400-something words, Satan and Payday!

So, Satan walked into my classroom yesterday. Caught me totally unaware.

You guys are actually really lucky I didn't have a blog when I worked at the School from Hell. God, it was awful. The principal (hereafter known as Satan, or She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named) created the most miserable environment, that from the time she took over 5 years before I left to the time I left, only five teachers remained. Her list of sins is long and varied, but it includes harassment, confiscation, calling the cops on a parent to remove her from campus and threats. The year I left, she had NINE teachers, including me, file a grievance against her, but nothing was done. That last summer, I was prepared to work at McDonald's instead of going back there. NOTHING was done to stop her.

When we got a new superintendent, he moved her to another school. She did the same things there. So this year he put her in charge of one of the special programs. I am not in that special program, so imagine my shock when she opened the door and did a "walk through" of my class. She had no business being in there, but I was pleasant (which really gets me, because DAMN she made my life hell, and she LIED at my grievance hearing, which was the last time I was face to face with her.) When she left, one of my students, who transferred from The School from Hell, said his heart was pounding the whole time she was in there because he remembered how she used to make his teacher cry.

The woman is poison. It takes days to get her out of the system. I'm going to tell my principal we need a Satan alert. If I'd just had some kind of warning.....I could have said how happy I was at this school, and my principal is the best EVER, and what a favor she did me chasing me off.

On the upside, today is PAYDAY! We're going out to eat, or bringing something in. All I know is, I'm not cooking!!

And...y'all know I'm not a Sammy girl, but finding this pic MADE MY DAY! WOW.

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Zero Words, Bed at 8:30

Kids ran me ragged yesterday, then I dropped off my Fire and Ice entry at the post office, came home, made supper and a torte for dessert, showered and got on the couch to watch Prison Break. I was so cold, I couldn't make myself write, and I kept dozing, so I went to bed. I slept till the alarm!!! I did dream I had a beautiful red-headed baby girl, and we weren't prepared at all - we didn't even have a car seat!

Here's a funny for you:

The following 15 police comments were taken from actual Dallas Police car videos and distributed by Monica Smith, Director DPD, Public Relations Officer:

#15. "Relax; the handcuffs are tight because they're new. They'll stretch out after you wear them awhile."

#14. "Take your hands off the car, and I'll make your birth certificate a worthless document." (I could so hear one of my heroes saying this!)

#13. "If you run, you'll only go to jail tired."

#12. "Can you run faster than 1200 feet per second?

#11. "So you don't know how fast you were going. I guess that means I can write anything I want on the ticket, huh?"

#10. "Yes sir, by all means you can talk to the shift supervisor if you think it will help. Oh, did I mention that I am the shift supervisor?"

#9. "Warning? You want a warning? O.K., I'm warning you that when you run that stop sign again, I'll give you another ticket."

#8. "The answer to this last question will determine whether you are drunk or not. Was Mickey Mouse a cat or a dog?"

#7. "Fair?...... You want me to be fair? Listen Pal, Fair is a place where you go to ride on rides, eat cotton candy, and step in horsey doo!"

#6. "Yeah, we have a quota. Two more tickets and my wife gets a toaster oven."

#5. "No sir, we don't have quotas anymore. We used to have quotas, but now we're allowed to write as many tickets as we want."

#4. "Just how big were those two beers?"

#3. "In God we trust, all others we run through the records department.

#2. "I'm glad to hear the Chief of Police is a good personal friend of yours. At least you know someone who can post your bail."

And.................... THE BEST ONE !!!!!!!

#1. "Excuse me ma'am? You didn't think we give pretty women tickets? Well, you are right, we don't. Now, sign here."



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1034 Words, Nora Roberts and The Merritt Contest

In case you hadn't heard, Lifetime made 4 Nora Roberts books into movies. The first one, Angels Fall, will be on tonight. I actually have to fire up the VCR, since we already Tivo 24 and watch Heroes.

Also, I'm romantic suspense coordinator for The Merritt contest this year. So far I have 4 entries. So if you're interested:

The 2007 Merritt
Sponsor: San Antonio Romance Authors (SARA)
Fee: $30
Receipt Deadline: February 14, 2007
Eligibility: unpublished nor under contract by contest deadline.
Enter: synopsis (5 pages max) and first two chapters. Synopsis and chapters not to exceed 45 pages. Electronic submissions only.
Judges: published, experienced critiquers.
Categories:
• Series - Stacy Boyd, editor, Harlequin
• Single Title - Kate Duffy, editorial director, Kensington Books
• Paranormal – Anna Genoese, editor, Tor
• Historical – Leah Hultenschmidt, editor, Dorchester Publishing
• Suspense - Audrey LaFehr, editorial director, Kensington Books
Top prize: All finalists receive a certificate. Winners receive a plaque and a year’s subscription to the Love Letter.
FMI, entry form, and rules go to the SARA website < www.sararwa.com> or contact Beverly Zech

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What I Found in My Bottom Desk Drawer, Contests and a Challenge

Funny t-shirts here

I cleaned out the desk in my middle room yesterday, probably for the first time since I moved here. Here are ten things I found:

1) Old contest entries - I was in the top ten in one contest and the bottom ten in another with the same entry. (They are now history.)

2) Old notes on Hot Shot. Apparently Gabe's name used to be Nick and Peyton's was Sydney, and she was an aid to a congressman touring the fire. I remember the politician bit because I couldn't figure out how to get her on the fire. I didn't remember they had different names.

3) A complete list of all X-File episodes (and no, I never had a crush on Mulder.)

4) An idea for a new story - a pretty good one!

5) My RWA membership card.

6) A Luc Longley action figure (and now you know my dirty little secret)

7) a dot matrix printout of all the places I sent my first book. TWO PAGES.

8) Hints from Heloise

9) a bunch of manilla envelops and photo paper

10) a risque recipe my best friend sent me in high school

Sadly, I kept most of those things!

I'm debating entering the Fire and Ice contest. Laura Cifelli from NAL is the judge. If I enter, I have to mail it tomorrow - the deadline is Thursday. But what to enter if I do? Something tried and true? Breaking Daylight, even though it isn't finished (but should be by May)? Ghost Hunters isn't close to contest-worthy, very rough draft. Plus it has a crummy title.

NAL rejected Hot Shot, hasn't seen Beneath the Surface or Don't Look Back, so any of those are good choices, too.

Any thoughts?

And the challenge - I've finally discovered that if I don't have SOME structure, I'm not going to get anything done. I'll be on the same story forever, my house will never get clean. I'd finally set weekly word count goals for myself a couple of weeks ago, but I think I need to break it down to daily goals. I mean, I know what's going to happen, I just have to make myself write it. So I'm going for 1,000 words a day till the end of February. Anyone want to join me and keep me honest?

My son found this on You Tube, for you Lost fans. (Even if you aren't!)



