Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Year in Writing--2009

Since today is the last day of 2009 (OMG, where has the year--no, where has the DECADE--gone?) I thought I would share the crazy journey I've been on this year as I started and *almost* finished my WIP--since most of you have only been with me for the last little part. Hope you enjoy!

January
One word: fear.
And I mean sick-to-my-stomach, not-able-to-sleep, paralyzed-as-I-stare-at-my-laptop kind of fear. I'd been researching this idea for over a year and promised myself that this year I would write it. But I didn't feel ready. I had six journals full of notes and characters so real they were talking to me ALL the time--but this story was so huge, so complicated, I was terrified I wouldn't be able to do it justice.

After two weeks of stalling I finally forced myself to write a scene--any scene--and then another, and then another. I didn't write chronologically. I didn't connect anything together. I just wrote, trying to find my voice, trying to visualize the world and the people I was creating and get SOMETHING on paper--er--in pixels. And yes, in case you're wondering I have since discarded all of it--it was total rubbish. (heh--I love that word!) But it was a start.

February 
Writer-Shannon returns!
After a month of floundering I finally realized that I was over thinking it. This may be the first novel I've written--but I did know how to write. I'd done it for years. I'd taken classes on it. So I needed to go back to my old methods.

But I felt a little shy at first. This was the first time I'd really written anything since I'd been married, so it was the first time my husband got to see my process. Thankfully he loved me enough to not run screaming away as I started shutting myself in a room so I could talk to myself (you guys do that right? No? Just me?). He also didn't complain when I made him go location scouting in San Diego, or when I made him drive out to the middle of nowhere on a moonless night so I could really see the stars, or all the weird stores I drug him into looking for gadget ideas, or any of the other crazy things that are part of what I call "method writing." He was just along for the ride, whatever I needed--reason one why I am amazingly lucky in the husband department.

March
Fumbling toward a draft.
I didn't have a draft. I had a folder of random scenes. It felt safer that way--like it was okay that they were terrible because they weren't actually a part of anything yet. But I realized it was time to put them together, so I created Master Draft 1 and started slowly weaving them into a single coherent plot. I kept psyching myself out of putting much in there, though, and my progress was SUPER slow. (In case you're wondering, I'm on Master Draft 12 right now, and I have a feeling there will be at least one more. Ah, editing!)

April
Revelations.
Okay, April was HUGE--for two reasons. First: I went to my first author event (called Project Book Babe) and met ten amazing writers who had such wonderful advice that I totally changed the way I was writing my draft. I'd been approaching it more like a screenplay, jumping from scene to scene without bothering with the stuff in between (because in scripts you just write "cut to" and you're good). But one of the writers talked about needing to write everything that happens for the character as they go from point A to point B--even though they knew that meant they would be throwing stuff away--because they find out things through the journey. So I decided to try that and WOW! Huge leap forward.

Second: I went to Europe--a place that always inspires me. We did London, Paris, and Edinburg and because I prefer trains over planes I had a lot of time to sit around and think about my story as we traveled between countries. On the train from London to Edinburg I had an EPIC revelation. It was so huge and dramatic that I actually cried. Right there on the train. (my husband was asleep and I don't think anyone else noticed--hopefully.) It doesnt happen until much later in the series, but it really cemented my plot and brought new understanding of my characters. (Incidentally, I believe Harry Potter was conceived on a train from London to Edinburg so I'd like to think that's a good sign.)

May, June, July
Full Steam Ahead!
With my story firmly in my head I powered through my draft with new energy. And then threw most of it away and started again. Got to the end and realized I hated some of the subplots. Pulled them out and started again. Realized the major "mystery" didn't make sense. Tossed it out and started again (can you see how I got to Master Draft 12 now?) Only problem: I had no idea how to solve the problem with my "mystery." I was feeling really low--I think this was probably that point writers call "the wall"--and a tiny part of me wanted to give up.

But then we went to Comic Con and one of the writers I'd met at Project Book Babe was there and after talking for a while he said he was so impressed with what I told him that whenever I was ready, I could email him my draft and he would pass it on to his agent. I'm not sure if I'll end up taking him up on that or not, but more importantly, it gave me the kick in the pants I needed to keep going.

August
Dipping my toe into the blogging pool
I had no idea how to blog. Or what I wanted to blog about. And I was more than a little afraid of coming out of the shadows I'd been hiding in and letting the world (or, you know, anyone who actually read it) know that I was writing again. But everything I read said I should be blogging, making connections, putting my name out there. So I finally decided to give it a try. For the first week I didn't tell anyone I was doing it. I was too nervous. But then I realized I was being silly and told a couple of people and gained a whopping 5 followers. And their pictures looked so lonely I wanted more. I just had no idea how to do it. I figured the "If you build it they will come" philosophy probably wasn't going to work, so I read a LOT of blogs trying to figure out their secrets. And just when I thought I had a plan, life happened.

September
The lost month
August ended with a 1am emergency call from my mother-in-law. My father-in-law was in the hospital and it didn't look good and we needed to get there immediately. The next three weeks were a roller coaster ride of hospital errors, emergency surgeries, bad news, good news, comas, stress, worry, and finally, recovery. My husband and I made the hour and a half drive from our house to the hospital so many times I swear our car could do the drive on its own by the end. And during that time, I couldn't get my head into my story. So I didn't touch my draft. I still blogged every day, just so I kept some sort of writing in my life, but I can't say the posts were any good. It didn't really matter. I still had only 5 followers so it wasn't like I was letting anyone down.

October
Regrouping
With my father-in-law out of the woods I threw myself back into my draft and finally put my blogging plans into action. I wanted followers and I wanted them now. So I ran contests. I reached out to people who seemed to know what they were doing and asked them for help. I connected with writers through Twitter. I worked really hard to make the posts as good as I could get them. And the response was amazing. Finally, I had little pictures smiling at me in my sidebar! I was making *friends.* I was connecting with other writers. It's hands down, one of the things I'm most proud of this year. So thank you guys--you really have made my year.

November
NaNoRevisMo
Feeling like I was finally getting close with my draft, I realized I had overlooked a crucial step: critiquing. And considering I'd also registered for a writer's conference at the end of January and paid extra to have consultation and advance reading appointments with agents, I was suddenly VERY motivated to get my draft done. But I didn't know any other writers in real life, so I reached out to the writers I knew online. And let me tell you--having someone to bounce ideas off of and get constructive criticism from is priceless. I didn't finish my draft but I made more progress in that one month then I had in six months on my own.

December
Soooooooooooo close I can smell it
Armed with two more critique partners--who are absolutely amazing--and with my deadline getting closer by the minute I pushed myself harder this month than any other. I'm still not done--despite a valiant effort--but I'm really close. And I've gotten enough positive feedback to back me up on that. I'm still not thrilled with some of the murky middle chapters, but hopefully over the next few weeks--with the help of my CP's--I will get them cleaned up and start querying in February (who knows, maybe one of the agents I meet at the conference in Jan. will like it). That's the current plan, anyway. But I also believe the worst thing I can do is query before I'm really ready, so if it's not right I'll wait until it is.

