Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkins Scream in the Dead of Night



Happy Halloween and a blessed Samhain, everyone! I have the Jack Skellington "This is Halloween!" song stuck in my head this morning. How fabulous (and appropriate) is that? ^_^

I'm going to be baking cookies and making S'mores with the kidlets this evening. I'm also taking both Mini Beast and Big Brat to my Mom and Dad's house for a final round of Trick or Treats. Mom always buys the best treats. She makes candy pails for both boys - even the 20 year old. <g> The pails have everything from popcorn to apples to candies in there. Great stuff! When the guys are on up in their 30s, 40s and such, they'll remember those Halloweens. Every year I think about my Ma'amaw Rose. She loved Halloween, and her favorite candies were the wrapped orange and black peanut butter chews. The taffy kind. I think she said at one time they were similar to a kind of penny candy popular during the war.

Anyway, it's been a few days since I last posted. Busy weekend and all that. Hubby and I had our post-anniversary, anniversary date on Saturday. We had lunch at Red Lobster, and debated watching a movie, but ended up skipping it since there wasn't really anything playing we both wanted to see. Instead, we went to Books a Million, bought an armload of books - a little something for everyone, us and the boys. Afterward, we ended up prowling the antique stores over at Antique Alley.

I bought a set of tiny airplanes for my dad. Very much his kind of thing. One is a silver airplane that used to come out of cereal boxes a long time ago. I remember there was more than one color of them - silver, metallic blue, and metallic red. Dad instantly recognized that plane for what it was. The other plane is a 40s? tin toy a little larger than the cereal box plane. It had Japan's color's on it, and pieces of it move. The tail of the plane, and the pilot, both move back and forth. Very neat little toy. Dad put them both on his collector's shelf.

The rest of the weekend we lounged about, read books, watched TV. I went to Cassandra Curtis's Haunted  Waverly Hills workshop Sunday night in Second Life, which was awesome as ever.

Now I'm back into the weekly swing of things. I have a story to work on this week, revisions to tinker with, and books to read. Just a few more pages to go, and I'll be finished with Manuscript Makeover. And I'm about 50 pages into Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury. I love Bradbury's stuff. He's one of my favorites, so I'm finding this one to be a bit easier to read than some of the other books. Inspiring stuff.

I'm trying not to give myself any more projects this late in the year. It's funny how fast the holidays come on us once the school year starts. This is how the year gets away from me, waiting until November to wrap up loose ends. By the time I'm able to lift my head again, Christmas will be over, New Year will be in sight, and I'll be relieved for it, because finally we'll be in the clear of the holidays. Whew!

There's still some time before that, though. I haven't had to listen to the kidlets snarling at each other for a week over Thanksgiving, or two weeks for Christmas yet. That's usually the defining point of "oh god, when will the hurting stop?" desire to emerge to the New Year. LOL Parents, I'm sure at least some of you'll probably understand where I'm coming from.

But for now, I'm loving Halloween. I've always loved Halloween. It's one of those less stressful holidays. Just candy, fun with the kids, and good stuff on TV. Like, John Carpenter's Halloween. You know I gotta watch that tonight, right? ;o)

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Spell on Her Lips

The night before last, I dreamed about a snake. It was resting on the floor beside the refrigerator, in the hallway that leads back to my office. When I noticed it, I froze and the snake lifted its head to look at me.

Hubby stood at the stove cooking, and didn't notice the snake was only a few feet away from him. Without any fear, I walked over and grabbed the snake by the neck and blew into its mouth. When I did that, it stunned the snake, and I looked down at its face. For good measure, I blew into it's mouth a second time, then dropped the snake and walked away to the kitchen sink, over by hubby.

When I turned around again, I saw the snake coming directly toward me. It had followed me from the hallway to the area by the sink. I had no shoes or socks on, and took a step back, bracing myself for the snake's bite. When the snake opened it's mouth to bite me, I woke up.

I remembered that dream when I woke up this morning, and thought I'd better write it down before I forgot it entirely. Snakes and spiders are a few recurring symbols in my dreams, but that is definitely a strange take on the snake theme to add to my dream diary.

It's rainy and cold today, but it's Friday so I'll take it. The kippy cat came home from his wanderings right before the rains started, lucky beast. He's curled up in big boy's room snoozing. Sassie is napping in her doggy bed. Really, it's a relaxed, cozy at home kind of day. Since it's still fairly early in the day, and all the house cleaning is done, I'm about to take this Manuscript Makeover book to the den and read the end of it. I'm very close to finishing.

Later this afternoon, I need to outline a short story that's due early next year. It won't take me that long to write it and revise it - I'll probably have it ready for submission sometime next month. But I want to make sure it's as solid as I can make it, so a little planning is in order.

So there it is, the agenda du jour. Easy, breezy Friday. Gateway to the weekend. It totally gets my stamp of approval.

21 Awesome Years

It's almost midnight, so "anniversary day" for me and hubby is coming to a close. 21 awesome years. Here's hoping we're given 21 more. Since our day fell in the middle of the week, we're saving our couple time sans kidlets for the weekend. Grammie and Grandpa will be taking Mini for the weekend so we can go out to dinner and catch a movie. Other than that, we don't have any concrete plans; we've merely planned to hang out together. I'm looking forward to it.

Because of the weekend agenda, wasn't prepared for a surprise anniversary gift. Hubby bought me a freshwater pearl necklace with matching earrings. Absolutely lovely. And perfect for conference. He's such a sweetie. He got lots of sugars and hugs for his thoughtfulness.

On a different note...I'm currently about two chapters away from finishing the Manuscript Makeovers (Elizabeth Lyon) book. That's pretty high on my to-do list tomorrow. I've learned a ton of stuff from this book, and I haven't even finished it yet. When you consider the larger picture, I think that speaks volumes. This book is destined for my keeper shelf, and I imagine I'll be referencing it over and over again. I just hope I can wrap my brain around this reading of it, so I can tackle my Shivers story and my September Experiment novel armed with new knowledge.

