Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Writerly Bits

Looks like Blogger finally fixed the recent issues with Google Chrome. *much rejoicing* Going back and forth between Chrome and IE to blog was making me bonkers. Not all the new features are apparently available with IE, and some days it was simply impossible to log in to post. I was starting to think I'd have to open a new blog over at Wordpress. Yikes. Anyway, I'm relieved the blogging trauma is finally over. As long as I'm able to post something, it's all good.

After the long weekend, I'm being writerly today. I called Mom first thing this morning to wish her a Happy Birthday, and a little later on this afternoon, I'm going to run over there and pay a visit. Take her a card and a gift and chat with her for a little while.

Right now I'm in my office brainstorming, blogging, and trying to jar fresh ideas loose. I have several pages of notes going, most of it scenarios with some sporadic character building ideas. Basically, I'm trying to spin something out of nothing. So far...it's going slowly. LOL At any rate, that's the big agenda today. Think for a little while and write down what I come up with. Think of something else, write it down too.

It's harder than it sounds!  ^_^

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The CEC Aftermath...and Books

Yesterday we took Mini to Chuck E. Cheese for his birthday party. We had chocolate cake and pizza,  did the crown ceremony, the picture with Chuck E, and the ticket blaster booth. It's safe to say he had a great time. We all pitched in toward the game playing and he ended up with 2000 tickets even. He traded them in for a power ranger's motorcycle toy. Overall, the party lasted a little over 2 hours, and I'd definitely do it again.

After the party, we went to the Books a Million a little further down the plaza. I bought On Horror Writing: A Handbook by The Horror Writers Association, Edited by Mort Castle, and Married with Zombies by Jesse Petersen. Oh, and I picked up Angelology by Danielle Trussoni. Once I've had a chance to read through them all, I'll add them to my goodreads account. Right now I'm reading The Replacements by Brenna Yovanoff. It's a YA horror that an agent recommended I read to get a feel for the genre.

As for my own work, I'm brainstorming for a new project. Once again I'm going to be doing the First Draft in 30 Days since it seemed to work pretty well the first go around. I'm hoping for similar success this time, although I probably won't start with any serious drafting until the summer writing workshop I'm doing with Keri is out of the way.

That's all I've got going on for now. I'm going to curl up on the couch with a book. I hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day tomorrow.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Vampires & Exhaustion

Yesterday was Mini's birthday. He turned the big 0-6. I baked a cake for him - fudge with fudge frosting, and his dad bought him this enormous Nerf gun to terrorize us all with. We didn't do a whole bunch of birthday stuff, just a general around the house Mini is King day (with ground rules).

His birthday party is on Saturday. We're taking him to Chuck E. Cheese to let him run and romp, and when it's over, I'm heading next door to Books a Million.

Speaking of books, I wrote THE END to the vampire story and sent it off to my publisher yesterday around noon. Woohoo! It ended up running close to 64,000 words, so it's a category length erotic paranormal novel. I'm so glad to have that thing out the door so I can start playing around with fresh ideas. To celebrate, I ate a piece of birthday cake, and bought a tube of NYX Snow White lipstick.

Now that I've got some downtime, I plan to whittle away at my TBR stack, finish a crochet project for my mom, and basically finish up all the little projects I started then put to the side. That should keep me busy for a while.

That's it for now. I need to go get Sassie's doggy bed out of the washer and set it out to dry.  Hang in there, everyone. Tomorrow's Friday! :*)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Universe 3, Cora 0

I'm on the verge of wrapping up the vampire book. I would've had it finished today, but the universe opened up a full can of crazy on me about midway through the day. So, as far as that goes, I'm also on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

On Saturday night, after the doctor's offices in town were closed, Mini came to me in howling pain with an earache. It seemed to come on out of the blue. He was fine hours earlier, no fever, no pain, was playful, etc. So, I told hubby to call the ER and ask what to do. I ended up giving him Tylenol and rocking him in the chair for most of the night, and at one point he was in such awful pain, poor kid, I took some old left over antibiotic ear drops that have a numbing agent in them down from the medicine cabinet, and gave him a fraction of the regular kid dose. Finally Mini got some relief and fell asleep.

