Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Happy Holidays!

I meant to blog last week.

I really did. Then I ended up on 5 planes, 1 with mechanical issues - luckily discovered before take off, and, well ... 5 planes, 4 states, lots of running from gate to gate and the interwebz did not see as much of me, nor I of it, as I'd have liked.

The other thing that is tough is the holidays and all those familial and friendish commitments that come up. So with that in mind, I'm just gonna go the no pressure route and call it good for the year.

I wish everyone and their familys health and happiness this holiday and into the new year. May you be safe, loved, and have plenty of time to enjoy your time together.

I'll be back after the new year!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Random Stuff Friday

1) I'm in the playoffs! This first year of ever playing Fantasy Football and my (randomly drafted) team finished the regular season in the #1 seat and we're in the playoffs! Woohoo! I stand a chance of winning! *knocks on wood* Not bad for beginner's luck, right?

2) I've been reading like crazy recently. The problem? I need to get some writing done. Like, 25,000 words worth of writing in the next week or so. It's just ... there are SO MANY fantastical reads to be read! Gah!!! What to do!! ... not that I'm procrastinating or anything... *whistles*

3) Netflix has spoiled me! The lack of commercials is a godsend! I love it! Especially since I have limited TV watching time (what with reading + writing + family + day job + etc... seriously, not that I'm procrastinating or anything),  no commercials = AWESOME ... here are some of the shows we've watched recently: Sons of Anarchy, Nikita, The Glades, and we're currently in the middle of Season 2 of Supernatural. Love that I don't have to wait days/weeks/months until the next episode! What are some of your favorite shows that I need to add to the queue?

4) They mentioned this on the radio this morning ... but with the end of the year coming ... does anyone actually remember their New Year's resolution? Did you follow through or did you lose steam somewhere between there and here? Just curious.

5) It's Margarita Night! Every few weeks, a few girlfriends and I get together and, well, have margaritas ... or (insert cocktail of choice here). Gives us a chance to catch up, have some girl time / talk, and just generally decompress. So with that in mind, *raises glass* margaritas for everyone!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Writing with One (or More) Direction(s)

Well based on feedback, you'll start seeing more of ... everything on the blog! Lol. It wasn't the direction I was thinking I'd get, but it's definitely not One Direction.

Speaking of direction, I've been working on a (sorta) new project. Wrapping up a first draft of a contemporary YA full of summer, funnel cake, and carnival rides. Herein lies the problem: it's so not summer outside and I've lost my direction a bit.

It takes me FOREVER to get my brain back in warm weather mode. I mean, it's December in Utah. Albeit, we've been a little lacking in the snow department, but it's not shorts and tanktop season by any means. I feel like the autumn and winter have misdirected me and now I'm floundering, trying to figure out where I was originally going.

So I'm hunkering down with all my summer songs and playlists, covering my desk with sunshine and carnival ride pictures, and hoping these last few thousands of words just write themselves ... ha! Well, you know what I mean!

What "One Thing" (haha, sorry, couldn't help myself!) do you do to help keep yourself going in the "write" direction? Music? Movies? Video games and tea parties?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bloggerly Help ... Please??

I'm stumped.

Looking for some help out there.

I've been sporadic with my blogging recently and I'm trying to figure out how to change that. I really miss the interaction with the blogosphere, but at the same time, I'm trying to find something engaging to blog about, something that is helpful to followers, or even just interesting for a couple minutes of your time.

So I'm looking to you out there for some help!

What would you like to see more of on my blog ...

Writing related posts? Things about the process, my process, experiences, etc?
Reading related posts? Book reviews and recs? Author interviews?
Random stuff about cute animals?
Publishing related posts - links to where I stay caught up on what's going on in the biz?
Pictures of deliciousness in the way of hot eye candy and tasty treats?

You tell me! Help a girl out :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Week of Writerly Thanks: Thursday

Today's a day to remember what we're thankful for, but I think this is something that we need to remind ourselves of EVERY SINGLE DAY.

My Thanksgiving resolution is to try to remember and appreciate what I have and not worry so much about everything else.

I appreciate that I have a family who does their best to support me through thick and thin, there to help me pass the waiting time in a publishing process fraught with hurry up and wait, who take on the crazy kidlets so I can get in a few more words, who (usually remember) social networking is part of my job, and no matter what ... I appreciate having a family who is THERE for me.

To that point, I am reminded how lucky I am to be able to spend today with a loving family (no matter how neurotic everyone can be), how supportive they are, in their own special way, and how, despite the fact they may not understand why I do what I do, they still love me for it. Either that, or they are thankful for the fact I always come bearing food ;)

Hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Week of Writerly Thanks: Wednesday

I'm a little late to post today, but I wanted to make sure and get this in ... (an overnight trip to the emergency room with a kidlet totally throws your whole schedule off!). All is well now and that's what is important!

What I was actually planning on posting today was this: 

As a kid I could not wait to get out of Utah. I suppose most teens are totally of the "cannot wait to escape this place!" mentality - getting away from suffocating parents, everyone knows everyone and is up in my business, there's nothing here .. you know the drill.

