Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Chopping broccoli

Well, I did some major Christmas shopping today. I was reminded of when I was a kid and my mother would do "panic shopping" for one kid every year. You always wanted to be that kid because inevitably she'd gotten enough presents for you in the first place and so it was just more icing on the cake. After a few rounds of opening presents it always became pretty clear who Mom panic-shopped for each year.

This year I just couldn't decide on that perfect present for everyone which meant I just got lots of things that add up. For one set of nephews I got a collection of Disney movies (I saved the receipt in case my sister doesn't want to intro them to Bambi just yet). I just couldn't say no to any of the movies! I loved them all and could hear the songs in my head so I dropped some major cashola on that. Dude, who knew how expensive Disney movies are?!

Of course, I've yet to think of anything to get The Boy. We usually do big gifts, but with the dog this year and her surgery we're not as flush as we thought we'd be. We joke that we gave each other a bone plate. Then, today The Boy gets a holiday bonus that is 10 times what mine was (yes, he got an extra zero in his check and boy doesn't that make a massive difference?!). I mean, suddenly the dog's surgery is paid for. As is all of the accoutrements we bought when we got her (dog bed, cage, etc etc). So yeah, that was nice. What that means is that all of the sudden our excuse not to get each other something is out the window. Must start thinking gifts! Anyone with good ideas, let me know stat!

The funny thing I saw at the mall today: security on segways. Only our mall would have security on segways. The first time The Boy when to this mall after moving to town we couldn't help but laugh. It's the type of mall that is anchored by Nordstrom's and Macy's, etc. It has St. John, Tiffany, Burburry, Kate Spade, Apple, etc etc etc. It has live models for goodness sake. So the Segway just fits right in perfectly!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bah Humbug!

Ok, not really bah humbug, but perilously close. It's hard to get in the Christmas spirit when it's above 70 degrees outside (and you're used to it being closer to 30s and 40s). Not that I'm complaining at all - I got to sit outside for lunch in the sun with short sleeves on over the weekend. And I love to sit in the sun and soak it up so that was a real Holiday treat.

But at the same time it feels like Christmas has conspired against me this year. When we bought this house in July I had big big plans for Holiday decorating. Big plans. But I refuse - absolutely refuse - to decorate or think about Christmas before Thanksgiving. Which always gives me the sense of being behind after Thanksgiving comes and goes.

And on top of that, this year we got Daphne (who, by the way, is doing awesome!) and so that's a huge time suck. We have to take longer lunch breaks to come home and walk her and do PT which means working later to make up the hours which means not as much time during the week to think about the Holidays. And then, on the weekend we were going to get our tree I got sent out of town on business. So here it is, a few days before I jet to Minnesota for Christmas and we have no tree and I've barely begun my shopping. To be fair I was going to shop on Sunday but we had to cut it short to come home and let the dog out. Then I was going to go on Monday and had to work late. Ditto today.

So I've sucked it up and realized that this just won't be the year for big Holiday celebrations. I have a wreath up and some colored lights outside. I have a cinnamon candle in a pretty snowflake holder and my advent calendar up. It's sad, but at the same time we spend most of our time in the den with the dog and not much time in the living room where the tree would go.

Next year. Next year I will not put things off to the last minute. I will not let work take over the holidays. Next year I will decorate this place to the nines - maybe even real garland on the fireplaces.

Thank goodness there's always next year!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

That Point

Let's see here, nothing much new going on here. I haven't done much writing (ok, I haven't done any writing) since the addition of Daphne to the family. Before we got her I was pulling down a solid 2k words per night - every night no problem. Right now I'm about 20k into a new project (started during NaNo but not my NaNo project) and I've hit what I now dub "That Point."

That Point is the place where you 're chugging along, feeling your way through a new idea, testing the waters, just writing for yourself because you have no idea if it will work and then BAM! you realize "hey, I like this!" Then all of the sudden you start to worry about where things are going, are you going to be able to keep up the pace, the tone, the conflict, the voice. All of those pressures begin to push in. For me there's also this fear of choosing the wrong path - of loving where I've been but not knowing where I'm going and the fear of foreclosing ideas. What if I ruin the whole thing? What if I build the reader up only to disappoint? What if I can't follow through on the promises I've given the reader so far in the book?

The Boy said that he thinks that in That Point in the writing I start to become obsessed with the idea of selling the book rather than writing it. And to a certain degree I think he's correct. I think that this is where my writer's block often comes from - the fear of failure. It's when I stop writing the book for myself and start to write it for the hypothetical reader. It's when I start to really second guess myself and worry that I'm making the wrong decisions for my characters.

So it's not such a bad thing that I have an excuse not to write. I've sent what I have so far to a reader that I trust to see if I have a viable idea (boy was that scary to do!). I'm spending my free time working, reading, helping the dog heal, etc. And thinking. Lots and lots of time trying to figure out how to overcome That Point.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Daphne is doing great! Four legs and all!

So we dropped Daff off at the vet in South Carolina on Thursday morning. The surgeon was great - looked at her x-rays, told us what he was going to do, and did it. We couldn't pick her up until this morning so we did some shopping for charity (work-related stuff) at Wal-Mart, met The Boy's dad for lunch, and then came home and chilled. It was a very quiet night with no whining :)

When we got to the clinic to pick her up this morning she was very happy to see us! She has a massive elizabethan collar on (the plastic shield around her head) and her leg is shaved. The discharge nurse told us that the pin the last vet had put in had come back out of the hip and had been poking around. She said that before the surgery you could even feel it! Yikes! They had to plate her leg with 8 screws (oh, and there's a pin from the external fixiter that broke off in her leg that the vet removing the external fixiter never bothered to mention to us). The surgeon said the bone is together and wants desperately to heal. He's all smiles about her prognosis and it's so strange to go from expecting to have a three-legged dog to the assurances that our dog will look like any other - with four working legs - in about 6ish weeks!!

