Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cleaning Extravaganza

I'm in the midst of a full-on cleaning today, which means I'm around here somewhere, but not really paying all that much attention.

Enjoy this picture from Antelope Island and feel free to talk amongst yourselves.

There was a picture here but I had to delete it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fiction and Lies

This morning reading Moonrat's blog, I was thrust up against a sentiment I've encountered time and again since I started this writing thing. Basically, she sums up a conversation between a publisher and his sales manager during which writing fiction is likened to lying.

To paraphrase Spencer Tracy in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner: that is a statement with which I'm prepared to take issue. (In fact, I cut my morning blogroll short because of it.)

First off, let's get something straight. Lying is deliberately misleading someone else to gain something positive or to avoid something negative. Writing fiction is creating a a story for others which they know up front never really happened.

I've heard it said that fiction writers lie for a living. That sentiment pisses me off royally.

I write fiction folks. I do not lie. I don't pretend my stories are anything but snippets of my imagination written out on paper. Sure, truth can be written into fiction, but truth is never cheapened when one weaves it into a story (or no one would ever listen to Aesop).

James Frey, on the other hand, told people his fiction was real. He published it as non-fiction. He was trying to put something over on his readers. He was trying to gain something positive by misleading his readers - namely money and fame (which he got both of, even after his dishonesty was dragged into the light). If that ain't lying for a living, I don't know what is.

We fiction writers need to stand firm on this issue. If something throws the old fiction=lying thing at you, slap it down. It's not cute. It's sure as hell isn't funny. Saying our chosen occupation is to lie to people cheapens the work we put into our writing, and it throws a negative light around who we are as human beings. You wouldn't allow anyone to call you a liar in your day-to-day life, why then is it okay to refer to our life's work as a pack of lies?

And don't even get me started on some of the comments to Moonrat's post - comments which I just now read. It seems that this idea of fiction as lying has been around long enough that people just accept it as fact without thinking about what the statement really says about their work. Someone even quoted Stephen King as agreeing with it. (Not that I'm surprised. The poor man has some major flaws in his philosophy, but I won't go into that now. He's a hell of a writer, and it's depressing that he allows anyone to belittle his work - even himself.)

If you write fiction, be proud of what you do, dammit. Don't let anyone tell you you're less than what you are, and don't let anyone ANYONE make you believe that you're dishonest.

Feh. The nerve. Makes me wanna slap whoever started this upside the head.

Now back to your regularly scheduled morning...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Sorry I've been quiet lately, but life comes at ya sometimes, ya know? Part of the problem is I let things pile up and now I'm working to get everything I should've had done weeks ago finished. Procrastination, doncha know.

After some work last week, and a little more this week, I'll be caught up. I think. I hope. Maybe.

The major thing left is to power clean the house - top to bottom, leaving no dust mote unaccosted. You see, my MIL is coming for a visit, and she's staying here. That's never happened before, and I'm spazzing about the state of the house. Don't get me wrong. My MIL is a cool lady. I'm still going to make sure our home is the sparkliest it can be before she gets here. She'll only be here for a few days, but it'll be the cleaniest days this house has ever seen.

Then after she leaves, school will start up again. Junior year for my junior person. Six hours a day of preparation for college and life beyond. It'll be as intense for me as it is for her.

And she starts driver's ed this week. :shudder:

Ah, life.

What's going on in your life lately?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday Book Review

This week's review is a great new YA paranormal: My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent. You might know Rachel through her incredible Shifters series - a different twist on lycanthropy where the main characters are all werecats. This is Rachel's first venture into YA, and while her writing remains in the paranormal realm, she's shifted (pardon the pun) to a different race of supernatural beings - the Bean Sidhe (or as most people might know them, the Banshee).

Kaylee Cavanaugh's got a problem - she thinks she's going nuts, and her family is ready to put her back in the fruitfarm. But who can blame them when she breaks into bouts of hideous screaming for no apparent reason. The only one who doesn't treat her like she's out of her mind is the cutest boy in school - Nash - and he's got his own secrets. Finding out you're a bean sidhe is certainly better than being insane, but being a human tornado siren for death isn't the best way to win friends and influence people - especially the one who's causing teenage girls all over town to drop dead. Now Kaylee has to get a grip on the magic she just found out she has and stop the killings before they strike too close to home.

