Tuesday, September 30, 2008

To Kiss or Not To Kiss

*Thank you to Courtney Milan for the idea and the link.*

This is how you build romantic tension between your characters. Sometimes an "almost kiss" does more to keep your reader engaged than the real thing ever could.

Seek And You Shall Find

Today, I thought I'd share two quick tricks you can use to strengthen your manuscript. (And by strengthen, I mean move your writing from ho-hum to WOW!)

To do this, you'll need the following:

*An arsenal of active verbs at your disposal

*The "edit" tab in your Word document.


Here's what you do:

1. Go under "edit" to "find."

2. Initiate a "find" for the word "that."

3. Remove most of them. The rule of thumb is this: If the sentence is complete without "that", take it out.

4. Go back to "edit" and "find."

5. Initiate a "find" for the word "was."

6. Evaluate carefully whether the "was" (which often indicates passive voice and always indicates the weaker "to be" verb structure) is absolutely necessary. If you can rearrange your sentence to insert an action verb in its place, do so.

That's it. It takes some time to comb through your manuscript, especially if you're fond of "that" and "was," but your writing will be so much stronger when you're finished. =)

Monday, September 29, 2008

She's Gonna Blow!


1. I'm late with my usual Monday post but I have an excellent excuse.

2. I had a job interview.

3. Actually, it was more of a "Sit There And Let Me Tell You How Great This Company Is" interview that lasted all of 16 minutes. And that was with ME asking most of the questions when I realized the interviewer had no real interest in asking ME anything of value (he did want to know about Pepperdine, but that's it).

4. I'll know in two weeks or more. In the mean time, still looking.

5. Katy and I discussed our offices/writing spaces at Swords & Stilettos today. Feel free to go share what works for you (and upload a pic if you want!)

6. Here's a video of a volcano birthday cake my hubby made last week:



7. Yes, those piles of leftover cake were wrapped up and waiting for me when I got home.

8. No, they don't tempt me any longer.

9. My week is full of revisions, critiques if I can get to them, and setting up interviews with some authors for this blog.

10. Also, I will once again try to take over the world.

11. Reader Question: What is your favorite board game? If I don't own it, I might buy it for my kids for Christmas. :)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tricksy Hobbitses



Currently on my iTunes: "Sober" by Kelly Clarkson

1. I'm having a hard time believing that it's already Friday.

2. Actually, I'm having a hard time believing the date on the calendar. Where does the time go?

3. I've been silent on my progress in Shadowing Fate here but there's a good reason.

4. I was SO CLOSE to finishing when I realized I had an incredible idea to deepen the plot, make the villain so much scarier, and thoroughly mess with my reader's heads because they won't be able to see how Alexa can avoid the fate the villain has chosen for her.

5. This is doing incredible things to my plot and my characters, but it also asks for a very intensive rewrite of the middle of the book. Last night I rewrote a chapter and kept ONE SENTENCE from the original version.

6. But, what a sentence. :D

7. So, I'm pushing hard this weekend to get through that re-write so I can deliver my Holy Crap ending and get this into the hands of the four agents waiting for it.

8. I've watched Fringe for three weeks now and a post is on its way on what is truly great about this show and what is totally holding it back from being on the same level as Alias.

9. My neighbor and I went to the movies Tuesday night. We used the excuse that we had to go after her parent-teacher conferences to see the only movie offered after 7:30 pm: The Dark Knight.

10. She accused me of being in love with the Joker.

11. She's right.

12. Nothing about his performance dims over time. I can't wait to own this film so I can rewind scenes and watch them again to soak up the nuances of his character.

13. The previews before the movie, however, leave serious doubt about the future of movies for the next 6 weeks. I think the only one that looked really good opens today: Eagle Eye.

14. Everything else looked like an incredible waste of time.

15. In our after-dinner conversation this past Monday, I asked, as I always do, each boy to tell us something interesting about their day.

