Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Kids and Nature

I was reading an article the other day about a guy who wrote a book stating that kids don't spend enough time outdoors anymore, that they'd ratber be inside on the computer or playing their game boy.

I saw a card at Target the other day, as well, that made me chuckle but also made me think. A young boy is sitting in the yard, his desk and computer in front of him. He's turned around to address his mom, saying "What? You said to play outside. I'm outside. I'm playing."

How sad is that?

My daughter spends time outside daily (well, I make allowances for blizzard conditions and ice storms). In fact, she can tell you the names of almost every flower and plant in our yard, and has handled - without fear or the "eeeeew" factor - dozens of different kinds of wildlife: toads and frogs, garden snakes, daddy long leg spiders, dragonflies (her personal fave) and once, she found a mole (gosh, was it cute - my husband was horrified I let it go "do you know the kind of damage they do to our lawn?", but what was I supposed to do? Whack it over the head with a shovel?). We even have a "pet" spider who makes her web on our peony bush in the front:

Isn't she gorgeous?

Here's the story my DD wrote about the mole:

A Cute Mole

When we found this mole, he was so cute! But it wasn't me that found it. It was Bailey. She was digging, probably thinking it was a chipmunk. I went to see what she was doing. I picked it up. It was so cute. I went to mommy who was gardening. She went to Bailey and pulled her back. Gram held Bailey while mom went into the woods. She found a good place. I was swinging on my swing. Mom went way back in the woods.

The End

Look... isn't it cute? Could you whack it over the head?

I've been told that my heroine has a strange pet - a rat. But, see how much worse it could be?

Okay, enough messing around. Back to writing.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Feast or Famine

I have a garden. Well, actually, several of them - mostly flowers (which I love! If hubby had his way, we'd have grass and trees. Only. Ugh.) but I also have one veggie garden.

Last year was the Year Of The Chipmunks - they were abundant and voracious. They ate EVERYTHING they could find: seeds, plants, young veggie crops. Indeed, food was plentiful enough that they would only take the best. I found pea pods they had opened and eaten the nice green peas from, but rejected the shell. A bite from this tomato and that tomato - couldn't eat the entire thing. Noooooo.... And they decimated my cucumber crop by eating the plants. The PLANTS. Huh?

This year, by golly, I was going to have cucumbers. I bought two (count 'em, two) eight packs of cuc babies and planted them.

You know what? This year isn't the Year Of The Chipmunks. Nope. It's the year of the Cucumber That Ate Manhattan. Every couple of days I harvest 10 - 15 cucs. And I got the burpless ones that are about 12" long... you know, enough for an entire meal.

My neighbors have begun to hide from me when I visit (Please, no more cucumbers). When I ask hubby what he wants for dinner, his answer is usually: anything but cucumbers.

I only wish my writing was a prolific as those *&^% plants.

Anyone want some cuc's? Please?

Friday, August 26, 2005

The 4400

4400 words, that is. Not that I don't enjoy the show.

It's just that I'm ebullient about the fact that I think I've finally figured out a legitimate way to get my hero moved into my heroine's home. Good thing, really, since this happens in the first two chapters. And I've written 41,000+ words with a poor original premise.

The best thing? It works in nicely with most of my existing words, so I'm not going to have to toss all 41,000 words down the garbage disposal! Yay!

So, I ran my word counter today after writing like a maniac yesterday and this morning and I've just exceeded 4400 words -- the first new words that I've written in a couple of weeks. Yay again!

Now I'm getting ready to post it for my critique partners... that's the scary part. Will it fly? Did I finally get it right? *gulp*

In other news, my daughter did some story brainstorming with me this morning and decided that the old mother in her story is really a wicked witch who puts a spell on Kay.

Now I'm really wondering if I should be offended. Could this have something to do with the fact that she now has a chores list to be completed each day?

Sheesh, have her dry a few dishes and I'm the evil stepmother. Just wait until I make her clean the fireplace wearing the latest in "rag chic"...

