Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ready for 2010




Come on 2010! Tonight I'll be drinking wine and waiting for the ball to drop. I want to officially ring in the New Year with a sigh of relief. Not that 2009 has been specifically horrible, but it hasn't been fantastic either. As it is, I'm ready to dust off my feet and move on.

I don't feel like I accomplished a damn thing I set out to do in 2009, although I did get a few things written and a smattering of stories contracted and published - one of them is still awaiting release. I don't know, it seems like this year had a lot to do with "spinning your tires" and not actually going any where. That's probably more frustrating than if I hadn't tried at all.

But tomorrow, I won't think on that anymore. I'll have a whole year ahead of me to...do whatever it is I'm going to do. Sounds promising, doesn't it?

This time of year, I usually post a recap of the things most memorable to me, but honestly, it's hard to call up a very big list.

1. Mini started preschool
2. Oldest entered his senior year
3. Divadog had puppies and Sassie was born
4. ...
5. um...
6. yeah, that too!
7. Didn't I buy a new computer earlier in the year?

Anyway, two years is plenty of time to do something worthwhile before the world ends in 2012. Yeah, I gotta stick around for the big one. You know, when Mayan juju takes over the world and all our cars, and lawnmowers and toasters become sentient and attack us? Oh, wait. That's not Mayan prophesy. I think that's a Stephen King novel. Maximum Overdrive? *_*

So 2010 is probably the beginning of a two year period, where the Mayan prophesy toasters plot world domination and destruction. Personally, I feel industrial pollution is doing a fine job dominating and destroying all on it's own, but good luck with that.

I'm smack dab in the middle of lesson three on my revision course. OMFG - I never would have found half the shit in this behemoth on my own. Right now, I feel like I'm mired down in an effing tar pit. I shall trudge on, even though this novel has more holes in it than a round of baby Swiss. *sob*

I'm still hoping I'll pull something out of all this. One thing for damn sure, this novel couldn't get any worse. I can see a good story in there, but it's like one of those clear plastic puzzle boxes - how do you get the prize out of there? ~_~'

One step at a time.... That's all I'm telling myself at the moment. I'm kinda hoping one day I look back at this and laugh. Maybe while toasters and blasting us all to hell I'll remember pulling my hair out over lesson three and think to myself "I'd rather be doing that slog work again".

Tomorrow at 9pm-10pm CST on Second Life, I'll be doing live, free tarot readings* for visitors who come by the Midnight Moon Cafe gypsy wagon in Gloomy Creek. Cassandra "Sharktooth" Curtis will be be doing readings earlier in the afternoon as well. So if you have the time, drop by and have your fortune told. :0)

Happy New Year's Eve, everyone! xoxo


*for entertainment purposes only

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009




We went to my parents for Christmas Eve dinner today, and opened gifts. This has been the tradition for the past twenty years or so. Christmas Eve is spent opening gifts with my parents, and then we have our official Christmas day at home. This is also when the boys open their Santa presents.

Today was an awesome, stress-free day with the parents. Dinner was ham, turkey with dressing, green beans, deviled eggs, baked macaroni, rolls, and all the trimmings. Dessert was a buffet of different kinds of pies. After the meal, we exchanged gifts.

Mom bought me a lovely pair of gold hoop earrings. Bless her heart. A few years back I went out shopping with her, and lost one of my favorite gold hoops. How or where, I have no idea. I got home, and found out I was wearing only one earring. Cute, no? I kept saying I would replace the pair, but never did. How sweet of her to remember that.

After gifts, we took pictures and chatted a while before it was time to leave. Yes, it was a really good day.

Once Mini goes to bed, I have Santa wrapping to do. In the meantime, I better hunker down with some course work. I'm still in the running, but I've fallen behind. Ah well, Christmas only comes once a year.

That's all for now. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, however you celebrate it. :0)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sassy Thing


I have no idea what happened to my posts from the past few days. I came into blogger and discovered two of my posts are missing. *_* Mostly it was about Chubby. We found a home for him a few days ago. I drove him to my mom's and we waited there for her neighbor to pick him up.