Oh, and I bought Dark Angel on DVD yesterday!

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A Dream and a Meme

I had a weird dream last night, but it had the GREATEST ending scene in it. Now if I could only find a story to go with it. And my apologies to all the SARAs who had to eat PBJ sandwiches on white when I invited them over because I didn't have anything else! (Another dream. Weird. I DREAMED about going grocery shopping. LAME!)

Colleen tagged me, so here goes!

Contemporary, Historical, or Paranormal?
Lately, paranormal. Usually contemporary. Historical, usually only if it’s someone I know.

Hardback or Trade Paperback or Mass Market Paperback?
 I prefer mass market paperback. It's easier to transport and to hold.

Heyer or Austen?
Austen.

Amazon or Brick and Mortar?
I like Amazon because I can preorder. But I do love the feeling of being in a bookstore.

Barnes & Noble or Borders?
I like the feel of BN more. I don’t know what’s different – maybe it’s just that they were here first.

Woodiwiss or Lindsay?
I’ve only read Woodiwiss, and only one. Do I have to turn in my RWA membership now?

First romance novel you ever remember reading?
When I was young, my grandmother used to buy me the Janet Dailey Harlequins. I read all 50 states, I believe. Wish I still had that collection!

Alphabetize by author Alphabetize by title or random?
Random most of the time…when I get organized, I group books by author.

Keep, Throw Away or Sell?
Keep or trade. (Throw away???? EEEK!)

Read with dustjacket or remove it?
with dustjacket

Sookie Stackhouse or Anita Blake? I haven’t read either.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
When tired, though I try to read till chapter breaks.

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?
Usually "It was a dark and stormy night"…but sometimes those "Once upon a time" stories get their own dark and stormy nights…

Crusie or SEP?
Crusie, though I love SEP, too.

Buy or Borrow?
Mostly I buy, sometimes trade.

Buying choice: Book Reviews, Recommendation or Browse?
I use book reviews for plot more than opinion. I usually go by recommendation, but I’ve been known to judge a book by its cover.

Tidy ending or Cliffhanger?
Tidy ending!

Morning reading, Afternoon reading or Nighttime reading?
All of the above! I love to take naps because I read first, and I always read before bed. A day without reading is like a day without sunshine.

Series or standalone? Stand alones. Do you know how FAR behind I am in JD Robb????

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?
Winter Roses by Anita Mills. LOVE LOVE LOVE her.

I tag Trish, Natalie and Mary Beth!

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A Good Teaching Day, Needles, Grey's and Supernatural

Yesterday was our writing workshop day. We had some interuptions - computer lab, library, and a BMX show (a reward for doing well in our last fundraiser) - but we spent the rest of the day writing. The prompt was that the kids had a magic object. It could be an ordinary object with magic powers or a made-up object. They had to tell what it was, name it, tell how they got it, describe it and tell an adventure they had with it. The ideas were amazing - a magic sword to kill Satan, a magic tuxedo to make you whoever you wanted to be, an orb that could be used as a time machine. One boy didn't follow the structure I set for them, but his story was so amazing I couldn't get mad. His magic object was a book, and when you got to a certain page, a goblin came out and grabbed you and took you into the book, so his adventure was to destroy the book. He had a cliffhanger and everything! He has plans for two more related stories and he told me he gets his ideas from looking at book covers. Y'all, this boy drives me up a WALL most days, but yesterday he was on fire. I'm so proud of him. (We'll see how long that lasts today ;) )

The boy went to the dr and needed a blood and urine test. I thought, you know, he'd be anxious about the urine test, since that's something you kinda have to do on your own and you don't always get good directions. I had NO idea he had a needle phobia. Wow, he was pretty freaked out. I told Trish because he's so big, sometimes you forget he's just a kid and this is his first experience with these things!

Grey's was okay last night, predictable, I guess, except for those 2 questions at the end. I knew we'd have a Denny Duquette Memorial SOMETHING eventually. And I loved what Bailey told the four surgeons sitting in the hall. (That reminded me of the interns the first season!)

Supernatural was back on top tonight! Wow. I loved Ron, loved (and hated) how the stakes were raised, loved the problem solving. Hated the dirty car, wanted more Sammy, and I'm a little anxious of how long the show can go on with stakes this high.

Can't wait to see it again!

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My Chapter Meeting

I went to my chapter meeting last night for the first time since September. I had a TON of stuff to give to the new librarian (my closet is practically EMPTY now!) and Pamela Morsi was speaking.

I got a lot of hugs and a lot of people told me they read my blog! One member even made a point to come over and tell me she knew Jared Padalecki in high school (as his teacher)! What fun! (She said he's just a genuine guy - but we knew that, right?)

We had a huge turnout, surprising since the weather was so nasty, the biggest in a LONG time, double the size it usually is. One girl even drove up from Corpus - 2 1/2 hours each way! (One of our members offered to let her stay in her guest room - that was so sweet!) I found out two others in my cp group dropped out of the series, and a third is thinking about it. That was kind of reassuring.

But even with my shiny new attitude and seeing my friends, it was very hard to be there. I talked to Stacy afterwards and we thought maybe it's because I'm not involved, and to an extent, that's true, though I am a contest coordinator. I think it's that I feel like a dinosaur, the only person going the old route to publishing. I'm the only one entering contests, the only one not submitting to e-pubs, the only PRO member (but being liaison would be too depressing.)

The board has done an amazing job. They've revamped the website, they've planned this big mini-conference, they have so much enthusiasm. So do the new members, and I guess I miss having that bright-eyed hope. I don't know if I'll go to the next meeting, or the Super Saturday mini-conference. I will probably still go to the Plotting Bootcamp, and hope I like how I feel when I come home.

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Have Y'all Seen This?

Stacy sent me this video. Amazing.

You Say You Want a Resolution....

I'm watching the last season of Dark Angel, I think, the one with Joshua and Alec. If I'm right, the last episode shows Max (Jessica Alba) riding her motorcycle into "Freak Nation," where all the mutant transgenics are hiding, and raising a flag. Is that the very last episode of the series? Was there no resolution to that show?

And look at Invasion. Started with a hurricane, ended with a hurricane with Larkin's pregnant dead body being taken out to the ocean. And then??? Oh, sorry, cancelled!

At least Buffy and Angel were allowed to end. (I think the Angel series finale was second only to MASH.)

Now they're talking about setting a series finale date for LOST so they can resolve the loose ends, and probably will need to do so for Prison Break and Battlestar Galactica, whose ratings are declining.

What cancelled shows do you need to see resolved? What shows need to bow out gracefully?

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Borrrrrrrrrrinnnnnnngggggg

Today my kids are taking a writing field test. Which means I get to wear jeans. Which also means I cannot do ANYTHING all DAY but watch them test. No lesson plans. No grading. No magazine....nothing! And I cannot step a foot out the door, not even to go to the bathroom, unless a certified, trained teacher is there to relieve me. It may not be too hard today, since only my grade is testing, but with 3rd, 4th and 5th are testing in February - nightmare!