Well, I am so thankful I didn't leave! 

Over the years, as I've grown older and grown to appreciate more of my surroundings, I've learned Utah is an amazing place. We have an opportunity to enjoy all 4 seasons, this is the home of the greatest snow on Earth (great for a snowboarder like me!), the number of national parks and monuments to enjoy are (imo) unparalleled! There is so much to inspire the creative mind here!!

Yeah, most of this stuff not such a big deal when you're a kid, but now, I love that I live here!

Plus, an added bonus ... back in those days I had no idea the writerly mecca that Utah is ... especially when it comes to young adult authors who live here. It's been such an amazing thing to get to meet and grow to be friends with these uber-talented, witty, smart, and kind people who I would not have had the opportunity to get to know otherwise! Plus, if I'm drinking the same Utah water as them, something's gotta rub off right? Here's hoping! 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Week of Writerly Thanks: Tuesday

The world is a really big place.

24,901 miles around at the equator, to be a little more accurate.

That's a whole lot of earth to be hugging, but in the last few years, this world has gotten so much smaller. As a writer, I can't begin to express how awesomely amazing that is. All because of the internet, I've been able to meet amazing people (see HERE), see beautiful places I wouldn't otherwise be able to see, and figure out (to a reasonable degree) the overwhelming publishing industry.

Thanks to the internet, I've learned about books I probably would've never picked up, met characters in exotic places that actually exist and I can find pictures of, and overall, made me feel like just a tiny bit bigger of a fish in this gigantic pond.

I've grown so attached to the internet, when I don't have access, it's a bit like losing that 6th sense (no, not the seeing dead people one, *shudders* I don't EVER want that one...).

I guess that means also, that I need to also give thanks to Al Gore. Since, yanno, he is arguably the creator / discoverer / inventor / genius dude behind the internet.

Yeah, so thanks, yo.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Week of Writerly Thanks: Monday

There is an amazing community of writers that I am lucky to call myself a part of. Over the past several years as I've rediscovered my writing, I've been able to meet some awesomely talented people. These people have encouraged me when I've needed a cheerleader in my corner, they've learned and grown with me as we've waded through all the different facets of the writing process, and best of all, I can now count so many of these people as friends.

I'm kicking off my Week of Writerly Thanks with a huge virtual hug to all the wonderful people who are a part of the writing community that I've found a home in. You are brilliant, talented, and beautiful and I am so lucky to know and have you in my life, whether it is in-person, or virtually. I don't know where I'd be without all of you.

Okay, everyone... Group Hug!

Disclaimer: I have much more than a week's worth of writerly (and all otherly) thanks to give, but we'll call this the Reader's Digest version ;)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Random Friday Five

1) I took 2 months off from blogging. It was technically 70 days as of yesterday. It was sort of an unplanned hiatus, as in, I meant to blog and then just kept forgetting. Then when I went to blog, I felt like I didn't have anything to say. So I didn't. It's all a vicious circle of rambling, I tell you.

2) I love food. And next week is Thanksgiving. Woohoo! It's my favorite holiday of the year! I mean, food, family, food, football, food, and no pretense on gift giving, major decorations, or any of that red tape. It's all about appreciating. And the food. It's a lot about the food too! What's not to love, right?

3) Speaking of football, well, more like mentioning of football ... I'm in a Fantasy Football league this season. Except I forget that's what it's called and I keep calling it Final Fantasy football. My strategy for drafting my team? Criteria #1: Do I recognize this player's name? -if yes, draft. Criteria #2: Is this player a former Ute (UofU all the way!!)? -if yes, draft. Criteria #3a: Does this player have a cool sounding name? -if yes, check picture. Criteria #3b: Does this player look like they would be a nice person in real life? -if yes, draft. Pretty scientific, right?

4) 4yo came home from preschool the other day with a crown. She'd earned the very prestigious Alphabet Crown - meaning she knows all her letters and sounds. She proceeded to wear said crown all day. To the grocery store, out to dinner, chasing the dog around. It was a big deal. It made me think that writers should get crowns too. When you get to The End - in whatever form, be it your first draft of the ms, your final revisions, even the dreaded synopsis, you should be crowned for your achievements! And not just any ol' crown. I'm talking Toddlers & Tiaras Miss Grand Supreme crown. The kind bigger than your head. I thought a gigantic sparkly crown topping the sweats and t-shirts I write in would be AWESOME. For whatever reason, she didn't seem quite as excited about the idea. Can't imagine why ...

5) I am totally NOT a Twihard, but I did brave the crowds with one of my bestie girlfriends who had tix to see Breaking Dawn Pt 2 last night. My thoughts? There were not enough SPARKLES!! For more of my thoughts, check back next week -- we have pictures!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

So A Pigeon, A Bunny, & 3 Dinosaurs Go To A Bookstore

Because a 6-author extravaganza just isn't enough in one week, I took the kiddies to another event held at the fabulous King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City on Tuesday night! Who was signing? None other than the amazing Mo Willems!! In case you're not familiar, he's the author of the Knuffle Bunny, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, and the Elephant and Piggie series. His new book, Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs just came out.

