P e r s o n a l B l o g/T w i t t e r . : : . W r i t i n g B l o g/T w i t t e r

Exciting Weekends

Okay, so the weekend was crazy intense, but oh so much fun!

Friday I was lazy and watched the Olympics.  I should have been cleaning.  I didn't.

Saturday Linda and I went to the SNaP Creative Writing Conference at TCC.  It was really nifty.  Now, Linda and I only stayed for the morning sessions.  There were several writing exercises we did that were really fun.  We left once they joined everyone back together to talk about TCC stuff - and went shopping.  It was lots of fun.  Didn't spend an arm and a leg, but I did get some good stuff at Macy's and Ross.  There was of course a trip to B&N where I caved and bought a book I'd eyed the cover and back synopsis of a few weeks ago.  I impulse bought another Beauty and the Beast novel to feed my obsession.  I think I spent the rest of Saturday night watching the Olympics... I did go to bed early, however, because I was really exhausted for some reason.

Sunday, today, I got up far too early, and continued to lay in bed until I had to get up for church.  After church I scurried home and got ready for everyone to come over for Crafty Day.  Now, the catch with Crafty Day was that today was also the gold medal round of the men's hockey where USA faced off against Canada.  I let everyone know it was going to be on, and lets just say it was a riot!  I mean come on, what's not funny about seven girls, wielding knitting needles yelling and screaming at the TV??  I really pity my neighbors.  There was a *lot* of yelling.

When the game was finally over Alice taught me how to read knitting patterns and several of the little abbreviations and what they  meant.  I failed at the first pattern, a headband with some issues on the numbers and finally gave up on it in favor of another pattern, which I am glad to say is still going strong.  I'm probably 25% of the way through it .... I think.  I will update on it later.

For now, however, I am exhausted and going to bed.  Tomorrow is Monday.  Hopefully it's nice to me.

End of February 2010 Goals Check-In

I'm starting this check-in much later than I did last month.  Heck - last month I was evaluating my progress after two weeks!  This time I happened to look at a calendar and saw that - OMG February is almost over!!!!  So without further ado, here is me, evaluating myself!

Random Goals

Eat more fresh produce & Do something daily - I started strong on both of these, but something happened in February that got me off track.  I'm not sure what, but I'm going to redouble my efforts.  March will be tough, real tough, but I'm going to do it!

Spiritual Goals

Stay faithful to one church for a year, volunteering in some capacity - This is going to have to come off the list.  I liked the church I have been attending, and I even got involved, but I was struggling to stay somewhere when I really belonged some place else.  I should have listened to this wayward idea two years ago when I first had it!!!

Music Goals

Go to more concerts.  & Listen to more Christian music. & Find new groups. - All three have fallen on their face.  I was introduced to a new group, but I can't take credit for it!

Writing Goals

A bunch is changing in this section.  The first week of February I realized that The Barking Dog seriously lacked in areas, so I restructured some things and began a massive rewrite.  It's being consolidated back into one book and will have three main sections.  In addition, I also did a lot of outlining for some other ideas that are int he works for specific ideas.

Finish Suspicion - YESYESYES!!!!!!!

Write Premonition -Planning, planning, planning!!

Reading Goals

Read at least two writing books - Still working my way through Writing Magic

Read all the Robin McKinley books - I've read most of them as of now, I believe....


Read something in a genre I'm not accustomed to reading - Read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - totally not a genre I'm interested in and I didn't like the book.  I'm not missing much.  I also read Touch of Evil, a vampire/werewolf/psychic romance novel and I was surprised that I sort of liked it....


Crafty Goals


Learn three new knitting things - I learned to purl!!!!!  I also learned to read patterns!!!!!!! I know several abbreviations now - all thanks to Alice.  She helps me because I am apparently learning challenged.

Have a successful patio garden - Planting is planned for March since February was all about the snow.

Make Presents.  - I tried making cards.  They were nice, but the effort and time involved got superseded by the Olympics.  I am working on knitting gifts tho!!!

Money Related Goals

Pay off Express Credit Card - I DID IT!!!!!!


Pay off Khols Credit Card - I'm watching you!!!!


Okay, that's my month in review/check-in.  On some of them there was nothing to report, unfortunately so those were left out.

Accidents Happen, even with Whales

I think most people are aware of the incident yesterday where an Orca Whale killed a trainer at an Orlando Sea World after an afternoon show.  If not, here is an article and here is another one, both of which give varying details of what happened.  There are YouTube videos that also include interviews with Jack Hanna.

First and foremost I feel so terribly for the family, friends and co-workers of the woman, Dawn.  It is horrible that she was killed like this.

However, suddenly there's a huge uproar of people who are clamoring and accusing Sea World or other institutions that have these whales about how dangerous and mistreated they are.  I know that the reporters are doing their job, but they are infuriating.  Whales are large creatures, with an amazing strength.  Their normal actions can hurt a smaller creature if they're in the way.  They are also predators.  Now, do I think they should be in captivity?  In a perfect world - no.  They should be free and in their normal habitat and we should study them there.  But this isn't a normal world.  Whales are hunted and killed, they're killed by the actions of a world full of people who don't realize the implications of our needs or desires.  In that light, yes there should be some in zoos or other habitats where we can preserve them and know how to save them if we need to in the future.  With this comes risk, unfortunately.  Animals are animals and as such they can be dangerous.  Heck, a household dog can kill a person and more dog attacks probably happen in a year than whale attacks.

