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Updated: 2018-03-06T14:29:45.701-08:00

 



What I love today

2013-02-26T08:36:30.511-08:00

I would like to have this now, please.

(image)



Note to teacher

2013-01-24T09:26:58.234-08:00

Why, yes I DID just send this to all my eighth grade son's teachers. This is what happens when you trap me in a house with three sick kids:Hello, teachers.  He fought the good fight, but unfortunately James just went down with the fever his little brother and sister have been trading back and forth all week. I threatened him with grounding if the fever didn't break, but it didn't work. In fact, it went up. Which is a darn shame because this is a kid that misses very little school primarily because it's so hard for him to dig out on missing assignments when he does.  *Loooooooonnnnnnnng sigh*  James probably really wishes he'd gotten a fever last night BEFORE he did all his homework, but it waited until this morning to pounce. Therefore, his homework is done. This leads me to a few questions:  1. Could I stop by the office today and turn his homework in for them to sort into your teacher boxes? Or do you prefer that he waits to turn it in when he gets back to school?  2. Please read this as me speaking with a totally non-critical tone: only one of you has current classwork/homework assignments posted on his/her website (you go, Mrs. Mathews!) (the rest of you: seriously, no judgment, I swear!), so is there any way to get today's classwork/homework assignments back as a quick email? I'll have him work on it today on the theory that some people say starve a fever, feed a cold and some people say feed a fever, starve a cold and I say just drown it with homework so it will decide to abandon its host on account of who wants to do homework? I taught 8th grade language arts for five years, and I realize I'm being THAT parent right now, but here's the thing: if his grade drops, I have to ground him from media. And he's already grounded from media because he has C's in PE and Consumer Science (yeah, he's that kid. If there's not a space for him to write it in his planner, it doesn't exist. Also, the mile=not his favorite). And grounding a kid from media is hard. Their entire conversation becomes negotiations about how to get the media back. "I'll plant a garden! I'll clean the baseboards with a toothbrush! I'll give you the key to unchain small brother from the backyard sapling if I can have twenty minutes with Minecraft!"  So really, helping James stay caught up is kind of a mental health thing for me, see?  Happy teaching today, guys. ~Melanie Jacobson Mother Under Siege[...]



Cover Reveal!

2014-10-04T11:02:02.456-07:00

I got a belated Christmas gift in the form of my new cover for my upcoming March book release, Second Chances. And guys: I LOVE IT. I especially love the writing at the very top. (Click to embiggen.) Coolest thing I've ever seen. (Except for a bunch of other cool stuff I've actually seen like a giant redwood, the Hope diamond, etc. but still: PRETTY COOL.)(Note: the smart people at Covenant will have done a much better job of explaining this story than I'm about to, but for right now, this is what I've got. Will post their professionally blurbed awesomeness later).The story follows Louisa Gibson, a Huntington Beach girl with grand plans to launch her own new media marketing agency. Lou comes up with a brilliant idea to do a web version of The Bachelor, only it's for Mormons. Introducing The Mormon Bachelor. It's on the verge of launching when her bachelor drops out at the last minute. In desperation, she taps her old boyfriend, a Hollywood actor, to fill in, but she is totally unprepared for her feelings when he develops real relationships with his dates. She's determined to protect her heart, but at what price?UPDATE:Annnnnnnnd here's what my publisher sent me:After walking out of a thankless job at a prestigious marketing firm, feisty California entrepreneur Louisa Gibson is going into business for herself. Her pioneering venture, The Mormon Bachelor, is a reality dating web series sure to be fabulous advertising for her new marketing firm. And as a bonus, Lou can solve a problem close to home: Huntington Beach is crawling with eligible, sun-bronzed Saints, but they lack one vital skill—they’ve forgotten how to date. Lou hopes the reality show will finally inspire this group of hangout enthusiasts to pair off. But shortly before filming begins, the unthinkable happens, and Trentyn, a.k.a. the Mormon bachelor, gets a girlfriend. And Lou needs a new leading man—fast. Enter Nick, Lou’s devastatingly handsome ex-boyfriend. He’s the stereotypical actor: shallow, self-serving . . . and perfect for the job. A whirlwind of dating ensues, with Nick at the center of it all. Things are going according to plan—that is, until Lou is forced to step in as a substitute bachelorette, becoming an unwitting cast member on her own show. Despite Nick’s attempts to reestablish their friendship and the growing spark between them, Lou is determined to keep her distance. The show must go on—but what’s a girl to do when the Mr. Wrong of the past just may be the Mr. Right of the future?[...]



Giveaway!

2012-12-21T08:34:51.268-08:00

Uh, so you can win my new book SMART MOVE maybe if you go here:

Page of Awesomeness.

Merry Christmas!



Pants to church?

