Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Holidays!!!

Snoopy Christmas Pictures, Images and Photos

I'm taking a little blogging hiatus and dreading enjoying the time off with the girls. After the winter break, I'll be back crazier  stronger than ever. (pray for me!)

From all the Ohs to all of you - Have a wonderful holiday season and a very happy New Year!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Zombies and Farting Women

I was putzing around with my statcounter and clicked on the popular pages listing. I was surprised to find that this post was one of the most popular pages. Furthermore, "do zombies shit" was the second highest search term bringing people to my blog, right after "do women fart?"

The farting one is not a surprise. After all, for the past few years the number one search term for people finding my blog was "Queen of Farts." But I find it interesting that so many people have wondered the same deep existential question that I did - "Do zombies shit?" And after rereading that post, I realized something else - I crack myself up. It's nice to know that I find myself so amusing.

But I have an addendum to that post.

Lately, Angus has been sneaking peeks into Oldest's Twilight graphic novel which technically she's not supposed to read because she's only 9 and because Oldest is violently possessive of her things. So she came over to me and asked "Mom, if all vampires only eat or drink blood then when they pee, is their pee red?"

I looked at her in confusion. "Uh, I don't know."

"Well," she continued. "If they don't eat food, then they don't poop, right?"

"Sure, makes sense to me," I said. And because I couldn't help myself, I asked "What about zombies? Do they poop?"

"Of course!" Angus said, looking at me like I was a dummy. "They poop out mini brains."

Ah, ha! That explains so much.

Lastly - To all the single guys wondering if women fart, the answer is watch this video.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

How can we combat poor body image in young girls?

As a research and writing instructor, I have read many papers but the one that really struck me was a recent paper on Women’s Studies and Middle School Girls. The paper discusses the fact that it is in middle school when puberty strikes and young girls are most susceptible to the bombardment by the media and peer groups that they must look and act a certain way. My student’s hypothesis was that if middle school administrators were to include a course on women’s studies, it would go a long way to help young girls combat issues related to poor body image. To teach them to accept who they are as individuals and to be proud of who they are and how they look, regardless of what pop culture says.

I thought this was brilliant. I began talking about this idea with various people and I was surprised to see the divergence in views. Some believe feminism is too radical, too political – an idea that would only harm girls into always viewing themselves as the victim and men as the victimizer. Others believe feminism isn’t taken seriously enough and should be taught as young as grade school, after all, we see eating disorders crop up in girls as young as nine.

This is not the argument I want to be involved in. What I want to discuss is the fact that women continue to be objectified by the media. It is a woman’s body, a woman’s beauty, a woman’s sexuality that is forced down all of our throats. Look at the cover of any woman’s magazine and a media appropriate beautiful woman will stare down at you along with large slogans for helping your love life, losing that extra 10 pounds, finding the perfect man, etc. Music videos are filled with images of thin, sexy women gyrating in skimpy bikinis. Even Disney and Nickelodeon put out television and music stars who all look like the personification of what the media says is “beauty.” It is not what I believe is beauty. Not what I want my children to believe. But how can we combat the incessant drone of this message?

Objectification is not merely a problem for women. It is also one that affects young boys and men. Young boys can be just as susceptible to issues of poor body image. But for purposes of this post, I want to focus on young girls. We must no longer allow the media to dictate how our girls view themselves. We must teach them to get rid of that third party view and to look at themselves with their own eyes wide open. They mustn’t look in the mirror hoping to see someone who looks like a model or actor. They must look in the mirror and see who they really are and to be proud of what they see. By allowing women’s studies to be introduced into a middle school curriculum, young girls can start to understand what objectification is and how psychologically harmful it can be. By having this conversation with our daughters, we can expose the lies that the media forces us to accept as gospel. Beauty is not the end all. Beauty is only skin deep. Self-worth is where true beauty lies.

So regardless of what you feel about feminist literature, I think there is much merit in discussing historically where women were, where women continue to be in our society, and what we can do to help institute a continuing change for the better. There is great value in critical discussions of body images, objectification, psychology as it all relates to gender studies. These are all issues that you would find in college courses so is it wrong to ask for it to be included in the middle school curriculum? I say no. I say this is the best time to begin this conversation. That it is good for boys and girls. Education is the most effective tool. Providing these feminist theories at a younger age arms our girls against the pervasive danger of media objectification.

I’d love to know what you all think. I’d love to know if this is a plausible idea and if it, what can we do to make it a reality.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Magical Misadventures of Prunella Bogthistle

Hi everyone who reads my Mom's blog! It is Oldest again with another author interview. Since my Mom is an original member of the Enchanted Inkpot, she has a whole lot of author friends and one of them is one of my favorite authors. Ok, actually many of them are my favorite authors, but today's interview is with Deva Fagan, the author of Fortune's Folly and her latest book The Magical Misadventures of Prunella Bogthistle.

Fortune's Folly
was one of my favorite books ever. But now I love Prunella just as much. What I loved about the book is that the main characters, Prunella and Barnaby, are not your regular fairytale characters. She isn’t a beautiful princess – she’s a young bog-witch. And he’s not a handsome prince. Well, he’s handsome, but not a prince. She’s an evil witch who’s not evil and he’s a hero who’s not really a hero. This book is magical with tons of excitement and unexpected twists in the story. I loved it and I think more people need to read it! Plus it is one of the prize books that is being given away right now at the Enchanted Inkpot! Go here for a chance to win Prunella and many many more books! (My Mom made me say that.)

Oldest - Hi Ms. Fagan! Thank you so much for letting me interview you.

DF - How in the world did you come up with such an interesting character like Prunella? And why did you choose a bog-witch as your main character?

In the original version of the book, Barnaby was actually the main character, and Prunella was a secondary character he met along the way. So in many respects she came to being as his opposite—someone who would challenge his expectations and behaviors. So since Barnaby was a dandy, Prunella was practical in her clothing choices. Barnaby cared what people thought of him, so Prunella didn't (mostly!). Barnaby was charming, Prunella was prickly.

But I think the very earliest seed of Prunella probably came from my love of the musical WICKED by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman, loosely based on the novel by Gregory Maguire. It's one of my all-time favorite stories, and I just love the complex character of Elphaba the "wicked witch" and, especially, how she grows and changes due to her unlikely friendship with "good witch" Galinda. I didn't realize it at the time, but now that I look back I can see how those same themes must have resonated with me and inspired some of the themes in Prunella's story: what does it mean to be "good" and how do our relationships with other people change who we are?

