Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hoping...

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

The weather folks aren't entirely certain what's going to hit and how bad it's going to be. They waffle between a total snowfall of only 3 or 4 inches to a blizzard with 40 inches... big difference (and again, I say that I'd like to be a meteorologist where you can make huge guesses and get things wrong on a regular basis and still keep your job).

The problem seems to be that the storm is going to move in and then stop and just swirl overhead dumping snow, and they aren't certain where it's going to stop and dump. I hope it goes north, where they WANT the snow, stops and dumps and leaves us poor southerners alone.

The good news is that the chimney guy came by yesterday and said our chimney was fine to burn. The cap is starting to lift a bit, and he'll fix that in the spring, but the creosote levels are not bad at all inside the chimney. YAY.

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

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We've picked up a few more brave souls for JaNoWriMo -- I think we're up to six now. Woo hoo!

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You Are a Sonnet



There's no way we would write a whole sonnet for you

So you'll have to just believe that our love is true



You are a romantic at heart with a beautiful spirit

You should embrace who you are and never fear it



Hmmm... okay. Though, I have to tell you -- when I write poetry, it's usually REALLY depressing. LOL...

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I'm Guest Blogging

I almost forgot: I'm guest blogging today at LASR (we had an author with an emergency who couldn't follow through on her date). If you'd like to go read and comment, you could win a book, an eBook, an Amazon GC and a LASR/WC coffee mug! Plus, you get to make me feel less lonely over there. *G*

Click here to read my guest blog.

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Do. Not. Want.

Winter is nature's way of saying, "Up yours." ~Robert Byrne

I've put in an order to rescind my DH's prayer for snow, but I think it's been ignored.

I'm preparing to hunker down for the next four or five days in the house -- they're calling for snow T/F/S/S/and maybe M, with "blizzard conditions" possible on Friday. I know lots of you like snow, and I don't mind it in moderation, but five days of snow with accumulation that isn't measured in inches as much as FEET with enough wind to cause a whiteout doesn't thrill me. Just saying.

So today, I'm headed to the store to buy things we can eat if we lose power (which I anticipate but hope I'm wrong) and to the library for some videos to watch if we don't. We also have a couple new puzzles (thanks to some very savvy gift givers -- we love puzzles!) and of course we have plenty of books to read (I have dozens and dozens on my Nook -- I've bought many eBooks over the past couple of years that I haven't read, and NOW I CAN. Dru asked a couple of days ago if I still loved my Nook... YES, yes I do.)

In any case, if for some reason I don't post on Friday or Saturday, it would mean I'm without power. This storm wasn't exactly how I wanted to escort in the New Year.

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

I'll be doing JaNoWriMo with a couple other folks ... it appears we are only three this year (as opposed to fourteen last year), but three is a lovely number. Come visit if you get a chance (after the first of the year).

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Your Ideas Are Blue



When you think, you tend to have very detailed, well thought out ideas.

You take your time with your thoughts. You are a deep thinker who likes to explore every possibility.



Your ideas tend to be very innovative and perceptive. It's amazing what your mind can come up with.

Your mind is energetic and alert. You are "always on" and thinking of new things. It's hard for you to relax.



LOL.. this is pretty close, especially the last part!

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Let it Snow

“Nature has no mercy at all. Nature says, "I'm going to snow. If you have on a bikini and no snowshoes, that's tough. I am going to snow anyway."” - Maya Angelou

So... Christmas Day DH prayed for snow. Looks like, this Friday, his prayer will be answered in spades. We're expecting snow on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Oh. Whee.

DH however is doing the dance of joy and has visions of snowmobiles dancing through his head.

I'm glad for him, but OY. They're calling for a TON of snow.

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

I updated "Healthful & Homemade" this morning -- talked about making cold cereal from scratch.

I updated DistinctivelyDD a little, too. Not as much as I wanted because half of my pictures didn't come out. My camera tends to be a little hit or miss when it comes to close up pictures. A good, new camera is on my "want" list. Someday...

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



You Are Chocolate Truffles



You are unpredictable and even a little zany. No one knows what to expect when you're around.

You have a short attention span and need a lot of variety in your life.

You are easily addicted to the things that you love. It's hard for you to only eat one chocolate from the box.



Nope this isn't right much at all...

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

Monday, December 28, 2009

Time Warp

The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. ~Lesley P. Hartley, The Go-Between, 1953

DD and I watched "War Games" yesterday. I remember seeing that in the theater (it was released in 1983) and loving it. Yesterday, though, I spent the time explaining to DD what the main character was doing!

"That's a 5 1/2 inch floppy disk -- they had those before CDs."

"That's a library card catalog with actual cards -- they didn't used to have them on computers."

"That's microfiche -- he couldn't learn about the professor on the Internet because there was no Internet."

It got to the point where she started saying things (in all seriousness) like: "Wow! A 7-11 store! They had those back then?"

*snort*

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

She worked a good part of the day on replenishing her stock on DistictivelyDD. I have six pairs of earrings, two bracelets (one of which I had to pry out of her hands because she wanted to keep it for herself), and a bracelet/earring set that I need to get up on the site. She's going to work more today, but I can see we're going to need to get more beads soon!

I only managed to get dog food made yesterday, no baking, so that's on the schedule for today. I think I'm going to try the wheat flakes cold cereal first since we're out of cereal, instead of the wheat crackers. I'll post about it on Healthful and Homemade tomorrow.

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




Your Word is "Fearless"



You see life as your one chance to experience everything, and you just go for it!

You believe the biggest risk is being afraid and missing out on something amazing.

Sometimes your fearlessness means you're daring. You enjoy risky activities.

And sometimes your fearlessness means you're courageous. You're brave enough to do the right thing, even when it's scary.



HAHAHAHAHA... no

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

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Day of Rest

The best kind of rain, of course, is a cozy rain. This is the kind the anonymous medieval poet makes me remember, the rain that falls on a day when you'd just as soon stay in bed a little longer, write letters or read a good book by the fire, take early tea with hot scones and jam and look out the streaked window with complacency. ~Susan Allen Toth, England For All Seasons

Good morning... It's raining. RAINING. In December. DH and DD are distraught. Worse, DH had planned on lots of snowmobiling on his week off and now? Pfffffffft...

A week with a bored DH. Terrifying.

:::shivers:::

We took our tree down yesterday -- the thing was completely dead. And then I went on an artificial tree hunt. I went to WalMart, Kmart, Target, Home Depot and Lowes. I only found one I liked, and it was 9' tall -- too tall for our house. :-(

After lots of looking, though, I know what I'm looking for and so can probably find what I want online. I hope. So far, what I want (except for that 9' tree) are all $300+ ON SALE. The 9' tree is only $90 on sale. Maybe we should just cut a hole in the ceiling?

