Friday, March 31, 2006

Brain Dead - so I Cheated

Nothing encourages creativity like the chance to fall flat on one's face. - James D. Finley

Nothing inside my brain makes any sense right now, so it was either a quiz or a cheat.

I opted to cheat - hope you get a chuckle:

Ways To Maintain A Healthy Level Of Insanity.

At Lunch Time, Sit In Your Parked Car With Sunglasses on and point a Hair Dryer At Passing Cars to see if they Slow Down.

Page Yourself Over The Intercom. Don't Disguise Your Voice.

Every Time Someone Asks You To Do Something, Ask If They Want Fries with That.

Put Your Garbage Can On Your Desk And Label It "In."

Put Decaf In The Coffee Maker For 3 Weeks. Once Everyone has Gotten Over Their Caffeine Addictions, Switch to Espresso.

In The Memo Field Of All Your Checks, Write "For Smuggling Diamonds"

Finish All Your sentences with "In Accordance With The Prophecy."

Don't use any punctuation

As Often As Possible, Skip Rather Than Walk.

Order a diet water whenever you go out to eat with a serious face.

Specify That Your Drive-through Order Is "To Go."

Sing Along At The Opera.

Go To A Poetry Recital And Ask Why The Poems Don't Rhyme

Put Mosquito Netting Around Your Work Area And Play tropical Sounds All Day.

Five Days In Advance, Tell Your Friends You Can't Attend Their Party Because You're Not In The Mood.

Have Your Co-workers Address You By Your Wrestling Name, Rock Bottom.

When The Money Comes Out The ATM, Scream "I Won!, I Won!"

When Leaving The Zoo, Start Running Towards The Parking lot, Yelling "Run For Your Lives, They're Loose!!"

Tell Your Children Over Dinner. "Due To The Economy, We Are Going To Have To Let One Of You Go."

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Writers are Weird

"An absolutely necessary part of a writer's equipment, almost as necessary as talent, is the ability to stand up under punishment, both the punishment the world hands out and the punishment he inflicts upon himself." - Irwin Shaw

Writers are really strange folk.

I got to thinking about it today when I was reading a bit of story crit in a writing group. The person who posted her writing mentioned that, in response to specific feedback from an agent -- and subsequent rejection of her manuscript -- she had modified her first chapter.

The response to her post included the comment: "Congratulations on specific feedback from the agent!"

Now, keep in mind, I seconded that sentiment. But it made we wonder what kind of people we writers are when rejection, as long as it included some personal feedback, is cause for celebration.

I can remember, last year, getting a story rejected by Womans World that included both a compliment -- "I like your breezy style of writing" -- and specific feedback. Then I was told that the story was utterly worthless, couldn't be salvaged.

And I was thrilled.


Thank you sir, may I have another?

*mutters and shakes head, wandering away from the computer*

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Submission Reply

"Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure." - George E. Woodberry


I got up this morning and found a response in my email inbox to a submission I'd sent off last week.

I couldn't open it. I let it sit there while I opened up a new window and puttered around. I read the He Wrote, She Wrote blog from Jenny Crusie and Bob Mayer (I can't wait until Don't Look Down comes out next week! Woo Hoo!), I perused the news, checked all four of my email boxes, all the while kept coming back to that email.

It felt like my entire life depended on the acceptance of that little piece of fiction.

Finally, I opened it.

And it was a very polite note telling me that my piece had been received but that this editor was a bit behind and asked me to hang tight and rest assured that he would get to it soon.

All that panic and worry for nothing.

Not that it wasn't wonderful and thoughful for this editor to do that. It was. But now I'm going to have to relive this morning all over again at some point in the future.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Judy reminded me of the Babel Fish game I did a few weeks back and since I had nothing more interesting to write, I thought I'd play around with a goofy blurb about Camilla.

We start in English:

Camilla's Critters is a romantic comedy full of fun, animals, sexy men and neurotic family who sit around and watch two people who shouldn't be together fall in love.

Then translate to Japanese. Usually you need to translate to another language and back to English, but I just discovered that Babel Fish only translates Japanese back to English. And, to be honest, that worked well enough!

Here it is - from English to Japanese and back again:

It sits down, sufficiently, the creature of Camilla where shouldn't together of falling love looks at two people to enjoy, the animal, romantic comedy of the sexy person and the neurosis family.

I've just created a whole new genre! I am writing an animal romantic comedy (and "of the sexy person and the neurosis family" really describes CC to a tee).

Betcha can't wait to read it now!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Here I Am!

For anyone who wonders what I look like, wonder NO MORE!

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DD went on a portrait drawing kick this weekend. Here's Hubby:

So now, if you pass us on the street, you can say hello.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Writing Garbage

"It is perfectly okay to write garbage--as long as you edit brilliantly." - C.J. Cherryh

I feel so much better now that I'm writing again, and not just editing. I'm allowing myself to think of the things that need to be changed, and I'm jotting them down on the back of my timeline (everything in Camilla takes place in a short period of time, and I keep forgetting what day I'm on!) and then I move forward. I am writing down every change, minor or major, that I think of because I can't remember what I ate for breakfast these days.