That's all for now. It's quite late, and I've been running on empty most of today. Over the weekend, I'm going to try to post about my new Halloween Tarot deck. I love it. It's very bright and festive. Perfect for holiday and themed readings. Like I said, I'll post more about it soon - complete with pictures. G'night, everyone!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Case of the Possibly Hormonal Fall Blues


Oh, boy, the weather changes have knocked me for a loop. I've been feeling it all day today. Terribly sluggish. Normally I'm pretty perky this time of year - I love fall - but, man o man, I woke up with a serious case of the blues this morning.

I don't know if I'm just hormonal or what. I took vitamins, ate an apple, and after a good cry over nothing, I went back to bed and slept almost until noon. Then around four pm, after I had Mini situated with his homework and hubby made it home from the job, I tossed in the towel on any further work - chores or otherwise. I felt so dog tired I hit the couch and slept until 7pm.

When I woke up, I was so zombie-ish, hubby kept asking me if I was feeling okay. Other than a mild headache, and the sluggishness, I'm fine. Although, I'm kinda wondering if maybe I never quite got over my weekend ick, and that's why I'm still feeling so run down and moody now. Whatever the cause of it, this isn't like me at all. Ho hum.

Once I was up and about for the evening, I set the clothes washing, made a plate of pot roast with carrots and potatoes for Mini. Then later, as promised, I baked cookies with Mini. We had a blast. He put his step stool up to the bar and helped place the formed cookies on the baking tray. He waited patiently for the timer to go off, and after I slid one batch from the pan (I just slid the parchment paper liner off the tray cookies and all to cool on the counter top) he was ready to load it down with a fresh crop of cookie dough rounds.

After the last batch, I put Mini to bed, started the laundry and cleaned up the kitchen. I still feel so exhausted. I planned to write tonight, but I'm barely able to stay awake. Instead, I'm going to take the Manuscript Makeover (Elizabeth Lyon) book to the couch and crash for a while. If I fall asleep, I do. If not, I'll read and look for something Halloween-ish on TV. Speaking of which... Anyone else notice there hasn't been much Halloween programming on this year? Bah humbug to that. I need to go dig out my Hocus Pocus DVD. It's just not Halloween without watching that at least once.

Tomorrow, Hubby and I will be celebrating our 21st wedding anniversary. Well, we'll be home-celebrating. Dinner and a movie. With the kids and pets and everything. That's for the actually anniversary day. Then on the weekend we'll get to have a cozy couple celebration - just the two of us. We still have no idea what we're gonna do. Nothing fussy, that much is assured. I'm perfectly happy with going out for dinner and a movie then back home to flop in front of the TV, but if there's something special Hubster wants to do, we'll give it a go.

I better call it a night. It's almost 11:30, and I still need to put some clothes in the dryer. I swear, towels and wash clothes breed in the laundry hamper. Just when you think you've washed, dried, and folded them all... Night, night everyone.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Black Cat Monday


So what's the story, right?  I haven't blogged in a few days. Mostly because I didn't feel well over the weekend. Then today I spent most of my time doing the household accounting, and reading through the Manuscript Makeovers book I mentioned a few posts back. Thanks to all the thinking work, by the time I had to go pick up Mini my brain was on the verge of a meltdown. 

There are only a few days left in the month and I still haven't started on the revisions for my Shivers story. Ho hum. That's next on my to-do list, but I wanted to get through the book on revisions first - a kind of refresher before diving in. Too, I have a workshop coming up in November, so at some point I'm going to have to put time aside to compile notes for it. Actually, I think I better sit down at some point and make a thorough to-do list so I don't forget anything. 

Speaking of writerly things... Starting today, Cobblestone Press Publisher Deanna Lee is giving a free workshop on Dialogue over in the Coffeetime Romance forums. The workshop runs from October 24th - 28th and is hosted here: http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/board/forumdisplay.php?f=1815 .

I'm going to be super busy this week. There's just no avoiding it. I have projects to work on, and Mom's coming over Thursday for a visit. Then Friday I'm not sure, but I think Hubby is taking the day off. The 27th is our anniversary, and we're holding off til the weekend to do anything. Still, Hubby and I still haven't decided what we want to do when the weekend is here. He has talked about taking a short trip. I wouldn't mind it. Maybe a trip to New Orleans. Or Hot Springs. But at the same time, if we have to drive a lot, I'd prefer a low key kind of thing close to home. Like dinner and a movie. Something simple. Nothing extravagant. Then again, we're still rolling ideas around. No telling what the man will come up with before the week is out. 

Now that the house is quiet, I guess I better get to work. I have pages to read, and laundry to toss in the dryer. Tomorrow's picture day at Mini's school, so I gotta have his favorite school shirt washed and ready. Ho hum. Hey, on the other hand, I'm kinda wondering if there's any Halloween programming on tonight. Might as well check while I have I have the den all to myself... <evil hand wringing>

Saturday, October 22, 2011

On Being A Bookworm/Couch Potato Hybrid

I think I've slept through most of today. It's 8:30pm now, and I doubt seriously the on and off catnaps all day will stop me from sleeping tonight. Yesterday I didn't feel tip top, but thought it was because I stayed up so late working. Well, it hit me this morning. I feel awful. Achy. And there's a tickle in my throat - just enough to annoy me into coughing. Ho hum. Universe, are you listening? I don't have time to be sick. :*(

My anniversary is next weekend, so whatever crud I have, I need to kick it by then. I'm drinking peppermint tea at the moment to try and combat the tickle-y throat. Earlier I took a Zyrtec, so I'm all zombie'd out from that. Honestly, I hate that feeling. It's like being alert, but disconnected. It annoys the crap out of me. I like to keep going 24/7, if the mood strikes me. Let me just say that Zyrtec doesn't help facilitate that lifestyle at all. Anyway, all things considered, tonight I'm probably going to sleep on the couch to avoid breathing my germs into hubby's face. I worry about him getting sick.

