Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Inspirational Tuesday




30 days hath September...

Be sure to drop by the Midnight Moon Cafe today! There is an exclusive interview up featuring NYT best selling author Joy Nash. She is doing an online tour right now to promote her new book. It's definitely worth a look!

Can you believe this is the last day in September? *_* The conference is coming up fast, and October is release month for the freebies at the Midnight Moon Cafe. It looks like, in true Cora fashion, I'm going to run this thing right down to the wire.

After much wrangling with Dell, they're sending someone to come pick up Pinkie laptop today. Sadly, she must go back to Dell. There is just too many issues with the studio line of laptops - and Pinkie in particular - to justify keeping it. (Despite what Dell tech support says. Pfft!) I thought maybe the issues I've been having are a fluke, but when I did a search, I found out these are far more common to the line than I could have guessed. It really makes me wonder why Dell hasn't recalled the model altogether. C'est la vie.

I need to make a run to the bank this morning, but after that, it'll be a day of playing catch up. I spent far too much time goofing off yesterday. I stayed up watching The Warriors when I should've been writing. ~_~' Today I MUST print up my freebie and start giving it the red pen treatment.

Anyway, since I have so much to do in so little time. (Thanks to my own slackassedness, no less.) I thought I'd post a video to get the blood pumpin' and inspire the muse.

Wait. Do muses need inspiration? *_*

Need more coffee....

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pinkie, and Cora vs. Dell Tech Support

If there is one thing I can say with any certainty, the Dell Studio is a waste of hard earned money. Since Pinkie laptop arrived, I've had nothing but major issues with it. I've spent more time on the phone with tech support than I have with ALL the computers I've ever owned combined.

Since I took Pinkie out of the box, I noticed that the sound was "tinny", and I just assumed it was because they put the onboard speakers up near the monitor - they don't actually point at you like with the Inpirion systems.

Well, I was tooling along last night when suddenly my sound card goes out. Oh joy. I sit tinkering with this, only to have about 5 new error messages come up. Windows Vista, in it's grand effort to control your computer for you to make things uber simplified, has actually made it HARDER to troubleshoot for conflicts. But then again, really, after all the shit I've gone through with Dell, Verizon wireless (including their $216.00 early contract termination fee that I had to argue down on Friday, even thought I never had their broadband service activated on my computer), the sound card going out is the LAST STRAW.

I called Dell support this morning and told them I want the proceedure to return Pinkie laptop. The guy asked me why. Well, let's see... And I broke out the laundry list of issues I've had with this thing since I took it out of the box. Basically I've paid $1700.00 (after effing rebates, no less!!) for a glorified no-sound word processor, and don't get me wrong: I AM PISSED. He appologizes and transfers me to the lady who must "authorize" my return. Since I am on an inhome tech service plan, the return lady wants me to talk to the tech support guys before she gives me the proceedure. Bitch, please!

Fine, I'll talk to him this afternoon when he calls me - and I'll tell him to put me back on the phone with the refund department. If Pinkie laptop is having issues now, imagine what it will be like when she's about a year old. NO frigging way.

Basically my bitch factor is rising steadily while I fume over this. I will NEVER buy another windows based computer until they ditch Vista, and at this rate, Dell's chances of making another sale to me are pretty slim too. I have already told hubby, once the refund is taken care of, I will be ordering a MAC. Again - NO VISTA. I'm boycotting Windows until that thing is off the market for good. Vista is worse than Windows 95 ever was, and that one was so bad I stuck with Windows 3.1 until ME came out.

So aside from all this, I've got to somehow get my freebie off of Pinkie and onto Silver (which is what I'm using until a new laptop gets here). This will definitely teach me never to order a computer so close to Mercury retrograde again. Ha!

On top of all this, Mini is sick. He was up all night last night. I stayed up with him until hubby got up to go to work, then I convinced Mini to hit the sack with me in the other room. He'd been up since about midnight, so by 4 AM he was ready to go back to bed. I was ready to fall out by the time I crawled into bed, and I'm totally exhausted today. Perfect for having to deal with BS and Tech Support, no? At least Mini seems to be doing a bit better. He's still coughing and his nose is runny, but he's not feverish looking like last night. Poor beast.

That's it for me today. I'm sure I'll have twitterings to post throughout the day depending on how the tech call goes. Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Weekend Books and DSL

Surprise!  Four beautiful blue Robin's eggs.  This is May 16, 2003


I have been a total slacker today. I wrote for about an hour this morning, then put the freebie wip away and went to poke through the stack of books I have waiting to be read. I read for a little while, then somehow ended up on myspace when I'd planned to research something for a book. Ah well, I hadn't updated myspace since February. Now that I'm on DSL, I'm actually able to load the pages, so I viewed my comments and went through my friend request.

Tonight after the Mini Beast is in bed, I'll break out the freebie wip again. I should have plenty of quiet time to write. Oldest is staying with friends, and hubby can't stay up too late because he has to work tomorrow. Until further notice, he is working 7 days. It's an exhausting schedule for all of us, but we plan to make the most of it - and put back as much money in the bank as possible. By the end of the year, this job should be winding down and ready for lay-offs.

Dad came by today and it was a fun visit. He got down on the floor and tickle-fought with Mini, who is super whiney since he's not feeling all that great, but nonetheless had a great time wallowing all over his pawpaw. ^_^

When he left Mini and I went to take a nap nap and I completely forgot that I agreed to bring Mini with me and meet him up at the Panda for dinner. He got home and said, "Why haven't you answered the phone?" Uh, we were snoozing? And then I remembered the dinner plans.... oops! We got Mini beast dressed in tidy clothes and went up for dinner. Thankfully it wasn't too crowded, and the shrimp was goooood. Mini didn't want to eat much, but I did manage to get a few bites in him. We got home and I hung out with Mini while he romped in the front yard and played in the sandbox and Cozy Coupe. We stayed out until it started getting dark and the mosquitos started nibbling. Not long after we came in, Oldest called to say he was staying the night with friends.

