Friday, December 29, 2006

Now What?

So the holidays are coming to close and it is time to get back to the grindstone. I've ridden my wave of exultation to its conclusion and now it is time to get back to work.

So what should I work on?

I haven't talked to my agent much about it, so I'm not sure which path to take. Do I start working on the second book in my series? That would be the wise choice, the sensible one. Do I work on the other paranormal I started? Not such a wise choice however I like the story and it is in third person, a POV I'm not eager to surrender writing. Or do I go for a historical, just for the fun of it? I discovered an old one I had started and abandoned. I like the hook to it and the hero. The heroine is usesless and I think it could be a good book with a little elbow grease.

Writing the second book seems the simplest solution, but I don't want to find myself trapped by this series. I'm reading a book right now that is part of a series and while it isn't horrible, it feels tired and sloppy. The characters are interchangeable and I feel like the writer is fulfilling a contract rather than writing what she wants. I don't want that to happen to my writing. Remember "Misery" and how the hero hated his heroine? Don't want that to happen. I would hate to be at the mercy of a deranged Kathy Bates.

I have a plotline for my second book and it feels fresh to me so I will probably work on it, but I don't want to pull all my eggs in this particular basket. Yes, I still feel like my landing an agent is a fluke. I fear that whatever she found remarkable in my book is impossible for me to recapture in the next. I really hate self-doubt, particularly in my writing. I don't want to be the needy writer who slumps in their chair crippled by a need for constant reassurance. I have enough non-writing anxieties to deal with.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Thirteen New Year's Resolutions

I'm sure this is going to be a unique topic!


1. Lose 30 lbs. This golden oldie has been number one for so long, I don't know what I'll do if I ever accomplish this goal.
2. Go to the gym regularly. See number one.
3. Learn to read Tarot cards. I love the cards, they are so cool. Plus, I'd like to use a reading in one of my stories, so I need to know how to do it.
4. Plant an herb garden.
5. Work with my youngest on her ABC's.
6. Try keeping my house cleaner.
7. Not swearing so much.
8. Read all of Jane Austen's books. I've only read "Pride & Prejudice" so I'd like to read more.
9. Spend some time on my finger and toe nails. I ignore my cuticles until they scream for attention.
10. Learn to knit.
11. Get my recipes organized.
12. Put more effort into getting my Christmas cards out the door.
13. Ah heck, 13 really isn't enough. Better do a writing one. Write two books.



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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Tuesday, December 26, 2006

But I Wanted The Barbie Dream House!

The wrapping paper is gone, the tons of carboard packaging went off with the recyclers today and my tree is de-decorated. Christmas is quickly disappearing from my house. After being subjected to Christmas stuff for months, I'm ready to see it go and return to normal.

The kids are still wound up and showing what ungrateful little wretches they are. Diva got a Polly Pocket Too Hip Cruise Ship. Its very cool and she loved it yesterday. But then she remembered she really wanted the Barbie Dream House. First, she rarely plays with barbies, her sister does. Second, she didn't mention it until last week and third, it is apparently on the same aisle as the Nintendo Wii in the toy store because you can't find them. Ergo, the cruise ship. She couldn't understand why the elves couldn't make one for her. I told her the elves had to make too many and she couldn't get one. She didn't buy it. Then I gave her the tried and true mom arguement saying a lot of other kids didn't get anything. Why not? Doesn't Santa bring the toys? Why would it be a problem? I didn't know what to say, so I told her the less fortunate kids asked for things to help their families rather than toys. Being a self-centered Diva, she didn't get it. The boy was a little disappointed too. He didn't get that much. But usually he gets the most expensive presents, this year was an anamoly. Thing made out pretty good. She got lots of Power Rangers stuff.

By the way, the cruise ship has already been put up because Thing got it out and wouldn't clean it up. Diva almost lost all her toys today because I made her do a major room cleaning (I helped her). The boy sulks a lot, but then, he is eleven.

How was your Christmas? Are my kids the only ones acting like brats? I do wonder if they will live until they go back to school

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Happy Birthday, Supernerd

My eldest turns eleven today, a moment I can hardly believe. Of my three kids, his birthdays affect me the most. On his first birthday, I bawled all day. I don't do that anymore, but it is amazing to me to watch this person who was once the cutest little baby turn into this young person.

He is like a little adult these days although he still has the tastes of a child. At dinner he will disucss something he read on the news and the next impersonate an obnoxious cartoon character.

He doesn't like sports. He doesn't like playing or watching them. He definitely doesn't like girls yet, they are gross. He loves computers and computer games. He loves reading. Right now he is reading the "Lord of the Rings" triology and loves it. His thirst for knowledge is never-ending. We will be spending a couple of days at museums next week at his insistence. He only listens to classical music and doesn't think any other kind is worth his attention.

He's a true delight to watch. His intelligence will surpass all of us in the family and I look forward to seeing what happens in the future. Despite the sadness of seeing my little boy fading into a young man, I am thrilled with the person he is becoming.

Happy Birthday my little nerd.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Thirteen Things I Want for Christmas

Some are feasible, some aren't
1. Publishing contract. There's a surprise.
2. Aston Martin DB9 If I could Daniel Craig to go with that, even better.

3. Bentley Continetal GTC. Perfect combo of horsepower and class.
4. A magic pill to make me lose 30lbs. instantly.
5. A magic pill which will make me yearn to exercise.
6. George Foreman Grill. This is the latest model. Isn't it cool?
7. New Kitchen Aid. This guy is a monster.
8. The new Gwen Stefani CD. Now that Madonna sucks....
9. The complete novels of Jane Austen. Hubby just got this for me at Costco. I think its the law that all romance writers must own Jane Austen novels.
10. AlphaSmart. I'd love to have something so portable to take around.
11. Luxury cruise. Not one of those Carnival cruises, I want one of those fancy schmancy cruises.
12. A new pair of glasses. Mine are the wrong prescription and are battered and scratched. Maybe a pair of Lulu Guiness frames?
13. A whole day without my kids bugging me. Personally, I think I stand a better chance of getting the Aston Martin.



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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Christmas Presents Under the Tree

When I was a kid, I loved the moment when my mom brought out the Christmas presents and tucked them under the tree. I'd spend a week shaking and trying to guess what was in them. I found real quick I couldn't do that with my own kids. The minute the gifts are under the tree, they pulverize them. So the presents do go out until Christmas Eve after they go to bed. Drives me crazy because I've always thought of Christmas presents as part of the decoration. I'm hoping things will change by next year. Besides, my closet is bursting with stuff. I want my closet back!

So, when you were a kid, did you get one big present and then a few smaller ones? Didn't you just hate opening clothes when you were a kid? And then when you made "the face" you're mom would get mad? I don't get mad at my kids when they are disappointed with clothes. I know well-meaning relatives think its the right thing to do, but I think they need to understand that the kids aren't going to be excited by their gift. Unless it has marabou and sequins, my daughters are going to ignore it. Doesn't mean they don't like the clothes, but clothes don't move around and entertain them.

My kids always get too much stuff. Most of it isn't expensive. Heck, I bought a bunch of it on clearance during the summer. But they generally get one expensive present. My son and my youngest daughter are getting Nintendo DS Lites (my middle daughter already has one). Son wanted a Wii. Afraid life is full of disappointments. Although, I'm still going to try again this weekend. I think the flush of victory in getting one would be my reward.

My husband took this week off and is home. That's all I'm going to say about that.

I need to work on some revisions today, I don't have many. By the way, the ms I wrote is a contemporary fantasy romance which takes place in Los Angeles and the world of the fae. No, Kelly, not a historical. As much as I'd like it, my historicals aren't what are garnering interest.

Last night I got my packet of entries for the Golden Heart. I've never judged before so I'm excited. My attitude is to go in assuming the best. I don't like nitpicking on my own stuff and I don't want to do it to anyone else. I didn't enter myself, I've retired from the contest circuit until I can enter the RITA.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Validation

I've been writing since I was about twelve with varying degrees of intensity. In 2001, I made the commitment to finish the historical I'd started eons ago. I did finish it, joined RWA and started submitting it. I sent out 5 queries until my common sense kicked in and I realized it wasn't a very good book, in fact, it was awful. Luckily, the agents I queried saw "American historical" and didn't look any further. Wise of them. Anyway, that was my first experience with querying and agents. The next was a crappy little book I wrote for a new line at Harlequin called "Blaze," maybe you've heard of it? It went nowhere after it was rejected. For three years, I'd only been rejected in my writing. It wasn't enough to make me quit because I knew those two novels weren't worthy and were more learning tools than anything. My third one, however, bloomed and was good. When it was done and polished, I started querying.