Sunday morning, he woke up with what looked like a great gob of green snot rolling out of his ear. It was also smeared across the pillow, and across his face. Needless to say - I was horrified.  Throughout the day, he would have dime sized chunks of infection roll out of his ear. However, awful it looked, Mini told me he was no longer in pain.

I told hubby we had to get him to the doctor's office first thing Monday morning - I knew right off it was a ruptured ear drum. That's why the pain stopped. All day, pus coming out of his ear. Toward Sunday night, a watery trickle of blood. Mini says he's fine. I tell him, no, he's not.

After barely any writing on Saturday, I made up for it Sunday. I wrote all night last night, and stayed up til 6 a.m. working on the vampire book. Hubby stayed home, so I went to bed at about 6:30 this morning. By the time I'd got again up at 10 a.m., Hubby had Mini a Dr's appointment set up for the afternoon. Cool beans.

I have a horrible sinus infection right now, so I'm not really "with it" you know? I can't barely breathe, and I'm having occasional  asthma attacks, so I'm not getting much sleep to start with.  Tired, I went to my office at 10:30 and decided to wrap up the last few pages of my book - there aren't many, they just need a bit of rewriting. So, I finish up a couple of pages, and then the guys leave for the doctor. Hubby has decided to take him so I can finish up, and he can take Mini out to McD's after the appointment.

Not long after they left, someone drives up, and there is a loud knock on the door. It's the crazy neighbor lady, and she is drunk. For whatever reason, she always comes over here wanting to see Mini. I don't know this woman from Adam, Sam, or Joe Bob. She starts asking for Mini and I tell her he is not home. She then starts fake crying, telling me she loves my son so much because her four grandchildren all died, and one of them was killed. She then tells me she wants my baby, and starts begging me to bring him over, telling me she promises she'll be sober when I bring him. She says she wants to be his baby sitter and for him to call her grandma. Uh, right.

I'm just nodding, murmuring, trying to escape into the house. Of course, she won't leave. I tell her I have to go, but she then grabs me, yells "Don't leave me!" and won't let go. Next she tells me she wants to be my best friend, that we need to do stuff together, that God sent her, the world is going to rapture (I told her that was the day before yesterday), and how would I feel if someone killed my kids.

All of this tumbles out of her in a rambling mush mouth of crazy, and I'm like, alrighty, it's time for the crazy bitch to get the frak out. Instead of leaving, she grabs me into a hug, tells me I'm beautiful, again tells me she wants my baby, and starts trying to feel me up and kiss me on the lips. Attempted sexual assault, hello? I'm struggling to get away from her, and this woman - I do not even know her name, not that it matters much - is kissing me all over my face.

It takes me five minutes to get untangled from this crazy woman. I manage to escape into the house and tell her to leave through the screen door. She staggers off, gets in her little mini car/mule/go-kart thing and goes back home. I am so shaken after this, I can't even remember my mother's phone number.

After I'd calmed down enough to drive - I was shaking pretty bad - I got Oldest (who missed the entire thing!) to go with me to the police station to file a report.

Hubby and Mini got out of the doctor's office around that time, and they met me up there. Come to find out, I didn't even have to know the woman's name. I told the cops what happened and where she lives, and they exactly knew who she was! They told us she had a long arrest record for drunken and disorderly conduct, and domestic violence. Good Christ!

I told the cops I don't want her coming back to my house ever. They told us they were going out to her place and warn her to stay away from us, and our house. If she comes back, she'll be arrested. I have no idea how much good that will do...but what can I do?