Now, I know I can ramble on at length about this but I won't.  I grew up around horses; I know of many people who died as a result of horse accidents, rodeo accidents, and other animal included activities.  It's a terrible tragedy but when a person chooses to put themselves in contact with an animal you have to embrace that unknown factor.  I had a mare, Star, for many years who was less than friendly with men.  Why?  Because for seven years she was abused by a man.  I had the conscious decision to accept responsibility for her and still ride and use her.  Because of my mindfulness no one was ever hurt by her - except for one idiot who decided that even though I said, "Hey, don't get in that stall, she's not a friendly horse," still got in the stall and got two hind feet to his chest.  He listened after that.

There's such a huge responsibility that comes with putting an animal in a cage and I don't think there's much danger in saying that Sea World does their best to provide the best care and facilities to their animals.  What happened was a tragedy but when dealing with an animal of that size there is risk, and the trainers accept that risk and still choose to do what they do.  I think they're amazing people.

Once, many years ago, a family friend of ours was doing a trick riding performance where she was doing a trick called the one-foot-stand.  Her horse stumbled and as a result she was impaled on the six-inch saddle horn standard on trick riding saddles.  It was a great tragedy but her husband stood up at her funeral with tears in his eyes and said, "She died doing something she loved.  That's all we can ask."  (note - The type of saddle our friend was using was very different and involved being strapped onto the horse, but it looks similar to the picture.)

I just think that people need to step back and think more about honoring a wonderful woman who passed away yesterday than suddenly fearing for supposed lives that might be at risk.  Should things be evaluated? Yes. But it's an animal.  And accidents unfortunately happen.

I'm disabling comments.  If you would like to flame or bash me you'll have to do it some other way.

Lots in the works! And BOOKS!

Wheee!  So I totally passed up buying a Beauty and the Beast novel that focused on a modern day version from the perspective of the beast - because I found a copy of Beauty by Robin McKinley! I check the Borders we do our weekly crit group at every so often to see if they have any other McKinley books in that I don't own already - and this week there were two copies of Beauty that were not there before! I was very happy.  And we finished the group early enough there was plenty of time to go wandering around.  Which considering it was Suzan, Linda and I was a bad thing.  I'm far too easily encouraged to buy - and Suzan and Linda are all too willing to suggest - especially Suzan!  I bought a book called The Princetta, which is a story about a princess turned pirate.  That's all I needed to know to buy it....

I'm very excited about what my fellow critique group is writing and I look forward every week to seeing their stories unfold.  I'm still focused on finishing The Barking Dog before I bring any more chapters, which means at best another month or two before I'm really ready.  But that's okay!

Progress is being made in that quarter as well.  I'm coming to the close of the section which will mark a big achievement in my opinion.  I hope that next month, despite my mom's race and the quickly populated weekends I will be able to write more focused than this month.

I'm still pumped from reading The God Engines and driving home I puzzled through some other points of the book that left me thinking.  It's a fascinating read!  I'm going to read another McKinley book, Spindle's End, next.  I'm starting to attempt to think through some of the other books on my shelves and put them in some sort of order of how I want to read them.  Of course I know I'll pick one up when I feel like reading it, but I should try to get through some of the others soon!!

So far this week is going by slowly, but I'm being very productive.  Wrote a bunch yesterday, got a lot of stuff done.  Finished one book, read another, wrote a really good chunk and set up the next, necessary bit.  I'm starting to think about the rest of the week.  Tomorrow night Amanda and I are going to church in Grand Prairie.  Thursday and Friday nights will be spent at home, I believe, during which I will clean and read and write in preparation for the weekend.  Saturday a bunch of us are going to TCC for a creative writing workshop and Sunday is craft day.  Lots happening, really exciting, and look - the Olympics are on!

The God Engines by John Scalzi

Okay, so I first read the opening chapter of The God Engines on John Scalzi's blog, Whatever, and had to buy it.  I found a copy this last weekend and bought it, never mind I dropped $20 on a first edition hardcover.  This book is up for a few awards, as I understand, and has considerable hype.  I do believe it's lived up to it's reputation.

The Characters are immediately strong.  The Captain, the Rook, the Priest, the other crew members, the Defiled god, their own god - all of these are strong, driving forces in the story.  I was very surprised how well characterized these were in so short a length and at so high a pace.  I would personify the people's faith as an entire character in and of it's self, because it's given so many attributes and character that it comes off the page as a living and breathing.

The Setting wasn't all that fantastical.  A practiced reader of science fiction will fill in the holes and understand the setting is space and craft out the other two places where the story unfolds. 

The Plot.... Hold on to your horses because the plot is quick, intense and has a few surprises.  I liked the twists.  There were two moments where I was like - aanndd why are we here?  Couldn't we have learned this in a better way?  But I still get that the places were useful for character development and divulged in an interesting manner.  The plot, as is sort of clear, centers on god engine's; literally gods who are used to supply energy or power for ships.  This is a story about what is wrong in a world and how it is set right.  It explores, albeit briefly, how those remedies are not always rainbows and bunnies.

Go. Read. It. Now.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Okay, so I have a soft spot for quirky retelling of fairy tales and Gail Carson Levine does some serious magic with stories and words.  I read Ella Enchanted in high school.  It had probably been out for a handful of years by then, but was prior to the movie.  I read it and have fondly recalled it as having been a very good book.

You know the characters, somewhat, though Levine's are full of life and quirks that have you laughing or cheering.  I really do like how the other races are brought in and given their own personalities and roles, and how you see Ella's character through how she interacts with them.

The setting is fantastical! It's a fairy tale land, of course, and I wish I could go there someday.

I really appreciate the plot.  Most of the conflict Ella faces is internal, not external.  Now for the movie there had to be a huge external danger, but what I really appreciate about this book is that we see the implications and severity of internal struggle more.  The book is more about what Ella fears might happen because of her curse as opposed to what is happening around her.