It was very hard to let Chubby go, but the man who took him in was very happy with him. "Look at those markings. That's a good lookin' pup!"

Yes, he was a very cute pup. I miss him bunches, but now that all the babies have found new homes, that means I can put all my effort into training Sassy. We're already working on the housebreaking. After Christmas, she has to be wormed and vaccinated. Then she's going to the groomers for her first pedicure. I trimmed her raptor claws last night, but I think they need a bit of filing. We're going to get her toe nails painted as well, and that's something I just can't seem to do without making a total mess.


The uber busy room rearranging session I was talking about (in at least one of the posts that mysteriously vanished) has commenced. I'm officially swapping my office for the haunted bedroom. Mini is spending a couple of days with his grandparents while we make all the changes. Yesterday, I took everything out of my office, shoved the wicker furniture into Mini's bedroom, and dismantled the L shaped desk I no longer use. I had Oldest load that into the back of my Jeep.

Hubster took ages dropping Mini off at my parents, so when he called me he asked if I needed anything from town. *_* Um, paint? Aren't you going to pick that up? He said okay, and while he went shopping, I began ripping out tile.

That's actually not so bad, I had a corner out by the time Oldest peaked his head around the door again. I think he figured the tile scraping would be the easy job, so that's what he wanted to do. When Hubster came in with the paint, I left Oldest with the scraper and went to work on the walls.

By the way, the paint is simply antique white. Nothing fancy. I want the room to "grow" with Mini. Not have to redo the decor five years down the road when he turns 10. Oh, ouch, that just made me feel really old, but I digress....

Hubster came in and slapped a base coat on two walls, but he soon bugged out. He said, "If I have to do more than one coat, it's usually not worth my time. " *sigh* Oldest mysteriously vanished after scraping up only 7 tiles. So, I worked in the room until about 7:30 last night, but I managed to get the room completely painted, and all the tiles up. I made the guys haul the debris out. Because I'm a girly girl and all that, you know.

Today we're laying new tile, and I'm making the guys stick with me on that part. They thought ripping it out was the hard part. Cut to fit, is the real bastard.

Anyway, yesterday hubster brought home the tiles, and brought them in to the office. I took one look and... well, I hated them. He picked dark, 1970s-looking wood grain. It's awful. Ok, so I didn't say that. I didn't want to hurt his feelings, but I asked him why aren't we using the same time throughout the house?

So right at this moment, he's on his way to exchange them for the same tile that we have in Mini's current bedroom and the bathroom. Whew! That was a close one.

This afternoon, I'm mailing off the last of the Christmas packages, and afterward taking an dreaded trip to the store. I'm going to buy new cordless shades, curtains, shelf bins, and a dresser for Mini's room. There's no closet in the office, so we're having to create storage space for his clothes. Ugh. Not looking forward to that bit. Good Pete, I hope he likes this room. Not that he has much choice at this point. *faint*

On to writerly things, I'm moving along in my revision course. Lesson three should have arrived at my member's inbox this morning. I plan to go in and download it in a bit, even though I still have to go through the book again for the 2nd half of lesson two. Once the living room is back to normal, and all the furniture where it should be, I'll sit down, do another read through of the manuscript, and finish up the second lesson so I can move on.

That's all I've got for now. Happy Monday, everyone!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Bye Bye JT

Look at those pretty blue eyes!

I had to say goodbye to JT this morning. Oh, that was soooo hard to do. :*( He was my favorite of the litter, but he's had a home to go to since he was a week old. The hubster is gonna tell his friend I want an occasional picture update to see how the lil guy is doing. What a precious peach.

Chubby and Sassy are the only ones left, so that makes Chubby the only one we have to search out a home for. Right now, both are asleep in my lap. Little do they know they're both getting a bath this evening. Their mama is getting one, too.

I'm running the dish washer and doing a bit of laundry while the guys are gone. This is probably the last moment of peace I'll get before Christmas, so I'm taking advantage of it. I bought a new ink cartridge yesterday so I can print up lesson two of my revision class. That's on the agenda for today.

