Archive for category Humor

A Merry Klingon Christmas–Holidays for the ADD Nerdy Introvert

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I LOVE giving all year, but especially at Christmas. I so enjoy the thrill of listening to people throughout the year, paying attention to what they want or need or can’t bring themselves to buy (but they really want it). I especially love shopping for the Angel Tree and buying bags of awesome food for the food bank. There are few things more rewarding than standing behind someone in line who’s struggling and embarrassed they have to put things back…then stepping in and saying, “It’s all on me. Merry Christmas.”

Hey, I vividly remember being so broke I had no power and lived on .99 boxes of crackers. I wouldn’t trade those days for the world, because it makes blessing others a million times better.

This is why I want to be a bazillionaire. Not only so I can have a solid gold statue of Darth Vader, but it would just be too cool to sit in a restaurant and pay for someone’s meal and never say a word. Or buy someone’s groceries as a surprise. Or carry around hundred dollar bills and, when I see someone in need, say, “You dropped this” and wink so they know it’s a blessing.

Anyway, first I was kidding about the solid gold Darth Vader statue (plated is fine). I really wanted to talk about Christmas shopping.

I generally have one of two plans.

Plan A: Organized Kristen

This is where I make a list and, throughout the year pick up special items for each family member and put them in labeled boxes. In known Kristen History, this has happened three times. But one time might just be urban legend.

Okay, two times *hangs head*.

Plan B: Running-With-Her-Hair-On-Fire-Kristen

detest crowds. I am (believe it or not) an introvert and need to be medicated to shop in a store where there are more than twenty other people (aside from staff). For years, I did all my grocery shopping at 4 a.m.

Plan B is where I wait until 6:00 a.m. Christmas Eve to do all my shopping in an hour. Hey, so everyone gets Snuggies and Chia Pets, right? Kidding. In modern times, capitalists have learned to accommodate slackers like me. Often, stores restock and the selection is great, the prices better and NO PEOPLE.

SCORE.

I’m one of those people that does better shopping last minute, and not only because I’m lazy. I am terrible at waiting. If I get someone a super cool gift too early? They’re likely to get it at Halloween (and then I just end up shopping on Christmas Eve morning anyway). But one year, I did have the World’s Most Epic Present and I waited.

This was back when my dad was alive and I inherited this gene of “not being able to wait until Christmas morning to give the universe’s COOLEST gift” from him. For weeks we giggled, “I got you the BEST GIFT EVER. You are NEVER going to guess!!! Muah ha ha ha ha!”

The waiting was sheer torture for both my dad and for me. Then, finally….Christmas morning arrived. We squeeeeeeeeeed as we handed each other the PERFECT GIFT….

….and realized we’d both bought each other the SAME thing. A language series (tapes, dictionary, etc.) on How to Speak Klingon.

Screen Shot 2013-12-24 at 10.08.19 AM

Hey, I suppose the geek doesn’t fall far from the tree.

So, QISmaS botIvjaj ‘ej DIS chu’ botIvjaj!!!

(That’s “Merry Christmas” in Klingon. I’m going to put this on ALL my cards next year provided I am organized to send out cards next year. Might start now…)

So Merry Christmas to all of you. Thank you for your generosity and love all year long on my blog. You have no idea how much all of you mean to me. I love hearing your thoughts, ideas, opinions and just seeing you. I’ve had a really tough two years (orders for Hubby to deploy to Afghanistan, The Spawn’s accident and $20,000 of maxo-facial surgery, six deaths and three major surgeries, and on and on and…on).  I don’t think I would have made it without you guys. I couldn’t have remained positive without all the love you guys so freely give because you are made of AWESOME.

What about you? Do you have any cool holiday traditions that don’t involve bail money? Suggestions? Hey, I know when I am out of my depth and am humble enough to consult the World’s Most Brilliant Hive Mind (y’all, DUH). Any funny Christmas stories? Are you a slacker or are you organized? Have you ever had the situation of buying the same present for another person? What’s the best/worst gift you’ve ever gotten? What’s the best gift you’ve ever GIVEN? It’s okay to brag :D.

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of December, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less). Comments for guests get extra POINTS!

I hope you guys will check out my latest book Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World and get prepared for 2014!!!!

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68 Comments

Santa Claus Recruited to Improve NSA’s Public Image & Head Intelligence Operations

Image via Flikr Creative Commons courtesy of Kevin Dooley

Image via Flikr Creative Commons courtesy of Kevin Dooley

Lately, Brave New World has become one of the hottest selling novels, and many of us have become even more suspicious of that white panel van that passes our homes daily. Sure it has ice-cream and plays tinkly music, but that cover is so thin Stevie Wonder could see right through it.

After the whole Edward Snowden whistle-blowing debacle earlier this year, the Obama Administration and the Intelligence community have been up to their ears in hot water and bad press. Spying on regular citizens with no cause or warrant? Invading privacy and throwing the 4th Amendment out the window? Reading our e-mails? Monitoring our Internet? Those activities are just the sort that create an image problem.

Thus, sources tell me (sources being the voices in my head) that, in order to get back in the good graces of the American public, the current administration has decided to appoint Santa to head up any future intelligence operations. Come on, Santa IS the perfect fit.

Santa Knows Everyone and Everything

He knows when you’ve been sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake…

Revised for the Intelligence community:

He knows what you’ve been surfing. He knows the shows you hate. He knows if you vote red or blue, so be good if you know what’s good for you…

Alright, maybe a little clunky, but still a clear warning for all of us to behave. Santa can spot all kinds of terrorist activities like 1) putting the roll of toilet paper with the paper feeding under not over, 2) paying retail 3) wearing white shoes after Labor Day 4) listening to too much any Justin Bieber and 5) possessing lukewarm appreciation for the sheer AWESOMENESS of Grumpy Cat and more…

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 7.52.32 AM

All I’m saying is why didn’t they recruit this guy earlier? How much time and money could we have saved locating Osama bin Laden? One would think that being omniscient is an automatic YES! for being hired to the NSA. Um, duh?

He Travels Beyond Light Speed

This guy travels the world faster than Google. Think of how much more efficient spying would be if we could do it as fast as Santa. Santa can hop down a few hundred million chimneys, eat cookies, take time to nicely stack presents with an appreciation for presentation and then LEAVE with no proof he’s been there other than missing cookies and that new iPad we asked for beautifully wrapped and left under our Christmas trees.

