Friday, December 31, 2010

Out with 2010



Goodbye 2010, don't let the door hit ya on the way out! I can honestly say you will not be missed, and if it is at all possible, I will try to think of you as infrequently as possible.

I had three shining moments in 2010 - my son's high school graduation, my 20th wedding anniversary, and getting a story published through Ellora's Cave. Those were the very best things that happened to me throughout 2010, and the only thing I care to celebrate.

Memorable events of 2010 included losing my precious Kinzy-pup in August on the night following my 35th birthday (goodness, how I miss him!), Oldest deciding to join the Coast Guard, and Mini both graduating preschool and entering Kindergarten.

Memorable events in 2010 that happened to close friends and family that shook me included my BFF losing her mother, my grandmother's cancer returning and the chemo she underwent afterward, seeing William Melchert-Dinkel facing justice for his role in Nadia's death, and my heartbreaking for a friend who deserves to be a mother more than anyone else in the world I know.

This past year run me through a wringer emotionally, physically, creatively and financially. No corner of my life was spared from the terrible jaws of 2010. I'm looking forward to pulling out of this hell born pattern of crap-tasticness. For my New Year's resolution, I vow to stress less, to find my comfort zone, and make a bid for happiness. I am never going to be any younger or more capable than I am right now, so come on with it 2011. I'm  rolling up my shirt sleeves!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tracking and Packing

Whew! Tense changes are going on around my house. I'm in the process of reclaiming space, and moving things out to the shed. Soon we will box up Oldest's room, part of it anyway, so that his room will stay tidy while he's off to serve his time in the Coast Guard.

As of today, Mini's room has been culled. After the 1st, I'll be ripping out ALL the tile in there to replace it. When Oldest's bathroom flooded, it ruined all the brand new tile I laid in there when we did the great office/bedroom swap. Anyway, this go around, I'm going to probably do a simple linoleum in there and get him a decent rug. It'll probably save me a lot of headaches in the long run.

Right now my shoulders are so sore from all the boxing and lifting, I can barely turn my head. The real joy with this is when I go to pull laundry out of the washer. Funny how I'm never aware of those muscles until they are screaming in pain. :P

I wrote roughly four pages earlier today. Later on tonight, I'm gonna tack a few words on to that. I need to find somewhere to tack up a calendar so I can keep tabs on my word count on a day by day basis. At the NOLA Christmas party, Jennifer Blake was telling us that's how she keeps tabs, so I may give that a try just to see how it works for me. She also said she completes a rough draft in about 2 months. I have no idea how she manages that, but I'd like to get a good idea where I stand on the word count issue.

Mini is having fits for mac and cheese, so I'm off to the kitchen. I hope you're all having a happy Tuesday!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Sunday After Christmas

It's a cold, lazy Sunday. The kids are off in their respective corners doing their own thing, and hubby is in the dining room playing Guild Wars.

I woke up at around 8:30 and grabbed an orange and a Diet Dr. Pepper before running off to my office to sort emails and read for a while. I've read half a dozen contemporaries since the 20th. That's mostly what I did while at the hotel in Arkansas - read paperbacks.

I'm currently reading Dare She Date the Dreamy Doc? by Sarah Morgan on my Sony Pocket. I'm really liking this one, everything from the setting to the characters. This is my first book by Sarah Morgan, and I'll be looking for more from her. I like her writing style. It's very clean, no nonsense writing.

Now that Christmas is over, I'm thinking about the New Year. I know many people who don't make New Year's resolutions, but I do. It's tradition in my family, and something I look forward to every year. For me, New Year is like the reset button on a video game. We all get a do-over, but first you've got to have a plan.

 I'm already planning out my do-list for 2011. One thing for sure: I am going to make it a point to stress less, even if it means cutting stressful things out of my life. When I told hubby about this last night, he agreed that's a good idea. I have been swimming in a sea of stress since early 2010, which was such an awful year for us from the word go. So, stressful things are out the window for 2011. I also plan to sit down and do a thorough assessment of my career goals.

I still have a few days to think about all that. On New Year's Eve we're having dinner with my parents. I'm making a crawfish dressing and probably a green bean casserole. Heh. That's all for now. Hubby's about to take off to the store and I better chase him down and tell him to bring back some coffee creamer!

Happy Sunday, everyone. :o)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010

Merry Christmas! 

However you chose to celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful holiday season filled with light, love, and laughter.

Home From Little Rock

Oldest and I made it back from Little Rock yesterday. It's 198 miles one way, and a four hour drive, but I think the time it takes to get there has a lot to do with the speed zones, because it took only a half a tank of gas to get there, and a half a tank to get back. Awesomeness. The drive was tiring, but not tedious. There were a lot of small towns between here and there, so we had plenty of places to stop and rest...aka, use the restroom. lol

I'm not kidding about those speed zones though. I could have been there much quicker, but it's 55 mph for most of the drive through South Arkansas. I was never so glad to hit the interstate, where I could go 65-70 without worrying about a cop stopping me.  Too, when I hit the Louisiana state line coming back, that was a comfort. It's 65 along most of 167 on the LA side.

I was so tired by the time we made it south of Ruston, all I could think about was getting home and flopping on the couch. We went straight to my parent's house to pick up Mini bear, and then came home. The dogs totally flipped out when they saw us, and I had to stop in the doorway to give them hugs and stuff before I could get the bags in and get the house situated.

Hubby told me that first day we were gone, he came home from work and thought the power was out... because the lights were off. LOL He's so used to having the home warm and lit when he gets back, it totally threw him that the house was cold and dark when he got there. I could sympathize, because when we made it through the door it was like that. And let me say, I thought it would be colder in Arkansas, but it was actually warm enough there we had to run the air conditioner in our room.

When I got home, I had to turn on the heat, and get some lights going. The house was cold. And messy, in that "guy clean" kind of way. I did a quick house cleaning, made the bed, swept and Swiffered. Turned on the Christmas tree. And then I flopped on the couch with Mini...and promptly fell asleep.

About forty-five minutes later, I woke up because the phone was ringing. I was pinned down. I'm not kidding.  While I was passed out on the couch, Diva and Sassie piled up on me for a nap, and Mini had curled up behind my legs and was watching TV. I couldn't get to the phone, but oh well. I guess it's safe to say the kidlet and doggies missed me. lol

Once hubby got home, he wanted to hear all about Arkansas. I told him we arrived an hour early. I had called him from the hotel room once I checked in. Oldest sat downstairs in the lobby with the other MEPS people, waiting for the recruiter to show up. I fell across the bed in my room and watched the the History Channel and later, Jurassic Park 3. I went down to check on Oldest, and they were getting ready to go to their assigned rooms and go through the MEPS briefing. I told him to drop by and let me know what room he'd be in, and when they were going to dinner.

I thought about joining Oldest and the others for dinner, but instead, I ordered pizza. Canadian bacon with black olives. Oh, and cinnastix. I sat on the bed and turned on my laptop long enough to update my Facebook and check my emails. Then I did something totally amazing. I turned OFF my computer and put it on the desk. I sat down with a stack of half-read books.

While on my trip, I finished reading Syd Field's Screenwriting, Janet Evanovich's How I Write, and A Cowboy Under the Mistletoe by Cathie Gillen Thacker. By the way, all three of those are very good books.

On day two in Little Rock, I woke up around 5:00 when Oldest came to my door. He and his roommate were getting ready to leave for MEPS and he needed his diploma and birth certificate. He came in and robbed a slice of cold pizza, then left. I went back to bed and slept until 8 before I got up and made coffee. The coffee maker in the room was for a single, and it brewed the coffee right into your Styrofoam cup, so as you can imagine, I was running back and forth, brewing cups of coffee for a while.

I heated up left over cinnastix for breakfast then sat down with a fresh cup of coffee and did some writing until around 3. Oldest arrived around 4pm. He'd taken a cab from the MEPS center and made it back with the good news that he'd passed the test. He'd almost failed his hearing test because he has an ear infection, but we didn't have time to take him to the doctor before leaving home. It's a good thing we didn't, because if he'd been on any kind of medication, he'd have been sent home. So, we lucked out. Oldest passed his physical, and now we wait.

Around 6pm, we went to dinner at the attached restaurant. I had fajitas, and Oldest had a humongous chicken sandwich and fries. Once we went back up to the room, I took a shower, and we settled in for the evening.
He ended up watching Seinfeld, while I did some reading.

