Monday, June 30, 2008

Play the way you feel it

So, as I'm writing this, it's Sunday night, around midnight. I've been working on my Bites story for about six hours now, and kinda just spinning my wheels. After driving myself nuts with edits on a single scene for most of said 6 hours, I've decided it's time for a Seagrams and a break.

Hubby finished his project on Thursday, so he won't be going back to work until they call him for a new jobsite. While he's home, I'm trying to take advantage of the writing hours and push this story on through. It's not that bad as far as actual content and edits, but as I read through the first chapter I felt it wasn't as clinchy as I like - the tension was lagging, and the characters...I don't know. I think they didn't quite recognize each other or something. *_* Is that possible? For them to be standing around, unaware of who and where they are? They truly seemed kind of wooden.

So, anyway, I stripped out that particular chapter and I've been rewriting it from what I have, but also I've tacked on a section to try and give things a more dangerous atmosphere. Gotta create some tention to wake these poor folks up. And good grief I hope it works, too, because I'm beginning to seriously hate this scene. :P

So, Monday will be more of the same for me, writing and editing my Bite, although I'm hoping this chapter will be finished before the day is up. I don't want to linger over single chapters longer than need be. Knowing me I'll sit and tweak the words until I don't even recognize them anymore - they'll look nothing like what I started out with. I'm crossing my fingers that won't happen.

BTW, speaking of writing - should anyone be interested, my Summer 2008 newsletter is live and available now in pdf format. There is a link in the right hand column of this page under "newsletters", or you can just click here: to go to the download site.

If there's something you'd like to hear about, any questions you'd like to ask, or something you'd like to see featured in one of my newsletters, feel free to contact me. My contact information is available in my newsletter, and also through my website.

About today's pic: I took the picture above about a week or so ago, right before the full moon. There was a gorgeous mist out, and a halo, which you can kinda sorta make out. I saw it and ran for the camera. Nifty, nifty. I really love night photography, but I know next to nothing about it.

On a seriously wonderful, positive note: Chancey is able to wag his tail again! He's been amazing us everyday with his recovery. :-) Happy Monday, everyone!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Contest Winners and...hey, it's Friday!

Heaven on Earth ~ Ocean of Joy

So today is Weirdly 2 drawing day! I have everyone's names on paper tabs and tossed into my pink, Tybee Island ball cap. So here we go, giving the lucky hat a shake.
And the name of the first winner is...


And now, one more time. Reaching into the hat for another winner...

Beth Caudill!

Congrats, ladies! *confetti* You've both just won a free pdf copy of Weirdly 2 and a fun promo pack filled with signed author cards, bookmarks, and other nifty little paper goodies.

Email me at with Weirdly 2 Winner in the subject line, and I'll send the pdf file. Please include a snail mail address in the body of the mail so I can get your your prize pack to you. ^_^

Now with the homefront news... Chancey is doing much, much better. Thank you so much for all the well wishes and thoughts and prayers. I really appreciate it. Chancey has been getting up slowly but surely now and again since late yesterday, and he's walking again, allbeit a bit shakily. He's started to scratch at the door when he needs to go out, and this is all a HUGE improvement over the other day, when he could barely lift his head to drink. How is that for the power of positive thought! Again, thank you soooo much for those positive vibes.

Hubby will be home until they call him onto the next project, so this will give me time to start cleaning up my BITE for submission. I started on it last night, and read about a third of the way into it before I got too tired to stay up. I didn't realize until I got up it was about 2 in the morning. Yikes!

That's going to be the gist of the weekend, pretty much. Editing, and doggy watching. ;) BTW!!! Before I forget, run, run RUN to today and if you haven't already, sign up for their free weekly newsletter. Every week they give away free desktop wallpapers - oh, and FREE EBOOKS! They love us, I swear they do. This week's free ebook is, oh gosh, I can barely stand it: Battlestar Galactica! *school girl squee!*

I will likely read this thing while sitting with the family tonight. It's based on the TV series, so I'm assuming this must be based on the initial episode. I'll have to read it and see.

That's it for me today. I hope you all have a fun weekend! ~_^

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Life, updates, and the vet


I had to call hubby this morning and tell him to make arrangements to come home early. Two nights ago, our oldest doggie Chancellor had a series of small strokes. He seemed to recover, even wanted out to run for a while yesterday afternoon, but by the evening he'd taken a turn for the worse. He can't seem to walk now, and I'm having to feed and water him by hand, and keep shuffling him to a dry area when he wets himself. I have him on the tile in my writing area so I can keep checking him. Although he seems to be resting, I worry he might be in pain. He's no spring chicken - he's 14 years old, and when I got to thinking about it yesterday, that makes him 98 in doggie years. My poor baby-dog...

Hubby is coming home tonight so we can take our furbaby to the vet in the morning. Chancey weighs about 100 pounds, and I can't lift him on my own, much less get him into the Jeep. I fear the vet will want to put him to sleep, but I'm torn between that possibility and the fear he might be suffering. :*(

I stayed up with Chancey late last night, and while watching over him, I wrote on my story a bit. I finished the Nocturne Bite, and I'm printing it up as I write this post. It's going to need a lot of clean up and pruning to get it ready for submission, but I'm on schedule of sorts with it, so that works for me. It's something to keep my mind busy, if nothing else. That said, I want to have this thing ready to send out no later than July 11th. I guess I need to kick around and find out how long response time is on these stories. I want to be able to send it off and forget it.

That's about it for me. Pacing and printing today. And waiting for hubby. In case anyone might be wondering, yes, the Weirdly 2 contest is still going on. Just scroll down a post and leave a comment to put your name in the hat.

I hope you all have a peaceful Thursday.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Release Day...and a contest

I'm happy to announce that Weirdly 2 is out today at Wild Child Publishing.