Tonight after the guys have gone on to bed, I'm going to wrap up in a cozy blanket, put in a horror movie for background noise, and read - if I'm able to stay awake. That remains to be seen. But I'd really hoped to gain some ground in this latest book I've picked up. So far, I'm only on chapter five, but I've learned a lot from it already. If I felt better, I'd probably be further along in it than I am now, but over the past few days, as soon as I settle in to read or watch anything on TV, I'm snoring the house down. It's crazy. I can't seem to keep my eyes open.

Hopefully I'll be able to get a few chapters in. That's the plan. But tomorrow - more reading and resting. Apparently I need it.

For those who are looking for updates on the September Experiment. I haven't forgotten it. I haven't given up on it. I've pushed back working on it until I've finished reading this latest book, and once I've had a chance to test out the process on my <still!> unnamed erotic horror story.

And there you have it, the Saturday report. I'm going to go check on the guys and see what they're doing. Then I might make an almond flour mug cake. It's totally Atkins legit! :9

Friday, October 21, 2011

Upcoming Workshops

Visit our new Second Life location in Transylvania!

Happy Friday!  I'm so glad the weekend is here. For the past week or so I haven't been getting enough sleep and I'm feeling kinda run down for my efforts. On the upside, just in time for Halloween, the Midnight Moon Cafe shop is live in Transylvania (Second Life). We are located on the corner between "The Wall" dance area,  and across the street from the Vamypre Cultural Center. The sign shown above is posted out front. I still haven't placed the event board in the new shop, but it will be there shortly. Of course, we also have locations at Awen (Bookstacks), and at Witches Island.

In the coming weeks, Cassandra Curtis has a few tarot events coming up. On November 17th, we'll both be giving writing workshops at the Book Fayre in Awen (Second Life). For her writing workshop, Cass is covering characterization - I think. I'll be doing a workshop on writing a fast draft for NaNo. It IS possible to write a usable draft in a month, and I will be talking about how to reach the 50k word count goal, even if you're in the middle of your draft and you feel like your story is too "broken" to continue working on it. I hope to see you there!

As always, our workshops inworld are free, but tips are appreciated. They allow us to continue to have a presence in Second Life. If you're already in Second Life, you can join our group to receive blue notices of any current events held by MMC authors.

On a different topic...this weekend I'll be doing a bit of reading, revising, baking, and horror movie watching. Hubby bought a copy of the latest Howling movie on DVD and I haven't had a chance to watch it yet. I have no idea if it's a remake or what. I haven't seen the trailer yet, but you betcha that's one of the first things on my to-do list. I <3 The Howling movies!

Also, since the family and I don't really have that much going on for a change, I though Mini would like to make a mess in the kitchen with me sometime tomorrow. I bought chocolate, sugar free frosting, almond flour, and more eggs. We're all set, so let the baking commence! <cackle, cackle>

Hehehe... what can I say, the fall weather has me in the Halloween spirit. ;o)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Writerly Wednesday

I have a couple of writerly things to talk about, so I thought I'd make an entire post about it. First things first...Last night I started reading Manuscript Makeover: Revision Techniques No Fiction Writer Can Afford to Ignore by Elizabeth Lyon. I bought the book from Amazon after a recommendation from a friend, and I gotta say - so far, so good!

I like the way the book is organized, and honestly, this one couldn't have arrived at a better time. I have two manuscripts awaiting revisions on my desk, and I have another short project to write by the end of the year. I'll post my opinion on Manuscript Makeover once I've had a chance to read it from cover to cover. <rubs hands together>

I'll probably be applying the teachings in this book to my Shivers manuscript while reading my way through it. Yeah, I'm half crazy like that. <g> When thumbing through the book last night, I read a few sections, and have already uncovered a few gold nuggets of wisdom...which is awesomeness. I'm definitely looking forward to this book.

On to other writerly news...coming up on October 25th, Sable Grey, author, cover artist, and co-owner of Cobblestone Press, will be speaking at a free chat about designing book covers over at Savvy Authors.

I can vouch for Sable's talent - she does some amazing covers. She did several of my Cobblestone Press covers, including Bonding Experience and Wicked Obsession. I request her as my artist whenever possible. She knows her stuff! So, if you're interested in learning more about designing book covers, visual branding, and other tips, be sure to register for her chat session. For basic and premium members, the chat is free! You can find out more about the event here: http://www.savvyauthors.com/vb/showevent.php?eventid=1290

NaNoWriMo will be kicking off on November 1st. The website link posted here may not work right away when you click it. The last time I checked the site, they were doing maintenance for the upcoming event. You can still Google NaNoWriMo for the organization's primary links.

I won't be participating in NaNo this year due to prior commitments, but Cassandra Curtis and I will be giving a writer's workshop with a focus on tips to help you along the path to reaching your 50k NaNoWriMo project goal. The workshop will take place in Second Life on November 17th. More information about the workshop, including SLurls, is forthcoming.

Anyway, that's all the business-y news I have for now. On a lighter note, when I came home from picking up Mini from school this afternoon, I noticed the fig tree out front is loaded with ripe figs. Wow! It seems like that happened over night. Before the sun goes down I have to get out there and harvest the tree - yum, yum!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cora's Picks: Writing Subtext by Linda Seger

Writing Subtext: What Lies
Beneath, by Dr. Linda Seger
Writing Subtext: What Lies Beneath by Dr. Linda Seger is my latest "must read" pick for writers. A little backstory on why I picked up this particular book...I recently attended a workshop by the lovely Jodi Henley, and she made a suggestion that it might benefit me to work on subtext and layering. I thought: ah-ha!

The thing is, I didn't have a clue about subtext and had to look it up. I read a few brief articles that I uncovered in a Google search, then hopped over to Amazon, where I chose between two or three available books on the subject. There aren't very many. I picked up  Dr. Seger's book, because it had a recommendation blurb by Syd Field, whose book Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting is on my keeper shelf.

Writing Subtext is far from light reading. The book is only about 150 pages long, but don't let that fool you.

