Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lisztomania Love

My super rad friend Kearsie (who needs to start blogging again, soon, because she is hilarious) sent me this video, knowing my love for the band Phoenix and my love for awesome YouTube videos.

This is the PS22 Chorus and they have a blog:

Seeing those kids feel the music as they sing makes me insanely happy and the song, Listzomania is one of my favorites. I blogged about it 2 years ago, with cute mash-up videos, if you haven't seen them. {click here to be magically transported!}

Enjoy! and Happy... what day of the week is it? Thursday?? How did that happen? My week has gone by too fast!


Monday, March 28, 2011

Um. Whoops.

Two things to know about me:

1. I'm as easily distracted as a two-year-old.

2. I'm big into paper recycling.

(item number 3 would be that I'm irresponsible, but my list is only two things long, so I'll just go ahead and leave that little tidbit off...)

I was digging through my notes the other day, searching through piles and piles of messy, scribbly junk for a tiny snip of dialogue which I wrote down after it passed through my head months ago... and though I didn't find that dialogue, I did find this paper amongst my notes: A cable disconnection notice covered in ideas for one of my stories. (using the Spanish side in case the English side had, you know, important information I might need.)

Yeaaaaah. *facepalm*

This paper sums me up perfectly, I'm afraid. Seriously, my poor husband deserves a Husband-of-the-Year Award. He deserves an award every year - heck, every month. This notice was from back in October, and I'm pretty sure things went down just like this:

Scene I

WILL [holding mail]: Marisa, did you pay Suddenlink?

MARISA: Yup, I just paid it. Last week, I think.

WILL: Sooooo.... why do we have a disconnection notice?

MARISA: Um... let me see that. [studies notice] Wait, maybe it was last month that I paid it.

WILL [raises brow]: ....

MARISA [weakly]: I'll go pay this now.

Will leaves room, Marisa reaches for phone. SUDDENLY a story idea flies into Marisa's head. After scrambling for a pen, Marisa writes idea over the most readily available paper item. Smiling and patting herself on the back, Marisa then files paper away for later reference and leaves her studio.

End Scene

Scene II

Several days later.


MARISA: Um. Whoops. [reaches for phone]

End Scene.

Maybe one day I'll write the book that the disconnection notice notes are for. And maybe that book will be super awesome and publishable, and I'll sell it and make back the money for all my disconnection fees. That would be nice.

In the meantime, I have three bills that must get paid this week, so I think I better be responsible and grab that phone before any more story ideas come into my head...


Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Flashback: Marisa Goes To The Prom

Me and my prom date, 1999

Spring is in full fling round these here parts, and prom is coming up - I think there's even a prom movie coming out soon - so I thought a prom post would be fun for today's Flashback Friday.


I didn't attend my junior prom and when senior prom rolled around, I didn't have a boyfriend. I had guy friends, but naturally they wanted to go with the girls they liked, not with me, their friend.

And of course I couldn't have gone with the guy I liked. Nope, that would have been impossible, because it would have required me to actually talk to him, and the one thing I never did back in my pre-college days was talk to the boys I liked. Much too scary. (boy-I-liked in this instance was in fact codename:Sam from my 7th grade diary flashback)

So that left me dateless when all my friends had dates, and I was bummed, assuming I'd be spending my prom night at home, sobbing into my Ben and Jerry's while watching Pretty and Pink.



And then my grandma called me up (bless her heart - I love and adore my grandma) with the fantastic news. She was at a wedding several hours away from where I lived, and she had found me a date.


You might be thinking, oh no! A prom date picked out by grandma! While I'm sure he has impeccable manners and pulls out chairs for ladies like the 'nice young man' he is, he is also most certainly too short, and probably hairy and troll-like, with insanely thick coke-bottle glasses and bad breath.

Nope, actually, this guy was very charming. I'd met him a few times before and he was pretty cute, I guess. He was taller than me, a year older than me (always a plus, right?). Had a kind of surfer/skater thing going on, and I've always been into the surfer/skater type. A date to prom! Like a knight sweeping into my life decked-out in shining armor I was rescued! YIPPEE!

