Sunday, January 31, 2010

Now I Remember

Heh, now I remember why I haven't been reading.  Once I get going, that's all I do. 

Okay, mostly all I do.  I did get some critting done yesterday and I also got some good words out this morning, but other than that, nada.  I haven't posted, I haven't finished the critting I said I was going to do today.  I blame the writers.  The stories were too damn good for me to put down. 

Thursday night was Jen Lyon's fault.  Friday Wendy Roberts took the blame.  Of course, I know better with Allison Brennan's books.  She was certain to wipe out my Saturday, but I didn't expect Shannon Butcher to keep me on the couch for most of today.  Evil women... all of them.  For shame, for shame.  And you know something?  I started Ms. Butcher's book instead of my new Rachel Vincent because I thought I was safer that way.  I was sure I could put the damn book down for a couple hours here and there.  But Noooooo.  =op

Okay, now that I finished another book, I really should get something accomplished tonight.  I have part of a chapter sitting next to me that I didn't finish writing this morning because my hands were tired.  Tired?  Waaa.  Stupid fingers.  If only I'd kept writing, I wouldn't have gotten pulled into reading all day.

(And just in case you were concerned that I was serious about calling any of those fine women 'evil', I'm not.  I love them all, even if I don't know them.  Keep writing the way you do, ladies, I'll figure out how to exist and read at the same time.  Maybe.  One of these days. :wink:)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Weekly Update

Well, it's accountabililty time again.  Thinking about it this morning, that's really what these Weekly Update posts are about - accountability.  That and celebration of accomplishments, depending on the week.

This week was punctuated by yesterday's quarterly haul out of town.  On the road by 8am, we reached Borders around 10:30.  (The roads were a little slick, bumping my usual 2 hour drive longer.)  Books, lunch, Target, appointment, Walmart, and home by quarter to five.  As usual, I'm taking today to recover from the drive.  Fighting the roads usually takes its toll, but since the roads were nasty, the toll was higher. (That pic is of this morning.  Yesterday, it looked worse. And I heard farther down the freeway from this camera was a traffic fatality.)

Needless to say, I'm bushed.

Anyway, yesterday's book buying extravaganza was a partial bust.  I can't believe Borders wasn't stocking some of the books I wanted.  They completely pissed me off when they didn't have Allison Brennan's new book.  Thank goodness Walmart had it, or I'd be sitting here steaming.  I did pick up Rachel Vincent's My Soul to Save and the second book in Jim Butcher's Codex Alera at that stop, so my list wasn't totally wasted.  Plus, I found some books I hadn't planned on buying, so the trip wasn't too bad.  (I'll post a list of my new books tomorrow.)

In other news, I did manage to write almost 6000 words this week.  I know that's a pretty good number, but as I said last week, it's subjective.  If I hadn't taken a couple nights off, I could've done more.  "I coulda been a contenda.  I coulda been somebody."  But I tell you what...  I'll stop kicking myself for not doing more and start celebrating what I did accomplish.  So 6K!  Yay!

Oh, and I actually read something yesterday.  True, it wasn't the entire book, but one novella out of three ain't bad.  This could be the start of a renewed reading vigor.  I know it's the start of my 2010 list... better late than never.

So, how was your week?  Read any good books?  Buy anything new recently that you want to chat about?  I picked up the cutest cardigan at Target (pronounced Tarzhay, doncha know) off the clearance rack for $4!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

2010 - Books Read

Since this post is going up most of the way through January, I have to admit this isn't a banner start to my yearly reading goals.  Last year I reached a total of 78 books.  With a shaky start to twenty-ten, I'm not sure if I'll reach that total, but I'll try.  As long as the books are good, though, the quantity doesn't matter. 2009 had some great titles.  Here's hoping 2010 brings more of the same.

In reverse order of date read...

