It’s Pitch Madness Day! #PitMad

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It’s Pitch Madness Day, and I’m so excited!  What is Pitch Madness, you ask?  It’s this incredibly fun game on Twitter, sponsored by a woman named Brenda Drake.  Authors all over Twitter will pitch their novels to literary agents (and publishers?) in only the 140 characters allowed by Twitter.

Holy buckets!  YOU try explaining the plot of your favorite book in 140 characters!!  It’s hard!  But CRAZY fun!

As a writer, I’d loved to have my book picked up and sold to a huge publishing house.  I mean, who wouldn’t?  But the truth is that the game is so much fun that it really doesn’t matter.  So, if you’re in the mood for some entertainment, pop yourself a bowl of popcorn and head on over to #PitMad on Twitter!

BIG RULE:  Please do NOT “favorite” any post unless you’re an agent or publisher.
“Favoriting” is how the authors are notified by agents to send in their queries!  

Want more information?  Go to:  http://www.brenda-drake.com/pitmad/

If you’re interested in my book, here’s the synopsis:

Victoria Hastings Harrison Greene knows her family despises her.  She’s even heard her grandchildren snigger behind her back about the “Immaculate Conception of David” — her fifth child, conceived between husbands.  But Victoria refuses to die before revealing the secrets she’s held locked away for more than 50 years; the secrets only whispered about in family folklore that have made her the feared matriarch of her family.  Widowed with nine children, Victoria will do anything to provide for her large family — even murder, and without remorse.  Each day brings greater challenges:  poverty, homelessness, death, starvation, degradation and disease.  Some challenges will require despicable acts to overcome. But at what cost?  Can her family understand the decisions she’s made to secure their futures?

In the meantime, best wishes to all of that authors out there madly tweeting their books!  And stay tuned to see how I do!

The Waiting is Painful

So I’ve finally done it:  I’ve written a book!  It’s not something I ever expected I’d really do; and – more than that – I never in a million years thought I’d write a book of fiction!  But I’ve done it!  The premise?  It’s loosely based upon my father’s family during the 1930s Oklahoma Dust Bowl and The Great Depression.  Everyone has read or seen Steinbeck’s version – The Grapes of Wrath – but I’ve never seen a story about those who were too poor to leave, and who were forced to stayed behind.  This is their story…and it’s based on several actual events.

Believe it or not, my father’s family was dirt-poor.  What does that mean?  It means they were so poor that they didn’t even have real floors in their home.  The floors were made of dirt.  When they had a home, that is.  Times were tough, and they didn’t always have a home.  So the question is:  what does a widow with a half dozen children do to support herself out in the boonies?  How does she feed her children?  What does she do to put a roof over their heads?  Those are the questions I began asking, and they are the foundation for my book.

So now the wait…and it’s painful!  I’ve begun querying agents and the form letter reading “thanks, but not for us,” is killing me!  What’s worse is those agents who don’t respond at all!  Ugh!

My day will come.  It’s just a matter of time before someone reads my book and decides it’s worthy of notice.  In the meantime, cross your fingers for me!

What’s that you said?

listeningI think I’m getting to an age where I need to consider stronger glasses and <gasp> hearing aids!  Never was the latter more pronounced than earlier this week as I was driving my 10-year old home from swim practice.  During his endless monologue from the back seat – and my tuning in and out with an occasional “uh huh” or “wow” – I was startled out of my near coma (from listening to his constant narrative from the back seat) when the following conversation took place.

“Hey Mom, Guess what?  I’m a penis,” Braden proclaimed proudly.

“Huh?” I asked.  Surely I didn’t hear him correctly.

“I’m a penis,” he repeated.

“Braden!  What in the world!  That’s not a nice thing to say,” I scolded.  “You can’t go around calling yourself a penis!  What in the world would make you think that’s okay?”

“Geesh, Mom!  What the heck?!” Braden responded with no small amount of irritation. “Pianst!  Pi-ah-nist!  PI-AH-NIST!  I play PIANO!  Seriously?!”

Well…that’s a relief!  I guess I’m off to get my ears checked!