Oldest - And what about Barnaby? why did you decide to make a thief your hero?

Barnaby Bagby was primarily inspired by a character my own husband Bob played in a roleplaying game: the youngest of a clan of ne'er-do-well brothers who ran away to become a hero. Fortunately when I asked if I could use a version of the character in my book he said yes!

Of course there are many wonderful thief-hero characters in fantasy (including the ever-popular Eugenides from Megan Whalen Turner's Attolia books and Con from Sarah Prineas's Magic Thief series). I think a lot of us enjoy the idea of a wily character who is capable of doing bad things, but chooses not to. If you're capable of stealing the greatest treasure in the realm, for example, what do you do with
that power? Do you use it just to become rich, or do you attempt to make the world a better place?

DF - What were some of the challenges that you faced in writing this book?

The biggest challenge was having to throw out the entire first draft! Eep! I wrote an entire first draft from Barnaby's point of view, but it just wasn't working. In that version, Barnaby was more of a hero right from the start, so there wasn't enough change and conflict. Plus it had an overly-complex, tangled plot, and too many characters were caricatures rather than real people. In the end, after a talk with my agent and spending several heart-wrenching days huddled in a teary lump, I decided that first draft was too badly flawed to revise. I had to throw it all out and start over.

It was one of the hardest things I've had to do as a writer. Sure, I'd thrown out entire books before, but this was one I'd already sold. It was February at that point, and the book was due to my editor in August. Worst of all, it was a blow to my confidence: I began to worry that my first published book, FORTUNE'S FOLLY, was a fluke. I wondered if maybe I just didn't have another book in me.

But when I finally pushed aside my fears and sat down to start the new version, from Prunella's point of view, it all started to flow. Prunella was such a fun character to write about, and seeing Barnaby from her perspective gave me new insights into his character too. I am so glad I didn't give up! In the end I wrote a new draft that was almost completely different from the first, but I felt so much better about it!

Oldest - One of my favorite parts was when Prunella saves the town and townspeople, even though they were set on burning her. And I really liked that Barnaby also got them all to realize that Prunella was a hero too, even though she was a bog-witch. I thought this was a really good message. What is your favorite part of the book?

I'm glad you liked that part! That was actually one of the sections that my editor and I worked hardest on, because it is a big turning point for Prunella. So I have a soft spot for it as well!

My favorite parts to actually write were all the bits that feature the spooky monsters and weird flora of the bog. I had a lot of fun creating the menagerie of weird creatures that inhabit the Bottomlands, and I also really enjoyed trying to find the beauty in it too. Prunella really does love her home, no matter how much Barnaby complains about the mud! It was an interesting creative project to try to create a place that could be both creepy and beautiful.

Also, I must admit that I enjoy writing food scenes! Even though they make me hungry!

DF - There are so many wonderful characters in your book, like wights, will o wisps, jacks, etc. One of my favorites was Pogboggen the Pondswaggle. Did you create him or is he a real monster?

I created him -- actually, he is a refugee from a book I wrote ten years ago that I've put in my trunk. Since I don't plan to ever try to revise or publish that book, I decided to give Pog a new home in Prunella's world. And that's one of the nice things about writing: nothing is ever wasted. It all helps you grow, and even if you set things aside, you can keep bits of them with you, to be reborn later in new worlds.

Oldest - What kind of research did you do for your book?

I always envisioned Prunella and Barnaby's world as being a little like the American south (especially the Louisiana and the Florida everglades) so when I was writing it, I surrounded myself with a lot of pictures of the flora and fauna of those areas. For example: pictures of alligators, paddleboats, wrought-iron balconies in New Orleans, saw palmettos, swamps and bayous.

But it is first and foremost a fantasy setting, so a lot of the "research" was delving into my own mind to fill in the details of the world.

DF - There was so much good stuff in your book that I was wondering if you had lots of stories that didn’t make it into the final draft. Maybe a whole other book of legends and myths of the Uplands and Bottomlands. Am I right? And wouldn’t it be great if you could publish such a book? Hint, hint…

I'm so glad you enjoyed the hints of the underlying legends and myths. I do indeed have a bunch of notes on the history of the Uplands and the Bottomlands (and beyond!), which I needed to write down since (as you know) a large part of the book involves Prunella and Barnaby unraveling the true history of their land.

There are also many aspects of the world, and of the characters themselves, that I would love to explore further. There's a sunken citadel out in the bog that I never got to write about, for example, and there's those mysterious Palm Islands with their haunted ships and kraken. Plus there are elements in the characters' lives waiting to be explored: Prunella's parents, Barnaby's brothers, Rencevin's history.

Oldest - I really loved Prunella and Barnaby? Will you write another book for them?

DF - I would love to-- in fact I have outlines for other books about Prunella and Barnaby sitting on my computer. But whether I get to write them and publish them depends on how well this first book sells. And as of now I'm afraid it's not enough for the publisher to be interested in a sequel. But we can keep our fingers crossed!

And I do have another new book on the way in the fall of 2011, though it's set in a different world, with different characters. CIRCUS GALACTICUS is the story of Trix Ling, an Earth-girl who runs away to a life of adventure and danger as part of an intergalactic circus. I had so much fun writing it! It combines a bunch of my favorite things: adventure, mystery, sequins, ice cream, stars, and dashingly cute alien boys.

Thank you so much for the wonderful questions, Summer! And thank you for hosting the interview, Ello! Happy reading!

Oldest - Well you heard Ms. Fagan! Prunella needs help! Please go and buy this wonderful book because you won't be disappointed! And enter the Enchanted Inkpot contest, because my Mom said so!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ninjas vs Cowboys

I am a slobbery pile of drool over this movie... If the girls hadn't gotten all pukey sick these past few days I would have seen it already! They were supposed to go to my sister's for a sleepover and Da Man and I were supposed to go see this AWESOME movie. But instead I had to clean up vomit all night long. Now I must wait until next Saturday and so I shall rewatch this trailer many, many times and enjoy Geoffrey Rush saying Ninjas? Damn!

A martial arts western? Can you get any cooler?!!!!!! And it stars Korean superstar Dong Gun Jang in the lead role. Seriously, this movie could suck and I would still see it cause he's in it! But it won't suck, do you know why? Ninjas vs cowboys, baby!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Writer's Constipation

I've been constipated and my WIP has suffered. Partly because it is the end of the semester and I've got senior capstone papers to grade. Partly because I've been handling legal stuff for my folks. Mostly because the knowledge that I'm back on sub has my stomach all tied up in knots. It's been over 2 years since I've been on sub. But it feels completely different now. Not only because I have a new agent, who is amazing!, but also because I feel like it's a new book - a brand new shiny book with that brand new shiny smell. It's been 2 years with a major change in POV, major shift in story, major increase in magical elements. It even has a brand new name! It just ain't the same book. It's so much better. And I'm so grateful to my agent because he worked so hard with me to make it so good.