So that's it--my crazy year in writing. It certainly had its ups and downs. But I've also come a long way. And now that I'm finally on track, here's hoping 2010 will be the year I land my agent and sell my book--even if that means I'll have fulfill my horrifying deals with you guys and post humiliating vlogs and youtube clips.

I hope you'll stick around to find out!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Furthering My Humiliation

Most of you know about the horrifying and humiliating deal I was forced into making with the Universe wherein I agreed to post the YouTube clip of me with thick bangs, getting my butt kicked on a game show when I finally sell my book. But it has since been pointed out that I kind of skipped a step, because I am currently agent-less. And so the call was made for me to make an alternate deal with the Universe in exchange for landing my dream agent.

*Sighs*

I really, really REALLY don't want to do it. I mean, haven't I humiliated myself enough already?

BUT--because I really want a good agent, and because the peer pressure is pretty intense, and because I am currently caught in an epic blog war and fully expect the dares to continue and grow increasingly worse, I have decided to cave in and make another deal. (Why am I doing this? WHY?)

Okay, here we go...

*Clears Throat*

If/When I sign with my dream agent I will record my first vlog and post it for everyone to see.

Now, before anyone cries foul and claims that I'm not picking something humiliating enough, let me explain.  I HATE BEING VIDEOTAPED!!!! Actually, I hate cameras of all kinds, but VIDEO CAMERAS? *shudders* I know that might seem hard to believe considering I went on national television for a game show--but that didn't exactly work out well for me. And if you need further proof consider this: I refused to have a videographer at my wedding. Probably the most important day of my life thus far, when I'm wearing a dress fit for a princess and had a whole team of hair/make-up people making me look as pretty as I possibly could and STILL I refused to be videotaped. So the fact that I'm willing to do it for you guys and the Universe says A LOT!

Also, I haven't told you what I will do in the vlog, so let me correct that now:

(Oh man, WHY am I doing this?)

I promise that in the vlog I will not only announce who my wonderful new agent is, but I will dress up and give a gooey, possibly tearful Academy Awards Style acceptance speech holding some sort of fake trophy.

There! Is that enough humiliation for you guys?

No?

Are you kidding me?

FINE!!!!!!!!!!

(*swears under breath*)

I will also let you guys have input into what I say/who I thank in the speech!

*Cringes*

It can't get anymore dangerous than that. After all, I still remember what happened the last time I turned control over to you guys during the Great Gnome Award Debacle of '09, so I fully expect to get a ton of horrible, humiliating suggestions. *sighs*

I will, however make a few caveats:

1. No cussing/swearing
2. Keep it clean (I try to keep this blog PG rated)
3. I will not say anything controversial/political/religious/bound-to-get-me-into-heated-debates
4. I reserve the right to exclude something if I feel it falls into any of the above categories

I want you guys to have fun with this, but I also don't want this vlog to become the beginning and END of my career so please be kind.

Obviously I won't need it for a bit (I'm still not *quite* ready to query, and my writer's conference isn't until the end of January, where I'll hopefully be meeting a couple of the agents on my wish list) but go ahead and leave your humiliating suggestions in the comments and I promise I will include them when the time comes. I can't guarantee I'll put out a second call for suggestions when it's time to make the vlog (who knows how many more followers I'll have by then--maybe ones who are more evil than you guys!) so this may be your only chance. Have at it!

*Sighs*

Actually, there is one silver lining to this.  Because my deal involves my FIRST vlog, I will not be vlogging anything from now until the deal is fulfilled. Which means the evil and hilarious Frankie cannot dare me into vlogging in our current blog war. Gee...what a shame! *snickers*

Okay, that's enough Shannon Shame for today. Back to editing! (and to working on a really bad movie thanks to Frankie. *Grumbles*)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Earth Had A Snack

Why, WHY haven't I learned?

Yes, I've only been blogging for four months, but that's still long enough to know one of the cardinal rules of blogging: never, NEVER mention anything even remotely embarrassing in a post because someone will call you out on it. Especially if you have evil followers.

And yet, here I am, forced by the more-than-a-little-bit-evil Frankie to post the short story I wrote back when I was 11 called "Earth Had a Snack" (which I foolishly mentioned when I was tagged). I was planning to ignore her dare, but then she brought out the Triple Sniple Dare on Twitter, and, well, that's not exactly something I can turn my back on. So FINE. I am posting the horrible story along with current Shannon commentary and you can all see just how lame I really was as a kid.

But (*evil laugh*) she didn't specify WHEN I had to post it, so I'm posting it when everyone is far too busy celebrating the holidays to read my embarrassingly bad writing. (Well, that's my hope anyway). And if a few of you do find it, just remember that this was all part of those million bad words I had to purge before I could write well.

Okay, so, Earth Had a Snack.

It's dated 10/19/93 so I was 11 years old and in 7th Grade. I have NO idea where this idea came from, but it appears to be a journal between a caveman and his wife (and we also seem to be able to hear when they talk out loud...um...yeah) and apparently I even art designed the book. See:

I wrote it longhand so I could use different handwriting for the husband and wife, and intentionally wrote sloppily and misspelled things for the husband.

I also did some of my own illustrations, which were total crap:
Bet you'd never guess I was an art major once upon a time based on this little beauty. (Anyone else see the shameless Wilma Flinstone resemblance?)

Okay, and here is the text, verbatim--I am not making any alterations (even the spelling and grammar errors, though some of them were intentional) and then you'll see the 28-year-old-Shannon commentary in blue as we go. And...we're off!

Earth Had a Snack

"Oh my, I don't know why I'm even writing this. All it does is bring back terrible memories. However people have the right to know what happened on those dark days. I guess that's why I sit here, carved bone in hand, container of ink on my rock, writing down my tragic life story. (sounds cheerful. Can't wait to read more!) Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Grog. (oh boy, where did I pull that lovely little name from?) It you haven't allready guessed I'll tell you. I'm a caveman. (um...why would we guess that?) Now let the story begin. I hope I don't write sloppy."

(and here's where the handwriting gets all sloppy and backwards, so I'm guessing that first part was his thoughts like, magically appearing on the paper without him even realizing it or something. Apparently I had a very unique approach to story telling.)