Funny thing - when we picked her up the discharge nurse kept making subtle allusions to how untrained Daphne is. About how we can use this time to train her because she can put all her energy into working for us. Of course she's untrained because she is a stray and she's had an unset broken femur the whole time we've had her which makes training difficult (though we did teach her to come and be polite). The nurse also just seemed a bit skeptical about us and our ability to follow post-op instructions. Finally I realized what was wrong: she thought we were Daff's original owners and the people responsible for her first failed surgery (that failed because of poor post-op care). So I said something like, "Poor Daphne, you've only been with your new family for a week and already we have you in an e-collar for 10 days!" The nurse snapped her head up and said, "You've only had her for a week? Then who had her with the external fixiter?" And that was that - the nurse totally trusted us again.

At the nurse's suggestion we went to Wal-Mart and got a rubber bottom bath mat to put in her crate so she wouldn't slip around during the long drive home. Then, right before we got on the interstate Daphne went berserk - she was spinning in her cage but we just thought it was because the e-collar was giving her problems. Nope. A stench filled the car. She'd pooped all over her new rug. A stop by a gas station for paper towels and air freshner and then another round at Wal-Mart for a new mat later, and we were on the road back home.

I'm not gonna say she's comfy with that collar. But she sure is funny looking. And the vet says that her bones should be healed enough in 6 weeks that he can take off her physical restrictions. Which means we'll have a dog - a normal dog!! So we're following her post-op care to the letter! Physical therapy twice a day, short walks 4 times a day - all of it.

We will heal this dog!

Of course, the cats were a little surprised when Daphne arrived back. They were quite sure she was gone for good. We have two pissed off kitties on our hands!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


It's another Thursday and I've missed doing my 13! Again! And I even had a topic for this week (and last week...). I've been behind on work all week, haven't written a word, and am behind on a critique that matters a lot to me and I feel like I'm letting the author down for not being on the ball.

Tomorrow I take our new pup to get surgery. Life just keeps piling on, don't it?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Daffers update

Great news! We spoke to the vet orthopedic surgeon and he said it should be no problem to fix Daphne's leg and that her prognosis is "very good"! Of course, he hasn't seen her in person so there could still be complications. Other great news is that the surgery is at least half the cost we expected it to be which is fantastic. We still don't have a lot of information: what type of surgery it will be, how long the recovery will be (he said maybe 6 months), etc etc. But we just can't wait for her to be up and running and playing like a puppy should.

Because there's only a pin in her leg right now and no external fixiter, we decided to start keeping her kenneled most of the time. We bought her a new crate (the big cage kind) and put in an orthopedic pad and some chew toys and bones. She wants to get out and run around so badly but at least it's more space than her travel crate and she can stretch out and stand up. We're too afraid of her causing more damage to her leg before she goes into surgery on Thursday morning.

Of course, there are those in our house who are happy that the dog is kept in her cage most of the time...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Christmas Meme

I got tagged for this Christmas Meme by Diana and boy was she right that I needed to get my mind off things and what better to think about than Christmas and tradition and so many happy memories? Thanks Diana!! I'll post more later, but the vet specialist thinks that he'll be able to save Daphne's leg and it will be great!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Oooh, yummy hot chocolate! When I was an exchange student in Spain they had the best - it was so thick that you could stand a spoon in it! Almost like molten pudding.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? Wrapped of course! My mother used to help Santa wrap and she would hand tie every single bow (and I mean the type you wrap the ribbon around your hand and cut it and tie it and pull it apart - very elaborate). Our tree was always beautiful. My stepmom's family never wrapped and I just don't get it; once glance and Christmas is over!

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? At Mom's house big colored lights, at Dad's house small colored lights, and I think we're going to go with small colored lights :)

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Nah, too afraid I'll poison a cat.

5. When do you put your decorations up? Mid-December. We tend to leave them up for a while so we put them up later. We've never been a day-after-Thanksgiving decorating kind.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Sweet potato casserole with marshmallows! But I love all Christmas food just like I love all food generally.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: So many memories! I'm the youngest of three girls and we all used to sleep in the same room on Christmas Eve. Until one of us got married we still spent every Christmas Eve together, giggling, sharing stories, and wanting to hear Santa.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? What do you mean, "truth?" All I know is that both my sisters saw Santa one night running across the yard.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yep, only one. One of my aunts gave each of us an ornament every year. They were all similar but different and had our names on them. The tradition goes that she'll give an ornament until you get married. Since I'm the only one still not married that means I still get an ornament every year. We always opened our ornament on Christmas Eve and put it on the tree.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? Um, with ornaments and lights? In addition to my aunt give each of us an ornament (usually went on my mom's tree since that's where we opened gifts) my dad gave us each an ornament every year so that we would have enough decorations to fill a tree when we went out on our own. So my tree is full of ornaments with my name on them. We call it the "Carrie Tree"! But I love it because each ornament has a memory.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? I'm always up for a good snow, but living in the South means that it shuts down life for days. Which ain't a bad thing if you're prepared for it!

12. Can you ice skate? I learned to skate at birthday parties growing up. And of course one kid always ended up with a concussion (we're not known for our ice skating in South Carolina!). When I went to college in Mass. and attended my first ice hockey game I was just amazed at how they could skate just like it was walking - I got made fun of a lot for that :)

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Not really. I know it seems corny but I think every gift is my favorite.

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Family, memories, tradition. I love my family and my sisters and love hanging out with everyone. That's the best part.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Rum cake. Of course, every year my mom forgets it she's added the rum. I think I've gotten drunk off of rum cake!