But now I have to unclog myself and get back to my WIP. Writer's constipation is different from writer's block. When you're blocked nothing comes out. With constipation you sit at your laptop and push and push and work really hard too eke out a few words that are utter crap and you are left completely unsatisfied. So since I was constipated, I worked on a short story. For the first time in years. And it was a really fun exercise. Turns out I'm not constipated all the time. Just only with this particular WIP.

So I'd been thinking about why it was and I realized something. It was because I was working on something completely different. Something I hadn't seen in any other published book out there. No one's done it. It's the kind of thing that people might scoff at. Asian steampunk. How ridiculous! Steampunk is only Victorian! I'm constipated because I'm worried that I'm doing something really different that no one will like. And then it hit me. I'm working on something very different, very original. Never been done before. And the story is really good, damn it! What the hell am I worried about?

Well, the truth is, I can't not worry. That's just part of who I am. But I love this new story. It's really fun, really cool - and it's got leather kimonos! It's the first time a story made me want to be a fashion designer. So I need to push past the constipation and get back to work. It's 2/3rds done but the hard part, revising, is yet to come.

I think I need more motivation - or some ass kicking.

I will gladly accept both.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Why Alpha Males are ASSHOLES

During my last revision phase, Mr. FabAgentMan told me to ratchet up the romance. This posed a slight problem for me as I am the most unromantic person in the world. Da Man is more romantic than I am. In fact he'll do strange and wonderfully romantic things for me, like fly me out to a romantic destination without telling me where we are going, or leaving me hidden presents that I might not find until much later just because. And I always say "Aw, how romantic. DON'T DO THAT AGAIN!" I am a killjoy. I have no romance in my soul. What other people find romantic usually makes me vomit in my mouth.

So the edict about ratcheting up the romance made me nervous. But like all things I am unfamiliar with, I decided to attack it via research. Being a good researcher, I went to my local library and borrowed a whole host of romance novels, including historical bodice rippers since my book is historical. When I went to check them out, the librarian, who knows me, raised both eyebrows, smirked and said "Escapist literature?" I said "Don't judge me." Seriously, some of these books have covers that make you want to cringe in embarrassment.

Speaking of bad covers, this website cracked me up with their retitling of bad romance covers. I think my favorite was Lord of the Hissy Fit.

Here's the thing about romance novels. Some I really enjoyed. Some I really despised. But all had one thing in common. Unrealistic alpha males. These men only reside on the pages of a romance novel. They are as real as the Tooth Fairy but every single romance novel I read had one.

So what is the appeal of the alpha male? Well, going by the heroes of the bunch of romance novels I've recently read I'd like to list their seven key characteristics:

1. Handsome - They are always incredibly handsome and incredibly sexy. Women throw themselves at an alpha male like fleas on a dirty dog.

2. Endowments - Neigh. Snort. Yowzers!

3. Lover - See 2 above. They don’t need no stinking Viagra.

4. Successful - They are usually the best at whatever it is they do—usually something dangerous, violent, heroic, or financial. Or a fine combination of all of this- a playboy CEO cowboy volunteer firefighter Black ops Tae kwon do master gourmet chef that gives foot massages.

5. Strength - They are physically very strong because they must either fight a bad guy, climb cliffs with their bare hands, rip open car doors, all while carrying the fainting heroine in their brawny arms. If they are injured, no matter how badly, all they will do is grit their teeth and be stoic. It's like the Black Knight from Monty Python's Holy Grail, saying "it's just a flesh wound."

6. Arrogant - See all of the above traits which is why they are so arrogant.

7. Opinionated – Their opinions are the only ones that really matter because they are the top dog.

These 7 characteristics form the key to understanding the Alpha Male - or ASSHOLE. Not to be confused with Mercedes drivers who are referred to as Asshole, not all caps. But if an Alpha Male also drives a Mercedes, then they can be referred to as an ASSHOLE Asshole, all cap designation always having first priority.

The ASSHOLE designation might lead readers to believe that they are not unrealistic, yet I urge you to look beyond the superficial similarities to many males you might know and focus on why the Romance Alpha Male is unrealistic. For example:

1. Ever notice that Alpha Males in romance novels never fart or belch? They never pull the bedcovers over the heroine's head and trap them in a fart cave? They don't blow doritos tainted belches instead of kisses? They don't leave large drool stains on your pillow?

2. A true romantic Alpha has a high tolerance for pain. They don't whine and moan and act like the biggest baby over a paper cut. They don't sulk when you ignore their bruises. That's why they are not real. Most men act like the world is ending when they get sick. Babies with colic whine less than a man with a bad cold.

3. A real man might work out and flex their muscles in front of the mirror, but if you ask for a piggy back ride they act like you're a 400 lb gorilla trying to break their back. Ok that might just be a personal issue I have...

4. Several of the romance novels I read had romantic scenes that went on and on and on and on for pages and pages. They'd stop and then start up again in the next chapter and the next. Every single night! I was tired just reading about it. The Romantic Alpha Male is like the Energizer Bunny Rabbit, he keeps going and going and going...

5. And going and going and going...

6. Seriously, after 4 and 5, need I say more?

I understand that romance writers are providing escapism by giving their readers a romantic alpha male that makes them swoon and sigh and wish for an ASSHOLE of their very own. But I say lets have some more realism in our romantic leads. If they're handsome, give them a receding hairline. If they're strong, give them a beer belly. If they're smart, make them a little insecure. Anything that makes them less of a caricature, a stereotype of what a woman is supposed to want. Cause when all is said and done, I would rather have my grouchy, whiny, drooling hubby who refuses to give me piggy back rides than the sexiest, dreamiest, romantic alpha male that graces the pages of the best romance book in the world. Because even though he won't give me foot massages and scratches my back like he's scraping barnacles off the hull of a boat, he respects me for being a strong woman who can take care of herself and her family. And that is sexier than anything else in the world.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Kidlit Critterpalooza!

