Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Vicious Cycle

I can feel it, waiting in the wings, ready to pounce. Remember when I talked about motivation? Well, I'm feeling unmotivated. Or at least my motivation is losing steam. And not just for writing. I'm not motivated to do anything but stare at my computer screen playing SimCity 4.

I'm honing in on the warning signs these days. I can feel my frustration grow with the things surrounding me. My kids are monsters, particularly the 3 year old although I'm pleased to say she is potty trained for the most part (finally). I'm tired of cooking and cleaning. I'm tired of playing chauffeur to my kids. I'm tired of writing. Basically, I'm tired.

But it isn't as if things have changed from two weeks ago. I think it is just the way my mental state works. But if I let myself slide into it, go with the flow as it were, I can get stuck in a whining rut accomplishing nothing and getting increasingly cranky.

So I started working out and focusing on my diet. I needed to anyway, but I think my easily distracted mind needs something new to focus on. I'm not the type of person who can focus their time completely around writing, I end up not enjoying it and if I don't enjoy it, my writing is garbage. The same goes for anything else. If I make it my life, I hate it in no time. So I needed something fresh to put my mind to.

I also must tip my hat to my trusty timer. It gives me the discipline I so badly need. I may not want to clean those bathrooms, but my timer tells me only have to worry about for a half hour and I can do something else. Same with writing. If I'm struggling, I still need to stick with it until my timer goes off.

I'm hoping this cycle is short, it certainly isn't as overwhelming as it has been in the past. I'm still excited about my WIPs and I'm hoping to maintain it. I'm learning to accept the fact that I do go through these cycles and its important to do something before they get out of hand.

Do you feel slumps coming on or do they hit you without warning? Do you have strategies to head them off or pull you out?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Other Stuff

I've been a busy blog bee today and I've updated Search for the Good Life and Age of Enlightenment. Now I can get some writing done.

Six Weird Things About Me

I got tagged by Zephra to come up with six weird things about myself. So here goes....

1. I eat ricotta cheese straight from the container.
2. I gag on cottage cheese
3. I arrange my dishwasher in a certain order and will change it if it isn't in that order.
4. I won't wear a digital watch
5. I've never seen "American Idol"
6. I have to wear orthotics in my shoes because I walk "wrong."

I'm going to tag Melissa, Eve,Tori, Sandy, Bren and Melinda

Friday, April 21, 2006

AAAAAHHHH Make It Stop!!!

So I was bustling around the house this morning when a song started playing in my head. Usually it the theme to "Bob the Builder" or "Teletubbies" or someother kiddy show. But no, it was worse. How can anything be worse?

"Muskrat Love" by the Captain and Tenille.

I think this could possibly be the worse song ever although "Butterscotch Castle" from the same album could give it a run for its money.

What do you think? What song has hit the airwaves that has actually made you run screaming from the horror of its awfulness?

Other stuff...
Over at Ainsley Park I posted about historical romance and whether it needs to expand into other subgenres.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Finding the Balance

I generally write about motivation when I don't have any. I post my ramblings in a hope that such drivel will light a fire under my creativity get me writing. So this time around I thought I would write about motivation when I'm actually motivated in an attempt to keep the fire burning and get my story done.

First, I think for me I need to have some things going right in my life. Life doesn't have to be perfect, but I need that one thing in my world that doesn't require my attention or my concerns. My creativity needs room to expand in my psyche without competing for space with something else. Romance writing is emotional and it is essential it gets the space to expand in order to develop on the page.

Second, I really cannot write in a dirty house. I'm not a neatnik, but I do need to be able to finish writing and be able to go cook in a kitchen without having to do three loads of dishes first. The conflict for me is that I don't like to clean house. Ah well, we all have our burdens. Which brings me to my next point.

