Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Mini woke me up at 7 am and said, "Let's bake the cake, Mimi!". Yesterday I bought everything needed to make him a special Halloween cake - one that wouldn't cost me 11 dollars for one of those dinky, itty bitty, single later cakes from Wally World he's been going nuts over.

Well, I didn't expect to be called to duty so early. I rolled over and looked at the clock and I tell ya, baking was the last thing on my mind. I promised him we would fire up the oven at 9, or at least after I'd had two cups of coffee. Whichever came first.

I think Mini had fun baking. He wanted to DUMP food coloring in, so I had to reign in the mad kitchen science before it got out of control. The actual cake turned out the perfect shade of pumpkin orange, but we didn't quite reach that glowy, toxic green color I hoped for the frosting. We came pretty close, though. After that, of course, we added the requisite spiders and bats and spell dust (green sugar crystals). Mini had to have a bat, so as soon as we were finished I took pictures before the first instance of carnage happened. Oldest will probably knock a huge dent in this thing once he gets in from school.

Tonight I'm taking Mini a few places to trick or treat, and I imagine once we're back home we'll watch something like Monster House or the Nightmare Before Xmas - at least until Mini goes to bed. I have a few horror movies sitting on the DVD shelf still in shrink wrap. For shame....

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Randomness in Action

See the belly? I'm already plotting my New Years resolution for 2009. My goal next year will be to get my sexy pre-kids belly back. And when I do, darn it, I'm getting my belly pierced! I can't quite figure out when I came to this grand decision, but it's been on my mind since at least August. My hubby thinks I'm nuts, but I'm absolutely serious. (Abs - olutely?) *_* Must stop before I hurt myself....

So, anyway, I ditched AOL yesterday. This all started when they decided to get rid of AOL Journals and the homepages. My very first blog was on AOL, and chronicled the last year of my 20s. I happened to get pregnant with Mini that year, so the entire blog became a pregnancy journal, and after that, a blog of Mini's milestones. So, I panicked when they decided to ditch that.

I went through a mad scramble to transfer those entries so they wouldn't be lost. After two days of hair pulling, I managed to get them tranferred to Blogger (a different blog than this one), and I thought - whew! All done.

Wrong answer. I got an email Tuesday stating that AOL pictures is also going the way of the dinosaur as well. I thought, Cripes, what the heck am I paying $30.00 a month for if AOL doesn't have groups, doesn't have photo storage, doesn't have blogs, and no web builders? What DO they have? The answer is nothing. Nothing but an enormous monthly rate that I am no longer willing to pay. Now that I have wireless net, I can't even use my old AOL bookmarks - so the only thing I have is their free service email.

I gave in yesterday and called them about disconnecting my eBillit service, which allows AOL to charge their fee to my phone bill. Now, I've been with AOL for 6 years. The lady on the phone said, "Wow, you've been with us a long time. Listen, I can cut your fee to $11.00 a month if you'll say with AOL. That way you can keep AOL dialup as a backup service, and you can still use our virus protection and spyware stopper."

Um. Just for the record, I have NEVER used their spyware stopper or their anti-virus. On top of this, after 6 years of paying $30.00 a month for net service, having them suddenly drop this to eleven dollars PISSES ME OFF. It tells me that they KNOW their service is overpriced. But wait! It gets even better!

I tell the lady I've never used their services for computer protection, and I just want to have everything taken down to the free level - the only thing I want is to keep my free email addresses, because I've been using them for so long.

She tries to tempt me even further by saying she can give us net service for $4.99 a month - but it won't have backup dial up.

"No offense," I tell this lady. "But maybe if I hadn't been paying over 4xs the cost of standard service - which I now realize I've been doing for YEARS - I would consider keeping AOL. However, I have no need for a service that is nothing more than a gateway to the internet. I have that already. It's called AT&T. Please just disconnect my paid for service."

She finally did it, and I'm still in shock over the amount of money I've paid AOL over the years: 30.00 x 72 months = 2,160.00 for internet service with NO FEATURES.
Jeez, Louise!

On a lighter note...I had to make a run to the post office and Wally World today. We were out of milk, amonng other things, and I always dread going to WW because Mini wants something special every time we go.

Since it's so close to Halloween, WW has this big display of Halloween cakes and cookies near the front door. Mini sees the cakes - which are done up like silly faces - and he goes NUTS. Everytime he sees them, he asks for a cake. Well, I check the price and they must be kidding - 11.00 for single layer cake with eyes on it. *_* I asked Mini if instead he would like me to make him a special Halloween cake.

He responded with ear-splitting glee.

So tonight I shall don the oven mits and bake a fancy Halloween cake. I bought these little bat candy stick-ons, and food coloring. I'm going for toxic glow green frosting. Muahahahaha! It's gonna be a mess, but I supposed it's ok since kids are surface washable. Meh. Whatever comes of it, I promise to take pics of the cake.

That's it for me today. Oldest will be home soon and I need to go scrub Mini's chalk art off the living room carpet. *sigh* I hope you're all having a snazzy Thursday!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

NW Houston Conference Shots and Low Batteries

Worst.Picture.Ever. What can I say? I promised pictures and as bad some may be, I'm going to deliver!