16. No one will be surprised that Daredevil announced he'd become Emperor. And Pope. And President.

17. I asked him who that put him in charge of and he looked at me and said "You."

18. Keep dreaming, kiddo.

19. Next week I'll be featuring an interview with a fellow Pixie whose debut novel comes out today on the Wild Rose Press. It's a light paranormal with historical elements and a dash of suspense. Sound fun? Stay tuned!

20. Reader Question: What makes you stop reading a book and move on to something else instead?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

How Well Do You Know Your Characters?

As a fun (and instructive!) follow-up to yesterday's post on knowing your character's motivation, Katy is running a writing exercise on Swords & Stilettos where you can delve into the background of one of your characters. Grab a favorite character or two (especially one you need to flesh out!) and head over to S & S for some practice. =)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

But...why??

Pop Quiz:

1. Why did Captain Jack Sparrow refuse to sail into open sea in The Deadman's Chest?

2. Why did Dumbledore leave the infant Harry Potter with the Dursleys?

3. Why did Shakespeare's Hamlet fake insanity?

4. Why did your main character do whatever it is she did in chapter one of your WIP?

Can't answer #4? You've got a problem.

Every action your character takes, every word she speaks is because of something. If you don't understand the because, your character will be nothing but a flat, one-dimensional cliche.

Motivation leads to choices. Choices lead to action. Those actions lead to more choices which lead to more action. Without the initial motivation driving a character's choices, all you have on your page is a string of loosely associated actions that don't resonate with the reader because your character has no emotional stake in any of it.

Let's look at my pop quiz.

#1. Because Jack Sparrow was afraid of the Crakken, Davy Jones' pet sea monster charged with devouring Sparrow and his entire ship, he ordered his men to keep as close to the shore as possible until finally beaching the Black Pearl on an island. That choice pushed Sparrow into another dilemma (facing a bunch of islanders who thought they should sacrifice him to release him from his fleshly prison). His choices during that dilemma would push him into the next.

#2. Because Dumbledore wanted to protect Harry from growing up with the burden of fame and high expectations leveled on him by the wizarding world, he left him to grow up with the Dursleys. His choice insulated Harry from the wizarding world but also left him friendless, neglected, and unloved. His choice helped shape Harry's character, both its strengths and its weaknesses. Also, his choice meant Hagrid had to rescue Harry from the Durleys to bring him to Hogwarts.

#3. Because Shakespeare's Hamlet wanted to formulate a plan to avenge his father's murder without anyone taking him seriously, he chose to fake insanity. His choice fractured his relationship with his mother, hurt his girlfriend Ophelia until she chose suicide over his seeming rejection, and took over his life until at the end, he could barely distinguish between the act and reality.

#4. Because the guilt over her parents' murders and the burden of her supernatural skills drive her to do whatever she can to protect innocents, Alexa delivered some vigilante justice on the streets of NYC one Monday night. That choice led to her being late for a blind date (not a big deal), and landed her on the radar of her best friend's brother (and the man of her dreams) who happens to be a cop. (very big deal)

In each case, motivation is the key to setting in motion another chain of events. When you know your character's motivation and you communicate that clearly to the reader, the conflict makes sense, and everyone has a higher emotional stake in the outcome.

As you write, examine each action, every conversation, and ask yourself why your character is making that choice. If you don't have an answer, neither will your reader.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Boo!

I've had several "blonde" moments recently. My hubby has taken to just clamping his lips shut and swallowing any number of interesting reactions (for some reason, he thinks calling me on my obvious DUH moment might jeopardize his personal safety).

Take yesterday, for example. My hubby was watching the Ryder Cup (the annual golf tournament between America and Europe). I was sitting in the living room with him, writing. My iPod was in my ears, the soundtrack to Equilibrium was turned up loud enough to block all outside noise, and I only occasionally glanced at the tv as my hubby exclaimed over a particularly interesting...an unusually riveting...oh, never mind. How can you use the words "interesting" and "riveting" to describe watching golf?