Third, I tend to go full force with my writing. If I'm in a groove, I could easily write all day, stopping only to pick up the kids, get something to drink, etc. Such an exertion of creativity tends to bleed it dry in me. Hence the timer. I time everything. The little "tic tic" is going right now as I write this. I make myself space my writing throughout the day. It also helps motivate me to do some housework. I may write for 20 minutes then spend 45 minutes cleaning up the house or working on laundry. This makes me get up and move around, get my house picked up and gets my writing done. I know that no matter how dreary sorting laundry is, I only have to do it for so long before I can stop and go write. At the same time, if I know I'm on a timer with my writing, I can write and make mental notes to myself to work on while I'm doing chores. Instead of worrying about a plot point while I'm writing, I can save it for another time and devote it to what I'm working on at that moment. Also, knowing my time is limited, I don't mess around, focusing all my energies on the page at hand.

Fourth, well, I really don't have a fourth. Perhaps I feel like I have the luxury of doing other things. I find I have time to read. I have time to blog or play computer games. I don't have time to eat.

I think I am a happier person (we won't count Easter Sunday). Perhaps it just took me finding the balance.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

...and I'm not real wild about kids either

It's 5 a.m. and my eyes open. I long to go back to sleep, but I know my alarm is set for 5:30. I'm tempted, but I know how much worse I will feel when the alarm goes off and I have to get up. The Easter Bunny needs to get up and get her cottontail in gear. My eldest and youngest sleep in, the middle one greets the sun every morning, so I don't have much choice. Blurry-eyed, I get up, frowning at the clouds, wondering if we will get some morning sprinkles. I realize I don't really care. If their Easter eggs get damp, so be it. So I'm out there, the gray light of dawn guiding my way as I hide the Easter eggs. I can't be clever or creative, I have no interest in spending my entire morning hunting Easter eggs, besides, I know in another hour I will forget altogether where I put them.

An hour later, as predicted, the middle child arises and begins a campaign of such annoyance to get the other two up, I'm amazed she hasn't been contracted by the military for counter-terrorism strategies. I've sucked down a cup and a half of coffee at this point and I'm barely awake, dh is even worse. But we finally get to the Easter Bunny festivities. They are over in 5 minutes. You'd think I'd get to sit down and doze? Nope. In 90 minutes my house will be filled with relatives for a brunch I'm hosting.

Brunch went off well although I'm going to restrain myself on making comments about the family. Sigh.... Well, we all have families and they all have their foibles and idiosyncrasies. Some are charming, others are just plain annoying.

Brunch is over and the family has finally left. Now is my time to rest.


First I have to fight the Battle of the Easter Baskets. My mother gives each of the kids an Easter basket loaded with candy. The youngest is determined to get to the baskets. I am forced to move the damned things five times before I find a spot she can't reach.

Second is the Water on the Laptop incident. My middle child decided she had to get her Easter basket and instead of asking me, she tried to get herself, knocking over a vase of flowers and covering my laptop with water as well as my desk, the floor, etc.

Third, I must face the Annoy, Annoy, Annoy tactic. I go lay down on my bed when dh joins me. We aren't there two minutes when the middle daughter comes in and starts bugging us. She wants a sandwich and she will not stop bugging us until she gets it. Since she is harping on her dad, I decide to roll over and ignore them. In 30 seconds the youngest joins us and proceeds to grab my glasses and jump on me. I get out of bed. Time for more coffee.

I moved the couch and try to doze but I'm interrupted multiple times with earth-shattering crises like the Kelly doll who loses her head and the "Can I have some candy?" request. DH decides he needs to go out and wash his cars. I'm finally asleep when he comes blasting in with the youngest asking how he can possibly get anything done AND watch a 3 year old. I'm torn between laughing hysterically and making derisive insults about his parentage. Right now I'm concocting a voodoo spell to curse his cars. I really hope a flock of geese land on them and do their business.

Anyway, hope everyone else's Sunday went smoother. The sun shines tomorrow as my kids return to school and dh goes back to work.

BTW, do you think I could use a hot wheel car for a voodoo doll?

Saturday, April 15, 2006


I hate the telephone. Oh man, do I hate the telephone. I hate answering it, I hate talking on it. I hate looking for it when I've put it down. I don't like my cell phone. Half the time I have no idea where it is.

