Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Thirteen Things I Can't Believe I Ever Lived Without

Yeah, I'm going to be showing just how old and decrepit I am.

1. Diet Coke. Yes, there were Dark Times when Tab and Diet Rite were the only diet sodas available. I try not to think of it too much.
2. Starbucks. I know, it seems passe to wax poetic about the caffeinated monster, but I really love Starbucks.
3. PC's. College would have been so much easier with a PC or a laptop. The really rich kids had Macintoshes and Radioshack had the TRS-80's, but they weren't common.
4. The Internet. I don't think I need to elaborate.
5. T.V. with remote controls. I remember having to get up and change the dial on the old Zenith.
6. iPod. I've had two in less than two years and I think it has permanently attached itself to my arm.
7. Microwave oven. Once upon time, I had to make popcorn on the stove top.
8. DirecTv. My town has cable, in name only. Love my satellite.
9. Tivo. Whoever invented this should get a Nobel Prize. I used to cut off the end of "The Sopranos" every time it was on, causing a minor war in the household.
10. Advil Gelcaps. If you haven't tried these, you gotta. They work fast and don't upset your stomach.
11. Costco. I actually need to buy 100 rolls of toilet paper at a time.
12. Oxyclean. If you have kids, you need this, particularly if you have a baby.
13. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. It gets crayon marks off from the wall.

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!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Where To Begin

I've been struggling with writing my historical. It's been an exceedingly frusterating expereince, one I'm not used to. At first I thought it was because I was so rusty. My focus for the last couple of months has been on a contemporary urban fantasy written in first person. Now I'm asking my writer self to jump into an 18th century historical written in third person. Maybe I'm asking too much of myself. But that's not it.

It was the beginning.

When I do critiques or judge contests, the single biggest problem I find with manuscripts is the beginning. Finding the right spot to start a story is difficult. Too often (myself included in this case) use it as an info dump. Oh, I always start with an action or in the middle of a conversation, but I discovered by the next page I'd started pumping in the backstory. And it wasn't necessary. Info dumps create a barrier between the reader and the hero/heroine. For instance, in the story I'm working on, the heroine's son has been kidnapped and being held for a ransom too high for her to pay. The most important thing is to get in her head and show the anguish she is going through. I want my reader to empathize with the horror she is experiencing. At that point, it isn't necessary to tell how she got there. In fact, if I write it the way it should be written, I should be able to SHOW how she got in the situation without boring my reader.

Writers love backstory and it hurts like hell to slice it away, but too much info slows down the story. Take a look at your first 5-10 pages. How much do we know about the hero/heroine? If we know the name of the heroine's third grade teacher's pet turtle, that's probably too much, unless of course said turtle is 100 feet tall and threatening to eat the heroine. The backstory will find its way in but it isn't necessary at the very beginning. The beginning is a chance for the reader to be pulled in, to hold on while our characters go through whatever nightmare or soul changing experience they are forced through. Once the reader is captured, the rest of the story can be filtered in.

In Other News....

Robert Redford is shooting Lions for Lambs in my town this week, about 3 blocks from my kids' school. No, haven't spotted any celebrities, but I probably wouldn't know one if I saw one. There are so many studio trucks and trailers, its amazing. They are filming on the campus of the Claremont Colleges so they haven't spilled out too much into the rest of the town. I did hear, however, the crew took over the parking for our metrolink train (the commuter train which takes suburbians into L.A.).

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Hero's Journey

Next week I'm presenting a workshop at my RWA chapter meeting. We have an odd mix in our little group. We have a few authors who are multi-published and some writers who are working on their first book. Trying to find a workshop which will appeal to all is tough. When I was at OCC/RWA the published authors had their own workshop while the unpublished attended a bigger meeting. We don't have those kind of numbers. We generally have about 7 people although we've peaked around 15. Hopefully the numbers will increase, as I understand it, new chapters struggle pretty hard the first year.

Anyway, I decided the hero's journey would be a good, general topic. Hopefully new writer's can use the ideas to form basic plot lines for their stories while experienced authors may see it as another plotting tool for their books. I use it in one form or another. And yes, I do know about The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers and will probably use it some what.