Which brings me to my next point…

He’s Untraceable 

People have been searching for this guy for CENTURIES yet he still leaves no evidence…even after the invention of DNA profiling. IN, OUT, GONE. Perfect recruit for the Intelligence world. He’s never even been located on radar. Maybe Santa could instruct our government how he makes the sleigh the perfect stealth aircraft. Maybe we’ve been underestimating “Reindeer Technology.” We could TOTALLY use that kind of help.

Image via Flikr Commons courtesy of Mark Dumont...

Image via Flickr Commons courtesy of Mark Dumont…

Who knew these things were so FAST? Why aren’t physicists in Cern running THESE guys through the Hadron Collider?

Enemies Would Underestimate Him

Santa shows up, and all the bad guy is thinking is one of two things:

1) Why is some guy from the mall dressed as Santa at my house?

2) OMG! It’s TOTALLY freaking SANTA!

Nobody expects to be capped by SANTA. No one pulls out a weapon or thinks of self defense when faced with this cherub-faced man known for his superlative gift-giving skills. Santa could double-tap any ruthless dictator before they could ask, “Hey, did you bring me that nuclear device I asked for in my letter?”

Santa Has More Doubles than Castro

Even when the bad guys (known as the American public) catch on that Santa is in charge of the NSA, what can we do about it? He has doubles EVERYWHERE and thing is?

…..We never know which one is real.

This man is the perfect spy.

Uparalleled Work Ethic

Santa delivers billions of gifts and is paid in MILK AND COOKIES. This guy not only works cheap, but he’s FAST, so he could work for ALL our security agencies—NSA, CIA, FBI, ICE, and Facebook.

…and *spoiler alert*

He Isn’t REAL

This is really key because I’m pretty sure that imaginary creatures can’t violate the Constitution. Also, since he’s apparently immortal, the taxpayers wouldn’t have to pay for dental, health care or retirement planning. This dude works FOREVER and he’s got roughly 363 days of the year free, since everyone knows that his elves do all the shopping, building and wrapping.

PROBLEM SOLVED.

The government could keep spying on regular citizens because we just accept that Santa’s been doing it for centuries and we never griped before. He’s not only been reading our mail, but our THOUGHTS.

I mean right now, we’re looking at our government through Huxley-an glasses. What better way to improve their public image than have SANTA as the face of Intelligence?

HE GIVES GIFTS!!!

At least we’d have a trade-off for losing our Constitutional right to privacy. PRESENTS!

The Administration needs to recruit Santa NOW before someone else does.

What are your thoughts? How else does Santa make the perfect choice for spying on the entire world? Who might be a better choice? And, if Santa DOES spy on us, shouldn’t we get presents more often than just ONCE a year? Maybe people like me who left their Christmas trees up until MEMORIAL DAY aren’t just lazy white trash? MAYBE we were onto something. MAYBE it was really just to appease the guy spying on us. Bet you feel super silly now taking your trees down before MARCH.

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of November, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

Also, for all your author brand and social media needs, I hope you will check out my new best-selling book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World.

Make sure you check out all the awesome WANA International Classes. You take care of your family, why not yourself? Sneak away. We won’t tell. And Dollar Store Bags make AWESOME wrapping and they will all get better gifts once your book is a best-seller, right?

Yes, I am an enabler. But we are more fun :D.

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37 Comments

Blog Hijack Part Deux – WANA Goings On

By Jay Donovan
Yes, it’s me again, Kristen’s Tech Guy. Kristen has family issues hitting her hard and has been nursing a loved one back to health. We’ll have to wait for a future blog post to learn if Nurse Kristen is more Florence Nightingale or Nurse Ratchet.

FN
NR

AA
In her seeming desperation, she handed me the keys to her blog. Again…

You’d have thought she’d have learned after I hijacked her site last time. Then again, knowing Kristen, she’s aware that I ‘sampled’ a couple glasses of wine while TechGirl and I made lasagna. Kristen’s call for help at an ungodly late hour is most likely a ploy Sun Tzu would be proud of.

Regardless, challenge accepted!

Actually, this is a fantastic chance to catch everyone up on the goings on in WANAville.

WC

First off, thanks to everyone who joined us for the October WANACon Writers Conference. We appreciate your trust in us and hope you had as good a time as we did. For those who couldn’t join us, the session recordings are available for On Demand viewing here.

The next WANACon will be Friday February 21st and Saturday February 22nd, (hopefully) far enough from the chaos of the holidays that a conference track on what to do next with your NaNoWriMo creation makes sense, and close enough to Valentine’s Day for one on writing romance.

Keep up with all the details by visiting WANACon.com or joining our mailing list.

WI
WANA Classes are going On Demand
SA
We’ve heard you. And finally the technology allows us to bring you an “On Demand” class experience that is good enough to receive the WANA… ->

We’re not moving away from live classes, but with busy WANAs all over the globe, we’re structuring classes to be more flexible for those who can’t attend live.

We’ll be adding dozens of classes by amazing instructors over the next few months. Click for our Current Class List or to join our mailing list.

And a shameless plug…

TS

Book Tours in Your PJs

On Friday, my company, TechSurgeons is adding an new Author ServiceVirtual Book Tours. They’ll use the same tech WANA uses for WANACon and live classes. At an introductory price of $50, you can rent a virtual room for 6 hours for you and up to 10 others at a time.  You’ll be able talk to your readers, share web cams, instant message with the shy ones, display PDFs of sample chapters, extras, and ‘out takes’ or whatever creative ideas you have. Contact me for more details.

WTRemember WANATribe, -the- private social media site by authors for authors.

We have Tribes for all genres and interests. And if you don’t see the one you want, you can create it. Joining and using WANATribe is free.

As a thank you prize for reading putting up with my post, here’s a video of (I believe) George Clooney and Brad Pitt dueling with a flamethrower and fire extinguisher.  Inside sources claimed this was filmed just before they went to their respective makeup artists.

Okay, that was mean. Here’s an amazingly cool video of the Ohio State band performing their “Hollywood Blockbuster” Show.
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Geek in His (un)Natural Habitat

Geek in His (un)Natural Habitat

Jay Donovan is the official WANA Tech Guy and takes care of all WANA’s technology needs. He’s writing an “Expansion Pack” on the proper use of pen names to supplement Kristen’s “Rise of the Machines” and should be working on it instead of hijacking blogs and talking about himself in third person, but where’s the fun in that?

