Monday, December 26, 2016

A Good Book Here, A Good Book There

Took a hiatus. Yeah, I am sure you all noticed. Been trying to get things moving along and with that I had to slack and so I slacked on the blog. Now allow me to share our little artificial tree that our son and his grandma decorated with glee.


In the last two months or so, I no longer bring my computer upstairs. Instead I have started to read at night. While this may not sound like any big deal, it is a little for me. I love to read, but due to school, home, obligations, and writing a novel, I somehow pushed reading an actual book to the side.  Like a lot of folks I got more caught up in the rabbit hole of the internet. Now, I do love getting sucked down various rabbit holes, but I also felt that I needed to actually unplug.
Allow me to sidebar a bit here.

I had been struggling with my book for a very long time. In the last 6 months or so it got worse. I had lost the true nature of the story and could no longer hear the character voice. I am not the first writer this has happened to, but considering how much time and effort I had put in to this story it destroyed my sense of self in a way while also exposing various other ticks and broken defensive tactics i have used for many years. Clearly I needed some help along this crooked road to get my head right and not just with writing. I did research online and I found a mindfulness therapist. Yes they exist and yes she is fabulous.
One session we discussed who am I writing for? What is my audience? This is something I had struggled with for as long as I could recall. Who wouldn't want to have the glory of a Pulitzer or Man Booker attached to their name? Then it hit me. Did I really care? I wanted to tell stories. Did it matter if they used words half the population never head or rhapsodized for ten pages about the color and texture of sand? Was that even me? While I admire those that do fine literature well, that is not where I belonged. All this time I had fought against my true nature, my true voice. Wasted a lot of time too. My stories are vivid, but not in a mystical realism way. My characters are real people in the worlds I put them and they have feelings and thoughts and habits. So why did I fight it? I am a mass market writer. There is no shame in that. There is very good mass market fiction out there. The thing is, it had been a long time since I read anything truly mass market. I looked up the genre on goodreads and headed to the library.

By recommendation of my therapist I got "Killing Floor" by Lee Child. Yes it is Jack Reacher and I got sucked in so hard to the story that I was surprised. I had to stop myself from caring if the writer used the same word twice in a paragraph. This is an odd thing  I get bugged about, but I threw out those old ideas and said, "Who cares?" The story moved. I wanted to know Jack Reacher. I could see and smell the scenes without tons of details that weigh down some books. The writing was fun and fast and exciting and I loved it. To really state how crazy I am, I just finished, in two days, the second book "Die Trying". I will be ordering the third in the series from the library.

Meg Cabot was next and totally random. I was trolling the aisles of the library and the title of the book caught my eye, "Boy Meets Girl". Written in emails and notes it was hilarious and I really enjoyed it. The second book of hers I grabbed was, unbeknownst to me, a sequel, but it did not matter, I read the flap copy, laughed out loud and took it home. I have to say I really enjoyed "Overbite".  I do agree with other readers I would have liked the ending to go a little different, but otherwise it was a quick, funny read.

I also have, but have not started, "Sacre Bleu" by Christopher Moore.

Believe it or not, this has helped my writing tremendously. I trashed my novel, yes all 88,000+ words and have started from scratch. Was this easy? Nope, I would be a liar if I said it was a joy.  There is no pleasure taken in restructuring something you have worked so hard on and thought was right. To dismantle even the character's character has been tough, but it makes sense to me now. This new creation was the real story I have needed to tell. Maybe the other ones were too, but right now, where I am, what is currently going on paper is what wants to be told. So that is that.

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Cheers,
MissFifi




Saturday, October 22, 2016

Be Inspired By Mo

I don't watch Shark Tank. My in-laws do, they love it, personally it is not my bag, but God bless. A friend sent me a link to this young man name Mo's website.
He makes bow ties.
He is now 14.
This young man makes me happy.
Considering the world has taken quite the dark turn of late, it is always a relief to find good things people are doing out there. Whether it is assisting the elderly, giving a leg u to someone down on their luck or finding a 14 year old making bow ties and using proceeds to help send underprivileged kids to camp. Brava everyone!

Mos' Bows

Cheers!
MissFifi

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Recap in Pictures

Happy Summer.