I really did love this book. Rachel's got a way of writing that keeps me turning pages and loving the characters she provides. She also has a way of making me disappointed when the book ends, because I want more. Thank goodness this is only the beginning of her Soul Screamers series. My Soul to Save will be out January 2010, and My Soul to Lose is scheduled to be released July of next year (although her site says 2009 - must be a typo).

So, if you're looking for a good read for yourself or for the teen you love, pick up a copy of My Soul to Take. Neither of you will be disappointed. My own teen and I will have to arm wrestle to see who reads the next books first. ;o)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sleep Deprivation

About twice a year I stay up late for some stupid reason (usually to finish a good book). Last night was one of those nights, and the stupid (in retrospect) reason was the finale of Top Chef Masters. I hate the way our cable translates Mtn time. Some shows we get two hours earlier because eight Eastern is six here. Bravo, however, we get to see at its Pacific time equivalent. Last night Top Chef Masters started at 11:15 - fifteen minutes late because the new season of regular Top Chef ran long. I crawled into bed at 12:20.

Draggin' butt today.

Sure, I could've waited and watched the rerun of it sometime today or this weekend, but I got a burr under my saddle. I wanted to see who won, and I didn't want to have to wait - and thereby take a chance someone would let the winner slip around me. (I hate that, so I'm not going to let it slip here, in case any of you missed it.)

And of course, they had to run a marathon of the show beforehand, along with the Top Chef Las Vegas right before. I watched Top Chef stuff for four hours last night.

Silly me.

Anyway, what's something you stay up late for? Any finales or season openers you're dying to watch?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pardon My Mess

I've been meaning to do this for a while, and I finally got off my lazy buns. I'm migrating posts from the old Writing Spectacle to either this blog or the one I call Tabula Rasa - depending on the content. As soon as I can get everything meaningful off the old site - and get everyone who's linked to me to change over - I'll be shutting it down.

Meanwhile I'm writing and conducting life, so I don't expect this will be finished too awfully soon.

If you do have a link to the old site, please switch it over to here. I may use the old site for another purpose, and I don't want anyone stumbling in there by accident. This is home now anyway. Anything important will be over here eventually. Some key research posts have already been moved here - like my Agent Sites, Blogs, Etc. - and my story excerpts are being moved to TR. Some stuff I'll just delete. If there's anything over there you really liked, let me know, so I don't wipe out anything important.

Thanks for your patience during all this.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled program. ;o)

Reason for Not Writing #938

There's Cat Butt between you and your keyboard...

(Objects in the picture may appear larger than they are... but in this case, she really is that big.)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Laser Kitty Says Get to Work

Either that or she's shooting death beams at me because I woke her up. She'd kill me if I got the shot I was going for. She was on her back with her back legs splayed out, like she was trying to catch a tan - but not so graceful. I walked up with the camera and she rolled onto her belly.

One day, I will get that photo. I just need to be sneakier.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday Book Review

I hate to sound like a broken record, but Allison Brennan nailed it again. Every book I read of hers is better than the last, and Cutting Edge is no different.

First off, she's got the key ingredients: a heroine with some past baggage, a hunky hero with his own pieces of luggage, and chemistry to burn. Add in a warped villian with an axe to grind, and you have the makings of any good romantice suspense.

But Allison's novels are so much more.

Her writing is... Well, wow. She really knows how to make her characters people I can not only sympathize with, but people I wouldn't mind having a drink with. She also knows how to let you crawl around inside her villains' heads, so you can see what's driving them, and get creeped out all the same.

I can't tell you too much about any of the characters without giving away important plots points. I'll just say that having come from a background of once being an animal rights nut and a budding eco-freako myself, she hit the villain's mindset right on the head. And because of this, I almost had to put the book down. I forged ahead, though, and I'm glad I did.

Still, the whole thing gave me shivers.

And I love how she keeps bringing back characters from her other books. It makes me feel like I'm on the inside of this great group of people. I especially love the character Hans Vigo. He's a profiler, and he's so damn intriguing, I almost wish he could have his own book. (Except he's not a main character type guy.) If I remember correctly, Allison once said something about almost killing Hans off, but too many people love him. I think I would've been seriously bummed if anything like that happened to Hans. I think I have a little secret reader-crush on the man.

Next up for Allison is a series of paranormals based on the seven deadly sins being manifested as demons. I can't wait to see how she works it. (Especially Pride, which I don't think of as a sin. Hubris maybe, but not Pride... Soapbox moment. Sorry.)

