Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Difference Between Men and Women

Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then. ~Katharine Hepburn

Besides THAT.

Yesterday, my DH came home with a new phone for our kitchen. He was thrilled! It was sturdy and functional and he couldn't understand why I wasn't happy with his purchase. Why? Because it looks like this:

Yes, folks... DH bought a shop phone for use in the main part of our house. When I complained that it was ugly, he kept saying it was sturdy and functional. According to him, our other phone was a cheap piece of junk (that had, oddly, lasted us a good five years) and he didn't want a cheap piece of junk again.

Ah. So our only option is a bright orange, rubber shop phone. Now I understand.

:::head desk:::


Today is Dd's agility competition. Originally, I'd planned to lead her through both runs because she listens to me better and I'm competitive -- i.e. I WANT TO WIN. But, *sigh*, it's for FUN, so I'm letting DD run her once. She all but came out of her skin with excitement when I told her. I hope the dog does fantastically for her.

I'll try to take videos. I'm not sure where we'll be sitting or how things will be set up. Wish us luck!


Saturday, May 30, 2009

After the Rain...

God in His wisdom made the fly
And then forgot to tell us why.
~Ogden Nash, "The Fly"

....come the mosquitoes! LOL... DH decided to mow last night after the rain stopped (yes, it was still wet, no he didn't care), so was out about 7ish and I swear he was followed by clouds of bugs. I suppose they didn't eat much the past few days while the rain fell and were making up for lost time. Yikes!

Was reading Jen's blog yesterday (see, Jen... told you I was lurking, lol) and she's going to start doing Local Love Fridays -- she'll be highlighting small, locally owned businesses in her area. And, I thought that was a cool idea. So, although my local area isn't as big as Ann Arbor, I'm going to give it a try. I'll consider all of NH my "local area". That's fair, right? I mean, I'll bet NH isn't that much bigger than Ann Arbor, lol. My DD finds it amusing that the population of L.A. is higher than our entire state's.

In any case, maybe some of you might be interested in doing the same. In this sluggish economy, it helps to give the little guys a boost.


Last weekend, Judy and I took a little time off over at the LASR/WC site -- we did was was urgent, but let the rest sit. Neither of us has done that in... um... ::scratches head:::... forever?

And now I realize why. Why, when I only took three days "off", do I feel three weeks behind? LOL... So, if I haven't had time to comment on your blogs, that's why. I'm reading when I can, and will be by the moment I have time to breathe.

So, I'm working this weekend. What are YOU up to?


You Are Thick-Skinned

People may not always love you, but that's totally fine.

You're happy with who you are, and you don't really crave outside approval.

You love yourself, and that's the most important thing. You have high self esteem.

And because you don't care what other people think, they tend to like you a lot!

LOL... this is about half right...


Friday, May 29, 2009

Growing Webbed Feet

Oh, wouldn't the world seem dull and flat with nothing whatever to grumble at? ~W.S. Gilbert

We've been under dreary, rainy skies for three days now. The dog is bouncing off the walls and, to be honest, so am I. I hate not being about to get outside and look at my gardens, weed, tinker, walk... this morning, I'd thought we were supposed to have clear skies, but it's still raining.


Rain is so depressing for me.

Not to mention, if it keeps raining, my poor DH won't have a chance to decompress from work -- he does that by going out on the boat, or at worst, having a nap on the deck in the sunshine. Please let it clear!!

Yesterday, it was so cold here I had to turn my heat on. At the end of MAY. It was 59 degrees in my house when I finally gave in... brrrrr....

What happened to summer?

How's the weather in your neck of the woods?


I wanted to check the rue where our swallowtail had laid eggs, but haven't been able to get out there. According to the information I found, eggs hatch in approximately 5 days, but in colder weather it can take a little longer. It's been over a week now since I watched her lay her eggs, but with this stupid weather I haven't been able to check if we have our first butterbabies of the year.


You Are Highly Intelligent

You are a perceptive, observant, and reflective person.

It's easy for you to get lost in your mind. You think amazing thoughts.

You are curious about the world. You are inventive and quite visionary.

You can get really engrossed in things. You tend toward the obsessive side.

Pretty much...


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Agility and Writing

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. ~John Ruskin

So, Dakota has her first agility competition this weekend and last night in class she was NOT listening. She didn't make her contacts, refused to do the tire -- I hope it was because it rained all day and she had the wiggles. She's starting to listen to DD much better now, though, so I may let DD take Dakota on one of her two runs on Sunday. Haven't decided, and I haven't told DD yet but we'll see how it goes. Here's her best run from last night (and you get to see me makeup free... dear heavens).


It's going to rain all day today, too. Whee... Still, we needed it, but GAH does it make it tough with the dog! I really need a treadmill for ALL of us. Bet my garden is happy. Maybe I'll brave the weather and take a look at it later on today.


Have an idea for a short story I think I'm going to write and submit. Also, I worked on Camilla's story the past couple of days -- I'm changing a little about why Jed (the hero) is there and what the conflict will be for them. I need to up Camilla's need for roots, and increase Jed's footloose and fancy-free attitude for starters. This is the story with the rat, BTW, and I think I'll err on the side of caution and NOT include his POV. But, really ... I bet I can make each of you fall in love with him a little, even if you think you wouldn't. *G*

I haven't revisited this story in a long, long time and had forgotten how much I enjoyed it. With the changes I'm making in the "why" that has Jed there, I don't have to worry so much about his injury and that will make writing this a lot easier.

Maybe I can even get it finished and submitted soon... I hope so. I'm getting itchy.


You Are Rain

You are dark and dramatic. You tend to be a bit over the top.

You have strong emotions and they can change quickly. You are tempestuous.

You are wild and unpredictable. You tend to overwhelm and surprise people.

While you are aggressive, you are also a homebody. You don't really care for physical activities.

Dark and dramatic... yep, that's me! LOL...


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What, When, Where, Why, How with Vivian Arend

Welcome to the rather sneaky and clever, Vivian Arend!

What would you prefer: a hurricane or a tornado?

This took a little research:

A Hurricane contains vodka, grenadine, gin, dark rum, light rum, amaretto, triple sec, grapefruit juice and pineapple juice.

A Tornado contains whiskey, rum, tequila, vodka, coca-cola, sugar and three ice cubes. Seriously, the recipe said –three- ice cubes. I wonder if it’s no longer called a Tornado if you use four? Maybe it turns into an ‘Iceberg’ or something.

I would have to say that right now I’d prefer the Hurricane. The fruit juice would make it seem like it was healthy, right? I mean, it’s just a glorified breakfast drink, not naughty at all…


When do you wake up in the morning?

When I need to. That means a ton of different answers!

If there’s a huge dump of snow overnight then my family is out of bed and on the road to the local ski hill to be the first people to make tracks in the huge piles of powder.

If it’s summer time I wake up once I’ve headed outside and caught the sun on my face. I may only be on the deck of the house or already dressed and headed somewhere but the air and the sun are the wakeup call.

