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Friday, April 30, 2010

LIAR LIAR - The answers

1. I was once mistaken for Anna Nicole Smith.  NOT in person, no no...we don't look anything alike, I assure you.  But I did get a series of phone calls from directors and whatnot when I was living in Vegas. I used to be a Smith you see and I was in the phone book (she wasn't).
This is TRUE.  Before she was Anna Nicole, she was Vickie something Smith and was a dancer in Vegas.  I had just moved in with my boyfriend (now hubby) and SHE was Playboy's Playmate of the Month (May 1992 for you curious men out there...).  Since I was in the phone book, I had directors and all sorts of horny men calling me offering to fly me to NYC, LA, Chicago to do commercials or movies, etc.  They wouldn't believe me when I said I wasn't who they were looking for.

2. A few years ago, my husband and I went to Vegas on vacation.  I had a friend who had a pilot's license so while my hubby was off golfing with his friend, we went up in a little Cessna touring the Vegas Valley by air.  It was all going great, except those little planes don't have air conditioning.  I am pre-disposed to heat stroke, and this was AUGUST so it didn't take long for the heat to get the best of me and I ended up throwing up all over myself.
This one is also TRUE.  I hadn't actually met this friend in person before as he lived in California and I lived in Iowa.  He flew to Vegas just to take me for a spin - how nice was that?  Then I ralphed all over myself.  Dear God, not the kind of impression I wanted to leave anyone with.  hahaha.  I sent my girlfriend an email after it happened and she not only laughed her butt off, she read the email to everyone in her office!

3. I dated a guy once that my friend flagged down for me on the Vegas Strip.  He told me his name was Michael, and after a few weeks of dating, he invited me to go bowling with his sister and a couple other people.  Everyone was calling him George, and at first I thought it was a joke, but he confessed later that night his real name was George and he told me it was Michael because he hated George.  
This one is TRUE.  My friend followed us in her car but lost us in the traffic.  This is before cell phones, so she was panicked.  When George/Michael finally took me home, we were sitting in the car talking and my overprotective older brother took his license plate down and called it in to see if there were any warrants out on him (nope).

4. I dated a guy once that worked as a taxi driver.  Someone stole his little zippered pouch of cash one night.  After he got off work he came over and picked me up and we drove by the Prime Suspect's house.  I should mention that the whole reason he suspected these particular individuals was because of their race, which I found so distasteful, we broke up soon after. NOT a supporter of racial profiling!  Anyway, while I waited in the car, he snuck around the car and stole their garbage can!  Stuck it in the trunk of his car (sideways)  and drove to a remote location to sift through it to see if the pouch was in there. It wasn't.
OMG, how I wish this weren't true.  In retrospect I'm not sure what I ever saw in this guy.  He was a little odd from the get go.  Washed his shoes with an old toothbrush and Comet.  He's going to inspire a character someday, that'll show him! heh heh heh.

5. I pulled the fire alarm at school once.  I was in second or third grade. I'd gotten the hall pass to go to the bathroom, and on the way back to my room, I was running my hand along the concrete wall enjoying the feel of the bumps under my fingers.  The red fire box was right outside my class room.  My eyes were glued to it as I approached.  I swear I had the little angel-devil on my shoulders duking it out, just like on cartoons.  I wasn't going to pull it, but at the last minute the devil won and I gave it a yank. There was a two second delay before the siren went off, which let me get just inside the classroom door.  I whispered the secret to my best friend when were lined up outside and I'm SURE she ratted on me though she swore she didn't. I was grounded for a month.
So obviously, being the only one left, THIS is the lie.  I've always wanted to pull the dumb thing just to see what would happen.  But I've always been WAY too well-behaved to try it.  I hate being seated by the exit door in the air plane because there's part of me that really wants to open up the door even if we are  six miles above the ground.  If you're on a flight with me, you might wanna keep an eye on me...

How'd you do?  This was so much fun...I should tag someone else to do this to keep the fun rolling, but I'm tired so I'll just ask you to volunteer instead.  Alert me if you do, so I can hop over and take a look!

EXERCISE: 30 mins over lunch.  Used one of the programs on the elliptical, and I don't know if it's possible to screw it up, but the little display said I was workin' my glutes, but I'd feel it everywhere else butt (hahaha pun intended).
WATER: Six glasses
BOOK: I had a new idea so I sketched that out real quick before I lost it.

SATURDAY - I am posting a snippet of Miss K's that will bust you up! 
SUNDAY - I am posting a cute poem of Miss C's (the big sister) that she wrote when she was 7 or 8.   

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Liar Liar Pants on Fire!

Whew, I haven't said THAT since I was in grade school!

I was the happy recipient of the Creative Writing Award from Lydia Kang at The word is my Oyster



and so according to the rules (and similar to Steena's fun Lying Game the other day) I must disguise the truth in a pack of lies...or maybe it's the lie in a pack of truth?

Whatever...I'm changing the rules to suit my mood.  You tell me which of these is true and which of these is false:  (oh this is gonna be so much fun!)

1. I was once mistaken for Anna Nicole Smith.  NOT in person, no no...we don't look anything alike, I assure you.  But I did get a series of phone calls from directors and whatnot when I was living in Vegas. I used to be a Smith you see and I was in the phone book (she wasn't).

2. A few years ago, my husband and I went to Vegas on vacation.  I had a friend who had a pilot's license so while my hubby was off golfing with his friend, we went up in a little Cessna touring the Vegas Valley by air.  It was all going great, except those little planes don't have air conditioning.  I am pre-disposed to heat stroke, and this was AUGUST so it didn't take long for the heat to get the best of me and I ended up throwing up all over myself. 

3. I dated a guy once that my friend flagged down for me on the Vegas Strip.  He told me his name was Michael, and after a few weeks of dating, he invited me to go bowling with his sister and a couple other people.  Everyone was calling him George, and at first I thought it was a joke, but he confessed later that night his real name was George and he told me it was Michael because he hated George.  

4. I dated a guy once that worked as a taxi driver.  Someone stole his little zippered pouch of cash one night.  After he got off work he came over and picked me up and we drove by the Prime Suspect's house.  I should mention that the whole reason he suspected these particular individuals was because of their race, which I found so distasteful, we broke up soon after. NOT a supporter of racial profiling!  Anyway, while I waited in the car, he snuck around the car and stole their garbage can!  Stuck it in the trunk of his car (sideways)  and drove to a remote location to sift through it to see if the pouch was in there. It wasn't.

5. I pulled the fire alarm at school once.  I was in second or third grade. I'd gotten the hall pass to go to the bathroom, and on the way back to my room, I was running my hand along the concrete wall, enjoying the feel of the bumps under my fingers.  The red fire box was right outside my class room.  My eyes were glued to it as I approached.  I swear I had the little angel-devil on my shoulders duking it out, just like on cartoons.  I wasn't going to pull it, but at the last minute the devil won and I gave it a yank. There was a two second delay before the siren went off, which let me get just inside the classroom door.  I whispered the secret to my best friend when were lined up outside and I'm SURE she ratted on me though she swore she didn't. I was grounded for a month.

ANSWERS will get posted on Friday.  
EXERCISE: 30 mins - to the gym after kids were in bed.
WATER: 8 glasses again, woo hoo!  I'm on a roll, y'all
BOOK: Well, something had to pay the price.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

sentence fluency from a third grader

So I was talking to my daughter the other night about one of the girls in her class.