OOOH... and speaking of rags, here's my latest guilty pleasure: Go Fug Yourself. I pay it a visit every day.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

It Runs in the Family

My six-year-old daughter came downstairs this morning and proudly exclaimed, "I'm done with my old story, mom, I've started a new one!" and plopped down both the old story (which is now archived with some of her best drawings from the past year) and the new one. It's got a great storyline, so I thought I'd share (I'm typing exactly what she wrote... and she writes long hand, so there's no spell check!):

Part One

As Kay weeded her garden she saw her roses blooming. She was so happy that she told her mom who was now very old. Mrs. Hush stopped by. She loved Kay like she was her dater. One of Kay's frends also stopped by. Kay was relly happy. They talked and played by the pond. They too wint to the oshen. They also saw sharks.

Hey... what about that hook? What about those sharks? Were the kids scared? What's going to happen to Kay and her friend?

When Part Two is written, I'll be sure to share.

I'm not too sure I like that part about the mom being quite old... am wondering if I should take it personally.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

What I'm Reading

Or maybe I should call this post: What I'm Attempting to Read, but Can't Get Past the First Two Chapters.

I picked up Sandra Brown's new book "Chill Factor". Keeping in mind that I've yet to find one of her newer books that I don't like, I was thrilled to get it yesterday and started reading as soon as I had two seconds - which turned out to be when I was sautéing my stir fry - wooden spoon in right hand, book in left hand. Don't try this at home.

By the end of the second chapter, I already started skimming. Now, to be fair, I've had problems reading nearly every book I've picked up lately and I'm not certain if I'm just getting icky books, or if it says something about my attention span. I wrote a little bit about this in my previous blog.

I need a fix -- a fun book (granted, I didn't go into that book thinking it was fun, I love romantic suspense, too!) with strong characters that isn't all about sex (please note: I like sex, both real and imagined, as much as the next person -- but some of the newer books I've read can't get their brains out of their crotches), and has solid writing and a fresh plot.

Is that asking so much??

I find myself falling back on old faves, most recently a book I'll never get tired of: "Getting Rid of Bradley" by Jennifer Crusie. I still chuckle when I read it ("dead dog"... *snort*).

So - anyone, anyone? I'd love, Love, LOVE any book recommendations.


Monday, August 22, 2005

Truth is Stranger than Fiction -or- Why I Hate Plotting

You know how people say “truth is stranger than fiction”? Well, they're right – because, dammitall - fiction has to make sense like real life never does.

I met my husband when he fixed my car – I’d randomly chosen the apartment I lived in, had opted to keep my Toyota not my Ford when I moved, and went to the closest Toyota repair shop. I was new in town (been there one day!) and loved country dancing. Since he had country music on, I asked him if he knew a good place to go dancing. He did, and he went every Thursday and the rest is history.

I wrote a short story loosely based on this little romance of ours, and it was considered too coincidental and unbelievable.


I know I’ve been harping on Camilla lately, but I’m having fits trying to make sense why (oh why) Jed is living at her house in her spare room. I’ve thrown umpteen scenes at the wall, and nothing is sticking: too coincidental and unbelievable. Or, in some cases, just too clichéd and has been done to death.

Fact is, though, that clichés are clichés because they reflect real life. And coincidences happen. Just not in fiction, and some days this really annoys the snot out of me.

It has to be somehow logical and full of specific motivation to get Jed at Camilla’s. On top of this, I like having somewhat eccentric characters and a bit of fun with them, so I can’t miss a chance for some humor. So I have to create wacky situations that are also logical.

So - do I have it figured out why Jed is living with Camilla? Not in a way that makes logical sense. I bounced some ideas off of a writing friend, and she came back with some "yes, but"'s that poked very legitimate holes in some of my plans. So, it's back to the drawing board.

Some days I miss working at the bank. After all $1 plus $1 is always $2… unless you count the interest earned.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

I Learned How To Post Pictures... I Think....

I think I found out how to post pictures... Let's see:

The worlds Best Chipmunk Hunter - Bailey:

You can tell I'm a scrapbook maniac - my first thought was NOT to yell at the dog for digging up my lawn, but to run for the camera to capture this moment forever.

