Monthly Archives of: March 2010




Oh my golly, how great is Chuck this year? I have a feeling the internet disagrees with me, but the internet is only in it for the kissing, so what would they know! Nothing, that’s what — mostly because I don’t ship anyone on that show except Ellie and Awesome. But I SHIP THEM SO FREAKING HARD. SO. FREAKING. HARD. I cried at their wedding. No lie.

How pretty is Sarah Lancaster? So, so pretty.

BUT! Until this season, I wasn’t terribly invested in the REST of the show. I love Casey mostly because he used to be Jayne, and he beat the tar out of Angel that one time. A++! Level up! Jeffster amuse me greatly, and I used to have a crush on Zachary Levi when he was the hot one on that show with Sara Rue. But the show itself often felt like it wasn’t going anywhere in particular. They were pretty happy to move through the same paces every week — Chuck falls over! Casey is angry! Morgan has a beard! — and I, at least, never felt like there were any particular stakes, as there never seemed any particular RISK to either the missions or Chuck’s cover.

But lately… oh boy!

Upgrading the intersect to give Chuck the physical as well as the intellectual was the best idea EVER. Exposing Chuck’s double life to Awesome and Morgan was the second best! And BRANDON ROUTH, YOU GUYS! I suspect the internet is holding a serious grudge against Brandon Routh for being all wicked freaking cool and stealing Sarah away from Chuck, but internet, your rage is sadly misdirected! Brandon Routh + hot blonde secret agent = A VERY BIG NUMBER. Sarah + Chuck = sorry, what, I fell asleep again. YAWN. WAKE ME UP WHEN SOMEONE PUNCHES SOMEONE IN THE HEAD.

The show used to do a lot of TALKING about what it might mean to Chuck’s adorable Chuckness if he became a “real” spy, but I never FELT it until now. I confess this week I was ALL AQUIVER WITH TENSION, wondering if Chuck was actually going to pass his red test. I really thought he might do it! I really thought the consequences of him really doing it could be so really freaking intense.

… Of course, he didn’t do it. That would be too far. But last year I would have taken a nap during that episode, knowing he’d NEVER have to do it.

And Sarah thinks he did it! That could lead to some interesting drama! Or just some more damp-eyed, sad-panda emoting. Man, I’m so opposed to Chuck/Sarah. Nothing against Sarah — she’s kick-ass and awesome and smoking hot, all qualities I like and respect in a fictional woman, but I want Chuck to move on so badly I was even backing his relationship with LANA LANG.

LANA LANG, WORLD. That’s desperation.

Chuck has opened up its world so much this year, and it’s just EXPLODING WITH AWESOME (please, don’t explode Awesome!) because of it.

Awesome. So awesome.

Supernatural could take a lesson.


Lips Touch: Three Times.


Oh my stars, you guys! Interwebs. Population of English-speaking countries. Sentient beings. Frequent commenters. Lurking friends and slinking enemies… LISTEN UP, all of you:

I fell in love. I am in love. In LOVE!

With a book.

Y’all know how I feel about words, right? I like to slow dance with sentences and snuggle with clauses. I’d spend a summer afternoon on a riverbank, lying under the bow of a tree with the bite of a crisp, tart paragraph. When the right words find the right order, I can feel the fizz under my tongue, the tingle in the base of my spine. The hairs on my arms stand up.

I also love strong, real-feeling characters with fancies and foibles, and dialogue that feels like conversations people ACTUALLY HAVE, and far-away places and moody atmospheres and that way certain authors have of making everyday things feel magical. I love bad choices and grey morals and things that feel light but aren’t, like the sun sparkling on a rip in the ocean that will carry you away if you jump in. ALL THAT STUFF.

Most of the time, these things aren’t all found together. If they were, I probably wouldn’t be trying so hard to write them myself.

But then I read Lips Touch: Three Times, by Laini Taylor. Look at this first paragraph:

“Kizzy’s family lived in the weird house outside of town with all the anvils in the yard and the tick-ridden billy goat that rammed the fence whenever anyone walked past. The mailman wouldn’t come up to the door, which worked out fine, since no one ever wrote to them.”


And this! Read this AT ONCE:

“Kizzy hated it all, and she kind of hated herself too, by association. She hated mirrors, hated her ankles, hated her hair. She wanted to climb out of her life as if it were a seashell she could abandon on a shore and walk away from, barefoot. No one else on the whole landmass of North America, she was sure, had such a stupid life.”

