Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lyric Tuesday

Just because this song's been on my mind lately, here are the lyrics for Single by Natasha Bedingfield.  I think every woman should listen to the words and pay heed - especially the young women among us who think they need a man to be a whole person.  (It wasn't until I got over that thinking that I found the man who was right for me.  One whole person meeting another whole person.) 


Ah yeah that's right
All you single people out there
This is for you

I'm not waitin' around for a man to save me
(Cos I'm happy where I am)
Don't depend on a guy to validate me
(No no)
I don't need to be anyone's baby
(Is that so hard to understand?)
No I don't need another half to make me whole

Make your move if you want doesn't mean I will or won't
I'm free to make my mind up you either got it or you don't

This is my current single status
My declaration of independence
There's no way I'm tradin' places
Right now a star's in the ascendant

I'm single
(Right now)
That's how I wanna be
I'm single
(Right now)
That's how I wanna be

Ah yeah Uh Huh that's right

Don't need to be on somebody's arm to look good
(I like who I am)
I'm not saying I don't wanna fall in love 'cos I would
I'm not gonna get hooked up just 'cos you say I should
(Can't romance on demand)
I'm gonna wait so I'm sorry if you misunderstood


Everything in it's right time everything in it's right place
I know I'll settle down one day
But 'til then I like it this way it's my way
Eh I like it this way

Make your move if you want doesn't mean I will or won't
I'm free to make my mind up you either got it or you don't
'Til then I'm single

This is my current single status
My declaration of independence
There's no way I'm tradin' places
Right now a star's in the ascendant

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Picture Pause w/ Attitude

I shot this pic this morning.  This is a Cooper's Hawk - w/ attitude.

"Are you talkin' to me?  Are YOU talkin' to ME??"

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Giving Up on Books

Before any of you start encouraging me to hang in there, I'm talking about books I bought to read - not ones I'm writing.  I just couldn't think of a better title for this post.  If you came here thinking I was about to throw in the towel, I apologize.

Now if you've been here any length of time, you might know that I'm tight with the fundage.  If not, let me explain something.  I hate wasting money.  I lurk around the sale bins at my grocery store.  I become vulture-like at the local thrift stores.  I even stalk the library's discard room for bargains.This makes it even harder for me to give up on a book I paid full price for. 

Imagine if I paid full price for two out of three books in a trilogy.  Oh the horror. 

Okay, here's what happened.  About a year ago, I bought a bunch of books at a 30% off sale.  I just grabbed titles and threw them into my basket.  If it looked interesting, it was in there.  (Because, you know, the only thing I like better than saving money is spending it at a good sale.)  When I got home, Darling Daughter pointed out that one of the books I bought was the third in a trilogy. 

Not a problem, I thought.  I'll just give it a whirl and see if I actually NEED to read the others to see what's going on.  I got about halfway through the first chapter when I felt like I was lost.  The writing seemed sound for a third book and I figured it wasn't the writing, it was me.  So I bought the other two books, thinking I'd gobble those down and read the third.  Get caught up, ya know.

I sat down today to read the first book in the series last week.  I tried.  The starting premise was awesome.  The writing was pretty good.  And then the author took the whole starting premise, threw it out the window and inserted another premise.  Okay, I thought maybe the two premises would run side by side.  Umm, if they do, I couldn't tell by chapter 8 when I flat gave up.

I guess it wasn't me needing to catch up by reading the other two books.  This author's style really just kind of throws things out there and hope the reader catches it - preferably like a lightly tossed ball rather than a cannonball to the face. 

It might be me.  I can be kinda thick sometimes.  On occasion, it takes me a bit to catch the drift of things.  And then again, maybe it was the author.

Anyway, I hate to just give up.  I tried.  Really I did.  Like I said, I got all the way to chapter 8 when I just couldn't take it anymore.  The whole first 8 chapters were a hot mess I couldn't follow.  This is, of course, entirely my opinion.  Someone out there must be reading these books.  Otherwise, there wouldn't be three.  Right?

