Thursday, August 31, 2006

I'm Official

Here I am:

My Author Page At WRP.

It's kind of weird. In a good way.

Makeup and Meme's

I am not quite sure how writing changes things, but I know that it does. It is indirect--like the trails of earthworms aerating the earth. It is not always deliberate--like the tails of glowing dust dragged by comets. ~ Erica Jong

Okay. I guess I'm using photo #1 for now, until I can hie my behind (and the rest of me) to Glamourshots for a "real" picture that'll look nothing like me so that folks who read my stuff won't recognize me when they see me and will cringe in shock (like I do when I see pix of my fave authors as signings or wherever) when they see candid's of me and wonder who I used for my body double.

I swear I had to use a spatula to scrape all the makeup off of my face last night... yuck. I'm going makeup free today to let my poor skin breathe.


Time for a meme -- got this this from Charity's blog -- I'm loving that it's book related, so I imagine that you can see this with great regularity on my blog... I'm actually using last weeks questions because they don't post early enough for me to use this weeks.

Booking Through Thursday

  1. Have you ever wanted to travel to a place described in a book?

    Absolutey. Nora Roberts makes Ireland seem idyllic in "THE IRISH TRILOGY" - Jewels of the Sun, Tears of the Moon, and Heart of the Sea. The countryside is beautiful and clear in my head, and the characters so real. It made me think I could go there, find that town with that pub and those people and greet them as friends.

  2. Have you ever ACTUALLY travelled to a place because of the way it was described in a book?

    Not yet... but I'm still hoping to get to Ireland.

  3. And if so, did it live up to the expectations, feelings, emotions you expected from the book? Did you feel like Anne was going to come romping around the corner of Green Gables? Was it as if Jo was upstairs at Orchard House, scribbling on a story? Or was it just a museum, or just a city street? Like Abbey Road without the Beatles?

    See above -- haven't been there yet. BUT, I did walk the Freedom Trail in Boston and was disappointed -- probably because it's in the middle of a really yucky, big city and that somehow kills the feeling of 1776. I loved the graveyard, though -- where Samuel Adams (the man, not the beer) is buried and the real Mother Goose!

And now I need to get to writing, because I got this great idea for another short story and wrote a bunch of longhand pages last night that I need to key in, plus the rest of the story is banging up against my brain and sure to cause a headache if I don't get it out soon.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

No Time For Glamourshots...

So you choose... and, yes, many of the folks at WRP have candid shots for their photos (one is even with her horse, lucky lady)...

Number One is me being authorly:

Number Two is me with less makeup and huge bags under my eyes (yes, I really am that tired):

Number Three is the real me (but it's awfully dark and I don't have photoshop):

I don't want to have to pancake the makeup again tomorrow -- my daughter said to me this morning, "Mommy, I can't see your freckles." I replied, "That's the idea." She said, "You look pretty that way, but I like Mommy with freckles."

See... the whole photo thing is traumatizing us all.

Yay For Me!

"Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken bird that cannot fly." - Langston Hughes

Some time ago, I submitted a longish short story to the Wild Rose Press. Yesterday, I got my contract from them for it! Yay!

It's due to be released in November and I can't wait to see it up there. The only thing I'm not having fun with is writing my author bio and (UGH) having to submit a picture.

I got all dolled up yesterday and took some photos, and realized when I viewed them that I'm not twenty anymore. I have lines. And spots. And enormous bags under my eyes. I need more makeup -- maybe the pancake kind they use on stage - and a professional photographer who can retouch the photo. Or maybe I'll take one of somebody else and submit it... they'd never know!

I remember my mother and my MIL telling me that they were always a little surprised when they looked in the mirror -- who is that old woman? Inside, I think we'll always be twenty.

So, I'm getting dolled up again today an putting on heavier makeup to try to play up my good points and downplay my bad (which have multiplied over the years). What a pain. Thank heavens for digital cameras.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Of Editing and Temper Tantrums...

"How do I know what I think, until I see what I say?" - E.M. Forster

I have all these new ideas for changing and improving Camilla's story, and I'm excited about them. Yet, when I sit my butt in the chair and try to write, I have nothing to say. If I force it, it's clear that's what I've done. I want to get this blasted book finished and I really am pumped to do just that, so I don't understand why it's not working out for me.

I've gotten next to nothing written in the past week or so -- unless you count the mini auto-biography I'm working on for the website. But, to be honest, that's equally boring as the forced stuff in Camilla and I need to go hunt down my sense of humor, wherever it's gone hiding, and try again.

I have added another item to my ongoing wish list, however. I went to the Discovery Store at the mall yesterday. It's my DD's favorite place to go (she's asking for gift cards there for any and all occasions in the hope that she'll get enough for the robo-raptor). I walked in and saw The Homedics Shiatsu Back Massager with Traveling Action and promptly sat down. Oh. My. Gosh. I never wanted to get up again. I'm in love.

I decided that having one of those is a must for someone like me who spends so much time at the keyboard. Right?

So, back to the original topic. What do you do when it's time to make major edits, and they just don't want to work for you? Do you force your way through them, just to get them in place and then go back later and polish them up? Do you set them aside and hope that it'll get easier at some point in the future? Do you scream and yell and throw a temper tantrum?

Inquiring minds want to know...

Monday, August 28, 2006


I'm pretty in pink...

I actually liked the green better, but am working on a website, and it's PINK (and blue, but mostly pink) and I wanted the blog to match. I wish I was proficient enough to create my own skin and my own website template... maybe someday with much practice.

Until then... this is it.


A Sense of Entitlement

I looked for a good quote this morning and found nothing that fit my mood or this blog, warning, rant ahead.

I lay thinking last night about the "awards" thingie my DD went to at the library for the summer reading program, and how every child there received the same exact certificate and the same prizes whether they read 1 hour or 100 hours. The librarian said that she wanted all the kids to feel good about having participated at all.

And I understand this. But I don't agree with it.

My daughter and another girl read 126 and 123 hours respectively. That's amazing. They were the best. They applied themselves and excelled at the challenge posed during the program and they deserved more recognition that the girl who read three hours. If this were an isolated incidence, I don't know if it would have bothered me so much.

When I was young, we "tried out" for the school athletic teams. And only the best made it on. That's as it should be (and I'm sorry for the folks who are clumsy or otherwise unable to play sports well... but God gave you a separate set of gifts). Nowadays, everyone is "entitled" to play. We had a little league team here that recently lost a game by default because one of their players didn't play enough minutes -- even though they won on the score board. Apparently there is a rule that everyone has to play a certain amount of time, regardless of talent -- and since, if a child tries out they have to be on the team, sometimes this means that a team won't do well.

In real life, the professional teams don't take everyone that tries out. We are giving our kids a sense of entitlement that they shouldn't have. Worse, we aren't rewarding excellence in those children who do exceptionally well at something (whether it's chess club, drama, sports or whatever).

If we don't reward excellence, then why should anyone pursue it?

That's like saying that I deserve a publishing contract from whatever publisher I send my completed novel to. I "tried out", didn't I? You mean everyone doesn't get to "play"?

It's no wonder that bankruptcy filings are up (you mean I'm not entitled to buy whatever I want??), crime is up (If you have it and I want it, I get to take it - whether that's your purse, your car, your sexuality or your life), and work ethic is down, down, down (companies can hardly fire a substandard worker for fear of a lawsuit).

Very sad.

Amended to add:

It occurs to me, after reading some of the comments on this post, that it could be misconstrued that I'm throwing a bit of a tantrum because my daughter wasn't recognized for her accomplishment. To be honest, she didn't know the difference, and was thrilled with the giant starfish she chose from the prize table. The point I was making is that we seem to be afraid to hurt kids feelings in any way shape or form. And in my opinion (which is just that -- my opinion) this can hurt a child worse than telling him or her they are incorrect or that they can do better.

When I read that teachers are no longer using red pens to correct their students papers because it's "frightening" or that a little league team loses on a technicality when they were trying their best, I get a little steamed.

We should teach our kids right and wrong. We should show them how to do their best and to figure our their strengths. We're all different, with different gifts. Let's show our kids how to be the best they can be, not the best their neighbor can. But if we don't give them a reason to excel, why should they?