So that was my Monday. Bloody frakkin appropriate. Tonight I'm going to try to wrap up these vampires so I can rest. I desperately need it. That, a shot of tequila, and a long vacation.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

In Memory of Diva Fifi Von Fluffernutter

Diva Fifi Von Fluffernutter
natural born tail wiggler and doggy dancer
You're sorely missed, sweetie pup.
It's a very sad evening. We lost Fifi, our beloved Diva dog, this afternoon.

Mini is finally asleep after hours of sobbing, and I'm still in shock over the whole thing. There's an almost unbearable empty feeling in the house right now because she isn't here. It happened so suddenly, absolutely out of the blue. It's just awful. She is gone from us far, far too soon.

Sassie girl knows something isn't right, bless her little heart. She's restless and keeps wanting to go out the back door into the doggy fence to look for her. Usually the girls tussle and scrap for a bit before the finally take their corners and go to sleep at night, and now the routine is broken. Sassie is all out of sorts without her fur-mama, and my heart breaks for her. :*(

I have her doggy bed in my office, so I can keep an eye on her, but that doesn't help me much since I know there's an empty doggy bed in the other room. I'm still not over Kinz passing away, now this...

I've told hubby no more pets. Definitely not for a long, long time. It's too heartbreaking when they pass away.

Rest in peace, Miss Fifi. I hope you know that we love you.

Wednesday Quickie

It's slow going here on the blog, and I apologize for that. I'm working as fast as I can to get this book wrapped up and out the door. My vampires have always been an ornery sort. Usually they don't want to talk to me. This time I'm afraid they want to tell me too much.

I'm already behind schedule, so it is what it is. I'm trying to get this ending cleaned up, then all I'll have to do is go back and patch up a couple of luuuurve scenes and smooth them.

I'll be back as soon as I've sent off this behemoth. (It's taking an eternity!) Once that's done, we'll have a well deserved silly-bration here on the blog. How about that?  I'll give away some cute pin back buttons and discuss all the latest goodies I'm current obsessed with like...cough, cough....Nyan Cat. ;o)

Happy Hump day everyone! Now back to work!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Stressed = Desserts

I'm about fifty pages from the end of my book. I have cleaned, clipped, pruned, read, reread, cropped, pasted, and have written (and just about re-written) this entire book right side up and upside down.

I found a broken subplot about 20 pages back, and nearly fell out from stress when I realized that I had to either remove it from the story entirely, or go back and fix various passages to line out what I'd messed up. That set me back an entire day. A. Whole. Day.  I have never needed chocolate so badly in my life!

Today I went back and fixed that subplot, fixed a few chapter hooks, and knocked back a handful of scenes. I'm happy with that. Then around 10 am, the whole tone of the day shifted. I've kind of been lingering in a state of shock and sadness since then. I just reconnected with an old friend from grade school through Facebook a few days ago, and this morning her mother passed away. I couldn't help but cry over that. Back in the day, her mom, Ms. M, was "the" neighborhood mom. You know which one I'm taking about?

Ms. M was like a second mom to me and all the other kids in our neighborhood. There were I think seven or eight of us. We were between the ages of probably 6-12...or as I remember it, grades 1-5. She was one of those truly joyful people that didn't mind taking time out to listen to what us kids had to say. I don't think there was ever a time I went over to see my friends (the two sisters - I was close friends with both) when Ms M wasn't busy cooking for people or entertaining a pack of kids, or just having tea with some of the other moms. She was such an awesome lady. Even then, I recognized how wise and fair she was.

Don't get me wrong, she could get after us brats if we got too rowdy, and we sometimes did. ;o) Every now and then she'd lay into us with a string of Spanish when we were misbehaving, or get the fly swatter after us, and it didn't matter whether we understood the language or not. We knew she meant business when she took that tone with us, and we listened.

Even then we knew she got onto us because she cared about us, all of us, and didn't want to see us get hurt. We were a reckless bunch of bike riding, tree climbing kidlets, and she tolerated a lot. There is a saying that goes"it takes a village to raise a child", and she did more than her fair share of chipping in. There is a shortage of dedicated people in the world like her, and I feel a heartbreaking emptiness whenever it dawns on me that she is no longer here with us.