Except for those teen years, I've never really enjoyed talking on the phone. Pre-Internet days, it was about the only way to communicate. Now, with email, I'm much more likely to visit via email or MS Messenger.

I'm not quite sure why I have this intolerance. Perhaps it developed when I worked outside of the home and I spent so much time on the phone. But I haven't worked for 4 1/2 years and in that time, I've grown even more disenchanted with the phone.

I think it relates to the fact I'm a much better communicator with written words. Or maybe it is because email and Messenger is on my terms and not breaking into my important activities like bloghopping. Okay, so I could bloghop and talk on the phone at the same time, but people can always tell.

What about you? How are you with telephones? Is there another modern convenience you could not only live without but cheerfully chuck through a plate glass window?

Thursday, April 13, 2006


One of the reasons I became a writer was because of my love and curiosity about history. I started out only being interested in small, definitive eras and topics, but as I researched, I found my interest growing, encompassing areas I'd never given much thought to.

When I moved into contemporary writing, my interests continued to go in directions I’d never thought they'd go. This is never more apparent to me than when I go to the bookstore.

Yesterday was the opening day for our new Barnes & Noble. My favorite section without a doubt is the bargain shelves. While it is an economical place to shop, it also has the most eclectic collection of books. I love the Barnes & Noble published books. For a bargain price I can get a smattering of a topic. Yesterday I picked up two books on Celtic mythology and a book on Slavic folklore. I also picked up a book on charms and spells. Since I'm working on a paranormal, I thought it might be helpful, stuff that I can weave into stories.

My interests have delved into architecture, fashion, guns, law enforcement, forensics and cars. I never thought I would find most of these topics too interesting, but as I go deeper into each topic, my curiosity continues to bloom and heads into other directions.

I think the Internet has given such easy access to information, it helps feed our curiosity. In order to research a topic, it isn't always necessary to head to the library and sift through books. What stimulates your curiosity? Do you find yourself looking up things online you never expected to perk your interest?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Touchy, Touchy, Touchy

Recently, Anna Genoese commented on the "Pro" designation for RWA. I cringed. Not because of what she said. I agreed with her for the most part but I knew what would happen. My email inbox was going to be overloaded with upset Pro's eager to defend themselves. My prediction was correct.

I'm not really commenting on the whole "Pro" issue. What I am noticing is how touchy people are in cyberspace. Everyone gets their noses out of joint because of one person's opinion and that is all it is. An opinion. Words are given far more power than they actually have. Also, it is far easier to go off the handle with the anonymity of the Internet. You can afford to be touchy because you can walk away from it so easily. In every day life, we are confronted by annoyances and opinions which we don't agree with regularly. But the truth of the matter is that if we made a big deal out of every slight, we wouldn't be able to leave the house. Online, all we need do is turn off the machine and go about our day.

I'm not sure what my point is only that taking everything you read online as a personal attack is useless and counterproductive. And yes, my inbox was full of Pro's waving their virtual pitchforks and cheering their compadres on. My only thought was perhaps the energy they spent on the topic should have been poured into their writing.

There are enough serious matters in the real world without finding them in the virtual one.

Yeah, I'm a little cantankerous tonight. First, my kids are home for spring break and they are driving me nuts. As soon as I sit down at the computer, they surround me like rabid piranhas. Second, I got a notice from the water company that they are shutting my water off tomorrow all day. To say I'm not happy is a gross understatement. Its bad enough they've been digging up the only direct street to my house, now they shut the water off during spring break. No, I didn't whip off an angry email, I called them and let if fly. Like they care. No good SOB's and they are applying for a rate hike. Ah well, aggravation seems to trigger my creativity.


I realized Saturday that Easter was this weekend. I'm not a particularly religious person, but it is a holiday where the family gathers together.

We used to go out to one of the hotels for a big champagne brunch, but as the family got larger and the prices got higher, we decided to make brunch an at-home thing. Guess who hosts?