As soon as hubby and I arrived at the hotel, I had to run up to the room and freshen up for the Meet and Greet.... change clothes, put on makeup, and those too-tight boots of death that I will never ever wear again.

OH! And I had to test the camera, hence this little gem of a picture (top left). As soon as I took it out the bag I realized the camera was low on batteries. Would the flash even go off? I did a test to find out. From the heavy-lidded, drunken look on my face - as you can tell, it worked. So, yes, I did just flash myself at close range with my own camera in that picture. Because I'm snazzy like that. :P





The agent panel

Lynda Krzywicki (holding mike) is a member of the NW Houston RWA Chapter, and is the conference coordinator. That lady never stopped moving the whole time. She's a wonderwoman, I swear. Next in the picture - (semi-standing, in red jacket) Carolyn Grayson of the Ashley Grayson Literary Agency, (standing) Becca Stumpf of the Prospect Agency, and (sitting) Michelle Grajkowski of Three Seas Literary Agency.

As I said in a previous post, I got caught at the back of the room at the conference, so I don't think there is a single picture in there without catching the back of someone's head. For shame! But if you can overlook that, I think you can get a pretty good idea....





Here Michelle Grajkowski is answering questions about Three Seas Literary Agency. No one else stood up to speak, so I couldn't get great pictures without getting up and moving around. I didn't want to interrupt, so I stayed put.


Key speaker, author Patricia Kay gave a wonderful workshop series on hooks, scenes, sequels, structure, and prologues. She gave great advice on writing a book that doesn't fizzle and hooks the reader in the first five pages. I took a heap of notes - six pages. I learned a lot about technique I didn't know, and when I came home I ordered Scenes and Structure by Jack Bickham, which was on her recommended book list print out.


Avalon Books author and NW Houston RWA President, Cheri Jetton. She was the chair for the contemporary series category. This woman is a peach! ^_^


This is from the award ceremony. One of the winners comes up to accept a red envelope from Cheri Jetton. Melinda announced the winners - she's there standing to the right.

Those are a handful of shots to give an idea of what went on. For pictures of the Friday night Meet and Greet, you can go here: http://www.northwesthoustonrwa.com/html/after_conference.html

BTW, if you click to view the Meet and Greet pics, prepare to be tempted by shots of buffet tables. Just sayin'. Oh, and that's me in the black and white striped sweater. In one pic I'm drinking a cup of iced tea and talking to Melinda, who was introducing me to a few people. You can also kinda sorta see my face in picture 4 (down from the top), where Melinda is standing on the stairs to take a pic. I stayed in that one spot for most of the night, eyeing the brownies with Michelle Grajkowski. :P

Fun times, fun times.... I can't wait to do it again (in Shreveport) in March!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

It's official, the hubster and I have now been married for 18 years. We married very young, so the general family concensus was that we'd be together 2 years then split. Well, raspberries to them, eh? ^_^

I'm trying to get caught up on things here at home, but I do plan to attend a fun, Halloween tarot chat tomorrow night. It's open to any interested parties, so feel free to drop by.

Tuesday, October 28, come chat with us at the Midnight Moon Cafe chat pit: http://midnightmooncafe.com/chat .

Cassandra and Cora will be giving impromptu tarot readings* for the new moon (as time permits), in addition to talking about everything paranormal. The event will last from 9pm Eastern U.S.A. (8pm Central) until midnight.

Door prizes will be awarded, including one lucky attendee who will win the book, Tarot for Love and Relationships by Eleonore Jacobi. So mark your calendar and plan to stop by the chat pit this Tuesday night.

*Please note that tarot readings are for entertainment purposes only.


Tonight I plan to stay up and watch Event Horizon. I *heart* that movie. I know it's mindless, sci-horror schlock, but I love it all the same. I've wanted to pick up the DVD for a long time, but missed it all those years ago when it first came out. Well, well... today while grocery shopping guess what I found on the $10 rack? My favorite oogley boogley space horror! Woot! Perfect for a Halloween horror movie binge.

I hope you've all had a great Monday. Cheers!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Home From Conference

I'm finally home! *kicks off shoes* Hubby and I did the weekend run to the Houston RWA conference. It's a six hour drive one way - and OMG - Houston traffic is a thing of nightmares. A thing of legend! No kidding. Brave folks travel the freeways there. Nuff said.

I thought we would never find the hotel, and after about 2 trips on the freeway during 5 o'clock rush hour, we stopped at a gas station and I mapped an alternate route. Melinda called us on our way, and managed to help us nav the rest of the way in. We made it there around 5 or so, and I ran upstairs long enough to freshen up, change, and put on a little makeup. I rode to the Friday night meet and greet with Melinda - who is simply a fabulous lady.

The meet and greet was a blast. I met a few of the contest chairs, including Cheri Jetton - who was over my category. She's also the chapter president, I believe, but the really cool thing is she is such a sweet lady. One of those people you meet them and you like them right away. She is so very charming!

I also met Jennifer, Jody, Angela, and Chuck - NW Houston chapter members. They were such a hoot to hang out with. LOL! Jennifer and Chuck were hilarious! Chuck asked me if I was a contest slut. ROFL!!!! ^_^

I started out standing with Melinda in throughway between the kitchen and the dining room, but when traffic started flowing through there and she moved on to the dining room, I moved to stand in this little cozy, out of the way area beside this buffet table. Well, I ended up in the corner, unable to leave it - lol - but I had great company. Jody, Angela, Jennifer, and Michelle Grajkowski from 3 Seas Literary Agency soom formed a small chit chat circle there and we all laughed til it hurt.

