Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Ten Commandments (Recycled from 2007)

First posted on 12/23/07 at my old blog, but I think it bears repeating:

The Ten Commandments...  Or rather The Ten Writing Commandments, of course. My CP and I were having an e-mail discussion about the 'rules' of writing and how some 'how to' writing books are viewed as writing bibles. Thus I give you...


The Ten Writing Commandments
(in no particular order)

10) Thou shalt not use adverbs.

9) Thou shalt not begin a story with a dream sequence.

8) Thou shalt always 'show' and never 'tell'.

7) Thou shalt not use the word 'that'.

6) Thou shalt attend writers' workshops, conferences, and book fairs at every opportunity.

5) Thou shalt not have a character describe themselves by looking at their own reflection.

4) Thou shalt have many many many people critique your work before submitting.

3) Thou shalt never use cliches.

2) Thou shalt not have unsympathetic main characters.

1) Thou shalt take these commandments seriously.

Okay, so maybe that last one should say 'shalt not'. Unlike the biblical commandments, nothing is carved into stone here. Every one of these rules has been broken, and should be broken depending on what your story needs.

Or in the words of Neil Gaiman (whose wildly popular books are selling like hotcakes, btw): "Write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I'm not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter."

What are some rules you've heard about that you've broken? Better yet, tell me about some rules bestselling novelists have broken. Those are always fun. =oD

And tell me if I missed any commandments. Who knows, this could be like Mel Brooks' History of the World Part I:

"I bring you these fifteen... (crash)... ten... Ten Commandments!"

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Weekly Update

Sorry for the delay to the Weekly Update, but I didn't want to post an update until I had this one last thing to report...


After the final push of 15607 words, I finished the rewrite on DLN!!  It took me a little over two months to get this puppy cranked out, but it's done.  Yay!  I ended up with another 23K words added to the first draft - which is good because 66K words does not a novel make.

Now, sure, I'm not finished with this book - not by a long shot - but I'm close.  As I said before, I'm hoping to have this sucker beta-ready by the end of March.  We'll see if that goal works out.  Depends on how much certain aspects of the storyline have to be tweaked, and whether this particular character really needs to die.  (I'm leaning toward yes, but we'll see if it works.)

In other news... Oh, hell, let's face it.  There is no other news.  I've been buried in this edit so deep nothing else has really hit my radar.  I've even been slacking on my blog comments.  (Sorry guys.)

Today or tomorrow, I'm going to dive back in.  I want to hit the beginning while the events of the end are still fresh in my head - just so I can make sure everything ties together the way I want it to.  This round shouldn't be nearly as hard on my hands, but it may be harder on my brain.  Wish me luck.

How are things going for you?  Anything good to report?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Leaping Labrador Puppies

I don't remember if I said this somewhere in a post, wrote it in an email to someone or just thought about it so much I now think it was real, but I already had plans for what my next book would be.  I was going to restart a speculative piece I worked on last year.  I even have a brand new way to approach it, which is good because the original storyline was feeling 'done to death'. 

I was pretty excited and then last night happened.

Laying in bed (why do ideas always hit me when I'm trying to sleep?), my brain started to take DLN to its next logical step.  Oh, the book itself is self-contained, but I also laid the groundwork so this could work into a series.  And that's where my brain went last night.  I started writing the opening scene, plotting where I wanted the book to go, and figuring out the basic plans for a sequel.

Which, of course, I want to start writing.  NOW.  And I haven't even started submitting the first book in the DLN series. It would just be foolhardy to start the sequel to a book I haven't gotten any interest in yet. 

I already had a book I was ready to write, dammit.  What's up with the damn writerly leap frog?  Why can't books just wait their turn?

To top it off, I usually forget the writing I think up while I'm trying to fall asleep.  This one?  Nope.  It sprang into my head like Athena popping out of her daddy's skull - fully formed and ready for battle.  (expletives deleted.)

So, I wrote it down in my 'to be written' folder.  Just my luck, while I was in there, I read some of the other story ideas I have simmering.  Now they're leaping around in my head begging for attention like a litter of lab puppies. (Pic found online, btw.  I don't have any dogs right now.)