Grog'z Story

It all began when I was a little cave boy with my dad. Hiz name waz Gargon. (ooo, my names are getting better and better.) We were hunting brontasaurs (How'm I doin) (um, what the heck is with the parenthesis? Anyone else confused? Come on 11-year old Shannon, stop being fancy and tell the story!) I waz gatherin berries in a basskutt that I made. (wait--I thought you were hunting brontasaurs?) I waz reachen for a new berry high on a tree when the ground started shaken. It knocked me over and my berriez (I love that I only misspelled berries the second time. Awesome!) spilled to. I waz grabbin the ground and screamen bloody murder when suddenly ("Grog come for dinner.") (Huh?) ("Oh, you'll have to excuse me. That's my wife Margo. I'll be right back")

(So...everything they think or say shows up on the page? What kind of magical place is this?)

("Hmmmmm, what's this. Grog's writing a story? No! That's not how it was at all! I'll just fix this.")

(and we switch to loopy handwriting as control-freak, exclamation-point-happy Margo takes over.)

Margo's Story

Well I was just a little cave girl when it happened. Being that I was neat and clean the ground shaking was really a pain. I had to redo everything in my beautiful cave. I remember I was organizing my rock collection. (because, c'mon, what else is a cave girl going to collect?) I had just put the last rock on when ("Margo, what are you doing?")

(Wow, that's twice I've interrupted right when they were actually going to start the plot of the story. 11-year-old Shannon is evil--and apparently not afraid of ticking off her readers!)

("Just reading your story, honey!") ("Well, leave me alone so I can write!") ("Ok, I'll get back to my story later!") (I paint a lovely picture of wedded bliss, don't I? And, back to Grog's messy writing)

Now az I was sayen I waz grabbin the ground screamen bloody murder when it just stopped. (how anticlimactic is THAT? I feel cheated!!!!!) Just like that. It waz the most wierdest thing I ever had happen to me! ("Well, I guess I'll turn in! I'll write some more tomorrow!") (wow, apparently the Grogster doesn't have a whole lot of writing stamina)

("I thought he'ed never leave. Now lets see where was I? Oh yeah")

I had just put the last rock on when suddenly the ground started shaking. It nearly destroyed my beautiful cave. I had to redo my whole cave and can you imagine how long that took? (I can Margo, oh you poor thing! And, um, can you please tell us something interesting now? 28-year-old Shannon is getting SUPER bored!) Finally I got things perfect again. After that it didn't happen again for a while. Boy was I glad to.

("Margo, are you writing my story?") (Um, Grog, didn't you notice the loopy handwriting the last time you picked up your paper?) ("Yes.") ("Well, stop it.") (Ooo, it's getting tense, maybe we'll get some cave people fisticuffs!) ("Oh Grog can't we finish it together?) ("OK, but I get to write.") ("But I write so much nicer!") ("Fine.") (Aw man, fisticuffs are out. *pouts*)

Well, as I was saying we were glad. Well you guessed what happened next in our stories. We got married. (Holy giant leap in time 11-year-old Shannon!) We had a son. We named him Tarzano. (I am blushing so bad right now it's not even funny. Tarzano? *hangs head in shame*) He used to love to hunt. He helped us have a happier life. Me and Grog had a very happy life. (I'm noting the past tense here and thinking things are about to go downhill for our cave couple.) 

Then one day it happened again. (Um...what did? If there were ever a perfect example of why "it" = bad writing, this would take the prize) This time was the worst time it ever happened. The ground cracked. Many people were swallowed up! (oh noes!) Me and Grog were. That's where we wrote this story. Inside the earth. (dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnn)

Actually it's not that hard living underground. We've made quite a good life for ourselves. We've discovered quite a few new types of plantlife. Most of them tasted delicious. I made some delicious stews with them. I know Grog loved them, didn't you Grog? (So, an epic earthquake swallowed my characters and trapped them in the center of the earth and I'm talking about stew? Oh 11-year-old Shannon, you disappoint me!)

Grog has carved us furniture from rocks. There's a whole colony of us here, you know. All of us that were swallowed into the earth. The only bad thing that happened  was that sweet little Tarzano was killed. A rock fell on him. (What the what? How heartless was I at 11-years-old?) We buried him and tried to go on with our lives. We have, other than that, had everything be for the better. Don't you agree Grog? (What a sudden and bizarrely positive mood shift. And there's only one sentence left, so I'm guessing 11-year-old Shannon didn't really delve into the heartbreak of losing a child).

Well, if you are ever in an earthquake and you smell stew, you'll know it's just us.

The End.

Okay, wow. Just, wow. I'm not sure what I find more disturbing, the horrible writing or the fact that I got "50 out of 50 A+ Very Creative. Super Ending!" and TWO happy faces. Methinks my teacher was more than a little generous. 

Well, I hope you enjoyed, (actually I *hope* none of you are reading this) and now (because I cannot allow her to get off scott free for this) I hereby D-Double Dog-Triple Sniple-Quadruple Roople Dare Frankie to post her epic 21 page story from when she was 10 years old along with modern day commentary. (And if she doesn't want to type it all up, I will happily accept a vlog wherein she reads it aloud like story time--preferably doing any voices and acting out key scenes--but it's her call) :)

I know I'm starting a dare war here, believe me, I KNOW, but I cannot let her get away with this. So I apologize in advance to my followers for whatever horrible thing she will make me post/do in return. This is going to get ugly. I can feel it. Watch out blogosphere. It. Is. On. *ducks*

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Meet...Louis?


So, yesterday I posted this picture of me outside the new Louis Vuitton store at City Center (which happens to be the biggest Louis Vuitton store in all of North America--a VERY dangerous place to take me), and I promised to reveal the new member of my designer handbag family. And I will get to that, I promise.

But before I do, I thought I'd give you a glimpse of the process that went into buying said handbag, which means another epic transcript into the way Shannon thinks/acts.

(Brace Yourselves)

Walking to the store:


Me: Ooo, look honey--they have a Prada--I don't have a Prada bag yet.

My Wonderful Husband: Would you rather get Prada than Louis Vuitton?

Me: No. *Shakes head* I want a Louis.

MWH: Okay, then we need to go to Louis.

Me: *Glances longingly at Prada* *Nods* Ooo--look, Tiffanys. *Grabs husband's arm* Tiffany Baby! Do you see it?

MWH: *sighs* Yes, I do. But we're going to Louis right now, remember?

Me: Right. *Follows husband into Louis Vuitton* *Eyes widen and rove around shiny store* Ooo, pretty! *Salivates*

MWH: So, do you know which bag you want?

Me: *Waves arm around store* Definitely one of these.

MWH: *Sighs* Okay, let's get a sales person. *Drags his wide eyed, drooling wife toward an available sales representative*

Chipper Sales Girl: Hi, can I help you?

Me: *Blinks*

MWH: Um...my wife is here to buy a bag to carry her laptop, but she doesn't know which one she wants.

CSG: Okay. *turns to me and smiles* Do you want a shoulder bag or a briefcase?

Me: I don't know.

CSG: Okay. Do you want Monogram Canvas or Damier Canvas?

Me: I love them both!