2012-12-16T07:42:45.294-08:00

I'm bringing pants to church. I have no idea if I'm putting them on or not, but I'm bringing them.Here's why, not that you asked.Traditionally, culturally, women have worn dresses to LDS church services. As Mormons, we believe in wearing our Sunday best to worship God, and dressing up on Sundays is a way to show we care and to mark the day as different from the rest of the week. It's the same reason the men wear suits and not jeans and polos. It's not a rule. It's just the shape our Sunday worship has taken in the years since our church was established.Recently, a group of LDS feminists announced an event to encourage women to wear pants to church today, Sunday, in the hopes of making a quiet statement that some women in the church don't feel they're well represented in leadership and decision-making processes.My first thought was, "Absolutely not. I refuse to wear pants." This is because for one thing--and it's the far lesser reason--I don't feel--and never have felt--unequal in this church or in my home. I feel respected and valued. I feel like my opinions are often requested and have been given due weight when I've offered them. I feel free to offer opinions whether they're requested or not. I'm granted, or often just take, opportunities to serve and lead others as much and often far more than the men around me.There are little things that bother me sometimes, yes. I do think our young women should have a female leader present with them in interviews with their bishops (for a lot of reasons that have nothing to do with a bishop's integrity). I find it odd that some stakes cling to the cultural practice that women don't give the opening prayers, only the closing one. Or give the concluding talk in sacrament meeting, our weekly worship service.  My ward isn't like that. But some wards are.But like I said, these are little things that do nothing to interfere with my ability to be spiritually filled and renewed each Sunday. I have never walked the halls of any of the many chapels I've attended and felt second-rate to the men in any way. If anything, I think the men in our church are keenly aware that the whole thing would fall apart without the women doing the heavy lifting. So I'm not putting on pants for church today because I don't feel a need to protest, however quietly. There's a far more important reason I'm not doing it, though. I refuse to participate in a symbolic protest that interrupts the much greater symbol at the heart of our Sabbath worship. Sundays are ALWAYS about participating in the ordinance of the sacrament and renewing our covenants with our God, not making political statements to each other. I  cannot bring myself to disrupt that by being more focused on something else, like which women are wearing pants, or why they are. In the end, those things don't matter. Being there, wearing my best to show my Heavenly Father that I respect the Sabbath and the sacrament as a day apart, matters. That's it.But.I've been reading up on this quite a bit. This interview with the founder's of this event really gave me some insight into their motives. The more I've read, the more compassion I feel toward women who sometimes don't feel their place in our halls, who are hungry and searching for something. Whether I agree or not, their hurt is real. I have been so disappointed in their treatment by others in comment trails and on Facebook. I think there are a lot of people who need to feel ashamed of themselves and it's not the protestors. I understand the discomfort and the anger engendered by some people's fear of this, but I don't think the ugliness, which I won't repeat here, is helping anything. In fact, I actually think it underscores what the pants-wearing women today are trying to express.But.I won't do anything that detracts from the worship of my Heavenly Father for that precious hour at the start of our Sabbath services. I do, however, feel a tenderness for [...]



Beauty tip

2012-11-19T15:18:34.331-08:00

Can I drop in here sometimes with no explanation of where I've been? Here's the short answer: busy.

And I'm dropping in today because I want to share this beauty tip with you: baby wipes. 

See, I kind of gave up manis and pedis because there's just no time any more. But I like sparkly colorful nails so every now and then I muster the energy to paint them myself. I used to be opposed to this because it was such a pain to take off the old polish. Cotton balls = boo. Toilet paper = boo. Paper towels = boo.

And then I randomly used a baby wipe (specifically the Kirkland/Costco brand) that Eden had pulled out with a handful of other wipes and just left on the floor. It had dried out. I decided to give it a shot. Verdict=WIN! They don't tear or leave little fuzz on your nails.

Now let's talk about how I tried painting my own nails with a light blue matte polish and that takes a lot of coats and I wasn't very good at it and I went to my biannual (you read that right--I told you, I don't have TIME) hair appointment, and this Chinese lady nail tech got one look at my attempt and tsk-ed me right into a chair and cleaned them up for free because it offended her professional sensibilities that a grown woman should walk around with nails looking like that.

Really, it should have offended her sensibilities that a grown woman was running around in light blue nail polish, but I make no apologies. Then after cleaning up my  nails, she sent me off with a glare and a refusal to accept a tip.


But that's not really the point here. The point is, dried out Costco baby wipes are seriously excellent for removing nail polish.

Huh.

That was kind of fun. Blogging, I mean. Maybe later this week I will tell you a really good recipe to make for Christmas.

Okay. Bye.



Make a Smart Move, okay?

2012-10-24T12:59:20.784-07:00

I got a review that made me laugh today and also sigh in relief because Susan at Bloggin' Bout Books is known to be brutally honest, so I was glad Smart Move passed muster with her. Whew. I'd been sweating this review a little, to tell you the truth. She was still honest enough to make me uncomfortable, but overall I was happy with it. Anyway, she's hosting a giveaway of the book, but since there are a few giveaways of Smart Move going on, I thought I'd make it easy on everyone and put them all in one place. I know, I know: stick your thank you card in the mail.

Here we go with the list of giveaways for Smart Move:

Susan at Bloggin' Bout Books
Rachael Renee Anderson
I Am a Reader, Not a Writer
Why Not? Because I Said So


You can drop in on any of them and enter. Hooray! Also, for those writerly-minded types among you, I concluded my "how-I-wrote-my-book-so-fast" post here where I blog under my semi-secret identity.



Sparing you all

2012-10-22T11:03:22.602-07:00

I didn't want to bore my non-writing friends with an involved post about the writing process, so I posted it on my other not-so-secret alternate identity blog here if you're into the writing kind of stuff.

