Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Costumes, Fat Karma, and Marketability

Happy Halloween y'all!!  This is me:

This is what I dressed up as for Halloween:

Now, WAIT a minute!!!  Strike that - reverse.  My bad.  I posted those pics backwards.  The onery fat chick is me and the OTHER picture (purple shirt) is what I WANTED to be for Halloween.  But, I couldn't find one that fit... :(

Yes, people.  I've been a victim of what I like to call "Fat Karma".  I'm convinced that all those times that I secretly wished that I'd run into my husband's ex-girlfriend from highschool, or the girl my first love dumped me for, or "the one that got away's" wife, or all those mean girls in highschool, and find them all fat - well, that fat wish bounced right off every single one of them and hit me instead!!!  Because, I'm telling you.  They are ALL still skinny.  Well...except for maybe the hubbie's ex.  She must be in the cyber-space black hole cause I can't find her anywhere!?  Still - moral of the story?  Only wish good things for people.  :)

I am in a RACE to be that sexy chick in the purple shirt again, however.  There's a fancy dinner at La Caille at stake!!  So, wish me luck??

But, it also got me thinking...are skinny authors more marketable than chubby ones?  As a whole? (or are the skinny ones a "half"?)  I'm scared to death that I'll send a query out, get a request for my ms, the agent LOVES it of course and wants to meet, and then they  Current me.  Not pretty 1992 me.  And then they're just not as jazzed about representing me...because, ummmm - tours/book photos = scary!! 

You know - I know some great, wonderful, amazing big beauties that are so charismatic and comfortable with who they are that I can't imagine anyone would turn them away for anything.  But - I've just never been that comfortable in my new skin.  Tell me to just get over myself.  Please.  Come on.  Right now would be good.  Maybe, when the time comes and I have to shine no matter what - I'll do just that and everything will be fine.  *hopes - wishes*

But, aside from my little halloween costume snafu - I did have a great time.  Hung out with my gal pals Jen and Mindy, the hubbies, the kids.  Ate some great cornbread and chili.  And took some FUN, SCARY pics that I'd like to share:

Hope you all had a FABULOUS Halloween, too!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Did you enter the Contest? I did!!

Ok - so I'm really just getting to a point where I'm trying to get my writing out there.  You know, out there, in that scary world of publishers, agents, editors, etc. 

I don't know if you've noticed, but my blog has technically been active since 2007.  This will be my twenty-fifth post - TOTAL.  Most of which have come from this year - 2010.  I've polished my work, I've really started to focus, I've been checking stuff out, I joined the League of Utah Writers and went to their Fall Roundup.  Where (very luckily) I had the opportunity to attend a query writing class by Elana Johnson.  Elana's blog is also the first one I came across that really got me motivated to start blogging more.  And (I'm guessing here) commenting on Elana's blog is where Jen Daiker, another fabulous blogger, found me.  The great circle!  Read, write, respond, and on and on it goes!! 

It's through all this that I also came across this contest  hosted by - 100 words and and a 1-line pitch to an agent!  So, I'm throwing my hat in.  Wish me luck?

Here's my pitch:

17-year-old Clara Knight thinks spending the summer in faraway New York with estranged Grandma equals Broadway shows and shopping, but what she gets instead is a family curse, stalked by an immortal Prince, and Grandma plotting against her with her new best friend/villain. 
Do you think I've got a chance?  :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Road Rage and Short Stories

Don't you just love road trips?  I do!  Especially when the end result of such a trip is something really fun.  I went down to St. George, UT this weekend to see "Thriller" at the Tuacahn amphitheatre.  For anyone reading this who is not familiar with St. George, Thriller or Tuacahn - some brief explanations:

St. George - lovely little red-rocked town in Southern UT
"Thriller" - Halloween themed dance production by Odyssey Dance Company, Salt Lake City
Tuacahn - AMAZING outdoor amphitheatre near St. George - right smack in the middle of a red canyon, amazing acoustics, it's just awesome.

We went down just for one night - Me, my only daughter, my best friend Jen, and her youngest son, Nate.  It was a great show.  It was also a full moon that night - awesome to see peaking over the amphitheatre walls and adding to the ambiance of the Thriller theme.  The dancers were amazing.  I love this show!  I saw it in Salt Lake last year, but Tuacahn was just wonderful.