Kidlit Critterpalooza!
For over a year now, CRITTER, the creation of artist Ian Sands, has been travelling the world, meeting many talented writers and authors and exploring where they live. At each stop he learns more and more about KIDLIT and the importance of literacy and creativity. This journey was the brainchild of Christy Evers, who got her hands on Critter after an interactive art project of Ian’s, where 500 Critters were hidden all over her city for people to find.

Critter has visited PJ Hoover (and the Texas Sweethearts!) in Texas, Beth Revis in North Carolina, Christina Farley in Korea, New England with Nandini Bajpai, Illinois with Kelly Polark, MG Higgins in California, Rena Jones in Montana, Cynthia Leitich Smith in Texas, Bish Denham in the Virgin Islands, Jacqui Robbins in Michigan, Tina Ferraro in California, Cynthia Chapman Willis in New Jersey, Jill S. Alexander in Texas, Ellen Oh in Maryland and Virginia and finally, Alberta Canada with Angela Ackerman.

Critter has been to college, rock concerts, national landmarks, a palace, attended his first SCBWI conference, walked among giant redwoods, and met the world famous artist, Robert Bateman. Now that his journey is coming to a close, it’s CRITTER’S hope that you will help him celebrate over at The Bookshelf Muse. His new hosts, together with old hosts, have teamed up to create the Kidlit-inspired event, Critterpalooza! and you’re invited!

(I'm giving away a YA book of my choice and additional little Korean treats. But there are lots of other great prizes so please stop by the Bookshelf Muse and enter for a chance to win fabulous prizes for a good cause! Contest runs until November 28th.)

There are many AMAZING prizes to be won, all in the spirit of helping Critter celebrate the wonderful creativity & support within out KIDLIT community, and to also raise awareness for his charity, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

If you would like to donate a few dollars to Critter’s charity, just click on the I Love St. Jude button. Children’s lives are saved every day thanks to the support of people like you!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A visit with Critter

We had a visitor come and stay with us for a short while. He's a cute little thing that has been making the rounds all over the blogosphere. He's been as far away as Korea and even made the rounds at the SCBWI LA Conference. His name is Critter and this is him being a little shy.

Critter is the creation of the talented artist Ian Sands and he came to visit the Oh residency courtesy of the lovely Christy Evers. She is sending him all over the real world to visit children's writers. At the end of his travels, Christy is going to auction Critter off and donate the proceeds to charity.

Critter came to visit at a whirlwind time for us. As much as we talked about going down to the monuments and seeing the Washington scene, we could never find the time to do it. Instead, Critter went to school with us. Here he is at George Mason University with Angus and Youngest.
The girls enjoyed showing Critter around the campus. They wanted to take him to class with me but I refused. I didn't know who would be more disruptive, the girls or Critter. He's a sassy little thing. He was egging the girls on, telling them that constant begging and whining would be the best way to get me to buy them a new puppy. And I'm pretty sure he put hot sauce in my diet coke. It was either Critter or Angus...

Fortunately for Critter, he made a new friend. This is Zombie Buddy. He was spending some time at the Oh residence waiting to be sent over to his new master, Zombie Mike.

They became the best of friends and many tears were shed when I had to part the two new best friends and send them off in different directions. Critter to Canada and Zombie Buddy to California. It was just as well as the two were being quite disruptive, talking into the wee hours of the night, eating junk food, watching loud reality shows, and playing lots of practical jokes. One of the jokers put garlic powder on my chapstick. Very not funny...

It was a short but fun trip with Critter and we at the Oh household wish him well on the last leg of his journey. We hope he raises a lot of money for St. Jude's hospital and finally ends up in a warm and caring home all his own.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Well Hello There!

I've been very behind, my apologies! It is for a good reason. My fantastic agent has gotten back to me on my manuscript and it looks like I'm in for one final round of revisions before submission.


As always, I'm kind of blown away by his brilliance and his insight. My book keeps getting better and better. So I'm working hard on on this final set of revisions and getting excited about going back on submission. You know it will be over 2 years since the MS went out on submission the first time with my first agent. It is now completely unrecognizable and a million times better. And the pitch Mr. Fantastic Agent Man came up with is way cool and dead sexy. I'm excited.

So I'll be a bit tied up while I work and I look forward to sharing with y'all when the book goes out on submission.

In the meantime, congratulations to Avery for winning the Funniest Thing Overheard Contest with her saggy boobs! She has chosen her prizes and will be receiving 4 fabulous books to read whenever I can get my butt over to the post office.

Hopefully I won't be gone too long, but don't worry.

I'll be back.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Please vote in the Funniest Thing Overheard Poll

Hey guys, please do me a favor and vote in my little poll to the right of this post. We had some great entries and it was tough narrowing it down to 3. But these were the 3 that made me bray like a mule. However, I absolutely can't pick a winner from the final 3 choices. So I'm asking you all to pick a winner for me. The poll will be open until next Monday. The winner will get to choose 4 of the 5 books set out in the previous post. It's a good prize so you guys need to help me out.

Thanks and happy voting!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Random Funny Things My Kids Say - Part 45

The problem with middle school is that they make them carry way too much stuff to school and back everyday. Oldest's backpack feels like it weighs 20 pounds. She also has to carry her violin to and from school everyday. That means the poor girl suffers from back strain and exhaustion by the time she gets home. So she really doesn't need to bear any additional weight in her bags.

So today, Oldest gets off the bus and stomps over to me fuming mad.

Me - What happened?

Oldest - One of your daughters stuck this into the bottom of my backpack. (She pulls out a 5 pound hand weight and shoves it at me.)

Me - OMG! (starts laughing hysterically.)

Oldest - It's not funny! Stop laughing! You should feel sorry for me!

Me - I do! This is terrible and really really mean. But it's really really funny too.

Oldest - Mom, they clearly have your sense of humor.

Me - Yes, but don't tell them I laughed. (My money at this time is on Angus.)

So Angus comes home and I immediately ask her if she was the guilty one. She admitted it and asked why I was mad. When I told her Oldest had carried it all day, she was horrified.

Angus - But why didn't she take it out?

Me - Her bag was already heavy and she was in a rush. She didn't realize.

Angus - Well then she's an i-

Me (sharply) - Hey!

Angus - Sorry, Mom. I know that was bad and I feel bad about it, but I really want to laugh too. But you're not laughing and so I know I shouldn't. Is it wrong that I think it's funny?

Me - It's funny after the fact but it wasn't funny for her carrying it all day.

Angus - (hangs her head) I'm really sorry. I'll go talk to her. But even though you are very serious, I bet you're going to laugh about it. Too bad I can't.

