Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Coming up for air...

This past five days have been awful. A co-located server crashed and all of one of our client's stuff (website, online store, and important access to online case files) was gone. Don't ask me why there was no backup. That's not my department. But I have been in the midst of the chaos, trying to salvage as much information from other sources as possible. I'm sick and tired of this client, I'm frustrated, and I'm ready to move onto other things.

Luckily, the weather has calmed. Things are up and running. Four hundred attorneys can do what they need to do. Now it's time to play catch up and see what else has gone on in my world for last several days. *deep breath*

The real weather is pleasant and though I prefer warmer temps to colder ones, I do wish things would return to normal.

So what's new with you?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I'm chatty, apparently...

...and I feel the need to blog though I have nothing exceptionally important to say. :) So here goes...

There was no writing yesterday, after all. None at all. But that's okay. I'm a little disappointed, but that's the way it goes.

I did walk this morning, though only two blocks. I was wearing my rain boots and I figured the weight of the boots would offset the distance. The rain had tapered off when I left but started coming down again as I rounded the last corner towards home. I considered going that extra block, but I checked the clock and decided against it. Good thing, I suppose.

But I think the rain will be finished and gone today. We're supposed to warm up to the 60s tomorrow and over the weekend. I need to get in gear and plant my bulbs I got for Christmas...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A change in plans...

There will be no walking today. Why?? Because it's pouring--thundering, lightning, the whole shebang. I'm sort of glad. I added lunges to my repertoire yesterday and the tops of my thighs are griping. Now, had it been sprinkling or not raining at all, I would have gone and endured the workout. But pneumonia and/or a lightning strike is not my idea of a good time.

So what am I doing up at this time of the morning? Well, usually walking or washing dishes but I think I'm going to write.

I was thrown a curve ball on my WIP, which means yet another re-write which I am not happy about. I really was trying to get that story told to the end. And submitted. And earn my PRO status with RWA. (Not for myself, as I could personally care less. But as a long time member of RWA and the current president of my chapter, I really out to have at least one finished manuscript.)

I hope that work today will be slow enough to be able to spend some time writing. There are never guarantees, as evidenced by yesterday, when several hundred defense attorneys and I could no longer access our county's electronic case file system. I won't bore with the whys and hows, but while the county scrambled to solve the problem, I took probably 15 to 20 calls from attorneys and paralegals and assistants over the course of about three hours wanting to know WHY they couldn't get in. And even after that problem was resolved, they kept calling me for various sundry other things. Gack.

And now, I'm going to write. Something.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Who Knew...

...that my secret exercises were beneficial for more than just getting my blood pumping?

The speaker at my writing group meeting, Sally Felt, told us that performing any kind of cross-body motion helped open up the connection between right brain and left brain, which then helped with the writing.

Last week I was able to spend a lot of time with my WIP, and do you know, I actually felt really, really productive.

Also, yawning. Apparently there are a lot of blood vessels in the jaw area and when you yawn, you force blood through them and to your brain. An oxygenated brain means an active and productive brain. Did you know Anton Apollo Ono yawns before each race for precisely that reason? I didn't before Saturday, but I thought it was interesting.

It doesn't look like I'll be able to work much on my writing during business hours this week, but I went great guns last night with a new writing buddy. Not new in that I just met her. I've known her for many years, but our styles seem to have similarized and she's got a book due, so having at least one person to do writing sprints with helps make a solitary endeavor a little less so and a lot more fun.

On that note, it is time to start my day job...

Monday, January 23, 2012

A backup plan...

I thought I was in real trouble this weekend, when my thumb drive went missing.

It has important stuff on it. Not only my current WIPs, fan fiction and original fiction, but my password list, my QuickBooks backups, and my electronic check register. And a few other random things.

I retraced my steps, dug through the sofas and the trash, looked under beds, nightstands, sofas. Dug through the dirty laundry. Dug through my purse three times. (Now, my purse isn't that big, so the second and third looks really were futile.) I looked in the cabinets and in the fridge. All to no avail.

Well, I wanted to write yesterday and I knew a friend was going to be doing writing sprints and I work really well with the sprints. BUT I had nothing at home to work on, what with my thumb drive missing and everything else residing at the office on the server.

