Sunday, July 31, 2005

Strange Things

I was just checking on my site/blog stats. I do so periodically, partly out of morbid curiousity and partly out of just plain voyuerism, I suppose. Though you can't find out really anything more than what city a viewer was from. Anyway, guess what keywords people used to search to find this blog:

office cube rules
timpano big night
etymology verdot
longest lived fly
why butt wet
pants get wet around butt
spurloch watch

Some of those kind of make sense. I just have to wonder who the wet butt person is. Yes, I did have a post about having a web butt, but it's not like a reoccurring thing or anything. Not something I have such a problem with that I'd have to search on it. So, whoever you are, wet butt person, I feel for you. I'm sorry my post likely didn't help you much.

Anywho, I did get some writing in today. I'm now up to 36,797 words. Almost through the darn scene. So close I can practically hear the fat lady, singing.

Half way there...

I made it through the first half of the double date scene last night. Up to 35,921 words. It's not coming out too bad. Not sure what my trouble is.

We're a high-tech household today. We're both in the parlor with our respective laptops, typing away. Tony's working on a spec for work and I, well, I'm typing in my blog (obviously). But in just a few minutes I'll be writing away. We've set up camp on the couches - he on the big one, me on the loveseat. All you can hear is the sound of typing (clickety clickety clack) and the cats walking to and fro (click click click click) on the wood floor and the rhythmic beat of spanish guitar from the Gipsy Kings CD playing in our old-fashioned radio (and yes, that's how they spell it and no, I don't know why). I like when we can have quiet moments like this, just the two of us.

Double Date Hell

I don't know what it is about this bit that's driving me insane. I just can't seem to get it out. I'm tempted to write around it, but then I'm worried I'll never get it down. And I think I know more or less what needs to happen. It just won't come out.

Maybe it's because I've never been on a double date.

I dunno. But dammit, Janet, I'm going to get at least some of it down tonight.

I also have an absolutely huge pimple next to my nose, the size of which I literally have not seen since my high school days. I had to actually go buy some acne medication and so far it doesn't seem to be working. Maybe it's some kind of karma thing to do with this whole double date scenario. So if something about a pimple winds up in my book, you'll know why.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Oh yeah, I can add...

I was all excited yesterday when I realized that my Google advertising $$ looked like it would hit $40 this month (for the month). That may not seem like much, but that would cover the monthly hosting cost. I was thinking, oh, heck yeah, maybe the site would even make money for once! But I got way ahead of myself. I added up current year expenses to date and added in the income made so far, and I'm negative $515.67 as of today. Actually, a bit more than that, since I haven't downloaded the latest credit card transactions. Hmmmm. Perhaps I ought not to share this number with my long-suffering husband... Just kidding. He's always been great about it. Poor guy.

It's hard to believe how fast the expenses add up (hosting, domain registration, postage for books, Delphi fee, etc., etc.). Sigh. Hopefully the Google stuff will go up even more and I'll figure out some other ways to make the site profitable.

Anyway, off to do some more house cleaning and then, by hook or crook, I'm going to finish that darn double date chapter.

It's Friday and I have clean windows

The Window Ninjas were here almost all day yesterday and now, alakabam! my windows are all clean. I should call them the Window Cleaning Fairies, but they were 5 kind of buff guys, so they might take offense at that. It's awesome to have clean windows. What a difference it makes. They even cleaned the ones in the attic on the third floor and in the basement. The ones in the basement had approximately 100 years of grit on them, so that was no easy task.

I'm up to 35,046. I've been moving kind of slow through this bit, the double date. I think I got it mapped out in my head last night, so hopefully I can get through it. I think I need to just let go a little and let it be okay for Mina to fall on her face some. We'll see. This will likely be one of the scenes I'll need to go back and tweak in revision.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Thursday's Sinner

34,274 words. So, some progress yesterday, but not as much as I would have liked. They're about to go on the mistaken double date and I'm not yet actually sure what's going to happen. We'll see. I need to keep it funny, a comedy of errors type of thing.

Ick. I just took a sip of yesterday's water, conveniently sitting in an identical glass to today's water. How is it that water can taste bad? It's just water.

Today I also need to remember to get up and walk periodically. Yesterday I sat and typed for a good hour and a half, got up, and my leg was just on fire. It didn't hurt until I got up and then it was screaming. I'm falling apart.

Getting old kind of sucks.

And no one really tells you that getting old starts off around 30. I thought I was fairly safe until late 40's. So much for that.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Wednesday's Child

Starting today off at 33,400 words. But I strangely feel more awake (maybe because I didn't take my pills until 11 AM... I got all my domain name stuff straightened out (mostly) and ordered the new domain. Now I just have to figure out how I want to get that to point back to the right place. Going to make some site updates this afternoon and get some writing in, one way or another.

Yeehah! I'm freshly showered and ready to go!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Another sleepy morning

Every morning when I first wake up (while Tony is getting ready for work), I lay in bed and come up with these great plans. Today I'm going to write xxxx number of words. I'm going to go to the coffee shop and be all bohemian and writer-ly. I'm going to wash some laundry. I'm going get the idea. Then I fall back asleep and wake up again a couple of hours later. By this time, I'm sweaty and shaky and my stomach has gone south and I feel like I haven't slept at all. So I get up and take my pills. And wind up piddling around the house all day, hopefully getting some writing done, maybe doing some laundry, and definitely not going all bohemian in a coffee shop.

