What do YOU guys want to hear about?
So, I had a CRAZY weekend. I mean crazy with a capital “C” and “Razy”. As such, I didn’t get a chance to think up some nice content for today’s blog post. I thought I’d just open the floor to comment-questions.
Do YOU have any questions for ME?
Or topics you want to read about?
Feel free to ask about anything about publishing, writing, me, etc.
Now about my CRAZY weekend. Saturday had the Frenchman and I traveling four hours to reach an Ikea. We are, as I think I’ve said before (?), renovating our new house (the one to which we are moving all this week). We’re also installing a kitchen ourselves, and after a lot of research and comparing, we opted the Ikea kitchen route (we also had an Ikea kitchen when we lived in Germany, and that thing was really sturdy. Especially considering the cost).
Anyway, you don’t care about my kitchen. What you care about is what happened when we tried to purchase our kitchen. The Frenchman spent all last week installing a hitch to his old Volvo so we could tow a trailer to Ikea and then tow all the kitchen parts back home. All was going well, we reached Ikea by 2:00, spent a whopping 6.5 hours there, and then finally hit the road with our shiny kitchen at 8:30…
And a half hour into our 4+ hour drive, the Frenchman’s Volvo dies. I mean DIES. Like, panicked swearing, smoke everywhere, we-gotta-get-off-road-oh-****-that’s-a-lot-of-smoke. But of course, we were in the middle of nowhere, so we coast into a closed gas station…and the Frenchman inspects our engine.
“It’s kaput,” he said–and he would know. He’s an automotive engineer and car aficionado. “The radiator has a hole. We aren’t going anywhere.”
“BUT OUR DOGS!” I screamed in the panicked way only a person with first-world-whiny-problems can. “They haven’t peed in almost 12 hours! What will happen to them?” (In hindsight, they would have just gone in the house eventually and survived. But at the time, all I could obsess over was how unhappy and miserable they were. That and how cold WE were.)
After a calling our insurance for roadside assistance, we spent a long, long while roadside assistance tried to find someone–anyone–who could help us at 10:00 at night in the middle of nowhere. Turns out there weren’t many people. For about two hours, it was a constant back-and-forth with the poor roadside assistance people as they tried to find someone to help us.
Again, in hindsight, I can’t believe how FRANTIC I was. But it was cold (~20° F) and we had no engine…so we had no heat. All I could think about was that ridiculous scene in the even more ridiculous movie, New In Town:
Were we going to wind up buried in snow with my underwear flapping in the wind?
Seriously, though, the Frenchman and I were coming up with stupidly elaborate plans to get home (We could try to rent a car! Except nothing’s open… Okay, we can hitchhike to a hotel nine miles away and then rent a car in the morning. Then we can rent another U-Haul and tow our trailer home…blah-blah-blah, bad idea after bad idea).
Then our bad ideas about getting home turned into bad ideas about how to survive the night: We have two Ikea rugs in the back. We can lay beneath them and huddle close. Then in the morning, we can try to hitch a ride to… More bad ideas ensued.
It was sad and depressing how ill-equipped we were for this dilemma.
And all I could think the whole time was, WHY DOES ELEANOR MAKE THIS LOOK SO EASY?
Seriously, though, my heroines are such badasses, and yet my husband and I could barely handle a dead car on the side of the road. Yeah, it was cold, and yeah there was no civilization nearby…But STILL. All of my heroines would’ve been out of this situation in a snap…whereas I just couldn’t stop freaking out about my poor dogs having to pee.
Eventually, though, roadside assistance pulled through for us. 4 hours after we stalled out, a tow truck arrived to take us to that aforementioned hotel 9 miles away. The driver was SO NICE, and in a very hopeful voice, my Frenchman asked, “Is there any way you could tow us three more hours to our house? We’ll pay you!”
And the INCREDIBLY KIND DRIVER SAID YES. It took an hour just to get the car and the trailer onto his tow truck, and then it took 3.5 hours to drive us home. He dropped us (and our cursed Ikea kitchen) at 5 AM, and then had to get himself all the way back to where he lived–which, by the way, was nowhere near where we had stalled out.