The Ranger by Monica McCarty (12/31/10)
Love Me to Death by Allison Brennan (12/29/10)
Protect and Defend by Vince Flynn (12/27/10)
Eternal Kiss of Darkness by Jeaniene Frost (12/23/10)
Last Dragon Standing by G.A. Aiken (12/20/10)
Monster War: Nightmare Academy - Book Three by Dean Lorey (12/18/10)
Deathwish by Rob Thurman (12/14/10)
The War After Armageddon by Ralph Peters (12/6/10)
Alive by Piers Paul Read (12/2/10)
Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund (11/7/10)
Trick of the Light by Rob Thurman (10/30/10)
Cursor's Fury by Jim Butcher (10/21/10)
My Soul to Keep by Rachel Vincent (10/14/10)
Cold Sight by Leslie Parrish (10/12/10)
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (10/8/10)
Sparks by Laura Bickle (10/5/10)
Alpha by Rachel Vincent (10/3/10)
An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire (10/1/10)
Shadow Bound by Erin Kellison (9/25/10)
Act of Treason by Vince Flynn (9/23/10)
Steward of Song by Adam Stemple (9/18/10)
Science Fair by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson (9/15/10)
Time Bandit by Andy and Johnathan Hillstrand (9/12/10)
E Pluribus Unicorn by Theodore Sturgeon (9/11/10)
The Darkest Lie by Gena Showalter (9/7/10)
Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch (9/4/10)
The Hawk by Monica McCarty (8/29/10)
One on Me by Tim  Huntley (8/23/10)
Dream Called Time by S.L. Viehl (8/21/10)
Wizard Squared by K.E. Mills (8/21/10)
Madhouse by Rob Thurman (8/16/10)
Take Me Tonight by Roxanne St. Claire (8/11/10)
Chimera by Rob Thurman (7/23/10)
Term Limits by Vince Flynn (7/17/10)
The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan (7/9/10)
Moonshine by Rob Thurman (7/4/10)
The Battle Sylph by L.J. McDonald (7/1/10)
Carnal Sin by Allison Brennan (6/27/10)
Thrill Me to Death by Roxanne St. Claire (6/22/10)
Running Scared by Shannon Butcher (6/18/10)
Dreamveil by Lynn Viehl (6/16/10)
The Masters of Solitude by Marvin Kaye & Parke Godwin (6/14/10)
Academ's Fury by Jim Butcher (6/5/10)
The Darkest Passion by Gena Showalter (5/28/10)
Heart of Darkness by Showalter, Shayne, and Krinard  (5/24/10)
Kill Me Twice by Roxanne St. Claire (5/22/10)
Feed by Mira Grant (5/17/10)
Faerie Fate by Silver James (5/14/10)
Lady Dragon by Jewell Mason (5/12/10)
Changes: Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (5/10/10)
Every Demon Has His Day by Cara Lockwood (5/8/10)
Nightlife - Cal Leandros - Book 1 - by Rob Thurman (5/6/10)
Into the Dark by Gena Showalter (5/1/10)
Mind Games by Carolyn Crane (4/29/10)
The Highlander's Sword by Amanda Forester (4/26/10)
Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison - by Brandon Mull (4/24/10)
Embers by Laura Bickle (4/22/10)
The Years of the City by Frederik Pohl (4/18/10)
Romancing the Stone by Joan Wilder (aka Catherine Lanigan)  (4/10/10)
The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen (4/5/10)
Can't Teach an Old Demon New Tricks by Cara Lockwood (4/2/10)
Dead Matter by Anton Strout (3/31/10)
A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire (3/30/10)
The Chief by Monica McCarty (3/27/10)
Too Wicked to Kiss by Erica Ridley (3/21/10)
Bio Rescue by SL Viehl (3/20/10)
Shift by Rachel Vincent (3/18/10)
Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire (3/17/10)
The 77 Habits of Highly Ineffective People by Becker, Mayer and Maguire (3/15/10)
Fat to Firm at Any Age by Alisa Bauman, Sarf Harrar, et al  (3/13/10)
What a Dragon Should Know by GA Aiken (3/6/10)
Shockball by SL Viehl  (2/26/10)
First Drop of Crimson by Jeaniene Frost (2/21/10)
Monster Madness: Nightmare Academy #2 by Dean Lorey (2/20/10)
The R-Master by Gordon R. Dickson (2/19/10)
Passion Untamed by Pamela Palmer (2/15/10)
Beast by Peter Benchley (2/14/10)
Witches Incorporated by K.E. Mills (2/11/10)
Endurance by S.L. Viehl (2/9/10)
My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent (2/5/10)
Finding the Lost by Shannon Butcher (1/31/10)
Original Sin by Allison Brennan (1/30/10)
Dead and Kicking by Wendy Roberts(1/29/10)
You Give Love a Good Name by Jennifer Apodaca - in the 'Sun, Sand, Sex' anthology (1/28/10)


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Books Glorious Books

Reading.  I love reading.  In fact, I've loved it since my siblings first taught me how when I was four.  I would spend hours and hours pouring over whatever books I had available - often re-reading the same few until they were falling apart.

Lately, however, I've been off reading.  I can't seem to muster the energy to pick up a book.  I'd like to blame the WIP, but I'm not sure it's 100% at fault.  I could probably blame the blanket, too.  The school schedule can also take its share.

The cause for all this not reading certainly can't be the books.  I have some awesome titles in my dusty TBR pile... 

Strange Brew - an anthology edited by P.N. Elrod that includes some of my favorite authors.
The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance
- another anthology, this time edited by Trisha Telep
Immortal Sins  by Amanda Ashley (Okay, so I bought this one because of the cover model's eyes.)
Passion Untamed by Pamela Palmer
Finding the Lost by Shannon Butcher
Sun, Sand, Sex - an anthology I won from Jennifer Lyon (it has a story by her as Jennifer Apodaca)
Dead and Kicking by Wendy Roberts (Book Three of the Ghost Dusters Mysteries, which I also won)

...but I can't muster the drive to read them - not with everything else hanging over my head.

And get this.  Thursday is my quarterly trip into the city.  It's the only time I'm anywhere close to a real bigbox bookstore.  Not buying books would be a worse sin that buying them and not reading them, so I've already got a list working of what I'll be picking up...

