Monday, May 29, 2006

Reading again

I've been "off" reading for a week or two. And may go back off again when I get busy working again, but this weekend I got into some reading, and had lots of fun at it.

I read Neil Gaiman's Stardust first, and really enjoyed it--which honestly kind of surprised me. A lot of people love his stuff because he has such beautiful lovely prose--which he does--and while I do appreciate lovely prose, I mostly read for the story. And a lot of his stories tend to involve wandering around strange landscapes looking at stuff. This one did too, but it was more interesting than the last one I read. Maybe because it was a little shorter and thus faster paced. I don't know. All I know is that I liked it. Matthew Vaughn is making a movie of it, so I'm looking forward to that.

I also read Wedding Survivor by Julia London, which was a cute story about a novice wedding planner who gets involved in planning a wedding for two movie stars in a remote mountain location. She falls for one of the extreme sports tour operator/stunt coordinator guys who is hired to make the wedding happen--he can do the remote mountain stuff, but not the wedding stuff. It was fun.

Then I read Talk Gertie to Me by Lois Winston. This story had me laughing out loud at times, and chuckling most of the rest of the time. It's one of those stories where the heroine's life falls totally apart, then by means of her resurrected childhood imaginary friend, Gertie, manages to put her life back together much better than before. I enjoyed the heck out of this story. It's a really smashing debut book. Can't wait till Lois's next one!

Um--writing: Typed in a few pages. Wrote nothing.

Went to see Mission Impossible III with the spouse this afternoon... It would be really nice if we could go see movies indoors (not at the local drive-in through all the bugs on the windshield) without driving 60 miles cross country, and then 60 miles back home again...

Sewed a quilt block. That is the sum total of my accomplishments for today.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I'm tired

It's Sunday night after a busy, busy week. And a busier weekend.

Saturday was the meeting of PPW, Panhandle Professional Writers, which is pretty much the only operational writer's group in the Texas Panhandle. It caters to all genres and has lots of romance authors as members, as well as inspirational writers and Western writers and freelance article writers--just a little bit of everything. And since I'm the secretary for a couple more months, I needed to be there. I always enjoy going to the PPW meeting, because I always come away inspired to get back to work, and have such a good time talking to other writers.

I left early because the guys (the spouse and the son) were in town, at an auction. Yeah, the fella went back, after buying the place out last week. This time, he didn't get some of the things he wanted, but did get the lovely teapots I wanted (we got four of them this time) and a bedframe for the boy's bed plus 8 boxes of assorted...stuff. Or should I say "stuff." Most of it will go to the son's college apartment in the fall--dishes, glasses, a Crock-pot--things like that. I think people are beginning to learn that I collect teapots. (I also collect little boxes...) (And jewelry. But then, I think there are a lot of women who collect that.)

We had to drive home, then drive back to town for the evening, because I got tickets to see Damn Yankees at the Amarillo community theater. It was a fun evening out. I'd heard most of the songs before, but never seen the whole show all at once at one time, so I really enjoyed it. One of the characters--one of the "sisters" who's a fan of the hero's--reminded me so much of my sister I had to keep checking to make sure--she laughed like my sister, even looked a lot like her when she laughs.

And today, we planted most of those roses that came in the mail. During the heat of the day. Had to be over 100F (38C). I was the one who went to fetch the plants, held them while the hole was dug, poured in the dirt--and two of the silly things attacked me. Yep, I was bleeding from rose-thorn scratches before all was done. But they should do well. (And the scratches were on the back of my hand, so won't interfere with writing.)

Back to work tomorrow. It's going to be a short week, so I'll get as much done as I can before we head south for the nephew's graduation. Wish me luck.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Friday again

So this was a pretty good week, writing wise. I revised the chapter I'd already written. I re-wrote my synopsis and got it down to under 10 pages. Then I wrote twelve more pages for the week. I might, possibly, have Chapter Two written. We'll see, once I get it into the computer.