So we made it home. Our dogs held their pee for 19 hours (poor, poor, poor puppies. Sometimes I wish they weren’t so well-trained and would just go inside already!), and we finally crashed in our beds as the sun was starting to make it’s appearance on the eastern horizon.
We were warm. We made it home. And it was all thanks to the kindness of a tow truck driver.
Mr. Tow Truck Driver, I doubt you’re reading this, but I want to thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You were so amiable, were an amazing conversationalist for the 5+ hours you were stuck with us (I seriously had never hard that about electrolyzed water), and I’m not exactly sure where we–or at least where our Volvo and U-Haul trailer would be–if not for you.
People are awesome.
I always forget that, and then humanity always sneaks into remind me.
Anyway, that was my crazy weekend and why I have nothing of value to discuss today.
So again, I open the comments to your questions! If there’s something you’d like to hear about–be it writing tools, writing advice, publishing stuff, how I feel about the Veronica Mars movie (ECSTATIC), or whatever, just ask!!
Oh, and since I am on a music-sharing-kick, here’s another EPIC PIECE I can’t stop listening to lately…
March 18, 2013 @ 1:54 pm
Oh my gosh, Sooz, that whole thing sounds HELLACIOUS. I’m right there with you on the not-being-nearly-as-strong-as-my-characters thing. I would have collapsed into a puddle of tears for sure. But hooray for the kindness of strangers! And enjoy your new kitchen. 🙂
March 18, 2013 @ 6:09 pm
I ALMOST hit the tears. When we hit our third hour of freezing in the car and the tow truck guy called to say he’d be there in an hour, I ALMOST cried. But I didn’t. Phew. 😉
March 18, 2013 @ 2:59 pm
Now THAT was an adventure you’ll talk about for the rest of your life. 🙂 I’m glad you guys wound up with such a nice tow truck driver! That’s quite a weekend.
March 18, 2013 @ 6:11 pm
It all sounds so silly in hindsight, but at the time I was in MASSIVE FREAKOUT MODE. I am stil exhausted, but ahhhh, I am home and I am warm–and so so grateful for those two things! 😀
March 18, 2013 @ 3:39 pm
SOOOOOZ, why didn’t you call me, and we could have helped? (I will assume you were at the other Ikea, though.)
Can we see pics of the new kitchen once it’s installed? I guess that’s three questions. Ah, well. Glad you are safe and sound and the puppers did okay.
March 18, 2013 @ 4:16 pm
That certainly is a CRAZY weekend. I’m glad everything ended up well, and that tow truck driver is an AWESOME guy.
So let’s see… questions. How long did you live in Germany? What’s your favorite place you’ve traveled and why? And where do you want to travel (if you had an unlimited budget)?
(Obviously, nothing to do with writing, but still, I’m curious!)
March 18, 2013 @ 6:11 pm
Ooooh, fun questions!! I will totally write about those. Thanks, Alexa. <3
March 18, 2013 @ 5:30 pm
Woah, that’s almost like crazy with a K instead of a C (and I really hate Ks on crazy). I’m so happy you got such a nice truck driver.
I second Alexa’s curiousity about Germany. I’m Swiss, and since I’m from the German part of Switzerland, we share a lot with Germany and Austria (TV/movies-, music-culture etc.).
How did you meet the Frenchman? (Hope that’s not too personal.)
Also, awww at your poochies. They are like mine. Actually, mine is too well trained, too. He will not touch his food unless we tell him it’s ok…one morning I put food in his bowl and didn’t tell him to go ahead before I left for work. When I got home for lunch he was still sitting there waiting to be told to eat. (Yes, I’m the worst person ever. My heart broke into 10 million pieces, poor, poor baby.) At least I went home for lunch, though I am sure he would have waited all day, if I hadn’t gotten home sooner.
