Monday, November 30, 2009

Done!

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. ~Dr. Seuss

DH was a cranky-man yesterday morning when he got up. DD was bouncing off the walls, wanting to get a tree and he did NOT want to get one, he just wanted to sit and relax. So DD, Dd and I went for a nice long walk to let him sit and drink his coffee and read the paper. When we got back, he was on the phone to his cousin who was up north hunting, and who said there was a TON of snow on the ground. So, our conversation went something like this:

"If we go get the tree, can I go snowmobiling?"

"Um. Okay." -- Yes, dear, if you do your chore you have have your candy...

And off we went. Got the tree in record time and came home. He left, DD and I spent the day cleaning the room over the garage (our school/craft/office space). Some fun. Woo.

When DH got home after dark he said, "I suppose we should at least put the tree in the stand."

I thought, Uh. Yeah. but said, "Are we not going to decorate it tonight?"

"I don't feel like it."

Much moaning ensues from DD.

"Maybe you could do the lights and we'll do the rest."

So he reluctantly agreed and pulled out the lights -- half of which didn't work when he plugged them in. Dear heavens. He spent a good 20 minutes trying to fix them before giving up. So, we have a strand and a half of lights on the tree -- the broken half is in a pile behind it.

Regardless of the drama behind it all, the tree is up and decorated. DH calls it an Ethiopian tree because we got a tall, skinny one this year. He likes the uber-fat trees, but I do NOT and because he was in a hurry, he let DD and I choose the tree without his input. Now, however, I'm sure I'll have to endure cracks about our scrawny tree all season. LOL...

The finished result:




The cat and the dog did their part to help:




That's DH's leg in the pic with the dog -- he's photo phobic, so I can't overtly take pictures of him. Still, at least he sat and watched the tree go up, even if he didn't participate.

Let the Christmas season begin. I'm ready... mostly.

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




You Are North



Like a Viking, you are assertive, decisive, and dominant. You seek power and destroy those in your way.

People admire that you are so confident and independent. You seem to have the world figured out.

Sometimes you come across as pushy and aggressive... not that you mind! You like being seen as tough.

You make a fairly good leader, especially in times that require grit and ruthlessness. You are a warrior.



Next stop: World Domination!!!!!!!!!! Muhahahahahaha....

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

Sunday, November 29, 2009

No Tree... yet

In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it 'Christmas' and went to church; the Jews called it 'Hanukkah' and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say 'Merry Christmas!' or 'Happy Hanukkah!' or (to the atheists) 'Look out for the wall!' ~Dave Barry, "Christmas Shopping: A Survivor's Guide"

Well... we didn't end up getting a tree yesterday and DD was terribly sad about it. I promised her we'd get it today and decorate it tonight, so she was a little better.

We started a fire in the stove last night -- boy, did it keep the house toasty warm! Even so, I was a bit uneasy and probably will be for a long time. I'm not going to like leaving it burning when we aren't home. Last year's chimney fire has scarred me for life, lol.

Dakota earns kudos for being a good, well-trained dog. Two days ago, she'd gone out to potty while it was raining. When she came in, I put her in a sit/stay at the door and went to go get a towel. I dried her off, patted her head and walked away. A few minutes later, DH was in the kitchen and looked over at the back door. "Why is the dog just sitting there?"

I felt awful! I'd never released her from her stay. Poor puppy was just sitting there, ears down, looking pitiful and forgotten. However, she felt much better when I gave her some turkey afterward.

Good dog.

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



You Are Cherry Pie



You are a total sweetheart, but you also have a tart side to you as well. You can't help but be a little naughty.

During the holidays, you try to lighten the mood and keep things fun. You think that the holidays should be a time of joy... not stress.



Your ideal holiday has lot of laughter and good times. You definitely prefer a holiday with zero drama.

You believe that people often forget that holidays are for celebrating. You try to make every holiday event a bit of a party.




Hmmm.... about 50/50 -- you?

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

Saturday, November 28, 2009

It's Starting To Look a Lot Like Christmas

Isn't it funny that at Christmas something in you gets so lonely for - I don't know what exactly, but it's something that you don't mind so much not having at other times. ~Kate L. Bosher

We're going to get our tree today -- normally, we would have gotten it yesterday, but DH and DD were off helping some of our in-laws lay hardwood floor in their home. They're going again today, but it shouldn't take all day, so when they get home, we'll go tree shopping. We rearranged the living room last night to accommodate the tree, and I'll go bring down the decorations today, so we'll be set.

I'm trying desperately to get into the Christmas spirit -- I haven't yet, but hopefully once the tree is up, the stocking are hung by the chimney (with care), baking commences, etc., then I'll be humming "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" with a smile on my face. :-)

When do you put up your tree (assuming that you do)? Right after Thanksgiving? Later? My in-laws leave their tree up through Epiphany, so they get theirs up later. Our tree typically comes down almost immediately following Christmas.

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

I worked more on Stiller Creek yesterday -- I like the change! I'm trying not to make the new police chief too much of a cliche, but the fact is: he's lazy and in the pocket of the guy who owns the town, so he is a bit cliched. I like the story, though.

I also gave myself a stern talking to about all the barely started, half done, almost completed and completely done books and stories I have laying around. Instead of starting anything new for a while, I'm going to finish what I have. I like all of them, I just need to hunker down and push through the hard parts.

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

RE: The Aurora YA/ Middle Grade site that we were launching on January first. We weren't able to garner as much interest as we'd hoped, so we're going to start out slowly -- with only *some* of the items a full site would have. We'll have interviews and reviews for certain, and will add more as we get our name out a bit. We're now hoping for a full launch sometime around our LASR third anniversary.

If you know YA/MG authors, please let them know about Aurora. And if YOU are a YA/MG author, tell us what you'd like to see on the site -- is there something lacking in other reviews sites that you'd love to have happen? We're open to any and all suggestions (email: lasreviews AT gmail DOT com).

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




You Are Thanksgiving



You don't need a lot to make you feel happy during the holidays. You already feel very blessed.

It is easy for you to be thankful. You think the holidays are the perfect time to express your gratitude.



You are definitely not a materialistic person. If anything, you feel like the holiday season has been infected with greed.

An indulgent meal in a warm home surrounded by those close to you is more than enough. Anything extra is just whipped cream on your pumpkin pie.



That's about right! LOL...

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

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Great New Book!

Let your bookcases and your shelves be your gardens and your pleasure-grounds. Pluck the fruit that grows therein, gather the roses, the spices, and the myrrh. ~Judah Ibn Tibbon

I'm still not hungry. I stuffed myself stupid yesterday at lunch and then didn't eat dinner and the thought of eating now is still icky. UGH.

Anyone else feel the same?

I'm also exhausted, so I'm glad a writing friend of mine, Nancy Holzner (who is incredibly talented) gave me something to blog about: her upcoming Urban Fantasy release!! Oh man, I'd buy it for the cover alone, but I know what an amazing author she is so I'm so going to get a copy for the inside, too (still, I imagine I'll do a lot of staring at the cover).



So ... here's the coolest part. I was going to blog about her book anyway, but THEN she goes and has a contest, too.

She's offering four different prize packages (all of which include a copy of the book -- YAY) and it's wicked easy to enter. So spread the word folks. And, in case you're still not sold? Here's the blurb:

They call it Deadtown: the city's quarantined section for its inhuman and undead residents. Most humans stay far from its borders -- but Victory Vaughn, Boston's only professional demon slayer, isn't exactly human...

Vicky's demanding job keeping the city safe from all manner of monsters is one reason her relationship with workaholic lawyer (and werewolf) Alexander Kane is in constant limbo. Throw in a foolhardy zombie apprentice, a mysterious demon-plagued client, and a suspicious research facility that's taken an unwelcome interest in her family, and Vicky's love life has as much of a pulse as Deadtown's citizens.