What a long roller coaster, enough I got a little sick from the ride.

I started researching the agents, finding the ones who I felt would be interested in my book. I sent out those queries and actually had a bunch of requests for partials. As rejections came in, I expanded my search. I got more requests for partials and some of those went on to fulls. I actively sought representation on that book for 18 mos. and probably queried 30 agents. Nothing happened. I have a big stack of rejections (in fact, I just got one the other day, over a year after I submitted the full). It is grinding and I have to admit, I really felt gun shy about querying again.

So I finished my latest ms and decided to throw it out there. It was my first in first person POV and I never had a CP for it. I've only queried a handful of agents, receiving a couple of requests. I sent the full of my ms to Andrea Somberg of Harvey Klinger, Inc. last Sunday. On Friday, she called and offered me representation. She loved the book, thought it was wonderful. I was truly floored and after a weekend of drinking champagne, it still hasn't sunk in.

My chances of publication have probably increased exponentially, but that isn't what means more to me right now. I feel validated. It is kind of sad, really, it takes a third party to make me feel worthwhile as a good writer, but I think that is something I am not alone in suffering.

The point I want to make, however, is that this is a business full of surprises. I honestly figured 2007 would be the year I spent looking for an agent for this book. I did not think this would happen so fast and I'm aware this isn't the norm. So if you are writing and are getting rejected, don't give up, it may not be the time and the place for that particular story, the next one may be the one. You never know. I honestly had no idea this book would resonate with anyone. But it did. Trust your instinct. If it feels good to you, go for it.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Party Animal

I went to a holiday party last night. It was held at a place called Joe's Garage. Not bad a place, but the party was disappointing. The food was mediocre and the band was marginal. They had gambling tables and an open bar. I thought I was looking forward to it, but once we got there, I found it dull. I didn't know anyone there, the party was held by a company hubby has done work with. They host it for their employees and the few outsiders they consider important to their business. Anyway, I don't enjoy gambling unless there is real money involved. Even if it's nickel, dime, quarter poker, I enjoy it. When it's meaningless chips, I get bored quickly. This was weird: they had a mashed potato bar. I'm not kidding. There was a chafing dish of mashed potatoes with several kinds of gravy, tiny bits of chicken, sour cream and cheese. You could scoop your potatoes into a champagne glass and top it with what you chose. Ummm....I passed. They had a carving station with roast beef, but I think it was actually pot roast. Not bad, but still. They did have cheesecake which is always a plus.

Anyway, the point of this post is my realization that they could have had all my favorite foods and I still wouldn't have enjoyed myself because I don't like socializing. How weird is that? Even friends' parties wear on my nerves. I wasn't always like this. I was a good time girl back in college, but now, I'd rather sit at home and watch t.v. or read. I don't know why I've changed so much, but there you go. How about you? Have you gotten more social as you've gotten older or less so?


One More Little Thing....

I was offered representation by an agent this morning. I've taken it calmly (YEAH, RIGHT). This was my latest ms that I just finished polishing. She read it one night, couldn't put it down until she finished it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006




Thirteen Television Shows I'm Embarrassed to Admit I Like




Thanks to the anonymity of the Internet, I can reveal the shameful secrets of my television watching habits. These are in no particular order.


1. Emergency! - When I was six, I knew I would someday be Mrs. Johnny Gage
2. The A-Team
- I pity the fool who doesn't love it when a plan comes together.
3. Banacek - I guess I have a thing for George Peppard. For this particular show, it was the sexy ascot.
4. Charlie's Angels - Sexy yet virginal. When I was home with my son when he was newborn, we'd watch the reruns. He loved Chris.
5. Quincy - my SIL and I were going to create a drinking game. Every time Quincy says "How do you sleep at night?" you have to drink. Contrary to what you see on "Quincy," Los Angeles does have more than one M.E., two detectives and one restaurant.
6. Laugh-In- you bet your sweet bippy.
7. Love, American Style- all that innuendo. It's where "Happy Days" got its start.
8. Columbo-just one more thing.
9. Mama's Family- Vickie Lawrence was a hoot.
10. Beauty and the Geek-Like watching a train wreck.
11. The Love Boat- Florence Henderson guest-starred on this show 9 times. I didn't like it when they brought on Capt. Stubing annoying daughter.
12. Celebrity Fit Club- Heavens this is an embarrassing show.
13. Da Ali G Show - I just discovered this one. Really, really funny but the kind of humor you never want to admit to.



Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Monday, December 11, 2006

How Was Your Weekend?

I had one of those mixed bag weekends.

I finished my revisions on my ms. I started going through it a third time and noticed I was skipping through it and I knew what the next line was. I figured if I looked at it again, I'd start screwing it up. Sometimes in our need to polish, we polish out that which makes it unique. So I stopped. I'm pleased with it. I don't think it is my best writing because it is contemporary and I think my voice shines in historical. But what do I know?

I yelled at my kids a lot. Actually, I yelled at Diva the most. She isn't human right now. She spent the night at a friend's house on Saturday. The other two kids were so well behaved without her. She really knows how to stir things up. She's going to make a great lawyer. When she came home Sunday she was such a brat and so obnoxious, I made her stay upstairs and out of my sight. She ended up taking a nap.

I made cookie dough for Christmas cookies. Got the sugar cookie dough made without incident but when I started on the gingerbread, I discovered I had no more cinnamon. Diva has gone through a cinnamon toast phase, so I'm sure she used it up. Had to run to the store and get more. I hate interruptions of that nature.

Went appliance shopping on Saturday. I bought a new cook top, two dishwashers, a trash compactor, a warming drawer, a range hood, a microwave, a wine chiller and an outdoor set of burners. We are getting ready to remodel the kitchen so the contractor wanted the appliances planned so the cabinets could be designed around them. It was pretty fun. The stuff won't be delivered until March, but we are now committed to the remodel.

I found a missing book. I was really eager to read Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas but when I went to pull it off my shelf, it was gone. I found it yesterday in a suitcase. I guess I packed it when I went to Hawaii.

We got a Christmas tree. It's still in the box. We decided to go artificial this year. It's pre-lit so we are going to miss out on the yearly husband-wife light fight. I did get the shivers when he told the kids that next year we will have the artificial tree and a real tree. Now he decides to be Mr. Christmas.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Bah! Humbug!

Really, I'm not a Scrooge but neither am I ebullient with Christmas Spirit. I've been reading in blogs where people are complaining they don't have their usual excitement about the holidays. Life has becoming overwhelming and they aren't enjoying the season like they used to.

I'm just not Christmasy, haven't been for a long time. Not that I dislike the holiday, I just don't go all out. I do have my reasons. Nothing tragic, at least nothing tragic which affected how I feel about the holidays.

I grew up with Christmas Woman. My mother has always gone overboard with Christmas and our house was always decorated with a mountain of decorations. She hasn't changed much, she puts up two Christmas trees and does a full light show on her house. We always had Christmas cookies and candy, presents under the tree, etcetera. My mom would go on this holiday high which lasted from Thanksgiving until New Year's. Then it crashed in January.

My home life growing up was not perfect, as if any one's ever is. My dad drank and my mom suffered from bouts of crippling depression. I always felt this sense of desperation at Christmas, as if we used the holidays as a band aid for the darkness in our lives. Oh, it wasn't a dark tunnel of misery, certainly not enough to make a Lifetime movie out of. And believe me, I cleaned up on Christmas morning, being an only child and all. But I do remember feeling an edge to the holidays. And January, watch out. As is common, my mother's mood plunged. She freely admits to the winter blues. Especially in California because we often have lovely weather in December then really crummy weather in the next 3 months. Kind of negates the elation of the holidays.

When I grew up, my first jobs were in retail. There ain't nothing that can beat the holiday spirit out of a person like working retail at Christmas time. I ended up doing all my Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve because I couldn't stand going into the stores. I'd had holiday overload. It was exhausting.

So now I have my own home and I have a new set of reasons. One, my kids are death on decorations. The year I got married, I bought a village at Target. I haven't set it up in years because I know what will happen. I've lost many decorations to the savages. Some more precious than others. Usually, by the end of Christmas, there are hardly any decorations on the tree anyway. Two, my kids are so wound up this time of the year as well. The two girls have their birthdays in November and my son has his birthday two days before Christmas. They are so over-excited this time of year, I try to downplay the holidays just to keep us all sane.

