Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

To all of my family, friends and followers who feel like friends, I wish you a very Merry Christmas!  

The Harar Household was busy this morning, and remains in a state of disarray as I write.  But it is a happy sort of mess, so I'm going to leave it alone for the time being.  

Annie says Merry Christmas.
Choir music plays in the background, the kids are fighting over Minecraft on the PS3, empty mimosa glasses are on the counter and Annie the Poodle is tearing up remnants of wrapping paper under the dining room table where we can't reach her.  

My bed is calling my name, because getting up at 6 a.m. means a mid-morning nap for Beth.  

I hope everyone has a wonderful and blessed Christmas!!

Beth - 1
Harar House - 1

Friday, December 20, 2013

Also . . .

On an unrelated side-note, what is up with all the teenagers making out in the hallways at school?? 

Isn't this usually a spring thing?

Icky.

Moving On

As 2013 comes to a close, I start reviewing my year.  I look at the good, but tend to focus more on the bad.  I mull over the mistakes I made, or the events I wish hadn't happened.  I ponder the things I should have done but failed to do. 

And then, I say "screw it" and try to forget everything but the good.  So, here is my 2013 list.


Beth's 2013 Top-Five

1.  My first niece was born on October 14th.  Sure, it is during the Harar birthday season,
     which may add more stress, but she is worth it.

Signing my contract!
2.  I signed a contract with Wido publishing, which means I'm
     going to be a published author. Then I  gave the "forget you"
     sign (use your imagination) to the 50 agents and publishers
     who had previously rejected me.

3.  My children stayed healthy and continue to thrive in their new
     Catholic school environment.  This is also fantastic because I  
     don't have to drag them to CCD at night and I know they are
     making it to church at least once a week.  Sometimes, I'm a
     bad Catholic and want to party on a Saturday and sleep in the
     next Sunday, but I feel guilty about it.  Now I'm guilt free!

4.  I have the most supportive husband in the world, who loves
     me despite my many, many flaws.  It is safe to say that the end of this year has been
     difficult, but he hugs me when I'm being witchy and makes me laugh when I'm close to
     tears.  Plus, he is really hot, so bonus.

5.  I continue to live near my job and my family.  So, although I see students outside of
     school at embarrassing times and probably drive my parents crazy with how often I barge
     into their house, I save a crap-ton of money on gas.  And, I get to be around my parents,
     which is blessing, because I love them so much.

Adios bad stuff from 2013.  I've forgotten you already.

Beth - 1
2013 - 1
 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Baby G

It is high time I wrote about the newest edition to my family:  Baby Gia.

As my Dad always says, Masone girls are amazing, and Gia is no exception.  I am a very proud Auntie Beth.

My mom and I even had the unique opportunity to spend a long weekend babysitting Gia while my sister and her husband went to a wedding in Key West, Florida. 

But am I jealous of my sister??  Heck no!  Gia is awesome!
Seriously?  How freaking cute is she?

To start, she is wonderful and perfect.  I love how she purses her lips together in a perfect little coo face, and I adore her little grunts and baby noises, and the way she holds my finger with her tiny hand when I feed her a bottle.  Like her mother (sorry DD), she doesn't like messes, and fusses as soon as her diaper is the least bit uncomfortable.  But no worries, because that's why we are here.  To be clear, I am not insinuating my sister wears a diaper, but rather that she detests messes.

In fact, I'd forgotton how much work newborn babies are.  My back is already hurting after bending down to pick her up, put her down, carry her, rock her, change her . . . . . I remember those days seven and ten years ago.  I'll also be scheduling a massage as soon as I get home.

I also forgot about the "on call" part of parenthood.  My kids get home and they can get themselves a snack, walk around alone, be incredibly specific when they complain (my eggs taste bad, I don't like apple juice, you didn't cut my chicken up small enough, I like your bed better than my bed), and basically fend for themselves.

Gia needs constant attention.  Is it too hot?  Too cold?  Should I put a hat on her or take it off?  It is so hard to figure out why she cries or gets fussy.

All I have to do is yell at my kids to put on a coat, and they can either listen to me or ignore me.  But I said it, and I'm done.  Babysitting Gia has brought me back to a level of parenting I will always cherish, but never want to return to permanently.