But now Vicky's got bigger things to worry about. The Hellion who murdered her father ten years ago has somehow broken through Boston's magical protections. The Hellion is a ruthless force of destruction with a personal grudge against Vicky, and she's the only one who can stop the demon before it destroys the city and everyone in it.


And some reviews:

"DEADTOWN is full of dangerous magic and populated with characters so realistic, they almost jump off the page. I loved this book. Nancy Holzner is a master of characterization and I'll be buying her next book the moment it hits the shelf." - Ilona Andrews

"Holzner's take on the Urban Fantasy genre is unique, refreshing, and a damn good read. I'm looking forward to more adventures in DEADTOWN with Vicky Vaughn - this heroine totally kicks butt!" - Phaedra M Weldon

"DEADTOWN is fresh and funny, with a great new take on zombies." - Karen Chance

"Fast, fun, and feisty, Holzner's DEADTOWN is chock-full of supernatural action, danger, and creatures who do more than go bump in the night." - Devon Monk

"Zombies, demons, and a sassy slayer. DEADTOWN sparks with an incredibly realized world and a cast of vivid characters. I can�t wait for the next book!" - Chris Marie Green

"DEADTOWN is a perfect blend of mystery, fantasy, humor and even modern-day social issues. It's Boston as you've never seen it . . . where the shapes shift, the zombies gnaw, and the blood flows warm through the oh-so-delicious veins of the area known as Deadtown. Victory Vaughn gives evil a run for its money." - Anton Strout


Have you added it to your TBR list yet?

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

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude. ~E.P. Powell



Today we'll be spending our meal together as a small family: DH, DD, Dd, Dc and I but we will be seeing all of the in-laws later in the afternoon.

In the meantime, let me be thankful:
  • For my family, especially my mother (wish you were here!)
  • For my friends, including all of you in blogger-land
  • For my material blessings -- a home, clothing, food and luxuries like BOOKS!
  • For my health
  • For my fortune in living here in the United States

  • What are you thankful for?

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

    Wednesday, November 25, 2009

    What, When, Where, Why, How with Hywela Lyn

    Welcome to the gracious and talented Hywela Lyn!!

    What kind of shifter/creature would you prefer to be paired with if you found yourself in a paranormal story?

    A were unicorn - not as scary as a werewolf, in my opinion, although as a species I'm rather fond of wolves and enjoy werewolf stories as much as the next person.. A were unicorn would have several advantages though. Being a were-animal he would revert to his human form by day, and when the moon was not full, and - well we needn't go into that too much, but while he would have all the qualities of the unicorn, nobility, gentleness, strength, etc. ... he would also be very masculine and handsome when human. In addition, in his unicorn form he would provide a comfortable means of transport. What could be more exciting than riding a unicorn? His horn, of course, will purify water, which could come in handy if we get thirsty on our quest. I love horses and have two of my own, although sadly they're missing the mystical horn, so it just seems natural to want such a creature as my companion in this particular fantasy. I generally manage to include either a horse or a unicorn in most of my stories anyway.

    When do you shower?

    In the morning, or if I have to be up early, before I go to bed. I have been known to shower in the middle of the day, but only if I fall flat on my face in the mud or something equally stupid, usually when my dog's taken me for a rather muddy walk or my sweet mare has been frightened by a saber-tooth butterfly and panicked, doing her own unique impression of an astral bucking bronco.

    Where do you do your best writing?

    At night.Or I would if hubby would allow me to stay up until the early hours and insists we go to bed before 1 am. So I try to get up early and write then, but my muse still urges me to write late at night, and I frequently play over plots in my mind while d.h. quietly snores.

    Why do birds suddenly appear, every time you are near?

    Probably because I have tons of birdseed for them. The little sweethearts sit on the fence and twitter until I put out their breakfast - and lunch - and tea! Then they reward me by leaving mucky 'calling cards' on my washing line!

    How do crayons taste?

    Like wax? Actually I'm not really into crayons. Not for eating that is. If I want something to chomp in between meals I far prefer chocolate. Chocolate is food for the brain. It helps me think and gives me inspiration. That's my story anyway, and I'm sticking to it!

    Hywela Lyn most of her life in Wales and the beautiful countryside and legends inspired her to write. Although she now lives in a small village in England, she is very proud of her Welsh heritage and background. She enjoys weaving romantic tales of the future, and distant, mysterious worlds. Her pen name is a combination of her first two names. 'Hywela’ is Welsh and her first name, but it was never used and she has always been called by her second Christian name, Lyn.

    One thing remains constant in her writing: The power of love. Love, not only between her hero and heroine, but between friends and siblings, and for their particular world and the creatures that share it. She is crazy about all animals, especially horses. She lives with her long suffering husband, Dave, and has two horses, Harry and T'pau, two feral cats, Milly and Molly, and an adopted Jack Russell terrier called Bouncer.

    Hywela Lyn’s first novel, 'Starquest', a futuristic romance is available in eBook and Print format from The Wild Rose Press. The sequel to ‘Starquest’, 'Children of the Mist' is available in eBook format from The Wild Rose Press.

    She is thrilled to have been one of nine authors who each wrote a story about one of the nine Greek muses. Her story about Terpsichore, the 'Muse Of Dance, entitled 'Dancing With Fate,' is available now as an individual E-book from the Publisher, or as one of three stories in Book II of the paperback anthology ‘Song Of The muses’ .She is currently working on another story in the series, featuring the same muse.

    Lyn loves hearing from readers and other authors and can be contacted at Hywelalyn@hywelalyn.co.uk

    Visit her at

    Website: www.hywelalyn.co.uk
    Blog@ www.hywelalyn.blogspot.com
    My Space: www.myspace.com/hywelalyn

    Tuesday, November 24, 2009

    Vote For Suzanne!

    YIKES... I just checked, and Suzanne McMinn has fallen behind in the voting by a couple thousand votes. Oooooh noooo....

    Please, vote for her to get the Sam-E gig. You can vote every day. I do. It only takes two seconds.

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

    In the Kitchen

    When women are depressed, they eat or go shopping. Man invade another country. It's a whole different way of thinking. - Elayne Boosler

    I feel as though I'm going to spend this entire week cooking! Saturday, we processed the deer so I was in the kitchen all day. Sunday, I started dog food, so cooked two whole chickens and chopped a million gallons of veggies (okay, maybe it was only half a million). Yesterday I took all the chicken off the bones and ran all the veggies through my blender, mixed and put into containers for the dog. Today? I'm making dog biscuits for my agility class as a Thanksgiving gift. And Wednesday, I need to brine the turkey for Thursday. Thursday goes without saying.

    Oy.

    I'm tired of my kitchen.

    DD and I spent a great deal of time reorganizing her beading supplies yesterday as well. We had been putting new beads and findings in the next available spot in her organizers, but it made no sense when trying to find something. So we got a few new ones yesterday and started putting things away in some logical order. All the metal spacers in one, all the findings in one, all the pink beads in one, etc. What a pain, and even now we aren't done.

    I saw a bracelet someone else had done using eyepins and dangling the beads like charms instead of stringing the beads directly on to the wire, elastic or hemp and I like the idea, so that's next on the list of learning how to do for DD. She's also going to start adding charms to her book thongs, so that's cool. And we got a custom order for book thongs, so she's working on those today. My friend with the Etsy store does most of her business via custom orders IRL, so I wonder if that's how DD will end up.

    Now I just need to get Distinctively DD out there more -- find some places to advertise, and I will probably start a blog and a Facebook fan page. Oy. I wish I could let her run amok online and take care of this stuff herself, but, uh ... no. And DD is disappointed at the way things are moving so slowly -- a few orders here and there, but I think she was imagining piles of orders coming in. I'm trying to learn the ins and outs of Artfire, but GAH, there aren't enough hours in the day.