Then, yesterday, we got up around 7, and packed up to go home. The traffic was already picking up on the I-40, which was visible from our window. After check out, and once we were on the road, we got caught in the morning rush traffic, and missed our exit to the 65S. Oldest started to panic, but I told him to relax...I'd just spotted a McDonald's. We pulled in for breakfast, and while he ordered, I stood at one of the front windows, watching a 60ish man walking around my car.

The minute we'd pulled into the parking lot, a man pulled up next to us. He stepped out to smoke a cigarette, so we walked on into Mc D's. When I turned around to hold the door open for Oldest, I noticed the man go over and peer in the passenger side window of my car. It was locked, of course, but that still bugged the crap out of me. So, I send Oldest to order, and I stood at the front window of McDonald's with my arms crossed, watching the man. He smoked and paced, smoked and paced. He kept walking in front of my car, then past it, looking in through the windshield, then he'd come back to his car and look over to the McD's window. He'd see me still standing there, then he'd pace away again. He never came inside. After finishing his cigarette, he got in his car and left. I don't know what he was up to, but apparently my standing in the window watching him stopped him from doing it. Freaking creep.

About a half hour later we were back on the road. I gave Oldest the directions, which I had written out on a sheet of paper. I told him to read them off to me, and help me look for the exits. Poor Oldest. Sometimes I don't think he could find a way out of a paper bag. He told me to get off on the next exit to the left, so I did. I knew almost immediately this was wrong. I saw a sign for the airport, and remembered we'd passed that completely on our way in. I sighed. I followed the road on down about a mile, and took the first exit to the right. I saw a gas station and decided to go ahead and fill up.

I ditched the directions after that. I knew we needed to hit the 65S/167S or the I/30/ 530 toward El Dorado. I didn't know what exit that was supposed to be, but that was the plan. Oldest was so nervous, bless him, but I assured him as long as we were headed south, we would be okay. Within 20 minutes, we were out of Little Rock and on our way home. Whew!

Now that we're back home, we have to wait to find out when I have to take Oldest back to Little Rock to be sworn in. Hubby says he wants to go with us for round two, and that would be great if he can get the time off. I told him we could take turns driving. One of us could drive up there, the other back. It would be doable in a day with two drivers. Or maybe we could take the I-40 straight to Oklahoma City for a quick visit with relatives on our way back, then work our way down to Louisiana again. It's a thought.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

One For the Road

It's official. I'm packed, and Mini is over at my parents. Hubby has set up my brand spanking new phone for me, and for the most part everything is arranged. So, tomorrow morning Oldest and I will be heading out for Little Rock, Arkansas. We won't be back until Wednesday, the 22nd - just in time to finish my Christmas shopping. :P

I'm taking a couple books, my laptop, and the notes for my WIP. Since I can't actually go anywhere with Oldest, I'm going to treat it as a working vacation. If I'm able to blog, I may do that. It will depend on the interwebz connection at the hotel.

I'm currently reading A Cowboy Under the Mistletoe by Cathy Gillen Thacker. I gotta say, this book probably has the best Harlequin American Romance cover I have ever seen. Snow, a ranch style house, a good looking cowboy and Golden Retriever puppies. Very nice job, art department!

I'm liking the story so far, as well. It's Christmasy, but not over the top. I really like the hero in this book too. He's determined, but not pushy. There's something to be said for a little romantic determination. *eyebrow wiggle* I'm hoping to finish this one up before I leave so I can start on something fresh when I get to the hotel. It depends on how late it is before I get all my errands done. Speaking of which, I better go toss all the clothes in the dryer.

That's the skinny for now. Wishing you a wonderful week ahead! :0)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kindergarten Christmas 2010

Mr. Upside-Down Antlers Himself
Aw, look at that. My very own reindeer puppy. :o)

I surprised Mini at his Kindergarten Christmas party today. He had no idea I was going to be there, but there was no way I was missing his party.

First thing this morning, I went to town and bought three bags of candy, Christmas pencils and erasers, and treat bags to put it all in. Back home, I quickly sorted it all out and stapled the bags. I got through just in time to carry everything to the school.

When Mini saw me, he jumped up. "Mimi!" It was too cute. He was so surprised and happy to see me. He hurried over to hug my legs, so to get him back in his circle, I went and sat with him on the boxcar rug in the "frog car", which is Mini's assigned spot. The other parents in attendance were mostly lined up along the walls. Two were serving, along with the teacher. It was a madhouse in there. I think I was better off sitting with the kids. ^_^ They had a blast with me over there too. They wanted to show me to read off all the tags and candy labels. lol

Mini didn't want to stay if I wasn't staying, so after the party, I took him home with me. He was thrilled to get an early day out. We went home and read his Xmas books, and sorted all the erasers/pencils/toys from the candy, and put everything into separate bowls. I'm amazed at how much stuff the kids ended up bringing home.

Anyway, I had to go back to the school at 4:40 to pick up Mini's report card. It was a mandatory parent/teacher meeting. Apparently, everything is going fine. His score was a 97% so there's not complaining with that. Once back home, I was finally able to kick my shoes off...and cook supper. lol It's okay. Hubby brought home a 16 inch pizza for the oven and everyone was happy with that.

Overall, it was a very good day.  One for the memory books. :o)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gotta Keep Going


Counting down the days to the weekend!  Today Mini is taking his tests at school, tomorrow is the Christmas party. I'm going to pickup something that morning and haul it up to the school. I have no idea if they'll let me bring my camera, since this year all the parents had to sign a photo release just so kids could get their pics in the yearbook. Boy, how times change!

Anyway, I have the first half of the erotic steampunk story polished. Now for part two. I'm going to handle that today - I've been working on it most of the morning, actually. All I'll have left after that is the love scene. I didn't like it the first go around. It read very stilted, so I ripped it out of there, and I'm going to work it over from scratch.

Friday I promised Mini we'd decorate the house for Christmas, so I'm going to try to have this story out of my way by then. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Steampunk and Ballet

Mini has gone with his class to the ballet today, and tomorrow is their Christmas Party. Thursday I'm scheduled to go to the parent-teacher's meeting to pick up his report card, and then we will be free...free...free for the holidays!

Today I'm going back through the steampunk story. I'm polishing it, but there are at least two sections I'm going to have to rewrite as well. At any rate, it's coming along nicely. It's my goal to have this one out the door sometime next week. The steampunk story will be my last completed story of the year.

I put another two-thousand words on the werewolf story last night. It's growing by leaps and bounds. I'm still haven't come up with a title for it, either. I guess that one will come to me later, like it did with Crossing Borders and Dominant Territory. I'd already finished those books when I came up with the titles.

So anyway, that's the order of the day. Before Mini gets home, I have to run to the store and pick up garbage bags, garland, and some other things. I need to get on with it and decorate the house. The kids are expecting it. I think if it was just me, I'd get a table top tree and deal with that, but as the saying goes...kids and Christmas. :o)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday Rewind

The NOLA Stars Christmas party was yesterday. Great food and great people. :0) My schedule's been so crazy, I wasn't sure until the last minute if I'd be able to go. I had to wing it, but I managed to get it all together by 8 am, and drove myself to Bossier. I even had time for a cup of coffee on the way out the door!

Jennifer Blake was our speaker, and she told us some very funny and interesting stories about some of her experiences in the early years of RWA. I can only imagine what it was like to be a writer during the glamorous heyday of romance.

She also spoke about her writing habits, and anyone who reads this blog knows that is my kinda thing. ^_^ I took a few notes about that, and sorted them into my writing folder when I got home.

I was kinda tired by that point. (I went to bed at 1 am, got up around 7am to leave for Bossier.) So, I decided to read instead of write, and picked up my beat up old copy of Getting Your Romance Published by Julie Beard. I went straight to page 136 to read up on building conflicts. Amazingly enough, I had an epiphany while reading this section. I've probably read it a dozen times before, and yet, this time it stuck. I knew it had stuck. Everything was suddenly crystal clear and I could place it with all the other things I'd learned through workshops this year.

I ended up taking a dozen notes and drawing diagrams. Once I did that, I went back and replotted my latest Werekind story using the new tips I'd learned and WOW - what a difference those simple changes made! Now that I have that in place, I'm moving along, moving along... Off for now. I have 2k to get on the page today. Hope your Sunday is a cozy one. ;0)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Running With the Wolves

It's the first day I've had to stay home all day since the week before Thanksgiving, and it's been one heck of a productive writing day. I'm 9k words into the new Werekind story, and I'll hit it again tonight once everyone has gone through their routine and the house has settled. For now I'm taking a little break, and in a few minutes, I'm going to tackle the dreaded laundry. Boo. Hiss. Where are the fairies when I need them?