So I started something new. I've had an idea that pops into my head every now and again, so I grabbed a hold of it and got busy. By the end of the day (5:30ish), I had written 2296 new words on an idea I pulled out of my ear and had clean laundry and swept floors and a clean bathroom to boot.

Well, I found the thumb drive this morning. As I was creeping around in the dark of my bedroom, gathering my stuff while hubby slept, I picked up my cell phone and slipped it into my pocket. Lo and behold, that triggered a remembrance. Yesterday, when I got up, I put on my bathrobe--which I was no longer wearing when I was in search of the thumb drive--and which has pockets! So I dug in the pockets of my bathrobe, finding a cough drop in one and--YES-- the thumb drive in the other. Whew.

So today, I move the password file someplace else, 'cause losing that would be terribly bad. And I decide whether to use a web-based file hosting service. Then my stories are always available as long as I have Internet access. I do have a Google Docs account, but it's been acting up on my laptop, though that's probably because I haven't update my browser in so long. Or perhaps I just e-mail whatever I'm working on to myself on a daily basis. I don't know, but I need a different method. It sucked not having my stuff and it sucked worrying that I'd lost certain things forever.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Gleefully plugging away...

Okay, so my title is a bit misleading...

I've been diligently plugging away at my current WIP for over a week now. It's the longest stretch I've done in quite some time and I'm fearful of losing my momentum by turning my attention to other things, even work.

Doing these revisions is a little like pulling teeth and yet exhilarating at the same time. Yeah, it can be tough to find the right words, set the right tone, or delete 10s or 100s of previously crafted words, but once it's done, it feels great.

But I've run into some questions. I'm worried that my scenes aren't doing what they're supposed to. But that's partly what CPs are for. We're getting together tomorrow. I'm going to ask for a bit brainstorming. In the meantime, I'm going to stay in the story. I'm going to keep doing the minor edits: missing words, misspelled words, transferring text from the old working document to the new one. Keep the story in my mind, let it percolate in the recesses when I'm busy doing other things like that pesky day job.

My current favorite show, Glee returned to the airwaves after it's semester break. And they started off the new semester with a bang! The first half of the episode had me in stitches and the second half in tears.

The primary male lead was perfectly cast, in my opinion. And episode after episode, I fall a little bit more in love with him myself. :) The primary female has a voice to die for and she pulls off every song she sings beautifully.

And tomorrow my first general meeting as head honcho of my writers group. Oh, boy!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I spent a lot of yesterday adjusting the time line for my current WIP, and last evening I doggedly revised the necessary portions to accommodate the shift from late fall/early winter of 1941 to spring of 1942. And it's done. Well, to the extent of the part of the WIP I had in the working document. Now I have go back to the old working doc and start transferring sections from old to current and revise and revise some more. I've also decided to add in the hero's POV, so there will some new stuff to write as well. When I say I decided to add the hero's POV, it was more like the story demanded some time from his perspective.

While I enjoy writing, parts of it are not very intuitive for me and I struggle through those parts with more than a few growing pains. (Which might account for condition I spoke of yesterday.)

And to end my post, a book recommendation: When One Night Isn't Enough, a Harlequin Medical romance, by my online acquaintance Wendy S. Marcus. I finished the book in two evenings. I didn't want to put it down the first night, but forced myself. I need my sleep.

Anyway, the story: Nurse Ali Forshay has swapped dating disasters for nights out with the girls. But after spending more time than is strictly necessary discussing the man she loves to hate--the notoriously delicious Dr. Jared Padget--Ali's horrifying realization is that she's one hundred percent crazy in lust with him! Her conclusion: spend a feverish night together. After all, it would just be a onetime thing and it would cure her obsession...wouldn't it?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Why can't I keep my focus...?

I feel like a yo-yo or to be a little more unkind a kid with ADHD.

I get into writing, I get into critiquing, I get into writing, I get into critiquing...

I can't seem to focus or decide if I want to write books or edit them.

It's both really, but can I achieve both. Sure with a bit of effort. Maybe it's just laziness. I don't want to expand that much effort. Or do I?

I think part of the question (and think Tim McGraw here) is : How bad do you want it??

My job and a key personal issue preclude me from being more aggressive about pursuing these two goals. Is that a good enough reason to just drift along right now?? I don't know.

