Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bookstore Day!

I'm off to my quarterly book-shopping trip.  I haven't bought books in a while, so here's hoping I don't spend too much and that I find everything I've been dying to read.

Here's my general shopping list:

Trick of the Light - Rob Thurman
My Soul to Keep - Rachel Vincent
All Fired Up - Kristen Painter (yeah, it probably won't be at Borders, but I can hope)
Monster War - Dean Lorey
Sparks - Laura Bickle
Last Dragon Standing - GA Aiken
An Artificial Night - Seanan McGuire
Alpha - Rachel Vincent

And from the Backlist Dept.:

Deathwish & Roadkill - Rob Thurman (Books 4 & 5 of his Cal Leandros series)
The Next Bullet Catcher novel  by Roxanne St. Claire (except I can't remember if I'm on #3 or #4)

I'll let you know how I fared when I get home.  Wish me luck.  =o)

(Funny, I didn't realize until now everything on my list is in the middle of a series - except for Kristen's book.  When did I become a series reader?  Are you a series reader?)

ETA: Strikethoughs are books I didn't get either because Borders didn't have, or in the case of Roxanne St. Claire, I realized I'd read them all.  I did get one book not on the list - Cold Sight: Extrasensory Agents by Leslie Parrish.  She's totally new to me, so we'll see how that goes.

Bought any new books lately? 

BTW, that Mt. Olympus burger thing at Red Robin is to die for with chicken instead of beef.  Yum.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wee Hours Wanderings

Hi there.  It's 1:23 local time and I'm awake.  Stupid leftover pizza is killing me.

Anyway, after having been disappeared all day, Max just happened to be outside when I got up.  (I think that's another reason why I couldn't sleep.  Silly me, worried about my silly wandering cat.)  He's home and he's hungry.  Big surprise there.  Sucked down an entire can of food he's not particularly fond of.  Maybe that's the trick - feed him the less favorite food in the middle of the night.  :shrug:  One would think a cat who was starving only a few short months ago wouldn't be so damn picky.  So, he ate and then went right into his new box without so much as a thank you.  Sheesh.

Thing two...  Or was that three?  My daughter started her year of student driving almost a year ago.  I finally added up the hours thinking we were so close.  OMG, we're only about half.  Fifty hours is a lot more than it feels like.  This, of course, means we're doing a lot more driving to catch up so she doesn't get her license too late.  Bleh.

Speaking of student driving time, we were out for a couple hours this morning, and I took this picture while she drove.  Not bad considering she didn't stop the car.


Okay.  It's been almost two hours since I got up and I think it's safe to go back to bed.  I hope you're all sleeping well.  And if I still can't sleep, there's always editing to do. 

;o)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Personalization: How Necessary is it really?

As I've been sitting here, working on my query letter, I was thinking about the personalization part and wondering just how important it really is.

If you follow Janet Reid's QueryShark blog, every time someone puts a bit in about how they chose her as an agent, she snips it out.  She knows who she represents.  She knows what she represents.  She expects people querying her have already done their research and wouldn't be querying her unless they met her needs.

But you always hear about how important it is to put that personalization in there.

Right now, my query sits at 219 words (subject to change) - most of which is the story.  I've got a line with the word count, title and genre.  I don't have anything about me, because... well let's face it, I have no creds to put in a query letter.  That leaves roughly 31 words to talk about why I chose the agent.

Ummm, after 6 years, I don't remember what in particular made me chose the agents I have on my short list.  Mostly it's their blogs, or some interview I read years ago that I couldn't find again if I tried.  I've queried Jessica Faust because, well, she's Jessica Faust.  She's always been pleasant in her communications, I like her blog and even when she's rejected me, she's been super-professional.  (And it doesn't hurt that she asked me to query her with future projects.)  But Jennifer Jackson.  Well, I query her because she's like Jim Butcher's agent and a rock star.  If she can do for me what she's done for him, I'll be in writerly nirvana.

I guess what it boils down to is falling back on the old maxim: Tailor your query to meet each agent's wants.  They want the personal touch, give it to them.  If not, don't.