The roses for our back flower bed came in today. We have 8 red roses like the ones out front (see picture) and 8 yellow floribunda roses. I think the plan is to alternate them. (It's a BIG flower bed.) I think I might have to plant roses tonight--but usually, I don't have to dig the holes myself. I did finish planting the annuals I'd bought for the front beds...

But we're still waiting for the day to cool off. It got up to 97F today (about 36C)--May, even late May, is early for it to be this hot around here. Oh well. Maybe we'll get more rain in a week or so.

Monday, May 15, 2006


I finished it. The Loudest Shirt In Texas. And yes, if you look closely, you'll be able to see that I did put all different colored buttons on the shirt. I bought buttons while in Waco, because I was going that way anyway, and I wanted to finish before I got around to going to Amarillo again (even though Amarillo is about 300 miles closer). But now I have the Loudest Shirt in the state of Texas, and I'm going to wear it when I go to Amarillo tomorrow. At least you will be able to see me coming.

Writing today-only two (2) brand new pages, but I revised the entire first chapter, and got the whole thing into the computer.

I was worried that the tone of this story wasn't right for what I wanted to do with it, but I wasn't sure what I needed to do to make it right. I think I've figured it out now. I can't possibly have a demon who is nicer that Anne Stuart's hero in Black Ice. So I have to mean him up some. Tomorrow I ought to be able to finish the corrections and maybe get it all typed in.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Outside my window

I wrote this morning. (Eight (8!) pages--yayyy!!!) And when I wasn't actually putting words on paper (freakish longhand writer, remember?), I was staring out the window in front of my desk. (look a few photos down)

(The blue sage in the picture is actually out back, next to the driveway--I can't see it from my window--but it's pretty, isn't it?)

It's spring, and the birds are out in full force. There's a blue jay nesting somewhere in the vicinity, because a jay flies down and chases off all the other birds periodically. But the robin keeps coming back. Because I've been digging the stinkin' Bermuda grass out of the flowerbed in front of my south-facing window, there's lots of stems and strands of dried grass lying around, and apparently those strands are just the sort needed for robin nests. He's very picky about just which grass stem he uses to build his nest, picking up and discarding several in a row before finding one that suits him. Still, it's obvious I'd rather watch Mr. Robin than write.

The other window, the one that faces east, looks out under a big pine tree and is shaded most of the day. Nothing grows too well under that tree, or the two tall junipers beside it on that side of the house, and finally, in our second year of living here, the fella has decided to listen when I told him the best thing to do under these nice, shady evergreens is to just Pave It. So we've been plotting out a meandering path from the driveway in the back around to the front sidewalk, and a little patio for a reading chair under the trees, and maybe even a hedge to create a private little room (though it would make the shade even deeper...). We shall see if this patio and path come into being, but it's nice to look out at the shade and think about it...

Now if I can just get all that stinkin' grass dug up! All the petunias are planted. 24 verbena yet to go--plus the 16 roses I'm trying to order...

Thursday: 8 pages
For the week: 24 pages

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Endings and Beginnings

Yesterday, I went to a funeral. Onita Thomas was a dear lady who'd lived almost her whole life in our small rural community, and worked as a nurse for the majority of that time. She raised four boys, so while she was a kind, generous, loving soul, she also knew how to let people know they'd stepped over the line, and they'd better start toeing it again. Even after the doctors decided they couldn't treat her cancer, she continued to work as a nurse at the only doctor's office in the county, right up till two weeks before the end. They shut the office down for her funeral. The whole county pretty much shut down. You had to get there early if you wanted a seat. I'm glad I got the chance to know Onita and her family. Her son and daughter-in-law are very good friends of ours, and a grandson from a different family is a good friend of our son's.

Things like this can wreak havoc on work and ordinary life, but I did manage to get a little bit done. I got 5 pages written yesterday, and worked in the garden digging up more of that nasty Bermuda grass and planting petunias while the fella planted hollies and purple Texas sage. Then I put some of the grass I dug up in the bare spots under one of the pine trees where the neighbor's butchered elm tree will let light reach now. We'll see if it takes...