    These are my current fave earrings -- I love how dainty they are:



    I swiped a pair very similar to these for myself, lol.

    And, it's time to go wake up the house, so I'll stop gabbing. Have a great day!

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

    Monday, November 23, 2009

    Book Covers

    “Don't judge a book by its cover” - American Proverb

    I have a friend who just received a cover for her book and she's not pleased with the outcome. We've been having a dialogue about it and it really got me to thinking: how much does a cover impact sales?

    I know for some readers, it can make or break a story. I'll use my DD (yes, I know she's not a romance reader -- yet -- but she's an avid reader). Some time ago, she received both "Penderwicks" books as a gift. She thanked the person, and then they landed on her shelf... forgotten. Here are the covers:




    Finally, months and months later, we were cleaning her room. She's not allowed to pile books willy-nilly on her bookshelf, so we had to make room by getting rid of books she doesn't read. I suggested the Penderwicks books. "You've never even opened them." She said, "The covers are boring." I replied, "If you're not going to read them, let's get rid of them." She panicked. "I'll read them right now."

    And she did. Finally. And LOVED them, rereading them regularly. But if I hadn't shoved her into a corner, she wouldn't have opened them EVER. Because of the covers. She hadn't even looked to see what they were about.

    Now what about me? If it's an author I love, the cover won't matter (except that I'll either love it or make fun of it -- either way, I'll buy and read the book).

    BUT ...

    I'm a rather visual person, and a cover can make or break a sale for me for a new author. A good cover can make me at least pick up a book and look at it (or, it's an eBook, click through and read the blurb). I still may not buy it, but I may do more research. I see somewhere in the neighborhood of 3500 covers a year via LASR/WC because I touch every review we post. I also have hundreds more books and stories that I see on my own. There are some really great covers out there and I'm intrigued by many of them, enough to look into them further. Some make me downright embarrassed for the author though. We have one review done on a book with a man, a woman and a dog ... and it's the most poorly Photoshopped cover I think I've ever seen. It looks like a five y.o. went through a magazine and cut out pictures using safety scissors and then pasted them onto a random background. The book may be fantastic, but I honestly can't get past the cover, and will probably never buy it because of that.

    There are some amazing covers out there, ones that would entice me to buy a book. Like this:



    I think this is the best cover Allie got for any of her books. IMHO, it's amazing (so is the book, BTW).

    Take a look at two different covers for one of my stories. The Wild Rose Press updated their older covers to make them more clearly NOT their free reads and what a difference it made.

    Here is my old cover for "Magic":



    And here is the updated one:



    Which would you be more likely to at least give a second glance to?

    And now... YOU weigh in. Does a cover make a difference to you?

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




    You Are Humor



    You love to laugh at life, and if possible, get others to laugh along with you.

    You believe there's always a humorous side to everything. And your sense of humor ranges from upbeat to very dark.

    You are outrageous and very honest. You're often the only one willing to say what everyone else is thinking.

    You are witty and verbally talented. You like to play with words and say things in interesting ways.



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

    Sunday, November 22, 2009

    Saturday's Story on Sunday

    As the days grow short, some faces grow long. But not mine. Every autumn, when the wind turns cold and darkness comes early, I am suddenly happy. It's time to start making soup again. ~Leslie Newman

    Yesterday was a long day. I woke up and started cooking -- I made eggnog muffins for breakfast (our eggnog had expired, and at $4.99/half gallon, I wasn't throwing any away! LOL), then got to work on lunch because I knew we'd be working on the deer all day. So, cornbread went in the oven as soon as the muffins came out (I tried something new with the cornbread -- added some sour cream to it, and it was yummy. Next time, I'm going to throw in some creamed corn) and I started a crock pot full of chili (again, tried something new -- added about 1/2 cup of ranch dressing ... it was GOOD).

    So, we worked all day until about 4:00, but the deer is butchered and in my freezer. We did have one problem come up: my vacuum sealer stopped sealing. So, I have about 25 lbs of meat unsealed this a.m. I'm hoping it just got tired, so I let it rest overnight. Fingers crossed that it works this morning. I really don't want to buy a new one.

    Today is supposed to be a pretty nice day (sunny and 50 degrees), so I'm hoping to get out a little. I've discovered that if I don't get in a good walk every day, I ache in my hips at night. I could barely sleep last night for hurting. So, if the weather is decent today, I'm taking as long a walk as I can. It'll be good for me, for the dog and for Dd as we were all cooped up yesterday.

    DH is ready to start snowmobiling, but the weather has been too nice! However, they're calling for snow north of us in a week or so, so he's getting set to go. Hopefully it doesn't disappoint him.

    I got the shock of my life yesterday... my FIL (and you need to understand that my MIL/FIL are NOT animal people) came in and patted Dakota and then said, "She's really turned out to be a nice dog. If I had a dog, I'd want one like her." -- could have knocked me over with a feather. Seriously. So, KUDOS to Dakota for being a successful dog ambassador.

    If you have a minute today, don't forget to Vote for Suzanne!

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

    Saturday, November 21, 2009

    Thinking Things Through

    Invest a few moments in thinking. It will pay good interest. ~Author Unknown

    So, I'm not going to talk much about the Bru-hah-hah at Harlequin, other than to say it's clear they didn't think things through much. Most of you who are readers ONLY probably don't know what happened, but it's made quite a splash in the writing world.

    Harlequin has partnered with Author Solutions to open a vanity press. Again, I see no problem with this IF THEY KEEP THE TWO ENTITIES SEPARATE. Most people probably don't know that Random House own Xlibris, right? That's as it should be.

    What bothers me most about Harlequin's venture is that they are referring authors that they reject for publication to this new vanity press. And that, to me, it completely unethical. If you're interested, much of the news regarding this little mess can be found at these links:

    Author Jackie Kessler

    Writer Beware

    Dear Author

    And there are many more -- just type "Harlequin Horizons" into Google and you'll see.

    The biggest ramifications of this move to authors is this: RWA (Romance Writers Association) has revoked Harlequins "approved" status, which means that no author may submit their Harlequin published book for a RITA.

    This is a big deal, and my heart breaks for my friends who are pubbed through Harlequin. This mess may be cleaned up before Nationals, but will it be cleaned up in time for the RITA? I have no idea.

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

    So, DH got his deer on Tuesday and we're processing it today. Thankfully the weather has been quite cold this week, so we didn't have to worry about hanging it for so long.

    As much as I don't like the cold weather, I do have to admit that it's nice not having to pull in my bird feeders at night. I DO have to retrain myself to check them now and then to see if they're empty, though! I use to just fill them every morning before I put them out.

    The morning sky is bright pink. Should I take warning?

    So ... what are YOUR plans for the weekend?

    OH...and I've been meaning to ask you all a favor. Suzanne McMinn is trying to get an online gig with Sam-E and needs votes! I've been voting daily, but there are never enough, and competition is stiff. You can vote every day and the link is here: Vote for Suzanne!

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




    You Are a Blogging Expert



    You got 7/8 correct!

    You know so much about blogging, you should blog for a living.



    I wish they'd tell me which one I got wrong! LOL...

    Friday, November 20, 2009

    A Shortie

    Protect me from knowing what I don't need to know. Protect me from even knowing that there are things to know that I don't know. Protect me from knowing that I decided not to know about the things that I decided not to know about. Amen. ~Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless


    Lord, lord, lord. Protect me from the consequences of the above prayer. ~Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless


    Am struggling with my webhost to get the LASR/WC pages up for today --- GRRRR... So this will be a short blog.