Chickies are checking out the books in line to go in for the reading.

Here's (a not that fabulous) picture of us waiting for the reading to start.

And here are some very blurry pictures of Mo with the book. These may look like they were happening during the reading, but they weren't. Something he said really stuck with me, and that is ... we were not there to "capture the moment," we were there to "experience" it. So he actually posed for these pictures before he started reading and then had everyone put their cameras away and just listen. It was awesome.

While we waited for the actual signing part, we stopped by the Starbucks and picked up some vanilla milk and passion tea lemonade. YUM!

What a great first signing for the bug to attend (even though he won't remember). And the chickies LOVE that they now have personalized books from Mo!

I love the opportunity to keep my kids (and kids in general) excited about books and reading! What do you try to do to keep the kids in your life (your own or those you borrow ...) into all things bookish?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Allergies, Pixie Dust, and Pie - or How Awesome a Book Signing Can Be

This morning I woke up and decided ... "I'm allergic to mornings."

Then a 4yo (who just woke up) came traipsing into the room and said, "I'm hungry." And I thought, 'Kid, you just opened your eyes, how can you be hungry already???'

Ahh, the joys of parenthood. Don't these children realize the effects an allergic reaction can have?????

All right, moving on. I doubt you want to hear much more of my rambling about that!

This has been a crazy writerly-bookish week already, and it's only Wednesday.

I (finally) turned in some more revisions to L'Agent on Monday afternoon. YAY! Then to celebrate (and because I'd been planning for a month or something now) headed off to the Smart Chicks Kick It signing with some dear writerly friends. Salt Lake City was the first stop of the tour on this version 3.0 and they had some amazing authors there!

From the left (sorry the picture is blurry, the camera on my phone sucks) ... Ally Condie, Margaret Stohl, Kelley Armstrong, Melissa Marr, Richelle Mead, and Bethany Griffin. They were all so awesome and amazingly charismatic!

Margaret Stohl and I had an agency bonding moment when she learned I had recently signed with The Gernert Company as well. She decided to bless me with some agency pixie dust!

And Richelle Mead even signed a book for my sister - thanking her for babysitting (so I could attend the event!).

And of course, we finished off the night with dessert. Pie, anyone?


From the left: peanut butter cup, key lime, apple a la mode, salty hog (yes, that's a slice of candied bacon on top), and caramel silk supreme.

At first I was going to also tell you about the other event we went to on Tuesday night, then I realized how long this blog post would be. So I'll save that for another day! Maybe tomorrow. Yeah, tomorrow. So come on back if you're interested in the answer to the question "how do you really pronounce 'Knuffle'" ... or if you just want to see more pictures :)

How's your week going so far?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Utah Locals! Who is EVERBOUND??

I apologize in advance for those who are not local, as I'm not able to run this on a larger scale, BUT if you're one of those lucky peeps who live in Utah, have I got an opportunity for you!

Nope, doesn't even involve a lemon of used car!

This ARC:

is currently en route to me. Interested? I thought you might be, especially since it's not even going to be published to the masses until January of 2013. By my count, still more than 4 months away!

Here's the deal - if you're interested in signing up for the ARC tour, please fill out the form below and keep an eye out for an email to come with additional details!

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

How Authors are Like Batman or My Theory on Blogging

*waves* Hi.

I know I've been sporadic in blogging. Life gets crazy sometimes.

Over the course of the past year or so, I've noticed a  wave of change within the blog-o-sphere. Maybe it's just me, but maybe not. Here's what I have noticed:

#1) People are blogging less. Those who used to consistently blog 5 days a week, are down to 2-3, if that.

#2) Topics of blogs are becoming redundant. This could be because of the blogs I'm following? Because these bloggers I follow are now at a different place than they were when I first started following them? Because people have less time to draft new blog posts, so they recycle old ones? I'm not sure.

#3) There's just less going on in the bloggerly world. With Twitter, Facebook, personal websites, Tumblr, GoodReads, Instagram, and everything else out there, I think people are reaching their limits with social networking and trying to stay connected. So they have to draw the line somewhere.

With those observations in mind, here's my theory on blogging:

The landscape of the virtual world has shifted to a point where priorities have to be made. Those priorities are generally chosen based on both audience-reach AND an author's comfort level. Some prefer Twitter or Facebook, others maybe a blog post here and there, but what it comes down to is OPTIONS. Authors are now more like Batman: with a whole arsenal of (interwebzy) tools on their utilty belts.

So really, don't feel pressured to use anything you're not comfortable with, because there are so many to choose from! Pick your tool and use what works for you.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Quote of the Week

"If you're trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. . . But obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it."

Michael Jordan

Well said, Mr. Jordan. Well said.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Quote of the Week

"Be grateful for luck. Pay the thunder no mind - listen to the birds. And don't hate nobody."

Eubie Blake

Friday, July 13, 2012

Random Stuff Friday

1) I've been about 4 weeks off soda / coffee (essentially caffeine) and each morning I am still waking asking myself "WTF was I thinking??" Still not sure the answer to this question...