It makes my spine shiver! Laini Taylor – who I think I’ve mentioned here already because I was already a total fangirl creep for her writing blog — puts together sentences you can TASTE. She writes like dessert — like literary cheesecake that’s all velvety-smooth texture and sharp flavour and crunchy outside bits. CRUNCHY OUTSIDE WORDS, YOU GUYS. YUM. And Kizzy! I RECOGNISE Kizzy. Goddamn, is there anyone who’s ever been a teenage girl and doesn’t feel like they’ve LIVED in that paragraph? DO NOT LIE TO ME! I WILL NOT HAVE ANY OF YOUR CHEEK TODAY, interwebs and English-speakers and lurkers and slinkers!

I devoured this book in the best way: gobbling up the words and the places and the wolves and the ice and the room of ancient, crusted eyeballs in one sitting. And, BONUS, it did not make me fat! In fact, I would be willing to hazard a guess that this book is likely to make the reader lithe and suave and at least twice as interesting to others! MUCH, MUCH better than cheesecake.

Lips Touch is three stories, each revolving around a kiss — the first, Goblin Fruit, the story of Kizzy and the goblins who hunger after her soul “leaning out there like an untucked shirt”, followed by Spicy Little Curses Such As These, a story about Anamique, a girl in colonial India who is cursed at birth to kill anyone who hears her voice (India! Hell! A soldier in love!), and finally Hatchling, a deliciously twisted, icy delight about demons called Druj, Russian werewolves who kidnap baby girls and raise them, caged and leashed, in their far-away ice palace WITH CHILLING RESULTS. (Chilling! In the ice! See what I did there!)


(Aside: I’m hungry. IS IT THAT OBVIOUS?)

TO CONCLUDE: I loved it. Go read it.

“Kizzy wanted to be a woman who would dive off the prow of a sailboat into the sea, who would fall back in a tangle of sheets, laughing, and who could dance a tango, lazily stroke a leopard with her bare foot, freeze an enemy’s blood with her eyes, make promises she couldn’t possibly keep, and then shift the world to keep them. She wanted to write memoirs and autograph them at a tiny bookshop in Rome, with a line of admirers snaking down a pink-lit alley. She wanted to make love on a balcony, ruin someone, trade in esoteric knowledge, watch strangers as coolly as a cat. She wanted to be inscrutable, have a drink named after her, a love song written for her, and a handsome adventurer’s small airplane, champagne-christened Kizzy, which would vanish one day in a windstorm in Arabia so that she would have to mount a rescue operation involving camels, and wear an indigo veil against the stinging sand, just like the nomads.

Kizzy wanted.”


I think this line’s mostly filler…


Life fail #seventy-billion: Last night I was cutting a lime using my hand as a chopping board. It failed to occur to me that the force needed to push a serrated knife through a lime rind might perhaps be greater than the tensile strength of the skin on my fingers. Blood and carnage ensued. Band-Aid thank me, once again, for my continued custom.


Last Saturday I saw Neil Gaiman talk at the Town Hall. He was excellent and I may have a crush on his hair, but two things impinged on my enjoyment of the situation:

  1. The guy in front of me, who clutched a jar of inexplicable Brylcreem and spent most of the reading with his hand wedged firmly down his jeans. What’s up with that, Guy?
  2. The thought that one day, when people read and enjoy my books and buy them in their millions and write slashfic about my characters, or whatever, someone might ask me to stand on a stage in front of a whole mess of foreigners and let them ask me questions.

    Nightmares will be had. For months.

Then Rach and I watched The Road, which caused me to wonder yet again why nobody in apocalyptic movies ever has any thumbs. Is this a thing? Will people one day read After and sneer at my poor characters for possessing a full complement of digits?


Also, MAN I need a better working title. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?


Okay. I am mainly posting this to get my last entry out of my face. Time to go meet my mammy for gossip and dessert! And then to P-Town for late night, where I will endeavour to find the materials to construct a top I have designed in my head, but have no idea how to actually make. Though this will not stop me from trying, oh no!


This is my concession speech.

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One of the hardest things about letting go of Sparks is dealing with the expression on people’s faces when I tell them I’m putting it aside and working on something else. BUT YOU WERE ALMOST FINISHED!, they say. Yeah, no, I wasn’t.

Not even close.


And then I punch them in the teeth.

It’s exhausting, and it’s horrible, and it’s just not POSSIBLE for someone who has never written a novel to understand how I could want to give up so close to being done. Or how far from being done I actually am.

(Em, if you’re reading this, this is not directed at you — but should hopefully go some way to explaining why I bit your head off and changed the subject when you brought it up last night.)

I can say that you don’t know how hard it is to write a novel until you’ve written a novel, but that statement, by definition, means you don’t know how hard it is to write a novel until you’ve written a novel. You can grasp it intellectually and accept that it’s probably harder than you think, and in the process of writing you begin to discover the truth of it, but you can’t KNOW until you have written. A first novel is always going to be a blind fumble. No matter how many books you read, how much you plan, how many agent blogs you follow, how detailed your outline, how anal your plotting… you’re still feeling your way in the dark.