The chapters are fairly long, and broken into subheadings. However, the way the material is presented, the subheadings kind of run into one another. This makes the book, for its size, seem very meaty, and it's a lot to grasp in such a short page count. So if you prefer an Idiot's Guide or Dummy's Book presentation style, Writing Subtext is more compressed. It may be difficult for some readers to get through this book. When I first picked up Writing Subtext, it was a head dive into a complex subject. I wasn't entirely prepared.

Once I started reading it, I had to go back and reread parts of the book to truly grasp the subject matter. I'm sure I'll have to re-reference this book in the future, so it will be going on my keeper shelf.

As for the actual content of the book, it's worth the price and your time as a writer if you wish to learn to add those little "beneath the surface" nuances to your fiction. Dr. Seger teaches you how to explore and write deeper meaning into your character's dialogue and gestures. There are a lot of very good subtext examples from popular movies scattered throughout the book, also. This makes the books a little easier to digest.

A lot of material is covered in a short span, including subtext in dialogue, metaphors, and subtext for creating a strong visual image. There is also an interesting section that mentions a character's gut feelings and reactions that I think would be a valuable read for any writer, in any genre.

Overall, Writing Subtext is one of those craft books all writers should pick up at some point if for nothing else but to investigate the way they're putting their dialogue together. I will say that this book is what I'd consider to be geared toward an intermediate level writer. Beginners may find this book hard to read and apply. I wouldn't have been ready for this book six years ago. Nevertheless, the book is exactly what it presents itself to be - a thorough examination of writing subtext.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Writing Mom's Life

funny pictures - kitteh jokes
Oh, kippy cat... You're such a ham. I'm sure you already know that.
As an added bonus, you get a silly stamp of approval from MiniBear. :*)

For the next two days Mini is home with me. It's "teachers need a break" vacation, I think. They're rounding things up for the next 9 weeks or whatever. It's a very short fall break, and probably the only one the teachers will get before the holidays hit. I'm all cool with that, and thought if nothing else, I'd get to sleep in.

 Instead, Mini woke me up this morning by coming into the room crying. How's that for a wake up call? <paranoid twitch> Of course, in true CZ fashion, I immediately start freaking out. I'm thinking he's hurt himself, or something happened to the pets, or...I don't know. Fires and screaming and buckets of blood. That's what I thought. I grabbed him, and I'm feeling around for gaping wounds and broken bones when he sobs, "Mom, I puked in the hallway."

Oh dear. Yeah, that's when I realized he was hot to the touch, and had the whiff o' stomach bug smell coming off him. If you're a parent, you might know what smell I'm talking about. It's very faint, but if I get within three feet of someone with a stomach virus, I can smell it. It's a sickly, bilious smell. Arg.

I got up and put him on the couch with a blanket, gave him some Sprite, then went about cleaning up the mess. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but now I'm all twitchy and weirded out that if I don't sanitize every surface I'm sure to get sick with what he's got. I'd planned to bake homemade almond sugar cookies today, but now I'm kind of worried I'll pass around too many germs if I do. I'm torn! **

In the meantime, I'm printing up my Shivers story so I can begin revisions. Woot! I haven't picked a title yet, but I hope to have this puppy ready to submit to EC by the end of the month. Wish me luck! I enjoy writing this kind of horror, so I do hope they take this one.

Once the Shivers story is out the door, I'll begin revisions on the September Experiment, which I hope to have in decent shape by the end of the year. I may end up pitching the S.E. book at the Written in the Stars conference in 2012. I've been thinking about it a lot lately. I guess in the long run it depends when it's ready for someone else's eyes. We'll see!

This week sometime - my schedule is a bit crazy right now - I'll be adding my two cents about the book Writing Subtext by Linda Seger. While on twitter earlier, I saw someone post a link to a snippet from the book, and thought it was worth sharing. You can find the article here: Subtext: A Definition and Exploration. (no registration required)

Also spotted today...an interesting article from the New York Times. Amazon Signs Up Authors, Writing Publishers out of Deal. I'm not really sure what I think about that one yet, but there it is.

That's all for now. Sassie pup is whining at my feet, and Mini is calling for more Sprite. Too, I need to put another stack of paper into the printer. Ah, a day in the life of a writer mom. <g> I hope you're all having a calm, serene, and sick free Monday!


**UPDATE: Mini just informed me I am indeed making those almond sugar cookies. He's waiting - chop, chop! ^_^

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Thoughts Before Bed

Sitting down by the window...
It's after 3am, and I just wrapped up my final timed writing for Saturday. I wrote a total of 5063 words, and I think the novella is pretty much done. Right now the story is sitting at 18674 words, and I'm willing to bet it will expand a bit when I work it over, revise it and all that...something I'll start on later today - Sunday. <g> These long nights get confusing after a while. Anyway, come hell or high water, I want to have this story ready to submit by the end of the month. During November, I'll be focusing solely on revising the September Experiment, so if anything else is getting done, it's gotta be in October.

About today's picture of me sitting at the window... When I logged into Second Life the other day, I noticed a few new scenes had been added to my skybox. What an awesome surprise! One of the new builds is this sweet little haunted house. . I think I'll be using this build for a while. The picture above was taken in front of the second floor window, inside the house of course.. There's a "forgotten" chair for you to sit in and stare out the window at the moonlight. It's absolutely gorgeous. Below is the actual front of the haunted house. How pretty is that?  The designer did a fantastic job. I believe this one is my new favorite!

Home Sweet Home

Cassie met with me earlier in the evening and we did several timed writings in the courtyard of the haunted house.When I get some free time, I'd love to put some Halloween decorations out there! ^_^

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Shivers, Scripts, and Fishing

Timed Writings at the Midnight Moon Cafe in Awen.

Hubby took Mini fishing this morning. The boy came home from school a few days ago and that was all he could talk about - going fishing. I'm pretty sure some other kid was talking about the fun of fishing and Mini decided he had to do it too. Ah, well, let him experiment. He could end up a fantastic fisherman. Whatever comes of it, I'm sure the guys will have a good time.

