Sunday, December 28, 2008

Trampolines are eeevvviiilll!

Okay, not really, but the setting up of the trampoline sure is. I thought I was sore when I wrote yesterday's post. Oh, my friends, that was only a small sign of pain to come. As the day wore on, the soreness progressed to agonizing pains shooting up my arms and across my chest every time I raised my arms more than a couple of inches. I had difficulty driving the car to town to buy crickets for the geckos. I forgot half the things I was supposed to buy and by the time I got home, my muscles were screaming! I took four Ibuprofen and it barely dulled the aching. I am so not even kidding here, people.

And the pain lasted through the night. I'm slightly better this morning, but not by much. I took two Ibuprofen first thing this morning, but it's not helping much . . . or maybe it is because last night after the Ibuprofen wore off, I thought I would die! I had to sleep sitting up in bed (propped up by pillows) so I could breathe without too much pain so now my tailbone is sore. *sigh*

What's that? You think I'd be in less pain if I did some sort of exercise for upper body strength? Yeah, well, had I known setting up a trampoline was so difficult I might have started an exercise regimen in preparation. Why didn't you people warn me? I thought you were supposed to be my friends. *wink*

So, I didn't get my Christmas decorations taken down yesterday, I didn't finish the crit I was working on, and I didn't replace the doggy door. I think the doggy door and decorations will have to wait until I'm not in so much pain. I have been working on the crit though (taking a break to write this).

As I sit outside with my laptop, the monkeys are enjoying jumping on the trampoline while I try to find a comfortable position on the wooden porch swing so my aches and pains are manageable. Yeah, did I mention trampolines are eeevvviiilll?

Yes, yes, I know. If I didn't suffer from OPMS (OverProtective Mom Syndrome) I could be sitting inside on a cushioned surface, but despite the protective netting around the trampoline, I can't bring myself to leave them out here without supervision.

At least I've gotten some crit work (and now this blog) done. I think I'll take a break from the crit and do some revising on WaM. Then I'll beg the children for sympathy and see if I can come back inside to finish working on the crit.

Write on.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Trampolines and things

We managed to get the trampoline set up yesterday. It started out warm . . . I even took my jacket off . . . but by the time we were finished building the beast, it was really cold and snowflakes began to fall.

Yeah, it took SEVERAL hours and it was horrible! Hubby and I are both very sore today. I think we're too old (or maybe out of shape) for this stuff. Still, the sun is shining today and while it is still cold outside, the kids are bugging me this morning to allow them to go jump on the new trampoline.

See, now this is what makes it worth it. I told them they couldn't jump until they cleaned up the house a bit. :D Oh, they are flying through the house like you wouldn't believe. YAY! I think I may have a clean house for the rest of vacation at this rate. Hopefully the desire to jump continues and they don't get bored with it.

In other news, if everything goes well, my first Toy Fox Terrier, Jewel, will have puppies in February. She only  had two puppies for her first litter and this will be her second so we'll see how many she has this time.

Writing wise, I haven't accomplished anything this week. I'm hoping to get to a critique (and finish it) today after I take down the Christmas decorations and replace the doggy door (it's broken and won't stay closed so our house was REALLY cold last night). So I've got to head into town soon if I plan to accomplish anything at all. But first I think I'll eat something and maybe have a shower. ;-)

Write on.

Friday, December 26, 2008

On the first day after Christmas . . .

my children gave to me, a headache from too much candy.

Yeah too much candy makes them hyper and LOUD so I've got a terrible headache today. Lack of sleep may have something to do with the pain in the head because candy also kept the kiddies up late.

But all in all they had a good Christmas. Oldest son decided he would take his DS games back to the store and trade for something else so we get to do that sometime today . . . when I get up an moving.

It was raining all day yesterday so we couldn't set up the trampoline Santa gave the kids (and it was raining the night before so Santa couldn't set it up either). We are hoping to get to it today, but it's supposed to rain/snow so we'll see. Right now it's cloudy and cold, but no precipitation . . . the kids are bugging me to go set it up, but DH is gone to work and I don't feel like setting it up myself so I'm trying to put it off . . . I'm hoping a trip to the store to see the deals and let big brother trade in his gifts (as well as some we got that were duplicates) will amuse them enough to forget about the trampoline for a while.

I'm glad it's over and I want desperately to take down the tree and lights today so I can get my living room furniture back to normal. I doubt I'll get to it with everything else I have to do, but we'll see. I used to leave the decorations up until after New Year's, but I want them gone this year for some reason . . . feeling desperate for less clutter and don't know why.

I'm looking forward to Monday so I can get away and have my hair done (cut and dyed). It will be nice to have some "me" time. Then for New Year's Eve, we go to my parents house for all night game playing. I have to discuss with hubby about getting a hotel room or two for that evening as there isn't room for us to sleep at my parents' house anymore (brother, wife, and children moved in with parents until they get back on their feet). I'm not sure how it will go and we may end up skipping the New Year's bash and staying home . . . though I don't want to. *sigh*

And now kids are bugging me about the trampoline so I guess I better get moving with the distraction. *wink*

Write on.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's Christmas Eve day

Am I ready for Christmas? Almost. I only need to get oranges for the stockings . . . which I will do later this morning. I got a . .  Christmas bonus from my boss so I made an appointment to get my hair done (desperately needed) on the 29th. YAY!

I got all the shopping done, though after I came home from shopping oldest son decided to tell me what he wanted for Christmas . . . and it wasn't what we had purchased. *sigh* Oh well, that's what he gets for not speaking up sooner! I still think he'll like what he got, but if he doesn't, he can take them back and see if it adds up to enough to get what he really wanted.

I am feeling much better today so I'm thinking my blahs of yesterday were do to lack of sleep . . . but I really didn't sleep much longer last night so who knows. Anyway, I'm feeling better, and since I purchased the ingredients for the cheese balls, I'll be making them this morning so we can deliver them later today.

Tonight we get to set up the trampoline for Santa . . . cause you know he's way to busy to do it. It will be cold, it might be raining, but the joy on the faces of the kids in the morning will be worth it.

So, Merry Christmas or Happy (insert holiday you celebrate here) to everyone. Here's hoping 2009 is the year for us!

Write on.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hmm . . .

I composed a poem about the holiday season but since I'm not much of a poet, I decided not to post it.

After this post, I am heading for the shower and then going into town for what I hope will be my last bit of shopping before Christmas. I have to purchase gifts for our oldest child, E, who never did tell me definitively what he wanted. So, I'm going to buy him something I think he may like . . . a video game, or a gift card, or something really lame that he will open Christmas morning and pretend to like.

We tried to get him his learner's permit yesterday, but, because I'm a terrible mother, I never got his name changed on his Social Security card after hubby adopted him. So poor E was not able to get his permit . . . but he was great about it and will wait impatiently for us to get the Government straightened out. ;-) Seriously, he was disappointed, but understanding about the whole thing and now I REALLY want to get him something good for Christmas, but he doesn't really "want" anything. *sigh*

I also woke up with a bit of a cold this morning (or maybe it's lack of sleep since my mind raced through a to do list all night) so my brain feels all fuzzy, my nose is slightly stuffy, and I'm tired. But I have to get the shopping done, not only for E's presents and the stocking stuffers, but also, the stores will be closed on Christmas Day and I think we ought to have some food in the house in case we get hungry and maybe want to eat something besides candy and oranges from the stockings. Oh, and the geckos need crickets to eat so I need to visit the pet store, too.

But I have to remember what Christmas is truly about and find joy and the spirit of the season (which was also touched on in the poem I'm not posting). I get too caught up in the pressure of trying to keep the whole Santa illusion alive for my kids (all but the oldest) until it becomes a burden and I forget I am doing this to make them happy. And I want them to be happy because I love them.

I need to remember I don't HAVE to do any of the things I do this time of year, and start WANTING to do them out of love. So I will get a shower because I don't want to offend my community. Then I will go shopping because I love my oldest son and want him to be happy, because I love my children and want them to be able to hold on to the magic of Santa a while longer, because the geckos are hungry and I love them, too, and because I want to make my traditional cheese balls for my friends and neighbors.

Write on.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Shopping with Snakey and D2

Okay, I just returned from the first of my shipping sprees. I took daughter two (D2) and Snakey (our nickname for the youngest) in an attempt to get things done a bit faster. I thought it would be like last year when D2 would hem and haw and have trouble making up her mind and Snakey joyfully and easily made choices.

