Wednesday, December 29, 2010

An Interview with Hayden Nelson

*Please welcome to the party the second character from the book!! Very exciting!! I hope y'all enjoy this little peek into his personality and that it makes you even more anxious to get to know him better.
Till then,
View DetailsBOOK CHAT with Caroline IrvineView Details

    Slowly but surely, I've been making my way through interviewing the main characters in the new book series by Laurel native KD Wood but it has been no easy thing to do. Before I was granted an interview a few weeks ago by Neely McIntire, lead female character, I only thought accomplishing that had been difficult. Getting granted an interview by one of the two male characters was worse than pulling teeth. It took even more calls and pleading to talk Hayden Nelson into sitting down with me. 
    He agreed to meet me at a local restaurant a few days after agreeing to the interview. Prompt and courteous, he stood when I walked in and held out a hand to shake. He's around an even six feet tall topped off with a wavy mop of reddish-brown hair and turquoise eyes. I notice that his smile is more of a impish grin as we sit down. Once I'd settled in my own seat, he leaned forward in his chair slightly to cross his arms over his chest. Those bright blue eyes seemed to be able to see right into my very soul. I wondered how any local honeybun was able to resist them. Hayden Nelson gave me the impression that he's a guy comfortable in his own skin. His relaxed demeanor and smooth features weren't what I was expecting after the hoops I had to jump through to get him here. 

Q. Thanks so much for agreeing to meet with me Hayden. It's nice to finally meet you. 
A.  No problem. Neely told me it wasn't too difficult and sort of dogged me out for not agreeing sooner. She told me I was being a whiny-baby about it. 

Q. Really? You don't mind that she picks on you like that?
A. Naw, I'm used to it. Neely's been my best friend since we were thrown together by our parents as babies. She doesn't cut me any slack.  

Q. Neely seemed to be enjoying most aspects of being in the book, so how are you handling it? Are you enjoying being part of the series?
A. It's been interesting so far and I enjoy a good story, so that part has been fun. KD doesn't let us tell much so it really hasn't been difficult. I imagine when things get going more I might not like the hub-bub so much.

Q. I only know a few bits and pieces about your role in the story. Is there anything you can tell me?
A. Well...aside from the fact that I'm in it, nope. KD won't let us say much about it. She's totally mental about keeping the plot secret and stuff like that but I can tell you things about me.

Q. Alright, tell me a little bit about do you go to school?
A. Right now I'm a senior at West Jones High. I turn eighteen in February and I've lived here my whole life.

Q. Any plans after you graduate?
A. Right now I'm planning on helping my dad run our farm out in the county.

Q. So you don't plan on going to college?
A. Naw, not if I can get away with it. I have two older brothers in college right now.

Q. You have more than one brother I take it, can you tell me a little bit about your family?
A. My parents are Will and Camilla Nelson and I have three older brothers. Todd is at MSU in vet school, Caleb is a fireman in Laurel and Nathan is in his second year at JCJC. My folks have a farm out in the county off highway 84W.

Q. Are you the youngest?
A. Yep, it goes; Todd, Caleb, Nathan then me.

Q. What do you do for fun?
A. My brothers and I spend most of our time working for dad during the week, but I enjoying fishing on the river out at our weekend place. There's a pretty good size sand bar my friends and I hang out on on the during the summer. There 's always deer hunting, riding four-wheelers and ballgames. You know, regular stuff.

Q. What are you listening to these days?
A. I don't go for a lot of new stuff. I have Skynrd CD's that I keep in my jeep all the time but I have a few other things at the house. Hank Williams for sure, a little Bon Jovi, ACDC and Metallica but only the records before the new haircuts. I have Cold Play in my stereo at home but it's not actually mine. I borrowed it from Neely. Her taste varies more than mine.

Q. You and Neely are obviously really close. Have you ever been more than just friends?
A. Yeah, we're close but mainly because we've been friends for as long as I can remember. She's a great friend, plus she never takes any crap off me. That girl won't hesitate to put me in my place but we've never dated. That could go wrong on so many levels.

Q. But if you've never tried going out, how do you know she's not perfect for you?
A. Aw man, you're killing me with this. I guess it's that I just can't afford to lose her as my friend you know. We're too young to be that serious. Whatever happens in the future...well...who knows. For now though, we're best friends. 

Q. I didn't mean to put you on the spot.
A. It's cool. Don't worry, you ain't the first person to yank my chain about it.

Q. Being the youngest of four brothers, I'm sure you've had your share of trouble with getting heard. Do you find that same issue with being heard among so many characters in the different stories?
A. Um...I don't think so. Yeah, now there are times when the conflict annoys me just because I'm impatient. Plus, I don't get along with the other male lead at all. Somehow KD seems to balance all our attitudes out really well. Honestly, it can't be easy having so many folks shouting in your head all the time.

Q. Neely and I spoke about how there is definitely at least one more book, possibly three total. Are you excited about that?
A. I am. It's a great story and the suspense is so tight in some places it gives me chills. Plus, no one likes a story that ends without answering every single question. It's taken KD that many books to get them all answered I guess.

Q. Interesting, so is there anything about the series you're especially looking forward to?
A. I guess I'm anxious for the story to finally become available to everyone so we don't have to be so secretive anymore. As far as the story it's really like chapter thirteen and twenty-one in the first book for totally different reasons. There are so many twisty and topsy-turvey things in this series that everyone will have favorite parts for sure. 