I do want to say that my Grammy Sis would be proud.  Gia has a great set of lungs on her and can scream and holler like a true Italian.  My Grandma June would also be proud, because Gia is a smart little devil (angel) who is already smiling and has discovered her hands.

Regardless, I couldn't be happier that she is here.  And, as her godmother, I'm so excited to have such a perfect human being in my life.

Congratulations Diane and Lance.  And thanks for my favorite niece. 

Beth - 1
Baby G - 2
Beth's Back - 0

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Convenient Imaginary Lanes

It is time to talk about people who ignore the rules.  For a reason I cannot explain, some people feel they don't have to foll the rules, even if ignoring them exhibits a rude inconvenience to others.

I bring this up, because I'm witnessing this phenomenon every day.  And you'll never guess who the rule-breakers are. 

Private Catholic School Parents.

The very people you would least expect to be rule-breakers are astonishing me with their rule-breaking ways.  (I suddenly have this odd urge to bust out a Dr. Seuss-type rhyme)

Basically, when we pick up our kids, we form two lines in each red arrow "lane".  The lanes furthest to the left (in the picture below) get to leave first, and then the next over and so on.  Many parents arrive very early to get in the first two lanes.

Notice, specifically, the red arrows that point towards the church.  You will see that they are in the space BETWEEN the parking spaces.  In the instructions, it says, "Please do not "tag" onto earlier carpool lanes so you can depart more quickly."  This is Catholic School Way of saying, "don't cheat".


Well some parents, and I'm talking about three or four out of 40, have decided that they will just create their own line.  These rule-breakers usually emerge about five minutes before pick-up. 

There are already two lines in every lane, and the first two lanes are pretty much completely full.  Logic and morality would suggest if the first two lanes are full, even if they get out first and you would also like to get out first, you suck it up and go into the second "wave" of lanes.

But no.  Not these people.  They decide to create an imaginary "third" lane in the actual parking spaces (which is in direct violation of the picture above), just so they can get out earlier.  They don't appear ashamed, or embarrassed, or in any way self-conscious.  They just pull right on up and make their own lane. 

Despite the fact that I'm sitting in my car in front of a church, I'm cursing them in my head, wondering what the hell they are thinking. 

I mean, do they just pull up and say "Hey, I don't feel like waiting today so I'm just gonna park in a place where there is no line.  No one will care."  Or do they think, "No way am I gonna park in the SECOND wave of cars.  I'm gonna pull in here."  Or, do they just laugh and say, "SUCKERS!" as they pull in to the lane that does not exist. 

I don't know, and I wish I did.  But it bugs the crap out of me, and I'd like to think my piercing glare as they pull past my car into the imaginary lane will someday shame them into changing their ways.  To make matters worse, the official car "dismisser" just lets them do it!  Grrrrrrrr.

Beth - 1 (I'm a rule follower)
Rule-Breakers - 0

Saturday, November 9, 2013

August and September

I promised to fill you in on the last couple of months, so I'll start with this post.

August

Actually, August was a really bad month, and I don't want to talk about anything that happened during that time period.  Indicate your approval by staying perfectly silent.

Great.
Just so you know, a Furby really makes its eyes do this.  It
has different personalities, but to me, they are all evil.
 
September

September was much better! 

1. I signed my publishing contract and started working with my editor.  I am enjoying the editing process and still can't believe my dream has come true.

2. I went back to work, and now teach juniors.  This requires copious lesson planning, which is both intellectually engaging and ridiculously time consuming.  This is also one of the reasons I have been MIA in the blogging world.  However, I now know more about rhetoric than I ever thought possible.

3. My kids started private school, so I had the new pleasure of everything encompassing that experience.  The word "pleasure" could easily be replaced with many other words.  Use your imagination.

4. I ushered my kids to and from after-school activities, play dates and doctor appointments.  That was about as fun as it sounds, depending, of course, on what kinds of things are fun to you.  Just so we are clear, the aforementioned is not what I consider fun.

5. My kids re-discovered their Furbies, which have no off switch, literally.  I've almost smashed them twice.


Well, that about covers September.  I have many individual stories to share with you, and promise to follow through on my . . . . promise; but, this seemed like a good way to ease back into the blogging zone. 



