Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 212

I hope everyone had a fabulous Valentine’s Day. All of the Rish dogs got into the spirit. First up is my sister’s dapper duo Bear and Kali.
Kali and Bear on Valentine's Day
Then there’s my brother’s dog Remy who ‘wuffed’ her Valentine's gift a little too much.
Remy Wuff Toy
And then there’s my girls Freya and Chloe, who are sending everyone lots of slurpy kisses.
Freya on Valentine's Day
Chloe on Valentine's Day
Coincidently, this week’s 15 Minute Tweet Tales word is about love.
naz - the pride or arrogance of knowing that no matter what you do, you will always be loved (Urdu).

15 Minute Tweet Tales

I think when it comes to dogs, naz is a two-way street. We know that even if we are in a bad mood or yell at them, our dogs will always love us. And the clever canines know that even if they take a chunk out of the couch or chew up our favorite pair of shoes, we’ll always forgive them and their adorable faces.
2/16 - His naz is so extreme, he's also cheating on his mistress. Even worse, the three ladies in his life are all sisters. Dark times ahead.
Play along and write a tweet tale for the above word. If you’re willing to share, post it on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add it below in the comments because I’d love to read your tales. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tale or #15tt word?

It Was Fun While It Lasted

Claiming that the news I received a few weeks ago sent me into a grief cycle is beyond melodramatic, so let’s just say I went through a modified version of the stages of grief. And now that I’ve worked my way through to the end, I’m ready to share. Come along with me on my journey:
On the evening of Sunday, January 17th, I sent my editor at MTV an email telling him my article about Winnie-the-Pooh was ready for him to post on Monday. I got an automatic reply stating January 14th was his last day at MTV News. Uhhhhh … WHAT?!?!
Since he hadn’t given me a heads up, I figured that meant it was sudden, which suggested he was fired. So again – WHAT?!? And not to be selfish, but what did this mean for me? With the editor who hired me gone, did that mean I was done, too? Surely they would just transfer me to another editor, right? But why hadn’t anyone contacted me to let me know I should report to someone new?
Besides my editor, I only had one other contact at MTV – the weekend editor who had posted some of my YALLFest articles for me. So I sent him an email asking 1. If he could post my Pooh article for me, and 2. What the heck was going on? He immediately responded and apologized for the confusion, and gave me the contact info of a senior editor to inquire about my freelance status. So I sent the senior editor an email asking for clarification. Unfortunately, there was no immediate response from this guy, so I just sat staring at my inbox, having a mini-heart attack each time my notification dinged. 
A few hours later, I got a message from my editor’s personal email account saying that MTV had essentially dismantled the entertainment team and let everyone go. Again I said WHAT?!?! but this time I added THE F*CK?!?!?!? to the end of it. In all the terrible scenarios I had come up with in my head, I never imagined the whole department had been decimated. 
Then denial kicked in. Well, the department had only ‘essentially’ been dismantled. The weekend editor and the senior editor were still there. The site was still posting articles. My editor did not specifically say I was one of the ones let go. And freelancers are much cheaper than full-time employees, so maybe I would still have a job. I’d just wait until I heard from the senior editor. So I waited and waited and waited for what I was totally sure was going to be good news.
By Tuesday evening, I still hadn’t heard a word from the senior editor. Since timesheets were due on Wednesday, and I needed an editor to approve mine, I sent the senior editor my timesheet, along with another inquiry about my status. I also mentioned how much I enjoyed writing for MTV. I told him I had an interview ready to publish with NYT Bestselling author Beth Revis and award-winning Cristin Terrill (read the fun interview here), and that I had an interview scheduled for Friday morning with Scarlett Johansson’s sister Vanessa about Vanessa directing Scarlett in an Alice in Wonderland audiobook. Basically, I was trying to convince him to keep me on, and I honestly considered telling him I would write for free just so I could continue having exposure on the MTV site. But I stopped myself before I completely threw away my pride. 
Then I waited. And waited. And waited. No response. So I ended up very embarrassedly cancelling the interview with Vanessa. I was super disappointed because 1. It would have been fun to find out more about the making of audiobooks, and 2. I would have been two degrees of separation from Scarlett freakin’ Johansson!! As my sister pointed out, that probably meant Scarlett would have read an article I’d written because it would be about both her and her sister. Gah!!!
And then I continued to wait for a response. I didn’t want to be a pain by emailing again, so I just stewed. Then payday came. 
And I didn’t get paid. 
Now I was furious. It was bad enough to ignore my requests for clarification about my status, and to blow off questions about what I should do with my interviews in progress, but to not pay me for the work I had already done?!?  Flames! Flames on the side of my face! I imagined doing lots of unwise things via email and social media, but I didn’t want to burn any bridges. So I did a lot of ranting at the air like a crazy person, and I took a lot of deep breaths. A whole heck of a lot of deep breaths. 
Then I emailed the very nice weekend editor and gave him a quick rundown of my situation, and he was super sweet and told me he’d take care of the timesheet issue right away. Fortunately, I did get paid on the next payday, so I didn’t have to pull out my big guns. Actually, I don’t have any big guns, so I’m super grateful to the weekend editor guy for taking care of the issue so quickly.
Even though I still haven’t gotten an official confirmation that my freelancing gig at MTV is over, I assume being ignored by a senior editor is a pretty good indication I no longer have a job there. So then the sadness kicked in. While I didn’t cry, I did take to my bed to sulk. I was really, really bummed. This was SUCH a perfect job for me. I got to write fun, fluffy articles about the things I love: books, movies, and TV. I got to pitch the ideas I wanted to write about. I got work on my own schedule (night owls for the win!). While it wasn’t much, I got paid for writing, which was a HUGE deal for me. I was making great contacts in the YA world. Yeah, I was definitely a sad, sad panda thinking I’d never again find a job as perfect as this one for me.
Acceptance and Hope
Finally, I got tired of wallowing in my dejection and started looking for the silver lining. As much as I enjoyed writing those silly articles, I had completely neglected my personal writing. I hadn’t written or revised a single word on any of my novels or screenplays since I started, so now I’d have time to write for me. And even though my stint at MTV was brief, it would look awesome on my resume. 
And since I’ve kind of been bitten by the freelancing bug, I’ve been looking at other outlets. I won’t pursue any of them until I make some progress on my current WIP novel, but it’s nice to know there are other options out there. 
I’m still not sure what went down at MTV, or why they decided to change things. And while I was bummed for myself, I feel really terrible for the full-time folks who were let go, especially my editor. I’ve been keeping an eye on the Books, TV, and Movies verticals, since those were the three I wrote for. For three weeks, they didn’t post a single article in the Books vertical, which gave me a perverse sense of satisfaction that my Pooh article was the last one posted. But then this week they did post a few, especially with the news of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child coming out. As for TV and Movies, they’ve still been posting there, but only a few per day, when it used to be several per hour. And most of the articles are of the newsy/gossipy type, so my guess is that they are fully embracing the ‘news’ aspect of the MTV News website and abandoning the other types of articles. But that’s pure speculation on my part.
If you want to catch up on any of my articles, this link lists all of them. 
Although the MTV ride was a short one, it certainly was a fun one – from those first giddy days of applying for and getting the job, to seeing my first article published on such a huge platform, to getting to meet one of my idols at YALLFest. I’m very grateful for the experience, and while I’m sad it’s over, I have learned so much, and I hope it leads to even bigger and better things. 