What do you think?  How personal are your queries?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Editing Collage

Editing.  Is it just me or does it sometimes feel like making a collage?  You snip bits from here and there to make a whole picture.  Sometimes you toss the bits aside, never to be used again.  Other times those bits you snipped are just right for adding back in later. 

That's where I'm at with Djinnocide.  I thought I was done.  Then I looked at it again with a careful - and objective, I hope - eye to what a fresh reader might see when they crack the book.  Low and behold, the whole beginning was stilted and choppy.  Snip, snip, snip.  Add in little pieces of what was snipped.  Voila!  The prologue or preface or whatever that was, is gone.  Bits of it are now woven into the whole.  Chapter One is now as perfect as the following chapters.  Yay me.

Anyway, I'm doing one final pass over the whole thing to make sure everything is as cohesive as I thought it was several weeks ago, and then this puppy is going out into Queryland.  I'm excited.  I'm also a bit barfy about the whole idea.  But them's the breaks.

Does editing feel like making a collage to you?  Or is your editing more like photoshopping a picture?  Personally, I'm usually in the photoshop camp, but right now, it's more like a collage. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Banned Books and Irony

Laura Griffin has a great post today talking about Banned Books Week and as I was sliding down the ALA list of the Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books, I was struck again by how stupid the idea of banning books is.

If I remember correctly, this is the United States of America.  Right?  I get to pick what I read - not some inbred yahoo and his sister-wife, not some supposed man of god, not some backwoods clem, and sure as hell not some uptight pretentious twat.  I choose what goes in my head.  I monitor what goes in my child's head.  I don't need anyone telling me what I can't read or what I'm not allowed to show my daughter.   Feh. 

Looking over the ALA list, there are a lot of books on there I don't want to read, and several I'd rather my daughter wouldn't.  Hell, there are even a couple I'd really rather no one read because I think they're that detrimental to mankind as a whole, but those are my opinions and I would never presume to force anyone to adhere to my beliefs.  I wish I could say the same about other people, but I can't.  There will always be people out there who feel the need to try and force others to believe what they believe and think what they think.  And unless someone stands up to those people.... Well, welcome to the communist Russia (or Cuba, or China) that our beautiful country will become.

:deep breath in through the nose out through the mouth:

And now that I'm done with my rant, is it just me or does anyone else see the irony in the fact that some idiot somewhere wants to ban (or has banned) Fahrenheit 451??  I guess they figure if they ban the book about burning books, people will be less likely to notice what they're doing.

(Yes, yes, I know.  Bradbury didn't intend Fahrenheit 451 do be about censorship per se, but this irony is so delicious, I don't think Mr. Bradbury would've minded the reference.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Dozen Doors - Which One is Right

At the beginning of a story, I'm usually pretty good at picking the first path.  I know without a doubt which way to head into the maze that is a new book.  I don't usually get lost until the first crossroads, and then the real fun begins.  This time, though, I'm stumped as to where exactly I should begin this new manuscript.  Standing at the starting point is so much easier when you have one door to enter.  This new story has so many ways it could begin and so many points I could focus on first, that it's like standing in  front of a dozen doors.  And I'm damned if I can tell which one is right.

About a year ago, I opened one of the doors and strolled down the path for a little ways.  I knew where I was going, but the path felt wrong.  I tried another door and immediately got lost.  I've picked a new door, and the path ahead feels right, but after so many miscues, I'm doubting my ability to find the trail this time out.

The last time out - when I began DLN - I obviously picked the wrong trail.  I got all the way to end before I realized I didn't actually make it to the right destination.  This lead to me starting all over and doing it again - and getting it wrong again.  I hit the right path on the third try, but I'm a little hestitant to go through the three tries again.  I don't want to do all that extra work.  I mean, I will if I have to, but it was so much easier when I knew which door to pick on the first try.

Anyway, I've got my water bottle and my compass.  I've started along this new path and so far, it's feeling right.  I might make a few missteps along the way, but that's par for this obstacle course.  Wish me luck.  And if I get totally lost, someone send a search party.  ;o)

Does this happen to you?  How do you know when you've started your story at the right place?  And how do you determine what's the right path for your manuscript to take?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Auntie Em! Auntie Em!