To make a long story short, she wanted to know what I thought of this little girl. I didn't want to say anything negative, so I just said, "Well, if she's being mean to your friends, I'd rather not think about her."  Fairly noncommittal because after all, they'll probably be best friends again within the hour, right?

My daughter's reply?  Remember, she's EIGHT. 

She said to me, "Mom, I'm not impressed with your sentence fluency."

Since when does an eight year old know about sentence fluency? 

And if I doubted her literary prowess, a little while later she was watching Evan Almighty. 

We've seen it a thousand times...or parts of it a thousand times.  My son likes to replay the same scenes until you throw the breaker switch in the utility room, but I digress...

Out of the blue, she started critiquing the dialogue.  I wish I'd written those gems down, but (sigh) they're lost.  I just wasn't expecting anything so pertinent to come flying out, okay?

So anyway, that got me thinking that it'd be really cute if she'd 'teach' us all about writing.

I sent her this note:

Miss K, (ahem, I'm not being mysterious, that's really what I call her)

Will you pretty please with cheese & carrots (okay, maybe not the carrots) write me a list of everything you know about good writing?  I wanna use it for something.

Thank you sweetness. Love you!

Mom


And here, for your reading pleasure is her reply:

(note, I was soooo tempted to edit the right to write but decided to leave it just exactly as she sent it to me.  She's only 8 after all.)



Huh? Oh, sure. No problem.

Some traits of writing:


1. Voice

Make it sound like you. Your books or stories should have something you think is funny, serious, or cute in it.
 
2. Sentence Fluency
Make your sentence starts differently. Don't always do I, I, I, or they, they, they. Do something else differently. Also use juicy adjectives and verbs. Don't say "Mom took me to the store." Instead, you could write, "Mom charged me to the store."

Mom, that's all I could learn right now, I'm sorry. Maybe when I get back from school tomorrow I'll right more. 


Bye bye


I know I'm biased and all, but I just think that's the cutest thing!  She has been writing furiously on the other computer the last few weeks.  I'll see if I can get a snippet to share...I'm curious!

EXERCISE: 30 mins, over lunch, FINALLY got to the gym.  Had one of those rare moments where I turned on my music and it was a song I loved (don't ask me which one, that was 12 hours ago) and it just put me in the sweatin' kind of mood.
WATER:  EIGHT full glasses.  Oh yeah, I'm fully hydrated!
BOOK:  Well, I cut some parts, but made a little headway.  Still just under 40K.  Got some character sheets done, but what I really need to do is print out what I have (ack) and sort through by hand to get what I need.  I see things better on paper than I do online.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

PEP Talk

I was thinking again...this time on my way to the post office after work.

I was thinking about how easily it is to be intimidated by the writing process.  I mean, fifty to one hundred thousand words?  That alone can cause a panic attack. 

We read brilliant books.

The plots are fresh.

The characters are real and lovable.

They suck us in and refuse to let us go until the ride is over.

They move us to tears, make us laugh out loud, growl and grumble.

They change us.

They stay with us.

If attempting to write something that will accomplish all of that isn't intimidating, I don't know what is.

And I'm not here to make you feel the weighty obligation pressing down on your shoulders.  I'm here to make you feel better gosh darn it!

So here's my revelation to you:

Are you ready?

They are just words.

Yeah, they can pack a punch and it's our job to find the right ones, but at the end of the day, it's nothing but words.

Think about that brilliant book you read.

Were there ANY words in there that you didn't know?

Were there ANY words in that book that were truly exotic or unusual?

I'm betting not.

I'm betting they were just ordinary words.

Words you already know.

Used in an extraordinary way.

But the pep talk doesn't end there.

If we choose the wrong word(s),

(and it does happen--sometimes too often for comfort),

then we just delete them and start over!

What a deal!

While it might seem like I'm oversimplifying - and okay, I kinda am -

But water created the Grand Canyon.  Can't get simpler than water, can you?  And look at the majesty water creates:




I don't know about you, but it makes me feel lots better! 

The only building blocks any of us need.

Just words.

I can do that.

So can YOU.

EDITED TO ADD:
I about swallowed my tongue when I read #1 on this list.  What a coincidence (or Co-inky-dink as a friend says)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mock Me Monday

I think I've stumbled across my first blog cornerstone: Mock Me Mondays.  I think I have enough material between musical taste (or lack thereof), bad pictures, and stories to keep you laughing (at my expense) for months! 


First up - the theme song to my adolescent years.  My brothers used to call them Depressed Mode, but I never found their music depressing.  In fact, someday I'm going to write a paper based on their lyrics.  I find new meaning in them all the time, depending on what's going on in my life.


So, the first time I heard this song, I was 15.  I'd borrowed my friend's Walkman (remember those? How they USED to be cool? I'm SOOOO dating myself here!) and two of her Depeche Mode tapes for study hall (Deb, where ever you are I love ya!).


Few people I've met since have seen the genius in this song, so go ahead and MOCK ME in the comments.  Paste in a link to your favorite, or pledge your undying devotion to the Mode...it's all good.


LISTEN ALONG HERE


I want somebody to share
Share the rest of my life
Share my innermost thoughts
Know my intimate details
Someone who'll stand by my side
And give me support
And in return
She'll get my support
She will listen to me
When I want to speak
About the world we live in
And life in general
Though my views may be wrong
They may even be perverted
She'll hear me out
And won't easily be converted
To my way of thinking
In fact she'll often disagree
But at the end of it all
She will understand me



I want somebody who cares
For me passionately
With every thought and
With every breath
Someone who'll help me see things
In a different light
All the things I detest
I will almost like
I don't want to be tied
To anyone's strings
I'm carefully trying to steer clear of
Those things
But when I'm asleep
I want somebody
Who will put their arms around me
And kiss me tenderly
Though things like this
Make me sick
In a case like this
I'll get away with it





EXERCISE: 2 hours 50 minutes (8.5 miles)
WATER:  Woeful - 3 glasses & I dunno how much Diet Coke
BOOK:  I'm working on character sheets for the next few days, so word count will stagnate at just under 40K.  I need to nail down some details once and for all.  
I've also got to do some research.  I need to talk to a  police officer so I know given the current state of events whether my MC would be arrested and charged or merely questioned.  Luckily, my boss knows the Chief of Police here in town, so I'm hoping for the cost of a coffee (or lunch) I can get the information I need.  I just want to be prepared so I can get as much information as possible out of one meeting.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Award Sharing...

All rightie, happy Sunday morning to you!  As you read this over your blueberry pancakes, I am walk-walk-walking with my daughter's March of Dimes team.  8.5 miles of walking.  Apparently they need an adult with them since they're all minors--and of all parental units I was chosen...or all the other parents wiggled out of it, I dunno.  Last year we had a great time but OMG my feet were killin' me!

Enough about me though, let's get down to business.

Last week I received the Awe-inspiring Awesomesauce Award from CreepyQueryGirl and Roxy. And just yesterday I got the Beautiful Blogger Award from Saumya.  These ladies all rock, and if you haven't strolled by their blogs yet, I highly recommend you do.  In fact, if you'd like to click on the hyperlinks now, I'll wait............

(lalalalalalalalalala)

(waiting waiting waiting)

You're back?  Allrightie then, let me send these awards on to new homes.

First up, the Awesomesauce Award.  Let's take a gander, shall we?