It's going to be a long day...and then tutoring afterwards.

Good thing I have a good imagination.

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Stephanie Bose, Where Are You?

Stephanie's blog is gone - does anyone know where she is?

Another cold front is coming in, and more rain. Sigh.

My friend Sandy sent this to me, and it's too funny not to share.

Taken from actual hospital charts.

1. The patient refused autopsy.

2. The patient has no previous history of suicides.

3. Patient has left white blood cells at another hospital.

4. She has no rigors or shaking chills, but her husband states she was very hot in bed last night.

5. Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year

6 On the second day the knee was better, and on the third day it disappeared.

7 The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.

8. The patient has been depressed since she began seeing me in 1993.

9. Discharge status: Alive but without my permission.

10. Healthy appearing decrepit 69-year old male, mentally alert but forgetful.

11. Patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch.

12. She is numb from her toes down.

13. While in ER, she was examined, X-rated and sent home.

14. The skin was moist and dry.

15. Occasional, constant infrequent headaches.

16. Patient was alert and unresponsive.

17. Rectal examination revealed a normal size thyroid.

18. She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life, until she got a divorce.

19. I saw your patient today, who is still under our car for physical therapy.

20. Both breasts are equal and reactive to light and accommodation.

21. Examination of genitalia reveals that he is circus sized.

22. The lab test indicated abnormal lover function.

23. Skin: somewhat pale but present.

24. The pelvic exam will be done later on the floor.

25. Patient has two teenage children, but no other abnormalities.

The best one I ever actually saw was at the S. Nassau Hospital outpatient mental health clinic where someone had transcribed a psychiatrist's order as: "patient to have an enema of the brain" when what he ordered was an MRI of the brain.

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Sunshine and Sequels

SUN! We have SUN! We haven't had sun in over a week!!!! It will go away again tomorrow, so we must enjoy today. I kicked all the animals outside, even though it's still kind of cold (34) because they need to enjoy the SUN.

I slept till 8:15 - LATE for me! Yesterday was a long day, what with getting up, going to the grocery store in the rain (like I had a choice), finding a corsage at the last minute, going to my niece's birthday party and getting the boy off to his dance. I kept falling asleep on the couch waiting for him to come home (at midnight, which was good.)

And all that time I wasn't writing, I was thinking about the sequel I'm going to write to the ghost hunters book. I have three scenes so far. I've never written a sequel before, so this is kind of exciting. And I made the connection yesterday of how I'm going to tie the ghost hunters book all together, because my ending wasn't meshing with the whole "the stories I'm making up are coming true." But I figured out the connection last night. Now, to get writing.

But with the sun out, I don't know if I'll be able to settle down to write!

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The boy and his date

His first semiformal! He told me about it last night, which is why he's....so semiformal. I was lucky to find a corsage!

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I Was Up Till 3 Tuesday Reading This


Beneath the glitter of dazzling 19th-century London Society lurks a bloodthirsty evil....


Vampires have always lived among them, quietly attacking unsuspecting debutantes and dandified lords as well as hackney drivers and Bond Street milliners. If not for the vampire slayers of the Gardella family, these immortal creatures would have long taken over the world.


The Rest Falls Away

In every generation, a Gardella is called to accept the family legacy, and this time, Victoria Gardella Grantworth is chosen, on the eve of her debut, to carry the stake.

But as she moves between the crush of ballrooms and dangerous, moonlit streets, Victoria's heart is torn between London's most eligible bachelor, the Marquess of Rockley, and her enigmatic ally, Sebastian Vioget.

And when she comes face to face with the most powerful vampire in history, Victoria must ultimately make the choice between duty and love.

What Others Are Saying...

"Sophisticated, sexy, surprising! With its vampire lore and Regency graces, this book grabs you and holds you tight till the very last page!"
--J R Ward, NYT best-selling author of Lover Awakened

"A promising, enthusiastic beginning to a new paranormal historical series, Gleason's major label debut follows the adventures of a conflicted young vampire hunter in Regency England...Gleason quickly establishes an alluring world all her own. Her Buffyesque lead (Gleason has acknowledged the inspiration) is similarly afflicted, but the change of setting makes an intriguing, witty and addictive twist."
--Publishers Weekly

The Rest Falls Away trailer

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Supernatural, Pot Roast, Ice Storm and Then and Now

It pains me to say it, but Supernatural was deadly dull last night. The pacing was off, the gay joke was back...just disappointing. I was really looking forward to it, too. I prefer the non-mythology episodes as a rule, but this one let me down. Grey's was awesome, though.

I took out a pot roast yesterday, forgot to put it in the crockpot. I called the ds, told him what to do. He did. Only he didn't plug it in. So I came home and cooked it for tomorrow....only I forgot to put it in the fridge before I went to bed. No pot roast here!

Been cleaning up from the ice storm. Uncovered my plants, took my poor kitty-mutilated begonia back outside, hung up coats, put away food and DVDs. We're messy when we're home.

Okay, I was thinking about how my desires about being published have changed over time.

THEN

In 2002, I wanted to be the next Catherine Mann. She and I were on the same AOL board, I'd watched her struggle, and when she sold to SIM, I was so excited to read her book. Then she kept selling, and I knew that was what I wanted for myself.

In 2003, when I finalled in the GH the first time, my friend Elizabeth told me my career was made. I was sure she was right. I didn't let one opportunity slip. I was always writing/submitting/entering contests, frantic to be published. I never took a break. I hated my job, and writing was my way out.

In 2004, I had an editor's interest and another GH final. Shannon Godwin called on my birthday (what more of a sign do you need?) and asked for revisions. I turned them around to her in 6 weeks. The time after that was excruciating, waiting for her response. We stalked her at National in Dallas that year. I was certain, any time the phone rang at a reasonable hour, that it was The Call. I wrote like a fiend. I finished three books that year.

In 2005, I was always waiting for contest results. I'd time it so I was hearing about every month. At least I was hearing SOMETHING. I got an agent's interest. She liked the book so much, she emailed me in the middle of the night. I kept my cell phone handy, waiting for her to call me, telling me we had an offer.

in 2006, the stress became too great. I stopped going to SARA meetings because I was the only person eligible for PRO. The good news I wanted never came, the only contact with my agent was more revisions. I was no longer in control of my own career and I was in a downward spiral.

WHAT CHANGED

I think probably the most important thing that...let's say, relaxed me...about getting published was my new job. For the first time in EVER I loved working. I loved going to work, I loved being at work, I liked thinking about work. Since I was no longer looking at writing as my escape from the day job, it was no longer as painful to get rejected.