Beth - 0 (Really, neither month helped me gain points)
August - In the negative
September - 1



Friday, November 8, 2013

New Website!

Hi Everybody!

I have a new author website.

Clink on the link above to see it.  Yeah, you knew that already. 
This is one reason I haven't been
blogging.  No, that isn't the
 interesting part.  There are more
juicy details.  Promise.
In my opinion, it is beautiful, wonderful, cool, awesome, and way better than the one I created before.  So, I think you should take one small minute out of your day and look at it. 

In return, I promise to fill you in on all the happenings in my life since August, when I pretty much went out of commission.  Some of the happenings are very interesting and may pique your curiosity.  Some, may make you wish you were watching re-runs of Friends. However, I will do my best to entertain.

In the meantime, check out my new blog layout, and my spectacular, excellent new website. 

Thanks.


Website and Blog:  1

Beth - 0  (I promise a series of posts explaining why I've been MIA)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Blog Tour Spotlight and Interview with author of VIRTUAL BLOG TOURS, Jo Linsdell



Today I'm spotlighting Jo Linsdell, an author whose book will certainly come in handy when I start my blog tour!
 
 
Author Jo Linsdell shares everything you need to know in order to be able to organise and carry out your own virtual book tour in her latest release 'Virtual Book Tours: Effective Online Book Promotion From the Comfort of Your Own Home'.


About the book:

In this book, Jo Linsdell, shows authors how to successfully market their books online and build their author brand by utilizing virtual book tours. When asked why virtual book tours are good news for authors, Jo had this to say " A large percentage of the world's population (currently around 40%) now uses the internet and with the rapidly increasing use of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices the number of people on the web will continue to grow. It's therefore clear that authors need to be marketing online. Our target audience is now online and just a click away. Through virtual book tours, we can now reach our readers from the comfort of our own home and successfully promote our books to a global audience at little or no cost. That's big news for authors."


Virtual Book Tours are a great way to create a buzz for a new release or to put life back into an older publication. In this book I'll take you through everything you need to know to be able to set up and carry out a successful virtual book tour. 

The book is divided into 4 main sections for easy navigation:

1) What is a Virtual Book Tour?
2) How to organise your own tour
3) Promoting a tour
4) Useful resources

You'll find it packed with links, tips, and advice to help make your tour a hit.


Interview with Jo Linsdell, author of Virtual Book Tours: Effective Online Book Promotion From the Comfort of Your Own Home
 
Why do authors need your book?
 Marketing is part of being a writer. Regardless of how you're published (traditionally or self-published), you will, at some point, need to do some marketing. Virtual book tours are one of the most effective methods of creating a buzz about your book and have numerous benefits. In this book I cover everything you need to know to organise and carry out a virtual book tour. Even if you decide not to do a virtual book tour, you'll still find this book useful as it's packed full of marketing ideas and links to resources.
 
Why did you decide to write a book about virtual book tours?
I've done several successful virtual book tours for my own books and have worked with book tour companies and authors for years hosting them on my sites. Over the years I've therefore gained a lot of experience in doing virtual book tour both from the author and host point of view. As I often get asked for advice about doing them from other authors I decided to put all the information together and created Virtual Book Tours: Effective Online Book Promotion From the Comfort of Your Own Home


 

What is the first thing you recommend authors do when they decide to organise a virtual book tour?
Put together a media kit. In creating a media kit you have all the information regarding your book, you as an author, and your virtual book tour, all in the one place. This makes it a useful reference tool for you, but also a valuable tool you can use during preparations for your tour. It looks professional and creates a good impression. I also makes life easier for your hosts as they have all the information they might need for your post all in the one place.
 
You created the cover art for the book yourself. What was your inspiration for the design?
I wanted a cover that was thumbnail friendly as, more often than not, it gets seen online in that format. That meant the text needed to be easy to read and the whole look needed to be clutter free. Too many details or fancy fonts don't look good in thumbnails. I also wanted an image that quickly portrayed what the book was about. I choose the theme "sending your book around the world" and played around with some ideas based on this idea. I'm really pleased with how the cover came out.
 
