Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween.. and Wise Words



Where there is no imagination there is no horror. ~Arthur Conan Doyle, Sr.

When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam,
May luck be yours on Halloween.
~Author Unknown


So, I'm trying to pump myself up... give myself affirmations and reminders. But, the ones I find tend to be double-edged swords.

"Whether you think you can, or think you can't... you're right."

"Thoughts become things."

And... my favorite of all Star Wars scenes for outright inspiration:



What amazing quotes!!!

"Try not! Do... or do not. There is no try."

and, following Luke's line of, "I don't believe it!"

Yoda replies, "That is why you fail."

Gives me goosey bumps.

And some seriously cool NaNoWriMo icons!!! Here are a few of my faves (it's like Facebook crack Flair):







Now, I just need to stop playing around and get to work...

ONE.

DAY.

LEFT.

:::faints dead away:::

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So, Dakota has been getting so much better about... well... everything, that sometimes I forget she's not Bailey. I was rudely reminded yesterday.

We took her in the truck like always and made some stops... forgetting that we hadn't emptied out our purchases from the day before, from PetsMart. Ha. She didn't forget.

We got back to the truck about 15 minutes later and found... an empty bag of treats. An entire bag of Chicken Chips -- which are, thankfully, just hard chicken with no other additives.

She DID find the silica packet... you know, the one that says "DO NOT EAT UNLESS YOU WANT A LONG, LINGERING AND PAINFUL DEATH" and bit it, but didn't eat it (THANK YOU GOD... I really don't need another big vet bill).

However, the entire afternoon and evening was interesting, to say the least. Many, many, many trips outside... some futile, some not. Puppy had an upset stomach. Bet she doesn't learn.

**sigh**

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Doing anything interesting tonight?

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Almost Forgot!

I have a Halloween free short story up at LASR.

I'd written it a year or two ago, and it was actually for Easter (with a bunny head, etc.) and sent it to Womans World, where it was summarily rejected.

That's okay, all my WW stories are great to recycle either as free reads on LASR or on my site (or, heck, BOTH!).

Hope you enjoy.

Preparing For NaNo

The sooner I fall behind, the more time I have to catch up. ~Author Unknown

Okay... I've been making up a battleplan today on how to keep up with the things I must keep up with during November and still have time to write 1662 words a day.

Y'all will forgive me if I don't visit daily during November, right? I'll probably read your blogs on my Google reader, but actually visiting make take a back seat.

I'm going to do memes on Thursday (Thursday 13) and build them ahead of time.

I may reserve the weekends simply for word count / NaNo updates. It will, most likely, be consuming my every thought so I dont' know how much else I'll have to talk about.

I'm megacooking. Yay. One day each weekend, I'll menu plan and cook ahead as much as possible (I love my freezer).

I plan on brainstorming scenes at night as I'm getting ready to sleep (oddly, this is the best time for me to think abstract thoughts -- do you suppose it has something to do with being so tired I can't think logically?) in order to know what I'll write the following day. I already have my notepad in hand and have been jotting down extremely random thoughts about the plot. And names. An old boyfriend married a woman name Theanae. I may have to use it, or something like it, for one of my beauty queens. I have a cat and kittens (but I know their names), I may have a bull-pei pup, but I'm not certain. My neighbor owns an English bulldog who is adorable, but very high maintenance because he can't clean himself anywhere and he has lots of wrinkles that stay moist and hold dirt. Adding the "pei" to the "bull" would only make him more wrinkly.

I've practiced this week on building ALL my pages for the LASR site ahead of time, so it only takes about 20 minutes to upload each morning. So, as long as Judy gets me the info in a timely fashion, I should be good to go.

Facebook will suffer. Don't bother sending me challenges, plants, animals, hugs, pokes, flair, food, drinks, invitations or anything else. I'm going to ingnore them all.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but I'm doing my best to be ready... I even bookmarked this amazing post of Paperback Writer's about NaNo because I loved the suggestions!

Two days to go.

Dear Heavens.




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Why do you suppose my DD took these pictures?




Speaking of DD, she's finally feeling human again. Thank heavens.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Welcome Guest Blogger: Pamela Thibodeaux

Power in Gratitude
by Pamela Thibodeaux


When I checked my calendar and found that I was scheduled to guest blog here today I immediately emailed Marianne to find out what I should blog about. I wondered if she had a certain theme I should consider, or should I just write about myself and my books, or what.

She said I could write about anything as long as the post was not blatant promotion of only my work and then sent me a list of previous blog posts to check out. One that really caught my attention was the one by Renee Knowles about gratitude journaling.

Gratitude journaling has gotten a lot of attention over the years, especially since the release of The Secret. Although I’ve always expressed thanks to God for the blessings in my life, I never realized the universal importance of gratitude until I read The Secret. Posts like Renee’s and the comments she received confirmed that there is indeed, power in gratitude.

Yet, how many times do we fall into the habit of complaining about what we have that may not be exactly what we expected, or whining about what we don’t have?

I’m not sure if there is an old adage which says, “Be grateful for what you have because God won’t give you something else to complain about” or if I simply heard that in a message, but how true this statement is!

According to The Secret (which is the Law of Attraction), one of the benefits of a gratitude journal is that recognizing what you are grateful for shifts your innermost feelings to attract more things to be grateful for. I’ve also heard that it’s a good thing to be thankful (grateful) for something before it even shows up in your life!

Now if you know anything at all about me, you’ll know that I am a deeply committed Christian and that I have no qualms about sharing my faith. This shows in every aspect of my writing from blog posts, to articles and essays, and especially my novels and short stories. You’ll also know that I don’t write conservative Christian, but “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ What does this has to do with power in gratitude? Just this….

God gives us all different gifts and talents and various views on life and faith. I had to be grateful for the stories He put in my heart and the way He ordained for me to write those stories. I also had to learn to not go off on a tangent and whine because I don’t write like everyone else, or that what I wrote wasn’t good enough to be published “like everyone else.”

Once I realized this and accepted that I am doing what He wants me to do the way He wants me to do it, then and only then did I appreciate the talent He gave and opened myself to search out and receive publishing contracts with small press publishers like The Wild Rose Press and ComStar Media. Between these two companies, I have five full-length novels and three short stories published and more contracted! All because I opened myself up to the power of gratitude.

So be grateful for who you are and what you write!


Pamela S Thibodeaux

“Inspirational with an Edge!” ™


You can find out more about me and my work at my website or blog. You can read some of my non-fiction articles at Associated Content and rate articles at Helium.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

To Sleep, Perchance To Dream....

The worst thing in the world is to try to sleep and not to. ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year-olds. ~JoJo Jensen, Dirt Farmer Wisdom, 2002


It was a long night, so bear with me if I babble. DD is VERY sick suddenly... stuffy nose, cough, etc., to the point where she couldn't breathe and couldn't sleep. She can't take children's liquid medicine -- it makes her throw up, so at about midnight last night, with whiny child beside me, I rummaged through my grown-up meds until I found one that didn't say something like:

Do Not administer to children under 12 or else the world as we know it will come to an end.

Keep in mind, she woke me up once around ten and asked if I'd take the dog because she couldn't sleep. Then again at midnight. Then Dd woke me at 2:30 to go potty and again at 3:30 vomiting. DH woke up and asked if I needed anything. Yeah. Sleep.