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? After going to church on Christmas Eve we'd all come home and hang stockings that my grandmother needle-pointed for us, of course trying them on and one of us would recite Twas the Night before Christmas (we had to memorize it for school - totally worth it!) and leave cookies and milk and a carrot for Santa and his reindeer. Then on Christmas morning my sisters would sneak a peek at the tree with all the presents but I was never allowed to cause I'm the youngest. When we opened presents we all would go one at a time, my mom handing them out as we all watched to see what everyone else got. Mom always made the canned cinnamon rolls too. So many traditions that I loved so much!! One thing I'd like to carry one is the needle-point stockings. My mom's already made some for the next generation and they are just so special.

17. What tops your tree? Mom has an angel that tries to nose dive. For my dad's first Christmas after the divorce he hung a plastic star above the tree. Sometime in March one of us looked up and noticed that it was still hanging from the ceiling! So now we hang that old star above the dining room table, from the chandalier because it makes us laugh. For The Boy's and I first tree we topped it with a mess of ribbons and bows.

18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving? Both ;) I love giving a great gift - one I'm especially proud of. And I always love to receive :)

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? I love Christmas music and I always forget to pull it out! Growing up we had this collection of songs and I love those versions of the songs so much that I've tried for years to find the same collection. I also love George Winston's Winter album - just beautiful music. I'm more of a traditional Christmas music chick - not that I don't mind jazzing them up a bit, but I don't generally listen to any new songs.

20. Candy Canes? Always tons left over after the season :) We use them to make peppermint ice cream and now I use them to make peppermint bark (white chocolate and candy canes - what could be better?)

Hmmm... this has been a popular meme and I've loved reading everyone's responses. I tag Bren and Nancy, although I don't know if either do memes.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

More of same...

Well, no big news today on Daphne. The Boy's vet has today off but agreed to look at her x-rays from home - hooray! Our vet agreed to send them down (yesterday) but then I got a call first thin this morning telling me that our vet's assistant sent the x-rays priority mail rather than FedEx. I cannot begin to tell you the number of times I quadruple checked that our vet was okay sending these x-rays FedEx so that The Boy's contact could have them today. Our vet was totally sorry about it, but that means putting off any decision for a while. Especially since the x-rays were being sent to The Boy's contact's home and so he won't even get them until the end of the day Thursday. I know it's selfish, but we just need to know what to do - what's going on. Right now we're having to drug our new dog to keep her sedate because she has a severely broken femur and no cast, no external fixiter, nothing.

Our vet said she'd feel better putting a splint on Daff's leg so I took her in this morning. Here's a picture of that ridiculousness! She loves her new hedgehog! Only prob. is that a few hours later the splint slipped which torqued our poor dog's leg even worse so thankfully it's gone now and she's much much happier. Poor thing!

The good news is that she doesn't have heart worms, so there is silver lining in all of this :)

The hardest part is the roller coaster. Vet #1 said yesterday "no question, amputate." Then, when he found out we were both attorneys he said, "well, if you have the money it might be worth fixing." Then our vet said, "no question, amputate" and for some very good reasons: there's already arthitis, her bones are swiss cheesy, and she'd have to be confined for months and months with no guarantee. Then this morning our vet said that she's spoken to her surgeon about the case and he said the leg might be saveable. So what do we do? I mean, everyone says amputation gets rid of the pain now and she's up and normal in about 2 weeks and will live a very happy life. Getting it fixed means another dangerous surgery and possibility of infection that our vet says might already be there. It means keeping a dog that wants nothing more than to play locked up in a pen for months and months. I guess it just seems so much harder because we're in an Indian Summer and she loves to lay outside and watch the birds and trees. There's a part of me that wants to fix it if we can because it seems that is what you do. But at the same time there's a part of me that wonders if she'll be happier if it's amputated. It's surprising how much goes into a question like this and what I thought was the easy or best answer may not be what I used to think it was.

So confusing. Anyone else have thoughts on the matter?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

That kind of day...

It has not been a good day in our household. I woke up at 6:30 to haul Daphne to the vet that did her surgery (about 45 minutes away). See, we were under the impression that the external post on her leg (ew) would be removed and that her leg would be practically healed. This is what the people told us when we adopted Daphne.

So not the case. The vet showed me her x-rays and I was horrified. They look awful. Not only is there still a very clear break - a total snap of her femur - but it is not a straight bone any more meaning that the two ends don't even meet. I couldn't believe it! The vet started talking amputation and kept calling our girl a "he" and I was so upset by the shoddy surgical job that I just had to leave and call The Boy in tears. We made an appointment with our own vet and when I went back in that vet showed me her earlier x-rays from before and after the surgery and they looked great.

Turns out the surgeon did everything right. But the family that had her before us did it all wrong. They didn't keep her "quiet." Instead, they let her go play with the other dog and put her in the yard on a long line. With a broken femur and a post sticking out of her leg in multiple places.

Our vet said the same thing - amputate. She said there just wasn't any healthy bone left to plate and that the arthritus was already setting in. She agreed with the first vet: if Daphne had been kept still after her first surgey, she'd likely be fine now.

So it has been a roller coaster day. Daff is now in the back yard, racked out in the sun cause our vet gave her pain meds and a sedative. The Boy worked for a vet for 7 years and is calling a contact there to have a very well-respected orthopedic surgeon look at her x-rays for one last consult. Either way, our new girl has to have surgery tomorrow and it's either plate and re-pin her leg with 6 months of confinement or amputate.

All afternoon I've been reading about amputation in dogs. They say that a three-legged dog really is just like a four-legged dog. It's just not what I was expecting with my first dog and I'm angry that it has come to this and that it is so unecessary because if she'd been properly cared for we wouldn't be in this situation.

That's all stuff I can't change. This isn't how I planned on spending my days off from work: ferrying a new dog around, riding emotional roller-coasters and researching three-legged dogs. But I think she's worth it.

