Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday Randomness & 21 Candles

Happy birthday to Oldest! Today is his 21st birthday. Egads, saying that, especially the day after my own birthday, makes me feel a bit old. Even so, I'm happy for my Navy guy. I wish we could be with him, but we can't, so I'm sending lots of love and happy vibes his way. I hope his special day is filled with joy. :o)

It's almost two a.m., and I'm off to bed as soon as I finish this cup of tea. As I mentioned, Tuesday was my birthday, and it was mostly non-eventful. I say that in the best way possible, so don't get me wrong. Hubby and I drove to Ruston to pick up his order from GameStop that he ordered months ago. We had lunch at Ryan's while on the north side of town, then dropped by the office to visit my godfather, which is really the only reason I had any desire to get dressed and leave the house.

The past two times GF came over to visit, I wasn't home, and I've felt bad about it since, because there simply aren't enough hours in the day to drop everything to go visiting in the next town over. On the other hand, he's get on up there in years, so every visit is precious. If I miss a visit, I try to make up for it. And if I can't, at the very least, I try to make sure he knows he's in our thoughts.

One we got home, I put the laundry going, took care of some editing, and sorted through the bills, the bills and more effing bills. Hello? Universe? A little prosperity this way, plzkthnx?

After I got things situated around the house, I worked on flash cards with Mini. I've got to get him tip top on these math facts before the crap becomes a problem. I say that with all love and honesty: I absolutely suck at math. I was the youngest in my class (an August baby), and I struggled with math all through school. I hope, with a little work, we can get Mini out of his numbers slump asap.

Speaking of school, classes, and what not, the kids are out half a day tomorrow, and all day Thursday due to Hurricane Isaac. We've had a few drops of rain this evening, but it won't hit us until around noon tomorrow. Just in case, we're battening down the hatches for hail, rains, and tornadoes. Looking at the weather map, the eye is going to pass right over the top of our town. Bleh.

Tomorrow if the lights hold, I'll be at my desk, trying to get this story whipped into shape. Doing the same old, same old. Honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way. That said, I'm off for now. My tea is gone and the pillows are calling. Happy hump day, everyone!  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Birthday Snakeskin

It looks like Hurricane Isaac is coming for a visit. I haven't been keeping up with the weather, but I guess I'm going to have to buy candles and batteries and such before he arrives. The big X on The Weather Channel satellite map shows the storm spinning out right over the top of us. Ugh. 

When Katrina rolled through the state, we were lucky. We were too far north, and west of the storm for it to get us, but months later, we were hit by Rita's winds when she came up through Galveston and turned east. 

We had tornadoes, hail, and 55 mph winds that obliterated our trees and garden shed. It was miserably hot, and we were without lights for about three days. Mini was very young at the time, too, so we decided to take the kids and go to a hotel to spend the night. It turned out every hotel was booked solid in northern Louisiana. After driving a while, we found a Holiday Inn in Arkansas with one room left. I realize we were fortunate, but it's not an experience I want to go through again. 

I think the "critters" outside sense a storm is coming, too. Earlier tonight, I put the laundry going and went to watch True Blood with hubby. When the show was over, I went to put the clothes in the dryer, and this was in my laundry room floor: a whole freaking snakeskin. 

It looks like sir sneaky snake decided to come in through my dryer vent to change clothes before the storm. *_* I've had the heebie-jeebies ever since I found the skin, and tomorrow morning, bright and early, Mr. Hubby is going to do a thorough exploration of the laundry room for our visitor.

Also, tomorrow, Even though my birthday isn't until Tuesday, after Mini gets home from school, we're going to pick up my cake at the bakery on our way over to Mom and Dad's. We're going to have hotdogs and cake and ice cream and all that jazz. I told everyone not to fuss, keep it low key, because after you've turned twenty-one for the sixteenth time, it kind of loses its meaning. Just saying.

Between 8/26 - 9/15/2012
enter the Smashwords coupon code
VM43C at checkout to get What
She Doesn't Know
for. 99 cents.
As part of the Cora birthday cake-fest, and evening of sob worthy cards to come, I've created a discount code for What She Doesn't Know on Smashwords. From now until September 15th, 2012, if you type in the coupon code VM43C you can get a copy for .99 cents.  

The collection contains the following stories: 
  • What She Doesn't Know
  • Red Light, Green Light
  • The Matador
  • Her Favorite Position
  • and Roommates
Please note: this ebook is erotica, not romance, and is intended for readers over the age of 18 only. 

That's pretty much it for now. Tomorrow Mini is back to school, and I'll be here working on Twilight's Edge.  I'm push, push, pushing to get this one finished asap. Wish me luck! 

The Writer's Lament

I'm trying so very hard to be patient today. Not with others, but with myself. I'm close to finishing one of the books I'm working on, and I just want to kick it out the But I can't. Not yet. I have to trim, rewrite, and edit some more even though I'm very sick of reading the same material over and over again. Ah well, such is the writer's lament.

On the other hand, the story is shaping up nicely. I noticed an inconsistency about midway through the story, and made a note to go in and fix that asap. For the most part, everything else looks sound. I wrapped up a chapter this afternoon, and I'm going to give it one more pass tonight before I go to bed.

Lately, this has become my mantra. I'm not kidding. I made the image above so I could print it out and glue it to my forehead if need be.

Thank you to everyone who has bought a copy of What She Doesn't Know, my erotica collection on Smashwords. I truly appreciate it.

I've noticed a few people searching my blog for similar stories recently, and thought I'd point you toward some of my other erotica work. If you liked What She Doesn't Know, you'll probably like Wave Rider, which is also contemporary erotica, and available now at Cobblestone Press.

Wave Rider is a perfect beach read for these last few weeks of summer.

About the book

Sunny's vacation at an exclusive Bonaire resort takes an adventurous turn when she meets a sexy Venezuelan surfer staying in one of the waterfront chalets next door. 

