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Originally posted at www.mybignose.blogspot.com. To enter the contest click here.

Here's a great breakup story from Bobbie Pyron, debut author of The Ring. Leave a comment and win a signed copy!

It wasn't the first time I'd slashed someone's tires. I sat hunched beside one of his back rear tires and flicked open my Swiss Army Knife. I pushed the point against the rubber, took a deep breath and closed my eyes.

This was my first time in Mill Creek Canyon since he'd broken up with me back in the fall. He'd said those four putrid words, “I need some space.” Those words were quickly followed by that equally putrid, useless phrase, “It's not you, it's me. You're great.” Right. I sat beside him on the muddy bank of a stream in Mill Creek Canyon, every word he uttered to the sky a knife in my heart. The words to a Christine Lavin song looped over and over in my head. If you want space, move to Utah... And here we were. I couldn't breath and every part of me was flying away in a million little pieces.

Of course, I should have seen it coming. I'd spent the last six months of our one-year-old relationship convincing him he could indeed love someone other than himself. He'd call me at work and have these long, rambling discussions with himself about how he was probably incapable of love. I'd grit my teeth, twist and untwist the phone cord and calmly, rationally point out to him all the ways he had shown love. We'd eventually hang up, the relationship in tact. It was like talking a jumper off the roof. Still, he often declared to me and his friends that he wanted to go live in the wilderness with no contact with the modern world in a house the size of a storage shed. Kind of like the Unibomber.

So after we broke up, I went into therapy and stayed away from Mill Creek Canyon. I missed the brilliant changing of the aspen leaves and the long winter of skiing the canyon road. Staying away from it like staying away from the best part of my self.

Instead, I sat on my therapist's couch once a week and cried. I wrote poetry, some bad some not too bad. I dreamed violent dreams, disturbing dreams. My therapist particularly liked the one in which I was some kind of wild canid—wolf, or fox, or coyote—who broke into his house, disemboweled his prized leather couch and peed on his bed. She said I was making progress.

Now the summer sun warmed my back as I sat hunched behind his rear left tire. I'd finally decided it was time to reclaim that canyon that meant so much to me. I was finally strong enough. So of course, life being the comical thing that it is, his car was in the parking lot of my favorite Mill Creek trailhead. I about choked the life out of my steering wheel as I sat there staring at his car and saying over and over, “damn, damn, damn.” I felt the familiar beginnings of a major anxiety attack coming on.

My dog yipped, pawed at the car door to get out. She was so happy to be back in the canyon—our canyon!

I scanned the trails from the parking lot. He could be anywhere up there. He'd probably been coming and going in this canyon for months without a thought, without memory as a knife in the heart.

I placed the point of my knife against the rubber of his tire. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. Centering my weight behind my knife hand and locking my arms, I pushed. The knife went into the almost-bald tires easy as sliced bread. He'd always been a cheap son of a bitch. Air escaped the tire with a satisfying hiss. I performed the same ritual on one of the front tires, then whistled up my dog, and got back in the car.

As we drove down canyon for a different trailhead, I thought about how satisfying that hiss had been. Almost as good as peeing on his bed. I didn't know when his tires would actually deflate. It might take two hours or two days. It didn't matter. I'd left my mark. The canyon was mine again. It wasn't the first time I'd slashed someone's tires, but it would be the last.

About Bobbie Pyron

Bobbie lives and writes in Park City, Utah. She's the author of The Ring (Westside Books) as well as the middle-grade novel A Dog's Way Home (Katherine Tegen Books, Spring 2011). Find out more at: www.bobbiepyron.com.

Here's a the book trailer for The Ring:

If you'd like to win a signed copy of The Ring by Bobbie Pyron, tell me whether you could ever get angry enough at an ex to slash his or her tires. Contest ends Wednesday, January 20th and is open to anyone, anywhere in the world. Please leave your contact information.

If you're in Utah, Bobbie and I will be signing books Saturday, January 17th at the Murray Barnes & Noble.


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Originally posted at www.mybignose.blogspot.com

Welcome to my new feature: breakup stories. My main character in Swoon At Your Own Risk has a problem collecting ex-boyfriends so all throughout 2010, I'll be hosting guest authors, various kinds of professionals, and others who have experienced a breakup.
Today I'm excited to introduce debut author Alexandra Diaz. Her first novel, Of All The Stupid Things (Egmont USA), has just hit the shelves. Leave a comment below and enter to win a copy!
Here's what Alexandra has to say about breaking up:

While some people might have great stories about one break up or another, in my experience there are two kinds of breaks ups.

The first one starts off with me assuming that everything is going fine. I enjoy his company, he seems to enjoy mine. But then he stops calling. Or doesn’t return my calls. The paranoid side of me wonders what I did wrong and checks to makes sure everything is ok. His silent treatment continues and I get frustrated and angry. I scream in my head that if he wants me, he can make the effort to contact me himself. He never does and eventually I take the hint that I’ve been dumped by the silent treatment.

The second kind of break up is often a mutual decision, though more often then not suggested by him, because we’re moving apart personally, emotionally, or geographically. These are the breaks ups where we end up as friends, or at least that’s the plan. I find myself hoping he moves on quickly because the break up is more painful than I anticipated though I know getting back together is not the solution.

