Sunday, May 19, 2019

Game of Thrones Finale Prediction Scorecard—with MAJOR spoilers

Daenerys Targaryen, HBO

I’ve never been big on saying I-told-you-so but HOLY FIRE! I’ve stood by the writers for most of this. Major plot points were rushed ahead this season, but I agreed with where they were going. Even Dany’s slaughter of King’s Landing. Her benevolence toward the helpless was only for those who weren’t standing between her and the throne. It never felt fully genuine to me. When she finally understood (after fighting the dead and losing a dragon and a best friend) that the common people were a fickle lot, they became an obstacle. I loved the way the valonqar did indirectly kill Cersei in the end, (see previous post) because Tyrion was Dany’s hand and his knowledge of King’s Landing led to their victory and her death. I defended the eighth season right up until the finale. Bran the Broken? Really? The big, jaw-dropping climax came way too early in the episode, leaving us with a drawn out and dull conclusion. Sam’s democracy suggestion and the reaction that followed were downright painful to watch. All those leaders who fought for different contenders to the throne and fiercely defended their houses just handed over their allegiance to a kid in a wheelchair. Not all of them knew him well enough to bend the knee that easily. I really wanted them to split into more than just two kingdoms. But there was a split. The north claimed its independence and Sansa became a queen. Other than Bran and Jaime’s pathetic return to Cersei, I was freaking right and I’ve been crowing about it for the last two hours. 

My family doesn’t care about GOT so I’m bragging into the electronic abyss. Indulge me while I go back over a few quotes from my previous posts. 

• “Daenerys turns mad queen and Jon/Aegon fulfills the Azor Ahai prophecy by killing her. He disappears beyond the ruins of the wall and lives with the wildlings in a harsh environment that satisfies his need for constant conflict. Sansa stays at Winterfell with the other Starks as the Queen in the North.”

• “With just 80 minutes left to wrap things up, I’m going with my alternate theory: no one takes the throne. All this time, everyone wanted to see who ended up on the Iron Throne. The promos for this season showed each of the main characters sitting on the darn thing. After all of this, I think the throne will be destroyed or hidden away somewhere and each nation will choose their own ruler. No more Game of Thrones.” (SO CLOSE!)

• “The ending that would make the most sense to me would be Jon stabbing Dany and disappearing, Frodo-style, into the snow beyond the wall. I don’t know about Drogon. Maybe he’ll just disappear too.” 

Individual character predictions:

•Daenerys: “She’s going down and I think Jon/Aegon will be the one to do it.” I never bought that Arya theory.

•Jon Snow: “My guess for Jon is a return to the frozen north (alone) or a heroic death at a crucial moment in the finale.” At least we got to see a happy ending for Ghost!

•Tyrion: “While he might make an amazing king, he doesn’t have the support he needs to take and hold the throne. He’ll probably survive the series, but I doubt he’ll be anything more than a member of the small council.” Bingo.

•The Hound: “Sandor would get slaughtered by that monster (Gregor) if they went toe to toe.” “It would definitely be satisfying to see her (Arya) show a little warmth and forget about her blasted list. Sandor’s on it, you know. Killing him would make her a heartless little savage. I’m hoping for a touching Houndrya moment that also wipes out zombie Mountain.” Yep. I hate that he died, but I knew that fight would kill him if he went for it.

•Sansa Stark: “In the very beginning, Sansa dreamed of marrying Joffrey, BECOMING QUEEN, and having children. The show started with her poised to be the future queen. I think it’d be a neat twist to finish up with her seeing that dream come true. Of course, it’s unrealistic. The North loves her, but I’m pretty sure she has no legitimate claim to the Iron Throne.” Queen of the North!

•Varys: “Melisandre said he’d die in Westeros and I really hope she meant he’d die in his sleep of natural causes a long, long time from now.” So disappointed.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Game of Thrones Valonqar Prophecy was Fulfilled


Maggy the Frog, HBO

Maggy the Frog’s prophecy was fulfilled in the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones. Check it out (OBVIOUS SPOILERS AHEAD):


"When will I wed the prince?" she asked. 
"Never. You will wed the king."

Prince Rhaegar Targaryen/King Robert Baratheon, HBO

Queen you shall be...until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear.

