Monday, October 31, 2005

Monday Musings

It was a busy weekend.

~We got my mom all moved into her new apartment and I think she's very happy with it. She starts work at her new job today, so I'm anxious to hear how it went. I was lucky in that I didn't have to carry any boxes in - my brothers took care of that before I got off work - but I did help her unpack. She has a very nice music box collection that made the trip without any mishaps.

~Got to spend some great quality time with my family. We worked together to help my mom in her move and then wee celebrated my niece's birthday on Saturday at Chuck E. Cheese's. The kids had a great time and it was nice to just kick back with my two brothers, my sister-in-law, and my mom.

~Sunday I slept in, had a killer headache, and took a muscle relaxer. Not the smartest thing to do! I felt pretty "relaxed" the rest of the day!

~Went to see Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit last night with my daughter. What a wonderful film! My daughter really enjoyed it and I can't wait for it to be released on DVD so I can watch it again. :-)

~As far as writing...well, I opened the file and I read some of it, but other than that, nada.

Don't forget to sign up for the book giveaway at Haunted Tales!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Halloween Short Story Extravaganza!

In the mood for a few chills? Want to win a book?

Then check out Haunted Tales and read some spooky stories!

More from Deb Dixon's Conference

Let's take a look at your character's goals.

The goal, as defined by Deb Dixon, is what your character hopes to achieve.

The goal has to have a sense of urgency. It doesn't have to be a ticking time bomb - it can be a sense of opportunity that won't come along again.

Ask yourself, "Why her (him), why now?"

Love should be a complication, not a goal. Characters should have strong goals that are separate from the relationship.

Don't give your character anywhere to go but forward.

In Writing News...

I wrote a Halloween short story. I love writing short stories and I don't do it often enough, largely because I need a good, solid idea before I start writing. It has to percolate in my brain for awhile. Otherwise, it will turn into a novel! The short story format is also great because you can really practice the writing craft in a limited amount of space. It's also inspired me to get to work on my novel again!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Back at Work

My daughter finally felt well enough to go back to school again, thank goodness. Well, let me rephrase that. She didn't want to go back to school again, but I wanted her to! She slept through the night, no coughing fits, and sounded a lot better this morning. Thank God!

I'm determined to go work out tonight. Hubby's Christmas party is in three weeks and I've got to look better than I do now! I can lose at least six pounds in that amount of time, can't I? If I really watch what I eat, exercise a lot...yeah, I think I can do it.

This is probably the worst time of the year to try and lose weight. But we'll see if I can do it. :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A Plea for Help!

My friend from work is having trouble with her son not sleeping through the night. And she needs your advice!

Go here to read her post:

Dominant Impression

I'm still at home with my daughter - she woke up at 4 a.m. this morning coughing. Poor thing.

Anyway, as promised, I'm going to start sharing notes about my conference. Today will be short and sweet!

Deb Dixon talked about the "Dominant Impression" for your characters. It's a simple, but very useful concept.

For your characters, think of an adjective and a descriptive noun. The adjective cannot be a physical description - for example, "tall" or "thin" or "blue-eyed." It must be more specific - like "lazy" or "cocky." Then choose your descriptive noun, but it can't be a profession.

Some of Deb's examples come from Star Wars. Han Solo is a "cocky smuggler." Princess Leia is a "royal rebel."

Those who attended the conference also came up with some great ones:

frustrated martyr
lonely rake
impulsive dreamer

This is a great tool to help you really pinpoint who your character is.

More tomorrow!

Oh yes -

I am officially the new president of my local RWA chapter. I'll begin my term in January. :-)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Why I Can't Work At Home

I kept my daughter home from school again today. Her cold seems to all be in her chest, so I'm hoping that the expectorant that I bought will loosen it up and help her feel better. But I'm bound and determined that she's going back to school tomorrow.

Even though I do have some work to do for the office, I feel so unmotivated. And this is the exact feeling I had when I didn't have a job and I stayed home with the kids.

I've come to this conclusion: I need to be around people, I need to be active, and I need to be out of the house to get motivated. Right now, I just want to crawl on the couch and take a nap. And I just might this afternoon. But the house needs cleaned, the dishes need done, and I still need to write that Halloween short story for Rene! :-)

I think the ideal job for me would be to work every morning and have every afternoon off. Or perhaps to work every other day. I get tired of running around and never having enough time at night. But I also know I can't go back to being a full-time SAHM.