It’s always hard finding myself in these situations, after all no one like rejection even if it is a mutual or necessary decision. I just have to keep reminding myself that the break up is ultimately for the best, but also accept that things might take some time, and that’s ok too.

More About Alexandra:

Alexandra Diaz is a Cuban-American spending her time between Bath, England, Santa Fe, NM, and the rest of the world. She has an MA in Writing for Young People and has led various workshops since she was fourteen. As a result of being homeschooled for most of high school, she's fascinated by teenage school life and the drama that occurs in those quarters. One of the reasons she writes is to experience life in someone else's shoes. She is a "jenny of all trades" having worked as a nanny, teacher, film extra, tour guide, and dairy goat judge (seriously) among several other jobs. In addition to traversing the world, she enjoys hiking, swing dancing, and the prospect of flying. Find out more at: www.alexandra-diaz.com

About Of All The Stupid Things:

When a rumor starts circulating that Tara’s boyfriend has been with one of the guy cheerleaders, the innuendo doesn’t just hurt Tara. It marks the beginning of the end for three lifelong friends. Tara’s training for a marathon, but also running from her fear of abandonment from her father. Whitney Blaire seems to have everything, but an empty mansion and absentee parents leave her looking for her own value in the wrong places. And Pinkie has a compulsive need to mother everyone to make up for the mama she’s never stopped missing. Then the new girl arrives in school and Tara starts to feel things she’s never felt for before for a girl. Can the girls’ friendship survive when all the rules have changed?

To win a copy Of All The Stupid Things leave a comment here. The contest is open to anyone in the world, but it closes on Wednesday, January 13, 2010 (please leave contact info).
If you have your own breakup story you'd like to share, email me at sydneysalter AT mac DOT com.


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 So I got called out by a blogger over the weekend for having my curly-haired character brush her hair throughout My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters. I ended up having a nice online chat and then I wrote about it on my body image blog.

I would love to hear other writers' pet peeves about how authors write about beauty. If you've got a minute please leave a comment: www.mybignose.blogspot.com

I'm hoping to avoid committing any future beauty ritual sins!

Current Mood: curious curious

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Click here to enter to win a fabulous prize from the 2009 Debutantes!

Find Out What's In The Bag And Win It Today

Current Location: home
Current Mood: excited excited

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My 7th grader suffered through another skiing lesson yesterday. While her little sister was labeled "a bullet," my eldest was called "meticulous," which is simply code for slow, and far too cautious. With two spine surgeries in the past five years, she has good reason to be timid, but will she ever be able to ski? Learning to ski takes a bit of risk-taking and a willingness to fall, over and over again. I learned to ski by following my more-skilled friends, straight down the mountain, and crashing, often spectacularly, at the bottom of the hill. Once I even got stuck in a small tree for more than 30 minutes!

I've approached writing the same way. I just plunge into a new novel and write, write, write, often without rereading until the thing is done. And, yeah, sometimes I crash spectacularly (although I have yet to relive that stuck in a small tree experience). But I revise and revise and most of the time those risks turn into good writing. I've also suffered through lots and lots of rejection by sending my manuscripts out to those mean old slush piles.

I think writing takes a certain amount of risk-taking. You've got to risk writing something honest (and that can be scarier than a double-black diamond ski run). You also have to risk rejection--sometimes for years and years. Writing is not for the timid. I know far too many talented writers who spend years revising their work--hoping to achieve the kind of perfection that might protect them from painful rejection. That's just not possible. To find success, you have to risk falling.

So go out there, fellow writers and take risks! At least when you fall in your writing, you can't break your leg.

Current Mood: hopeful hopeful
Current Music: NPR--is that music?

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Okay here are my writing resolutions for 2009:

1. Blog regularly (and hope it stops feeling like walking through the a crowded mall in a bikini--in the middle of winter).

2. Exercise my writing 3 to 5 times a week (same for the good old bod--but those resolutions are in my diary, you know, the one people won't read until I'm dead!).

3. Work on marketing my novels each week.

4. Balance work and family (i.e. turn off the computer when 3rd grader gets home from school).

5. Write something new!!!

Current Location: home
Current Mood: determined
Current Music: just the geese flying overhead

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Okay, so I searched through my old writing notebook for my 2008 writing resolutions. How did I do?

1. Relax and enjoy learning new things.

For the most part, but I did stress, probably more than necessary about some of those strange new author unknowns.

2. Revise with joy.

Thanks to my editor and agent, I now love and appreciate revisions.

3. Start working on a new novel.

I wrote two new novels in 2008.

4. Find mentors

I started going out to quarterly dinners with a group of serious local authors, many of whom are published or very close.

5. Create cool website and MySpace page.

Um, no. But I did find a website guy--and he swears he'll have something next week. Not holding my breath. Still can't get into MySpace as much; I'm a Facebook lover.

Current Location: home
Current Mood: satisfied satisfied
Current Music: Andrew Bird

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Spent a long quiet day, alone--what a treat--working on novel revisions, while listening to albums over and over again, and drinking cup after cup of tea.
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