Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wake Me When It's Over

funny pictures of cats with captions


It is the week that would not end. I swear, just when I think I'm crashing through a few gates and getting closer to the finish line, something new pops up out of the bushes.

Yesterday was the man's birthday. Everyone's a bit low on cash, so my mother decided to forgo the gifts this year and cook a classic southern meal for Hubby. It seemed like a great idea, and it got off to a good start. Until we sat down at the dinner table together. Somehow within a matter of minutes, it went from good to completely awkward.

There are times my mom and husband get along famously. Other times, it seems like they just naturally and unintentionally scrape each other. Indeed, you'd think it would be over something like politics or religion or something like that, but no. Over a baseball cap at the dinner table. The whole incident left the man flustered, mom red faced, and me ready to run for the door. It wasn't even an argument, just a bump and deflect kind of thing, but despite the quick recovery, it really sucked the wind out of the dinner.

I felt bad for mom, because she clearly went to great effort to make this meal. Still, it's like there was a big puddle in the center of the room afterward, and everyone kept stepping in it. I tried not to squirm in my chair because no foul was intended. Nevertheless, once the dinner was over, it was clear on both sides it was time to break. Hubby was already a bit moody - turning 37 apparently does that, and everyone else was kind of shell shocked. When we got in the Jeep to leave, I sat with my breath held for probably a solid minute, waiting for hubby to say something about it. Thankfully, he didn't mention it. I can't imagine what I might've said if he had.

Honestly, I shouldn't even dwell on it. It truly was no big deal, but over the last few days the house has been so emo, my nerves are frazzled. The smallest thing gets to me and lingers. It seems like I'm forever treading on eggshells.

Tuesday night, the hubster and Oldest flew into a nasty argument. Hubster is feeling the out of work pinch, and well, Oldest has no concept of money other than HOW to spend it. What started out as a minor irritation on hubster's part quickly had them both at each other's throats. Of course, I'm in the bathtub with shampoo in my hair when it goes down. I can hear the entire exchange, and at the crescendo, my heart was racing, my nerves were so strung out, I was at the breaking point.

I got out of the tub, wrapped in a towel with suds in my hair and basically dumped a nuclear bomb on the shitstorm. "Both of you, go to your corners and shut up!" Once I stripped all the bullshit out of the argument, things settled. Then again, I think if anyone had shouted at me that night, someone would've ended up in ER.

Ah, the glamorous life. Someone rescue me, please.

Things had pretty much calmed down by late evening yesterday. I settled in and worked on my revision class work for a while. Around 7 o'clock, I ran a bath for Mini and called him in. I always give him about twenty minutes to play, because he likes boats and cars and such in the bath. Then in the last ten minutes or so, I'll wash his hair, scrub him up, etc. Anyway, I don't know how I missed it while bathing him. I was helping him out of the tub, and he flinched. I looked, and there is this inch long blue and red blood bruise on his left, upper arm. I'm not gonna lie, I had a freakin' cow when I saw it.

I wrapped him up in a towel and called hubby into the bathroom. A kid at school bit him. Not just bit him, bit him HARD. The skin at the top of the wound made me wonder if he'd broken the skin a little. No one said a word when hubby picked the Minibeast up at school yesterday, but Mini assured us the kid got in a lot of trouble. Still, why wouldn't they tell us? I've got huge germ phobia. Especially with bites and stuff like that.

I tell ya, this week has been a gem.

On a brighter note, so far I've managed to get half of lesson 8 finished. I should be able to knock out the rest today. Oh! I wanted to mention a cool thing. I had epiphany #2 yesterday. Anyone who's been reading this blog for any length of time knows that I've been using note cards to plot with. Been doing that now for a year or two. Well, I have discovered this cool, new (not entirely new, but new to me) use for plotting your entire book scene by scene on notecards. Know what it is? Synopsis writing.

I wrote out an entire beginning to end, book length synopsis yesterday using my notecards. The book is lousy, yes, and needs beaucoup revision, but that is by far the easiest synopsis I have ever written in my life.

