Thursday, June 23, 2011

July? Excuse me?

But ... isn't it just June 2nd? or 3rd?


I see it's not. The little calendar on the bottom corner of my computer screen mocks me with the date if I happen to put my mouse pointer over it. The month of June is soon to fade away and I'm not entirely certain I have much to show for it. I certainly had planned to get more accomplished. Isn't that always the way, though?

I've read scads of books. To myself and to the kids.

I've sent scads of query letters - in turn I've received scads of form rejections. Which means I'm needing my "I don't suck" file.

I've watched the kids splash in our soft sided pool. I got my first sunburn. I thought, "I won't need sunscreen. I won't be out there very long." I was wrong. Luckily, it wasn't bad. It just stung a bit.

We've watched "Wild Kratts" and we've been amused.

I had a birthday. I really need to work on that list on the sidebar. Here's part of what I received....

Birthday Bounty from my mother-in-law
My brother, Uncle Kick-butt, maintains that rock music tends to be about three things: Drugs, Sex and Money. I would offer that occasionally there's friendship and love lost. If there wasn't love lost we wouldn't have country music or the blues. That said, Bruno Mars (The yellow disc in the picture) really likes to sing about sex. I mean ... REALLY. Like I can't let the kids listen to the CD because they'd UNDERSTAND what he was talking about. Most songs, when talking about sex generally use innuendo. Not Mr. Mars. 

The Professor and I once attended a stage show at our local Ren Faire. The couple made a statement that we laughed over. We laughed because there was such wisdom in the statement and because it amused us. "If your children get the innuendo - it's NOT OUR FAULT." Mr. Mars....doesn't hide his innuendo well. 


June saw G-man's 11th birthday. 

I got all sorts of music- he got Legos. The dude likes his legos. 

June will wrap up with The Professor's 42 birthday. It's an important number around here. He wants to go out to eat with the family and then head to the movies. With all of us. We don't do that since last time. Did I tell you about the time Mini-E stuffed her mouth so full of popcorn she nearly hurled in the theater? After was not fun because she didn't want to obey. I decreed that she wasn't going back to a theater until she was 6. 

J-man responded, "That's harsh." 

The professor is allowed to change the rules. It's his birthday.

June is hurrying by. I'm not going to hang onto the coat tails - but I'm going to try to enjoy the time we've got left in the month.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Reading ....

One of the things a writer MUST do is Read. I've heard this many times over. MANY MANY Times. I usually have a problem with reading WHILE I'm writing. Namely - Comparison.  I tend to compare what I write to what I've been reading. Let me tell you -- some days I just want to quit. 

Then part of me doesn't want to try to copy what I'm reading. 

I realized - It's all relative. And it's all excuses.

I love reading. I love writing. sometimes I try to do them at the same time. If I hit a snag in typing- I'll pick up a book. THat's how I managed my NaNo back in November. It was me and "JD Robb" sitting in the quiet, dark house trying to figure out how a shape shifter would manage life. 

There's a problem with that plan, though. 
sometimes the book at hand is FAR more interesting than the transition from point A to point B *my* character might be attempting. 

It's much easier to read, than it is to write. 

On a similar but rather different note - I've been reading Stephen King's book "On Writing" and enjoying it. He used himself as an example and claims that he makes a goal of how many books he's going to read. 

I wonder if he has a Kindle or a Nook. Maybe an iPad. There's no telling. It was a random Question anyway. Still, if he stumbles upon my minor blog, I'd like to have an answer. Just because I'm curious.

I have a Kindle. I got it for Christmas.
I wasn't sure I'd like it - but I do. My favorite form of book is still actual paper. 
It's more difficult to read the end of the book on a Kindle.

What brought all this up, you ask? Besides my random thought patterns...
Let me tell you...

We've been doing the 'summer reading' program through our library. You know the sort. Read a certain number of books and you get a medal. Read an even greater number of books and you win a prize. This year's prize is an inflatable Jet plane. I can't WAIT to see that bouncing around my house. The sarcasm is implied. Oh. Who am I kidding? It'll be fun. ESPECIALLY since there will be THREE of them. I refuse to play "air traffic controller."

