Tuesday, May 31, 2005

In the Company of Dreams

I had an amazing dream last night. Y'know, one of those where you can intensely feel the emotions, the place...everything.

I like Russell Crowe. (For a very delicious picture, click here: http://www.5in9.com/graphics/russell_crowe_s1.jpg) Some people don't because of his bad boy ways (but I married a bad boy, so I guess I have a certain affection for them) which seemed to have calmed down since he became a father. I'm looking forward to seeing his next film, "Cinderella Man" which also stars my favorite actress, Renee Zelwegger, or Mrs. Chesney.

Anyway, I had a dream about Russell Crowe. He was "my" guy in this dream. I don't remember all the particulars, but I do remember the strength and power that I felt while he held me in his arms. We were in the midst of danger and he was trying to find a safe way out for us. It gave me warm fuzzies.

And of course, I've had the same types of dreams where my husband is the hero. :-)

Aren't dreams strange? I've dreamt of people that I haven't even thought of for years. I even found a long-lost friend after having one of those dreams, so I don't wonder if they somehow serve a purpose.

I'd like to say that I've dreamt about my manuscripts, but to my knowledge, I haven't. I most often dream that I'm in the movies - mostly World War II movies - and I'm having all sorts of adventures - escaping from Nazis, protecting my home, etc. I wish I could somehow record the scenes of my dreams because some of them, I'd love to replay again and again. I don't know if I'd still experience the intense emotions, but it'd be worth a shot.

Monday, May 30, 2005


Today is a day of remembrance for those we've lost. Although the holiday originally started out as a day to remember those lost in service to our country, it has morphed into a day where we remember all that we've lost.

But I still think it is important to remember, first and foremost, those who lost their lives in service to our country. Without their sacrifice, we would not enjoy many of the freedoms we have today. No matter your political views or your stance on where the country is today, those who served in America's armed forces deserve our thanks.

On this day, we are usually consumed with picnics, boating, skiing, fishing, and spending time with our family and friends. And we should do this because we are enjoying our freedoms. But it is also imperative to remember our veterans on this day, a day dedicated to them, because without them, we would not have these freedoms.

So today, in the midst of your festivities, take a moment to reflect on the men and women who sacrificed their lives for our country. Remember...

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Saturday Musings and Fitness Fanaticism

It's been a nice Saturday. My mom is here and we've got to spend quite a bit of time together. Went shopping, relaxed, talked...very nice. She is in the process of looking for another job and I hope she can find one she likes - and if it was here where I live, that would be even better!

Very excited about a new magazine I picked up at Barnes and Noble this evening - it's called "American in WWII: The Magazine of a People at War: 1941-1945." It is wonderful. Lots of first-person stories, pictures, advertisements from magazines, movie reviews of WWII movies, book reviews...I just love it. It will be a wonderful resource for me as well as a potential market for my history writing. You can check it out online here: www.americainwwii.com

So I decided that, in light of the constant health battle I have been fighting since I took the evil birth control shot Depo Provera after my daughter was born five years ago, I am going to totally change my lifestyle. I'm going to become a fitness nut, a fitness fanatic. I want to be lean and mean, trim and slim! Just like I used to be...

Okay, so I know it's going to be difficult. I'm going radical. But really. How many doctors do you have to visit before you decide nothing is working anymore? I can't begin to tell you how many docs I have seen, pills I have taken, remedies I've tried...and nothing is working. So it's time to go radical. My health is undermining so many aspects of my life - my writing, my family, my energy level, everything. It's time to take charge. I want to be here for my daughter. I want to watch her grow up. And I have to be healthy in order to do that.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do, but I know I have to do something. Changing my diet is imperative. Exercising more is crucial. Trying to lose this weight so I can get off of some of my medications is important.

I need to make some sort of plan. But like I told my husband, I want results now and I know I won't get that. I know it will take time. I need to stay motivated and for that to happen, someone has to be motivating me.

I worked with my brother last time I tried this - while my husband was still living 500 miles away from me - and I lost 10 pounds. My brother is a former college athlete and still stays in great shape. He was a great trainer - pushed me to work harder and constantly challenged me. I think I will ask him if he can help me again. I know I can do it - I've done it before. But when my husband moved in with me again (his job kept him at our old hometown), everything sort of stopped.

Now I can't afford to not do this. I look at the weight gain and I just can't believe I'm even battling this. I was the gal in high school and college that could eat anything and not gain a thing! I thought for sure I'd have my dad's metabolism - but turns out I have my mom's. :-)

Onward to a healthier me!

Friday, May 27, 2005


Sick again. Oh will this never end? I feel like launching into one of Shakespeare's soliloquoy's. And I bet I didn't spell that right, but I'm too tired to look for my dictionary.

Not much to report, except yesterday was absolutely horrible. I felt so bad...body aches everywhere - face, teeth, head, arms, legs, chest, back...yup, everywhere.

Thank goodness today is better, but I still feel yucky.