For more about the course I'm taking, visit www.HollyLisle.com - OR - www.howtoreviseyournovel.com. The novel revision course is intensive, but I've learned a lot from only a few weeks instruction. It's good stuff, people.

That's all I've got for now. The house is quiet this morning, so I'm going to take advantage of it and get some classwork done. Happy Thursday, everyone.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Space Pirates and Lesson 8

funny pictures of cats with captions
Fashion Kitty Wears All-Natural UGGs


Oldest stayed home from school today. I think maybe he missed some important assignment and is doing makeup work or something. Too, he's been staying up super late, usually until around 1 in the morning, so I know his sleep schedule is off. He was up grabbing breakfast earlier and I told him he's to get his rear out of bed today - no four hour naps - and finish up his work. I know, I know...I'm none to charitable, but after what I've spent on his senior year so far, he needs to get his shit together in a serious, "Mom's gonna kick my ass if I don't", kind of way.

It's not exactly going to be a fun hooky day though. I've put him on puppy patrol, and in a bit he's going with me to haul off garbage. Late this evening, he'll be doing laundry. I anticipate he'll have a sudden desire to return to school tomorrow. We'll see.

I'm feeling much better, so I stayed up late last night and worked on revising my story. I'm starting to do write-ins, albeit in a separate .doc file since I'm still doing the revision course. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, but I do have to pick up the pace so I can pull a pitch together. The story has changed so much from the initial draft, it's gonna take a lot of clean up. Even so, I'm thinking the effort will pay off. The skeleton of the story is so much stronger. It's hard to explain it, but there's a whole new dimension to the writing now.

I'm working on lesson 8 today, and going over notes from two previous workshops - transitions and pitch preparation. That's pretty much the order of business for the week. I'm pulling this thing together one step at a time.

That's it for now. Gotta get lunch together for Oldest bratling. After I get through with lessons, I'll likely hit the couch and read for a bit. I recently picked up a copy of Unmasked by CJ Barry. Space pirates. Yum! :0)

Happy Monday, everyone!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Saturday Skinny




I'm gonna admit it. I'm happy it's Saturday, but I'm actually looking forward to Monday. I completed lesson seven of the revision course, and I'm ready to move on. I get new lessons every Monday, so now I'm on pins and needles, waiting for the downloads to arrive.

I've been making more use of the private forums to ask questions. Each lesson counts as a week, so I'm basically 8 weeks invested. I don't want fall off the wagon with my project at this point. Overall, I think the book seems to be doing okay. I'm going to have to spice up the romantic relationship between the hero and heroine when I actually start the write-ins, but the main thing is to work out all the loose ends.

On another subject entirely...

Nostalgia : that feeling you get right before you lose it and try to buy back your entire childhood on eBay.

Oh yes, indeed. I have a new acquisition to make. I have this straw cowboy hat that I like to wear to the lake. It's cheap, weathered, and looks perfect with a peasant shirt - my cover up of choice. When looking over pictures of the lake from last July, I decided there was one thing missing from my retro ensemble. A feather roach clip.

Ah, the innocence of youth. I was about 6 or 7 when these were popular. Probably around 1980-1981? They were giving them away as prizes at the county fair the year I first remember seeing them, and by the time the carnies were rolling out of town, half the girls in my class were wearing feather roach clips in their hair. At the end of each day for probably a solid month, there was a frenzy of kids trading them on the bus on the way home from school. Alas, I had nothing trade worthy to offer. *sniff*

Since I missed the fair, Dad picked up yellow and white one for me at a gas station on his way home from work one afternoon. Bless his heart, I don't think he knew what the clip was for - at least not in technical terms. I sure as hell didn't. I wore it in my hair, or clipped on my belt loop. I'm sure it perfectly matched my aqua blue Miss Pacman sneakers. Heh.