November 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010

Second Song from the Playlist

 View Details   Here we go! It's week two of my sneak-peeks and teasers. I hope everyone enjoyed the first two story elements released last week. You would think it would've been exciting or thrilling for me but my nerves were jangling against my skin as I pressed that "publish post" button to introduce Neely to the world. As I watched it jump onto the screen, I almost lost my cookies.
    Once I finished that last edit on Book One over the summer, I remember resting back on the couch cushions and getting hit with the realization of what I was actually doing. It was totally exciting to know that I'd accomplished something so amazing. In less than five months, I'd written a story consisting of over 140,000 words and corrected typos until my eyes crossed. At the same time, the shiny pieces of my excitement linked up with the mind-boggling realization that I'd  just poured my heart out and emptied every element of a story I'd been hording away in my imagination for years into the real world. Anyone who had functional eyeballs would be able to read it and know I have a weensy bit of a twisted imagination. Private person that I am, that fact scared the bejeezus out of me for a half a second.
    Now that I've endured the stress for the first time, I don't feel quite as nervous about revealing the second set of story elements. I guess that's true for everything we humans do that's outside our personal comfort box. The more you wallow around in it the easier it becomes to deal with your irrational fear.

Without anymore of my expressions of nerves, here is the second song from the play list and a little information on the scene it relates to.
Point of View - Andrew Huckley
Leona Lewis...The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
*This song directly relates to the first time Andrew meets Neely.
Till Then,

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Big Thank You!

Discovering the “stats” tab on my blog has opened my eyes to just how vast and then not so vast the world has become. The internet is truly magical thing when you really start to think about it. I’d just like to take a moment and thank all those who’ve helped push the blog past the 500 mark this week. To all my new friends in the United States, Canada, Finland, United Kingdom, Croatia, Denmark and Singapore, thanks so much for visiting and I hope you are enjoying the experience as much as I am. Merry Christmas and I hope all your moments in 2011 are amazing.
Till then,

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What's on the Nightstand?

   “What are you reading?” I get asked this question a LOT these days. I totally don’t mind either. There’s nothing better than introducing a fellow book worm or, even better, someone who is just finding out they enjoy reading to an amazing book. Don’t you dare laugh, you get your jolly’s your own way and I’ll get mine my way. I can’t help it that my life is snooze-worthy sometimes.
    So because of this, I thought I’d do a weekly entry dedicated to this question. The photo is a picture of my real-life bedside table (or if you live below the Mason Dixon, nightstand) and the gigantic pile of books on it. As you can see, I am in serious need of a bookshelf. I didn’t bother to include a picture of Kyle’s side because all you’d see is a tube of lip balm and the remote. Like the old saying goes, opposites attract I guess.
    Since I reached my personal goal for 2010 a few weeks ago, I’m already looking forward to the books I’ll discover in 2011. There are quite a few I’m salivating for. Spring and their much anticipated release dates can’t get here soon enough for me. With my yearly reading goal set at 100 books, this particular posting will end up featuring more than one book per week since a year only has 52 weeks. The most I've ever been able to get through in a week is four, but that was when I wasn't sleeping at all. 
    To understand my excitement and modus-operandi, you have to understand that it’s DNA deep. All this number business is malady we Wood children share in one form or another. Actually, the counting thing is a strange habit I didn’t know we shared until we all got older. Sister counts mile posts when she drives. I find myself counting people in the gym, decorative things in homes and stores and randomly counting kids at the park with blond hair. And to make it worse, they all have to be even number amounts when I purchase things. I nearly couldn’t buy our newest house because it has an uneven number of shrubs in front. It drove me nuts! At the moment, I can’t remember what Brother’s favorite things to Monk-out over are. I have absolutely no doubt that he has them though.
    Sharing what you read can be a tricky business too. I’ll try my very best to keep the posts as spoiler free as possible. There’s nothing that irritates me more than for someone to tell me what happens in a book or movie I'm enjoying.
    Without anymore build-up, here's the first of my books for 2011:
#1 Them Bones Them Bones by Carolyn Haines.Carolyn Haines's picture
Carolyn Haines is a homegrown girl right out of Lucedale, MS so of course that made me love her instantly! Her very popular Bones series featuring delta belle, Sarah Booth Delaney, is fantastic. I read almost all the series in 2010 but I had a hard time getting my hands on a copy of Them Bones until now.  Them Bones is the first book in this series. A complete listing of her books in sequence can be found on This is by far the best website for discovering the order of a series of books. The lead character, Sarah Booth, finds herself down, out and back in her hometown to face all the uppityness of the local bunch of Daddy’s Girls having been unsuccessful in the bright lights of New York City. To make matters worse, she’s real close to losing her family home to debt. A series of unusual events of her own creation puts Sarah in one pickle after another as she tries to save the home she loves. This book is overflowing with Southern humor and vivid pictures of friends, family, love lost and possibly new love found. A wonderful read on every level and one I would recommend to all.
#2 Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane.
Unholy Ghosts  Stacia’s series featuring lead character Chess Putnam is my first experience with dark urban fantasy. Her writing is quite sharp and her characters are very colorful and imaginative. I find myself busting out laughing at the quick wit often. It took me forever to find her books with the lack-luster help in my local Books-a-Million or I would have read more of her work by now. Stacia has another series featuring lead character Megan Chase that I hope to discover soon if Hernando public library with get with the dang program. Telling too much about Unholy Ghosts will give away the details of the story so I’ll leave you all to read it for yourself for the most part. Here's what the book jacket says: The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen, and the living are under attack. The powerful Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased. Enter Chess Putnam, a fully tattooed and freewheeling ghost hunter. She's got a real talent for banishing the wicked dead. But Chess is keeping a dark secret; she owes a lot of money to a murderous drug lord named Bump, who wants immediate payback in the form of a dangerous job. Toss in lust for a rival gang leader and a dangerous attraction to Bump's ruthless enforcer, and Chess begins to wonder if the rush is really worth it.Stacia KaneStacia is a southern transplant to Atlanta, GA so that is another mark in the plus column for me. She maintains an active twitter and personal website complete with blog at where a complete listing of her work can be found.