Sometimes It’s Better Not to Know…

Having raised a girl first – and then raising a boy now – I can honestly say that I was in no way prepared for little boy issues.  I never imagined I’d find myself as the mom having to teach a child to “lift the seat” or “hit the target,”among other things.  I never imagined having to explain a variety of different boy-issues, and I certainly never expected to have a need for things to be explained to me!

941310_10201276129769093_714146396_nThough it’s early May, my part of the country has been hit with some extremely unusual weather these last few days.  Just Thursday, in fact, we got hit with nearly a foot and a half of snow…On May 2nd!  Now, instead of enjoying the balmy warmth of what should be Spring, we were huddled up in our winter coats and snow boots once again.  I certainly have a bone to pick with Mother Nature!

The high temperature for yesterday hit around 33 degrees and, of course – thinking that May should be a warm month – I’d packed away winter coats.  As a result, when it became necessary to trek out to Target for groceries, little Mister Braden just about froze his rear end off.

As we unloaded the car and I prepared to put our purchases away, Braden began to alternate crossing his legs with a jumping up and down motion.  “I gotta go to the bathroom!” he exclaimed.

“Well then, go!” I told him.

“I will…just give me a minute,” he responded.

A minute passed, and then another, and then a full five minutes had passed and Braden was still doing his little dance in the kitchen.  “Braden, what in the world are you doing?” I asked.

“I have to pee,” he responded.  “I have to pee real bad!”

“Don’t say ‘pee,’ Braden…it’s not polite,” I responded.  “Now, go to the bathroom.”

“I will.  Just a minute!” he whined.

By this point, I began to get frustrated.  “What are you waiting for?  Just go!” I responded.

With a huge sigh, Braden practically whined “I’m waiting for my hands to warm up…” and he continued to hop from one foot to the other while simultaneously trying to cross his legs.

I had now lost the battle and was officially irritated.  “Braden, what in the world do your hands have to do with going to the bathroom?!  Get in there right now and go before you pee on my floor!” I said with barely-contained irritation.

il_fullxfull.326623038“Mom…first of all, don’t say ‘pee.’  It isn’t polite,” he responded with a smart-alec smirk.  He continued by saying, “I can’t go to the bathroom right now because my hands are too cold!  You try touching your private parts with cold hands and see how you like it!”

I should’ve just left it at that, but those of you who know me also know that there’s no way I could leave it at that.  “What in the world?  Why do you have to touch your private parts when you use the bathroom?  That’s just gross!”

Finally losing his patience with my ignorance, Braden growled “Do you want me to pee in the toilet or on it?  If you want me to pee in the toilet, then I have to use my hands to guide my pee to its target!  Okay?!”

For once I was speechless.  As a woman, this was not an issue I’d ever had to deal with.  How in the world do you respond to that logic?

“Fine,” I replied.  “Just don’t forget to wash your hands.”  And then as an afterthought I added, “And don’t say ‘pee.’  It isn’t polite.”

Are you smarter than a caveman?

526609_10200985780237455_785096382_nTeenagers know absolutely everything!  It doesn’t matter what the topic, if there is an expert on that topic you can be sure that there’s a teenager – probably every teenager – that is the most knowledgeable.  It’s for this reason that I’ve recently decided to quit giving my own teenager more information than she absolutely has to have.  After all, if she knows as much or more than I, then there’s no point in my wasting my breath.

Several days ago, my 17 year old daughter drove her car into the garage to park and – in the process – happened to knock a garden hose rack and hose off of the wall.  Completely.  The rack came out of the wall entirely.  My husband told her to be sure to pick everything up because she didn’t want to run over anything that would cause damage to her tires or vehicle,  Unfortunately – though quite predictably – Amber didn’t need play-by-play instructions of the items she should be certain to pick up and – as a result – she left a screw on the floor of the garage.  Two days later, she ran over that same screw and put a hole in her tire.

My husband is much more patient – and devious – than I am.  He decided that it was time for Amber to learn how to change her own tire, so he took her out to the garage to instruct her in the process.  He showed her how to put the car up on the lifter-thingy (no laughing – I don’t need to know what it’s called!  That’s what I have him for!) and had removed the bad tired and was ready to put the full-size spare on in its place.

“Amber, will you please bring me that other tire that’s leaning against the wall over there?” he said pointing to the tire they’d leaned against the wall some distance away.