Monday, November 27, 2006

New addition to our family!

Well, we did it - we got a dog! The original plan was to get a dog when we moved into the new house this summer, but I backed out because I didn't want to upset the cats and I just wasn't ready. Then, a few weeks ago we decided to get a dog in the spring when the weather is nicer but that we'd be open if a dog found us. See, in The Boy's family, that's how they get all their pets - they find The Boy and his family.

Then, last week The Boy got an email from a co-worker about a little lab that had been hit by a car and broken her leg. The dog had surgery on the leg weeks ago and was looking for her permanant home. The Boy immediately emailed me and said "it's a sign!!!" and we went and looked at her and fell in love!

We're thinking of naming her Daphne (Greek myth) but calling her Daf, Daffy, etc. (and every now and then I call her Dizzy). What do you think? Any other good name suggestions?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

And away we go!

Tomorrow The Boy and I are headed to my sister's house in the burbs of Hotlanta (really, they shouldn't be allowed to call it a suburb when you're so far out that you're in another county and almost another state). I can't WAIT to see my sister - it's been ages. Plus I get to play with my nephews and hang with my mom and all that fun stuff.

On the way out of town tomorrow The Boy and I are going to meet a pup to see if we're going to add a new member to our four-legged family. Very exciting and very scary!

Fingers crossed we all get a lot of writing done over the Holidays! But I have a feeling that I might sacrifice my NaNo goal for some quality time with my family.

Anyone else have big (or small) plans?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Quiz time!

I've seen this one around and decided to give it a whirl. Of course, that meant sitting on my couch talking to myself as I tried to figure out what I sounded like. I'm not surprised at the results that much. I was raised in the South and live there now but my dad is a yankee and my mom was raised on a banana plantation in Latin America so it makes sense that I wouldn't have a Southern accent.

I wonder why the little red lines aren't showing up... sigh... that kind of day I guess...

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.


The West

North Central

The Northeast


The Inland North

The South

What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Sunday, November 19, 2006

First lines

There's been some talk out there about first lines which is so funny because I was just thinking about first lines and favorite lines. Thanks to Rachel for sending me to Fangs, Fur & Fey which has tons of people talking about this topic.

I used to think that first lines were the most important in the book. Wait, I still think that to a certain extent (once the book is published). But I used to think that I couldn't start writing a book until I knew what the first line would be. It was like hanging around at the starting line - once I knew the first line it was time to write like mad in order to keep up with the story. Without that first line though...

These days I don't feel as strongly about that. I start writing where I can start writing. Someone once said to start with what interests you and write all the interesting scenes that come after that since those are the scenes the reader will want to read. So that's what I did with DB&D. Sure it's a little episodic and needs to be woven together a bit more, but I also cut the first two chapters and so the original first line exists no more.

On the other hand, with my current WIP I thought of the first line as I was leaving work one day. I emailed it to myself and later I read the email and thought, "hmmm, let's see where this goes" and now I'm 16+k words in and loving it.

Without further ado, here are the first lines of my mss:

1. "I won't do it mother." (there was more to this line but I can't remember it. This is the first whole novel I ever wrote and I didn't start until I knew the first line).

2. It all began when Katie dropped William Peterson’s liver on the white-tiled floor. “Oh, damn,” she said against her surgeon’s mask as she glared at her male assistant, Rodney, who was making no effort to quell his laughter. (This was my second ST novel and again, once I had the first line I was off like a rocket).

3. Truth be told, I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be. (This is where I cut a few chapters; originally this line was somewhere in chapter 3).

4. My mother used to tell me about the ocean. She said there was a place where there was nothing but water as far as you could see and that it was always moving, rushing towards you and then away. (this is my current WIP, the one with the line I emailed to myself and ran with).

Like everyone else, I have others - ones part of tossed away ideas. But all of these are part of projects that I either completed or am in the process of writing/finishing.

So, what first lines do all of you have tucked away? How important do you think that first lines are? How do you view them?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Can you hear that?

That's the sound of me not entering the Golden Heart. Yep, I'm going to do it. That's right, I'm going to NOT enter the Golden Heart.

I may regret it, when everyone else gets their scores back I'll probably wonder what I could have done. But hopefully by that time I'll have DB&D written and fully submitted and the new new project also written and submitted. I think the Golden Heart is a great thing. I think the people who final and win are superstars - for real.

But right now the most important thing for me to do is write, polish and submit (in that order). And if I'm still unsold this time next year, just think of all the manuscripts I'll have to enter!! If I'm not unsold (ie, sold) then I'll be on my journey and winning the Golden Heart would just be a feather in my cap.

So good luck to all of you entering. You should be very proud of yourselves!!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #2!

Thirteen Reasons I'm half-assing Thursday Thirteen this week

  1. It's The Boy's and I anniversary (not as much time for blogging when out celebrating);
  2. Had a little too much wine last night for blogging (and had my attention on other things, see #1 above);
  3. Power went off last night (so no computer, no internet. But that meant candle-light and the fire which was very appropriate for #1 above);
  4. Over-slept (see #2 above);
  5. I never ever blog at work - paranoia that my blog will get found out and I'll get in trouble;
  6. I'm going to Cameron Indoor tonight (for those of you who don't know, that's Duke basketball - it's part of #1 above);
  7. So because of #6 I'm leaving early from work - no time for blogging;
  8. Um... bad foresight on my part not to plan ahead;
  9. I didn't want to bump The Boy's awesome news with a new post (see post below - The Boy rocks!);
  10. Thursday snuck up on me this week (see # 8);
  11. I had to spend my free time yesterday working on my mother's small claims court appeal (looong story);
  12. I spent the rest of my free time getting what I needed for The Boy's present (see #1 above);
  13. I didn't even have any free time yesterday for writing (and won't again today - so sad!).
Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Congrats to The Boy!!!