Queen Daenerys Targaryen takes King’s Landing, HBO

"Will the king and I have children?" she asked. "Oh, aye. Six-and-ten for him, and three for you. Gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds.”

Cersei’s three golden-haired children, HBO

And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.


Tyrion (the little brother) advises Dany’s attack on King’s Landing, which chokes the life out of Cersei as it crushes her at her darkest moment, when her tears had drowned her, HBO





Monday, May 13, 2019

Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5; WITH SPOILERS

Daenerys crucifies the masters in season 4, HBO
Season 8 episode 5. I knew it would be massive, breathtaking, and almost unbearably tense, but after the 4th episode this season, I didn’t have high hopes for my favorite characters. The internet is in an uproar. Since my family isn’t caught up, I’m posting my takeaways from last night’s episode here. Take from them what you will. (MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD)


Season 2 vision of the Iron Throne in the ashy ruins of the throne room, HBO



Daenerys Targaryen has always been the mad queen. Always. In the very beginning of the series, she and her brother dreamed of revenge and the reclaiming of the Iron Throne. It’s been her focus all her life and she had no problem using violence to achieve it. When her husband brutally executed her brother, she didn’t even flinch. “He was no dragon. Fire cannot kill a dragon.” Think about this: all her humanitarian moments were helping people who were not standing between her and the throne. She only helped the helpless and devoured their praise and admiration. She needed it. She destroyed anyone who had power and posed a potential threat. She didn’t look for allies, only minions. Anyone who crossed the line from helpless slave or minion to potential threat was killed. Remember Mossador in Mereen? He was a former slave who killed a captive Son of the Harpy without being given the order and was beheaded for it. She dragged the Dothraki, the Unsullied, and anyone else who supported her across deserts and oceans and the frozen North to die for her. The men in her life were also telling. Khal Drogo had an army, said their child would be the Stallion Who Will Mount the World, and promised to give them the “iron chair.” Daario had nothing to offer but his sword and um, his other sword. She married Hizdahr only for political reasons. Jorah loved her and she kept him close when it suited her and exiled him when she suspected treason. Jon Snow is slightly different and it still goes horribly wrong. She demands he bend the knee, keeps their relationship limited to the bedroom and the battlefield (not marriage), and orders him to keep his lineage a secret to protect her claim to the throne. Another point viewers made was that she showed she was a good person when she stopped fighting for the throne to fight the dead in Winterfell. I think she was just eliminating another obstacle on her way to becoming queen. She had to save mankind if she wanted to rule it. Her losses in the Great War just pushed her further over the edge. The idea that the writers turned her into the mad queen at the end of the series is ridiculous. Even in the books, it’s suggested from the start. Mirri Maz Duur is the woman who kills Drogo. Before Dany burned her alive, Mirri tells her, “you are mad.” Dany says, “is it so far from madness to wisdom?” Her madness and suspicious nature have been there from page one. Also, the vision Dany had of the Iron Throne covered in ash in a ruined castle when she was in the House of the Undying back in season 2 was pretty spot on. Fans may have wanted her to be a benevolent queen in the end, but it was never meant to be.


While I may have been on board for the mad queen’s arc, I’m not thrilled about some of the others. For Jaime Lannister to rush back to Cersei in the end was kind of ridiculous. There were so many moments when he chose the moral high ground even though it went against his sister, especially when Tyrion or Brienne were involved. Most importantly, when he thought the world was ending, he left Cersei and their unborn child with Euron Greyjoy in King’s Landing and rode to Winterfell to help fight the undead. Now, suddenly, he wants to be with Cersei again? Ugh. And don’t even get me started on Euron dying with a smile, calling himself king, gloating about sleeping with Cersei, and saying he’s the man who killed Jaime Lannister. Infuriating. Fans were excited to see Cersei and Euron die nasty deaths and the show didn’t deliver. But then again, I’ve always scoffed at the “big baddie gets the most dramatic death” trope. Sometimes they just die.

Sandor Cleagane! Oh man, what a waste. Gregor was already dead. The Hound didn’t need to die to take him down. At least he had that little moment with Arya beforehand. I totally jumped out of my seat when the Mountain smashed Qyburn like he was just a gnat. Nice touch. Almost makes up for the execution of Varys in the beginning. (Nothing will ever make up for the execution of Varys.)

