Saturday, February 28, 2009

My New Love

Show me the books he loves and I shall know the man
far better than through mortal friends. - Dawn Adams


So... I've been reading this romantic comedy series by Kasey Michaels. It was an accident of fate, really. My mom found a beat up copy of one of the books at the senior center near her house, read it and thought I'd like it. I didn't like it -- I LOVED it.

I've been trying to read it as a reader AND a writer, which is tough. The books are so good, I forget to be a writer and just get sucked into the story. I seldom do that anymore, which is why reading has lost much of its pleasure for me, so when I find a book that is good enough for me to shut that part of me down, it's amazing.

Still, I've been trying to watch how she creates her characters because she does it so well. There are no "walk-on" parts in the book -- everyone is someone memorable, even if they only have a place for two pages. Each person is so unique and interesting ... I have serious author envy. I haven't loved an author this much since Jenny Crusie and it's possible that Ms. Michaels is vying for first place in my heart.

If you're interested, here's the series:

Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You
Too Good To Be True
Love To Love You Baby
Be My Baby Tonight
This Must Be Love
This Can't Be Love

I want to be her when I grow up...

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

FYI: Mammogram...

Brandy mentioned she wasn't old enough to get them yet. I wasn't either until two years ago, but I've been getting them since my mid-twenties (lucky, lucky me!) because there's a family history: My mom had breast cancer. The rule is -- I needed to start getting mammograms 10 years prior to the age when Mom had cancer. Unfortunately, Mom had cancer VERY YOUNG.

So, for the past 15 years or so I've been fighting to get an exam every year. It was an ordeal -- call the radiology dept, ask for an appt, tell them my birthday. "Ma'am, you're not old enough." ... "I have a family history." ... "Your insurance won't pay." ... "Yes they will, it's medically necessary."

GAH.

Do they think I'm doing it for FUN? It was a relief to turn forty and not have to have that problem any more.

But, seriously -- early detection is the key, folks. Self-exams. MOST cancer is caught on a self-exam. And you're never too young to get it. So, take care of you.

/end public service announcement.

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You Are Potato Chips



When you're stressed out, you seek food that is quick and easy.

Life is pretty overwhelming at times, so you prefer comfort food that you can just grab and eat.



You're the type of person who takes on too much, and you don't have a lot of free time.

So even when you have junk food as a meal, you're just thankful that you had any time to eat at all.



They know me so well!

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

Friday, February 27, 2009

Rambling

It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop. -- Confucius

Saw this at Judy's and couldn't resist:

Here are the rules:

1. Go to “Wikipedia.” Hit “random article” and the first article you get is the name of your band.

I got an article on a band... irony? I suppose it would be cheating if I just took their album cover and ran with it, huh?

2. Then go to “Random Quotations” and the last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

Oooh... as the queen of quotes, I'm excited about this site. Forget them meme, I'm adding it to my favorites.

3. Then, go to Flickr and click on “Explore the Last Seven Days” and the third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

But, but... I like the first one better. :::pouts:::

4. Use Photoshop or some other image editor to add text & spiffify.

Is "spiffify" a word? And, I have Photoshop, but I really don't know how to use it. Bother.

5. Post a link to your band's album cover here!



Best I could do. Though, I have to admit, I rather like both the band name AND the title...

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

Thanks for your comments about Geoff (Amy, yours cracked me up). And Dru, you weren't really supposed to like him in Liv. Sympathize with him a little, maybe. But he wasn't the hero. Now he is, and I sure hope you'll like him now!

Speaking of which... I'm off to write.

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

I have a mammogram appointment today. I know... fun, fun, fun. Still, the reason I bring it up is to say: Are YOU getting your mammograms done? Hmmmm? To all the JaNoWriMo folks: Aren't you glad I wear the nag hat here sometimes, too?

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Discovery

"Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn't wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say." -- Sharon O'Brien

So there I was, innocently typing away on my sequel to "One Love for Liv" when Geoff dumped on me. Seriously. It wasn't supposed to be a big, introspective moment. And I don't know why he's never talked to me like that before (maybe, because in Liv I wrote him as a cheating slimeball the first time through -- all attitude and no morals -- and he hasn't forgiven me for that, even though I changed a lot of that for the final story), but I now know where his self-esteem issues come from (aside from the fact that he's follicly challenged, something I didn't even know, but apparently my cover artist at Samhain did... and it's working out nicely now).

In any case, despite growing up in a wealthy family (distant relatives) and graduating top of his class at Harvard law, Geoff doesn't think very highly of himself. Poor guy.

My heroine has her work cut out for her. Lucky for her, she has no self-esteem problems and grew up in a loving, albeit really strange, family.

And so... marching onward, ever onward...

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

We had agility last night and Dakota did fabulously! She balked at the "walk-it" and the "frame" and the "see-saw" as expected... BUT... the second time on the frame, she went right up, and the third time on the walk-it she went right up, and she didn't completely refuse the see-saw, she was just really, really hesitant. I'm thrilled! Now, I need to make sure I don't mess up again, because it was MY error that struck fear into her little doggy heart.

I still wish the dang class wasn't so late, though. UGH.

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




You Are a Green Light



You take life at a fast pace. You act quickly and decisively.
You have good instincts and trust your gut. You're confident and brave.

You are determined and ambitious. You don't allow yourself to waste time.
It's no surprise that you get a lot done. You are efficient and productive.



Yeah... that's about right. Judy?

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

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What, When, Where, Why, How with Michelle M. Pillow

Welcome to Michelle M. Pillow -- the latest brave soul to participate in my silly weekly questions!

What was the first movie you ever saw in the theater?

Lady and the Tramp. According to my dad, my baby brother and I sat through the previews without a problem, happy as can be, only to cry through the entire movie--or at least the first five minutes until he decided to take us out of the theater.

When is it okay to write a Dear John letter?

My first thought when you asked that was --- When you have no intention of giving it to the person, but are using it as a way to figure out your own thoughts and what you'd like to say. I think letter writing can very therapeutic and a great way to get your head straight. Unless the guy's a class A jerk from whom you should run for your life, I think people deserve the courtesy of a face-to-face or phone-to-phone explanation.
But then, as I contemplated it more, I think that there could be situations--like when you're in a relationship where the person isn't necessarily bad, just bad for you and you need to get out. Or, if they’re the type who will repeatedly convince you to stay even against your own judgment. Or, if your leaving a vampire or lycan. I can image an alpha lycan might not take the news well, since wolves do that whole mating for life thing. Just be sure he gets the note when there isn't a full moon.

Where is the best place to eat out in your town?

My kitchen. My husband's homemade Alfredo sauce is the reason I married him... just kidding, honey, I loves ya. (the chicken Parmesan helped to ;) ) You don’t need to dress up to get in and it’s open all the time. Oh, and my coffee pot and grinder is in there, too.

Why did you select the genre in which you write?

I don't think I could ever pick just one. Hopping romance genres keeps my head and writing fresh. I started writing historicals because of my love of history and slowly worked my way through paranormals and contemporaries before beginning futuristics. Futuristics are wonderful. I get to combine everything I love about writing history--the research and culture aspects and make it into something new. Whatever the genre, I love writing romances. They give such a sense of hope, even through the worst possible scenarios.

How do you relax?