After an erotic interlude on the beach, he invites her to his suite where he introduces her to his equally handsome friend, Matteo. The three spend a scorching hot evening together riding wave after wave of pleasure. It's a sexy summer vacation Sunny will never forget. 

This is a very sexy book, and probably my favorite of all the erotica stories I've written. Be sure to check it out!

I have more work coming out this fall...

This November 13th, I have a fun, sexy short story called 4 P.M. No Show appearing in Alison Tyler's Morning, Noon, and Night erotica anthology, to be published by Cleis Press. This anthology is a deliciously sexy read. The pre-order page for the trade paperback and the Kindle edition is on Amazon, if you're interested. I hope you'll take a peek, and "like" us.

It's already after midnight, and I should probably get back to work. I hope you're all having a wonderful weekend! ♥

Friday, August 24, 2012

Self-Editing & Book Island

It's already after midnight, but I'm up late reading through this manuscript and making notes. Right now, I'm going through each scene and jotting down who the scene is about, and what's going on. That way I'll be able to find any lurking plot holes before I start any rewrites. I don't want to spend more than two weeks cleaning this up, rewriting it or whatever, so I'm trying to spare myself a headache later on by being thorough.

Today I rented a new building in Second Life. I don't know how long I'll keep it, but it's in a good location. I'm right down the street from the teleport point at Pulitzer Square on Book Island. If you want to find my book shop in world, when you teleport into Book Island, stop where you are and turn around to face the building behind you and you'll see a street running in front of the shops. Follow that street to the left, and it'll take you into a through way going between the buildings. I'm the first door on the left. My posters are in place, and there is a small seating area. I'll snap some pics of the booth once have time to make a sign to stick above the door. Feel free to send me a notecard if you come in world and drop by the shop.

I got my resident's tag today and put up posters, then I walked across the sim to the writing area. It's nice and quiet, and there are tables and typewriters for you to seat your avatar while you write. You can even timed write if you're so inclined. There are hour glass timekeepers in the writing area.

Anyway, all I have left to do is put out a few freebies, get my sign up, and put up a touch box to bring up my website. I'm going to try to get that sorted out this weekend.

Tomorrow, I'll be running errands and writing. Er, editing, rather. I'm doing everything I can to get this story finished and out of my hair. With that in mind, I better get back to work. Happy Friday, everyone! :o)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pages and Pages

So much is going on I don't really know where to begin. I've been super busy these past few days. There are several small projects I'm working on, and some extra freelance work has come my way, which I greatly appreciate. I've also been working on Twilight's Edge, and I finally finally finished The Butterfly Prince. It needs another round of edits, I think, but it's getting there.

I read through about 11 pages of edits tonight, and did a round of clean up. I need to print out an editor's cheat sheet, but my printer isn't wanting to cooperate with me. Whenever I put more than one sheet of paper into the sheet feeder, the carriage picks up the whole ream and runs it through like one big page. That's just one of my printer's new tricks. Ugh. So, I have to print one paper at a time, and feed each sheet individually. It sucks, but unfortunately buying a replacement will have to wait until my next batch of royalty checks come in. But that's neither here nor there. What's important is doing a little bit at a time, and getting it out of the way.

That said, it won't be much longer now before Twilight's Edge is up on Smashwords. I tell you, getting this book out the door would be a most awesome birthday present. Do you hear that, universe? I just have editing and formatting to do, and it will be ready for a digital release.

That's just the tip top of what's going on with me. Mini, thankfully, is doing okay in school, and even though I wish hubby was back working, I'm grateful he's been home to help me with some of the little things around here. Lately, I don't know how I would've managed to get everything done if he was working away from home.

What else is going on...let'see... Oh! The Suzannah Contest is open. I can't forget to mention that. I'm a 2012 Coordinator for the contest. If you have a romance manuscript you're working on, you might to drop over to the website and take a look at this year's list of final round judges. Ah-ma-zing lineup, y'all. For real. The people who final in the Suzannah have their entry sent to ALL SIX final round judges. Again...go look at that list to see the final round judges. Just WOW. No kidding. The contest is a great opportunity to get your work in front of some of the industry's top editors and agents, so be sure to read through the contest pages and send us your entry.

Today's picture is from Second Life. I haven't gone inworld in ages, but I didn't have a blog picture for today, so I went in and snapped this pic over in Awen. It looks different because I was playing around with the windlight settings, which gave the place a kinda creepy vibe. It's really quite beautiful over there, though, and I logged in right at sunset. It was very pretty.

Anyway, that's all for now. I'll post again when I have new news. Until next time... Happy writing!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Work :: School :: Creativity :: Fears

Walking to class with dad.
I really should be in bed right now, but I just finished working on a cover and my brain is still in creative mode...which kinda sucks, because I have to be up in about three hours to get Mini ready to school.

Speaking of Mini it was his first day of second grade today. {sniffle, sniffle} Hubby and I took him to class. At first, the boy started out kinda-sorta excited, but when were leaving, he looked incredibly nervous sitting in his desk. That, of course, made me nervous.

I worried about him all day long, and by around 3:30 I was counting the minutes until the bus finally dropped him off. I was so relieved when he made it home.

He said he had a good day, no troubles, so therefore I had a good day. Once I got the boy into some play clothes and settled in with a snack, I spent a good hour and a half filling out school papers that have to be returned to the teacher tomorrow.

I'm a bit miffed at how they've changed the school lunches this year. $1.25 for breakfast, $2.00 for lunch, and roughly a dollar (each) for any extras - milk, ice cream, etc. So if you buy breakfast, lunch, and a bottled water it's $4.25 a day. I could spend less buying off the value menu at BK. That's ridiculous, people.

What gets me, is the notice sent home said the kids will receive smaller portions based on "caloric needs", and they must choose a vegetable side for their tray. What the fuck does "caloric needs" mean? I'm pretty sure it means "we're being cheap", since I'm sure they're not actually measuring body fat on these kids. And at any rate, you can see from my pictures is nothing at all wrong with my Mini Bear's BMI. Why should they have to shrink his meal portions?

