Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Gives Me Goosebumps

Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the release of the first Goosebumps book, Goosebumps: Welcome to Dead House. My original inspiration for horror writing? You bet!

“One magazine called me ‘a training bra for Stephen King.’ I didn’t really like that,” says Stine, with a chuckle. “You don’t want to be called a training bra.”

Sorry, RL Stine. You were my Stephen King training bra!

Read more here.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Scared of Stephen King

I am a HUGE Stephen King fan. So much so that I used to have to force myself to read other authors. I love almost everything he's written... until recently.

I worked on reading Insomnia for over a year before I just gave up. I didn't want to accept how awful the book was so I just kept pushing through, hating every minute. The novel went in a million directions (few of which were interesting) and just kept getting crazier (not in a good way). The characters weren't good enough to be likeable or bad enough to be hated. Maybe I would have liked it if I'd made it to the end...

But, it was just too damn bad.

Ill try again out of loyalty in the future, I'm sure.

This weekend, I started reading The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. So far its ok. (Yes, just ok.)  Stepehen King loves description and he gets to write a lot of it with a young girl lost alone in the forest. Hopefully, I'm just still getting over the bad taste left in my mouth from Insomnia. I will keep updating as I make my way through.

I hope I'm not complaining about it a year from now.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Review: Before I Go to Sleep

Last night, I stayed up until two in the morning reading Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson. Boy, did it hold my attention. To say it is a page-turner is an understantement. I rarely finish a book quickly and I tore through this one. That said, I was left disappointed.

From the first page, there were three ways that I thought the book would end, and the actual ending was one of them. (Personally, I think my other ideas were better.) Too many obvious hints were given early in the novel. If things had been slightly more subtle, this would have been an excellent book.

Something else that frustrated me was the way the book was written. The writing itself was good, but most of the book was supposed to be written in journal form... and as a lifelong journaler, I've never included dialogue in my journal. If the book had been based on my own diary, it would have looked much like this:

July 27, 2012
Today Steve and I went to lunch. "Where would you like to eat?" he asked. I thought for a moment. "How's Chipotle sound?"  He agreed with a smile. The hot sun was so bright, I had to return to the house for my sunglasses. "You forget them every time we leave," Steve said as he stared at me with his frustrated eyes. I rolled mine. 

You get the idea.

The best part of the book was what it made me ponder: Who are we without memory? We are our memories and experiences. This book demonstrated that, without that, we would be floating aimlessly and fearfully through life.

I recommend this book despite my criticisms. It's a fun and easy read that's also thought-provoking.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Liebster Award

Yay! I got nominated for an award! Well, more like kindly recommended on my friend Jaymie's wonderful blog, Snacks for Max.  Before you read this post, you should look at her blog because Max is adorable and she's a WONDERFUL writer.

The Liebster Blog Award is given to bloggers by bloggers. It is a way to acknowledge each other. It is for blogs with 200 or less followers, so it’s also a great way to spread the word about smaller blogs and get them more readers and followers! When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer 11 questions from the person who nominated you. Then, recommend other blogs.

All of this seems easy but it took me a while. Despite keeping a blog about myself, I'm not that interesting. Here we go:

11 Random Facts About Me:
  1. I own two wonderful dogs but still like cats better.
  2. I'm really really good at online poker. You know, the kind without real money.
  3. I read at least three books at one time - making it hard to finish any of them.
  4. I write horror fiction. My writing scares me sometimes. A good thing?
  5. I spent months of my life as a half-elf on Monday nights. Let's hear it for DnD. Right? Anyone?
  6. I currently belong to three book clubs.
  7. I wanted to major in journalism since I was a kid. And, I did. Ernie Pyle School of Journalism!
  8. Being the editor of my high school newspaper was one of the most fun things I ever did.
  9. My favorite kind of books are the ones that make me unable to sleep at night. I've spent many nights staring at my bedroom door waiting for the murderer to arrive.
  10. I wrote a book of poems in high school. No one has read it but me.
  11. Investigation Discovery is my favorite channel. I sometimes think I could really be a detective -- then I laugh.
Questions for My Nominees:

  1. How long have you been blogging? Since high school! I've been doing this since LiveJournal. I always delete them and start over. I've been writing Misplaced Modifier since 2010.
  2. What is your goal with your blog? Just to let friends and family know what's going on in my life and offer my experiences with writing/reading.
  3. What topic has brought the most traffic to your blog? wedding planning (not my goal)
  4. What was the best book you read last month? I'll be like everyone else - The Hunger Games Trilogy
  5. Did you have a diary/journal growing up? Where did you hide it? I did and I do. I never hid it. I'm an open book.
  6. What’s your favorite someecard?Definitely this one: http://www.someecards.com/usercards/viewcard/a469b5e12601b97b549225a77e7f67bd 
  7. What singer would star on the soundtrack of your life? Hanson. Yes, Hanson.
  8. What’s your favorite reality show? Why that one? MasterChef. I love watching the contestants get better and take criticism.
  9. What’s your go-to bridal shower or baby shower gift? picture frames
  10. What cartoon character would you be? Belle from Beauty on the Beast - A quiz told me that, but I do love books and unattractive men. (Just kidding, Steve)
  11. Who do you retweet the most? my co-workers - follow them: @e_clay @sandydunwoody @getsocialpr @abbymaci @courtneyanne36 @yellowbrittany @MrsCourtneyP @jaymielynnie & @brittzyh (You'll find that I've recommended their blogs too - great content!)

My Nominations:
In no particular order, these are my favorite personal blogs! They represent the biggest interests in my life: reading, public relations and writing. Check these out. Seriously, you want to!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Packing Up

I've been a publicist at Author Solutions for a year. Looking at my desk, you'd think I'd been here ten!

I've packed up so much. Books that I can't part with, gifts from sweet clients, little things that remind me of my team but only make sense to us...

It's hard not to be sad as I say goodbye to this chapter of my life. The past year has been amazing and I've made lifelong friends.

It's been a great ride, ASI. Don't forget me!

Monday, July 23, 2012

4 Years

Four years ago today was my first day at Author Solutions. In itself, that is not a big deal. What it means, though, is it's four years since I met my amazing husband. Steve helped train me on my first day of work.... and the rest is history.

We got married almost exactly two years later. Tomorrow is our second wedding anniversary.

My amazing husband changed my life in every way. He  has helped me through awful times and made good times even better. On our two-year anniversary, I can't help but smile when I think of how far we've come and be excited about how far we're going to go.

As the song we danced to at our wedding says, "I'm lucky I'm in love with my best friend."

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.

I have been a horrible writer lately. I rarely take the time to sit down and write anything that's not for a client. Who am I kidding? It's not rarely. It's never.

In the last few months, I've experienced a lot of emotions as a great friend goes through some major changes - good and bad. I've dealt with these feelings in a lot of ways: long drives to clear my head, fits of crying, digging through old photos that make me smile, etc. Most worked momentarily.

Last night, I read until about two in the morning (I am really enjoying The Pact). After I put the book down, I shut off the light to go to sleep. I quickly realized I wasn't going to Dreamland any time soon.

I went to our living room and tore a few sheets of paper out of a notebook & started writing a letter to my friend. I wrote about our past, mistakes, my hopes for the future... I filled pages with writing.

The letter served a good purpose. Not only will I have something meaningful to give my friend (I've been trying to think of good present ideas), I got my emotions out. And, as a great side effect, I found that all I really need to begin writing again is passion.

So, I'm going to put aside some of the projects that I've been struggling to work on & find something to write that gives me the opportunity to express raw emotion. I don't need outlines or plans; I need a blank sheet of paper and a full mind & heart.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Meeting My Hero

I should have written about this sooner, but I've been a terrible blogger.

On September 23, 2011, I got the opportunity to meet Stephen King! I bought a ticket to see him speak at George Mason University & entered a contest to meet him there and have a book signed. When my tickets to the event came, they also included a "golden ticket" -- I'd won! Steve called me with the news while I was on my way home from work and I considered him a liar until I saw the tickets myself.

We drove to Virginia. Luckily, Steve's mom lives about thirty minutes from George Mason so we had a place to stay. The day of the 23rd, I refused to believe I was really getting this opportunity. I kept waiting for something to go wrong. It didn't! That evening, I listened to an amazing speech from King about writing (including a reading from Doctor Sleep). Then, it was time for the signing.