It's working. I'm writing.

One thing I did learn from NaNo (aside from doing character profiles in more depth prior to beginning to write in order to make your character more consistent and believable) is allowing myself to write garbage. Turn off the inner editor. I know they (whoever they are) say you should always do that for your first draft, but it's hard -- nearly impossible.

I'm setting myself a NaNo-like goal in order to get Camilla's first draft completed, and it's helping (though it may end up being garbage). I have this ambiguous idea of how I want it to end, but I really need to get it down on paper and see if it works.

Oh, and I did figure out how to work the BIG MISUNDERSTANDING scene without using Maynard's POV. Though I still think that could have been fun. Maybe next book...

Saturday, March 25, 2006

GH and Breakout Novel

The superior man makes the difficulty to be overcome his first interest; success only comes later. - Confucius

First off, I want to send a hearty CONGRATULATIONS to all of the Golden Heart finalists -- but especially to Mary over at the Bandwagon. Well done, everyone!

The past few days, I've been contemplating Camilla's Critters. I have a pretty big plot change that needs to be edited into the existing manuscript, but the first draft isn't quite finished either. I wondered... should I edit or should I finish? To many of you, this may be a no-brainer, but I was perplexed.

Yesterday, I decided to finish the first draft. I'd like to say that I did -- but I have a good 15,000 words to go. What I managed to accomplish, however, was about 2500 words. A good day. If I can write at least 1000 words a day (not an impossibility if I focus -- after all, I did win NaNo), I'll have the first draft done by the beginning of April, and then I can hunker down and edit so that I can get the entire thing over to poor Darcy, who certainly must think I'm the biggest flake EVER.

Also, I'm trying to work through the "Writing the Breakout Novel" workbook, and know several of you are also doing the same. I'm entertaining the thought of setting up a Yahoo group to share our experiences, help keep us accountable, but not have it formal. Maybe post any problems or epiphany's we've had, post the occasional lesson (especially if we'd like a little help), but I have a vision of a guilt free group. Anybody out there game? No pressure, no guilt, just good folks. Many of you have my email address (if not, post a comment here, and I'll get back to you) -- I'd like to hear what you think. Anyone, anyone?

Friday, March 24, 2006


This morning, I was working on my climax scene... and I realized that I have this thing that needs to happen, and in order for the reader to understand what happened, the only POV I can use is... well... the rat's. See, if I used Jed's POV, then he would fix what happens, and if I used Camilla's then she wouldn't be upset over what happens and that would ruin everything.

Do you suppose it's asking too much for the reader to read a scene from a rat's POV? Or should I just not explain what happened and hope for the best?

I have to finish this blasted book, and THE BIG MISUNDERSTANDING hinges on this scene.

Gads, back to the drawing board. Maybe I can figure something out so Maynard doesn't have to tell his side of the story.

I think this next quote about sums up writing, don't you?

A job is what we do for money; work is what we do for love. - Marysarah Quinn

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Rats and Chickens and Dogs ... oh my!

There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion - Sir Francis Bacon

My heroine has a rat as a pet in my current WIP. That's not news for most of you, but it has been on my mind a lot lately for a couple of reasons.

1. I'm trying to talk my husband into letting DD have a pet. I would prefer getting her a rat (they are absolutely fabulous pets: smart, clean, and they bond to you like crazy), but I know he'll say "no" to that one... so I'm going to go for a guinea pig.

2. I think my heroine's pet rat may be off-putting, both to agents and editors and possibly to potential readers. In the last two contests I'd entered this work in, I've gotten about one third of the judges who just say "YUCK" and mark me down for it.

CC is sitting at another contest currently, and it's Maynard's last chance. If he disgusts the judges, he's going to have to be changed to something cuter. I've been told not to compromise, but it's a small thing IMHO and, though I love him, when I'm the next Nora (*laughs hysterically*) I can have pet rats if I want to.

In Liv Leigh, I made the rodent-type pet more attractive (a ferret) and the dog uglier (a Mastiff)... but because the dog IS a dog, he'll go over okay, ugly or not. Doesn't seem fair, does it?

In American Idol news...

Chicken Little is gone.

I'm a little sad, and DD will be destroyed. She adored Kevin. I've tried to prepare her for his leaving over the past couple of weeks, but she's sure he'll stay.

I'm of two minds about this. I liked Kevin. He was sweet and cute and had a good voice. Was he American Idol material? No, of course not. But I think Bucky was far worse this week. I also think that Bucky will be next to go. Again, he's nice and cute and sweet, but is he American Idol material? No.

My problem is with Chris. I like Chris. But I think he's one-dimensional. Simon calls him "uncompromising". I disagree. I don't think he has the talent to pull off anything but an alternative rock sounding song (and OH are people gonna be mad at me now!). I'd like to see him reach a little. He sounds the same EVERY week. And I'm bored with him.

Who has the best voice? Female: Mandisa (with Katherine a close second). Male: Elliot (with Taylor second).

Will they win? Probably not. I think Chris has a cult following... but there are several weeks to go and lots of things can change. I will tell you this... I have Carrie's CD and Bo's will be added to my collection shortly. I'd never buy anything from Chris.

