YOU KNOW HIS NAME

No less than 14 people texted, emailed, messaged, called or Facebooked me on Sunday regarding my reaction to the trailer for the new Bourne movie. Since I’m currently simmering my WIP and have no new writing things to share today, I thought I’d use today’s blog to become a movie critic.

Er, movie trailer critic

I tuned into the Super Bowl to wait for this trailer. No, I am not ashamed of that. I was in the movie. I think that makes it okay. I had done enough research to know that Universal only bought 60 seconds of air time, so as soon as I saw the Universal logo pop up on the screen, I knew this was it. I literally jumped up off the chair and screamed. (My poor long suffering husband. I love him a lot for putting up with my enthusiasm.)

I can’t imagine what I’m going to be like when I’m sitting in the theatre waiting for the movie to start on July 29. I’d apologize to my friends who’ll be with me, but I don’t have to. They’re used to me and love me anyway.

For the record, the scene which I was an extra in, is not in the trailer.

Check out the Jason Bourne trailer for yourself HERE.

Here are my thoughts from beginning to end, as I saw it the first time–breaking it down, frame by frame, if you will.

  • Opening chord: Ominous and dark. Just like Jason Bourne. I like it. It sets the mood perfectly. And it makes my heart race because it just feels like something big is about to go down.
  • Bam, Bam, Bam: Massive dude goes down in the three strikes! I stinking love the beats of the music matching Bourne’s punches. Wait. Is Matt Damon not wearing a shirt? I’m going to have to investigate that upon second review. (2nd review: Nope, he wasn’t wearing a shirt.)
  • YOU KNOW: I love the font. Yes, it’s weird to have a powerful opinion on a font, but I do. It’s my favorite kind of font—strong and graphic. I even like the regular/bold aspect of it. At this point in the trailer, I started holding my breath. I was thinking, “What do I know? What? What do I know?”
  • HIS NAME: Yes, I do, movie trailer. I know his name. As far as taglines go, I think this one is fantastic. It reads as almost a mic drop before the movie. YOU KNOW HIS NAME.  (The purist in me would like to remind everyone that we learned his name is actually David Webb in The Bourne Supremacy. But he’s not David Webb anymore now, is he?)
  • And the intense drumbeats build up to “My God, that’s Jason Bourne.” I made a sound that was somewhere between a squeak and sigh because I couldn’t do anything else. I was out of breath! I loved the delivery of this line. He may have just as well said, “Well, crap. We’re in trouble now and e’rybody gone die.”
  • Matt Damon’s face inside a cool graphic. What I enjoy about that is that it hints at the technological thread of this movie. I’m okay to confirm that since Matt Damon has said in interviews that technology and privacy in the “Post Snowden Era” are featured in this film. Which certainly matches up to what I saw on set.
  • Oh hey, Tommy Lee Jones. You look like the requisite embittered CIA official that (incorrectly) thinks he can match wits with Jason Bourne. Oh well, it was nice knowing you.
  • Jason Bourne gets physical with a chair: My prediction is that he wipes the guy out with only one leg of the chair. He just really doesn’t need the whole thing.
  • “I know who I am. I remember everything.” Just check out the intensity of those eyes. Jason Bourne simply has nothing left to lose. Everybody needs to run and hide. Oh Matt Damon, how I adore your delivery of these lines. You really are an Oscar-worthy actor.
  • “Remembering everything doesn’t mean you know everything.” That’s Julia Stiles’ voice! I’m excited that she made it into this one. I think she’s going to be key in this film. It was hinted that they had a “connection” and past in Supremacy and Ultimatum due to her role in Treadstone. I hope they have several scenes together.
  • Nighttime car chase down the Las Vegas Strip thankyouverymuch: I was there literally minutes after they finished filming that scene. That’s where it first hit me that I was actually doing something pretty monumental by just showing up to be in this movie.
  • “The world is at war. We need the perfect weapon.” I feel like these lines are the pivotal call to action for Bourne. Matt Damon has said that the movie will pick up in real time and we’ll find out what Bourne has been doing since 2007 and the end of Ultimatum. I suspect that something or someone will make David Webb put the Bourne persona back on. (And whomever that is, I’d like to shake your hand.)
  • And Bourne’s in the desert (I hope he’s wearing sunscreen. Wouldn’t want his exceptionally ripped abs to get sunburned.) This time…this time y’all, it only takes one punch to bring a fella down. Proving that in the time between 2007 and 2016 Jason Bourne (consequently Matt Damon) has indeed, been working out.
  • Close up on Bourne. Oh, he is not happy. And the thing about that shot is the intensity of it. Shudder. Now, normally I am not a fan of lens flares. (Looking at you JJ Abrams). I tend to find them distracting. But look at that end shot. He can’t even help it. When Matt Damon is not smiling, that smile is somewhere deep inside him longing to come out. The result is a beautiful rainbow. I am so thankful that the lens flare made it in the trailer. I already wanted to hug you, Paul Greengrass. Now I want to hug you and give you cookies.
  • Title card: JASON BOURNE: There’s a lot of opposition on the internet about the title. People don’t like that it fails to follow the formula. But I love it. I think it’s powerful. And as I said above, I think he’s going to choose to be Jason Bourne instead of running from it. And that’s a new development. Matt has said this film will be the conclusion of the first three. Well, I’ll let him say it for himself instead of paraphrasing. This is from EW.

