October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween


We've been Trick-or-Treating in my husband's hometown ever since my oldest nephew, who is now 15 and too cool to dress up, was old enough to be carried from door to door. As you can see the tradition has grown from one little nephew to this crazy crew of monsters. This year we had 14 kids to keep tabs on, no easy feat when the age groups vary enough to send one group way ahead of the others.

Oh, and of course it rained. It could have been worse, though. This was one of those misty rains instead of a steady drizzle or outright downpour.

After walking around town for an hour and stopping at the Post Office for a free donut and cup of apple cider, we made it back to my in-laws' place. My mother-in-law had made enough homemade chicken noodle soup to feed a small army, which is exactly what we were. The kids rushed through a bowl apiece and then began asking for candy every five minutes.

Below are two of the 14 faces missing from the group picture. One got there too late to participate and the other simply wasn't having none of that picture posing nonsense.


October 29, 2007

WIP Update

Well, I'm moving right along. Up to 73K now.

I'm also excited to report I may have someone interested in doing the cover art for my novel. I'm planning on self-publishing through LuLu.com and would like to have the option to use something other than their stock covers. Lucky for me, a friend of mine knows a decent artist who has indicated an interested in doing the artwork.

I realize self-publishing isn't for everyone, but I think in this instance it's the right choice for me. Here are the contributing factors to this decision:
  1. This project is a gift..one that I would like to give in a nice and tidy package and not a ream of loose-leaf pages.
  2. Waiting on an agent or publisher to pick it up could delay the act of giving this gift to the recipient for several months (or years)
  3. The market is drowning in vampire stories. Don't believe me? Walk through the romance aisle at your local B&N or Borders and tell me every other title isn't related to vampires and werewolves.
  4. I'm excited to hold one of my WIPs in my hands. I want to feel the glossy cover under my fingertips and smell the glue.

Of course, I'm going to be pushing it to get the book finished, edited, and proofed in time for the holidays. Once that process is complete I have no idea how long it takes for the printed product to become available. Chances are that I probably won't meet my Christmas deadline, but I'd like to try.

October 25, 2007

Gaining Momentum

It's been awhile since I've felt this way while writing. Everything has been built. All the chips are in place. The traps have been sprung. Now it's just a matter of letting the momentum carry the story through to its natural conclusion.

The hero and heroine have been apart for several chapters now. It's time to reunite them. After all, it's hard for love to blossom when the object of one's desire is never around. Falling in love is not sex. It's not lust. It requires an emotional and mental connection that transcends the flesh. So it's time to get them back together and to keep them that way.

Of course, during the last few chapters I've had a few unexpected plot developments. I think they're good. I think they work.

This recent deluge of inspiration has pushed me over the 70K mark. To be exact, I'm at 71,336 words. I have written over 2ooo words today. And I loved it. The story just flowed. If this continues, I should be able to finish the novel with a little time to spare.

October 24, 2007

Oh, Ye of Little Faith

Here's a cute story for you.

This weekend the hubby was roofing a house with a friend, which meant he wasn't around in the mornings to fix breakfast for the kidlets. Every weekend my hubby makes pancakes for his boys - sometimes on Saturday and Sunday. Well, since he was gone both mornings before we even thought of getting out of bed, there were no pancakes to be found.

Sunday morning I got up and felt all domestic-like. I walked into the living room where the boys were watching cartoons and asked them if they'd like me to make them pancakes for breakfast.

My youngest looks up at me from where he was lounging on the couch and says, "Mom, you don't know how to make pancakes."

And he believed it! He really didn't think I had any idea on how to whip up the batter (mix + water, if you're curious) and pour it on the skittle. Poor little man! You can tell I'm not much of a kitchen-goddess. Cooking..bah! Still, that the poor child had no idea Mom could do more than pour cereal in a bowl is really rather pathetic.

Of course, you know I laughed. And made the pancakes.

Word Update

Total words: 69,152

This means I've gained 669 words since my last post on this subject. Not too terribly bad. Since the beginning of this little 70-Day venture I've added 5,695 words to the WIP. I'm hoping to break the 6K mark tonight. Another 305 words should not be impossible to get before bedtime!

October 23, 2007

Witches and Witch Hunts (a.k.a. "My history class")

I think I've mentioned I'm taking two classes this semester. I know to those of you who take a full load every semester with a bazillion credit hours will snicker and roll your eyes while calling me a big ole baby, but these two classes are kicking my ass! I don't mind the reading and I don't mind sitting in on lectures. Actually, I love sitting in on the lectures because I find them both quite entertaining this semester.