The nominees are:

  1. Matthew Rush - for boldly sharing all the ups and downs of Querying.
  2. Shannon McMahon -  her recipes alone are worth a peek.  I just feel at-home when I visit her blog.
  3. Justine Dell - Always encouraging, such a positive influence!
  4. Lindsey (aka Isabella) - Because her writing process blog cracked me up!
  5. Little Miss J - Because she went out of her way to help a fellow writer.  If that's not awesome, I dunno what is!
Actually, you're ALL winners, I just always wanted the chance to say 'and the nominees are'. hahaha.


Now, for the Beautiful Blogger Award...


I'm bestowing this baby on:
  1. Slushpile Slut - Well she's awesome, but besides that, she's taught me how to implement a template...now I just gotta find one I like enough to implement!
  2. Wendy Ramer - for knowing my favorite song ever and for going out of her way to look for French Vanilla Mint yumminess.  
  3. Stina and Steena - Hey, they're having a CONTEST and I'm suckin' up.  Contest is still open, and even though telling you about it diminishes my chances of winning, you should check it out and enter.
  4. Allie at Hyperbole & Half - I just discovered this and I laughed until I cried. Such genius needs to be recognized.
  5. Tahereh - Because a girl can never have too many besties.  Seriously, visiting her blog is like flopping on your best friend's couch.
The Beautiful Blogger rules say I'm s'posed to share seven things with you.  So, let's see what I can come up with.

  1. I grew up between a small Iowa town (population: 250) and Las Vegas (population: a lot). A bit of an oxymoron, that.
  2. I hate all creepy crawlies.  If I find someone didn't properly seal a box of cereal, crackers, or what have you, I CANNOT eat from it anymore for fear a critter crawled inside.
  3. I believe in ghosts, psychics, etc.  If you grew up in my family, you would too!
  4. My bedroom walls are painted orange.
  5. I keep the eggs in the egg carton balanced at all times - taking one from each corner and working towards the center.  If I take it out and someone else has taken from an end, I will redistribute them.
  6. I still feel guilty for breaking someone's heart when I was 14.
  7. I am scared of thunderstorms because they can spawn tornadoes.  I get very uptight when the weather is bad. 
I wish I could give an award to EVERYONE, because you are all so deserving and I'm so glad to have 'met' each of you!  

    Saturday, April 24, 2010

    Intervention! Call to Action!

    Addiction is a bad thing.

    Well, normally.

    But some addictions are less bad than others.

    My addiction, for instance, isn't one of the Uber Bad ones.

    I'm addicted to this:

    Now you know my deep, dark secret.  I'm a French Vanilla Mint junkie.

    I love the fresh minty flavor.

    I love the way it smells.

    I love the way it moisturizes.

    It's just fab, okay?

    BUT I have a problem.

    None of the Old Navy stores near me are carrying this anymore.

    AND

    (it just keeps getting worse)

    I have searched online but can't locate it.

    It's like it doesn't exist.

    But it does.

    See?

















    And now my daughter is starting to sneak into my stash!

    You know what that means,don't you?

    I'm going to run out sooner!

    ACK!

    We can't let that happen!

    If you have an Old Navy near you,

    and they are selling these,

    I will PAY you to pick up a couple tubes and send them to me.

    That's right, I will PAY you.

    This junkie is getting desperate!

    You can leave a comment here or you can email me at MissVspeaks at gmail dot com.

    Thank you.

    And my lips thank you too!

    Friday, April 23, 2010

    Seventeen and Counting

    My husband mooned my mother on our wedding day.


    Did I hook you?

    It's the truth!  I wouldn't lie to you.

    Actually, he mooned us all...it just sounds better when you single out my mom.

    Don't worry, it wasn't actually during the ceremony.

    It was a very small wedding.  Our reception was in the rec room at our apartment complex.

    My mom made my dress.  See?



    It was about lunch time (wedding at 7), we were setting up for the reception.  Both our moms were there, and our sisters.  We were having a good time.

    I was playing with the video camera we had rented for the weekend.

    Soon-to-be hubs was setting up the stereo.

    His sister (God, I love her!) saw I had the camera pointed in his direction, so she said, "Quit filming his butt!"

    (we got together because of his rear, but that's another story)

    You don't know my husband, obviously.

    But that's just the sort of comment he can't leave alone.

    He dropped his drawers and gave us all a proud fanny wiggle.

    AND I got it all on film.

    We laughed and laughed and laughed.

    ESPECIALLY my mom.  (Oh, I miss her!)

    HIS mom was mortified.  (I miss her too)

    That was seventeen years ago TODAY.

    I don't know where the time went.

    One day I'm a young whipper snapper, next day I'm pushing middle age with a houseful of offspring & attitude.

    Soooo, I guess my point is that time is going to pass no matter what. 

    Don't put off your dreams thinking you have plenty of time.

    You do, but not an infinite amount.

    Do something every day that makes you happy.

    Keep writing.  One sentence at a time.  Maybe you'll get published.  Maybe not.

    Maybe your children will find your writings after your gone and it will bring you back to them, just a little.  Which is kinda better than publishing, isn't it?

    I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!!

    EXERCISE: March of Dimes Walk on Sunday--week's worth of exercise in one day.  Not ideal, but it works.
    WATER: 5 glasses
    BOOK: 39,250 words.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010

    Oh! The Horror!

    Unbeknownst to me, Administrative Professionals Day was yesterday. 

    (Some admin I make, not having that anywhere on my radar!)

    So HAPPY AP day to all my fellow admins out there!  You know they couldn't function without you!!!  I hope your bosses are extra nice to you and let you know how appreciated you are because you deserve it.

    Anyhow, my boss had it on his radar and he gave me a card with a really nice note inside:

    "Thank you for believing in what we do for people everyday and doing it in a caring, friendly way.  you are a real asset and professional."

    Awwwww.  Isn't that sweet?  We also went to lunch.

    So, I was thinking...

    (to which you groan and think, 'oh no, here she goes again')

    My current boss is wonderful.  That's not to say he's not without his quirks, but for the last 2 years they've been entirely LIVEABLE quirks.  Some other employers over the years...not so much.

    Someday I hope to be able to stay home and write.  I know that's not realistic for most authors, but I really wouldn't need to earn THAT much (unless of course my hubs is planning on retiring early), so I think it's attainable here, if I can get a foot in the door.

    ANYWAY...

    I thought it would be fun to share boss horror stories.  And if you don't have one, make one up!  Entertain us...In retrospect, mine don't seem so horrible, but here we go:

    One boss (an attorney no less) used to call in to the office pretending to be various people - some with unpronounceable names, some really rude or asking impossible questions - just to see if he could trip me up.  The same boss used to also come into the office wearing a red clown nose...

    Another boss, was attending a trade show but couldn't afford to have the brochures made up professionally.  It was a really simple design, so I recreated it so all she had to do was have them printed (back before we had color printers in the office).  Over a thousand copies.  But she didn't have them collated, so yours truly spent hours upon hours collating these suckers and stapling them together.  Finally, I finished them and left them in her office.  When I came into work the next day, there was a three-inch pile of them on my desk.  She didn't like where the staples were.

    This same boss was also incapable of turning her computer on.  When I left (to have my daughter), she called me at home so often (can you say stalker?) I finally had to change my phone number and fake a move out of state to get her to stop.  I'm serious, she had NO clue who owed her money and who had paid, and wanted ME to straighten it all out even though I didn't work for her anymore.