And wouldn't you know it - I'm in the mood to write. Where did that come from? And I left my current WIP at work yesterday. ARRRGHH.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Baby Birds

Last night my stepson rescued three baby birds, nest and all. Apparently another bird was attacking them, so he brought them home. I called our local wildlife rescue volunteers and they directed me to a veterinarian clinic. We drove all over trying to find it and when we found the address, I knew there was no way this was a vet clinic. A truck sat on blocks in the driveway, overgrown weeds engulfed the lawn, and not a single sign was visible saying this was or at any time in the past had been a vet clinic.

Frustrated, I returned home with the kids and the baby birds. We decided to keep them overnight since it was getting late and my stepson had a blast. He's nearly 12 and is so caring and responsible with wildlife (this isn't the first time he's rescued an injured animal). He put some straw in a box, put the baby birds in it and sat it next to his bed. He even went and found bugs to feed them and gave them water through a straw. It was the most adorable thing to watch these tiny birds opening their mouths wide for the food and water. I just prayed they'd all be alive by morning and they were. We're going to take them to a vet later today.

What I enjoyed so much about this experience was the way it bonded our family together. We were all so fascinated and involved in what happened to these three little lives that it was a truly heartwarming moment. I'm just so proud of my stepson for taking on the responsbility - it's quite amazing considering he never remembers to hang up his wet towel!

My other stepson is flying in this morning and I'm anxious to see him. My husband took the day off from work and we're all going out to lunch. I woke up feeling as though a mac truck took a big swipe at me and I'm nearly ready to fall asleep on my keyboard from the painkillers I took. I don't know what's going on with my body, but I've just about had it. I just want to sleep for three days and wake up feeling brand new again.

I did get a page written yesterday (single spaced, which I always have to point out because it makes me feel better!) on the inspirational. It's at a great point right now - the hero and heroine are thrust into a situation that is pretty uncomfortable for both of them. I'm excited to dive into their emotions.

Oh yeah - I won "Von Ryan's Express" on ebay last night. Woo-hoo! LOVE that movie. It's a WWII flick with Frank Sinatra. I also found "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" and the thriller "Laura." They're in my shopping cart at half.com right now - just have to wait for payday! :-)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Ready for the Weekend?

I cannot wait for the weekend, simply because hubby will have three days off (gasp!), my stepson is coming from Kentucky and we haven't seen him in two years, and my mom might be coming, as well.

But more importantly, I don't have to work! I plan on relaxing quite a bit, even if it's sitting on my front porch and drinking a glass of lemonade or diving into some Ben and Jerry's low fat yogurt (Chocolate Fudge Brownie!). I'm in need of a vacation and around work, it already feels like everyone is just biding their time until the weekend.

I printed out my inspirational last night and was rather pleased with how far I am. I don't write in the "proper" format - i.e. DS, Courier font, 1 inch margins - and instead, I write in TNR, 12 pt, SS. For me, it helps me to "see" the story better. I doubt if that makes any sense, but I find that it flows much easier for me when I write in this format.

I'm still trying to work in the historical, but haven't done that for a few days. These headaches just completely throw everything off. Who wants to sit in front of a computer while your head pounds? Thankfully, the drugs are working and the headache is much dissipated today. The Tylenol with Codeine really worked last night. Praise the Lord! I was SOOOOOOOO ready to be rid of the pain.

I just remembered that there are usually a ton of great war movies on cable for Memorial Day. And darn it, I don't HAVE cable. Grrrr...it usually doesn't bother me, but I love watching old war movies. Luckily, we have a few of them on DVD - "The Longest Day" "The Great Escape" and "Where Eagles Dare" are a few that I own, but I'd like to get lots more.

Off to check out ebay...

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Writing? What writing?

I've been to my doctor's office twice today. Once this morning to get my bloodwork done to check my cholesterol, thyroid functions, etc., etc., which means I had to fast. I get there at 8 a.m. and wait for 30 minutes. I was not happy, especially when I still had to take my daughter to daycare and get to work. To make matters worse, the nurse couldn't find my veins and poked me once without any result. And darn it, it hurt! The second time she got it, but I sat there thinking, "How many times have I had this done and never had this happen!" But I'm coming to find out that every person who does this has a different approach.

At any rate, I go back for my appointment at 11:15 and waited another 30 minutes for my doc. They must have been having an off-day because they're usually not this bad. She thinks I have a sinus infection, so she gives me three different prescriptions to try. I'm willing to do anything at this point, but I'm sure my pharmacy is absolutely loving me. I bet I've shelled out over $100 for my prescriptions the last month. That's rather sad when you consider I do have insurance (thank goodness!) and don't have to pay full-price.

Last night I cleaned like a demon in my bathroom. My mother is coming to spend the week (well, maybe not - she is in the midst of job interviews and doesn't know if she wants to come down now or not) and I must have a clean bathroom. The shower was particularly bad because my husband is one of those guys that gets really dirty at work - we're talking grease, oil, dirt, mud...ewwww. It does not leave a very nice ring around the tub.

Also mowed the lawn last night, fixed a sumptious dinner of spaghetti, Caesar salad and garlic bread, and did the dishes. Oh yeah - and laundry! Can't forget about that ever-present load on my back.