The Boy is a phenomenal writer. I mean, he's the type of writer that as you read his work you wonder how people can have such talent - how they can ever think to put words together like that. He writes sentences that make me ache because they are so beautifully written.

In the past I've mentioned that The Boy and his brother have this writing game called, aptly enough, The Story Game. They throw out a topic every week (the pitch) and write. It used to be 2 pages single spaced, now it can go up to four. They post most of what the write on their website and there is some truly awesome stuff up there. I'll have to link to my favorites sometime.

But this post is about The Boy and his FIRST SALE! I wrote about it a while back, but now it is finally out in print. I'm so proud of him. When he and I decided on the 10 Year Plan almost a year ago, he dedicated himself to it. He went from having one finished story a year ago that he'd never submitted to multiple stories submitted and this one sold. He's had two stories sent up to the lead editors out of the slush which is damn impressive. He gets up at 5:30 in the morning so that he can write (we were the type that slept past noon in law school and could barely make it out of bed for our 10am or 11am classes...).

So I just wanted to throw out a huge CONGRATULATIONS to The Boy. I know this is the first of many sales, and I am just so amazingly proud of him.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Ruminations on being REJECTORED!

Funny thing is (ok, not really that funny) I come home at the end of the day and The Boy has also gotten a rejection letter. Sigh... good thing he picked up some wine on the way home!

So here are my thoughts on being REJECTORED!:

I wasn't expecting the email today - that was a two week turnaround with the agent being out of town on vacay for a week. And so when I checked my blackberry I was confused. See, I have a history of sorts with this agent. And I don't mean a real history like she's read my stuff. But earlier this year I was casting about trying to figure out what to write and not really gaining any traction. At the new year The Boy and I had instituted our 10 year plan (to live off writing in 10 years) and I wasn't doing much to move my own portion of the plan along.

Then I win a silly contest on this agent's blog which results in an automatic partial read. But I had no partial. And so I sat down and started writing DB&D. I wrote this story because I loved it and I knew from the beginning that it was different. And I really feel like I owe that little push that I needed to the agent. I had a timeline for submitting it to the Agent (we'll give her a capital A now) that I was happy with. But then Agent had an online pitch slam and I couldn't resist. I'd written a big big chunk of rough draft but it was still very very episodic and rough. But out of the many many pitches she got, mine was chosen and I was super excited. And then I had to work my ass off to get the partial edited. This is the most I've ever edited anything and I was damn proud. But I took a looooong time getting it to her because I hadn't finished the book and just didn't know what to do.

See, the downside of working on the partial is that I stalled in actually writing the rest of the book. During the meantime I came up with some really good plot arcs, but all of the sudden there was just so much pressure to FINISH THE BOOK NOW NOW NOW. It was no longer fun. Instead it was just always hanging over my head.

Now, pause here for a moment. I know that when there are book contracts and deadlines that this becomes routine. But see, that's the difference between now and then. Now writing is about writing, enjoying the book. Trying to get sold, sure. But I've come to the realization that once you sell there's so much more to worry about then just the writing. So why not enjoy just the writing while you can?

Anyways, so I felt relief to not have to bust my butt to send off the full. But then I realized that she hadn't even asked for the full. Here was my book - THE ONE - and she didn't even ask for the full. Or comment one way or another.

Ok, now, don't worry. I'm not into rejectomancy (the art of discerning rejections as The Boy calls it) and seriously this is only the first of what will be many. That's the way of the writing life. I'm not going to give up, I'm not going to think that I'm a bad writer or that I can't make it or any of that stuff. The rejection simply means that my project wasn't right for that agent. And honestly, that's not really a surprise.

But here's the thing... I can't be the only writer out there who - just in that moment before sleep - imagines how this submission will be the one to change the world. That this partial will have them all going "WOW!" and that this one will cause the auction, will get the contract, will hit the lists, and will allow you to quit the job and live in luxury. Hey, we're talking about the edge of sleep here where anything can happen. Getting that rejection just puts an end to that particular dream. I'm not saying I'm not going to keep thinking those things because, let's be honest, it's fun to day dream about that stuff.

I've always said that a big part of breaking up with someone is the loss of what could have been. The loss of the daydreams. That's what a rejection is. Doesn't mean you won't date again or find someone much much better. It just means that for a moment you have to learn how to put aside that old dream and look to the newer and better one.

So this Agent didn't ask for more. But I still owe her a huge debt because she got me writing and that is what all of this is about. Now I feel free to finish DB&D on my own time and submit it when it's ready so that I can throw myself behind it full force. I'm even thinking of NOT entering it in the Golden Heart because I'm tired of the constant pressure to GET IT DONE NOW. Don't worry, I plan on getting it done because I think it is great. But I want to - and need to - enjoy it.


My partial was rejected today via email... in the car... on the way to lunch. Sometimes having a blackberry can be a bitch :) At least I was there with The Boy.

It's been a while since I've been rejected and I have lots of thoughts. But I only stopped home to grab something and decided to do a little blog update before heading back to work (I have a strict personal rule of no blogging or looking at my blog at work - I live in fear).

So later today I'll sit down and share my thoughts. Sigh...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Snake breath

After a long morning of torturing snakes, there's nothing like a lie down and a stretch in front of the fire to replenish the spirit.

He's such a cute little hunter. And yes, we are those people who take pictures of their pets all the time. And yes, you, as my blog reader, will be subjected to those pictures.

But I tell you what, isn't this how we all feel on a lazy weekend afternoon?

My Saturday Morning...