I'm working on this Shivers story, and trying to wrap it up. (Please end already!) I'll probably print out a copy this evening so I can begin the markup. I have friends who work exclusively on their computers, but I find it easier to edit my work on hardcopy. Old school, right? <lol> I do have a feeling, though, this story is going to need another draft. It feels patchy at this point. I need to tie it all together better. Even so, it's still a fun little story. It would have been a good Halloween release, but there won't be time for that.

Anyway, there are still a few details to fine tune, and I'm not happy with the hero's name. I also need a name for the town the story takes place in. Also, the hero's back story is still too sketchy. I need to clarify everything with him. Yeah, there's a short list of things "to do" with this one. It's going well enough to be satisfied with it, though. On average, I've been getting in about 1k words on it a day. Usually a few minutes in the morning, then again at night. If it's anywhere near 15k I'll be happy with the length. That'll give me enough story to test the waters.

Speaking of writing, Cassandra and I were up until the wee hours of the morning doing timed writings. Not surprising, right? I'd actually gone in-world to see if the script writing guy had gotten back to me about our notice board at Witches Island. I'm trying to hire someone to write a custom script for me. I can get so far with the project, but then can't get it to do exactly what I want - a sign that it's time to call in an expert. Before it got to this point, me foolishly trying to do this crap myself, I bought a dialog/menu box for URLs from the SL Marketplace, and the script turned out to be no modify. WTF? So I can't take the numbers off the buttons in the drop down menu and replace it with text. I'm very disappointed about that. Anyway, this is for our book board, so I need to get this sucker working, but I can't seem to find anyone with the time to write a script for me. Maybe it's because of the time of year?

At any rate, the above picture is from a few days ago, but it's pretty representative of what's going on when Cass and I meet up to write. We use Skype sometimes, and I actually prefer it since it's less taxing on my comp, but lately Skype has been crapping out on us. I'm not sure what gives. So Second Life it is. There are far more distractions in SL than in Skype though, so it has its pitfalls, but it's still cheaper than a long distance phone call.

One more thing before I go... A few days ago I mentioned that I'd just started reading the book Writing Subtext by Linda Seger. I'm almost finished with it. I'll be posting more about the book very soon. Just mentioning that in case someone has been waiting for my thoughts on it, etc.

That's it for now. Time to get back to work! I hope you all have a happy weekend. :o)


Friday, October 14, 2011

Making Up For Lost Time

I took this picture while visiting Innsmouth in Second Life. Amazing SIM. I love the dark atmosphere!
This is my current Halloween inspiration. Long live Cthulhu! ^_^

I'm trying to get a bunch of writing done to make up for lost time. Yesterday totally got away from me; I ended up in the car for most of the morning and afternoon, and half the night was spent cleaning - and then cleaning up after the lazy bums who wouldn't clean up after themselves. Yeah, I kinda went all Irish housewife on everyone, but it's not for trying to patient with the numbskulls. Sometimes I have to remind the guys I'm not their personal servant. Thursday turned out to be one of those days. Help us all, right?

I'm close to wrapping up this Shivers story, but it's not there yet. Boo hoo. I'd hope to be writing the ending by now. Well, I have the ending, but there are parts in the middle I've been going back to flesh out. The story needs more meat on the bones. And so there it is. I'll be working on this one this weekend, trying to wrap it up.

As it stands, I need to have at least two more stories in the hands of editors this year - hopefully the Shivers piece will be ready by the end of the month - and then the September Experiment by the end of the year. I still need to reformat the fairy story and get it uploaded. It will probably have to wait until the holidays before I get the time to get it together, though.

So much to do, so little time. Ack. And I just remember I still need to find a good URL Menu script for the Midnight Moon Cafe shop in Witches Island. (Second Life) We have it all prettied up for Halloween, and will probably be doing another tarot event shortly. So, better get that sign fixed. It does no good if we can't link to our books.

That's all for now. I better get started on my to-do list. It'll be time to pick up Mini before I realize it. Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sleepy Thursday

At the self photography booth on Witches Island.

Is it Friday yet?  I'm so tired this morning I can barely keep my eyes open. I was late going to bed, and once I finally managed to fall asleep something kept waking me up every five minutes.Very frustrating. I finally got up out of bed around five thirty and did a tidy-up job around the house before I had to wake Mini up for school. Poor kid didn't want to wake up either. I ended up tickling him to wake him up, and for a while he played the whole "mom, I'm sleeping" fake out game. Huh, not gonna deter me with that! I threatened to tickle the beans out of him, and made him giggle until he gave in and went to the den to get dressed and eat breakfast in front of the TV. Altogether, not a bad start to the day.

I made coffee after I put him on the bus, and I'm going to try to get a few words in before I have to ditch the PJs for jeans and drive Oldest to Ruston to fill out forms or some such thing. I'm taking my Kindle with me since I imagine I'll be stuck waiting for a while. Hmm. Kindle + waiting room. That doesn't sound too bad, actually. It could actually be peaceful. Of course, if it's too peaceful, I may fall asleep. <g>

The shivers story I started at the beginning of the week is getting there, but it's not done yet. It's looking like it may take the weekend to finish it. Boohoo. I'm going to try to hit it hard this afternoon when I'm back from driving Oldest around, and after I pick up Mini. I should at least be able to get another 5-10 pages in. Whatever happens, I'll see it through. I like the story, and I'm actually quite far along in it...if only it didn't keep expanding. Oh well, I suppose in the long run that's a good thing. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Distractions, Second Life, and Writing Stuff

Cass and Cora at The Voodoo, in Pumpkin Town
I'm having one of those mental meltdown kind of days. No matter what I try to do, it's a challenge to finished because I'm so very distracted. It started right out the gate this morning, too. Everything started out normal - I got Mini ready for school, but about an hour after I'd put him on the bus, I remembered he's going to a play with his class today. Thinking back, I can't remember if they were supposed to bring extra money or what. I didn't see any notes in his backpack when I put his snack money in earlier, but I wasn't exactly looking for anything regarding the field trip.

