OFFICIALLY Finished my Novel

Blech. I don’t even know if I want to write about all this.

So I finished my fourth draft, *cheer* now I’m hunkering down into the query trenches *whimper*.

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For anyone who isn’t familiar with the process of traditional publishing, it goes like this…

A) You write a book (obviously) 

B) You pitch your book to a literary agent (the ‘pitch’ is also referred to as a query letter)

C) If the agent likes your pitch they’ll request to read your book

D) If the agent likes your BOOK they’ll offer you representation (or in other words they’ll take it to publishers)

E) Your agent pitches your book to publishers (also referred to as ‘your book being on submission’)

F) If the PUBLISHERS like your book they will offer you a publishing contract.

That’s how you get traditionally published. Although, even then G) PEOPLE have to like the book and buy it in order for it to be successful. 

Needless to say, this process has been INCREDIBLY intimating. You try to do your research like a good little author but, hey, it turns out that writing an attention-grabbing pitch is incredibly subjective. Who knew. It’s like every bit of information I came across was contradicting to the last. Personalize your query letter. Don’t waste your time personalizing. Start with your hook. Start with your personalization. Put your information at the top of the email. Definitely never put your information anywhere else except under your signature. But the one thing that they all agree on? THERE WILL NEVER BE ANYTHING MORE IMPORTANT THAN THIS ONE LETTER YOU ARE WRITING RIGHT NOW.

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Headache. Honestly. I haven’t even gotten any rejections yet and I feel super discouraged. I procrastinated and groaned and kicked the dust around until finally the other night I FORCED myself to proceed to step B. Yikes. I sent to a pretty small handful of agents just to get my feet wet. We’ll see.

So, now the question on your mind… Will I get to read this book?

Um. I don’t know. I hope so.

It’s a quirky little novel and unfortunately, just as the main character straddles between two versions of herself, the book also straddles between two potential audiences. Would fierce partiers and rockers really want to read about a piddly main character who is Mormon? And would a Mormon parent really buy a book for their kid that has swear words and drug references? I’m just not sure. This could be a marketing problem… (um, probably won’t include that in my query letter)

I could really foresee a kind of Freaks and Geeks cult following of those who would appreciate both sides (as I did growing up). But in a business/commercial sense it is quite risky, so if I can’t get agents and publishers to envision that kind of marketability then…. ???

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So, that is it. My worries and insecurities all over the internet for everyone to see and think about. If you have any encouragement or good vibes please send ’em my way. Meanwhile, I’ll be burying my head into other projects and trying not to think about my inbox too much.

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Being Too Dumb to Function in Arizona

K I wasn’t going to tell this story, because the wound is still fresh. But, asdlfksldghvlksrjgaslkdfj* FINE! I’ll make a post about this stupid, stupid mistake I made.

*asdlfksldghvlksrjgaslkdfj – (pronounced like slamming keys) exclamation, Keyboard Pound for I did not want to do the thing, but frustratingly so, I will do the thing. Ex. “I wasn’t going to comment on your outlandish political statement on Facebook, but asdlfksldghvlksrjgaslkdfj.”

Well, first off, pregnancy brain is strong with this one, okay. AND I WANT YOU TO KEEP THAT IN MIND… because I have no problem throwing my children under the bus in order to save face. No, listen, that’s not it. But if that’s not it, then it must be something because I feel like what I did could have been the punch line of a dumb-blonde joke.

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Obviously, Arizona is a third degree blister of burning heat. Like really. It reaches temperatures that are actual settings on ovens. So for the sake of our baby boys in the back seat we decided to have our Honda Civic windows tinted so that they, you know, could actually sit there.

It’s always a pain to get your cars worked on because you have to do the awkward second-car-shuffle. So my husband was driving Jack in the Honda and I took the Nissan. Ummmm K. I really hardly ever drive that car. It’s my husband’s commuter car and we always take the Honda for outings because it fits our car seat better. This might just be totally my anxiety but I feel like, driving a car you are not familiar with is trying to navigate a Chinese shuttle to the moon.

Well, whatever. So as I’m driving I immediately notice that something is wrong. The AC  is blowing hot air…

If you haven’t already read about our bad-luck-move-from-hell… this exact thing had happened to our other car on the way down. PLUS all the other mechanical issues we had already been through, not including trying to get tint on the windows.