Powerless by Matthew Cody
Original Sin
by Allison Brennan (due out today!)
A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield
Academ's Fury by Jim Butcher (Codex Alera Book Two)
My Soul to Save  by Rachel Vincent (Soul Screamers Book Two)

Right now, it's a short list for Thursday.  Too bad some of the books I'm wanting aren't released yet.  I mean, if I could push this appointment back a couple weeks (which I can't), I would also pick up First Drop of Crimson by Jeaniene Frost. Two other books I was disappointed to find aren't out yet are Dreamveil by Lynn Viehl (Book Two in the Kyndred Series) - Due out in July - and Dream Called Time by S.L. Viehl (the last Stardoc :sob:) - Due out in August.

Oh well, I guess I'll have to wait until my next trip or order them online.  I'm just impatient and I do love the experience of being in a physical bookstore. 

Any books you'd like to suggest I pick up while I'm out?  I promise I will get around to reading everything sooner or later - probably when I finish this draft of my WIP. 

What are some books you're impatiently waiting for?

Monday, January 25, 2010


He's the best bull ever. He has to be... He's outstanding in his own field. ROFL

And thus ends our stupid humor for the day. Carry on.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

You Can Never Go Back

In 1987, I met a man who would become an important part of my life for the next ten years.  He was my boyfriend's best friend at the time.  We were never romantically involved.  When I broke up with my boyfriend two years later, Larry was the only one of our mutual friends who stuck by me.  Over time, he became my best friend.

And then life intruded.  He became involved; I became involved.  We tried to stay friends, but our other relationships just wouldn't allow us to even socialize.  The last time I saw him was a chance encounter at Barnes & Noble in 1997.  We went for coffee and spent the best 90 minutes just talking and being ourselves.  That was the last time I ever saw him.

I tried to contact him about five years ago.  I found a number online - and since he's the only Larry Lee Wheaton in the Flint area, I was pretty sure it was him.  I called and got his wife.  He was working second shift at the plant, wouldn't be home any time soon.  After talking to his wife, I left my number and waited for him to call me back.  He never did.

You know, I was thinking about it this morning and my friendships have pretty much been like that my entire life. 

When I was four, my mother's best friend had a little girl my age.  Her name was Carmen.  We were friends until about second grade when her family moved away.  They came back a couple years later, and I was so excited when I saw Carmen on the playground, I couldn't contain myself.  Her?  She didn't want to have anything to do with me.  We eventually became friends again, but it wasn't the same.

In high school, I had the best friend ever.  Margaret and I did everything together.  We were so close we could almost finish each other's sentences.  She was a year older, so she went off to college first.  We wrote letters and talked on the phone, but it just wasn't the same.  She had her life and I had mine.  We were no longer a duo.  Eventually, everything just drifted away.  

Oh, I'm not foolish enough to think I could regain any of these relationships after all this time.  By now we all have too little in common to support the depth of friendship we used to have.  Larry's become someone I can't fuse with the memories of our late night philosophic rants.  Carmen and I tried to rebuild a friendship as adults, but her life and mine had taken different paths.  And Margaret... Last I heard, she was married with a passle of kids, living the Catholic dream in Wisconsin.

I'm reminded of a line I heard in a movie years ago: "You can never go back."  It was said in a ghostly voice, and that's exactly how I hear it in my head.  I know I can't go back--except in my memories--but that doesn't make me long for those people I once knew.  I'm sure if I met Margaret today, the experience would be disappointing.  I'm not the girl I was then, and neither is she.  We can no longer laugh about our crushes on the members of Duran Duran, or quote songs at each other, or drool over the French foreign exchange student. 

Life moves on.  What they don't tell you is, it moves at different speeds and in different directions for each of us. 

What about you?  Do you still have friends from when you were younger?  When you move on, how do you manage to keep those friendships?  Anyone from your past you've been missing?  If you could reconnect with someone you haven't seen in years, how do you think it would go?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Weekly Update

Since last Friday, I got 6800 words rewritten and rolled over the 30K mark.  Not great, but it's progress.  What'll probably happen is I'll drag my feet and then at the end of this next week, I'll realize I meant to have this draft finished by the end of January.  Much rapid typing will ensue.  I'll burn up the keyboard and my hair will catch fire. 

But I'll finish this draft. 

I'll probably be a crispy critter when I'm done, so if you smell smoke, don't call the fire department.  It's just me.

In other news, I've completed at 3/4 of the squares for my baby-blanket.  Now I just have the rest of the multi-colored ones to do and then I have to sew 81 little squares together.  Weee. 

All in all it's been a slow week here.  How are things where you are?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

If You Thought That Was Cute

Try this...

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

The above was from the same email from my uncle to my Mom.  This one was taken by German wildlife photographer Norbert Rosing - and no, it's not photoshopped.  (I checked it out on  It seems Mr. Rosing was out on Hudson Bay snapping pics of the polar bears when this one came up to his camp.  At first the guy was afraid his dogs would be bear-food, but the bear just wanted to play.  It came back every night for a week - without harm to either photographer or dogs.

Personally I see a pose like that and I want to rub his tummy.  He's so cute.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Because It's Just Too Cute

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

This was one of several cute pictures my uncle sent my mother this morning.  I just this one was too cute not to post.

Is it just me or does he look like he's saying: "Hey, can't you see I'm trying to take a bath here?" or maybe "Somebody pass the shampoo."  ;o)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Procrastination... Pro-crass-tin-na-a-tion...