Okay, let the hate mail begin.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Brief Update....

Today was craft day for my daughter at my mom's house and, though we ended up watching both American Idol and part two of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (I cried the entire time, and DD dissolved into hysterical tears once or twice herself) in the morning, I had from about 12:30 until about 4:30 CHILD FREE.

To those of you with kids who go to school... I hope you appreciate that time alone. I am almost never, ever alone, and man do I miss it.

Anyway, I got quite a bit accomplished writing-wise, and managed to write and submit two short pieces to a couple of PAYING Flash Fiction markets (they don't pay a lot, but my goal is to be able to call myself A Writer on next years taxes, so I need to show some income) as well as do some more in my "Breakout Novel" workbook.

All-in-all, a good day.

Now, of course, I have no idea what to write tomorrow... but I just couldn't wait to share.

Gotta fly -- it's almost time for the American Idol "kick-off" show (that's what DD calls it). I'm thinking that Bucky should go. He looks like a sweetie and all that, but he did pretty poorly this time. Guess we'll have to see, hmmmm?

A Confession

From my Grace Notes book:

You have to take time to live. Living takes time. - Eleanor MacMillan Brown

Clearly, this woman hasn't seen my schedule.

The rest of this blog has nothing to do with that quote... I just liked it and thought I'd share. You have now seen how my brain works -- disjointed and utterly without organization. Be afraid, be very afraid.

So... moving on...

I have a confession to make: I have a fetish. No, not that kind -- pick your mind up out of the gutter.

My fetish? I love office supplies. I could spend hours in the local Staples store. If I had a bigger office, a bigger desk, I could be in trouble. I used to do the purchasing for my sales office before I was manager, and would nearly moan with pleasure when I looked through the catalog. See all the pretty sticky notes, the wide variety of pens and file folders. oooooohhhh..... (*fans self*)

I fed my fetish this past week by buying my daughters curriculum and school supplies. She's pretty much through her second grade curriuculum, and we aren't through with school yet, so I had to go buy some. It came in the mail a few days ago, and I couldn't wait to rip into it. To smell the freshly printed pages. To glance through the workbooks.

I'm one sick puppy.

Still, it wasn't enough, and I'm beginning to feel the urge to go to Staples again. I mean, they sent me my rebate check from my Staples Rewards card. I have to go spend it, right? So what if I don't really need anything (though I am getting a little short on printer paper).

I need my fix.

Anyone else out there have weird obsessions?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Weird Dreams...

I mean the ones I have when I'm sleeping, not the ones I have of being published or winning the lotto.

Last night, I dreamed I was selected to play in the Olympics on the men's hockey team from Slovatkia. And, as I was standing in line to get autographs from the US men's hockey team, wearing my Slovatkian jersey, I was given all kinds of grief from them. I said, I'd have played for them, but they wouldn't have me.

There are so many things wrong with that, I hardly know where to start.

1. Um, I'm not a man.

2. I can barely keep on my feet when I ice skate.

3. I never have been, nor ever plan to go to Slovatkia.

4. Does Slovatkia even have a hockey team?

I wonder if this has anything to do with all the introspection I did yesterday? I worked on the "Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook", and the first question was "Who are your heroes?". I drew an absolute blank. Is that pitiful or what? I spent all day thinking... who the heck are my heroes, really? I finally fell back on writing down traits that I deeply admire.

Then, I got my Wishcraft book in the mail and started reading that. I put it down on the suggestion of "what is a color you like, and why?" and then went to sleep.

I keep coming back to green as a favorite color, but it doesn't work with my dream because the Slovatikian jersey's were red and white. I wonder if my subconsious is trying to tell me something?

Does anyone out there do dream analysis? Because I think I need serious help.

Monday, March 20, 2006

This and That

Getting nothing done, writing-wise. I need to start setting my alarm again -- I've been sleeping in until about 5 a.m. and DD is waking up by around 5:30, so it's cutting into my writing time a little. My cat alarm clock is lazier than I. She snoozes at the foot of the bed until I kick her off when I wake up. How worthless is that?

In any case, I was inspired by C to work through my "Writing the Breakout Novel" workbook. I got it for my birthday from a good, non-writing, friend and have yet to crack it open! I'm going to use it with Camilla for now -- I'm only a few chapters into revisions, so it shouldn't be too painful to make changes (though I'm quite happy with the changes I've made thus far).

This was a crazy weekend. And co-o-o-o-o-o-l-l-l-d. It's a sad thing when it was warmer in January than it is in March. It's bitter here, and I am so frustrated to not be able to get outside. I'm ready. I've turned into a big blob over the winter and have a good 15 hibernation pounds to work off. I've tried working out with Gilead on FitTV, but it just isn't the same. I prefer to get my exercise the natural way - working in the garden, playing with the dog, riding bikes with my daughter. *sigh*

Times like these, I really, really miss California.

Okay, enough blogging. Time to go chat with Donald Maass.

As an aside, I ran the Blogger spell check on this, and am confused. It thinks a.m. should be ahoy, and snoozes should be sneezes, but it can spell "Gilead"? What's up with that??

