Saturday, December 31, 2005

Preparing For New Year's...

I'm finally recovered and so I'm finally thinking about what to do for New Year's and I just realized that New Year's eve is tomorrow. Whoops! Guess it slipped up on me.

My hubby used to play in a band. He's a bass player from a long line of bass players. He plays both upright and electric and all sorts of music, from classical to jazz and rock and funk and you name it, he can play it! But the band he was in was a rock band. Normal rock, not that screaming, shake your head till your brain dead stuff. Just normal American rock and roll. Anyway, for the past 5 years, his band was big stuff in our region, so they always had a New Year's eve show. So, this is the first year we've really had to make plans.

So today, our telephone starts ringing. It's as if all of our friends suddenly realized that there was no plan for New Year's either. A few thought they may have people over and a few decided to go out of town with family. But I think Matt and I are going to just have a relaxing evening at home together. Are we a married couple yet, or what?

It's just that I'm still recovering (I ate a whole hamburger today. And yes, I know that wasn't a healthy choice, but I really wanted it) and we're going out to lunch with my family for my sister's birthday so I think we'll end up having a quiet evening. And you know what, right now that sounds really good to me.

Whatever your plans are, I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful New Year's!

If you get some spare time, let me know what your plans are/were and how they went!

April

PS I'm still thinking about my resolutions, so check back for that :>)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Maybe I Was Wrong...

Maybe it wasn't so much the Christmas come down as it was the stomach virus I was coming down with... Or maybe it was a combination of the two.

Either way, I've been making good on my resolution to loose weight. Which is sort of funny because of a recent post I made to Mir's blog. I promise I didn't get sick on purpose! I would take the treadmill any day over this. I'm finally home for days straight and I don't feel like writing, I don't feel like reading, I don't feel like anything. In fact, every time my on going virus scan pauses my computer, I put my head down. Argh.

But I believe I'm on the mend. My fever has been under 100 all day! And, I managed to keep down the 1/2 glass of ginger ale I drank for lunch! Next thing you know I'll be eating... something, I don't want to think about what I'll be eating right now. Yuck. I can tell you it won't be shrimp and grits... That was what I last ate. And it's a testament to my recovery that I can just THINK the words.

Hope you all are having a better post-Christmas/pre-New Year's.

April

Monday, December 26, 2005

The Christmas Come Down...

Christmas is sort of like a drug. At least in my imagination it is. I'll confess to not being "experienced" as far as the subject goes. But it seems to me that the emotions that are brought out at Christmas may be similar. There's this build up in which some people experience a "high" of sorts, a pinnacle and then there's the day after... The come down.

I went with my hubby to exchange a couple of items today. It wasn't as horrific at the stores as I thought it would be. Other than for that, we have been vegetables. Which has been sort of nice, because I feel like I've just been through a whirlwind.

So, now I'm recovering. I dreamed another story last night and it's really calling to me, so I think I may do a little preliminary work on it before I go to bed. Hubby is playing his new video games, so it's either do this or watch his game. Not the best entertainment. What ever happened to Mario Brothers? Also, does anyone out there know if old Gameboy Advanced games work in the NEW Gameboy Advance SP? I'd really like to know.

Hope everyone has recovered from all of the excitement and activities!

April

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!!

I hope everyone has had a Merry and safe Christmas!

April

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

My desk...

This is an approximation of what my desk SHOULD look like:


And here is my desk on crack, or April, whichever...


I briefly considered actually listing what was on my desk. Then I thought, I don't want to cause anyone's brain to ooze out of their ears. I think the picture makes my point. My desk isn't neat. At all.

A few items of note are:
1. The pencil holder without any pencils, but it does hold a pink magic wand for fixing any problems with my ms. (I wish)
2. My Sixteen Candles DVD... Just in case I need Jake Ryan to provide me with inspiration while I work, I can play the DVD on my computer.
3. The earphones so I can listen to my music privately and the big Polk Audio speakers so I can make my music louder than my hubby's when he's up here working. We have Mac/PC wars. My Toshiba can hold it's own against his G4. Except my PC can't do the same altering of pictures as his G4. But his G4 can't be taken out onto the porch so he can work outside when he wants, either. So there...

Other than for that, it's pretty drab stuff. Oh, there's the board above my desk with a picture of my hubby and nephew and a card a good friend gave me and the postcard from harl. Saying they got my ms!

Well, that wasn't much fun. So here, maybe this will be:
You Are a Traditional Christmas Tree

For a good Christmas, you don't have to re-invent the wheel.
You already have traditions, foods, and special things you bring out every year.


Only 4 days to go till Christmas!!

April

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Getting Nothing Done...

This is my list of all the stuff I have NOT gotten done:

*Finishing the wrapping

*More writing

*Any reading

*Plans made for Christmas day. Who knows where we'll go or when?

*The office picked up, so that I can wrap the "bigger" presents. There's too much crap in the floor.

*Any number of projects for work. Thank goodness I got our "Merry Christmas" ad into the paper in the nick of time.

*The remainder of our Christmas cards mailed.

*Watching the movies we borrowed from our friends around Thanksgiving.

*My car cleaned out. The flowers we used to take my bridal portraits in April are still in there. Not to mention 6 gallons of paint... Don't ask.

Hmmm... What else can I list here in an effort to put off doing what I'm listing here? Maybe tomorrow, just for fun, I will list for you all of the items on my desk. Maybe I should try cleaning it a little first so that I'm not listing stuff all day.

April

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Crazies Are Loose!

I've been running around in the realm of the insane today... Week before Christmas, Christmas shoppers. Whew!

As a result of my exploits today, I have come to a very significant conclusion... People are NUTS. N-U-T-S. Maybe I'm not aggressive enough, I don't know. But people honk their horns sitting at red lights and it makes me wonder if they think there are magical little elfs in the stop lights that will hear their honk and change the light. That would be great if it worked that way, but I don't think it does. Does it?

I've come to another conclusion. I love kids, but teenagers really annoy me sometimes. There were tons of groups of teenagers in our mall. Maybe they're there all the time and I just don't know it because I rarely go there, but they were certainly there today. And they just stand there, right in the middle of the crowded walk way and make exclamations such as, "Oh my gaw, did you hear what Suzi said to Megan? I was like, oh my gaw!" I thought people stopped talking like that when Victoria Jackson started doing that impression on Saturday Night Live. Is the 80's back even bigger than just in fashion and music? Are teenagers actually talking like valley girls? Or did they always and I just fooled myself into thinking I didn't? Oh I hope I didn't.

So, while I'm weaving in and out of clusters of teenagers, many of whom needed to put on a bit more clothing. This is winter, people. And it's a mall not the beach. Even in the South, it's too cold for an ultra-mini mini-skirt.

Now I'm making myself feel old. But seriously, I don't want to see a 13 year-old girls panties flashing me as I walk behind her. That's too much. Really.

Ok, I'll stop the complaining. I actually got a lot done today, so I'm proud of myself. Now I have to wrap. So, off I go to wrap wrap wrap. Tomorrow I'm heading out to help hubby get a gift for his mom.

If you have shopping left to do, I wish you luck and few teenagers and if there are teenagers, that they be fully clothed and not talking like a stereotypical 80's kid.

Here's another quick, fun Christmas quiz.

Your Elf Name Is...

Holly Snow Bunny


aka April

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Fa la la la la la la la la...

Well, it's been a week of Christmas parties and finally the parties are at an end. Ahhh...

We started off the week on Wednesday (late start) with my office party during the day, then my hubby's party and ping pong tournament (don't ask) was that night. We had our families over Friday night and a friend's party Saturday night.

I'm tired. I haven't gotten any writing done and I've gained 3 pounds. Yuck... So, I'm getting ready to switch over to my word processor and do some writing. Then I'm going to run on the treadmill. I need a nifty table so I can type as I run. Hmmm... On second thought that might not be such a good idea. I'm a multi-tasker, but that's sort of extreme, even for me.

Hope your Christmas activities are all going well and you're all ready for Christmas (or your respective holiday).

Here's a fun Christmas quiz. Take a break from all the holiday rush to have a bit of fun.

Your Christmas Stocking Will Be Filled With a Puppy

Well - one cute, soft, cuddly puppy...
And a very soiled Christmas stocking.

My little Buckley probably wouldn't appreciate my stocking stuffer!

April

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Pops-In-Law's Recovery Discovery...

Well, it looks like my precious pops-in-law will be sprung from the hospital tomorrow. Thankfully! He was going nuts with wanting out. Of course, when you hear what they discovered today, you may better understand his frustration.

Today, the doctor at the hospital discovered what caused my father-in-law's blood sugar to shoot up to 809, a ridiculous figure that could cause coma or sudden death. The reason that he's been in the hospital since Saturday, and being pumped full of insulin and various other meds.

And the reason is... drum roll please... The endocrinologist who prescribed my father in law's new medicine is apparently dyslexic. He got his numbers reversed and instead of taking 90mg of his meds, he was taking 10mg. The number of times per day he was to take it was off too, so he was getting seriously less medicine than what he was supposed to get.

