Welcome to 2013

Jan 1, 2013 by

Bubbly by eyesthatslay

Bubbly by eyesthatslay

Happy New Year, everyone. May it be a good one for us all.

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The 2013 TBR Challenge

Dec 24, 2012 by

2013 TBR ChallengeWendy, the Super Librarian, is doing it again. “It” in this case is the 2013 TBR Challenge, an opportunity to go through the TBR pile you’ve got stacking up either in physical books or on your tablet/iDevice and actually read some of them. Considering I’ve got a house filled with books I haven’t read yet and I don’t want to admit to how many TBRs are happily sitting in my Amazon account, this is probably a good idea.

Dates and themes are listed below. Wendy always insists the themes are not set in stone, so what I come up with for the challenge each month may not match exactly. If you’re interested, hie thyself over to Wendy’s blog and check out the details. It’s going to be fun.

January 16 – We Love Short Shorts! (Short stories, Novellas, category romance)
February 20
– Recommended Read (something recommended by a fellow reader)
March 20 – Series Catch-Up (pick a book from a series you’re behind on)
April 17 – New-To-You Author
May 15 – More Than One (An author who has more than one book in your TBR pile).
June 19 – Lovely RITA (RWA RITA nominees OR winners).
July 17 – The Classics (Something classic within the romance genre – an author, a specific book, a trope/theme – I’m open to wide interpretations here!)
August 21 – Steamy reads (Erotic romance, erotica, something spicy!)
September 18 – Western (Contemporary or historical)
October 16 – Paranormal or romantic suspense
November 20 – All About The Hype (a book that created such chatter that it was inescapable).
December 18 – Holiday themes (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, it’s all good!)

Happy reading, everyone!

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With Apologies to John Lennon

Sep 24, 2012 by

Relatives are what happen when you’re busy making other plans.

(Be back soon, hopefully.)

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A Shimmering Star in the Cinema Fir-ma-ment

Aug 15, 2012 by

Lillian Gish

Lillian Gish (image in the public domain)

When I was thirteen, my mother took me to see a great star of the silent screen who was signing a coffee table book she’d done about the films of her and her sister. When we reached the front of the line, I couldn’t help myself and gushed, “Oh, Miss Gish, you’re my favorite actress! I loved you in Broken Blossoms and Orphans in the Storm.”

Lillian Gish, who was 80 at the point and had made her greatest films before my mother was born, eyed me suspiciously and asked, “How old are you, child?” In those days before cable and DVD, even before the big public renewal of interest in America’s classic film heritage, it’s not surprising she found the idea someone so young being a devoted fan a little hard to believe. (The answer? My local PBS station, which regularly ran silent films on Saturday night because they fit in the small budget available.)

These days, we don’t have to turn further than Turner Classic Movies which is currently running their annual Summer Under the Stars Festival, featuring the work of different star each day during August. Today celebrates Lillian Gish with films such as Broken Blossoms, Orphans of the Storm, The Scarlet Letter, and, of course, Intolerance, which cost an estimated $2 million in 1916 dollars and bankrupted D.W. Griffith and his studio.

Some of the films may look strange to modern sensibilities and Intolerance has numerous flaws, including it’s length. But there is also something magical in the flickering images to stir the imagination and Intolerance features one of the great panning shots in cinema, still breathtaking even today. This is part of how I refill the creative well, by revisiting these movies whose images inspired me when I was young. What are you doing today to refill your creative well? If you’re looking for something new, take a peak at what Turner Classic has to offer.

Bonus points for anyone who recognizes the source of this post’s title, also taken from a classic film celebrating the end of the silent era.

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Five Things I Learned From the London 2012 Olympics

Aug 13, 2012 by

Dressage Stallion by fallingdominos/Flickr (Creative Commons)

1) Dressage is very zen. Seriously. Those beautiful animals go through their paces can be a form of meditation.

2) Watching the Olympics is itself a marathon. Far too many hours of coverage conflicting with work, writing, knitting and small items such as eating and sleeping. You have to pace yourself, make decisions and realize you are not going to see everything.

3) Embrace joy. Sometimes the simple act of being the part of something, not just watching, can be a prize in and of itself.

4) The greatest inspiration is not always the win, but can be grace in defeat. Liu Xiang and his departure from the field after he tore his Achilles tendon in the heats for the 110-meter hurdles will remain one of the enduring images of these games.

5) No matter what your dreams, there must be discipline and hard work in order to succeed. Write every day, learn from your mistakes and keep going.

By the closing ceremonies, I’d written 19,070 words for August on my Camp NaNoWriMo project. Discipline — and just because the Games are over, it doesn’t mean the work ends.

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Ch-ch-changes

Aug 10, 2012 by

Fruit - Photo by Christer Barregren/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Photo by Christer Barregren/Flickr (Creative Commons)

I came back from the RWA conference in Anaheim with a much needed jolt to the creative batteries and my usual need to make lists. (I also over-indulged a little at Paper Source, but that’s another story.)

I always always make lists after conference; I’m fired up and I’m going to change my writing! And my life! And the world! The last one’s a joke, but my husband has looked a bit sideways at my ambition more than once after these things. I will say that as of this morning, I’ve written 16,414 words for August, so clearly the post conference surge hasn’t completely worn off yet.

Change is good because it’s a sign of life. Recognizing there are things you need to differently and you are going to take those steps (or at least try) is a positive. Sometimes it’s big changes, such as what the ladies at Reinventing Fabulous are going through. Sometimes it’s small ones.

One small change is that I’m having yogurt in the morning, which helps get things off to a good start and is not fried. I’d been buying it at the cafeteria in my building, but I got tired of not knowing if it was going to be there until I walked in and the price. Oh, yeah, and the fact it was less…fresh as the week went on. So, I went to the grocery store and bought yogurt in a variety of flavors and have been eating them this week before I go to work.

Yesterday, the cafeteria was shut down by the Health Department for numerous violations.

I’ll take that as a sign from the universe that change is good. What changes are happening in your life right now?

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I Moved From Texas to Get Away From This

Sep 14, 2011 by

The weather is cooling down at last here in Southern California, though I’d be surprised if we didn’t have one more round of high temperatures and hot winds off the desert. One thing that is unusual is the high humidity we’ve been experiencing for the past month. It’s not unusual for the humidity levels to be in the 50 percent plus range with occasional grey clouds but never any real rain.

I remember summers like this — long Texas days that baked and broiled you with the humidity all at the same time. When I moved to California, you can imagine my joy when I discovered the heat was actually dry. It was still appalling, but it was dry. Now I get to listen to my co-workers complain about the humidity, something most of them aren’t used to.