Anyhow!  As we were driving home yesterday, we decided to take a little detour (ok, so we got lost) and of course Jen and I are just chatting away, not really paying attention to the other drivers on the road.  There was only one vehicle in front of us and not too many cars coming the other way.  Well, at some point - the vehicle in front of us starts to tap his breaks and slow down.  We look up and see him madly thrashing his arms about and then he pulls to the side of the road.  As we pass him, he looks a little something like this:

*original artwork by Donea Lee

Even today, I have NO IDEA what we did to upset this guy.  But, we passed him and, of course, he started tail-gating and then finally passed us and flipped my friend off!!  I swear - we were not tail-gating him to begin with.  Anyhow - we found ourselves in Dixie National Forest - lots of twist and turns and I kept thinking to myself, "What if we turn a corner and that yellow Chevy is blocking the road and the psycho driving is outside waiting for us...with his is hunting season right now after all...plausible defense?"  Jen and I started hypothesizing different scenarios of what this guy might do to kill us.  (i.e. he road-blocks us and guns us down, he road-blocks us and uses his hidden machete and feeds us to the deer, we ram into him instead and stick antlers on him for the "road kill" defense, etc.)

"Psycho in the Yellow Truck."  Jen thinks it could be a song title.  Could that work as a novel?  I didn't think I'd have enough story fodder for something that long.  But, maybe a short story or a poem?  Has road rage ever given you a story idea?  :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

I'm in love with a WIENER!

DOG, people. WIENER. DOG.  :)  But, it hooked you in, right?  Maybe not.  I was just missing my puppy today at lunch (he went on an out-of-town adventure with my husband this weekend) and realized that I haven't posted anything at all about him.  Not here.  Not on FB.  What's wrong with me????  I cannot, in good conscience, go another day without sharing his cute little face with the world!  (Or, the two or three people who actually read this...thank you!!)

So - here is my Sammy:  (aka Samma-lamma-ding-dong, The Cuteness, Pum-paws, Wet Willie, Sammy-kins, Sammy-lamb, etc.) *oops - my daughter informed that I left out "Fluffa-buns"

I even considered putting him in one of my current WiPs....ummm...or not.  But, isn't he just adorable?  :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Beautiful MA

A few weeks ago - I went on a trip to Massachusetts.  No, I don't have family there.  (I was asked that a lot.)  No, there wasn't any particular reason for going.  (This was my response to the raised eyebrows when I told them where I was going.)  I just thought New England in the Fall sounded like a great idea!  And it was!

Despite my airport drama (see prior "Travelocity" blog for details) and quite a bit of rain - it was a good trip.  My daughter may not whole-heartedly agree.  She got pretty sick of "all this history stuff" quick!  And the one day we devoted to kids-choice activities turned out to be a bust.  They'd picked out Jiminy Peak for some tree-top fun, zip-lines, mountain slides, etc. on Friday, as they said they were opened "weekends".  But, here's a tip for future travelers...weekends in MA apparently mean Saturday and Sunday only.  We ended up going bowling.

Anyhow!  There really is a lot to do.  There are a LOT of museums.  A LOT of history.  Obviously.  Hello?!  Plymouth rock is in MA.  It kind of started there.  (Chris Columbus, who?)  We really just saw the very tip on the iceberg while we were there.  Of course, we may have tried to do TOO much.  I suggest...if you're only there a week...pick a region and stay there.  If you want to see everything, plan for 2 weeks or more.

We stayed in Lee, MA which is Western MA - just over the NY border.  The region is affectionately known as "The Berkshires".  It's beautiful.  Peaceful.  Trees and trees and trees as far as you can see.  All the little towns around are an easy, quick drive away and full of historic, cute little country things to do.  A few that we went to, that I would recommend are as follows:

1- Hancock Shaker Village in Lenox, MA.  It's, well...a Shaker Village.  Do you know about the Shakers?  I was interested to find out that they got the name because they actually shook.  Interesting.  They had a lot of buildings and exhibits, a museum, a kid zone, a cafe and gift shop.  It was worth the money to me and the kids even like it.  Here's a few pics:

2 - On a road on the way home from another adventure (Susan B. Anthony birthplace in Adams, MA - not worth the $$, I'd drive by and take a picture) - we came across the cutest little country store on the side of the road!!  I believe it was technically in Hancock, MA - called Whitney Farms.  They had a pumpkin fest going on.  I'd totally go back.  Here's a few pics:

3 - Boston Duck Tour - this was pretty cool!  Totally enhanced by our AWESOME tour guide - Captain Super Size.  *Note - however, that this is only a 90-minute quick tour of Boston.  Still highly recommended!  Throwing in some "Cheers" pictures, too - here you go:

4 - Salem, MA - mwah, ha, ha, ha....!!!!  Ok - it was raining, and we kind of got there late, so sadly I didn't get to spend as much time here as I would have liked.  The Salem Witch Museum...kind of not worth it.  It's in this cool looking building (although, going through renovations so the face of it was covered when we were there) but, you go inside and it's basically one big room, a scary voice, and dioramas.  There's one other room with some silly mannequin witches and a history of witches on the wall and then you get the gift shop.  Kind of a let down.  But, the cemetery was cool.  Check out the mysterious "orbs" that showed up in my picture.  My step-mother said it was probably from the rain, decide!

5 - Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower II:  The Plantation was pretty cool.  They have recreations of a Waumpanog Native People village (they preferred to be called "Native People") who were around at the time of the landing.  And then a recreation of the pilgrim village.  Pretty worth the money.  A recreation of the Mayflower and the actual Plymouth Rock is at the pier, which I really liked.  We got seafood at a restaurant there called Isaac's.  YUMMY!!!  Seafood that wasn't fishy!! It was awesome.  Here's some pics:

Ok - so, if you've made it through all these pics and tips - good for you!!  I could have written and posted a LOT more.  But - I'll leave it here.  Oh wait!!  I need to post my pics of Laurel Lake, between Lee and Lenox.  Just because it's GORGEOUS.  Here's a few:

Ok, I'm done.  Really.  It was a fun trip.  Beautiful country!!  I'd like to go back again - hit some other states, too - like Vermont and New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, etc.  I'd also like to spend some time in Cape Cod.  There's several lighthouses down that way, or so I hear.  Didn't make it on this trip.  Maybe the next.  Anyone reading this want to come with me?  :)

Friday, October 15, 2010


Ok - I had a request for the Travelocity story and why they suck.  It's not terribly interesting, really.  But - here goes!!  Ok - so I've always thought it would be awesome to go to New England in the Fall.  I love the Autumn.  No, I mean LOVE it!  It's beautiful.  I wrote a poem about the fall in college and it was one of the only ones I managed to get published in their creative writing journal.

Anyhoo!  Off track a little, but finding my way back on.... so.  I have a timeshare that I've been trading out for the past few years - to go to other places (you can really only go to Mesquite so many times before you want to rip your 105 degree hot hair out).  You can also buy bonus weeks.  And that's what I did.  I bought a bonus week at a resort in The Berkshires, MA.  Vermont or Maine would have been my first/second choices...but, alas - time share owners only tend to free up their lamer properties (again, I'm trading out Mesquite, NV here, people!!)  I booked waaaaay in advance.  And the flights I originally booked had me landing in Albany, NY (the closest airport to Lee, MA) by 5pm.  I figured 5 was a good time, check in, still have time for dinner and looking around and what not.  My flight home, I scheduled for 3pm.  We'd get home late, but we also wouldn't be rushed that day to get to the airport and I just thought that'd be perfect.

So - I'm set!!  Or so I think.  A few months down the road I get a notice from Travelocity that the airline has changed the flights and to please call them.  I call and they tell me that one of my connections won't work, so they're switching it to something else, but that I'll be arriving in Albany around the same time.  I think it was like an hour later or something.  No big.  I check a week or so later on "My trips" on and see that they are still showing my old flight there.  I try e-mailing them to see if they can update my account.  They send me some blanket, lame-o response e-mail and basically tell me that they can only help if I call.  Any guesses on the average wait time to Travelocity customer service??  Well, it's long.  Ridiculously so.  I waited over an hour one time, just to talk to a human, on a previous reservation....I won't go there...missed my flight on that one, but anyhow!  (and why did I book another flight with them...short term memory loss?)