Thanks to Mr. Doctor's number screw up, pops has been hospitalized for almost a week, poked, prodded, forced to lie in an uncomfy bed, and felt all around icky. Not to mention the NEAR DEATH issue.

I love doctors, they have my utmost respect and admiration. What they do is tough and what they go through to be able to do it is tough. But please, please please, take a second look at prescriptions you fill out. Just think of it like you're a carpenter, measure twice, cut once: multiply twice, doctor's visit once? You get the point.

At least in the end, we're Blessed with the fact that he is recovering and it looks like he's going to be fine. Well, stuck with a hefty hospital bill... but in relatively good health at least. That's what's important.

April

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Hi Ho, Hi H, It's Off to Work I Go...

I actually got some writing done this weekend. Which is a real surprise for me. Because what was supposed to be a quiet weekend at home turned into upheavel.

My father-in-law, whom I affectionately refer to as "pops-in-law" (mainly because we all wondered if the "in-law" would ever be added, see 2 posts ago) was taken to the hospital early Saturday with high blood sugar. He's diabetic and insulin resistant. His blood sugar meter at home only registers up to 400. Since it wasn't registering, he just figure it was broken. When he got to urgent care, his blood sugar was 809.

For those of you who have no idea what that number means, I'll give you a quick lesson: Normal blood sugar should be below 100-110. Anything above 400 can send you into shock. Anything above 500 or so can put you into a coma or worse, cause instantaneous death. Yeah, I said death.

So, this was REALLY serious. What's more, he drove himself to the hospital and called his wife later to let her know he'd gone. Drove himself, when according to medical science, he should be in a coma at minimum. Both he and and my mother-in-law are nurses, so they know the seriousness of the problem. He truly just didn't think his sugar was that bad.

The doctors were amazed. None of them had ever had a patient with sugar levels that high. Much less a functioning patient.

Well, they hooked him up to an insulin iv and by 8PM, his sugars were down to 142, which for him is below normal. Since he's insulin resistant, his body will produce insulin, it's just that it won't use it, so his sugar usually runs high, around 200 or so.

He's still in the hospital. Since he's running a low grade temp, they think he may have an infection and that may be what caused his sugars to go so high. Hopefully he'll get to come home tomorrow. Otherwise he may be calling me to come break him out :-).

Since my dad passed away in 1997, my pops-in-law is the only papa figure we have and he's very very special to me. My hubby and I grew up together, so he's always been a special part of my life. I love him to bits and pieces. But so help me, if he tries to drive himself to the hospital with blood sugars above 500 again, I will beat his butt! Or try at least, he's still pretty young, so he could probably take me. Probably.

April

Friday, December 09, 2005

Got to Get to Work...

I have been so busy the past few days with work and home that I haven't gotten much writing done. I had a brain storm and went back and removed and added, but that doesn't do anything for my word count, since one cancelled out the other. Oh well, I'm getting it done one slow bit at a time and that's all I can do.

I did get some Christmas shopping done. But there's still more to do. I actually enjoy doing it, so I can't complain too much. Some people are harder to buy for than others, so I'm still having a problem with one or two gifts.

Oh well, I've put aside shopping for the weekend. It's too much of a hassle to try to shop on weekends around here. Instead, I'll be sticking close to home and hopefully getting some wrting done!

Hope your weekend goes well!

April

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I got tagged...

I've been tagged by Angelica Rose who was tagged by Michelle. This means I have topost 15 things about myself and my reading. So, here I go...

1. I'm newlywedded to my high school sweetheart. And no, I'm not in my early twenties. I'm just really patient.

2. My mother is my greatest inspiration. She raised my sister and I as a single mother and built her own business at the same time.

3. I bullied my best friend, Beth into being my friend in High School. Not physically. I just said, "aren't you coming?" one day in gym class when she was looking really alone and she came along. But she still says it was bullying. Now she's the bully though.

4. I have a 7 pound doggie named, Buckley. But I'm working on getting my hubbie to accept more pets! Buckley needs a play mate!

5. When I'm not writing and life isn't too nuts, I'll read 4-5 single titles a week. I haven't counted the number of categories I can go through.

6. As a kid, I took Tae Kwon Do, Cheerleading, Gymnastics, skating lessons, piano lessons, and voice lessons all at the same time. I couldn't pick just one.

7. My aspiration as a young child was to be a professional figure ROLLER skater. Yes, they exist. They just don't get the same attention as ice skaters. But it's hard. Ever tried a double toe loop on four wheels? It's not so easy.

8. I cry at all movies. Pretty much. I balled at Finding Nemo... Hello, he lost his mommy! My Dog Skip pretty much marked me for life! And in the new Star Wars, it kills me when he leaves his family. How could he do that?

9. Thanks to item 8, I think it's pretty clear why I love romance books... I'm guaranteed a happy ending!

10. I had stopped reading for many years, while I went through high school and college (too much required reading). Until one day when I picked up a Jennifer Crusie book in Taget and the rest as they say is history!

11. I'm a cradle Catholic with a very loving family that accepts me just the way I am, faults and sins included. Although, I do my best!

12. In addition to my hubby, mother, sister and Beth, God sent me a supportive group of girlfriends 6 years ago, who have come to mean very much to me. Thank you, Beth B, Bethany, Dena, Jennifer, Rebecca, and Susan.

13. I want to take flying lessons. And I want to do the Formula Car Racing Experience in Britain. Does that mean I have a need for speed? I don't know.

14. The voice lesson I took worked well for a while, but I've learned that if you don't keep up the exercises, you don't keep your voice either. Oh well... The only person that bothers is my hubby who has to listen to me sing in the car, the shower, the kitchen, our home office....

15. I'm a very Blessed girl and I'm very thankful for it. I've got a wonderful family, supportive friends and a brand new hubby to boot.

I tag Laura and MaryF.

April

Monday, December 05, 2005

Look Ma, no hands... Or eyes...

I can't see my blog. Hope you can. No, I'm not blind, I'm not even so near sighted that I can't see my computer screen. For some reason I'm just technically challenged today.

I tried to access my email at work and couldn't, even though I stated my user name and password outloud just to reitterate to myself that my brain and hands were functioning in accordance with each other.

Now I can't get www.aprilsspace.blogspot.com to come up. I even went somewhere on the web where there's a link and clicked the link to ensure I was entering the correct address.

I can get into the dashboard part, so I can post, but I can't see my posts and that's just sad. Plus, I'm getting attached to "Happy" my little virtual pet. He needs me, Mr. Blogger. Won't you let me see him?

Well I guess I'll go see if I can open my ms. Maybe I shouldn't...

April

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I've Been Naughty...

No, it's not what you're thinking. Get you're mind out of a steamy romance story!

I'm naughty because I didn't get any actual writing done this weekend. We were just really really busy. But I did get some thinking done and I worked out a kink I had in my story. Thank goodness. So, at least it was somewhat productive.

I hope you all got more done than I did!

April

Friday, December 02, 2005

What's the Weather Like Up There?

Ever wonder that? Ever read a book set in North Dakota where the characters were wearing shorts in November? It happens.

So, what's a person who lives in southern Florida supposed to do when they need to know what the temperature is in September in their character's home state of Alaska? Why I'm glad you asked, because I happen to know the answer. A surprise for you all, I'm sure.

They go to www.wunderground.com where they can find the current temperature of any place as well as the average temperature and rainfall in that location any time during the year.

Isn't that just peachy?

Now my well of knowledge is dry, so I'll share more humor.



April

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Here I Go...

Ever feel like you're slipping down the rabbit hole? Well, on various occassions I do and beginning a new ms is one of those occassions.

Given that it's Christmas time, I'm not sure how fast this is going to go at the beginning, but hopefully once the holidays are behind me, things will speed up. I promise to continue blogging. I'll try to post fun things so that I can have a break and you can too!

Here's a first:
Numenorean
Numenorean


To which race of Middle Earth do you belong?
brought to you by Quizilla


Ok, since it's Dec. 1, I have to include something about Christmas too!


I hope you enjoyed that. Well, wave bye bye. I'm chucking myself down into no mans land where little cakes can make you a giant or a mini-me. Where strange men in big hats, with wild hair host tea parties. Where big kitties disappear in thin air, but leave their big white teeth gleeming. Hmmm... Maybe I should consider putting this off for a while. That sounds scary. Oh, pooo, there's the procrastination bug again. I'm not giving into that. No way!

April

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I'm Confirmed...

For a two thrity flight to Chicago.

Ok, I'm not going to Chicago, but those words just sounded like what should come next.

Actually, I'm confirmed for something much better. Yup, it's official, I received my confirmation post card in the mail yesterday telling me that Toronto has received my submission.

And now? Now I am going to patiently wait while they review my work. I may even have some tea. Yeah right, that's not going to happen.