I am taking a few steps, one technically, and that is to take some online classes this year about things I am not so good at. Namely plotting. I spent a few hours several Sundays ago surfing the 'Net for options. I found five or six that looked interesting.

I receive GrammarBook.com's weekly newsletter. It's not a weakness, but it's good to be reminded of things and I do occasionally learn something new.

I also signed up for dictionary.com's Word of the Day. Learning new words can never hurt a writer. :)

I've been humoring the idea of trying to become an unpaid intern at one of a plethora of e-publishing houses. But do I have the skills? I don't have a degree. How do I offer myself and for how long? What do they get for hiring me, for imparting their wisdom? I'm still mulling how to go about that. Do I approach the "big name" e-publishers or try for a "mid-list" publisher to get my feet wet?

Ah, well...now it's time to get the trumpeteer to jazz band practice and then it's off to the office to write for at least an hour. Actually I have to revise. I found a pretty big flaw... *sigh*

Monday, January 16, 2012

Making Progress

I made good progress this week on my original WIP and I'm very happy and excited about that. So happy and excited with my forward momentum, that I don't want to work. I want to write. :)

Luckily, I can do both. Work a little, write a little, work a little, write a little.

Here's the blurb I used in the contest I entered:

When her hunky Special Forces boyfriend proposes, Claire Sumter (metaphorically) runs for the hills. As much as she loves him, she just doesn’t think they can find happily ever after when he's gone more often than he's around.

But she never meant to run so far that she ended up transported in time to the weeks leading up to Pearl Harbor where she finds herself inhabiting the body of a young woman facing an equally difficult dilemma.

Can Claire learn to overcome her fears and embrace a once-in-a-lifetime chance at love and passion?

What do you think? Does it make you want to red the book?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I'm sick... Apple sucks... And very GOOD NEWS

It doesn't happen often, thank goodness, and so far (knock wood) it's not too terribly bad. Hubby and DD have both had it and are still on the tail end of it, and Sonshine hasn't seemed affected.

The Canadian cold front hit overnight and we have wind-chills in the teens right now, but that should all blow over by the weekend. :)

I'm trying to get back on the writing track, but it's difficult when you're fighting the sickies and all you want to do is sleep. But sleep wins every time. I've learned that healthy me is better.

I've gotten caught up on a lot of work--reconciling business bank accounts, paying a few bills, creating invoices, etc...that feels good. (And if I get sick enough to have to take time off, I won't feel antsy about it.)

Okay, so my eyes have been opened--Apple sucks. I love the concept of iTunes and iPods and iPads. (I don't have an iPhone, don't want one, either.) But Apple has crossed the line for me and I will never love them again. What happened, you ask??

It could have been so much worse, so on the surface, it's nothing more than a hassle. BUT for many people it's been a disaster and Apple is to blame.

After trying to update several apps on my iPad several times, I was told (by the iPad) it needed its operating system upgraded. I'm not savvy and put it off for a few weeks and asked hubby about it. So, yesterday, I brought my iPad to the office and the updating commenced.

Long story short: I lost everything on my iPad: apps, books, movies, TV shows. The process did not work like it should have, and the backup was corrupted.

Okay, so my movies and TV shows are no big deal--the master copies are on both my desktop & external hard drive, still safe in my iTunes library. My books can be re-downloaded from Kindle/amazon.com. My apps can also be re-downloaded--the ones I use anyway.

It's a BIG hassle, and a pain in the arse, but ultimately easily fixable. I don't use my iPad for much except checking e-mail and watching TV shows and movies and reading, so I have no crucial data stored on it. For those who did...gone, *poof*.

However, I can also no longer join networks and access the Internet. Something in the upgrade screwed up something in my device. If downgrading back to the previous operating system doesn't resolve the issue, I will have to schlep to an Apple store to have them solve a problem that shouldn't have even been in issue in the first place. Are they going to pay me for my time and gas??

And the GOOD NEWS???

My sweet and wonderful critique partner sold her first book!!!

(I'm not saying her name 'cause I'm not sure what pseudonym she's using.)

But, needless to say, I am thrilled for her and we'll definitely be celebrating next time I see her.

Monday, January 9, 2012

It's a brand new week!

And I'm glad. Friday and Saturday were crazy, but Sunday was relaxing. And today will be busy as I need to get caught up on a few things I put off last week.