And we’re driving to the whole other side of town. Well, maybe that SEEMS like not very far, but Mesa might as well be an effing East Coast state it’s so huge. It has 17 freeway exits alone. So here is the worst half an hour of my LIFE, sweat dripping into my eyes, cursing for … just being a human with functioning nerve endings. I’m five months pregnant, it’s over 110 degrees OUTSIDE of the car, okay. I’m rolling down the windows and sticking my head out like a Labrador.

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We get to the place and I immediately tell Dan, “THE AC IN THIS CAR WENT OUT TOO. ARIZONA HATES US.”

He leans in and points out that I had… in fact… never actually turned the air conditioning on.

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Revealing the Gender of my Baby!

Hey, did you fall for the clickbait? Good for you! Curiosity is one of the most powerful traits of humanity. So just by clicking on this proves how naturally intelligent you are. Also you’re looking super good lately. Did you do something with your hair?

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If you haven’t already scrolled down to find out the gender, you can. It’s intertwined with some funny stories and sappy stuff, which you’re welcome to read if you have the time.

Basically, I didn’t want to announce the gender until it was a FOR SURE thing. I was told my first born was a girl. Definitely a girl, the doctor said, 100% sure. So I immediately went to announce it the best way that I know… with some really lengthy written prose of course!

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I wrote this super flowery Facebook post about how hard it is to be a girl and live up to society’s unrealistic standards. Everyone loved it. And shared it and everything.

And then I go to my next ultrasound.

Technician: Did you want to find out the gender?
Me: Oh, we already know it’s a girl.
Technician: …
Me: …
Technician: Are you sure?

So then I had to go and retract my announcement like the over-eager failure that I am. Cool. That wasn’t embarrassing at all. We cut our losses and went out to Dickey’s to celebrate. THANK YOU, INTERNET! I’LL BE HERE ALL WEEK! *drops mic*

Soooo anyone about to do one of those fancy reveal parties? Learn from my mistake!

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But this time we are very sure, pretty convinced, saw a lil’ somethin’ somethin’ on the ultrasound, almost positive that we are having…

ANOTHER BOY!

So since it’s official that I will be very much a “boy mom”. I wrote a different sappy prose, this time addressed to my two darling boys.

Dear kiddos,

You have come into this world two (devastatingly handsome, probably) white boys. With this comes a lot of privileges, but a lot of pressures and responsibilities. The world will expect that you try to make yourself a superhero… but what I’m telling you is that the world doesn’t know what a real superhero is.

A real superhero doesn’t have this perfect beach body. He cares less about what others think of him and more about how he thinks of others. A real superhero doesn’t have to throw the last punch. He turns the other cheek. A real superhero doesn’t always have to get the girl in the end. He respects her as a sincere friend (even when that girl is really cute and you kinda lowkey wish you were more than friends). A real superhero doesn’t wear a mask. He isn’t afraid to be himself, and have emotions and be a REAL PERSON. A real superhero doesn’t have unbelievable super strength. Sometimes he gets up in the morning and faces the battles that people don’t talk about… and it’s okay. He’s still a hero.

When you stand up for someone, you’re a superhero. When you embrace your uniqueness, you’re a superhero. And when you understand your weaknesses, you’re a superhero.

And no matter what, you will always be a superhero to me. So you can just go ahead and trash what the world thinks.

– Mom

 

***

But hey! You don’t have to be a boy or a girl to want a SUPER EPIC PARTY. If you’re looking to throw an event to top all other events, let me point you in the right direction. Epic Party Events brings an unforgettable experience right to your front door. They have a trailer that hosts 8 4k TV’s and 15 Game consoles. Not to mention photo booths, virtual reality, and yard games.

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You gotta check ’em out at http://epicpartyevents.com/

 

Just a Random Blog Post on Everything That’s Been Going On

There is just so much happening right now that I’m not even sure how to consolidate this information into one post. So please forgive the scatter-brained mess this will be haha

1. ARIZONA

Arizona is great and we love it. Even with the summer heat, (I think the highest it’s gotten so far was 113 degrees Fahrenheit?) But tbh, I live the hermit lifestyle anyways and the AC in my apartment is great!

What I would say to someone looking to move down here would be… you like strip malls? Because at least where I live in East Mesa, there are alternating strip malls and gated communities in between a lot of palm trees and cacti. The great thing about it though is you are always in a close radius to any store you could dream of. There’s a department store or grocery store every two blocks and anywhere you’re at you are by a freeway enterance. The design is really smart and this state has everything dialed in. Like OH MY GOSH all the roads are huge!

