i blog. sort of.

i blog. sort of.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

a brief hiatus

I found this image on the web.  Who knew there was coffee creamer art?

BEING's blog tour begins August 4th.  To well prepare, I am taking a brief break from blogging.  I'll be back on August 3rd!

In the meantime, relax, read a good book (*ahem* may I suggest mine) and sip the coffee.

Monday, July 21, 2014

WOD [word of the day]

Today's WOD is GAH.  And not just because it's Stealth's second favorite word.  (Zut being his favorite).
Why gah?  Because it's my word of supreme frustration, and it has been one of those days, all around, where I have gah-ed, gah-ed and gah-ed again.  I suppose we all have days like this.

Here's a prime GAH example.  For dinner I whipped cream to go with our fruit salad, and at first, cream splattered everywhere.  I say to my daughter: "would you mind wiping that up?"  She proceeds to smear it with her finger until it's no longer obvious.


After dinner I cleaned the bathroom.  NOT my favorite after-dinner activity.  Plus I try, so very hard, to stay out from in front of mirrors.  I mean, and this has been driving me nuts for a while now, there's the sad and sorry reality that I am growing HORiZontally instead of VertiCALLy.  Why why why must our t-cells shorten?

But when I get too far into a GAH rant, like I did tonight, I have my tried and tested ways of reality checking myself.  First of all, I corner my family and tell them they are fabulous.  I thank them for being good people, for helping out with everything, for being supportive.  I say, "I love you guys."

Next, I go for a solo walk, because solo walks and being in a state-of-GAH are incompatible.  There are trees and birds to watch.  There is the evening sky and an occasional deer.  When I solo-walk I feel my place in nature, and can't help but wonder at the small and fragile miracle that is life.

Finally, with my house in order and my day done, I settle into bed with a good book. Perfect!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

WIP [work in progress]

Saint-Malo, France
Tonight I'm ignoring my WIP and working on interviews for my upcoming blog tour for BEING.  I'm dwelling on interesting facts, writing out my favorite quotes (which I know by heart and not surprisingly, mostly come from Luq), and talking about what it was like to write BEING.  I can easily sum that here.  It's a complex story, and at times it was maddening.  Enlightening.  Humbling.  Exhilarating.

For the next little while I'll be highlighting where the story takes place.  Tonight?  Saint-Malo.  In BEING, the city of Saint-Malo is sanctuary for Shepherd.  Like so many things in the story, Saint-Malo is both the source of Shepherd's trouble and the key to fixing it.  The book is layered in duel-edged swords; it's part of what makes the story so complex. 

In real life, Saint-Malo is one of France's most independent places.  During the middle ages it was home to the Corsairs (French pirates).  It once succeeded from France to become an independent nation (that didn't last long, though).  It's tucked along the French coastline up near the English Channel.  I've never been there, but like so many places, I'd love to go!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

SPT [self-promotion time]

dolmen de penhap, France

In being, the mystery thickens when Shepherd visits the Penhap dolmen.  Megaliths play a significant role in the story--their purpose in being is my own little twist on these ancient, unexplained, eons-old stones.

Dolmens are rumored to have been burial chambers.  I used to wonder how the bronze-age peoples built them, until one day when I asked my husband what he thought.  "You obviously didn't spend a lot of time as a kid playing in dirt," he said.

If his comment didn't help you figure out the dolmen's construction, here it is.  You erect the support stones, then bury them in a hill of dirt, one that tapers into a ramp.  Then, using a lot of guys, you drag the capstone to the top of the hill.  "Still a feat," my husband said, "but do-able."

After the capstone[s] are in place, remove the hill and ta-da!  You've got yourself a Flintstones house.  Or a fabulous place to spend the afterlife.  Or, in my case, the perfect place for Shepherd to begin his genuine journey toward who he really is--and how deeply he loves Tienne.

Monday, July 14, 2014

WOD [words of the day]: passion vs balance

Today's words are not my own.  They're borrowed from Joe Bunting, and I find them inspirational.  Perhaps you will too!

"Passionate people aren’t balanced. Passionate people are actually kind of crazy. They’re willing to sacrifice money, grades, prestige, power, entertainment, and sometimes even relationships for their priorities. And yet, who is happier? Passionate people or balanced people? You decide: are you going to be passionate or balanced."

Sunday, July 13, 2014

sunday extra: Stealth among the cacti

zee cacti, they can bite

I recently pulled a cactus thorn from Stealth's well-padded behind, and was fondly reminded of our visit last Thanksgiving to the Sonora Outdoor Desert Museum.  If you've never been there, the museum is located outside Tucson, Arizona.  This time of year it would be wretchedly hot, but in November we enjoyed temperatures of about eighty . . . sixty degrees warmer than November at the foot of the Tetons.

