Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wednesday Cuteness

Happy hump day. I'm posting pictures of my little Hazel Rah, my pick of the litter, to make the blogging day cheery. Hazel is roughly five weeks old and is a special needs kitty, but she's also a first class snuggle beast. You can click on her pictures to enlarge them.

The short story I'm currently working on is in tatters, and the deadline is looming. I'm giving myself today and tomorrow to get this one knocked out since Friday is my mom's birthday. I worked on scene one of my short story until the wee hours of the morning and made pretty good progress, but there's still a lot to be done. I wish I weren't such a slow poke when it comes to revising, but I can't help it. I agonize over every word. It's an illness, I swear. When I read on Facebook or twitter that someone has revised fifty pages in a day, I'm seriously impressed. I have no idea how they do it.

On a more positive note, I'm working with a critique partner again. Yay! I'm very excited about that. I've been working on my own for several months, but I'm going to need a fresh set of eyes for a novel I'm working on, as well as other projects I have down the line. This is a major change for me, and I'm feeling really good about it.

It's fairly calm around the house these days. I'm taking three MOOC classes to prepare for the fall semester at Delta. I'm glad I decided to take the MOOCs first, because I was thinking about taking a full plate of traditional courses over the summer. I'm glad I didn't do that. I'd be insane by now. I can tell already three is going to be the max I can handle at one time. There's no way I could handle it all: family, classes full time, and writing. There simply aren't enough hours in the day.

Anyway,  lots of changes, trying new things, and breaking new territory going on. All this newness and change is kind of scary in some ways, but I'm working my way through it one step at a time. ☺

Monday, May 27, 2013

Lazy Birthday Weekend

On Saturday we had Mini's birthday party at Jimmy Davis State Park. A few friends dropped by, and my parents were there to celebrate. Mini had a great time, which is the important thing.

The two pictures in this post were taken at the pier. The guys were grilling hot dogs and Mini was restless to get to the beach. It was too soon for swimming so Mom, Mini, and I walked to the pier to give him something to do. He loved looking at the large lily pads. Gorgeous view.

After lunch, we cleaned up the picnic area we'd used then made our way down to the beach. I waded in the lake with Mini, and managed to come away with a light sunburn. Thankfully Mini had enough SPF slathered on him to keep him burn free.

We made it home around three in the afternoon, and from that point onward, we lounged around, surfed the web, played games, and killed the rest of the birthday cake. Overall, it was a nice, easy going day. My favorite kind.

Sunday was just as laid back. Hubby doesn't have to go in to work until Tuesday, so we're going to have plenty of "together" time. In other words, we chat for a few minutes here and there then go to do our own thing.

In the morning, I going to spring for donuts then work on the story due this coming Friday - which is my Mom's birthday. From that point on, I'll be clear to do my own thing, wrap up other projects, or whatever.

That's all for now. It's almost one in the morning, so I'm about to shut down for the night and hit the sack. Happy Memorial Day, everyone.

Click to enlarge

Friday, May 24, 2013

Kitties, Lights Out, and Revisions

Little Explorer Kitty

I couldn't get her to look
at the camera. She was
too busy toddling
around on Mini's bed.
It's after two a.m. already. Where does the time go? I put Mini to bed a few hours ago, and that's when the kittens woke up and began mewing and trying to climb out of their basket.

This is a nightly routine and I haven't been able to sleep well because of it. The kitties are now big enough to climb out of the laundry basket where they've been nesting since they were born, and they take great delight in toddling through the bedroom and getting in tight corners, under the dresser, and under the bed.

Tonight their escape attempts were such a problem I took the huge laundry bucket - the one I use as a hamper and drag into the laundry room before I do clothes - and I made the kittens a new bed out of it. They were do a bedding change anyway.

The laundry bucket is big enough for me to sit in, and it has tall, slick sides and a wide opening at the top so the kitties can get full air. Safety first. They can't climb out of it, so that's the big plus. Now I can at least rest knowing they won't get under the treadmill and get hurt.

I have no idea where Mom cat is at the moment. She hasn't abandoned them, but she doesn't nurse them as much any more. I have to feed them now and give them diluted evaporated milk or they cry during the day. Next week, I am going to start finding homes for them if the neighbors don't come for them or let us know something. Hubby left a note on their garage door this evening.