I'm hoping to break it down to a more basic level. Our goal in our chapter is to get writers published. They don't need to theorize on their writing. We are blatant in our focus. We are a genre-writing group. Not everyone is a romance writer in our group, but we are all genre writers. We don't focus on literary fiction or poetry. So I don't want to drag my workshop into the deepest details of the hero's journey. I'd like to make it more participatory.

This is a great site for the hero's journey. It is pretty extensive and explains what and where it formulated. It has the whole enchilada with all of the elements of the journey, most of which I think are interesting but not relevant to what I'm planning on talking about.

For you writers, do you see the hero's journey in your own writing? Are you conscious of it?

Friday, January 26, 2007

I'm Just a Girl Who Can't Say No

I try to do my part. I volunteer where I can but I wasn't doing as much as I wanted. Now that Thing is getting older and will be going to school next year, I've felt a little freer to participate. Before Christmas, my obligations were pretty nil so I felt confident I could take on more projects. It's not like my writing was going anywhere...sigh.

So I took on the duty of Cookie Manager for Diva's Brownie troop. It isn't too bad right now, but I know it is going to get chaotic once cookies get delivered. I was prepared for that. What I didn't realize at the time was that my writing was actually going to go somewhere. On top of that, my kitchen contractor said he could do my kitchen in mid-February. Yikes.

Now baseball season is coming up. This is hubby's thing, I just show up and watch the games. Well, the man he had planned on having as an assistant coach has decided his kids aren't going to play. So hubby informs me I'm going to be out there coaching (I've coached softball and soccer, so this isn't new to me). Also, there are a ton of girls signed up this year and he would like to get about half the team as girls, therefore he wants a female adult out there at all times. This is a huge time consumer. There are two practices a week before the season starts then two games a week and a practice when the season begins. I'm not pleased, but, I would rather do that then see my dh try to run practice alone. Luckily, I like and understand baseball.

My kids' principal called me up the other day and asked me to sit on a new committee. The school is going to lease computers for Apple and they need to find ways of earning the funds. So he asked me to be on the group finding ways of funding this leasing thing. While I doubt this will take a huge amount of time, it will put my name out there in the volunteer pool and I can imagine I will have a "job" every year until my kids leave the school.

Things are going to slide, definitely. I think it will be the house. But I did make it clear to hubby that writing will have to take priority. Most of these things are staggered when they get over. Cookies will be over when baseball gets into full swing. My contractor assures me I will have a new kitchen before the end of March. So I should be okay.

Are you a person who can't say no?

Part two of the Diva situation

I talked to Diva's teacher yesterday and got a totally different picture of what happened. Apparently, my daughter and her friend came up to the teacher the other day and told her they would be nice to this other little girl but they weren't going to be her friend. I guess the little girl's mother told her that my daughter and her friend were brats and that they she shouldn't play with them anymore. Teacher was shocked. When she saw me outside talking to the mom, she assumed I'd heard the comments. My guess is mom wanted to head me off at the pass before Diva said something. Diva didn't say anything to me about it, I guess it didn't bother her that much. But I talked to her teacher. I'm concerned that I have a budding Evil Sorority sister on my hands, but her teacher assures me that isn't the case. She said the other girl is the one with some real social issues and has brought drama to everything. There is a core group of three girls my daughter belongs to that insulates itself from the drama. Other girls come and go but this group is tight. She doesn't think I have anything to worry about although she is pretty upset that this mother decided to bring this up now, I guess it stirred up a hornet's nest in the classroom.

This other mom has problems. Like all of us, she's made some mistakes, unfortunately, hers had more lasting consequences. She's in a miserable situation and she's emotionally fragile. I'm not upset and I'm going to let it go. I'm not much into drama myself (amazing since that's what I write).

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Politics of Childhood

Yesterday while I was waiting for my son to get out of school, I was chatting with one of my daughter's friend's mom. We usually talk in the afternoons but yesterday she said she needed to talk to me about a situation.

We went outside and she told me that my daughter and another little girl were being bratty at her daughter's birtday party. I have no illusions about my child and believe her, particularly when Diva is around this other girl.

Problem is, this party happened well before Christmas. So she's been stewing for over a month about it. She said she guess she should have said something sooner (Ya THINK?)but she wasn't sure what to do.

I told her she should have handled it at the party. Or mentioned it when I picked up my kid. I'm not sure what she thinks I should do, but its a little late now. Kids are like dogs, they need to be called to the carpet as soon as the act is discovered. I can talk to my daughter about it, but she is going to look at me blankly. Something that happened over a month ago is going to make no impression on her.