Went to Philadelphia for the weekend with a gal pal. We went to the Mutter Museum, which is amazing and does not allow photos, and to the Rodin, which is charming and does allow photos.


 The Gates of Hell are imposing and stunning.


The Three Shades which stand at the top of the Gates of Hell. This particular sculpture is stunning.

 Went to South Restaurant for tidbits and live jazz. Neither disappointed. This is my drink. Fresh to Death. I had two and I have no regrets. The ingredients are listed below.






After the Mutter we stopped for lunch at the Village Whiskey. My friend had a Bloody Mary and I had a Bee Balm. Made with lavender infused gin. Yes, I realize I am now a true fan of the "cocktail" and have reached a "certain age." Bring it on!

I have recently read "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" and was blown away. What Henrietta's cells, taken without her consent in 1951, have done for humanity is indescribable, as is the treatment of her family over the years who just wanted to know what happened to their mother. Quite a few times I was angry, thrilled, upset and flabbergasted. It gives real insight to how black people were treated by the medical community, why they distrust it, why it took so long for Henrietta to get recognized and how her family finally learns exactly what happened and what her cells have been used for around the globe.

Never a huge sci-fi fan, I was reading a article about women writing science fiction and Connie Willis' name came up more than once along with one of her short stories. I ordered the anthology from the library and read the story that was recommended.
All My Darling Daughters.
Yeah, that one was a serious doozy. So much packed in to make you disgusted and squirm. If anyone in Hollywood would ever dare to film this, best of luck to you. This was as dark as dark could be and I reread the last paragraph four times and then wished I could bleach my brain. Good times. Will let you know how the other stories go.

My garden was on its last legs then we got serious rain. hooray. Now my cornflowers are all droopy and wilting over the black eyed susans and blanket flowers. I may need to prune them a touch.

Have not worked on my book. Feels weird, but right at the same time. Our son did camp for 2 weeks and now he is home with me. Funny thing is I know exactly where I stopped on my outline and I know exactly why I need to do this. By stepping back I am getting a clearer picture of where the plot needs to go. Different ideas may pop in my head and I either keep it or let it flow out. I really need to write some of them down more, but for now, I am leaving creativity up to chance. There has been a snag between the 2 main characters that needs to work itself out and slowly I am coming to that resolution. Solutions pop in and out of my head. Sometimes I even speak to myself out loud wondering, "Would he really do that? Would she want it that way?" I am not sure what kind of mess I am stirring up, but I have a strong belief that when I do sit down to tackle it again, it will be the first time it has ever gone this smooth and will not require hundreds of edits and rewrite. This time, it will be done right.

The bathroom is near completion. Need to hang up the towel racks and closet and outside door. Ignore the old rug, but do admire the beauty of what we call our "Adult bathroom".




Have a wonderful day!!

Cheers,
MissFifi

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Good Grooming For Girls

All over You Tube are videos from the Perlinger Archives. While some of them seem sexist and hokey, it is because they are. But the are a few gems in the group and I highly recommend checking some of them out. One of my recent favorites is Good Grooming for Girls. Why? Because you can actually apply the advice today. Especially the make-up tips. Though that part of the video is a glorified advertisement for Ponds, you can move past that and take away some great ideas in regards to hair and posture as well.


Now, I am not someone who laments how much "better" things were back in the day. Every decade, hell every century, has it's positives and cons. Social and Civil issues were NOT what they are now and look how far we still have to go with some of them.
But I digress...
I myself really love the fashions of the 30's, 40's and 50's, sans the tight girdles and kotex pads that attached with a belt.




I can't even fathom having to wear this contraption. Maybe it has a place in B&D play now?
Look, it comes in stainless steel!!



My, my how this post has taken a turn. Oh well, it is Thursday, so why not? Have a great day!

Cheers!
MIssFifi


Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Nest

I read The Nest in 2 days. Yes. 2 days. Which is quite a feat with a 4 year old in the house, but I was so sucked into the story.
I am sure the angles and dialogue will not work for everyone. Dysfunctional families do not always make for good reading, but I felt that Ms. D'Aprix Sweeney introduced us to folks we may have actually known or were. There were moments where I found myself rolling my eyes at a few of the character's behavior. Melody got on my last nerve, but redeemed herself.
What I am most happy about is reading a current novel. Hooray for me! Now I am trolling through various Goodreads list in the hopes of coming across another winner. Wish me luck!

