Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 - A Year in Meh

Yeah.  It's 3AM.  I can't sleep.  Seems like a perfect time to reflect on this past year...

But for me, 2011 was pretty much meh. 

K.D. got accepted to college.  That was exciting.  But that was in late 2010.  Everything we went through this year can be summed up like this: angst and prep and more angst and a great deal of shelling out large sums of money.  Her going off to college was more barfy than Yippee! followed by 4 months of worrying.

I didn't really write anything new in 2011.  Well, not for the first 11 months.  Instead I worked on re-writing Djinnocide for the kajillionth time and when I wasn't busy doing that, I was trying to re-write a couple other ignored works.  One suspense.  One speculative. 

This past December was spent hammering out an entirely new book.  Well, sort of new.  New words in a familiar world as I worked on the sequel to Djinnocide.  Once again, I'm back with Jo and the gang trying to figure out why immortality just got so damn complicated.  I mean, you'd think living forever with phenomenal power would be easy peasy.  But between following the Rules and navigating the secrets, life is anything but simple.

I did do some querying.  You can probably tell from the lack of new words and the focus on re-writes that once again, they didn't pan out. 

I turned 41 in 2011.  After the whoop-te-doo over 40, hitting the next year is anti-climactic.  There won't be another big milestone for 9 more years.  (Or 8.5 really.)  I'm a little older.  A little grayer.  And there's a little more of me around to love.

2011 was the year of plodding along.  Nothing really awesome happened.  On the other hand, nothing really horrible happened either.  We're all still alive and kicking.  Any family members we had at the beginning of the year, we got to keep.  (Cross your fingers until midnight that someone doesn't make a liar out of me.)  Hubs, Daughter, the Cats and I are all well.  I guess that's what important - even if it is a bit unexciting.

Soooo...  How was your 2011?  Anything to jump up and down about?  Have a good news to share for the new year?  Or was your 2011 meh, too?

And if 2011 brought you heartache or grief, I apologize from the deepest well of my heart.  I'll keep a happy thought for you to have a better 2012. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011


As I said yesterday, I have this photography hobby.  I don't much care what I'm taking pictures of.  Anything that catches my eye, really.

When I was a kid with that first old 110 camera, I took pictures of clouds.  I'd lay on the grass, snapping pictures upward of any cloud I thought was interesting.  I still have some of those shots.  They're pretty boring.  (Clouds, btw, make poor subject matter unless you have something in the foreground.)

When the old 110 died, I went for years not taking pics of anything.  Of course, I was also in college and didn't really have the time for hobbies.  Looking through the old albums, I really wish I'd saved up enough money to buy a new camera.  There are memories I wish I'd saved.

My next camera wasn't purchased until I was pregnant.  It was a cheap-ass 25mm, but it worked for all the shots I wanted of my bundle of joy.  (Okay, bundle of squalling, pooping, vomiting - most days.)  I took tons of pics.  K.D. laying in her bouncy chair.  K.D. screaming.  Plenty of shots of her sleeping.  During those days, it wasn't so much about the art of a shot, but capturing memories.  Her first steps.  Her first birthday.  Those important first holidays.

It was probably long about 2000 when I snagged a sweet job working as a web designer / trainer / consultant.  Along with that came the need for a digital camera.  Can't design a good company site without a few pics of the offices, the facilities and the employees.  That damn HP cost me almost $500.  And some of my best work came off that old thing.  (Unfortunately, my best work is also low res and when I try to blow it up to frame, the quality blows.  With that thing, it was either low res or be satisfied with like 10 pics before I had to download.)

I had that camera for a good long time.  It went with me through Arches, Yellowstone and Dinosaur National Park.  It catalogued the journey from Florida to Utah.  It still works as far as I know.  I just can't get the cable to plug into the port anymore so I can't download anything.

Enter HP #2.  The little camera that could.  I bought it and I hated it (but since I got it half-off on clearance, I couldn't return it.)  It didn't have the little view window.  Everything I took I had to look at on the little screen.  Have you ever tried to take a pic using that damn screen when it's a bright, sunny day?  Holy crap.  Still, I got used to it and eventually took some killer shots.  But it wasn't enough.

Last year, my darling husband got me a Nikon for my 40th b-day.  He da man.  The zoom alone on this thing is worth every penny.  All those years I spent trying to get that critter way the hell over in those trees?  Now I can get right up on the damn thing without having to worry about scaring the bugger away.  Hell, I even used it to do my daughter's senior pictures.  Pay a professional?  Oh hell no.  Not when I got this baby.  Woohoo.

So now, it's a year and then some later.  I have the camera.  I've mostly learned how to use it.  (Manual?  We don't need no stinkin' manual.)  Now I can finally go back to taking the artsy shots again.  The clouds, if you will, but with the knowledge to make those shots turn out right.  And with the present my husband gave me this x-mas of new memory chips, I can actually take more than 19 pics before I have to download.  (You don't want to know the acrobatics we had to do when we went to Estes Park.  All I can say is thank the gods for Daughter's laptop.)

Now, I can stand outside with the flock of robins who arrived yesterday and get stuff like this:

Someday I'd like to be good enough with this thing that people will actually pay me for my pics.  Who knows?  Stranger things have happened.  Until then, though, this is a lovely way to take a break from writing.

And yeah, that first pic up there is me at the ripe old age of 14 when we spent a week in the Les Cheneaux Islands.  The fish?  Mostly my dad's handiwork, but my sister and I caught a couple.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I've never really been what I would consider a hobbyist.  Sure, when I was younger, I painted die-cast figures of D&D characters.  (I still have a couple around here somewhere.)  I also did the whole hook rug thing for a while and paint by numbers sets.  Those were hobbies.  I did them for a while because they were interesting, and once they weren't interesting anymore, I let them go.

I'd also consider my brief frenetic dance with genealogy this past spring as a hobby.  I got all the way back to the 1500s and it only took me a month of constant digging.  It was a wild ride, but it's pretty much done.

If you've been here a while, you probably already know about my crocheting.  I attack that in fits and spurts.  In the five or so years I've been at this, I've made 6 blankets, with the 7th about 80% done.  It's not hard and the monotony of back and forth, back and forth suits me.  (Umm, if you know anything about crocheting, I only know how to do single chain, so back and forth is about as exciting as it gets.)

I've also gotten more serious about my longtime love affair with photography.  I got my first camera when I was like 12 and over the years I've taken some awesome shots with whatever device I had available.  Last year, the Hubs got me an awesome Nikon for my birthday.  This Christmas, he got me memory chips so I can take pics to my heart's content, as well as frames so I can showcase my work.