So yes, I have been feather roach clip hunting. And yes, I'm gonna wear it in my hair. What can I say? I'm a traditionalist. For the most part, I'm kinda leaning toward a two tone feather clip. But then again, I kind of like this one : a roach clip - made with peacock feathers.

Yeah, I know. There's no helping me, is there?

The guys just got back from a grocery store run, and I think the man is waiting for me to run the dishwasher. I think I better get at it before he gives me the evil eye. I swear though, if I find "the" feather roach clip, the one that says it must come home to live with me, I will definitely be taking pictures. Just in case anyone needs blackmail photos. :P

Happy weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Working On My Mousterpiece

funny pictures of cats with captions


I really don't have the patience for being sick right now, but there it is. It started last week when Oldest came home with a hacking cough. A few days ago, Mini came racing into my writing room. "Mimi, help! My nose..."

The term "bubbling goo monster" comes to mind.

I knew it then the ick was making rounds in the house. The same afternoon Mini came to me with severe booger nose, he wanted to nap-nap with me in the recliner. Poor thing just wasn't feeling well. At one point, I was rocking him and he was breathing just so in my face. I should've known then I was gonna be the next to fall.

Well, it landed on me yesterday, and good Pete, where does it all come from? I have used an entire double roll of Charmin to blow my nose and it.just.keeps.coming! My nose looks like Rudolph's, and my throat is sore from all the coughing, snorting, and congestion. Bah! At this point, I'd be satisfied to breathe out of both nostrils at the same time. ~_~'

But enough bitching about that. Sickness comes and goes, and there's so much work to do. Except for a few hours where I felt a bit delirious, I've been working steadily on revisions. And writing! Gosh, the day before yesterday I sat down and wrote a 1500 word short story. I haven't written anything fresh since, what, November?

Back to the rewrites, I've reached lesson seven of the Holly Lisle novel revision course. Because of the ick, I've been a little adrift and don't feel like I've got my head totally in the game. It's not for lack of trying, though. Right now, I'm just so annoyed with my characters... They travel around the book so much, it tires me out, just thinking about it. The thing is, I don't even know if if my concern about their roaming relates to the lesson. Something just seems "off", and I can't pinpoint what it is.

I feel like if I can just get that part - the scene "traveling" - on the straight and narrow, I'll have THE BOOK in order, for what it's worth. In the meantime, I guess I'll just keep slogging through the tar pit and hope for the best.

That's all for now. I need to brush my teeth and hit the bed. Sweet dreams, everyone. Night, night!


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mad World

For anyone waiting to hear from me, I'm behind on emails again. Sorry! Rest assured, I'm working through the list as fast as I can.

Yesterday started a flurry of bullshit that I hope I don't have to experience again - or at least not anytime soon. "Ever" would be fantastic, but I'm a realist. What can I say? Quite by accident, I discovered three of my ebooks compiled into a lit file and being sold en bundle on ebay. This seller had made a business of selling pirated ebooks and scanned print books.

Early this morning I saw the listing was still up, so I called ebay, and went through a headache and a half trying to get my books down - but to no avail. It wasn't until around 2 o'clock that I heard back on the report I sent in, and it contained a link and a printable form to report copyright infringement.

My nerves were pretty fried by that point. I'd already told the husband I was calling around to schedule an appointment with a lawyer. He was with me 100%. I had narrowed my list to two lawyers when, fortunately, the copyright infringement eBay form arrived. I printed it and filled it out, then rushed to the local library to fax it. I didn't expect to hear anything so soon because the customer service rep said it could take up to five days just to do an investigation of the item.

Well, as of tonight my books are down, and the seller is no longer a registered user. I'm satisfied with the result. Of course the seller could crop up again with a different name, a different account...but that's fish for another day. I'm definitely joining eBay's VeRo Team to (hopefully) insure that should there be a next time, I can get my books down faster.