‘Kay, I don’t know if it’s just the area I’m in, but the people here are either big hit or completely frigid when it comes to friendliness. And (kiiiind of an agist perspective) I’ve noticed that it is totally dependent on age. Like, the younger people in my building complex. Lol… I will straight up make eye contact with them and loudly say, “Hi!!” And they will 100% snub me as they pass. On the other hand, I’ve had several old people stop and talk to me *just because I was smiling to myself*. It’s a funny dynamic. I’m sure my loud, young-person greetings pins me as an outsider even more than my translucent skin color and long pants.

Overall, this place is a big hit for Dan and I. Jack has adjusted very well to our new apartment and has been EATING UP all of the time he gets with Daddy.

THE PREGNANCY

Yeah! The pregnancy is going well. I don’t know how I always manage to be pregnant when we move somewhere and end up being the useless lump. Ugh. Carrying Jack is getting harder and I get a lot more tired than normal. But I think that has to do with all the running around we’ve been doing as well. This baby is SUPER SUPER active. I feel twists and turns all day and Daniel can even feel little kicks now. Trying to find a doc is a bit stressful, but everything is going great. Stay tuned for a gender reveal soon!

WRITING

So if you haven’t seen my last update, my computer blew up. WRITERS. WORST. NIGHTMARE. I ordered a new computer and now I’m waiting for it to arrive. (Typing this on my phone still).

Fortunately, my novel is backed up and safe. If June hadn’t been so hellishly ridiculous I might have my fourth draft finished by now. Buuuuuut nonetheless I am incredibly close. I can see the finish line. Just another round of edits (Oh, just that?? That’s nothing. **SARCASM**) and then TA FREAKING DA, I’ll start beggining door to door for representation.

Here’s something cute: I was in the bathroom getting ready and could hear Dan on the phone with an insurance agent. (He didn’t know I was listening) When they asked what I did for a living, he very confidently responded, “She’s an author.” THIS DOLL I MARRIED WHAT THE HECK! He believes in me so hard! I hope he’s right. And I hope I can kick it back into gear when my new laptop comes.

Oh and PS the cute black laptop that died was named ‘Othello’. I’m considering naming this next one ‘Horatio’, since, ya know, he’s basically the only character that survives in Hamlet. And I’m really looking for a computer who can live to “tell my story”. Haha!

That’s about it. Blech. Sorry. At some point I’ll get back to normal with this blog and put out more embarrassing stories.

 

An Entire Family of Bad Luck Brians

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Have you ever seen the movie Pure Luck? Because let me tell you… this move to Arizona has been some of the worst luck I’ve ever had. It’s been so ridiculous in fact that you wouldn’t believe it unless I made a comprehensive list.

So here you are:

We got a late start getting out on the road because one of our drivers disappeared at Walmart for an hour

U-haul’s system went out nationally and double charged us for the trailer

Car’s AC went out as soon as we hit Mesquite

We tried to see Hoover dam. It was closed.

Our other car wasn’t put on the trailer correctly and almost fell off in the middle of the desert

Our credit card stopped working because of the unusual location even though we informed the bank we were moving

Got to the Air BnB late, misunderstood where the entrance was and got chewed out all day for trying to break in

Got locked out of our own gated community as we were trying to move in

Brought an air mattress for our helpers… didn’t bring an air pump

Got two replacement mattresses and a pump… that pump was broken

The flight we purchased for our helpers was delayed like three hours. Didn’t know about it until after they had gone through security

Someone in our building was smoking and it was blowing into our apartment

It took 4 trips to the DMV to get registration done because of random misunderstandings

Caterpillars keep crawling in through the bottom of our front door 🤷🏻

Our pool turned green

Jack had diarrhea for the first week

And then because of the diarrhea Jack had bad diaper rash the second week

I spent like 15 minutes picking out the most gentle face wash/moisturizer I could find at the store. I was allergic to it.

Dan’s bike got stolen off our porch

After fixing the AC we took our car to get tint put on the windows and our MECHANIC’S car broke down and he couldn’t get to it until the next day

We went to three different restaurants because we had gift cards. NONE OF THE GIFT CARDS WORKED

The ONE thing I was madly pregnancy craving does not exist here in AZ

The radiator in the OTHER CAR broke down

And literally as I was typing up this list, Dan came in to tell me that the plug on my laptop just SPARKED and EXPLODED. So I’m trying to write this post on my phone.