I curled up in bed again, but just couldn't relax, so I was up at 4 a.m. -- which used to be my normal time, but I've been a slug-a-bed lately, and have slept in until FIVE.

That has to stop come November. Mornings are going to have to be my writing time.

Speaking of NaNoWriMo ... I spent much of yesterday researching beauty pageants. Did you know there is a pageant for the Miss America state first runners-up? It's called National Sweetheart, and I think it's a fabulous idea. It still won't work for me, but I did find an International pageant that ANY winner of ANY city, state, national or international pageant is eligible for. And, I'm (I can't believe I'm doing this) brainstorming a series based on six girls who all won various minor pageants and meet at this main pageant and become friends. The cool thing about this International pageant is -- it's literally for anyone, so my characters can be young, old, married, single, fat, skinny... whatever. I'm excited.

Of course, first I have to get book one written. But I wanted to figure this stuff out so I could incorporate it into my NaNo book, and maybe even have a reunion of sorts with the other five girls... at least one or two will have to make an appearance.

Anyway, it finally feels a little like my NaNo book is falling into place. And, just in time, yes? LOL... it's only a few days away!




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Found another great review for "Kitchen Matches" in my inbox today (...Google Alerts... how do I love thee?).

This one was got five hearts from The Romance Studio, and says in part:

This Marianne Arkins manuscript was my first by her but I definitely do not intend for it to be my last. She used humor and an abundance of comedic relief to show the tendencies of her characters. There was a myriad of minor characters who all worked to make the story its best.

I believe that anybody would enjoy this manuscript. It is a quick-read, fast-paced and so romantic and funny that it has something for everyone. I highly recommend it.


I love warm fuzzies...

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Chris found this saying and said it reminded her of me, so Judy made me a banner, lol... (I am the one who nags Chris and Judy about writing on a regular basis):

Photobucket

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You Are a Werewolf



You are moody and easily provoked.

You are highly loyal and protective of those you love.

While you can be intense at times, you are generally a laid back person. But if a fight comes your way, you will fight 'til the death if necessary.

You seem normal to most people. No one understands how different you can be. It's like a switch flips for you sometimes - and then you're a completely different creature.



Interestingly enough... most of that is pretty close! LOL...

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Monday, October 27, 2008

I'd Like to Thank...

I don't like standard beauty - there is no beauty without strangeness. ~Karl Lagerfeld

So, I was tickled by so many of your beauty queen suggestions, that I mentioned that I didn't know how to choose to Judy -- and SHE suggested I write a series in order to use them all. Here are just a few of the titles:

REAL titles from Tori and Allie:

Miss Drumsticks
Miss Klingon Empire
Ms. Mosquito Legs
The Armpit Queen
Miss Sap

And a few fictional suggestions...

From Sarita:

Miss Napa Nut

From Dru:

Miss Gold Rush
Miss Mountain Aire
Miss Redwood
Miss High-Tech Valley
Miss Overalls
Miss Cow Pasture
Miss One Road Buggy

Judy suggested Miss Pine Tar

And my mom got in the game with: Miss Watsonville Artichoke

Yep... I think I have some great ideas for a series now. *G* I'll let you know which title I choose. I haven't decided yet, so if you have more ideas, let me know -- you just might garner yourself a mention in my dedication!

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I'm happy to say that it appears DH is putting off hardwooding the foyer until a later date. I'm not sure what he's going to be doing today, but the chim-chimney sweep comes this afternoon, so he doesn't want to be in the midst of a project. YAY!

DD is still sick, but being a trooper. At this house, we seldom take medication of any kind (thankfully, that's partly because we're quite healthy -- would you believe my DD has never had to be on antibiotics her entire life?) but we do try the natural or holistic remedy route. So DD has been taking anti-cold vitamins (vitamin C), minerals (zinc) and herbs (oregano oil and echinacea) twice a day. Without complaint. What a good girl. I think I'll keep her.

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I nearly forgot to mention the LASR HALLOWEEN CELEBRATION SCAVENGER HUNT!

Up for grabs: 15 different paranormal books by authors like Lynn Viehl, Christine Feehan, L.A. Banks and more -- plus a pile of Halloween candy!

It's easy to play: Just look through the LASR website to find the answers to our questions each day, then email them to us and you're entered to win!

New questions posted each morning.

All the information is here.

Hope to see you there.

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Another gratuitous picture -- because I already miss them:



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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Miss Seafood...

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible." — T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom

Okay, I need your help. Judy and I were gabbing yesterday, and she mentioned she was going to attend a seafood festival, and sent me this link.

My comments to her after clicking?

Wait... wait... There's a MISS FLORIDA SEAFOOD??? I feel a story in there...

And I immediately decided that my NaNoWriMo heroine has to have been MISS SOMETHING STRANGE AND FUNNY when she was younger. That's where YOU come in.

Send me your ideas. The story is set in Northern California, in a little podunk town. I know beauty queen type folks have been known to travel in order to compete so she could be just about anything. MISS GILROY GARLIC. MISS SLOUGHOUSE CORN. Be creative, be off the wall... but help! Kay? I know you're up to the task.

Speaking of NaNo, Groovy asked how much prewriting I do. Not much, really. I should do more. I do my character sketches, and I'll write out misc. scenes that aren't used in the novel, just to get a feel for them. I do some pre-plotting work with a worksheet I've created using various different "HOW-TO" books, and I brainstorm scenes. I also line up a boat load of strange "dares" to use when the story grinds to a halt. The sheer ludicrousness (is that a word?) of the dares tends to get my creative juices flowing again. I wish I was a plotter, because I'd love to have a real outline. But I'm not. I keep trying, because I really, really want to be a plotter... it appeals to the organized control-freak that I am. Maybe someday.

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DH did NOT do flooring yesterday. That's the good news. He's taking of Monday to do it instead. That's the bad news. The worse news is that DD seems to have caught whatever DH had, and is NOT feeling well.

**sigh**

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Your Bumper Sticker Should Be



Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things



Works for me! LOL...

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

My New Fave Commercial

Humor is a reminder that no matter how high the throne one sits on, one sits on one's bottom. ~Taki

Seriously, best commercial out there right now. I crack up every time. This is a little fuzzy, but I couldn't find a better one:



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DH is feeling better and wants to finish hardwooding -- we have a little foyer at the top of the stairs, and we have leftover wood from the living room project that he wants to get out of the basement... and... I almost wish he were sick again.

In any case, that means the only time I have to do much of anything on the computer today will be ... now. So forgive me, but I have to go get some stuff done! LOL...

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You Are 75% Hyper



You have an energy unlike any other. You're full of pep.

People wonder how you are able to get so much done. You love to keep busy.

It's likely that you're very physically active as well. You have a lot of physical endurance.

You are also quite outgoing. You're quick to start up a conversation and make friends.

You have the drive, confidence, and motivation to take you far in life.

While you may tire some people out, someone else is always looking to feed off your energy.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Only a WEEK 'til NaNo!

Nerves and butterflies are fine - they're a physical sign that you're mentally ready and eager. You have to get the butterflies to fly in formation, that's the trick. ~Steve Bull




Not that I'm panicked or anything... but it seems like I used to have a month before NaNoWriMo, and now it's down to a WEEK! ACK!!!