Working the Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium was wild. I wasn't expecting it to be that busy, but Arkansas and K-State fans alike are crazy. We had a steady stream of customers the whole time and the game, for whatever reason, took a long time. We sold 250 footlongs and somewhere in the vicinity of 600 sodas! I'm not sure how many beers we sold, but it was a lot, too. I was hoping to be home by 10/10:30--that's what time I was finally able to leave and I didn't make it home until midnight.

Saturday's board/transition meeting went relatively well. There were a few tense moments between a couple of ladies, but overall, we accomplished the things we really needed to.

Sunday was spent recuperating and doing minimal chores in preparation for the work week. I even got some editing in.

Today I look to Thursday and possible band booster board and regular meetings. Ugh. The regular meetings are a waste of time. Nothing I say in the meetings can't just be published in the newsletter I publish each month. But, of course, we have to hold the meetings. I'm thinking they need to be no more than every other month...

One of my goals for this year was to take a writing class every quarter. I spent some time yesterday researching online classes. I found five or six happening over the course of the next five months and will decide if I'm actually going to take them when the time for each draws near. But they are picked out.

The week has begun and, now, so must I!


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Running out of steam...

Well, I had all those things to do and had every intention of getting my house clean in preparation for my meeting on Saturday, but it looks like minimal tasks will be completed: taking down the tree, sweeping (but not mopping) the living room, sweeping & mopping the kitchen and dog room (maybe on the dog room), cleaning the bathroom. DD is supposed to mow today.

I've been walking around my block. The mornings have hovered just under 40* at that time of day, but the icy sting feels great on my face. I've been pretty busy at work the last few days, so by the time I get home, I'm bushed, though I continue to prep for the actual meeting.

Ah, well. Love me, deal with my house in whatever shape it's in. :)

I probably won't be back until next week, so have a good weekend!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hitting the ground running...

First of all, happy new year. It's finally here. Last year was a vast improvement over the one before and I hope the trend continues. Hubby and I have already looked at our finances, both business and personal and made adjustments. We've also made a plan for getting out of debt. Let's hope 2012 is conducive to furthering that plan without too much struggle.

As I've already mentioned in the last week or two, diet and exercise are on the agenda. I'm getting older, no getting around that. I need to start taking care of myself. That's not a resolution, just a fact of life and a real necessity. I'm out of shape and have little stamina and even less strength.

I had to work Friday and Saturday night at our fireworks store. DD and I drove home at 12:30 Sunday morning. I had to. There was no way I could handle sleeping on a deflating air mattress a second night unless absolutely necessary. Thanks goodness it wasn't. Sleeping arrangements and apparatus will be addressed between now and July.

Sunday I did a few chores and relaxed. DD was gone and I had the house to myself ALL day. What a lovely treat. I was hoping to have the house to myself most of Monday as well, but that didn't work out. The men arrived home in the early afternoon, so there was a bit of chaos while we unloaded and put away. Then Sonshine was off to a friend's house for a while. The rest of us hung out and watched Bones all afternoon.

Today, we are back to work and back to some semblance of normal. Except . . . I have a couple of pressing events over the course of the next few weeks and one (a stressful one) just got added. Yeah, sure I could have said no, but I felt like I needed to do it if I could.

So . . . new event and first up: opening the concession stand Friday afternoon alone. The band director has to teach until 3:30PM--report time at the stadium is 2PM. She asked if I could go and open it. This includes inventory, something I'm notoriously bad at--except I think a lot of it has to do with her stressing me out. I may have to start cooking. That's okay, I think. I can get the grills going, throw on a few burgers and hotdogs. Maybe even get the cheese steak started.

I agreed with the request that I be able to leave early because . . . event #2 . . . I have about 10 people showing up at my house early Saturday morning for a writers group board transition meeting.

Event #3: Band Booster board and regular meetings on the 12th. Which means I have to mail out reminders late this week or Monday next at the latest and get prepped next week. Grrr...

Event #4: Our first chapter meeting of the year on the 21st, with me presiding as president. Oh joy.

I think life will normalize sometime after that. I hate being this busy. Thank goodness I have a lot of time available at my job to work on all these things.

I have a picture of the finished, but only just, Redneck Gingerbread House to share soon.

So, how's your 2012 shaping up?