    The last crazy boss I had I'm grateful for because it's how I met my current boss.  This guy told me one day that I was the best assistant he ever had.  And this isn't the kind of guy to give compliments.  The next day, he loaded spyware on my machine while I was at lunch and then pretended like it was MY fault when I complained about how slow the computer was running.  When I found out what he had done, I gave him my notice.

    There's one other I could mention, but I don't want to burn a bridge.  I left on good terms and I'd like to keep it that way.  Chances are no one from that company would ever find this blog, but I'm not taking any chances.  So what about you?  What nonsense have you had to put up with from your managers?

    EXERCISE--would you believe I'm pacing myself?  March of Dimes walk on Sunday--8.5 miles.  I think that's my exercise for the week!
    WATER--5 glasses (and a whole lotta Diet Coke!)
    BOOK--About 500 words added...sigh.

    It's not a purse, but I just got this from my sister and I thought it was soooo  adorable, I had to share!

    Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    Playin' Hookie

    First and foremost, lemme pass a huge thank you to CreepyQueryGirl and Roxy for the much-coveted
    Awesomesauce Award!  Bestow your eyes on this baby....



    gorgeous isn't it?

    I'm going to pass this baby on...but I'm going to take a day or two to mull it over.

    (and keep you on the edge of your seats, I'm mean like that.  Just ask my kids).

    I know the rest of you are already following them, right?  Regular blog visitors? If not, you're going to remedy that, right?  Good.  You'll thank me.

    Now that we've got that out of the way, I'm gonna whine for a few.  Well, sorta.  You see, it's time to schedule the kids' annual hookie day.  And I'm outta ideas.

    It started when I was pregnant with #2 (9 years ago now, wow).  I took my daughter out of school for the day and we went to see a movie, had lunch, went shopping, etc.  We had such a good time, it's become an annual Spring tradition.

    Last year we went bowling, had lunch, went horseback riding, then went to Coldstone Creamery for some ice cream.  Doesn't sound like much, but it kept us busy all day.

    This year I'm going to do one day for my son and daughter who are only 2 years apart and a separate day for the oldest.  She's a bit of a nag with her sister and gets on my nerves.  "Don't touch that, get back in line, not so loud" She sounds like a little mother.

    But what to do?  Thinking about taking the little ones to a play place.  Indoor mini golf, bumper cars, and a gazillion arcade games...or maybe we'll drive to the zoo instead.  I dunno.  Over the years we've done just about everything!

    I need some inspiration...what would you do? We're talking entertaining an 8 & 6 year old and then a 14 year old.

    PROGRESS REPORT:
    Exercise: (insert one sad face).
    Water: Six glasses....barely.
    Book:  Went to the library to hide after dinner, got about 1,200 brand-spankin' new words in.  I'm at 38,800.  But then I remembered I have the ending drafted in another document so I'm really probably getting close to 50k! 

    Saved my favorite bag for last...I might actually have to buy this one if she hasn't sold it to someone else.  I just A-DORE it.

    Tuesday, April 20, 2010

    Another Contest!

    Ya gotta love it when total strangers offer to give you stuff just for befriending 'em.

    Check Out Stina and Steena's OMG contest!  It's easy to enter and the prizes are fab of course!

    Schedule

    Sample schedule
    I've mentioned before about my struggle for balance in my life.  So I thought I'd share a typical day just for poops and giggles.

    6:00 - 6:30 Wake up - catch up on blog reading/commenting
    6:30 - 7:10 Wake up my son; get him dressed, fed and on the bus
    7:10 - 8:15  Wake up daughters. Direct their dressing, feeding, and school departure.  Do my own showering, dressing, feeding and departing.  If there's time left over I might do dishes or pick up the house a bit.
    8:15 - 8:30 Drop oldest off at school, head to work.
    8:30 - 5:00 Work, work, work.  Fill in cute little boxes with cute little numbers and forward cute little checks to mondo investment companies.  Jealous?
    5:00 - 5:15 Drop day's mail at post office, head home
    5:15 - 6:00 Help finish cooking dinner.  Eat, clean up (sometimes we leave dishes til morning, but I'm always the one putting leftovers away)
    6:00 - 7:00 check email; check kids' back packs, etc.  Often this is prime chauffeuring time.  Sometimes this is when I go hide at the library to write for a bit.
    7:00 - 8:00 Baths, snacks, snuggles. When I do go to the gym, it's usually in this time frame so I can get home in time to tuck the little ones in.
    8:00 - 9:00 Start ushering kidlings to bed.
    9:00 - 11:30 AHHHH!  The house is mine.  When all else fails, this is when I get to write.

    What does your schedule look like?  If you had an extra three hours a day (why settle for just one?), what would you do with it?  Personally, I would just like the ability to stop time so that when I'm on a roll writing (or cleaning or sleeping or whatever) I could finish up at my leisure without encroaching on the rest of the schedule.


    Progress Report:
    Exercise: 25 mins.  Half running on treadmill and half on the stationery bike.
    Water:  9 glasses...yay!
    Book: Cut some, added in 1,500 for a new total of 37665 - baby steps, but I'll get there.

    I can so see me taking this to the beach (ahem, I feel obliged to point out that I live in Iowa and that there are no oceans anywhere near here so the 'beaches' to which I refer are lakeside)



    Monday, April 19, 2010

    Manipulators

    I was reading an industry blog the other day - essentially touting the release of a book, but doing it in a clever, roundabout kind of way.  On the surface, we are led to believe some other topic inspired the post, when in reality it was probably just a clever excuse to bring up the release.

    I'm okay with that, I completely understand why they do it and someday when it's my turn, you better bet I'll be looking for every possible way to get the message out there. It's just part of the game. 

    But it got me thinking. 

    (In case you haven't noticed, I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time thinking.)

    We writers are masters of manipulation, aren't we?  Maybe manipulation is a bit harsh, but bear with me for a minute.  I think it's a good thing.  The whole point of writing is to elicit certain responses from the reader, correct?  We want them to hate / fear the villains and love the hero / heroine.  We want them to follow the red herrings and celebrate the victories. 

    We want to control their experience. We needto control their experience.

    In order to successfully induce the necessary emotions, we must manipulate the reader - hopefully subtly enough they won't realize it. 

    For the record, I'm not implying that we are manipulative in real life! Oh, no! Just with the written word. 

    Do you feel like you are able to successfully manipulate your readers? Have you ever used your powers of persuasion for "evil" purposes? And if you disagree with me, let me have it in the comments!

    Sunday, April 18, 2010

    REPORT: First Book Event

    I attended my first ever book talk / signing yesterday. I'd like to think I went in with an open mind. Really. I had no idea what to expect, so I was ready for pretty much anything. I hate to say it, but I was underwhelmed, but I'm trying to hold off on final judgment until I have a few more of these under my belt.

    First of all, I will confess that I was only able to stay for the first hour. Yesterday was a really busy family day with the race, hubby's birthday, piano lessons, sleepovers, movies, and meals out. It is entirely possible that things picked up after I left, and I may have missed the best parts.

    What did I see?

    The venue was fantastic: a restored theater. I'd never been there before, and was impressed with the architecture, etc. I counted about 50 people in the audience. After a brief introduction, the writer took the stage, made a few general comments and proceeded to read from a work in progress.

    For 45 minutes.

    Then I had to leave.

