Goals for Week of BACK TO WRITING

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Yo know, I could probably take another week or two off. But I won’t.

1) Finish short story by Valentine’s Day (I only have about 4-5 scenes to go.)

2) Revise 70 pages of the road trip story

3) Faculty meeting

4) Pick up tutoring again

5) Parent conference

6) Exercise

7) Start cooking again—this week the dh cooked once, I cooked once and Trish cooked once

8) Catch up on Tivo—if I can! Need to watch that last episode of 24 on the old Tivo.

9) Keep up house.

Gerard Butler Pictures, Images and Photos

Signs

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Saturday! And tonight is the big 80s party! I have my denim mini, denim jacket, many many sparklies, and my new boots. I need lace gloves, jelly bracelets, tights and a scarf. The dh needs a Clash t-shirt, and since poor Trish is stuck here because of the ice storm, she needs to get something to wear, too! Will post pictures tomorrow.

2 more days of not writing. Okay, I confess I've cheated a LITTLE bit, and handwritten a few pages. But mostly I've stayed away. I'm ready, though, to start revising the road trip story. I've decided to call it Road Signs. My heroine is pretty matter-of-fact, mostly because her mother believed in signs. I want my heroine to ignore signs along the way, but think, "Oh, my mother would believe this meant...." What kind of signs can I throw at her?

Dances

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I'm not a great dancer--don't have a lot of opportunity to practice since the dh does not like to dance--but I love watching dancing, one of the reasons I love GLEE. I've been known to by movies just because of the dancing.

For example, the dance from A Knight's Tale. I love David Bowie anyway, and add Heath Leger!



Another great one is the 13 Going on 30 version of Thriller!


And the Hope Floats dance scene is so romantic.


I love the movie Strictly Ballroom!


The movie White Knights was worth the price for this scene.


Okay, and I love Love at First Bite.


Enchanted was one I bought for the dance.


Which movie dance scenes do you love?



Movies, Movies

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As you know, Trish is here. She got here Sunday, spent Monday working, and when I got home, she'd been hit by a nasty computer virus. DH ran some software on it, it worked fine, then the virus popped up again. Then Monday night it reappeared. Yesterday she ran different software and as far as I know, it worked this time.

Yesterday I took the day off to be hostess. We went to Guenther House for breakfast and had honking huge biscuits. Then we went to Michael's because they have these really cute retro tote bags, and I'm going to use one for lunch. They also had magnetized fridge lists and pretty magnets. Then we went over to Borders (hello, writers. We can't resist.) I bought a cool weekly planner that's Nancy Drew, and filled with Nancy Drew book covers. It was only $4. Then...we decided we'd go to a movie, but we couldn't decide between Legion or Leap Year. The theater was right there, so we looked to see the earlier movie, and it was Leap Year. So we bought tickets, and since Trish has a Regal Crown Card, I got a small popcorn for $1. Thing is, I paid $4 for the Diet Coke and barely drank any because it was GROSS.

But on to the movie. Was VERY cute. Predictable, but VERY cute. The ending was the best, definitely, and the other man in the triangle wasn't evil or vicious or a cheater, he was just oblivious. We both really liked it.

But we wanted to see Legion because it has Adrienne Palicki and a plot similar to Supernatural this year. So we said, hey, we have all day, it's only 1:30. We'll go see it, too. We took a Coldwater Creek break (no sale, alas) and went to Freddy's burgers for fries (no Diet Coke at Freddy's), then back to the movies.

Legion was--disappointing. It was as though it was missing a layer. We loved Paul Bettany (who knew he could be an action hero, too?) and I was happily surprised to see Kate Walsh in it. It was not subtle, but skipped out on some of the explanations. I guess I would have done it differently.