I love to watch movies and television shows, (especially the sitcom reruns where I can watch all the episodes in a few months). The CSIs, Bones, House, Psych, Big Love, Ghost Hunters, Weeds, Dexter, Supernatural….LOL I could be here listing forever. Thank goodness I have a DVR to record them, or I’d never see anything. I also love to read, but since I’ve started writing full time I don’t seem to get to do it as much as I used to. I think after a day at the computer, my eyes are too tired to pick up a book for hours.

~~~~~~~~~~~~
Michelle M Pillow, Author of All Things Romance, is a multi-published, award winning author writing in many romance fiction genres including futuristic, paranormal, historical, contemporary, fantasy and dark paranormal.

She was the winner of the 2006 RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, nominated for the 2007 RT Award, a Brava Novella Contest Finalist and a PAN member of RWA.

You can contact her through her website www.michellepillow.com.

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


For another WWWWH click the button above -- folks, you should give it a go... it's a funny one!! :-)

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

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Brainstorming

"I never make [my books]: they grow; they come to me and insist on being written." -- Samuel Butler

I've come to the conclusion that nothing is better for writing than sitting around with a friend and talking about it. Okay, maybe actually putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) is better, but talking comes in a really close second.

Yesterday, I was chatting via IM with a friend and the subject of dancing came up... we'd been talking about music, and I sent her a YouTube link to some big band ("In the Mood" by Glenn Miller, if you're interested) and said, "I used to dance to that." She was surprised, and mentioned that her husband considered it an affront to his manhood whenever she mentioned dancing (real dancing, yanno, with steps and stuff *G*). I told her that I thought dancing was sexy. She said I should write a seduction-type scene in a book that used dancing.

Et voila!

In my sequel to "One Love For Liv", I have the perfect, perfect place to do just that. And it's one of the scenes coming up shortly. What a great way for my H/H to really become aware of one another! Right now, they're really just acquaintances, not even exactly friends... though on the way to that. But a dance, one short three-minute dance, could really change things between them.

What a fabulous idea!

And I owe it all to a chat that started with my friend quoting a song (Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy) that gave me an earworm that caused me to find the YouTube video that listed "In the Mood" as related that led to our conversation.

Fate. Kismet. Whatever.

And they wonder where authors get their ideas.... they are freakin' EVERYWHERE.

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

Next time it's snowing outside and I take out the dog to go potty, I'm taking my camera. She does the funniest thing -- she tries to catch snowflakes. She had me in stitches the last couple of nights (yes, we had some flurries last night) and I have to catch it on film... er...memory card.

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




You Are a Cartographer



You have a wide range of knowledge and you're very detail oriented. You have a photographic memory, and you remember places very well.

Like a middle ages cartographer, you're also very adventurous and curious about the world. In modern times, you would make a good non-fiction writer or scientist.



Um... yes on the first paragraph, and a solid NO on the second. Me? A Scientist? You must have mistaken me for my oldest brother...

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Okay... It's Kind Of Pretty

My front yard:



Looking down my street:



The tree behind my back deck:



Still... IMHO, it's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live here.

Monday Morning Meme and More!

I base most of my fashion sense on what doesn't itch. ~Gilda Radner



1. Does blogging make you fat? Do you find yourself sitting around and eating more since you started your blog? Or do you get so caught up in the whole blogging routine that you forget to eat?

Let me just make one thing very clear: I never forget to eat. I wish I did now and then, but food and I? We are tight. BFFs.

Now, it's not BLOGGING that makes me sit around on my rapidly increasing rear -- it's the LASR/WC website. Yeppers... that sucker is very labor intensive, and it's all computer based. So, yikes. One of the ladies who is participating in JaNoWriMo can write and walk on her treadmill. I need to figure out how to do something like that!!

2. The one topic I will not touch on my blog is __________. Why? What sorts of topics do you receive the most comments on? What sorts of topics do you receive the least number of comments on?

I don't talk about politics or religion -- too easy to get a flame war going on either of those things. I have very, very strong views on both subjects, but don't feel the need to share them here. And, typically I get most comments on topics of a personal nature (like my post, below, about Dakota passing her Good Citizen class, for instance). Least number? My guest bloggers. I guess it's because my readers don't KNOW the person, so unless something specific really resonates, they don't feel the need to comment.

3. Spring is coming. How is your wardrobe? What sorts of clothes do you usually wear in the spring? Where do you normally shop for your clothes? How successful are you in finding clothes for yourself?

I just bought four new long-sleeved T-shirts at the LL Bean Outlet's President's Day sale -- everything in the store was 30% off (be still my heart). Spring and winter clothing isn't all that different for me... temps here still stay cold until May, when I switch to summer clothes. The only real difference is the jacket I wear when I go outside (no more heavy winter coat, now I'll wear my lined windbreaker or fleece jacket).

I typically try to shop for my clothes at higher end stores, but from the sales rack. The fact is, you really do get what you pay for, and a T-shirt from WalMart is utterly different than a T-shirt from LL Bean. OTOH, the frugal side of me refuses to pay $29 for a T-shirt -- so, I wait, and I watch and I scoop them when they are $8 each (oh, yes I did!). I shop at Macys and Kohls and Lands End, but only from the sales rack. I truthfully don't even LOOK at the full-priced clothing.

Yes, I am cheap frugal and wise.

And, finding clothing for myself is very, very difficult because I really dislike the styles (and have for the last 5-6 years). I don't like tight clothes (and, dear heavens, do normal people look good in those skin tight shirts? The answer, folks, is NO.), and I have long legs and arms and no waist to speak of. So shirts? Finding them not tight with sleeves that actually go down to my wrists? HA. And pants? If they fit in the waist, they're baggy in the butt. If they fit my butt, they're so tight in the waist I can't breathe. And, I'm not even going to talk about the fact that most of them are practically Capri's on me.

Oh. Woe.

4. We should treat every day as a special gift - we’re alive, right? What made this past week special for you? (And if you’ve already talked about that special something on your blog, then think of something else - something little perhaps, but had a big impact on you or your loved ones).

These questions are so hard for me. I'm a naturally negative and depressed person, so it's not instinctive to look at the bright spots. Um... Hey, Dakota passed her Good Citizen test!! And, we didn't lose power last night, despite the fact the lights flickered and we lost our satellite signal. Those are good, right?

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

We did get whomped with snow... several inches of the heavy, wet, white stuff. And, yes, our lights flickered a bunch. I was a wreck. I don't know if I'll ever get over losing power for so long during the ice storm in December!

I woke up this a.m. around four and couldn't hear the hum of the fridge. I leaped up and checked the lights. On. Phew.

I don't take electricity for granted ANY MORE.

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

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Special: What, Where, When, Why, How with Celia Yeary

Today, we're having a special Guest on a different day -- Celia was originally scheduled for February 11th, but due to a snafu on my part, I double-scheduled that day! I offered to host Celia on the day of her choice, so here she is.

Please, give her a warm welcome!

What was the title of the first book you ever wrote (published or not?)

Texas Blue. This is a full-length novel and will be my second published one. I wrote Texas Blue out of boredom; I’d never written anything in my life, but I was trying to become better acquainted with WORD, and to do that, I began a story. It was not an intentional act—I just wrote one sentence after the other and soon, I had a novel. True, it needed tons of work, but I did it. However, I kept writing more and more novels, submitting a little, enough to realize I had no idea what I was doing. Several years after Texas Blue, I wrote All my Hopes and Dreams based on a hero and a heroine from that first novel.