Some days when it’s rainy I don’t feel like I ever wake up.

Where does the snow go when it melts?

There’s a tiny little crack in the ground that has a trapdoor leading into Fae. All snowmelt specifically heads out this little gateway and vanishes from earth. You see snow doesn’t like to simply rejoin the atmospheric cycle and end up dropped in some ocean or river because that would be too far away from the mountains. And potentially far too hot, if by chance they got picked up on a southbound wind.

Upon arriving in Fae the individual snowflake fairies dash off for a spot of ice tea and then report for back for duty at the Snow Dispensary for another chance to descend on earth in a brand new and very elegant snow outfit.

Why shouldn’t a heroine be afraid when a wolf with lavender eyes has her cornered in a cave?

He took another step toward her, his eyes glittering and she swore in the pale light of the cave the dark orbs faded to lavender.

She fought back the urge to run. “Look, I know it might seem unusual, but maybe we can just… wait out the storm together. I’ll sit over here,” she inched toward the sidewall of the cave, “and you just stay over there. Far over there.”

The wolf stared at her for a minute and she swore that it had understood her.

Until it paced forward again not stopping until it was directly in front of her. Her knees shook and she bit her lip to stop the cry of fear that wanted to escape. Her back pressed to the wall there was nowhere to run.

The wolf sniffed, hard, and then turned in a circle, settling in a warm pile on top of her feet.

Marianne slid slowly down the wall until she sat curled up in a small ball. Heat from the wolf’s body covered her. The sounds of the storm outside echoed in the cave but here everything was calm. Peaceful. Slowly her heart rate dropped to something near normal as she warily watched her new roommate.

He lifted his head and she swore that he winked at her before tucking his nose under her leg and falling asleep.

How would you feel if you discovered you had the back of your skirt caught in the back of your panties and your assets were showing?

Where am I walking and how many Hurricanes have I already consumed to get into such a state? I would feel, in order:

1. Very surprised that I was wearing a skirt. This is the exact reason that I never like the silly things…

2. Pleased that my Mama taught me to always wear clean undies. Even more pleased that I choose to go a step further and insist they not only be clean but pretty.

3. Glad that I have an active imagination and can pretend that it never happened, uh uh, no sir, that was someone else’s tooshie people were staring at a minute ago.

Vivian was playing hooky the day they taught about the importance of getting a "real" job; she was hiding out at the local library rereading everything for the fifth time. Since then she's become a Jack-of-all-trades with a job experience list only slightly smaller than the average phone book.

She's hiked, biked, canoed, kayaked and camped throughout Canada, seven European countries and twelve states, including Hawaii and Alaska. All these adventures have now become settings for her overactive muse to wander through.

Vivian lives in Western Canada with her longtime sweetie, two wonderful kids and a dog that looks like a stuffed toy.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New Look

Okay... done messing with the template for now. What think you? And... does it feel like it takes longer to load?

A Review: Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading

“Some who have read the book, or at any rate have reviewed it, have found it boring, absurd, or contemptible; and I have no cause to complain, since I have similar opinions of their works, or of the kinds of writing that they evidently prefer.” - JRR Tolkien

“Prolonged, indiscriminate reviewing of books is a quite exceptionally thankless, irritating and exhausting job." - George Orwell

I don't normally do full blown reviews here, but today I am and I'll explain why.

A few weeks back, Charity Tahmaseb (published author *G*) sent me an ARC of her book. I was going to read and review it for the LASR site in preparation for the spotlight she and Darcy were having.

At the very last moment, I decided to let one of my other reviewers review it and bought her a Kindle copy. She did so here.

I passed off the book because I wanted to make sure she received a completely unbiased review. I feel like I can provide one, but would I really know?

But now... YOU guys get to hear me gab about it instead, because ... I really did enjoy the book.

Charity turned me on to YA a little while back when I was bemoaning my disenchantment with the romance genre. She gave me some unusual suggestions like "I Am the Messenger" by Marcus Zuzak (a fabulous book -- even my mom read it in ONE day and loved it), and got me to start browsing the YA section of the library.

So, when I had a chance to read "The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading" I was thrilled. And I wasn't disappointed. The book contains a wide variety of kids-- geeks, jocks, cheerleaders, average joes--and they all have their place in the book. Each character was clearly drawn from our H/H (Bethany and Jack) down to the freshmen wrestling team (whom I loved!!).

The plot isn't a new one, but Darcy and Charity made it fresh. Geek girl tries out for cheerleading on a whim and, shockingly she makes it! Now what? No one quite knows what to do with her. Her geek friends feel betrayed by her defection, the popular girls snub her and she's lost her place. Where does she fit in?

But then... be still my heart... the guy she's been crushing on forever TALKS TO HER. Maybe there is something to this cheerleading gig after all.

Still, even though she can now make it through the gauntlet (what's that? Read it to find out!) relatively unscathed, that doesn't mean the popular girls aren't out to make her life miserable. And she suddenly has to juggle worries and responsibilities she never had to before, such as: what do you do when someone dumps beer all over you?

The book addresses so many important things: underage drinking, the importance we place on external looks (and how that affects the girls), sex, peer pressure. It doesn't glamorize any of them, but presents them realistically and without apology. Bethany is a good example for girls because, while she is frequently frustrated and confused, she has a good moral compass and lives by it. She's not a goody-two-shoes or holier-than-thou, she's just a good kid trying to make it through high school.

Charity has talked about the difference between YA romance and adult romance with me before, in the context of the "Happy Ever After" vs. the "Hopefully Ever After" and it's reflected in this book. Does geek girl end up with popular jock? After many mishaps and misunderstandings, of course she does (and no, I don't consider that a spoiler -- it's much like saying that in a standard romance the H/H end up together. We know they will, but read it for the journey). But, she's a kid and still in school... it's not as though the book will end with a proposal, or even an "I love you, move in with me." or just a simple "I love you." It doesn't work that way. And, even though my brain realizes this, my heart wanted a little bit more. An epilogue that shows that they made it in the end, because the two of them have a lot of obstacles to overcome.

And the fact that I wanted this only shows how wrapped up I became in the characters. I loved them all and want to continue following them on their journey through life. I sighed when the book ended and wished for more. And, if that isn't the mark of a satisfied reader, I don't know what is.

It's a good book for adults AND for your teenaged daughter. I can't wait to see what the authors come up with next (and I hear Bethany and Jack might make a cameo in one or more of the upcoming works... WOOT!).


Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

But the freedom that they fought for, and the country grand they wrought for, Is their monument to-day, and for aye. ~ Thomas Dunn English

I come from and am surrounded by veterans. My dad lied about his age (he was 17) and joined the service to fight in WWII. He refused to talk about his time there, but mom tells me he fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and when he died I inherited many, many pictures of him in Germany with other army buddies. No name, no places, no dates on the back, but plenty of memories of his heroism.

My DH fought in Desert Storm. We've talked about his time over there a little, but like my father, he doesn't like to speak of it. Some things, he says, are better of not shared.

