Friday, February 27, 2009

New Place + Novel Aha = Really, Really Full

I had a full day to write yesterday. A treat! I started at The Vault, but there's something about being in the same spot for an entire day that can drag you down. Plus, even though they say it's fine, I'm sure those who are behind the counter at The Vault enjoy a change of scenery as well. Plus, I needed some lunch, so I thought, "Perfect...time for a change. I'll go check out the new place."

And that's what a did. I headed over to the newly opened The Village Baker. According to them, they speak "yum." And after my visit, I have to agree.
The parking lot is always full, so I should have known it would be tough to get a table, which it was. I felt the need to order enough to nibble my way through some working time, to earn my right to sit at a table. So, I ordered a sandwich, a cup of coffee, and because I ordered a sandwich and a drink I got a piece of Tiramisu for a buck. How can you so no to that? I asked to have the latter two after my lunch (to stretch my time).
I sat and nursed my sandwich while I plugged away, cleaning up Chapter 5 of my WIP. The exciting part, I had a major aha! Isn't it interesting how that happens. I don't know if it was the change in setting. The cranberries on my sandwich. I don't know what it was. Just that it happened. The aha didn't even have anything to do with Chapter 5, although it did get me asking myself some questions. And then an obvious, yet vitally important detail came to me. I sat, eating my sandwich, and smiling--I'm sure people were thinking I was loony tunes.
But, I'm a half-a-sandwich kind of girl. And I worked through that full sandwich. I grew full, full, and more full. But there was still that cuppa joe and Tiramisu to enjoy. Do you see the size of that thing? It's bigger than my coffee cup. I enjoyed half the cake and ALL my coffee and soaked up the thrill that the ride of my big aha provided!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

For the Love of Cuteness

This post will obviously NOT be about my bruise(see previous post)! Although it's in full its purple and green's not even sort of cute.

But this is...

That's Luna, who fell asleep this morning ringing her outside bell!

Let's hear it...

Cuteness number 2:a bit of writing. Not mine, but my eight-year-old girlie's.
When we went to go pick up our sweet Luna, we traveled to Eastern Washington. We left early and spent the night in Cheney in a hotel with a pool so that the kids could swim. That night at dinner, out of the blue, my eight-year-old girlie shouted out, "My tooth came out." She lost it right there, not eating, just sitting. Now this is not a kid who's had an easy time with losing teeth. She was the only second grader in her class (last year) who hadn't lost a tooth. Her first four had to be pulled all at once by the dentist. Her little sister has lost more teeth than she has.

That night, before bed, she wrote a note to the Tooth Fairy on the hotel stationary. This is what it said:

Dear Tooth Fairy,
I am sorry I am not at home.
We are getting a puppy.
So be prepared for puppy teeth.

I loved that!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday Moment #7

Things have been non-stop here at Chez Cuppa. I've really (I mean, reallyreallyreally) needed to get some work done, but that would mean pulling a couple of all-nighters. Okay...I do exaggerate. I no longer do all-nighters, but I was hoping for a couple of very late-nighters. Unfortunately, that didn't happen either.
But when running to this and running to that...sometimes you actually run into stuff. Like fold-down, auditorium desks. And this happens...

That is a humongous bruise on my leg. It's swollen and black and ouchie. And the picture doesn't do it justice. However...I fear you think I might be exaggerating since I've been know to plenty-o-times.

But here's the thing, when I get hurt in such a way that it leaves a big mark and it's really hurting, I want to show off my war wound. I might even make you feel it. Not the pain, but the goose egg that is the side of my leg.

But pain can be both physical and emotional. How does your character manage pain (of each type)?

Friday, February 20, 2009


While driving the kids to school today, and then to The Vault, my eyelids didn't want to cooperate. Don't you hate it when they act up like that? Like they think it would be fun to get heavy and want to close when you really, really need the eyeballs underneath them to do their job. I mean, really! How rude.

Not even Steve Perry belting out Journey's "Separate Ways" encouraged my eyelids.

I suppose it's my body's way of rebelling. I'm telling ya, it's been a stinker lately. It's all like, "If you're going to make me do all this stuff, without letting me have some down time for at least a little reality TV, well then, I think I'll make you pay. How 'bout I wake you up every morning too early. Let's say 4:30. 5:00 if I'm feeling nice."

But life's been a bit bonkers. And it would sure help a lot if my body would let me get a tad more sleep in the morning so I can catch up with the other things that aren't getting done in a timely fashion. Seriously!

Case in point:

That is what my girlies refer to as Mt. Clothesmore!

Now, yesterday I wrote and pondered, pondered and wrote. I scanned the Internet and wrote some more. Not that I accumulated a lot of words, but I made progress. I've been assigned the task of getting the first five chapters of my WIP progress together. This would seems an easy task, as supposedly those first five chapters are written, but when you actually go back into that messy mess of a rough draft, you then realize you need a new chapter 3 and that a road sign mentioned requires description that you don't have...because, hey, it's the rough draft.

But, please let me tell you of the discovery I made because of said sign (actually signs). Check out this website. If you need to find a road sign, you're likely to find it.