Cheers!
MissFifi

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A Little Update

Hellloooo!

Our house is still in process of being renovated. Old 1920's wiring will cause mishaps and so that needs to be addressed now. Good times. Everything is coming along nicely, though I have to say, living on the first floor for a week so far has been interesting. I do not know how folks live ten to a two bedroom apartment. God Bless. The difference is I will get my second floor back. Our house is not massive in any sense, which is just fine by us, but it is amazing how much I miss being in my own bedroom. Right now our little dude has  his mattress down here, it was easy to carry the full size IKEA one as opposed to our IKEA foam queen sized one. One of us can sleep with him and the other stays on the couch with the dog. She is currently passed out on the couch looking like a fay, happy puppy. Good for her.

In the meantime, I wanted to let you know about some books our son is reading.

Orion and the Dark - Great book that helps children to see the fun in the darkness instead of fear.

Maddi's Fridge - Our son enjoys this book and the message about poverty and food hunger is handled in a wonderful way. There are even tips for kids on how to help out at the end.

Oscar and the Bat - A great introduction to science series. We have been through all of them except for snail  and cricket which I have been asked to order from the library. :)

Pete the Cat and his Magic Sunglasses - Cute, fun and a good lesson about seeing the beauty in every day.

And I big round of applause to those at Reddit who have come together and decided it was unacceptable to let fellow citizens go hungry. The Reddit Food Pantry helps those in need and when you read some of the recipients responses to the generosity it makes you feel just a little bit better about humanity. Here is an article about it on Thrillist.

And yes, my novel is still in process. Sometimes I wonder just what the hell I am doing. HAHA! Actually, I can't wait to send it out to a flesh and blood editor, though I fear the red ink. But hey, it is what it is and must be done if I am to get it published before the Second Coming of Christ.

Have a lovely day!

Cheers!
MissFifi

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Poverty Does Suck

Here is another story to remind us that poverty does not always come dressed up as drug use, laziness or people who don't look like you. There are many good people out there that end up in a bad situation for various reasons, but I will only mention one. Medical.

Personally I feel that the fact medical bankruptcies happen in this Nation appalling. No one should lose their savings, their home or their dignity because they need cancer treatments or an appendectomy. I saw this a few times when I worked in the mortgage industry. Credit reports with explanations from folks who have had to deplete their savings and having to declare bankruptcy due to medical bills. We also had people begging for a second mortgage on their home to prevent bankruptcy from medical bills.
Yes, we all want top notch medical care, but we should not be put in an enormous black hole for it either.

I feel for folks who lack health insurance. Hell, I feel bad for those who have insurance. Anyone battling long term illnesses live with the possibility of losing not just their lives, but their livelihood and their homes.
The tactics and threats of collection agencies are abominable as are the doctors office and hospitals who unleash those dogs after only being 30 days late, sometimes less. Yes they deserve to be paid for their services, but damn if some of those prices don't seem as crooked as Lombard Street.

Food for thought.

Cheers!
MissFifi

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Connor's Courageous Kids Book Fair

If you happen to live in the Morris County area of New Jersey, or even Sussex, Warren and Passaic, this book fair is a wonderful event to help kids with complex health needs. They are looking to eventually build what I guess would be the equivalent to a Ronald McDonald house which is ambitious and selfless. So stop by if you can and pick up a book for a child that needs to forget about tests and doctors for awhile.

Cheers!
MissFifi

Friday, February 19, 2016

Demolition Derby

Hallelujah, the upstairs bath no longer exists. The second floor was once just a plain, old attic. Then it seems the homeowners were inspired to expand and haphazardly divided it into a three bedroom, one bath space. Describing the work as shoddy is being kind. Our minuscule corner shower that could barely fit an average size female was discovered to have a wall held up with just one stud and nail. Also, due to a leak we were not able to use it for over five years. Good times all around.

I have documented the demise of this poor excuse of a bathroom.

