Saturday, February 27, 2010

100th(ish) Awesome Blog Post Party!!!

We're leaving in a few minutes to meet with friends for a kid-free evening of talking, coffee, and dessert at a restaurant we've never tried, but looks like fun. Andy yes dear blog friends, I decided to spend a few minutes with you! 

However, my original topic got tossed to the curb, because when I logged in, I realized I missed my 100th post, and 100 posts is something to celebrate!!!! 

How could I let this happen? Apparently everyone in the blogosphere commemorates this milestone with a blog party! Well hey, I'm all for a party, let's do this! I've got streamers and confetti, there's deep fried cheese with cheese dipping sauce, a Nintendo system going on with everything from Mario Bros to Zelda, plenty of chocolate, a DJ playing an eclectic blend of OneRepublic, Green Day, Lady Gaga, Jesse McCartney, Shakira, and Linkin Park-- really you name it, it's playing! Don't forget to stop by the uber-sweetened beverage station!  pleeeeease stay and have fun!

This is my 103rd blog post, technically, but the Coaster isn't about technicalities, it's about... well let's not dwell on silly little details. It's my blog and I love it! And in keeping with blogosphere tradition, I'm hosting a special Diana Q & A. What DON'T you know about me after 100 blog posts, right?!! I'm sure you guys will think of something...
In return for being so awesome as to participate in my big 100th post celebration, I will bestow an award that I am inventing. This may not be legal (it most definitely isn't... aren't there blog award rules or something) however, this picture is freaking AWESOME!!!!!

So blog friends, ask a question, ANY question, and I officially bestow upon you the Awesome Award!

Yay!!!! 100 blog posts!!! Woo hoo, let's party!!!!! 
And thanks for being such awesome followers!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Careful What I Wish For: A Lego Emergency Room Adventure!

Last week I had one of the most unexpected days in my mommy memory bank. It's been a while since I've gone off on a mom-vent, so why not today?

There's this thing about having kids in your life... you NEVER know where the day might end up. I woke up expecting to spend the morning house-hunting (and dreading it), but here's what happened instead:

- 2 year-old son runs up to me and says, "Mommy, nose."

- I look up from the computer, where I had studiously mapped out several houses to go look at. I remember distinctly wishing I didn't have to go house hunting (I should have wished for a million dollars. Who knew THAT was the moment I'd have a wish come true).

- I say to the little guy, "Yes, nose. Good job, you're a very smart little guy!"

- 2 year-old repeats, "Mommy NOSE, nozzzzzze mommy. Nose ouchie. Hurt nozzzzzze. It's okay nozzzzze. All beh-dah nose."

- Huh? I look at his nose. All seems well. "Did you fall down and hurt your nose? It's okay, buddy. All better," I tell him. But he looks at me with those big brown eyes and pokes his nose. He winces.

- Eeek. Is there something up his nose??? I look over to where he'd been playing. A pile of his big brother's Legos lay scattered. (Blog friend, think about it. Legos. Did you get the same sinking feeling as me?)

- Yes, they are teeny, tiny, not-for-children-under-three Legos.

- "Come here buddy, let mommy see your nose," I say, which immediately launches him into evade-the-mommy mode.

- After cornering and overpowering him, I turn him upside down and get a good look.


- Yes, there's a Lego stuck up his nose.

- The shiny little thing looks almost reachable... what do I do? The decision is taken out of my hand when he takes a breath, and the tiny piece of Lego DISAPPEARS INTO HIS EVER LOVING SKULL!!!! RIGHT BEFORE MY EYES!!!! Vanishes! Poof, it's gone!

- I'm no anatomy whiz, but this does not seem ideal.

- *Commence freak out.*

- I call my husband, who btw is a nurse. I'm hoping for some magical solution, just SOMETHING that keeps our little dude out of the ER. No dice. The husband says, "ER, and rush."

- Rush? Do I ever lolly-gag over to the emergency room??!

- The 2 year-old and I zip off to the ER. I keep imagining the Lego going further and further up into his brain with each breath he takes. I can't very well tell the little guy not to breathe! Although in freak-out mode, strange, dizzying thoughts do occur. (Son, stop breathing. We have to keep the Lego from going deeper into your brain).

- Still, he *could* potentially breathe it in further. I model mouth breathing; "Look sweetpea, breathe with your mouth open, like mommy! Ooh, ahh, ooh, ahh! Like a fishy! Like a fishy who shouldn't breathe through his nose!!"

- The 2 year-old stares at me like I'm insane for the whole ride to the hospital.