Sparks is a mess. It’s not a terrible mess, but it’s not the kind of mess I can fix with a red pen and a better-worded sentence. This doesn’t mean I’m asking for pity, or doubt myself, or even think it sucks — just that it’s a first novel. It was a dry run, a first attempt. Things happened that I didn’t expect; things didn’t work that I thought would. I was still working out how to weave an A plot and a B plot together, how to build scenes and characters, how to balance dialogue and description…

(Oh man, even writing this is making me want to lie down and cry, because all the non-writers are hearing is QUITTER! QUITTER, SCAREDY BABY QUITTER!)

Could I fix it? Maybe. If I gave it another six or nine months and pulled the whole thing apart and re-wrote massive, massive sections of it. MAYBE I could make it be what I intended. But it would be a phenomenal amount of work, and I’m only convinced I could make it better. And better is not even remotely the same as good. And it would still be YA, and a mystery, and in first person. It would still be something that feels like a trial, like I was trying to work out who I wanted to be, rather than something I actually am.

At this point, the only reason I’d consider keeping going is because some days it seems easier than admitting to everyone that I gave up, and no you can’t read it, and no I won’t finish it, and yes it will probably spend eternity with [INSERT SCENE WITH PARENTS HERE] markers from my last incomplete set of revisions.

I hate those things. I understand why everyone else hates those things. But that’s not a reason that’s worth nine months or a year of my life. If I cared passionately about this story — if I thought this book could be salvaged, and made to be great, and to represent me and my writing and what I want to say to the world — I would do whatever it took. I’m not quitting for the sake of quitting. I’m also not going through a rough patch or in need of some positive reinforcement.

This isn’t a decision I’ve come to lightly. I’ve been a fucking mess about it, to be brutally honest. I’ve cried myself to sleep; I’ve stayed awake all night. I’ve eaten far, far too much KFC. I’ve agonised and agonised, but at the end of the day this isn’t the book I want to be writing. It doesn’t feel right, and that’s the beginning and the end of every argument I can have with myself about it.

This didn’t happen yesterday or last week or even last month. I wrote the first sentence of this book well over two years ago — I’ve lived with these characters and this world every single day for the last 14 months, and I’ve mourned this shit like nobody’s business. I’ve been through denial, and anger, and then I spent a month or so making bargains with myself — keep editing while you’re still plotting After, fix chapter one and you can buy new shoes!, if you work out what needs to change, you don’t have to do it until you feel better about it — and then, sho’nuff, depression hit. I’ve sobbed on the phone to my mother at 1am. I’ve spent days eating chocolate and watching DVDs in my pajamas. If I had known how to locate a container ship to Guatemala, I would have hopped one.

Trust me, I’m not just burnt out. I don’t just need to take a break. There isn’t a course I can do or a class I can take. I won’t get over it. I can’t push past it or work through it.

I’ve made my decision, and more importantly, I think I’ve finally accepted my decision.

I woke up this morning and for the first time, I felt like I could live with those [INSERT SCENE WITH PARENTS HERE] markers. My ribcage feels 10 pounds lighter. I’m not chained to this thing anymore, to this idea of how I wanted things to go or my own fear of failure and obsession with perfection. I have to live with those things, but I’m making the right decision. I have a new idea; a vastly, exponentially BETTER idea, and I’m going to let myself focus on it. I learned what I needed to from Sparks, and I’m happy with what I did. But I have to let it go.

So, bless you, people I love. I appreciate you only want the best for me, I really do. But if you tell me I’ve come too far to give up one more time, I will knife you in the face.

Sigh. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to drink until I throw up on myself. In the good way.


The greasy boyfriend showdown! Wednesdays are boring!

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PS I was just kidding earlier: I don’t have any savings! It’s the day before pay day and I have a buck ninety to my name, but my cart has over $1500 of imaginary purchases in it now anyway, and I will sleep happily tonight, dreaming of the pretty things I will still never have but now COULD if I, say, gave up eating.


Okay. Onwards. Let’s talk about GREASY BOYFRIENDS. It’s long been known amongst those who move in my circles that I’m a tiny bit partial to the unwashed man. The full-on bearded variety is my favourite, but I’ll take greasy-haired, dirty-nailed, bleeding or scarred. I especially like it if they accidentally kill people and/or cry a lot. Just how I roll.


Lately I’ve been re-watching Jericho (as part of my post-apocalyptic scenario research kick) and it has reminded me of my love for Jake Green, aka the deliciously dirty-looking Skeet Ulrich. He of the sad eyes and grimy fingers.

Pros: Frequently injured. Generally looks cold and/or homeless. Manly crier.
Cons: Canceled by CBS. Picked the willowy blonde over the sassy brunette. Nuclear winter.