Another thing was getting an agent. In September of 2005, I had three requests for three mss. I remember being completely stressed about which to work on first. Then she called, took over, and those requests went on backburners as I tried to make Hot Shot as good as she wanted it. It was hard to let go of the reins at first - I kept bugging her about those requests, but she wanted to work on one ms at a time. So instead of writing all the time, I was revising in big chunks, then taking a break. I mean, why write something new when I had 2 other mss in the queue?

The third thing that changed my attitude was Nano. After 11 months of revisions, only 100 new pages in that time, I needed to let loose, and when I did - oh, I loved writing that book. I've only read it once since and it may be awful, but it was very liberating to write something I didn't even think about selling.

NOW

I have three mss out through my agent. She was less than enthusiastic about doing so, but I was tired of sitting on them, using them as an excuse for not writing. I sent one ms on my own to Premium Press America. I only have a GH entry out, and it might actually be a relief not to final, since going to National would mess with my ds's sweet 16. I bailed on my critique group. I'm thinking about going back to SIM with the ghost hunters. I hope Susan remembers me ;) While I would love to see my name on a book someday, it's no longer the drive behind my writing. I'm looking for the joy again, a balance in my life, and for the first time in a long time, I feel good about my choices.

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Decision and American Idol

Well, the decision's been made. I outlined my concerns to my critique group and got an "I'm sorry you won't be part of the project" email. So, I won't be part of the project.

We get an hour delay today, which means I can stop at Starbucks and still get there in time to make copies ;) I am worried about the boy, because he doesn't have to be there till 10, but is the bus still coming at 8:30?? No one knows!

I have no pants because I couldn't get back to the cleaners to pick them up, so I have to wear a skirt today. Cindi's husband is out for inservice, so I need to help get his stuff ready.

I watched American Idol while I was writing the past few nights - easy to do since it's so bloated with commercials!

DAY ONE

Jessica was the first contestant who tried out and she wanted it SO BAD and didn't make it. My heart just broke for her, but I was so glad she had a support group waiting for her. Later, a girl named Denise, who was 16, got a yes. When she came out with her golden ticket, one of her friends was more excited than she was. And then there was the boy Max, who made it but was bummed because his parents weren't there with him, because it was too expensive. He called his mom and burst into tears because she was proud of him. Y'all, I was so ready to adopt him.

Anyway, I was thinking how like writing that is. We have our support group to buoy us when we fail, and to celebrate for us when we succeed. I'm more and more astonished by that every year, and that's a huge reason I can't walk away. It's hard to travel this path alone. I don't know how people do it!

Anyway, in one hour, only 3 people got through, only 17 total from MN. Why do they show so many horrific ones? Don't they go through 3 rounds of auditions? I get the ratings, you know, but BALANCE! I'd be more interested to see how they differentiate between the middle-of-the-road and good.

DAY TWO

My heart broke for the stay-at-home mom who had a 6 year old who thought she was the best (I miss that) and whose husband told her she was wasting her time. I'm so lucky no one has ever said those words to me. I thought she was very brave for continuing on despite his words.

I loved the brother and sister, was glad they both got to go.

The two friends who met in line, Jonathan and Kevin, were so sweet and supportive to each other. Loved them.

Best quotes:

"Almost inhuman"
"None of the things you want singing to be"
"Bohemian Crapsody"

Too bad there weren't any funny quotes about, you know, being GOOD!

New Supernatural tonight!

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Another Ice Day and a Timeline

Another ice day! I like now, won’t like when I have to go Easter Monday.

I was thinking about what to write today, thought about doing a then and now post, comparing my mindset of a year or two ago to my mindset now, in relations to The Dilemma, but that might take a little more work.

So I thought I’d do a timeline of my writing.

1977 –wrote my first story, a kind of Grease meets Robby Benson, on a road trip to CA with my dad and his second wife.

1979 – wrote my second, rather explicit, story about a rodeo cowboy who had a girl in every town. I really wish I still had that, because all the heroines were likeable.

1983 – wrote serials with my friend Kirsten, about the adventures of a punk rocker named Cora Q. Cool, and her friends Ramona Ramone (sister to the Ramones, who are not really brothers, you know) and I don’t remember the other character’s name. I wish I had those, too.

1988 – saw Rattle and Hum, fell in love with U2 and their command of words. Fell in love with Ireland by association. Read everything I could find about both things and started writing a story about the IRA.

1989 – bought an electric typewriter with a four inch screen. If I made a change, I had to retype EVERYTHING. Also started reading romance. Karen Robard’s Dark of the Moon was set in Ireland and my first romance as an adult. I soon read everything she wrote, and moved to Catherine Coulter. Hard to believe I ever DIDN’T have a TBR.

1990 – took a one day class on writing love scenes with Emma Merritt, one of the founding members of SARA, and president of RWA (though not at the time, I don’t think)

At some point, my stepdad gave me an old XT with a dot matrix printer.

1995 – I finished my first book, about two cops who divorced and got back together.

1996 – I got my first request for my second book, from MIRA of all places. I took a community ed class at my old high school, with Miriam Minger as the instructor. 4 other women were in that class. One is still friends with me! Miriam took us to a SARA meeting, and we were hooked.

1997 – joined RWA and SARA

1998 – got my first honorable mention in a contest, the Barclay

2000 - my first regional conference, my first meeting with an editor. I was terrified.

2001 - my second regional conference, an editor made me cry. I went to my first RWA conference in New Orleans, hated it.

2002 – finalled in my first contest, the Jasmine, won my first contest, Where the Magic Begins

2003 – finalled in a LOT of contests, including my first GH, got my first revision letter, went to National in NY, loved it

2004 – finalled in the GH, got an Almost Call from Shannon Godwin, got my heart broken when she left HQ, tanked in a ton of contests, wrote three mss

2005 – finalled in a lot of contests, got an agent, joined a critique group

2006 – The Year of Revisions, finalled in the GH, did NANO, found the joy of writing for the first time since my first GH final

Who knows what 2007 will bring?

It’s been a long tough road. I’ve been so close that I would run home and check my phone messages every day, and lemme tell you, not fun.

Okay, going to take advantage of this day off and work on my ghost hunters.

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24, Snow Day!!! (Okay, Ice Day) and My Dilemma

Wow, what about that ending of 24 last night? AWESOME! Poor Jack.

30 degrees, been raining all weekend. They called us last nigth at 8 to tell us no school today. Cindi and I were actually disappointed - this was to be a workday and you can imagine how much stuff I put off so I could do today, with no kids. And it was to be her first day back from maternity leave, planned that way so she could catch up instead of just diving in with the kids.

Oh, well, the highways aren't closed now, but they're expecting more rain later, which can be Very Bad. Of course, since the dh works at the TV station, he's going in. At least he has the big heavy 4WD.