I digress.

Anyway, I was glancing at the screen and noticed that two men had on very similar shirts. Now, it is golf and therefore the fashion options are limited. Still, I felt a twinge of sympathy for the two men who'd somehow managed to show up to a very important event dressed like Bobbsey twins.

Twenty minutes later, my hubby told me I had to hear the upcoming interview with some golfer named Boo. As in ghost. As in To Kill A Mockingbird. And yes, apparently that's his real name. I paused my iPod, looked up, and saw that Boo was wearing a red polo shirt too.

Tiger Woods always wears a red polo when he golfs so I figured, "Hey! Maybe all new golfers are trying Tiger's good luck ritual. Can't hurt."

It took another twenty minutes, several glances at the screen, and more head-scratching over the veritable sea of red before my hubby's earlier explanation that the Ryder cup was a competition between America and Europe for it to sink in.

Teams.

Uniforms.

Ah.

See? Blonde moments. Let's hope they don't leak over into my writing.

Looking For Erin

Hey Erin! I can't answer your email due to snafus and shenanigans beyond both of our control. Can you please call me instead? I don't have your phone number (mine's on my card) and my computer won't talk to yours. =)

Argh, Matey!



1. Starshine discovered that this past weekend was National Talk Like A Pirate weekend.

2. Since he lives in his imagination anyway, he was quick to get into the spirit of things.

3. The two of us were home alone Sunday morning and the conversation went like this:

Starshine: Argh, matey! Man the hatches!

Me: Okay.

Starshine: There's no "okay" on a pirate ship! Argh! Swab the poop decks.

Me: I've swabbed enough poop decks to last me a lifetime.

Starshine: What?

Me: Nevermind. Swabbing, sir!

Starshine: Don't call me sir, matey! You'll walk the plank and be fed to the skeletons.

Me: Aye, captain!

Starshine: We'll fire the cannons!

Me: Aye, captain!

Starshine: We'll sail under the Jolly Roger!

Me: Aye, captain!

Starshine: We'll never brush our teeth again!

Me: Hold it, mister.

And Starshine discovered that, while I'm a fan of all things pirate, my penchant for excellent dental hygiene trumps all.

4. Tom Cruise joined facebook, set up a fan site for himself (which makes sense), and wrote a quite lengthy description of himself and his work in which he takes credit for Dustin Hoffman's Rainman Oscar (and the Oscars of anyone else who worked with him, I kid you not), slams others who beat him out for Oscars, and brags about his bankability as "the number one star in Hollywood".

5. I'm not sure which was more staggering...the ego or the insecurity.

6. I'm not saying he isn't a fine actor, and I realize his performance lent itself to his co-star's performance, but saying that someone would never have received their Oscar had they not been starring across from you negates the other actor's talent and hard work and is both rude and wrong.

7. Whatever.

8. My laptop has a virus.

9. The story for how it got one is long, involved, and still very upsetting to me so I won't share it.

10. I'm using my office computer and my hubby's laptop for my writing and blogging and we're hoping an IT guy my hubby knows might have a cure.

11. And YES, I had virus protection.

12. Thankfully, my writing is backed up on a flash drive and all is well there.

13. What do teenage boys have against belts?

14. Or combs?

15. Or bathing?

16. *sigh* It won't be too long before I have a crowd of teenage boys in the house. I might lose many battles with them but I promise they will NOT walk out of this house with their pants one slipperly slide away from a Full Monty.

17. I love autumn. It's my favorite season.

18. Pumpkin bread, the smell of burning leaves, the gorgeous colors, incredible twilights, a holiday dedicated to rewarding the imagination with candy...what's not to love?

19. Yes, I realize Halloween's origins have nothing to do with candy or rewarding anything, but it's morphed into that today, and we get into the spirit. I'll be hauling out my decorations soon.