The mounted the toilet on a pedestal. Yup. 


View from the hallway

The tight, small shower.



Did I mention there is absolutely no insulation in the walls? Wasn't a concern back in 1920. 


We are expanding the wall out and will have a sliding barn door. In the spot where the toilet was is where the sink shall go and the shower next to that. The Toilet will be next to the big window which will have frosted/stained glass.



And I would like to end this post with a semi-farewell song. Good bye crappily put together bathroom, it's been fun.





Cheers!
MissFifi

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Artichoke Quiche

My, my hasn't it been ridiculously cold here on the East Coast? Here in my area of New Jersey the schools were all given a delayed opening thanks to icy roads this morning. While we have not had a brutal winter, I am so ready to welcome spring with open arms.
One thing I do enjoy about winter is having comfort foods. A would dare to say quiche can be a comfort food. I got inspired by a friend who made one this weekend and made their own quinoa crust. I had a can of artichoke hearts and figured I could make a quiche with that. One click on Google and I found a bunch of choices, but the one on Taste of Home was the winner.
I then did a search for a pie crust recipe and found one. Allrecipes has an excellent cheesy quiche crust recipe and I was pretty impressed with myself for being able to make my own. I used wheat flour for it and and sharp cheddar cheese from Trader Joe's. It came out flaky and tasty.

One thing I noticed when re-reading the quiche recipe was that it never stated a pie crust was necessary. This makes me think that because of the breadcrumbs being used in the recipe itself you could get away without using one, but I feel the crust adds an extra oomph.
We had salad on the side, a mix of romaine and kale with a simple vinegar and oil dressing.

Look at this beauty.


Let me point out my pie crust was far from round. More like an oval with ragged sides. No matter, it still worked.

Our four year old even had a few bites. There is a God it seems. :)

Other than that, our contractor will be starting on our bathroom tomorrow. Oh I cannot wait and I will take before and after photos so you can enjoy this insane journey with me.

I am also in the process of researching editors. No matter which venue I chose to go, traditional or e-book, my work has to be edited and free from errors. I am leaning toward self-publishing on Amazon for my novel, "After the Fall" so a critical eye is necessary. Self-publishing is still looked at with disdain. And trust me, after reading some e-book samples on Amazon where periods are missing and the same adjective is used over and over followed by a run on sentence, I see why. As a story teller, I feel it is my duty to put the best work out I can, not just for me, but because being a professional is the only way to get self-publishing taken more seriously. On a side note: I would have hired Chuck again, but he does not read the genre I write so I must find someone else. C'est la vie!

Cheers!
MissFifi


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Sweet Potato-Chickpea Patties with Sriracha-Yogurt Dip

I made a kale salad to go with this dish. My patties did not stay together really well, but it was a delicious dinner all the same.

Sweet Potato-Chickpea Patties with Sriracha-Yogurt Dip


Everything else going on is good and busy. Our son is currently taking an empty washable paint bottle and stamping circles from the mouth of the bottle all over his arms. 



Cheers!
MissFifi

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Whatcha Doin'?

Immersing myself in the arts in a sense.  I have been writing whilst also deciding if I should self publish my dystopian set romance/thriller "After the Fall". Reading the instructions/soul selling on Amazon's site is tedious, but must be done if I choose to go that route. Part of my hesitation has to do with the fact that I may get lost in a sea of thousands of e-books. At the same time, I could have a publisher and get lost in a sea of thousands of hardcovers and paperbacks. Not everyone ekes out a living writing. This should be no surprise to anyone who has pursued the field. Hell, any field in arts. But let me get back to my point here, the advantage of having a publishing house behind you and their marketing budget is fabulous. Doesn't mean you still can't get lost or never found. Either way, I will make a decision soon enough. As far as "Deconstructing Angels", I would like an agent for that, but the query letter has been ignored for a few weeks as I work on the actual structure of the story. C'est la vie!

Right now I am reading "Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War".  There is a lot about this book that is good and a lot that is frustrating. I do not deny that throughout my life I have been dismissive of rednecks and their seemingly shallow view of the world. Thanks to this book I fully grasp what has happened over decades. By keeping a section of the population ignorant, believing that only hard work gets you were you need to go, and saying higher education is for elitist liberals, well then, you have quite the sheep posse backing your ass as a Corporation or politician. Good Times.