And this person isn't a three book wonder.  They've written other books in other series.  They've got a following.  They're probably awesome and glittery with shining bank statements and a throbbing fan base.  This series just didn't blow my skirt up.

I'm out like $20 - which sucks - but them's the breaks.  At least I found one awesome author during that bargain sale last year - Nancy A. Collins and her totally incredible Right Hand Magic (Left Hand Magic due out later this year). 

Unfortunately, I'm also left with another entire untried trilogy by a completely different person that I'm now afraid to start.  Still, if I had it to do all over again, I'd throw books into my basket in wild abandon.  After all, if you never try anything new, your brain stagnates.  (I heard a news report about a study once that said something like that, so it's like scientific and junk.)

Ever spent a chunk of your book-buying budget only to hate the books you bought?  How did that make you feel?  Pull up a couch cushion and tell me all about it.  (Just don't use any names or titles or describe the plot so everyone knows which books you're talking about anyway.  That's just mean.  And please note I didn't give names, titles or even gender.  Don't ask.  I'm not trying to hurt anyone here.  I'm just trying to release some frustration without causing injury.)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Best Laid Plans

Okay, so maybe I jumped the gun thinking now that Ki's off to school, I could have all this free time to write and clean and generally get stuff done.

Ya, right.

I'm still in the thick of things with the kid.  (I know you're reading this.  Don't apologize.  It's my job as 'the mama'.)  We've talked via phone or chat several times a day, burning through cell minutes like they were peanut M&Ms.  I don't mind, really.  I'd rather take a few hours of my life to make sure she's getting what she needs to succeed than not.  (After all, that's why I went with homeschooling.  Yep, I'm the mama.)

Anyway, I did manage to get pages back to my crit partner (yeah, we've gone past beta reading into critting) and look through the notes she sent me.  BTW, I'm loving what's she's pointing out.  This book will be so much better because of her.

I also managed to get some words re-typed into UEQ.  So it's not all bad.  It sure as hell better than I've done since June.  So, I'm calling it a win.  (Okay, maybe an honorable mention.  LOL)

What thing hasn't turned out as well as you'd hoped, but that ought to be a win anyway?

And, btw, nothing's a fail if you keep trying.  I may not be doing the schedule I posted earlier, but I'm not giving up.  As I told my CP this morning - Never give up.  Never surrender.*

*Shameless stolen from Galaxy Quest.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Call for Positive Thoughts

Author Rob Thurman was in a car accident recently and is in critical condition.  Send whatever thoughts, vibes and energy you can her way.  If nothing else, go buy her books and show you care.  (They're awesome and totally worth the money, even if you don't know her work enough to actually feel for her.)

If you're not familiar with Rob (short for Robyn), she writes urban fantasy.  Currently, she has three different series working - 1) Cal Leandros, 2) Trickster, and 3) Chimera.  Her second book in the Chimera series - Basilisk - just released.  It sucks that during this time when she should be celebrating her sales and her career, she's clinging to life.

Hang in there, Rob.  The world needs you.

8/25/11: Update - she's not doing any better, but if you want to do something, the post tells you what you can do to help.

8/26/11: Update - a slight improvement.  Keep sending those positive thoughts.  Rob has to pull through.

8/28/11 - Update - another small step forward.  Rob's off the ventilator.  Yay!

8/29/11 - Update - BIG step forward.  Hooray!!

8/30/11 - Update - Rob is holding steady.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Getting Back to Work

I promised myself that once I got the kid off to school, I'd get back to work.  Umm, it didn't happen on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.  (Other than sending notes on another writer's work, that is.)  I'm not flagellating myself over the lapse yet.  Instead I sat down this evening and worked up a general schedule for myself.

(Subject to change as needed, of course.)

