Saturday, December 31, 2005

Early Birds

I get up early each morning -- usually between 4 -4:30 a.m. I don't set an alarm clock, I don't drag my rear down the stairs for my coffee.

I am an early bird.

Two times this week I've mentioned this small fact to some aquaintances and received gasps of horror followed by, "Why?!?"

I explain. It's my time alone from everyone else. The world is quiet (including, most importantly, my daughter and my husband). I can sit and think without interruptions. It gets my day off to a peaceful beginning.

They didn't understand, and I'm pretty certain that they hung up the phone with me sure in the knowledge that I'm a complete loon.

My question is this: why is it so much weirder that I get up early, than the folks who stay up until 2 a.m.? When someone mentions that they don't go to bed until after midnight, and then sleep until 9 a.m., do you gasp in horror?

Think of all the quaint sayings out there, complimenting us early birds:

"Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise."

"The early bird gets the worm."

"It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom." -

I wrote my NaNo book -- 50,000+ words in 27 days -- before noon each day (with a few notable exceptions).

Mornings are good. Greet your day with a smile, not a groan.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Series Writing

A friend in a writing group has written a romance with an intriguing twist -- and no, I'm not saying what it is until it's pubbed (and I'm sure it will be at some point, she's getting requests for fulls from both editors and agents because it's really quite good). BUT... she mentioned that she's considering making the twist into a series based on the same twist. I think it's a fantastic idea.

And it got me to thinking about writing series.

I like to read series. It's a little like going home again when they're done well. You get to know the family of characters and it's wonderful to revisit them on a regular basis. I've read all of Nora's "In Death" books, and though some are certainly better than others, I've grown quite attached to her characters (especially Peabody) so will keep reading until I don't like them anymore.

I have some secondary characters in all of my WIPs that I have come to love and would like to see how their lives turn out. I'm toying with an idea of linking at least two if not all of my books together. Conveniently, the one that takes place in Colorado has characters from Boston, which is where Liv is from in my current WIP. In any case, I know my brain is turning the idea over and may surprise me with a valid idea at some point.

How about you? Do you like reading series? If so, which ones are your favorites? If not, why?

Have you considered writing a series? Why?

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Submissions and Vomit

They do have something to do with one another.

I got to thinking this morning about how utterly ill I get whenever I send something out ... to anyone. Darcy is reading Liv Leigh for me, bless her busy little heart, and she is someone I trust to be both honest and caring with my baby.

Still, when I sent the first 75 pages, I ran for the bathroom, certain I was going to toss my cookies.

This is someone I trust. Someone who isn't going to give me a rejection letter or snide remarks. Someone who will give her honest opinion on what I've written (though, if it's garbage, I imagine she'll say that, too). So why do I get so worked up about this?

And how will I ever handle sending out queries?

I think I'll write a new diet book: "Lose 10 Pounds in One Week - the Unpublished Authors Diet of Querying" that will come with the warning -- "Participation in Novel Queries is harmful to your appetite and digestive tract".

Oddly, sending out the short stories doesn't affect me this way. Am I not as invested in the work? Maybe I'm not as in love with my characters. Whatever the reason, my stomach doesn't do gymnastics when I send them out (though I do have to admit that receiving the rejection letters from Womans World makes me a nervous wreck -- I've gotten personal rejections with editorial comments from them a few times so it's become an adventure to open them).

I don't have any answers. I don't really even have a point to all this rambling. It's just that I've almost finished the next bit I'm sending off to Darcy, and my stomach is already beginning to protest.


'tis the Season for Goals

I've been thinking about goals -- who hasn't? Even if you're determined to not set goals for yourself, the idea is still out there, everywhere you look.

I've spent much time trying to set ambitious yet achievable goals in both my professional (writer) life and personal (mom/wife) life. It's a tough balance, and I'm still not certain I've found it.

Still... here's what I've got (I have, in the interest of privacy - I'm still a little shell shocked from yesterday - omitted a few):

2006 Writing Goals

1. Submit one short story every other month to Womans World Magazine.
2. Submit one short story every month to other short story publishers.
3. Finish and query one or more novels (All WIPS are within the realm of possibility).
4. Enter RWA contests - one every other a month
5. Get a laptop or Alphasmart so I can get myself out of the mushroom pit occasionally.
6. Hone the craft. Take a class every 2-3 months, either WVU or elsewhere.
7. Write at least 250 new words every day (thanks, C - swiped this from you!)

2006 Personal Goals

1. Do weekly meal planning - fixing dinner is my biggest stressor.
2. Make a specific budget and stick to it!
3. Find more fun ways to homeschool DD & select curriculum for next school year.
4. Exercise at least three times a week.
5. Keep the house better - it's the small things that add up.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Comments.... grrr....