Overall it's been a quiet and pleasant day. Hopefully tomorrow will be more of the same. Well, time to put the Mini beast in the bath. I hope you're all having a great Saturday!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Finally Friday

Last night I finished up my full length contemporary. Of course, it's just the first draft, but it felt soooo good to type "the end". I'm taking off a few days from it to work on my freebie for the MMC, which is already plotted out. I hope to get it written over the weekend. *thumbs up*

So aside from the MMC freebie, I have two finished first drafts - one full length, one novella length, and the Urban Fantasy I talked about months ago is plotted out and partly written. Also, the Bite story is still floating around out in submission land, so I guess haven't been slacking quite as much as I worried thought. Last night I was rather bummed about only putting out 2 stories this year, so I sat down to check my productivity. I'd love to be able to fast draft like some authors do, but I'm gathering that takes some real self-training. I might have to look into that. If anyone is reading this, have you ever completed a book in fast draft? I'd love to hear your pros and cons about it.

I'd write more, but Mini is going bonkers on me. He's ready to go dig in the sandbox, so I guess I'll go take down a book from my TBR stack and follow him outside. I hope you all have a happy Friday and a pleasant weekend!


Update: The technician just left - no more dial up. Muahahaha!!! *evil hand wringing*

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Is It Friday Yet?

Brasauti@c.florea


Oldest came home sick about two weeks ago, and I've somehow managed to keep it at bay until now. Mini started sniffling and coughing a bit earlier in the week, and of course, once he gets it, I manage to come down with it. It's pretty much just an achy feeling, but I recognize it for what it is. *ho hum*

I worked on my full length wip a bit last night, and it's almost ready to print up. I'm still short on the word count, but I think I'll be able to get those last few thousand in on the final draft. I'd hoped to put in a heavy writing session on Sunday to take care of some of it, but the hubster called me from work today to say the head bosses are talking about making the guys work on Sunday. Instead, I'm having to try and make up for it during daylight hours, which is not easy to do with Mini home.

Tomorrow AT&T is supposed to come and hook up our DSL, so hopefully I'll be able to get Pinkie laptop on the net over the weekend so I can start transferring files! I'm planning to finish up all my old projects on Silver, but after the fallen angel shorty is cleaned up and subbed (sometime in November hopefully!) I won't be writing any new ones on Silver - the system is just not stable enough.

Well, I best get back to writing. I want to try and get in between 1-2k words today. Happy Thursday, everyone!

That's about it for me today.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Burnt*Flowers*Fallen

Timeless Fall Morning


Last night I called Dell Tech support again, trying to find out what I'm gonna have to do to get Pinkie the laptop on the net. Studio 15 models from Dell only have an ethernet port, and a broadband card - which I've fought with enough to last me a lifetime. I decided I'd try to connect it to dialup to get everything registered, but when I went to check on what modems are on my compy, I realized they only installed the useless Verizon broadband card.

Of course the tech support woman couldn't understand what I was trying to tell her - it doesn't matter if I have a dozen pre-installed dialup net programs on the system, if there is no telephone modem inside, it's not going to connect to the net. Who hires these people anyway? *_* I figure my options are to 1.) find a USB external modem, 2.) get a USB mobile adapter, or 3.) get DSL in the house. Well, spank a duck - I called AT&T today and ordered DSL.

Don't all of you faint at once, ok?

Anyway, how well this performs remains to be seen. The technician should be here sometime in the afternoon on Friday. I'll post more about that as thing develop. In the meantime, Old Silver is choogling along - the screen fritzes every so often - just enough to drive me bonkers. Hopefully, I can put her out to pasture (at least not have to use her so often) after Friday.

So where the heck did this week go? I totally missed Monday and Tuesday. Well, ok. I admit I got busy cleaning out the laundry room - all hubsters tools and junk. That's all now in the shed. I had oldest take some old chairs out there too. Monday I worked on my freebie, worked some on a friend's wip, and yesterday I bundled up TONS of promo bags. I gathered all my packages together too - contests prizes and BWB mail outs - to be sent out this week. Gotta get them out of here before the Mini beast gets to them. I also took out all the CDs and DVDs we have on our hallway shelf that don't have covers and I printed up some sleeves for them. Now they are all organized. The laundry is caught up now too. I guess it's safe to say it's been a busy week.

Tomorrow I have to send in the deposit for Oldest's class ring. And on Friday I have to mail his deposit for the prom. Good grief...is it that time already? *_* I'm excited for him though.

Tonight I have a long writing night planned. I didn't do much writing yesterday, but I managed to get a page or two in. I'll have to make up for that tongith. Then Monday of next week, I'll do an initial print up of the wip to see where I stand. *thumbs up*

That's about it for now. I hope you all had a snazzy Wednesday!

Monday, September 22, 2008

I Needz More Sleep

cat


I started on this post waaaaay earlier today. Like around 2 am. But I couldn't finish it, so now that I've got five minutes to sit and type something I decided to erase it all and start over again.

So, anyway, last night (early a.m.) I made it to a crucial part of my current wip, and I am pleased to report I am now over the hump. Yay. I celebrated with a peach - mango green tea then went to bed...

