Saturday, October 31, 2009

I'm sorry this week hasn't been filled with major updates. I've been so so busy with classes. Tests, papers, meetings--does it ever end? Anyway, I do have some exciting news. I just ran a 5k (for a community service point for club cross country), and I must admit, my expectations going into it were low. I tried to pretend it wasn't a race, which helped initially, but then my competitive side shined through (of course). So I covered the course in 27:22! I went on Xanga to look up my first race ever and it was a 27:35. Is it sad that I even knew where to look for that? Probably. Regardless, I can't run another one for a while until I know I can beat that time. Maybe in the spring?

Last night Brooke and I went grocery shopping, and I feel bad because we bought a lot and it was expensive. I mean, everything was cheap but together it added up. But now I feel like we have a lot more variety and hopefully I'll start eating things other than the same boring meals all the time. It's interesting to see who's at Walmart on a Friday night at 10pm!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Good news! I finally have something to talk about related to the book. I checked my email earlier and another woman from another agency is interested in the entire MS. As you can imagine, I freaked out like a giddy school girl and immediately responded to find out if she has formatting preferences, so now I'll have to restrain myself from checking my email compulsively for a response. And in less than a month, I'm hoping to hear back from the other woman with the whole MS. Didn't get a deadline from the woman with 75 pages, oh well.

In other news, my mom found this Philly-based organization called First Glance Films, and they had a short film contest going which would have been perfect for the screenplay I need to have done for class, but entry submission is closed. Still, for all you Philly film kids out there, they do festivals and other cool contests so go to the website. Its for anyone who wants to find out more. I only went on the site briefly, but it seems user-friendly.

I'm almost done Deb Caletti's latest novel and will have an opinion on that ASAP, so if you're looking for a book to read, check back for my thoughts.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I feel like I have this eclectic variety of hobbies all of the sudden. Cooking, baking, movies, books, football, home decor. Am I crazy? I mean, it's that time of year again. And my parents want ideas for Christmas, and half my list was a bunch of random needs, like a fleece jacket and rain boots, and the other half is even more obscure. I went on and today and sent my mom links to kitchenware and store that I want. Really, though? I'm so far from normal sometimes. At least I know what I like, right?

Kind of along the same line, I realized I'm a little dissatisfied with JMU's student organization selections. We have 300+ clubs, and I'm still hard-pressed to find exactly what I'm looking for. What I really want is a creative writing workshop. Not the biweekly student newspaper or the poetry journal, but a club that is a group of kids all trying to write the next Great American Novel. A group of kids who stay up late, like me, and type away just to get it all down fast enough. Some really enlightened individuals. I'm sure that's too much to ask on a college campus driven by partying and football, but a girl can dream. There is the alternative: make my own club with at least 8 members and apply for recognition from the university. I don't know 8 crazy people like myself though. I'm hopefully taking a creative writing workshop course next semester, so maybe I can find people and form a kinship.

Oh and one more thing: has anyone ever had garlic-filled ravioli? I saw it in a recipe in my new book and I'm intrigued, but it's impossible to find anywhere. That and Nature Valley's granola cereal. If you can tell me where to buy either, I will love you for life.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I'm proud to say I finally saw The Ugly Truth and it was well worth the $2.50 I spent. The theater was packed, considering it was a 7:00 movie on a Saturday night and I expected half of campus to already be getting "ready" for the night. There were actually a decent amount of guys there, too, which surprised me because it seems like a total chick flick. Maybe I'm wrong. Regardless, the movie moved along at a good pace, and while there were definite moments where I knew exactly where it was headed, I still enjoyed them. Katherine Heigl's been in a bunch of good movies lately, but Gerard Butler I only know of from P.S. I Love You. He needs to do more movies, because I'm a big fan.

One of my all-time favorite parts about seeing movies in the theaters is the previews. I saw some really compelling previews that I need to add to my list of movies to see. You know, the list that grows faster than you can keep up. That one. So here's the titles: The Box, Precious, and The Men Who Stare At Goats.

I bought Betty Crocker's Quick and Easy Cookbook yesterday, after I debated, for a full half-hour, on which cook book was best. Now I've got a chicken breast defrosting and I'm trying to decide what I'm making myself for dinner, because last night I went and ate on campus and Friday night I had Chili's. It only seems appropriate to cook myself something tonight.

Friday, October 23, 2009

TGIF! I'm so so glad this week is over, but next week's actually looking crazier! Maybe it'll go faster? We'll see. For now, I'm starting to get a cold and at the first sign of this I quickly reached for a Halls Defense drop, which contain my daily supply of Vitamin C while tasting nothing short of amazing. It's like candy, practically. Might be too late though.

Tonight's looking good. Two of my roommates stuck around for the weekend and I think we're all headed to Chili's for dinner :) I haven't gone out to eat in months, so this is the highlight of my October, really. Just the fact that I have a car and can go to Chili's if I want to is exciting. Living off campus sure has its perks. On the down side, gas is going up. Thankfully, I just filled my tank so I'm set for a while.