CSG: Okaaaaaay. Well, let's start with some of our most popular. *Leads us into the less sparkly, less crowded professional/unisex section*

Me: *Stares longingly at the pretty handbags behind me*

CSG: *Takes down a Damier Messenger Bag* This is probably our most popular because it has the most pockets and can fit more than just a laptop. *Explains a bunch of other features I'm not really listening to as I stare at the shiny, pretty gold zippers and lovely Damier print* What do you think?

Me: Pretty! *Plays with zipper* Do you have any others? I'd like to see all my options.

CSG: *Takes down a smaller Monogram Messenger Bag* This one is a little smaller, and only has one pocket, but it's another of our best sellers because... *Explains a bunch of stuff I don't hear as I play with the fancy gold, latchey thing* What do you think?

Me: Pretty Latch. Any others?

(I think you can see where this is going, so I'll just summarize the next half hour and say that I sent her all over the store, made her get ladders and tall security guards to reach bags on display so I could take a look at them and then ask to see more until I was surrounded by similar but different bags)

MWH: Any you don't like that she can take away?

Me: Umm...they're all so pretty!

CSG: Why don't you try them on?

Me: Ooo, fun! *Trys on bag* I like this one! *Tries on another* Ooo, this one's nice too!
(And repeat with all the bags without getting anywhere.)

MWH: *Starts pointing out a bunch of practical points about wear and tear and pocket organization and strap adjustability--blah blah blahbity blah*

Me: Look--they have scarves! Scarves Honey!


MWH: Shannon, don't you want to get a laptop bag?

Me: *Blinks* Yes. You're right. *Tries on each bag again* *Hems and Haws for another 20 minutes* *Drives everyone crazy* Okay, I've decided!

MWH and CSG: *Phew*


Me: I'll buy this one!




(Which, for the record was not only the most expensive--yay me--but also the first one the Chipper Sales Girl showed me. Yep. I'm AWESOME to shop with!)

Okay, so, the picture doesn't totally do it justice because you can't see all the awesome pockets and organizational elements inside, which were the reason I picked it. It wasn't *quite* as pretty as some of the others I looked at--and it's certainly not a pretty as a fancy new handbag (like the gorgeous Sistina Bag I'm STILL coveting)--but it's PERFECT for what I need (yes, NEED) it for, which is to be a professional yet fancy way to carry around the most important things I own: my laptop, notebook, iPhone, etc. at the Writer's Conference and ALL those trips I'll be making once I land my groundbreaking seven book deal and take over the publishing world Mwahahahahahaha! (Hm...I may have gotten carried away there).

Basically, I decided to be practical and get the one that was the most functional, because all Louis Vuittons are pretty so I really couldn't go wrong. (Don't you love how I can label buying a ridiculously overpriced Messenger bag as me being "practical?" *giggles*)


But I need your help now.

This is my first Louis from the professional/unisex section of the store, so it's the first Louis I own that doesn't have a fancy name. (All my others have cool names like Priscilla and Speedy and Hampstead and...well, you get my point) but I don't think this one even has a name and if it does I'm sure it's something unexciting like Damier Messenger Bag, large. So help me name him. (Yes, it's a him--he's from the unisex section of the store and my Louis girls could use studly guy to flirt with while they're stored in their dust bags between usage). So please, if you have any good ideas, post them in the comments. Right now, my editing-fried brain is drawing a blank so I just keep calling him Louis.

Can't wait to see what you guys come up with!

Oh, and PS--for those of you who are observant and noticed that I am in fact carrying a Tiffany bag in the picture above--yes, my husband also took me to Tiffanys and bought me one of the Tiffany Key's I've been coveting and a new charm for my charm bracelet. But before you think I'm spoiled (which I am, by the way) let me remind you: I bought the Louis with my cash stash (which is seriously depleted now) so it doesn't really count as a purchase because it's money I saved specifically to use on frivolous things. :)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Vegas: Shannon Style

Why, WHY did I agree to post pictures of my Vegas trip? What was I thinking? I am SO not photogenic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No really, I'm like Chandler in that episode of Friends when he and Monica take their engagement photos. (Photographer: "I'm sorry Sir, is the seat uncomfortable?" Chandler: "No, I am!") I HATE having my picture taken. Actually, hate isn't a strong enough word. I think the only person who hates being photographed more is my husband, so we were quite the pair. And for those who don't believe me, here's proof:

Could our smiles BE any more forced?
(By the way, we're outside the Wynn here, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite spots on the Strip. It's absolutely gorgeous in there--but I'll get to that in a minute)

Photo-Phobia aside, I had an awesome trip. Great food. Amazing show (we saw La Reve at the Wynn). I even let myself relax a bit.
It was hard not to-look at our room!
(We upgraded to a Junior Suite this time--not as nice as a high roller suite, but it was cheaper and still gave me a separate area to write in)

A couple things you might notice in the photo:

1) Yes, Ella came with us. She goes EVERYWHERE with me. I really can't sleep without her. For realz. (And no, she didn't go on a Daring Journey this time)
2) I did some serious shopping (and yes, I would have lined my purchases up on the sofa even if I weren't taking a photo--sometimes I swear I have OCD)

Where did I do that shopping?
Mostly here:

But also here:
(But we'll talk about the new Louis tomorrow. He deserves his own post.)


Okay, I don't want this post to run too long, so here's some random photos of me at various spots along the strip:

*cringes*

Outside Caesars

At the Grand Canal outside The Venetian

At the Lake of Dreams at the Wynn, having my first alcoholic drink in like 10 months (when I started using every spare second I had to write/edit I stopped drinking because alcohol makes me sleepy)

Inside the Wynn, in a room that always feels like a Fairy Land to me.

Here's a better shot of the lighting in there:
 (it's also better because I'm not in it!)

And I have to say, the best part for me was that I found some awesome inspiration for my book. Everything in Vegas is so over-the-top, which is perfect for the fantasy world I'm creating. I'm totally stealing some of these decorating ideas and reworking them to fit my locations:


Part of this works perfect as a staircase in one of the towers at my school


These light fixtures were so amazing I have to work them in somewhere. Not sure where yet, but SOMEWHERE!


And this one I actually stole last year when I was there (for the few of you who've read my draft, this is the inspiration behind the gadget I call "The Leapmaster") but this time I was smart enough to take a picture.

Even better, our last day there I had a major epiphany with my plot. There's been one ugly kink in my lovely little plot chain and I've been battling it for months with no solution. But after three days of relaxing in Vegas I FINALLY figured it out--and it wasn't even a complicated solution. A couple of tweaks in the dialogue of some earlier scenes, and a few bigger changes in the climax and the plot is perfect--no kinks or plot holes in sight (at least, I hope).  Not sure what made me put the pieces together--could be the change of scenery, the fact that I actually slept a little (or maybe it was that spot of alcohol...hm...interesting) but I feel like this huge shadow of doubt has been wiped off my draft. I still have to finish editing and polishing, but I really think I have all the pieces in place now, which is a MIRACLE!