With a heavy sigh, she turns to go to her sister's room and I listen to her apologize and make up with her sister. She can laugh about it soon enough. But for now, I'm realizing how fast they are all growing up and it makes me sigh too.

Don't forget to enter my contest of funny overheard things. We've had some amazing snort milk through my nose entries so far. Let's get some more!

Also, you can enter Cindy Pon's fabulous Soulless contest for a chance to win a set of awesome steampunk books!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Prizes for the What's the Funniest Thing you've overheard Contest

So I was trying to figure out prizes for my contest and I didn't have to look too far to figure out what I wanted to give out because I have a big pile of brand new, never read, books that I'm offering up for best prize! The winner will get to pick 4 books from the following offerings:

And why do I have a bunch of brand new, never read books of this marvelous caliber? Simple, I won a signed copy of A Conspiracy of Kings which is not up for grabs, no, no, no. That's mine. So I'm offering up the copy I had bought previous to winning the awesome signed copy which, I repeat, is not up for grabs. I bought the new version of Magic under glass to support books with persons of color on them. The copy I make available is the original one, which some might say may become valuable in its own right. Hmmmm. But here it is! And I was fortunate enough to get a brand new kindle from my lovely sister and brother-in-law. I love my kindle. I went a little crazy with my kindle and bought a bunch of titles without checking to see if I might already have owned such titles already. Hey, don't laugh! At least I have an excuse in saying that it is a different version - an e-book version. Unfortunately, I also have a tendency to go to the bookstore and accidentally buy books I already have also. Ahem. Yes, I'm absent-minded. But that is good for you guys!

So I have a bunch of entries already and I'll extend out the contest til next Monday. Leave your funniest thing overheard in the post below. After Monday, I'll narrow it down to a list of my favorites and have people vote on the winner.

The winner will get to choose 4 out of 5 because 4 is easier to ship than 5. Everyone can enter, but be warned, if you are outside of the US and you win, it may take awhile to get to you!

And just because you have these books already is no reason not to enter. I will gladly donate the books to a school or organization or even send it as a present to someone on your behalf! This prize is completely transferable, with my approval.

So good luck everyone and start eavesdropping!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Whats the funniest thing you've overheard - contest

I was at Barnes and Noble browsing when I overheard the following conversation between two old ladies.

First old lady - These young people are so rude these days!

Second old lady - Tell me about it

First old lady - I mean people don't even respect church anymore. During last mass, this young man sitting next to me left his phone on the pew and it started ringing and vibrating. I mean the thing is vibrating so much it damn near falls off the bench! And this man takes his sweet little old time before he finally turns it off. And right during the homily of all things!

Second old lady - (tut tuts and shakes her head disapprovingly) Disgraceful! Simply disgraceful!

First old lady - So I say to him. I'd tell you to shove that thing where the sun don't shine but I do believe you'd enjoy it too much!

Both ladies start cackling and so do I. I just love eavesdropping.

So what's the funniest thing you've overheard? Share it here and I'll enter you in to win a prize. I don't know what the prize is and I don't know how the funniest thing will be chosen just yet, but I'm in the mood for a contest.

Let the hilarity begin!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Back to School

Oldest is now in middle school. Da Man and I went to Back to School night and was blown away by the stress of shuffling through a huge building with only 4 minutes between classes to get from one room to another in a crazy attempt to follow Oldest's typical day schedule. Wow! Poor kid has classes all over the building. I was huffing and puffing trying to get through the crowds of parents, trying not to get lost, in order to get to the class in time and listen to what was no more than a 7 minute teacher presentation. Several times I left Da Man way behind and he would shuffle into class late. This is where the difference between a New Yorker and a Marylander is strongest. I walk fast. Da Man meanders. Drives me crazy.

So I was in math class, sitting in a small desk chair and feeling like I was back in middle school when Da Man saunters in late and sits in the next row over. As I tried to take notes of what was expected with regards to homework, tests, etc. I hear a "Pssssst" and Da Man passes me the following note:

I did the same thing that I would have done in middle school. I stuck my tongue out at him.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Random Funny Things My Kids Say - Part 44

Sometimes when I drive, the Brooklyn in me just comes out. Like the other day. I've got the green light and I'm making a right turn. I have right of way. But the idiot girl coming from the other direction making a left turn seems to disagree. I drive a big ass minivan. She drives a small hatchback. When I make a right turn, I have to go into the middle lane, I'm just too big to fit nicely into the right lane. If you are going to make a left turn while someone is making a right turn, then the rules of the road dictate that you hug the left lane because you technically don't have right of way. She did not. She swung all the way over to the right lane (3 lanes over!!!) and came within a hairs breath of smashing into me.

I lost it and the Brooklyn in me came out. Unfortunately all 3 girls were in the car at the time. Oldest, who sits in the 3rd row, quickly leans forward and covers Youngest's ears while Angus starts laughing hysterically.

Angus - Mommy, you said the F word, the B word, the S word and some words I never heard before!

Oldest - Daddy's going to be so mad at you.

Youngest - No fair! I didn't hear nothing!

Angus - You're too little. Mommy's mouth is now rated R for restricted.

Youngest - What does that mean?

Angus - It means if little kids hear her bad words Mommy will get arrested!

Youngest gasps loudly - Mommy's going to be arrested?

Angus - Only if we tell on her. (Rubs her hands gleefully.) Now she'll have to be nice to us.

Youngest - Yeah, we don't have to clean our rooms no more!

Oldest - You dopes. It doesn't mean she's going to be arrested. It just means little kids can't see an R movie without an adult.

Angus (whispering to Youngest) - She always spoils our fun.

Youngest - We should call her one of those words Mommy used.


Monday, August 30, 2010

First day of school!

Free at last! Free at last!

The house is so quiet I can actually hear myself think. Unfortunately, the only thought going through my head is "Go back to bed!" But that just isn't very productive. Besides the fact that I have to get ready for my own semester to start up again this week. Freedom is so short-lived. Already I'm fielding emails before the semester even begins from nervous students. I'm bracing myself for the onslaught of excuses, favors, extensions, whining, complaining, etc.

And it's not even September yet.

Now I can't wait for December.

Freedom is a relative thing.

But at least the kids are in school.

Sigh. I miss them.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

12:01AM Mockingjay released out into the world.

8:30AM Began frantically checking Amazon shipping to see if they'd shipped my copy yet. No, they had not.

9:00AM Had work related call. Every 15 mins, checked Amazon status. Still not shipped.