So, I open up my email this morning and have comments on this blog in the double digits. DOUBLE DIGITS. Since last night. Whazzzup with that?

Turns out that someone thought I was looking mighty fine in the picture I posted -- of me hugging the dog. Honestly, people, you could barely see me in the blasted picture.

However, it prompted a litany of lewd comments which have since been trash-canned forever.

It has also prompted me to delete the photo and to resolve to never, ever post one again.

At least until I have to have one for the back of a book.

I may also stop posting pix of my daughter - and, in fact, may delete the ones that are there. One stupid, idiotic slimeball has ruined all my fun.

Why are people such clueless creeps?

Dude... "iloveu"... don't bother coming back to look here. You're truly pathetic.

Get a life.

Total Lack of Concentration

Is it just me, or is it really hard to get back into writing after the holidays?? I can't concentrate on anything. I opened up my WIP to edit some more for D (betcha can't wait, hmmm??? LOL….) and got to a spot that needs a lot of work because of a plot change, thought "Ugh, can't face that." and promptly closed the document.

Opened up a short story I'm working on to send to WW (yup, trying them again) looked at it, thought "Ugh, can't face that." and closed out.

Stared at a blank page for a while.

Can't see to get my brain off of either playing games or itching to continue reading Last Girl Dancing by Holly Lisle - quite a good book, folks, if you haven't read it.

I have new writing goals set for the year, and monthly and weekly goals to help attain those annual goals. I wanted to get serious starting today, but just can't.

Good think January is still a few days away!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

It's the Truth...

Because I couldn't find the quiz for: "What Totally Exhausted, Utterly Burned Out, Hating Christmas SAHM Are You?" I give you instead:

Who Were You In High School

Brainy Kid

In high school, you were acing AP classes or hanging out in the computer lab.

You may have been a bit of a geek back then, but now you're a total success!

Monday, December 26, 2005

'Twas the Day After Christmas

.... and all through the house is far too much candy and nary a mouse.

All of my "kids" had a great time and enjoyed their gifts - the dog got a new hedgehog squeak toy to play with and the cat received a catnip toy from Santa that she is absolutely freaky about. Here they are, guarding:

And this kid had fun, too:

However, nothing much went as planned.

On Christmas Eve (day), my husband and my sister-in-law got stranded when the snowmobile broke down. In the middle of nowhere. On a day when few people are on the trails.

Yup... they almost ended up snoozing in the great (cold) outdoors. I'm trying not to envision the kind of Christmas we and the the rest of the family would have had, wondering where they were. There's no cell phone service there and, I'm told, over 600 miles of trails where they were stuck, so finding them would have been like the old needle and the haystack thing.

BUT, one couple did come by and let hubby and SIL squish onto their sleds (they were riding "one-ups" which are not built for two, but apparently they managed).

Christmas was a little tough for hubby, though, since he had to leave the sled disabled on the side of the trail and spend all day wondering if it was okay.

Today is the Resuce Mission. Three men, two trucks, one trailer... and hopefully one still intact sled that just needs an electrical tweak. Fingers crossed.

Bad sled.

Christmas Day, we spent W-A-A-A-A-A-Y too much time opening gifts in the morning and the turkey took an hour longer to cook than I had planned (why?? I've never understimated by this much... ever). Luckily for the hungry hordes, I was also cooking a bit of nitrate laden pig butt - so all was well. Even I had some, and I haven't eaten pig in a year.

We thought we were going to be late to the in-laws, but -- as it turns out -- we were the first to arrive, followed immediately by everyone else. It was tons of people in a very small and too warm house, but a good time was had by all.

We ate too much food and too much sugar, and we were all exhausted by the time we got home, but all-in-all, raw turkey and broken sled aside, we had a good Christmas.

DD can't wait until next year.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Okay... It's actually the morning before, but I imagine I'll be a little busy tonight.

Our house is fairly quiet. My daughter (who is quite the fashion plate - Not!):

I used to have a picture here.... but have since deleted it due to the lewd suggestions that were posted in the comments on this blog.

was busy yesterday making cookies for Santa:

I, on the other hand, was forced to pose for a picture with the dog. I used to have a picture here.... but have since deleted it due to the lewd suggestions that were posted in the comments on this blog.

We may be having company for dinner tomorrow, my niece who isn't welcome at her own house (long story...) so that will be nice.

I'm sure I'll post again soon, but for now, I'm signing off.

Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Great Quote!

From the Daily Motivator:

Jump in

The things you do not attempt, you will surely not achieve. Though you may have great excuses and justifications for not taking action, those excuses will bring no value to your life or to the world around you.

