Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Slobber aka My Week in Review

Here's my weekly, er sometimes bi-weekly, segment where I allow my dogs and sometimes my cats to recap the week for me.

So, why is Chance grinning you might ask? Well, he's excited b/c there's only 25 days left of school. WHOO HOO and YEE HAW! Sorry, I had to do that. Sure, I have to do the two post-planning days, but those are kid free days where most of our work is done(I enlist some kids to help pack up my room. They love candy bribes), and we get to go out to lunch and hang together. It's not that I don't love my students or love teaching. It's just it's been a really stressful year, and I'm so ready for a break. Plus, I love summer because it's a reading and writing free for all! Yeah, I'm a nerd that way. But I do have a beach trip planned for the first week in June that I'm really excited about. And who knows where the rest of the summer will take me.

So why is Little Man aka Duke hiding behind the couch and love seat at Grammy aka Big Mama's? Well, he's totally capturing how I felt Tuesday when I sent my agent the outline(well, chunky ramblings of an outline) of Book 2 of The Guardians. We're hoping to go out with TG soon, and often pitching a UF as a series helps along the way, thus you need that outline! Can we say Krista doesn't do outlines? Sure, when I first got the idea for TG back in November of 08, I saw where I wanted to story to go in Books 2 and 3. But that was before the epic revising, revising, and
REVISING I did. When you up the stakes in one book, you kind of figure you're going to have to do that in the next. And I totally added a lot of fantasy elements to TG that I'll need to keep up in the second. I also sent her the revised synops of my YA Contemporary, Nets and Lies, along with the chunky outline of my Dystopian Disaster. Thus, why I'm still cowering in fear of what she might think when she reads abut the Dystopian, lol.

And then finally, this is exactly how I will feel until school is out. That's right. I'll be a hyperactive puppy shredding a pillow when my owner turned her back to change the sheets! Okay, well, maybe not....especially on the hyperactive part(see below on that reason, lol). It's just the frustration bit I guess. The last six weeks after Spring Break are an exhausting time. We have End of Course Tests that kids have to take, thus we have to prepare for. Of course, their attention span doesn't make for a great testing environment, lol. They're ready to be out, we're ready to be out.

It's also how I feel because I'm so ready for my health to be back where it once was. Fortunately, my doctor prescribed the 2x's a week B12 shots I must take for me to give myself. It was such a pain to try to get to the doctor's office each week and get them. On Thursday, I successfully gave myself a shot, and I'm due for another today. FUN TIMES! LOL

Anyway, I hope you all have a lovely and productive next week!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Flashback Fridays: Movies That Defined a Generation

Over at GotYA, the group blog I belong to, we're starting a weekly segment called, "Flashback Fridays" where we stroll through the past along with making connections to the future. This week's topic is Movies that Shaped a Generation. Over there I mentioned Harry Potter, Twilight, Mean Girls, etc. So, it's a little hard finding some for here as well, lol. In truth, it's more of a generational gap that finds me stuck in the middle of movies that defined a generation.

Here's why. All the great 80's movies that I touched on over at GotYA like Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, and Ferris Bueller were of my young years since I was a child in the 80's. Don't get me wrong, my friends and I totally wore out the VHS tapes to these movies, but it wasn't like I was experiencing them in the moment of my actual "young adult" phase.

When I think of my "young adult" years/tweens, comedy instantly comes to mind. The early to mid 90's saw the spike in SNL alumns like Mike Meyers, Dana Carvey, Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, and David Spade. We flocked to see Tommy Boy, Wayne's World, and Billy Madison.
Here's some great lines from Billy Madison
Principal: Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
Billy Madison: Okay, a simple "wrong" would've done just fine.
Billy Madison: I swear to God I'm sick. I can't go to school.
Juanita: If you're gonna stay home today, you can help me shave my armpits.
Billy Madison: Oh my God. I'll go to school.

Veronica Vaughn: So what's it like, being back in school?
Billy Madison: I don't know. I kinda feel like an idiot sometimes. Although I am an idiot, so it kinda works out.