I have a feeling I'm still not getting what's in my brain across to the rest of you. Did I just dig my hole deeper? *sigh*

Oh... here's an article on that I read about this same subject. In case you're interested.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Mas Maass

"I think the only person a writer has an obligation to is himself. If what I write doesn't fulfill something in me, if I don't honestly feel it's the best I can do, then I'm miserable." - Truman Capote

I think I make life too easy for my characters. I've only ever given them one or two conflicts to overcome when I write. But, in going through the Maass Breakout Novel Workbook, he's challenged me to do more. And more. To pretty much make life a living hell for my protagonist.

Well, okay.

So, I'm adding three new things to Camilla - I'm adding very real feeling for the TWO men in her life, and I'm potentially taking away one of her lifelines: her SIL, and I'm adding terminal illness to a member of her family. I was going to have one of her pets die, but had to draw the line there. I always hate books where the author lets a pet die instead of a person, as if that is somehow not as important or that the protag won't hurt as much.

My protag may very well love her pets more than the people in her life.

I can almost hear Maass whispering in my ear, "All the more reason to take them away."


And, oddly enough, this is kind of a funny book ... though maybe not so much anymore.

I have my eyes closed as I'm typing this becasue I'm still having trouble looking at the computer without giving myself an instant migrane, so I'm hoping my typing skills are still up to par and there won't be too many typos.

In other news...

We spent the day baking yesterday. And as I'm typing that, I just realized that I left the homemade dog treats in the oven overnight. They were supposed to stay in there for a few hours, but... that may have been too many. I'll go check on those in a moment.

I had lots of squash - and I'm the only one who like to eat it in its simplest form, so the rest was grated by DD who loves to grate things. I froze half, and still had eight cups of grated squash. So we made bread with it. I cut the oil and sugar in half from what the recipe called for, used whole wheat and quinoa flour and it tastes GREAT and it's even moderately healthy. Hubby won't eat it, won't even try it, because it has squash in it. I told him that you can't even tell, but he won't go there.

We also made cookies and, as noted above, dog treats.

I made fresh salsa since I have tomatoes coming out my ears (well, not really, but you get the idea). Tomatoes were the only crop that did okay this year despite all my pest problems. We had a few tomato worms, but the wasps did their duty and all but one worm was covered in wasp eggs. A little morbid, and I didn't really like to to think about the fact that they were being eaten alive, but they are the bad guys, right?

Okay, enough blind typing. I need to go back and make sure there aren't any typos.

Have a great day!

Saturday, August 26, 2006


It's such a pleasure to write down splendid words - almost as though one were inventing them. ~ Rupert Hart-Davis

Swiped from Charity:

You Are a Pegasus

You are a perfectionist, with an eye for beauty.
You know how to live a good life - and you rarely deviate from your good taste.
While you aren't outgoing, you have excellent social skills.
People both admire you - and feel very comfortable around you.


If I know how to live a good life, why aren't I living it? But it's wonderful to know that I have such good taste.

Your Geek Profile:

Fashion Geekiness: Moderate
Movie Geekiness: Moderate
SciFi Geekiness: Moderate
Academic Geekiness: Low
Internet Geekiness: Low
Gamer Geekiness: None
Geekiness in Love: None
General Geekiness: None
Music Geekiness: None

I could've told you this... I was in drama and choir, not chess club and computers.

My eyes are giving me problems again (I go through periods when they need a rest from the computer) but I'm trying to edit Camilla and didn't want to stop. So, I printed off the portion I've already done (about 100 pages) and have it, my Maass workbook and a spiral notepad all sitting next to each other. I'm gonna work through this baby.

Wish me luck.

Have a great day!

Friday, August 25, 2006

I Don't Need No Stinkin' Grammar

I followed a landscaping company's truck home from the library today, and the longer I was behind it, the more annoyed I got. Points to the folks who can find the grammar errors in this little ditty that was painted on the back of the trailer:

There goes the guys that can fix my lawn

Yunno, it's bad enough that folks use poor grammar in everyday conversation (I know I do it, too -- though not as often as most and I make an effort to be correct), but come on... this represents the quality of your company!

Grrr... and I had to follow the stupid thing for miles.

Friday Feast

I forgot it was Friday -- I had actually posted a regular blog post before this one, so keep reading for new stuff after this.

Here's the weekly Friday Feast:

If you could have a free subscription to any magazine, which one would you like to have?

Writers Digest? Byline? Natural Health Mag? This is tough, because there aren't any magazines out there that I'm dying to subscribe to and couldn't live without. Maybe I should answer "Womans World" because they're expensive to subscribe to, and I need to read them for content for my writing submissions. Yeah. That's the one.

Describe your living room (furnishings, colors, etc.).

We have two -- one is supposed to be the formal dining room, but we are nothing if not informal...LOL. That one is the "TV" room and is very dark. The furniture is dark brown, both the upholstery and the wood and the walls are painted a color called "Fauna" which is also a grayish-brown. Oddly enough, it's a very cozy, comfortable room.

The other is the fireplace room. For a while we had no furniture in there and it didn't matter, because we didn't hang out in there (still don't). But we acquired hand-me-downs from FIL/MIL and so now have a blue sofa and chair. This room is much lighter, though painted "Fauna", we just had Home Depot lighten the shade wa-a-a-a-a-y down.

What does the shape of a circle make you think of?

Pluto... poor Pluto who is no longer a planet. I'm holding on to my old astronomy books just to prove to later generations that Pluto used to be part of our solar system as a PLANET.

Yes, I'm terribly upset by this whole debacle.

Main Course
Name 3 things in your life that you consider to be absolute necessities.

You mean aside from things like food, water and air? Hmmm... solitude, reading and writing.

What was the last really funny movie you watched?

I'd like to say it was Pirates II: Dead Man's Chest, but that wasn't so funny, unfortunately.

It would have to be something I watched over like Galaxy Quest or Undercover Blues.

Beginnings Are For the Birds

"We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little." - Anne Lamott

I worked on my writing like a dog yesterday (who have more longing to express themselves than sheep lice do, in case you were wondering -- they just lack opposable thumbs) and produced... nothing good.

I typed and typed and typed and have hundreds of words on a short story and it's very possibly the most boring thing I've ever produced. This is odd because, in my oh-so humble opinion, the bones of the story are quite good.

Last night I realized I'd started too early. The opening "hook" was, in fact, well down the page. I thought, "I know! I'll have this situation as an ongoing thing, and the phone will wake her up with the news that it's happened again!"

Brilliant! Great hook! Jolt 'em from a sound sleep! What could be better??

Then I remembered Charity had commented in one of her posts (and I can't find the freakin' post to link here... I looked through them, but I am apparently BLIND... C, if you read this, feel free to tell me which post this was in) about judging contest entries and they all began with someone being jolted out of sleep.

So, old news. Need new beginning.

I had to take my DD to the Library Summer Reading Program ice cream social and awards thingie last night. It was at seven o'clock. While I realize that, for most people, this is not a late hour -- for me, it's practically past my bedtime. I was zombie-woman, staring off into space. It's a miracle I didn't fall asleep at the wheel driving home -- it was, after all, well past eight!

Still, DD had a good time. She won the award for most hours spent reading in the past six weeks (126 hours -- and I think she actually did more than that, but I was trying to be fair, and that's only 3 hours of reading a day, when in reality she reads constantly). I was truly surprised when some of the kids only read 10 or fewer hours in the past six weeks. That was terribly sad. One of them was the librarian's daughter!

When we got home, I tumbled into bed (well, I did wash my face and brush my teeth first), but brought my notebook to brainstorm about this blasted story, figuring that my brain was so tired, it wouldn't automatically edit out things that might be gems even though they sounded weird.

I did think of some fun stuff that will add to the conflict, but still no beginning.

Why did I ever want to write?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

... and Reminiscing...

"Art is a moral passion married to entertainment. Moral passion without entertainment is propaganda, and entertainment without moral passion is television." --- Rita Mae Brown

Okay, with that said, I have to admit to something:

Sleuth TV has A-Team re-runs. And I'm thrilled.