    Was worried I was getting the flu last night. When I went to bed, I was nauseous and had chills/hot flashes. I had to hold completely still or I was sure I would lose my lunch, but I kept running the gamut of sweating profusely and then freezing and back again. UGH.

    This morning I feel fine. How weird. But I'm thankful!

    I watched the pilot for "V" finally, and decided I just wasn't interested enough to watch the series. I'm kind of glad, since I really have very little time to watch TV.

    Rain today. DH is home. Life is interesting.

    And that's the truth.



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

    Thursday, November 19, 2009

    Stuff and Nonsense

    It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

    We got some pix back from the agility competition and one included a pic of the score board.



    The very bottom scores are the run-off times between the highest ranking dogs. And Dakota blew them out of the water (that time -- wish she'd performed that well all day!).

    They also had a video of Dakota's last, best run -- BUT it's so close up you can all but see the freckles on DD's face, so I can't post.

    We had fun at agility last night. DD has made friends with the instructor's granddaughter and they gabbed all night. On the way home, though, DD and I had a talk about what her responsibilities were. There were a couple of incidents that disturbed me -- once during the first class, she was holding a Yorkie (named Lucky) for one of the ladies who runs her other Yorkie. The one DD holds is a puppy mill rescue and isn't in tremendous shape, physically (he'd been confined to a cage for four years with no medical care), but his knee joints are especially bad. At one point, DD wasn't watching him and he fell off her lap.

    Three times in the second class (this is the one she runs Dakota in), she wasn't paying attention, so didn't know the course and didn't know when she was up.

    And, the two of them were antsy, so kept getting up and going out of the room, which is terribly distracting to both the people and the dogs. Once, they even stood there with the door wide open for a good 30 seconds. This may not seem like a crime, but we run our dogs off leash, so having an open door is a no-no.

    On the way home, I told her that I didn't mind her visiting with the other girl but that she needed to keep her priorities straight. If she wants to hold Lucky, then she needs to pay attention to him and if she wants to run Dakota the second class, then she needs to pay attention. If she wants to talk and play with the girl, then they need to go out in the hallway and talk and play.

    A funny from the night, though, was this: the other girl kept asking DD if she liked various kinds of candy, and DD kept saying, "I don't know what that is." Finally, when DD was running the dog, the other girl plopped down beside me and said, "Why doesn't she know what Twix and Guzzlers and ... are?"

    I said, "We don't eat a lot of candy in our house."

    She was shocked.

    Yes folks, it's true. I abuse my DD by not allowing her to eat a lot of candy. And she doesn't know what Twix are. I'm horrible.

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

    DD is learning how to convert decimals to fractions and vice versa right now, as well as multiplying and diving fractions and decimals. I'm having a terrible time -- not because I can't do it, but I can't do it the way THEY want me to show her how to do it.

    I can't believe how much things have changed since I went to school. You don't "carry" or "borrow" anymore. You have "logic charts" and can check your work by "casting out nines". I never learned any of that!

    Yesterday, she had to figure out how many days were in 36 hours. Oy. Yes, I know we all know the answer, but telling her how to get there was more complex than I can explain here.

    Homeschooling kids is a little like revisiting your own school years, the good and the bad. I have to do word problems again. Blech.... lol.

    One sad thing about DD's new friend: she HATES to read. That almost broke my heart. I wanted to take her home and show her how amazing books are, how they open doors and expand horizons. How, if you can read, you can learn anything. DD was shocked. Maybe she'll rub off on this poor girl.

    In any case, I have 30 minutes before I have to wake the house. Going to work on revisions for "Stiller Creek". Have an awesome day!

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




    You Are a Donkey



    You have a reputation for being stubborn, but that's okay. Your stubbornness has served you well in life.

    You know what you can and can't do, and you resent anyone trying to push you. You like make changes on your own schedule.



    You are a very conscientious creature. You are willing to take responsibility for yourself and for the people you care about.

    Because you have a lot of burdens, you have to be extremely careful and cautious. This explains your "look before you leap" mentality!



    Oddly, this is almost completely spot on! LOL... HEE HAW!!!

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

    Wednesday, November 18, 2009

    What, When, Where, Why, How with Sara Taney Humphreys

    Welcome to Sara Taney Humphreys!

    What hero would you borrow from another authors series that would be perfect for one of your heroines?

    Hmmm... Sara, you didn't answer this one? Too many choices out there? Readers, who is your favorite fictional hero? Let's give Sara some help!

    When do you write?

    When ever I can squeeze in a few minutes to be honest. I have full time job, as most writers do, in addition to a husband, 4 little boys, 2 dogs, and a partridge in a pear tree. Ok....it's a cockatiel but you get the idea. I live in an insane house. It's phenomenally loud and never quiet unless the boys aren't home...but if they're not home then neither am I. Usually I wait until night time after they've all collapsed and passed out. Occasionally, my husband will take pity on me during the weekend so I can have some time...but I often am overcome with guilt when the looming pile of laundry mocks me from the corner. So, short answer..(too late)--When ever I can get a minute.

    Where did you go on your first date?

    A rather pathetic trip to the 7th grade dance. My date, complete with bow tie, glasses and flood water pants--and his similarly clad Father--picked me up in the giant wood paneled station wagon 45 minutes late. Just before we pulled up to the school, he realized that he forgot the tickets and we had to go all the way back to his house to get them. It was the first of many horrendous dating experiences, a foreshadowing if you will.

    Why do dogs turn around twice before they lie down?

    Once just isn't enough and three times...c'mon that's just silly.

    How long do you want to live?

    Only as long as my mind and body work properly. The moment I need a diaper or forget my name...I'm out.

    Bio: "The Amoveo Legacy", with eXtasy Books, is Sara’s first published novel and the first book in The Amoveo Series. She is a graduate of Marist College, with a B.A. Degree in English Literature & Theater. Her initial career path after college was as a professional actress. Some of her television credits include, “A&E Biography”, “Guiding Light”, “Another World”, “As the World Turns” and “Rescue Me”. For the past several years Sara has been a professional Public Speaker and Speaker Trainer.

    Her speaking career began with Monster’s “Making It Count” programs, speaking in High Schools and Colleges around the United States to thousands of students. For the past several years, Sara has worked with The College of Westchester in New York as the Director of High School and Community Relations.

    She has been a lover of both the paranormal and romance novels for years. Her sci-fi/fantasy/romance obsession began years ago with the TV Series STAR TREK and an enormous crush on Captain Kirk. That sci-fi obsession soon evolved into the love of all types of fantasy/paranormal; vampires, ghosts, werewolves, and of course shape shifters. Sara lives in New York with her husband of 14 years, their 4 boys, 2 dopey dogs and an extremely loud bird. Life is busy but never dull.

    Visit Sara at her website or blog
    .

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    Revisions

    The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible. ~ Vladimir Nabakov

    It was such a pretty day yesterday -- at least from the inside! Lots of sun, but also lots of cold wind, so it wasn't a lot of fun to be out in it. Still, sun always makes me happy, so I'm glad to say we have sun again today (with a little less wind). We've had such a mild autumn this year, but I suspect our time is about to run out. Last year we had a mild autumn, too, and then we had record-breaking snowfall! They're predicting much the same this year which thrills DH and DD, but me? Not so much...

    Last night (all night) I couldn't stop thinking about how I want to revise "Return to Stiller Creek" -- which is weird for me, because I typically hate, dread, and loathe revisions. But these excite me. Maybe that means they are exactly what needs to be done? It's a massive overhaul, but I already know what I want to do with the pivotal first scene. Originally, police chief Clint is called in to investigate a death/murder scene. But he's not the police chief anymore and I couldn't figure out how he would end up there in any believable capacity. Last night I did, AND I figured out how to intro the new chief, too. Yay me.