Weirdly Volume II: Eldritch the first non-romance I've worked on at this level, and I'm really happy to be a part of it. If you're into strange stories, suspence, horror, and the paranormal, I hope you'll check out this book. There are some super cool stories in there!

Here is the official blurb:

From paranormal to weird, from chilling to odd to scary, Weirdly Volume 2: Eldritch will sate your lust for strangeness in bite-sized pieces. Each tale weaves its own spell. Vampires, beasts, ghosts, evil creatures and, of course, every day people inhabit Weirdly’s pages.

Soldiers must reach their destination before the undead get to them first... What does the picture on the wall mean to Jen? Fate holds something in store for Lewis—but is it what he wants? Lillie embarks on another quest... Is the young man who sees and hears fluffy beings insane? An old letter urges a young woman to the train station—but is the train that puffs into view real? All these tales and more. Dare you read them?

..::Want to win a copy of Weirdly 2?::..

It's been a long time since I've run a contest here on home blog, so I'm going to fix that right now! I'm going to make winning simple. All you have to do is post in the comments on this thread between now and Friday and you'll be entered to win a free pdf copy of Weirdly 2, and a promotional pack of signed author book cards and book marks. Lots of good stuff in there, so don't be shy!

I'll announce a winner Friday around noon, CST. If enough folks see this and post in the comments, I'll sweeten the deal and choose 2 winners. Tell your friends!

On a completely different topic...

I now have both of those missing scenes on my Harlequin Bite written in. Woohoo! Now I just need to tweak the ending a bit, and flesh out a very very hot love scene toward the middle, and it will be ready for a full print out and edit. It won't be much longer now before it's ready for the big send off.

I'm excited, and a little nervous at the same time. I have my fingers crossed on this one. I don't doubt that I can find a home for this story, but I'd reeeaaally like to see it end up at Harlequin. I suppose if it's meant to be... you know the saying. *wink*

I'm off for now! I hope you've all had a wonderful Tuesday. ^_^

Monday, June 23, 2008

Gimme More

I worked on my Nocturne Bite last night, and finished one of two remaining scenes needed to smooth it out and tie up all the loose ends. So one down, one more to go before I start the initial "hard edit". I've been plotting the second scene on an off all day so I can sit down and flesh it all out on my manuscript tonight.

So far it looks like I'll be able to start cleaning up the story on Wednesday or so. *thumbs up* With luck on my side, I'll have this one ready to submit to Harlequin in early July. I have my fingers crossed on this one. I'd really like to join the Harlequin/Silhouette writing family.

Hubby called me this morning from Cameron. He had a project to help with down there. It's right on the gulf, and he took pictures with his cell phone from the ferry, passing pictures of Holly Beach, and Bayou Choupique. I'll crop the pictures down later tonight and post them tomorrow. Honestly, I wouldn't mind taking a trip down to Holly Beach...although I can just imagine how Mini would react, seeing fiddler crabs scattering in the sand. LOL!

Happy Monday, everyone!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Weekend Ramblings

Hubby was actually able to be home for the entire weekend, and boy has it been nice! Mini has been clinging to him every minute, and I think hubby's had a relaxing go of it as well.

He'll be up in the morning again around 2 so he can take off for Lafayette. He wasn't going to have to go in until Tuesday, but some guy left an imporatant part in Hubby's work truck - which he drove home - so now he's got to take the part out to the jobsite Monday, and if he's got to go that far to do it, he's got to make the work hours count. Sooo...back to work a day early. I guess it all evens out in the end.

I spent a lot of the weekend on the phone and writing. Not too shabby. Not bad ways to pass the time at all. I have my 1st Nocturne Bite almost ready to send out. I put it down for a long time, bemoaning how terrible it was, and when I picked it up again over the weekend and read through it, it turns out it wasn't as bad as I thought. It needs one more scene added, a little cleanup on the first chapter and it'll be ready to hit the electronic trail to Harlequin. Woot!

I'm going to do everything I can to get that final scene down this coming week. I didn't realize there was so little left to do, and unbeknownst to me at the time, I didn't realize until I read through it yesterday that I even have a little bit of mystery going on in this one. Gotta admit I'm kind of excited about that. I've already pulled out my notecards and started jotting down some of the things I need to add to round everything out.

Before I put the wip away for a while, I got bogged down on one scene while writing, and I couldn't seem to slog my way through it. I think I was just trying to "word place" my way through it. You know, when you try to picture the words in your head - the way you want it to sound - but not really looking at it as an external scene?

I thought something was seriously flawed with the story, but going back, I realize I just missed a scene a few pages back. It seems really simple, like something you'd immediately pick up on when editing, but honestly, if I hadn't left the story for a while, I probably wouldn't have caught that. I probably would've gone on glancing over the problem, unable to figure out why the story wasn't working, and completely miss the bigger picture. I guess sometimes it's really worth putting a manuscript away for a while.

Well, the phone is ringing again, so I'm going to cut this post short. I hope you're all having a wonderful weekend!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Fun Stuff Friday

It's that day of the week again. FRY DAY as Mini says.

I turned on my computer first thing this morning and discovered AOL is decidedly trying to have me committed. All my favorites (bookmarks) were gone. I went through their lousy tech support pages looking for an answer and none of their manual restore options worked.

So, I set about re-adding the bare bones of my favorite places - things I need to be able to go where I go on a daily basis. I get the Midnight Moon Cafe and BAM! All my favorites are magically restored. Yeah, okay. Ha ha. Very effing funny AOL. I'll send you my psyche bill, kthnxbye.

Now for the good stuff... FREEBIES!