Those are my hobbies.  The writing?  Well, I've heard people compare writing to a hobby.  Let me go on record as saying anything that takes this much time, effort, heart-wrenching and hair pulling without anything solid to show for it ain't no hobby.  Cuz if it was a hobby, I'd stop.

Thinking about it now, that's probably why I've never follow through with my former art classes.  If I'm going to do that, I'm going to do it all the way.  Just like writing.

What about you?  Do you have any hobbies you do now or that you did in the past?  Do we have any hobbies in common?

And just in case you were wondering how the photography is going, here's an artsy shot I took a couple days ago and then tweaked with Microsoft Office Picture Manager...

I call it Teens in Winter.  Something about using black and white in this case just turned me on.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Day After

No, not that horrific mini-series from the '80s.  I still have nightmares about that.

Nope, I'm talking about the day after Christmas.  Now that all the presents have been opened and the gifts have been enjoyed.  Now that everything has been tried on and played with and set back under the tree so the living room doesn't look like a disaster area.  Now that our stomachs are all reminding us that we ate waaaaay too much food yesterday.  (I don't know about all y'all, but I'm waddling around the house this morning wondering if my pajama bottoms shrunk overnight.)

Today is kind of still a holiday around here.  The Hubs has the day off because Christmas fell on Sunday.  I'm glad he's home.  He needs a day off to decompress.  It's been a hellacious few weeks.  And the kid's home, too, so we're one small happy family again.

Of course, it isn't really a day off for me.  I took the whole weekend off already, putting me a nifty 7200 words behind my goal of 50K this month.  That means I have to work today.  In fact, according to my nifty spreadsheet, I have to put in 2500 words a day for the next 6 days.  :shudder:

But enough about that.  We had an awesome Christmas here at the Sanderson household.  Every one of us enjoyed ourselves and time with each other.  It was a quiet Christmas for the most part.  Sure, I totally forgot my mother said the family was celebrating on Saturday this year and then she was spending the rest of the weekend at my sister's - which made for some worried phone calls to her home yesterday.  And yeah, Max disappeared until late last night when he came running at me, meowing for all the world like I was the one who neglected him all day.

Still, it was a nice holiday.  The ham was perfection - even if I accidentally turned off the oven and didn't notice for an hour.  (Who knows, maybe that helped it be awesome.)  Hubs got me a box of Godivas.  The kid got me a knew set of knives.  Even the cats got me something I really wanted.

Yeah, despite the little bobbles of the day, life is good.

How are you feeling on this day after?  Did everything go smoothly for you this weekend or did you have bobbles of your own?  Are bobbles part of what makes a holiday memorable?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Christmas 2012 at the Sandersons

From our house to yours - Wishes for all the happiest of holidays this year and many wonderful holidays to come.

(And in case you missed it, here's yesterday's poem: Twas the Morn Before Christmas.)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Twas the Morn Before Christmas

Twas the morn before Christmas
by B.E. Sanderson

Twas the morn before Christmas, when all through the house
Everyone still lay sleeping.  Yes, even the mouse.
The stocking are hung on the bookshelf, with care
In hopes that some presents will soon join them there.

Like I said, they are nestled all snug in their bed
While visions of new words dance in my head
Hubs lays in his blankets.  The kid's in her room.
Kira sleeps on the luggage.  Max waits in his tomb.

Up here at the keyboard, I make such a clatter
I'm shocked no one awakens to ask 'what's the matter?'
Away on my WIP, my fingers fly with a flash
I'm tearing through pages like a bookworm on hash.

Outside doesn't beckon--cuz of all that damn snow.
And well, the house is all cozy from the furnace below.
I'm writing and what to my wandering muse does appear?
A genie with memory loss and a dog with a beer.

Now I really am driven - writing's lively and quick
And I hope my self-doubt won't attack with a stick.
More rapid than gophers that old bitch undermines
She whistles and catcalls and bitches and whines

"You're stupid!  You're lame!  You're a pathetic sight!
You're boring!  You're useless!  And I hate what you write!"
"You should tear up those pages.  Throw your keyboard away!
You should find a new job 'stead of typing all day!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly
My muse blows away and I just want to die.
So into the kitchen I limp with one shoe
To look for some candy and some alcohol, too.

And then in a twinkle I knew just what to say
"I'm not listenin' to you, witch, now just go away!"
Then I sucked in my stomach, turned my back on the treats
Waddled my butt to the chair, disregarded the sweets.

I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work
Left Selt Doubt in the dust, since she's only a jerk.
Laying my fingers on A, S and L, K
I began writing and plan to all day

There's a spring in my step, and my heart wants to whistle
Doubt's a thorn for my butt, and for my fingers a thistle.
So you'll hear me exclaim as I type til the night
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good WRITE.

Okay, that isn't the best poem ever, but I had fun writing it this morning.  I hope you all enjoyed it and that you manage to find some time to write over the holidays.  And even if you don't, that's it fun and family keeping your fingers off the keys and not that little snit Self Doubt.

Merry Christmas and Happy Writing

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Recipes for the Holidays

You know, in case you don't already have enough goodies for this time of year...

By request from Janet, over at Janet's Journal:

Coconut Rum Cookies
(makes about 36 cookies)

1/2 cup butter (softened)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup unsweetened flake coconut
1/2 t rum extract
1 cup flour (sifted)
1 t baking powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Lightly grease baking sheets.  In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light.  Beat in egg.  Add coconut and rum extract.  Mix well.  In a separate bowl, soft together flour, and baking powder.  Gradually add dry mixture to wet mixture, stirring until well combined.  Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 9-14 minutes or until edges of cookies are golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool briefly on baking sheets before removing to cool completely.

And because this one turned out so frickin' awesome again this year, I had to share it:

Peanut Butter Fudge

2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 cups white sugar
4 T butter
1 cup evaporated milk
1 ½  cups peanut butter
2 t vanilla
2 cups mini-marshmallows

Butter pan (8 x 10”, or larger depending on the thickness you want.  8 x 10” pans produce thick fudge.)  In a medium saucepan, combine both sugars, evaporated milk and butter.  To start, place pan on medium heat until butter is melted and all ingredients have combined.  Turn heat up to medium-high until mixture is at a rolling boil.  Boil for approximately 5 minutes, or until the mixture reaches soft ball stage (234 degrees F).  Remove from heat and immediately stir in remaining ingredients.  Stir quickly but thoroughly until all ingredients are combined (taking care not to slop hot sugar mixture over the sides of the pan).  Once peanut butter and marshmallows are completely melted and combined with sugar mixture, pour into pre-buttered pan to cool.  

And now, because someone out there apparently dreamed of a white Thursday before Christmas, I have to go back to shoveling.  Blech.  
Enjoy the treats, Everyone, and I hope you're all having an awesome holiday season.