Today I make dog food, and possibly wheat crackers or wheat cereal (like Wheaties). We'll see how much energy I have.

Hope you have a lovely Sunday!

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You Are Creative and Artistic



You are the type of person who has a very active imagination. You live in a bit of a dream world.

Whenever you are able to channel your creativity, you are very productive and successful.

You are a very visual person, and you appreciate beauty and design. You feel anxious in the wrong surroundings.

You love luxury, and at times you can be an extravagant spender. You have no problem spoiling yourself.



Except for the "extravagant spender" part, this is mostly correct.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Day After Christmas

To give and then not feel that one has given is the very best of all ways of giving. ~Max Beerbohm



Happy day after Christmas!

We had a fairly quiet day... got up, ate breakfast, opened gifts. I think Dakota enjoyed OPENING the gifts more than she enjoyed the gifts themselves:

video

DH got me this:


And, yes, I broke that sucker out and mopped the entire house after we were done opening gifts! I love it!

We hosted the family in the afternoon, so DD got to play with her cousins. She gave book thongs to all the women in the family (and now needs to replace her stock). At one point, though, she realized she hadn't included one person -- we weren't sure she would show up -- and asked me to run upstairs and get another book thong. I did, then came down and walked up behind her to give it to her. At that moment, her teenaged boy cousin shone a flashlight in her eyes, so she jerked her head back... and slammed it right into my face.

I have to admit being insulted that everyone assumed I cried out and then left the room because I had a light shined into my eyes. Nope, I cried out and left the room because I was seeing stars. And this morning, I have the slightest of black eyes (DD has a hard head):



I told DD not to worry, I'd tell everyone that DH hit me. *G*

The in-laws only stayed a short time, so we were alone from about 5:30 on. After cleaning up, DD and I played cards. I taught her a new game, one that I LOVED as a kid: Spite & Malice. We're having lots of fun with it.

We also got two new jigsaw puzzles, so can't wait to break those puppies out and do them.

It was a pretty good day :-)

How about yours?

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Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

'And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: 'Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people, Unto you is born this day a Saviour which is Christ the Lord.' - Luke 2:11

Thursday, December 24, 2009

'twas the Night Before Christmas

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ~Burton Hillis

And we are READY. Yay! I finished wrapping the last of the gifts, and put away my wrapping paper storage boxes for the year. DH came home last night, took one look at the droopy, brownish-green tree and said, "Fake tree."

Oh yeah.

So, the stockings are hung by the chimney with care. I haven't worn a kerchief since fourth grade (though we called them bandannas, and they were all the rage), I plan on settling in for a winters nap (I only wish it was "long" -- too bad I, like our backyard bear, can't sleep the winter away).

In the meantime, I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas (or whichever holiday you celebrate)!!

Enjoy a little Peanuts (how can this not make you smile?):



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You Are Santa Claus



You are an optimistic and generous soul. It wouldn't be wrong to call you happy-go-lucky.

It lifts your spirit to brighten someone else's day, especially if this person is a child.



When it comes to helping others, you have boundless energy. And you admit that you sometimes put yourself last.

You'll put in the time to make sure that everyone is happy and content. You don't mind working long hours to bring others a little joy.



Ho, ho, ho.... uh -- no.

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

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

O Grocery Store

The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one. ~Erma Bombeck

I went to the grocery store for some stuff yesterday, and then used the self-checkout. DD loves to run the items through the scanner and bag them up, and I don't see the harm. Except yesterday, every single employee must have come by and told us that the self-checkout is really for people with only a few items (we had enough for four bags). I very nearly smacked the last guy who said it. If you only want folks with 10 items, them put that on the checkout. Otherwise, LEAVE ME ALONE. It's not as though people were waiting in line -- there were two other open self-checkouts. Sheesh.

In fact, it annoyed me enough that I'm probably going to start shopping at a different store. It's a little farther away from me, but the prices are comparable, and they don't nag me if I have a cart full of groceries and opt to use the self checkout.

Our Christmas tree is dead. I'm really, really tired of our tree dying before Christmas and told DH I'm getting a fake tree -- will go out the day after Christmas and find a nice one for 50% off. Because I'm tired of ornaments slipping off because the branches droop and I'm tired of cleaning up needles. Most of the bottom branches are stripped bare of needles from the dog wagging her tail and knocking them off. It's hard to yell at your dog for being happy...

We're burning in our wood stove again. DH took the pipe off and looked up (instead of looking at the top) and said it looks pretty dang clean from this side. I don't know what's up -- I'm clueless when it comes to this stuff. So, I just nod and do what he says, lol. I have to admit to really enjoying the amount of heat we get from the stove as opposed to oil heat. It keeps the house very toasty.

Today, I'll make sugar cookie dough and let it refrigerate overnight. DH actually wants to help decorate them, so we had to wait until he had a day off (which would be Christmas Eve). He's never expressed interest in decorating them before, so I'm puzzled, but happy. It'll be good for him to do something like that with DD.

Otherwise, we're good to go for Christmas!

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You Are Red



You are a passionate, outgoing, and intense person. You are naturally joyful.

However, you tend to be quite intense, and your temper is easy to spark.



You are confident and a real go-getter. You don’t fear or expect failure.

You are a very lucky person. You are destined to be prosperous – if you aren’t already.




Except for the "naturally joyful" part, this is pretty close.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Still Windy

Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness. ~Edward Stanley

It's STILL windy here. I could deal with the cold if it wasn't so windy -- I swear the house is going to blow away to Oz. It's supposed to finally calm down on Thursday (in advance of a mild snowstorm, oh yay), but I hate not being able to get outside and WALK. This is what is contributing to my achy hips (which I've had since I was pregnant with my DD -- pregnancy really did a number on my body). No amount of stretching helps ... the only thing that really seems to keep the ache down is walking, nice brisk walking with very long strides.

Yesterday I tried walking in circles around the inside of my house (we are in a colonial "box" so there is a bit of a track -- when DD was little and full of energy, I used to tell her, "Run around the house five times." and when Dakota was a puppy and the weather was icky, we used to put her on leash and takes turns jogging her around the house in circles to burn her energy). I think it helped a little, but it's just not the same. It's one of the reasons I want a treadmill.

Someday.

Anyway, despite my Christmas shopping being done, I need to go to the grocery store today and pick up fixings for a "deli tray". DH decided we had to have one for the Christmas gathering over here. I'm half tempted to get one already prepared, but will have to see if the cost is prohibitive. It's not THAT big a deal to organize one. I'm hoping the store won't be busy (I'm sure it WILL be on Christmas Eve), so am heading out today to beat the rush.

