Friday, June 29, 2007

Go check it out!!

The new blog is ready!!! I'm still adding links to the sidebars, and trying to make the word count meters display properly - but it's now up and ready for viewing. :)

http://mysteryrobin.blogspot.com

This blog will be active for a little while longer, but soon I'll switch over completely to the new blog. I'll give you all a heads up when that happens!

Robin

Just wondering...

Every once in a while I wonder if my life is at all normal.

An example.

I lie down to go to sleep after a long bout of putting the toddler down. DH is already lying down, sprawled on my side of the bed. Grrr... So I put my pillow on his arm and lay on it.

Him: I've been having spastic muscle twitiches in my arm. Don't be alarmed.

Twitch. The whole pillow moves. Twitch. Twitch.

Him: I hope this isn't bothering you.

Twitch.

Me: Move your arm or I'm naming your son Harlequin.

Said arm is moved.

I think this doesn't happen to most people...

More fun at the ER!

Some random facts I accumulated after my last ER bout:

1) Spiders *can* spin a web in the bathroom between the morning shower and returning in the afternoon. My daughter was right!

2) Said spiders are not disturbed by vomiting.

3) Bleach tablets in the toilet tank seem like a great idea till you get that close to them. Must reconsider.

4) ER's have improved since I had the last baby - they now have these fun tv/monitors attached to the bed. This saves DH from having to bring his laptop and DVDs for long stays. Although, with 2 kids to keep busy, DVDs are pretty much out the window.

5) IV tubing is strangely fascinating to 1 1/2 year olds. Nooooo!!!!!

6) The cafeteria can be a great adventure.


Also, a conversation with my 6 yr old. I'm sitting on the sofa, holding a bowl in case I throw up while DH is finding everyone's shoes:

Me: Could you go get mama's flip flops from my room?
Her: Sure Mama! As soon as I hear those words "going to the hospital" I will do anything for you! (glancing at bowl) Um... except rinse out that bowl if it gets full of throw up...
Me: Fair enough.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Get ready... get set...

Almost ready for the big blog unveil! I'm going to discontinue this blog and launch a new one, focused mostly on writing, and mysteries in particular. It'll have the working title of my WIP, status counters, industry links, and a cool new template. Stay tuned!!!

I'll announce the addy here, and leave this up for a little while before making the big switch. :)

Robin

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A nod to the grand dame...

This week I picked up The Moving Finger, by Agatha Christie. The back of the book said "a puzzle fit for the masters!" What fun, I thought!! About halfway through, though, I was pretty sure I had it all figured out.

Yawn! I suppose I've just read too many mysteries.

Not so! She surprised me and pulled it all together beautifully!! A cozy at it's finest. :)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Blog revamp coming

Just a heads up that cool things are coming the way of this blog. Stay tuned for the big unveiling next week!!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

To use a pen name or not...

Please weigh in!

Here are the pros and cons as I see them:

Pros:

1) You get to name yourself and how fun is that! You can even make it match your genre
2) A degree of separation for your family from potential rabid fans (ha!)

Cons:

1) It's not *your* name on the book, which you may have been hoping to see your whole life. Of course, I certainly adjusted to a married name...
2) Won't the rabid fans figure out who you are anyway?

And just to be clear, I'm mostly concerned with someone off balance and protecting the innocent (ie, kiddos)

Thoughts? Do you plan to use a pen name? Do you like the idea? I'm thinking of using the last name Evonovick - location, location, location. Ha!!! (not really)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

P&P Redux

I'm rereading Pride and Prejudice right now - mostly because I've read the story so many times that I can be half alive and still understand it! But I'm also analyzing it as a writer for the first time.

I heard someone say "Thank goodness no one ever told Jane Austen to Show not Tell!" And it's true, she tells frequently. For example:

She was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. When she was discontented, she fancied herself nervous. The business of her life was to get her daughters married; its solace was visiting and news.

So, why does it work? What I've noticed is that first she shows, then she tells, then she shows some more. Also, her showing is so clever and subtle, that without the occasional tell, the reader might not get it entirely. As it is, the telling allows her to be more interesting with the way she goes about showing.

The other thing I've noticed is she isn't afraid to let you dislike Darcy in the beginning. He's so iconic to me, that I love him from the first page - now - but when I read just the words on the page and try to forget how it turns out (and banish the lovely image of Colin Firth from my mind) I realize he isn't terribly likable at first. And even though she lets you know he's handsome, he isn't so handsome as to sway Elizabeth or the reader. Instead, it's the charming Wickham who holds the sympathy cards.

Anyway -just a few writerly thoughts on the ever interesting Austen!

PS Hostess has turned against me. All I can eat now are the sausage, egg, and cheddar breakfast sandwiches at Starbucks. I shudder to think of the fat content - but I hope they have a slightly higher nutritional value than a Twinkie!

Friday, June 08, 2007

I'm alive... barely

Just a quick post to say that I am sick. All. The. Time. I'm far enough in to the 1st trimester that I don't remember not being sick, and have far enough to go that I can't see the light yet.

Writing while sick is hard! Partly because as I run from my laptop to throw up, my 1 1/2 yr old pulls keys off of it. Eventually they don't go back on!

Thank the Lord for Hostess. I honestly haven't bought them in 5 years and now it's the only thing standing between me and death by starvation... not to be dramatic... ;)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The healing power of a Hostess cupcake

Yes, you read that title right. I was spiralling downhill again today, when it suddenly occurred to me that I was either dehydrated or just needed some quick energy. So my darling daughter brought me a bottle of water and a cupcake and voila - I'm upright!

Who knew they possessed such medicinal qualities!

Of course, I had to let the kids each have one and now Gigi is running around the house shouting "Mo Cake!!!" Oops.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Announcement Time!!!

No, I have not finished my edits (oh how I wish), but I do have another exciting work in progress... and this one I know will be done in exactly 7 more months. Ha ha!! Yes, I'm expecting a third (and final) little baby. WOO!!!

It's already been a wild ride with my first ever trip to the ER by ambulance (I'm fine - just how pregnancy goes for me). Though I will say that the writer part of me was thinking "Ooo, I can totally describe the inside of an ambulance in a book now!" while the rest of me felt like I was dying! Also, I was rescued by two very cute firemen. So cute, that the nurses made them STOP on the way to my room so they could appreciate one very fine booty. Hi, me dying on the gurney!!

So, I'm due Jan. 5th, making me 9 weeks and 3 days, not that I'm counting down or anything.

Please feel free to leave suggestions for names in the comment trail or by e-mail. I already have Kira Noelle and Greta Giselle (Gigi) and it will surely be a boy because Kira says so and she's freakishly correct about things like this.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Gigi's first sentence and conversation

This is a few weeks late, but the other day (week) I was unbuckling Gigi from her carseat and said "Mama loves you!" to which she replied in her deliberate, staccato speach:

"I. Do. Too. Mum." and grinned in satisfaction!

Since she's the Queen of abbreviation, this became "I too Mum." and now "Too. Mum."

So then Randy discovered he can have this conversation with her -

"Hi Gigi"
"Hi Dad"
"How are you?"
"Good!"
"I love you!"
"Too Dad!"

And when she's feeling feisty, it'll be "Too Mum!" when talking to Dad, just to see him flip out. ;)

A Warning

Soy milk + Rice Crispies = A VERY BAD THING!

Something about the snapping, crackling, and popping of the crisipes turns the soy milk into a bowl of bubbles. If one is silly enough to try eating this concoction, they will continue to bubble in one's tummy reminding one of the funny beans in James and the Giant Peach. Do not try this at home.

Update

I've gotta say that blogging from home is so much harder than blogging from work! I do have a new schedule that implements Monday, once school is out, so hopefully I'll be a little more consistant with the posts.

WIP udate: Still editing away. I'm on chapter 17 out of about 40. However, I've been doing a lot of chapter cutting and combining so 17 used to be 25. I don't know if that means I'm almost halfway or over halfway, but I'm still chugging along!

I will say that I used to think I couldn't wait to get to the revisions stage. After all, I do love editing, grammar, sentence construction, and all that. Sadly, what I find I do not love is the major rewriting/revising I'm doing now - moving chunks here and there, strengthening plot points, eliminating characters. I feel like my head is going to explode when I look at my manuscript (Anyone else ever feel like this? Any evidence of writers' heads actually exploding?)

Apparently I like "copy editing" and I'm definately not at that stage yet!

The new deadline is end of June, since I'm clearly not going to make this May deadline...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Reason #538 why I love my husband

He is currently in the living room, while I'm working on my book (and blogging), and he's doing his own ironing. Didn't say anything about it, just set up the board and started ironing.

