to admit that they sometimes do these things when you should normally be working?


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Oh the Places You'll Go!

My current WIP is set in Salem(yes it has to do with witches).  With all the research that I have done for this project it made me think about its location.  Time after time I have visited places for vacation and always had certain things in my mind on how it should be, but showed up and it wasn't that way at all.  A good example of this would be the Hollywood sign.  All the pictures at night show it beautifully lit. Well here's a's not lit at night. 

Even with visiting Salem I thought about my reader's preconceived ideas of what it should be like.  Should I write it what they think or what it is actually?  If I take liberties with it how many people will actually know?  So I thought I would ask my blog readers what they thought and how they work with a specific location!  Just curious as I love to read about others processes.  Hopefully it enlightens everyone!

Have a great night and I will see you all on Friday!


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Love for Reading Starts Young

As many writers and readers my passion for reading began an an early age.  Today when I learned about the death of Jan Berenstain co-writer for The Berenstain Bears it saddened me to the core.  These books are some that would take to the back yard and hide in my reading spot so I could read them for hours.  My first copy of the book in the picture fell apart because I had read it so much.  Today I enjoy reading these to my kids as well as my daycare kids.  Children's book will never be the same-RIP Jan!  Thank you for giving me so many great stories over the years!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Road Trip Influences Take Two

Sorry for the late post guys!  Remember we have additional teenagers that live in our house.  This year we had three and now we are down to two.  It's been a crazy last couple of days due to this.

By now you should have created two characters and ten traits for each character.  What I want you to do is go down your list and put a mark by every other trait.  So ultimately you should have 5 traits selected for each character.  Now combine the selected traits in a new list.  What you will have is a whole new character.  That character will be more dimensional to your readers because you have created traits for them that you didn't even think about.

How did you do?  Anyone want to share the kind of characters you came up with?

Have a great weekend everyone!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Road Trip Influences

If you didn't know already a hockey mom spends a lot of time on the road.  This hockey mom is no exception to that rule as my kid's travel all over the Midwest looking for teams to defeat.  On our road trip this weekend I paid special attention to the drivers or passengers in the car sharing the road with us.  It always amazes me at the things you see on the road and I ofter wonder what stories the other car could tell me.

It made me think about a great exercise that I did at a conference once.  It is on the subject of character building.  As writers we often focus on the story instead of building our characters and when we are done at the end of the book we have a great story but the characters are flat.  So here's what we are going to do.  As you drive today pick two people that you noticed in the other cars.  Pay attention to what they are doing or wearing.   Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the center of it.  Each column is for a different driver.  For each driver write down ten different characteristics.  Make half of them ones you know about them like they wear really big sunglasses and make the other half ones you make up as in snorts when they laugh.

Keep those for tomorrow's blog as we will need them for tomorrow's exercise.

Enjoy your Tuesday and keep writing!


Monday, February 20, 2012

Writing Work-outs are Coming!

After a long hockey weekend and the kids being out of school today we decided that our first post for this week would be on Tuesday!  I will give you a hint you drive to work or school tomorrow take a couple glances at the people you are passing on the road.  Remember some of what they are doing or what they look like while driving.


Friday, February 17, 2012

And the Winners are IN!!!

We only had a few entries in our Friday challenge last week, but that is no problem at all!  Thank you for everyone who visited this week!  Look for more challenges to come as we will probably continue doing this once a month.  We decided to reward everyone that put there wonderful paragraphs out there!  Both contestants will receive the Barnes and Noble gift card.  Email me us your info at

The winning paragraphs were:


“He was standing right there in the doorway when he told me he was going to fight the Nazis. I told him he was too young and to listen to his mother. I could hear her wailing from all the way back at the farmhouse. He just said he knew what he had to do. I wanted to scream at him that he was stupid and demand he get back to his chores, but how could I be angry with him for defending his country? For saying all the things I had said to my father when I was his age. He took my hand and shook it with such strength and conviction I almost believed he was invincible. I held on to the feeling for two years until the Army came to my door. They told me he had died a hero. All I could see was the image of my beautiful boy standing before me that day. So much a man but still so much the child I played catch with for hours after dark in the fields. I have not so much as set foot in that barn since.”

February Grace

I’ll never forget the sound of the rain, the way it pounded so heavily on the roof of abandoned barn. I’ll never forget how the wind raged through the spaces in the boards and made me shiver, or the feeling of his soaking wet hair against my cheek as he leaned in to whisper that I was beautiful. I’ll never forget that I was the Preacher’s daughter and he was the Schoolmaster’s son and we were never going to be forgiven for what we’d done that day if anyone found out. I’ll never forget how he looked at me, the love in his eyes that I’d never seen before in anyone else and still see there, to this day, even as our daughter reaches the age I was then. I will always remember that despite the Hell that fell down on us both, I have never regretted a single thing.