Something in the middle...that's what I need. :-)

Tonight is my chapter meeting and I'm anxious to see what everyone's thoughts are on the conference. Ironically, I also have to do a short presentation on motivation!

Monday, October 24, 2005

A Wonderful Success!

Ahhh....big sigh of relief! The conference is over and it was absolutely WONDERFUL. In fact, I lost track of how many people told me how wonderful it was.

Since our president wasn't there for personal reasons, I was the Mistress of Ceremonies. And let me just say right now - Debra Dixon is an AMAZING person. She is full of energy, laughter, and is very down to earth.

The food was great, the place we rented was perfect, and the gals in my chapter just did an amazing job putting everything together. I was so pleased.

I'll gather my thoughts about the conference and try to post them tomorrow. I'm at home with my daughter who apparently has the same nasty cold that I did last week. I'm very fortunate that I can work at home on days like today. :-)

Friday, October 21, 2005

Chapter Conference Time!

We're having our annual Fall Writer's Retreat for my local RWA chapter and I've been quite busy preparing for it. Last night we set up the tables and chairs and tonight we're having our dessert reception for Deb Dixon.

I'm a bit nervous because our chapter president will not be there and since I'm the vice president, the duties fall to me. I wrote my welcome speech last night and I think it turned out pretty good.

Dessert reception tonight (whoops, I already had a donut for breakfast, courtesy of my supervisor - darn it!) and then tomorrow is the full-day conference. We're quite pleased with the number of participants, which includes a few published authors!

Anyway, I discovered last night that I wasn't quite as excited about the actual conference as I have been in the past simply because I have been in charge of organizing a lot of it. And it has taken away from my writing time. But, I really don't mind because it's only once a year and I really enjoy preparing for it.

I'll post some of the highlights from Deb's workshops over the weekend or on Monday.

Hope you all have a terrific weekend!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Need a Laugh?

I had my entire department laughing with this one. A man is witness to a car accident - but it's not a serious one. Check it out: (you need sound)

I stayed up late editing my novel last night. I'm making progress!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


I'm breathing a huge sigh of relief that today is largely over. It wasn't necessarily a bad day, but it was BUSY.

I thought our cold front wasn't moving in until tomorrow, so I walked out the door without a coat and neglected to get one for my daughter, as well. After I'd dropped the kids off, I realized it wasn't going to warm up. Off to the store I went to buy me and my daughter sweatshirts since I didn't have time to run home.

Went to work, then took off to go look at an apartment for my mom. Very pleased with what I found, called mom and told her of my findings, dropped off my daughter's sweatshirt at daycare, then back to work. Off to lunch with my coworkers, then came back and realized I had a flat tire.

Luckily, I work with some really great guys and they put the spare on so I could drive the five blocks to the auto repair shop. A co-worker picked me up, we went to the post office, then back to work. Thirty minutes later I went to go get my car.

In the midst of the entire day, I kept fielding calls from my husband and my mom, filling out her rental application, and trying to get my work done!

After work, went and dropped off the application, picked up my daughter, and headed home.


I did manage to get everything done at work that I needed to, so that was a relief. I thought of tomorrow and how I could just pick up the kids and go straight home from work to relax. But alas, it's not to be! We have to set up for our weekend writing conference tomorrow night and I'll be busy until Saturday night.


Writing? What writing?

Fortunately, I'm on the computer right now and it's only 8:09 p.m., plenty of time to get a few minutes of editing in, right? Let's hope so!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Time to Focus...Again

Do you ever lose your focus? I do.

Both my parents came to visit a week ago and I loved it. I didn't worry about my writing or much of anything else, but spent my time enjoying their company.

I also pushed myself a little too hard and thus, the cold.

But even when I'm sick and running my children around, taking care of the house, and making sure the dogs don't eat the new cat, I think about my writing.

And that's when I get excited. Giddy. And I can't wait to regain my focus again. Cleaning my desk is the first step. Making sure I have plenty of chocolate is the next. (Hmm...might not be a good thing!). And the all important third step - sitting down at the computer and writing.

I have to regain my focus every few months. Life just does that to us all, I suppose. But being able to experiene that giddiness, that wanting to write, that absolute excitement, is worth it.

Announcing a New Blog...

Oh, stop your snickering! Another blog? you ask.

Yes. But it's a very GOOD one, I promise.

Find out here:
  • My New Blog!
  • Monday, October 17, 2005

    House Hunting

    My mom just got a job where I live. She's preparing to make the 450 mile trek to this part of the state, and my brother and I have been shopping for her a place to live.