    I'm ready to go. I'm sad about stopping NaNo, but that story just wasn't going in the right direction and it's just silly to keep writing something that's just plain unusable. That one is sitting in my brain and I know my subconscious is working on it and one day it'll pop out in a new form. It always seems to work that way :-)

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

    We got some clothing for Dakota. A lady from our agility class thoughtfully and generously donated some she had for her last dog. Dakota has no undercoat and freezes her dog-behind off in the winter, so I'm so thankful for the coat, raincoat and sweatshirt. I still want to get her a snow suit AND I was given a website that is remarkably low-priced. For all you pet owners out there, check out Pet Edge. Even their treats, leashes, etc. are inexpensive! I can't wait to do a little shopping for the critters.

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




    You Are Complex and Brilliant



    You have extremely interesting thoughts and complicated theories. You're always plunging deeper into whatever subject you happen to be studying.

    People make find your ideas confusing and even disorienting. That's disappointing because you are actually a very organized and orderly thinker.

    Your energy level super high. It's more of a challenge for you to get your brain to shut off than it is for you to turn it on.

    Your signature latte would be strong. Heavy on the espresso and light on the milk. You've got work to do, and you need every milligram of caffeine to count.



    That's actually pretty darn close! LOL...

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

    Monday, November 16, 2009

    Monday, Monday

    Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere. ~Chinese Proverb

    I was going through DD's schoolwork yesterday -- I only grade her stuff weekly, because I'm a lazy slug -- and discovered that I didn't have enough math worksheets to grade. Ooh...someone hadn't been doing her homework and she was so busted, lol. So she spent yesterday working on math AND she lost TV privileges for this entire week. She's not a happy DD.

    However, we just finished our first quarter and her grades are fantastic. Mostly A's and a couple B's -- ironically she's doing best in Math, and that's what she complains most about!

    I have to say that I really do admire teachers. I do NOT enjoy grading papers at all, in any way. And as I sat there yesterday doing only one child's papers and scowling the entire time, my admiration grew for the folks who do this on a daily basis for 20 - 30 (or more!) kids -- you all deserve a special pat on the back.

    I spent yesterday cleaning. My poor house was in desperate need. I've been good at the basic stuff: sweeping, mopping, dusting, etc. But the "deep" stuff? Scrubbing the bathrooms, wiping down all the cupboards in the kitchen, cleaning the fridge -- that had been left long enough. I didn't get everything done I wanted to because I had laundry and baking to do, too. But I got enough that I didn't get the shakes every time I looked around. I hate a dirty house. I don't mind clutter, but dirt makes me crazy.

    Today I'm hoping to get back into some semblance of routine. DH is still home, but I'm going to give it a go. I swear, next November, I'm going to run away from home for the month! *G*

    Happy Monday!

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




    You Are Bubblegum Flavored Toothpaste



    You are impulsive about most things in life, and you can't say no to fun! You are always in search of a new adventure.

    You try to lighten up every task and bring a little zing to your day. You like whimsical little treats, like bubblegum



    Like everyone else, you have your struggles and problems in life. Unlike everyone else, you don't let the difficulty of life get you down.

    The world may be a harsh place, but knowing that you can bring sunshine into other people's lives keeps you going.




    HAHAHAHAHAHA.... no.

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

    Sunday, November 15, 2009

    Busy, Busy, Busy....

    The essential question is not, "How busy are you?" but "What are you busy at?" ~Oprah Winfrey

    Yesterday was crazy busy (shocking, I know) -- we processed our neighbor's deer and that's always an all day thing. I managed to do some computer work in between times, but unfortunately I have a whole bunch of chores to do today, like laundry (since we're running out of clothes!).

    I'm also working on three book videos, so if I'm noticeably absent, that's why. I did try to touch base with people a little yesterday, to catch up on your lives and all the cute cat pictures from Brandy (loved Layla's!) and the LOLcats from Melissa. They always make me smile.

    I have well over 20 TV shows on my TiVo to catch up on, too -- usually I'll watch them during the day while I work on the computer at the same time, but with DH home I haven't been able to. Oy Vey. And, the thing is: I don't watch all that many shows, so that tells you how long it's been since I've watched an TV (weeks!).

    In any case, today is supposed to be nice and sunny, thankfully, so even if I have to be inside at least the house will feel cheery. Yesterday was dark and dismal (we were getting the leftovers from Ida) and I am looking forward to sun. So is Dakota. She's not a big fan of the wet weather.

    Wishing you all a lovely Sunday :-)

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




    You Put Yourself Last



    You take everyone's needs seriously, except for your own. You mean to take care of yourself, but you're always the last one on the list.

    While it may be tempting to lend a helping hand every time you can, you're actually not helping people as much as you could be.



    You are simply not at your best. You're too frazzled to really be giving anyone 100%.

    Take a mental health day - or even a mental health hour - as soon as you can. It's time to start getting some balance in your life.




    Hmmm... well, yeah. And that's a bad thing?

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

    Saturday, November 14, 2009

    This and That

    Dreaming is an act of pure imagination, attesting in all men a creative power, which if it were available in waking, would make every man a Dante or Shakespeare. ~H.F. Hedge

    I'm in a rambling mood, so beware :-)

    DH asked me to wake him up this morning to go out hunting if it wasn't windy (the leftovers from Ida are hitting us today). At 2 a.m., the dog had to potty (*sigh* She hasn't had to do that in a long time), so I took her out (and noticed it was already windy) and then curled up on the couch because I'm a light sleeper and DH ... well... he can really saw the ZZZ's so getting back to sleep would have been tough.

    Anyway, at 4 a.m., my alarm went off (startling the cat who was drooling on my pillow -- guess SHE isn't a light sleeper) and I looked out the window and saw the trees swaying, so rolled over and went back to sleep.

    Only -- here's the thing. There is no window I can see out of from the couch, and it's too dark at 4 a.m. to see anything anyway. At 4:45, I stretched and thought, "Boy I'm glad it was windy so I could doze off again and I wonder if it still is." then rolled over to look and realized I couldn't see out -- and had DREAMED the whole other thing! LOL... I jumped up and stuck my head outside and almost had it blown off, so it was still windy, but wow. Vivid dream.

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

    Maria Zannini got the book thong DD made especially for her. DD tried to match it to the banner ad Maria has at the top of her blog for her book, "Touch the Fire".

    It sounds like it was well loved, and my DD was thrilled she appreciated it. BTW, if you want a custom made book thong or earrings or bracelets, email DD and put in your order (she's at distinctivelydd AT gmail DOT com). We've had several custom order requests already, and she enjoys the challenge of making them.

    Speaking of Distinctively DD, she has her first bracelet/earring set up. Once we get bracelets down pat, we'll be moving on to necklaces. And then maybe some fancier earrings.

    ==================
    Allie posted this on her blog yesterday and I think it's something that should be shared:



    I recently posted about losing Georgia, the pit bull mix in our agility class. She was an amazing dog. Some of the best, gentlest dogs I've know were Rotties. The most amazing dog I ever knew was a German Shepherd named Jenny that one of my SIL's owned. People have ideas about dog breeds because of the media -- I've only been bitten once in my life, and it was by a chihuahua (and it was a bad bite). Instead of punishing a particular breed, we need to start punishing the people who make the dogs the way they are.

    As an aside, a breed that is the most well loved family pet is also a breed with one of the highest rates of reported dog bites (albeit not fatal bites): The Golden Retriever. So don't judge a book (or in this case, a dog) by it's cover. Breed specific legislation is wrong.