- I get into the ER and fill out the form. It says, "Reason for visit:" Well, I'm sure they've seen worse. I write, "Lego stuck up my child's nose. Possibly further."

- We are called next. The nurse takes us to a room and leaves to get the doctor right away. Apparently a foreign object stuck in a kid's nose is a big deal (nothing to sneeze at? Okay that's enough). If the Lego goes down the back of his throat he could choke!

- While we wait, another nurse pokes her head in. "Poor thing, he put a Lego up his nose?" Yes, yes he did. I'll be going home with the scarlet "N" for Neglectful mother.

- I hear the nurse laugh a little as she draws the curtain. Several drafts of my, "Worst Mother of the Year Award" acceptance speech come to mind.

- A doctor and yet another nurse come in. The doctor uses that light up pointy thing to look up the 2 year-old's nose. The 2 year-old believes it's a torture device. Either that, or the thing really IS a torture device, and my son has every right to kick the doctor in the face.

- The doctor isn't bothered by the red welt across his cheek, aka my son's footprint. The nurse "restrains" my son and the doc gets a good look. "Oh yeah, it's in there all right."

- Relief! If the doc can see it, there's a good chance brain surgery may not be necessary!

- Out comes a long, thin tube. A huge, glaring light is brought down. This is where it gets ugly, let me tell ya, because if the pointy thingy was a torture device, that tube must have been covered in invisible spikes and been five thousand degrees. But the end result is a thoroughly traumatized, Lego-free child.

- The nurse advises my son not to put things up his nose anymore. Gee, thanks lady. He's already a quivering, sniffling, emotional wreck in my arms. Let's bring out the moral of the story while we're at it.

- All is well. He falls asleep on the car ride home. I swing by McDonald's so he'll have his favorite lunch waiting for him when he wakes up.

- When I get home, my 5 year-old son asks, "Was there really a Lego stuck up his nose?" I sigh. He follows me into the bedroom, upset that I hadn't brought him back his Lego.

- And it's too late in the day to go house hunting. Look at that, wish granted.

As you'll notice at the end of this post, I did this from my phone. For those who are mystified by me, thumbing away, today it all started with a call from my daughter's keyboard academy while I was taking her home from Brownies. She had missed last week, and they wanted to do a make-up session today, and the surprise lesson left me unprepared for an hour of free time. All I had for boredom-diffusement was my blackberry :)

Everyone in the studio is already used to me typing away on my laptop, so this antisocial change in keyboard size probably didn't phase them much. I got home, finished the Lego Saga here on my phone while I made dinner, and here I am, about to load up the dishwasher. C'est la vie of a modern mommy. :)
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Monday, February 22, 2010

Story Ideas: Unfinished, Semi-Finished, and Complete

I didn't realize it in time, but there's another blogfest going on, hosted by Laurel's Leaves . It will be fun seeing everyone's entries, even though I'm bowing out of this one. Not that there aren't plenty of embarrassing moments going on in my wips!

I loved all the comments on last week's blogfest, and I was reminded looking through them of a topic I'd wanted to blog about: Story ideas.

I have a lot of story ideas. Too many. When I first get a story idea I can't stop thinking about it. I want to see the characters come to life. I want them to be real. So I write.

But not every idea that comes into my head really has "what it takes" to go the distance. And I don't know that until I've started writing it. If I realize that a story isn't really prime-time material, aka, what I would want to start my writing career with, I have to make an executive decision: finish the story for myself-- never to be queried-- or leave the story unfinished and move on.

Obviously, finishing the story would take a lot of time... time that could be devoted to a story that is better suited to the career I hope to form. So usually, I just leave those stories unfinished... forgotten... sad little stories on my hard drive that will never see the light of day or get any more attention from me.

Sometimes though, I do a third thing. For the sake of closure, I write up the non-primetime idea as a short story. I tend to feel better about doing this option, because the characters get to live, in my mind at least :)

What do you do with all your story ideas? Do you know, before starting a story, that it's really what you want to publish? Do you have a bunch of half-started stories like me, with some of them making it to short story and others falling by the wayside? Only those precious few stories with true potential can have my full attention and become full-fledged novels... how about you?

I've noticed, when I go back and re-read some of my short stories, I want more. I want to turn them into novels and give them a shot. It's very confusing.

For now I'm ignoring all those half-finished stories, and I have a wip that hasn't let me down. I've made the choice to finish this one and let it have it's turn in the query-machine, and I've been consistently excited to keep writing. I think that's a good sign :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

More Randomness, Just For You

Today has been complete loco and crazification. Yeah, yeah, I'm blogging from my Blackberry again. This time I'm waiting at the car fix-it place for my now-marginally-repaired car to be brought around. Talk about a random pocket of time.