We carted Stealth around, viewing snakes and mountain goats and a lone coyote and the beautiful dessert landscape.  And though he's not always a fan of the great outdoors, I find that Stealth's inspiration intensifies after a day in the grueling sun.  Or in this case, a day spent among the cacti.  After complaining about his honor and saving face and the general state of his dignity, Stealth settled on a prickly branch, hardly feeling a thing.  He perused the world, and said:

"Zee pain, she makes pleasure that much more dear."

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

SPT [self-promotion time]

have you every googled 'pictures of shhhh'?  Try it sometime.  It's bizarre
My mother just finished reading BEING.  She loved it, of course.  She's my mother.  After gushing a bit, she asked where my ideas come from.  I had to laugh.  My stories, every single one of them, grow out of my childhood experiences.  My stories begin in all those little secrets I kept from my parents but figured they knew anyway.  So I was surprised she didn't recognize those bits and pieces of me in my words. 

As a kid I was, shall we say, rebellious.  I snuck out of the house at night to roam around with my friends.  I had endless, crazy nightmares about dinosaurs.  (I still have those, sometimes).  I ran away from church almost every Sunday.  I was the oldest of six kids, and had the classic pancake-child upbringing--meaning my parents had stricter rules for me than they did for my siblings--and I noticed.

I saw a documentary on writing a few months ago where an author suggested that all the life experience you really need to write, you gain by the time you're 21.  Thinking on the experiences my stories grow from, I have to say this is so very true!  Though I twist the experiences of my childhood--exaggerate them, sometimes make them other-worldly or incredibly impossible--I can always follow the ideas back to where they came from: little old me, growing up in the outskirts of the west, all those years ago.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

TAS [traditions & superstitions]

road tripping with Stealth
Road-tripping is a serious tradition in our family.  We love to get in the Tundra and DRIVE!  Seeing the journey is as interesting and fun as the destination --- and always comes with surprises.  Like the year we drove to Cannon Beach and happened to pass a massive strawberry field right as the berries had come into season.  So delicious and flavorful!  FYI, those things in the grocery that look like strawberries are not strawberries . . . .

Integral to our road-tripping tradition is Stealth, nose to the windshield, gawking as the world flies by.

 And the superstition?  I always make sure my British pound is in my travel bag.   :-)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

sunday extra: happy anniversary Painted Boots

Painted Boots is one!
Happy Anniversary to Painted Boots . . . my first book, published last July, 2013.  To celebrate, I'm giving away an autographed copy to the first person to send an email to: info.mechelle@gmail.com

Painted Boots is mature YA.  It deals with love, loss, bullying and coming of age.  Here's the teaser:

When her father drags her to a new life in Wyoming, Aspen Brand doesn’t expect to fall for a cowboy named Kyle Thacker—but she does.  At seventeen, Aspen and Kyle share unexpected ground: guitar, running, physics.  And guilt.  Aspen blames herself for her mother’s car accident, while Kyle can’t find a way past his brother’s suicide.

On their first date they open up to each other, forging an unbreakable bond between them.  But Kyle has spent two years living with a vicious secret—one his ex-girlfriend will do anything to protect—and sharing his truth with Aspen makes her a target.

Now if Kyle is to be her love story, Aspen must first win the fight of her life.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

USP: Happy Anniversary to moi

Tonight I'm promoting the fabulous anniversary of my marriage!  The years of wedded bliss just keep on rolling by.  We're celebrating by cleaning up the house and painting, and I'm blogging.  (We're saving our celebration for the weekend.)  But on the bright side, it's the first year where both my husband and I remembered our anniversary before the day of our anniversary.  Or a few days after, which is what happened last year.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

TAS [traditions & superstitions]

Stealth hitches a ride
Thirteen years ago, as I was preparing to head to China to fetch my daughter, one of my skating students gave me the fabulous Stealth Panda.  I stuffed him into my coat and continued to teach ... with just his head peeking out from between my coat's open zipper.  I had a very shy student in that class, and that night I talked to her in the bad French accent that became a Stealth staple for my daughter.  It made my student laugh--just as it's soothed over my daughter's tears, fears, anger and angst.  Stealth and his comical accent can fix anything from a tantrum to hurt feelings.  So of course he travels with us everywhere we go.

Over the years Stealth has wormed his fuzzy, fiber-filled ways onto our family's list of favorite traditions.  He's given us endless laughs.  And in return, we've given him an ego bent on world domination.  "After all," he muses, "I easily solve zee problems of one small family.  Think of zee wonders I could work for zee world."