My Saturday morning went a bit like this:
The Boy: "Honey, where's the camera?"
Me: "In the dining room, why?"
The Boy: "No reason, I can't find it in there."
Me: "Try the kitchen, why?"
The Boy: "Nothing, don't worry."
I hear the basement door open.
Me: "What is it?"
The Boy: "..."
Since our basement has been leaking I fear he is taking a picture of that and I go to investigate. Instead I see him taking a picture of my cat (there's a cat door down to the basement).
Me: "What's he got?"
The Boy: "You don't want to know."
Me: "No really, what's he got?"
The Boy: "Trust me, you don't want to know."
Me: "I wanna see."
The Boy:

Friday, November 10, 2006

Word count as enemy

I've said it before: word count challenges can be a dangerous thing. Because when you're aiming for 10k and you're only at 8k, you'll throw anything down just to up the meter.

Anyone else have this situation? Does anyone sacrifice word count for quality? Do you think the good advice that "you can't fix a blank page" enters into it?

Just thinking as I pound away...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #1

Thirteen Things I've Done to Procrastinate During Nano

  1. Cleaned up gmail account;
  2. Cleaned up house;
  3. Cleaned up office (noticing a trend here?);
  4. Slept;
  5. Kissed The Boy (he encourages that kind of procrastination);
  6. Took down Halloween decorations ("But," you all say, "you should have done that anyways." You clearly don't realize that it was Christmas until almost February in our place last year...);
  7. Exercised;
  8. Tried to find a picture that would work for my NaNo profile (found the picture, can't make it small enough);
  9. Looked at other people's NaNo profiles;
  10. Started updating my blog again;
  11. 5 words: big bottle of red wine (originally I had that as 4 words and then was like, "hmmm, that doesn't look right... d'oh!);
  12. Started another novel that is wholly unrelated. (BTW, do you think I can just roll the new word count into the old and say "This is where the muse took me!" I mean, I was in the middle of writing one and haven't stopped writing... just stopped writing on that old idea. Hmmm... maybe I can just make the new idea like a dream in the old idea's world. Yeah, that might work. Because then I'd be up to like 16k words! Right on track. Come on, does anyone have my back on this??);
  13. Blog hopping, blog hopping, blog hoppin.
Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

let us talk goals...

You know, I keep hearing that if you write your goals down you have a better chance of reaching them. I think this is only the case if you don't care about letting yourself down. Now, throwing those goals out into the world for everyone to know about and hold you to, that's another matter entirely.

So this is a post dedicated to where I am and where I think I might be going...

Where I am:
  1. The partial to DB&D was reveived by the agent on October 30. She generally has a two-week turn around on partials but she's on vacay this week which might set her behind which means I just have to put it out of my mind.
  2. I'm up to 40k words revised on DB&D (so if she requests the full I have some serious writing to do). But in total I have 50k written and about 15k left to write and then MASSIVE overhaul and edits to make it "finished." As a side note, I'm excited about the prospect of DB&D being finished because then I can try to sell it like crazy without the fear of someone asking for the full when the full doesn't exist.
  3. Driving home from vacation a while back, The Boy and I came up with a great idea for a YA series that I've been really excited about. I gave myself permission to NaNo it, but something isn't clicking. I'm up to 8k on it but... well... that's a whole other post (I promise!)
  4. So on the way home from work last week a first line came to me that I loved. I loved it so much that I stopped in the middle of my office building and emailed it to myself (oh, for once the blackberry comes in handy!). I read the line to The Boy who also liked it. But it is a story that is SO SO SO unlike DB&D or the other series I came up with. It's much more like the type of voice that I use for my personal essays - all about the flow of the language. It's also set in a world that The Boy came up with for one of his pitches. Like I said, I wasn't feeling the NaNo project because I couldn't get the voice (so similar to DB&D) and so I was like "screw it, I'll try this new new idea because it is so different." So far this week I've written almost 8k on it. Every evening I sit down and write about 2k and then during the course of the night and the next day the next 2k comes to me... this book is slowing unfolding itself for me and I'm really enjoying it!! Of course, since it's The Boy's world I have to run everything by him..
So there you have it, where I am now. Onto the goals portion of our blog entry:
  1. Golden Heart deadline approaches. I must enter. Which means I must know the word count for DB&D before entering. I will figure this out and enter by the end of next week.
  2. Entry for Golden Heart due in December. This means having book actually finished! And synopsis! Which means knowing how it ends! Thankfull at my law firm there is something I like to call "the black hole of the fiscal year." It's three days at the end of our fiscal year when billable hours do not count - they don't go to last year's totals or to next year's. And so I'm taking those days off. And the Monday before because, well, I've hit my hours for this year already. Woot. All of that adds up to lots of time to finish writing DB&D. Besides, all that really matters is the partial (done) the synopsis (not done) and that you hit your word count (not done).
  3. Keep working on new new project. I figure that as long as the story is unfolding for me I should get it down. I'm terrified that if I skip a few days or try to set it aside that I'll lose it. Plus, I'm aiming for this one to be around 50k. I'm just now realizing how amazingly short that is. I mean, that's like just over 100 pages! And I'm 23 pages in!
  4. Um, keep writing, I guess. I've hit this great stride where I'm writing a lot. I mean, every day after work and then on the weekends. I haven't even watched my shows piling up on TiVi!!!
  5. Oh, cripes, I also have to remember to keep in touch with critique partners.
Ok, I think I can do it! Any readers out there, feel free to hound me on these things!! I will give updates!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election day coverage... (or how I got lost in a church trying to vote)

Hello loyal reader (ahem, The Boy),

While I've been planning for a while to talk about NaNo (we're 7 days in already!), instead I feel compelled to discuss voting. I promise to be non-partisan :)

As many of you know, recently The Boy and I bought a house and days before that I finally (officially) changed my addy to NC (in a 20 minute drive by of the DMV - a miracle, I tell you!). Weeks later, while we were drowning in boxes, my voter registration card arrived in the mail and I set it in a very special place. So special that I couldn't find it last night.

