Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Counting the Minutes





I'm counting the minutes to 2009. I'm so ready for 2008 to be over, I've already switched calendars.

I submitted a short story oh...what was it? Monday night? Tuesday in the wee hours of the morning? Anyway, that one is out the door, and I finished a shorty short last night. It's a fun little magazine anthology piece that I've spent a good part of the day polishing so I can send it on it's merry way tonight. Once I'm done with that one, I imagine I'll have a drink and watch the new Resident Evil movie on DVD until it's time to watch the ball drop on TV. Oh, yeah, I will definitely be staying up to ring in the New Year. 2008 - I wish I could say it's been fun. But I digress... by the end of January, I hope to have another 2 stories out the door and floating around in submission land.

I've been thinking about New Years resolutions as well as writing goals for 2009. So far I'm still compiling the list. I do know I want to lose another 20 lbs. (I've already lost 10), and I'd like to at least send a query to an agent or two. I'll think about all that tonight and post a list tomorrow. I like to keep up the tradition. :)

I hope the rest of you are as excited as I am about 2009. If I had one, I'd put on one of those ridiculous New Year's party hats and dance around the house wearing it while sipping Frangelico. I swear I would.

Happy hump day, y'all. And happy new year's eve!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Recapping 2008





Anyone else counting down the days to 2009? Every year I do a recap, what made the year memorable for me, or special, or utterly horrendous. The BIG things that effected me, so I can look back on it years from now and laugh, cry, or cringe. Whatever the effect, right? So here is my list of the memorable moments of 2008 in no particular order, the bad with the good.

1.)Nadia
2.)and Max. I still cry for them when I allow myself to think about it.
3.)Our Chancey Pup passed away.
4.)Mom and dad finally got into their new house.
5.)Summer vacation: My first dip in the Atlantic Ocean!
6.)Summer vacation: My first trip to BLGH!
7.)Oldest's first date, and paying for senior prom. AKA: that overall shocked feeling that my baby is growing up.
8.)The publishing industry crisis.
9.)Gas prices spiking to near $4.00 a gallon during a recession - Washington can call it whatever the hell they like.
10.)The neverending, neverending, never-effing-ending coverage of the 2008 PRE-presidental election. Thank the saints that shit is over! Now the media whores news anchors can get back to ambulance chasing.
11.)Joining the RWA, and attending my first local conference.
12.)The hell that is Houston traffic.

If I can think of anything else, I'll likely come back and add to the list. Those are just the things that come immediately to mind. On a scale of 1-10, my rating for 2008 has hovered somewhere around a 2 almost all year. As you can probably guess, I'm banking on 2009 to make for a much, much better year!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Rainy Evening and Email Answers

I got a package today from New Concepts Publishing. I panicked at first because I know I didn't order anything, and when I pulled four books out of the shipping package I nearly fainted. Who could've used my card to get these? Inside, with the books, there was a small note saying happy holidays, thank you, and that the books are a gift in the spirit of the season. Wow!

Also, I updated my MS Office today. I've been using the trial version of the Student/Home version, and it was about to expire. I didn't want to lose my current documents - well, I'd still have them, but wouldn't be able to modify them - so I paid for the key and unlocked the product while they still had the $50.00 off discount. The only thing is, student is meant for non-commercial use. This version doesn't have track changes or comment ability. Eventually I'll have to go get full monty, small business version, but I was wondering in the meantime....

Has anyone ever gone through actual edits using Open Office? If you have, please comment here and let me know how it differs, or send me at email at corazane(at)aol(dot)com. Please let me know if you had any issues with compatibility. Oh, and how did you handle tracking changes and leaving comments?

Over the Christmas holiday, I received a few emails asking me if I review/feature books here on my blog, or if I haven't, will I consider it. The answer is yes. I will and do review books here on my blog; however, I do have a few requirements before I'll agree to it.

1.) First, the book must be erotica, horror, or romance of some kind - any subgenre except inspirational - for me to read it. If your book contains potentially offensive, or controversial subjects, please don't bother. Think of it this way... Would you really want a person who doesn't read westerns reviewing your western book? I didn't think so. I'm fair, and snark isn't my thing, but I really don't want to slog through a story I wouldn't ordinarily read.

2.) Never fear, I do not write slam reviews. It hurts to receive them, and I damn sure won't write them. I'll leave that to "the experts" or whatever, thanks. However, I will give my honest opinion for my time spent. If I read your book and it doesn't agree with me at all - and I'm talking about to the nth degree, I won't review it on my blog. Period. That said, if I come across a book like that, I'll write you a personal review by email and you can decide what to do with it. If you wish, I will feature your book - cover and blurb - and give away a free copy to my readers, but I won't post a review. This leads me to rule 3....

3.) Whether your book is an ebook or in print, if you'd like a review, a copy to give away to the readers here on my blog is required. I don't do fly by hits. Kthanxbye. I'm actually surprised by the number of "hey, do this for me" emails that send me a blob of html to copy and paste. Just for the record: that is rude and it is SPAM. No, it doesn't hurt to email and ask, but neither does it hurt to be professional. Any more emails sent to me that are a question and coding - I'll delete it unanswered.

If you would like me to review your book, send me an email at corazane(at)aol(dot)com with REVIEW REQUEST in the subject line, and ask me if I have time to review your book. In that email, please tell me what the book is, and what genre/subgenre it falls into. More than likely, I will make time to review your book. I know how hard it is sometimes to get a review for your material, especially if you are new on the scene. I will try to help you the best I can. However do not expect a next day review. It can take me up to a week and a half to read a book, sometimes - depending on the story and what's going on in my life - it can take a little longer. That's before I get to the actual review writing!

Now that I've got that covered, the diet! Yes, I'm still on the diet, and yes I've stayed faithful throughout Christmas. I've discovered that nothing builds character quite like turning down fresh baked, santa shaped sugar cookies. But my curves are thanking me. The scale hasn't budged much but the measuring tape is! Overall I've lost 3 inches from my waist, 2 from the bust, and 2.5 inches from my hips. I'm down a jean size, and while at the parent's house at Xmas, dad even noticed the loss. *apocalypse* Most importantly, my blood glucose is at normal levels, and I haven't been having those sudden spells of exhaustion midday.

That about covers it for now. I'm counting down the days to the New Year. Bring it on! Until then... Happy Saturday! ~_^

Friday, December 26, 2008

Boxing Day Goodness



Three guesses what Santa brought the MiniBeast this year? *lol* Here he is on Christmas morning in his pajamas, gloves, slippers, jacket and the requisite Speed Racer hat. He opened all his presents, and then we dressed him in just enough to stay warm and told him we were going "bye-bye". He raced to the front door and opened it, and let out this big gasp. "JEEEEEEP!"

I take it he likes his present. ^_^

Actually we didn't go all out crazy this year. We hit the sale and limited gifts to a certain number each. I suppose we're not the only ones who had to stretch our dollars, but the point is, we had a good holiday and the kids are happy. Oldest is thrilled with his stuff this year. We picked up an MP3 player and a digital video recorder that plugs directly into his computer. So now he can make his own videos and put them on youtube. He also seems to like the new jacket I picked out for him - a stripy, emo/scene jacket with scrolly skulls on it. It's close to 80 degrees, I'm wearing cut offs and flip flops and he'd walking through the house zipped up in that jacket.

So today is Boxing Day. Do you honestly think I'm boxing anything? Meh. :P No, I plan to leave Emo tree up until after the New Year. Once the tree is down, for the first two weeks I miss the lights.

Yay! Food is here! Hubby just walked through the door with chicken, so I'm off to go eat. But here's a video of Mini playing to round off the day.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Life in General and My Winter Newsletter

Just a quicky post to say all is well, Mini is fine - apparently no harm done by the toothpaste. Oh, and my cheesecake turned out beeeeautiful! I took it out of the oven about 2 hours ago and it's taunting me. Really it is.

Anyway, I went ahead and uploaded my Winter/ New Year Newsletter, so it's available a few days earlier than I originally posted. You can get it directly at this link: http://www.mediafire.com/?vuzhtmtjhnz OR - There is a nifty text link for it on the right hand sidebar as well. Scroll down. Yep. A little more. There it is! Ok.... Sometime tomorrow I'll be adding it to my website and the yahoo group. In the meantime, if you're getting it here, you're getting it first.

On another note, I finished my sexy sci-fi story yesterday, and I've been polishing it so I can send it to a crit partner. I've got two publishers in mind for it, and I plan to simultaneous submit on this one. I've nearly finished a second story on top of that sexy sci-fi. It's a contemporary erotica, mostly from a guy's POV. Very sexy stuff. Hotter than I thought it would be. I have a publisher in mind for it, but I'll keep that to myself until I see what comes of it.

In the meantime, I'm repolishing and old submission and I'm planning to resend that after the first of the year. After that, I've got to focus on my full length wip. I booked my hotel room for the 2009 conference, and my registration is sent. Now all I have to do is to finish writing the book I'm planning to pitch!

So that's my story and I'm sticking to it! Just in case I can't get back in here to say so....

How ever you celebrate the season, I hope you have a happy one!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Fruity Pursuit and Bernard Madoff - WTF?