On Sunday, I'm taking Mini over to my mom's and she's going to watch him for two days while we clean out his toys, and swap his bedroom with my office. First thing, we've got to go through his toys - and omfg, there are many.

Everything is going to Goodwill or the Salvation Army except his cars and trucks, his train set, and his Fisher Price Castle. Once that's done, it's a similar chore for my office. Then we'll shove everything into Mini's room, rip up all the tile in the office and repaint the old paneling floor to ceiling in a semi-gloss white.

While I'm putting down new tile. I imagine Hubster will do the trim work, which will John Deere tractors if we can find enough to go around the room. Mini loves cars, truck, and tractors, but not everything "grows with you". Disney Cars won't work when he's 14. Know what I mean? So tractors it is.

Once I have everything arranged in the "new office", aka, Mini's old room, I may put up a seashell border or something. I haven't decided. The room is going to stay mostly the same. It's robin's egg blue with matching curtains, and I redid the tile last year. So it works for me. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

This way, I'll have the "haunted" room in the house for myself, and maybe Mini will agree to sleep in his own room - the old office. I don't know what it is about that particular bedroom, but both kids were terrified of it - Mini and Oldest. It's not like our house is that old. I believe it was built in the mid 60s, but even if I'm off on that, it's not by much. The house is definitely no older than 1950. Both kids have said it's "scary back there", and that they feel like they're being watched. Well, of course they are. By Santa Clause. At least that's what I tell them. :P

So, my office will now be the oogly boogly, spooky room. I swear, if even one ghost messes with me while I'm working, they'll wish to God they found a Motel 6 to haunt. Seriously, I can be a bear when I'm on deadline. I'm perfectly content to share the room. I mean, IMO it kinda sucks - the idea that if you died, you'd come back to haunt a four bedroom ranch style house in Northern Louisiana, but I guess the ghosts can't all flock to Maui. At any rate, they better just rattle the office windows and leave the effing keyboard alone.

That's all I've got for now. I need to put Sassy and Chubby on their sleeping mat so I can put in this cartridge and get to work on this lesson. Happy Friday, everyone!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

And Then There Were Three


Mini and "the popples" in front of the dog food storage cabinet.


It's been a good day, but kind of sad. Hubster's friend asked to adopt one of the puppies, so at five today he drove Bingo and Tiny over to the compressor station entrance to wait for BR to come out. (In the picture above, Tiny is the little black and white pup by Mini's left leg in the picture, and Bingo is peeking around Mini's back.)

Before they left, I gave both pups a quick scrub and dry, packed two large zipper bags full of puppy chow, and packed Bingo's squeaky hedgehog in case he was the one chosen. We bought the hedgehog for all the pups, but he's the only one who has played with it, so as I see it, the toy is his. I bundled the pups in a warm towel, and we lined a laundry basket with a blanket. I held both pups, petted them, and gave them tons of kisses before hubster took them out to the Jeep. I had no idea which pup would be coming back home.

Less than thirty minutes later, hubster returned. I came out of the back bedroom where I'd been chatting with Cass on SL, and asked him, "Who made it back home?"

Hubster gestured to an empty basket. "Neither."

As it turns out, BR chose Tiny. He said he had a thing for runts of the litter. Less than two minutes after he chose the one he wanted, another friend walked through the gate, saw Hubster, and came over to peek in the box. He ended up taking Bingo home as a gift for his daughter. So in less than five minutes, two pups found new homes. It's a good thing, but I admit I miss seeing them toddle around the dining room. :*(

On Friday, Chris is coming to pick up little JT, the brown-spotted male of the litter. (Mini is hugging him in the picture above.) Hubster picked Sassy for himself, so that leaves Chubby the only popple-beast not spoken for. There was a man who expressed interest in him, but we aren't sure that's going to work out.



A pile of puppies.


As you can imagine, Mini is devastated. He thought his daddy was just taking the pups for a ride. That he would be bringing them back. Poor thing. Seeing him cry over Bingo and Tiny made me cry, too. It helped him a little to know Sassy is staying, but still... I guess it's never easy.

On a lighter note...