You know from experience that life can be a joy when you're moving steadily toward a positive purpose. Hiding behind excuses simply does not bring that joy or sense of fulfillment.

Undertaking an ambitious project is rarely easy. It can often be uncomfortable and challenging. And there is no guarantee of success. Yet the alternative is far worse. Never attempting anything is indeed a guarantee -- a guarantee of failure.

Be bold. Get in the game. Jump in and make a difference. Set your goals high, and then commit to reaching them through your actions. It won't be easy. It will be great.

Random Friday, Part Deux

Don't have a lot of coherant thoughts today, so thought I'd just gab (my husband would say it's one of my greatest talents).

Read this in Reader's Digest this morning and it made me laugh, so I figured I should share.

Seems like many combatants aren't so picky about the weapons they use.

"Man Jailed After Striking Boy With Dog" - From The Tacoma (Washington) News Tribune

"Sheriff's Deputy Fatally Shoots Man With Knife" - from The Olympian South Sound

"Snarling Animal Chased, Attacked Resident With Wife" - from The Journal News

I finally, finally, wrote an opening that I like for Liv Leigh. Edited the first quarter, cut out four pages and sent it off to D. *gulp* Wonder if she'll like the opening?

My dog is eating again, so this made my day. She'd been off her food for a while, and that's awful scary. She's back to her old piggy self, so maybe it was just doggie flu.

Only two days until Christmas, and my DD is bouncing off the walls. We'll be baking cookies either today or tomorrow for Santa. Christmas really is for kids, don't you think?

And, hey! We're having a heat wave here... it's 37 degrees!! Woo Hoo! Break out the bikini.

That's it for now. My DD just got home from her sleepover at her Aunt's house, and I need to go be a mom again.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

UGH. English.

A lady in one of my writing groups used the word "unthaw" in her story the other day. The context in which it was used meant to "unfreeze" or "thaw", and I thought "unthaw" couldn't possibly mean the same thing as "thaw" could it?

It could.



v : become or cause to become soft or liquid


v. intr.
1. To change from a frozen solid to a liquid by gradual warming.


I started to think back to when my daughter watched Between the Lions. There was a regular segment about the "evil 'un' people" and the heroic "'re' people". The evil un people would swoop in and mess things up:

The evil "un" people came to Katie's birthday party and untied her balloons, unfrosted her cake and uninvited her friends.

Everything was sad and lonely until the heroic "re" people arrived!

The 're-people' retied her balloons, refrosted her cake and reinvited her friends. And they all lived happily ever after.

So I thought... what if the evil "un" people arrived to the North Pole and wanted to destroy Christmas?

The evil "un" people flew up to the North Pole and unthawed the snow. It all melted and Santa's reindeer were useless, Santa's gingerbread house was in danger of spoiling and the Christmas spirit was gone. Then the heroic "re" people arrive!! (dum-dum-dum!) And they rethawed the snow. And nothing happened. They all sat around in the unfrozen north and scratched their heads wondering what had happened to their super-re-power.

I homeschool my daughter, and it's things like this that make teaching English oh-so much fun.

I know there are other words out there like this. Anyone want to share?


I thought of another one.


To let loose; release. To make loose; undo.


To unfasten; untie. To set free from or as if from restraints.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Clearly I Should Pay Someone to Title my WIP's

LuLu Titlescorer

Isn't She Liv Leigh - This book title has a 26.3% chance of being a bestseller title

Camilla's Critters - This book title has a 45.6% chance of being a bestseller title

Playing House - This book title has a 55.4% chance of being a bestseller title

But then I tried these and now I don't feel so bad:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone - This book title has a 14.6% chance of being a bestseller title

The Davinci Code - This book title has a 35.9% chance of being a bestseller title

The Historian - This book title has a 10.2% chance of being a bestseller title

But Nativities are a "no-no"

Due to the mature content and extreme sarcasm of my personal comments at the end of the blog entry, viewer discretion is advised.

This is just sick. Really.

From the article: Bad Santa Loses His Head"

...the set-up showed a skinny Santa Claus clutching a blood-soaked knife in his left hand and the severed head — blood pouring from the eyes — in his right."

Or this one:

Blindfolded Santa Hanging From Noose At Home Upsets Neighborhood

But don't you dare put your nativity up, or I'm calling the ACLU. That thing could corrupt our kids...

Happy Monday

Last night, my little Sugar Plum Fairy had her first ballet recital. She did awesome!

She told me that, after they finished and headed in to the wings, her teeth chattered like crazy from delayed nerves. It was her first time on stage. Very cute.

Then, even better, I slept like a rock for the first time in a week -- it was great! I woke up this morning, and had a pretty positive outlook on life for a change.

And then I got out of bed.

