Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday's looking a little fishy...

The weekend was very productive and I'm pleased with my writing progress. Along with over 2K words, I got a lot of chores done and partway through the task of hanging up Sonshine's Star Wars ships made of Legos. One more ship to go.

One of my dogs suffers allergies, both from grass (and this is the dog that rolls around in the grass on a daily basis) and from grain additives in her food. My local grocery store no longer carries a big enough bag of the stuff I was feeding her, so a trip to Pet Smart was in order. Both so I could find a gluten-free brand and so I could buy a bag big enough to feed two large dogs for at least a week. I asked Sonshine if he wanted to go. He said only if he could get a fish. Huh? Well, I said okay but that it would have to be a gold fish since we already had a bowl and rocks and a plant. He was okay with that.

While I scoped out dog food, Sonshine and his sister checked out the fish.

Well, $83 later we walked out with a huge bag of dog food and a 3.5 gallon aquarium. Pet Smart's gold fish are used to filtered water and would die in a bowl. Lovely. But I owed him some allowances, so I agreed to the upgrade.

He dutifully cleaned off his dresser and setup his new aquarium according to the directions and has been anxiously awaiting today. The directions said the water had to run through the filter for approximately 48 hours before adding fish.

So today, if he's feeling up to it (he woke up with a very sore throat and a headache), we will head back to Pet Smart to buy fish and food. :)

It tickles me that he's so excited about a couple of fish.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mars and Venus and Writing Charms

Mars and Venus were both visible to the naked eye from where I live last night. I hadn't realized Mars *could* be seen with the naked eye, but DD pointed it out. A quick look at my Star Chart app on the iPad confirmed it. How cool is that? Of course, Venus can be seen quite often and, in fact, has been hanging around in the same general vicinity for at least a month or so. And with the help of the star chart app I also saw the star Regulus just to the right of Mars. Only a point of excitement to me because of J.K. Rowling--one of her main cast of characters in her Harry Potter books, the Black family, names all their children after stars, and one was indeed named Regulus.

And just FYI, Pluto is no longer a planet because its orbit is apparently not on the same plane as the rest of them...hmmm.

Writing charms--i haz them. I know I've mentioned the Book in a Year program that my writing chapter is offering and that I am participating in. Basically, the goal is to write 6250 words a month or more, if you so choose to raise the bar for yourself. I probably could, but decided not to for personal reasons.

Officially, the program, i.e. the word counting started with our March 2012 meeting. But the coordinator offered to let all words written from the time you signed up count toward that first charm. I signed up March 10th. And between March 10th and March 17th (meeting day) I earned my first charm. That meant that any and all words I wrote between 03.17 and 04.21 (the next meeting), all 8100+ of them, were superfluous as far as the incentive was concerned.

That was unacceptable to me. So I decided to buy myself a charm to celebrate those words as well as the fact that I started truly revising that first book. Something I'd never done before.

So here is my charm bracelet. The hat is from the chapter and the heart-shaped lock is from me. It came with a key, but I haven't earned that one yet.

The reason I chose them was because they were the only ones that really jumped out me. It came as a set, otherwise I would just have bought one. But as I was contemplating them, I realized they chose me...

I've always struggled with really and truly finishing a manuscript. I get close and then I start something new.

A writer friend of mine is constantly telling me: Just write the beginning, the middle, and the end. And then do it again. And again.

So the lock and key symbolizes the key to unlocking the publishing lock is just to write: the beginning, the middle and the end. And then do it again.

I'm thinking that I'll give myself that key when book one, Always Ready, is finished and polished and has been submitted to a publisher.

Aside from all that, it feels good to be writing again. I've got good goals for the weekend and I'm ready to write.

The beginning.

The middle.

The end.

Have a good one!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Special Thursday Announcement

My lovely CP and dear friend, Lavender Daye's book is almost out.

Publication date is May 1--just around the corner!

Here's the cover:

Yes, it's erotic, yes, it's BDSM, but it's all very mild and nice. The love scenes are graphic, but no worse than a really sensual novel except for the terminology (the C and P words as opposed to euphemisms). There is plot in this book, too, people, it's not just gratuitous sex. Lavender's love scenes are emotional and satisfying and her prose lovely. (I'm jealous, I really am.)