We've taken Mom cat and the kits to them twice, but they don't take care of them like we do. Honestly, I think they just moved the cats into the garage and forget about them because, well frankly speaking, taking care of kittens is a lot of work. I can see them viewing the cats as troublesome and inconvenient, although not enough of an inconvenience for them to get the girl cats fixed so they won't breed more kittens. Hubby and I have done what we can do. We're not made out of money and can't afford to have every neighborhood animal spayed and neutered. And we can't afford to feed and keep all the neighbor's pets because they won't take care of them. If the local shelter would come out to take the kits, I'd call them. But we live too far outside of the city limits for the shelter to get involved.

Anyway, it's pointless to take the kittens back to the neighbors if they don't have anyone to give them a furever home. Mom cat always drags the kitties back to our house. I find them in the laundry room every time, so I might as well keep them in the basket until they are old enough to be given away. Still it pisses me off that these are the neighbors with the douche bag daughter boyfriend that threatened to plow down our dog if he saw him out of the fence. I swear, if that boy ever opens his mouth to me, they'll have to stitch his tattered shreds back together after I dig my claws out of his face. But I digress...

Most of the kittens are ready to be parted from Mom cat. They love human interaction and they'll eat a thin mix of mashed potatoes out of a bowl. Earlier tonight I fed the little gray-nosed kitten - we've been calling her Smokey - some evaporated milk mixed with warm water. She seems perpetually hungry. The evap milk is all I've got on hand, but it filled her tummy and quieted her down. She prefers to be held rather than sleeping with the others but I can only do so much. And I really don't need to get attached to them anymore than I already am. Anyway, I bounced Smokey a bit, gave her lots of coos and snuggles, then put her back in the kitty bed with her sisters and brothers. She'd rather sleep in the bed with me. I had to do that three nights ago during the storm. She was crying and crying, and it was the only way I could get some sleep. That said, they're in the bucket now snoozing. Sassie Pup is currently on watch over them. She loves to watch and sniff the kitties. Go figure.

Three days ago storms blew in and knocked out power in several parishes. The lights went out right after I'd gotten Mini out of the bath. I lit candles throughout the house, settled the animals down, and told Mini to pack a bag. It was hot and well after dark, so I thought I'd take him over to my mom's so he could rest in the air conditioning. But when I called to check in with my parents, their lights were out too. I put Mini on the couch with a storm lantern (it's like a regular lantern, but battery powered with several settings and a pulse light for road emergencies), opened the front and back doors to let the breeze in, and Hubby kept him company. Since the guys were back and forth to the patio, I went to my desk and revised a scene I'd printed hours before the black out. Once I'd done that, I stayed in my office reading Barbara Michael's The Dancing Floor with a book light hubby bought me for my older generation Kindle.

Mom called around midnight and let me know their lights were back on, so I went ahead and drove Mini over there to stay the night. Lights out doesn't bother me as long as there is a breeze. Mini is spooky, and I knew he wouldn't rest until the lights were back. I made the right choice hauling him over there, because the lights didn't come on at 6 a.m. like the emergency hotline stated.

I came back home after dropping off Mini and went to bed. Sassie Pup and I slept near the kittens. Hubby slept on the couch to catch a breeze. The next morning, after hubby dashed off to work, I waited around for the lights to come back on until the house got unbearably hot. Around noon I pulled on a tank top and some shorts and went to Mom and Dad's house and stayed there in the blessed air conditioning. I'm far too domesticated for all this heat and humidity, I swear.

Hubby made it home from work around 2 and the lights were still out. I had dozed off in the recliner at mom's and hubby woke me up around 4 when called to let me know the lights were finally back on. Mini stayed another night at his gram's and I went back home to catch up on the classwork I'd missed while the power was out. I'm pretty much caught up on everything. I need to do more revisions on that short story, but   it will have to wait until after Mini's birthday on Saturday.

Tomorrow I have to go the rounds and pay bills. I also promised to take Mini to the library. I might as well since I have books to return. Best to take care of it before the birthday rush sets in anyway. Next week I have a lot of revising and editing to do.

That's all for now. I better hit the sack. Happy Friday, everyone!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Purple Flower Saturday and Revising Draft 2

Hubby had to work this morning, so I stayed around the house until he had to leave for his shift. Afterward, I took Mini to stay with his grandparents - my mom and dad. They'd asked me last week to bring him over on Saturday. So, I packed up his bags around 10 a.m. and took him over there.