First off, the fire in the wood stove was out. Usually, either my husband goes to bed pretty late, so it's still burning when I get up at 4 a.m. or I wake up in the middle of the night (1 a.m. or so) and throw a couple logs on. Neither thing happened last night, and I am the worlds worst firestarter.

After about 45 minutes, I finally managed to get a couple half rotten logs to smolder -- which got me to thinking: how the heck do wildfires start from a burning cigarette? I mean, I pile in newspaper, little bits of dried kindling and one small log, adjust the draft just right and put a flame to the whole thing and it won't burn. But flick a butt out the window and set 20,000 acres on fire. I don't understand.

Anyway, after having lost almost an hour of my writing time on that little chore, I trotted my happy self downstairs to the basement, stepped off the bottom step and....

SPLASH! Three inches of water.



Go wake up the husband, call my SIL (the only relatively normal in-law I have, and thankfully another early riser, considering that it was 4:45 a.m.) and ask to borrow her wet vac. Spend an hour sucking about 14 gallons of water off the floor.

Now it's 6 a.m., DD is awake, husband is grouchy, dog is off her food, I haven't written a word, my entire tower of canning jars and supplies is ruined ...

The good news is, it's all (to borrow from Shania Twain) up, Up, UP from here!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Woo Hoo!

I figured it out!


Figured what out, you ask?

How to make my blasted WIP work. It took a complete 180 in behavior for the heroine's current squeeze, and I think that sometimes such a drastic change is hard to figure out. We get it in our heads just what kind of character someone is, and won't let him change, even when it's the best thing for our story.

Having him be a nice guy instead of a cheating slime ball will strengthen the conflict dramatically, and really up the stakes when Liv has to choose her man at the end from two valid contenders.

I like it. I really like it! (Add Sally Field emphasis here -- do you think she'll ever live that down? Not until those of us who remember it are dead and gone, I suppose!)

Now, I need to go get to work.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Misc. Friday Thoughts

Why do I bother to kill myself scrapbooking when no one seems interested in looking at them? It takes me, on average, about an hour to complete ONE two page spread and each book is thirty pages, encompassing about 10 months. Is it worth the time, money and elbow grease?

Why can't I seem to write a full length novel that I like? Or, if I like it (mostly), why doesn't anyone else?

Why do my in-laws get vitriolic about receiving gifts at Christmas? Last year, my FIL for all intents, threw the sweatshirt (that, ironically, declared that he was "The World's Greatest Grandpa") back in my then 5 y.o. daughters face. Isn't there supposed to be joy in giving? And to give, doesn't there need to be a recipient?

Why am I living in the Northeast when I hate cold weather? Just check out the weather pixie! It's freezing here! I miss good old California. I seldom see my husband anyhow, I could move out west and visit every couple months.

Why don't dogs have longer life spans?

What does it take to have a story accepted by Womans World?

Why, when I decide to use the word of the day for inspiration do I get words like redivivus?

Why do all the writing friends I have near here suddenly stop communicating with me when I suggest meeting up? Do I smell? I'm a pretty okay person. Really.

Why is my driveway full of slush? Either rain or snow. Not both. Do you know how heavy slush is to scoop???? Not to mention what it's doing to my bird feeders.

And, lastly, why aren't my random thoughts as entertaining as Jenny Crusie's?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Rollercoaster Ride

I love my current WIP, or at least I did until a little while ago. Now I hate it.

My heroine is a prissy little snob who changes into quite a nice person by the end of book and I love her. Or at least I did until about 10 minutes ago. Now I think she's a spineless ninny who lets her father walk all over her.

I love the prose I write. It's marvelous, stunning, amazing. It will win awards. People will wait in lines at midnight to purchase my latest novel.

Actually, my writing stinks. Can't write a word worth reading. Why do I bother?

Seriously, I go through these exact feelings and thoughts pretty much every day.



If I could not write, I would, I'm telling you. This is not a career (or even a hobby, for that matter) for the faint of heart.

I'm at the "I hate my writing, my WIP is ridiculous and I'm an idiot" stage at this moment. But give me ten minutes and that'll all change.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Dear Santa

Dear Santa, I don't want much for Christmas this year.

1. A place to call my own. A small cottage. A shed. Somewhere I can go to get away from it all. To work without comments on my messy desk. Somewhere warm and sunny.

2. Patience. I am in short supply.

3. A pet for my daughter.

4. 20 fewer pounds.

5. More sun, less snow.

6. A polished, completed and saleable manuscript -- and an editor or agent to go along with that, please.

7. A visit from my best friend. I miss her.

8. Publishing contracts for all my writing friends - I need to read their books from cover to cover instead of 2000 words at a time.

9. The knowledge and ablitiy to be a perfect mother.

10. And, if you have the time, peace on earth. I don't mind supporting our soldiers, but how wonderful it would be to not have to.