And writing? Phhht. Didn't even go there. I had the computer on, but didn't do much on it. I am hoping to tonight, though, except stepson has a pesky school production this evening that he doesn't even want to go to, and in fact hid the notes from school informing the parents about it. That kid...

I guess I have done some writing today - biographies for another encylopedia project I'm working on. Unfortunately, my headache has sidelined me much too long, leaving me with little time to get things done. But the editor of the project graciously gave me a two-week extension. That's good news considering Mom might be coming and the other stepson arrives from Kentucky on Thursday.


Well, if nothing else, at least my bathroom is clean.

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Day Job

Normally I don't mind working at my job. I love it, actually. I work at a book publishing company and write all day long. What could be better? Well...winning the lottery and living in my nice little cottage (okay, not too little) in England, writing my novels, volunteering in a British museum...that's definitely a better scenario.

Some days I just feel so darn unmotivated to work. To put it bluntly, I don't want to be here. I may even succumb to breaking my three week string of no candy bars just to make me feel better. Maybe.

Lunch was blah, the stuff I'm working on is blah, and I'm thinking chocolate might be a good thing right about now. I do not feel as though I have any wisdom to impart today (and I don't know if I ever DO have any wisdom to impart).

It's definitely a Monday.


Saturday, May 21, 2005

GAAHHHH! Why Bridget Jones Rocks

The Bridget Jones Soundtrack rocks. This is the one with the bonus tracks and it's only available from Great Britain. I loved this movie and the book (although I was a bit disappointed in Hollywood's treatment of the second one, but still loved the book) and I think Renee Zelwegger did a fabulous job in both movies.

Anyway, I just finished balancing the checking accounts and seeing which bills I can pay this week and which can wait until next week (raise your hand if you play this game, too!), and I put on this soundtrack because it always has a way of putting me in a good mood. Well, the entire movie puts me in a good mood and a good writing mood. I love romantic comedies and Bridget Jones is one of my all-time favorite movies. And who wouldn't want to be her kissing the absolutely yummy Mark Darcy (the oh-so-delectable Colin Firth!) at the end? That is one helluva kiss. Whenever I watch it, I jab hubby in the ribs and say, "THAT's how I want to be kissed!"

This is why I write romance. I love romance. I love the boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, fight, kiss, make-up, and live happily ever after. I have always been a romantic, from the earliest I can remember. I have never read Danielle Steele simply because there is too much tragedy involved. I don't want to read about tragedy. I want to escape that world. And even if there is a hint of tragedy in my books, there will always be a happy ending. ALWAYS. And - there will always be a passionate kiss involved!

I am one of those people that is strongly affected by movies. Watching Bridget Jones releases some sort of endorphins or something because I just feel so darn good after watching it and I want to channel that feeling into my books. But if a movie is a downer or explores subjects I am very sensitive about - for example, the movie on cable today was called "Nicholas' Gift" about a little boy who dies in a car shooting and his parents donate his organs - I'll avoid it at all cost, except I didn't make that decision until and I sat there watching it, tears rolling down my cheeks. Midway through, I thought, WHY am I watching this? It will make me feel depressed the rest of the day! And yes, it would have, which is why I promptly got off the couch and went to do the dishes.

It's the same with a book. If a book does not end happily, I'll mope around for hours or days. I simply do not want to write a book that will leave me in such a depressed mood. Real life does that enough already!

So Bridget Jones rocks because she's quirky and funny and she is slightly overweight and doesn't care if she makes a fool out of herself - and I can SO RELATE to her. And I'd rather relate to the good stuff in my novels than the bad stuff. No, we can't bury our head in the sand, but we can choose what we want to surround ourselves with. I choose the positive!

Friday, May 20, 2005

Why I Love My Husband

There are a lot of reasons why I love him, actually. He's considerate, kind, passionate, and darn it, he makes me weak in the knees when I kiss him, after nearly six years of marriage. But he possesses a wonderfully endearing quality: he listens to me.

This isn't just the kind of listening where he makes obligatory "yes, honey" "uh-huh" and "okay" remarks. Instead, he offers wonderful advice. Especially about my writing and my career. He told me the other day, "I just know you're going to make it. It's just a matter of time." What more could you ask for from the man who shares your life and your dreams?

Last night I talked to him about the little writing problem I'm having, in that I'm not able to actually get myself to sit down and write. I told him that I wished I was like Rene, that I could just do it (write the damn book!), but for some reason, my mind is holding me back. It's that war between the left and right sides of my brain and invariably, the left side wins more often than not. Do you know what I did last night instead of writing? I mowed the lawn. Call me crazy, but after sitting at the computer all day writing at work, I needed to get my blood moving. That's a legitimate excuse, I suppose, but still...my writing suffers the worse for it.

At any rate, hubby and I were discussing this after the kids went to bed and we were just about ready to snooze off to dreamland ourselves. This is when we have the best conversations. His genuine interest in helping me through yet another crisis only makes me love him more. :-)

I'll be the first to admit that I think too much. Even when I'm trying to focus on one thing in particular, my mind will bounce back and forth between a host of unrelated topics. It's frustrating sometimes as it makes it difficult to stay on track. I haven't figured out the trick to overcoming this yet. But hubby offered me some answers. Finding a place in my mind to go to - whether it is an island, a mountain retreat, or anywhere of my choosing - and taking the time to clear my mind of everything but that retreat. I tried this last night, but my place of choosing was my English cottage. I put everything behind this mental wall and started walking towards my cottage. Listening to the sounds around me...birds chirping, the wind blowing through the grass...smelling the blooming flowers...and pretty soon, I was asleep!