We went BACK to Freddy's for custard to bring home for dessert. I came home and cooked while Trish did more anti-virus stuff. We watched Castle and she debated over if she should leave today and try to beat the winter storm home or stay until the weekend. She decided she can get work done here, plus it won't be as stressful trying to beat it. I don't feel too guilty going back to work because I know she will make herself at home. Good thing, since I have an extra long faculty meeting today :P

Tuesday

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I got observed yesterday! I'm so relieved. I can relax and enjoy my day off. Trish and I are going to breakfast at Guenther House, then...we don't know. Maybe a movie. Maybe a book store. Maybe the River Walk. It's supposed to be a gorgeous day so many possibilities!

Poor Trish was stressed when I got home yesterday. Her computer caught some viruses and she had to pull the battery out to save it! Thank God my dh had some virus repair software and was able to fix it, but it took a long time. Vicious, vicious things, viruses.

We went to eat at Rosario's last night and the mayor was sitting at the next table!

I still haven't spent any more of my gift card. I do have a sewing basket sitting in my cart, and I'm thinking of buying the MP3 of the Avatar soundtrack. Other than that, my list of books I want, she is long :)

Goals for the Week of Trish's Visit

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When Trish learned she’d be in Texas in January and wanted to swing by for a visit I was like, “YES! Nothing happens in January.”

Pretty sure I jinxed myself.

This week:

1) Getting observed

2) Mandatory faculty meeting/training

3) Baby Brother’s bday

4) Tutoring

5) A birthday bash for my SIL’s sister (80s themed—how fun!)

I am taking off Tuesday so we can do the tourist thing, and maybe canceling tutoring on Thursday if Trish is still here. Or maybe even if she’s not.

I also need to:

1) Keep up the house

2) Nudge a couple of editors

3) Blog at Supernatural Sisters

4) Find a denim mini skirt and leggings

5) Enjoy our visit! We’re hitting Guenther House for sure, and maybe going to see Legion. The rest is up in the air.

Hmm

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So I'm reading Hard to Hold by Stephanie Tyler, about a Navy SEAL who rescues a doctor from Doctors Without Borders who is being held hostage in Africa. While she is recovering, he visits her in the hospital though she doesn't know he's there. They reunite later, and I think they're heading back to Africa. Oh, and she's a senator's daughter.

Don't Look Back, the book I contracted in July, is about an Army Ranger who rescues a doctor from the World Health Organization who is being held hostage in Africa. While she is recovering, he visits her in the hospital though she doesn't know he's there. They return to Africa to rescue the president's niece.

Gulp. I'm not sure whether to contact Stephanie, because I swear I didn't copy her. I didn't even know the subject of her book until I bought it.

I'm also reading Elisabeth Naughton's Stolen Heat about archaeologists who learn they've been betrayed by someone they trust in exactly the same way the archaeologists in Beneath the Surface learn they've been betrayed by someone they trust. Is it something in the air? What would you do if you found such similarities between your book and another?

New Tivo

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We took the plunge and bought a new Tivo. Technically, it's our first to buy--the first was free if we signed a certain agreement. But this one is an HD one, and though we don't have HD yet, the dh wanted to be prepared. However, this one has a dual tuner (I can record SPN AND Grey's!) and holds more than the 40 hours our old one did. AND it streams Netflix movies and will be quicker to watch Amazon on-demand.

Still, it's taken two days to set up. Last night I entered all my season passes again, and I need to do my wishlists. Meanwhile, I have 3 episodes of 24 on the old Tivo, so I need to watch that and the season premier of Leverage before the old Tivo is deactivated. And I've had a Netflix movie here for over a week because I've been trying to clean off the old Tivo in anticipation, and with painting the bedroom and cleaning house, I'm not awake long after I sit on the couch.

So I'm oddly stressed. Which may explain why I was up at 3 this AM....

You Should Read This Book




Jo Banks has been seeing ghosts since she was six, sonormal was never really an option. Embracing the weird and shunning normalcy makes her the top Ghost Exterminator in her region. Then she meets Wyatt Haines, the uptight, materialistic and irritatingly sexy owner of a successful resort chain.

Wyatt’s new Victorian inn is extremely haunted and the Commando Barbie Ghost Exterminator is just the girl for the job. Except Wyatt doesn’t believe in ghosts, or Jo, or anything outside the norm. He’ll have to start believing fast, though, because Jo’s extermination goes awry and accidentally throws two prankster ghosts into Wyatt’s body to haunt him.