However, I’m not convinced he can compete with John Mitchell — a grubby Irish vampire who rarely washes his hair and struggles to pronounce ‘th’. He also goes all sorts of crazy for blood. Most of the time he’s a good guy with an addiction he regularly fails to manage, and then he gets all sexy and toothy and kills a bunch of people. And he’s a SUPER MESSY EATER.



You probably haven’t seen this show, and I don’t blame you — I didn’t trust the BBC to dish me up anything but my comedy either, but Being Human is SERIOUSLY AWESOME. Nerd werewolf = best ever. Buy the DVDs at once! Pirate that shit if you have to.

Pros: Gets sweaty and desperate around a pulsing neck vein. Rocks the fingerless gloves.
Cons: Will take a bath in your blood. Has no reflection, so is unable to tell how badly he needs a haircut.


Oh, Finn Hudson as played by Cory Monteith! With your songs and your lanky, super-enthusiastic dancing. I WANT TO EAT YOU UP. But dude is kinda clean cut!, you’re saying. What is your thought process, woman!

Basically: he’s huge. And bearlike. And always looks unkempt and vaguely like his last shower was yesterday, and he’s just come from practicing some form of contact sport, after which he did not wash his hands.

Pros: SINGS AND DANCES. Verging on Padalecki-level huge. Super adorable teeth.
Cons: Not legal in some countries.


Wait, what?


In which I am totally useless at existing

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This morning I poured my coffee on my cereal instead of into my waiting mug. Again. I ate it, because I figured it was all going to the same place anyway and I’m pretty cheap about that sort of thing, but WELCOME TO MY FREAKING LIFE.

On Sunday I knocked a pan off the stove onto the cats’ bowl, which broke. Saturday night I stood on my sunglasses AND smashed a glass. The second thing was probably good, since the glass in question was full of what was being loosely referred to as ‘punch’ but was probably closer in chemical makeup to antifreeze, and I was already at the standing-on-my-sunglasses level of intoxication, but



I was about to launch into a rant about how the sunglasses were my favourite Anthropologie ones, and now I’m destined for a life of squinting while driving because Anthropologie are the kind of assholes who’ll ship to Nigeria but pretend New Zealand doesn’t exist and I’ll never get any more Anthropologie stuff even though sometimes I go to their website and make wish lists and email them to myself just for fun, and when I reminisce about LA it’s like 99% how there was a sale at the Anthropologie at The Grove the day I was there (and like half a percent each on 99c punnets of fresh raspberries and how much the Silver Bullet makes you barf if you do it like six times in a row) AND THEN I WENT TO THEIR WEBSITE, AND THEY SHIP TO NEW ZEALAND.



I was going to do a greasy boyfriends bracket, because I feel it’s needed after this Jericho kick I’m on eclipsed the Being Human kick I was on before that. But that can happen after I’ve emptied my savings at the internet!!!



Birthday, blogs, babble.


I THINK it is my favourite pal and confidante Kelly’s birthday today! I only think so because everyone I fucking know is born in March, and SOMEONE NEEDS TO GIVE ME A GODDAMN CALENDAR OF EVENTS, OKAY?! But I’m pretty sure it’s today.


Kelly is wonderful. This is a fact that can be looked up in any respected publication of facts, but you could also just take my word for it. She’s awesome and always cheerful and inspiring, and she tells me all her secrets, which makes her the bestest. She’s also gonna be a kick-ass event manager soon, and we go on awesome adventures with her awesome boyfriend, who puts up with the fact that our budget means we always have to share a room. And he drives the car when we don’t want to. BUT this isn’t about him! We’re speaking of his fine-ass lady-friend: the incomparable, irrepressible, un-put-downable owner of a thirty before thirty list that I largely get to piggyback. YAY KELLY!


It’s embarrassing how much I love mummy blogs. When I’m reading blogs that aren’t intended as mummy blogs but are written by women who happen to have children, like She Just Walks Around With It or Mighty Girl — or even folks like Laini Taylor, whose writing advice and anecdotes I consume like an alcoholic at an open bar — I’m not afraid to admit I’ll skip to whatever their baby-related tag is and devour every entry. I’m honestly not sure how weird this is. Internets?


Donna read Sparks yesterday. She’s the first person (not living in my head) to read it and, honestly, her as-it-happens email feedback felt a little bit like letting someone root around in the dirty underwear drawer OF MY MIND. It’s a STRANGE feeling, to see someone else’s perspective on this tangled monster of a thing that’s eaten the last year of my life.

But on the up, none of her feedback so far has been a surprise, which means that the things I thought weren’t working are really the things not working. Which makes me very happy, because at least I’m not totally crazy.

She also laughed at my favourite line, which validates, like, my whole existence.