Mini-Me has hit the grade level for the teen program. AND lo!!! Our small library has a small section of "Teen" books. Of course, it's filled with fantasy and paranormal fantasy books. BUT There are Mysteries, too.

Mysteries are Mini-Me's favorite. 

She's discovered the Sammy Keyes series. She will come laughing to me with parts she has considered hilarious. She'll tell me all about the bad guy and the antics of the heroes. 

One book she didn't think she would like was "Neil Flambe and the Marco Polo Murders" - I rather insisted that she give it a try. She fought me because she didn't think it sounded good. A chef?? Then she read that Neil's parents read to him from cook books when he couldn't sleep. I think she was hooked. She devoured it (pun. HA!) and was glad she read it. So glad that she was interested to learn there was a sequel.

Another author she wants more of is Blue Balliett. She started with "Chasing Vermeer" and went from there. 

She's enjoyed these books so much that the American Girl mysteries she'd read and loved have lost interest for her. It's a fun progression to watch for this mom who remembers with much fondness her absolute love of mysteries. 

G-man has discovered a love of the personalities in History. Marco Polo was the latest one.

J-man and Mini-E just have a love of books.

Me?? I've devoured Nora Roberts, Julia Quinn, Robyn Carr and Kerrelynn Sparks. (It comes from being a romantic who was writing a romance.)  (and my absolute love of characters.) 

And, I admit this, I love quick reads. If I'm entertained, I'm happy. Regaining my lost vocabulary is a happy coincidence.

On my 'to read pile' are JD Robb, Lee Child, Mark Greaney, William Dietz (who, incidentally, spent a lot of time on The Professor's Kindle while The Prof. was traveling), John Flanagan, Charlaine Harris and ... LOTS of others. I'm a biblioholic and not bothered by this distinction at all. I've learned to stop reading if I want to A) slap the main character until they snap B) find myself thinking it's a good time to scrub the shower. 

I coined my own phrase, allow me to quote myself: "Life is too short to read bad books and waste good dreams"

Happy Sigh

Now - what about you?
What are you reading?

'cause I might want to read it. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

A current view of life...

...Otherwise known as: What happens when I'm editing and my camera is at my elbow. 

As you can see, I've nearly completed the edits. There were a few days in there that everything I wrote absolutely sucked -- but I pressed on. Because most of the time, I like what I've written. My readers like what I've written.  The manuscript is nearly completed. I liked seeing how much I've gotten done since I started working on it again. (Right after I finished Meg & DJ's journey)

Then I'll have the task of going back through and finding all the times I transitioned from one point to another with the word "As".

As that's what happened when I was trying to quickly get the visual from brain to paper ....many times over.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I really do have one...

Paula asked me, "Do you really have an "I don't suck" file? That doesn't sound like a bad idea."

I thought to myself, "Yes, yes I do." 

Then I thought again - "I'll even take a picture of it!!"   


I really don't - even if I sometimes think I do...
I've always kept notes that were particularly encouraging. But after I read This, I knew I had to have one of my own. AND I knew I had to call it my "I don't suck" file. I mentioned it on this post back in April. Now, I will admit that it took me a few days after I wrote the blog post to actually put the thought into motion. 

But I did - and, being easily amused, I have to say it's been fun. Even creating it was fun.

It's the perfect remedy for a rejection letter! Or just a bad case of 'Monday'

The contents MIGHT seem minor at the moment. The file doesn't include the cards I have between books on the book shelves. AND it doesn't count two e-mail programs worth of notes. 

Laptop e-mail. I have 3 new e-mails that I moved to my "I don't suck" folder.
 For as long as I can remember, I've kept folders in my e-mail programs that I wanted to keep. E-mails that have blessed me. I might delete them after the warm fuzzy has diminished but that's because the e-mail did its job. It told me I didn't suck.

Making an "I don't suck" file made me realize that I was already doing much the same thing under a different name. So, I went so far as to make a folder on my e-mail program. It'll save me ink and paper. But mostly - it's there for the times I need encouragement. 