I was just sitting here, minding my own business - which is to say working on editing - when all of a sudden I heard a sound like nothing I've ever heard before.  Seriously.  I mean, it sounded like the air conditioner kicked on, but pushing like a million BTUs.  I peeked through the blinds and I could hardly see the house across the street through all the dirt and debris.  I said 'Shit, Husband, I think it's a tornado."  (In retrospect, not my most awesome piece of verbiage, but there wasn't time for eloquence.)

He ran to the window and I ran for Daughter.  After shouting for her to get her butt into the storm room - NOW - I ran back into the living room in time to hear a huge bang - like a transformer blowing, but the power stayed on.

As suddenly as the wind blew in, it blew right back out.  Husband and I went outside to survey the damage.  Poor Max was curled up against the door, covered in dirt.  I made sure he was okay while Husband went forth to see what he could see.  Branches of every size were all over the place.  Down the road an SUV was stopped in the middle of the street and nearby a huge limb was across the road.  I was sure the limb hit her car and that's why she was stopped.  Then I saw the downed power lines.  While Husband checked to make sure she was okay and see what he could do, I directed traffic.  (And yelled at a little boy who rode his bike right under the damn live wires.)  She called the police, Husband called the electric department and within minutes, cops came to replace my traffic directing awesomeness.

Houses down the way are still without power.  Turns out the bang I heard was probably the power pole snapping off and the subsequent transformer blowout or something like that.  I don't know if it was a tornado or some kind of microburst, windshear, the Wicked Witch of the West, or the breath of Zeus, but damn, it scared the crap out of me.

All's well here.  Anything exciting happening in your world tonight?  Me?  I was planning on working anyway, and since the cable's out, I guess those plans are pretty firm.  Here's hoping for a quiet rest of the evening.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

This n That

I've been working since 7.  Get up, feed the cats, get coffee, smoke... work.  The scene cards are done for Bloodflow - including the scenes I snipped.  Now I know why I snipped most of them.  Yuck.  I thought the book was convoluted before I did those snip cards.  If I added them all back in, any reader would be lost.  Hell, I'm lost and I know where the story's going.  So, most of those cards will not be shuffled into the deck. 

Last night's post is about where my brain is at.  Total smudgy mess.  I need to organize my thoughts so I can organize my story.  I need to set myself down and get back to work.  Everything is better when I'm working.  Too bad this week is jammed with other stuff that's going to make working hard. 

Here's hoping everything settles down in my life soon.  Settled life = settled brain = cogent stories.  At least it ought to work that way.

How are things in your life?  Tell me something good.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Stream of Consciousness Post

Michigan won - barely.  Michigan State is still playing, and every time they get the upper hand, friggin' Notre Dame comes back.  Bleh.  I just whipped another 6 chapters worth of notecards out, and I'm thinking I'm doing some head hopping, but it's working for me.  Or am I just telling myself that?  I dunno.  Fourth and one, ND's got the ball and the game is tied at 28.  I can just see the TV from here and can't tell how much time is left.  Thank god, MSU stopped them. I think.  I can't tell if I really care at this point.  Kira's sleeping behind my chair, Max is sleeping in his box.  I should be sleeping.  I can't believe I went to bed at 8:30 last night and still felt like 6am was too early.  I should be sleeping, but I had a cup of coffee around 3 and I'm wired.  Why is it I can drink Dew until just before I go to bed but coffee after noon makes me hyper?  Must be part of getting older.  Older.  Crap.  My mom's going to be 70 this week.  When did that happen?  She can't be 70.  She's only like 58.  She looks pretty much the same as then.  A little more snow on the mountain, but then again, I didn't have more than a sprinkling and now look at me.  Where was I twelve...

And this is why I hate books written in 'stream of consciousness'.  Writing that damn near gave me a headache.  Reading it makes me queasy.  Sorry if it did the same to you.  I was just trying something different. 