I think there might be a lesson in there. Maybe I've been underestimating the value of taking a break, having some fun, giving myself some Shannon Time. I think my brain works better that way. Who knew?

Okay, thanks for suffering through the horrible Shannon pictures (I hope they somewhat lived up to your expectations) and tune in tomorrow for the epic Louis Vuitton reveal (I'm sure my male followers are in breathless anticipation)

And I'll leave you with one of my favorite parts of our trip: The Lake of Dreams.

Every half hour at the Wynn, the Lake of Dreams does a light and music show. Here's the three we stayed for (whilst having drinks and tweeting like crazy--we were there for an hour and a half after all)

This one was all about snow and winter

Here the flowers bloomed and danced to classical music

And my personal favorite: the giant frog hopped up and sang Low Rider

Friday, December 18, 2009

Vegas, Baby! Vegas!

That's right people. Right now--as you're reading this very post--I'm not home. I'm in Las Vegas!!!!!

Yes, that's right--even with how much work I still need to do on my draft, and how little time I have to do it in before the conference--I decided to take, as the lovely Brits put it, a "Minibreak Holiday" and escape with my husband to Las Vegas. Have I lost my mind?

Probably.

But it came down to this: I really need a break, our annual pilgrimage to Vegas has been a tradition for the last five years so it was way too depressing to think about missing it, and, well, I did bring my laptop with me so I can get a little work done while my husband naps. So even though I know I'm probably going to regret it as soon as I get back, for the moment I'm basking in all that Las Vegas has to offer.

Why Vegas, you may wonder? (especially those of you who know that I don't gamble and neither does my husband)

Well, first of all, it's only about four hours away from where I live, which, in my opinion, is the perfect distance. Far enough that we're away from all of our responsibilities, but not so far that we can't make it into an awesome road trip. (Maybe I'm alone in this, but I adore road trips. Such an awesome opportunity to daydream about my story)

But, more importantly, Vegas is dirt cheap the weekend before Christmas. Let me put it this way: we're staying at the Paris in an upgraded room with an Eiffel Tower view and we're paying $50 a night. *Giggles* Last year we upgraded to a suite--one of the High roller suites that usually cost $1200 a night (it was SO nice--it had a TV that appeared as if from nowhere!) and do you know how much we paid? $150 a night. Yep. It's awesome.

It's also one of the only times Vegas isn't crowded, and, because Christmas is right around the corner, all the stores are running awesome sales--which s a good thing, because I have some serious shopping to do. Thanks to the Editing-Is-Stressful-Diet (and not always having time to eat) I've lost about 15 pounds over the last two months. I refuse to go to the writer's conference in clothes that are drooping in ways that aren't so cute, so I need new clothes--stat.

But I will also be making another purchase--a totally frivolous one.

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned my handbag obsession to you guys, but yeah--it's bad. I <3 handbags. I might even <3 them more than Twitter--but that's a REALLY close call. And I especially <3 designer handbags. Specifically Louis Vuitton.

I know, I know, they're ridiculously overpriced and I feel totally guilty buying one during such a tough economy. But, if it makes you judge me any less, I've saved for it--for over a year. Every week my husband gives me $30 cash as spending money for lunch or whatever. I never spend it. (Half the time I don't even eat lunch). Instead I tuck it away in my cash stash and let it add up. Then, whenever I want something indulgent I don't have to feel guilty about buying it. But lately I haven't had time to spend it, so I counted it up about a month ago and--dang! Louis Vuitton here I come.

And there is a method to my madness. See, the reason I <3 designer handbags so much is because they make me feel more confident when I'm carrying one--like I'm someone important, because I have this beautiful, shiny, expensive thing draped over my arm. And, well, I'm going to that Writer's Conference, where I won't know anyone and it'll be the first time I've ever talked about my book with agents (OMG I'm freaking out just thinking about it) and, if there was ever a time to have a designer handbag to boost my confidence, that would be it. So I'm buying myself a new Louis Vuitton bag, one that's big enough to fit my laptop and notebook and business cards at the conference. I haven't decided which one I'm getting--there's SO many pretty ones to choose from--but I will post a picture next week (Squee!!!!!)

Okay, that's it for now. Sorry, I won't be around to comment on your posts until Monday, but I'll do my best to catch up as soon as I get back. And you'll still be able to reach me on Twitter. (I'm ALWAYS on Twitter)

I'll also take lots of pictures while I'm there--maybe even a few of me without sunglasses on (assuming I can remember to take them off)--and I promise a nice, Vegas updatey post next week.

So that's it for now. I'm off to the stores!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I've been Tagged!

So...Tere Kirkland tagged me. Which means--for those of you not familiar with this tag war going around--I now get to answer a bunch of questions

And while I'm deeply, deeply flattered that she chose me (no really, you guys have NO idea how much joy it brings to my heart when I'm mentioned on other blogs--almost like I'm famous *blushes*) I have to say, these are the hardest questions I've had to answer (yes, even harder than Frankie's) because they're all about my writing. I'm terrified about answering them. But, I've been tagged so I really have no choice. On that note, here we go!

1. What's the last thing you wrote? What's the first thing you wrote that you still have?

The last thing I wrote was last night. It's a new scene for my WIP to replace one of the many scenes I have flagged as, "Total Crap! Try again!" It's in the middle of my story and I just didn't have the emotions right--or even close--the first time around so I *hope* I did better this time. I try to let a scene sit for a few days after I write it before I re-read it, so I really won't know till the weekend if I like it, but it felt like I was closer to where I needed to be.

And the first thing I wrote that I still have? Um, that's probably a short story I wrote in 7th Grade called "Earth Had a Snack." It's a dual first person narrative where a caveman and his wife chronicle their life after they're trapped inside the center of the earth by a huge earthquake. I wrote it longhand, so I could have sloppy, misspelled writing for the husband and neat loopy writing for the wife and I did my own illustrations. I actually re-read it not that long ago, and my reaction: where the heck did I come up with this? I have no idea why my brain came up with married cave people arguing back and forth between journal entries. Oh, and in case you're wondering, yes, I was a very weird kid. (I know, you're all SHOCKED by that, right?)

2. Write poetry?

Not really. I mean, I have--especially in school when we were required to--but no, not usually by choice. I have nothing against poetry, I'm just really bad at it. That being said, I do have a few journals filled with poems I wrote when I was in high school and college, and let me tell you--they stink. Like really, really bad.

3. Angsty poetry?

No, my poems weren't angsty. I'm actually not a very angsty person. Never have been. I think it's because I have a hard time being serious. I'd rather crack a joke or make someone smile. But that's just me.