I'm also going to shop for a few things I need for dough enhancer so I can bake some big, beautiful Whole Grain Bread. I've never used dough enhancer before, but have high hopes of making fluffy WW bread with it. I probably won't do it until after Christmas, but I'll write about it on Healthful & Homemade when I do and you can see if it worked or not.

That's about it from my neck of the woods. What about you? Do you have any last minute Christmas errands to run before the big day?

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Your Holiday Personality is Responsible



The holidays mean that you need to get a lot of things done, and you're up to the challenge.

You love shopping for gifts, sending cards, baking, and decorating. It's all about making things festive for others.



Of all the types, you are the most likely to try out something new each season - whether it's a interesting recipe or fun decorating idea.

You don't mind playing Santa for everyone else. In fact, it's what you brings you peace and joy.




That's pretty darn close!

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Late!

"I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date! No time to say hello, goodbye! I'm late, I'm late, I'm late!" - The White Rabbit, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"

I am SO late this morning! I've not been sleeping well -- my hips ache something fierce, and they're worse than usual lately because I haven't been able to walk, so I toss and turn all night. Last night I tossed and turned, and at 2:30 a.m. finally moved to the couch (it's softer than the bed, and easier on my bones) and tossed and then... ahh... blessed sleep. But I slept through my cell alarm AND the coffee brewing AND the cat bugging me, so didn't get up until 6:15 a.m. !!!

Between all my morning chores, I'm only just getting on the computer.

A few things...

1. Ceri asked how I do the things I do. Ceri: I never stop moving, seldom do one thing at a time (the other night, I decided to spoil myself and sit and watch TV without a book or computer in my hand -- and after about ten mins I went NUTS, so grabbed my computer and started working, too) and frequently do more than two things (yesterday I baked cookies, washed dishes and cleaned the kitchen -- I mean, I have ten minutes between batches, I can't just sit and wait, can I?). I'm also very very big on to-do lists.

2. I'm going to do JaNoWriMo in January -- my goal will be to complete editing "Return to Stiller Creek" -- this is pretty major, since I'm changing the characters jobs around and have added two new characters and changed "whodunnit" in one case. Anyone want to join me, they are welcome. Set a goal and blog about it. Easy peasy.

And now... I need to go see why my DH isn't up. Have a great day!

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Your Holiday Wish is Being with Family and Friends



The holidays are near and dear to your heart. You don't need much to make you happy this time of year.

As long as you're able to be near the people you love most, you are content. It's really that simple.



You want nothing more than a full house of people celebrating the season. It doesn't matter if it's your house or not, just as long as everyone is there.

And if someone doesn't happen to be around during the holidays, you think about him or her often. You get very sentimental this time of year.




Yep... that's spot on.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Healthful and Homemade

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

I do a lot of reading on nutrition. I typically always have a non-fiction book on the nightstand, and it's invariably about nutrition: human or pet. Recently, I've been reading what I've found to be the most (apparently) honest and unbiased book I've found on human nutrition ... though to call it a book about "nutrition" may be a misnomer. What it's really about is food ... and IMHO there is a vast difference between food and nutrition.

The book is called "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan and it's fantastic. He's written about how we get our food and what goes into getting our food. He covers corn (which is involved in nearly everything we eat), CAFO's (Confined Animal Feeding Operations aka feedlots), REAL grass fed/cage free animals (he featured a place called Polyface Farms, and I am in awe of their system and wished I lived in Virginia) and lastly, he covered hunting and gathering.

What was most interesting about this book was two-fold.

1. He's not a rabid anything. Most books I read on food and nutrition have an agenda that is clear and they beat you over the head with it. He's not anti-any kind of food (i.e. no "carbs are bad" or "meat is evil") and appears to have gone into the research of this book with a fairly open mind.

2. He was hands on (or as hands-on as he could be -- the CAFO's wouldn't let him onto the killing floor) during each segment of the book. He worked with a corn farmer, bought a calf to observe as it made its way through a CAFO, worked on Polyface Farms (up to and including slaughter) and hunted and gathered. He was quite open about his observations, even when they may have been less than flattering about himself.

The point of all this gabbing on my part is this: I've decided to embark on a year of living healthfully and as locally as possible. I've decided to try to eliminate as many processed foods as I can (and, as a result, eliminate as much hidden corn from my diet as possible) and learn how to make my own homemade versions of what I can. I'd like to share some of the nutritional tidbits I've learned and share with you my experiments (both failures and successes -- I've already had both) and I'll be sharing the book I've been discussing with some lucky people in a giveaway. I'm not sure how I'll give it away, or how often yet ... it's all still forming in my brain.

But, I've started a new blog for this, Healthful & Homemade, and I'd love for you to visit. The postings probably won't be daily, but they'll be regular (you might want to "follow" it so you don't have to check back unless there is something actually there) and I'll make it as entertaining and informative as I can.

Hope to see you there!

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What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The West
 

Your accent is the lowest common denominator of American speech. Unless you're a SoCal surfer, no one thinks you have an accent. And really, you may not even be from the West at all, you could easily be from Florida or one of those big Southern cities like Dallas or Atlanta.

The Midland
 
Boston
 
North Central
 
The Inland North
 
Philadelphia
 
The South
 
The Northeast
 
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz


I saw this on Maria Zannini's blog and had to try it. It pegged me!! Yes, I am from the west, California to be exact -- how did it know?

What about you?

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Let it Snow...

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

Dru scared me on Facebook yesterday, talking about a snowstorm coming in. And then Michele chimed in with words about double digit snowfall. In a panic, I checked the weather (I haven't looked in a long time... I'm in denial) and was relieved to see that the worst of the storm is expected to stay south of us. They're calling for about 3" of snow.

Thank heavens.

Though, to be honest, a little snow would be welcome. The "snow" we have on the ground is actually pretty much solid ice, and DD can't sled nor can Dd go potty easily (she tries to squat and slips around, poor puppy. She needs doggie cleats).

Worse, we aren't burning in our stove to heat the house right now. DH has been keeping an eye on our chimney, and it's already starting to build creosote to the point it worries him, PLUS it looks like there is a problem with the chimney cap. Since we're both a little worried about chimney fires, he called the guy who did our chimney last spring. He agreed to come check things out, but not until the 30th -- so we're heating with oil for now, which is a bummer, cuz we can't keep it as warm.

*sigh*

Ah well -- at least I HAVE heat. Things could be worse.

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You Are a Vintage Christmas Card



You find Christmas to be the most peaceful time of the year. The holidays relax you.