I don't mind hosting, I like to cook and I have the biggest house, so it is logical. But I have so much to do, I wish I had thought of this last week. DH warns me not to do too much and my in laws are telling me not to have as much food as I usually do. Not sure why they care, they aren't the ones doing the cooking. If I want to have a huge spread, I will. I cheat a lot, though. I get the croissants, muffins and danishes at Costco. I will probably get some of those little quiches as well. My mom got a chocolate fountain for Christmas so I'm going to set that up. And then there is the whole Easter Bunny thing.

I still haven't bought candy and I usually get the kids a little present from the Easter Bunny. My mom also gives them Easter baskets as well.

Do any of you have Easter traditions? Or Passover? I know that is occurring this week as well. Do you serve special dishes for Seder or Easter? Anyone have a good recipe for eggs benedict?

In Writing News...

I've signed up for a BIAW this week and so far have a big fat goose egg to show for it. My kids are home this week so I'm having a heck of a time finding the patience and focus required to write.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

May 21

I got this from Tori's blog. She asked that we go to
Wiki and list three "fun" things, two birthdays and one death that happened on our birthday, so here's mine:

1881 - The American Red Cross is established by Clara Barton.
1904 - Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) founded in Paris.
1936 - Sada Abe is arrested after wandering the streets of Tokyo for days with her dead lover's severed genitals in her hand. Her story soon became one of Japan's most notorious scandals

427 BC - Plato, Greek philosopher (d. 347 BC)
1952 - Mr. T, American actor

2000 - Barbara Cartland, English author (b. 1901)


As you can see, I'm into making changes. With the advent of spring, I'm eager to see the changes all around, including my blog. Anyway, I'm still playing around with it, so I probably won't post until Monday.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Opening Day

I've noticed a change in me this week. There is a lightness of heart, a feeling of hope which I did not feel two weeks ago. Yes, Spring is here.

Yeah, yeah, I know, it came in March, but spring doesn't come to my house until the first pitch. A joy invades our home, a sense that this could be the year. Well, being a Dodger fan, I don't have much hope for a playoff season, but still...

Baseball means a great deal to me. It is tied to so many memories, good memories, memories I continue to build upon. I remember being a little kid and playing softball then heading to Dodger Stadium to watch Steve Garvey and Steve Yeager play. I remember going to Angel Stadium, seeing Nolan Ryan pitching his last complete game, realizing how much in love I was with my boyfriend. We got engaged the next week.

When dh and I have nothing else to talk about, when things are rough, we always have baseball. We watch Super Vlad pound them out of the park, and while I'm not a big Angel fan (after all they are in the American League. Designated hitter, need I say more?) I feel my hubby's enthusiasm. Baseball is played in beautiful places full of history. In fact, baseball itself has a place in history. It bonds generations, gives people something to talk about. Yeah, the recent fiascos of steroid use and obnoxiously high player salaries have tarnished its image, but its symbolism to me and my family still remains shining like a beacon.

Oh yeah...

On Search for the Good Life, I share my latest epiphany thanks to a small household gadget. I swear, I go through epiphanies like some people go through Kleenex.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Sunday Dinner
Tonight we had an old fashioned Sunday dinner. My husband barbecued chicken and we had steamed spinach, cauliflower and artichoke, all picked out by him and our daughter at the farmer's market this morning. It is a tradition I'd like to establish, a large meal at the dining room table with flowers and a feeling of family. Too often during the week meals are a rushed matter, usually skinless boneless chicken breasts with a rice dish and frozen veggies. The meal is hurried and over before anyone has time to enjoy it.

Tonight we lingered over our meal. Hubby also made strawberry lemonade from homegrown lemons and strawberries from the farmers market. It was pleasant sitting with the kids simply enjoying the fact of being together and eating a good meal. Tomorrow we go back to our routines and while I'm a pretty good cook, Monday through Friday tends to have the rushed feel of getting through a meal between activities and bedtime.

While I do spend a great amount of time on tirades about my kids, sitting with them tonight made me appreciate what I have. I think it is important to have these moments with those you care about, to take the time to fix a good dinner and enjoy one another's company.

I'll be back to whining tomorrow.