I'm really leaving now.... have a great day!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

No Such Thing As Too Much Chocolate

This is not my regular kind of post, but my daughter wanted to bake today using her children's Tupperware set I got for her last Christmas, so we made cookies.

These were - bar none - the best cookies EVER.

Um, provided you're a chocoholic.

I had to share the recipe. First, I'm posting the actual recipe, then I'll share the changes I made. Here you go:


3/4 c butter
3/4 c white sugar
1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 3/4 c flour
1/2 c cocoa
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Beat butter, sugars and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs; beat well.

3. Stir together the rest of the dry ingredients (except chocolate chips). Gradually add to butter mixture, beating until just blended. Stir in chips. Drop by heaping teaspoon onto ungreased cookies sheet.

4. Bake 8 minutes or until set. Cool 1 minute before removing from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely before eating.


Now, in an effort to assuage my conscience and make these a tad bit healthier, I used half whole wheat flour and half quinoa flour (available at your natural food stores - I actually grind my own because it's less expensive). I also cut the butter to 1/2 cup and reduced the sugar. The cookies didn't suffer for the changes. I could eat myself sick on these -- they are absolutely the best chocolate cookies I've ever had. Ever.

Oh, we also made dog treats today... if anyone wants the recipe for Rocky's Roadhouse Munchies, let me know! I'll type it up when I come down from my sugar high.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Of Torn Jeans and Prom Dresses

Today at the library, I squatted down to put the books in the return slot and heard that ominous noise that no one ever likes to hear: the sound of pants ripping. Ugh. I grabbed my inner thigh (which was an interesting thing to do in public), felt the hole and wanted to cry. My only other pants were wet and hanging in basement.

I made the command decision to go to JC Penney and look for a new pair of jeans. I HATE most of the jeans out there. Remember back about fifteen years ago, when jeans actually went up to your waist and had normal sized legs? Not flares, not pegged, not boot cut... just a regular looking jean.

Do you know how hard it is to find these?? I was unable to find even one pair today and can only hope that my damp jeans will be dry by tomorrow -- despite being in the basement and the outdoor temp reaching a high of about 37. Woo. Hoo. Heat wave.

Anyway, as I made my way to the jeans section in JCP, I crossed through the formal dresses. My DD was mesmerized -- she is such a girly girl and wears dresses 90% of the time, but especially loves fancy "princess" type dresses (darn Cinderella). She ooohed and aahhed for several minutes before she could be dragged away. We walked back through them on the way out (bad planning on my part) and she decided that she wanted one.

"Where would you wear it?" I asked.

She responded without hesitation. "To the ball."

Of course. The ball. Why did I even ask?

Now if I could ever succeed in my Quest for Normal Jeans. I mean, do women not realize how HUGE your hips look in flares? Look in the mirror people. It's your fault that I can't find regular jeans. Just. Stop. It.

Stop falling prey to designers and their size three models.


I'm begging you.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Submit Short Story... Check!

I finished editing my short for WW and am popping it in the mail tomorrow. Writing short, short stories is strange for me. I don't love having the box to work inside, but it certainly makes you decide which words are most important.

Interestingly, my six-year-old daughter stood at my side last night while I was trying to cut 300 words from my story, and made some suggestions -- most of them were adverbs.

From the mouth of babes.

She's also decided that she wants to write for publication, so I need to hunt up some childrens magazines that publish short stories written by very young kids. Does Highlights? I think there might be some homeschooling mags. If anyone out there knows of any, please let me know. I'd love to encourage her -- and, conversely -- get her used to rejection.

Now that's a lesson we all need to learn.

So now, pins and needles for the next three months or so. I need to get a couple more stories out this month, and will see if I can find a home for some already written.

Back to the keyboard. Just wanted to say howdy.

Oh. And... I'm glad Melissa is gone from American Idol. We all did a little dance last night.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Rediscovering the Joy of Writing

Last night, while I lay in bed just prior to dozing off I figured out my short story plot. I trashed the one I'd made up yesterday, knowing that some of it simply wouldn't work. But I was so excited about this one that I almost jumped up then and there and jotted it all down. I was terrified that I'd forget it by morning, but I was so warm and cozy (and so was the cat) that I laid there and changed the basics over and over like a new writers mantra.

It worked.

I got up bright eyed and bushy tailed and hied my behind downstairs to the 'puter and typed my little heart out. I had a blast. I loved meeting the new characters, even though it was a very short story (110 lines) and I remembered that I really do enjoy writing!

It was wonderful...

And though I know that I'll need to get back to Camilla, will be getting back to her as soon as this blog entry is done, I feel energized by having written that bit today.

And, for fun, I flipped through my "Grace Notes" book and found these two quotes, side by side:

It takes a long time to bring excellence to maturity
- Publilius Syrus

Cool... so my "old" book, Camilla, is mature but will become excellent with time.

Omit needless words. -- William Strunk, Jr.

No explanation needed on that one!

I'm off to edit, feeling refreshed and happy. What makes you excited about writing?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Editing...Oh the Horror!

A month or so ago, I sent off the first 25 pages of Camilla to a RWA contest. I was quite satisfied with the entry, had run it by my crit group, looked it over, took and deep breath and popped it in the mail.