20. Reader Question: What's your favorite vintage candy?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Take A Look

Hey, fellow writers! Here's a blog worth checking out. Keli is one of my fellow GH finalists, one of my valued critique partners, and a trusted friend. Her latest blog posts are well-researched gems on the subject of getting started on the road to publication.

Happy reading! (PLUS, Keli always has these really cool drawings for those who leave comments!)

Death to the Botulistic Boa!



Okay, so it's been a light blogging week for me. I left Dick Van Dyke in charge of bolstering your spirits while I was away but now I'm back and, while I'm hardly as flexible as DVD (Is anyone? It's like he has rubber bands for joints.), I'm just as entertaining after a sip or two.

Where have I been? Well, I could tell you that I've been working extra hours, pounding the pavement looking for a day job, taking care of sick kids, getting sick myself, cleaning house, and trying to understand why we have a Hitchcock-like infestation of black birds every evening at twilight, but that would be a lie.

The truth is, I'm trying to join the Society of Super Superheroes and this week was my physical test. (I, of course, passed the written exam with flying colors. Need someone who can take "superfluous," "carbonated," and "dichotomy" and use them in the same sentence? I'm your girl!)

I can't go into all the details (And truly, sparing you a description of my disastrous Flying While Chewing Gum test is a public service. Why do we have so many telephone lines in this country?!), but suffice to say, not many could put the legendary Botulistic Boa in his place with nothing but stilettos, a dictionary, and my Spatula of Doom.

Next week, I enter the interview phase. Hopefully, my hubby won't see fit to spike any of my food with EverClear this time and I'll pass with flying ... err, actually, I'd rather not mention flying again. Ever.

Anyway, my cape and stilettos are safely stored with the sparkling Spatula of Doom and I'm back to blogging.

What do you need to know for this weekend?

1. You can become a "follower" of this blog if that's the sort of thing that floats your boat. Look on the sidebar for the place to join. It's easy and you get an email every time I, Dick Van Dyke, or God forbid, the Botulistic Boa have anything to say.

2. Check out Pepper's Apothecary on Etsy. My friend nomadicdragon makes fabulous bath salts, lotions, and shower gels and it makes a great Christmas gift!

3. While you're at it, you might want to check out fellow writer Peter Von Brown's fun contest. Think of a new Neverland location, name it and describe it, and you could win a nice prize package (including a copy of Peter Pan's latest adventures!).


Reader Question: Leave me a link to something interesting. Art. Music. An article you think is right up my alley. Shoes. Whatever. =)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Brilliance At Its Best

For your hump day entertainment...a classic from the master.

What's It Worth To You?

Yesterday, Starshine went to the eye doctor because A) he is far-sighted, like me, and B) his glasses were crushed the other day at school by an errant back pack. When asked how his glasses came to be sitting on the floor in the general vicinity of the back packs in the first place, he was quite vague.

The dr. ran through various tests and then came to the point where he was figuring out Starshine's prescription by having him look through lenses and read rows of fine print.

He toggled the lenses, put them up to Starshine's face, held out a card and said, "Please read the bottom line."

To which Starshine responded, "Sure! For five bucks."

"Five bucks?"

"Yes. I want five bucks. Otherwise, I don't read the line."

"I don't have five bucks," said the dr.

"Well, what do you have?"

"Gumballs."

"I'll take five gumballs."

"Deal," the dr. said.

Starshine flawlessly read the line, pocketed his gumballs, and came home with the skewed world view that any dr. he visits from this point on will have an acceptable bribe waiting for him.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Leave Your Brains At Home



1. I'd like to note, as an avid Jack Sparrow fan, the title of this post has nothing to do with the pic.

2. It has everything to do with my new job search.

3. Because we've had unexpected medical expenses out the wazoo the last few months and gas is eating us alive, and because people don't come out to eat and leave good tips when they need that money for their gas tank, I'm not bringing in enough from my current job.