I understand the mom didn't want to make any ripples, but she knows I'm the harshest judge of my kids and I would have believed her. She's nice and has that kind of ummm...hearts and flowers outlook about her kids. I mentioned that my kids' behavior had improved radically since the holidays were over and she agreed, her kids were better too but she attributed it to the fact she got to spend more time with them. She is a mom who has guilt for leaving her kids. I feel bad for her, she is going to be riddled with guilt for a very long time. And her kids know it. Kids know how to manipulate, its in their genetic make up.

I'm not looking forward to the next ten years with Diva. This is going to happen again. I'll talk to her before she goes to her next party, but as she gets older, my influence is going to drop. I never had these problems as a kid. I was always one of the outcast kids, one of the ones the others picked on. Diva is a different kid entirely. She knows everyone at school. She's outgoing and for the most part, friendly. But I can already see the peer pressure kicking in. If I can get her to adulthood without tearing my hair out, I will consider it a triumph.

Supernerd is being kind of a pill too. I don't remember the last time he did homework. I used to pitch a fit and threaten, but I stopped. It wasn't doing any good. The worse part of it is that his teacher seems to have no consequences. He does fine on tests and projects, but he had no interest in doing the weekly homework. The teacher doesn't seem to care. If there are no consequences at school, I'm not sure how I can be make him do it at home. I've done 5th grade before, I have two other kids, a house, a husband and my writing. He's 11, old enough to manage his own homework. If the teacher is just assigning it as busy work,fine, but I don't think she is. Eventually, he is going to learn this lesson, but it is going to hurt like hell when he does.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Don't You Love Mondays?

I do.

I can feel the pelting of rotten food on me now.

I've always liked Mondays, even when I was working. It is a mini New Year's for me, a fresh start, a new dawn to work on my goals. I also get to see my kids go off to school and my husband go off to work. I did some writing this weekend and it was frustrating. Ever trying writing with someone yelling at a football game? Or pausing the tivo and insisting you watch that play one more time?

Anyway, I feel a bit more clear headed on Mondays. I try to pick a goal or project to work on. This week is to stay on schedule. I'm pretty flighty. I flit about from one thing to another, rarely accomplishing all that I want. As much as I despise it, I pretty much need every hour of the day planned. Not a lot of fun, but then it seems to be the way I can get the most done. Makes me happier in the end.

How about you? Do you find Mondays an absolute drain or a new dawning? Do you do better with more structure in your life or are you natural organized?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Oh, So NOW You're Interested

I've been writing for a long time. I didn't start writing seriously until six year ago. No one in my family has been particularly interested. That was fine for the most part, I wasn't all that worked up to share. But they knew I wrote and only one person in the family ever asked. Lets speed up to me landing an agent.

Now, they want to know about it. My dh's aunt asked last night when she could read my book. I changed the subject quickly. My first reaction was to say "when the book is sold and you can move you butt down to Barnes & Noble and buy it."

I have no interest in sharing with them now. Perhaps part of it is my fault for not talking about my writing, but whenever I did, I could see them losing interest. They didn't want to know about it.

I probably sound bitter. I'm not, I'm more matter-of-fact, more skeptical. My inlaws are very impressed with this kind of stuff. My nephews are models and actors and my inlaws bend over backwards to help them get to auditions and the like. However, they can't make it to my kids' ball games or the more mundane activities they triumph in. Its easy to focus flash and glamour. But watching a 6 year old girl hit a baseball against a bunch of boys is pretty impressive too. Or attending an author's tea for a 9 year old who published a book through his school's publishing house is pretty exciting. These things will not make my kids famous or put them on the map, but they are triumphs which should be rewarded.

My point is that by not recognizing the smaller triumphs, we are missing out on a lot. And people don't forget. My kids know not to count on part of the family to show up to things and while they don't seem particularly upset by it, they definitely aren't as close to that branch of the family as they could be. In truth, they are the ones missing out.

And now a meme....

Zephra tagged me wit this one:

1. Grab the book closest to you.

2. Open to page 123, look down to the 5th sentence.

3. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog.