    I wanted to love it. I did! I wanted to be so excited about it that I'd put a reminder on my calendar so I'd remember to purchase my very own copy the MINUTE it was released. But if I'm going to be honest with myself(and by extension, you) I was bored.

    Isn't that a really horrible thing to say? I feel like I just threw a fellow writer under the bus. It felt like I was back in high school listening to some boring lecture. I almost dozed off. I know,I know! I wish I could say I was so exhausted from the race that I couldn't keep my eyes open, but really it was the voice droning on. And on and on.

    My husband, who accompanied me, had never been to any of these things either, though he occasionally watches them on CSPAN. I asked for his opinion before I offered mine.

    He was also bored. And he did doze off.

    (oh the shame)

    So, I was thinking, WHAT would have made it better?

    Hubs thought some sort of visual would have been helped liven things up. He thought a PowerPoint with random images pulled from the text would have given greater dimension and interest.

    Not a bad idea. It would have helped. Done right, it could have been a beautiful enhancement.

    Personally, I wish the reading had been reduced to 15 or 20 minutes. Then I wish the author would have just TALKED to us about his/her inspirations, experiences, and passions. I also thought it would have been more dynamic if the narrative had been acted out. It would have made the same passages much more compelling.

    Again, I am an admitted rookie to this kind of stuff. I will be attending every event I can find from here on out to learn whatever I can. Maybe once I've attended a few, I will change my mind about this one.

    All I know is that I NEVER want anyone who came to one of my events to leave feeling bored or underwhelmed. My job is to energize and enthrall them so they feel compelled to not only buy my book but tell all their friends what a fantastic time they had at my event. The trick, of course, is finding out how the heck to do that!

    So tell me, have you ever attended a talk or signing? What was the experience like for you? What would you have changed? What would you like to do when it's your turn to take the stage to promote your book?


    Can't forget the bag...Really need to find something else to add once I'm through with these. Hmmmm

    Saturday, April 17, 2010

    Interviews

    If you're reading this on Saturday morning, think of me as I huff and puff my way through my first 5k. Going to be a chilly one too.  Low tonight is supposed to be in the 30's.  I guess the frigid temps are just going to have to motivate me to keep moving so (a) I finish faster and (b) I keep warm.

    Now, on another note...

    We've all been reading and surfing the blogosphere, getting helpful advice, making friends, etc.  I don't know about you, but what I love most is when someone shares a personal tidbit, especially if it is something we have in common like an unnatural fear of spiders, a love of cheesy movies, or whatever.  In my eyes, this sets them apart from the thousands of other bloggers and I feel like I know them just an eensy bit better, like maybe we could be friends in real life, y'know?

    I want more of that, don't you? 

    So, I had an idea.

    I would like to interview you, my fellow bloggers, to:
    (a) get to know you better for my own personal interest
    (b) highlight some of your quirks.  We all have them, and I think confessing them publicly will be good for your soul and
    (c) give you and your blog a little more (and much deserved) exposure...maybe even add a sample of something you've written if you like.

    So, are you game?  If so, drop a note in the comments or, if you're just passing through you can email me at MissVspeaks-at-gmail-dot-com.  This could be lots of fun, dontcha think?

    If not, I may do it anyway but I'll have to go searching for willing victims. So much easier if my victims present themselves to me!  hahahaha.

    Progress Report (Suspended for weekend...besides I'll need to work on my interview questions!)

    Bag o' the day...(think I only have 4 or 5 left...then I'll have to think up something else to add)

    Friday, April 16, 2010

    Wardrobe Writing... ;-)

    It's FRIDAY!!!! Tax insanity is over and I survived! Can you join me in a great big freakin' YAY???

    Obviously, I've been thinking a lot about writing lately, and coming up with various metaphors / analogies. For example, I discovered as I was getting dressed for work yesterday, that I write like I get dressed. First, I stand in front of my closet. What to wear? (translation: what to write?). I see a dress, but decide against it, it's just too easy to be right...and more than a little obvious (such a cliche!). Instead I look through a pile of (clean) laundry I need to put away. Aha! I like this shirt, let's wear this (I like this phrase/scene/etc. Let's write it.). I put it on and put on a pair of pants. Ew! Why do I still own these? (delete). I try another pair of pants. Oh God, no! This doesn't go at all. I survey closet again. Maybe I don't want to wear this shirt. I try on another shirt. (delete, rewrite). Uh uh. This just doesn't feel right. Take off top and pants and put on original dress (quick delete, rewrite simple & clean). hahaha!

    Progress Report Day 5
    Exercise: 30 minutes. I went for a jog on the trail and while I did slow now and again to catch my breath, I ran waaaay more than I walked, so I'm happy. Also, I'm happy to report that I am down 3 pounds since I re-committed to healthier living.
    Water: 7 glasses. Funny thing about getting my fill of water during the day, I'm less likely to snack on stupid stuff. It's the snacking that gets me. I do pretty good with my 3 meals a day, but those in-between munchies really pack on the calories for me!
    Book:

    Today's featured bag was a dress in a former life. Not sure if you can see, but there's a really pretty cranberry satin lining in this one. Incidentally, these aren't mine. I have purse envy, but I can't be bothered switching out all my crap from one purse to another. I buy one, wear it out, then buy another one.

    Thursday, April 15, 2010

    Meteor sighting

    I saw this last night. I didn't know what it was at the time, just saw the freaky flashing lights and by the time I got to the window to get a better look, it was gone.

    By far the coolest thing I've ever seen in the sky so far!

    Sharing your work...

    How hard is it for you to share your work in progress? Is it easier for you to share it online or with friends and family? And how far along in the creation process are you before you feel comfortable sharing? For me, I don't like to share it at all until I've taken it as far as I can on my own. I realize this can be detrimental as I am likely to overlook major flaws in either the plot or character because I am too close to the work to see it objectively. Once I'm reasonably happy with it (are we ever really satisfied 100%?), I can share, though it's much easier for me to share online than with anyone I actually know.

    Even weirder (or perhaps normal, you tell me), I can't write at all if I'm being watched. It's kinda funny, because I'm writing in the hope the world will read it and enjoy it, yet I can't let anyone watch me create? When I sit in the living room, I sit on the far side of the couch, in the corner so no one can see. When I'm at Barnes & Noble or the library, I reduce the screen zoom so the on-screen font looks tiny even though it's not the standard 12 points. Can't have anyone reading over my shoulder!

    Progress Report - Day Four
    Exercise: errr...I chose a bad week to institute the exercise quota. I've worked through my lunch all week. 5k run is Saturday--I'll get plenty of exercise then. Next week I won't have any excuses since the tax week will be over.!
    Water: 6 full glasses (PLUS I overdosed on fruit at dinner. Had fruit kabobs with pineapple, banana, grapes, strawberries, apples and oranges. Was uber yummy)
    Book: well, to tell ya the truth, I kinda got caught up in the blogosphere. I was reading the entries to THIS contest.

    The bag o' the day:

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    Check out THIS contest...

    not mine, of course. Head on over to:

    http://sarahwithachance.blogspot.com

    and enter for a chance to win FABULOUS prizes. Not tellin' what, just head on over and see for yourself. You'll be glad you did.

    Inspiration!

    You know, when I first started writing this book and touring the various blogs out there, I kept reading about how many ideas my fellow writers were having. I was jealous because at the time I couldn't think beyond the current book.

