January 28, 2014

Live Blog: Snowpocalypse Charleston!!!!!

11:25 a.m.

One more pic, just for fun. Zoe and I went for a walk with our neighbor (we tried to go for a walk IN the falling snow, but it stopped. Boo.), and I got this shot of one of our local ponds. It's so pretty and quiet when it's snowing. I love it.


8:26 a.m.


Zoe's thrilled. Dogs are...confused at best. But it's beautiful!


7:12 a.m.

Wow, it's been almost 12 hours since my last update. I got caught up with bedtime for the kiddo, the SOTU address, and, well, my own bedtime.

It was definitely nice knowing ahead of time that schools were closed today - I remember always waking up early on snow days to listen to the radio when I was a kid, holding my breath and waiting for the 1010 Wins announcer to say the Sayreville School District was closed.

This way was better. Zoe slept in until almost 7, and I lay in bed for quite some time listening to the sleet coming down. And it came down with a vengeance, at least for a little while.

Zoe and I went exploring out back after she woke up. Anything standing is frozen - grass, trees, plants, her swing set. I'll take some pictures later, once the sun's up. But the actual ground is sopping wet, with huge puddles throughout my backyard. I remember when I was a kid, praying for those snow days, my parents would often say, "It won't stick. The ground's too warm." I suppose that's what's going on here...and I suppose that's to be expected when it was 70 degrees and sunny on Monday. Of course the ground's too warm.

They say snow is on it's way. I can't wait to see it. My guess is the lawn will stay gross and wet, but the frozen things will look beautiful with a coating of white.

That said, the snow? It's gonna break all my pretty plants! Sigh.

Being a grown-up is way less fun than being a kid, isn't it?

Anyway, we're going to lay around and watch a movie for now...and hopefully make some snowballs later!! Pics to come!!


7:52 p.m.

People! We have ice!!!!


6:05 p.m.

OH! And this happened, today, here in Charleston. Jim Cantore FTW!!


5:56 p.m.

This is the most boring non-storm ever!


There are tacos in my house! And since there's no school tomorrow, it's like a weekend, right? So two glasses of wine, right? Totally two glasses of wine tonight.

This is what's going on here now, or at least an hour ago when I ran to Publix to pick up some firewood:

Lots of rain. Bluck.

And as it turned out, I wasn't the only one with the last-minute, stupid idea of running to Publix for firewood. They were fresh out.

The temperatures are dropping. See?

So things really may get interesting around here, as all that rain turns to ice. The predictions still say snow for later tonight/early tomorrow.

It better effing snow.

But in the meantime! There are tacos and wine!!!! And Charles just informed me our puppy likes bourbon! Just don't tell my sister-in-law Mary, okay??


2:01 p.m.

School's closed tomorrow! School's closed tomorrow! Charleston County schools are closed tomorrow!!!

But...still no snow. No rain. Now it's slated to start around 8 p.m.

Is it ever going to hit?

I feel like it's one of the days where you're waiting to see if a hurricane will hit, and it winds up turning north at the last minute it turns and hits somewhere else.

But we don't actually know that yet.

And the sky is still grey.

Most boring live blog EVER.

12:43 p.m.

School is closed for the rest of the day. I let my daughter bring a friend home so they're playing upstairs. I'm under direct orders to go get them THE MOMENT IT SNOWS OHMIGOSH THEY CAN'T MISS ANY OF IT!

I tried to tell them the time of the storm's advent appears to have been pushed back even farther (this morning it was supposed to hit around noon. Then three. Now six-ish.) but they don't want to hear it. Zoe's friend has NEVER seen snow, and Zoe wants to be there the first time he sees it.

So...cute stuff.

I hope they're not disappointed.

No word yet on school for tomorrow (though all bets are on it being canceled outright), but Zoe's football practice is definitely off. City recreational facilities are shut down for today and tomorrow.

I'm ready for some snow!!!


11:20 a.m.


It rained.

Just a little bit while I had the dogs outside. Maybe this is the beginning...of the end???


10:31 a.m.

Psst. You guys. It's cold outside. But there's no snow or rain yet.

So here's a puppy picture.

Upside-down Puppy

10:08 a.m. T-minus 1 hr 58 minutes until school's out for the day. There's a puppy snoring beside me, and nary a snowflake nor raindrop to report.

Does the Snowpocalypse Charleston 2014 have an official Storm Name (you know how they do these days)? If not, may I submit that we call it the Alfonso Ribiero, if only because I want an excuse to watch this video all day long.


9:25 a.m. T-minus 2 hrs 34 minutes until I have to pick up my child from school, and I just turned in my final freelance project of the week.

It's cold and blustery out. When I tried to walk the puppy this morning, he quite literally ran in circles around me, utterly baffled, it seemed, by the grey skies and wind. And the skies, they are indeed quite grey. Which is really only odd (it is winter, after all) when you consider that yesterday we were outside in jeans and t-shirts, playing with the puppy and the HOSE! It was 70 yesterday...today we're down into the 30s, supporting the saying that, if you don't like the weather in Charleston, wait thirty seconds for it to change.

Snow clouds? Maybe?

So. I love to pick on Charleston when the whole city shuts down over the mere threat of a wintery storm. The truth is, though, that we NEED to shut down when it snows. A bit of snow or ice on the roads wreaks havoc on our little city. I mean, I don't even own a snow shovel! Or rock salt for my sidewalks! If it gets too icy, I plan to throw a little Kosher salt outside and hope for the best! That'll work, right?

So yes. I kid. But as we batten down the hatches and prepare for sleet, freezing rain, and maybe even some snow, it makes sense.

Of course, now it just remains to be seen: will anything actually happen? Or will Snowpocalypse Charleston 2014 be a big, fat flop?

Only time will tell. Check back for updates!

January 27, 2014


"Turn and face the stranger...just gonna have to be a different man...time may change me, but I can't trace time."

Don't you just love David Bowie? Well, even if you don't, I do...and that song has felt like my theme song for the past few months, as the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014 were fraught with change for my family and me.

Perhaps that sounds dramatic. It probably is. But it definitely felt that way. Plans changed daily as illness (child and dog) forced our hands and cancelled trips we'd had planned for months. We lost a dog to cancer in a way that still feels sudden and absurdly abrupt. We gained a new puppy in a way that still feels oddly like fate. School started back up, a routine was begun, but then a five-day "winter break" cut into that and the routines were turned back around.

I've felt like I've existed in perpetual limbo for the past three months, and it's been unsettling. VERY unsettling.

I set all these goals for myself when Zoe started school back in August. I wanted to finish the sci-fi I was writing; use it to find my perfect agent; keep on freelancing; start and finish book 3 in Undead America by Christmas. It all seemed so amazingly accomplishable back in August.

Of course life intervened, though. It always does.

So I think it's time to push the reset button....to take stock of where I am, and make some new goals.

Here's where things stand:

1. My sci-fi is done. I love this book. It's by FAR the best thing I've written, and it's currently on submission with a couple agents, and there are many more I still plan to query. I hope someone falls in love with this book, but even if they don't, I have no doubt it'll see the light of day. This book is my heart, and I can't wait to share it with you guys, no matter how I decide to share it.

2. Book 3 is well-begun, which means it's half done...at least if you're Mary Poppins. In reality, it's about a third of the way done, and I'm happy (very happy) with most of it so far. There are some interesting things in store for Jenna, Sam and the crew, and I'm enjoying writing it. BUT...

3. Freelancing has taken on a life of its own. I've had weeks recently with multiple stories due on the same day (the worst was 5 in one week - my head almost exploded). This has been fun and great, but it's cut drastically into my book-work-time, so the time has come to scale back, at least a little. I'm not sure what that'll look like yet (still figuring out where to cut back and where to keep pressing on), but it should help.

I've been a giant bundle of stress lately, trying to balance life and writing, and I'm hoping to get all that back under control. Having a crazy little puppy running around wanting to play all the time has added to the stress, but also to the sweetness of life whenever he curls up beside me on the couch. He's also added to the laughter, especially when he tries to get my big, old Quentin-dog to play with him. They're hilarious together.

So that's where I am, writing-wise.

My goals are:

1. Cut back on freelancing...after this week I think I'll take a break from accepting new stories...excepting LitReactor because I looooove them. This will likely be a short break, but we'll just see how it goes, you know?

2. Finish Book 3 of Undead America. I should be able to knock it out in February, and then edit it in April, but we'll see how that actually goes. That's my GOAL at least...

3. Keep sending out my sci-fi to see where that goes.

4. After I'm done with Book 3....gulp...I've got a historical fiction tale I'm dying to tell, and I can't wait to get started. It's a voice/character/series of events that have been stuck in my head for years. I think I finally have the skills to tell this story. If my sci-fi is my heart, this one may just be my soul. Only time will tell.

Well, now I'm off to take a puppy out to pee, and a child to school, and to clean a kitchen. I hope, if you're reading this, that you have a lovely and wonderful day. You blog readers are my friends and my family and your comments (here, and on Facebook and Twitter) really do keep me going, even when I'm ready to tear my hair out! *HUGS!*

January 21, 2014

My guilty pleasure post

Ok, friends. It's time to admit it. This is a big confession. Are you ready for it?

Well, the thing is...ok, so it seems...I am...

...an American Idol junkie.

I know! I know! What a silly thing for Zombie Girl to be, right? But it's true! So true. Charles and I watch it every year. We even have Zoe addicted to it now. I love the drama, the silliness. I love the bad (and sometimes amazing) music. I love the judges (mmm....Harry Connick Jr!!!!). I love it all.

But the other night, I realized why I love it, and that's what I wanted to tell you today. 

Here's the thing. 

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was just a girl. A working girl, a 9-5-er. I had a nice little life with a nice little house and a nice little husband and, eventually, a nice little daughter. I was pretty content, and life was pretty quiet.

But I didn't really have a dream. A thing I wanted to do. I was just treading water.

Now I'm a writer, right? (Rawr.) I have BIG DREAMS, and I work hard almost every day to make them happen. I write daily. I publish books and freelance articles and I keep on plugging away at all the things I do. And I love it.

But I haven't had my dreams come true. Not entirely, right? Because I want it all. I want to go on a book tour one day, or at least to a Con. I want to find an agent who'll be my partner in all things writing. I want to find a bigger network of readers. I want to find more friends and other writers, and I want things to keep getting better and better.

I used to watch the audition round of American Idol and laugh at the bad auditions, and maybe get a little happy for the ones who get their Golden Tickets.

These days, I care only about the good ones. The ones who are so happy to make it to Hollywood they're barely able to stand it. The ones who laugh. The ones who cry.

Because they're the ones who just took a huge step in making their dreams come true. 

I know kind of how it feels. I've taken some big steps over the past few years. But I have a long way to go, just like they do.

I love those auditions. I love those kids whose dreams are coming true. I love to think of my own next big step.

And...well....I also love me some Harry Connick Jr. 


January 2, 2014

In which we say goodbye to a friend

I tried and tried and tried to find the right words to say goodbye to our sweet Molly, but there are no right words. Some people might say she was just a dog...those people aren't dog-owners, and don't know how much more than "just" a dog a dog can actually be.

Molly was our friend. An important part of our family. And we will miss her.

I took this photo yesterday.
Even at the very end, she was a guard dog.