Sunday, October 18, 2015

The REAL Adventures of a Newlywed - Day 6

Friday, October 16, 2015
6am ... I'm awake... ish... at least it's Friday... Sleeping in is only a day away!

I make breakfast and grab the milk from the fridge cursing the giant box of cake. I'm amazed I still haven't knocked something all over the floor. It's only a matter of time.

Watching the news... winter is coming.... ugh... cold weather *GROAN*

The dog is trying my patience this morning. She's into everything... Maybe she knows it's almost the weekend too.

I head into the bedroom to finish getting ready. Andrew is just getting out of bed. How are we both moving so slow this morning? I settle for a polo and jeans cause it's Friday. Then slip on my Star Labs hoodie cause it's comfy and head out to work.

7:30am I log into my computer and wish a coworker happy birthday by "singing" to him via Lync messenger... Yeah that's the closest thing you'll ever hear from me in terms of singing *tone deaf* He tells me to wait for his email... I'm curious and frightened all at once, but I start digging into my own emails.

8am  Andrew asks me where the left over lightsaber keychains are. I told him I hid them from him. I'm apparently a dead woman now MUAHAHAHA. It's funny how possessive we are over them when there's only a couple bucks online.

8:30am After saying happy birthday to said coworker in person and snagging a doughnut that I probably don't need. I take my laptop into the conference room to run our tagup meeting.

9am Ask coworker about the lightsaber keychain that I gave him. It was apparently a huge hit with his daughters and their robotics team. And then he went to happy hour and the bartender offered to buy him a drink in exchange for the keychain. I need to carry extras of those everywhere! FOR REAL! Who knew lightsaber keychains could be used as currency?

9:30am Safety training. Hot dog! Safety first friends. Safety first.

12pm went to lunch with coworkers, again joked about the impending name change. Top choices are Pi, or the engineer formally known as Jamie Krakover

1pm I take a survey, this is the first time i get to check the box "Lives with spouse" Had to think about it for a second before I answered, but that is in fact the correct answer.

I start to dig into life changes on my work benefits... holy moly there's a lot more here than I expected... So many questions. On the plus side, my tax form now says I'm married! SCORE!

4:30pm I head to petsmart to pick up dog food. I havent had time to get any until now. Good thing we still had one container. After thag it's to the grocery store for a few needed items. We dont need tons and we're leaving town in a week.

5:30pm I stand in front of the TV for workout number two of the week. I start dying about five minutes in but i make it through the whole thing.

7:15pm We arrive at my mom's house to get presents that were sent there and drop off some extra kippot from the ceremony. Those will float around our family for years and come out during holidays.

7:30pm We head to my coworkers house for birthday celebration. We get lots of congrats and talk sbout the wedding. I give tips to one coworker who is getting married next month.

There's a lot of questions about how newlywed life is. My standard response comes all 6 days of it have been awesome.

We laugh and joke about a lot of stuff. When we get ready to leave there's a joke about us going home so we can still enjoy being newly married. Neither of us deny it.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The REAL Adventures of a Newlywed - Day 5

Thursday, October 15, 2015
5:30am The alarm goes off. I'm tired but it's the usual everyday tired not the zombie like exhaustion that has been seeping through my bones the last week. I check Twitter then roll over and snooze for a bit.

6am I basically ignore my second alarm but get up when Andrew's alarm goes off. My body hurts. My shoulders, abs and thighs are all sore from my workout. I'm not all that surprised. I stumble around in pain trying to get ready. Andrew asks what time it is then goes back to bed. The dog stays with him. TRAITOR.

I make breakfast. As soon as I pour the cereal the dog emerges and wants to go out. I see how it is...
After taking the dog out, I put the cookies in the car so I remember to bring them today. Then I dig the milk out of the fridge. Maneuvering in there is like a slide puzzle with all that left over cake. But it's cake so I'm not complaining...

I plop in front of the TV to eat and surf the web mindlessly for a bit. When I get up to get ready Andrew is in the shower. CUE BATHROOM INVASION! I'm in an out in less than five minutes and on my way to work.

7:20ish am Cookies are on my desk! Score one for the day. I get logged into my computer and actually remember my password this morning. Run into a coworker I haven't seen in years who apparently knows one of my other coworkers. I'm always amazed at how small this enormous world feels sometimes... And after a quick conversation it's off to emails!

Looks like my coworker brought in cookies too. We are now drowning in them... There are worse problems to have.

9am Get an email from my sister about wedding planning. The fun begins :) I can't wait to help her plan her big day. Hopefully we are skilled experts at this point. She luckily gets to learn from all our missteps.

9:30am a quick tagup with the SWE planning team. They want to know about the wedding then we launch into business. I think we talked longer about the wedding than business. oh well.
Andrew messages me to tell me his brain is mush and he's not sure why... Welcome to the club... it's cause BIG EMOTIONAL RELEASE!