4. Include the title and the author's name.

5. Tag 3 people

Most Successful Lawyer - Sir Lionel Luckhoo(Guyana), senior partner of Luchoo and Luckhoo of Georgetown, Guyana, succeeded in securing 245 successive murder-charge acquittals between 140 and 1985.

$1 Billion-Largest Robbery by a Statesman - Amount that Qusay Saddam Hussein - the second son of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein- stole from Iraq's Central Bank in March 2003- just prior to the US-led Invasion.

292 Million Pounds ($435 Million) - Largest Robbery by a Mugger- Value of Treasury bills and certificates of deposit stolen by a mugger who attacked a money-brokers messenger in the city of London, UK, on May 2, 1990.

Guiness World Records- 2007 Edition (it's my son's).

I'm tagging Melissa, Teresa, and Amy. Hopefully you will all have better books than me.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thirteen Things about About Me

I totally forgot today was Thursday, so today's list lacks wit. Here's 13 random things about me.

1. I can twirl a baton (badly)
2. I can play the flute (badly)
3. I count William the Conqueror and Alfred the Great as ancestors
4. I've never been to the Mid-west
5. In May of 1993 I got hired by a lawyer to be his secretary, 4 months later, he asked me to be his wife
6. I'm an only child
7. I'm allergic to poultry
8. The sight of wet bread makes me sick. If I taste it or touch it, I gag. I don't do well with French Dip sandwiches.
9. I graduated from UC-Santa Cruz with a degree in history
10. I don't like kids, but I have three of them
11. I've never read Nora Roberts although I have read J.D. Robb
12. I've had chickens, ducks, a crow, rats, gerbils, quail and cats for pets. Now I have a desert tortoise and a Greek tortoise. They don't shed and they sleep nearly half the year.
13. In high school I was voted most likely to write a novel

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!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

In My Head

My book has been titled. My agent has started pitching it and submitting to the editors.

Now it will come out what a no-talent hack I am.

In my head, I know my book is no fluke. In my head, I know my agent wouldn't have signed me if she didn't think the book was worth it. In my head I know I'm a good writer.

But in my heart...That is a different story entirely.

I've always been pretty confident about my writing. I always felt I was a good writer and never had any qualms about sending it out into the big blue world. But now, now that I actually have something on the line, my confidence isn't nearly what it should be. Or what I'd like it to be. In my heart I think this book is a big ol' pile of rabbit crap. I read some of the book again last night and all I saw was the silliness of it, although I have to admit I write a killer love scene. Anyway, all of these things are going through me and I am emotionally shaking like a leaf.

Luckily, I'm not ruled by emotions.

I write from my head. When I'm actually writing, I read with my head. When I submit, I'm using my head (and a great head it is now that it has been properly colored and coiffed). I try to look at my writing with my head, I don't allow myself the luxury of looking at with my heart until it is too late.

Maybe that is the advantage I have in my writing. My head rules over my heart. And maybe that is why the book of my heart hasn't ever been completed.

Enough of that....

So this is the blog, at least for a month, I don't think I could take it for longer than that. Too foo foo, too pink, but it works for a mushy holiday like Valentine's Day. But you can bet February 15 will be completely new. St. Patrick's Day is coming up. I'll go green.

Ants have taken over my house. Damned things are freezing outside so they are moving indoors. They are everywhere, coming into the house in multiple entries. My son says they are in his bathroom, I figure that is a fate worse than death, even for an ant, and I've left them alone. I just don't want them in my kitchen. Extreme temperatures bring them in. And rain. I'm out of my favorite ant poison, the infamous Chinese insect chalk the EPA has been going ballistic over for awhile. That stuff works miracles when it comes to ants.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Pardon my mess

As you can see, I'm re-doing the ol'blog. With the new blogger, I haven't found a way of saving without publishing, so you are going to have to see the mess for a little bit. The graphics were a royal pain, so once I got them done, I didn't want to lose them. I'll finish the rest later. For now, I have a life or death appointment at the hair salon. I need to get my hair restored to its true red color.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Dream House

I wasn't going to post today, but you gotta see this. If you have an extra $52M lying around, this might be for you.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Keys to the Kingdom

I went upstairs today to work on laundry. As usual, the kids' rooms were a disaster as was their toyroom. Usually I explode, screaming at the top of my lungs about how dirty it is. As you can imagine, they just look at me as if I were a really big and fascinating insect speaking high German. And they ignore me. But today, I didn't get mad because it finally dawned on me, I held the keys to the kingdom.