I think there is too much pressure this time of year to be, well, merry. If we aren't in a celebratory mood, there must be something wrong. The messages we receive this time of year make us feel obligated to be happier, more generous than usual. Sometimes, I think it is too much. Moms really get hit with it. I do almost all the shopping, the baking, the decorating, what have you. I used to put a great deal of pressure on my self trying to have a Martha Stewart-style holiday. It didn't make my happy and it didn't make anyone else happy either.

The holidays should be fun and joyful, not an obligation. So don't worry if you don't have the holiday spirit. Pick and choose what pleases you about the holidays. I listen to Christmas music (except for yesterday's list) and drink egg nog. Add some Christmas cookies and I feel pretty Christmasy. Make it simple and enjoy the people around you. That's what the holidays should be about.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Thirteen Christmas Songs I Could Live Without Hearing ever Again


"You're a mean one, Mrs. Grinch...."

1. Silent Night-What kind of psycho vicious Scrooge doesn't like this song? It is so whiny...It's like nails on a chalkboard.
2. Here Comes Santa Claus
3. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
4. Frosty the Snowman
5. The Twelve Days of Christmas
6. Blue Christmas- shudder
7. Silver Bells - another whiny song
8. White Christmas - it implies it just isn't Christmas without snow. I have never had a white Christmas in my life and am not ever planning to.
9. Home for the Holidays - too perky
10. Jingle Bell Rock -also, too perky
11. Jolly Old St. Nicholas -I have a thing against Santa Songs.
12. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - wake me up when it's over
13. Any Christmas song sung by Barbra Streisand -I could go on a whole rant about this, but I will leave it at being tacky and greedy.




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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!





Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Revisions

I started revising my MS this weekend. I'd pretty much done the first three chapters awhile ago so I had a 50 page jump on it. I'm on page 113 and I expect to get through 100 pages today.

I'm not a multiple-draft kind of writer. I write something, it almost never changes. The biggest changes I've made so far are some word changes to keep the continuity and I had a genderless character which, well, needed one. I'm not sure what the next 100 pages will present, but I doubt it will be too much change beyond proofreading errors and typos.

Once I write something, it changes very little. Is this because I plan and plan every detail of my book? No, I'm a panster although I know where my story starts and how it ends before I start writing. Am I preternaturally talented, blessed by the writing gods with unparalleled brilliance? Don't I wish, that would be cool. Am I so dense I don't recognize my own poor efforts and I'm blinded to my own amateurish efforts? That could be, I'm not published, but I don't think so.

So what is the answer? Oh, there isn't just one, but I've learned a few things from writing and my style. Everytime I finish a story, I find I have learned more about my writing and it makes it easier.

I think the biggest thing I've learned is to trust my writing. I don't think we as writers trust ourselves enough. We have ourselves so convinced that we need to revise even before we start writing, we sabotage ourselves. We feel those words we put down on the page aren't worthy until they've gone through four or five revisions. But if we revise too much, we dilute our voice. I guess that is another thing, I know my voice, feel confident in it. Voice is such an elusive concept, but once we can recognize our voice, writing becomes so much easier.

Another thing is experience. I think this WIP is number seven. Not all of those other WIP's were finished, but most of them made it to the 3/4 mark. But every piece of writing revealed to me my strengths and weaknesses, making me focus on what I need to work on. Once I grasped those concepts, they get incorporated into my internal editor.

Which is the next thing. I cannot switch my internal editor off. Ever. It works like a filter between my brain and my fingers. Like a coffee filter, I guess. The raw grounds of my writing get strained into the true product. All of my own personal writing "rules" have their place and my writing has to pass through them before making it to the keyboard.

It isn't a perfect method and it may be my downfall eventually. I'm not published, so I could be completely out my mind, but I'm not sure I can write any other way. I do have lots and lots of crap on my hard drive to prove how long it has taken me to get to this point. I've got WIP's that hit the 75k word mark which I decided didn't work and are forgotten. My style didn't happen overnight, it has evolved and will continue to evolve.

How about you? How much revision do you do? Are you one who needs lots of drafts or are you a "set in stone" writer? Do you try different methods when editing?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Just Desserts

I'm kind of a believer in karma. We reap what we sow and all that stuff. People tend to get their reward, although it isn't always what they thought. So where is all this philosophy headed? Did I get a brand new car? Did Berkeley offer me a 10 book deal? No, but it is still pretty cool.

I cleaned the top of my fridge, one of those tasks nobody likes to do. But I was rewarded. I found TWO unopened boxes of Girl Scout cookies.

I apply the karma idea to everything, especially writing. I've yet to meet a writer who has gotten published that didn't put his or her dues in to get published. Except for Pamela Anderson, but she is suffering some nasty karma these days. Anyhow, we get out of writing what we put into it. And sometimes it isn't the brass ring of publishing. I suppose that was the biggest lesson I learned from Nano. While I want to publish more than I want most things, I write for the pleasure of it. It was something I'd forgotten.

This weekend Susan Squires and her husband Harry spoke to our chapter. I could really gush about these two authors, they are so warm and engaging and so generous with their knowledge and experience. Listening to them, I really absorbed a great deal. We only had 4 members show up (me included) so the setting was very intimate and I could have sat there all day talking to them. Oh, now I'm gushing. Anyway, Susan's books are truly books she loves to write. If anyone has read her, you know she is not writing to anyone else's formula. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't but it is hers. Same goes for Harry. His book "What Rough Beast" was terrific and a book I'd love to see go into a series. But it isn't something you are going to find anywhere, its a book he believes in. What I took most from their talk is believing in your project and realizing it may or may not sell right away. But if the writing is good, it will sell eventually. As I said, I believe in karma.

In other news....

Thing has decided that Power Rangers rule the universe and should actually be the only thing on television. It doesn't matter what dopey version it is (there are a gazillion) she watches them all. Amazingly, she wants to be a Red Power Ranger rather than one of those prissy Pink ones. She runs around the house doing Power Ranger moves, all accompanied by loud screaming. Ah well, keeps her out of the flour.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Thirteen Things I Learned About Myself and NaNoWriMo


1. That I can win. This was my first year trying and I'm flushed with triumph.
2. When I push myself in my writing, I can get it done.
3. I can do this and still have a life.
4. I waste a lot of time doing nothing. After seeing how many words I could produce in a day, I realized I do spend precious minutes doing nothing. A disconcerting discovery to be sure.
5. Oh, I do love to write. Being immersed in my writing takes me away.
6. The more I wrote, the easier it got. Except for the end. I finished my book yesterday but realized I had come up short for Nano. I spent two hours adding 500 words.
7. Instead of being exhausted creatively, I'm invigorated. I'd love to jump right back into it today but I don't think my back could take it.
8. The idea behind Nano is to turn off the internal editor. Discovered my internal editor is as much a part of my writing as anything else.
9. I need to go back to the gym. I devoted the time I would have been at the gym to writing.
10. My kids have a sixth sense. If they see I'm heavily involved in my writing, that's the time to totally misbehave and get into stuff. For example, Thing wandered out of the kitchen naked and covered with flour. I asked her what she'd been doing. "I peed in the flour." File that under "why I drink."
11. Non-writers think I'm insane, but they respect it.
12. Atmosphere is inconsequential when I write. If I can crank out 4K words while "Power Rangers" is blaring non-stop from the t.v., I can do anything.
13. I MISSED YOU GUYS AND THE BLOGOSPHERE IN GENERAL. I'm going to start catching up today.




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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!




Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Big Push

As you can see by the word count on the right, I'm getting close to goal on Nano. To be honest, I didn't think I could do this, especially considering the amount of other things I needed to do. I'm determined to win this year, so I will be absent from the Internet for most of this week.

My Thanksgiving was non-eventful, not even post worthy. Didn't go shopping yesterday, nothing of any interest to buy. But I did write, over 2k words. And I changed my template. Don't get warm and mushy with this one, it won't last. I just needed a break from color. I'll be getting fancier once Nano is done.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Partied Out

It was party central here at the ol' ranch this weekend. Diva turned 7 on Thursday and Thing turned 4 yesterday. Here's Diva getting her ears pierced for a birthday present. Thing got in on the action as well. I wasn't planning on her getting hers done, but she insisted. I figure the pain of the piercing would pale compared to the pain of the temper tantrum I'd experience. Neither one cried. Diva has way too much pride for that. Thing started to cry until she looked in the mirror. As soon as she saw her ears, she was thrilled.
Yesterday was Diva's party. We counted somewhere around 23 kids at the house. It was total chaos. There were kids everywhere. Nothing was broken and they didn't make as big of a mess as you might think. Afterwards, we had a small family party for Thing.