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 211

So I spent the last several days with these two crazy kids. 
Crazy Brian and Remy
My brother got a puppy right after Christmas, and last week he had to go out of town for bit, so he asked me to come babysit my niece. I was thrilled to spend time with Remy, so I headed up the road to Columbia. Remy is so, so, so, so sweet. She’s a gangly, cuddly lovebug. She’s always excited to see you - even if you just disappeared for a quick pee break, she acts like you’ve been gone for months and that she has been pining away for you the whole time. Makes one feel appreciated. 
Jocelyn and Remy
Once my brother got home, I stayed a few more days with him. Okay, fine, I really wanted more puppy snuggles. But we all had fun. We ate some yummy food, played some Playstation games, and watched some cool things on Netflix. And of course fawned over Remy. It was a great visit, although I now have puppy fever, like, whoa! Best keep me away from animal shelter websites, or I might go on an adopting binge. 
15 Minute Tweet TalesNow it’s time for this week’s 15 Minute Tweet Tales word, and it’s totally fitting considering how much time I spent squeezing Remy over the last few days. 
gigil - an extreme urge to squeeze someone or something, usually because it's cute, but sometimes because it’s irritating (Filipino).
2/9 - When the babysitter sees the infant, gigil washes through her. Later, when the baby won't stop crying, she feels a scarier type of gigil. 
Play along and write a tweet tale for the above word. If you’re willing to share, post it on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add it below in the comments because I’d love to read your tales. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tale or #15tt word?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 210