If you're interested, you can check it out here. (Let me say, the blurb there makes it sound kinkier than it really is, so don't be put off.)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I only drank a little...

Tea, that is. :) Normally, I get up and make my bowl of oatmeal *and* a large mug of plantation mint tea. This morning, only oatmeal at first. The tea came later and even then I only drank half of it.

I can explain. It was warm in the house. It's also warmish outside. So the need to warm up from the inside out was not there. Though I did still put on a long sleeve shirt this morning. (It still gets too cold for me in my office.)

Supposedly, the next few days are supposed to be hotter than normal--close to the 90s. And the winds are blowing, which means lots of dirt. But since it will be hot, the A/C will be on and there will be less dirt because I won't have the windows open.

The writing is going well. Slow, but well. I'm trying to edit/revise as I go. And since I only write 250 words a weekday, that's easy to keep up with and I can usually double my word count.

Yesterday, I spent about an hour on YouTube...

See, in this new book my hero and heroine dance, and I needed some inspiration and help on describing the moment. So I called up my fond memories of watching Indy race car driver Helio Castreneves on Dancing With the Stars many years ago. So I went to YouTube and found the vids of Helio and his dance partner Julianne Hough and their many dances. I don't normally watch reality shows like that, but I think one of my kids was watching it, and Helio and Julianne--they had some sort of connection--sucked me in. (That is the only season of that I ever watched, by the way.)

Anyway, it worked well enough. I was able to write the scene, though it took a really long time. I'm talking a couple of hours (not including the one on YouTube) to write five short paragraphs--about 600 words all told. But I am happy with those words.

So I'm at work and the A/C has kicked on and I'm now ready for a full mug of hot tea.

Hope your week is going well so far.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Boredom is at an end...

Yes, I think my boredom has waned and now it's back to business as usual.

On Friday, I got home from my CP's house to the news that it was highly likely I was going to have fork out hundreds of dollars to buy a new fridge--or at the very least haul the one we use at the office back home.

So if the fridge was no longer working, why wasn't all the stuff moved into an ice chest or two or three? Plus we have a chest freezer, so all the frozen stuff could be saved. That stuff I moved. But I left the stuff in the fridge. I don't know why.

Saturday was the day of meetings, writer and critique group, but upon waking, I decide to see what I could salvage. So while I'm gone to the store to buy ice, hubby decides to unplug the fridge and then take it apart.

Long story short, I head off for my day, determined not to worry about the fridge. After all, it'll still be there when I get home, right? Well, wonder of wonders, when I get home, my fridge had been fixed. For less than $85 and with a bit of research and elbow grease, my hubby had replaced the broken part. The fridge runs great now--and much quieter than before. And it's now *clean* on the inside. Not only did I throw away a lot of old stuff (condiments mostly), but we actually *hot soapy water* cleaned it. Okay, not really, but my bottle of Fantastic got a good workout.

Saturday, I received my charm bracelet and first charm for the book in a year writing incentive program I'm participating in. I think it's going to go a long way to helping me stay focused on my revisions. Now that I have it and can see it and touch it, it'll be a constant reminder to keep on keeping on. Which is especially important now as I'm going to be revising the first story and writing the second. A dual task, I've not done till now.

Speaking of writing that second story, on Saturday, my dear lovely CPs (minus one) helped me fine tune some of my story points, and yesterday, I banged out the first 1005 words.

It's back to the weekly writing goal of 3K, by the way. So I'm on track so far. This morning, I worked on the revisions of the first one. Some time today, I'm shooting for 250 new words on book two.

I also continued my simultaneous re-watches of Friday Night Lights and Glee this weekend, and last night (for another online project) I watched the movie 28 Days starring Sandra Bullock, whom I really like, with a little Viggo Mortenson thrown in (mmm...). Complete drama, a little slow at the beginning for me, but I liked it.

And now it's Monday again and the start of a new writing month (my writing months are from one writers group meeting to the next). With the new writing month comes new goal, and I am ready to go.

Have a great week.

Friday, April 20, 2012

I'm so bored...