Now I'm thinking maybe I can use this technique to clear my mind and prepare myself for writing. The trick is to get my behind in the chair!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Longing for the Days...

Before I worked at my full-time job (which I just started in February of this year), I stayed at home with my daughter. My schedule resembled nothing close to normalcy and an average bedtime for both my daughter and I was around 1 a.m. That ended very quickly once I started work.

It's not that I exactly miss those days of uninterrupted time. I recognize that I wasn't very happy simply because I had no adult interaction and it had been years since I'd had a job. But I absolutely loved being home with my daughter. That was the best part.

But...now I long to have just an afternoon off. Every day. If I could only work in the mornings, that would be the ultimate for me. I could spend every afternoon writing, be home when the kids got off school, and have time to do housework. As it stands right now, I'm exhausted when I get home and there's a million things to cram into five hours. It's amazing how fast five hours can go at home. But at work, it slowly inches by like a constipated caterpillar.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Plotting at the Bookstore

Where else can you go for inspiration? The bookstore is the best place for me to sit down and peruse my plots (while eating an ultimate double chocolate brownie - bad, Melissa, bad!).

During my daily chat with Rene, I realized something that actually, I knew all along. I make my plotting too complicated. I want it to be perfect before I sit down to write. Here again, my left brain and right brain do not gel and it really gets to me sometimes. Why must I be so meticulous? Why can't I let the creativity flow?

This is why writing is sometimes difficult for me. My left brain wants to take control of my right nine times out of ten, leaving me frustrated and angry. I want to sit down and write so badly...but then my logical side kicks in. I'm truly a product of my parents. My dad is the logical one, my mom the creative.

I once read in Judith McNaught's newsletters back in the late 80's or early 90's that she found writing incredibly difficult. At the time, (young, naive high-schooler) I thought, "how can it be hard?"

Now I think I'm figuring out why she feels that way.

Writing is hard for me at times, easy at others. My blog writing is not hard. Writing articles on the writing craft is not hard.


When it comes to fiction, I have a hard time. Is it because the logical side is at war with the creative side? And that logical side thinks that I can't write anything illogical, i.e. fiction?

Herein lies the problem. How do I tell the logical side to shove off?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Dinner for Two

A new restaurant opened in town this week and handed out vouchers for free dinners. Unfortunately, it's for a specific night and time and my husband just doesn't get off work that early. So my daughter and I are going to dinner tonight. :-)

I'm looking forward to spending time with her - talking about her day, listening to her stories, and just plain being with her. She is growing up so fast. We've done lunches and dinners with each other before, and I hope to make it a regular thing for us through the years.

I didn't get any writing done last night because, well, you guessed it - the headache. My husband suggested I take a hot bath and it did seem to help relax my tense neck and upper shoulder muscles, but it certainly didn't eradicate the pain. But I took a migraine pill and went to bed. The headache is still here - just not as severe.

But tonight - yes! On to the writing! Do you ever miss writing when you don't do it for a few days? Or even longer? I find that if I let it sit for too long, not only do I miss it, but I start to procrastinate even more. That is such an oxymoron.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Painkillers Not Working? Try This!

Top Ten Things to Do if the Painkillers Don't Work!

1) Sleep.

2) Sleep.

3) Sleep.

4) Sleep.

Well, okay. I might be a little tired, but I didn't think it was this bad...*grin*

Can you believe this headache is still with me?

Neither can I.

It started on a Wednesday. The pain ebbed somewhat yesterday, but by last evening, BAM! It was back again, in full force. Thankfully, I had managed to get my hour of writing in right before it hit. *grin*

I went to the doctor this morning and she thought it was a tension headache and offered to do an MRI or CAT-SCAN if I wanted to go that route. I simply can't AFFORD that route right now.

At any rate, she loaded me up with some painkillers. I took one so far and...nothing. It seemed to work for awhile, but it did not completely irradicate the pain. I can only take it every 6-8 hours, though, so I'm waiting for those hours to pass.

I'm thinking I really need to get my tush in gear with the writing. I've got two novels going right now - one is still in the pre-writing stage, the other is veering into the sagging middle territory and I'm desperately trying to steer clear of it - and I've got a ton of other novel ideas. I think I get too impatient sometimes and do not take the time to savor what I'm working on at that moment. I'm always thinking, but there's more, more! More ideas! More words! More books! Now, now!

But writers can't produce things now. Even poets and short story writers, columnists and essayists, must go back and edit or even edit as they write. It's difficult to just sit down at a computer and write out a finished draft in five minutes. And anyone that does, well...you've definitely got talent!

I hope to get more writing done tonight, but we'll see how the medicine kicks in.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Romance Conference Update!