Now I am going to chew each of my nails until they look like ragged shark teeth. Now I am going to tug on my hair until balls of it come out of my head. Now I am going to go eat a gallon of chocolate to compensate for the anxiety I'm feeling.

You know, they need bumper stickers for cars that say "Warning: writer waiting to hear from publisher on board". This way the other drivers have some clue as to why I accidentally drive off the road when I call home to see if the mail has come yet. After all, I can't wait the 10 minutes it takes me to get home to see. Can I? And if I did wait, then it would explain why I'm weaving like a wacko in and out of traffic to get around them.

Hmmm... I may have to look in to getting some of those produced.

April

Monday, November 28, 2005

Working with My Hands...

At a recent Lowcountry RWA retreat, Susan Wiggs gave a presentation on story preparation. One tool she strongly suggested is making collages.

I've seen and heard a lot of authors doing this. So, our activity was to search for pictures that reflected something or someone in our stories. Susan suggested that we use pictures that speak to us, even if at that moment we don't understand why.

We didn't really have enough time to complete our projects and... I'll admit I'm too much of a talker when I'm in a big group, so I had a hard time concentrating, but at least I got other people's take on the subject. Anyway, long story short, I have completed a collage for my next story.

It took me a while because when I got back I was on information overload and then we had the episode with granny, so I've had other matters to deal with too. But I'm happy to have finally gotten this done. And what's even better, Susan was right, to boot. I learned so much about my characters! It was really revealing. A picture of it is at the side.

So, now I'm going to go and work on the other preliminary work for the story. My goal is to be writing by 12/15.

April

The Return...

I'm back from my turkey holiday. I did a lot of eating, but I got some exercise too, so I guess it wasn't too bad.

My hubby's grandmother had a stroke last week. She's recovered really well and she's doing great for 98. But everyone including sweet granny felt that it would be best if she gave up her apartment and moved to a nice nursing home. So, we spent part of the weekend moving her. She'll actually be a lot closer to the family, so that'll be nice. But giving up independence is never easy.

But I'm back and I'm in work mode, so I can't wait to get started on my next ms.

April

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Relaxation...

What I need right now is some relaxation. To sit back and sip on some spiked egg nog and just enjoy watching the world go by. But, that's not really what happens on Thanksgiving. Darn it.

Tomorrow should be especially interesting since this is mine and my hubby's first Thanksgiving as a married couple. It helps that our parents live less than a block from each other.

So, with the thought of relaxation in mind, I saw this ad in a magazine and couldn't resist scanning it in. I've cut all the extras and though my name isn't Hayes, I wasn't willing to chop off his hand. It's a simple reminder that relaxation is ahead. Somewhere...



Have a Happy Thanksgiving and to those of you who don't celebrate Thanksgiving, enjoy your weekend!
April

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Spreading Holiday Cheer...

Since the game this weekend turned out to be a real downer, I have decided to not look back and reflect on its disappointment.

Instead, I thought I'd share a little holiday cheer. Everyone has their own way of decorating for the holidays. Everyone has their own time schedule too.

A friend of mine from Hungary decorates on Dec. 1st, Santa brings a present for each person on Dec. 6th, then Baby Jesus brings the big Christmas presents on Dec. 25.

We traditionally decorate for Christmas, the weekend of Thanksgiving, so I've been giving some thought as to our decorations. I enjoy the holidays a lot. In fact, I get struck with the holiday bug around July most years. But I've managed to restrain myself enough to wait for the official beginning after Thanksgiving.

Since I'm a newly wed, this is the first year that my hubby and I will be decorating together. He shared a very interesting decorating scheme he found on the internet. I thought it was beyond words, so without further adieu, here it is: Wizards of Winter House. I hope you enjoy and find it very... inspirational!

April

Friday, November 18, 2005

Taking A Break & Bashing Some Heads...

This is THE weekend. THE weekend of THE game. In South Carolina, we love our college football. Some say that's funny because we are not notorious for having a really great football team. But we love them just the same.

There's a very heated in-state rivalry between the University of South Carolina Gamecocks (Yay!!!) and the Clemson Tigers (Booo!). The game between those two teams is this weekend.

I have to take a moment and toot the Gamecock horn. We've done well this season in my humble opinion. Despite a rocky start, our brand new coach, Steve Spurrier, has coached a young and inexperienced team to victories over both Tennessee and Florida. The last time we beat Florida was in 1939. So, you can see why we're excited.

Despite the usual genteel demeanor of South Carolinians, for this one weekend each year, it's brother against brother, friend against friend, and even wife against husband as these two teams come together for their annual battle. Last year, the contention was so high between the teams that a scuffle broke out and cost both programs their bowl game appearances.

Both teams are again bowl eligible. However, I don't anticipate any problems occurring to prevent their going this year. They want it too much.

So, I will be rushing home from my RWA chapter meeting on Saturday to meet with my friends (Carolina and Clemson fans alike) for a few hours of yelling at the tv, at refs, and at each other (there's bound to be heckling). I won't get a lot of writing done, but hopefully it'll be a great weekend just the same! Go Gamecocks!!

To all of you whose teams will be playing their rivals this weekend, I wish your team a successful weekend (unless you're a Clemson fan--sorry Sara).

April

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Off It Goes...

Like a proud mother, I watched as my query was sealed, stamped and sent off into the big wide world. (sniffle)

Of course, this was after I had finally obtained what I needed from my handy dandy, but not really brilliant postal worker. I marched right in and stepped up to the counter. Then I said, "I need 12 International Reply Coupons and postage for this package, please." The postal worker's eyes glazed and he murmured, "International Reply..." as he turned and headed into the back of the office.

Ten minutes later he returned with my IRCs and after another 10 minutes spent figuring out how to ring them up, I was sealing my envelope and popping my submission into the mail. Yay!

So, now I get to wait. Hmmm... I don't really like waiting. Guess I better get over that. Huh?

Well then, I guess it's back to my other wip. Which, by the way, got completely changed in my head while I worked on my revisions of the first one. So, now I guess I'm starting just about from scratch.

I'll start that tomorrow. I deserve a break for today. I think.

April

Going Postal...

Now I fully understand the syndrome that seemed to sweep the nation's post offices a few years ago. The one where people lost their minds and did wacky things at the post office. Not that I'm going to. Watch, that comment is going to land me on some FBI watch list. Guaranteed. But if it means I'll be able to mail a simple package to Canada, then that's fine with me.

I started off today with a buzz. I happily packaged up my query and set off for my local post office. You see, I didn't anticipate any problems. Maybe that was my first mistake. But I have mailed things to Canada before, you see. In fact to the very office that this package is to go to. So, why should I anticipate a problem this time? It's not like I'm mailing anything hazardous. Well... it is a romance manuscript and I did manage to move the "sizzle" closer to the front, but I wouldn't call it hazardous. Not in the sense the postal service means it.

My second mistake was not recognizing the big difference between this package and the one I sent before. The self addressed, postage-paid envelope. Yeah, a simple SASE got the postal workers' panties in a wad. Well, they were probably boxers or briefs, since it was a he, but you never know.

I digress... The problem here is that the return envelope will be mailed FROM Canada. So, the postal employee explained that I needed Canadian postage and he of course couldn't sell any to me, because he's part of the US postal service. I asked him what I had to do. He suggested that I find the Canadian post office online and order postage from them. But he couldn't tell me how much either. Then he explained that it would probably take 3-4 weeks to get the postage.

GREAT! Just what I want to do. Wait another 3-4 weeks to get this sucker outta here.

He said I could maybe find someone who lives there and send them a check and ask them to send me the correct postage. And I thought, "where do I find this person? Match.com? My hubby would looooove that! And how are they going to get it to me any faster anyways?"

So, I came home and did what any intelligent person would do. I consulted the brilliant members of the writing community. Ok, I said a number of expletives first, but then I turned to my friends. And guess what... Postal boy doesn't know a thing about the postal service. Surprised? Me neither.

Apparently there are these neat little things called "International Reply Coupons" or to industry insiders (which apparently doesn't include actual postal workers) IRC's. They are these nifty little things you buy for $1.75 a piece and each one equals regular letter postage in just about any country.

So, what I really needed to do is figure out how many regular Canadian "stamps" I would need for the size and weight of my package and then purchase that many IRC's. Easy to find this on the Canadian Post website. Then I send them with my submission and... get this, the receiver just trades in the IRC's for stamps. Hah! Who would have guessed? Apparently not the USPS who, by the way sells the darn things.

So, tomorrow I'm making another trip to the post office. And if I have to, I'll search every square inch of the building to find my IRC's. Then I am putting this sucker in the mail once and for all.

Of course, then the wait begins. The wait in which I stalk my postal carrier. Funny, that old saying for men holds true for the USPS too. "Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em."

April

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Lovely Words...

I was recently discussing poetry with some friends. It was nice, because it had been some time since I had really thought much about it.