Also, Rachael Renee Anderson is hosting a giveaway of my book on her blog here.

And I'm at a big of a loss today because I have time. This is strange. I don't even know what to do with it. Deadlines have been met. Nothing pressing needs to happen for the next hour or so. I don't even know what to do with myself. This is really strange . . .

I think it's just the absence of writing specific tasks that's throwing me. That will change soon. I'm not going to start anything new until January, but I'll have tweaks and revisions to do on two different novels before then. The writing busy-ness will come. But I think for right now I'm just going to soak up the novelty of only having regular busy-ness.

Oh, and P.S. I have a new button for my new book Smart Move if anyone feels like they'd love to stick it up on their blog . . . it's just over at the top of the sidebar. And yes, the shoes are fabulous. And no, they're not mine. But they really, really should be.



Escape

2012-10-15T05:08:00.073-07:00

My thirteen-year-old has discovered Narnia. Not in the books. The actual place. I'm told I should be jealous. I'm not sure how jealous I should be because I haven't been admitted to it yet. But my sister says it's her new happy place and my husband says seeing it made him mourn a childhood spent in a concrete suburb. Like I said, I haven't been invited, so I don't know.

But I can guess. Narnia is what the neighborhood kids in the know call the wooded area just down the road and around the corner. For living in a planned community, we kind of do have access to some cool nature-y kind of stuff.You can see Narnia, that skinny amoeba right smack dab in the middle: 

That green smudge? A little piece of paradise in our Stepford streets.

I kid, I kid. It's not Stepford-y around here at all. It's a fun, down-to-earth place. And so is where I grew up. A bunch of houses with a splash of nature right in the middle. It was a huge field behind the tract houses across the street. The utility company owned it but they never did anything with it. So people put in gardens and we ran wild back there between rows of beans, snitching people's dewberries and chasing snakes.

In Narnia, it's wooded and you have to scramble down a steep embankment and follow a couple of trails to reach it. There are some 18-year-old hipsters building a tree house. They've even painted a sign politely asking fellow wanderers to treat it with respect. There are BB pellets everywhere. And I think an old sofa. And my kid is working on a rope ladder for the tree house. And maybe a way to run an old-school film projector off of a car battery to watch movies projected on a sheet. I think that's the plan, anyway.

He comes home muddy and happy. I love where I live. 

Today you can check out Lexie's review over at The Book Bug blog. I admit to ten deep, dark secrets by myself. So you know, go gawk.



I judge returning TV shows

2012-10-12T07:22:48.626-07:00

Let's get two things out of the way: Parenthood is the best drama on TV and New Girl is the funniest comedy. Or maybe Modern Family is. Okay, that might depend on the week. So let's get one thing out of the way: Parenthood is the best drama on TV. Go to the 5:45 mark (it's after the first commercial mark) and watch this one scene and you'll get it. frameborder="0" height="315" id="nbc-video-widget" src="http://www.nbc.com/assets/video/widget/widget.html?vid=1419351" width="560">Killer. JUST SO GOOD.And before I get into the rest of the shows coming back, my verdict on Arrow: worth watching. Lots of potential. Still have Nashville on the DVR but I hear good things.On to returning TV in dramas, comedies, and "reality":Castle: I loved the first two seasons. Nathan Fillion is just so dang funny. But last season was pretty "meh" for me. I think the writers were having a hard time coming up with mysteries. This season is kind of funny again because Castle and Beckett have a big juicy secret to keep, but this is more Kenny's show than mine now. It's  good one for me to sit and watch with him when I need to do computer things but I want to hang out with him.Grey's Anatomy: I thought the last season was great, but I'm having a hard time getting through the new season's second episode. It's just so heavy, you know? However, I think Grey's is better than it's been in a long time and I'm hopeful the new season stays up to par.Scandal: There are a lot of things I like about this show. There are a few big things I don't. It boils down to this: it's well done. I'm willing to stick with it if it doesn't get all crazy soapy like The Practice which I quit two seasons ago because it was unbearable. I hope this show stays more West Wing. I mean, it's not that, but it's not straight up soap, which is nice.The Good Wife: My second favorite drama after Parenthood. It's so gripping, but you absolutely can NOT relax while watching. And the subplot with Kalinda's husband is already old. But still, I love this show. The writing and acting are so good.Up All Night: This show doesn't get nearly enough credit. I can't believe it gets lower ratings than some of the drivel that's out there (which I won't name in case you watch it). It's stinking funny. Christina Applegate and Will Arnett=great team.The New Girl: Nothing makes me laugh harder than this show. Nick is the BEST.Modern Family: Okay, sometimes this makes me laugh harder than The New Girl. I don't know who's the best here. Phil. No, Cam. No, Phil. Hart of Dixie: This is the worst show I watch. There are so many things wrong with it. And still I watch. Homesickness, I think, even though they regularly get Southern things--from the culture to the accent--totally wrong.30 Rock: The most brilliant and insane thing I watch. HAHAHAHA! Love it in all its subversive weirdness.Community: The weirdest thing I watch. A lot of it isn't even funny, but when it is funny--and there are those moments every episode where it makes the whole show worth it--it's really, really funny.Note: Don't tell me to watch Big Bang Theory. I've tried. More than once. More than twice. It's not funny. And trust me, I could out nerd most of you. Would you like to see my sci-fi collection? Because I have one. I get the jokes. They're still not funny. And the laugh track totally sucks the joy out of my life.Project Runway: Best reality show on TV.The Voice: Oh, I love this show. It makes me laugh so hard on purpose. The people can actually sing. SING! It's amazing. And the judges crack me up. Except Christina. But Raccoon Eyes knows what she's talking about. She's terrible coach and the people who pick her are crazy, but she understands music. I can't decide from week to week whether I love Blake or Adam more. The X Factor: I quit after the fi[...]