NOW - the trick, I'm learning - is to go back through and actually READ the contents. 

There you go. 
I really do have such a file..
I can recommend it. 

I think I'll put stickers on mine.....

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Birthdays and accidental traditions...

Some months ago, in preparing for a get together with my family, I mentioned to my mom, "Why don't we just have pizza? Wouldn't that be easier?"

She pointed out that we seem to have that during birthday events. Which is true. There isn't much else to order/prepare that won't heat up my small kitchen or will be as readily received. Pizza has become my go-to food for birthday nights.

I'm not sure what's going to happen when the kids start asking for their favorite foods on their birthdays. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. 

Pizza on a birthday has become an accidental tradition. This fact became glaringly obvious yesterday.

Yesterday was my birthday.

The kids decided to take care of me. I had breakfast in bed. Eggs and toast. 
Then, thanks The Professor's tutelage, they teamed up (which proves that they can work together) to make a cake.  It was a sweet moment. They made my favorite - strawberry. 

Apparently, they spilled batter on the floor. 
Mini-Me came to me and said, "Um... don't come out (of your room) but's the windex?"

So the cake was made (it was a little flat). They forgot to grease the pan which was a fun situation when it came time to dish it out. At first the kids were surprised that I'd serve cake before lunch. 

"It's my birthday!" said I. (And there wasn't anyone else coming) So I spooned out cake into bowls. 

Mini-E looked at her cake and then looked at me, "Where's the pizza?"

Accidental tradition achieved.

There's a rather ironic side-story that happened during the week. 

My mom was going to sit with the kids so The Professor and I could have a night out. When discussing having food on-hand for Mom to prepare for their dinner, The Professor said, "Well, let's just order Pizza. It's easier and it is a payday."

It's another level of tradition. 


Okay. So my birthday included the kids making breakfast and lunch. I didn't worry about school - I read a novel. The Professor gave me new ear buds for my MP3 player and Season Three of Burn Notice. Mini-Me made me a cat, G-man made me a decoration, J-man made me a necklace and Mini-E gave me some drawings. She's quite fun. 

The way they took care of me just blessed me. It was better than mother's day. ^_^ 

To answer Toby's question... For my birthday, my In-Laws gave me a gift certificate to Amazon. I just didn't know what I wanted. Last year, I knew I wanted shoes of awesomeness. This year...I just didn't know. 

I love gift cards. It's the chance to buy yourself something you might not ordinarily purchase for yourself.

So for my birthday I bought Music. 

It was The Professor's idea. He told me "You're hard to buy for. Michael Buble came up on the recommendation list...." 

"I don't like him," I interrupted.


"He's a poser." 

"Got that. You're hard to buy for. Why don't you buy music?"

So I did.

I bought a CD from The Fray. An album I didn't have by Kelanie Gloeckler. I purchased the soundtracks from Fast Five. I enjoy that movie. Because I was feeling adventurous, I ordered "Doo-Wap and Hooligans" by Bruno Mars. I've not heard his music before but I liked the title. It made me smile. 

Just for Randomness - I bought a book on Castles. 

From my own personal wishlist I bought a copy of Animusic 2. 

If you've not heard of them -- Let me share. 

There were lots of comments on Facebook wishing me a happy birthday - I wish I could save them all and put them in my "I don't suck" file. 

All in all - it was a good birthday. When my box of music arrives, It'll be just a continuation of the celebration. 

For our date, The Professor and I went to dinner at an artsy sort of place just to try something new. Then we went to see Thor. I really liked the movie. It was so much better than the green hornet which, really, -- it sucked. 

While we were at the theater, my brother texted me and asked, "So how does it feel to have more experience at being 25?"

He gets me. He knows that my age and my brain are not the same. 

I mentioned that If I knew THEN what I know now, I kinda wonder how much more I might have accomplished. 

He said, "You'd have gone nuts."

He was right. THEN - I was in no position to break out of a mold...I had no support. 
It took a journey to get here to the NOW.

The journey is not over. Far from it in fact -- but without all the in-between stuff that's happened, I wouldn't be 

And I pretty much rock. 

It was a good birthday.