4. Instead of working extra night shifts and making sure my family never sees me, I'm looking for a day job. Part time. Receptionist.

5. Given that I have a college degree, experience in running my own business, and 16 years of customer service under my belt, I'm over-qualified for that position but I want a job where I can depend on the hours and the check and leave it at the door when I go home.

6. I need all my mental energy for writing.

7. I was explaining my job search to the Scientist and he asked what a receptionist does.

8. I told him.

9. His response: "Wow. That would be perfect for you. You wouldn't have to think."

10. Well. Thanks. I think.

11. Of course, working during the day (even part time) means the rest of my day has to be super structured so I can manage dinner, homework, housework, family time, and writing.

12. I am soooo not the Queen of Structure so this will be interesting.

13. I'm hoping interesting isn't a euphemism for Hey Look! She's Crashed And Burned!

14. Yesterday, my little Sunday school class started an animated discussion of pockets and eagerly lined up to show me their respective pockets and any treasures contained within.

15. One little girl was wearing a dress and was quite disappointed to be pocket-less.

16. I remember how much I loved pockets in dresses when I was little...once I figured out what they were.

17. My mom sewed many of my dresses for me and one Sunday, I was wearing a new creation (purple, flowers, ribbons...very girly) with pride. I marched around my Sunday school class, showing everyone my new dress until I discovered, with HORROR, that my mother had inexplicably neglected to finish sewing the dress.

18. There were holes in the seams on both sides of my hips right where any particularly observant child would be able to spot my Wonder Woman underoos.

19. Yes, I wore underoos beneath my girl dresses. I've always been a super hero in disguise.

20. Anway, I clamped my arms tightly to my sides and refused to move them for the rest of the morning. Not for games. Not for crafts. Not even for snack. I was a stick with legs.

21. My mom got an earful from me the second we left the building. (How could you forget to sew the dress? My secret identity could have been revealed to everyone!) She explained pockets to me and from that point on, I insisted on having pockets in every dress she made for me.

22. Well.

23. Either that entire segment was fun and fascinating to you, or your eyes have rolled back in your head, and you are now contemplating sticking toothpicks into your sinuses just for something interesting to do.

24. READER QUESTION: What was your secret identity as a child?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wow

I've avoided politics on this blog and, for the most part, will continue to do so because the main purpose of this blog is to entertain and provide insight into the writer's life. I'm posting this, however, because I am a HUGE supporter of those who serve in our military and when someone who has served recently takes the time to give their perspective, it's worth a listen.

It's only 1 1/2 minutes. I was moved most by the last ten seconds. Wow.

Making Time

How do I find the time to write? Find out.

'Tis Merely A Flesh Wound!



1. A BIG thank you to nomadicdragon (who beat Peter von Brown to the punch by mere minutes) for recommending the Finding Neverland soundtrack.

2. I'm listening to it as I type this, and I'm completely in love with this music.

3. I'll get to the other recommendations soon.

4. Hubby is making a cake this weekend for someone who loves the movie Airplane.

5. He's mimicking the pic of the airplane tied in a knot at the middle.

6. I'll try to get a pic of it to post here for you. Should be amazing.

7. I'm going to resume Writing Process posts soon so hit me in the comments trail with questions/suggestions for what you'd like covered.

8. I think I have four new scenes to add to SF and then it's done.

9. Each scene is 4000-5000 words.

10. The guy who sexually harassed me at work is now long gone.

11. I realize that sentence is open to many interpretations.

12. I really can't explain more without incurring the wrath of my lawyers.

13. Did you know you can buy hot, pickled pig's feet?

14. One has to wonder what terrible famine induced some poor unfortunate individual to look around at what was left to eat, see that the pig apparently didn't truly need his lower appendages, and dunk them in a spicy brine to make them nearly edible.

15. I mean, I know it's good to use as much of the animal as possible but still, there are certain parts no one was ever meant to eat.