I Judge the TV season

2012-10-10T07:39:26.781-07:00

We watch a lot of TV. We don't apologize because we get a ton of other things done too. I mean, we don't clean the house or anything, but we play with our kids, cook good food, pursue hobbies, and go out on date nights. So TV isn't it's all we do. And, okay, fine, sometimes we clean, but I don't like to brag.We like to try out a lot of the new shows to see if there's anything we just HAVE to add to our schedule. Not very many things make the cut because we can only add so much, so unless something else has been cancelled, etc. we just don't have room to add a ton of shows. But this is what I think so far:Revolution: I really like this but I think I'm in the minority here. It's got problems, yeah, but I like the whole set up. Imagine the world fifteen years after we lose all electricity. The show has gone a different direction than  I expected, but for me it's a good thing. It really is about a revolution (I know, I should have figured that out from the title) against the forces who seized control during the power vacuum after the outage. It's about how power corrupts and how evil is sometimes nuanced (<--this is the word of the day). I don't know. I think it's pretty cool, but it doesn't offend me when other people aren't feeling it.The Mob Doctor: We watched about fifteen minutes of this and were over it. Flat characters, very formulaic. Nothing hooked us. Very meh.Vegas: This has a great cast, but after two episodes now, I'd say the potential is lost on CBS. First, they're trying to cash in a little on the Mad Men luster by working in the same era, but the CBS version lacks subtlety. These actors play their parts well but they're being given some pretty lame material to work with. The characters are drawn as caricatures and this is very nearly always a death sentence for me. I think we're done with this one.Elementary: I love the concept of Watson as a woman and both of these actors are great, but the plots are wildly convoluted and depend too often on coincidence to where it bugs me. Sherlock is better than what they're giving him to do. A lot of people whose opinions I respect really like this show, so I'll keep an eye on the buzz to decide whether to drop back in on it, but as of right now, I'm moving on.Last Resort: This is a "submarine goes rogue in the name of principal" drama. I liked it. Kenny really dug it. Great cast including Andre Braugher who is awesome in everything, so I think we're "on board" for at least a few more episodes. Bwahahaha!Nashville: This premieres tonight so I have no opinion yet, just hope, because I like Connie Britton a lot.Arrow: Also premieres tonight, and it would not normally be my thing, but it got great reviews and since I'm already dropping a couple of other shows, I'm willing to give it a shot. (Bam! Another pun! I'm en fuego, baby!)Go On: I want to love it because I really like Matthew Perry, but the first group therapy scene was painful. Comedy for the sense-of-humor impaired, maybe. I just like nuance because it requires craft and talent, not formulas. This was formulaic.The Mindy Project: My favorite new show of the season. Mindy Kaling from The Office is hilarious here. Even the over the top stuff works. Actually, a lot of it is over the top but it's done with subtlety and I dig it and I laugh a lot when I watch it.And that's where I'm at so far. Maybe next week I'll tell you what's returning that you should TOTALLY be watching if you're not.And if you're over TV, and you want to read, you can pick up my new book Smart Move and read a review about it at Amie's blog, Getting Your Read On, to find out why. (Hint: I think it's pretty good.)[...]



What I Thought of the Debate: Feel Free to Skip

2012-10-04T09:02:44.938-07:00

I got several messages on Facebook asking me what I thought after the debate last night. Surely I should have my mind made up now, right?

No.

I'm not sure I can explain why. I tried to talk it through with my husband last night, and I just kept going back and forth, back and forth in my own mind. So I copied and pasted an answer I gave to one of my friends, which was just me thinking it through out loud. Um, on my keyboard, I guess:

Oh, definitely Romney took this. Really impressed with his performance. And didn't Obama look SO tired? The biggest problem for me is that it's hard to get to the truth with all the spin. "My experts say THIS." "Well, mine say THIS" about the exact same numbers. I think my biggest issue with Romney isn't even a problem with him. I know this isn't going to be your favorite thing for you to hear, but I think absolutely without question that the Republicans in Congress are being held hostage by the extremists in their faction. And I think Romney has been knuckling under to them. I think that's what you have to do to win elections but you absolutely can NOT govern that way. If he allows them to keep him under lockdown when in office, then we're in big trouble. Their policies make sense when we live in an ideal world, but we don't. The math doesn't translate to reality. Is he going to pander for his first four years to win re-election? Or is he going to really sit down and work across the aisle like he did as governor? I'd vote for that guy. Know why? He was moderate. He was willing to compromise. He listened. I really like that guy. But the Tea Partiers in Congress are creating such an unbelievably toxic environment that I don't even know if it's possible. And that's what holds me back from Romney. Every economist on record says we're going to have to raise taxes. It's crazy to think we can't. And that's where I think Obama makes a lot more sense. On the other hand, I completely believe that Romney understands job creation. I just don't think his party is going to let him be the president he can be. So right now, still undecided. Maybe a little more Obama, not so much because I'm FOR Obama as I am against the extreme Republicans in Congress. I call BS on any of those Tea Partiers who say they're willing to cut spending the second a project in their home districts comes up. They won't do it. They can't. They'd get slaughtered in a re-election race the second their opponents point to all the programs they cut. Not in my backyard, etc. So I don't know. I don't think McCain would have done any better these last four years. I'm convinced he would have done worse, actually. I don't think any human being on the planet could have turned this around in four years. We're too much of a global economy now. So I think it's ignorant when people blame the president. I think he kept us out of freefall. I'm open to the idea of giving him four years to turn it around now. Then again on the holding me back from Obama side: I'm starting to be nervous about the unintended consequences of the health care act. And if it's as bad as the Republicans are saying it will be, then that's worrying. But will it be? It's all just really confusing. 



