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Writing Prompt

I subscribe to Writer’s Digest. I love it; it’s one of my vices because it is kind of expensive. But one of the things that I love to do is to enter all of their writing prompt competitions. Needless to say, I haven’t won any of them, but it’s a nice way to get the brain going when it’s parked in neutral.

The prompt this month is:

In 25 words or fewer, wirte an opening sentence – just one – to a story, incorporating the following words: lucky charm, and calamity.

Okay, I admit. I kind of know what calamity means, but I decided to look it up to get the EXACT definition.

According to

Definition of CALAMITY

: a state of deep distress or misery caused by major misfortune or loss
: a disastrous event marked by great loss and lasting distress and suffering <calamities of nature> <an economic calamity>

Examples of CALAMITY

    floods, earthquakes, and other calamities He predicted calamity for the economy. Twenty two years passed. Twenty-two years of excellent health and the boundless self-assurance that flows from being fit—twenty-two years spared the adversary that is illness and the calamity that waits in the wings. —Phillip Roth, Everyman, 2006
    Below that was a definition of Calamity Jane:

Calamity Jane , byname of Martha Jane Burke, née Martha Jane Cannary  (born May 1, 1852?, near Princeton, Mo.?, U.S.—died Aug. 1, 1903, Terry, near Deadwood, S.D.), legendary American frontierswoman whose name was often linked with that of Wild Bill Hickok. The facts of her life are confused by her own inventions and by the successive stories and legends that accumulated in later years.

She allegedly moved westward on a wagon train when still quite young—her mother dying en route and her father dying in Salt Lake City, Utah, leaving her on her own at an early age. During the following several years she wandered about the West, working as cook, dance-hall girl, camp follower, and bawd and doing whatever necessary to earn a living. In the spring of 1876 she ended up in Deadwood, South Dakota, site of new gold strikes, and became a bullwhacker, hauling goods and machinery to the outlying camps. It was probably there that she first met Hickok and knew him only briefly (he was shot dead in a saloon soon after). Other, disputed stories put their meeting years earlier and even vouch a marriage (September 1, 1870) and a child (Jean Hickok McCormick, born September 25, 1873, and allegedly given up for adoption). By the late 1870s Calamity Jane had captured the imagination of several magazine-feature writers who covered the colourful early days of Deadwood.

In 1891 she married Clinton (Charley) Burke, a hack driver, after living with him for seven years. Beginning in 1895 she toured with Wild West shows throughout the Midwest. In 1901 she appeared at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, but was fired for her erratic behaviour and alcoholism. She returned to Deadwood and poverty. She was buried there beside Hickok.

So with all this information, I came up with these sentences:

1. Deadwood wasn’t exactly how Calamity Jane had pictured it – full of backbreaking work and ignorant people – and all she wanted to do was return to her hotel room and wrap her hand around a bottle (her only lucky charm).

2. The lucky charm Cherri always wore (an heirloom St. Christopher medallion) rested between the bandages that were now the only remainder of what used to be her breasts and settled into the calamity that now invaded her emotions.

3. Oh my Gawd, Kayleigh whispered as she observed her ex-boyfriend, Robbie “Lucky Charm” Stephens, lean in to make out with his new girl friend, whose outfit could only be described as a calamity – acid-washed jeans, a holey tank top and a Michael Jackson style leather jacket (complete with metal studs).

I’m interested to see what you guys come up with. Comment me back and let me know. I promise not to use yours in the competition (unless it’s REALLY good.) Or you could go to: and enter it yourself!


This post is a retraction, of sorts. I looked over my last post after a reader’s comment caught my attention. My last post was made to be sarcastic and after reading it, I realize it was not even close. No, I don’t leave my kids in my car. It was a joke. The post has been deleted.

The last few weeks have been a utter blur. Chaotic, but a blur. I have not queried agents, or checked my email or even looked at my writing (any parts of it for the matter), and obviously have not blogged.

The chaos began when I was visiting my husband in Rifle and got sick. Now, when I was a teacher, I very rarely caught the sniffles or contracted the flu because when you’re in the school system (even for the few years that I did teach), you tend to build up your immune system to fight off the day-to-day nasties. But somehow, with my kids in school and me staying at home, I seem to always be “coming down with something.” Maybe it has to do with not being at the source of the illnesses and instead getting them second hand. Maybe somehow contracting them through someone else who got it from someone else makes it worse, like the virus has mutated and grown into a wild, contagious monster.