If you're in the market for a good romance with lots of heat mixed with a suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat, pick up a copy of Cutting Edge. I got mine at Barnes and Noble, but it should be available from any of your favorite booksellers.

As always, I'll be impatiently waiting for whatever Allison publishes next.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Getting Squirrelly

Praying for peanuts, perhaps?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Weekly Update

What a weird week! Sheesh. I mean, I really should've been able to get more work done, but I let every little thing interfere with my work, and then when I finally had the time, my damn back went screwy and I couldn't do anything but lay on the couch. :grumble: Stupid body.

Anyway, I only got 5000 or so words out this week, and that was Saturday-Monday. On the upside, I figured out what to do with that secondary character, and I know where I'm headed with the next few scenes. (I'm not telling what I decided.)

Y'all already know about the main event this week, which was Darling Daughter's birthday. And the main derailer, which was Firebrand's snafu. Take away those two things, and the week was pretty bland.

One thing this week... I went a little crazy at the bookstores. I didn't mean to, but I was so behind on some of the things I wanted to buy. I finally got ahold of Prey by Rachel Vincent, and I also found the first book in Rachel's new YA series. Also, I took the leap and bought the remaining Dresden books I hadn't read. A pleasant surprise was finding Allison Brennan's next book - which I didn't even know was out yet. Plus, I picked up an anthology with some authors I love and a non-fiction that looked intriguing. Oh, and I can't forget the latest Jeaniene Frost.

With all these books to read, I'm going to have to make a concerted effort to write. I love getting lost in a book, but if I let myself do that, I'll never get my own books written.

How was your week?

Thursday, August 13, 2009


And I thought it was going to be such a good morning, too...

I just found out that Firebrand Literary is closing its doors. Not really a huge deal in the scheme of things. Literary agencies close and open all the time...


They're the ones who took three months with my query before they asked for a full. They only asked for the damn thing like a month ago (I checked and the request came on 7/9.). They have... err... had this system where you upload your stuff and then you can check the status of it, so I've been checking it. Last time I checked, it said 'Pending'.* Now the damn agency is closing?

Son of a...

Pardon me while I beat my head against my desk.

And now it says on their site that authors with works under submission should contact the agent who made the request. Well, Nadia Cornier - who's assistant sent the request - says she's not taking on new clients any more.

Isn't that just peachy? I need to hunt down the assistant. He really seemed like he liked Blink. Maybe he's on his way to becoming an agent. Corey? If you're reading this and still love Blink, contact me.

I know shit happens. I know unexpected things come up and can't be avoided. But this seems really unprofessional to me. A mass-mailed note would've been nice. "Sorry about your requested submissions, but Firebrand is defunct" with instructions on how to contact the agent who made the request. Anything. Even a rejection letter. Even putting REJECTED next to my manuscript in their submission system would be better than this. (Of course, giving them the benefit of the doubt... Maybe they closed today and my apology email will show up soon. Ummm... I'm not holding my breath.)

I also know I'm not supposed to say things like this on my blog. It makes me look like a hard to work with person, or a whiner, or something like that, but this just chaps my hide. And can you really blame me? I get this lovely and excited full request, I comply with their instructions, and I wait patiently for an answer. Then this. Bah and Feh.

Anyway, it seems like several of the agents who worked for Firebrand are now at a place called Upstart Crow Literary. I'll be checking out their site and requirements as soon as I finish this post. Maybe one of them will be as excited as Corey... Hell, maybe Corey followed them there. One can hope.

I guess it's just as well they didn't offer representation. I can't imagine being a client and finding out they're closing their doors. Ugh.

*Just checked. As of this morning, my manuscript still says "Pending". Un-fricking-real.

PS. For a nicer, happier post today, read the one below this. I really meant for today to be a happy blog day.

The Surprise Birthday

Yesterday was the big birthday surprise day, and from her own words: "It was the best birthday... EVER." =o)

It started out with my waking her up at 6:45am and telling her she had to get upstairs to eat her birthday muffin. In my most solemn tone, I told it was all she had because Hubby and I binged the night before, devouring her entire pan of birthday brownies. I also said something about spending the day cleaning and doing yard work, but she was giggling, so I'm guessing the part of the plan about fooling her didn't work.