Not only that, how would they be able to calorie count for all these kids when our school is grade inclusive - kids from pre-K to their senior year of high school attend here? I guess the seniors get two grapes per plate instead of one? Sheesh. I'd hate to do it; we're already spending a fortune on groceries, and hubby isn't back to work yet, but I may end up having to pack the kid a lunch if the prices go up any more.

That's all the mom ranting I plan to do for now. I promise. Overall it was a good day, so I really shouldn't gripe. It's just that the prices surprised me, since we already had a price increase last year. And the year before that.

Anyway, hubby and I went to eat at Johnny's for lunch, and when we got home, I worked on my books a little more. I almost have a new novel written, and Twilight's Edge is almost ready to send out for formatting. Not only that, I wrote a rough blurb yesterday for one of the upcoming vampire novels. OMG, I'm so excited about this particular vampire book. It's dark, moody, and so very sexy. The idea for it came from a dream I had a few years ago, but I never could seem to build a story around it. Then late last year the idea finally came to me, and I knew I had to write it. When I go to put this one on CreateSpace, I may have to add a little note about the dream at the back of the book - just as a little trivia thing. Origins and all that. We'll see. ;o)

With writing and putting the books together myself, I feel like I'm falling behind. I'm not getting stories out as fast as I used to, but I imagine what will happen is that I'll end up with two or three books releasing around the same time. I have stories coming out in two publisher published anthologies this fall. Plus, I'm trying to shove Twilight's Edge out the door, plus this vampire novel.

I'm not sure if releasing all that work at one time is a bad thing or a good thing, but I've decided not to stress over it, and just go with the flow. Sometimes I stress about the business and industry side of things so much it kills any desire I have to write, so I've had to let go of a lot of that.

Well, it's 2 a.m. now, so I better get to bed. It's gonna be tough to get up in a few hours as it is. {g} Happy dreams, everyone. I hope you have a wonderful Tuesday.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Charting Progress :: The End is in Sight

Happy Friday, everyone! It's after 2 a.m., and I'm still up writing. I fully intended to be in bed by now, but I got all motivated when I realized I'm actually much further along with this story than I thought. Yay!

I've been writing this particular book in sections. It's, like, I'll write a couple of pages, or a chapter, then save it and put the file away in a computer folder so I can't go back and edit what I've written. Next time I come in to write, I start a new document. Sounds tedious, I know, but I started doing this after rewriting the beginning chapter of this book for the hundredth time. It's an illness, I tell you. I had to put a stop to all the nitpicking, otherwise, I'd never finish.

Anyway, I thought I'd kept a pretty good word count estimate for this book until I broke down and actually added up the tab. I tabbed it so I could make a progress sheet like the picture shown, because I wanted to "see" how far I was from the end of this book. To my surprise, I discovered I'm only about 16k from reaching my 50k bare minimum word goal for this story. So, it won't be much longer now with this one.

Although the picture doesn't go with the book I'm talking about, it's the same thing. I print up a page just like that one as a visual reference to gauge how far along I am with most of my projects. I usually print one up when I'm about half way through a book. I start getting antsy around that point and need to "see" the progress. What can I say? My brain prefers boxes to numbers.

The word count memo works like a stat meter, only I don't have to code the dang thing and find a place to post it. This sheet is pinned to the door of my office cabinet. It's easier to update too. Every time I hit a 5k milestone, I check off a box. Easy peasy.

So, I'm almost to "the end". Picture me doing a happy dance. :o)

And now, I'm off to bed. I mean it this time. I have to pick up Mini from my mom's in the morning, plus there's a mile long list of things to take care of before the weekend kicks off. This is our last gasp of summer, y'all. School starts Monday!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

One Step Closer :: Twilight's Edge

FYI: For whatever reason, SassiePup
is completely horrified by my
adorable batty pen. Le sigh.
So, what day is this again?  Wednesday?  Thursday? I've got so much going on right now, the pressure has driven me about half bonkers. Mini starts school on Monday, and I should have started class today, but I'm locked out of the virtual classroom.

On the other hand, the extra time not spent driving myself nuts over stuff I can't control allowed me to finish and turn in all my freelance work. Cool beans! I even managed to work on two of my own books after I'd done all that.

I pretty much finished the rough draft of The Butterfly Prince late Wednesday afternoon. It's going to need a solid second draft, but for all respective purposes, the story is down on paper, thank baby Jesus. This story has been kicking my tail ever since I started writing it, and really, it's not like it's a complicated story so I'm not sure what gives.

Anyway, once the second draft is finished, Twilight's Edge will be "complete" and ready for cover to cover editing. Woohoo! *runs amok* I am so ready. I have three other stories nearing completion, and I'm ready to switch focus to one of those books.

In other news, the Suzannah Contest is now officially open for entries. You have to check out the line up of editors and agents for this contest. Ah-mazing. I'm not kidding. You can find out more about the contest here: 

NOTE: Even though it's not mentioned on the entry form, there is a $5.00 early bird discount for anyone who enters the contest before September 1st. The payment boxes at the bottom of the form are correct. Just check and go. *thumbs up*

That's all for now. I see it's after midnight, and I still have a few things to do before I can go to bed. Sooo, I'm going to sign out and do my thing. Until next time. <3

Monday, August 13, 2012

New Orleans :: There And Back Again

I was sitting on the front steps of FQ Gems lapidary
on St. Philip Street - guarding our drinks. lol
We're back home from New Orleans. It's been a tiring, and emotional day. We woke up this morning around 7, and watched the Bruce Lee Story on cable while spending our remaining time hanging out at the hotel.