Just one minor detail. He was also...

my second cousin.

That's right.


And he agreed to go.

*dies of humiliation*

*and ickyness*

My grandma offered to fly him up from San Diego, where he lived, to San Jose, where I lived. No one would even know we were related, I was promised. Then I was given his phone number to work out the details.

It took me a day to recover from the news before I called him up.

"Thanks for offering to take me to prom," I said to his answering machine. "Really kind of you, but I already have a date."

Because, you know, I'm totally NOT a loser who needs to be set up with her cousin.

Yeah, I lied.

But the next day my super awesome friend Justin came up to me in psychology and said, "Hey. So. Prom." (I'm paraphrasing a little)

And I said, "Yeah. Prom. You going?"

And he was.

With me.

Yup, I was rescued from a night spent alone with a bucket of Ben and Jerry's by a knight-in-shining-armor after all. (thanks, Justin!)

My grandma was thrilled. She took me out shopping and I was dolled up like a princess. My best friend and her date doubled with us and we had an awesome time.

And 12 years later, I still haven't spoken to my second cousin.

*still dying of embarrassment*

Man, I hope, hope, hope he has forgotten that.


Speaking of prom - Here is a book that I must shout from the rooftops, because you KNOW I'm a Kathy R. Jeffords (also known as The Dreamy Giraffe) fangirl, and I LOVED this book, which Kathy co-wrote and self-published with her best friend (from highschool!) Sheila Lee Brown.

About Hope and Josie Go to the Prom (taken from the website)

Dramatic, hopelessly romantic Hope Hawkins and witty, studious, level-headed Josie Green are kind of like peanut butter and jelly – they’re so very different but make such a fitting pair, you really won’t be able to imagine one without the other.

Told through handwritten notes, emails, transcripts, cartoons & diagrams, Hope & Josie Go To The Prom is the first in a series of adventures about the best friends.

Join Hope & Josie for the week leading up to their junior prom and you’ll quickly realize: This is anything but a typical tale about a high school dance.

Fun and funny whether you're 15 or 45, this is one party everyone’s invited to -- so hop in the limo & get ready for quite a ride. Black tie and/or frilly dress optional.

I bought this book and zipped through it because I couldn't put it down, and I must say that I'm pretty sure Hope and Josie were 100% modeled after me and my BFF from my high school days.

The story and characters are fresh, totally funny and adorable, so if you know of a young tween or teen girl (or you just love cute and quirky YA stories with fun characters) check out the Hope and Josie website where you can read an excerpt. Or go on and buy a copy at as a spiral bound or as a digital download HERE)

And do you have a flashback of your own to share? Head on over to Tia's blog and join in the fun!

(which reminds me... hey, Jonnnny! Weren't you going to flashback today? I'm pretty sure you said you were... )

Happy Friday, folks!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Outta the Mouths of Babes: Snail Gets His Wings

ANNELIE: I have a snail shell. [sticks snail shell in my face] But the snail is gone.

GRACIE [running over, suddenly devastated]: He's GONE?! Is the snail DEAD?!

ANNELIE: He isn't dead. He turned into a butterfly and flew away.

GRACIE [devastation over]: Um... that's caterpillars.

Happy Thursday, folks!


Monday, March 21, 2011

Changing My Tune

Funny how only a few short months ago (or seven months - but they were short) I was crying over the fact that my little teeny tiny baby was off to kindergarten and what in the world would I do without her each and every day before 3pm and I'm going to MISS her and wah wah wah!

I'm sure some of my seasoned mom friends were snickering.

Well, I have changed my tune, that's for sure. Gracie just had her very first spring break and while I love my kiddo to bits, I was counting down the days until the school bus would come, like a knight in shining armor (MY knight in shining armor, not hers), and whisk her off back to school.
One entire week and this here moment was probably the only 3.5 seconds that my girls weren't at each others throats, kicking, screaming, fighting...

Why - WHY?! - does summer vacation have to be THREE months long!?!

I'm pretty sure I will go insane. Thank goodness for summer camp. And I wonder if age 6 is too young for sleep-a-way camp...