Firstly-first there is a ROCKIN' interview up with Lilith Saintcrow over at the Midnight Moon Cafe. OMG, I love her Dante Valentine series. Urban Fantasy at its finest. Don't miss this interview!

And secondy-second, has new sparkly new desktop wallpaper for download, and this week, they're giving away a copy of Patti O'Shea's In The Midnight Hour in your choice of ebook formats. No catch, I promise! Just register and download. I've already got my copy of Ms. O'Shea's book downloaded to my desktop. Love me some pdf format. *evil handwringing*

News from the writing cave...

I actually sat down yesterday with note cards and wrote out scenes for one of my books. This to try and gather momentum. The story sort of falls flat midway through it, despite a really strong opening. I just can't seem to get the hero and heroine into the same room together for any length of time. If there was some way to plausibly lock them in a closet together so they'd HAVE to talk to each other, the story would probably pick up. So, I'm breaking out the Holly Lisle big guns - index cards.

I'm going to try to write one whole scene based on one of those index cards. The problem with my story is it needs more content. Plain and simple. I see it, I know what to do about it, it's just a matter of applying rump to chair and doing it. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

That's about it for me today. I need to do a bit of writing and some budget balancing. :P It's errand day - again!

I hope you all have a snazzy Friday!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Get Into The Groove, Boy

Today's pic is the Tybee Island Historic Lighthouse in Georgia. I took several shots of it from different angles that last day were were on Tybee Island. The lighting was just right, and everything turned out really clear. I'm happy about that. My parents were hoping I'd get in some lighthouse pics.

I finished filling out a set of interview questions yesterday, and sent them in to Ann Lory. She's featuring me in her next newsletter, and I talk about everything from favorite authors to current projects. If interested, please sign up for her newsletter at I will say, interviews aside, she puts out one of the best author newsletters I've ever seen, and it comes in pdf format. I was mightily impressed, to say the least. Be sure to check her out!

I read recently that Harlequin Blaze is going to start putting out historicals soon. I guess that rumor that historicals are taking off again is true. Everywhere I've looked in recent months, there is a request for historicals, particularly regencies. If this is your market, apply thee haunches to a computer chair. Seriously. Your work is in demand!

I've never had much flair for writing historicals. I tend to stumble over the facts, and worry about making timeline mistakes. I'd like to try my hand a scottish historical someday, but I think I need a bit more experience first.

Today's the day I'm breaking out the wip again. I didn't have time to get in a single word yesterday; I'm still getting things sort after our trip. I really need to take care of some business it town, but I can't do anything until my new checks arrive! Yikes! It's always something...

Anyway, I hope you're all having a wonderful Wednesday. And I promise to get around and visit you all this afternoon. It's long overdue!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Home At Last - Pt. 2

Beach fence for the Desoto Hotel private beach (Tybee Island, GA)

So I'm back with more pictures and travel stories, and some other things tossed in there. I'm still egg gathering here at home, so I hope you can bear with me. I still need to get the best of the best photos together and resize them all so I can actually put them on the blog. Before I delve into all that though - a bit of daily drivel, and some nerd rage for you... oh yes...

Last night I stayed up late to catch up on the episode of Battlestar Galactica that I missed Friday while we were stuck at the Battleship Inn in Mobile, Alabama. Just a bit of a warning if you haven't seen it yet, and care to not know until you watch it for yourself :: MEGA SPOILER:: You've been warned.

I watched, riveted as Saul, Sam, Tory, and Galen were found out to be cylons. OMG, what a great episode. And what a darn shame Sam is a Cylon because, da-amn he's hot. :P But I digress... I don't like the way they've taken Tory's character; I don't like to see her portrayed as a villainess, but darn it if she doesn't make an excellent cylon!! Still, I had hopes for her, that she could be like Saul and be a more compassionate Cylon, but it appears she's going to end up more of a tough girl, black widow type than we all anticipated. I sort of guessed the rest - it all fell in line with my expectations, but now that they are on post apocalyptic / nuclear winter earth, I wonder where she show will go from here. They never mentioned who the fifth cylon is. D'Anna said there were only four on board, but in a previous episode, when the imprisoned 6 was talking in her cell, she mentioned she could feel all the final five "were close". So now I can only assume Cassie Tyrol is the fifth cylon - she's the only one who's been on and off the ship to make for that kind of change. She was on the ship before Tory airlocked her out into space. Which would make a bit of sense, I guess, since the hybrid said there is the fifth one in darkness and suffering. But with the resurrection hub destroyed, how would they bring Cassie back, what with the laws of differential pressure on flesh, radiation, and temperature in space, and all that. *_*

I need to hit the Battlestar Wiki and find out what the preview for the next episode is. They didn't show it last night. Surely it can't just end with them finding destroyed earth? Too, I thought there were 20 episodes for the final season?

::End Spoiler, aka mad geeky theorizing::

Mini and the hubster leaving the beach (Tybee Island, GA)

Back to the travel stories... the return home. I think I left off talking about Florida. It was really hard to leave that behind. What a gorgeous place. The hotel wasn't as great as the Desoto, but I could definitely get used to the beach thing everyday. I suppose I'll just have to settle for the lake, though. ;-) While we were in Florida, hubby left his cell phone on and got a call from his boss. Oldest answered it, and so hubby then had to call the guy back. He said he had work for hubby come Monday morning - a project that he needs hubby to come in and take over. Yikes.

The man knew we were on vacation, but this put us in a bit of a crunch for time. Since we were driving instead of flying, that's cutting it very close to make it there from Saturday to Monday with two kids. Mini was already pretty sick of riding and wasn't too happy whenever we put him in the Jeep.