Obviously my love of romantic comedy is deeply rooted in my television habits as a teen: General Hospital, Days of our Lives, M*A*S*H, and the A-Team. After all, isn't romantic comedy just soap meets sitcom?

I know that I am a little warped when hubby comes home from work and announces that, on the other big highway north there traffic was backed up because a full tanker truck overturned and dumped its load.

Its load of raw sewage.

There were front loaders there to clean it up (and, I'm thinking, they didn't get paid enough... whatever they were paid, it was NOT enough for this job).

I was in the middle of writing a paragraph for one of my WIPs (yes, I can occasionally listen and write at the same time) and so jotted at the top of my page:

How can I use a truck full of raw sewage overturning in a story?

I think I'll save it for my next NaNo book, since the last one was so wacky. I imagine this one will be as well.

Had some good ideas for my murder mystery -- Once I get up to the murder, I should be able to *mostly* use the 60 or so pages I've already written (with the exception that my heroine will have a house to stay in). Thank goodness. I didn't want to dump it all.

So, back to my original topic, what are the shows you remember as a teen? I can recall watching the last episode of M*A*S*H and crying like a baby. I watched Cosby, of course. And Cheers. Even farther back, I can recall goofy stuff like The Bob Newhart Show and the original Saturday Night Live with great comics like Chevy Chase and Jim Belucci (and I probably spelled his name wrong).

I didn't watch many dramas, but did get sucked into to Dallas when J.R. got shot -- the funny thing was, I didn't watch it before then, but had to watch the season premier to see who did it (of course, I didn't know who she was in the vast scheme of things, but by golly, I knew when everyone else did). My step-father had a bumper sticker on his car that said "I shot J.R.".

I loved "Battle of the Planets" (Japanese anime at its finest IMHO) and stayed up late to watch "Friday Night Videos". I was a freak about "Solid Gold" and dreamed of being a Solid Gold Dancer when I was all growed up.

And, yes, I even watched The Dukes of Hazzard.

C'mon, give it up. What were some of your favorite shows?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


In the news...

(and, no, this isn't the topic I deferred from yesterday -- I've forgotten what that was, teaching me the timeless lesson of "If I didn't write it down, it never happened" gleaned from that Tom Clancy book where the bad guys try to mess up America by screwing with the stock market, and Ryan's wife, the doctor, says just that and saves the day. But I digress...)

Last night, my husband (who is not as used to keeping things away from DD's young ears as I am) came home from work and plopped down in front of the TV, turning on the news. Next thing you know, I hear:

"The man accused of killing the ten-year-old in order to rape her corpse and then eat her appeared in court today."

Yes. Well. Ahem. Please...SHUT THAT OFF UNTIL DD IS IN BED!

Okay, all better...

I read Readers Digest yesterday and came across the article on how to raise straight A students. They profiled a homeschooled family, a family with kids in private school, and one in public school -- all of whom are excelling. Their conclusion? Children who have the support of their families have a better chance of succeeding at school.

Mind blowing.

It's kind of like all the new "miracle diets" that show up on the front of the women's magazines. You open them up and, lo and behold, in a nutshell it says something like: If you watch what you eat, and exercise regularly, you'll lose weight.


If you haven't read the Haiku at Charity's Blog, you should. You'll laugh.

Speaking of Haiku's, check out this one at the SBTB site.

Even better, go to Paperback Writer's post for Haiku Day and make your own!

Here's one from me:

passed out on the floor
a new way of seeing things
what a lovely foot

Oddly, this is turning into another rambling post. Obviously my brain suffers from Nofocusluenza -- a virus that causes you to be unable to think in straight lines.


Writing went well yesterday. I wrote LONGHAND. *gasp* I was sick and tired of being in the mushroom patch, so I grabbed one of the eight thousand $0.10 spiral notepads I got from Staples at their back-to-school sale and headed up into the sunshine. It was wonderful. Of course, I wrote random scenes that won't fit into the story yet, but I wrote. This is more than I can say about the past few days.

DD starts school next week in earnest. She's done a little bit all summer, but I realized I'd eased off when we were playing Yahtzee! and I asked her what 6 + 4 was and she had to think hard to get the answer. Oh no. So that's why the first sixty lessons of the math curriculum are review...

I need to work on some more short stories and get a few submissions out there. I have some interesting ideas, I just need to flesh them out a bit more. Short stories are great to write when you just want to finish something, and your novel won't cooperate. I highly recommend it.

I'm off for another cup of coffee and chocolate soy milk. Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

To My Friends

I saw this at the Pearls Before Swine page and had to share. I'll dedicate it to my BFF, Cathy, and all the other good friends who are there when I need them, because it really says it all...

Murder, I Wrote

No one can confidently say that he will still be living tomorrow. ~Euripides

I worked a bit on my mystery yesterday. Not much, as I can't seem to write lately and have, instead, been forcing myself to do some prompts (the only rule being that I have to use characters from one of my WIPs). One of those prompts found its way into the story which got me writing. It brought my previous victim to life -- since I decided that I didn't want to deal with solving a murder.

And yet, as I was writing her intro into the story, I decided that she had to die after all... only this time it will be after my heroine gets to town and after her father has already disappeared, making her a credible suspect. Of course, that changes some serious stuff I'd planned, but having her as a suspect should help keep me focused on the murder.

Still, I hadn't realized I was so bloodthirsty. I pictured the reunion between the heroine and the victim as a time to get to know each other again and to say all the things that hadn't been said before. There's nothing like losing someone before you get to tell them that you love them. Trust me on this, I know. Don't waste time, go tell all the people who are important to you just how much they mean to you... NOW. You may not get a second chance.

Okay... interesting segue (does anyone else want to spell that "segway"?). Didn't mean to go off on that tangent, but hey... no one got hurt.

New topic.

A couple days ago, I wrote about book buying habits. And it's funny, but whenever I mention an author (other than Nora Roberts or Jennifer Crusie), they find their way here. It's one of the reason that when I don't like a book, I don't say so. I'm not a review site, that's not my job, and I don't look forward to the bad reviews I'll get when I'm published, so I keep that to myself.

Anyway (geez, I'm gabbing again)... I got a comment from Diana Peterfreund who helped assuage my guilt at having the library buy her book for me instead of buying it myself -- and I went to the bookstore the day it was released to do just that, but couldn't justify the $17.95. Budgets stink.

New Topic.

One of my writing friends from WVU, Allie Boniface, just started a new blog... go over and say howdy. Welcome her warmly to the blogosphere!

New Topic.

Yunno, instead of all these new topics I should write separate blog entries.

Yeah. Good idea. I'm holding off on this new topic until tomorrow so I don't have to wonder what to write about then. Don't you love being privvy to the internal conversation I have with my brain?

Have a great day!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Monday Meanderings

Never be afraid to sit awhile and think. ~ Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun

Yesterday was a lazy-ish day (as lazy as they get for me... I don't sit still well). It was raining. Hubby was home (and not weirding out over doing "stuff" which was good). We managed to hang out in a small area together for an extended period of time and not kill each other. Hubby and I are pretty much loners, so long periods of time together seldom work out well (this is true to exposure to anyone, not just each other).

I was working on the Sunday crossword yesterday, and had a brain block on how to spell "Attila".

I asked hubby, "Is Attila a-t-t-i-l-a or is it a-t-i-l-l-a?"

He said, "What's an Attila?"

I said, "You know, the hun."

He said, "The who? What's a hun?"

I proceded to ask him if he had missed world history in school. C'mon... you guys know about Attila the hun, right? Sheesh...

Then we had the following discussion about physics, when we were together in the basement. The basement was a little stuffy, as basement's are wont to be. Hubby put a box fan in the window, blowing the stuffy air out. I said he should put it in the window, pulling the fresh, outside air in. Thus followed a day of, when he wasn't looking, flipping the fan around and pulling in the fresh air. When he noticed, he'd flip it back around to suck out the stale air. This continued until bed time.

So... all you scientist type folks out there: which way works better? Enquiring minds want to know.

I didn't get a lot of writing done, though have been working with a particular prompt with several of my characters. It's a focus on a particular body part (of your choice) and it's helped me focus on the details of several characters. I don't want to be obvious, so I wrote a scene that focused on Gracie's arthritic knuckles, Camilla's caring hands and Clint's gentle eyes. It was good.