Well, my Alvin came home one day with a headache and fever. I dosed him up with some Motrin and all was better overnight. The next day, however, my throat felt weird. Usually if I catch something I’m lucky enough for it to stay in my nose – tissues and a decongestant take care of my problems most days. But the throat, on the other hand, is a completely different animal. Drops and medicine don’t do a thing. And it kept getting worse. One morning I woke up feeling hung over (I rarely drink) with heartburn (that I only get when I’m pregnant) and a feeling that a large piece of dinner the night before was stuck in my throat.

I knew then that I was in trouble. I had strep throat nine times in college. I pulled myself from the bed then, wobbled into the bathroom and confirmed the white puss pockets on my throat. I went to the doctor, told them what I had, got some penicillin and a few days later, I was COMPLETELY recovered. Thanks goodness. Thank you, Alexander Fleming and his crew for “accidently” inventing the mold. The story is short and kind of interesting, if you’re curious:

So, no, I didn’t get any writing done that week.

The week after that was packing/moving week. My hubby and I found a nice house in Rifle where we could, you know, actually live TOGETHER, like normal married couples with kids. The week after that was the get-settled-in week and even though there are still boxes to be unpacked and furniture to buy, I could not deny my hands their need to click on the computer keys.

Writing is a muscle that absolutely has to be worked, and overworked. Denying it for weeks at a time makes it weak and soft, like a body builder who one day just stops. The muscle turns to this loose, squishy thing that is worse than if it was never worked on in the first place. I don’t need my writing to get any more squishy than it already is; I have a hard enough time trying to get people to read it in the first place.

So my goal this week is to jump back into the number one thing that I love to do, even if it is only in fifteen-minute intervals between unpacking and switching over bills and forwarding mail and setting my kids set up at another school and finding the stores that take double coupons and breathing.

Because, we all find time to do the things that are important to us, even if other things suffer for it. Like, personal hygenie or dirty dishes. Which are probably things I should go take of right now…

Right after I go watch The Bachelor that I recorded last night. Because THAT is my first priority today.

Kiss Me

I saw this in a newspaper and so I thought I’d share it for Valentine’s Day.

Ways to say “Kiss me” in different languages:

Spanish – Besame

French – Embrasse-moi

Italian – Baciami

German – Kuss mich

Romanian – Ma saruta

Swedish – Kyss Mig

Portuguese – Beije-me

Dutch – Kus mij

I think my favorite is the German one because as soon as I read it, it sounded like something Rammstein would sing. How funny.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

I just received another rejection letter. But it was a fairly detailed one and gives me something specific to work on with my book. Here it is:


Dear Kelly,

Thank you so much for sending me the additional material of this project for further consideration. I am sorry for the delay in getting back to you on this one. I appreciate the patience.

After having a chance to look over this project, I am afraid I am going to pass on this project. I will say, it is refreshing to see someone trying something new with this genre. With that said, I just didn’t feel the story had the depth of character development in the early pages to really draw me into the story. In many ways, I felt on the outside looking in.

I do want to wish you all the best with your writing and thank you again for giving me the chance to read this.


Not too shabby, as far as rejections go.

So, grudgingly, I’m diving back into my manuscript for even more revisions. Go me!

But I just learned something about one of my favorite authors that I will somehow work into a mantra for motivation: Meg Cabot (author of The Princess Diaries and many, many more) spent three years sending out queries before she got an agent and another year before that agent found a publisher. Meg was thirty at the time. Now she has dozens of books published.

This is good because a) I’m not quite thirty – just a handful of months to go, though, and b) I’ve only been querying for about a year.

So even though I totally want to cry (or die) of frustration, I’m going to press on. Wish me luck!

What can go wrong…

As most of you may know, I have three very small children, ages 2, 3, and 5. I call them my chipmunks.

My chipmunks are so awesome, they really are. Two of the three were potty trained at a year and a half and the other was trained at two. I pride myself on being the Potty Master, but really, it’s the boys that do most of the work.

But lately, my Theodore has been getting lazy. He’s been potty trained for a year now, but has recently decided that he’s done with that nonsense. He’s forgotten was a toilet is and what’s it’s for, and has insisted on going in his pants.