We spent the night in Jacksonville - I tinkered with the camera and tried to answer emails with my cell phone - a total pain in the ass, I must say. I definitely prefer my laptop, but I left my power cord, and only had three hours of battery time to last me the entire week. Har, har. Oldest went body surfing. Hubby went hither and thither, and Mini pretty much stuck with me. We had a great time on the beach, and I only caught enough sun to brighten the freckles. I wore sunblock and didn't even get burnt. How about that?

The next morning, Oldest and I raided the downstairs breakfast buffet and brought a tray back up to the room for Mini and hubster. We quickly packed and headed downstairs to check out. Our grand plan from here was to try and make it to Mobile, AL before sundown.

What a drive! We did make it, stopping here and there along the way. Hubby wanted to take the USS Alabama tour while in Mobile, but to get there we had to go through all this INSANE, absolutely crazy road construction. Of course, by the time we got there, it was closed for the day, so we hopped over to the hotel right next door to the museum: a place called the Battleship Inn - which wasn't bad, but dang yo - they need to at least offer Direct TV and a continental breakfast! I wasn't too happy about this hotel, but I was so tired by this point I could've cared less. Hubby could've pointed me toward a cardboard box and I would've crawled in. The hotel was small, but it was clean, and passed the barefoot test. The pool was nice too. Just don't think you were going to actually turn around in the bathrooms. They were too tiny - the size of a bathroom stall at McDonalds. No freaking lie.

I came in and crashed on the bed, and immediately started searching the TV for the Sci-fi channel - which they didn't have. RATS! I realized then and there I wouldn't be seeing BSG until the Sunday night repeats. Oh well, I thought, and while Oldest went out to the pool, I dragged Mini onto one of the sky-high bed and we tickle fought until I thought the neighbors would surely call us in.

The hotel had a restaurant in the parking lot, so while I watched Indiana Jones and entertained Mini with a coloring book, hubby went out and ordered supper: shrimp poboy for me and a salad, stuffed crab and baked potato for himself and oldest. Kiddie meal for Mini. We sat on the beds and ate. Come the next morning, I was a bit stiff, but managed to roll out of bed and get our growing mess of laundry and souvenirs stuffed into the Jeep.

We visited the Battleship Museum - Jesus, we walked all over that ship. I must've taken 500 pictures of that, along with the airplanes, and the submarine we walked through. No kidding on that either. We got out of there around 11 am, and I was starving. We got on a state highway, and decided we couldn't afford anymore time. We had to get back to Louisiana so hubby would have Sunday to rest. We took backroads up through Mobile to Mississippi. And while at the time, we were a bit bummed to miss out on New Orleans, there was a lot of pretty countryside to check out.

We trudged our way up the Jackson, Mississippi and got back on I-20 to take us home. By the time we got to Vicksburg, I was ready to crack the whip and get back to the house. Louisiana may not have a lot of things, but it is home sweet home.

This morning hubby had to get up again at 1am and leave out for Lafayette. I thought it was back to Lake Charles for him, but apparently not. He called this afternoon to let me know he'll be there for two weeks. At least he had Sunday to sleep before being dumped back into the project set.

Everything is still a little out of sorts here at home, but I'll have it all back right again in a week. Hopefully I'll be back to writing again by Wednesday. Just need to sort out a few more things before I dig into my wips. I did get a cool email almost as soon as I got back home : the Weirdly 2 cover! Woot! Oh, and the ghost train made the back blurb too:

About the book...

From paranormal to weird, from chilling to odd to scary, Weirdly Volume 2: Eldritch will sate your lust for strangeness in bite-sized pieces. Each tale weaves its own spell. Vampires, beasts, ghosts, evil creatures and, of course, every day people inhabit Weirdly’s pages.

Soldiers must reach their destination before the undead get to them first... What does the picture on the wall mean to Jen? Fate holds something in store for Lewis—but is it what he wants? Lillie embarks on another quest... Is the young man who sees and hears fluffy beings insane? An old letter urges a young woman to the train station—but is the train that puffs into view real? All these tales and more. Dare you read them?

How cool is that?! So that's a bit of good news right off the presses. We're pushing for a June 24th, release date. We will see...

Well, the kids are hungry, so I better get up and whip up something for them. How does sloppy joes sound? ~_^

A couple more pics for today...

More pictures of Babyland...

Mini with the "'kids" up top. And in the pic below - me sitting among the softie patch.

I couldn't resist giving that one girl a squeeze!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Home At Last - Pt 1

Sea Gull diving for fish on Jacksonville Beach (Florida)

Home Sweet Home! Did you miss me? ^_^

The minute we hit Vicksburg yesterday, it felt like this extended race along the home stretch. I've never been so happy to see the Mississippi River Bridge in all my life. Hubby was tired, the kids were getting cranky, and I kept getting beaned with Oldest's body board, which he insisted we bring home from the Atlantic. Aside from that hard driving stretch - oh man, it was an awesome vacation. I took over 900 pictures - NO KIDDING. I just downloaded them all from my Fuji and was startled by the number taken. And to think, the whole trip I kept saying, "Oh, rats, but I should've gotten a picture of that!"

Anyway, we pulled into the yard around 6 pm Saturday evening, and the first thing Mini said was, "Hey, there's my sandbox!" Heh. We all stumbled out of the Jeep, and with the exception of Mini - who ran straight for said sandbox - we started unloading cases. We ended up coming home with more junk than we left with, and I can't figure out even now how we packed it all in there. I rode with my pick from the cabbage patch on my lap for a week - if nothing else, she is now a well traveled cabbage. BTW, here she is...

Alyse Emma and her bunnybee, taken in our suite at the Desoto on Tybee Island (Georgia)

I wrapped her in a garbage bag to protect her as soon as I took her out of Babyland to the Jeep, and she rode on my lap from that point on, but each time we made a stop at a hotel, I took her out and snapped a few pictures of her, same as everything (and everyone!) else.