I'm a little over half way finished with this first pass through my manuscript. Effers, what a mess! Once I'm finished blogging, I plan to knock out a couple of chapters before bed. I'd hoped to have this part finished by now, but this is major clean up. Oy vey. I honestly didn't anticipate finding this much stuff to repair.

I have lesson two printed and shelved, but I'm not ready to touch it yet. I'm thinking I probably won't be ready to sort through that until the weekend. Can't do anything with it until after I've wrapped up lesson one, for sure. It's slow going, but I feel like I'll catch more by taking my time with it.

That's it for now. I hope you all have a fabulous Tuesday.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Day of Changes



Today is supposed to be the Hubster's last day on this job. Of course, Saturday was supposed to be as well, but then ended up keeping him on call. He sat around in his pj's at the table until about noon playing Guild Wars and I gotta admit, it was pretty dang comfortable around the house...aside from Mini bouncing off walls because it's too cold and rainy to play outside.

This is the last week of school before Christmas break. I had to call in for Mini this morning though as he's too sick to go. He woke up coughing and his nose running like crazy. I'm not much better. The little bear and I shared a cinnamon roll Friday afternoon, and apparently we shared our sick germs. *sigh* I was so hyped up on Nyquil - which feels heavenly on my scratchy throat - I stayed up until 2 am last night.

Oh, and I'd forgotten Mini had somehow grabbed the scissors on Sunday afternoon and gave his fringe a trim. That was a shock to see first thing in the morning. I gave him a fixer haircut last night before his bath, but it's still going to take some getting used to. It's a right of passage I guess. I gave myself a couple of haircuts growing up too. Yeah, go ahead and laugh at the thought of me with VERY closely cropped fringe. I'll wait until you're done before I go on. :P

I'm a third of the way through my first revision course lesson. That's as far as I've gotten with my actual manuscript. I'll be sitting down and working over more chapters today. It's my goal to get to the halfway point in the book. ::I can do this.::

Lesson two is waiting in my inbox on the Holly Lisle site. After I'm finished here, I'll probably go download it so I can take a quick peek to see what it's about. *evil hand wringing*

During this one lesson, I've learned a lot about my actual story. I mean, I know what the story is about - duh, I wrote it. But I didn't know "what all was in there", until I began the deconstruction. And let me just say...there is this OMG factor that strikes when a story finally veers off those safe opening chapters. To map it out and SEE where it veers off is slightly terrifying. It's like walking out into the ocean and hitting that sudden drop off point.

It's safe to say I've crossed the drop off point. It all feels very sink or swim. I keep having to remind myself that it's okay if I don't have this thing 100% perfected and boxed by the time conference is here. You can't hand an agent or editor your manuscript across the table.

Of course, my goal is to have it ready by then, but it's more important to simply get the book in the best shape I can and keep that as the focus. The agents and editors aren't going to vanish into thin air if I get the revisions completed the week AFTER conference. That's my pep talk, and I'm sticking to it.

As for the picture for today...that's Chubby. I held him up for a quick picture. Isn't he adorable? :*) The puppies are a little over a month old, growing, and getting around very well now. They're climbing out of the puppy bed on their own, eating puppy chow and drinking milk from a bowl, and are generally in command of the house. The Swiffer duty never ends. I'll put it that way. :P

That's all for now. I'm off to check my next lesson and grab another cup of coffee. Happy Monday!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Under Deconstruction




The past few days have been manuscript intensive. For anyone reading this that may not know, I swooped in and nabbed a vacant seat in Holly Lisle's novel revision classes.

Oh my, but I am in the thick of it. I'm caught smack in the middle of lesson one. At this point I'm extensively chronicling the boo boos of my manuscript - and there are many. OMFG, there are many. And I'm not talking about grammar or typos, either.

I can't really divulge much about the class itself, but I will be posting progress reports on the state of my project. This is THE story I'll be pitching in March, so this is pretty important to me. Not only for this particular book, but for the completed futuristic romance I have on the shelf also waiting to be revised. I'd love to see that one cleaned up and submitted somewhere as well.