My brother was in the air force, my uncle served in Korea. My BILs (one of whom served during Desert Storm) and FIL were both in the service.

I have amazing respect for the servicemen who offer to lay down their lives so I can have the freedom we enjoy here in America.

Please take some time to remember them. One song/video, "American Soldier" is one we should all watch and remember...embedding was disabled, and I know many of you don't enjoy country music, but I encourage you to take a moment and watch this.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Day Off

Summer is the time when one sheds one's tensions with one's clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit. A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all's right with the world. ~Ada Louise Huxtable

Going to take the dog for an early walk, sit in the sunshine with a cup of coffee and read a book.

Back tomorrow... or maybe even Tuesday, lol. I need a short vacation!

Have a wonderful day. I hope the weather is as gorgeous in your neck of the woods as it is in mine.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

An Odd Thought...

In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. - Douglas Adams

Had to use that quote because it made me giggle -- but it has nothing much to do with my post. *G*

One of my many ongoing WIPs features a rat as pet and strong secondary character. Yes, really.

Anyway, at the end of the story, I have something happen that causes the H/H much strife, but the only way it CAN happen is if the rat eats a note. And, yes, that is easy enough, but neither of them can SEE him eat the note, so how does the reader know what has happened? It's been bugging me for YEARS. Yes, that's how long this story has been hanging around, lol.

Recently, LASR reviewed a number of stories in which an animal had a POV part. Seemed kind of odd, but got me to thinking: should my rat (who becomes rather integral as a matchmaker) have a POV part? Would that be off-putting to a potential publisher or reader, or is it quirky enough to appeal?

I love this story, but two things have really messed with my ability to write it: Jed's injury and this eating-of-the-note problem.

What do you think? Animal POV: yes or no?


We're going to start doing writing prompts and challenges at the JaNoWriMo blog. The enthusiasm has waned a bit, and I thought this might stir things up a little. Feel free to stop by if you'd like. Feel free to play. And, heck, if you want to join the blog as a member, let me know. We need to build up the excited membership over there.


Today is supposed to be a little cooler, so I'm going to take a few hours and do some gardening and clean-up. Weeds need pulling, mulch needs laying, edging needs doing...hopefully it will be sunny and maybe a little breezy to help keep the bugs away. They seem to be worse than usual this year. Anyone else in the New England area think the same?


You Are The Brain

You're the type of person who's always on, always churning.

You are alert and quick to react. You like to stay busy.

You are responsible but also demanding. You take up a lot of energy.

You are someone of deep mystery. There's a lot below the surface that's hard to figure out.

Yep.. that's pretty right on! LOL...


Friday, May 22, 2009

Weather, Bugs and Gardening

Dear beautiful Spring weather, I miss you. Was it something I said? ~"Skipper" Kim Corbin

So... It's HOT here. Yesterday was nearly ninety and today will be more of the same and then it's going to cool by about twenty degrees for the rest of the weekend. It's wreaked havoc on my body and my garden.

My cucumbers didn't come through the cold as well as I would have liked -- I've lost a couple of them, and the others don't look very healthy, but I hope they'll bounce back.

We have hummingbirds again -- so I put out my feeders! The coral bells are blooming, and are a favorite natural food for them, so they should be happy as clams. A few days ago, I watched a black swallowtail--perhaps the one we released?--lay eggs on my rue. It takes 3-5 days for the eggs to hatch, so I've started looking for the babies. Yay!

Life is a science experiment, don't you think? Yesterday, we had two mosquitoes, an ant and a spider on the wall of my dining room (ugh.. bugs). While I was getting the ant first, the spider--maybe a wolf spider?--hunted the mosquito nearest it. Fascinating! And, since he proved himself so useful (and he doesn't spin webs) we let him be. Kind of like keeping a cat for a mouse problem, yes? LOL... and now no one wants to come stay at my house since I let spideys run amok!

Allie asked if I'm finding time to write with all the craziness. The answer is yes... but I'm struggling with things just not flowing. That's okay. At some point, I'll hit my stride and go crazy!

DD and DH are out on the boat today. They're going to cook! The air temps are hot, but the water is still far too cold for swimming, so how will they cool down? I wish them well...

And so, it's time for me to sign off and get to work. But first, a walk with the dog before it's too hot to do so. Have a wonderful day!


You Know Your States

You got 7/10 correct.

You've got a pretty good handle on US geography.

There's a good chance you've visited at least a dozen of the fifty states.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bird by Bird

Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.' - Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

Balance. Sigh... I need it.

You see -- I have a dozen plates spinning and I run hither and thither to keep them in the air. Writing. Homeschooling. Housekeeping. Gardening. Dog training. Website building. Trailer creating. Review's site maintaining.

There are days it's more than I can face, and I just shut down.

My DD has a report to write in school (don't worry, this actually has something to do with the above, lol). She has to write about a famous immigrant, and our library system was sadly lacking in books about ANY famous immigrants (her other report, on the Continental Divide? We couldn't find even ONE book in the entire juvenile system of the statewide library.. OY). They had lots of stories on immigration in general, but few that focused on one person. We finally found one on Maria VonTrapp. She's been working on it for days, and finally came downstairs in tears yesterday. Overwhelmed.

"Mom, there is so much information I don't know where to start or what to do."

So, in the famous words of Anne Lamott, I told her to take it "bird by bird" or one thing at a time. Break it down into 3 or 4 main ideas and write those down to keep focus. THEN expand on those thoughts.

The relief on her face was incredible and she ran back up to her desk with a smile.

Sometimes I forget my own advice.

Bird by bird. (BTW, if you haven't read the book, "Bird by Bird" you should. And, hey, even MY library system has a copy, so I bet yours does, too).

Today, I'm going to start my day with a to-do list. Break things down. It's a little less overwhelming to see what I need to do in writing. Figure out what is desperately important, what can wait, and what things are in between. Give myself a certain amount of time to accomplish something.

This should keep me from staring off into space, so overwhelmed that I don't know where to start.

What do you do when life seems so busy that you'll never get it done?


You Are Blue

You are a philosophical and often inspired person. You are the master of ideas.

You are open to many points of view. You believe that it's important to communicate and not judge.

You have a worldly perspective, and you're always looking to broaden it.

You are a true people person, but you also value your solitude and personal space.

Um... okay, mostly....


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What, When, Where, Why, How with Allison Knight

Welcome, welcome, welcome to Allison Knight!

What's in your vehicle's glove box?

To start with, I have a pistol and it's legal. I have a license. Yep, a great grandma with a pistol license. I also have a tube of antibiotic and bandaides, in case I have to shot someone. I have the instruction manuals for the car, but I've never read them. That's men's work. One last thing. Cleaning wipes for my glasses, so I can see what I'm shooting at.

When do you wake up in the morning?

Whenever I feel like it. Usually I'm up and ready to pop into the shower at seven. For years, while I was teaching, I had to crawl out of bed at the unGodly hour of 5:30, to get the kids ready, and me out the door by seven. Now that I'm retired, I enjoy sleeping longer and longer.