Sing it with me.  (Okay, so the song's supposed to be about Anticipation, but it works for me.)

It's Tuesday.  I wasted Monday entirely.  I spent it putting off 'til tomorrow.  Well, tomorrow is here and yesterday's work is stacked on top of the stuff I have to get done today.  And what am I doing? Writing a blog post about procrastination.  (Which my fingers keep wanting to spell procrastinication... stupid fingers.)

Last night I crocheted and watched TV, thinking all the while that I could write today.  Except Sunday night I said I could write Monday.  I didn't but the thought was there.

This morning, I have a kitchen and three bathrooms to clean...  I looked at the kitchen while I filled my coffee, but I didn't touch anything.  Instead I balanced my checkbook and checked to see if the deposit what was supposed to be in there last night was there.  (It wasn't - which is when I remembered the bank was closed yesterday... stupid national holiday.)

I know, I know.  This was supposed to be a more positive week of posts.  This is positive.  I'm positive I'm a procrastinator.

You know, there ought to be a twelve step program... "Hello, my name is B.E. and I procrastinate."  And if I stop procrastinating, someone could give me a pin that says something like "It's been a month since I put things off."

Not that I could achieve a pin like that.  I'm the kind of person who would put off the end of procrastination.

And since I've procrastinated enough already today, I'll end this post.  The cleaning schedule is calling...

What have you been putting off lately?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Positive Things

According to Daughter, my posts since the 11th have been total downers.  I didn't realize it, but she's probably right.  The anniversary thing always hits me funny, and then Sunday was the 6th anniversary of the day I started my first book.  Every year I go unpublished bums me out.

Anyway, I'm going to try and be more upbeat this week.  I'm going to try to focus on the positives - which means not thinking about Haiti, or the economy, or... well... just about anything in the news.

Positive Thing One:  My goals for the new year are coming along nicely.  The house is pretty clean, and is staying that way for the most part.  Which means less time spent each day on cleaning.  My word count is rising - slowly, but it is rising.  If I buckle down, I might have this draft done by the end of the month - or Valentines Day at the latest.

Positive Thing Two: I lost three pounds.  I don't think I mentioned that I was back on a diet again, but then again I know I didn't mention gaining 15 pounds since November.  I was a bad bad girl over the holidays this year and my ever-widening ass is paying for it.  So, in honor of my non-resolutions, I made a goal of decreasing my calorie intake and decreasing my activity level.  So far, so good.

Positive Thing Three:  I've managed to cut the most negative person in my life out of it.  No more weekend phone calls, so I no longer cringe when the phone rings.  No more drama from 1500 miles away.  Sweetie, if you're reading this, get help and then we'll talk.  I've helped you all I can, and now you need to find a professional.  (ETA:  I'm not referring to anyone who's ever commented, but to a family member I suspect might be lurking around.)

Positive Thing Four:  I have the most wonderful family a woman could ask for.  I'm still in love with my husband, and he's in love with me.  My daughter is witty and intelligent and mature for her age.  My cat is fat but loveable.  All in all, life's pretty awesome.

And just as addition, I discovered a wicked dessert last night that, while it doesn't help with the diet, sure as hell tastes heavenly.  Chocolate ice cream with cherry pie filling, chocolate sauce and whipped cream.  (Don't worry, I was good and used fat-free sugar-free whipped cream.  LOL)

Anything positive to talk about this morning?  Think of one good thing and leave it in the comments.  I don't have any prize to give you, but you'll feel better for it.  =o)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Playing Favorites

I know I shouldn't play favorites among my children, but sometimes I just can't help it.  I do have favorites.  (For me, it's easy with real children, because I have only one, so she's always my favorite.) 

I was reminded of this just now as I retyped my manuscript.  I just reached the scene where my favorite character in this novel is introduced.  Not that I don't love my main character.  I do.  It's just that this secondary character - who may or may not end up as the love interest of the piece - is so damn much fun, I can't help but love him better than anyone else.  He's got style, humor, and something special I can't put my finger on.  It's not that he's someone I can relate to.  I mean, he's a centuries old Djinn.  He may have once lived along the Nile or at least in the cradle of humanity.  But he's... well, he's someone I'd want watching my back in a fight or someone I'd want as my companion in a nightclub.  (You know, if I were young and went to nightclubs.)

Thinking back over my various manuscripts, I can point to my favorite characters.  Sometimes it's the MC or the love interest, but just as often it's a secondary character.  For instance, my favorite person in Spectacle is Tom - the heroine's gritty self-made millionaire boss.  But in Caldera, the heroine is my favorite.  In RTL, the hero takes the prize - even though the story centers on the heroine.

On the other hand, I think the character in Manhunter that I loved best to write was the villain. She was hoot to write, and even though I didn't want her to succeed, she was the best character of the book.

What about you?  Do you play favorites with your characters?  Is there one role (i.e. villain, hero, sidekick) you like to write more than the others?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Noticing Things

I notice things.  Maybe it's the function of being a writer.  Or maybe I became a writer because I notice things.  :shrug:  Sometimes I think I notice too much.  Sometimes I'd rather not be the one who notices things.

For instance, I noticed this morning that the neighbor's baby is walking.  Not a bad thing, really.  People are usually happy when they see a baby walking.  What I didn't want to notice is it's below freezing and he was walking outside without shoes, a coat or adult supervision.