The flow of this season has been strange. The first episode was a big reunion that set the stage for the rest of the series. Second episode was mostly setting up the Battle of Winterfell. Third episode was intensely exciting and beautiful. It had a few questionable moments and some highly unlikely survival stories (almost all the main characters lived), but it definitely delivered. The fourth episode, in my opinion, was the worst. It bounced around too much and just felt like filler between wars. Rhaegal, Brienne, and Missandei were all victimized to rush the story ahead and finish it up in six episodes instead of ten. The fifth episode, while freaking epic, crammed an entire war into an hour—a war that should’ve been a very long, drawn out bloodbath. Dany and Drogon destroyed the entire Iron Fleet and all the (unmanned??) scorpions on the wall far too easily. These guys were able to hit Rhaegal dead-on, multiple times with only a split second to aim, but they couldn’t hit Drogon once? The explosion of dragon fire behind the gate that took out most of the Golden Company was awesome, but it was another big jump ahead in a war that was supposed to be long and brutal. In HBO’s defense, they only had the space of six episodes to wrap everything up. Cutting ahead to the real issue in this episode, Dany burning the city to the ground, was important. 

A few more thoughts:

• Maggy the Frog’s prophecy wasn’t completely wrong. Cersei only had three kids after all and Tyrion’s position as Dany’s hand did kind of kill her at the very end. “And when your tears have drowned you,” (the city has fallen, the Red Keep is crumbling, Cersei has lost everything and is crying,) “the Valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you,” (with Tyrion’s help, Cersei’s crushed beneath her palace.) I like this. The prophecy is fulfilled in a less literal way that wasn’t easily predictable. 

• Melisandre was right: Varys actually died right there in Dragonstone.

• The other major prophecy that still remains leads me to believe Jon will kill Dany. However, this season has been recklessly loose with these things and it could still turn out to be Arya who kills her. Or Tyrion. Then again, Daenerys could end up destroying herself. The ending that would make the most sense to me would be Jon stabbing Dany and disappearing, Frodo-style, into the snow beyond the wall. I don’t know about Drogon. Maybe he’ll just disappear too. The ending I’d like to see would be Dany destroying herself on Drogon’s back—like Icarus maybe. She should be her own undoing.

• Vegas is predicting King Bran. I disagree. I think his story ended with the Night King. I doubt any Northerner would have the support they need to take the throne. The North will stay in the North. 

• With just 80 minutes left to wrap things up, I’m going with my alternate theory: no one takes the throne. All this time, everyone wanted to see who ended up on the Iron Throne. The promos for this season showed each of the main characters sitting on the darn thing. After all of this, I think the throne will be destroyed or hidden away somewhere and each nation will choose their own ruler. No more Game of Thrones.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

My Spoiler-Filled Game of Thrones Predictions

Copyright rules are tricky. Instead of an HBO image, here’s a baby shower cake I made.
Okay. So I’ve been scouring the internet reading fan theories about the end of Game of Thrones. Now it’s my turn. Based on what evidence we’ve been given since the very beginning of the series, I have my own theory about what’s coming in the finale. There will be spoilers. You’ve been warned.

• Jon Snow/Aegon Targaryen: Jon has always been the broody bastard in black. Despite brief moments of humor or compassion and a few little smiles here and there, he’s never been happy. He leaves Winterfell to join the Night’s Watch, tries to become a ranger and go beyond the wall, gets beyond the wall and rallies for a united army of wildlings and crows to fight against the dead. He’s offered/given command of the Night’s Watch, a chance to become Jon Stark, a life with Ygritte, and he walks away from all of them to go fight. All that fighting brings him back to Winterfell where he’s named the King in the North. Does he stay and defend his home? No. He goes down to Dragonstone and brings Daenerys into the fight. Jon Snow living happily ever after as Aegon Targaryen on the Iron Throne in peace? Can’t picture it. Jon Snow living ANYWHERE happily in peace? Nope. He has never had a happy, peaceful period in his life. He wouldn’t know what to do with himself. Lady Catelyn told Talisa Jon got “the pox” and almost died as an infant for crying out loud. My guess for Jon is a return to the frozen north (alone) or a heroic death at a crucial moment in the finale.