Most likely, I'll set the speculative aside and see where Jo's next story takes me.  If it ends up being a false start, I'll go back to the other book.  If both of them piffle out on me, there's always one of the others - ready and waiting to jump all over me when my back is turned.

Has this ever happened to you?  What do you do about finding your next story when your WIP is almost finished?  Do you have a boxful of leaping labrador puppies begging for attention?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Final Push

Two and a half.  I only have two and a half chapters left to rewrite in DLN.  That means it's time for The Final Push.  You know the one, where you write like mad to meet a deadline - real or imagined.

Or maybe it's just me.

Anyway, as my husband just pointed out, it's almost March.  I wanted to have this draft done by the end of February.  That leaves me with five writing days to get through two and a half chapters.  In the first draft, that equaled 20 pages.  Roughly 5000 words that will probably end up being more like 7K by the time I get done.  When I think about it that way, it's definitely do-able.

If my hands let me type, that is.  Time to break out the Aspercreme and suck it up.

Once I get through those words, I should be able to jump right back to the beginning for the next round of edits.  No rest for the wicked, right?  I'm still shooting for the end of March to beta this sucker.  I can keep that deadline if I don't run into any snags - and there are couple snaggy spots I still have to smooth out.  (Like the denoument that I think works, but is just the MC and her ex lying on the grass talking.)

Okay, now my eyes keep getting drawn to where I left off on the story.  If I'm going to accomplish any writing before I start my day, I have to stop blogging and get to work.  I'll be back later.

Meanwhile... If you're published, do you work well to deadline or do you rush to meet it?  If you're unpublished like me, do you give yourself deadlines and make yourself stick to them?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Doing Taxes

Fun fun fun.

Just a little hint for all of you and also for my future self...  Don't wait to sort your receipts.  A week or a month's worth isn't a problem, but a year's worth?  There went my morning.  All those receipts to sort before I could even bother logging onto TurboTax.  Bleh.

Anyway, if I seem a little quiet today and maybe tomorrow, I'm up to my armpits.  If I get real quiet, my brain melted.  Send help.  LOL

Update:  Taxes are done.  Now I'm going to veg out.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Maxine Morning

I feel like I crawled out from under the wrong side of the rock this morning.  Nothing like the 4:15 snowplow alarm to wake you up in a grump.  Now, an hour and a half later, I finally stopped feeling like I wanted to rip the road crew a new way to go.  It's not their fault, and they're just doing their jobs after all. 

Thank goodness this morning's Maxine knows how I feel.

And now that I'm starting to feel almost human, I suppose I should take advantage of this extra hour to get some writing done. 

Or maybe I should shovel snow.  Whaddya think?  

Nah.  ;o)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sour Grapes are Only Good for Whine

After Thursday night's success, Evan Lysacek drew some nasty comments from the Russian he beat for the gold.  The Russian - Evgeni Plushenko - went so far as to accuse the judges of prejudice.  Apparently because Lysacek's program wasn't as 'difficult' as Plushenko's, he didn't deserve the gold.  Umm... right.  Now, I still haven't seen either skater's final performance, but to me, it sounds suspiciously like sour grapes.

Let's look back to Shaun White's snowboarding run.  Executed flawlessly, it was a winning run.  But let's say, White tried his Double McTwisty 1260 and bobbled the landing or, heaven forbid, did a faceplant.  Trying something difficult isn't what made it a winning run.  Nailing the tricks - both for show and for sport - was what earned Shaun the gold.

Plushenko thought the Japanese skaters were more deserving than Lysacek because they at least 'tried' a quad.  Umm... even the guy who tried it and failed?  Apparently success isn't the indicator... just trying is.

By that manner of thinking, I should already be published.  Hell, I tried. I've been trying for years.  But I don't want to win just because I tried.  I want to succeed.