15 Minute Tweet TalesAaaaaand now it’s warm again. Really warm. Yesterday’s high got up to 79, and it looks like we’re in for about the same today. Of course that makes me a happy camper, but the poor plants around here are so confused. And it will be cooling off again over the next week, although there are no more snowflakes in the forecast. 
And now it’s time for this week’s 15 Minute Tweet Tales word:
scintilla - a minute amount; an iota or trace, a spark; a flash. 
2/2 - Plastic tarps and bleach made him confident he'd pulled off the perfect murder, but a scintilla of evidence brought the cops to his door.
Play along and write a tweet tale for the above word. If you’re willing to share, post it on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add it below in the comments because I’d love to read your tales. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tale or #15tt word?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 209

Saturday was an exciting day! First, at around 6am, snow started to fall in the Lowcountry. Now as I’ve stated many times, I hate the cold, but snow is different. It’s kind of magical. At least for someone like me who rarely gets to see it. I know there are many people right now who would disagree as they’re still trying to dig out from under the storm. 
But for me, it was thrilling to see the flakes coming down. I threw a coat over my pajamas and ran outside with my dogs. They pranced and danced right alongside me as I tried to catch flakes on my tongue. 
Dogs int the snow
It did end up sticking a bit, but it wasn’t enough to build even an ant-sized snowman. Just a thin layer of beautiful crystals. I know we always hear about every snowflake being unique, but I was surprised at how varied and intricate they were. Mother Nature truly is an artist. 
Then later that afternoon, I attended the Wild Dunes Resort Author Event, with Mary Alice Monroe, Debbie Macomber, and Andie MacDowell as the guest speakers. Reading Partners (my favorite way to volunteer) was involved, since raising money for literacy was the goal of the event. They had their own table and invited me to attend, which was a wonderful surprise. Since they gave me two tickets and my mom is a fan of Andie MacDowell, I took her as my date.
Jocelyn and Joyce
The event was very cool - free wine and fancy food, and lots of people passionate about literacy. Mary Alice, Debbie, and Andie then spoke for an hour. Andie was part of the panel because she starred in the TV show The Cove based on Debbie's series, and she’s starring in a movie based on Mary Alice's The Beach House. All three women were extremely funny, and their stories about how they got their starts were very inspiring. 
Alice Monroe and Andie MacDowell
I succumbed to the fan-girliness of it all and bought books by Debbie and Mary Alice to have signed by all three of them. They were all very sweet about chatting for a bit, and my mom and Andie even talked about the fact that they both attended Winthrop University. Andie also had a little dog with her that she’d rescued a few weeks ago – the one that caused the airplane kerfuffle on Twitter. And I’m Team Andie about the whole thing – if she paid for first class, she should have either gotten it or been reimbursed, as I think anyone who had paid that much for a ticket would think, famous or not. Using the phrase ‘tourist class’ was maybe not the best idea, but I think it was poor word choice rather than being elitist. And she was just so sweet on Saturday that it’s hard to think badly about her.
Debbie Macomber, and Andie MacDowell
Anyway, lots of fun stuff on Saturday. And then today the temperature got up to 68, so I’m happy to be warm again.
And now for this week’s 15 Minute Tweet Tales word:

15 Minute Tweet Tales

scripturient - having a desire or passion for writing; having a liking or itch for authorship.
Mary Alice and Debbie’s stories definitely showed they have scripturient longings. Listening to them talk about how they got started writing and the difficulties they’d overcome certainly lit a fire under me. And now for my tweet tale:
1/26 - Words murmur in her mind when trying to sleep, distract her while awake. The scripturient urge will drive her mad if she doesn't comply.
Play along and write a tweet tale for the above word. If you’re willing to share, post it on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add it below in the comments because I’d love to read your tales. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tale or #15tt word?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 208

15 Minute Tweet TalesLike much of the country, the weather here has taken a turn for the very cold. And as I whine about every time it gets chilly – I HATE THE COLD. Which makes this week’s 15 Minute Tweet Tale word especially appropriate.
friolero (or friolera for the feminine) - someone who is especially sensitive to cold weather and temperatures (Spanish).
Yep, I’ve always called myself cold natured or thin blooded, but now I’m going to call myself friolera. It has more flair, even if many people will have no idea what I’m talking about. And now here’s my tweet tale:
1/19 - I was always friolera, but your love kept me warm. You dumped me, now I sit closer to the fire. Closer. Closer. Until flames lick my skin.
Play along and write a tweet tale for the above word. If you’re willing to share, post it on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add it below in the comments because I’d love to read your tales. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tale or #15tt word?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 207 + Pitch Wars Books

Before I get to today's 15 Minute Tweet Tale word, I'm thrilled to present exciting book stuff for two of my awesome Pitch Wars peeps!

First up is the cover reveal for Hayley Stone's debut novel Machination, which will be published June 14th. Ta da!