2) Had a girls night with a good friend. Dinner and Magic Mike. Channing Tatum (yum!), Alex Pettyfer (needed a shower & shave), Matt Bomer (definitely not Neal Caffrey). I mean, awesome, right? Well ...
Then had convo w/my 20yo sister.
Her: What did you think of Magic Mike?
Me: Different than I expected.
Her: How?
Me: Grittier. It was a really good story, though. I liked it.
Her: You're a nerd.
Me: I know.
Her: Who goes to a stripper movie for the story???
Me: A writer.

3) You may have seen on my FB, but I recently discovered and lovelovelove this new line of products from a company called Norwex. If you are at all conscientious of the environment, or being chemical-free and gree in your home, or you just want to cut your cleaning time by up to 75% (mememe!!), check it out HERE! I don't usually endorse any specific products, other than, yanno, books or writing related schtuff, but this was something I had to share. Why? Well, because if you can clean your house that much faster, you get that much more time to read and write!! Duh.

4) We start another #APirateTrip in about 6 days. And 15 hours. Not that I'm counting down or anything.

5) Althought it's been more than 100 days, we're doing a traditional Laotian 100 Days Rememberance Ceremony for my mom this weekend. Modern-day schedules simply didn't allow for us to be able to do the ceremony at the actual 100 days, but I don't think Mom will mind. So this weekend = Family time :)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Great Cause

I don't generally use my blog as a means to solicit, but this is a great cause supported by one of my dear friends. I know there's always a cause to support, someone who needs help, both here at home and abroad, but this is one of those situations where it really does put into perspective what we are so lucky to have.

L.T. Elliot is a part of a team working to raise funds on behalf of special needs kids in Nicaragua. The Los Pipitos School in San Juan del Sur helps educate and enrich the lives of children who, due to their limited abilities, would be otherwise unable to take advantage of a regular classroom education. In early August, volunteers are going to Nicaragua to bring school supplies and funds to help keep the school running.

About The School
This special needs school provides an educational experience for the mentally and physically disabled that a regular school cannot. Their goal is to help their students develop to their full abilities and be able to live as normal and independent lives as their disabilities will allow. Disabilities range from cerebral palsy to Down syndrome to mental retardation and brain damage. Beyond the classroom, they provide activities that these children would not otherwise be able to do, including teaching them to surf, dance, and make music.

What they need
It costs the foundation $150 per month to pay for the teacher’s salary and $200 per month to pay for bus transportation for the students at the school. Many of the students are confined to wheel chairs and live in communities with dirt roads; therefore if the foundation does not transport them to school then they will not be able to attend. Also, they desperately need school supplies. Unfortunately they cannot rely on the postal system to receive the supplies so they rely on visitors to bring supplies with when traveling to Nicaragua.

How you can help
All children deserve an education, and too often special needs children are overlooked. In order to keep the school in operation for another year, it's our intention to raise $4,200 to go toward teacher's salaries and the cost of transportation for the children. The remaining portion will be used to buy and transport school supplies as well as help the school to buy new chairs, desks, and chalkboards for the classrooms. Help these children by being the change you want to see in the world. No contribution is too small: $1, $5, whatever your can give; every dollar counts. Time is short and we need your support to give these children hope for a brighter future!

You can follow the cause on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HelpLosPipitos

Monday, July 9, 2012

Quote of the Week

"Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught."

Oscar Wilde

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Should Be

Tomorrow there should be cake.

There should be ice cream.

There should be singing and smiles.

And fifty-two candles.

And Mom.

July 9, 1960 - January 12, 2012

Miss you, Mom. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Random Stuff Friday

#1) Happy Friday! I don't know about you guys, but however weird it may be to have a holiday in the middle of a week and get that day off, I could really get used to having a "mini-weekend" in the middle of every week!

#2) Remember how last week I told you about our family's big fireworks and bbq extravaganza? Well, we were very careful, what with all the fire restrictions and wildfires burning in Utah right now, we even had a couple of people assigned as firefighters, just in case. Everything was going great. And then a police officer appeared. There was that OMG moment everyone had. Followed by a "It's only June 30th. You have to wait until July." Followed by a big group SIGH. At which point my cousin, Captain Fireworks, decided we would postpone the rest of the show until Tuesday night. Especially since if we kept going, we figured the officer would come back and give us the $10,000 fine and no one wanted that. How's that for extravaganza?

#3) I've been working through revisions for L'Agent and finally caved from attempting to revise on the computer. I'm old school when it comes to revisions, which is something I'm trying to work on, what with the movement to be all green and environmentally friendly and what not. But I printed out my ms. All 309 pages of it. At least it's on recycled paper, right?

#4) It's officially 13 days until our family vacation. Can I just say how excited I am? Things have been turning a bit into a loony bin around here and I canNOT wait for an escape!

#5) Yay rain! Yesterday it rained in Utah after 38 straight dry days. And we desperately needed it! It seems there's a new fire somewhere in the state everyday, but yesterday's moisture definitely helped to quell that. And cool things off for us a bit too!