While there, I also briefly met Lynda Krzywicki who organized the conference, and Becca Stumpf from the Prospect Agency. I'm usually very shy, but even with speaking to them for only a short time, it was all very comfortable. Like talking to people you've known for a long time. I had a great time just hanging out, talking to everyone - they all seemed so down to earth. We were all having such a good time talking, we stayed longer than the meet and greet was scheduled to run. ^_^

The next morning, hubby drove me to the christian community center. We followed Melinda, who was driving the agents and editors to the function. I had no idea where to go, so I walked with them to the far building, and then we split ways - I had to go through registration. Most of the seats were already taken by the time I arrived, so I settled into a seat at the back.

Patricia Kay was the speaker, and she did an awesome workshop on Scenes, Sequels, and Prologues. I took a heap of notes, and saved every single worksheet. Great stuff. A little brutal at one point - lol - but make no doubt, I learned a lot.

Toward the end, they announced the Lone Star Writing Competion winners. I'm happy to report that my novel Love Fool won first place in my category - contemporary series. Woot! One of the judges, Faith Black from Avalon books, also requested the full.

I still have score sheets to sort through and analyze. I plan to take them out and go over them tomorrow. I'm going to use my lowest scored sheet - which is an 86 or 87, YIKES! - and go over it with a fine tooth comb. That judge wrote down tons of useful advice in the margins, and added a typed comments sheet to the mix stating my various strengths and weaknesses. Tough love, yes, but very cool. It's the score sheet that has to be the most invaluable aspect overalls - if I'm able to correct even one mistake that will strengthen my writing, and it will have been worth that initial YIKES moment ten times over.

So that's it for me. I have some pics from the conference, but honestly I'm too tired to fight with resizing them tonight. I'll add them to facebook sometime tomorrow. ~_^ I hope you all have a snazzy weekend!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

when the sun needs to hide

I wrote a bit long post this morning, and when I attempted to publish it, Blogger ate the entire thing. I checked my drafts and low and behold - the post! Only when I clicked on it, it was empty save for the picture. *shakes fist at Blogger*

So I ran errands today, did a heap of laundry and will hit the rest of it once hubby is home from work. No sense bothering with the house until everyone is in bed, because I live with three males who can't pick up after themselves and I'd just have to clean all over again in the morning - when there isn't going to be much time.

I have my mapquest bits ready, all my clothes set out. Mini's clothes are ready to drop in a bag. Oldest is packed as well - I hope. I must go check. He's pouting because I strictly forbade him to go on a DnD weekend with friends this week. It's hard enough getting my mom to watch the kids, if she has to run hither and thither to pick up Oldest and drive him around, she likely won't do it period. So, no go, kiddo. You can do that next weekend when everything is back to normal.

That's about it for me. I need to get supper going so no one starts sniffling, saying I no lufs them. In case I'm not back on here for a few days, I promise I'll have lots of pics to post on facebook come Monday. Until then, I hope you all have a happy weekend!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Countdown to Houston

This morning, hubby sent a text message that read: Two days to go!

My response: OMG, I M so ready.

Mentally, physically ready anyway. I still have packing to do, and tomorrow I have to get all the laundry caught up and the bills sent out for the week. Thursday is looking like it's going to be a busy, busy day for me.

My urban fantasy story is moving along nicely. I still don't have a title for it yet, but it's my major project right now. It's also my wip "baby". I've been tweaking the plot a bit, moving elements around to try and balance it out. Right now it's a bit "running" heavy, and I'm trying to fix that. I need a little more one-on-one conflict.

Aside from that, I'm quite excited about this story. It's very dark, but at the same time it's fun and a little dangerous. I'm really looking forward to feedback on this one once I get it out to my crit partners, although I still have a long way to go before I get it to that point. This one is set up to be full length, but at this point I'm no where NEAR 90k. We will see....

Anyway, that's what I've got. Nothing too terribly exciting going on right now. Hope you all have a happy Wednesday! ~_^

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gearing Up For Houston

I missed blogging yesterday! After weeks of waiting for our checks to arrive and fearing Postal Guy X put them in the wrong mailbox, they finally found their way here. It's safe to say I had a major bill paying expedition to go on.

On top of that, I've been trying to get everything together for my parents and the kids as well. Hubby and I will be taking off this Friday for three fun filled, child-free days to relax, and get our anniversary groove on.

While in Houston, I'll be going to the NW Houston Writers' conference on Oct. 25th. So if you're going and you see me there, please say HI! This is going to be my last conference for the year, so I plan to take tons of notes at the workshops and just overall have a great time. Oh, and by the way - NO ONE is safe from my camera. Not now, not ever! I have new batteries in the Fuji and I plan to use every scrap of space on the memory card. So prepare to smile! *cheese*

That's about it for me today. I need to get working on these plot cards. I hope your Tuesday is a snazzy one!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Heart Spell is available now - free download

Heart Spell is available now!

This brand spanking new erotic paranormal romance available at the Midnight Moon Cafe. It's a completely free download. No need to register for anything, no need to fill out any form - no strings attached!