Now, I'm going through Camilla with a fine toothed ... ah... pen and am horrified at what I sent out. How could I have missed these things??

I used "rustic" twice in two paragraphs to describe the same place.

I used "trip to the..." twice in two paragraphs.

I used -- and this one is the kicker because it's not your normal, average, every day kinda phrase -- "the gray lump on his shoulder" twice in paragraphs that have only one short line of dialogue to separate them.

I have edited and re-edited this part of Camilla, and still I'm coming across stupid mistakes. When is good enough ever good enough? Will there ever come a time where I'll think, "Finally. Done. Perfect. Amazing." and set aside the red pen?

The good news is, though, that at least I'm working. And last night I had what I think is a good idea for a short romance for WW and I spent some time this morning brainstorming it a little. I'd like to get it written and sent out this month so that I have at least one short submitted for March (my goal is two a month, but I'll take what I can get).

And that's the news from this side of the world, aside from the fact that I think the ten inches of snow that Charity talked about yesterday in Minnesota has hit New Hampshire as rain. It is POURING here. And thundering.

About ten last night, I was sound asleep when a flicker of light woke me up -- my first thought was that it was some sort of emergency vehicle. I lay there for a moment and heard what sounded like an airplane going over and then BOOM! Thunder that absolutely shook the house. At first I thought the plane I'd heard had crashed or blown up -- yes, I was half asleep and I am a writer, so I must think of all the drama possible in any given situation -- but when lightening flashed again, I realized what it was. I'm just glad it was a few miles away, because it was loud enough at our house. I can't imagine what it was like for the folks who live where the storm sat.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Name That Tune

So, Diana suggested in her blog to go to Babelfish and translate song lyrics. First from English to German, then copy and paste, translate from German to French, copy and paste, and then from French to English.

Can you guess my song? (Mom, you don't get a guess, cuz you'll know it right off.)

I stated ahead with much hoping for narrow manner years, that I love right find the road defective would become, me however received wasted a time, or of two did not wipe my brew and held, could me support to see, as each sign on you precisely showed each dream lost a long time me lead, where it other to be who my heart to break, as stars of North me in my manner in your affectionate arms showed which are much me this one.

Know are precisely that the god blessed the defective road me with you precisely led me thinks the years that I would like myself to precisely lead to Him to smile and takes my hand you understand yourself, there were that all started from a greater plan which is right to come.

Each dream lost a long time led me, where you of others are that my heart broke that, they showed as stars of North me in my manner in your affectionate arms which are much me this one, knows is precisely that the god blessed the defective road me with you precisely led.

No wonder no one can understand me when I practice my French.

Merci pour le jeu. Au Revoir.


I settled down this morning and did a bit of editing on Camilla. I feel like I've moved mountains -- though I have a lot more moving ahead of me. I've also given myself permission to start working up my next WIP - do character sheets, basic outline and some scene cards. It seems to be working so far, and I'm feeling much better.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the library and checked out a TON of category romances. The librarian gave me a weird look when I stepped up with my thirty or so books, but what she doesn't realize is this: 1. I read really fast and 2. I don't get past the first three chapters in most of the books.

I know I shouldn't say bad things about published authors because, after all, they are pubbed and I am not, but still -- most of the books are just plain horrible. Stupid, contrived plots, poorly portrayed characters with ridiculous dialogue.

This morning, however, I picked one up that is actually pretty good! Oh joy, oh joy!

Here it is:

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So, thank you Raeanne Thayne. You've made my day.

BTW, Mary has a simple request on her blog to help out a sick little girl. Take a look if you hav a minute.

Have a great day!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

It isn't Easy Being Green

You Are Emerald Green

Deep and mysterious, it often seems like no one truly gets you.

Inside, you are very emotional and moody - though you don't let it show.

People usually have a strong reaction to you... profound love or deep hate. But you can even get those who hate you to come around.

There's something naturally harmonious about you.

Ooooohh.... cool. I've always wanted to be deep and mysterious.

Though I'm pretty sure that the folks who hate me still hate me. That might be because I don't make an effort to change their minds... why bother. I'm adored by millions, after all... or at least two or three.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

A Good Cattle Prod is Hard to Find

Hah. I knew the title of this entry would make you keep reading...

Seriously (yes I DO know how to be serious), I can't seem to write a thing. I can't edit. I can't even brainstorm. It's really strange inside my brain right now. My brain never shuts down. It's one of the reasons I don't sleep well. The moment my bladder fills and wakes me at 2 a.m. (what? TMI?) my brain starts up thinking. Not about anything exciting -- in fact, last night I keep singing the words to my daughters geography songs CD, "The southern border of the United States, the southern border of the United States, California, Arizona, New Mexico..." (email me if you need the rest of the states. Oh, and I have the eastern border and the Pacific states memorized, too. I always forget North Dakota in the Northern border, and the middle? Sheesh.. fuggedaboutit.)

So, anyway, where was I? Oh yeah... writing. Or not writing as the case may be. I have the first several chapters of Camilla printed off. I've done the first three pages. I was responsible for posting the weekly prompt in my study group, but when I sat down to write something for it... nada.