Some people may get stressed out or frazzled, but not you. It's like you're celebrating a completely different holiday.

You take pleasure in the small things the holiday season has to offer. Candy canes. Happy children. Your favorite Christmas music.

Christmas may be more complicated than it used to be, but you refuse to get mixed up in the drama. You're bringing simple holidays back.



Hmmm.. not really, lol!

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Who's Tripping Down the Streets of the City?

Weather is a great metaphor for life - sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, and there's nothing much you can do about it but carry an umbrella. ~Pepper Giardino

Am I showing my age with that title? And, does everyone know it's Windy? *G*

The wind here lately is driving me bonkers. It's bad enough that it's about 8 degrees outside, but then add in cold, 40 mph winds and it's unbearable. DD and I dropped off our recycle stuff yesterday, and by the time we got back into the car, we couldn't feel our faces or our fingers. Another five minutes out there, and I would have had frostbite, I swear!

It makes it impossible to take walks or play with the dog (who is bouncing off the walls). I can't take Dakota to the mall with us to go mall-walking, her agility class is done for the next two weeks. It's awful. And I want it to stop NOW.

/endrant

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

Going to be baking a lot over the next week. And cleaning. We're hosting Christmas (which I prefer -- I really don't like to drive all over the place. I'm such a homebody), and that requires a little extra attention to tidiness (not that we're slobs, thankfully, so it won't take THAT much extra elbow grease).

I also need to make my annual donations to Samaritan's Purse in all my in-law's names, as it's the only gift they allow me to give them. DD loves to go through the catalog and choose. "Let's buy chickens!" or "Ooh... blankets, let's get those." She also donates a little of her own money toward at least one gift, so it's both fun and educational.

Speaking of DD, she's decided to use her income from Distinctively DD to earn her own Nook. I downloaded a couple of books for her to read on it, and she's absolutely loves it. It's a huge amount for her to save, but she's determined and so far hasn't spent any of her money on anything else. She'll be spending most of her Christmas vacation making new items for the store. I'm also looking into creative ways to use her nature photography and make it into something we can put there (note cards are leading the pack at this time). I told her that I'd like to see the numbers in the store hit at least 100 items (it's at 34 right now), so she has her work cut out for her.

I feel a great amount of relief at being done with my shopping (I'm SO glad we have the ability to shop online nowadays) and have sent out my cards. Christmas planning was very stressful this year and it came WAY too fast.

Are YOU ready?

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




You Are Warmly Compassionate



During the holidays, you take time out for yourself and the people that you love the most.

You try not to get caught up in the hustle and bustle. You prefer to stay inside your warm home as much as possible.



You believe that the holidays are all about the little things. Being and reconnecting with those closest to you.

People are important to you, not gifts. Love is the best gift in the world.




Hmmm... about 50/50 ...

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Excitment at Agility

Most pets display so many humanlike traits and emotions it's easy to forget they're not gifted with the English language and then get snubbed when we talk to them and they don't say anything back. ~Stephenie Geist

I believe in animal rights, and high among them is the right to the gentle stroke of a human hand. ~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com


We had an exciting night in agility last night. There is a little Yorkie in there who was brutally attacked by three huskies when he was a puppy (actually, they treated him like a toy grabbing him and tossing him around -- but from his POV? Definitely an attack). Since then, he is VERY aggressive with big dogs. His owner is frustrated by it, and wants to do something for him, because it's clear he's not happy (he's always so uneasy if there are big dogs around). He's the sweetest dog I've ever met when it comes to people -- most Yorkies can get a little snippy if they're put out or annoyed, but he doesn't. Still, it's just not safe for him to have this problem.

Case in point, last night.

He was on the course, off leash, when a class participant came in late. She runs a border collie who is a sweetie BUT is also very alpha and doesn't put up with any crap. The Yorkie looked over and saw her come in an next thing I know... a blur passes in front of me and he attacks the border collie! I couldn't believe that none of the people near there tried to break it up. The BC's owner pulled her to her hind legs so she couldn't hurt the yorkie (cuz she wasn't putting up with his crap and was going for him as viciously as he was her) and the instructor ran over and yanked the yorkie off. He was fighting to get away and she gave him what for ... when he finally calmed down, he was so ashamed.

Poor thing -- it's just a complete knee-jerk reaction for him, and it's going to get him killed.

So, I talked to his owner about helping him. Dakota is so completely beta dog and so utterly laid back. He's actually attacked her a couple of times and she just moves away and looks at him like, "What? I just wanted to play." But she doesn't take it personally, she's not afraid of him and whatnot. So I offered to get together regularly and start desensitizing him around big dogs. Thing is, and the owner realizes this, too: she can NOT hold his leash when this is going on, because she anticipates his behavior -- she's tense and worried, and I really think that passes to the dog.

Her sister has a little Yorkie, too, and is very calm, so we'll probably work together instead. We'll see... nothing will happen until after the first, but this poor little critter really needs to get his doggie head on straight, because otherwise he is a sweetheart.

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

Got my Christmas cards out (mostly) yesterday. Finally. I'm usually the person who sends them out the day after Thanksgiving, so this was really upsetting me.

To be honest, I'm just ready for Christmas to be over now.

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




You Like the Holidays



You definitely have a good time during the holidays, but you aren't obsessed with them or anything.

You shop for a few presents and participate in a few traditions... but that's it!



You may be accused of being a grinch, but you're simply not a fanatic about holiday traditions - especially commercial ones.

You get into the spirit of the season by being kind, compassionate, and not clogging up the stores!




So so...

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Finding the Happy

The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. ~Benjamin Franklin

ACK! No more guest blogs or interviews! I nearly forgot -- sheesh. I have to think of something to write...



Hmmm... not working. Maybe this will help?



Yep... that helped.

Here's something about me: I'm not typically a jolly person (ironic, really, since I prefer to read AND write romantic comedy) and really have to make a point of looking for the happy stuff (the bad stuff is so much easier to see, isn't it?). I think that's why I love "It's a Wonderful Life" so much -- George can't see any of the good stuff for all the bad stuff standing in his way. It takes having all the good stuff stripped away for him to realize that it was even there in the first place. I've watched this movie three dozen times, maybe more, and the end still makes me cry.



Then there are two country videos who say the same thing. Even if you're not a big country fan, give these a try.

"You're Going to Miss This" by Trace Atkins - sorry, embedding is disabled but this one really gets me...



So my goal is to shove aside all the bad stuff to look for the good stuff hidden behind it.

How about you? How do YOU stay happy?

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




You Are An Elf



You are highly creative and artistic. You are good at working hard.