Jay’s company TechSurgeons LLC provides the geeky magic for WANACon and  WANA classes. TechSurgeons also hosts the WANAIntl.com & authorkristenlamb.com websites. He’d love to be your tech guy too.

Find him on Twitter at @jaytechdad or on Facebook

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30 Comments

Blog Hijack: I Aim to Misbehave

Not me, I have better hair -AND- an immunity to iocane powder

Not me, I have better hair -AND- an immunity to iocane powder

By Jay Donovan
Poor Kristen fell victim to one of the classic blunders. The most famous of which is “Never get involved in a land war in Asia” – but a couple steps down is this: “Never leave your Tech Guy in charge of your blog.”

Kristen called me Saturday to see if I could approve comments for a couple more days and said it would be easy since she didn’t have anything to post for the first time in a long while.  Being a kind soul, of course I agreed.

Five minutes later, an epiphany…

TheOuterLimits-Screenshot-old

I control the Horizontal.
I control the Vertical.

So I called her, got voice mail, and left this message: “Hi Kristen, it’s Jay. I just thought of a blog post to put up for you.” And I’m not proud about my loss of control, but I couldn’t help myself—I ended the call with an honest to God *maniacal laugh*.

You’d think she’d know better than to allow me to get used to having so much power. Especially since I used up all my willpower by not filtering last week’s posts through the ValSpeak filter.

You don’t believe me?  I find your lack of faith disturbing.

It think it is time we demonstrated the full power of this filter.
Set your course for Kristen’s last post: Learning to Drop the Donkey.

Original text:

All of us want to do a good job. We want to put our best foot forward. We all say that we want feedback and critique, but deep down, if we are real honest, we want people to love everything we say and do.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the reality. We can’t please everyone, and it is easy to fall into a people-pleasing trap that will steal our passion, our art, and our very identity.

Now witness the power of this fully armed and operational blog-messer-upper:

All of us want to totally do a bitchin’ job. Us guys want to totally put our best foot forward. Us guys all say that we want feedback and critique, man, but deep down, oh, baby, if we are real honest, like, wow, we want guys to totally love everythin’ we say and do.

Unfortunately, fer shure, this isn’t thuh reality. Us guys can’t please everyone, like, and it is easy to fall into a guys-pleasin’ trap that will steal our passion, oh, baby, our art, fer shure, and our super identity.

See what I could have done. Yet I resisted. But Kristen has to further tempt me with an idle blog, and her unable to see her site, let alone stop me.  *Maniacal Laugh* Sorry, #20 of the Evil Overlord list gets me every time.

Um, now what?  Anyone have a suggestion?  Bueller?

This blog moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

This blog moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

 

“I’ve got one.  The question isn’t ‘what are we going to do,’ the question is ‘what aren’t we going to do?’”

Good thought Ferris, how about a Kristen roast?

“That’s a righteous idea.”

 

 

 

Post your favorite Kristen story in the comments. I want good ones.  Sweet ones about Kristen pulling you back from the ledge. Funny ones about Kristen’s top #KlutzClub moments. The goal here is not just to make her ears burn, but to make to make her blush the entire time she’s in places the Verizon guy fears to go.

Here are the rules; I like my roasts medium-rare. Comments which are too mean will be nuked and replaced with that photo with you and your Aunt Gertrude from when you were 11.  Yeah, the one taken a split-second after her dog barfed down your shirt.  It doesn’t matter how I got a copy of it. Worry instead about it being the next big meme.  *Maniacal Laugh* Did it again. Damn!

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Geek in His (un)Natural Habitat

Geek in His (un)Natural Habitat

Jay Donovan is the official WANA Tech Guy and is writing an “Expansion Pack” on the proper use of pen names to supplement Kristen’s “Rise of the Machines”. He should be working on it instead of hijacking blogs and talking about himself in third person, but where’s the fun in that?

Jay’s company TechSurgeons LLC provides the geeky magic for the upcoming WANACon and hosts WANA’s WANAIntl & authorkristenlamb.com websites

Find him on Twitter at @jaytechdad or on Facebook

118 Comments

Ebola, Swine Flu and The Kardashians—Why is a Zombie Apocalypse So Intriguing?

NYCZombie

Braaaaiiiiinssss….with some salsa, please. And a refill on my merlot?

Just made it in from a whirlwind week in NYC at Thrillerfest. I am so tired I want to DIE, yet my stupid biological clock still has me up at dawn despite how exhausted I am. Of all places, though, NYC seems to be the favorite place for moviemakers to destroy or infect. That and LA. Though I will mention the aliens never land in Texas.

Probably because the movie would be 15 minutes long :D.

One of my close friends, Piper Bayard, wrote a fabulous book, Firelands which deals with a post-apocalyptic world where religious fanatics now rule a world in ruin and use food to control the masses. In the spirit of her book, I wanted to discuss the apocalypse. That and I just spent a week in NYC walking through “mystery puddles”…which makes me wonder….

Why is the zombie apocalypse so fascinating to us?

Never Underestimate Zombies

One of the wonderful parts about being a writer is we are really well educated…too well educated. Any writer worth his or her salt reads…a lot. I recall (back in college) reading The Hot Zone, which is an absolutely terrifying book. Terrifying in its premise, sure. But also terrifying because it is based off real events.

For those who don’t know, Ebola actually made it to the United States in a shipment of infected monkeys back in the early 90s.

String-like Ebola virus particles are shedding from an infected cell in this electron micrograph. Credit: NIAID

String-like Ebola virus particles are shedding from an infected cell in this electron micrograph. Credit: NIAID

Ebola happens to be one of the most frightening diseases I’ve ever read about. Ebola Zaire, the most virulent of all the strains, essentially liquifies a victim within less than 12 days. The mass destruction it does to the body is the stuff of nightmares.

The virus does a number of nasty deeds to the body, but namely it attacks all the connective tissue from the inside out causing catastrophic internal hemmorhaging. This means the organs (including the brain) essentially turn to pudding because there is nothing left to hold everything together.