There are some compensations though and I caught one of them on film the last week. I was taking out the trash when I happened to look up and saw this:

No, we didn’t get rain and the humidity was thick enough to feel the air as you moved through it, but for one beautiful moment, it was all worth it.

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Good Advice for Fiction Writers — and Business Writing

Sep 12, 2011 by

Found this post from Kristen Lamb” on my newsreader about not treating your readers like they don’t have the sense God gave a goose. not treating your readers like they don’t have the sense God gave a goose.

I’ve read more than one memo in my corporate existence — and quite a few Powerpoint presentations — abuse items one and three with wild abandon.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I feel the need to go excise some adverbs from my manuscript.

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In Honor of the Day

Sep 11, 2011 by

In Honor of the Day

“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends.

“When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love.

If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion… love, actually, is all around.”

Love Actually by Richard Curtis (2003)

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Under Construction…

Sep 10, 2011 by

Under Construction…

Currently doing some changes that the moment, so if the page looks weird, it’s probably because I’m messing with the code.

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Okay, that wasn’t meant to be a two-month break…

Apr 13, 2011 by

One of the big problems of getting back into blogging after major family stuff is that sometimes the family stuff rears its head again and you have to take time away.

Things that happened while I was off not blogging:

  • Got sick, husband got sick, got better, caught husband’s cold and got sick again.
  • Work was insane.
  • Acquired a new iPad and gave the first one to my husband, who can now happily play Angry Birds without stealing mine.
  • Actually did something I’ve been wanting to do for a few years, went down to the Kodak Theatre the day before the Oscars and took pictures. (J
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I Appear to Have Lost My Kindle

Jan 21, 2011 by

I haven’t lost it lost it; the Kindle is still sitting on the dining table, ready for the day. No, what’s happened is my husband has taken it over.

I bought the Kindle last November, one of the lucky ones to get the previous generation model Amazon had on deep discount for Black Friday. My thought was to use it as my secondary device, something to keep by my bed while my iPad got carted around on a regular basis and then could get plugged in at night to recharge. I also figured that the husband could use it from time to time during the day and we bought him two books to read on it.

It’s now his Kindle. He is reading it constantly, loves being able to change font sizes and that his place is automatically saved. He wants more book and I’m back to using my iPad as my reader.

This is why digital books are making inroads; it’s eleven at night and we find a book, so can get it downloaded instantly (or the sample to see if it’s something we’re interested in). If you’re feeling tired, the font can be bigger so your eyes don’t have to work so hard. And my husband, who is absolutely not a gadget person, loves it. Technology is easy to sell to those who adore it; when you start selling to people who’s first instinct is not to reach for the gadget, that’s when you’ve definitely hit the broad market.

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Ugh

Jan 20, 2011 by

While the rest of the country has been digging itself out from under snow drifts, we’ve been having sudden spring-like weather here in Los Angeles, coupled with some fierce winds. I’m not saying that to make y’all envious; lots of things are suddenly blooming, the wind is kicking pollen and dust into the air — and I’ve got the makings of a sinus migraine.

Doesn’t help that I’m worried about an on-line friend who’s trying to dig out of an abusive relationship and is trying ot move her about-to-be ex out of her place today — and had trouble getting to sleep, so I stayed up too late finishing a book that I enjoyed, but which left me sad.

Ever have one of those days when you’d love nothing more than slide back under the covers but work and the world beckons?

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2011 TBR Challenge: January — “Between the CEO’s Sheets” by Charlene Sands

Jan 19, 2011 by

2011 TBR Challenge: January — “Between the CEO’s Sheets” by Charlene Sands

Title: Between the CEO’s Sheets
Author: Charlene Sands
Publisher: Silhouette Romance
Publishing Date: June 2007, #1805 in the Silhouette Desire line
Back Cover Tag: Boardroom, Bedroom…or Both?

This one has been hanging around the TBR pile for a while, and it was honestly the first category I picked up after accepting the challenge. If truth be told, I picked up the cat to see what he’d flopped on, discovered he’d knocked some books down and there it was.

I used to read a tremendous number of categories, but that’s decreased in recent years and a big reason is the lower page count. In a short story/novella, you have to stay closely focused on your main characters due to the low word count; in a full length book, you have room to develop more complicated themes. The length of this book seems neither fish nor fowl, because there are some tantalizing hints at deeper issues and character backgrounds, yet there really isn’t room to explore it. The other problem seems a common one with categories: I couldn’t shake the feeling I’d come in on the middle chapter. This wasn’t a branded theme book, but the hero, Wade Beaumont has a brother, and there are various other characters who are mentioned or appear, that feel as if they have their own story. (This isn’t just in cateogries; there are some historicals that when I see the hero has five brothers, seven cousins, and three sisters, I know the author’s going for a series and back away quickly.)

The basics: Gina Grady finds herself in a bind, needs a job that will pay decently, so appeals to her childhood friend Sam Beaumont for a job with Triple B, the family business. Only, it’s not Sam but his younger brother Wade she has to deal with, whom she slept with nine years before, only to leave the next day when she learned another girl was claiming he was the father of her baby. Wade hires her because he wants to find out what happened nine years ago and he still wants her, even if he keeps telling himself it’s just lust. Stuff happens, there is another misunderstanding, the misunderstandings are resolved (including the ones from nine years ago), and we fade out.

If the above makes it sound like I didn’t enjoy the book or was bored, you’d be wrong. I did enjoy the book — or most of it, anyway. The pacing is excellent and the writing is crisp. Plus, much of the action takes place on Catalina, which means that while Gina and Wade aren’t exactly in a locked room, they’re within close confines because Avalon, the island’s only incorporated city, isn’t that big. (The entire island has a permanent population of under 5,000.) They can’t get away from one another easily. But it’s also a story that would have been better served by either a longer word count (expanding the back story, a filled out denouement of the whole thing with the girl who told Gina Wade was the father of her baby), or a shorter one (dropping a few elements, such as Wade seeing Gina with a competitor and misunderstanding the situation). I’m going to dig around the massive TBR bin where the categories live and see if I have anything else by Charlene Sands, but I’m not certain I’m ready to go diving back into categories big time at this point.