But, it was a horrible adventure in which Snakey slithered up and down the aisles of the store, hissing about all the things HE wanted. I reminded him several times of his true mission but to no avail. It ended with him spitting venom and hissing until tears flowed. He did eventually choose gifts, but I'm not sure brother (he's 15) will enjoy the gifts much. The gifts came from the TOY section where Snakey insisted on looking. I tried to take him to electronics thinking he might be able to find something for brother's iPod, but Snakey would have none of that. *sigh*

D2 had D1's (daughter one) name. I expected HOURS spent browsing and the eventual setting of time limits in which I threaten she won't get to buy anything if she doesn't choose before time runs out. Surprisingly, she chose three gifts within a few minutes for within the set money limit! And the gifts were very well thought out and appropriate. D1 will be thrilled!

Now I get to take D1 shopping for Snakey while brother baby sits Snakey and D2. Brother will have to go shopping for D2 when Dad takes him to test for his learner's permit . . . or I'll take him later or something. But now it's lunchtime so I better get D1 to the store so I can get back and feed the hungry masses.

Write on . . . or shop on as the case may be. ;-)

Shopping spree

Okay, so Christmas is almost here. You'd think I'd be finished shopping by now, right? WRONG. My oldest has yet to inform me of his Christmas wishes . . . he's going to end up with a gift card or something lame if he doesn't speak up soon.

But he's not the only reason I'm not done shopping. We started a new "tradition" last year where we put the kids' names in a hat and have each child draw a name (not their own). It was supposed to be a "secret Santa" thing but they can't seem to keep from telling whose name they drew so it's morphed into more of a gift exchange thing. Well this year the drawing took place late . . . Friday to be exact . . . and today is the designated shopping day. I'm not looking forward to it as it means I have to make several trips to town for the shopping and then help each child wrap their gifts.

But I have to keep reminding myself that the kids enjoy it and I'm teaching them it is more fun to give than to receive. Hopefully this year our youngest won't tell his recipient what they are receiving (yeah we had tears over that last year because the recipient DIDN'T want to know what she was receiving).

Yesterday my extended family started a new tradition. We will have an annual gathering wherein we have the children perform a Christmas Pageant. This year I was designated as the director. I got the script Saturday and had about an hour to rehearse with the cast (ages 18-2). It was an interesting experience and I decided I'm really glad I only have four children to "direct" every day. But in the end, everything came together fairly well. We're planning a few changes for next year (and hopefully I won't have to direct again), but all in all, it was a success.

But now it's after ten in the morning and I have to get started on this shopping thing if I hope to finish sometime today . . . oh and oldest child is supposed to go to the DMV and test for his Learner's Permit today. . . yeah, I'm going to have a teen driver to deal with on top of everything else . . . *sigh*

I'm hoping to find time to get some work in and maybe even some revising on my new WIP done, but my hopes aren't high for either.

I hope all of you have a great Holiday Season and I'm sending wishes for lots of good news for all of you in 2009 (or what's left of 2008 for that matter).

Write on.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Honest Scrap Award

My blogger friend Bish nominated me for the Honest Scrap Award. What is the Honest Scrap Award? It is an award given to those who tell it like it is. Does this mean I'm rude? No. I'm honest (as those who've received one of my critiques can attest to).

I am honored to be nominated . . . but the award comes with certain requirements.

1. You must list ten (10) honest but interesting things about yourself (so I can't tell you I brush my teeth every night because it isn't interesting and I can't tell you I brush my teeth every night with the dog's toothbrush because it isn't honest).

2. You must present the award to seven (7) other bloggers.

I'll tackle the ten (10) honest but interesting things about myself first (if you don't find these honest truths to be interesting, tough for you, cause this is it).

1. After reading "How to Eat Fried Worms" in grade school, I ate fried worms. We flavored the worms with ketchup and mustard. No, the worms did not taste like chicken . . . more like dirt flavored with ketchup and mustard.

2. I acted in high school, college, and community theater productions as well as participated on the high school and college Speech and Debate tournaments (I won lots of medals for my efforts).

4. I didn't date much (I can count the number of boyfriends on one and a half hands). I attribute this lack of boyfriends to living in a small town where my father was a police officer . . . yeah, that puts a damper on the dating life. But I'm sure there were other reasons, too.

5. I wanted to be a ballerina and play the violin when I grew up. I am neither.

6. My family tells me I was always good at making up and telling stories. This was their nice way of saying I was a liar . . . I just embellished the truth a little.

7. As a child, I loved horses and always dreamed of owning one of my own . . . I still love horses and still dream of owning one of my own.

8. I am running out of interesting things about myself . . . Um . . . oh, I am afraid of ventriloquist dummies.Yeah, they freak me out, big time.

9. While I'm on the subject of fears . . . I'm terrified of those haunted houses/mazes/spook alleys/etc. people do for Halloween. If you want to see a grown woman have a melt down, just try to take me inside one of those horrors.

10. Come on, I have got to be able to think of one more thing . . . hang on, let me brush the cobwebs from my brain . . . I think I'm getting something . . . wait . . . nope, it's gone . . . oh wait, there it is again . . . I crochet, sew, paint, draw, knit (barely), raise/breed Toy Fox Terriers (I own two AKC Champions and am training a couple for the show ring), and, finally, people tell me I have a very good singing voice . . . but maybe they like to embellish the truth a bit.

Whew! I made it.

Now for the next part. I nominate the following bloggers (in no particular order) for the Honest Scrap Award:

1. Cindy Pon

2. whitehousemom

3. Amanda Marrone

4. Mandy Hubbard

5. Mindy Alyse Weiss

6. Meg

7. Robin

Now go forth my fellow bloggers and spread the Honest Scrap!


Write on.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Can this day be over now?

After my last post, I was informed the geckos needed more crickets. Grrr! I dutifully went into town and made my way through the traffic to the pet store. Once inside, the friendly girl at the counter (I sold her a Toy Fox Terrier so she loves me) sold me three dozen crickets. We chatted and I was happy and relaxed when I left.

I was about four blocks from home when my kids called to tell me, "the lady from the pet store called. You left your credit card there."

I had to turn all the way around and go back to get my card. It was only about six miles, but still, it was annoying. But I got my card, brought the crickets home, fed the geckos, and am now cooking dinner . . . yeah, it's late, but they're lucky they're getting fed at all tonight!

But as I'm cooking, I get a phone call from someone interested in purchasing one of the dogs I have for sale. So, now I'm happy again . . . oh, and my boss is letting me bring my box of letters home to read during the rest of the week "if I get around to working with the holidays". She's such a sweet heart. But I'm sure I'll get some work done because we could use the extra cash.

Write on.

Five Things That Did Not Make Me Smile Recently

This is from whitehousemom and her blog the buttered dog incident

1. My horrible day at work in which I spent two hours reading letters and summarizing their contents then hitting the wrong button and deleting the summaries.

2. Having to re-type the summaries I deleted when I hit the wrong button (I blame my stroke of non-genius on my lack of breakfast this morning).

3. Telling my boss I would be at work tomorrow and Friday then picking up my oldest from school and having him inform me tomorrow and Friday are finals and he has half a day of school both days.

4. Coming home from my horrible day and discovering my husband (yeah, the man of my dreams *roll eyes*) had used PERMANENT black marker to draw a mustache and goatee on my youngest son's face (thankfully he was able to wash it off).

5. After the marker incident, my oldest daughter reminded me she has a concert tomorrow at 10:00 (now she's mad at me because I told her I needed to go to work for the three hours before her brother gets out of school).

But I did have ONE happy thing happen:

I got some books I'd ordered from today . . . I was going to wrap them and put them under the tree, but I may dive in and start reading one of them instead.

Write on.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ready or not, here it comes . . .

Oh yes, my friends. Christmas gets closer and closer each day. And am I ready? Nay, I am not. But from reading some friends' blogs, I discover I'm not the only one. However, some of them are much more prepared than I am.

Each year I am determined to have all the gifts purchased, wrapped, and under the tree long before now . . . but each year things don't fall into place until the last minute. Why? Heck, I don't know. If I knew the answer, I'd be able to get it together and meet my goal.

But things will work out. The presents will get wrapped and placed under the tree . . . well most of them. My oldest has yet to make up his mind as to what he wants to receive. Maybe he'll decide before Christmas . . . yeah, that would be nice.

I'm still debating the whole baking and delivering of goodies to friends and neighbors. And I only got a few of the Christmas cards on my list sent off. I'm hoping to pop more in the mail tomorrow.

Yeah, I'm ready for Christmas to be over. Are we done yet?

I've worked on a few more crits this week, but have had little time for improving my own work. But my time will come . . . hopefully soon. :D

Write on.