Monday, December 12, 2005

A Blog For All Writers

Writer Beware

A Little Good News and a Rant

About a million years ago, Anne Murray had a song out called "A Little Good News" that I loved... all about reporting the good stuff that happens in the world (and it does happen, people).

Today, I discovered a website that tackles this challenge: Happy Real News. Compelling Stories. Always Positive.

It's about time.

In other news (this is a rant... so if you don't want to hear it, stop reading now):

My last soldier serving in the Middle East that I supported via Adopt-A-Platoon is going home! Yay! I applied for another one, and this guy is serving in Iraq outside of Baghdad.

When I asked for a wish list from him of stuff he wanted or needed, his reply was "nothing for me", but he visits the hospital every weekend, and asked for small care packages for the injured men and women there.

What do they need? Oh... nothing important. Underwear and socks (laundry facilities are hit or miss, so sometimes they run out). Toothbrushes. Deodorant. Eye drops. Lotion. Lip balm.

His biggest request was for those facemasks you wear when you're sanding something -- he says the sandstorms there are atrocious (though he didn't use that word... I'm taking a few artistic liberties here).

All I can think is this: We can send billions of dollars overseas for "relief" to other countries, but we (as a country) can't send a sufficient supply of underwear to our troops. I wonder what this says about us?

The other thing he said to send are letters of support. Letters. I've appealed to my friends and neighbors to write "any soldier" letters to include with the packages I'm sending, and the response has been dismal. It's not like I was asking for money...

I read in the newspaper that the average family spends upwards of $7,000 on Christmas shopping. WHAT?!? Priorities, people. Good grief. People are starving. Do you really need that flat screen plasma TV or the 2-carat diamond earrings?

Makes me sad.

Okay, I'm done.

Incidentally, I did do some writing this weekend. More revisions on Liv Leigh. Still struggling with where and how to start the blasted novel, but I'm really pretty happy with the middle. I need to add one more scene on the end, and then I'll shoot it off to a writing friend who has graciously offered to give it a look and tell me if it's okay or really rotten.

Thanks, D.

I owe you big time.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Goals... and How They Change

I was watching "The Wiggles" this morning during the big hit "Fruit Salad", and thought about the fact that they all -- particularly Greg -- have very good voices. This got me to wondering if they, any of them, ever dreamed they'd become famous for doing a kiddie show.

Teenaged Greg: "Anthony, forget rock and roll. Let's spend our time grinning, dancing with pom-poms and singing children's ditties."

Teenaged Anthony: "Great idea, Greg! I have two friends who have always dreamed of doing just that!"

Of course, then my brain segued into something pertaining to... well, ME. What are my dreams and how might they be altered slightly and still have me feeling as though I attained them.

I'm sure The Wiggles wanted to be successful singers. And they are!

I want to be a successful novelist. And I will be! But... I wonder what form that will take. I want to write romance and I want my books to be published by a print publisher (not e-books).

I can't wait to see how it all works out.

How about you? Ever have a dream that didn't quite work out the way you expected, but you were happy with the result anyhow?

Great Quote

Imagination is more important than knowledge - Albert Einstein

Speaking of Formula Writing...

Just a little rant for today:

How about titles? Seriously, I can't keep a straight face when I read some of these, but I hear that they sell the best of all the romances. Who are the people reading these?

Check these out:

Bedding His Virgin Mistress

The Millionaire Boss's Mistress

These are just a couple that I came across. I just don't get it (shakes head).

There was an article on Romancing the Blog last month that talked about this issue (sort of). She talks about the covers of her bestselling books and what they included. The winners?

Babies, brides and cowboys.

Go figure.

Friday, December 09, 2005

So How's Your Day?

Here's mine:

Poor birdies (can you even see the feeders in this photo?):

I suppose it's sort of pretty if you're not the one who has to shovel it or drive in it:

Good thing I got the pictures when I did, I can hear hubby bombing around the yard in his snowmobile. We never get to keep pretty, pristine snow in this place.

Regardless, this never fails to make me smile, even on a gross, cold, wet, snowy day -- my daughter's best friend, Patch:

In other (writer-ly) news:

I was sitting and reading a category book today, about (now this is shocking) a COWBOY. Yeah. Really.

And it got me to thinking about formulaic writing. Should we? Does it make it easier to get your foot in the door? I've puzzled about this before, but I went to the library and checked out the first 50 or so books in this line that I saw without pre-screening for anything, and the first three I grabbed had the word "cowboy" in the title.

I'm married to a cowboy, I'm not sure I want to write about one. Where's the fantasy in that?