Why did you choose to self publish using Amazon's KDP program?
I've always been very pro self publishing. For me, it's always been my plan A. I choose Amazon because it's the leader in its field. Everyone knows Amazon. Using the site is super easy and through KDP your book can be available to the public in just 12 hours from hitting the publish button.
I like that through KDP setting up a free day is easy. It's a great way to spread the word about your book and get readers to take notice. I like that you can update your book information as and when you please and have full control over pricing. They also have one of the best customer services I've come across. If that's not enough, they bought Goodreads earlier this year (one of the top sites for book lovers).
 
You're best know for your best selling children's picture books. Why the change in genre?
For me, it's not about thinking outside the box. The box simply doesn't exist. I like to experiment with my writing and although I've had most success as an author and illustrator of children's picture books, I'm always trying out new genres. When I get an idea that gets me excited, like this book about virtual book tours, I go with it.
 
You're a mum to a 5 year old and a 2 year old. How do you find the time for writing and marketing?
My kids definitely keep me busy but I've learnt to make the most of the time I get. I do most of my writing in the evenings once they've gone to bed. Sometimes my husband will take the kids out for the morning to give me a break and give me a few hours to work on bigger projects.
During the day I hop on and off my social media pages to network. I have the apps installed on my phone so I can visit and engage with my contacts even when I'm not near my computer.
 I use sites like Social Oomph to program some content to post at scheduled times. I do the same for some posts to my Facebook pages. This gives me a constant online presence without needing to actually be online all the time. I also program my blogs ahead of time. When you have young kids anything can happen and so you need to prepare for the unexpected. By having some content programmed in advance I give myself a safety net and so don't need to stress about keeping up with things as much.
 
What's next?
I'm currently working on another children picture story book The Bedtime Book, a series of non-fiction books for writers and authors about using social media, and some new collaborations as an illustrator. I like to keep myself busy ;)
 
Where can people find out more about you and your books?
 On my website www.JoLinsdell.com
 
Anything else you'd like to add?
 Virtual Book Tours: Effective Online Book Promotion From the Comfort of Your Own Home is available to buy at the discounted price of $2.99 for the whole month of September to celebrate its release (normal price $4.99) http://bit.ly/VBTKindle

 



Author Bio

Jo Linsdell is  a best selling author and illustrator and internationally recognized marketing expert. She is also the founder and organizer of the annual online event "Promo Day" (www.PromoDay.info) and the Writers and Authors blog (http://WritersAndAuthors.blogspot.com). To find out more about Jo and her projects visit her website www.JoLinsdell.com.



 

 
 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Press Release!

Check out the press release below, or see it here.

WiDo™ to Publish Debut Novel, YA Fantasy by Bethany Harar

SALT LAKE CITY, UT September 2, 2013
Beth3

Several years ago, aspiring writer and high school English teacher Bethany Harar heard Neil Gaiman speak at the National Book Festival in Washington, DC.  She remembers, “An idea for a novel was lurking in the back of my mind, but I was worried that the concept was overdone.  During his speech, Gaiman mentioned that he didn’t mind tackling previously covered subject matter because he hadn’t written his version yet.

“That resonated with me, and gave me the confidence I needed to begin. I went home and wrote my first chapter that very afternoon.  When I finished that book, I wrote another, but was still not completely satisfied with the product.  Eventually, I wrote a third, and decided it was worthy of publishing.  The concept started from a dream I had, where a young woman with dark hair was walking on the beach, singing along with the ocean.  From that moment on, I became enthralled with Sirens, and knew I had to write their story.”

Bethany Harar’s concept grew into the book that was recently accepted for publication by WiDo.™  Submissions editor Allie Maldonado has this to say about the book, “It is about young love and belonging and fighting for what you know is right. Bethany is completely right when she says it is how one writes the story that makes it fresh and original. I really enjoyed how she addressed this subject, and I believe that YA readers will too.”

Harar submitted her manuscript to WiDo Publishing for several reasons:  “I appreciate that they are willing to work with unagented authors.  They based their decision on the quality of my writing, rather than my publishing experience, and gave me a chance as an emerging writer.  In addition, they have an excellent reputation.  WiDo works with a variety of genres, and I was impressed with their books.  I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to work with them.  It is, without a doubt, a dream come true.”