We have begun to binge the show The Blacklist. (Thanks Netflix LOL) Honestly, James Spader is brilliant in his role. We are only in season 1 and while there are moments where you need to suspend disbelief, it is a really well done series.


I somehow stumbled on the pilot of the new show Lucifer. As a fan of The Sandman series created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Keith and Mike Dringenberg, I figured I would give this a whirl. Oh I love it. Tom Ellis is delicious as Lucifer. The best? He is honest about who he is and yet no one believes him. 
You can tell Mr. Ellis and company are having loads of fun in the roles they play.



Want a side dish with a kick? Try Betty Crocker's recipe for caramelized onions and sweet potatoes skillet. I made my own jerk seasoning from scratch and trust me, this is so good you may eat it all in one sitting. Best part about making the seasoning is you can add or subtract ingredients to your taste. I had no parsley and forgot the crushed red pepper. Still tasty. 

Take care lovelies.

Cheers!
MissFifi

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sick and Two Recipes

Winter is the great bringer of sickness as most of us know. On Sunday my son had a cough and a runny nose, by Monday he sounded like he was gargling all the time and talked like a long time smoker so he stayed home from school. Was not too bad as they had a delayed opening anyway. He rested on the couch, took it easy, shocking for a four year old, and he woke up much better yesterday. That meant he got to go to school today. While he as off I hunkered down to do work for the school as well as write. I then started to sneeze a bit and had a runny nose. Dread filled me, BIG DREAD I tell you, and as of right now I am in full blown cold mode. I am not  happy Miss Fifi. Never mind the nonstop blowing of my nose, what irks me most is I have missed my gym classes Monday, tonight and will miss it Friday because I am helping parent in my son's class that day. My endorphins are displeased, but I am hoping to rectify that by working out Saturday and Sunday. I am also hoping this cold blows over quickly with me as it did with my son.

Anyhoo, I am going to share some recent recipes I have made because they have been fantastic. Enjoy!

Black Bean and Chickpea Chili - Made this tonight. Had no corn, but used vegetable broth and added garlic and kale. I highly recommend these additions. I also did not puree it, but if you like, by all means, do.

Potato Soup with Shrimp Recipe - I have never made a Paula Deen recipe. Part of that has to do with the fact that she considers butter a food group, but this was outstanding. I used vegetable bouillon instead of chicken and frozen shrimp instead of fresh. I did not cook shrimp separately but threw them right in near the end. We also nixed the bacon since we are pescetarians so no meat here, as well as the dill. This comes out like a chowder and I swear I would have eaten the whole pot if I had the room in my stomach.

Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies - I have posted these before, but I am going to bake them for my son's class.

Off to blow my nose. Have a lovely evening.

Cheers!
MissFifi

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Snowy Hollow


This is from the day after the blizzard. Our bird bath in the back looks as if it is wearing a hat.


The sun had already begun to melt where we had shoveled. Our son was beyond giddy to be out in the snow.


I was cleaning out some drawers in a guest room and found this movie ticket for Sleepy Hollow. What is amusing about this is I have moved about 3 times and this has come with me. LOL I took a picture for posterity and threw it out. And yes, it was the perfect film to see after midnight. 

 


Cheers!
MissFifi

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Lots 'O Stuff

The blizzard has arrived.



What you cannot see is the wind blowing the snow everywhere and making it impossible to really see. So while the small amount of snow looks like nothing, the wind is the ominous partner here. Are we worried? Nope. It's winter. In New Jersey. This happens. For the Southern states it's a nightmare because they are not used to this so this scenario sucks for them. They are also getting way more snow than we are and I just checked the news, it is pretty bad in places like Kentucky, DC, Virginia and Maryland and our Eastern Seaboard. Aces.

My query letter was put to the side and I began to work out kinks in the novel. I am planning to get back to the query next week and clean it up as recommended. I did joke with a friend last night that I feel like I am writing the 20 year novel. I admit it gets discouraging sometimes, but I soldier on with the belief that I will get it ship shape and out sooner than I can imagine. Right now I imagine February. Any time in February. My only obstacle is getting the time, but it is on me to find that time. And that is that.