I'm suuuper excited for the weekend, though. One word: football. Last week I didn't get to watch either game (JMU or Giants), but both are televised this weekend so maybe the Dukes will turn around this painful 3-game losing streak and beat William & Mary, who should be known for their academics, not their football? And then Sunday night at 8pm - Giants vs. Arizona. Next week we play Philly, and I still don't know if I'll get the game on TV, but don't even get me started on that one. First comes first. The Giants have the better record, but the line's close.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Does anyone get Writer's Digest? I fancy myself a casual reader, since I am, after all a fan of writing. Anyway, each issue has a section called Your Story that functions as a constant prompt-oriented contest and I can't remember what October's prompt was, other than I read it on the submission deadline and was crushed. However, November's prompt didn't catch me. I feel like I need to do something, anything, to get out of this mini writing rut I'm in right now. I want to write creatively, but the thought of working on my newest novel just makes me want to skip right to the end and call it a day. I once heard that writing a book is like running a marathon. You have to forget the pain of the first one before you can do another one. I think my wounds haven't yet healed.

By the way, in just over a month I'm hoping, praying really, I hear from one of these agents about the manuscript. She gave me a deadline of Nov. 27th, and it's already the third week in October. I don't want to get my hopes up, but I would love to get someone hooked into it and willing to work with me.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

One of the greatest inventions ever? Websites that allow you to watch full-length movies. I'm sure that perspective will ultimately shift when I'm the one griping about nobody buying my movie on DVD or Blue-Ray, or whatever the newest craze is then. Right now, though, it allowed me to watch almost 45 minutes of A Beautiful Mind. Then I realized it was only an hour, so I'm guessing it cut out halfway-ish through? I loved the 45 minutes I did watch, so I'm planning on renting or borrowing it from someone at some point. Let me know if you have it and it's good. It's on my list of movies to see, and the list grows faster than I can keep up with.

We actually have this movie theatre on campus that plays stuff that's in that weird transitory stage between theaters and DVD release. This week's playing The Ugly Truth and I want to see it so bad. Any feedback? It's only $2.50 for students! And I don't take advantage of that nearly enough.

This is actually completely off-topic, but I have to schedule classes in 2 weeks, and I'm trying to come up with some elective classes to take, since I can only take 2 in my major and I need a full schedule. I'm trying to steer away from general education courses because they're usually filled with freshmen and more work than something I might actually enjoy. Right now my thoughts are an upper-level spanish course, college algebra (I'm too nervous to take calculus), and maybe a creative writing class that I need for the minor. I feel like the math will balance out the writing? I don't want some reading/writing intensive schedule and I'm done with my science requirements. Suggestions would be lovely.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Here's the ad from the aforementioned paper I wrote yesterday. It might make more sense seeing it and not sound so completely ridiculous (at least, I hope so).

Last night I watched State of Play, starring a bunch of big name actors: Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Jason Bateman (to name a few). Got it from RedBox, which is one of the greatest inventions of all time. 24-hour rentals for a dollar?! Can't beat that. And you wonder why Blockbuster's shutting down 900 some stores across the country? Anyway, it's an action-packed movie that according to my roommate, is somewhere along the lines of All The President's Men. There were so many twists and turns that I was hooked pretty much from the opening credits, which is always a good sign. I highly recommend it.

On a side note, I've spent way too much time thinking about cooking in the past few weeks and I'm really starting to think I need a cookbook or one of those recipe holder books. Nothing gourmet, just a little something to teach me the basic meals with flavor. Sam (my roommate) says I'm such an Italian. I used balsamic vinegar in a quesadilla recipe last night. What can I say? I grew up loving good, homemade meals.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

On nights like tonight, I'm actively reminded why I'm meant to be a writer. Right now, I'm in the middle of writing an analytical paper for my art history class, and it dawned on me. I feel like Caroline Queen from Sarah Dessen's The Truth About Forever. She majored in art history and spends a great deal of her interactions with Wes trying to decipher the so-called Greater Meaning behind his works, using fancy terms and symbolic meaning to psychoanalyze him and his underlying values. That's basically what I'm doing right now, except, get this: I'm writing a paper about a Tampax ad. Yes, 750-1000 words on an ad about tampons. And so far I've got almost 600 words about allegory and symbolism and color and composition and it's just incredible, really, that anyone can do this for a living. But I'm chugging along. Maybe I'll write about something more interesting next time I have a paper for that class. Who knows. Anyone ever have those kind of moments, where you stop and catch yourself doing something and laugh? I'm interested to hear.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I must admit I finally watched a clip from the Pam & Jim wedding, thanks to the YouTube clip Sarah Dessen included in her blog entry. Definitely put a smile on my face, as it is 45 degrees outside and overcast. I needed a little afternoon pick-me-up. It's actually my second pick-me-up, the first being a visit to Plato's Closet, which, if you haven't heard of it, is kind of a teen clothes and accessories consignment shop that's buying back fall and winter stuff right now. So I went in with a handful of clothes, some that they didn't take (too worn, oh well), and came out with about $10. Hey, I'm $10 richer and it was minimal effort, for anyone who considers themselves lazy. I'm definitely telling my sister to clean out her drawers at her earliest convenience because I know she could make more than ten bucks off them. Let me put it this way: her drawers are mostly all broken because of the sheer volume of shirts and pants she crams in them, some she probably doesn't know she even has. Whenever I'm getting bored with my clothes selection, I go on a scavenger hunt through her dressers and find some shirts she hasn't worn in oh, I don't know, three or four years? On occasion I've found shirts of mine that I stopped wearing in the beginning of high school and thought I misplaced them. No, nope. Kels has them tucked away. Or should I say balled up?