Where do you go to have fun?

This usally shocks everyone, but I LOVE to play penny slots. About once a month, I travel a little over an hour to the Gulf area and visit a couple of casinos. Playing pennies you don't lose a whole lot. Of course, the down side is - you don't win much either.

Why does hair always look best the day of your styling appointment?

If anyone figures that one out, I'd sure like to know. The day before I get my hair cut, even the week before, it looks horrible. I can't wait to get it lopped off. The day I go to get it cut, it is perfect.

Maybe the little hairs know they are about to be trimmed and are begging for me to reconsider. Can Hair actually understand what's about to happen???

How can you pet a porcupine?

First - why would you want to pet one?
Second - can you get close enough to try?
Third - I couldn't pet a porcupine because one of my cats would be insulted. Our youngest is a people cat and would be so jealous, he'd be impossibe to live with. Nope, I cannot pet a porcupine.

Allison, like many authors, read a book she didn't like. Despite occasional digs from her children, she wrote a historical romance. A retired teacher, she's taught fiction writing and spoken at conferences throughout the country. She and her husband, an engineer, moved south to the land of hurricanes and sunshine. When she isn't watching the weather for changes, she writes, creating heroes and heroines, then finding ways to make their lives miserable. She's currently working on a second medieval romance and another set the south.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

All Dressed Up...

The trouble with weather forecasting is that it's right too often for us to ignore it and wrong too often for us to rely on it. ~Patrick Young

So, despite my precaution of checking the forecast for this week and finding nothing even CLOSE to freezing (and deciding it was safe to plant prior to Memorial Day)... I once again jinxed it. I can NOT plant early. I can't. Because last night, they amended our forecast and called for temps below freezing: FROST WARNING!

Well... shoot.

So, I did what any other sane gardener would do. I protected my babies. I had a lot to cover... but my biggest concern were my veggies. I pulled out the big guns (and was so thankful for tomato cages!!!). See:

I had NO idea I owned so many sheets, lol. I went to the linen closet and found FIVE SETS. Some, I've deliberately kept for drop clothes, etc., but I don't know why I have the others... do we need five sets of sheets? Really? (Actually if you count what are currently on the beds, we have eight sets).

The various soft annuals, like my impatiens, all got plastic bags over them. A funny -- Dakota is a very visual dog, moreso than any dog I've known. And, last night when I took her out for her last potty break, she trotted of the back steps and started to squat and then SAW THE BAGS. She got all poofed up and stiff-legged, growling and oofing. Funniest thing I've seen in a while. I may do stuff like that now and then just to mess with her. *G*

BTW, have you checked out the LASR spotlight this week? Because our guests are Charity and Darcy of "The Geek Girl's Guide To Cheerleading" fame and there's some great stuff. Charity tells us how to cook bacon and eggs in a paper bag, and Darcy dishes about getting her first tattoo... Go see! (And, as an added bonus, you can enter to win the book).


We have a bird (I've yet to ID it) that comes to visit daily -- she sits on the top railing of our deck and screeches for 5 or 10 minutes. It's cute, but I wish she had a sweeter voice.

Mr. Turkey hasn't been been back in some time, and I'm a little worried. It's turkey season here... I sure hope he's okay. I miss him :-(

Why do you suppose my woodpeckers prefer the seed in the feeder over the suet? It's very odd.

My milkweed is about a foot tall now -- I know we won't get Monarch butterbabies until end of June at the earliest, but I'm getting excited. Hope we have more than last year! (I will once again have milkweed seeds if anyone wants them -- I'd suggest putting them somewhere you don't mind if they spread. But monarch habitat is becoming scarce, so any help is good).


You Are Conditioner

You are naturally nurturing and calming. You smooth things over.

You can have a neutralizing effect. You can deal with chaos well.

You are encouraging and supportive. You have a gentle touch.

You are generous and bighearted. You have a lot to give.

Not so sure about that... IMHO, I'm kind of selfish, lol...


Monday, May 18, 2009

Tweet, Tweet, Tweet (aka How Tweet it is)

"It's one of the fastest-growing phenomena on the Internet."
- New York Times

"Twitter is on its way to becoming the next killer app."
- TIME Magazine

"Suddenly, it seems as though all the world's a-twitter."
- Newsweek

I'm on Twitter. Actually, I'm on Twitter as me, as LASR/WC and as Goddess Fish (our promo company) -- feel free to follow all of me. In the past, had played around on it a bit, tweeting here and there and wondering what all the hype was about.

Last night, though, I tried something. I spent an hour on Twitter sending tweets as LASR/WC. I talked to nearly everyone I followed (or at least it seemed that way). We talked about laundry and food and books and weather. Tweet after Tweet after Tweet. And, yes, I can see how it could become addicting!

This morning, I checked my site stats. I had a huge number of hits from Twitter. Coincidence? I think not.

So, what does this mean? It means I get WAY more reciprocation from Twitter than I do from Facebook and MySpace. I may have lots of friends on both, and they may send me creatures for my undersea garden or poke me... but that doesn't make them visit my website. OTOH, if I mention my book there, will they listen? Maybe. But I have to admit to being pretty impressed with the stats.

And so, I've blocked off time during the day to Tweet (as all three of me... you don't think this will cause an identity crisis, do you?). It's amazing how much you can say in 140 characters or less.


You Are Carefree in Life

You are the life of the party. You also are completely uninhibited and honest.

You are the happiest when you are planning and dreaming. You like to live in the future.

You are sensitive and considerate. You are always putting other people's needs before your own.

You have found what you want in life and are quite content. You know a lot about yourself.

Um... nope, not really...


Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Small Congrats Gift...

... to my friends, Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance whose book, "The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading" releases on TUESDAY!!!!!! WOOT!!

Love you guys :-)

Gardens and Butterflies and Flowers... oh my!

There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling. ~Mirabel Osler

Today, it's raining and I'm actually quite happy about that. Nothing better than a soft, steady rain after planting all kinds of new stuff. Really gives them a good start to life.

Yesterday I planted my veggie garden. Not a wide variety of stuff -- partly because my family doesn't eat a wide variety of stuff, and partly because the growing season is pretty short here, and partly because the stuff I DO like, I love (!!) like tomatoes, and want lots of them.

Our garden has: 22 tomato plants (12 Jet Star, 6 Sweet 100s, 4 yellow heirloom that I started from the seeds of a tomato from last year), 10 cucumber plants (all burpless European type), 4 yellow squash, uncountable green beans and peas and carrots. I have a small space that is yet unplanted and unplanned... should I do radishes? Chard? Spinach? Peppers don't grow well here, they are always small and difficult. Any suggestions? It's a spot about 2 x 3 feet.

Here is the garden (doesn't look like much, does it? And, that spot with the white fencing on it is the empty spot.):

The rhubarb, as always, is ridiculously healthy. Sure wish I had lots of people nearby to share it with. Most of it ends up going to waste as I can only use so much rhubarb!