My kids are spoiled. They have their own toy room with a t.v. with Directv and tivo. They also have a game cube and they each have their own pc's. They love their stuff. So I took it away. I didn't say a word, just unplugged everything and took the power cords with me. It didn't take ten minutes and they decided it was time to get busy. It has taken me how long to figure this out? I think one problem with parenting is that we want our kids to want to keep things tidy, to want to do stuff because it is how civilized humans operate. But children aren't humans, not really. They don't care if their rooms are dirty or not. But I know I want them to, perhaps I think I havfe failed in my job if I haven't made them care enough. Of course, when I was their age, I didn't caere if my room was clean or not and my mom didn't have nearly the gadgets to hold over my head. Anyway, they have already earned some of their stuff back.

It is way cold here. At least for us. The sun is shining, but the temps are in the 40's. OUr mountains got snow. The main road from the freeway to the mountains runs past my house and it is hopping. The folks from L.A. are eager to see the snow. My kids want no part of it. We've taken them to the snow a couple of times and they weren't enchanted, too cold for them. They aer such delicate flowers.

For you writers, I've recntly updated Villa in Tuscany and Ainsley Park.

Friday, January 12, 2007

A Little Snow

I woke up to snow this morning. Didn't stick to the ground or anything, but it was snow. To put this in perspective, I live about 25 miles from downtown Los Angeles. HELLO??? Dude, snow is so uncool, at least in these neck of the woods. It isn't unheard of, though. Tonight we are set to have record-breaking temperatures. We could reach into the 20's. It is going to be a chilly day, the kind Melissa would say was perfect for writing. Also a good day to sit and read a book or play on the Playstation.

I got my Internet fixed all by myself. So that's back to normal. I think my agent and I decided on a title yesterday so my ms will go out next week into the wide world of editors. I'm pretty excited, but I also know I could be looking at a long haul. Submitting is grueling and every submission is different. My last book I submitted to at least 30 agents and a couple of publishers. The process took about two years and after that time, I retired the MS. With this latest book I submitted to maybe five agents and had representation within a couple of months. I'm glad I had the former experience, although it was emotionally draining, it prepared me for the ups and downs ahead.

Took my daughter to the dentist yesterday. She has the worst teeth. I'm one of those people who has near-perfect teeth. Never needed braces and I finally got my first cavity at 38 and I probably won't get another one. My son and my youngest have the same. But the middle one.... Yesterday they drilled on Diva's teeth. They gave her a shot of novacain. Didn't phase her. She's a tough cookie. She better be because she has two more. I did squawk about the fees so they lowered it, deciding maybe she didn't need quite the pulp cap (whatever that is, I just know it was $200). These were on her baby teeth, so I really didn't want her having Cadillac treatment on them.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Thirteen Answers to "Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?"

On of my favorite cartoons ever was Pinky and the Brain. It ran in the 90's and featured two laboratory mice who try to take over the world. For Christmas, I got the collection on DVD. Watching it, I remember how funny it is.

"Are you Pondering What I'm Pondering?"

1."Well, I think so, Brain, but if they call people from Poland Poles, why don't they call people from Holland Holes?"
2. "Wuh, I think so, Brain, but isn't Regis Philbin already married?"
3. "Uh, I think so, Brain, but we'll never get a monkey to use dental floss."
4. "I think so, Brain, but, the Rockettes? I mean, it's mostly girls, isn't it?"
5. "Well, I think so -POIT- but where do you stick the feather and call it macaroni?"
6. "Umm, I think so, Brain, but what if the chicken won't wear the nylons?"
7. "I think so Brain, but if you replace the 'P' with an 'O', my name would be Oinky, wouldn't it?"
8. "Well, I think so hiccup, but Kevin Costner with an English accent?"
9. "Well, I think so, Brain, but if Jimmy cracks corn, and no one cares, why does he keep doing it?"
10. "I think so, Brain, but how will we get a pair of Abe Vigoda's pants?"
11. "I think so, Brain, but calling it pu-pu platter? Huh, what were they thinking?"
12. "I think so, Brain, but how will we get the Spice Girls into the paella?"
13. "I think so, Brain, but how are we going to get the bacon flavoring into the pencils?"