I think after I read the McKinley books this year I will start collecting Levine's.  And I wish I could have found a copy with this cover; it's so cute! I have the one of the girl in the green dress sitting at a desk.

It's totally a Monday

Okay, so today is the year anniversary of all the new credit card restrictions.  Supposedly this is going to make the big, bad evil credit companies behave! Except.... things have only gotten worse.  Look, I know I don't even begin to understand all the rules and what's going on, but I do know that before all this mess I managed very well on my own.  Yes, I had a balance I was kicking myself about, but I was paying it off and the interest rate wasn't awful.  I'm not sure what it is now, it's something I need to do a little detective work and figure out, but things are getting stupid.  I paid off a credit card two weeks ago - or was it a week ago? Whatever! I paid it off, I'm so excited that I did! In another six months I'll have paid off another one and then it's time to tackle the black holes in my life; my two albatross birds.  However, credit rates and rules are going crazy.  I understand that in the long term this is supposed to be helpful, but right now it sucks and it's frustrating and I'd like nothing more than for it to all have never happened.

Next on the list.  Health care.  Excuse me Mr President, but we have a war going on.  Yes, I'm sure health care is very important, but in this economy, with a war going on, I think there are other things to worry about other than gouging me of every penny I have.  I'm literally dreading when we have to change insurance; seriously dreading it.  How much is it going to go up?  Will I be able to afford it?  What else is going to be up'd in price?

We're experiencing a terrible winter this year.  Tomorrow it's going to snow again and if we get the projected two inches of snow we'll have had the snowiest winter ever in Texas.  This means it's been cold here.  The winter is usually when I can get by with tiny heating bills and save up some extra money.  Not this year.  I'm paying as much, if not more than I did to cool my apartment.

I know I'm complaining, but all of these things are out of my control.  I can't exactly get the credit card companies attention, and if I could they wouldn't care.  The president doesn't care about little me, he's thinking about the country and the long-term plans.  And the weather sure as heck doesn't care!

Today is Monday, can't you tell?  I had a mostly sleepless weekend because of dreams and just not being able to stay asleep. I even went to bed early last night and I'm more exhausted today than I have been in a while.

Friday was loads of fun because I spent it with Amanda and we ate dinner with her family, saw Valentine's Day and got gellato at Piccomolo.  The down side was that a toddler ruined most of the movie and an older gentleman talked at us for almost an hour at Piccomolo.

I had a weird, terrible, horrible dream Friday night/Saturday morning that Amanda and I were kidnapped.  It was so bad that I text'd Amanda just to make sure she was okay....

Saturday was the writer's meeting - and we had a blast!  Might not be getting as much writing as I'd like to done at these, but they are so much fun!  I also found The God Engine, which I blogged about but have yet to read.

Sunday I went to church at my old professor's church, loved it, thinking I'll go back again.  After that I went to my parent's place and watched the Olympics with my dad and wrote. 

Tonight I hope to do some outlining work on some other projects and write a bit.  The end of Suspicion is so close! I can see it looming in the distance! ...and then I start Premonition.

Mostly, today's just a Monday and a blah one at that and I'm tired and whaaaaaaa~~~

I FOUND IT!

 

This book is like impossible to find.  It's sold out like in every store I've looked at and I actually found it today! I'm so excited and I really want to just curl up and read, but I have stuff I need to do so I think I'm going to save it to read on like Monday or something.  I'm just super excited!!!!!

Indecision....

So I'm considering buying my own domain and branching out from just a blog - however, I know me and the whole website would become a hobby and I wouldn't be happy until I understood how to do all sorts of nifty stuff - and I don't know if I should undertake that.  I mean I like the idea of having a simple address to hand out, but is it really necessary?  Do I need it?  I don't think I do - yet.  I might reconsider this closer to the Writer's Conference in April, so there might be a whole rant where I berate myself for not buying and tinkering with a website now.  Oh well. Never mind me - I'm just crazy today.

I think I'm on a fairy tale kick after reading Rose Daughter the last Tuesday and Wednesday.  I picked up Ella Enchanted to follow next, however, I just read the review of The Lost Legion over at The Book Book Blog and that book is sitting on my shelf waiting for me to read it.  I was going to read Lackey's Foundation after Ella Enchanted, but maybe I should read The Lost Legion instead..... Hmmm, The Lost Legion takes up twice as much space as the hardback Foundation....  And the only reason I bought that hardback was because it was like $5 and it wasn't out in paperback yet.

Yesterday, when I started this blog, I was really hung on wanting to get my hair cut or just trimming my bangs.  I have since mastered my indecision and after loving this picture with the girl in the blue shirt and her mop of brown and blonde hair, I decided I wanted something short and artistic.  Now mine's different, but inspired by this.  I basically walked in, handed him the paper, he pulled out one of those hair razors and sprayed my hair liberally, grabbed handfuls which were twisted around and then started hacking with the razor.  He said I completely dulled his razor and by the end of it he might as well have been pulling hair out because yeah - I have a lot of hair and if that's not enough the individual strands of hair are thick as well.  I'm not complaining!

You can't really tell from this picture, I know, but the left side is longer than the right and it's all super funky textured like.  I really do like it and I'm super excited about how much easier it's going to be to wash and style it.  I also got my eyebrows waxed last night.  The lady that does mine is amazing.  She clears the hair in three to four tries.  I also went shopping - which I probably shouldn't have done, but I did and I don't regret it!  See the pretty green shirt?  Yes.  I like!  Okay, I'm done.  My head hurts.  But it's Friday!!!!

Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley

Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite fairy tale.  I think because it was the girl - not a princess - who rescued a man trapped by his own foolishness.  In the Disney version it's a prince, in McKinley's later version he is a sorcerer, and you know what? I wouldn't mind reading ten more books based on Beauty and the Beast.  I'm really happy that McKinley wrote two!  The Rose Daughter follows the older idea, as far as the story goes that I'm acquainted with.

The characters we all know.  The father who was once a wealthy merchant that falls on hard times, the three daughters who are all beautiful and excel in a certain area that they are known for.  In McKinley's version one is great with horses, another sews amazingly, and then there is Beauty ~ who tends roses.  Now, roses in and of themselves have a character place in this book because they are crucial to the story.  In Rose Daughter, roses only bloom for love or magic, so they are rare things and it is important that Beauty is good with roses.  The Beast seems to me mostly unchanged in the stories because we have to like him; he almost always has to be sad or lonely or regretful, though he can also be scary and intimidating because of what he is or because of his anger or bitterness or some other cause.  And then there is the magic; the magic of the house is it's own character.  Over at Writing Excuses there was a bit they talked on how giving a thing or a presence the qualities of a character can be tricky, but I felt that the magic of the house - and even magic in general in this story - was a character all it's own.  I found myself loving the same characters all over again because McKinley put that twist, that shine on the story.

The setting is first a very large house in a city and then Rose Cottage ~ named because of the roses, bet you didn't see that coming?  Well it's still a lovely idea.  There was a lot to the little village that I could see, and especially the cottage that just seemed like you knew it.  And then there was the Beast's palace, which was more a character than a setting.

The plot.  We all know the story.  I could probably recite it in my sleep.  However, McKinley wraps the history and the background around the characters so they seem almost swept up in something they cannot control.  I thought that the resolution was amazing.  Then again, I always like the climax of every Beauty and the Beast story...  See - I have a problem!  I'm addicted to Beauty and the Beast.  But I really do like how the climax and resolution were particular to these characters in this setting.  I also liked how the characters were happy to be where they were and the important things were kept central to their person - and here I go off talking about them as if they're real people!

So suffice it to say, I think I should collect novels based on Beauty and the Beast.  I've probably read ten or so novels, but I still like them.

From the Silence...

Can I just say that seeing mounds of snow in Texas is still really weird?

Yes, I've been quiet the last few days; I don't know that I've had anything really to say about the last two days.  Well, I could have said something - I can stretch nothing out over a very long distance if I feel inclined to do it.  I'm gifted that way I guess.  (Yes, I will pretend my long-windedness is a gift, thank you very much!)

See, Monday was work-work-work-real-hard aaaannnnndddd go to La Madeline and write-write-write-omg-I-don't-feel-like-writing! And right when my battery was about to die I finally found the pace and figured out how to wrap up this problematic area.  Good job me.  Wait till you have to leave to figure something out!  Tuesday I had meetings.  Work meetings.  I got a new work project which I feel very confident about and can crank out without too much worry - which is nice.  I have this tendency to expect myself to do everything perfect the first time - which is impossible and unreasonable and silly.

I also listened in on Digital Book World's webinar while I was working on said project.  I'm in the office for a long time by myself, it's nice to hear voices sometimes. It was all about designing for the Kindle and ePub formats; fascinating even if I didn't understand half of it.  I discovered they're hosting something called The Round Table, which seems to be a weekly planned discussion of mostly the book industry.  I think I might try it out, see what it's like if only because it'll be interesting and there will be semi-live people.  I really don't mind being in the office alone, I'm really quite capable of being happy left alone, but occasionally it does get old.

I am disappointed in myself; I haven't done much knitting and I just realized this morning I'm really not doing well on the whole working-out thing.  It's frustrating but I'm going to try to remedy both issues.

Also, is it acceptable for me to not understand why non-Catholics participate in Lent?  I sort of get it, but honestly it means nothing to me.  I guess I should do some research to understand the why.  In college I had a very dear friend who would do Lent and last night at the critique group someone was ranting about what they're giving up for Lent (that ensued an entirely hilarious conversation, but not the point).  Maybe I just don't get it.  It seems like one big contest to see if you can go without your favorite addiction for 40 days.  Oh well, chalk it up to things I don't understand in the world. (Like fasting, I mean I understand spiritually the reasons, but at face value, the way most people approach fasting, I really would like to ask them what the point is.)

Circling back to the critique group.  I'm not sure what it is, but the last two weeks have been just crazy.  It's like we're all drinking the same cracked out water because the tangents we get on and how much we laugh - it's just unreal.  I guess that comes when you really like your company.

I've referenced her blog a few times, but Janice Hardy's Re-Write Wednesday blogs are just always great.  She did one today that touches on The Spit Shine of a novel.  She lists several groupings of words people either use too much or wrongly.  I don't need to do this now, I'm still working on putting words on the dang page, but later I think I will try to search out these different words and try their place in things.

Touch of Evil by C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp

 Okay, so I don't care for romance books, however I read the synopsis for Touch of Evil before I really got the idea it was a romance book.  I was already kicking myself for wanting to read it because it's a vampire - werewolf - psychic - adventure!  Oopse.  I still wanted to read it so I figured I'd go ahead and read it.  I was pleasantly surprised that there wasn't a whole lot of blatant "romance" typical stuff going on.  The book was much more plot driven than I'd thought to give it credit for.

The setting was simple - and believable.  Denver, Colorado.  Now I don't know Denver very well so I can't really complain about anything, but the few things I was familiar with were right in the book so thumbs up there!