“Making writers’ dreams come true is one of the best parts of my job,” says Maldonado. “Especially a debut author like Bethany who has worked extremely hard to write a book worthy of publication. We love her story and we’re thrilled that she chose WiDo to publish it.”

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Random Thoughts On Bars

First, I'd like to wish my dear friend Bethany (yeah, we have the same name) a very happy birthday!

Being an old, married woman with two children, I don't often hit the bar scene anymore.  Last night, I had the opportunity to go out with two girlfriends to a bar in Arlington.  Usually, I do not frequent anywhere that isn't within a ten minute radius of my house, so this was quite an adventure for me.  I made several observations that I thought I might share with you.

1.  I'm really glad I'm married, because there are a lot of super hot girls out there and I know I wouldn't stand a chance in hell of finding a decent guy anymore.
Wow!  What an awesome can!
2.  Pick-up lines have not improved.  A guy used my Corona can as an opportunity to strike up a conversation.  He mentioned how he'd never seen one like that before (it was taller and skinner than your average can), and asked if I liked the can.  I told him I liked what was in the can better.  He then called the can the "Virginia Slim of Beers."  I gave him a confused look and he sheepishly walked away. 

3.  It is now acceptable to wear anything that allows everyone to see your bra.  Not the strap.  The entire freaking bra.  Might as well walk around in a bikini, which oddly seems more appropriate.

4.  Stools and chairs at an outdoor bar are a hot commodity.  One fine fellow even saved one for the entire three hours we were there, insisting that someone was using it. It stayed empty the entire time, and I called him lots of names in my head because I had to stand while the stool stayed open.  Maybe he was hoping he would get lucky and find a girl to sit there, but I can tell you he didn't have a shot in hell of that happening.

5.  The bartender actually gave me a hard time about getting a water, informing me that it was 9:30 and it was too early to start drinking water.  Um, really?  Does that seem weird to anyone else?  Shouldn't they support sober driving?  


In any case, that was enough to last me at least another year.  Crazy bar people.


Beth - 0
Bars - 0
Corona Can - 1

A Dream Come True

For those of you who don't know by now, I've been offered a contract by Wido Publishing for my Siren book!!  I'm beyond excited.  I'm ecstatic.  I'm elated.  I'm giddy.  I'll stop now.

There is still so much I'm learning about the process, but essentially a press release will go up on their website announcing me as one of their new authors (yes, I'll post the link here when it happens) and then I get an editor. 
My favorite picture ever.  Signing the contract.
At that point, it could be a long while before the book officially is released.  But again, I'll keep you posted. 

I want to jump up and down.  I want to smile at every stranger and share this amazing news.  Actually, I have shared the news with complete strangers just because I couldn't contain my joy anymore.  Screw self image.  For this one time, I'm throwing humility out the window. 


I'M GOING TO BE A PUBLISHED AUTHOR!!


Beth - 1
All the other publishers and agents who rejected me - 0
Wido Publishing - 100,000,000,000

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Harar Curse


Since I married my husband, we have been afflicted with what I affectionately refer to as the Harar Curse.  It is a mysterious, invisible entity that seems to encapsulate my family at all times making sure that no matter where we go, trouble will find us.  At times, the curse lies dormant, leading us into a false sense of security. 
This, however, is not one of those times.

I think it's fair to say she was a better
doctor than artist. 
Thinking back, the trouble started brewing around the end of March when I merrily skipped down the stairs in my parent’s garage and swung my hand down at the same time.  My pinky whacked against my mother’s car (don’t worry, the car is fine) and I tore the tendon and chipped off a piece of bone on my right pinky finger.  There is a lovely picture to the right, courtesy of the doctor, for your viewing pleasure.  I had to wear a splint for six weeks and, although it healed, my pinky is still crooked.  Any hopes I had of becoming a hand model were cruelly dashed forever. 

And, if you must know, I was skipping because I was getting wood floor samples from my car to share with everyone.  It was very exciting.
The bone on the right should
be parallel to the bone on the left.
Ouch.

The trouble was just beginning with the pinky, however, because one week after my doctor gave me the okay to remove the pinky splint, I got a call during class.  This is bad.  Very bad.  The front office only interrupts my teaching if there is an emergency, and it was a doozy. My son broke his wrist.  I’m talking a complete snap in half of the bone.  Poor baby.  Anyway, the magic number is six, and he wore the cast like a champion for all of those weeks.