Then yell at the dog.

Next, the World's Fattest Cat Plays E.T.:

This is pretty much all she ever does except eat and tease the dog.

Next -- My backyard in the winter -or- Why I Miss California:

And lastly for today - DD plays at the beach:

And, no, this has nothing whatsoever to do with writing - I just decided that I needed to learn something new today, and this was it.

Incidentally, one person in my writing group had an idea for Camilla that ROCKS and I took it and ran - brainstormed three pages of "what if's" so far and am still moving. I'm excited about the story for the first time in a l-o-o-o-o-o-n-n-n-n-n-g time. Yay!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

It's All in the Eye of the Reader

So, I got my contest score sheets back...didn't open them for a while - just held it and stared at it as if, by my will alone, I could affect the comments. Finally, I did it. Unfortunately, hubby was standing right next to me (this is my hubby who insists on my using a pen name, doesn't get that I can't write a novel and get it immediately published and asks on a regular basis some form of "show me the money" - usually after I've spent $40 on a contest entry).

Right on top was a gorgeous certificate that I can hang up right next to my clipboard of rejections (sort of an "in your face"). Underneath were the score sheets and comments. After I learned how to breathe again, I read them and I'm feeling really good about them.

Three judges (which was odd, I thought there were four... but that's neither here nor there):

#1. 57 pts out of 60
#2. 58.5 pts
#3. 33 pts

Some comments:

Judge #1:

You have a great sense of humor.

I love Camilla's voice. A great beginning. Keep it up and I look forward to buying it.

Judge #2:

We get a very clear sense of both characters and are eager to learn more.

Great dialogue, very natural.

Excellent (mechanics) - voice/style very readable, love the touch of humor, the building sexual tension.

This is a great start ... very likeable characters. I sense you've got a winner here!

Judge #3 (this one only made two comments):

Heroine seems a little backwards, not like a contemporary woman - her dialogue in particular is hard to identify with.

(Overall) Not bad but storyline and characters could be more interesting. Needs more plot, more story, more hook and less eccentric characters.

So, don't hold back, tell me what you really think... lol...

I found this to be terrifically eye opening - two loved it, one pretty much hated it. Such diverse opinions - especially in regards to dialogue and characterizations. Really goes to show that no matter what or how we write, some folks will love it and some will use it to paper the birds cage.

Camilla needs a lot of work, but this was (mostly) a warm fuzzy to help me keep going. Now I just need to work on Jed's internal motivation - something pointed out to me by the two judges who did actually like the story.

I'm off to have a conversation with my hero. Hope he's in a talkative mood.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Of Plots and Pets

I've decided that, with all my problems with plot lately, I'll start listening to my six-year-old daughter and her plot ideas. She's full of them lately, "Mommy you should write a book about....", and I tell her she should write me the stories. She just rolls her eyes and says "I'm already busy with my other book."

Oh yeah.

Her current book is about seven pages long so far. It's about a little girl who has all of her friends over for a party and then the cat (our big bubba cat, Breeann, in her first starring role) knocks over a can of paint. When the little girl helps clean it up, her mother is so proud that she gets the little girl a puppy of her very own.

Even her books have more conflict than mine.

Of course, it's also a literary novel of sorts, with its links to real life. My DD desperately wants a pet of her own. She's even willing to settle for fish (she plans on naming them Heidi and Jack). My husband hates cats (he married into our current one), doesn't want more than one dog, and firmly believes that rodents should never, ever live in ones house. Don't even think about a reptile.

So, fish it is. I think I'll buy the tank and she can earn the money for the fish and food. It's never too early to learn fiscal responsiblity, right?

And... what does this have to with plotting books anyway? Sheesh... it seems I can't write anything that makes sense lately.

Only one thing to do: Spider Solitaire.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Of Worms and Ruined Anniversaries

TO: Whomever created the worm that invaded the computers at the company where my hubby is a systems administrator

You cretin!

Thank you so very much for ruining all plans for my anniversary. I even managed to arrange a sleep over for my daughter and, for the first time in SIX YEARS, would have had my husband all to myself (muh-ha-ha).