    I really can't believe how much people charge for rent, especially when the place is a pile o' crap. Amazing.

    It takes so darn much energy to call people up, arrange to go look at the place, be nice and polite and smile even when the place IS a pile o'crap, and then do it all over again fifteen minutes later.

    I'm ready to go home and take a nap on the couch! Of course, I didn't do much else this weekend. Well, yes, I did. I actually managed to start working on my edits for POSSESSION, got some laundry done, bought a Keith Urban CD, watched a wonderful movie, The Best Years of Our Lives, and spend some quality time with hubby and the kids. And through it all, I barely got any sleep because of this darn cold I'm fighting. I need to buy stock in Kleenex!

    Saturday, October 15, 2005

    An Ode to Cereal

    Since it's Saturday morning and thus, the time of cartoons and cereal, I thought I'd reminisce on all the great cereal I've had while watching the coyote and roadrunner battle it out, or Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck attempting to get Elmer Fudd's gun away from him.

    So here goes...

    Boo Berry. Blue cereal. Little marshmellow ghosts. FULL of sugar! But oh, it tasted SO GOOD.

    And if we mention Boo Berry, we have to mention FrankenBerry and ChocoCount! One bowl of those and you'd be bouncing off the walls for hours!

    Cookie Crisp! Little chocolate chip cookies...

    Honey Nut Cheerios. Still a favorite of mine.

    Golden Grahams. LOVE the first, crunchy bite.

    Lucky Charms. Who could forget the advertising behind this one? "Let go of me Lucky Charms!"

    Trix. I always felt so sorry for the rabbit - "Silly rabbit. Trix are for kids!" Well, darn it, why couldn't the rabbit have some, too? After all, he was a talking, fully functional rabbit! He deserves more than carrots!

    Fruit Loops. Tucan Sam!

    Captain Crunch. I LOVE Captain Crunch Berries. I remember they had a marketing campaign where you could actually call and talk to Captain Crunch. I never did like the peanut butter Crunch, though.

    Apple Jacks. Tastes just like apples. With tons and tons of sugar loaded on top.

    Frosted Flakes. "They're GRREEATT!" My daughter loves these - calls it Tony cereal (from Tony the Tiger, of course!)

    Your turn. What types of cereal do you remember from your childhood or are in your cupboards today that you love?

    Friday, October 14, 2005

    I'm Sick Again and I've Been Tagged

    That is quite the amusing title.

    Anyway...I was out sick yesterday with either a bad cold or bad allergies and I still have it today. *groan* If I push myself too hard, I get sick. Let that be a lesson to me! I took the day off and stayed home to watch WWII movies, sleep, guzzle some orange juice, crumple tons of tissue, and just generally feel icky.

    I'm back at work today. Sigh...

    AE tagged me for this interesting little tidbit...

    1) Delve into your blog archive.
    2) Find your 23rd Post (or closest to it).
    3) Find the fifth sentence (or the closest to it).
    4) Post the text of the sentence in your blog. Ponder it for meaning, subtext or hidden agendas.
    5) Tag three people to do the same.

    Okay. Here is my sentence:

    The next morning, I woke up to a beautiful bouqet of red roses and a yummy cake.

    And so I ponder...

    Upon further reflection, this sounds like a great first line for a novel. It has an air of mystery about it. You know that something "happened" the night before since roses and cake were awaiting the next morning. And all sorts of possibilities jump into your head.

    Of course, this post came from my Mother's Day post where hubby had bought me red roses and made me a cake for my special day.

    But if I delve into my imagination, I can see a woman waking up in a luxurious hotel room, rubbing the sleep from her eyes, and seeing a huge bouquet of red roses on the table. And her gorgeous, hunky lover steps out from the bathroom, toweling off his six-pack, and smiles at her, saying, "Good morning."

    Yeah. I like that one.

    Okay. So I'm going to tag three people...




    Wednesday, October 12, 2005

    Cloudy Days

    It's cloudy here. In fact, it was foggy, cloudy, and wet this morning.

    And I'm at work.


    I should be at home, under my blankets, sipping hot chocolate and eating my chocolate chip cookies while I either a) read, b) sleep c) watch an old movie or d) write.

    Instead, I'm at work. Clattering away. Longing for my blankets. And sleep. (I already ate some chocolate chip cookies).

    I'm feeling about the same today and last night's pitiful sleeping arrangements didn't help. I moved out to the couch when hubby started snoring, then moved back into bed when I got hot. Hubby was no longer snoring. BUT, when I actually crawled into bed, he started snoring again! I'm beginning to wonder if he has some sort of sensor that notifies his brain to snore when I reappear.