Well, just the other day I was in a super-cleaning kind of mood, where I was organizing closets and throwing things out. One of the many things that I cleaned out was my purse. Usually it’s a black hole where things go in but don’t ever come out. I found two pairs of (clean) underwear for Theodore (for just in case situations) and a pair of pants.

Thinking that with all the gum, change and trash in my purse, I figured it would be the hygienic thing to do to wash the clothes. Plus, I’ve never had to use the extra clothes in public. He’s ALWAYS told me he needed to go.


Today I thought I would do just a little couponing (because I don’t usually shop with all three kids in tow; I’ll go while Alvin and Simon are in school) and trek over to the library to pick up the third season of The Big Bang Theory.

The store went well (saved like 15 bucks) and the kids had actually been calm and well-behaved. We walk into the library (me toting about fifty pounds of books and movies to return, trying to hold onto Theodore’s and Alvin’s hands because they cannot be trusted to cross the street) and I smell something.

Oh, crap. (Literally.)

I dump the books and movies in the return slot and herd the children to the bathroom where I find…well, a mess. Everywhere. And I didn’t bring even wipes, much less extra clothes. I mean, really. He’s NEVER had an accident in public. In the car on a long drive, sometimes he wets himself. But even when we travel from here to Rifle (five hours), he’ll hold it. But I would have never guessed that in the forty-five minutes we were gone that he could make such a mess.

What was a mother to do?  Let’s just say that most of it was cleaned up and something was thrown away, and so the poor two-year old had to go commando so his mom could get her movie series.

Stuff like this was NOT in the parenting manual I received. Oh, wait. There is no such thing. Somebody should really get on rectifying that. There should be a quiz and an application for such a big decision.

Pushing the Limits

I’m having a mini pity party over here, for a few reasons:

1. The allergies that I thought I was having turned out to really be a…wait for it…cold. I’m not sick very often with something as little as the sniffles (thank you teacher immune system) but I’m prone to sinus infections. Let’s just hope that this one stays in the snot-and-kleenex category and not the doctor-and-antibiotic one. I know…total drama queen right? Reminds me of when my Simon used to call me Momma King (in place of drama queen) when he was a few years younger. Guess who taught him that? Thanks, hon.

2. I put on a shirt today that I haven’t worn in weeks and it wouldn’t button up. Uh oh. Got on the scale, and guess what? I’m the biggest that I’ve EVER been. Including when I was ten months (yes, ten months) along with my third baby. About FIFTEEN pounds bigger. I guess Not working + Eating whatever I want = Big Fat Momma. I now roll out of the car and get a tired back when I fold laundry. Sucky!

3. I’m the worst kind of writer because criticism and rejection cripple me into a self-induced writer’s block. It’s not that I am not able to write, it’s that I don’t want to. I’m like the rat who keeps hitting the electric shock bar. Sooner or later I’m going to stop doing it, right?

I was watching Ellen yesterday and Justin Bieber was on there. He was going on and on about Never Say Never, never give up. He makes it sound like he struggled all his life to live out his dream. He’s sixteen. I mean, come on. So I had to turn the television off.

I’ve written some of my favorite authors about their struggles with getting published and TWO of them posted that it took them EIGHT years. Now that is perseverance and patience at its best. Now they aren’t only published, they have awards and are national best sellers.

I wonder every day: will I always have the time/patience/financial stability that waiting eight years to make money from my writing entails?

*Sigh* Only time will tell. Now I better get off the computer and on to the treadmill.

Well, the agent that had requested my full manuscript got back to me – too quickly, really.  Kinda puts a damper on my confidence. But at least she was nice:


Dear Kelly,
Thank you for sharing your work with me. This is a wonderful concept, and you write well—but I’m afraid that I didn’t connect with this in the way that I’d hoped.

Still, I hope you will continue writing and sending out your work. If you haven’t done so already, you may wish to look at The Jeff Herman Guide to Editors, Publishers, and Literary Agents – there, you should be able to find someone who’s a better fit for your work.

Best of luck with this and future projects.

It’s nice, but a little form in the rejection; I will probably e-mail her and ask WHAT EXACTLY didn’t grab her. Plus, she plugged a book in my letter.


Five “bad” (or not-so-great) things:

5. It’s a snow day for the kids, so they are cooped up in the house all day and aggravated they don’t get to go to school. (Yeah. Weird, right?)