But how cool it would be to get your foot in the door, write a few big-selling formula books (hey, it's my dream) and then, like Nora, write whatever you want. Of course, I don't assume I'll be the next Nora -- but, after all, I don't imagine that Nora thought she'd be Nora. You know?

In the meantime, I suppose I'll just keep working on my strange, quirky books and see what happens.

But... it does make you think, doesn't it?

I'm babbling. My brain must have frost bite.

I really, really miss California on days like this.... waves to C in Marina

Research: Important and Entertaining

This morning I was working on my latest opening for Liv Leigh, and I have Liv stumbling into her office after a sleepless night. She's holding a very large cup of coffee. Now, I can't just say "a very large cup of coffee". First of all, the use of "very" is a no-no. Find a stronger word! Don't modify the one you have! Kill your babies!

Since the last time I ordered a cuppa prepared anywhere fancy (Dunkin' Donuts ain't fancy, but I'll have a small regular, please) has been years, and accuracy in your writing is a wonderful way to draw someone in to your story, I decided to see what the heck the big un's are called at Starbucks.

Google led me to this page where the author despairs of the ridiculous and inaccurate names for coffee sizes at Starbucks. Very entertaining! From this site, I discovered that Starbucks actually has something called Latte Lingo. Can you believe this??

I guess I'll have Liv drinking a Grande Mocha Latte, unless someone out there who knows better than I do can suggest something even stronger. Maybe I should go to Starbucks and order something as additional research. Can I deduct that from my taxes?

I can't believe there's a latte lingo. I am so behind the times.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Grace Notes for a Busy Day

I was cleaning my office yesterday (did you hear the gasp from my husband?) and stumbled across a book I used to love: Grace Notes - Insights, Reflections, Inspirations and Quests for Every Day of the Year by Alexandra Stoddard.

Just now, I flipped it open to today's date and here's the quote for the day:

To live well is to work well, to show a good activity.
-- Thomas Aquinas

I think I managed. Here's the thing... It originally was supposed to be a nice day tomorrow. And then the weathermen changed the forecast dramatically (side note: I want that job. Where else can you work, get it wrong most of the time and still get a paycheck?). Now, they are predicting somewhere in the neighborhood of a foot (yes a foot!) of snow tomorrow. So, suddenly, I had to cram two busy day's of errands into one.

I woke up at 4 a.m. (as usual) and worked on the round robin group story for one of my crit groups. It was a lot of fun! Next, I worked on yet another beginning for my Liv Leigh novel. I really like this one, though I've like the others, too. We'll see if this one makes the cut.

Wake up hubby at 6:30 a.m., make his "yuppie coffee" (GFIC) and send him out the door by 7ish. Feed the dog, the daughter and me. We have to leave by 8 a.m. to put out some Avon catalogs (yes... ding, dong... Avon calling) and then head off to DD's gymnastics class.

Leave gym class at 10ish and head to the furniture store and finally commit to buying the set the DH and I have been thinking about for quite some time. Go to Wendy's for a quite bite to eat around 11 a.m. and then the grocery store.

Head home and put away groceries, let the dog out and feed her, add wood to the wood stove so it doesn't go out and the house isn't an ice box upon my return, load up recyclables into the back of the truck along with my broken vacuum and a lamp and drive away.

Go to Mail Box Express to have them wrap and pack a very fragile picture for shipping. There was a l-o-o-o-n-n-n-g-g line, so this was the longest errand yet. Go to library, return half a million children's books and pick up another half million for DD. Go drop off more Avon brochures on this side of town along with a couple orders.

Finally get to dump and sort and deposit paper, plastic and cans.

Off to the gas station because I'm not filling up any time soon after a major storm -- partly because it's a pain, and partly because the prices usually go up. Next is a quick trip to Target for a gift card and some scrapbooking supplies for grandma.

Then, phew!, home.

But wait, it's not over yet! Bring two big loads of wood into the garage, refill bird feeders so poor HUGE population of birdies won't starve to death in the next couple of days. Take down DD's swings so the plastic won't get wrecked. Do a little pooper scooping before it's buried and bring in recycle containers from truck.


But wait! House is a mess, dinner needs cooking and...

So, anyway, Mr. Aquinas, I think I've shown a good activity.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Ready? And Ramblings...

When is too soon to start querying agents? Should you throw your novel out into a few contests first? Should you have the entire thing edited, re-edited and polished, or will just the first few chapters do (since you don't typically get a request for a full right away)? Should you query agents or editors (if they allow un-agented novels)? Both?

I'm working on polishing up my NaNo novel. I like it. I really do -- it's a little off the wall in parts, and the characters are quirky, but I think it's a pretty cool little story (especially now that I've managed to make Liv's motivation clear and believable - thanks to Pam and Charity!). I've gone through about half of it and done a bit of work, but all things considered, I really like it. Ye gads, I sound like Sally Field.