Every time he falls asleep, the mischievous ghosts take over, turning his perfectly ordered life into chaos. His waking hours are no less chaotic, with his thoughts possessed by Jo’s quirky appeal and Playmate physique.

Unfortunately, Jo’s ghost-exing mojo is on the fritz just when she needs it the most to unhaunt Wyatt and figure out why his inn is swarming with ghosts. Preferably before his spirit is permanently separated from his mouth-watering body.

And before her heart is permanently attached to the most sexy, frustrating, normal man she’s ever met.

I finished reading this book Tuesday and I LOVED it. The author's voice pulled me in from the first page, clever and humorous. The heroine Jo is smart and talented, though not quite comfortable in her skin, which makes her all the more endearing. The hero is her opposite but comes to know her for who she is. Loved that.

The world she created is so much fun, so layered, beyond anything I could imagine but presented so clearly I got it. The pacing was terrific, the reason for the hero and heroine to stay together was clever and believable. Though this was part of a series, I didn't feel lost at all. In fact I look forward to reading the other books.

I'm in love with this author's voice, and my only complaint is that her other books are shifter books and that's not my cuppa. For those who prefer print books, this won't be in print until August. But if you're going to jump into e-books, this fast-paced book would be a great one to start with.

My New Soulmate

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Yesterday I was listening to Joanne Rock's workshop on caring for the emotional health of a writer and
there were so many things about what she said that were just like me. So much, it was eerie.

She said when she's working, she likes to hear the dryer running. That is ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS!
I love being home and hearing the laundry going.

She works out plot problems by writing a long email to her friend. Ask Trish how many times I've
emailed her with a plot issue, only to email her shortly after saying I figured it out,
all because I wrote it out to her.

AND she has the same plaque I have that says "And they lived happily ever after."

Trippy. And cool. I remember when she published. She and Catherine Mann published around the
same time, and they're critique partners. Anyway, I listened to the workshop twice, I was so tickled by it.

The bedroom is done. I need to take a picture in the sunlight. I need to pick up a couple of things from
Anna's Linens on the way home today, then clean the bathrooms and the back room.

I'm still working out what to buy from Amazon. On the short list is GLEE on DVD and the three
upcoming SPN novels.

Oh, and we got a new Tivo, where we can actually record two shows at once, and can stream from Netflix.
But I have to clear off this Tivo first. I have Human Target, 2 Good Wifes, 3 24s and a partridge in a
pear tree :)

Fun News and Questions I Still Have About Avatar


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I WON! Elisabeth Naughton picked ME for her $100 Amazon Gift Card. The choices, the choices!!!! What would you buy with $100 to Amazon? I wonder if you can pay for Amazon Prime with a gift card.

We saw Avatar again yesterday, this time in 3D. I have a couple of questions.

Why doesn't Jake's hair grow in cryo? When he comes out at 5 years, he has the perfect jarhead haircut. Yet 3 months of being with the Na'vi, he's as hairy as, well, pretty hairy.

Do Na'vi know about kissing? When Jake kisses Neytiri, she doesn't seem surprised.

Does Jake actually get to sleep? When he falls asleep as a Na'vi, he wakes up as Jake, then has to do all his reports and stuff. It was exhausting watching him.

Back to work today, tutoring on top of it. Of course I didn't sleep well :P But I did finish painting the bedroom except for a few touch-ups. Will post pictures tomorrow.




Getting Grouchy



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Apparently I am goal-oriented. I do not know how to relax. I imagined myself spending weekends reading in my big chair but instead--I'm painting. And cleaning. The house looks great, but the dh is shoving the computer at me. "WRITE SOMETHING."

The hardest part is the evenings, when I settle down to the TV. I can't settle to watch shows, I can't settle to crochet, or to read. Last night I made a digital collage for the cruise ship story. But yeah, I'm going to have to end the sabbatical soon or the dh might do me in.


Goals for Second Week of Writing Hiatus


Breaking Daylight is up for Book of the Week at The Long and Short of It!