Glad you guys and your pooches are ok. Yay to new furniture and kitchens. 🙂
March 18, 2013 @ 6:13 pm
More fun questions!! I will totally address that. And where in Switzerland are you?? We lived in Lindau, so we went into Switzerland and Austria pretty often.
And oh gosh, your poor dog!! That is INSANELY well-trained. Mine are not that good, for sure (not with food at least). I am enormously impressed…and feel terrible for your pup. What kind of dog?
March 18, 2013 @ 7:18 pm
Ah, Lindau! Every now and then we go shopping in Konstanz, since it’s closer to Zurich, where my family now lives. I’m in the US now, though. In FL (actively working on getting my bf out of here to somewhere with 4 seasons…).
He’s a chocolate lab. 🙂 A big pile of stink and love. Smelling bad is his personal mission, and there is no training him out of that. I’d trade his food habits with his rolling around in stinky stuff in a heartbeat.
March 18, 2013 @ 11:42 pm
Sounds like quite the adventure!!!! I like the song! And I’ve never seen the movie but that clip was hilarious. I almost wish you HAD let your underwear wave in the wind. It would make for a good conversation point at the very least. 😉 OMFG THE VERONICA MARS MOVIE! I kept checking the page and the numbers shot up SO fast! Unfortunately I’m flat broke so I had nothing to donate but I am SO glad so many people did. It blows my mind that WB didn’t think there was a big enough fan base for a movie. In your FACE WB!
As for questions to ask you, I would love any extra advice that might not have meandered onto your pages for writing queries. I’ve been using a lot of advice from you as I try to write mine and I want to make sure its SPOT ON before I even take it to my writing group to revise. It’s so nerve-wracking!
Other questions: What is your favorite color? Do you sing in the car? Which season do you prefer? What TV show are you hooked on right now? (Because I’m sure you are) What is the best date you’ve ever been on?
P.S. You are the BEST for all of the advice and notes you have on publishing/querying. Seriously. You make me feel so much less stressed! And more confident! Yay! <3 <3
March 19, 2013 @ 12:11 am
That is utterly insane! How could a trip to somewhere as GLORIOUS as Ikea go wrong? (That’s not sarcasm, I actually love trips to Ikea! Hot dogs! Playing in the furniture!) I’m so glad your doggies didn’t have to wait any longer. My parents dog would have DESTROYED the house in fear and retaliation. If you leave for half and hour she pulls everything off the beds and makes nests.
I guess my question would be, how do you commit to a story? I have a desperate struggle getting through a first draft because I lose faith in what I’m writing. Most of the time it’s not the writing itself or the characters, it’s the story. It seems like such a great idea before I start then it’s too simple or too complicated or I’m sure people will think it’s boring. I have no faith in my ability to plot. Plot is my nemesis!
I’m a writing commitment-phobe and any advice would be most appreciated!
March 20, 2013 @ 12:20 am
I’ve a question about writing. I really admire the way that you decided to pursue writing like a day job and you kept going until you succeeded. You’re an inspiration to all of us. Pursuing the impossible dream and making it a reality…
I know you learned a lot about the craft through writing books, workshops (like Holly Lisle) and of course actually writing. Looking back, knowing what you know now, how would you approach learning the craft for writing your first novel? Would you start with learning how to craft characters, plot or world-build etc.? I know every writer’s process is different but I’d love to know your advice on this, especially as my background is the opposite to creative writing so I am teaching myself also…
Really looking forward to your novella! Good luck with the house move! 🙂
March 20, 2013 @ 1:56 pm
Hey there! I’d really like to read about how you handle it when you’re in the middle of a draft and suddenly you realize that you need to change something BIG. Something which changes the story a lot, a major change you’re already sure will make it into the next draft. (Like e.g. a character that does important stuff in this draft, but you really know you’ll get rid of that character completely anyways. Or switching the narrator. Or changing something big about the whole story set up) – Will you just continue this draft as you originally planned it and ignore that big change/s for now? Will you abandon that draft and start a new one which includes those major changes? Or will you continue that draft from where you are, but already including that change/s as if things have always been like that already in the parts you already wrote and which are now inconsistent with what you’ll write from now on??? (Did that actually make any sense to anyone but me?) If that sounded somewhat desperate – I am somewhat desperate, this issue is driving me crazy 😉
March 20, 2013 @ 3:56 pm
Holy Crap, That sounds horrible! My cousin works for Triple A, so in the middle of the night he often gets called into the night to tow people. Your doggies must be incredibly well trained! The poor darlings!
