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.