    Not to say I wasn't ever inspired. I was. Just not with entirely new plot lines. I get snippets of conversations or situations to amp up the tension. I was grateful for these tokens, but I worried. What if I only had one book in me? I felt like a fraud. I'm pretty sure every writer has days like that, but that's not much of a consolation when the pity-me monster strikes.

    And then it happened. Driving home from work the other day it hit me. A new idea. I had a date with hubbers that night, but I made him wait so I could frantically scribble notes before I forgot. Then, when was driving up to my sister's this weekend inspiration struck again. YAY...well, sorta yay.

    What's the problem? Well, I love these new ideas - I do! I can't wait to develop them! - but they certainly do distract me from the task at hand. Do I want to slog my way through a difficult scene in the current MS or do I want to shove it aside and play with the new ideas? Which is better for me in the long run? Some may be able to bounce back and forth between projects, but I really need to do one thing at a time. I try to use the lure of a new project to get me to finish the current one. I want to work on the new one, so I force myself to finish this one!

    Progress Report - Day Three
    Exercise: Umm...didn't get there today. Not to make excuses, but I worked through lunch (747 flyers don't fold and stuff themselves), after work I had to take one to Girl Scouts, stop at Target, take the other to her friend's house, then back to pick up the first one.
    Water: Eight glasses - woo hoo
    Book: 37k (not a huge gain, but that's what I get for typing in the living room while hubs was watching The Office. Should've hidden in the family room downstairs.)

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010

    Creativity At Last!

    I'm here with a bonus posting (yeah, I know you're all so glad you were sitting down for this one) because I have had to call upon my creative genius (haha) at work. I have "written" a flyer to tout an upcoming talk/presentation/seminar my boss is giving with a colleague. If only I could count the 747 (yes, I counted) copies I've printed as a publishing credit. hahaha.

    Of course, since life is all about balance, I should also mentioned that the euphoria from doing something other than typing social security numbers into tiny form boxes will be short lived. I now have 747 flyers to fold, 747 envelopes to print, stuff, and seal.

    The GOOD news, I suppose, is that such grunt work is a perfect opportunity to let the mind wander. I have some of my greatest ideas while doing mundane tasks.

    Back to work...only 600 more flyers to fold!

    Funny Dream

    My writing is often inspired by my dreams. (Go ahead and groan). In fact, the book I'm working on now started in a dream. Sometimes I'm myself, but more often I'm someone else. One time I was a balding, chain-smoking, pot-bellied man walking around a swimming pool in khaki shorts, stained white tank top, and black socks with sandals thinking I was hot stuff. Seriously, I wouldn't make something like that up.

    Anyhow, since there's not a lot else going on in my life worth talking about right now, (do you really wanna hear about the IRA applications I filled out at work today or the Roth Recharacterizations? Thought not.)I thought I would share the strange dream I had last night. Don't worry it's mostly PG.

    In the dream, I was living in Regency England and had just been hired to work for a company as a secretary/assistant to the owner who had quite the rakish reputation with women. Needless to say, hiring me (the only woman working in the company and one of very few women working in the city period) caused a bit of a stir. All the men assumed the owner and I were having an affair. Which (at the time) wasn't true.

    Turns out his reputation as a rake was all a ruse. It was a carefully cultivated persona, and he was a perfect gentleman for the whole first half of the dream. We became good friends working together every day, though I spent a lot of time and energy trying to convince the other men in the company that it was strictly a professional relationship.

    There was a beautiful garden around the building that his company was in. I don't remember what he did, exactly. One morning we were walking in the garden, I was in full costume, and lemme tell you there's no way I want to be cinched into dresses like that! I don't know how it happened exactly, but one minute we're walking and talking about some task or other and the next thing I know we're hiding between a row of rosebushes and the building itself and behaving quite wickedly--even by today's standards! (So much for fighting the affair rumors).

    I happened to notice an older woman and a man sitting on a park bench. From their expressions, it was obvious they knew something was going on in the bushes and found it quite distasteful. They couldn't really SEE anything, thank goodness, but knew someone was in the bushes and knew it certainly wasn't proper! I looked more closely, and it was my AUNT and my cousin!! I pulled my shawl over my face. No way did I want her to find out what I'd been up to - so disgraceful.

    I got out of there without being seen, but somehow I ended up inside a Payless Shoe Store (because we all know how many there were in Regency England). The store was going out of business, but none of the shoes left were in my size (hate when that happens). That's about the time the alarm went off, so I never got to find out what happened next.

    Progress Report - Day Two
    Exercise: 30 minutes on the elliptical. I was going to follow up with a little weight training because, let's face it, it's been forever, but my daughter just HAD to go to a friend's house so I cut it short and played chauffeur.
    Water: (drumroll please) EIGHT full glasses. I'll wait while you applaud.....
    Book: 35,600 words. Only a hundred word gain. I was editing again. Decided to move a chunk from one spot to another. Reads much smoother, but didn't advance the plot much from yesterday.

    Another purse...I'm jealous of my sister's sewing abilities, can you tell?

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    Progress report

    It's Monday morning again. (sigh). As Thursday is April 15th, I'm apprehensive about how this tax deadline will affect work this week. Last year I was FedExing checks off to various investment companies to make sure they had them by the 15th, and sending applications to clients who lived out of state and were opening accounts at the last minute. There was about twenty minutes of panic when thought I'd criss-crossed checks, but it all turned out okay. Whew. Let's hope for a nice quiet week, shall we?

    In other news, I weighed in on the Wii this morning and wasn't pleased with the results. I think it's back to daily weigh-ins and charting results until I can get things under control again. Ho hum.

    DAY ONE RESULTS:
    EXERCISE: 40 minutes. Hubs and I tried the 5k route. Good news is we ran way longer than we did the last time we tried it. Though, to be fair, there was still a ton of ice and snow around the last time. Was treacherous running. This time we ran roughly the first mile without stopping, but walked periodically after that--damn hills! I think altogether we probably ran 2/3 of the way so I was pleased for the most part.
    WATER: 7 (count 'em 7 glasses. 56 ounces. Woo hoo!)
    BOOK: I'm at 35,500 words. Just wasn't feeling it, but wrote anyway. In a lull between the action, she's fought with hubby and gone and done something dastardly -- well, sort of. I've got to get her to go back to hubs so the next thing can happen. It won't be such a dry moment in the final, I swear, but just gotta get everything out so I can go back and finesse.

    Another bag to share: I should have mentioned that most of these were made out of recycled materials. The houndstooth was a jacket, and several others (I'll just post one a day until I'm done) were made out of dresses or sweaters, etc.

    Sunday, April 11, 2010

    Gettin' Ready

    Happy Sunday morning. True to my word, I am planning my exercise for the day. Ugh. I don't think I'll ever LIKE doing it, but I like how I feel when it's OVER, so that's good enough. The 5k race is next Saturday, and I'm really wondering why on earth I signed up for this stupid race. Must have been one of my more sadistic moments. Hahaha.

    Next Saturday is my husband's birthday, and trooper that he is, he signed up to run with me. There's a book talk/signing later that afternoon and he's also agreed to attend that with me. It's my first ever so I'm looking forward to it. I stumbled across a series of these talks when I looked at the local library's website. I've been diligently trying to read at least one book from each of the visiting writers, you know, in my spare time. Hahaha.

    Anyhow, since it's going to be a beautiful day, I think it's time to take the bicycle out on the trail. Not looking to the sore booty afterward, but the trail should be blooming and beautiful. It will hardly feel like exercise!