The characters were diverse and interesting, but at a few places I didn't quite believe their actions.  Now, I can excuse it by saying that in the circumstances the characters were in were definatly not normal and some odd behavior would be excusable so I can live with those inconsistencies that seemed off to me.  Don't get me wrong, I really liked many of the characters.

The plot surprised me.  I had high hopes when I read the excerpt on the Macmillian site but when I went to look for it and found it in the romance section my expectations plummeted.  I really wasn't expecting half of what I got!  Once you got to the end you can see that the plot is fairly simple, but like in real life things don't usually seem simple from the inside of things.  I really liked how the authors set up several aspects of the vampire element and how they played out. 

The ending is left completely open for a sequel, which I expect is forthcoming, but I don't know that I'll read it.  I don't really like romance books because I keep rolling my eyes and laughing at stuff.  However, I would expect books coming after this one to have a lot of action and steam since this one sets it up to follow in those tracks.  Yeah.

Unexpected Surprises

So it must be that this weekend is a weekend of unexpected surprises.

First, this morning I was finally roused from my bed by knocking at my door.  Now, people don't knock on my door.  If you knock on my door chances are I don't know you and I don't want to buy whatever it is you're selling.  People who come over regularly come expected and when I know they're on their way I unlock the door and they let themselves in.  It works nicely this way.  However, I answered the door against my better judgment and - I got flowers.  They're from a friend of mine I seldom write with online but we text regularly and he's a genuine sweet heart.

Second, I paid off a credit card this morning and the balance was less than I remembered - two bit bonuses!  Considering how much electricity is going to run this winter any spare dollars I can latch onto are appreciated because heating costs are rivaling what summer cooling costs. UG! Even with almost two weeks of having the heater turned completely off or down to like 50.

Third, well, this isn't unexpected but oh well.  The Lightning Thief came out last night and the plans are to go see it today with a friend of mine.  I didn't ask her if she's read the books but oh well! It's gonna be a blast!

The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley

I picked up this book because we watched Princess of Thieves a week or more ago.  I read one of the more archaic Robin Hood stories years upon years ago - and I'm glad McKinley crafted her own.  Now the language is still a bit archaic, but it was still a great book.


Now, everyone is familiar with the setting and characters and aspects of the plot.  I liked how McKinley created Robin Hood as a real person and less of the bravado filled, I can do anything image that comes to mind so often.

I enjoyed it.

snowy weeks

So this recent onset of snow, snow and OMG MORE SNOW?!?!?!  left me with little to blog about because my face has been pressed against the glass watching these mysterious fluffy fat flakes of white stuff drift down from the sky.  This is Texas; we get anorexic pieces of hail and dare call it snow maybe once a year.  The last twenty-four-hours have provided a rare glimpse into what a real winter-wonderland is and the change on the landscape has been mystical - though it hasn't been without it's problems.  Had to cancel plans for the theater last night, wound up using my broom to literally sweep a foot of snow off my Jeep, and just getting out of the apartment complex was tricky simply because no one had been attempting it.  A silly person on the way into work decided to drive in all the turn lanes and then swerve in front of me several times; one time I was sliding because I was driving on snow and couldn't get traction to stop.  Idiot.  Oh well.  I drive a nice, big Jeep.  He would have been squashed had the light not turned green!

Okay, so Valentine's Day is coming up this weekend. I belatedly realized that I'm already planning on spending it with some of the most wonderful people I know; my parents.  We'll probably while away the afternoon just being in the same room, have dinner and then I'll go home, but it's what we do.  We aren't really an exciting family-time type of family, but they're my family and I love them.

I think that Valentine's Day doesn't really bother me - it's the people who feel that a day pledged to celebrating love is an excuse and a right to bemoan their singleness.  I think that's silly.  I think that people should really take advantage of V-Day and take the opportunity to tell people in their lives that you love them and that they're special.  Those are my thoughts.  There are more than a few people I'd like to tell them to stop being so selfish but I know it won't do any good.

I recently subscribed to John Scalzi's blog, Whatever.  I stumbled across his first chapter of his new book, God Engines. I read it. I need to read all of it. Why didn't I see this yesterday when I would have been at Borders? Boo! And here I am pleading to not buy any more books until I read a good chunk (5-10!!!! I promise!).  I'm grumbling about this decision but I'll stick to it for a little while longer.  I'm so intrigued by the idea behind the book that the first chapter reveals!  But I can wait.  I read Zeus yesterday, finished the Glass Castle last night, so now I want to read McKinley's Sherwood book and I'll probably go ahead and read Touch of Evil .... and then I have a whole shelf of stuff to pick from!

Ug. Blogger lost the last bit of my post.  So lets see.... I plan on writing some this weekend.  Surprise, surprise.  Get my bangs trimmed most likely.  Hopefully see The Lightning Thief and Wolfman.  And that's all I'm saying.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls


 Okay, so when the book club picked out The Glass Castle, which is a memoir.  I don't actually like memoirs or autobiographies or things of that sort.  Most of them seem to be along the lines of oh look at how amazing I am! Or the opposite, see how dreadful my life is?  Yeah.  Neither interest me a lot.  However, Jeannette Walls has constructed an amazingly quirky story that is her life.  This is the kind of amazing story you actually can't make up so it has to be true.

The strange thing is that I identify with a lot of it.  I know a lot of people will read this and not believe much of it, but I do.  The first ten years of my life was spent traveling; granted it was under different circumstances than what Jeannette talks about but I know the feeling of it all.  I'll stop rambling.

I've never read any of Jeannette Walls stories or books or articles, but after reading this I would.

Snow? In Texas?

I feel like Mother Nature must be really, really sick to send this much snow and ice into Texas.  Maybe we need a fundraiser so we can buy her a huge tissue and a cough drop.