Lisa Schroeder, author of I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME, is celebrating the release of her upcoming YA novel, FAR FROM YOU, and hosting a contest with LOTS of great prizes!
For three days leading up to the book’s release date of December 23rd, you can watch VLOGs and hear some excerpts read from the book. The VLOG schedule is as follows:
Sunday, December 21st – Liv’s Book Reviews -
Monday, December 22nd – What Vanessa Reads -
Tuesday, December 23rd – Lisa Schroeder, author - AND
Help spread the word, and you might win a fabulous prize!
Copy and paste THIS entire blog entry into your blog between now and December 21st, then come back to Lisa’s blog at either Livejournal OR Myspace and leave a comment with the link to your blog and you will get TWO entries to win a number of prizes.
Wondering what you might win? Here is the list (there will be multiple winners):
~ An Advanced Review Copy of THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH, by Carrie Ryan
~ An Advanced Review Copy of SOMETHING, MAYBE, by Elizabeth Scott
~ Young adult novel GIRL, HERO by Carrie Jones
~ Young adult novel, THE POSSIBILITIES OF SAINTHOOD by Donna Freitas
~ Young adult novel, UGLIES by Scott Westerfield
~ Pair of YA fairy tale retellings by Cameron Dokey (BELLE and BEFORE MIDNIGHT)
~ TWILIGHT movie soundtrack
~ $15.00 Barnes and Noble gift card along with some Harry & David’s chocolate moose munch
~ And of course, a signed copy of FAR FROM YOU
For more chances to win, watch one or all of the VLOGs and leave a comment on that vlogger’s page, and you get another entry. That means if you post the schedule on your blog AND comment on all three VLOGs, you can have FIVE entries for the contest!
A live drawing with winners announced will be done by Lisa Thursday morning, December 24th, in a special holiday VLOG.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Working on it

My bosses sent work home with me this week because they are going out of town. I found I actually get more work done at home . . . what's up with that? Maybe it was a fluke, I don't know. But if I can get more done at home, maybe I should work from home all the time. I'll see if I get as much or more work done from home tomorrow and maybe I'll talk to my boss about working from home from now on.

I had a birthday on the 9th (as some of you know) and thought I'd share a moment. My youngest child (five years old) crawled into bed with me Tuesday morning, wrapped his arms around my neck and said, "Happy Birthday, Mom. How old are you?"

I replied, "I'm thirty-seven."

He hugged me tight and said quite seriously, "You're really old and will probably die soon. I'll miss you." Then he went on to ask me if he could have my stuff when I died.

Such a sweet child.?

In writing news, I've been spending my free time revising my Nano novel and critiquing work of my fellow writers. I'm enjoying it all, though I wish the revisions would go faster.

Write on.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Christmas, Christmas time is near . . .

It's true. It will be here before long. I'm not prepared. But I promised the monkeys we'd decorate the house today and I've procrastinated long enough. I must keep my promise. It wouldn't be that bad if I didn't have to CLEAN the house in preparation for the decorating. *sigh*

And the last two days have been chore free since I spent the majority of both days at the monkey's school running a booth at the Holiday Store. The house is a mess . . . and I'm not kidding. To let you know how bad it is, we don't have any clean forks, plates, or cups. The kitchen sinks are piled with all the dirty dishes waiting to be washed. The living room is a mess of boxes of decorations, baskets of clean clothes, papers pulled out of backpacks, and more. The dishes need washed, the clothes need folded and put away, the decorations need to be strewn across the house so the boxes can be put back in storage, the papers need sorted through, and the floors under all the rubble need swept and mopped.

I earned some extra cash for gifts so I suppose participation in the Store was worth it. Unfortunately, all this housework/decorating makes it unlikely I'll get any writing done this weekend. Even though I already anticipated this, I'm still a bit disappointed.

Then again, my yearning to write will be good motivation to get the cleaning and decorating finished quickly.

Hope you all have a great weekend.


Write on.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I have a face . . .

I gave in to the pressure and joined Facebook. I'm still trying to figure out how to use it so be patient with me, please.

I spoke to my boss today and we determined I will need to work five days a week in order to finish the archiving portion of the project by February. I told her I would give it a try, but she agreed I don't have to continue five days a week if it starts to stress me out. I love flexible bosses . . . but at the same time, I'm really going to try my best to stick to five days a week because I want this project finished as soon as possible, too.

I think I'll miss it when it's gone . . . and not just the extra money (which is always nice this time of year), but the learning about the "characters" in the lives of Fran and Irene. And boy did they know some "characters". *grin*

But it will be hard working five days a week and only having the weekend for my writing . . . and the kids are home on the weekend so it's quadruple hard to get writing done.

And where am I going with this? I'm trying to prepare you for the possibility of not having good news as soon as I'd hoped. I think I may have to wait until May/June to submit things.

Why? Because I want the writing time I do have to be spent in revising my new Nano novel. If I can revise AND prepare submissions, I'll do both, but the majority of my efforts will be thrown into revision.

I hope you'll forgive me, dear friends . . . but don't lose all hope for the possibility still exists I shall have good news by April/May 2009 (or was it May/June or June/July? *grin*)

Write on.

Creatures of the night, be quiet!

Which creature of the night are you?
Your Result: Vampire

You are a social pragmatist, as likely to kiss as to bite. Your sensuality and social pragmatism is the counter-balance to your existential angst and your tendency toward depression.

Cthulu Spawn
Which creature of the night are you?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Monday, December 01, 2008

Monday mopes

I'm going back to work today. Part of me is happy because the sooner I go back to work, the sooner I can complete the project and be finished. But the other part of me enjoyed the child-free writing time I had five days a week. *sigh*

But I keep reminding myself I'm only working Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and will have two days of child-free writing time. Plus, the extra money will be a bonus this time of year. *smile*

The kids only have three weeks of school before Christmas the two week Winter break (they're not allowed to call it Christmas because not everyone celebrates). This means I will only have three weeks of work as we don't usually work when the kids aren't in school . . . but since it is a two week break, I may beg and plead to come in to work to escape the madness that is my children.

My oldest is fifteen so he can watch the younger three while I have a few hours of work, right? *grin*

In writing news, I stayed up late and finished doing the crit for my friend, Meg. I hope some of my comments and suggestions will be helpful to her. I enjoyed reading her MS and look forward to seeing what kind of changes it will go through on it's journey to publication. I'm looking forward to some other crits that should be coming my way soon (eh-hem, Tolk *grin*).

And while I will be unable to work on my MS this Thursday and Friday (already volunteered to help at the school), I will be able to dive back into revisions on my Nano novel next week for sure. After school today we will be decorating for Christmas . . . the kids are more excited about it than I am. LOL

Write on.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Home from the holidays

We arrived home yesterday. I jumped right in to making phone calls to all my family I didn't get to see (my side). Then I jumped into a critique I'm working on for a member of my group (see, I didn't forget, Meg).

I have some errands to run before I can jump into house cleaning, but I hope to get back to the critique later today. It all depends on how long the cleaning takes.

In other news, I've set some writing goals. I'm giving myself until April or May 2009 to have some good writing news to share. Not much time, I know, but I think I can do it. If not, I'll set new goals then. *grin* But I'm going to try.

I go back to work Monday, but I will only be working Monday thru Wednesday so I'll have two kid-free afternoons to work on my submission materials and get things out there. Hopefully I'll reach my goal.

Okay, maybe I should change it to June or July 2009 instead . . . *wink*

Now I'm off to run errands and do my chores.

Write on.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I will be at the in-laws tomorrow and won't have access to the net so I thought I'd do my Thanksgiving post today.

First of all, I want to wish all my readers a Happy Thanksgiving. You all make my life a bit better and inspire me with your examples. So thank you all.

I made my own pie crust this year and it turned out to be the best pie crust I have ever done. I took a recipe and modified it a bit so I wasn't sure how it would turn out. I'm now going to write it down so I don't forget because it is flaky, light and delicious. I know this because I made pie crust cookies with the left over crust and they were so yummy. The kids gobbled them up and last year they ignored them. *grin*

Right now, the pumpkin pies are in the oven. In about an hour (the pumpkin pies take forever to bake) they will be finished and cooling. I'm debating whether or not to make a lemon meringue pie. I do have more pie crust dough but I'm not sure if I want to mess with it at this late hour. Besides, my pie always gets watery under the meringue. If anyone knows how to prevent this, I'd be forever grateful. I've tried cooling the pie completely before adding the meringue, not cooling before adding the meringue, cooling the pie completely before refrigerating . . . and so far I've only had one pie with no water . . . and I'm not sure why.