I live near a funeral home.  I see all the people coming and going to funerals and memorial services.  I notice the bereaved who really cared for the deceased, crying on the sidewalk or consoling each other on the lawn.  I also notice the people who just came because it's a local event and they felt they should make an appearance.

The other day I saw the largest funeral I've seen since I moved to this town almost six years ago.  It was for a drug mule who died when the balloon of coke burst in his stomach.  I noticed more people showed up for him than for my friend who died last spring.  I also noticed that the drug-mule's service seemed more like a party than a place of grief.  And I noticed the man relieving himself in the alley behind my house.

Most days I notice good things.  Last week, I was excited to notice a merlin diving into the shrub beside my house.  The sparrows' twittering brought that one to my attention.  Poor merlin didn't come out with a meal, but he did pose nicely in a nearby tree for a few minutes.  (Too bad none of my pictures came out all that great.  This is the best of them.  He's in the center on the bottom most branch.)

I like to notice nice things - a rainbow, a spectacular sunset, a flock of geese headed west for the winter.  (I know, I know... but I swear they huge flocks I've seen this year are all headed west.)  Yesterday I was happy to see that the old lady on the corner is okay after the night I noticed an ambulance outside her house. Last summer she was always out doing yard work.  I gives me hope that maybe I can be that active when I'm that old.

What I don't want to notice is a kid sticking a candybar in his pocket at the 7-Eleven.  I'd really rather not notice the guy at the gas station with the bad case of body odor and a plumber's crack that would put the Grand Canyon to shame.  I really don't want to notice the truck that flies by twice a day doing 55 in a 20 - especially when the police never seem to see him.  I don't want to see the girl texting while she drives (it's illegal now in CO), or the dog that's so thirsty he's licking dribbles off the pavement, or the people riding with their child buckled onto their lap.  (And I certainly don't want to imagine the worst case scenario for that last one, but I can't help myself.)

But it's not just the stupid things people do.  I'm forever noticing the gross and the grotesque and the just plain tragic.  I don't want to do that anymore.  The old man who lost his lower jaw to cancer.  The little girl with the arm broken so bad, the cast seems too large for such a tiny person.  The guy who rolls past my house every morning on his way to the grocery store... H's missing one leg and both middle fingers.  (Don't ask.  I didn't.)

Some days I feel like the little boy from The World According to Garp - the one who lost an eye and was forever after only seeing the defects in people.

Like I said, I don't know if being a writer makes me notice things more, or if noticing things more is why I write, but I'd really like a vacation from all this.   A brief respite from the ignorance and stupidity, the cruelty and the thoughtlessness, the deliberate viciousness and the rampant ineptitude - that would be nice.

Maybe I'll just go watch Holmes on Homes.  He always seems to put things right.  Maybe this morning his supreme competence will help set things right in my head, so I can go back to noticing the happy things again.

What about you?  Do you think you notice things more because you write or do you think it's the other way around?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Weekly Update

Thanks to all the well-wishers yesterday.  I think it was something I ate for lunch on Wednesday, so I was almost back to normal within 24 hours.  I was feeling so good by yesterday afternoon, though, that I went and did something that in hindsight seems unwise.  I rearranged both my office/dining room and my library.  Now, even though my stomach is better, I'm feeling the twinge of under-used and now-abused muscles.  Of course, I'm only 2/3rds of the way done, so sore or not, I'm finishing it today.

In other news...

After a rousing start to the week - during which I got 5300 words out - I fell apart.  I think I figured out why I'm cleaning and rearranging instead of writing, though.  Check out this post by Rosemary over GenReality.  My subconscious did an end-around on me, and even though I thought I was escaping the edits, I was really editing my house.  As I said in the comments, 'Silly me'.

On the upside, my house is looking tidy.  I don't know the square footage of this place, but with 6 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, this is the largest place I've ever lived.  Cleaning this sucker is a never-ending battle.  (Probably why I've been such a slug about doing it.)

In other other news, my store audit is nearly complete.  All I have left to do is re-list about a hundred books that somehow fell out of Amazon's listings.  :shrug:  Sometimes working with Amazon is a pain, but I don't really have a choice about where I sell my stuff.  (Amazon is the only online bookseller I've found that doesn't charge fees unless and until you sell something.  I don't sell enough every month to cover a monthly fee plus make this bookstore worth my while.)

Additionally, the baby-blanket is coming along nicely.  With the pattern I'm shooting for, I need 81 squares and I'm over a quarter of the way through that.  My white squares are finished, and I've got quite a few of both the multi and the yellow.  Good thing I have until July.  LOL

Your turn.  Anything interesting going on in your life?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Picture Pause

Since I'm sure no one wants to hear about yesterday's sudden onslaught of stomach bug, I thought I'd give you a picture to stare at.  This one is of an approaching storm - taken in August of 2004...

If I remember correctly, the storm was a doozie.

I love storms.  And I hate them.  Nothing so thrills and terrifies me at the same time.  Except maybe the idea of actually getting an agent.  ;o)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

News Around the Blogosphere

For lack of anything better to post today - and because between typing and crocheting yesterday, my hands are toast - here are a few things I've noticed around the blogosphere...