1) finish judging GH

2) blog at 007 blog

3) keep up house--Trish is coming next week!

4) start painting bedroom

5) finish paperwork for Samhain

6) start exercising—maybe if I get in the habit now I can keep it up when I pick up writing again.

Soggy

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It rained ALL day yesterday. ALL day. And the night before. Radar looks clear this AM, so I'm going to check out getting paint for the bedroom. Even if I get one wall done this week, I'll be happy.

My best friend from HS found me on Facebook. I can't convey how happy this makes me. We shared EVERYTHING together, and somehow, after she married, we lost touch. I know I was going to school and working and was married myself, so maybe it was just lack of time, but man, I get a kick when I see she left me a message! The funniest thing we discovered (to me, anyway) is that our kids are almost the same age. She has a daughter and I have a son.

I have one more GH entry to judge. It's in TINY font and has a billion lines per page. But I'll read it today.

I finished reading an SSE this AM where the heroine is too good to be true. Honestly, she had no faults. And the conflict was minimal, so the tension was minimal, so the payoff was meh.

I think I've decided what to write next after the short stories--I think I'm going with the cruise ship story. I even have a stream-lined beginning in my head.

I watched Leverage, Grey's and Private Practice last night (the last only because it was a crossover episode.) I'm not loving Grey's right now, not at all. I may be ready to ditch it.

Beginnings

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So it's been a week (almost to the minute) since I've written fiction. The good thing is I've not been inundated with ideas. But I have some old ideas trotting out, like they're auditioning or something.

I have three romantic suspenses that I have pretty good beginnings with.

I have a hostage negotiator story, where the hero is the negotiator and the heroine is a mediator who's being held hostage in the first scene. The beginning was strong enough to final in a contest and get requested many moons ago, but I didn't have enough story to back it up. So I'm trying to work that out.

Then I have a reunion romance, very dark, a couple of cops who divorced after their child was murdered. They end up working together on a kidnapping case a few years later, and believe it's the same perpetrator who killed their daughter. I think I know where to go with this one, but not sure I can. Like I said, pretty dark.

And I have a cruise ship story, where the cruise ship is taken over by pirates. It's not a huge cruise ship, but I still need to know more about ships and I'm not sure what I'm wanting to do with the relationship.

I also have a non-RS (at least I think) that I started in 2002. I wrote an awesome beginning, then trashed it when I thought I'd make it an RS. I think I want to make it a straight contemporary romance about a veterinarian who's been taking care of his family when his father comes home from prison, where he's been sentenced for killing the hero's mother.

Ugly day today. Rain and flooding. Driving should be FUN!

When Not Writing Is Hard

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There was the CUTEST Chihuahua puppy at school yesterday. I'm not really a dog person (sorry, Kelly and Marianne!), but it was just adorable. I love it when parents bring the dog with them to pick up their kids, because the kids get SO excited. I did have to smell his little puppy breath.

Yesterday was mostly better. Testing until 2:30 helped, though I'm achy today from being on my feet almost the whole time. More testing today, but they should be done in the AM. And tomorrow morning I have an inservice.

This is day 5 of not writing. Last night I was cruising around the internet and I'd see things that would make me want to write--locations, sometimes, sometimes a story about a person that would trigger a desire to write a character like that.

I'm judging my GH entries and that makes me want to write--not that I'm getting ideas from them, but seeing the words on paper like that, the format, seeing how the authors manipulate words, gets me itchy.

I see people talking about word count/starting new books on Twitter and the blogs and I start to twitch.

Heck, talking to my class about the US taking over Texas forts when Texas became a state makes me want to write.

The worst time is just as I'm waking up. I always review my story in my head before I get out of bed. I have two short story ideas, one about half-written, and those have been playing in my head the past week. This is the hardest. And this AM I woke up at 4:30. That's a lot of thinking.

The hardest part? Not posting a picture of my hero every day (JUST kidding. But I gotta save them, you know!)

Series

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I woke up to a ROCKING review of Breaking Daylight! Will be happy dancing all day!