...and dreamed hubby, Mini and I were sitting on this small scrap of sandy beach overgrown with dune grass. I think we were having a picnic or something. Either way, the water was this gorgeous serene blue, and hubby looked over at me and said, "Do you want to go island hopping? The water isn't very deep. If we wade out, we can go from island to island and make it around to the other side of the lake." I thought about it a second and said, "Sure! Sounds like an adventure. Let's do it." So, hubby puts Mini on his shoulders and we wade out. I started out toward this sandbar and realized after a minute hubby's interpretation of deep wasn't the same as mine. I'm 5 feet tall. He's about five/eight, five/nine. What is chest deep on him is neck deep on me. Anyway, I stop where the bank grass ends - it's open water, and I look to might right and there is this POLAR BEAR standing on a sandbar. My heart does this crazy flip, because the bear takes one look at me and stands up. I see the big, white body slip into the water without making a sound and I flopped back and scrambled the hell out of there. Hubby is kind of off to the right and behind me, still hidden by the beach grass. Mini is on his shoulders and he gives me this bewildered look as I go lunging for the shore. "Bear - BEAR!" I'm panting at this point. Hubby scrambles after me, and when I see him coming out of the water behind me, his jean shorts are nearly hanging off of him because of the weight of the wet denim, and it's at that precise moment my subconscience catches up with me...

I gotta pee! *_*

Suddenly I'm wide awake, the room is dark, hubby is snoring like a beast and I realize - I drank all that tea! No wonder I'm dreaming of the lake!

I am sooo tired, still groggy from dreaming, and stumble my way through the house to the bathroom. Too many late night writing sessions are starting to take their toll on me. I need to make it a point to get more sleep.

I got up with Mini at 4 a.m. to see hubby off to work. We went back to bed once he was gone, and slept until 7. OMG I am so tired.... The company screwed up hubby's paycheck on Friday, so we had to wait until Saturday to actually get paid. But then, the banks are closed, and Walmart won't cash checks over a certain amount. I ended up dipping into "cabbage money" to get us through the weekend, but this morning I had to go to the bank. I balanced the checkbook, figured the bills, dressed myself and Mini, made all the beds, and we were out the door around 9. I was dragging... no lie. :P We did the bank thing, the post office thing, went to Wally World and across town to the other post office to check my mail there. We made it home, and I unpacked everything.

From the time we got up this morning, Mini has been hollering for cupcakes. "Pweeze, Mimi! You're going to bake them? Can I have a cupcake?" So, after I put all the groceries away, I whipped out the muffin tins and the cake mix. I really, really could have used a nap, but I pulled out the mixing bowl instead. Mini ran to get his car's stepstool and we made triple chocolate cupcakes with milk chocolate frosting and Hallowe'en sprinkles on top. Mini liked the sprinkles in the store because they were green and purple - Mardi gras colors. When we sprinkled them on the cupcakes, we realized they had little black candy spiders in there too. Cute!

I want to hit another 1k tonight on my wip, but I may be too tired by the time everyone is off to bed and I have the den to myself. I'm going to give it my best, but then I'm going.to.bed. Zzzzzzz....

I hope you all had a good Monday! BTW, can you believe this month is almost GONE?!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Weekend Blahs

Re-done to remove colour cast on the trunks


I will be sooo glad when this year is OVER. I came to that conclusion today, while I was driving Mini to my mom's for the day.

Oldest and I set out to paint the house in the blazing heat. We scraped down the house weeks ago, but every time we'd get a free day to do any painting it would rain. Geez Louise! Well, earlier this week Hubby picked up (and picked out) the paint. Once he did that, we were ready to run out and slap some color on at the next hint of sunshine.

We live in a 60's-70's style ranch style house, brick at the bottom, wood at the top. The brick is made up of earthy, orangey-peachy colors so I originally picked out a soft doeskin brown for the outside of the house. We've had it painted that color since we moved in, and really, it did need repainting. However, when hubby went to get more paint, he found out that they no longer carry the code card for mixing that shade.

Well, hubby told me he wanted to go one shade darker, anyway, and after about 2 weeks of looking at the ugly, scraped down house I told myself (and him) I didn't care what he brought home - bubble gum pink, periwinkle, whatever. Just buy the damn paint already. Well, he took a paint chip from the house, and did just as he said he was gonna do, and went a color darker. End result: I hate it!

It's not that much a change really. The color isn't so much darker; rather it has more red for the base tone than yellow, which was the base for the last color. The color card has labeled it "cinnamon", but it doesn't look like any cinnamon I've ever seen. It looks almost like a rosy terracotta. However, the paint mixer was dead on acurate - they mixed it perfectly. You can't tell they did a swab on the sample card unless you turn it toward the light. Perfect mix, yes. I just don't like it on the house!

Oldest and I ended up frying ourselves painting today, and when I stepped back I looked at it and could have cried. I would NOT have chosen this color. I guess I deserve to live with it though, because honestly I just couldn't be bothered to deal with the selection. I'm sure after a while I won't notice anymore, or I'll get used to it and it'll just seem like it's always been that way. But for now... *sigh*

So we got one section of the house painted before I had to go pick up Mini. I came in and had a shower, told Oldest to hit the shower after me, then I got to my moms. I'm sunburnt, and feeling a bit ill from being in the heat too long. I didn't drink enough water, I think. Anyway, the point of all this is that I hate the color and there'll be more of this crap tomorrow. More painting with this cinnamon that isn't really cinnamon! ~_~'

On another note, I managed to get a chunk of the October freebie written today and did a little red-penning on a friend's manuscript. I also took the new Precious (laptop) for a spin and I think I'm getting the hang of Word 2007. However, I say that without having faced any edits on it yet. THAT will be the true test.