It's the papers. Okay, and it's really not the papers for my Travellers in the Middle East course. I don't feel nearly the pressure to write those essays that I feel when faced with my History assignments. That I feel any pressure at all to write anything should tell you a lot about this class. The instructor is picky, perhaps the most difficult to please that I've had here at the U. I got a B+ on my last paper. I want an A on the next one. The problem: I'm not even sure how to tackle this paper.

I think I'm going to have to ask some questions today. I need to know if we're allowed to quote outside the articles we select. He has a rule where he doesn't want outside research, just an analytical dissection of our assigned readings. I like outside research. I think it has value. However, I also like getting good grades, so I'll stick to his parameters.

The more immediate problem is selecting which articles to use in this paper. The book we've been asked to work with is Witchcraft in Europe 400-1700: A Documentary History. It contains small intro sections for ten different categories of historical documents and then reproductions of those historical documents cited in the intro session. There is a lot of material here. It's almost overwhelming.

I'm almost thinking it might be easier to work backwards. Select something from the 1700s and figure out what historical document influenced its outcome. Seems reasonable. I just don't know if its possible.

Wish me luck! I think I may need it with this one.

October 21, 2007

Week 1 Totals

I plan on working on the story a bit more tonight, but I thought I'd take a break and put up my weekly totals.

I have written over 5000 words this week. The actual number according to my calculations is 5,026 words since Monday. Not bad. Not bad at all. Not when you consider I ended up taking a couple of days off this week.

Next weeks challenge is to keep writing when I need to complete my mid-term essays for my Travellers in the Middle East course. Not to mention starting Paper #2 for my Witches and Witch Hunt course. I know it'll all fall into place, but writing this story would be much easier if I didn't have to worry about homework!

I know. Woe is me!

If I'd watched a little less television this weekend I might have actually managed to complete at least one of the essays...or written a couple thousand more words. Either would have been good.

October 18, 2007

Word Count Check-In

I've made progress! As of right now I have 66,083 words. That's 2,084 words more than I had this morning. I am delighted. Thrilled. Eager to keep going.

So, I'm not going to waste any more time here. I've got about an hour left before bedtime. Let's see if I can't get another 500 words.

If I win the lotto...

I want my scrapbooking room to look like this.

I am green with envy.

Too Many Distractions

I knew it would happen eventually, but I really thought I'd be a few weeks into the challenge before I failed to write anything at all. That's right. I got nowhere fast on the story last night. Although, in a feeble attempt to redeem myself, I did open the WIP and tweak a few sentences before heading off to bed.

The problem started when I got home last night. Being Wednesday and therefore a school night for Mom, I didn't get home until 7:20ish. First thing I noticed were my son's bloodshot eyes and pitiful expression. I had sent him to school that morning with a sore throat. Apparently the sore throat mutated into a sore throat/headache/fever by evening. Right. Mommy-mode kicked in and I lost a couple hours to snuggling and thermometer checks.

After the kidlets were put to bed we ended up with company. My car has developed a spontaneous leak, so my hubby had called over a friend of his to help with the detective work. Yeah, they still don't know what's going on. My car has turned into a very mysterious piece of machinery over the last few months. The bizarre noise coming from the front end has defied explanation despite two attempts to tear things apart and pinpoint the culprit and now this. Not good.

Of course, after working on the car, the guys had to have a couple of beers and watch the Ultimate Fighters on the ole television. You'd think I'd have no problem writing while grown men grappled on the screen, but you'd be wrong. I couldn't focus. A comment or two from the guys in my living room would catch my attention and I'd soon find myself watching a replay or engaging in conversation. (Okay, so I might have flipped our guest off a couple of times...but he deserved it! Smart ass. That's what he is.)

The greatest distraction proved to be my wireless connection, though. Stupid laptop still won't recognize the new router we had installed. You can only imagine my quest to get all connected and whatnot.

So, all in all, I accomplished very little last night. I didn't even do the dishes, which made the hubby a little unhappy with me this morning when he realized I was going off to work while he tended to the sick child.

October 16, 2007

Day Two

Way past my bedtime.

Tonight's word count: 585

Monday's Progress

This will be a brief update. I managed to write 677 of the 1000 words I wanted to get yesterday. While I didn't quite make my daily goal, I consider this a good start.

October 15, 2007

Anniversary

I got flowers! I wasn't expecting anything, so imagine my surprise when this huge box showed up and I pulled these lovelies out, vase and all!


I have a few more photos but Blogger is being a pain. I guess this one will have to do.
I'm so spoiled...Thank you, honey! I love you, too.