4. Favorite genre of writing?

Middle Grade Fantasy. And no, I'm not saying that because that's what I write--that's what I write because I love it. Though when I say Middle Grade Fantasy, I mean more like Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, Fablehaven, Inkheart--longer books that probably should be classified as Upper Middle Grade, but I don't think that distinction currently exists.

5. Most annoying character you've ever created?

Ooo, that's hard, because I've created a lot of annoying characters (I love to torment my main characters with annoying characters they can't escape). It's probably Kara, a 15-yr-old girl I created for a 10-min script I wrote back at USC. It's about two girls: Dorothy, who's sweet and smart and ugly and fat and from a horrible home, and Kara who's pretty and rich and horrible and has an awesome family and a hunky boyfriend and totally doesn't deserve it. Thanks to a fluke accident involving a falling light fixture and the girls locker room showers they switch bodies and lives. The best part: I never resolve it. When the script ends, Kara is still stuck in the fat, ugly body with the horrible family and ends up in the mental ward because she keeps insisting on the body switching thing and no one believes her. I had to make her REALLY annoying so we wouldn't feel too sorry for her fate. And btw, no one can claim they're more evil to their characters than I am! No one!

6. Best plot you've ever created?

Um, is it lame if I say the plot of my current WIP? Because that really is how I feel. I've written tons of scripts (one my teacher thought I might be able to sell if I cleaned it up a bit) and started four or five books before this one--but this is hands down the best idea I've ever had. I loved it so much, I was willing to abandon a book I'd already put almost a year of my life into because I couldn't get these characters out of my head. I really hope agents and publishers agree with me about this, but even if they don't, I'm still proud of myself because I love the story and I'm glad I've had a chance to tell it.

7. Coolest plot twist you've ever created?

Sadly I can't reveal this, but trust me--it's awesome. You won't get to read it unless I write my whole series (it happens around book 5 or 6) but OMG IT IS EPIC! The only other person who knows is my husband (who is sworn to secrecy) and when I told him he was quiet for a minute and then blinked and said, "Whoa..." I can't wait till I get to write it.

8. How often do you get writer's block?

I guess this depends on how you define writers block. I've never reached a point where I was completely out of ideas, but I have hit walls in my drafts (my WIP especially) where it's like, "Crap! What do I do now?" Usually I go backward to see if I made a misstep along the way (which I usually have) or I turn to google and search randomly for inspiration. If that doesn't help, I let my characters wander. I write scenes I know I won't need, just to see what happens, and sometimes the solution presents itself. The important thing is that I keep going. Sooner of later the answer will show up, so I just have to keep working until it does.

9. Write fan fiction?

Yes and no. Back when I was at USC we had to write scripts for TV shows that already existed, so I've written a Law and Order Episode and part of an X Files episode (I *think* that can loosely be classified as fan fiction). But I can't say I would have done that voluntarily. I'd much rather work with my own characters than other people's.

10. Do you type or write by hand?

I do all my research by hand, jotting notes in notebooks (I've filled six notebooks with research and ideas for my current WIP) but when it comes time to actually write the draft I have to type it. I can't write it long hand. It's too linear. I need to be able to jump around, and I definitely need to be able to cut, copy, and paste.

11. Do you save everything you write?

Absolutely. Even the stuff I edit out.  I never know what I might need it for, and, if nothing else, it gives me a good laugh when I look back on some of the junk I've come up with.

12. Do you ever go back to an idea after you've abandoned it?

So far I haven't, but I'm planning to. I still feel the book I was working on before this WIP was a good story, and I'd still love to tell it. But I have to finish telling this one first, which could be as many as 8 books if I get my ultimate wish, so it'll probably be awhile.

13. What's your favorite thing you've ever written?

Wow. That's really hard to answer. But I'd have to say it's Chapter Three of my WIP. My toughest CP told me that's when she knew I was "the real deal" when she was going through my draft and I think it has some of the coolest scenes in the whole book. I can't really tell you about it without giving away things I'm not ready to share, but a couple of you have read it and hopefully enjoyed.

14. What's everyone else's favorite story that you've written?

Again, um, I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record here, but it would have to be my current WIP. Very few people have read everything I've written, but the few who have definitely agree that this one blows the others out of the water. My mom--and I know she's my mom so she's biased--said, "If this doesn't get published they're crazy." (And she didn't have that kind of reaction when I showed her things like the lame boy band script I wrote when I was 17, so she does have some sense of taste between my writing). Even more convincing is the fact that my dad likes it. My dad's a tough critic, and he hates silly books (he usually reads really long, boring biographies about successful businessmen) The guy even hates Disney. So I was more than a little terrified when he asked to read pages and I was fully expecting him to like it because I wrote it, but not actually *like* it. But he liked it--he talked to me about it for two hours and wanted to hear all about things I have planned for the other books, so I *hope* that's a good sign. I guess I won't know for sure until I query it, which is coming soon.

15. Ever written Romance or angsty teen drama?

Not really. I've written plenty of romantic comedies, but I wouldn't call them romance. I'm not the kind of person who can pull off detailed love scenes. I'm more of an epic-kiss-and-then-fade-to-black kind of girl. And as far as angsty teen drama, nope, it's just not me. If I get to write my whole series some of the characters will have their angsty moments, so I'll have to figure out how to channel my inner angst.

16. What's your favorite setting for your characters?

I prefer to write about places I know, so I usually use California as a setting. But my current WIP has a couple of worlds within worlds and let me tell you, those cities are awesome. If I could live there I would in a heartbeat.

17. How many writing projects are you working on right now?

Really only one, though I have plotted the whole series and I do keep the future plot twists in my head as I work through my draft, so I can be sure the seeds are properly planted.

18. Have you ever won an award for your writing?

Does third place in the 8th grade writing fair count? If not, does it sound less pathetic if I say I've also never entered any contests? So I've never won, but I've also never lost.

19. What are your five favorite words?

Ooo, this is hard, because I am a total Word Nerd. I actually keep a personal lexicon where I keep track of all my favorite words, (I know, I know: Nerd-Alert!) but if I have to pick favorites I will:

Kerfuffle
Bumbershoot
Verdant
Somnific
Penultimate

20. What character have you created that is most like yourself?

Hm...I usually don't model my characters after myself, they just kind of take on personalities of their own, and I don't  have any say over it. Plus my characters become VERY real to me when I write them, so it's hard to see them as anything other than "them." But my current main character has a few of my quirks (she tears out loose eyelashes when she gets nervous and can't sleep without her stuffed elephant named Ella, and totally manifests stress with her appetite) but she's not necessarily like me. She's a lot braver than I am, and way smarter at 12-years-old than I was. (Sometimes I think she's smarter than I am now.) But she and I probably have the most in common out of all the hundreds of characters I've created.

