Saturday, August 20, 2011

What were they thinking?

Here is another round of scenes from life I can think about putting into a future book (not to be confused with a futuristic book!)

"Do you have your rewards card?" The stunningly beautiful cashier smiled at the young man. (Hey, it's MY life turned into a novel...I can make myself look anyway I want!)
"Can you look it up by my phone number?" The devilish gleam in his eye should have hinted at what was to come.
"Of course, sir. What is your phone number?"
"It's 919-867-5309."
The cashier struggled not to laugh as the song began to run through her head. "I have 15 people listed with that number, can you tell me your last name?"

Hint to the public: if the number is famous, people have used it on their rewards card applications. You are not being original.

Then there was the guy who looked about 22-25. He gives me a VA benefits card as "proof of age" to buy his wine. Ummmm, there's no birthdate and you can enlist at 17 so I need a different ID...he gets angry, demands the manager accept the ID, and storms out yelling how he'll buy his food at the rival grocery store instead. Hmmmmm. Can we say I now DEFINITELY believe he's under age?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

More lessons for the checkout lane

So what is the result of my time as a cashier? Well, I can think of some great happenings for secondary characters. Then there are some ideas for new characters or new situations for some current main plate being used for samples + clumsy boy +ice's a scene in progress based on real life!!!!

Meanwhile, my son is writing his book. The first scene takes place in a small grocery's nice to be thought of as an "expert" for someone else's research! He's taking his time really fleshing out the plot and characters as he develops the story. Hopefully he won't finish before I finish Troll Quest! Which reminds me...must charge laptop before family reunion so I can hide out and type another chapter.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tales for the Register

When you come to the store, what are you thinking about? Do you, as one woman does, think about what fellow shoppers are buying? Do you ask your cashier, "So, I bet you see a lot of strange things being purchased when you check people out, don't you?" (Now, honestly, how can I respond to that?)

Then there are the alternative payment plans:
1. When writing a check, do you really need to split the bill between two checks when those two checks are consecutive checks written from the same account? If there's enough in there to cover the entire bill, does it matter how many checks you write?
2. Then there is the customer who wants everything rung up in $25 increments. She pays for every portion with the same credit card. Then, when you are on the 8th or 9th transaction, she tells you to just "ring up the rest together" whether that amounts to $50 or $75, it doesn't matter.
3. If you have to use 2 or 3 different credit cards to pay for your beer or wine, you might rethink the necessity of purchasing alcohol at the present time.

Others just don't think. If produce is being purchased, don't fit three different vegetables into one produce bag. Since they are purchased by weight, I must remove them all from the bag and ring each type up separately. This is the same for fruits and vegetables. Or, handing me the bag with your child's half-eaten doughnut that is smeared on the outside. I do have to touch the rest of your groceries, you know. Not to mention everyone else's groceries. And if you are purchasing some food that your child has had in his/her mouth, I'd prefer you hand me the candy bar in your hand to scan twice...rather than have your child's germs and slobber on my hands.

Most customers are fabulous. I am keeping in my prayers the woman who is getting her cochlear implant on Friday...she is hoping to hear for the first time in 25 years out of that ear. I love what she said: "I am so looking forward to knowing if my husband says he did or didn't do something!" And to all those 30+ year olds I've must be living right because you DON'T look your age!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Is plastic okay?

Do you have your rewards card? Would you like your rewards card? Do you need any help getting your groceries out to your car?

I am sure I can work these phrases into a book...don't know which one, but working at the front end of a grocery store part-time has to help my writing! Hmmmm.....maybe I can find some great characters from:

The elderly customer who vocally started dissing tattoos and people who have them, then questioning the woman in line behind him about her tattoos before asking me, "So where are your tattoos?"

The grandmother who was giving a basket of ingredients and the "secret" recipe for her signature cake as a bridal shower gift for her granddaughter.

The VERY pregnant woman hosting a party and buying the legal limit on cases of beer and bottles of wine.

The kindergartner who decided to play hide-and-seek as his mom struggled to get her shopping finished at the self-checkout aisle.

That was just from one short shift as I bagged groceries for the first time in my life (professionally, at least!). As time goes by, I'm going to keep my eyes and ears open for inspiration and, at the very least, interesting phrases that will make a story better.