This reminds me of the documentary “Craigslist Joe.” About a guy from L.A who goes out and tries to live soley off of craigslist for a month. Finding laces to live, food and transporation. He travels through the mid west all the way to NY with different people and at one point, their truck breaks down.
What I’d like to know is more of the classes you’ve taken before getting published and maybe references and sites that you frequented?
March 20, 2013 @ 6:23 pm
Holy cripes, I’m so sorry you had to go through that! But isn’t it wonderful to find kind people in bad situations? It makes you happy! Anyway, I think it would be cool if we got to know you better. Like, what’s your favourite colour, food, books, movies, place in the world, what are your hobbies, etc. I mean all this in a non creepy way, I just like hearing about people.
March 21, 2013 @ 3:43 am
Sooz! That sounds pretty crazy. I’m glad you were with the Frenchman and that your tow truck driver was so awesome! Maybe you should think about putting a winter survival kit in your trunk if you’re going to drive long distances? They’re a popular project in elementary/middle school up north but I confess when doing normal city driving I only throw something in if I think the weather’s going to strand me. Here are several lists: http://readywisconsin.wi.gov/winter/HowToMakeAKit.asp
Good luck with the Ikea kitchen assembly and such too!
May 3, 2013 @ 6:50 am
I thought I’d seen them all, but I would never have thought of keeping a coffee can cooker in the car. I’m sure it would help when you get dangerously cold, though under other circumstances, a candle in the car would be right out. If you want a weird one, I have heard of welding gear (I think that was in death valley, where needing to patch the radiator and get the climate control back on quickly would make sense.)
I actually find that the usual winter/emergency kits are really nice to have around for summer adventures, most of this stuff just gets used for fun. A wool blanket makes a good picnic blanket, though a fleece blanket is decent, and is nice for napping in the car too. Keeping reusable water bottles in the car is totally handy (especially when you dash out for a workout). I love my car battery/gadget charger. Little army surplus shovels are handy around campfires. A crank radio can make hanging out more fun, and once did charge a cell phone while camping (it takes a while). A swiss knife (with a bottle opener, a can opener and a corkscrew) always seems to come in handy around dinner time. The map has hardly been used, to my surprise, despite having nice park info. I usually just leave the car stuff in a box in the car, with a few cloth shopping bags and some clutter on top.
May 15, 2013 @ 11:24 pm
oooo! I like all the ways you use your survival items for summer fun. You must be an excellent friend.
May 26, 2013 @ 3:52 am
Thanks! I’m not sure my friends notice, though the guys in the office seem to like my office survival kit. (Enough tape solves everything, right?)
March 21, 2013 @ 4:25 am
That is such a scary experience! I’m glad you weren’t alone and that you guys made it back home OK (eventually, anyway!) Perhaps there could be a bit of a silver lining in the experience and you could use some of it in a future novel?
Hmmm…some questions…I’ve asked so many from you over the past year, so now I need some new ones. Ok, are there any stories you’ve written in the past, unpublished ones, that you’ve thought about dusting off and working with again? You’re a big dog person, are there any breeds you enjoy more or do you just like all dogs in general? How has the moving gone? I can’t imagine, simply because I hate to move, so I definitely feel your anxiety. What are some of your current favorite reads? Have you started working on possible tour dates this summer? If so, don’t forget Lexington! 😉 What do you think will happen on the season finale of THE WALKING DEAD? I have some theories, but every theory I’ve ever had since season 1 has been totally off that I don’t know what to think anymore. Does the Frenchman also watch it with you, and if so, is he aware of your crush on Norman Reedus? I’m totally OK with sharing Norman for crushes 🙂