My biggest problem is this: with one set of critique partners, I can only post 2000 words a week. With a 60,000 word novel, it would take 30 weeks to get it all out there. And even with my other group, I'd feel bad posting more than a couple times a week ... so at 2500 words a post that would be twelve weeks. I'm not willing to wait that long to start sending this thing out.

Guess I'm going to have to have faith in myself. Okay, maybe I'll test the contest waters a bit first.

In other news...

I started watching General Hospital this week for the first time in over 20 years. Why? Because Rick Springfield has returned as Dr. Noah Drake, of course! Strangely, I recognize over half the characters -- Alan, Monica, Bobbie and Luke are there. And the characters I don't recognize mostly have recognizable last names: Quartermaine, Scorpio, etc. This is a little weird.

BUT I still have no frigging idea what the blue blazes is going on. Robin Scorpio found Noah, now a drunk instead of a brilliant neurosurgeon, and brought him back to GH to save Jason Q from some brain trauma. Is Robin in love with Jason or is she related? Carly (who the heck is Carly??) is taking over ELQ (what's ELQ?), Jax (who is Jax?) is upset with Carly (whoever she is) because she apparently jumped in front of a car and killed his unborn child (I'm presuming something also happened to the mother of said child) -- but it's excusable because she was certifiable at the time. And some wunderkind doc (I missed his name, sorry) is having a little nookie in a hospital room even as we speak.

Hey... maybe I know more than I thought.

You know, after 20 years, you'd think things would have changed more than they have in Port Charles. Still, if anyone wants to fill me in, I'd appreciate it.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Okay, Maybe I'm a Little Impatient...

But "choleric"? The Dictionary defines Choleric as easily angered; bad-tempered... Okay, Mom, I can hear you from here. Maybe this is pretty dang close... *sigh* I don't wanna be known as "bad-tempered". I would prefer the part about my keen intellect.

You Have a Choleric Temperament

You are a person of great enthusiasm - easily excited by many things. Unsatisfied by the ordinary, you are reaching for an epic, extraordinary life. You want the best. The best life. The best love. The best reputation.

You posses a sharp and keen intellect. Your mind is your primary weapon. Strong willed, nothing can keep you down. Your energy can break down any wall. You're an instantly passionate person - and this passion gives you an intoxicating power over others.

At your worst, you are a narcissist. Full of yourself and even proud of your faults. Stubborn and opinionated, you know what you think is right. End of discussion. A bit of a misanthrope, you often see others as weak, ignorant, and inferior.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Watch Out For Momma Bear!

Was at the store today -- the natural foods, all organic, happy, mellow people store. I bought a red onion. Oh, and some chocolate soy pudding, which pretty much covers all the necessities of life don't you think? Actually, I went for supplements that were on sale BOGO, but they didn't have what we needed.


My mother (and, DD's Grandma) went to a different place to inquire when the next shipment of supplements would be in. My 6 y.o. DD and I stood in line behind another *ahem* older woman and evidently, DD didn't notice that Gram had moved away, so she snuggled up to the lady in front of us, who looked enough like Gram from the back (same color hair, some color jacket) that DD didn't notice her error.

Until, that is, this wonderful grandmotherly woman turned, glared down her long skinny Wicked Witch of the West nose and -- in her best snobbish tone -- said to DD, "Excu-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-se me?" and then just stared until I moved my shocked and horrified daughter back a few inches.

DD was mortified (you'd have to know her to really understand) and I was *ahem again* p***ed off at the woman's attitude. I wanted to cuff her. Really. No one hurts my kid's feelings. Grrrrrr...

But, sanity reigned, and instead of backhanding the heartless wench, I changed lines.

Still, it was a close thing.

I may have to kill her off in my next book. Painfully.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I Have To Face Facts

My dog is getting old.

Here's my dog (hanging out with the cat) -- She's the best, sweetest, kindest, gentlest dog in the whole world. And I'm not joking. Really. Ask anyone.

Today, she played outside in the snow... it looked something like this (although these are pix from last week):

She typically joins me in the basement when I'm on the computer and this morning was no exception. She plopped down on the couch (the same one she's sharing with the cat, above) and snoozed. I went back upstairs and started a game of Disney Trivial Pursuit with DD. About an hour later, I heard Bailey bark. One sharp bark. That is always her way of getting my attention for something, and is quite unusual. So I got up and trotted downstairs and found her half off the couch -- front legs on the floor, hind legs still on the couch.

She couldn't move.

She has arthritis in her hips, and apparently her playtime outside really hurt her. I lifted her down from the couch and she almost fell. Then she refused to take even one step upstairs because she couldn't balance properly on bad hind legs.