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

    I'm slowly beginning to write again, but not on my NaNo book -- because I can't seem to brainstorm a really good, juicy conflict for my H/H. OTOH, I did think of a really great conflict for my H/H in "A Jewel for Geoff" so that was exciting. AND, I found some pretty hot pix of a good-looking blond guy to replace my folically challenged Geoff in my mind, so I'm hoping that will help me find him more attractive. I have to be able to fall in love with my heroes, or I can't feel like the heroine can. Yanno?

    I wonder if it's legit to add together the writing I do on "A Jewel for Geoff" to the writing I already did for "Drive Me Crazy" and total them for a win on NaNoWriMo?

    Probably not. *sigh*

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




    You Should Have Curly Hair



    You are cheerful, outgoing, and downright bouncy. People find you to be very personable and real.

    You are confident in your own skin, and you don't feel like you have to fake anything.



    You are very independent and unique. You wouldn't like to look like every other person on the street.

    People find that you're honest, and it's easy to trust you. Others expect you to be honest in all facets of your life.




    Well... that's convenient, since I HAVE curly hair. Except -- check this out! I got my hair cut and flat-ironed on Weds. What do you think?



    I like it :-) ... or I should say, I likeD it -- cuz it's curly again.

    Okay, time to get back to work. Have a great Saturday.

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

    Friday, November 13, 2009

    Special Guest: Tracey Cramer-Kelly

    Visiting with us today via Goddess Fish Promotions' blog tour, welcome Tracey Cramer-Kelly, author of the romantic suspense novel, "Last Chance Rescue". Want a chance to win an autographed copy of her book? It's easy to enter -- just leave a comment here today! And visit her other tour stops to comment, for even more chances.

    Now... welcome Tracey!!

    Why I Write from a Male Point of View

    “Did you consider yourself a tomboy?”

    That was the question from the male hosts of a popular outdoors radio show.

    When I was a kid, all the neighborhood kids ran around together. We were a mini-gang and we were outdoors all the time, climbing on jungle gyms, playing tag and hide-and-seek, creating chalk drawings, running through sprinklers or building elaborate snow forts.

    I never fell out of a tree. I never broke a bone. I didn’t play organized sports (not that I didn’t want to, but that’s another story).

    I didn’t have dolls, but I had LOTS of stuffed animals, each with their own name and personality.

    So…no…I never felt like a tomboy!

    But…

    I do have hobbies and interests that are typically associated with males. I ride a motorcycle, and have since I was 16 (thanks to my dad’s influence). I got my helicopter pilot license in 2001 (and am slowly getting my fixed-wing endorsement). I have a particular fondness for white-water rafting and other adrenaline-producing sports.

    And I am definitely not a tea-and-gab kind of gal! I would rather bond with others the way men do: by doing some sort of physical activity (like basketball, for example). I sometimes have difficulty connecting with other mothers who have no interests or goals outside of their family (which you might say is a female trait...and I have those, too, especially when it comes to my kids, who are 2 and 6).

    So I tended to have male friends. And my background in the military compounded that. I worked and hung out with a lot of males (and still do as owner of a motorcycle accessories business www.LeaderMotorcycle.com).

    So perhaps, in some ways, I think like a man.

    So why do I ‘write like a man’? (I consider that a compliment, by the way.) Perhaps it’s a little of the old adage ‘write what you know’ (which I don’t believe in, although I’m convinced that the seed has to be sown somewhere).

    But mostly…I just find men fascinating. In particular, how they react to problems. How they deal with intimacy and emotionally trying situations. How they struggle with identity and regrets. My male friends (and my husband!) will tell you that I’ve grilled them at some time or another about something or other. In my writing, I like to explore how a male character may change/be changed by events/situations (a major theme in Last Chance Rescue).

    Women always want to ‘understand’ men and see the more vulnerable side of them. Last Chance Rescue gives them lots of that. AND men like it too (just ask the radio talk show hosts)!

    About the Author: I'm married to a man (Tim) who actually puts up with all my crazy ideas ... a "homebody" balance to my manic Type-A "go-go" personality ... a man who keeps me grounded. We have two children (son Nathan, 5, and our "love child" daughter, Evelyn, 1). For someone who swore in my younger days that I'd never have children, I am regularly astounded by my capacity for love and humbled by the blessing these two bring to my life.

    I enjoy outdoor activities of all kinds (downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, water skiing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, etc). I would spend every day on the river if I could!

    I've been a "biker chick" since I was 16 years old (and yes, I wear leather!). My current ride is a Kawasaki Vulcan 900. But I tend to get a new motorcycle more often than I should!

    Visit Tracy at her website and blog.


    ======================
    Blurb of "Last Chance Rescue":

    When Brad Sievers runs into his old friend Jessie Van Dyke at his high school reunion, little does he know how much it will change his life. When his high-powered advertising career fizzles, he falls into a most unlikely career opportunity -- becoming a member of Jessie's search-and-rescue team. Nothing in his life has prepared Brad for this, but he finds it more fulfilling than a dozen advertising campaigns.

    Through dangerous rescues and personal trials, Brad and Jessie become close friends. They share in the birth of her first colt from her rescued horse; Jessie helps Brad when one of his first rescues doesn't make it. When one of their rescue victims turns out to be a fellow soldier from Jessie's Iraq War days, Brad almost loses her to old demons. But when Brad is severely injured in a training accident, Jessie nurses him back to health as only she can. And when she goes missing one night, Brad realizes just how important she has become to him.

    Both Brad and Jessie must fight their own defenses to finally let down the walls that will allow them to rescue each other. This is a story about breath-taking action and adventurous lives, and the heart that is behind it all.



    Read an excerpt of this great story!

    Despite three blankets and a roaring fire only two feet away from him, Brad couldn’t stop shivering. Even the hot shower he’d had only thirty minutes before was a distant memory. A warm mug appeared in his hands. “What is it?”

    “Hot toddy with herbs.” Jessie sat in the easy chair across from him. “It’ll help warm you.”

    The bourbon burned the back of his throat but the herbs left a pleasant aftertaste.

    “You might start feeling warmer in a week or so,” Ryan teased, sipping on his own. The younger man sat next to Brad, nearly as wrapped as he was. Micah had been soaked as well, but he didn’t seem as affected by it. He and Tony—who had performed CPR with Jessie during the medevac flight—sat on the sofa, engaged in a conversation about fishing, of all things.

    They fell silent when the phone rang. Every eye watched Jessie as she spoke a few short words into the phone and hung up. She shook her head. “I’m sorry,” she addressed Brad specifically. “He didn’t make it.”

    Brad sat staring into the fire long after Tony, Micah, and Jessie had left. He wasn’t prepared for the impact of her words. Although he knew it to be true, he didn’t want to believe it. When? he demanded silently. When had the man died? Had he been dead when Brad had held him in his arms? Had everything he’d done been meaningless after all?

    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    Rushed

    Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can't buy more hours. Scientists can't invent new minutes. And you can't save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you've wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow. ~Denis Waitely

    Today's post will be quick -- I might have some time to work on my story (still brainstorming, but if the spirit leads I'll write some, too -- for an update about what the heck I'm talking about, go to this post on the JaNoWriMo blog here).

    Had to go way the heck away to get a prescription for my poor old kitty yesterday. Her arthritis is getting so bad! She's begun to limp and the doc found a pain med that shouldn't affect her kidneys much, but it's specially compounded and there aren't that many compounding pharmacies around. So it was off to Concord yesterday to get it. I used my GPS for real for the first time. It worked pretty darn well!

    We found a bead shop right across the street from the pharmacy and it was amazing! A HUGE selection of really top notch stuff at reasonable prices. I wanted to buy almost everything -- lots of natural stones, etc. Be still my heart. In any case, we bought some stuff and will be back. Now to make the new jewelry.