Next week we have picked some fun writing exercises for everyone to give a try!  Have a great weekend everyone!  As for us we are off to another fun-filled travel weekend of hockey!


Friday, February 10, 2012

A Fantastic Friday Foto Challenge

I stumbled across this picture last weekend during our road trip to Minnesota.  My husband instantly fell in love with the dark barn as the climax of his last novel takes place in such a place as this.  It is inspiring today's fun and maybe even more Friday writing challenges to come!

Here are the details:
1.  Write a paragraph with describing the barn or an event taking place in the barn.  Remember this is 1 paragraph.
2.  There is a 200 word limit to your paragraph.  If you go over you are out!
3.  All entries should be posted in the comment section of this blog.  Do not email them to me.
4.  All entries most be received by noon on Monday.
5.  We will post our finalists on Wednesday for everyone to vote and announce the winners on Friday.
6.  The contestants need to be followers of this blog.  So if someone wants to enter they just need to follow.
7.  Spreading the word everywhere about the contest is okay, but please don't use social sights to promote people voting.
8.  The winner will receive a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card!

Have fun!  Spread the word!  See you next week!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Kaiden or Look-a-like?

You may remember me posting that Kaiden has dived into the modeling world, but we are keeping him local with an agent out of Omaha.  This weekend we had the strangest thing happen to us.  Cloudy had a hockey tournament in Minnesota.  After one of the games Kaiden and I were playing around in the arcade area of the rink.  He ran over to one of the vending machines and started begging for a fuzzy mustache out of the machine.  First, what you need to know is that any rink rat probably has a number of bouncy balls and fuzzy mustaches in their personal collection of toys, so why we continue to pay for these things I will never know.  Second, as I was putting the money in the machine I had to do a double take at the picture on the front of it.  The little boy staring back at me with a goofy pirate costume and mustache on was a spitting image of Kaiden himself.  I was so flabbergasted by it that we never ended up purchasing a mustache. 

I went and got Thomas and showed him the machine.  He agreed that the kid on it looked an awful lot like our silly seven year old.  We snapped a few pictures of the machine itself and then had Kaiden pose with it as well.  After sending the pictures to a multitude of family members everyone believed that this had to be Kaiden.

There was still a couple things wrong with this situation.  One, Kaiden had never done a "pirate" photo shoot. However, the company he normally models for is well known for using photoshop.  They have even put teeth on a friend of ours who hadn't had front teeth for as long as we'd known her.  Second, the supplier for the mustaches was out of Maryland.  Remember I said we kept Kaiden local in Omaha.  Yesterday I called the customer service line for the machine and they said they are the actual manufacturers of the mustache.

Rather the young man on the machine is actually Kaiden or not we may never know.  It is a funny coincidence that we even saw the picture in the first place.  I'm opening it up to my followers to weigh in their opinions on the subject.  I'm posting some pictures of Kaiden and the machine for everyone to take a look!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ice Castles

For those of you who didn’t know-and I don’t know how you didn’t-my family is a huge hockey family.  My grandpa played, my sister, my brother, my cousins and so on it goes.  Needless to say one of the proudest moments in my life has been watching my two children learn how to skate.  Cloudya(11) learned from some of the finest members of the Topeka Scarecrows.  However, after she started her skating lessons at age three she wanted nothing more to do it with it.  She chose to pursue other opportunities which included dance and theater.  Basically she’s been a stage brat ever since.  She even works with an agent out of Chicago on a regular basis. 

Once we arrived in Omaha, it was Kaiden’s(7) turn, however his trip to the ice was postponed due to surgery.  Needless to say he hit the ice by the age of four instead of three.  He hasn’t left since.

So shortly after Kaiden started skating and playing guess who decides she wants to take some skating lessons…Cloudya!  So she takes the lessons and then they announce tryouts for the Omaha Lady Jr. Lancers.  We take her to tryouts and she manages to skate through it.  Knowing this wasn’t an audition that she could just bluff through she waited rather impatiently to hear something.  Finally, she found out she had made the team.

Later on in the year Cloudya announced that she wanted to drop some of her dance classes.  Although this was more because of issues she was having in class part of me wondered whether it was all because of hockey.  Last year if you asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up she would have said an actress and fashion designer.  This year when I asked her she said a Broadway star who also plays hockey! 

It’s been a fun season for the Lady Jr Lancers and I have enjoyed watching Cloudya develop her skill.  I can’t help but giggle when my ballerina gets aggressive with a boy hockey player or gets sent to the penalty box.  Most of all we spend the time being proud of the fact that she is carrying on a long line of players. 

I included some neat pics from a recent photo shoot.  Yes even hockey gear she still looks cool!