October 12, 2007

Digital Scrapbooking


I've been experimenting with digital scrapbook layouts. There are some elements I really like. The stamp feature is a lot of fun, especially when you consider how many freebies can be found on the Web. On the layout above I used a swirly stamp that I got from Obsidian Dawn. If you browse her site for a minute or two, you'll notice the variety and intricacy of her photoshop brushes. Amazing.

I also like how I can put on title and journalling. There is no guesssing involved. And it's much easier than trying to figure out how to get a 8.5 x 11" printer to do extra large titles.

The eye-dropper tool is another added bonus for working in digital. I pulled the colors above from Danielle's shirt. How fun is that!

The downside to digital? I'm not really fond of the flat look. I don't like how the ribbon element turned out. The page looks digital and that's not really what I'm going for. I know this will probably take some practice, but first I need to figure out if I want to spend time perfecting a skill I may decide not to utilize.

October 11, 2007

Progress in Bits & Pieces

I've been working on my WIP in my spare time. Of course, I'm referring to the spare time not eaten up by the hours of new fall programming on my TIVO. You really don't expect me to miss an episode of Grey's Anatomy or Stargate Atlantas do you? Not to mention Ugly Betty, Life, Chuck (my favorite pilot), House, and a dozen other programs.

This is also excluding spare time spent reading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. I'm only a few pages in, but I sense this book is going to require some time and consideration. The word dense comes to mind when trying to describe this alleged masterpiece. (I say alleged because I've yet to weigh in my own personal opinion on the subject; must finished book first).

I should mention I'm also using some of my precious downtime to do some more research on the WIP. This includes reading sections from my new books as well as Websites dealing with Apocryphal literature (aka the "gospels" that didn't make it into the Bible at the Council of Nicaea). Right now I'm really interested in the Book of Enoch, which is very interesting with its Watcher Angels.

As soon as my mid-term exam for History is over and I've written the paper for my Travellers in the Middle East course, I should be able to refocus on the WIP. Luckily, both the exam and the paper should be done by next week. The exam is on Tuesday and I want to turn in the paper by the following Monday (the 22nd).

In order to give myself some incentive to keep writing I've joined Sven's 70 Days of Sweat again. I am not joining NaNoWriMo, though. I need to focus on finishing this project, not starting another. Maybe next year! The 70 Days starts on Monday, October 15. Fortunately they built in some extra days to allow for the holidays and such. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to use a few days next week thanks to my school schedule.

Ah well. At least I've pencilled the writing in..

October 8, 2007

Halloween Camping

The boys' basketball tournament
Face Painting

More face painting

Swimming...unbelievably hot October day

Cooking breakfast over an open fire

Trick-or-Treating!


Aspiring vs. Unpublished.

Jessica Tudor, from Tudor's Desk, made a very insightful comment today on her blog about changing her blog tagline from "aspiring novelist" to "unpublished novelist". I love her logic. I also happen to agree with it. If you already are able to plan, write, and edit novels, you're really not aspiring to do anything.

I, too, am an unpublished novelist.

October 4, 2007

Stinky Dog

So the night before last I left my dog outside overnight. It wasn't intentional. I let her out, got busy doing something else, and then went to bed.

How could I miss the fact that my dog was still outside, you ask? Well, she's old and has a tendency to head off to bed with the boys whenever it suits her fancy. Some nights she stays down in the living room with us until we call it a night. Then there are the nights when she's apparently too tired to chew on her feet for hours on end and will wander upstairs to the boys' bedrooms to pick out a good spot.

I wish I would have remembered to let her in. I don't know if she rolled in a dead skunk or if she wandered through the lingering spray, but she definitely had some kind of interaction with a little black-and-white stinkball.

So I gave her a bath last night. Shampoo only. No tomato juice or other homemade remedy to rid her fur of the smell. Yeah, didn't work so well.

So then I decided to try some Febreeze. Yes, that's right. I Febreezed my dog. I kept clear of her face and warned her to hold off licking herself for the next few hours. Considering she was still alive and kicking this morning, I think she listened.

Of course, the hubby tells me it's all my fault and I can't blame her for getting stinky. Humph.

October 2, 2007

After School Program

The hubby and I have decided to put our oldest into an after-school program for Math. He's doing okay right now, but I'm sure a little extra time spent reviewing will only benefit him. Since he no longer meets with a tutor, I think this is a very good idea indeed.

I wish they had something similiar after school for reading and writing.

I also called the school today to find out when we're supposed to meet with everyone to review his IEP. I believe it's supposed to be sometime this month.

I also joined a ADHD discussion board. I made my first post earlier today introducing myself and giving a brief overview of the little man's story. I'm hoping being part of a larger group will help generate ideas on how to help us and him.

Oh the joys of being back in school...