When do you wake up in the morning?

Not until I want to or need to. But after years of working and teaching, one becomes accustomed to waking at a certain time, so even though I don’t work at a paying job, I still tend to awaken early.

Where would you spend your vacation if time and money were no object?

Wow, where would I NOT go, might be a better question. We’ve traveled quite a lot, and there are places I might go again. You cannot see everything on one vacation. The location would need to be some place without hot, humid weather, or cold, freezing temperatures, or high winds, or monsoons, or arid conditions. So, what does that leave? Aha! Greece. I would rent one of those little white villas on the mountainside overlooking the ocean, read and write part of every day; walk to the village in my sandals, wide-brimmed hat, and long flowing skirt, and buy bread, wine, and ingredients to make a Greek salad; and sit at a sidewalk café in the afternoons and people-watch. Yes, that sounds perfect. And since money is no object, I would stay there three months. And don’t call me.

Why does black absorb heat?

The question should be: do we care why black absorbs heat? Then the answer would be, yes, of course, we care, because you can literally burn up in a black car in the summertime. If you lived in Texas as I do, you know always to buy a vehicle with a light-colored interior, and preferably no leather seats. You could scorch your...self. How many people have you ever seen wearing a black swimsuit and sunbathing on a black towel? None. They know better; black absorbs heat and they would be very uncomfortable. If you were imprisoned in a black box, what would happen to you? See, you already know the answer. Now, that’s science put to a very practical use.

5. How good are you at playing chess?

Every bit as good as my five-year-old grandson. You see, we’re learning together. So far, we know the difference between black and white, the name of each piece, and how to place them on the board. After that, we go get ice cream and sit on the porch and watch the birds. I’m telling you, it’s a difficult game. The best strategy is to follow my advice: take it slowly, think about it for a while, then play checkers.

As a fifth generation Texan, I love to read and research all aspects of the state. Even though my degrees are in science and education, I find the history, the people, and our ancestors much more interesting topics, which provide endless characters and situations to create love stories.

Although my husband and I travel, no place on earth is more precious to my heart than our home in the Texas Hill Country, surrounded by acres of live oaks and whitetail deer. Romance novels are not my only form of reading material, but they are my favorite, and I wouldn’t leave home without several tucked away in my luggage. Being a member of Romance Writers of America has provided information, encouragement, and guidelines to help me on my exciting journey. What fun it is!

www.celiayeary.com
www.thewildrosepress.com
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/thebookspa

Saturday, February 21, 2009

SHE PASSED!

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. ~Anaïs Nin, Diary, 1969

Argue for your limitations and, sure enough, they're yours. ~Richard Bach, Illusions

You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them. ~Michael Jordan

It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves. ~Edmund Hillary


Sorry, it's a picture of a picture (I don't have a scanner) -- but look!!!! She PASSED!!



My nutso, crazy, seldom obedient dog is an AKC GOOD CITIZEN.

I'm shocked.

DD said, "I knew she'd pass."

Liar.

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

Friday, February 20, 2009

Is is Summer Yet?

In summer, the song sings itself. ~William Carlos Williams

It snowed last night. I took Dakota out at 2:30 a.m. and it was snowing. A lot. And had been snowing a lot for a while. Clearly I am not paying close enough attention to the weather reports, as I had no idea it was supposed to snow. Or perhaps I am in denial.

My local Agway has their seeds out. And the starter kits and peat pots and other horrible temptation. I don't have a greenhouse. I need one, oh-so badly, but I don't have one. So when I opt to start seeds, they end up taking over all the windows in the house. Since I usually start in March and can't plant until the end of May... it's a little crazy. Last year I chose to buy plants instead, and I probably will this year as well. But those little packets of seeds? They call to me.

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

Dakota has her AKC Canine Good Citizen test today. Excuse me while I laugh..... :::collects self:::
Okay. The simple fact is this: although she is a sweet, smart dog without a mean bone in her body -- she doesn't always behave. She's a baby with a bundle of energy and tons of goodwill toward nearly everyone.

So? "Sit for a greeting"? HAHAHAHAHAHA! Nope... she stands with her entire body wagging. She doesn't jump (much), but to keep all that excitement under control enough to SIT while she meets someone? Doesn't happen.

Then there's the ever popular "Heeling through a crowd". Note: that's a "crowd" of people AND dogs. So, uh... nope. She's supposed to not pay any attention to anyone, and simply stay calmly glued to my side. There are two flaws to this plan. 1. The 'heel' part. You all have been with me since the beginning and know that I have NOT been able to leash train this girl. 2. the "through a crowd" part. She's ridiculously friendly, and wants to say hello to EVERYONE.

The rest of the stuff is a no-brainer for her. She sits, lies down, stays, doesn't care if you handle her at all (look at her teeth, ears and paw? No problem... see: (forgive the sepia tones -- I have a budding professional photographer on my hands)



She doesn't have separation anxiety ... so that's all good. But the fact is, if she flunks one part, she flunks the test. There are no grades here -- it's Pass or Fail.

Ah, the joy.

Still... she's cute and even smiles for the camera:



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

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Winner, A Gility (lol), A Video

Kids: they dance before they learn there is anything that isn't music. ~William Stafford

First off... no one got the answer to DD's riddle, so she drew a name from the people who guessed, and DRU (!!) won her choice of book from the LASR Library Thing. Dru, take a look, choose your book and send me an email with your choice and address.

Now -- the moment you've all been waiting for: THE ANSWER. I know, I know, you've lain awake at night wondering what could possibly be gray and stuck to an evelope.

A SEAL! Yanno... a play on words, right? A seal (sticky gummy thing) and a seal: I thought it was clever.

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

We went to agility last night. I was exhausted when I got there, but this class is SO MUCH MORE FUN than the beginning class, I perked right up. There was no one there from our first class, though that may have been because it was snowing and they come from pretty far away. I'm only about 2 miles from the place (and, yes, I was still a nervous wreck driving in the stuff).

Anyway, I was really impressed with Dd. She did GREAT! Especially when you consider that every other person (save one: A little Yorkie named Miller) has been attending the Agility II class for a while and Dakota only has six weeks in the beginner class. In fact, the instructor said that Dakota has real skill and if we can just get her to run straight (you'll see what she means when you watch the video, below), and get over her fear of the see-saw, she could actually become an agility competitor.

Unfortunately, DD didn't take video of the one really, really good run we had -- I thought she did--but this video (with the possible exception of my rump in your face at the end) isn't bad. And you can see how much Dakota enjoys the class -- she just bounces through the course.



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

So, yeah, it snowed last night. But it wasn't TOO bad, only a few inches and it stopped around 2 a.m. (yes, I was up to know this), so the roads will be clear once the sun is up. As snow storms go, it was quite mild. Thank heavens. I'm really done with winter. Note: That doesn't mean I don't have to clear the driveway.

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

Coming Soon...

I have a post built, but am uploading a video that is taking FOREVER.

Check back soon.

Dakota says, "It's a video of ME!"


Breeann asks, "Why don't I ever get air time?"



:-)

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

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Short Note

The answer to yesterday's riddle and the winner of the contest will be posted tomorrow... I forgot today was Weds, and I already had my guest blogger. Go forth and read her answers to my silly questions!

What, When, Where, Why, How with Michelle Houston

Today we welcome author Michelle Houston to the fun! Reading her interview made me want to watch "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" all over again.

Now, on to the fun:

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I guess a better question is what didn't I want to be when I grew up. I wanted to be a doctor, a police officer, a firefighter, an astronaut, a lawyer, an artist, an architect, a landscape designer, a scientist; the list goes on and on. I finally decided on teacher around the fourth grade, and I have been working towards that ever since.

Now I am a non-traditional college student, and I am working my rear off to earn my degree in Biology education, with certification to also teacher Earth Science, Physics and Chemistry. A glutten for punishment, I know.

Oddly enough, growing up, the idea of being a writer never really crossed my mind. I always read books, and thought of the authors like some people see rock stars and actors. The authors had just short of demi-deity status to me. Sure, I scribbled in notebooks, like a lot of youngsters. I wrote poetry, essays and short stories. I ever had a few earn awards in school - but I never planned on publishing. That just kind of happened.

Where would you find a purple people eater?

I'm not sure where its lair is, but if you could find out when and where the Loch Ness monster hosts its monthly poker party, I am sure the Purple People Eater would be there. My guess, he'll be sitting between the Green Giant and the Easter Bunny. He'll probably be hitting on the Tooth Fairy while knocking back a grape soda too.

When is the best time to read one of your books?

Late at night, when the kids are all in bed, and you can snuggle up with a lover. Just make sure you have lots of whipped cream (or whatever strikes you fancy) and a pair of handcuffs handy.

Why do you love Monty Python (because you must, yes)?

Well, I haven't seen many of their works, but I have seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Scenes like this one just made the movie:

“King Arthur: I am your king.
Woman: Well I didn't vote for you.
King Arthur: You don't vote for kings.
Woman: Well how'd you become king then?
[Angelic music plays... ]
King Arthur: The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. THAT is why I am your king.
Dennis: [interrupting] Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.”


Quote from the Internet Movie Database. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071853/quotes)

This is another good one, from the same webpage.

“Bridgekeeper: Stop. Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three, ere the other side he see.
Sir Lancelot: Ask me the questions, bridgekeeper. I am not afraid.
Bridgekeeper: What... is your name?
Sir Lancelot: My name is Sir Lancelot of Camelot.
Bridgekeeper: What... is your quest?
Sir Lancelot: To seek the Holy Grail.
Bridgekeeper: What... is your favourite colour?
Sir Lancelot: Blue.
Bridgekeeper: Go on. Off you go.
Sir Lancelot: Oh, thank you. Thank you very much.
Sir Robin: That's easy.
Bridgekeeper: Stop. Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three, ere the other side he see.
Sir Robin: Ask me the questions, bridgekeeper. I'm not afraid.
Bridgekeeper: What... is your name?
Sir Robin: Sir Robin of Camelot.
Bridgekeeper: What... is your quest?
Sir Robin: To seek the Holy Grail.
Bridgekeeper: What... is the capital of Assyria?
[pause]
Sir Robin: I don't know that.
[he is thrown over the edge into the volcano]
Sir Robin: Auuuuuuuugh.
Bridgekeeper: Stop. What... is your name?
Galahad: Sir Galahad of Camelot.
Bridgekeeper: What... is your quest?
Galahad: I seek the Grail.
Bridgekeeper: What... is your favourite colour?
Galahad: Blue. No, yel...
[he is also thrown over the edge]
Galahad: auuuuuuuugh.
Bridgekeeper: Hee hee heh. Stop. What... is your name?
King Arthur: It is 'Arthur', King of the Britons.
Bridgekeeper: What... is your quest?
King Arthur: To seek the Holy Grail.
Bridgekeeper: What... is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
King Arthur: What do you mean? An African or European swallow?
Bridgekeeper: Huh? I... I don't know that.
[he is thrown over]
Bridgekeeper: Auuuuuuuugh.
Sir Bedevere: How do know so much about swallows?
King Arthur: Well, you have to know these things when you're a king, you know.”


How do you win at solitaire?

Win? You're supposed to actually win that game?

Wow … news to me.

Seriously though, I win more often when I play on the computer. Something about playing by turning all the cards by hand jinxes me. I have about a 20% win rate on the computer though. Not the best in the world, but I don't play that often. Generally just on road trips when it gets too dark to read a book.

Freecell is a better game for me.

Thanks for the questions. : ) It's always fun to do a silly interview.

And here's one more line from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

“Narrator: A year passed: winter changed into spring, spring changed into summer, summer changed back into winter, and winter gave spring and summer a miss and went straight on into autumn... until one day...”

Born to ride on the back of dragons, to journey among the stars in a ship traveling faster than light, or to dance the night away in the arms of a mysterious vampire, Michelle Houston willingly shares the worlds in her mind in an effort to bring them to life.

Writing everything from short and sweet stories, to hot and spicy tales of kink, from contemporary tales of romance to erotic romances featuring Greek Gods, vampires and were-creatures, she has crossed sexualities and has gone wherever her mental muse has guided her. A journey she has never regretted.

With stories either out, or coming out soon, from Renaissance E Books, Phaze, Whiskey Creek Press Torrid, Cleis Press, Alyson Books, and Pretty Things Press, to name a few, she has many more stories just waiting for their chance to be told.

Beyond that, she has a love of the natural world around us (except for insects, spiders, snakes, scorpions, and she reserves the right to add more at any time) and hopes to share the enjoyment of the Earth with her students once she finally earns her degree in secondary Biology/Earth Science Education. Currently she's attending college full time, and is expecting to graduate in December of 2010.

She's married to a wonderful man who supports all her writing endeavors (even when her characters scare him just a wee bit), and is the reason she is even published at all. Her daughter is too young to know just what mommy writes, but she knows she wants to write too when she grows up, and already has a good start on it.

In other words, she is an ordinary woman, with an imagination that is only held in bounds by how fast she can type.

Her website is:
www.michellehouston.com
Her blog:
http://eroticpen.blogspot.com
Her news groups:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/michellehouston/
Her writing group:
www.isleofphoenix.com

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Win a Book -- Today Only!

The kind of humor I like is the thing that makes me laugh for five seconds and think for ten minutes. ~William Davis

Yesterday my DD made up a joke, and Judy thought is was so good that she suggested I post it on here and see if any of y'all can get the right answer. The one who DOES will win their choice of book from the LASR Library thing (whose site appears to be down as I write this -- hopefully it'll come up soon).

I'm going to moderate comments for today only (though I will release ones that don't have a guess), so you can leave your guess here and I'll hold them until tomorrow morning. Everyone who gets the right answer gets a book, BTW. If no one does, I'll have DD choose a name randomly.

Here's the riddle (riddle me this...):

"What's gray and stuck on an envelope?"

Okay, put on your thinking caps and comment -- feel free to comment more than once if you have a brainstorm.

:-)

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

In other news, it appears I may be catching DD's bug. I woke up this a.m. with a wicked sore throat. I hope it's only a regular cold. Blech. I dosed myself to death with every natural remedy known to man (OJ, Echinacea, oregano oil, vitamin C, Cranberry extract, zinc...) and have my fingers crossed.

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

I worked on a short story yesterday. I really want to submit something every month, and I haven't yet this month, so decided to get off my duff and get something ready to send in. Luckily, I typically have 10 - 15 short stories started and then stuck in a file, so I always have something I can work on!

And, no, I'm not stopping work on my fantasy. I love it too much!

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

Test of the element
Your Result: Air
 

Thinking, and solving puzzles. You enjoy to discover new things. You are logical, and you try to understand many things. You are most likely good at math and geography. Most people related to air, are also good at interacting with other people, and enjoy to do so also.

Fire
 
Water
 
Earth
 
Test of the element
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Monday, February 16, 2009

A WINNER!!!!

I can't believe I nearly forgot to announce the winner of my contest.

This month, TORI LENNOX wins her choice of either any of my eBooks OR an eBook copy of "Best of Intentions" by Michelle Cary.

Tori... email me with your choice.

And, congratulations!!

I'll have a new contest posted shortly. Remember ALL COMMENTS earn an entry, so comment early and often *G*.