I need someone to poke me in the butt with a cattle prod and get me moooooo-ving. I sit at the computer and stare. I didn't even want to write in this blog today, and that's exceptionally strange.

So, if you're in Southern New Hampshire with your cattle prod, come on down. I could use a little impetus here.

Writers write.


Friday, March 10, 2006

Dopey and Dry

I gave blood today.

I almost couldn't because that little drop they take at the beginning wouldn't sink, which indicates low iron. I kept encouraging it by yelling, "Dive, dive!" but it didn't listen. Kind of like my husband when I ask him to do chores.

And why must they ask me the same questions every time? I give blood every eight weeks. Oddly enough the answer to "Were you in the military or a military dependent during the years of ..." remains the same. What's past is past. Really.

I like to trip them up while they rattle off all those questions they have memorized. "Have you, in the past year, had relations with someone who tested positive for AIDs?"

"Not unless I have to kill my husband."

Then, the lovely blood collection person (that's actually her job title) wouldn't believe me when I said she couldn't use the big, fat vein in my left arm because it rolls. She insisted she couldn't find the one in my right arm... you know, the one they've used the past two or three times. So, guess what happened when she poked me? The vein moved. Imagine that.

"Tell me if you have any discomfort," she said as she gyrated the needle around in my arm.

Well, duh. But I'd already gone through the finger prick which hurts WAY more, so I was going to give blood come hell or rolling veins.

I did. It took me nine minutes to fill the bag, my personal worst. My arm is killing me, and will probably bruise. But I have O+ blood, so maybe all the torture was worth it and I saved a life.

Regardless, I'm tired and a little spacey (hey, you -- in the peanut gallery, shut up about me being spacey all the time) and intend to spend the evening eating veggie soup and reading my new Writers Digest.

What did you do today?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Just So You Know...

I really have been working. Check out this page -- the first page of my first chapter. If you knew how many times I've edited this thing - ARGH - it should not have this many changes!!

And, geez, it looks even worse when I track changes!

Still, I think the beginning is stronger and more active with less backstory and "telling". I hope that the reader can figure out who is who, since Camilla and the reader get bombarded with her entire crazy family right from the get-go.

Okay, back to editing. I hope the whole book isn't this bad.

Now You Know the Real Me

The Noble Princess

You are just and fair, a perfectionist with a strong sense of proper decorum. You are very attracted to chivalry, ceremony and dignity.

For the most part you are rather sensible, but you are also very idealistic.

Role Models: Guinevere, Princess Fiona (of Shrek)

You are most likely to: Get kidnapped by a stray dragon.

What Kind of Princess are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Keeping It Real... Dawg...

Yes, I watched American Idol last night. I can't help it -- I love that show. The truth of the matter is this, though: I don't like a put on. Some of the guys are so contrived and I want to reach out and smack 'em.

First and foremost -- Gedeon:

I don't know if it's nerves or what, but even in his little schpiel last night, he sounded fake. Really, really annoyed me. He needs to go.

I'm shocked that I'm saying this, because I liked him A LOT at first, but I'm beginning to really dislike... Ace.

He's beautiful to look at, but his voice? Not so much. And he's picking weird songs that make me want to fast forward the TiVo. That's too bad.

The Real Deal? I have a few. I don't think they're the best singers, and I don't even think they'll come close to winning, but I love to watch them. They are who they are, and make no apology for it.

Kevin (my daughter LOVES Kevin, an odd change over loving Bo Bice last year):

Taylor. He is so weird, but I love him. He is who he is, and he has a great voice. He's spot on with his song choices, and if he released "Levon", I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

And lastly, Elliot. I can't look at the TV when he's singing - between his crooked teeth, and ears that stick out, it's painful. But I think he has, by far, the absolute best voice of any of the guys. Last weeks "Moody's Mood For Love" was the best I've ever heard. I want it to listen to over and over. Last night, not so much. I think Simon was right and it was a copout. Still, he's amazing.

And with all that said, I have to say... I think one of the girls is going to win. Again. Was Kelli the cutest thing ever on Tuesday (even if Simon was a little out of line with his comments)? "I'm a Mink!"

Okay, enough AI. I need to write.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


I am committed (or maybe I should be...) to finishing Camilla. I like her. I like her story... so what if I'm a measly 20,000 words short. Words, schmerds.

Darcy slapped me upside the head this morning (and my ears are still ringing) with her comment on my blog entry that talked about what I should say to all the voices in my head tempting me to stray from my current WIP and start something new. She said:

Try this, say: "Hey,Voices, Darcy might want to read one of my novels ALL THE WAY THROUGH one of these days, so I should really consider settling my butt back in the chair and finishing one -- so shaddup already, huh?" It could work. Really.

Incidentally, it's not that I haven't finished a novel -- I have two finished really, really crappy first drafts: Liv and Playing House. Both have some huge plot flaws that need working out, and I'm just not prepared to deal with them at this point.

Camilla doesn't really have any flaws in the plot, though the execution could be better. She needs a bit of polish and a little more excitement in her life, but I can handle that.