 Mom called while I was driving. She was off grocery shopping and wanted to let me know that no one was home. I guess she had a feeling I was probably on my way there - she was right! ;o) Dad had Mom drop him off at a car show across town, and she planned to pick him up on the way back to the house. In other words, they were gonna be a while.

Mini gave me a flower. 
It was no big deal. Mini and I flopped on the couch and watched Johnny Test with Whele the dog (pronounced: Wheelie), until they made it home. After they arrived and put away their groceries, I visited with them for a few minutes then I drove back to the house. I didn't want to stay gone too long, since JakeDog was still in the fenced yard when Mini and I left home. I worry about him digging out and getting the neighbors in a tizz. The neighbor's daughter's jerk of a boyfriend has threatened to run over our dog if he spots him out of the fence. (Never mind two of the neighbor's female cats had their kittens in my house - kittens which are still here, btw. There is a bed of kittens in Mini's room, and a bed of kittens in the master bedroom. We've taken the cats to the neighbors several times and they don't take care of them. The cats simply carry the kitties back to the laundry room every time. So be it.)

Everything was quiet when I made it to the house. The crittermals were fine; they greeted me enthusiastically when I walked through the door, although it's possible they were more or less happy to see the rice crispy treat with little rainbow chocolate chips on it I was holding. But I digress....

I've been home alone ever since. Earlier, I made beds, baked a pizza, and worked on a short story. I'm going to add a few more words to the final scene and that should wrap it up. As is, the story is pretty much complete, but I feel like I could smooth out the final love scene a little more. And maybe add more dialogue.

Sometime tonight, I'm gonna try getting a few pages out of my (mostly) dead printer. Good luck to me. I hate feeding a page in at a time and forcing it to print. But that's the only way I can get it to work - sometimes. The printer tends to jam even on a single piece of paper, and it glops the ink on the scroll bar inside the casing - the bar that makes the paper move through the machine. Then again, sometimes the printer won't even wake up. Yes, I know. I'm a writer, and I should invest in a new printer. Soon. Until then, I'm going it the hard route. It can't be helped.  I revise much better on hard copy.

That's all for now. I'm going to turn on the outside light for hubby and get back to work. Once I have the draft passable, I'm going to sit in the den and read. Possibly put on a zombie movie, too, since Mini isn't home to freak out about it. Ha! 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Weekend Writing Plans

On Thursday I made a revision pass over the erotica story that's due soon. I added in an additional sex scene and reworked the transitions. That boosted the overall word count by a little over 1k. From this point on, I have to be very careful I don't overwork the piece. I don't want to go over the word count and have to cut, cut, cut to make the story work.

I'll be making an additional pass over the draft once the sun is up. (It's technically 1:45 Friday morning as I'm writing this.) The beginning is really rough, but I'm not going to touch that part until the rest of the story is straightened out. Beginnings never used to be a problem for me, but lately they've been a major thorn in my paw. I don't know what the deal is, but it's been really difficult sticking the beginning for this particular story. At any rate, finishing this piece is my goal for this weekend. I'll be working on this story until it's wrapped up, polished, and sent off. Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

Couch Gremlins

In an hour I'm heading over to my mom's to celebrate Mother's Day - and my dad's birthday, which fell on the 10th. We had planned to go over there and celebrate on Friday, but Mini had the stomach flu last week and managed to give it to me. In order to keep from spreading the plague to my parents' house, we decided to make a rain check and have a visit over the weekend when (hopefully) everyone would be feeling better.

I'm at 85% and determined to go see everyone, even if I can't stay very long.  Hubby is going with us, but he has to work so he'll be leaving right after lunch. Boo. At least we'll all get to be together for a while, which is all that really matters.

Moving along to writerly things... on Friday, I finished the final story for the Twilight's Edge erotic faerie tale collection.

At this stage, the collection is roughly 60k, and I imagine it's going to take me a while to edit it properly - and I mean that as proofread it front to back, make changes, and then hire an editor to go over it for me. I plan to publish this book as both an ebook and print on demand paperback. I have no idea when I'll have that ready, but I'll post more about it as the project progresses.

Last night, I got word that the lineup for the upcoming Cleis Press erotica anthology Shh! Don't Tell Anyone...Erotic Fantasies about Sexy Occupations (edited by the awesomely awesome Alison Tyler) has been posted at Trollop with a Laptop. I have a kinky mechanic story in this book. It's called Body Work. I'll post more about the anthology once I have a release date and cover. Until then, if you'd like to check out the list of stories and authors included in the book, you can see them here.

