Monday, November 29, 2010

Falling Off the NaNo Wagon

So... two days left of National Novel Writing Month. Did I hit my 50k, you may be wondering?

Well, hopefully you used your deductive reasoning and figured out, after reading my post title, that I failed.

Yup, that's right. I am a NaNo failure, once again. But WAIT! I don't feel too bad about it. And the reason: I wrote half my book!

I'm sure after being super pumped to hit my half way point, I should be super pumped to keep going, but honestly, I've lost my steam. My back is sore, my fingers bleeding (not really), my brain has popped (this is probably true). And though I still have two days left of November to write, and only about 14k words left before hitting my NaNo goal, I'm just too whiny tired to go on.

Not to mention, I've been having anxiety nightmares in which I'm in my character's shoes being hunted in a labyrinth underneath a crack house by Jack the Ripper and a minotaur.

But I did finish the first half my book, and I actually like it. No, wait - I actually LOVE it. And I can't wait to finish... as soon as I stop whining get some rest after writing like a maniac all month.

Happy winning to all you NaNo winners this year! And for the ones who are right there with me... well, good for you for writing something!


Monday, November 22, 2010

SHOP SALE! and Shop Closing...

My Etsy shop - ELEGANT SNOBBERY - is having a holiday half-off sale! From now until Saturday December 4th, every item in shop is 50% off!

But that isn't all my news... when the sale is over, I'll be clearing my shop out and closing it down. Probably not indefinitely, but I have no idea when I'll be opening it back up again.

Selling on Etsy has been amazing and I love and adore each and every one of my customers. Knowing that so many of you, my lovely readers, have my art up on your walls, and knowing that my illustrations are some of the first pictures your kids see when they wake up each day, or on the walls of their playrooms, or kitchens, or those of you who have used my art to decorate your cubicles at work... well, hearing all that and knowing all that never fails to amaze me!

I love you guys, seriously, LOVE you guys, and hope to re-open sometime in the future with some new and awesome stuff!


Friday, November 19, 2010

Pucker Up, Sweetheart

Zits by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman

So.... I figured out the reason for yesterday's mock mid-life crisis. The scene I've been stalling on in my NaNoWriMo project...

It's a kissing scene.

Let me tell you a little something about me - I HATE writing kissing scenes. They make me blush uncontrollably, sweat profusely, glance around the room as if I'm writing something naughty and everyone can read my mind and is judging me. They force me to flash back on all the first kisses I've had in my life - particularly the FIRST first kiss, which was just plain awkward and a little gross (Note to Boys: Kissing like a lizard is icky for girls. Just sayin' Also, Girls: Kissing like a lizard is probably icky for boys, too. Just sayin' Also: Breath mints, people! BREATH MINTS!)

Now don't get me wrong, I love to kiss. There's even a possibility - one I will neither confirm nor deny - that I was called Marisa Kissy-Face for a time in college (and by "time" I may or may not mean after I'd had a little too much wine). Not to mention I was known as "The Kissy Girl" in my preschool days and, as I was a fast runner at age five, I caught and kissed a lot of boys.

My characters LOVE to kiss and so into the book the kissing scenes go. And, as always, when I come to a kissing scene I balk. I try to move around it, cut to the next scene, but can't. THE KISS MUST HAPPEN. The uncontrollable blushing, profuse sweating, feeling like I'm being judged and awkward kiss flashbacks are a must because my characters aren't satisfied just sitting next to each other and smiling deeply into each others eyes. Believe me, I've tried that. They want lip action and they want it now.

So last night I cranked up my kissing music (Justin Timberlake's My Love because it's just flat out sexy) and got to it.

And guess what? I survived! And my characters are officially happy.

Now on with my book I go!

And for your kissing pleasure:

Happy Friday, folks!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Some Days Call For Fettuccine Alfredo

Today has been one of those days. One of those awful, restless, frustrating, impossible to focus kinds of days where I decide before noon that I'm a no-talent hack in all that I do and that I'm kidding myself in life.

I tried drawing, reading, researching, writing, watching TV, blogging, practicing my guitar, going for a walk, turning on music and dancing like a crazy-person... But nothing - I repeat, NOTHING - was successful. I couldn't even update my Facebook status. I was too busy drowning in the depths of despair.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm just having a mid-life crisis, but I always decide that no, I'm not, because mid-life crises are only fun when you have enough money to buy really crazy and expensive stuff, like a bright red car (I don't even drive), so I'm waiting to have my mid-life crisis after the kids go off to college. I might buy myself an island then.

So, what ever did Marisa do? you might be asking yourself. Well, I'll tell ya. I made Fettuccine Alfredo. And I ate said Fettuccine Alfredo. And it was delicious. I feel better now.