Ms. M was such a wonderful, loving, caring person. One of those people you look back thirty years after the fact and realize that was someone who was born to be a mother, because she was just so damn good at it. Make no mistake about that. She made a big impression on my life growing up, and its pretty devastating to hear that she has passed away. Without a doubt, she is going to be missed a lot, by a lot of people.

Tonight I'm going to wrap up a major scene and probably go back and reread some of the beginning of the book and do a few tweaks. I'm feeling a bit tired and weary, and my eyes are tired, but I should've had this book out the door yesterday. It's just the way things have been for me lately. It's certainly not for the sake of procrastination. The plan is to get this sucker out of here within the next couple of days. It's do-able, I just got to get the lead out and get r done. Wish me luck.


Blog Bites Contest Winner

I did an author interview with the fabulous Ann Lory over at Blog Bites last week, and now it's time to draw a winner for the glitter heart magnet set and goodie bag. If you posted a comment on my interview, you were automatically entered for the drawing. With no further ado, the winner of my Blog Bites contest is...

Jean P!

Congrats, Jean!  I will be contacting you shortly to collect your shipping information. A special thanks to everyone who stopped by Ann's blog to say hello. I appreciate you bunches. :o)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogging Trauma

Testing. 1, 2, 3... *taps mic*  Yesterday Blogger went under maintenances, and I think it was supposed to last only an hour. Oops, right?  Anyway, I know I had four comments on yesterday's post, but Blogger had to cull any posts or comments made after a certain time and I don't know if they'll reappear. If they don't, rest assured...it wuddn't me. *_*

There's still time to enter my feature contest over at Blog Bites, here: http://annlory.blogspot.com/

I have family pictures and other fun stuff to share, but I'll probably have to wait and post it all tomorrow. I have to get back to work on my book. Time is of the essence, and all that.

Tomorrow I have a local RWA meetup at the Bossier History Center, but I don't know if I'll be able to make it. I've got to get these last chapters wrapped up so I can get this book sent out. We'll see. Back to the writing cave. Happy Friday, everyone!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Interview and a Contest

Check out my an author interview that went live today over at Blog Bites! This is the first interview I've done in more than a year. Don't miss it!

I'm over there talking about all kinds of writerly things: craft, my projects, my likes and dislikes...it's a fun little guest spot, so I hope you'll stop by and say hi.

On May 16th, I'll be giving away a set of cute, sparkly heart magnets to one lucky reader who posts in the comments. The details are posted here: http://annlory.blogspot.com/2011/05/in-author-spotlight-cora-zane-contest.html

I hope to see you there!
~Cora ;o)

Cora Vs. The Computer Faery

funny pictures - hoooooooooooooooot

My laptop has been dying a slow death for months.

Every week I give it a tune up, clean up the registry, tweak a few things and run a dozen or so scans, but it's like a space ship that's been patched up over and over in a horror movie. It's still bleeding oxygen out into space, and there's very little the crew can do to stop it, so they're just coasting on borrowed time, looking for a habitable place to land.

That pretty much sums it up for my computer usage. I cross my fingers when I turn it on in the mornings, and pray it won't overheat before I've saved what I'm working on. I bought a laptop fan for it about two months ago and that has helped the overheating problem tremendously, but I know that's not a legitimate fix. You can feel the hot air blowing from the vents underneath the USB ports, and just this morning I had to say a chant over what remains of the keyboard during startup. Yikes! The fan and the tweaks are only prolonging the inevitable, but hopefully I won't have to worry about that for much longer. I gotta say...it will be awesome to tip-tap-type on a keyboard that has all they keys and a working space bar. Uptown, y'all. For reals.

Hubby bought a new desktop system for me as a Mother's Day gift, but it's still in the box. I'm holding out until Monday so I can finish the damn book before setting up the new machine. I have this fear if I try to transfer anything it will end in disaster, and I'm so close to the ending I'd probably have to be sedated and locked away for life if I lost my work at this point.