And I get a message about some confusing deadlines... one calendar says tomorrow the other says next Friday. It's definitely next Friday. I blame wedding brain cause that's totally a thing! (If not it is now!)

It's noon and some coworkers want to go to lunch. How is the day more than half over already? We talk about past work experiences, then talk about how long we've been with the company. One of my coworkers jokes I'm as old as the development of the digits in pi. I laugh and promise to steal it to use on someone else :-P Then it's back to my desk for more work! Never a dull moment!

4pm I stop at the jewelry store to get my engagement ring and wedding band soldered together. They say it'll take 45 minutes. I run home, let the dog out, grab my computer and my wedding dress.
I drop my dress off to be cleaned and preserved. It costs an arm and a leg and I wont get it back for at least two and a half weeks, but it should be worth it. It's the last large sum of wedding I hope to spend outside of the honeymoon, which will again be TOTALLY worth it. The wedding is over and yet there are still wedding type things to take care of. It never ends!

5:15pm I trot into Kaldi's and sit down at my weekly write in. I haven't been here in two weeks and probably haven't written anything constructive in over a month. I'm excited to put some words on the page!

My mom calls. We're still somehow talking about the wedding. Mostly presents, but she never got a call from the florist about the fact that they didn't do the flowers right. While very pretty, they weren't what we asked for. She was promised a call from the owner and never got one. Where is customer service these days???

6:30pm My gluteus maximus hurts... Curse that workout yesterday....

6:45pm I'm freezing... I want my Star Labs hoodie **cries** Why did I leave that at home? It's practically glued to me most days. *favorite hoodie*

6:55pm I finally open my word document to start writing... headphones in... **dives into the dragon's lair**

7pm **light saber sounds** cue text messages from my mom... More wedding presents have arrived at her house.


1 hour and 540 words later, I call it quits. I've done better in the past, but I've also done much worse. It'll take some time to get back into a rhythm. It will come. I hope.

9pm I get home and I'm on the hunt for a dress to wear to my friend's wedding on Saturday. Because let's face it, I've had not time until now to really figure that out. The first dress is one I bought my freshman year of college. I almost fit in it again. I'm shocked! But it's just a tad tight and I'm not going to be uncomfortable all night. The second dress I put on is the winner! It fits better than when I bought it! SCORE! And Andrew likes the dress, like really likes it. DOUBLE SCORE! And I get to wear my super cute but super high heels. My feet will be dying by the end of the night. Oh well the price I pay for cute.

I watch an episode of Ellen then head off to bed. Andrew is already there playing with his new computer. (No that's not a euphemism) I lay down next to him but Andrew gets a work call and I pass out. I have no idea what time he actually goes to sleep. Such is life...

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The REAL Adventures of a Newlywed - Day 4

Wednesday, October 14, 2015
5:30 comes way WAY too soon. Even though I slept like a rock, I'm still exhausted. Why did I ever think this was a good time to get up for work?

6am the alarm goes off again. I seriously contemplate a sick day, but I've missed enough work. Five minutes later Andrew's alarm goes off and I want to chuck it out the window! I finally crawl out of bed and stumble around like a drunken idiot to try and get ready for the day. Andrew mumbles at me to close the bathroom door because the light is bothering him. I'd love to still be in bed too buddy!
I take the dog out... Why is it so cold? ugh I hate winter and it's not even winter yet. I surf the web in a daze and watch the news while I eat breakfast. I'm so slow the dog nearly enjoys my breakfast for me... At least one of us is on our game.

7:30am I slink into my desk and realize I left the cookies I was going to bring into work on the counter. Oh well I guess I'll bring them tomorrow. I log into my computer and I get my password right on the second try. I'm almost awake I swear!

Email boots up, 122 emails, 17 notifications, and 2 voicemails... could be worse, but it'll take me probably half a day to dig out of this pile. Then another bit of time to figure out what the heck I was working on a week ago...

I catch up with co-workers. They ask how things went and comment on how tired I look. Guess I'm not hiding that as well as I thought. Note to self, go to bed at 8:30pm tonight (like that will happen)

8:30am Time for our team tagup. I've made it through about 20 emails but now I have to go run the meeting. So glad to be back :-P The team asks to see some wedding photos then we launch into real work. At the end of the meeting, we joke about my upcoming name change and my manager tells the team to email me with suggestions... Looks like Junior High might not be the last time I get really horrible nicknames ;)

9:30am A quick tagup with my mentor talking about my wedding and his son's that is next weekend. Then I stop by to say hi to my old group. Then it's back to my desk to continue to dig out of my email pile.