Around ten, we left for the airport, which was just across the street. We thought we'd be able to go in with Oldest, but we're not familiar with this particular airport. We got there and ended up having to drop him off right outside the terminal where security was set up. Basically, we pulled up at the curb, helped him with his luggage, hugged, and had we had to leave. Hubby was devastated, because it was so sudden. He's taking Oldest's leaving very hard, which makes it twice as hard on me. Not only dealing with Oldest leaving, but seeing Hubby so upset. :s

From the airport, we hit I-10 and drove back home. It's about a five hour drive to/from New Orleans, so we still had some daylight when we arrived back in our neck of the woods. We went straight over to my mom and dad's to pick up Mini Beast and SassiePup. Mini was playing Chuzzles on my dad's computer when we got there. He hugged us both and said he wanted to stay another two days with grandma. I said okay, because school is starting next week, and he won't have the chance to go over there much once all the homework jazz kicks off.

SassiePup, on the other hand, was ready to come home with me. She wouldn't let me out of her sight, bless her poor puppy dog heart. I bought mom a pretty cracked marble bracelet, and dad two arrowheads from the lapidary on St. Philip Street, and forgot to bring them in the house. Well, when I went back out to the car to get the souvenirs, SassiePup threw a fussy hussy doggy fit. Whoa, mama, she was determined to stay with me. She's been in my lap or under my feet ever since we got home.

But...more about the New Orleans trip and Oldest...

On Sunday, we walked the French Quarter with Oldest and took him to our favorite shops. We ended up going to Jackson Square, and the French Market, too, of course. He loved the lapidary, which was probably the highlight of the trip for him. We ended up having lunch at Willie's Chicken Shack on Bourbon Street. We think he had a pretty good time.

Oldest went with me to Marie Laveau's House of Voodoo, where I bought a new tarot deck. I picked up The Tarot of the Sweet Twilight. Such gorgeous artwork! The World Card is my favorite in the deck, I think. I shuffled through them while at the hotel in Kenner, but I haven't had a lot of time to play with it yet.

Oldest picked out a red fox tooth from the shop, and something else...I can't remember what. I'll have to ask him later. We added each other on Skype right before we left home, so once he's settled at his new duty station, we'll have a chance to chat.

The house feels strange tonight without the boys here. It will probably be a few days before I peek in Oldest's room, and put everything away in there that he may/may not have left out. I've made it a point to stay busy since I got home, so I'm not thinking about it so much. I have a few chapters to read, but I'm too tired to wrap my mind around it right now. I'm saving all that for in the morning.

In the meantime, I've holding the pup and having a glass of wine. I've checked Facebook and Twitter, and there's really nothing else to do tonight, but relax. That said, I think I'm going to go curl up on the couch and watch a few episodes of True Blood on DVD. I hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Until next time... ;*)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Women's Intuition & Life in General

I'm a little slow off the mark today, and I have a mammoth to-do list. So far all I've managed to accomplish is breakfast and two loads of laundry. Hubby is running rings around me, I swear. First thing out of bed, he's out the door mowing the lawn and taking down Oldest's welcome home banner. Just watching him makes me feel like a slug.

Anyway, we're doing all this in prep of leaving for New Orleans this weekend. We're basically hauling Oldest over there to catch a flight, but it's a long drive so we're going to get a hotel and stay the night, rather than come straight back home.

While we're in the city, we're going to walk the French Quarter, of course, and we're also going over to Riverwalk Mall, and the lapidary on St. Peter Street. Oldest's never been there before, so it should be fun.

Mini and SassiePup will be staying with grandma and grandpa while we're gone, and I hope to leave the house spotless so there's no cleaning to do once we get back. I'm going to have freelance work waiting on me when I return, and I need to take care of a few last minute things before entries start rolling in for the Suzannah contest, which opens on August 15th.

This afternoon hubby has a beta testing thing to do, so once I get home from running errands, I'll be off the net. That's okay, because I really need to be working on my book, and the net is such a distraction anyway. Big surprise, right?

Moving along... I drew a tarot card for the day using The Halloween Tarot, my favorite deck. My card for Friday is The High Priestess. This card is about intuition, and breaking away from traditional roles and ways of thinking. With that in mind, the symbolism on the Halloween High Priestess card is very interesting, and fits the basic idea of breaking away from tradition with its differences from the Rider-Waite version.

The first thing I notice about the card is that the black and white Boaz and Jochim pillars from the Temple of Solomon have been turned into two towers standing in a fertile pomegranate garden. Pillars and towers serve two different purposes. Pillars hold up a structure, or an ideal. Towers represent defense, foresight, and protecting treasures - including knowledge. However, the pillars and towers in both the Rider-Waite and the Halloween versions are defined by their color and distance from one another, and the secrets they uphold and protect. They represent endings and beginnings of life's universal cycle. Between them exists the mysteries of all that is.

The High Priestess stands between the towers/pillars, as a mediator between what is essentially the mysteries of life, the universe, and its cycles. On the Rider-Waite card, the High Priestess sits holding a Torah. On the Halloween card, she is a standing vampire, holding a book with a red marker. The symbolism is different, but the idea is the same. She has divine knowledge, and the gift she offers us is intuition.

As I said above, this card is about intuition, in particular, women's intuition. So, women who get this card should really listen to their inner goddess. The card is also about breaking away from traditional roles and ways of thinking. Only priests were allowed in the temple, and there would have been a curtain stretched between the pillars so that no one could see what was back there but the priests.

Here we have a card that shows this priestess, a woman, an immortal (vampire), and the curtain is stripped away. She is standing on a crescent and appears to be singing, shouting, or perhaps even offering a prophesy. The black cat leans forward to hear what wise things she has to say. No matter what she's saying or singing, you can tell by the look on her face she enjoys, and is comfortable with, her own power and is willing to share her knowledge with those willing to listen.

This card is complex. It addresses the mysteries in our lives, the things that are hidden, and divine knowledge passed on to us through dreams and intuition from the universal source beyond the veil. When I am wondering what to do in a tough situation, when I'm torn between two options, this card can mean it's time to ditch conventional methods that aren't working, and step off the traditional path. The important thing to concentrate on is getting the job done, rather than concentrating on what tools we're using to do the job. In other words, go with what feels right to you.