In school, I wrote a lot of poetry. I still have those journals. In a way they sometimes inspire the stories I write now. I'm just not as satisfied with the brevity of poetry any longer. Now I like longer stories that permit me to take a character somewhere.

I didn't share much of the poetry that I wrote. It was personal. Much like the majority of poetry written. There have been a few people in my life who've been permitted to glimpse my poetry. I'm certainly not the next Frost or Dickinson, but I didn't write them to be like those people. I wrote in order to purge myself of my emotions.

Anyway, while conversing recently, someone asked me who my favorite poet was and without any hesitation I stated, "Sarah Teasdale." My declaration was met with blank looks. Then I realized that although I've been a fan of Miss Teasdale since I was quite young, many people have never heard of her.

I was first exposed to Sarah Teasdale's There Will Come Soft Rains, probably her most famous work. It was used in a short story I read for literature class. A rather descriptive story set in the future in which you come to realize that something tramatic has happened. Life is going on as normal except for the fact that mankind has completely disappeared. It fit the poem and its sentiment well.

Since Sarah Teasdale died in 1933, which is more than 70 years ago, and since this poem was composed prior to 1923, it is now considered public domain. So, I am sharing There Will Come Soft Rains with you:

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
And frogs in the pool singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white;
Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;
And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;
And Spring herself when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.


After my exposure to her in Mr. Bradbury's story, I started researching Sarah's poems. Not an easy task prior to the internet, because at the time at least, there was only one complete collection of her poems. Finding it wasn't easy. But I did.

It sits on my desk. Along with my complete Thesaurus and Dictionary. All other books are stored on my bookshelves. However, I've been known to often pick up Sarah's book while suffering from writer's block, so I keep it handy.

Since first reading There Will Come Soft Rains, I have discovered that many of her poems touch me in the same way. But I often fail to realize that not many other people have been exposed the Sarah Teasdale's work.

Despite her passing, her works are still here for everyone to read and enjoy. Here's a link to a website that has some of her poems. Sarah Teasdale Poems.

I hope that you enjoy them as much as I have.

April

Friday, November 11, 2005

Wrapping...

That word brings many thoughts to mind.

One thought is the sound that used to rumble from the cars of the kids who went to the high school across the street from my old house.

Another thought is tone of my favorites. It invloves covering presents in festive paper.

I could go on and on... But the best thing it brings to mind is the shipping off of my manuscript. Oh yeah! I'm finally done with revisions on my ms and I'm working on getting everything put together and "wrapped" up to ship off!

It's so funny. I've done a bit of querying to agents, but I haven't sent anything to editors yet. Even after getting to meet and talk to an editor this weekend, I still find this intimidating. But I'm sucking it up and pushing through.

My plan is to have everything ready to put in the mail Monday. Wow. It sounds so final when I type it here. That's a good thing, I guess.

Wish me luck and keep me in your prayers because once this sucker is in the mail, the really hard part begins. The waiting.

April

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Evil Synopsis...

I think I'm finally on the final revisions of my synopsis. Ahhhhhh... It has taken me nearly as long to revise my synopsis as it took me to revise my entire ms. I guess it's a good thing to do so much work on it. Especially since it is the first impression an editor will have of my writing. But it's just such a pain.

How do you summarize all of the emotional and dramatic elements of a 75,000 word manuscript in 500 words or less? It ain't easy, I know that much. Having a critique partner to help guide your way helps a lot though.

Since my weekend retreat, there are just so many cool ideas running around in my head. I want to start something new. However, that isn't going to happen until I get this sucker wrapped up.

So, I'm going to go and wrap it up.

April

Monday, November 07, 2005

Information Overload...

I'm back from my trip. What a trip it was! I got to meet some really amazing people while learning some great techniques and exercises to get me deeper into my story and my character's heads. Of course my husband says I'm out of my own too often as it is.

Sadly, I feel like all I learned is buzzing around in my little brain, trying to find a file drawer it can fit in to. Only all my drawers seem full and the little wings on the info are bumping into each other, so instead of nice, neat organizastion, my mind is a jumbled mess. At least I have a great excuse.

Well, now I'm going to take a "creative nap" at least that's what Diane Chamberlain told me they were. Doesn't that sound great? "No, dear... I am not being lazy. I'm taking a creative nap." They do work, so I can't fault her there!

April

Friday, November 04, 2005

Visual Research...

I've been doing some visual research. It's a bad habit I have. It's one of my many procrastination tools. It works really well. Then I thought, I wonder if everyone else knows about these resources!?! So, I thought I would dedicate this post to sharing some of the resources I've found for visual research.

My hubby is a graphic designer. He taught me early on that when I need a picture of something all I have to do is take a peek at some stock photography. Much of the photography you see on the web and in magazines is stock photography. I know. I thought they got that girl and guy to pose next to a bed for the Cosmo articles too. But alas, no they didn't.

Now some caveats come with this info. Stock photo companies allow you to download/save protoypes of their pictures. Some place a faded logo across the pictures. Some don't. Either way, you can save them for inspiration. However, you cannot post them anywhere unless you're willing to pay the price for the photos. The prices are always listed and usually range from $50 up. However, as long as you don't plan on using them on publishing them, you can peruse all the samples all you want. With that said, here are some of my favorite stock photo sites:
www.gettyimages.com
www.photos.com
www.comstock.com
www.picturequest.com


You can find just about anything on these sites. One secret is to be specific in your search criteria. In almost all instances, to save the sample you right click on it and click save as then save it where you want it.

I would share some of my own images with you that I've sampled however, that would be a total breach of everything I told you before, so I'll just keep them to myself.

However, I will give one more hint. The next time you're logging onto the internet and you see a picture you like, note if there is a credit of where it came from on it. For instance I found picturequest by seeing a picture on an AOL screen. If you like that picture, you may find that you like others they have.

Now I'm off to a writer's retreat weekend. So, I should have loads of useful information when I get back Monday. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

April

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Pictures Finally...

Finally I can now take all of my pictures off of my digital camera. I lost the cord and the sweet girl at the store recommended I buy this neat little gadget that plugs into my computer. Then I slip the memory card from my camera into the appropriate drive on the gadget and viola... I have pictures. Plus I can use it with the camcorder card.

Now that I've been able to dowload the pictures I've come to realize that maybe they aren't of a very good quality and since I wasn't able to empty the card, there aren't many. But I'm still going to post a few here for your enjoyment.


Bunny playing mandolin while medusa snaps a pic




Lobster Boy!




Peeping Tom and a grave digger.




Lobster Boy with a Robert Palmer dancer... you know, from the 80's video. She put down her guitar for the pic



This was one of my favorite costumes. A mastercard ad. The front lists prices for her shirt, jeans and shoes.

The backside reads: Halloween costume that took minimal effort: priceless (the priceless is hard to read because it was studded and there was a flash.)






This is my sweet hubby. He took off his zombie costume. It was his b-day, hence the hat.




Hubby carving the birthday cake




An 80's chick and punk rocker... That's my wand the punk is holding. I wondered where that went!




Madame fairy-butterfly & Robert Palmer's girl. It was getting late at this point.



So there they are, my Halloween pics. If you're in one and you want it gone, just let me know.

I would like to say an extra special thank you to Cam, Daye, and Timmy for opening their home to us all and being so thoughtful as to host a surprise birthday party for my hubby. What wonderful friends we're Blessed with!

April

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Maybe It Isn't The Bacteria...

So, I went to visit Super Keith yesterday. Only Super Keith wasn't there, so instead I got to see Captain Russell. He's a lot like SUper Keith except he wears a mask with his uniform.

Any who, Captain Russell decided that maybe it isn't the bacteria after all. Maybe I just have an inflamed respiratory system. So, now I'm on all sorts of medications. One makes me sleepy. One makes my really jumpy and the others help me to breath just a little. I feel like I'm Manic. Tired, wired, tired, wired, tired, wired...

On to bigger and better things. I'm working on wrapping up my revisions so I can get my ms in the mail! It'll happen. Soon.

However, I have to put the ms on hold starting Friday because I'm off to a writer's retreat. I'm so excited. It's my first. It's being held at a beach mansion and there's going to be a lot of amazing people there! I'm really excited. Or it could be the medicine. Who knows?

Monday, October 31, 2005

Almost there...

With all of the recent activities and events, I have had a lot of motivation to procrastinate finishing off my submission. I love to procrastinate. It's my passion. Well, one of them at least.

But today I got my butt in gear and went to work on revising my synopsis. Whew... My critique partner did a great job of helping me see where I needed to make changes on the first draft. Now I've boogied the revised version over to her for more help. I worry that I've taxed her with asking her to revise it again and again. Not to mention the actual ms. But she's so good at it. At least once this is off, I won't have too much to ask of her for a while.

In other news, the Blazing Summer contest winners were announced. Setting Her Sights did not place. I'm really not surpirsed at all. I submitted to the contest before I received the letter from the agent that recommended some significant changes early on in the story.