Monday Morning Meme and More...

Marriage means commitment. Of course, so does insanity. ~Author Unknown



1. What did you do over the weekend?

Well... you guys already know! LOL... Judy and I had a chat at the WC Yahoo group (with tons of prizes which are packed up and waiting for the post office to open). Judy was a trooper and hosted it on her own for the first 90 minutes or so while I took my DD to the urgent care. Otherwise it was pretty much same old, same old...

2. What was your first impression of your spouse or current partner? Now tell us about your first date with this person.

My VERY first impression? LOL... Um, I had towed my car over to the auto shop where he worked (it was my first full day in a new city and state and I needed the drive shaft put back in my car) and his boss and I were busy undoing the chains on the tow dolly. Next thing I know, I look over and he's there hooking them back up again! He tells me it's cuz I was distracting him (yeah... me in my sweats and no makeup, with "three days on the road" showing all over me).

Still, my poor car seemed to have lots of problems over the next couple of weeks (seriously... I wasn't trying to set things up), so we kept getting thrown together. Once, I walked in and he was blasting country music, and I loved to country dance so I asked him if he knew a place to go. He not only told me where, but told me when he'd be there next and drew me a map of the place with a big "X" where he "always" hung out.

Think that was a hint?

Still, it was amusing because I got there fairly early and found a table. I danced some and enjoyed the place. He finally showed up with a pile of friends. And every time I went to go where he was, he escorted someone to the dance floor. I'd wait until he got back and get up, and he'd be taking someone else! I finally gave up after doing that a few times. Eventually he finally noticed I was sitting a nearby table and came over. The rest was history.

3. How many lurkers do you think you have that read your blog, but never comment? Have you ever been successful at getting them to say hello? Do you mind the lurking? Are you a lurker? Or do you try and comment every time you visit?

I clearly have a lot of lurkers, because my stats tell me I have close to 100 visitors on average every day... but only 8-10 comments. I wish they'd say hi so I could check out THEIR blogs. C'mon folks... give me a shout out!

And, I seldom lurk. If I'm going to bother reading a blog with any regularity, I'm going to comment. I don't always comment the first time I'm there, but if I go back once or twice? You bet I'll say howdy.

4. Good friends is are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. (Judy stole my "coffee" answer... lol)

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

So... DD has made a miraculous recovery and is acting as though she never felt sick! LOL... she still has a little sniffle and the occasional cough, but for the most part, she's recovered. It amazes me, because she was truly all but on death's door on Saturday.

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

I'm NOT happy today is a holiday. Messes up my entire week. Seriously. I hate having my routine disrupted. What about you? Creature of habit or One Who Loves Change?

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

Sunday, February 15, 2009

DD and Lemons

It's bizarre that the produce manager is more important to my children's health than the pediatrician. ~Meryl Streep

First off, an update on DD (for those of you not on Facebook): It seems she has a nasty, icky, awful ... cold. It's full of mucus and drainage and is causing her "heavy head" feeling and the pain in her ears (which are clean and lovely according to the doc). She's using saline mist and mucinex and ibuprofen and moaning and groaning. She is not a good sick person. She is truly a drama queen. But, she's not terminal, lol.

Also, the doc said, "I'm not going to give you antibiotics." and I said, "Good, I don't want them." and she was pleasantly surprised because so many folks come in just wanting a prescription for them no matter what. I told her that my DD has never been on them and that I've only used them twice in my entire adult life (and then, only under extreme duress). I hate the things. I found the whole conversation interesting, however.

Unfortunately, DD being sick caused us to miss Dakota's last class before her AKC Canine Good Citizen test on Friday. She really needed the practice. I'm terribly afraid she's going to fail spectacularly.

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

It's only taken me NINE DAYS to respond to an award I received: the "Lemonade Award" (As in: "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."). Lynn Reynolds bestowed it upon me.




She said: A big lemonade award to Marianne Arkins, whose blog introduced me to the insidious joys of blogthing quizzes!

LOL...

I have so many favorite blogs, it's hard to choose only a few. But for ones that make me smile the most?

Melissa and Mary who almost always post LOLCats, which I love.

Amy with the photo essays on her life.

Brandy with her crazy cat pictures (cats do the darndest things).

Dru with her talk about New York, New York so I can live vicariously (and the pictures of her quilts).

Groovy with her crazy sense of humor. She seldom fails to amuse me.

There are so many more... but it's early on a Sunday so my brain is sleeping in.

Have a great day.

And, in honor of Lynn, here's a quiz!






Your Friendship Style is Independent



You love your friends, but you don't always need them as much as they need you.

You like to do your own thing. Sometimes this means taking a break from your friends and carving your own path.



As long as your friends give you the space you need, you are happy to be there for them whenever you can.

Your friends lean on you for advice and problem solving. You tend to be "the rock."



You and an Empathetic Friend: Go well together. Your Empathetic Friend understand and accepts you... but may be too needy sometimes.



You and a Gregarious Friend: Get along well, as long as your Gregarious Friend is happy to only see you occasionally.



You and another Independent Friend: Have a love / hate thing going on. When you agree, things are blissful. However, more often than not, you butt heads.



You and a Philosophical Friend: Are somewhat a matter of opposites attract. You're both thinkers, but you think very differently.



That's pretty close to right, lol...

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

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Plethora of Stuff

Sickness comes on horseback but departs on foot. ~Dutch Proverb, sometimes attributed to William C. Hazlitt

This will be short -- what we thought was a cold for my DD is getting worse and she is complaining of severe ear pain, so we'll be heading out the urgent care center when it opens soon.

I'm supposed to be co-hosting a chat with Judy at the WC Yahoo group, but depending on when I get back, she may be flying solo. We (or she ) will be giving away lots of stuff -- A LASR shirt, autographed books, gift certificates. It'll be fun. I hope I can be there.

Also, The Romance Studio CAPA Awards are announced today. They're giving away a $100 Amazon GC to one person who accurately guesses all the winners (or whoever gets closest) plus lots of great books from Berkley and Kensington. I'd love it if "Kitchen Matches" and "Miles From You" would win, but I'm up against some stiff competition. It always sound corny, but considering all the novels and novellas released in the previous 12 months, I'm really just thrilled they were nominated.

Remember, today is the last day to enter MY contest to win either one of my books or "Best of Intentions" by Michelle Cary. I'll hold the drawing tomorrow morning (or at least that's my plan).

In the meantime... though no one thought my dog and cat had anything in common, I beg to differ:




Do you see the resemblance? Also, if you look closely, you'll notice Dakota's tongue is sticking out. It made me laugh.

Have a good day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Agility

The feeling of sleepiness when you are not in bed, and can't get there, is the meanest feeling in the world. ~Edgar Watson Howe

We finished our beginning agility class last night -- Dakota did really well. She even took the see-saw (with some balking, but she did eventually go on it under her own steam). I meant to bring the camera and completely forgot (bad, bad M).

Next week, we start Intermediate Agility (where the teacher assures us we will be stuck for a while -- apparently it's the place where you learn most of how to really do agility with your dog. Beginning is really just to teach all the obstacles, except the weave poles, which come next class). The only bad part? It's a SEVEN O'CLOCK AT NIGHT.

Those of you who know me understand why that horrifies me. I'm up early, early and by the time 7:30 or 8:00 hits, I'm ready for bed.

It wouldn't be SO bad, except we have to memorize the courses. And occasionally, they can get complicated (Jump, jump, tunnel, jump, walk-it, chute, jump, ramp, jump jump, table -- you get the idea). My brain surely won't be up to that much challenge that late at night! Looks like I may have to schedule a siesta on Thursdays.