If you didn't catch the news last week, Jacky Sachs is leaving BookEnds Literary Agency to follow other pursuits.  I wish Ms. Sachs the best in her future endeavors.

Romancing the Blog is going on hiatus.  They hope to be back mid-year.  I hope they are, too.  I may not comment there often, but I enjoy reading their posts every day.

After three and a half years, The Good Girls Kill for Money Club is closing up shop.  They were my first and only invitation to guest blog, and even though my comment frequency has fallen off lately, I'll miss hanging out with the Girls.

Murder She Writes is changing things up a bit.  They lost Natalie R. Collins and Deborah LeBlanc from the original MSW gals and Heather Graham from the newer gals.  I hope the three ladies continue to see success in their writing and their lives.  While those three are gone, MSW has gained Lori Armstrong, Sophie Littlefield and Laura Griffin. Welcome to the MSW crew, ladies.

Literary Agent Nathan Bransford got a makeover for his blog to start the new year.  Pretty snazzy, but the new look is still freaking me out. 

Have you noticed anything new around the blogosphere that you'd like to share?


Monday, January 11, 2010

Sixteen Years

I wanted to write a post today to commemorate the sixteenth anniversary of the day my whole life changed.  After sixteen years, though, the event itself doesn't seem all that important.

You see, I've been thinking...  It's not the tragedies of our lives that make us who we are.  It's what we do with ourselves afterward.

Sixteen years ago...  My daughter was 5 months old.  I was a brand new single mother.  I'd just gotten a job I really liked that I was really good at.  I was young and beautiful.  I had a mind like a steel trap.  I was ready to take on the world.

And then sixteen years ago I ran a red light and my whole life changed.

January 11th, 1994 at around noon.  You know, the only thing important about that day is the car accident.  I don't remember the day at all.  I don't remember the twelve days before or the seventeen days after.  Those things were wiped away.  January 28th... Now that's a day I'll never forget.  It's permanently etched into my brain.  It was the day I came back into my head. 

On January 28th, I started making sense and my brain started processing the goings on around me.  That morning, in fact, I woke up from the strangest dream - a dream I now believe was the fast-forward version of the preceeding days.  And I understood everything.  Finally, no one had to tell me for the bajillionth time why I was in a hospital.  (I do remember asking where my baby was.  She was with my folks, and wasn't in the car with me when it happened.)

I was back in my head.  Problem is, my head wasn't the same.

My body wasn't either, but that's not the point of today's stroll down a pothole-filled memory lane.  Although, at the time, that was the entire point.  I knew my brain wasn't right, but since I couldn't see it, like I could my other injuries, I refused to believe it mattered.

Except I wasn't remembering new things very well.  My doctor had to introduce himself every time he came in the room.  I kept calling him Dr. Seinfeld, but he was actually Dr. Friedman.  (The TV show took precedence in my head apparently.)

And the old memories weren't where they were supposed to be.  When a person has a head injury, there's a set of questions the nurses have to ask every morning.  The questions change, but they follow the same general gist.  One morning it went something like this: What's your name?  (That one I got.)  What day is today?  No clue.  Who is the president?  Easy.  Ronald Reagan.  (Ummm, not in 1994.)  What is nine times three?  I know this... I know I know this...

You know something?  The brain is a funny thing.  I couldn't remember the answer, but I got a clear picture in my head of fourth grade and Mrs. Tabaka teaching me my multiplication tables. 

Anyway, flash forward.  After numerous months of therapy, I re-learned my multiplication tables along with a lot of other things.  I learned new strategies for remembering things on a day-to-day basis.  I also learned strategies for holding onto any old memory that happened to bubble to the surface.  (Which was very rare until a few years ago, but that's another story.)

Sixteen years later, I still have problems, but for the most part, I know how to deal with them.  If I meet you at a conference, and then run into you a year later, I might remember your face, but I won't remember your name.  For time to time, the old 'word finding difficulty' knocks me around.  (Not a great problem for a writer to have, but that's why we have dictionaries and thesauruses.)  Still, I do pretty good at being as normal as possible. 

The point is, sixteen years ago I could've wallowed in my tragedy.  My babe-licious body was crumpled.  My beautiful brain was bruised.  I was gimpy and scarred and defective.  For a while after January 28th, I did some wallowing.  I admit it.  Every once in a while over the past sixteen years, I admit to doing some additional wallowing.  But I didn't let the tragedy consume everything I am.

Sixteen years ago, someone told me I would never walk right again.
Sixteen years ago, someone else told me I would never think right again.
Sixteen years ago, someone implied that I would never be fit for a job that required skills above the level of a clerk in a garden store.

If I'd let the tragedy consume me, maybe those people would've been right.  (I have some theories about the kind of people who would encourage wallowing, but that's for another time.)

Sixteen years ago, I thought my life was over.  Maybe my life as I knew it was.  I know I'm not the same girl I was before this happened.  Oh, I'm not going to be stupid and say 'if I had it to do all over again, I'd wouldn't change a thing'.  If I could go back to sixteen years ago this moment, I would pay better attention to the traffic signals - that's for damn sure.  But I'm also not going to say this tragedy wasn't enlightening.  After all, it showed me that I am capable of overcoming whatever life throws at me.