Further tying this to writing, let's think about the tricks we have in our bags.  Mechanics, Storytelling, Plot, Character...  You're writers.  You know what goes into your work.  The authors who 'get the gold', so to speak, nail all the tricks.  The ones who don't win are usually not quite as good in one or more of the components of being a good writer.  If we all got a medal for trying to do the hard things, everyone would be published.

Sure, sometimes someone slips through in the writing biz.  We've all read books we thought weren't up to snuff.  But the smartest of us don't bitch about the achievements of others.  We just keep our heads down and keep working on producing that gold medal worthy novel.  (At least, that's what I'm trying to do.)  It never pays to point to someone and whine about how that person is unworthy.  It just makes the person whining look bad.  :cough:koreanshorttrack:cough:

Like I said, I didn't watch the final skating programs.  But my visual inspection doesn't matter anyway.  I'm no judge.  Personally, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a 165.51 program (Plushenko) and a 167.37 program (Lysacek). From my perspective, it's a lot easier to tell the difference between 1st and say, 10th.  Easy.  Jeremy Abbott fell.  The subtle nuances of the turns, twists and jumps are lost on me.  Whether any of them do a quad or not is secondary to the artistry of the sport. 

Plushenko insists the judges put more emphasis on the show than the sport, but as a simple spectator (and according to the rules), judges are supposed to look at both aspects equally.  Maybe Lysacek's show portion was just that much better and overweighed the Russian's sport portion.  Either way, the blond dude lost.  That's that.  No whining allowed.  Better luck next... well, four years from now.

From what I heard at the beginning of the Mens' Figure Skating short program, Lysacek is an animal when it comes to his passion.  He said it himself (and I'm paraphrasing 'cause I can't find the quote): "No one will ever be able to say they work harder than I do."  That's why he won the gold.  Not because someone was prejudiced against the Russian - who won the gold in 2006, btw - and not because someone put more weight toward the show than the sport.  I also think Evan's win comes from his true love of figure skating.  And no amount of gold can ever compare to that.

So, as authors we just have to keep putting forth all the effort we can into our passion.  Some of it's show and some of it's sport - 50/50 just like skating - but if all the components don't come together, we don't win the gold.

And if we don't win, we really only have ourselves to blame.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Weekly Update

First off, how cool is it that Evan Lysacek took the gold last night in Mens' Figure Skating?  I could kick myself for going to bed early and missing his program.  I mean, I never figured he'd beat the big blond Russian.  Evan must've skated his ass off last night.

And now, onward to my less-stellar, but still worth mentioning, accomplishments for the week.  (Kind of an anti-climax after Evan, but... :shrug:)

After writing like crazy yesterday, I hit 10K for the week.  The end is near.  I've already blown past the word count for the first draft - as planned - and I still have 4.5 chapters left to rewrite.  The story is really coming together.  I almost made myself cry last night after rewriting Tryg's story.  Heh, you know it's good when you make yourself cry.  Ya know what I mean?

If I push hard, I should have this rewrite done by the end of February, and be ready to jump into basic polishing.  A few tweaks here, a few tightened sentences there and scrubbing away the typos should have me ready to send out to beta readers sometime in March.

In other news, I was outside smoking yesterday and one of my false start stories popped into my head - with a whole new plotline.  Hallelujah.  This one is another speculative piece and although I started it twice before, it never really got off the ground.  With this new idea, I think I can make it work.  Once I get done with DLN, I'll start this project over.  Maybe.  Unless something else comes up.  You never can tell with this brain of mine.

How are things in your world?  How are your WIPs working out?  Any new projects on the horizon?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Putting Forth the Effort - Even When It's Not 'Necessary'

Last night, Shaun White brought home the gold, but what's more important than him winning the gold was what he did after he knew he won.  As he and his crew of coaches waited for the signal to get into position for his second and seemingly unnecessary run, they debated what he was going to do with this 'gimme'.  I knew what he'd do.  Everyone's been talking about his Double McTwisty 1260* since the start of the games.  He had to do it, if only to show himself that he could.