This skating rink is dead to me.
Not to be outdone, about two weeks before Joey got his cast off, I went roller skating with my daughter’s Girl Scout troop.  I failed to give roller-skating the respect it deserves and became over-confident.  I tripped and my right knee slammed into the ground.  I tried to play it off like everything was fine, but the intense swelling and pain got the better of me the next morning and I went to the emergency room.  An MRI, crutches and four days later, I discovered that I cracked my kneecap.  I’m in a leg brace for . . . you guessed it . . . six weeks.   

Last weekend, my husband hit a fox and we got two flat tires while we were in South Carolina.  Sorry.  No picture.  But we did look for it on the way home.

The Curse is back with a vengeance and appears to have no mercy.  Looks like I’ll be throwing salt over my left shoulder, pulling out my statue of the Virgin Mary and avoiding black cats for a while. 

Beth – 0
Curse – 1
Fox - 0

Friday, May 24, 2013

Perils of Teaching in My Town

This evening reminded me of the perils of teaching high school in the same city where I live. 

To begin, students can't separate school from the real world.  When I see them in public places, like the grocery store, they eye me suspiciously, as if they were thinking, "Strange teacher, you have left the building in which I see you daily.  Do you have some business outside of the learning institution?  Why are you creeping about where you don't belong?"
I do NOT sleep here!
If the above happens, I am actually blessed, because the student refuses to approach.  However, the danger appears when a student decides to engage me further.  You may wonder why that is dangerous.  Well, the danger lies in whether I remember the student's name. 

You see, recognition is usually never a problem.  I'll recognize a student for six to ten years after I've taught them.  But, I can't guarantee I'll remember their name or situation.  So, I must improvise to the best of my abilities.  I readily admit to knowing them, and ask how they are.  Then, I pray desperately that they will provide some clue, some tidbit of information, that will allow my brain to make the connection between face and name.  If I'm really lucky, I'll remember what they meant to me, and where they were headed when I last knew them.  If I'm not, I'll flounder, ask inane questions, and appear addle minded in my old age.


See?  I'm a normal person!  Sorry I can't
remember your name. 
I can pretend pretty well, but I won't deny that I've been in my share of awkward moments.  It isn't personal.  I really like all my students.  However, I've been teaching seven years, and have had about 140 students every year.  Since I suck at math, my phone tells me the answer to that equation is 980 students.  So please, my lovely students, be forgiving if I look at you with complete and total desperation.  I am a lowly woman with a limited amount of mental capacity who just survived another week of proctoring SOL exams.  I'm normal.  I promise.  Be kind.

My second biggest complaint is that my students see me sloppy outside of school.  I planned on going into great detail about how they have impeccable timing when it comes to seeing me at my worst, particularly after I've just left the gym, but, upon further consideration, I realized that I always look sloppy outside school and there really is no coincidence here.  When I'm not at school, they will probably see me at my worst.

So, I won't even dwell on that anymore.  A girl has to live normally, right?

Beth - 0
Students - 1





Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Breaking Buddies

No Harar misfortune is complete without company.  Therefore, when I broke my pinkie six weeks ago, I should have known that another breakage was lurking around, just waiting for the right moment to claim another victim. 

Let's start with me, however.  I wish I had some fantastic story to share about how I saved a baby bird from falling to its death by streaking across the lawn, still wet from the previous night's storm, and slipped, catching the bird but breaking my pinkie in the process.

But I don't.  My story is really lame and makes me look ridiculous.  On Sunday night, in my excitement to show my parents the laminate samples we'd picked out at Home Depot, I raced out their garage door, bounded exuberantly down the stairs and happened to bring my arm down in a skippy-swingy type motion at the same time.  I whacked my hand on my mom's car and subsequently tore the tendon on my pinky, chipping off a piece of bone.

The worst part about this break was not the pain, but rather then foul smell that emanated from my bandage at the end of the six weeks.  Also, my pinkie will forever bend slightly to the left and look bumpy.    
You can see the break!  Poor baby!
Just two weeks after I got the okay to remove the splint, I received a phone call at work.  This is very bad, because the school has a lovely process that all phone calls go straight to voice mail unless it is an emergency.  So, while I can put off the phone conversation with an angry parent who wants to rip me a new one, I also am terrified to answer the phone when it does ring for fear of what awaits me on the other line. 