I think that had I submitted the revised version, it would have been a stronger candidate. That's not to say I would have won. There were some mighty skilled writers who entered. But I think I would have had a better chance.

To those of you who won, congratulations! It's nice that I've gotten to know most of you on the eharl message boards. It's easier to watch someone you really like win.

I didn't make it in to see Super Keith today. I have to be there first thing in the morning. I mean FIRST THING. So, not only do I have to get poked and proded (not probed, prodded--totally different), but I have to have it done early in the morning. No fun at all. None.

Well, the door bell is jingling with tricker treaters...

Cast of Characters...

I know I said I would post pictures of Halloween costumes I saw this weekend. I still plan to do that. However, I have to first locate the cable to connect my camera to my computer.

In the mean time, I figured I'd share a little of my Halloween Party experiences with you all.

The Halloween party was also a surpirse birthday party for my sweet hubby. He was thoroughly surprised. We decorated one room of the house with nothing but all sorts of silly birthday decorations. A good friend of mine baked a wonderful cake. She does the most amazing things! It was a tomb stone with my husbands name on it and the year of his birth. It was made of red velvet cake so it was sort of eerie cutting it.

There were so many creative costumes there. We had Madusa, Mother Nature, a geisha, a crossing guard, a bee, a spider, a punk rocker, Robert Palmer & one of his dancers, lobster boy (those tongs pinched hard), a flasher (that one was a little shocking), a few farmers, a pimp, a bunny (who played mandolin), an 80's chick (sort of Desperately Seeking Susanesque), the daughter of our sheriff dressed up as her dad, and one of my personal favorites... a mastercard ad.

We didn't make it home until late. Of course. And because we spent a lot of time sitting outside around a fire pit, my sinuses are screaming today. The bacteria are also making themselves known (see previous post).

Speaking of the bacteria, I finished up my antibiotic today and I'm no better. In fact, I think I'm a little worse. So I guess I'll be seeing Super Keith again tomorrow. And of course they're going to want to take blood and I really really hate having blood drawn. Really. But I guess it's a small price to pay so I can breath again...

Back to Halloween, my dear husband had half of his zombie costume off within the first hour. Which is funny because he teased me that I wouldn't be able to put up with wearing my wings for more than ten minutes. And guess what? I wore them all night. I may have slapped a few people in the face with them. If someone reading this is one of those people... sorry. But I wore them all night! My shoulders are a little sore. Who knew that butterfly wings could be so heavy?

Well, I'm going to rest up and try to breath. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and that Halloween goes just as well. I love seeing all of the little trick or treaters!

April

Friday, October 28, 2005

A Butterfly and Her Zombie...

Halloween is upon us. The great last minute hunt for Halloween costumes is well under way.

Some friends of ours are having a Halloween party. Having been informed of this some time ago, I duly made my decision about what I would be for Halloween. I chose a butterfly. My husband was heartily disappointed to hear this news. He loves gruesome stuff. He thinks everyone should dress up as something scary. Hence his Zombie costume.

As a child, I always chose happy things for my costumes. I can't honestly recall having ever been anything scary. I remember being Wonder Woman, a princess, a baby, Pippy Long Stockings, and I'm sure there were numerous other cartoon characters, but they fail my aging memory. So, I rejected my husband's notion and chose to be something not scary.

Although, my costume isn't the most creative, it makes me happy and it's easy. A number of my friends have very elaborate and creative costume plans. I'm taking my camera, so I'll be sure to snap some pics and post them. That was a warning to my friends: prepare to be posted.

We don't have children yet. My husband plans to dress up as Willy Wonka once we do and then dress them as Oompa Loompas. It's been his dream for some time. (eye roll). At least it's creative.

It's always hard for me to think of anything creative to dress up as. Mainly because I start thinking of the work involved in making or finding the costume. What are some of the most creative costumes you've ever seen?


P.S. If you're looking for some spooky Zombie stuff, you should check our friend's Zombie website. It's pretty creepy. www.allthingszombie.com

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Reality of Reality TV...

I'm not the biggest reality tv fan. Mainly because I always find myself getting sucked into it and then the next thing I know I've blown four hours staring into the tube.

However, I was sucked in by the TBS show Outback Jack. I was highly reluctant to watch the show because not only is it reality, but it's dating reality. Which means that I'm going to want two people to end up together in the end and that's not highly likely to happen.

For those of you who weren't Outback Jack fans, I'll give you a brief recap:
Vadim Dale, better known on the show as "Jack" is a native of Australia. A group of young, semi-prissy girls were air droped into the Austrailian outback for a five week roound of speed dating. Each episode a girl was given the proverbial boot. Early on, a girl named Marissa on the show set herself up for the role of "bitch".

The show came down to two girls. Marissa, the bitch and another girl named Natalie. In all honesty, I didn't expect Natalie to make it very far on the show. While I loved her, she seemed to be the last girl capable of surviving the harsh conditions of the outback.

Some fancy editing assisted this belief, I'm sure. Such is reality tv...

I watched the final episode, sure that I would be just as disappointed that I had allowed myself to become invested in this show. Positive I would watch sweet, warm and fun loving Natalie wipe away tears while watching Marissa's conniving little behind walk away with Jack.

Only I was thoroughly pleased to watch as JAck said goodbye to Marissa and welcomed Natalie into his life with open arms.

I clicked off the tv and decided I wouldn't watch any news reports about the show for a while, because it was a happy ending and as any romance reader knows, we love happy endings. I didn't want the news about their breakup to reach me. Afterall, that's the best part about fiction. Happy endings stay just that... happy.

So, as I was flipping the channels this evening, I noticed that on Fox Reality, their going to be showing Outback Jack the Wedding tomorrow. And I thought, "huh?" So, after a moment or two of surfing the net, I discovered that as a result of my "buried head in the sand" I totally missed that Vadim and Natalie got engaged last December and then wed this September. I'm also posting a picture of the happy couple.

Ahhhh, this is a lesson learned for me, Even in reality, happy endings do stay happy. Sometimes... I should have known. I have my own to prove it.

April

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

It's Fall!!!

In case you haven't figured it out from previous posts, or you're new to my blog, I figure I should preface this blog by letting you know that I'm from the South. Really South.

So, our winters are approximately 4-5 weeks long. Most years, I wear shorts for Thanksgiving and Christmas. A dusting of snow closes all of our schools and causes every grocery store to sell out of bread and milk. Yes, I said dusting (you know, where you can still see the grass and there's nothing on the roads). Oh, pardon me. My Southern friends are correcting me. There "may be" black ice on bridges and overpasses. Dangerous stuff.

My bestfriend spent many years in Berlin, Germany as a child. Her first year here (our freshman year in HS) she was blown away when the schools closed at the threat of a dusting of snow. She laughingly explained that in Germany, you go to school as long as the snow isn't so high that the bus doors can't open.

Ok, in defense of our public officials, I wouldn't want to be on the road with half of my fellow state citizens if it snowed. They drive bad enough without any other potential impediment.

On to the real subject: Today, our high was in the 60's. That's cold for here. And it was wonderful!!! It made me so happy. For some that is their summer. To you, I say you should try 20 days straight of a heat index of 115. That's summer. In comparison, 60 is freezing. For those who are internationals, I'm speaking in farenheight. I'd convert, but I lost that skill shortly after graduation. Sorry.

So, finally fall has reached us and it's great. Now, I realize that this doesn't mean it won't be 80 on Christmas like it was last year or the year before. But for just this week, it's cold and that's enough.

Ahhh, I'm off to enjoy the chill on my hammock swing.

Monday, October 24, 2005

It's Not Asthma, It's Bacteria...

That's what my doctor said, at least. As a child, I was diagnosed with acute asthma. Which meant I was the kid who always carried a bright yellow and orange inhaler with her everywhere she went. Yeah, that was me you used to tease...

I stopped seeing my pediatrician just about 2 years ago. No, I'm not 20. I just kept seeing my pediatrician until his head nurse wouldn't let me anymore. He's a friend of the family. I digress... I haven't had any asthma problems for a few years now, so I didn't bother to mention anything to my new "adult" doctor because I figured I'd outgrown it. Which means my inhalers and prescriptions for new ones all are expired. Really expired.

Then, last week I started having problems breathing. And I thought, "F%&*ing A. It's asthma again." Sort of the way they used to say, "It's the penguin again, Batman!" in the old Batman tv show. Boy, I loved that show.

I digress again... So, I went to my MD today and he poked me for my DNA and made me huff and puff into half a million gadgets. Then he came into my little 4x6 room, with his cape flying, a big "K" on his shirt (his name is Keith--for some reason, even though I'm not sick much, I'm on a first name basis with my doctors and dentist. Even the OBGYN) and triumphantly announced that it wasn't my asthma, it was "bacteria."

