Monday, February 27, 2006

Slow News Day...

Ok, I know it hasn't been slow news for some today, but for me it has. So I did a little work on the wip. I'm up to 23,500 now! I've got a long way to go, but I'm back on track.

Then I decided to do a little surfing on blog things and see what weird things they had and I found a perfect one:
You Are 50% Weird

Normal enough to know that you're weird...
But too damn weird to do anything about it!

Hmmm... Who knew? Put your hands down, please. Gees...

Then I thought I'd take another just to be sure the first wasn't a fluke.
Who Should Paint You: Alfred Gockel

All American yet funky, you inspire an artist's imagination
And while not everyone will understand your portrait, you will!


I'm guessing this reinforces the first. That's okay. I never really had the illusion that I'm normal anyway. Well, not in the last ten minutes at least. Maybe I need to go back to doing "research" and posting "researched" pictures of my characters here. Maybe that would be better!

April
(who hopes everyone else is at least as weird as she is)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Ready to Go!

My weekend started off with chocolates awaiting me when I got home. Thanks Emma! And that set the uplifting tone of my weekend.

We had our annual book festival and I attended both days. I didn't get to take any master's classes, but I did attend a number of the talks. Including, 'She Said, He Said', the Jenny Crusie and Bob Mayer talk (they are hilarious, by the way, for those of you who might not have guessed). And I attended a talk about the Tennessee Williams Festival set to take place later this month in New Orleans.

Saturday night, we had hubby's awards ceremony. Where he won a gold statue or 'first place' award for a cover design he did and a silver award or 'second place' award for another layout he did. His gold entry will now go on to national ad competition! My formal wear worked out just fine. Although I'm still working on the weight thing. No more doctor's lectures for me!

Today I spent time at 'Hoots, Writing Humor' and 'More Than Romance' with Laura Durham, Jennifer Crusie, and Gwen Hunter. They all provided insight and entertainment.

Now I've come home, ready to go on my writing. A completely different place from last Wednesday!

How did your weekend go?

April

Thursday, February 23, 2006

All Better Now...

Thanks to some very kind and well put words, I'm pretty much over my little breakdown. Now it's back to writing!

Well, actually, since it's been a week since I wrote, I need to read so I can refresh the story in my mind. See, working on tax preparation is a bad thing. Very bad thing. And STILL they're not on their way to the accountant. Wanna help me, Emma? :-). I'm so jealous...

For all of the loving support of me in my time of need, here's a reward:



How's your day?

April

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Hump...

I'm on the hump... And no, I don't mean Wednesday, although it is Wednesday. And no, I don't mean that hump either. Dirty minds! I'm stuck in my story. You know, the hump around the fourth chapter. Or maybe I'm the only one who gets caught on that hump. I do though, each blooming time!

Someone (whom I appreciate very much!) asked to read my ms. So, I let her. And she emailed me back with a lot of handy comments, such as; wrong word here, bad participle there, etc (good grammar, this girl!)... At the end, she said it sounds like a "typical" story where the hero is involved in subterfuge and he and the heroine fall in love and then she finds out and gets mad, he makes it all better and they live HEA. And I thought... Well, really roughly, it is. There's a lot of other stuff too. You know, plot stuff. But then she said, but since that's been done, I'm excited to see how you're going to make it different. And all of the wind blew out of my sails. Which means my hump got even bigger!

I get her statement. I understand completely and I appreciate her input. She had a lot of great comments and a number of BIG grammar finds! My question is this: Is there something wrong with writing a story whose general premise has been done, but hasn't been done this way? I mean I haven't read the story I'm writing. I've read tons of books with premises that are similar to each other, but each has their own unique way of telling it, even if they don't veer off the common premise much. And the stories are never exactly the same and I enjoy them each time.

If I have to have a completely novel premise for each story I write, am I capable of writing? I'm creative, but do you know how many books are out there? Some of my favorite books, by bestselling authors are common premises.

I have a pretty good suspense story in my head that I've been toying with and now I keep thinking, should I turn my attention to it and just dump my wip?

Does anyone have all the answers for me?

April

Monday, February 20, 2006

I'm Surrounded!

As I sit here, typing this post, I'm surrounded by stacks of receipts. If I had a better filing system--ok, if I had a filing system at all--I would have no stacks, but rather neatly organized files of receipts.

Either way, I'm finally making some headway on the tax front. Argh! Now I gotta pull out the big calculator and see how many pennies I can squeeze out of my deductions.