Monday, December 20, 2010

An Interview with Neely McIntire

Today is a big day! This is the first time one of my characters gets to speak outside the book or my brain. Even more exciting is that once all the introductions are done, on come the actually teasers from the book!! I can barely stand it! I hope you all enjoy this cyber-interview with her and hopefully begin to see what she’s like.
Till then,

View DetailsBOOK CHAT with Caroline IrvineView Details

    I'd been trying for weeks to get granted a meeting with some of the characters from the new book series by Laurel, MS native, KD Wood. Unfortunately, I wasn't having much luck. Finally after several invitations, and even more refusals, my offer to interview the female lead character for Book Chat was finally accepted.
    After days and days of location coordination between myself and Neely's camp, I was finally invited to the McIntire home for our sit down. Eighteen year old Neely McIntire is the star of the new novel series and herself a native of Laurel, MS. She graciously agreed to sit down with me at her parents’ home in Jones County. Twisting my way through a half dozen country roads, I finally arrived at the McIntire's home. Her parents, Thomas and Alicia, met me at the door then led me into the living room to wait. They explained that Neely was on the phone getting last minute instructions from the publicist for the series about what she couldn't talk about. Thinking about how thrilled my editor had been that I’d scored the interview, that didn’t sound very promising.
    Mrs. McIntire led me to a couch in the living room to wait. The sound of a guitar being softly strummed drifted in as I sat and took in the elements of the room. Fifteen minutes later, Mrs. McIntire had offered me a big glass of sweet tea with Old Miss Rebels printed on it just about the same time I heard quick footsteps coming down the stairs. Standing to greet her as she came into the room, the young lady I assumed was Neely smiled and stuck out a thin but nicely tanned arm to shake hands. One of the first things I noticed is that her long strawberry-blonde curls hang well past her shoulders and frame her face nicely. Because I'm only five feet and five inches myself, I'd guesstimate she's around five-seven and built like a swimmer. Long arms, long legs, thin but muscular with some of the bluest eyes I've ever seen. She glided through the room and greeted me with a nice smile.
    After we'd shook, she settled in an overstuffed brown chair and swung one leg under the other before leaning towards me on the arm of the chair.

Q. Neely, it's nice to finally meet you and thanks for sitting down to talk to me for a bit.
A. It's nice to meet you too and thanks for driving all the way out here to the boondocks.

Q. I would think it’s very exciting to be part of a new book series. Have you enjoyed it so far?
A.'s been sort of fun, except for everything being such a dang secret all the time. I swear I feel like I'm going to screw up and spill the whole pot of beans every time I talk to someone about it.

Q. What do you mean?
A. Oh you know, KD is just so paranoid about plot secrets and giving things away. She won't let any of us out in public yet. Plus, she's constantly reminding us to keep our yaps shut so we don't spoil things for everyone else. “The books are meant to be enjoyed a certain way,” she says. She's a teeny bit mental about it if you ask me.

Q. Your mother told me you were on the phone with the publicist when I came in. Did she loosen your leash enough that you could tell us something about the story?
A. Nope. I can only tell you about myself and no one else. Sorry dude.

Q. Can you tell me anything about the book?
A. Not much, except that I'm in it and it's about something that happens to me. I can tell you things about myself though, she said that's fine.

Q. Okay...well, what's your role in the story?
A. I'm the lead female character and the story is told from my point of view, most of the time. KD has a fancy name for it like...uh... I can't ever remember the exact word.

Q. Is there a male lead?
A. Yep…and I’m not allowed to tell you about him. Well, there are actually two male lead characters but they'll have to do their own interviews. Sorry, paranoid remember.

Q. Of course, so what did you enjoy most about the story?
A. Easy now, that sounds like a trick question.

Q. Sorry. Okay, uh…can you tell me a little about you then?
A. Sure. I'm eighteen and about to graduate from high school. I live here with my parents Thomas and Alicia and I have a younger brother and sister, Carrie and Kyle. They're twins.

Q. Where do you go to school?
A. I'm a senior at West Jones High, but I'm going to MSU after graduation.

Q. Any plans yet on what you're going to study?
A. I want to design web pages but I’m not for sure about it yet.

Q. Are you happy to be graduating?
A. Yeah sort of, but I think I'll miss high school once I get to college because I'll miss my friends.

Q. What do you like most about the book?
A. That I'm in it ha! You thought you were going to get me didn't you?

Q. Sorry, you know I had to try. So what are you into? Like...what do you do on the weekends and after school?
A. I'm on the swim team and I spend a lot of time with my friends on the weekends. We go to the river and out to movies and things like that. In the off season I read a lot. I'm looking forward to graduation too. We even have a big party planned out at my best friend's river house after the ceremony.