Okay, I really am going to bed.  Coffee or no coffee.  May all our streams of consciousness turn off long enough for a good night's sleep.  Pleasant dreams.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Cat House

No, not that kind of cat house.  Sorry.  I'm talking about a house... for my cat. 

Winter's a comin'.  What's a poor outside kitty to do?  Dog houses are way too big.  How's a little cat supposed to generate enough body heat to keep one of those suckers warm?  And then there's also the issue of limited outdoor space.  Besides, what self-respecting cat is going to sleep in a dog house?  Really.  Max hates dogs.  The shame alone would drive him away.

What's a girl to do?

Ingenuity, thou arest my savior.  (Arest?  Are-ist?  Whatever.  Go with me here.)  I actually was playing with the idea of building him a little home out of wood.  But, umm, I'm not exactly handy.  And I'm thinking a hammer and limb saw wouldn't cut it.  (Pardon the pun.)  I needed something...  some box of some sort...  easy to clean...  water-resistant...  a plastic box about yay big...

Enter the department store sale flyer.  Plastic tubs of all sizes on sale.  I could take a tub, cut a hole and line it with soft towels.  Voila!  Thank you, plastic tote manufacturing company!  Oh, and thanks also to Stanley for their lovely box cutter - that also cuts plastic.  (Of course, ours is brown.  More outdoorsy, doncha think?  Oh, and the one I bought had the perfect little notchy-thingie I cut use as a template for the door.) 

When winter arrives, Max will be sleeping in style.  I even bought some velcro and burlap to make a little door-flap for him.  He's spoiled, but after all he's been through, he deserves it.

Max wasn't too sure about it at first.  For a while he was sleeping in his empty cardboard box and looking a little put-out about the fact that his beddie-bye blankies were in the other place, but he got over it.  I went outside a couple minutes ago, and he's all curled up, sleeping in his new home. 

All together now... Awwwww.

Any flashes of ingenuity you've had to make something you needed?  I'm pretty proud of myself.  (And yes, I know they make smaller houses, but why pay $60+shipping when I made this myself and it only cost me $6 for the tub and $4 for the supplies?)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Picture Pause - Max Update

Here are few pictures I took yesterday of Max.  He's really put on weight and he has a nice shiny coat.  (What he looked like in July - for comparison.)




His tongue does work now, but it doesn't necessarily work right all the time and is usually found sticking partway out of his mouth.  Hence...

Max's social commentary

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Scene Cards

Bloodflow (aka Nano or Nanotechnology) is a bitch of a book.  It didn't take me all that long to write the first draft, but man, since then, I've been putting off editing it because it is, as I said, a bitch of a book.  Because of the intricacies of the plot (sub-plots, threads, character growth, etc.), making sure everything flows in the order it's supposed to flow in ain't easy.

I started this sucker in May of 2008.  The first draft took me until February of 2009 - and most of the words were written during NaNo.  I edited - or tried to edit - from February until August to no avail.  I just couldn't get all the pieces together. 

Still, I think this could be a pretty good book.  I guess the best genre guess for it would be techno-thriller in the old Crichton sense with a dash of suspense or political intrigue thrown in (ala Follett or Flynn).  The government comes up with a plan to 'help' the American public and deal with the immigration problem, but someone has ideas of their own, and begins taking people out using nanotechnology.  There's a little romance thrown in between the government agent and the engineer who are racing to stop the bad guys before more people die.  Who the real bad guys are isn't readily apparent, and even the heroes aren't sure if they can trust each other.

Anyway, there's a lot going on - which is why this is a bitch of a book.  Sunday I think I finally surmounted that bitch.  I started writing up what I'm calling Scene Cards to try and keep track of everything that's going on. 

I have a ton of index cards lying around leftover from Daughter's Spanish class last year.  I took a pack and opened my manuscript.  Each card has the bones of one scene on it, like this:

Nano - scene
'Character X's' POV
-plot point
-story progression
-plot point
-character growth within the scene
-who's in the scene
-etc.