Here's some tax time humor I thought I'd share:



"Top 10 signs Your Accountant Is Nuts"
As presented on the 04/10/96 broadcast of LATE SHOW with DAVID LETTERMAN
10. In several places on your tax forms, he's written, "Give or take a million dollars."
9. Tells you to put all your money into British cattle futures.
8. You notice that his "calculator" is just a broken VCR remote.
7. Insists that there's no such number as four.
6. He laughed at the Bob Dole background check. (I'm sorry--that's a sign he's hypnotized)
5. Counts family of squirrels living in your yard as dependents.
4. Advises you to save postage by filing your taxes telepathically.
3. Instead of C.P.A. License, he's got a framed photo of a shirtless Alex Trebeck.
2. Demands that you call him the "Una-Countant".
1. He's got a 1040 Form tattooed on his back.


Do you think this would work?

April

What Plans?

I had plans this weekend... I'd had them for some time too.

My hubby was headed to D.C. for a conference. My Friday and Saturday were wide open except for going bowling Saturday evening for a friend's birthday and picking hubby up from the airport when he came home! What was I going to do with all that free time? Get my tax stuff ready for the accountant! But then I got the call... Matt's flight was supposed to leave at 9:30 on Friday. So you can understand why I was confused when I got a call from him at 10:00. He should be in a plane, after all.

But he wasn't. His flight had been delayed until 1:30. Then I got another call an hour later and he said his flight was cancelled. There had been mechanical/weather issues. I'm glad he didn't get on the plane. But I felt bad, because all other flights were booked and he didn't get to go!

So I went to pick him up and take him home. Then I went back to work. Thinking... This is ok. I'll still do the taxes. Then I worked late. Really late. I got home around 10:00. Then I ended up working Saturday too. So, I didn't get any tax stuff done.

I'm not complaining! In the end, I would much rather be working and making money than figuring out how much money I'm going to have to send to the government! How about you? Did your weekend go as planned? Was it productive?

April

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Am I Crazy, Or Is It Just Me?

Ever feel that way?

I do... I took off early today. And guess what I did? I raked leaves, cleaned out my car, cleaned off the pile of miscellaneous stuff on the dining room table, moved a desk and bookcase... Pretty good, huh? Except the two major things I NEEDED to do, I didn't do at all.

I didn't write and I didn't touch working on our taxes. I am technically self-employed, so I have loads of fun at tax time. My accountant begged me to stop putting receipts in shoe boxes. Maybe it made them smell funny, I don't know. So, this year, I have a green gift bag full and then there's a sort-of-pile upstairs on our office floor. It's a "sort-of"-pile because Buckley likes to run and jump on it the way I used to with leaves as a kid. Hey, there's not even a shoebox in the room though!

Argh! Why didn't I do either of those things? Who knows... Am I crazy, or is it just me?

April

PS The weather conspiracy continues... The weatherman is not reporting that we'll have flurries... That would be too overt. No, he reported tonight that we would have rain this weekend. He then went on to say, in his ominous, I'm-a-meteorologist-I-am-feeling-my-power voice, "However, we will also have some of the coldest temperatures of the year, so we will watch this situation closely." Which in SC speak means a chance of flurries, or a blizzard, or even the dreaded black ice... Either way it will surely send people flying to the grocery store for more bread, despite the four loaves currently in their pantry from when the weatherman predicted "flurries" two weeks ago. So I'm thinking of buying stock in our local bread makers. I mean if I have to suffer from this racket they have with the weathermen, shouldn't I at least get something good out of it?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here's some Valentine's Day fun for everyone:

Your Candy Heart Says "Hug Me"

A total sweetheart, you always have a lot of love to give out.
Your heart is open to where ever love takes you!

Your ideal Valentine's Day date: a surprise romantic evening that you've planned out

Your flirting style: lots of listening and talking

What turns you off: fighting and conflict

Why you're hot: you're fearless about falling in love


And one more:

You Are Dr. Bunsen Honeydew

You take the title "mad scientist" to the extreme -with very scary things coming out of your lab.
And you've invented some pretty cool things, from a banana sharpener to a robot politician.
But while you're busy turning gold into cottage cheese, you need to watch out for poor little Beaker!
"Oh, that's very naughty, Beaker! Now you eat these paper clips this minute."


Who would have guessed I was the mad scientist sort? You there, put your hand down. It was a rhetorical question!

April

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Jake Ryan...


Does the name sound familiar? How about Michael Shoeffling?

Jake Ryan is the leading hero of the movie Sixteen Candles and he was played by Michael Shoeffling.

Jake Ryan is probably at least somewhat responsible for the fantastical ideas that run through my head.