Some days just call for Fettuccine Alfredo. Here's my favorite recipe (from The Encyclopedia of Italian Cooking by Reader's Digest):

  • 1 pkg Fettuccine (fresh is best!)
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Place butter and cream in pan and cook over high heat for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

2. Cook fettuccine until al dente. Drain.

3. Add Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Toss over medium heat 1 min.

Buon Appetito!

And I'll just go ahead and say that when dinner was done, my three-year-old smiled at me and said, "It's good you're not in a bad mood anymore!"

Happy It's-Almost-The-Weekend, folks!


Monday, November 15, 2010

NaNoWriMo Update - Hello Week Three! and some Nina Simone

Two weeks down and two weeks to go. Halfway point of National Novel Writing Month officially hit! Huzzah!

At the moment, I'm exhausted. Trying to hit 2k words that I can actually send to my critique partners rather than delete and start again, all while keeping my house tidy, playing with my kids, and hanging out with my husband is proving to be quite a challenge. But a do-able challenge. And most importantly, I'm having fun.

Okay, fun is an understatement. I'm having the best time EVER. And at some point today, I'll be passing the 30k mark, which means HURRAH! only 20 thousand more words to go!

I've said before that I write with music blasting and honestly, I think that's my favorite part of writing - taking a song that has the vibe of the scene I'm writing, and trying to shove it into my story as best I can. It isn't easy for me. If there's one thing I suck royally at, it's description.

Today's song (and one that makes it into nearly every scene of my whirlwind adventure story) - Sinnerman by Nina Simone. I like the Felix da Housecat remix, too, but man... just can't beat this original version! Makes my breath catch and my heart thump hard every time I listen to it (so loudly my ear drums are probably ready to blow up).

To all you NaNoers out there, good luck with week three!

And to everyone else - Happy Monday!


Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Little Peek of My WIP

So... I just added a new friend to my NaNoWriMo buddies list and she immediately said, "Can't wait to read your synopsis and excerpt!" to which I replied, "I'm a big fat wuss and didn't post any!" to which she replied, "Yeah, I was nervous too, but I'm not a big fat wuss like you so I posted mine anyway!"

Okay, I'm putting words in her mouth. She didn't call me a big fat wuss. But I felt like one. And here you, my lovely blog friends, have been reading my blatherings about my latest writing project for weeks, with music and everything, cheering me on and patting me on the head, and sticking gold stars to my good-girl chart... Yet I've been too big of a baby to even share my project with anyone.

Well, as my awesome friend/critique partner Jon once said, it's time for me to get over myself (yes, he really did say that. He's my b*tch-slapping crit partner). So, for anyone who's interested, here's the synopsis and an excerpt of my current project - A YA action adventure (with quite a lot of blood, guts, and monsters) that I call The Ever-living because I don't have a better title for it yet.

You're welcome to laugh at me, but you can't let me know about it. Just sayin'

Synopsis - Seventeen year old Hallie is ready for summer vacation and has her days all figured out: parties, trips to the beach and an occasional baby-sitting job to earn money in between. But only moments after chanting the traditional no more homework, no more books and tossing her backpack into the closet for three glorious sun-filled months, Hallie finds herself following the metaphorical (and, incidentally, literal) white rabbit into a world she never knew existed. One right smack dab in the middle of her own, where the Ever-living deities answer the prayers, wishes, and profanities of mortals, and the only cost is that of a human sacrifice every now and again – preferably a virgin. A virgin just like Hallie.

And my excerpt (from the start of Ch. 3)-

By the time we hit Ocean Street, Josie’s hyperventilating so hard she has to pull over. “Jesus, Hallie! What the hell happened back there?” She grips and releases the wheel like she’s milking a cow and I reach out to touch her shoulder to soothe her the same way Harmony soothed Vix. But Josie jumps when my fingers touch her skin, and her hand smashes the wheel so hard it lets out a blaring honk and she screams.

“Calm down!” I have to shout. “We’re fine! I’m fine. Everything’s fine.” I finally take a breath, sucking in deep and letting it out slowly. “They wanted to screw with my mind. Like, lock my brain, or something. But we’re gone, we’re safe.” As my heart starts to slow, a grin of relief takes over my face. Ha! Take that, freaky gods. No mind locking today.

“What the heck are you talking about? I think I’m having a heart attack.” Josie's still breathing hard, her hand on her chest rising up and down. “I need garlic fries.”

“How would that help your situation?”

She rolls her eyes as if it should be obvious. “If I’m going to die of a heart attack, my last meal better be garlic fries.”

I glance at the clock on the dashboard. “Lunchtime. Let’s grab some at the Boardwalk. My treat.”

“And a funnel cake,” Josie adds, but of course I don’t mind, because it’s my parent’s who are paying for our unhealthy decisions. Then Josie gives me an expectant look. “And then we go right? Just like you promised?”