Machinations Cover

Perfect for fans of Robopocalypse, this action-packed science-fiction debut introduces a chilling future and an unforgettable heroine with a powerful role to play in the battle for humanity’s survival.

The machines have risen, but not out of malice. They were simply following a command: to stop the endless wars that have plagued the world throughout history. Their solution was perfectly logical. To end the fighting, they decided to end the human race.
A potent symbol of the resistance, Rhona Long has served on the front lines of the conflict since the first Machinations began—until she is killed during a rescue mission gone wrong. Now Rhona awakens to find herself transported to a new body, complete with her DNA, her personality, even her memories. She is a clone . . . of herself.
Trapped in the shadow of the life she once knew, the reincarnated Rhona must find her place among old friends and newfound enemies—and quickly. For the machines are inching closer to exterminating humans for good. And only Rhona, whoever she is now, can save them.
Pre-order Machinations today!
And don’t forget to add it to your list on Goodreads!
Hayley Stone
Hayley Stone has lived her entire life in sunny California, where the weather is usually perfect and nothing as exciting as a robot apocalypse ever happens. When not reading or writing, she freelances as a graphic designer, falls in love with videogame characters, and analyzes buildings for velociraptor entry points. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in German from California State University, Sacramento.
Machinations is her debut novel, releasing June 14th, 2016 from Hydra/Random House.
Yay! Congrats, Hayley! Machinations sounds exciting, and I can't wait to read it!
Next up, today is the release day for Kelly Siskind's debut novel Chasing Crazy. Whoo hoo!
Chasing Crazy
Dear Mom & Dad, I dropped out of school. I'm going backpacking. Sorry. Love you both.
At nineteen, Nina has endured two lifetimes' worth of humiliation. Tired of waiting for it to get better, she decides to get going-across the globe to New Zealand. There she soon faces what she most fears: a super sexy guy ready to be Nina's next mistake.
Once Sam's life was all about having fun. That was before the accident. Now his friends have bailed and his world is broken. But when a gorgeous girl on his flight looks at him with passion instead of pity, Sam feels his old self coming back to life.
Now traveling together, Nina and Sam know this isn't just a fling. They're falling fast, hard, and deep. More than anything, Sam wants Nina to forget her fears. But to help her do that he must reveal his own painful secret-and risk Nina never seeing him the same way again.
Go read it now!


Kelly Siskind

A small-town girl at heart, Kelly moved from the city to open a cheese shop with her husband in Northern Ontario. When she's not neck deep in cheese or out hiking, you can find her, notepad in hand, scribbling down one of the many plot bunnies bouncing around in her head. She laughs at her own jokes and has been known to eat her feelings-Gummy Bears heal all. She's also an incurable romantic, devouring romance novels into the wee hours of the morning.
Congrats, Kelly! I'm so excited your big day is finally here. *runs off to download Chasing Crazy*
And now it’s time for the new version of 15 Minute Tweet Tales. In case you haven't read this post yet, I’m only doing one word/tweet tale a week now, and I’m tweeting it on Tuesday if you follow the #15tt hashtag.
15 Minute Tweet TalesThis week’s word is noceur - party animal; one who sleeps late or not at all; or one who stays out late to party (French). 
Hmmm ... I'm not sure if I qualify as a noceur or not. I definitely sleep late (or sometimes not at all), but it's because I'm reading, writing, or watching Netflix. I am in no way, shape, or form a party animal. Like at all. Anyway, here's my tweet tale for the week:
1/15 - When they met, they were both noceurs, reveling in their love from club to club. But soon she wanted more, which he didn't understand.
Play along and write a tweet tale for the above word. If you’re willing to share, post it on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add it below in the comments because I’d love to read your tales. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tale or #15tt word?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 206

15 Minute Tweet TalesI hope everyone’s 2016 is off to a great start! I was pretty lazy the first few days of the year (shocker!). I finally caught up on this season of Supernatural, since I’d let the episodes pile up on my DVR. Jensen Ackles is still a beautiful, beautiful man, which will keep me watching no matter how trite and boring the show gets. /shallow. 
I’ve also been researching new pitches for MTV articles. That’s always an interesting process because I have to do a lot of the research up front to make sure I can actually write an article about the topic, but then my pitch approval ratio is pretty low, so that means a lot of my research time is “wasted.” But it’s still cool to learn about different facets of the various things I research.
And now it’s time for the new version of 15 Minute Tweet Tales. In case you didn’t read this post, I’m only doing one word/tweet tale a week now, and I’m tweeting it on Tuesday if you follow the #15tt hashtag.
This week’s word is tsundoku – the continuous act of buying books but never reading them and letting them pile up in a room. 
I hate to admit it, but I have a pretty bad case of tsundoku. I buy books with such good intentions, but somehow the siren call of the boob tube is always so much louder. That’s actually part of my 2016 resolutions to finally make my way through some of these scary piles. Luckily my piles have never been an actual threat to my pets, like my tweet tale for the week:
1/5 - She adds a new book to a pile and watches in horror as it teeters and falls toward the cat. His quick reflexes save him from her tsundoku.
Play along and write a tweet tale for the above word. If you’re willing to share, post it on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add it below in the comments because I’d love to read your tales. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tale or #15tt word?