16. I forgot to mention that Paul and I got into a huge food fight at work the other night.

17. He started it, of course.

18. Naturally, I ended it. A handful of soggy tea grinds to the face will do that.

19. I've heard a delicious little rumor that Johnny Depp might play the Riddler in Batman 3.

20. Yes, I know this is just speculation but still, the very thought has me salivating, ready to shell out money NOW for midnight passes.

21. READER QUESTION: Who would you love to see play one of the villains in the next Batman movie?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Random Googleness (Yes, that's a word.)

This week, we welcome the new readers who used the following search terms to find this blog:

1. King Pigeon Benefits: By this, I assume you mean benefits to the yoga position called King Pigeon, and I have to tell you, the benefits are a bit sketchy. Yes, yes, there's the whole "do this long enough and you'll lengthen your spine and become more flexible" thing, but there comes a point where avoiding ridiculousness and the high probability that one will break one's neck while contorting oneself into pretzel-like positions offsets any nebulous offering of greater bendiness.

And yes, that's a word. I'm a writer. I can make them up.

2. Sculpting 101: I'm really not sure how that phrase brought up this blog. Bet you aren't either.

3. September Wordtrick: What does this even mean?? You want a wordtrick (which, unlike bendiness, is soooo not a real word) for the month of September? Zooweemama. Win Scrabble and impress your friends. (And yes, it's a real word because it's in a book...)

4. Talking Swallow Air: I was going to mock this particular ensemble until I realized that I myself have, on any number of occasions, swallowed air while talking, thus causing myself to choke for no good reason to the tremendous amusement of everyone around me.

5. Trip to the Rectal Exam Site: Well, eww. I didn't know there was an official rectal exam site but I may google its location myself just to avoid it.

6. Sentence With Penny Drops: "Stop! You can't just throw yourself into an abyss without knowing if we have enough rope to make the descent. Listen and tell me how far the penny drops."

7. How Far to Insert a Rectal Tube: I'm glad you asked. It's always important to know how far is too far. Of course, the answer clearly depends on the size, condition, and disposition of your patient. In my case, you should insert it only so far as you'd like the favor returned.

Here's Something New

Harper Collins has a new site up that invites self-published or unpublished authors to post portions of a completed manuscript, along with a blurb about their book. Registered site users rate the pages and the top five authors each month get to submit their ms. directly to a HC editor.

It's an interesting way to find new talent. =)

*Thanks to Peter Von Brown for giving me the link.*

What's On Your iPod?

Grab your iPod, set it to shuffle, and head over to Swords & Stilettos for a fun creative exercise! (Paul, this is right up your alley.)

Also, Danielle Mari needs to go claim her prize. =)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Like A Good Neighbor

Last night, during dinner, I went around the table asking each child to tell us the most interesting part of their day. It's a dinnertime tradition here, and I've found that phrasing the usual "How was your day?" question as "What was the most interesting thing that happened to you today?" gets much better results from my boys.

Usually.

Of course, now and then you run into Daredevil's sly sense of humor and his refusal to have his interesting moment overshadowed by anyone else's. Last night, Starshine's most interesting moment was that his caterpillar entered a cocoon (apparently each child has one they are supposed to observe during this particular science unit.). The Scientist was thrilled with the use of microscopes during science class.

It was Daredevil's turn. He took a deep breath, looked at all of us, and said, in utmost seriousness, "I switched insurance agents today."

Without missing a beat, Starshine's eyes lit up and he asked excitedly, "Nationwide?"

Daredevil shook his head in disgust. "No. They aren't really on your side."

"Geico?" Starshine asked, while hubby and I choked on our chicken.

"Of course not Geico. They've got the stupidest commercials." The Scientist said, his voice dripping with scorn.

"Allstate." Daredevil explained. "I'm in good hands."