And then one of coaches said something I think Shaun should fire him for**.  This guy actually suggested that Shaun just snowboard down the middle of the pipe.  Like that was ever going to happen.

I don't know Shaun.  Never met the man and probably never will.  But I know the type.  He's the kind of guy who isn't doing this to please anyone but himself.  He didn't have to do any kind of run to get the gold, but he had to do it for himself.  Just slide down the middle of the pipe??? Puleeze.  That would be like a best selling author not bothering to give her next book everything she had.

And then again, I've heard of authors who seem to do that very thing.  Big name writer X hits it big and her subsequent books just feel like she didn't bother to put forth the effort.  (I have no one in particular in mind here.  I'm just taking the idea and lumping it into one universal 'she'.)

The point, I guess, is that we always have to push the envelope.  Even if we make it big, we shouldn't just rest on our laurels, thinking we have it made.  Shaun White doesn't.  Even though he's got the gold in hand, he's always pushing to hit his personal best. 

I'm so glad Shaun didn't do as that coach suggested.  The idea of throwing away a run isn't Shaun's style.  And that he nailed that gimme run made the night that much more exciting.  Way to go, Shaun!

Now, of course, we can't all be Shaun White.  But we can take a page from his book and give everything we do everything we've got.  In this life, there are plenty of gimmes but, like Shaun, we shouldn't take them.  I know if I ever become a best-selling, big name author, I sure as hell won't.  I owe more to myself than that.

And really when you think about it, don't we all?

*Yeah, I know.  It's called the Double McTwist 1260, but I like it better my way.  It's got more pizzazz and plus, it rhymes. ;o)

**An anonymous person suggested that the comment was a joke was made by Shaun himself.  So, I guess no one's in need of firing today.  ;o)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How Cluttered Are You?

I have a lot of things on my desk.  Oh, I'm sure I'm not the only one, but as I sat here this morning thinking about what to post, I realized I might have some things here that are unique to me.  I'm guessing we all have the usual pens and notepads.  The errands notes, the bottle of hand-sanitizer, the pen holder shaped like a stack of books...  Oh wait, maybe that last one is only me.

Anyway, I thought I'd dissect my desktop accoutrements and see what's truly odd or what I might have in common with the rest of you.  You know, like a treasure hunt...

Let's see.  In addition to my typical things, on my desk, I have:

- a pair of eyeglasses I never wear.
- a daily cartoon calendar (this year it's Maxine)
- a watch I never wear
- a little plastic Eeyore
- a stack of defunct calendar pages I use for scratch paper
- a paperweight commemorating a book discussion group I was in
- the remote for my little stereo
- two ChapSticks
- a coaster with a beach scene and my ever-present coffee mug. 

On top of my computer (it's a flat desktop model, not a tower):
- a framed photo of my parents at a party we threw for their 45th anniversary (because we knew Dad wouldn't live to see their 50th)
- an "All Things Considered" 20th anniversary coffee mug filled with caffeine candies*
- two really huge erasers that say "For BIG Mistakes"
- the aforementioned pen holder that looks like a stack of books
- and the hand-sanitizer, of course
- a metal mesh paper clip holder that has few paperclips in it, but a lot of other stuff (like my step-ometer and a pin that says "Why YES I am a nitcritty bitch")
- miscellaneous papers

How cluttered are you?  What's the most unusual thing on your desk?

*Coffee on the Go - "When you don't have time for coffee"  (Or I should say for when you need a boost but don't feel like making an entire pot because you're in the zone and don't want to step away from the keyboard.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


You know something?  I wrote that subject up there and now I'm trying not to get that song stuck in my head.  My brother ruined it for me years ago, and now I can't even remember the real words.  I only remember the funny words he sang into my impressionable teenage brain.  (I won't do the same to you - unless it's killing you to know, of course.)

Anyway, long story short, I took yesterday off.  I didn't wake up with the intention of doing nothing, but nothing got done.  I guess I needed a nothing day.  Everyone does every once in a while, right? 