Meanwhile, on my writing front, no news is...just that, no news. Of course, it's only been a week so I have to be patient. Troll Quest has taken some different turns, and the overall format is changing. Airam and Gurg (yes, the dwarf FINALLY has a name I like) will have sections of the book with their stories interwoven without having to use flashbacks anymore. Those were too confusing. Now, as I finish it, I am determined to prove the writing contest judge wrong...who says trolls are only good in fairy tales? Trolls, especially mud-dwelling trolls who should never be confused with their much larger, distant cousins (the mountain trolls), can emerge in any story! As can sprites, dwarfs, and black unicorns (who are viewed as mythical, magical creatures by the sprites, but who are ostracized by other unicorns for being too "different"). Who knew there was so much prejudice and animosity towards those who are different from society's norms? Oh, wait. How did my fantasy novel start turning into realistic fiction?

Monday, July 11, 2011

I sent it!

I guess the hard part now begins! Waiting! J.T. Middleton's adventure is now off with a publisher, waiting to be read and...who knows? I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he likes it enough to publish it, of course, but I also know the odds are not necessarily in my favor. However, it helps to know someone wants to read it!

Last night I revised the chapters I've written recently on Troll Quest. I'm liking the turn the novel has taken, but I'm apprehensive about the 2 characters about to be introduced in the next chapter. Now that Airam, Nodrog, and Noskaj have bonded so well, and their characters interact so wonderfully with all their conflicts, I hesitate to "break things up" a bit by adding Elad and the Black Unicorn. However, this new plot twist demands they come into the story, so I'll have to make it happen.

On the home front, we're still waiting on the delivery of the baseboards and carpet, and waiting on the electricians (now a week behind schedule). At least the gutters were put up (2 weeks late and many gallons of rainwater later) on Friday.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Today is another great day!

Well, today has already started off in an auspicious manner with a 2.3 mile run (although the .3 part was some walking in the middle!). Last night I went to bed on cloud 9: I have a request for J.T. Middleton's story from a publishing house! :-) This morning, I received a phone call from the manager of a local store asking me to come in for an interview. The job would be for the summer and part-time during the school year! (Hey! I might be able to afford gas for the car, food for the children, and ink for my printer!)

Now I'm off to work on ensuring the manuscript is as polished as it can be. After that, I'm looking forward to writing chapter 10 of Troll Quest. Happy Saturday to all of you too!

Friday, July 8, 2011

YAtopia Elevator Pitch Contest

Ah, the elevator pitch! The one part of writing that strikes fear in the hearts of authors. The only thing creating more anxiety? The query letter!

So why an elevator pitch? Just in case you happen to run into that fabulous agent or editor in the elevator going from the lobby to the fourteenth'd better sell your novel fast unless you're in one of those really slow elevators.

Anyway, YAtopia is having a contest. The winner will receive the opportunity to submit their full manuscript to Bree Ogden of Martin Literary Management. Check out the blog at

Whoo hoo Writing Day!

Ahhh...I love it when I have a very solid writing day! First off, I got the email critique of my query letter back from a trusted (and successful) author. I have already then queried a small indie publisher that seems a good fit (and they sell books through my library's main distributor which lets me know they are a serious and credible company!). Then, I have taken the trolls to their destination! Unfortunately for them, Nodrog insults the Queen and one of the most influential people in the sprite culture...leading them to be given an additional task before their quest can be completed! I love it when the writing flows.

Part of my determination today stems from reading an article on how writers actually hinder themselves with excuses. Don't have time to write? Take five minutes here and five minutes there. Don't think that's enough? Then add up all those minutes and you'll see how much time you've been wasting! I started off thinking I'd have 15-20 minutes and I wrote for over 90! In a few minutes, I'm going back to Troll Quest because Chapter 9 awaits!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Where has summer gone?

It's already July, and I haven't quite reached my writing goals. The 11 hour plane ride didn't quite meet the battery life of the laptop, but I managed to get quite a bit written for the Trolls. Since I came home, I've primed, painted (ceilings and walls), and tiled part of the new addition. Frankly, I've been too tired to access my creativity! Within the next 2 weeks, however, the addition should be finished, the house (hopefully) and writing will commence!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Really? I haven't posted anything at all this year? It sure has been longer than I thought it was going to be! Where has the time gone?

So, what I have I failed to write about? Well, let's do a quick entry for each month:
January: Resolution? Finish Troll Quest and find an agent for J.T. Middleton.
February: This month was overwhelmingly busy with Relay for Life fund-raising and taking 180 fifth graders to present research projects at a museum. Between those two activities, renewing National Boards, and snow days I didn't have much time for writing.
March: This was book fair month. Enough said.
April: That's what this post is all about!

I'll write more later (and it won't be months from now!).