I hate these pills. Yes, I can actually walk and bend again and my spine will actually move without feeling like it's going to shatter. But I don't like those early morning shakes and the need to take the pills. I can hardly wait to get off of them. I will never do any drugs (well, the non-prescribed kind). I like to be in control of my own life.

Anyway. Tiny violins playing in the background and all that.

I actually lay awake quite a bit last night thinking of bits of the book that I now need to get down. Including, once again, unbidden...bits of the next book. C'mon, brain, I try to tell myself, let's actually get this one finished and published first, okay? It's a cute idea though. In this book, one of the bits is where she's complaining about taking French and that she doesn't really know any, but she discovered how to get by in class by just making gargling noises. More or less. So in the second book...she's going to, of course, be sent to France.

So I'm off to write up all those bits (except for the next book one).

Monday, July 25, 2005

Silly technician, splitters are for professionals

So yesterday I called Insight (again) to explain that my broadband connection was completely out rather than just going up and down. So they "rushed" my appointment from it's scheduled 1 - 3 PM spot on Tuesday to sometime on Sunday. Sometime, of course, meaning anytime between 8 AM and 7 PM.

The guy actually showed up around 9:30 AM. It was the same guy that had set our cable up when we moved in and had run the wire from outside, set up the splitter, etc. So he fiddles around for a while, stomping up and down the stairs from the basement to the second floor, muttering about getting his exercise.

Our conversation goes more or less like this:

Him: I think it's the router.

Me: Nope, I've tried it directly from the modem to the computer and it still doesn't work.

Him: [grunt, pause for thought] I think it might be the software. See how slow it's running?

(Insight has this silly doo-dad QIC program you're supposed to install on your computer. I've only installed it on my desktop, which I use primarily as a server. I refuse to install it on my laptop.)

Me: Nope, 'cause it does the same thing on the computers without the QIC thing installed.

Him: [grunt, pause for thought] I think it's...

This goes on for a while. I'm starting to think I know more about it than he does. This is what not having competition in an area will do for you. Insight is the only cable provider around here and they are complacent. I used to think Time Warner's Road Runner down in Florida was bad, but they're looking awfully good to me now.

I've about decided that I'm just going to cancel the whole darn thing and go to DSL when he finally figures out that it's the splitter THAT HE INSTALLED causing too much signal degradation between the incoming line to the house and the second floor outlet. "Yeah," he says, "this kind of splitter drops 7dbs and this other one here, it only drops 3dbs."

My question, which I didn't ask, but was certainly thinking...why the heck did he install it in the first place then?

Anyway. It seems to be working now. After he left, I went back to sleep and didn't wake up until quite late in the afternoon. I just can't seem to stay awake any more. Then dinner (mucho importante since I hadn't had anything to eat since lunch Saturday) was tuna casserole. Some oreo pie out on the porch, and we're going to head off to bed pretty soon. Another day gone.

Tomorrow I am somehow going to stay awake for more than 3 hours at a stretch. And get my overdue allergy shots. Maybe I'll check out the coffee house and just drown myself in caffeine. I'm nearly 2/3 of the way done with the novel and I wanna churn this baby out.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Sleepy Saturday

I wasn't feeling great last night, so I skipped the Bats baseball game (an organized 3rd Street Association outing) and let Tony go with the neighbors. I stayed home and slept. Then I got up when Tony got home, brushed my teeth, took my pills, and went to bed. Then I woke up this morning at 8:30, brushed my teeth, took my pills, went down in the parlor to hang out with Tony (he's working on his chess program) and promptly fell back asleep until 11:30. I'm not sure how many hours that is total, but it's quite a bit.

I'm pretty sleepy right now too. I'm probably going to crash in just a few minutes. I did manage to get some writing done in between naps though -- I'm up to 32,846 words. And I added a couple more things to the outline. Good progress, I think.

I got a little feedback from Jennifer. She's read the first 39 pages so far. She thinks I've carried off the first person successfully (yay!) so far. I was worried about that. Hopefully an agent and publisher will agree...

Saturday, July 23, 2005

I'm losing my connection...

That's from a Yaz song...losing my connection. I think it was called Telephone. But the connection I'm losing is my broadband Internet service. It's down completely. I'm actually stealing connection right now from our neighbors Rich & Bob. I don't think they'll mind just for a day or so. The signal is very low though, so I could be down and out again at any time.

So tomorrow I have an "all day" appointment slot with Insight. They need some cable competition here, to get these people in gear. They aren't real concerned about keeping customers happy. I'm thinking about going to DSL. It's been two weeks of spotty connections and now it's just down. Down, down, down. I feel so unconnected.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Friday, Friday, Friday!

Mornings are very hard for me now. I suspect the Dr. upped my prescription again. I swore my last one was for 100mg and now it says 150mg. Every morning I wake up in a cold sweat with a queasy stomach and chills. I don't like it. It's like those TV commercials for new drugs where they have to list the possible side effects and they sound worse than the original problem.