On another note, I'm leaving for a cross country run in about half an hour. Braving the cold weather. No rain or wind right now, though. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm a recent addict to cooking. I live with three other girls and, well, only one of them has had serious cooking experience. My parents didn't raise me on mac and cheese, hot dogs, and hamburger helper, though. I've been privy to a number of dishes that my dad experimented with or saw on The Food Network and decided to try. And both of them are Italian, so it's really the best of both worlds: good genes and a knack for trying new recipes. Just to offer up a sample, this weekend I had shrimp scampi and london broil, not take-out.

Lately I've googled recipes that are cheap, easy, quick, and healthy. I know, I know I'm needy, but I'm a college kid. Anyway, here's my Top 5 (from what I've discovered thus far, and in no particular order):
1. Turkey & Balsamic Onion Quesadillas
2. Fajita-Ranch Chicken Wraps
3. Spaghetti with Tomatoes & Shrimp
4. Stuffed Peppers
5. Grilled Fish Tacos

Some of them even had prices per serving (less than $3!). Call me crazy, but I think any recipe's worth a try once. Right? If anyone has any other good ideas, let me know :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

It's Monday night at 9pm, which means I could be doing any number of things: watching the Jets vs. Dolphins game on ESPN, reading art history, reading Deb Caletti's latest novel, or catching up on the Pam/Jim wedding, which I may just have to Hulu. Unfortunately, I'm a Giants fan, and grew up with a front row seat to the Giants vs. Jets debate at my grandma's house on various family occasions, in which my father and uncle fought over the TV in my grandma's basement. So for me, while I believe in the Jets more than the Dolphins, there are better games to watch. The art history PDF file won't download, so that's my excuse for that. And I figure I should actually read some of the Deb Caletti novel before I comment about it. As for Pam and Jim, my Hulu experience thus far is nonexistant, and my internet is failing me so that might wait a while. I heard it was both hilarious and sentimental, and I'm sure it's well worth the wait. To be honest, I've never watched a TV show religiously, so you can't blame me now for not watching The Office. I'll warn you that I'm a sucker for American Idol and it only took one episode (top 7) last season to get me hooked again.

The real reason for this post, though, is the novel. If someone's investing time in the blog, they might as well want to read the novel. So what's it about? This, any writer will tell you, is a hard task. You want to go on and on about all your fantastic subplots and how they came to you while you were debating over which brand of frozen pizza to buy. What we want you to do, though, is buy the book. So here's my attempt. It's only the thousandth time I've tried to explain it.

Keep In Touch is a young adult coming-of-age story set in a small town outside Charleston, SC. When 18-year-old Alex Madison is uprooted from her suburban home in Ohio against her will, forced to move in with her father who walked out on the family sans explanation three years ago, she's more than bitter. While not entirely content in Ohio, it's just two months from graduation and Alex won't be participating in any senior activities. Now in South Carolina, she's forced to confront what brought her there--the death of her mother and younger sister--as well as what made her father leave. It's a story about the awkward, struggling father-daughter relationship on the surface, but there's more than that. There's Casey, a 19-year-old boy working with her father whose persistence annoys Alex. And there's Alex's past, which she's tried to ignore, but with Casey, it's just too hard. Can she finish out the summer and go to school with no strings attached, or will she be forced to reconcile with her father, uncover the missing pieces, and let Casey into her life?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

As you can tell, my name's Kaleigh Somers. I wanted to make that crystal clear because the purpose of this blog is to help keep in touch with people and allow them to stay up to date with my book, which is, ironically, called Keep In Touch. More on that later, though. For now, here's me:

I'm a sophomore in college, majoring in film production but minoring in creative writing. I'm hoping, crossing my fingers really, that I can get my first novel published. I'm heavily inspired by some of my favorite young adult authors, so for all you Sarah Dessen or Deb Caletti readers out there, keep me in mind when you scan the bookshelves. Besides writing, I love running (less in the cold). My recent addictions, though, are NFL games and cooking.

I don't want to say I'm normal because really, who's normal? Nobody. So I'll use this word instead: relatable. Especially to anyone who's ever gone through something rough or been a teenager. Oh wait, that's most people. Obviously I can't relate to being an adult yet, but someday. For now, I hope my thoughts and commentary on life will be enough for someone else to feel comfortable and less alone with what they think or feel. I can tell you from experience that that's a nice feeling.