Disclaimer: as with all my romance titles, Heart Spell contains adult material (graphic sex and language), so you MUST be 18+ to download. By downloading any ebooks from the Midnight Moon Cafe, you are stating that you're of legal age to be in possession of adult material.

Visit www.midnightmooncafe.com/downloads to get your copy. It's available in both .pdf or .lit formats.

Happy reading! ~_^

Friday, October 17, 2008

Heart Spell - available Saturday Oct. 18

Heart Spell

Available as a free download Saturday, October 18th 2008 through the Midnight Moon Cafe.

About Heart Spell:

Presley isn't about to give up her comfortable house or her small town gift shop, not even for love. She's been avoiding her hot, coven-appointed lover, Kinkaid, determined to keep her slow-paced "mortal lifestyle" in tact.

Kinkaid is an immortal used to getting what he wants, and he's grown tired of waiting for his beautiful, stubborn Presley to accept tradition and take her place at his side. He's cooked up an ingenious plan to unite them once and for all.

Getting Presley to Balfour Manor is the easy part. Now he must convince her to complete a sensual ritual that will bind them both forever with the power of the Heart Spell.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


This free ebook will be "officially" available for download Saturday, Oct. 18th through the Midnight Moon Cafe website. http://www.midnightmooncafe.com/

Links will also be posted on the MMC Blog as well. http://midnightmooncafe.blogspot.com/

Look for the thumbnail cover in the MMC Blog sidebar starting tomorrow.

**This erotic romance ebook contains graphic sex and language. You MUST be 18+ to download and read. This book is intended for Adults Only!



A writer's side note:


Back in August I took a poll both here at the Intimate Thoughts Blog and at the Cora Zane Newsletter Yahoo Group (see sidebar for link). I listed every possible paranormal theme I could think of as well as contemporary romance, and allowed readers to choose the theme for this year's Halloween celebration story. The results were very, very close between most categories: most of them tied right down the row. But one theme quickly raced to the head of the pack: Witches and Spellcraft.


Heart Spell is the final result. I hope you all enjoy Presley and Kaid's story as much as I enjoyed the challenge of writing it. I appreciate the time you took to voice your opinion. Best wishes and happy Friday!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Beware - Blogzone Evilness

Is it really Thursday? *checks calendar* I went to bed before midnight last night, which is relatively early for me. I did a bit of laundry, worked up a 5 page synopsis - outline for a new book, then called it a night. I tell ya; I slept like a rock.

Today Mail Person X screwed up the mail - again. Our neighbors across the street gave us our mail. We still haven't recovered the mail from last week.

On a lighter note, the freebie will be released on Saturday. I'm still planning and arranging with my fellow moonsisters. I will be posting the official blurb tomorrow here at the Intimate Thoughts blog, and at my Cora Zane newletter group at yahoo. There is a link in the sidebar if you'd like to sign up.

So, last night I dropped by Portia Da Costa's blog and she had this cute little quiz thingy up that said she is angelic, and it was so nifty cool and all that, and I wanted to be angelic too!!!



How evil are you?


What?! Me, evil? It's because use AOL and I eat chicken, isn't it? *_* Hubster got Neutral, which surprised me a little. Ok. It surprised me a lot.

Oldest got just "Evil". So, it was determined he must be pure evil in training, taking back after ol' mom. He laughed about that then mentioned I can be pure evil when I get into a lather over something. *steely gaze* He said this while digging in the candy corn, and I told him, "Yeah, well, just remember I'm pure evil when you're coming to ask me for money and we'll get along just fine." :P

Kids....

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Daily Desk Chair Dash

At some point everyday, there is a great desk chair dash to see who gets in it first - me, or Mini. Of course, since I spend more time IN the chair than Mini, he always wins. I'm, well, slow in a mom-can't-run-for-jack kind of way.

Then again.... Mini, poor Mini. You don't yet realize mass always wins. And ticklebugs. *wiggles fingers* Ticklebugs always win too. The chair will.be.mine.

I'd just taken a few pictures when I turned to take the camera over to the computer - of course, Mini chooses that moment to do the chair dash. I never have a clue when the race is about to begin. Most of the time, I just turn and the race is on. Well, he beat me yet again, but this time I had the camera. So I captured the chair thief in action. That pose is what you call the "backward flop into chair seat" quick shot. It bests me everytime. See that knee? That is to keep Mimi's from sitting on him in the quick shot process. Smart kid. :P

Today I'm slacking like there's no shame. Mini and I have spun in the desk chair, colored and completed a few mazes, and jammed to some mp3s. I've toyed with a few plot ideas - wrote them in my idea folder - and I've fished through a handful of plotcards, looking over what I have down already for my UF.

This afternoon, I plan to sit down with my laptop in the den and read some of Holly Lisle's Scene workshop. If it's anything like her Create A Plot ebook - which I highly, highly recommend - it's going to be a wealth of information. If you're interested in checking out what books I'm talking about, go here: http://hollylisle.com/ She has a "holly shop" filled with e-courses for writers. From my experience, they are worth every penny. Even my hubby, who usually pays no attention to my writing habits, noticed a huge leap in my productivity. Nuff said.