Amber walked over to the tire, squatted down, wrapped her arms around the tire and, with a loud groan, lifted the tire off the grown and haltingly carried the tire across the room to her dad and set it down in front of him.

547858_10200985778997424_389451329_n“Wow!”  she exclaimed.  “That’s really heavy!”

“Of course it is,” he responded.  “Why didn’t you just roll it over here instead of picking it up?”

The silence was thick as his words slowly seeped into her teenage brain.  “Oh.  I thought the tire had to be attached to the car to roll it,” she responded with complete sincerity.

Seriously, Amber?  Even the cavemen had this one figured out!

Help Us Decide – Cast Your Vote!

Help Us Decide!  Cast Your Vote Today!

Hi folks!  It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  I don’t have anything humorous to post today, but I’m hoping that y’all will help me out with a little project I’m working on with my daughter.

Amber has decided to audition for America’s Got Talent.  She’s having a hard time deciding which song she wants to do and is  hoping that y’all would watch this short video to help her decide.  It’ll literally take less than 3 minutes of your life, and you can feel good about helping a kid out.  Watch the video and then place your vote below.  And thanks!

Here goes:

Not My Braden!

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It’s been a while since I’ve written.  Life has been so busy – crazy busy! – and I’ve been hanging on by my toenails, hoping that life doesn’t fling me in circles too hard!  Things are finally slowing down and – though I still don’t have the time to write a daily blog – I’m hoping to find the time to come back and write as time allows.

Which leads me to today’s blog.

Some days I feel like a character in a sit-com.  Bizarre things – unimaginably silly things – seem to happen to me and mine.  It happens so often that I sometimes feel like I’m being featured on Ahston Kutcher’s Punk’d.

On Friday morning, I said goodbye to my kids as they went off to their respective schools and I settled in for a busy day ahead.  I’d barely begun to get organized when the phone rang.  The Caller ID identified it as belonging to my son’s school, so my mind began to spin with all sorts of awful scenarios.  Breathless, I answered the phone.

“Hello?” I answered.

No reply – just some background noise and what sounded like an adult in the distance saying, “Go ahead.  You can talk.”

“Hello?” I repeated.

Silence.

“Hello?  Braden?” I said just a little louder.

“Mom,” came a barely audible voice.  “Mom…(hiccup)…I left my (barely concealed sob) lunch at home.”

Braden - Age 7

It was my Braden.  Sweet, sensitive, 8-year old Braden.  He doesn’t normally take his lunch to school, but he’d been talking about doing so for the last several days.  I hadn’t realized that he’d intended to take it on this particular day – and I hadn’t pack anything for him – so he must’ve taken the initiative to make it for himself.

“That’s okay, Baby,” I said.  “You don’t need to cry.  I can bring it to you.  Where’d you leave it?”

“I don’t know!” the child wailed.

By this point he was trying so hard not to cry that his voice was barely above a whisper.  My heart just ached!  My poor boy was so sad!  Was taking his lunch to school that important to him?  Didn’t he know I’d bring it to him?

“Hey Buddy,” I said.  “Stop crying…it’s okay.  I’ll bring it to you, okay?  I’ll find it and bring it to you in time for lunch. Okay?”

“Okay,” he said a bit lighter.  “Thanks, Mom.”

“You bet.  Now go to class and I’ll bring it to the office for you to pick up.  I love you, sweetheart.”

“Love you, too,” he said and then handed the phone over to the school’s secretary who confirmed for me what time the 2nd graders took lunch.

I hung up the phone and then went in search of the lunch that Braden had packed.  Sure enough, there it was – on the bar in the kitchen.  Inside was a sloppily made peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and 2 cups of mandarin oranges.  Not much of a lunch, but he’d packed it himself and it was obviously important to him.  I was determined to get it to him in time – and add to it to brighten his day a little bit.

As the morning hours ticked down to the time I needed to drop Braden’s lunch off, I began to brainstorm on what I could add to his lunch.  I soon realized I had nothing in the house and would need to make a quick run to Target.  As I passed the local McDonald’s on route to Target, I had a great idea:  Braden’s lunch was so pathetic that I’d surprise him with a Chicken McNugget Happy Meal.  I’d keep his packed lunch in there in case he really wanted it, but I’d get him some Chicken McNuggets to surprise him…and through the drive-thru I went.