In other news, Diva's puppies are growing and have learned to escape their sleeping basket. Talk about insanity - five pups toddling through the house and meeping endlessly.

We have named the quints JT, Sassy, Tiny, Chubby, and Bingo. Of course, their new owners will probably rename them, but those are the working names for our purposes. ;0) Sassy is staying. Hubster has grown attached to her. JT is going to a friend. Sooo...we have three popples to give away around Christmas.

Hubster's last day on this job is December 14th. We're very much looking forward to a little time off, but once he's home, we've got to print fliers, take an add out in the paper, and probably sit in front of the grocery store with a box of pups to give away. Joy, no? I'm not particularly looking forward to it.

That's all for now. I have to get back to knocking holes in my wip. Happy Thursday, everyone!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

School Days and Sweaters

funny pictures of cats with captions



Whew! I've been a busy girl. I'm officially enrolled in Holly Lisle's novel revision course. A few people had to leave the class for financial reasons and I swooped in and grabbed a seat. So, I'm enrolled now - instead of January. I've already taken the class tutorial and downloaded my first lesson.

Last night, I worked on worksheets until I couldn't see straight anymore. Then I decided I'd unwind by fight with GIMP until I took the entire program and tossed it in the recycle bin. For whatever reason, the layers palette won't load. I must've stripped it out and downloaded it three different times, each from a different mirror site, and still no layers palette. Grr!

You can't do much without that palette, so I ended up stripping the entire thing out of my system, ditching all templates, and opting for Paint.net. Gee, I wish I'd gotten that program to start. All I wanted to do was make sweaters for my avatar on SL, and the Paint.net program is far easier to do it with. So much easier to switch through the layers. What took me ten steps in GIMP, takes 2 in Paint.net. Cool beans.

[And the FTC people can bite my ass for posting what-what above - it's not a review or an endorsement. I'm not getting paid for squat. It's called an opinion! And my personal opinion is the Paint.net program rocks. I just wish it had an airbrush/spray can too. That's one thing it's lacking.]

I ended up making a couple of 80s style graphic sweaters, and uploaded them. I'm very happy with the end pieces. Great stuff! Now I just need to work on making fingernail designs and all will be right in the world. :*)

That's about it for now. Just wanted to do a quick update before diving into class work again. I hope you're all having a good Tuesday!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Dancing in December




Yesterday, I strung Christmas lights over the living room door, hung bows, put down the Christmas trees skirt - which the dogs then wanted to snooze on, and put the snowman centerpiece and table runner out. I baked chocolate chip cookies, did a ton of laundry, critiqued a couple of chapters for a friend, and changed out puppy bedding. It was a wonderful, busy day.

Around three in the afternoon, I had just gotten home with Mini and I got a call. It was Hubster telling me to look out the window. It was snowing. :0) Big fat flakes. In December. That's amazing for Louisiana. Sometimes we might get an ice storm or two toward the end of December, but in general, our winter weather doesn't kick in until January. In fact, we were running the air conditioner here at home up until a few short weeks ago. Nifty!

On to writerly things...

I listed my goals not too long ago for rewriting my NaNoWriMo story - the one I plan to pitch in March. This week, I printed up a copy, read through the entire story (it's choppy as hell), took the pages and rearranged them into linear order, and cut about three chapters that floundered, and didn't push the story forward. Oh yeah, and I tried not too look at the entire thing as an ugly, insurmountable obstacle. :P

The skeleton of the story is all there. I know the overall goal of each character - no one is doing anything "just because". I also see a good story I'm happy with embedded in the stone. Yeah I see life in there. Kinda like Michelangelo said he could see the finished product looking a stone he planned to carve into, say, David? ^_^



Over the next two weeks, I'm going to read through this thing again, and start reshaping the "meat" of the story into place. I'm going to mark areas that need fixing, axe any characters that vanish or aren't needed, cut extra plot devices, and any other extraneous things that bogs the story down.

Someone asked me if this is a line by line process - not at this point. The line by line changes, that's for the very last pass. Sort of like when you put the bow on a gift. They prettying comes last. You have to put the goods in the box first.