Update! He just found a five dollar bill in his pants and tossed it at me for coffee money. ;)

I'm keeping him!

OK, back to writing...

Writing related thoughts on the Lost finale... (spoiler alert if you haven't seen it)

WOW!!!!!

I'm still stuttering with all that happened in that episode. Is Christian Shephard really alive? Or was that just Jack losing it. Does Kate end up with Sawyer? Whose funeral was that? Ben's?

OK, rather then rehash the whole thing here, which I could do for HOURS, I'm taking a writer related spin on it and I'd love to hear feedback.

Here are some things I noticed:

1) Charlie's death. When Charlie first died (or nearly died) in Season 1, I was beside myself with grief. I held my head, screamed NO at the tv... and this was all while reading spoilers and knowing he'd really make it. I momentarily forgot that and was caught up in his possible death and the tragedy of it. This time, I kind of went "oh, shoot, I hoped he'd make it." A much more measured response - so what happened?

My first thought is that in the beginning, the bond between all the survivors was the heart of Lost, and the audience was really invested in all of them making it off the island alive. As they've started killing them off, and introducing the Others, I think we've all detached a little bit. So, on the one hand they've acheived the "anything could happen" sort of thing, on the other hand, I think they've lost something also.

Secondly, I think the Charlie character hasn't been as strong lately. They've told a lot of his story, and he hasn't had the great lines he used to have. Hurley and Jin have been providing more comedic relief.

2) Flash forwards. Assuming this *really* was a flash forward and not some weird dream, it raises some issues - of course, there are all sorts of speculative things I could go into, about what happens to Jack, Kate, Christian, etc... but what I'm really interested in is what it does to the reader/viewer to know what happens in the future. Personally, I'm not sure I like it. (I mean, still a great episode). But as a viewer, I like to project what will happen to the characters. For instance, Luke and Lorelai get married, have those twins she dreamed about, and live happily ever after and Jess and Rory reunite. ;) If the show had ended with a flash forward ruining all that for me, I'd have been upset to have that taken away from me.

So, now I don't get to imagine what will happen to Jack - I know (or I think I know, if it's a reliable flash forward) what will happen to Jack - and it's not as fun as wondering. I'm sure the show will do great things with this, so I'm not complaining, but I think it's an interesting response and one I want to keep in mind when writing. I tend to feel the same way with "framed" narratives, where the story's already over, and being told in retrospect. It takes a certain something away. (Absalom, Absalom is a notable exception to this).

3) Wringing Kate's neck. Decide who you like already. You've got Sawyer, now he's a little abrupt, then Jack says he loves you and you seem all perplexed. Get over it, pick a man, and move on. There was enough going on in the episode that I didn't have time to get really upset with her, but this is the same phenomenon I felt with Lorelai and other shows that drag on a romantic relationship. I want to wring their necks and tell them to wake up and make a decision. I always knew really quickly who I liked and was quick to move on if it wasn't working, so this just unravels me in drama, and I think writers go to this too quickly to keep the "will they or won't they" suspense alive. My recomendation is to decide early on if they will or won't, then move onto another storyline. Elizabeth Peters did a great job of this. She gets people together reasonably quickly, then keeps giving them interesting storylines and I'm so grateful for that!

I don't write genre romance, but all the stories I write have romantic elements, so this is something I remind myself of often.

And that's my writerly analysis! Also, it's one of the best season finales I've ever seen. ;) Let me know what you think!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Hitting it out of the park

I've almost watched the Gilmore Girls season finale. I've watched everything leading up to it, and, not to be overly dramatic, but it feels like all my friends are dying. *sigh* So I have something of a mental block against watching the last episode.

So I've been pondering how it is that Luke and Lorelai are such well developed characters, that it feels like they live and breathe and walk around. It seems like Stars Hollow is *somewhere* and that Taylor's holding his town meetings and Luke is ranting about something and Lane is struggling with her babies somewhere, whether I'm watching them do it or not.

There are other shows, books, characters that are really entertaining and interesting, but not real in the way this is real to me. I talked ini a previous post about other characters that feel like real people: Rhett and Scarlett, Darcy and Elizabeth, Jay Gatsby, Catherine and Heathcliff, all the Amelia Peabody characters, Sherlock Holmes - to name a few.

For instance, when I read the Amelia Peabody books, I wanted Nefret and Ramses to get together so badly I could feel it! Why did she marry someone else! Why didn't he just SAY something! I wanted to scream at them. But, I'm reading another very good series right now with two characters that clearly want to be together, but aren't. And I'm not that upset about it. I'm sure they'll work it out eventually, but it doesn't keep me up and night -and yes, Ramses and Nefret, Rhett and Scarlett, Luke and Lorelai have ALL kept me up at night.

So I'm trying to figure out what *it* is - what that secret ingredient is that makes some characters leap off the page and take control of my imagination, while others stay peaceably on the page or screen.

Any thoughts? I'm sure it's more than one thing- but it sure would be nice if there were one secret key to this!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

She didn't learn it from me!

Last night. 9:30 pm. Soft crying from girl's room can be heard. I figure out it's the big one, and march her downstairs.

Robin: Kira has been crying. What do you think - put her in our bed?
Randy: Yeah, that's fine, but first look at her face. That's a great pathetic face.
Robin: True
Kira: (whose face has gone from pathetic to joyful in an instant) Great! I'll just need someone to carry my books*!
Robin: That would be you, Randy
Randy: What? What am I doing?
Kira: (flings herself in her daddy's lap) Oh Daddy! Yes, YOU will carry my books because YOU are so big and strong. Just LOOK at those muscles.

Randy carried the books, needless to say.

*Kira sleeps with about 15 large hardback books - all of which she must refer to before she can go to sleep. No, she cannot just read one per night. The list includes:
Beatrix Potter Anthology, Egyptology Handbook, How to be a Princess Handbook, several children's Bibles - she likes to compare the stories, Richard Scary Storybook, etc, etc. I have to dig her out of bed every morning.

Subplots

I'm the victim of my subplot taking over my main plot. I've heard of this phenomenon, and have now experienced it first hand. So I've been going through and mercilessly axing the subplot into submission - attributing some of the fun parts to the main character, cutting out a POV character... I've been ruthless!

I know recind my previous statement about the hardest part of writing being the initial creation - staring at a blank screen. I now think it's cutting stuff you love, but realize just doesn't work. Then trying to figure out what to work back in, what you can salvage and what you can't, and coming up with new material to fill in the blanks.

This is why I'm vowing to actually outline the next book!

Anyone else have this issue?

Tuesday Blues

I have to admit, that I haven't watched the last 4 episodes of Gilmore Girls. I can't bring myself to do it, knowing that they are ending. I appreciate all of the tribute links people have posted and sent me. I've read them all and really enjoyed them.


I know that Rosenthal said he wouldn't end the series with a wedding because the premise of the show is "what if my mother/daughter is my best friend." I think I speak for a lot of viewers who think the best thing about the show is Luke and Lorelai, and as evidence, I offer this quote from the pilot:

Lorelai: Please, Luke. Please, please, please.
Luke: How many cups have you had this morning?
Lorelai: None.
Luke: Plus...
Lorelai: Five, but yours is better.
Luke: You have a problem
.Lorelai: Yes, I do.
Luke: Junkie.
Lorelai: Angel. You've got wings, baby.

Ahhhh!!!! I'll post some quotes from the "Golden Trilogy" of episodes (end of season 4) later this week. :)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I've been tagged!

Twice, actually. Once for the Real Mom post, which I promise to get to soon, and now for the 8 things about me. :) I'm doing that one now because I've been tagged TWICE by Melissa and Anissa!

These are the rules:

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.

2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.

3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

4. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

Eight Weird/Random Facts About Me

1. I can talk backwards - and no, I'm neither dyslexic nor possessed, though I get asked about both of those things whenever I reveal this. I used to get bored during lectures in high school, so I'd say all of the teachers words backwards in my head. It was pretty fun trying to figure out how the different vowel blends would sound backwards. So this is all by sound, not visual.

And of course I totally know what Paul *really* says on that album!

2. I love teenagers - especially adolescent girls. I can't wait till my kids hit 13!

3. I didn't even know how to brown a chicken breast when I got married. Now I love to cook! It only took me 7 years. ;)

4. I'd have 10 kids if I could. I love a busy house with lots of people in it. But my organizational skills (and body) aren't up to the task. I'm hoping I can pull off 4, though.

5. I love grammar. I diagram sentences for fun. They used to call me "Grammar Queen" in junior high and bow in homage as I walked into my English classroom.