    When we got home, DH advised me that we were taking down trees at his sister's house, so it was off again. I reminded DH that just because HE is on vacation does not mean that DD and I are. She missed half her school yesterday. URGH.

    Our neighbor got a deer out hunting yesterday. However, he and his family are gone away on vacation from today through the weekend, and asked if we could process the meat. So, tomorrow we'll be spending the day butchering the deer and packaging the meat. We're getting half as payment, so it's worth it. But, another day I lose for working.

    So, that's my life. How are you? I will be by to visit soon -- it's just insane, and I'm barely able to keep up with writing (HA -- haven't done a word in six days) and working on the LASR/WC site. Bear with me. November is a sucky month all around.

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

    Wednesday, November 11, 2009

    Special Guest Blog: Teach them Well

    Teach them Well by Mima

    I’m a children’s librarian, and I’m asking all you grown-up readers to seek out three extraordinary picture books. These are three of my most favorite children’s romance books. Romance?! For kids? Oh, yes, and for elders, too. Young children recognize sacrifice, obsession, and reward. They love to groan about mushy stuff… unless it’s embedded in a lush, compelling story. I’ve read all of these books with many classes, and any who dared to go “ewwww” at the big moment were soundly hushed by their peers. The silence during these stories is that magical moment for a teacher—the awe of respect.

    The Secret Keeper by Kate Coombs, illustrated by Heather Solomon. While I’d like to turn all of these stories into “grown-up” romances, this one actually made my fingers itch. I saw it all so clearly. The isolated woman with the magic to take people’s psychic burdens, and the one man who refuses to use her talent, for he only wants to protect her.

    The Fox by Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks. Cry my eyes out every time. Not that unusual, granted, but this story is. The disappointingly aggressive font plays to the villain featured in the title, but the book belongs to the hero, the one eyed dog with a heart of gold, and the broken bird who loves him, even after she betrays him.

    East o’ the Sun, West o’ the Moon by Naomi Lewis, illustrated by P. J. Lynch. This edition of the norse variation on Beauty and the Beast is lifted by both the language and the art. The image of the princess finally in the arms of her Bear hung in my apartment for several months. I still melt every time I see it, and then I whisper, “Exploding trolls…” and giggle.

    I’ve read each of these stories at various times for Valentine’s Day. I’ve dreamed about them at night. They’ve haunted me as much as the most exquisite romances I’ve ever put on my keeper shelf. For all their brevity, they compel the reader to believe in redemption, and the children glow at the end. Read these, romance fans. Read and learn.

    About the author: Mima is the author of several paranormal erotic romances, including the Bonded fantasies’ newest, Spirit Within. Learn more about her and her works at www.mimawithin.com .

    Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    Gorgeous Weather and Busy Days

    The essential part of creativity is not being afraid to fail. — Edwin H. Land

    So... yesterday was a little on the crazy side and I didn't get a lot done. NO writing, so at this point, I'm four days behind on NaNo. Can I catch up? I have no idea. It's discouraging for me that the month I really want to hunker down and write is the month my DH takes off of work every year. I realize I can hunker down and write in ANY month, but I can't get the kind of support from the world as I do during NaNoWriMo -- and it really does matter.

    *sigh*

    Oh well, at least the day was gorgeous yesterday - sunny and mid-60s. It was VERY windy, but it was a warm wind, so it didn't matter. I contemplated blowing the leaves out of my flower gardens, but then opted not to. *G*

    I did futz around on eBay a little to see if I could find better deals on beading supplies for DD (that's her shop, Distinctively DD, over there on my sidebar ---> for those of you who didn't already know). And I did. But... it could get a little dangerous because there is so much there and most of it is really quite inexpensive. We realized that packing supplies and such are going to take quite a bite out of our profits (not to mention Pay Pal fees... OUCH), so that's not good. Am looking to find boxes and earring cards as cheaply as possible, as well as padded envelopes. We'll get there. It's still a learning process.

    I put up about 10 more earrings yesterday, and hope to do the same today. As an aside, my DH actually made two pairs of earrings to put up in the shop, so hopefully you'll see those for sale, too. It was a hoot watching my big macho man making jewelry.

    And, I'm trying to decide whether I want to start a Facebook fan page and twitter account for her shop as well. Artfire lets you auto-post all your new items on both sites.

    Ah... big business.

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

    In other DD news, I'm trying to decide whether I should break the news about Santa (and the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny) to her. Fact is... if she was in school, she'd know already. Decisions, decisions... your thoughts?

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

    Okay, provided no one gets up in the next twenty minutes, I should have time to write at least a few words, so I'm heading out. Have a great day!

    Oops... typed that too soon. The moment those words were off of my fingers, the floor above me creaked. DH and DD are both awake. *sigh* Oh well, maybe later.

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




    People Love That You Are Open and Confident



    You're the type of person that's easy to get close to. You're very comfortable in your own skin.

    You have no problem showing people who you are, and you're genuinely interested in them in return.



    You are an accepting and involved friend. You are truly curious about what is going on in other people's lives.

    You may be the first in your group of friends to express concern when someone is having a hard time or making bad decisions. It's only because you care so much.




    Not entirely sure this is true, but ... heck... it makes me sound good, so I'll take it. *G*

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

    Monday, November 09, 2009

    Agility Competition

    “A competitor will find a way to win. Competitors take bad breaks and use them to drive themselves just that much harder. Quitters take bad breaks and use them as reasons to give up. It's all a matter of pride.” - Nancy Lopez

    We had a (*mostly*) great day at agility. Dakota was considered one of the top three dogs, so headed her own team. By rights, we should have had the strongest team, but the stars weren't properly aligned, and our team came in last. Dakota only had one completely clean run (which I, of course, forgot to video), but she still did well enough to be in the final run-off. In that run-off, she had the best time of all and won the overall gold medal (for individual dogs).

    Here's one of her other runs (yes, that's me groaning when Dakota goes off course, and yes, I'm breaking my own rule and posting a vid w/ my DD):



    DD had butterflies in her tummy all day long, had two crying jags (because of poor runs and one bad choice she made--which actually overrode MY choice, which made it worse, because it turned out I was right), and was really affected by the spirit of competition.

    Dakota, OTOH, was completely unaffected by the pressure of heading her own team:



    The best thing that happened was that Dakota actually outran the dog who typically wins every competition to win her medal. Now... this dog fell off the walk-it, which dramatically slowed her down, but even so, it was a moment of great triumph (that probably won't happen again, lol).

    Amazingly, the team that won the team portion of the competition was the little dog team (with one exception, a sharpei who isn't very fast):



    One of the Yorkies is just an incredible agility competitor. He is so fast and accurate! Incredible.

    Here is our team (and, yes, I purposely chose the picture with DD's hair covering her face, lol):



    It was fun and a challenge and I may end up running Dakota at least once next time, because she listens to me better, but regardless I'm proud of both my daughters *G*.

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

    I'm writing this the night before, so I don't have a NaNo update for you. If you're interested, check the JaNoWriMo blog a little later in the morning.

    Happy Monday!!!!!!

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

    Sunday, November 08, 2009

    A Day Off

    “I've got a great ambition to die of exhaustion rather than boredom.” - Thomas Carlyle

    I was so wiped out yesterday (I was up at 3:30 a.m. -- don't ask), then hauled wood all afternoon on top of that, I was in bed by 8 p.m. I decided to make myself sleep in (and I do have to force myself, so I dozed off and on from about 4:30 until now).

    I'm taking the day off everything. No writing. No cleaning. No cooking. I only have to do the agility competition (which kind of bums me out because the weather today is going to be gorgeous -- sunny and 60 degrees -- and I'm going to be indoors all day, dang it), but otherwise, I'm done.

    And, this is going to be a short post, too.