The Christmas rush is officially on, and Monday has decended like The Birds. I have stuff to mail today, groceries to buy, and presents to wrap. Too, Mini greeted me this morning with a babywipe. He'd gotten into the kiddie toothpaste, which is usually kept up high and out of reach, but it got left on the counter in the bathroom and he had himself a fun time with it for sure. He smeared it all over his face and tummy, which he wanted me to wash off. I did. Then came the questions: Mini, how much of it did you eat? I sincerely think he wore more of it than he ate, but since I didn't know for sure, I called Poison Control.
So here I am at 9 am, precoffee, a toddler smeared in blue toothpaste and the guy on the phone is laughing his ass off when I tell him, "No, it's not flouride free. It's Oral B Stages brand, Disney Cars Fruity Pursuit toothpaste." (Jesus, who names this stuff!) To be safe, the guy tells me to give Mini two Tums or two glasses of milk. Or both. *sigh* I gave him two tums and a glass of milk just to make sure. For the next few hours I have to watch him for a tummy ache, nausea, vomiting. If he starts feeling rough, take him to ER. Gotcha.
As if the great toothpaste incident wasn't enough of a Monday qualifier.... I've time and again stumbled across the news at Galleycat that Random House and HarperCollins have pounced on book deals revolving around Bernard Madoff, the former NASDAQ chairman who was arrested this month over fraudulent investing practices. Basically the man was running a pyramid/ponzi scheme. [Probably one of the largest outside the national social security system, but I digress....]

What gets me is that these publishing houses have been through lots of restructuring, layoffs, firings, pay freezes, acquisition freezes, absorbing imprints, etc. etc. and then this is their strike while the iron is hot story?

I'm not saying they shouldn't do a book on Bernard Madoff, but I can't be the only person NOT interested one iota in this story. I'd be willing to bet most people have no idea who the man is, much less want to read a 400-700 page book about him. As a test, go to your teenager right now and ask her/him who Bernard Madoff is. If he/she does know, have them take a look at your investment portfolio. But if your kid is like mine and has no clue, ask him/her who Lee Iacocca is. Next, ask them about Newt Gingrich.

Do they know any of those names? Probably not, I'll wager. And they probably don't care. To make matters worse, by the time these little Madoff book gems come out in 2010, I'm sure you'll be able to effectively gather a similar deer-in-the-headlights look from just about any passer-by simply by asking, "Have you read that new book about Bernard Madoff?"

Somewhere, somehow, a book by someone either with literary talent at the very least, something commercially viable got bumped from a publishing slot for Mr. Madoff, who's story -albeit the condensed version - is already available on the internet for free.

I also cringe to think what these publishers have put forward in advances for books that I imagine will end up on a sale table just like the rest of the political, wall street inspired goodies that clutters that section of the bookstore. I brush past those books when I'm looking for "diamonds in the haystack" at BAM. You know, stuff like erotic shapeshifting dragons....
But, really, dry humor aside, I hear about this and wonder if I'm missing something, or if maybe NY just doesn't "get it" yet, even after all the cuts this year? Or is this what we have to look forward to? More Madoff, less...shapeshifting dragons. I never thought for a day that publishers would bump an "important" or award winning books for something commercial. But I thought the point of making more selective acquisition choices would mean that the focus would shift more toward books that people actually want to read?
Oy, I'll leave it to the experts to figure out. I need another cup of coffee. Happy Monday, everyone!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Holiday Baubles




Hubby is back home! He text'd me around 3 to let me know he was on the way from Texas, and I had to race around the house to wrap his presents before he got home. Heh. I'd left them in the bags next to the coatrack-chair in the dining room. Anyway, I managed to get all his stuffins taken care of, and a few of my parents' gifts as well. I'm going to have to pick a day to take Minibeast and Oldest to Mom's so I can get the rest of the boys' goodies wrapped.

I did another round of Christmas shopping today, but it was mostly for necessities - gift bags and num-nums to make a pecan cheesecake and stuff for devilled eggs. Overall it's been a slow, comfortable day.

Last night after Mini was asleep, I sneaked out of bed and worked on my wip for a few hours. I'm on the final chapter - it's a curse, I swear. I get right to the end of a wip and the process just drags and drags. Bleh. Maybe it's psychological: reluctance to let go of the characters. I don't really know, but when I went to bed last night it felt like I'd barely written a paragraph.
Now that hubby's home, I'll be able to get in a full session tonight. Hopefully I can at least get the text in it's proper place. I can always go back and tidy it up on the second round. At any rate, there isn't much left, if I can just shove the words out the door, so to speak. Wish me luck!
Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Winter Solstice Weekend

Today is Oldest's last day of school before the holidays. Yesterday he sent me on a quest for a gigantic bag of Doritos. (Regular nacho cheese, mom, can you do that?) Yeah, son, I think I'll manage. Heh.

I tell ya, I'm ready for the downtime. Usually I'm scrambling the week before Christmas, but there hasn't been a frantic rush this year. Not for presents, recipes, none of that. I do feel a sense of immediacy - that the season is coming down to the wire - and I'm sure it doesn't help that I'm whipping the pony, trying to rush it to finish line. Anything to get 2008 behind us. This has been a foul, horrible year. I've heard, though, that trying years like this one are "transition" years. Bridges that cross the gap between life stage and another. I've been wondering a lot lately if that's true. We will see....

I was talking with a friend earlier today about Winter Solstice coming up this Sunday. It's supposedly a time of coming out of darkness, and boy, it couldn't come at a better time! I have a candle all ready to burn in preparation. I imagine by then hubby will be on his way home from Texas, and hopefully I'll have finished this short story I'm working on. There's really not much more to go on it, but it's a matter of sitting down to "just do it". Mini is an attention hound, so I have to jump on the comp and write in short bursts while he's occupied elsewhere: playing trucks, coloring, or when he drifts by the TV and stops long enough to watch something.

It's a hectic process, and I always feel like I'm not give him enough "Mimi time" when its like this, so over the weekend, I think we'll have to do something crafty - maybe make some foam ornaments to hang on Emo Tree. Something like that. Speaking of Emo Tree.... I really should post more pics. I've totally glammed out the tree with a barf-fest of buckets of sparkly icicle tinsel, so now it's more like the glitter-slut cousin of emo now.

My *new* newsletter will go live on December 29th. It will be my post-Christmas/ New Year edition. I'll be running an exclusive contest to give away a Cora Zane T-shirt and some other goodies. Just a heads up for anyone who might be interested. I'll be posting again once the newletter is loaded and live.

Well, it's time for Mini's nap nap, so I have to jet. I hope you're all having a snazzy Thursday!

PS... I totally forgot to mention www.freyasbower.com has a swarm of sexy free reads up for grabs at their website just in time for the holidays. Don't forget to drop by and download a little something for yourself. Tis the season for reading...and for telling a friend! ~_^

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tongue Curling and Coffee

A certain, silly someone came to me yesterday to show me he'd learned how to curl his tongue. He wanted me to take a dozen pictures of it. LOL! I ended up snapping a shot of it with my cell phone. Ah, milestones....

Yesterday Oldest came home with "news" about his grades. Skating by has caught up with him at last. He's always coasting, and when his grades start looking dire he'll put in a little effort. Hubby and I have been after him about that since grade school, but you can lead a horse to water, as the saying goes. This time the last minute effort didn't pay off, and he's stuck with low grades. The big talk that followed the news had more to do with him owning up to who is truly responsible for those low grades, instead of blaming someone else for not being "fair" and giving him more chances to make up the difference. Nevermind all along he should've been doing his work. You can tell him repeatedly, but it never seems to sink in.

I was talking to hubby (who is still sick) on the phone about it this morning, and I feel sorry for Oldest because he's gonna be soooo disenchanted when he gets out into the world and has to fend for himself. Success doesn't happen without work. It's going to be a hard lesson for him, but what can you do?

I discovered just how far gone my sense of smell/taste. I haven't been able to smell anything for over a month now, but I didn't know it had affected my ability to taste. Ha! I ran around doing this and that this morning, and poured myself a cup a coffee. I left it on the counter for a few minutes while doing some such thing, came back, and took the cup with me to the computer. I sipped and sipped. Funny, but about half way through the cup, I realized the coffee didn't feel as "foamy" as usual. Well, I looked in at the coffee and realized I'm drinking it black - no heavy cream. Hm. If hubby were here he'd laugh his ass off at me, because I am YIK! in regards to coffee straight up. So therefore, it is best he doesn't know. Ever. I went back and stirred in a spoonful of heavy cream and...well, honestly, I couldn't tell the difference.

C'est la vie.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Week of Mondays

I swear, this is the week of Mondays. Hubby is on a project in Texas and now he's sick. That's had me worried becaue they're out working in the elements, then Oldest brought home news from school today that nearly made me run screaming into the wilderness. On top of this, as Mini would say: My nose is buggin'. El Sinus infection abounds. Rats!

Tomorrow I have a ton of errands to run. I should've taken care of part of it today, but it was rainy, nasty and cold. I really didn't want to get Mini out in it; he's got a cough started and I'm trying to do something about it before it turns to a full on cold.

