Writhing in Pain

It is torture, being a Cleveland Cavaliers fan.

That is all.

Actually, that’s not all.  COME ON, CHRIS BOSH!  COME ON, LEBRON!

Update: LeBreezy is announcing his decision in an hour-long spectacle on ESPN Thursday night at 9PM.  Fantastic.

Update: Bosh is supposed to be announcing he’s going to the Miami Heat with Dwyane Wade (learn how to spell your name, Wade!).

In other news: Chris Bosh looks like Jar-Jar Binks.

And please please please don’t trade my Anderson Varejao away.*

*Pretty please?

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A Peek inside My Brain: Proceed with Caution

Ten days ago, I said I was swamped.  Now?  I don’t even have a good word for it.  I have so many things on my mind and on my plate, I feel like I have been in a state of mental paralysis for almost two weeks.  This summer is already bananas.*

ON MY MIND

SheNoWriMo. I started out with gusto, but my parents’ visit halted my momentum.  As one of my writer friends pointed out, once you get off track with something like that, it tends to snowball.  Argh!

I’m just being too much of a perfectionist and have kind of hit a wall because I don’t want to write words just to write words.  Plus, I am editing as I go (which I’m not supposed to be doing).

My current word count is 14,620—5,380 off my official word count goal—but I think, once I figure out a few plot details that are tripping me up right now, I can chip away at the deficit and still come out on track.  We’ll see.

Cleveland Cavaliers. You might be wondering how I could be so silent about them following their untimely elimination from the second round of the NBA Playoffs and all the hullabaloo surrounding LeBron James in the media.

My answer is simply this: I don’t really want to talk about it.  But, since we’re peeking inside my brain, I’ll admit it: I’m heartbroken.  And I don’t expect anyone not from Cleveland to understand that.  In fact, I feel silly talking about it, knowing how the rest of the country feels about the city I hold so dear, but there it is.

It’s weird because I’ve never really been much of a sports person, to be honest.  I suck at sports—always hated playing sports because I suck at them/never cared enough about them to want to be good.

What makes me so sad/may sound totally loserish is that LBJ inspired an entire city—made believers out of unlikely basketball fans (myself included).  Because of James’s talent and charisma, I came to love the game and the team.

I’m a huge fan of “the underdog,” which Cleveland pretty much always is.  I’ve talked before about how our team never gets any credit for being good.  It just figures that,  just when we started getting *some* credit from members of the national media, it all derailed in less than a week.

Without explanation and without taking ownership of it, LeBron just quit.  I know the loss isn’t 100% on him, but he has been instrumental in every change that team has made and he was supposed to be the superstar.  It just doesn’t make sense that—all of a sudden—he didn’t believe the team was good enough and checked out.  Even more puzzling, he did it when we actually still had a great shot.

So, in a large (and probably loserish) way, it feels like the sudden and unexplained betrayal of a friend.  And that makes me sad.  As does the huge effect this will have on the entire franchise—and the city itself.

And that’s probably why you won’t hear another word about it from me until “King James” makes his decision—if I even decide to comment then.

Operation House Demo. My dad is a retired builder/contractor, and he’s going to be gutting both our master bathroom and laundry room.  This will be done in phases, as we live in Virginia and my parents live in Ohio, so my folks are going to be making a series of visits—for about 3-4 days a month—until the projects are done.  Phase one begins next weekend!

While it’s very exciting, it’s also stressful both in terms of writing and getting work done while they’re here.  And, it’s remodeling—I’ve never done this before!

At least I know we’re in great hands.  It’s always been a dream of mine to have my dad build me a home.  Since we live out of state, this is the next best thing. 🙂

Trips. I’m pretty much booked until the beginning of August:

  • Girls’ weekend trip to Asheville, N.C., with a friend of mine who lives in Georgia
  • Sister-in-law’s graduation & senior art show
  • Southeastern Writers Association conference in St. Simons Island, Ga. (+speaking engagement there)
  • Myrtle Beach vacation with my hubs’s family
  • Hubs to Utah/Me to Cleveland
  • Romance Writers of America conference in Orlando, Fla. (+speaking engagement there)

ON MY PLATE

  • Sheena Easton (my WIP)!
  • I’m editing a book!
  • I’m critiquing three manuscripts!
  • Shenandoah Writers & Shenandoah Writers Online!

*Not that I’ve had a relaxing summer in a good many years.  To read about my crazy summer last year, click here, here, here, here, and here.

What’s with the LeBotomy? Own It and Step Up

The Boston Celtics decimated the Cleveland Cavaliers 120-88 in Game 5 of the second round of the NBA Playoffs, taking the lead 3-2.

Disgusting.

Your attitude stinks. Le Pew.

Here on the blog, from time to time, I’ve talked about how the national sports media favors the big markets—even if they aren’t doing as well (i.e., if Cleveland wins big against L.A. or Boston, the commentators say it’s because the big-market teams aren’t playing well—not because Cleveland is good).

And, while there was some of that tonight, what turns my stomach this evening is the lack of intensity and the lack of responsibility shown by the Cavaliers’ head coach Mike Brown and—especially—by Mr. MVP himself, LeBron James.