It's been a week filled with seemingly endless asshattery, and make no doubt. Everything from surprise back to back board meetings, rogue idiot emails from strangers, to unexplained power outages and comp glitches hath befallen me. On the bright side, the man managed to fix my washing machine. I do think I'll keep him. The hubster and the washing machine. ;0)

Back to the email situation... I have a couple of outstanding MMC feature emails to answer. If you're waiting, please bear with me. The emails are in cue, and I'll be consulting with Cass about the scheduling as soon as possible.

As for other emails, I do need to reiterate that I am not a literary agent. I am not an editor, either. I cannot in any way, shape, or form get you published. Please do not email me with attached chapters asking me to read/edit/critique/sell/publish your material. I delete those emails unread. I don't even respond to them. This includes any requests that arrive to me asking for editing/publishing/critiques on Facebook and Myspace. No means no.

If you simply need feedback on your manuscript - REAL feedback, not an attaboy or any other kind of pat on the back - I highly suggest you visit www.absolutewrite.com . On their sidebar you'll find a link to their forum section. The absolute write forums are an invaluable resource for beginning writers, and they're free. All you have to do is register and post.

Whew! Okay. I think business is done here. It's about forty-five minutes to midnight, and I need to check one last load of laundry after I knock out these remaining conflict cards. Oh yeah, my friend, I am still catching up on the cards (that I *thought* I had finished) and the pre-washing machine resurrection laundry pile. *_* The use of a thousand towels, I understand. But I had no idea the guys wore so many fucking pairs of socks. Sheesh!

So there it is. All the local dirty. I'll post all the upcoming writerly events on the sidebar over the weekend, and at the yahoo group. I promise, this time. Nite nite, everyone. Happy dreams!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Snip, snip, snip...

This afternoon, I've got to have a talk with the man. He's not feeling well, and it's looking like we're going to have to buy a new washing machine. If we've got to go to that expense, we need to go all in for a dog door for the back as well. And a heater for the utility room to keep the damn machine from freezing again. *sigh*

At any rate, I've nailed my conflict cards, and I'm now working on characterization sheets. I'm pleased with what few characters I have, and can think of only two who really need a closer look. Ready or not, today I am cutting into my novel so I can block it on paper. I need to see what's being cut, and what's staying.

About midway through my conflict cards, I realized I have a loop going on toward the middle of my story. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate writing middles? Anyway, it's basically a four scene section the repeats itself, only in slight variation to the original. That is a definite snip-snip. I wonder how many words it's going to cost me?

On the other hand, the story itself is much, much clearer now. The goals are more concrete. Each scene seems to have benefited in some way. So for all the work I've now sunk into this behemoth, it finally seems to be paying off - a little. There is still much work ahead of me.

That's all for now. Break time is over, so I'm off to go sharpen my manuscript trimming scissors. Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Not As Expected




The house is quiet and cold this morning. The kids are at my parents' house, and Hubster has made a run to the hardware store. He has also promised to bring home coffee from Circle K. At the moment, the house is a wreck and the water is turned off.

Yesterday, around 7:30 in the morning, my RWA carpool buddy called. The poor thing woke up not feeling well and decided not to go. I could have driven the distance myself, or called to see if Beth wanted to ride together, but I got this wild hair, thinking that since it's Saturday and there's nothing really pressing to do, I wanted to have a date with the Hubster. I made an arrangement with my mom to watch the kids long enough to go see that new vampire movie Daybreakers.

We went to the Cinema in Ruston, and as expected, it was packed. We made it in a minute before showing. The previews were rolling when we took our seats.

The movie was great, but I'm not giving any spoilers. The gist is this: vampires rule the world and since there are so few people left, they're now starving and turning into "real" monsters. Cool beans!

Good movie, but honestly, I was more thrilled to discover someone did a remake of The Crazies - an old George A. Romero movie. This looks like it's gonna be a freaky one.

I watched the old one a long time ago, and... meh. Good concept, but it was largely lot of gunfire and people running through town trying to escape men in hazmat suits and crazy people. The new one looks 100x more scary than the original. This is one of those gotta see it movies for me. :P


Took me some searching to find the trailer I actually saw in the theater!