I did get some reading done.  Woohoo.  My TBR pile is seriously depleted now.  I only have two new books left.  :shrug:  Just as well.  I mean it's not like I don't have a ton of old books I could read.  I finally read Peter Benchley's Beast.  (Not as good as Jaws, btw.) And now I'm reading an old Gordon R. Dickson called R-Master. 

And of course, I watched the Olympics.  Eight medals in about 4 days.  Go USA! 

Today?  Well, I need to make up some of the words I missed by not writing yesterday and I really need to make up some of the housework I didn't do.  We'll see how much of anything gets done and how motivated I am once they start televising Olympics again today.  ;o)

What's on the schedule for you today? 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Olympics! Yay!

First off...  Happy Valentine's Day!  May you spend today and every day showing the special people in your life how much you love them.  =o)

Now for the rest of the post...

OLYMPICS!  Yay!  I love the Olympics.

I don't know if any of you have been watching, but yesterday was an awesome display of athleticism.  Apolo Ohno and J.R. Cielski were the first US athletes to win medals this year (silver and bronze respectively), and the 1500 meter short track competition was incredible.  I was particularly impressed with Ohno's first heat.  He was in the 5th position about 3/4 through the race and he just shot around the outside of the pack like a whip. I only wish he could've done that in the medal heat.  If it hadn't been for the Koreans' spectacular wipe-out, we wouldn't have gotten any medals in that event.  (Although, I still think the guy who won gold should've been tagged for interfering with Ohno, but that's just me.)

After those medals were sealed, coverage switched back to Womens' Moguls.  Those gals can really move, let me tell you.  Shannon Bahrke set the bar during the final run, and her ultra-fast time down the hill really made it difficult for the competitors who came after.  Several of the competitors - including US's Heather McPhie - wiped out trying to beat her time.

In the end, though, both Canadian favorite Jenn Heil and then America's Hannah Kearney zipped past Shannon to give the US it's first Gold of the 2010 Olympics.  Way to go, girls.  All three of you should be proud of yourselves.  (And judging from the picture, they are.)

Of course, my love of the Olympics might interfere with my love of writing.  We'll see how productive I am the next two weeks.  :shrug:  I only get the Winter Olympics every four years, though...

Are you watching the Olympics?  Who are you rooting for?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Weekly Update

Not too much to talk about this week.  I wrote... a lot.  And I read... some.  Otherwise, I was a lump.

In writing, I cranked out just over 15K words - mostly due to WYAOW.  As it stands, I've rewritten 17 chapters out of 25 total.  Eight more to go and I'll be finished with this draft.  According to my word meter, I'm almost 80% finished - based on an 80K word manuscript.  I think I need to change the total word amount.  I have a feeling I'm going to blow by 80 thousand words by the end of chapter 21.  I'm guessing now that the 2nd draft will end up at 90-95K.  :shrug:  To use a phrase that always has Daughter rolling her eyes at me... That's how I roll, baby.

After a slow start to my reading year, I'm currently at 7 books finished.  Three of those books were read this past week. My Soul to Save was a quick read and I started Witches Incorporated as soon as I was finished.  That one was huge, and a little hard to get into.  Of course, it didn't help that Endurance by S.L. Viehl showed up at the library for me (via interlibrary loan) on Monday.  I paused reading WI so I could inhale the third Stardoc book.  Good thing, too, because once I got back to WI, I dived right in.  I guess I needed a little breather.  Now I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel.

Like I said, other than that, it's been a slow week.  My house cleaning schedule fell apart and so did the project I was working on for my store.  Heh, my diet didn't do so well either.  Better luck next week.

Oh, one other good thing that happened this week was an amazing piece of luck for one of the local critters who eat from my buffet.  You may remember me talking about Percival O. Possum.  He's a rollie-pollie wonder, he is.  Well, one of his progeny decided to cross the street at sunset the other day.  A pickup truck was coming from one direction and an SUV was coming from the other.  I just knew Lil' Possum (not really that small, but not as large as Percy) was going to be flattened, so I hid my eyes.  I heard a thump and then Husband's exclaimation of dismay.  I opened my eyes, expecting to see another dead animal on this stretch of road.  Needless to say, we were both surprosed to see Lil' Possum waddle - albeit quickly - out of the road and up under my car.