10:30am I'm starving. Is it time for lunch yet? I scarf down the half of a banana that isn't bruised but I'm still hungry... Contemplates eating stupid early... Also I'm only up to midday Friday on emails... still chugging along...

I'm down to 69 unread emails... **snickers** I'm such a child. Carries on...
I trek to the building next door to use the restroom since ours are closed for construction while they install new air conditioning units. It looks/sounds like Dexter's clean room over there... so much plastic and sawing noises.

Andrew messages me about computer toys. I send him "OK" as a response but don't have time to read the link.

And oh look it's after 11am so I can acceptably eat lunch now! YAY! **keeps reading emails**

11:30am I jump on a virtual call with only 30 emails left to go. I think I can I think I can...
And back to emails. The first one involves a database glitch. One of the images we uploaded has been replaced by the picture of a jellyfish and the inquiry is about whether or not I did that intentionally. While I'd love to take credit for that, I unfortunately can't. And even though jellyfish might be water dynamic, they certainly don't belong on aircraft. Neither do snakes for that matter... never a dull moment.

I looked away for a short bit and I'm back up to 33 emails... They're multiplying like tribbles or gremlins who got wet and ate after midnight... UGH.

HOLY MOLY I'm actually up to Wednesday in my inbox... almost there...

2pm I finally cleaned out my inbox, and by clean I mean deleted everything I could address quickly. There's still a handful of stuff in there I need to deal with but it's time for another meeting...

3pm DEAR GOD IS IT TIME TO GO HOME YET? And the construction guys are bowling with lord knows what behind that plastic resembling Dexter's clean room. **cries**

5pm I'm home and ready to return to my workout routine... Why in the world did I think it was a good idea to start on the highest level after a week of not exercising...CURSE YOU T-25 GAMMA! sooooo sore

I write two thank you notes... for the gift that arrived today... hey small victories.

Andrew and I eat dinner while watching Ellen. Justin Theroux is on and conveniently talking about being a newlywed. He says wife is such a fun word. I prod Andrew about it and he mumbles something under his breath. Ahhh married life ;)

Browsing through facebook, I see pictures of other friends' weddings that were on the same day as ours. Look they're cutting the cake and there's a plate and fork... how cute... why didn't we have a fork? I think I still have cake on my face 4 days later!

It's Andrew's turn for thank you note writing. He says he's going to write three... cause he always has to one up me ;) So I give him crap about the fact that I'm almost done with all of mine. Fair is fair ;) I at least address the envelops for him.

8:30pm I make fun of Scream Queens and tell Andrew that "I love that he's a man" He replies "I'm sure you do baby." *wink wink*

9pm time for cake... cause cake... you can never have to much. Andrew says I'm going to give him another cavity but doesn't argue too much ;) Then he retreats downstairs having only written two thank you notes. Hey it's something. (and for the record, WE TIED) :-P

Survivor ends and I slink off to bed... Alone. Andrew is still downstairs... not sure how he can stay up so late... I'm jealous.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The REAL Adventures of a Newlywed - Day 3

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

5am and the dog wants out. I slink out of bed take her out and head back to sleep. Andrew doesn't wake up.

6:30am Andrew's alarm goes off. He's headed back to work today, but I roll over and try to pass back out. My phone starts going off at 7am. Text messages, Facebook messages, emails... I should really mute that thing. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS I NEED SLEEP! Oh well, at least I'm awake to say goodbye to Andrew. Then I roll back over and go back to sleep again.

9am I actually get out of bed. The dog has had enough and wants to go out again. I finally feel like a person again. I grab the new blanket out of the dryer and remake the bed.

I chat with my sister about her wedding. There's drama already and it's 11 months away. I feel bad cause I remember it all like it was yesterday...cause it pretty much was. I know it'll all work out and try to reassure her, but remember my state at that point and know I probably wouldn't have listened to me at this point either. I'm in for the long haul and I so unbelievably excited to help make her day as special as mine was.

I pick up the letter from the city, something about a building inspection that wasn't completed when the previous owners did an addition. I call both numbers to get more information but neither guys answer. I leave a message for the main guy and give him my married name and say my husband and I bought the house in May. Husband... wow that sounds weird. Weirder than fiance did when it was new.

After that I slink over to couch and continue operation clean out DVR. I have every intention of not moving from this couch today until tonight when some of my friends who are in town are supposed to head over for dinner at 6. I'm not sure how many are coming yet, I invited spouses and kids, but some think their kids will destroy the place, eat all the pizza, or kill me with questions. I like kids so I don't mind, but I bow to them on the final decision. Besides my house can't be anymore destroyed than it already is, there's still presents, food, and stuff everywhere. I'm working on cleaning up. Either way I should have ample time to clean, catch up on TV, and relax :)

I open email and social media and start to catch up on more messages as I watch. This is the life. Too bad I have to go back to work tomorrow. I will enjoy today though.

