Thursday, September 30, 2010

Memories of Sword Fighting and Cornfields

My whole family, including all the brothers and sisters, spouses (Except Joycelyn, who came by iPhone because she had to work. We missed you.), and all the nieces and nephews, gathered at my parents' house last night to open their mission call

For you non-Utah peeps, a mission is where a young man or woman, or retired couple, volunteer to spend eighteen months to two years teaching religion somewhere in the world for the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints. They don't know where they'll be sent, so opening the call is a big thing. It could be Russia or Idaho, France or Brazil, or almost anywhere in the world. My parents are heading to Portugal! So exciting! (Even if I'll miss them terribly.)

Anywho, while we were there, the nephews and some of the nieces discovered cornstalk sword fighting. What is that, you say? It's where this

becomes this

And yes, you can wear a kilt. Just saying.

I sat and watched all these little kids with their cornstalk swords and remembered the days when I was the one with my own sword, fighting to the imaginary death with my four brothers and two sisters. We came in every night with welts and bruises from our battles, but it was fun. So very fun.

The next day we'd rush home from school and cut a new weapon. We'd disperse through the fields to check our secret bases hidden in the apple trees or irrigation ditches, then the wars began. We reenacted every light saber duel in Star Wars, and every sword fight in all the pirate books and fantasy novels I'd ever read. Then we invented our own personas, and we put Captain Jack to shame.

Can you hear the laughter and the thunk thunk of cornstalk swords raised in battle? Do you smell the sun on heat-dried grass or taste the apples plucked right from the trees. I can. And I miss it all. All the grass stains and scraped knuckles from over-zealous duels, perching in the trees, gorging on fruit while waiting for the enemy to show themselves. No wonder I write fantasy. Maybe it takes me back to the days when I lived it all with a cornstalk sword, six siblings, and my imagination.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Um, Do I Really Need That?

So, yesterday I was working on my WIP, and I came to a major part of the novel, I'm talking a big chunk of it, and I find myself staring at the screen wondering, "Do I even need this? At all?"

This question was followed by a whole lot of this:

Then a whole lot of this:(except I'm a girl)

I haven't decided if I need it or not, but if you hear crying coming from my house, it will be not. Then it will be followed by a whole lot of this:

Wish me luck.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

More Ham

Today I told my six-year-old she was so sweet I could eat her. She leveled me with one of those are-you-kidding-me-because-you-have-no-idea-how-this-world-works-and-I-do kind of stares. Then with a straight face she said, "Eat Kid B instead. He has more ham."

I choked back a laugh and tried to keep my face neutral. It was hard, but I managed it before I asked, "Why does Kid B have more ham than you?"

She graced me with the same are-you-kidding-me stare and said, "Because he's bigger than me."

This got me thinking about having more ham. But not in the Oh-my-gosh-I-just-stepped-on-the-scale-and-I-have-more-ham kind of way. I'm talking the little extra umph some people seem to have. The pizazz kind. It's like Alice in the movie Alice In Wonderland. We're talking muchness with a rabbit kind of ham.

And I want some. In every aspect of my life. Writing, momming, wifeing, even cleaning (crazy talk, I know). I want to attack my life and have it be ham. Loads and loads of ham. We're talking this:

not this:

So, today is the day that I will get more ham. How about you? Do you want more ham?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How To Have A Romantic Anniversary or How To Torture Your True Love--If You're a Girl

Hubby and I celebrated our eighteenth wedding anniversary over the weekend. Not only does this make me sound really old, but what we did makes me sound even older--and just a fraction cracked.

Don't believe me? You might after I'm done writing this. And sorry in advance to my mom and hubby. Maybe.

So, what romantic activity did we engage in for our anniversary? A secluded retreat to a condo without the kids? A leisurely stroll along the fall colored mountain trails? A romantic candle-lit dinner? Um, no. We went bra shopping. Yup. My hubby loves me that much. It went something like this:

Me, showing hubby a newspaper advertisement for said clothing sale: Hey! Look! A sale!

Hubby: Okay?

Me: You want to go?

Hubby, just staring at me like I was a little cracked. (This happens more than you'd think it would. Strange.)

Me: Will you come with me?

Hubby: Do I have to stand in the bra department?

Me: No. You can go to housewares if you want.

Hubby secretly rolling his eyes. (It's secret because his actual physical eyes didn't roll, but I sensed the inner, mental rolling, because I can feel stuff like that.): Sure.

AND after I tortured him in the bra deptartment, Hubby took me to the book store. I left with two new books. Then he took me to dinner where he said this, "I have great respect for you."

And I said, "Respect?"

And he said, "Based on fear. I'm afraid you might bite me and I'll bleed out through my jugular."

See, isn't that romantic? And, yes mom, I am sorry for posting about bra shopping.