An unusual phenomenon for me, but for the last few days, man, I've been at loose ends. No desire to read, I'm busy revising rather than writing. Not in the mood to watch movies more than once a week. So I've taken to re-watching favorite TV shows: Friday Night Lights and Glee. I love these shows. Mainly because they're just plain good story-telling. FNL more than Glee, but they are slightly different animals.

FNL is a drama, a compelling drama. Sure, it has its moments of melodrama and wtf, but it's good 99% of the time. And, fyi, it's not about football. It's about the people who live, eat and breath football in a small Texas town. Kyle Chandler as Coach Eric Taylor was my draw. I love love love me some Kyle Chandler. Finding new talent and an awesome show was a bonus.

Glee is a comedy. Sometimes silly, sometimes over the top, but it's campy and fun and most of the time, the music is awesome. I've been introduced to some great music in genres I don't normally listen to. On the flip side, the younger generations are being exposed to music from the past and in genres they might not otherwise be open to. Make no mistake, though, Glee is not a children's show. As a parent, I'd be hard-pressed to allow any child of mine under sixteen to watch it. But I love it. There are some awfully talented young people on this show.

On another note, it's Friday. YAY. Tomorrow is the third Saturday, which means writing group and critique group meets tomorrow. YAY. I'll probably fill the rest of the weekend watching my shows and cleaning house.

Do you have big plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Free Books

These days, it's easier and cheaper than ever to be a reader (aside from the library where it's free--though you do have to drive there). Since my advent into e-reading, though, I usually choose virtual books for pleasure reading over physical books. It's purported that because today's generation is growing up with devices in their hands, physical books will eventually be a thing of the past. It's kinda sad. One of my fantasies is to walk into a book store with a blank check and fill up my own personal library. Classics, biographies, history, whatever. If it appeals to me, I'd buy it, even if I never read it.

Yesterday, though I should have done more work, I spent a good hour or so perusing's free book list. I came away with an even dozen of interesting new books, most romance, but a few in other genres.

Even if you don't have a Kindle, Amazon's e-reader, you can still take advantage of the free books. There are PC, iPod, iPhone, iPad and probably Android apps out there that will allow you to read the Kindle format on the device of your choice. I have the app on my iPad. Same holds true for Barnes & Noble's Nook. I'll be downloading that app later. Then I'll have to peruse their free book offerings....

Aside from the above fantasy, I do still like certain types of books to be physical. For example, I'd really like to have the Harry Potter series in hardback (as well as e- and audio). I also love large coffee table type books.

What about you? How do you like your books?

Monday, April 16, 2012

No catchy blog title today...

I thought up several, but they'd been done before so rather than waste too much time on a title, I figured I'd go straight for the blog.

Catching up...

a) My writer friends and I had a lovely time Saturday afternoon/evening visiting and doing a little brainstorming/plotting. The food was good too.

b) The home improvement project schedule has slowed down some after a visit with a counselor Friday regarding our oldest daughter's return home. But we're still making progress even if it's slower.

c) On the home improvement front, Sonshine's closet has been painted. He and I will be going through all the stuff we pulled out of it--old notebooks and binders, toys, books, etc. What he wants to keep will find new homes in storage containers or bookshelves.

The kitchen just needs a tiny bit more work, a few minutes' worth of paint touch-up, and a few decorator touches and it will be done. Today, the dishwasher will be diagnosed and, hopefully, repaired. YAY! It's been so nice to walk into my kitchen now that it's almost finished. It looks finished even though it's not really.

d) We received more rain yesterday morning, which was welcome, though our yard is still saturated. I just hope central Texas, where our fireworks store is, is also getting some much needed precipitation.

e) Revisions are going pretty well. Yesterday, between laundry and painting, I worked on my manuscript. Most of the things I worked on were easy surface fixes. In addition, I was able to add just over 600 new words, which also pushed my total word count up over 22K. This morning I began the more in depth revisions. So far, so good. It was a very productive morning. And after Saturday's session, I am getting closer to having a handle on the plot for the second book, which I will start working on next Sunday.

f) No decisions yet on whether or not to move. We also discussed this with the counselor and she said not to do it on our daughter's account. If we want to/need to for other reasons then fine. The second biggest reason was/is getting Sonshine into a better school.

Well, I think that's it for now. Time to get the work week started.