Just like that, my stomach is a hard lump again.


Okey-dokey, that's all from me.

Happy weekend, folks!


Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Flashback: Mushy Peas

Last night we had fish and chips and mushy peas for dinner. Okay, actually we had fish sticks and crinkle cut fries and the mushy peas were made with Lactaid instead of heavy whipping cream, so it wasn't quite the British feast I had envisioned...

But the point of the post is that we had mushy peas - a staple in any little British kid's diet, but not quite as staple in an American kid's diet.

When I was in the UK during my college semester abroad, I lived with a host family that had a three-year-old boy called Finleigh. And Finleigh, along with his five-year-old BFF named Rhonan, LOOOOOVED mushy peas. I can still hear the two little boys chanting, "Mushy Peas! Mushy Peas! Mushy Peas!" their forks banging the kitchen table as their mummies came back from the fish and chip shop down the road with packets of fried cod drenched with salt and vinegar, and little side cups of mushy peas.

I'm just going to go ahead and say my kids thought mushy peas were about as delicious as throw up. In fact, just asking them to finish their mushy peas last night was like asking them to rip their own teeth straight out of their heads and then dance an Irish jig. They thought Will and I were insane for even suggesting it.

And it reminded me of the time I made a PB&J sandwich for three-year-old Finleigh, after staring at him in shock when I learned that British kids just did not mix jam/jelly with peanut butter. I smiled the entire time I spread the bread with peanut butter and strawberry jam, imagining the way his big brown eyes would light up with his first bite, and he'd say something like, "Ooooh, yummy!" sounding just like Charlie from Charlie and Lola.

When he took a bite, however, he acted like I was trying to kill him. Those big brown eyes of his rolled back in his chubby little head, and he shook his cornrows around as he gagged and coughed and choked as though I'd fed him a rat poison sandwich instead of an all-American staple.

Funny how what seems so completely normal to eat in one country is so completely NOT NORMAL in another.

Have a flashback of your own to share? Head on over to Tia's blog for Flashback Friday!

And want to make some mushy peas? Here's a recipe! (which I copied straight off of

Mushy Peas
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen green peas
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Bring a shallow pot of lightly salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add frozen peas, and cook for 3 minutes, or until tender.
  2. Drain peas, and transfer to a blender or large food processor. Add cream, butter, salt and pepper to peas, and process until blended, but still thick with small pieces of peas. Adjust seasonings to taste, and serve immediately.

(Or not...)

But most importantly, Happy Friday, folks!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Very Best Medicine

(click the picture to be magically transported
through the wardrobe, and over to TMD)

Yesterday was my post day over at
The Mama Dramalogues, where I blogged
about my super radicool bookmark
and the very best medicine.

Come on over and say hi!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I Can Haz Kleen Klose?

In an effort to get my daily NaNoWriMo words written, I've had to leave the housework for the other members of our household to attend to. I'm hopeful that Sophie will stop being lazy and actually get the laundry sorted correctly. We shall see.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

NaNoWriMo - Day 3 and Some Music!

It's day three of National Novel Writing Month and things are going swimmingly, which means I'm still smiling at my word doc, thinking it's shiny and pretty and sparkles like diamonds, and I'm probably the most brilliant story teller who has ever lived.

By this time next week, I'll most certainly be staring at the same word doc, thinking it's evil and dull as mud, and that I'm the lousiest story teller who has ever lived... such is life. But finally, after searching for a thousand years or more, I found the inspiration songs for my two main characters - Huzzah! It's the little things in life that make for LARGE celebrations!

I listen to these songs on full blast while I type and by Nov. 30th, I suspect I'll have listened to each so many times they'll become part of my DNA make up. Though there is a possibility my brain might go KABOOM before then... we shall see.

I'm currently at 8,000 words, which is great, but I have to write double time as I know the last week of the month will be much too busy for productive writing... so now I'm off to up my word count! So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, adieu...

Adieu, adieu, to yieu and yieu and yieu!

Happy writing all you writers out there! And happy Wednesday to everyone else!


Monday, November 1, 2010

Moon or Bust!

"Moon or Bust"
11 x 14 original
(11 x 14 and 8 x 10 prints will be available)

"Fly me to the moon, and let me play among the stars..."

I finished my outer space illustration and I'm quite happy with it!

I think if a Lego and a gumball machine had a baby, it would be my new illustration. The candy-coated cuteness is just what I was going for, and hopefully you all like it!

Here are some close-ups:

And the gumball planets.... I think all planets should look like gumballs, don't you? Actually, I think all planets should BE gumballs. That would make space exploration so much more fun!

Happy Monday, folks! And for all of you beginning NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year ... what are you doing reading my blog?? GET WRITING!

And since I'm participating in NaNoWriMo... I better get writing as well!


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