All in all, it was a pretty successful day. My fingers hurt from undoing the twisty things toy manufacturers insist on using in packaging the toys. I'm way behind on Nano so today is going to be a writing day. I'm too tired to do much else and I have to wait until the garbage pickup has come in order to finish clean up. We filled all the trash and recycling plus put some stuff in my neighbor's cans. At least I'm done with festivities, at least until Wednesday when it's time to get ready for Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


My Thirteen Favorite James Bond Movies

In honor of Casino Royale's opening tomorrow, I'd thought this appropriate.

1. Goldeneye. It probably isn't chic to go with a Pierce Brosnan film first, but this movie had everything I liked about a bond movie and the bond girls were interesting. Sean Bean made a great villain.
2. Goldfinger. I love the golf game with Bond and Goldfinger. Oddjob's a great villain. And Pussy Galore? What a name.
3. Thunderball. Seems so quitesssential Bond.
4. Never Say Never Again. Not part of the Broccoli Bond franchise but more Thunderball than Thunderball. Barbara Carerra was great and I liked the older Connery in this movie.
5. On Her Majesty's Secret Service. George Lazenby was not a bad Bond. I didn't like Telly Savalas as Blofeld but the action scenes were very good. Diana Rigg seemed like the kind of woman Bond would marry.
6. License to Kill. "He didn't agree with something that ate him." I have always had a soft spot for Timothy Dalton. I thought he made a great Bond. Two trivia pieces: the guy who played Felix Leiter also played Felix in "Live and Let Die" in 1973 and the actor who plays the puppet president is the son of the actor who played Kerim Bey in "From Russia With Love."
7. From Russia With Love. Red Grant was a great bad guy. Lots of great locales and
the whole Cold War element was terrific.
8. Dr. No. Where it all began.
9. Diamonds Are Forever. Vegas, baby. I loved the two assassins, Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint, were very creepy.
10. Tomorrow Never Dies. Michelle Yeoh was terrific and it had a remote control car.
11. Live and Let Die. One of the few Roger Moore movies I could tolerate. Jane Seymour was so pretty although her tarot card reading sucked.
12. Die Another Day. I didn't like this movie the first time I saw it, but I like it better now. The invisible car is so cool and the fencing scene is terrific.
13. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Yeah, I know, not a Bond movie. But it has Truly Scrumptious, a Bond girl name and Auric Goldfinger singing that choochee face song.
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Monday, November 13, 2006

Why I Drink Part 4

Remember in the movie "Airplane" when Lloyd Bridges' character kept saying "Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit...." And he'd pick some addiction and they got worse each time he said it? That quote always runs through my head when I've had a bad week and last week qualified. Something happened at hubby's work which created a huge problem for us. I spent two days trying to help sort it out. Nothing which is going to make us fall apart but royal pain in the butt. Anyway, in the midst of this, Thing and I were out shopping. I stopped by the reptile store and picked up some crickets to feed to the toads at school. Thing loves to hold the bag so I let her. Y'all know where this is going. At the stop light on our way to school, Thing suddenly screams and bawls. I look in the rear view mirror and there she is, waving the popped bag of crickets around. I managed to catch six but the other 19 were loose in the car. They could still be in there, I don't know, haven't seen them.

It really cracked into my writing but I made up for it on Sunday so I'm back on track. Hope everyone else is having a productive month.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Why I Drink Part 3

Diva: What's for dinner?
Me: Chili.
Diva: I don't want chili.
Me: Too bad.
Diva: (crying) Can't I have something else?
Me: No
Diva: (Escalating waterworks) Please, my head hurts, I can't eat chili.
Me: (gritting teeth) We are having chili.
Diva: (crying pitifully) Can I have a piece of cold pizza?
Me: (in a proud moment of parenting) Fine just stop bawling.
Diva: (watches everyone else getting chili) Can I have some chili?
She ended up eating two servings.
a
I am absolutely giddy with excitement over the release of this book. When I heard it was coming out, I started counting the days. I am one sick puppy.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Pain in the Pinkies

I'm knocking on 10K words for Nano so far and my hands are paying for it. Actually, it is just my pinky fingers. They hurt. About 30 years ago I broke both of them. My friends and I had gone Christmas caroling and I tripped. In trying to save whatever sweet treat I had in my hands, I landed on both pinkies. I didn't realize it at the time but I had broken them. Up until now the breaks haven't meant much except something to show off at parties. They healed so fast when I was a kid, I doubt there was much they could have done and as I said, they didn't give me much grief. Until now.

I'm a typist. I touch type so my fingers are generally in the correct position. My wrists probably aren't because I'm lazy but they don't get bothered. I noticed this weekend my pinkies are really sore. They're fine while I'm typing, but afterwards they hurt. I suspect there is some arthritis in there and hence the aching. It isn't slowing me down (I have kids for that) but I certainly feel it at the end of the day.

Weekends are not good writing days. Too much to do. Even when I have a block of time, the constant interruptions put a crimp in my production. So I spent the weekend doing stuff to keep my week light: housecleaning, cooking with the intention of having leftovers, laundry, etc. I'm hoping this week will be a big production week.

Which leads me to the last tidbit for this post. I'm going to be pretty scarce over the next couple of weeks. I've gotten myself into a jam and I will need to spend some time getting out of it. Don't worry, nothing bad or dire, just a little overwhelming. I will tell you all about it at the end of the month. I probably won't post much but I will try to go through the blogroll. A lot of times I do visit without commenting (Gypsy, I can't comment on your blog right now, tried 3 times yesterday. Its not you, its me and the problem will clear up when I re-boot). So if you don't see anything from me for the next couple of weeks, I'm alive, just swamped.

Friday, November 03, 2006

And We're Off....

Halloween was a rousing success. The kids got a major haul of candy. This is them in front of City Hall after they trick or treated in the downtown area. The kid in the mask is my son's friend who pretty much invited himself along. Hey, the more the merrier. We went up to my folks' neighborhood that night and there were hardly any trick or treaters. People were giving my kids handsful of candy. And it was the good stuff. Full size candy bars and tubes of Mentos (I had no idea they actually had their own website...Hence I had to include it). The only odd thing was we had trick or treaters at our house. In the four Halloweens I've lived here, this was the first time. The street we live on has no street lights. At night, it is pitch black. Most of the houses are on one acre lots and are pushed back from the street pretty far. It is not an inviting place to go trick or treating. Anyway, we got home and hubby went outside to get the mail. When he came back in, he forgot and left the porch light on. Twenty minutes later we get trick or treaters. I had no candy. I was a bit irritated because these kids were well into high school. I think that is too old. But I gave them some of the candy my kids collected. They have enough they will never finish. Once the kids left, I turned the light off. At 9:30, after my kids have gone to bed, there is a knock at the door. Two teenage girls were trick or treating. Okay, it is so dark out there, it is a wonder they made it to my porch without falling on the steps. There is one light on in the living room. What in the hell were they thinking? I told them I had no candy. Talk about stupid.

The next day began NaNoWriMo. My kids also had the day off, the teachers had an in-service day. Luckily, my folks to the kids for most of the day and I got over 2500 words. Yesterday wasn't as good but today I'm on a good pace. Hope everyone else is doing well with Nano. I'm finding I have a lot more time than I thought I would. I've also discovered I can't sit in a chair and write for hours, my back won't allow it. So I've been breaking up my writing into sections with a set number of words per sitting time. Once I hit that goal I go and do something else. So far it seems to be working.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Shaken not Stirred

So here's the costume. Hubby was James Bond and I was a martini. I thought it turned out cute; I was pretty pleased. It was a bit hit at the party. I'm not really a party kind of person. The food was good, the drinks were awesome. They had casino tables for black jack, roulette & craps, but to be honest, I don't care much for gambling unless real money is involved. We were home before 10 p.m. Yeah, that's us, a wild and crazy pair.