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This probably all sounds made up. IT’S NOT. Hopefully, a meteor isn’t about to fall on us. Um… Help?

Cajun Pasta Chicken

It’s been quite a while since I’ve shared a recipe with you guys, so I figured this would be a good one. This, in my husband’s opinion, is my best dinner. Originally it was a buzzfeed recipe (I’ll post below), but I ended up modifying it for several reasons. First reason is that I can never find good sausage so I don’t even bother with it. Secondly, I already had garlic salt and lemon pepper from another failed Cajun recipe so hey, can’t let that go to waste.

The biggest change is that the original recipe was a “one-pot” deal. Which I really liked the idea of only using one pot, but what I found is that it did NOT take ten minutes to cook out the chicken broth, it took more like fifty minutes. Ultimately, I decided that I would rather clean an additional pot than spend an hour plus standing over a hot stove. If that’s not a big deal for you, I’ve included both recipes below. Enjoy!

 

INGREDIENTS:
– Vegetable Oil (2 Tbsp.)
– 2 Diced Chicken Breasts
– Lemon Pepper
– Garlic Salt
– Onion (chopped)
– Red Pepper (1, sliced)
– Green Pepper (1, sliced)
– Mushrooms (2 cups)
– 16 oz box of Fettuccine
– Chicken broth (5 cups)
– Heavy Cream (1/2 cup)
– Shredded Parmesan (1 cup)
– Cajun Seasoning (1 Tbsp.) (I use Cajun Choice)

DIRECTIONS:

Get pasta cooking in the five ounces of chicken broth. (Or alternatively, four ounces of chicken broth and one cup water)

Pour vegetable oil into the pot. Add diced chicken breast to the pot, coat with Cajun seasoning.

Once the chicken is cooked, add in the onion, peppers, and mushrooms. Stir in the garlic salt and lemon pepper. (If you would like your pasta to be spicier, you can add more Cajun seasoning here.) Continue stirring until the veggies cook down.

Add the cooked pasta. Stir in the heavy cream and Parmesan.

 

 

Here is the original video and recipe:

 

David Copperfield Made My Dad Disappear

Do you guys know this guy?

David-Copperfield

If you said Ty Burrell from Modern Family… you’re wrong.

Here’s a hint… He was pretty big in the eighties. Especially after he made the statue of liberty disappear and walked through the Great Wall of China. That’s right! David Copperfield!

My Dad is a HUGE fan of magic. So when we heard he was coming to Salt Lake, we got us some tickets y’all!

And if you’ve ever been to a magic show, you know they save the craziest trick for last. It was the end of the show… the last act… and David Copperfield said he needed some volunteers from the audience.

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The way that he chose volunteers was sort of odd. He threw a Frisbee into the audience and whoever caught it got to participate. Well, the Frisbee flew right down and landed in my lap. I didn’t even try to catch it or anything it just landed on me.

David was all like, “Oh, can you hand that to the nearest adult?” Geez, Copperfield. Sorry I’m not MAGICAL enough for you. (I was about twelve? at the time). Wull, fine! My dad was sitting next to me so I handed it to him.

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Meanwhile, the magician pulls out like ten more people from the audience and announces that he’s going to make them all disappear. Pretty cool. He puts everyone on this platform and gives them all flashlights. My dad was the designated hand out the side of the curtain guy. Prrrrestigious.

Once the curtain was on, the platform rose into the air with some really intense new age music. (lol I love how extra cheesy magic performances are. 100%).

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Everyone is wiggling their flashlights back and forth, including my dad whose hand is still outside of the curtain. David Copperfield yanks the curtain away and DUN DUN WOOSH! Everyone is gone. We stand to our feet cheering! The magician takes a bow and says “Thanks for coming out, bye!”

We’re all like… oh, huh? But our dad tho. I guess he’s just gone to another dimension now.

We finally met up with him later in the lobby and got to talk to him all about the crazy experience!

And you want to know how he did it? …

With MAGIC. Duh.

Pitching my Weird Pregnancy Dreams as Book Ideas

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Okay, so I don’t know if this happens to anyone else, but sometimes when I dream it’s not about myself… That is to say, that sometimes I dream in a “movie format” with it’s own characters and plot twists and everything. This especially happens when I’m sick. And if I’m sick and pregnant, the story-dreams are even crazier.