 
 
 
 

Olympians: Zeus, King of the Gods by George O'Connor

I found out about this graphic novel series thanks to Rick Riordan (blog / website), who wrote the Percy Jackson, Olympian, series.  Seeing as how I am currently very interested in Greek mythology thanks to Rick Riordan, I figured these graphic novels were a great lead.  However, finding this one was tricky. It just came out in January and I finally found a place that had ONE copy. I bought it, needless to say.

I haven't read comics or graphic novels in a really long time, besides V for Vendetta a month-plus ago.  However, I was really fascinated with Zeus.  I loved the art-work, but as a not-very-artistically-drawing-inclined-person, stick figures fascinate me.  I was really glad at how the story was done.  There are a lot of different versions or takes on the myths covered in Zeus and I thought it was a really good read.  I'd suggest it!  I'm also eagerly awaiting the other releases.  If you're interested in seeing sneak peaks or the artwork in the process of being done, check out the blog, Olympians Rule!  George O'Connor posts works-in-progress or other snippets of stuff.

Writing and.... more writing......

First up - the Write Your @ss Off Round Up!

I know a lot of people wanted to come and couldn't make it so we all pretty much stayed connected via twitter for most of the day, but two lovely ladies did come to my place and hang out for a stretch of a bunch of hours and write - and also entertained me by listening to me whenever I just had to talk.  I might need to warn people that I randomly interrupt people with tangents, weird thoughts or whatever.  I like talking to people!

My word-count total for Saturday was 3,501.  I had a lot of problems to work through so there was a lot of sitting there and staring off into space as I puzzled things out.  I continued through Sunday and wrote 5,688 on Sunday while everyone else was watching the Superbowl, for a weekend Write Your @ss Off total of 9,189.  I'm really happy with that number! I'm even happier with the ratio of where I'm writing what if you look at the numbers across the board.  I should probably include a snapshot of the excel sheet I'm tracking everything in so you can see exactly how crazy and micro-managing I'm being about this!  I only do it because I know I need to see something to help me change.

Okay, well, I'm not really sure I have much else to say other than writing stuff....  I didn't do much else this weekend.  Gee this isn't a very eventful blog.  Sorry!

The weekends make me sad because hardly anyone blogs - and then Monday there are a billion things to read.  I thought that Cornell DeVille's blog this morning on his continuation of Show vs Tell was great; I really need to read this over again later!!!  There's even a little contest going on that I think I might enter for the fun of it and the exercise!  Jane Friedman does a weekly Best Tweets for Writers and I tend to start following some people just because of what she's included in this weekly blog edition.  I just recently started following Janice Hardy's blog, and I'm so glad I am!  Today she did a bit called Ready, Set...Where's the Action?  Something I'm trying to do more of she underlines really well.  And lastly, it's Monday so that means Writing Excuses!!!! Their latest blog is on Roleplaying Games as Tools for Storytelling.

The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine

I wanted something fun and happy to read so I picked up a copy of The Two Princesses of Bamarre and was not disappointed.  Some of the language seems a bit overly formal, but that's just stylistic.  I really like Gail Carson Levine's books.  She really does have a knack for making magic on paper happen for her reader.  I read her blog often and I'm still working through Writing Magic and I really respect her.  The story is cute, the characters are heroic and it makes you feel warm and fuzzy to read it.  I liked it.  I really liked the ending because I like creative and not quite happily ever after's.  If you like YA fiction, are in need of an afternoon read and want something that makes you laugh and really shows some good feminine heroics and character development - I suggest this book!

Quick Post

Quick post since I'm supposed to be writing....

I bought seeds!!!


 

So as is plainly obvious I felt like colors and flowers yesterday when I eyed the seeds.  I'm sure herbs and veggies will be bought but for now I have these packets sitting on my coffee table and a need to figure out planting and what should be combined where.  Hurray!

Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford

Jane Austen as a vampire? Really?  Okay, when I passed this in Target one day around Christmas I did a double take, laughed, and was rather certain she rolled over in her grave.  However, this book is adorable and charming. 

The Setting is simple.  Small town with a book shop and a few other briefly visited areas.

The Characters are wonderful.  I can't think of anything to say without giving up spoilers.

The Plot as you are led to believe is about Jane Austen publishing a book - today.  It is much more than that.  There is a smattering of romance, some murder, accusations, blackmail and a foreboding doom at the end of the book - it's overshadowed by a much more happier event at the end. 

Yes, I realize it's ridiculous - but if you're in the need of a fun, lighthearted vampire novel that nods to great literature - it's a fun read-in-a-day book.  I'm already stalking the sequel.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

I don't generally read mysteries - or stories set in current day.  I don't generally find them interesting, but I wanted to challenge myself with reading something out of the normal - for myself.

If you're unfamiliar with the book, the author Stieg Larsson passed away in 2004 and this book was not published until 2008.  It was also written in his native language and the first in a trilogy.  Wikipedia does a good job of explaining it here.  I think that some of the original shimmer must have disappeared in the translated work - which is still good and engaging - but I think if I understood the setting and context better I would find it much more compelling.  I, however, read a lot of fantasy so I can fill in the blanks when we mention kroner instead of dollars.

The Setting in the book throws me and a few times I consulted a map before saying Screw it!   I just trust that these places exist and I don't have to know where they are.  However things seem European enough; though I wonder at all of the one or two room cabins in a modern-day, not everything is all Americanized  :P

The Plot! OMG It's the best thing about this book.  The writing is good, but the plot is so intricate I could only stay a few steps ahead.  I had some vague idea of how it would turn out but I was never 100% sure.  It's got a lot of layers, a lot of things going on, and if you can keep track of who is who it's what keeps you reading.