I've had that on my mind most of the day, and just when I tell myself I won't worry about it anymore, that I'll wait and find out the details when Mini gets home, I forget my own mantra and end up wondering about it again ten minutes later. One track mind?  So frustrating....

To pass the time, I've been doing my best to finish this little horror story for the Shivers line. I'm so close! I'm about 3k from finishing it, if I've judged my word count right. It's very dark and extremely dirty. If at all possible, I'd like to have this story subbed by the end of the month.

For those who might be wondering, the September Experiment is still on. I put it away for a little while, but I always seem to pick it up and tinker with it, even when I say I'm taking a vacation from it. Now that the emotional structure workshop is over, I'm about ready to pick it up again full time.

It's thundering and about to rain, so I'm going to call it a day while the blogging is good. Today's picture is actually from this past weekend. Cass and I went exploring Halloween sims in Second Life. We found a little dance "bar" off the beating path over in pumpkin town and ended up dancing to the jukebox. Hilarious stuff. Dig that huge candy corn nom nom Cass is chewing on. We each got one of those out of a trick or treat pail. Fun times! ^_^

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Studying Subtext

Writing Subtext, What Lies
Beneath, by Linda Seger
It's a lovely Tuesday morning, and the hubby is home with me today. The poor guy hurt his back at work yesterday, so he's hobbling around the house slathered in Aspercreme.

I put Mini in the bus about an hour ago, and just got caught up on the posts at the writer's workshop I've been attending online this week. I'm about to break out the wip and do a bit of writing on the Shivers story. I'm about a third of the way through it at this point.

I just started reading a new craft book today, too. Well, actually last night I read a few pages in it. I picked this one up at Books A Million online after joining the current writing workshop I'm enrolled in, and it arrived yesterday afternoon. The book wasn't recommended to me by the workshop or anything, but I went on a search specifically for books on subtext because of some of the things I learned from the class. Out of the handful of available books on subtext - there are shockingly few of them - this is the book that called to me:

Writing Subtext, What Lies Beneath, by Linda Seger. http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Subtext-What-Lies-Beneath/dp/1932907963/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1318336464&sr=8-1

I picked it up because it had recommendations by both Syd Field, and Michael Hague...so yes, those blurby recommendations on books do work for something, I guess.  I'm a huge fan of both those guys - I've learned a lot from both, so based on their recommendation, I'm really looking forward to this book. The back cover says it will show you how to use subtext to strengthen your writing. Sounds good to me! I'll post what I think about it once I've had a chance to read through it cover to cover.

In the meantime, I better get on with my writing. I'd like to get in at least 2k before the day is over.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Come Little Children


Wah. I'm sad to see the weekend go. It didn't last nearly long enough for me. I did a few timed writings with Cassie last night, and ended up a little over 2300 words or so. Then I watched Motel Hell and worked on this Shivers story a bit. I finished up a workshop yesterday afternoon, and I hope I can apply all that new knowledge to my September Experiment wip once I start rewriting it. The workshop was about emotional depth, and the transformative arc. Interesting stuff, and I feel like I learned a lot about characterization I didn't know before. I just hope I can figure out how to apply what I've learned, because it's something I feel the manuscript needs.

This week, I'm taking a little time off to wrap up this Shivers story. I want to get it knocked out this week, and that's my current goal. Once I have it off my plate, I won't have to think about it anymore and I can focus on the September Experiment wip and/or move on to other stories I've been putting on hold. 

Too, the sooner I finish this the Shivers story and turn it in, the better I'll feel about it. It's not easy to get the right mix between sex and horror, and I've been having a lot of doubts about my story. Well, I'm gonna just go for broke and see what happens. I know the elements typical of the erotic horror/dark fantasy, but it's like I get started then shy away from writing as powerfully as I could. I need to stop being afraid of the damn story and just write it.

That's all I've got for now. It's two in the morning, and I need to get the clothes folded so I can go on to bed.  Ho hum. I'd get so much more done if only I didn't have to sleep! 

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Dancing Goblins and the Giant Raven

Dancing Goblins, Haunted Fruit Islands - Fig
A very tiring Saturday. Lots of cleaning up around the house, and other turn of the season chores. I'm finally off my feet - although the laundry will have to go in the dryer shortly. Blerg. At this rate it feels like I'll never get the house back to rights, and I've been at this cleaning stuff since 9am.

Last night, Cass and I went into SL and explored some of the Halloween SIMs. My favorite place to go during the holidays is Haunted Fruit Islands - Fig. The designer goes all out every year, and this year it looks spectacular.

There is a haunted house, a haunted castle, a witches' cottages, a green house with poseable swing...and noose, a haunted carousel, a spider's lair, pumpkin horsemen, and more. As I said, it's a beautifully arranged sim - well worth a look.

Halloween carousel on Haunted Fruit Islands - Fig
That's me on the raven. :*)
Bathroom in one of the haunted houses we visited.  I
don't remember which sim this was on. Hmm...
We visited four or five sims, and walked through a couple of the haunted houses. The picture below is from one of the bathrooms in a haunted house - I can't remember which one. I think it was the one that had a problem with their landing site. We arrived and the greeter kept spamming us with note cards. Yikes! By the way, if you click on the pictures in this post, they should go larger.

That's it for now. I need to go over a few workshop lessons, and there's still the laundry to finish. Ho hum. I'm officially declaring tomorrow a relaxation day. ;o)

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Eraserpocalypse 2011

Kawaii iPhone Erasers
So, the good news is this: I survived Eraserpocalypse 2011. Now, where do I begin?  Let's start with the school book fair. Wednesday morning, I sent Mini to school with a dollar for snack money, and instead, he met me after school in the pick up zone with an eraser. He was so proud of the darn thing, and I have to admit it's pretty cool as far as erasers go. His eraser is a miniature iPod touch with icons such as twitter, flickr, etc., etc. It's got a blue back on it (like his real iPod touch gel protector), and is similar to the blue iPhone eraser shown above.