I saw my first "real" butterfly yesterday (not counting the one we released -- though I haven't seen her again): a tiger swallowtail!

That means things are really starting to wake up. I still don't have host plants for the black swallowtail babies. My rue is starting to grow, but is tiny. NO parsley has come back yet, nor dill. The carrots are so small as to be nearly microscopic... I hope the butterflies don't get too ahead of themselves!!


I took a few pictures of my actual flowers yesterday.

The striped impatiens that I couldn't find a picture of:

The pink and black (which, upon closer observation is pink and really dark pink) petunia:

DD admiring her garden (she's the prettiest flower I have, and I get to look at her year round... and even better -- she never fades!):

The phlox around my culvert ... it's so gorgeous this time of year!!:

My little planters for the front of the house:

Fred the frog in my hosta garden:

Dakota, certain there is a chipmunk in the burn pile (there IS, but it's not going to come out to prove it):

And, for my mom -- MOM! Look what the lilac did this year. Finally! Only one, but it's a start (wish you were here to see it):

By the time winter comes, you guys are going to be bored to tears while I gush about my flowers :-)


But, since today it is raining -- I'm going to WRITE!! I have to help Judy with a short story she wants to submit and then I'm going to work on the changes I need to make to Stiller Creek. And maybe tinker with a short for a new market Judy told me about, which I would share with you but don't have the link handy.... sorry. It's a magazine that does short, romantic fiction. *sigh* I'll share when I find the info!!

What are you doing today?


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Finally Flowers...

Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into. ~Henry Beecher, Life Thoughts, 1858

I planted my annuals yesterday. I'm still tired, lol. I didn't think to take pictures but, to be honest, they aren't much to look at yet. They are still itty-bitty. So, I'll grab some other images to show what mine will look like someday soon. I planted...

Portulaca - I love this plant! I have a lot of very hot sun at my place, and these absolutely thrive in it. In fact, the flowers only open in sun. I planted a variety of colors, but my fave was the mango.

Snapdragons - I'd planned for these to be in the full sun on my front steps in a big pot, but noticed that they wilted easily in the heat (despite saying that they'll take full sun on their tag). So, they went into last year's "vole garden". I bought a mixed pack that wasn't blooming so I have no idea what the colors will be. It'll be like Christmas in the summer when they bloom!

Petunias -- a favorite here. DD got one six-pack for her garden in red and white, and I bought some to add color to last year's "vole garden" in pink and black.

Ageratum - the first time I bought this, I was fooled by how tiny the flowers appeared. In fact, I wasn't the one who got them, it was DD. And we planted and were wowed by how big, lush and purplely-blue these got! Even better, they reseeded themselves and came back year after year... until the voles decimated my garden. So, I bought some for color around the edges.

I got a new hosta for the back where a spot was open...

And then, for my pots on the front steps where it will COOK all summer long (no one believes me when I say it's unbearably hot and dry in the front of my house -- I fight with nurseries all the time when trying to find plants that will survive there. It's amazing how ridiculously hot it gets: full sun all day, pale gray house reflecting the light/heat... it cooks). So, for the front I got...

Gazania (prettiest flowers, and ONLY like sun):

Dusty Miller:


More portulaca:

And I'm going to try the annual version of bachelor buttons (because they're coming up in the pots on their own from last year! LOL...):

And lastly, I planted impatiens around my well-pump. I bought striped ones because they were so unusual -- in fact, they are apparently so unusual, I can't find a picture of them online. So pretend there is one HERE. *G*

Today? It's all veggies, all the time. If I have the energy.


You Are A Lily

You are a nurturer and all around natural therapist.

People see you as their rock. And they are able to depend on you.

You are a soothing influence. You can make people feel better with a few words.

Your caring has more of an impact than even you realize.

Um...hummmm.... not so sure about most of that. You?


Friday, May 15, 2009


A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is a visible labor and there is an invisible labor ~Victor Hugo

If you were going to have a reader/review blog for YA fiction, what would you call it?

Why did Nora Roberts release her latest trilogy in trade-sized paperback? So that I couldn't afford to buy it? So that it wouldn't fit on the shelf I have for my Nora books?

What's the difference between partly sunny and partly cloudy?

Why does my dog get sick whenever I take her to doggy day care?

Why is white chocolate called "chocolate"? Even the FDA doesn't consider it to be chocolate (and neither do I).

What are you doing this weekend? And, do you have any questions of your own to add?


You Were Born into the Fire Element

You are an innovative person who values adventure. You believe life is magical.

You are brilliant and expressive. You are naturally creative and artistic.

You have to watch out for your self destructive streak. You can get depressed and moody.

You are honest to a fault, but people find it to be part of your charm. You are entertaining and charismatic.

Huh... well that's about 95% correct. Pretty cool....


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Gorgeous Weather!

There is no such thing as pure pleasure; some anxiety always goes with it. ~Ovid, Metamorphoses

The weather has been just lovely the past few days -- into the 60s and mostly sunny. It's hard to buckle down and work! Yesterday, we took the dog to a nearby dog park. She was so overwhelmed by everything: the space the other dogs, the smell (OY! The smell ... even I was overwhelmed by that, yuck). Within about ten minutes, she looked rabid! Drool frothing from her mouth, lol.

She had a great time, and they have agility equipment, so when we could get her attention we worked her on that. All the dogs, save one, were very friendly and fun. One dog decided he had to prove he was Big Dog on Block and proceeded to hump whatever he could catch (including Dakota) and/or attack it. The owner kept grabbing him and yelling, but she wouldn't just leave with him, so we only stayed about half an hour. Had he not been there, we would have hung out a little longer.

I've looked at the long range forecast, and there isn't even a whisper of frost (lowest temps are said to be in the mid-forties), so either this weekend, or next Monday, I'm putting in my garden. I can't wait!!!

I got my Vole Control bait stations in the mail and will be putting those out as well. I'm still terribly upset by it and wish I could have found ANY other way to get the buggers off my property, but at this point it's us or them -- and for such tiny creatures they do massive amounts of destruction. My SIL has a friend who is exceptionally short on money, but would like to have a nice flower garden and asked me if I had extras. Normally, I have TONS of extra flowers because everything spreads like crazy (On my street, I'll just announce that my nursery is open, and folks come for any stuff they need, lol), but this year I don't have as much to share because I have to replace what the voles decimated. I really, really don't want to do this again next year.

Nothing new on the writing front, unfortunately, but we are lining up help where we can at the LASR site, so hopefully I'll be able to free up a little time (??).

Now, gotta get moving for the day!! Have a great one. :-)


You Are Bitter

You aren't bitter at the world, even though you have a strong personality.

Instead, you are sophisticated and cultured. You appreciate acquired tastes.

You are very powerful. You have the ability to change a room's energy.

While some may find you disagreeable, your points of view are intelligent and interesting.