Monday, September 8, 2008

Monday: Running From My "To Do" List



1. Do I think romance novels bring world peace?

2. Read this to find out. (It's my day to post on S & S.)

3. My "To Do" list is eating me alive today.

4. Of course, that's often the case, but I haven't slept well in days so it feels worse today.

5. I'm tempted to ignore the whole thing in favor of a good book.

6. Speaking of a good book, The Lost Duke of Wyndham is a definite must read for anyone who enjoys a strong heroine, a smart-mouthed hero who makes you laugh outloud, and a plot that keeps you turning the pages.

7. I have to say that while the South has many wonderful culinary options, okra is not one of them.

8. When I express that opinion to a true, born-on-a-tractor southerner, I get the knee-jerk "Well, you have to try it fried" response.

9. First of all, if you have to deep fry something to disguise its inherent nastiness, then it doesn't qualify as edible.

10. Secondly, I have tried fried okra.

11. Once you bite past the thin, breadcrumb crust, you're confronted with the same slimy, oyster-gone-bad taste that existed before this psuedo-vegetable ever hit the fryer.

12. It's almost as bad as green beans.

13. Almost.

14. Book two in the current series (titled TWISTING FATE) has been playing around in my mind for the past two weeks as I approach the end of SF.

15. Saturday, while driving to work (Why do these things always happen while I'm driving??), I learned the identity of a new character.

16. Other writers will understand when I say this new character scared that Holy Crap right out of me.

17. It's going to be both interesting and disturbing to get inside this character's head (I'm deliberately leaving the gender to your imagination because I don't want to give away details that will hinder your enjoyment of the plot).

18. Reader Question: If you could inhabit one imaginary world (either book, movie, or video game), which would it be?

Friday, September 5, 2008

Weekend, Here I Come!



1. This was a long week.

2. Yes, I realize every week has the exact same number of days but still...this was a long week for me.

3. Since most of it is hardly entertaining, I won't bore you with it.

4. Gingerbread poop labels.

5. Yes, you read that right.

6. That's the latest search phrase used to locate this blog.

7. One could spend one's time wondering why anyone needed to label gingerbread poop or, indeed, could speculate on the amazing circumstance of finding one other person in the ether who makes poop out of gingerbread (Missed that one? Here it is.) but instead, I'll just say "Welcome. You must have boys."

8. Since women are busting through the "glass ceiling" of politics, I've been assessing the validity of running a grassroots campaign four years from now. C.J. Redwine for President. Or Vice President. Or Secretary of Wardrobe Consultations and Really Interesting Non-Sequiturs Interrupting Perfectly Normal Conversations.

9. I could totally rock the last one.

10. There's a new guy at work whom nobody likes (this is because he lies, steals, and treats everyone like they have an I.Q of 10).

11. Last shift I worked with him, he used his smart mouth against every woman in the building, lied to the manager, and then (either because he can't read people well or because he likes risking his life on the job), cozied up to me (and I'm not a "cozy up to me" kind of girl) and grabbed for the springy cord attaching my swipe card to my uniform. He missed and grabbed my breast instead.

12. You will, therefore, not be at all surprised when one of the following happens: A) I can cheerfully blog about an incidence of violence in the workplace in which I was the clear victor. B) I will use my one phone call to tell my hubby to post about said incident. Or C) No one will ever hear from him again.

13. And no, I don't need lectures on how to handle sexual harassment at the workplace. Between me, Paul, and my hubby, we've got this covered. =)

14. Saw Death Race yesterday with Paul. It's totally our kind of movie and I was pleased the plot held together but honestly, the violence in it is not for the faint of heart.

15. The 9-4 sits serenely in our driveway, daring us to start her up and discover what new mischief she's planned for us. So far, she's dropped a window while I was driving, refused to allow the sliding door to close when we were already out and about and had no choice but to drive with significantly more air conditioning than we needed, and dumped an entire tank of gas all over the highway.