Man, yesterday ate my lunch. I never send kids to the office and I sent two, one because a parent complained about him bullying her child and the other because he told another student to F off. Le sigh. They were bounced back to me, though. Hopefully the VP will have time to see them today.

I had a dream that I had a new baby. I wonder what THAT means.

Okay, seems everyone I know is writing series. I'm already behind on the Demonica series and Meg Benjamin's series and Elisabeth Naughton's series and Colleen Gleason's series and the Virgin River series and the Cindy Gerard series. Now I've got the first two books of Stephanie Tyler's series and the first of the Joss Ware and the Julie Kenner and the JR Ward. I'm NEVER GOING TO CATCH UP! People. Slow DOWN!


E-Readers and TV Shows

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That is such a CUTE kitty picture.

Last week my principal brought in the Kindle she'd bought for her dh for show and tell. She wasn't too familiar with it, so I played with it a bit. I was annoyed by the flash--the screen goes from beige to black when it's turning the page, but everyone I've heard some say they don't notice it. I accidentally turned on the wireless network and couldn't figure out how to turn it off, and I kept trying to touch the screen. I liked how thin it was, and I'm sure I could get used to it.

I tried the Sony e-reader at Borders a few weeks ago and also didn't like the flash. Also, I understand the Sony store is a pain to negotiate and you have to plug your reader into the computer to download the books, as opposed to wireless delivery with the Kindle and Nook.

So to complete my research, I went to Barnes and Noble and looked at the Nook. Okay, I really liked it. It seemed more intuitive, and while it had the flash, it wasn't the delay I'd been led to believe. It was pretty simple to figure out, and well, if I had to pick one now (not likely--WAY down on the list) I'd pick this one.

For now the iPhone is my favorite. I've read three books on it this weekend!
I find it way easier than reading paperbacks, probably because of the backlight and the adjustable font.
Do you have one? What do you like about it? What don't you like?

I've been watching MERCY, since Oxygen had a marathon last week. I really like the show, which is about a nurse who is an Iraq war vet who had an affair with another doctor over there. She's come home to make a fresh start with her husband, and the doctor from Iraq followed her. After three episodes in a row yesterday, my Tivo froze, an overload of estrogen, I guess. Still, I like this show.

I have 5 episodes of Chuck to watch and The Good Wife from last week. I like the show but always hesitate to watch it because it can be a downer.

Tonight is new Castle, and Leverage comes back this week. Anything else new?

Goals for First Week of Writing Hiatus

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I'm already a little twitchy. What do regular people do?


It's actually quite an easy week--2 days of testing, half day of inservice. And I got new games so I've been bribing good behavior out of my kids with promises of the chance to play.

1) Judge GH entry
2) enter cover contest
3) buy paint for the bedroom
4) paperwork for Samhain
5) clean house

And because he's just adorable:

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MADE IT!!!

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I'm on the MY BOOKSTORE AND MORE TOP TEN!!! I'M SO HAPPY!!!!

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It's 19 degrees here. I think I lost all my plants, though they were covered. It's 60 degrees in the house---the heater can't keep up.
I'm going to go make some hot chocolate and work in my bedroom.

Since, you know, I'm happy dancing anyway.

When it warms up a little, I'll hit the post office, though I bet there aren't many people there right now.

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Taking Off

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I finished the edits to the bodyguard book this AM, will print it tonight and mail it tomorrow.

Then I'm going to take the rest of the month off. You heard me. No writing. No, I'm not done with the short story (which isn't so short, already 60 pages). No, I don't have anything submitted to Samhain right now. Yes, I still have revisions to do on the road trip story, and I have tons of ideas. But I've been writing almost constantly for....well, years, and I want to take some time off. I want to read and paint my bedroom and clean my house and crochet and maybe sew. I want to watch TV and surf the internet and play video games without guilt.

And I have some GH entries to read, not to mention a ton of books. So I'm not going to write anything for three weeks.

Anyone want to take bets on whether I'll make it?

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Goodreads

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)

Good Reads

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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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