6. I love school and studying. So college was heaven, because I got to LIVE school. I especially loved finals week.

7. I'm a "gamer chick" and love playing video games. I even worked as a "game play tester" for a while so that my entire job was playing video games for 8 hours a day. Yet, my husband still beats me at almost all of them. Completely unfair.

8. There was a day (today is not it) when I could quote almost word for word three and a half seasons of Gilmore Girls episodes without looking them up. What can I say, I love quippy dialogue! I can still quote a lot of them, but don't pretend I won't miss a line.

The end!

I am now tagging:

Jennifer
Kathleen
Heather

and I think everyone else I know has played already!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

GG Quote

From, "A Messenger, Nothing More"

Lorelai: Hey, I should bring steak sauce, right?
Rory: For what?
Lorelai: Pizza.
Rory: I just got back from Italy.
Lorelai: So?
Rory: So they'd shoot you in Italy for that.
Lorelai: But this is America, where we unapologetically bastardize other countries' cultures in a gross quest for moral and military sumpremacy.
Rory: I forgot. Bring on the imperialistic condiments.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Waiting for the caulk to dry...

48 hours till we can use our shower again. YAY!





Here are some pics of the finished project. I've never appreciated a shower so much in my entire life:
Shower Head






This is the thermostatic control - you adjust the temp, then leave it there. That's why the handle says "flow". It's so I don't scald the kids. ;) Yes, that's me taking a picture of it with my cell phone! And the handy tub filler.






Here's the top half, and the bottom half - I couldn't get far enough away to get them all in one shot!

GGQOTD

Yes, for the time being, to salve my wounds, I'll be instituting the Gilmore Girls Quote of the Day feature.

Today's entry from "Red Light on a Wedding Night":


Dean giving Max advice about marrying in (HA! Or so he thought) to the Gilmore family:

Dean: Go with their bits.

Max: Their bits?

Dean: Yeah. Like, if you're eating pizza with them, and Lorelai decides that the pepperoni is angry at the mushrooms because the mushrooms have an attitude, and then she holds up a pepperoni and the pepperoni asks for your opinion, don't just laugh. Answer the pepperoni.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

You can all stop calling at once...

to find out if I'm ok. I'm not. The rumors are true and Gilmore Girls will not be back for an 8th season.

The real tragedy here, besides feeling like some of my best friends are dying, is that the show really faltered in seasons 6 and 7. Then it looked like it was going to turn things around, and now we'll never have time to get Luke and Lorelai to where they should be.

As far as I'm concerned, the show ended with Season 5's finale "Luke, will you marry me?" *sigh*

I think the writers got scared about really putting those two together. Well the show ended anyway, folks! I hereby solemnly swear not to drag out any romance or plot point because I need to save it for another book - to continue a series. If a book, series, show needs to end sooner in order to be what it's meant to be, then let it end sooner.

At least I have my DVD sets...

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Day Two




So here is the conclusion of today's work in the bathroom. Note the lovely chair rail tile along the edges. I love chair rail!





You can also see that I've put in a single handle valve for the shower control and put it much higher than the original three knobs. That was an experience. It took the plumber 6 hours and he had to go under the house. Apparently the pipes weren't very sturdy. No big surprise there.

The blank spots are where the corner shelves will go, by the way.




Also, we raised the shower head. You can see that little spout is up high now. It used to hit right about at shoulder level. So fun! In fact everything in the house seems to be built for people about 6 inches shorter than we are.





Tomorrow should conclude the saga of tiling the shower!!

Work in Progress

And I don't mean my novel for once, but my bathroom!


When we moved in the one and only bathroom in our 102 year old house looked like this:


That's vinyl floor tile put up on the wall with wood strips. WHY? I ask you. If you look closely you can see the white mosaic tile that was pulled off to make way for this vinyl monstrosity. So sad.


Here's a picture of the wallpaper border on my cast iron tub, so that you can fully appreciate the decor of the bathroom. :)


And today it looks like this:



Almost done!!!


Also, I saw this behind the wall - you can't see it very well in this picture, but there are about 4 layers of wallpaper, confirming my belief that the house was built without an indoor bathroom and this room was a butler's pantry. Under the green ivy there's something that looks like a pink flamingo print, and below that is a floral print with a dentil border. It's been really fun for me to imagine who has lived here and what their lives were like as they wallpapered their pantry. ;)


Stay tuned for pics of the finished product!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Still in shock

Yesterday I was listening to one of my regular podcasts, a show that interviews writers, and I heard something that nearly made me swerve off the road... the interviewer, a writing teacher and published author, mentioned that she wasn't a fan of Jane Austen. She went on to say something to the effect of "not that I really have a problem with Austen" at which point I might have been choking at the suggestion that someone have a problem with Jane Austen.

I've sinced reminded myself that everyone has different tastes and that's alright. Diversity makes the world go 'round and all that. Though truth be told I still find it incredible.

It reminded me of college when The English Patient was a huge deal among us lit majors - both the book and the movie - and a friend of mine said to me in all seriousness that she'd just seen the movie with some friends and -'gasp'- they didn't like it! She said she really wasn't sure she could be friends with people who didn't like the English Patient. I think I was able to assure her that, although I certainly felt her pain, she surely had other things in common with her friends. ;)

So the point of this post is:

Are there any books, authors, tv shows, movies etc that you hold so dearly you really can't understand why the whole world doesn't feel the same way? Austen clearly ranks up there for me!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Ode to "green" cleaners

So, picture me, standing at the stove stir frying dinner. Kira is in the living room with her new obsession: cleanser and a sponge. She's cleaning the entry way tile. And before any of you accuse me of breaking child labor laws, ther are literally only 16 tiles. ;)

Then I hear a scream, and in comes Gigi, running to me.

Me: Kira, what happened?
Kira: I don't know
Me: Why is she crying?
Kira: Um?

I look at Gigi who smells of cleaner and realize it's on her face.

PANIC ENSUES!

I shout for Randy to come down. Leave the stove burning, and rush Gigi in the bathroom to flush her eyes out with water as I'm asking Kira, "Did she get cleaner in her face?"

Kira: I don't know. Maybe. I guess.

Kira is now hysterical saying "I am going to cry now!!!" And procedes to cry as loud as only a red head can. Randy is now holding Kira as she's shouting. Though we both notice that as Gigi tries to grab a sponge, Kira stops crying, then calmly says "I don't want you to have that sponge" and then promptly returns to screaming.

Gigi is now completely fine and I remember that this is a non-toxic, go-ahead-and-drink-it-if-you-must sort of cleanser. WHEW!

Dinner somehow managed to turn out fine.

And I wonder why I have a headache... ;)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The TB Award!

I've won the Thinking Blogger Award! Thank you Heather for passing it on to me!!


And now, it's my turn to pass it on to 5 worthy blogs.


Here are my five:


Anissa's Blog on writing et al

Melissa Marsh's blog - on writing, history, and other things

Brian Neely's Photography blog - it's thinking in a different medium than I usually use and so much fun for me to check out every day

Erica Ridley's writing blog (yes, there's a theme here, I mainly read about ONE thing!)

and finally Therese Fowler's writing blog.


Enjoy the award, folks!!


And here it is:



Here is what you do now:


1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.

2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.

3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Carnival!

Yesterday, we woke up intending to go to church. We love church. But both girls looked really, really awfully sick. I think they didn't actually feel that bad, but I've worked in enough nurseries that I can't drop off a sick kid with a nursery worker with a clear conscience, so we didn't make it.

Around 3 we got really stir crazy and the Benadryl was working so we headed up to Home Depot because Randy needed herb plants. Of course, I was thrilled to go to a store selling both plants for the garden and bathroom tile! (More on the tile later). And, what to my wondering eyes did appear but a CARNIVAL right next to Home Depot!!!

I looooover carnival rides. They are up there with concerts and jet skis as some of my all time favorite experiences. So of course we went and had a blast. It turns out that both my girls share my love of roller coasters. Kira went on all the "crazy" rides except the moon raker (neither one of us really wanted to hang upside down). But there was no stopping her on the Tornado, the Sizzler, or the Goliath Slide!

Randy on the other hand rode the Ferris Wheel with her and said it took way too long to load and he had too much time to think about all of the many things that could go wrong. You should see him on an airplane. He's even more fun! (which is usually when I reminisce about the first season of Lost, out loud...)