I'd planned on voting on my way to work this morning but (a) I didn't know where to go to vote and (b) I had a very very important meeting at work on Tuesday morning that is a standing meeting that is always cancelled but this Monday I'd been careful to email the PIC (partner in charge) to find out if the meeting was on for a change and he assured me it would be (and the sweetie he is, he reminded me that polls open at 6:30 so I shouldn't have any trouble making it to work on time but he'd understand if I was a few minutes late...). Sigh...

So I postponed voting till later in the day. Natch, the meeting was cancelled (while I was walking in to work).

On the way home from work and on my way to the polling place I bought a large bottle of wine to keep me and The Boy company while we watch voting results.

Anyways, so it's been raining here all day. And that means that when I left work it was PITCH BLACK DARK. I was supposed to be voting at the Avondale Presbyterian Church. It's 2 blocks from my home but still was hard to find in the dark. I pulled into the parking lot and ran through the drizzle following the signs to go vote. I end up in a very large courtyard with no signs.

I see red balloons and I think, "this must be the place!" I go towards it but then see orage baloons closer. So I go over there but they're only orange paper lanterns. D'oh! So I go back to the red balloons. Oops, they're paper lanterns too. I see a woman walk out of a door near the lanterns. I ask, "do you know where voting is?" She looks at me. She says, "this is a church." I said, "I know, the voting is here." She says, "are you sure?" I say, "yes, Avondale church, voting." She says, "I don't know."

I traipse through the rain to another woman. Ask about voting, she points up a dimly lit path and I follow it through the doors into a multi-purpose room. I tell the people in charge that it's hard to find where to vote and they scurry to make it right (although when I leave it is still dark and there are no signs). I sign in (whew, the don't ask for ID cause then I'd have to put the beat down) and then I stand under a portrait of some reverand while I wait to vote in one of three electronic voting machines.

The good news is that our voting machines were very very easy to use (if you can use an ATM you could use these) and also they kept paper trails (thank goodness!). I wait about 15 min, spend a few minutes voting and then am out of there with my "I Voted!" sticker. But still, I felt like I was in an alternate universe when I was wandering around a church-yard trying to vote.

But it makes me wonder, why is it so difficult to vote? Any why was I voting in a church? For being the cornerstone to democracy, I can think of so much more than can be done to make it easier. For example, before I left to vote I looked online for my ballot so I could look up some candidates. I couldn't find it. And in my state we're voting for judges (which I don't agree with) and I'm an attorney so I feel compelled to make really good decision on judges but I didn't know some of the races so I couldn't make informed decisions and so I couldn't vote...sigh...

Now to drink my wine (ok, I admit, I've been drinking it already :)

Monday, November 06, 2006

I am teh roxxor!

I got this quiz from Maureen's blog and I took it with great amounts of trepidation. I don't really know why I should be shocked by the results, but I am nonetheless :) Woot!

You paid attention during 100% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The postman always rings twice...

...or not at all. So Saturday was one of those blissful days of sitting on the couch in front of the fire, pounding away on my NaNo project, The Boy next to me, working on a short story. For the first time, I decided to open the front door (we have a wooden front door and then a glass door too) so that we could let some light in and enjoy the beautiful fall day (by the way, the cats LOVED it, all day one would lounge in front of the fire while the other kept watch on the critters in the front yard). We live near the entrance to a park so people are always walking by.

Anyway, after a while I decided to snuggle up with The Boy, give him a few kisses. He said "the door is open," and I said, "don't worry." Kiss kiss kiss, kiss kiss kiss. He said again, "remember that the door is open" and I said "don't worry, no one on the street can really see us." Kiss kiss ---

And then I heard the cat scrabble, claws on the hardwoods as he tore away from the front door. And then I heard a thwap.

You see, we have a mail slot in our wooden door - that's how our mail is delivered. Usually the mail doesn't get here until late late afternoon. Yesterday the mail-man was early. I hope we made his day :)

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Oddly, not having posted on your blog in months and months and months wasn't one of the questions in the following quiz. Go figure.

You Are 44% Evil

You are evil, but you haven't yet mastered the dark side.
Fear not though - you are on your way to world domination.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

note to self:

note to self: no using round-up to kill that pesky vine real quick while intoxicated.

Really a rule that we should all live by.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

I am so lame...

Sigh... so sorry about my absense. I wish I had a good excuse but no. Sure I've been working, sure I've been reading tons. Writing? Not enough. Plotting? Eh, maybe enough.

See, I've figured something out about my plot, something new that I can't believe I'd missed before. But this leaves me in a conundrum. Right now I have two partial requests from agents (one from before and another from the conference). These are both top top agents that I would LOVE to be associated with. So I don't want to screw up.

I had my partial all ready to go and then Diana P. sent back her thoughts (huge thanks to her for critiquing my partial when she had so much on her plate!!) and they were dead on. I mean things that only an outsider would really pick up on. Then another writer critiqued my work and came up with the same conclusions. All pointing to the same issue: I've started in the wrong place.

Of course, I'd already chopped off chapter 1 once, and intuitively I knew that these two women's critiques were dead on. So here we went again: more chopping. Now I've rearranged the first three chapters, cut some, added some and am close to being done. Big yea! But...

Now I'm afraid of sending the partial off without finishing up the whole thing. I was so close to having it finished before but then went back and read through and... well... I had to ask "who cares?" I was missing some umph, some drive. For the last few weeks I've been pondering, wondering, worrying, stressing, not writing.

And finally, just last week I got the idea. I had to roll it around a bit, taste the idea and now I know exactly how it fits in.

But it does mean some big rewrites. Like, there's a whole new plot line that has to be added and it's a major driving plot line.