Right now I have about 40 pages left to edit on the existing manuscript, and 4 new scenes I have to write to bridge unexpected gaps. As it stands, I'm a hair shy of the 40k point - 10k added since the last time I reported in - and without a doubt this thing is going to go a few thousand over 40k. So, unless there is a massive, ginormous amount of cutting during the official edits, this will be a short novel rather than a novella.

That's it for now. I have to get busy and write while I have the chance. It's my dad's birthday today (Happy birthday, daddy! *waves*)...and once Mini is in from school this evening we have to go over his lines, download his school pageant songs to sing through, and cut out felt stars so we can fabric glue them to a red T shirt for his end of the year program. Hear that crunching sound? It's the universe standing on my neck. No problem.

Incidentally, Mini's grand production is scheduled for Thursday morning. I usually look forward to the kids doing stuff like this, but I'm kind of put off by the attitude of some of the people involved. Have a job? Pfft. Work long hours?  You wuss. Your own plans be damned, there is a school program to prepare for! *snaps fingers*

Yep. Thanks for the advance notice. I'm going to crawl into the writing cave and hide now. Happy Tuesday, everyone.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Ode to Mom

Mom and Me, April 1976
I've had a wonderful weekend. Hubby surprised me Saturday morning with a dozen yellow ambiance roses. Later, when I went to my office, I found a brand new desktop computer waiting for me - in the boxes.

I still haven't hooked it up the new work toy yet, but I'm relieved to know it will be there for me once I finish this book. I plan to hook it up the day I send off this wip monstrosity. My precious laptop is no longer reliable like it once was. It overheads and shuts down without any warning, the space bar barely works, the left mouse button for the track pad is broken, and I'm missing an arrow key.

I spent the morning with the guys, and then around 1:30 in the afternoon, I left for my mom's house. I'm very close to both my mom and dad, and although they can drive me bonkers at times (a parental gift, I think, since I do the same to my own kids) I couldn't have asked for better, more loving parents. I fully intended to see my mom face to face on Mother's Day so I could tell her I love her.

My mom worked as a dental assistant until she had me, and after that, she fell happily into the role of mom and homemaker. She has always loved hearth and home, and enjoys sewing and cooking, and decorating the house for holidays... and basically making a comfortable life for her and dad, and those who are a part of the inner family circle. I'm very lucky and grateful to have grown up in a very close knit, mom-perfected world, where my home life was stable and comfortable, and my parents loved one another. At times I still miss that sense of security of living at home, and having mama bird watch over me. :*)

I didn't take my kids with me on this visit. I wanted it to be just me and my mom. I took her a card and a few small sewing gifts, since that's the hobby of her heart. I stayed for about four hours, and it was a really good visit. I count myself fortunate at almost 35 to still have her. I'm so grateful for my mom. She taught me so much about life, family, unconditional love, and how to be a mother to my own kids. There has been no greater influence on my life than her. I love you, mom. Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Friday :: No Mercy

Oh gosh, it's been Tuesday since I last blogged. It feels like yesterday. Where did the time go?  Tsk!

I have four chapters to clean up, and I'll be finished with the middle of my vampire book. Hurray! The middle always feels like the biggest chore.

Last night, after everyone was off to bed, and Oldest was gone to a play with friends, I reprinted those four chapters, took them to the kitchen table and tore them apart.

Out of something like ten scenes, two had repeats smack in the middle of them. You know, you're writing along and you come across what you think is a better way of writing something so you jot it down? Yeah. I did that.

I ended up cutting one scene entirely, grouped the repeats together so I can pick and choose what parts I want to keep when I get to that chapter, and moving a couple of the remaining scenes around. What started out as six or seven paper clipped sections are now four. That's much more manageable. And I've almost got it whittled down to three.