12:00PM Done with work. Checked Amazon. Not shipped. I begin grinding my teeth.

12:30PM - 3:30PM Took all 3 girls out for lunch and haircuts. Back to back haircuts. At 2 different salons. Check status on iphone. Still not shipped. I begin to fume.

4:00PM Home again. Checked Amazon. Not shipped yet. Begin to curse wildly under my breath. Girls still hear me and threaten to tell Da Man. I bribe them with Hawaiian Shaved Ice which is conveniently located in front of the bookstore. They agree.

4:05PM Cancel my Amazon order and race to bookstore to pick up my copy of Mockingjay. Oldest demands she reads it first. I laugh in her face. She threatens to tell Da Man. I don't care.

4:30PM Buy girls Shaved Ice and try to read first chap as they drip sticky goo onto my flip flops. I don't care. But when gooey drops threaten the pristine pages of my book, I reluctantly put it away and start harassing girls to eat faster.

5:30PM Finally get home. Race upstairs. Lock my door and begin reading.

6:30PM Girls begin whining that they are hungry. I ignore them.

7:00PM Girls threaten to breakdown my door. Da Man is working late so can't make him do it. I reluctantly put down book and make dinner as fast as I can.

7:30PM Made dinner. Want to read. Girls demand I stay and eat with them. Grrrrr.

8:00PM Girls keep asking me to do stuff for them. I get snippy. They get whiny and start fighting. I get yelly. They start crying. I sit and watch a movie with them and eat popcorn while they cuddle up to me.

9:00PM Can no longer tolerate another Disney moment. Order girls to bed, abandon them and race up to finish Mockingjay. Da Man comes home and sees cover. Makes mad grab for it. I nearly bite his finger off. He demands to read it next. Oldest hears, runs over screaming that she's next. I shove them both out and lock door.

10:30PM Finally done. Emotionally spent. Keep rereading final chapter to make sure I didn't miss anything. Can't believe it is done. Can't believe the Hunger Games are over.

What do I have to look forward to now?

Well, Suzanne Collins has written the screenplay adaptation for the Hunger Games movie and Lionsgate announced that they hope to begin filming in February of 2011. With Suzanne Collins attached firmly, it seems the movie should stay true to the series and that makes it something worth looking forward to.

2011? Can't wait!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Last Empress of Korea

One of my favorite parts of the writing process is the research process. I am a total geek at heart and I adore libraries. The best part about being a faculty member of a university is that you have a fantastic university library at your fingertips. It's like manna from heaven! So for the new WIP, I'm working on late 19th century Korea where the Hermit Kingdom was just beginning to open its doors to Europe and America, and the royal government was divided into 3 factions led by Queen Min, King Kogjong and the Daewongun (the King's father who had ruled as regent). These factions were split along pro-Japanese and pro-Chinese lines but it was the Queen's power that intrigued me the most.

Queen Min's life is one of those historical tragedies that had incredible significance in the world but remains largely unknown. There are many factors to it, the largest one being that she was brutally assassinated by the Japanese government who then did everything in their power to vilify her name and eradicate her contribution to history. They went so far as to destroy any and all paintings and photographs of the late queen. All that is left are a few photographs and paintings that may or may not be the queen.

Recently discovered illustration depicting the Japanese Minister
conversing with King Kojong and Queen Min.

She was known for her open hatred and distrust of the Japanese, afraid that Japan was only out to conquer Korea and bleed it of its resources and people. She was right. But she was smart enough not to trust the Chinese either. Because she felt Korea was in a perilous position, she encouraged Russian involvement in Korea and opened the doors to the US and Europe. Although a devout Buddhist, she showed a high degree of religious tolerance which allowed a new wave of Christian missionaries access to the once closed country. This was in direct contrast to her father-in-law, the Daewongun, who killed thousands of Korean Catholics during his reign as Regent.

The king was a mild, kind man who was weak and ineffectual as a ruler. It was well known that the true power lay first with the Daewongun and then with the Queen. In fact it was the Queen who had the Daewongun removed from power. This led to years of assassination attempts that included an exploding box that killed the queen's closest relative, poison attempt of the queen, and attempted kidnapping. It wasn't until Daewongun collaborated with the new Japanese Minister to Korea that his assassination attempts were finally successful.

On October 8th, 1895, pro-Japanese collaborators allowed 50 armed Japanese men into the palace compound where they killed several women before dragging the queen into the courtyard, hacking her with sabres, sexually violating her, and then finally setting fire to her body.

There are many who speculate that World War II (at least on the Pacific front) might not have happened if the Queen had not been assassinated. It was her increasing encouragement of Russia that prompted Japan to have her killed. Had she survived and had she successfully manipulated the foreign governments interested in Korea, she would have kept Japan out of Korea and Japan would not have grown into the unchecked super power that it did. For when Japan colonized Korea, it took all of Korea's resources and sent it to Japan, enriching the lives of the Japanese while impoverishing the Koreans. (Much is made of the fact that Japan did help modernize Korea also, but a strong case could be made for the fact that such modernization would have occured naturally, like it did in Japan, with the opening of Korean's doors the international world.)

As you can see, I'm enthralled with this topic. It is this history that will play the background to my new speculative fiction WIP. I just hope that others will find this history as fascinating as I do. But one thing is for sure, I'm going to have a blast writing it!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Douchebag juniors

So today I was out with my 3 girls, my niece and my mother-in-law. Because we had no power, we went to Nordstroms at the mall to shop. All 4 girls love the little jewelry accessories that are in the kid's section of the store. But before I would buy them anything, we stopped by the ladies room, which is in the children's section. It has a large lounge area, a separate breastfeeding room and then the toilets. We walked into the ladies lounge and I stopped short when I heard a male voice. I turned and saw a teenage girl sitting on the lap of a teenage boy, in the women's restroom lounge. They were flirting in the ladies room. First of all, yuck. If you're gonna flirt, why the ladies room? Second of all, WTF? You're fooling around in the goddamn ladies room!!!

I walked over to them and said, "Excuse me, but this is the ladies room and you shouldn't be in here." I actually said this in an apologetic manner.

The girl said to me "Do you work here?"

I immediately knew where this was going. "It doesn't matter if I work here or not, he shouldn't be in here."

The girl got real nasty and said loudly, "Did I stutter? I asked if you worked here?!"

"No," I said.

"Then mind your own 'expletive' business!"

I smiled very wide and said "Why don't I get someone who does work here instead, then?"

I stepped out and yelled, "There's a teenage boy in the ladies restroom, please have someone escort him out!"