Q. Tell me a little bit about your family. What do your parents do?
A. Well, my mom is a pediatrician and my dad is a lawyer. The twins are in the tenth grade.

Q. Your mom gave me a glass with Old Miss Rebels on it, are you a fan too?
A. Omigod, you didn't ask her about Old Miss, did you? I hope not or she'll be in here talking your ear off about them first chance she gets. My mother is crazy about them Rebels. It's so embarrassing. I’m not for them myself. One of my guy friends is being scouted pretty hard by Alabama so I think I’ll be rooting for them once he gets on the team. Football isn’t so much my thing you know.

Q.  Do you have any other family that's local?
A. Yeah, my mother's parents are just down the road, David and Semma Taylor, but my dad's folks passed away when I was little. Dad has a couple of sisters and a few aunts and uncles still living, but we only keep up with my great-aunt Gee Gee.

Q. I was reading up on your family and it says your dad's people were one of the first families to settle in Laurel. How does that legacy affect your future?
A. Huh...well that's a deep one. My dad's folks were very...I guess you could call them old money types. You know, they stepped on all the little guys to make their way and didn't give a flip how it might hurt them. My dad wasn't for that, and once he got old enough to make his own way, he did. It's one of the main reasons we don't have a lot to do with his aunts, uncles or sisters. Plus, my Aunt’s nag the bejeezus out of Dad.

Q. Do you get along with your brother and sister?
A. Most of the time I guess. My brother is super laid back, really into his guitar, and sweet as can be. My sister is alright but she's mega high-maintenance. Carrie is all about clothes and shopping and stuff, I'm so not into that.

Q. Do you have a best friend?
A. Hayden and I have been friends since we were babies and Lacy and I met in kindergarten. That's my two best buds.

Q. What are you listening to?
A. Um...I just bought The Script's album and I have Cold Play in my stereo right now. The next one I want is Tokyo Police Club, they are real cool. I watched them on Fallon a few weeks ago.

Q. I saw a shiny black Mercedes SLK 300 in the driveway, is that yours?
A. It's awesome right!? I had the windows tinted when Dad gave it to me and it's so wicked looking now. He handed it down to me a couple of years ago when he upgraded to the Mercedes SLS AMG. Dad keeps that thing in the garage when he's not driving it and won't let anyone but mom ride in it. Notice I said ride, not drive. I've been about to die to drive it but he won't even consider it.

Q. I hear there's for sure one more book, are you in that one too?
A. Yep, it's the continuation of the first book so it's more of my story. I'm excited about it and it's really good so far. I know there's a rough outline for a third but it's very rough at the moment. There are a lot more intense details in the second one and the story is quite the roller coaster of emotions.  

Q. You seem to be really close to the author.
A.  I guess you could say that since I'm part of her imagination. There's been times when she's gotten annoyed at everyone in the story, me included, because we have our own ideas about how things are supposed to go. Like any creative process, there's a conflict sometimes between how KD wants things to go and how I know I would do things but she's always takes the time to listen to all sides, even when she doesn't want to. Now, some of the other characters are more pig-headed than I am, which is saying a lot, but eventually KD always finds the right path for the story.

Q. I guess KD doesn't mind you in her head all the time?
A. Whether she minds me being in her head I can't say for sure. I can imagine it gets irritating sometimes though. I think there are moments that our conversations would be more convenient, like when she's not in the shower, but she's even come up with ways around that too.

Q. What do you mean? How does she get around it?
A. The solution was born out of pure necessity really. In the beginning, ideas and conversations kept happening when she would get in the shower. Two kids and husband to tend to, it’s really the only time she’s alone in quiet. So, she put a dry erase marker in the shower basket. She writes everything on the shower door if we happen to need to talk right then. KD's pretty inventive when she has to be. You should have seen the look on her husband’s face when he walked in and saw it the first time, it was priceless. He thought she’d gone loony.

Q. Does it ever get too crowded in her imagination? I mean with two solid books written and two more in the works, there's got to be a little pushing and shoving to get heard sometimes right?
A. Well sure, there are days when my voice gets drowned out by other characters but it works out somehow. Sometimes my character needs the rest and then the others who have been waiting need to be heard. We work pretty well together most of the time.

Q. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me. Is there anything about the book you can share? Even the tiniest thing…?
A. You just don't know how much of a cow KD would have if it spilled the beans. I guess I can tell you it's a story slam full of twists and turns that no one in a little town like Laurel would expect. So get ready to be on pins and needles right till the end.

November 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

First Song From The Playlist

View DetailsMusic plays a huge part in my writing. A good song can mold whole chapters or sometimes simply help to keep the creative juices flowing during a difficult writing day. I've always been drawn to songs that have wonderful lyrics and melodies. Now that's not to say I won't enjoy a song because it's not heavy with emotion and poetic writing. Some of the dumbest songs can instantly transport me back to being sixteen and cruising down Old Bay. Heck, I can't even mentally arrange the words "buttermilk biscuit" without immediately thinking the name Sir Mix A Lot. Do not even try and tell me that song didn't just jump into your mind because I'll know you're lying.
    Creating a play list for a story is just one of the really fun parts of writing. For all my years of high school this first song played in the background of my mind. It was a sort of comfort when teachers irritated me or my grades took a dive into the pooper. Which was unfortunately more often than I enjoy remembering. Now let me stress, my book is not in any way autobiographical. Each character is a creation from my imagination is not based on any person living or dead. I have to live with the real people in my life not the characters. You can't imagine how often I have to reiterate this.
     Anywho, school was hard for me. I put lots of unnecessary pressure on myself and never felt like I truly succeeded at any part of it. Being around my friends was the fun part. The education part, not so fun. This song was my silent rebellion, my internal goth, my tiny form of undercover anarchy. I tell you all that to explain that I can't really write about high school without including this song.
    I guess you could say this song is a big hint as to when we first meet the characters. The high school years are a great place to dump chaos on a character. Those years are a swirling mess of self-inflicted misery without much help. Sweetening the pot with a little extra makes for a story that tingles with energy.
    So without further adieu, here's the first song.