Today, my eyelids need this sign!

Monday, February 16, 2009

We are Over la Luna about our New Puppy!

We traveled across the sea, over the mountains, and through the snow to pick up our new pup on Valentine's Day. What a sweet treat she is!

Meet Luna!

She's seven pounds of floppy, fluffy love.

Luna is...


(those are the bells she rings to tell us she needs to go outside)



We love her!

Monday Moment #6

Happy Presidents' Day! No day off for Monday Moments...although I know I'm slow to post.

Not surprising, I've been a bit distracted this weekend with puppy and all. I'll introduce you to her tomorrow.

The noise in our lives tells a lot about who we are and where we live. I'm particularly thinking about the noises when all else is at night (although maybe night is not quiet for your character). The last couple nights I've heard the whimpers of a pup who needs to go outside. But typically, there are many other noises I can hear, when the rest of the house is quiet (and my husband's not snoring). At times, I can hear a distant ferry whistle. When I do, I know that it's foggy outside without even a look out my window. And on some early, early mornings I can hear the sound of the pulp mill's whistle sounding a shift change, but it only happens when the wind is moving just so.

What noise is in your character's life that tells readers about where s/he lives or who s/he is?

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Informal Formal Awarding of the Licorice Lasso

Ahh! Remember back to the days of Nano? I don't know about you, but that feels like ages ago to me. Ages!

But thinking back, I get nostalgic. Thinking about all that productive writing time. The days when Holly Cupala and I played Let's Write 5000 Words Today. A fun game. Anyone want to play sometime?

Well, those 5K days created this strange morphing of the cracking of the whip. Werplash! Until somehow it turned into a licorice lasso. (Yah, I'm not sure exactly how that happened either.)

When I was in great need of additional motivation in December, the La La Challenge was issued. The big prize? The licorice lasso. Oh, yah! Coveted, I tell ya.

Except that the big prize was never formally awarded.

It was about time! Or at least that's what the big winner, Martha Brockenbrough, said to me when I finally handed over the prize. Well, no. That's a fib. I just added it for a little drama. BUT she should have said it.
Sound the horns. No...crack the whips. Swing the lassos! And congratulate, Martha!

How 'bout that lasso? Is it the tiniest, saddest thing you've ever seen?

So I gave her two plus many multi-colored strings. Hopefully they will help her wrangle up many colorful, yummy words.

I think it all stared to go to her head. Or maybe it was just working...

Thanks for always being inspiring, Martha!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Last Night's SCBWI Western Washington Meeting

Wouldn't you blog was the first Tony Dirksen (Thanks, Tony!) pulled up last night during his presentation. But my panic about cute boy pictures flashing up on the screen were unnecessary since Tony had done a screen capture...nothing live.

Do you see me back there on the screen behind Tony? Cuppa Jolie's a star, or at least it sort of was at the SCBWI Western Washington meeting last night for, oh, about 17 seconds.

Tony's presentation was fantastic. He crammed a whole lot of info into a very short amount of time. And I had a great take away from his talk. There are so many little things you can add here and there to a blog and one I just learned...including categories. So now I can have all of the Monday Moments, for instance, pull up in one place. And that's cool. I'll be figuring that out soon. (Tony does a weekly podcast for kids called Radio Comet. You can find it HERE.)
Here are some of the peeps that were there last night.

Look at how happy they all are (and that's only about a third of 'em).
If any of you are visiting Cuppa Jolie for the first time because you were at last nights meeting, leave me a comment and let me know. I'd love to say hi and thanks for visiting.

And then, what a treat, Bonny Becker read a manuscripts she's been working on, and is still working on. She shared with us her own personal journey from draft to draft. A wonderful reminder for each and every person in the room that you must revise, revise, and revise some more. Especially with picture books.
And, last night, I finally FINALLY awarded the Licorice Lasso. I have pictures to prove it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hello, SCBWI Western Washington!

Tonight is another wonderful SCBWI Western Washington Professional Series Meeting featuring Tony Dirksen and Bonny Becker. I always look forward to these meetings because I get a chance to see and visit with some of my very favorite people. Tonight is even better. Since I am no longer one of the regional advisors, the responsibility is gone. I get to just go as Jolie and enjoy myself.

I had a brief panic this morning remembering that Tony, tonight's first presenter, emailed me awhile back about this very blog. Tony's talk is PODCASTS AND SOCIAL NETWORKING: THE FUTURE IS NOW. He plans to also talk about blogging and said he might be featuring Cuppa Jolie.


I suddenly had a vision of Tony pulling my blog up live and yesterday's post showing up on the big screen with a gajillion photos of Ryan Reynolds. It didn't feel too appropriate or very writerly. So now, here I am instead with a big:

Tonight also features the very talented Bonny Becker who will presenting BE WISE, REVISE. Bonny is the bestselling author of A VISITOR FOR BEAR and her talk will focus on revising the picture book. I'm certain she will pack the house.