Yesterday was one of those can't-catch-a-breath days. My daughter's soccer game was at 12:30. It was in the mid-80's yesterday and the girls played hard. Most of them ended up bawling at some point. Diva had a good game although she played half-back the first quarter then ended up forward the next. That was a little too much for her. Going from forward to half-back would have been easier. Anyway, she seems to be back in the swing of things with soccer. I think next year she will have a stellar year.

After soccer was the Village VentureThis is a huge street faire that takes over the downtown area. The booths sell out early every year and the array of artisans are amazing. The food isn't bad. I ate a risotto from a restaurant called Tutti Mangia. It was really tasty but that was pretty much the highlight. I finally realized the faire doesn't change at all from year to year. It is the same vendors offering the same items. Not that it is bad, but I came to the conclusion after going for 10 years, I could probably start skipping it. Part of my reasons for going is the tradition of going, but going with my kids makes it more effort than it is worth. They aren't bad, but they have no real interest in going. I might go next year without my kids. Maybe I will appreciate it more.

It is the last weekend before NaNoWriMo. I haven't given it much thought although in some ways it feels like a vacation. For a period of time each day, I will have to leave my daily routine and disappear into a fictional one. It could be the saving grace for a busy month.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Celtic Mythology

UPDATE: I finished the costume!


Don't you hate when there is a book you want to read but you can't find it in your bookshelf? I wanted to read a Dean Koontz book but I couldn't find it. I have no idea where I put it. So in my pique, I settled on a book about Celtic mythology. Why I picked it up, I'm not sure. Okay, I bought it because it was cheap and had big, pretty pictures. I'm a patsy for cheap and big, pretty pictures. Its short and I knew I had a lot going on right now. Plus, I need to be done with it by November 1st. Can't have a book going during Nano. Anyway, I'm finding it fascinating.

I've never really read much about Celtic mythology. Greek and Roman has always been my interest, but since my writing involves creatures which originated from the Celtic regions, I thought it would help me deepen my characters if I knew more about their origins.

Mythology in any form is a good research tool for any writer. The Hero's Journey is such a common theme, whether it is Odysseus or Mael Duin. The idea of a hero completing a task, bucking the system and paying for it before they can find their HEA is a common one. As a writer, the more I read these types of myths, the easier time I have constructing a story.

I still haven't found my Dean Koontz book but I am glad in a way because I'm enjoying the Celtic stuff so much. Have you been surprised by your interest in a topic? I know we historical writers can be led into strange tangents when we are doing research. Suddenly we are fascinated with the evolution of cheese or the history of tables. Just one of those hazards. But what about other stuff? Have you read a story in a newspaper and thought, gee I need to find out more? Or become involved with a person who is interested in something way out there and found yourself drawn in as well?

Other musings....

If you happen to catch the Pizza Hut commercial for the "Family Meal Deal," keep a look out for the little blonde boy. He's my nephew. Its the commercial where the dad comes into the room speaking very fast and tossing bags of fast food to the family. My nephew is the youngest child and the commercial ends with a second of him on screen eating a cinnamon thing.

Still working on the costume. I've discovered the power of Aleene's® Flexible Stretchable Fabric Glue®. This should save me much swearing and tearing my hair out.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Manic Thursdays

Thursdays are my insane day. I do all of my errands on Thursday. Here's my list for the day:

1. Grocery store
2. Charity drop
3. Thriftstore shopping for lab coat for son's costume
4. Jo-Ann's for last minute supplies for my costume
5. Target shopping
6. The deli for lunchmeat

All must be done before 2:30 when I pick up my kids. At 4 p.m. is soccer then I think I am done for the day except there is still dinner to fix and I have to work on my @#%^^$$#@&* costume (it isn't going well right now). What is frustrating is I used to be able to shop all day. Now, I look at it as a major chore. Maybe its my age, I don't know, but I hate leaving the house and doing the whole shopping thing. Even for stuff for myself, it seems too much an effort.

Oh, gotta go, just realized the kids have nothing for lunch today so I need to stop at the store on my way to school. Sigh...

Anyone else feel the same way?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Halloween Horrors

Forget your vampires, ghouls, ghosts, werewolves and monsters, true Halloween fright is coming up with costumes. My kids were easy: we went to Target during a sale week and they picked costumes. Supernerd is going to be a mad scientist (boy, is that a stretch *g*). His costume is going to be pretty easy to put together. But hubby and I go to a Halloween party every year so I have to think up costumes for the two of us. I'm a writer, I should be imaginative and full of great ideas. I'm not. My brain doesn't work that way. However, I did come up with something clever. DH's costume is simple and he only needs a few accessories. I could buy my costume, I've seen it online. I didn't see it in the costume shops and I don't trust buying something like that online. If it doesn't fit or looks awful, I'm stuck. So I'm going to have to sew it.

I like to sew, but it seems whenever I get the chance to, I'm on a deadline. This costume isn't going to be cheap to make either. I spent a hefty sum at Jo-Ann's (and a long time in line) to get the stuff. So I'm going to spend the next few days sewing. And inventing. I'm using a pattern for the basic part of the costume but I'm going to have to wing it on the rest. And no, I'm not going to tell you what it is, you'll just have to see it. I'll post a picture next week.

Is Halloween giving anyone else fits yet?

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Life of a Diva

Yesterday the Diva's dad took her to soccer practice. This is unusual in a couple of respects, one, her father rarely has the opportunity and two, he took her on the back of his Vespa scooter. I guess she was in her element, the center of attention, the object of envy for her teammates.

This child was born a diva. I'm not sure how she got this way. I may be a lot of things, but diva is not one of them. I remember back in preschool when I'd go to pick her up. She was rarely in her classroom because one of the teachers was carrying her around. The child has a magnetism which draws others. Of course, she displays none of this when she is at home so I'm always amazed when I got to school and hear people talk about her. Everyone knows her.

But she is not without an agenda. She is trying to be a vegetarian. One reason is because she doesn't like meat although there are exceptions. At six, I'm not real keen on her skipping the protein. Second, she doesn't like the thought of hurting animals. Today I bought her a pair of these boots: She thinks they are quite the thing. However, she her expression turned serious and she asked me if any animals were harmed in the making of these boots. Yeah...Right, I'm going to buy her nice leather boots, think again. I told her know and her relief was immediate. I have a budding PETA member on my hands.

She is an interesting mix. Her concern for animals surprised me; we aren't particularly into animals in this house. I wonder what she will come up with next.

Writing Stuff...

I've issued a writing challenge over at
Villa In Tuscany so if you are looking for a writing motivation, check it out.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tagged

Stephanie tagged me with book meme:

1. One book that changed your life: House of a Thousand Lanterns by Victoria Holt. It was the first romance I ever read and it inspired me to write.

2. One book that you've read more than once: Hmmm, there are a lot of these. I know I've read Jane Eyre more than once and The Grapes of Wrath a few times. Those are the books I'm positive I read cover to cover. I'm much more likely to read bits and pieces over and over again.

3. One book you'd want on a deserted island: The Oxford Companion to United States History. That would keep me busy for awhile.

4. One book that made you laugh: Bridget Jones' Diary. I laughed so hard in that book.

5. One book that made you cry: Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. Geez, that book was sad.

6. One book you wish you'd written: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. While I don't think it is the best of the series, I'm amazed at the level of imagination J.K. Rowling displays. The money would be nice too.

7. One book you wish had never been written: Anything with the words "by William Faulkner" on the book cover. Can't stand his writing and it was made worse by sophomore English class.

8. One book you're currently reading: Undead and Unappreciated by MaryJanice Davidson.

I'm not going to tag anyone but if you'd like, put your answers in the comments.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Pumpkin

I love Autumn. I love the change in temperatures, the colors of the leaves, the holidays. But what I love most is pumpkin. I love its color. I love the many things you can do with it. I counted at least five cans of pumpkin in my pantry. I've been drinking
Pumpkin Ale, got some pumpkin spice white-chocolate covered pretzel sticks, been burning pumpkin spice candles and even bought pumpkin patch perfume oil from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab.

My love affair with this squash has been around as long as I can remember. As a kid I'd eat pumpkin pie for every meal. In those days I was always sick and woefully underweight so my mom gave me anything I wanted to eat. But as I aged, my love of pumpkin only grew. Maybe it is the warm color, subtler than orange, representing the homecoming feel of the season. Perhaps it is the fact it blends so well with strong spices, the mellowness of the pumpkin tempering their overwhelming taste. I'm not sure exactly, I just know the pumpkin represents my joy of the season.