He talked about his new eraser all the way home from school. He marveled over the printed icons. He waxed poetic over the blue back of the eraser which is a sign of destiny this eraser and his iPod were meant to live together under the same roof. I'm thinking the whole time how awesome to hear him being appreciative of something that is really such a simple thing.

That was before the crap hit the fan.

I've been taking a writing workshop this week, and Oldest has been preparing for his recruiter to come over for a check in. (Oldest ships out in January.) Anyway, around 6pm, the neighbor kids came over to play with Mini. All four of them. All screaming, hyper little girls.

Mini took a box of Legos outside so they could all play, but within thirty minutes time, Hubby had to send the neighbor kids home because all the kids - Mini included - began throwing toys all over the back yard. These are little things, too. Stuff that really shouldn't be outside. I got on to Mini about that later, but at the time, I was working, and not paying attention to what toy he'd grabbed for outdoors.

When hubby and Mini finally came inside, Mini was howling. Bawling his eyes out. I thought he had been hurt, and got up to find out what the heck was going on. Hubby informed me the drama was over his precious new iPod eraser. He'd lost it in the yard when the kids were throwing toys.

Uh-oh, right?  It was already dark by that point, but we turned on the outside lights and walked around the yard in the dark looking for it. I was pretty sure by now that one of the neighborhood dogs had probably found it while the kids were playing and gnawed it up. Mini was inconsolable. Hubby gave him a stern talking to about his toys, and then gave him a dollar to buy a new eraser from the book fair. That made the evening at least mildly bearable. Mini finally calmed down, and then I went on with the nightly routine - supper, bath, TV time, bedtime.

Since I had a little time to tinker around online, I decided to look up those iPod erasers, and that turned into a massive search of omg proportions. The only USA listing of them on eBay was a set of four erasers for $55, and another auction that had multiple listings in one - but the iPhone erasers (as shown above) were all sold out. *_* I realized if Mini didn't get another iPod eraser from the book fair, he was going to have to do without. They were even sold out of the blue ones on CoolZips. Craziness!

Early this morning, a little after 6 am, I got Mini up for school, and put the leash on Sassie pup to take her for a walk around the yard. It was still dark, but I looked for that damn eraser. Nothing. Not even little crumbly, dog-eaten bits. I took Sassie pup back in the house and Mini didn't seem to realize I'd looked for the eraser. That being the case, I didn't say anything. Out of sight, out of mind, or at least that's what I was thinking.

Then around 10 minutes until the bus was supposed to arrive, Mini rushes to the front door, ready to go outside. He's got his back pack and his jacket, and I'm trying to tell him it's too early. "No, mom, I've got to look for my eraser!"

I felt so bad for the lil guy. I told him I'd just come in from looking and didn't see it. His shoulders sagged. Poor thing looked so disappointed. So much so, I put on my jacket and sneakers and went outside with him for a second search. It was finally light out, after all.  I told him to go wait on his pile of rocks in the drive way for the bus, and I walked across the front yard to go around the house to where the kids were last seen playing.

On my way back there, I realized someone had left the garden hose unraveled, and as I started to step over it, I looked down, and low and behold what did I see there in the coil of the hose?  The iPod eraser. Wet with dew, but unscathed. I picked it up, dried it off, and carried it to Mini, who grabbed me into a great big hug. He wanted to take it to school, but I said NO. It would be waiting on the shelf for him when he got home.

I went on in the house with the eraser, and he came over to the screen door and whispered, "Mom, can I look at it? Just for a second?" Of course I let him, and that seemed to satisfy him that it really truly was in the house and okay. A minute or so later, the bus arrived and he had to go.

I tell ya, it's a good thing I found the eraser, because when he got out of school today he had snacks instead of a new eraser. I asked why he hadn't bought a spare. After all, his dad had given him an extra dollar or two.

"They were sold out of the iPod erasers," he told me.

Lucky breaks, kid. Lucky breaks.

On a different topic, but not really I guess - Oldest. His recruiter was supposed to come by today. Apparently he couldn't because he was getting his car towed? *_* I have no idea. But my entire day was hijacked with waiting for him to arrive. I told Oldest the next time he called to set up ad appointment and I would DRIVE him where ever. Apparently both Oldest and the recruiter took it to heart. I have to drive Oldest to an appointment tomorrow - we have to be there at 1. I just hope the recruiter guy shows up. He doesn't have a very good track record of being on time.

So there you have it, mi vida loca. There's always some insanity going on here - I don't think anyone's too surprised. Current example of craziness: at this very minute the cat and dog are wrestling under my desk. I've taken to sitting lotus style in my chair to keep my feet from catching a claw. Le sigh. Come on, Friday, don't be late!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Furby Cat and the Carousel Song



Now that I'm nearly out of my 12 hour Zyrtec zombie mode, I thought I'd blog. I have severe allergies, and woke up in the middle of the night last night itching all over and eyes watering. I hopped out of bed and ran to the dining room for the Zyrtec - which is what my doctor told me to take.

Does it work? Does it ever. I've walked around a cotton mouth zombie all day long. Itch and sneeze free. No watery eyes, but holy cow talk about zero energy. Around noon, I couldn't keep my eyes open another minute. I hit the couch and was out for almost two hours. A knock on the door woke me up - the Entergy people dropped by to tell us they had to cut the lights for 30 minutes or so to repair a transformer. If they hadn't told me, I would've probably slept through it. Likely Mini would've been calling home in a panic - where the heck are you, mom? So, it's for the best they woke me, I guess.

Apparently the syllabus is a little off for the workshop I'm taking. No worries. There were no new lessons posted today, so I imagine we'll catch up with it tomorrow. Next month I'm taking an editing course through Tech, and while enrolling in that, I got this grand idea that maybe I want to go back to school next year? As if my life isn't insane enough?