And when I look back once more to high school, Jim Carrey movies like Ace Ventura and the Mask totally defined us because they brought words into our lexicon like "alrighty then","smokin'", "Looo-hooo-zuh-her!""Holy Testicle Tuesday", "Yes, Satan?", "Like a glove!"

Some of my favorite scenes from Ace Ventura:
(This scene is especially for my BFF Tiffany from HS, lol)
Ace Ventura: [with a German accent] How can I be getting zis vork done wit all de shouting? Control de shouting?
Reporter: Who's That?
Ace Ventura: Heinz Getwellvet. I am trainer of dolphins. You want to talk to de dolphin, you talk to me.
Reporter: What happened to the other trainer?
Ace Ventura: Vat happened to him? Vat happened to me? Seven years I am wit Siegfried. [he holds up only four fingers] Ve are making de dolphins disappear, und den Roy is coming wit de vite tiger und ze shtuffing in de pants und den I'm gone.
Reporter: [skeptically] Where is Snowflake?
Ace Ventura: Why do you care about Snowflake? Do you know him? Does he call you at home? [shouts]
Ace Ventura: Do you have a dorsal fin? To train ze dolphin you must zink like ze dolphin! You must be getting inside ze dolphin's head. I am saying to Snowflake, "Akay!... Akay Akay Akay?" und he is saying "AKay Akay!" und he is up on ze tail "Eeeeeeeeee!" und you can quote him! [Ace spits]
Roger Podacter: Alright, it's almost time for Coach Shula's press confrence, uh, lets let Heinz do his work?
Ace Ventura: [shooing reporters] Go to de conference, go to it.

Ace Ventura: I'm ready to go in, coach, just give me a chance. I know there's a lot of riding on it, but it's all psychological. Just gotta stay in a positive frame of mind. [Hops up] I'm gonna execute a button-hook pattern, super slo-mo. [Gestures and makes sounds of a slow-motion picture and stops] Let's see that in an instant replay. [Does a reverse playback sound and gesture]
[Melissa is pretending to be Ace's sister to check him into a mental hospital]
Doctor: Has he always had a history of mental illness?
Melissa: [truthfully] For as long as I've known him.

Then I was in college when the deluge of new teen movies surfaced like Cruel Intentions, American Pie, Not Another Teen Movie, She's All That, etc. Therefore, it's hard for me to find the exact movies of my generation, but no matter what, I'll always love feeling young at heart!!!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Flashback Friday #1: Like Sands Through the Hourglass, These Are the Books of My Youth!

Over at GotYA, we're beginning a weekly blog segment called Flashback Fridays. We'll be talking about everything from books to movies to first loves to favorite vacations as well as relating them to the YA literature scene. We'll be "flashbacking" on our own blogs, but most of all, we want YOUR participation as well. So, mark Fridays as your blog days to gaze into the past and smile! The first ever Flashback Friday is on the books we grew up with. The ones that have stuck with us after all these years for both good and bad reasons. Think of the books that have meant something to you over the years.

So without further adieu, here's my favorite books from back in the day.

Betty Ren Wright and Mary Downing Hahn: OMG! These women had the ability to scare the pants off of me. With Wright’s books like Christina’s Ghost, The Dollhouse Murders, Ghosts Beneath Our Feet and Hahn’s Wait Til’ Helen Comes and The Doll in the Garden, they reigned supreme in the ghost and spine tingling chills genre. Wait Til' Helen Comes is still one of my all time favorite ghost story books from my childhood. I bought another copy when I was in highschool since I loved it so much.
Creepy Back in the Day Cover and now the new creepy cover!

And no collection would be complete with Are You There God, It's Me Margaret. I read my copy so many times that it eventually fell apart. I went years without being with Margaret, and it was tough. So a few months ago, I bought a Judy Blume boxed set. I so experienced everything that Margaret did from first loves to wanting my first period, etc. It's one of the greatest books of my life.