So, Darcy, this ones for you. I will get Camilla's halfway decent first and a half draft done and in your arms by summer. I'm hoping to have the first half done by the end of April. Work for you?

Thanks for the laugh this morning. Gotta love a happy email inbox ;-)

How's this for a cutie to sweeten up your day?

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

True Bluv

Paperback Writer got me to thinking this morning about "eternal lovers"... you know the ones, the characters you can't get out of your mind when you're done reading (or watching)? The ones who make you sigh when they've struggled through adversity and are finally together?

One of the comments in her blog mentioned Wesley and Buttercup from the Princess Bride (man do I love that movie!) and I suppose, as adversity goes, these two came through the worst. So, of course, I had to title today's blog after them -- you remember the part, right? When Wesley's mostly dead and Billy Crystal's funny little man finds out why he's not all the way dead? Trooooooooooo Bluuuuuuuvvvv

It gets us through anything. And it's why I write (and read) romance, or at least require a solid romantic relationship in what I read. It really does make the world go round. It is a rare and precious thing.

When you think of "true bluv", what characters come to mind?

Monday, March 06, 2006

First Books

Mary asked today about first books.

I wrote my first novel in fourth grade. It was eighteen chapters of girl loves horse, entitled "A Horse Called Mystery". I don't have a clue what happened to it, but I still hold the memory close to my heart.

The next two novels were created at about the same time -- high school -- and both were co-authored by friends.

One was called "Galactic Assassin" and was a space opera. Lots of action, and laser guns and romance. Very fun. I still have that, and may ressurect it someday.

The other was "Love With a Twist" and was romantic suspense. My friend and I took turns writing chapters, and the further along we got the higher the bodies piled up. We took great delight in murdering each others characters. I still have that one, too (can you believe it, Cathy?), but haven't looked at it lately. Wonder if it's any good?

When I was seventeen, I wrote a book for the Avon Teen Novel Writing Contest called "Heir to Three Crowns" another romantic suspense. It did okay, I was in the top fifty and got a personal rejection letter. I don't know where that one is, but I can't imagine I threw it away so it must be with my old journals and scrapbooks.

Oh, Mary, did you mean first book as a grown up?

That would be "Playing House", a lighthearted romance that I started writing about three years ago and finished the first draft in December of 2004. I pull it out now and then and mess with it some, but there are some plot problems I can't seem to work out. I love the characters, so imagine I will revisit it again at some point.

It's amazing to see the change in writing style over the years. I'd like to think I've gotten better at description and show vs. tell. Gads, I should dig out those older books and post an excerpt. Could make for a few chuckles...

What about you? What are the first books you wrote and when did you write them?

Monday Musings

My daughter has a loose tooth. She's almost seven, and all of her friends teeth have been dropping like flies, making her crazy. Now, though, my little drama queen walks around the house moaning, "I can't chew that, my tooth is loose." or "I can't brush that tooth, it's loose." or "Don't touch my jaw, that tooth is loose." and making predictions as to when it will fall out. Hubby, of course, has offered to use pliers to speed the loss of said tooth, horrifying DD.

My niece has returned to college. She called last night to let us know she got in safely -- though her fish had died. Apparently the vacation lump o'food left in the tank didn't dissolve properly. Poor fish. She's a really good girl (my niece, not the fish) whose parents don't appreciate her. I hope my daughter turns out so well. In any case, we have become her surrogate parents at this point since her family has all but written her off. She really can't even go and visit. It's a very sad situation, but has given me ideas for a character (when God gives you lemons, make a new angst-filled character).

My stressed-out, perpetually grouchy husband had a wonderful weekend at the Snowdeo and came back refreshed and nice to be around for a change. He hates his job and his l-o-n-g commute, and it has made life a little rough this past year. I told him to find another job, but this one sounds good and looks good on paper. It's with a very large, well known company and he's reluctant to leave. *sigh* Still, he's shown a lot of character over the situation with our niece, and made me proud, so I supppose I can put up with his moods a little longer... lol...

Best of all, the weather is warming up again! YAY! They're predicting 63 degrees next Saturday. SIXTY-THREE! Woo Hoo! Of course, it's too early to stay like that, but I'll take what I can get. It sure does give me the itch to garden, though.

And lastly, I have absolutely zippo desire to write lately. I sit down. I look at the screen. I play Free Cell or Spider Solitaire. I pull up my document and read a bit. Play some more. Think of writing a short story, just to write something. Get a few hundred words down. Go blog-hopping. Stare some more.

What do you do when you lose the urge to write?

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Program...

And I'll add a quick warning that I'm going to talk about something that may disturb you, so stop now if you're worried...

Normally, I try to stay away from controversial issues on this blog because that's not what it's for, but this is something that weighs heavily on my heart.

The Canadian Seal Hunt starts this month. When I was young, I can remember hearing about Greenpeace reps spraypainting the baby seals to make their fur useless to the hunters. Apparently, they don't do that anymore. In fact, the Canadian government has made any effort to interfere with the hunters a crime.