That first day on the road, we made it all the way to Buford, GA. What a haul! We were in the Jeep for something like 10? hours, I think. Maybe twelve? Anyway, Mini shocked the pants off of us - he was a complete angel the entire way. Only when we reached Atlanta did he start to get a little crabby. We were all a bit tired and crabby by that point, though. Atlanta is a bitch to drive in what with all the road construction along the interstate, and nothing was marked as it appeared on the map. We missed the turn-off while looking for the 985, and made it all the way through Atlanta to the small suburbs on the other side of it. We had to turn around and go back. Hubby didn't care where we stayed the night, all he wanted to see was a hotel. Then again, since the main focus of the trip in the beginning was to get to Babyland, hubby pushed to get as close to Cleveland as we could. Since the Mall of Georgia is right there, we got a room at the Marriott across the street from that and called it a night. I made it upstairs and collapsed on one of the beds. Hubby commandeered the Tv. Oldest hit the pool, and Mini was like a crazed dynamo, totally bouncing off the walls he was so wound up after all those hours of sitting still.

The next morning, we all piled in the Jeep and went to Babyland. This time we didn't mind the road construction so much. It's not so confusing in the daylight. At night in a strange area.... yeah. But anyway, what a view! You start pushing into mountain territory around Cleveland, and we tried to get the kids excited about crossing the Chattahoochee River. There is a lot of green, hilly, gorgeous country around that area. We spent the better part of two hours at Babyland. I took pictures of nearly every floor baby and all the displays. Mini wasn't too impressed, but he managed to watch the "mother cabbage delivery" without a fuss. Oldest was surprised that it was more interesting than he thought it would be. And if I had only had a uhaul to bring back all the cute cabbages... *_* Kid in a candy store. Yep. That was me.

We went and dropped off our cabbage goodies at the hotel, then took Oldest to the mall. Like an insane person, hubby gave Oldest something like 3 or 4 hours to browse around. We walked this entire thing, dragging poor Mini with us. We finally broke down and rented one of those carts/strollers that looks like a car. Nothing fantastic about that really - you see them at every mall - but OMG how awesome was it to not have to hold his wrist in a death grip. He apparently loves the escalators - even though we got behind this kid who was probably about 8 years old who had a total meltdown while trying to go down ahead of us. Talk about crazed mid-mall drama. The mother started down the escalator, and tried to coax the 8 year old onto the steps.

The man with them, dad?, uncle?, waits behind, trying to encourage the kid to go. The kid sticks a foot out, and does a Mr. Wilson 50/50 split right there when he didn't follow up right away with the other foot. So here's this kid, yowling, doing the splits on the escalator steps, his mom yelling at him and slowly disappearing from view. The uncle hauls the kid up by the pants, and the kid loses a flip-flop AND drops one of those giant rubbery koosh balls on the track. The tentacles of the koosh ball get stuck under the escalator track, and all this happens in the span of about 3 seconds. Hubby, Mini, and I can do nothing but stare in fascinated horror. The uncle rights the kid up on his feet, RIPS the koosh ball out of the escalator track and basically shoves the screaming/crying kid down the escalator steps while the mom screams at them from the bottom. Hubby and I wait a few paces before get on to give these people space, and as I'm approaching the bottom, I realize the mom is just going to stand there screaming at the kid at the mouth of the escalator. I look up at hubby and see about four more people are on behind him and Mini, and it occurs to me we're about to have a major body pile up if this woman doesn't move.

"Um, excuse me. Excuse me? Ma'am? Lady? Please get out of the way!"

I literally collided with the little boy before she moved and yanked him out of the way. Poor thing, I nearly knocked him down flat onto that metal track at the bottom, but where could I go? I imagine that kid will be scarred for life due to his escalator mishap that day. Heck, I think I may be scarred for life after witnessing it!

Once Babyland and the mall was over, we mapped out our route to the coast. We headed toward Savannah the following morning, and ended up downtown at the Riverfront. I was really impressed with Savannah. It's a pretty place, and along the Riverfront it looks a lot like New Orleans. Lots of thick trees with spanish moss along the sides of the streets, and the gorgeous stately homes.... The historic district is really something beautiful, but its definitely not somewhere you'd want to be after dark because within a few blocks of the historic tours area you run into some questionable neighborhoods.

As much as we liked Savannah, we didn't want to do a riverfront sleepover, since we can do that right here in Louisiana. We stopped at a gas station and mapped our way to the ocean, following Victory Drive and the 80 all the way out to Tybee Island. What a gorgeous little community! Nice with a really cozy atmosphere. We ended up staying in a suite at the Desoto, which has it's own stretch of private beach. I could have stayed there forever!

Desoto Hotel, private beach, Tybee Island, GA

Hubby and I agree that we'd like to go back to Tybee Island when we can go without the kids. We really had a great time there. And the Desoto was a truly wonderful hotel. We stayed in the suite right off from the gift shop, which I thought would be noisy, but it wasn't. We had a balcony with a straight on ocean view, and the suite itself was clean and comfortable. Even though Babyland was our prime destination, I felt that Tybee Island was the real height of the trip. We took the kids out to the beach and they had such a great time. Oldest wasn't too sure about getting in the water at first - sharks and all - but after he saw us splashing around with Mini for a while, he got over his fears and jumped on in. I will say about the beach here - it's not all white sand, there's a lot of crushed shell washed up. I don't know why that surprised me, but it did.

After an awesome stay at the Desoto, the next morning we pushed on to Jacksonville, Florida. We hit a rain shower while in the Jeep, and I worried the rain might stick with us a while. Fortunately, it didn't. By the time we reached the bridge, the rain cleared and sun came out. We found a comfortable hotel - Quality or Clarion or something like that - with a stretch of private beach next door to the Red Cross volunteer life guard station, and as soon as we had ditched all our luggage in the room, we walked around the corner to Joe's Crab Shack for lunch.