Good luck to all you mamas who have kiddos home with you for spring break! I hope you will survive the week with your sanity intact!


Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Flashback: A Day At The Zoo

Today's Friday Flashback is dedicated to my friend Alyssa, who:

a.) loves poetry


b.) is my alpha reader, which means she reads all of the sludge that comes out of my head and onto the paper before ANYONE else. Heck, even before I've revised it. I'm talking seriously bad sludge.

Well, Alyssa, that sludge had to start somewhere, and I'm pretty sure my 7th grade poetry folder is that place.

So, for your reading enjoyment, may I present ~

A Day At The Zoo
(poem typed below)

Entering the peacock hut
I see the strange birds walk a-strut
and as they walked they called out loudly

And the monkeys climed the fence
Swinging along the green tree tops
Wailing at the top of their lungs
Eeet! Eeet! Eeet!

The snakes ate mice
They knew no better
And they sung as they coiled in fright

But as I joined the excitable seals
Wallup came the smack of their ball
As they chanted all together
Oit! Oit! Ark!

The lions and their "Roar!"
Roared as I left
But hearing the birds twerp-tittering
I knew I'd come again

Tears are dripping down my cheeks right now. I'm not sure if they are tears of hilarity or pure humiliation.

Have a flashback you'd like to share? Head on over to Tia's blog and join the best meme in town!

Happy Friday, folks!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pizza Making

Annelie and I have been on a pizza making kick lately. I love making pizza with my little kiddo - cooking is such a great educational activity (she calls it 'science time,' I stick in some math questions, and of course the decorating is art!) and the textures of the powdery flour, sticky dough, shredded cheese and other toppings and sauces are so fun for kids to get their fingers into (well, if they love messes as much as mine do). Plus, I want her to become really good at making delicious food so that I can have my own personal chef.

We have a long way to go until then...

But we're starting with pizza!

I let Annelie do most of the work. It often takes a very long time and sometimes she plays with the dough so long and adds so much flour to it that the pizza ends up thick and dry.

And sometimes she sneaks all the cheese so that the pizza is a little lacking...

But she always gobbles her lunch up!

This pizza was simple - just a Margherita (mozz. cheese, tomato, basil, garlic) with pesto sauce. Annelie likes switching things up each time. I'm hoping by her 5th birthday next year she'll be a pizza master.

Happy Tuesday, folks!


Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Flashback: Fairy Tale Diaries

These entries from my 7th grade diary are embarrassing (and a little psychotic), but hey - it's Friday, which means one thing, folks! FLASHBACK TIME!

In seventh grade, I didn't do my homework often, but I certainly did put enormous amounts of energy into my diary (ahem - I mean my journal. I felt too grown up to have a silly little kids diary, so I emphasized that it was my journal all the way through). And it's funny for me to read now because I don't remember being so gosh darn angry as a teen. But I was - beginning with my 5th grade diary and going all the way through 8th grade, I pretty much wrote a billion swear words and I HATE so and so... over and over again.

I never planned an sharing my diary, but my good pal Kelly was sharing some of her middle school diary entries on her blog last week, and when we were chatting, I mentioned that I got my teen angst out through fairy tale retellings (yup, I have always been a fairy tale junkie). Kelly said, "Share them!" and I said, "Absolutely not!" but here I am, sharing them anyway...

Only two tales have survived - I was big into hacking my diary up and throwing away the pages, so my diary isn't complete. Also, names have been changed, except for mine, so my 7th grade crush is now called Sam.

Feb. 12, 1994

Dear Journal,

Once upon a time in Oz, there lived a widow pig and her three kids. One day, pig #1 (Lisa) said, "I'm gonna build a house."

The Widow said, "Okay. Goodbye, Lisa."

Lisa said 'goodbye' and went to Cost Plus Imports to buy matches. With those matches, she built a house.

The second pig (Amy) said, "I, too, am gonna build a house." The widow said, "Okay, goodbye, Amy."

Amy said 'goodbye' and went to Safeway to buy popsicles. With the sticks, she built a house.