I already know I have more work to do before November begins... Guess I need to start taking the time I plan to use for writing during NaNo and use it for more pre-plotting. I'm nervous... and I keep telling myself that the fate of the world doesn't hang in the balance, but I don't want to lose again. Last year was pretty demoralizing. Yes. I'm a bit competitive, even when it's just against myself and the calendar.

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Speaking of NaNoWriMo, I found this great new blog, "Routines for Writers", and they are featuring posts from Karen Wiesner now and on through NaNo. Karen is a prolific and very talented author of both fiction and non-fiction, and she happens to have a book called "First Draft in 30 Days", the information from which can be a big help when planning your NaNo attack. Check it out!

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Things you don't expect to hear from your child's mouth:

"Thanks for the mold, Mom."

DD was thrilled (!!) when I let her take a bit of moldy bell pepper and put it in a petri dish. She loves her microscope...

And that may tell you more about the state of my refrigerator than I should let be known in public.

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Was "Criminal Minds" a repeat this week? Or does my DVR hate me? Because it didn't tape.

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You Are Saturday



Like this day of the week, you are ruled by Saturn.

More than anything, you are down to earth.

You are practical and wise. You take care of yourself before all others.

Sometimes you tend to be a bit suspicious. You are protective of what you have.

While some people see Saturday as a day of leisure, you see it as a day to get things done.

You always look forward to your productive Saturdays. You wouldn't have them any other way!



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Um... sort of?

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Oh, and... DH? Still sick, but getting better. Yes, he stayed home again yesterday, and today is his day off anyway, so I have him until Monday. Then... in November? He's off all but SEVEN DAYS. Dear heavens... kiss the routine goodbye. Ah well, it'll be good for him, if not for me.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Booking It and more

Love is the thing that enables a woman to sing while she mops up the floor after her husband has walked across it in his barn boots. ~Author unknown, as printed in The Hoosier Farmer

My DH stayed home sick yesterday, and as a result my day was a big, ugly mess -- partly because the "school room" is a little cubby behind the master bedroom and he was napping most of the afternoon, so DD couldn't do school! Yikes!

Times like these call for a meme, don't you think?



“Name a favorite literary couple and tell me why they are a favorite. If you cannot choose just one, that is okay too. Name as many as you like–sometimes narrowing down a list can be extremely difficult and painful. Or maybe that’s just me.”

For me, the first one that leaps to mind (aside from Nick and Nora) is Eve Dallas and Roarke from the "In Death" series. I think what I like most about them is that, despite being madly in love with each other, every book is still a journey for their relationship. They are both so full of angst and troubled history, still finding their way with each other, that it makes their lives interesting. And who can resist the absolute depth of Roarke's love for Eve? He is, indeed, a dream man.

**sigh**

You?
=======================

And now, I must go check on DH and see if he's better at all, and whether he'll be staying home again or heading to work... Sorry for the abbreviated post!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ear Worms

I worry that the person who thought up Muzak may be thinking up something else. ~Lily Tomlin
Last night, DD was singing and humming to herself (she does this quite a lot -- in fact, when she was a baby, she'd wake up singing... and I'd lie in bed for a few minutes and just listen to it on the baby monitor. I can't think of a better way to start the day), and she suddenly burst out with: La de da de deeeee!

And you know what happened? I sang: La de da de daaaaa!

And promptly got THIS song stuck in my freaking head.



So... enjoy your ear worm. And that birth order quiz said I didn't like to share. Ha. Proved THEM wrong.

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Got a great idea while I was lying in bed desperately trying to sleep last night... and knew I'd forget it if I wasn't careful. So, I repeated it over and over and over... I even know THE LAST FREAKING LINE! It's truly amazing (the line... though hopefully the story will be, too).

It's just a short one, maybe for WW. We'll see.

So, even though it's not writing day, I'm going to get that sucker down.

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I meant to mention from the other day -- it was interesting to read that not many folks buy that many books, and one of the ways they get turned on to a new writer is from excerpts (that is, truthfully, a good way to get to know an author's voice). So, my next question for all you reader-type people:

Where do you find your excerpts? Do you belong to yahoo groups (like the LASR one? We have excerpt Monday, and I know lots of groups offer similar opportunities). Do you consciously go searching for them (on author's websites, etc.)?

Inquiring minds want to know *G*.

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A gratuitous picture of Dakota, just because I can:



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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Thankful Tuesday

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. ~G.K. Chesterton

First off: Dakota is fine! YAY!

The lump was more than likely caused by some sort of trauma (she plays ROUGH with her friends), and it has gone down dramatically to just a smooth pink owie. Thank heavens. The thought of cancer with another dog is more than I think any of us could handle. Reminds me of that movie (I think Holly Hunter was in it), where they whisper the word sitting around the dining table:

"Did you hear about (Uncle Joe)?"

::everyone shakes their heads::

((stage whisper)) "Cancer."

Anyway, thanks for your well wishes.

I dreamed about Bailey last night (and a train, oddly... maybe I need some analysis). I still miss her terribly. I got a birthday card in the mail for her from PetsMart (her 12th birthday would have been on the 15th), and it sort of threw me. I need to remember to mention that to them when I go to doggy obedience tomorrow.

==========================

Didn't get a lot of actual writing done yesterday -- DD was particularly needy, so I was up and down and up and down... and, I admit, I went to the "after book sale" at our library and came away with two big boxes of books -- apparently there aren't a lot of folks who like romance (except the ones who bought the books initially) because I scooped! And, when I'm done reading them, I'm shipping them off to my mom who puts them out at the local senior center.

Sadly, there weren't many children's books, so DD didn't do nearly as well.

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Answering blog comments (because I can never remember to do so on the actual comments spot):

Groovy: I have no idea if "incent" is a real word, LOL. I've been using (and have heard it used) for years, but that doesn't mean anything. People say "snuck" (ACK, ACK, ACK), too.

Keri: What's "Boo at the zoo"? I imagine it has something to do with Halloween, but it sounds cute. Was just curious...

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How did your Monday go? Am I the only person who enjoys that particular day?

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday Morning Meme and More

Families are like fudge - mostly sweet with a few nuts. ~Author Unknown



1.What is your earliest memory of a library? Who took you? Do you have any funny/odd memories of the library?

I worked in the library in grammar school -- and I remember shelving books, even as early as fourth grade. That's where I discovered ALL of the Oz books (my absolute faves as a kid), and where I learned what the Dewey Decimal system was. Funny/odd memories? Not really. Just warm fuzzy ones.

2. What two things are at the top of your to-do list? When do you think you’ll get around to doing those things? How good are you at crossing things off your to-do list?

I'm perpetually behind on working the LASR site. I always have reviews to build, pages to update, reminders to send, ads to place ... it's never-ending, so that is ALWAYS on my to-do list.

Second for now would be to finish getting ready for NaNoWriMo -- and, I'm telling you what, I better have words fall from my fingers, or I already don't know where I'm going to find the time. Still, I have faith (gotta have faith -- and an alarm clock!).

When? Everyday. I cross off my to-do stuff, and then start anew. Even when it's the same stuff.

