Friday, December 30, 2005

Now, Don't Get All Excited On Me

Sigh, Jaye, I wish I did have 25K of new writing . . . I've written maybe eight pages total new. The other was stuff I'd already written on the MS, stuff that needed tweaking. I think it works now.

I hope it works now!

And I really have to redo my blog links. Maybe tonight.

Thursday, December 29, 2005


I'm writing again.

See word counter to the left . . . :-D

The To-Do List

Everyone around me is busy making goals for the New Year. I'm not quite ready for that, maybe because I made goals -- workable goals -- for last year. I crashed and burned, too. Not a pretty sight, I'm telling you.

But I'm thinking about goals. Maybe by the end of the week (or month), I'll be ready to put them in black and white.

But I do have a daily To-Do list (actually, I have one every day). Want to see today's?

1) Clean kitchen
2) Finish laundry
3) Find a place for all of the Monsters' Christmas gifts
4) Write thank-you notes for my Christmas gifts/have Monsters write theirs
5) Clean the office -- get Goodwill stuff out of corner and into truck
6) Start on the bedroom

Also, if time/inclination:

1) Pick up from school standards notebooks and stuff to grade
2) Grade character notebooks

I'm getting off the Internet so I can get a few things accomplished. Talk to y'all later!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Uh, Boy . . .

Ever have one of those days that makes you want to scream from the time you set foot out of bed?

Well . . .

It has to improve, right? I'm definitely getting the kids out of the house today.


Hey, go check out Mary's list of things she wants to forget about 2005 (neat idea!). Carol's talking about goals. And Larissa's twisted gingerbread house is just too cool for words.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Progress Report

Pages written today: er, none

What I accomplished today:

1) Took down the Christmas tree
2) Cleaned out Monster #2's closet -- a bag of clothing and a box of toys/books for Goodwill or the Salvation Army
3) Cleared Monster #2's room in preparation for pulling up carpet, etc.
4) Four loads of laundry
5) Cleaned the living room

Tomorrow I need to spend some mom-time with the Monsters. A friend has her nephew for the day -- she suggested a movie. Narnia, maybe, but I'm still reading the novel to the Monsters and kind of wanted to finish it first.

My holidays are dwindling. Only five more days . . . where does the time go, anyway? I've been hustling and hustling (except for Saturday and Sunday), but I don't feel I've really made any headway on what needed to be done.

There's just never enough time to do everything. Hey, I'm open to tips and suggestions!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Observations on the Day After

Just a few things of note:

1) Ebay is addictive.

2) Tayari Jones is my new idol. Read Leaving Atlanta. In one day. Christmas Eve, to be exact. Oh. My. God. Will review for you in the next couple days. But trust me . . . go buy it!

3) When renovating a bathroom, one would be wise to install the 54 inch tub in the 54 inch space before one installs the toilet, new flooring, new wallcovering.

4) The DH is very adroit when it comes to renovating. Somehow, he managed to install the 54 in tub in the 54 inch space around the toilet and new flooring with minimal damage to the new wallcovering . . . I'm impressed.

5) The same Monsters who balk at picking up junk they've strewn in the yard will spend hours picking up pecans once money for pecans is mentioned.

6) Whole-house renovations, especially when one lives among the construction is, well, emotionally draining (even if it is totally worth it).

7) When one wants one's home finished badly enough, one is not even upset that her Christmas gift was . . . wait for it . . . a miter saw! One was quite moved.

8) Christmas break moves waaaay too quickly.

9) A ten-dollar bass fishing game from Walmart can entertain three males of disparate ages for hours. Literally . . . hours. Heck, make that days.

10) One's mother saves her own hugely successful diet by sending all the goodies (yum . . . coconut cake) to one's home, thereby sabotaging the healthy eating resolutions. Hmmm. Does a week make that much of a difference? One is normally good all year.

Hope you all had a safe and happy holiday . . . and best wishes for the new year.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Wishing You All . . .

A Merry Christmas . . .

Happy Hanukkah . . .

Blessed Kwanzaa . . .