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It can move fast sometimes

Jan 18, 2011 by

A week and a half ago, the husband and I looked at a car our mechanic was offering to sell us. Now, a good mechanic is like gold and I trust his word when he says it’s a good buy for us. He’s known us for some time, works with us if we have a major repair and has been urging us for a while to consider replacing our junker. We loved what he showed us, but weren’t going to be seduced by the first vehicle we drove. Went out did our due diligence, visited dealers, were annoyed by salesmen, winced at the prices and decided the rather sizable difference between the cheapest car we looked at on a dealer’s lot and our mechanics car could a) pay for a lot of repairs and b) pay for vacations and things like that.

Yesterday, we handed over the check and today the husband is getting the registration done at AAA. We are now the proud owners of a 1986 Mercedes 420SEL with only one previous owner (we’re not counting our mechanic since he fixed it up and didn’t use it for driving).

The chrome is genuine chrome, not a thin layer over plastic, it passed its smog test as proudly as any new from the factory model could, we have a new radio, leather seats and leg and head room. We have a big trunk that could fit just about everything we need. By the way, the shine you see in the pictures? That’s without having it waxed and detailed.

We could have gone newer, we could have gone for something that had more “economy” but our hearts ruled our heads in this instant. We sat in the Hondas and the Toyotas and they were transport, nothing more. This car seduced us with its luxury and the way it cruises along the highway. This isn’t a car just for running to the grocery store; this is a car to head out along Pacific Coast Highway and see the wonders of the coast. We’re going to spend more money on this car than the last one, I know. One of the enthusiast websites said, “These aren’t transports; these are hobbies and passions.”

Sometimes, it’s best to let yourself be seduced.

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Still Dealing With That Balance Thing

Jan 14, 2011 by

Work, writing, blogging, and everything else that goes on. Still trying to get the balance here and it’s escaped me somewhat this week. Ironically, I started a Time Management for Writers class this week through Orange County Romance Writers. Good class so far. For one thing, there are assignments we’re asked to do every day. Not big ones, but things such as posting what you loved about your writing that day. Much easier to stay involved in you’re doing something every single day.

However, the big reason I’ve had difficulty struggling with the balance this week is because the husband and I have made a decision and closed a deal on a car. After due consideration and much resistance of the urge to strangle every used car salesman we met, we made a decision — and bought the car our mechanic found for us.

This was a decision of heart, not head, because instead of buying a late model economy car such as a Toyota or a Honda, we bought a 1986 Mercedes 420SEL. You buy a 25-year-old Toyota, folks figure you had to buy cheap. You buy a 25-year-old Mercedes (with only one previous owner), you’re buying a classic. Even if it’s not in great shape, the assumption is that you’ll fix it up. Fortunately, this one is in beautiful shape and doesn’t need fixing up.

If we were just thinking about practicalities, we would have bought a Honda or Toyota, which get excellent gas mileage. But what was amazing is that the husband, who almost always goes for the practical, is the one who fell in love with this car. He enjoyed driving it and immediately started talking about spending some time driving up the California coast.

Car is getting smogged and a new radio put in this weekend while we transfer funds around. The other thing about the 420 is that not only does the husband love it, but we save an extremely large sum of money. Maybe I’m still struggling with the balance, but there are moments when the universe lines up to deliver something nice.

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The Best Laid Plans

Jan 12, 2011 by

So, suffered a bit of a crash and burn after Saturday. Too much looking at used cars and dealing with car salesmen — who don’t understand the meaning of the words, “I’m just looking” and “My budget is X” — too much dealing with other things and I ended up up crawling into the corner of the couch, reading, knitting and poking at the laptop. Finished a book, did not finish the sleeves on my jacket. Have decided to make offer on the car our mechanic is offering because, if nothing else, it will run and I won’t have to deal with those @$%@$##!!# salesmen. Just needed a few days to get my feet back under me.

A friend pointed me toward this, and no matter how bad my day’s been going, it’s going better than Steve and his attempt to fry gnocchi.

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But What If I Don’t Want to Be an Adult?

Jan 8, 2011 by

We’re buying a new car. Well, new for us. That’s the event that I alluded to earlier in the week. Realizing that our car had reached a point where it really isn’t financially viable to keep it running, we made the decision to be good adults and use the tax refund and my annual bonus from work to buy a good used car. Something sensible, solid and dependable that would get us good gas mileage and serve us well for many years. In fact, we’re going to visit some used car lots today and take a look at things. Sadly, the decision to buy a car means we had to cancel plans to visit London later this year, something we were looking forward to. I’ve been twice, but the husband’s never had the chance.

Now, we have a car we are considering making an offer on — today’s excursion is all part of being adult and making certain we’re making the right decision, not letting ourselves be seduced. We were fine and at peace with our decision — until I got up this morning and discovered that David Tennant and Catherine Tate will be doing Much Ado About Nothing in London this summer. Two actors I adore (I was lucky enough to see Tennant do Hamlet in a play both the husband and I love. And we’re buying a car.

Yes, I’m still being an adult, but aren’t there moments when you just wish you didn’t have to be?

All felt wonderful and

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Leave Yourself Open to the Possibilities

Jan 6, 2011 by

A couple of weeks ago, the husband and I made a decision that altered a couple of things, causing me to change some plans I’d been making for a vacation next year. It wasn’t an enthusiastic decision, but a necessary one. No nothing traumatic, but it has to do with a major purchase.

Yesterday, out of the blue, we were offered a chance to make that purchase in a way that is a) relatively painless for us and b) will give us something much better than what we were looking for. It’s not a done deal yet, and we have do some thinking before we go down this path, because it will be a change in how we handle some areas of our life. But it was a good feeling, the mere opportunity an unlooked for blessing.

If you leave yourself open to the possibilities, it’s amazing what can happen around you. Oh, and if we do get this, I will definitely have pictures when it arrives.

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Free Man in Paris

Jan 5, 2011 by

I’m starting to go back to walking. I had been going to the gym downstairs in my office (it’s company run, so free membership), but it always seemed to be a thing because I’d have to schlep along my gym stuff, change and store my things before going out to see if a treadmill was open and hope I didn’t get the one in front of the television running Dr. Oz. No offense to anyone who might enjoy the show, but being told how we’re all eating ourselves to death or viewing pictures of someone’s colon is not something I find conducive to a relaxing workout. Then you have to clean off the equipment, get your stuff out of your locker and then head out of the building for the day. That is, if some contractors don’t stop you to ask a question about work on your way out. (This has happened. More than once.)

Over the weekend, though, I felt restless, pulled on my trusty chucks, grabbed my pod and headed out to the bike path that runs near our house. And it felt good. It felt more than good; it felt easy. Well, not too easy. I definitely felt the effort in my legs. But I enjoyed myself and on Monday, when I felt like digesting on the couch, I pulled on the chucks and did it again. And again Tuesday night.