Hope everyone has a happy Friday and a great weekend!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Quote of the Week

"It would be great on this Monday morning, if Gmail would actually, yanno, let me open my email."


... already, it's one of those days *sigh*

Friday, June 29, 2012

Random Stuff Friday

1) yesterday I thought it was Friday. Then someone was so kind (mean!) as to tell me that it was only Thursday. So that whole mix-up is probably why I just realized now, at lunchtime on actual-Friday, I hadn't written this week's blogpost yet.

2) the pitfalls of semi-routine traveling is that when you end up coming home a day early (huzzah!), you forget it's a day early and then you think you're a day ahead only to realize the actual day is one day behind what you thought. confused yet? see #1

3) so remember how last week I was telling you the excitement around Maczilla? Oh, did I forget to tell you that is what I named him? Well, silly me. Well, now I'm sitting around suffering from severe buyer's remorse. Is the buying-nice-things-for-yourself just a me or does anyone else constantly deal with this? Probably not, right?

4) in celebration of NOT getting on an airplane for the entire month of July, instead, the Aphayrath family is getting ready for another #APirateTrip! This time we're headed up to see some dear friends, Husband will get to do some salmon fishing (hopefully!), and I will get to finish up my revisions and get them to L'Agent by August!

5) but before vacation, we've got our big huge family 4th of July shindig going on tomorrow night. The kids get to parade on festively decorated scooters and bikes, AND there will be tons of fireworks, food, and family. All you need for a summer night, right? Oh, and we've been told there's a 2-shot penalty (for those of age) if you're not appropriately patriotically dressed.

All right, I'm off to take the bubs shopping for some red, white, and blue and hopefully be up to dress code!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Quote of the Week

"A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions."

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr

Friday, June 22, 2012

Random Stuff Friday

1) Advanced apologies for the possible ramblings and incoherency of this post. In the last 3 days I think I might've gotten about 6 hours of sleep. Ahhh, how it is with a sick baby...

2) I have my first deadline. Well, one that's not self-imposed anyway. I've got revisions due back to Agent by August 1. It seems like a long ways away still, but then I start thinking about things like, oh, how I have a day job, all the kiddie and RL stuff, like sick kids and family vacations, and how June's already more than half over and wow. August 1st is coming fast. Wish me luck!

3) Yesterday was the 2 older bubs' reading group (Thursday nights) at The King's English. Do you know how difficult it is to hang out in a bookstore of awesome and NOT buy anything? It totally sucks.  But since I bought 5 new books last week, I promised Husband no books this week. Why would I make such a commitment you ask? Well....

4) I have succumbed. And anti-Apple Husband has relented. I am now the proud owner of a MacBook Pro! My very first computer, ever, was an Apple Mac. Desktop. Mid-90s. Oh, how ahead of my time I was! Now to work on retraining myself from the PC stuff back to Mac. Any tricks and tips are welcome!

5) One good thing about a sick baby is that it limits the plans you can commit to, especially over the weekend. All I've got on the books for now is a long overdue hair appointment. Hoping for a long quiet and restful weekend of recovery for the little bug and hangout time with the older bubs.

Have a fab weekend everyone!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Quote of the Week

"A fear of heights is illogical. A fear of falling, on the other hand, is prudent and evolutionary."

Dr. Sheldon Cooper
The Big Bang Theory, The Friendship Algorithm

Friday, June 15, 2012

Random Stuff Friday

1) A big fat happy 7th birthday to our oldest bubs today. She's helped plan the day and there will be zoo fun, froyo, shopping, and lots and lots of treats!

2) Thank you to everyone for the kind words after I announced my signing with The Gernert Company! You all are amazing and I am blessed to have such wonderful people in my life, both RL and virtual! It's been a long road, filled with success and failure, celebration and tragedy, and I am so thankful to have you to share it with!

3) Last night was the first session of this summer's Kids' Reading Groups at the indie bookstore in Salt Lake City: The King's English. The girls had so much fun! The teachers running the groups are wonderful. And even 4yo who has been having severe separation anxiety issues didn't even notice when I walked away to do some bookshop browsing! Looking forward to the coming weeks at TKE! (P.S. To you locals - they are having their semi-annual sale right now and HOLY WOW, the deals are fab! Go if you have a chance!)

4) Speaking of books ... my to read pile is HUGE. And I just picked up some Gayle Forman, Emily Wing Smith, and Kristen Chandler last night. Plus, Agent is sending me some Alyssa Sheinmel ... and I'm so excited to get back into my writerly and readerly groove! Still taking Need To Read suggestions, though, so if you've got one, toss them this way! I'm open to anything, right now!

5) Lastly, I'm having one of those laundry weeks where I just want to throw out all the clothes in the house and start over. The piles are taking over!! Gah! So instead of doing the laundry, I think I'm just gonna head out to play with the bubs today. It is a birthday afterall.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I Have NEWS!!!!