It's been a long day. L-O-N-G. But I managed a solid 45 minutes of editing in Fated, since I'm determined to send off a chapter to my sweet little critique buddy Gwoe tonight. And I reached a micro-epiphany in the midst of those edits; it's wonderful! But it means completely rearranging a LOT of stuff I thought was already ready. Still, slow-and-steady is the name of my new game. I'm absolutely DONE with rushing through a story so I can get to The Thrill of the Query. I am doing this one right.

Oh! Yay! The car is here!! Have a beautiful weekend everyone! I will try VERY HARD to do the Lovefest Blogfest whatever-the-heck-the-fest is going on for Valentine's Day! Byeee!!!!!
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Random Pockets of Time: Mobile Blogging

I'm here at the walk-in doctor's thanks to the two-year-old's out-of-control wheezing, and since I have my phone I figured I'd write up a little post.

It's kind of nice blogging like this. I don't feel guilty about spending time with my blog because after all, I would otherwise be staring at a sign that says "WALK-IN Patients are not ecessarily seen in order of rrival." (The sign is old and has seen better days). Anyway, I may as *well* be blogging than doing nothing. And, just like the last time I phone-blogged, no one has any idea that I'm about to publish something to the internet, for all the world to see. It's kind of cool. My little waiting-room secret.

So, blog buddies, (oh, I was about to merge that... you know, like blog + hug = blug... but blog + buddies = bluddies. Ew.) Today the topic is using random pockets of time. Some people might not need random pockets of time to write, but I definitely do!

Throughout the day I try to be ready for writable moments. Empty spaces in the day when I can squeeze in a few minutes of writing or brainstorming. It started when I was working. I used to take a journal and scribble out scene ideas on my lunchbreaks. Or I'd read through a chapter I'd printed up, with my highlighter and red pen ready to work on revisions. Or sometimes I'd people watch and work on writing in general, or just read fiction, because reading is food for the muse.

Those habits transferred to other pockets of time; like waiting for a doctor or dentist appointment (ha ha, like what I'm doing now), or waiting for the kids to get out of school in the parking lot, or while piano class/karate/drill team practice is going on. Lately I've even emailed myself scene ideas or new plot points from my Blackberry.

Pockets of time aren't meant to replace the hour I spend writing in the evenings or in the mornings. They're more like enrichment, and I find them all day long waiting to be filled. The more I use my time like a writer, the more I think like a writer. And if I have a little notepad and pencil handy (or a web-enabled phone), I can not only think like a writer, but work like one too.

Okay blog friends (blends?), that's about as much as my thumbs can take. I'm going to read some blogs here on my precious Blackberry, though sadly, I'm still not able to comment from it. Before I go, a question: how do you use time throughout the day, as a writer? Do you find yourself thinking like a writer, even when you're not immersed in your wip?

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

One-Word Answers, Awards, and My Crazy Life

I do not enjoy house hunting. No. I. Do. Not.

Buying our first home using the VA in lieu of down payment and qualifying for very little... not easy. The word grueling comes to mind. We are lucky though, because we have the most encouraging, most awesome realtor in the world. Even though we don't qualify for much, he treats us like we're on Million Dollar Listing. Such a great dude.

So I'm using the rain as an excuse to use my "down time" to relax in front of the blog... ahhhhh, that's soothing.

Here's what's in store for today: my attempt at award catch-up! And if I missed someone's award I am so incredibly sorry! I don't deserve it, sob!!

I believe this was from my darling Emily at the Chronicles of Emily Cross:

The Creative Writer Award!

Annnnnd... I don't remember the rules. Hee hee *blush* Okay, here are three blogs I think are creative, hopefully that'll do:

Author, Flutist, Teacher, Aubrie Dionne
Mary at Writer's Butt Does Not Apply to Me
A Squirrel Amongst Lions

Melissa at Chasing the Dream AND Kelly at Rants, Observations, and Other Remarks (and I think one other wonderful blog friend, eeeeek!! I can't remember and I'm so mean and sorry for that!!):

The Over the Top Award!