Gigi really wanted to ride too, but she was too small for everything but the merry go round - which we road 3 times. Every time it would start to slow to a stop she'd furrow her little eyebrows and shout "MORE!" (which is really more like "mow")

So that was my fun Sunday! Clearly we've got a couple of years till Disneyland will be fun, to be fair to Gigi, but I can't wait!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Saturday Night - thoughts on characters

Well, I got some good editing time in today (Gigi napped - YAY!) and am now on Chapter 7. Sadly, the nap seemed to have an adverse affect on bedtime and she's still up. ARGH!

I've been thinking a lot about characterization today and about characters that leap off the page or screen and become real in my mind. I thought I'd ask what characters have done that for you?

My top ten list is: Jay Gatsby, Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy, Heathcliff, C.K. Dexter Haven (from The Philadelphia Story), Tracy Lord (ditto), Lorelai Gilmore, Luke Danes, Sawyer (Lost), and Mr. Rochester

Your turn! I've left out a ton of good ones, but had to cap it somewhere. :)

Friday, April 13, 2007

A not so happy anniversary


It was one year ago today that my Grandpa passed away. My mom's having a dinner tonight to celebrate his life.


I remember getting the call on the morning of Good Friday from my husband. He had found out first and told me to call my mom. You just never expect that kind of call, even when your loved ones turn 80. I know that most people would hear that he'd died and think, well, he had a long happy life. But it just doesn't seem any more right to lose someone at 80 than it does at 18. It still feels like something's missing. And when I look at his picture, I still expect that he's still here, somewhere - that I'll stop by my Grandma's house and he'll be there with his conspiratorial wink, waiting for her to go to the kitchen so he can tell me a story. I miss you, Grandpa!!


The Secrets are Back!

Yes, there is a new episode of The Secrets at long last!

If you haven't listened to them (and you're a writer or want to learn about writing)... I'm envious, because you have before you the joy of starting at the very beginning and listening to them all! It's a podcast by Michael A. Stackpole, a fantasy writer, that gives really very helpful advice on how to stick with and complete a novel. Honestly, it's this podcast that got me out of the wannabe phase and helped me actually finish my book and believe that I can be a published writer.

Plus, he has a fantastic voice. I'd listen to him read the phonebook.

The feed is here: http://www.stormwolf.com/thesecrets/index.html
Or you can look them up in iTunes.

Enjoy!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Lost, among other things...

First of all, I have the flu and a flat tire.

Fortunately, Lost was on last night. :) I haven't really chatted about Lost in a long time and this is quite possibly my favorite episode of the last two seasons. So I must talk about it!!!

Why was it so good??

1) Sayid- I love that Sayid is like the viewer's guy on the island, meaning he reacts like we, the audience reacts and he never forgets that his goal is to get off the island. His words to Juliet were basically, we haven't forgotten what you've done now spill it or I'll make you spill it. Then, when Jack says she's "under his protection" I love Sayid's look which basically says "that is humorous. I could take you both, no problem." Love Sayid!!! One of the reason's I was so sad when Shannon died was that we don't see his tender side as often, but I like his lethal side, too.

2) Sawyer and Kate... ahhh!!!! A) Sawyer's look of relief when he see's Kate alive. B) Kate running up to him and throwing her arms around him (yay, Kate!) C) Kate calling him 'James' to get his attention... so sweet.

3) The whole Juliet twist at the end - BRILLIANT! And how smart was Sawyer a few episodes back when he said she was lethal. Loved them zooming in on her tying the knots at the end too - hearkening back to Ethan and what he did to Charlie. Yikes. I say she's eeeeveeel

I'd just like to say that I have about enough energy to prop myself up at the keyboard, and my sweet daughter is entertaining herself by scrubbing the floor. ;) Ahhh.... the other one is of course tormenting her to the best of her ability.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

And a question

Is it "strived" or "strove" people? Dictionary.com says either way, but one has to be better...

Spring Break Day Three (night three, really)

Hm, well some people seem to have preferred the coffee, some the tigerlillies - oh well. I've had this theme on my hard drive for a while waiting for a chance to use it and today is the day! I'm sure I'll change it again in the near future. I'm working on a blog design for the "professional writer blog" to come. It's very cool!

Guess where I am right now? In my cozy brown chair in my clean(ish) living room (thanks Mom!) next to my cozy tweed curtains that are drawn so the people outside (yes I can hear them) can't see me working on my editing. Ok, I'm actually blogging, but just for a sec. I've got a scene that must be rewritten tonight. I'm imposing a deadline!

Also, it seems to be spider season here. I've seen a couple of those big black house spiders lately... the first actually RAN (they're fast) right at me while the four of us were camped out on the floor playing Mario Party and eating ice cream. It clearly wanted to join in the fun! I jumped. Randy told me to get him a cup (we're a no kill household) and Kira then examined it inside the cup and proclaimed "I prefer Suzie... you remember, the spider in our old house?" Yeah, she named the spider that lived under the bathroom cupboard that I could never manage to relocate. I could never look at a spider long enough to name one.

And with that... I'm back to editing...

And again...

Ok, the brown just wasn't working for me. This is much cheerier and I have dragonfly things all over my house so it feels homey. :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Success!

Today has been a good day - although it started out with some serious issues (didn't get coffee in time to prevent headache - Kira coughing like a TB victim), it ended well.

First, my wonderful mother came over and helped me make serious progress in the living room. I can actually sit here at my computer without twitching because of the mess everywhere. YAY!

Second, I seem to have solved the mystery of the drapes. Yes, it's true, I've finally purchased window coverings so that I can't be seen by passers by on the street while typing. It's a wonderful feeling. I went with a brown tweed that's really warm and happy.

I feel like all of this will yield more and better writing, since I'll be able to sit happily at my computer, instead of looking around at all I need to do and wondering who is peering in from the street.

So happiness abounds!

(And if you need a dose of happiness and already have blinds, go check out last week's Lost!)

Painting

Not the house, just the blog. ;) Got a little bored and wanted to change things up. I'm not sure this is sticking around, but it is appropriate to my coffee addiction. It's a sad day when you have a headache and think it's probably a caffeine headache since you've *only* had one grande latte and three cups of coffee so far. Not NEARLY enough!!!

OK, back to house organizing, editing in my head, and nursing the sick child...

Day Two

Kira is still sick. She has a horrible cough and is lying on the sofa watching Digging for the Truth. She wants to be an archeologist (among other things) when she grows up, so we're both learning a lot. But, she keeps piping up about which areas she would, and would not enter (nothing she doesn't think she could get back out of!)

I can tell you I go a little nutty whe I only see two people all day long. Must find more humans....

Alo, I FINALLY saw last weeks Lost and I'd like to announce that I've officially left the Jack and Kate camp and am now rooting for Sawyer in all things. He's just adorable, and I think it's really interesting how characters can evolve and win your heart. ;)

Monday, April 09, 2007

Spring Break Day One

I hope everyone had a happy Easter! We went to church, ate lots of sugar, and played Happy Family with my very large family. Much fun was had by all! (And I'm happy to explain the rules of Happy Family for anyone looking for a fun, free party game!)

Kira is on Spring Break today... and sick, so we are pretty much grounded right now. Perhaps a bit too much sugar yesterday? I did find a few spare moments to get some editing done. Whew! It feels good to be back at it. I'll update my meter over there soon, I promise!

In other news, I got some new flowers planted this weekend. I LOVE having my own garden! I've clearly created a monster because Kira looked at the house today and said "With all those colorful flowers, I think the color of the house doesn't suit the garden. We should paint it." Um, yes, we probably should, but let's finish UNPACKING first. ;) Yes, I'm still unpacking. Oh the joy.

Also, I'm reading Susan Grant's SF Romance (that I WON) - My Planet or Yours - and it's fantastic. It's my first SFR and I'm really happy to have discovered a fun new genre. ;)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Take Two

I managed to make it till about 11 last night. WOO! (Waited up for Randy who was working his last night shift - another WOO!). There were some parenting... challenges... toward the end of the evening, but everyone got to bed in more or less one piece. I got up at 6:06 this morning and things were going well - everyone was ready to take Kira to school not just on time but a little bit early (this is key - if I get there early, I can walk her in which she loves)... then I tried to muscle the Benadryl down Greta so she wouldn't throw up in the car and what does she do but preemptively throw up all over both of us. This included the Benadryl I'd just slipped into her mouth. Of course I'd put her in her last clean outfit.

One dress and pair of tights later and a change of clothes for me and we get outside to see the car encased in ice. Of course the ice scraper was in Randy's car. So I turned on the heat and the wipers and waited... finally we made it to school with enough time for me to drop her off, then run in and wave so she felt like her Mommy cared. Mission accomplished, sort of.

