I just pre-ordered Fringe Fantastic by Colin Gailbraith! It is a poet’s experience of the 2005 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and I can’t wait to read it. But you can’t borrow mine – you’ll have to get your own!
There is one thing to be said about a four day holiday in the Appalachians – breathtaking, both figuratively and literally. We took my truck instead of the big comfy conversion van and even though we were cramped, it was a good decision due to the snow we encountered just as we entered Virginia. Thank goodness for a portable dvd player!
The snow-covered mountains were picturesque and the kids played outside for hours despite the bitter temperatures. Hours of sled riding down the side of mountains (I kid you not) using the four-wheeler to pull them back up to the top ,along with pulling them behind the vehicle on an inflated inner-tube left them cold and weary by the end of the trip (not to mention severely wind-burned and chapped to the point of bleeding).
The smell of wood smoke in the dry cold air, the night sky brimming with countless stars, the wind whipping so hard it takes my breath, fluffy and white daytime snow for the perfect snowball, only to freeze and crust after darkness falls – that is November at home.
I believe it is always good to go home as I had a lot of time to think. Lately I’ve been disillusioned with the business aspect of writing. The whole acquiring an agent, contracts, publishers, promotion, etc. left me drained and jaded.
What I’ve come to realize is that to be sucessful, one can’t just write. One has to play the game by the rules of the establishment and those who master “the whole” are more content. My goal for 2006 is “to master the whole.”
I can write. My craft has been validated on many levels, I know my voice and the genres where I’m at my best. I know my style is to write by the seat of my pants with no outline or synopsis – just give me a character or two and a setting and turn me loose. That I know, but once again it is only half of the equation.
One must know how to network, how to promote, how to rise to the top and how to stay there. Why do so many fail and only a few succeed? That is what I intend to find out.
First of all, I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone has lots to be thankful for, I hope travel plans run smoothly and I hope no one gains five pounds as a result of the sumptuous holiday feasts.
The headache left on Saturday morning. I woke up to find my head clear and oh what a feeling that was! I attribute it to a two-day detox of fruit juice and green tea. I believe there is a food allergy triggering the pain, but I’m still in denial as to the source (I’m suspecting dairy and chocolate, but I’m unwilling to make the concrete conclusion which could lead to a tremendous lifestyle change).
Unfortunately another weekend of running left me no time for writing and I’m stalled on Book 3 of the series. I have red-penned pages one through fifty, but I’ve gotten no farther. Perhaps tonight after things settle down, I’ll light a candle and work some more.
The agent search is going better than I could have ever hoped for and that’s all I’m going to say about that!
I suppose one could say I have arrived. I’ve been invited to a local Writers Night Out and a Poetry Night. I was shocked and honored, and perhaps I’ll push everything else aside and just go.
I’ve done nothing but run all week. There’s been no time to write or edit anything which is probably a good thing because I’ve had a headache since Monday and I’m exhausted. What I need to do is take tomorrow off but what I have to do is work.
Well, I lived through another busy weekend. B1 and B4 both had basketball practice at 8 am on Saturday so hubby and I drove off in different directions with the boys while the girls slept in. Part of B1′s practice was a scrimmage between the dads and the boys. Now this is Middle School ball so most of the dads were aged 40 or higher. Gaw, what I wouldn’t give to have watched that. A bunch of out of shape middle-aged men trying to re-live their youth!
Well, long story short, hubby was sore for the rest of the weekend, but no one needed supplemental oxygen nor were the paramedics called. The boys won but that’s really no shock.
B2 and B3 had nutcracker rehearsal from 12 pm to 2 pm, so after we dropped them off, hubby and I had an appointment with a Financial Advisor. Seems I grown quite the nest egg from at least four 401k accounts I’ve acquired as a result of switching jobs every four years and never rolling the money. In fact I’ve managed to make a bit more than my husband’s SEP IRA! Ha – so I’m the idiot who can’t manage money?!!!!
I did purchase some life insurance since I no longer work full time I don’t get the benefit. After all the paperwork was signed, we rushed back to pick up B2 and B3 from rehearsal. Then home where hubby had to race back uptown to work the Elton John concert at the arena for B2 and B3′s Softball fundraiser.
B2 then had basketball practice at 4:30 pm, and then at 6 pm I took her to a sleepover and took the other three to Dicks Sporting Goods because Joey broke his Airsoft gun. While there, (during a brainfart moment) I let B3 and B4 talk me into buying them a gun too. (Please don’t lecture me on children and guns. I was raised a bit differently and my view is far from the liberal norm, but much less extreme than Ted Nugent.)
“You promise you won’t shoot them at each other?” I asked. “No mom, we promise,” those little blue eyes said. “Well . . . okay,” I relented.
$136.00 later, everyone (except me) walked out happy. We had a quick dinner at the Subway then home to chill.
By Sunday 1 pm, B3 lost the priviledge of her gun. Her story: “I wasn’t shooting at daddy, I promise!” His story, “I felt my butt stinging and I thought a bee got up my pants. I turned around and saw her aiming . . . right at me.”