• Daenerys Targaryen: No way she’s surviving this. From the very beginning, she’s had a (wait for it) fiery temper. Her brother is burned to death (not with fire, but BURN THEM ALL still works) while she smirks. Mirri maz Duur: burned to death. Pyat Pree, Kraznys mo Nakloz and the whole freaking city of Astapor, the Tarlys, the Lannister army and their wagon train, Razdal mo Eraz, everyone in the temple of the dosh khaleen and pretty much everyone who ever pisses her off: dracarys. She is her father’s daughter. Remember her ordering the crucifixion of the masters in Mereen in place of the previous victims? Her advisors tried to talk her down, but she did it anyway. All she’s ever wanted was her rightful place on the Iron Throne and nothing will stand in her way. “I was born to rule.” She’s going down and I think Jon/Aegon will be the one to do it.

• Cersei and Jaime Lannister: Jaime has been Cersei’s plaything all his life. While he was pathetically faithful to her, she slept with their young cousin, the Kettleblacks, Robert Baratheon, Euron Greyjoy, and a Myrish woman. He gave up his legacy to serve in the kingsguard so he could stay at King’s Landing with her. He watched Robert Baratheon claim his children as his own and they knew him only as Uncle Jaime. He lied for her, fought for her, and killed for her. It was only when the fate of mankind was threatened (and she was about to marry the slimiest kraken in the Iron Islands) that he finally went behind her back to follow his moral compass. Oh, and he finally hooked up with a woman of substance, Ser Brienne of Tarth. My prediction for these two is mostly based on Maggy the Frog’s prophecy that Cersei will be strangled by the valonquar. I’m getting Jaime will kill her when she refuses to listen to reason. Then again, the Battle of Winterfell proved that nothing freaking matters in the end. Cersei’s death will come at the hands of Jaime (fulfilling the prophecy) or Arya (working off her hit list), but will probably be threatened beforehand by Euron when he catches on to the paternity debacle with her baby. Thanks, Tyrion! Jaime should go back to Brienne when it’s all over. She’s earned a happily ever after. 

• The Cleaganes: everyone’s psyched up for Cleaganebowl but I think it’s a reach. The Mountain died with Oberyn, and the golden zombie knight doesn’t give a crap about the Hound. We, on the other hand, do. Sandor would get slaughtered by that monster if they went toe to toe. As I’m writing this, it occurs to me that this could be easily be an Arya kill and the series could wrap up with her saving the Hound’s life. It would definitely be satisfying to see her show a little warmth and forget about her blasted list. Sandor’s on it, you know. Killing him would make her a heartless little savage. I’m hoping for a touching Houndrya moment that also wipes out zombie Mountain.

• Bran: without the Night King, I don’t know what the heck Bran is supposed to do at this point. All the theories about him warging into a dragon because he was told he would fly seem like a stretch to me. It would’ve happened already. Besides, he’s been flying around for a while now. Ravens fly. Unless they use him for some last minute exposition, I think Bran’s arc has ended. 

• Varys: I love Varys. Melisandre said he’d die in Westeros and I really hope she meant he’d die in his sleep of natural causes a long, long time from now.

• Grey Worm: The poor guy has suffered so much. I think they’re going to kill him off Jorah Mormont style and put him out of his misery. Jerks.

• Tyrion: The trailer for episode 5 showed Tyrion looking at something from inside the war room in Dragonstone. Bloggers flipped out because he’s standing in front of a stone dragon carved into the wall. “He’s a Targaryen and he’s going to ride a dragon,” they say. Right. Um, I think the significance of that shot (if there is any) is that he’s facing the opposite direction as the dragon. My guess is they’re hinting he’ll turn against Daenerys. It’s pretty obvious it’s going to happen and it’s far more likely than the Dragonstone shot foreshadowing a last minute revelation that Jon’s not the only secret Targaryen. While he might make an amazing king, he doesn’t have the support he needs to take and hold the throne. He’ll probably survive the series, but I doubt he’ll be anything more than a member of the small council. I’d love to see him settle down and start a family, but that’s not how this show works.