When I'm through going through the manuscript - including all the villain POV scenes I snipped during one of my edit phases - I'll arrange the cards in their logical order.  If that works, I'll take those scenes and more them around until I have a cohesive story.  THEN I can began doing the deep edit I know this book needs.  Tada. 

Writing the plan out here, it sounds like a roundabout way of doing things, but so far, it's working for me.  If nothing else, it's freeing my mind up from thinking this is a bitch of a book I'll never finish to allowing me to see this thing isn't so bitchy after all.  It's just a little tougher than my other books. 

Have you ever done something out of your comfort zone to make a book work?  Have you ever written a book that you didn't feel like you could edit after it was done?  Or is that just me and my screwy brain? 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Trying to Screw my Head on Right

Tonight I watched a movie that reminded me I'd forgotten something very important.  I won't bore you with the details.  Suffice it to say, it's a powerful movie based on a powerful book, and even though the movie version shortened the speech by two minutes, it still holds the crux of the message. 

This is my work.  These are my brains.  And no one can help me determine what is right for either. 

Silly me.  I was floundering around looking for someone else to tell me whether I was doing a good job.  Looking perhaps for someone to pat me on the head and tell me I was a good puppy.  Well, that's not the way the world works.  At least, it's not the way I want my world to work.  If my work is good, I'll know it in my own heart and in my own mind.  I hope that someday an agent, a publisher and a great deal of readers agree with me.  If they don't I'll still be able to hold my work up and be proud.  Moreso because this was my work and no one else's.  (Okay, maybe an editor, but by then whatever editor I obtain and I will have entered into a business arrangement to get my book sold.)

I just needed a kick in the ass to remind myself of that. 

Oh, and just in case you're wondering what that 'scene cards' thing means over there by the word meter, I'll talk about that tomorrow. 

Gifth?

I just got an email promising to increase my length and my gifth.  I don't know about you, but I think 5'8 is long enough.  If I get any longer, none of my pants will fit.  I'll look like I'm getting ready for a flood, for cripesakes.

And what in the hell is my gifth?  If I don't know what it is, I don't want it increased, thank you very much.  (Unless it's that part of the brain that makes me a brilliant writer - then yeah, gimme more of that.)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Finding the Right Group

In real life and online, locating a group of people (or even just one person) with a similar mindset seems damn-near impossible.  I mean, it took me 17 years of dating to find my husband.  It's a perfect fit there, and I don't mean to imply I'm looking for the same perfection in a friend or a beta reader or a crit group.  In a friend, I'm just looking for someone I can have a rational conversation with.  In a beta reader, I'm just looking for someone who is rational and likes to read what I write.  In a crit group, I'm looking for a set of individuals with similar goals and work ethics, who write what I read and read what I write.  It shouldn't be that hard.

When I first started, okay, it was probably that hard.  Looking back, I see now that I wasn't in a place where I could take criticism, and the book is probably something people would be critical of.  I tried, though.  I joined an online community and posted my first page.  The other people promptly ripped it to shreds without so much as a compliment sandwich.  (You know, where they tell you something bad between two slices of something nice.)  And walked away - okay, I ran - feeling like I fell off a motorcycle wearing nothing but a bikini.  Road rash, anyone? 

After a couple years and a thicker skin, I joined another writing community.  They were pretty damn good.  Hell, they must've been because I stayed almost a year.  When I left, it wasn't because the writing part of the community sucked, or because they were mean to me.  I left because at some point I realized that intertwined with the non-writing parts were things I didn't want to have my name associated with.  I deleted all my posts and walked away for real this time.

Flash forward another year or so, and I tried again.  This time, the community was good - both the writerly and non-writerly parts.  I didn't stay long, though, because the majority of the members there wrote romance, and I felt like an outsider.  You know, since I don't write romance.  (Unless you count very slight romantic undertones here and there.)  I slipped away from there with a sad sigh.