Pink Floyd, Another Brick in the Wall
Till Then,

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Going Home, Sunday

    I don't know if you can tell it by now, but I'm a difficult patient. I like things the way I like them and really don't give a rat's hairy behind what anyone thinks about it. Sunday was a hard day because my bad patient tendencies were raging. I was past ready to make like a baby and head out of that crowded, hot, irritating room.
    The staff was a weensy bit more on target first thing in the morning since they got my blood drawn by five o'clock that morning. We'd had bad news on the first blood test the day before so I was grouchy about hearing the results already.
    Once Dr. Foreman (K nicknamed him that because he's Dr. Broome's helper and he's the spitting image of the actor on the TV show House) came by and tortured me a little by yanking off the surgical dressings, he informed me I was on my way home after the blood test comes in. I wasn't nearly as impressed as he was expecting when he informed me I was in that tiny group of blessed few who are allergic to adhesive on bandages. Needless to say, my surgical sites are a wreck. One of the nurses covered them for me thankfully or the ride home was sure to be torture.
    A little before eleven the good news of my blood work came in and we were overjoyed. My lazy left adrenal wasn't actually lazy after all and I wasn't in need of any additional medications. I can't begin to tell you how happy that made me. Prednazone is a nasty little slice of misery in itself and I so didn't want to take it. So finding out I was officially on my way home and without any medicine was the best thing I'd heard in a long time.
    Our nurse called for a transport and I bid my roommate farewell. By this time I was past ready to leave and the passage of forty-five minutes waiting on a wheelchair wasn't working for me. Finally, I told K to grab my stuff we were leaving. I didn't need no stinking wheelchair anyway.
     I'd like to tell you I flounced my self right out of there, but in reality, I very slowly made my way to the lobby to wait on my ride. I've never been so glad to feel cool wind on face.
    Our ride home was pleasant even with a slightly uncomfortable stop at Cracker Barrel. The chill in the air wasn't too kind to my sore muscles. But four hours later we cruised into Heritage Drive and I unfolded my stiff self from the car.
    The boys, dogs, nephew and Sister had been quite the busy little elves while we were in Nashville. My wonderful sister had endured putting up my Christmas tree and house decorations all by her lonesome. I can't say I could have done it any better or would've tried with all three boys. The boys were overjoyed to see Papaw and Mamaw and they were glad I was home too. They had even bought me a bunch of red roses and orange lilies.
    After a long hot shower, I settled into the only place I could stand. The dang recliner I've been trying to throw out for years. Dad, Sister and lil Monster left a few hours later since reality was waiting for them Monday morning. Mom was going to stay until Tuesday since K had to work Monday. All things considered, Sunday was a success. I was home, everything had stayed together despite my absence and the worst part of this journey was over.
Till then,

Monday, December 6, 2010

Surgery Day, Friday and Saturday Too

    By 6:45 a.m. on December 3rd I was dressed in my super-hot and fancy purple hospital gown. Unfortunately though, no one seems to be able to design one without your butt hanging out the back despite how fancy they've become. I had my IV, my blue hat, a pair of sticky bottomed socks (in purple of course) and was perched in my bed waiting for my turn in the OR when Dr. Broome arrived to go over the last minute questions and what-will-happens.
    For the next hour and a half a troop of folks swarmed through asking all the same things over and over again. Everyone wanted to see my throat, hear my heartbeat, look at my bracelet, know what my birthday was etc. etc. Finally the one person I actually wanted to see showed up. The anesthesia dudes. Yay for Versaid is all I can say.
    At a few minutes till 9:00 a.m. I'd said my see-you-laters to K and they dosed me up with sleepy juice which was fine with me since I was feeling pretty antsy right about that time. Rolling out into the hall, it was as busy as a beehive with purple-draped souls like myself being shoved along the corridor to our designated rooms.
    Now the next twelve hours are sort of a fuzzy mishmash of faces and pain so I can't tell you with any degree of certainty exactly what happened. What I can tell you is that I woke up a lot of hours later in a semi-private room that thankfully was private for the moment. Honestly, I had no idea that there was such things as a semi-private room in 2010. Over the next few days I would learn lots of semi-private things unfortunately.
    Mom and I made it fairly well that first night but it was pretty rough. My first attempt to get up to visit the restroom almost convinced me it wasn't worth it. I found that if I held my side and moved slowly I could eventually get there. Mom went back to the hotel after K and Dad came back from breakfast. That was a good thing because I was afraid she was going to slap the hell out of the next nurse who gave us the excuse "I've been really busy" when I called for something. Let's just say the staff response time needed lots of improvement.
    I had a little set back that first whole day I was in the hospital and the surgeon's decided that I needed to stay another night which I wasn't happy about. I was even more unhappy when I found out I was getting a roommate. God love her, she was a nice lady and all but I really didn't want to share my personal space with a stranger. It was a exercise in patience, tolerance, holding on to sanity and Christian love to endure the incessant blathering from her monotone husband. Once he went home, the situation was easier to deal with.
    Anyone who knows me well can understand why I would be so irritated by having a roommate. For those of you who don't, well let's just say my germaphobia really starts kicking in a hospital and goes through the roof at the idea of sharing certain intimacies with strangers.
    If you've ever had surgery you know that there are certain tasks you must perform before they will release you. You can't throw up, you have to eat and drink on your own, walk and use the restroom. Now I don't know about y'all, but my parents didn't raise me to fart amongst strangers. Unfortunately, that's exactly what the nurses wanted me to do. See, this is where the semi-private issue was causing me problems. I was too sore and stiff to hurry to the communal restroom once the urge reared it's head but too embarrassed to blow it out in front of two strangers. Our beds were so close I could literally reach out and touch her so there was going to be fall out one way or another. Her raising must have been different because she had no quam's about blowing it out in front of my people.
    Finally, I'd completed all the requirements in the most lady-like way I could and was prepared to go home Sunday. Mom and I had our fingers crossed at least. Saturday night was difficult again and Sunday morning began early with a five o'clock blood draw. Now that's a rough way to wake up. Sunday deserves it's own page so I will end with this. Vanderbilt Medical Center is the leader in medical science in lots of ways and I'm thankful for all the awesome doctors there, but their hospital room environments leave a lot to be desired. Especially for those of us who don't enjoy playing the fart game.
Till then,