11am the doorbell rings. It's FedEx with a GIANT box from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. The box is mutilated. I don't understand why these boxes never get here in one piece, but all I can think about is the additional thank you notes I must write. Never a dull moment!

12pm I sit down to write more thank you notes. It takes me an hour to write ten, but that's ten less that I have to write now.

1pm I'm looking for an old email and stumble upon a short email exchange between Andrew and I from the first time we dated in 2008. Start to gush about the fact that I actually kept it, even if it didn't work out that time. I guess my subconscious knew something I didn't ;)

5:30pm get a call for Mrs. Meyer. I'm literally confused for half a second before things sink in. We get the building permit thing sorted out. Nothing we are responsible for thankfully. One less thing to worry about :)

6:15pm the camp girls start arriving for dinner. We order Imos pizza, salad, and toasted ravioli. We watch the baseball game. The cardinals lose :( A sad sad end to the season. I guess the Cubs can fulfill their Back to the Future prophecy now. We move on from the game, eat dinner and chat for a while, catching up and laughing like we always do. It's like no time ever passes when we meet up. I don't get to see them enough, but we always have a blast and I cherish the time we do get to spend together. The girls leave around 9pm, but luckily I'll get to see them on Saturday for another wedding :)

I sit down to finish a show I started before the girls arrived. And now it's time for bed cause I have to go back to work tomorrow. Sad times. I'm going to miss the time off, but the real world awaits.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The REAL Adventures of a Newlywed - Day 2

Monday, October 12, 2015

Wake up EXHAUSTED... What day is it? How is it 9am already? My body is warm and dead... nothing wants to move. I check my phone... How do I have 150,000 emails? oh 149,990 are facebook comments and pictures we've been tagged in! We both feel so loved!

I eventually slink to the bathroom to put in contacts. How am I still so EXHAUSTED???

I step on the scale in the bathroom. My weight is down from what I expected and I haven't worked out in almost a week. How is this even possible? Before the wedding I would have gained a million pounds if I didn't work out for a week... Thanks stress! Either way, small victory that I didn't gain a metric ton of weight! I quietly vow to start working out on Wednesday after I get back to work even though I should probably start today... But I'm way WAY too tired! Plus we have stuff to do.

I finally get my butt in the shower. I start to feel more human. I also get the idea for this set of blog posts. I start running with it. But I'm out of time and have to finish getting ready so Andrew and I can return duplicate and broken  presents and buy a few much needed items off our registry. In between getting ready, I field phone calls. I accidentally give someone my maiden name... That's going to take some serious getting used to... when I decide what I actually want my name to be... even if I haven't officially changed anything yet. Soooo not looking forward to that process. I keep thinking of the million things that my name is on that will need to be changed. All in due time...

I scarf down two leftover cinnamon rolls. It's such a glamorous breakfast. But it lets us finally get out of the house.

We stop at the bank to make a deposit then meet with Andrew's financial analyst who I've never met. He's a nice guy but we don't stay long... Too much to do.

We run to Target to try and figure out who the mystery gift is from but they can't help. That's a shame, I'd really like to thank someone for that electric screw gun... I guess we're screwed...

We grab the couple items we really need including our bluray player cause its on sale YAY! All in all between coupons and sales, we save $80. I'll take it!

We move next door to bed bath and beyond to exchange a broken gift and return some duplicates. We head to the back of the store to grab a copy of our registry. The woman back there asks us if we know about their completion event that we apparently should have been told about when we created our registry. We joke with the woman about being married two days and if Andrew is the guy i married. It was probably way funnier in person than it sounds on here. We still decide to pick up another couple of needed items. Apparently my definition of need and Andrew's is slightly different. Welcome to married life ;) But we wander the aisles looking for things on our registry... We only registered 6 months ago... why has everything in the story moved? Of course I can't find anything cause of course! But somehow we make it through the store... and pay using our store credit YAY for that!

We head out to go start discussing honeymoon plans! We both could use a vacation right about now! Holy moly are we still tired. We can't wait to get out of here! Too bad we have to wait til January. At least we will get some amazing weather and skip out on some of the cold! Hawaii here we come!

We stop at the grocery store on the way home. Picking up a handful of items plus something for dinner takes three times longer than it probably should. If anyone finds my brain please let me know... I'm guessing I ate in my zombie like state.

We finally get home. I grab a late lunch and start in on the 1 billion thank you notes I have to write. I make a dent, but i start realizing there's probably more gifts coming. Some of the stuff off our registry hasn't arrived yet.  **groan** I'll be writing these things FOREVER. So glad I already wrote all the thank you's for the gifts we got before the wedding!