My Cafe Press order, with my long sleeved Supernatural shirt, was out for delivery but never got here yesterday. The website said it experienced an exception. I hope it comes soon!

Now, my dilemma.

Here's the story....

A couple of summers ago (I think) I got an invitation to join a critique group. All the members were pubbed, and they saw promise in me with all my near misses, so they invited me. Thrilled and intimidated as hell, I went.

One of them is great about helping her friends get published, like coming up with anthologies and stuff, and pitching them. She helped her friends get pubbed withTriskelion, then Kensington.

Last summer, we started batting around the idea for a series of connected books, written by each of us, tied to Adventure vacations. Sounds right up my alley, right? I've even written 90 pages or so on mine, my ghost hunter story.

Except this weekend the concept changed. I can't really complain because it's not my concept, and while it's a good idea (each book will be a quest for a "weapon" to be used in a later book) it's WAY too complex for me. I was actually nervous about writing the book I was writing in connection to the original ideas, because I have trouble seeing someone else's vision of a character, you know? But this is going to take a lot more structure, a lot more of seeing someone else's characters, someone else's plot, someone else’s vision. Plus it’s very intimidating to me to be the only untried voice, and trying to live up to the expectations of the other members of the group.

They've come up with another series idea for Blaze, with the Adventure theme, but I don't write all that hot.

So my initial reaction is to bail. To take my ghost hunters and go back to SIM, start targeting that again. Trish and I have discussed it, and she thinks I need to go with my gut.

But what if they hit big with this idea, and I'm like, "MAN, I could have been a part of that." Is that a good enough reason to step out of my comfort zone?

I think part of the reason I'm so reluctant is that last year, from January to November, I only wrote 100 pages of new stuff. I was stuck in revisions for 11 months and I'm ready to write my own stuff.

My dh thinks I should do it. He asked what the difference is between them telling me what to write and an editor. I said an editor can buy my books. But my cps are also awfully good at the pitching, and they’d do that. I feel I don’t have much to offer in the way of marketing, either.

Anyway, I'm interested to hear your thoughts.

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5 Crazy Things

Cindy tagged me with 5 Crazy Things About Me. The hard part was not thinking up five crazy things, it was thinking of five crazy things you don’t already know about me.

1) I eat the same thing for breakfast every day. Every day. And no, I’m not telling you, because it’s NOT healthy.

2) I know The Grinch by heart. Can’t remember important things, but I know that.

3) I used to be able to put my whole fist in my mouth. (I’m afraid to try it now.) How did I find this out? Fred’s girlfriend before me could do it. Of course, she had a smaller fist and a bigger mouth.

4) I worry about stupid things, like whether the Tivo has enough room for today’s Battlestar Galactica marathon. (You probably already knew this about me, though.)

5) I get really cranky when I’m hungry, especially for breakfast. Like I couldn’t go without a meal!

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Distractions

Man, it got cold a day early! I thought I'd have one more day to get my plants to safety (out of the cold, away from curious kitten paws). I guess I'll have to figure it out today. In the rain.

I couldn't settle down yesterday. Maybe it was the change in weather. God knows it's proven with students that weather changes bode no good. Even if you never watched the news, you could tell when the weather was going to change based on watching kids.

But I am a grown up. I should have more discipline. I got most of my chores done in the morning, so I should have had the rest of the day to write. I barely wrote at all, didn't even start a new scene. I think I wrote only 1,000 words all week.

My distractions? Not the usual suspects. I've been doing pretty good with email and blog hopping. I did spend longer than I should have last week on Cafe Press. Instead, I:

1) cleaned out my closet. Do you know that I have 8 pair of black sandals??? That's after throwing two pair away! One pair is from 2001, but I can't bear to part with them. As long as I keep using leather die and gluing the insole back in place....anyway, three big bags of giveaway, including three pair of jeans that no longer fit. And I hung up my purses instead of throwing them on the shelf.

2) read JoAnna's book, printed out my old cp's book and another ebook. I can't read ebooks as such, so I print them. And now have a big stack of paper on my ottoman.

3) finished my afghan.

4) indulged my Supernatural obsession, including buying an obscure Bad Company CD for the love song from Route 666 and checking out toy 67 Impalas on eBay.

5) keeping track of the weather, for all the good it did. This cold of weather is a big deal.

6) obsessed about what to get with my Target gift card. Got the dh long underwear and a hat for tomorrow and the dog a blanket she won't sleep on. Whoo and hoo.

So today, the dh has to work and the boy is having band practice. After we go to breakfast (we BETTER go to breakfast, we haven't done since Christmas Eve), I should have nothing but time. We'll see what I get done.

What's your biggest distraction?

Oh, and I was watching House with the boy and I like Sela Ward's hair. So I dreamed I got a hair cut and they left me with like half an inch of hair on top, and long hair in the back. I looked like an old lady!

How I wanted it to look:

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I couldn't find a picture of how it looked, but suffice it to say - NOT pretty!

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Seven of Cups

Remember on my top ten list of books for 2006, I mentioned two unpublished books? Well, one of them is now published.

Seven of Cups by Joanna K. Moore is available at Triskelion.

Isuelt (isn't that the greatest name?) MacPherson has denied the magic that's run in her family for centuries. She's contented herself with the life of a small-town girl, serving as a cocktail waitress, dating local boys, convincing herself this is the life she wants, as long as she's near her family. When her lover Sean was killed last year, the resulting media storm chased her farther into the background. She watched as her sister Selene used her gift to solve that crime, but still Izzy denies her own gift.

Yet when Eric Baxter comes to town, she senses he's trouble. The two hit it off like gasoline and fire. When she learns he's in town to write a true crime novel about Sean's murder, she slams shut the door on her own emotions.

Another person she's come to care about is murdered and she has to face who she really is, find her own strengths, strengths she's never allowed herself to recognize.

Izzy is an incredible heroine, strong even though she doesn't see the strength in herself. Smart, though she doesn't know her own resourcefulness. And wickedly loyal, even if it puts her in danger.

Give her a smart, sexy hero in Eric Baxter, her beloved sister and family, and a familiar in the form of a white cat named Finnian, and she can tackle an evil she never thought possible.

Seven of Cups is Joanna's second book, a sequel to Three of Swords. Joanna weaves a wonderful story of romance, family and mystery, with an overtone of the paranormal. But don't expect to be able to put it down - she's a master at end of chapter hooks!

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It's going to be cold cold cold this week! I hope it stops raining long enough for me to get my plants inside! And I need to run to the grocery store and Blockbuster, and Academy to get the dh long underwear - he has to work the MLK march on Monday, and the high is expected to be 29!!! We don't do that kind of weather in San Antonio!

I was surfing around yesterday and found this - what a hoot! My favorite is the Dude Meter.

Supernatural Wiki

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Redemption

I'm thinking one of the reasons I didn't LOVE Supernatural last night is the absence of quips. I liked it, will watch it again when I get home, but didn't LOVE it.