Anyway, tonight I'm reading through the September experiment - taking a look at what I've got. There will be plenty of revisions in my near future, to be sure, but at this point I need to get a picture of what's in the book, and what isn't - but should be.

the latest wip - a lot to do to make this one tip top
I can't remember who mentioned it, but I noticed someone earlier today talking about their NaNoWriMo project on twitter. I saw their tweet and it made me wish I had more time so I could join in. It's tempting. The event doesn't start until next month, but I know for the time being, I can't promise those 2k words per day. Boo hoo. I never seem to be prepared. At this point in time, I need to focus on the current manuscript so I can start sending it around.

Once this book is out there making the rounds, I need to write at least one more story by the end of the year, even if it's just a novella. Cass and I had talked about working on them at the same time so we could check out each others writing process. I hope I can get this current book finished in time to do that.

One more thing before I wrapped it up for the night... A few weeks ago I asked if anyone could remember a trance/dance song by a girl with a baby-ish voice. I also mentioned that I remember her standing in front of a carousel in the video. Well...I finally found the darn thing! Thanks to everyone who went out of their way to try figuring this one out.

Here's the song and video: Look At Us, by Sarina Paris. I remember watching this on MTV back in the day! ^_^'

Monday, October 03, 2011

Dragging in Late

It's been a busy day, and I'm thoroughly exhausted. Right out of bed, I got Mini ready for school. Once he was on the bus, I had accounting to do - and then bills to pay. That took up most of my morning, and Oldest was chomping at the bit to leave the house. Poor beast. He kept coming to my door, and I'm like, kiddo, we're leaving when mama's ready, and that's that.

Before I left the house, I went over the first lesson in the writing workshop I'm taking over at Savvy Authors, and handled some other things online. I also printed up my manuscript to make sure I had the printer ink to do it. Nothing sucks worse than knowing you have a major print job to do, and you forget to buy an extra print cartridge. So, print first, ask questions later. Right?  Right. Anyway, after I had the manuscript sorted out, I put Oldest one out of his misery. We took the bills to the post office then dropped by the grocery story to give all our money away for food.

When I made it back home from taking care of business-y things, I made Oldest help me unload the car and put groceries away. I was running short on time by that point, and as soon as I'd finished putting all the freezer things away, I had to get right back in the car. By the time I made it to the school to pick up Mini, his class was letting out. Whew! On the upside, it seems like they got out a bit early. I didn't have to go all defensive driving to get out of the parking lot when we left.

The Lil Bear had a pretty good day, but OMG the extra homework. I let him have a snack first, changed him into some play clothes, and let him watched a couple of cartoons before settling in for homework. That gave me time to wash off my make up and get changed into some around the house refugee wear. Seriously, the stuff I wear at home, you'd think I washed in from a ship wreck. Ah well. I'm comfortable, and after a day like today, that's all the matters. Anyway, I think there was something like four or five pages of homework for Mini. Wowzers. While that might not seem like much, it's like pulling hen's teeth to keep him focused on the task at hand. He's tired and just isn't interested in more school work. I don't blame him. Still, it's a pain in the ass when you just want to settle in somewhere quiet and let everything stop for a minute.

Nevertheless, I sat at the table and monitored him while he did the homework, and by the time he'd finished hubby was home. I was too tired and busy to cook, so the man - great guy, I might add - made burgers for the lot of us. I ate two grilled patties with cheese and pickles, then checked on the workshop again before I had to set some bath water running for Mini. In other words, it's been non-stop crazy since 6 am.

The guys are snoozing now, and I'm doing my best to keep my eyes open. I still need to put the clothes in the dryer, and set Mini's uniform out for tomorrow. Once that's done, I'll be finished for the day. Finished, I tell you. <shakes fist at the sky> I'd kinda planned on reading through some of my wip tonight, but I'm just too darn tired. I can barely handle mindless and simple right now. So maybe it'll have to be a TV night for me. Night, night, everyone!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

October Already?

It's been a couple of days since I blogged. I don't know how it got away from me, but I was surprised to see the date on the last post when I came in this morning. Time to fix that. <cracks knuckles>

First thing when I sat down at my desk, I answered all the reader mail I've received in the past week or so. I appreciate your letters! And you're right. I really should write another Werekind book. I'm amazed that's where all my questions and search requests seem to be directed. At any rate, I'll get on that next Werekind book asap - scout's honor!

I'm registered for a workshop about emotional structure that starts tomorrow over at Savvy Authors. It runs until the 9th, so I'll have plenty of time to read through everything and complete any assignments while working on my book. Hopefully I'll walk away with new info to inject into the September Experiment wip. I'd love to strengthen the emotional element while doing rewrites.

Speaking of the September Experiment. Last night...errr, rather, in the wee hours of the morning, Cass Curtis and I were up chatting and out of the blue a tricky plot issue we'd been waffling over suddenly resolved itself. Happy dance! That's the one issue that has been holding me back, and now there's a piece to fill it in without seeming forced. It was an issue with my hero. It seemed like something was missing about him. After asking a round of questions, I realized the guy had no true mission within the story. I needed to give him a sound goal. One that he could execute and the reader could track his progress. Well, color it done.

Another issue I tackled last night - the theme of the book. I had a theme written down, but it wasn't strong enough and realized I had to dig deeper. The story at its core is about finding love where you'd least expect it. A common theme, but I didn't have the core concept mined so I could ensure my characters could follow the bend of the story. Now that I know what my theme is I can strengthen the character arcs, and leave little nuggets throughout the story that solidify the theme.

I gotta say, while I understand the concept of theme, that's always been one of my weak points. I can't think of a single story I've ever written where I didn't wrestle with the theme. Oh well. I'm coming around gradually. Slow but steady. That's the saying, right? <g>

The house is quiet for the moment so I better take advantage of it. I wanted to get a little work done on the September manuscript today. First things first - straightening out the spine of my story. Oh boy. This is what I meant a few weeks back when I said the real work was just beginning. Wish me luck!