Ho Ho Ho.  And all that jazz.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Music

Over at Janet's Journal, Janet asked about favorite Christmas songs and reminded me of a couple I love that I hadn't heard in a while.  Modern Christmas classics, if you will.

Like Last Christmas by Wham! and, of course, Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas.

Which led me to Google and looking for other modern Christmas songs I love...

OMG, how could I have forgotten I Believe in Santa Claus by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.  I own that whole Once Upon a Christmas album.

While I'm listing holiday favorites, how could I not give a nod to Da Yoopers and their wonderful twisted 'Jingle Bells' - Rusty Chevrolet?

And since this isn't the only holiday going on this time of year, there's Adam Sandler's Original Hanukkah Song.

One last one just for the Daughter.  I never heard this one before but it's called Peppermint Winter and it's by one of her favorite bands - Owl City.

I hope you enjoy these and have a great holiday - whichever one you celebrate.  =o)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Picture Pause

"I don't know about you, but I'm feeling a little squirrelly lately."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

HoHoNoWriMo Update

As you can tell by the word meter over there on the right, I'm moving along.  I just thought I'd provide some data on the journey for this 18th day of HoHoNoWriMo.

Words written: 24461

Avg per day: 1359

Should be at: 30006

Difference: 5545

# of words needed per day to catch up and meet my goal of 50K in December: 2128

Right now, I'm creeping up on the end of chapter 8.

If you follow me on Twitter, then you'll already know that this morning I wrote myself into a fetid hot mess that I'm struggling to climb out of.  It's pretty stinky here in chapter 8.  Jo is up to her ass in alligators.  Strange things are happening that even I wasn't expecting.  And the people she depends on are either disappeared or losing their minds. 

Neither of us knows who's behind all this crap.  We have our suspicions, but all of the conjecture in this world is unconfirmed. 

Like I said: Fetid Hot Mess.

Yes, folks, I've painted myself into a corner.  And not just any corner - one filled with rancid garbage even the rats are afraid to nest in.  Somebody needs to open a window because I either need a place to climb out or I just need a fresh breeze to survive the smell.

How are things in your world today?

Saturday, December 17, 2011


The kid's home for semester break.  I have a ton of baking to do.  Christmas is :gasp: eight days away.  I haven't started wrapping.  I've only just finished shopping.  (Well, present shopping - I still have to get most of the stuff for Christmas dinner.)  I totally forgot about the blanket I was crocheting that I told myself I'd have in my sister's hands by her birthday - in October.  My TBR pile has books in it from like February.  I'm about 5K words behind on my novel - not counting today.  The house is a mess.  I don't even want to think about the leaves I never raked...  OMG, I forgot to get my mother-in-law a gift and it's too late to ship anything to FL.


So, as you can see, I'm scattered.  The holidays and end of the year totally snuck* up on me.  I think it's because I was stalling on doing some things until after Daughter came home, and didn't consider how late in the month she'd actually be here.  It threw off my whole schedule.  At least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

What's got you scattered right now?

*the squiggly line is telling me 'snuck' isn't a word.  Well, if that's not a word, what's the past tense of sneak?  Sneaked?   

Thursday, December 15, 2011

On the Road

I'm out and about today.  Have an awesome Thursday and just so you don't feel totally ripped off for coming here, I'll leave Max to keep you company...

Enjoy the day!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Fun of Making it Up As I Go Along

When last I left my intrepid heroine, she was running on fumes as she edged her way into the storeroom to save the pirate, while trying not to get shot by said pirate along the way.  And I dropped a bombshell (figuratively) I didn't see coming and wasn't quite prepared for.  Of course, now that I dropped it, I'm a little unsure how to proceed, but that's half the fun of writing.  (Or at least my style of writing - which is to say a bizarre mix of plotting, planning and pantsing.)

I can't wait to find out what happens next.

Do you plot or do you let your writing surprise you?  Or does your writing surprise you even when you plot?  Or if you'd rather, what's the most fun part of writing for you?

Saturday, December 10, 2011


I'm standing at a crossroads with my WIP.  And frankly, I don't know which path to take.  I guess it's better than standing at a deadend with nowhere to go.  Or painting myself into a corner wondering how the hell I'm going to get my characters out of this fine mess.

Actually, I think I'd prefer to be painted into a corner.  Some of my best ideas come from having nowhere else to go.  Right now, I have too many places I could go with this thing and not one of them is jumping out at me as the best direction.

And off in the distance, I can see where I need to be.  The Emerald City is waiting for me and I don't even have a damn field of poppies leading the way.  Nope, I've got brambles thicker than Sleeping Beauty.

It's totally frustrating.

I know you'll all be itching to offer suggestions, but I'm just venting.  Commiserate.  Offer sympathy or hugs.  Suggestions at this point will probably just stymie me even further.

Basically what I need to do is poo or get off the pot (as my father always said - in a much less PC way).  Pick a frickin' direction and jump.  If it's the wrong direction, I can always backtrack later.

And so, here goes nuthin'.  Wish me luck.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Writing Toad

Where did the week go?  I can't believe it's already Friday.  Hell, I can't believe it's already the 9th of December.  I want my year back.

I know where part of this month went.  I've been writing.  New words, even.  Since the start of HoHoNoWriMo, I've managed to get out 11547 words on Djinn II.  I'm behind, but I'm making progress (even if the word meter doesn't always reflect it).  In this bastardized NaNo, I'm running at an average of 1443 words per day.  Which, while about 200 words short, is still an accomplishment.  If I can keep this up, even if I don't hit 50K by 1/1/12, I'll still be a winner.

The rest of the month?  Well, let's just say I've been a toad and leave it at that.

How are things going in your world?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Public Service Message

I know the readers of my blog probably don't need to see a message like this - because you're all much smarter than the average bear - but for the sake of anyone who might be wandering by...

When it gets cold and there's water on the road in the form of snow or ice, chances are the roads are slippery.  Please slow down and give yourself plenty of time to stop.  I so don't want to watch you slide through an intersection in front of a school bus, killing yourself and injuring children.

Thank you.

(This message was prompted by the moron I just saw roar up to a stop sign, slam on her brakes and slide into the busy road I live on.  She was just very lucky the road was empty at that particular moment, because this road is rarely bereft of cars at this time of day, and shortly after she left, a school bus went by.)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Writing When I Don't Wanna

I so didn't want to write yesterday.  It wasn't that I didn't like the story.  I wasn't even against the work.  It was just that I didn't want to sit here and bang on the keyboard. 

But here I was chatting on FB with Daughter.  (Which in retrospect makes not writing seem silly.)