Anyway, things I am thankful for (in no particular order):

yummy pie crust, my family,   my writing friends, my pets, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, my non-writing friends, turkey and stuffing, a home to live in, happy phone calls, my fingers to type with (they do other things, too *grin*), my imagination and the freedom to express it through writing, rainy weather, happy children (don't much care for the unhappy ones *wink*), a free country to live in, my brother in the Navy and all the other men and women who defend my freedom, my new sister-in-law (welcome to the family, Jessica), money to spend (though I wish I had more), and the list could go on and on.

Write on.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


The revisions are going well. I've deleted some and added some more. My word count is now 50,072 but I'm about to dive in to more revising. The sad thing is, I'm only on page four of the manuscript. But that's okay, my revising time has been in spurts and odd moments but Monday will bring child and husband free time in which I can concentrate on the novel.

I'm liking how things are so far . . . but as I said, I'm only on page four. *grin* I've begun hunting for an agent for my other novel . . . we'll see how it goes.

Write on.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I was so beautiful to him . . .

After my elation of finishing my Nano novel, hubby and I went to pick the children up from school. We greeted them as they climbed into the van and scrambled for their seat belts (I was driving). As we pulled out of the school, we asked the usual question, "So, how was your day?" and the children usually respond with, "Fine. I had *insert PE, Music, Library depending on the day of the week*" and continue with any exciting or interesting things that may have happened (including what was on the menu for lunch).

But yesterday was different. Yesterday our kindergartner, Jaykeb, had a substitute. So, when we asked how the day went, the following conversation occured:

"It was a great day," Jaykeb gushed. "I had a substitute and she was SOOOO beautiful!"

"Really?" I asked. "What was her name?"

"I don't remember," Jaykeb said. "But she was SOOO beautiful. And she had a tattoo on her ankle and it was so beautiful."

"Well, tattoos aren't beautiful," Daddy said. "We don't get tattoos on our bodies because we don't think they are beautiful."

"Well she had one and it was so beautiful," Jaykeb said. "It had a tree and flowers and stuff and it really looked beautiful to me."

"What color hair did she have," I asked, attempting to divert the tattoo battle Daddy was willing to fight to the death.

"She had long beautiful blonde hair," Jaykeb said.

"Was she more beautiful than Ms. Daniels," I asked. Ms. Daniels is his teacher this year.

"Well, Ms. Daniels is old," Jaykeb said. "And the substitute was young and she was so beautiful."

"Is she more beautiful than me?" I asked, knowing how attached he is to me and knowing he has always declared no one to be more beautiful than his mommy.

"Well, she doesn't have polka dots on her like you do," Jaykeb said. "So she's more beautiful than you."

"Oh," I said, rather shocked. "Okay. But they're called freckles, not polka dots."

"Whatever," Jaykeb said. "She still didn't have any and she is so beautiful and she will be there again tomorrow."

I think he could tell his comments may have stung a bit for he said, "But you're still my favorite even if she's more beautiful."

Yeah . . . I'm no longer the most beautiful woman in his eyes. I knew this day would come . . . I just hoped it would be much later . . .

So, I determined I needed to see this substitute for myself since I hadn't paid particular attention to her when I dropped him off yesterday. I walked him into the classroom and smiled as I watched him try to act all grown up and important. Ms. Beautiful (I still don't know her name) said hello to him and he tried to act all nonchalant about it. He said, "Hey," like it was no big deal. Then he went to his table and talked with some of his friends.

I approached the table where the teacher was sitting and told her how Jaykeb gushed about her the previous evening. She blushed laughed and I could tell I'd totally embarrassed her. She told me that during recess the previous day, Jaykeb had decided not to play but to sit by her and tell her all about fireflies.


My baby has a teacher crush . . . I just hope he's not too crushed when Ms. Daniels comes back . . . and I hope he doesn't say anything to Ms. Daniels about liking Ms. Beautiful better.

Now, I'm going to jump on the revision wagon and start whipping Wolfsbane At Midnight into shape.

Write on.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I did it! I did it! I did it, hooray!

Yes, my friends, it is true. I challenged the Nano beast and I won! I reached the 50,000 mark today (50,015 to be exact). My novel is finished . . . well except for the revising, submission material writing, researching, submitting, submitting, submitting, and submitting . . .

But for now it is a good feeling to have reached the goal of getting the first draft out of the way.

In the beginning I questioned whether it would be easier to write with an outline. I can officially say it was (for me, anyway). And perhaps outline is too general a term. This was more like a chapter by chapter synopsis (hereinafter referred to as CBCS). Did I stick to the plan? No, but I like the direction the story took so I'll probably keep it the way it is now. But I do have the CBCS to refer back to if I decide to change my mind.

There are some holes I'll need to fill in, some scenes to flesh out, and some details to check when I go back and begin revising, but it is such a good feeling to have a small sense of completion.

I think I'll jump right in and use the rest of the day to begin my revisions. Of course I'll have to save my revisions as a separate document so I can use my current version to verify my word count with Nano . . . you know, in case my revisions take the book back below the 50,000 word mark.

I think this is the first time I've been really excited to jump in to revisions . . . maybe that's a bad thing. I probably ought to take my happy moment and sense of accomplishment and call it a day. But the revision bug is itching . . . I've got to do something . . .

Write on.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Almost there!

As of this moment, I'm 45,404 words into my Nano novel! Hopefully by this time tomorrow, I'll be finished . . . but I'm not sure I'll get time to write tomorrow . . . it's hubby's day off and for some silly reason he wants to spend time with me on his days off. But I'll definitely be done by this time on Thursday! *grin*

Then I can start revising. Hooray! Okay, I'm not actually looking forward to the revising part so much, but I am looking forward to going back to read what I've written. I refrained from going back as I went along other than a few sentences to get back into the story from where I left of the day before. So I'm interested to see if it's as good a story as I think it is. *wink*

Here's hoping to see all my Nano buddies in the winner's circle!

Write on.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tingly fingers . . . a Nano update

So, I've been busy writing my Nano novel and have sadly neglected to update my blog. I won't write much today as my fingers are tingly.

Why are they tingly?

Well, I've accomplished an amazing task. I hit the 40,000-word mark in my Nano novel today! While this is an accomplishment in and of itself, it does not entirely explain my tingling fingers.

I am nearing the ending of my novel where a lot of exciting things happen. I began writing at 9:40 (ish) a.m. (after reading and posting on friend's blogs) and finished writing at 12:45 p.m. This is a span of about three hours. Three hours of writing time is great but the best part is:

My word count before I began was 36,017 words. My ending for today (unless I write more) is 40,444 words. So if I've done the math correctly (and I used a calculator so I'm 99.9% sure I did), I managed to write  4,427 words in about three hours!

Yeah, this is the reason for my tingly fingers. I think I may be done for the day, but we'll see. If my hands feel better later, I may do some more typing on my novel.


Write on.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A new week a new word count

A new week has begun. I didn't get much writing done on my NaNoWriMo project over the weekend, and thanks to my newest ailment (Husbanus Interuptus) I didn't get much done today either.

Still, my new word count is 26,883 so I'm on track to reach 50,000 words before November ends . . . and maybe within the next week or so. *grin*

I hope to get back to writing later this evening, but with children, housework, dinner, and homework time, I'm not sure I'll be able to. Tomorrow, being Veteran's Day, the children will be home from school so my chances of getting some good writing done on the morrow are slim to none . . . though they could surprise me and let me write. Yeah, it could happen. *wink*

In other news, it rained pretty good last night and we even got a tiny bit of snow! It has been cloudy and cold today, but no precipitation has reached the ground. We'll see what tonight brings. The kids want snow, of course, and while I wouldn't mind a bit of the white stuff myself, I'm not ready for the extremely cold temperatures required to produce it.

And now to steer my readers to a fellow blogger. robinellen of Live Journal has some great posts about the agent search. You should check them out! Thought on the world of publishing, Robin's tips on the agent-hunt. Thanks to Robin for sharing these with her fellow writers.

Write on.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Eight days later . . .

Here I am eight days into Nano and already I've written more words this year than I did last year . . . or the year before for that matter. I'm completely amazed and thrilled that things are going so well for me (now I probably jinxed myself) this time around.

I've managed to write on six out of the eight days of Nano and my word count today ended at 24,374! While I haven't met my personal goal of 5,000 words a day, I'm only 15,626 words behind where I would be had I reached this goal. But, had I written 5,000 words on the six out of eight days I DID write I would be at 30,000 words so I'm really only 5,626 words behind. *grin*

Still, I'm pleased with my progress. If I can reach my 5,000 words a day goal from here on, I'll reach 50,000 in about five more days! Then I can start revising (assuming my novel is complete at 50,000 words).