We were supposed to get a wintery mix of snow and sleet last night, but alas...nothing. I heard something plinking against the windows last night, and when I turned on the porch light, it wasn't what I'd hoped for. We got just enough rain to make everything damp and yucky. Le sigh.

So, today's image from Glitter Graphics is the snow I missed out on yesterday. Yes, yes, I know...I'm in Louisiana, and it shouldn't be surprising we didn't get snow. This time of year we're more likely to get freezing temperatures and maybe an ice storm. What can I say? I still hope for a white Christmas. ;0)

If you happen to be a member of my yahoo group, I hope you'll drop by and take the polls I have running over there. I'm an indecisive creature, and these help me bunches and bunches. So, if you have the time, I'd appreciate your opinion on the current topics.

That's everything for now. It's almost 2, so I better get hopping with that laundry. Yikes! I hope you're having a wonderful Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Left, Right, Center

funny pictures-meh.

Finally, a moment to blog. Whether anyone else reads this stuff, it's how I keep track of my life, so...meh. I haven't had a day home to do my own business since Saturday, and right now I'm writing this while I have a cup of coffee because in about 30 minutes I have to run to town and take care of a few things.

The school is breathing down my neck to participate in all the Christmas shenanigans. First we had to buy a Santa hat for Mini - done. Then it's $40.00 for pictures - done. Oh, and $15 for the ballet field trip - done. Oh, and say, send $20 with your kid for the Santa workshop - say what?  And then, on the 16th, we need you to bring either cookies, chips, drinks, or something - for 20 students. By the way, Mrs. Z, did you know your kid's lunch account is overdrawn? *_*

I paid my bills yesterday, and my checking about came up 3.76 cents short. My balance was negative 3.76. I had to go take out a cash advance on my credit card to put money in the bank to cover four dollars. I figured I was done after that. Disaster averted. I planned to spend all the rest of the week home, working on finishing up this werewolf story when out of the blue last night I got a phone call. An elderly relative needed money to get their pills. Oh. My. God. How can this be happening? And the government is going to cut social security?  I usually don't pay any attention to that kind of thing, but... Seriously?

I am going today to cash my pitiful little check today and get their pills for them and haul them over to their house since they don't even have the gas money to come pick up the stuff. Thankfully Mini will be riding the bus home, so I won't have to rush to make it back before he gets here. I'm leaving Oldest here just in case I'm not back in time. I still haven't figured out what I'm going to do about this weekend. I'm supposed to go to my local RWA Christmas party, but now it looks like hubby's going to have to take Oldest to Little Rock - or at least half way - to meet with the recruiter. My parents have a painting to deliver, so they won't be able to watch Mini either. So it's looking right now like I'll have to stay home and bake cookies with the beast or something such. Maybe put up the tree and finish repainting the kitchen - which is half finished because I started before all the baloney hit the fan.

If I weren't laughing at all the insanity, I'd be crying. After today I'm hoping I'll have a few days to get down to business with writing. First up, this werewolf story. I need to get it finished and tidied up so I can shove it out the door. Wish me luck!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Sandy Claws and SD Cards

funny pictures-Don't toy with me, woman!  COOK IT!!!!!!

Tonight we're taking Mini to see the Christmas lights and Mr. Sandy Claws. The big guy was at one of the stores in town earlier this week, but I put off going because I couldn't get the pictures off my camera.

Well, I finally got the SD card  issues worked out. A month ago, I took my SD card out of my camera and popped it into my computer and the thing crashed my whole system. Yikes! I did every scan known to man. Nothing came up, so I was worried it might be the hardware. This system came with an internal reader so I'd have to crack the case to get at it and...well, ugh. Do I have to?  I got to fiddling around with it and got it working again so, I'm declaring that a minor victory. If it starts acting wonky again, I'll probably go ahead and replace the reader. For now...a slacker gonna slack.

Anyway, the morning was spent getting Dad on the net again. Jay took care of the setup wireless for him on the old laptop, now Dad has to take the required drivers from the laptop and transfer them to his desktop. He should be able to do that with his cell phone.

Yesterday hubby brought home several large boxes for me. I'm going through my books and paring them down. Some are going to charity, the others to the shed. Mini doesn't know it yet, but his toys are going to be sorted before Santa brings a single thing. He doesn't play with half of it, only his cars, Legos, and a few stuffed animals. He's more a crafty type kid. He'd rather draw, read, or play outside, so there's no point in all the clutter. Yep, I'm on a mission to ditch all the junk that's taking up space, and this is just the beginning... muahahahahaha! *cough, cough, wheeze*

So there it is. My day thus far. I'll probably write for a bit tonight then pop into SL to check on my real estate. I upgraded to a better skybox. One with more scenes. I wanted something snowy and Christmas-like so I'll be paying an additional 100L a week, but oh well. That's pretty much where I spend my time in world so I might as well make the most of it.

Oh, and we're getting Subway for supper. I've been dying for a chicken boobie sub with everything on it, but I've been putting it off. No more, though. Om nom nom. Tonight, the yummy shall be mine. :9 Happy Saturday, everyone!

Friday, December 03, 2010

It's Friday - What are you reading?

It's Friday! Oh gosh, I'm glad to see the end of this week. I'm glad I made it through without only a few bumps, bruises, and scratches.

Earlier in the week we got a call from Oldest's recruiter and he said we needed a specific page from his medical charts, and oh mama, we have been jumping through hoops to try and get it. Oldest can't enlist in the coast guard without it, so for the past few days we have been trying to get the info from his doctor.

 Today we got the call, and Oldest fumbled his way through until I finally took the phone from him. I told the doctor, who is really a peach of a guy, by the way, exactly what we needed. He said the form doesn't exist anymore, or at least it is not in Oldest's chart. I explained to him why Oldest needed it - that he's trying to enlist, and of course he was more than willing to help us get what we needed. Sooo, he is writing a new form, verifying that he can't find the old one, but that Oldest has been fit from that point, since 2003. On Monday, I will go pick that up - I made sure the doctor understood that's when I'd be there - then we'll ship that bit off to the recruiter and we should be done. At least until we have to set up a date to take the ASVAB - again. Oldest took it in high school, but the results are only good for two years. He took it his sophomore year, so by the time he graduated, the results were expired. Ho hum. His score was rockadelic awesome too. Boo.

This afternoon, I'm going to pick up the Snick O' Pea from school, and making a dash to Wally World. I have  got to come up with something for supper. Last night it was sort of every guy for himself. I had sweet potatoes with ham and scallions, but the guys ate the last of the red beans and rice. Maybe a casserole...I'll have to dig through my recipes. Of course, suggestions are always welcome. ;0)

Anyway, we're heading into the weekend, so I'm looking toward a little reading time. I've already posted the books I've read this week in the post below this one. I'm currently reading Smitten, by Janet Evanovich**. I've spot-read this book before, so I already know most of the key points of this book, but it looks like a good one so I'm setting out to read it cover to cover. What about you? What are you currently reading?

**You can buy Smitten, by Janet Evanovich here: Smitten on Amazon.com

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Books And More Books

funny pictures-POULTRY IN MOTION..


So it's time for the annual bookshelf clear out. My bookshelves are in the bedroom, and they can get kind of dusty what with the hundreds of books in there. For Christmas, I'm asking Santa for a glass from case for the occult book collection, so I can keep those separate. Most of them are rare and should be behind glass anyway.

As for the rest, I'm keeping a few trades (my current love), and narrowing down the keeper shelf to probably 25 books. The rest, the ones I haven't given away, will be divided into those boxed for the shed, those so ragged they are good for anything but the recycling bin, and those in good enough shape to be donated to charity. At any rate, by the end of the month, they will be out of the house.

In the process, I'm narrowing down my TBR stack as well. I'm in a race to the end of 2010 book reading frenzy. I've read three books this week so far: Blonde With a Wand by Vicki Lewis Thompson, Dark City (novelization) by Frank Lauria, and a contemporary romance that was so horrible it shall remain nameless. As for the first two books, I have added them to my Goodreads page.

Next up, I'm reading Smitten, by Janet Evanovich. It's not a very big book, so I can likely read it in an afternoon. It looks like it's going to be a truly fun read. I've spot read it, picked through a few pages here and there, and what I saw I liked a lot. Now that it has passed the initial breeze-thru test, I'm going for the gusto.

Since there are quite a few I'm hoping to plow through by the end of the month, I've made a stack beside my desk. As soon as I finish one book, I pick up another. It's time to read the ones I like and pass them on - and ditch the books I can't seem to chug through.