So, there we were with a potentially injured possum, maybe dying, under my car.  Umm... ew.  Possums can be pretty nasty critters when cornered, so we left it alone.  Long story short, he must've been fine because a while later he came out from under my car, knocked over the cat food dish, ate heartily and scampered away.  We figure the thump we heard was something shifting in the back of the pickup when the driver hit his brakes to avoid the critter.  Hopefully the experience scared the hell out of Lil' Possum so he never walks in front of a car again.

Your turn... Tell me something good that happened in your life this week.  How's the writing going?  Read anything good?

(The above picture is not any possum I know.  In fact, Percival is larger and lighter.  Lil Possum is smaller and darker.  BTW, I wouldn't recommend surfing for possum pictures...  Why anyone would want to post a picture of roadkill is beyond me.)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Moment of Silence

The world lost one of its most colorful characters yesterday when 'Deadliest Catch' crabber Captain Phil Harris died.  My heart goes out to his family.  Even though I never met the man, I believe Phil was truly one of a dwindling breed - an man who did his own thing, his own way, without apology.  Though his life was shorter than it should've been, he seemed like a man who lived life to the fullest.

Safe journey, Phil.

(Picture borrowed from this article - where you can read a statement from The Discovery Channel and one from Phil's sons.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Picture Pause

"If only the window wasn't there, I would eat those birds." 

I guess instead of a TV dinner, this would be 'dinner TV'. LOL

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Oh, To Be Young and Naïve Again

As I was reading the industry blogs this morning, I came across an interesting comment here.  The gentleman starts out commenting on the post itself, and then at the end, he asks some questions that have me shaking my head.

He starts out saying he's a newbie to this.  Well, of course.  He's got the first draft done of his novel and he's at about 51K words, working on his second edit.  Short, but not an issue if he's adding as he edits.  Then comes the first corker.  He wants to be published by the end of the year.  And he wants to know what's the first thing to do - finish the book or start shooting queries all over the place. 

Oh to be young and naïve again.  I remember that wonderful first year of writing, when I was sure I had the manuscript that would rocket me into publishing stardom.  I was sure I'd be published by the middle of 2005. 

This young man (I assume young because he seems so untouched by the reality of this business) wants to know what he should do first.  I think the first thing he should so is take a long hard look at this industry and revise his timeline.  Then he needs to think about how long it's going to take to revise and polish, to create submission materials and polish those, to send out x-number of queries and wait for replies.  He needs to think in terms of how long - once he snags an agent - it will take for that agent to get his novel in front of publishers, and how long the process is from that point forward.  

Even if all the upfront stuff cranks through quickly, he'll be lucky if his book hits the shelves sometime next year.  But hitting all the ducks in the shooting gallery, without honing your shooting skills, is pure luck.  Like scratching a lottery ticket...  or as the baby in the below video says: "You realize the odds of winning are the same as being mauled by a polar bear and a regular bear in the same day."

(I had to delete the actual video, but you can see the e-Trade commercial I'm talking about here.)

Not that this person couldn't win the lottery, but if he does, I'll be showing a shocked face of my own.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Well Whaddya Know

It really did fall off.  Much like the poor gentleman to the left, but for different reasons.  He froze his off, I wrote mine off.  *All images deleted to avoid any chance of copyright infringement*

Technically WYAOW isn't over until tomorrow night, but I think I'm calling it quits.  Since yesterday morning, I typed over 10K words. My hands aren't quite demonic claws, but I'm having a tough time getting my fingers to hit all the right keys (and only the right keys).

Come to think of it, maybe they should call this event Write Your Hands Off Weekend.  Or Write Your Ass Flat Weekend would work, too, I guess. ;o)

Anyway, Now I must slather my arms in Aspercreme, lament the Colts loss, and call it a day.  How was your weekend?