3. Where do you come in the family? Are you the oldest? Youngest? Only child? Or smack in the middle? How do you think this has affected the way you grew up? Would you agree with your birth order personality? Are you happy with your birth order, or do you wish you had been the oldest/youngest, etc.

I'm the baby (awwww....), the youngest of six and am five years apart from my next nearest sibling. I was all but raised an only child, though, because my nearest brother and sister moved out early and by the time I was in sixth grade, I was on my own. Even before that, we really didn't hang out together... the age difference really impacted our relationship as we grew up, IMHO.

So, birth order... hmmm, let's try both.

Last born child traits says:

* Risk takers
* Idealists
* Good sense of humor
* Hard working
* Immature
* Attention seeking
* Secretive
* Sensitive

Okay... yes on most. I don't think I've ever been immature -- I've been told I was born old. But otherwise, yep. What about only child?

* Mature faster
* Get along well with older people
* Responsible
* Self-Centered
* Perfectionists
* Attention seekers
* Use adult language
* Prefer adult company
* Have difficulty sharing

Yes and no... that's about 50% I think. Wanna guess WHICH 50 is me? LOL...

4. If it wasn’t for ________ , I would ________.

If it wasn't for my husband, I would move back west.

But, yanno... he lives here, so I suppose I must. *G*

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Thanks for the well wishes about Dakota. Will check her lump this a.m. and make the determination as to whether it's increased, decreased or (thinking positive) mysteriously disappeared overnight.

DD and Dd had a bit of a slumber party last night. Everyone with cats will appreciate this. My cat decided she wanted to sleep on DD's bed... so she did. Right in the middle. And Dd wouldn't challenge her (cat has her whipped into shape), and DD didn't want to disturb her (yes, cat is queen), so she made a big bed on the floor of her room.

Yes, folks -- DD and Dd slept on the floor while Queen Breeann, cat extraordinaire got the entire bed to herself!



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Today is writing day for me -- which means more work on my NaNo project, and possible tinkering of short stories I have in progress.

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How was your weekend? Do anything interesting?

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Brrr....

Winter is the season in which people try to keep the house as warm as it was in the summer, when they complained about the heat. ~Author Unknown

We've had a hard, killing frost the past two nights. I'm trying not to complain, but DANG I'm going to miss my flowers.

Yesterday, once it warmed up to... yanno... FIFTY, I went outside and pulled up all the corpses of my annuals. I lost my impatiens and petunias, and the flowers on my ageratum (though not the leaves, oddly). The cosmos made it, but it's dark yet so they may not have made it through TWO nights of frost. I'll see soon enough.

The chim-chimney sweep doesn't come for another week, though, so no heat for us. Brrr.... I drank tea all day yesterday, just so I could hug the mug and keep my hands warms.

Is it June yet?

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Though I'm still reeling at how many of you don't re-read books, the results yesterday were interesting: most people won't buy a new-to-them author without some major incentive. Some want to read the first chapter to get a flavor of the story and the author's voice, many (like me) will read a book from the library first, to see if they like the author -- and will then go on to purchase more if they do.

As a reader, I totally understand, because I do the same thing (mostly... as noted yesterday, I do tend to buy my friends/crit partners books regardless), but as an author, it makes me wonder how to get folks to buy my work the first time. Because, yanno, once you've read my stories... you'll want to grab them all! *VBG*

For the authors out there: what do YOU think you can do to incent folks to buy your work if you're a new-to-them author? I know many of the ePubs now offer free reads (TWRP has theirs here) in order to help potential readers/buyers to get a taste of an author first.

Readers: Do you think getting a free read first helps you decide whether to buy a new author? If you read a short 2500 word story and love the author's voice, would you then go and purchase their full length novel?

Inquiring minds want to know!

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Dd has sprouted an ugly lump on one of her nipples (can I say nipples on a rated PG blog?). DD found it on Friday afternoon, and we're worried because it's reminiscent of the lump Bailey had on HER nipple about four months before she died that was nasty-bad cancer.

DH says, "No one has to take their dog to the vet as often as we do." He's right -- I swear we've kept the vet in business since we got Dakota. So, Monday, if the lump hasn't changed or gone down, Dd gets to go in for a biopsy. I hope it's just fatty tissue or an infected bite or something. Please, please don't let it be cancer. I've made a point of laughing it off, and being calm for DD, but I have to admit, I'm very worried.

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You Are a Pumpkin Latte



You are always up for a celebration. You are a very festive person.

You look forward to every holiday, and you are nostalgic for good times after they're over.

You appreciate the small things that make life special. You love little treats.

You often look at the world with childlike wonder. There's so much to enjoy!



Okay... for the first time in a long time, this quiz is TOTALLY WRONG. Just saying...

==============================

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Book Buying

"I like being around books. It makes me feel civilized.
The only way to do all the things you'd like to do is to read." - Tom Clancy


Interesting comments yesterday about re-reading... we ended up about half and half, with only one person as rabid a re-reading as I. Funny thing about life: we tend to assume that what we do is the norm, and that's what everyone does! LOL... If I didn't re-read, I wouldn't buy books. In fact, I've been known to borrow from the library to see if I like something and then, after I've read it and know, I'll go buy it to read again.

I'm not a blind book-buyer. There are few folks I'll buy without reading first. I only have so many dollars to spread around, and want to make sure I spread them around on something I'll value in the upcoming years. I do always buy my friends / crit partners books. Partly to support them, and partly because it's neat to see them on my shelf and know what they went through to get there.

What about you? Do you just buy books all the time, even if they are new-to-you authors or you aren't sure you'll like the books? Do you have a large "keeper" shelf, or do you spend a lot of time taking your books to the UBS or donating them to the library? Or, are you careful how you spend your book-buying budget? Do you give it a lot of thought before shelling out the dough? Do you only buy books you think you'll keep forever? And... what is the deciding factor when you DO buy a book?

Inquiring minds want to know.

=================================

So, it frosted pretty hard last night. I bet that was the death knoll for most of my annuals. It's amazing they've made it this long... So, today I'll be on corpse clean-up and will count it as the true end of summer. I keep trying to be happy we had such a mild fall this far, but I really, really dread the winter. The highs this week are going to be in the 50s -- which feels cold now, but in a couple of months would be a heat wave! LOL... perception is a funny thing.

Dakota still hasn't sprouted her feathers, so her fur is very thin and smooth and doesn't keep her warm. I may end up having to buy her dog clothes -- something I never thought I'd do for a bigger dog. I've never been one of those folks who wants to dress up my dog and treat it like a human. But even now, at night, when it's cool in the house she cuddles and curls up in a tiny ball, and feel cold to the touch. I hope her fur fills in soon!

I'm working on a blog about worm composting on It's Only Natural ... check over there to read about it if you're interesting. I do my best to garden organically (though it's a battle with the DH who is all about chemicals), so have done some research into worms. I love worms. I... well, that's a story for the other blog. *G*

==========================




Your Autumn Test Results



You are a dynamic, vibrant person. You aren't afraid to pursue your passions.

When you are happiest, you are calm. You appreciate tradition and family. You enjoy feeling cozy.

You tend to be afraid of change. You are never ready for things to be different.

You find love to be the most comforting thing in the world. You feel at peace when you're with your loved ones.

Your ideal day is active and full. You like to keep busy with your favorite things, and you appreciate a routine.