Well, I almost got sidelined by this tension headache (yes, it's still here) and didn't make it to my dessert reception last night and my romance conference today. But my will power was quite strong (as was my pain tolerance!) and I'm glad to say I made it to both, as well as met my best friend for supper as she was in town for a few hours. I did, however, miss my daughter's kindergarten open house Thursdaay because of my head and was quite upset at that. My hubby went with her and since he hadn't been to the school yet, he was very impressed.

But on to the conference!

Last night my local RWA chapter held a welcoming dessert reception for the authors attending the library conference today. Jo Beverley, (www.jobev.com) our keynote speaker for the conference, actually moved her airline flight in order to attend our reception. That is one classy lady!

Although the day started off rather cloudy and cool, by yesterday evening the sun had come out and since we were holding the reception in a courtyard, it was absolutely perfect. Yummy food, jazz music playing in the backyard, a fountain trickling in the midst of it all...a wonderful atmosphere.

We had four authors attend - Jo Beverley, Elizabeth Grayson, Lois Greiman, and Kathleen Eagle. Fabulous conversation and insight! We sometimes think of romance authors as movie stars, but they're really just like us. :) I had an enjoyable time talking to Jo about the romance industry and market changes, writing in general, and life in general.

The conference today went very well. Book signings (I only took 6 of my 13 Jo Beverley books to the conference for her to sign, which she very graciously did) and good food, good conversation, networking, and lots of great advice made for a wonderful day. (But of course, the tension headache had to throb through it all!).

I felt a little tense during the conference and I couldn't figure it out until I got home and started talking to my husband. I want to be one of those authors up there, speaking about their books, telling us about when they got "the call" and offering advice to aspiring writers. I feel like I'm on the brink of such a momentous occasion, and I'm having a hard time being patient!

One thing I love about conferences is the energy. Romance writers and readers have a special energy that binds us together and it's a spirit of camraderie that I think might be lacking in other genres, particularly the literary one. Professional jealousy, while present, I'm sure, does not come into play in the romance genre. The support, advice, and friendship that we have for one another is something quite special. Maybe that's because the majority of romance authors are women and we understand the struggles that our heroines go through.

Jo's talk centered around the reality of romance - it really is a genre rooted in reality. What is more real than a relationship? For that matter, a relationship where two people care for one another, love one another, want to get married and start a family together? That is the root of humanity, the common need to be loved and to love, the even more baser instinct to mate and keep the species going.

Just a few thoughts...I came away with a lot today, but right now, it's time to lay on the couch and rest the ol' head. I hope to get some writing done tonight because now I really want to sit down and pound out a few pages! I've been truly inspired.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

My Baby's Birthday and Other Tales...

My daughter is five-years-old today.

I cannot believe it. Part of me does not want to believe it. I know this is something every parent goes through, but commiseration doesn't make it any easier to deal with.

After I went ten days past my due date, my doctor decided to induce me. The labor was hard, intensive, and relatively brief. I had her within four hours. She came out with the umbilical cord wrapped around her and they had to resucitate her, but when they put her into my arms...pure bliss.

Contrary to popular opinion, I did not forget the excruciating pain of labor. As I would later describe it, it felt like my abdomen was being twisted by a pair of pliers. Not a nice image. But highly accurate.

I try to remember and thank the Lord every day for my daughter. She is truly a gift from Him. The way she lights up my life, even those times when we clash, is something I cherish. I love her wisdom, her insights, her laugh, her smile.

Now I'm getting all weepy! Ah well - it's a mother's right to get weepy on their baby's birthday, no matter how many years go by.

In other news today...

Yes, the headache is still here. Still pounding, still unrelenting. I took three ibuprofen and it has taken the edge off, but I wonder if there isn't something going on with my sinuses or ears because I now feel dizzy. Good grief!

I didn't get any writing done last night which really irritated me. It's rather hard to write today at work because of the fuzziness lurking around my brain, but I'm trying. I know I won't get any writing in tonight (kindergarten open house, birthday party) or tomorrow (best friend coming from out of town for supper, writer's group meeting) or Saturday (romance writers conference). Well, I'm shooting for Saturday night, though. I'm hoping that being in the midst of all these wonderful authors (you can see the conference info here: http://www.lcl.lib.ne.us/info/romance2005.htm)
I will be infused with inspiration on so grand a scale that I'll surpass the hour limit and write long into the night.

I can hope.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Tension Headaches!!!

I went home early from work today. Thankfully, I got all my work done, but believe me, I would have much rather stayed there then dealt with another one of my stupid tension headaches.

I've been suffering from headaches since the early days of college. I think it stems from a whiplash injury I had during a volleyball practice my freshman year of high school. Whatever the cause is, I've pretty much exhausted the over-the-counter medications. My body has literally become immune to most everything out there. Tylenol? Forget it. Might as well pop a few sugar pills as well as that works. Excedrin Migraine and Tension Headache formulas? Nope. Not even a glimmer.

I've found that alternating between aspirin and ibuprofen seems to work the best. But I cringe to think what my stomach lining looks like. I'm surprised I haven't developed ulcers from popping too many pills. And I hate it. After my car wreck in February of 2004, I went to the chiropractor for two months and had intense deep massage therapy. And you know what? THAT didn't even work. I remember going to the massage therapist one day when I had an absolute killer headache, hoping to get some relief. Nothing!