That's all the new news. I have a few projects I'm working on right now, stuff I've got to get out the door quickly. We'll see how that turns out. I'll hopefully have more good news coming soon.

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there, those living and those who've crossed over. And whether you're a mom or not, I hope your day is full of peace and good memories.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Kitteh Overload

Last Friday the school called hubby to pick up Mini Beast. The school nurse told us he was feeling nauseated, and I figured he was probably nauseated by a math test he was going to have that afternoon. Poor beast. Hubby picked him up and brought him home, and when he got here he was running a low grade fever. I gave him some Tylenol and put him on the couch with a pillow, blanket, and a movie. He fell asleep (not like him at all) and took a three hour nap. When he woke up, he sat up abruptly and started vomiting. The kid was sick all weekend. Between the barfing and running to the bathroom, we were very worried he was going to become dehydrated. He wouldn't even touch food. We bought him a case of Gatorade, cans of chicken soup, and saltine crackers. He would do fine for a little while, then the yuck cycle would begin again. 

First thing Monday morning I took him to see my doctor. What a relief the kidlet is going to be okay. The doctor prescribed antibiotics, and this nausea medicine that's absorbed through the skin on your wrists. (We chose the cream instead of a shot, because the poor kid was so worried they were going to jab him with a needle.) 

The nausea meds seem to be working, and last night was our first vomit free night since Friday. I'm greatly relieved. We've been very worried about him. 

On Saturday, Mini was resting on the couch when the neighbor's orange tabby girl ran in the house. She's been coming here to eat. In fact, most of the neighbor's cats have migrated over here. We have a batch of kittens from a silver tabby in the bedroom. We've been calling her Mom Cat. The orange tabby we've been calling Tiny. Tiny ran in the house and stood in the dining room a minute, then made a loud yowl and ran into the den. She hopped up on the couch with Mini where he was resting and watching TV. Tiny Cat likes to snooze with Mini on the couch, but this time, she jumped up there and was yowling loudly. It scared Mini so badly, he hopped up and was plastered against the far wall. It turns out, Tiny cat's water broke in the dining room and she'd run to her favorite cozy spot to give birth. Fave cozy spot being her snuggle spot with Mini. 

I put the dogs out, and made it into the den in time to show Tiny cat there was a free pet bed by the entertainment center. She climbed off the couch, hobbled to the bed to lie down. Immediately, she delivered her first kitten. A little orange tabby. Her very own Mini-Me.  

Tiny cat ended up having four kits. Three are orange tabbies; the other is a calico. I believe all the kits are girls. As soon as they are big enough to transport, we are taking them to our neighbor. They are her cats, not ours. So far I'm fine to give them a place to nurse the kits til they have their eyes open. The neighbor's kids are so rough I'm not comfortable taking the kits over there until they are at least six weeks. I can't keep the cats, obviously, but I don't want the kids hurting them either. Once they are big enough, the owner can either take them to the shelter in town (no kill) or give them away. Honestly, I hope she is able to give them all away. They're cute, but it would cost a pretty penny to have them all spayed. 

Mom Cat, the silver tabby, has six kits in our master bedroom. They just got their eyes open, but they still mostly sleep. Once they start wandering a bit, they'll be ready to go back home to the neighbor. They should be ready in a week or two. The orange tabby kit in the picture above is one of Mom Cat's babies. (We are pretty sure Mom Cat and Tiny cat are from the same litter.) 

We have moved Tiny cat's kits and the birthing bed into Mini's room. It's in front of his dresser, and she seems to like it in there. She climbs up on the big bed with Mini sometimes, even after having her kits. I don't know what it is about her, but she loves Mini Beast. She has from day one. We are cat poor right now, and I'll be happy to whittle the house hold down to my two dogs and Kips again, but I honestly don't think Tiny Cat is going to stay at the neighbor's when we finally take her home, kittens or not. I guess we'll have to wait and see. 

Anyway, kids and cats, that's been the theme here lately. Through it all, I've managed to get some writing done - 2k daily on average. I hope by the end of summer, I'll have a ton of work to put on Smashwords. (And at least one full book to submit through the regular channels.)

That's all for now. I better get back to writing while the house is quiet. Toward the evenings, it gets kind of busy. Not to mention I still have a ton of laundry to do. Sigh. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Very Merry Month of May :: Dreams of Ganesh

Can you believe it's May already? I'm preparing myself for a wild ride. May is always one of the busiest months of the year for me. Both of my parents, and Mini have birthdays this month. School lets out for Mini, and I have to get my test scores and stuff to get together for registration at Delta. I also have a short story to rewrite and turn in this month. Oh, and tomorrow we're going to set up an appointment to have SassiePup spayed.