4. I can’t seem to get anything done with my writing the last couple of days. I’m the worst kind of writer: the kind that waits for the muse to inspire her. Good writers force themselves to fill a writing quota. I have one, but I ignore it most days, like a smelly trash can that I’m too lazy to empty.

3. The agent that requested my full manuscript – I just learned – has the reputation to request A LOT of manuscripts, take forever (like half a year) to read, and then send a rejection letter. But let’s stay positive about that shall we…?

2. Laundry is really piling up.

1. It’s been a bad coupon weekend. There aren’t a lot that match up with sales. But at least the coupons won’t expire for a little while, so maybe next week’s sales will be better.

Five “good” things:

5. I got some of my books that I won:

I still have one more that is supposed to be on the way and I think it’s signed by the author. I thought these were supposed to be signed as well, but it seems that I’m mistaken. But, really, that’s okay. I feel privileged that I won and happy that I get free books. The author of Stealing Heaven  (Elizabeth Scott) emailed me and I feel super star-struck. I’ve read and admired ALL her books.

 I’ve already started ACROSS THE UNIVERSE and it’s amazing. The first chapter is unlike anything I’ve ever read – about a family getting frozen for the trip in deep space that will take over 300 years. Super cool! It was described as Titanic meets Brave New World.

4. I’m having a good hair day.

3. Simon (my oldest son) is really becoming such a good reader. Alvin (my middle) is growing less and less ornery every day. (Not that I really want to break it of him completely, because that is just who he is, but less is nice.) Theodore has decided to play this game with me called “I’m pretending I’m not potty trained anymore” and it’s been literally driving me INSANE. He’s been potty trained since he was a year and a half and now, over six months later, decides he doesn’t want to be anymore…? What? But I put this in the “good” section because when I’m irritated at him (yet again) for doing a number two in his undies, I smell the top of his head. I know…weird, right? But he still carries with him some of his baby smell (that the other chipmunks have all but lost completely) and the aroma calms me down, forcing me to remember all the cuddling we did in his early days.

2. I’m planning a trip to go see my bestest friend that I don’t often get to see. (If the weather permits). Along with her beautiful baby girl.

1. (Sappiness alert) I’m totally – and unbelievingly – falling more and more in love with my hubby the longer I’m with him. He’s just so effing funny and handy that I can’t believe it.  We’ll be celebrating our fifth anniversary on April Fool’s Day. Love you, hon!

Five “ugly” things:

5. The weather (duh).

4. My allergies. I know what you’re thinking. Allergies? This early? No, you’re probably just sick with a cold. Well, yeah…maybe. But I don’t usually have super itchy eyes and sneezing fits in the winter time. The groundhog did predict an early spring, after all. Despite the several inches of snow out my window.

3. My house. It needs some serious TLC to get it in Functioning Mode. (ex. laundry, dishes, a good sweeping.)

2. My writing (or lack thereof). The novel I’m currently working on needs some editing and tightening up…but…I DON’T WANNA!

1. Theodore’s haircut. Okay, it’s not THAT bad. Well, to me. Usually I use electric clippers to cut my sons’ hair (because who in their right mind wants to pay for three boys at a barber every couple of weeks?) but this time I decided to use scissors. And it turned out…okay.

And one more positive: this blog seemed to have gotten my creative writing juices flowing and the kids are busy with Mario, so I might just get something done with my writing today! Yippie!

Something for Nothing

This will probably be my last post about couponing. Because it doesn’t seem like that many people are visiting the site when the post is about coupons. But I had to share with you our latest savings.

As I’ve said, King Soopers is having a huge sale. But you have to buy ten items that are in that sale to get the great big discount. So we (my husband and I) did, matching the coupon to the sale.

This is what we got:

30 butters (either a twin pack or a single),

10 toothpastes,

18 pkgs. of hotdogs, 28 PROGRESSO soups, 16 diced tomatoes,

and six Rotelle tomatoes. The retail price would have been $198.97. With the deal the store was having and our coupons, we paid $42.53.

We had coupons for the butter for 75 cents, but KS rounds up to  a dollar and the butter was on sale for 98 cents, so we got 30 tubs of butter FOR FREE. Five of the toothpastes were free, the others were a quarter.

The Rotelle tomatoes were 12 cents each, the canned tomatoes were 27 cents each and the soup was 75 cents each, but a good brand.

Still, the coupon diva does a lot better, but saving $156.44 isn’t too shabby.