There were two movie previews I saw last night that I want to see: the Hugh Grant one with Drew Barrymore, where he's a former pop idol and the new Jennifer Garner one, where she lost her fiance and is ready to live again.

House bothered me this week, too. I don't usually watch it, but my son is hooked, so we watched the new episode. And in the end, nothing had changed. House is still an addict, he'd been playing everyone all along, he made the administrator lie, he proved Tritter right. How can you root for a guy who plays people like that? Who knows he's wrong and celebrates it?

I know we've talked about the proliferation of anti-heroes lately, the Prison Break guys, the Heroes, heck, even the Winchesters get away with credit card fraud and a lot of shooting. But all of them have a soft side. House has nothing to redeem him, that I've seen. Yes, he's smart and funny in a cutting way, but is that enough?

My son says to redeem House would be to ruin the show, but what about character growth? If he stagnates, so will the show. Does anyone who watches this show have an opinion?

PSA: Jeffrey Dean Morgan will be on Rachel Ray next week. I wonder what he'll talk about, since he's not IN anything right now!

Yikes - got to go pick up Mom and I'm not even dressed yet!

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Finished!!!

With my afghan, not my story. And just in time for the cold front!

Grey's was awesome tonight, as was Earl. Still processing Supernatural.

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And just for kicks, my mean kitty, Napo.

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Character Motivation

Seriously, how can I motivate my characters when I can't motivate myself?? I'm tired and achy and the book I'm reading WILL NEVER BE FINISHED. Why do I keep reading it? It's not bad. It just has tiny print and I can only read maybe 5 pages before falling asleep. Sad. And I have no idea what to wear today. Okay, I have TWO ideas, I just can't decide. Today is relatively warm. Thank goodness tomorrow is jean day.

So I was coming home yesterday thinking about my turning points and my characters and thinking about my heroine, who needs things to be real and wondering why Mal isn't real. I mean, what's he hiding? (Yes, I KNOW I've written almost a fourth of the book and it might be a little late to be asking this question.) So I was thinking about other ghost/demon hunters and why they do what they do. They're called, they take up the family business, they go into it for revenge. I didn't want to do the same kind of thing, so I thought, what if he grew up in a haunted house? And his best friend growing up was a ghost? Okay, that last part is a little silly, I know, but this is a lighter book than I'm used to writing.

So I came home and emailed Trish and dang if she didn't take the whole thing deeper - his belief in this ghost tore apart his family. Trish RULES! So of course he's going to hide his belief in the supernatural. Think it will fly?

New Grey's Anatomy and Supernatural tonight!

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Turning Points

I feel significantly better today. Good thing - we're having visitors from main office today, and a faculty meeting today.

Dreams last night - very disjointed. Logan from Dark Angel was under attack - they were taking everything he loved, including blowing up his house, and he didn't want me going anywhere because he thought they might have installed a tracker on my Sunbird (which was, like 3 cars ago!) Why he didn't remove it, I don't know. More stuff about going to a banquet and trying on dresses that didn't quite fit and butterflies. Weird.

Yesterday I was stuck on my ghost hunters. I don't know if I mentioned that I'm structuring it around their experiences at 4 houses. At each house, something different reveals itself, something that isn't supposed to be there. Well, I'm done with the second house, and was ready for a turning point. As I understand it, you need three, right? Something that changes the direction of the story? This turning point was to be that my heroine found out that my hero has been faking some of the "haunted" goings on, but not others. The others are coming true by themselves, even though he's been making the stories up. My mistake, I believe, was that I was also having her discover he really does this, that he's just running the haunted tours for money, but he really is a ghost hunter. See, her issue is that she wants something REAL in her life, but Mal is anything but real, and for him to really believe there are ghosts....

So I think she shouldn't find out he's really a ghost hunter till later in the story.

Am I understanding this right?

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Plotting Retreat

I actually feel worse this morning than yesterday, but I have to go today - I woke too late to call in. Besides, it's Writer's Workshop Day, and computer lab, so that should make it easy. It's also tutoring. Bleh.

Yesterday we rested a lot, watched Return of the King and 6 Supernaturals. I added two skeins to my afghan (2 to go!) and printed out JoAnn's story and my cp Elizabeth's. Didn't have the eyes to read, though.

Last night's dream was that the dh and I had bought a fixer-upper in a fancy neighborhood years ago, got overwhelmed with the payments and abandoned it, then decided to move back in. Only the neighbors (who in my dream were family but who I've never actually seen before) wouldn't leave us alone. Seriously. So it became my goal to get time alone with the dh.

My chapter is having a plotting retreat at the end of next month and I'm debating going. I signed up, because last time I went, I got Beneath the Surface plotted, but as you know, I tend to be a hermit, and, well, that's a lot of togetherness at a plotting retreat. You eat, clean up, sleep (okay, I actually go home to sleep because it's only about 15 minutes away and I can't sleep in a strange place) together. You help each other a lot, but...together. A lot.

Here's my experience after the last retreat.

For years I’ve heard of people going to writing retreats, for years I’ve envied them. So this year when Deloris Lynders announced the SARA plotting retreat, I was more than a little tempted. Only one problem – I don’t plot. Oh, I know my characters, and I know my setting and premise, and I generally have a vague idea of where the story will end up, but plot? No. My bookshelves are full of plotting books never opened. Just looking at a green binder gives me hives. The names Swain and Vogler put knots in my stomach.

So why did I want to go to a plotting retreat?

At the urging of my husband and friends, I signed up, with the idea that I’d plot out a new story. Then another book was rejected and I thought, well, I’ll take that one instead. At least I had a little more idea what I wanted to happen and would have a little more to offer when it was my turn. I wouldn’t look like a total idiot. After all, of the people there, I probably had been writing the longest. What would it look like if I didn’t know what I was doing?

I arrived Friday night and after a companionable dinner, the eight of us sat around the living room as Deloris led us through our story blurbs and conflicts. More than once I wondered what on earth I was doing here, as she threw out words like “Hero’s Journey,” “protagonist” and “contagonist.” Yes, I’d heard them before, but I avoided them like advanced math. But listening to other people’s stories was inspiring. Some of the attendees knew more about their stories than I did, some knew less. But all were willing to lay the story out to receive help. We all wrote out our casts and our blurbs on giant newsprint and taped them around our host Marjorie’s living room.

We worked late that night, none of us got to bed before midnight. I had trouble sleeping as so many stories ran through my head.

We rose early, and I was certain I’d be worthless, but after we started working, I was inspired and energized. We each took a turn, and were given an hour and a half to work through our story. Deloris led us through the hero’s journey, beginning with the everyday world, and wrote it out on newsprint. We talked through it, where the characters were at the beginning, where we wanted them to end up, what steps they’d have to take to overcome it. We talked about the four stages of love: attraction, respect, trust and love, and discussed where each step would come in our stories. A few of us had difficulty when it came to the tests and enemies step, so we’d jump ahead to the Black Moment, realize what we wanted to happen there, and work backwards.