As for writing, I've logged about 2000 words this week. That's not very good, but it's better than nothing. Meh. I need to wrap up this story already so I can move on to the next project. Yeah, yeah, I know... Go ahead, break out the whip already.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

An Author In Need Of Help

Please help: Author Tina Gerow/Cassie Ryan has been taken suddenly and seriously ill. She has an affliction called Arteriovenous malformation or AVM in her brain which has led to multiple surgeries and an extended stay in ICU. No family is ever prepared for such a thing and Tina's is no exception. In times like this, every dollar helps and her friends in the writing community are banding together to ask you to open your hearts (and wallets) to help get Tina's family through this.

Tina is well known to readers and authors across the country who have embraced her books, most recently, (writing as Cassie Ryan) Seducing the Succubus (Berkley/October 2010) and coming in April 2011, The Demon and the Succubus.

Please send your prayers, positive energy and love out into the universe with Tina's name on it. Cards can be mailed to: Tina Gerow, c/o SBP PO BOX 42255, Phoenix, AZ 85080.

Any donations you would like to make to Tina Gerow/Cassie Ryan to help with the burden of mounting medical bills, can be given by visiting:
https://sites.google.com/site/tinagerowandfamily

Or by sending a check to Tina Gerow, c/o SBP PO BOX 42255, Phoenix, AZ 85080.

Help spread the word—please post on your blogs and websites.
~original post by Cheyenne McCray

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Doctor - Pharmacy Battle of 2010

There. I puts on mah biznezz ty. Can we go nao?

The last day of November. I wish I could say I'm sad to see it go, but honestly I'm ready for 2011. Bring it on. The universe has been beating me to a pulp lately, but what else can you do but hang on and ride it out?  I've been dealing with an avalanche of setbacks, sickness, financial pains, school BS, work snafus, and just a bunch of other nit picky shit that has drifted my way recently. When all that stews in the pot for a while, it turns into a big steaming pile of self-doubt.

Except for today! I think maybe today I reached my tolerance threshold. It's not like me to be this "um, no, we're handling this right now" about things, but yeah, it was like that. I have been seeing a rather pricey doctor for the past year. She likes to bring me in every three months to run these expensive blood tests, which are supposed to be related to my high blood pressure and thyroid issues - lipid tests, thyroid numbers, etc. Anyway, at $400.00 a test, I haven't been able to swing the cost since April - which was the last test I paid for.

I told my doctor the situation back in July and canceled my appointment. They assured me this wasn't a problem, so I didn't think anything of it. This is not a ritzy area by any means. I figured I can't be the only one who can't pay for that kind of thing right now. Well, my prescription for my blood pressure pills was running out, so I called my doctor bright and early on Monday morning and asked them to call the pills in to the pharmacy for me. This is fairly standard. I have never had a problem with this before. Not just at this doctor, but at any other doctor. She was a bit snippish with me on the phone about it, since I haven't had these blood tests in a while, but said she'd call them in. Cool beans. Thanks. See you after the first of the year.

By that afternoon it was pouring rain, and freezing cold. I had to pick up Mini before I could head out to the pharmacy, but by the time I walked across the school parking lot to pick him up I was soaked through two layers of clothes. I covered him with my jacket and got him to the car, which was good since I kept him dry, but by then it looked like I had stepped into the shower with my clothes on. Since I just came off being sick, I decided I better go home instead of trying to go to the pharmacy. I still had 1 blood pressure pill left in the case, which would be enough to get me through the morning before running to pick up my prescription tomorrow morning. Plans recalculated and set.

This morning, I got Mini off to school, talked to the family on the phone, then headed on up to the pharmacy. At 10 am, I went to pick up my prescription. No dice. It hadn't been called in. Remembering how snippy the woman had been with me on the phone the day before, I realized even then she had no intention of calling in my prescription all because of those fucking blood tests. So here I am, no prescription, and I'm out of pills. I went out to my car, and sat there a minute, wondering what I was going to do. Go to her office and beg?  Agree to overpriced blood tests I can't afford just to get my pills?

Actually, I didn't do either of those things. Instead, I got angry. Angry enough that I drove across town to a rival doctor, walked into his office, and said to the receptionist I was switching doctors, I was out of pills, and I wanted an appointment for today.

I have never in my life done this, but I must have looked pretty serious because she totally hooked me up. Not only that, when I paid in advance of my walk-in appointment, the office visit was $40.00. My other doctor charges more than double that, and I've been a patient for a little over a year. That did not help my opinion of Dr. Bloodtest at all. I filled out seven pages of forms, and forty minutes later, I'm sitting down with my new doctor. I told him exactly what I was going through. The man actually blushed. He knew the other doctor, and said, she is a good doctor just "excessively thorough". He also told me that unless I am hyperthyroid, or have Grave's Disease, which I don't, there is no need for me to go in for blood tests every three months. Say that again?

There is no need for me to go in for blood tests every three months. 

In the past year, I have paid roughly sixteen hundred dollars just in blood tests. That is not including office visits, prescriptions, etc.  Talk about pissed. And relieved. I will not be going back to Dr. Bloodtest, and have asked that my new doctor contact her for my medical records. New Doctor told me unless my thyroid results from Dr. Bloodtest are frightening, or I come down sick with something during the year, I should only have to come in once every twelve months for a thorough check up. He also said they would call in my prescription for me so I could go pick it up. Amazing.

It took two more trips to the pharmacy to get my pills. I waited for a short eternity, left for lunch,went and picked up Mini, then went back to the pharmacy for round three. There was a snafu with it all again before the deal was done, but I dug my toes in. I think the nurse from New Doctor's Office was waiting for my thyroid results from Rip Off Doctor before calling in my medicines, but by three o'clock, my patience was pretty much non-existent. I told the pharmacist I wasn't going anywhere until I had my prescription in my hand - call the doctor's office. Thankfully, she did...after asking my name and birth date no less than six times.

Mini and I ended up waiting on the metal bench for 2 whole agonizing hours before it was all straightened out with the pharmacy. I was near tears by the time the woman handed me that beautiful little white bag with my pill case in it. By the time Mini and I got home, it was 5:15. My husband was already there and cooking supper. So, it was a day long battle from 10 am onward. I came out victorious, this time, but I tell you what...this is something I hope I never, ever, ever have to go through again.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Write What You Love

tura satana Pictures, Images and Photos
Tura Satana, from Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
Image link courtesy of photobucket.com 
I have eclectic taste. I don't remember when I figured that out, what age I was, or what it was that made me realize I'm wired this way. My interests run from comic books to crochet. Hello Kitty to Marilyn Mason. I have two favorite hair colors, and they are on the opposite ends of the spectrum: white hair, and black. So, of course, what color is my own hair?  Garnet red. I've never claimed to be logical in my dabblings.

I guess that sheds some light on why my mom was always frustrated when taking me shopping when I was younger. It probably didn't help that it was the 80s, and fashion itself didn't make a whole hell of a lot of sense. [Paperbag jeans, anyone?] Mom could never quite figure out my style quotient. But as ridiculous or hideous as something I wanted seemed to her, she allowed me to have it 99.9% of the time. As long as the boobs and booty were covered, I typically got the green light. I'm grateful for that.

I'm mentioning this now, because I've noticed my writing very much fits the same modus operandi as the rest of my interests.  I like cyber culture, B movies, and zombies. Werewolves and vampires. Futuristics and apocalyptic stories. Horror and romance. I've tried to blend these things into my stories, not only to suit my own interests, but to present them in such a way that other people can enjoy them too. Not everyone gets it. Some people simply don't like what I do. Occasionally I run into people who are quite vocal about it. [Like the little old lady from conference that told me I was evil and going to hell for writing erotica. Why, yes, I am scarred for life, thank you very much.]

I'm writing this post because I know there are a few fledgling writers who drop by here. I don't know what they are writing, specifically, but I'm sure they were inspired to write by another author, much in the same way I was inspired. They read someone else's idea, and wanted to create a version all their own.

Granted, not everything I like is popular, so that's true also when I sit down to brainstorm. I don't always pull ideas from popular culture. And I think that's okay. While it's smart in a business sense to keep an eye on trends, I think it's not just okay to be different, particularly when it comes to writing, it's a necessary skill for survival. We have to be different in order to stand out.

The truth is, there is no new idea, only ideas presented in new ways. If you like something, you can bet your boots someone else out there likes it, too. How large or small that group might be - that remains to be seen. It is possible to take things that are a bit "out there" and twist them to reach a broader audience.