• Sansa Stark: In the very beginning, Sansa dreamed of marrying Joffrey, BECOMING QUEEN, and having children. The show started with her poised to be the future queen. I think it’d be a neat twist to finish up with her seeing that dream come true. Of course, it’s unrealistic. The North loves her, but I’m pretty sure she has no legitimate claim to the Iron Throne. Sansa the Usurper, first of her name? Then again, her inexplicable hatred of Daenerys makes her seem a little petty and juvenile. Not exactly queenly behavior. 

• Gendry Baratheon, Lord of Storm’s End: The recently legitimized son of King Robert Baratheon. Daenerys might have handed over the seven kingdoms with that move. I like the theory that says Gendry is going to help build some kind of dragon armor. That would explain the awestruck expression on Euron’s upturned face in the trailer for episode 5. Emilia Clarke said to watch the episode on the biggest TVs we can find. I’m betting on some serious dragon action. Gendry’s contribution to the war effort will earn him the respect of the anti-Cersei allies and catapult him into the Iron Throne. 

If I had to call it right now, I’d say Euron abandons Cersei over the baby drama and her forces are critically weakened. Jaime kills Cersei and *fingers crossed* goes back to Brienne. He could end up back in a gold cloak for Gendry though. Daenerys turns mad queen and Jon/Aegon fulfills the Azor Ahai prophecy by killing her. He disappears beyond the ruins of the wall and lives with the wildlings in a harsh environment that satisfies his need for constant conflict. Sansa stays at Winterfell with the other Starks as the Queen in the North. Gendry is crowned king and Tyrion, Davos, and Varys (assuming the latter two survive the writers’ thirst for drama) stay on in his service. 

One other possibility is the curveball ending: no one takes the Iron Throne. Everything else happens like I theorized above, but the seven kingdoms choose their own leaders and form a democracy. All this time we’ve been trying to guess who would win. What if no one wins? Boom. 

Gendry or no one. That’s my guess.

(Be gentle. I cry easy.)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Cold Truths & Warm Fuzzies






It's okay. It's all going to be okay. I promise.



I'm littering this post with pictures of fuzzy things to make it happier. You're welcome.

I've learned a lot in the last year. I learned how to drill a stripped screw out of an iPhone. I learned how to do the flick with liquid eyeliner. I learned that breast implants explode in crematorium ovens. And I learned that the WRONG literary agent is a real thing. So this one night, I'm checking my email with one hand and stirring spaghetti sauce with the other when I was caught off guard by a very serious question. Is it time for me to find a new agent? There's a lot more to this question but trust me, you're not missing anything by skipping ahead.

Why I make phone calls from my car.
Suddenly, I was sitting in my car in the dark (playing Candy Crush Saga at the back of a parking lot outside a coffee shop because it's the only place far enough away from the kids to have a quiet phone conversation) talking to the RIGHT agent about the right things and realizing I should've thought about those things a year ago. I was also realizing I probably looked like a meth dealer or a psycho to any police who drove by, but it was the night of the homecoming bonfire and the cops had more important things to do than harass minivan moms who are just looking for some alone time.

A BAD dog.
There's a very important distinction here: the WRONG agent isn't necessarily a BAD agent. It's easy to get crazy excited, query every agent on the planet, and sign with the first one who offers representation. I know. I've been there. I get that. But you wouldn't walk into a dealership and buy the first car you see in your price range. You'd want to take the time to make sure you're making a wise investment. Do you want a manual transmission or an automatic? Something that gets you there super fast or something that you'll still be driving twenty years from now? What's right for one person isn't always right for someone else.

Clunker.
Okay, there's a really sucky part I need to mention before I get too far into this. Remember when I said "the first car you see in your price range?" Sometimes there are no cars in your price range and you need to work harder so you can get something better. When you find yourself hunting for obscure agents because you've been rejected by everyone else, you might want to consider going back to work on your manuscript so you can get someone reliable instead of a clunker. Don't settle. Seriously.

Let's say you're on the lot, cash in hand, and you're trying to decide which car to buy. Have you figured out what features matter most to you? This is where I went wrong. I had offers from several agents but I didn't know how to make my decision. It just happened all at once and I wasn't prepared. I made an emotional decision without doing any research. I ended up with an amazing agent who just happened to be the wrong agent for me. I was like a mother of four who buys a two-seater convertible, or a guy with a long commute who buys a gas-guzzling SUV.

Because I care, and because I love making lists, here are some suggestions to help you start your own list of questions for that all-important phone call. As usual, these are in no particular order--just like my thought process.