 This is the completion of this journey that started in the Bourne Identity. It’s part of the first three [movies], it’s not a whole new chapter. It feels like the conclusion, even though we’re not saying it’s the conclusion, it feels like the conclusion of my identity journey. It goes deeper than Ultimatum, basically

(Note: when I read that, my little fangirl heart pitter-pattered at the possibility of more Jason Bourne movies in future. Gold stars for effort to Jeremy Renner for The Bourne Legacy, but Jason Bourne is just in a class by himself. And so is Matt Damon. If the story is good and Paul Greengrass agrees to direct another Bourne, I, along with millions of others, will show up for it. Like, I am totally fine with The Bourne Declination, where Jason Bourne spends his golden years in an retirement  home chasing pudding-stealing curmudgeons on his walker, then taking them out with a bedpan.)

jason-bourne-poster

Maybe you’ll see me on July 29. But even if I don’t make the final cut of the film, I’m grateful that I got to do something amazing and witness a couple of the most talented filmmakers around and had a blast doing it.

Not Just Another Tuesday. AKA That Time I Was In A Movie With Matt Damon

I pride myself on using clever titles, but try as I might, I couldn’t think of anything that fit the epic scope of what I did last Tuesday other than to simply say it like it is.

Last week, I crossed something off of my bucket list. I was a movie extra. And not only was I movie extra, but I was a movie extra in what will probably be one of the biggest movies of this year. And I was a movie extra in a movie starring my absolute favorite, most talented and well-deserving-of-any-kind-of-accolades-you-can-give-him actor of this generation, Matt Damon.

It’s been a few days now and I’m still grinning, well as wide as Matt himself.

MD smile

(NOT MY PHOTO. Sadly. Credit: Giphy)

I can’t publicly post where I was, what I was doing, or anything having to do with the movie. And I wouldn’t. That’s not solely because of the nondisclosure agreement I signed, but also because of the respect I have for Matt, Paul Greengrass, and the production itself. I’ll be able to share a few details after the movie premieres, but until that happens, I can tell you what it was like for me to be enclosed in the same space as one of the biggest most recognizable movie stars on this planet. (And you know, Mars.)

To begin with, I did not meet Matt, speak to Matt, take photos of Matt or otherwise engage personally with Matt. Nor did I meet any principal actors or production crew involved with the movie. What I did do is get to see them work for two days. And I think that’s the greatest Blessing from this whole experience.

There were a lot of extras to deal with in this particular scene. And not once did I see any person from the Director down to the poor PA who was tasked with getting us water dismiss us or treat us with anything but respect. In fact, Paul Greengrass and his Asst Directors went out of their way to explain what shots were being filmed, pump us up for the scene and regale us with stories while the cameras were being repositioned. I can’t say what it’s like on other movie sets, but I’d bet all the money it’s taken to rescue Matt Damon in movies that it isn’t like that on every movie set. To Director Paul Greengrass, every single person in the room was just as vital to the movie as Matt Damon. And that says so much. I felt it every time he spoke to us and the crew.