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Day Before, Thursday

    So like I told you about last time, I'm up here in Nashville to have yet another piece that the good Lord installed removed. It's unfortunate but the thing is a major dud and got to go. A drive up before the actually surgery day was necessary for a pre-operative appointment at ten this morning. It was a okay trip I guess considering we went to bed at one in the morning and were all back up to leave by six. And can I just say wow to the Tennessee Highway patrol for being out in such a force today. I've never seen so many sneaky cops trying to give me a ticket. All in all though a beautiful and easy drive North.
    Unfortunately because of all the cops we were nearly late for the appointment though. I slid into this joint with one minute to spare and bada-bing bada-boom we were out the door and done with pre-op in under an hour. Thank you Vanderbilt check-in for getting it done so fast!
    K, Mom, Dad and I enjoyed a nice lunch at the local Chili's and made a educated decision on our hotel choice. Thank heaven's one of the townies was nice enough to point us in the opposite direction of the hotels with bed bugs! My skin wants to crawl off just thinking about it. My grandmother wouldn't have ever let me back in her house if we'd have come home infected with "chinchez" as she calls them.
    After a tiny nap and organizing things for the early report to the hospital, we all headed downstairs to the hotel grill for dinner. The food was awesome and there was even the added bonus of a trio of local talent singing some of their original songs. Two of the three were really good. The music was a great relaxer from the nerves I was beginning to feel about the surgery.
    I've gotten lots and lots of messages and calls today from friends and family and it's been such an encouragement. Thanks to everyone for the prayers and positive energy. I have no doubt things will go easy and perfectly in the morning and all your love has really propped me up.
    At the moment, K and I are just chilling in the Holiday Inn's totally comfy bed. K is watching wrestling and fending calls from Son#1 after each match. He's watching at home with Sister, Son#2, the baby monster, Puddin' and Cinnamon then calling to discuss each match with K. Can you stand it? Lord only knows I can't. I have my books and laptop thankfully.
    To everyone wanting to know how things go, no worries. My mother has a list to go by and I've taught her how to text. If you don't get a answer from me, don't worry I'll read everything once I am less medicated. Thanks again for every one of them in advance!
Till then,

Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkey with a side of Anesthesia

    Thanksgiving is a big time for my family. Of course a holiday always involves a drive back to the old home town to spend a few days with the grandparents, cousins, in-laws and out-laws and more home cooking than the law allows in most cases. K and I both have large families so we do our best to balance our visit between the two groups. That balancing act isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do when it has to be squished into just a few days but somehow it always works out.
    As I drove down Tuesday, I sort of pondered on exactly what this holiday would mean to me this year. In a lot of ways, this Thanksgiving will be a hard one because it’s been a long, rough year for me physically. Anyone who lives away from family understands how difficult things can be if you have to travel or become ill. I’m immensely blessed with family members who have come to my aid when we’ve gotten in a bind. If I’ve needed them they’ve come, no questions, they just show up and pitch in. I’m a lucky girl in lots of ways but especially where family is concerned.
    On December 3rd my family will pitch in again and help K, the boys and me get through a very rough couple of days. December 2nd, we will leave at five in the morning to travel to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee for a pre-operative visit with my super-duper Endocrinologist Dr. Broome to discuss the surgery he will perform the next morning. Friday at 9:00 a.m. he will be removing my right adrenal gland because it has a tumor in it. The mass has caused a condition called sub clinical Cushing’s, and it’s a nasty little slice of misery in lots of ways. The doctor’s say the mass is not cancerous but won’t know for sure until it is removed and analyzed.
    I am so not a fan of being put to sleep, being cut on or really being any form of patient for any reason. I’m pretty irritated by the whole situation, truth be told. It will be a difficult surgery and there are some risks but anyone who knows me won’t be surprised by that because I can’t seem to do anything the easy way.
    Sister will be entertaining the boys for the days we are in Nashville. Mom and Dad are going with me to the hospital. Once again, my folks are stepping up to hold us up in tough times. There really aren’t good enough words for how wonderful my family is.
    That brings me back to my pondering of Thanksgiving. I’ll be giving thanks for lots of things this week but especially for my family, my husband, my boys, my friends and answers thanks to the miracle of modern medicine. If I’ve neglected to tell you in person how blessed I’ve been to have you in my life, let me do that now by saying thank you.
    Pain medication-induced haze can result in some pretty strange posts and text messages so I'm going to be out of the loop for a week or so. If you get a message from me that makes no sense, or a Facebook post that sounds like I've been smoking dope, now you know what the problem might be. As my family and I ride this next phase in the healing process, please remember to lift all of us up next week because I know we will need it. Happy Thanksgiving y'all and here's to many happy and healthier ones to come. 
Till then,

