Monday, May 24, 2010

Blog Update: Anniversary Edition

I know I’ve been in and out lately. I’m still wrapping up these classes, and I’m knee-deep in some fairly important revisions, so my mind has been elsewhere. Today, though, is my seventh anniversary with the guy I’m sorta married to but not allowed to talk about online. Seven years! I just want to say, ladies, if you want to make it seven years in the world today, find someone who makes you laugh, even when you want, more than anything in the world, to be mad. It’s a good first step, anyway.

So, in honor of seven insane years, here are seven facts about our wedding:

1. We got married in the Chapel on the campus of our alma mater: Mount Olive College. We actually went on our first “date” there: some random bacteria lecture we had to attend for class credit. That day: I had the AC jacked as low as it would go.

2. Our wedding color was purple, and I used a lot of ivy and wisteria. The focus was on 1 Corinthians 13: Love is patient . . . Love is kind. . . . I wore a white, strapless, A-line gown.

3. Since my new last name was crazy Italian, all of our tables were named after cities in Italy. We sat at Brescia. There was also a Naples, Florence, and Milan. . . .

4. I was a highly laid-back bride. I did most of the decorations and flowers (and programs, and favors, and centerpieces) on my own (or with my mom’s help). No planner. Very DIY. In hindsight, I would have either delegated more or eloped. And I should have never done my own French manicure or let someone else do my hair.

5. Our wedding song was “Come What May” from Moulin Rouge. I still get goosebumps whenever I hear it. That phrase is also engraved on the inside of my engagement ring.

6. I opted against bridesmaids, and instead included my four little girl cousins, dressed in all white. My little brother was the ring bearer. He was four at the time.

7. For our honeymoon, we took a road trip. We stopped in Savannah, GA, and got lost in Florida because I forgot to check to see if the new DH could read a map before I married him. We were students and broke, and pulled out all the cash from our wedding cards: Disney World or bust. On the way back we ran out of $$$, but it’s okay because I won $150.00 in the South Carolina scratch-off lottery, which took us safely back to NC. But those are all stories for another blog. . . .

Enjoy your day, everyone!


Monday, May 10, 2010

Sydney Salter is Here!

Guess what?! I have another amazing 2009 Deb on the blog with her 2010 release! Sydney Salter is back this week, and she’s celebrating the release of her newest YA novel: SWOON AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Welcome back, Sydney!


You’d think Polly Martin would have all the answers when it comes to love—after all, her grandmother is the famous syndicated advice columnist Miss Swoon. But after a junior year full of dating disasters, Polly has sworn off boys. This summer, she’s going to focus on herself for once. So Polly is happy when she finds out Grandma is moving in—think of all the great advice she’ll get.

But Miss Swoon turns out to be a man-crazy sexagenarian! How can Polly stop herself from falling for Xander Cooper, the suddenly-hot skateboarder who keeps showing up while she’s working at Wild Waves water park, when Grandma is picking up guys at the bookstore and flirting with the dishwasher repairman?

No advice column can prepare Polly for what happens when she goes on a group camping trip with three too many ex-boyfriends and the tempting Xander. Polly is forced to face her feelings and figure out if she can be in love—and still be herself.


Sydney Salter has never had an ex-boyfriend or worked in a water park, but she did once babysit a bulldog. Sydney now lives in Utah with her first and only boyfriend (now her husband), two daughters, two cats, two dogs, and a pair of tortoises. She loves reading, writing, traveling, and really tall, really twisty water slides. She’s also the author of My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters and Jungle Crossing. She blogs at

(I’ve read Sydney’s previous novels, and highly recommend both!)
(Oh, and how lucky is she to have never had an ex-boyfriend. Seriously.)

On to the Interview!

Me: What was the inspiration/where did you get the idea for this latest story, and when did you realize it could become a novel?

Sydney: I've always wanted to write about a girl who didn't know herself outside of a relationship; I suffered through a scary storm on a boat in the middle of a huge lake; my mother--a psychologist--lived with me for about six months while her condo was being built; and a cute skateboarder curved down my street every morning for weeks. One day I watched him talk on the phone, while holding a coffee, shirtless, as he gracefully wheeled down the hill. That's the moment I declared him my next character's love interest. I mixed all those things together, whipped up a synopsis--and wrote a novel!

Me: An excellent example of how writers tap into their own experiences. :) Now that you’re a seasoned author, if there is one thing you could go back and tell your “debut author” self, what would it be?

Sydney: Seasoned author, huh? I feel more like a salted snail most of the time. I'd tell my debut self to be prepared for a roller coaster of emotions--the learning curve is steep, public criticism hurts, and authors have so little control over most aspects of the business. I'd remind myself to focus more on my real family and friends and less about frenetically promoting myself online.

Me: Ah! The emo-coaster. I’m a frequent flyer. Finally: I’m always looking for new ways to tackle revisions. What is your tried and true revision strategy and why does it work?

Sydney: I like to make lists of things that need to be fixed (sometimes I'll turn an editorial letter into a list). I keep the list handy while I work through the story from beginning to end, crossing things off as I complete them. That way I can work on several changes--like rounding out characters--at once.

Me: Smart! Lists are good. :)

Readers . . . You can visit Sydney at her home on the web:

And . . . SWOON AT YOUR OWN RISK is officially on sale.

You can buy it here:

Thank you so much for stopping by, Sydney!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Strange Things are Happening

Mercury is in Retrograde.

Did you know that? I didn’t. Not until a lovely Deb pointed this out to me. What does this mean? A lot of frustrating things are happening right now. There’s appliance trouble (which explains why my vacuum cleaner blew up on Sunday and not, as the guy who I’m sorta married to but not allowed to talk about online originally suspected: that I vacuum on the wrong setting). There’s misinformation and miscommunication and delays (which explains why I’m stuck in the proverbial waiting room, checking my email for news a thousand times a day). One website even said to take extra precaution to stay healthy. Guess whose entire family has a cold right now? Yep. That’d be mine.

Honestly, I’m not completely into horoscopes. I read them occasionally. My opinion is if I like what it has to say—awesome. I believe every word. If I’m not impressed, well, then horoscopes are stupid.

In this case, I like the idea that there’s a cosmological reason for why things aren’t going so well lately.

The good news? Things should shift back to normal by next week.

By then, my new vacuum will be here, my cold should be gone, and maybe some of those emails I’ve been waiting for will start showing up.

In the meantime, I’m hunkered down, working on revisions, and brainstorming a new writing project that will *hopefully* take me through the summer.

If weird things are happening to you, let me know!


Sunday, May 2, 2010

High School Reunions

So I went to my ten-year high school reunion last night, and I have to say: it was a lot of fun. I went to a small, private school, and there were only 26 of us in our graduating class. I think thirteen of us started the school in Kindergarten together. . . . Basically, I’ve known some of these people forever, and they’re really great.

In some ways: my high school experience was standard—I did and said plenty I regret. I made some pretty heinous fashion decisions (evidenced by the photos I saw last night). But we had some really good times, too.

Yeah, there was drama and some snarkiness. (I was on both the giving and receiving end.) There were some cliques, and not everyone got along 100% of the time, but everyone was still friends with everyone, which makes my high school experience kind of unique.

It’s just nice to know there’s a group of people out there that, no matter how many years you’ve been separated, you can pick right back up with like you’ve never missed a second.

Today, I’m thankful for old friends and great memories.