The Characters. This is where I have a problem.  The main character? Yeah, I think he's like a whitewashed wall.  Salander (sp?) is about the most interesting character and most of the time I find her believable.  What I don't find believable is the almost author-fantasy way the female characters jump in and out of bed with the male MC (whose name I can't spell) and nonchalantly say hello to each other as they pass in the hallway as the next female hops in his bed. 

And while I like endings that aren't ....and they lived happily ever after.  I didn't like the ending. I won't spoil it, but it left me unstaisfied and reaching for something light hearted and funny - because at the end of this book I was grumpy, unhappy, and unsatisfied.

being a girl is expensive

Yes, more book talk.  So almost right after I posted my last blog where I bemoan my writing - I read Janice Hardy's weekly Re-Write Wednesday blog entitled, The Frankendraft.  Now, this actually helped me to see that my story isn't buried, it's still plainly obvious - to me of course - and I don't see it as having some of the other bits she talks about - so maybe there's hope for me yet!  It's a little encouraging at least!  However, yesterday was all about indulging in a semi melt-down/pity-party about how terrible I was doing and woe is me, I should be doing something else!  I laid down around 11 on Wednesday night, got comfortable - and then - EUREKA! I had a brilliant idea I should have had ages ago when writing the first draft. I even twittered about it! And then I promptly cuddled up to my pillows to go to sleep.  Except then I was too consumed by the idea to do anything else.  In short, I got up and wrote until 2am.  I was very tired, please excuse the randomness as I tend to keep a blog in edit until I feel like posting it. This one happens to cover three days.

On another topic... I need to get my bangs trimmed, but the idea of sitting down in a chair while someone waves scissors around my head gives me nightmares of what happened last time.  They're just bangs - right?  I'm not ready to trust someone with the rest of my hair; I just want my bangs trimmed. Oh - well then I think I might need an eyebrow wax too.... Blarg - being a girl is expensive!!!

So I'm still reading through The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and I keep wanting to scream at it.  I find myself not caring about the MMC and really only about the bits on the FMC - unfortunately 3/4's of what I've read are about the character I don't particularly care about. Grrrrr!  At least last night she came into a more prominent role.  I'll save my other thoughts for my book review.  [edit] Finished last night. I want to burn the book.

I'm currently sitting at my desk wondering what reason I could have to try making Bakerella's new Oscar Cookies. OMG they look so YUMMY!

And yet more book drama - Macmillan takes a shot at Amazon in an add for a new book with the bottom text saying Available Everywhere Except Amazon!  Other book publishers are joining in on the whole mess and a friend and I have started a GoogleWave to keep a semi organized chronicle of all the stuff that's going on because - well - I'm a drama whore.

OMGOMGOMG - This just made my Friday! Robin McKinley shared the new cover of her upcoming book, Pegasus.  I'm super excited!!!!

days that make me want to crawl back in bed.

Today did not start out well.  I woke up at 7:28 and freaked out. I usually leave my apartment between 7:30 and 7:35.  Today is also the start of a new class.  Today was not a good day to be late.  On top of this my clothes were either damp and still in the dryer or still in the washer because silly me didn't get home in time last night to do anything but catch some evening news and read some stuff and go to bed.  Also, weirdly, I wore my socks to bed and the elastic on the ankle/calf part was so tight I think it bruised me.  Oh - and I'm wearing a dress and forgot to shave my legs - but thank goodness it's one of those maxi-almost-floor-length dresses so if someone wants to stare at my ankles they'll see I didn't shave.  Sorry. I was sort of running late this morning.  *sigh*

Okay, so I don't remember whose blog I read it on but it is vastly true that the recent mess with Amazon and Macmillan is really hurting the authors that fall under the M-Umbrella.  There are a number of people who discuss that at length and much better than insignificant me will, however, I can tell you about what I'm going to do!  I went through their website today, more specifically the new releases and I've picked out - oh - seven book - I want.  Now I can't possibly buy seven new releases, I'm scraping the bucket this week, but I can buy two or three to do what I can to help out.  The ones I really want are Zeus: King of the Gods, a graphic novel by George O'Connor to feed my current Greek mythology addiction.  It's not really a brand new release; it was released in January, but I figure the guy still needs sales.  I used to read a lot of historical fiction; not so much anymore unfortunately.  The Forgotten Legion by Ben Kane looked interesting and promising, so it has a big star by it's name.  And, to feed another guilty pleasure - a vampire novel; not just a vampire novel, but a vampire and werewolf novel!  Touch of Evil by T. Adams and Cathy Clamp.  Hey - it's research to see if I really want to keep shelving my vampire story idea!!

The stupid thing torments me.  Yesterday I had some great ideas for it that I wrote down on my little notepad and filed away to type up later when I have time.  I also had some good ideas for some other stuff, but none that irritate me like a story I don't think I want to write because everyone is writing vampire stories!  At least this morning while driving to work I came up with a really neat twist to another idea I've had, but started out as a fanfic idea I couldn't write because the author expressly says on their website: do not write fanfics!  So I'm really happy to have worked it so it's new and original but with the same overarching issues and problems.  The new ideas I had for it are super nifty to me at least and I like them so I'll scribble them down and file them away for later.

I am seriously considering starting on another project that maybe a short story or a short novella length work.  It's romancy in nature, which is strange for me, but is very Christian in nature and is derived from a huge game of "What if....?" that I played once with someone I used to know.  I have struggled with how similar the FMC is to me and how to make her less like me - but I don't know that I can and not completely change aspects of the story.  Then again I have to accept that the idea came from my own personal, on the fly decisions about what I think I would choose to do if certain things happened to me.  Going to snag a few people for brainstorming help on this one and see where it takes me.