And, (just so I can start another sentence with and) I love you my awesome hubby.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Romance, Young Love, and Books

I'm thinking romance. The early stages that is. You know, the first loaded looks that hint at simmering feelings, the shy almost burning first touches when fingers meet fingers, and the heady, soaring emotions that wipe away fear. Young love.

Why am I thinking this? Well, it's not because I'm young, that's for sure. My hubby and I are celebrating our eighteenth anniversary tomorrow. See, so not young. Yikes. But I was young once. And I have a good memory.

And, I'm working on a romance scene in my WIP. It's challenging and fun. Struggling to find a way to express those first racing moments without sounding cliche and cheesy is frustrating. I delete more than I leave, and find myself turning to other books (and movies) for insight.

Here is a delicious example from Carol Lynch William's The Chosen One:

"But. Here is another secret. Another sin. Because I am not allowed to be with Joshua. I am not allowed to feel this way. Tingly when he looks at me. Weak when his hand is near mine. And the worst part--I couldn't help but wonder how it would be to kiss him.

And when we did kiss, it was all my fault.

Emily in the corner with her baby doll.

Me, in the Fellowship Hall with Joshua.

On the piano bench.

Smelling the soap he uses.

Watching his hands.

Hardly thinking of music.

...I glanced in his direction and saw him looking at me. Not at the piano keys.

"Put your hand like this," I told him. "You have to look here." I tapped the keyboard.

He let me move his fingers to the right position. So warm, those fingers.

"The C and E and G," I said.

But Joshua's hand didn't stay where I put it. Instead his fingers tangled up with mine. The whole side of his body leaned into me. His other arm slid around my waist.

"You can't play the piano holding my hand. Or leaning crooked like that, either," I said, my voice breathy. The words almost didn't come out of my mouth. But I thought, I could kiss you right now and go to hell and it would be worth it. Worth it.

...And then I kissed him. Just fell into him right in the middle of a sentence. Pressed my lips to his. So soft. Then he was kissing me back. And I didn't even know how to kiss, had never kissed anyone in my life but my family, and then only little pecks on the cheek.

It felt like Joshua sucked the breath from me, there on the piano bench, with all the thoughts of sin going through my head, but me not caring at all. Not at all.

"I better go," I said, when I finally pushed away from him. My hands trembled. My knees shook.

And he said, "Don't be scared, Kyra. I'm right here."

Isn't that scrumptious?

What is your favorite first love scene? Me? I'm off to create my own.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Letter To My Muse

Dear Muse,

Where are you? You said if I let you go on vacation for a few weeks you'd come back. Well, you're late. A week late. I don't want to sound like your mother, but seriously, I'm starting to freak. Could you at least call or send a text now and then?

I've been waiting up late for you, pacing the floor, and staring at the computer. The family started staring at me. They're giving me the eye. I can see them wondering if they need to pull out the little white jacket with the long sleeves. You know the one. They even took away my letter opener and stapler. I tried to tell them that it's you, not me, they should be worried about, but no, they won't listen. You're giving me a bad name.

So, come back. Please. I promise to give you your space. Lots of it. And days off. And a pay raise. And smoothies. Lots of smoothies. Just come back.



If you want to see my real post head on over to The Scribbler's Cove. *Grin* And Happy 16th Birthday to Kid A.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Night In Hawaii or Not

So, if any of you know me, you know I adore Hawaii. The beaches, the sand, the sun, the--oh lets be honest, I love everything about it. I've been once with my hubby and dream of going back. Literally.

Last night, my dreams took me there. Hubby and I stepped off the plane and the warm, salt-scented air greeted us. I was one hotel-room-stop away from sinking my toes into the surf. Paradise, right?

Wrong. I looked down, and there was Kid A. Now, Kid A isn't the problem herself, it was her eyes. They were red and had goobers attached to the eyelashes. One word shot through my dream mind. PINKEYE.

(I'd show you a picture, but I'm not that mean. And you deserve better, so imagine instead.)

Anywho, yup, paradise dream just went south fast and turned into nightmare city. Those of you who know me should be either groaning or laughing right now, because you know how pinkeye haunts me. There simply aren't words to describe the horror it brings into my heart. For those who don't know me, I'll try to explain. But remember, there aren't enough words. Really.

Some people are afraid of monsters, others have a hang up with spiders, or nuclear war, or death, or dismemberment, or I don't know, something bad. Well, they got nothing on me and my pinkeye phobia. It all started when my hubby received a corneal transplant and went from legally blind to ta-da I can see! (It wasn't that easy btw.) Then the doctor told me he could never get an eye infection-ever-or his body might reject his cornea, and he'd be blind.

Never tell someone with OCD tendencies something like that. Let's just say I change when someone gets pinkeye. Really change. It isn't good. The kids all sink into the corners and start to whimper, and I start scrubbing and randomly shouting things like, "Did you wash your hands?" or "Don't touch ANYTHING!" Then I wash and wash and wash every surface in the house till my hands start to bleed, and my hair falls out, and the paint starts to come off the walls, and the people with the white jackets show up, and the world ends, or hubby calms me down. A bit. See, not pretty. Picture Monk, but worse. (And if you've never seen Monk, go rent a season or two, or more, from Netflix. It's good.)