Thanks to our new obsession with eating real foods more, thank you high cholesterol and Michael Pollan, I have a few recipes to share. I know, it has been awhile.

Chickpea, Potato and Cabbage Curry from Food.com

Garlicky Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas from Minimalist Baker. This was outstanding and I made my own tahini too. Living large in this house! A note: I did not roast the garlic with chickpeas as I only had the chopped up jar stuff. It worked just fine.

I have not made this Spiced Almond Latte from Dishing Up The Dirt, but it would be perfect for a day like today.

I just finished binge watching Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Twilight Zone on Netflix. Now I am back to American Horror Story: Coven.

We are waiting on some books from the library. Sort of bummed they did not come in time for storm, but oh well.

Hope you are safe and sound. Enjoy your weekend.

Cheers!
MissFifi


Thursday, January 14, 2016

RIP Alan Rickman

WHAT THE EVER LOVING HELL???? Does God need all my favorite British men??? DAMMIT ALL. DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT.

Once again, my heartfelt apologies to all his loved ones and my God that man had a magnificent voice and was such a great actor.


More here at CNN

Now I REALLY need to see Truly, Madly, Deeply...

Crap.

That's all I got.


Peace out,
MissFifi


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Good Dogs Indeed

As someone who lost both their parents in a six month span to the big C and worked with Hospice patients, I applaud any methods we can cultivate to detect cancer cells brewing their madness. What a world it would be if we could turn cancer into a manageable, chronic disease. Sure it may kill you eventually, but wouldn't it be nice to live another 20-30 years in good health because you caught it in Stage 0 or 1?  Okay, maybe not everyone agrees on that, but what we should agree on is the work that the In Situ Foundation has been doing for over a decade.
Dogs have long been known to be able to smell an epileptic fit, PTSD attack, asthma and various other incidents right before they happen. Seems they also have an excellent nose for detecting cancer. Here is another link to a dog named Stewie.

I found this note on one of the videos for the Australian Shepherd Katy as very interesting and promising.

This is one of InSitu's most fastidious cancer detection dogs, Katy. She always works like this... driven, non-distracted, serious and motivated-- all qualities of a great cancer detection dog. Katy has detected breast, lung, ovarian, brain, in situ ductal carcinoma, melanoma, bone, and almost all types of cancer. She was only trained on ovarian cancer, and was able to detect on all other types of cancer with no further training. This suggests that there is a common odor among different types of cancer. More data needs to be collected on this subject, but we have strong evidence that there is a common odor to different types of cancer.

Breakthrough stuff right there. Here's to hoping they get funding and approval when the time comes. We all know the FDA and whatnot can be a real pain in the ass with this type of shit. And don't get me started, that would take up waaaay too much space.\

The other awesome tidbit I left out is that most of these dogs came from Death Row. Yes, shelter dogs. We should thank those that rescued them and helped these animals find their true purpose.



Cheers!
MissFifi



Monday, January 11, 2016

Bowie

Talk about a serious creative genius. I was lucky enough to see him perform twice. It was a privilege I have never forgotten. I feel for his family as the loss of a loved one, no matter the age or how prepared you may think you are because of long-term illness, is always difficult and heart breaking. Hopefully, over time, they find comfort in the memories they have of the person they knew and loved and the incredible music/arts legacy he leaves behind.













Head bowed,
MissFifi



Sunday, January 10, 2016

Have You Seen This Trailer?

We love a fair amount of Coen Brothers films in our house. Their casting is usually pretty spot on so when I saw the trailer for Hail, Caesar! I almost fell out of my seat at the theater. The fact that my gal Tilda is in it makes me even more excited to see this movie.



Was a rainy, yet sunny at times, 58 degrees today and it is going down to 28 tomorrow. Hello January!

Cheers!
MissFifi

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Query is In

And yours truly has some serious work ahead of her.