In the post-game press conference, Brown’s demeanor remained unaffected as usual.  He said little in terms of why things went so wrong.

“There was little we did right,” Brown said.

Very helpful. He might just as well have been buffing his nails with an emery board.

He went on to say the team will “learn a lot” about themselves in Game 6. *yawn*

Not. Taken. Tonight.

However, though Brown’s blasé responses infuriated me, I’m not altogether as upset with him as I am with James because, as The Cleveland Plain Dealer‘s Cavs beat reporter Brian Windhorst pointed out, Brown tried to counteract the beat-down by playing nine different guys in the third quarter.  Nine.  That’s a lot of readjusting.

Other than, you know, YELLING A LITTLE, GETTING MAD, and FIRING UP HIS TEAM, I’m not sure there was much else Coach Brown could have done.

No, this sickening display lies on James’s shoulders.  And his lack of manning up over the loss both shocks and disheartens me.  After all, that’s not the Bron-Bron I know and love.

In his part of the post-game press conference, a seemingly lobotomized James took no ownership for the loss and showed no signs of distress or fired-uppedness for Game 6.

“I spoil a lot of people with my play,” James said. “When you have three bad games in a seven-year career, it is easy to point that out.”

Are you sure about that?

That’s your answer, LeBreezy? (<—that nickname now takes on a whole new meaning after tonight.)  It’s not the elbow, it’s not anything else, these were just three freak games?

You’ve battled it out all season long, earning your Most Valuable Player almost in stride, as the Championship has purportedly been your ultimate goal—and now that we’re down 3-2 in round 2 of the Playoffs, it’s just: We’ll get ’em next time?

In typical fashion, the media jumped on the LeBron/free agency discussion pretty much from the third quarter on, and although tons of folks might say they “wouldn’t blame him” if he were to leave the CLE if the Cavs don’t win the Championship this year, I do—and he should blame himself, too.

Cavaliers GM Danny Ferry has given him all the necessary tools to get this done.  The entire organization has bent to his every whim—I’d even say to a fault, allowing him too much say in calling plays—all because he’s the King.

However, the role players can’t do it without him.  That was never part of the deal.  He is the superstar.  He is the self-proclaimed “Mr. Fourth Quarter.”  Ergo, he needs to bring it.

If tonight’s game was “pivotal,” according to beat reporter Windhorst and the rest of the sports media, I shudder to think what Thursday night’s game will be.  Windhorst says the outcome will affect the entire franchise for years to come . . .

. . . and if LeBotomy shows up again, the only thing I'll be "witnessing" is a different channel.

DEAR LEBRON JAMES*

Superstars man up and own up.  They do what it takes to get the job done, and they own up when they screw up.

You are the face of this team.  You not only set the tone for all 15 of our guys, but you’ve also got an entire city looking to you to tell them how to be.

You had a bad night—yes.  Now GET MAD.  Stop with the lameass excuses.  Stop being passive.  Own up and follow through.  You’ve promised yourself, your team, and this city.  It’s time to be the superstar we know you to be.

If you give up now, we too will give up.  Those boos from the stands tonight?  They were booing your lackadaisical attitude—your absence of passion—not YOU.

So, believe in yourself and in our team—and we will all believe too.

You are LeBron. M*<$^@#!%g. James.  And that dude doesn’t allow this to happen.

*Mike Brown, if you want to use this, you’re more than welcome to it.

Dude - that's permanent ink!


Bron-Bron’s Boo-Boo Makes Me Go “Boo Hoo!”

Last night, my Cleveland Cavaliers advanced to the second round of the NBA Playoffs by beating the Chicago Bulls 96-94 in game five of the first series—which, BTW, is too close, in my book.

But instead of being able to enjoy the win and anticipate our upcoming series against `~*Rondo.`~*Paul Pierce.`~*Kevin Garnett.`~*Ray Allen.`~* and the rest of the Boston Celtics, we Clevelanders huddle in collective worry over LeBron James’s injured elbow.

This is supposed to be our year*KOW* We have Shaq.  Acquired Antawn Jamison for practically nothing.  Got back our beloved Z.

Sure, they are no `~*Rondo.`~*Paul Pierce.`~*Ray Allen.`~* (please note the sarcasm), but now this?

James told reporters he’ll be ready—he’s had MRIs done—the damage isn’t structural.  However, the fact that he likens the sensation to when you twinge your funny bone?  That suggests to me that it’s a nerve issue.

I’m no doctor, but I don’t see how that is better.

So, at a time when I want to be coasting on a victory high, I’m worried about my boy.

If ever Clevelanders were knocking on wood (*KOW*), it’s now.

This photo, taken by The Plain Dealer's John Kuntz, is not only priceless, but it illustrates the look on every Cavs fan's face right now.

Cavs Clinch the Central Division

Tonight, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Indiana Pacers, 99-94, which enabled them to clinch the Central Division title for the second year in a row—and giving me and the rest of Cleveland a reason to smile.

Proud of you boys!