I told her I should be writing.  And she said 'Yes, you should."  In that guilt-inducing tone all FB chat text can take.  At that point, though, it was after 9 and I'd already checked in with my lack of progress in LoNoWriMo...  Or HoHoNoWriMo*, as the Daughter called it.  Still, if I want to be the PITA mom she knows I can be about her course work, then I really need to back that up with my own work. 


So, I sat down and cranked out 545 words.  Not a huge amount, but it was something.  And you know what?  I'm pretty proud of those words because if I hadn't let the kid guilt me, I would be 545 words short this morning.

Your turn...  What gets you writing when you don't wanna write?  Is guilt your motivator or do you have a better tool I could try?

*HoHoNoWriMo = HouseHold Novel Writing Month... plus it's kinda Christmassy.  She such a smart kid.  =o)

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Every journey begins with a single step.  I don't recall who said that and I'm too lazy to go look it up.  All I have to say to that person today is...

Well, duh.

Actually, every journey begins with the thought that you want to go somewhere, to take one step and then another and another.  The thought forms and the willpower carries you through.  I have the thought.  I think I have the willpower.  Taking that first tentative step?  Well, now, that's what I'm faced with this morning.  I even have the first couple sentences laying in my head, waiting to be birthed onto the page.  Where I'll go after those steps is anyone's guess at this point.

Wish me luck.

(And if you missed last night's post about LoNoWriMo, click the link.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Since I put that meter up over there on the right, I figured I'd probably better drop a note to tell you what the heck it means.  That, my friends, is a meter to show my progress during this thing a friend and I are doing.  What with all the things we each had going on in November, neither of us could do NaNo.  So we decided to write 50K in December.  And just now, I put a name to it...


As in Local Novel Writing Month.  She's over there on the other side of the country and I'm here in Colorado, so we're each doing it locally rather than nationally.  Get it?  :shrug:  Cut me some slack.  I'm tired and it's the best I could come up with.

Anyway, I've decided to start the sequel to Djinnocide - particularly since the beginning hit me in the forehead with a hammer last night as I was trying to fall asleep.  So, here we go again, waltzing through the world of the modern day genie and her antics as she tries to save her brethren, fend off her former lover, keep her business afloat and save the day against some very bad dudes.

Wish us luck.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Using EditMinion to Your Advantage

There's this wonderful tool someone blogged about last year (or was it early this year... time flies) called EditMinion (brought to you by the same people who came up with Write or Die! - Dr. Wicked).  You paste your text into it, click the Edit button, and Voila!  It tells you where your problems might be.

I say 'might be' because it's not perfect.  One of the main problems I have with this thing is that it doesn't account for things like voice.  Sure, it may be correct English to never end a sentence with a preposition, but "The former was a problem I didn’t know if I’d ever get over." and "The former was a problem over which I didn't know I'd ever get." aren't the same.  Ack, if Jo actually talked like that, I'd shoot her myself.

Another thing poor EditMinion does is flag every single instance of any word anyone has ever used as a dialogue tag - with the exceptions of 'said' and 'asked'.  That part is pretty funny when you're using a word like 'bubbled' to refer to something actually bubbling and not as a dialogue tag.  (I've never actually used or seen anyone using 'bubbled' as a dialogue tag, so that one really made me laugh.)

The idea with EditMinion - and other tool you use to edit, including other actual humans - is that the things being pointed out should only be taken as suggestions.  Of course, you still shouldn't dismiss them outright.  Take each one and evaluate whether it flows with your story.  If you can reword the flaw and make your story better, great.  If not, toss it on the trash heap.  (Although, if the idea came from a real human, you might want to thank them for their time first and treat their idea with more decorum than 'on a trash heap'.)

In the end, though, I think EditMinion is a wonderful tool.  It catches all my stupid 'passive voice' sentences, it reminds me that I'm using too many adverbs (again), and it generally talks my text out of context so I can more easily see where I fugged up.

Have you ever used EditMinion?  How'd it work out for you?  Lemme tell ya, the first time I edited and see all the pretty colors pointing out flaws, it was daunting, but I stuck with it.  And I'm glad I did.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Home Stretch

Well, it's almost here... The end of November.  If you're doing NaNo, this particular time of year either has you dreading the next few days or relieved you can finally pry your butt out of that chair and take your clawed hands off the keyboard.

Or possibly you'll be dancing because you did it.  You wrote a novel in November.

Perhaps you didn't finish.  You put your head down and wrote as much as you could, but life got in the way.  Celebrate anyway.  Dude, you wrote stuff.  Lots and lots of stuff.

I didn't NaNo this year.  I was smack in the middle of my WIP when the month started (almost literally), and I couldn't take the time to work on something new and shiny.  I'm in my own homestretch.  I didn't think finishing this would take all of November, but it did.  Now we're creeping up on 11/30 and I'm two chapters away from typing THE END on this rewrite.

Another writer and myself talked about doing a NaNo like thing in December.  If I get this rewrite done, I could do another 50K next month.  Lord knows, I did 50K in October.  I'm almost up to 50K this month for Djinnocide.  All of that shows I can do it again.  But a part of me weeps when I think about spending another month typing furiously.

As long as I ignore that part, I should do fine.

So, if she's up to it, I'm up to it.  And if she's not?  Well, I still need to be up to it.  Because that's what writers do.  We write.

Anyway, good luck as you hit this homestretch.  I'm standing online the sidelines, waving my pompoms and cheering like crazy as you approach the finish line.  And I'm looking forward to a finish line of my own.  We can do it!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday?

Husband and I were talking yesterday, wondering when this whole Black Friday business started and why they feel the need to call it that. 

Black Monday was a bad day.  In 1987, the stock market crashed and traders were throwing themselves out windows.

Black Tuesday was a similar bad day.  In 1929, the stock market crashed and threw the country into the Great Depression.

Black Wednesday is supposedly the biggest teen binge-drinking day of the year.

1929 wasn't a good year for days, and it had a Black Thursday, too.  Of course, with this year's overflow of Black Friday sales onto the day before, they're starting to refer to Thanksgiving night as Black Thursday, too.

And you may not know it - unless you're down under - but there's a Black Saturday, too.  So named because of raging brush fires in Victoria in 2009, it was the worst day for wildfires in the nation's history.

Black Sunday was a fictional bad day.  Terrorists plot to blow up the stadium where the Super Bowl is being held.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that all the other 'Black Days' are black because something bad happened.  How could a day of shopping, spending, getting bargains, and generally being good little capitalists be bad?

Okay, sure, some people get crazy and make the experience bad.  It seems like every year fights break out and someone gets hurt.  Last year some woman got trampled to death by the crowd trying to get into a Walmart for extra bargains.  That, my friends, would make any day dark.