    I crashed last night. I really needed to do absolutely nothing. Only I didn't do absolutely nothing. I helped my daughter with schoolwork, folded laundry, got daughter ready for bed, etc., etc. Sigh...a mother's work is never done, even when she plans to take the night off.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2005

    How Ya Feelin'?

    My co-worker asked me that today after I drug my sorry butt into work about four hours late. I wasn't going to come in at all, but we are having a lunch meeting and I couldn't miss that.

    But in response to her question, I said, "Like a frog crawled down my throat and died."

    It must be the allergies. Or maybe it's a cold. But I know why I'm sick - not enough sleep. I can go for only so long with my less than my required minimum hours of sleep before I start to feel yucky.

    Didn't do much last night. Watched a Cary Grant and Tony Curtis movie called Operation Petticoat. Funny stuff.

    What Writing News?

    Not much to report. But you can hop over to
  • Villa in Tuscany
  • to check out why
    I'm having a difficult time delving into my manuscript.

    Monday, October 10, 2005

    Biker Mama?

    My husband finally got a motorcycle. He's been wanting one for years, but we never had the money to afford it. Well, we still don't have the money, but he found a great deal for a bike that we couldn't pass up.

    I finally got to take a ride yesterday. I'm sure it was a comical site - my daughter in front, hubby in the middle, and me on the back (all three wearing helmets, of course!). I'm thinking that if we make a habit of this, I need to buy some goggles or maybe get the helmet with the comlete face guard. I think I'd like that. I don't particularly enjoy the wind in my face - not at that rate of speed.

    Now I'm on the hunt for a leather jacket because really, you cannot ride a bike without a leather jacket!

    I draw the line at going to Sturgis, though (for those of you who don't know, Sturgis is a big biker rally up in Sturgis, South Dakota, and is only a few hours away from my hometown). No leather chaps or skimpy tops for me! (Well, if I had the figure I did ten years ago I might think about it...)

    In Writing News...

    Not a darn thing done over the weekend. My dad was here visiting from back home and we had a nice time. After he left yesterday, we had to clean house and do the whole grocery shopping experience. But I did manage to get to the mall and buy a few pairs of jeans and some new boots. :-)

    Friday, October 07, 2005

    Book Sale!

    I took a two hour lunch break yesterday (don't worry - I didn't take a lunch on Monday, so I'm good on the whole time thing) and went to our city library's book sale. They actually hold it at the state fair fairgrounds because they have SOOOOO many books.

    People were lined up outside to get in! I couldn't believe it. I high-tailed it over to the history section and saw people literally grabbing books like scavengers. Very weird.

    Of course, the paperback section - about five tables worth - was relatively calm compared to the history section. It got me to thinking that history buffs are a weird lot. Well, look at me. I fit right in! LOL

    I came home with some great bargains and even found a ton of biographies on Hollywood stars. Sophia Loren, Tony Curtis, Frank Sinatra, and Deborah Kerr, to name a few. Also grabbed quite a few World War II history books. I only got a few romances because number one, I was running out of time to look through the entire section and two, because I already had quite a few of the books.

    Hubby grabbed a bunch of books, as well. The only problem? We have no more bookshelves to put all these books on! Time to go shopping!

    Thursday, October 06, 2005

    Random Thoughts

    ~It's Thursday! One day closer to Friday and the premier of the Wallace and Gromit movie! Woo-hoo! I know, I'm weird. I can't wait to see it, though.

    ~Today is the beginning of our library's annual booksale. Hundreds and hundreds of books, cheap! My husband even took half the day off so we could go and peruse the bargains.

    ~Nickelback's new album, released last Tuesday, is phenomenal. I've been a Nickelback fan for a few years now and my daughter even loves them. :-) I listened to the album for the first time yesterday at work and again today. I've come to the conclusion that this is their best yet.

    ~I'm having a hard time getting back into my historical Regency manusript. But I'm bound and determined to get this sent off.

    ~My mom is here right now and my dad is coming on Friday. I love it when my parents come to visit. :-)

    ~It's been cold for the last two days. Woo hoo!!!!

    ~My heartburn is not due to the Diet Pepsi. I just had a bottle of orange juice and I can feel it starting to rise. Probably something to do with the acidic content.