So what are y'all's thoughts? Do I send the partial off, with the chance that there might be a full request with no full to send? Or do I wait, write the full, and then send the partial off?

The one thing I know for sure: I've been very disappointed with out easy it has been to turn my back on everything. Blogging, writing... everything. Sigh...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

You go Diana P. and Secret Society Girl!!

Go buy it. Seriously, do it.

You may ask why I'm pushing Diana's book on my blog. Well, there are lots of reasons, many of which echo those of Marley Gibson (she was a guest blogger on TKA blog and wrote a very touching piece - the comments are worth checking out too).

Before I get into all of that, though, first let's chat about the book:

The exploits of Ivy League secret societies have provided healthy fodder for writers. Peterfreund is the latest to go inside the exclusive clubs, albeit with a romantic twist to her plot. Amy Haskel is a junior at prestigious Eli University, the unassuming editor of the literary magazine, and a self-described commitment-phone. When she's "tapped" by the most elite and mysterious society on campus, Rose & Grave, life takes a turn for the bizarre. Soon she's swilling champagne with the sons of senators and CEOs, and keeping secrets from her roommate and her not-quite boyfriend. This is the first in a planned Secrety Society Girl series, and Peterfreund leaves some loose ends to entice readers to pick up her next installment. The story is frivolous but fun to read--full of quirky characters and situations. It's bound to appeal to readers looking for entertaining escape and college humor. (from Booklist).

It's getting great reviews about what a fun book it is to read which is the best thing I think anyone can say about a book!

Now a bit more about the author and why I care about a book I haven't even read. It's a long story so get comfy. Back in the year 2000 I was totally tapped into the romance writing world. I was a member of tons of groups and had gabs of time to write to my heart's content. I even started a little website design company for authors (and helped start a little group that later became Then I took a few years off, went to law school, etc.

At the beginning of this year I re-committed myself to my goal of becoming a romance writer (it's a 10 year goal) and my first step was to get tapped back into the romance writing community. I'd never been one for blogs, but after reading a few helpful emails by Diana on some loops, I stumpled on her blog. I quickly devoured the archives, finding someone else who approached so many things about "the writing gig" the way I did. Her rants were all things I've bitched about in the past. Her dedication to learning craft, to learning the market, to truly understanding the industry was right on par with my approach. Finally, her dedication was inspiring and kept me writing.

I loved reading the archives, knowing that in the end she wrote a kick ass book and got a mongo fab deal. It was neat to see when she got the idea for Secret Society Girl, ran with it, and to know how it turned out. It was fascinating to follow the ups and downs as they happened, and it totally encouraged me. Here was someone who worked really hard at writing, who learned from her mistakes, who bucked tradition and made it.

I know I sound like a scary stalker but I'm not (I'm not!!). It's just been so much fun to watch someone who worked so hard make it - fun to watch the excitement as the book launches and the reviews come out. And I'm constantly impressed that even with deadlines looming and parties and promotions to plan and execute she's still out there on the loops and boards helping newbies out, answering our questions, giving advice (and ranting - those are always fun).

Alls I'm saying is, I feel like I owe a lot to "meeting" Diana (I won't go into all of that here - even I recognize too much sap) and so I thank her heartily for it!!

Now, go buy the book :)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

So much sh*t... so little time...

Okay, I just moved a year ago. And at that time I gave away like 10+ boxes to goodwill not to mention the dozens of bags of trash I threw away. So how is it that I have so much crap to pack? Everywhere I look - crap. Stuff that all needs to make it from Point A to Point B before Friday.

The salt and pepper shaker, the RWA magazines, the VCR and xBox 360 controllers. Eye drops, cotton balls, sheets, christmas lights, books, books, and more books. I even came across my old rejection letters from my first book (3 of the 6 requested partials and then fulls - go me!).

And in all of this madness I have to remember what I need for Nationals and not pack it. I've already lost my old RWA Conference badge (with original PRO pin). I remember putting it in a safe place during the last move but where that save place is now is a mystery. I found an ID badge from high school but my PRO pin? Forgetaboutit.

As for the big move, we're still wondering what the cats will think. Right now they're a little freaked out. My cat - Sam - is loving the boxes but won't let us out of his sight. The Boy's cat... well, she's as neurotic as ever (and smelly).

Wish us luck on the Big Move. Right now I'm looking at having to pack the nail clippers, guitar pick, and collection of pens sitting on my coffee table. What an odd collection of items!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Archival pats on the back...

I'm a big fan of reading other blog archives. In fact, this is something that has really kept me excited about my current WIP. There is nothing more fun than knowing that someone has sold / has an agent/ is succesful/ has finished a new WIP/ whatever than going back and reading through their struggles.

Seriously, it's like reading a fairy tale. You know there's a happily-ever-after and you get to go back and read their thoughts real time. You read about the fears, the ups and downs, the struggle and success.

In fact, that's one of the reasons I keep this blog even though I'm not widely read :) I hope that someday someone out there will be starting out, will wonder what it's like to be at the beginning and will read my story and be inspired. I know that's how I've felt reading other people's history.

In that vein, today I was reading Shannon McKelden's archives and something stood out: she asked how many pats on the back a writer needed to believe in their own work. Great question!

All I know is that I've received a lot today. My other sister wrote to say she LOVED my partial and wants more as soon as I write it. Another internet writer friend told me that she liked it - this is someone who is not obligated to be nice to me! Then someone else whose opinion I admire tons told me it was cool and funny! My writing - cool and funny! Who knew?!

Like I said before, I know that the passion should come from within, the knowledge* that you can write, can succeed* has to come from yourself.

But that doesn't mean it's not awesome to hear someone else say what you like you tell yourself. Thanks everyone!

* As I've said before... I can't spell worth a shirt. Live with it.