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Great Book, a Cool Song and a Goal

    I've never been a New Year's Resolution person, but goals I do pretty often. Last week I reached a personal goal for 2010 by reading my 100th book. The best thing gained by reaching this goal is that by reading all the time it has greatly encouraged both my boys to want to read more. Son#1 is excelling and out-reading most of the kids in his class and Son#2 will actually sit and let me read to him. Son#1 hasn't been competitive before and its a big deal for him to strive to push himself and out-read his friends and getting the most AR points. Considering #2's favorite thing to do with a book used to be to throw it across the room, his asking us to read to him is a huge improvement as well. Of course the books #2 enjoys all involve some kind of bug or lizard and lots of creepy-crawly pictures but I'm not going to get picky about it.
    My personal motivation for reading so many books was to flex my atrophied brain muscles. No one gives us new mom's a handout at the hospital that explains how having a baby will rot your brain if you'll let it. A few Christmas's ago my brother tested me on his Brain Age game and I was horrified when it told me my brain was 80 years old. At the time, we were living in Minnesota and I had a six month old baby who didn't sleep so that's not so hard to understand. Still, it shocked me enough that I realized I had to get the lead out and do something about it.
    Reading also helps to pull me out of my own story and rest my brain. Sometimes the old creativity battery needs a recharge, especially if the scenes or action in my story gets too intense. I read a piece of information a while back that says if you want to write successfully that you should also be reading at least 80 books a year. At first I thought that was nutty then I started to see the benefits and now I understand that statement and completely agree with it. Most of all, reading so much has eliminated television from my life. I wasn't a big TV person before but I had certain shows I enjoyed. NCIS, Biggest Loser, Criminal Minds, those were the ones I used to watch regularly. Now, I only catch a re-run here and there if K is watching it. And even then, I unusually start reading again after a few minutes. Needless to say, my reading sometimes irks my television-loving, anti-reading husband. I still enjoy a good movie but I just couldn't careless about most of what's on television these days. The fact that most of it is brain-draining reality shows has a lot to do with that too but don't get me started on that crap.
    My one guilty television pleasure is VH1's Top Twenty Video's every morning. I've always been a lover of music. I have specific artists that I enjoy all their work, John Mayer, Avril Lavigne, Sara McLachlan, Train, Eric Clapton, Cold Play and then lots of others that I pick and choose over their work. Music has quite a staring role in how my stories are formed so there's always some kind of music playing around here when I'm working. I've never been much of a poet so I totally respect the skill involved in writing the lyrics of a song. Writing a book is a lot like talking to yourself so that's easy for me but if you told me I'd have to write a song that would be a bad thing because I totally suck at it. There's nothing better than a good song to either get you up, strum your heart strings or even cause tears to bubble up to your eyes.
    In the coming weeks, I'll be posting parts of my first book and also the corresponding songs from the play list. My stories are meant to be enjoyed a certain way so I believe in giving a reader the whole experience. Read the words but listen to the songs too and I promise you will be able to tap into the emotion that fills the writing. Today, I'm singing along with The Script, Muse, Paramore, Jack's Mannequin and Kings of Leon. Some of these are parts of the play list but most are just for my enjoyment. Today I challenge you to find a good book to read, turn the stereo up loud and jam out to a good song and set a goal for yourself.
Till Then,

Saturday, November 6, 2010

First Book Clue

So have any of you guessed what the first clue to Book One is (see blog photo)? No cheating by those who have read the rough draft now! Well, it is sort of a tough one, so I will add a tiny bit more to it.The model is wearing two necklaces which hold great significance to the story line. The small one is crafted out of recycled stainless steel and the other is crafted out of bone. Even the materials they are made of are significant to the story. Chelsea, the model, is quite a doll and all but she isn't the clue, thanks for being my prop model Chels!

The ways to win for this clue are to either (1) be the first one to figure out what symbol is on both necklaces, or (2) discover the name of bone necklace and where it originates from, or (3) discover the name of the creature the bone necklace is depicting. In the coming weeks I will be posting lots of clues about the story and then eventually pieces of the book. This story is chock-full of props and clues to figure out. Lots to look forward to so keep a sharp eye out!

Anyone who can discover the correct answer to what they are or where they come from will win a prize so put your thinking caps on people! Please send me your answer in an email or FB message so you don't spoil the fun for everyone. Also, a big thank you goes out to Stephanie Hembree for being my first blog follower!
Till then,

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Okay, so I have a what do I do?