I've still got 2ooo words to hit today on my main wip to make today's goal. I haven't had a chance to touch it until now, and I won't go to bed until I hit the mark or somewhere close to it. That will put me right on schedule for my overall goal for this week. And while it's a pain in the keister right now, forcing myself to work on this story I'm pretty darn tired of at this point. If I can stay on track, I'll have the full length draft finished by the end of the month. *crossing fingers for good luck*

That's all the blogging for me tonight. Off to go duct tape the muse to a chair and apply thumbscrews. Time to get to work!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tech Support x 6

Bold Twilight


I'm mentally exhausted. I have been working with "Pinkie" the pink computer since this afternoon, trying to get some of the software registered so I can actually use the blasted thing. I managed to get Word 2007 registered, easy peasy! But from around noon onward I spent the remainder of the day playing phone tag with Dell and Verizon Wireless to try and get my broadband card activated.

Pain.In.The.Ass. That is putting it kindly. First of all, Dell took down all my information, signed me up for 1 year of service for Verizon. Then I had to wait ages with both Old Silver and Pinkie on so I could wait for a verification email from Verizon. I finally get it, and it gives me instructions to call Verizon. I do call Verizon, and guess what? They can't find my info. The people at Dell put down my name was Corrine and so they had to track me down through all this nit-picky stuff. That tech support person then transfered me to the 4646 number to accept their terms and conditions in order to activate the card. OK. This is an automated system, and of course, it doesn't accept the # the representative gave me. So, when that happens, I get transferred to a different tech support lady. She goes through all the same stuff, and what happens? She puts me back on the 4646 hotline. *sigh* I know what is going to happen when I put in the wireless number, but I do it anyway. More of the same. I'm tranferred to yet another tech support lady.

By this time I'm doing breathing exercises to keep from losing my cool entirely. I've been on the phone for over two hours. I tell this lady there is no point trying the 4646 number because it's not going to accept my wireless number. So, instead of bothering with that, she just transers me over to a tech support hub out of Dallas. This guy was nice. However, geez, they need to turn up their phones! I could barely hear anyone speaking, and I'm sitting there trying to hear this guy out thinking, If I were hearing impaired like my dad, this would be a major issue...

Anyway, this guy in Dallas needs a RAISE. Seriously, Verizon. We go through several rounds with my card, and on the third round, I get a little icon shaped a bit like a tree pop up. Hm. "What's that? I ask." Ah, it's a roaming icon.

The tech guy tells me that what's going on is this: although I have a few bars signifying service, there are no towers in our area, so they can't do an initial connection. What do I need to do now? Well, in order to make Verizon work, I have to take my laptop and go on a road trip to somewhere with Verizon local tower coverage, initiate the activation, then I can go back home and use Verizon.

Are you effing kidding me? *_*

Alas, no I am not. There was nothing more he could do, so we hung up, and I called Dell back. Hubby was foaming at the mouth, worried about roaming charges. I'd already discussed that with Verizon, and they told me as long as I'm in the US, it's not a problem.

I use Old Silver to go online and find out where my nearest tower would be. Uh, 65 miles is the closest. Yeah. I'm not driving that unless Verizon is paying for my gas! Sorry, Charlie. No dice.

I get back on the phone with Dell (again!!) and ask them what I'm supposed to do. They put a broadband card in my computer that I can't use. The woman was a peach. When I told her what Verizon tech support told me, she didn't believe it. She put me on hold and called Verizon herself, and when she came back on the line, she was stunned. "Well, you learn something new everyday..." Kudos to you, my friend.

There turned out to be 3 things I could do: A.)Send back my laptop, pay an additional $200 to have an AT&T card installed. B.)Call Verizon back and have them locate the very nearest tower and drive thataway. C.) Ditch Verizon and go to my local AT&T and get a mobile adapter.

Without a doubt, I am going with C.

No there is the little matter with the 1 year sign up with Verizon I have to take care of... So, once again I'm back on the phone with Verizon. (Just for the record, I now have their tech support number emblazoned in my memory.) Thankfully, the woman didn't give me any issues, nor did she charge me 1 human soul to cancel the service. Fan-frickin-tastic.

So, here it is, almost 8 o'clock at night, CST. I still DO NOT have internet hooked up to Precious Pinkie. On top of that, Old Silver keeps spazing out with the scintillating scotomas on me every time I go to do something important. *sigh*

On another note, I'm up another 1k on my story. I've been plowing ahead, and plan to work toward another 1k tonight. I found a gap in the story and I know the perfect scene to fill it in. Wish me luck!

That's about it for me. I'm tired, and I need to call Oldest and tell him to get his buns to the house. Tomorrow is F-R-I-D-A-Y!!! *pom pom swish* Ooh, and don't forget! Tomorrow is also International Talk Like A Pirate Day. ARR!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Craftiness and Book Stuff

Sunset at Eilean Donan Castle . Scotland


I did it. I updated the Cora Zane webpage. *faint* I went over there last night and realized I hadn't done any updates since around March. Yikes! I added to the news and updates page mostly, and put up the link to the summer newsletter and my yahoo group. I did a bit of tweaking to my books page, too, but I still need to gather the info about Weirdly 2 to add to the pages.

I read an inspiring RWA article by Michele Hauf earlier today. In a nutshell: stop thinking and write the book. Leave spacers in where you'd want to/need to go back and add info, do research, or find a better word for something. I tend to add spacers here and there as I write, but I do "think" too much while writing. It really slows what I'm trying to do, and that's just get the draft finish. So it's something to digest and start putting into practice. It took me forever to bind and gag silence my inner editor while writing, and to not go back over what I've written, but with some doing, I finally managed to break the habit. So now, it will be to not think so much and let the story flow. I plan to start working on this like it's a goal. Anything to help with productivity.

I'm currently reading The Night Serpent by Anna Leonard, and I've got her Nocturne Bite Dreamcatcher in my cart at eharlequin. It's next on my read list. I don't know what it is, but I was flipping through the back of The Night Serpent, and it really thrilled me to see they had a full page insert for Nocturne Bites. I guess it's because I'm seeing ebooks listed in a print book. I realize Harlequin/Bites all related and everything. But it is really cool that they are major NY publishers and marketing their ebooks right alongside the print ones. That wins super kudos with me.