When I was younger and first saw the film, I fell instantly in love with the brown eyed hottie. What girl watched the movie and didn't. If I had to pick an all time favorite romantic movie, that would be it.

While watching Sixteen Candles with a good friend last night (after the shopping), I began pondering just why it is I feel so drawn by the movie. I mean, sure he's hot. But there are plenty of movies out there with plenty of hot men. What made this one so special that it's marked me for life?

I found an article by The Washington Post on this very subject. Apparently I am not the only person who suffers from this ailment.

The article points out how Shoeffling portrays the "perfect" boyfriend. He gives up the snotty girlfriend, falls in love with the not-as-beautiful Samantha Baker and goes out of his way to be a sweet guy to her.

In watching the movie now, I see instances where I don't think he plays the "perfect" guy. But I get where the article is going.

It's more than that though. For me, I think it's the moments. Like in the gym where she finally gets the guts to talk to him and chickens out when they're face to face. It's the way he bites his lip, the way she fidgets.

It's that moment when all of the cars pull away after the wedding and she's left at the church, once again all alone and seemingly forgotten and then, as the last car pulls away it reveals Jake leaning against his red Porsche waiting for her. It's her disbelief he's there. It's their awkwardness when they finally talk to each other. And of course, it's the tension filled moment when they lean over the burning cake and kiss.

It's those moments that I enjoy. It's those moments I want to write about. It's those moments which have marked me for life.

What about you? Any movie or character mark you for life? What about them made such an impact on you?

Oh Crap, I need Formal Wear!

Around 2PM this afternoon, my hubby told me he needed to get a new tux this week because his old one is a little tight.

"A new tux? What do you need a new tux for?" I asked.

He replied, "You didn't forget that we have the Addie awards in two weeks did you?"

"Of course not," I replied. I was simply engaging my selective memory, I silently added. You see, since getting married last May, I have gained 35 pounds. Yowser! So, to say the least, my wardrobe is down to bare bones. Mainly because I refuse to purchase clothes which fit me at this size. Of course my doctor, who has been very sweet about his unhappiness with me, refuses to allow me to accept my weight either.

You see, my father had a massive heart attack in 1997 he survived, but never fully recovered. Two years later he died due to complications related to his heart attack. When he got sick he was an athletic 5'11" and 150 pounds. Add that to the diabetes rash in my family and I have numerous reasons to really work on my eating and exercise.

However, the LAST thing I want to do when I'm already unhappy with my body is stuff it into formal wear. Argh!

I spent the afternoon running around with a good friend, searching for something to wear. We found a great pair of flowy black formal pants. I'm thinking of pairing it with a simple top and nice flashy jacket. It's not a gown, but it's dressy at least. Last year's awards were great, I wore a long formal gown that fit perfect and I felt great. My goal: get back into that damn dress!

Hard to burn many calories sitting in front of my blooming computer. Hard to write a book bouncing along on a tread mill.

I guess this is a reality check. Time to get with the program. Which means I have nightly time with the treadmill and no more fried food. Do you know how hard it is to live in the south and NOT eat fried food? We fry everything. You name it, we fry it! Ever had a fried pickle? They're yummy, trust me. Overall, I could be doing worse. I used to be a lot larger. Five years ago I lost 60 pounds. At least I haven't gained them all back. But I better do something or else I will!

Argh.

Oh yeah, and for those of you who have read this post with the question, "What the heck is the Addies," running through your head: Hubby is a graphic designer. Every year, the Advertising Federation gives out all sorts of awards for creativity and advertising. He's up for some awards. So I'm glad to go and support him.

At least black is considered a formal color. It's always dark at the ceremony and with black on, maybe I'll just disappear into the background!

April

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Value of That...

So, in between bouts of working overtime, I've been working on editing the first 3 chapters of my wip. Why? You ask...

Because a very nice gentleman with much experience who is in my rwa chapter has asked me to allow him to read them so he may give me some input on what my next step in my writing journey is. He's a great guy and writer with mucho experienco and he's working on helping me prep for nationals. (The registration and room is set! Yippee!)

So, he read the first chapter of Setting Her Sights which is currently in a slush pile in Toronto. He wanted to get a feel for my writing. So, he pointed out the biggest mistakes he saw me making, a few unintentional head hops... Didn't even realize a person couldn't see themselves smile, but rather had to put intent into it, :-) AND I have a proclivity to use THAT. Even though I know that you shouldn't use the word "that" that much because editors aren't really fond of that.