For now, I have all the materials in place, now I have to mold it into a solid story. This is the biggest, hardest, most tedious part of it for me, but it has to be done.

A little while back, I heard that Holly Lisle is teaching a course on rewriting/revising your novel, and I've signed up. The course begins in January, and I believe it runs for 21 or 22 weeks. She has a streamlined method of revising, and I'd like to learn how to make the process work better for me. To be able to dig into a book, know exactly how to break it down and put it back together. So, in 2010, I'm going back to writer's school. ^_^

I won't be able to put the lessons to practice with this current NaNo novel, but I will be able to use it for the futuristic I wrote a few months ago. That book is sitting finished at 85k, and I haven't touched it since. It will be a prefect "school project".

Of course, I can't and won't divulge the lessons from the 2010 workshop - it's not ethical and/or honest to do that. I simply won't go there. However, same as with this NaNo book, I'll be posting progress and changes I make to the futuristic. So, hopefully that will be helpful to anyone interested in the writing process. For those who want to jump on board for the Holly Lisle course** you can go to www.HollyLisle.com to sign up. Class space is limited.

**Just for the sake of saying so, and because the FTC sucks big fat raunchy donkey balls, I am not endorsing/ nor endorsed by any writing product or workshop. I'm not being compensated in any way, by any product or workshop. I'm writing here about this because I think it will be helpful TO ME, and like all the other students who enroll - I will be paying full tuition.

That's all I have at the moment. I'm off for now. I hope you all have a fantastic
weekend! :0)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Big Picture

Here it is - December 1st. I was talking with the Hubster this morning, and I gotta say this hasn't been a very memorable year for me. He "argued" - not really - that it has been a memorable year and proceeded to name off a slew of things I should have thought of: Obama taking office, Mini starting preK, Oldest getting his class ring. After returning from summer break, Oldest taking on his senior year. Oh yeah, Fifi had puppies. Can't forget about that.

Hubster wins the argument hands down, but honestly the year still flounders in my thoughts. My brain cut off 2009 back in March around the time Moonlight and Shadows was either finished or came out. Something like that. The rest of the year, my brain has been flying on auto pilot, and I can't even figure out why. It's not like things have been bad, just...uneventful.

Well, I've definitely got something to keep my attention now. December 1st marks the first day of manuscript rewrites. Oh yes, it's time for draft 2. NaNo is over, and I have until the end of February to get this fantasy novel ready for conference. Over the next three months (good Pete, but I hope it doesn't actually take me that long) I'll be getting this monster ready to pitch at the Written in the Stars conference.

What's first on my rewrite "to do" list? Well, I've gotta run to the store for another print cartridge since I managed to get half the manuscript printed this morning - about 110 pages.

Once the manuscript is all printed up, I'll read through the entire thing, and kill off any dead scenes that have no bearing on the story. I'll be basically cutting my wip into chunks and stitching it together into a new word document so it's a fluid story beginning to end. Yes, it will be lumpy and ugly, and will probably have a few plot holes, but the shell of the finished book will be there.

I hope I can get this part of the rewrites done by no later than December 12th. I'm not sure I'll need that much time, or hey, I might need more. But for now that's what I'm aiming for. I've written it down on a post it note and stuck it on my printer.

If I can get it done by the 12th, that will leave me a week before Christmas to either note, or write in, any scenes needed to correct plot holes. I've got the week of Christmas marked off my calendar. I'll probably work that week because it kills me to stay away from my computer, but the time itself will be pre-reserved for slackassedness. Just in case I wanted to do that, you see?

At any rate, that's the goal. To have the entire big ugly baby propped on my desk by Dec. 19th. After that, I'll be able to sit down and fix the ugly prose.

I'll probably be documenting this insanity on the blog, so if you drop by between December 1st, 2009 through February 28th, 2010, prepare for graphic posts of manuscript desecration. Probably a good bit of screaming and gnashing of teeth will be going on as well. You've been warned. ;0)

That's all I've got for now. I'm off to go do my first batch of reading. Happy Tuesday, everyone!