Yup! I have ooey, gooey bacteria in my lungs and it is menacingly trying to prevent me from breathing. So he gave me some antibiotic pills--which are approximately 2"x2" in size. Well, almost. And told me to take two a day for a week and then give him a ring if I didn't feel like tap dancing. I asked if he could give me a big spot light to point into the air as a signal for him instead. He shook his head regretfully and said it got broken when the parking garage was built. Darn it.

So, I'm pill popping and finishing off my revisions. I finally got to the revision suggestions my cp made. May I say, my cp is awesome! And smart to boot. How did that happen? I won the cp lottery. Don't tell anyone though. I don't want her to get stolen away from me. What's even better though, is that she's going to be famous one day and I'm going to get an autograph. So, take that "bacteria..."

On that note, I'm off! (why did "to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz..." song pop in my head?"

April

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Hero Worship...

Ms. Crusie recently posted a message about how she does collages before she writes. She makes them using pictures and small items that represent an image, person, feeling... in her story.

I'm not so advanced in my writing that I do collages, but I do collect pictures. You may note my virtual shopping expeditions two posts ago. I don't always get to write. Sometimes, it can be days or even a week between the times I get to pluck away. Then, I forget what the vision I had of a place or person was.

Sometimes even if I'm not away, I'll just up and change something without realizing it until I go back to edit. With my fist ms, the one I'm editing now, I found that I actually switched what my hero looked like half way through. Of course, it took me a while to write and I was having notions about my next story. Apparently my hero morphed into that one.

After this, I decided I needed to try and find pictures of my characters, the places they live, the cars they drive, the clothes they wear. This way I don't change his eye color mid way through. I do brief character worksheets, but they don't effect the image in my head.

So, I've gathered quite the database of "lifted" pictures from the internet. I have several from magazines, but I don't have them scanned. I figured I would share a number of my hero pictures, in hopes that they may help someone else out there.
(Warning: some of these pictures are not for the tame of heart)


The hero of the ms I'm editing is modeled (physically) after Michael Owen.




Beach volleyball anyone?




I LOVE Michael Schoeffling




Who doesn't love a fireman?




He's an artist, he's a model, he's a great hero!




Good Morning!




Saddle up cowboy!




Wes is yet another attractive rugby player!



You have any cuties to share? Share 'em. For now, I'm feeling mighty inspired... Guess I'll go write something. Just let me clean the drool off my keyboard.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Je Suis Fini!!!!

Almost. I have finally finished with the major revisions on my ms. Now I need to revise the synopsis, check for grammar etc..., let my sweeheart of a critique partner take a read and pop the sucker in the mail.

I'm really proud that I hunkered down and got it done.

The entire ms turned out to be 293 ms pages or 73,250 words. The guidelines for the publisher and line I'm targeting is 70,000 to 75,000 words. It was originally 74,000, so I have just cut out the equivalent of one page. There's a small chance that count will change some as my cp makes suggestions and final edits are done.

But it just feels so good to be done with the largest part. Ahhhhh, how nice.

While I write contemporary, not fantasy, I'm as girlie as the next girl. Which means I like fairies. I was directed to this amazing artist who makes water colors of fairies. When I saw this one, she called to me. So, I thought I would share it.


She's called "Story Keeper" and the artist is Selena Fenech
visit her site www.selenafenech.com for more of her art!



Happy Writing,
April

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Power of Music...

Music is a powerful force. Both instruments and lyrics can have an impact on a listener.

Some people write to silence. For me, silence is deafening. At the same time, a lot of background noise, such as a Cardinals game (clears throat loudly), can be too distracting.

I find that listening to music on my head phones while I write, really helps me. I have more control over the volume, the music more effectively blocks out other sounds, and if I choose the songs correctly, they often go along with the scene I'm writing.

I used to sing... Yeah, believe it or not I did. My friends, whom I had to keep awake on late night car trip once, can attest to my wide repetoire of show tunes. I was a chorus geek--at least that's what my husband calls it. Of course, he was a band AND orchestra geek, so he knows one when he sees one. Sadly, I got away from singing in high school and am now so out of practice I couldn't sight read Mary Had a Little Lamb--a little chorus humor for you.

Anyways, I don't know if that is what makes me so drawn to music or not. Sometimes just having my headphones on doesn't work. Because I can still hear my darling husband screaming... excuse me, I stand corrected: yelling (apparently men don't scream) at the umpires, I have to either turn the music up really loud (which is TOO distracting) or I have to use my orange ear muffs or protectors, whatever you want to call them.

They're the things people at airports use to protect their hearing. My earphones hug my ears and are small, so the protectors fit right over them. It's nice, because then I can listen to my music nice and low--like I like it--and the protectors block out all of the screaming... I mean, yelling.

Thank God it's the only time he ever yells. Boy, he's got some lungs on him.

April

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Shopping Spree...

Ever been on one? Ever been on one without a budget?

That's how I feel when I get to go virtual shopping for my characters. Need a little black dress? Let me pop on over to Neiman Marcus online and do a little browsing. It's wonderful.

Anything you need, you can find. Jewelry, clothes, cars... Oh, cars. That's an entirely different subject. My husband is in love with the Ford Mustang I virtually built for one of my characters. It was nice, but the Jag I built was better.

Did you know that most car manufacturers allow you to custom build your own made to order car on their websites? Even better, they'll allow you to see pictures. It's great. I think the best car to date that I've built virtually is the GT. Oh, I love this car. Here's a picture of it, just for you:


At a projected price tag of just under $150,000, it doesn't look like I'll ever own one. But they sure are pretty to look at.

Okay, now back to something I could possibly buy. Someday. Maybe. Like some of the things at Neiman Marcus. If I didn't mind blowing my budget, I could drop $600 on a new dress. I better get a lot of wear out of it, but I could do it. Good thing my husband isn't reading this blog, or he might have something to say about that!

However, it is much more fun to shop with my herione or hero's virtual money. It grows on trees in their world, after all. Doesn't it?

April

You Say Stop, I Say Go...

I've been working hard on my revisions. At the same time I've been studying "craft". I've come to realize a number of "rules" or "recommendations" that directly contradict each other. And I have to ask myself, why.

For example, I read that I shouldn't use simple words. Instead I should look up other words that aren't so common. On the same page, I read that I shouldn't use words that are too complicated. KISS--Keep It Simple Stupid is written in bold letters. So, what is it? Simple or Uncommon?

I also read that POV shouldn't change much and that it should always be preceded by something indicating a change, such as the popular "***". However, I then read tons of books in which this doesn't occur and I find the shifts in POV perfectly fine.

So, after much agonizing over these matters, I have decided to do what ever I feel like doing. That's not to say I'll go crazy and write "see spot run" books for their simplicity or that I'll draw large diagrams indicating a shift in POV.

I'm simply going to do the best job I can in making my ms readable. Well, not just readable, but attractive to readers. If someone has a problem with the fact that I don't have "***" between each POV, then they don't have to read it.

I think that there are always exceptions to "rules". Especially in fiction. I was always told to NEVER start a sentence with the word "and"--I see it all the time in the books I read.

So, there you go... Now I'm off to delete all of my "***" and to add in a few more "exciting" words. Should be fun.

Cheers,
April

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Stopping By...

I had a few minutes before I get into doing some writing and decided I'd stop in and post a little note.

The film premiere we went to on Friday proved to be just as startling and disturbing as I thought it would be. If I could find the man featured, I would track him down and take his little girls away. The poor things have no type of life. They're constantly on the road with a father who's an alcoholic and druggie. He has no concept of what it means to be a father. And the little girls are rediculously bright. I'm talking ivy league material here. It's really really sad.

The wedding we went to on Saturday was beautiful. The blushing bride was so sweet. She couldn't resist waving hi to people as she walked down the isle. They make a lovely couple and it's obvious to anyone within thirty feet that they adore each other. I wish them every happiness in the world.

Today we had to go to a bike rally for my husband's work. I usually resist doing anything but going to church and hanging with family on Sundays. But my husband really had to go and he didn't want to go alone, so I went with him. It was interesting. Let me tell you, I thought I was a little wild since I didn't get home Friday night till 4:30AM--not typical for us. But I can't hold a candle to some of the people out there today.

What was worse, or better actually, is that I forgot my ID. I'm blatantly over 21. But they refused to let me in without putting black x's on my hands so I couldn't drink. I wasn't planning to drink anyways, so it wasn't a big deal. It just seemed wierd to have them on my hand. I mean I've been over 21 for... well quite a few years. I still get carded at the grocery store every once in a while, but not always.

I couldn't decide if I felt good to have something making me seem young, or if I felt like I was one of those women dressed too young for my age with the black x's on my hands. Either way, I'm home now and they've been washed away. I told my husband as we left that he was robbing the cradle. He found it funny since we're actually less than a year apart in age.

Well, I'm off to revise for a little bit. As you can see from my side column, I have managed to get a little done this weekend. It feels good to set a schedule and stick to it. So, here I go, sticking to it.

April

Friday, October 14, 2005

The test...

