Friday, May 29, 2009


I've been reworking the sketches for my picture book manuscript, and I need to have a couple of finished illustrations to send along with my sketched dummy.  All of my sketches are done in pencil, so I ran off several black and white copies and hired a team of expert colorers to help.

Meet Meg Anderson, Anne Hardy and Sallie Hardy.

They spent the afternoon trying out different cool color combinations for me.  I had never thought about trying a groovy combination of greens and purples for my main character's dress.  But, hmmm.

Why in the world am I doing this?  Since I do my illustrations by hand (that is on actual paper--not the computer), I hate to waste my good art paper experimenting and trying out colors.  And I hate thinking I've finished a masterpiece of an illustration only to find out the colors just look too muddy together.   By making copies on cheap printer paper and playing around for a few days, I can save my $$ art paper.  Plus, I hope my finished illustrations will show a little more polish.

And, we get to have a fun afternoon with the girls.  Incidentally, my youngest daughter opted out of the illustration session and decided to save the world as a power ranger.  Life is good.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Come Monday...

Monday, my chickens go to camp for two weeks.

Wait. Did you hear that? I said, Monday, my chickens go to camp for TWO WEEKS!!!!!!!!

Holy Mackeral!!! what am I going to do with myself?! I thought about jetting off to London to see family, or Paris? or Arkansas? Several of my friends have called and tried to line up lunches, pool dates, pedicures, and movies.

But I have gracefully bowed out and alerted the world that I intend to use all thirteen days to finish KISS & TELL - once and for all. Luckily, it just keeps getting better, and now there are quite a few peeps actually waiting on it :) Oh! And CTK is armed and ready.

The trunks are packed, the chicks are excited, we ate crawfish this weekend and all is well. Come Monday, it's just me and Edwin...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Beach Bummed

Pretty day, huh?

So here we are for a week at the beach and the forecast for the next six days goes something like this:  scattered storms, thunder, lightening, more storms, gigantic waves, red warning flags on the beach, clouds so thick and gray that the sun cannot possibly peer through, more thunderstorms . . .

And, our lovely, spacious condo is going to get really small.

But, here's what's good:
1.  I am lying in bed facing a huge picture window that looks out over the ocean (and only one of my children is in here right now--this counts as bliss)
2.  Some good friends who have two girls are down here right now (good friends we haven't seen in about six years), and we are getting them together.   
3.  I got to a really good stopping place in my book revisions before I left home.  I'm going to take a break from it and work on some other stuff while I'm down here.
4.  I'm reading a very cool arc from a friend--stay tuned for an author interview.  This one will blow you away!
5.  We're at the BEACH!

Of course, the laundry beast somehow found me and followed me down here--Lila mentioned the beast in her post (incidentally, that exact Seinfeld episode was on last night).  Surely someone can come up with disposable clothes and towels for vacations?  I mean, I know that's not very "green" but mama needs a break.  Maybe a laundry lesson for the kiddos is on our activity list for the week.  I know.  I'm such a fun mom.  I'm going to break out the multiplication table flash cards later today.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

KISS, INCORPORATED - behind the scenes

You've heard the old saying, "It takes a village to raise a child." Well, in my case, it takes a corporation to write a book. Allow me to introduce you to a few of the key players and departments within Corp KISS :-)

Although I hold the title of Writer in Residence, I could never have produced the book without the following divisions:

First there's the Boss Man. This is the guy who pulls the strings. The mastermind behind the book. The one who calls the shots. This job is lovingly and faithfully filled by none other than Jesus Christ. Thank God he works at Corp Kiss! I couldn't do it without him.

Next there's the CFO. He pays the bills, manages the money and barely winces when I announce that I need to go to LA or Atlanta or Birmingham. This job is forever assigned to my uber supportive husband, Lindsey. Occasionally my father has also made appearances in this department.

The largest and most crucial department at Corp KISS is the Encouragement Division. This division has offices all over the US and is headed locally by SF. The Vice Presidents of this department are my parents who never forget to remind me that I can do it! Behind them are too many people to list, but this large wing is overseen primarily by Shelli and Jessica from their Atlanta posts.

The Tech Support wing is operated in Memphis and is led by this guy, Glen. Glen makes sure my laptop is in top working order. As a fellow writer, Glen also sometimes does double duty in the Encouragement Department.