I also wondered if I should eventually follow up with Womans World. They've had my story for five months now, and I'm wondering if they actually have my story or if it got lost in the mail. But I don't have a clue about the protocol in doing this. So I do nothing, and wait and wonder.

I spent the last week taking care of my SIL's kittens (they're actually about a year old now). It's put me off getting kittens again. If I ever get another cat (and this is debatable, because hubby doesn't like cats and barely tolerates the one he married into), it will be a nice, sedate adult cat from some shelter. My SIL's cats are completely psychotic and really destructive. I don't recall my kittens being that bad, and the last four cats I had began life in my house as babies.

Bored yet?

I went shopping for clothes for my daughter this weekend and have come to the conclusion that she is going to either run around naked or wrap herself in a sheet. Aside from the fact that the fashions are horrible (yes, please, let me dress my seven y.o. daughter like a street-walker or a smart ass, thanks for asking), I can't find anything that fits her.

My daughter is NOT a twig. She's actually probably a bit on the plump side (we're working on that... she is her mothers child) and has been cursed by my gene's into having no waist line to speak of, just a straight up and down figure. So anything around her waist needs to be elastic, because otherwise if it fits her waist, it's WAY too big for the rest of her body, and if it fits her legs and rear, it's WAY too tight in the waist (story of my life... why can't they make womens jeans like men's?? I have a thick waist and really long legs and it's hell to find anything that fits me... okay, moving on).

I did find ONE skirt/top outfit that fit and didn't show her butt when she bends over. Woo.

I'm hitting both grandma's up for some sewing this year.

Man, I could go on like this forever, but I'll stop.

Oh... except for this bouquet for Darcy. Hang in there, friend... I know the past few days have been tough.

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

New vs. Used

Paula Graves posted an article about why we should buy books new instead of used.

As an author-to-be, I absolutely understand the reasoning. As a poor, SAHM on a limited budget with a voracious appetite for books, I also know it's impossible for me to follow the advice.

I read approximately a book a day. If I'm busy, it's a book every two days. I'm a fast reader (blame my mom, she's even faster than I am). Let's say I only bought paperbacks new to feed my hunger. Let's say they run $5.99 each. I would need about 15 books (or more) each month. That's $89.85 a month in costs for books. This would also mean that I couldn't read new releases from my favorite authors, because most of those come out in hardback (at about $24.95 each).

I get most of my reading material at the library. There are few books that I read that are "keepers". BUT when I do find a keeper at the library, I promptly go out and buy it. New.

And when folks I know come out with a new book, I do my best to buy it. New.

When "Secret Society Girl" came out, I couldn't afford it. So I requested it at the library. They hadn't planned on buying it -- it wasn't even on their radar. But they like me (I am, after all, their best "customer") so they bought it. Does that count as a purchase from me? After all, it's one more than there would have been.

I do try to buy at least a couple books new each month. With some exceptions, I never buy hardback (I did buy "Don't Look Down" in hardback the day it was released, but Jenny Crusie is an exception to most of my rules).

And, no, this post didn't have a lot of point. I was just thinking out loud.

What do you think?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

What About Love?

The perfect lover is one who turns into a pizza at 4:00 a.m. - Charles Pierce

Mary started it, Charity continued it and I'm going to put in my two cents because it's my blog and I can.

There's always a certain degree of physical attraction between people and the rest either happens or it doesn't. - Debbie Allen

Mary asks and Charity responds to an interesting question. If you’re writing a romance/love story, what attracts your two characters to each other?

I think romance readers want to see two people who are ultimately willing to sacrifice anything to be together.

It is explained that all relationships require a little give and take. This is untrue. Any partnership demands that we give and give and give and at the last, as we flop into our graves exhausted, we are told that we didn't give enough. - Quentin Crisp

I remember a quote from the movie "Cat Ballou" (I can, in fact, probably quote the entire movie to you, but will restrain myself for the moment…)

Cat says to the object of her affection, "Love is not blind. I know all your faults and I see what you're like and I don't care. I love you anyway."

In my opinion, this sums up the perfect relationship. We're all flawed. So are our characters. Nobody is perfect, but somewhere out there is someone who is perfect for someone else.

In "Faking It", Jennifer Crusie ends the book with a proposal: "Marry me, Matilda, and make me the most confused man on earth." Her H/H were perfect for each other, though they were both desperately flawed.

And I don't think that it has to be opposites or that they have to "complete" each other, per se. The joy of the H/H in Crusie's book is that they were very similar in one particular way -- and without that one attribute in common, they would never have been able to live HEA.

I believe that physical attraction must be there. I also think, especially for a romance, that it has to be pretty much immediate. Even in the book where the heroine eventually falls for the guy who's been her BFF, she's aware that he's handsome or whatever.

Fact is, though, that we all aren't attracted to the same look. Mary's been posting pix of George Clooney on her blog. I think he's an okay looking guy, but he really doesn't do it for me.

There's a country singer named Billy Currington who makes the girls swoon.

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I don't get it. At all.

But that's because I'm more of a Josh Turner kinda gal.

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In fact, I actually prefer when romances DON'T include a picture of the H/H on the front, because what one person thinks is sexy turns another person completely off. I like to use my imagination and picture the hero looking like what I like - you can describe him as tall, dark and handsome and every single person will have a different idea of what that represents.

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After physical attraction, there has to be admiration of a non-physical sort.

One of my heroine's is afraid of men because she was raped many years before, but starts to fall for the hero when he treats her daughter with consideration. Maybe another man would patronize the daughter, and this would turn the heroine off.

One of my hero's realizes he's toast when the heroine keeps her head during an emergency. This attribute would turn off other men -- maybe they want someone they can take care of and don't appreciate independence in women.

Another one admires the fact that the heroine doesn't treat his flaky neighbor like garbage. I have to admit that this one even surprised me… because his neighbor is really flaky.

They're small things, but they build into LUV. They change attraction into admiration and lust or infatuation into the real thing.

Charity says this: I’m often amazed at writers who switch out couples with a seemingly casual, “Oh, he was the wrong hero for her.” Huh?

I agree wholeheartedly. For those of you who've read my stuff… try to picture Liv or Camilla with Derek, or Tish with Mike (though, this one might work… hmmm… nope, they'd end up friends and going to tractor pulls together) or Jed with Laurie.

Nope. They're right where they're supposed to be.

What about you? What do you think attracts your two characters to each other uniquely? Care to chime in?

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Friday Feast

Time, once again, for The Friday Feast:

What color is your car?

Red. I hate that it's red. But when you buy used, you're more concerned about how well it runs than what color it is, and it runs great. But, still, it's red. Ugh.

If you could wake up tomorrow with full training in another occupation and a job in that field, what would it be?

Veterinary Medicine. I always wanted to be a vet, but couldn't swing eight years of college, timewise or financially. I moved out at eighteen and worked two jobs to survive. I didn't even go to college for five years after that, and then it was just a two-year deal.

How many times in your life have you had the flu (or something similar)?

The real flu (not some "24 hour" stomach bug that could be anything)? Once. Unfortunately, my ten-month-old daughter had it at the same time. It was a joy. (Now ask me if my husband stayed home from work to help...)

Main Course
What is something that has happened to you this week that you didn't expect?

I didn't expect to have to wait 40 minutes to get my dinner at the restaurant last night. I also didn't expect to have my daughter tormented by the teenagers who ran the last "game" day of story hour at the library -- she doesn't attend school, so isn't used to being called names and shoved around by other children. She was destroyed by it. Very sad...

How old were you when you had your first kiss?

When I was five or six, I was "Little Miss Roddy" in a beauty contest for some race car thing (it's a little fuzzy... five or six was a l-o-n-g time ago). I got to present a trophy (or something) to the little boy whose dad had won the race, and he kissed me. His name was Duke and I had such a crush on him. Later on, when I got sick, he brough me one of those kids cream perfume things Avon made thirty-five years ago that was in the shape of a skunk. Man, I was in love...