I was all set for a great morning nap from Greta - it lasted all of 10 minutes. Just long enough for me to make a late breakfast/early lunch. (Nachos probably shouldn't be a breakfast food).

Let's hope this gets a little smoother in days to come!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Schedule Take One!

So, I made a schedule. the whole thing hinges on my ability to get up and FUNCTION at 5:30 in the morning. I'm really and truly a night person, so this is a big if.

Therefore, I have risen today in the pre-dawn hours to see how I do! So far, so good. I had coffee with DH in front of the fire, had a little computer time and a shower before any little kidlets are awake. WOO HOO!

Stay tuned to see if I crash and burn around 3, when DH heads to his (last day of) his second job. ;)

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Recap Post

It's been a busy week... mostly revolving around one little toddler and the flu. Really not fun for anyone. She seems to be mostly back to her riotous self, though, if a little thinner, so all is good.

So I have a few things to catch up on!

1) Lost - yes, this gets top billing because it was CREEPY! Also, it didn't really advance the plot, but it was fun to revist old scenes with my favorite survivors. I really didn't like Nikki and Paolo but didn't need to see them go like THAT. It's been my worst nightmare since reading Poe in 5th grade.

2) Novel - STILL editing. Can I just say for a second that pacing is HARD. I feel like I've ripped it all apart and now I'm trying to put it back together with special new and improved "pacing glue". I'm up to about chapter 9 in this process. There are many more chapters to go. Clearly I didn't make my March 31st goal, but the book keeps getting better, so that's good. I think I've done a lot of good work on the two protagonists to make them stronger and deeper. Also good. But the little sidebar tracker isn't really relevant at this point. I'm leaving it there, though, to remind me to keep moving. Once again... pacing is hard!

3) My big goal as a SAHM is to add structure and routine to our days. No more being at the end of a litle Greta whip. Or such is my goal. No luck yet. I'm blaming it on still moving in and DH's crazy schedule (which gets a little more normal as of Tuesday). I am in awe of bloggers like Kimber who seem to have this all together. Once again, if anyone has "schedule" advice send it my way. (and I've read all the books. Really.)

Hopefully I'll assume regularly scheduled blogging now!

Friday, March 23, 2007

It's here!

I won the contest over at Kimber's blog for a copy of Your Planet or Mine by Susan Grant. And my book arrived today! I am so excited to start it! She was kind enough to sign it for me too, with a nice note. :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Quick update

I've managed another chapter's worth of edits. YAY! It's a real triumph right now since I'm *still* organizing and unpacking in most of my spare moments.

Also, I seem to have a little girl who gets car sick after a certain time in the car. That time period happens to be exactly how long it takes to drive her older sister to school. Anyone have advice on toddlers with carsickness? Let's just say that I know feel completely immune to being vomited on. I've aquired another Mom Superpower! WOO! ;)

Off to scrub the front porch... (which is where she got sick *this* time)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Books vs. TV

Bookseller Chick had a great post the other day asking about why 250 million people watch Grey's Anatomy but very few books get close to those kinds of numbers. I can't link directly to it, but if you'd like to read her post, it's the March 14th entry.

Anyway, I'd been thinking along the same lines over the last few weeks. I've had such a hard time finding a new book that I really loved, and here I am a writer and lover of books. What gives?!

So I was thinking about this as I was watching Grey's last week. And I think that the reason I so love the shows that I do is because the writers have created really likable characters, that stay *in* character, and basically I enjoy hanging out with them for the hour that I tune in. I want to have a cup of coffee in Luke's Diner, or hang out on the beach with Sawyer, and listen to Izzy give George a hard time.

Whereas a lot of the books I've picked up lately are either really beautifully written, but don't create characters that I like and want to spend time with. Or, they *do* create great characters, then just put them through the ringer. Enough, enough. I challenge writers out there to create a really great child character and then *not* have her abused at some point in the book. PLEASE!

The books I love, are books that create likeable characters and create a setting for them that I can "hang out" in. This is the genius of Harry Potter - wands and warlocks are just icing on the cake, I really want to hang out at school with Harry and Hermione. It's also what makes the Amelia Peabody books so good. I just want to be on a dig with Amelia and Emerson.

Anyway - that's my thought for the day! Agree? Disagree?

What was America thinking?!




They choose Austin over DEREK?!

*sniff*
Do they not remember the fiasco that was Fun, Fun, Fun?!
I honestly don't know what to say except that I'm having flashbacks to Sam being ousted from Top Chef.
So. Wrong. So, so wrong.
****
OK, I've know watched the whole show and I'm editing to add that while my partiality to Derek hasn't waned, Max really does have a compelling story. So it will be some mollification if Max can win and make his little 6 year old brother proud - especially after all Max has been through.
But America really was robbed in that we didn't get to see Derek sing "I've Had the Time of My Life" ARGH!!!!!


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Midnight update

I finally managed to get both kids in bed and asleep, though not till 10:30. There were many trips to get a drink of water and things like that... and I've dug out the Supernanny book. Kira noticed that and said "need some advice, huh?" I probably shouldn't have let her read the book herself. ;)

Still, eventually they fell asleep and I got some editing done. YAY! I've inputted the first chapter's worth of changes. That was after the great feat of putting the first 72 pages back into order. Ooops! So, it's just one chapter, but progress of any kind feels good. AND I've named one character whose name has eluded me until now.

I've also done a lot of work over the last month on characterization and motivation. So I know that when I get to some key scenes in my editing, they'll be much better.

Also, I've decided that the absolute hardest part of editing is discovering a plot change that needs to be made, forcing me to go back and change scenes that I love. That's the sad part - when I loved the language of the scene, but it's not saying the right thing anymore, and the new version doesn't feel as good. But... I really can't have them talking about a boat sinking if it doesn't sink anymore.

Ok, off to bed and to think about chapter two!

Goodnight blog buddies!

Saturday Night Live

It's Saturday night and I'm blogging while I make dinner. Randy is working, yet again, this time till verrrrry late and my heretofore good attitude is waning just a bit. I know this second job thing won't last forever, but, if you read my previous post, you'll know I'm learning that patience is not quite the strength I thought it was!

But, I've got a Lost to watch tonight and many pages to edit and baked potatoes with the works for dinner. (I'm finding that unpacking/cleaning all day means I do streamlined dinners. I just can't bear to mess up the one room that's reasonably put together!)

OK, that's it - not much to say - just wanted to feel a part of the blogosphere tonight!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Two weeks in...

to being a stay at home mom! So far, I'm loving it. I'm really loving the focus. I really liked the job that I left, but I felt so scattered - when I was at work I was trying to make calls about stuff at home, and home really got the shaft with the 3 hour commute on the days I worked. So now I can make healthy dinners, unpack, take walks with my kids. Very, very fun.

But, I'm really not settled into things yet. I suppose that moving, quitting my job, Randy getting a new job, then getting a second job, then going to New Jersey for a week could be a little unsettling. ;) I really thought I was a patient person until all of this. I wait in line really well! But I want everything to be unpacked and us to be in a routine yesterday! (and let's add that the bathroom should be tiled then, too).

So, any of you with mom schedule experience, please comment. I need to get the kids, the 18 month old especially, into a good routine so that we can all be happier and more secure! I know I'm unsettled because I'm having the recurring dream I have when I'm stressed - that I'm back in school. Apparently I thought I had things well in hand in lovely Santa Barbara. ;) In the dream, I'm always thinking that I *should* be stressed about something, then my friends say "you're lying on the beach in Santa Barbara, what could you be stressed about." Good point, friends! But, I'm not *actually* in school anymore. I have a few more things to do than study and work on my tan.... like finish the edits to my novel.

I did finally *find* the beginning of my novel, so God-willing-and-the-creek-don't-rise I should be able to type those in tonight! (In my case, the creek is Gigi and she needs to stay in her sweet little bed!)

Book Meme

Here's my take on the fun book meme that I saw on Anissa and Therese's blogs! (links to the left)

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon) (I've read parts. The sexy parts. *grin*
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis) (I've read the whole chronicles at least 5 times)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie(Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley
) - I need something for partials. I got a few pages into this and put it down. I didn't like where she was going with some of it...
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini) - in my TBR pile!
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy) (In German!)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)

50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens) - I have read David Copperfield, which should have made the list!
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough) - no, but I saw the miniseries as a kid!
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares) - saw the movie with my daughter - she'll watch anything with "Rory" in it!
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)7
3. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)

76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum) - not yet, but I did see Matt do this!
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch) (well, I listened to it in my car - does that count?)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Fish 'n' Flush

OK, I'm in the midst of planning a bathroom remodel (I've GOT to find my xd card so I can upload some before pictures. I'll warn you - you might have to look through darkened glasses at the horrific vinyl tile).