As a response, the body throws out all its clotting agents trying to keep the infected person alive…until it runs out of clotting agent and then the person just begins to bleed…from EVERYWHERE. Blood teeming with active virus begins to pour from the nose and mouth and eyes until the victim is rendered a puddle of infected blood, bone and tissue.

Um, cleanup on Aisle Five?

This is how the virus spreads—via blood contamination. The victim is literally dead before they die, their face sliding off the bones because nothing is left to maintain/support the facial architecture.

*shivers*

What makes Ebola especially horrific is that it’s only a few peptides and mutations from being something airborne. If something like Ebola spread like the flu? We’re toast. This is what The Hot Zone addresses. A version of Ebola (similar to Zaire in burn rate) really made it to the US…and it spread through the air like a cold.

I won’t say any more because this is a really fabulous book, but part of why it was so scary is IT FREAKING HAPPENED.

Ebola happens all the time in Africa and how do they deal with it? I call it the Three B’s—bleach, bury and burn. When a village has an outbreak, the authorities will cut down trees to block any roads leading to the village…and wait for everyone to die. Ebola Zaire has roughly a 99% kill rate. Almost no one ever survives. Authorities wait for everyone to be dead then torch the place.

Happy Monday! :D

The Scary Part About Viruses

Viruses are a lot like politicians and Kardashians. They are parasitic and they will adapt as much as needed to survive. If they burn through a species, they’ll change to be able to burn through another. If contamination via blood isn’t working? A virus is fully capable of changing tactics, like marrying Kanye West and naming it’s kid something seriously stupid like North West.

Sorry, forgot we were discussing Ebola.

As populations get larger in countries like Africa, China and South America (ideal virus petri dishes because of climate and population density) we are invading areas of rain forest no human has ever set foot in. A virus might be inert or less virulent because local wildlife has developed immunity over time, and then? Virus spots the equivalent of a Twinkie on two legs (people). NEW JUNK FOOD!

Viruses have no long-term planning capabilities. They suck at having an IRA or even going to college. They just want to consume no matter the expense to the host, much like deadbeat in-laws.

Yes, this is me.

Yes, this is me.

But Isn’t This Why the Zombie Fascination is So Strong?

I love vampires, wizards, werewolves and the like, but zombies hold a unique fascination. Why? Because I think deep in our collective subconscious, we realize this is something that could happen…which is why you need a plan (but that is totally another blog).

I was one of the fortunate first people to get Swine Flu. Hey, I’m an early adopter. What can I say? I contracted Swine Flu a year before we had a pseudo-pandemic. I had 105 fever for almost 12 days, and not only did I want to die? I wanted to die, be cremated, then have someone shoot my ashes it was so bad.

We live in a scary world. Bird Flu, Swine Flu, Ebola, and the Kardashians.

Come on! The Kardashians already have a reality show and have invaded QVC. If they manage to marry and breed faster? We could be looking at a world filled with mindless people wearing too much lip gloss and trashy shoes and being permitted to name their own children *shivers*. If a Kardashian meets up with Ebola? They could spread through sneezes and unwashed hands. Next thing we know, we are filled with botox, unable to move our foreheads or articulate an intelligent thought.

Sounds like zombies to me.

What are your thoughts? Most of us aren’t afraid of a vampire invasion, but zombies? A lot of us still get that niggling, “What if?” Why do you think we do that? Is it because we think it might happen? Is it because we’ve spent too much time watching The Bachelor or Toddlers and Tiaras?

I know you guys are geeks and have thought this through, so I would LOVE to hear your thoughts!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of July, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

NOTE: My prior two books are no longer for sale, but I am updating them and will re-release. My new book, Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World is NOW AVAILABLE.

At the end of July I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

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73 Comments

Jaws, Hydrophobia, and the REAL Story of Our Nation’s Independence

Duh-dun, duh-dun, dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun AGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Duh-dun, duh-dun, dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun AGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Ah, summer and Fourth of July. I have the best family in the world, but all of them had kids before I did. This means The Spawn has a lot of cousins who are all older. This is great in that they get to enjoy him (and lots of babysitters at family get-togethers), but it probably means they will scar him for life just like my older cousins did to me.

Fourth of July was a time when all my family came together and my older cousins had an opportunity to psychologically scar me for life babysat me. When I was 5, my cousins let me watch Jaws and instilled powerful hydrophobia that endures to this day.

They also let me watch Friday the 13th at age 10, ruining freshwater for me as well. Basically, if it ain’t chlorinated? I’m not getting in it. Expert angler Jeremy Wade from River Monsters has only reinforced that people who swim in anything other than the hotel pool are just asking to be part of the food chain.

My point, EXACTLY.

My point, EXACTLY (image via Tus-Memes).

I suppose my cousins did me a favor in that, when we went to the beach? My parents never had to worry I’d drown in anything deeper than an extra large coconut snow cone. I was perfectly content to sit in the surf and build sand castles. When at the lake? Yeah. I’ll stand on the dock with the shotgun and shoot Water Moccassins collecting near the dock and YOU MORONS GUYS can go waterski.

Crazies.

I recall one trip to Florida and my family forced invited me to go clamming in the Indian River, which consists of brackish water. I pleaded with them to believe me that there could be sharks and they laughed me off. It’s a river. Sharks aren’t in rivers.

HA! Twenty-five years later my theory was proven correct on Shark Week. BULL SHARKS LOVE brackish water and are invading deeper into fresh water. Australia has quite a problem with bull sharks in their canals. I’m shocked I’m even here to tell this story. Good thing I was a skinny kid and didn’t resemble a tasty manatee.

Probably just gave a few of you hydrophobia. You can thank me later for saving your LIFE.

Over the years, I’ve pretty much turned into a human feline. Unless bathing? I don’t like getting wet.

pool

The Spawn shares my aversion to water…bathtub not included.

So have fun on your jet-skis and with your snorkels. I will miss you when if you get eaten.

When even ur Kiddy Pool is not safe...

When even ur Kiddy Pool is not safe…

I’ll be hanging out on dry land, grilling meat like a good Texan should. We’ll hang out by my brother’s pool and let the new generation of older cousins warp The Spawn even further than I have (though not sure that’s possible). We will set off silly little fireworks in the driveway. Well…my brother and husband will. I prefer to be a spectator. I need all my fingers (especially the middle one for dealing with AT&T).