On the dining room table sat a lemon-poppyseed muffin with a candle in it, which almost had her believing the day would be same-ol-same-ol. We lit the candle, sang Happy Birthday and she opened her card which read something like 'you're not getting anything but this card'. So far, so good. Then I pointed out there was something else in the envelope. (The night before I created a certificate entitling her to an all expense paid trip out of town - good only 8/12/09.)

Once she read the certificate, much squeeing and jumping occurred. Sixteen year old girls should squee and jump around on their birthday, so SCORE!

Anyway, Darling Daughter and I packed ourselves into the car and headed off to Loveland where we had a most wonderful day. We started off at Best Buy, then hit Barnes & Noble. After that, lunch was approaching, so we climbed back into the car and went to Applebees, where we gorged ourselves on appetizer platters and she got free dessert. Next was a trip to Borders before we started the haul back home. She thought our trip was over...

But I was holding a couple more surprises along the way.

Every year she gets to pick what I make for her birthday dinner. This year she wanted homemade pizza, but with the trip, I knew making the crust would be impossible. A few days before her birthday, I asked if I could just skip making pizza because it's such a pain. (I think I also whined about slaving away in the kitchen when it's been so hot here.) I laid it on thick and she relented. She said she'd be happy with any pizza... she pouted when I said Totinos was on sale, but she even said that would be okay. (The Totinos may have been pushing it. She was so bummed.)

Imagine her surprise when we made a slight detour on the way home and pull into a Dominoes parking lot. More squeeing. The whole car smelled like pizza for the rest of the drive, but it was worth it.

Our arrival home would've been the end. It almost was the end. You see, I still had one more thing up my sleeve - except for the brownies, which she was relieved to find hadn't been eaten - and I almost forgot about it. Good thing I went into my bedroom before it got dark. You see, hidden in the corner where she wouldn't accidentally see it (and I almost missed it) was her final present.

A brand new red pick-up truck!

Of course, it's only 1/32 scale, but still - it was a new car for her 16th birthday. I almost got her a silver sports car (Matchbox version) but then I remembered how much she loved red pick-up trucks. She loved that I remembered, and it was the icing on the cake of a special sweet sixteen.

I don't remember my own sixteenth birthday. I'm sure it was a day like any other. Daughter's wasn't a huge expensive birthday. There weren't any parties or a real car. But it's one she'll remember for the rest of her life.

And that's what a sixteenth birthday should be like.

Do you remember your sweet sixteen? If so, what was it like? Did anyone make it special for you?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Thursday's Child

Tomorrow marks the 16th year since my daughter's birth. Hard to believe she was ever that small, but there she is (reading her first book, btw - which she liked to chew on almost as much as look at).

:shudder: I still maintain I'm not old enough to have a 16 yr old.

Okay, so I am. I just don't feel like I should be old enough to be the mother of a kid who's old enough to drive. Thinking back, a girl in my graduating class has a son who's now old enough to drink. Ugh. (I can't imagine high school and pregancy at the same time, but that's another story.)

Anyway, there it is. She's 16 and I'm almost 40. Double Ugh. Where did the years go? Seems like yesterday I was worrying about my own junior year in high school, and now it's her turn. Which college to go to... Scholarships... Driver's ed... (Yes, we're late for that last one, and I'm still dragging my feet on setting it up. Just the thought scares the bejeebers out of me... My little girl behind the wheel of a ton of steel hurtling through space at 65 mph??? :shriek:)

But what's a mom to do? It's not like a can stop her from growing up. Although... the idea of putting a brick on her head when she was younger came up several times. :wink: Soon she'll be off to college and Hubby & I will be a couple instead of a trio for the first time since we got married. How weird is that?

Time marches along, and even though I wish she wouldn't grow up so fast, I'm glad she's past the baby stage. No more baby food and drool and diapers. Now we can have interesting conversations that use real words of more than one syllable. She's a sharp gal with a lot going on for her.

You know the old poem about the day a child is born and how it relates to their future? Well, she was born on a Thursday. According to that, she has far to go. Seeing the young lady she's turned into, I know she'll go far.

Happy Birthday, Kiddo. I love you.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Ya know, I didn't realize how much I missed football until I saw there was an exhibition game on tonight. Sure, it's just the Titans and the Bills, but it's football. :happy sigh:

Now, I just have to wait until college ball starts back up again and my life will be complete once more. =oD

Right now, though, I have writing to do. I'll watch some smash mouth, grid iron combat between scenes.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Weekly Update, etc.