First, answer these questions with one word:

Your cell phone: Addicted
Your hair: Annoying
Your mother: Sad
Your father: Lost
Your favorite food: Fried
Your dream last night: Interrupted
Your favorite drink: Sweet
Your dream goal: Novelist
What room are you in: Bedroom
Your hobby: Writing
Your fear: Loss
Where do you see yourself in 6 years: Published
Where were you last night: Bachelorette
Something you aren't: Finished
Muffins: Tops
Wish list item: House
Where did you grow up: Miami
Last thing you did: Nebulizer
What are you wearing: Sweater
Your TV: Off
Your pets: Tortured
Friends: Understanding
Your life: Confusing
Your mood: Hopeful
Missing someone: Unfortunately
Vehicle: Dented
Something you aren't wearing: Shoes
Your favorite store: Bookstore
Your favorite color: Green
When was the last time you laughed: Today
Last time you cried: Today
Your best friend: Far
One place you go over and over: Imagination
Facebooking: No
Favorite place to eat: Beach

Now, pass it on to five blogs that are over the top!

*Diana scribbles a note to herself* "Must... pass... over the top award... on to five blogs..." Okay, if you haven't been tagged with this super fun Over the Top Award and want to do the answers, let me know!! I will add you to the award roll call.


Natalie at Sound of the Rain gave me:

The Happy Blogger Award!

Which I'd already received (you can read my happy things here) and I am "happy" to pass it on to anyone who's willing to post ten things that make them happy :)

And last, another one I'd received before (you can read my Ten Honest Things Challenge here), merci beaucoup Sesquipedalian! And again, since I've already passed out this award, I'll go ahead and challenge anyone who would like it to post ten honest things :)

The Honest Scrap Award! 

Wow, reading through those pre-house-hunting posts is like going back in time. *Heavy sigh*

Before I go, I leave you with something inspired by an email I sent Wendy. It's an excerpt from my frazzled life... or, how my days seem to go now that we're buying a house, and why I haven't been blogging so much:

  • wake up; 
  • do the usual morning craziness to get the kids to school on time; 
  • sometimes volunteer at one or the other's school (because that's the apparent point of being a stay-at-home mommy, or so I keep reminding myself); 
  • if no volunteering, then I go straight to faraway neighborhoods (because we can't afford L.A... or at least, any part of L.A. that we're willing to live in, so it's off into San Bernardino County I look); 
  • check out "the area" of possible houses; 
  • sometimes tour houses, sometimes look at nearby schools; 
  • pick up son from preschool; 
  • go home for "down time," aka eat lunch-give two-year-old his breathing treatment (takes 20 minutes, so I read while I sit with him)-catch up with housework-grocery shopping-maybe read a few blogs, or critique for my buddies, or tweet, or catch up on emails 
  • pickup eight-year-old from school (read for a few minutes in the parking lot while I wait!); 
  • get homework and dinner going; 
  • read to kids and listen to eight-year-old read; 
  • get kids bathed and ready for bed; 
  • spend the evening looking through the listings our realtor sends and catching up with the husband; 
  • spend one hour devoted to my wip;
  • read a bit before bed.
I am devoted to my writing. Sadly, if something's gotta give, it's gotta be my blog/tweeting/emailing. Hopefully I don't have to give too much more, because I miss you guys too! xoxoxo

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Things My Followers Love... and Giveaway Winners!!

I hope everyone who entered had fun! The "something sweet" bonus entries made me HUNGRY!! And rocked in general :) Here's the Sweetness List:

Sweet Things My 
Followers Love...

Books and Writing...

Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster (I saw a review and now I truly want to read this! Thank you InABox!)
Shakespeare's Sonnet 116
Corinthian 13:4-7

Super sweet moments...

Warm baby cheeks
Amber's 4 year-old niece, who wrote her a Facebook message with a family friend's help:

"Amber, you are the best and I love you. Thank you for letting me be in your wedding. How is your dog doing? How is your car doing? I am four and I am going to be five."

Kate's husband, who baked 30 pies for their wedding
Melissa's youngest daughter, who just learned how to blow kisses

Aww, you guys...
Thanks for naming moi as your "Something Sweet", you guys are really too amazing. :) :)

And Gwoe, do you really have t-shirts that say Team Derek and Team Rowan? You ARE the sweetest critique buddy ever! *sniff sniff* Now I really have to sell these books!! And a Rock Hard Body Alert tshirt is awesome... who knew a bit of flash fiction could inspire so much.


Chocolate cake
Chocolate fudge cheesecake
Toffee from See's candy (love toffee!)
Toffee in general (ditto)
Kate's Husband's pies, especially the strawberry-rubarb, but also pumpkin
Cupcakes (two of you commented on cupcakes!)
Chocolate (a classic)
Blue Bell Dutch Chocolate ice cream
Wintogreen Lifesavers (are those the ones that spark?)
Chocolate mouse cake with Cool Whip and Strawberries (well YUM!)
Chocolate gummy bears
Venti White Chocolate Mochas (I. Adore. These.)
Blueberry Cheesecake
Chocolate pretzels
Erica's husband's pumpkin cheesecake (who are all these husbands who bake and will you please have them talk to mine?)
Heath bars (Super Yum!)
Chocolate brownies
Lemon meringue pie
Chocolate chip cookies
Peanut butter cups 

Okay, now that everyone's mouths are watering, it's time to announce the winners!!!