I hear my mother telling me, "In ten words or less, Donea!"  Well, to make a long story longer - I called and e-mailed them A LOT just to get my records updated.  How can I keep track if they don't have the correct flight info on file?  Well, they just kept telling me that it was right.  They had Delta send me a copy of the itin, which was different than my file with Travelocity. some point that "correct" file got lost in the shuffle and when I called AGAIN the only out-going flight they could accommodate me with left at 8:30am, landed at JFK at 3:00pm and flew out to Albany at 9:48pm...landing after 11pm.  11-frickin' PM!!

We got to our resort at almost 1am.  Security had to let us in.  To the wrong room, btw.  I'd bought a 2 bedroom for 6 people.  They had us in a 1 bedroom....anyhow, different drama.

Also - when I went to to check-in 24 hours before I left...I still had not e-ticket.  I had to call Travelocity again!!  And I also found out at that time that there was a problem with our return flight as well, that they never ever bothered to contact me about.  They had to re-accommodate me again - and my return flight went from a 3pm departure to 7:05AM.  Ummm...seriously?

Not to mention that I also checked on that flight the day before we came home and found that it ALSO did NOT have an e-ticket attached to the reservation.  The lady with Continental airlines told me this on the phone.  I called Travelocity and talked to one rep who told me that she saw the reservation just fine and that the reason I couldn't find the e-ticket on was because I was flying out with Continental connect...or some crap like that.  I told her what the Continental rep had said and she just told me everything was fine, fixed, blah.  So - I went back onto and just tried to find the reservation with the e-ticket # that should have worked.  Still - nothing.  I called Travelocity AGAIN and told some other rep the same thing and he treated me like I was crazy.

I show up at the airport early, early in the morning and guess what?  No tickets.  It took another continental rep at the check-in desk nearly an hour to try to get it fixed for us, with NO help from Travelocity!!  I tried calling them, while she was trying to help us and he just put us on hold the whole time.  When he finally did come back on - he told me, "Sorry - can't help.  You'll have to deal with the airlines."

My daughter and husband and I had to sit by strangers on the way home because the end result only got us seats on the plane, but not together...

Do you know the Travelocity motto?  (or "guarantee" as they like to call it)  "We'll get with our partners to make your trip right, right now!"  Ummm- I'm calling Bull Sh*t!  I must have called and e-mailed them twenty or more times...they still never got the right reservation info on "my trips" online and they offered no sort of apologies or compensation for all their screw-ups.  They suck, suck, suck, suck, suck.

I found this doofus picture of Travelocity's roaming gnome:

roaminggnome.jpg roaming gnome image by yogurtflavored

I thought it was a good representation of the customer service reps he advertises for.  Or falsly so... I wonder where his chipper little English accent is supposed to come from.  Because that's not at all what I hear when I call...... out-sourcing at it's worst.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Ok - so I came up with a new word to describe my latest mood:  "Depranky".  Will it catch like wild fire?  I think not.  Unless the one of two people who read my blog on occasion decide to spread it and they both have some serious connections.  :)  So - really, this word is just for me.  Which is ok.  It's basically "cranky depression", where I can be down and out about something and pissed off about that fact all at the same time.  I tried out "Cranpression", but it just doesn't have the right ring to it.  Agreed?  So - I came up with this word and had it all worked out to beyotch and moan for a few paragraphs or so, when I realized that I do that an awful lot.  Man - if you could peruse through the pages of my off-line diary...POOR PITY ME FEST!  Is anyone else like this?  Do you tend to chronicle the not so good days more than the good days?  I worry that my future generations are going to get their little hands on my journals and be like, "Yo, Great Grandma D was wack!"  Ok - that lingo probably won't fly in 2050...I guess you never know.  We've got the 70's/80's clothing experiment in style in 2010, after all.  Still....I'm going to make a conscious effort to write about more positive experiences.  So, my next blog (with pictures!!! woot, woot!) will be about the GOOD things that happened on my recent trip to MA.  I won't bore you with the airport nightmare royale (Travelocity can bite me), so no worries.  Coming high recommendations for fall fun in New England.  Stay tuned....