I brought my copy of The Gunslinger, The book changed the way I looked at writing fiction. When I approached him, my mind went blank. He asked me how I was doing as he noticeably looked at my shaking hands. I simply said "I'm excited." The rest was a blur.

In his speech, he said "Writers aren't used to fame. We're meant to sit at our desks, putting our characters at the forefront." For me, it's always been about his characters and his stories, but I can't help but think of the man behind them, dreaming up the next adventure or the next horrifying passage.

I hope I get the chance to shake his hand again soon! If I do, I'll try to remember it a little better.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Reading Update

I am so sad to report that I have given up on Insomnia by my beloved Stephen King. I love King's ability to bring places and people to life with his extraordinary descriptions, but in this book, he took that too far. It was downright long winded. I've been working on reading Insomnia for over a year. I had to supplement it with other books because it just wasn't enjoyable. I fought the urge to put it away because I had faith that the book would get better. Even if that's the case (and I believe it is), I lost the patience to read it anymore. I guess even the best of authors have some duds.

So, I've moved on to The Pact by Jodi Picoult. I've never read anything by Picoult and like it so far. The dialogue is a little forced, but I can see through that for a good story.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Book Club

Give seven book publicists a novel, alcohol & a pool - what do you get? A two-hour conversation filled with tears, laughter & learning.

Last night, our publicity team held our first book club meeting. We'd read Mistaken Identity (consensus is that it's not enjoyable). And, we didn't stop talking!

How did the book club turn out so successful?

  1. We had thought-provoking questions. Thanks to Jaymie (last night's host), we had discussion about things more complex than the book. Our topics spurred empathy and thought.
  2. We're different, yet similar. We all have journalism & writing backgrounds... and, of course,we read all day long. Our shared interests combined with our diverse experiences allowed us to learn and grow while understanding.
  3. We have a mutual respect for each other. Everyone felt open to express themselves. No judgement was passed & ideas were shared freely.
  4. We relaxed. The book club was held in the pool, with wine & beer, in the evening after work. The calm environment helped everyone feel comfortable and ready to gab.
I'll admit that a group of seven is a little large, especially since we all LOVE to talk. But, even when the conversation split into a couple of groups, it was still focused and worthwhile. We even used a "talking sandal" (all we had at the pool) to signal when it was someone's turn to speak. Are we too old for that in our mid-twenties?

Next up: Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Doing Nothing

July 4th fell in the middle of the week! Yay! A whole day right in the middle of the week to do nothing! I couldn't wait...

Then it came. And, I realized I'm terrible at doing nothing.

I'd fallen asleep on the couch the night before watching Master Chef (great show). When my alarm went off at 6:45 (forgot to turn off my weekday alarm), the living room was so bright. I was wide awake. I refused to accept this on such a special day of relaxation so I curled up in bed where Steve was sleeping soundly. I Facebook'd (of course) & tweeted (of course). Finallly, Steve and I got up to start our day.

Then, I started watching the clock. I needed to maximize the nothingness, but I didn't know how.

We ventured out to get lunch around 11:00 & I was already bored out of my mind. By the time 1:00 came, I had to get out of the house.  I took Turco on a walk. It was too hot. He refused to walk any more than a couple of blocks. He plopped down under a tree to relax. He's much better at doing nothing than I am.

I tried to read. I tried to nap. I tried to watch mindless TV shows. Nothing was fulfilling. I felt like I needed to BE somewhere, really DOING something.

By 3:00, I had Steve convinced to go see a movie. He'd had enough of nothing by that point too. We saw Ted (great!). Then, I came home and did my work for the evening. Finally, I felt better. I guess all I needed to do on Wednesday was work.

Good thing that's what I normally do.

Monday, July 2, 2012

No sleep...

The book I'm currently reading (Sharp Objects) is so good that I didn't go to sleep until 2 AM last night. Partly because I was reading; partly because I was staring at our bedroom door out of fear.

I used to laugh at my mom when she fell asleep in the middle of reading a book and it landed right on her face. (It was really hilarious.) Now, I get it.

At least I read softcovers.