While you love to work, you also love to play. You have a naughty side to you!



You love pulling pranks and teasing people. You always seem to be getting into some sort of trouble.

People can rely on you to be industrious and responsible... but you're going to have fun while you're getting stuff done.



Hmmm... pretty close :-)

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

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Finding Time

The best way to get something done is to begin. ~Author Unknown

I checked out a book at the library on Saturday that sounded like something I really could use.



Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find the time to read it! LOL... It is sitting nearby, mocking me, as we speak.

=======================
DD has been thoroughly enjoying the snow (the dog loves it, too -- so I'm in the clear minority here). Check out her entertainment yesterday afternoon in our backyard:

video

video

Normally she'd have Dakota chasing her down the sledding trail, but for these videos I was looking for something solo.

I rather miss the carefree days of youth. I watch her and think about puking and breaking bones and cold... I'm an old fuddy-duddy.

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




You Are a Hawk



You have a fighting spirit, and you don't back down from any challenge. You aren't scared of getting in the mix.

You aren't necessarily violent, but you understand why violence sometimes is necessary. It's a cruel world out there.

You are a natural debater. People may find you belligerent, but you just like to argue. It's not personal.

You rather have conflict than pretend to go along to get along. You stand up for what you believe in.



Uh... yep...

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

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday Meandering

At Christmas
A man is at his finest towards the finish of the year;
He is almost what he should be when the Christmas season's here;
Then he's thinking more of others than he's thought the months before,
And the laughter of his children is a joy worth toiling for.
He is less a selfish creature than at any other time;
When the Christmas spirit rules him he comes close to the sublime...
~Edgar Guest


Funky weather we're having lately. For the past four days it's been so cold that it's unbearable to be outside. Yesterday afternoon, it warmed up to about 30 degrees, and then we had a TON of wet snow... until it warmed up even more and showered us with freezing rain and rain.

Every car that drives past here crunches on the way. This doesn't bode well for non-slippery roads this morning. And I had a TON of errands planned for this a.m. dang it. Blech.

The cold made our snow from last Wednesday turn to ice, and poor Dakota cut herself running around in it yesterday morning. I couldn't let her out to play again until much later, when the "warm" melted it all into mush. Poor puppy is bouncing off the walls with energy!

The joys of winter in the northeast. I'm telling you -- if anything every happened to my DH, I'd move south and west so fast, I'd barely have time to stay for the funeral. I am SO not a snow girl.

DD and I have been watching the Santa Clause movies over the past few days. They're very cute! I want to watch "It's a Wonderful Life", too, before Christmas as well and hopefully "Miracle on 34th Street" (the original version). All great movies, IMHO. What are some of your favorite holiday movies?

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




Your Soul's Urge is Independence



You are a unique and bold individual. You go your own way.

You are a huge idea person. You are destined to be a pioneer in one way or another.



You stand out in any crowd just by doing your own thing. You enjoy being unconventional.

You are self-reliant, and you don't rely on anyone for anything. You have a lot of friends, even though you don't need them!




Yep -- that's pretty close to right, with a few exceptions.

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

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Head-Hopping and a Cold Weather Walk

Antisthenes says that in a certain faraway land the cold is so intense that words freeze as soon as they are uttered, and after some time then thaw and become audible, so that words spoken in winter go unheard until the next summer. ~Plutarch, Moralia

I didn't get very many responses from people to my questions about guest blogs / author interviews yesterday. Darn it. I'm still asking, so feel free to comment today!

Maybe I'll do monthly themes and solicit guest blogs in that theme? This wouldn't work if I hit up bigger named authors (and yes, I did get a few folks suggested to me). OTOH, if I had, say "cowboy month" and I hit up... oh... Linda Lael Miller, that would work.

I'd better decide soon... January is right around the corner!

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

HA... proof that "head-hopping" is confusing, even to the untrained eye.

Last night, DD and I were sitting side-by-side and she was reading. All of a sudden she growled, slammed down her book and looked at me. "Mom, first the story is told from this person, then that person, then another one. I can't figure out who is telling the story. It's CONFUSING."

I clarified. "You mean that it starts out from the point of view of one character and then shifts unexpectedly into another's?"

"YES." She slams the book again. "I hate it. I'm inside one person's head, I even get their THOUGHTS, and then I'm not anymore and I can't keep track. I don't want to read this book anymore."

"This book" happened to be the first in a series -- and my DD is a series freak. If it had held her attention, she would have gobbled up every last one. This author lost a rabid fan by breaking the "No POV switches" rule ... and my DD isn't an author. I've never talked about head-hopping to her. The simple fact is, it confused her... her biggest quibble was being in deep POV with one character and then getting tossed out.

I bring this up because I started reading a short story this a.m. -- and was in deep, deep POV with the heroine, and then WHAMMO! it changed to the hero, mid-scene. I really, really hate that. Changing at chapter breaks is fine and dandy, or even scene breaks, but this was at a pivotal point in the story (the heroine realizes that her new teaching partner is an old flame) and dumped me right out of the story. So, I shut down the document and deleted it off my computer. And the author, who is quite a prolific eBook author, lost me as a reader/buyer (I'm looking for more books to buy for my Nook!).

BTW -- anyone have any suggestions for some good, newer, books?

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

Yesterday I took a walk for the first time in several days. Between the snow storm on Wednesday, and then the gale force winds on Thurs, Fri and half of Saturday it was downright inhospitable. The dog was going nuts, my joints were starting to ache... so yesterday afternoon, when I noticed the wind had died down (never mind it was 20 degrees outside!), I bundled up and took both my kids (DD and Dd) for a nice walk.

I did decide that I need flannel lined jeans, though. My legs were the only part of me that was cold. OH, and my eyeballs. I swear, they felt like they'd frozen solid.

Next year, I'm spending the winter in California. I have a friend who lives in Monterey. It's lovely there in the winter. Yeah.... sounds like a plan.

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

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Need a Little Help

He who gives when he is asked has waited too long. ~Sunshine Magazine

Hey all... a new year starts in just a couple of weeks (isn't that amazing?) and I need a new format for my guest blogs. I'm looking for input.

1. Do you even enjoy getting to know other authors?

2. If yes, do you have any questions you'd like me to ask them (and don't worry about being too silly or intrusive -- I've asked about hobbies, food, and even underwear before!). Please, please send me your questions -- you can leave them in comments or email me at authormariannearkins AT gmail DOT com.

3. Would you prefer an actual guest blog from an author instead of an interview (like this one)?

4. Would you prefer having a longer blog on just one topic (i.e. "Where did you get your idea for your book?" or "Tell us about your hobbies") and have the author expand on it?