In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron urges folks to take walks and there’s a wisdom to that suggestion. It’s not just good for the body, it takes you away from the blinking cursor that’s staring at you or the reality show that seems much preferable to facing that blinking cursor or the pile of laundry you need to fold. I tend to walk in the early morning or in the evening, when it’s not fully light and I can pretend the world is my own, even with the other folks sharing the bike path. I have the pod going and let my mind wander where it will. Even if I do the walk at the end of the day, I come back feeling refreshed. Like the chorus in Joni Mitchell’s song, I’m free for that time, no one wanting things from me and anything is possible.

Walking Tuesday night, I made some decisions about a project I want to begin, something that is going to need some effort to begin with, but that I think will be very rewarding. It was nice because I had that time to think and make the decision that yes, I do want to do this. No one guilted me into this; it came from inside and that’s a good feeling.

I think I’ll be skipping the gym for a while and hitting the bike path instead. How about you? What’s the way you get some time for yourself?

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I got nothin’

Jan 4, 2011 by

I had an idea for this entry at some point Monday morning…

Before I had five managers whining about something not being done prior to 8 AM that I told them last week wouldn’t happen before Tuesday at the earliest.

Before I had to threaten two vendors with grievous bodily harm — or escalating the matter up the chain to their boss — if they didn’t give me the information I’d been promised two weeks ago, oh, NOW.

Before I had to remind a project manager that no, I was no longer an admin and wouldn’t schedule his meeting that required a meeting room for an entire day, a projector, and twenty-eight separate people “just as a favor.” (He asked, “When did you stop being an admin?” My response: “June.”)

Before I found out exactly how badly the plans for a certain event were because some people have to make everything as complicated as possible — and it’s something I’ve been wanting to do.

You know that advice to have a note pad or something with you to write down ideas? This is why you need it. Because the day that started so promisingly can go haywire so quickly once other people get hold of it and your brain turns to mush. The 7:25 AM great idea packs a bag and heads for the Bahamas by ten if it’s not recorded for posterity.

The day was not a total loss. I’m pretty certain what idea I’m using for my workshop this month and I actually got off my sofa and went for a walk after dinner. I even missed part of “Top Gear” to do so.

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The Virtue of Being Selfish

Jan 3, 2011 by

I’m getting ready to say “no” to a worthy cause.

At the end of the month, my church will hold its annual meeting and elect three new members to the vestry. It’s been made clear to me that it would be appreciated if I were to stand for one of the terms. They say it won’t take much of my time, merely a couple of hours a month — and maybe a few more hours if I’m given a job. (My husband had been on the vestry; I have an excellent idea just how much time it takes.) They speak of the good of the congregation, how my gifts are needed, and perhaps they are.

Problem is, I’m going to be selfish.

There was a time, a decade ago, when I realized I’d filled my life with so much noise and so many things they were crowding out everything else. I started to say no to things, creating space where I could re-order my priorities and found myself met with charges of being “selfish.” I wasn’t thinking of others, I was told. The group needed me and how could I decide I needed to refuse to add more stuff to my plate just so I could find time to write?

I felt guilty the first time the charge was leveled. The second, annoyed. The third is when I got angry. Who was deciding my priorities, me or other people? I decided the answer was “me” and I learned to embrace the word “selfish.” Sometimes we need to be selfish, protective of ourselves and our work. If we aren’t, who will be?

That’s where I am now. After two years in which my main focuses were a) keeping my husband sane while he was dealing with his mother’s illness and b) keeping my head above water at work, I now have more free time — and people who know how I should fill that time. It’d be easy to fill it with noise and activities, but if I truly want to focus on my writing, I have to be protective of my energies. And that means when the direct question, “Will you stand?” comes, I’m going to be selfish and say no. 2011 is for writing; I’ve made that commitment to myself and I have no intention of blowing it before the first week of the year is done.

Of course, it will be interesting to see if the powers that be actually come to speak with me directly or if they’re hoping that by telling the husband how much I’m needed, he’ll convince me that I need to do this even I don’t think it’s a good idea. Since the date for announcing the candidates is fast approaching, I’m starting to thin the latter. Maybe I can just wait them out…

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By the way, the icons I’m using are designed by the lovely and talented Eyesthatslay and are from her website Captured Memories. Take a look; she does beautiful work.

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Sunday Roundup

Jan 2, 2011 by

Status
100 words a day/100 days — at 32 days now. Sitting down to write the words has almost become second nature, with shows the muscles are coming back. This puts me in a good place for the class that’s starting in two weeks, where I will have to do some exercises.

Knitting — Not much to report here except that I put more rows on the sleeves of the diagonal jacket, mostly over the past two days. With the holidays (and end of year madness at work) over, I’m planning to devote more time to this.

Books — Within shouting distance of the end of three books, but much of my reading has been clearing out samples on my Kindle App. When I feel broke, I have a tendency to download samples because it’s retail therapy without spending money. Sometimes, it’s led to books where the author is new to me or that I might not have picked up otherwise, but a number of times, I read, delete and move on. I will note that Kindle often provides a much more generous sample than the Nook does.

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Everyone is doing New Year’s Resolutions, but I thought this one Lora of LitDiva was one I should add to my list:

5. Fold clean laundry and put away rather than fishing matching socks from pile on living room chair.

Yeah, done that too many times myself.

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Over on The Debutante Ball, Deb Eleanor has some great quotes from Henry Ford and Eleanor Roosevelt. Mrs. Roosevelt had another quote which is one of my favorites: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” New Year’s is for believing and finding those dreams and their beauty again.

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And, on a perfectly silly note, Alastair Stephens shares an instructional video on how to survive a zombie attack during the holidays.

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On the knitting front, Sheri at the Loopy Ewe has posted her first quarter challenge: cables. The Loopy Ewe is one of my favorite on-line yarn pushers, where I spend more money than I’m ever willing to tell my husband. (He reminds when I said I wasn’t going to buy more yarn than I could fit in a single small plastic tub.)

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If you love beautiful costumes, check out this post from Enchanted Serenity of Period Films on Edwardian weddings. As someone who recreated a Regency Scottish Court presentation gown for her wedding, I’m a sucker for things such as this.

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The Intern compares manuscript revision to keeping the car she bought cheap — really, really, really cheap — running on a trip across country. Very funny, and very true in many ways.