The good thing is, I believe 95% of the words I'm writing are quite good and I may end up not needing a whole lot of revising, unlike the MASSIVE revisions I've had to do on my first novel. I've learned so much in the last five years of writing.

And now I'm off to bed. I'm not feeling well (thus my pathetic word count for the day).


Write on.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Nano update

After spending time talking on the phone this morning, I still managed to add an additional 4,571 words to my Nano novel!

I did get a few more words in yesterday so my ending total was 17,293.

So my total so far today (I say so far because I intend to write more) is 21,864.

I'm at an exciting scene and only stopped because I had to go get my kids from school. I really want to keep going, but the kids are begging for snacks and attention so I can't concentrate. I WILL get back to it once they settle down and start their "free time". Then while they are doing chores (I did mine as I talked on the phone this morning) I can finish making up the new chore chart we will be implementing next week. *sigh*

Tomorrow will be a massive house cleaning effort as it was last Saturday so I doubt I will get any writing done tomorrow.

Still, I'm moving right along. Okay, kids, I'm coming!!!

Write on.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


I've been kicking the Nano ball down the field and finally I made it into my goal! I wrote a total of 5,759 words today. This brings my total for Nano to 16,472 words!

I do hope to get more written tonight, but doubt it will happen with the kids, chores, homework, dinner, and TV shows I want to watch (hey, I earned some down time today! *wink*). I'm so proud of myself but know I have a long way to go. I want to get as much written as I can because I know towards the end of the month I won't have as much time to write.

The kids are having "free time" right now so I have about fifteen minutes in which I may be able to get a few more words written before we get started on the chores and homework . . .


Write on.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The end is here . . .

Hopefully only in the sense that election day has come and gone. *wink*

A new President of these United States will take office in January. I did not vote for Obama, and I'm not necessarily pleased he was elected. I have nothing against him, personally, I just don't agree with some of what he has planned for the country.

Still, he has been elected and will be my President. I will support those things I agree with and try to ignore the things I don't. I hope he will be good for the U.S.A. and not the let down I suspected he would be. I understand the Democrats feel they would do a better job running the country, but in spite of how some feel and what has been said, I do not believe the state of the nation is ALL due to G.W. Bush.

I'm not saying he's been perfect, no one is perfect. We are all human and make mistakes, it's how we learn. Nor do I feel that if things do not improve it will ALL be Obama's fault. The country is a mess and I'm not sure ANYONE can fix it any time soon. I only hope the Democratic White House can live up to all that has been promised . . . with the exception of taxing the rich to feed the poor.

Okay, so that's not exactly the plan, but I don't agree with raising the taxes for those who make more money. I'm not among those who make more money so I'm thinking it may not affect me much, but I don't agree with making those who have earned more, pay for the deficit in the government. Besides, maybe one day I will be among those who earn more than $250,000 a year (or what ever the number decreased to over the course of the campaign) and then it would affect me.

Anyway, election = over. Nano = still going. *grin*

My ending word count for yesterday was 10,713 words. I don't anticipate getting any time to write today (will be busy all day with appointments) so my starting word count for tomorrow will likely still be 10,713 words.

Write on.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

What's your Nano fuel?

Okay, to start my day off right, first I took my kids to school, then I VOTED (if you haven't done so yet, go do it!), fed the dogs (cause they need to eat, too), and now I'm sitting down to eat breakfast. We writers need fuel for our brains and we all know "breakfast is the most important meal of the day", right? So what is my choice for Nano fuel?

I had my mind set on a nice bowl of shredded wheat (with sugar on top) but upon opening the refrigerator, I discovered my darling children had used all the milk and not bothered to tell me so I could get more for MY breakfast. I debated about going into town and purchasing more milk, but knew this would delay my writing (and therefore my word count for the day). I decided I would find something else to eat. What did I settle on?

A nice hot bowl of chili! Yes, I realize it's not the usual choice for breakfast, but it was there and I was there and I needed to eat something (dog food wasn't looking too appetizing). And besides, it has meat, beans, tomato sauce and I'm eating crackers with it so it's sort of healthy . . . *grin* I may eat it for lunch, too. It's my very own recipe so it's not too spicy and won't give me terrible heart burn.

Anyway, enough justifying of my choice of Nano fuel, I want to know:


What's your fuel of choice for Nano energy (besides chocolate because that's a given)?


Write on.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Nano is here!

It's the moment I've been waiting for! Nano day is finally here. So did I spend the day writing? Oh how I wish! I did manage to get 1,814 words written in the little time I had available today. I'm not sure if I'll do much better tomorrow.

Today I spent un-decorating my house from Halloween and then heading into the room of my two boys (15 and 5) where my husband, 15 year old, and I did a deep cleaning. Hubby and son worked on the room while I took down the decorations and we worked for four hours after I got in there. Unfortunately, we only got it about half done (I'm talking deep dark, behind the dresser, cleaning out every drawer and shelf in the room). We may be continuing tomorrow in spite of it being Sunday and a day for church and rest.

So even though I didn't reach my goal of 5,000 words, I'm glad I managed to get some writing today. I'm hoping I can get at least as many words written tomorrow, but we'll see.

How did my fellow Nanoers do today?

Write on.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween fun

I know it's not until tomorrow, but I will probably have to work (waiting to hear back from my boss) so the kids and I had fun decorating today. My fifteen year old son stayed after school for a show choir rehearsal so I got to decorate the side of the castle he would have done if he were here.

Here are some pictures of our "Haunted Castle":

The side I decorated: 

HC my side


The side my 9 year old daughter decorated:

HC jillyssa's side


The side my 7 year old daughter decorated:

HC kyra's side


The side my 5 year old son decorated:

HC Jake's side


And here's a picture of the candy pumpkin I "carved" for decorating my side of the castle:

HC closeup pumpkin 

As hard as it is to carve a piece of candy (and believe me, it's hard), it's even harder to get a close up picture of it!

The kids are excited about dressing up and trunk or treating tomorrow evening. My husband's excited about the decorations coming down. I'm excited for NANO to begin! *grin*

I probably won't be able to spend tomorrow typing up my character sketches, so I'm going to try to do it later tonight . . . we'll see if I get to it.

Write on.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Preparing for Nano

I finished all the sewing I needed to do. I've been trying to finish up some loose ends at work so I will be finished with my current project and be free to start Nano with no strings attached. Then if I choose not to go back to work in December, I will know I'm not leaving in the middle of a project.

I'm close to being finished and stayed two hours longer today in hopes of having tomorrow and Friday to work on character sketches. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to finish and will have to go back tomorrow. *frown*

Oh well, I should be able to finish up tomorrow . . . I hope.

Friday will be character sketch day. I've got them worked out in my mind, but want to have them on paper. Also I promised one of my sisters that I'd email her my chapter by chapter outline and I need to do it. But this document is handwritten and I have to type it out to email it to her. I know what you're thinking (no not that!), why can't I scan the handwritten pages into the computer and email them that way? Well, dear reader, I could do that, but I'm not sure she'd be able to read my handwriting. *blush*

My character sketches come first and then I will type out the outline to email to my sis. She loves me and will be patient . . . right, sis?

Now, about Nano . . .

I was all pumped to know November 1st is a Saturday and I believed I'd have all day to write. Boy was I excited. And then the complications began. November 1st is the bridal shower for my soon to be new sister-in-law. It is an hour and a half drive away and begins at 2:00 p.m. *insert whining here* So my first day of Nano writing is shot. The second day of Nano brings my nephew home from college and we're all supposed to get together (another 1 1/2 to 2 hour drive) to celebrate a milestone in his life. On November 14th is my brother's wedding (at noon), luncheon (after ceremony), and reception (from 4-7). Plus, I promised DH I would take down the Halloween decorations on Nov. 1st and put it all back in storage. And to top it all off, I've volunteered to help be an ML for my Nano region! What was I thinking?

I believe it is important to attend the reception and wedding for sure, but am debating about the nephew's event . . . I love him and all,  but gas prices are still on the higher end . . . and I need my writing time. I've been waiting for months to get this story going!

Yeah, maybe I CAN wait a few more days, but I don't want to. *evil grin*

Okay so this is only three days out of my November . . . oh and Thanksgiving makes four, but I'm still getting my whine on cause it makes me feel better and I need the emotional release before Nano. *chuckle*

So what are you doing to prepare for Nano?

Write on.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

More sewing, less writing

Spent the weekend sewing dresses for my girls and have now moved on to sewing the Halloween costume for myself. I also start back to work tomorrow so I won't have much time for writing or sewing. Unfortunately, sewing will come first since the costume is needed by the 25th for my Halloween party.