Tonight I plan to tinker with "Pinkie" the new computer. I have her on the dining table and I've taken her out for a spin a time or two, but I haven't connected her to the net yet. I plan to try getting my wireless connected - and if that will work, I have about a bazillion things I need to register on there. :P I haven't shifted any of my old files to the new computer yet, either. Old Silver is still hanging in there, so I'd like to finish this one last project on here before moving all my files to the next Word platform. I tell you, I was having fits trying to find the reversal button on the 2007 edition. *_* Just when you think you have something figured out, they have to go and tweak it....

Well, I better go and start supper before the kids come yowling at me about empty bellies. Oh! Speaking of kidletts. Oldest came home from school today and told me his gym coach has been scouting him for the track team. I told him to go for it, but Oldest is like... "Exercise means work, mother." Ah, alright. I get it. Go ahead back to watching Naruto and be merry. Kids! :P

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Brain Drivel 1.0

IMG_3761


Alrighty then. I spent far too much time yesterday looking through the CD library for one particular album, so I could listen to one particular song. I know I bought the CD, and it has probably ended up in the Jeep at some point which is sort of like No Man's Land - they may return, they may not. So after giving myself a migraine looking for Robert Miles' Dreamland, I decided I'd kill off the rest of my brain cells trying to download Children off of Amazon. With a dialup connection, no less. A seven minute song. Yes, by the time the song made it into my media player library, I had smoke rolling out of my ears. Egads. Give me two weeks and I'll probably stumble across the CD by accident. Ya know, just because that's the way things are.

I have so much to do today, I don't really know where to start. Well, ok. I do know where to start - by actually doing some of it. But doesn't it make sense to sit and stare at it a while before you actually attempt to get on the list? Know thy enemy and all that jazz?

Anyway, I have the youngest (now the Oldest and Only-est) furbaby staring at me for some denti-mint kibble bones - and we're out. Mini is whining on me for strawberry milk - and we're out. Oldest is out of Poptarts and swore this morning that I don't loves him anymore because we don't have any. And dagnabbit, but I'm out of printer ink. Again. I swear, the Lexmark Z25 printers are ink VAMPIRES the rate they go through black ink. Print two documents on better quality and that automated voice pops up on my computer: "Black ink is low". Fuh-wha?! No, really. It never fails. I've only bought 3 ink cartridges over the last 2 months. They're vampires, I tell you! *shakes fist* But then, I digress... I need to run to the store, and I just don't wanna. (But I will. 'Cause mom's do that and such.)

Once we're back home from shopping, it's back to the grind. I wrote a little on my story last night and rounded out the ending. Now I'm digging back in toward the middle to try and shape it into something more coherent and chronological. I don't know how this story got so out of whack, but there's all this toned stuff on both ends of the story, and a very, very flabby middle. I gotta shape that up because as much as I hate it - I'm ready to be finished with this story. I still haven't met the word count yet, but the love scenes aren't in place yet, and I came up with a scene last minute that I decided to add in there. So, I guess I better break out the putty knife, post-its, hot glue gun, and spackle to fill in the gaps on this puppy. She's leaking from every angle. :/

Goal for the day: 2k words, or roughly 10 pages. I'm never going to finish this thing if I don't force myself to do it. What are those famous words? Stop being and author and write the d@mn book! That's exactly what I need to do. That way I can give the wip a rest, and start cleaning up the fallen angel story for submission. It's finished and staring at me from across the room. Oh, yes it is. I'd be full of happy skippy thrilled kinda joy if I managed to get that one out of the house before Xmas.

So there it is, my plans for the day. I hope you all have a far more exciting agenda. Happy Tuesday!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Kicking Off the Week

Winking ... what a flirt.


For once, I'm glad the weekend is over. Thankfully, Ike barely touched us. We got winds and rain and the lights flickered, but we were certainly fortunate not to have any major problems. Mini is a bit miffed that his sandbox is once again filled with water, but I assured him that we'll drain it. Our relatives in Texas are still without lights, though, and really I'm a bit surprised they haven't dropped in on us to stay for a while. However, when I talked to my aunt on the phone last week she was adamant about staying this time. No evacuation. They have their generator and bottled water, and she said the stocked the pantry. So far, they say they're doing fine. She's made of stouter stuff than I am, is all I can say. If I even get the vibe we're going to be with out lights and a/c, I'm booking a hotel.

This morning I've been busy bundling up prize packages for both the prize winners from here on my blog, and for Octoberfest at the Midnight Moon Cafe. I'm really excited about the goodies this year for the MMC. There are many authors who have generously chipped in and donated some wonderful promo items: bookmarks, bookflats, chap books filled with tasty excerpts and more. That, combined with the secret prizes we have in store, and I'm thinking this is going to be one fun celebration. I'm totally looking forward to it!

Speaking of MMC, this week we will have author Marta Acosta dropping in for a fantastic, new Midnight Brew Interview! And also, my moonmaid sister Cassandra Curtis is celebrating the release of her new book: Shifting Tides: Song of the Sea. It's available now from Amber Quill / Amber Heat

This past Friday Oldest came home and told me he's founder of the high school chess club. He arranged it with the principal, and I was shocked to hear that they'd been given a generous budget. Oldest was voted in as president of the club, and so everything has been abuzz about chess around the house. Dad called me over the weekend, trying to give me tips to relay to Oldest. Uh, Bobby Fischer, I am not. I think I've won 1 game of computer chess in my life, and it was a fluke. Anyway, we went to the store to get Oldest an inexpensive chess board to take hither and thither, and guess what? You have Hi-Ho Cherrio, Candyland, and Fact or Crap?, but not a single chess board. WTF?! I thought that was a staple in the boardgame department of any store? Apparently we're going to have to go to Toys R Us to pick one up. Unreal.