The Winners
of the Coaster's
Sweetest Followers
Ever Giveaway!

For the Keepin' it Real Category, the winner of How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-Boyfriend is Tiana Lei at Spilled Ink ! Congrats Tiana, I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.

For the Fairy Tale Fantasy Category, the winner of The Faerie Path is Tina Lynn at Sweet Niblets ! Congrats Tina, I hope you enjoy this charming, classic fairy tale.

I was going to use Random. org to pick the winner, but you have to pay! So I did the drawing the old-fashioned, writing-names-on-slips-of-paper way, then pulled them out of a kitchen container thingy. Actually, I had my oldest two pick the names (thanks kids!) and I think it is completely weird that the very first two entrants were both the winners. Congrats again!!

Thank you to everyone for entering and giving us so many sweet things to think about. I really enjoyed this giveaway, and I hope you did too!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Not so Random Wednesday: Macmillan Authors

I'm sure you've all heard of the Kindle Missile Crisis aka the Amazon Macmillan Kerfluffle aka How Amazon is Trying to Force Another Company to Sell Their Product at the Price They Dictate. It makes me so mad. What if Amazon told tennis shoe companies that all shoes had to be $19.99 from now on. Sorry Nike, sorry Adidas, if that means layoffs and pay cuts and ultimately isn't sustainable, OH WELL!! It's $19.99 or we won't sell your shoes, because we're the boss of you, and we will set the prices YOUR company sells products at.

So unfair, most of all to Macmillan authors. In my effort to take action, I went to a fabulous independent bookstore, which I found thanks to the ever lovely Agency Gatekeeper . The bookstore is such a beautiful place. The huge bookstore I normally go gives me a great feeling, but this one has that scent of pages and ink that I've only ever found in libraries. I also liked that the ceiling didn't have the capacity for flying helicopters, and the general coziness of the place. Here is the link that Agency Gatekeeper so kindly provided, which let me easily find friendly neighborhood indie bookshops .

I bought Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle, and it looks so fun. It just sucks that a writer who's career depends on sales is being blocked out of a major market like this, especially if this was an author's release week. Or even, if there were any debut novels coming out. Could you imagine??

So do you have any Macmillan authors you enjoy? Want to find some? Check out this post at Rebecca's Book Blog with a list and summaries of a whole bunch of Macmillan YA: Rebecca's Book Blog .

And one Macmillan book I enjoyed that wasn't on Rebecca's list is Give Up the Ghost by Megan Crewe. If you have any favorite Macmillan authors to add to the list, let us know!

Today I'm at my daughter's book fair again, and then I have Girl Scouts, so I'll reply to any comments later on. Have a happy Wednesday :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Mobile Blogging Test

I'm trying something. I'm writing a post from my phone. Supposedly when I hit send, this will be sent to the Coaster. Like magic. So bizarre.

This feels entirely intimate; like I'm sending an email to a friend. Here I am, waiting in my car at my eight-year-old's school (because I volunteered to work the book fair-- fun!), while my thumbs tap-tap-tap away, other parents chit-chat and have NO IDEA that I'm blogging.

It isn't Wednesday, but I have a random thought, and since this post feels entirely strange, here it is:

Why, WHY, didn't the people of Panem have a way of permanently removing unwanted body hair? Really, Suzanne Collins who-is-my-hero, they have hover crafts and bionic legs and heatless flames and invisible protective force fields... but they still use wax and razors to deal with this little problem? I can't wrap my head around it. Maybe it's just me, but if I had three selfish wishes, one would be permanent hairlessness from the neck down. What would one of your selfish wishes be?

Blogging from my phone... this will make things way too casual for me, I can see it already. Oh, and speaking of my Blackberry, does anyone know why I can't comment on people's blogs from my Blackberry? I can use the internet to read blogs, but the "Post a Comment" links never, ever work. Do I need to download a patch or something?

Dear blog friends, that's all my thumbs can handle for now. I hope this doesn't come out in a weird font or some other completely wacky way. I hope you're having a fabulous Monday! I'll be at my daughter's book fair all morning, encouraging young minds to buy books and not pencils, erasers and posters.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile