Sunday, October 9, 2011


Hi all!  Just a quick note to let you know, I'm moving the ol' blog.  Here's my new address:

I'd love it if you popped by and checked out my new digs!  Pretty excited!

Lotsa love,

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Okay, so I'm a total music junkie.  I admit it.  If I had to choose between music and red meat, I'd choose music.  Coming from a midwestern girl who was raised on a cattle ranch, that means something.  So you'll have to forgive me for blogging about another band today.

Mutemath plays good music (understatement).  What's our motto, friendlies?  Good music is meant to be shared!  Their new album, Odd Soul, just came out.  And guess what?  I have videos!  The song is Blood Pressure.  One is their official video, the other is their performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Give 'em a watch/listen.  If you like what they do, find them on itunes, go see them live, comment on their FB wall, tell your friends!  Support the arts and the artists you love!  :)

Monday, October 3, 2011


Vincent Van Gogh.  Artist.  Painter.

I love how this man took something relatively ordinary - painting - and made it into something totally his own.  His paintings are distinctively his.  They weren't like anything else at the time.  He created his own standard.

I'm sure that to a lot of folks at the time, what he painted must have seemed like nonsense.  After all, his brother - his best friend, his confidant, his provider - was an art dealer, and he had a hard time selling Van Gogh's art.  Van Gogh had connections, and was clearly talented, but at the time it didn't matter.  What he painted wasn't what people wanted.

Now, we stand back and look at his paintings in awe, drawn in by the vibrancy of his gloppy colors, drawn in by that horizon that was always, always at eye level.  But back then, Van Gogh was just some poor, crazy dude who painted because his passion demanded he do it.  Very few folks thought very much of him.

Van Gogh's story always makes me a little sad.  Not simply because it's tragic - which, of course, it is; but because we live in a world where popular art (and I think this is historically true, not just a modern day plague) is mostly a process of Copy+small_variation.  Copy+small_ _variation.  Copy+small_ _ _variation.  Don't get me wrong - I don't think that's all bad, by any stretch.  It's just that it's so rare to see an artist take a medium - painting, sculpture, music, whatever - and do something so radically different with it that it's hard to describe.

And maybe that's a good thing.  Maybe we can appreciate those few and far between better because that's what they are.  Few, and far between.

Last weekend, the hubster went to Omaha to visit his brother.  I think of his bro as something akin to a YouTube spiritual guide.  He's always got his finger on the pulse of something cool.  Funny, serious, astounding, whatever.  We never come away from a trip up there without a good YouTube video in our back pocket.

Last night, after the kids were in bed (oh, those blessed couple of hours when the offspring are asleep and we're NOT), Thomas pulled YouTube up on the ol' Apple TV, and blew my mind with a band (band?  I have no idea if that's the right word for it) called Listener.  I'd never seen/heard anything like it.  They take a couple basic things - music, poetry - and make them all their own.  A man speaking, shouting, so musically, so beautifully, that you can't help but stop and listen.  It's powerful, but I can't describe to you why, exactly.  It's beautiful, but it's not.  If I had to put it into a genre, I'd be screwed.  iTunes puts them in Rock, but I think that's probably just because where the hell else would they put them?

I'm probably late to the game with Listener, but holy cow, better late than never.  This is good stuff, you guys.  And good stuff is meant to be shared.  So here are two videos for you to enjoy.  They're the same song - one performed live, one not.  If you like them, go find them on iTunes.  Support the arts and the artists you love.  And revel a little in a bit of art that marches to the beat of its own drum.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Balancing Act


Yeah.  Trying to find it.  

We're moving in couple of weeks.  Homeschool starts soon after.  I'm in the middle of a re-write.  And advocating for special needs orphans has become beautifully time consuming.

Each one of these things is such a blessing; but each comes with the potential of a lot of stress.  And since I'm not by nature a highly organized person, juggling these plus the regular day to day is going to push me a bit.

But I'm determined to stay on top of it.  To stay organized.  To stay scheduled.  And most of all - even in the moments when I feel overwhelmed - I'm determined to remember just how blessed I am.

Life is good.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Killing Characters

...or rather, wiping from existence.

That's what I'm doing today.

I'm a little bummed about it; the character in question was one of my favorites.  He had a very small role in the books, but I'd fallen in love with him.  Unfortunately, his presence will (as the story changes with this rewrite) muddy things up that I don't want muddied.

Au revoir, old man.  I'll miss you.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Morning Music

Good music is a huge motivator for me.  I stumbled onto this gem yesterday, and it's been stuck in my head ever since.

If you dig it, visit their kickstarter page here, and give these fabulous musicians a boost if you can - either through funds, or simply spreading the word about them through FB/Blog/Twitter...whatever!  Support the arts!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Titanic-Hating-Goo-Covered-Squid (or, Rejection)

You know how some people are gorgeous criers?  Their eyes glisten as they well up with tears.  Their already doe-like lashes seem to amplify with the moisture.  Their complexion becomes rose-like and dewey from whatever happens physiologically when we cry.  I had a friend in college like that.  Two of my kiddos are that way.

I'm not.

This is what happens when I cry:  My skin becomes blotchy and swollen (my husband likens it to how a food allergy looks on some people).  And it's not just a quick there and back again kind of blotchy.  It sticks around for awhile - at least twenty minutes after the waterworks have stopped.  And for whatever reason, when the tears begin for me, my nose runs.  Fiercely.  I'll go through a mega-box of tissues for one good cry.  When I cry, I become a blotchy, swollen, snotty mess.

I avoid crying, and things that will make me cry, like the plague.  Especially in public.  Oh my goodness, I'll never forget the humiliating moment when the lights came up after Titanic, and the people around us in the Nebraska movie theater were staring at me like I was some kind of squid who had dropped from the sky: trembling, gasping for breath, covered in goo.  Horrifying.


Last night, Thomas and I went on a date.  The first in months.  It was a much-needed outing.  We've got a lot going on, and we needed some grown up time, big time.

As we were waiting on our food at this great new dive we found (Fizz in Wichita.  Seriously excellent food, people.  Go there.  Now.), my phone dinged.  New email.  From an agent I was waiting on an answer from with baited breath.  I really liked the looks of this agent, and my hopes were high.

Oh, man.  Rejection.

I'm getting better at this rejection thing.  Anybody who has queried a book will tell you, rejection is just part of it.  Nobody's book is going to be everybody's cuppa.  That's just the way it is.  And I'm cool with that. But this rejection caught me off guard.  It actually hurt.  Not because she was harsh or mean or anything like that.  Not at all.  It hurt because, one, I really really liked this agent, and two, because (oh, crap), she said something that caught my attention.

Actually, it'd be more accurate to say it caught my husband's attention.  Back to the date.  We're sitting across from each other in our booth.  I have just slipped my phone back into my purse.  My face is rapidly changing from it's freckled-ivory self into a swollen-blotchy monster.  My nose is immediately out of control, and I'm grasping blindly for napkins.  Thomas is watching this, wondering what the hell is going on with his wife.  I'm finally able to spit out the word, rejection.

He immediately gets it.  He doesn't have to ask which agent I mean.  He knows me so well; he knows who I've been waiting to hear from.  He asks to read the email.  I refuse.  (Did I mention that crying also makes me utterly irrational?)  He insists.  I cave and wait, sniffling, as he reads it.

When he's done, he asks this question:

What does she know after reading the first 50 pages of your book?

I answered the question, and he looked at me kindof funny, and said,

Myndi, sweetie, that's not your book.  Your book starts when...

and then he went on to give me a run-down of my book through his eyes.  The things he loves about it, the things that make him care about it, the things that make him want to read it.

And none of those things are in the first fifty pages.

We paid our check and left.  I cried some more as we walked and talked, now not nearly as upset by the rejection, but by the fact that I'd missed something.  Something BIG.  Something writers aren't supposed to miss.  Granted, I'm an untrained newbie, but whoa.  If I haven't enticed the reader to care about the big picture of the story within the first couple of chapters, I'm screwed.  And the scary thing was, I thought I had done that.  I mean, good grief.  I've read, re-read, read aloud, re-read aloud, and read again.  I've polished until you can't see some of the letters on my keyboard any more.  I've spent sleepless nights going over plot, developing characters, imagining in fine details.  How on earth did I miss something so huge?

Anyway, all this to say, I'm stopping querying immediately.  I'm going back to work.  I love this story; I love my characters; I love these books.  And, yeah, I could stick them on a shelf and say they were my first try, and just be proud of that.  But I don't want to.  I want to do this right.  I want to grow.  I want the pain of criticism and rejection to spur me on to do better things than I would have otherwise.  I want to be able to say I gave this story everything I had, that I didn't cut corners.  Even if, in the end, it never sees the light of day, I want to be able to look at it and know the real success in the endeavor can be found in the process - in the growing, the changing, the learning.