The rest of the day was beach day. Mini went down for a nap, and the guys went downstairs. I stayed with Mini and took pics from the balcony until he woke up around 4 and we scarpered down to the beach. The soft, sandy beach. There was only a tiny strip of washed up shell here. The rest was white powder sand. Ah... we sat in the water and splashed. Mini caught a face full of salt water a time or two, poor bean. Hubby bought him a play shovel and I sat with him while he did some digging. When the tide started to come in, and the shallow patch turned waist deep while sitting in it, he sat on my lap and pretended the shovel was a paddle.

It was an awesome day.

Balcony view, Jacksonville Beach

So there it is, the first leg of the trip. I'll post the second half come Monday. And I promise to add more pictures. For now, I'm off to bed. I hope you're all having a great weekend. Oh, and to anyone it might apply: Happy Father's Day!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Don't forget to write...


We're leaving for our trip on Monday. Woohoo! Saturday we ran around town and bought some extra things for the road, and I picked up everything but a map. Har har! So that's on the to do list asap! I have directions saved from Mapquest, but that's kind of like a rough sketch rather than real directions.

I'm going to take my laptop with me - I feel vulnerable without it. LOL! I'd probably have some fancy schmancy writing idea and then have no way to write it down. Yikes! So if I have net connection that doesn't require a fee, I'll possibly drop in to post now and again next week. We'll see what happens!

Happy weekend!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Waiting for the Rain

Yellow Frangipani cluster after a morning shower

It's 5am and I can't sleep, so I thought I'd up and blog. Hubby's coming home today, and he usually spends his first day back with the boys. Not sure what I'll end up doing... probably veg out a bit and finish reading the Create A Plot Clinic book I downloaded recently from . I've only had time to make it about halfway through, and I've been itching to pick it up again.

While sorting through the bookshelf in my office yesterday, I also came across my old copy of Self-Editing for Fiction Writers (Browne and King). I sat down on the couch and spot read parts of it. This book really kicked off my "I'm gonna learn this and do it" phase of my writing life. I've read that book backwards and forwards, and while there is no ends to how much it helped me strengthen my writing, I think I could probably get more out of it now that I am published, than when I was pre-published. You pick up so much just by working with an editor on a book. You learn to spot things on your own. I'm still a comma junkie, and I've learned to live with that, but now whenever I read something - ebook, print book, even a newspaper - there are things that set off my internal editor.

Hm. Going off on a tangent here and thinking about that internal editor.... Funny how we can't seem to catch a lot of little things on our own work but after a while writing professionally you read something - heck just about anything - and you notice things like syntax problems and comma splices out the wazoo. Things that when you go back to your own work you don't notice until your crit partner points it out, you kinda do that head-smack thing and say, "D'oh! Why didn't I see that?"

Yep, that kinda reminds me of Merlin having that cool ability to see into the future - any future but his own. I'm my own destructive Merlin of manuscripts. *oogly boogly magic handwaving* ^_^

Anyway, I'm going to try rereading that book and see if there are things I pick up now that I didn't understand pre-published. If nothing else, maybe some of it will fire up my inspiration.

I better slip back to bed and try to get another hour's sleep before Mini gets up. Either that or brew a pot of coffee. Possibly both. :P I hope you all have an amazing weekend!

I can catch a glaring typo two pages into a manuscript (unless of course it's my own

Friday, June 06, 2008

Drama, drama everywhere

I spent the day writing as much as possible then I closed my wip without checking my word count. I'm not going to start in with counts before vacation because I'll be worrying about it the entire time I'm gone. If I'm writing everyday, emptying my brain as it were, then I've done my duty. When I get back, I'll work on bettering the routine. For now, I'm good.

Today was hubby's last day - he'll be home tomorrow. We're going to rest through the weekened, and secure our plans, then come Monday we'll hit the road. I'm looking forward to this soooo much.

Yesterday Dad called, and he usually chats with me a few minutes then hands the phone over to Mom. This time was no exception, and since I haven't spoken to her in a few days, I was happy to hear from her. In the middle of our conversation, I hear dad in the background saying something, then mom says: Cora didn't ASK me to check in on her dogs - then for confirmation she says to me - Did you Cora?

This kind of shocked me because I hadn't asked, and since we're all the time house sitting her pets when she and dad go out of town, it seems a given they'd drop by just to check on them and make sure they're alive. You know, common courtesy. Reciprocation. Call it whatever the hell you want. I took offense with the way she asked me, which with a "Don't even think of asking me" tone in her voice. Wow.

So, she said, Did you Cora? And in my flattest, most serious voice, I replied. "No I did not."

Silence. You could've heard a pin drop. Why? I know how my mother's mind works and it just occurred to her that I didn't have any intention of asking her to check up on them. Sheesh, I can see how she's acting already so why should I? I want this trip to be stress FREE. Know what I'm saying?

I talked to hubby later than night and mentioned that Saturday I have to go to the feed store and buy extra buckets for food and water. We planned out what we would do with them while we were gone, and voila - problem solved, the dogs will have the food and water they need, no dog sitter necessary.

I thought this was a done deal, but this afternoon I get a call from Dad. He chatted with me a few minutes, asking when Hubby would be home. I told him, and then we talked for a second. I could tell something was on his mind. He quickly asked: Want to talk to mom? Sure. Why not?

Turns out she tired and in a bit of a mood. It can't be anything I've done since I haven't gone anywhere or done anything, unless you can count writing smut and eating ice cream. :P She tells me Dad wants to come over tomorrow and see the kids. That's fine, I tell her. She then asks when the vacation starts, and I told her Monday. There is a bit of silence and she says, "If you want me to, I can come by once a day. ONCE a day. And check your dogs.