Ghost story

2012-10-03T07:09:39.715-07:00

My house is haunted.We should have figured it out before we ever moved in considering how much time we spent here remodeling before we unloaded our U-Haul. Instead, we'd been here a couple of days before my oldest son called out from inside our closet, "Mom? You gotta see this."And unlike those shady ghost hunter shows on TV, I have real, discernible photographic evidence: Ghosts. A dozen of them. More, even. Ghosts of hopes, dreams, and worries. I never met the previous owners of our house. I know very little about them. I don't think everything went well for them because we bought this house from the bank after a foreclosure. The house was in decent condition when we took over, but there were a few clues left behind. Like I know they had kids. I can tell by the height of the scuff marks on the walls. We repainted everything, but in two years' time, I already have exact same scuff marks in the same place from my own kids. At about three feet up from the floor, there's a six inch grime strip running down every wall in my house. We removed a bunch of sparkly puffy stickers from one bedroom closet door. And they had a spicy red kitchen.Those were the only things I knew before I moved in. But here's what I know now: A father lived here. He wrote these. He hoped for things. He worried about things. He counted his blessings.  Money. Some people have less or none.And he definitely had the right priorities. Look at the very top of the list:Jesus. His grace. 2nd chances. Some of it didn't work out because I live in his house now. Look at this picture again:See the missing spaces where Post-Its should be? I wonder what happened. Maybe he gave up and took those affirmations down. Maybe they came true and he didn't need them anymore. Maybe they just fell off. These are still here, and we've been in the house two years. I guess I should take them down. But I don't want to. They seem like friendly ghosts. Or maybe just wistful ones. But living in Orange County, in a city that's only 25 years old, it's nice to find a hint of history in any kind of house here, even if it's the Post-It kind.Yeah, I  know. Most of you think it's weird. *Shrugs* I can't even defend myself. But they're staying. I don't want to take away his prayers.There's a review and a giveaway of SMART MOVE over on Mary's blog, The Sweet Bookshelf today. What are you waiting for? Go on.[...]



Stuffed.

2012-09-28T05:30:02.017-07:00

There has been so much stuffs happening. So much stuffs that I can't really blog. Not because it's secret, but because I don't have time. But it's good stuffs. Like I participated in the month-long celebration on the Proclamation on the family at Stephanie's blog here.

Um, I went to Disneyland a lot. Cooked more than usual. Did busy, busy, busy church stuffs. Promised myself five times a week that I would paint my nails and never had either the time or energy to do it.

I composed a lot of blog posts in my head. Bought shoes. Read books. Finished writing another one. Revised, revised, revised. Didn't exercise too much. Gained weight. Didn't care as much as I should have because I liked everything I ate.

So yes. Stuffs. Stuffs. Happened. And my brand new book comes out soon. Next week! It's called Smart Move and it's the story of smart-mouthed red-headed Sandy, and I will give you lots of chances to win it. I LOVE THIS BOOK. And I will show up here more often to tell you more of the things that are happening. Like how my house is haunted by Casper-y ghosts. 

And if you would like to read to read the very first review of my book, you may click here. I'm not even worried about it because Jolene's always nice in her reviews, but despite any lack of controversy, you should go check out the review because guess what? You can win a book. HOW COOL, right?





Under construction

2012-08-20T21:41:45.615-07:00

I still don't like Scarlett, but Margaret Mitchell could WRITE.

I'm wondering if I can. Maybe. I don't know.

Sometimes. That's the answer. Sometimes I can write. Well, I mean. Write well.

I can write fast. But that doesn't mean it's good. And I've been blog quiet in the last month while I work on figuring out the difference. 

I'm nearing the end of a manuscript that is going faster than anything I've ever done, but I'll edit for three times the length of time it took me draft it if it I can also make it better than anything I've done.

I want to honor storytelling, but I'm cursed with the ability to think of words almost faster than I can type them. And because they fall out so easily, I don't always shape them the way that I should. I have worried about form over content, but now I am looking, looking, looking. Picking apart and weighing and testing the sound of things.


I don't know if I have this in me. I don't produce art. But I am learning about craft.