On the writing front, my little end of the year wip is progressing. The story is running a bit longer than I would like, but for the most part it's as it should be. I imagine I'll trim it back considerably before jetting it off to a crit partner for a read through.

If you're following the publishing crisis, Editorial Ass has pointed out a MUST READ article. But it's not all doom and gloom. I actually found a positive article out there. According to www.galleycat.com, HarperStudio may very well be the pioneers who change the face of publisher/distributor relationships by no longer accepting book returns. Borders has agreed not to return HarperStudio books, but to discount the titles in store and try to sell them that way. I hope in the face of their own struggles (Borders), they're able to stay open and that thier change in policy will start a revolutionizing trend.

It's a bit late, so I better get on the writing wagon. Wherever you are, I hope you're all warm and cozy. Happy Tuesday!

Book Jazz and Caramelldansen

It's Monday, so I've officially gone through my 2 weeks induction on Atkins. I've lost a total of 9 pounds, which strangely enough, is the exact amount I lost the last time I went through induction. Maybe that means I'll have similar successful results.

Hubby left for Texas this morning, so it's me and the kidlets - and, well, my parents across parish lines. I plan to thoroughly clean the house so I won't have to kill myself on it daily. The house tends to stay less messy *cough, cough* when hubby is travelling. But I didn't tell you that! ~_^

I've got to do some shopping this week for the hubster and my parents. Santa has already picked out everything for the boys, I just need to wrap it all and tuck it into the Santa Sack in the back of my closet. The thing with shopping for hubby-he's so darn hard to shop for! My dad is just as bad. They both usually heehaw around about what they actually want when you ask them, but two days before Xmas, you're sitting down with your morning coffee and they come crawling out of the woodwork: "You know, sweet, I would kinda like a whatsawhosageezit from Santa this year." *_*

Um, couldn't you have told me three weeks ago so I could have it imported...from the bowels of Christmas gift HELL? I swear, they must think I have stuff teleported in from eBay sometimes. I usually end up getting them something they didn't ask for and probably never thought about, but by then it can't be helped. I've been pestering hubby about what he wants for Xmas since October, but he still hasn't said for sure. If he ends up with a bunch of sausage and cheese sets it's his own fault.

Books are on my own wishlist this year. There are two in particular I'm hoping Santa will bring: Acheron, by Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Dark Curse, by Christine Feehan. I saw both at Books A Million the last time I went, but I couldn't afford roughly thirty bucks each for a hardcover. (That's something to think about publishers! Go paperback faster, please! I love books, but thirty dollars is a tank of gas for my Jeep. And I have to be able to get to the bookstore to actually buy anything. Just a thought....)

So anyway, speaking of books, I read this interesting post over at Nathan Bransford last night (when I should've been writing). We all like to get a deal on books, especially with the economy the way it is now, but he really puts into perspective why we should all buy books NEW.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

So Sleepy

I stayed up entirely too late last night, and my only excuse is that I was multi-tasking. I wanted to get to a certain point in this short story I'm working on, so I'd write a few paragraphs then hit the Money Tree over at Neopets. Write again, then hit Neopets again. It's a miracle my story didn't take an odd twist into Neopia, but somehow I managed to stay on track.

I think it was just too late for me to thoroughly concentrate, but I had too much on my mind to get to sleep. Earlier in the day I'd come up with this story arc and I jotted it down in note form on an envelope by my computer, but I kept worrying I'd forget these little details I wanted to throw in there. When I get like this, it's pretty much pointless to resist it. I knew I wouldn't get any rest until I'd typed it out.

Tonight I won't be able to stay up so late, though. And I'm in the middle of reading a book that's proving really hard to put down: Robots, an anthology edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois.



The book has 9 stories in it. I've read through 4 so far, and I've loved every one of them. That's got to be some kind of record for me as far as anthologies go. I'll probably finish this one up tonight.

That's it for me. I'm going to take advantage of the quite while I can. I hope you're all having a wonderful Saturday!

Friday, December 12, 2008

RIP Bettie Page

Right out of bed this morning, Mini brings in his Talking Whiz Kid Plus into the dining room and starts quizzing me with division and subtraction. Um. Hello, sweetie, Mimi hasn't had her coffee yet. Please try again later.

So I sat down to read the news and right out the gate discovered that pinup icon Bettie Page has died. So sad. One thing can be said for sure: Her life made an impact. Google (images) Bettie Page and it's amazing what you come up with. I saw a picture of her at 80 and she still looks great. I hope I'm that put together when I'm 80, but somehow, in all my flip-flops in December and ponytail wearing glory, I kinda doubt it.

Last night I stayed at the computer until I wrote the first chapter of a short story, start to finish. Sort of a merciless bootcamp sort of writing process, but then I had the entire scene in mind and I didn't want to lose it. I got through it, read it aloud and when it sounded fair, I gave in and went to bed. I'm going to work on it a bit more this afternoon and see how far I can get. I'm thinking of making it a weekend project, but we'll see how that goes.

Yesterday, (I can't remember where I read it), I came across an article that says book sales are down this year by more than a million units. Yikes! I've glutted on books this season, and I'm not backing down yet, but I can't help wondering if the downturn is in part to the fact that everyone's tightening the purse strings, or because there haven't been a lot of "gotta have it" books recently. Has anyone else noticed that? Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series aside, I haven't heard much gust and gale over a book since Harry Potter wrapped up, and Stephen King's publishers released the final book for the Gunslinger series.

I tend to like books that are more word of mouth rather than PR driven. I trust readers far more than spiel, but word of mouth books seem so few and far between lately. I decided to try and come up with a few under appreciated gems to recommend, and the set that came immediately to mind is the Haydn of Mars series by Al Sarrantonio.





Think politics, assassinations, and a race of cat-people on a terraformed Mars. It's like Dune, only My Oldest wouldn't read Frank Herbert unless you strapped him to a chair and forced him to stare at the pages ala Clockwork Orange style. On the otherhand, he devoured all three of the Al Sorrentonio books in a matter of days. That's really saying something since he usually can't be bothered.

While I'm on the topic of books, since I do get a question or two now and again about writer's guides and how to books, here's one on my wishlist this year:



I have a lot of writing guides, but this is supposed to be the industry standard. I don't have this yet, but it's on my radar. For more suggestions on what books to pick up for writers, or what writers might like for Christmas, my bff Cass has posted an awesome list at the Midnight Moon Cafe.

Moving on from book stuff.... The Christmas holidays are coming on fast, but there's still so much to do. We've got the Emo Tree glam'd out with lots of tinsel and ornaments, and oh, MORE tinsel. Unless you're really looking, you can no longer tell the tree is black. :P I haven't bought the first gift for hubby, I need to pick up a few more for my mom and dad, and I need to sort through recipes so I'll have something to take over to mom's for Xmas dinner. Devilled eggs is a must - that's expected of me, and there is much wailing and nashing of teeth when I don't bring them. So, the eggs, and I'm planning to make a low-carb, crust free cheesecake. I thought about making somekind of miracle cauliflower dish, since it would be Atkins friendly and you can pretty make cauliflower into anything - fake mashed potatoes, pizza crust. But it's looking like I'm going to need more research on that.

Oldest is out of school as of the 19th, so I've got to kind of plan around him being home as well. I don't think he'd be too thrilled if I fed him trick cauliflower and deviled eggs. He's probably expecting sugar cookies, but wow...talk about willpower to Not.Attack.Them. He may have to save that for grammy's house. I'll have to think about it before dragging out the mixer.

That's it for me. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday! Happy weekend!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Cold Day in the Writing Cave





I stayed up until 2 AM writing and waiting for this alleged snowfall to happen. It rained, but the snow never came. Wah. I got up this morning and discovered that well, it did happen, just not in North Louisiana. The snow moved south and blanketed New Orleans and a patch of Mississippi. Bah humbug. I wanted to smack hubby with a snowball!

Whoever wrote the article says that North Louisiana gets an average of one snow per year. I wonder if that person lives here. We usually get one ice storm a year. Not snow. It's definitely not the same thing. On the otherhand, the snow, ice, missing out on making a snowman...at least we don't have to worry about power outages. Surely if it snowed here we'd be out for days. If a bird lands on the highlines we're without power. Snow? Catastrophe!

It is cold today though. I didn't want to crawl out of bed, and not just because I stayed up so darn late, either. When I did finally get up, I couldn't wait to wrap my frost bitten, ice cube fingers hands around a cup of hot coffee.

I'm slowly but surely getting the hang of Open Office, although this is only a temporary work platform for me. I plan to buy MS Office after the holidays are up. Heck, it took me long enough to learn MS Office! Although, thanks to Isabelle Santiago I now know how to make comments using Open Office. Yeah, yeah, I'm slow....
Onto publishing news.... According to GalleyCat, Marlene Stringer, formerly of the Barbara Bove Literary Agency, has left to start her own agency. It's an amicable split, and she will be taking a handful of clients with her. I'm not sure if she's accepting clients, but if you're currently on an agent hunt, it might be worth your while to search out the Stringer Literary Agency.
I told myself I wouldn't start working on a project until after Christmas. Whenver will I learn? Just when I get my thoughts organized to do one thing, my muse, aka "teh wench" pokes her head up and says, "Oh really?" So as of last night, I'm well into a sci-fi erotica shorty short, and I have no one to blame but myself. We'll see how it goes....
Happy Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cheesecake and Publishing



More rainy, messy day, and the forecast is calling for snow tomorrow. Snow!
I went and mailed off a few requested bookcards and a prize pack earlier today. So if you're looking for something in the mail from me -it's on the way. While in town, I dropped by the store and bought three books : Shifting Love, by Constance O'Day Flannery; The Hunger, by Susan Squires; and Robots, an Ace anthology edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois.
Back home, I worked on a short story for a while, and tinkered with my newsletter. Only a page left to go on that and it will be ready for uploading. I'm waiting to see if a bit of news comes in before I wrap it all up, so we'll see.