What about you? Do you have an object or food which represents a season to you? As you can see, the pumpkin has gone beyond being a food item and turned into a personal icon. What is your icon?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Reading Like its the End of the World


In a sense, it is, at least until December. Part of my plans for Nano include a reading drought. Time spent on reading could be spent on writing. Everything I've been reading, however, has been spooky. There needs to be some scary element to the story. I suppose it is fitting being that it is October, the month of monsters and mayhem. Do the seasons influence your reading choices? Do you like light books during the summer and deeper stuff in winter? Or does it make any difference to you whatsoever?

Friday, October 13, 2006

NaNoWriMo

I signed up for NaNoWriMo for the first time. I am searching for something to give me a charge in my writing and I'm hoping it helps. I've never attempted it because my Novembers are always so busy, but the rest of the months of the year are booking up just as badly, so I might as well dive in when there is a big support system. I know Nienke is participating in the madness. Anyone else? If I can write 50K words in a month, that will complete my novel. I want this thing done so I can move on to something else. My user name is Renered1 if you look for me over at NaNoWriMo.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Vacation Lowlights

How in the world could a trip to Hawaii have lowlights? Am I nuts? None of these ruined my trip, but they did put a damper on things.

The biggest annoyance was illness. I got so damn sick. The first day I was there I had a sore throat, by the next, it was a full blown cold. I hate that. In Hawaii you can still buy Sudaphed over the counter (can't in California, it is a prime ingredient for meth) and I lived on the stuff. Everytime I get on a plane, I get sick. Last time I went to Hawaii I was 6 months pregnant and I got sick. It worse plus I couldn't take anything. I wasn't as sick this time and I could load up on drugs. But if that wasn't enough, the monthly curse decided to make an early appearance...By two weeks. Of course I wasn't prepared plus it makes me bitchy.

Second was the rental car. We had a piece of crap Caravan. Not that the Caravan is particularly bad as minivans go, but this poor car had been beaten. But that wasn't the worse part. Ms. College-educated paralegal apparently cannot read a rental car contract. Last time I rented a car, the deal was you returned it with a full tank or they charged you. Apparently that isn't the way it is done at Dollar. I guess I pre-paid for a tank of gas without realizing it. Its worse because we were in a rush to get to the airport and we sat in line to fill up forever. When we dropped the car off the lady asked why we filled the tank. Needless to say, I felt like an idiot. Didn't help hubby has been rubbing it in. When I die, it will be the epitaph on my tombstone.

Did I mention the prices??? Okay, I live in California where things are expensive, so for me to be shocked by the prices, it tells you something. What I find most offensive is the wine prices in the restaurants. I know, I'm a Californian, I'm spoiled by wine prices. But if I went into the grocery store in Hawaii, the wine prices were slightly higher than home. Go into a restaurant and you'd be lucky to get a bottle of Ripple for less than $15. Wines I could easily get for $8 a bottle are $25 in the restaurant. Needless to say, I didn't buy any. The food in the restaurants are outrageous. The one really nice dinner we had came with a $300 price tag. This was for a family of 5, two of whom ordered something from the children's menu (which, by the way, didn't exist, it is just an offering the server tells you about). Groceries are high, significantly high. Yes, they are an island and it is harder to get stuff, but the mark up is still way too high. It costs as much for a pineapple there as it does here.

The last lowlight is one I'm dealing with now. Sunburn. I was the only one to get burned and I used SPF 60 while I was outside. But my back and shoulders fried. Yesterday in the shower the skin started sloughing off. Yuck. For several days it hurt to wear anything on my shoulders. I'm fine now. The kids ended up with awesome tans although they were greased up pretty good.

One more thing, I got homesick, can you believe that? After 5 days I was ready to come home. I missed chores. When I got home, I dove into housecleaning like a starving man after food. I think I need my head examined.

You know, Blogger is really ticking me off. It isn't posting photos at all. Tells me it did, but as you can see, there aren't any pictures. Grouse, grouse, grouse.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Vacation Highlights

Sorry, last week was spent trying to catch up with everything and settling back into a routine.

There isn’t a whole lot to say about my vacation because we pretty much did the same thing everyday. I never did get used to the time change so I was generally up around 5 a.m. everyday. Ugh. For the most part we were at the beach by 9 a.m. We went to two; the small cove by our condo and a beach up the road. The beach by our condo had no waves and great snorkeling. Hubby and I pretty much snorkled everyday we went to the beach. We saw all kinds of fish, it was great. The kids, as you could see from the photos, dug in the sand. We’d come home around 11 a.m. for lunch and to spend the most intense sun hours indoors. Then around 2 or 3 we’d head for the beach again.

We did touristy stuff on one day. I’ve done all the touristy stuff before so we skipped the usual like the volcanoes and the ancient sites. We went to a botanical garden and looked at some waterfalls. The problem with the Big Island is that, well, it’s big. In order to get to the other side of the island, you can count on a two hour car ride. You can only travel the perimeter of the island. There is a road which crosses through the middle but it is banned for rental cars. It crosses Mauna Kea and is basically a dirt road which twists around the volcano. Anyway, the thought of spending that much time in a car with my kids pretty much kept our touring to a minimum.

We only ate out three times. Going out to eat with my kids doesn’t appeal to me. We went to Merriman's which is probably my favorite restaurant. Thing slept through most of the meal which made it that much easier to get through the meal. Supernerd ate more than I did and Diva demolished the dessert. We also ate at Big Island Steak House. They were pretty good. Supernerd is an eating machine. Again, Thing slept through a big part of dinner. For the rest of the time, we at the condo. Prices in Hawaii are so outrageous, going out to dinner with a family of five would be crippling. For the most part, my kids were happy with pineapple and eggs for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and a variety of other stuff for dinner.

That is the highlights of my trip. I’ll tell you about the lowlights tomorrow.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Vacation Photos

After spending a day fighting with blogger to load photos, I went ahead and loaded them at Flickr. Here is the link to see them: Hawaii Photos, plus I have them on the sidebar.

Vacations are so hectic. My inlaws hired a limo to take us to the airport and pick us up. I'm converted. We had to be at the airport by 7 a.m., which meant we needed to leave our house by 5:30 in case we hit traffic. Ugh...I set my alarm for 4:15. Anyway, we got to the airport without incident and actually got there early. However, LAX is a totally miserable place to be. I'd managed to get all of us packed into 5 suitcases which had to be checked. United lets you print your boarding passes at home, which I did, but it does nothing to speed you up to check your bags. If you are willing to spend $2 a bag, they have curbside check in. BTW, that does not include gratuity. So we got to stand in a long line with all of our luggage and kids. Even with the check in the night before, we still had to check in anyway. So we get that done and we have to go outside the terminal and come back in through another door to go through the TSA checkpoint. You wanna have some fun? Go through this with your kids. They make you hold your own boarding pass, even if you are three. Thing had to hold her own pass. And we had to take off our shoes. I was smart and wore flip flops. But it is a major pain in the butt. Then we got to sit in the terminal for an hour waiting to board. We spent a screaming fortune on food. The airport has its own methods of terrorism.

The flight going over wasn't a nightmare although it wasn't particularly pleasant either. My son sat with a couple and their baby. His dad sat across the aisle from him. Thing sat between us (I had the window) and Diva sat behind me. Thing was obnoxious. I prayed she'd sleep but no such luck. Diva conked out, but only after spending the first half of the flight talking her seatmate's ear off. We had no leg room. I was so stiff when I got off that plane.

I'll go more into the good stuff tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I'm Home



So, I avoided the Internet as much as I could although I did use it to read the news and watch for any fantabulous emails from desperate publishers eager to publish my prose. Yeah, well, didn't have to worry too much over that.

Anyway, it is going to take me a week to catch up. I will be posting about my trip and going through my blogroll. I did have a marvelous time and I feel the need to start writing big time, I mean on a Nora Roberts level so I can afford to buy me a multi-million dollar mansion on the shores of the Kohala coast.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

ALOHA!!!!

Tomorrow is the big day. We are heading down to LAX on a non-stop to Kona. I'm pretty excited although I'm not much of a flier. I've been busy the last few days with packing and the multitude of details which arise when leaving for a week. Luckily, I have family who are coming over to keep an eye on the house.