A cheap awesome book

2012-07-23T16:32:18.605-07:00

So I got kind of a cool email this morning. My publisher just put my latest book, TWITTERPATED, on sale on Kindle for $2.99 (only until Saturday!). Get it. Tell your friends to get it. This is a cute book (if I do say so myself, and I guess I do), and it hasn't done quite as well sales-wise as I would like, so give it some $3 love, hm? (That sounds wrong, doesn't it? Too bad. I'm not editing.)


Also, you can win the spy thriller Red Cell by Mark Henshaw or The Thing About the Truth by Lauren Barnholdt, my agent-mate, at my other blog if you like free books and such. 


And lastly, if you haven't yet but you feel so inclined, if you read Twitterpated and you liked it, would you mind writing a review on Amazon and/or Deseret Book? Rumor is that such things help sales. 


Shucks, you guys are nice.


(All is well in Jacobson land, btw. My latest excuse for not blogging is . . . I started writing a new book. Also, summer cramps my blogging style and whatnot.)



Scarlett O'Hara can kiss my grits

2012-07-12T21:05:38.247-07:00

Lots of little girls in the South are named Scarlett. Having just watched Gone With the Wind and started in on the novel, I can state with total authority that it is a TRAVESTY that they aren't named Melanie instead. My fabulousness aside, I mean.


I love Melanie Wilkes. I loathe Scarlett O'Hara.


What's more, as a Southern-raised woman, I'm not sure I even get her. Anyone want to argue her case for me? Because here's how I see it: she has NO redeeming qualities. 


Even the ones on the surface that seem like redeeming qualities to other Southernors in Scarlett are NOT. Like love of the land, for example. We love our land, yes. And no matter how long I've been gone from Louisiana, it's like invisible roots shoot out the second I step out of the airport and connect me to the place that shaped my spirit. My grandfather owned and worked a good bit of acerage all his life, even until his death in his eighties. I spent countless hours working in the huge gardens my father planted every summer. Loamy, stinky, gorgeous soil. It's what we do. 


But Scarlett . . . I don't know. I don't understand why she loves the land. It's a possession thing, not a connection thing, I think.


And another Southern commandment: she reveres her parents. But when she escapes Atlanta to be taken care of by her mother,  she flips to find out she's dead only because it's now inconvenient for her to lose that source of comfort.


I don't get it. Melanie Wilkes is kind of the awesomest and Scarlett pretty much sucks. When all is said and done and Scarlett's all alone at the end, I kinda don't give a damn, either. 


Discuss.



It's here, it's here!

2012-07-05T08:17:33.567-07:00

The new Mormon Bachelor season starts today, and already there's been drama. If you're not watching this online series, you should. SO FUN.

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Tears and cheers

2012-07-02T05:34:00.397-07:00

I figure I'm going to spend the first two weeks of August crying. Because I'm lame. Because it's the Olympics. Because I watched the women's gymnastics Olympics trials just now and I cried at least four times.


So stupid.


But here's the thing: there's just something about watching an athlete who has trained for years, who has sacrificed so much, who has worked so hard, who has pushed their natural talents farther than any of us can imagine . . . there's something about watching them stand on the brink of the moment that they have dreamed of for most of their lives--and then watching them make that dream come true.


IT JUST KILLS ME. 


I am a giant bawl-baby. When they stick a landing, or smash a speed record, or slice into the water with a flawless dive: it's a handful of seconds strung together to give them what they think is the defining moment of their lives. 


It's not of course. The thousands of early mornings and late nights, ofdrilling, and drilling, and drilling, of passing over food they'd love eat and skipping parties they'd love to go to, and the injuries, and the falls, and the getting-back-up? Those are the defining moments.


But I cry every time I get to witness the moment it pays off.


So sorry, husband. It's going to be a wet August around here.



Summer time and the living is easy

2012-06-20T15:22:03.686-07:00

A normal blogger would say, "Look what I did to my nails this week" and then show you a picture. But I'm not a normal blogger because I can't even do that. I mean, if I just stuck some picture up without context, you might think I like doing my nails or something. So instead I have to tell you some long story before I even show you what I did with my nails.When I was kid, pretty much all the way through middle school, if someone said, "Do you know Melanie?" then you'd hear not, "Yeah, that's the really skinny girl," or "Uh-huh, that really smart girl," or "Yes, the girl who never brushes her hair?" because those were all true things. No, if you said, "Do you know Melanie?" then you'd hear, "That girl with the really long fingernails?"Because that was a very true thing, too. I had super long fingernails, a genetic "gift" from my  mom. I'm talking really long, like a minimum of a half inch and sometimes as long as an inch. I know: GROSS. I didn't paint them. Or file them. Or do anything interesting with them, for two reasons: 1. I was lazy and very casual in my grooming and I didn't have the interest in keep uping with the constant clipping, etc. and 2. It was one of the few things I was good at without even trying, this long fingernail thing, so I let them grow.I don't do that now. I keep them short. I type a lot, you know. Like between forty and fifty thousand words a month. I used to get monthly manicures because I truly am not competent enough to cut my own fingernails. And I never even did anything fancy. Never got them painted or did nail art. Just told the lady, "Buff them." But honestly, I can rarely find the time to go do that any more unless it's for a special-ish occasion and even then it's this big ole production. So I figured out how to cut and file my own nails. They're not pretty but they're serviceable. And then I saw this lady's nails that made me laugh. Super cool design and it turned out it was just stickers. I thought I might have a chance of doing that so I found the Sally Hansen stuff at Target and did it. And this is seriously maybe the third time in five years (probably less) that I have tried to "do" my nails, and it didn't suck and it's lasted a week through the kitchen, the beach, and the pool. I picked the romance words one because it seemed apropos to my writing:Ten bucks and two hours later, (although it probably only really takes half an hour if you concentrate, which I wasn't doing), ta-da. Kinda fun nails.And actually, this post isn't even about nails. It's about stuff I'm doing this summer. Um, I was just barely called as second counselor in the Relief Society (our women's service organization at church). I've never done that before. I think it will be taking most of my free time, and that's okay. I kinda love Relief Society.Also, since I'm obsessed with So You Think You Can Dance, the day after that one Bree Hafen girl's two-year-old got up and did her twirls on stage, I signed Eden up for dance because she loves it. And then I took her to her first class and now I love it. And this is a picture of her on her first day, standing at the barre.She's the second one in. After watching this class twice now, I've decided that teaching dance to two-year-olds would be roughly equivalent to training goldfish, but man, she can't get enough. Even after she spent the whole first class thinking "tiptoes" means "walk on my heels." She still loves it, so I love it for her. And when she twirls, I'm pretty sure I'll give her anything she asks for because OH THE CUTENESS KILLS ME.An[...]