Speaking of books and writerly things.... more interesting news from the publishing industry: MacMillan US has initiated a pay freeze for employees with salaries over $50,000 through 2009. There are quite a few imprints under MacMillan, including St. Martin's Press. I've read an obscene number of their books, both romances and other genres too.

Chronicle Books has announced a layoff of less than 5% of their workforce. According to Publisher's Weekly (by way of GalleyCat for me), their backlist isn't selling and they're downsizing their adult booklist for 2010. The company's growth has been in children's books, so I imagine that's where they'll focus their effort.

It seems like children's books and YA are the place to be if you're writing for the market these days, especially since more and more adults are reading YA fiction: Harry Potter, Eragon, Twilight, etc. etc. I wonder how that factors in with children's books though. Is it that parents are buying more books for their kids, or are they being picked up by the library market? I say this because given the variety available at our local stores, there doesn't seem to be much variety.

Speaking of local stores, according to Louisiana Book News, Windows A Bookshop in Monroe is closing on December 14th. I'm very sad to hear that. They carried a wide selection of books on Louisiana and the South, but most importantly, they were an independent bookseller who carried books by local authors. For gift giving, this was the go-to place to buy signed books by local authors.

A lot of us generally think of the authors and the publishers in this kind of meltdown, and I'll admit I haven't given adequate thought to the independent booksellers. I've heard stories how it's a struggle to keep these bookstores afloat in the face of book superstores like BAM and Barnes and Noble. In the North Central Louisiana area, we've lost a lot of bookstores, both chain and independent, in the past few years. First B.C Dalton in Pecanland Mall closed. Then Fran's in Ruston. I believe , I'm not 100% sure, we also lost the Waldenbooks out of Pecanland Mall as well. Who ever heard of a mall not having a bookstore? *_* I think our nearest Waldenbooks now is in Alexandria. Locally, Books-A-Million is the only place I know of that's left standing, and the past few times I've been there, sale tables have spread from one small area of the store down the center strip all the way to the back where the magazine racks are.

I can't help wondering how far off some publishers are from streamlining into print on demand. It would certainly be more cost effective, but I don't know what it would mean exactly for getting author's books in bookstores. Then there is the whole returns and remaindering nightmare to sort through. If POD books were sold in small units to specific stores, would they put a halt to returns? What would that mean for bookstores? And if those POD's were allowed to be returned, I imagine that would be a death nell for any hopes of reprinting that title - more crunch for the author. Thinking about all that can really make your head spin.

For the sake of my own sanity, I'll just continue to write the best book I can, keep sending the stories out, and wait to see what happens. And really, that's all any of us can do. That, and buy more books!

Before I close today, on a lighter note.... Atkins! I'm down 8 pounds and after lunch today (I had roasted chicken), I treated myself to a big bowl of homemade, sugar free (and only 5 total carbs!) cheesecake pudding. Mmm...mmm! I think I'm finally getting into the swing of things with the eating habits. My two week induction phase is almost over, but I'm probably going to extend it until I've shed those first 10 pounds. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Rainy Day




What a messy, rainy day. Early this morning, I went antique shopping with hubby - who is home, waiting to find out where the heck he's being assigned. Grr. I could go into a very long rant about that, but I'll save you all from that one, and perhaps save my blood pressure in the process.

The antique shop is a new place in town that used to be a grocery store. When we first moved to this area some 17 years ago, that was the grocery store we used. It closed down sometime after Oldest was born. I think he was around 2 or so. Anyway, we've always hoped someone would come back in and open the place. Well, I guess we finally get our wish. How long they stay open remains to be seen. Mom and pop businesses don't seem to last very long these days.

It's basically in import junk shop with an attached antique section. I walked through the entire store and picked up a few little things. I didn't go through the actual antique section until the very end. They had a lot of antique toys and furniture. My first find was a foot tall iron rooster. The rooster had been glazed with color - blue, red, and yellow - but age has chipped it and it faded it in just the right places along the edges and it's just a lovely piece of old iron. I couldn't leave without it.


Sorry for the poor resolution and grainy smooges everywhere. I took the pic with my cell phone to save dragging out the Fuji and doing the SD card, etc. etc. The colors are much brighter than they appear in the pic. And isn't he just a feisty guy? ^_^ He's now hanging on the end of my upper kitchen cabinets.
Well, the guys are all off to bed, so I think I'm going to go take over the living room for a while. I ordered a copy of Disturbing Behavior and it came in a day or two ago. I haven't yet had a chance to watching and I've been itching to do just that. Until next time....
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, December 08, 2008

NOLA Stars Xmas Party Video And More

I'm so glad it's Monday, so I guess the old saying "there's a first time for everything" is true. The weekend went by at the speed of light, and I'm still recovering. Hubby laughed at me this morning on the phone. He said he'd tried to wake me up to tell me he was going to check on a job site, but I wouldn't wake up enough to make coherent sentences. He said I merely told him, "Take your cell phone in case you break down." Yep, that sounds like me! ^_^ However, I don't remember any of it.

I stayed up chatting with Isabelle Santiago until 2 AM while working on my newsletter - which is coming along nicely by the way. Isabelle, if you're reading this, are you as tired as I am this morning?

The winter newsletter issue will be up very soon, so keep a look out! I'll be giving away a Cora Zane T shirt to one lucky reader who downloads the Winter Issue. On another note - signed Werekind bookcards. I've been asked where to get them. I give them away promo bags and contests all the time. If you'd like a signed bookcard from me, all you have to do is ask me and I'll send you one. Simple as that. There are lots of ways to contact me: www.CoraZane.com, on Facebook or Myspace, here on the blog, Author's Den, and through Twitter. The bookcards are first come first served, and while supplies last. I won't be doing a reorder until after the new year.

A lot happened over the weekend. First things first, I went to the RWA NOLA Stars Chapter Christmas party in Shreveport on Saturday with Beth Cornelison, and ended up taking 2 videos and a heap of pictures. Of course, you won't find me in any of them, but that's ok. I think another member had a camera and I'm going to be searching for those as yet unseen shots. ^_^

Instead of trying to upload a bunch of pictures, I turned them into a video. I'm no movie maker, for sure, but it was a lot easier to do this that fighting with Photobucket and/or bandwidth issues. The shots are in chronological order - from arrival and chatting in the sitting room, to eating lunch in the den, the gift exchange, to the silent auction at the end.




I have two more videos to upload today. They're from the gift exchange, which had a fun twist. Each person who brought a gift drew a number. When their number was called, they were able to pick a gift from under the tree OR STEAL someone else's gift. ^_^ A person could only be stolen from 3 times, and then they reached immunity and were left with the gift they held in hand.

I traded a book with Lenora Worth at the very end of the exchange. An "outside" negotiation. Perfectly legal. ~_^ She got a copy of Stephen King's On Writing, a book that has been on my Amazon wish list for ages. She already had a copy, so we traded - the book I'd unwrapped as my gift was an autographed copy of inspiration advice for writers. Not an easy choice to make, but now I have Stephen King's book off my wishlist! Woot! I started reading it just last night. I'll post more about it once I'm finished.

When I made it back home Saturday, hubby had cooked pork chops, bless him! I was a very good girl at the Xmas party, and while I wasn't starving exactly when I got home - I had devilled eggs, chicken, and someone made this rockin' awesome cheesy broccoli dish at the party - I wasn't opposed to chowing down on chops. Hey, I'm a born and bred southern girl, what can I say? ^_^

I didn't cheat on Atkins once at the party, and even dropped a pound. I'm currently down 7 pounds from when I started on Dec. 1st. Woot! I have a mini goal this week to lose 3 pounds.

Yesterday Oldest had his first date. Oh my. It went well, and those two...dare I say it. They are like peas in a pod. It's nerve wracking to imagine it. Just seeing the way they look at each other, you know they've both got the gaga's. *_* Anyway, the kids have already made plans for the coming weekend, and it looks like I'll be driving. I sense something starting, but oh, I dare not look too deep....

Happy Monday, everyone!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Wishing and Book Winner





Sorry so late posting today, I left the house around 9 AM, made it home around 4 PM. I'm pretty exhausted. Even so, I have pictures and videos from the NOLA Stars Christmas party, and I promise I'll upload them all very soon!

Beth Cornelison kindly let me catch a ride with her to Shreveport, and the party itself was comfortable, cozy, and fun. It was everything I'd hoped for, and I met a lot of really nice people. But I don't want to spoil all the details before I can post piccies with everything...so that will come tomorrow (if I can manage it), or Monday.