Now, he's busy running computer patches on umpteen billion networked computers and doesn't even think he'll be home at all tonight.

NOTE TO SELF: This is why I write romance where I can manipulate what happens (unlike my own life), and prefer to read only HEA's. Real life truly stinks sometimes.

I'm off to eat tons of chocolate and kill my babies (please see previous blog before dialing 9-1-1)

Killing your baby

So.... for three days now, I've gotten nothing accomplished with Camilla. I've been told that my conflict isn't strong enough, and I've wracked my brain for new ideas on conflict. I think my biggest problem is that I'm married to the current story - whether it works or not. I like my h/h, I mean I really like them.

But it isn't working. So I really need to trash what I have and go back to the drawing board. Start from scratch instead of editing what's already there. Use some of my favorite scenes (the "birdwatching" scene, for instance and the time when Buffy steals Camilla's lingerie...), but ditch the rest.

I need to pretend that I'm brainstorming a whole new book. That doesn't thrill me, but I truly believe it's the only way to fix what's wrong. Time to kill this baby and birth a new one.


This writing stuff is work.

On a brighter note, my hubby and I have managed to put up with each other for nine years, today. Happy Annivesary baby...

I'm off to sharpen my sacrifical knife -- run, Camilla, run!

Monday, August 15, 2005

C'est Vrai Moi

Or is it c'est vraiment moi? Maybe c'est moi vraiment? Gads, French class was decades ago.

Anyway -- after an extremely stressful weekend (and having hubby home again today just for grins, messing with my schedule) I had nothing witty, interesting or insightful to say.

So I decided to play at Blogthings.

What I want to know is this - how the HECK do they know me so well? Because this is so me:

How You Life Your Life

You seem to be straight forward, but you keep a lot inside.

You're laid back and chill, but sometimes you care too much about what others think.

You tend to have one best friend you hang with, as opposed to many aquaintences.

Some of your past dreams have disappointed you, but you don't let it get you down.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

My GB Results

All day, I can't think for waiting on results from the Great Beginnings contest. I check and recheck email ... and then, oddly, when it did come it I almost missed it! The subject line read "Congrats". What does that mean? I can't open it. If I don't open it I can continue thinking that I WON.

I opened it.

I didn't win.

Out of five finalists, I came in fourth. That burst my bubble, let me tell you.

Now, if they'd'a said, "Out of seventy-five entries, you came in fourth" I would have been mighty proud. And that might be the case, cuz I don't know how many people entered.

But still, fourth is better than fifth. With an artists temperment, I may have shredded Camilla if I'd have come in fifth.

Still, not bad for my first contest. I can't wait to see my score sheets.

Onward and upward, but until then my Light and Creamy Friendly's Forbidden Chocolate ice cream is calling my name, and I feel obliged to answer.

Now I've Sung My A-B-C's

I'll tell you a secret. When I can't sleep at night, I don't count sheep.

I name them.

I start with "A" and do a male and female name: Alfred, Albina; then "B": Barney, Bonnie and so on... Good practice for thinking up unusual names for my characters.

Last night, at about 2 a.m. I decided I'd had enough of naming sheep - I'm beginning to run out of names, and I don't like to repeat. So I imagined a new game - naming musical acts. What makes this a challenge? They can only be one word (excepting "The" and "A"). Still, I got stuck on some letters. Anyone want to help (I will add any contributions into the blog in red)?

Please note that I started off with a bang, and then began to fizzle... could be that I finally started getting drowsy.

A - ABBA, Aerosmith, ABC, Asia, Alabama
B - Beatles, Boston, Blondie, Berlin
C - Carpenters, Chordettes
D - Devo (I wondered about Duran Duran - since it's the same word, would it count?)
E - Eagles, Erasure
F - Foghat, Foreigner
G - Go-Go's
H - Heart
J - Journey, Jacksons
K - Kansas
L - Loverboy, Lonestar
M - Madonna, Monkees
N - Nirvana
O - Oasis - contributed by Charity...thanks!!
P - Prince
Q - Queen, Quarterflash
R - Rush
S - Survivor, Starship, Sugarland
T - Toto, T'Pau (would you believe I have this LP?)
U - U2
V -
W - Wham!
X -
Y - Yes
Z -

Friday, August 12, 2005

Writing and the Zen of Weeding

Finally.... this morning it wasn't 90 degrees and humid! Yay! So, I headed outdoors, covered in bug spray against the voracious hordes of mosquitoes and deer flies and did one of my favorite things: weeded.