How was your weekend?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday the Thirteenth

I'm not suspicious or anything, but it's worth noting. Actually good things have happened to me on Friday the 13ths, so there you go.

The weekend is pending and that's a good thing. Home improvement projects continue...

Yesterday, the front yard was mowed and then last night, the back yard was weed eatered (though not very well), Sonshine and I cleared out his closet of everything but the hanging clothes in preparation for it being painted on Saturday am, and DH and Sonshine installed transitions on the kitchen door into the garage and the back door which has had an 1.5 inch gap for years now.

Not sure what's on the agenda for tonight aside from three other transitions. Maybe some more work in the garage and the mowing of the back yard.

Saturday afternoon I'll be heading slightly northeast to a friend's house for some writer interaction. Several of us will be gathering to help one another as needed--I need to brainstorm a little on my next book.

I finished reading the last four pages of the printed copy of my manuscript. There are a lot of modifications to be made, but those will begin Sunday. I'm done with it for the week. Maybe... Perhaps I'll read through my notes and make a list of the decisions I need to make, and take those with me Saturday as well. Yeah, I like that idea.

So, big plans for the weekend??

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Time for another post!

Blogging is therapeutic for me. Not sure why...

Anyway, my mother is traveling today from one end of the country to the other today. (west to east) Safe travels to her.

On the home front (anyone ever watch that show with Kyle Chandler??), we have a new dining room table. Actually, it's a breakfast nook thing, but I'm not complaining. The price was right and it fit our space and we now have someplace to eat other than in the living room in front of the boob tube. Sonshine also has a better place to do homework. (picture courtesy of Sears)

More changes will be coming down the pipe at home. The children are not/will not be pleased, but I have to learn that this is okay. Children don't have to be pleased. *I* have to be pleased.

Two other smaller projects were accomplished last night after the table was assembled and dinner eaten. My electric can opener was finally 'installed' after about four years of it living on the top corner of the microwave. Now it's attached to the underside of cabinet where it belongs. And my wooden swag holders were re-attached to their screws in the living room. Now I just need to buy new swags to match the living room decor. :)

On the writing new words this week. Still struggling through revisions. I've learned that I'm not a one-pass revisionist. I produce better drivel when I work in waves, focusing on one or two things at a time.

So what good/exciting things have happened to you this week?

Monday, April 9, 2012

It was a misty, moisty morning...

...and cloudy was the weather.

Foggy, too. Quite a change from last week's glorious sunshine and temperatures (following the damaging storms of last Tuesday).

Lots of things going on in the neighborhood. We are thinking of moving. Soon. With that thought in mind, we are going on a whirlwind tour of fixing up the house in 37 days. If we don't move, then we can enjoy the fixes and upgrades. If we do decide to move, we've gotten all the small inexpensive fixes done and can move on to some of the larger, more time-consuming, more expensive fixes.

Needless to say, I'm not looking forward to the chaos and upheaval of the next month and a half. DH knows how much I hate chaos and upheaval and change, so he's asked how he can make it easier. Lists and plans so I know what's coming. Some of it, however, is on me. I need to accept the events and roll with the punches and just remember that this too shall pass. :) Either I'll have my house fixed up or I'll be in a new house. I'm happy with either option.

But why, you ask? Several reasons really. DH hates our house and our neighborhood. The school district (mostly the school) is terrible. Sonshine is so smart but he's not being challenged to excel at all. Not in a school full of kids who give a crap about their education and parents who can't or won't be involved. Some of it has to do with our Brown Eyed Girl who may be coming home to live with us. Due to special circumstances, coming home to this house and neighborhood may not be in her best interests. Fresh start and all that.

I really didn't want to move till Sonshine graduated, which is still two years out, but he says he's okay with moving now. If we move, we're both free from this band program which frustrates me no end.

I really didn't want to move because this has been my home and my 'hood for the last eleven years. I know where everything is, how it works, etc...yeah, change and all that.

Anyway, time to get to work and all that.

Friday, April 6, 2012

It's a bright sunshiny day...

Beautiful weather here in North Texas after the crazy storms that ripped through the area on Tuesday. Amazingly, the tornado count was thirteen and no deaths were reported.