By 2 pm B4 lost his gun. My directions, “I’ve got to run to the store. No guns until I get home.” His story, “Mom, I had an awesome shot at the cat.”
They shoot little plastic bb’s that don’t hurt – from a distance but up close (I’m talking less than 6 inches) can put out an eye. Now I know how my mother felt when we would take the bb guns (shot real metal bbs) and played cops and robbers. Could this be payback??
Today I fiddle-farted around yet again with my website. That’s it, I’m done!
Tonight, I will work on edits of Book 3. I have my tea, my music and the kids will be in bed by 9 pm. Hubby’s gone for the week and everything is done for the evening. I hope to knock out a large chunk of it tonight. We’ll see.
First of all please let me take a moment to thank all American Vetrans for their bravery, belief and courage to protect our country. For those who fought on foreign land, for those left behind to protect the home front and for those who lost their lives to protect the freedom in which all Americans enjoy today. Now more than ever, we must realize that Freedom is a gift and as we know, it can be threatened.
Last night I did nothing but admininstrative work. Nothing zaps creativity better than endless emails, mountains of paperwork, and other mundane tasks. It is necessary to clean up the clutter but I hate it.
I really need to get a calendar and get rid of all those tacky yellow Post-It notes stuck all over my desk and computer monitor. Perhaps a 2006 GDR?
I haven’t touched Book 3 of the series, but I still have today and tomorrow to edit 100 pages.
I gave Mr. Snotty from yesterday a big ole’ stink eye and will do so until I get an apology from him. What an ass (not to mention a very short fat man with a bad attitude), but I digress.
J.A. Konrath discusses a similar topic on his blog entry dated 11/10/2005 titled Everyone is the hero in their own movie. If you have a moment, check it out.
Today was a great day. I had good news in an email yesterday and worked most of the morning to polish the synopsis for Book 2 of the trilogy to send off to the person requesting it (it is not what you think but I don’t want to blog about it in detail now) and went about my day job.
I realize I’m part time and I can accept that those will full time jobs may not appreciate that I too have responsibilities and deadlines. But today, I GOT SNAPPED AT by another employee. I’m not really concerned that he barked at me like some starving junkyard slobber-dog, but more repulsed at my own reaction – I ROLLED MY EYES AT HIM, while I was brushing his behavior off with one of my clever quips.
Good Gaw, I couldn’t believe it! I cannot stand when someone rolls their eyes. I even quit watching the Apprentice because of all the bimbo eye rolling from supposed business savy and well educated women. I have two daughters who will get added punishment if I even see as much as an eye start to roll and here I am using the body language of a bratty thirteen-year-old.
Well, at least I got the synopsis completed and I have the entire evening (minus a couple loads of laundry) to work on the first 100 pages of Book 3.
The weather has changed once again. Last night it was at least 77 degrees in my bedroom so I opened the windows to cool it off. It was about 68 degrees outside but that was the high. Today it is around 60 degrees with a low of 38 degrees tonight.
We see them everyday – at work, in school, at the ballfield, they could even be someone in your family or even yourself. They are persons with diabetes.
They must carefully monitor their food intake, test their blood sugar and undergo multiple insulin injections daily or have their insulin delivered through an insulin pump.
This dreadful disease occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys beta cells in the pancreas. These are the cells that produce insulin.
The staggering statistics show that every hour of every day, someone’s child is diagnosed with junvenile diabetes. Not only will those diagnosed be insulin dependent for life, they face the constant threat of blindness, heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.
Junvenile diabetes affects not only the child but the entire family. Insulin is a therapy and a painful one at that, but is by no means a cure.
I’m one of the few lucky parents as even though my family has a history of diabetes my children show no signs of illness – yet. I say yet because this illness strikes without warning and sometimes the symptoms are mis-diagnosed.
But there are many ways to get involved. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is an outstanding resource and advocate for the cure of this disease which affects so many. Not only a site for information, JDRF provides an online diabetes support team who are there for anyone who needs them for there will be times, especially upon diagnosis, that families need to know they are not alone.
There is also information on ways to get involved, make a donation, write your congressman and the latest paths to a cure.
In honor of November being National Diabetes Awareness Month I urge everyone to visit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to learn more about diabetes and make a donation.
I finished the edits on Book 2 last night while I waited for the girls to finish ballet. It is amazing how much progress I can make with a laptop and a streetlight. I sat in my truck and typed away. It felt good. It ended at 56,798 words and Book 1 has 56,359 words. Right now Book 3 has 56,567 but if history repeats itself, it will increase to ~57,000 words.
Today at lunch I printed 189 of the 220 pages of Book 3 and I’ll start editing tonight after I fold laundry and pack lunches.
I also messed around with my website again. Why can’t I ever be satisfied? I changed it back to the brown and beige color scheme. I don’t know why. I also added Pamela K. Taylor’s website to my author links. This is a must see as PK is one of the most diverse and talented writers I know.