So yesterday I tweeted this:

But then I heard from some sweet friends who were so kind as to let me know you do still care!! So for that, I apologize for leading you on with no news yesterday, but that's because I thought waiting for today would make things even more exciting!

What's the news you ask???

Well... Last weekend was my birthday!!!

Just kidding. But, it was my birthday.

That's just not the news. The news is what I got just before my birthday - one of the best presents ever (ranks right up there with cupcake presents!) ...

I have an agent!

*happy dances*

I can now officially announce that I am represented by (the uber-awesome)
Logan Garrison of The Gernert Company!!

Hoorah! Huzzah! Woohoo!

And now ... I get to dive into revisions and revisions and revisions. And maybe some new words too, yanno, since I have so much free time and all.

So thanks for coming by, leaving notes, reading pages, putting up with my randomness, and most of all, for caring. I would never have been able to make it this far without any of you! I know there's still a long road to publication ahead, but I appreciate you guys for coming on this journey with me!

*raises glass*

To more times of writerly stuff, readerly stuff, and general randomness!

Let's have a dance party to celebrate, yeah? Yeah!!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Quote of the Week

"Opportunity is often missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

Thomas A. Edison

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

No Hope

I feel like this week's quote is a bit of a downer. Even though the true message is basically to keep on keeping on.

Still, keep going when there seems to be no hope? Yeah. I think we all feel like that about something at some point in life, but I think the main thing we all need to remember is that we need to keep GOING.

Sometimes it's hard when you feel like everything is against you, but no one ever said life - or getting published - was easy. And if you ever think someone's life or writing journey was easy, well then you probably don't know them very well.

It's hard to remember that when it feels like everyone around you has great news and fantastical deals and the whole of the interwebz is celebrating with them, but just remember: your time will come, you simply must keep going.

This past winter was a big moment of seemingly no hope for me, and now, well, now summer's fast approaching, I've made it through finding a new normal with the family, have taken some time for myself and started back into the wonderful world of word counts and writing, and now, I think I am stronger for the experience.

What's your moment of seemingly no hope? How did you make it through?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Quote of the Week

"Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all."

Dale Carnegie

Friday, May 11, 2012

Random Stuff Friday

Welcome back to another installment of "Otherwise Amusing Events Occurring Within the Aphayrath World" also known as "Random Stuff Friday"

#1 - We give our old cell phones to play with. The bubs LOVE pretending they have phone calls or are text messaging their friends. The other day I was driving to Home Depot with Hubs, all 3 bubs, and brother-in-law-who-now-lives-with-us (who will heretofore be known as "Bil"). 3yo was playing with my old Samsung Glyde - not an advert for the phone, as I totally hated it - when Bil asked her what she was doing. 3yo: "I'm texting to Twitter. Duh." Hubs turned to me. Me: "Ohmigod, she is totally my kid."

#2 - One of the best reasons I found for following some of my favorite places on Facebook is finding out about events that might take a while to learn of otherwise. Case in point: The King's English (SLC's awesometastical indie bookstore) does summer reading groups for kids, run by teachers, where kids are broken out into appropriate age groups, given reading lists, etc. It's like book club! And lucky for me, the timing of both kids' sessions are the same, which means I'm gonna get an hour once a week to hang out at my fave indie bookshop! Woohoo!

#3 - It's a pirate life this weekend at the Aphayrath house. Jake and the Neverland Pirates, that is. All my pre-planning efforts were for naught when 3yo decided she HAD to change the theme of the party 2 weeks ago (I've been gone for 1 week), so now I'm scrambling to get everything ready. *sigh*

 #4 - I've not seen The Hunger Games movie yet. Nor have I read the book. *ducks flying tomatoes* I've not seen the Avengers yet. I don't know when I will. Here's my reasoning why: there's been so much hype, so much positive gushing, just so much ... much that I'm not sure if I want to experience any of these for fear that I will be so devastatingly disappointed because of all the gushing there's just no way any of these could live up to my expectations. Irrational fear? Yeah, probably. Is there someone out there who can convince me otherwise? I'm not sure ...

#5 - I really want to have something else amusing for you here, but yanno, I just don't. So hope everyone has as awesome weather as we do here in the Salt Lake valley (mid 70s all weekend!) and an enjoyable weekend. Catch ya later!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Joining Short Races

This week's quote has really stuck with me. When I first saw it, I didn't think much about it, but then I realized how true it is. Especially for me right now.

I tweeted a while back that I signed up for my first 5K. Ever. I hate to run, but I needed something to get me moving. And people always told me it's a lot harder to commit to training unless you have a predetermined deadline.

So here it is: my next birthday, June 9, and what a way to start a new year of my life, right? Yeah, that's what I was thinking too. I only have 2 goals for this 5K. #1) run the entire time & #2) survive.

I think those are very reasonable goals.

As I thought through my running goals, I realized how remiss I've been on the writing front. I've been losing all the short races on this side by simply not participating at all. On pinterest there's this little poster:

And yeah, I've been the one sitting on the couch as everyone's been passing by.

Well no more!