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And, finally, I have discovered my small white cat hisses when he’s out of sorts. We’ve gotten used to him hissing at odd moments, but as I composed this, he was attempting to get comfortable on the couch and couldn’t because of where I was sitting. Finally, he just sat his fuzzy little butt down and gave a mighty hiss, letting the world know his displeasure. Trust me, he’s got a much larger will than his size would indicate. Probably one of the reasons this runt of the litter survived.

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Happy New Year!

Jan 1, 2011 by

Welcome, 2011!

Here’s to a fresh, shiny new year. May it be filled with love, happiness and success for us all.

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Brrrr….

Dec 30, 2010 by

I so didn’t want to get out of bed this morning. Winter has truly settled in Los Angeles and I could hear the wind howling outside my window when I woke up. Much more preferable to snuggle down under the duvet with a warm husband and warm cat. But the alarm kept beeping and I knew I had to stagger forth, so here I am.

We’ve almost made it. Almost through 2010 and into 2011. I’m ready for the switch, even if it’s just emotional and psychological. There’s a lot of baggage I need to leave behind in the old year simply so I can move forward. As a writer, I wrap things up rather neatly at the end of a story in order to give emotional satisfaction; that doesn’t necessarily happen in real life, though I believe we all wish it would. Maybe that’s why we invest so much in the idea of New Year’s Resolutions and celebrating this one night in the middle of winter. It’s an ending and a beginning.

One ending which I didn’t show you is the work on the Aeolian Shawl. Back at the beginning of December, I got the husband out of the house and blocked it on the bed.

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Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Dec 25, 2010 by

Merry Christmas to one and all. May your day be joyous and filled with love, and may the warmth of the season remain with you throughout the year.

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Christmas Eve Checklist

Dec 24, 2010 by

Since we’re now on countdown to what is one of two completely insane days for women each year (Thanksgiving being the other), today’s post is my checklist for the next thirty-six hours.

  • Gifts for friends handled. — Done. Just need to deliver the last two and we’re scheduled to see them tomorrow.
  • Gifts for family. — Just need to pick up gift for father-in-law. Trip to bookstore (not in mall) happens this morning.
  • Arrangements for Christmas Dinner. — Done. We’re meeting the father-in-law and brother-in-law around 1 PM tomorrow at Marie Callendar’s. (How I’m de-stressing: refusing to tie myself to kitchen all day.)
  • Supplies for after the family dinner. — Need to pick up more cider, which will be done at the same time we pick up the father-in-law’s gift because the BevMo is in the same complex as the bookstore. We’ll also be picking up cat food so the kitties have a happy Christmas.
  • Snacks ready for Doctor Who Christmas special. — BBC America is running this year’s show on Christmas Day, so we will be settling in to watch tomorrow evening. This year is bound to be cheerier than last year when we knew a regeneration was coming.
  • Finish blocking shawl — I’ve done the base blocking, but I really need to steam the points out so they’re as nice as possible. Then I need to take pictures.
  • Reading ready tonight. — I’m reading the “Linus Gospel” from Luke at tonight’s Lessons and Carol. My favorite part of Christmas each year is stepping to the lectern and being able to say the words, “Behold. I bring you tidings of great joy.”
  • Words for the day. — Already done and I think I may have given myself a small Christmas present in them. I need to think about it and will know more later.

Not a bad little check list, and with only a few errands to run and the shawl blocking to do, I think I’ve actually reached the point where I can sit back, relax and enjoy. I hope you can do the same today.

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Keep Calm

Dec 23, 2010 by

Yesterday, I complained about Christmas stress. That evening, as I was leaving the office, the husband called to say he was running late on an errand, so I needed to meet him at the Barnes & Noble across the street from my office. Not happy since I wanted to head home and relax after a somewhat stressful day. Then the bookstore was crowded, last minute Christmas shopping moving into full swing. Not the best scenario for some (hopefully) relaxing browsing.

Then, lurking by the journals, I spotted the following:

Okay, I’m not having a cupcake, but I do like the sentiment. Time to stop stressing and enjoy the holiday. I remembered this when the husband did arrive and immediately spotted a copy of The Brilliant Book of Doctor Who on the shelf. Enthusiastically flipping through it, he was “We should get this. It’s the last one; let’s grab it.” Since I have a wrapped copy sitting at home for him to open on Saturday, I had to tie myself into knots trying to come up with reasons why we shouldn’t. Filling the gas tank worked, so the secret is still safe.

And I had some of the homemade Almond Roca a co-worker gave me when I got home. It was calming, but I think I’ll be glad when the fuss is done.

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How Can I Tell Christmas is Almost Here?

Dec 22, 2010 by

I’m feeling exhausted and half the things I want to get done before Saturday morning aren’t done — and quite possibly aren’t going to get done. I’ve been having fun with my husband’s gifts; he opened one package from Amazon before I got home. Another is probably stuck in a snow drift somewhere in the UK (the dangers of buying internationally at Christmas) and won’t arrive until New Year’s. Today, I had someone in my cube when he called and said he thought a box from Amazon UK which we’ve been waiting on for a month (separate from the gift in the snow drift) had arrived and should he opened it. My squawk of “Don’t open anything!” greatly amused my coworker.

The two packages were still unopened when I arrived home, so they’re safely stashed away. Another should be arriving tomorrow, despite the rain Southern California has been enjoying. With that arrival, my gifts are taken care of and I can breathe a sigh of relief.

We will draw a curtain over the pile of Christmas cards that still sits untouched on the desk…

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Six Things I’d Like To Do

Dec 21, 2010 by

James Moran wrote a post about writing-related things he’d like to do. He stole the idea from Paul Cornell, and I’m going to steal it from him. It seems especially appropriate at this time when thoughts turn toward goals for the coming year. (And even if I wasn’t thinking about it before, the fact I have to complete my self-assessment for my day job before the end of next week definitely shoved my mind in that direction.)

The easy ones are having a manuscript accepted, hitting the various bestseller lists, being able to quite the day job. What I’m listing below is a bit more ambitious, things I’d like to do and may — or may not — ever get a chance to try.

Write a series. If I can get my act together, finish some books and get published, this might be possible. I’ve got some in my head, but part of it is actually sitting down and doing it. There is some hesitation because I’ve read one too many books where I look at the supporting characters and go “sequel”, but I also love a good series where there is a solid continuing story thread.

Write a movie. I’ve dabbled with screenplays for years, though I have to confess I’m not completely comfortable with the medium. What I see in my head when I’m writing is cinematic in nature, with long shots, closeups and a musical score, so I think you can understand the urge. Living in Los Angeles, however, I know how low writers tend to rank in the food chain, which leads to the next thing on my list.