I guess, the point in all this: don't sell yourself short. Don't stop yourself from writing something because you think it's not the popular thing to write at the moment. Trends can change in the blink of an eye. The very thing that makes you different, can be the thing to make you stand out - in a good way.

When all else fails, remember that old saying "Variety is the spice of life". Whoever wrote that...I think they were on to something. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! We're going to be having a strange one this year. We're supposed to go to Mom's, but yesterday Mini started running a really high fever. Last night when I checked, it was 103. I kept poking him full of Tylenol, and putting cool wash clothes on him, and finally at about 2 in the morning his fever dipped back down to a safe level. That was around the time hubby woke up and switched parent duty shifts with me.

Anyway, I went on to bed, and didn't wake up until 9:30. I called mom to let her know with Mini being this sick, I can't put him in the car - he'd be horking all over the place. He has such a sensitive stomach, especially when he's been feverish, so the plan is that we're going to mom's in shifts. Oldest and Hubster first, then I'll go later. The guys are supposed to bring back a plate for Mini. So far the only thing he's asked for is Mac N Cheese. lol

Oh, gosh...times like this...I'm thankful we're all together, even when we're not. ;0)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Mad Collection of Thoughts


I've had this blog page open for most of the day, intent on writing...something. I was pretty sure I'd have the what figured out by now, but meh...what can I say? My day's aren't all that interesting.

First thing out of bed I had a ton of emails to handle for the Midnight Moon Cafe, then it was on to kidlets and doglets, and getting the house ready for Thanksgiving. By that, I mean ready for having 3 guys loose in the house for several days. Bless their hearts, they don't pick up a single thing after themselves. Ask the sock gnomes.

Anyway, I started at the far end of the house, and thoroughly cleaned my way back to the front of the house. Exhausting work, because...um, I've been writing, instead of cleaning. At least the laundry hasn't gotten out of hand. It probably would if it weren't for Sassie. I used to keep a basket in the hall for all the guys to walk past and drop their dirty clothes in, but she would go in there and find a choice (and usually stinky) sock or some of hubby's work jeans covered in charcoal medium (he's an industrial filter guy), and then haul it to the living room couch and shred it.

Yes. I do mean shred it. And if she can't shred it - she bites chunks out of it. Like hubby's jeans. One long ago RWA weekend, hubby bought 3 brand new pairs of jeans, and after stripping off the tags, tossed them into the hall basket for me to run through the wash. I was in Bossier all day, and once I came home, I found a pair of jeans in a dark corner of the dining room. I didn't realize they were brand new jeans at first, because when I picked them up, they had these localized holes bit all over them. Imagine Charlie Brown's ghost costume as a pair of jeans. Um, yeah.

Charlie's Ghost. Symbolic of hubby's jeans.

Well, I checked them over, and because Sassie Dog literally ripped chunks out of them, and the holes were frayed, like you'd expect out of vintage jeans. Anyway, I was debating throwing them straight in the trash because the holes were weird, just round, random holes in the legs and near the waist band. I couldn't tell if the jeans had been like that a long time, if they were Junk Jeans - you know, for painting the house and such. So, I went ahead and ran them through the wash. Come Monday morning, hubby was getting ready to work and having kittens because he couldn't find a specific pair of brand new jeans. [It was four in the morning, I was having a hard time following what the heck he was talking about.]

All the laundry was clean, so I send him to search the dryer. A minute later he comes back with the holey ghost of his formerly nice, brand new jeans. What can I do?  I just rubbed my hands over my face. "Take it up with your dog." Roughly translated in our house, that means: Oh, well. Kthnxbye.

So that is why all the laundry goes directly in the washer now without regard for color or fabric. It's why some of my white socks have a red cast, and some a blue tinge. It's why there are white fuzzballs all over Oldest's black t-shirts. [You didn't hear that from me.] But, it's also why I don't have a 10 ft mountain of laundry to sort through, so I guess some lint balls and sock casualties are acceptable. Besides, I'm still wearing flip flops 99% percent of the time. Come the end of December, I might have a new opinion about mismatched and discolored socks. If things change, I'll let you know.

Now that you know that scintillating tale of sock sluttery, dryer lint, and jeans abuse... I shall thusly update you on the grand scheme that is my vampire novel. Are you ready?

I have reached the midpoint of the vampire book. *confetti, rejoicing, does the Rocky jog of triumph*

Okay, I kept looking and looking for a Rocky Balboa victory jog giffy, but the searches kept giving me stuff for the Rocky Horror Picture show. Oh well. You take what you can get.

Woohoo!!

So, now I only have...what? Another 35 thousand words to go? Breathe. Small steps and I'll get there. It's what I keep telling myself, anyway. Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Heart Bubbles and Progress

Last night I managed to advance the vampire plot past the paved-over plot hole smack in the middle of Chapter... eight. Seven? I guess it doesn't matter. The book is broken into scenes rather than chapters right now. Anyway, thrilled to be over that part. Carry on, carry on...

I looked at my notes/outline this morning, and had a yippee! until I realized that while, yes, I'm almost to the bottom of page 2, there are something like, nine scenes on the opposite side of it. Ho hum. I'm getting there. At a snail's pace, but I'm getting there nonetheless.

I suppose I should find a pair of clean jeans, ditch the pajamas, and get my sneakers on. I have to run to the store today for light bulbs before we're in the dark over here. The bulb went out in my lamp a day or so ago, and yesterday I went on a crazy bulb hunt, looking for a place to steal one from elsewhere in the house. I finally found one of the "green" low energy bulbs in the hallway, but the shape is weird, so it doesn't fit right in my little lap. *cry*

I put it in the overhead globe, and while it works, it feels weird having that much light showering down on me when I'm trying to write about zombies, ghouls, and vampires. So yeah. Light bulbs. Something you don't realize how much you depend on until you need a box. :P

That's it for now. I hope you all have a snazzy Monday!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Plot Holes: Dude, Grab a Shovel

Get a shovel.  You can ask questions later.

This week has been a crusher, but between  home life, fringe duties, and preparations for the coming holidays, I've still managed to get a little writing done.

Some of the hours have been admittedly brutal, but after last night, I'm grateful for the mind-out-of-body-at-1AM writing experience. Why?  Because in the middle of back tracking to check over a scene, my tired, rambling mind discovered - or fell, rather - into a huge plot hole.

I've gone over this section at least a dozen times. I've rewritten it, stripped out scenes. Wrote new scenes. Felt those were worse than the first ones, so rinse and repeat.

This one was so glaring, I'm not sure how I missed it. The evil bad guys are searching for a character they intend to kill. Um, they have the character's home address, so why aren't they looking there for him first?  How obvious is that?

Well, not obvious enough for me, I guess, because that's the plot hole I fell in last night. I walked right off into that sucker and nearly broke my neck. In retrospect, it makes me think of that guy from Home Alone. The one who falls through the floor trying to get Kevin. He lies there in shock after he hits the bottom. A minute later he looks up, amazed, and says, "Wow. What a hole!"

So it's one in the morning, and now I have this plot hole to deal with. It's massive. It's ugly. It's gotta be fixed. Time to grab a shovel. First things first, I have to assess what needs to be changed. In this case, I need to get at least one of my bad guys to check the protagonist's apartment, or at least hint that they have already done this. I prefer the first option, since it fits the story better.

Now that I know what the hole filler is going to be, I go back to the last "whole" chapter - the last chapter I can detect with no plot problems - and start working from there. I assess the problem sections, looking for either a place to patch that hole with a brand new scene (one that takes us to character's apartment), or a place where I can expand an existing scene to absorb the information necessary to plug the hole.

It's doable. It's fixable. It's a headache, but that's a given.

I acquired my target, but since it was late, I had to go on to bed. Before I did, I wrote a dozen notes to myself, reminders and tips to fix my goof. Today, my goal is to get that new scene in there and smooth it along the edges. Now that I know what I need to fix and how to fix it, (factor in a few hours of sleep for clarity) it doesn't seem like the massive undertaking I thought it would be when I did the initial damage check.

Patching up a plot isn't my favorite part of writing, but you have to do what you have to do. On the bright side, I caught a glaring issue that might have made an editor laugh at me, and the scene I use to fix the problem will add to my word count. So, whew, disaster averted. I think I'll grin and bear it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Attack of the Plot Bunnies

Oh, hai!   I 'z  yer personal plot bunneh fur today.   I haz been sent to shower you wif sparkly fresh new novel ideas to draw yer attention aways frum the story yer supposed to be working on.