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!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Cookie Monster

The time is coming, as inevitable as the sunrise, bringing its own warmth and goodness. Yes, it is time for Girl Scout cookies. Sales start next week. I am the designated cookie monster (manager) for my daughter's troop. No one else volunteered and at the time I waved my hand in the air, I didn't know I was going to be starting a major remodel at home or that I would actually have a writing career that showed some promise. But I took on the obligation so I will see it through. To be honest, a decent Excel spreadsheet will solve much of the issues. Hopefully the parents will help out with the girls. The Girl Scouts take this cookie sale seriously. They get big money from it. Troops themselves get money out of it as well. So I will be doing my best. Plus, I knew in my snobby heart of hearts, I could do it better than some of the other moms. I've got experience in this arena so I didn't think it would be too tough.

Not only do we have cookie seaon approaching, we also have baseball. We had sign ups in December and last night hubby took a team. Diva plays and this will be her third year. Her division is non-competitive, they don't keep score and is geared for 7 & 8 year olds. It is coach pitch with a 4 man outfield. I really enjoy the games and my hubby is totally in his element out there. He loves working with the kids. It also means our spring ramps up to constant activity. Little League has two games a week plus practice. Diva is still doing horseback riding and, of course, brownies. I'm definitely going to be a chaffuer for awhile.

My laptop is still unconnected from the network. I've called in the calvary but they haven't called back. Boy, I forgot how much I loved my desktop.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Take Me Away!!!

I'm feeling overwhelmed and I'm not. I feel like the world is crushing down on my shoulders and it isn't. My burdens aren't particularly burdensome, but I can't help feeling like everthing is spinning out of control.

The feeling of being overwhelmed is a warning sign for me. I suffer from depression, enough so that I went on medication to get it under control. Over the last few months I've weaned off from it and I've figured out the warning signs. I really don't want to go back on the medication so I need to find some strategies to circumvent the problem.

My biggest problem is the upset in my routine. I'm a complete panster when it comes to writing. I'm not organized, I do not plan my writing, I don't do goals. But in every other part of my life, I have to be ultra-diligent, its something I've learned over the last couple of years. I miss my routines but I know how tough it is going to be to get back on it. I will probably get my Flylady control journal for a week or so until I feel more comfortable in my routine.

I really don't like being on a schedule for anything, I'm a flighty Gemini, a capricious sprite (well, maybe not) but you get the idea. I want to make my own kind of music, sing my own special song (quick, who sang that song?)and not bow to the dictates of responsibilty and adulthood. But I can't keep my sanity and be a free spirit at the same time.

AND to make matters worse, I installed a new wireless network at home. My old one was breaking down and dropping the various machines in the house from the network. It works great on all the machines...Except for one, mine. I know it is probably some little firewall or configuration issue, but I can't figure it out and I'm ready to howl.

I try to look at it as being an omen that I spend to much time online. I probably do, but man, I hate to be thwarted and I miss my connection.

Friday, January 05, 2007

A Title, A Title, My Kingdom for a Title

My agent and I have been wracking our brains for a new title for my book. Trust me, the original title was just useless. Titles are not my forte. In fact, when my last daughter was born, I left it up to my husband and 3 year old to name her. So I've been struggling to find a title. It took me longer to come up with some titles than it did for some of the writing.

Do you struggle with titles? Writers, what comes first? Book or title? As a reader, is there a title you think is great? Whether the book was good or not, did the title just ring for you? And how about the worst title? Have you read a book and wondered how it got saddled with such a horrid title?

Titles don't mean much to me. I don't pay much attention and I'm more apt to remember the characters or the plot line than the individual title. Like the Sookie Stackhouse series. Don't remember the names of the books, just the characters and the story line. Or who she's involved with (is she ever going to get back with Eric?). Are titles important to you? Do you have a favorite?

"Love's Tender Fury" is my favorite romance novel title of all time. It is so...nonsensical...I can't resist. The book was actually quite good by an author by the name Jennifer Wilde and was published in the mid-70's. I know the title has been recycled since then, but this will be the book I remember it for.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Thirteen Thing Movies I Can (and have) Watched Over and Over Again

These aren't any particular order, just as I think of them.