A very fitting card for where I find myself right now. Heh.

That's all for now. I'm going to try to update my twitter and /or Facebook while I'm gone, but I probably won't have time to blog again until Monday. When I come back, I'll have pictures to share. Until then, best wishes and happy writing!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Bizarre Dreams :: Care Bears Casino Royale

I had a dream Wednesday morning that I was with Hubby and Mini at a hotel casino, although the hotel looked like a cross between an arcade, and the Pizza Hut in our old neighborhood.

We had stopped there so I could go to the bathroom, and the dream started when as I was walking out of the tile alcove area leading from the bathrooms into the main part of the hotel.

Mini was waiting for me right outside of the alcove where the old bubble gum and ring machines used to sit,  and I walked over to stand beside him. The toy machines used to be across from a set of pinball machines, and an old jukebox. I didn't see any of those machines, but I sensed they were still there and in use.

All around us, people in business suits were walking by, and going in and out the glass exit/entrance door at the far end of the lobby. The glass doors gave off a white glare so bright you couldn't look at the because the sun was pouring through. The place was busy with lots of foot traffic, and I was concerned suddenly that Mini had been standing outside the bathrooms all by himself. I asked him where his dad was, and Mini took me by the hand and walked me over to this entrance to an arcade.

The arcade had the same type of tile entry way as the bathrooms, but it was dark inside like a movie theater. It might have been maybe two feet away from the gumball machines, and seemed kind of ominous at first, although I'm not sure why. Maybe because it was unknown to me.

Anyway, it wasn't very far from where I'd found Mini, and hubby was right there, maybe a foot inside corridor, where it was a bit shady, but not quite dark. He was in front of this huge, glass-front game like one of the stuffed-animal grabber games with the large claw. There was a rainbow of Care Bear plushies at the bottom of it. Big ones. The only thing different about this claw game was that it had a glass panel inside that separated the machine into two tanks. One side was the grabber side. The other side was like one of the basketball hoop games, where you toss as many basketballs into it as fast as you can to score points.

Apparently, you had to pick up a Care Bear, maneuver it to the other tank, and drop it through the hoop to score points and win the bear. Hubby was talking to a man and a woman, a married couple who looked to be in their mid-to-late fifties. He was telling them that I was very good at this particular game. Before I could say anything to deny it, since I was pretty sure I'd never played this game before, hubby turned around to demonstrate how it worked. I watched as hubby put in two quarters, and began to play. After trying to pick up a bear once, he suddenly gave up trying. He stepped aside and said to the couple, "Like I said, this is more or less her game."

I panicked because hubby had quit before the game was over, and like I said, I was pretty sure I'd never played this game before. The time was still ticking on the clock, so I hurried over to the machine, and began to tap this red button repeatedly. I didn't really know what I was doing. I couldn't see the grabber doing anything, but the score kept going up. I figured I wouldn't do very well, but I kept at it, and I ended up with a score of 220, which I thought wasn't too bad, but nothing spectacular. A ticket popped out of the machine, and I took Mini with me to cash it in.

When I ran the ticket through the machine that was supposed to tell me what prize I'd won, I was a bit surprised that I got another ticket back. When I read this new ticket, it said I had to go to the front desk to cash in my prize ticket, because I'd won over $500.00. I was amazed. I started thinking of all the bills I could pay with "over $500.00". That's when I flipped over the ticket to see how much I'd actually won, I was thrilled to discover my take-away prize was $880.00.

I turned around to wave hubby down and tell him what we'd won, but I saw he was still talking to the couple he'd been telling about the Care Bear game. I took Mini by the hand and started hubby's direction, all the while wondering if it was too soon for me to try my hand at the game again. That's when I woke up.

A strange dream, especially since I'm not the gambling type, but fun nonetheless. Hopefully it means good things!

That's all for now. Happy Thursday, everyone! ;o)

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Like Energy And Water

SassiePup: Why aren't you holding me?
What a day! I wish I could write down every little nuance for posterity's sake, but it would only give me a headache to retell it. A few weeks ago, someone told me August was going to be busy for me. I had no idea. Calendars and friendly advice should come with warning labels, I'm just saying.

I managed to get some writing done last night and this afternoon, so all is well on that front. And a few hours ago, I found someone to commission for a book cover. If I go that route. Their art style fits the tone of the book. I just hope I can afford them. Again, if I go that route. I haven't decided exactly what I'm going to do with this project yet.

There is just so much going on right now. I woke up this morning with an eczema flare up on my right thumb. It happens when I'm stressed. It looks like a simple blister, but it feels like a combination of fire ant bites and a paper cut. So much fun.

To add to all the chaos of daily living, I firmly believe I've hit a transformative period in my life. What's bad is that I've been hiding from it. I've been resisting change. I like routine and sameness, and being able to go somewhere after twenty years to see it is the same as it was the last time I visited. Sameness comforts me, even though I realize lack of change, lack of growth and movement, is counter productive. I know life is about change, but I am who I am. It's hard for me to embrace big changes, especially when they come at me suddenly and unexpectedly.

Our personal energy is like water. If you let that energy have its way, it flows around all obstacles, and you emerge from the negativity faster. Try to withhold the flow, and it can be like trying to contain a tempest in a teacup. It doesn't work.

I've really got to learn to not be so resistant to change. I must learn to let go, no matter how painful it is. No matter how afraid I am. I need to be like energy and water, and flow around my obstacles so I can emerge to a better place.

For years I've had a very good "friend" who is not shy about coming to me when she needs something. We have been through thick and thin together. We know one another's darkest secrets. We've had great times, and have also shared one another's personal tragedies. I love her like a sister. However, these days whenever I try to talk to her in passing she is always too busy for me. She expects me to share, but she will not share with me in return. Although I have not said anything, I have caught her lying to me more than once, and several times when I've tried to approach her with friendly conversation, she has acted haughty and defensive with me, like I am going to try to take something from her.