Knowing my family, we’ll talk about history, our nation’s founding. Since I know many of you are from other countries, I’ve taken the “liberty” (bada-bump-snare) of finding you a quick reference that’s as accurate as possible. Forget what the history books tell you, THIS is how The American Revolution REALLY went down:

So did you have older cousins who warped you for life? Did Jaws give you hydrophobia? Did you have another movie that gave you another phobia? We won’t even talk about Poltergeist and how I view clowns. What do you like to do on the holidays? How do you celebrate Independence Day?

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of July, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

NOTE: My prior two books are no longer for sale, but I am updating them and will re-release. My new book, Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World is NOW AVAILABLE. 

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

Over my cold but still tired. Will try to announce winners tomorrow, but will have them by Monday latest. 

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of July I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

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49 Comments

Crested Butte, The ASSASSIN-WICH and I Made It Out ALIVE!

View from my room...

View from my room…

Last weekend I taught at the Crested Butte Writing Conference in Colorado. Amazing conference with fantastic presenters (highly recommend) and though it was memorable and magical…I thought it would KILL me.

It Didn’t Begin Well…

I am NOT a fan of early morning flights. Even though I had everything packed and ready to go, I wake up WHEN?

3:00 a.m.

…and CANNOT get back to sleep.

So I get up, do some work and have plenty of time to get to the airport. I figure, “Eh *waves hand* I’m not presenting today, so I will just go to bed early.”

I finally get to Gunnison, Colorado, my ride picks me and the other presenters up. She’s already scouted out a restaurant that had gluten-free and dairy-free food. YAY, ME!

The Assassin-wich

Whenever I go to different regions, I make it a point to try what’s local. I ordered the Trout BLT with the GF bun. I made it a point to dramatically tell my waiter how horrifically allergic I am to dairy and gluten.

“Oh, yes, yes, I checked. The coleslaw is fine for you to eat.”

It wasn’t.

The Assassin-wich

The Assassin-wich

Soon after lunch I felt like hell, but assumed it had more to do with being up since three that morning and traveling all day than anything else. Maybe it was because I was such a high altitude and it was altitude sickness.

Helping is Hurting

Soon after lunch, we go to the Ladies’ Room and the editor from Harper Collins picks the stall with no toilet paper. After I made her listen to my pitch….

KIDDING!

No, I grab some paper and bend down to hand it to her and WHAM! There was a stupid, weird, makes-no-sense extension of the counter and I whacked my forehead HARD.

Yes, I am klutzy, but give me a break, I was sleep-deprived, at high altitude, and had just been poisoned (though at this point I didn’t know it). Wasn’t on my game.

So, by dinner time I am feeling pretty bad, but I washed my face, redid my makeup and went down. The only thing gluten and dairy-free is the steamed zucchini. Yay. Well, beggars can’t be choosers. I talked and had people laughing and once it was over?

I crawled back to my condo and held to my promise and go to be early. 10:30 (that’s early for a conference)…

….only to awaken at midnight violently ill.

Zucchini of DOOM

I was sick all…night…long. I knew it! That zucchini had butter. Never trust a squishy veggie!

It’s Never Been So Hard to Put On Makeup

I was shaking so badly from being sick for (by that time) 7 hours and sleep deprived that I’m a little surprised my makeup didn’t turn out more like this…

Image via Flikr Creative Commons courtesy of Blah Blah Photos Blah

Image via Flikr Creative Commons courtesy of Blah Blah Photos Blah

So 8:00 a.m., I walk down the mountain (in dress shoes), carrying my computer bag. At breakfast, I wolf down some bacon because it was the only thing I could trust. I start chugging water, because I am dehydrated and…?

STILL sick.

I keep having to chat and smile and then sweetly and politely excuse myself so I can run to the closest bathroom…and thank GOD I carried makeup and a toothbrush. I attend every session I can because 1) I want to support other speakers, 2) I am eager to learn and 3) there was NO WAY I was going to make it UP the mountain to my room without, um, dying.

I tell one of the Crested Butte writers that I’ve had terrible Zucchini Poisoning, but that I will be fine. Just triple-check the future meals, please. They feel terribly guilty, but I assure them that Hey, I have food allergies and it happens.

In the meantime, I go to the hotel store and buy two large bottles of Gatorade and a packet of electrolytes and vitamins that are supposed to help with altitude sickness), and it only cost me a mere $17. Hotels *rolls eyes*

I chug all of it because it is now 11 a.m. and….I am STILL getting sick. I present in 2 hours.

Bonding with teen writers, LOL....

Bonding with teen writers to take my mind off…wanting to DIE.

Safe Zone

I excuse myself early because I am sure the Zucchini of Doom is what poisoned me. So, I go back to that restaurant from the previous day, because “they were careful and knew how important it was to not contaminate food.”

I go to order the same thing, but the waitress stops me. “The coleslaw has dairy, and so does that dressing for your salad.”

O…M…G.

I get sick if something with dairy brushes like zephyr near my food. I ate a half a cup of coleslaw and a half a dairy-infested salad.

How was I still ALIVE?

Sarah makes sure I get a meal I can eat without dying and I tip her 40%. Then I ask to speak to the manager and politely explain that dead patrons make lousy return customers. Then I excuse myself…

Because, yes, I am STILL SICK. By this point? 12 hours.

Um, We Thought You Weren’t Coming

So I put on my game face and head to the main lunch. I’m not eating but I can still be there to do my job. I have a table with my name and people who want to talk to me…and it’s full.

We thought you weren’t coming. They said you were sick.

I found it funny that it was my designated table and I was the only one without a seat. But they scooch me in and soon I have everyone talking and laughing. Outside Kristen is funny and helpful. Inside Kristen wants to use the 10% off the ski-lift coupon so she can throw herself off the top of Crested Butte.

The Crested Butte writers felt better because I told them it was the restaurant and not the Zucchini of Doom that poisoned me. That seemed to make them relax. I can see how trying to kill your speakers could look bad.

Game, ON!

I was blessed that an hour before I presented I stopped getting sick. With GF, dairy-free food in my stomach and enough Gatorade to supply a lacrosse team, I was good to go and gave it my best. I presented for a little over an hour and no one would have known I was sick.