Oh... wait... you mean a "real" kiss? Seventeen and a senior in high school. I remember the guy and the place, and I remember that he asked me to senior prom and I said no. Obviously, he wasn't that great a kisser...LOL...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Just the Facts, Ma'am

Your Observation Skills Get A C+

You tend to notice the big things in life...
But the details aren't exactly your forte

You know, the scariest thing about this response was that I was SURE I had all but one of these right. Gah! Now I'm going to have to check out what the correct answers were.

This explains my writing lately... details? What details? I don't need no freakin' details. I recently wrote a rape scene (well, sort of... it starts immediately following the rape) and the victim showed almost no emotion. I posted in my group and they asked why.

Good question. Stupid details...

If you take this quiz, let me know so I can see how you did (unless you all get "A's" cuz them I'm going to feel like a complete idiot).

The Good, the Bad and the Underdeveloped

A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author. ~ G.K. Chesterton

I'm reading Holly Lisle's latest book, "I See You" and am loving every minute of it.

In contrast, I recently read another romantic suspense novel by a favorite author (both book and author shall remain nameless since I am about to dis them) that I couldn't read past the third chapter.

I've figured out one of the big reasons why I love one and hate the other: characters.

I know and love the characters in "I See You": they're vivid, real and likeable. I really do care what happens to them -- all of them. Even the secondary characters are my friends now (which is distressing, because I'm certain that one of them is the bad guy... Ms. Lisle has done her job well).

The other book had well-rounded characters with unique features and quirky natures. But I. Didn't. Care.

Why not?

That is what I can't figure out. Characters from both books were well rounded. It was clear that both authors had done their homework and knew the folks in the book inside and out, and thusly so did I. But one had me hooked on them from the first couple of lines, the other book I closed without getting a resolution and never looked back. One book I'll remember and want to revisit, one has put me off one of my previously favorite authors.

And I can't put my finger on it. Both plots were interesting, both had a murder right at the beginning, both heroine's were threatened anonymously by the killer almost immediately and had big, strong, yummy men running to help. Just writing this entry makes me want to go grab my "I See You" book and dive back in.

And therein lies the thing that makes an author a bestseller. That special something that you can't buy and you can't fake. And only a few authors really have it. I want it.


Whatever it is.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Creativity and Conformity

"Discoveries are often made by not following instructions, by going off the main road, by trying the untried." — Frank Tyger

My daughter loves to draw. She draws the greatest pictures, creations from her imagination. I love to see what her brain thinks up.

Recently, she's asked for help to make her drawings more realistic. She's on a horse kick, so we went to Barnes and Noble and found her a "How to Draw Horses" book. She sat down with that book for hours. I asked to see what she had drawn, and she showed me crumpled up balls and asked for more blank paper.

She was absolutely frustrated because she couldn't draw as well as the pictures in the book. She asked me to draw one. I did, but that was a mistake because -- well, I'd been through my own horse fanaticism and had learned to draw horses, so mine looked pretty good.

I went through a litany of reasons why she shouldn't feel bad, why she should be thrilled with her output: she's only seven; she's only been trying to draw from that book for a little while, etc.

I asked her to draw a picture of the dog, and she tried and finally threw a wad a paper at me, angry because nothing she drew looked like a photograph of Bailey. I told her that if I'd wanted a photo, I'd have taken one. I wanted her perception of Bailey.

Nothing worked.

My daughter doesn't draw anymore. Getting that "How To" book killed her creativity.

Watching how this affected her, it made me think of how trying to write "correctly" can be a creativity killer.

I know, I know, we're supposed to "shut off the internal editor" for the first draft. Yeah? Where's the "off" button, because I can't seem to find it. I'll be typing along and *WHAM!* I'll hit the wall of passive voice or *WHAM!* there's the speed bump of telling not showing.

I've lost much of the love of writing because I've tried to make a business of it. Sitting down with my stories is more of a chore that a joy. I worry so much about motivation and no info-dumps and can't head hop and... and... and...

I want to go back to my childlike love of the written word. Writing as a business has even taken away much of my joy in reading because I analyze everything instead of diving into the story.

I don't have a good resolution for this. I do know that today at the library while my daughter plays during "game time" at the last day of Summer Story Hour I'm going to write, but not on my WIPs. One of my writing groups is having a "prompt marathon" and I'm jumping in. I'm hoping it will help me write for the joy of it instead of the work of it.

Am I alone in this? How do you feel?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Sage Advice from Holly Lisle

"Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared." — Eddie Rickenbacker, World War I hero

Yesterday I opened up Holly Lisle's Mugging the Muse pdf file and started reading. I'd downloaded it originally about eight months ago, but never read it because I have a hard time reading on the computer and so reserve that for my own stuff (the reason I don't buy e-books).

Her introduction is called "Everyday Courage and the Writer" and really impacted me. She says:

"As a writer, you're going to attempt to sell the products of your mind to a world that doesn't care right now whether you breathe or not. You're going to strip your soul naked and parade it in front of editors and agents, publishers and eventually – if you're persistent and lucky and talented – readers. You're going to say, “What I carry around inside my head is so interesting, so compelling, so riveting, that you, the agent, are going to want to risk your reputation with editors for being a shrewd judge of talent to present the products of my fancy to them; and that you, the editor, are going to want to put your career on the line to fight to bring my imaginings to press; and that you, the publisher, are going to want to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars presenting these imaginings to a world that has never heard of me; and that you, the reader, are going to want to put your hard-earned money on the line so that I can tell you a story that will give you nothing tangible.”


You know, I've never thought of it that way. But she's right. We writers are an arrogant bunch, aren't we? At least about our writing.

She goes on to say:

"While you are reaching out to editors, agents and publishers, you're going to fail. Over and over and over again, you are going to send things out and they are going to come back with impersonal rejection notices, with no notices at all, with the occasional signed memo that “This isn't for us.” You are going to stare at your words and sit in a darkened room and wonder, “What the hell is the matter with me?” You are going to take the rejections personally, are going to hurt, are going to bleed. Agents will turn you down, editors will turn you down, places that don't even pay for stories will turn you down."

Been there, done that, and while I don't exactly have the t-shirt because I haven't done it as much as I should, I get the general idea.

It does make me pause and wonder why the heck I'm even doing this. Why would anyone want to read what I write? There are so many astoundingly good authors out there, what makes me good enough to join the ranks of the published?

And what gets a writer published? It's said that you have to be tenacious and write well. I think that's a bunch of hooey. I have read so much dreck that I know that you don't necessarily have to write a good story. Oh, it helps, definitely. But I've seen dozens of stories from writing friends whose work is far better than much of what I've seen published get rejection after rejection.

That said, I don't have the magic answer (obviously). But I suppose the most important this is to write. To hone your craft. To submit constantly, and don't get beaten down.

And to download and read "Mugging the Muse" because it's pretty amazing so far. Oh, and did I mention that it's one of the many freebies on her site? What a great lady she is for sharing with us her words of wisdom.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Keep Poking at your Problems

"Nobody's a natural. You work hard to get good and then work to get better. It's hard to stay on top." — Paul Coffey, NHL star

While I was looking for a quote this morning, I came across this:

"Well begun is half done." — Aristotle

And here's your laugh for today. If I had written that quote and then attributed it to someone (because I had no clue Aristotle said this), here's what it would have said:

"Well begun is half done." — Mary Poppins (practically perfect in every way)



I went to bed early last night. Didn't feel like reading (gasp!), nothing I wanted to watch on TV, husband was busy cleaning his gun (don't ask - but, no, he's not a serial killer), so I crashed, thinking it would help me get up fresh and early to work.

But I wasn't really tired enough, so my brain wandered. I've been sad that I'm stuck on my SBCM and haven't worked on it lately. I just can't seem to get my brain around having my characters solve a mystery AND fall in love. I focus on one, and the other falls to the wayside.

Last night, en route to Dreamland, I think I figured it out. Take out the murder. Leave the rapist, because he figures deeply in to my heroines problems with realtionships AND he's a main character.

So, it's still a suspense novel, but I don't have to have them solve a mystery. Eventually, they will have to know that the rapist is "the guy next door", but I think that will be much easier.


Now I just have to rewrite the first 75 pages and I'm all set. Oddly enough, I'm excited about doing just that. Maybe because I like these characters and want to get back to them.