And that, my friends, is a pretty good thing to know about yourself.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Baby Blanket

Heh.  I spent the past hour deciding what pattern I was going to use to make the baby blanket for my future great-niece.  I think I settled on the above.  The dotty squares are actually a multi-colored pastel yarn I found.  Too bad I don't know what the gender is.  This could have pinks or blues in it instead of yellow and green.

And now that's done...

Procrastination be damned.  I must write!  

(But you should see some of the other patterns I came up with.  They're so cute.  I want to go crochet them all now.)

Ahem.  I mean, write.  I want to write now.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Weekly Update

Welcome to the first Weekly Update of 2010. 

The first thing I'd like to update - even though I haven't mentioned this before - is...

No!  That isn't mine!  I ain't birthin' no more babies.  :shudder:  That is my future great-niece or nephew from her mommy's first ultrasound. (I said 'her' because the parents are hoping for a girl - even if its grandfather is wishing for a boy.)  Yesterday, I started crocheting a baby blanket for the new arrival.  She's due in July. 

I don't know why I'm so excited about this little future-person.  I'm already a great-aunt, after all.  But since my niece and her husband have been trying and failing to conceive - she was told she might never get preggers - it came as a total shock when the stick turned blue.  Another total shock was my nephew-in-law - in the Navy - just found out his orders for a May transfer to Japan were changed. Now, this birth will be here in the States, where everyone can fawn over the new baby. 

Onto other news, I wrote almost 9000 words this week.  Yay me.  (Sadly, that news sounds anti-climactic... Maybe I should've announced the baby at the end of this post.) 

Also, my goal to clean a little bit of the house every day has been limited to Mon-Wed again this week.  I will clean today!  Except now I have to vacuum and dust plus do the bedrooms.  :shrug:  Procrastination, I am your bitch. 

In weather news, it's been colder than a witch's titty in a brass bra here.  And that, my friends, is seriously cold.  They're calling for 40+ temps this weekend, though, so all isn't total suckage.  If you live somewhere warm, keep your fingers crossed for me.  If you live somewhere cold, you have my empathy.  It's times like these I really wish this house had a fireplace.

How have things been for you this week?  Any news to share?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Oh Great Godfrey Daniels

Lately I've taken up the habit of saying 'Oh Great Godfrey Daniels.'  You know, like when I get almost all the way home and I realize I forgot to buy bread.  Or when I see something so totally stupid on the news.  (Anyone else hear the phrase 'testimony error' last week?  In my dictionary, it means 'oh, great godfrey daniels, he lied'.)

Well, yesterday Daughter pointed out my frequent use of the phrase and asked me what it meant.  And you know what?  I had no idea.  In fact, I had no idea where I'd even heard the phrase or why it's been so prevalent in my speech these days.  (I mean other than that there are so many D'oh moments I have to say something, and this phrase tickles my fancy for some reason.)

Enter my favorite time-wasting activity: RESEARCH

Turns out the phrase was popularized by one of my favorite actors when I was a child: W.C. Fields.

It also turns out that Godfrey Daniel is what is referred to as a Minced Oath - or "a sub-group of euphemisms used to avoid swearing when expressing surprise or annoyance."  You've probably used one or many of the typical minced oaths at some point in your life - saying darn instead of damn is probably the one that most people run across.

The site linked above says 'Godfrey Daniel' simply means 'God', but I'm more inclined to think it was created as a substitute for God Damn.  (Notice the two word and beginning sound similarities.)  Now, of course, saying 'Oh great god damn' doesn't really have much meaning, but I'm still sticking with Godfrey Daniels.

Some of the other fun minced phrases are:

Jiminy Cricket = Jesus Christ (and I'm pretty sure it meant that before Disney gave him fame)
Odds Bodkins = God's sweet body
Sufferin' Succotash = Suffering Saviour (oh, Sylvester, what a potty-mouth you were)
Gadzooks = God's hooks (which is a way of referring to the nails from the cross)

Another oft-used phrase of mine is 'What in the Sam Hill?' which I now know means What in the Damn Hell?  I like my version better.  It's more vibrant and colorful.

Not that I don't swear, but the more different ways I can say something rather than throw out a typical curse word, the better I feel about myself as a writer.  I mean anyone can swear - and sometimes I think some people throw curses out for affect. Those farging iceholes.  But the better man is one who finds a way to say what he needs in a different way.  ;o)

Do you use any minced phrases in your life?  Are there any other colorful phrases you'd like to share?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


You know the old saying "never put off 'til tomorrow what you can do today"?  Well, I know the saying, but I'm not all that great at following it.  Sooo....  I have a few things that have been put off, and put off, and put off... ad infinitum.  Except one of my goals for the new year is to get caught up with all those things I've been putting off.  (Forgot to mention that one yesterday.  Or maybe I was putting it off.  :smirk:)

One of those things is to audit my bookstore.  I got about a third of the way through it last fall, but then Christmas hit and... well, I have a lot of excuses.  Needless to say, the excuses stop here.  Today, after I got my laundry done, I sat down to slog through the process of matching my database to the books Amazon says I have.  For the most part, we match, but there are about a hundred or so books I think I have but Amazon has no record of.  (Maybe more.  I still have a ways to go.)  To give you a hint about how exciting it all is, about ten minutes in, I almost fell asleep here at the keyboard.