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

Anyway, I've got to get writing before I don't have time this a.m. -- so, have a great day!!

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




The Part of You That No One Sees is Troubled



You are compassionate, caring, and soothing.
You like other people to depend on you...
In fact, you don't feel right unless you are helping someone out.

Underneath it all, you feel the burden of everyone's problems.
Without your guidance, you fear that many people's worlds would fall apart.
You like to feel in charge, even if it brings you a lot of stress.



Okay, kinda...

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

Thursday, February 12, 2009

THAT'S Why!

Inside some of us is a thin person struggling to get out, but they can usually be sedated with a few pieces of chocolate cake. ~Author Unknown

Check out Tess Gerritsen's blog post: Writing books can make you fat.

HA.

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

DD got an intro to the Body Shop yesterday. Back when I was footloose and fancy free (read: SINGLE) I used to practically live in that place. I didn't realize how much I missed and how much I can't justify spending that much money on lotion now. LOL...

Still, we did buy some things. I paid for some, but DD had to pay for part. She only had $20, which doesn't go very far there. She really wanted the pink grapefruit body scrub, but didn't want to spend the money. I wanted the Satsuma body butter, but didn't want to spend the money.

We compromised by getting four bars of soap: two pink grapefruit and two satsuma. And DD bought exfoliating gloves (to use in lieu of the body scrub).

But, man-oh-man... if I won the lottery? I'd go to town!!

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

It's raining. In mid-February. A couple of weeks ago, we had near record-breaking cold temps and tons of snow. Today it's raining. And then the temps are supposed to plunge again over the weekend. Fun, fun, fun...

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

I'm working like crazy on my fantasy... I really need to update my word count on the side bar over there ------>

It's been great, but I don't know if I have enough story to get to my goal of 65k. I guess we'll see. I'm feeling like I only have 15 - 20k left, give or take, which will give me about 50k. That's not good.

I did think of one thing I need to add in to what I've already written. I need my heroine to get a little training in using her gift. She's pretty much self-taught at this point, but I'm going to need her to be more controlled in a situation that's coming up, and it won't work if she hasn't gotten at least SOME help.

Hey, did I ever upload the collage here? I don't think I did -- I think I only put it at the JaNoWriMo blog.

Check it out:



It's a really intense story. Very unlike me. I wonder where it's all coming from?

Anyway, I still have 45 mins to write, so I'm off!

Have a great day.

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

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Welcome Guest Blogger: Annette Fix

Annette visits us via the WOW Women on Writing Blog Tour -- and I'm thrilled to have her. She even tells you how to obtain a free copy of her book in eFormat, so read through the post and find out how! My review of the book follows.

The Author Promotion Circus is in Town – Start Juggling Now!
By Annette Fix

Authors had it easy in the days before the internet: launch a new book, attend a cocktail party where the publishing elite toast your sheer genius, then return to your creative bubble and cash the sizable royalty checks when they begin rolling in.

Fast-forward to 2009 and you can see that Web 2.0 has thousands (maybe millions?) of writers juggling their online promotion like manic clowns in a cyber crack parade. And I’m doing everything short of learning to play the tuba, just working to get the word out about my book: The Break-Up Diet: A Memoir.

It’s a noisy world out there. So, like every writer should, I’ve had to make sure my book has its fair share of real estate in cyberspace.

The Website
The first thing I did was commission an elaborate static website.
It had:

* a video introduction welcoming readers
* an audio of me reading a chapter from the book
* two chapter excerpts
* a fun “How You Know You’re on The Break-Up Diet” quiz
* downloadable companion e-book for Surviving a Break-Up
* a break-up story forum
* reading group questions
* tabs for my bio, about the book, upcoming events, speaking topics, my blog, a shop, and links to previous interviews

Unfortunately, it was impossible to update without a webmaster (neither time nor cost effective) and it never showed up on the first page of Google search results for “The Break-Up Diet.” The results did show blogs that had mentioned my book by name, occupying the top positions.

So, I scrapped the static site and created a blog-based site on Wordpress with a custom CSS template. I’ll eventually transfer more of the fun elements of the old website to the new blogsite, but for now, I’m happy it ranks as the 1st hit in a Google search. Proof that search engine spiders love blogs (because the content is tagged, keyword rich, and frequently updated).

The Networking

The next step I took was to get connected in social networks: MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Twittermoms. There are also great reading related networks: Shelfari, Library Thing, GoodReads. New niche social networks crop up every day. A couple caught my interest: Book Marketing and Speaking. The options are endless, but I wanted to join networks where my audience gathers, and a network or two where I can meet other writers, bloggers, etc.

The Events

Meeting and chatting with readers online is great, but I really enjoy the in-person events. I’ve had reading and signing events at Barnes & Noble stores locally and in my region—and was invited back to one for a pre-Valentine’s Day event this Friday. I’ve promoted my book in booths at The L.A. Times Festival of Books and the West Hollywood Book Fair.

Because my memoir contains themes of love, loss of love, aspirations, and balance of motherhood and self, it has lead to conversations with readers who share their stories with me because the core of my story resonated with them. Many women I’ve met and spoken with at my events email updates about their relationships. And, to me, nothing beats truly connecting with readers.

The Checklist

The number of ways an author can promote her book online is staggering. I’m still working my way through my personal list. Here’s a little peek inside my marketing plan:

* Contact reading groups via sites like Reader’s Circle and MeetUp, offering to visit with them in-person or via Skype. Post reading group questions to sites like Reading Group Guides.

* Register to blog directories like BlogHer, participate in blog carnivals, and take the book on a blog tour (like this one).

* Use the Amazon features like Listmania and So You’d Like To guides, and set up the RSS feed from the book blog to the Amazon sales page.

* Post podcast excerpts or commentary on audio sites like iTunes or Podcast Alley.

* Create vidcasts of commentary and/or interviews, and post a book trailer on video sites like YouTube.

* Do author interviews on Blog Talk Radio.

Enough about me. I’d love to hear what promotions have worked for you. What’s on YOUR online marketing agenda?

About the Author: Annette Fix is a freelance editor, a publishing industry and single parenting speaker, Senior Editor of WOW! Women On Writing, and the author of The Break-Up Diet: A Memoir.

Visit her writing blog at
Annette’s Paper Trail. She enjoys hearing from her readers and other writers. You can email her directly at annette[at]annettefix[dot]com.

For the length of her blog tour, Annette will be giving away free digital copies of her memoir. If you’d like a copy, send an email to
promo@thebreak-updiet.com, please put “Stuff That Make Me Crazy” in the subject line.

Review: The Break-Up Diet

I'm hosting author Annette Fix on my blog today, and was excited to receive a copy of her book, The Break-Up Diet, a Memoir.

Annette has a truly crazy sense of humor, so you can only imagine how much I enjoyed reading this book. I admit, it took me a little while to get used to the diary-style entries done in sometimes seemingly unrelated vignettes. Each one could nearly have stood alone as a "Life in These United States" type story, but were interlinked by the thread of sadness at the loss of the man she thought was the love of her life.

Cleverly written, the book tells the story of how Annette slowly recovered from being unexpectedly dumped (via PHONE no less) by the man she thought she'd be marrying. I loved her chapter titles -- "The Wishbone's Connected to the Guy Bone", or "Does Mapquest Give Life Directions?" and "Landscaping and Other Acts of Foreplay".

We've all been through the types of things she describes to effectively -- the dumping and heartbreak. The depression and angst. Pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps and moving on as best we can. The fix-ups. The failures. The frustration.

The author is able inject irony and humor into nearly every part of her recovery and even includes recipes for each section like "Doubt Cake" and "Envy Pie".