I'm happy to announce I stuck to my carb free ways while partying, and even ordered carb cautiously at Starbucks this morning. OMG, but I'd forgotten just how good fresh-ground coffee smells. Ah, coffee smell.... Now that's romantic. :P

With no further ado, the winner of the copy of Jeff Rivera's Forever My Lady I blogged about earlier this week goes to...


Neoindra!



Congrats, Neoindra! You've won a copy of Forever My Lady, and a fun author promo pack filled with lots of bookmarks and goodies. To claim your prize, please contact me at
corazane(at)aol(dot)com with Forever My Lady Winner in the subject line. Oh! And don't forget to include the address where you'd like your goodies sent!

Tomorrow I plan to veg out and read a ton of books, and possibly tinker around with a story idea I had today while driving home from the meetup spot in Ruston. I have a lot of house things to do as well, but first order of business will be to sleep late!
Happy weekend wishes to all of you!



Friday, December 05, 2008

Getting Ready




Late last night I managed to finish smoothing the final chapter of my wip, and I finally sent it off to Ravenous Romance. Yay! That will probably be my last submission for the year, unless I somehow manage to crank out another short story. With the way things are going right now, I don't know if I'll have the time to even sit and plot anything. I do have two books on disk that I need to revise and submit, though, and I really should pull those out and work on them.

Today, I jumped out of bed and checked the scales. It's day 5 of Atkins induction and I've lost a total of six pounds. Woot! I made breakfast for the Minibear and myself : scrambled eggs with cheese, bacon, and pan sausage. Then I sat down and took care of the bills so I would have everything out of the way to focus on getting things ready for the NOLA Stars Chapter Christmas Party tomorrow.

Since I'm on induction, I'm going to bring Atkins friendly stuff like mini sausages and devilled eggs to the party. If I can get Mini to bed at a decent hour, I'm might even attempt a crust-free pumpkin cheese cake as well. We'll see...because sometime during all this hustle and bustle, I need to do my nails! ^_^

Oh, and while shopping for goodies today, I bought an extra pack of lithium extra strength superdy-duperdy camera batteries. No one will be safe from my lens! I'll post pictures on Facebook sometime over the weekend.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Publishing and the Unpublished

It's been a quiet day home with the Minibeast. I have my wip mapped out so I can complete it tonight and do a final read through. Just gotta wait until the sun goes down and Mini goes to bed.

Needless to say, I've had books and writing on the brain for most of the day. First thing out of bed this morning, I started off reading about the fallout going on at Haughton Mifflin Harcourt (best chronicled over at GalleyCat) through Pub Rants. Jobs are being/have been cut at HMH, and at the worst possible time of the year, if you ask me. I'm not sure what to think about this alleged on/off freeze? in acquisitions, which now seems to be just a fancy way of saying: We're about to become super selective about what we take.

Reading about that kind of thing makes me wonder about the future of publishing - and I'm talking about the nuts and bolts of the industry and acquisitions, not about the future of writers so much, because there will always be writers regardless of what publishing houses exist or the state of the book market and/or economy.

People who write, well....they write. And if they sell that's fantastic, but more often than not, when they don't they just pick up the next project and move on. Round two, try again. Then again, we've also come to an age where writers are more willing to take chances about where they publish and go with "non-traditional" publishers. It's also perfectly acceptable to epublish and/or go the POD route. I'm not in any way implying that people don't want to be traditionally print published - I certainly do - I'm only saying that there are more options now than ever for unpublished writers if NY won't take on their work.

Anyway, this morning I was reading Editorial Ass about Random House having it's own meltdown of sorts. Random House is dismantling Bantam Dell *faint* and Doubleday, and absorbing these imprints into other divisions - Knopf will be absorbing Doubleday, etc.

Ok, just for the sake of thinking out loud, here is finally something that makes me sweat a little. What does this sort of restructuring mean for the unpublished writer? Certainly, it will become much more difficult for unpublished authors to attain the NY dream with publishing houses going through a big shrink phase. And while I wholeheartedly cringe at the idea of anything happening to Bantam Dell (I've bought an insane number of their books over the years), I'm curious about Doubleday.

The only books I've ever read from Alfred A. Knopf were literary stories that stretched into the realm of commercial fiction. In fact, most of them had Anne Rice's name on the covers, and I didn't go out and buy every single one. Literary fiction is great, and I'm not in any way taking a crack at those who write it or read it. I don't question the talent or the drive behind it, and I acknowledge that it wins lots of awards, blows critics socks off, and more often than not makes for beautiful book deals. However, it also Puts.Me.To.Sleep. There, I said it. Snoozeville. Just my take on it : literary fiction is editors fiction. Critics fiction. I don't read it unless I have to.

My question with all this restructuring going on is how many slots for commercial fiction will NY publishers slash during reorganization? Because I think this is only the start of a broader domino effect. I can't imagine publishers turning away a literary gem with award winning potential or a stellar non-fiction book, for a cozy mystery or a scorching hot romance. When the dust settles, I honestly wonder what all this will means for romance, urban fantasy, horror, etc. as far as trends go?

I also wonder if slower acquisitions in NY will drive more readers as well as writers to epublishing? I know there are some people who think that will never happen, but it was the main reason I got hooked on ebooks - lack of variety. I couldn't find what I was looking for on bookstore shelves. But I digress.... It just seems to me these dips in the pond are going to cause more ripples than we realize. I suppose we'll just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Ray Bradbury and Writing

It's just me and the Mini bear today. Oldest is back to school, and Hubby left the house this morning for Lafayette to fill out his paperwork. I imagine he'll be calling me soon since it's nearly lunch time.

I've been cleaning most of the morning, doing laundry, dishes, sweeping and mopping floors. The house truly needs a thorough, top to bottom cleaning after having all the guys home. Trying to keep it up with them all home is a lesson in futility. :P

The WIP is a mere inch from completion. Nothing left but the love scenes to revise. I finished everything to that point early this morning - around 2 am. Hubby got up about that time, so I thought I better visit with him a few minutes and hit the sack. Finishing the love scenes were the first thing on my mind this morning, but of course Mini had other ideas - like Diego and breakfast. ^_^ When I finally got around to the computer, the phone rang, so I decided to hold off at least until the afternoon. There's no point in pulling my hair out. It'll be done when it's done. Besides, it never helps to rush through.

Last night, I poked through a few videos, and found this really good one featuring Ray Bradbury. I love his stuff. The first thing I ever read of his was Something Wicked This Way Comes, and then I moved on to Farenheit 451 and the Martian Chronicles. Funny really, because it's not the genre he writes that particularly grabs me so much as it is his writing voice. I have read "Wicked" and "Farenheit" at least a dozen times each over the years, and there is something magical about each. If you haven't read either of those books, do yourself a favor. I don't think a single character has hung with me the way Clarice from Farenheit 451 has. She wasn't the main character, I think really just a subconscious symbol for Montag, but there was something very striking about her. She was the first character that I stumbled on that her DIALOGUE jumped at me. You didn't know a lot about her; she was a bit like a ghost the hero, Montag, discovers. She's open yet vague, mysterious yet crystal clear. A deep thinker in a time and place where that's the worst thing you could possibly be. I think of her when I'm writing sometimes.

Anyway, here's the clip. Ray Bradbury on writing....



I hope you all have a happy hump day!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The River Flows In You

Hubby is off to work in Texas tomorrow, so at the moment he's ticklefighting a Minibeast on the couch. *lol*

I was barely out of bed this morning when my cell phone rang. It was Oldest, which scared the living crap out of me. My brain instantly switched into panic mode: what could he possibly be calling me about this early in the morning? Suspension? Fighting? Referral? None of the above? I can barely hear him, and he says, "Hi, mom, there was a gas leak at school so classes are canceled. Can you come pick me up from the fire station?" *_*

So Oldest, Mini, and Hubby are all home with me today. The guys took a drive into town earlier, Oldest wanted to go to the library, and Hubster wanted to see what movies were released today. He picked up a copy of Wanted with Angelina Jolie in it, and a copy of The Polar Express.

Onto writerly things.... (Lotsa stuff, so bear with me!)

I've been reading a lot of YA and old horror anthologies for the past two months, just to keep the mind fresh. There's a particular horror story I've been trying find a copy of for ages - it's about this woman who goes to the Amazon and takes a native for her lover. The lover, Pablo, tells her how some people along the river aren't really people, but animals in disguise; shapeshifters that come out to mate then return to the jungle, the cycle of replishment complete. It's a horror story, with a truly frightening twist at the end - not only that, but the writing is nothing short of superb. The story is Riverenos, by Trish Janeshutz, and it's part of a horror anthology called Stalkers.

I give Stalkers, or rather that story in particular, Riverenos, my absolute highest, highest recommendation. It was the very first shapeshifter novella I ever read, and it literally shaped who I am as an author today. That's powerful storytelling, and make no doubt!

I couldn't remember the name of the book, the story, or the author and it has driven me half crazy for years. I lost the book when we moved into the house we're currently living in, and I never could figure out the title so I could replace the missing copy. Well, very recently, the Amazon.com horror gurus recognized my description of it. *SQUEE!* I was so thrilled to actually know what the story was and who wrote it, that I 1.) ran right out and ordered a copy of the anthology it comes from, and 2.) did a search for the author to let her know that her story had been on my mind since I read it in 93'/94'.