Telling the truth

2012-06-08T07:32:19.358-07:00

About a month ago, I was sitting in a Marriott ballroom trying to explain to my husband that although he had been so sweet to fly up to Provo just to be with me for the Whitney Awards, and that although I had two finalists in the romance category, and that although I was eligible for three awards that night, he would not be hearing my name called.I'd read all the books. I knew exactly who would win. I'd known from the minute I hit the halfway point in Carla Kelly's novel Borrowed Light that it would win. And I was right. So I've had a month to process the loss. Want to know how I feel about it?A hundred percent fine. The woman who won the Whitney Award for Best Romance has studied and honed her craft over a couple of decades in the national market. It's obvious when you read Carla Kelly's book that she's got a clear grasp of storytelling, a deep love of history, and she marries those two things here to write an utterly enjoyable novel.The reality is that my first two novels ever published were chosen as two of five finalists from a crowded field of romance novel nominees. That felt amazing. I admit that the only thing that bummed me out about losing is that I feel like Not My Type is one of the best things I've ever written, so if it didn't win then I'm not sure anything I do in the future will ever have a shot of winning, either.But here's the thing: I was bummed for about a day. And by "bummed" I mean that I eventually consoled myself with an extra piece of chocolate and that pretty much cured me. It's hard to be bummed when you agree with the outcome of a decision. Borrowed Light deserved the win.And just so you know, there are at least two dozen people who can tell you I was on record as saying it would win weeks before that awards ceremony ever happened, so this isn't me trying to be a good loser.However, the whole experience just affirmed for me how much I appreciate what the Whitney Awards does in recognizing great fiction from LDS authors, and specifically for me, LDS fiction, which is sometimes a hard genre for a newcomer to navigate when trying to figure out who to pick up and read. It's not a perfect process: There were a couple of head scratchers, and I think a couple of categories were weaker than they should be, but that's utterly subjective. Who's to say that those books aren't all excellent but I just don't care for the genres, you know? So many of the finalists this year knocked me right out with how good they were.Anyway, reading books for the Whitneys consumed all, and I do mean ALL, of my reading time from Thanksgiving until the beginning of April. But now I've had two months to pick up books I like all on my own and I'm about ready to make some nominations again for books that I believe deserve consideration in this year's nominating process. Which is all to say that I'm fixing to tell you about some good books I read, and that you should check them out. Also, if you've read something great from an LDS author then you can and should nominate them here. It's about a ten second process.Also, this is a list based purely on what I've been able to get to so far, so no friends of mine better be getting in a snit about not seeing their books. If it's not here, I haven't read it yet, so chill RIGHT NOW.In the always crowded YA category, here are some great contenders:Becoming Bayley wins the award, hands-down, for the author who I could not for the life of me figure out why she wasn't published yet. Susan is a dang good writer, and [...]



Potpourri

2012-05-22T20:29:52.430-07:00

I was overcome with the strangest of sensations just now: the desire to blog even though I have nothing to say.I do so much writing now that the idea of blogging just because doesn't really appeal to me anymore. Gotta have a point or I don't want to do it. Write, write, write. It won't be long now before I snap, get committed, recover, rejoin my family, and then have chronic PTSD flashbacks every time I hear the click of laptop keys.Blogging has changed a lot, hasn't it? But I don't want to talk about that because I kind of zone out on other people's blogs when they talk about it.So how about an update? I haven't really kept in touch often enough for you guys to know what's going on. Um . . . so everything. And not much.My books seem to be selling well. I'll know how the  new one is doing in a couple of weeks. My ward has finally figured out that I'm a "real" author and it trips me out that they're so tripped out to get catalogs selling books with my name on them. I've lost 17 pounds from my peak. I feel good. Probably could stand to lose 5-8 more so I'm tackling that this month. 3 of them, anyway. Then maybe 3 more the month after that.I feel emotionally grown up this year. I think I've been doing a better job of putting things in perspective. There's just some stuff that I'm letting go because it doesn't matter and it's not even something I'm telling myself so I'll feel better. I really just figured it out: it doesn't matter.I've been having tooth issues again. I've got a nub right now and will for two  more weeks. At least. And also, for some reason after the most recent (re)root canal, my tongue on that half of my mouth doesn't feel/work right. It's that feeling you get after you burn it on something super hot and you haven't gotten sensation back yet. It's not all the way numb. It's just not all the way working. Weird.I recently renewed my love of farmer's markets. Picking out their produce makes the little ones want to eat it. I've gotten SO MUCH fruit down them this week.I'm on deadline again. So far I'm ahead of pace on meeting two of the deadlines and behind the pace on a third. But it'll all come together.And that's it. Now I'm going to go think of writery stuff, but it's new story idea stuff so I like that.[...]