Packing has been a joy. I got the kids packed quickly. Hubby and I took longer because things I would ordinarily carry onboard now must go in suitcases. Anyway, we're packed except for the playstation. Yes, I'm taking the playstation. Not only will it occupy the brats but it can double as a DVD player. Yes, I packed DVD's as well. DH and I are in the midst of a James Bond film fest in preparation for Casino Royale in November. When you go on vacation with kids, you can forget a wild nightlife. That's okay, we are going for relaxation anyway.

Packed a bunch of books, its going to be a very paranormal week. I still want to get one more book to round it out. Also took two months worth of Entertainment Weekly's I need to catch up on.

One thing I will not be doing is connecting to the Internet. I don't know if I can do it, the Force is strong. I'm really going to miss the blogosphere, but I think I need the break. I'm sure I will come back rejuvenated with a long series of brilliant and scintillating posts. I find it astounding how much the Internet has become a part of my life and to go a week without it.....I hope I don't end up a drooling maniac.

Anyway, I'm going to go through my blogroll today for the last time for seven long, long days. Hope everyone has a great week and I'll think of you while I roast on the beach in Hawaii.

And, to keep you busy.....

There is a BIAW going on over at Villa in Tuscany so sign up and send your writing into overdrive

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Scattered

So in less than a week I’m off to Hawaii.  I’m not ready.  I’m so darn scattered right now, hence my lack of presence in the blogosphere.  Trying to string two thoughts together has been impossible.  

Got my iPod loaded.  Diva doesn’t know it but I think her daddy is going to buy her a new Gameboy DS before we go, in pink of course.  Supernerd already has one he bought after Christmas and Thing can use one of the older Gameboy SP’s.  Yes, my kids are so spoiled.  But I will do anything if I can keep then entertained.  Also, I find handheld devices to be great leverage.  “Clean your room or you will never see your Gameboy again.”  “Hit your sister one more time and you can kiss your Gameboy goodbye.”  You get the idea.

My inlaws who booked my trip have said that the airline is not assigning seats yet.  Or at least the current seating assignments have us all scattered all over the plane.  Hmmm….Do I change it?  I do think this could be a moneymaking scheme on my part.  When Thing gets seated next to the honeymooning couple and they offer to switch the seats around, I’m going to refuse.  When they beg me, I’ll say it’s going to cost them.  Same with Diva.  Although she comes off so cute at first, people won’t mind sitting next to her.  I figure around mid-flight, I can start my extortion plans.  Supernerd is easy, he’ll be so involved in his game and won’t talk to anyone…Unless they make the mistake of asking him about it.  Believe me, its torture when he starts talking about his video games.  Score one more for extortion.  

For you members of the Thing Fan Club, you’ll find this amusing.  My mom was talking to a kindergarten teacher yesterday down at my kids’ school who says she wants to get Thing in her class next year. My mom thinks she’s nuts.   Diva’s teacher has already said she is going to fight to have Thing in her class.  I think they must be serving something funky in the teacher’s lounge.  Or maybe these women are masochists.  

Sunday, September 17, 2006

And the Winner Is...

I know, I was supposed to do this yesterday but I wasn’t home.  Diva had soccer and a campout and Supernerd had a birthday party.  But that wasn’t what kept me from the computer….

My mother is learning email (insert loud, terrified screaming here).

I’m not a teacher, at least not for computer stuff.  My mother is completely computer illiterate.  She’s educated, but she comes from a time where computers weren’t the norm.  I, on the other hand, have been using computers for far longer than I’d care to recall.  I learned BASIC on a Radio Shack TRS-80 when I was in high school.  And I’ve been on them ever since.  

My folks have a cable modem and my mom bought herself a laptop last Thanksgiving.  It’s a nice little Vaio with a built in wireless card.  So all they needed was a router and I could get her set up.  I bought them a router and set it up on Friday and began an email lesson.

Oh boy.

Its really hard trying to pull myself down to the level she is at.  If you’ve been working on computers for a long time, it feels like riding a bike.  You can sit at any computer and figure out the basic workings, go to an email program and figure out how to run it.  But my mom has none of this experience and technology is a frightening thing.  Technology changes constantly and I think it is very daunting for some.  I was lucky to be part of a generation which grew up with rapid change, I’m used to it.  But my mom…well, she’s very intimidated.  I sat down with her Friday and started showing her how to work email, trying hard not to skip steps and go too fast.

I thought we did pretty good.  Yesterday, I took Diva to Target to pick up some last minute campout supplies.  When I got home, the answering machine was blinking.  When I reached over to play the messages, my husband warned me not to.  Sigh….my mother.

I spent a big chunk of the afternoon trying to explain things, making a conscious effort not to use lingo or assume things like double clicking or how to exit out of a program.  The second call I got from her I could hear hysteria in her voice, the threat of tears.  So I started over.  The toughest part is making her understand the only way she can learn and improve is practice and experimentation.  No one is going to think she is an idiot if she messes up.  It is to be expected.  I got her back on track and she successfully did what she wanted.  I’m hoping that gives her encouragement.  But it did make me appreciate teachers, computers and the wonders of things like email which I take for granted.

Anyway….the winner is Teresa.  Email me your snail addy and I’ll have you smelling like paradise by next weekend.

OH  Big Congrats to Michelle Willingham on her first sale!  Woo Hooo!!!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Fall Cleaning

I don’t believe in spring cleaning.  I’m a fall cleaner, hence the lack of blogging.  I have this frantic need to put my house in order for the new season.  Why?  I’m not sure.  Autumn is my favorite time of year and I truly want to enjoy it.  Amazingly enough, the weather over the last couple of days has cooperated, adding to my fall mood.

However, this isn’t doing much for my writing.  I have done some, but not at the pace I need to keep.  I can kiss off next week, I have lofty packing goals and want to have everything in order before I leave on vacation.

I wasn’t going to take my writing with me, but I don’t know that I can resist.  Hubby is taking his laptop, so I might indulge in one of those mornings on the lanai, sipping my coffee, gazing off at the ocean while I write.  Melts me just thinking about it.  I also plan to spend a lot of time reading.  Oh, I love reading on vacation.  And darn, my TBR is starting to shrink.  Guess I better head to the bookstore before I go.

Unfortunately, my kids are going to, which means they will cut into my reading time.  I’m going to have to pay attention to them while they frolic on the beach.  But hopefully hubby and I can come to a tag team arrangement at the pool.  He likes to read on vacation as well.  

Do you like to read on vacation?  Probably a stupid question.  But I have been on vacations where I didn’t read at all.  I’ve quite often been too busy playing tourist.  Hence, one reason we go back to Hawaii all the time, we’ve done the tourist stuff, now we can relax.  When I was younger, vacation was time to explore, to visit new places.  Now, as I get older, its time to relax.  I think if we took a vacation every year, I’d be more likely to go on adventures, but since we haven’t gone in four years, I crave the slow pace of a holiday.  Are vacations a time for relaxation or adventure for you?

Oh yeah, two other matters of business.  I haven’t had any responses to the blog carnival, so I think I will cancel it.  To be honest, I’ve been pretty darn busy, so I’m not all that  broken up about it.  Maybe we’ll do one in October, maybe a special Halloween edition, wouldn’t that be fun?  

Also, tomorrow I will have a winner for my drawing and announce it.  And I can catch up on the blogroll.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Why I Drink, Part 2

As I was getting ready to go pick up my older kids on Friday, I discovered Thing in the kitchen with a bottle of chocolate syrup. A very, very bad combination. I learned long ago to keep the water in the tub all day long for just such emergencies.
This is what I found on Saturday. These are her tub toys. Why they are in the toilet, I don't know. Thank goodness she didn't try to flush. Sunday night she wanted a bath. When I told her no, she got out the margarine and covered herself with it so I would have to give her a bath. I didn't indulge her. She got wiped down with a wet paper towel and put on time out. I do have to applaud her sinister thought process. Now you know where my inspiration comes from for my villains. When she isn't causing trouble, she is the most affectionate, charming children I've ever met. I suspect it is a self-defense mechanism.

I don't understand why she does these things. Is it a "baby" behavior or something far more frightening? I've discovered my children are well on the way to being smarter than me. I sometimes wonder if my kid is one up on me. She can operate a computer and play a gameboy. Heck, at 3 years old, she can swing and hit a pitch. But then she does these ridiculous things. Is she trying to give me a heart attack?

The mouth is getting better. Some things still bother it like acid based drinks and vinegar. No, I don't drink vinegar but it is a prime ingredient in low fat salad dressing. I've got two weeks to get it better so I can suck down tropical drinks in Hawaii.