Then I start operation clean out DVR. It's nice and relaxing. I make a small dent but then it's time for dinner. We get everything cooking and sit down to watch Heroes reborn. We start some laundry. Then dinner is ready and we watch Quantico. We do dishes and start the dishwasher. And then it's time for Big Bang Theory. Leonard and Penny are newlyweds too, but their lives seem so much simpler. Being a newlywed is soooo not that easy but they have a "dog" just like us. Wow we are so glamorous! Two days in and we're already an old married couple. Until we starting playing footsy on the couch... we like to push each others buttons. That hasn't changed.

Andrew starts throwing out silly Halloween costume ideas he sees online, sexy sorcerer's apprentice, strawberry shortcake, sexy darth vader... why is everything sexy? then there's sexy chewbaccca ... there's nothing sexy about a walking carpet... I'll stick to cosplay thanks ;)

And now it's time for bed... cause TIRED... I'm sensing a theme here... :-P

Monday, October 12, 2015

The REAL Adventures of a Newlywed - Day 1

Sunday, October 11, 2015
Wake up a Mrs...
Mrs. Zombie that is... I'm freaking tired...

Stumble around... looking for something to satisfy... that hunger... BRAINS...


That's not the right kind of hunger ... neeeeeeeed foood.

Get dressed and head down stairs and pack up the car. Decide I'm going to eat my arm off if I dont get food so we head to the restaurant. Tag up with friends and mumble incoherently about needing food.

Get food and collapse in the chair. Feel a little better and reminisce with friends. The inlaws walk in and join us... Holy shizzz I have inlaws...

We eat, we talk. Then it's time for everyone to start hitting the road. Time for goodbyes. I start crying. There's more crying during this time than there was during my entire wedding.
DEAR GOD... I'm a hormonal teenager... no I'm a hormonal preteen zombie... What is wrong with me??

Someone asks if i need help packing up the rest of my stuff. We head upstairs to finish up. Why in the hell do we have so much stuff, we've only been here two days.

We pack up the car, but we still have to pack up the hospitality suite.

OMG why is there so much food left over. Who wants what? I will never eat all this stuff... wait who am i kidding I can eat whatever I want, I don't have to fit into a dress anymore.

The hotel manager comes in with boxes to help us. My future brother-in-law gets caught "stealing" hotel pens... she lets him have them while my sister and I laugh hysterically in the corner.

We're almost ready to head out but my sister wants to look at invite and save the date samples at some point and my mom wants to do it now. We all plop down and pick our favorites. We have 11 months to finish planning her wedding. Everyone stand up and switch places. She's the bride to be and I'm the matron of honor. CUE MORE PLANNING!

We head out and FINALLY get home. But we have to unload the car and the house is now a disaster. When everything is unloaded Andrew crashes in bed watching some old movie and I go pick up the dog. She's pooped when she gets home. We totally know the feeling!

We unpack... how did I have so much stuff at a hotel for two days? EESH What was I thinking?

We call the hotel cause they didn't give us our cake topper or let us know if we had any leftover cake. They cant seem to find it though.

After unpacking we FINALLY open presents. Lots of stuff from our registry. Some cool stuff that isn't. Darth vader/stormtrooper salt and pepper shakers, rubber covers for the microwave, a menorah shaped like a dreidel from Israel. Then we get to a bag secured by a ziptie. Apparently Andrew hates these but he knows exactly who this gift is from and he's right. Some toys for him and stuff for me! And we have only one gift without a card. Not too bad! All in all, we are so thankful for all the wonderful gifts and how thoughtful everyone was!
Our friends call to see what we are up to and we invite them over so we can do dinner together. In the mean time my mom stops by to bring us even more food cause the 800 pounds we already have isnt enough. She wants her basket of kippot back but she manages to leave it. I guess we aren't the only tired ones.

We head out to dinner before our friends son melts down from hunger. I know the feeling kid, I know the feeling! On the way to dinner, we stop by the hotel to give them the smack down. They find our cake topper and box up our cake... it takes FOREVER. Seriously how long does it take to box a cake? Certainly not 20 minutes... This isn't rocket science... In the mean time our friend's son has a metric ton of cookies because he's hungry. World's greatest parents! (no seriously who wouldn't want cookies for dinner?)

We eventually get all our cake and head to dinner. Dinner is good and fun but uneventful and we head home to watch Doctor Who in bed. I pass out ten minutes in... story of my life....

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Epitome of First World Problems

Weddings are stressful. Anyone who has gotten married or is getting married knows this. And it’s not your traditional kind of stress. It’s a stress I’ve never experienced before. Your emotions are on overdrive and the stupid shit… it just starts to eat away at you until you just collapse into a puddle of tears and idiocy.