I fought tooth and nail to get over two horrendously slow scenes in the vampire novel, only to land in a new section of the vampire story that reeks of...

Oh, wait, look! It's a cute lil bunny! Wait. What? The bunny wants me to write about sexy werewolves and naughty little hook up spots out in the woods? Sort of like in this story?  *shakes off the spell of starry eyed shirtless alpha males*

The vampires. Right-o! Yes, I'm back working on it. I'm over the 100 page mark, and there is the part where the characters come right out of a harrowing situation, there is a very brief respite, then they are back in deeper than before. And it's killing me to get through it. I don't know why. It's all plotted out for me. I can't find anything broken. 

At any rate, that's the dilemma for the day. It's looking like I'm going to have to print this one up and sort through it. Wish me luck!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

RGR THT

Okalies, you'll notice two posts today. I had to do something to sort all Pinkie laptop's old posts because of the hits I'm getting from yahoo answers. That post is so people can stop hunting for what they're looking for, and for linking purposes, so carry on, carry on... Nothing to see over there.

Last night I reached 30k on the vampires 2nd draft. 5k to go and I'll be dead center mid-point in the story. Almost there! I'd be there already, but I stripped out two whole chapters and tossed them in the "this really sucks" recycle bin. I have no use for slow chapters. I have five scenes left to work out, then I'll be officially over the hump.

I'm also working on the pirate story. On Sunday, I went back and changed up the beginning a bit. It's mostly sketchy notes right now, and I noticed the story doesn't really flow the way I want it to. I need to take a day to sit down and really sort through what I want to say with this book. That's the key problem, I think. I'm trying to pants my way through it and I'm horrible at pantsing. Meh. I'll miss every necessary plot point for sure. Already, the ideas don't seem cohesive throughout. I'm gonna have to bite the bullet, sit down and plot this thing.

On a completely different note, I talked to my BFF Cassie a little bit this morning in Second Life. We both had to check rents. Poor thing, she sounds harried and stressed. I wish there was something I could do to help her, bless her heart. I tried to meet her over in Awen, but their sim has been locking me out recently. I can't teleport in. And when I try to log in directly to that region, it tosses me into Oritz. Fuh. So very frustrating. I have a poster rental area I need to pay up. I have a booth for Connection over there.

It's 1pm, so I better take it real world. I have chores to do before I go pick up the Minibeast from school. There's a laundry mountain on the bed, waiting to be folded. Anyone wanna help?  Anyone? You can do all the socks. *crickets*  :3

Pinkie Laptop Chronicles

Welcome to the Pinkie Laptop Chronicles

It's been two years, but one of the hottest hits to my blog still comes from Yahoo Answers - people looking for information about my brief affair with a flamingo pink Dell Studio 15 laptop I named Pinkie. She was beautiful, she was sleek, she was sexy. Everything I thought I wanted in a computer. Instead, she was a dead fish right out of the box, and Dell put me through absolute hell to return her. So much so, I filed a complaint with the Louisiana State Attorney General's Office. Yeah, it's like that.

I am making the pinkie files its own post so curious people won't have to search my blog to find all the little posts about the endless days in digital hell. I want to state straight up that I ordered Pinkie directly from Dell, over the phone with their company. I had her customized, and totally maxed out with additional memory, wireless card, and a $300 business package that included MS Office Suite. I also PAID for a 2 year, "no questions asked" repair or return guarantee...which turns out to be complete bullshit. The cost of the computer with taxes (before finances charges) $2100.00 USD.  I can honestly say I will never, ever, ever buy a Dell again.

Below, is the post from Yahoo Answers, that more than likely drew you here:


I've owned two Dell computers - Inspirion 1535 and a Studio 15. I've been using the Inspirion for several years now - it's been tough as nails, even though it's considered Dell's lower end computer. Good things to know is that it has ethernet and dialup ports, 4usb slots, internal wireless, and the casing is a firmer, higher quality plastic that seems to have weathered better than any other laptop I've owned. I've not had a single issue with the OS, or any of the hardware - the computer I have is old though, and so the monitor is finally playing out.

This past August I wanted to replace the Inspirion with a flamingo pink Dell Studio 15 and ordered one maxed out with memory and other features. I thought I was upgrading from what I had, but right out of the box, I had no way to connect to the internet - there is no dialup port, only an ethernet connection, and it had a Verizon broadband card that you must activate by getting an account through Verizon. Well, there is no Verizon service in my area, so the computer was basically dead in the water as far as the net went. There was no way for me to connect.

Another thing I noticed about the Dell 15, when I took it out of the box it had a very "tinny" sound. CDs didn't sound all that great on it - and they were hard to eject. The Dell 15 has no external eject button for the CD drive. You must go through media player or "my computer" and click to eject the disc - a big pain in the rump. Also, the CD Drive is open faced - not one that opens and closes. It's a slot you insert the CD into. If you are around small children, this isn't a good idea. All it would take is a toddler sticking a penny in there and it would kill the CD drive - and there's no slot door to block that from happening.

Back to the tinny sound - about two weeks after I took my Dell Studio out of the box, the sound card went out. Dead as dead can be. So, that meant there was no internet for it, and now no sound card. I decided then was time to call Dell and return the Studio 15.

Even though I supposedly had a satisfaction guarantee waranty, I went through a month of pure hell trying to return this computer, which I've dubbed "Pinkie laptop". I chronicled this horrendous account on my blog at http://corazane.blogspot.com

If you care to do a search for "laptop" or "Pinkie laptop" or "Dell" on that blog, it should bring up a list of posts - nearly a day by day account for a solid month - reporting the inexcusable run- around Dell put me through in order to return this computer.

If good tech support is going to be something you want with your computer, don't get a Dell. I recommend going with a Mac, or some different brand of Window based laptop.

Just my two cents....
  • 2 years ago

BUYER BEWARE

I grouped all the Pinkie posts by month, but I did not organize them chronologically - I didn't have time to re-read through them all. Think of it as reading a diary out of order. All the info is there so you'll still get the full effect. Now, with no further ado, here is a list of many reasons Dell can suck it:



http://corazane.blogspot.com/2008/09/tech-support-x-6.html
http://corazane.blogspot.com/2008/09/craftiness-and-book-stuff.html
http://corazane.blogspot.com/2008/09/inspirational-tuesday.html
http://corazane.blogspot.com/2008/09/is-it-friday-yet.html


http://corazane.blogspot.com/2008/10/monday-headaches.html
http://corazane.blogspot.com/2008/10/friday-musings.html
http://corazane.blogspot.com/2008/10/another-call-to-tech-support.html
http://corazane.blogspot.com/2008/10/monday-headaches.html
http://corazane.blogspot.com/2008/10/good-riddance-pinkie.html
http://corazane.blogspot.com/2008/10/we-can-dance-we-can-dance.html

http://corazane.blogspot.com/2008/11/got-gateway.html   - (Got a Gateway)

There are even more customer complaints about Dell here: 

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/computers/dell_tech_support.html

Monday, November 15, 2010

Smoke in Your Ear

For the past week, I have had this weird nerve jumpy feeling in my ear. Sort of like a buzzing sensation. Yeah, yeah...it's my alien implant, right? It's probably due to years of playing bass guitar. Even with ear plugs the lower notes will vibrate right through you if you're standing in front of a stack. For reals. Anyway, I was looking up what to do about the jumpy feeling, and someone suggested having someone light up a cigarette and blow the smoke in your ear. If I didn't think cigarette smoke smells like dirty unwashed feet I might think that was kinda cool. Maybe even a little kinky. But, I think I'll pass.


In theory, the nicotine absorbs into the skin and calms the nerves. I wonder if that would work if you just stuck an unlit cigarette in your ear? Wouldn't the nicotine absorb through the paper and into your skin without the smoke?

One of hubby's ancient cigarettes, since I don't smoke.

I gave it a try, as you can clearly see. I sat with a cigarette in my ear for 15 minutes. Indeed. And I must say I notice no difference, other than the fact my fingers smell like tobacco. And probably my inner ear does too. It could be because the cigarettes are ancient, I have no idea. Hubby hasn't smoked in six months, so it could be the cigarettes are all dried out, withered, and worthless.

Oh well. It was worth a shot. And I have this lovely photo to commemorative my moment of desperation.
In the meantime, my ear is still twitchy, and it's driving me crazy. But life must go on...  