But really, unless you choose to make today a bad day, it really shouldn't be 'black' for you.  I think we should call it something else entirely.  My husband suggested 'Good Friday' but that's already been taken.  So how about we call this 'Best Friday' because for bargain hunters like me, it would be the best day of the year.  (You know, if I like didn't hate crowds and totally avoid shopping on days like today.)

What do you think we should rename this day to?  Why do you think they call it 'Black'?  (And no cheating by asking Google the origin of the name.  I'm looking for creative thoughts here.)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Turkey Day!

Thanksgiving may be a North American holiday, but there's no reason why those on other continents can't enjoy a feast and remember all the wonderful things going on in their lives.  So to all of you, I say...

**Image Deleted**

Happy Turkey Day!

And remember, today is the day for kicking back and eating until you're uncomfortable, so the below aren't really sins...

**Image deleted**


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Super Easy Pumpkin Pie

I know all y'all are probably already done buying and baking for Thanksgiving, but I made a new recipe today I just had to share.

Super Easy Pumpkin Pie

1 can pumpkin (15oz)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (14oz)
2 eggs
1/2 tsp cinnamon
dash ground cloves (to taste)
1/2 tsp salt
1 9" unbaked pie crust
1 tub whipped cream

Preheat oven to 425F.  Beat together pumpkin, condensed milk, eggs, spices, and salt in mixing bowl until smooth.  Pour into crust.  Bake 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temp to 350F.  Continue baking for approximately 35 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Top with whipped cream.  Keep leftovers in the fridge. 

I haven't cut into it yet, but the batter before I poured it into the shell was Awe Some.  For me, I had more pumpkin mixture than would fit in a pre-made frozen regular shell, so I used the rest to whip together a quick pumpkin cheesecake, too.  So maybe if you used a deep dish shell it would work out better.  If you try it, let me know.

And have a wonderful holiday tomorrow, everyone.  :HUGS:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Snippets of Wisdom From the Movies

Thinking about something I was discussing with the daughter the other day got me to thinking about wisdom I've found from movie quotes.  So, I thought I'd pass certain ones along today.  In the comments, feel free to contribute any movie wisdom you use.

"Be nice until it's time to not be nice." - Roadhouse

"Never give up.  Never surrender." - Galaxy Quest

"Never say die, but very frequently say 'Ouch'." - The Thief and the Cobbler

"An ounce of pretension is worth a pound of manure." - Steel Magnolias

"Stupid is as stupid does." - Forrest Gump

"Have fun storming the castle." - The Princess Bride

"There is no try.  There is only do or do not." - The Empire Strikes Back

"It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lyric Tuesday on Thursday

I know I haven't been keeping up with the Lyric Tuesdays and this is two days late, but I thought we could all use these words today.

Without further ado, I give you...

Keep Your Head Up 
by Andy Grammer.

I've been waiting on the sunset
Bills on my mindset
I can get deny they're getting high
Higher than my income
My income's breadcrumbs
I've been trying to survive

The glow that the sun gives
Right around sunset
Helps me realize
This is just a journey
Drop your worries
You are gonna turn out fine
Oh, you'll turn out fine
Fine, oh, you'll turn out fine

But you gotta keep your head up, oh oh
And you can let your hair down, eh eh
You gotta keep your head up, oh oh
And you can let your hair down, eh eh

I know it's hard, know its hard,
To remember sometimes,
But you gotta keep your head up, oh oh
And you can let your hair down, eh eh eh eh eh

I've got my hands in my pockets,
Kickin' these rocks
Its kinda hard to watch this life go by.
I'm buyin' in the skeptics,
Skeptics mess with, the confidence in my eyes

I'm seeing all the angles, starts to get tangled
I start to compromise
My life and the purpose
Is it all worth it,
Am I gonna turn out fine?
Oh, you'll turn out fine
Fine, oh, you'll turn out fine

But you gotta keep your head up, oh oh
And you can let your hair down, eh eh
You gotta keep your head up, oh oh
And you can let your hair down, eh eh

I know it's hard, know its hard,
To remember sometimes,
But you gotta keep your head up, oh oh
And you can let your hair down, eh eh eh eh eh

Only rainbows after rain
The sun will always come again.
Its a circle, circling,
Around again, it comes around again
I said

Only rainbows after rain
The sun will always come again
Its a circle, circling,
Around again, it comes around,

But you gotta keep your head up, oh oh
And you can let your hair down, eh eh
You gotta keep your head up, oh oh
And you can let your hair down, eh eh

I know it's hard, know its hard
To remember sometimes,
But you gotta keep your head up, oh oh
And you can let your hair down, eh eh

Keep your head up, oh oh
And you can let your hair down, eh eh

Keep your head up, oh oh
And you can let your hair down, eh eh

Keep your head up, oh oh
And you can let your hair down

ETA: lyrics pulled from the YouTube video page I link to in the title - with a wee bit of proofreading by me

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This Too Shall Pass

I've been a bad little blogger this week.  I did write two posts, but discarded them as too whiny and/or too ranty for public consumption.  Suffice it to say, it's been a strange week or so here in Neverland.

My car had a coronary.  Lucky for me, a fuel pump transplant was possible, and Callie is now back in working order.

My kid sprained her ankle.  She'd just hung up the phone with me as she was walking back from class, and she tripped off the edge of the sidewalk.  For a bit, we thought it might be broken, but thank goodness, it was just a sprain.  Gimpy girl is on her feet, limping from class to class - perhaps a little bent, but unbowed.

Max got in another fight and once again managed to go all abscessy on me.  Plus, according to the vet, he tore a muscle.  So, he's in rehab. 

Yesterday, I ate something that not only disagreed with me, it argued.

And then today I woke up with a massive sinus headache.

Still, I haven't had the worst time of it.  A friend of mine's cat died.  It might seem like a small thing in the scheme of the universe, but I know it hurt her.  I can't imagine how much pain I would've felt if I'd reached into Max's box to find him more than injured.  That kind of put it all in perspective.  No matter how craptastic my life has been, all my loved ones are with me.  We have a roof over our heads, we have food and warmth, we have a paycheck coming in, all our debts are paid and our bills are current.  Life, as weird as it can be sometimes, ain't so bad here after all.

I just need to remember whenever a little shitstorm hovers over my head that this too shall pass.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Major's Voice is Inconsistent

The above is written on a sticky note, sitting beside my right elbow as I type this post.  It's a flaw I found in my WIP during the re-write of chapter 22.  Chapter twenty-friggin-two, people.  This book only has 31 chapters.  I'm almost done for petesakes.  And now this. 