Yesterday, I got to enjoy the afternoon while I toted snacks for the band (way) across town to where they were participating in a district contest. Sadly, they didn't do so well, but according to the kids, no one really did.

The weekend looks good too. I'm going to make a point of going outside since all too soon it's going to be way too hot to do so. I'm doing revisions on hard copy right now, so I can do that just as easily outside as in.

Hope you have a great and productive weekend.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Weather and MEN

First of all, my crew and I are fine. In fact, much to my chagrin, I was pretty clueless as to the severity and extent of the weather until I left work to pick up Sonshine from school (after all was said and done in my neck of the woods) and there was *no music* on any of the stations. Nothing but news reports.

So note to self: when DD texts me from home six miles away asking if I hear sirens, turn on the radio. Seriously, I could have been in the path of the largest tornado and would have been scrambling for cover way too late. Not good.

It's not that I wasn't aware that there was bad weather. I was. It was raining and windy--it was sideways, 'cause otherwise our office door doesn't get wet when it rains. :( (big clue there, Jen) I had gone to the local news channel's website and looked at the radar which did show the size and severity of the thunderstorms and the fact that most of my section of the county was under both severe thunderstorm warning and a tornado warning. BUT here in North Texas you just never know and without the radio on and reporting real time what's going on, it could have been pre-emptive because conditions *looked* favorable. Most of the time, nothing.

Luckily, no one I know suffered more than severe hail damage.

And it's sad/funny how life goes on. When I left work, I took Sonshine to the mall (to get a suit for his band contest on Thursday) as if it were a normal day.

After dropping him back at the office with his dad so that he could re-load the OS onto one of our PCs that he infected over the weekend, I headed home expecting several hours of relative quite in which to do some serious revisions. About an hour later I hear the front door open and Sonshine call greetings to his big sister.

Moments later, DH saunters in to the bedroom and asks if he can talk to me about something. This is usually never good. What else can I say but, "Sure."

So he sits on the bed and asks, "How much trouble will I be in if I spend $600?"

I ask, "On what?"

And he says," The Xbox 360 Limited Edition Kinect Star Wars Bundle?"

"But we just bought a new Xbox a few weeks ago."

"I know, but..."

Well, it turns out he'd actually already bought the damn thing.

No, I'm not mad. Since we just deposited a nice chunk of change, money is not a worry at the moment. And the kids had a blast. It was heartwarming to see these two of my kids who often times drive each other nuts and push each others buttons having such a good time together.

One other upside is that I was still left alone to revise in peace. :)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Awesome weekend!

The conference was a success, all the way around I think. I spoke with our big-name guest speakers and they all seemed very pleased with their experience here in North Texas. (YAY!)

I got more out of it than I expected, including lunch with Samhain Publishing editor Lindsey Faber. She was very generous with her knowledge and experience. So I think, when the time comes, I'll be submitting to Samhain.

My CPs all had agent or editor appointments or critiques. They all came away from the conference refreshed and encouraged in their writing. Now I have break out my cattle prod and get them all writing.

As for me, I started the weekend (Friday for me) 200 manuscript words shy of my 3K word per week goal. My weeks begin Sunday and end Saturday. Knowing I'd be busy with the conference Friday and Saturday I was mostly prepared to just let those words go. I had written probably 500 to 600 other words fleshing out a couple of random scenes, but that I knew were not manuscript pages. Three people said they did indeed count toward my goal, in which case I was way over. But for me, I dunno, it just felt like cheating. I may chew on that some more, and decide it's not. Anyway, Saturday night after dinner, my roomie and I and one other CP went back to our room and brainstormed for a bit on other CP's story. Then we talked about about mine for a few minutes and lo and behold I was able to eek out those last 200 words, finishing up at 11:44PM! I was really glad that I was able to get those words.

This week it's time to begin revisions--which means 3K words is probably not happening. I'm okay with that, though I suppose I should set a goal to revise a certain number of pages. I'm going to set it sort of high as the first 10 to 20 pages has been gone over multiple times as it is. So my goal this week, rather than writing 3K is revising 30 pages. Whoa!

But it's Monday and the beginning of the month, so I have real work I need to get done before I can wade into revisions.

No time like the present to get started. Have a great week.