So, while browsing for shower fixtures, I stumbled upon this: http://www.homeclick.com/showpage.asp?itemid=305268

Yes. It's a toilet and fish tank, all in one. Because that's what the world needs. I really have no words...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

I'm still here...

Wow, being a stay at home mom and unpacking seem to equal less blog posts!

Thank you to everyone who commented in my post below. I know it will be a lot of work, but I'm already feeling so much more focused and happy (despite missing my friends at work - I really did have some great coffee buddies!)

Gigi seems to love having me home. I'm getting lots of cuddles and kisses. Kira, well, she fell apart in sobs when I picked her up from school instead of Grandma. We had to have Grandma meet us at Barnes and Noble. Sigh. I suppose it's not a bad thing that she adores her grandmother, but it was heartbreaking to hear her saying, between sobs "why can't we see each other?! We should be together!" And I even stayed this morning and helped in her classroom.

I'm also in the middle of revisions for my WIP. Wow. It's hard. I've decided I need only one POV character so I've got a bunch of chapters to rewrite, plus I think I need to storyboard out the timeline. OK, it's almost midnight and I'm thinking that "storyboard out" is not truly a verb phrase, but there you have it. I think you know what I'm talking about. I need some sort of graphical representation of who is where and when to make sure I don't get anything wrong.

And I can't find the first 72 pages that I edited. I'm sure there in one of these many boxes. I remember packing them, but the boxes all look the same...

off to bed, hoping I'll dream of a great way to convert the POV chapters. HA!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Big Day and the Big Blizzard

Today I walked out of my client site for the very last time. My husband and I have worked so hard and so long for this day, that now that it is actually here, it feels surreal. I have a hard time believing I really won't go back to work.

All day today I was thinking about how it was the last time I would do something - the last time I'd take the back stairs to Starbucks - the last time I'd swipe my badge in the elevator - the last time I'd walk through the hallway to my cubicle - the last time I'd make myself a cup of tea or refill my coffee cup. And I realized, that along with my dear friends (and my work laptop which I LOVED) I'll really miss the familiarity of everything. I've been there longer than I've lived anywhere since I've been married, and longer than I've worked anywhere. It felt a little like leaving my college dorm.

So, I'm permitting myself to be a little wistful about it, and tomorrow I'll jump for joy at never having to write another functional specification in my entire life!

and onto the blizzard...

Driving home last night, snow started to fall about halfway into my commute. It seemed fine - not much was sticking and I was fairly far along. But traffic had slowed to about 2 miles an hour and suddenly the snow was freezing on the road and my poor little Volvo couldn't get any traction.

Ten miles from home I had to pull off into a McDonalds parking lot and try to find another way home. I was stuck. And I hadn't been able to reach my husband, who had our kids in the car, for hours. I was fine till my cell phone died and I realized I wasn't a powerful, cyber-connected commuter anymore - I was just a lady in the middle of a snowstorm in high heels with no cell phone.

Clearly this ended happily, and after a 3 hour commute my hubby came and rescued me with some help from my mom at Snow Crisis Central (aka my parent's house).

But it did make me feel really happy to know that from now on, snow can be welcomed with opened arms because I won't *have* to get to work he next day. Schools are always so sensible and close if there's snow. Hooray!

And of course, I whipped out my laptop and wrote a scene where my heroine is stuck in the snow, since I had all of the details so fresh in my mind!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My poor little bathroom

As you all know I recently moved into a *new* house - new to me, that is. It's actually 102 years old. So the bathroom was an afterthought, to be sure. It's situated off the kitchen and under the stairs. Not a great location, but I can live with it.

However... here's the thing, there is some sort of odd lineoleum on the walls of the shower. It's ugly, and not supposed to go on walls, so I thought I'd replace it pretty easily. Hmm... so it turns out I can't take out the tub and put in an enclosure, because there is a load bearing pillar coming down from the stairs to the corner of the tub. The tub stays put! Apparently my only option is to tile those two walls. Which is fine, I like tile. Then I can have the tub refinished if I want.

But here's the problem, according to the guy at Home Depot, I'll have to rip out those two walls completely to get a flat surface for the tile. UGH! And if I'm doing that, maybe I should replace the fixtures for the tub while I'm at it because I hate them and you have to rip out the wall to do that... and I don't want to do it twice.

The rest of the (very small) bathroom is fine for now. I eventually want to put in a new floor and vanity/sink, but that can wait. The shower, however, can't wait long because I don't want to get moisture in those walls. And they're ugly!

If anyone has had any experience doing anything remotely like this, please let me know. I'm thinking that I might be able to tile myself, but I don't think I can put in drywall or greenboard myself. What do you all think?

I'll post pictures soon!

And the winner is...

No, this is not an Oscar related post. I haven't seen really any movies in the theater this year due to little ones who like to run the aisles, so they just aren't that much fun.

But, I do watch my fair share of television, and I'd like to present the award of "Most Captivating Sweeps Month" to....

Grey's Anatomy!!!

Yes, Gilmore came through with giving Christopher the boot, but as I said before it was handled rather poorly. Studio 60 was amazing, but it's too sad to contemplate the storyline now that it appears to be cancelled. (And traitor that I am I Tivo'd The Black Donnelly's last night). Lost was good as always, but Grey's had me on the edge of my seat, even though I really knew that Meredith would pull through. Plus, any chance to see Dear Denny again is met with open arms!

Also - I'd like to mention the unbelievable choice of "the panel" on Grease to save Kathleen rather than Kate. WHAT????!!!! Kate has such a beautiful, powerful voice, I have no idea what they were thinking. I thought it would be a no-brainer that Kathleen and Kevin got the boot. Their duet was truly painful last week, and sure, Kate and Derek struggled a little, but I'd still have saved her. That must have been one super acting scene that saved Kathleen (though hard to believe after seeing her performance). Ah well.... my pick for Sandy is Laura now, if she stays strong, and has good chemistry with Derek, I think she's a shoe-in! (And smart girl that she was she chose Derek for her scene partner!)

If you were an agent...

Lori Perkins has been talking about the kinds of books she loves to represent.... which got me thinking, what woul *I* represent if I were an agent? This was very fun to think about, since as a writer, I can't really write everything that appeals to me, at least not out of the gate. I understand that new authors need to build their "brand" and can then branch out if they have a nice following (like Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb).

So, I'd want to rep mysteries, particularly cozy mysteries. I don't think I'd rep genre romance because I don't read enough of it, but maybe an occasional stand-alone title that is women's lit/romance. I'd search high and low for the evasive literary novel with a Happily Ever After ending instead of all the misery and despair that seems to crowd the "new in paperback" tables right now. I'd also search for novels with intesecting plot lines, particularly when one is historical - The Map of Love and Possession are great examples. Also genre-bending novels with a mystery at their core, like The Historian (aka the best book of 2005) and Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next books.

I also tend to shy away from "inspirational fiction" as a genre, but love books where faith is explored and presented as a complex undergirding to the structure of the book. C.S. Lewis and Tolkein are the masters of this. So, sure, I'd look for the next C.S. Lewis and Tolkein - no problem!

So, blog-readers, what books would you rep if you were an agent, looking for that diamond in the slush?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Bad v. Badly

I've finally got the grammar rule down for this one! Have you, like me, wondered if it's correct to say "I feel bad" or "I feel badly?"

Well, wonder no more! I've just found the Grammar Girl's podcast - so much fun.

So, anyway, if you are trying to communicate that you are sad, or ill, or otherwise not up to par, the correct usage is: I feel bad.

Bad is an adjective, and therefore modifies the noun "I". It is you who are bad.

Badly is an adverb, and so modifies the verb. If "you feel badly" then your you have some sort of nerve damage and your sense of touch doesn't work.

I am so happy to finally have the answer to this question!

Catch-up Post

1) Three and a half more working days to go. WOO!!! Of course, this means very little right now because working is actually a break from the move. Phase one should be finished in one week, Feb 28th - and then I'll just have unpacking and organizing to do. Oh the joy of being able to focus!

2) Lost... I'll just say that I used to think I knew what was going on, and after last week's episode, I'm, well, lost! What I *do* know, is that Desmond is my new favorite character and I hope we get to see Penny again. :)

3) Grey's Anatomy... Meredith can't really be dead, can she? And as much as I love her, the whole storyline is worth it to see Denny Ducquette again. I love Denny! Also - brilliant move having the bomb squad guy there.