I expected it though. What I did not expect was to catch some issues with the book as well as I re-read the query. Example: referring to Giancarlo, my main Archangel, as The Commander of the Holy Army throughout the whole novel instead of ever really using his name. The position is one he assumed from his mentor Archangel Michael, the original Commander. While I thought that was clear, it seems that it has confused a beta reader or two as well as the editor of the query. Looks like I need to get in there and fix that issue ASAP.

If you have ever wondered what an edited query looks like you can check out the selections at Query Shark. Nobody gets out unscathed nor should we. We declare ourselves writers and as such we need to be better than we already think we are.  We also have rules we need to follow. Clearly I missed some. And since I am a thick-skinned bitch here is my initial query with the comments in capital letters from the editor.

The Creators of Good and Evil have become bored. Their most loyal subjects/inhabitants have begun to brace themselves at the signs of impending mischief [WHO IS COMMITTING THE MISCHIEF EXACTLY? THE CREATORS?]: a mixed species here, a fist fight between dead authors there. Just another day in the Holy Kingdom, but there are more dangerous undercurrents at play. [AFTER RE-READING THE QUERY, I AM NOT SURE HOW THIS FIRST PARAGRAPH ADDS MUCH. YOU NEED TO IMMEDIATELY ESTABLISH THE UNUSUAL SETTING, THEN GET AROUND TO THE MAIN PLOT & CONFLICT BETWEEN MICHAEL AND SAMAEL, BECAUSE IT FEELS SCANT AS OF NOW]
Long time adversaries, the Archangels Michael and Samael [COMMA] have been kept apart for centuries HERE IN THE AFTERLIFE, but their descendants are about to BREAK THEIR UNEASY TRUCE. The charismatic and righteous Commander of the Holy Army can no longer tolerate The Angel of Death’s constant meddling into his affairs. Receiving no assistance from Higher Powers, he confronts her, warning her of the consequences. [INTERESTING, BUT WHERE DO THEIR DESCENDANTS COME INTO PLAY? WHAT, SPECIFICALLY, ARE THESE "CONSEQUENCES" FOR SAMAEL?]

Unafraid, she dares him to destroy her and the chase begins. Caught up in their own feud, their actions lay groundwork that will unleash a Pandora's box of hidden secrets and hypocrisy among those closest to them [RE-DO THE WHOLE LAST SENTENCE, AND DON'T BE GENERAL/VAGUE. BE SPECIFIC, AND EXPLAIN WHAT YOU MEAN].


The mistakes became pretty obvious once I read his commentary and I am prepared to tackle them.
My big-ass humble thanks to Chuck Sambuchino for doing God's work. Writer's like me need to see their foul ways and improve their skills so paying a professional to have a gander at what I wrote has been key. This has honestly been one serious learning curve and as tough as it has been, I would never shy away from the criticism. There is no reason to turn down the challenge to be a better writer so it is on me to get my tush in gear and hit it out of the park. GAME ON BABY!

NOTE: While I do ramble in my blog, I swear my books are waaaaaaaay more coherent. Seriously.

Have a great weekend.

Cheers!
MissFifi


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Your Body

Thanks to The Magic School Bus on Netflix our son is getting his science fill. He is also now obsessed with red blood cells and asks about them everyday. As someone who loves anatomy and diseases this makes me giddy. To feed this interest I went on YouTube and found some very interesting videos, created by MagicBox Animation, geared towards preschoolers. I highly recommend them if your child has any inklings to learning more about their body.


I also grabbed my Trail Guide to the Body book so we can check out the skeleton and muscles. 

While I know this interest in the body may not last, his interest in all things science is a good thing so we will continue to feed the beast as much as we can. :)


Cheers!
MissFifi

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Dinner

Ever have one of those days where you are just not sure what to eat? Especially after the holidays. A blanket of food has embraced us for months and now, it's gone. Abandoned, we are confused and uncertain as to what we do next. Do we continue to dance with decadent baked goods and heaps of sugar? Or shall we tango with take-out for every meal imaginable? Too many decisions that bring about a swarm of people suddenly declaring that it is time to "diet" and soon they are nibbling on celery and drinking hot water with lemon. Some even trot off to the gym with glee. In a few months that will all fall to the wayside as it does every year and people will surrender and moan when the truth is they should ease up on themselves. Seriously people, you have to choose to make a lifestyle change and not drive yourself into deprivation mode and end up binging on donuts or pasta or beer or whatever it is you have deemed as your nemesis. All these bullshit "diets" out there promising magic results when it was Michael Pollan who said it best long ago. "Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

With that, I offer you a delicious meal that you and yours will love. If you are not a shrimp eater, I am sure you can substitute some other fish or meat that will suit. I used frozen shrimp even though the recipe calls for fresh.