What is wrong with this body, I wonder? My neck is always so darn tight that it literally hurts to touch it at certain points.

I took a three hour nap this afternoon and woke up to the same pain. Ridiculous. Maybe my lack of sugar lately has contributed to this one, but I don't think so.

Will I still work on my manuscript? Oh heavens, I hope so. But I still have to go get my daughter's birthday present - she was very specific into Wal-Mart the other day and pointed out EXACTLY what she wanted. If I don't get it for her, there will be heck to pay later. :-) Anyway, I have to wait for hubby to get off work before I can go to the store and it's already nearly 7 p.m. I just hate to wreck my writing flow over a stupid headache. But sometimes, there's nothing you can do but lay on the couch and think of absolutely nothing.

The Night Off

No, I didn't take the night off from writing. I did my hour of writing - we can all cheer now! :-) But my daughter fell asleep at 7:30 p.m. and didn't wake up until 2 a.m. when she then crawled into our bed and promptly fell back asleep.

I wasn't quite sure what to do with this unexpected block of time and I felt strangely bereft not having my daughter running around and asking me questions. Her birthday is tomorrow and she informed me she doesn't want cake at her daycare for a party. I asked her if snacks would be okay, and she agreed. "I only want one party, Mom." I take that to mean she only wants one party with a cake. I can do that.

Her kindergarten open house is also tomorrow night, so it will be a full day for her, and me, as well.

Now on to the writing....

Does anyone else feel this way? I don't feel like I have actually written anything of substance unless I work on my novel. Nevermind that I write all day at work or write in this blog or even make notes for my story. No, I'm not writing unless I work on my novel.

I'm not sure that's quite accurate, but that is what lurks in my brain, something I can't seem to shake. I will admit this - since I do write everyday - at work, here on the blog, etc. - it makes it much easier to sit down and start writing my novel.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

One Hour, Three Pages

Last night I wrote for an hour.


I did three pages (single-spaced) on my inspirational and literally had to stop in mid-sentence in order to get the kids ready for bed. I was quite proud of myself. :-)

I also managed to get some more key plot points figured out in Robert's story. Instead of tackling the dirty dishes in the sink and worrying about the crumbs on the floor in the living room, I went outside and sat at our picnic table in the backyard and enjoyed the crisp, spring evening, a pen and notepad in front of me. (I did manage to get a load of laundry done, though!)

My husband busied himself in the garage (he's is SUCH a guy) and my daughter dug for worms in the front yard. I'm anxious to get back to it tonight.

If I could ever get HTML figured out, I might be able to put something up to help me keep track of how many hours a week I write. I confess, I'm hopelessly HTML-illiterate. I'd like to change that, but when do I have time? I should be writing, right? :-)

I'm anxious to get started on Robert's story, but I don't feel that I'm ready yet. I'm not going to make the same mistake as I did on my last manuscript, namely that I didn't have my key plot points figured out. I don't want to know EVERYTHING that's going to happen in the story, because that's simply not very fun to write, but I DO need to know the major turning points for both the internal and external conflicts.

I feel a lot more motivated about my writing. And that's half the battle.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Writing and Not Writing

How can you be a writer if you don't write? The short answer is, you can't. The long answer is...you can't.

I get very frustrated with myself sometimes. Okay, a lot of the time. We all have busy lives, yet we find times in our daily schedule to write. I'm writing right now. I write every single day at my job - that's what I do for a living.

Then how come I have such a hard time sitting down and opening up my manuscript? I love both the books I'm working on, yet cannot make myself work on them half the time. When I do manage to get a few pages done, I feel such a sense of accomplishment that I vow not to let myself go for long without returning to it again.

But I always do.

I could say that life gets in the way. We could all say that. But if we want to be successful in this business, we've got to make time. I've got to realize that I can't have long, interrupted blocks of time to work. A few sentences here and there during the evening will work. Then why do I put it off?

I get tired from working all day, I have kids to take care of, I have other articles to write, I've got the house to clean...excuses. All excuses!!!

I'm going to challenge myself and those of you that read my blog (thank you!), I humbly ask if you would like to help me with this challenge.

I want to write for an hour every other day - at least four days a week, if not more. But I have to write FOUR DAYS A WEEK, for ONE HOUR.

Starting tonight.

That's do-able, isn't it?

Stay tuned and see...

My Husband Did Good

I have to brag on my husband. He went all out for Mother's Day.

Saturday night he took me to dinner, along with my nearly five-year-old daughter and we had a wonderful meal. Then we traipsed over to Barnes and Noble where he very gallantly told me to pick out any book in the store. Once I did, he said, "Now pick out another one, one you've been wanting for a long time but never bought." So I did. :)

The next morning, I woke up to a beautiful bouqet of red roses and a yummy cake. AND...he was cleaning the house.

What a guy! I love him dearly.