5. With the exception of Nora Roberts and Jennifer Crusie, are there any authors in particular you'd like to hear from? I'm not shy about emailing anyone and asking for an interview (which is how the LASR site kicked off with an interview from Lori Foster when we started in 2007). They don't even necessarily have to be romance authors.

6. Anything else you'd like to add?

I really am desperate for input, so please, please -- even all you lurkers... yes YOU, you know who you are.... please let me know. THANKS!

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

DD went to my SIL's for a little while yesterday to do Christmas stuff: make paper snowflakes (this is a tradition in my in-law's family, and my FIL is truly amazing at it), bake and whatnot.

While she was gone, I pulled out the FOUR boxes of stuff my mom has mailed over the past few weeks and wrapped presents. I'm not really excited about this part of Christmas, but it has to be done (I owe an enormous debt to whomever made gift bags so popular). I left all the gifts for the cat, the dog and my DH for DD to wrap (because SHE enjoys it tremendously) and then popped all her gifts under the tree.

Understand, for the past two weeks we've had two lonely little gifts under the tree and nothing else. When she came home and saw about ten more (and a couple are quite large), her eyes nearly bugged out of her head! It was awesome :-)

Now I just need to wait for the gifts I bought her online to show up. I really love to shop for other people. I remember, many years ago, I was involved in a five-car accident. I was stopped, last in line, at a stoplight and a teenaged girl was too busy ogling a cute guy to brake -- she slammed into me and I hit the car in front and so on.

I was fine with letting our insurance companies hash it out... until the lady in front of me sued me for hitting her. Uh, no. I don't think so. So I had to sue the girl who hit me (GAH, I hate even saying that -- the whole sue-happy legal system makes me crazy).

In any case, at the end of the day, I ended up with a couple thousand dollars ... a fortune to me as I was only 19 y.o. You know what I did with it? I WENT CHRISTMAS SHOPPING. It was the first time in my life that I didn't have to wince at price tags ... I could pretty much buy what I wanted for people, and it was the best time I think I've ever had.

Ah... the good old days when I was young, foolish and had few responsibilities...

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




You Are Laundry



You are efficient, speedy, and on top of things. You aren't a very hands on person, and you prefer to delegate as much as possible.

You believe the quickest way to get things done is to just do them. You don't procrastinate much.



You prevent getting overwhelmed by not taking on more than you can handle. And you're not afraid to do something quickly to get it out of the way.

Technology is your friend, and you love gadgets. You'd like a lot more of your life to be automated!



Hmmmm 50/50 -- though I'd sure love a robot maid like the one on The Jetsons!

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

Friday, December 11, 2009

Nook, and Shopping and Sweetness - Oh my!

Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice. ~Dave Barry

So... I finally spent some quality time with my Nook last night, actually reading a book. I've never been able to spend much time reading on my computer for two reasons: 1. I feel obligated to work when I'm on the computer and 2. My eyes ache after too much time on the computer, and reading is supposed to be relaxing -- plus, my fave place to read is in bed right before I go to sleep.

A note about the Nook -- the complaint I had about not being able to reach the arrow to turn pages when the cover was on? I'm a total and complete dork. Last night, I noticed a set of four snaps on the back of the cover. Not being a total idiot, I figured they must have a match somewhere and lo and behold! You fold the cover all the way around the Nook and snap it in place. Voila! I can now turn the pages with the cover on. Can you say "DUH"?

So, last night, in bed I read five chapters of the book I bought. One of the complaints the Nook received was that it can take 3 seconds for the page to turn (as opposed to 1 second on the Kindle). I'll be honest and say that this little quirk didn't bother me at all. I can manage to keep the thought in my head that long while I "wait" the whole 3 seconds for the page to turn. Additionally, BN has mentioned an automatic software update after the first of the year to address this issue.

After reading for about 30- 45 minutes I had no eyestrain, I wasn't tired from holding the Nook (which is a little bit heavier than your standard paperback) and turning the page by pushing the arrow was automatic. The only thing that bugged me was if I accidentally brushed the bottom screen and turned it on -- it's backlit so the brightness was annoying. It goes to sleep after a little but, but I did it twice and was irritated. My own fault, really. Gotta keep those lazy thumbs in place, lol!

Okay, moving on...

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

I pretty much started and finished my Christmas shopping yesterday. I made three stops around town: L. L. Bean outlet (got DH and Dd their gifts), Bead It! (for supplies to make earrings and a necklace for my best friend -- I need to get a move on, she lives in California and no, she doesn't read this blog, lol), Michaels (for more beading supplies and something else that I can't say because the person it's for DOES read this blog) and Agway (got DD one gift and several stocking stuffers for the entire family). Then, at home I shopped at Amazon and Bella Sara for DD. Now, I just need to go to Samaritan's Purse and make various donations in other people's names for all of my in-laws and do a little more online shopping for two other family members. Easy peasy. Best thing? I didn't have to deal with crowds!! I absolutely refuse to go to the mall, or any where near it, until after January 1st. Now I just need to get my Christmas cards out. They are right here, next to me, and have been for a while -- I wish they'd address themselves. *sigh*

One thing I discovered yesterday is that I have little use for over the top sweet lovey-dovey-ness. At Michaels, there was a couple there shopping. The lady said something derogatory about herself and the man said, "If you weren't like that you wouldn't be you, and I love you the way you are."

Okay... that was kinda sweet and I could deal. But then THIS happened:

"Aww.. you love me?" In a little girl voice.

"Just a little bit." In a 'you're a cute puppy' voice.

"Really?" Leaning in and smoochy-smoochy.

"Okay, I love you a whole lot."

More smoochy-smoochy and then more "I'm so glad you love me." "Of course I love you."

BLECH.

I nearly went into a diabetic coma from all the sugar. And I made a point to get the heck out of the aisle until they stopped. Ick.

Clearly, I'm not as much of a romantic as I might think.

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




You Are the Thimble



You are a very resourceful and crafty person. Some may even call you cunning.

You are always looking for opportunities to get ahead. You are very creative and original.



You like to survey each situation and carefully plan your move. You have a good instinct for defense.

You like to protect what's yours, and you never take on too much at once. You believe in holding back until the time is right.



Hmmm... mostly right!

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

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The NOOK!

Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons. ~Ruth Ann Schabacker

I'd had a couple of things I'd planned on blogging about today. The huge storm that dumped about a foot of snow on us, for one:




In DH's words, "Now THAT is a snowstorm!"

Yep, he was excited. Partly because he could do this in the yard:

Ready... Set....


GO!!!!!