And then there’s Matt. Anyone who knows me knows I have had straight up genuine respect for Matt since Good Will Hunting. (I even blogged about Matt. More than once.) Last week it was very rewarding to be able to look at the guy and KNOW that every ounce of respect, every award, everything he’s ever been given is absolutely deserved. He’s got the reputation of being the nicest, hardest working guy in Hollywood because he is the nicest, hardest working guy in Hollywood.

Again, I want to stress I had no personal interaction with him, but I was there when he walked on set and told a room full of people how absolutely important we were for this scene. And how he’d been there as long as we had (HOURS) and that he couldn’t express how much he appreciated our work and our attitude and our respect. At that moment, he went from being one of the biggest celebrities alive to just a guy wearing a black baseball cap and carrying a Starbucks cup. He was there to work. We were there to work. So we went to work.

And it was thrilling to watch him do what he does. It was just as entertaining to see the crew operate and feel the love Matt and Paul Greengrass have for each other. Their commitment, and in turn our commitment–as seemingly unimportant as it was–to the creative process gave me an experience I won’t forget. Ever.

I have no idea if my face will show up on the big screen or not. Even if I end up on the cutting room floor, I’m thankful for experience.  It’s just not every day that you get to spend almost 12 hours with Matt Damon. And I have to say that Post-Damon Depression is a thing. The struggle is real, y’all.  I find myself thinking, “What do I do with my life now?”

MD what up

(Also not mine. Giphy again.)

Okay, maybe that’s a little extreme, but true nonetheless. I’ve been watching a lot of movies and tv in the past fews days and I’ve found that I’m completely fixated on the background players. Sometimes, I have to pause and watch again because I’ve missed something in the action due to focusing so hard on the extras.

This made me realize that Matt and Greengrass were right. The faceless people, the miniscule details, the minutia that encompasses “everything in the shot but Matt Damon” give authenticity. They add to credibility of the characters and ground them in reality so we can sit in the theatres and root for them. They build the world that we’ve shown up to see.

I’m going to apply that concept to my writing. And I’m going to notice it in movies. And I’m going to do my best to honor it, because I truly felt honored by having the experience of being one of them.

By the Numbers

I just finished the first draft of my YA Fantasy manuscript based on the ancient Mayan culture. (And inspired by an episode of Ancient Aliens!) I thought I’d let you in on the editing process as I experienced it this time. If you’re a writer, maybe you can glean some tips and ideas from my process. And perhaps even feel good about yourself as I reveal how bad my first drafts are!

After I typed “THE END” (Okay, I didn’t actually type that. I typed hashtags. The End just sounds more poetic) I let the MS rest for a day or two. Ideally I’d let it simmer longer, but I’m inpatient and have some time to kill right now, so I dove right back in.

My word count prior to this edit was 79,000 words. Word count after edit is 77,000.

The manuscript was started on March 21, 2015 and the first draft was completed Jan 2, 2016. Though there were about 4 months in that period where I relocated and worked on another MS.  So I’d estimate 5 months working time on this.

This story is told in present tense with 2 POV characters– a girl who lives a primitive life in a valley and a boy from a more advanced civilization who lives on a mountain.  That’s all I can share right now. Oh, there’s kissing. I can share that.

After I read through and tightened the MS overall, I went back and took advantage of that ever-so-amazing FIND button. Bill Gates (or whomever) deserves all the accolades for that little thing. It is my best editing friend. (Besides my crit partners, of course!)

I utilized FIND and REPLACE in 3 different instances. Two character name changes and one name that I inexplicably decided to spell differently throughout the MS. (Ah, such is the life of a pantser!)

For this manuscript, I researched the ancient Maya people and  culture. I tried to get as close to possible to authentic Mayan words or Mayan-sounding words without offending the Mayans who are still living today. As a result, I created 29 “magic” words and added them to my Word dictionary.

My last step was to go through and use that FIND button again, searching out those pesky FILTER WORDS and CRUTCH WORDS.

Crutch words are words the author uses often. I usually have 1 or 2 words that creep into manuscripts without my permission. In this case, I used a lot of “beautiful” and “strong” in the first draft of this MS. This is not surprising as these are the most prevalent words the 2 main POV characters use to describe each other! They’re still in there, but I managed to trim them down and use other descriptors like gorgeous, stunning, rugged.