Randy, at the UPS store, who is also an aspiring writer, has asked to be my bodyguard and chauffer when I become super famous. I love Randy for this. Whenever I show up with some snail mail, he reminds me that he will drop his job at UPS to chauffer me around in all of my literary glory while he also works on his novel. So Randy heads up the Support Staff. SF's and my hairdresser Carrie also works in the department and we have promised to take her with us should we be nominated for an Oscar one day :-)

The newest division at Corp KISS is called CRACK TEAM KATIE. CTK was formed in the middle of the night recently and operates much like the Navy Seals, or any black ops division. CTK consists of three new adorable readers, Lisa, Laura and Elana. They are going to help me polish my first 15 pages to a shine for submission to the LA critique and beyond that, the first 50 for a special "classified assignment." CTK also includes an adult literary agent and editor who has volunteered her services but who's identity must remain a secret for now.

Lastly, in light of the economy, there is one department which the Boss Man says MUST GO! This is the Self Doubt Department. My desk was recently moved into this room and I feel it's totally UN-Feng-Shui and messes up my mojo. I am taking the Boss up on this idea.

Boy, I could literally go on and on listing people and departments without whom this book would not be possible. It's strange to think about how many people it has taken to get me here. Does everyone operate like this? Oh! And I also have a few job openings. The first and most critical is the "Agent" post. Interested parties may inquire within.

Here's hoping for success! Thanks to all who work at this amazing corporation!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Don't READ????

So, here's how the question goes:  "If you were stranded on a desert island, what three books would you want to have with you?"

I am taking the course The Artist's Way.  The course is a twelve week program outlined in the book of the same name by Julia Cameron.  Our church is offering it while our priest is on sabbatical studying poetry in Europe (he and our church received an incredible grant--while he travels and studies, we mirror some of his activities here at home).  Our group is facilitated by a woman who is a professor and therapist at the University of Mississippi, and I am thoroughly enjoying my journey through this process.  I mean, I WAS thoroughly enjoying it until this week--WEEK 4.

Here is what I am being asked to do by this Julia Cameron person--NOT READ.  For an entire week.  Seriously.

I guess that I can understand her reasoning.  She is wanting us to find some sort of clarity and to free our minds up so that new creative thoughts can emerge.  But . . . 

I can't NOT read.  That is my definition of hell.  It really is.  This is my nightstand, and there are about ten more piles like this around my house.

I've thought about how to get around this:
*Give up reading blogs for a week
*Give up reading the newspaper for a week
*Give up reading novels for a week
*Only read right before bed
But that's not what she said to do.  She said give up reading entirely for a week.  

I was telling Katie about this (she's reading the book on her own and hasn't gotten to this chapter yet), and she asked me "What would be the benefit of not reading?"  So I read her Julia's list of fabulous things I'm supposed to accomplish by not reading, a list that includes such things as sewing curtains, painting a piece of furniture, cooking, working out, listening to music, mending, sorting closets . . .  And Katie said, "You do all those things anyway."

I said, "You're right."  So I am hereby refusing to participate in this part of the process.  Yes.  I am a rebel.  A rebel, I tell you.   And, I'm going to work on my list of three books to take to my desert island--I may even READ one of them.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Katie Tries Politics

I admit it. I am a complete idiot when it comes to politics. I don't read newspapers and I don't watch the news, but I can tell you why. Newspapers are too big and cumbersome and they turn my fingers black! Seriously - an opened newspaper is the size of me - and I have no patience for folding it all up so that I can read it while turning my fingers black.

And the news is always just depressing....

BUT, I do like for my friends or husband to explain things to me. And I do travel in circles of people who know a lot about politics. So, I have gained some knowledge through osmosis (just in case you were really worried about me).

The other day the city elections were held and I had seen the signs that a nice guy in town was running for office. This guy sits behind us at the Ole Miss basketball games, is friendly, supportive, a true Oxford character and I am certain loves our little city enough to give it all he's got.

I know nothing about the guy he's running against - not even his name.

So, I proudly trucked my 2 chickens over to the voting place in all of my patriotic glory. We walked up to the table where the nice lady reviewed her large book. "I'm sorry but you aren't listed as a registered voter."

Not to worry. For some unlikely reason, I actually HAD my voter registration card. "Here is my card," I said to her while winking at my daughters.

She looked back at her book and shrugged. "You're not in here, Ma'am. You need to see that man over there." She pointed to a large scary man across the room.

I walked up and proudly presented my card after frantically looking to see if it had expired or something. Do voter cards expire?

"Ma'am, you live in the county and this is a city election," he told me.

Gulp. Here I was trying to be political and teach my daughters a voting lesson and I failed miserably! I smiled and put my card back in my wallet and escorted them back out to the car. Then I told my daughter through giggles that she had a dork of a mom and that I was scared I would have to speak to the incumbent and tell him that I couldn't vote.

In the car my daughter said, "What's an incumbent?"

I paused. "I honestly don't know."

We burst out laughing. "What if it means rotten cucumber, Mom?"

"Dang. For all I know it does."

We laughed some more before calling SF and asking her. After hearing my story, she explained that I did not speak to the incumbent and should not use that word in front of my daughters anymore. Or anywhere else, for that matter.

Lord help me, I agree.

But I DO know how to make a mean fettucine, bottle feed an infant squirrel and assemble a crack team of manuscript professionals (story coming soon). So take that! political people!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

How I Became a Ninja

I learned my ninja skills early.  I don't know if my brother Gene who is five and a half years older than I am really wanted a little brother, but he always treated me like a boy.  We had wrestling matches on his bed, and the first one to fling the other one off the bed and across the room was the winner.  There was lots of blood and busted sheetrock, but I learned how to swipe kick both of his legs out from under him by the time I was six-years-old.

Gene also taught me how to fight.  I mean, fist-fight.  When I was in kindergarten, you didn't mess with me.  I could score any boyfriend I wanted because all of the boys were all scared of me.

I had a secret weapon, though.  I had an imaginary friend named "Sarah Tuff"--actually, she was more like a super-hero version of me.  Sarah Tuff could ninja-kick, fly, turn invisible, and tackle like a speeding train.  

When I was about four-years-old, Sarah Tuff came along with me on one of our family beach trips.  This was one of those trips that had a kids' club called the "Beach Brigade" where my parents dumped us off while they sipped bloody marys by the pool.  We were playing a game of Red Rover (I think it's actually been outlawed)--do you remember this one?  "Red rover, red rover, send Sarah right over" would be chanted by a line of kids all holding hands.  Then the person they called would have to run and try to bust through the line, breaking through held hands.

Naturally, they called my name first because I was one of the smallest kids there.  Gene was standing next to me, and he surveyed the line.  "Go for that little girl in the bonnet," he whispered to me.  I checked her out.  She was barely three and a good head smaller than me.  She even looked like she was drooling, and she still had baby fat.  "Got it," I said quickly transforming into Sarah Tuff.  I dug my feet into the sand, and started running as hard and as fast as I could.  I headed straight for that little wimpy girl like a charging bull (straight for HER, not her clasped hands).  I took her out--full on head butt--and I knocked her into the sand on her back.  Sarah Tuff stood up, dusted herself off, and gave Gene a thumbs up.

But, when I turned around, I saw the blood everywhere.  And the counselors were all panicked and yelling.  That little bonnet girl had a busted lip.  I got thrown out of the game.  Then the counselors saw my brother laughing hysterically, so they called our parents.  That was the end of the Beach Brigade for the week.   

I'm sure my parents were thrilled to be the only adults by the pool who were saddled with their out-of-control ninja children.  But we didn't care.  We figured out how to wrestle on top of our turtle shaped floatie and see who would be the first one to fling the other one off.  

Sarah Tuff eventually won, of course.  
After a couple of busted lips of her own.

sf  aka st

Friday, May 8, 2009

Poetry Friday :-)

Just typing that title cracks me up. For the record, unless SF suddenly becomes a poet, Plot This will never have a Poetry Friday, or Monday, or Tuesday for that matter. Why? Because I can't understand them. Seriously - I try. I occasionally pop over to Khaled's or Irene's blogs and read some...but it's no use.

I would tell you that I am lacking the poetry gene, but I think I might actually have it. You see, my mom is a poet. Not a published one (I'm still working on that.) But she's a GREAT poet!

SO, today is "Poetry Friday" because I love my mom. And Mother's Day is this weekend and I wish to honor her here on my adorable blog :-)

Believe it or not, the same day I won the Big One (I love talking about it. Go ahead, read it again.) my mom won a poetry contest in Virginia with the following poem:


I get high on green.

It is summer,
and the woods flow with the verdant colors.
Flickers of sunlight flash and fade,
playing hide and seek with the leaves.
It is quiet and intoxicating to watch.
Cotton ball clouds like bobbing buoys
poke holes in the canopy of Carolina blue.
Shadowy and wizened residents surround and invite me to eavesdrop.
They stand singly or in groves atop a carpet of autumn’s rich umber discard.
They are a lively bunch-ecumenical all,
content to enjoy each other’s company;
Veined, needled, coned or flowered,
they seem to thrive on diversity in this integrated neighborhood.
Some of the younger set hold their arboreal cards close to the vest,
gambling for their survival, low to the ground, new to the scene.
Others offer concoctions from fluttering branches that vie for my attention.
Flirtatious are those, however,
that tease and taunt as they lift their petaled skirts high above me,
doing the flamenco when the breeze is right.
Last call arrives at dusk-closing time approaches.
A new day will bring with it the craving,
an inability to sleep it off.
I will be drawn to the foliated silence again,
and the whispers will ease what ails me,
one leafy cocktail after another.

I get high on green.

I love you Mom! And Linda, we love you too!

Happy Mother's Day!!!!!!!!!!!

P.S. I totally stole that pic from the aforementioned Khaled :-) Thanks Man!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Big Apple

I just spent an incredible weekend in NY with my husband as the grand finale of "SF's Fortieth Birthday Extravaganza."  I have to say that I absolutely love that city.  Nothing energizes me more than walking those streets and soaking it all in.   My husband was in meetings on Friday, so I had all day to bump around--stepping in and out of shops, markets, museums and galleries. Then, we got to do fun couple-y things for the rest of the trip.

I am sorry to say that I took zero pictures because, well, then I would have looked like a
tourist.  I also skipped the surgical mask because, well, then I would have looked like a goob.   I actually saw ONE mask the whole weekend, but you would think from the nightly news that everyone was running around New York wearing oxygen tanks and space suits because 
of the dreaded killer swine flu.  Okay, full disclosure--I was a tiny bit obsessive with
the Germex.

Here are some highlights:

ABC Carpet and Home--truly the most blissful place on earth.

Music at Bemelman's Bar at the Carlyle Hotel--
wonderful jazz and we were surrounded by Ludwig Van Bemelman's stunning murals.

A gigantic pastrami and corned beef on rye at the Carnegie Deli.

Frozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity (thank you Miss J for the rec)--we also ordered a piece of carrot cake so we could have something healthy.


Plus, we had drinks with friends and watched the Derby at their fabulous Park Avenue apartment and had dinner at a groovy little Spanish place in Gramercy Park.  Such a wonderful weekend!  And then look at what I got to come home to . . . 


Have a great week--sf

Friday, May 1, 2009

Date Night Drama

So, SF's and my books are out in the world in the hands of dreamy people which leaves me a little free time before I start book two. While she is busy revising her illustrations, I am doing things like cardio tennis (which is so much fun), shopping for a blue outfit to wear in LA and eating out with my husband. Here we are at Snackbar - a hot new bistro in Oxford. (which, if you are in town, you MUST try)

There were so many people in there that I couldn't help but look around. We sat next to this young couple who looked to be in their mid 20's and no sooner did this girl's date stand up to go to the bathroom, did another fellow rush over and sit down. I immediately told my own husband not to talk to me because I needed to do some heavy eavesdropping and this is what I heard:

Boy: I know you think I'm an a$$, but I really miss you!
(This is gonna be good)
Girl: I am on a date, What the heck are you doing?
Boy: Well, I want to take you out to dinner.
Girl: I AM out to dinner. You're too late.
(Yeah. Take that sucka!)
Boy: (frustrated) You name the time. Anytime! PLEASE!
(I have to admire this guy's persistence in getting the girl he wants. And admitting that he is a royal screw-up.)

Then I see her date in my peripheral coming BACK to the table which meant I gave Hubby the eyes that mean, "Don't make a move, this is getting goooood."

Bathroom boy walks around the table noticing that there is another guy in his seat. Seated-date-stealer looks up from the stolen chair and offers his hand, "Hey man. I'm Joe. Nice to meet you."

Bathroom boy rolls eyes not understanding why someone is in his chair while girl is visibly panicking.
Date-stealer looks at girl with pleading eyes and I feel the pressure...

Girl: Okay. I'll think about it.
(Get him out of that chair and fast!)
Boy (date-stealer) Okay. Good.
(Lawsy, I'm not so sure you are gonna get what you want)

Whew! I must say, I loved that brief drama, and if I wasn't nearly deaf in one ear, I would have been able to report her real date's reaction which was definitely an issue. Darnit!

However, Lindsey and I had a wonderful time and I highly recommend the lobster Mac n' cheese. Yumm!

P.S. After dinner we went to Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and it SUCKS! Don't waste your money. Has anyone else seen it??

Our Motto

Our Motto