You are very impatient. You spend more time waiting for something than actually enjoying it.



Okay, yeah... mostly...

======================

Friday, October 17, 2008

Re-Reading

Books had instant replay long before televised sports. ~Bern Williams

So, I'm reading "Key of Valor" by Nora Roberts -- a re-read and a comfort read for me... Recently, I had gotten three hardback romantic suspense novels from the library by NY Times bestselling authors, authors whose books I've always enjoyed in the past, and I disliked every last one of them. So, I curled up with a book I knew I'd like. I have a huge TBR pile, so that decision may be a bit questionable, but it's a bit like getting a hug from a friend. When I'm done, I'll move back into the unknown.

I know that Judy seldom rereads a book (or rewatches a movie -- "Princess Bride" being an exception to that rule... but then, it's an exception to many rules, LOL). I was surprised to hear that from her, because I'm a BIG book re-reader. Always have been, even as a kid. It's like revisiting friends.

What about you? Do you re-read much? If you do... why and what? And if you don't, why not?

Inquiring minds want to know.

===============================

So... the dog thing. The more I thought about it, the more I really wanted DD to accept the responsibility of sleeping with the dog (and, yes, your comments made me feel a little less mean about that *G*). When we ran errands yesterday, we put Dd into her crate (she still destroys the house when left on her own... I hope she outgrows that) and Dd yelped and cried (she likes to go with us). DD asked, "Is that where she'll sleep at night if you take her?" ... "Yes."

And DD was quiet. For a long time. A couple of hours later, she said, "I think I'm not happy with my decision. I want to sleep with the dog again." ... "If you go back to that, there is NO MORE CHANGING YOUR MIND. Ever." ... "Okay."

And, so, without me being mean mom (unless you count locking up the dog), the situation was resolved. Of course, that may change in the future, but I will remind DD that she chose this path, and she'll have to live with it.

Being single and childless is so much easier... LOL...

=================================

I spent yesterday doing more pre-plotting on my NaNoWriMo story. I'm trying to find some funny situations to throw my heroine into. And, I realized that I don't really have an antagonist. To be honest, few of my stories actually have one -- the conflict usually arises from the H/H and not an another character. I mean, I have a person with whom my heroine doesn't get along, but she's not the reason the H/H struggle with their feelings.

Is that weird? I'm going to have to pay closer attention to the romances I read -- not the suspense ones, because those always have an antagonist, but the mainstream romances. Off the top of my head (and just WHERE did that saying come from?), I think most of the conflicts in those arise from either internal emotions from the H/H or else an external conflict that isn't necessarily tied to a human antagonist.

See what happens when I think too much?

=========================

Brandy said nice things about me on her blog the other day, and I've been meaning to mention it. I was one of her "Blogs I Love".

I think I'm supposed to make a list... but OY, I have so many people I visit. How about if I just say: I love all y'all! And you know who you are *G*

=========================

Any big plans for the weekend? Not me...

=========================

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dakota Duty

If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders. ~Abigail Van Buren

We've discovered recently that Dakota likes to play in piles of leaves -- just like a kid. Rake up a big pile, let her off leash, and she tears over and LEAPS(!!) into the pile. It's so cute! I've tried taking video, but haven't been able to time them just right... it's like she knows.

Speaking of Dakota... DD decided she doesn't want to sleep with her any more (truthfully, Dd is a bed hog) which leaves me in a quandary. The reason Dakota hogs the bed is because she's a snuggler. She MUST be right up against you when she sleeps. If you roll over or move, she stands up with a sigh comes close and flops down right against you.

And therein lies my problem. She is very needy, emotionally. She must, Must, MUST be with you, against you, at your feet. DH says he doesn't want her to sleep with us (for that reason), but it breaks my heart to think of making her sleep alone.

I know, I know... she's a dog, not a human, but still...

And, the kicker to all of this is that DD wanted "her own dog" (because Bailey was truly mine), so I've really been working toward that -- letting DD walk her, and be the one in obedience class who works with her, and sleep with her.

Now it's not fun anymore.

Part of me wants to say: too bad.

Maybe I will. ((mean old mom))

==========================

Still moving forward to NaNoWriMo ... trying to figure out how to write some blog post ahead of time and then add current events to them each day. I don't know if that is practical. Y'all won't mind if I do brief drive-bys all November, right? The neuroses that is NaNo may be sucking my brain cells dry.

===========================

Rain today, and then a cold front moves in. Indian Summer is over -- we'll be having highs in the 50s starting tomorrow. Darn it. I've been so spoiled!

As a reminder of summer, I posted a Thursday Thirteen with flower pictures on my Nature Blog. Take a look if you like pretty things!

============================



What Your Nose Says About You



You are straightforward and honest. You sometimes offend people without realizing it.

You are helpful and giving. You like cooperating, and you're always willing to lend a hand.
You are a realist. You aren't much of an optimist or a pessimist.



Yep, that's about right...

=============================

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Welcome Guest Blogger: Nancy Lindley-Gauthier

Blending genres – for the author
By Nancy Lindley-Gauthier

A nightmare in the making!

Oh dear, are my rejection letters showing? No kidding, its hard to juggle the many genres. If you want to be published – the work must be more mystery for this publisher… more romance for that… and somehow, for your own (and readers) sense of balance they must dovetail together in some fashion, be it nonsensical or otherwise. ( as an aside: why is nonsensical a word, but sensical is not?)

You might well ask why any writer would attempt such a thing. Why not – at best, shake a bit of romance over a solid mystery, and be done with it? Well, indeed, that is exactly what many a writer does do! (Don’t believe me? Let talk about Dick Francis and the famous formula mysteries. In every one there is some heartwarming thread, with a lovely lady… she might, indeed be a potential victim, or perhaps a clue to the crime,… but she’s there.) The romance might not seem vital to the overall story in that sort of mystery – but wouldn’t that mystery seem flat without out it? After all, why bother to solve a crime if there’s no one around to be impressed by your ability?

On the other hand, folks read romances for the ROMANCE… but without conflict/ resolution; well, there’d be no suspense or intrigue at all. So the challenge in blending genres is getting the balance right – not only for the story’s sake itself, but also to suit your publisher.

Although that balance issue might seem something to handle in the planning, its not just as simple as that.

Don’t believe me? In any story, characters become. They each become someone; they build a certain reputation, let us say; the reader sees what kind of person each is, and develops an idea of what that character can and would believably do.

There comes a point; we’ll say half way through, where you realize that you once author, are becoming something of a director – and some of these characters are now resisting - resisting! Your direction. You realize that this one, which you have so laboriously worked to establish, since page one – as a firm, decisive and ultimately heroic person would never actually do the one thing desperate thing you planned on him doing – that in fact, you need him to! You could force it… and risk leaving believability behind. You could re-write the whole damn thing. You could let the $%&$#*&! Character do exactly the plausible thing … and you’ve suddenly lost control of the story. Now, you’ve been weaving this romance and you’ve got elements of a mystery going too - that can And remember you’ve probably got more than one important character.

Suddenly the mixing is more of a melee!

Again, you say, why do this?

The opportunity for depth and insight – from a perspective brought on from 2 different angles. Lets go back to Mr Francis – certainly we, the audience, care a whole lot more about the victim who is also the love interest, don’t we? We are more deeply engaged. The book has overall, a greater evocative power…

So this nightmare brings with it opportunity – but step into blending with caution.