21. Where do you get ideas for your characters?

Oh boy, this is where you're going to think I'm REALLY weird. I don't usually come up with them. The story gives them to me. For example, one of my favorite characters--a boy named Keefe--exists entirely because one day I was feeling a little blocked so I decided to let Sophie wander through the halls at her school. She got totally lost and I realized she would need to ask someone for directions and since it was the middle of class I knew it would either be a hall monitor or a ditcher. I decided to try the ditcher and BAM--Keefe was born. All his mannerisms, his whole back story, everything just came to me in like an hour and my hand hurt as I tried to scribble it all down in a notebook so I wouldn't forget it. It doesn't always happen quite that easily, but it's still almost always the story that gives the characters to me.

22: Do you ever write based on your dreams?

No, because A) I don't sleep much (stupid insomnia) and, B) If I dream I rarely remember them. Plus, the few dreams I have are usually pretty boring.

But, my stories do creep into my dreams. Especially if I'm writing right before I go to bed, I have had my characters show up in my dreams, or imagined the scenes I was working on. But it's never been the other way around.

23. Do you favor happy endings?

Yes, but I also want them to be realistic. I love my characters too much to not let things work out for them, but they don't always get exactly what they want and they always have to make huge sacrifices to get it. Plus, I put them through HELL along the way, so that always taints the happiness of the ending. But you'll still be smiling at the end of my book, not crying (unless you're crying because it's SO good you're devastated that it's over--I'm sure that's how it'll be, right?)

24. Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?

Spelling? No (that's what spell check is for). Grammar yes, but only in the sense that I have to like the way it flows. I realize that a lot of my dialogue violates grammar, but so does the way most people speak. But I become much more concerned with both as I edit, because then it's about polishing.

25. Does music help you write?

Yes. I can't write without it. I actually have a whole system. I have a playlist of songs for every major emotion (anger, fear, joy, etc) so when I sit down to write a scene I try to figure out what the primary emotion is and listen to that playlist as I write. Some of my favorite bands are Vedera, Muse, Jack's Mannequin, Paramore, Blue October, Taking Back Sunday, Mae, Anberlin, The Spill Canvas--I could go on and on, but I'll stop there.

But I also have playlists for each of my characters, filled with music they like--which often isn't music I like--and when I edit their dialogue I usually switch to their music. The upside: I totally get inside their heads. The downside: sometimes I have to listen to Miley Cyrus.

I do also have a playlist for my plot, but I've never shared it because I feel like you'd have to read the book before you could appreciate it.

*Phew*
You guys still there?
Sorry it's such a long post--it was a lot of questions!

And...now it's my turn to tag people!
(Evil Laugh)

So I choose to tag...

Have fun guys! Not sure when you'll have time to post about this, but I can't wait to read your answers when you do!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Is there anything left to share?!?!?

I won another award!
The Picasso Award! (Well...I think that's what it's called...)
Isn't it pretty?



Thank you Frankie AND Mireyah--you guys are awesome!

Maybe I'm alone in this, but I love getting awards. It's like getting a big old Blug from the Blogging Community (by the way, I've decided that blog hugs are called blugs, in case you were wondering. What? I can make up my own words!)

But there is one tiny problem. Once again the award requires me to share truths--SEVEN truths, to be exact--and oh MAN am I running out of material here. But I'll do my best...

(Insert Jeopardy music as I search my brain for something even remotely interesting that you don't already know)

Okay! Here we go!

Seven Truths About Shannon You Haven't Already Heard


1. When I moved to LA, I lived in a section called Los Feliz--which all the lame Americans pronounce "Las FEE-liz." Since I took 5 years of Spanish, I pronounced it the correct way ("Los fe-LEEZE), and no one knew what I was talking about. After months of being misunderstood or corrected, I finally gave in and pronounced it incorrectly. *Sighs*

2. My parents insisted I live in Los Feliz because it was a "safe" area (my parents did not like the idea of their 19-year-old-blonde-daughter-who-was-looking-a-lot-better-since-she-grew-out-her-ugly-bangs living in LA by herself, so they were kinda paranoid.)

3. In my first month living in this "safe" area, the LAPD dragged me out of my apartment at 3am because a bomb threat was called in on my block. I spent several hours shivering outside in my pajamas while Telemundo (the Spanish news channel--for those who don't know) filmed me. I have no idea if any of the footage was used--and I really didn't want to know. Shannon + bed hair + sloppy PJ's - make-up = not cute.

4. I only had contact with two of my neighbors while I lived there, one next door, one across the hall.

5. The neighbor next door was a girl a couple years older than me, and she was a pretty easy neighbor to live near. My one complaint: when her boyfriends came over it was really...um...loud--and her bedroom shared a wall with my bedroom, so, um, yeah....

6. The neighbor across the hall was Christian Slater's dad. Mind you, I have no proof that he really was, but his last name was Slater, he told me that he was, and there was a definite family resemblance--so if it was a lie it was a VERY convincing lie.

7. He was really weird. He used to spend all day sitting in his car reading the newspaper, and I used to hate it when he'd accept my packages because he always talked to me forever. I only lived near him for about a year, and then another girl in the building filed a complaint against him for something (I don't know what) and had him evicted. No more Papa Slater.

Okay, hope you enjoyed. Now for the other hard part: picking seven blogs to pass the award on to (you all know how much I detest picking favorites). But since I must, here they are (in random order):


These are some amazing blogs, people. If you aren't already reading them, you should be. And I can't wait to read their 7 things (if they decide to participate).

Thanks again for the award and have a great day everyone! {{Blug}}

Monday, December 14, 2009

Humiliating Story #3: Almost fires and Lawsuits-Oh My!

Yay, today's the last of the Humiliating Shannon Stories! (Well, it's not the last of the humiliating stories that have happened to me, but it's the last one I've promised to tell. And I'm not sure I'll be promising to tell anymore--at least not without proper motivation)

Okay, so this one's not as funny as the others, but it was the one everyone was most interested in, so I hope you enjoy. And you probably need a little backstory to really understand what I'm about to tell you.

The first semester of my senior year at USC was what I often refer to as my "Semester of Hell." I don't usually talk about it much because, well, it's not really a happy memory--and there's really no way to tell most of the stories without sounding completely whiney and bitter--but just so you have some idea, I'll give you the highlights.

This was the first semester we were put on crews. Twelve students, partnered into pairs, each pair sharing one of six jobs. Because I was interested in producing, I picked a crew where I didn't know anyone because they were the only one with a producer slot available. It was one of the worst decisions of my life.

I won't get into the reasons why, but about two weeks into the semester the majority of the crew decided that they hated me. And when I say hate, I mean HATE. First they tried to get me failed--which almost worked, because the issue I was involved with made one of of the teachers look bad. But then my friend got the Dean involved (oh yes, there was MAJOR drama) and failing me was no longer an option, so the crew decided to make my life miserable instead.

And so our story begins, right smack in the middle of all of that fun.