I know she is going through a lot right now, but there has never been a period in our friendship where I have not given or shared everything I have with her. If it was within my power to help her, I did. These changes are disturbing to me. She has begun to treat our relationship like a competition, and I am not a competitive person. I never have been. I am me. I have nothing to prove to anyone. What you see is what you get.

In recent years, when I stopped by to chat with her, she has said to me, "Look, can't you see I just really don't want to talk to you right now?" Ouch. I admit it. Her attitude shocked and hurt me. Well, I guess I understand. She had friends in higher places to entertain. And yet, the minute this gal has a problem she can't solve, where are those other friends? Who does she end up calling on for help?

What is that saying? Help someone once and they'll remember you the next time they're in trouble. Yes. It's like that. This person has been using me for more years than I should ever have allowed. It's a shame, because I heart her to bits, but it's past time to let her go. Our journeys are not the same. At some point we must choose what we want for ourselves. I am who she chooses only when she has no other options, and I don't like that. I choose to populate my inner circle of close friends with people who are my friend all the time. Not just when it suits them to be friends with me.

I'm sorry if this hurts her feelings, should she actually read this. I don't think she has ever been a reader of my blog, but of course, as soon as I'd say that, she would decide to drop by. If I could tell her anything right now, for she is not currently speaking to me, this is what I'd say: I release you. May your chosen path fulfill your desires, and bring you happiness. With that said, I dust off my feet and move on without looking back.

Topic change. Tonight after I get my 2k in on this wip, I have to sort through all the laundry and figure out what I'm taking with me to New Orleans. I may have to go buy a couple of tank tops for the trip. While it's hot here in North La, I know it's gonna be steamy hot down south. It's gonna be tank tops, shorts, flip-flops, and comfy stuff on this trip, so when I come back with photos, don't expect any glamour shots. Ha!

That's all for now. I have a few errands to take care of, and after that...more writing! Writing, more writing, more writing. So exciting, right? What can I say, other than I'm a creature of habit. ;o) Happy Tuesday, y'all.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Writing in Harmony

Monday, again? I can already tell this month is going to go by super fast. This is Oldest's last week at home. We're driving him to New Orleans on either Friday or Saturday. I can't remember which. I'm sure the guys have told me three or four times, but then someone comes up with something for me to do, to remember, or to find, and I lose a day's worth of thought processes. Heh.

I made progress on the main wip Sunday night. I tacked on roughly 1k words. Not as much as I would have liked, but some words are better than nothing. I also made some progress on Twilight's Edge. The collection currently stands at a little over 51,500 words, and I'm working on the final story for it. If at all possible, I hope to get the whole caboodle over the 65k mark before I declare it a done deal. I'm pretty sure that length will translate to trade paperback on CreateSpace. If at all possible, I'd like to release it as both an ebook and in paper.

When that's done, I'll clean up the book as much as possible before I start hunting for an editor. I have someone in mind, but I'm not sure at this point what she charges. So, we'll see. I'd hoped to have this book out by the end of August, but I'm just going to have to play it by ear. There is still a lot to do. I need to have the lady who made the ebook cover do a wrap-around cover for me. And none of this even touches on the formatting I'm going to have to do. A friend of mine does freelance formatting, so I'll probably hire her to handle the formatting for this project if she's not too busy.

Whew! Just thinking about all that work makes me antsy. I have no idea why, but it does. I guess it's because I want to make the best book I possibly can, and I'm probably the last person on earth you should count on for perfection. That's just the way it is.

My card of the day is the four of imps, which is from the Halloween Deck. This card is equivalent to the four of wands in the Rider-Waite deck.This is a card of harmony, satisfaction, good news, a happy home, family joy, celebration, marriage, completion, and attaining a goal. Any of those things, or combinations of those things. Really, we could use some stability and positive energy flowing through our household. This Mercury Retrograde has been especially tough.

The four of imps card shows the full moon smiling down on a wedding party or some other kind of celebration that brings like people together. The imps are dancing beneath a chuppah strung with jack o' lantern garland. We don't know exactly what they are celebrating, but it is clear that everyone involved is having a good time. This card indicates a time of good fortune and joy. This is a period when everyone is able to "kick up their heels" a bit, and enjoy life.

An interesting thing about this card is that I recently told hubby that this retrograde has me feeling like I'm on the verge of very big change. Or maybe a big epiphany. Sort of like when you're hunting for information, and you know what you need is "right there", but you're just not seeing it yet? So, yeah, I've been feel like that lately. It's very frustrating not knowing what it means, exactly. It's like I'm in a chrysalis form and I have all this pent up energy, but I can't seem to break out.

The four of imps offers a bit of relief from that situation, since the card can also be viewed as moving into a new phase of life. For example, a couple marries, they leave behind their old lives, and they go on to become their own household unit. I'm hoping this means the frustrating energy I've been feeling lately will lift, and positive energy will flow again.  At any rate, it's a very nice card to start off the week!

That's all for now. It's almost 2:30 am, so I better get some sleep. Tomorrow, er, later today, I'm supposed to take Oldest to the movie to see the remake of Total Recall. When we get home again, I promised Mini I'd bake a cake. Stuff to do, stuff to do. ;o) Hope you all have a happy Monday!

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Move Forward With Confidence

On Friday, I took three impatient, easily bored males with me to buy Mini's school uniforms. It was the start of tax free weekend, so the traffic was nuts and everything in every store was picked over. Add to that, each one of the guys had something else they'd rather be doing. I didn't harm any of them, I'm happy to report. Although, next year, I think I will measure Mini at home and do this shopping by myself.

Today was more low key, thankfully. I stayed home with Mini while the big guys went to see Hubby's sister. I wrote a few thousand words on the wip then went to hang out in the den with Mini and the pets. I'm making slow progress these days, but there is so much going on with family it's hard to get my head in the right place for writing. I'm hoping that will change after I get Mini in school and on a steady routine.