This weekend is loaded with activity. This evening my husband and I are going to the premiere of an independent film. This past new year, was the last show of a band named Captain Easy. My husband played bass for the band. They all decided to work on some solo projects. The producers of the film used the band's music as the soundtrack. So, it's pretty exciting for him. Not to mention the film actually sounds interesting. It's called Drive.

After the show, some friends of ours will be playing music. So, we're destined to be out late tonight. Tomorrow, we have a wedding to go to. The wedding is at 2PM, then there is the reception and then there is another receiving party tomorrow evening. So, we'll be tied up most of the day.

I'm telling you all of this, because this means that I will be tested on my committment to working on my revisions each day. Yesterday was great. However, since I'm eliminating and adjusting chapters, I'm going to switch the measure on the side bar to what page I'm on rather than what chapter. That way the count is accurate.

Despite the hurdles, I am committed to what I established. Therefore, this may be my last post for the weekend. We'll see... Until then, I wish you all happy reading, happy writing, and a really happy weekend. The weather is finally tolerable here, so at least I won't have that to contend with this weekend! Well, except that it'll lure me outside. I may have to take the laptop onto the back deck.

April

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Inspired...

I'm feeling inspired... I've decided I'm going to batten down and get my revisions done! My goal is a minimum of 2 chapters per night. I'm going to keep a status record in my side column so I have accountability.

I've been lagging and allowing other things to distract me and as a result I spend a couple of days away from the work and I'm lost when I try to go back. So, I'm going to get it done!

My ultimate goal is to have the manuscript complete and sent off to a publisher by the end of October. It's a pretty tight goal for me, as I have a really difficult time letting something go. Wish me luck!

April

Tragic News...

I just logged onto my computer and decided to run through my email before I posted for the night. In my email was a note from a writing friend. She shared that Jude Deveraux's 8 year-old son was tragically killed in an accident this past Thursday.

The obituary states that he was riding a motorcycle of sorts without the lights on or a helmet when a truck travelling the same condition failed to spot him until it was too late.

It's such a tragedy to loose someone so young. The Washington Post has a guest book where you can leave your condolences for Jude and her family.

April

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

It Has Begun...

It's now mid-October and the Christmas elf that runs around inside me simply refuses to go unheard any longer. Usually she's beaten down my walls by August. However, I was able to resist her continued assaults until now.

"It's the most wonderul time, of the year," plays continually on a loop in my head. Over and over and over. My sweet little doggie, Mr. B., sits and listens to me singing, "we wish you a merry Christmas" as my hubby and I are carving the pumkin for Halloween.

I'm wierd and I know it. I have no problem with that. My husband is very supportive about it. He did however, resist the idea of dressing our house up as "Christmas" for Halloween. I thought it was a great idea. But that's ok. I'm not really ready to decorate for Christmas yet anyways. But I could be if he'd let me.

Somewhere in my head, I know it's not Christmas. And I enjoy Halloween and Thanksgiving as well. I just L O V E Chrsitmas.

So I guess I'll satisfy my Christmas urges by posting here.



April

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Finally...

I'm finally getting some work done! And it feels great. While my husband spent the day on the sidelines of a football game (which our team won by a landslide), I spent the day at my computer.

It feels so good to get back to my manuscript and to be getting somewhere with it finally. I set a goal of having my revisions complete by Oct. 31st. And I'm planning to stick by it.

Having said that, I have a number of events this month that will attempt to distract me. On Oct. 14th, we have to attend the release of a friend of ours' documentary film. It's a pretty interesting film that follows a trip he took once. After being stuck midway on a journey to Canada by the fact that he didn't have a valid passport, he met up with a man travelling with his two young daughters. When I say young, I mean young like 7 and 11. The man needed assistance driving the limo they were in to Vegas. So, stuck with no other choice, he goes with them. The story takes a decidedly dark twist when the 11 year-old shows him the semi-automaitic weapons in the trunk and demonstrates how to load and unload them. Yikes!

I had a hard time believing it until I saw some of the footage. Boy do I feel sheltered.

Anyways, then we have my brother-in-law's birthday on the 15th and the biggest deal for me, my dear hubby's birthday on the 29th. We'll be going to a halloween party that night and I'm trying to convince him that his "birthday suit" would not be an appropriate costume.

Wish me luck!

April

La Di Da

So, I haven't had the chance to do much writing this week. However, tomorrow is W-day. Writing Day. I'm very excited about it! I was stuck trying to decide whether or not to remove a scene. My lovely critique partner gave it to me plain and simple. So, now that I know what I have to do, I want to do it.

In other news, I'm a member of LRWA. I love my chapter! In november we're having a beach retreat with a bunch of great guests and speakers. Here's a copy of hte release that was sent out about it today:


How does a weekend at the beach casually mingling with bestselling authors,
a MIRA editor, a top notch publicist and several dynamite speakers sound to
you? What if it was to be held at an amazing mansion right on one of the most
exclusive beaches in the country... a mansion that includes an in-ground pool,
elevator, multiple fireplaces and decks, and every amenity imaginable
(including maid service)? What if the entire weekend, including all gourmet meals,
cost only $175?
If this sounds like your kind of retreat, we would love to have you
join us at the Lowcountry (Charleston, SC) RWA Beach Bound Retreat!
Dates: Nov 4-6
Place: Isle of Palms, South Carolina
Speakers: Susan Wiggs, Diane Chamberlain, Mary Alice Monroe, Tamar Myers,
publicist Marjorie Wentworth, and Mira editor Miranda Stecyk.
Total number of attendees: 40
Cost: LRWA members: $140; RWA members: $175; others: $200 (includes all
meals except Sunday dinner) Daytripper price also available.
For more info, including online registration form and payment options,
please visit: _www.LowcountryRWA.com_ (http://www.lowcountryrwa.com/) and
click on Retreat. Feel free to email me with any questions.
_NinaBruhns@aol.com_ (mailto:NinaBruhns@aol.com) Remaining space is very limited, so get your
reservations in asap!
Hope to see you there!
Nina

I think the retreat is going to be loads of fun!

I guess i better get to sleep if I'm going to be productive tomorrow.

April

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Verdict...

Welp, I just came home from the dentist and guess what, everything is peachy. No cavities, no crowns, no nothing. I fessed up to him about my attempt a free dental care. He laughed.

I did learn something interesting about the OTHER dentist. They had attempted to recruit my hygenist and she said they offered to give her a $1000 sales bonus each month. Hello! Since when is a dental hygenist a salesperson? Althoug, I have to admit that I'm considering a career change after learning how much they make.

Lessons learned: Nothing is ever really FREE and I'm not ever going to a dentist other than my own again.

April

Nothing's Free, Especially Dentists...

My husband brought me a "FREE visit" certificate from his dentist. So, I thought, "okay, I'll skip my usual appointment with the dentist who's been taking care of me since I started babysitting his kids in the 7th grade(which was an untold millinum ago) and go to my husband's trusted dentist. I mean, it's free what can it hurt?"

Mwahahahaha.... That's what the "free visit" dentists of the world are doing right now. Evil laughing and rubbing their grubby little hands together.

I'm.... and adult. I've had my fair share of fillings. I had braces as a teenager--although I admittedly didn't wear the head gear, it hurt, darn it! But I've never had "major" work done. Well, other than for my wisdom teeth removed, but that's routine. That doesn't mean I have horrible dental health. I can proudly say that I haven't had a cavity in quite a while. Not that I would be floored if I was told I needed one filling--I LOVE sugar.

However, after taking x-rays and poking at me for 3 minutes (in which nothing hurt or was sticky), my dear husband's dentist went on to explain to me that I needed 4-phases of work. Yes, 4-phases. ALL of my past fillings needed to be removed and redone. The tooth I cracked as kid that has been repaired with tooth colored filling that looks just fine, well it needs to be whittled down and a vaneer put on. Might I add that he had no clue that it had ever been worked on until he saw the x-rays!

The very first phase of this work, which I might add, they were happy to start to work on right then, would be a very reasonable $1700. Okay. At this point, I freaked!

FREAKED! I nodded, and kept smiling until I could get the hell out of there. I mean I went from thinking maybe I'd had enough chocolate recently to need a minor filling to being told I needed 4 phases of dental work done, the first phase of which would run $1700. We're talking about $8000 of work, total. Hello!

So, I've set an appointment for tomorrow with MY dentist and I'm going to lay it all out. I plan to tell him that I took my husbands free little certificate (which I might add didn't end up including a cleaning, just x-rays and the almighty doctor's expert analysis) and thought I'd save myself a few bucks, but instead ended up unable to sleep because I was worried all of my teeth might fall out. Yikes!

My husband said, "maybe your fillings need to be replaced." And I explained that I was aware that fillings don't last forever. They have to be replaced. However, not unless they've shrunk, or decay is around them. Replacing a filling before then would be like replacing your break pads before they squeal. You can do it, but what's the point. They work perfectly fine until then. Then you have a window of time to have them replaced without hurting anything. That ALL of my fillings would fall into that window at the same time and that that window would come with no warning is just too fishy.