The film we were working on was about a gambler (and it was really, really bad--seriously, worst. movie. ever.) so we were filming at one of California's lovely Indian Casinos down in San Diego. They'd agreed to let us film in their high limit room so long as we followed all of their rules, did not interrupt the gamblers, and were very, very careful. And I have to say, by the end we were 0 for 3. Yay us!

One of the jobs the producer was supposed to do on set was to act kind of like the Supervisor: make sure all the rules were being followed--especially the safety rules--and keep everybody working. But since I was the most hated person on the crew and I was just too fed up to fight anymore, they basically gave me whatever demeaning jobs nobody else wanted to do and I did them. Which in this case meant taping cables.

All the cables for all the lights were supposed to be taped down (that's why they call it Gaffer's Tape) so no one could trip over them and hurt themselves. That's what they gave me to do. "Here Shannon, spend five hours crawling around on your knees taping cables, of which there are way too many because none of us know what the heck we're doing." And I did it. I was just trying to survive at that point.

So there I was, taping cables, when I notice that one of the cables feels hot. Not warm--because most of the cables are warm--HOT. Like, it burned my hand hot. So I called one of the Cinematographers over (a guy who had been a HUGE advocate for the "Let's-Fail-Shannon Campaign" and asked him to touch the cable and tell me if it felt too hot. He did and insisted it was fine. I KNEW it wasn't fine, but what more could I say? Laying cables wasn't my job. Taping cables was my job. So I went back to taping cables (except I didn't tape that one because I was afraid the tape would melt.) I did mention it to my producing partner (the leader of the Let's-Fail-Shannon-Campaign) but he refused to check the cable. So I let it go and hoped for the best.

A few hours later we smelled smoke.

I'm not sure who found the problem or stopped the sparks from catching, but I do know that the very cable I had pointed out sparked, melted, and burned a small hole in the carpet of the high limit room. And, because I was one of the producers, I got to be one of the ones to explain to the Casino Big Wigs what happened and how and why. I also got to spend the next hour trimming melted plastic off the carpet to try and minimize the damage. Good times.

It really is amazing the casino didn't kick us out right then and there--but they didn't. I don't know why they didn't. I bet they wish they had. Oh, how I bet they wish they had. Because the next day we got them sued.

The second day we had two locations running at the same time. One by the slots, which had to be an in-and-out kind of shoot because we were only given a small window of time to shoot there. And the other back in the High Limit Room (yes, the room where we ruined the carpet). I'd been assigned to supervise the second location, which meant I got to hold the ladder steady while one of the production designers decorated the set. We still had about an hour to go when the whole crew comes rushing in and says there's a crisis.

Get this: at the other location, one of the crew left the dolly (in our case, a board with four wheels on it--we were very low tech) near a walkway and some old guy tripped over it and fell. Hard. Ambulances were called. Yeah...it was bad.

By some miracle they STILL didn't kick us out and we rushed through our final shots while my Producing Partner got on the phone and explained what happened to the faculty (our teachers were on call round the clock during filming weekends in case there were any emergencies. To the best of my knowledge, we were the only crew with any problems). Not surprisingly, they wanted to meet with both of us as soon as possible.

I'd like to say that since neither of the incidents in question were my fault that I wasn't held responsible--but it didn't work that way. The teacher's answer was that we shared responsibilities so we shared the blame, no matter what. But since they technically classified each incident as an accident, it didn't affect my grade so much as it did my pride. We were kind of used as the "what not to do" example after that, and I wouldn't be surprised if we still are.

I mean, we did get the Casino sued. And USC.

In USC's case I know they were protected because each film student had a million dollar liability insurance policy covering any damage they did, but I have NO idea what happened with the casino. I'm guessing they paid a large sum of money to settle the case before trial and never agreed to let students film there again.

Sadly that wasn't the last disaster my wonderful crew had durning that horrible semester. (The following week we had all kinds of problems at Larry Flint's casino, including an accident that could have been SO, SO, SO bad if it had happened about ten minutes before it actually did). Not sure if the crew was cursed, or if it was because they were all such a bunch of arrogant idiots--some of whom were regularly drunk and stoned on set--that they couldn't function (I'm guessing the latter). Either way, pretty much that entire semester was 16 weeks of never-ending Shannon Shame.

Well, I hope you guys enjoyed the story as much as you thought you would--and I hope I don't sound bitter or negative because I'm not. I was at first. But not anymore. In fact, I can even laugh about it now--funny how time does that. But I don't think I'll ever be able to set foot in that Indian Casino again. I may even be banned...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Awards, Awards, Everywhere--and a Chance to Punish Me!

First of all, I can't believe I'm closing in on 200 followers. That. is. insane! Apparently I owe Stephenie Meyer a big thank you for helping me build up my blog because it is entirely her signature that is accomplishing this magical feat--but I hope you guys will stick around even after the contest is over. Your pictures look so pretty in my sidebar. (and thank you especially to those of you who comment--you have no idea how much I enjoy reading them) :)

And, as proof that you guys like me, I've won more blog awards! *Happy Dance*

First up, the Superior Scribbler, which was given to me by the amazing Anne (thank you Anne--you made my day!)


And, now I have to pass on to, as she puts it, "5 blogs I have been enjoying lately"--which is hard! Do you guys have ANY idea how many blogs I enjoy?

But I'm nothing, if not a rule follower--so I will limit myself to five. Le Sigh. Here's my nominations:


I could go on and on and on about why I love these blogs so much I have to give them an award, but instead I'll just say: go check out their blogs--they are amazing. I'm always SUPER jealous when I read their posts, like, "why didn't I think of that?" so go, follow their blogs (and please don't judge mine against it because it just doesn't hold water in comparison.)

And the second award--which I think may be the cutest award I've gotten--comes from Marybeth. The Favorite Gnome Approved Blog award.




Apparently there's no rules or requirements for the award, it's just MINE, to do with as I please. Which means of course I had to invent my own rules. So here's what I'm going to do:

I don't know if you guys know this, but I HATE picking favorites (no, hate isn't even a strong enough word. Despise? Abhor? Detest?)  It's SO hard to choose only one. I avoid it at all costs. But, since I won this lovely award and well, you guys didn't (heh!) I'm going to let you punish me by asking me to pick my favorite things, and I will force myself to limit the answer to ONE (really, you guys have no idea how hard that will be for me.)

So, ask away in comments. Favorite Color. Favorite Song. Favorite Book. Favorite...whatever--it's up to you (but try to keep it clean, *cough* Frankie, with your magnetic Kama Sutra book *cough*) And in the post where I answer the favorites I will also pick one favorite blog and pass the award on to them. So there you go, ask away. The more questions you ask, the more you'll make me suffer--and I know how much you love that! (I think my current deal with the Universe is proof enough).

Can't wait to see what you guys come up with. :)