So not much writing will happen this week with the party planning and costume sewing. I'm hoping to get character sketches for my new novel done before Nano starts, but at the rate things are going, I may not be able to. I've got the sketches in my mind, but would like to have them on paper . . . it seems things always change in the process of getting them from mind to paper. What's up with that?

Anyway, I saw some beautiful fall colors on the way home from church today, but didn't have my camera with me. I've got to get the camera in the car so I'll have it when I need it!

Write on.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Revisions on novels and decorating and sewing . . .

. . . these are a few of my favorite things . . . Not really.

Days have come and gone (that's how it works, you know). I've been busy. I revised the beginning of BoBDH, read blogs, and the rest of the week has been spent decorating for Halloween (Wednesday) and sewing dresses for my girls. I will be continuing the dressmaking efforts today. What's the occasion? Um . . . Easter? Yeah, these are the dresses I was supposed to make them for Easter. *blush* I'm a bit behind. DH suggested I wait until this Easter, but the girls want (and need) their new dresses.

After the girls' dresses are done, I need to make a dress for myself (my Easter dress), a Halloween costume for myself (for Halloween, duh), and a stick horse for my nephew (for his Halloween getup). I hope to finish all this today . . . but I may be setting my goals too high . . . that's a lot of sewing to get done. The sewing part goes rather quickly, it's folding the pattern to the correct size and cutting out the fabric that takes the most time.

I also promised the kids we'd assemble and decorate the Halloween "gingerbread" house today. Have I mentioned I'm looking forward to November? No? Well I am! November brings NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and a month of nothing but writing. Oh, and also that other thing during November . . . when you eat so much you want to die. But we will be spending Thanksgiving at the in-laws so I don't anticipate having to cook anything . . . . ha ha ha. Oh I crack myself up. I ALWAYS have to cook the pies when we go to the in-laws, otherwise we don't have any pie. And what's Thanksgiving without pie? Less fattening, sure. Less stressful, sure. But not nearly as delicious.

Now I must to sewing . . . right after I check friends' blogs and do a bit of reading and . . . *grin*

Write on.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

You and Meme

Today's post comes to you courtesy of dawn_metcalf from LJ.

If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, please post a comment with a completely made up and fictional memory of you and me.
It can be anything you want - good or bad - but completely fictional.
When you're finished, post this little paragraph in your blog and see what your friends come up with.

(this is WAY too much fun)

Write on.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Why am I here?

I've finished my planned novel revisions . . . for this round anyway. I'm looking over my submission materials to be sure they don't need any revisions, and I'm preparing to begin submitting.

It's kind of frightening.

As I've reached this plateau, I've been thinking about the journey and how I got here. I decided to share.

I've been writing for my own enjoyment (and sometimes by  assignment) since I was in sixth grade. In fact, sixth grade is where it all began.

Here's what happened (as Monk would say):

My sixth grade teacher, Mr. V. gave us an assignment to write a book. I don't remember the details of the assignment, but I vaguely remember the book had to be a certain length and needed to be illustrated.

I don't remember how much time he gave for the assignment, but I do remember I missed the deadline. Mr. V. kept asking me when I was going to turn it in and I kept saying I was working on it . . . which, I was. The book ended up being thirty five, half pages (not thirty five AND a half). I'd say about half of those pages were illustrations so we're looking at about seventeen to eighteen, half pages of text handwritten on those old brown papers with the green lines we used for writing.

The book was titled, "Summer of the Friends" and was a tale of friendship, loss, and more friendship. I can't remember why this particular story was written or what in my life caused it, but I suspect it may have been a friend moving away (I remember a friend moved, but can't remember what grade I was in at the time). The illustrations are even lamer than the text, but to be fair, they are both pretty good for a sixth grader.

Even my teacher thought so. I remember him telling me it was well done and I had some talent when it came to crafting a story. I also remember my grade would have been higher if I had turned it in on time (my first experience with a missed deadline). Now, he may have been being nice, but the spark of the writing flame came to life that day.

I continued to write (but mostly because of assignments) in seventh and eighth grades, including the lame children's story, "Corange the Green Orange," I wrote for the children's book assignment in eighth grade. The story was a "retelling" of the ugly duckling . . . but with oranges, duh. Yeah, did I mention it was lame?

Eighth grade was a pivotal moment in my life. Another assignment was to write and perform a play. My group did a knock off of "A Christmas Carol" but it was about a forgotten homework assignment and what would happen if the main character continued to not do homework. I played the elderly teacher, complete with powdered hair and lines drawn on my face, who had a heart attack when the main character turned in an assignment. My real teacher praised my performance and insisted I enroll in Drama class in high school. I did.

My freshman year of high school prompted me to write my first "novel". It was a pathetic romance and I'm embarrassed to admit I let people read it. The people were my friends and my older sister's friends, and they were terribly kind to me. I never did complete the novel (I still have it around here somewhere) but it was bad, bad, bad. However, writing took a back seat to my new love, acting.

I participated in the high school plays and won many medals and certificates at Speech and Debate tournaments. But don't fear, I didn't give up writing completely, I wrote quite a bit of poetry and entered a poetry and short story contest my junior year of  high school. I placed third for my poem, "Pantomime", and second for my short story, "Shanda". The winning entries along with a few others were printed in a "literary magazine" done by the Graphic Arts department. I'm not sure it counts as being a "published" author, but it felt good to see my work and name in print (though I could have done without the accompanying photograph).

I continued my writing through high school, mostly in poetry--some is good, some is not. My friends went on to college, and I remember attending a writing class with a friend during a visit. The class was instructed to listen to a passage of music and write something inspired from it. The instructor invited me to participate and I wrote a poem entitled, "Rain Dance". After the allotted writing time had passed and everyone was finished writing, the instructor invited us to share our work aloud with the class. My contribution was met with dead silence, as I remember it . . . either that or I blacked out. But the teacher did ask me if I planned to attend the college and suggested I take the class.

I thought I must have been pretty bad and he was offering to help me out, but my friend insists the poem was good and the instructor thought I had talent. I will share the poem with you here and you can judge for yourselves:

Rain Dance

Alone on the stage the dancer stands.

Her dreams are gone, like sand through her hands,

Yet one last dance she will perform,

One last dance before the storm.

The music begins, the first sad strains.

Her dance begins, and now it rains.

Her final dance she knows 'twill be.

A final dance no one shall see.

She dances on, though no one cares.

Her smile of hope she bravely wears.

Her smile fades as on she goes,

And, now, her devastation shows.

At last she realizes all is lost

Her wounded soul now knows the cost.

The music plays on. She leaves the stage,

Struggling to hide her rage.

Just one last look, and then she's gone

But the music still plays on.


I can't remember the piece of music played, but that was my result. I'm not much of a poet, but it was an outlet for my teen angst ridden soul.

I took creative writing courses when I finally decided to attend college, but they weren't much help . . . all I got was help with my punctuation (which still needs help) and stroking of my ego (which frustrated me). I wanted someone to tell me what was wrong with my writing; what I could improve (besides the punctuation). I knew how to craft a story and put it on the page, knew how to create a character and scene (thanks to my acting in high school, college, and community theatre).

I decided to write a children's novel when I was pregnant with my fourth (and final) child. This was way back in 2002-2003 . . .

. . . and here I am about six years later, still working on it. I have written things since . . . a few short stories and a completed rough draft of the sequel to this novel  . . .  but mainly I have concentrated on learning about and working on the craft of writing.

I made a few rash submissions before I was anywhere close to being ready. About seven agents and one editor saw my shameful and embarrassing attempts at the art of querying. *sigh* But I've learned so much since then and have been improving (I'd like to think) over the last several years.

And this brings us to today. I've completed several overhauls and some major revisions on this novel and believe it is finally ready to send out. Whether this particular novel ever gets published, remains to be seen, but it will always have a dear place in my heart because at about 50,000 words, I consider it my first completed novel. And it has been a tremendous learning experience.

Now, I look forward to National Novel Writing Month and a new journey with a new novel and new characters (the past three NaNo experiences have all been sequels) and a possible new and exciting series.

I'm curious, and hope my fellow writers will answer me this:

Why are you here; what events, people, etc. inspired you to become a writer?

Please post your answer (if it's short) in the comments section or on your blog (for longer answers) and link here so I'll be sure to read about it.

Write on.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Research, reading, and revisions

The kids had half a day of school and parent teacher conferences yesterday. We found out our young (barely turned five before school started) kindergarten boy is doing better than we (and the teacher) expected. Our first grade girl is doing great and moving up in her reading level. Our third grade daughter is slacking off and we are going to see what we can do to get her more motivated. She still got good grades, but not as good as she could have.

