Monday, December 31, 2007
Looks like it's time for a New Year! Christmas went by so fast this year. Seems like it was just yesterday that we got out of school with the whole two weeks looming before us. How short they were!
We started back last Friday and are working ourselves back into the routine.
Most of my time in the week between Christmas and New Year's went to polishing work on my current book, The Cattle Rustling Catastrophe. I found to my absolute HORROR that I'd gone over 40,000 words from my goal. Knew that because of my "unique" filing system (sounds better than total chaotic jumble), I would be able to cut some wordage when I cleaned up my double chapters. I did. But, I still ended up with over 17,000 words OVER. This is not good. Even 10K is doable. I cleaned up over 20,000 out of the mystery. (Hey, I did! So, okay, maybe 17K isn't so awful.) I need to keep reminding myself when I'm in the middle of the mess.
So, with every spare second I had this week, I cleaned up as much as I could of weasel words--that's, buts, aw, well. Anytime a character used another character's name when there were only two people speaking, I slashed. Still isn't enough. So, I'm faced with a gigantic hurdle. Tonight I realized that I'm going to have to cut one of the subplots and hope it makes the word count nearer my goal. Now that I've faced the inevitable, it doesn't hurt so bad. As a backup plan, I've printed out the first three chapters. Tomorrow I plan to slash and rearrange them into one or two smaller chapters.
Even though it feels like a huge amount of work, I know quitting isn't an option. I truly love this book. At the beginning, I got sidetracked for awhile, but I knew inside that I could stick with this until the end. This is a fun book and it's good. It has a great moral built in and teaches a lesson in an exciting way. I plan to rework it as much as necessary which presents two more problems.
One is that when I slash the subplot, I have to find another way to provide motivation for Jenny to keep going. Kind of like her author, she needs a reason to get to that last chapter. Had an idea tonight which might turn into a possibility.
My other problem is the fact that I'm planning to cut and paste chapters that have gotten good "reviews." The first three chapters did well in the SANDY contest and got good scores. The first 20 pages won an Honorable Mention in The Smartwriter's WIN contest. So, should I go with my instincts and change them? Or leave them alone because well respected judges and authors liked them? I feel the fact that the book hasn't sold yet might be an answer. (And I can always change the chapters back if I decide I'd rather. :))
So--until this book is finished, I feel like I'm in suspended animation. Everything hinges on the time I can spend working out this muddle. Kind of like having a jigsaw spread on the dining room table---every time I pass by I have to stop and work a few pieces into place.
I'm hoping to finish before leaving for the Midwinter Unschooler's gathering on the 21st. By then, I'll need a vacation!
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
As you can see by the cool icon on this post, I did manage to finish my NANO entry this year. It's my first time to do this and
I'm thrilled with the outcome. Managed to log in with
52, 388 words on Tuesday - a good few days before the
The book is far from over. In fact, I didn't even write the
last scene where the villian is uncovered and all the loose
ends are tied up. Once I hit what I thought were 50K, I was done.
Eventually, I'll take this ms. out, dust it off and do something
with it. Had an idea today to maybe enter it in a few
contests early next year. The Daphne and the St. Martin's Press Mystery Contest are coming up.
At the library tonight I saw another book to use in
research. I've forgotten the whole title but it's
something about "The Most Famous Two Minutes" and is
a cool history of the Kentucky Derby with all the
winner's pictures. My ms. takes place the year Ben Brush won
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Friday, November 09, 2007
Two names you go by: Donna and Donna
Two things you are wearing right now: Clothes and shoes :)
Two of your favorite things to do: scrapbooking and reading
Two things you want very badly at the moment: To finish several writing projects and to have Christmas shopping done
Two favorite pets you have/had: Two of my current cats are Scrawny Bob, an orange shorthair and Mary, a black Christmas kitten I've had about five years. She's the longest cat I've ever seen and when she stretches to scratch people think she's a very skinny, short dog.
Two people who will fill this out: I haven't a clue.
Two people you last talked to: Jenny about a puzzle she wanted to work on the kitchen table and Jarrod who wanted printer paper. By phone, my friend, Sherry and my friend, Maribeth, about meeting for dinner.
Two longest trips: By Greyhound bus to California, by car to Washington state and up into Canada.
Two favorite holidays: Christmas because I love the whole season and Valentine's Day.
Two favorite beverages: Unsweetened iced tea and organic coffee.
Feel free to play along. Just let me know so I can read your answers.Have fun !
My NANO project is screaming scenes at me but I didn't bring the laptop today. My experiment to use the Loveland Library to type ended under the category of "Nice try." The plug I used is on a nice table right in the floor to ceiling windows of the entrance. It's also right next to the door. This meant I felt the cold and heard everyone who came through. Since Wednesday is pre-school, toddler storytime, I heard every little squeal, cry, squabble and parental command to "BE QUIET!" as they came inside. Later, I heard all the songs and frequent admonishions of "Sit down. Sit DOWN. SIT DOWN." I managed to type some words but I worked for everyone. Although I'm almost used to writing in a noisy environment, it's not always right in your face noise. As the body count kept rising, I felt myself tensing up and almost willing the time to race by so I could quit. Guess I should think seriously about earning enough to buy extra battery power for the laptop. It has to be cheaper than gas to go over to the other branch where I can type in relative peace.
Am not sure I'll try this again. It's almost better to write long hand and try to add it into the laptop later. Today I'm working on a Christmas memory story for Cup of Comfort, a synopsis and some notes. They can all be done longhand.
My December article is ready for the paper - Circus in a Box. It's a short history of animal crackers. And here's a fact to keep you awake at night--what animals replaced the dog and jaguar?
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Friday, November 02, 2007
NANO Day Two---
I really can't believe I'm doing this even though I talked about it all through October. A plot is coming to life that didn't exist in it's present form until I sat down to write it. Maybe that's what I truly like about writing. You sit down and have a blank page or pc screen--then suddenly, like magic--people are moving and talking and coming to life. Sometimes, it's a bit scary. Like today --- things happened that I never dreamed this morning. There are more characters than I anticipated and they sure aren't turning out like I expected.
Today I didn't get a good start until after five. Once I started though, I got through a lot of words and hit a total two day count of 6333. I'd just hoped to make it to 4000 which would give me a 2000 word a day count since I only write five days a week. I think I ended up with two chapters. My main character is such a hunky guy I could easily fall in love with him. Too bad he's already married to his young bride, Clementine. Today, Ben--that's the main character--spoke to the old stablehand, Jack, and got some news about his father's disappearance two years ago. Jack doesn't actually know anything but his brother--a hand on another plantation (this is Kentucky, after all)---has hinted he might know something.
Tomorrow, Ben will head for Cincinnati on the Belle of Louisville--or maybe he'll take the train. No, his wife is going on the steamboat.... I'll figure it out. All my suppositions add wordage---LOL. My first drafts are strictly figure it out missions. You could read it, but it wouldn't make much sense. Unlike my friend, Kathi, who writes and outline so detailed it could BE a book, my first draft is an outline in the making.
I'm glad tomorrow is Saturday. Don't have to get up early and go anywhere. We were running late today in getting to school. First we had to wait for Miah to find his shoes. (This is usually a ten minute hunt.) Then we ended up behind a huge green combine or something. It puttered along for miles until I got up enough nerve to pass it. Then we ended up behind a dump truck that never went past 20MPH. After we cheered at him getting out of the way, we ended up behind a little barn on the back of a trailer and a long "OVERSIZED LOAD" banner. It slowed us down for twenty miles or so. We did not arrive at school on time. On the way home we got behind a piece of farm equiptment I could never identify. It sat WAY UP above the road. Jarrod thought I should drive under it. I didn't.
NANO Day Three tomorrow---I managed to get my little icon on my blog so am proud of myself. Maybe tomorrow I can figure out the Regions tab on the NANO sight. Looked today and there is no one in my town.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Let's Play 30 Questions!
1. Name one person who made you laugh last night? My niece, Jenny. She makes such funny faces and does all kinds of silly dances.
2. What were you doing at 0800? At 8AM, I was thinking, "I have to get up in an hour." At 8PM, I was watching "Joel Osteen."
.3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago? Reading emails.
4. What happened to you in 2006? Got an emailing saying I'd sold a book--that's about the biggest thing.
5. What was the last thing you said out loud? "Night" to my Dad.
6. How many beverages did you have today? 2 cups of hot tea before church and after, then 2 large iced teas with lunch, a cup of water, another cup of hot tea, a cup of hot tea at Maribeth's and 2 later.
7. What color is your hairbrush? Which one?
8. What was the last thing you paid for? Gas and a jug of distilled water
.9. Where were you last night? Home with the kids. Read awhile and they played cards.
10. What color is your front door? Bright blue.
11. Where do you keep your change? In my purse, the ashtray of the car, under the car seats, dropped all over my desk and in a Folger's coffee can as an incentive to save. Most of my change I "keep" at JoAnn Fabrics buying scrapebook paper.
12. What’s the weather like today? Sunny, bright but with a chilly nip. Covered my plants tonight.
13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor? United Dairy Farmer's Cherry Cordial.
14. What excites you? Lots of things--finishing a project, writing, buying new scrapbook supplies, finding a book I really, really, really want to read, cole slaw.
15. Do you want to cut your hair? Nope.
16. Are you over the age of 25? Yes.
17. Do you talk a lot? Yes, usually when I shouldn't.
18. Do you watch the O.C.? What is it?
19. Do you know anyone named Steven? Yes, my grandpa, my cousin and several other people at church.
20. Do you make up your own words? Sometimes.
21. Are you a jealous person? Sometimes.
22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘A’. Aimee.
23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘K’. Kathy.
24. Who’s the first person on your received call list? Maribeth.
25.What does the last text message you received say? I don't text message since it runs up the phone cost.
26. Do you chew on your straw? No.
28.Where’s the next place you’re going to? Bed tonight, Knights tomorrow.
29. Who’s the rudest person in your life? Hm, I'll have to think on that one.
30.What was the last thing you ate? Kettle corn popcorn.
31. Will you get married in the future? Sure hope to.
32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks? Does Perry Mason count?
33. Is there anyone you like right now? I like lots of people--some more than others depending on the time of day. :)
34. When was the last time you did the dishes? Yesterday afternoon.
35. Are you currently depressed? Not right this minute.
36. Did you cry today? No.
37. Why did you answer and post this? I'm a copycat and two of my friends did it.
38. Tag 5 people who would do this survey. I don't know 5 people with blogs--but if anyone wants to post answers here, I'm game.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
I finally have a picture on here with the title. I've tried several pictures over the last few days. Had a nice picture of the Dionne Quints (I used to collect Quint memorabilia.) Someone said I needed a Thanksgiving picture so I took off the winter picture of the quints and went for an autumn theme. Got a lovely picture of a fall lane, but when I tried it out, it was about the size of a postage stamp. Also, my title vanished.
So tonight I decided to scroll around for another autumn type pictures. Finally found these trees in the fog. I love fog. Not driving in it, but seeing it or being out in it. Maybe it was all those spooky black and white movies I watched as a child. Anyway, the picture came out wonderful but my title vanished. So, I played around and found out how to change the title color. I might make further renovations, but I'm happy to have both things working in synch for once.
Friday, October 19, 2007
There might not be a picture with this post for one simple reason. I'm not sure about what I'm doing. :) The new look to my blog so far is thanks to my friend, Erica. She talked me though some of the technical details so I could change the template. I'm working on putting up a new picture but seem to be doing something wrong. My blog keeps telling me to SELECT AN IMAGE. Funny, I thought I did.
Had an early, early morning today. Miah needed to be at school by 8:45, a full hour and 45 minutes BEFORE normal. He had to meet the teacher for Endangered Species to go on a field trip to Green Acres. Since all I had to go on was a cryptic note in his homework planner--Oct. 19, 8:45, Fields Trip--I fervantly hoped someone would actually be there when we arrived. They were, even though we were five minutes late. Miah got his name tag and climbed aboard his teacher's SUV.
This was the second early morning for school this week. On Tuesday night, the boys house sat with Sister #1. She had to be at work early, so I had to meet her and the boys earlier still. We arranged a meeting at a gas station near the school. The trouble was, I seldom go in that direction and am not familiar with the road. Imagine my surprise when I made a LEFT turn out of the parking lot and realized you aren't allowed to make a LEFT TURN, only right. A giant berm blocked the road into the lane I needed to go. With no other choice, I switched to the turn lane (going in the wrong direction) and eased up past the berm. Thankfully, no policemen saw my mistake. What the other drivers thought I have no idea. No one blew any horns or cursed. Not where I could hear anyway! OOPS!
Today I kept one of my mini resolutions. After my writing stint, I forced myself out of the car and took a walk out of the school grounds. Across the street there is a retreat center with gardens, etc. I took a lovely walk through the pathways, saw some late blooming yellow and pink zinnias (particularly pretty against a damp, misty day), a greenhouse and a tiny coffee house tucked into the bottom of a meeting center. Next time, I'll bring money and go in for a cup. Here is a link if you'd like to see where my walk took me. http://www.grailville.org/
Are you thinking Christmas yet?? I'm already making my list! In our family, we pass around lists to take the guess work out of shopping. I happened to find a cool sweatshirt featuring the Dionne Quints. That's going on my list for sure! Along with Season Two of "The Big Valley." I'm hoping to add a picture of the Quints to this blog---if you see it, I've succeeded. If not, back to work . . . .
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Since nothing truly big has been happening in my life the past few weeks (except for a monster cold that doesn't want to leave,) I decided to focus on some small victories. Might as well celebrate the small and hope for better things ahead.
1. I wrote an email and said "no" to serving on a refreshment committee on Sundays.
2. Decided to go for it and start my agent blitz again. I have two and a half books that are complete. None of them are doing any good sitting on a shelf. Aimed for the top agents in the business. Yesterday, I got a very nice email back from the one I wanted SO MUCH. The agent couldn't use my book, but he wrote the nicest rejection I've ever got. (Well, second nicest.) I hope it's not bad etiquette, but I sent him a thank you.
3. Decided not to let any rejections get me down. It only takes one yes. I'm scrolling out the agents and marking my next targets. Have also decided to change my query letter. I think I'm my own worst enemy by trying to pitch a series. One book at a time is best for now.
4. Another short story is on the October Fandangle online magazine. "The Teeth in 4B." Semi-scary for the season but with a message for all of us who were once metal mouths.
5. I won a slot in Linda Jo Martin's Perspective in Writing blog to be interviewed. If there is anyone who reads this that I HAVEN'T told---LOL--I'll be glad to supply a link.
6. Someone told me that you can now read a full year of "Cookies and Milk" on the http://www.timesgazette.com/ archives.
7. I cleaned my room - most of the way.
8. After having falling out of the habit, I got up this morning and did ten minutes of power walking. I'm making another resolution to use half an hour on school days walking around the circular drive at the school. Tomorrow will put this to the test.
9. I decided to take some time for myself and have been watching an episode of "Perry Mason" almost every night. Except for the night when I watch "Jon and Kate Plus 8."
10. I updated my blog without being tagged. :)
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
1. You have to post these rules before you give the facts.
2. Players, you must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of their middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had.
3. When you are tagged you need to write your own blog-post containing your own middle name game facts.
4. At the end of your blog-post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
My middle name is ALICE.
1. A--Alluring--well, I can dream can't I?
2. L- Loyal--I'm a very loyal person to friends and family.
3. I--Inquisitive---I like to know everything. (Okay, so nosy works too, but there is no N in Alice.)
4. C--Creative--Probably should BE my middle name--I love anything that takes creative work--writing, sewing, gardening, photography, etc.
5. E - Hm, this is a hard one. I'm not very energetic or eager. There's a word that means really, really joyful but I'm not sure how to spell it. I'm sure it starts with an E though (well, semi positive.) Maybe this makes me Evasive.
I would tag someone but the E tagged me, the C won't give her middle name, I don't know any Ingrid's or Isabel's. I know people with A and L but they don't have blogs. So everyone can read this with relief that they haven't been tagged!
Monday, August 20, 2007
We discovered when we found the bathroom that instead of there being a wall around 3 sides of the tub, there were none. The tub and shower were in an open pit with two shower curtains--one opening up into the sleeping area. I don't even want to go into the why's of that. I'm sure I don't care to know!
Monday, August 13, 2007
When I realized that I had to add on garden chores to the list, I knew my writing time would go.
So---the day went something like this: rushed next door to put in a load of wash, cut all the broccoli in Sister #2's garden, came home and blanched the broccoli, had to stop to go to the Dollar Store for freezer bags and canning jar lids, ended up going to three stores before I found jar lids, home, put the broccoli into the freezer bags and into the freezer, started bringing in tomatoes to can.
This begins the tomato hours---wash off tomatoes, drop in a pot of boiling water to loosen the skins, drop into cold water so skins come off, chop tomatoes into pieces and put in jars, put in salt, seal and start boiling in the canner. In the interest of multi-tasking, I worked on the entries for the fair at the same time. The deadline for photos and artwork entires is August 15th. I'd do a jar or two of tomatoes, let the rest cool and start filling out the blanks.
Tomatoes done, fair entires done, I wrapped up a box for a friend and collected all the library books and vidos that would be due before I get back from Michigan. Got dressed (brief hassle as the well went dry--all that canning) and we had to run water in from the cistern. Went to town.
Stopped to have my glasses adjusted. Waited in line. On to the post office. Waited in line. Then to the store for drinking water. Waited in line. Went to the library. Took my time in the air conditioning finding some books to take on the trip. A cool surprise--a DVD of "Perry Mason" had come in. I've been on the waiting list for three months. I know what I'm watching tonight--if I can stay awake long enough.
Home, helped get supper, ate and then started working on emails. For some reason there are always emails before I can feel like I can leave for any length of time. Now all I have to do tonight is pack, change litter boxes, clean the kitchen, iron clothes for church on Wednesday morning (we'll be out late tomorrow and I won't have time) and I sure hope that's all!! I'm ready for a vacation.
Monday, August 06, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Monday, July 23, 2007
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
Looks like it's summer again. It's felt like summer for weeks now but we had to wait for the official beginning on the 21st, my niece, Heather's birthday. Somehow I always have this belief that life should be more relaxed in the summer. Probably a hold over from the endless summers of childhood. Remember how those days seemed to last forever? I thought it might feel like that forever - until I shifted over to the adult viewpoint of summer. Yup, the days seem to last forever but not in a carefree way! More like a how long can a day be way instead!
Some days I have no idea what I did to be so busy. Like yesterday. I remember I did stuff---wash, shopping, cooking tacos. (When Jenny comes to visit we have to have tacos. No one makes them for her at home.) I got out some crafts I'd bought and the three J's---Jenny, Jarrod and Jeremiah, painted little clay figurines of bugs, horses and dogs. It kept them all in one place, semi-quiet and doing something. When they got done, we went to play Putt Putt golf. We manged to get passes this year during the half price sale.
I raced back, got ready for the summer crit group and raced to the library. Only two of my friends showed up so we spent more time gossiping and discussing life than doing a critique. Although I did get two commas taken out of a perplexing query letter. After the group, I went with the children, two sisters and my bil to walk two miles around the college track. Do my feet hurt!
Would like to say I got to write but that would be a lie. The only thing even approaching words on paper were the emails I wrote. Today, I have Emma here. Some people might be able to write with a two year old, I can't. Except for this because she's out in the yard with the grandparents.
Spent an almost sleepless night worrying about a problem I'd have liked to discuss with someone - anyone. Made a decision this morning, after two aspirin and going back to bed at 7:30. Second guessing myself if it's right. Only time will tell.
As Scarlett O'Hara used to say, "Tomorrow is another day." And I'm sure Ziggy or someone used to say, "I hope it's better than today."
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Monday, May 28, 2007
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
I tried to come up with a classier title for this piece. Graduation goofs. Pomp and circumstances beyond control. But then I decided simple is best - yesterday was Tuesday and it turned out to be a weird day.
We didn't do school because Sister #2 came home early. Instead I spend the morning running errands with Mom. For about a week I'd hoped to get to Brad's, the biggest garden store, to search for herbs. They had some nice plants (owie prices) but I went ahead and splurged on thyme, sage, chocolate mint, spearmint and oregano. I use a lot of sage and oregano.
The vegetable flats were on sale for $10.99, so we got exotic things like red onions, habanero peppers, chocolate beauty peppers, celery, broccoli and beets. The boys grow the peppers to enter in the fair. I'm trying my hand at some container gardening this summer.
Got home and spent the rest of the afternoon working on various writing projects. Then it was time to go to Austin's graduation. For those of you who don't know him, Austin is my great nephew. He's Justi and Tim's son and is five years old. Kindergarden graduation.
There is something "off" about five year old graduating in the first place. I see it as some gigantic conspiracy with the cap and gown industry to get more dollars from what is probably not a best selling item. Not enough people graduating in May and June? Let's start a new trend---let the little people graduate too! Sometimes I wonder where this will lead. Graduating from 1st Grade? Second? Preschool?
The graduation took place an hour away so I left in plenty of time - I thought. (Always a sure indication you haven't left soon enough.) Scrambling though town I searched in vain for a gas station where the gas was less than $3.49 a gallon---angry at myself for not filling up that morning at $3.15.
My directions were to go to the OLD high school which was now the NEW elementary school. It was the high school were several of my nieces and nephews graduated. Okay, I could find it. I thought. The OLD high school was still---well, the OLD high school. I walked in on an Awards Ceremony (what a heck of a place to put a door!) and saw no five year olds. Outside, I grabbed a bystander and asked where the elementary school was located. The other side of town. (It's always the other side of town when you're in a hurry. )
I was already late but since it was a small town (only two stop lights), I managed to find the light, make a turn by the water company and did find the elementary school. The streets--all one way--were clogged with parked cars. I drove around the school twice, looking for somewhere to park and ended up turning illegally down a driveway and shooting across the soccer field to a clear patch of grass. It was a long walk back to the school and was now 7:15.
Figuring I'd missed most of the graduation, I hurried Mom along and we got to the gym. The old fashioned, un-air conditioned, pre-1950's gym and discovered we hadn't missed much but the incoming procession. There were 90! graduates. Being a great grandmother, Mom got to sit on the folding chairs for the elite guests. I stood near the door. I did try to get up on the bleachers but they were packed with wall to wall people and it was HOT! LIke people sweating and fanning themselves with programs hot.
I got there in time for the "musical" part of the program. The kids sang "Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue," while counting on their fingers. They did a cute version of "The knee bones connected to the. . . ." and two other garbled songs I couldn't understand a word of.
Then came the "diplomas." Each child's name was called and his or her teacher would squat down beside the child for a photo op. Some of the teachers were smarter than others in their clothing choices. Let's put it this way--you can see a LOT when someone is squatting on a stage.
After that they had a slide show---we waited and waited and waited--while the Power Point thing goofed up. Eventually they did get it running and we saw some cute pictures of a year in the life of a kindergarden class. (For sale at $7.00 bucks in the back of the gym.)
Despite the hassles, the little kids were cute in their caps (no gowns) and dress up clothes. The little girls wore their best dresses and some of the boys were in nice shirts, pants and ties. Sniff, they looked all of six or seven! How time flies. . . .
While I'd like to have a picture of Austin on this blog, I can't. When I got there I realized the batteries in my camera had died! The end to an imperfect day! Thankfully, his mom had bought a disposable camera for the ceremony.
I did hear some good news when I got home. My friend, Erica, is a finalist in the Genesis writing contest!!!!! Hooray, for her! I'm sure the competition was stiff so this is a great accomplishment. She won't know if she won the contest until later in the year. Finaling in the first round is a bit like winning the state beauty pageant and now she's going on to nationals---writing wise! Let's keep hoping for more good news!