That's it for me. I'll have more info about the freebie story this week - I promise! Soon I'll be posting the cover and blurb, and the free download will be added to the Midnight Moon Cafe site during the next update: www.midnightmooncafe.com

Happy hump day!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Leave it to the guys....

Behold our Halloween pumpkin. *sigh* It's sitting on the old well in our side yard. Hubby took Mini on a little outing on Sunday and brought back a pumpkin. I thought he'd carve something simple, and Mini would get a kick out of it.

Well, hubby made the pumpkin have these jagged teeth to start - it was easier to carve that way, or so he said. *men* Anyway, Mini bawled because the pumpkin was "scary", so hubby sawed all the jagged teeth off of it. Of course that made the mouth too big, and so he saved the whole lot by making a pukin' pumpkin.

Sigh.

Yesterday, I took Mini around in the wagon and HE told me the story. "See, Mimi, the punkin isn't scary anymore. He's silly!" Yes, indeed. And very likely intoxicated. Thank goodness, Mini's too young to know what that means. :P

I finished the clean up on my freebie story tonight, and sent the final bit off to my crit partner to check it over. She doesn't think I'm serious, but I mean it when I say she's like the Angela Knight to my Diane Whiteside. Rock on, sister! *victory fist* If everything goes according to plan, the freebie should be up in the next couple of days.

In the meantime, I'm taking a BREAK. Damn straight on that! I'm going to read a stack of smuttily delicious erotic romances I picked up at BAM over the weekend. The sale table was stacked with them, and I swear, I picked up one of each.

Anyway, I'm off to bed for now. It's after midnight on one clock, and almost to it on another. Eh. Good enough. Pleasant dreams, everyone!

Friday, October 10, 2008

We can dance, we can dance...

Photobucket


I got a confirmation email today that Pinkie laptop has arrived at Dell. Woot! At least someone postal knows what they're doing. I can't say the same for Mail Person X - one of the stand-in delivery people for our route. He has done it yet again - screwed up the mail all along this street. I have NO idea where our mail is, but we have the Bad-Neighbor's bundle. Tomorrow hubby will have to drive it down the street and see if they have ours. *sigh* I just hope no credit card offers or bills with our name on it arrive to those folks. This is seriously not the day and age for a postal worker to delivery mail to the wrong place. Hello? Identity theft?

On another note, I'm one chapter closer to having my freebie cleaned up for release. I'm sending chapter two to my crit partner tonight, and I'll be red penning the final chapter wherein lies all the big sexy. As soon as it's ready, it will be sent out to be glammed up (cover added), and pdf'ed and lit'ed. It won't be much longer now, I promise.

The homefront has been quiet today. Hubby got off work a bit early, and first order of business - cash the paycheck. He made it to the bank before closing, which is good news. The bad news is that he checked on the status of our new order of checks and found out they hadn't been ordered. Sheesh. I will be so relieved when Mercury goes direct.

Tomorrow between bouts of writing and rabid laundry folding, the fam and I are making a dash to Fun-roe. I MUST hit the bookstore. I don't have a copy of Dark Curse yet, and that is just...well, damn. That's gotta be fixed! There was another book I had on my hot list as well, but for the life of me, I can't remember what it was. I had a list by the computer, but it's gotten so cluttered up here since I began editing, it's a miracle I can find the comp itself.

Wah. I just noticed it's getting to be the nap-nap hour. I best get the Snickopea (Mini beast) into the bathroom so he can brush his teeth for bed. Gotta monitor him before he finds the step-stool. Silly beast licked the top of a Icy Hot tube earlier today thinking it was toothpaste. *forehead smack* But that's a story for another day....

Happy Friday, everyone! ^_~

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Time Baby 3

This morning I sent off a chapter of my freebie story to my crit partner for furious red pen action. I've got chapter two out now and I've been going over it, doing some initial markouts. It's pretty rough, but I'm still hoping I can get this one finished up by tonight.

In the meantime, I'm making a potato salad, and thawing out meat to cook for supper. Mini is markering up the phone book *sigh* and I'm counting the seconds until naptime. After staying up until well after two am, then getting up at six, I need a nap just as much as Mini does.

This weekend hubby is off for two days, so we'll probably drive hither and yon. I'm personally wanting to hit Office Depot, and I need to hit Dillards and pick up something conferencey to wear.

I wish there was something more exciting to post about, but it's fairly quiet today. At least there's no drama. There's a plus! I hope you all have a snazzy Thursday. ^_~

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Finally Some Peace and Quiet

Bear Creek at Townsend Park


So I'm no where done with my freebie yet, and I'm ready to pull some serious Wile E. Coyote moves on my family. I swear sometimes when I tell them I'm stressed out and have a deadline, they just break out all the drive-you-nuts, no-holds-barred, let's be-total-jerks antics that they can come up with.

The early mornign hours went smooth as glass. I cleaned up much of one chapter and then made lunch. I have no idea what got into Mini, but he goes on this sudden in-house toddler rampage. He destroyed the seat of his baby rocking chair in the den, what he usually sits in to watch TV. It had to be taken out to the shed. That was just the tip of the iceberg. And really, the behavior surprised me. He usually saves the toddler rampage for when he's very sleepy, at which point I make him take a nap. Well, he carries on so, I figure that's got to be it. He's tired. And thus the wrestling match begins....