Now the third and final son was a fat porker called Sam. He said, "I am gonna build a house."

The widow said, "Thank God, I get to be rid of my son."

Sam said 'goodbye,' got not reply, but continued to the garden where he pulled all the weeds. With those weeds, he built a house.

In that neighborhood, there lived a wolverine (named Marisa). One day, while the wolverine was taking a walk, she came across a house of matches.

"Hmmmm..." said she.

Then she came across a house of popsicle sticks.

"Hmmmm..." said she.

Last, she came across a house of weeds.

"MMMMMM..." said she.

Then she ate Sam up.

The End.

Love, Marisa Myers


Feb. 14, 1994

Dear Journal,

Once upon a time, under the Bermuda Triangle, there lived a city of mermaids.

One day while Marisa (the most beautiful of all the mermaids) was taking a swim, she came across a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

Up on the decks, there was a pig (ugly, I might mention) called Sam. He was asking Kate Stevens out. A great gust of wind came and blew Sam into the ocean. He drowned.

The End

Yeaaaaah. Good thing he never asked ME out. I was clearly far from emotionally ready for a relationship. And to think I used to wonder why I had to go to group counseling as a teen...

Although, according to other diary (ahem - journal) entries from that week, this was when the boy I liked asked my arch nemesis out, and their first date was on my 13th birthday (which was the day between these two entries). My arch nemesis was more than happy to talk about it all when we were stuck sitting next to each other in science. I was a little bitter.

And what's an embarrassing flashback without an even more embarrassing picture to go with it?! Here is my gem of a school picture from the same year.

I took off my glasses because I wanted to look prettier. Ugh. I cried the day we got school pictures back.

YAY! Middle school misery! It certainly is character building.

Have a flashback of your own to share? Head over to Tia's blog and join in the fun.

Happy Friday, folks!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Celebrations and Angst

(Here's ch. 8, scene 1 of my book in pretty word cloud form
Ooooh, pretty!)

I hit a milestone in my book revision the other day and I'm still high off the fumes.

I am 1/3 of the way done with my revision!

YAY! *throws confetti*

*runs around in it*

*falls down, exhausted*

It's a good thing I write YA, because it's really easy to channel my inner teen in order to write my characters - the more time I spend on this book the more like an uncertain, emotional fifteen-year-old I feel.

I knew revision was going to be hard. Heck, writing my monster of a book was hard and when I was done, I could already see just how much of the beginning needed to be run through a shredder and rewritten. And the salvageable parts were begging to be hacked up with an ice pick.

Not to mention I'm slow. Sloooooooow. I often find myself pulling out my hair, drinking too much coffee, my eyes, bright red, bugged out of my skull as I focus all my attention on one stupid paragraph for hours and hours and hours, days and days and days. And then deleting it when I'm done because it still isn't right.

I'm trying to accept the fact that I'm a slow reviser. Just as I'm still trying to accept the fact that I'm a slow writer. So many of my writer friends can whip out 8o thousand word books, tear through their revisions, nail their query letter, and dance as their inboxes fill with agent request for full manuscripts, all in the time it takes me to angst over a couple of measly chapters. Ones that I'll probably end up deleting anyway.

It's amazing how easy it is to get discouraged. When I let myself think about how much time I've spent on this book and how little (it feels) I have to show for it, I just want to curl into a ball and scream, "WHY! When will this END?! Am I INSANE?!?"

This is usually when I decide to take a break and step away from the computer before I start smashing things... and this is also usually when I have an epiphany or two, and 3.5 seconds later, you'll find me dancing around the house, shouting, "I figured it out!" Followed by me singing the Hallelujah chorus (which is more frightening than it sounds, as I am a little tone deaf).

And what helps keep me going the strongest on the days when I just want to toss my book into an incinerator and never look at it again: seeing my writer friends tearing though their books, celebrating their own writing and revision milestones, not quitting when their goings get tough. I'm excited for them, and I can't wait until I'm that excited for me. And the idea of future agent full manuscript requests - well, I try not to focus too hard on that, especially as I'm only just revising, but you better believe it's the light at the end of the tunnel and I can't wait to get there someday.