So, I was reading my first 3 chapters of my wip. Which means it's my rough draft and found that I used "that" all of over that place!! Argh! It's almost as though I am back in high school and saying the word "like" all the time. Do you remembering doing that? I would say, "I thought that like it was really silly to do that..." I wasn't a valley girl or anything. The word "like" just simply seemed to fit everywhere. So sue me.

I grew out of THAT habit though. Then I took public speaking in college and found I use "Um..." as regularly as... crap I can't even think of a good metaphor. Double argh! Anyway, you get the point.

So, I am going to do what I did with the "Ums..." I am going to make a concerted effort to boot "that" from my life. I actually understand why editors think "that" is a completely useless word. For the most part, when I see it in my ms, I can delete it and just as if you look back at all the instances it is used in this post, the only difference it makes is that my sentence is shorter and more direct and to the point. If it can't be just deleted, the space is better filled with a more active and descriptive word.

Am I the only one with that problems?

And since you suffered through my overuse and misuse of the word that, here's a treat. It's sort of a picture of my inspiration for the hero of Setting Her Sights. I say "sort of" because I actually found the pic after writing the story, but it fit he hero and it looks like it is taken right out of one of the scenes. Enjoy!



April

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Fours

Emma tagged me... So, I'm going to give you more info about me than you really care to know. Just be warned!

Four jobs I've had
sales associate at Kay Bee toys (never again)
Ad Sales Rep for my college newspaper (had perks, I got my nails done for free)Waitress and hostess (love tips!)
Realtor (I enjoy it and I'm good at it)

Four movies I watch over and over
Sixteen Candles (Oh, Jake Ryan...)
Ever After (It's cheesey but I'm addicted anyway)
The Goonies (I was an 80's kid)
Karate Kid part 2

Four places I've lived
Columbia, SC
Cayce, SC
Irmo, SC
I think I need to get out of this state :-)

Four TV shows I love (or have loved)
The Closer
Alias (before she dumped Michael V. like an idiot and ruined the show)
Cops (it's a sick obsession, I know)
Reno 911 (see above statement)

Four places I've vacationed
Disney World
Mexico
Jamaica
Grand Cayman (7 mile beach is so beautiful!)

Four favorite foods
Chocolate
Shrimp and Grits (have I mentioned I'm from SC?)
Sushi (almost any sort)
Salmon (with anything)

Four sites I visit daily
My company website
Burnloungecarolina.com (for music)
Yahoo news... I'm a news junkie
eharl boards

Four places I'd rather be right now
In bed... (it's my bed time)
Grand Cayman (see above statement)
Bora Bora (in a hammock on the deck of a hut overlooking a blue lagoon)
Somewhere where it's actually snowing... (our weather men are definately part of a conspiracy)

Four bloggers I'm tagging
Michelle
Mary
Laura (who just got her second contract! Go Laura!)
I can't think of another person who hasn't just done this... I hope 3 is enough!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The "F" Word...

Yup, I'm gonna say it... Flurries.

What did you think I was talking about?

It might as well have been that word. Where I live, we've been averaging highs in the upper sixties and lows in the upper thirties, lower forties. Any sort of frozen precipitation is "snow" to us. And heaven help us when any is forecasted.

Which is exactly the situation we're in. Apparently there's a chance of "flurries" Monday night. With no chance of any accumulation. Which means it's not that big of a deal, right? Wrong... Every time there's a chance of "flurries" someone talks about the ice storm we had twenty years ago. It was a "flurries" forecast too.

In SC, ice storm = entire city locked down for a week.

So what does everyone do when flurries are forecasted? They run to the store and buy bread and water and non-perishables.

I've noticed a recent trend whereby flurries are forecasted several times but there aren't any and I'm beginning to think this is just some deal the grocery stores have worked out with the weather forecasters. You know, we're over stocked on bread... could you tell everyone we may have flurries?

What about your weather? Do you have snow and if so, do people act like it's the end of the world?

April

Thursday, February 02, 2006

My Handsome Prince...

My hubby has been working on a new enterprise with a colleague. I'd explain what it is, but to be honest, I don't understand it completely. Their minds think totally different from mine. The important thing is that I know they know what they are doing, so I'm just smiling and trying to be encouraging.

Anyway, he had to provide a short, sort of loose biography of himself to go on the profile for the web-base that they set up. Like a two line thing. He didn't know that I'd ever see it, which sort of makes the whole thing even sweeter. But I did. In fact, I just got to see it and here it is:

Once upon a time there lived a kid who grew up to be a graphic artist/musician. He went to college at the University of South Carolina and graduated. He went on to marry his high school sweetheart. They are living happily ever after.

Any more questions as to why I write what I write? I'm living my very own fairy tale!

April