All of my writing buddies are wanting to reach out and smack me right now -- "Stick to one story!" (smack!) "Get it done!" (smack!)

This is the first time I'm glad that they're all pretty far away.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Quiz Day!

Too tired to write coherantly this morning... but here you go -- all about me via Blogthings!

You Are a Blue Flower

A blue flower tends to represent peace, openness, and balance.

At times, you are very delicate like a cornflower.

And at other times, you are wise like an iris.

And more than you wish, you're a little cold, like a blue hydrangea.

I had no idea the Iris was so wise... if that's the truth, then why do the flowers last only a day or two? And I don't see the hydrangea as cold - it is, in fact, one of my favorite flowers. Hmmm... wonder if it's because I'm cold?

Onward and upward:

You're Totally Sarcastic

You sarcastic? Never! You're as sweet as a baby bunny.

Seriously, though, you have a sharp tongue - and you aren't afraid to use it.

And if people are too wimpy to deal with your attitutde, then too bad. So sad.

This one, I absolutely agree with. My daughter is picking up on this a little, and has been accused of lying by my in-laws because of it. You know, "Do you want some eggplant for dinner?" "Sure! I l-o-o-v-v-v-e eggplant." They have no senses of humor.

What Your Soul Really Looks Like

You are a wanderer. You constantly long for a new adventure, challenge, or eve a completely different life.

You are not a very grounded person. You prefer dreams to reality. For you, it's all about possibilities.

You see yourself with pretty objective eyes. How you view yourself is almost exactly how other people view you.

Your near future is a lot like the present, and as far as you're concerned, that's a very good thing.

For you, love is all about caring and comfort. You couldn't fall in love with someone you didn't trust.

First off, if my soul looked like that picture, I'd run screaming. Seriously... flames in the nostrils?? What is that?

I am a wanderer -- I've lived in this house for almost seven years, and I've had the itch to move for the last couple. It's the longest I've ever lived in one place.

I disagree with the whole "you're not grounded" thing. I absolutely have dreams, and some pretty big ones, but I like to think I'm grounded as well.

The rest is bang on. How about you?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Old Becomes New

"If you can imagine it,
You can achieve it.
If you can dream it,
You can become it."
- William Arthur Ward

Last night, I was trying to work through Camilla and I realized that I HATED the ending. It didn't flow, it was cheesy, and my heroine didn't have to sacrifice anything. The world just sort of fell into her lap through no effort of her own.

And yet, I've not got a clue for another, more credible and satisfying, ending.

It got me to thinking about another first draft I've been sitting on, called "Playing House". I love the ending in this book, but hate the beginning. I've rewritten that beginning a hundred times and it still stinks. Ugh.

BUT maybe setting it aside for well over a year has helped, because I got an idea for a different, completely different, way to start this story. I think it fixes the credibility problem that existed previously, and changes very little in terms of the plot.

I like this story. And considering that it's complete and has a decent ending, I'm thinking about working through this one for that blasted contest coming up in October. If I apply myself (and Maass) to the book, and don't hit any huge bumps, it should be completed in plenty of time.


Regardless, I think it's a good story and deserves some time in the sun. This was the first novel I wrote in my recent writing years, and needed much help. It was my novel with training wheels. It was through writing this novel and the romance writing class that I met two people that I respect greatly (well, three, actually, but the third hasn't been very active writing-wise lately) and I will always be indebted to the novel for that reason, if for no other.

Gosh, that sounded a little like a speech at the Academy. Sorry. Got a bit maudlin for a moment.

In any case, I'm going to tinker with the new beginning I have in my brain and see if I like it. If it comes out well on paper, than I'm running with it!

Things That Make You Go, "HUH?"

Common sense is not so common. ~ Voltaire

I was checking out the news today, and came across an article entitled Teen Arrested in Montana After Mom's Body Found in Freezer and I had to read it, of course...

But two things made me scratch my head in wonder:

When officers entered the Hauck home they found a bloody mattress, shells from a .22-caliber rifle and a trail of blood leading to the body in the freezer.

Well okay, the killer's an idiot, clearly... except, check this out:

Family members said Jeremy Hauck planned on attending Weber State University in Utah to study forensic science. "He wanted to be a crime scene investigator," Umphrey said.


Even I -- merely an avid NCIS, The Closer, Criminal Minds fan -- would know better than to leave a crime scene looking that obvious. But this guy wanted to be a CSI!

Sorry. Just mystified me that criminals are really that stupid. It was almost (but not quite) as ridiculous as this guy:

Inmate signs real name to bomb hoaxes

I'm telling you, if I ever wrote a character doing that, I'd never get published. As always, truth really is stranger (and stupider, apparently) than fiction.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Friday Feast

This post brought to you by The Friday Feast:

Tell about a toy you remember from your childhood.

When I was very little, I had a doll that I'd chosen over all others -- a hand-me-down from somewhere (don't remember where). I chose her because she was a mess: Her hair was all funky and someone had scribbled on her face with a permanent marker. I knew that no one else would love her, so I did.

If you could make one thing in the world absolutely free for everyone, what would it be?

Sustanance. No one should ever have to go hungry. That and quality healthcare... but sustanance first.

Approximately how many times per day do you think about your significant other?

Frequently. I base much of what I do on how it will affect him -- wow that sounds weird, doesn't it? It doesn't seem that weird when I'm doing it. *shuffles off to ponder this*

Main Course
What is something you believe in 100%?

I believe I'll live until I die. All other beliefs are subject to change.

Name one thing you have done this week that you would consider a "good deed."

Hmmm... How about this. A kid my mom works with stripped off the skin from his toe while riding his bike to work. They didn't have any pain reliever or anything but tiny bandages. I stopped in, and she told me about it. I gave them the ibuprophen I had in my truck and ran across the street to WalMart for big bandages. Best I can do... though I'd like to think I do good deeds more frequently than that.

Maybe if you count the times I let people in front of me when there's traffic, or the guy with only a couple items that I let go first at the store and that kind of stuff. I do that all the time. Does that matter?

I'm Conflicted

In creating genuine conflict, it is not enough simply to create inner turmoil. True inner conflict involves wanting two things that are mutually exclusive. It is most effective when it tears your protagonist, or any character, in two opposite directions. - Donald Maass in Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook

Once again, I am working my way through the Donald Maass workbook. I've done about a quarter of my Camilla rewrite, but am unsatisfied with the result. Is it better? Absolutely. Is it as good as it can be? Not even close.

I was typing up the exercises on the computer because I think better on the computer than I do long hand, and when typing up that quote, above, I was seriously impacted by it. If you can do this one thing (and write it well), your book will grab the reader and hold 'em until the end.

At first, I was mystified. How can someone truly want opposing things? They may say they want something when they really want something else, but that's not the same.

And then I thought about me.

I LOVE food. All food. I'm not picky... from fruits and veggies, to carbs and sweets, with few exceptions (like beef, pork and bananas) I'll eat just about anything you put in front of me.

I also love being healthy. This includes NOT being overweight and having a strong (i.e. exercised!) body and heart.

I truly desire both of these things, but they are mutually exclusive. When I eat the way I love to eat (can I blame it on my Portguese blood? "Eat, eat! You're nothing but skin and bones.") I gain weight. I feel sluggish, and lack the desire to exercise. When I deny my desire for food - and lots of it - I typically have more energy, but then I dream about eating. I think about it constantly. I can't get it out of my mind.


My heroine has this kind of pushme-pullyou conflict, but it's not amplified. In fact, it may only exist in my head and not on paper. Clearly, that needs to be worked on.

I'm telling you... this workbook is changing my whole outlook on writing. Seriously.

I. Love. It.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Boredom and Butt Kicking

When I get real bored, I like to drive downtown and get a great parking spot, then sit in my car and count how many people ask me if I'm leaving. ~-Steven Wright

I love words. I adore the English language, no matter how funky it is. But apparently there are some folks out there who love it far more than I.

I stumbled across this article today. It's about researchers looking in to the English language. They've discovered that nouns and verbs are phonetically different.