Filter words are words that don’t add anything to your sentences. They often appear in manuscripts because people use them in their daily vernacular. But they serve no purpose and slow down the action.

Below are some common filter and crutch words and how I fixed them are:

  • Really – This word crops up when I tried to put emphasis on something. Oftentimes I can find another word that conveys the feeling I want. I used it 22 times in my MS. I narrowed that down to 9. Here are some examples on ways I axed “really.”

PRE EDIT:  She steels herself for some really bad news.

POST: She squares her shoulders, steeling herself for bad news.

(I also got rid of the unneeded “some” in the first sentence. Now the sentence is more fluid, plus it shows action.)

PRE EDIT: We have the map and it doesn’t really tell us which way to go.

POST: We have the map and it doesn’t tell us which way to go.

PRE EDIT: This guy is really getting on my nerves.

POST: This guy is unraveling my last nerve.

  • Very –  Another word that adds nothing. You can get rid of the ‘verys’ by coming up with a more descriptive word to use.

For example: I changed one character from “very pretty” to “stunning.” Another character went from being “very tired” to being “exhausted.”

  • Begin/began to – I went from 21 instances down to 7. The remaining 7 were times when the character actually started to do something, but was interrupted. Make your characters act, not begin to act.

PRE EDIT: The villagers begin to panic and scatter.

POST EDIT: The villagers panic and scatter.

(Because if you are panicked enough to scatter, you’re not going to stop, right? You’re going to get the heck out of there. Beginning to panic and scatter implies the villagers will run a few feet, then stop for some reason.)

  • Probably – Similar to “really,” using “probably” slows down the action. Your characters should act with purpose. “Probably” shows they’re guessing or unsure. If that makes sense for the character, then it’s okay. Otherwise, you don’t need it. I went from 12 to 2 “probablys”. Both rmaining cases are the POV character being flippant and sarcastic, as his personality dictates.
  • Smile/Laugh/Nod – When I give you these numbers, you’re going to think I wrote a book about a bunch of happy agreeable people. That is not the case. I have a tendency to use smiling, laughing and nodding as place holders in my MS. This story has a lot of dialogue and a lot of characters. To break up the dialogue and show (not tell) who is speaking, I find myself letting the characters react to other speakers or events by smiling, laughing or nodding. Now that’s not a bad thing, unless it happens so much that all they’re doing is walking around like they’re on Prozac.

PRE EDIT: Corvus laughs. He approaches Araylee with a sneer, drinking her in with ruthless eyes.

POST: Corvus approaches Araylee with a sneer, drinking her in with ruthless eyes.

In my first draft, Corvus was reacting to something another character said prior to this line. He laughed about it, then went on to approach Araylee. But upon further review, his laugh did nothing to advance the action. The important thing is that he approaches Araylee, not that he is amused by came before.

PRE EDIT: He nods his head at me, then turns toward the Stargazer.

POST: He bows his head an infinitesimal amount, then faces the Stargazer.

Not only is the edit more descriptive, it shows the intent of the character. The POV character is implying that this character is doing the minimal amount as possible because he doesn’t WANT to nod his head.

PRE EDIT: I nod my head in understanding.

POST: I understand.

I went from 307 smile/laugh/nods to 68. (Because sometimes characters get to smile. Usually after the kissing.)

  • Say/Says/Said –Ah, the dialogue tag. I can’t seem to get away from the dialogue tag in my first drafts. As I mentioned above, I have a lot of dialogue. When I’m drafting I don’t stop to think about how much I use them, but when I plugged “say” into my FIND search, I wanted to cry. 224 times I used say. After this pass, I’m down to 79. Because sometimes there really is no better way.

You can scrap say/says/said if there are only 2 speakers. Having a whole page of He said/She said is boring and redundant. Instead, use action to break up your dialogue.

If you need to use dialogue tags, consider other descriptive words. Words like: declare, admit, joked, replied, growled, hissed, sneered, etc… But be cautious about the tone of your MS. Using alternative words can make the MS sound stuffy or formal.

PRE EDIT: “Good evening Archer,” she says. She swishes her golden hair over her shoulders

POST: “Good evening Archer,” she purrs, swishing her golden hair over her shoulder, immediately drawing my brother’s eyes.

(Doesn’t that give you a much better idea of who this girl is anyway?)