16. However, when she isn't dumping gas, she gives us 400 miles to the tank and that's significant considering that a few tanks of gas these days equals a mortgage payment or two.

17. Starshine lost his school tennis shoes a month before school started.

18. No, this isn't surprising.

19. He's been wearing a spare pair of shoes that aren't that comfortable and are fairly worn in the interim.

20. The Scientist found the lost shoes yesterday while cleaning out the garage and we were all happy.

21. Until this morning when Starshine tried to wear the shoes and we realized his feet had already grown.

22. *sigh* Shoe shopping for boys is soooo much less fun that shoe shopping for me.

Nary A Heaving Bosum In Sight

Here's a well-written article from a journalist at the San Francisco Chronicle who braved the estrogen-filled halls of the SF Marriott during RWA nationals to discover what it really looks like to be a romance author.

I particularly enjoy the smashing of stereotypes and dismissing of rigid rule sets. =)

Also, I enjoyed the reference to heaving bosums.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

And The Winner Is

We've got a fun contest going on Swords & Stilettos today. Come prepared with one of your favorite quotes from a historical figure. =)

The prize: A new book and some soap samples from Pepper's Apothecary.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Monday, September 1, 2008

Monday's List



1. So, I may have lost my mind.

2. Stop laughing.

3. I'm serious.

4. I just invited the Uber-Workout-Drill-Sergeant, otherwise known as my friend Paul, to hold me accountable to an hour-long workout schedule three times a week.

5. I did this because if I know I have to report my actions, I'm much more likely to push myself as hard as possible so I don't look like a wimp...have I mentioned my mile-wide competitive streak?

6. Plus, he takes responsibility seriously and won't let up on me once. Not once.

7. Not even if I pull off an incredibly convincing performance of dragging my last sweet breath into my tortured lungs, hanging by a fingernail on the slim precipice between this life and the next...he'll just glare at me and tell me to stop whining and do another sit-up.

8. And the fact that I'll be reporting my results via email instead of in person doesn't make a bit of difference because I KNOW he'd glare and tell me to stop whining so I'd do TWO more sit-ups just to shut his voice out of my head.

9. *sigh* This will be worth it.

10. The 9-4 turned out to have a bad hose (although I'm not sure "bad" is an entirely accurate description for a hose that dumps an ENTIRE tank of gas all over the highway) and is now fixed and sitting in my driveway, plotting it's next assault upon our wallet.

11. We had Paul and Kelly over today for a cookout (And peach pie!!! Yum!) and a crowd of football fanatics are descending upon the house in an hour to watch UT destroy UCLA.

12. I'll appease the masses with a nacho bar and a large pan of brownies, and then lock myself in my office to write because, while I despise UCLA (a lingering effect of being a Pepperdine alum), I really don't care about college football.

13. Now...if it was the 49ers facing the Cowboys, you couldn't pry me from the living room.

14. The fact that my hubby was born in Texas and still finds it acceptable to cheer for the Hey Look! Not All Of Us Are In Prison! team that is the Cowboys makes his marriage to this California girl (Go 49ers! Even though you bit the dust after Montana and Rice left...still, GO TEAM!) interesting to say the least.

15. At least we agree on the Titans.

16. We watched Traitor last night and it was a colossal waste of time. I don't even think the movie was all that long, but it felt like three hours. No suspense, lots of slow spots, and in the end I just didn't care if every single character died a horrific death which, of course, they didn't.

17. More's the pity...might have improved the movie.

18. I did see an ad for a new tv series by J.J. Abrams (producer of the only two tv shows ever to grab my attention and hold it for years--Alias and Lost). It's called Fringe and is on Tuesdays here. Looks like a fascinating romp through Urban Fantasy. How could I resist?

19. Though honestly, the fact that I rarely watch tv makes it so much easier to fill up my life with tons of other really fun stuff.

20. READER QUESTION: What's a great instrumental album (any style) to add to my iPod?

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