So I started writing them down as if I were pitching them to agents as book ideas. Here they are for your enjoyment! (Forgive the conspiracy thrillers. It’s been a rough first trimester.)

 

Retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk, but the giant is made out of pulled taffy.

A family of four tries to escape a mall as an active shooter works his way towards them.

A cheerleader is forced to spend time with some of the grossest and geekiest outcasts of the school (stylized as a 1980s John Hughes comedy).

A down-on-his-luck father is hired to work for the United States’ most extensive underground mob.

Four amateur and bumbling criminals decide to rob a bank accidentally at the same time as four violent and capable criminals.

A woman takes down a group of terrorists on a cruise ship by using an animal-shapeshifting superpower.

Queen Elizabeth is let in on a secret plan to assassinate one of her own government officials right before her daughter announces that she’s fallen in love with him.

A group of young boys find themselves trapped in a house with strange and mysterious properties, competing for the only exit.

A lonely high school kid is granted the ability to become invisible for a day. He uses his new skill to learn that his fellow students have their own demons.

A high school girl begins to accurately dream the future the day before her premonitions become true. At first it’s all fun and games, until her dream predicts that she will somehow become hopelessly lost in the dark woods.

“Morty’s Fun House of Outrageous Revoked Licences: The Strangest Reasons People Have Had Their Driver’s Licenses Taken Away” (I flipped through this book in a dream haha)

A doctor is hired by a corrupt pharma company to pretend that he has a specific degenerate disease in order to falsify research.

BONUS: I dreamt that my husband and I were contestants on The Bachelor/Bachelorette but living in the same house. We made a vow to give up our roses for each other

 

Which one would you read as a book or go see as a movie? Do any of you creative people have out of control dreams like this?

Making a Fool of Myself at Barnes and Noble

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Anyone who knows my husband and I, knows that we love to prank each other. One time, Dan put cottage cheese in my deodorant, changed my birthday and Facebook and announced that I was engaged to a mutual friend all on the SAME April Fool’s Day.

So, naturally, I am always trying to get back at him in any little way I can think of.

One time we were hanging out at Barnes and Noble, because if you didn’t know, that’s how non-nerds spend their time. OBVIOUSLY.

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I was browsing around the aisles while Dan trailed behind me. It came to me that this was a perfectly perfect time to be a really annoying wife. I could tell that he was trying to get around me, so I spread my arms out to the side and did a weird zig-zaggy walk. Basically MAXIMIZING every inch of space so that it was impossible to pass by.

I kicked my knees up with each step. Exaggerating every single movement, because I’m a comedic genius honestly. Anyways, basically, I looked like a marionette being controlled by a preschooler.

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That’s when the Barnes and Noble employee was like, “Um… Excuse me…”

Dan had stopped one aisle over. Letting me do this STUPID dancing block-aid. For like honestly a full minute.

Dummy. Even when I try to get him back he finds a way to turn the tables on me.

Things that Made Me Throw Up During the First Trimester

Haven’t I mentioned several times how sick I was with this pregnancy? Well here’s some more of that.

First trimester was the WORST. In fact the retching got so ridiculous that I started keeping a list of why in my phone. (You’re welcome. I know you wanted this.) If you don’t believe that nausea is a problem for a pregnant woman, give this a read. It will give you an idea of how hard it is to live daily life without puking during that 1st trimester.

Trigger warning… if you’re pregnant probably.

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REASONS FOR THROWING UP

My son gagged on a mouthful of chicken nuggets
Saw a picture of a sweaty boxing champion and imagined how they smelled
Scrolled too fast on my phone
Touched wet Rice Krispy cereal
Ate too much
Ate too little
Tried to do the dishes
Remembered what bacon soda tasted like
Watched a review for Hungry Man Enchiladas. (That was a mistake)
When Zoe on Sesame Street said her sandwiches would taste like bologna and socks
Had to cough when I woke up, puked instead
Arie breaking up with Becca for another woman and then following her around the tiny apartment for like AN HOUR
Husband made a ratchet poop joke
Smelled my toddler’s poop
Watching Rhett and Link eat anything
Tried to put on a pair of jeans
Oven was too hot
Had to bounce to get snow off my shoes
Thought about food
In the music video 6 Underground where he drips worms out of a can. Barf
Sat up too fast

 

 

Thankfully, I’m over the worst of it. But even reading over this list… I just… it kind of… makes me… excuse me…