    ~I was headed out to West Virginia to visit my brother, who was going to be there for a training "boot camp" for his job. Turns out that he doesn't have to go now (which he is very thankful for since it was right at corn harvest time). But I'm bummed. I really really want to go to Virginia and visit all the Civil War battlefields, Revolutionary War sites, and all the other history. I decided to just maybe go by myself later this year or early next year. We'll see. Or I could save my money to go to England with my best friend. Hmm...decision, decisions!!!

    Wednesday, October 05, 2005

    A Trip Through Time

    Received word from an agent and she requested the full manuscript of my historical Regency romance.


    While I am excited, I have also not looked at the darn thing in months. I've been immersed in World War II history and language and thought and now I have to "time travel" back to early 1800's England.

    But there's always that chance that this might be IT. Y'know. THE agent that will lead to THE call.

    And I'm SO ready for that to happen. :-)

    Tuesday, October 04, 2005

    Bye Bye, Diet Pepsi and Peanut Butter

    I've discovered that my Diet Pepsi addiction gives me heartburn. This saddens me because, well, I love the stuff. I think if I just cut back - maybe a few a week - that will be much better than two cans a day. Ack. When I think about it, that is really bad. I shouldn't be drinking that much soda!

    I tried to eat some peanut butter cups on Sunday, but nope. Those are out, too. That's not really a big deal because I don't like peanut butter, but I do like Reese's and peanut butter M&M's. But a straight PB and J sandwich? No way.

    No writing done last night. I cleaned house. My mom is coming to visit for a few days this week and I felt compelled to clean. Dust accumulates in my house like no other. And my vacuum shorts out after about two minutes of use, so I have to stop and wait for it to cool down. Not very efficient. I've always had vacuum problems. Why, I don't know.

    Monday, October 03, 2005

    The Notebook

    I finally watched The Notebook last night. And I bawled. (Stop snickering, Rene!)

    I read the book years ago, after it first came out, and I've been waiting for the right time to watch the movie. I knew I would need a big box of tissues.

    Needless to say, the love story was fantastic. I loved Noah and Allie and how they finally (yes, I'm giving away the ending) find their own happily ever after.

    The only thing that bothered me concerned a plot device. After Allie goes away, Noah writes to her, every single day, for a year. She never receives any of the letters because her goodie two-shoes mother keeps them all. Of course, this isn't revealed until years later. I dunno. Maybe it's because I'm a big fan of the miniseries North and South and the same thing happened on it - Orry Maine and Madeline Fabray write to one another, but her father keeps all the letters from reaching Orry or Madeline. They find out after she marries, of course. But they get their happily ever after later (though not in the book - just the miniseries.)

    Anyway, it made me think a lot about how I want to avoid that type of plot device because, well, to me, it's so darn easy to do. Instead, strengthening the internal conflict between the two would have been a better choice. But that's just my opinion. :-)

    In Writing News...

    I did write this weekend. Not as much as I wanted to, of course, but since it's been two weeks since I've written anything new on the manuscript, anything is an achievement. I'm also working on some non-fiction article ideas, one of which is editing a collection of letters from a WWII soldier stationed at the Fort Robinson POW camp. I simply cannot let these letters stay in a dusty drawer in the archives. They are so good that they need to be shared with the world.

    Saturday, October 01, 2005


    ...I slept in this morning and it felt great. My dreams were rather weird, though, considering I had to move everything out of my house and flee an approaching blizzard. And on top of that, at the airport, my husband and I had to see a counselor before we could get on the plane. Bizarre! My dreams are usually pretty strange.

    ...I just put a pan of lasagna in the oven, so lunch and supper are pretty much taken care of. We're pretty lazy around here during the weekends with our meals. Kind of eat whenever and whatever. But I had a craving for some Italian so decided to whip up a batch of my world-famous lasagna.

    ...Went out last night with my co-workers and had a great time, proving once and for all that you do NOT need to drink alcohol to have a good time! I calmly sipped my water while everyone around me kept ordering another round. But I didn't feel left out at all. In fact, I'm pretty sure I was the only one that didn't wake up with some sort of hang over! Now don't get me wrong - I've had my partying days. But they are long gone and I don't miss them at all. I love to get together with friends and have a good time, but I definitely don't need alcohol thrown in the mix.

    ...I'm debating whether or not to watch the Husker game today. Predictions are that they are going to get their collective rear ends whipped. I have no desire to watch that. On the other hand, I could go and hang out with my brother and watch the game. On the other, OTHER hand, I could write. And I really really WANT to write.

    Missing My Manuscript

    After I finished the first draft of my manuscript, I wanted to take a break from it, get some distance before I started revisions. That didn...