I had good reason to worry, because it was the school nurse, calling to inform me that I needed to take my son to the emergency room to get an x-ray. 

I rushed to his school, hurried to the hospital, carried all 55 stocky pounds of him from the parking lot into the emergency room (no easy feat, let me tell you) and awaited the bad news.  It was, in fact broken, which I pretty much already knew by the extreme amount of pain on my poor baby's face.  they moved us to a room with a television so he could watch SpongeBob, which he found even funnier after they doped him up with pain meds.  Two hours later, we left the hospital with a splint and instructions to take him to an Orthopedic Surgeon to get a cast the next day.

On a side note, the first thing everyone asks someone who has a cast is, "What happened?!"  Joey started out by telling everyone the entire story, which lasted close to 5 minutes.  Either he picked up on their boredom one minute in or grew tired of telling the same story over and over, but to my immense relief he found a shortened ten second version and has stuck with that one over the past week. 

I don't think there should be any more, because my sister broke her hand in January, and that makes three.  I can't believe karma is mad enough to come at me with any more this year. 

Beth - 0
Joey - 0
Bones - 0

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Movies That Make Me Cry . . . A Lot


I figured it was time to write about movies that make me cry.  It doesn’t matter if I start watching them from the time the beginning credits start rolling or five minutes before the poignant scene at the end, but they’ll make me cry, without fail, every time.  I’m not exaggerating.  Just ask my husband, who has to put up with my blubbering.
***********************************Spoiler Alert***********************************
 
 Movies That Make Me Cry A Lot

Steel Magnolias:  A woman dies in front of her little boy.  The woman's mother loses it at the grave-sight.  The baby runs to his grandmother at the end because his mommy is gone.  Tears will flow.

Beaches:  They are on the beach.  She is dying.  It is horrible.  And then all of a sudden they switch to her funeral and her little girl asks if she can keep her cat!  Of course she can keep her cat!  Who the hell would take away a little girl’s cat?!

Dragonfly:  Seriously?  She survives long enough to have the baby and then dies?  And then Kevin Costner finds the baby after thinking he’s lost everything?  Heart-wrenching.  I can watch the last ten minutes and still sob for an hour after it is over.

Little House on the Prairie – Okay, okay.  So this isn’t a movie and I promised to talk about movies.  But I couldn’t leave this one out.  Laura’s little brother dies.  She goes up to the mountain to ask God to take her instead.  The reunion between her and her father is pretty much the most touching thing ever.

50 First Dates:  Sure, the premise is funny.  Even ridiculous, perhaps.  But when she wakes up on that ship and sees her child for the “first” time, there won’t be a dry eye in the place. 

Resurrection:  A woman loses everything in a car accident, develops the power to heal and is shamelessly exploited.  She becomes a recluse to hide from the media.  At the end she saves a little boy dying of cancer, but he doesn’t even know it!  I’m ready to start crying now.

My Girl:  Macaulay Culkin dies from bee stings.  His best friend, a little girl, screams and cries at his grave, saying he needs his glasses.  No chance I won’t cry here.  For the record, I saw this as a teenager and no one warned me of the ending.  It was cruel and scarred me for life.

Escape from Sobibor:  I watched this movie once with my students.  I cried so hard I had to leave the room while they were watching it.  I’ll never watch it again.  The material is too disturbing for me to even describe without starting to cry, which I can't do because my children are in the room.

Charlotte’s Web:  This might be a cartoon, but when Charlotte dies, I’m a mess.

Neverending Story – Argue if you want, but when that horse drowns in the quicksand, I can’t hold in the tears.

Ben Hur – Jesus is crucified.  Ben Hur’s sister and mother are cured of leprosy.  I’m a bawling mess.

The Notebook - Don’t get me wrong.  Ryan Gosling is easily #1 on my list of super hot actors, but when his "old" self dies next to his true love, I’m crying really, really hard.

Forrest Gump – Damn you Tom Hanks and your love for Jen-ney.  Don’t be fooled.  I don’t cry when she dies.  I cry when he sees his son for the first time and asks if the son is stupid like him.