Wake up - When Hubs leaves for work = online stuff (ie blogs, FB, Twitter, etc.)
Hubs Leaving - 10am = personal stuff (errands, phone calls, cleaning, etc.)
10 - Hubs home for lunch = rewriting UEQ
Hubs back to work until 2pm = research, catch up, miscellaneous writerly stuff
2-4pm = TV time (Okay, who am I kidding?  This is my Grey's Anatomy time.)
4-Hubs home = beta reading, critiquing for others
Hubs home - 7pm = dinner, relax time, dishes
7pm-9pm = editing on Djinnocide (depending on crit notes) or new words on another project

This will be solid, but fluid - like jello.  If I need to slip something in somewhere, I've got time.  Or if my personal junk takes less time, I can slide some more writing time in.  The idea is to get at least two hours of writerly stuff in before lunch and another 2 hrs in before bed - with at least an hour to take care of my crit commitments - every day but Sunday.  Then I've got Sunday to catch up or get ahead as needed.  4 hrs a day 6 days a week.  Doable.  Totally.

We'll see if my expectations meet with reality or if they collide in some writerly train wreck.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Friday, August 19, 2011

She's Gone

Well, I did it.  I left my daughter at CSU yesterday. 

What a day.  We left here at 6:30am and I arrived back home at 7pm.  Along the way, we dealt with long lines, full elevators, 7 flights of stairs and what I thought was too much stuff (until I saw how much her roommate brought).  My brain was wrecked by the time I got home.

My body is wrecked this morning.

On the bright side, her room is really nice and the view is to die for (pics later).  Her roommate seems like a good person and I met the girl's father - who seems stable - so that worry is lessened.  Her mentor is really cool and they have a lot in common.  The resident advisor for her floor reminds me of my first RA - which is a good thing.  Chris (my RA) was awesome and is the person who introduced me to Monty Python.

When I left her at 4, we were in such a whirlwind, we barely had time to hug.  She had a meeting to get to and I had to get the hell out of the city before rush hour drowned me.  On the long drive home, I kept expecting to break down.  I mean, I just dumped my baby in the middle of a sea of people.  I deserted her.  But I didn't feel anything except that a weight was off my shoulders. 

I mean, it was a long road getting her to this point.  And I've been angsting over this for months.  I should feel some relief that this part of the trial is over, right?  I'm allowed that.

Last night, as I was getting ready to dragged my wrecked butt to bed, I passed the stairwell down to my daughter's room.  That did it.  That little act of passing the stairs instead of stopping, switching on the light and calling down "Night, Ki!"  Well, that undid me.

The relief is gone.  And now I'm trying not to cry.  My little girl isn't so little anymore.  In fact, she isn't little at all.  She's a grown woman, out in the world for the first time.  She'll do fine, but I miss her.  Who am I gonna dish the dirt with now?  Who am I gonna look at something cute or funny or disturbed with now? 

Who am I gonna call down the stairs to?

And if you're reading this, Ki?  Unpack your dufflebag already (the blue one, not the white bag).  I left something in there for you.  Oh, and read your email - you have a mandatory get together at the COB.

See?  I'm can't stop calling down the stairs - even when the stairs are 3 hrs away.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I'm a Mental Hummingbird

I've got too much on my mind right now.  My thoughts flit from one thing to another, never landing on one thing long enough to grasp it before buzzing off to something else.  Yep, I'm a mental hummingbird. 

So, that's why I didn't send that attachment - even though I said it was attached and you were looking for it.

It's also why...

...I said I'd read your chapters and then fell asleep before I could.

...I signed up for Twitter.  (I feel like a twit right now, so it fits.)  I mean, 140 characters is about all my brain can wrap itself around right now.

...I keep forgetting to clean the litterbox and my cat is threatening to shred me in my sleep.

...the other day, I walked out of the house with my shorts on backwards and didn't notice for several hours.

...I can't watch entire TV show without changing channels to see what else is on.

...I referred to my best friend by my daughter's name.

...I pulled a muscle in my back while clipping my toenails.

...my new favorite word is DERP.

How're things in your head lately?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Random Stuff

First off, you have to see this video: 31 Jokes for NERDS!  I don't whether to be proud or sad that I got most of them.  Proud, I guess.  After all, the geek shall inherit the earth.  (It's true.  Look at Bill Gates.)

And how strange is it that I want my daughter to find a guy like the guy in that video.  (She'll kill me later for saying that.)