Since last Friday, I cranked out almost seven thousand words. Too bad I did that in four days. Think what I could've done if I had written all seven days. :heavy sigh:

Anyway, the days I actually worked, I made some real progress. In last week's update, I told you about the chunk I had to delete. Well, I made up for that and more. The story is zooming right along and I'm loving the new twists I put in. I'm also stalled by them.

You see, I'm at a point in the story where the next scene is crucial, and there are several ways I could handle it. And every time I think about sitting down to write the damn scene, I get stalled trying to decide which path the story is going to take. One possible path has the MCs arriving just after a secondary character dies. Another path has them arriving just in time to save him (which seems lame and forced even just thinking about it). The third has them saving him from the fix he's in now only to have him croak shortly thereafter by another twist I can throw in.

All that angst over a character who's only a catalyst anyway. This is all Alma's fault. If I hadn't written a scene with the catalyst character's crying mother... If I hadn't named her... Maybe I wouldn't be in this fix.

I dunno. I guess I could write the scene from all three angles and see which one works better. Heh. Fat chance. I'm too lazy to write scenes I know I'm going to throw away. (Write scenes and throw them away later? Fine, but I better not think I'm chucking it until after it's written.)

Anyway, I'm going to kick myself in the sluggish ever-widening ass tonight and make something happen - even if it's wrong. You can't fix words that aren't written. Right?

In other news, I read on an agent's blog that if anyone who sent a query in March or April and hasn't heard back should requery. I did and I haven't, so I resent. Keep your fingers crossed. I'm also still waiting on that full I sent last month, but since the response time to the query was three months, I'm expecting a longer lead time on the full. We'll see what happens.

Also, Darling Daughter is still waiting on the response from that essay contest for college. I looked again, and their site still says all entrants will receive a response by July 26th. Gack. Being the conscientious parent/teacher, I waited a week and emailed the gal in charge - no response yet there either. If I don't hear something by this coming Monday, I'm calling the organization. (No, this is not something I would do for my own writing - because the query process doesn't work that way. But when someone gives an exact date, they really should stick to it. Doncha think?) Darling Daughter is twisted up with anxiety over her essay and no one should have to be left hanging like that. Sounds like time to bust out the Mama Grizzly and go all fur-n-fangs on them.

How are things with you and yours?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Big Research Link Post

Below is an ongoing list of helpful links for research. I'll be adding to it from time to time, so if there's anything you need help finding, stop by and check it out. And if you have anything you'd like to suggest, leave it in the comment chain.I hope you find this helpful. (Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with any of these sites. If you see something there you don't like, let them know.)

English Reference:
The Encyclopedia Brittanica
The Cambridge Dictionaries Online
Onelook Dictionary Search
List of Online Dictionaries
The American Heritage Dictionary
The Chicago Manual of Style
OWL (Online Writing Lab) at Purdue

For Poets:
The Online Rhyming Dictionary
The Oxford Book of English Verse

Database of Familiar Quotes
Famous Latin Quotations
Brainy Quote
American Veterans: Famous Quotes
The Quotations Page
The Quote Garden


Folklore & Mythology:
Encyclopedia Mythica
Folklore and Mythology
Myth'ing Links

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

The American Colonists' Library
Biographical Dictionary
The Brain Injury Association of America
The Centers for Disease Control
Childrens' Literature Character Database
The Forensic Panel
The Gallup Organization
Gemstone Information
Google Scholar
Great Books Online
Index of the US Constitution
International Cocoa Organization
Invent Now
Los Alamos National Laboratory
The Mayo Clinic
Military History
Project Gutenberg
Research Tools at iTools
Science & Environmental Policy Project
Snopes: Urban Legend Reference Page
Wildlife Biology Info Page
WorldClock - TimeZones

For Me? You Shouldn't Have.

I got an award yesterday! The first one this new location has received! Woohoo! Anyway, a recent addition to The Writing Spectacle's posse - Jennifer Major - has bestowed The Superior Scribbler Award upon me. Yay!

According to the rules, I have to post... well, the rules, but I'm going to be a party-pooper. (My sisters made up a song thirty years ago about how big a party-pooper I am, so it's not a new development.) Besides, all the rules are over at Jennifer's post, if you're interested.