So I finally read Dark Side of the Moon by Sherrilyn Kenyan. It's been a while since I picked up one of her books. I've liked every one of her books I've read, and I don't really know when the series kind of derailed for me. I can't explain why, maybe I just got burned out, but I stopped buying her books for a while. It looks like I've missed some interesting stuff, so I'm going to have to go back and look at what I've missed. Anyway, I read Dark Side of the Moon from start to finish yesterday. I posted a review of sorts over at eHarlequin, but the meat of it is this: A fun, incredibly sexy book. Ravyn is hawt. *fans self* Geez, but I do love a tortured hero!

That's about it for me today. I need to break out the wip and get a bit of writing done. Happy Monday!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Bracing for Ike

Good grief but I'm ready for hurricane season to be over! We're bracing for the Ike. It's going to curl right up over Texas and cut a path right over the top of us. We've stocked up on water and canned goods, and we've taken all the chairs out of the yard in preparation.

Already the winds were gusty today, and there have been power crews all over the place cutting tree limbs away from the power lines. I took Mini over to his grandparents house, and when we got back I noticed the turtle sandbox cover - which is a large plastic "shell", not some teeny weeny thing, was blown across the yard. I picked it up and put it in the back of my Jeep so it wouldn't be blown away. :S

I've got the dishwasher going now, and I've been getting Mini's toys out of the floor and doing as many household chores as I can to prepare. If I have to be without lights, I prefer to be without lights in a clean house.

Today's picture is from hubby's cell phone. He took this while he was at work. Gusty winds indeed. In the background you can see a tornado funnel forming. Loooovely.

That's it for me! It's almost midnight. I'm going to go take over the living room for a while and read. Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Be My Shelter

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So it's been a quiet day. I put up a spoiler/review of sorts of awesome, fantastic, action from page 1, sexy, historical paranormal romance The Cursed One by Ronda Thompson up over at eHarlequin. God bless her, but she is missed. If you haven't read The Cursed One, I highly recommend that book. It is top notch got-werewolf sexy. Mm...mmm!

I spent the rest of the day avoiding writing reading and trying my best to get into a different book, this one a contemporary romance that I started reading several days ago. I'll admit I'm having a terribly hard time getting into this book - not because there is anything truly wrong with it, I'm just not a fan of books with a goodie two shoes heroine in them. Sure, I like good gals, but "she who can do no wrong" heroines grate my nerves after the first few pages. And this one is overkill. Do you know what kind of heroine I'm talking about?

I'm very respectful of other writers, and I understand the hard work and heart that goes into writing a book. It takes a lot to set me off on the whole Mary Sue thing. But I do have my breaking point. I'm talking that heroine who is ALL OF THESE THINGS at one time: hardworking yet poor (and refuses to accept any kind of help/charity, has a brilliant job (even though she's dead broke or making no money), is taking care of someone /or someone depends on her in a way she can't and wouldn't dream of refusing. She is adorably cute and/or supermodel gorgeous and yet she's completely unaware of it, is world-wise and assured of her own future (she's only 19) - oh, and she acts and dresses like an old maid with the modesty of a Victorian virgin. She also has a tendency to get her knickers in a twist over everything a man says to her, and yet is somehow blind to the fact that the one man she is planning to marry doesn't love her and/or is using her for personal gain of some kind. And of course, she is then paired with the crotchety, "I'm snarly and need no one" hero, who is her boss/ex-lover/secret enemy of some family member. And when she first meets him, she somehow manages to look past the fact that he's a TOTAL DICK and falls madly in love with him.

*sigh* This girl doesn't need a man, she needs hardcore lessons in reality. She probably also needs to be on medication.

Yes, the book is that bad. And no, I'm not naming titles or authors. I'm trying to read it due to the fact I bought the darn thing, but I swear to the powers that be, if this girl ends up with a secret baby on top of all this "sweet and innocent" clutter, I may just boycott this line of books altogether - save myself the torture of stumbling across another gem like this one. Anyway, I'm going to make one more attempt to read this book, and if it doesn't work this go around, it's going into the donation bin.

So enough, ranty-rant. That wasn't my intention when I came on here, but I guess that's what reading a bad book can do for you. Sort of like those "side-effects of hunger" commercials. Remember those?

Speaking of Hunger, I watched that today. The Hunger. I'd forgotten just how cool and ahead of it's time that movie really was. Hm...

I've been watching the updates on Hurricane Ike. The last storm that passed through this area ended up washing heavy winds and rains over us with the spin off. I've got my fingers crossed that we won't have any more power outages. :/

It's almost midnight and I'm superdy tired. So off to bed with me. I hope you all had a snazzy Thursday. Let the official count down to Friday begin!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Daydreaming

Blogger hates me. I swear it's true. I couldn't log in yesterday, and today I'd be posting and it would log me out. *sigh* Nevertheless, here I am, determined to rewrite this because I'm just tough like that. :P

My new comp arrived today. Woot! I setup the biometric fingerprint scanner, registered my Office software, and now I just need to get everything connected to the net to get everything else registered so I can give it a test spin. I tinkered around with Word 2007 earlier today too. Boy, now that looks different... Hopefully it doesn't have the same track changes glitches as the 2003 version.

If blogger doesn't give me the royal spank tomorrow, I'll post some pics of the new preciousssss. Sometime this weekend, I'm going to set up everything - including the new printer/copier, and give it all a thorough workout. Muahahahaha! *evil hand wringing*

As for the wip, I estimate that I have about 40 pages left before finish my full length contemporary, so that's moving right along.