  • Feel – Feel is another one of my favorites during first drafts. Emotions are important, yo. And my characters just feel all over the place in my first drafts. But too many “feels” don’t actually bring the reader “THE” feels. Oftentimes it separates the reader from the emotion you’re hoping to convey. To say a character feels something is telling. Have them show their feelings.

PRE EDIT: I feel her apprehension in the air around us

POST: Her apprehension hangs in the air around us

PRE EDIT: I can feel Archer’s presence behind me.

POST: Archer’s presence trails behind me, like a shadow, dark and ominous

PRE EDIT: A feeling of obligation sets in my bones and dread swims in my blood.

POST: Obligation sets in my bones, dread swims in my blood.

I don’t even want to tell you how many times I used “feel” in this manuscript. Right now I’m a touch over 90 “feel/feelings.”  My goal is to narrow that down a lot more before I submit this to an agent.

I hope my first draft editing can help other writers find ways to improve their own works. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but these are the tendencies I cling to while writing. All writers should take note of their own crutch words and filter words. Kill those little darlings!

Other common words to check for in your manuscripts.

That – almost never needed

Definitely, certainly

Rather, quite, somewhat, somehow

Down, up – almost never needed. (As in: reached up, bent down. Just: reach, bend)

Think/thought, wonder/wondered – much like feel. Use action and descriptors.

Inhale/exhale/breathe – these are overused, especially in YA. And for the love of Bakab, the Mayan god of the Four Directions, do NOT have your character exhale a shaky breath they didn’t know they were holding!

 

And In Time, We Will All Be Stars

November is National Novel Writing Month. In short, writers commit to writing 50,000 words, the  better part of a novel, in thirty days. NaNoWriMo is not for the faint of heart. It is a laborious task that can seem daunting at the least and downright impossible at the most.

Given that I am 65,000 words into my work in progress, a YA Fantasy based on the ancient Mayan creation story, I have decided to NaNoWriMo a little differently this time. My goal is to finish the novel within the first week of the month. Let things simmer (meaning: DO NOT GO BACK AND READ IT) during the second week. Then, take the following two weeks (and a couple days!) to begin revisions.

I am at a crucial point in my story and because I am a “pantser” and didn’t know exactly where my story was going to land, I have found myself struggling with the ending. (Though my fabulous and wise Crit Partner could tell you I pretty much struggled through the ugly middle part too! Thankfully I can trust her not to share my deepest inner writer freak-out moments OR the strange rabbit holes my brain takes me down at times.)

For this manuscript, I know what the two POV MCs need to go through at the end. I was just not sure how to make it happen effectively. So, I spent a little of my writing time yesterday searching for inspiration. I had pretty much exhausted all of my Mayan culture references and was still coming up short. But something I wrote as a “place holder” line stuck in my head and I couldn’t let it go.  The line was something to the effect of “burn with the fire of a million stars.”

I tried to figure out where I had heard that before because it kept coming into my head with a specific tune. Then I was hit over the head with my past. That line, and that particular tune were from one of my favorite songs in the classic 1980 film, “Fame.”  (Yes, I was one of “those” nerds that not only had an intense love of all things Sci-Fi, but also stricken with a case of Broadway dreams.) The song was based on a Walt Whitman poem, so you can imagine the intensity that this word-geek loved that! The lyrics to the song and the poem itself are spectacular.

I sing the body electric,
The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul.

So, after I read the poem a few times, away to youtube, I went. I found a clip of the song. Just listening to it did the trick to open up my mind. The score of the song fit in perfectly for the scene I was working on, starting out in a vulnerable place, then building into a crescendo. I was able to find inspiration and a jumping point for a pretty large reveal in the scene I was writing. All was right with the world.

But, I caution you, my writer friends. This tale does not lead to a happy ending.

After I heard the song a few times, it was in my head. And I started remembering how much I loved not only that movie, but the TV show that followed it. Which led me to googling Lee Curreri, as he played Bruno Martelli, my favorite character from the movie and tv show. (Even named one of my characters in a previous MS, Martelli!) So I spent longer than I care to admit seeing what he’s been up to since the days of Fame. (A lot, actually. He’s a working composer in Hollywood with some decent credits. Ooooh, I wonder if he’d score a book trailer? Hm…)

So, the moral of my tale is this:Inspiration doesn’t have to match your genre or draw directly from your outline. Consider favorite old songs, poems you wrote in high school, movies from your childhood. Inspiration can be found anywhere. Just don’t let it get in the way of your writing.