Anywho, back to my paradise dream turned nightmare. I stared into Kid A's red, demon eyes and went psycho. Do you know how hard it is to disinfect Hawaii? Sand just doesn't clean up well, and tourists touch things. A lot. We ended up in the hospital, which is another phobia of mine. Then we ended up lost in a maze of corridors trying to find a door to escape from. AND then as we raced through the halls, I TOUCHED MY EYE. Again, if you know me, you should be aghast at the horror. Aghast. If you don't know me, pretend to be aghast, or at least laugh. Please.

We never got out of the hospital. I got pinkeye. And then I woke up. I ran to the mirror, stared into my sleep-bleary eyes, and sighed. No red, not even a sign of pink. So, was it fun to spend the night in Hawaii? Not so much. It's good to be home.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Place Of My Own

It's done, my office that is. And I've moved in. Up until now, I shared a small corner of the front room with four kids and my hubby. Picture this, a desk squeezed between the couch and the door, stacks of manuscripts shoved under the desk, leaning on the couch, and piled on the floor. Books and pens, folders and staplers, my laptop and me, perched amidst it all. This is how I wrote, with young children tugging on my arm and sliding down my towers of papers. Adventure reigned--and not the good kind.

I wanted my own space. A place to put all my stuff. A place where my computer could live without the risk of becoming a launch (or landing) pad for rocketing children. A place where I could sit and think, and write, and plot, and create. This wish spurred months of remodeling, and now my room is done. Can you hear the cheering? Because I can. Oh, wait, that's me.

And it has a lock on the door. Heaven.

I love it. One of my favorite features is a chalkboard wall. Yes, an entire wall for me to write on, plot on, ponder on, and even doodle on. And I bought colored chalk. *Grin* It's like being a kid, but I'm bigger. And I don't have to share the chalk. He he.

Here's a list of things I won't miss.

Fickle sticky notes fluttering to the floor only to be eaten by the vacuum.
Me yelling, "Who turned off my computer?"
Me yelling, "Who erased my book?"
Me crying because someone erased my book.
Me wishing I had a room with a lock.
Piles and piles and piles of manuscripts stacked around me like I was some kind of crazed paper hoarder.
Piles and piles and piles of manuscripts not stacked around me because the kids decided to play in them.
Me thinking naughty words when I found the piles and piles and piles of scattered pages.
Me wishing I had a room with a lock.
Answering the door right after I discovered the piles and piles and piles of scattered pages.
Me thinking more naughty words.
The wide-eyed stare of visitors at the door when I answered it.
Me wishing I had a room with a lock.

Yup, I like the lock. Can you tell?

Anywho, I'm in. I'm organized, and now I'm going to get down to business. Time to write.

What is your secret, or not so secret, wish? Mine came true. At least the one about a room with a lock, I'm still working on the getting published one. Drop a comment and share your wish.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Cars, Inspections, and Bills

I took my hubby's car in for emissions and inspection yesterday. It didn't pass--at first. The technician brought me the news like a saddened surgeon stepping from the operating room to tell hopeful family members that their loved one died under the knife--at least until he whipped out the next paper and asked if I wanted them to run diagnostics for only $80.00 an hour. He turned into a ray of sunshine as soon as I groaned a yes.

This is the point when I silently chewed out my hubby for being at work. Not that I mind him working, in fact I really, really like being able to pay the house payment and buy stuff like food, which we couldn't do if he didn't work. But, as you might remember, I don't know ANYTHING about cars other than where to put the gas, how to drive, and how to work the radio. Yup, I have skills, and somehow the mechanics all know this.

This is me at the mechanics:

I'm the little one on the right with no skills and the mechanic is the other guy. This is an actual photo. Seriously.

This is the mechanic when I come into his shop:

Except he doesn't wear a suit, and I think he got more money from me.

Anywho, I spent the next four hours (and a wad of cash) pacing the waiting room and pondering death by mechanic bill as they fiddled, replaced parts(more money, of course), and cajoled my hubby's ancient Civic into passing emissions.

Guess what I get to do today? Take in my daughter's jeep she purchased for emissions and inspections. Yup, this is where I once again silently curse my hubby for working, while simultaneously wondering if he could possibly get more hours to pay for car bills.

I'm sure the mechanic will be excited to see my face again. I may just make it onto his Christmas card list. You know, just something like, Merry Christmas, Leisha. I'm enjoying my second home. Thanks for paying for it. Have a great holiday and see you come inspection time.

Well, off to face more cars, inspections, and bills. Wish me luck, I'm going to need loads of it.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Driver's Ed. and Writing

My latest post for The Scribblers Cove is up. All you never wanted to know about driver's ed. and writing. Check it out.


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