I'm also supposed to award five other people with this. There are ten people following me - nine if I don't include myself - so I'm just going to say that all of those fine ladies are Superior Scribblers, and leave it at that. In fact, anyone who stops by here and takes the time to read my thoughts on a regular basis is awesome. Give yourself an award, or a pat on the back, or a hot fudge brownie sundae.

Thanks for the award, Jennifer. I only just met you, but I already think you're awesome.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Naptime did it. I took one right after lunch, and spent the rest of the day in a much better mood. Good thing, too, because I got some good words out tonight. Too bad I'm ready for bed again.

Here's hoping the neighborhood keeps the noise level down. Wish me luck.

Sleep well, everyone, and happy dreams.

Not Enough Coffee Ever

After writing furiously last night, I crawled into bed around quarter after ten. Not bad, really. The problem came when what I thought were kids outside woke me up shortly after 11. I wish it was kids because no matter how noisy the obnoxious urchins are, they're usually on their way somewhere else.

Nope. The voice I was hearing was an auctioneer. Yes, you heard right. An auctioneer at that time of night. And he would punctuate each sale with a kind of a YIP! right before he said SOLD! When I investigated further, I discovered some kind of friggin' livestock auction started around 7 last night, and it must've run long. The thing is, I didn't hear it at all until 11pm. Some numbnuts must've turned up the volume for some stupid reason.

So, there I lay, trying to get back to sleep through all the YIPs and SOLDs. After twenty minutes, I gave up and settled onto the couch with a book. Around midnight thirty I finished the book and realized the auction was finally over. The problem then became my lack of sleepiness. I grabbed another book and read until around one.

Back to bed I went.

The fireworks woke me up at 2AM. Yes, fireworks. Some local idiot got ahold of some illegal fireworks somewhere and he's been periodically shooting them off since Independence Day. Why he picked 2am is beyond me. Maybe he got kicked out of the bar and decided to continue his inebriation at home. Sounded like gunfire and scared the crap out of me. Plus it woke my husband up, and he's been having a tough enough time sleeping lately. If I ever find the guy with the rockets, I'm kicking him in the family jewels.

One hour of sleep, two hours awake, one hour of sleep, one hour awake, then three hours of sleep does not make for a happy camper. Soooo, I'm a wee smidge cranky this morning. I swear there isn't enough coffee in this town to take the edge off last night's after effects. I'll be happier later. I promise.

Monday, August 3, 2009

No, I'm Not Pregnant. I'm a Writer.

We writers spend the majority of our work lives sitting. In my case, it's produced a half-dozen novels and one poochy stomach. The novels I love. The tummy I don't. So before anyone asks...

No, I'm not pregnant. I'm a writer.

Ya know, since I stopped working outside the house, I've noticed a gradual decay of my physical well-being. I thought it was just age creeping up on me, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I wasn't taking care of the things my body needs to be healthy.

Namely I wasn't getting enough exercise.

Enough? I wasn't getting any - unless you count walking from this chair to the couch. I was a slug and I felt like dog doo because of it. My energy level sucked. I was getting all sort of weird pains from doing the slightest things. Mowing the lawn wiped me out on a regular basis. I know "Butt in Chair" is a writer's mantra, but sometimes we have to get our butts out of that chair.

Now I'm walking 3-4 times a week and I've started doing these belly-burning exercises. I still don't know if the belly-burners are working, but I do know I'm starting to feel more fit.

Anyway, here they are:

1) Crunches - Lie flat on your back with knees bent; lift your shoulders off the floor without using your neck muscles.

2) Leg Raises - Lie flat on your back, raising both legs from the floor at the same time in one fluid motion.

3) Reverse Curl - Lie flat on your back and pull your knees toward your chest while keeping your hips on the floor.

4) Captain's Chair - While sitting in a sturdy chair, grip the armrests and slowly lift your knees toward your chest. Keep your back straight and don't use your neck muscles.

5) Flutter Kicks - Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat. Straighten both legs at knee height and alternately lift each leg from 45 degrees to 90 degrees. (Sorta like you kick when you swim.)

6) Full Sit-up with Twist - Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat. Contract your abdominals and raiseshoulders off the floor. Twist shoulder towards opposite knee and return to starting position. Alternate shoulder to knee.