I read today that Tim Burton is going to make a Dark Shadows movie based on the 1960s television serial. Johnny Depp is going to play Barnabas. Boy, that's a transformation and a half since Barnabas from the TV show...well, he was nowhere on the same level of hotness as Johnny Depp. :3

Aside from the fan girl squee that is me going bonkers over the thought of Johnny Depp portraying a vampire, it reminds me of a blog conversation I read recently about people tiring of vampires in fiction. I pay close attention to what's hot in movies, because if you have a movie that explodes on the scene like with Twilight, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Carribean...anything that really kicks off a huge following, you see books crop up along the same stream, even if they do cross the age threshold into a new genre.

For example, all the books - YA and Adult revolving around magic school. Cecilia Tan wrote an interesting one that's definitely for adults only.

At the height of the first Pirates movie, there was an influx of pirate romances on the shelves. The market revolves that way. It just does. That's why it's always good to write what you love, but with the market in mind. So, if you have a gothic vampire manuscript you've been sitting on, dust that puppy off and get ready. Surf's up. Prepare to catch that Johnny Depp vampire wave.


Oh my gosh oh my gosh...I almost forgot to share this little masterpiece. I have been facedoubled. Heh. Fancy...


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ghosts 'N' Stuff 'N' Stuff



Wah. It's Sunday already! I don't want the weekend to be over. Can't we have one more day, plzkthnx?

This morning, while on youtube, I can across a version of Ghosts N Stuff I hadn't heard before. The video was kinda funny, so I posted it here. Mini thinks it's b.r.i.l.l.i.a.n.t. He starts giggling when the ghost takes his sheet to the laundr-o-mat. Totally cracks me up!

On an entirely different note, my scrolly mouse bit the dust at around 1:30 this morning. It's actually Mini's mouse. It's shaped like a car with blue headlights that come on when the mouse is active, but I love the thing because it's an optical - no ball underneath. Anyway, I hooked it up a while back, when the left track pad button on my laptop broke. Then a couple of days ago the mouse started squeaking - yes, I'm serious. Anytime you'd turn the scrolly wheel - weeka weeka weeka. OMG, how annoying is that?  Apparently, I scroll a lot. But I digress...

I was scrolling along, reading something about the effects of magnetic frequencies on the human brain and the scrolly wheel stopped working. Kaput. No squeaking either. So very sad, that silence. I can still mouse around, but without the ability to scroll I am gonna go crazy. No bouta doubt it.

Later today I'm going to Wally World to pick up a new mouse with scrolling capabilities. I'm stunned that not all mice have them. Why the heck not?  That seems so cruel - to the poor user who is stuck with that mouse, obviously. Ah, the world and my limited understanding of peripherals. Happy Sunday, everyone!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Total Internal Reflection


Friday, how I love you. I'm having a pretty good day so far. No rush. Not as stressful as usual.

I woke up at 6:30, and thought about going back to bed once Mini got on the bus. Instead, I made a pot of coffee and headed off to the writing cave to work for a while. So, I've been writing most of the day, working on the pirate story. So far it's going okay. It's only going to be somewhere abouts 20k in length, so I'm thinking this one shouldn't take me too long to draft. At least, I hope it won't. *eyes the plot bunnies*

Tonight, I switch over to the vampires and put in a few words there. It's growing a little bit everyday, and yesterday I was able to knock a few more scene clouds off the list. I have an intense scene coming up tonight, so I'm going to work out a bullet list of what I want to happen before typing anything. I'll probably do that last this afternoon. For now, though, I'm very happy with the way the story is coming out.

This weekend, we can't afford to do much, so I'm gonna write all night then the next day, I plan to lounge around in my pajamas and read a couple of books I have in the TBR stack. The stack has grown to wild proportions, so I need to trim it back a bit. I'm taking a huge box of old books to the donation box at the library on Monday. I just don't have the room (or the patience to dust) this stuff anymore.

As it stands, I'm gradually clearing out my bookshelves. To help with the transition and book angst, I'm making a list of the titles I'll be able to replace in e-book format - ideally at a site that has a online bookshelf for their customers, like at Fictionwise. That way, if something ever happens to my e-reader, I haven't lost a fortune in books. Anyone else doing something similar?

That's the beat here, pretty much. I'm going to work on the pirates a little more before I have to go pick up Mini from school, so I'm out of here for now. Oh, by the way - today's picture so totally rocks me. Love all those subtle shade changes and blended colors. :8)

Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dystopian Fairyland...and MSWord


Mini is home from school today, so of course, the water company decides today is the perfect day to cut off the water to work on the system. Earlier this morning, every five minutes the kid wanted something else to drink until finally we ran out of juice, and we're out of milk, and cola, and just everything, so I'm thinking I better run to the store before I have to knock a king size knot on the little beggar's head.

So, I took the kids with me and did the rounds, and even brought home water in jugs so I can cook supper and do homey things. Tonight we are having chicken and dressing per hubby's request. By the end of November we should be totally sick of dressing and cranberry sauce since I'll be cooking it again at Thanksgiving, and having it over at mom's for dinner there. Heh.

Early this morning I worked on the futuristic pirate story, and added 2k. I really should have kept up with working on the word template I was given since I had to stop and think about how to use the ribbon every few minutes. Oy very. Anyway, that story is coming along okay, but I'm gonna have to amp it up since it's not very romantic. Yet.

Tonight, it's back to the vampires. I cut two scenes yesterday and rewrote that section of the book from scratch. It makes more sense now and the flow is better. Yay! I can officially mark off two more clouds on my cloud sheets, so moving right along with that...

I've discovered that instead of glopping thoughts down on the page, it's better for me to write everything in simple sentences for the first draft. This is so very, very much easier to clean up and edit. Too, it's is easier to read through it and see what I intended to say with each scene. Just a random thought.

Anyway, about today's photo. I found it while browsing on Deviant Art. I absolutely love the picture above. It reminds me of Paul J. McAuley's Fairyland, which is a really cool techno/genetic/cyber fantasy book I recommend, if you haven't read it already.

That's all for now. Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday! For those looking to connect with me, I am also on facebook and twitter. If you're a real person and have something to say, I'm happy to follow back.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Primped and Uploaded


Okalies. I've pulled together all my gotta-do-it work stuff for today. Everything is primped, uploaded, and scheduled. Except for this blog, which is never pre-uploaded. I'm pretty sure that's obvious, but whatever.
I spent the morning getting everything put away so I can write like a fiend this evening. Yesterday, I barely accomplished a thing. Around 4pm, I went to the living room to hang out with Mini and fell asleep on the couch watching DragonBall GT. I didn't wake up until 6, and by then I had to get Mini in the bath and toss all the dirty laundry in the wash.

I partly blame the time change. I went to bed at about 1 am, and was back up at 6 to get Mini ready for school. He was such a peach, by the way. I helped him get dressed, brushed his hair and went over his homework with him before he had to go outside. Then I stood around with him while he waited for the bus. It's freaking COLD out there in the early mornings. Especially if you're wearing Snoopy pajamas and flip flops. Oh, but the time change...I swear, I am so out of it. I went back to bed after Mini was on to school, and I slept until 9. It isn't like me at all to sleep that late. *_*

For the rest of the day I need to work on the vamps. Not much happened with those guys last night. As much as I hate it, now I've got to make up for lost time.

Monday, November 08, 2010

No Shirt, No Shoes...


Kinda tired this evening and feel sort of blah. My BFF called me early on this morning and let me know her Mum passed away. Poor thing is understandably devastated, and it was hard to keep it together for her. Today I've gone around doing little nit picky things to tie up loose ends as best I can so she doesn't have to worry about anything online.

Now that everyone's been fed and is off in their corner doing their own thing, I may poke through a few chapters on the vampire novel. I really don't like this scene I'm working on. It's kind of a quick transition for the characters. They're leaving one heavy event and moving into another, and this is sort of the pacer scene in the middle. It's on my cloud sheets, and I've followed everything to the letter but... I hate it. There I said it. I hate this section. I guess that sort of answers my own question with what I should do with it, huh?

Anyway, that's on the agenda tonight. Oh, and I need to finish up a crochet project. Brace for it. I'm making legwarmers. Yes. I am. They are green and yellow striped. They were supposed to be rainbow striped - green, yellow, pink, and blue - but the pink and blue yarn has vanished without a trace. The sock gnomes were in need, I guess. Bummer. They don't have the colors in stock anymore. (Just for the sake of saying so, I'll probably find the other two skeins six months from now. When I don't need them.)