A blog...alrighty then. I So, now what the heck to I do with it? Well I guess I could start by saying hello and how you (whoever you are reading this) doing, and hope things are good with you and yours. Now that all that's out of the way, I will tell you the reason I suffered through the set up process of creating this dang thing. Which by the way, hey Google, if your listening, your set up process sucks. Any who, so I don't know if you heard or not but I wrote two novels this year. Yay me! Yeah, it was a very interesting experience and it went down sort of like this:
January 2010
I had been playing around with a story idea for a few years, but with small kids and work, moving to the frozen tundra of Minnesota, and then moving back to the south, there was never enough hours in the day or night to really put it on paper (or computer). I would daydream about my characters but couldn't seem to find a spare minute to bring them to life.Then, right after Christmas 2009, I got hit with the worst case of insomnia you can imagine. The entire month of January through March, I was averaging six hours of sleep a week. No, that ain't a typo, six hours for the entire week. I did learn something very valuable in that time though. There is absolutely NOTHING on television that will get you through the long, lonely nights like I was dealing with. Never mind watching that many infomercial will turn your brains to quivering goo. Plus, if you go without sleep for an extended period of time, reality and hallucinations will start to blur around the edges so much that you can't tell what's real and what isn't. Well, as you can guess by now, my issue of never having enough time to write was cured. I had hours upon quiet, kid-free hours to indulge my make-believe worlds and fantasy people. It was truly amazing to see the scenes spill out and become so real night after night. I had a blast!! Somehow, having something to do made going with out sleep okay.
July 2010
Bada Bing Bada Boom, six months and five hundred pages later I had my first completed rough draft. I was on cloud nine! The experience of breathing life into all my characters and places was invigorating. Unfortunately, no one warned me ahead of time how craptastic the editing process is. Just for the record, I'm so not for editing. Boring, boring, boring and did I tell you how BORING it is? Yeah, it's infuriatingly boring and irritating. My OCD goes into over drive big time when I start finding typos. Thank goodness for my family and friends who agreed to cold-read for me. By the end of July, my eyes were crossing and I just couldn't look at the words anymore. So at the end of the summer, Book One (as it will be known until the title is firmly decided upon by the powers that be) was hustled off to the wonderful proof-er and I was finally free to write again and give my full attention to the continuation! I had only been able to play around with it up to that point. Yeeee! I was giddy the first night I sat down to write on Book Two. The second go around was so smooth I couldn't believe it. My characters had found a groove and we all slid into it like we'd been greased. The story flowed and ebbed with a beauty and grace I couldn't believe. Then, six chapters in, I hit a wall. It was a serious chapter, necessary, but serious non the less. Frankly, it crushed me and I couldn't figure out why. Three weeks went by and I couldn't write at all. I was grieving my story, my characters pain and trying to work through it. I know that sounds weird, but the people in this story are so real to me, it's hard to pull myself completely out of their world sometimes. Heck, I didn't even really know I was going through the grief process until I looked up one day and finally got it. To pull myself out of the funk, I just started writing random things. Some went with the story some didn't. Some were so good they eventually became chapters. A month after it's first onset, I was better and writing full-on again.
August 2010
Good old August, well let us just say this about August. We named it Black August around the this house and I'll let your imagination run free with that. It was an awful time for us, lots of pain and misery for me personally, but I'm better now and on the road to recovery from the nasty little kidney stone and all it's left over aggravation. Oh and by the way, anyone who says a stint doesn't hurt never had one and should never say that where I can hear it.
September 2010
Recovered enough to drive to Laurel, I had a very wonderful and productive meeting with the proof-er. Son#1 had all A's and B's on his progress report too so I ecstatic about that. In addition, I was overjoyed with her findings and anxious to get to work on the tiny bit of corrections Book One needed. Of course, there was a bit of a re-write to work through on the first two chapters but it went better than I expected. Book Two was nearing completion and I began sending out the first wave of email queries. Boy, if you don't think that will make a girl queasy, it does, trust me.
October 2010 
My birthday rolled around on the second, the big 3-6 this year. It wasn't so bad really. I was more irritated with 3-5 seems like. Thirty-six just went right on by and I watched it go without feeling the least bit down. Book One was finally ready for snail-mail submissions and Book Two was being sewn up nice and neat. I've gotten crap-canned by a few agents so far and licked my wounds. No big-e, it's to be expected in this business and I'm at peace with that. There are plenty more outstanding's to look forward to. My new short-story series is going out as well so I'm anxious to hear back from those. They have set deadlines so it's easier to await those than the agent submissions that are just floating somewhere. My kid did me proud to round out October by dressing as a bearded dwarf from the Hobbit for Halloween after he finished reading it. All in all, a great month.
November 2010
Not meaning to out-right steal a line from VH1, but where are we now? Well, Book One is ready for someone to love it like I do and I hope they do very soon. Book Two is around a chapter and a half from a complete rough draft. It all depends on how a leading chapter goes if there will need to be another one added. I'm having a blast writing every day, it's a dizzying flow of creativity and I love it. I'm looking forward to what the end of the year holds for me and mine. I'm hoping to hit the hundred books read mark by the end of December this year since I'm at 94 novels read just for fun (not counting mine) at this point.

I'm anxious and a little apprehensive about what the future holds for my writing. At the same time, I'm silly with the joy of it. So keep a look out friends and neighbors, the best news is yet to come!
Till then,