"Well, Mom, you can if you want to, but hubby and I have the dogs covered."

She's quiet for a minute, then offers to come and sit with the dogs for a while, and let them out and back in. She is missing the point entirely. I do NOT want to bother her at all. The next time we go somewhere and do have to ask her to watch the pets, she won't be able to forgive me for weeks.

"If you feel you must," I tell her cautiously, "but otherwise, don't worry about it."

And I mean that. I really do. I firmly believe that you shouldn't offer to help someone if you can't do it with an honest heart. It never hurts to reciprocate the help later on, but never do it for that reason - you'll get squashed on down the road. Funny, too, because Mom would swim rivers for her friends, drive them all over the country, sit with them or their family members for hours on end if they asked her to.

She used to not be like this with me, and while I have my opinions about when her attitude change, I don't have any right to say anything to her or dad about it. But even with that in mind, I really don't know at what point I became the enemy. I've never been particularly clingy or needy, I've always been there to help when they needed me, and we've had such a strong relationship in the past. What the hell happened?

I turned my phone off when I got off the line with her. Come hell or high water I'm going to have a good time on my trip. I'm going to go, sleep very little, get mega sunburnt, swim til I'm sore, and spend too much money on a cloth doll. Oh, yes, I am. Hide and watch.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Getting ready for vacation...

Hubby called me today and told me it's concrete - this is his last week in Lake Charles. He also told me to start making reservations for our vacation. Woot!

Our plans are to spend a few days in Helen, Georgia. (Right outside of Cleveland.) I've been wanting to go to Babyland General Hospital, where they make the soft sculptured Cabbage Patch Kids, so that's on our list of stops this year. They're currently building a new BLGH, so this could be my one and only chance to see the original before they close it. Hubby, bless his heart, is indulging me on this one. Also while we're in the state, there are a few other places we plan to go. Oldest wants to go to the Mall of America, and we want to take the kids tubing - I'm sure they will have a blast with this. Hubby mentioned a particular museum, but after talking about CPK's I'm having a brainfart about the intellectual side of the trip. :*)

We plan to go by car, so the kids will also get to see places like Vicksburg and Jackson, and other places that are there along I-20. I really need to break out the maps and start charting a course.

We've taken into account Mini might not like sitting in a car seat for that long, so we plan to make frequent stops - oh, and we're taking a portible DVD player. Ha! Before we go, however, I must brave the unthinkable and shop for a swim suit. Why, oh, why didn't I go on a diet back in December?

On the writing front, I'm still tinkering here and there. I wrote about 1400 words yesterday, and I hope to add to that tonight.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Butterfly, butterfly, where is your home?

Mini woke me up at 6, convinced that his daddy had arrived home on a school bus. "Come on, Mimi! Let's go see daddy on da skoo bus!" I tried to tell the lil nipper he'd only had a dream, but he hasn't grasped the concept of dreaming yet. He wanted to see out the front door, so I unlocked everything and swung the door wide for him.

He was so diappointed - poor beast. I told him daddy is still working in Lake Charles, but he'll be home in a few days. After a few minutes of talking about "got to find him, Mimi", he toddled off to the living room to watch Backyardigans.

Since then, it's been an up and down, good kind of day. I worked on my wip until the sun slipped into the yard, then I sent out a chapter for my crit partner to look at. I put in a load of laundry while Mini pranced around my legs, whining about going outdoors, and I figured I better take him out before it got too hot out.

So, I put some shorts on him out to the sand box. I took my wip with me, and dragged up a lawn chair. We stayed there until the neighbor's puppy came into the yard, scrapping around, scratching the bejeezers out of my shins.

Mini squeals with glee when he sees the lil squibbler, a hyper Jack Russell mix, and I will admit she's cute. But it kind of makes it difficult to enjoy our yard when the neighbor's dogs are always coming over and jumping on our legs. I watched Mini chase her around the yard until she grabbed his baseball and took off across the street with it.

Chaos. Bedlam. Drama.

Mini was in fits, that dog running off with his ball. I went out barefoot, so I had to call Big Bubba to slip on his flip flops and go chase down the dog and get the ball. I think the neighbors might've seen what went on, because after we went in (with much MORE chaos, bedlma, and drama because Mini didn't want to come in at all), I peeked out the curtain a few minutes later and the dogs were gone. Vanished.

I put my writing things away, and after the coast was clear, I told Mini to dry up his whining and we'd go back out to the sand box. Five minutes of dry sniffling later, we took his remote controlled Jeep Rubicon out doors, and I set up the egg time for 30 minutes. I showed it to him. "30 minutes and we're going in."

I already felt a bit crispy; when we went out the first time we stayed about thirty minutes then. This go around was a bit more peaceful. The dogs were gone, Mini played in the sand and with his toys. I sat in the lawnchair checking emails on my cell phone - it's an illness, I tell you. I kept reminding him of the egg timer so he wouldn't forget, then showed him a butterfly that kept flying around the front door, alternately landing on the welcome mat and the brick facing.

Mini thought that was pretty fabulous. A second butterfly came flitting up when we were checking out the first - this one smaller, with grayish patterns - no colors like in today's picture. BTW, that's the actual butterfly we saw. I took a picture of it with my cellphone.

So here were are back in the house. The egg timer trick works great. Mini knows when it goes off it's time to go in - it seriously cuts down on drama when trying to haul him through the front door. This time, he picked up his Jeep, and walked right in. One small victory for moms everyone!

I'm sunburnt from the time we spent outside; everytime I go out and come in I notice new freckles, but it was worth it. I fed Mini a quick lunch: hotdogs, chips, and juice - I had a veggie burger. Now the house is quiet, and he's watching a movie in the den. (Nap nap is imminent, I think.)