I finally get him down for a nap, and mom and hubby call me at the same time. I have to take hubby's call first since there is only two times during the day when he can call. After speaking to him, then I have to play phone tag with mom. This is all good. I'm just glad I got Mini beast down for that nap.

Around this time, I get an email from AOL telling me how to salvage my blog posts from my original online journal that I started the year I got pregnant with Mini. I used it as sort of a milestone journal for my pregnancy and for Mini's first year. There are also things in there like pets passing away, and my grandmom's battle with breast cancer. Things I don't want to lose or forget. I've been sweating a bit over how I was going to save all those old posts, and AOL gave us a really small window to save everything. I think there are something like 500 posts I wanted to keep. Anyway, I got the email saying how to tranfer them over to blogger. Some of them I archived on this blog, and I hope to move the others here to the Cora Zane blog eventually. That way they will be all in one spot.

I had an awful time trying to get the tranfer to work. Namely because that blog was set to private. Of course AOL only gives half-arsed instructions on how to switch it over too. And there is no tech support for blogger. Yikes!

Well, while I am fighting to do the transfer, Oldest comes in from school and starts in with me about how hubby and I are holding him back - not letting him get a job, etc. etc. Inside I'm ready to bawl because I recognize that "spoiling for an arguement" tone.

Ok. We've been over this very thing with Oldest a million times. Up until this summer, Oldest has been too scared to drive a car and has claimed he doesn't want one. That changed in late August, however, when his friend who drives a convertible got Oldest into the excitement of helping him browse car lots to find a new truck. Suddenly Oldest is bitten by the bug.

I tried to sign him up for driver's ed before school let out last year, but he didn't want to go. I told him he'd have to if we're to pay for his car insurance because they really sock it to you here in Louisiana. Well, of course, he ended up not going, but NOW he wants a car and to drive - because he sees all his friends are driving, and I do understand. Fine. But the economy isn't as good as it was last year - and it wasn't sparkling then, if you know what I mean. Without the drivers ed, we don't get that insurance rate cut, and even if we did have a car to give him right now - we wouldn't be able to afford the insurance on it.

All Oldest hears is "no". And since he can't have a car right away, this is a great injustice to him - it means we are holding him back. He wants money, and he can't go out and get a part-time job because he doesn't have a car. This is another thing all his friends have, but he doesn't - the part time job.

So round two of the battle begins. Our stance on the part time job has been this - save it for summer. For the past two years, we have had to really push for him to perform at school, and we have actually worried about him graduating thanks to a poor gpa. I know he can do it too - he was in gifted and talented early on. It blows my mind how he can do these insane math problems in his head, no paper needed. He's got the smarts, but he just won't apply them where he needs to. That being the case, my main thing is to just GET THE KID GRADUATED, so that if he wants to either right after school or later, he can actually get into college.

The only reason why he has even half way applied himself this year is because we've told him if he wants that big graduation gift :: I will be taking him on a week-long trip to Japan after graduation :: he has got to keep his grades up. No ifs ands or buts. NO exceptions. Make the grades, or you don't go. No negotiations.

He wants the trip really bad, and I want to be able to take him. On the other hand, I know my son, and he is a single minded person. You cannot give him two tasks at once. He can't handle it. It's an ADHD thing. If he got a job right now, he'd obsess over the money, and school would suffer. Hence, the Save It For Summer! mantra.

Of course, that would mean he'd have to get his drivers license this coming summer. But still he doesn't want to take drivers ed. He has it in his mind he is going to have his friends drive him back and forth to work, or otherwise he's going to ride a bicycle 10 miles one way to make it to town - to work. It makes me tired just thinking about it. His head just isn't in the right place, and you tell him to focus on the end game, focus on school for now, and suddenly we are holding him back and the sulking ranting teen emerges. The very sulky ranting teen that I think I'd like to give the gift of a hard knock on the head with a really big stick.

So anyway, he stirs the argument and won't let it die. He goes to his room to pout, then comes back. Mini is up at this point, and when his big Bubba parks himself in the living room, he thinks it's playtime. Bubba is there for no other reason but to pout in my presence, so any time Mini approaches it's : leave me alone. I tell them both to get straight and be nice before I put them both in separate corners. And yet this pouting thing goes on for about two hours non-relenting.

It takes only one smarty remark to set me off. I can't even remember what it was now. But that really, OH, is that right, mother? tone of voice. Well, that really tweaked my Irish. I left my desk chair, walked to the edge of the couch where he was sitting and smacked him promptly on the calf of the leg. He sits up in total surprise, and I am sad to say I let the temper loose. Then again, I guess that was what it took to get the point across. I can't shit him $10,000 for a car, and I'm not going to let him get wrapped up in a job if he has to depend on friends to take him back and forth. They're friends, not his husbands, so get over it. His timing sucks for one thing, and so now that he's passed by the initial car-getting opportunity, he's going to have to wait until the finances get a bit better. We're not hurting, exactly, but we are having to seriously watch our spending. Fact of life.

This all went down right as hubster was coming in the door from work. Hubby grimaces coming in. And Oldest skulks to his room to pout it out. *calgon* Hubby knows better than to cross my path at this stage, so he takes Mini and goes to chat on the phone for a while. I think finally: peace! I sit down and work on my stuff for about twenty minutes before the guys all come back in. Oldest is in a much better humor now. Mini is spry. Hubby is bubbly. And now they are all under foot. Hm....

