Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Tag and a Mouse Tale

My friend, Erica had this fun tag on her blog. If anyone would like to try it, you can post your results here or on your blog.

The rules are simple.
Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more. No cheating!
Find page 123.
Find the first 5 sentences.
Post the next 3 sentences.
Tag 5 people.

I won't tag anyone but I'll go ahead and post mine.

"The setting of a mystery locates the characters and the events of the story in both time and place. In the mystery genre's earliest days, it seemed almost to be a rule - mysteries had to be set in New York City, in California, or if the author was British, in England. Of course, this was never really true, and in recent decades, the "rule" as useless as a 30-year old train schedule."

From Writing Mysteries by Margaret Luke

The Mouse Tale involves the sweet black cat in the picture above. Mary was a Christmas cat about six years ago. The other night she proudly killed a very small mouse in my bedroom. I found it as I got out of bed--ICK! Because I was in a hurry, I stuffed it into a plastic trash bag and into the wastecan with the intention of taking it downstairs later. Somehow I never got around to doing it. So when I went to bed last night my first thought was sleeping in the same room as the corpse.
I thought it would be okay. While I was making my bed to get in bed (I never make my bed in the morning), I tossed my pillows on the comfy chair I read in. When I picked up the last pillow I saw---the mouse body on my chair!! I'm sure Mary's intentions were pure. She knows I sit there and had presented me with a gift. GAG! I had to strip the pillows and put on new pillow cases, sanitize the chair and turn the cushion over - after I removed the mouse back to the trash bag.
Mary usually sleeps with me and since I close the bedroom door at night, she has to pretty much stay in the room. About two thirty, I woke up and thought about the mouse. A couple of times in the night I'd heard Mary scrabbling at the plastic bag and the waste can. Figured she was trying to reclaim her prize.
The more I thought about it, the more I thought about her getting it OUT and bringing it into bed with me. While I'm not overly squeamish, the idea of waking up to find a deceased mouse sharing my bed is not my idea of fun. I got up, put on the light, took the plastic bag and tied it TIGHT. Stuffed it way down in the can and as I turned to walk back to bed--saw the mouse already laying beside my bed. Mary was walking up and down, giving little purrups of pleasure at how BRAVE she was, what a WONDERFUL cat. I was not amused.
I found a newspaper clipping and scooped the mouse back into the plastic bag. This time, I tied it and set it outside the bedroom door.
She has given me dark looks all day. I'm sure she's thinking, "Humans! Too dumb to appreciate such a lovely mouse."

Monday, February 11, 2008

Looks like we're in for a little snow tonight. I'm glad that I don't have to go anywhere tomorrow. As long as it clears by Wednesday when I have to take the boys to LOL, I'm fine. Maybe I can stay inside and get some writing done.

So far, I am doing good on my friend, Patty's, FEBO project. I have two contest entries OUT. I am about halfway through my editing of the WIP. I'm still 17K over and have figured out a plan. I'm going to aim for a book that finishes out at 60K. If that's too much and an editor wants to buy the dirty darned thing, they can help me cut. I'm going to be doing good cutting the last 7K. I've also printed and sent out a short story, "Girl vs. Grump," and about five queries to agents. If I can manage to keep my momentum, I'm going to do a few more queries to editors and agents until the end of February. So, I have some of my goals finished, a few in progress and a few still looming ahead.

One of my goals was to do a synopsis and prologue for an adult mystery. I worked on the prologue today. It's not awful but it's not terrific yet either. My main problem will be finding people to read it and tell me where it needs work. It's not a "pretty" story but I don't think it's too graphic either.

It has been bitterly cold here the past few days. I've snuggled up with the cats, books and some of my counted cross stitch. I'm making good progress with my state fair sampler. The cows are done, except for hooves and eyes. The little line of Mason jars filled with pickles are about a third done. Soon I'll be moving on to horses.

Thought I'd add a small picture of the Dionne Quints playing in the snow. Lately, I've been slowly selling off parts of my Quint collection on ebay. I'm trying to just keep what has the most meaning for me. Some of my memorabilia is unique and I wouldn't part with it for anything. On the other hand, some pieces aren't my favorites. Why take up room in my bins when I could sell them for cash?

Time to find some books and go read. I don't have to get up early tomorrow for anything. Sure hope I'm not too tired to stay up late!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Plodding along- - -

A rainy, rainy day. It's poured for hours so that the back fields, creek and driveways are flooded. Might be a good day to sit somewhere and read or sew. But, since I have the day "off", I feel honor bound to get some of my writing "chores" done.

So far today I have sent two queries online. This required putting the chapters into a certain format (and dirty darn, I just realized I left off the page numbers in one set!), rewriting short bits where I had crit marks and stopping umpteen times for interruptions. So all I can count on having done are my entry to The Sandy Contest, a query package to a new agent and two emails. Oh, and I guess a blog entry too. After that I'm going to try to type some new words on something.
Won't know if I can get any editing done today or not. We're having a surprise birthday party for my brother tonight.

Tomorrow, I plan to buy craft supplies for one of my favorite holidays--Valentine's Day. I should get in a few hours work on my Jenny sequel too. Maybe work on the mystery I hope to enter in the Daphne Contest in March.

Am feeling a little sluggish in the writing department. Yesterday I sent a query and got a rejection in FIVE MINUTES. It's a mite discouraging. On the other hand, I spent more than 45 minutes giving a writing workshop to five little girls at our church's homeschool club. They were very receptive to learning new ideas, asked lots of questions and were thrilled to tell me about their stories. They seem to have the same problem a lot of older writers have--beginning a story and not following through. We talked about the "sagging middle" and ways to remedy that. One little girl sent me two of her short stories for review. I loved seeing their eager and happiness in writing. Somehow I have to recapture that.

Or maybe it's the weather ---YAWN.

Off to do something else so it feels like I've done something!