I hope you all have a great Tuesday!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Lake Day and a Case of Movie Trauma

Today's pic is of Mini and Oldest at the lake. Hubby surprised us Friday and came home for the entire weekend. Did I write about that already? Anyway, his boss wants him to be finished with the Lake Charles project this coming week, but then decided Friday at quitting time that they must cut back hours. So, hubby called me on his way home to tell me he had the whole weekend off.

Mom's birthday was yesterday, and what with the surprise homecoming, this turned into a flurry of activity to get the house in order, take care of bills, and do enough grocery shopping to feed 3 male locusts.

So my quiet weekend with Mini turned out to be a mindblowing weekend full of unexpected activity and sporatic writing. Hubby arrived home Friday night, and there's this whole settling period the first night - Mini doesn't want to let his daddy out of his sight. He doesn't want to go to bed without his daddy right there. This actually came in handy for once, because I needed to do a bit of work on a friend's manuscript, and so I was able to read through half of that in a sitting. I stayed up late doing this - all the guys went to bed and left me in the den to fend for myself. I worked on my current wip for a while, and by the time I looked at the clock, I was shocked to discover it was around 1am. I shut down the laptop, and went to bed.

Saturday morning, I got up and put on a pot of coffee around 7. Hubby was stirring around, and Mini hopped up to chase after him, so I slipped back off to bed. I felt so groggy, I completely forgot about taking Oldest to my mom's to doggy sit Miss Blossom. Thankfully hubby took over the helm, loaded up both boys in the Jeep and took them to mom's. Not long after they left, maybe an hour, I got out of bed, dressed, and set about dissecting the chapter from hell and trying to figure out where my story had gone wrong. I pulled my hair out over this until hubby and the Minibeast returned home. At that point I had to call it a day for the writing, hubby brought home BBQ goodies, so I had to keep Mini busy.

Around 4pm, I called to check on Oldest and got my dad's cell instead, they were on their way back from Texas. In fact, they were almost home. They'd visited the relatives, and picked up the two piece couch set from my gram. I'd mentioned I was ready for a new set, and since gram wanted a new set for herself, she gave me hers. It's a burgundy/red leather sofa and love seat - really cute. They wanted me to come over and see it, and of course, I had to go pick up Oldest. Before I ran out there though, I made a trip into town and bought mom an ice cream cake for her birthday with primary color icing streamers on top of it. I picked her up two "grab bag" type presents: an outfit for summer, a box of chocolates, two cute picture frames, and a Debbie Macomber novel. Oh yes, and a card. One that made me cry in the store, so I knew it was "the card". You know which one I mean?

I took all this over to my parents house, and we ate cake: mom, dad, Oldest, and me. I stayed and visited for about an hour and a half - although Oldest kept trying to rush me. LOL He had fun guarding the house, playing on computer, etc., but by the time I got there, he was ready to go home. ^_^ We ended up walking around outdoors after the cake, looking at the mimosas bloomed out, and the blue hydrangeas that have sprung up at the far side of their front yard. Hubby ended up calling, "Where are you? When are you coming home?" Which was pretty much my cue to come rescue him from Mini.

So I hauled Oldest home, took over the helm until Mini got ready for supper/bath/bed (his evening routine that he gets mighty grumpy about if it runs out of whack). Once he went to bed, I put The Mist into the DVD and sat on the couch with my wip.

OK. I got totally engrossed in The Mist. That's saying something since I'm not a huge, huge Stephen King fan. I've read quite a few of his books and loved them, and I think he's a great writer with the ability to really churn out some cool ideas, but some of his stuff throws me with the overload of mass information he adds in. For example: I liked the Stanley Kubrick version of The Shining better than the book because the movie didn't reveal EVERY detail about the hotel. I didn't care about the hotel. I cared about the effect of the hotel on the characters. Then again, in that same respect, having the characters tell me everything, and not allowing the horror of a moment to speak for itself really kills the mental mind game needed to hold my attention. But back to The Mist...good stuff. Until the end!! No spoilers here, but I did NOT like the ending. I felt cheated. After investing precious writing time (my attention to writing lasted all of 20 minutes once the movie started) I wanted... Well, I can't tell you what I wanted without giving away the ending, but let's just say I won't be watching that one again. Darn shame too, because up til that point, this movie worked for me. If only they'd added an alterate ending! *_*

After The Mist, I played a bit of catch up with my writing then tinkered around online for a while. I ended up downloading Mugging the Muse, a free ebook for writers over at . I was so impressed with what I read there, I ended up buying Ms. Lisle's ebook Create A Plot Clinic. What I've read of it so far is very helpful. (I'll be talking more about that in a later post.)

By the time I made it to bed, it was after three in the morning and my eyes were ready to slam shut.

I thought since it was Sunday I'd sleep in, but hubby woke me up around 8. My parents had called and they were bringing the couch set over. Oy vey. Hubby's words were, "Sorry, honey. I would've let you sleep in, but someone will have to watch Mini. You better get up and have some coffee."


I managed to drink half a cup of coffee before I had to grab up a broom, dust pan, and the Swiffer. Oldest and hubby dragging the suede couch set outside, and the furniture move resulted in an archeological find of dust bunnies, petrified mini marshmallows, and a handful of Legos. Yep, folks, I guess it's safe to assume we have children.

At any rate, the living room looks fantastic. The new couches are comfortable. Chores done, right? I wish. Here it is midnight and I'm washing clothes. Looks like the weekend is still going strong. Hubby leaves in a few hours, so I can't hit the sack until all his stuff is in place for a quick getaway in a few hours.

Hopefully only one more week of this schedule. (Come on vacation!)