I had a wonderful Mother's Day - the best one yet.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Why I Really Need to Live in England

I love England. I love the people, the history, the weather...yes, I love the weather. Cold and rainy. It sounds absolutely heavenly on a day like today. Why, you ask? Because it's HOT here and my a/c is NOT WORKING.

My husband will be the first to tell you how completely grouchy I get when I am hot. I am unbearable to live with and you might as well just leave me to my air conditioned house and tank tops and shorts. But our thermometer is not working today and I'm TRYING to patiently wait for hubby to get home from work so we can go get a new one. I simply cannot live without my a/c.

Nebraska is not the best place to live if you don't like heat. Especially where I'm at. The humidity combined with the heat is unbearable. Of course, I've acclimated to the humidity since I've been here for three years - much better than the dry, hot, dusty heat of western Nebraska. But I still long for those cold, rainy days in England...I absolutely loved them. They weren't the best for sight-seeing, but I'd take them over Nebraska heat any day.

And of course, my two dogs, which you can see here http://mypeoplepc.com/members/literaryace/reflectionsofromance/id8.html
had the brilliant idea to run off this morning. The large one, Tiny Bear (yeah, yeah, he's not very Tiny but he's my husband's dog), decided to push open the screen door this morning and take off. And of course, he took my dog with him.

My daughter and I rushed out to the car and took off after them. Luckily they'd only gotten a few blocks away, and my dog hurried over to my car as soon as he heard me yell at him. He knows when he's in trouble, unlike Tiny, who simply doesn't care. I know the neighbors were getting their daily dose of laughter by watching me try to corner Tiny. I'd get within a few feet of him and try to grab him, only to have him take off again, leaving me with a handful of fur. GRRRRRR.

To make a long story short, I had to drive past a NO TRESPASSING sign to find Tiny and I think it was sheer exhaustion on his part that let me catch him. This is not the first time I've had to do this with Tiny - and I'm sure it won't be the last. But I'm hoping that once our fence is completely finished (just have to put up the gates), Tiny will get to run around the yard instead of being on a chain and that should help curb his wandering nature.

Of course, you can't stay mad at them for long. But they've been banished outside for the remainder of the day, though!

Friday, May 06, 2005

It's Friday!

I absolutely adore the weekends. I didn't used to when I was a stay-at-home mom for some reason, but now that I work full-time, I LOVE them. Friday night is just so darn fun. I love to sit and veg on the couch or take a walk with hubby or go out on the town! (which doesn't happen very often anymore!). I usually don't write on Friday nights.

I did get a bit of writing done last night as well as brainstorming. The best thing that works for me is walking. My dog Charlie and I took a very long walk last night and I loved it. Beautiful night, not too hot, not too chilly, but absolutely perfect. But why is it that dogs always have to pee at every relatively tall object they see? And, of course, he took advantage of the red fire hydrant on the corner.

I haven't had any chocolate since...Tuesday. *gasp* Is that good or bad? I'm not sure. I think it's good that I'm trying to get off my sugar cravings...but the thing is, it's FRIDAY NIGHT! I want my Ben and Jerry's low-fat yogurt! (Specifically Chocolate Fudge Brownie!) I might go ahead and indulge any way. I've been very good lately! And it IS yogurt, y'know. :)

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Magic of Email

I contacted one of my favorite authors today. She will be the keynote speaker at an event our local library is having next weekend and my local RWA chapter will host a special event the night before. I emailed the author and heard from her within an hour.

Isn't that incredible?

Yesterday, I sent an email to a man who won a book award. Little did I know he lived in Spain and through the magic of email, I received a response within an hour. Again.

I am continually amazed at how wonderful the Internet is. It has its drawbacks, of course, but so does everything. What I truly love is the ability to communicate with people from all over the world.

I think it's been a wonderful thing for those of us who write better than we speak. I'm pretty much terrified to get on the phone and call a complete stranger (which is why I have the perfect job - copywriting!). But sending an email out to complete strangers is not a big deal at all.

Writers and authors have utilized the power of the Internet for all sorts of things. Critique groups, online chats, message boards, websites, newsletters - it's fantastic. I truly feel blessed to be able to stay in touch with people in such a way. I have developed great friendships with people I otherwise never would have met.

Of course, there's always those pesky junk emails we get - but hey, it's the same as the junk mail you get in your snail mailbox at home. But junk emails are environmentally friendly - push the delete button and you're good! No pesky envelopes or flyers to throw away. ;-)

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

If I was an Irish Lass...

Your Irish Name Is...

Isobel Moore

Naps and Market Changes

Lunches with co-workers are great. You can go hang out with your colleagues, let off some steam, and get out of the office. But when you return to work, trying to get motivated is something else.

And right now, I have an unbelievable urge to nap.

Maybe it's the lack of sugar in my system. I'm trying to cut down drastically on my sweets. I'm not doing too bad, which is encouraging. I haven't even consciously tried to avoid sugar. My body just isn't craving it right now. I think God has a hand in that because usually, I do nothing BUT crave sugar.

I wrote on my inspirational novel last night - about a page (single-spaced). Something is better than nothing. This novel is a bit different than any other I've done. Besides being an inspirational, it is also a novel where I have quite a bit of the research done even before I started writing it. What could be better? Yes, research is part of the fun, but I usually can't wait to jump into the writing itself.