I spent my few hours before picking kids up doing some reading and more research for my NaNo novel. There is another half day today so I will probably do more of the same. I'm hoping to get my revisions completed today. The kids will be on Fall break, so if I don't get it done today, I may not get it done. *wink* And now I must take them to school.

Write on.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Submission and revision

I've completed my submission materials! [insert cheering here]

I now have a query letter, synopsis, cover letter, chapter by chapter synopsis, my map, and paragraph synopses of the other three books in the series. My next step is to complete revisions on the last half of the book and make sure the first half is ready to go with special concentration on the first three chapters.

And I'm completing the last bit of research I need in preparation for my NaNo novel. I've been off work all this week because my arm ached and I wanted to get these submission materials ready to go. I'm off all next week because the kiddies will be on fall break.

I also have a Halloween costume to make, a stick horse to finish for my nephew's costume, and a party to plan for the annual Halloween bash I have with my mother and sisters. I'm hoping I can accomplish all this before I go back to work on the twentieth.

Now back to revisions.


Write on.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Writing off Tuesday

I am writing off work in order to write my submission materials. I still need the chapter by chapter outline, synopsis, and cover letter.

I have a synopsis written, but I need to revise it. I also have the chapter by chapter outline hand written, but I need to type it out. I haven't begun a cover letter. If I knuckle down it shouldn't take me long, but I'm attempting to accomplish the writing between batches of laundry.

I will not be folding or putting the laundry away. It will remain in baskets. When the kiddies get home from school, they will do homework and chores and then they will fold their laundry and put it away. My and hubby's laundry will remain in the basket until I finish the submission items mentioned above. So if I don't want to wear wrinkled clothes, I better get the writing done.

I'm washing the kids' laundry first so I may be finished with the writing before I get to washing my and hubby's laundry. *wink*

On a completely different note, I got a couple of emails I found highly amusing (but it was late at night). I thought I'd post them here.

Here's the first:

Due to the state of the economy these days, the Treasury Department has redesigned the dollar bill :

new dollar bill

Here's the second:

Too much to drink is bad . . . even for a pumpkin.

drinking pumpkins

Write on.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Sleepless in Arizona

I thought when my kids were older I'd be able to sleep through the night and foolishly looked forward to those wonderful evenings of relaxation.

And then my mind gave birth to characters. They're worse than babies! At least babies sometimes let you get a couple hours sleep between feedings. Characters keep you up for hours at a time and when you do close your eyes, it's only to have them play out their scenes beneath your eyelids.

I'm not looking forward to work today and hope I can make it through without falling asleep at my desk. On the upside, I've got some new scenes and revision ideas to work with.

Wait, that's the upside? More revision work? Yeah, I must be tired. *grin*

Hopefully I'll enjoy a blissful, dreamless sleep tonight.

I didn't complete any writing this weekend, but I do have a pretty good excuse. Friday, after parking in the driveway at home, my youngest daughter informed me she had "important papers" from school. Now, understand "important papers" are the notes sent home from school and can range from flyers about upcoming events, sport sign-up announcements, or a real note from the teacher. I stepped out of the van (but not away from it), turned to get the papers from her, and the wind slammed the driver's door shut onto my left elbow.

Yeah, it hurt . . . you know just enough to bring me to my knees and make tears pool in my eyes (while trying not to scream and bawl so I wouldn't frighten my kids). I called hubby (he's an EMT) but he wasn't answering his phone. I thought my elbow might be broken as I was unable to move it and it was swelling nicely. Twelve years later, hubby came home.

Okay, it was more like fifteen minutes, but it felt like twelve years. His phone was experiencing technical difficulties. We went to the Urgent Care facility (it's less expensive than the ER) to have my elbow checked. They took x-rays and determined it was NOT broken. While this knowledge was a comfort, it didn't make it hurt any less. They told me it was badly bruised inside and out and would take a couple of weeks to heal.

A couple of weeks? I ignored the panic of not having the use of my left arm for two weeks and nodded. I think hubby must have seen that "writer's look" in my eyes for he piped up, "She does a lot of typing, will she be able to?"

Of course the doctor said I should refrain from typing at least for the weekend. I glared at hubby, smiled sweetly at the doctor and pretended I'd be an obedient patient. Upon arriving home, I took some Motrin and got out my computer. It only took a couple of keystrokes for me to realize I would NOT be able to type with my left hand. Did this stop me?

Well, yes, it sort of did. I still visited blogs, answered emails, visited Verla Kay's, and replied to comments . . . you know small postings where I could use one hand to fly across the keyboard. Well, perhaps fly isn't accurate . . . but it was faster than hunting and pecking by a bit. I'm pretty good with one hand. Anyway, I felt a bit better Saturday, but not enough for long posts. Sunday was more of the same.

Today I feel quite a bit better, though as I'm typing this, I'm feeling twinges of pain now and then. We'll see how it goes at work today . . . if I make it to work today.

Write on.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

NaNo song

As most of you know, NaNo time is almost upon us. For those of you who don't know, check out National Novel Writer's Month. In honor of this wonderful time, here's a little song:

Sing to the tune of Alvin and the Chipmunks' "Christmas Don't Be Late"

Oh, Why Do I NaNo?

NaNo, NaNo time is near
Time for stress and time for tears
I've got problems with my plot
Characters don't look so hot
Want a day to celebrate
NaNo deadline sealed my fate
Turkey day will come and go
Oh, why do I NaNo?
Turkey day will come and go
Oh, why do I NaNo?

Write on.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Building a flower arrangement

I decided getting published is like building a beautiful flower arrangement.

The gardener and flowers

A gardener plants the seed, nurtures it, cares for it, and grows it into a beautiful flower. There are many varieties of flowers. Some gardeners concentrate on growing one specific type of flower while others are able to branch out into several types.

Authors are the gardeners of the writing world. The author takes the seed of an idea, develops it, and grows it into a completed manuscript. And then the real work begins. Tending the manuscript.

The author must pull weedy words, cut back overgrown dialogue, and prune nonproductive scenes.

Like flowers, there are many types of manuscripts and not every manuscript is right for every arrangement.

The greenery

Some flower arrangements do better with greenery and some are able to go without. While several varieties of greenery exist, some go better with certain flowers than others. Agents are the greenery of the writing world.

An agent must search through the flowers gardeners send them to find ones they think match them best. Each flower must be smelled to see if it's appealing. To keep their offices from overflowing, many agents ask authors to send a petal as apposed to the entire flower. If the agent likes the scent of the petal, he/she will ask to see a larger sample of the flower, or sometimes the entire flower.

Should the agent decline the petal, or later the entire flower, move on, there are plenty of greeneries out there. Eventually you'll find an agent who thinks your manuscript matches. If not, perhaps you should take another look at your manuscript, it might need more tending. Or perhaps the petal you sent, wasn't the best one off the flower, try another one. If the agent likes what they see an offer is extended to help further prepare your flower to fit into the arrangement.

An agent offers suggestions for further care of your manuscript. Picking off the dead leaves and wilted petals. Maybe even cutting the stem to better fit a certain vase.

Finding the Vase

The flower is ready for the arrangement and the search for the vase is on. Not every vase looks good with every flower. Some vases are too large, others too small, some don't fit well with the shape of the arrangement. Editors and publishing houses are vases. If you have an agent they will know which editors have the best chance of fitting your manuscript. If you're on your own, you may have to do some extra research (much like you did to find an agent). Either way, it's still trial and error.

Once again, samples of the flower must be sent so the editors can choose flowers they think will do well in the flower market.

In the end a beautiful flower either paired with greenery or on it's own winds up in the perfect vase to make an amazing arrangement. Hopefully the arrangement will result in a flower selling well in the market. Bringing in a different kind of greenery.

Write on.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Win a critique and other great prizes

and all for a great cause. Check out the link and help out if you can.

The prizes are great but the cause is greater.

The Mischief Fights Cancer Raffle: Welcome to the Anti-Lymphoma Editorial Raffle

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mapping Knowan

I did find time to work on my map yesterday. Hooray! I think it is nearly completed. I need to go back over everything and make sure I didn't leave some important feature out (but I'm pretty sure I didn't).

I'm too lazy to scan it into the computer and I am in a hurry because I have to be to work in 20 minutes, so I took a picture with my digital camera.

This was the old map (a scanned image):


This is the new map:

Map of Knowan

Hopefully when I scan it into the computer, you'll be able to see it better.