There were a couple questions here that I wanted to answer both ways! Ah well, I am an acquired taste *G*.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What, When, Where, Why, How with C. J. Parker

Welcome today, author C. J. Parker!

What do you want for your birthday?

Air fair, dues for RWA conference, Hotel costs. I've never been to the RWA conference and I so want to go. If I were rich I'd spend my free time, between writing my books, at conferences. RWA, EPICon, Romantic Times, you name it I'd go. I love the camaraderie of being around other writers. Confess. Don't you feel misunderstood by the world around you? It's hard to understand someone who goes off into their own world without warning. Sometimes at parties someone will say something, and it will send you plotting a scene you'd been having trouble with. Only another writer understands.

When do you make a wish?

I wish on the first star, I wish just before blowing out birthday candles, I wish when I'm in the mood. My mother used to tell me I wished my life away. But it's such a joy when a wish comes true, plus that just gives you room for one more wish.

Where did you go on your first date?

To an antique car show. My hubby loves the '57, '58, and '59 Chevy Bel Air. I love the '56 and '57 T-birds. You know, the one with the little port hole window on the side. Now if I just looked like that Summers girl in American Graffiti I'd be a happy soul. There I go wishing again.

Why didn't Christine choose the Phantom?

His obsessiveness would have driven her as mad as he. She couldn't ever live up the image he had conjured up in his mind. There are so many reasons why a woman would walk away from a love like that. None of which, included his appearance. She saw past that. But she also saw that his heart and soul were more scarred than his face.

How do you choose your character's names?

I don't. They tell me their names. My characters come to me like a whisper at first. It's as if they are waiting their turn, but will only wait for so long before their voices become louder and more insistent. I see them in my mind. I know how they walk, how they talk. I can hear their voices. (Okay, not like I hear voices, but you know what I mean.) Once I have their features in my mind, they smile and introduce themselves. But for the life of me, I don't know why the hero in my WIP is named Kent. I keep telling him he's got to change his name. But then the heroine has a name I have to keep on a Post-It note on my desk so I know how to spell it.

My name is Charlotte "CJ" Parker. I've been married for 30 years; have no children, unless you consider a very spoiled Basset Hound a child.

I first discovered the love of reading in the third grade when I climbed onto a kitchen chair and searched the titles on the spines of book after book in my mother’s “library.” She was a devoted fan of Hemingway, Kipling and many other classics. I read them all. What I didn't understand, my mother would patiently explain to me. By the fifth grade I was writing “novels” for my mother to read.

I've never lost the love of writing or for creating my own worlds and the people who inhabit them. When I became “just a housewife,” I signed up for a course in fiction writing at the University of New Orleans. In 2004 I attended a weekend workshop led by Donald Maass titled Writing the Breakout Novel. In 2006 I attended Heather Graham’s New Orleans Workshop where I entered Kate Duffy’s query contest and won first place. I'm a host for a weekly, hour-long writer’s forum. I'm a member of RWA, SOLA (local RWA chapter) and EPIC.

Okay, that's the boring stuff. I love gardening, doing pottery and ceramics. I crochet and do cross stitch while I plot out my stories. I love anything paranormal. Hey, I live in New Orleans, how could I not. Try taking a tour of the cemeteries here and tell me you don't feel it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Challenge

Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. ~George Orwell, "Why I Write," 1947

You know what really gets my juices flowing when it comes to writing? A challenge. Ever since the last rejection for "Stiller Creek", and despite the fact I'd all but decided to shelve it indefinitely, my brain starting mulling over all the comments (and they were many and varied -- I had no idea it was so awful, lol). And, I think I've come up with a couple of changes that would satisfy all the complaints without compromising the things I don't want to change based on the comments. I'm actually kind of excited by the idea. It will entail creating a whole new character and weaving this person quietly through the entire story. It may also entail the deletion of one of my favorite scenes... **sigh**... BUT, it should be a stronger story for all of that.

Yep, I do love me a good challenge.


You Think Creatively

Your brain works best when you let your intuition be your guide.

You like to imagine, speculate, and fantasize. You have fun playing with ideas.

You are interested in theories. You enjoy studying and developing them.

You are drawn toward art, philosophy, and even math. Almost every subject is interesting to you.

Except for the part about philosophy and math, it's pretty close, though I would have called myself a logical thinker. ::shrugs::


Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday Morning Meme and More....

Sometimes I feel that life is passing me by, not slowly either, but with ropes of steam and spark-spattered wheels and a hoarse roar of power or terror. It's passing, yet I'm the one who's doing all the moving. ~Martin Amis, Money

1. Do you prefer writing on paper or a keyboard? Why? Care to hand write a short letter to us, scan it, and then post it to your blog?

I write on a keyboard almost exclusively. I'll write notes to myself and brainstorm stuff in a notepad, but actually writing is always on the computer. Why? Because it's faster and I can edit as I go without scribbling. I don't have a scanner, so can't do the last part. I don't have an iPod, a gaming system, an eReader or a Blackberry either. Aside from my laptop (which is a couple years old), I am a technological dinosaur.

2. If the shoes make the man (or woman), what do your shoes say about you right now? (Assuming you’re wearing shoes. Although if you’re not, that certainly says something, too.) Describe your favorite pair of shoes. Now tell us how they make you feel when you wear them.

Right now, I'm not wearing any. I would go barefoot all day, every day if I could. I am NOT a shoe freak. In the summer I wear sandals (usually the flip-flop kind, but leather) or my gardening clogs or sneakers if I'm walking a lot. In the winter I wear hiking boots or snow boots. I have two pairs of dress shoes that I never wear, and two pairs of cowboy boots that I seldom wear. Aside from the cowboy boots, none of my shoes are name brand. It's one of the reasons I don't read much chick-lit or enjoy "Sex In the City" -- seriously, who CARES about shoes? They cover my feet. Beyond that? ::shrugs::

3. Who was your arch enemy in high school? Why were they your enemy? Do you think you could be friends today? Why or why not?

I didn't have one. Seriously. I can't think of one person I even disliked strongly. I did have one in fifth grade, Diane M., who even went as far as to call me out for a fight. I also had one in fourth grade, Mike V., who always tried to kiss me (ICK... I was so not into boys then). Once, as I was walking past him on the bus, he grabbed me and tried to kiss me... so I took my pile of books and smashed him on the head. I'm pretty sure that was his last attempt. I think about the way school is today and realize that HE would have been in trouble for "sexual harassment" and I would have been in trouble for assault. Times were much easier when I was little -- and we worked it out.

Mostly, though, I got along with pretty much everyone in school.

4. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one ability or quality, what would it be? How would this new-found ability or quality change your life?

To NEVER have to sleep. Oh yeah -- I'd gain TIME, Bay-bee!! What I wouldn't give for an extra two hours, never mind a solid EIGHT every day!!!!!



I have my first mosquito bite. Welcome to the season of bugs. Ugh. I've already picked of several ticks from Dakota, and both my DH and DD have had a tick each. I love the warmth, but hate the bugs.



Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone

In celebration of Mother's Day, I'm taking a day off of blogging. What are your plans?

Saturday, May 09, 2009

A Commentary on Snark

Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true. ~Robert Brault

Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you - not because they are nice, but because you are. ~Author Unknown

Don't be yourself - be someone a little nicer. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

Warning: [RANT]

A few days ago, I had added a status to my Twitter/Facebook pages that said: " I appreciate good, healthy sarcasm, but do not like plain old snark. Just saying."

This was prompted by some serious snark in Twitterville started by members of a very large writing/reviews blog regarding a particular publisher. Now, this publisher may or may not be all the things the blog member says, but I'm all about stating facts and subtracting snark when it comes to something like that.

Last night, the same blog members apparently tore apart one of this publishers books, line by line, in a very nasty and unkind way. Again, this may or may not have been the worst book ever written, but my back goes up in an automatic response to how nasty and unkind they were.

When Judy and I started the LASR reviews site, the first thing we agreed on was "NO SNARK" and no completely negative reviews. If our reviewers don't like something they read, we simply decline to review it. And I decline reviews everything month. Additionally, we have plenty of reviews that rate fairly low on the "positive" scale, and our reviewers are not hesitant to point out the weaknesses in a particular story -- BUT (and this is the important part), they point out the good parts, too.

Interestingly enough, Judy and I must be in the minority because some of the biggest writing/review sites are the ones that are the snarkiest. I find that fascinating insight into the human psyche. We love snark (unless it's directed at us). And, yet, the snark must be directed at someone... so why revel in it?

It reminds me a bit of the story "First They Came..."

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
Then they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
I did not speak out;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out for me.

So... (and, understand, I'm not against pointing something out when it's wrong) it's okay when someone attacks an author for a particularly bad bit of prose, or a publisher for publishing it, or someone who does something that is shady or just plain stupid (cuz, yanno... I never do anything stupid), it's all fun and games then.

Until they come for you. Not so fun when they tear apart YOUR work. Not so fun when the attacks get personal. Not so fun then, is it?

And so, even when I may agree in theory to what is being said ("Yes, it was stupid for that author to do that thing." or "Yes, that really is terrible prose and should never have been published,"), I can't condone the way it is presented.

There are all kinds of cliches about they way we should treat people. Let me quote you a couple:

If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.


Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Of course, the big bloggers who are participating in these things aren't going to read my blog, but it's really been bothering me because of the current Snarkfest, and I needed to get it off my chest.



You Need Success to Be Happy

You are a responsible and serious person. You like to do things well.

Reaching your goals is very important to you, and you don't like getting sidetracked.

You feel great when you are mastering new tasks and solving problems. You believe in hard work.

Nothing makes you feel worse than feeling like you are doing a bad job.

That's pretty much on target...


Friday, May 08, 2009

This and That...

“Every conquering temptation represents a new fund of moral energy. Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before.” - William Butler Yeats

Spring in New Hampshire is tempting me with its mild temperatures... I have my tomato plants crying out to go in the ground. My squash and cucumbers are outgrowing their pots. My flower beds are begging for annuals. Worse, all the nurseries have their annuals out, bright and cheerful.

I will be strong.

Last year, spring came a couple of weeks early, too. I could have planted everything at about this time. We got no more frost in May... and part of me wants to throw caution to the wind and just do it.

But I know my luck. And the moment I "just do it", it will snow. Or worse, ICE. Of course, conversely, if I wait it will undoubtedly be beautiful the entire time and I'll look back and say, "Should have planted two weeks ago".

It's a conundrum.


Yesterday, Dru asked about how Dakota is doing on her homemade food.

I'm making Dakota's food today. I've started mixing it with Halo Pets dry food (because I'm using the recipe I got from them for her wet food, and figured it might agree with her). So far, she's doing fine. Better, it helps me stretch out the time between cooking her soft food. This time I made it three weeks! I doubt I'll ever go 100% on to dry, but in a pinch, Halo Pets also makes Spots Stew in a can. I only wish more places carried it.

And, in other doggy digestive news, I think Dakota is hypoglycemic. I'm not a vet, and I don't even play one on TV... but... I am slightly hypoglycemic, and I know if I don't eat regularly I get sick. I feel nauseous, light-headed, dizzy.

I noticed that Dakota would go outside and eat grass until she vomited in the middle of the night if I fed her dinner too early. And, she did it during the day if I waited too long between lunch and dinner (because I was trying to feed her dinner late so she wouldn't throw up at 2 a.m.), and I wondered if she was feeling nauseous like I do when I don't eat something every few hours.

So... I've started feeding her FOUR small meals a day. She eats when we get up, again around noon, then at about four and her last meal is about seven or eight at night. And, thus far? We've been golden. No more eating grass to vomit.

I have never owned a pet with so many issues. It's a good thing she's cute.


Your Taste in Music Says You're Cheerful

Your musical tastes are upbeat and conventional.

You are an easy going, optimistic person.

Family and friends are very important to you.

You enjoy caring for and helping other people.

You thrive in a tranquil environment, and you do your best to keep things peaceful.

You enjoy your life. You have your priorities straight.

Hmm... okay... maybe some...


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Spring Surprises

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. ~Rabindranath Tagore

I was down in the unfinished part of the basement yesterday to get something and I automatically glanced at the box where we keep our butterflies -- there is a Black Swallowtail pupa overwintering there. Or, perhaps I should say there WAS a Black Swallowtail pupa overwintering there. When I looked down, I saw a butterfly!!

She's early, and there aren't any butterflies around for her to mate with, no plants growing for her to lay eggs on even if she did. BUT, she's alive and the weather is decent and there are enough flowers for her to find food. So, we released her. That's technically the start of Pillar Place 2009, but I don't really expect to be doing much talking about that for at least three more weeks. Silly thing.


In vole news: They are multiplying like... well... VOLES. I nearly tripped over one yesterday again, and they decimated my crocus bulbs. Dakota was growling at the window in the afternoon, and I looked out and the mulch was moving like ocean waves -- yes there were THAT many voles under it looking for food. Freaky.

I bought a new live trap (because I can't find my old one) and started trapping. I've caught two so far. I also finally broke down and bought bait stations and poison online at Vole Control. Breaks my heart, but holy heck are they voracious eaters! In fact, when they get trapped, they fight to get out AND eat. They never stop eating. I put them in a glass jar during the day until I'm not going to catch any more and they don't panic or fight. They just eat. They eat the grass I put in for cover, they eat the apple bits from the bait. They eat and eat and eat. They must eat ten times their body weight every day.

In any case, I'm going to trap and release whatever I can until I get the bait stations, and then... the rest are doomed. I hope I can overcome the amazing amount of guilt I feel about killing them. *sigh*


Dakota has been bumped up into advanced agility class. I'm of two minds about this -- I'm thrilled because we'll be challenged even more, but I love the group of people we're in with now. They're nice and fun and supportive. The advanced group is so intense and, yes... I have to say it: snobby. Three of us in intermediate were bumped, and we got together last night and talked. We're going to give the new class a try, but may end up coming back to intermediate if we aren't having fun. None of us are trying to compete nationally -- we just want to train the dogs and enjoy ourselves.