Anyway. WIP is still going well. I'm up to 31,321 words with notes on a few more scenes, so it's really just a matter of getting it down. And a nice little twist my main character introduced; she invited George to go with on Uncle Mortie's next excursion after Aubrey asks if he can go (mostly because Aubrey was ignoring George at the time and she doesn't like rude people). That wasn't in the original plan, but it works out great. I'll get to show again why George is such a cool guy and Aubrey is a know-it-all suck up.

I've also been having these really funky dreams. Ok, actually, I always have really funky dreams. But this one was up there in oddity. Maybe I read too much science fiction growing up. Have I mentioned that was one of my specializations in college? Or maybe I just have played too many computer games...

At 3 AM EST, October the 4th, every human on the planet suddenly found themselves in huge, cavernous cargo holds in alien ships. No one was missed in the roundup, from a bedouin tribe celebrating a wedding in the middle of the desert to miners deep withing the bowels of the earth. Sleepy, wide-awake, dressed, half-dressed and in a panic, they waited and wondered what had happened to them.

So I'm actually in this dream (sometimes they just play like movies and I'm not in them at all) and so is my husband Tony. And for some reason we have a baby daughter named Emily (the same as my niece and goddaughter and scores of other little girls born in the last five years). We had all become separated somehow and the first part of the dream is frantic searching to get the family back together. In the process, we wind up wandering into a medical ward (where we finally locate Emily in the care of alien nurses) while the rest of our group is going through an induction process.

One of the alien nurses, disguised pleasantly enough in the body of an aging blonde woman with old-fashioned hair notices us wandering through the ward and comes up to us with a concerned look on her face. "Are you lost?" she asks. "Not anymore," I reply. "We just found our daughter. You were holding her here." She looks down at Emily sleeping in my arms and gives a start. "Oh, yes," she says, "this one is causing us problems." "What kind of problems?" Tony jumps in, ever the problem-solver, even in alien abductions. "It's the symbol she's chosen as her totem," she explains, but we just look at her blankly. Having missed the induction everyone else is going through, we have no idea what she is talking about. She looks at us closely. "You haven't chosen yet!" she exclaims.

She pulls out two pouches and out spill a dozen or so different carved pendant-sized statues. Some look like Hindu gods, other like angels or demons. She asks me to pick one from one pouch and Tony from the other. Emily stirs in my arms, like something is wrong.

"Why do we have to choose one?" I ask. "Everyone has to," she replies. "You must do it." I stare at them again and at the ones in Tony's palm. "Why do we have different symbols to choose from? Mine aren't the same as his." I worry that they are some kind of grouping mechanism and we'll be separated from each other. She doesn't answer, just taps the symbols again. Emily reaches out a delicate little baby hand out and pulls at my hair. I look down at her. She is staring up at me with wide blue eyes like she is trying to say something. I look back at the nurse, who seems to be growing impatient. "Which symbol did Emily choose," I ask her. A strange look crosses her face and she dumps all the symbols back into their pouches. "We'll do this later, perhaps," she says and leads us away.

Here's where that dream-like understanding hits me, or perhaps I overhear some other 'nurses' talking. It's a little fuzzy here. It seems that the symbols do define your role in the new world order they are 'creating.' And they were able to communicate with Emily mind-to-mind (you know, being aliens and all that) and she chose a symbol that existed but had not even been shown to her. The symbol of a god. They don't know what to do. Under the rules they have established for themselves, they have to honor her request, but they weren't planning on such a thing. Then another alien coordinator dressed in the body of a younger woman in a flight suit comes out and begins speaking to us. We've re-joined our group, but haven't gone through any of the things they have.

The coordinator blows a shrill whistle and indicates that everyone should line up. "I'm going to be coming around to each of you to make corrections." That's all she says. Most people shuffle obediently into line, all the fight gone out of them already. The coordinator starts down the line with a little gizmo and kind of waves it at each person. They immediately seem to revive and many rush off to the bathroom (changes to the intestinal tract, I suspect). A woman in front of us is in a wheelchair and when the coordinator reaches her, she has her stand up unsteadily. The woman's leg is twisted and bent and it is obvious she can't walk. As the gizmo is waved at her, her leg begins to straighten and unbend until it is unblemished. "What are you doing to us," I ask the coordinator. "Just fixing you," she replies, not even looking up. "Will we even be biological creatures any more?" She finally looks up and sees Emily in my arms.

She comes a bit closer and seems inclined to tell us a few things. Meanwhile, a 'safety' video is playing on monitors all around us warning what will happen to people that misbehave. It shows them being 'deleted' and little selection bars even appear above their heads, like they've been digitized and stuck into a computer game. I put two and two together.

"What is this," I demand, "are we just some kind of simulation game to you?" The coordinator's silence confirms my suspicions, but no one around us seems to care. I think back to my college days and playing Sid Meier's Civilization and more recently, The Sims. I step closer to her and whisper, "Are there cheat codes? Every game has cheat codes." She looks around to see if any other aliens are near and hands me some slips of paper. Another one falls out of her pocket and I pick it up when she turns to the next person in line. The ones she handed me are simple enough: codes for food and clothing. But the one she dropped is a special one. One you could use to gain knowledge.

Anyway, that was about it. It got really jumbled after that. But a strange dream, eh?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Approaching 30K...

I had to get up last night around 1 AM to jot down a bunch of notes for the book. Just writing up those bits will definitely take me past the next big mark...30 thousand. I think I might change my MO a little bit. I've been pretty much going straight through from point A to point B and so on. I think I might go ahead and write up all the disconnected bits that I've got sitting and waiting and then string them together later. That's more like how I normally write, in some ways. I'm just afraid to wait much longer on some of them. I don't want to forget the stuff lurking around in my head.

It's hard to judge how much I really have left and whether I'm going to hit the 50K mark or go well beyond it. Sometimes I think something will be a short scene and then it turns into pages and pages. And vice versa. Of course, I haven't gone through the fine tuning steps yet, so who knows what I'll end up with.

A pretty good day

Up to 29,627, so I had a pretty good writing day. Got through the scene that was giving me a hard time + the entire next bit. Now I'm at the wishy-washy point in my outline. The kind of part where you might find a label like 'stuff happens' or something like that. I know what's going to happen at the end, but there's a few things in the middle I'm not completely sure of. But no matter. I'll get through it.

I also asked Jennifer today if she'd be a reader for me. I used to work with her and she's a great proofer/editor. Hopefully she won't mind the first person, present tense thing I've got going. I know it's not a normal one to use, but I think it is working.

So far, my acknowledgements section is:

Thank you to my wonderful husband for being supportive and giving me the chance to follow my dream (and kicking my butt when I wavered). Thanks also to Denise for the fashion advice and to Jennifer for her keen eye.

Or something cheesy like that.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


So much yesterday for not taking a nap. I don't know what's up with me. Ever since my leg started hurting again, I can't seem to stay awake. Maybe that's the body's response to pain. Dunno.

We went to Tony's work cookout thingy yesterday. It went pretty well. Everyone was nice. I ate way too much (but happily, according to the scale today, I didn't gain any weight). The crowd was a little older than I expected. There were only 2 people there younger than us and I'm sure they were feeling a little young. I guess it's because people tend to stay with one company here and not move around as much.

I'm up to just 27,123. Not sure why this scene is causing me so much grief. I just can't think of a real good way to do it and Ms. Tweeter (the English teacher in the book) keeps wanting to butt in. I just need to barrel right through it today. I'm going to go out on the porch and put in some wicker chair time. Maybe even bring some lemonade.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Back to normal? Normal, what's that?

Another late start of a day. I just can't shake the tiredness (or the sharp pain in my leg). I could totally go back to sleep right now. (Ack! I'm starting to think like my character! I don't normally say 'totally')

My goals today....try not to fall asleep, finish the classroom scene with Mina and Nathan, write up some reviews for the site and wash clothes. Desperately need to wash clothes or Tony's going to wind up going to work in shorts and t-shirts, a big no-no.

We've got that potluck cook-out thing tonight with Tony's work people. So I also need to remember to slap some makeup on and do something presentable with my hair. Another reason not to fall asleep again - bed head is only an in look if you're under 25. Or Rod Stewart.

Alrighty, here I am.

I made it intact through the family visit. Actually, it went pretty well. For all the details on what we did, see the Pauley's Go to Louisville blog. I'm not going to repeat all that stuff here. This is my more personal blog (and the one that none of my family really ever reads) so I'll be a little less circumspect here.

Everything did actually go pretty well. No big blow ups or scenes. Tony got pissy twice (once when he thought we were going to just the cafe at the antiques place and we wound up staying longer and once when no one was ready to eat yet and we had no plan). Watson smoked a ton and so did mom. That really bothers me. She'd quit for years and then starts dating him and now she's back as bad as she was. I get on her about it, but she's stubborn. I don't know how she can do it. My dad died from cancer he got from smoking. We had a hospital bed in our living room, for heaven's sake. I don't know how she can start smoking again. It's awful.

Watson is a nice enough guy, but besides hating the smoking, he's got a few other habits that bug me: a) he thinks it's funny to say derogatory things about women (ha, ha), b) he drinks tons of beer (well, actually, that's not so bad - we just imbibe wine), c) he can't hear a darn thing, and d) he thinks he knows everything (of course, this is kind of a typical guy trait). But mom seems happy, so I'm happy for her. And he does seem to really care about her.

Here's a picture of mom and Pam taken by me after 5 tries, using Pam's phone. I'm cell phone agnostic. Or allergic. They just don't like to work for me and Pam has the most complex phone I've ever seen.

Other than that, the only other downer for me is that Pam made me feel like a fat cow (not on purpose or anything, it was purely me). I was feeling pretty good about the 7 pounds that I'd lost, but she's looking better than she has in ages. Healthy. It's not a competition or anything, I just felt icky. It was like at work when it was me, skinny fit Denise and pretty Marnie. Not that I'm ugly. I'm just not at the weight I'd like to be at. Is anyone? Anyway, we took some pictures and I realized how round I'm looking. Hopefully I'll kick this back/leg problem soon and be able to start exercising again. The only thing I'm allowed to do right now is walk. And it has been so hot that I've done very little of that.

There was a funny picture with me and Grace though where I'm laughing and she looks like she's about to tear someone's head off. Isn't it funny? She loves to be petted, but she doesn't like being held. She looks huge...well, she is huge. She's my fat girl. But in this picture, she looks practically bigger than me. I've really got to find someone to fix my hair after what the last lady did. I either have Don King hair or helmut head.

Anyway, that's enough whining from me for one day. Tomorrow should hopefully be back to normal -- write a bit, work on the site a bit, nap for a bit... Though we do have a cook out at someone's house after Tony's work. Who in the world has a cook out on Tuesday? But anyway.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

A brief update

Not really time for a long update, since I'm supposed to be actually dressed by now and I'm not. Not even remotely. I even have crazy bed hair right now.

Things are going well enough. More on that later. I think, all in all, it will be a successful visit.

I just way overdid it on Friday when I was cleaning house and I'm really stiff and sore. That bad ligament down my leg? Definitely not gone. I had Tony try and massage my calf last night and I thought I was going to cry, it hurt so bad. It's like having a vein of ice all the way down my leg. Suckage.

Anyway, I'll write more later. Definitely nothing to write about re: the work in progress. Not even thinking about it (much) while they're here.

Friday, July 15, 2005

My brain is a wasteland

I can't believe how much I've forgotten. I used to be a programmer. Not a great one, but decent. I was always better at planning than implementing, but I could get through things. I built my site pretty much by myself, except for a few pieces I had some help on. But now, I can't remember a darn thing. I feel like I've forgotten more than I ever knew. I'm having trouble with a simple (!) little form change that I just can't get to work and I can't see what the heck is wrong with it. GRRRR


Up to 26,916 words. I'll hopefully get some writing in this afternoon, but right now I have to go clean house like a mad woman. Mom & Co. are getting here about 6:30ish and I've got a 3 story place to get sparkling. Just like me...leave it to the last possible minute.

Hmmmm, you know, that's what I need. An agent to see my unfinished book and go, "I can sell it, I just need you to finish it by Thursday." and I bet I'd get it done by then too. Might not be sleeping, but I'd get it done. I once wrote up 60 pages of journal entries in one night that I'd been putting off over a whole semester...why, because they were due the next day at 8 AM. Start time...8 PM the night before. Good thing I type fast.

Really, I'm not a total slacker. I'm just all too human.

Well, off to scrub I go.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Thursdays are quiet

There's something about a Thursday that makes them quiet days. Unassuming days. They sneak up on you - gateway to the weekend, but nothing in and of themselves. Which is to say that I have nothing planned today other than writing and house work (as in cleaning before Mom gets here).

I've decided to go with the double date thing as Serena's big idea for George. I think it will work out. Poor George. But at least he winds up with the girl at the end and a whole family he thought he lost forever.

There's a poem I wrote a long time ago (yeeks, eons) that sounds like it is about my mom, but it really isn't. Pieces of it are her (the laugh, mainly), but the overall poem isn't. She's never been to Egypt. She's not a jetsetter or anything. She's not evil. Just a normal person. I keep meaning to finish it, but I never get around to it. The last two stanzas I'm not real fond of at all. Anyway, here it is. Maybe I'll work on it sometime. I'd appreciate any comments. Is it worth finishing up (of course not now, not in the middle of my novel, like I need anything else to get in the way of that, but sometime later)?


My mother used to
iron folded mini dresses on a towel
slapped hurriedly on the floor
there was never enough time for her---
the doorbell always rang before her hair was done

she owned the bathroom;
her perfume layered the air
and Vanity Fair lay on the floor
her nylons always hung, spider-like
over the rim of the bathtub
and threatened to fall when I stepped in

she told me once of a trip she took to Egypt,
before I was born
she had ridden on a camel and fallen off
into the arms of a tall, dark and handsome Egyptian
He had taught her how to swear

I saw her once, naked in the rain
laughing like a tear drop,
some man I didn't know laughing with her
even the dark could not disguise that laugh
I would know it anywhere, even now

a few years ago,
she asked me to meet her for lunch
and arrived late and in sunglasses
she thought the waiter was cute
and went home with a napkin full of lipstick and a phone number

it didn't matter that she didn't take the glasses off
or look at me instead of the waiter
I knew her eyes were as flat as the plastic---
there wasn't anything in them
that you couldn't see without the glasses on

That planning thing again

Turns out it was another full up day at the Dr.'s office. I sat on the floor so this one-legged guy could have my seat. Dr. Davis needs a larger office or less patients. Something. So the news is that a) I'm doing better, b) I'm to stay on the pills another month, c) but it's okay for me to drink a little wine every now and again. So that's something.

Between the long wait, getting slightly lost while looking for the bank (drove right on by it, la la la), and waiting for my prescriptions, I didn't get home until well after 2, probably closer to 3. Oh well. The best laid plans and all that.

But I am up to 26,118 words. And a slight dilemmna. Serena had a bright idea about George as they're eating lunch in the cafeteria with him, but I don't know what it is. Hopefully it will come to me before tomorrow. I've got to be throwing him in the mix more, esp. as some kind of nice guy savior, since he's the one Mina will ultimately wind up with. The only thing I've come up with so far is a double date with Nathan, George, Serena and Mina -- but Mina thinks she's there with Nathan and Nathan thinks he's there with Serena. That might work. Since Nathan and Serena are going to wind up together. But maybe something else will come to me.

1,000 or so words in a sitting seems to be about my limit (I know, I know, I shouldn't think about limits). That's about how much I seem to hold in my head comfortably before I have to stop and think awhile. Kind of weird.

I did digress a little yesterday though. Bad me. I put 250 words into the first chapter of the next book. At least it's the same series. I felt like I needed to get it down before I'd forget it. No telling how many snippets of things I've lost over the years.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

On the downhill slope...

I'm officially over the half way point and on the downward trudge: 25,209. I have less words to go than I've written. Yay!! Go, me! It's still going pretty good. The only problem I'm having is that I don't really like the Aubrey character, so I'm having trouble having Mina like him...she keeps wanting to criticize him, even though she is blinded by his Brad-Pitt-before-the-facial-hair-and-bad-haircut looks. Hopefully it will work out okay.

I started my morning off reading my regular blogs: Banality Fair (poor Joseph K. got in an accident), Secrets & Lies (Saundra's been bit by an old idea), One Over-Caffeinated Mom (good crit session, yay), Pam! (my sister, no update today, but hardly surprising since Mom should arrive at her house today, so she's probably busy wiping up dust and all the other little things that you never do except when Mom is coming to visit).

I'm feeling like quite a slacker. Saundra's post today said she's already written two books this year. I'm only half way through one...But I guess I'm still getting in the swing of things. And a bunch of writers like Cynthia Leitich Smith (hope I spelled her name right, I always mess up the e or i placement in the middle, but I'm too lazy to go look it up right now) blow me away. Not only do they write, but they obviously read blogs and newsletters and all kinds of things every day and blog about them as well AND attend conferences and critique groups and give talks and etc., etc., etc. And they all seem to have three kids. Some only two, but most seem to have three.

I have no idea how people do anything + have kids. When my sister visits with her three, I'm worn out in the first half hour. I can't keep up. They aren't bad kids or anything, they're just so there.

I have enough trouble keeping up with two demanding cats and getting a 1,000 words in a day inbetween laundry and running the dishwasher. See, I'm such a slacker. Okay, I do also run a website, but still. I should have like 3 books done by now! LOL, I'd be happy with one.

Of course, there's those other authors that say it takes them two years to write a book. Or ten. But they aren't writing YA generally. Those are those literary people.

Anyway...I'm going to mail off some books to my new kid's book reviewers, run to the bank, and run to the Dr. Then I'm going to settle in for a nice long rainy day writing session.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

No soapboxes today

It's a grey and rainy day here. I'm down in the parlor again (awake before 9 AM - wow!), all showered and prepared for the day, with the local 'interesting' radio station playing on our old-fashioned radio. There's a good chance that a nap is in my future.

I'm waiting for the UPS man again today, this time for a delivery of two pieces of china to add to my Grandmother's china that she passed down to me. A platter and a gravy boat, the better to use it for grand family dinners. I need to ask his name so I can stop calling him the UPS guy. Then I'll be all "oh, I'm just waiting for Mark" or hopefully he has an odd name like Humphrey. Don't worry anyone, he's not all that cute and I'm not looking for a pool boy. And he's married. We already talked about his wife.

Since I'm actually caught up on the site, my main goal today is to write. I do want to get some reviews done too, though. I've got a little stack of read-but-not-yet-reviewed books that I'd like to whittle down.

I almost forgot...I woke up this morning with a little snippet of poetry(?) or something running through my mind:

Welcome to the house of leaves
where just a gentle breeze
can bring the whole thing
tumbling down

The first line is from Poe (the singer, not Edgar A.). Just an odd little thing. I think there was more, but I don't remember now. Sometimes I dream poetry, sometimes full technicolor movies. There's another dream I need to write down some time, but I guess I'll let it stew in my mind for now. Heh. That's it. My brain is like soup.

Monday, July 11, 2005


I actually got my way through every single book and review on the site, so I'm all caught up. It took all day, but YAY! It's no longer hanging over my head. And I even got a bit of writing in - up to 23,877. Would have gotten more, except I'm not exactly sure where this scene is headed. How much of a suck-up should Aubrey by? I have to make it convincing that she thinks he likes her, while the reader should be starting to think he's not all that. A fine line to walk.

I also e-mailed a bunch of publishers today to kick off the whole new "Kid's Book Central" thing. Got a pretty good reception, all in all.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm writing the type of book that I'm normally not all that fond of. Am I going for the easy, more marketable route when I could be doing something 'literary'? but then I come to my senses.

1) Writing is a business. If you can't sell books and write as a viable career, then it's just a hobby.

2) Even the most vaccuous 'popular' books have purpose and value, even if it is only that they encourage people to read. I'm not a particularly huge fan of Francine Pascal or R. L. Stine (the books have a mass-produced kind of feel usually -- I probably shouldn't be saying that, as a reviewer, but hey, it's true), but if even one kid loves their books and picks up another book, that's a great thing. And tons of kids are doing just that.

3) Literary doesn't necessarily mean something has merit. I'm still not convinced that Joyce's Ulysses has any value at all. If you can't even read the thing, what's the point? It's like there's a hoity-toity literary clique out there and they don't want to invite anyone else in. Exclusivity so they can all congratulate themselves and pat each other on the back. Not my favorite thing.

Alrighty. I guess I can step on off of that soapbox now. Not sure what bee went up my bonnet today.


I am determined to get through all the book submissions today. I'm up to the 'L's' and still have a long way to go, but I hate them hanging out there. I know, I know, I should work on my novel instead, but the books have been sitting there for over a week and it is driving me crazy. I've been doing about 20 a day, but then people keep submitting the total has only been going down by a few every day.

I'm hanging in the parlor again today, waiting for Mr. UPS to deliver some wine racks. We really need to get our doorbell fixed. Not that I mind being in the parlor. It's a good room. And there's the couch for me to nap on...

Wednesday I go back to the Dr. to see if he's going to take me off the meds or what. I'm not sure what I want, since my back/leg was killing me last night, so it's obvious I'm not completely better. It's almost like I've gotten too used to the pills and they aren't working as well now. Urgh.

Also need to clean house to get ready for Mom. We've already moved the guest bed from the (really warm) third floor to the second floor. We'll put the blow up bed in the office for Pam. Goodness knows there's enough room. I still want to get a daybed someday.


Hopefully I'll have some time to work on my book today after the site updates.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Getting into Gear

I got a late start today and I've got a HUGE list of to-do's. Gotta get my butt in gear. (digression: how exactly would one put a hypothetical posterior 'in gear' anyway?)
  • Clean up office
  • Laundry
  • Get allergy shots
  • Go to store and get cat food
  • Feed cats before they drive me insane
  • Programming and DB changes to support new Kid's Book section of the site (not going to be quite as easy as I thought before, sadly)
  • Add new reviewer's info to About This Site page
  • Contact publishers
  • Call Window Ninjas and reschedule
  • Take out the trash
  • Make the bed
  • Empty the dishwasher
  • Remember to eat something
  • Write, write, write

That's mostly it. There are some other things that I also need to do, but that's a start. I think I'm going to cheat a little on the new query I have to do for the site and take the cheater way out. It won't be perfect, but my skills are really rusty. And I don't feel like asking someone from my old team to help out. Heh, I'm not their manager anymore. Thank goodness. This is much more the life for me. I was meant to be a bohemian (albeit not an absinthe drinking one) typing away frantically as inspiration hits. Not that they weren't a great team. They were. I'm just w-a-y over inter-office politics and corporate shenanigans. Some people enjoy that stuff. I don't. Anyway, gotta run and get that butt in gear. Somehow.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

And it's hot, hot, hot

The air is out again. Again. This time it was the outside unit fan motor. I'm sick of being sweaty. The guy is working on it now (time window: 12 - 4...arrival time...4:05 PM) and will hopefully have it running again soon. I know old houses are supposed to be money pits, but geez, the air conditioner is only from 1996. Given that everything else is from 1893, you'd think we'd have a problem with something else for a change. But no....

Did get some writing in, though -- 23,276. And I got the prize books mailed out. So there's something. I need to work some more on getting books approved.

No TV for me

I was reading through some blogs (translation: I was avoiding cleaning the office) and came across some various stories about Natalee Holloway, discussions of U.S. press coverage, why Fox News is evil...etc., etc.

It all makes me glad that I really don't watch TV anymore.

We literally have only turned it on once since moving into the house, and that was just to check to make sure it was working. We're thinking about getting rid of our cable. We've just had too many other things to do: writing, reading, playing chess, eating family dinner, playing scrabble (geek alert), having company over, fixing up the house...

Not that I want to get completely out of touch (well, sometimes I do), I just don't want to be spoonfed the news. Not that the Internet sites are really much better - sometimes it seems like all news comes from the same source. But at least you have a chance to search around and find different view points, whether you agree with them or not.

And besides, most sitcoms nowadays are utter drivel. Whatever happened to good shows? Lordy, I sound like an old geezer, huh? "What's that you whippersnappers are watching these days?? Why, in my day, we had to trudge up hill three miles to even find a TV. And remotes! We didn't have no stinking remotes! But we had MASH! and Taxi!"

Wasted time

Tony set an alarm for me this morning (I asked him to). It was supposed to be for 9 AM, but he accidentally set it for 9 PM (I e-mailed him and went 'what, you didn't think I'd wake up by then??). So I woke up at 10 AM. An hour gone. Little bit of computer time, then I had to go bring my car in because the check engine light has been coming on every now and then. Sat and waited there, falling asleep in the waiting room, for about 3 hours. With travel time, 4 hours gone.

So not a very productive day.

Right now I'd rather be asleep, but Tony is playing chess with Brian and I'm working on the site. I'm trying to work through the massive amount of new books submitted and I need to start the programming changes to support the Kid's Book section. I'm going to have two reviewers. More on that some other time. I think it will be good. Hopefully the new query I have to write won't be too complex. I'm really out of practice. Last time I had to make a DB related change, I couldn't remember whether I was supposed to use = or eq or something else. God help me if I need to do a join.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Trends in YA Lit

There are definitely some new trends kicking off in YA lit:
  1. Guys with hair like brillo pads (10 Things to do Before I Die, Storky, and at least one other book I've read recently)
  2. Girls with hair that frizz in the heat (any book by Meg Cabot)
  3. Guys in high school dating older girls (Storky, Claws)

In all seriousness, it does seem like the diary format books have seen their hey-day. There are still some coming out (notably continuations of series), but nothing like before. Lots of 1st person books now. 3rd person seems scarce. The chick-lit trend continues, as does the mean girls trend. Some backlash from that = a small contingent of family-oriented, PG rated books (kind of nice to see). Interesting also to see the new crop of sci-fi stories, heavy on the inter-personal stuff and lighter on the science part.


Sometimes I feel like an introvert experiencing brief bouts of extrovert-ness. It's not that I don't like people, I just can't deal with anyone but Tony for long periods of time. They wear me out. B has been stopping by almost daily and it's getting to me a little bit. He's a real nice guy, and interesting, I just feel worn down by the effort of keeping up. Maybe it's just that I like quiet. He's pretty loud and expressive. Nothing intoverted or shy about him at all. Some of my favorite times are when it's just me and Tony sitting and reading together and not talking.

I suppose I just need to get over myself.

Starting today off with 22,100 words and a bunch of YA site stuff to review and approve: 15 authors, 215 books (!), and 25 reader reviews. And a long to-do list of household chores. Something's gotta slip and I'm thinking it'll be the laundry.

Monday, July 04, 2005

On a roll....

Yesterday was a pretty good writing day too. Up to 22,078 words, through the "turning" scene (decided on ceremonial with a little bit of humor as the way to go). And I fleshed out the outline some more. I'm really liking the characters. Not sure I'll get any writing done today, since we're having our neighbors over for barbecue -- we made some homemade sausage this morning and Tony's grilling them.

I'm so glad I started this novel instead of going back to Abigail and the Fairy Queen. Not that I think I was doing a horrible job on that, but it just didn't flow like this one is. I kept needing to change the plot because it started out as w-a-y too complex. This one has a relatively simple premise and it's just flowing. It's awesome. The first person thing is helping too. I'm just happy (!) with how my writing is going for once. Knock on wood. I don't want to jinx myself.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Broke the barrier

Turned into a good writing day, especially for a Saturday. Currently at 20,864 words. Broke the 20,000 barrier and then some. Good stopping point though. I've come to the "turning ceremony" and I have to decide whether it's going to be a) scary, b) boring, c) scary and funny, or d) plain funny. I'm not sure yet. I could go either way. I'll have to sleep on it.

Inspiration is not perspiration

Currently at 19,155. Going to write some today as Tony is playing chess and cooking some kind of French rabbit dish. Or maybe it's Italian.

Not a huge amount of writing yesterday, but I did write down my notes for the next scene on the back of an envelope. Should be a fun one. Uncle Mortie is taking Mina out on the town in his big yellow cadillac.

I posted on the YA Books Central Blog that I need a kids book reviewer (picture books, primarily). Hopefully I get some interest. One Over-Caffeinated Mom would be great for it, if she's interested (hint, hint). I may even use more than one reviewer. I've been getting in so many picture books lately. Maybe it's a celebrity backlash thing. You know, it's like -- hey, Maddona can do it, why can't I?

I'm just so glad we have air conditioning again. Yee-haw! I can think again.

Friday, July 01, 2005


I was catching up on some e-mail reading this morning. I subscribe to a number of things - many of which I hardly ever have time to read. Publisher's Lunch, Absolute Write, Kids & Librarians News...I can't even list them all. I save them and periodically browse through to see if there's anything I should read.

All of the newsletters targeted toward writers are full of "Learn the Secret to [insert any kind of writing type here]" Everyone is looking for the secret. The in.

There's no real secret.

You just have to write. And write, write, write. The more you write, the better you will get. And you have to finish things.

That's really it. There's no formula to success in this business. One person's road to success may or may not work for you. Some excellent writers will never achieve critical success while some mediocre writers will luck into the right time, right place and make the bestseller list. That's not to say that it is completely random or based on luck -- good writing will get you a lot farther than bad writing any day. And a writer today also has to be a publicist, a marketer (of themselves and of their book), a good public speaker...etc., etc.

Anyway, that's my soapbox for the day. I guess I just kind of get annoyed at all those classes and e-books people are selling to "help" others improve their writing. Basically, they are making a living out of selling hope. There's nothing wrong with hope and I'm sure those classes and things do help some people. But mostly I think they'd be better off just getting out there and writing. Any time you spend on other stuff just delays your ultimate goal in some ways. I mean, some research, etc. is necessary, but you shouldn't be doing 95% research and 5% writing.

Of course, I say this as I sit here typing in my blog instead of working on my novel. Heh. Okay, off to the salt mines I go. Currently at 18,465.