But then, UPS arrived and changed all my plans. The wonderful man brought me this (I almost kissed him, but he wasn't my regular guy and probably wouldn't have understood, lol):



Yep (squeee...) THAT is my Christmas gift to myself: The Nook eReader!

I've wanted an eReader for a few years now, but just couldn't find one I liked. Pre-Kindle, there was Sony, but they were expensive and I just wasn't in love with them. After buying the three we gave away for the LASR/WC anniversary I decided, again, that I wasn't willing to spend the $300 for them (the wireless one they're coming out with next month is $400). It didn't help their standing with me when I couldn't get the Sony eReaders to talk to my computer. I couldn't even charge them up and finally had to send them to Judy to see if SHE could get them to work. She did, but not without great effort. AND it took forever to upload books onto them from the computer.

So... I scratched Sony off the list.

Kindle was tempting... so very tempting. It really did everything I wanted, but I just couldn't get past the fact that I had to buy my books from Amazon. Yeah, it's cool for them that they kept it all in house, and the prices was right on both the eReaders AND the books. But I'm stubborn, and don't like being told I can't do something (like buy books from the publisher or from Fictionwise), and I didn't like the fact I wouldn't be able to load up all the PDFs I've purchased over the past three years. I've heard that software exists to allow you to do all of that, but it annoyed me that I'd have to jump through hoops for it.

So... despite the very real temptation, I scratched Kindle off the list.

Then, Barnes and Noble came out with the Nook. They sent me an email on the first day they were accepting pre-orders for it. To be honest, I really hadn't heard that much about them, but from their email information I became intrigued enough to do a lot of research. First, I checked out my pet peeve about the Kindle. Did the Nook let me upload PDF files?

YES! It did, and without any problems at all.

And, after finding a comparison of the products on some technical website, I discovered that it pretty much had everything the Kindle did (except text to speech and I think the Kindle battery lasts a little longer, but the Nook has more memory space automatically -- I liked more memory -- AND I can buy extra memory for a very reasonable price if I need it), was the same price as Kindle ($259) and it let me upload not just PDFs and ePub documents, but it's also an mp3 player to boot.

Yeah, baby. I was sold and I placed my order that day. That turned out to be a good thing, since the Nook ended up having the same problem as the Kindle did when it was first released -- demand was far higher than supply. Thankfully, since I'd placed my order so early, I was in the group first in line to receive one.

Yes, I played with it a little last night. Here's what I found:

First -- unlike Sony, the Nook comes with an AC adapter for free. This meant I could charge it that way, and wasn't locked into using my computer. However, because of my bad experience with the Sony eReader, I plugged the Nook into the wall with the adapter AND into my computer. It worked flawlessly both ways.

Good start.

Next, after it charged for about 2 1/2 hours, I started it up and took the tour they have. It told me all the cool stuff it does and I was even more excited. I logged into the BN.com site and linked my Nook to my account. Everything is still going smoothly.

Now, to test their claim that I can read my PDF files. It doesn't tell you HOW to load them up -- and while I realize this may have a been a no-brainer for a lot of folks, it took me a little bit to realize that I had to plug my Nook into my computer where it because a sort of travel drive. From that point it was simply a matter of copying and pasting my PDFs into the new file. It took about 20 seconds to copy over a couple dozen books (again, unlike the Sony which took forever for each book upload -- sorry Sony, but you keep having strikes against you).

Okay -- PDFs loaded up, let me see if I can (1) Find them and (2) Read them.

Tap the screen, tap my documents and VOILA! All of my PDFs are there. BUT... for some reason, some of them didn't show up with their title. I had a couple that were stored under the first line of the story, others that were the title and I even had one that was saved under the author's name. Odd. And I can't figure out how to fix that, because the files are all saved by name on my computer and that was how I copied them over ... my guess is that it has to do with how the story was formatted by the publisher. Also, the covers are in black and white, and don't show up in the "covers" link on the Nook. Those were both small issues, and the fact remained that I could still access the books I've purchased in the past.

Okay, I opened one PDF. It appears as though the Nook coverts them to a Word document (this is supposition on my part, so don't quote me on it). That was fine, and it was perfectly formatted and easy to read. I can change the text font (to one of three choices) and the size (small, medium, large).

I'm still happy. So far, it's still all good.

Next I had to test how buying a book from BN.com worked. Was it simple to buy it and get it to my Nook?

I logged into to BN.com and chose a book. The "buy" button said "Buy now, read in seconds" and they weren't kidding. I clicked, it charged my credit card and sent the document to my Nook before I could take a second breath.

I went to the Nook, tapped the screen, tapped "check for new BN content" and VOILA!! The book was there and ready to read.

Be still my heart.

Buying books this easily can be very, very dangerous.

The only thing I don't like about the Nook so far is that I can't put it in its cover, hold it to read and turn the pages easily. The little arrow to turn the page is too far up on the reader for my thumb to reach. I either have to take it out of the cover, or shift my hands to use my finger. I think I can live with that, though, if that's the only downfall.

So, on a scale of 1 - 10, the Nook gets a 9.5 from me.

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



You Are Chemistry



Of all the types, you are the most "mad scientist." You love to really get to the essence of how things work.

You are also a total brainiac and good at crunching out equations. You are very detail oriented.



You understand concepts and theories well. You are capable of very abstract thought.

You are inventive and creative. You might create a drug to make everyone smarter or come up with a totally new food flavor!



Maybe I could invent negative calorie chocolate!

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

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

What, When, Where, Why, How with Kelly Heckart

Welcome to Kelly Heckart ... today's victim guest!

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

I would like to be paired with a wolf shifter. I have a special connection with wolves/canines and there is something exciting about a man who changes into a wolf. To me a wolf represents intelligence and loyalty, two qualities I appreciate in a mate.

When did you start writing?

I have always been a writer, but did not get serious about it until later in life. I started out writing song lyrics/poetry and then short stories and novels. Writing is something that I love to do so I write what inspires me and do not think about making money at it.

Where do you go to have fun?

Las Vegas. Isn't that where everyone goes to have fun? Vegas is only a couple of hours away and I just love to go there and people watch. People fascinate me. It is the one place where you can see all kinds of people from all over the country.

Why do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway?

You have me stumped here. I think whoever made up these names was smoking crack.

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

First, I would be thankful I decided not to wear granny panties and then I would wish I had done more Buns of Steel workouts. I would probably be embarrassed, but I am certain I would laugh. I usually do that when I am embarrassed. It would also depend on where it happened. I would be way more embarrassed to have it happen at a formal wedding then at a bar where I might start a new trend. I have never had a skirt caught in my panties, but I have had that square of toilet paper try to hitch a ride on my boot before.