In the Blogosphere: 3/8 – 3/12

“In the Blogosphere” is a weekly series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week.  Most posts will be from that week, but if I find some “oldies but goodies,” I’ll throw those up here as well.

I never find as much time to read blogs as I want, but here are a few posts that struck me this week.

QUERY FAIL

I’ve heard of being a query spammer (addressing an e-query to every agent in the country), but this is ridiculous.  Notorious query spammer Oscar Whitfield ruins it for all of us—but his 7,000 rejections should make one feel better about one’s fraction of that many rejections.

Agent Jennifer Jackson of Donald Maass Literary Agency tallies her queries, and guess what: over half of the queries she receives do not follow the submission guidelines close enough to be considered.

Tsk, tsk, tsk . . . I’m not sure what’s worse, Oscar Whitfield’s query bombs or some of the things Lowenstein Associates, Inc.’s Kathleen Ortiz says authors are guilty of when it comes to their query etiquette—or their lack thereof.

RESOURCES

Listy listy.  The good people over at Guardian.co.uk have compiled lists of writing tips from several writers—including the likes of the inimitable Neil Gaiman and Margaret Atwood—in the spirit of Elmore Leonard‘s 10 Rules for Writing Fiction .

Although she said Janet Reid wrote it, middle-grade and young adult sci-fi writer Blee Bonn put my guest blog about the FinePrint Literary agent’s query tips at the top of her “Awesome Advice (for Writers)” post.  Yay!

In this Writer’s Digest oldie-but-goodie post, find out what agents hate (as relayed by Guide to Literary Agents editor Chuck Sambuchino).

On his Web site, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers Michael Hyatt discusses the importance of defending your “brand” in the digital age.

UP FOR DISCUSSION

In case you missed my announcement earlier in the week, I did a little guest blogging about leetspeak (“text message lingo”) and the ramifications of its increased acceptance in young adult lit over at Australian author Steph Bowe‘s blog this week.  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

DOWN TIME

Are you a workaholic?  Over at zenhabits, guest blogger Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist talks about the importance of resting.

Need something to distract you?  Check out Letterblox over at OMGPOP.

CONTESTS

Over at Inky Fresh Press, Kate announces a call for submissions as well as a contest at Narrative, an online publisher and nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the literary arts in the digital age.

As well, Writer’s Digest is hosting their 79th annual writing contest with a chance to win $3,000 and a trip to New York City.

SHEDDING SOME LIGHT

Been getting lots of rejections without much feeback?  Here, D4EO literary agent Mandy Hubbard offers some reasons she passes on fulls.

If you’re looking for some “inside” information, the people over at BubbleCow divulge 7 secrets publisher don’t want writers to know.

Have you ever wondered how book covers come to be?  On Orbit, Laura Panepinto posted a YouTube video on that very subject.

Think you’re a diva?  Not sure?  The Waxman Literary Agency offers three questions to ask yourself in order to find out.

Or . . . ask yourself if you're Aretha Franklin. No? Okay, you're probably not then.

THINGS THAT MAKE ME SLIGHTLY SICK

I know Wicked was The Wizard of Oz seen in a new way—and I love it (well, the musical).  However, if they remake it á là Tim Burton, as per this Los Angeles Times article, I may actually vomit.

First The Hills‘s Lauren Conrad and now Hilary Duff?  *tear*

RANDOM

Apparently, certain words and phrases—like “seek” and “flee”—are too sophisticated for people to use outside of print.  Well, that’s what Robert Feder says the higher-ups at WGN believe, anyway.

I loves me some Coco.  And, according to USA Today, O’Brien has changed the life of the one, random Twitter follower he’s chosen.

I loves me some Cleveland Cavaliers, as well.  And, according to Cleveland.com, Eastlake, Ohio, resident Jerry Tomko and a radio essay contest are responsible for the team’s name.  (I’m so proud, having grown up five minutes from Eastlake!)

I’m so excited!  Jodi Meadows and I are going to YA author Maggie Stiefvater‘s book signing in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday.  Will you be there?

A Mix of Emotions: Cavs Trade Z for Antawn Jamison

My beloved Cleveland Cavaliers traded their most beloved player (after LeBron James, of course), 34-year-old Zydrunas Ilgauskas, as well as a first-round draft pick for the only weapon the Washington Wizards have (well . . . since they cleaned out Gilbert Arenas’s locker), 33-year-old Antawn Jamison, this week.

While I’m excited about all the championship buzz as well as the fact that adding this piece to the puzzle might just stave off the media’s obsession with James’s possible departure from Cleveland after his contract expires at the end of the season, and while most say trading Z is a “wink wink” move—that the Wizards will buy out the most loyal former-Cavalier’s $10 million contract and the Cavs will sign him again in 30 days—I miss Z.

He stuck with our crappy team for his entire career—long before The Chosen One could even drive—and if we don’t get him back, I’ll be sick about it.

Z is the first person Bron-Bron hugged when they learned they were going to the 2007 NBA Finals.

Here’s a great Ilgauskas tribute in which official Cavaliers blogger John Krolik parodied Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree.  It says it all.

If you’re a Cleveland fan, you just might need some tissues handy.