On the way home from the movies, we picked up a box of chicken. Once we arrived, we settled in and ate before I had to go pick up the boys from my mom's. At one point, we were shuffling stuff around in the kitchen, and the Hubster noticed the water wasn't off, but that we had no water pressure. Hm...

He went outside to investigate, and I got ready to leave. As I'm going out of the driveway, he checks the water meter and says it looks like we have a busted pipe somewhere, but he can't find it. *_*

I get half way to my parent's house when he calls me on the cell. He found the leak. In the wall, in Oldest's bathroom. And apparently, the entire time we're eating, we never even noticed his room, Mini's room (that I just worked my ass off to get prettied up with brand new tile and paint) is flooded. A small section of the living room had taken on water too.

I picked up Oldest from Mom's, left Mini there, and we went to buy towels, buckets and extra mops. Hubster got the water turned off, and we all spent the next four hours or so cleaning up the mess.

If the man can't find what we need at the local hardware store, it's off to Lowe's.

That's it for now. I can hear the Jeep pulling in, and that means the man bringeth coffee. I'm so there.

Happy Sunday, everyone.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Ushering in the Wrecking Crew




Last night I dreamed I showed up for guitar lessons with this bass that I have in waking life. It's the one I don't mind if it gets a little banged up, etc. - a Daisy Rock Heartbreaker that I bought off eBay. In the dream, the instructor is waiting to begin the lesson when I realize that the bass I'm holding has no strings. Exasperated and embarrassed, I put the guy on hold and quickly string the bass. Of course, now, it's strung but horribly out of tune. I break out my tuner, and I can tell the instructor has grown impatient with me, and I don't blame him. I'm able to play the song I was supposed to play, but otherwise, I'm totally unprepared.

I woke up and instantly thought of my manuscript.

I have quite a "to do" list at the moment. There are a few book features to pull together for the Midnight Moon Cafe, an interview to upload, and I thought I was finished with lesson four of my revision class, but last night I discovered a stack of worksheets I'd completely forgotten existed. Oy vey.

I printed up lesson five late yesterday and read through it briefly before discovering the one I'd missed. I wanted to follow this course verbatim, from beginning to end, but I'm running out of time. I have roughly 7 weeks to pull this book together before conference. Time to break out the big guns.

This morning I got up around four-thirty and began dissecting the reasons why my characters are doing what they're doing. I'm also going to have to dig down again and find the kernel of romance in there, wherever it went. So today, I'm going to be writing down what's missing and broken. From there, I'm strapping on the surgical gloves and going in.

I better get to work while the house is quiet. Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Monday, January 04, 2010

The Cycle Starts Again




2010. Wow. Can I just say this month has taken off like a rocket?

I'm currently up to week five on the revision course I'm taking. And um, this last lesson - lesson four - totally kicked my ass. ~_~' The course is intensive, and right now it's safe to say my manuscript is "up on blocks". Basically, I've been pulling this puppy apart element by element. Should be interesting when I go to patch this thing back together.

On New Year's Day Cassandra "Sharktooth" Curtis, and I did free tarot readings at the Midnight Moon Cafe gypsy caravan in Gloomy Creek on Second Life. What a hoot! A special thanks to everyone who showed up, and for all the generous gifts and tips. We appreciate you very much. We had a blast reading cards for our friends and fans, and hope to do another tarot night very soon.

I was talking to a friend the other day about what I hope for in the New Year. To be honest, I've been so busy, this is the first time I've had a chance to think about it. Not only that, but I completely forgot to make a resolution. That being the case, and since I can't think of a compelling or unique resolution, so I guess I'll go with the flow this year. That sounds dreadfully boring, I realize, but like the saying goes : "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It will be interesting to see how the year unravels.

That's all I have for now. I hope you're all settling into a comfortable 2010. :0)

I'd like to have a full length book contracted this year, but first I have to get the thing pulled together and polished. I'm working on that now. So one step at a time.