Does anyone but me wonder how many millions of dollars they spent on this? And more importantly, why?? We need a cure for cancer, people. Or hurricane safe housing. Or fewer hungry children.

Here's a little taste of what they did:

The researchers took the sounds of more than 3,000 words in English and subdivided each by its phonetic features — in other words, what a person does with his mouth, lungs and vocal cords to produce the sounds of each word.


*shakes head*

Who would ever even thought of doing this? Someone was seriously bored.

On to another subject, because I can't even think of a good segue between the two.

I was perusing my copy of RWR and stopped to read the interview with Nora Roberts. I think I love her (more than I did). Did you see it? Check out some of these quotes from the article:

On writers claiming that the muse has left them (aka Writers Block):

The muse is fickle and pretty much a wimp...Sister Mary Responsibility would kick the muse's butt, every time."

If you need to believe in the muse... fine and dandy... But don't tell me you can't work today because the muse has left you. Go track down that fickle slut, drag her back, chain her to your keyboard, and get to work.

Wouldn't you love to have a personal writing trainer full of wisdom like this to kick you in the butt when you can't seem to write?

She also says this when asked if she has days where the words just won't come:

I have plenty of days when the words don't want to come. I push until they do. That's my process. It's not the right way, it's my way. Just like refusing to believe in writers' block is my way.

Is it any wonder the woman is able to release so many books in a year? And, for the most part, they are good books (of course, some better than others, but all better than most).


My hero.

How about you? What do you do when the muse leaves? When you have writers block? How do you react?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Secret To Getting Published

I know, I know, I should be writing and not blog hopping, but hey -- I found this GREAT post and I had to share.

Check out THE SECRET TO GETTING PUBLISHED at Stephanie Feagan's blog if you want a kick in the pants. It's fantastic.


Since I've been kicked, I'm going to go write.

Of Spoiled Dogs and Unbelievable Growth

Despite the use of the e-collar, my dog may decide it's worth it to have surgery again. She gets foot massages and groomings every day. Not such a bad life, huh?

Yes, all that black around her is fur -- have I mentioned that I have to vacuum at least once a day (sometimes I do it twice - good thing she's cute!) so that my carpet looks like it's cream instead of black?

I was outside hanging out laundry today, and checking out "our" Monarch butterfly caterpillars to see how many there were. We topped out at five, but seem to be missing three - we still have Bubba and Middie (now renamed "Bob" for Bob's Big Boy). But lo and behold, we have a new baby, tentatively named "Tiny Too" (The original Tiny is among the missing).

As I observed the new baby and Bubba, I was flabbergasted at the amount of size change that they go through. Can you imagine if we started out as small as this:

And ended up like this:

And, yes, it appears that I caught Bubba in the act of ridding his body of excrement (his head is facing down, and that's his bum up in the air)... sorry...

I found a cool picture online of the size change of the monarch. Check it out:

Wowza! We'd be five stories high or something if we grew that much. Incredible.

And now, for those of you not as fascinated by the natural world as I am, I will return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Have a great day!

Brain Pokes

"The creative person wants to be a know-it-all. He wants to know about all kinds of things: ancient history, nineteenth-century mathematics, current manufacturing techniques, flower arranging, and hog futures. Because he never knows when these ideas might come together to form a new idea. It may happen six minutes later or six months, or six years down the road. But he has faith that it will happen." — Carl Ally

I need to get better at saving ideas. I have them all the time... things that make me go "huh?" or "what if that...?", etc, but are not complete stories. I need to have a notebook with me at all times, in my pocket or my purse or my night stand. Or, at the very least, a pen so I can write on the inside of my arm.

I need to keep a file. I have some binders where I've plopped fairly complete ideas, but I'm talking about the little things. The glance of something that intrigues you or the news story that made you chuckle or wonder (like the fact that I'm beginning to have a phobia of being glued to a public restroom toilet seat since it's happened to two different people now -- I know, there are a gazillion people in the world and the odds of it happening to me, or worse to my daughter, are slim. But they still exist and who'da thunk it?).

It would be my own little world of story or scene prompts.

I have been stung by bees multiple times since we moved to New Hampshire. In fact, I would hazard a guess that I've been stung more in the last six years than in the previous thirty-some-odd. And a few of those times have been interesting. One of them I'm planning to put in my Camilla book as an additional scene because it was kind of unusual.

Those are the kind of little ideas that I'm talking about.

What do you do when you have something fairly insignificant, but still interesting, poke at your brain?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Ten For Tuesday and FrankenDog

Ten "Top Ten" lists that I found on Google:

Lora Roberts: Top Ten Reasons to be a Mystery Writer

Top Ten Reasons to Be a Vegetarian

Top Ten Reasons to Be Single

Top Ten Tips for Back to School

Top Ten Urinals

Top Ten Stupidest Lists

Top Ten Ways to Destroy Earth

FBI's Ten Most Wanted

Top 10 Free Time Wasting Sites on the Net

Wikipedia talks about the Top Ten list


And for those of you who are dying to know what my poor dog's leg looks like sans bandage, here are links to her FrankenLeg (DH calls it her "chicken leg", poor puppy):

Her "owie" from the bandage rubbing the back of her leg

Her sutures - which look much less painful than her "owie"

But, hey, we're on the mend (and, yes, she did whine all night last night -- but this time I used EARPLUGS!).

Monday, August 07, 2006

Of Obituary's and Yellow Sharpies

I have figured for you the distance between the horns of a dilemma, night and day, and A and Z. I have computed how far is Up, how long it takes to get Away, and what becomes of Gone. I have discovered the length of the sea serpent, the price of priceless, and the square of the hippopotamus. I know where you are when you are at Sixes and Sevens, how much Is you have to have to make an Are, and how many birds you can catch with the salt in the ocean - 187,796,132, if it would interest you. ~James Thurber, Many Moons

In case you're wondering, that quote has nothing to do with anything, I just really liked it for some reason, especially the end. So, I had to share.

Yesterday, I received back some help on my edits from D (*waves*). She didn't do a ton, but what she did do was wonderful. She inserted one particular paragraph that was incredible and gave life to a character who had none before. I sat there and wondered why something like that (maybe not the exact words, because those are hers, after all) hadn't occurred to me. It made the story richer, deeper.

Some of what she did suggested other ways I could improve some places as well. It gave me a hard shove in the right direction. I wonder, is this why people collaborate? Do they find just the right person so that their strengths and weaknesses are complimentary? Not that I think D has many weaknesses in her writing. I love what she does.

She also pointed out some repeated words. I have one place where, in the space of only a few sentences, both the H/H "tipped his/her head" and then another tip shortly after. Do you have any idea how many freakin' times I've looked at that particular piece?

All I have to say is THANK HEAVENS for another pair of eyeballs.

On the dog front, she gets her bandage off today. I'm not sure if I'm happy or worried about that, but the doggie doc must know what he's doing. After all, I trusted him to cut her open, I should trust him in this. I'm really ready for the recovery to be all done. Two weeks and she start physical therapy (performed by ME!).

I stumbled across this whilst blog hopping and thought I'd share. It's an admirable cause IMHO and close to my heart because if I had my druthers, I'd open an animal rescue, too. Check it out:

One Yellow Sharpie - Incidentally, her profile shows her other blogs if you're interested in seeing what kind of girl she is...

And... my obituary:

'What will your obituary say?' at

End note: I just ran this through spell check in Word, and would you believe that "druthers" passed? Druthers...?

I had to look at the dictionary, and guess what? It's in there, too!

pl.n. Informal
A choice or preference: “Given their druthers, these hell-for-leather free marketeers might sell the post office” (George F. Will).


Have a great day!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

This and That

"Writing from the heart requires vision, and vision is beyond skill. Vision writers write what they want to write. This means they write about things that have moved them deeply. Such writing is not something that you can learn. For vision is a gift. But if you open your heart wide, the gift will be great." --- Cyn-Young Ahn

I'm feeling like a new person today - I actually managed to get a reasonable amount of sleep last night (once I gave in and took my dog's e-collar off). She cried and cried and at about 2 a.m. I freed her from her bonds. I think she was so exhausted at the point she crashed and so did I. I didn't wake up again until just after 6 a.m. WOO! Four SOLID hours, plus the dozing in and out earlier.