Sweet Potato, Kale and Shrimp Skillet


Now, I am no authority on how to tell anyone what and how to eat. My vegetarian diet was a sucky one and is much improved now. I will say it is never easy to alter what you eat because let's face it, there is more than one delicious comfort food. A friend suggested "Moderation" and I was like, "HAVE YOU HAD A JOJO*???" He believes I am crazy and I embrace that.
Anyway, I gave the idea a shot and had three cookies on Christmas. Big whoop you say, but I am a person who would eat ten and then have a slice of cake. Oddly enough I have never had high triglycerides, but I digress. Moderation really does work. I used to think it was bullshit, but once your body is feeling better, you don't want to mess with the good vibe.

*Allow me to say I cannot have one JoJo. It is my kryptonite so as of now, I will never have one again. I have already played taps and condolences can be sent in the form of prayer or burning an effigy of a vanilla bean creme and chocolate cookie. Thank you.


Cheers!
MissFifi

Monday, January 4, 2016

And a Happy New Year

Welcome 2016. Lots of people are rooting for you so there is a lot of pressure on you. We understand it is tough, but I think you can do it. How about more humanity and less war? Tall order? I am sure, but a little goodwill in the world makes us all feel better so work on it best you can. Believe me when I say that most of us would appreciate that. Thanks.


Things have been busy at MissFifi's casa just like everywhere else. Allow me to bullet point for you all.


  • My query letter is being reviewed before being sent to out to various agents in the hopes that I can get my novel published. I feel excited, anxious, panicky and jazzed. Probably all the right emotions so hooray for me.
  • My hubby built this awesome coffee table from a project at Lowe's.

  • We hosted our son's 4th birthday and I have to give a serious shout out to Penguin Ice Cream for the delicious robot cake. We totally did not get a picture so sorry about that, but the crowd loved it, especially the adults. As for the penne vodka, eggplant rollatini, sausage and peppers and chicken parm, thank you Sergio's of Denville. Hands down it was the best rollatini I have ever had in my life. 
  • My hubby and I have altered our way of eating and while I miss having a sleeve of JoJo's, Trader Joe's version of Oreos. FYI - You will never eat an Oreo again after having one, trust me. I feel much better and the lack of massive amounts of sugar is the cause of that. On the flip-side....
  • I have been diagnosed with esophagitis, gastritis and a hiatal hernia. Happy New Year and welcome to being in your 40's. My daily cup of tea is no more, I had no alcohol on New Year's and a small amount yesterday. My son and I have been devouring oranges, but it seems citrus is a bad thing too. I have to watch spicy and I still do my best to avoid dairy. You can heal the inflammation by avoiding foods that can cause pain or damage. Mine is not the textbook stuff, of course not because my health history has proven I am always a freak in that world, so I just try and pay attention to my body even more closely than before. Does it suck? Yes, but it is far from the end of the world.
  • I finally bought slippers. This may not seem momentous to you, but it is and I am wearing my dearfoams now and typing at a giddy speed.
  • Currently I am reading "A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories" by Lucia Berlin. I had heard about her on NPR and she is somewhat under the radar to most folks and is considered a female Raymond Carver. I admit I tried to read Carver, I recall liking some of his work. As for Lucia, so far so good so I have high hopes here.
  • I have been sucked into watching "Nurse Jackie", "John Adams", "Doc Martin", "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "American Horror Story Coven". When do I even watch these? In spurts. Usually when I am cooking. It really depends on my mood and I choose one and enjoy. Thank you Netflix and Amazon Prime. 
  • Saw The Danish Girl. LOVED IT SO MUCH. The actor who plays Hans, Matthias Schoenaerts, keep an eye on him. Pure charisma.

That's all folks!

Cheers!
MissFifi