Kelley lives in Arizona with her husband and two dogs. Though she resides on the earthly realm, she always has one foot firmly planted in the otherworldly realm of mystical creatures, fierce warriors and bold women. Armed with a vivid imagination and a lifelong passion for the ancient Celts, she spends most of her time creating timeless tales of romance, conflict and magic. She can be found online at www.kelleyheckart.com.

My website: http://www.kelleyheckart.com

My myspace: http://www.myspace.com/phantomqueen3

Blog: http://authorsstudio.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A Small Writing Rant

"Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader—not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon." - E.L. Doctorow

Okay... time for my annual rant about writing.

Recently I've talked to folks about complaints from books (mainly eBooks) they've read. I hear authors frequently saying that they think the "rules" can be ignored if you break them correctly and with enough writing skill.

I disagree.

Take head-hopping. This is a biggie for me (and several other people, apparently, based on what I've heard in my conversations). I realize that many authors (even big selling ones ... yes THE NORA head-hops, I know, I know but you're not her) get published with their head-hopping stories, and I know many readers don't seem to mind them. BUT: head-hopping can make the story difficult to follow and some readers may lose patience, stop reading and then never buy a book by that author again.

Is it worth it? If you lose even one reader because of something this basic, is it worth it?

Another complaint I've heard about is lack of real conflict. Simply having the H/H not like each other isn't enough. There needs to be more, even in (or maybe especially in) a short story. Readers aren't reading to read page after page of Joe and Martha's relatively simple courtship. They are reading to see Joe and Martha overcome something. Conflict can be internal (maybe Martha has a trauma in her past that doesn't allow her to trust easily, or Joe's ex-fiancee cheated on him with his best friend, or Martha can't have children and doesn't feel like a "real" woman, or Joe has massive scarring from a fire he was caught in when he saved six kids and their dog, so is self-conscious about his looks), or external (Joe's ex-fiancee returns with the news that she's pregnant and thinks it's his kid, Martha loses her job but is offered another one halfway around the world). But stories need to provide something that the H/H MUST overcome to get their HEA.

Something else I've seen happening a lot is having something happen off screen and then the characters recount it later. There are times this is appropriate, but there are times when it's better to let the reader actually SEE the action (IMHO, this is most of the time -- if something is important enough to the plot to mention, and involved the hero or heroine directly -- because we'll be in one of their POVs, right? -- then it's important enough to show the reader directly).

The last complaint relates to editing. I realize that we, as authors, have editors to help us tidy up our work. This does NOT meant we get to be lazy when it comes to grammar knowledge. You should know whether to use a semi-colon or a comma, or what the difference between peek, peak and pique is. If you don't, it behooves you to learn. This is your trade. A brain surgeon goes to medical school, a plumber doesn't just start turning wrenches and hope for the best. So, a writer must learn to write properly. An editor is just another human who may miss things that are wrong in your manuscript. And, to be honest, some of the editors in eBook publishing aren't as well-trained as they should be. It's YOUR work. YOUR name is on it. You want it to be something to be proud of, not something people snicker about ("Did you see here where she said it "peeked" her interest? :::: much laughter ensues ::: ).

There is more, but I won't bore you any longer. I'm not a pro, either, but because of my exposure to hundreds and hundreds of books every year (via LASR) and equal numbers of reviews (and complaints from my reviewers) I know what's being published out there, and I know what folks seem to like consistently and what gets on their nerves.

And, the author part of me tries to listen. I realize we can't please everyone with our writing or the story may not interest some folks when others find it amazing (check out the two reviews Allie got on her recent release to see what I mean), but we can at least strive to get the mechanics down correctly. Right?

Of course right.

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

Okay... who can tell me how to get my blog posts to go up on Facebook automatically? I was using Twitterfeed and sending them that way, but that isn't working for me anymore for some reason.

Help?

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




You Are Calm and Thoughtful



You aren't the type of person to rush to judgment. You weigh all of your options carefully.

You tend to gravitate toward what's old-fashioned and classic. You wait a while before you give anything new a chance.



You tend to have a lot of depth. You study subjects carefully, and the relationships you have tend to be strong and deep.

You don't have much time for frivolity in your life. You are a very serious person.



Yep... that's pretty dang close.

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

Monday, December 07, 2009

Monday!

Christmas is a time when you get homesick - even when you're home. ~Carol Nelson

It's MONDAY!!! After a very long weekend, during which I barely left the house because of the weather (I do my very best to NOT drive in snow) I'm celebrating the return to normalcy (or what passes for normal in my house).

I still haven't even started my Christmas shopping. I'm a bad, bad wife-mother-sister-daughter-niece-aunt-friend -- I have a list (I've even checked it twice *g*), but I haven't gotten my butt in gear and done the shopping. The worst part? I plan on doing 90% off it online!! I don't even have to leave this chair. Sheesh.

I will (I WILL) get it done today. Dang it.

How about you? Christmas shopping? Do you do it? Have you done it? Any hints?

I have one hint: Instead of shipping via the post office (where the lines are already insane), use your local UPS store. I had to mail something out the other day -- I had one thing going UPS cuz it was cheaper (the heavy stuff? SO much cheaper via UPS Ground than USPS, just saying), and saw that they ship via regular mail, too. They add a tiny surcharge for the service, but IMHO walking in and getting helped ASAP as opposed to waiting behind 10 - 15 people with piles of packages was worth it. I don't know if your UPS store is this "un-busy", but you should check it out.

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

After much agony and see-sawing back and forth, I decided to tell DD about Santa. She cried for a minute (childhood lost... it broke my heart a bit) and then her sense of magic took over. I told her that we, as older people, were charged with keeping the spirit of Santa alive, and to keep Christmas magical for children. She's totally into "magical" and is so excited now. She did pepper me with questions:

"What about the letters to Santa? Where do they go?"

"Who eats the cookies?" -- this one still has her baffled, because I told her I didn't eat them ... I didn't! DH did, but for some reason that answer hasn't occurred to her yet.

And lots more, but all-in-all, it went better than I thought. It hasn't translated over to the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy yet. We'll see if it clicks in her brain at some point in the future.

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You Are Brie



You are sophisticated and elegant. You know how to carry yourself well.

And while you make a great entrance, you don't make a lot of fuss.



You are really quite laid back and mellow. You don't have a care in the world, and you're not going to get worked up about anything.

You are a natural romantic, and you have a tendency to day dream. You find it easy to go to your "happy place."



Uh.. no. *Maybe* the "You are a natural romantic, and you have a tendency to day dream", but the rest? So wrong...

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