If I can get training for this 5K, then I can get back into the writerly swing of things. I've said it before, the getting started again, but if you never start (however many times it may take), you'll never ever finish, right??

Since I've committed to 2 goals for the 5K on my birthday, I've decided I need to commit to 2 goals for my writing to be done by my birthday. #1) get to 40K words in the current WIP (I'm right about 5K right now) & #2) blog twice a week to get back into my writerly groove.

Nothing too crazy or impossible. Not gonna jump into any marathons right away, because that's how you end up quitting before you get started, I think.

Realistic enough goals, but at the same time, a bit of a stretch for me.

How are your short races going? Are they pretty reasonable without being easy reach?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Quote of the Week

"Perseverence is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other."

Walter Elliot

Monday, April 16, 2012

Quote of the Week

"I look to the future because that's where I'm going to spend the rest of my life."

- George Burns

Monday, April 9, 2012

Quote of the Week

"What great things would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?"

- Robert H. Schuller

Monday, April 2, 2012

Quote of the Week

"No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit."

- Andrew Carnegie

Monday, March 26, 2012

Quote of the Week

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars and change the world."

-Harriet Tubman

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Pirate* Trip

And now, it's Thursday.

We're on the road. Have been for a few hours now. I'm not sure where we're at right at this moment, but I decided that I'm going to make an adventure out of this.

One can never be sure just how much writerly fodder you can get while on road trips and people watching and always trying to ensure you capture each and every valuable moment ... I've decided I'm live tweeting this whole trip. Well, most of it anyway.

I might skip on a few things tomorrow morning, and my blog post tomorrow will explain why.

Catch my updates on #APirateTrip on Twitter. You'll get to see just how fun it is to go on a road trip with 3 kids under 7 in a strategically Tetris-packed Honda Pilot.

*If you're wondering about the "A Pirate" part ... soften the "t" in the middle and toss a "th" at the end of that and that's how you pronounce my last name!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tetris Packing

Holy crow ... three posts in one week? WHAT is going on???

Yeah, it's probably because I'm prescheduling and trying to catch up on my bloggerliness.

I really am trying to get back into the writerly groove, like I said yesterday. I miss everyone and the interaction and how you guys just let me air my random thoughts and catching up with what everyone else has been up to and yeah. That was a horrible run on sentence, please forgive me.

Anyway, today is Wednesday and I'm actually not sure if I'm working. Because it's only Tuesday early morning as I write this.
I actually need to be packing right now. For the family trip to California AND for my trip to Baltimore next week. I'm not going to have time when we get back from CA to pack for the work trip, so I'm trying to be efficient. Hopefully it pans out.

As for CA, I have to pack for myself, Husband, 6yo, 3yo, and the bubs - who is currently 5 1/2 months old. That includes clothes, toys, toiletries, diapers, stroller, car seats, snacks ... oh, and my dad has just informed me that he'd like us to also include the 5-day cooler packed with a bunch of frozen items he'd like to take to his brother.

And somehow, this is all supposed to fit in the car?

Good thing I enjoy a good game of Tetris. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Working Too Hard

There is such a thing.

I hope people realize that it is real and not just one of those cliche things that people say.

I bring this up because today is technically my Friday from day job. I'm supposed to be off after today, but we'll see if this really pans out: I still have SO MUCH work that needs to be done before I'm off.

You see, I'm heading out to California for some family business and won't be back in town until Sunday night. Then first thing Monday morning, I leave for another business trip, this one taking me to Baltimore for all day meetings for nearly a week. I won't be back until late Thursday night. The day before Husband's big 30th birthday, which I've also got scheduled off. So basically, all work that is due between now and the end of March has to be done TODAY!

Plus, I've been trying to lay out my plans to get myself back into the writing groove, with a couple new projects tugging at me for attention.

Needless to say, there's lots of running, running, running.

And yesterday, in my uber-day-job-productivty, something happened to tell me that I've been running too much over the past several days:

My good (not!) friend, Migraine, decided to stop in for a brief visit last night. Just long enough to knock me off my feet for several hours and keep me from working after I got home last night.

So just a reminder to all those out there who feel that pressure of working (whatever you may be working on) too hard, too long, too much ... really, it's okay to take a few minutes and have a break. It's way better than to end up out of commission and lose hours.

Luckily, I'm up, rested and refreshed today, so here's to some uber-productivity and NO visits from any not-so-good friends!

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Quote of the Week

It's been a while since I've had any sort of consistency on the blog, but I'm working on it! So because I'm sure you've all totally missed my random musings and quotes, I thought we'd start that back up this week.

"If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success."