Raindrops on roses and yanking up crab grass...

My neighbors think I have some kind of psychological disease because I can't not weed. When I bring the dog to play with her friend across the street, I sit and visit with my friend and - yup, you guessed it - weed! And, trust me, I have my hands full at her house because she has some kind of moral or religious objection to weeding (and watering, but that's another story).

This summer has been tortuous for me because of the unending and unbearable heat. The weeds love it, but I can't tolerate more than a few minutes at a time. So the weeds are knee high and thriving. ACK!

Back to my story.

I sat outside in my gravel turnaround, comfortably ensconced on my canvas tote/chair, pulling up crabgrass and some indistinguishable wide leafed plant with 8,000 little roots that cling desperately to life. It was quiet, the birds were singing (well, mostly I heard "chick-a-dee-dee-dee" with an echo from my daughter, and the PEEP from the downy woodpeckers at the suet feeder), it was slightly overcast with a soft breeze, even my daughter is quiet - except for the occasional birdcall ... my idea of heaven. My husbands perfect summer day? Boating. Mine? Gardening. He thinks I'm sick.

So, I'm in this peaceful bubble doing mindless work that offers a great and clearly visible reward and all I have to do is... think. Contemplate. Plot. I'm tussling with some plot and conflict additions for Camilla and am struggling with letting go of some scenes that I adore, but that just won't fit in with the new storyline. I have scene additions that I must put somewhere, but the original draft is my darling baby and I don't want to amputate any limbs or add any new tissue.

When I sit in front of the computer, I feel obligated to write. Something. This morning I could simply, wonderfully, happily think. No obligations, no guilt - because I wasn't just staring at the wall, I was accomplishing something.

It was wonderful. I'm going to have to schedule weeding into my writing time every day. And when I'm out of weeds, I'll just head next door. That would keep me busy into my tenth novel.

In fact, I'm kind of wanting to get back out there right now. Even if it is 90 degrees and humid again.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

To Pursue, or Not To Pursue?

I have a good friend whom I've known for 20+ years ... and who, unfortunately, lives as far away from me as she can and still be in the continental US. My fault, not her's, since I'm the one who left California and ended up in the cold, white north (aka New Hampshire).

Still, we've always shared a love of reading and writing. In high school, we wrote a book together, a murder mystery. She'd write one chapter and give it to me and I'd write one - a two person round robin. We never discussed plot lines, and took great joy in killing off each other's characters.

Not that long ago, she also shared my desire to be published. She discussed attending a writers retreat at Squaw Valley, sent a short story off to Alfred Hitchcock magazine and delighted at the stories that danced in her mind.

Yesterday, I received an email from her in response to one I sent letting her know about my most recent contest entries and short story submissions. I expressed excitement about taking the steps toward publication, and asked how her writing was coming.

Her response destroyed me: I haven't even turned on my computer since I
moved, much less written anything. I'm not that keen on getting published
anyway. It's a nice dream, but I just don't have the energy to pursue it.

She was the person I shared my writing hopes and dreams with, and the one who I trusted for in depth and "right on" crits. And she's taken her dream and buried it as though it was her imaginary friend from toddlerhood that she's somehow outgrown.

I'm sorry for her, and - selfishly - sorry for me. I've always been the type to jump in with both feet and paddle frantically when pursuing something I want. It doesn't always work out, but I don't want to look back and wonder if I might have done "that thing" that I always dreamed of. I have enough regrets already.

I'll bet you're thinking that this post is headed somewhere profound, aren't you? You'd be wrong. It's just something that is weighing heavily on my heart and I needed to share it with someone.