I'm back to writing. Oh yeah, I had this brilliant idea in the middle of the night the other night for a new WIP. I sat down the next day and wrote 5 pages just to keep it there. But I have to finish the WIP I'm on. I'm almost halfway and I just had a pivotal scene, so it should be smooth sailing for a chapter or two.

Don't forget...
Scroll down to Saturday's post for my little giveaway.

AND...
I've got the next blog carnival scheduled to be released next Monday. The topic is the perfect hero. If you have a post you want to submit, email me the link or submit through Blog Carnival.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Impulse & Giveaway

I’m an impulse shopper.  Not big ticket items, but the little things, particularly smelly stuff like candles and shower gels.  Books and magazines also get me as does those endless Celtic music cd’s available at holiday craft shows.  I’m a patsy for those kinds of things.  

Impulse also is a hallmark of my writing.  I don’t think out a story line, it just burst, an impulsive idea which gets typed out with little thought.  Sometimes it goes someplace, a lot of times it doesn’t.  But I have a burst of creative impulse that must be given life.  Quite often it comes in the form of a short story and rarely do I share them.  

These are the only two areas I give in to impulse.  For the most part, I keep to a steady path, giving thought and consideration to everything from the kind of car I want to the brand of peanut butter I’m going to buy.  

Which leads me to the giveaway.  Remember my trip to Vegas?  Well, I impulse shopped and bought a set of Hawaiian shower gels which I stuck in my drawer and promptly forgot.  I have no need for these things, I have enough shower gel to bathe the entire population of Brazil.  I had the satisfaction of buying them, so now I’m going to give them away to a good home where they will be appreciated.  I have a set from Forever Florals.  It has three different fragrances:  Coco Papaya, White Ginger & Pikake.  One lucky person can smell like the Islands.

How are you impulsive?  Is it shopping?  Behavior?  Writing? Temper?  I’ll draw a name from the comments on Friday.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Happy New Year

Thank you all for your concern, my mouth is much better.  I’m down to taking Advil only a couple of times a day.  It’s going to take awhile to heal completely but at least the pain isn’t going through my entire head now.  My focus is back.

So my new year has started.  I know the traditional beginning is January and has been since the 18th century for us English speakers, but for me it is September.  In fact, my year goes from September to June, July and August are formless blobs of time and don’t count.  September is the beginning of everything.

My family has something to do almost everyday of the week beyond school and work.  I’ve entered the “Mom’s Taxi” phase of motherhood and is it ever a pain.  I’m a hermit at heart and prefer to be at home, but duty calls.  Now I really have to be organized.

I picked up The Family Organizer at Wal-Mart and it has been pretty helpful.  I like the structure, it has the week’s menu on the same page as the week’s activities.  Makes meal planning so much easier.  I’ve also returned to grocery shopping with a list.  I can no longer meander down the aisles in a fog, I have to be focused.  Time is a valuable commodity and shopping with a list is so helpful.  Plus it saves money.  

Looking at my schedule and the things I have to do, I realize I have to start writing on a real schedule.  Not a nebulous goal-oriented schedule, but a solid time-in-the-chair schedule.  During the summer, having a 5 page goal was fine, but now, I don’t have the time control.  I need to fit the writing in at a certain time and make it a scheduled part of my day.  I have to do it with exercise as well.  Working out isn’t that tough for me to make time for.  The gym is on my way home from dropping the kids off at school, so the Thing and I can stop off for an hour on the way home.  But writing is a different story.  The creative genius fluctuates.  Sometimes I feel authorly at 10 a.m., other times, at 10 p.m.  But such frivolities aren’t going to work.  I firmly believe we can train ourselves to fit what has to be done, whether we like it or not.  It isn’t going to be easy, but it can be done.  And maybe that is the secret to being a successful author.  I think if I can make myself write at a scheduled time.  Writing is really my last frontier with regards to discipline.

What do you struggle with?  Doesn’t have to be writing, but is there something in your life you have had to force yourself to do?  Or find creative ways of fitting into your life?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I'm Number One....

I went to the dentist today and he told me the burn in my mouth was the worst one he'd ever seen. Unfortunately, there really isn't anything he can do at this point. If it hasn't gotten significantly better next week, I have to come back and he'll do something. Sigh...Also found out he bought his wife a Bentley. Damn, I should have married a dentist.

I back to popping Advil Gel Caps (these are the greatest, not only do they work fast, they don't bother my stomach) and feeling better. I think I was worried that he'd have to do something invasive and painful. My focus is a little better now.

First Day of School

How heavenly it was to drop off those little monsters. Diva took off after school on a playdate. Supernerd complained that all the sixth graders in his class (he's in a 4-5-6 class) have cell phones. Subtle hint...NOT. I was so happy to see my daughter's teacher, she's so wonderful. Tomorrow is her birthday so I ordered a cake. Actually, it is a cake made up of cupcakes. I heard this afternoon after I ordered the cake that one of the kids is celebrating his birthday as well. Plenty of cake for everyone.

I know I had a bunch of stuff to talk about, but my mind is drawing a blank. I really wish the dentist could have given me a magic pill to make this go away. I did want to mention the September edition of the blog carnival, "This Thing Called Love." The topic is what makes the perfect hero. You can either send me your link via email or submit it directly through Blog Carnival (the link is in my sidebar). The carnival will be posted on September 18, so I need your links by the 17th.

Hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow and I can talk about my little giveaway.

Quick Post

Sorry, I'm falling down on my blogging both as a reader and writer. My mouth has not improved and I'm going to the dentist this afternoon to see what is up. This was supposed to be a good day; my kids are back in school. But the pain in my mouth is going all through my head. The pain makes focusing difficult. Hopefully I can catch up to my blogroll tonight.

Glad you like the layout, tres Lilly Pulitzer, don't you think? It was a pre-made layout hence the only reason I could focus and do it. I like the colors.

I will post tomorrow. I think I'm going to have a giveaway to celebrate my kids return to school and my impending vacation. Until then, I'm going to lay on the couch and moan in pain. I can't take anymore Advil or I'm going to end up with my stomach in a mess. I can't take the Tylenol 3's because they make me a little woozy and since I have to drive today, not such a good idea.

Friday, September 01, 2006

One of those Weeks

Ever have one of those weeks where it just didn't pay to get out of bed? I'm having one of those right now.

I burned the top of my mouth the earlier this week pretty bad on some spaghetti sauce. The pain has radiated down through my jaw and it hurts to eat, move, think, whatever. Oral pain is the worst, I'd rather go through labor again.

My laptop re-booted itself which it does on occasion for whatever updates its downloaded. My WIP was closed down without my participation. Not really a big deal because Word saves it as is when the program shuts down only it saves it as a backup file. When I opened Word the next day, it gave me the opportunity to open the last save. I deleted it instead and lost about 3 pages of work. Not a devastating blow, but certainly an annoyance.

The Thing has been so obnoxious this week no one can stand her. She is getting into things at a rate I can't keep up with and she isn't sleeping at night. I'm so tired, I haven't had a decent nights' sleep all week and I can't begin to describe the messes I've had to clean up. She spilled (poured?) shampoo all over the bathroom floor which required me to scrub on my hands and knees to get it off.

The frosting on the cake of my week happened yesterday when I received a call from the stables where the Diva takes riding lessons. Apparently Scooter died. He was very old, I heard he was about 30 years old, so he was living on borrowed time. My daughter was the last one to ride him on Wednesday and she got to give him carrots. Anyway, DH and I got the unenviable task of telling her last night. She was alright at first, I was a little surprised. But ten minutes later she fell apart. Broke my heart. Its one thing to see them cry because their brother called them a name, another to see them devastated. She's okay now, a little subdued. I'm sure she will fall in love with her new horse next week.

There have been a couple of bright spots. The book I was reading Rebecca Forster's Privileged Witness was awesome, a total page turner. Talk about an escape. She writes legal thrillers. Great suspense.

The other positive was I finished the first big phase in my recipe project. I found some great recipes, found some others that I had to wonder what the hell I was thinking when I cut them out. Most of them are going to have to be modified to fit in with my "lifestyle change."

Tonight should be okay. My kids are spending the night at their grandparents. Hubby is taking me to the movies, something we haven't done since the last "Star Wars" movie. He lucked out, he won't have to take me out to dinner because my mouth hurts so bad.

So, how was your week?