Think of pitfalls, while you aim for the stars.

Nancy A Lindley-Gauthier: Funny romances with strange twists of mystery set in the 1920s when bathing costumes were big, hair-dos were small, and heels hinted at a lady’s virtue. The Painter's Brush with Death, The Painter's Eye for an Eye, and coming Feb. 9th, The Painter's Tempest in a Teapot! Www.amomentincrime.com

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This and That

I think we are drawn to dogs because they are the uninhibited creatures we might be if we weren't certain we knew better. They fight for honor at the first challenge, make love with no moral restraint, and they do not for all their marvelous instincts appear to know about death. Being such wonderfully uncomplicated beings, they need us to do their worrying. ~George Bird Evans, Troubles with Bird Dogs

The weather the past few days has been just incredible... so I've been doing a LOT of walking. Wish I could store up the exercise for the winter when I can't do so much.

I think it's been good for the dog and for me. I was watching "The Dog Whisperer" (I really enjoy that show) the other night and he said a couple things that really hit home.

One: Be CONSISTENT. If the dog has to behave a particular way, train them to behave that way all the time. For instance, if I want Dakota to not be psycho at the door, then I need to make sure I cause her to be calm for EVERYONE when they are at the door, not just the people who are not dog people.

Two: Active dogs need a lot of exercise, or they misbehave. And they need directed, intentional exercise. The guy Cesar was talking to on the show said, "They have this big back yard, and I take them to the dog park once a week." He got smacked down -- the dogs need WALKS (or, actually in this case, he rode his bike so the dogs could run alongside) every single day.

So, I'm working on it. Being consistent can be frustrating and time-consuming, both for me and the dog, AND for the other person involved. I also have to fight against friends who "don't mind" if Dakota jumps on them.

And, we're walking daily for an hour or more (and even then she isn't tired) and I'm trying to have her play with one of her friends every day as well (usually the English Bulldog, Bugsy -- they are, strangely enough, quite evenly matched).

I don't remember Bailey being this hard.

==============================

Only two weeks until NaNoWriMo! YIKES!! I'm not quite ready. Guess I'd better get a move on, huh? I have an idea for my beginning, and some scenes, but I really want them to be funnier. I've been walking around for two days, mumbling to myself, "How can it be funnier?" At this rate, I'm going to be put in the loony bin.




===============================




You Are a Beagle



You are good natured. You enjoy spending time with people and animals.

You have a wild, independent streak. If you're left to your own devices, you get in trouble.

You love to eat and enjoy food of all kinds. If you don't get enough physical activity, you tend to have a weight problem.

You are very stubborn. You don't like authority, and you tend to do your own thing no matter what.



Hmmm... about 50/50....

================================

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday Morning Meme, Mums and More

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional. ~Chili Davis



1.If your children are going trick-or-treating this year, what costumes are they wearing? Do you take them door-to-door or do you take them to a sponsored event? Tell us about the last time you dressed up for Halloween. How do you feel about Halloween in general?

We go out to dinner on Halloween -- we don't trick-or-treat, mostly because my DH and his family are ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY against any form of celebrating Halloween and it's really just easier. The day after, we go to the store and buy tons of candy for half price, and when DD was younger, I used to buy her costumes for dress-up, too.

I think Halloween is an odd holiday, really, but otherwise don't much feel one way or the other.

2. Do your friends and family read your blog? How does this knowledge affect your writing? Do you feel like you can totally be yourself on your blog? Where do you draw the line when it comes to disclosing too much about your life on your blog?

Yes and yes. And, I am not totally myself on my blog, because it's not a personal blog, per se, but a blog for my writing. I never post pictures of anyone but me (well, and the dog and cat, but they told me I could). I don't use names of anyone in my family, and don't say what town I live in. I suppose folks could find all that stuff out if they really wanted to, but I'd like to protect my DD as much as possible.

I did post a picture of her once, a long time ago -- in her ballet costume, and got some slimy, sexually perverse and anonymous comments about it. That pretty much clinched it for me -- no pictures of DD again. Ever.

3. Are you an early bird or a night owl? What do you like to do in the early morning hours or late at night? How do your sleeping patterns affect the rest of your family?

I'm very much an early bird. The morning hours I work -- I write or blog or work on the LASR website. It's peaceful and calm and there are no interruptions (except for the cat, on occasion, if she needs food). How do my sleep patterns affect everyone else? I don't know that they do. My DH and DD could sleep through a bombing raid, so it really doesn't matter much what I do. I, OTOH, will wake up if you drop a feather in the basement... which really stinks.

4. Do you lie about your age? Why or why not?

Nope. What's the point? Who cares? HEY EVERYONE -- I'M FORTY-ONE YEARS OLD!! So what? LOL...

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Hey, lookie -- the woodpile!




Five and a half piles. Phew.

=================================

I was wandering around the yard with the camera to take pix for It's Only Natural, and discovered some mums from last year that were finally blooming. Aren't they gorgeous?



===================================

DH sealed our deck on Saturday afternoon. It's still wet. Taking out Dakota and/or putting out and retrieving the bird feeders is an unbelievable pain. And ... I'm beginning to think it's NEVER going to dry.

**sigh**

===================================

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Stacked!

The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Yay! The wood is stacked.

:::snoopy dance:::

It was an absolutely gorgeous day yesterday -- 70 degrees and sunny. We're having a blessedly mild fall, for which I am truly grateful. I know winter will be here soon, but this lengthening of the nice weather will (hopefully) make the snow a little easier to take.

The trees outside are gorgeous -- DH hates pine trees, and so took all the ones in our backyard down when we first moved in. As a result, all we have is vibrant color. I meant to take some pictures yesterday, but completely forgot. Will do so today.

I also finally started setting up my office. I don't really have a desk -- just a particle board table thingie, but it works. The first thing I did was hang up the quilt Dru sent me some time ago. :-)

Once it's a little tidier in there, I'll take pix. DD's schoolroom is back where it used to be, instead of in the same room. I tried working with her, but she talks non-stop -- not necessarily to me, frequently to herself, but it's still chatter, lol.

And, because I wasn't busy enough, I decided to start a blog to talk about all the outdoors stuff I enjoy: gardening, bugs, weather, bird, etc. If you're so inclined, feel free to visit: It's Only Natural.

Nothing like a little pressure -- LASR doesn't have a story for this week. We have one for next week and the week after, etc. Just not THIS week. So, I need to write one... unless any of y'all have a 1000 word (or so, we're flexible within reason) romance lying around somewhere? Please? *G*

=======================




You Are a Monkey



You are a very fascinating creature. People are interested in every little thing you do.

You are smart, curious, and clever. You are naturally witty, and you have a great sense of humor.

You can see things from many different angles, and you always have an interesting perspective on life.

You are likely agile and playful. You stay physically fit simply by staying active.



You know... I've been told that before, lol.

========================

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Today's Blog Brought To You By...

Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails. What puts man in a higher state of evolution is that he has got his laugh on the right end. ~Max Eastman

Facebook Pieces of Flair (why? Because I stacked wood all day yesterday -- and it's not done -- and I'm still tired... besides, laughter is good for the soul):








And, heck, for good measure -- have a little I Can Has Cheezburger and I Has A Hot Dog







Have a happy Saturday!