I'm about a third of the way through this book, and there are times I really doubt my ability to sell this story. Or any story for that matter. At one point I wondered if I should stop writing for a while. In other words, insert all the daily writerly doubts here. I wondered if I should put this story aside and leave it for later, but these characters are the ones talking to me the loudest at the moment. I hate to shut out those voices and walk away. So here I am, sticking with it, come hell or high water. I just wish I felt more confident about my ability to write it.

The guys made it back from visiting around four, and we've been sort of hanging around and doing our own thing since then. Tonight, I'm going to watch cheesy horror movies and drink wine. I feel like I've earned it.

Before I forget... Last night, I dreamed there was an angry bee darting around the living room of our old house. It kept dive bombing me, but I'd swat it away and watch it fly around the room before coming at me again. I anticipated it stinging me at any moment, and my adrenaline was pretty high. I sat on the couch, thinking that would make me less of a target than standing up. That's when my mom walked into the room and asked me what I was doing. She came over and sat to my left, and then the bee flew down and landed on my left thigh. I froze a second, anticipating pain. Mom was scrambling for a cloth to swipe the bee off me, when I suddenly smacked the critter with my right palm and killed it. To my surprise, it didn't sting me. Strangely enough, when the bee fell over, I noticed it was just a yellow shell with a tiny black wasp underneath it. Interesting, no?

My tarot card for the day is the three of wands. I did this reading with The Vampire Tarot. I don't use this tarot very often. It's a beautifully illustrated deck. I'm drawn to it, but it isn't the easiest to read. It's Rider-Waite based at its core, but not all the cards share the traditional meanings. The symbolism on some of the cards is very understated, and not easy to understand without at least basic knowledge of the Rider-Waite cards. As much as I like this deck, I wouldn't hand it over to a beginning tarot reader.

The image on the card I drew shows three wands rising from the a fertile green patch surrounded by darkness. This is the edge of the cliff as shown in the Rider-Waite card, only shown from an almost first person point of view. The darkness represents the unknown. The wands represent fire, creativity, and movement. There is a gold rimmed mandala/medallion "wheel"* in the sky with a vampire mystic cloaked in the red robes of passion. The vampire in the wheel carries a cane of exploration and leadership.

This vampire has cast his doubts and fears aside and he's seeking new horizons and greater possibilities. He has been detached from the mortal plane to gain perspective of his situation. which is why he's hovering in the sky at the edge of the cliff. Now that he has a broader view of the world and his goal, he is confident in going after what he wants, and has adjusted his plans to fit the journey he has embarked on.

*Throughout history, and even in the Bible, there are "wheels" in the sky that have appeared in visions. The vampire's wheel is about divine intervention, destiny, higher inspiration, visions, genius, premonitions, the unhindered flow of energy, and creativity.

This 3 of Wands card is about making progress, and moving forward fearlessly. Cast doubt aside, and trust in your own creative vision. Have confidence, and don't be afraid of stepping out into the unknown. Very fitting advice for me at the moment, considering everything I wrote about at the beginning of this post. Don't you think?

Mini is getting sleepy, and I need to put him to bed. Once he's snoozing, I'm going to put in my horror movie and refill my wine glass. That's all for now. Happy weekend, everyone! ;o)

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Between Seasons

What a crazy morning! I woke up early because hubby started having a conversation with me...about something. I can't even remember what. If he asked me questions, no telling what I said in response. Ha! Whatever the case, I couldn't sleep after that, so I got up and went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea.

About twenty minutes later, hubby tells me he went through his phone messages and discovered my dad called late last night to tell us my oldest cousin is under quarantine in the hospital for severe West Nile Virus. We're totally shocked. They won't let anyone in to see my cousin right now, but we're hoping that will change by the time my aunt makes it in from Texas. We're all very worried and frustrated by the lack of news on his condition.

I'm incredibly tired this morning, but today is kind of an early start to the weekend for us, which is going to be insanity for us. We have so much to do, it's ridiculous.

Around noon today, I'm meeting up with an old friend from high school. I haven't seen her in years, and we're all getting together for lunch: us, kids, husbands. Afterward, I have to come home and wait by the phone. If anyone calls, they'll probably call the house.

Oh, dear. I'm moving around too much and the SassiePup is grumbling at me. It's not really a growling sound, more like an annoyed errrrr noise she makes when she's trying to rest. Spoiled girl...

Anyway, we have a full weekend ahead of us. I have to buy school uniforms for Mini, and we have to get Oldest over to   the sister-in-law's house so they can see him before he ships out. We only get to have him with us one more week, then we have to drive him to New Orleans to catch his flight out.

Somehow, I'm going to squeeze writing in to all of this. Waiting and see. I did a bit of brainstorming yesterday, but not much else, sadly. I'm going to try to make up for it this evening. Wish me luck!

My personal tarot card for the day is The Empress. I'm using the Halloween Deck, which shows the Bride of Frankenstein in place of the traditional empress, who is a depiction of the Earth Mother. She's lounging beneath a canopy of stars in a garden. One half of the garden is depicted as fall, and the other half is spring/summer with ripe fruits (typically she's shown wearing a gown with pomegranates, although the fruits look like oranges on this card). The Empress is about abundance, nurturing, motherly instincts, and being "pregnant" with new ideas. She is the fertile season between planting and harvest, and is a reminder that "things take time to grow". She is typically associated with Venus, and is considered in most cases, a positive card...a good thing, because I need all the positive vibes I can get! ;o)

One more thing before I go. I got a Google alert last night that My Zombie Ex-Boyfriend is being pirated on a couple new piracy forums. I did some looking around, and I see they have Heart Spell up there too. Don't risk your computer to pirate a copy of a free ebook.  These books are available for free, and have always been free, on Smashwords - a legitimate download site. Just a heads up for those who may be tempted, and not know any better.