Realizing that they would be in trouble, the teenagers walked out. The girl gave me a dirty look and called me something that rhymed with plucking witch and threw some other words in there that I won't bother to rhyme at this time.

To which I replied, "Girl, do you really think I give a crap what you call me? As long as you and your little boyfriend are out of here, I don't care."

At this point the security guard had reached them and he started yelling at them.

My mother-in-law, who was with the girls, was in shock. She couldn't believe how rude and nasty this 16 or 17 year old girl had been to me. "The sad thing is," she said. "I bet that she talks to her parents that way also."

Yep, I would bet a lot of money that she does. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last that I run into such nasty behavior from the young. For some reason, this particular area I live in is filled with overprivileged, spoiled, disrespectful douchebags. They start as young as three. I still remember the shock I felt when I watched this mom let her 3 year old smear mashed potatoes and ketchup all over the mirrored walls of a Chicken Out restaurant. The mom didn't stop her, just kept talking to her friend and ignored her kid, even when the kid started screaming for ice cream. At one point the kid screamed so loud, the entire restaurant went dead silent and everyone stared. The mom still didn't do a damn thing. When she finally left, I felt terribly sorry for whoever would have to clean up the humongous Picasso like creation on the mirrors.

I actually think that there are more good kids out there than bad. But the bad ones are so incredibly bad that they stand out like a big ass mole with hairs on the tip of your nose. And the sad thing is that it isn't there fault. Parents have to take responsibility for raising spoiled children who are so self-indulged that they believe they can do anything without consequences and be rude to anybody. It's a sad situation. When I was growing up, I would have been punished severely for being disrespectful to another person. Nowadays kids regularly mouth off at anyone. These Junior douchebags will turn into full sized douchebags and fill the world with their douchebaggery.

So my question is, do we have an obligation to point out douchebag behavior to them and their parents? We have to live with them. They are part of our society. If their parents aren't going to call them out for bad behavior, should we? And what are the repurcussions of that? Can we go around calling kids douchebags? I kind of like that idea, but then are we worsening the problem? I'm not sure what the answer is. But it seems that we are seeing a generation of possibly the most spoiled children ever. What will happen when they grow up? Should we be scared? I kind of am.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bear Country

We are in Wintergreen Resort, Virginia. It's beautiful and the weather is perfect. It's 80 but not hot. It feels wonderful after the oppressive heat and humidity in DC. The only problem is that we are in bear country and the girls are terrified of bears. I blame Animal Planet.

The girls watched an episode of "When Animals Attack" where a black bear kills and eats two people and goes on a rampage and attacks several others in a Canadian hot springs Mountain resort. The worst part of the show was that they did graphic re-enactments and did the part where the bear apparently begins to eat the people while they are still alive. Why did I let the girls watch this show? I was working on my laptop and the girls like to watch some pet dog show on Animal Planet. By the time I realized what they were watching the damage was done. The girls were officially scared of being attacked by bears.

So Da Man gets the girls up and announces that we are going on a hike. The girls freak and panic and insist that they are not going on any hikes because the bears might eat them. Da Man laughs at them and says we're not going to see any bears.

"Oh yeah? Check this out!" Angus turns on the resort channel that is playing a segment all about bears and how some bears have been known to come right up into people's houses.

"Don't worry, we won't see any bears," he blusters.

"Oh yeah? What about the sign on the trash can?" Oldest asks.

"We are not going to see any bears on our hike!" Da Man yells.

"But what if we do?" Angus whimpers.

"Don't run," he said. "Unless it chases you. Then you need to climb a tree. But then some bears can climb trees."

"Nice job, Einstein," I say as the girls begin to howl in fright.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Lend a Helping Hand

Hey guys,

The Monday post is below for the regular Random Funny Things my Kids say. However, before you scroll down, can you take a moment to read a note from my friend and fabulous author Erica Orloff about helping out another friend of ours. Thanks so much:

In this little corner of the blogworld, most of us are book lovers. Book lovers and writers, people who say, "I've been writing stories since I could hold a pen," or "I was the kid holding the flashlight under the covers and reading past bedtime." In this little corner of the blogworld, we've also watched out for our own.

Merry Monteleone (Mom and More) and her family were in the midst of raging flood waters in Westchester when heavy rains hit Chicago. The contents of the downstairs of her house were lost, and though it's just "stuff" (lives were lost in the flooding), most of us can imagine how it would feel to watch photo albums and meaningful memories wrapped up in the "stuff" of our families . . . be carried off.

While big "stuff" can be replaced with insurance, Merry lost all her books, and a group of us decided to replace them--with Amazon gift cards, with books, with signed copies of books, with ARCs. We want to see the blogosphere flood her mailbox with good wishes and replace her library. If you love books and your TBR pile is as tall as you are, you know what they mean to her.

What can you do? Send books! Send Amazon cards! Reach out to your favorite authors and ask them to send her a signed copy! For her address or more information, contact:

She has three children middle school and younger. Their books were in their bedrooms and most survived, but it would be great to get some books just for them, too!


Random Funny Things My Kids Say - Part 43

We were in Toys R Us Times Square so that Angus could spend her birthday money.

Oldest - So what do you want to buy?

Angus - The only thing I want is an Edward doll. (Angus has a crush on Robert Pattinson of Twilight). I want to kiss him and tuck him in to bed at night. But I'm afraid my lips are too big for his head.

Oldest - Ewwww, the doll looks creepy.

Angus - Don't say mean things about my boyfriend! Ewwwww, you're right, he is creepy!
Can I get a Cedric doll instead? (Robert Pattinson first played Cedric on Harry Potter.)

Oldest - I don't think they have Cedric dolls.

Angus - (sighs deeply) My heart is broken. I'll never be happy again.

Me - Who wants ice cream?


If only broken hearts could always be healed by ice cream.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Please don't call me Oriental

The other day an old man made a comment to me that my oriental children were well mannered. I said thank you and tried not to let the oriental comment bother me. After all, he is from a different generation where oriental was the correct term to use for Asians. But it got me to thinking about the word and why it bothered me and I started doing some research and stumbled upon a forum with over 10 pages of back and forth on why it was insulting or why it was ridiculous. And the one comment that really upset me was when someone said "Oriental offensive? Since when did we let foreigners dictate how to use our language?"