Likes to be left alone.
1.    Ask about your manuscript. Find out if it's going to need an overhaul or if there are just minor changes to make before it can go out to editors. This usually isn't a deal breaker question, but it's nice to know what you'd be up against if you sign with that agent.

2.    Discuss communication. This is a really important one for me. You should know up front how often you two will be checking in with each other and how to get in touch when needed. Some people like to be left alone, others want lots of hand holding. Some agents prefer email, others would rather talk on the phone. Is it better to send a quick text or is she quick to respond to letters? Loners don't want to be smothered and hand-holders don't want to feel like they've been left in the dark.

Likes hand holding.
3.    Research recent book deals. Check to make sure the agent is actually selling manuscripts before you hand yours over. Find out who they're selling them to. If all their sales are to tiny publishers who only do eBooks, it's likely that'll be your future as well. You might also want to look at the genre of those sales. Has that agent been selling books in your genre? If they are, they might have a better idea of where to pitch your manuscript.

4.    Look at their client list. Compare the number of published clients (with sales brokered by that particular agent) versus clients who are still working on it. If their client list is mostly newly signed, unpublished authors, your manuscript could be sharing office time with all the others. If their client list is full of unpublished authors who have been with that agent for a while, it's not a good sign. Either the agent's dropping the ball or they're choosing clients with unpublishable manuscripts.

Totally loves your other stuff.
5.    Talk about your other projects. If the agent isn't excited about the other stuff you're working on, you might be agent-hunting again before long.




Bad news? Good.
6.    Find out how involved you'll be in the pitching process. Some agents will come up with a pitch and a submission list without running it past you, while others might want your input. You might want to see all the feedback from editors. You might want to hear only the good news. Whatever your preferences are, make sure the agent is cool with it.




7.    Be open-minded. Maybe there are a bunch of unpublished authors on their client list. They could be working their butts off and have a bunch of stuff in the works that you don't know about. A huge list of recent sales isn't a guarantee that you'll be on that list anytime soon. They may have been on a roll, but rolls end eventually.

8.    Take your time. When you've asked all your questions and done all your research, give things a little time to settle before you make your choice. No, you don't want to leave them hanging forever, but you don't want to rush into a decision and make the wrong one. If they really want you, they'll still be there if you need a few days to think about it.
Little things
can get out of hand.

9.    Trust your instincts. If something just doesn't feel right, don't ignore it. Little things that make you uncomfortable in the beginning might not get better with time. Does it but you that your boyfriend thinks farting's funny? Picture him seventeen years later, ripping 'em in the kitchen and teaching your kids to blame their own on you. Trust me. It happens.

10. Be objective. Just because an agent has big name clients and works at a well known agency, it doesn't mean you're going to get a seven figure deal for your debut novel. Likewise, signing with a twenty-something agent with a super short resume doesn't mean you're not going to end up with a killer publisher and win a Newberry. Respect the young. Listen to them. Don't be scared of their youth. They've got more energy and their spirits haven't been broken yet.

Stalk them. (But be invisible.)
Don't just stop with my list. Ask, ask, ask. Talk to references, snoop around online, stalk them on Twitter. Be informed. I'd love to hear other ideas from you guys in the comments. Post away!

One final thought; I use the words RIGHT and WRONG very loosely. It's really not that black and white. You could sign with the RIGHT agent and still not get published. There are tons of factors that come into play in this industry. I signed with the RIGHT agent last year and I'm signing with the RIGHT agent this year. Comparing them side by side, I think this new one is the RIGHTER agent for my manuscript--just like the old one is the RIGHTER agent for someone else's manuscript. Both my agents are AWESOME.


Good luck!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Zombie Marshmallows and Charmin Bath Tissue


I've been hibernating. Believe me, that's the best word for it. I landed an agent (WOOHOO!) and everything was all rainbows and butterflies. For about a week. Then schlitz got real. There's a big fat What's-Next that follows the glorious contract signing.

I waited for a revisions letter from the editor. I caught a cold. My youngest kid came down with the flu. The revisions letter came and it was an emotional roller coaster. He loves my writing! He fell in love with my main character! He didn't believe in her motivation! He didn't get the chemistry with another character! He thought the ending was predictable and lacking something! I danced, I cried, I felt like throwing up.