    EXERCISE: None yet, hoping to get 60 in today
    BOOK PROGRESS: None this weekend, slotting it for tonight. Though I've had two ideas for other stories and I think I might need to take some time to jot the outline down so I don't forget them.
    WATER: Hey, I just got up! I'll get on this. I can't drink water in the morning, it makes me nauseous. I need 16 oz skim milk to get going.

    Just going to share another picture of my sister's lovely handiwork:

    Saturday, April 10, 2010

    Better Late than Never

    Happy Saturday! I didn't get to post this morning because I was at my sister's in Wisconsin. I brought my laptop, but she didn't have wireless. Her neighbor had wireless, AND it was unsecured so I tried to leech off their connection, but for some reason I couldn't access the internet. Worse, when I got home a few hours ago, I still couldn't access the internet. I fixed it, but I'm not sure how.

    My sister has been making these awesome purses all winter, and I went up to help her at her first ever craft sale. The purses were fabulous, but there weren't any customers. It was really sad. If there were 100 people (over the course of 5 hours), I'd be surprised. If I can figure out how to do it, there will be a cute photo below of one of my favorites:


    I had a post about balance all prepared, but I've just decided to wing it. I think I'm still going to talk about balance, because it's been sadly missing in my life, but I sometimes think it's better if I just wing it than if I over-think it. Ready for the ride?

    Obviously, my life is out of balance (duh, why else would I have brought the subject up?). Last year was somewhat better, I started the year out watching what I ate and going to the gym regularly and I lost almost 45 pounds. Then I had surgery in December and wasn't allowed to do ANYTHING but walk (slowly at that) for six weeks. I gotta say Christmas time is not the best time to reduce your exercise regime to nothing.

    I regained some of that lost 45, but I don't know how bad it is because I haven't had the courage to step on the scale in weeks. Writing hasn't helped because it's hard to quit in the middle of a scene to go to the gym...and often by the time I'm in a good quitting spot I'm too tired to go. Tsk tsk. This has got to stop. Seriously.

    So, I am going to embark on a rather public campaign to regain the balance in my life. I'm going to do this by forcing mandatory quotas on myself until things even out. I will reporhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gift on my progress at the end of each post. Fear of being chastised will keep me in line. The goals are:

    Exercise at least 200 minutes each week
    This equals roughly 30 minutes a day. I think initially I need to go every day until I make this a habit again. (My lunch hour at work is perfect...when I remember to bring my shoes!)
    I will drink at least six glasses of water a day.
    I know I'm supposed to have eight, but we're taking baby steps here!
    Write at least six hours a week.
    I was trying to do an hour a day, but this has been taking over. I think I need to set 2-3 days a week where I leave the house to write. This is writing time, not catching up on email, facebook, and/or blogs time. Pertinent research is allowed.

    Anyone want to join me? I start the fun tomorrow!
    (I keep finding typos...I've fixed the glaring ones, so let me just apologize for any I've missed...comes with the territory when you're winging it!)

    Friday, April 9, 2010

    Just Me Blathering On

    My job can be very frustrating sometimes. I'm not complaining. Really, I'm not. I have a great boss, the pay is good, I've learned a lot, and my hours are flexible when I need them to be. What's there to complain about? I'd really like it if I had more opportunities to be creative.

    I work for a financial advisor, so I deal with a lot of numbers and a LOT of forms. I don't mind filling out forms. I actually enjoy doing it knowing I'm saving our clients the hassle. But you gotta admit, filling out applications doesn't require a whole lot of imagination. I am grateful, in a way, because I think the derth of creativity has pushed me to use writing as an outlet.

    What is frustrating, is when you call a company to ask them what their process is for doing XYZ transaction. They tell you to do 1, 2 and 3. But when you do 1, 2, and 3, they reject the transaction and THEN tell you that you were supposed to do 3, 1, 2 or that there is now #4 that needs to be done, but only when the moon is full and the the transaction amount is an even dollar figure.

    The other thing that is frustrating is how long it can take to do even the simplest of tasks. Filling out a simple 2 page form can take forever because the information is not located all in one spot. I have to open one record to get this information and then I have to find an old statement to get this other information, and so on.

    On the upside, during the financial meltdown over the last year, it was very reassuring speaking with industry professionals that KNEW what was going on with the stock market and the economy and they weren't panicking like the general public was. I'm thinking a similar parallel could be made to publishing. When in doubt, get your information from the professionals that know what the hell they're talking about and not Cousin Guiddo who's fantabulous epic has set a new record for rejections in a single year.

    BOOK PROGRESS:
    Eh, not so much accomplished last night. Maybe about a thousand words. House was kinda rowdy for most of the night, then I was too tired to do much. On a good night, I get in about 3,000 words. On a bad night, I lose 2,000 words. I gotta quit editing before the darn thing is even finished. Three steps forward, two steps back. (What is a good day's writing to you?)

    I fantasize about taking a week's vacation and hiding out somewhere to write. I'm going to my sister's house this weekend, so maybe I'll get a little time in up there?

    Thursday, April 8, 2010

    Confidence

    First, I managed to upload a picture last night. I took a lot of snapshots, but my eyes were still tired and puffy in most of them. I'm starting to think maybe I ought to give up writing once or twice a week and head to bed at a normal time. So, as a last ditch effort to capture something publishable, I hid my problem area and whaddya know, I'm much happier with the result. hahaha.

    Today I'm going to blather on about confidence, or my lack thereof. I think to some degree we all suffer from this. We think privately that what we've written in 'pretty good' but there is still a fair bit of apprehension when we share our work with anyone else. Will they like it? What will they say?

    I don't share my writing until I'm satisfied with it. I'm working on it though. I'm missing out on valuable feedback that could save me the hassle of editing simple flaws later. This blog certainly helps as I try not to spend a ton of time writing and rewriting it.

    My real confidence downfall, though, shows in little ways. I just assume that I'm the only one that struggles with my writing. For some reason I think everyone else is more talented, more inspired, more with the program than I am. I have an image of you all sitting down to work and voila - instant masterpiece. Me? Not so much.

    I see the flaws in my own writing a mile away. They flash off the page like strobe lights in a dance club. But flaws have to be pretty glaring in your work for me to catch them.

    My instincts are good, though. I usually agree verbatim with what the Shark says or the Evil Editor. The difference is they can tell you why it doesn't work, I am left with a vague feeling of, "this isn't quite right here". I need to work on my critiquing vocabulary apparently. I found another one recently, but it'll be awhile before I can participate here

    If you have a great site you follow, please share in the comments. There's always room for more on my Google Reader!

    Wednesday, April 7, 2010

    Photographically Challenged

    I was going to add a picture of me last night, to personalize things a bit. I know I love seeing pictures of people while I'm reading blogs. Problem is 100%of the pictures are on another computer. I tried to take a few, I did, but they did not pass muster. I was tired and looked it.


    I'm not vain, really I'm not. In fact, I could probably do with a good dose of vanity now and again. I do my hair once in the morning and forget about it. But ummmm a lot of bad things can happen to your hair in the course of an eight hour workday and I should probably at least glance in the mirror now and again to make sure I'm not going to frighten small children.


    But, I digress. The pictures I took sucked and I wasn't about to let the first impression be, “God, she looks puffy and tired”. So I added the kids instead. They're cuter anyway. I recharged the camera's battery overnight so I'll have plenty of juice when I try again.