That's it for me. I better get some writing done while the house is quiet. I hope you all had a happy hump day!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Monday, Writing, Chores, and Books

Yamdrok-Tso Lake on Mt Kangabala


For once I'm actually glad it's Monday. It wasn't the best weekend ever, for sure, and gosh all the visitors. I usually like the weekend visits, but I just wasn't up to it this go around. I tried to put on a brave face for it, but I'd been crying on and off Sunday afternoon, and just when I'd think we had everyone out of the house, someone else would come over. I finally just grabbed a book and hit the couch, let everyone come and go as they pleased. It was just too much to keep up with, and besides, I don't think anyone noticed anything amiss.

On a lighter note, I've completely caught up with housework and a few other bits and bobs. The laundry is caught up, the dishes are washed. I dusted the house top to bottom, changed the bed sheets, cleaned up my desk (!!! take deep even breaths, everyone !!!), updated the MMC website, burned off a CD for a friend, bundled at least a dozen bookmark packages, and boxed a set of goodies to send off to the Houston Conference. Oh yeah, and I have supper going in the crockpot, too. Spinach stuffed chicken. It's smelling really yummy in the house, so I'm gonna have to figure out some lunch soon, or I'm liable to attack supper before it's time. :P

Yesterday I finished reading Summer by the Sea (Susan Wiggs). A very good rich boy/poor girl fall in love against his family's wishes story. Rosa Capoletti, the heroine of the story, is worth reading about all on her own. She's fun, real, and quirky, without being over the top. Yep, I love her to bits.

I haven't been a Susan Wiggs fan very long, but I'm slowly bringing myself up to speed when it comes to her books. She couldn't get a flight in time to be part of the 2008 Written in the Stars conference, so I missed hearing her speak earlier this year. I hadn't heard of her at the time, but she sent out books to everyone that had been in attendance afterward. I thought that was really nice gesture of her, to say the least, and when I got a copy of her book Dockside, I made it a point to read the book. There is something to be said for sending out a sampler, authors. We readers do appreciate that, and in this case, it made for a new devoted reader. I probably wouldn't have picked up Dockside on my own because I lean toward paranormal romances, and I would have missed out on a really good book. Dockside is another good contemporary romance; I loved it. I've read a two other Susan Wiggs books since, and her latest book "Just Breathe" is on my TBR list.

Next on my reading list is The Boss's Unconventional Assistant, by Jennie Adams. (Harlequin Romance Aug 08 #4043) But before I can reward myself with another book to read, I have to get a little writing done. This morning I added 1k to my wip, and I hope to double that before the day is out. It's a full length contemporary targeted toward Harlequin American, and I'd like to have it finished sometime in October. Writing roughly 5k a week should put me spot-on to making my goal.

Switching gears to a completely different subject... I've got this grand idea in my head that I want a breadmaker. Me. Bake bread. Aha. This will go one of two ways: it will be a stroke of evil genius, and I'll end up baking more bread than Sara Lee, and driving everyone nuts with gifts of fresh baked bread. OR, I will buy a breadmaker that will leave me wishing I hadn't. That will leave me trying to find a friend or relative to pawn the thing off on *cough, cough* I mean, to give the breadmaker to. Either scenario fits a typical Cora "grand scheme" model. Hm...

So that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Monday, better than Sunday. I hope you all have a pleasant day. :*)

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Chancellor Boudreux 10/28/94 - 9/06/08

The house feels really empty tonight. Earlier today we had to take our oldest furbaby, Chancey-bear, to the vet. We noticed on Friday he didn't seem to be feeling too well. He wasn't going to his water/food dishes, and he didn't scratch to go out. He found a cozy spot next to my computer and stayed there last night. And when it came bedtime, hubby and I realized he couldn't seem to pick himself up off the floor.

I'd been bringing him food and water to where he was laying, but he had very little interest in it. So this morning, hubby called my dad and with Oldest's help, they all loaded him into my dad's truck and took Chancey to the vet.

I had a bad feeling then, I mean, Chancey's no spring chicken and he's had a few strokes this year. It didn't really surprise me when they said he needed to be put to sleep, but good grief there is no way to prepare yourself for it.

The vet said that his back legs had just given out due to his age. Nerve and muscular deterioration. I thought maybe arthritis, so this was a heavy blow for me. It just came on so quickly, I just figured what else could it be?

So there was my shocker for the day. When I woke up this morning I had no idea I would have to have my oldest furbaby put to sleep.

The hubster brought Chancey home when he was about 8 weeks old. He'd found him wandering along the side of the road not far from the garbage bins where we're pretty sure someone dumped him off. He was a fat little ball of fur - with the mange, of all things. He had a huge, raw scar across his belly where it looked like he'd been bumped by a car.

Hubby brought him in and said, "Hon, can we keep him?" I wasn't too thrilled with the idea. We'd just moved into a tiny little two bedroom place, and I didn't think it was really a good idea to have a pet at that point. Of course, he took his case to Oldest, who at the time was 3 years old. Of course Oldest immediately got attached to Chancey, and well...darn it, but I'm a sucker for cute. I told hubby, "Ok. He can stay. But you guys have to promise to take care of him." They gave me the scout's honor - they'll feed, bathe, brush, de-flea him, etc. After all that, hubby corrals our new puppy in the kitchen and starts dishing out kibble from a bag of dog food I had no idea we had. "Whew! I'm so glad you said, yes," Hubby tells me, "because I've already taken him to the vet for a dip, worming, and shots."