New Tweet Tales for the New Year

15 Minute Tweet TalesHappy New Year!! I can’t believe it’s now 2016! I also can’t believe I’ve been doing 15 Minute Tweet Tales for four years now! It’s been a great way to keep me writing something every day, and I’ve met so many talented writers on Twitter who also play along on the #15tt hashtag.
But I’ve reached a point where it’s started to feel like a chore rather than a fun writing exercise, and I often feel like my tweet tales are just repeats of the same basic stories. Plus with my MTV job, it’s getting tougher to keep up with my novel writing, so I could use the time I spend on #15tt each day to work on my novel. I was tempted to completely drop #15tt when the new year started, but that made me too sad. 
Instead, I’m going to shift it from a once a day exercise to a once a week exercise. Since I usually do my #15tt blog posts on Tuesday, I’m now going to do my tweet tales prompt on Tuesday. And I’m going to mix it up a bit with the prompts. While I’ll still feature unusual words, I’m also going to include pictures and other things to prompt our tweet tales. 
I hope y’all will still play along! Join me on January 5th for the first #15tt prompt of the new year!

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 205

I hope everyone had an amazing holiday week! My Christmas was pretty awesome. The entire family gathered at my parents’ for five days, and we ate a lot of delicious food (A LOT), watched some movies, played with doggies, had fun with Christmas presents, and did some drinking, too. 
I found a cool kit to make funky cosmos, so we experimented with that on two different days. It was fun, but I’m not sure how successful the results were – they didn’t look much like the pictures in the instruction book, but they were quite tasty!
Holiday Drinks
To add to the holiday excitement, my sister got a new dog the week before named Bear. He's a 2-year-old Black Lab/Australian Shepherd mix that belonged to a friend of hers who could no longer keep him. He’s such a sweet goofball. This was his first meeting with Freya and Chloe. They weren’t entirely sure they loved him. Or in Freya’s case maybe she loved him too much because she was like his white shadow the whole time, which caused some tension. With four big dogs in the house it was a little chaotic, especially since we had to stay on guard to break up any doggie scuffles, but they are all such love muffins that it’s worth a little bit of stress. 
Then my birthday was on the 27th. I’m at the point where I kind of dread birthdays a little, but my family made it fun. We had dinner at my favorite Thai place (so, so yummy!!), and my brother made me an Oreo crust, chocolate, caramel pie that is so rich that it took me three sittings to eat ONE piece. But it’s so delicious!!
Birthday cake
You can see that Freya was licking her lips hoping to get a piece, but chocolate is bad for doggies. And can y'all guess what I wished for? The same thing I've been wishing for the last few years - let's hope 2016 is the year it finally comes true!
And then for even more holiday excitement, my brother ALSO got a new dog yesterday. She's four months old and is supposedly a mix of husky, lab, and bloodhound. He's naming her Remy after Rémy Martin Cognac because his previous dog was Bailey since she was the color of Baileys Irish Cream. I hear she’s a lovebug, and I can’t wait to meet her on New Year’s Day!!
Okay, that’s enough about my holiday week - here are my latest round of 15 Minute Tweet Tales:
12/23 - Tina laughs at Sturm und Drang during book club when she admits cookies aren't gluten-free. They've been eating them for years issue-free.
12/24 - A broken leg, car, and marriage made this a terrible year, but winning the lottery on December 31st turned it into an annus mirabilis.
12/25 - When brother opens present, she throws a fit because it's not comme il faut. The youngest always goes first!! Mom mutters,"Merry Christmas."
12/26 - Tim felt being president of the HOA made him ex officio the arbiter of taste. Sue disagreed and pulverized his garden gnomes with a hammer.

15 Minute Tweet Tales

12/27 - When Mother sweeps into a room, Darth Vader's leitmotif plays in my head. Today's black dress completes the look. Can she read my mind?
12/28 - Each day she leaves his grave and whispers, "Au revoir," adamant they'll soon reunite. But at night she holds the gun and loses her nerve.
12/29 - Ivy stares at her sparse curriculum vitae. She really wants this job. She starts typing. Creative writing was always her strongest skill.
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales or #15tt words?