    Happy Sunday everybody!

    Saturday, November 07, 2009

    Nothing Ever Goes As Planned

    When you feel dog tired at night, it may be because you've growled all day long. ~Author Unknown

    Yesterday was a testy day for all of us. Having DH home so much has been an experience, to say the least. Understand that it's not that we don't love him, it's just that DD and I have a routine, and a way we do things and behave and it's been affected dramatically by adding "Daddy" to the mix on a 24 hour basis.

    So, DD is cranky, I'm cranky, and DH is cranky. At least the dog is happy!

    In any case, writing isn't going great. It's okay, but not great. I made up my word count from yesterday, but am behind again this morning. I even got up at 3:30 a.m. to try to get ahead, but fate once again conspired against me.

    That's okay, I'm only 1000 words behind today. As long as I never get farther behind than that, I think I'll make it through! More NaNo stuff about me will be on the JaNoWriMo blog.

    Happy weekend to all of you.

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




    You Are a Geek



    You love to learn, especially when it's about technology. No subject is too obscure for you.

    You enjoy tinkering with things to see how they work. You aren't a traditional learner either... you need to hack around to figure things out.



    You may have the brains to be a super rich Silicon Valley geek, but you're truly content to have your own favorite projects, subjects, and toys.

    For you, being a geek is not about the glory. It's about a love of digging deep and truly understanding the world.




    Well.. yeah.

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

    Friday, November 06, 2009

    Running Late

    Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did. ~Newt Gingrich

    I completely forgot I hadn't set up a post for this morning. I'm telling you what, having DH home has really messed up my week. I don't know what day it is, half the time I don't know what time it is. I barely know my own name.

    He goes back to work on Monday, but then is off again for a week starting Wednesday. I can NOT wait until January. Life will once again return to normal. I love normal.

    Writing is crazy. You can find an update on my NaNo-ing at the JaNoWriMo blog.

    in the meantime, I figure I'll be hauling wood again today and tomorrow, and on Sunday we have another agility competition. DD is determined that Dakota will at LEAST place, if not win. To be honest, the dog is really, really getting good at agility. She's settled down, pays closer attention and mostly hits all her contacts. Wish us luck. I should have video and pictures for Monday.

    Anyone have anything exciting they're doing this weekend?

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




    You Are Apples



    You have simple tastes in food, and you appreciate a basic, clean flavor. You don't think eating or cooking should be complicated.

    In fact, you're really not one for cooking much at all. Your best meals come together quickly and don't require many ingredients.



    If anything, you're the type of person who's more likely to pull out the oven mitts and bake every so often.

    Chocolate chip cookies are one of your favorite things to smell baking, and it goes without saying that you love apple pie.




    Yep.

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

    Thursday, November 05, 2009

    Thursday Things

    If you made a list of the reasons why any couple got married, and another list of the reasons for their divorce, you'd have a hell of a lot of overlapping. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960

    Again, I'm writing this on Wednesday night for Thursday morning. :-)

    DH is home until Sunday, and it's driving me wonky. DD is having trouble sticking to her school schedule, and we won't even talk about MY schedule! OY.

    But... there is some good news! We didn't haul wood today!! Yay! Unfortunately, the reason for this was because DH badly sprained his ankle on Tuesday evening while we were -- you guessed it -- hauling wood. I know it's hurting him because he's actually complained that it hurts and has shown some discomfort. I've seen him drop a transmission on his hand and not flinch. He took an ax to his foot (well, it was supposed to hit the log next to the foot...) and barely complain -- though he did have to be carried, piggy-back, by our BIL into the emergency room, lol. So, the fact he said, "This hurts" means it must be excruciating.

    Makes me feel like a wimp complaining about my toe.

    Having him here is making life very difficult interesting. He was up with me this a.m. and about the time he left to go out hunting, my DD got up... So, I only got about 700 words done for NaNo today -- and I really needed 1700. Hopefully I'll be able to make up the difference tomorrow if everyone will just STAY IN BED. I'm already getting up at 4 a.m. -- how much earlier can I set the alarm so that I'm not disturbed? Sheesh...

    Part of my NaNo issues stem from logistics. Originally, my heroine lived in Absarokee, MT but that wasn't far enough away from Sloughhouse, CA so I moved her to Olathe, KS. THEN, she let me know she was a licensed wildlife rehabilitator this morning, but only AFTER she and the hero rescued a poor baby gray squirrel. So, I spent forever researching how to properly rehabilitate baby squirrels. I sure wish she'd told me earlier. Now, on top of Marsha (the goat) and Garwood (the Cockapoo) and Awkward (the turtle) we have Rocky (the squirrel). There's quite a menagerie in the truck heading to California from Kansas.

    Worse, my hero told me this evening when I tried to sit and write (that lasted about ten minutes before I was interrupted) that he isn't feeling well, and that he's coming down with something. I don't know WHAT he's coming down with, but I guess I'll find out in the morning. My poor heroine.

    Worse, the wedding of Cori and Micah (from "Kitchen Matches") is fast approaching and my H/H are the best man and maid of honor, and at the rated they're driving, they're going to be late for the wedding!

    In any case, I sure hope I have the time to write 2700 words tomorrow morning (THIS morning, as you read this). Wish me luck.

    Found this cute video thingie on Facebook today ... if you like smiling dogs and cats, give it a look. It's from the Best Friends Animal Society.

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




    You Would Be a Tempestuous Celebrity



    A part of you would love to be famous, but only for the true fans who understood your art.

    It wouldn't take long for the whole Hollywood scene to become a drag for you, and you'd probably often be in a bit of a foul mood.



    If you were a celebrity, you'd be well known for your crazy, unstable antics. The press would always be decoding your bizarre behavior.

    You'd be a celebrity in the mold of Angelina Jolie, Amy Winehouse, Marilyn Manson, and Christian Bale.




    Oh yeah.. that's TOTALLY me. :::rolls eyes:::

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

    Wednesday, November 04, 2009

    What, When, Where, Why and How with Yvonne Eve Walus

    Give a hearty welcome to Yvonne Even Walus!

    What would you prefer: a tornado or an earthquake?

    Hmmm. I've already been through a small earthquake: I woke up one night in a hotel room and saw the big wooden wardrobe move. It was fascinating and I wanted my husband to see it too, but I fell asleep before I could call out his name or nudge him. I've never had a tornado. So I think I'll stick to small earthquakes.

    When would you kill your own food?

    Only if I had no other choice.

    Where would you spend your vacation?

    Oh, so many places, so little money! But if cost and time were no object I'd go for:
    a Greek island, like Naxos Japan when it's in cherry blossom mode or a luxurious ocean liner cruise.

    Why did the chicken cross the road?

    Let me quote greater writers here:

    Mark Twain: The news of its crossing has been greatly exaggerated.
    Ernest Hemingway: To die. In the rain.
    Douglas Adams: Forty-two.
    Chaucer: So priketh hem nature in hir corages.
    Wordsworth: To wander lonely as a cloud.

    How many tattoos is "too many"?

    One. Particularly if it's on my child.

    Yvonne Eve Walus (also writing as Eve Summers) composed her first poem when she was 4 and her first short story when she was 9. She made up fictional situations in her head and played them out as far back as she can remember. Her first publishing success (a short story in a local magazine) came when she was 22. Yvonne has lived on three continents and her work reflects the wealth of her cultural background. Her crime fiction is published in USA and in Britain, and it includes “Murder @ Work” which is set in the tumultuous and exotic South Africa. Please visit Yvonne on http://yewalus.kiwiwebhost.net.nz/ or South Africa in her “Murder @ Work” and discover what life is like when you are prohibited by the law to own a house or have medical insurance. Yvonne’s books are available on Amazon and Fictionwise.