Boy, a nap sure does sound good.

Rene and I were chatting yesterday about the lack of variety in the historical market. She did a blog on it today (http://alittlecheesewiththatwhine.blogspot.com) and she made a lot of sense. Although I absolutely love the Regency and the Napoleonic Wars, I also love the American Revolution and the French Revolution (as I've alluded to here before). But I'm sure I'm not the only one who likes different time periods other than the Regency. Yet I nearly cringe when I look at a copy of Romantic Times and scan the book reviews. So many are coming out with a Regency setting. Since my finished manuscript is a Regency, it makes me wonder - when will the market shift? When will Regency, paranormal, vampires, etc. no longer be "it?"

I know the time is coming for the market to change, but trying to gauge when that will happen might be a bit more difficult.

I have great ideas for stories that take place in the French Revolution and the American Revolution. But why write it if it won't sell? There is always the POD route or the old argument of "write for yourself first, money later." But if we're in this business, most of us expect to get published at one point or another. I don't plan to just write my novels and let them sit in a drawer. I, personally, will not be satisfied with that. Some people may be and that is absolutely fine. But not me.

If you have the desire to write the book, then write it. If it's not what the market wants right now, then you have a few options. 1) Go the POD route, 2) stick it in a drawer and forget about it or 3) wait. I like the third option the best. I think it is entirely possible to finish a manuscript and then really watch the market trends and see where they're going. Your book could likely be the next "break-out" book that starts a new trend.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Pesky Words

I'm editing the article for the Nebraska History magazine and I'm finding a lot of "that" sprinkled throughout. It's annoying.

Writing academic is a whole lot different than writing fiction. You can't use contractions because that's not formal enough. Using flowery language is definitely out. In fact, I'm finding a whole lot of "was" words in there, as well, which is really driving me crazy. I want to edit the heck out of it. I guess it's because that's what I do at work every day.

We had also wanted to use a photo of a Marlene Dietrich movie poster - "The Flame of New Orleans" (which I watched a very long time ago, but don't remember very well) - because it was one of the first movies the German POWs watched at the camp. But after contacting Universal Studios, I found it was going to cost us $250. For a state historical society's budget, that just isn't going to work. I'm a little miffed because I thought it fell under the "Fair Use Act" of the copyright law, but guess not. So now I need to try and figure out something else.

It's a fine line, walking between the academic/historical world and the fictional world. Sometimes I like to cross those lines, though. Ideally, I'd like to work at a university and cross those lines. But I'd have to make sure I had financial security some other way - like lottery winnings! The Ivory Tower of Academia is not a joke - it is very real. And oh, how I'd love to smash through it.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Life in the Twenties and Thirties

My brother turns 26 today. When I called him to wish him a happy birthday and said, "You're 26 today!" he mumbled, "Don't remind me." I find that quite interesting as I will be turning 30 in a little more than a month and I'm not nearly as devestated as he is. Perhaps it is because I am married and have a family and a mortgage and he's still living the single life (although he does have a very nice girlfriend). Your mid-twenties are often a time for reflection and wondering if you're on the right road.

I'm a little apprehensive about entering my thirties, but hey - there's not a whole lot I can do about it. I still feel very young in many ways - young at heart, of course - but there are other ways I feel older. Emotionally, I feel as though I've learned a great deal in my near 30 years. And physically...well, let's just say I WISH I could have my twenty-one year old body back. But who doesn't wish that?

I do think, though, that I have a better sense of direction than I did in my twenties. Even after I got married and had my daughter, I still wasn't quite sure where I wanted to go in life. I've always had two very solid goals, though. 1) Travel the world. 2) Become a successful, published author.

Some could argue, "Hey, you're almost 30 and you're STILL not a published author?"

Well, yes, I am published, but I have yet to publish THE BOOK - y'know, the one that an agent signs me on for, the one that the editor loves and gives me a nice advance on. No, I haven't accomplished that yet. But I believe there is a reason for that.

Emotionally, I do not believe I was mature enough to write the story that I needed to write for such a successful novel. As a prime example, I began a contemporary romantic suspense novel while in my senior year of undergraduate school. I loved the premise - an American woman gets involved with a member of the IRA during the Troubles in Northern Ireland - but I don't believe I was emotionally ready to write it. I still have the manusript and want to pick it up again soon, but I had to abandon it a few years after I started simply because I wasn't ready to write it.

Our experiences shape who we are. In the same vein, they also shape how we write, and I don't mean simply how well we write, but the emotional depth we bring to the page. I couldn't begin to write some of the things I have without having lived life first. When people talk about writing what you know, I believe this is what they are referring to - what you have emotionally learned throughout life, not necessarily if you know how to hack your way into a computer system and so should write a story about it.

At any rate, I feel more prepared to write now than I did back in high school. I still have all of those attempts sitting in a big rubber tub and I doubt I'll ever throw them away. Those were the beginnings of my writing development - sort of like my first steps. I could never forget those memories.

New Digs

I've got a new home on the web - stop by if you get a chance! www.melissamarsh.net