At 11:25, I arrived at school with 5 minutes to spare before the 2nd graders headed to lunch.  I stopped in the office to sign the visitor’s register and say hello to the secretaries.

As I greeted the secretaries, Sally said to me “That poor by was so upset this morning!  I’m so glad he was able to talk to you.  He just brightened up when he heard your voice and you said you’d bring his lunch.”   This sparked a short conversation about how upset (and then relieved) he was, and how surprised I was to hear that he’d even planned to take his lunch.

A few moments later as I finished signing the register, Sally said (pointing to the lunch I’d brought in), “Now whose lunch is this?”

“That’s Braden’s,” I responded.

Sally looked at me in confusion.  “Braden already came to pick up his lunch.  His grandmother dropped it off shortly after he talked to you on the phone.”

“My Braden?” I asked.

“Well…I think so,” Sally said.  “It was the same child who called you crying this morning.  His grandmother dropped it off only about a half hour after he talked to you.”

“Can’t be my Braden,” I said. “My Braden’s grandmother lives in Oklahoma.”

Silence.  We both stared at each other in complete bewilderment.

“Well,” Sally began, “someone came in and said she was Braden’s grandmother and dropped off his lunch.  Karin (the other secretary) paged him to come down and he picked it up just a little bit ago.”

“My Braden?” I asked, nearly speechless.

“I think so,” she responded.  “Karin,” she said as she turned to the other secretary, “Braden came down to pick up his lunch, right?  After his grandmother came in and dropped it off?”

“Yes,” Karin confirmed.  “I paged his classroom and his teacher sent him down.”

This was getting weirder by the second!  I was determined to get to the bottom of this, so I set off for Braden’s classroom.  By this point, nothing could shock me, so it was no surprise to see that Braden was confused by my presence.

“What are you doing here?” Braden asked.

“I brought your lunch.  You called me this morning and said you left it at home, so I brought it but also added a surprise to it for you,” I responded.

“What?  I’m confused.  I didn’t call you.”

“Huh?  You called me and said you forgot your lunch.  You were in tears and asked me to bring it.  I found it on the bar in the kitchen and brought it to you, but it looked so unappetizing that I stopped by McDonalds to surprise you with a Happy Meal instead.”

“You brought me McDonalds?!” he replied with obvious excitement!  “Thanks, Mom!!!  But I didn’t call you…can I still have it?”

What in the world was going on here?  My Braden didn’t call me, but my Braden had packed a lunch.  My head was beginning to spin and I could swear I heard the Twilight Zone music playing in my head.

I left Braden with his lunch and he marched happily off to the cafeteria with his classmates.  But I still didn’t know what was going on!  Who had called me?  Was there a Braden out there upset that his mom had failed him?  I’d told somebody’s Braden that I would bring his lunch to him; was that Braden going to lunch right now without having received it from his mother?

I returned to the office where the secretaries had finally sorted out the confusion.  Braden did call me that morning, but it wasn’t my Braden.  It was another 2nd grade Braden.  When he approached the secretaries and was overwhelmed by what had happened, they had a hard time getting any other information from him than his first name.  In an attempt to get his last name, Sally had asked “Braden A___?”  The little boy (Braden H___) was so upset that he just responded affirmatively, which led the school secretaries – who knew me and knew that I had a son named Braden, but had probably never seen us together – to call me.

From my end, the Braden on the phone was so upset that I just assumed that it was my Braden.  And Braden H___, in his moment of panic, apparently didn’t notice that I didn’t sound like his mother because he was totally convinced that he’d spoken to his mother.  In the meantime, Braden H___’s grandmother realized his lunch was at home and brought it in, and my Braden had packed a lunch the previous night with the intention of bringing it to school but had changed his mind, leaving me to find a half-packed lunch on the bar.

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Sometimes it’s funny how all the planets can align just perfectly and bring around such confusion and chaos!

  • Two Bradens.
  • Two packed lunches, one forgotten intentionally.
  • A phone call where neither side realizes they’re not talking to the person they think they’re talking to.

Thank goodness for the grandmother who realized that her grandson (Braden H___ ) forgot his lunch.

Such is my life.  I wonder what tomorrow will bring…?