4) I have a comment on Gimore Girls that will segue into a writing related post... last week Lorelai gave Christopher the boot. Finally. Geez. The thing was, the final conversation that got us there was terrible. I mean, it was well acted, but the motivations were all wrong. I won't go into details except to say that Lorelai is an exceptionally well drawn character, so well drawn that I know this conversation was very out of character for her. It seemed like a case of the writers needing to get from point A to point B. And as much as I've been chomping at the bit to get to point B... the ends don't justify the means.

This is important to remember in plotting. I know where I need my characters to go, and sometimes am tempted to just give them a little push to end up there. But if I don't stay true to who my characters are, the readers will feel cheated.

Like I do right now about Lorelai. The real problem is that it breaks that 4th wall and your readers suddenly become aware that it's just a story, whereas (hopefully) they were living and breathing it up until this point.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Move

I've been sleeping at the new house now for a week and a half. I've got about that much more time till we're totally out of the old house and I'm done working, and can just focus on unpacking. It's crazy and hectic but I LOVE my new house, even with all the pet projects I'm seeing everywhere.


Here are a couple of highlights:


New Dishes!!! I told my mother how depressed I was to move my dishes one more time, so she bought me new ones. :) Don't they just pop against the white cupboard?



Saved by Elmo

This was day 2 of moving. I was trying to unpack. The living room was wall to wall boxes. Then I found the little tv/vcr and a rogue elmo tape. The kids made do with seating arrangements, and I had a blessed cup of coffee

Say it's not so!!


I just heard a vicious rumor that Studio 60 is cancelled. It's my favorite show on the air right now, edging out Gilmore Girls and Grey's Anatomy - quite a feat!!


Seriously, this is like the tragedy that was Sports Night, all over again. It's even another "Danny" that I'll be missing!!
Sports Night nearly made the leap to HBO and I'm hoping S60 will do that. I think cable is just a better bet for Aaron Sorkin all around. *sniff*


Friday, February 16, 2007

Quick update

No real time to blog in the flurry of unpacking. Just wanted to say that I now have cable tv and internet. YAY!!!!

Sadly, the first thing I saw on logging into Yahoo this afternoon but this travesty of justice:
Dog is being extradited to Mexico!

Seriously, any faith I had in our justice system is out the window.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Long, rambling post on many subjects...

Some thoughts for the day....

Clearly I'm not tracking on all cylinders because I went grocery shopping at lunch and carefully read all the ingredients on everything I bought to make sure they didn't have high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated anything, or gluten... then bought a bag of candy corn on my way out and ate that before anything else. *eyeroll*

Ezzo

I was discussing Gary Ezzo and his book Babywise/Growing Kids God's Way yesterday with a friend of mine and couldn't sleep all night thinking of the horror that is Ezzo. I try to steer clear of contraversial subjects on my blog. I try to stay mostly light hearted and focused on fun things the kids are doing, writing, gardening, things like that. But I will say that while book burning and/or banning is creative terrorism in my mind, like the death penalty it may just have it's place every now and then. If anyone out there in the blogosphere is considering using this method of child rearing without moderation (and Ezzo certainly does not encourage moderation or a blending of methods), I'd ask you to please check out these resources first:
http://www.fix.net/~rprewett/concerns.html
http://www.fresnofamily.com/ap/ezzo.htm
http://www.equip.org/free/DG233.htm
http://www.nospank.net/ezzo4.htm
http://www.ezzo.info/
I won't get into much more here, but just had to include some of these links in a post, to add one more "anti-Ezzo" hit to those googling him. Just to be clear - I'm all for schedules and discipline and structure if that's what works for your family - Ezzo is in a class all by himself in that regard. I don't know how any man has the gall to take from Christ suffering and dying on the cross, an imperative from God that a mother not pick up a crying infant.

OK, difficult subject out of the way - onto writing...

I want to talk a little bit about the mysticism of writing. I listen to a lot of podcasts on writing and read lots of blogs and books, and I have an English degree... so it's safe to say I've heard many, many hours of instruction and discussion on the subject. While getting my English degree, I found it very difficult to write creatively. I think in part I was absorbing a lot of information and was in a "take it in" mode rather than an output mode. But also, I know that I struggled with thinking that if my prose didn't sound like Faulker/Austen/Bronte/ as it left my pen, I might as well give up. I'd never heard the adage "first drafts are allowed to suck" or "write first, edit later". I just thought that what I was writing would never endure to be taught in a classroom years from now.

Maybe because of that, I bristle when I hear authors talk about the magic on the page, or how the characters speak to them and run away with the book - things that can't be analzyed or quantified or taught in any way. It makes writing into an exclusive club that you can't gain access to unless you experience "it", whatever that is.

Pshaw!!!

I loved reading Janet Evanovich say that her characters are *her characters* and do exactly what she tells them to! I do think that I finally understand what authors mean by their characters doing something different than they had planned, however. Here's what I think - it's like raquetball. Have you ever heard a writing/raquetball analogy? I didn't think so!

So, in raquetball, you have the laws of physics governing the ball's movement. You hit the ball at a particular angle with a particular force, and the ball has no choice but to bounce off the wall in a particular way. If that's not the way you want the ball to go, then you hit it at a different angle or with a different force, but you don't get to change the laws of physics.

I think it's the same thing with characters. You set them up with certain traits, strengths, weaknesses and drives (their laws of physics). Then you introduce stimuli, events, plot points into their world (the serve) and they will react to these events according to the laws you set up. Now, as a writer, you can rewrite and change these laws if you don't like them. You can make your heroine stronger or weaker, or your hero a little more devious or more moral - but once you've established who they are, then their reactions need to make sense within that framework. So I think characters run away with the book when an author sets up that framework, and then introduces the plot points, and discovers that for a character to stay true to who you created them to be, they have to react in a way you hadn't planned. But of course you can change that if you want to by changing the character - or just go with the new direction.

But it isn't a big, amorphic mystery. It's writing. It's a skill. We can all do it. Just sit down with a pen, or a keyboard, and have at it!

Whew!

The cable company can get me tv and internet access *this* Friday. I have to wait till next week for a phone, but who needs a phone. ;)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The cable...

will not be connected until NEXT Friday. Oh, the sorrow.

The Countdown

To answer a question from the comment trail, the official Countdown to Leaving Corporate America is D - 7!!!

After today I have only 7 working days left. WOO!

Flower of the Day

This seemed very appropriate for Valentine's Day! It's a bellflower called Campanula Pantaloons, and it always makes me smile. :)


I can't wait to see what blooms in my garden this spring, so I can start creating my little floral wonderland!


Happy Valentine's Day!

And a Happy Valentine's Day to all! My primary focus this Valentine's Day has been to try not to forget that Kira needs treats for her class. In the end, my mom and friend bailed me out with a last minute trip to the drugstore. But my husband did not forget, and showed up last night after working both jobs with chocolate covered cherries, two very thoughtfully chosen books, and a card. Aw! Whenever I was single on Valentine's Day (which was often) I celebrated by buying myself a present and wearing pink so I'd be happy, regardless, but it *is* more fun to have a present bought for me. :)

So Happy V Day to the rest of you! I hope all the little kids are having fun with their candy exchanges and Valentine's Day mailboxes today! If I had any intellectual reserve, I'd post about Saint Valentine and why he should be remembered, but honestly, I don't have it in me today. Check back next year...

Hello again

Well, the move is definately underway. We've been sleeping at the new house since last week, but still have sooooo much to do to finish up. DH has been working 2 jobs and I've been going solo with the kids without tv or internet access for a week. ACK! I have some fun pics of the move, but of course can't find my upload cable in all the chaos. I promise they will be posted shortly!

I do LOVE the new house - I'm seeing projects everywhere (why exactly did they paint the molding around the door... all but the last two inches??) but it feels very much like us and once the boxes are out will be very cozy and homey. And wait till you see my new dishes!! My wonderful mother wouldn't let me move my old, depressing dishes one more time and bought me the new set of my dreams. Pictures to come!

I have no tv wrap up this week, because I haven't seen any, except Grease. So I'll just briefly say that Derek is once again the only choice for Danny (he sang Footloose, people!) and they should just pick Sandy by pairing all the women with him and seeing who he has the best chemistry with. That's my tip for the producers!! I'm also curious as to why they put the guys through elaborate dance numbers, but have the women just stand there and sing. Why?

Also - March is NaNoEdMo (National Novel Editing Month) YAY!!! I couldn't nano in November because I hadn't finished with my novel and I didn't want to start a new one till this baby's done. And I have much editing to go. This is perfect timing. I'll be staying home. The bulk of the move will be done. I should be set up well to edit in the evenings. WOO! If anyone else has a novel to edit, I encourage you to join me. I love the community that is nanowrimo, and I hope this has a similar feel.