So there it is. A day in the life. If you're able, go give your mama a hug, okay? Because life is too damn short.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Unleashing New Ideas


As of this morning, I'm pulling together notes for a sexy, cyberpunk story for Ellora's Cave. I had an idea for this story several months ago, so I did fifteen minutes of fame with it. Basically you sit down and write down all the ideas and details you can think of about a story within a TIMED span of 15 minutes. When the alarm goes off, you stop and store everything for later. That way it doesn't interrupt your current projects, and deadline pieces. By the way, I'll be putting up 15 Minutes of Fame worksheets on my Scribd soon, so it's best to subscribe there in case I forget to announce new uploads on the blog. It happens.

Anyway, I tucked this cyberpunk story away in the "Ideas" file on my computer months ago. The thing is, I have about 80 documents in the ideas file, and I can't remember what the heck I named that particular story. So, I've been trying to recall all the details I managed to spit out on that last document and put them into some kind of sensible order.

So far, I've pulled together half of a coherent story. I can't remember how I planned to end this thing, so more brainstorming is definitely in order before I'm ready to start writing that one.

I added another thousand words to the vampire novel last night. I'd hoped to have the next milestone in the bag by now, but I'm still not to the midpoint. Close, but no cigar. I have a huge dry erase board on my office door where I work through plot issues on a linear chart.

To try and save some guess work, Friday night I reworked the chart so it is more concentrated on the midpoint. I've finished the first half of the book, so I don't need that info up there anymore. It helps to have a visual representation of where I'm going with the story, but something about this scene is just plain tedious.

Before I sit down to work on the vamps tonight, I'm going to have to access that scene - figure out what makes me cringe every time I think about working on it. Something is probably broken and I'm picking up on it subconsciously. My current goal is getting to the midpoint, but I can tell some of these scenes from the 1st draft are going to need serious reworking.

On to other news...

This is a heads up about the Midnight Moon Cafe and end of the year promo scheduling - I'm currently - yes, right now - pulling together all the book features for December. If you have already contacted me or Cassandra about your book being featured in December, or were hoping to have your book featured in December, you need to have your information to me no later than November 20th.

If you do not get your info to me on time, someone else will get your promo slot. Don't expect me to hunt you down and send multiple reminders, because I won't. I can't. I don't have the time. Right now I'm focused on filling the schedule because Cassie's dear Mum is in the hospital and it doesn't look good. I am handling the next month or so alone, so I won't be able to chase down people. Sorry, folks!

If aren't sure what you need to send in, contact me through either Facebook, or email me at corazane at aol dot com as soon as possible. You can also check the list on www.midnightmooncafe.com/contact-us .

That's all for now. I better get to work while I have a little time to myself. This evening I'm baking red velvet cupcakes with Mini, making cut out hand turkeys to stick on the fridge for Thanksgiving, and watching a round of holiday Snoopy DVDs. At least, that's the plan. Happy Sunday, everyone! ;o)

Friday, November 05, 2010

Now's The Time To Be There

I don't know what it is about the season, but the minute cold weather kicks in, I realize it's nearing the end of the year and I feel this rush to submit fifty projects. Even if I don't have fifty projects. It's crazy, I know, but I always feel like time is running out and I need to submit, submit, submit.

On top of that, the past few days, the SYTYCW has been like a motivational shove off the short pier. How very awesome of so many busy editors stopping to give information, podcasts, and to attend chats where readers and writers can ask them industry related questions.

I've attended a couple of the chats, and I've been following the blog posts they've been sharing from a variety of authors discussing their experiences. I can't speak for everyone, of course, but I find those kinds of posts incredibly interesting. Today is the last day of SYTYCW, so I imagine once all the business and errand things are out of the way here at home, I'll be checking out what's on the table.

Writers, if you're like me, looking for somewhere to submit your work last minute, there are a lot of listings up over at ERWA at the moment. Check the links in my sidebar and go getchu some!

It's been a while since I reported on the full length vampire novel, and I'm happy to say I'm almost to the midpoint. Woot! So far, so good. It hasn't veered from my cloud sheets, so that is an added plus. I'd be in trouble if it did. Once your story starts going in another direction, it's hard to steer it back on track. And it looks like by the time I'm at the end of this section, I'll have added enough in to overshoot my projected word count a bit. That is a goooood thing. Longer = full of happy. It's much easier for me to trim things down than to pad the story with an additional subplot.

I'm thinking about changing some of the dialogue in the second and third chapters of the book, but it's too early to tell if I'll actually change it or just polish it up. I read somewhere - ugh, I wanted to link to it, but I can't remember...not enough coffee yet, sorry - that you should never have two characters on a page that do nothing but agree (or argue) with each other. Hm. Now I'm determined to link to it. Where the heck did I see that? OH!!! I found it here. (Yep, ten minutes later and definitely not enough coffee yet.)

Anyway, it's not that my characters necessarily agree or argue with each other throughout those chapters, but the dialogue is flat. I remembered that post the other day when I was trying to think of how I would fix the problem. Since the hero and heroine are in a tense situation through most of the book, I imagine they might be a little snappy with each other. Not necessarily arguing, but...more sensitive. On edge. The dialogue needs to fit a character's mood, not just the situation.

Anyway, I'm hoping to reach the midpoint by Sunday. Next week, my aunt and grandmother are coming in from Texas for a visit, so I imagine I'll be over at mom's during the day. No internet there, and besides, it would be rude to take my computer. It would just be extra stuff to carry, since I know I wouldn't use it while I was there.

That's the latest. I have a lot to do today, so better get started. My dad needs his resume updated, so that's my first order of business. Exciting, no?

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Cybernetic Vampire Lust - an excerpt

Hurray for release day!
What a happy, jazzy day! Connection, my first ever book with Ellora's Cave is available now. 

About the book: 
Gage is a cyber vampire, an AI being who feeds off energy, sexual and otherwise. Kiri loves that they can feel each other’s pleasure during sex…during those electric moments when Gage slips his fangs into her neck ports.

Kiri knew from the start Gage wanted a no-strings relationship, but hadn’t realized his bite would grant him access to her heart. Hadn’t counted on being so lost to pleasure she lets loose her innermost desire. Now Gage knows her secret, and Kiri can’t bring herself to face him.

But Gage has a secret too. He’s found more than sexual satisfaction with Kiri. He’s discovered the ultimate connection—and he’ll prove it the second he’s back in her bed.
*~*~*~*

Want to know more? Here is an excerpt from Connection: 


By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this site.


An Excerpt From: CONNECTION
Copyright © CORA ZANE, 2010
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.


“You’re more than welcome to join us,” Adam offered. Once again his gaze settled on her neck ports, and she shivered at the way his gaze caressed her like a physical touch. As androids, cyber vampires fed off sensual energy rather than blood. There wasn’t a doubt in her mind what this one wanted from her.


With his card tucked between his fingers and his arm resting on the back of the booth again, he created a space near the edge for her to sidle in next to him if that was her wish. “Interested?”


“Um, thanks, but…” Kiri just shook her head.


He’s not Gage. Fucking him won’t fix things.


She hated herself for having to rationalize it.


Ignoring the way her clit throbbed, she tucked the serving tray under her arm and left the suite in an effort to distance herself from the temptation. Once outside, she shut the door behind her and headed down the glass walkway that ran all the way around the cylinder-shaped club, connecting the circle of third-floor suites overlooking the main club area. A discreet stairwell tucked farther down the walkway spiraled behind the inner walls of the building, connecting the multiple levels.


As Kiri reached the stairwell, she stopped to look out over the glass riser edging the walkway, gazing down at the light show that pulsed and flickered over the dance floor. Instead of going straight down to check in at the bar, she stepped back into the shadows of the tiny third-floor landing and pressed her back against the wall on the other side of a waist-high vase of peacock orchids.


The music vibrated through her, the booming bass matching the desire throbbing through her body. Her inner thighs were slick with cream, her cunt aching for a man’s attention. She couldn’t get her mind off the scene in the suite. Kiri clamped her eyes shut tight, her conscience turning over the many reasons why she shouldn’t—why she wouldn’t—accept the blond man’s offer. There were many, but still her body nagged her for release. Craving a quick climax, she glanced off to the right, around the large plume of flowers, to see if anyone was coming up the stairs and saw no one. She was alone.


Heart galloping, her skin tingling with urgent need, she slipped her hand beneath her skirt, hesitating when her fingertips grazed the edge of her panties.


She wondered if she was far back enough from the glass riser to prevent anyone from looking up and seeing her. Were the shadows dark enough for true concealment?


To hell with it. Getting caught seemed a much lesser punishment than going unfulfilled.


Buy Link:  
http://www.jasminejade.com/p-8754-connection.aspx