Up – I’m sobbing after the first five minutes.  And there hasn’t even been any talking yet.  Actually, my best friend and I watched this movie even after the kids wandered away.  We both cried at the end, too.
 
So, there you have it.  Call me a sap, but I'm always up for a good cry from a sad movie.
 
Beth - 1
Sad Movies - 1

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Siren Pacific

Well, I finished my third novel. 

I'm pretty happy with it and am in in the final stages of editing.  However, the first (and shortest) chapter of my book is 100% complete.  So, I'm going to share it with you today.  I'm ready for your honesty.  Give me the truth.  If it sucks, tell me.  If you like it, great. 

For the record, most of the novel is from the point of view of my female protagonist; however, this chapter, along with a few others, are told from the killer's point of view.

Gulp.  Here we go.

Beth - ?
Book - ?
Beth's Anxiety - 1

SIREN PACIFIC
Chapter One
The young woman did not sense his approach because she was singing.    At the bottom of the beach where water meets sand, she stood, pale arms outstretched as she paid homage to the ocean.  Despite the cool night air, she wore only a light dress which billowed about her legs as the wind played around her body.  She was tall and elegant.  The waves swept at her feet and, in the dark night, she almost glowed. 
            Not affected by her demon song, Ortho crept forward, his feet sinking in the sand with each step.  Though her melody would hypnotize most, he found it grating and offensive, the bumps on his arm not due to the temperature, but rather an unpleasant reaction to hearing her sing.  To him, there was nothing appealing about the music that left her lips.  It sickened him, the song, carried by the wind to his ears, making his only thought to end it, to stop it in the most horrifying way imaginable.  He felt his hands shaking with excited violence as he grew nearer.  She was oblivious to his presence.  The creature thought she was safe, that her repulsive chant would shield her from harm, and her ignorance made him quiver with power.   
            One step, then another, and when he was almost close enough to grab her tousled hair she turned, startled by his presence.
“I’m sorry,” she said, smiling at him.  “I didn’t know anyone was nearby.” 
His lip curled as he took a step forward.  The woman hesitated, taking a step away from him, towards the sea. 
“Did you hear me singing?” she asked.   
Ortho raised the knife.
            In one swift movement she turned and propelled herself forward towards the ocean, her protector.  He heard her gasp, watching her body tense as her long legs pushed away from the sand, but he was equally quick and lunged, catching her white dress and yanking it down so that she plunged, face first into the sand.  She fought back, kicking and clawing, slamming her foot into him, but he darted to the left to avoid the impact and grabbed her legs.  With her lower body immobilized, she clawed at the sand with her slender fingers, as if it could provide the leverage she sought.  Her breath came out in ragged sobs, and she screamed. 
            Vice-like, his fingers dug into the tender flesh of her leg, pulling her underneath him, causing her to cry out in pain and fear of the inevitable.  He could see from her expression that she thought he would violate her, as if he would defile himself with such a beast.  Simply touching her skin was so revolting that he felt the bile rise in his throat.  Her flesh was smooth on the outside, but he knew underneath it was scaly and reptilian.  There was nothing appealing about the creature that dwelled under her appealing facade. 
            The woman put her hands out to ward him off, but he grabbed them, and pushed them over her head into the sand.  Demon or not, she was no match for his strength; she sobbed harder now, crying out in pain and fear.
            “Let me go!” she begged, stretching her free arm towards the sea, as if it could give her salvation.
He was unaffected by her pleas for him to stop.  She would not get away because he was meant to kill her; to kill each and every such beast on the Earth. 
It didn’t take long to subdue her.  Ortho carved a large, jagged letter ‘O’ in the woman’s chest using his thick blade, just after he removed her vocal chords. 
 
 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Who's the Big Winner??

Me, hopefully. 

I've entered a contest on Lindsey Cumming's Blog to win a critique of three chapters of my book.  I am telling you this because posting about it is one way to win, just in case you thought that this post looks nothing like my other posts.

I am both excited and terrified.  However, I've never actually really won a contest of chance before so I won't get my hopes up too much. 

Still . . . a girl can dream.



Beth - ??
Contest - 1