Saturday, February 6, 2010


WYAOW - or  Write Your Ass Off Weekend* - officially started yesterday.  I wasn't planning on playing along, but then, this morning, I decided 'what the hell'.  I'm not signing up for it or anything - mainly because I don't want to pick a day and because well... I'm not a joiner.  Instead I'll be approaching this like I did with NaNoWriMo.only on a smaller scale.  I'll just write as much as I can over this weekend and see what happens.

Should be productive.  We'll see what kind of demonic claws my hands turn into by Monday morning. 

Anyone else interested in writing her ass off**?

*Not to be confused with Write Your Ass Off Day - which was last May (according to someone from the NY Writers Coalition).

**Oh, that it were actually so.  Write and the gluteous pounds melt away.  :sigh:

Friday, February 5, 2010

Weekly Update

Welcome to another Friday at The Writing Spectacle.

This past week was pretty good for me.  I hammered out over 10K words - thanks to Sunday's mammoth effort - and the story is really coming together under this new POV.  All the things I loved about DLN are shiny and new and even better.  Those things I wasn't crazy about with this book are closer to getting fixed.  Also, my word count this week put me over the 50% finished mark.  Yay! 

To date, I've lost five pounds out of my thirty pound goal.  Hopefully by the end of the summer, I'll be down in the 140s again.  I'm not making great strides, like The Biggest Loser contestants, but that's about a pound a week, so I'm not crying over it.  I am using the concepts they teach on TBL - decrease calories, increase activity - but I'm not killing myself.  In my case, I'm happy with 'slow and steady wins the race'.

Speaking of Biggest Loser, my favorite contestant won immunity this past week.  Go Michael!  Something about that big Italian makes me want him to win.  And is it just me, or did Miggy undergo a transformation after her negative-Nelly daughter left the campus?  Miggy was a scary bitch before, and this past week, she seemed more positive and relaxed.  Hell, she even lost weight and she didn't even exercise (because of her appendix surgery).  I've said it before and I'll say it again - sometimes it's better to just cut toxic people out of your life.  Ya know?

In other news, I've been reading again after a six week hiatus.  I thought there might be some good stuff in my TBR pile, but WOW, I never thought this good.  Right now I'm in the middle of Rachel Vincent's My Soul to Save and it's pretty darn good, too. 

Okay, now it's your turn.  Anything going on in your life you'd like to share?  I'd love to hear some positive news from the readers.   And if you're a fan of Biggest Loser, who are you rooting for this season?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fogie Time

We're all friends here, so let me ask you something.  When did I become tragically unhip?  When did I leave 'Hammer Time' and crash land in 'Fogie Time'?  As forty slowly--agonizingly--approaches, I'm wondering when I started looking at the kids of today and having my mother pop out of my mouth. 

"Cut your hair... Your bangs are too long." "Turn it down."  "Slow down."  "What the hell are you wearing?" (ETA: For the record, my mother never swears. That was Dad.)

Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm not talking about my own kid.  Other than 'turn it down' and occasionally 'what the hell are you wearing?', she's a pretty straight forward kid.  (And I try to reign in my oldness with her.  I do remember what being young was like.  Although... come to think of it, I never was a fan of loudness.  Maybe all those years in band, sitting in front of the coronets and the drum section, stunted the loud part of my brain.)

What brings this up?  Well, I was watching VH1's JumpStart this morning - checking out the music scene, donchaknow, and I saw this totally goth kid kicking out what I thought was a good song.  Sure, he looked like The Cure on a good day, but maybe that's the new thing (or the new old thing, as the case may be).  A big plus for him was that the song had an 80's vibe.  Looks 80s, sounds 80s - that's my kind of kid.

Anyway, I went to look him up on Amazon just now - to see if he was worth shelling out the moolah for his CD.  :shrug:  I wasn't nearly as impressed with the rest of his music.  I love 80s music, but come on, kid, take the old and make it new instead of just parroting what the 80s alternative/punk bands did.  Bleh.  And what's with the look?  Baby, the Cure was popular when you were still trying to chew your way out of the playpen.