    Book Progress:
    While at work yesterday, all I could think about was the upcoming scene in my book.
    My main character has suspected her husband has been foolin' around but he's talked his way out of trouble every time. Last night, though, she was going to find evidence when he least expected her to. Major turning point, everything that happens from here on out depends on her response to this discovery. Oh, the drama! Oh, the suspense! Only problem was I was too tired to do the scene justice so now I'll have to go back and rewrite.

    The whole infidelity theme in the book has my husband spooked. Which makes me wonder how what we write affects our day-to-day lives. Does anyone eat, speak, or live differently when they've been spending too much time with their characters?

    Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    New Things

    It hurts when your parental pearls of wisdom come back to bite you in the booty. chomp!

    I cannot tell you how many times I force the kids to take a bite of something they hate eating. It's not like I put a heaping pile on their plates or anything, but I do make them try it. My hope, of course, is that they'll eventually learn to like it.

    A couple weeks ago we were having sloppy joes and my eight year old declared she wasn't eating that. She got one anyway, with a stern warning to take a bite. Her bite was miniscule. Seriously, it looked like maybe a bread crumb was missing from the corner. Maybe. Eventually she took a bite and liked it! Ahhhh, parental victories are few and far between.

    It seems since I decided to start writing, I've been trying all kinds of new things and it is surprising to find how many things I've been resisting all these years that I like! When did I stop following my own advice about trying new things?

    Book Progress:
    I got about 3,000 words in last night. I'm pleased with that progress, but more pleased with the happy accident that occurred. I had put a little nugget in Chapter 2 that I was thinking of taking out because it didn't seem to serve any purpose. I was writing who-knows-what-chapter last night and that little tidbit I put in there for no particular reason serves as the perfect clue for what just happened last night. I wish I could take credit for my brilliance and foresight, but it really was just a bit of luck.

    Monday, April 5, 2010

    Shoeless

    Sometimes I amaze myself, and not in a good way.

    It was back to school for the kidlings this morning. I managed to get them all up, dressed, and fed on time. I managed to get myself showered, dressed, and fed. I remembered to bring a water to work with me (we have soft water in the office and I just can't drink the stuff). I even packed my gym bag so I could hit the gym over lunch. I was a paragon of preparedness.

    Except I forgot to pack shoes. I had a change of clothes, a towel for the post-run shower. I had makeup and hair goop for recreating the external self post-shower. I even stuck in a book to read during the walking warm-up and cool-down. HOW did I forget shoes? What's worse, is that I had them in my hand at one point because I carried them all the way downstairs with me. Guess I'll be hitting the gym after dinner instead which cuts into my writing time, dagnabit.

    Book Update:
    I'm on a roll with my writing, the action is starting to pick up and I can't wait to get back to it. When I started planning this story, I was surprised that the characters and plot line haunted me when I was doing other things. It really just shows how naive I was about the whole process. I guess it makes sense that if you want the story to grab readers so they are thinking about it while they are unable to read, then it sure as heck better be grabbing the author when he/she is writing it. Just one more of the glorious discoveries I'm uncovering as I plod along.

    Sunday, April 4, 2010

    New Drivers

    A very quiet Easter Sunday here. The kids did their annual treasure hunt to find their baskets. It was so much fun watching them read each clue and run upstairs and downstairs to find the next egg/clue. We went to watch How To Train Your Dragon afterwards.

    Mind you, we don't go see many movies as a family. It's a little pricey for one, but for a long time we didn't know whether or not the youngest would be able to sit still through the movie. It only takes a time or two chasing him through the lobby (or worse, the theater!) before you decide maybe it's not such a great idea to bring him along.

    HOWEVER, he did awesome today! I'm so happy I could bust. He sat on my lap the whole time, and actually watched the movie. I think he's well on his way to becoming a dragon expert. haha. He's looking forward to Shrek III and Toy Story 3, and I feel much more comfortable taking him if I can trust him to behave like he did today!

    On another front, my daughter got her driver's permit this weekend. She is suddenly interested in accompanying anyone who leaves the house in the hopes of getting a chance to practice driving. She's doing a great job, but ACK! It's really hard relinquishing control. Obviously I want her to get all the practice she can before she is sent out on her own, but my nerves need some soothing. My issue, not hers, but I think anyone who's taught a teenager to drive can relate!


    Saturday, April 3, 2010

    Writing & Inspiration

    I'll let you in on a little secret. I am quietly writing a book. My family knows, and a few close friends are in the loop, but I don't like telling most people. It sounds so pretentious. I understand the odds are stacked against me as far as publishing goes, but that's so far off, I'm not going to worry about that hurdle. I'm concentrating on writing the danged thing first.

    I gotta tell you I was a bit surprised at how much work goes into writing a book. I was seriously deluded in the beginning. I thought that because I like to write my biggest struggle would be finding time and sticking with it. Turns out that's the easy part! There is way more research involved than I ever anticipated. Stupid things like the kind of car my character drives, needing to find out how much leg room it has so I know whether or not her husband will be cramped or not when he has to bum a ride to work.

    Once I got my facts straight, I had to start worrying about the voice. Still worrying over that one. It is FLAT right now, and I'm not sure how to fix it. It comes and goes so I'm hoping if I just keep plunking away it'll start coming more than it goes and I can patch the weak spots during revisions.

    The hardest thing, though, is knowingly writing absolute crap just so I can get through a sticky spot and move on. I could obsess over a paragraph or two for weeks. I need to give myself permission to let the writing suck for the sake of progress and worry about healing the broken bones later.

    I gotta get the kids set up so they can color Easter eggs. Plus I have to devise the treasure hunt. We hide clues in plastic eggs and have them running all over the house. At the end of the hunt they'll find their basket. It's kinda a pain to set up, but they have so much fun doing it!

    Introduction

    Introductions suck. Agreed?

    I'm walking the fine line between sharing pertinent information and detail overload. I keep typing and deleting, typing and deleting. That's the perfectionist in me. It's a little intimidating to type something for the whole world to see, don't ya think? Right now I'm relatively anonymous, but I know I can't count on it staying that way.

    So, for simplicity's sake (and because my finger is getting blisters from deleting) let's just share the basics and assume the rest will come out over time. Deal?

    I'm 39, and turn 40 on 10-10-10. I like the sound of that. I remember thinking about that date when I was a kid and thinking how far off that was - haha - time passes whether you want it to or not, so the last year or so I've been trying to get off my butt and DO things. Trying to take control of my life rather than just floating along letting life happen to me. That sounds worse than it is. Most people who float along are eternal victims. NOT the case here. I have a pretty nice life, but I wonder where I COULD be if I were actually rowing the boat?

    I am married (yes, happily!) and have three wonderful kidlings all still living at home. I placed a daughter for adoption before I ever met my husband. It's never been a secret, but it's not exactly something that comes up casually in conversation. I'm just throwing it out there so it won't look like I was trying to hide it later.

    I have my first ever 5k in two weeks and I'm soooo not ready. I've been 'training' on the treadmill at the gym and thought I was making great progress until I tried a short run around my neighborhood. Oh. My. God. I'm in such trouble. There's a huge difference between running on a treadmill and actually running up and down hills. I'm hoping my pride gets me through once I'm in the presence of real runners...I don't want anyone see me stopping!

    It's almost 4:30 now, and my battery is almost dead (the laptop's and my own internal one) so I'm going to send this out into cyberspace and go back to bed.