Sure there have been plenty of things to stress about. Preparations, venue, planning, what band to use who needs to do this who needs to that etc etc etc. There’s a lot of moving parts and getting all the stars to align is darn near impossible. And let’s not even talk about all the vendors out there ready and willing to pray on those ever fragile emotions. But when everything finally seems to come together into one state of Zen, something blows up in your face. I’ll say it again, weddings are stressful.

Without diving into all the gory details, there’s been wrong contract dates, a messed up wedding band, getting suckered into a nearly free honeymoon package that is a complete and utter scam, a million stupid other things getting screwed up, and lots and lots of drama. And I thought I could have a drama free day. HA HA HA. 

You end up in the place I'm currently in... The Epitome of First World Problems...

But in all that craziness you start to worry about all the little details and the important things seem to be left in the dust.

So as I sit here in a heaping puddle of tears, sixteen days out from my wedding, I’m reclaiming the important parts. Because at the end of the day, the important thing is I’m getting to marry the love of my life and we’re getting to spend the rest of our lives together. And that’s really the only thing that matters. The rest is just extra bullshit that might be wonderful to have, but in reality I don’t need. I have everything that is necessary to make this day be happy, the man I’m marrying.

So here’s a big middle finger to all the stress, scams, and stupid shit. I’m over you. I’m going to enjoy the next sixteen days, marry the man of my dreams and party my ass off with my family and friends. And if I trip on my dress and fall face first into my cake, well shit happens, at least the cake will taste good.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Tearing Things Down

Wow, so it’s been a while since I’ve blogged here. Sorry about that! Life kind of got in the way. In the last four or so months, I’ve sold two condos, bought a house, moved, continued on with wedding plans (a little over a month to go), attended the funeral of my 94 year old grandfather (as hard as death is I have comfort in knowing he lived a long and very full life.), and changed jobs. To say I’ve been a bit busy is an extreme understatement. There’s been good, bad and ugly over the last few months, but I look forward to all the good coming in the remainder of the year.

Sadly, the only thing I haven’t been doing a lot of is writing, which is evident in the cobwebs growing around this blog. It’s been a rough road and my schedule and stress level have made writing downright painful over the last six months or so. But in taking a new job as a teardown and cost engineer, I’ve learned some things about my writing. In my new role at work, we take aircraft parts and pull them apart to their base components. We study each piece, try to uncover all the processes that were involved in making it, and then try to understand how it is connected to the other pieces in order to create a much larger functioning part.

And in doing a few of these teardowns, I’ve realized I should really be doing the same with my writing. Take it apart to the bare bones, understand my characters, their motivations, what makes them tick, and how their stories and actions work together to create a much larger cohesive story. There’s a lot of moving parts to a manuscript and until you understand each of them, you can’t fully connect with your writing, your plot, your setting, or your characters.

So my next step is to spend some time really digging into my current WIP; getting to know all the elements so I can build an even better overall story. In doing so, I hope that I can dive head first into my current and future projects with a renewed sense of excite. I’ve got a lot of excitement headed my way and I hope to carry that into my writing in the future.

Thanks to all who have stuck with me through the rollercoaster over these last few months. I hope to share some quite a bit of happiness throughout the rest of the year. Keep doing your thing and I’ll be right there with you.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Mystery Twitter Theater

You're not going to believe this. I just found out I'm a suspect in a crime. Noted YA blogger Ensconced in Lit was murdered yesterday and her body has been found on Twitter. Yep, you read that right--Twitter. Apparently the killer made off with a super-epic LIARS, INC. prize pack and now everyone thinks maybe it was me. Well guess what, it wasn't me because Ensconced in Lit is one of my best twitter buddies. We even go out for coffee! But on that night I wasn't with her. I headed home from work to grab my laptop so I could meet some local writers at the coffee shop. I was there writing until about 9pm when I headed home and snuggled up with my dog.

I mean... how could anyone with a dog that cute murder a friend? Will you help prove my innocence? Head over to Paula Stokes's blog for all the information about the crime. If you can figure out who the real killer is and how they did the deed, Paula is going to award YOU the super-epic LIARS, INC. prize pack, which includes a hand-painted tote, a signed book, a deluxe swag pack, and additional mystery prizes. Come to think of it, I might just have to do a little investigating myself. After all, that prize pack is kind of to die for.

Or should I say to kill for...

#MysteryTwitterTheater was created to celebrate the release of LIARS, INC. a twisty YA mystery/thriller!

For fans of Gone Girl, I Hunt Killers, and TV's How to Get Away with Murder.

Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up his senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts Liars, Inc. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?

When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.

Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit? In a story that Kirkus Reviews called "Captivating to the very end," Paula Stokes starts with one single white lie and weaves a twisted tale that will have readers guessing until the explosive final chapters.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Missing Pieces Cover Reveal

“Your family is the most important part of your life. Your families are the people you love, and love is what separates us from scoundrels and criminals. It maintains order. Your parents, your sibling, and your Partner are the ones you love. There should never, ever, be anyone else who comes close to that bond. You have only one best friend, and that is the person you’ll be marrying some day. We must learn to differentiate the relationships in our lives: the people we love, and the ones we don’t. It’s inappropriate, it’s foolish, and it’s forbidden to think otherwise.”

Trace Bailey’s mouth is her worst enemy—somehow it always gets her in trouble. Luckily, she has a partner in crime—her best friend and neighbor since age seven, Piren Allston. He can’t get enough of her crazy sense of humor, and she loves that he’s always up for another adventure.

They can’t be friends, though, not in their world. Trace and Piren were Assigned to other people at the age of six, and they’re supposed to marry their Partners when they turn twenty-four. Failure to comply leads to Banishment, a fate worse than death.

Worse still is the growing realization that their bond is stronger than just friendship.

In a world without freedom, there are still choices to be made. Following their hearts means losing their family, but following the law means losing each other.

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Author Bio:
A proud New Hampshire native, Meredith Tate lives in St. Louis with her husband. She loves reading and writing in all genres, but has a soft spot for dark young adult and new adult speculative fiction. Meredith has a master's degree in social work from the University of New Hampshire. She is a contributor to the St. Louis Writer's Guild's "Write Pack Radio Show" every Sunday afternoon. When she’s not writing, Meredith enjoys traveling, playing the piano, befriending wild geese, and spending time with family and friends. Much like her characters, she’s always up for another adventure.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Common Problems With Sci Fi

Over the weekend I saw Jupiter Ascending. While I enjoyed it, I couldn't help but notice some common problems with sci fi, running rampant in this movie.

For a little clarity I'm going to give you a quick run down of the opening of the movie then use that to explain some common mistakes that occur in sci fi stories that don't quite work. See if you can spot some of the problems as I explain. And if you get lost in the explanation skip to the bold *** section and see why you got lost.

Meet the parents
The movie opens with a narration and meeting Jupiter's parents as they first find each other. Dad likes science and astronomy, Mom likes that he's crazy and into science. Fast forward, boom Mom is pregnant, and Dad wants to name the kid Jupiter. Mom says you can't name a kid after a planet, and then they get robbed in their own home. Dad tries to stop them from getting his precious telescope and gets shot and SPOILER **DIES**. At this point we aren't sure what this has to do with the story other than how our main character came to be.
Meet Jupiter
Fast forward some more and here's Jupiter. She wakes up at 4:45 am every morning, cleans toilets with her mom in fancy homes, and dreams of something more. Her life is boring and it sucks. YAWN. We get it Jupiter doesn't like things as they are, and feels like she should have more out of life.

Meet the sibling aliens
We are on some beautiful planet with tall shiny buildings and it's deserted. Oh wait who are those two? They are wearing fancy clothes and talking about inheritance. A third guy materializes out of mid air. One guy wants to make a trade and the other thinks it's cause he squandered his inheritance. They seem to tolerate each other and be related, but we don't know who they are, why we should care about them, or what they have to do with Jupiter who we just met.

Jupiter and her cousin
We know Jupiter wants nice things and can't afford them so she is getting her eggs harvested cause she wants to buy a telescope like the one that got stolen from her Dad. Her skeevy cousin has talked her into this and is using her for money. Again why do we care? What does this have to do with Jupiter and her story.
Meet more crazy aliens
We have some new crazy aliens with cool hair and tattoos on a roof watching another alien on the ground. Oh he's got cool boots, he's called a something or other that I never caught the name of. And oh hey, we can't let him live, but we won't tell you why.

Alien with the cool boots uses some cool tech to walk through a solid door into a fertility clinic to look at some records.

Aliens on the roof descend to the ground, one has a cool hover bike.

Alien with the boots emerges with a cool energy shield and they all fight in this epic fight scene with laser weapons and hover boots, but we aren't quite sure why.

Jupiter sees aliens
We've got some crazy lady Jupiter works for and cue the aliens mind probing the weird lady. Jupiter takes a picture on her cell phone that she later can't remember.
Crazy alien sibling wants someone dead
Cue crazy alien sibling number one. He wants what's rightfully his. What is that? We aren't really sure. He also wants someone dead. We aren't sure who said person is or why.

Jupiter goes to get her eggs harvested, uses a fake name
The aliens find her and scan her. She's the one, let's kill her! Cue crazy alien with the hover boots and she's rescued in some grand fight/chase scene. It's super cool. I SWEAR! But I still have very little clue as to what's happening to her or why.
Jupiter wakes up with alien
Every time he opens his mouth, it's to explain the world as he knows it, and to explain how everything Jupiter knows is only a partial truth. He was sent to rescue her by some guy and cue the info dump.