Thanks for listening. I'm off to pursue the dream.

Incidentally, I finally broke 40,000 words on Camilla! Yay! Only 10,000 more to finish by Saturday. No problem... *snort*

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

May I Borrow your Restroom?

Why is it that whenever we can't have something, we crave it? Or when something is terrifically inconvenient, it's more necessary than ever?

My house has a well for water. Most of the time this is fantastic. The water is yummy and unfortified with the stuff that the polititians think we must have, untreated by chemicals and unregulated - so that I can water my lawn whenever I feel like it, thank you very much.

Last night, though, something mysterious happened. We have MUD. The water is terrifically cloudy and is clogging our sediment filter in about 2 minutes flat. Husband discovered that this morning when the water pressure in his shower dwindled to nothing in no time at all. He swapped out the filter and ran out the door, tossing a "conserve indoor use of water today" over his shoulder as he headed out.

Conserve it? How?


Can't flush the potty - so of course I have to pee constantly.

Can't drink the water - so I'm naturally parched.

Can't shower - so nix the plans for working outside in the 90 degree humidity that the weeds love so well.


The worst thing is that we have no clue why it's cloudy. Did someone drill a new well and hit our aquifer? Were they blasting nearby (a necessity here in "The Granite State" for any kind of construction)? Is our well out of water (this is improbable as we have the highest producing well in our neighborhood, and no one else is having trouble)?

In the meantime, I'm dying of thirst and crossing my stinky, sweaty legs and wondering how I can fit this into my book somewhere.

Okay, enough babbling. Time to write (I only need to write 3700 words a day to meet my deadline ... childs play, right?).

Sunday, August 07, 2005

When Real Life Intrudes

I had a goal - when I finalled in the Great Beginnings contest with the first five pages of Camilla, I decided that I would finish my first draft by the time the winners were announced - not unreasonable, really. It would require about 900 words a day production.

I went gangbusters for the first few weeks - went from a starting word count of just under 10,000 and was up to 30,000 words in about 2 1/2 weeks!! Yahoo!!

Then real life intruded.

I sliced open my finger and had major trouble typing.

I homeschool my daughter, and had to work on creating, locating and purchasing her curriculum for this year.

My husbands new job has different hours, and he now gets up early - used to be that I would get up at 5 a.m. and have two solid hours to myself for writing and catching up on posts for my online writing groups. Now he's up at 5:45 and, though he doesn't expect me to make breakfast or even make him coffee, he's loud and a huge distraction. No more quiet in the a.m. unless I start getting up at 4:00 - something I am considering since I'm a definite morning person.

I also decided that I needed to clean the house at least occasionally, and - oddly enough - my husband wanted dinner now and then! As a SAHM those things are my job - as much as any of you who work outside the home.

Since we're currently in the middle of the two months of summer that we get here in the Northeast, I like to garden and sometimes even do something wild and crazy like take a walk with the dog and my daughter. Call me crazy.

THEN... I realized that I needed a bigger conflict for my story. This requires going back to the beginning and making some changes. So, although I am writing, I'm not exactly increasing my word count.

So... I have a week to write 20,000 words. And I'm starting school with my daughter on Monday, a second grade curriculum that will take up about 2-3 solid hours daily, not to mention the time I need for preparation and getting the literature she needs either from the library or purchasing it when I can't find it there.

Still, I tell myself that I am writing, even if I'm not reaching the goal I set for myself. At least my momentum is forward - at a snails pace instead of a greyhounds, but forward is good.

Forward is good.

Friday, August 05, 2005


I'm sending in a contest entry today... 10 pages that I sweated over with the help of some writing friends. Now I want to vomit .... bleh....

Next week they announce the winners of a contest that I finalled in. I think vomiting is in order again.... bleh...

I wonder if I will ever stop feeling nauseous when I send stuff in for other folks to read? I'm submitting a short romance to an online magazine this weekend as well... double bleh... I'll let you know if it's published.

Now it's time for Blatant Friend Promotion:

Charity is a guest blogger at Romancing the Blog. If you think she isn't excited, then check out her own blog where she announced the news.