. . . and a Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Pretty Good Odds

I scarfed this from Jaye and Mary (if you haven't visited either lady, you should -- fantastic blogs!). According to the Lulu Title Analyzer, here are my odds of penning a best-selling title:

Hold On To Me -- 44.2%
What Mattered Most -- 20.1%
Truth and Consequences -- 59.3%
A Formal Feeling -- 41.4%
Anything But Mine -- 44.2%
Memories of Us -- 64.8%

A couple more fun things:

Literary Deaths Quiz, by way of Miss Snark.

The Ipod Zepto at McSweeney's Internet Tendencies. Several of the other selections are rolling-funny. Try Lunch with Demons.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

My Latest Addiction

. . . is this online read at eharlequin. I mean, staying up until the new chapter is posted at midnight addicted, too.

I'm lovin' it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Beating. Head. On. Keyboard.

I hate my WIP.

Or rather, I think it hates me. It's become sentient and is trying to drive me insane.

I've also discovered, thanks to endless searching on ebay, that the word quilt is just rather an odd word. Look at it. Say it a handful of times. It's a weird word.

And I have a new skill: I can now light the pilot light on my furnace.

I feel accomplished, even if I can't get a handle on my book right now.

Don't Use the R Word

It started last week, before school even let out.

"Just think -- Friday you can go home and relax."

"It's Christmas break. Relax."

The next person to tell me to relax gets smacked, okay?

Christmas break (any break, for that matter) isn't about relaxation. It's about catching up on all the things I let slide during first semester. For instance:

1) kids' doctor's appointments
2) kids' dental appointments
3) kids' haircut appointments (see a trend here?)
4) tax paperwork
5) insurance paperwork
6) cleaning
7) grading stuff I didn't grade yet

It used to be about writing. This year, not so much. I'm still trying to work my way through the morass of my current manuscript.

I think I'll go clean something.

And maybe that is my form of trying to relax.

Monday, December 19, 2005

#1 Reason ebay Rocks

Know that catchy little ad campaign of ebay's? "You can find IT on ebay."

It's true. You can find anything.

Dining room slipcovers . . . a set for ten bucks.

A linear amp for a CB radio. (Ask the DH . . . I bought it for him.)

Vintage suitcase.

A 1945 Army Air Force footlocker.

Cute beaded purses.

An oil painting of a ship.

Robert Wood seascapes.

And books that won't turn you loose . . .

See, way back in the day, a friend of the family (later to be my high school English teacher and even later to be a valued teaching colleague) gave my dad a huge box of Harlequin romances for me, the avid reader in our household. I really doubt Daddy realized what he was handing over to his thirteen-year-old, but in no time I was hooked.

I outgrew my Harlequin glom, but not the pull of romance (hence why I write romantic suspense instead of straight mystery/suspense). But I never outgrew the way certain books pull at you -- characters and situations you can't forget. I even remember titles.

So out of sheer curiosity, I went searching for titles of old paperbacks on ebay, and to my surprise, I found some:

Savage Atonement -- By classic Harlequin author Penny Jordan, this has to be the Big Mis plot to end all Big Mis's. But the hero grovels for the ENTIRE book to make up for his stupidity. You gotta love it.

The Woman in the Mirror -- By Lynn Turner. There's a fantastic segment in the book where the hero believes the heroine is dead. I've always wanted to recreate that level of angst.

Hey, and they're a penny a piece! I'm off to shop some more . . .

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Size Matters

In case you haven't noticed, small purses -- tiny purses -- are in.

I have a new one, a cute little clutch with blue beads, a kiss-lock, and a sassy beaded handle. I want so badly to carry it around.

The only problem?

Nothing will fit in it.

I can literally carry my keys, a lipstick, and maybe my driver's license. No insurance card, no business card holder, no checkbook, no wallet, no change purse, no classroom keys, no hand sanitizer, no hand moisturizer, no lip balm, no pens.

So I'm vacillitating between fashionable and unprepared for life and practical and prepared for everything.

Those beads are so winning out . . .