So that's my mission for today: slog through those four chapters. Tonight, I'll take the ending of my book to the kitchen table and do the same thing I did with the middle. Rip it apart and regroup everything. This weekend is going to be crazy, I can feel it already, but it has to be done. Time is running out, and I need to get this all together now so I can spend next week proof reading and patching anything I might have missed.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Vampire Progress

Progress! Early this morning, I managed to wrap up a missing scene for my vampire novel, and I've cleaned up two more scenes. So piece by piece, it's coming together.

I had to break at 11:15 to go pick up Mini from school. He is finished with his exit testing and his teacher thrilled me when she said his reading skills are off the chart. I've been reading LOLCats to him since, oh, birth...I know that has helped.

At his school, they have been teaching him to read by using a totally different method than they taught Oldest. They teach them individual letter sounds, and then combine those letters to make nonsense words, which they have the kids sound out and read. So, while they're reading what looks like gibberish, (Um, lolcats? LOL) the skills they take away from it make it easier for them to pick up on real words and sound them out. Within Mini's first few weeks of Kindergarten, I had to ban him from my writing room when my WIP is open because he sat down on my lap and was reading full paragraphs. Thankfully I didn't have any dubious scenes open! *_*

Anyway, back to the vampires. I have about 50 pages left to clean up. Every page I work on seems to sprout five new pages. Yikes! Regardless, I hope to have this book wrapped up by the end of the week. Starting next Monday, I need to be doing the final read through. Whew! It's going to be a challenge. Wish me luck.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Bring out the Juniper

Happy May Day!  What a pretty one it is too. It's a little cloudy, but the sun has decided to make an appearance for us today. Very relieved about that. I'm tired of all this rain and dreary weather.

Last night, I dropped into Second Life to pay rents and met up with Cassie over at the Midnight Moon Cafe in Awen. She had quite a line going for tarot readings. I tell ya, her cards were on fire. Not literally, of course. But she made quite a few folks very happy. I sat down at the tea table on the back patio and took up some of the slack. I ended up turning a few cards for the folks who popped in and didn't want to wait. It was a fun, comfortable event.

May is always one of those busy months for me. Dad, Mom, and MiniBeast all have birthdays this month. My extension runs out on the 14th, and school lets out for summer break on the 19th. This week I'll be rearranging my office to make room for the new computer. That will probably take a day all by itself. I promised my mom I'd arrange a shopping adventure with her before Mini is out for summer, so I better pick a date and set that up, too. Oh, and let's not forget Ms. Sassie, who has an appointment with the vet.

As busy as it is, I'm glad to be here. I'm thrilled it's May. It's one of my favorite month's of the year. Even back when I was in school I loved the month of May. It's a time when we're heading toward summer and there always seems to be excitement on the horizon. Le sigh. :*)

As for writerly things, I'm still working on cleaning up Wicked Obsession. I made major headway Friday night, and that carried over into yesterday. For the first time in weeks, I could see the end of the tunnel. I cleared three scene piles off my to-be-edited stack, closed up two plot holes, and this morning I wrapped up the scene from hell. I'm now on chapter seven, and man, that feels like an accomplishment.

Right now I'm sorting through this chapter, marking stuff off the hardcopy that needs to be cut. I have two missing scenes to write, and a couple of sections I want to move to a later point in the book. Sounds like a mess, doesn't it? Whew! Anyway, that's that. *dusts hands*

I'm waiting for the new Harlequins to arrive at my local store. There is one in the May batch I want to pick up. It's by Sara Craven, but for the life of me, I can't remember the title of the book. Oh, I also heard that Vicki Lewis Thompson has contracted another 3 books in her Sons of Chance series for Blaze. I don't know when those are coming out, but I'll be looking for them. Right now I'm reading Long Slow Burn by Isabel Sharpe. I'll be posting about it over at goodreads once I've finished.

That's it for now. I want to go check out Mini on his new bike before I get back to work. For my friends who celebrate, have a blessed Beltane!