I need to jump in the shower and wash my hair before we have to leave, so I bid you adieu. ;o) I hope you all have spectacular Thursday!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Focusing Energies and Planting the Seeds of Success

On August 1st last year, the soldier's home in Washington D.C. called to tell us that hubby's dad had passed away. I had to call hubby at work to pass along the news. Not an easy thing to do. Hubby made arrangements with his boss and came home, then we began to pack for the trip. The next day, in the wee hours of the morning, we put everything in the car and headed out to D.C. to take care of Hubby's dad's final business.

Yesterday hubby got word that an old friend of his had passed away, so this is a double whammy for him. He's been in a somber mood, which is to be expected. We're having a quiet day at home, and perhaps that's for the best.

I wrote a little over 3k yesterday, and I'm planning to add to that count today. Ideally, I'd like to get 2k. I'd say I'm roughly a third of the way through this book as it stands. I need to look at the midpoint event and start fleshing that out a bit more. I've got a list of possibilities going already, but I haven't spent much time with it, developmentally speaking.

Anyway, not that I'm having any issues building this book, but I thought I'd mention that is how I combat sagging middles in my stories. I create a midpoint event, something big and dramatic, and write it out to the nines, sparing no details. Seriously, I leave out nothing. It may read like garbage, but I don't try to censor or edit myself while I'm writing. I simply focus on getting it on the page. More than once, I've found my theme by stopping what I'm doing to write the mid-point scene in the book. That's usually the scene that really turns the theme on it's ear anyway. Then, when I have that mid-point written, everything leading up to that event, and everything that happens after it is a spin off of that event. That's what I'm planning to do with the book I'm currently working on, starting tonight. Work on the midpoint.

Moving along...There's another story I'm almost finished with. It's part of a collection, and once it's completed, I can start editing the entire edition for Smashwords and Amazon. I'm still toying around with the idea of using CreateSpace, since I believe the book will be long enough, but I will need a new cover if I do. I'm still debating it.

I'm going to have an insanely busy month, and I'm gearing up for that. Let's see...tomorrow I'm meeting up with a high school buddy for lunch at Panda. There's the upcoming New Orleans trip with Oldest and hubster from the 11-13th, The Suzannah Contest opens August 15th (I'm a coordinator), and school starts for Mini on the 20th. That's just the beginning. A few of the key dates for me.

I drew a tarot card of the day just to get an overview of how the month is going to go for me. (Hectic, for one thing. Haha! I know that much already.)

Four of Pumpkins is my tarot card of the day, for the month of August, and for Lammas Day. Sorry for the slightly blurry picture. I don't know if it's the low lighting or what. The card is from the Halloween deck, which is my favorite, go-to deck because of its imagery and smaller size.

With the Halloween deck, you can kind of get a mood for the card just by looking at the moon symbols when they appear on a card. This card shows a waning moon, decreasing in size, with an indifferent face that isn't exactly smiling or frowning. It depends on how you look at it. Some situations are like that. Some require more energy and insight than others.

The indifferent face is a reminder to save some energy for yourself. You might feel a decrease in energy, or feel like a situation or project you're involved in has stalled or is very taxing, but don't allow yourself to be emotionally or physically worn down by it. Like the faces of the moon, this is just a phase. It will soon pass.

The Four of Pumpkins shows a vegetable man walking through an empty garden. He is merrily reseeding the ground with pumpkin seeds. Behind him, there is an oak tree with only one leaf left on it, indicating "all that remains". It also symbolizes approaching winter. There is, of course, the stone wall with iron spikes on top (isolation) to consider also.

The vegetable man is blissfully working in isolation. So, what's going on outside the fence?  It looks like a sign marking pumpkins. Perhaps there is a patch ready for harvest right on the other side of that wall. Perhaps that patch has already been harvested and is waiting to be taken to market. And yet, the veggie man is eager to plant new seeds.

Depending on your mood (as indicated by the indifferent moon face), there can be two meanings here. But overall, this card asks the question: it really the best time to be seeding something new?

This card prompts me to take a look at my life as it stands right now. What does my to-do list look like? Have I merely harvested all the pumpkins and left them to rot on the other side of the fence? Do I need to tend to other things before I replant my energies elsewhere?

If you've already finished all the tasks at hand on your to-do list, now is the perfect time to replant for a future harvest. However, if you're like me, and already working with a full to-do list, we should consider that it's probably not the best time to begin something new, or take on new projects. To further support this, the signs in the pumpkin patch are spaced very far apart, reminding me not to spread myself too thin.  

No matter how quickly the veggie man plants those pumpkin seeds, they are going to need time to grow. You can't rush the nature of things. You can try, of course, but no matter how fast you plant the seeds of success, nature takes it's time to grow them to fruition. When we are overeager, that time between sewing and harvest can make us feel like we have put forth a lot of hard work and have come away with nothing to show for. Again, let it go. Give it time.

This card pretty much describes my current situation in life to the letter. I am involved in so many projects right now, and I tend to take on more than I should. I try to help whenever I can, and it's very hard for me to say no to someone. Especially a friend. If you are in a situation like this, or you need to make a choice but you're worried about the repercussions, when you get this card, consider it permission from the universe to say NO. You will save yourself a lot of frustration and weariness in the long run.

The Four of Pumpkins card is the four of pentacles card in the Ryder-Waite deck. Traditionally, the four of pentacles it's about holding on to things too tightly. It can be material things, a goal that isn't working, or values that no longer suit you. It's also about being miserly in spirit. Let it go.

If you're overburdened with tasks, let others take up some of the slack. Allow others to help you when they are willing, and don't put up a wall to shut them out if they offer you help. They have the same goal as you. And more than likely, they want the same end result. (See the sign for pumpkins on the other side of the fence?)  In other words: don't bear the burden alone when you don't have to!

That's all for now. I'm about to go see what the guys are doing, and watch a few cartoons with the MiniBeast before I settle in to write. To those who celebrate... Happy Lammas Day!