I'm off to work now.

Write on.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Some pictures of my new WIP

You thought this would be pictures of the map I mentioned in my earlier blog, didn't you? But you are mistaken. *insert evil maniacal laughter*

I have found something new to take up the free time I didn't have in the first place.

This is my new WIP:

Warning: objects in pictures are larger than they appear.


What's in that dark, fake tree cave?

Come a bit closer . . .


What is this? Some freakish monster?

It is a gecko!

I'm not sure which type it is, but the pet store sold it as an albino. Here are some more pictures of it (not named yet).


Stalking a cricket (yeah, crickets gross me out . . . good thing I don't have to catch them).


Peeking out from the rock cave (made by me with real rocks . . . okay, so I stacked them and it wasn't that difficult *grin*).


Cute, hu?

But that is not all! Look what we have here.

Gecko no2 1

Yes, it's a second gecko. They are like potato chips, you can't have just one. *wink*

More of the second one:

Gecko no2 2

Gecko no2

The "albino" is larger than the other one (I don't know which variety it is either), but I believe they are both female. It's hard to tell until they are 5 months old (unless you're familiar with geckos . . . and I'm not). The pet store thought they were close to five months, but weren't sure.  If they are both female, I'm eventually going to get a male because I think it would be fun to raise some geckos.

Yes, I know I'm crazy. I'm raising children, Toy Fox Terriers, fish, and now geckos. And I wonder why I don't have time to write! *sigh*

Really, geckos are WAY easy to care for and I got them for my kids . . . mostly *wink* They enjoy watching them eat crickets and slink around the aquarium. It wasn't too expensive to purchase them since we already had a 20 gallon long tank from the red-eared slider turtles we used to own.

Now I've got to get back to my map!

Write on.

Mapmaker, Mapmaker make me a map . . .

I did not get any writing done yesterday. Oh, come on! Like you're surprised? *roll eyes*

I did work on an aspect of Books of Bestowal (just noticed it's BoB . . . *laughing*), though. I decided my sketch of Knowl (soon to be called Knowan) was terribly outdated and could stand some revising. I began a new map yesterday evening. I got quite a bit completed and hope to continue working on it later this evening. Maybe I'll be brave enough to post the finished product . . . but I'm no cartographer. *wink*

See, I am working on my novel! *grin*

In other news, I had a pretty good day at work. I spoke to my boss about the feeling of impending doom (NaNo) and arranged to take the entire month of November off of work. She said it is up to me whether I want to come back after November or not. I've been feeling a strong desire to quit for a long time now and when she said we were looking at another four months of work, my heart sank. I don't think I can do it. *whine* She suggested maybe not coming back every day after November but cutting down to a few days a week. This may work, we'll see.

I have a feeling being home the entire month of November will spoil me and I won't want to go back . . . but then again, the extra money is always a help so a few days a week may be the best option. I won't know how I feel until the end of November.

Anyway, I can have my November to devote to NaNo without any worries about work. I'm setting a goal for myself to write 5,000 words a day in November. It's a steep goal, and we'll see how it works, but if I can pull it off, I'll finish my 50,000 word goal in ten days. Yep, that's the big one, zero folks. And I'd have the rest of the month to revise and compose submission materials. Then I'll have two novels ready to throw into the submission process! Hooray!

Yeah, maybe I'm crazy, but I do actually believe I can reach this goal. But this is today . . . we'll see how I feel come November. *grin*

Write on.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Weekend blues

The weekend is almost over and no writing from my keyboard . . . other than the blogs of course.

I spent Friday in court with my son . . . no fun and a big waste of time as the judge didn't want to hear from any witnesses. *roll eyes* I am not pleased with having my son subpoenaed, having to pull him out of school, and sitting there for the proceedings for no reason. On the upside, the court experience only lasted about 20 minutes. *sigh*

After court, we picked up the younger kids from school and came home to a hectic evening. Saturday was spent cleaning the house . . . not surface cleaning, my friends, but deep, dark depths of cupboards, corners, closets . . . that kind of cleaning. Unfortunately, we didn't get to the entire house. It took all day to complete the kitchen cupboards and the shelves in my bedroom.

Yeah, it was dark, scary and frightening, but it felt good to get it done. Next weekend will likely bring more deep, dark cleaning . . . or I may blow off the cleaning and do some writing.

I suppose I could have done some writing today, but feeling lazy after the cleaning episode, my hubby and I chose to lay in bed and watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer (season 7). Yeah, I suppose I should have spent my time more wisely, but it felt good to do nothing and zone out in front of the TV.

Now, it's only a quarter to four in the afternoon and there is still time to get some writing done . . . I may yet. I still haven't gotten my chapter by chapter outline typed up for Books of Bestowal: Destroyer's Hope (the novel formerly known as The Four Powers: The Amulet of Hope) so I could get to it today . . . if I feel like it . . . which I might. *grin*

Write on.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Writing time

I managed to get a bit of writing done today. Shocking, I know. *wink*

Before you get too excited, I didn't get to work on Scarlet's story, but did get a synopsis written for Books of Bestowal: Destroyer's Hope (title subject to change). I also hand wrote a chapter by chapter outline for aforementioned book. My submission packet is nearly completed and soon I will be ready to walk the road paved with rejections.

I know the road is not easily walked--paper cuts on the feet and all that--but walk it I shall for I know at the end of the road is a contract. And I REALLY want the contract. *grin*

In other news, I get to take my 15 year old son to court tomorrow. Don't panic, he's not in trouble. He received a subpoena to appear as a witness. It's nothing exciting, a protest to a restraining order (writ of protection or whatever they call it) one girl is filing against another girl. These girls used to be friends and we gave them rides to school, but alas, a wall has been built between them and they are bitter enemies.

Not that I don't care about their troubles, but . . . well, I don't! I'm annoyed I have to pull my son out of school tomorrow to appear in court at 2:00 . . . and who knows how long we'll have to be there. *sigh* Why can't we all just get along?

Hopefully my son won't be scarred for life after this experience.  I told him he has to find new friends . . . no more psycho girls. *wink*

I'm pretty much shot for writing time tomorrow, though if I get a chance I will go for it. Hopefully I can get the chapter by chapter outline typed up later tonight.

Write on.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

All work and no writing

. . . makes me a cranky girl.

After work yesterday, I picked up the younger kids from school and brought them home. I expected to see my hubby waiting for me as he usually watches the younger three children while I pick up our oldest from high school, but he wasn't home. I got a phone call from him (cause he must have read my mind *wink*) telling me he was running late (duh) because he hurt his back (YIKES) and had to make a visit to the chiropractor.

So because he had to get his back cracked, he wasn't able to finish his route--he delivers Oroweat/Entenmann's/Thomas/Boboli to the stores/restaurants in our area.  He would still come home and watch the kids if I would go put the product on the shelves at Safeway for him after picking up our oldest.

I agreed to this crazy scheme (if you've ever been trapped in the car with three whining children while waiting in line, you'll understand) and the deal was done. Unfortunately for me, it took me an hour to get the product up. After that, I brought oldest boy home so he could get his homework done. Then I turned around and went back to town because I forgot to get stuff to make dinner. GRRR

After dinner (chef salad and salmon cakes), it is homework time for the younger kids. This time includes twenty minutes of being read to and five minutes of math flashcards for our oldest daughter; about five minutes (depending on how long it takes her to get through the book) of being read to by our youngest daughter; and last night, our youngest boy had Do-Good Dog homework.

All this equals no writing time for me. I was pretty cranky because I really hoped to get writing done each night after work. But I got over my crankiness and tried to get a good night sleep . . . that didn't happen either. *sigh* I should have stayed up and written! LOL

So, it's time to take my oldest to his early morning class, get the younger three dressed and ready for school, come home to get ready for work, go to work, and hopefully find time to write. I'm still hoping I will be finished working by the end of October so I can devote all my time to writing. But as things go, hubby is still in a lot of pain and wants me to help him again today. I may take pity on him later, but right now, I'm tired and cranky and don't feel at all inclined to help him today. *evil grin*

Write on.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Almost there . . .

I have now completed my chapter by chapter synopsis. I hoped to get into writing yesterday, but after I finished the synopsis I went on to do some research I need to have for the plot.

I have most of the research done and am almost ready to dive into the writing of the manuscript. I'm so excited to get started, but it has worked out nicely to do the research and everything first. At least it seems to be working so far. I won't know for sure until I get to the writing and see if all the prep work has helped things move along faster. I think it will because I won't have to stop in the middle of writing to do the research or figure out my next plot twist.

May get to writing later today. Off to finish my research now.


Write on.