Speaking of the Daughter, she's an adult now.  :cringe:  Yeppers, my widdle Kady Kitten is a full grown woman with the power to vote and buy lottery tickets.  (And that's about all she can do now that she couldn't do before.)  Oh, and smoke.  But she's totally disinterested in everything but the lottery tickets.

And Thursday she'll be off to college.  Let's all wave a fond farewell to the girl as she marches off into independence.  :waves:

But seriously, I will miss her.  Thank goodness for technology.  She'll only be three hours away anyway, but with FB chat, and cell phones and email and... well, you get the picture.  Plus, if I break down and get a webcam, I won't even have to miss her sunny disposition.

Speaking of Thursday, my oldest nephew will be getting married.  Congrats to him.  He isn't reading this, but if he was... I hope your wedding is awesome and sorry I forgot to buy you anything until just now.  Your present and card will be arriving late, but they will be there.

It's been an insane summer here at the Sanderson Ranch.  (Okay, it's not a ranch for real, even if we live in a weird modified ranch style home attached to a former church.  Don't ask.)  But after Thursday, everything should settle back down.  I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to concentrate on work again.  I've got big plans... well, I've got plans to have big plans.  I've got Djinnocide out to a reader who's making some awesome suggestions, another casual reader came back with some additional suggestions.  With their help, and anyone else's who might be interested in reading an urban fantasy, I will publish this damn book - even if it kills me.

As a total bit of randomness...  chipmunks in the wild really dig cheese danish and poppyseed muffins.

Here's proof -

Hope you're having a great weekend.  What random stuff is on your mind?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Picture Pause - Trip Pics

Good morning, Everyone.  Today's Picture Pause is brought to you by the Peak to Peak Lodge - our home away from home while we were up in Estes Park last week.

Okay, so this first one is the view of our hotel looking south.  

And this next one is the view from our hotel room's big picture window.

And here's the view looking north.  I tell you, I got some amazing pictures from the parking lot of this place (sans the sign of course).

And here's me looking east into the sun.  Maybe the owners should pay me for artsy shots of their establishment.  LOL

Finally, this fellow came through the parking lot the afternoon we arrived.  My big camera was full and there wasn't time to download, so Daughter snapped this with the small camera.

Maybe my next run of posted pics will have the mule deer mama and her twin fawns who spent about twenty minutes in nearly the same spot as Elmer Elk. 

Peak to Peak wasn't the nicest hotel in Estes Park (umm, the nicest hotel was The Stanley - star of Stephen King's The Shining, the Jack Nicholson version - but who can afford to stay there).  Still, it was nice enough for our needs and it was the most cost efficient.  I'd totally recommend the place for anyone trying to see Rocky Mountain National Park on a budget.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Okay, so I started re-writing Djinnocide for the billionth time (really 4th or 5th - it just feels like a billion).  And I'm finding myself with the same damn problems I had before.  How do you get a book out of a rut?  Or is the problem that it doesn't really need to be rewritten at all and that's why I keep coming back to the same plot points?


I've tried writing other things.  Really I have.  I've tried setting this book so far from myself it's but a mere speck on my writerly horizon.  But this story and these people are so awesome I can't shake them.  I just wish I could make other people see them the way I see them.  (And by 'other people', I mean people who can get this book in print.  The other people who've read it all the way through loved it, too.) 

Maybe I still need time away.  Except I'm itching to write.  I can't stop thinking about this story.  Jo and Zeke and Tryg and Mary dance through my head taunting me and begging me and threatening to run me through if I so much as try to ignore them.  Michael threatened to sue me for breach of contract.  Amun even whispered that he'll find a wish to kill me - his own author - if I don't get back to work. 

That's a lot of pressure from the voices in my head and... ummm... I'll let you in on a little secret...

I'm afraid I can't do them justice.  I mean, I thought I did them justice the first time, but my readers all said I didn't.  Hence the rewrites.  And obviously the agents all thought I didn't because I've been rejected too many times to bother counting anymore.  So here I am, staring down the barrel of another rewrite wondering if perhaps I don't have the chops to put this story on paper anymore.  Hell, I wonder if I ever did have those chops.