Yesterday I heard back on one of my submissions. The editor liked it, but wanted a few changes. I've hit up some of the best writers I know (*waves*) for a bit of input. I'd like to think I could do it all myself, but I've looked at this piece so many times that I can't picture it any way but the way that it's currently written. I need someone to whack me upside the head and say "Look... this would work, too!"

I was going to write more, but I've been alerted by my daughter that the dog is starting to lick her bandage and IV spot again, so time for the old e-collar again. Maybe I'll have a chance to get back in here again. I have to say, the daughter is taking very good care of the pup. I was going to post a picture, but blogger won't let me and Photobucket's is so big it messes up my format. Maybe later.

Have a great day!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream...

People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one. ~ Leo J. Burke

I slept on the couch last night... though "slept" might be too precise a term. My dog is used to sleeping with us, and will bark when left downstairs by herself at night. Currently, she can't take stairs and I'm simply unwilling to carry her up and down them. I figured sleeping on the couch (which is actually pretty comfortable) would be a good solution.

I didn't factor in two things:

1. She whines constantly. I don't know if she's in pain, if she's bored, if her right side is achy from laying on it, if she is hungry, has to pee, needs her diaper changed (okay, now I am exaggerating, but you get the point)... I even carried her outside at about 2 a.m. to see if that would quiet her down. It didn't.

2. My cat thought that I was a kitty mattress. She and my husband have a very uneasy truce, so she typically won't sleep with us. Not so when I'm alone on the couch. Then I am fair game. I was nudged, licked, laid on, kneaded....

So, when I woke up got up this morning, I was so exhausted I couldn't think of what to write here.

I considered writing about something that has people up in arms currently, but wasn't sure I could make myself understood on so controversial a subject, so it will have to wait until I've had more that three hours of fitful sleep.

I am hoping to write today. I haven't been able to concentrate at all the past couple of days, but perhaps today will be better. It's frustrating, because I was really flying there for a while and now I've lost momentum. Such is life, I suppose.

Here's to another day... hope yours is a good one!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Poor Puppy!

I got my dog home today and promptly put her into doggy jail:

She has this amazing bandage/cast on her back leg and can barely stand (which is a good thing, I suppose, since she's supposed to stay off of her feet for two weeks, except potty breaks):

She has to wear the t-shirt because she has a pain patch under her arm pit that is toxic if she chews on it. I get to peel that off on Sunday. Her bandage comes off on Monday, stitches come out on the 14th.

You can't tell from this picture so much, but I never realized how much of her was fur until they shaved her hip - her fur is about 3-4" deep!

She's not a happy dog, but in 16 weeks, she should be all recovered and able to start on short walks again.

Yes. I said SIXTEEN weeks. Bet you wish you were having this kind of fun, huh?

The Friday Feast

Meme from The Friday Feast:

Friday Feast #105

Name an actor or actress you think is totally underappreciated.

Dwight Schultz - he played Capt. H.M. "Howling Mad" Murdock on the A-Team and absolutely made the show what it was. My favorite episode was when he was stuck in the mental hospital and screamed for trash bags for hours on end..."Trash bags! I need some tah-rash bags!"

Impress us by using a big word in a sentence.

Though I am loquacious, I still can't seem to discourse with my spouse.

What is something inanimate that you've given a name to (such as a pet rock)?

Around this house, all stuffed animals and dolls must be named. My DD just made a sock fish she named "Scrappy". I have a stuffed rat on my computer named "TipToe". We also have named the Monarch butterfly caterpillars outside (this may have been a bad idea, since they may not all survive): Bubba, Middie, Tiny, and Lost.

Main Course
What color would best represent your personality and why?

Don't have a clue. Really. Color affects me in many ways, but I don't think any one color would define me. Depends on the day and on my mood.

Fill in the blanks: ____________ is so ____________.

The yellow jacket that stung me yesterday is so dead.
However, my leg where he stung me is so sore.
The house without the dog around is so strange.
Writing a book is so easy.
Writing a good book is so hard.


Speaking of the dog, she'll be coming home at some point today. She made it through surgery fine, but at three o'clock they told me she was still "a little loopy" - the latest in scientific terminology.

At some point I plan to humiliate her by taking pictures. I'll post one or two of them here. I may not get her back until afternoon, however, so it may not happen until tomorrow.

Maybe I'll be able to write today, now that I'm not quite so worried...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A Must Read

If you haven't already, hie yourself over to Jo Leigh's post at Romancing the Blog.

I swear, I'm printing it out and sticking it over my computer to remind myself how to write.

Doggie Surgery

Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made. ~ Roger Caras

My dog goes in for surgery today. The thought of it kept me awake half the night, and when I did sleep I dreamed about it. How do people face stuff like this for their human children? I can't imagine.

In any case, this whole ordeal has pretty much erased all else from my mind, so that's it for blogging today.

I bring her to doggie doc this morning at seven-thirty, and I can't have her back until Friday afternoon. She has a Cranial Cruciate Ligament Rupture and will have to be confined and kept still for a couple of weeks. Poor puppy.

Actually, one of my concerns is that she's NOT a puppy -- she'll be ten y.o. in October, so she won't heal as fast. I'm not looking forward to her looking at me, in pain, and "mommy, fix it" and I can't do anything but give it time.

So here's to Bailey... the best dog ever:

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Chugging Along!

We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit." — Aristotle

It's HOT. It finally cooled down (I use that term loosely - I imagine it's about 80 degrees - but compared to 95, that's cool)in my bedroom (and I had fans in two of the three windows) at about 4:30 a.m. I would guess that I got maybe four hours of fitful sleep last night. So if I babble, please bear with me.

If you look at my word counter for TPOF, you'll notice a huge leap in number. I did quite a bit yesterday because my mom had "craft time" with my daughter and freed up a few hours. Yay, me!

I'm still stuck on SBCM a little. I've discovered what my problem is, though, and that's a start. I've alway written romance, and the focus is 100% on the relationship between the H/H and every scene is used to advance that. A mystery is a little different.

Yes, I have to advance the relationship - it is, after all, primarily a romance. BUT the mystery is still there, and in the last ten thousand words, I've all but forgotten that I need to drop clues and have my H/H do a little investigating. Sure, their relationship is moving along at a good clip, but there's this little matter of a murder to be solved.

So that needs a lot of work.

I do know that I need to finish the current edits on TPOF to work through the plot changes I made, but I recognize the need to do it at least one more time (hopefully only once, but we'll have to see), probably using Maass's "Breakout Novel" workbook.

Today is supposed to be even hotter than yesterday (and we broke some records yesterday, so all I have to say is "Oh. Boy."), so the DD will probably play in her wading pool outside of the basement window. That will give me time for some more work - probably on Camilla (TPOF), but maybe on SBCM or a short story. At least I'm writing.

Still waiting for word on my submissions that are out there. We're at almost five months for WW and 45 days on my Wild Rose sub. Waiting stinks.

How are you? (Just don't say "cool", or I may have to hunt you down...)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Ten for Tuesday

There are two ways of spreading light - to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. ~ Edith Wharton, Vesalius in Zante

I may do this every week... if you all got some benefit from it!


1. Writing Articles from Holly Lisle - She has tons of information on everything you could want to know about writing, all comprehensive and interesting. I reference this site all the time.

2. Poynter Online - 50 Writing Tools - a great way to remind yourself to write tight.

3. Deb Stovers Writers Links - everything from publishers and agents, to sites for research, reviewers and more!

4. Cindy Carrol links for Writers - find links to articles, markets, dictionaries, anything that can help you write your books.

5. Fiction Factor - Writing Tips for Fiction Writers - So much here that I don't know where to start! Only click here if you have plenty of time.

6. Wikipedia - your site for research!

7. Fiction Addiction - Lots of writing articles here - they were named in Writers Digest top sites.

8. Charlotte Dillon Resources for Romance Writers - from prompts, to articles to critique groups, this site has it all!

9. The Everyday People's Guide to Writing the Novel - Lots of amazing info here, but it can be time consuming, so be warned!

10. Ten Things to Consider Before Starting Your Novel - the title says it all.

What are some of your favorite writing websites?