The Babysitters Club Books: I don't know where my childhood would have been without these books. When I say I was fond of them, that's a mild understatement. I had the books, the videos(ooh, did you not know about the series? It was tight!), the board game(what would you do if Jackie Rodwosky caught himself on fire?)--yep, I had it all. I even dressed up as Mary Anne in a "Dress Like a Book Character" Contest. My BFF went as Claudia. I have a huge loft left of books that were mine and then I got some of my cousins when she was selling them at a yard sale. However, there were some Super Specials that I really, once again, Ebay came to the rescue. I got 10 BSC Superspecials for $10, yes, $10 bucks! SOOOO exciting!

The Sleepover Friends: I plucked my first Sleepover Friends off the bookshelf in Mrs. Lemeska 5th grade class. You could say it was love at first read! I immediately started devouring the rest of the books in the series—it's a pretty ease feat since they’re light on the wordage. I loved the antics and adventures of Lauren, Kate, Stephanie, and Patty. After so many years, I didn't have but a few random ones left. I’ve been wanting to reread the books for a long time, so I went on Ebay and found a lot of 16 books. I can’t wait to get to return back to Riverhurst!

Introducing GotYA...the blog formerly known as Old People Writing for Teens!

Remember the Old People Writing for Teens blog aka OPWFT, right? Well, we were in need of a little work--you know botox, a nip here, a tuck there! Plus, Blogger is the bomb and totally puts Wordpress to shame. We're still offering the same great stuff like agent and author interviews, contests, 5 Minute Book Club, and we're also doing some cool new stuff like Flashback Fridays.

The following is what I borrowed from my bud and fellow blogger Annie's blog:

Now, you guys can follow all of our nutty antics, because guess what...Blogger lets you have followers (Click here to visit GotYA)! Yippeeeee!! So we all figured, since we are movng blogging sites anyway, lets spruce up a bit and show you a little more about our personalitites.
Warning!!! The following promo video showcasing the crazy skills of the wacky girls of GotYA may cause uncontrolled laughter, so please don't watch it where you'll get busted, because we may not have enough bail money to go around.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Slobber: Weekly Recap, Becca's Blog Contest, etc

If you follow my twitter or know me from AbsoluteWrite or Facebook, you know I'm a HUGE pet and animal lover. So what better way to do weekly updates than to use a pet analogy for a post title along with pics of my pets! :)

Puppy Duke aka Little Man's Sad Panda face that Spring Break is over!

(1). Today is a day of great sadness or epic emoness. Why? Because my Spring Break is over, and tomorrow I have to go back to school. Sure, there's only six weeks left, but they're difficult have tasted the flavor of being off not to mention their springtime attention span and hormones are going crazy. I've done absolutely NOTHING this week, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration because I did do some serious spring cleaning. I also wrote a lot....5K each on my two new WIPS...I'm hoping to have 7K or 8K by this afternoon
on the latest of the late WIPS...more on it later!

(2). My writer buddy Becca is having a cool Art-themed contest over at her blog: Confessions of a YA Writer. Check it out. And if you're not following her, you totally should!

Chance says the contest sounds really cool and wishes he could enter to hone his artistic skills!

(3). Yes, I've started a new WIP. It's a YA Contemporary, and I really like it. It's kooky, silly, fun, and lighthearted, and I think its going to be a quick finish. I'm not going to delve too much into it right now, but I've been posting some snips in FNW, and I'll probably do some for my Teaser Tuesday.

(4). I've put the Dystopian on the back burner for the moment. Why? Well, after my esteemed writer buddies, Becca and Jamie, took a look, they helped me to realize I needed a bit more world building, which is one reason I'm not good at UF! So, I figure I'll keep thinking about it, and then finish it up when summer rolls around...if it's still rolling with me.

(5). I think I have a new writing nook. The weather this week has been beautiful, so I ventured outside. Lots of WIP wordage got written in my chaise lounge. I also embarked on spring cleaning the patio by scrubbing off the patio table and chairs, the grill, sweeping etc. Of course, this time of year in Georgia, the pollen is horrendous and tries to coat everything as soon as you clean it!
Duke helping me enjoy my new writing place!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Feather Circles from Grad School

So, I decided instead of teasing from one of the multiple WIPS I have(sighs) that I would post a piece from a graduate school writing class. It's from the summer of 2007, and this class meant the world to me and my writing because after a long hiatus of not writing anything after my mother's death, my creative juices began flowing again. The class was twelve or thirteen other members of my English cohort, and we sat around in what was called a Feather Circle. When you had the "talking stick", you read your piece aloud in front of the class. It was a truly freeing experience. After you read your piece, everyone was expected to write thank-you notes citing particular things about the piece they liked. Whenever I got discouraged about my writing during the querying process, I would take out these thank-you notes and read them. They'd once again give me the encouragement I needed to go on.

Without further adieu, here's the first ever piece I wrote. We were to choose a symbol to represent us. I, of course, chose a Steel Magnolia...go figure!

Someone would think to call oneself a Steel Magnolia is a paradox. I suppose that at the crux of my being I am a paradox. I am a liberal and a conservative; I am a saint, and I am a sinner; I am at times made of unbuckling steel, and at others, I’m as genteel as a soft, southern Magnolia.

I am like the steel buildings that have risen from the ashes of the antebellum landscape of the south. I am ever changing. As the magnolia stretches its roots deep into the red Georgia clay, so are my roots inextricably bound to the culture of the south, of Georgia, and of Cherokee County.

I am a true child of the old south. I was reared on raucous family reunions with plates teeming with golden fried chicken, garden fresh corn, okra, and green beans, homemade pound cake, and sugary sweet tea out of a mason jar. I am from that Old Time Religion of fire and brimstone preaching, sweltering summer revivals, walking down into the watery grave of baptism and being reborn in the blood of the Lamb. I am from an oral tradition spun by the adults of my family around the dining room table on Sundays as well as from the cocooned safety of grandmother’s lap. All of this has been both the “miracle grow” and “the welding” of my soul.

It has taken a steely character, an unflinching faith, and a tremendous resolve to see me through the darkest times of my life. Cancer came with fiendish delight devouring my innocence with its ravenous appetite.

If someone is not made of steel then how is it possible for them watch as their father wastes away to resemble someone who has wandered out of a concentration camp? To watch a heartless and unfeeling disease degrade him from a fiercely independent man to a diapered and helpless shell of his former self. Seventeen years old, two weeks away from high school graduation and I sat before my father’s casket on a bleak, rainy Sunday. Taps, a 21 gun salute, and then a kneeling soldier presented me with a folded flag, “On behalf of a grateful nation..” Only one month after being diagnosed, Soft Tissue Sarcoma, an Agent Orange related cancer, cut my father's life short at fifty-one.

Five years later, Cancer came calling again. This time it was for my best friend, my rock of support, my hero: my mama. My mama, another Steel Magnolia, a history teacher, a loyal friend, and a faithful daughter of Christ, was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, a spider-like brain tumor. Its tendrils had embedded deep into her brain robbing her of her memory, her ability to speak, and ultimately the hope of survival. Only a month after her diagnosis, she passed away peacefully in the home that she grew up in, surrounded by her family and friends. Her death shattered me into a thousand jagged pieces from which I’ll never be whole again.

To be orphaned at twenty-three would devastate anyone. Ordinarily, you would buckle under the pressure and snap. There have been many times when I felt myself dying from the inside. Death, despair, and disillusionment had broken me. I willed myself to succumb to the hardening winter that crushed my spirit. But then a spring time would enter my soul, and I would be rejuvenated with faith and a hardened determination to go on.

After each tragedy and each heartache, I am only stronger. I have seen that nothing can tear down the steely resolve of my character and no disease can truly kill my roots.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Movie Mondays: The Lunacy of Leslie Nielson

While trying to spice up the blog and add a little flavor, I decided to add a weekly segment called Movie Mondays where I stroll through favorite movies, quotes, and clips. So, in honor of April Fools day, I'm doing my first month of Movie Mondays on spoof and parody movies. First up, is my love for Leslie Nielson movies. It's hard to imagine in his younger day he was an A list actor starring with the likes of Debbie Reynolds in Tammy. He's probably most well known now for his goofy roles in the Naked Gun movies, Wrongfully Accused, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, and the Scary Movie spinoffs.