And the sticky note? It taunts me.

Sure, Major is not the MC.  Thank goodness for small favors.  But he's a major secondary character.  He needs to be consistent.  (Don't they all.)

I was complaining about this yesterday morning to my daughter via FB chat.  I believe my exact words were 'I don wanna go back and fix all that'.  Her first answer was 'then don't'.  To which I replied, 'I gotta'.  And she, being the lovely spawn of all things good within me, said something to the affect of 'then get to work', cracked a whip and told me she'd talk to me later.

Easier said than done.  Going back to fix all the places where he has dialogue seems like a gigantic mound of steaming manure I have to shovel through.  And before I can even do that, I have to figure out which Major is the right Major.  Is he all deferential and proper, or is he a snarky bastard?  Or does he only get deferential when his feelings are hurt, and otherwise he's cheeky?  And there's another bit to consider that I can't talk about here because it would be a massive spoiler, but I have to take it into account when determining his voice.


Anyone who thinks or says that writing is easy should be horse whipped - with a real horse.

On the upside, I discovered this inconsistency before I was finished enough to send this WIP out into the world.  Now I just need to decide whether I'm going to stop everything to fix all that, or finish with these last few chapters before I set myself to shoveling.

I'm thinking forge ahead.  That's my general rule when faced with something like this - make a note and forge onward.

Which is why that stupid sticky note is sitting next to my elbow...

Taunting me.

Anything taunting you these days, or is it smooth sailing where you are?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bird Geek: Harpy Eagle

As some of you may know, I'm a self-proclaimed bird geek.  I feed the birds, watch the birds, and take pictures of them whenever I can.  I also tend to stop during my channel surfing on any program that might be about birds.  Last night on PBS, I saw a Nature program on the Harpy Eagle.  OMG.  They were magnificent. 

First off, they're HUGE.  To give you an idea, here's a picture I borrowed from the blog Bill of the Birds:  **Image Deleted**

And that's not even a big one.  The female on the show last night flew past a man and her wingspan had to be close to 7 feet.  She blotted him out entirely.  Wow.

Anyway, near the end of the show, there was this one shot of the immature male, where he looked directly at the camera, that will stay with me a while.  Hauntingly beautiful. In fact, I think he needs a story of his own.  I could totally imagine him shape-shifting into a man and sweeping some lucky gal off her feet.  If I wrote paranormal romance, I would totally do that.  Since I don't, feel free to snatch the idea and make it your own.

Inspiration comes in so many funny ways.  Anything odd inspire you lately?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Just Get It On Paper

Surfing around the web recently, I've seen a lot of people talking about NaNo - lamenting their progress, discussing the merits of prologues, wondering how they should begin...

It's NaNo, folks.  The idea here isn't to get 50K perfect words on the page.  It's to write.  Just write.  Get those words on the paper and worry about them after.

Everything else... all that stuff I put up there in the first paragraph?  It's just things we throw in the road ahead of ourselves.  Stumbling blocks and distractions.  Sound and fury signifying something or other.

Just get it on paper.  That's all you need to do this month.  Word after word after word.  Sure, those words all have to work together to make some kind of sense.  Otherwise, you could type 'I hate myself' 16668 times and be done with it.  But those words do not need to be perfect. 

If what's in your head is a prologue, write the damn thing.  Next month, you can decide whether it's necessary or whether it can be absorbed into the other chapters.

Started in the wrong place?  Take a friggin' machete and chop your way to the right path.  You can work it out in December.  (Or January, or February... whenever you're finished and ready to red-ink that puppy up.)

Seriously, folks, let it go.  This is the perfect time to just write for the joy of putting words on paper.  The headaches (or the joys) of editing will come at you in a few weeks.  Now?  Not so much.

And yeah, I know I'm not doing NaNo this year. But I know what it's like.  And I'm telling you right now...

Just get it on paper and quit getting in your own way.  When you hit 12/1 with 50+K added to your WIP, you'll thank yourself.

You can thank me later by sending chocolate.  ;o)

Monday, November 7, 2011

What to Blog About

What to post... what to post....

Well, if I didn't think it was proprietary, I'd post the email my daughter got from her business professor.  It went out to the whole class, explaining to them certain key points of the English language they may not have been aware of.  Like -its- is possessive and -it's- is a contraction.  -Their- is possessive, and -there- shows place.  Little stuff like that.  Daughter forwarded it to me because she thought I'd get a kick out of it, and she was so right.  We were both amazed that the prof even needed to send that to a group of college students. 

I thought about writing a post lamenting the fact that no matter how many squares of toilet paper I scroll out from the roll, only the first square rips off easily.  Seriously, what is with that?  What can anyone do with one square of toilet paper?  (All references to Elaine of Seinfeld and her 'spare a square' episode aside.)

I considered bitching about the time change, but I bitched about that in the Spring.  Nothing's really changed since then. 

I started to write a poem the other day about hope being like a teddy bear whose all worn with the stuffing falling out but one that we can't let go of.  But my poetry days are behind me.  Maybe I'll turn that thought into a blog post one of these days.  Meanwhile, the idea is sitting on a sticky note stuck to the corner of my desk.

Of course, I could always gripe about my state of being carless.  Poor Callie Cavalier had a coronary on Friday.  Her fuel pump is shot and she needs a transplant.  Unfortunately my mechanic was out of town and the dealer had to order up a donor heart.  So, from Friday until tomorrow morning (I hope morning) I'm sans vehicle.  You never know how much you need your car until it's gone.  Today, I'll be walking to the bank, the post office and maybe the grocery store (unless I can hitch a ride or overcome my cheapness to have them delivery my groceries.)

On the bright side, the car died now and not in two weeks when I pick the kid up for Thanksgiving break.  Having fuel pump problems on the freeway would suck.

I had a great idea for a short story the other night and totally forgot it by morning.  Happy day for me, I just remembered the premise, so now I can go type it into my ideas file.

In other news, I made my goal of 4K words yesterday.  I'm pretty tired today, but still pretty proud of myself, too.  If I can keep this momentum, I'll have these last 11 chapters busted out in no time.  =o)

How are things going in your life today?  Got any news?  Anything to crow about?  Anything to bitch about?  Have at it in the comments.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

My Shelves

The Paranormal Book Club is having a Facebook contest where you send in pictures of your bookshelves and win stuff.  I'm not entering but it did give me an idea for this blog post...

My bookshelves are everywhere.  I went around the house taking pics just now and ended up with ten pictures.  And that's not even counting the two shelving units in the bedroom because Hubs is still sleeping*.