Yo, Charity. You deserved this one! You're a gem.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Has Anyone Seen My Joy in Reading?

I've discovered that the more I write - and take writing classes - the less I enjoy reading.

I love Nora Roberts. Nora is The Queen. Her characters are fleshed out, her plots are fun and interesting. I am never bored when I read Nora. But, I'm telling you right now, I want to SCREAM when she head hops.

There I am, sitting comfortably inside Jude's head, moving along happily when BAM! in pop Brenna's thoughts. ARGH!

Or when people walk slowly, talk loudly, sing shrilly... okay, these aren't specific examples, but I'm frustrated that the "bad habits" - adverbs, passive voice, head hoppping - that are being beaten out of me in writing classes show up constantly in published writing.

Now, I understand this: Nora could submit her grocery list for publication, and editors would snap it up. Same with Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Nicholas Sparks... and I'm surely not any of them.

But still..... ((whine, whine, whine))...

And why can't I make it through just one book, or even one chapter, without examining every blasted sentence for problems? I'm not their critique partner for crying out loud.

I just want to enjoy reading again. You?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

HP6 - My Take FWIW

Finished reading HP6 last night... and I have mixed feelings about this book.

I think JK could have written this in several hundred fewer pages. For the first third of the book I had to force myself to keep reading, for the second third I was moderately interested and FINALLY by the last -oh- seven chapters, I was hooked.

I think what frustrated me most was that a good part of the book was taken up with Harry running around saying/thinking "What do I do? What do I do?" and doing nothing. It was dull.

Still, she's got a great hook for the next book and I'll honestly say that I can't wait until it comes out. Will I dress up like Professor McGonagall and wait outside my bookstore at midnight?

Uh, no.

I'll go into WalMart or Sams or the local grocery store or wherever I happen to be the next day and pick up a copy then.

I only have one thing to say: Ms. Rowling? Please, please, please refer to your copy of "Self-Editing For Fiction Writers" and "Write Tight" before your next book.


Monday, August 01, 2005

Man's Best Friend...

I'm an animal lover... I love them all. My daughter is only six years old, and has already gotten two snake bites from trying to catch the garter snakes in our gardens (where's Croc Hunter when I need him?).

I'm struggling with an attempt to save a woodchuck right now. He is raiding my sister-in-laws garden, has decimated her broccoli crop and is certain to move on to his next favorite food. In the past she, and all her family (this is my husband's family) have just killed any pests. I've finally convinced her to at least try a live trap and move him somewhere else. I hope he falls for the bait - broccoli - because she's only giving it a couple of days before the rifle appears.

I had chipmunk problems last year - they destroyed everything I planted: dug up all seeds - squash, peas, beans. Killed all plants - cucumbers, tomatoes, etc. I tried chicken wire around pots instead of planting in the ground and would look out to see the little rats clinging to the wire, trying to get through. My husband offered to "off" them, my father-in-law told me about how to poison them... I declined. After all, I can go to the grocery store if I have to - this isn't the 1700's and my survival doesn't rely on my crops.

My in-laws think I'm a little loopy. They especially don't understand why I don't hate snakes. Don't get me wrong, I don't love them... but I'm not afraid of them, and figure they have a place in the ecosystem. So I relocate them as much as I can - no snakebites for me yet, but DD hasn't learned not to grab the suckers by the tail. I'm just glad we're not out west - I can only imagine her grabbing a rattler!

The character in my WIP works at an animal shelter. She's seen and will see horrible instances of neglect and abuse. It's terribly sad what people do to their pets. But it's good to know there are people out there to protect them (have I mentioned that I LOVE "Animal Heroes" - formerly Animal Cops or Animal Precinct - on Animal Planet?).

All this babbling has a point - you can help feed animals at the shelter with a click of your mouse. It doesn't cost you anything but a few seconds of your time. I do it every day and encourage you to do the same.

Here's the link: The Animal Rescue Site.

If animals aren't your thing, there are also links to click for free mammograms, feeding hungry children and keeping them healthy, literacy and saving the rain forests.

All with a click. Would it hurt?