When I got it together and started revising, I realized he was dead on about everything. EV-REE-THANG. My cold got worse. Much worse. I hacked and coughed my way through Thanksgiving and Christmas while pushing myself to finish revisions. I had a birthday. I was sick. It was lame. Turns out my cold ripened into a rollicking case of pneumonia with a side of pleurisy (look it up-- it's evil) and I was doped up on a heady cocktail of antibiotics and pain meds. But I persevered. I finished it up and sent it back to my agent.

And now I'm in the middle of another big fat What's-Next. For the longest time, I was a single parent to my manuscript. I created it. I raised it from infancy to adolescence. I nurtured and loved it unconditionally. Everything was my responsibility-- revising, editing, revising, editing, rewriting, revising, editing, querying, revising, editing, rewriting, editing, querying...this part goes on for several pages but I'll stop here in the interest of time. It was all in my semi-capable hands until now. Now I share my baby with another parent. A dominant parent. A parent who handles submissions for me. And I wait.

"I'm confused. It sounds like you've been busy. How is that hibernation?" Not only did I binge on carbs and spend the winter in bed (pneumonia's a beast), I shut down almost completely. Blog hiatus, very few tweets, no sudden movements. If I moved a muscle, something would blow up and the whole thing would be over. Hold your breath, cross your fingers, try not to pass out. Have you ever felt like that? Like your world is a closet full of crystal champagne flutes and you're wearing an inflatable sumo suit? I thought, if I held really still, nothing could go wrong.

So it's not exactly hibernation but that's how I looked at it. Maybe cryogenics is more accurate. I don't know. All I know is I'm at least five pounds heavier and I can almost braid the hair on my legs.

It was an existential crisis over toilet paper that snapped me out of it. Yesterday, I stood in front of the Charmin at Sam's Club for a good twenty minutes, trying to remember whether I buy the red Charmin or the Blue Charmin. Ultra strong or ultra soft. I've bought the same stupid toilet paper for years. YEARS. I was absolutely lost. I tried picturing the color in my bathroom closet. Red? Blue? Did I need ultra strong toilet paper? Have I been using ultra soft all this time? Why can't I have both strength and comfort? Why can't there be a purple package that just says "ultra" and is both strong and soft? I wouldn't be pressured into making a choice like that. I would not. I would show those bastards at Proctor & Gamble. I'd buy Charmin basic, grit my teeth and endure flimsy, abrasive toilet paper just to stick it to The Man. They call it bath tissue for heaven's sake. BATH tissue. No one in their right mind uses toilet paper in the bathtub. Give me a break. Idiots. Stupid idiots.

It wasn't the first meltdown during the hibernation period either. I made an emergency run to Walmart for Christmas lights when I decided I was most definitely not okay with a strand that only lit up every fourth bulb. I couldn't do it. I drove through the dark and the rain to battle the holiday crowd at a Tennessee Walmart, then I went back out in the dark and the rain to drive home. I caught myself slumping down in my seat with both hands on the wheel, listening to Nights in White Satin, and wondering who exactly I was and what I was doing with my life. Pathetic, I know.

I will wait for news from my agent. I will be good. I will not let myself feel helpless and out of control. I will not go back into my cave and wait it out. It's not the end of the world, letting my agent take the reins. I don't need to be in the driver's seat all the time. I can do this.

Hopefully, I haven't just destroyed my glass closet and popped my suit. Wish me luck.

Zombie marshmallows are easy. Go to a craft store and buy food grade markers. Snip mini fruit marshmallows in half and stick them to regular marshmallows and doodle little dead faces on them. Voila!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Shirtless Guys and Young Adult Fiction

The trinado is on the right (9yo, 5yo, and 7yo) in this photo of a completely unrelated shirtless-on-the-trampoline moment.