1. Napoleon DynamiteSWEET!
2. Office Space Yeah, if I could just watch this one more time, that would be greaaattt.
3. Swingers You are so money and you don't even know it.
4. Smokey and the Bandit This was not by choice. My hubby and his family love this film, in fact, they know all the words.
5. Monty Python and the Holy Grail It's just a flesh wound!
6. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang I'm not sure why, but I will stop and watch it whenever the kids have it on. I think its the child taker. I love him.
7. Kull the Conqueror Kevin Sorbo shirtless, need I say more?
8. My Blue Heaven Steve Martin is a hoot.
9. Planes, Trains and Automobiles We watch this every Thanksgiving.
10. A Christmas Story I saw it when it was first released in the theater and bought the VHS tape.
11. The Empire Strikes Back I was so madly in love with Han Solo. No wonders I didn't date in high school.
12. The Godfather Another film I blame on my hubby, however, I am fascinated by the way Al Pacino takes Michael Corleone from idealistic war hero to head of the Family.
13. The Mummy Thrills, chills, laughs and Brendan Fraser

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Beauty and the Geek

Tonight is the season premiere of on of my favorite guilty pleasures. Beauty and the Geek is probably Ashton Kutcher's greatest contribution to western culture. That probably isn't saying a lot. But I love this show. Supposedly they were going to try and do the show with geeky women and good-looking, nitwit guys, but that didn't seem to materialize. I don't imagine there were enough smart women who would be dumb enough to go on the show. Anyway, it becomes a hightlight of my week. Man, I got to get out more.

I revamped Ainsley Park, the historical writers blog and added a new post. I've been so skimpy on the blog thing, I seem to be going into overdrive now. In writing I've started to WIP's and work on them alternately. Also started reading the GH entries. I found I could read an entry on the elliptical machine yesterday and it acdtually made the time fly by. By the way, are we supposed to be judging the synopsis as well?

So, what t.v. show are you looking forward to this year?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Bell Tolls for Thee

I stand in a cemetary, tendrils of mist twist around the ancient headstones in a malignant dance. The ground beneath me is soft and inconsequential. as if at any moment it will give way and plunge me into a pit of despair. A figure stands before me, lost in the dark folds of its robe, still as death. One hand clutches a massive scythe, the other points a skeletal finger at the headstones. I look away, my fear overwhelming. I do not wish to see what it points at, but I know I have no choice. My eyes slowly scan the ancient stones which tilt off-center in crooked rows. I read them and shudder. Ben & Jerry's. Haagen-Dazs. Cheese. Christmas Cookies. Chocolate Truffles. Laying on the Couch and Watching SpongeBob Squarepants. It is too painful I must look away. The figure doesn't move for a moment but soon the scythe disappears and it pulls open its robe. Two demons take shelter in the dark, impenetrable folds. They look up at me and laugh, the sound sending chills down my back. One has the word "Diet" scrawled across its forehead, the other is named "Exercise." I fear them, despise them, but I know they are my future.

Yeah it's January 2nd.

Not my favorite time of the year as you can tell. For at least two months I've lived in sloth and gluttony, enjoying the treats of the season, embracing the activities required because they kept me out of the gym. But no more. Now I must face my demons and get on with it.

So I've been combing the Internet for aids in the cause of diet and exercise and I thought I'd share them. First, there is the National Body Challenge at Discovery Health. It is an 8 week interactive program which helps you track diet and exercise while providing support with professionals and fellow participants. WebMD has something similar.

I like Meals Matter. This site has lots of good recipes and goes beyond merely weight loss. It targets nutrition and health as well. Low Fat Recipes is pretty explanatory. Fitness Magazine's online site has some workouts as well. For broad spectrum, iVillage has a whole workout section. The WeightWatchers site has a bunch of articles geared for beginning exercisers that you can view without being a member.

Something else I've heard is that the drug orlistat (brand name Xenical) will be sold over the counter this year. This drug works with your digestive system to cut down the absorbtion of fat, allowing it to pass through without sticking. This drug is geared towards people with a serious weight problem or who are overeweight but they have high risk factors. It isn't a magic pill but works in conjunction with diet and exercise to help increase weight loss.

Anyway, hope these links help you. And hopefully most of you have a far better attitude than I do about weightloss. I'm going to hang out in the graveyard and eat some high fiber cereal while the demons laugh.