By the time we reached my story, I was gaining confidence. I told them that the story had been written and sent back so I wasn’t married to any of the plot points. It was very interesting that as we worked through it, we came up with a very similar plot, only packed with more emotion and stronger character arcs.

I didn’t feel confident enough to offer a lot of input on the first couple of stories we worked through. But after the tension of talking out my own story had passed, I became very involved (It could have been the six pack of Diet Cokes, who knows?) Ideas were clicking, and I felt like a whole Christmas tree of light bulbs had gone off in my head. Just focusing on our stories, getting the input from other writers, was so inspirational.

After dinner we watched MOONSTRUCK and talked through the hero’s journey in relation to the movie, as well as the roles of the cast – who was the mentor? The emotion? The contagonist? Those lightbulbs kept firing.

The next morning the lack of sleep and the immersion in writing-related activities and conversation started to take its toll. Deloris gave us more newsprint and told us we were going to divide it into squares by chapters and plot lines, so nothing got dropped throughout the story. Yes, great idea, but seeing 96 empty squares almost pushed me to tears. How could I know what chapter each event would take place in? We’d worked through a lot of the external plot, yes, but I had no idea where the first kiss was coming in, or the first love scene. My characters usually guided that. I felt as if I wrote it down, it was in stone.
Deloris was so patient. She sat with me, guided me through writing down what we’d discussed on Saturday, the big events of the story, how they impacted the characters, told me we’d fit in love scenes when the plot slowed down. When I saw a huge gap in the villain’s plot line, she assured me that as long as he was brought to the reader’s mind at some point in the chapter, that would count. She even told me I could call her and talk it out if I needed more help.

Meanwhile, she, Linda and Megan worked their charts on an Excel program. I like Excel programs. They aren’t as permanent as paper. Deloris promised to send her Excel programs to everyone who attended.

We had all come in at different places in our stories. Some people had no idea beyond the initial premise. One person didn’t know if she wanted her book to be young adult, women’s fiction or romance. Two people writing paranormals had already done a lot of world-building. Another came in with one story and left with another. We plotted eight books over the weekend, eight solid books that will be great if their authors keep this enthusiasm for them.

As I drove home, my brain continued to fire. I realized that even in my hour and a half, I hadn’t addressed enough of the emotion necessary to make the story as powerful as I could, but thanks to the retreat, I was able to work through it, address the issue, pull out story points that wouldn’t have occurred to me before.
Have you ever been to a plotting retreat? How did it work for you?

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Writer Linkage

Long dream last night, starting with me being a superheroine, but as far as I can tell, my only superpowers were the ability to stress about money and the ability to hold my mom off when she wanted me to go shopping with her. And I dreamed I was going to be in Dallas for something with Fred and ended up staying for the RWA conference.

I may stay home today - I may have what Fred has, and now the boy has it, too. GAH. (That's my main reason for not wanting to stay home, BTW.)

This blog has been all about me this year. Let me turn it around a little.

Cool writer links:

Spreadsheets and charts

Sydney Laine Allan

Donna Caubarreaux’s Writer’s Workbook

Michelle Willingham’s plotting chart


Writer Tools

How to Use Document Map



Just a cool resource.

Find books by genre and publisher

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I Shouldn't Have Watched Dark Angel Before I Went to Bed

But one can only watch so much of Gilmore Girls before one's head explodes. What is UP with that dialogue? Take a BREATH!

Last night I dreamed about 24 soldiers from Dark Angel on the run from their creators, and trying to protect the creatures that had also escaped Manticore. I don’t think I was directly involved until later in the dream, when my whole family was living in this empty apartment, waiting for the chance to get out of the city because everyone was fleeing the city. Then there was a parade of the creatures who’d escaped, and I was in the parade somehow, and Buffy showed up, and my dad, and then it started snowing and we knew everything would be all right. And I couldn’t even take a picture of the snow because my camera’s disc was full.

And yesterday during my nap I dreamed about a vampire hunter who didn’t exactly hide the fact, she went around handing out flyers to people telling them to wear crosses and buy garlic. And Angelus was there ;) That one was because I know the ending to this story – the hero’s brother is going to bust in telling the hero and heroine that there’s been a vampire somewhere and they have to go find it, and the hero will look at the heroine all hopeful, like, “Can we, honey?”

Everyone is sick here. Nothing worse that 2 sick men, and now I’m coughing. Watched Band of Brothers and BSG all day, which is why I watched Dark Angel late.

I am in serious declutter mode. It took an hour yesterday to clean out 5 drawers and a cabinet in my guest room, and today I'm tackling the closet. What do you guys do with your old RWRs? I have them from 1998!

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More Weird Dreams

My first dream started with my principal going on vacation for a month and me finding out one of my students was my cousin (not so weird in this family.) Then Natalie was there at school with me and we were waiting for my mom to pick us up (we were adults, but my mom teaches at the next school and sometimes we carpool.) As we were driving, the weather was getting worse and worse. We pulled over to a warehouse, and when we did, we looked out and a tornado was coming. Then suddenly the skies were blue, so we went to the other side of the warehouse and looked out, and boom, there was the tornado. People were freaking out and suddenly Dean was there, being his take-charge self. Then I woke up.

When I fell asleep again, I dreamed my dad and his wife were here for the holidays again, and we were caravanning behind my mom and she was getting more and more nervous, so when we ended up at her house, she blew a gasket and kicked them out. My dad was mad, but he wasn’t really here for that, he was here to sabotage a helicopter. Weirdly, he did it with a votive candle. (Okay, two crashing aircraft in my dreams in a week – huh.)

Then, when Dad was done committing treason, we went to an awards ceremony for me, and we were singing Christmas carols, and I woke up right in the middle of “O Holy Night.”

I’ve already been to the grocery store and spent a mint. Should’ve known. But I was out of Diet Coke!

Oh, and I made goals yesterday. I’m going by word count instead of page count. I don’t know why I prefer it – maybe because it changes so much faster??

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NIghtmares and Theme

Ah, my romantic anniversary, complete with eating pizza, watching Star Wars and sleeping alone while the dh wheezed on the couch. (Okay, I wasn't exactly alone. The kitten got in somehow, and snuggled with me.)

I had terrible dreams, too. The first, that woke me at 12:30, was of a plane crash. It was a foggy night, and we were in a store parking lot (not any real place I've been) and we heard the plane crash, and could see the flaming wreckage. It was heartbreaking.

The second was about La Llorona (thank you, Supernatural. Really, it's surprising I don't have more dreams like this.)

The third had Rachel Weisz in it, and was about this baby who had this devastating disease and I was afraid to get too attached to it.