(As I type B4 is sitting in the floor in my office gluing fuzzy balls to a pipe cleaner – I’m not about to ask why.)
For the first time in a long time I feel like a writer. I’m not fretting about the business side – I’m just writing, writing, editing and jotting down ideas for some new poems and short stories.
The weather has been crazy. Two weeks ago a cold snap forced me to turn on the heat. Now it is supposed to be 84 degrees tomorrow but I’ll be damned if I’ll turn the AC back on in November. Right now it is a toasty 73 degrees inside with all the ceiling fans going.
(B4 has ditched the little fuzzy balls in favor of more pipe cleaners – he’s holding the glue and mumbling to himself.)
The work to be completed this week is:
Update The Scruffy Dog Bookshelf with Devon’s and Michelle’s picks. Edit at least 100 pages of Book 3
You know that feeling you get right before you get a nasty cold? Well, guess what!
First of all it was a very busy, yet unproductive on writing, weekend. Saturday, I was up at 7 am to get B1 to basketball practice by 8 am. B2 and B3 had to leave at 8:45 am to go to their softball tournament. B4 had basketball practice at 11 am. Long story short, we didn’t get back home until 9 pm.
Sunday wasn’t much better. B2 had to be out at the ballfield by 9:30 am for a 10:30 game. B3 had a friend spend the night, so F3 (Friend of B3), B3, B1 and B4 rode with me out to the ballfield for the 10:30 game. It was the first game I got to see of B2 on her new team and can you believe they LOST. Talk about feeling like a bad luck charm. But, instead of getting to watch only one game as B1 had basketball practice at 2 pm, I got to watch another game which they won! I got B1 to basketball practice.
There are two brothers on B1′s rec team and they got into a huge fight on the court at practice. Their mom was screaming at them. It was funny but she was so intimidating I didn’t dare laugh. The whole team jumped (even the coaches) when she hollered at them. Whoa!
After practice I ran F3 home and went back to the house. Hubby called and said B2′s team came back to win the tournament, and that they were on their way home. I manage to roast a marinaded pork loin for dinner after I ran to the grocery store and spent $207.00. B2, B3 and B4 had religious education (or religious brainwashing) at 4:45 pm.
We sat down to a rare family dinner before B1 had to go to his religious education class at 7 pm. I cleaned up the kitchen and packed the lunches before I had to run back over to the church to pick him home. Then HOME AT LAST.
Oh, and I did at least 12 loads of laundry over those two days.
I did take a bit of time to assess where I am with my writing and where I need to be. Well, come to find out I’m pretty messed up. I could feel it even before I put it all on paper – I’m out of balance, grumpy and rushed all the time (even when I don’t need to be). I’m concentrating on at least two tasks ahead of the one I’m working on and not putting forth 100% on anything. Gaw, it just like writing and working full time.
So it is back to the basics of setting goals and achieving them, establishing realistic writing expectations and meeting them. Work on GDR’s for 2006 complete with agressive yet attainable word count numbers. I want to write some more short stories, experiment with flash fiction, read more and write book reviews. Then there is my poetry.
Tuesday 11/8 – deadline for finishing the final edits of Book 2. Saturday 11/12 – deadline for finishing the final edits of at least 100 pages of Book 3. Tuesday 12/6 – deadline for starting back on the novel. Thursday 12/15 – deadline for formatting and loading the debut issue of The Scruffy Dog Review. Monday 12/26 – deadline to finish re-reading and editing the first half of the novel and start the first draft of the last 30k words.
Most of the edits of Book 2 are on paper. Now to finish the last ten or so pages and put it all into the computer, back it up, etc and then Book 2 will be completed. Then on to Book 3.
At a time when I need to focus I find I’m scattered all over the place. Most of my writer friends have a higher degree of dedication and a tenacious desire to rise above the muck and focus on their goals and paths of choice.
Here I am wallowing in the muck again, procastinating and worrying about aspects of the writing business I cannot control. It’s a shame though because the agent search is going great – so few queries sent and so much enthusiastic response. YEP, I know I’m whining so I’ll shut up.
This weekend is booked solid. B2 and B3 have a softball tournament in a small town north of here, B1 has basketball practice tonight and tomorrow morning at 8 am (yuck!), I’m sure B4 has basketball practice sometime this weekend, B3 needs a catcher’s mit and all the B’s need new basketball shoes.
Despite doing at least one load of laundry every day this week, it has once again exploded. My part time job is probably going to cease as I believe they need someone to work full time and I cannot give them full time right now.
Hubby’s being a pure bastard and I don’t really care. Detachment – it is the part of being a writer I truly love and have developed my techniques quite nicely. Half of them I learned from him so at least he’s been good for something.
So my goal for this weekend is to finish Book 2, write my entry for The Scruffy Dog Review Blog, and do the find and replace on Book 3 as I’ve changed a few names and found an historical error that I’ve already fixed in Books 1 and 2.