SCORE! *fist pump*

The Reward

I struggle back up the mountain to my condo. I needed time to rest and regroup. That evening, I was rewarded for my diligence. I had THE BEST GF, Diary-Free Pizza ON THE PLANET at a place called, The Secret Stash. It was so good, I bought another one to bring back to the condo with me. $60 worth of pizza, I didn’t care. I needed safe food.

Angels sing!

Angels sing!

The French Tried to Kill Me, but FAILED

Of course, the next night we go to a French food restaurant. I go through all the Please, please please NO gluten or dairy and I get THIS…

pork

Ah, but I am smarter now. I spot the deadly mashed potatoes lurking beneath my pork loin.

SHE SCORES AGAIN!

The rest of the conference went great, even though I was seriously puny and had knot on my head (this explains so much, right?). I am a bit sad I got so sick because I was too weak to do any of the hiking or fun stuff we had coupons for. But, I did get to help and serve a lot of writers and that’s what I love most anyway.

The Lesson

Why do I tell this story? First of all because it’s kind of tragic-funny. I am a person who honors my commitments to the point of lunacy, but…

Mostly I want you guys to know I pale in comparison to what other writers are willing to do for their craft. I’ve known writers who kept writing even though they were facing a double-mastectomy or going through chemo. One writer kept writing even as she cared for her husband who was undergoing chemo for brain cancer.

I’m friends with a big name author who kept writing even after three deaths in one year (two were this writers’ parents). Life will still be here. We get sick, we face hardship but we need to press on and, more importantly? LAUGH. Keep a sense of humor. Everything passes, but the writing will remain and often the thing we love (writing) can help us get through tough times. If I didn’t LOVE serving writers so much, I NEVER could have maintained my game face.

EVER.

So what about you guys? Do you have food allergies and faced down the Assassin-wich? Did you learn to press on even when life threw you a hardball…in the FACE?

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of June, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of June I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

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98 Comments

Santa Claus Recruited to Improve NSA’s Public Image & Head Intelligence Operations

Image via Flikr Creative Commons courtesy of Kevin Dooley

Image via Flikr Creative Commons courtesy of Kevin Dooley

Lately, Brave New World has become one of the hottest selling novels, and many of us have become even more suspicious of that white panel van that passes our homes daily. Sure it has ice-cream and plays tinkly music, but that cover is so thin Stevie Wonder could see right through it.

After the whole Edward Snowden whistle-blowing debacle, the Obama Administration and the Intelligence community have been up to their ears in hot water and bad press. Spying on regular citizens with no cause or warrant? Invading privacy and throwing the 4th Amendment out the window? Reading our e-mails? Monitoring our Internet? Those activities are just the sort that create an image problem.

Thus, sources tell me (sources being the voices in my head) that, in order to get back in the good graces of the American public, the current administration has decided to appoint Santa to head up any future intelligence operations. Come on, Santa IS the perfect fit.

Santa Knows Everyone and Everything

He knows when you’ve been sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake…

Revised for the Intelligence community:

He knows what you’ve been surfing. He knows the shows you hate. He knows if you vote red or blue, so be good if you know what’s good for you…

Alright, maybe a little clunky, but still a clear warning for all of us to behave. Santa can spot all kinds of terrorist activities like 1) putting the roll of toilet paper with the paper feeding under not over, 2) paying retail 3) wearing white shoes after Labor Day 4) listening to too much Justin Bieber and 5) possessing lukewarm appreciation for the sheer AWESOMENESS of Grumpy Cat and more…

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 7.52.32 AM

All I’m saying is why didn’t they recruit this guy earlier? How much time and money could we have saved locating Osama bin Laden? One would think that being omniscient is an automatic YES! for being hired to the NSA. Um, duh?

He Travels Beyond Light Speed

This guy travels the world faster than Google. Think of how much more efficient spying would be if we could do it as fast as Santa. Santa can hop down a few hundred million chimneys, eat cookies, take time to nicely stack presents with an appreciation for presentation and then LEAVE with no proof he’s been there other than missing cookies and that new iPad we asked for beautifully wrapped and left under our Christmas trees.

Which brings me to my next point…

He’s Untraceable 

People have been searching for this guy for CENTURIES yet he still leaves no evidence…even after the invention of DNA profiling. IN, OUT, GONE. Perfect recruit for the Intelligence world. He’s never even been located on radar. Maybe Santa could instruct our government how he makes the sleigh the perfect stealth aircraft. Maybe we’ve been underestimating “Reindeer Technology.” We could TOTALLY use that kind of help.

Image via Flikr Commons courtesy of Mark Dumont...

Image via Flikr Commons courtesy of Mark Dumont…

Who knew these things were so FAST? Why aren’t physicists in Cern running THESE guys through the Hadron Collider?

Enemies Would Underestimate Him

Santa shows up, and all the bad guy is thinking is one of two things:

1) Why is some guy from the mall dressed as Santa at my house in JULY?

2) OMG! It’s TOTALLY freaking SANTA!

Nobody expects to be capped by SANTA. No one pulls out a weapon or thinks of self defense when faced with this cherub-faced man known for his superlative gift-giving skills. Santa could double-tap any ruthless dictator before they could ask, “Hey, did you bring me that nuclear device I asked for in my letter?”

Santa Has More Doubles than Castro

Even when the bad guys (known as the American public) catch on that Santa is in charge of the NSA, what can we do about it? He has doubles EVERYWHERE and thing is?

…..We never know which one is real.

This man is the perfect spy.

Uparalleled Work Ethic

Santa delivers billions of gifts and is paid in MILK AND COOKIES. This guy not only works cheap, but he’s FAST, so he could work for ALL our security agencies—NSA, CIA, FBI, ICE, and Facebook.

…and *spoiler alert*

He Isn’t REAL

This is really key because I’m pretty sure that imaginary creatures can’t violate the Constitution. Also, since he’s apparently immortal, the taxpayers wouldn’t have to pay for dental, health care or retirement planning. This dude works FOREVER and he’s got roughly 363 days of the year free, since everyone knows that his elves do all the shopping, building and wrapping.

PROBLEM SOLVED.

The government could keep spying on regular citizens because we just accept that Santa’s been doing it for centuries and we never griped before. He’s not only been reading our mail, but our THOUGHTS.

I mean right now, we’re looking at our government through Huxley-an glasses. What better way to improve their public image than have SANTA as the face of Intelligence?