Saturday, December 17, 2005

A-Ha Moments

Ever have one of those? I'm not getting one just yet . . . but I think I'm on the verge of one. And it's going to be something so darn simple that I'll end up feeling like an idiot.

The last few weeks, well, okay, months, I've had trouble writing. As in, open the file and the response is either a) tears or b) nausea. Not fun, especially for someone for whom writing has always been a joy, where there's a literal urge to get to the keyboard some days. I haven't been feeling that forever now.

The ideas had shut down, the characters had shut down, the words had shut down.

I think it's because I'm writing the wrong story.

I don't mean the wrong characters or the wrong novel. The wrong story. I'd become so fixated on crafting the perfect external plot and conflict that I'd lost what had drawn me to Celia and Tom in the first place -- how he falls in love with her despite himself, how she allows herself to trust a man and her heart again.

Like I said, it's the verge of an a-ha! I'm not there yet. I have no idea how to fix the convoluted mess I've created or how to get them back to the point where I first fell in love with their story. Or even if I can.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

I'm an Omnivore Enjoying a Smorgasbord . . .

What type of reader are you?

{Note -- I have a reference for this (it's not mine -- scarfed it from a workshop I attended last week -- but left the info at school. Will add the citation tomorrow!}

1) Anorexic reader: “I can’t even pick up a book.”

2) Perpetual Diet reader: “I read only what I am assigned; I’d like to read some other things, but I have to stay on my diet to pass my courses.”

3) Fast Food reader: “I read Cliff Notes and the summaries at the end of chapters. I never have time to sit down to read a whole book.”

4) Omnivorous reader: “I’ll read anything and everything. I read newspapers and magazines and books and cereal boxes, comics and billboards.”

5) Trendy reader: “I read only what’s in. If it isn’t being talked about by my friends, I don’t bother.”

6) Vegetarian reader: “I read only nutritious articles and books. I want what I read to nourish me spiritually. I wouldn’t think of reading books that had been made of animals.”

7) Gourmet reader: “I’m very selective about what I read. I know what makes good literature and I only read the best.”

8) Junk Food reader: “I read what’s quick, cheap and requires very little thinking. I often what I’m reading – throw away wrappers, etc.”

9) Smorgasbord reader: “I enjoy reading a little bit of everything – all at the same time.”

I read constantly. Newspaper -- daily. Magazine -- daily. Fiction -- daily. Blogs? Daily. And on and on and on. I have difficulty conceiving how people who don't read exist, although I know they do. My classes are full of anorexic readers.

So what's on the buffet at my house right now?

1) An anthology by Joyce Carol Oates
2) The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis (I'm reading it to my kids)
3) The Crucible, Arthur Miller
4) Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare
5) Georgia Performance Standards for ELA (I'm writing new units -- requires lots of deep reading of the standards themselves)
6) Deeper Reading, Kelly Gallagher (He's my new idol.)
7) Angels and Demons, Dan Brown

I started a novel by Sandra Brown, who I've always loved and whose books I devoured during the year I taught at LCHS, but I couldn't seem to engage with it. I kept trying to take the plot apart . . . so I put it aside and I'll come back to it later.

I also tried to read The Color Purple. I love Alice Walker's non-fiction and short stories . . . but I hated that book. I couldn't finish it. Weird, huh?

So I'm an omnivore who reads everything . . . all at the same time.

What kind of reader are you?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Now That Feels Better . . .

More like me. I like the lighthouse, like the symbolism of it, even if it doesn't really fit the gritty realism of my romantic suspense.

Yes, the archives are gone and the blog has a new title, but the same old addy and I'm the same old me. I haven't gotten my links back up, but I will soon. Probably this weekend, after I grade exams.

I've been a little slow to post lately because I'm thinking heavily upon the content I want here, for a variety of reasons. In some ways, I'm sad I dumped the archives, but in others, it was very much like sloughing dead weight.


I'm here.

You're here.

I think tonight or tomorrow we'll talk about the type of readers we are. See you soon.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Will Return . . .


With the old links.

And an explanation.

I'll update my website soon, too.

But tomorrow . . . I have to torture students with exams.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005