And yet, I can't stop the voices.  I can't shut this story up.  This book is pushier than any other one I've written.  Jo wants to be out there, sharing the shelves with Toby Daye and Harry Dresden.  And I think she deserves to.  I just don't know if I do.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Where's Your Reference Material?

This week the Word Whores are doing a 'writing space' theme that's really interesting.  I mean, I love seeing the spaces other people write in and how each of them differ in what they need and what they don't.  Some people, for instance, have shelves of reference material within easy reach. 

Looking at my current space, I see one reference book.  The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures by John and Caitlin Matthews.  I picked it up at B&N, I think, a while back because it's a pretty good one-stop source for quickie info about all things magical.  But I've only used it once and it really needs to go back on the shelf in my bedroom.  (It served its purpose and besides, I put that WIP away for the time being.)

I used to have a big honkin' copy of the Encyclopedia of Dictionaries (EOD) on the lower shelf of my desk.  I used to keep a thesaurus.  I even had a few writerly guides hanging around where I could get my hot little hands on them in seconds.  Now?  Not a single damn one has remained.  In their places, I have my expandable file folders of query information.  Boxes of supplies.  My receipt envelope.

Where has all my reference material gone?  I mean, it's not like I'm the friggin' expert on everything now.  I still need resources.  I just don't need them in book form. The internet provides numerous dictionaries for any word I might want to find.  The same thing with thesauruses.  If I need to figure out grammar or spelling, there are resources for that, too.

Now, my EOD is packed off somewhere.  In it's last few years, it turned into more of a place to press flowers and keepsakes than a reference book anyway.  I have two regular dictionaries within sight of my desk and those are a two-volume set printed in the early 1900s.  Too old to open on a regular basis, but lovely to look at.  The rest?  Relegated to other shelves, or given away to my homeschooling neighbor who only recently got a computer, or shunted off to the local thrift store.  I haven't even put them in my store because these days, who wants to buy used resource books?

Yep, thanks to the internet, the old reference materials are going the way of the Kirkland's Warbler.  There's a newer bird in town that's more flexible about everything and it's name is Internet.

It still makes me sad, in a way.  I miss the old books - the crackle of spines and the flutter of pages as I search for the information I need to make my writing sing.  Not that I'd ever go back, but I still miss it a little.

What about you?  Where's your reference material?  Are you still using hardcopy versions or have you switched to the electronic version posted everywhere on the internet?  What hardcopy reference book is closest to your fingertips right this minute?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Back but Not

Hi Everyone.  I'm back from a vacation up in the mountains.  I had thought I would get some time to introspect and evaluate while I was up there.  You know, let the mountain air clear my mind so I could think again. 

But I didn't.

I got loads of pictures (like 300-some).  Husband and I reconnected.  We had a nice visit with his mother.  The kid got one final family vacation before heading off to school.  And I was so busy I did not think through anything.

In a way, I needed a few days of not running that little hamster wheel in my head.  I certainly feel clearer.  Maybe it gave me the chance for clarity, if not the clarity itself.  I do know I have some major thinking to do and having a clear brain certainly can't hurt. 

Unfortunately, I still have one last big thing on my mind, clouding up the brain pool - taking Daughter off to CSU.  I think once I have that out of the way, I'll be able to relax enough to figure out where my writing career is going and how to achieve the goals I want to achieve (or even what those goals are).

Meanwhile, I'm still not really here in any writerly way.  I'll probably be posting some of the many many pics we took and maybe an anecdote or two.  (Who knew that if given the choice between a peanut and a raisin, a Stellar's Jay will choose the raisin first and come back later for the nut?) 

Anyway, I hope y'all enjoy whatever ends up here over the next couple of weeks. 

Oh, and in case any of you were worried, the thinking I have to do is about how best to proceed with my writing career - NOT whether to end it and go work for the local vet cleaning kennels.

(That first pic up there was taken by my Daughter.  It's the view from a tourist station near the top of Trail Ridge Road.  If I remember correctly, this was at around 11,000 feet.  Yep, despite the heatwave, thar's snow in them thar hills.)