Better than a movie

2012-05-18T08:31:16.235-07:00

So not only is there not one right answer to the job-at-Disneyland question, it turns out that you can totally use this as a personality test. For example, not only have I never wanted to be a princess--never even crossed my mind--I think the best job would be Jungle Boat cruise guide.And there you have it: a sneak peek inside my brain. I still think it's the best job, but y'all can be princesses if you want to.Moving on . . . don't judge a book by its cover, right? That's stupid advice. I judge a book by its cover all the time, but it's the backliner that clinches the deal. Or kills it. Let's go a step further, okay? Let's judge a book by its author. Take my friend Susan. She is opinionated and loyal. She is sassy and loving. She's a small-town girl who has a very clear understanding of human nature. And she wrote a book. And guess what her main character is like?Yeah, you really want to read this book. It's LDS YA and it's got a kick butt high school soccer star who's got a thing going with a smokin' hot BYU men's soccer player. Until her hair falls out. And suddenly she's ugly. Or thinks she is. And it changes EVERYTHING about her. And it's hard. And she has to learn some stuff. And she breaks up with her guy. And he comes back to haunt her. And that is hard too. But the kind of hard where you're cheering the whole time and pulling for them to work it out.Susan is one of those writing friends who honestly, I couldn't figure out for the life of me why she wasn't published. This is third novel of hers that I've read and they've all been killer. But this is the first one that gets to see the light of day. And YOU should read it.It's available through the Deseret eBook shelf so you can read it on  you iPad, Android device, Kindle, and soon on your Nook. Here's the thing . . . instead of the normal $14.99 or more this book would cost new, you get it for half that. Like on Kindle of $7.99. So basically, it's going to cost you a movie ticket but give you four times as much entertainment. THAT'S a deal.You can check out her blog here. And buy it on Kindle here. Or for your iPod or Android device here. And you're really going to like it. I PROMISE!And although I know you're perfectly capable of looking up the blurb yourselves, here it is iffn you want it:Bayley Albrecht’s dream is to play soccer on BYU’s South Field. When she is invited to soccer camp the summer before her senior year in high school, she just knows she’s one step closer to her dream. Things get even better when she meets Matt Macauley, the star of the men’s soccer team. When they decide to write each other while Matt is on his mission, Bayley figures her life can’t get any better. But it certainly can get worse...After she receives a minor concussion from playing soccer, Bayley discovers she had a disease called alopecia which causes her to lose her hair. As Bayley struggles to deal with the reality of her baldness she finds herself having to make some tough decisions. Can she still play soccer? Does she even want to? More importantly, should she tell Matt? And will he still want her when she does? Becoming Bayley is the story of one girl’s journey through self-discovery, of the definition of true love, and of the realization that as a daughter of God, she is of infinite worth.[...]



Happiest place on earth

2012-05-17T09:08:47.569-07:00

I'm not being metaphorical with that title. I don't really mean my house. I'm talking actual Disneyland today. 


Anyway, we went on Tuesday. And it leads me to a question:


Imagine you're hired to work a job in the park. But it can be ANY job IN the park. What do you pick? And yes, there is ONE right answer. I'm just going to see how many of you get it. Go ahead, name it in the comment trail and defend your choice.



I do this because I'm lazy...

2012-05-11T08:09:50.402-07:00

I'm blogging twice in one week. I don't even know who I am anymore.Oh, wait. Yes, I do: the woman procrastinating a manuscript deadline by blogging. So . . . pretty much the same girl I always was.But here's why I'm blogging. Today my critique partners were over and I needed to deal with my mostly dry hair while I listened to one of them read. And they were kind of fascinated by my solution. As was I when I learned this solution two weeks ago.So I'm going to share in the spirit of procrastination being helpful. And since this is a totally spontaneous blog post, I don't have any makeup on in these pictures, so you can judge, but when you judge someone trying to do you a favor, you earn a very special place south of the Heavenly Border.Anyway . . . headband curls. I stuck my hair in a headband like this. It takes 3 minutes even for the hairstyling-impaired like me:You just take a section of hair and tuck it up over the hairband. Then you take another one and it add it and keep going. It looks like this from the sides:And then I left them in for a while. Even ran into the park and received a few admiring and few more puzzled looks. And then I just gently unwound them from the head band and it does this:And then I just finger brush them, hairspray them, and go.And for an added bonus, here's YouTube tutorial where a girl with a Russian accent explains it all to you: allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/aYxS1ohz4Ao" width="560">[...]