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Wood, Woodstoves, Waiting and Wants

Sweat cleanses from the inside. It comes from places a shower will never reach. ~George Sheehan

So... I had a nice stack o' wood in my driveway -- DD and I worked like dogs (not my dog, but...) and got one done. It was also a matter of avoiding all the yellow-jackets which, for some unknown reason, are behaving in a strange manner this year. Even my neighbor has commented on it. They are VERY active, and oddly friendly... even going as far as to land on you -- but NOT stinging! And they are everywhere. The wasps, too. I've lived her almost ten years now, and don't remember this happening EVER. They are particularly fascinated by the wood.

Anyway... back to our stack...

DH came home and was suitably impressed by all of our hard work and, jokingly grabbed a huge log and said, "Here, I'll help." and slammed it down against the end. And, yep you guessed it, the end toppled over and the pile fell.

***sigh***

Now, to answer some of your questions:

Melissa asked: ...how do you keep it burning all night long. Won't it get cold at night?

Melissa, we pack it full to the brim and then "bank it" but shutting down all the dampers until they are nearly closed. The fire will burn almost all night that way. DH goes to bed late, and I get up early so we almost never let the fire die at all through the entire winter. It gets a little cooler at night, but to be honest that's almost a relief -- there are days it gets to be in the mid-80s inside with the stove cranking!

Jen asked: What kind of stove do you have?

We have a Vermont Castings brand... I can't remember the model. It's a little bitty thing, though. When we got it, DH's dad said there was no way it would have the power to heat our house. BOY, was he ever wrong. Once it gets going, it heats the WHOLE house, including the upstairs.

Amy said: I...smelled someone's wood burning fire and nearly wept.

It's funny you mentioned that. I bumped into my across the street neighbor today and she said she was so excited to see the wood in our driveway, because she LOVES the smell of our stove. During the winter, she'll stand outside and just... sniff. LOL.

=============================

I now have two things out on submission: "Return to Stiller Creek" with Samhain, and "Perilous Love" with Womans World.

I hate waiting.

=============================

DD just finished reading the first book in a new series by Warrior's author, Erin Hunter. The series is called "Seekers" and the first book is "The Quest Begins". She LOVED the book (as she loves the Warriors series -- she's so wrapped up in that set of books, you'd think they were real. She even has a notebook full of herbal remedies that are mentioned through the stories).

Yesterday at the library she asked me to find the second book. I said, "It's not out yet."

She was quite disgruntled. "Don't they know I read fast?"

Now, DD knows about being an author, as she's watched me. She knows how hard I work at writing, and how long it takes. So, I brought that up. "An author can't write 60,000 words overnight. I'm sure she's doing the best she can."

But, in the famous words of Veruca Salt, she said, "I want it NOW."



==============================

So, I'll be stacking wood this weekend. What plans do YOU have?

==============================

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Dark Moments

We gather strength from sadness and from pain, Each time we die we learn to live again. ~ Unknown

There are currently three cords of firewood in my driveway. I didn't realize how much that truly was. Three. Cords. We're planning on using NO oil to heat this year if at all possible. Usually we burn two cords, and use the stove December through March. This year, we'll start burning as soon as the chimney is cleaned (end of Oct) and burn until the wood is gone (probably April).

I love using the woodstove -- it keeps the house FAR hotter than we could if we used oil. In fact, it frequently gets so hot, I'll open all the windows and air it out inside. I really hate stuffy houses, don't you? And with wood, I don't have to feel guilty. And, considering how fast the trees grow here, I don't have to feel guilty about chopping them down. Seriously, there are plant steroids in the ground or something -- I've never seen a place where the flora is quite so healthy and abundant. It's truly incredible.

============================

I tried reading a new book yesterday by a best-selling author. Not naming names, because I didn't like it, but I also found out something: I don't enjoy books where the main character is taken down so low that there's nowhere further to go.

This woman wakes up next to a dead body (a friend), doesn't remember anything, calls the police and (of course) finds herself accused of murder. She's a good person, and honest person and suddenly -- she loses not only that friend, but her job, her money, her reputation... everything. It upset me so much to see this nice person put through the wringer that I skipped ahead until she had an ally who believed her. And then, I skimmed the rest. It turns out that this author is straying from the true romantic suspense genre, and going mostly suspense. There was a romantic interest, but that was not so much part of the story, and it really disappointed me. I don't know if I'll read her next book.

As a writer, I understand that there is supposed to be a black moment. A time when everything is wrong and the main character has to fight his or her way back to the light. I guess I just don't have it in me, at least not now, to do that to anyone I like -- and I typically like my H/H (shouldn't I?). That's going to be a fight for me, I suppose. But, if I don't like to read it, I don't think I'm going to write it. And if it keeps me from being a NYT bestseller, then that's just the way it is. I don't mind knocking the characters down from time-to-time, but to kick them when they're down, kill their puppy, have their spouse cheat with their best friend, burn their house and give their beloved mother incurable cancer when her car is foreclosed on? Nope.

**sigh**

==================================




You Are 45% Pirate



Ahoy matey! Ye can think o' yerself as a swashbuckler in trainin'.

If ye study hard an 'do what the captain tells ye, ye may be gettin' part o' the booty.

Get to work on yer pillagin', swordfightin', an' drinkin'.

Ye dasn't want to end up in Davy Jones' locker, so make sure ye pipe down when the captain be around.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I LOVE this Song

And this movie...

NOT Alone!

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." - Helen Keller

My guest blogger opted not to show up today... so you're stuck with me.

Ha.

I'm thrilled to state that several folks stepped up to the NaNoWriMo plate with me. So far as I can recall, Mary, Allie, Amy, Sarita, and Melissa are participating and Ceri and Keri (interestingly pronounced the same) are in the "maybe" column.

So... woo hoo!! We're having a Par-TAY! There's still time to take the silly pills and join us in the loony bin.

Whether we make it or not, we'll most assuredly have a TON of FUN.

I <3 NaNo.

===========================

I am trying to learn Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 ... of course, the moment I got a copy, they upgraded to CS4. Do you think they do that on purpose?

Anyway, I'm already confused beyond belief. I have a copy of DW CS3 The Missing Manual. It's not helping. I found a Dreamweaver Tutorial online, and messed up the first step and don't know how to erase DW's memory so that I can still use that particular site name.

I'm currently looking into procuring a copy of Dreamweaver for Dummies. But at this rate, even that may be over my head.

Oy.

=============================

Hey... Judy has a new blog where she's talking about BOOKS!!! All kinds of books! She's only just started, but you should stop by and say howdy... maybe suggest some of your favorite books? Here's the link.

=============================

I am Marianne Dashwood!


Take the Quiz here!


You Are...Marianne Dashwood!

You are Marianne Dashwood of Sense & Sensibility! You are impulsive, romantic, impatient, and perhaps a bit too brutally honest. You enjoy romantic poetry and novels, and play the pianoforte beautifully. To boot, your singing voice is captivating. You feel deeply, and love passionately.

Um... no. Except maybe the brutally honest part (Judy is nodding right now).