It is a telling comment. Its roots based in the notion that Asians are foreigners. The term "oriental" comes from the "orient" which refers to the east. A term that was based on the Eurocentric belief that the Orient was a barbaric and exotic place east of Europe. It is why the word itself is considered derogatory, for it casts "orientals" as different, as foreigners. And when you think of yourself as American, being reminded that you are "foreign" hurts.

When I first started having conversations about race with my children, they would ask me if they should tell people they are Korean. I said no, you say you are American. "But I can't say that," my then 6 year old said. "They say I don't look American." I think as a parent, there are moments that just break your heart because you want to protect your children from the harsh realities of life and you find that you just can't.

The reality is that my kids, me, my sister, my husband - we are as far from being Korean as we are from being Egyptian or Russian. We might look like a Korean and pass for one on the streets of Seoul, but as soon as we open our mouths, our Americanism pours right out. Not just in what we say or how we say it. But in how we think, walk, laugh, carry ourselves, etc. For someone to say "You're not American because you don't look like one." Well then, you might as well strip us of our complete identity. It's like every time someone shouts out "Go back to your own country!" Something inside of us dies just a little bit.

This past spring, youngest came home from kindergarten deeply upset. When I asked her what was wrong, she explained that she was sitting at lunch with 2 of her friends H and M, who are both blond and blue-eyed. Two boys were sitting across from them and were commenting on how pretty H and M are, listing how pretty their eyes were and their long hair, etc. They then turned to youngest and began to comment on how ugly she was in comparison. Youngest was devastated. I was proud of her for standing up to them. Telling them to stop or she would move to another table. When they didn't stop, she made good on her threat and moved away. I was proud of her for taking a stand, but my heart broke for her. She asked me if she really was ugly because she didn't have blonde hair and blue eyes. "No," I said, "you are beautiful inside and out but some people just are blind and can't see a diamond shining so bright in front of them. But that's ok. It's their loss so don't even waste your time thinking about them."

Even in kindergarten, children learn to recognize differences and to comment on them. While I did call the school and had the teacher have the boys apologize to youngest, can we really blame children for deep rooted societal prejudices? They told youngest she was ugly because she was different. Her eyes were different, her cheeks were different, even the one asymmetric dimple she has was different. I told her different is good. I hope she remembers that and never lets this become insecurity.

Many people complain that we've become so PC that we can't say anything for fear of someone getting offended. To some extent, I agree with that and I don't ask for people to be so careful with their words. But ultimately it isn't the words that hurt but the intent behind them and sometimes the words themselves become synonymous with the intent. Calling someone oriental or making chinky eyes might not have been made with a racist intent, but the word and the action have become synonymous with an intent to be racist. So why use them? Yes we are different and I truly believe different is good. But when these differences are used as a way to stereotype people negatively, it becomes racism.

So please, don't call me oriental. I am no devious, slant-eyed, exotic foreigner that speaks cryptically of ancient Chinese secrets. That stereotype needs to die. Help me kill it once and for all.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

K-Pop Time!!

Ok it's that time of year where I decide to let you all in on a K-pop video cause I know you aren't getting your Korean pop music fix anywhere else. Ha!

Last year I brought you the Wonder Girls. This year I give the boys a chance to shine. Here's the biggest boy band you'll ever see - Super Junior, or SuJu. Biggest as in they have 10 boys of varying hotness in the band and they can all dance and sing.

So this is Bonamana, they're latest song. It has a good dance beat although it gets a little too electropoppy for me. But damn if it isn't fun watching these boys dance.

If the video is cut off on side, it's cause its HD. Just click on it and it'll take you to the Youtube page.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Hi guys! Sorry I've been such a bad blogger. It's hard to blog when all 3 aliens are home from school and are not in summer camp. What kind of stupidity is this, you ask? Yes, I was suckered into not sending them to camp by illogical arguments and the use of the sad eyes.

For some reason, Angus and youngest do not like summer camp. Too energetic, they claim. Lazy bums. Oldest is the only one a little bummed out about not going to camp but I've been filling their days with the pool, museums, zoos, movies, playdates, and popsicles. Between constantly entertaining them, feeding them, driving them, feeding them, breaking them up, feeding them, etc. - I barely have time for myself. And because the summer hours have them staying up later, they are cutting into my valuable writing time at night. This is all my excuse for being a bad blogger.

So lately they've been on a zombie drawing kick. If you've seen me on twitter, you've probably seen me uploading pictures of fat zombie, soccer zombie, and my favorite - the Hasidic Jew zombie. But I do think the best of the bunch was this one - Cinderzombie by Angus.

Angus tells me that before Cinderzombie became a zombie, she was a girl named Fred who was terribly ugly. That's why she had a beard. She had 2 beautiful sisters named Bob and Jerry and her mother was named Petunia. One day Fred made the biggest mistake in her life when she accidentally spilled mayo on Bob's shirt and Bob was so mad at Fred that Bob told Jerry and Jerry told Petunia and they were all so mad at Fred and made her do chores all day. One day there was a ball with a handsome prince named Prince Sally (I'm not making these names up - this is all from Angus). Bob told Fred she was too ugly to go to the ball. Which was true, but Fred thought Hey maybe the prince isn't so handsome. But then she saw a picture of Prince Sally and thought "Man is he cute!" So Fred thought again and just did chores and chores and chores and chores and chores...

Fred was crying on her staircase, if she even had one, and then Poof! the magic weasel named Weasel appeared. And Weasel was holding Fred on his lap but then Fred crushed Weasel since he was much smaller than Fred's butt. When Weasel could breathe again he said "I'll grant you any wish you want!" Fred said "I really want to go to the ball." And Weasel said "Uh, isn't there anything else?" Weasel slapped himself on the face and thought "Man this girl is hideous!" and wondered if he had enough magic to make her beautiful for the ball. But all Weasel could do was put her in a pretty dress, hairy legs, beard and everything.

Fred was so excited and went to the ball. At the ball, people fainted at how ugly Fred was but Fred didn't notice because she wanted to meet the prince. When she finally met Prince Sally, her approach chased away all the pretty girls who were hanging all around the prince. Prince Sally turned to Fred and said "Hey thanks a lot! You saved me from being bored to death! Do you want to dance?" The Prince and Fred spent the whole night dancing cause Fred's ugliness kept all the other girls away. But the Prince and Fred talked a lot because they had so much in common like their love of basketball and burping. And the Prince thought Fred was actually quite cute.

Then the clock struck midnight and Fred was going to run away, but then the zombie invasion occurred and everyone got turned into zombies. But Fred was quite happy to be a zombie because it turned out Fred was the prettiest zombie in the world.

The End.

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