Well, I'm off to nightmare land. That's what I get for sneaking a free visit to another dentist. Figures, it felt like I was cheating already. I kept looking around wondering if someone would see me going in and tell my dentist. Now I have to tell him. Great!

April

Saturday, October 01, 2005

I got kinks, but I'm working...

All right, there are a few kinks I need to work out with my coding. I try. I swear that I try. The title up above is supposed to be this real pretty glowy title. Only it isn't right now. I'm working on it.

But not right now. Right now I'm working on my revisions. I've been working on them ALL day! Yup! It's been really nice. My dear husband who doesn't really mean to be a distraction, but simply can't help but be one when he's yelling at the football players on the screen, had to work today. All day. In fact, he left at noon and it's now almost 3AM and he just called to say he'd be home soon.

His company put on a music festival today and since until recently he was in a band that was well known in our region, he was of course put in charge of many of the duties. So, he went to sleep stressed, woke up stressed, and sounded really relieved when he called earlier.

In his place, this fellow has been keeping me company:


No, Michael Owen is not actually in my house. He's still happily married and living in the UK with his lovely wife and daughter.

But his image happily flashes across my computer screen anytime I want.

This is fine with my husband, because I was revising my ms today, you see and my husband is terribly afraid I'm going to put him in a book. Although it's not like they're getting published tomorrow, so I'm not sure what his big fear is.

Anyways, the revisions are coming along beautifully. Well, except that my hero and heroine keep fighting about who's POV I should be in at each point. Goodness gracious, I've never seen two people so eager to have their thoughts tossed out there for all and sundry to see.

Oh, I got back my Jasmine contest entry today. I didn't final, but I didn't do too bad either. What's best is that I got some really great input from the judges. it couldn't have come at a better time since I'm already revising.

Okay, that's all the computer screen time my eyes can take for one day. I'm off to night-night land. Tomorrow I'm headed to church with my mother and then we're going to have some mother-daughter bonding time while my husband catches up on his rest.

April

Friday, September 30, 2005

It's me. Look at what I did...

Do you remember saying that a gazillion times as a kid? How about it's better known and even more obnoxious cousin, "look at me, look at me!" Well, I'm sure I said it plenty of times as a kid. However, now I'm saying it as an adult.

I just couldn't get a handle on the very structured looking dot mofif I had going on, so I went on a cruise of the www and found an amazing blog template designer by the name of Caz. Using one of her templates I made myself a brand spanking new looking blog. I'm thankful for the beginners html book I read this summer, because it did require a little bit of html (just enough to make me feel really smart) to make it work with my stuff. But looky now, I got me a new blog.

If you'd like to get yourself a spanking new looking blog or talk to Caz about designing one especially for you. Click on her link under my "links" section.

This is what happens when I can't log in to post a blog for 24 hrs because blogger is down and I have to stare at those dumb dots. Ha! Bye bye dumb dots!

April

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Unstable Table...

That's the name we gave our trivia team last night. That's right, I said trivia team. A group of my girlfriends and I decided that we would venture to a local restaurant/pub to play trivia. Apparently one of my friends' evil boss plays it there religiously.

Sadly, her grand scheme of crushing him and his team into smithereens was blown to bits by two factors. One, her boss and his team didn't show up. No surprise there. She's a smarty, so I'm sure he stayed at home to avoid what he felt would surely be a public beating. Two, even though she may be brilliant, the rest of the group isn't and we sabotaged every answer by debating it to death.

Who the heck would have guessed that -273.05 degrees Celsius is Absolute Zero? Do you know how long it's been since I took Chemistry. A while, to say the least.

We should have known that this wasn't our game when we got there. The place was approximately 80% men, 20% women. And while I first thought that it must be the competitive need to best everyone that brought all the men out, I quickly learned that it was the perky brunette in a tiny school girl skirt that called out the questions that had brought them all out of their little male hiding places. Surprise!?!

We managed to do alright. We placed somewhere in the middle. Which was nice since all of the "boys" around us were heckling us. What idiots. They didn't even know that the statue of liberty wore sandals on her feet. Hello!

Anyways, I'm feeling better today. In fact, I'm feeling great. I've gotten all of the plot reworked in my mind and I'm diving into the changes. I think it'll really make the story better. It'll definitely give me a much better chance of selling it. I have no problem with finding out something is wrong with something, as long as I can find a solution. Solution woman, that's what I'm going to call myself for now on. Warning: some solutions may not seem so bright or doable, but they're solutions just the same!

Now, I'm going to go implement some solutions. Imagine that. No point to a solution if you don't implement it.

Oh yeah, before I go; we named our selves "unstable table" because our table had pigeon feet and rocked like the Titanic all night.

April

Monday, September 26, 2005

Burst My Bubble

Well, I posted too soon today. My wait, wait, wait is over. I got a letter today from the agent. It was a very nice rejection. She also gave me some really wonderful input on what she felt was "wrong" with it.

She felt that I took too long setting it up and that I didn't get into the heart of the relationship soon enough. Her points were very valid. So, I can't really complain.

I am however going to put my current wip aside for the moment and work on reworking the completed ms and possibly submitting it to the publisher myself. I'm gonna pray about where to sub it.

So, I'm down, but not out. Is that the saying?

April

Meetings and Greetings

I've been bad, in that I didn't get any writing done this weekend. But I have some really great excuses. Really!

On Friday, a really great friend of mine released his cd, so we had to go and support him. You did great, Joshua! Then, on Saturday I had a meeting with my RWA chapter. We had Sabrina Jeffries as our guest. She did a great job of helping us learn how to really figure out who our characters are before we sit down to write.

I know, some people are saying, "you don't know who your characters are before you sit down to write?" The answer is yes and no. I know general info, and I thought I knew specific, but I find that in the first 3-4 chapters they change on me because I'm really discovering who they are. So hopefully some of the exercises and resources she gave us will help me to learn more about them up front and save me some frustration later on.

After our meeting a few of us went out to dinner with her. It was nice because I got to learn a lot more about the "business" side of writing. I have to recommend that those of you who are unpublished, like me, and looking for a good resource for info, join RWA and then join a local chapter. You really do get some great info and great contacts out of it. I also highly recommend getting involved.

On Sunday, well... My chapter is 2 hours away, so I went to bed late Friday, got up really early Saturday drove 2 hours there, then drove 2 hours home and got home really late Saturday. So, on Sunday I slept. Then I didn't do much of anything else. I was really tired. Really!

Okay, I'm gonna go back and do some day-work. Then, tonight, I'm gonna write, write, write. Oh, yeah, and wait, wait, wait. ;-)

April

Friday, September 23, 2005

My Husband is A Genius...

It's a fact that my husband is a genius. It turns out that yes, somehow all of the blogger stuff got switched to German. Better than that, my hubby was able to remember enough to get me to my language settings and change them to English. I have no idea how that happened.

Anyways, I still haven't heard from the agent. But I am VERY hopeful that I'll hear from her soon and even better, maybe she'll even want to represent me. Who knows...

Right now I am waiting on the A/C repairman to come and refix what we just paid him $1500 to fix. Apparently putting in a completely new air handler doesn't stop the air handler from leaking through our dining room ceiling. Yeah, I know. Doesn't make sense to me either.

Despite all that, I'm in a pretty good frame of mind. I sought the advice of a real-life writing professional on how to take the not-hearing-from-the-agent-yet issue. She told me to get my panties out of a wad and sit down and have some real patience. She explained that it's a joke of sorts that editors and agents set short deadlines to get back to writers on their full mss, because they never meet them.

So, I took a big breath of relief and decided to do just what she said. Of course, getting the wad undone wasn't easy... This is how I felt:


But now I'm feeling fine. All it took was a little encouragement.

April

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Feelin' Down...

I'm feeling a little down today. Maybe it's just that I didn't get much sleep, maybe it's that the weather was rainy for the first time in weeks, oy maybe it's the fact that I still haven't heard from the agent reviewing my full ms.

It's geting longer than she said it would take her to get to my ms and I can't help but wonder if that's a bad thing. Does it mean that she doesn't like it and has decided not to rep me, but doesn't even consider me worth replying to? She replied so quickly initially that I was hoping to hear from her either way. I even spent double the money on postage and enclosed a return envelope with both the partial and the full.

On top of that, I entered a writing contest back in May. The deadline was May 15, I got married on May 14, so I was rushing to get my submision in while I was finishing putting on the final touches of our wedding. The finalists were supposed to be announced by July 15th. By late August, I still hadn't heard anything about the contest. On August 23rd, I found out that the contest was running way behind and hoped to announce finalists mid-Sept. Still waiting on that one.

I entered the contest to try and get some unbiased feedback on my writing. But it's taken so long that it hardly seems worth it.

I guess it's the combination of the two that is making me say "woe is me." Don't worry, my morose won't last long. I hope...

Well, I'm gonna go and do my darnedest to get cheerful.



April