So it's the day before Thanksgiving and the kids are out of school. I dropped the girl off at a sleepover last night so it's just the boys and me. Oh, and for those of you who don't know about finding an address in the dark in the south, let me help you out here. It's pitch black except for my high beams and the occasional high beams of some idiot in the other lane who doesn't know to turn his/hers off when there's oncoming traffic. My daughter's giving me instructions from the passenger seat with the map on my iPhone and I can't see the street signs to verify she's got us on the right track. It's something like this;

"Go right on the next road. Not the little road extension thingie but the actual road road."
"What's it called?"
"Hang on."
"I can't hang on. Wait-- what was that? Did we just pass it?"
"It says 0.2 miles."
"That's impossible. We've been on the 70 for like a mile already."
"Okay, go back."
(There's no shoulder on the road, no gas stations, no houses, just farmland. Thank God we're in the Bible Belt and I found one of the zillion Baptist churches to use for a turnaround.)
"IT'S THIS ONE RIGHT HERE!"
(Screeching brakes)
"Now what?"
"Now you're going to keep driving for a while."
"What's a while?"
"Until you get to Fancher's Mill Road."
"How far is that?"
"Up a little."
"How little?"
"Like two inches."
"That doesn't help."
"Wait."
"STOP SAYING WAIT! Is this it? IS THIS IT?"
"Does the sign say Fancher's Mill Ro-"
"There is no sign!"
"Is it just a little road extension thingie or is it an actual road road?"
"I don't know. It's too dark. I'm turning anyway."
"Wait."
"I told you to stop saying-- what the hell is that?"
"What?"
"It's a little owl! There's a little owl in the road!"
"I didn't see it! Turn around!"
"I can't turn around."
(Pouting)
"Okay, now the road ends and her house is up about half an inch."
(This is when I either started crying or banging my head against the steering wheel. I can't remember which one I did at this point and which one I did when I got stuck at the gated dead end when the map said I was supposed to be back on the highway.)
"The road can't just end. Look at the map again."
"She must have a really long driveway."
"Like half an inch?"
"What?"
"Nothing."

By some Thanksgiving miracle, I made it to the highway. I was almost home and close to tears when I smelled something familiar. I realized it was a skunk about the same time I drove over a hairy black lump on the asphalt. The smell was everywhere; in my nose, in my mouth, in my eyes. I whipped off the freeway and opened the windows but I still felt like yakking. The smell followed me into the house and the kids freaked out. "Smells like something's burning." "No, it smells like something died." "It's mom! Mom, you stink!"

Let's get back to today, shall we? The the teenager with the mustache was up crazy late talking with two girls on Skype and slept until noon. The three younger boys-- the three-headed tornado, or "trinado" --were tearing around the house like rabid hyenas. Since it's sunny and almost seventy degrees outside (way to get in the holiday spirit, Mother Nature), I banished them to the backyard. There was much fighting. Fighting over the Green Machines. Fighting on the trampoline. Fighting about who did what and whether or not it was an accident. They drew faces on playground balls with Sharpies and carried them around in grocery bags, calling them Puffles and giving them imaginary personalities.

And then something hit the window.

Repeatedly.

The boys had gone around to the garage, entered the code to open the door, and helped themselves to Sprite and Cream Soda from the extra fridge. After pouring it all over the trampoline and soaking themselves, they stripped off their clothes and threw them onto a lower section of the roof. The sound I heard was the tapping of their cans hitting the window as the boys tried to launch them onto the roof and get them stuck in the rain gutter. Two of the three had already succeeded when I came outside breathing fire and thirsty for blood.

I dragged them inside and threw them in the bathtub. It was their brilliant idea to put on swimsuits and take one big bath in my jetted tub. I knew I should've said no but what I heard was "We want to condense three baths into one and cut down on the hot water usage" so I allowed it.

What happened next was mostly my fault. The oldest kid had stumbled out of bed and was catching up on this season of The Walking Dead. I took advantage of the quiet and sat down to watch it with him. The boys were whooping it up in the bathtub but I let it go. They got louder and I still let it go. Water greeted me at the bathroom door when I finally went to check on them. Half an economy-size bottle of Mr. Bubble in a jetted tub can produce enough foam to completely swallow up three little boys and half the bathroom floor. In case you were wondering.

This is why I write young adult fiction. I want to escape to a time of first kisses and best friends. When we beg for freedom but don't realize we already have it. No bills, no kids, no housework. I wouldn't change a thing about my life but it's a demanding one and it helps to escape just for a few moments of quiet time before I jump back into the fray.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have a bathroom to clean and a Thanksgiving dinner to start. I'm sure the boys will have a new adventure waiting for me when I'm finished.