The fourth was that I was taking an overnight road trip by myself. Scary!

Yesterday was a loooonnnnnnnnngggggggg day at work (we'd look at the clock and say, "What do you MEAN it's only 10:00!) but on the long drive to work, I had a revelation about my story. I was listening to the classic rock station and heard "Turn the Page" by Bob Seger. And of course I was thinking about my story, and I realized that my heroine's issue is that she wants to be part of something REAL. She's been working for this luxury magazine that her family runs, but nothing is REAL. She wants to be a REAL journalist, and thinks when the magazine is sold, she'll get that chance. Only her first assignment is ghost hunting. And the guy she meets lies for a living. So she can only start to love him when she starts to see the REAL him. I think it ties in well, her conflict and the ghosties.

Also, I gave her a tattoo, a "tramp stamp." (What else to they call those?) And I'm thinking of making it something mystical. She doesn't know it is, but my hero figures it out and it has something to do with all the ghost stories he's telling coming true.

I really want to post my Supernatural ABCs, but I'm DETERMINED to find this one video and I haven't been able to.

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20 Years

Back to work today. Urgh. I did sleep last night, which is unusual the night before. I hate that I don't want to go, but MAN, I don't want to go.

Today is my 20th anniversary. Yes, I was a child bride. Sadly, I don't have a scanner, or you could see how really young we were. Our wedding was very simple. My dress was $300 from Penney's. Fred wore white tails ;) My bridesmaid dresses were homemade (and homely.) Our guest list was small. My mom and her MIL did all the food. We had no alcohol (cost prohibitive). If I had to do it all over again, I would have not done the wedding.

But I would have done the marriage, though maybe waited till I got out of college. Being married, working minimum wage and going to college was a struggle, but maybe we needed that to forge our bond.

I thought it would be fun to compare then and now.

THEN
We had an 11 year old truck and a 7 year old car, both clunkers.

NOW
We have a 20 year old SUV and a 2 year old car.

THEN
A loft apartment, two windows, one bathroom, which had the only door in the place.

NOW
A 4 bedroom house, 25 windows, a garage, 2 bathrooms.

THEN
No VCR, no cable, cheap TV, no computer

NOW
VCR and Tivo, nice TV and a not as nice TV, 3 computers

THEN
3 cats, no dog

NOW
4 cats (none the same), one dog

THEN
My creative outlet was sewing.

NOW
My creative outlet is writing.

THEN
My obsession was music.

NOW
My obsession is TV.

THEN
All my grandparents were with us.

NOW
Only my paternal grandmother.

THEN
One brother, who was best man.

NOW
Two brothers!

THEN
I was size 9, he wore size 29 waist.

NOW
I wear size 16 and he's a 38 waist.

We were thinking about waiting till this weekend (and payday) to celebrate, because we've been a little enthusiastic about eating out and spending money this holiday. But last night Fred came home with a grin and a gift card from one of his clients to Ruth's Chris - for $200!!!!!

We're calling it the 20th Anniversary Miracle.

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Commercials

My last day of vacation. Sigh. Usually we go back from vacation to a workday, but this year our workday is in 2 weeks, at the beginning of the semester. I need a workday to work out my new teaching plan, since I didn't bring any of my materials home.

I wrote at least 16 handwritten pages (and finished my Johnny Depp notebook, moved onto my Orlando Bloom one) yesterday, and cleaned the living room. Today I need to take the boy to the dr and clean the sunroom, and hopefully write a ton more, though I reached my goal of getting through the second haunted house.

Cindi and I have decided that our career, when we retire, will be product testers. Why? Because we are fascinated by the many products sold on TV. My fingers seriously itch to dial when they say, "But wait! There's MORE!"

The ones that have caught my attention lately are:

The Clever Clasp - magnets you hook to your regular jewelry so you don't have to perform contortions to get your bracelets or necklace on. I think EVERY BRACELET should have this clasp. (8 for $14.99!!)

The Stick Up Bulb - installs anywhere without electricity, lasts for 10 years, is plastic, can be used even if the electricity is out - it's a MIRACLE! (2 for $19.99)

That crunch machine. You do crunches sitting up and pressing down on this device that offers resistance. You do a certain number of crunches on each side, and it's 400% more effective than doing regular crunches (which I don't know how to do right anyway.) You get 2 for $29.99!!! Share!

The Pilates machine. I admit, I know nothing about Pilates other than it's exercise, but it's only $29.99!

Sticky Sheets pet hair remover. I haven't actually seen this commercial, just heard about it when I was cleaning house before my stepmother came. Apparently it's these big sticky sheets you lay on the furniture, then pull up, with all the pet hair attached, and then you throw it away. You know, like big TAPE. I can see where it would be useful, but it's $19.99 a pack.

The pet vacuum - you attach the hose to a real vacuum in another room, so the noise doesn't scare the cats, and you brush your pet with it. I actually don't think thhis would work on any of my animals, but you have to credit someone with creativity!

The pet comb. I don't actually want the comb, but the free gift is this really cool lint/pet hair remover that is SELF CLEANING. I have a pet hair remover that is a PAIN to clean.

The broom with rubber bristles. You sweep with short little strokes and it gets up anything, even off carpet. Mom said she actually had one and it worked great.

What commercial products tempt you?

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

The fireworks are popping like crazy in the neighborhood, the TV is playing the same music they play EVERY year during the downtown display. Do we NEED to hear Celebration again??? At least we can see it this year - no fog! Oh, they just showed one of the former mayors dancing to Vanilla Ice - the woman has to be 80! No one needs to see that! I hope everyone had a happy and safe holiday!

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I was cruising by Jennifer Crusie's blog and saw she had a list of five indulgences she would allow herself this year. What an idea! I'm anti-goal and -resolution this year, but the indulgence thing I can get behind. So here are mine:

1) crochet more. I hardly did at all in 2006, and I have a box of yarn. Even if I do nothing but those stupid scarves, I love the feel of the soft yarn.

2) put more time into decorating the house. I love when my house looks nice, I just need to put the time into it. (Yes, this is kind of work, but the payoff is the indulgence, see?)

3) guilt free dinners out, once a week

4) guilt free TV one hour a night (but I can bank those hours like Weight Watchers points, see? Or I could watch more and just feel guilty ;) )

5) mocha from Starbucks once a week

What will your indulgences be this year?

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M.J. Fredrick's books on Goodreads
Breaking DaylightBreaking Daylight
ratings: 11 (avg rating 3.33)

Beneath the SurfaceBeneath the Surface
ratings: 11 (avg rating 4.00)

Hot ShotHot Shot (Samhain)
reviews: 2
ratings: 10 (avg rating 4.00)

Where There's SmokeWhere There's Smoke
ratings: 6 (avg rating 4.00)

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MJFredrick
I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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