==========================

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Meet my NaNoWriMo novel

"Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work." -- Stephen King

Meet my NaNoWriMo novel -- currently just called "Sunny" (for the heroine).



Baby steps toward November first.

Collage? Check.

Now... what's next?

And, it's beginning to look like I'll be all alone in my craziness this year. *sniff* ((insert pity party here))

===========================

Here is Me, trying to think positive as the weather grows colder and I refuse to run my heat.

Good things about fall and winter:

** No bugs.

** Dog poo is nice and solid for scooping.

** I don't have to bring in my bird feeders at night cuz the bears are asleep.

** No grass clippings on my floor.

....

Nope, doesn't make up for below zero temps and multiple feet of snow. But it's something.

============================




You Are 52% Interesting



You are a fairly interesting person. Many people find you to be intriguing.
You have a dynamic, adventurous life... a life that others envy.

You are genuinely interested in and open to the world.
You love making new friends, and you're always up for an unusual experience.

Like everyone else, you can get a bit boring from time to time. That's normal.
But unlike everyone else, you can pull yourself out of a rut. You don't stay boring for long.



I think what put me over the "boring" edge was that I start conversations with strangers. DD will ask, "Mommy, did you know that person?"

"Nope."

And I especially like to talk to the "invisible" people -- foodservers, cashiers, janitors, etc. It surprises them. :-)

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Monday Morning Meme and Pure Insanity



1. Do you have certain times of the day when you have to have things done? Does your day run on a timetable? Or are you more of a laissez-faire kind of person?

Yes and no to both questions. I typically have an idea of what has to get done during the day, but not specific times (with some exceptions -- for instance, classes we attend obviously have to be done at a certain time). I am NOT laissez-faire at all. I am usually a big bundle of Type A intensity.

2. What one word describes you on a good day? What about on a bad day? What one word would your best friend use to describe you? What one word would your significant other use to describe you?

Good day: Motivated
Bad day: Cranky
Best Friend: hmmm... loyal?
SO: Confusing (LOL)

3. Your blog is being made into a television show. What kind of show will it be? Sit-com? Drama? How long is it? Hour? Half-hour? Sunday night movie? And most importantly, who are your show’s sponsors?

Half-hour sitcom sponsored by a local group of Ichthyologists.

4. What is your favorite perfume or cologne? How often do you wear perfume or cologne? Has anyone ever told you smelled good/bad? If so, how did that make you feel? Flattered? Self-conscious? Uncomfortable?

I don't wear perfume. It gives me a wicked headache. Sometimes I spray on some fruity smelling stuff. I used to wear "Beautiful" by Estee Lauder many, many moons ago -- and always laughed when someone asked what scent it was.

"I love your perfume. What is it?"

"It's Beautiful."

"I agree, but what's it called?"

Ha... my own version of "Who's on First."

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I did it.

I'm all signed up for NaNoWriMo this year. Dear heavens, I must be insane. I really miss the time I use to have to write during November -- my mom would take DD upstairs and do crafts for AN ENTIRE DAY. It was great!

Now? Well considering Mom is 2500 miles away, that's a little difficult.

Last year I did just under 17,000 words. I blame that a little bit on the genre (fantasy) and the fact that I got bogged down in world-building. This year? Romantic comedy... I should be good to go. I hope.

Look! Here's my NaNo page! (you may have to be logged in to view it, not sure).

I suspect November 1st is going to come WAY too fast for me.

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Tarred...

The idle man does not know what it is to enjoy rest, for he has not earned it. ~John Lubbock

Worked all day, yesterday, on cutting down and clearing more trees. Oy. I am so tired. And sore. We took down two more oaks, a maple and a little clump of birches. The oaks were diseased and full of ants again (my SIL tells me that is pretty common around here... who knew?), the maple had been attacked by woodpeckers and was leaking sap year round (and, given the holes, probably had bugs inside, too) and the birches were a casualty of felling the maple.

One oak was felled in the yard (and nearly took out the deck... if it had been two feet longer...), so that was a real pain because we have to clean up every last stick and acorn. DD handled the acorns and sprinkled them liberally around the bird feeders for the vast rodent population that we have. Only hours later, all that was left was gnawed on caps. Happy chippies!

I was so tired, I crawled into bed at 7:30. However, apparently my brain wasn't as tired as my body, so kept me awake -- chattering constantly -- until well after 9:00. Then DD and Dd woke me a 12:30 to go out (well... Dd needed to go out, and I won't let DD go outside at midnight with our weird neighbors) and again at 3 a.m. (this time the dog just wanted to sleep somewhere else, so she and I curled up on the spare bedroom bed). Cat let me sleep until nearly 6, though!! Woot!

In any case, today I play catch up. I have somewhere between 20 - 40 pages to build for LASR next week (that includes reviews), promo, my own personal website has broken buy links (ACK!) and I have two reviews that are due next week and I have only finished one of the books.

So despite being "tarred", I have to work! Hope you all have a great day.

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Your Surfing Habits are 70% Male, 30% Female



If we had to guess, we would guess that you are a man.

You use the internet to make your life more efficient - and to make you smarter.

For you, the internet is like a vast encyclopedia.

You search and surf extensively. You look up everything online.



Um... well... not a man, but have to agree with the rest!

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Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Ants Go Marching...

“Turn on the prudent ant thy heedful eyes. Observe her labors, sluggard, and be wise.” - Samuel Johnson

I wish I'd had my camera with me yesterday, but I wasn't outside to take pictures, I was outside to work like a dog (not MY dog, but...) -- DH and I worked on cleaning up two oaks he'd taken down two weeks ago, prior to the non-stop rains.

He'd chopped them into 12" chunks (we have a small stove, but it's POWERFUL) and then decided to use the maul and chop them in half. Lo and behold: the bottom, oh five feet, of the tree was full of carpenter ants.

I was alternately grossed out and fascinated. And I have to admit to feeling a little bad as I watched the adults rush around grabbing eggs and larvae. What good parents they are!

And the pathways were amazing and intricate. They really are interesting little critters. Unfortunately, they are also firmly on the "bad bug" list (and yes, we do allow the tiny black ants to live -- as long as they stay outside -- because they don't eat our house), so it was left to me to spray the logs and kill them (sadly... I don't kill bugs well). I still feel rotten about it.

DH said, "I knew that tree had ants. That's why I took it down."

Yep... uh huh...

Today? More of the same. And, he may be taking down the ginormous oak that grew next to the ant infested one. Dear heavens. Almost makes me wish for rain.

Almost.

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I sent off my Womans World story yesterday... now I want to vomit. I keep thinking that, eventually, I will get over the extreme nausea that follows every submission. I hope so. It's just not pleasant.

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Did you guys see the contest I posted about two days ago from Patti Ann Colt? It's fun and it's got a great prize!! Go look!

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What Your Burger Says About You



You are very gluttonous. Even if you're full, you'll still clear your plate.

You are a compassionate and caring. You know how to enjoy life while still looking out for others.

You are a very open eater. You like many types of tastes, and you'll eat just about anything.

You tend to gravitate toward strong, pungent foods. Even if it means having bad breath!

You consider yourself a healthy eater. But you're not about to sacrifice taste or quantity!

You are social, outgoing, and a risk taker. Among your friends, you are the first to try a new food.



Um... maybe 50% on that one. Oh well... You?

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