For more info on NaNoWriMo, click HERE.

And to see my inspiration, I Sing the Body Electric from FAME, click HERE.

There’s No Place Like Homes

I have lived near Vegas for a little over two weeks now. I am adjusting to the new climate, the new home, the new, well everything.  I’m not sure it’s all hit me yet because it still feels like I am on vacation. Check back in a month or two. But one of the things that I think has helped me “cope” with my relocation is the fact that some things are just universal.

The love of my family and friends has not changed just because I moved away. I still text, email, tweet and facebook like we did when I was in Arkansas. Sure, I miss chatting with my kids every night, lunching with my friend every day and experiencing The Walking Dead with my friend and fellow fanpeople, but so far we’ve found a way to stay connected electronically and flights have already been booked for the future. It’s not the same, but it’s still good.

Last weekend, I just happened to find out about the Vegas Valley Book Festival. I couldn’t resist the chance to get my writer feet wet within a week of being here. Sure, I had to muster the courage to drive all by myself into downtown Las Vegas for the event, (Went right past the strip!) but I did it. I’m so glad I did.

I sat in on three different YA panels during the day. I learned a lot about some exciting authors and their works and I got some great craft tips from published professionals. It was during one of the panels after I asked a question about crafting the love interest (YA LOVE AND LONGING panel) that it hit me. The writers on the platform and the writers in the audience were just like me and just like my writer pals in Arkansas. We all have the desire to produce great words and have our MS published.  It doesn’t matter why each of us chose to begin writing, the genre or age we write in, or the path to publication we end up traveling. We’re all in it together.  There’s a common thread that connects us all together. We writers are the lovers of words, the spinners of stories, the witnesses to the world.

Suddenly I didn’t feel like I was sitting alone in a (very warm) tent miles and miles away from home. I was sitting in a (very warm) tent with my tribe that extended beyond that tent, all the way to Arkansas and beyond.

Most writers I have encountered are unfathomably supportive people. We want each other to succeed because we know the struggles and we have felt them.  We understand the odds of publication, the anguish of crafting the perfect pitch or query letter, the bite of rejection. I have seen it time and time again–in every Twitter pitch contest I have entered, in the responses to my crazy emails from my amazing Crit Partner, in every writing group Starbucks gab session. We feel for each other and we root for each other.

And it doesn’t stop when (not saying IF, saying WHEN) we are published. At the festival, I had a great conversations with authors C.L. Gaber (*ASCENDERS), and Brian Yansky (*ALIEN INVASION AND OTHER INCONVENIENCES) Not only were they excited to talk about their works, but she was interested in mine too.  The spirit of community was overflowing at the festival. It made it feel like home.

No matter how long we stay in Vegas, my heart and my home will be in Arkansas with my friends and family. But it will also be here in my new community. It will be on Twitter and Facebook and other places I can’t yet imagine.

*These two books have moved up to number 1 and 2 on my TBR list. Can’t wait to read them!

Strep Throat – By the Numbers

On Friday I was diagnosed (*sort of) with Strep Throat, capitol S and capitol T. (That’s how it felt in my throat anyway.) I started antibiotics and took to the bed as the doctor ordered and as my body demanded. I am almost back to the land of the living, though I suspect it will be a while before I am back in peak form. In an effort to document just my illness, and because I never miss the chance to make a list, I thought I’d break it down by the numbers.

During my illness I:

  • Showered 1 time
  • Missed out on 2 things I was planning to do with friends
  • Called out of work 3 ½ days
  • Went through 4 boxes of Puffs Plus lotion tissues
  •  Lost 4/5 of my senses (Way to hang in there sense of touch!)
  • Tried 7 kinds of home remedies and/or medications that didn’t really work
  • Slurped 8 cans of soup
  • Binge-watched 13 episodes of The Tomorrow People (To be honest, I think the drug-filled stupor helped me to suspend my disbelief a little on this one. No way Robbie Amell is high school aged as portrayed on the show. NO. WAY. Also: Sad this was canceled.)
  • Failed to write approximately 10,000 words in my manuscript
  • Consumed Infinity cups of hot tea

The moral of this list is take care of yourselves folks. Get your flu shots! Sanitize your hands! Don’t drink after strangers!  Do what you gotta do to stay well!