If you're looking for a light, fun trip through someone else's break-up, break-down and recovery, I can't recommend a book more. My time is tight, and it usually takes me quite a while to read a book these days, but I finished this one in only two nights: record time. It's an easy read, but one I found myself returning to, now and then, to re-read little bits of her life.

Help yourself to a bit of the Break-Up Diet. I think you'll enjoy the stay.

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

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tightwad Tuesday: Take Care of It

A man builds a fine house; and now he has a master, and a task for life: he is to furnish, watch, show it, and keep it in repair, the rest of his days. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I've got a great suggestion on how to save money: take care of the things you have!!

Save on paint: don't let your kids draw or put stickers on their walls.

Save on clothes: Have two sets -- play/work and regular stuff.

Save on furniture: Keep it clean and don't abuse it ("No more monkeys jumping on the bed!).

Save on home repairs: Regular maintenance of anything and everything will keep you from having to replace it, which is a far more costly endeavor.

I've mentioned in the past that my DH is a bit of a neat freak. I've had to adapt my clutterbug self in order to promote at least some harmony in our house. I'm also a bit of a freak about order and organization, and so my heart sang when I discovered FLY LADY.

Some of you have most likely seen her site or her books. She is a woman after my own heart (though I will say that I don't wear shoes in the house, only slippers or socks, or I go barefoot). She has a control journal that tells you when to clean certain areas of your house, and hints on making it easy to KEEP the place clean.

I'll say it again: if you take care of your things (and this includes cleaning them and putting them away properly), you won't have to replace them as often.

Check out Fly Lady. See what you think. I'm telling you -- her Fling Boogies are addictive.

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

A general note: Tightwad Tuesday is going to change to a once a month posting after today. I should probably think of a new name... hmm... any ideas?

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




You Are Not Messy



You're so clean, people have accused you of being a clean freak!

You like things tidy, organized, and smelling fresh.

Messes drive you crazy, especially when you didn't make them.

It's hard for you to live with a slob - or someone who leaves their dishes in the sink.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Monday Morning Meme and More

The finest clothing made is a person's skin, but, of course, society demands something more than this. ~Mark Twain



1. How many coats do you own? Do have a good coat? Casual coat? Summer jacket? etc. Do you wear coats very often? Or do you have a tendency to leave your coat at home whenever you go out? What is your favorite coat? Why is this one your favorite? Care to model it for us?

I have way too many, which is ironic, because I usually only wear one. I have a down SF 49ers jacket that I really never wear because it's TOO warm, but I can't part with it. I have a navy peacoat that is so completely worn out, but I LOVE it, and can't part with it until I find another one exactly the same (probably not going ot happen, but a girl can hope). I have a long down jacket that I bought when I was pregnant because it had a belt and would fit preggo or not -- and I do wear this for shoveling snow, but not any other time because it's too hard to get in and out of the truck while wearing it. I won't list all the others, but suffice it to say that I don't go coat-less.

But, man, I love that peacoat.

And, yes, I wear coats and/or jackets all the the time -- we have winter for 9 months here...

2. You’ve learned a thing or two about this thing we call blogging. Tell us one thing you don’t recommend to other bloggers. Tell us one thing you do recommend to other bloggers.

Don't: get too controversial, unless that's what your blog is for. I stay away from religion and politics for that reason, despite having pretty strong opinions in both areas.

Do: Blog regularly. If not daily than every other day. If you don't blog regularly, people won't show up. I like people (*G*), so I blog daily.

3. Is cursive writing a lost art? Should good penmanship be taught? Tell us about your handwriting - good / bad? Do you think your children have good handwriting (given their appropriate age, of course).

YES good penmanship should be taught. Sheesh... it's not like we can do EVERYTHING on the computer. My handwriting is actually quite good... big and loopy and easy to read. My DD's? Not so much. Her curriculum this year is on the computer and didn't come with a penmanship supplement. I noticed that her writing was getting worse, so I bought her a penmanship book recently to help her improve.

4. Have you ever struggled with infertility? If you haven’t, or if it wasn’t the hardest thing you’ve ever had to go through — what was?

Struggled? Not exactly. Took me forever to get pregnant, but that's partly because I had REALLY long cycles, so I only had a chance once every two months. The hardest thing? To be honest, I'm not prepared to address that here. Sorry...

But other difficult things? Being 3000 miles away from my mom. Losing my dog. Missing my best friend -- I haven't seen her in seven years. Hating where I live. Still, as "bad" things go, there are people who are far worse off than I am.

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

It got into the 40s yesterday, with amazingly high winds. I'm shocked at how much snow melted... I forget, while I'm suffering through the winter, how quickly spring arrives here. It's not here yet, don't get me wrong. We'll most assuredly have more snow. But when it starts warming up here, it warms up fast and with incredible results (results called "MUD SEASON" here for a good reason). In no time at all, my crocus' and daffodils and hyacinth will be poking their heads out of the ground and blooming like crazy.

I.
Can't.
Wait.

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

I finished Mary's "Hot Shot" last night -- one of the best books I've read in a while. It was already reviewed by someone else at LASR, so I'll just say this: it was well written, well edited (except one "till" vs. "'til" ... one of my personal pet peeves), well plotted and exciting.

Truthfully, I do wish it had been longer -- but that's something I'll say about every book I enjoy because I'm not ready to leave the characters. I did have the villain pegged, but it didn't affect my enjoyment of the book in any way. The H/H were good, strong protags with all kinds of issues (which made them interesting) and the hero was the kind of guy any woman would fall in love with. (Aside to Mary: I LOVED the scene in the hotel with the condom machine.)

So... going to have to go get "Where's There's Smoke" and enjoy Mary all over again.

Okay, gotta go write. I'm so far behind on JaNoWriMo! But... not for long.

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

Sunday, February 08, 2009

We Interrupt This Blog...

Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing. ~William James

DD has fallen in love with "Enchanted" and we borrowed the soundtrack from the library. Is it warped of me that I LOVE this one best?



Check out the lyrics:

Come my little friends
As we all sing a happy little working song
Merry little voices clear and strong
Come and roll your sleeves up
So that we can pitch in
Cleaning crud up in the kitchen
As we sing along

And you’ll trill a cheery tune in the tub
As we scrub a stubborn mildew stain
Lug a hairball from the shower drain
To the gay refrain
Of a happy working song

We’ll keep singing without fail
Otherwise we’d spoil it
Hosing down the garbage pail
And scrubbing up the toilet
Ooh!

How we all enjoy letting loose with a little
La-da-da-dum-dum
While we’re emptying the vacu-um
It’s such fun to hum
A happy working song
Oo-ooh
A happy working song

Oh, how strange a place to be
Till Edward comes for me
My heart is sighing
Still, as long as I am here
I guess a new experience
Could be worth trying
Hey! Keep drying!

You could do a lot when you got
Such a happy little tune to hum
While you’re sponging up the soapy scum
We adore each filthy chore
That we determine
So friends even though you’re vermin
We’re a happy working song

Singing as we fetch the detergent box
Or the smelly shirts and the stinky socks
Sing along
If you cannot sing then hum along
As we’re finishing our happy working song!


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

We'll return to our regularly scheduled blog post tomorrow :-)

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

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Jazzed!

"Anyone can dabble, but once you've made that commitment, your blood has that particular thing in it, and it's very hard for people to stop you." — Bill Cosby

"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire." — Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch


Last night I started thinking--really thinking--about the story WW rejected that I wanted to lengthen into a novel. I opened up my Character Interview and started... I didn't get far with my heroine, Lynette. But my hero, Calvin? He was gabby. He talked and talked and talked. He's a HOOT. I love him. I suppose I should love all of my heroes, but I really think Cal is going to weasel his way into first place in my heart.

And then, scene ideas started pouring in. And I got both of them gainfully employed (the heroine's job really surprised me!) and decided that my wobbly kitty from yesterday deserved a spot in the story. So, Cal now has a kitty named Weeble. The ideas wouldn't stop, so I grabbed a notepad and sat in bed writing, and writing, and writing. I even got the Darkest Moment (for me, this is always the cause of The Break-Up).

The short story was entitled "Perilous Love", and I'll keep that as a working title, but I don't love it for the story itself. I'm going to do more brainstorming -- I want to get a rough outline (dear heavens... I never outline, but for some reason this story is asking me to make one). I want to make sure I have plenty of scenes (I usually only start with 15 or so... I'd like to have at least twice that) before I start. Because, when I start writing, I don't want to stop.

Yes, I'm excited.

Woot.

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RE: All the questions about Dakota from yesterday...

I have my fingers crossed that the probiotics are working. I kept her on the icky food and the meds for a few days, then starting introducing new, better food to her (1/3 new food to 2/3 old food). It didn't seem to upset her tummy. So, I gave her what was left of her treat ball (I LOVE THESE -- They keep her busy for hours), and that didn't seem to give her the runs (as an aside, I had an IM to Judy yesterday that read: Is it wrong to get so excited that my dog has solid poop?).

Unfortunately, I'd only purchased a small bag of the new food, and when I went to buy more, I found that it's a really hard line to find. It's Wellness, which I love and recommend to anyone who will listen, but this particular kind -- I'm using venison and brown rice--tough. So, I've opted to switch to something I can find almost anywhere: Nutro Natural choice Venison and Brown Rice. She started on it yesterday (still mixed with her old, icky food), and is tolerating it so far.

Bored yet?

Amy asked if Dakota is quieting down at all. Not really. We're just making sure we keep her as active as possible. DD takes the dog outside at least 2 times a day to go sledding for 30 mins or more. And, considering Dakota runs the trail twice for DD's once, she gets a lot of running in. BUT, on the days where she doesn't get that kind of activity? She still knows how to get into plenty of trouble. My darling dog, Bailey, didn't really start to calm down until she was three, so I'm pinning my hopes on 9/22/10.

RE: Agility Class. If you want to see some dogs who are really good at agility, Animal Planet is showing the AKC Agility Championships tonight at 8 p.m. On my TiVo, it just showed up as "dog show". I tried searching by name, but ended up browsing by channel to find it. It's so much fun to watch. I recommend it.

Hopefully, someday Dd will be that good. We have plans to invest in agility equipment for spring/summer/fall. I think it will be good for all of us -- I'm as tired as she is when we're done with class!

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You Are a Calculator



No matter what someone tells you, you're likely to focus on facts and data.
You're a highly analytic person. You are only concerned with what you can know for sure.

You look at situations objectively, and you have no problem approaching problems from multiple angles.
You would make a good analyst or investment banker. You are confident enough to make tough calls and hard decisions.



AnalyticAL, yes. Any job requiring math? No...

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Friday, February 06, 2009

Cats and Warmer Weather

Your cat will never threaten your popularity by barking at three in the morning. He won't attack the mailman or eat the drapes, although he may climb the drapes to see how the room looks from the ceiling. ~Helen Powers

Was checking out the weather for the next few days, because Piglet on Sarita's blog mentioned the "S" word.

I was relieved to see that, not only are the NOT predicting snow... but it's warming up! Yesterday was so bitterly cold, I couldn't spend two minutes outside. It was the kind of cold that literally takes your breath away. DD and Dd went outside to sled and were back in after only five minutes! Today should be in the 20's, and by Sunday it'll be in the 40's!!!!!

Spring is just around the corner. I can feel it.

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Last night was agility for Dakota. She did AWESOME. Of course, the see-saw and the "walk-it" weren't there, just a panel (which I thought she'd refuse, but she didn't). The panel is a tipi like structure about seven feet at the tippy-top. It has 1x1 boards attached about every twelve inches. It's steep, it's tough for the dogs to scrabble up and not tumble down the other side. The can't jump up too high, or jump off too soon -- the bottom two feet (or so) is painted yellow, and the dog has to touch the yellow on both sides. The dog needs a running start to this, and I had Dakota on-leash for the first try, thinking I'd have to drag her up it.

Nope. She dashed right up like she'd been doing it for years.

Next week is her last beginning agility class. The instructor wants Dd to go into intermediate, but I'm on the fence. Yes, I think she can do it, but it's at 7 o'clock -- which to most of you sounds early enough, but I typically go to bed by 8:30 or so. I'll have to give it some thought.

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We saw a little kitty at Pet Quarters yesterday that reminded my of a kitty I used to have. She's tiny and black and she wobbles. I asked the lady there about her and was told that this baby was found at three days old inside an OPERATING wood chipper. She had a head injury, so her balance isn't very good, but otherwise she's a sweetie. It does make me wonder if the rest of her litter was there and if someone put them there on purpose or if the mama thought it was a safe place for them.

If I wasn't married to my DH, I'd have a house full of pets.

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Going to go now and write... I've been slacking a bit this week and haven't made my 1000 daily words. So, I need to get moving and play catch-up.

Anyone have any exciting plans for the weekend?

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Already Behind and I Just Started

The problem with troubleshooting is that trouble shoots back. ~Author Unknown

This morning, I had all sorts of clever things to talk about, but I got derailed when I discovered that the LASR website was acting hinky -- some pages will load, others won't, some pages load text but not images... well, you get the idea.

So, I jumped on live chat with my webhost and ended up online with them for a good thirty minutes. I'm still not certain the hinkiness is fixed, as the tech support person had me update the servers that my domain pointed to, and that can take 24 - 72 hours to update completely across the 'net.

So, if you try to get on to it today, and can't, that's why. Have you been reading my author spotlight entries? Those you CAN access, because they're being hosted on blogger.

In any case, with all the hullaballo, I'm behind.

Oh, and just a note to tech support people everywhere: Calling someone by name, constantly -- it sounds really, really condescending.

I'd ask a question and get: Yes, Mariane or No, Marianne ... over and over. Drove me wonky.

**sigh**

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Last night I had this dream and it was a little scary until somehow, in the middle of it, my more conscious brain thought -- "This would be a great plot for a romantic suspense novel" and then starting taking notes. It was the strangest feeling to have this movie playing in my head, and an observer watching.

Am I weird? Does anyone else do that? I can't be alone in my oddness, can I?

But, I was terribly disappointed when I woke up before it was over. Guess I'll have to make up my own ending.

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I had a neighbor buy a copy of "One Love for Liv" last week -- and she called me yesterday. Said, "I got home and started reading, and didn't put it down until I was done. My husband had to cook dinner! I was totally invested in the characters and I want to know what happens next. Are you writing a sequel?"

That was my warm fuzzy for the day.

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I know I had more, but I can't think of it. Next time, I'll make notes. Happy Thursday!

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You Are "Time After Time"



If you were transported back to the 80s, your life would be all about reflecting.
You're a serious, earnest person - and you couldn't help but think a lot about how things were back then.
You'd spend a lot of your time writing, researching, and learning.
You would either become a social anthropologist - or a crazy guru with a knack for predicting the future.



A crazy guru! That would be fun...

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