I’d like to direct. If I got my hands on a video camera and pulled some friends together, I probably could do this one. Sure, it wouldn’t be wide distribution (or any distribution beyond YouTube), but if I made the effort, I probably could.

Write a column. If I could find a venue, this is also something I could do. It would take some organization on my part and a firm commitment, but I could do it. A blog is a sort of column, though much more free-form. What I need is a topic and a plan.

Do a podcast. This is in the works, and hopefully I’ll be saying something about it soon. It’s somewhat fannish in nature, but I also think my take on the subject genuinely has something different to say from the other podcasts is out there. Stay tuned.

Take a master class. I’m going back to screenplays here. I’d like a chance to work with someone like Aaron Sorkin, Richard Curtis, Russell T Davies or Steve Moffat for the chance to pick their brains and a chance to see how their mind works up close. For that matter, I wouldn’t mind working with James Moran, Phil Ford, Paul Cornell or Chris Chibnall, all of whom I hold in great respect as writers. Ultimately, you find your own style and voice, but there’s so much to learn from watching others at work.

There are others things, but then we really get into the realm of “That’s never going to happen,” such as writing a James Bond film. Looking over the list, though, all of these are possible in some way or another if I’m willing to stretch and take chances. That’s something to think about.

What’s on your list? What things would you like to do?

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Thirteen Years…

Dec 20, 2010 by

Thirteen years ago today, my husband and I stood in front of the altar at our church and promised to love, honor and cherish one other. (Neither of us promised to “obey”; the husband had joked he didn’t particularly feel like provoking our friends to laughter in the middle of the ceremony.) It hasn’t necessarily been an easy easy road, especially over the last few years, but I’m glad to have him in my life. He believes in me even when I don’t and he has for some time been my first reader for almost everything I do. Okay, he could be better about remembering to take the trash out, but I think I can live with that.

Here’s to many, many more.

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Simple Pleasures

Dec 8, 2010 by

The temperature is definitely dropping, even here in Southern California. We may joke about braving the sixty-degree winters, but Los Angeles does sit on the edge of a desert and the temperature drop at night can sometimes be quite severe.

This means we curl up under the throws and turn on the heater when we can’t stand it any more — and the cats love it. As far as Mu-Mu is concerned, this is the perfect weather to snuggle up.

Mu-Mu

She is a snuggle cat, at least when the weather is cool. When it’s hot, she prefers to sprawl on the floor to catch a breeze and attempts to look wan. Not surprisingly, such attempts look more like she’s waiting for the cabana boy to peel her a grape. But for now, she cuddles up in the evening and insists she loves me, especially when I can share the plush throw with her. It’s a wonderful feeling and all is right with the world — until the moment she decides she simply must drape herself on the keyboard.

And, yes, those are black paw pads with white paws. Given that except for the spot of pink on her nose, she is black and white, I refer to her as my little Aubrey Beardsley line drawing; after all, most of his cats were plump were well-satisfied with themselves.

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That Was Surprisingly Nice

Dec 3, 2010 by

My internet was out last night, along with the internet of a good part of Southern California. After beating my head against the wall and finally managing to get an answer via my iPad, which is a 3G model, I settled down for a quiet evening without instant communication with the outside world.

Maybe I should do this more often. I watched some DVDs, knit on my Diagonal Jacket (I’m almost to the point where I’ll be dividing for the sleeves — woot!), and played a little on Scrivener with moving some plot elements around on one of my projects. Asked a “why” and the answer I got is going to have a major impact on where certain things are going. That impact changes a number of plot elements and told me exactly why this project derailed itself the first time I tried to write it. But I also think the answer makes things more interesting and removes the risk of my heroine wandering into “too stupid to live” territory. (Any time you re-read something you’ve written and start thinking “Why doesn’t she just say something?” you’ve got some trouble.)

But it was nice without the noise, without the notices of incoming mail or new posts on my Live Journal while I was writing. In fact, when the internet did come back, I stopped my Google notifications which came up every time I got new mail. One distraction gone. This weekend, I’m probably going to be looking at my other notifications, see if I really need them popping up all the time. Yes, I want to be able to handle things in a timely manner, but do I really need instant notification while I’m at home?

Now, off to set up the work laptop since I’m working from home today — and you’d better believe I’m happy the internet is back up because I did not feel like sitting in the office today.

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Another Goal For December

Dec 1, 2010 by

Try to write and finish my posts the previous evening so I’m nit running about like a mad woman trying to finish before I have to get ready for work.

Just sayin’ it might be a nice idea and contribute to a certain level of sanity around the place

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NaNo Decision: November 27

Nov 27, 2010 by

“Decisions are made by those who show up.” — Aaron Sorkin

The upshot of of Wednesday was that we managed to come up with a solution that didn’t take a large amount of time away from my writing that evening. However, over the past could of days, we’ve had some talks about the incident. My writing has been put on the back burner a lot over the last year as we dealt with family problems and my mother-in-law’s declining health. When you’re in a situation where you’re living one crisis to another, it’s a little difficult to get yourself into any sort of routine. Part of the purpose of this year’s NaNo was trying to re-establish a routine. That hasn’t happened, due in part to my own health and also finding things picking at my schedule. Not surprisingly, this has caused some stress.

So late Thursday, after turkey and pie had been consumed, the husband asked an important question: Was I having fan this NaNo? I thought about that for a while and realized the answer was no.

Since I wasn’t having fun and it was clear I wasn’t going to reach 50,000 words by the end of the month, the next question was whether or not to continue with NaNo, or to sit down and make a plan for moving forward that didn’t include killing myself just to make a word count. I gave the matter some serious thought and decided it was best to abandon NaNo and start planning.

I don’t suggest abandoning something lightly; it’s too easy to find yourself surrounded by never-finished projects (let’s not look in my knitting basket). But this was an instance where pushing forward was going to do more harm than good. I’m still going ahead with my plan to post inspirational quotes for these last days (giving up the blog is not an option), but I need to think about my characters, my story and what I’m actually doing with them. The creative well is emptier than I’d anticipated, and I need to spend some time and energy filling it up again. Today, I’m going to indulge myself with A Star is Born on Turner Classic Movies while working toward finishing my Aeolian Shawl. I’m going to let my mind just wander over my characters, think about why they’re doing what they’re doing, not just what they’re doing. I’m going to rest, which I haven’t been doing enough of recently, and try to get some of my strength back. Most of all, though, I’m going to try to be good to myself because I haven’t been doing enough of that lately either.

The thing about learning to walk away is making the choice and knowing when it’s time. Decisions are made by those who show up and sometimes they’re not easy decisions to make.

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NaNo Inspiration: November 11

Nov 11, 2010 by

Instead of thinking on NaNo as a way to sell a book or not, how about using it as an opportunity to make writing central to your schedule? — Lauren Dane

I found the above courtesy of Alison Kent, and it’s exactly what I was talking about yesterday. Too damn easy to let life get in the way of the important things, and if one is going to write — really, seriously, I want to be published and earn money with this write — then writing has to be one of the important things.

Life is a series of choices. Sometimes nothing can stop us from certain things and sometimes we put stuff on hold for what are very good, solid reasons at the time. The problem is, getting back to what you put on hold it is often very hard. (Ask any knitter; they probably have loads of unfinished objects they put aside “just for now” that are still lurking in bins. There’s a reason Ravelry has the “hibernate” option for projects.) for ne, that ‘s what NaNoWriMo is about: getting back to what might have been out on hold.

There have always been this who decry the very idea of the month of writing madness. They say it encourages bad writing, that it pretends writing is just a hobby that can be taken up and put down, that it pushes the idea novels can be churned out in a month. I’ve seen some heated blog posts (and heated responses) on the subject and I have to wonder why some folks are getting themselves so worked up about the idea. If you don’t do it, fine. That’s your decision. I’ll be over here with my word counts.

See, I do NaNo for myself, not anyone else. I don’t do it according to “the rules” — I have often started prior to November 1 on a project, and I often work on multiple projects during the month. Blog posts don’t count — unless I’m a bit shy on my word count come November 30. The only “prize” I get is the satisfaction of knowing I put my butt in the chair and did 50,000 words or more in the space of 30 days that is usually filled with some type of family drama. My husband swears he loves NaNo if for only one reason: being able to say at family gatherings, “I’m sorry, but we need to head out. Caro needs to get her words done today.” Some friends of mine, horrified at the idea of trying to write 50,000 words in 30 days, participate in WriSoMiFu, which challenges people to write something every day for 30 days. (It stands for “Write Something, You Miserable…”)

In the end, we should either do or not do these things for ourselves and if other people decide not to do it, or color outside the lines while participating, what’s the big deal? Have fun. Practice some discipline. (Those two statements are not mutually contradictory). If you’re enjoying NaNo, great — but don’t think everyone has to do it because it isn’t for everyone. If you don’t like NaNo, fine — but don’t be a wet blanket to those who are doing it. (Well thought out reasons why you’re not doing it or doing it differently are always welcome; saying it’s the scourge of the earth is not.) As Yoda would say, do or do not — but do it for yourself.

On a lighter note, I did a massive burst last night and am almost caught up. Also, Apple pushed a new system update for Snow Leopard and my laser printer is once more playing nice with my Airport Express. Life is good.

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NaNo Inspiration: November 9

Nov 9, 2010 by

“To be pleased with one’s limits is a wretched state.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I think the worst words one can say is, “I don’t think I need to learn anything else.” If one believes there’s nothing new to learn, then what is there to surprise you? And if we cannot learn anything new, if we’re pleased where we are and plan to stay there, then what can we offer a reader? Yes, I re-watch and re-read things, but I also am looking for something new that will surprise me. I crave new ideas, new experiences because that’s part of being alive. To me, being content with what you are and can do seems a slow slide into ennui and death. I can think of much more entertaining things than that.

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NaNo Inspiration: November 8

Nov 8, 2010 by

“You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with the best you have to give.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

It’s my birthday today. A big one, too — which is why I’ve given myself permission to go skeeving off from the work and run away to Disneyland. Oh, writing is going to get done today, just not much. Today is for celebrating, for spending time with my husband and a friend, reveling in the fact that good times and bum times, I’m still here.

Yes, somewhere along the lines, Stephen Sondheim’s ode to survival became my theme song. Maybe it’s because I realized at some point I could either cry in my beer or I could take what life was dishing out and do the best I could with it. We can’t change what is thrown at us by others and outside circumstances. What we can govern is how we react. I’ve left dreams behind along the way, sometimes through changes, sometimes because I’ve let them go. I’ve rediscovered some and there are a few that have remained constant. But when I think how much I’ve seen, I find myself grinning and thinking about how much more there is yet to see and all the stories I still want to tell. To again quote from Sondheim:

I’ve run the gamut, A to Z
Three cheers and, damn it, c’est la vie!
I got through all of last year.
Lord knows, at least I was there,
And I’m here. I’m still here.

For everyone who’s out there trying to hold on to their dreams through the good times and bad, I lift my glass to you.

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NaNo Inspiration: November 6

Nov 6, 2010 by

“Neither fire nor wind, birth nor death can erase our good deeds.” — Siddhartha Buddha

Some days, you have to remember what you have accomplished in the past and not dwell on what you didn’t. Yesterday was a crash and burn day for me. I worked from home, which would usually mean I could sneak in a few hundred words during the course of the day and then there would be lunch, all of which would put me in a good position for the evening.

That was the plan, anyway. What I ended up with was a madhouse of the day, calling in to meetings, solving problems, working through lunch, and feeling completely drained by the time I logged off at the end. The last thing I wanted to do at that moment was sit in front of yet another screen, so I curled up on the couch with my knitting and a healthy dose of Law & Order: UK. Nice, straight knitting where I didn’t have to think about what I was doing. The intent was to get back to the writing later that evening and bang out those words. Except…

I did manage 505 words, which, considering the quality of my typing at that point, wasn’t a bad thing. With what I’d managed to build up extra over the first four days, I am only some 400 words behind, so today is a new day and I’m going to try to make up those words. That’s an important part of this November exercise; that we get up each morning and no matter what happened the day before, we try again.

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NaNo Inspiration: November 1

Nov 1, 2010 by

NaNo Inspiration: November 1

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” — Confucius

It is a bit of a cliche, but there’s really no better description for the first day of this month-long madness. We start with a single word. From that word comes another, then another and another, until the moment when it’s a scene, then a chapter, then a finished story. But all books, whether it be To Kill a Mockingbird, The Age of Innocence, or Money, Honey (which I’m currently reading), began when the writer put down one word.

My first sentence is typed. I’m heading to bed for some sleep, but it has begun.

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TGIF Does Not Begin to Describe It

Oct 29, 2010 by

It’s been a hard week. I try to look on the good side — I have a good income coming in, I have my health (kinda) — but today it’s a little hard.

My head is pounding, there are last-minute crises at work and the book I’d been enjoying reached a point where it abruptly turned into a wall-banger. The problem with ebooks? You can’t vent your rage without damaging the device they’re on. My iPad is intact.

Just a few more hours until the weekend….

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Monday Morning Bits and Pieces

Oct 25, 2010 by

Monday Morning Bits and Pieces

I always try to do goals on Monday mornings, get a handle on where I’m going for the week. Of late, my efforts have been…less than successful, so I’m going to try a slightly different approach and focus on three goals this week:

1) Decide what my NaNoWriMo project is and at least map beginning, middle, crisis and resolution. I’ve got several projects all going, “Ooh, shiny!” We’re a week out; time to make a decision and stick with it. The fun aspect of not being published or having a book under contract is you can write what you want, even if that means bouncing between projects and genres. The bad: easy to get distracted and not focus on any one thing.

2) Get the yarn that’s in bags sorted into containers. I ran out of bins for my current stash and had to buy some more yesterday. Plus, there’s more arriving today, the result of a much-needed application of retail therapy. (Remember, yarn does not go to your hips and stay there, nor give you cavities.) When I was one freezer bag over capacity, that was one thing. I’m now about six. Time to get the newer stuff into proper storage and maybe resort things as I’m now starting to get enough that I might want to sort into weights.

3) Finish one small story project that I’m racing to deadline on. I love the piece I’m doing and the end is so close I can almost taste it. Plus, it’s got to be off the decks so I can get started on NaNo prep.

Two television notes: If you did not catch the premiere of Sherlock last night on Masterpiece Theatre, carve out an hour and fifteen minutes and get thee to the website where you can watch the premiere episode online. It’s a modern updating of Holmes and Watson, putting them rather firmly down in London of the 21st century and it’s brilliantly engaging. The creators are Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, who have stripped away many of the artifacts we recognize as being “Holmes”, yet kept the central core of the characters so they really could not be anyone else. This was monster hit on the BBC this summer and Moffat can be a happy man: he’s also the current show runner on Doctor Who and enjoyed great success with that (even if he did cruelly murder a poor, innocent fez in the process).

The second came my way via Tom and Lorenzo of Project Rungay. Apparently, HBO is doing a five-part mini-series of James M. Cain’s Mildred Pierce, staring Kate Winslett. I’m a big fan of the classic Warner Bros. movie starring Joan Crawford and her shoulder pads, but the book is considerably different from the film for several reasons, the restrictions of the Hays Code being a big one. With five hours and those restrictions removed, this looks to be a new retelling of the story, especially as Veda’s original storyline has been restored. The trailer certainly looks lush, but I’m a sucker for these sorts of things.

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New Beginnings

Sep 1, 2010 by

I haven’t given up on this thing yet, though there have been enough things happening that I’ve seriously considered it. “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans,” John Lennon once sang, and it’s very true.

Home life has changed a lot. I know we talk about discipline in our writing and the need to show up at the page and put our butts in the chair, but we also need the wisdom to know that sometimes that just ain’t going to happen. This year has been one of those years.

My mother-in-law was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s two years ago, though I suspect she’d been suffering from the disease for some time before. A year ago, a situation arose where she was moved into her home and my husband had to take more responsibility for her medical care. As you might imagine, dealing with that and the attendant family dynamics caused a fair amount of stress. Then, shortly after the first of the year, she began to take a distinct downturn as the disease took its toll. By Mother’s Day, we seriously doubted she recognized any of us. In June, she began having difficulty swallowing. In July, she nearly choked because of that difficulty.

A month later, she was diagnosed with pneumonia, which is one of the leading causes of death in Alzheimer’s sufferers. Her husband of over fifty years made the difficult decision not to ask for heroic measures, and she was gone several days later. Her memorial was held a week and a half ago, the church filled with her friends and family.

So now we try to get back to the business of living, picking up pieces that were put on hold when things began to get bad, even if we didn’t realize they were on hold at the time. For the first time in months, the writing is actually coming easily for me, aided in no small part by my iPad (whose praises I shall sing in another post), and while many of the goals I made at the beginning of the year just aren’t going to happen, I can feel progress happening again. So, as the leaves begin to turn and summer slips into autumn, we begin again.

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Moving Forward

Jun 3, 2010 by

Goals for today:

1) Gym again. More run/walk.

2) Having proudly stated that I don’t want to let the one sentence story summary hold me back, I need to open a blank file and start on the “whys?” for at least one of these projects.

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Let’s Start at the Very Beginning…

Jun 1, 2010 by

Two goals for today, both of which seem relatively simple:

1) Do half an hour at the gym after work. Five minute warm up, 20 minutes of running sixty seconds alternating with walking 90 seconds, five minute cool down.

2) Work on one sentence description of new project I’m starting.

It sounds sooooo easy.

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Quote for Memorial Day

May 31, 2010 by

“Actions speak louder than words. It doesn´t matter so much what you say as what you do. You may have good intentions, but if they are not supported by your behavior, they are worthless. Act with integrity in the moment of choice. Be true to yourself, be honest, and never say what you don´t mean.” – Stephen Covey

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Pride

Jul 12, 2005 by

There’s a damn good column over on Romancing the Blog this morning called Pride in Romance by Scott Pomfret and Scott Whittier of Romentics.com, a line of gay romances. Their words are almost controversial in worrying about how the romance genre appears to outsiders and struggles over standards and what “constitutes” a romance novel: they say we should be proud of what we do.

We’ve read a lot in this space and elsewhere about readers and writers who are embarrassed about their connections to romance novels. They seem to accept a second-place status, as if literature could or should be ranked and romance necessarily be judged less valuable.

I’ve done the apology thing. I’ve done the justification tap-dance. I’ve spent time hiding what I write for fear of what the people around me will say. I’ve taken the slings and arrows of ridiculous insults couched in terms of “discussion.” I’ve had people ask me when I was going to do some “real” writing.

Why do we do this to ourselves? We write of hope and optimism, tell stories of people who overcome obstacles both large and small to find happiness and personal fulfillment. What is there to apologize for? We should, as Scott & Scott say, be proud of what we write.

There was originally a long rant that when along with this about letting other people put us down, but the truth is, we most often do it to ourselves. We all have our fears, both small and large, and I know I’ve spent a fair amount of time and energy fighting against the little demons that whisper in my ear in that moment between sleeping and waking. You probably know them, too — the ones who tell you that your words don’t work, that all of it is crap and you’re never going to finish it anyway. And when those demons hear other, outside voices try to chip away at us? They just have a field day.

Pride is important — and if we don’t have pride in ourselves, why should we expect anyone else to?

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