HE GIVES GIFTS!!!

At least we’d have a trade-off for losing our Constitutional right to privacy. PRESENTS!

The Administration needs to recruit Santa NOW before someone else does.

What are your thoughts? How else does Santa make the perfect choice for spying on the entire world? Who might be a better choice? And, if Santa DOES spy on us, shouldn’t we get presents more often than just ONCE a year? Maybe people like me who left their Christmas trees up until MEMORIAL DAY aren’t just lazy white trash? MAYBE we were onto something. MAYBE it was really just to appease the guy spying on us. Bet you feel super silly now taking your trees down before MARCH.

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of June, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of June I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

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97 Comments

Help Me, I’m Drowning

Screen Shot 2013-02-26 at 8.23.46 AM

Flikr Creative Commons via Aimanness Photography

Many writers feel overwhelmed. We’re frequently trying to balance a day job, family, special occasions, emergencies, blogging, social media, laundry and even BATHING. It seems like just about the time we get a good juggling rhythm, someone tosses another bowling pin in our hand (sick kid, car breaking down, computer crashing).

I’d love to say that I’m perfect at these tips I’m about to offer, but I’m a lousy liar. But, I will say that though I’m not where I’d like to be, I’m far from where I used to be (again, thank you Joyce Meyer).

Sometimes We JUST Need to Outsource

I do a fairly good job of at least keeping the house looking like it was hit by a Category ONE Hurricane and not a KATRINA. But, do I have time to scrub all the floors properly and dust the blinds and make the shower sparkle like new? To wipe away ALL the macaroni and cheese The Spawn has painted on various surfaces? To vacuum every crevice filled with Cheerios and cat fur?

*clutches sides laughing*

My solution? Once a month a team of housekeepers come to rescue me. I love Maid Day. It’s like Christmas morning for the working mother. The house smells of Lavender Pine-Sol and everything glows…for at least a half an hour. Granted, I had to give up Bikram yoga (and settle for working out at the regular gym). Also don’t get to eat out as much, but that $90 a month is priceless for my sanity. I tend to be a person that needs things to be tidy or I can’t focus.

Dust bunnies will start a rock band if you leave them together too long.

Redefine What Clean Means

In the comments on my last post, a lot of you fretted about the unmade beds and the dishes and the laundry. I do too. But I am getting better. There was a time I would not have been able to work until I made my house shine like Maid Day. Now? If I can see the floors and flat surfaces?

We’re good.

The inside of my house seriously needs to be painted. I got through half the rooms then developed such bad tendonitis, I couldn’t finish. So the livingroom has patched holes from where the previous owners hung their pictures. We also have a few Crayon “murals” from The Spawn’s early years.

We won’t even begin to discuss the condition of our carpet (Hint: a toddler, two cats and a dog).

But there was a time this would have bothered me to the point of needing medication. I would’ve sold a kidney to hire painters and get new flooring. Now?

Just look away. Learn to un-see.

The Spawn claims he "Zombie-Proofed" his room.

The Spawn claims he “Zombie-Proofed” his room.

This past week has been super stressful. Mom in hospital, niece graduation, final revisions on new book, but oddly, what stressed me out the most? The belt on the vacuum broke. Instead of hoofing it across town to the closest vacuum supply, I thought, “Let’s order one off-line. Surely it will get here in a day or so because the place is in Dallas (40 minutes from us).”

It took a WEEK. Apparently the vacuum supply never expected someone to order a belt and BAGS for their vacuum and had to have them shipped from North Carolina.

Seriously.

It’s been over a WEEK since our floors have been vacuumed. O…M…G. That is a week of crumbs, cereal, cat fur, and pieces of plastic from toys Pippa has half-eaten.

Pippa found the clean baby blankets.

Pippa found the clean baby blankets.

...and the load of clean towels fresh out of the dryer.

…and the load of clean towels fresh out of the dryer.

Again, just look away. Get back to work.

Does the Five Second Rule apply to dogs sleeping in your clean laundry?

To make it in this game, we have to up our standards in some places (our craft) and lower them in others (laundry can wait, just hide it in the bathtub behind the shower curtain :D). We can’t live at 1000% in all areas and not completely drown. We need lifelines.

Delegate

When Mom was in the hospital, they kept screwing up her food. She has all the same food allergies as I do (no gluten, dairy, soy, etc.). Harris seriously has the most incompetent kitchen staff, EVER. They put bread on every meal they brought me when I was in the maternity ward. Did the same thing to Mom this past week.

Actual statement from my stay at Harris: But your burger doesn’t have wheat. That’s white bread. *head desk*

But I digress…

There was a time I would have dropped everything, run to Whole Foods and then driven the 40 minutes to Fort Worth to bring her food. This time? Called Palio’s and sent her a GF, dairy-free pizza…twice.

And she loved it.

If you have an intense period of revisions, ask fellow writers for guest posts. Post YouTube videos as your blog. Let your teenage kids find cool stuff for you. Allow your family to be part of your success. Let people help. We like to help.

I know I am still working on this delegating-asking-for-help-thing. I’m the first person to offer a hand, but seriously need to work on asking for help when I’m swamped. But I am improving :D.

All of this is a process. Some days we will rock it and others we will just….

Yeah.

Focus On What Endures

In the end, just remember. The laundry will never be finished. The dishes will never stay clean. Walls will need repainting and carpet will have to be vacuumed weekly…or hourly if you have a toddler. But relationships? Memories with our family and kids? Love? Finished books? Blogs that new people can discover or that can be made into books? Healthy friendships? Our art? Those things endure, thus need to be our priority.

What about you? Do you completely forget to delegate? Does asking for help just not even enter your mind until you’re one inch from a nervous breakdown? Are you good at delegation? Or are you a hopeless control freak (*guilty face*)? Have you learned to be better at asking for help or delegating? Any tips? Advice?

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of June, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of June I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

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105 Comments

Happy Memorial Day! My Depressing Yet Hysterical Military “Career”

Screen Shot 2013-05-24 at 10.13.46 AM

I need a montage! A montage!

There were two dreams I’d had since childhood. One? To be a writer. The other? I wanted to be in the military. Dad’s family is Scottish and Mom is all Viking, and our family has served in every war…probably ever (knowing my family, we might have even started a couple).