So, see you all when I have my upload cable back!!!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Did she do it??

Update on today's goals. Darling husband is home packing, so that first goal is well on it's way. I know for a fact he left the top floor for me, so that's probably what my evening will consist of.

As far as the second... I wrote about 1000 words, then went to insert it and realized I'd covered some of the same ground elsewhere. Grr... this is the problem with taking too long of a break! So, I decided *not* to stop to write long passages. I make a note of what sort of content I think I need, and then I keep editing. This will mean I'll need to do a second pass, and Holly Lisle says you only need one pass, but... this is my first novel and I've just got to get the editing done however I can get it done. I'll refine the process with the next book. (And I finally know what that next book is! YAY!) So I stopped and edited the next 10 pages again.

Probably there won't be any posting till Tuesday. The Great Move should be taking place over the next 4 days. If I can sneak a little laptop time in, I'll post about it, if not - see you all on Tuesday!!

Okay, one more!

Just found this and have to post it - clearly I like tiger lillies and this is the first double tiger lily I've ever seen. (I have a thing for "doubles" - the fuller the better!)


I can't wait to plant this!


Flower of the Day

OK, I'm taking a break from my dog posts. This is because my cat is driving me crazy and the thought of adding another four legs right now isn't terribly fun. I'm sure I'll be back to my old, animal loving self once I finish moving. Probably the cat is just a little unsettled with all the boxes, so has decided to meow incessantly. I hope that's it!

So one of the things that I'm really looking forward to in my new house is gardening in something other than containers! They've put in a lot of flowers and bulbs in the front yard. But there's still plenty for me to do. Right now it's pleasantly landscaped but not even close to approaching cottage garden status!

I have a list in my notebook here three pages long of plants I want to get and where I'm going to put them - so I thought I'd share some of the highlights:

I LOVE Calla Lillies, and usually prefer them to just be white and long - then I found this. So, in it's honor I'm creating a "black and white" garden with these "Black Pearl" Callas:







Next up are two lillies. The first is "Clothed in Glory" - note the ruffled gold edge! The second is called Miss Lucy, and it's the only double oriental lily in the world! (And *I* have the web site address to buy it from!)







And finally we have an Iris named Steve. :) I think the blue in this iris is breathtaking. Also, the irony of a blue iris named Steve has not escaped me... or maybe I've seen Blue's Clues one too many times!


Goals for today:

1) Get everything ready to move tomorrow. We pick the truck up first thing in the morning. YAY!

2) Finish these 2 chapters that are standing in my way of continuing to edit. I've got one just about knocked out. One to go. That should be easily accomplishable at lunch today. If I don't do it now, it's not going to get done during The Great Move and it will drive me crazy!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I inspired a post....

on a fellow writer's blog. I am so very happy!

link

How Tight is Publishing?

I hear a lot about publishing being really tight right now - meaning it's extremely hard to break into and get published. Mostly, I don't think about this because I have exactly no control over the market, just over what I write.

But I saw this post by Lori Perkins recently and I thought this must be part of the so called tightness people are talking about. Lori is an agent who has been working for about 20 years, and she says that 20 years ago, she got about 2000-3000 queries a year. Now she gets 30,000. She attributes this to the computer and word processing, her theory being that 20 years ago, there just weren't that many people who could type well enough to complete an 80,000 word novel. I think that having 10x the manuscripts out there must contribute to the difficulty to get to market (if it truly is harder today than decades ago, which I'm not conceding yet). Simple supply and demand.

And it makes me wonder if I'd have typed out an 80,000 word novel. I tend to think I would have, because I wrote plenty on my word processor with it's 8 line display, and before that, I wrote long hand and then typed it up later. It was part of my editing process. (OK, I was 14, so I'm reaching here, but I did use it as an opportunity to revise).

It also makes me wonder how much the process of typing or writing longhand affects the actual manuscript. On the one hand, it's much easier to revise, so possibly books go through more revisions now. On the other hand, I know that when I wrote long hand, I wrote much more slowly and thoughtfully and didn't rely as much on revision. Not that I plan to go back. I love my keyboard. ;)

Greta's sign language

I tried to teach my baby sign language, like a good 21st century mom. I got the baby sign books and was all over doing the signs for "eat" and "drink" and "more" at all the appropriate times. None of them took. Nada.

But, what I learned was that the concept of signing had sunk in, I just wasn't teaching her the right sings. Just like at 17 months she still won't say "yes" or "no", but she will frequently say "kitty cat", "Blue's Clues", and "chocolate," (That's my girl!) she has no need to sign "more" when a furtive pointing at what she wants and then pointing at her chest does just fine. Another favorite is extending her hands in front of her, wrists to chest, palms up, and wiggling fingers. This means "put said item in these hot little hands before someone gets hurt. My cry can break glass, you know." There was no sign in the books for this.

Her latest is as follows. First some background. She isn't terribly fond of the word "no." (which probably explains her complete boycott of voicing it). Although I can say "Greta, if you want some chocolate, it's in the drawer in the kitchen. Just use your stool and go get it." And she will return with a chocolate bar in hand, if I am typing on my laptop and she decides to turn on text to speech, the on-screen keyboard (did you know you had one? I didn't) or just hibernate the whole thing and I say "Greta, no." She glazes over. No Habla Ingles. I'm just a baby and can't possibly understand you. If I say it again, she'll then continue doing the action, but with more ferver. The implied thought here is "I know you can't possibly be telling me no, so I am going to continue doing this, with oomph, and give you a chance to correct your error." If I continue saying no (and admittedly, she has sometimes worn me down by this point) she then has no choice but to acknowledge it, which is where her new "sign" comes in: Spread fingers of left hand, tilt head downwards slightly, bring hand to face, contort face into pained expression, stifle cry. This would be the sign for: "The world is too horrible, too horrible for me to gaze upon. I have been wronged."

This also is not in the baby sign books.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Link(s) of the day

1) www.bloglines.com I was resistant to this at first, because I love reading blogs on the actual blog page. But I follow so many (25 at last count) that this is really helpful. You can see on the left sidebar which of your blogs has an update. Then click on it, and the posts show up on the right side. If you like, you can then click on the blog title and it will open the entire blog so you can read on the blog itself. I usually do this, except for blogs that i know are kind of plain, or for livejournal blogs - because they're always plain!

2) www.historylink.org - an online encyclopedia of Washington State history. I've been looking things up all morning!

Quote of the Day

"The downhill path is easy, but there's no turning back." Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

My new obsession



And why doesn't Starbucks sell licorice lattes? I think I'm onto their new big taste sensation!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Another New Look

As much as I loved my last look, it was the "classic" template and I just needed to go back to the beta/new/enhanced templates. It was too hard to update my links and novel edits and other fun widgety things. So, I hope you like the Tiger Lillies. :)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Winter Ball

Kira attended her first "ball" last night. Her school held a winter ball for the entire school. Families were encouraged to attend, and daddies to dance with their daughters. Much fun was had by all.


Here is the little dancer:







Friday, February 02, 2007

TV Wrap Up

The One That I Want

I *just* discovered this show (Thanks, Trace!). Thank goodness I found it in time to see Derek sang "Crazy Little Thing Called Love". Sadly, the show is now over. He's Danny. Wow. WOW!!!!! All he needs is a pompadour.

I also liked Max, but there's no comparison. He'd be a great secondary character, though.

So far, Ashley S. is my choice for Sandy.

Top Design

OK, I don't feel like I'm going to bond to this show like I did Top Chef and Project Runway, but we'll see. So far, my pick to win it all is Goil. I'm not sure how I like Todd Oldham as host. He's kind of combining the Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum roles, although he's not juding. Interesting. But I miss having a Heidi/Padma around. And, uh, Alexis Arquette.... wouldn't have been my choice for the celebrity client. But it does raise an interesting question:

If a decorator had to design a room for you based on your five favorite items, what would those items be?

Mine would be ... ok I've been stalled here for a while. Clearly items yet to be purchased.

Gilmore Girls

Did I not say it was turning around?! Yes, Christopher, she still has feelings for Luke. Yes.

Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip

Love, LOVE Matt and Harriet. I feel sure they'll patch things up. Love Danny and Jordan. I thought the way they had her misunderstanding his declaration of love was really interesting. Loved the missing snake. And why did Tom lie about being out with Kim? I missed why he couldn't tell Julia the truth about that. I hate misunderstandings so I hope they clear that up soon.