7) Straight Leg Obliques - Lie on your back and lift your legs staight into the air. At 90 degrees, rotate your legs to either side alternately, keeping your legs straight at all times.

I don't remember which site I pulled these from (if you know, tell me so I can give them credit), but it said you're supposed to do these exercises three times a day combined with a 30 minute aerobic workout. We're pretty close to the three times a day thing, but the 30 minutes of aerobics isn't happening. Instead we walk about a mile and a half every morning during the week.

All of this is supposed to be combined with a sensible diet, and you should start shedding belly fat, which is where the majority of my problems are sitting. Spare tire? This is more like wearing one of those pregnant belly things. Eww. Anyway, I'm tired of looking like I'm expecting, so I'm doing something about it.

Speaking of which, my butt needs to get out of this chair and on to some morning exercising. Are you with me?

*btw, the group of exercises - minus #4 because I don't have a chair like that - currently takes about ten minutes, if that. I expect the time amount will go up as we add reps, but even then it shouldn't bite into writing time too much.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday Book Review

Okay, so I still haven't finished a book. I'm halfway through one, though, and I should be done today or tomorrow, so why not?

This week's book is by another of the wonderful gals at Murder She Writes - Toni McGee Causey - and she's written what is so far a fun romp through the Lousiana bayou called Charmed and Dangerous.

As I said, I'm only about halfway through, but I'm really enjoying the story of Bobbie Faye Sumrall. She's a one woman wrecking crew and everyone in the town of Lake Charles, LA knows it.

From Toni's site: "Bobbie Faye is looking forward to the Lake Charles Contraband Days Festival with balloons, booze and babies in pirate costumes. Instead, her trailer's flooded, her no-good brother's been kidnapped, and the criminals are demanding her mom's tiara as ransom."

Reading this book has been a roller-coaster ride so far. Right now, Bobbie's running from the law with a guy who may or may not be a hitman hired to kill her. I can't wait to see if he's the good guy he appears to be, or the bad guy the Feds are making him out to be.

Anyway, I rarely make a recommendation based on a partial read, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and say this book is worth buying. It's a fun read, and just what I need to take my mind off my own work - which before last night was giving me fits.

Take a moment to slip into Bobbie Faye's life of train wrecks. If nothing else, it will remind you that nothing in your own life is nearly that bad. ;o)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Saturday's Super Site

Earlier this week, I wrote about changing your mind to change your life. One of the reasons this came up was an almost insignificant event in the course of life. The local store had a sale on blue jeans. I bought two pair for me and one pair for Darling Daughter. Of course, we didn't try them on, because I know our sizes... Or I thought I did. Then I got home. The size 12s I bought for me felt like they were going to cut me in half, so I tried on the kid's size 14. Still too tight.

It being summer, I haven't worn much but baggy shorts and summery pull-on pants. I had no clue I'd gained that much around the middle. I mean, I knew I was a little thicker, but this was ridiculous - especially since the scale hasn't really gone up more than a couple pounds.

I know you're waiting for the Super Site... I'm getting to that...

Anyway, the whole jeans incident lit a fire under my ever-widening butt (which is a phrase I've always used in jest, but now it's become prophetic). I dug into the whole exercise thing with a vengeance - as did Darling Daughter. The stuff I printed off says to do these exercises three times a day along with a thirty minute workout. So far, we're getting about 75% of that done.

Then I read a post over at the Fictionistas regarding the question of getting a lap-band installed. In our case, it's not something I'd consider, but I understand the dilemma. Weight loss is hard. My sister has battled with obesity for thirty years. As far as I know, right now she's holding steady at a healthy weight, and it wasn't surgery that did it for her. It was...

The Biggest Loser

I know some of you watch the show. I've watched it for years now, simply for the inspiration factor. Last year daughter and I watched it as motivation to get healthier. I don't know what this season will bring, but I'm hoping we can use what we see there to get back into our clothing. Hell, I'd love to get back into those size 10s I've been saving since I got married. (Five years and 20+ pounds later.) Once upon a time I was a size 6, but I looked gross that skinny, so 10 will have to do.

Sure, it will take some major attitude and habit changes, but I think I can do it. I hope Daughter can do it, too. Now's the time when she needs to develop good habits so she can grow into a healthy adult with a long life ahead of her.

How about you? Ever had to battle your weight? Even if you don't have a weight problem, do you worry about ways to keep fit - especially since our job is almost entirely sedentary?