Come to find out, the author still writes! She now writes suspense under the name T.J. MacGregor. If you're looking for a new author to add to your autobuy list, you should definitely check her out. Her writing style will lure you in like nothing else.

As for my own writing, I'm trying to hurry and get this one particular story out the door. I lost the majority of it when Old Silver died - I thought I'd preserved it, but it was basically a note skeleton. I've rebuilt it from those notes, and it's now only pages away from completion. I've been working on revisions for far long than I would've liked but the time restraint, and the slim work count required of it, have made it difficult to wrap up. I'm almost there, though, and I won't stop until I see this monster through to the end.

I still haven't heard back about my latest Werekind story that's floating about in submission land. I sent it out in October, I think, so when I'm finished with the current story I'm working on, I'm probably going to drag it out of my "sent" folder and ship it out elsewhere. I figure since I must sit around and wait for the fishes to bite, I might as well cast a few extra lines into the water. Know what I mean?

Last but not least, I have a book to give away. It's Forever My Lady, by Jeff Rivera. The book is an urban romance that I featured on the blog a few weeks back. Jeff has kindly donated a copy for giveaway, so I'm holding a contest and adding a fun promo pack filled with all kinds of author goodies to sweeten the deal. All you have to do for a chance to win is post in the comments on my blog between now and December 6th at noon, which is when I'll draw a name at random. If you're unable to post to blogger, you can enter by sending at email with Forever My Lady Giveaway in the subject line to corazane (at) aol.com. I'll post the names of the winners Saturday night (December 6th). Good luck to those who enter!

Oh! For aspiring writers, Holly Lisle has created a FREE video writing help series that's available for view at Blip TV. Check it out here: http://hollylisleonwriting.blip.tv/#1516084

Whew! That's all the goods for me today. I need to jump on this WIP while I have the chance. It gets kind of hectic in the late afternoon, so it's either now, or wait until after 10pm to get started. I hope you all have a Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Day with Mr. Blond

Does anyone else remember Mr. Blond? No, not Oldest, but the guy from Reservoir Dogs? All the heist guys took color names like Mr. Red, Mr. Black - but when it came to yellow they said it was too cowardly sounding so they called the "yellow" guy Mr. Blond instead? Good movie, but I digress.... :P

Last night I gave Oldest new hair - a bleach out and cut. It's tapered all over except his fringe/bangs. The color turned out a nice baby blonde (the color of his fringe shows the results best - the lighting in the house is just terrible!),

We still haven't put the M/P Virgin Snow on it; there hasn't been time to do that yet, so that'll have to wait until tomorrow after school. I'm going to do a touch-up bleach job on it next Saturday, he wants to see if we can take the color down another shade. It's his wishes, and since hair seems in pretty good shape, I'll give it a go. I'll post more pictures of Oldest's hair trauma as the bleach sessions commense.

Today Oldest and I had a mommy-son day, and I took him to see Twilight. We drove to Ruston and made it in time for the first showing. We arrived at 11:45 a.m. , and the movie started at 11:50. How's that for timing! The movie was very good - tres romantic! The acting was a little stiff, Oldest noticed that as well, but then the characters are young, so all is forgiven. The Twilight movie doesn't progress along the same way as the book, but I think the screenwriters/directors got as close to the original as they could. Sometimes book things don't translate over to film well, but they did this one nicely. They made the story more involved around James' vampire tribe that comes to Forks; and the movie isn't strictly from Bella's viewpoint. Oldest and I loved it, and it was well worth the cost of going to the theater to see it. I hope it will convince Oldest to actually read.the.book. :P He can be a knothead about that sort of thing. We will see....

After the movie, we drove over to F.Y.E. and I discovered they don't have a single copy of Disturbing Behavior. Boo, hiss! They don't have it anywhere around town either, so it looks like that's one I'll have to scrounge up off Amazon. Oldest, on the otherhand, discovered two GIRLS at F.Y.E., and I had to wait while the three of them all exchanged email addresses.

We did a bit of shopping at Beehive after that, then I jaunted on down to Sally's Beauty Supply and bought black and pink hair extensions for myself, as well as a gorgeous bottle of red nail polish called Ruby Slippers. Oh! I bought a royal purple color too, it's called Coconut Kisses, although I have no idea what purple has to do with coconuts. Maybe someone can enlighten me on that.

After all the shopping rounds were done, Oldest and I left Ruston. We made it back to The Village (aka home town) around 3:50 and stopped by the Chinese buffet before picking up a gallon of milk for Mini beast.

A fantastic day to be sure, but I am soooo soooooo tired right now. Tomorrow Oldest is back to school until Xmas holidays rolls around, and Hubby will be calling into the main office to get his assignment for this compressor station he's going to be trekking across the swamps to go work on. I guess for Mini and Me, between writing jags, we'll bake a cake and find a comfy spot on the couch to take in some Dora and Diego. Sounds good to me. ;)

Happy weekend!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hanging Out

Aw, cute kissing fish... they have absolutely nothing to do with the post, but the fact I heart them. ^_^

I'm actually waiting to see the result of Oldest's hair. I just bleached it for him, and he's in there washing the chemicals out as I'm tying this. I'm going to give him a cut once he's dry, and tomorrow, I'll put some Manic Panic Virgin Snow in to take out any residual yellow.

Tomorrow I'm taking him to see Twilight at the theater. We were coming back from my parent's after Thanksgiving dinner, and he mentioned he doesn't get out enough. *angst* We've had a busy holiday - Hubby's been off work and both kids are here - there hasn't been a lot of time to run the kidlets around here and there just for the heck of it. So, I promised him a movie, and that's what he wants to see. I keep encouraging him to read the book, but he's only thumbed through it so far. Maybe after the movie he'll sit down and read it.

**It's now thirty minutes later than when I started this post. Oldest came out with very light blonde hair. Next week we'll bleach it again to try for pure platinum. He really wants it white. Do a search on this blog for Quest for white hair and it should bring up previous efforts. Either way, it looks nice. I gave him 'scene hair' like he asked for. It's short on the sides and back, but has long tapered side bangs that are really fringy. I told him if it's still not fringy enough after it dries, we'll touch it up in a day or so. By far, it looks better than the "church lady haircut" the salon gave him that time. *_* Never again....

On to other things... I am not sure when my Winter Newsletter will be out. It could be in a few days, it could be in early January. I'd planned to put it out in early to mid November, but when Silver laptop died, it took my newletter capabilities away. So now I'm going to have to find another program to handle what I'm looking for. At this point I'm a little squeamish about going out to buy Microsoft Publisher - which is really what I prefer to make newsletters on. We'll see. At any rate, that's just a head's up. I have the content, but no way to get the thing out at the moment. I'll be sure to post far and wide with the next issue is ready.

That's about it tonight. I'm a bit sleepy, and I still have some work to do. I better get on it while I have the energy. Happy weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Meet The Behemoth

I haz a printer!

My lovely Lexmark Z25 is no more. I unplugged it last night and turned it over to Oldest to live out the rest of its days with him in the Fungus Cave. Apparently it isn't compatible with the new laptop, so I showed Oldest how to go online and download her print driver from the Lexmark site for his own comp. Voila!

With the Lexmark out of the way, I finally dragged the unopened Dell printer box out of my office - the one I ordered to go with Pinkie laptop - and hooked it up. This new printer is so HUGE I've dubbed it The Behemoth! But truly it is a nifty little printer/scanner/copier thing. That is a Dell website picture of her, on the left: a Dell V305 wireless.

My personal Behemoth has a nifty little tramp stamp, which isn't shown in the picture. It's right next to the paper output tray on the far left. It looks like this:

Truly, with a printer this size - over twice as big as the Lexmark, and comparable in width/depth to a good sized microwave - I hope it's as ink efficient as it is energy efficient. We will see... The main thing is it works. ~_^

Earlier today I took Oldest to stay with my mom, and in the morning I have to get up and make a batch of devilled eggs and a pie to take to Thanksgiving dinner at the parent's house. I sat and chit-a-chatted with her for a while then returned home to help Hubster manage Mini. He's finally over his case of ick and is basically running us ragged and making up for lost play time.

Once I was back, hubby and I cleaned out Mini's room. I dug through all three extra large storage bins we use for toy boxes, and sorted baby stuff from broken stuff; and things with wheels on from things missing wheels. Mini has this terrible habit of "mechanic-ing" on his cars - taking the wheels off, etc. There were a startling number of cars you'd likely see sitting up on blocks in some weeded lot somewhere. T

Mini watched me sort all the hotwheels and other cars/trucks/vans, etc into the Diego bins - which is like a 3 tier shelf but instead of actual shelf, even tier has 3 color code plastic bins for storage. The thing was stuffed to overflowing. I honestly thought there would be a lot less to keep. And, oy, what a challenge to keep it all in the bins once I got around to that. Mini kept seeing toys he'd forgotten existed and was going on a moc toystore rampage. *_*

With everything did and done, we're down 1 toy box - the largest one - which two grown adults could climb into and use for a bathtub. No kidding. We put all the baby toys (batteries removed) into that one and put it out in the shed.