Another thing I've put off is this overflowing pile of receipts.  I keep meaning to sort them as I get them, but then January comes and tax-time looms over the unsorted pile.  Ugh.

And of course, there are all the agent printouts I never entered into my submission database when I was querying last spring.  If I'm going to resume the process, it would probably help to know who's already seen the manuscripts in question, and what their reaction to it was.  Can't have myself sending a query to someone who's already politely declined.  :shudder:

Gack, I'm tired just thinking about it.  But if I take all this one step at a time, I just might make it.  If I disappear, though, send a search party.  I collapsed under the weight of my newfound to-dos.  ;o)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Well, that's one thing off my list of to-dos for the year.  Snazz up blog?  Check.  I hope you like it as much as I do.  The background picture is one I took when I was living in Utah.  I didn't name the file, but I think it's from the western shore of Lake Provo - looking east at the Wasatch Mountains. 

And now, onto the many other things on my list...

Set up house cleaning schedule?  Check.  Stick with it?  So far... Check. 

Today I also fixed Daughter's shower so it won't leak all over the floor everytime she bathes.  It wasn't on the list, but then again, I didn't know about it until I scrubbed her shower yesterday.  (Monday, bathrooms. Check.)  I also have to put weather stripping on the front door, but how boring is that? 

Write Every Day?  Not so check, but one day missed didn't kill me.  I just have to work harder tonight.  Except I'm pooped from cleaning.  (Tuesday, kitchen.  Check.)  Which is why I didn't write last night. 

Man, I so should've eased into this newfound schedule thing.  ;o)  I'm hoping once I finish the deep-clean, the whole process won't wipe me out every day.  Who knew cleaning could be so tiring?  On the bright side, I'm getting lots of exercise.  (Exercise more.  Check.)

Now I just need to get a handle on the goal of eating less and eating healthier.  Oh, and that little niggley goal I never really admitted to... Don't give up querying on Blink or Manhunter.  There's a whole pool of agents I haven't sent to, yet.  Maybe one of them is the one.  I'll never know if I don't try.

All in all 2010 is looking pretty good from here.  How have the first five days of the new year been for you?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Something New for the New Year

I'm playing with some different looks for the blog.  Bear with me.  Right now I'm groovin' on this look, but we'll see what the morning brings.

And yes, I really should be writing, but I'm taking the night off.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Editing Process

Back at the end of NaNoWriMo, I promised that in the future, I would do a series of posts on editing.  Now obviously, not everyone works at the same pace, nor do we all approach editing in the same manner. 

For instance, I usually wait a few weeks before I tackle editing the first draft of any project.  I need time for the story to gel, and I also need time for my brain to forget its closeness to the project.  I need space for objectivity.  The amount of time, as I said, is usually a few weeks, but sometimes it's shorter.  I jumped back into 2009's NaNo project within a couple weeks, and this time around it worked for me.  In the past, I've taken months to get back to a project, because I just wasn't feeling it.

When I do get back to a given project, my approach varies.  In the past, I've printed the entire manuscript and attack the pages with a red pen.  I've also done part of it on paper and part on the screen.  And, of course, there've been a few times where I did the whole editing process from my keyboard.  This time around, I'm mixing things up.  I started the edits on DLN pretty much like every other project I've ever worked on - sit down, read through, edit as I go, and make notes on those things I might need to revamp.  Then I hit the roadblock of knowing I needed to change the POV. 

Here is where my old approach was hindering my new progress.  Sure, I could just go through changing all the 'she' words to 'I' words, but there was so much more involved.  Now I'm working my way slowly through the book - chapter by chapter - and changing things as they need to be changed.  The problem here is I know there are huge holes in the plot structure, and I feel the urge to change everything all at once. 

I'm resisting that urge at this time.  Right now, I know if I let myself get distracting from the main purpose of this draft - which is changing POVs - I'll never get it done.  This means there'll definitely be a third draft and probably a fourth or a fifth - depending on how each subsequent edit goes. 

I guess what I'm saying is that I need to define the purpose of each draft and make sure I'm accomplishing that goal before I move on - as such:

Draft 1 = complete book from pg1 to THE END
Draft 2 = change POV from 3rd to 1st
Draft 3 = fix plot holes
Draft 4 = polish and send to readers
Draft 5 (or final draft) = fix anything the readers may have pointed out and proof one last time.
Repeat 3-5 as needed for subsequent drafts.

(Heh, they don't tell you when you start this thing that writing the first draft is most often the easy part.)

Most people won't have the second step in this process.  Hell, this is the first time I've had that step.  How often does a writer change POVs after the first draft is written??  But still, I'm betting that most of you go through some kind of process like the one above.  Lather, rinse, repeat... tear hair out...

If you did NaNo, have you started editing your project yet?  How's it going?  Does your editing process look anything like the above, or do you have a different way of tackling editing?

Speaking of which, I have a couple more chapters I want to get through before I call it a morning.  Wish me luck.  =o)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Now that it's here, what are you going to do with it?