*throws more confetti*

For now, I'm going to take a few more minutes celebrating my 1/3 complete milestone.

And then it's back to work, because this book certainly isn't revising itself. Although I'm still hoping it one day will.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Pancake Day!

For those of you stuffing your faces with pancakes full of deliciousness for Pancake Day - ENJOY!

For those of you who are not - oh man, you really should have some pancakes. Ours are filled with Nutella and Cookies & Cream ice cream, or else drizzled with lemon juice and sugar.



Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Flashback: A Letter to Me, From Me

Me, age 15

I was digging though my piles of forgotten stuff for Flashback Friday fodder (ie something really great to embarrass myself with) and low and behold, I came across the letter I wrote to my future self (well, my 23 year old self) when I was fifteen.

This was a class assignment and my teacher promised to mail the letters to us eight years after they were written - and though I remembered writing the letter, I didn't expect to get it in the mail one day. But I did! (thank you, Mr. Kelderman!)

I was in my last semester of college, engaged to Will, and (surprise!) the week I received my letter, I discovered I was pregnant with Gracie. Already an exciting point in my life, and then there came the letter, full of my fifteen-year-old chatter as I fired four pages worth of idiotic questions at myself. It cracked me up. Especially the questions and assumptions that were spot on (Ques: Do 21st century styles resemble the 80's by any chance? Ans: YES! The 2004 fashions in London were pretty much all puffed sleeves and neon, and, I kid you not, mini-mullets were all the rage in Europe).

And, of course, I loved the part where I said, "I guess I will have at least one book out by now. Maybe two."

Dear 15-year-old Marisa, if you wanted to be published by 23, why the heck didn't you actually finish a story sooner, huh? HUH?

So, here is the letter, condensed quite a lot, but the gist of it is there:

(you can click the pages to enlarge)

And if you're wondering if The Client is still one of my favorite books - not really. My John Grisham phase ended that summer.

And did I find Meg's Mystery in Williamsburg (one of the books that inspired my dream to be a writer)- yes, and I blogged about it here.

Is Arcadia by Tom Stoppard still my favorite play - Yes, and blogged about it here!

And do I still want 5 kids (with totally weird names) - Uh, no. Absolutely not.

And seriously, 15-year-old Marisa... what was with the obsessive Days of Our Lives questions?


Have a flashback of your own? Pop on by Tia's blog and join in the fun!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

First Impressions & Not Being A Big Fat Chicken

You Can Handle Anything - 8.5 x 11 art print
by Kathy R. Jeffords of Think About Rainbows & The Dreamy Giraffe

So... I decided in January, that 2011 is the year Marisa stops being a big fat chicken. BA-GOCK!

It's not easy. I'm really great at being a big fat chicken. But when it comes to writing, putting on my big girl pants and stepping outside of my comfort zone is kinda necessary... especially as I'm trucking through the revisions of my book, knowing that querying agents is just around the corner (eek!).

So, when Dianne Salerni (author of WE HEAR THE DEAD) and Marcy Hatch announced that they'll be doing a series of First Impressions posts on their blogs - taking the first pages of volunteered manuscripts and critiquing them publicly - I thought, "Oh, how BRAVE are all those folks who send their first page!" Then I thought, for only a second, "Hmmmm... maybe I should be brave, too." And before I could think on that and lose my nerve, I copy & pasted my first page and emailed it to Dianne.

And as soon as I pressed send, I thought, "Nooooo! Abort abort! Give me my email back, I changed my mind!" BA-GOCK!

Well, my email wasn't aborted, and today is my First Impressions day, so if you're interested in seeing two critiques of the prologue for the YA (young adult) urban fantasy story I've been pecking away at for the last year and a half, head on over to Dianne's blog In High Spirits and Marcy's blog Maine Words, and take a look.

Am I glad I put on my big girl pants and sent my first page to Dianne and Marcy? YOU BET.

A huge THANK YOU to the both of them for taking the time to critique my first page!


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