They heard you get free beer.

Soldiering is in My Blood

Legend has it great-great-great Oma Damsgaard was a hell of a shield-maiden, when she wasn’t haggling over the price of pickled herring or rosemaling the outhouse. Seriously, I watch the AWESOME show Vikings, and I am all like Now it all makes sense.

OPA!

OPA!

Hellions of the Highlands

My father’s side of the family (the Lamonts) fought the English from the Highlands of Scotland, then high-tailed it to America after the clan they’d aligned with to kick some English butt betrayed them and allied with the enemy. Most of the Lamonts were killed, but a few were at sea…probably trying to woo hot Viking women. Anyway, once in America, the Lamonts (now LAMBS) served in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and on and on.

Remember the ALAMO!

I even had TWO relatives at the Alamo (from paternal grandmother’s side–Holland and Rose). Tapley Holland was the first to step across the line and volunteer to fight the Mexican Army. Of course, legend also has it, he thought that was the beer line. Moses Rose was the only one to leave the Alamo, namely because he preferred wine and was tired of fighting. He’d been fighting in the French Army most of his life, thus was used to retreating war-weary and wanted to get home to his family…and wine.

And Miss a WORLD WAR???

My mom’s grandfather lied about his name and age (took his older brother’s name) so he could fight in WWI. He served until they found out and kicked him out, so he just signed up again using his real name. My great-uncle died in Pearl Harbor and my grandfather was a paratrooper in WWII. He served in Northern Japan and helped set up the first elections. Dad and Mom served in the Navy during Vietnam. My Uncle Jimmy was a Navy Master Chef who cooked for two U.S. Presidents.

So, since writing wasn’t a real job, guess what I wanted to do when I grew up? You got it. I am such a joiner. Also, I’d switched high schools so many times I don’t even know how I graduated and I needed college money.

My Brief History of the Army

I decided on the Army since I spoke German and really wanted to live in Germany. After rocking the ASVAB, I pretty much had my choice of what I wanted to do. I get my paperwork filled out, they send me to MEPS, all is good. The day of the physical, I become violently ill out of nowhere and…that part where they make you stand in nothing but underwear (and bra)? Where they check for scars, tattoos, and knee problems? Passed clean OUT. BAM! HIT THE FLOOR!

I have had broken bones, given BIRTH and never passed out….EVER.

As soon as I was out of MEPS? I was fine. Like I’d never been sick.

Even Briefer History of the Navy (Part One)

So I figure, WTH? I’ll try the Navy. Apparently the branches of the military actually do communicate no matter what movies tell you, and a medical disqualification lasts two years.

The Air Force AND MARINES

I go ahead and go to community college. I know I have two years to make AWESOME grades to get a scholarship with the military. The MDQ is up and I apply. I win TWO scholarships. A full ride to medical school from the Air Force and I can go to TCU (where my grandfather went and it’s local so no moving) OR I can take a partial Marine Corps scholarship to be a pilot, but it’s at Texas A&M…which requires moving.

GO USAF! 

I’d love to say I wanted to become a doctor to save lives, but it really had more to do with inherent laziness when it comes to moving. Thus, I decide I am going to be either an M.E. or a flight surgeon (LOVED Quincy as a kid but checking out hot pilots held great promise, too).

So, I swear in.

YES! I MADE IT! I AM TOTALLY IN THE FREAKING AIR FORCE! SCORE! *fist pump*

I spend two years as a Neuroscience major. I am even offered an opportunity to attend the Air Force Academy. I had a congressional nomination AND an AFROTC nomination. Granted, it would mean doing a year over, but hell, I was used to that after high school…and it was THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY! I decide, tempting as it was, I would remain at TCU (the whole “moving thing”). I’d finish my Neuroscience degree and then go to med school in Dallas.

Then, in early March of 1995, Fort Worth has freak ice storm. TCU decides NOT to close the school and I have a paper due. All my school money is contingent on me making As. While rushing to class, I slip, fall…and fracture my lower back.

Yep, you got it. Lost the scholarship and no longer Air Force. Medically disqualified AGAIN.

Ironically, had I gone to the Air Force Academy I would have been okay….or crushed in a freak avalanche.

And We Are Back at the Navy

So a few years later, I am still denying that I really, really want to be a writer, because writing was for homeless hippies who wrote bad poetry at Starbucks, right?

I go to the Navy. I take all the tests. With my degree (Political Economy of the Middle East and North Africa) and language skills (I spoke three at the time—now I can barely speak ONE) they TOTALLY wanted me as an Intelligence Officer.

I sign the papers, make an appointment for MEPS. Over the weekend, I have my 5 year-old nephew at the pool…and I slip and get a third-degree sprain on my left foot (tearing almost every ligament up to the knee) and taking off half of my toe (they put it back :D).

BAD KRISTEN!

So SHORT OF HITTING ME WITH FREAKING LIGHTNING, God was all *thump* “NO! You will NOT be military. BAD KRISTEN!”

*celestial newspaper cracks*

Oddly enough, right after the ankle thing, I applied for law school and got in….only “magically” the letter of acceptance made it to me too late. I received the letter the DAY OF Freshman Orientation.

Thus, I do feel I was born to be a writer.  In a sense it seems almost my fate, my path. So if you don’t like my blog, it is totally God’s fault :P. Talk to Him.

Heck, I tried everything else and this is the only thing that has seemed to work, :D. Yet, as a compromise, I DID marry an Air Force guy, so the military tradition remains…though I hope The Spawn grows up to be a writer NOT a Navy SEAL. Or even better, he can write video games ABOUT NAVY SEALS. For what it’s worth, I DO play all the CALL of DUTY games on expert level…though in real life I am ruthless as a rose petal.

Spiders get scooped up and tossed outside.

So please enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend for the REAL heroes out there. Hey, I tried to help but apparently God knows me too well. The Army would’ve told me to charge a hill and I’d be all like, “Um, I dated that hill in college and that is a hill that will NOT change.” 

And, with all my injuries I am more accurate than Doppler radar when it comes to weather.

Have you served? Do you come from warrior stock? Did you give it a good college try like I did? Feel free to laugh at me. I totally do. What’s your story? Kind of hard to outdo this sort of epic stupid, but I double dare you to try :D.

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of May, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of May I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

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