A few days ago, Andrea suggested a place called Litopia.  Thanks, but after researching the place, I don't think it's for me.  Something about having to submit a piece so that a few people I don't know from Adam can choose whether I'm good enough reminds me too much of choosing teams in gym.  Getting picked last for 6th grade dodgeball was scarring enough.  (Well, picked last until I started kicking serious dodgeball ass, and then I was the one choosing teams.  Of course, then I got picked last for every other sport, but that's neither here nor there.  Or maybe it is.  I can't tell anymore.)

I guess what I'm saying is that I need to find the right group of kids - ones who are good at the same games I am.  So, if any of you know of a group of people who write suspense/mystery/urban fantasy/speculative fiction, let me know.  I don't mind standing on the sidelines and watching for a few days, as long as I eventually get in the game. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Weekly Update

Howdy.  It's been a helluva week.  I finished the edits on DLN (or Djinnocide - or maybe The Third Wish - I haven't decided) and worked on the blurb.  I'm still looking for readers if any of you have some free time to read a book and make notes about what strikes you.  Please don't make me beg.  It's unattractive and I just don't like doing it.

Anyway, now that I'm at a stall point in my writing (i.e. experiencing PMMD or post manuscript malaise disorder, as I like to call it), I've been doing other things.  For instance, I've made 4 batches of zucchini bread in the past week.  Yesterday, I started cleaning and ended up rearranging the living room furniture.  Today I'm deep cleaning the bathrooms.  (Thank goodness nothing to rearrange in those.) 

I've also been keeping up with grading homework for Daughter.  So far, so good.  The worst grade she got so far was in Economics and that was 87%.  Her first English assignment - final draft - is due today.  The drafts have been awesome, so I expect a good final grade on this. 

In other news, I have to pilfer through the photo albums today and find some good baby pictures of Daughter for a super-secret project.  I'd say more, but someone would definitely kill me. 

What's new in your life?  What do you think I should do now that I'm waiting for readers to give me their opinions - write something new, re-re-re-edit something old, or finish a project I've never quite finished?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Here's Blurby!

Dear Agent Type Person:

After wrangling a scimitar-wielding nutcase, Josephine Mayweather’s self-appointed mission to free her fellow Djinn feels more like sprinting through a psych ward than a waltz in the woods. The night some thing starts killing her brethren, though, her job of running a halfway house for the supernaturally challenged becomes more difficult than she ever wished for.

Of course, life would’ve been easier if her brethren weren’t playing ‘I’ve got a secret’, but no one promised her easy. Now she has to break through some damn conspiracy of ignorance just to find out she’s facing an Efreet, and she has to shatter some stupidity if she wants to stop this super-dude before he commits Djinnocide again. When her best bets for help come in the form of a ex-lover, an aging pirate, and a fluffy dog, Jo’s going to need a boatload of luck if she doesn’t want to end up dead—or worse. Too bad for her, she hasn’t been lucky since the night her third wish got her into this mess.

DJINNOCIDE is an urban fantasy complete at approximately 93,000 words.

(Personalized bit, and short paragraph indicating what I’ve embedded in the email – or put in the envelope.)

Thank you for your time.
-------------

So, that's the latest (and I'm hoping final) draft of the query letter I've been working on for what seems like ever.  Daughter has pronounced this the best version she's read - out of probably a dozen or so - and doesn't think I should change a thing.  (And no, she hasn't read the book yet, so she can't tell me how well it describes what I actually wrote.)

I'm telling you - the best critic / beta reader / proofer is one you grow yourself.  ;o)

Also, if you're a regularly visitor or a blog follower, are a fan of urban fantasy, and would like to beta read this for me, drop me an email and we'll talk.  It was a fun book to write - despite the length of time and number of drafts it took - and I hope you'll find it a fun book to read.

Here's hoping an agent thinks it's fun and SELLABLE.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Blurbing

I've spent most of the night working on my query blurb, and quite frankly, my brains are about to run out my ears.  I thought I was done.  Really I did.  Then I looked at it again.  Bleh.  When I get it to where it's not bleh, I'll post it.  Right now, though, I need to step away from it all and relax before bed.  Maybe when I wake up, it won't need more tweaking.

Meanwhile, enjoy this cute poster...