We threw out three 30 gallon garbage bags full of broken/junk toys. I tossed everything from plastic easter egg casings to McDonalds junk. Ridiculous! We also got rid of the sit and spin, and Toecrusher (aka "The Mini-Cycle", which is one those ride or walk behind pedal free riding toys for babies). I spotted Mini tooling around the house on Toecrusher yesterday, and he was having to do a drag-knee platypus walk to get around on it because his legs are too long for it now.

Now, in order to initiate the room swap, we only have to clean out my office. Oh dear. It's far, far worse than Mini's room, I'm afraid. ~_~' There is a mammoth L shaped computer desk in there, a plastic utility cabinet full of disks dating back to 1992, yarn bins, a portable photo/lighting studio, two full book cases, my entire comic book collection (which weighs around 200 pounds all on its own!!), a vintage SSC Berry Happy Home on a wicker side table, a wicker egg chair, the main double-door curio cabinet in the house, OH...and that doesn't even take into account my dolls. Jeez, the dolls.... How the hell did I acquire all this junk?! *forehead smack*

I've determined a good many of the newer NRFB Cabbage Patch Dolls, Care Bears and My Little Ponies are going into the Toys For Tots donation box this year. I've accepted that I simply can't keep them all, and they'll be going for a good cause. But I digress.... The point is this room is going to be a JOB. Friday, I tell myself. Friday.

I'm doing another round of red penning tonight - so I better get on it! I tell ya, I will be so glad once I've shoved this story out the door. It's like the child clinging to the apron strings, I swear.

So that's it for me. In case I don't make it in to post tomorrow - Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Book Smackdown

It's a late day post - sorry about that! I still have the entire family home with me during the days - hubby, oldest, and of course, Mini - so I rarely get five minutes to myself. But I'm sure I'll be thankful for all this family time next week, because hubby will be working out of town for several months after Thanksgiving. He'll get to come home some weekends and for Xmas, but that's still a long time between here and there.

Tomorrow I'm taking Oldest to spend the night with my mom, and then I'll be sorting Mini's toys to give some away, haul some out the shed, and trash the others. He has way, way too many, and we are planning to swap bedrooms. Or rather, we're swapping his bedroom and my office. So by the weekend, I'll be sharing the haunted bedroom (as an office) with the house ghosts. And they should beware. Seriously. I'm not above dust bustering them. Or saging the room. *shakes fist at potentially angry ceiling weasles*

So, I've dragged in a few more books from my TBR stack. I really need to either read some of these books, donate them, or something.... I always buy more than I can ever read in a lifetime. It's an illness, I swear. ~_~'

Currently on the reading menu is Red, by Jack Ketchum. I've started reading this book several times since I bought it last year, but the theme itself, as well as what feels like an exponentially long build up leading into the main action makes me put it down every time. I'm bound and determined to finish this damn thing this go around, though. No rest for the weary. This book is going down tonight.

While thumbing through it earlier, I realized the book isn't as long as I'd thought. Red is only 211 pages long. At the back of the book - the back 4th of it, actually - there is a novella called The Passenger. No reason I should leave it to linger. Know what I mean?

First things first though... I must get this one section of wip squared away. I plan to print it up for a thorough red penning session. Wish me luck!

Happy Tuesday, everyone. ^_~

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Declare Yourself

And it is done.... I have come out from under my shiny little rock to admit that I have finally read Twilight.

The slamfest against Bella's character is really what has kept me from reading this book until now, but with a teenager living in the house with me, the hype was just too much to resist. I picked up the book off my TBR stack yesterday, and finished it this afternoon. Make no mistake, it's a page turner.

Now for the nitty gritty....

My overall impression of the book: Twilight is a very good, infectious story. Clean, romantic, with just the right amount of tension and mystery to keep the book going at a steady pace. I've passed the book on to my oldest with my highest recommendation, and can easily recommend it to anyone who likes YA and/or paranormal romance.

About the Bella bashing: There is a high level of sophistication that seems to be expected of the YA market that didn't previously exist - at least it didn't in the books I read when I was a teenager, and I think that stems largely from the number of adults who read YA now. Having adult readers in the mix, there is more expectation for characters to act wise beyond their years - specifically female characters - Hermione, from Harry Potter, is a good example of what I'm talking about.

Because of that, I think it can sometimes be difficult for adults to view YA books from a true, this is a book written for a teenager perspective. Age and experience gives us a better insight into life, a better ability to judge and avoid problems by using our head instead of our heart. I think that adult readers of YA are far more likely to project expectations and supposed maturity onto a teen character, especially once the character heads down a dangerous road, even if it's logically, from the mindset of the character, a fitting road for that individual to take.

The truth is a teen's logic and sense of justice isn't the same as when you're 33. There is still very much a black and white view of the world. Good versus evil often wipes out any visible gray path, and rarely is there a middle road to be found. I say that not only as a mother with a 17 year old, but also as someone who was a mother at the age of 17.

While Bella is a complete klutz and aloof to the dangers present around her in almost every situation, I found her character to be age appropriate in terms of mentality and romantic expectations - once she falls in love with Edward. In this day and age, considering how fast kids are becoming sexually active, Bella is actually quite tame in the physical sense. However, her expectactations of where her growing relationship will and should go with Edward - despite his insistence that he will not turn her - are right on the mark, in my opinion. At 17, I was persistent in the face of my first true love (I'm still married to him), but then again, I was also convinced of how worldwise and intelligent I was for someone my age. *forehead smack*

Bella was spot on, in my opinion. As for Edward.... As mysterious, handsome, and interesting as his character is, he is still a 107 year old man even if he is trapped in an eternally youthful, 17 year old body. That he and his siblings still hang around high school is a bit disturbing. Nothing can really excuse that in my mind. However, I guess for the sake of (physical) appearances, and for the sake of YA fiction, I can see why Edward would target his affections to someone in Bella's age range.

But at the same time, I can't help comparing Edward to Claudia from Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles. Without a doubt, my view of the complexities of Bella and Edward's romance are biased by my age, as well as the previous vampire books I've read - most pointedly the affection shared between Claudia (a child vampire) and Louis (her maker) in Interview with the Vampire.
As complex as Edward may say Bella is, I find it extremely hard to believe that a 107 year old man would truly find a 17 year old girl "complex", even if he can't read Bella's mind as he can with other people. That he finds her beautiful, fabulously scented, and alluring, sure! But let's be realistic about complexities.

There is a certain intellectual refinement that comes with age, and it actually made me wonder if Stephenie Meyer's vampires (as with Christine Feehan's Carpathians) mature at a much slower rate than humans. After all, Bella is pretty transparent in everything she does, and she's admittedly no skilled liar. I don't see her pulling the wool over the eyes of a predator with any kind of skill. That in mind, Edward's relationship with Bella roughly would equate to Claudia (who happened to be an 80-100 year old predator at the time she is trapped and left to die in the sun with Madeleine), if she she decided she only wanted to befriend, or try to turn, children.

But then, that is perhaps too complicated a theme for a young adult book. And really, that is the only thing that threw me when reading Twilight: Edward being mentally "too old", "too mature" for Bella. At least, at his age, he should have been. When the newness of their romance wears off, what then? They plan to fall back on stimulating conversation?

I know that sounds pessimistic, and I don't mean it to. Truly, I did love the book. And I loved reading about Edward and Bella. My own floundering over Edward's development and the plausibility of vampires willingly remaining in high school long after they've paid their dues - meh. But that put aside, I can take the book at face value, and for as good as the storyline is, I can go on, accept the terms and conditions as they are, and that's what I did while reading this book. Twilight is well worth the time spent, and I will be picking up the next book in the series when I get the chance.

Oh, one last thing, just for the record. (And because I've already been asked a bazillion times, ROFL!) I'm officially declaring myself. I am 100%, without a doubt, on Team Edward. Romantic origins alone win out; Bella and Edward seem a far better match. Sorry, Jacob!

Happy weekend, everyone!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fabulous Friday


Book haul! I just picked up a copy of a Touch the Night by Susan Spencer Pual, and Fatal Attraction, by Alicia Fields. However...this weekend I've promised friends to sit down and read Twilight. I plan to do it, too!

Hubby is home today, and not feeling tip top. Yesterday was his last day on that particular job. Thankfully! He's been hating that place for weeks now, and there hasn't been an end in sight. Then yesterday around noon two job offers arrived while he was at work - one of them too good to refuse.

Soooo...hubby will be off for the next two weeks, then he'll be off to supervise the building of a compressor station in Texas.

He'll be in an area he's worked before, and he feels comfortable with, so there's a plus. I'll be home with the kiddies, so while the hubster is home, I plan to take advantage of the help time and get the last of my projects wrapped up and sent. This way I won't feel strained to accomplished something while he's away. I can work at a slower pace.


Today's pic.... OMG. The kitty-thing reminds me of that one school yearbook shot where you're sorta smiling but not quite, and it looks a little bit like a grimace of pain? You look at it and go, "Oh, damn. Immortalized forever!" And all your friends try to assure you: "No, really, it's not that bad." *giggle, giggle*

Yeah, right....