Is it just me, or am I slowly starting to just talk about books and writing ideas and stuff?  I really do other things.... Like tonight I'm going to church!  I just stand at a computer and check kids in and hand them an adhesive name-tag and smile and say something witty (if I'm lucky) but more often than not I'm just hopelessly silly.

Oh hey! I just realized today that the Super Bowl is sometime this weekend.  Wow....

And yet MORE drama! Well, it was coming eventually.  So far I've only seen one tweet about it and two articles from Cult of Mac, nothing that puts things in concrete terms to me - yet.

Annnddd now I've typed my lunch away.  Today is getting better!!!

frusterated with self

Bah!

I'm having one of those not-so-happy nights.  As I read through bits of my novel, I know I can write better than what I'm currently doing.  Really!  I've seen me do it before! But -- it's not good.  Or at least I'm at a point where I reread stuff while the critique group is reading it and all I can think is OMG this is utter crap!  Yeah.  And then I groan and wonder why in all that is sane in the world am I still plugging away all determined like at this project.  It's a wolf-by-the-ears situation; I really refuse to let go because I'm determined to finish the thing. 

Maybe I just need fresh eyes on it now that I've had some critique and revised the first bit of it to get another opinion.  I'm just not sure what to do.  I have two friends who have said they will read through what I have and give opinions.  I'm just frusterated with myself and having a pity-party tonight.

Also wondering if maybe I should set revision aside and work on a short-story or something this week and then come back to my novel with fresh eyes.  Hmmm, I'll make a decision tomorrow after I've slept on it.

Drama!!!!!

Okay, so as relaxed as my weekend was - this was not so in the rest of the world.  I'll touch on that in the end.  :)

Friday - hockey game - we won!!! Spent this with my friend Amanda.

Saturday was like... make up for all of the time I haven't made the edits my critique group suggested.  I spent the day at Barnes and Noble critiquing and rewriting stuff.  I wrote about 4K, added some really nifty stuff and am still very excited about my writing process. Oh - and I bought books.  Yes, I know I said I shouldn't - but I did!  I bought Becky Levin's book The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide (this time I smartly copied and pasted that, because even though I try, I keep getting the title wrong!  I'm sorry!!!!)  I also got Sunshine and I think Rose Daughter... Crud. I can't remember!!!!!!  Oh well, both Robin McKinley books!  Other than that, I didn't do anything really useful Saturday; just reading and writing - but I loved it!

Sunday was mostly a useless day. I took out the trash! And did dishes! Watched 500 Days of Summer and went to a hockey game - again - only we lost this one  :(

Today I need to be very useful.  I need to do laundry, change the Chinchilla cage, clean, clean and clean, and hopefully revise and pretty much rewrite the next scene because I had some great ideas for it.

I have also decided I dislike my planner. I want a small monthly view calendar and I want to be done with this almost useless one I have now.  I think I saw one at BnN that fits what I want that if I get everything done as I need to this week, I just may treat myself to.  Ug - and have I mentioned that buying into the BnN membership thing has made me want to go and use it more? Because I really do need to make sure I get my money's worth!!!!

This week should be the normal type of busy.  Tonight being domestic, with some knitting time thrown in, tomorrow Critique Group, Wednesday church Thursday the Book Club - where I give my unfavorable review of the book everyone else loved and I - ah - didn't, and Friday I hope to hang out with people, go to movies and clean like crazy for Friday - because Saturday is Write Your @ss Off Day!!!!!

And on to the DrAmA!!!!!!!

I think I've become a real-life-drama-nut.  Like, I really like reading about crazy stuff that really happens, except this news isn't really the giddy type, it makes me sit back and grimace and think.  The thing this weekend is the whole Amazon vs Macmillan debacle, which can reasonably be said to happen as a result of Apple debuting the iPad.  Everyone has an opinion, everyone thinks this way or that; I'm erring on the side that neither are really right, but I agree far more with Macmillan than Amazon.  Now, you can read the full release from Macmillan here on the free edition of Publishers Lunch.  And then there was Amazon's rebuttal and subsequent removal of all Macmillan titles.  Nathan Bransford posted a blog this morning explaining the whole mess; he always has a lot of really good stuff to say and plays connect the dots with stuff.  I thought Scott Westerfeld posted a really interesting and insightful blog about the whole mess, and I think I agree with him on most points.  However, over at Fiction Matters, they posted an article that is more favorable to Amazon.  I'm sorry, but I just have a hard time with the seller dictating the price of what the publisher can sell their product for.  All in all, I'm reading everything and it's fascinating! If it also makes me sad.

Anyways, lunch is over!  Still plugging away at Girl w the Dragon Tattoo!

About Me

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Grew up traveling to rodeos with my parents. I've gone across the world thanks to my gypsie feet. I feel sometimes like I've done everything & nothing. I've played roller derby, traveled parts of the world, have four degrees. I've done some things most people will never do in their lives & still I want to do more. I want to work with orphans & teenagers again. I'm a Christian. I have a lot of tattoos. I like art therefore I want to be art. I love people. I started writing years ago when I was a kid. I think at the time it was an outlet for me; I found escape in my word & the worlds I created. Eventually I just started to like creating stuff & that's when I started sharing it with other people. Now I think I write every day. I want to do NaNoWrMo this year. I'm also learning how to knit. I think I'm on my way to being an eccentric old woman who runs around the world doing silly cazy things and knitting while she does them. Be on your guard I have knitting needles!

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