Too be fair, I do run an online used books store.  I have over 2K books listed for sale right now through Amazon.  (And before anyone gets their undies in a bunch, book sales feed my book buying habit.  Without that money, I wouldn't be able to buy all the new books I buy.) The above picture shows books K-T.  Yeah, my shelves are alphabetical by author's last initial, but not within the letter - so you might see King before Kellerman on that first shelving unit.  I'm anal, but not that anal.

Pics of just my keepers would be five shelves - three out here and two in the bedroom.

Still, no matter if they're my forever books or just passing through on the way to someone else, they're mine and I love having them all around me.  If I didn't think I'd break the spines, I'd pile them on the bed and roll around in them. 

What about you?  What do your shelves look like?  Are they strictly for books or do you have other stuff jammed in there, too?  (Pay no attention to my Prospector Pete Santa - he's not a Christmas decoration.  He's too cute for just one season.)

* He's up, so here's a shot of one of my bedroom shelves...

Yep, it's jammed full.  I love the fact that this house has tons of built-ins, but I really do need more shelves.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Twitter...  What can I say to my fellow twitter users other than 'pay attention to what you're writing when creating hashtags'...

This morning I was reading along and saw boobeinglate as a hashtag.

To be perfectly honest, the first thing my whacked out brain did was transpose the i and the e, making it look like boobie nglate - whatever the hell that means.

Once I put the letters back in their correct order, I couldn't figure out why someone would say 'boob ein glate'.  Is it German?  Is it dirty?  WTF?  Toss that option.

Then I went to boobe in glate.  Still a major WTF moment. 

And then my brain finally put it together... Boo Being Late. This person was unhappy with her own lateness.  (See the little lightbulb over my head?  Pay no attention to the fact that it sputters.  I'm having my own personal brown-out today.)

Sure Twitter makes the world smush everything together and not speak in full sentences, but let's all take a moment to make sure we're not creating more confusion... like the world needs that.

(btw, if you have Twitter and would like to follow me, the link is over there on the right.  Or leave a comment with your Twitter ID and I'll follow you.)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Not Enough Coffee in the World Today

Ever wake up in the middle of the night feeling like doodle and then just when you feel good enough to go back to bed, you realize you're wide awake.  Yeah, that's my morning.  I've been up for two hours now.  Weeee.

Anyway, it's 5am.  The neighbor kid is already out shoveling the driveway they never even use.  I swear to god if he wakes my husband up, I'm going to flick him in the ears.  And there isn't even enough snow yet to bother with.  We're under a blizzard warning, sure, but it's not here yet.  Go back to bed, son.  Seriously.

Scraaaape. Tap.  Scraaaape.  Tap.  I may kill him even if he doesn't wake the Hubs.

So yeah, blizzard warning.  4-8" of blowing white stuff.  I can't wait until we can afford for Hubs to retire so we can get the hell out of this cold place.  I don't mind a little snow.  Really I don't.  But after growing up in Michigan and going to college on the sunny shores of Lake Superior, I'm so over it.  I guess it wouldn't be so bad if I never had to leave the house, but I smoke and the landlady has forbidden it inside.

There's an upside there, but I'm in the middle of a vent - and there are no upsides.

And I can't do NaNo this year.  I mean, I could, but I promised myself I was going to finish this rewrite before I started anything new.  Since I'm only in the middle of chapter 18 out of 31 chapters, I can't write new words now.  :pout:  A friend and I are planning on doing NaNo next month, but it's just not the same.

I think I need another cup of coffee.  Maybe another pot of coffee.  Time will tell.  Now, though, since I'm wide awake, I probably should get some writing done.

Got anything to vent about?  Go for it.  As long as you're not specifically nasty about me or any other human-type life forms, it's all good.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

This was the last time I carved pumpkins.  Pretty lame, I know, but there he is.

Here's hoping your pumpkins all turned out awesome and that you have a wonderful holiday.  Stay safe, my friends.

Oh, I almost forgot the spooky pic I took recently...

*and just so you know, after Halloween, I chopped him up, made puree and served him to the family in a cheesecake.  Bwa haha.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Picture Pause - Catitude: Staying Warm

Max: "The AC might be good for keeping you humans cool, but it's the perfect sunny spot to warm me up on a cold fall morning."

Kira: "Personally, I prefer Daddy's desk chair right after he's gotten out."

Friday, October 28, 2011

What Scares You?

With Halloween fast approaching, I figured it would be a good day to talk about what scares us.

Personally, I'm totally freaked out by the thought of suffocation.  I'm not claustrophobic.  If I was, I'd never take a shower in that tiny bathroom I have.  No, I'm talking about having something over my face for any length of time.  When I'm in bed, the blankets can't come up any higher than my chin, or I hyperventilate.

I used to have an overwhelming moth phobia.  Butterflies are fine.  Moths?  They're creepy and hairy and... :shudder:  It took me years to get to the point where I didn't run screaming if one was in the same room.  Now I'm proud to say, I can stay in the room long enough to smush their little heads.  But I still don't want them touching me.

I have the same feeling about grasshoppers.  Big eyed nasty critters.  Thank goodness my husband is nice enough to put them outside for me. 

But the worst fear I have - worse than anything I can think of - is being trapped inside myself.

Back in therapy, I was sitting at the lunch room table one afternoon when they rolled a woman up next to me.  She was one of the bad head injury cases.  She wasn't paralyzed or anything, she just didn't have control over her muscles anymore.  So she just sat there in her wheelchair while someone spoon fed her.  No biggie.  Happens all the time in TBI therapy.  Except she wasn't typical of someone who'd had their brain damaged enough to be in that position.  Her eyes were still alive.  When you looked in them, you could tell every bit of her intellect was still intact, - and she couldn't communicate any of it to anyone.  The horror I saw in those eyes will haunt me 'til the day I die.  It was like her eyes were screaming 'help me'.

:shudder:  I saw her years later being wheeled through the mall.  Her husband pushed her along like it was nothing while her children trailed alongside.  And her eyes?  The horror was gone, but so was the light. 

That?  Now that scares the hell out of me.

What scares you?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I Refuse

If you've been here a while, you might recall me talking about my accident.  Those first days after I was back inside me head were spent pretty much whining and feeling sorry for myself.  I spent more time thinking about how I couldn't do something than actually trying to do it.  I was focused on the pain.  Getting out of bed hurt.  Being rolled down to therapy hurt.  And therapy itself was agony (they don't refer to PT as pain & torture for nothin').

Funny thing.  The more I thought about how much everything hurt, the more it hurt.

I don't know exactly what happened to snap me out of it.  Maybe it was the nurse who told me to stop being such a baby.  Maybe it was the skanky dude with the broken back who made fun of me in therapy.  Maybe it was sitting in front of the mirror crying over how much I thought I lost.  Whatever the cause, it was a major attitude adjustment for me.