First up is one of my favorite Leslie Nielson spoofs, and it's probably the one that got him his start in parody movies.

It's the movie Airplane. If you've never seen it, check out the trailer cuz it's hilarious!

Leslie Nielson doesn't come in for a wee bit in this movie that sp
oofs the great airline disaster movies of the 70's. But when he does, it's HILARIOUS! He plays Dr. Rumack, and here's some of my favorite lines of his:

Rumack: Can you fly this plane, and land it?
Ted Striker: Surely you can't be serious.
Rumack: I am serious... and don't call me Shirley.

[an epidemic of food poisoning is sweeping the plane]
Captain Oveur: What is it, Doctor? What's going on?
Rumack: I'm not sure. I haven't seen anything like this since the Anita Bryant concert.

Rumack: What was it we had for dinner tonight?
Elaine Dickinson: Well, we had a choice of steak or fish.
Rumack: Yes, yes, I remember, I had lasagna.

Srsly, my favorite character in this movie is Johnny, one of the guys in the flight control because is a such a smart ass and a goober! My favorite part is when they're coming in for a landing, and all the sudden the lights on the runaway go dark for Stryker and Elaine then it pans to the picture of Johnny unplugging the cord to the lights and going, "Just kidding!"

Here's some of my favorite lines from him:

Striped controller: Bad news. The fog's getting thicker.
Johnny: [jumps to an
overweight controller
] And Leon is getting laaaaarrrrrger.

Reporter: What kind of plane is it?
Johnny: Oh, it's a big pretty white plane with red stripes, curtains in the windows and wheels and it looks like a big Tylenol

[reading newspaper headlines]
Rex Kramer: Passengers certain to die!
Steve McCroskey: Airline negligent.
Johnny: There's a sale at Penney's!

Steve McCroskey: I need the best man on this. Someone who knows that plane inside and out and won't crack under pressure.
Johnny: How about Mister Rogers?

You gotta love Lloyd Bridges character who takes the news on the ground pretty hard, and with each turn of bad news
comes the following lines!

Steve McCroskey: Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking & Steve McCroskey: Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit smoking &
: Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue AND Steve McCroskey: Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines.

And of course, who can forget the pedofile pilot, Captain Oveur with lines like these:

Captain Oveur: You ever been in a cockpit before?
Joey: No sir, I've never been up in a plane before.
Captain Oveur: You ever seen a grown man naked?
and a little later: Captain Oveur: Joey, have you ever been in a... in a Turkish prison? And a little later Captain Oveur: Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?

Next of my Leslie Nielson favorites is Wrongfully Accused. It's a parody of The Fugitive, Titanic, Braveheart, The Usual Suspects, and even Lord of the

Favorite lines:

Ryan Harrison: We can go away right now. I pack light. Everything we need is right here in my pants.

Ryan: How dare you, sir!
Guard: How dare YOU!
Ryan: No, how dare you!
Guard: No, no, how dare you!
Ryan: How dare you "no no" my how dare you!
Guard: You dare to dare me?
Ryan: How dare you how dare me when I how dare you, you big pee-pee head!
Guard: You are the Pee-pee head!
Ryan: Mr. Booger lips, ca-ca mouth!

Judge: Ryan Harrison, a jury of your peers have found you guilty of murder. On August 12th at Stillwater Federal Prison you shall have your sentence carried out. You shall be executed buffet style: lethally injected, electrocuted, and placed before a firing squad. May God have mercy on your soul, you bastard you.

Lt. Fergus Falls: There are two things that frost my butt: It's a snow cone about that high, and the other one is Ryan Harrison.

Ryan Harrison: [to Cass] When you shot me at point blank range, I knew you loved me.

Hilarious Scenes:

Up next week is the Mayhem and Majesty of....
Mel Brooks movies!!