I also hope to take care a certain piece of business that should have been taken care of long ago. Anyone recall that La La Contest from way back in December. I awarded the Licorice Lasso to one Miss Martha Brockenbrough. I feel it's time I finally deliver. Hopefully, tonight will be the night.

And, as will be appropriate to Tony's talk tonight, I am bringing my camera, as well as my Flip video camera and will blog about it all tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Advice from an Actor...Why Not? Works for Me!

I'm at The Vault. A happy place since I didn't see much time here in January.
I shouldn't be blogging. But instead I say, WHATEVER! to myself, because I want to darn it.

I've got me a hot cuppa jo. I just had a sample of a white chocolate chip cookie. And an opportunity came up today that I couldn't say no to (it made me smile--wide)! I'll fill you in on details later. There's been other hopeful news plus the fact that I'm only days away from bringing our new puppy home (she has a name but I'll wait and share it when I can officially introduce her). So, all feels pretty good today.

My whole day's been rolling in a rather nice way. This morning when I got up and was sipping on my first coffee of the day (the most critical one) I spied a copy of Men's Health on the counter. It caught my attention. It's fun taking a gander at a men's mag but also a bit naughty...try it. You'll see what I mean. Anyway...I'm going somewhere with this. On the cover was Ryan Reynolds.

A cutie, noh? More proof necessary?

Surely, this one will get you...

But a quote from Men's Health impressed me more than any of the above photos.

"I don't expect success. I train for it." ~Ryan Reynolds

I LOVE THAT! He instantly became much cuter (or should that be even more cute? I need Martha!). Take it for what it means to you, but it certainly started me off on the right foot this morning.

Speaking of training...tomorrow I'm city bound for another SCBWI Western Washington meeting. Check out the line-up HERE. If you're in the greater Seattle area, you shouldn't miss it.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Monday Moment #5

I have a nice big mirror in my bathroom. There are plenty of lights in there. But somehow, the natural light mixed with the electric, plus the height of my counter, makes make-up application, etc. difficult.
I bought one of those counter, vanity mirrors that lights up and has two sides--the normal one and the other magnified side that makes you go...yikes, shouldn't have looked! For a while I was good at putting it away in the cabinet, but then I got lazy about it and it almost always sat out. Not too long ago, my daughter went into use my bathroom and knocked into it. Down the two-sided mirror went...the non-magnified side shattered.
Of course, my first thought was broken mirror! But my daughter just felt bad because she broke something of mine. I've never made her fear a broken mirror. And there was no reason to now. But it got me thinking about superstitions, and more important, where they come from.
Does your character have a superstition? AND what does it stem from?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Fresh February

Please tell me you still love me...that you'll continue to visit...that you forgive me for being so absent from blogdom lately. I promise it hasn't been because I don't care. Or that I'm slacking. I've actually missed talking to you. It hasn't happened enough lately.

I promise that's going to change!

Many of you know that the end of 2008 was rough for my family, but the start of 2009 was even more so. Things in January were very heavy, and when that happens, something's got to give. Cuppa Jolie certainly suffered. And I have to say, I've missed writing to you all!

February feels fresh and new and like things are things are going to start being happy, not heavy!

Starting with...

A PUPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, a puppy. What could be more fresh and new than a puppy?

We don't have her yet, but soon. To be exact, we get to pick her up on Valentine's Day. That was just a happy accident. What could be a better Valentine than a little pudgy ball of fluffy of love?

She's a goldendoodle. And she's lovely. I will certainly post photos (maybe even video) when we get her home (if I can tear myself away from her sweet, puppy breath).

Speaking of video...that might be my next post--the vlog. Hmmm? I've been contemplating that one, but if I vlogged, you'd have to see the dark circles under my eyes. Let's discuss that later.

How 'bout for now you offer name suggestions for our girl. We've started a list. Right now, for me, the name that's winning is Lola.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Monday Moment #4


We all get distracted. Often on purpose.

Sometimes it's healthy. Sometimes not.

Sometimes it can turn a bit obsessive.

I've had my own distractions lately. The on-purpose kind. Lately my plate has been pretty full, actually overloaded. It's been a stressful time, and getting everything that needs to get done done, well, it's been a challenge.

At a time like this, who needs distractions?


Puppy talk has hit my house in a major way and everyone has the bug. Even though I have a thousand-and-three other things to do, I can find myself researching puppies and searching for possibilities online. If I let myself, I could do it full time, just fixate on finding the perfect pup for our family until it happens.
Another distraction I'm barely resisting (I could go there so fast)...oh my, am I really going to admit this to you?...okay, yes, we're friends. I made the mistake of "playing" the Brain Age 2 game on Nintendo DS. Big mistake! BIG. That tricky Dr. What-ever-his-name-is. He acts all smart and nice with a hint of arrogance and know-it-all-ness! Then he gives me this horrible, tricky rock-paper-scissors test. THEN he tell me my brain age is 74. Seventy-flipping-four! What's more, he tells me, ideally it should be 20. Nice, huh? But now, I want to play and practice to get to 20 really, really bad! And I will. will happen.

What distraction(s) does your character have? And why does s/he have them?