From the Humane Society of the United States webpage:

Canada’s annual seal hunt is the largest commercial slaughter of marine mammals on the planet. It’s also the cruelest. In late March, fishermen in the North Atlantic will invade the ice floes to club and shoot baby seals, just to earn a few extra bucks by selling seal skins. Many of these seals are utterly defenseless. Last year, 98.5% of the seals killed were two months of age or younger. Veterinary reports indicate that many seals have been skinned while still conscious and able to feel pain. This year, the ProtectSeals team will expose the world of cruelty that takes place on the ice floes.

Now, I object to killing something just for its fur at any time. If you kill it, you eat it. Period.

I also object to inhumane treatment of animals. I can't help but think there's something wrong inside the head and heart of a man who can take a club and beat a fluffy white baby seal until it's senseless and then skin it alive.

If the Canadian's think that they must kill these babies, then do it humanely (though I still have a problem killing something for its fur, at least keep the babies from suffering).

And now, I'll step down from my soapbox. But my heart breaks for these seals - babies and mommas.

Only 23 days left in their lives. They have no idea what's coming...

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Just As Long As It's Warmer There

You Belong in Rome

You're a big city girl with a small town heart, which is why you're attracted to the romance of Rome.

Strolling down picture perfect streets, cappuccino in hand and gorgeous Italian men - could life get any better?

Please Make the Voices Stop...

My niece left this morning at 3 a.m. to head back to college, so things may get back to normal (I hope, but have no guarantee!). And, finally, I can start writing again.

My plan is to finish Camilla, but I have all these other characters in my head, demanding to earn their place on the page. Three other novel ideas are running a marathon in there and don't want to let me be. Two of them I've already jotted down the basic idea, the main characters and written a first chapter, just so I don't forget (as if they'd let me), and the third will join them shortly.

Then what?

The problem isn't "getting" ideas, the problem is what to do with all the ideas I have. How do you make them leave you alone and stand quietly in line until it's their turn?

What about you? How do you turn off the voices in your head?

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Life Intrudes

I didn't know what to write about today, I'm a little brain dead the past few days, but then I found out that Charity finished her latest WIP -- YAY Charity!!

I'm still dealing with a nineteen year old niece aka surrogate daughter. And my days, of late, have been filled with misadventure (don't ask -- some of them have the making of a novel), making me wonder if I should even leave the house.

No reading, no writing… my life, lately, in a nutshell. With any luck, things will be back to normal on Monday. So, if you don't hear from me tomorrow rest assured I'm thinking about you (and the blog), but fates have conspired to keep me away.

I don't know when I've looked forward to a Monday so much.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

What's Wrong With Romance?

I know this subject has probably been talked to death, but I got slapped in the face with it again today. I got the weekly email from Writers Village University that includes a writing market at the beginning. I read through, and think it's sounding pretty good. They even encourage beginning writers to submit their stuff and simultaneous submissions are okay, too! Woo Hoo!

Then I read this: Does not accept science fiction, erotica, westerns, horror, romance, or children's stories.

For crying out loud... what's left?

It's discouraging because I have a really, really difficult time finding short story markets and flash fiction markets that accept romance. And though, occasionally I do write something that isn't overtly romantic, romance has a strong hold on my heart, my brain and on my typing fingers.

It's written off everywhere as drivel. Sub-standard writing. Only for people with an IQ of 7.

And yet, take a look at what the vast majority of book buyers are buying. Why is that? Well, IMHO it's because romances make you feel good. They end happily. Real life does not.

I took a look at the RWA website where they list fiction buying statistics for 2005.

Check this out:

• 54.9% of paperback sales in 2004 were romance fiction

• 39.3% of all fiction sold is romance.

And a breakdown of fiction sold by genre:

• Romance -- 39.3%
• Mystery/Thriller -- 29.6%
• General Fiction -- 12.9%
• Other Fiction -- 11.8%
• Science Fiction -- 6.4%

If you were a marketing major and opted to start a magazine, do you think you might include romance and mystery as an accepted genre? So, why oh why do I only have a handful of short markets I can submit to?

Is it all about image? Like tucking your romance into a copy of Tennyson?


That said, I was watching American Idol last night and wishing I was young enough to justify a crush on this guy (man, he's cute -- singing voice okay, but he'll sail into the top six on his looks and personality):

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

One of Those Days

Hubby is working from home today, so I can't hog the computer. I'm typing FAST just to get this posted.

I woke up late because I went to bed late (all the fault of American Idol and my niece) and because I have enough of a cold that I coughed most of the night until about 3 a.m.

Hubby got up early -- with me -- to run to work before coming home again, so my morning was shot.

I had to take my niece to work at 7:45 a.m. and then hurry home because:

The dog had to go to the groomer at 9 a.m., and the groomer is an hour away, so I had to hang out in Nashua for four hours. I did get to go to Trader Joes, though, and my dog is beautiful and fluffy now, so it was worth it.

I got a rejection from Grit on my short story saying they've purchased all their fiction for 2006 and to check back this summer for their 2007 needs.

eHarlequin's website is down and I need something from them.

I can't do anything this afternoon because I have to "do" school with my daughter since we didn't do it this morning.

And, to top it off, I'm still short 22,000 words on Camilla (give or take a few hundred).

How's your day going?

Oh, and... yup, Paul is still cute: