Posts

Showing posts from 2006

Goodbye, Christmas Tree

Well, the house is back to normal. The tree is outside and ready for the brush pile. The decorations have been taken down and stowed in the attic. My house looks much bigger with all that clutter gone. Although, I will miss the pretty lights at night just a wee little bit.

Things with the Christmas night situation have morphed into something bigger. Still no details I'm willing to share. Despite having my feelings hurt and my heart broken, I have no desire to hurt the other people involved. I'd really like nothing more than for an apology and life to go on as usual. But that's probably not going to happen.

On a happier note, we've made New Year's Eve plans. It looks like we're going out to dinner and hanging out at my cousin's house afterward. Nothing fancy but it should be enjoyable. We'll be spending the night with the same three couples we went to Las Vegas with a couple years ago.

During our little in-between-the-holidays vacation we've…

Merry Christmas...for the most part

This year has been an odd one. I usually love the holidays. I adore the twinkling lights, the colorful decorations, the tree, the baking and even the shopping. This year wasn't quite as magical as I normally find the Christmas season, though. My heart just wasn't in it.

I blame this partly on the snowless landscape and partly on the fact that my dad's house, the one I grew up in, is in foreclosure. Things started getting bad a few months back when he retired. I'm not sure who is at fault--my dad or GM--but checks didn't start coming right away. In fact, I believe the first retirement check was almost seven weeks overdue. By then Dad was way behind on all of his bills. Once the checks made a reappearance it was too late. He couldn't get caught up. So the three bedroom ranch went into forclosure and went up for auction on December 22. My dad has no idea if it sold because he didn't go to the courthouse; my dad said the bank will send him some kind …

Vacationing

So I've been on vacation since Tuesday afternoon. I went in to work that morning for a few hours and then went to the office Christmas party at my boss's house. Afterwards, my week and a half vacation started. It's been both hectic and relaxing.

I've gotten nearly all my wrapping done - I plan on finishing today. I've made the DVD for my dad (no worries about him reading this because he doesn't have a computer) and I'm nearly done with one of the scrapbook pages for his book; my goal is to get four pages done by tonight. Once those are done, I'll be ready for the party tomorrow. I may take down my little TV and a DVD player to my basement craft room so I can watch movies while I scrapbook.

What else have I done? I got my haircut. It was grossly overdue. I think I had five pounds of split-ends weighing me down. I'm not sure how well the cut is going to curl because my girl wasn't available and desperation led me to an unknown salon. It feels better…

At a Snail's Pace

Yeah, that's pretty much exactly how I feel about the progress I'm making on Redemption's Path. It's slow going, my friends. I think I need to print it off and read it. No corrections allowed. Just a quick check for continuity.

But I'm afraid I won't be able to resist the inner editor. Or critic. So I've been typing one stubborn word after the other, wondering how much I've botched.

Not Making Progress

I should have kept my mouth shut about how proud I was of myself for writing every day. Every day!

I didn't even open the WIP last night. Or the night before that.

Today at lunch (an hour insted of the normal 1/2 hour) I thought I'd get something accomplished. Yeah. Right. My laptop has decided to be a total pain in the ass and won't let me do anything. I'm not sure what its problem is, but it's pissing me off. Every time I open the WIP it locks up the machine.

Can you say "annoying"?

However, I was able to at least save the damn file and transfer it to the desktop here at work. I might be able to get something done before it's time to open the door and reenter the working world.

Wish me luck!

Christmas Meme

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Both!

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Wrapped. Even the tiny gifts in the stocking are individually wrapped.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Multi-colored in the house (including the tree), white & blue icicles on the house.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Nope.

5. When do you put your decorations up? We usually get the tree the first weekend in December.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Christmas cookies made using my step-mom's recipe. They're so fluffy and light.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child: There were five of us kids. Every year I would wake up my brother, BJ, and we'd get the coffee and hot chocolate made before waking up our Dad and step-mom. Many years we knocked on their door before 5 am. They never complained. Not once. I think that is one of my favorite memories: me and my brother making coffee and hot chocolate in near darkness.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I don&#…

Making Progress

I'm feeling rather proud of myself. I've been steadily writing on the Christmas gift project. A little bit every day. Not the 3000 I need, but something. Even when I'm not updating the blog with a new post I am updating the word meter in the sidebar.

It's going to be a busy weekend but I figure I should be able to break the 25,000 mark if I stick to it.

Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Writing

Thanksgiving went pretty well. We went to my mom's house this year. It was quite the gathering. There were 9 adults and 9 children. We had three tables spread throughout the house--the dining room table for the adults, a folding table for the teens, and a picnic table for the little ones. Mom made the turkey and most of the sidedishes and desserts. I brought toss salad and cherry cobbler. and my sister brought the corn.

Mom didn't seem her usual self but I think that might have a lot to do with the stress of raising teenagers. I've heard some pretty interesting (as in disturbing) stories about what she's going through with the oldest girl right now. None of these have been confirmed by my mom but I imagine in time I'll hear all about it. There really wasn't any privacy on Thanksgiving day so we could chat.

I should take my mom out to dinner sometime soon. Just to give her break from the kids.

I would have invited her to go shopping with us on Black Friday but she …

Temptation

I know I need to write every night right now. That Christmas gift project is always in the back of my mind. Each day it grows bigger and my confidence in completing the rough draft grows smaller. I'm not overwhelmed yet, but it won't be long if I don't get busy and stay that way!

Yet, I'd rather be scrapbooking. The photos call to me, luring me away from my computers to dabble in the basement with paper and embellishments. Not to mention all the very cool supplies I've accumulated over the last eight years. The creative potential is endless.

Still. I know I need to write. So right now I'm dancing with temptation. I'm trying to satisfy the scrapbooker and writer inside me.

Tonight I started out scrapping but guilt drove me from my scrappin' space to the laptap and the story I've promised to my sister-in-law. While this sounds good, I really didn't make any progress. I don't even think I added a sentence. But at least I had it open, right? That&#…

Perspective

Writing workshops can be a study in perspective. Over the last ten years I've participated in community writers' groups, academic creative writing classes, and online critique groups. I've read my novels aloud, one chapter at a time, to perfect strangers. I've shared poems and short stories with classmates. I've entrusted my word docs to my online crit partners, just as they've trusted me with theirs. Each experience has been worthwhile and enlightening. Not to mention occassionally annoying.

One of my most vivid memories from my first writers group is the night I was told with my level of skill I should be writing something more worthwhile than romance novels. The gentleman who told me this said it with such a tone of condemnation. I don't remember saying anything--I was rather young then and hadn't quite developed my current attitude. I think I may have laughed, rather unconfortably. After all, it was a backhanded compliment. He wasn't telling me I…

Date Night

Friday night we had a sitter stay at the house so the hubby and I could go out to eat and watch a movie. Dinner was pretty good. My steak would have been better if the first five bites wouldn't have been full of gristle and fat. The only saving grace really was the cheese and slices of portabella mushrooms smothered across the top of it. Ken's dinner was much better. Very tender and very flavorful.

After dinner we drove over the movie theatre to see what movies were playing and at what time. There were two we were interested in. I was more inclined to see a comedy, yet I was willing to let him pick out the movie. He insisted I pick it out. So I did. I thought the new Will Farrell movie would be funny so we bought the tickets for the 10:00 o'clock show.

Left with lots of time to spare (almost two hours) we decided to go shopping. Or at least window browsing. We drove up the road to the mall and walked around Dunham's until it closed at 9:00.

One hour until showtime.

Since w…

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Ken and I met with the boys' teachers on Wednesday night. First, we had the Kindergartener. After arriving way too early and sitting in the hall on teeny, tiny chairs for too long, we were ushered into the classroom. The boys sat on a chair nearby while Ken and I went over the little guy's report card with his beloved teacher.

I'm happy to report the little guy is doing great! He still has a few things he needs to work on, mind you, but nothing worth worrying over. He's already learned quite a few of the sight words he needs to memorize and he's doing well in math and such. The only thing he really needs to focus on is learning to identify his letters. Yep. He can recognize words but not letters...it's weird.

The third grader did not fare so well. In fact, he seems to be failing EVERYTHING. The only good mark he received was in math: problem solving. Can't do simple addition and subtraction, but he can problem solve. Right now the school uses a …

Going Beta

I switched from my old Blogger account to the new beta version. The only thing I'm not liking is the header. I got an image loaded into it but it doesn't like the html code for tables. Oh, well. At least I have labels (aka post categories)!

I'm Writing

I have three stories I'm working on at the moment. One of them is a short story I wrote yesterday for my creative writing class at the University. Another is the collaboration with my sister, Chrissy, which is shaping up into a paranormal historical romance. The last of my WIPs is my vampire romance.

The short story came together in an hour's time. I don't like the ending but I already have a few ideas on how to modify it into something more short-storyish. True to my writing nature, I didn't finish things, just left them hanging. It's not the best thing I've written, but let's be honest, short stories are NOT my thing. Never have been. Probably never will be. I write them for class and as writing challenges but never because I feel inspired to write something short.

The second story--the collab--needs a lot attention. My sister has had time to play with this concept for years. I'm coming to it a little more green behind the ears. I told her I'd come …

NewNovelist Update

If you've been a visitor here for any length of time, you know I use a writing program called NewNovelist to help keep me organized. While I really liked the program right from the beginning there was room for improvement. I guess I wasn't the only one who thought so. I received an email a couple days ago alerting me to an available upgrade. Geek that I am, I bought it.

It was worth the $44 dollars. 100% worth it! Features I wished it had are now available. I'm not sure I'll stop using Microsoft Word as my main word processing program but for the first time I feel it could become a possibility.

Here are some of the key upgrade features I'm lovin' right now:
*I can upload pictures on character profiles.
*I can upload pictures on place (location) profiles.
*It has spellcheck. Finally!
*From within the program I can access my
internet explorer favorites for easy reference.
*From within the program I can access folders
on my harddrive directly related to the story I'm
wo…

Halloween Party II

This weekend went by much too quickly. As usual. It seems every weekend this month has been booked. Over the last few weekends we've had two Halloween parties, a couple of football games, campground trick-or-treating, a Whirley Ball event, and I can't even remember what else.

This weekend the hubby and I attended the second party of the month. My cousin and his girlfriend (someday she'll be his wife...I have no doubt!) had their second annual Halloween party. This means most of my family was in attendance. My dad and his girlfriend. My brothers. My Sisters. My sisters-in-law. My brother-in-law. My sister's boyfriend (who we really, really like). Cousins. Aunts. An Uncle. And a few friends tossed in here and there. I would post pictures but...

wait for it..

I forgot my camera! Yes, it's true. I forgot my camera. I know, I can't believe it either.

I'm hoping my cousin remembers to send me the pictures through e-mail like she promised. (If you're reading this,…

Sick

It's that time of year again, folks. The kids and hubby have all gotten sick and now it seems to be my turn. I don't know what this is but my back and legs ache and my head feels two sizes too big. Yet, there's no snot or congestion. And I haven't lost my breakfast, lunch or dinner. I am extrememly exhausted. All the time.

Bleh.

Halloween Party Pictures

Image
Click on the album below.


Eric and Amy's Halloween Party

A Valley Full of Praise

Image
Awhile back I received an ARC of Tamara Siler Jones's Valley of the Soul, scheduled for release on October 31, 2006. Before I get to my reaction to this latest edition, let me just say how appropriate that date is for this particular author! A Halloween debut is perfect for this latest addition in the Dubric Byerly series.

Now, I don't want to give anything away because I really want you to go out and buy this book. It's fast-paced, exciting, and a tad bit disturbing. Just the way I like my Dubric books.

Of course, if you know me at all, you'll know my attraction to these books isn't really rooted in the plot or the setting. I'm all about the characters. If I care about them, I'll follow anywhere they lead. In her first book, Tam introduced the cranky but honorable Dubric Byerly, a castle castellan who has been cursed by a goddess his dead wife once served. The goddess punishes him for his crime by forcing him to see the ghosts of the murdered men, women and …

Weekend in the Rain

Image
This past weekend the family went camping. We packed the boys' halloween outfits and enough candy to feed a small army. I even went so far as to borrow outdoor decorations from my in-laws. I wanted to make sure our campsite screamed Halloween. After all, campground trick-or-treating is a wonderous thing not just because of all the candy and the costumed children, but because people decorate their sites and truly give off the Halloween vibe.

I don't know if you've ever done it or not, but Halloween camping is the best. The kids absolutely adore it. Not only is there costumes and candy, there's spook walks and hayrides. Does it get much better?

Well, it might have been better if it wouldn't have rained all day Saturday. Although we camped with several other families, we were all trapped inside our campers the majority of the day. Although I must admit there was a lot of camper hopping. The adults would skip from camper to camper, checking on their offspring no…

The Usual

Hello! It's almost my bedtime but I thought I'd take a minute or two to post. I really don't have anything significant to say. Life is its usual chaos. Work, school, kids, hubby, housework...

Okay, so I still need to do the dishes. I really thought having a dishwasher would make doing the dishes less of a chore, but I was wrong. I still hate doing them. The only bonus is I don't have to submerge my hands in sudsy water anymore. Just scrape, pre-rinse and load.

There are so many other things I'd rather do than the dishes. For instance, I'd really like to scrapbook tonight. I've got that urge. I told my sister it must be the weather. She thought it might be possible because she's been feeling the same urge. It's scary when you start daydreaming about stickers, cardstock, patterned paper, stamps, and diecuts. Yep, I've got it bad.

Sitting in front of me is a pile of zoo pictures from my son's last trip with the daycare. When I typ…

testing new google tool

Image
I just added some photos to Picasa's web album. Click on the link below to view some recent photos of our little family.

This and That Jul 13, 2006 - 10 Photos

Inspiration

Writers are often asked about their sources of inspiration. Of course, as writers are as different and unique as snowflakes, inspiration occurs in various ways and at various times. Some of us find we do our best thinking first thing in the morning. Others discover burning the midnight oil is the key to unlocking their muse. Some find the quiet of the road, the splatter of the shower, or the insane chaos of a mall can spark ideas.

I think, though, the truth is all writers find inspiration everywhere and in everything around them.

Take a recent experience I had a week or so ago. While brainstorming ideas I was listening to the radio. A song came on that I've heard a hundred times. Maybe more. As I was singing along (yes, you'd want to cover your ears), the song's story popped into my head. Not the lyrics, but a story. This one came complete with a character and conflict. As the song ended the story unfolded, revealing a never before glimpsed history. What I find …

The Collab

My sister, Chrissy, and I have talked about writing a collaborative story for years. We both like to write and we both have different strengths. She's got the kick-ass imagination and I have a firm grasp on the essential elements of craft. Not that my imagination sucks...just that her ideas seem very fresh in comparison to my own. Thus, it's always been my thought that between the two of us, we should be able to come up with something neither of us would be able to write on our own. Something good. Maybe even great.

Well, we're about to put that theory to the test. We've been exchanging emails for the last week or so trying to figure out what story we could both see ourselves writing. In the end we went with one of her ideas. I'm not going to be able to tell you very much about it but I can say it's a historical romance with a touch of the paranormal. I think it's also safe to bet it's going to be set in medieval England in the era of the Black Death.

I&#…

A Quick Update

It's just about bedtime. I have to be up ridiculously early tomorrow morning if I want to get the kids to the bus stop on time, so this update is going to be brief.

It was a busy weekend. As usual.

My oldest son had his first football game on Saturday. I arrived just in time to hear his name announced over the loud speakers. I wish I could tell you I stayed in the stands despite the cool temps and misty rain. I didn't, though. I had promised to act as the photographer for my sister-in-law's siter's wedding. I got a phone call saying it was time to meet up with the bride while I was driving to the game, which meant I had to leave the football field almost as soon as I arrived. After the wedding I called my husband and asked how the little man did. Daddy wasn't happy. Apparently the coach only played our boy for a few minutes--8 plays or thereabouts. I guess that's what happens when your child doesn't have an aggressive bone in his body--he gets to sit on the …

My pounding head..

I have a killer headache tonight. It feels like sinus trouble. Oh, lucky me. Maybe I'll get lucky and it'll disappear by morning. I doubt it, but it can't hurt to hope.

I have some really cute pictures of my little guy on his first day of Kindergarten but I'm too lazy to leave the laptop and boot up the desktop PC where those pictures now live. You'll have to wait for pictures of His Cuteness.

I'd write more but looking at this screen is killing my eyes.

I think I'm falling apart.

Quote

"We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to." - W. Somerset Maugham

Tigers vs. Mariners

Image
On Labor Day my husband and I surprised our two boys with a trip to Comerica Park in Detroit. On the long roadtrip my oldest son guessed every sport except baseball, which kept us from having to ruin the surprise before we pulled into the parking lot across from the park entrance. When we finally told them we were going to watch the Tigers play baseball they were all smiles. The smiles even lasted through the half-hour wait outside the gates.

When we finally got through the gates and into the park the boys each received a free t-shirt. We then manuevered our way down the stands toward the field where the Tigers were having batting practice. Even though our seats were up in far left corner of the stadium there was no one to keep us from walking down the bleachers toward the field.

As we were making our way up toward the food court my youngest stops me and asks, "Mom, where are the tigers with the four legs and teeth? I thought they were playing baseball."

Oh, how I laughed. …

Putting in a Plug

Want to add a personal touch to your gifts? How about sending an extra-special card to a good friend who lives far away? Maybe it's just time to send out the Christmas cards. Whatever the occassion, Homemade by Victoria has just the card you need. If you don't see what you need, email the owner and she'll create to your specifications.

In addition to handmade cards ($1.50 apiece in most cases), Homemade By Victoria also has some tempting extras for scrapbookers. Page toppers and tags round out the available stock of this new online business.

Writer Humor

If you're in the mood for some writer humor, you may want to bounce on over to this post on Maureen Johnson's blog.

Very cute.

Read This Post

First, let me say Blogger can be a real pain in the ass.

Second, go read this post Tamara Siler Jones made on her blog today. It's about why some writers feel the need to tear down and destroy the confidence of their compatriots. I don't understand the need but I've been treated to glimpses of such ruthlessness. It's never pretty and I'm certain it's never really necessary.

Some writers will try to say they're only trying to help, but often their help is wrapped in a surge of negative energy a paperclip could pick up on. Learning to avoid these personalities is key to survival.

If you've ever been treated to the harsh end of a pitiless critique, chin up, my friend. You're not nearly as bad as that person made you think you were. Every word you write, every sentence you compose, teaches you something more of your craft. Above all, keep writing!

As Promised

Image
I have pictures of our new camper to share with you. I took them this weekend while we were camping and after we got home. Of course, our maiden voyage wasn't smooth sailing. We discovered a major water leak in the bathroom; once Ken tightened down the clamps under the sink that little problem was resolved. Still, I'm sure you can imagine the panic I felt when my sister-in-law pointed out a rivlet of water traversing its way from the bathroom toward the entertainment center at the far end of the camper.







I'm not sure if you can get a good idea of just how much room there is inside this little darlin' but it's very spacious for a camper. I love the floor plan. There are bunk beds for the boys. A table and sofa that make into beds if necessary. The entertainment center holds two TVs--the one you can see in the picture and another in one of the cupboards overhead that opens into the "master bedroom". Our bedroom has wooden panels that slide out to allow p…

New Images

If you have nothing better to do, I have posted a couple of new pictures on Art Zone. My favorite is Kieren. I wanted to use her character in several settings but I screwed something up and failed to save her properly.

Busy, busy, busy.

I feel as if I'm in hyperdrive. There's just so much that needs to be done. The everyday chores, the last minute tasks. They never end. As soon as I think I'm caught up, I realize there's a half dozen things I should be doing.

I did take a few minutes this morning to upload some recent pictures to Flickr. If you care to look, you'll find pictures from our boat trip. It was lovely and fun and I'm so glad we went. I haven't had a more relaxing break this summer. I only hope we'll be invited back next year.

I also updated the ipod. That's good, right? I thought so, too.

I have not written anything. Nor have I revised a single sentence. Yes, I know this means I suck. I realize this. I claim no exuse in my defense other then...hello! busy! And you can't begrudge me an hour of television before bed; I can't sleep after I write because my silly brain refuses to shut down after being so stimulated.

Just Checking In

Howdy! I've been MIA lately thanks to work and kids and the hubby. Another reason would be the new travel trailer we just purchased.

Somebody stop me! I'm out of control! No more spending. I'm going to go bankrupt. LOL

In all seriousness, this is something Ken and I have wanted to buy for several years now but couldn't afford to because of the insane cost of daycare. Now that the little man is starting kindergarten (~sniff) in a couple weeks we won't be paying full price for daycare anymore. I know. We should be putting the money we're going to be saving into the bank but like I said, we really want this for the family.

Camping is big in Ken's family. (I'm working on making it big in mine.)

I'll try to post pics in the next day or so.

A Kingly Moment

Image
While in Maine it's hard not to think of the master storyteller, Stephen King. If you've read any of his books, you know how many of his stories are set in his native state. Of course, considering how large the state is I doubted I'd run into him. Still, I must admit I thought of him once or twice.

I know his wife is also a writer, but I have to admit I hadn't given her much thought until I happened to stumble across her at a book signing in Sherman's Bookstore in Bar Harbor. Now I don't usually buy hardcover books because I find them unweildy and more than a tad bit pricey, but temptation got the better of me for once. I picked up a copy of Candles Burning and paid for it before approaching the author for a signature. Not only did she sign the book, she even agreed to a picture! Very gracious.


On the way home I finally got a chance to begin reading the book, which is a collaboration of sorts between Tabitha King and the late Michael McDowell. It's a ghost st…

Pictures of Maine

Image
A pretty lighthouse as seen from the tour boat out of Bass Harbor, Maine.

My Aunt and her granddaughter. I really posted this picture so you see the rocky shoreline, though. Isn't it gorgeous?


Family Photo from Within Acadia National Park. One of the very first stops after the Visitor's Center.

A somewhat sandy beach. You can see the rocky shoreline behind us, though.


My son caught this huge snapping turtle while fishing off the
dock right in front of our cabin. Freaky as this is, it was made worse
by the fact the kids had been swimming just on the other side of the dock.

The Little Man and His First Starfish

Image

Iris

Image

From My New Rose Bush

Image

According to the Stars....

Cancer:
Astrological researchers have found that the Moon, the ruler of Cancer, is prominent in the charts of the great writers of our time. This year, with Jupiter in Scorpio, the stars support your projects, lift your spirits, and line your wallet.

Taken from Astrology for Writers, Editors and Filmmakers

Parties

Well, it's done. We successfully pulled off two parties on Saturday. It was crazy and a little bit chaotic for the host and hostess (that would be the hubby and me), but it was also a lot of fun.

First we held a small "Meet the Baby" baby shower for my sister's firstborn son. Christian is now 5 weeks old and hardly weighs anything at all. He's only gained a few ounces and is all arms and legs. I have a feeling he may turn out like his daddy, tall and thin!

Although there were more people at the baby shower than I had anticipated, there were still too many missing family members. I had one person call with a legitimate reason for not showing up--I wouldn't have missed my kid's playoff game either. The rest of the family just kind of sucks. There's a whole history of treating my brothers and sisters like this. Sometimes I'd really like to say, "Hello--Not our fault our parents divorced and the rest of you are too damn immature to get ov…

What a Weekend

I realize it's Friday and this weekend will be starting in just a few short hours but the title of this post refers to last weekend.

We were scheduled to leave Saturday around noon to go camping so I thought it wouldn't be a big deal to allow my oldest son to have a guest Friday night and my youngest son to go spend the evening with his cousin. In all honesty, it wasn't a big deal. Our house guest was incredibly well-behaved and well-mannered (kudos to his parents!). My youngest son had a blast at a bonfire complete with fireworks and marshmellows.

After taking our house guest home and picking up our youngest and our nephew, we left the house on Saturday by 11:30. A whole half hour ahead of schedule! Miracles do happen.

I had asked to take my nephew with us because he's going through a rough time with his parents' divorce and I was hoping the trip would help distract him. I must admit I was a bit nervous about taking this extra little person with us but all w…

I'm Losing My Mind

It's official. We all knew it was coming, and now it's here. I've lost my freakin' mind.

My memory has always been questionable. I can remember the most bizarre details and facts, but not what I had for dinner yesterday. I'd like to say this has always been true but I honestly can't remember. Maybe once upon a time I remembered not only the bizzare and unwanted things but those things I deemed truly important.

In the last week I have forgotten three major events. Not things, people. Events! I missed two open houses last weekend. And, no, I didn't blow them off. I truly, honestly, sincerely FORGOT! Okay, so both of them were on the same day and it stands to reason if I was going to forget one of them, I would forget both. Now I might have been able to shrug this unfortunate "oops" off if the lastest instance of senility hadn't happened less than a week later.

My nephew, who is adorable beyond words and I just love to pieces, had a …

Still revising

Okay, so the line edits were a breeze. It stands to reason, then, the actual revision would take a bit more time and attention, right? Right! The good news is I think I've managed to redo the opening chapter without forgetting to re-introduce any of the necessary threads I had felt compelled to cut.

As I progress through the novel I'm discovering I really loved the word "was" during the rough draft stage. It seems as if every other sentence needs to be slightly restructured in order to do away with the unnecessary "was"es. Fun, fun! Not that I'm a purist. I will admit I've left in a few here and there.

Something else slowing down my progress is my desire to create a nice and tidy NewNovelist file for the final revision and polish. This organization, while painful now, will become a lifeline to my sanity when I begin writing the sequel. So many little details have escaped my memory. Taking the time to not just read them but to extract them an…

Edits done.

It took me two days to get through the grammar and clarification corrections on Return of the Fallen. I expected to take a bit longer, but I'll manage I'm sure.

So now I'm onto the revisions. I'm cutting scenes, adding words, and praying what I'm writing makes sense. If I leave out something important the whole story will fall apart. Threads will unravel. This makes me more than a little nervous, but I'm pushing myself to keep going.

Editing

Minor Annoucement: The book formerly known as Dragonborn will henceforth be referred to by its newest title, Return of the Fallen.

There. Now that that's out of the way I can get onto the writing news. I am editing RotF. My beta reader, Brenda, has given me her electronic and manuscript notations. I have already worked my way through 100 pages, which leaves approximately 450 more to go.

I must admit I'm feeling pretty pleased with my little self right now. I have a plan and plans are good! I intend to fix all the little grammar issues first, clarifying where necessary without adding or deleting too much. I expect this will take the rest of the week--she really didn't find too many errors (thanks to all the wonderful critiques I had from my crit partners at FM & the Mighty Quill).

Once the simple fixes are taken care of I will then address the two major aspects of this revision. The beginning needs to be strengthened. The action needs to be tighter, more fa…

Updates

The Dog: Came racing down the driveway as I pulled in Friday night. Didn't even need the hubby's magical voice to bring the little darling home. Funniest thing...she was clean! Someone had bathed her. She's so fluffy and soft right now.

Christian: I made a trip out to see my newest little nephew yesterday. He's so darn tiny! I can't believe my oldest son was the exact same birth weight. It seems impossible to reconcile the 8 year old giant with the tiny, frail infant I held in my arms.

Writing: rotflmao. I'm hoping to get back to it sometime this week.

Scrapbooking Gift: Completed and delivered to the lucky grad. Damn, am I ever grateful to have that thing out of my hair.

TGIF

Seriously. You have no idea...

I've been doing the single mom act all week because the hubby has been in Chicago attending a conference. I really don't care for the single parent act. I don't know how people who have no choice but to be a single parent do it. I think we should award each and every one an award for heroism. Because seriously, it's a lot of work. It's exhausting. It's time-consuming. It's difficult. And that's just scratching the surface.

The boys had five games between the two of them this week. My Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings were consumed by cleats, baseball bats, gloves, and rushed dinners. Last night was made even more exciting by having to have my oldest son to the field 45 minutes early for pictures.

None of this would have been so bad if I wouldn't have had offered to make a scrapbook for my co-worker's daughter. She just graduated from High School and the Open House is this weekend. Of course, I did…

Nephew #10

Image
Well, it's a boy! This means I now have 8 nephews from my side of the family and 10 nephews overall. It's so funny when you consider my parents have 10 grandsons and 1 granddaughter.

Christian Alexander was born last night at 11:16 pm. He weighed 7lbs, 6oz and was 20 1/2 inches long. He has a fair amount of light bown hair and an impressive set of lungs.

My sister's blood pressure was dangerously high (195/120 I think I remember her Mom telling me), which is why they decided they couldn't continue to let nature take its course. Although she was contracting, she wasn't really making any progress and the doctor didn't want to mess around with the blood pressure issue.

By the time I got to the hospital she was already in surgery. I kept my brother-in-law, James, company until the rest of the troops began to arrive. Sarah (my cousin and good friend of my sister's), and my dad and his fiance had a little bit of a wait but not much. Within 20 minutes som…

She's in Labor!

My baby sister is finally having her baby! It's about time, too. She's looked ready to pop for several weeks now.

Of course the baby doesn't seem to be rushing out to meet any of us. It seems content to move at its own maddening pace, which is somewhat faster than a snail. The contractions are slight and not doing much. The only reason they admitted her to the hospital was because of Chrissy's blood pressure. It's been high on and off for a few weeks. Since the baby is due tomorrow, the doctor seems to be willing to move things along regardless of the baby's wishes. If the contractions don't strengthen and begin dilating her cervix, there will be pitocin.

I'll keep you posted. Hopefully I'll have pictures of my newest neice or nephew to post very soon!

Sports

Image
The boys have finished the soccer season. They played their last matches nearly a week ago.



Unfortunately, the baseball/t-ball season has just begun. We have games nearly every night during the week. My oldest son plays on Mondays and Wednesdays with the occassional Friday thrown in for good measure. If my youngest played on Tuesdays and Thursdays only, this might not be such a bad thing. But you know it doesn't work that way. Oh, no. Of course not.

At least we'll get a break during the month of July. There's not a single sport we can sign them up for; football doesn't start until mid-August. Thank goodness!

Elementary School Idol

Last night my second grader won third place for his performance in his class's version of American Idol. The kids were all partnered up with a classmate. KC and Alex sang (okay, so they danced more than they sang) One Little Slip by the Bare Naked Ladies; it's a song off the Chicken Little soundtrack.

I truly think KC earned the 3rd place award. He did a couple handstands, a few slides, the worm, and a flip or two. Oh, how the crowd clapped and hooted and hollered.

I'm glad I used the videocamera sparingly, though, because my batteries ran out seconds after KC and Alex accepted their award. If I had videotaped all of the kids and not just my own, I would have missed it!

WIP Update

I did manage to work on By the Blood this weekend. I didn't really add much to it, though, because once again I got mired in the opening paragraphs. I'm hoping what I came up with last night will pass the next inspection; I'm tired of second- and triple-guessing myself.

I can tell you what the problem is. The story is set in a psuedo-Ancient Egyptian world. I've done lots of research. Although, let's be honest, can you ever really research enough? Someone somewhere will nitpick the smallest details. I think I may have to put a nice little author's note at the beginning of the manuscript. Something along the lines of "While many elements in this story may resemeble Ancient Egyptian culture, landscape, and beliefs, this story is a piece of fiction and pure fantasy. It is not meant to be used for scholarly purposes. For accurate portrayals of the Ancient Egyptians, please seek reference books available at your local bookstore or library."

Eve…

Beta Reader Update

My beta reader for Dragonborn emailed me last week. She's given up on reading it on screen, which means she printed off all 500+ pages. Ouch.

It sounds like I will eventually get some feedback. In fact, she's worried I will be offended or put off by what she has to say. I doubt it. I'm no longer attached to the story and I know it needs a major overhaul.

Funny Video Clip

Okay, I don't do this often but I really got a few good chuckles out of this little gem. If you've seen Star Wars (the originals), you may find this funny, too.

Video Clip

Television

American Idol

I'm done watching the show for this season.

I still can't believe Chris was voted off. He was by far my favorite and one of the most talented, IMO. Okay, and he wasn't bad looking either, but that's not why I thought he deserved to say. The boy can sing. And he has presence. And I love the whole rocker thing he had going on.

Despite being voted off, I expect to see Chris signed to a label. He's simply too good to disappear.


Grey's Anatomy

What a season finale! While I found it a tad bit unrealistic (okay, a majorly unrealistic--the hospital would have fired all of them for what happened), I still enjoyed the drama.

Poor Izzy. Although I totally expected her to leave the show, I still feel for her character. To finally find a man who loves you not for your big boobs and blonde hair (her words, not mine), only to lose him to a blood clot. That's bitter. Even if her quitting the medical field seemed an emotional response rather than a logical one, you …

A Surprising Find

I had to work today. The University held an openhouse meant to draw in non-traditional students (basically anyone not right out of high school). With all the pending layoffs and buy-outs in the automotive industry, there's a huge target audience in our backyard. Unfortunately, I guess no one got the memo. Hardly anyone showed up.

On the upside, this meant I got to leave early. I got my hair cut. Bought Mother's Day gifts for my mom and mother-in-law. Grabbed some lunch.

While I was doing my shopping I couldn't resist buying a little something for myself. They had a discount counter at the Christian Bookstore. There were quite a few fiction titles, so I treated myself. Now, I don't read a lot of Christian fiction, but that's mainly because there aren't many titles on the shelves where I shop. It's rare I find the time to visit an actual bookstore.

I'll have to let you know what I think of Gideon's Dawn. The back cover sounded interesting e…

Lunch-Hour Writing

Life has been so busy lately I've resorted to lugging my laptop back and forth to work just so I can write on my lunch hours. Over the last few days I've opened and closed so many unfinished, half-thought-out stories. I can't even keep count of how WIPs I've looked at. Today, though, I finally got my act together and opened By the Blood.

The beginning was rougher than I had remembered so I spent most of the hour smoothing things out. Deleting and inserting. Rearranging.

I can't even tell you how good it felt to be writing! For a few brief moments, I was me. I was doing what I love and escaping from the daily grind. For those of you who don't write, you may not understand that place, that exact emotion or cognitive awareness. For those of you who do, I have not a single doubt you know what I'm talking about. Those days when the writing, despite it's imperfection, is a blessing.

Of course, lunch hours never last long enough and I didn't acco…
Image

Graduation Day

Image
Today Gage graduated from pre-school. Isn't he too cute for words? You should have seen the little skit they put on for us. It was adorable, as only 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds can be.

Going Out

I know I haven't posted here in quite some time, so I thought I'd take a minute or two to say hello. I can't stick around for very long because I need to throw in a load of laundry before the hubby gets home from his haircut.

We're going out tonight! We don't do it very often, thus the exclamation point. Tonight we're dropping the boys off with a sitter and picking up our best friends. I'm not sure where we'll eat. I'm happy with Taco Bell but I imagine we'll go somewhere a bit more upscale. You know those places were you get to sit down and a waitress comes to your table? Yeah, one of those.

After dinner we plan on heading to the theater. We're going to see Mission Impossible 3. I'm not really expecting to be blown away (ha!), so I imagine I'll be pleasantly entertained. After all, low expectations are so easy to meet.

Okay. Time for laundry.

Later!

The Cause of Creativity

I was taking an ice cream break and came across PBW's entry on hypergraphia, which is an uncontrollable urge to write. Apparently the term became prominent after a Harvad neurologist fell victim to a pressing need to write. Her research led her to the discovery of how the brain functions during the creative process.

I don't know about you, but I find this whole concept fascinating. So much so, I've actually ordered Flaherty's book, The Midnight Disease.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not self-diagnosing here. I don't believe I suffer from this particular pathology. Sometimes I must write, especially if I want to remain civil and happy, but I can resist the urge. I can force myself to focus on my other responsiblities. I'm not so sure a true suffer of hypergraphia could say as much.

However, there are a few writers out here in cyberland in think could be suffering from this affliction. I've always wondered how they've churned out book after book…

Loss of Direction

That's the title of the short story I'm working on right now. It's the final project for my Creative Writing class and it's due next Tuesday. I intend to turn it in on Monday. I'm either going to work on it tonight or Sunday; Saturday is out of the question.

The story is about a dryad who has been displaced from her grove. She's not simply lost. She's been yanked out of her world and dumped into ours. The story has the potential to become a novel, so it's been a struggle to scale down the scope to a single moment in time and make it feel "complete". I've gotten some great feedback from Gail and the story has already improved dramatically.

Once this story is complete I will begin working seriously on my WIPs. It's funny how writing steadily actually makes you want to keep writing. I'm actually anxious to get this short story completed so I can start working on By the Blood.

Not sure what this means...

But I got the link to the test from Tambo and thought I'd give my blog a run through the thing.

Here's the results:

The following table contains the readability results for http://krista225.blogspot.com/.

Reading Level Results Summary Value
Total sentences 132
Total words 383
Average words per Sentence 2.90
Words with 1 Syllable 230
Words with 2 Syllables 79
Words with 3 Syllables 58
Words with 4 or more Syllables 16
Percentage of word with three or more syllables 19.32%
Average Syllables per Word 1.63
Gunning Fog Index 8.89
Flesch Reading Ease 65.61
Flesch-Kincaid Grade 4.83

Does this mean my blog is hard to read? That's not good! Reading ease at 65% doesn't seem like a good number. I'll need to read up some more on what these results mean and get back to you. :)

My Boys

Image
100_4289,
originally uploaded by krista225. Look how big they are!

Sit pretty!

Image
100_4284,
originally uploaded by krista225. Brittney's gotten a little chubby and doesn't like to work as hard for her treats anymore. Doesn't stop the boys from trying!

The boys & Brittney

Image
100_4280,
originally uploaded by krista225.

Getting Feedback

For my writing class we're supposed to write a short story in 16 pages or less. My rough is currently 15 pages. The only problem with it is that it reads more like a chapter than a short story. I need to figure out how to rework it. I suppose printing it off and grabbing a red pen would be helpful.

Know what else would be helpful? Feedback from my critique group. Only one person has actually provided comments so far.

Some Interesting News

The Sigma Tau Delta Critical and Creative Writing Conference will be held at the University this Spring. When they advertised a Call for Papers I submitted a poem and a short story. I didn't expect to hear anything back.

Why not, you ask? Well, I'm not a poet. I only wrote this poem because it was required. The short story is also not my chosen medium. I am, without a single doubt, a novelist. But I had this short story I've tinkered with for some time and figured it wasn't doing any good just sitting on my harddrive. So, I submitted both just to see what would happen.

Both pieces were accepted. I have to make any revisions I deem necessary (there were no suggestions) and resubmit the pieces by April 27th. I also need to practice reading them out loud as I have to present them at the conference on May 4th.

Egads! What have I gotten myself into? Public speaking is not exactly my favorite pasttime!

In addition to being selected and having to present, both pie…

PacMan!

I use Google's personalized homepage feature and I love it. I've customized it with links, daily quotes, weather, and games. Yesterday I found PacMan. I don't if you're old enough to remember PacMan but it was perhaps the most popular video game of my youth. I remember playing it in the arcade with my brothers. And, if I remember correctly, it was also on the Atari system we owned.

Geesh! That makes me sound so old!

Although PacMan is great, I'd love to find Centipede again. That was my all-time favorite arcade game.

A Poem by Maya Angelou

Christians - By Maya Angelou
(I thought this was actually someone else's poem but I could be wrong! If I've given credit to the wrong person, please let me know and I'll change the byline.)

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not shouting "I'm clean livin'."
I'm whispering "I was lost,
Now I'm found and forgiven."

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble
and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak
And need His strength to carry on.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed
And need God to clean my mess.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible
But, God believes I am worth it.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I …