It wasn't easy coming up with a name for the little guy. He went without an official name for about a week and a half, until Hubby sat down to watch a few rented movies - one being Hard Target, one of the movies with Jean-Claude Van Damme. Anyway, Chance Boudreux = the character name for Jean-Claude. No kidding. Some how or another I allowed him to pin that name on a soft, highly intelligent little ball of fur, and it stuck.

Of course, over time, like any other mommy duty, I ended up the one feeding, bathing, brushing, de-fleaing Chancey. But I didn't mind it. He was part of the family, after all. Truthfully, like one of my kids. While Hubby worked and Oldest was at school, I'm home working and the dogs are with me. They're my company while I'm washing dishes, or folding clothes.

Needless to say, it's been a devastating, emotionally draining day. Out of our four family pets that transferred with us from that little two bedroom place to the house we live in now, there is only one furbaby left, and he's a senior doggy as well.

Hubby, Oldest, and Dad brought him home wrapped in a comforter, and buried him in the side-yard next to our two little old lady dogs. I haven't been out there to see the spot yet. I can't bear it at this point.

Chancey has been with us for 14 years. He's lived from one 3 year old (Oldest) to another (Mini), and it feels odd not to have him here now. Rest in peace, my sweetiepup.

Book Giveaway and Life in General

Lonely Companion


We're home again, and things have finally gotten back into some semblance of order after Hurricane Gustav. The lights were off until Wednesday afternoon late, and due to all the wet weather and getting stuck in the alternating hot/cold weather we now have a cold going around the house. All of us have it - at once! It's got to be a family record or something, but anyway, I digress....

There is a lot going on here at Casa de Zane. I've been hard at work on my upcoming October freebie for the Midnight Moon Cafe, as well as preparing prizes and cool contests for our Octoberfest celebration. You do not want to miss us this October. Just looking through our calendar of events thrills me - this party is going to rock!!

I have a lot of new projects on the table. First there is the October freebie, but I also have a new Werekind novella wandering about in the submission wilderness that I hope to hear back about in the next few months. I'm also polishing a fallen angel story and trying to get it ready for submission by November. And last but not least, I'm working like a mad woman to polish and patch what I hope will that will by my first full length contemporary romance. I'm hoping these projects will round out my 2008 writing year.

On with the contest news!

The Clearing out The Bookshelf Contest is at an end. Thanks to everyone who entered on the blog and through email! All your names have gone into my magical name drawing ball cap, and with no further ado, I'll pick some winners. *drum roll*

First Prize (winner will receive five books and a motherload pack of bookmarks) goes to:

Alyse!

Second Prize (winner gets a free book and a HUGE pack of bookmarks and cards) goes to:

Gautami Tripathy!

Third Prize (winner gets a free book and a HUGE pack of bookmarks and cards) goes to:

Cathy McDonald!

Congrats to all the winners!
*confetti* *confetti* *confett*

Please email me at corazane @ aol.com (without the spaces) with Book Prize Winners in the subject line. Please include the snail mail address where you'd like your prize packages to be sent.

A special thanks to everyone who participated! I will be running a contest similar to this in November, and will announce it at the Cora Zane Newsletter Group and here at my blog, so please keep checking back for another chance to win!


That's about all the news for me today. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Blogging From A-R-K

So, we evacuated to Arkansas this morning and I can honestly say God Bless Air Conditioning. We stayed home through the heaviest part of the storms last night, no lights, no a/c, just pacing around the house and trying to stay cool and not bite each other's heads off. It was absolutely miserable.

We had the front door and the windows open, and the winds were strong, strong, strong! But the house stayed stifling hot because they'd whip forward then switch directly sharply and swirl away from the house. You could hear the pressure poppin in the walls, but you couldn't catch a breeze. We have a clear, plastic wind spiral hanging from a hook between the den and the dining room and it didn't even sway. Not even a trickle of wind.

Water managed to sweep into the house, however. We toweled up as much of it as we could, but when I get home I'm going to have to take everything out of Mini's room and our bedroom closet so I can thoroughly mop the floors. Joy, joy, joy...

Anyway, come morning I told hubby there was no way I was staying in that mess until Wednesday night/Thursday morning for the lights to come back on. I slept for an hour at most last night, and look about as appealing right now as Nick Nolte's mug shot. Hubby didn't play around. He got online and booked us a room in El Dorado through Orbitz then we literally packed up in 10 minutes time and left. I'm soooo glad we didn't have to travel terribly far from home.

So there it is: Us. Gustav. Evacuation. Arkansas.

I may not be back in to post for a few days, but rest assured everything is fine and the contest is still on. If you need contest details, just scroll down a few posts and read the Official Rules.

That's it for me today. I'll be back as soon!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Slammed by Winds

The hurricane hasn't reached us yet, but we're being slammed by high winds and rain. So far so good, though. We have power still. *knock on wood*

Hubby got word today the plant is closed down until Wednesday, and area schools are closed until Thursday, so we have a house-full here. I've been working on a wip on and off throughout the day as my back allows, and I'm red penning a few chapters I'm getting together an urban fantasy/paranormal contest entry. I hope to send the contest entry out later tonight.

The book giveaway contest is live! The post from yesterday (Sunday, August 30th) kicks it all off, and if you've posted there, your name has gone into the hat for a chance to win! I'll be accepting entries ALL WEEK. All you have to do is post here on the blog between now and Friday. And if you can't post to blogger, never fear! You may email an entry to me, and your name will be tossed the hat! For the complete rules, see the Gearing Up For Gustav post below! *thumbs up*

Sometime this month I should hear back about the status of my latest Werekind novella. If you like my werewolves, hang tight! The manuscript is released into the wild, and as soon as I find a home for it, I'll be posting about it here, on my www.corazane.com website, and at the Midnight Moon Cafe!

Off for now! I'm going to go watch The Weather Channel to keep up with the latest hurricane news.