All that, just for starters. I imagine tons more will pile on before mid-month. Not sure why that is. May, August, and October. Killer months for me every year.

This weekend I'm going to focus on the rewriting that short story. It's 80% finished, but I want to completely rework the beginning, which has been giving me fits. If I can't get it to work, I'll scrap the entire thing and start from scratch. That may actually be the easier way to go about it. We'll see.

Whatever happens, my goal is to have a thorough, readable draft by Sunday night. That way, I'll have plenty of time to let the text settle. Then I can read and re-read and make any necessary changes before submitting the piece late next week.

Mini has had the stomach flu for the past three days. He came down with it while at school, and hubby had to drive in from out of town because he couldn't reach me on my phone. My brand new effing iPhone. Apparently the voice mail wasn't set up. Anyway, Mini's been home sick for several days now. He seemed to be doing okay yesterday afternoon, then last night he woke up around two in the morning and barfed all over the couch. Thank god for leather furniture. I will never ever go back to cloth furniture. I say that in my most honest mom-voice. Cloths, suede, tweeds, etc. are just not durable enough for this family. I'm mean, seriously. Barfing on the couch. Thanks bunches, kiddo.

Hubby's off work today. It's the first full weekend he's had off since he started his new job. What's he doing right now. Sawing logs. It's about two in the afternoon and he's zonked on the couch, snoring the house down. Now that's how you celebrate a Friday off, ladies and gentlemen.

One more thing before I close, last night I had a strange but happy dream. I was a character (myself) in a video game. Mini was there with me. We were looking at this lush, green forest and there was an Aztec like temple off to our left. High on this mountain side to our right, I could see many gold coins shining in the sun. There was no way to physically reach them.

I pointed the coins out to Mini, and he said "Mom, you've just completed this level, pick your prize." He pointed toward the temple, which had changed somewhat. I saw there was now a floating emblem above it. With a simple thought, I could change the emblem as if I were "scrolling" through a prize menu.

The emblems reminded me a little of the icons for map destinations over at Neopets, although they were not at all cartoon like. They were very realistic. I sorted through the emblems, and when they began to repeat, I settled on the one I liked best. It was the one I most easily recognized. It was Ganesha sitting on top of a small temple base. A sort of statuette. I didn't know what the symbol meant, or what it was being offered, but I chose it and the emblem began to glow. A tiny black door opened at the front of the temple, and all the sudden it felt like I was begin pulled forward, and then there was this sensation of falling through space. Of passing quickly through a tunnel of darkness. When I came out of the darkness, I was on the hillside overlooking the forest. I'd landed right in the middle of the gold coins. I knew my was limited, so I began to collect the coins by pressing invisible buttons (as if I was holding a game controller). I could hear the coins as I gathered them, and I called out to Mini, and to husband and my parents - who were suddenly with me. "Press the buttons, quickly!" The amount of coins being collected sounded like rain falling, there were so many. I was aware that somewhere there was a score meter recording every coin. Mini began to cheer. He said, "Mom, you beat the high score!"  Woohoo! As soon as he said that, he vanished from the hillside, then my parents and hubby, then I had this sensation of floating away.

The dream shifted, and I was in the backseat of my parent's car. Dad was driving. Mom was in the passenger seat. I was in the back seat with Mini. Hubby had gone on back to work, or was driving the Jeep back home. It wasn't clear to me. I was celebrating with Mini over what we had won. I was thinking how I had won enough money to pay off our debts, pay off my parent's house, and pay for school. What a marvelous feeling.

The car stopped at an intersection, and as Dad waited for the traffic to clear so he could turn left, I realized we were on the new stretch of highway outside of town. To my left I could see there was road construction under way. In the past road construction dreams always filled me with dread and anxiety. But I recognized immediately that construction indicates a road or pathway to the future being built. The ground work is being laid down, the foundation for the future.

I woke up in a very good mood. I told Mini about the dream since he was in it, and he was jazzed that it had been a video game dream. I'm rather jazzed it had Ganesha in it. The lord of success and wealth, and the destroyer of obstacles. If the universe is offering, I'll accept the help with gratitude. :o)

That's all for now. Happy weekend, everyone!

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