-John D. Rockefeller

Friday, March 9, 2012

Random Stuff Friday

1) Spring is coming and we've been doing some major cleaning out of stuff at our house. Starting with closets! Seriously, we do NOT need all the clothing that ANY of us has. That being said, here's a snippet of a conversation I recently had with 3yo daughter:

3yo - What is that pile?
Me - Clothes we're going to give away.
3yo - But I like that shirt. It's my favorite! *points to the pile of shirts*
Me - Which one?
3yo - *points to the whole pile*
Me - *picks up random shirt* This is not your favorite shirt. You can't wear this. It's too small for you.
3yo - But I like it! When I lift up my arms, you can see my belly button and I look like Britney Spears!
Me - *speechless*

On the other hand, at least this is the Britney she's referring to:

And not this one:

2) I've asked a couple times on Twitter and FB, and now I'm going to throw this out to all my bloggerly friends: Nook Color Tablet or Kindle Fire? I do need to mention that we're planning on purchasing 2 of whatever we get, one for each of the girl kidlets, and before you say we're spoiling them, we've already discussed that they would receive no further gifts from us for the rest of the year AND they have to EARN their usage time. Now then ... any input would be greatly appreciated! I'm so torn!

3) So when I wrote random #1, it was Monday and the weather was nice. Then come Tuesday night, Hello Blizzard. It was like Mother nature knew I was excited to see the official coming of spring and decided to give me a big "Ha! Ha!" Now we are back to thawing out again.

4) Been trying to figure out more things that might help the baby bub with his fussiness and eczema. Read about dairy-free, gluten-free and that sparked my interest. Then I had a convo with the pediatrician about it, and he's pretty open to whatever we want to try, but won't allergy test the bub or anything, he's still too little. So I'm wondering if anyone (besides Heather ;) has tried this sort of thing in regards to eczema specifically and not ended up with the benefits because they chose the diet due to other conditions.

5) Over the past few months I've learned a lot about friends vs acquaintances and how often those two get confused. I've also learned that just because you don't share blood doesn't mean you're not family. With that in mind, just because you do share blood doesn't make you family either. I read something the other day that basically said "Some people ask how you are because they care. Others simply ask because they're curious. Don't confuse the two."

I leave you with that little bit of food for thought and hope your weekend looks to be as bright and sunshiney as ours does out here (thank goodness the blizzard is gone!).

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Bigger Picture

It's been just over a month since my last post. I meant to post more, but I just kept forgetting. And now, things are finally starting to sort themselves out a bit.

With working, parenting, writing, daycare, and sorting general other family things out, I'm exhausted. But the sun will rise again and that means, we've all just gotta keep on trekking right?

Enough whining. So guess what? I FINALLY finished revisions on a project I've been working on for what feels like FOREVER. Really, it's been about 3 years, I'd say. Now don't think that's all. In the midst of revisions on this project, I've also drafted an entire other manuscript, gotten about halfway done with draft 0 of yet one other project, and done some general outlining on about 6 other story ideas. I'd say that's a pretty productive last 3 years.

That being said, I feel like I've not got much to show for it other than lots of word documents on my computer, a lack of blog posts, and some pretty kick @$$ writerly peeps I've gotten to know.

I guess this sort of random, rambly post is mostly me trying to collect my thoughts around what I've gotten done. In the past few months, I feel like not much, but that's speaking only on the writerly stuff. Family took precedence and I think everyone can understand why. But if I look at the writerly stuff for the last few years, I've been pretty damn productive. Gotta take the victories where I can get them!

Sometimes, you gotta take a look at the bigger picture to help get refocused. What's your bigger pictures looking like?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Begin Again

Wow, it's been a while, hasn't it?

What, like, 3... close to 4 months? Yeah, sorry about that. Things have been a bit hectic to say the least around here. So let's start again, shall we?I know I talk about the Husband and Kidlets a fair bit here, but brace yourself for all the family-ish stuff you're about to get.

Here's a quick recap of my last few months...
I had a baby. (3 weeks earlier than planned.)

He actually looks more like this now:

 While on maternity leave, I started revisions on a project.

Mom was diagnosed with late stage cancer.

Revisions went on hold.

Just before Christmas, Grandma lost her battle with cancer.
My brother, sister, and me with Grandma.
Revisions still on hold.

Husband's position at work changed as did his shift ... going from a 12-hour graveyard

to 12-hour day shift. Yay to having him home at night, boo to trying to juggle daycare for the kidlets.

I decided to take an extra week off at the end of my maternity leave ... putting my total time off at 13 weeks. So much had happened in such a short time. I was still adjusting.

I'd been back to work for 2 days and then Mom lost her battle with cancer.

My sister, Mom, and me.

Took another 2 weeks of leave from work.

And now, I'm trying to begin again.

So for now, we are all still reeling a bit and taking some time to figure out what the "new normal" is for our family. Hope you guys bear with my inconsistency for a bit longer.

A couple last thoughts for the moment:

#1) We don't use the word "hate" in our family. It's one of those words we have on the "list of bad words" the kids are not supposed to use. But I have to say, I hate cancer. I always have. I always will. To all those fighting the fight, supporting those who are fighting the fight, or honoring those who've lost their fights, my heart goes out to you. You will always be in my thoughts. And also...
Did I already tell you that?

#2) I wanted to say a quick thanks to you guys who have stuck around, reading, commenting, or just lurking on the blog. I know you're there and even when I wasn't blogging I knew you were there. You guys mean a lot to me and I wanted to make sure you knew how much I appreciate each and every one of you!