*All images deleted to avoid any chance of copyright infringement*

Monday, September 6, 2010

Tada!


I'm done! Woohoo! I woke up with three chapters left to do, and I did them. (The end chapters barely needed touching, but it still took me from 7-10am - with frequent breaks.) Pardon me while I now do my happy dance.

Once I get the blurb hammered into some workable form, I'll send out a notice for beta readers. If you've got the time and find the premise interesting, feel free to jump on board. Daughter's already got a copy.  Now I just have to be patient... Isn't she done reading yet???  Sheesh.  ;o)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Recipe Sunday

It's that time of year again - when people all over the country are harvesting zucchini and giving them away to unsuspecting neighbors, friends, strangers.  I got just such a humongous morsel from one of Husband's co-workers.  I've already made two batches of zucchini bread and one batch of zucchini cookies - and I still have about half of the thing left to shred.  So, in honor of this zucchini-Godzilla hybrid, I bring you a recipe of my mother's to help utilize those huge-esque squash.  I hope you enjoy.

Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
2 c sugar
1 c vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 c shredded zucchini (raw)
2 c flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 c shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Liberally grease two 8x4" bread pans.  In a large bowl, beat eggs until light and fluffy.  Beat in sugar and oil until thick.  Fold in zucchini.  In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Add dry ingredients to wet mixture.  Add coconut and mix well.  Pour batter into pans.  Bake for one hour.  Allow to cool slightly before trying to remove from pans onto cooling rack.  (It has a tendency to stick, which is why the liberal greasing.)  Slice and serve.

I could eat this all day, but it's not exactly diet-friendly.  What I've been doing is giving most of the loaves away, and what stays here gets cut into small slices.  Four down... four more to bake.  Who wants zucchini bread?  ;o)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Opening Day!

Today is the start of College Football Season!  Right now, Western Michigan @ Michigan State is on ESPN2, and later there's a chance we'll have UConn @ Michigan.  I'll be offline until later - except to like, you know, check email and stuff (during commercials, of course).

Have a great day. 

(The above picture was taken by me in March of 2001 - when a friend and I snuck into the Big House to take pictures.  Go Blue!)

Update: Both Michigan and Michigan State won their games.  =oD

Friday, September 3, 2010

Weekly Update

It's back to school time, which is why my blogging has been so horrible this week.  Daughter's using my desk and my computer while she's doing schoolwork.  (Okay, for some classes, she's just using my Pandora, but if music helps get the assignments in on time, I'm going with it.)  So, from 8-9 and 1-5, I'm off the keyboard.  At nine, I take her to work and then 9-12, I'm running errands, doing housework, doing store work, etc.  Then lunch hits and by the time Husband is back to work, it's time for school to start again.  That leaves night time for writing.  Hence the absence of my own blogging and any lengthy comments I might make.  I need to do something about this.  I miss everyone.  Maybe I'll try running errands and doing housework while she's doing school.  We'll see.

In other news, I've been slogging away at the re-font edits for DLN.  I'm not going to have them done by the end of the long weekend, but I'm hoping not too long after.  Think positive thoughts for me.  Pretty soon it will be officially one year since I started this book.  :shudder:

In other other news, I got a haircut today.  I went for something totally different (cut wise, not color - I love my gray hairs*).  If I get Daughter to take a picture of me, I'll post it.

Max Update: He's fat and sassy.  Okay, not fat, but I noticed that I can't feel his ribs anymore and his hips are almost normal.  He'll never be as big as Kira (thank god), but he's mostly healthy now.  His mouth's still not quite right, but after so long with a broken jaw, it never will be.  We just have to accept the fact he will always drool and his tongue will never stay all the way inside his mouth.  He looks like he's giving social commentary on everything.  LOL  I'll post a new pic of him as soon as I upload.

Beyond that, life is peachy.  How're things in your world?

*Seriously.  I figure I earned every one of those gray hairs.  They're mine and I love them.  

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Picture Pause - Country Drive

The best pictures taken 8/30/10 during one of our driver's ed jaunts. 






Playing in my head: Shimmer by Fuel