Are you still here or did you get lost? If you got lost, there's no shame. I saw the whole movie, and I'm still not quite sure I understand what happened. The problem is, by this point we are so far down the rabbit hole, I'd say at least 30 to 40 minutes deep in this movie, and we have nothing to latch onto. There's a million different story lines and characters, and very little grounding. But hey everything looks really cool! They are trying to build this amazing world with awesome tech, and keep secrets from the audience, but in the process all they have done is create confusion and little connection to the characters. And spoiler, as the movie goes on every time an alien opens his or her mouth, there's more giant dumps of information.

So what went wrong?
Cool Scenery
Hey everything was gorgeous, visually stunning in fact, but none of it seemed to have any point in the story. In fact sometimes we had no idea what planet we were on or why it mattered. It very often gave the audience a "why are we here" and "why should we care" feeling.

Cool Tech
What is sci fi without cool tech? I love fun things like hover boots, hover bikes, and energy shields. But if it's just floating around early in the story to say hey this is different than the world we know today, and it doesn't seem to fit with in the context of the story, it will probably confuse your readers. Put the cool tech in by all means, but at least make some of it serve a purpose with the plot and/or characters.

Character Development
Sometimes we get so excited about sci fi and all the possibilities that we forget the reader needs to connect with our characters. We can throw cool characters in there, but if we have no reason to care about them or connect with them from the beginning, we as a reader are going to give up and move onto something else.
Dropped in the Action
Fight scenes, yes they are cool and full of action and excitement. The problem with them is, if they are done incorrectly, you feel dropped in the middle. Even worse when there's crazy tech and characters the audience doesn't care about, this creates chaos and confusion. We get those, "who are these people", "why are they fighting", and "why should we care" feelings. If you are going to have an action sequence or a cool fight scene make sure the reader is grounded in it so they know why the parties are fighting, and why it's so exciting.

Back Story
This is a common problem in a lot of books not just sci fi. That said, in Jupiter Ascending did we really need 20 minutes of movie to explain how Jupiter's parents met, how she came to be, and that her life sucks cause she cleans toilets? Nope. Sure it told us she had money problems, wanted greater things for her life, and got her to the clinic where she was attacked by aliens, but a much more interesting story may have shown Jupiter's struggle with money in some fun way and let the dad's telescope thing come out a little more organically.
Show vs Tell / Info Dumps
Now I put these together because they seem to go hand in hand. While sci fi can have slightly more telling than say a contemporary story, there still needs to be a balance between show and tell. There are ways to show different worlds, alien species, and what they are all about without telling the audience everything about them. And if every time an alien opens his or her mouth it's to dump a million pieces of information on the reader, then you are just going to overwhelm them with weird names, facts, and plot with a lot of unnecessary back story. So there needs to be a way the reader can be informed of the important information organically and gradually. It needs to be woven seamlessly throughout the story instead of like word vomit on the page.

All that said, Jupiter Ascending had a lot of potential. And if you take it for a visually stunning movie with some cool ideas then you will enjoy the movie. If you rip it apart for it's many plot problems, you may not like it as much. I found myself having to turn my brain off at times and just enjoy the pretty scenery and awesome technology. So if you write sci fi, use this as a lesson to create cohesive, exciting sci fi with awesome characters and a kick ass plot that unfolds before the readers eyes and entices them to keep reading.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Naked Cover Reveal

Release Date: 07/07/15
Entangled Teen
305 pages

Summary from Goodreads:
The best place to hide is in a lie…

I could never fit in to the life my parents demanded. By the time I was thirteen, it was too much. I ran away to New York City…and found a nightmare that lasted three years. A nightmare that began and ended with a pimp named Luis. Now I am Dirty Anna. Broken, like everything inside me has gone bad.

Except that for the first time, I have a chance to start over. Not just with my parents but at school. Still, the rumors follow me everywhere. Down the hall. In classes. And the only hope I can see is in the wide, brightly lit smile of Jackson, the boy next door. So I lie to him. I lie to protect him from my past. I lie so that I don’t have to be The Girl Who Went Bad.

The only problem is that someone in my school knows about New York.

Someone knows who I really am.

And it’s just a matter of time before the real Anna is exposed…

Pre-Order Links:
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About the Author
Stacey Trombley lives in Ohio with her husband and the sweetest Rottweiler you’ll ever meet. She thinks people are fascinating and any chance she has, she’s off doing or learning something new. She went on her first mission trip to Haiti at age twelve and is still dying to go back. Her “places to travel” list is almost as long as her “books to read” list. 

She wants to bring something new to the world through her writing, but just giving a little piece of herself is more than enough.

Keep a look out for her debut novel NAKED, coming from Entangled Teen in 2015

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