Heh, reading back over what I wrote up there... I guess in this year of 2010, admitting I liked the kid because he was 80s, but disliked him because he was too 80s, does punch my ticket to fogie land.  (Almost as much as admitting I still like Frank Sinatra, I guess.)

I guess this is just a rambling post.  Ignore me.  You know what they say about getting older... There are three things that go first.  One is your mind and the other two... I don't remember.  ;o)

"You can't touch this... Stop. Fogie time" (You really don't want to see me dance like MC Hammer.)

Oh, and the kid?  Adam Lambert.  I swear when I saw this CD in the store, I thought the face on the cover was a girl.  Nope.  It's him.  :shudder:  I never thought I'd like even one song.  But I do.  Is that tragically unhip or is he the latest thing in music?

And I don't know about you, but I think this is the anthem of people trapped in the 80s like me...

It's '1985' by Bowling for Soup.  I couldn't find the actual video - which is hilarious, btw - but this'll do.

"When did Motley Crue become classic rock?"
"Who's that other guy in Van Halen?"
"When did Ozzy become an actor?"

When did I reach Fogie Time? 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Thoughts on E-books

There's been a lot of hullaballoo over the whole Amazon/MacMillan thing, and I'm not going to repeat the madness here.  However, I did think it was time for me to address the whole e-book craze and render my thoughts on the subject.

E-books are probably wonderful, but I don't read them. 

I'm not against them for other people.  To each their own, ya know?  But right now, I don't see the value e-books would bring to my life.  I'm an old school book lover.  I really love the whole visceral experience of reading - even when my wrists get tired holding a book.  (Hey, if the book's good enough, I'll read right through hand cramps like you've never felt.  It's a price I'm willing to pay for my paper copy books.)

A really good friend of mine got a Sony E-reader for Christmas.  She thought she'd hate it, but she fell in love almost immediately.  For her, the advantage is she can take it anywhere and read whenever she's got a few minutes.  This is especially necessary since she works long hours and has two active kids at home.  She doesn't have time to curl up on the couch with a hard copy book.  And I'm ecstatic for her because she's lamented not reading and now she can read to her heart's content.

For me?  Well, right now, I don't have any kind of e-reading device and I'm not shelling out money for one.  This means that if I want to read an e-book, I have to do it from this spot.  When I read here, it's for work.  I read my own books and my friend's books here.  This is my spot for critting and editing and creating.  It's not my spot for wallowing in the pleasure of a good novel. 

"Oh, but the e-readers are perfect for couch reading or bed reading," you say.  I'm sure you're right, but aside from the loss of everything else I love about a hardcopy book, I'm just not feeling like reading from a little gadget is going to blow my skirt up.  (And of course, there's the cost, which I already mentioned.) 

I know this opinion is keeping me from reading some really awesome e-book only novels.  I can think of one title right now that I really want to read, but since it's not on paper, I'm going to have to suffer.  I know I'm probably missing out in some ways, but this is where I'm at in my life, and I'm not seeing a change in the foreseeable future.  Call me an old fogie, or a stick in the mud, or a hick.  :shrug:  I gotta be who I am, ya know?

So, what are your thoughts on the e-book revolution?  Would you, like my friend, read more if you had an e-reader, or are you fine with books they way they've always been?

Monday, February 1, 2010

And Now a Word From...

Aspercreme!  The handy-dandy lotion no writer should ever be without.  It slices, it dices, it... Wait...  Would you believe 'it squooshes, it oozes'?  Well, no matter what it does, it makes my hands stop hurting.  

If you look over to the right, you'll see a strange number under the word meter for yesterday.  No your eyes aren't playing tricks.  I really did type over 5K words yesterday. And I'm paying for it today...

I'd celebrate the awesome word count, but instead I'm going to be hanging out with my best friend, Aspercreme.  Pick some up today.*

(*This writer receives no compensation from the makers of Aspercreme - other than the relief it provides so I can continue to write.  Also, this writer provides no guarantees.  If it works for you, great.  If not, blame them, not me.)