Happy Friday, everyone!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

(from email, for those who may be interested)
BESTSELLING AND AWARD-WINNING AUTHORS SIGN WITH RAVENOUS ROMANCE™ Digital publisher signs bestselling and award-winning cross-genre authors and their protégés to new venture

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Dalyn A. Miller
Dalyn Miller Public Relations
617-504-6869
Dalyn@DalynMillerPR.com

[Boston, MA, November 19, 2008] –Ravenous Romance™, slated to launch December 1, 2008 online at www.RavenousRomance.com , has signed several best-selling and award-winning authors to their roster, many of whom have crossed genres and will appear on the company’s launch list in early December. New York Times best-selling author John Skipp has penned a novel called Opposite Sex for the company under the pseudonym Gina McQueen, and recently quipped: “Sometimes you just get tired of killing people, you know? I just wanted to write something sweet and funny and sexy and wild, where nobody gets hurt, and the worst thing that happens is your characters are probably going to have to stop kissing eventually!”

John Updike’s protégée Catherine Hiller’s novel Cybill in Between will publish in early December. Updike has provided a quote for the book cover that calls Hiller’s writing “brave and joyful.” Mimi Leahy, an Emmy-nominated writer for “All My Children” and “As the World Turns”, will write several books and short stories for the imprint.

Award-winning author Rachel Kramer Bussel, already well known in the erotica community, has signed on to edit several anthologies for Ravenous Romance, as has Cecilia Tan, who is also writing a novel for the company. A prolific and widely recognizable multi-award winning horror author who prefers not to be revealed has signed on to write several books under the pen name Morgan James. “I’ve always wanted to write about matters of the heart and desire,” said James. “I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to do so.”

President Holly Schmidt and Editorial Director Lori Perkins bring years of experience in both non-fiction and fiction publishing to the venture, and have tapped accomplished writers in the sci-fi, mystery, horror, and non-fiction communities, as well as in the romance and erotica communities. “We’ve found that a number of our most versatile and talented writers from other genres have either always written erotic romance, or have always wanted to,” says Schmidt. “For example, I’ve published a number of Skye Alexander’s non-fiction books over the years.
As it turns out, she wrote a romantic suspense novel a few years ago that won a Romance Writers of America award. Now she’s writing for us.”

Ravenous Romance is publishing both previously published authors and talented new voices, and is buying both agented and unagented work.

When asked why he agreed to sign with a digital publisher instead of a traditional print publisher for his next book Skipp/McQueen said: “It's a great experiment, at the new frontier of 21st century publishing. I'm in!”

Visit Ravenous Romance™ online at www.RavenousRomance.com .
For more information please contact Dalyn A. Miller at 617-504-6869 or via email at Dalyn@DalynMillerPR.com About Literary Partners Group, Inc. and Ravenous Romance™

Literary Partners Group, Inc. is a partnership among three creative industry executives. Holly Schmidt is a publishing executive with 15 years of experience in editorial, marketing, and sales. She joined forces with award-winning photographer Allan Penn to launch book packager Hollan Publishing, Inc. in 2006.

Lori Perkins is a New York City literary agent with over 20 years of experience and an impressive stable of authors.Ravenous Romance™, an imprint of Literary Partners Group, Inc., will offer erotic romance – stories with strong plots and character development, but with steamy sex scenes and explicit descriptions of sexual encounters. Beginning December 1, 2008 they will publish daily novel-length erotic romance books which they will sell in both ebook and MP3 format. Short stories will be available to readers for $.99 while full-length ebooks will sell for $4.99. All full-length titles will also be available in audiobook format and are priced at $12.99 directly through the company’s web portal www.RavenousRomance.com .

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Year of the Emo Tree



I still mourn the passing of our beloved, fiber optic disco tree from years past, and knew we would have to get a new Christmas tree this year. Hubby took on the task of buying the tree, and I should have known....

Behold 2008 is officially the year of the Emo Tree, which is really sort of fitting because very little came out of 2008 for us except for tears.

My husband took this effing tree out of the box and I kid you not: it is black tinsel. Not grey, green, or dark blue. Goth black. I stared at this thing, then at hubby. I know he's still hung up on the all black, 80s new wave thing - Soft Cell and all that, ya know? A black Christmas tree? But I thought we were putting one up for the kids?

"We are!" He tells me, and presents me with Disney Cars Christmas ornaments, as well as blue garland, and glittery green disco looking balls. You can see one of the checkered flag Cars balls on the left side of that picture. Egads, man.

Honestly, this has to be the ugliest, gaudiest tree we have ever had, and who am I to understand it, but with those Cars ornaments Mini thinks it is the finest tree ever. I am NOT impressed. All I can say is that hubby is lucky the tree is pre-lit, because otherwise it looks like one of those long skinny brushes you use to clean out behind the refrigerator.

I plan to buy rainbow garland, spray snow, and 4 boxes of silver icicles on Friday and I am burying this tree in all of it. When I'm done no one will know besides the three of us that the hideous emo tree is actually black. And if they tell, no one will find their bodies! >:P

Anyway, I was taking pictures of the tree tonight and asked Kinz what he thought of it. His reaction....


I take it that means "not worth lifting a leg to", but I don't speak doggish. Not fluently anyway. For all I know he could be telling me my leather shoes smell tasty. I'd probably agree, but then that's just weird. I do like that "new shoe smell" though.

So I'm off to go try and type up that LAST chapter to my formerly lost wip. I'm almost ready to send it. If I don't have it all together by Friday, someone please hit me with a big stick. Just don't hit me hard. I'm a total wuss when it comes to pain.

Happy Hump Day, everyone!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sinus Infection is to Alien Abduction...

A Collection of Flowers_01


Mini came and woke me up this morning around 8 AM. I stared at him, then at the clock. I couldn't believe I'd slept that late, and that I hadn't felt him climb out of bed. Usually he rolls over and flops his feet on me, or starts talking to me about cars or something interesting to him - Speed Racer, Pingu, Diego - stuff like that in general. It's like someone flips a switch and he's talking.

None of that. I remember nothing. I stayed up late Sunday night and did a heap of laundry, and in between loads, I typed up part of my manuscript. I've almost got it down now, and I hope the person I promised to send this thing too doesn't black list me for not having sent it by now. I couldn't avoid the delay with the comp crash and all this sickness going around combined. I plan to toss a note in when I send it - hopefully they'll still accept the submission. *crosses fingers*

Anyway, I don't remember a thing, and he's looking at me and saying something like, Mimi,are you going to get up already? I could barely hear him, I'm deaf in one ear thanks to the sinus infection. I'm popping Mucinex like TicTacs and taking a round of Doxicyclin - it's a wonder I'm not spewing like Mt. Vesuvius. I sit up on the edge of the bed since my balance is a little off due to the ear thing, and Mini grabs my hand, "Come on, Mimi! Let's play!"

OMG. Where are the coffee gods when you need them? I could seriously use a Starbucks version of the Kool-aid Man. Now tell me that wouldn't rock? I make it to the kitchen and the MiniMite comes up with a sudden gusher of things he wants me to do - "Can you put the TV on Diego? Will you play with me? Come on, Mimi, let's find a toy!"

I don't remember how exactly, but I manage to appease him with a dump truck and Noggin while I go on a mad hunt for the bottle of Triaminic. I come back into the dining room and sit down with a Dr. Pepper and the computer - and that's when I see my to do list...

Picking up Oldest's photos takes top priority. His chemistry teacher came up with this brilliant plan to make all the kids do a project requiring them to have a disposable camera. No problem! The only thing is, she gave a set amount of time of a week and a half to complete the project. OK. We have no one hour photo here anymore, and I wonder if she was aware of this before she assigned the project. It took Oldest's pictures a week to be developed, and they called me today to pick them up -this being right after they received them. The project is due tomorrow. Oldest managed to pull everything together this evening, but I imagine there are going to be quite a few of the kids who don't have pictures for their project. Whatever was she thinking? That parents are going to drive to Ruston or Monroe for 1 hour photo? In this economy? Just saying, ya know?

Mini and I made it back with the pictures late in the afternoon. The photo lab didn't call us to come and get them until 1pm. I also needed to pick up cough medicine for Mini, dog food for Doggi, and paper towels. End of list. Yet somehow I ended up with all those things plus a cart full of junk: an extra space heater, candles, chicken soup fixin's, a red fakie silk shirt, and a bottle of nail polish, blah, blah. It's an illness, I tell you! There has got to be some way to blame it on the shoe gnomes, I just need to think about it for a while....

So here I am, back home again. The day went well, but I feel like I went through it in huge skips. Missing time and all that. Sinus infection - alien abduction. What's the big difference, right? Hey, now that I think about it, that could very well be an SAT analogy question. Hm....

Sinus infection is to alien abduction, as Demented Torture is to
a.)Britney Spears
b.)Political Tele-Pundits
c.)Wall Street Bailout


It makes about as much sense, doesn't it? And at least with my analogy, there is no wrong answer. But then, I digress....

It's midnight now, and for the record, I've managed to type up several pages of wip. I'll have this thing back in order and ready to send by the end of the week. Keep your fingers crossed for me. I need to get this thing out the door so I can give my brain a cookie and work on something else.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!