The local agility competition is on May 31st. It'll be interesting to see how Dakota does with an audience and a bunch of strange dogs.


I sent in my manuscript to Resplendence Publishing on Tuesday. We'll see what happens. Now, I just need to get something else completed. Anyone know where I can find a few extra hours in the day?


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

What, When, Where, Why, How with Pauline B. Jones

Good morning! I'm thrilled to have Pauline B. Jones on my blog today -- another brave participant in my very odd questions.

What is your favorite movie?

Wow, it's hard to pick just one. My favorite type of movie is romantic comedy, with a rousing good action-adventure movie coming in a close second and critter flicks in there somewhere, too. Oh, and I have this odd fascination for disaster flicks, too. But since I have to chose just one, I'm going to go with Tremors. This monster movie is almost always on a station somewhere. The characters are whacky and the victims all die well.The critters are perfectly disgusting and smart enough to give the characters a good run for the money. It's just good, gory, campy fun. The odd part, I don't own the dvd. I haven't had to buy it yet, because it seems like its almost always on somewhere.

When do you get up in the morning?

When I get up depends a lot on when I go to bed. Hubby and I are empty nesters, so we can go to bed when we want. Well, he has a day job, so he should go to bed earlier, but doesn't always. As a hard core night owl, I like the night, but it seems like an immutable Murphy's Law just for me, that if I stay up really, really late and really, really need to sleep in--the phone will ring painfully early. It's like the universe is tuned in to my sleep patterns. So I try to game the system by staying up late, but not so late that I'm not sentient if I have to get up before eight. Of course, when I use the word sentient, I mean it in the loosest way. I can walk and sort of talk, but I don't become fully functioning before ten in the morning. So technically, that's when I REALLY get up.

Where would you recommend I stay if I visited your state?

If "my state" is Texas, it's so huge, I wouldn't know where to recommend someone stay, but if you mean the state I call home, that would be Wyoming. And if that is what you mean, then I'd suggest you stay at Yellowstone Lodge in Yellowstone Park. It's historic and stuff. Like so historic, I think you have to go down the hall to the bathroom. At least you used to have to do that (I haven't been there for a while, because I don't like to go down the hall to the bathroom. Or the bears. The ones in the Park. I have issues with them that goes well back into my childhood. So don't ever ask me to "Save the bears" because I won't.But it's a neat experience to do once. If it's still an experience.)

Why do fools fall in love?

Fools basically fall in love because they are fools. Not that falling in love is foolish, but when a fool falls in love it IS foolish because they are a fool. Otherwise, it wouldn't be foolish. Unless someone who isn't a fool falls in love with a fool, thus turning into a fool. When that happens, it probably won't end well.

How do you conserve water?

I don't conserve water. I don't splash it about, mind you, because it splashes itself about without any assistance from me, but I don't conserve it. I prefer to interact usefully with it. Did you know that cosmetic types don't consider water organic? Something about it not really being "pure" for the purposes of the organic definition. Sounds a bit whacked to me, but I write science fiction not science fact.

Pauline Baird Jones is the award-winning author of eight novels of action-adventure, suspense, romantic suspense and comedy-mystery. She's also written two non-fiction books, Adapting Your Novel for Film and Made-up Mayhem and cowrote Managing Your Book Writing Business with Jamie Engle. Her seventh novel, Out of Time, an action-adventure romance set in World War II, is an EPPIE 2007 winner. Her eighth novel, The Key, released in 2007 from LL Dreamspell and won a Independent Book Award Bronze Medal (IPPY) for 2008 and 2007 Dream Realm Awards Winner. She also has a short stories in several anthologies.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Thinking Thoughts

Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again? ~Winnie the Pooh

I've been thinking over the past few days... dangerous, I know, but sometimes I can't help myself. In any case, I've wondered what it is that makes a person read another person's blog. Why do you come here? What makes this in the least bit interesting to you? Why do you visit other blogs? Which blogs are a "must read" for you every day?

I have many, many blogs on my Google reader. I try to glance at them every day, but I seldom actually click through, and even less frequently do I comment. I have very little time, so can't spend my days blog-hopping (I wish I could!! There are so many neat blogs out there).

I read the ones that deal with the writing craft, but seldom comment. I'm not a terribly deep person, so when I hit one that is deep (or trying to be), my eyes tend to glaze over. Those? If it keeps up, I take them off my reader. I don't read literary fiction, so why would I read a literary blog?

The ones I hate to miss? My friends. Rest assured, even if I don't comment daily, I've read you in my Google Reader. I feel as though I've missed something if I haven't stopped by to see what you're up to. It may be the most trivial of things, but I'm interested... just as I would be if an IRL friend called to tell me about her day.

In the odd way my brain works, this led me to realize why I enjoy the books I do. Yes, I'd like them to be well crafted and tightly written with few (if any) editing errors. I'm a nit-picky person and those things are important. BUT... I will sacrifice just about anything else if the characters draw me in. If they become my friends. If I care about them, even in their day-to-day meanderings. I'm not a plot first reader, and I've come to believe that I'm not a plot first writer, either -- which is why I stall now and then. I don't know what comes next... that's not usually my initial focus. Creating interesting characters that the reader comes to care for is.

THEN I got to thinking about typical male/female stereotypes and why they *usually* prefer the types of books/movies they do. Women are *usually* nurturers. We are *usually* more emotion or heart driven. We feel, feel, feel. Our decisions are frequently based on emotion first, THEN facts. Men? They tend to be more intellectual or brain driven. They think, think, think. Their decisions are frequently based on facts first.

That's not to say that women don't think and men don't feel. But I do think it explains why men will sacrifice emotion in their stories for plot, and women are *usually* the opposite.

Bet you're waiting for some truly profound wrap-up, right? Hah. Nope. My brain doesn't work that way. Some days I sits and thinks, and other days I just sits.

It was just something I was pondering.


In other news, my voles are still around. One of them leaped on my foot yesterday and I swore he put his paws in his ears and wiggled his fingers at me while sticking out his tongue.

In all seriousness, one did run across my foot while I was watering. He was gone before I even had time to squeal... those suckers are FAST. And they are living beneath my steps. And I am in despair.


Brandy, I can't grow roses. Sorry. I can grow pretty much everything else in the world, but roses and I aren't on speaking terms, so I can't help you. Anyone here grow roses? Brandy wondered what causes red spots on rose leaves.


You Are the Bedroom

You are an indulgent person. You enjoy rest, relaxation, and pampering.

You know how to find peace in a crazy life. You are good at unplugging.

You tend to be very private. You don't let just anyone in.

You are also a romantic. When you have someone, you tend to be very couple oriented.

Private? Yes. Indulgent and good at unplugging? No. Couple oriented? Nope.