I stopped whining about every little ache and pain.  The pains were a part of my new reality and I had to get over them to move forward.  Once I realized this, everything got easier.  I started to progress at a rate that surprised my therapists.  I made getting better my one job.  Whining?  Let someone else take that job - I was done with it.

Almost 18 years have passed.  It was a lesson I thought I'd never forget, but on some level, I must've forgotten it.  I exercise a little bit and the next day I'm little Pammy*, whining about every muscle twinge.

Me.  I broke my frickin' thigh for petesakes and now achy muscles kick my ass?  I don't think so.

It's been the same with work.  It's been a long day and I'm just not up to writing?  Whine.  I had to relearn my multiplication tables at the age of 24.  If I'd whined then like I whine now, I would still be wondering what 9 x 3 is.

So, I took myself in hand this past weekend.  I made some conscious choices.  Every day I will exercise, and on those days where I don't formally workout, I'm going to clean the hell out of something.  (Sunday and Monday, I exercised.  Yesterday and today, I rearranged my library.  The shelves & books that were on the register wall are now on the non-register wall, and my daughter's desk is now underneath the window.)  I refuse to bitch about the soreness.

I refuse.

After all the work I did today, I could've just let tonight's writing time slide.  I have some really valid reasons excuses.  I shoveled snow, I rearrange furniture, I didn't sleep good last night... blah blah blah. I did the dishes (I didn't want to do them either) and I wrote.  It wasn't much.  Considering I wasn't going to do any words, the 862 I did is a win.

Whining gets you nowhere.  It never really makes you feel better.  In fact, it can often make you feel worse.  The only thing that makes you feel better is pushing forward.

No whining allowed.  I refuse to do it.  And if you catch me whining, feel free to pinch me - HARD.

What do you refuse to do?

*No offense to anyone named Pam.  PAM in this case stands for Piss And Moan.  When I'm pissing and moaning about something, I call myself Pammy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

NaNo No

Where did Tuesday go?  Oh yeah, I started rearranging the back room/library/Daughter's office yesterday.  And of course, the carpet needed spot washing...

Anyway, what I really wanted to talk about this morning was a decision I made last night.  Despite telling damn near everyone I was going to do NaNo this year, I'm not.  I mean, I really want to.  I had planned on using this year's NaNo to crank out that MG fantasy I've been thinking about.

But see, here's the thing.  As much as I want to do NaNo, it's not going to really further my career goals this year.  I need to keep my focus on trying to get this WIP ready for submission.  And at 52K rewritten, it's not the best time in the world to shatter that focus and work on something else. 

If, by some chance, I get this revision done early enough in November to actually make a dent in 50K by 12/1, I'll jump back in.  Until that happens, I'll have to watch from the sidelines. 

I'm a little bummed.  I think this year's NaNo was going to be really fun.  But we can't always chase the fun when there's work to be done.  Ya know what I mean? And hey, Djinnocide is still fun.  It's not new and shiny, but I still love it.  I'll love it even more when it's polished and ready to send out into the world.  (Even more if it gets me an agent and/or a contract.)

So, if you're doing NaNo for real this year, let me know.  I'll live vicariously through you and be standing on the sidelines waving my pom poms for you.  I wish you all the most success. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Picture Pause - Creepy Cross

Between my new commitment to exercising (with its subsequent aches) and my mad typing lately, I'm too friggin' tired to post anything but a picture.  I took this when I was out wandering the other day.  I'd say it's perfect for the Monday before Halloween.

:cue creepy music:

Are ya skeerd?  Are ya?

LOL, Happy pre-Halloween, Everyone.  =o)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Acknowledging Accomplishments

Yesterday, Jeffe Kennedy had an interesting post at her blog.  And in it, she says something that's been knocking around in my head ever since.  After talking about a conference for female scientists, she points out "Every single woman was attributing her success to chance."

You ever read one of those statements that just sits in your head swirling around not letting you go.  Like something important is in those words - you just have to figure out what it is and it'll be a watershed moment.

So, I sat for probably a half hour, wording and re-wording a comment to that post.  Trying to figure out exactly what it was I wanted to say that would contribute to the conversation in some meaningful way.  If you went over and read the post, you'll notice I never did post a comment*.  In the end, I had nothing.

Well, that's not exactly true.  I had too much to say and not enough.  On the one hand, certain aspects of our culture tell us we shouldn't brag.  Pride is a sin, after all.  (Not something I believe on any conscious level, but it's ingrained in my psyche just like everyone else's.)  And women, in particular, are taught not to run around shouting about our achievements.

"That's a lovely dress."  "Oh, this old thing?  I just threw it on."

"This dinner tastes great."  "Thanks, but I think I put too much salt in it."

"You've just discovered cold fusion, how does it feel?"  "That?  That was nothing. I just happened upon it by accident one afternoon when I was baking."

Bleh.  What the hell is wrong with us? 

Sure, bragging makes you come off as a bitch, but can't there be some happy middle ground between being a braggart and being satisfied with your accomplishments?

Have we sunk so far as a society that we can't just be happy for someone's accomplishments?  Can we get past this?  So when Derek Jeter hits another home run, he's just an awesome ball player and not a show off.  (Not sure if anyone actually thinks this, but it's an example.)  So when Bill Gates hits the Forbes list of richest people ever - again - we don't rush around saying how much we hate him.  So when little Suzie nabs the Valedictorian spot, we don't claim her accomplishment makes the other children feel bad about themselves.

I don't know the answer.  I know I'm as guilty as anyone of downplaying my accomplishments.  I do the 'oh this old thing' when someone tells me I look nice.  I also criticize my cooking every time my poor husband complements me on it.

And when I think about the twelve books I've written in the past 7 years, all I can focus on is the fact that none of them are published.  In fact, even now, writing this, I want to forget the long hours I put in on every single one of those, tuck my tail between my legs and apologize for not 'making it'.

How much do you want to bet that when I finally do land an agent and get a contract, I'll be telling everyone how 'lucky' I was?  Or how it was just chance?

I said it before and I'll say it again... Bleh.  What the hell is wrong with us?

I say we throw off the shroud and at least acknowledge our accomplishments.  For petesakes, we earned at least that much.  It won't be easy - not by a long shot - but maybe if we start today, our daughters will be better able to hold their heads high and say to the world "I did this and I'm damn proud of it."

Your turn.  Tell me about something you accomplished.  No apologies allowed.  No qualifiers.  Just say it.

I'll start... I wrote twelve books in the last seven years.

What did you do?

*I commented this morning after I posted this.