I put Mini in the bath, and hubby sits down to gossip with friends on myspace. After the bath, I explain to hubby I really need my writing time tonight, so I am going to take Mini on to bed. It's around 9:00 by this point, and he's okay with it. He says he's just going to sit up and browse the net a while. Cool beans.

It takes Mini over an hour to fall asleep. I come back into the den and it's a wreck - building blocks in the floor. The kitchen is also a wreck. Oldest is still awake - It's after ten-thirty on a school night. Hit the sack, kid! Hubby is at the table listening to prank phone calls online, and watching funny videos. They are all really loud. I suffer it, and go to get my laptop. I've already explained I need to get some things done. Now I have to clean up after everyone too. When hubby starts beckoning me to watch funny video clips, I tell him no thanks. It's twenty minutes to 11, and I still don't have my first damn chapter finished.

He doesn't understand this, and he says, "Fine. I'll just shut it all down, then." And he does. And promptly goes to bed without a "goodnight" or a kiss.

*sigh* Do you hear that? No? I thought not.

It's the sound of blissful PEACE AND QUIET after a day of family horror. It's a small wonder I have any hair left. Everything chore-wise will have to wait until tomorrow because I have a deadline. My challenge for this week is to see if I can keep my sanity in tact until the end of the week. *fingers crossed*

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Good Riddance, Pinkie!



Today I got up, stuck the return label on top of Pinkie's box and hauled her away forever and ever. After everything I've been through since early September, it seems an almost anti-climatic ending. I took her to the UPS Store, walked right up to the clerk - there wasn't even a line - and handed her across the counter. The clerk looked at the label, and said, "Looks good. Do you want a receipt with the tracking number?"

Abso-freakin-lutely.

Actually I said something more along the lines of : "Yes, sir, that would be great." And he printed up the ticket, underlined the tracking number, and handed it over to me. I left feeling like I'd slayed a might dragon. I climbed into the Jeep and right away called hubby and left him a voicemail, something along the lines of: I feel like doing the Cajun two-step right out here in the freaking parking lot. In the rain, and everything.

And thusly ends the life and times of one Pinkie laptop - or so I hope! It's now a matter of being actually credited the refund...but that's a chapter for another day.

I also got word they FOUND my conference registration stuff, so that's cleared up as well. I tell ya, the only way this day could get any better is if I get a call from Harlequin. At which point, I may break out the champagne and else-wise run amok.

I'm definitely going to sleep like a rock tonight.

There is just one small order of business to finish up - the freebie. I haven't been able to write effectively in days. Seriously, when I walked out of the UPS store, I felt like a curse had been lifted - I feel like I can write now.

I put in a new ink cartridge this morning to print the UPS label, and now it's time to reprint the New and Improved! version of the freebie wip. That will be my project for today/tonight. Clean up. Gotta get this thing out the door this week!

That's it for me. Hope you're all having a snazzy Tuesday! ~_^

Monday, October 06, 2008

Monday Headaches - UPDATED



So over the weekend, I sent in a complaint to the State Attorney General's office concerning all the mess I've been through with Dell. I still have Pinkie laptop on my dining table, in the box, and I've had 5 different people promise to either send someone to pick it up, or to send me a label to return it - no dice. I'm supposed to hear from someone this afternoon, and at which point I'll know where to go next. Once this last ditch effort is complete, if I still have the computer, I'll be going in to have a face to face with the lawyer. Really, it's ridiculous I should have to go through this. They'd be saving themselves and me a lot of time and money if they'd just send me the return label already and get the shit over with.

On top of that, I've had other Mercury retrograde fun-ness going on. I sat this morning at my desk and cried over all the shit that has fallen into my lap over the past month. I honestly can't keep this up. Days like this I wonder if the stress is really worth the writing. *shakes head* With so much heaped on me, it's very hard to concentrate enough to write when everything is falling apart around you.

Today has turned into another day of waiting, waiting, waiting with no end in sight.

UPDATE**UPDATE**UPDATE


Tomorrow I'm driving to Ruston to mail off Pinkie! *dies* I called Dell Sunday and talked to a guy named Hector. Once again, the computers showed that I did not have a return set up, so he supposedly put me in for the return email, and told me to wait 24 hours for it to arrive in my inbox. We did a test email to make sure I am receiving email from Dell - which I knew I was since they did send me an initial email confirming my order back in August, and then they emailed me in September to tell me my order was being delayed.

Anyway, I could never understand why I have to "wait" for an email. And now I know that there is no excuse for it. That is Dell's way of giving you the run around. Same thing with when they tranfer you. How do I know?

I tried to email Hector, and waited. Of course, I got no reply. That didn't suprise me. So, late this afternoon I called Dell and got regular tech support. I talked to a man named Ronish (roe neesh), who asked me all the usual questions: order number, name, and what's the problem.

I told him I was looking for someone in the resolutions department named Hector *lastnamewithheld*. And then I told him the very much chopped down story of what I've been through since September. The same story I've repeated close to twenty times to other tech support people. I then waited - as seems to be common custom - to be tranferred. Well, Ronish didn't transfer me. He looked up my stuff with me on the line with him. And I also mentioned Hector's name and explained he didn't give me an extention, but I was trying to reach him because we were supposed to have an email arrangment to get a return label.

He couldn't give me Hector's extension, however, he did a look up and he told me he saw that I'd indeed talked to Hector. He goes on checking with what Hector and I went over, then he says: "Well, I see the problem. Your return is activated, but no one has sent the email. I will take care of that for you right away."

*_* Really? I couldn't believe it. Honestly, I couldn't. I told him okay, thinking I'm going to have to go through all this again tomorrow. And I got off the phone feeling pretty defeated. He hadn't tranferred me, put me on hold, and the whole call lasted long enough for me to walk from the master bedroom to Mini's room and it was over. I put the phone in the cradle and at this point I'm trying NOT to cry. Mini comes romping in asked for Noggin, so I go into the living room and turn on Go, Diego, Go.

While reaching for the remote to turn up the volume, I hear the chime go off for my email. I kinda stopped and listened - I guess waiting to hear it happen again. I have no idea. I was hopeful, but positive it couldn't be from Hector, Dell, or Ronish.

I go into the dining room and nearly fainted. IT WAS THE SHIPPING LABEL!!!! *faint*

Ronish, man, you are one dashing hero of a tech support guy. Ladies, if Ronish is single, you better snap him up fast. He's got keyboard, phone and people skills, AND he knows how to satisfy a woman in UNDER FIVE MINUTES. Catch of the day, ladies, I'm telling you!

I'm only now coming down off a month long stress bender. I can't even describe it. I've had nightmares of being chased by flesh eating zombies (wait, are there any other kind?), of trying to walk through waist deep sand, and other remarkably insane brain rebellion dreams.

Maybe now I can actually get back to writing...

Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday Musings

SYRIA Palmyra (6)


Yesterday my parents came over and replaced a the stacked shipboards on the side of the house where it looked like we had termites gnawing at them. We couldn't afford a contractor, but my dad is a veteran construction worker and handy with a saw. Luckily, in this area you don't need a permit or inspector for home improvements. So dad and mom came over to bail us out before the cold weather sets in.

They did a fantastic job, everything is fixed right up and it doesn't look one bit like a patch job. In truth, the back section of the house looks better now than when we first bought the place. Dad said that given the way the house is made, there really isn't much to rebuild the outside if we wanted to. The lower half of the house is brick, but when he pulled the boards off the front to replace them, the brick proved to be facade rather than actual "brick house". Kinda surprised me, but knowing the previous/original owners, mmm....well, not really.

Now I just need to paint the new additions and go around the house to make sure we've found all the pulled nails lying on the ground. Tomorrow I'm taking them the money to cover their time and labor (we gave them money upfront to cover all the materials so it wouldn't come out of pocket for them). I will say this much: it pays to have someone in the family do it. Really it does. It would have cost us about 3x as much if we'd gone with a contractor. Next month, when we're back from conference and settled in again. I'm calling Terminex out to spray around the house. And to keep the back from getting in sad shape again, we're going to ask around to find out what it would cost us to have a patio poured out back.

Last night I totally stripped the first chapter off my freebie wip and rewrote it. I tend to start books with what I think is this "great idea", but when I get down the road a few chapters - usually around chapter 3 - I realize how clumped up and complicated the beginning is. This time was no exception. I need to put a sign over my desk to remind myself: simplify, simplify, simplify.

I'm reprinting everything today, and I do hope my print cartridge lasts, since I have all of $8.00 in my purse right now! When I did the first print up, I reordered a bunch of the scenes because I'd scrapped 2 extraneous characters - yikes! (Extraneous characters - who knew there was such a thing? *_*) If nothing else, it's one step closer to being lean and mean.

Now for the requisite Dell Update: Pinkie laptop is still here, on my dining table, waiting for UPS to arrive to take her back. I have called tech support so many times, just the thought of having to call them again fills me with dread. If they don't come and pick up my computer by Saturday, I think I'm going to seek a lawyer for legal advice. There really is no reason Dell should be making me jump through hoops over something so simple as a return.

On to brighter thoughts - It's Friday!!! *dance, dance* I hope you all have a good one!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Another Call to Tech Support

JACKSON MILL COVERED BRIDGE


Pinkie laptop is still here. I called this afternoon to find out why the UPS man hasn't arrived yet, and once again Dell wanted me to talk to a tech support guy. I told the lady straight, the computer is boxed and sitting on my dining table, I have work to do. I've been on the phone will Dell tech support since I opened the box. I WANT THIS COMPUTER GONE. End of story.

They made another arrangement for UPS to come pick up pinkie laptop. It could be Thursday or Friday before he gets here. And oh boy, he better get here, because if I have to make one more call to tech support....

I refuse to think about that. *clears mind* *harmonious thoughts*

I printed up my rough draft for my MMC freebie. I've worked on it a bit today, but I'm feeling a bit under the weather. It's very hard to concentrate with body aches, but at least I feel like I'm doing something by staring at the text. How much I'm accomplishing though remains to be seen. It's my goal to try and clean up and polish one entire chapter, but I think most of that will have to come tonight after Mini is in bed.

That's all for me. Gotta get up and fold socks. Ha! *glam*

Happy Hump Day, everyone!