*And a final number:  Apparently if you test positive for strep, there is a 99% chance it is accurate. If you test negative (as I did) there is only 70% chance the test is correct and the doctor gives you the meds anyway. So that begs the question I intend to ask the next time: Why do the test?

Rolling the Dice

This is going to be a personal post today. For those of you who don’t know me personally, I hope you’ll bear with me this week so I can share a little bit about what’s going on in my life. There will be more writing stuff next post!

To be honest, this is just too much to write on Facebook so I am using my blog to tell the story of my impending relocation.

Welcome to Nevada

To put it out there in the (cyber) world, my husband and I are moving to Vegas! More specifically to Henderson, NV, a suburb of Vegas. But let’s be honest, it sounds so much cooler to say we’re moving to VEGAS! Amiright?

It was not an easy decision to make but we are both confident that we’re following the path we are meant to follow. This journey is already requiring a lot of stepping out in Faith and that won’t change once we’re permanently out there.

This is not an opportunity we were expecting, but it is one we’re choosing to embrace. To use Vegas terminology, we’re rolling the dice on this move. So far, it’s coming up [whatever number is good in dice. Not much of a gambler. Yet.] He’s been living in an apartment in Henderson and working at his exciting new job since the end of July.  He’s flying back very soon to get me and my car and we’ll drive out into the sunset. (Probably more accurate to say drive out into the noonish sun.) Then we are going to Nevandans. (Note to self: Check the proper term for people living in Nevada when I get there. Nevadans sounds like something from Star Wars.)

This is a dream job for him and he’s loving it. I am truly thankful for that. He’s sacrificed a lot for our family over the years and I am thrilled he’s found a job that he is going to enjoy. I’m still in the job market out there, but hopeful something will happen for me when I arrive and can physically get to interviews.

We’re keeping our home in Arkansas. The kids will be living here, taking care of the cats and themselves! That’s the hardest part of this, but as my practical child put it, “Mom, we’re not going to live with you and Dad forever, so you may as well take advantage of a good opportunity while you have it.”  Wise, that one.

I am excited for this. The adventurer/writer in me is super pumped to be living “thisclose” to a thriving city plunked right in the middle of a beautiful part of nature.  There is so much to see and experience in a large city (besides the whatever you do that must “stay in Vegas” things). I’m looking forward to exploring all the area has to offer. Plus, I never thought I’d live in the desert, but I’m hoping it will turn out great for my tends-to-frizz hair.

Bonus: Do you know how much closer I will be to San Diego Comic Con? 1,297 miles closer. I DID THE MATH.

I am sad about this. I have literally have moments of unspeakable despair when I think of who I am leaving behind. Beyond my amazing children, I have friends here who “get me” and love me anyway. It will hurt to leave them, but I am banking on technology keeping us together remotely. I am persistent so I don’t plan to give them a chance to forget about me when I’m gone. Besides, I already had loads of experience with long-distance friends. I’ll just have a few more now.

I am scared to death about this. Who does this kind of thing? Who uproots their entire lives with very little advance notice and moves to a completely unfamiliar area and environment on the chance that it will be great? Um, apparently we do. I already know it was the right decision for my husband and I am hoping that relocation may help my writing too.  I’ve already been inspired by the landscape in the little time I was out there in July. (Watch out Nevada SCBWI, I am invading you soon!)

This is a huge thing we’re doing and some people will not understand it or judge us for this decision. But my home is where my family is. It’s just working out that I will have two homes. I feel extremely Blessed by this opportunity and that’s going to get me through the times when I begin to wonder “What have we done?”

In the last few weeks as I prepared to go, I have already missed a lot. I missed my daily writing and emailing my CP every day and Tweeting. I am ready to get in the same city as my husband and back to life as I know it, no matter what form it takes.  I still have a couple weeks left at work and then last minute packing. (And donating a lot of clothes to Good Will.) Then I’m off to Nevada. After that, I’ll be back to writing and living life and I can’t wait to see what that will look like!