I carried her. She's 90 pounds. This was no mean feat.

Upstairs, she curled up on the floor. She probably would have just stayed down in the basement except she doesn't like to be alone.


She's nine years old, and that's something like 63 in dog years. I guess I should be grateful for every moment I have left with her, because she is truly a special pooch. There will never be another like her, and it's so hard to watch her grow old.

Where Was Her Editor?

I started a book yesteday (finished it last night... and OMG, it had the cheesiest ending ever -- but that's a topic for another blog).

As I was reading along, obviously not drawn in to the story enough to shut of the editor in my head, I came across this:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Well, he suppposed he couldn't blame her. "Well, I'd still like to thank you, anyway."

"Let's get you cleaned up," she said by way of acceptance.

Well, the appology didn't work.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Anyone else annoyed by that? C'mon, it stands out to you, too, right? It's not just me??

I was told once that beginning sentences with certain words is the mark of an amateur. Words like "well" and "so". Additionally, repeated words are a big no-no and will lose you points in any RWA contest.

So tell me this: how did this multi-published author slip this one by her editor?

In other news...

Would you buy a book with a contemporary setting and a heroine who is determined enough to please her father that she'd choose to marry a man who blatantly cheats on her? Or does this come across as unbelievable in today's society? *sigh*

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Editing Pains

I posted my first ~2000 words of Liv Leigh to my crit group this week. Overall, the feedback was positive. Good voice, fun character, blah, blah, blah.


The biggie: My protag's actions don't really make sense. They don't get her motivation.

Now, in my head, I can see her motivation and her background and what drives her to do what she's doing. But how do I get at least some of that into the first five pages?? Because, her actions are a little odd and she's doing something that most of us wouldn't do. And I have to make her believable right away or no one will read on.

Least of all an agent or editor.

So I've spent the last couple of days agonizing over this. And I think I've finally got it figured out. It requires reversing the order of the scene to make it chronological (thanks Sherry!) and adding a phone conversation (thanks Pam!).

And, sheesh, this was just the first few pages. I can't imagine what'll happen with the next 200+! Writing the first draft was way easier. Wish I could pass it off to someone else now and just get busy on the next story that's bouncing around in my head.

In other news, I think I've decided what line I want to target this to. So, I went to the library and checked out a couple dozen books to read. I also threw in a few from other lines, just to see. THEN, I'll probably start buying books from that line in order to stay current on what's being purchased.

And, hey! I noticed that a Harlequin Blaze novel was made into a movie and will be shown on the Oxygen Network tonight at 8 p.m. It's called: Romancing the Bride. Gotta check it out.

Friday, December 02, 2005

And I Always Have My Nose In a Book...


Warm, kind and caring, you always bring out the best in others, but tend to keep to yourself and a few close friends who you love dearly.

You love books and dream of fairytale adventures. You know that beauty lies within and don't depend on looks alone. You think it's good to be individual and different to others, but you don't go out of your way to be rebellious - you just naturally stand out.

You're a strong person, but also ladylike and intelligent. You look forward to change. You'd definitely break the Beast's spell.

Certain as the sun, rising in the East, tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme, Beauty and the Beast...'

Which Disney Princess Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Now What?

So NaNoWriMo is over.

Now what?

I was so focused this last month. I got up early in the morning with a purpose, a clear vision of what I needed to accomplish each day. I sat down at the computer and wrote. And then it was over...

Now, I get up in the morning and feel a little lost. What do I do? I miss the adrenaline rush of writing 3,000 words in one morning. I miss the clear goal that I focused on each day.

Now what?

Any other NaNo participants feeling the same way, or am I just really weird?

In any case, I do have to move forward. I've chosen to edit my first draft of Liv Leigh (my NaNo novel) because it still feels fresh to me and I can remember clearly the things that it lacked. I remember writing and thinking "Oh man, I just used that word there and there and there ... but that's okay, I'll edit it later." or "I really need to establish her motivation better, and that character I just introduced isn't very clear ... but that's okay, I'll fix it later." I made notes to myself in bright colors throughout the manuscript of things that needed fixing but I didn't want to take the time to work through them.

When I'm finished editing, the ms for Liv should be closer to 60,000 words than 50,000. So, I'm starting a new word count for my editing of the novel. I imagine this will go a bit slower or I'll end up making my critique group's heads spin.

As an aside, and completely off topic:

Yesterday I went to Dunkin' Donuts to buy some coffee for a friend, and the guy who rang me up had incredibly long fingernails. Is it just me, or does this really weird you out? They were clean and neat and perfectly filed and rounded -- just longer than mine - which isn't saying much, to be honest. I don't keep my nails very long. Still, it gave me the willey's...