Tuesday: 5 pages
Wednesday: 4 pages, so far. (I'm going to try to write two more--or maybe do 8-1/2 tomorrow...)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Beginnings and Endings

It's Monday again. Started the actual writing on Devil in Blue Jeans, after some procrastination. And I finished the totebag I've been trying to make for ages for my friend. I made her one back ten years ago, and she's just flat worn it out. So I tried to make her another one, and it didn't turn out right--too short to hold stuff. Anyway, I tried it again. The problem was the webbing/belting used for the straps--the short problem happens when I don't get enough webbing, so I bought lots and lots this time. The totebag is finished and perfect--denim lined with pale pink satin--yeah, have to take a picture of it and post.

So today's accomplishments: wrote 6-1/2 pages (I almost stopped at 5-1/2 pages, but decided if I wanted to write 6 pages a day, I ought to write 6 pages--and then kept going for a bit. ) And made one totebag.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Who's Got the Buttons?

Not me. It wasn't until I had finished my Really Loud Horse Print Shirt that I realized that I had forgotten to buy buttons for the shirt. I went through my stash--everyone who's ever sewed much will have a button stash--if only the "Extra buttons" that come in the tiny ziplok bags with new clothes--I spent several hours going through my button jar and trim stash (the place where all the lace and rickrack and seam tape is kept), pulling out leftover buttons from old projects and extra buttons off various purchases. I dumped all the single buttons into the bottom of the jar, used the leftover plastic bags to hold matching sets, and came up with five black buttons and one hot pink button of the correct size. The shirt requires six buttons.

The store where I bought the fabric--the only one in town that sells it--only had big packages of "assorted buttons" that were too small for the shirt, and no guarantee all the buttons would be the right color. So I tried to decide if I could get away with putting the pink button at the top and black ones the rest of the way down. I asked the fella for his opinion, and he thought I should use pink ones all the way down. Or maybe multi colors--pink and purple and blue and green and yellow and orange--the colors of the horses on the black background... So now I get to go into the "big city" and shop for buttons. I think they're half-price at Hobby Lobby this week...

Oh, and I wrote last week too. I did get the synopsis finished for Devil in Blue Jeans. It's 18 pages long which is much too long for a 75,000 word book--but then in fantasy/paranormal synopses, you have to spend time explaining the fantasy elements, besides the story elements... I had to go back and rewrite the thing, almost from scratch, once--but only once. I'll let it sit while I start the book, and when I get the chapters written, maybe I'll know how to shorten it--or I'll know it can't be shortened. One or the other.

I don't think I mentioned this here either...New Blood has gone in to Luna. I should know if they want it by some time early in July. Cross all your fingers. :)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bigger in Texas

I don't know if everything really is bigger in Texas, but a lot of things are. And if they're not bigger than everywhere else, they're plenty big enough to suit me. I don't want them bigger, thank you. Like hail.

Our little town had a humdinger of a hailstorm yesterday. Fortunately, I wasn't in town--I was in Amarillo purchasing petunias--but the fella called me on my cell phone to make sure I wasn't out walking to the post office or something, because the hail was on its way in, and it was supposed to be bad.

It was. He didn't have time to drive his new(ish) car home and put it in the garage for fear of getting hit by the hail while trying to reach the car, so it sat outside and got seriously dinged. Not just dents--and there are some big ol' dents--but the tennis-ball-sized hail put a ginormous crack (multiple cracks, actually, like a baseball hit it) in the windshield. Now both of us need our windshields replaced. (Mine suffers from truck-thrown-gravel cracks--two of them.)

Nobody got hurt, that I've heard, and the local grapevine is pretty good so I think I'd have heard. But I think there will be a lot of new roofs and new windshields around town in the near future. Best news though was the good rain that came with the hail. A few more rains like that--without hail--and they might lift the burning ban and let us cook on our backyard grill again...

It's almost six. Need to go outside and put those petunias in the ground...

Oh, I finally finished the synopsis on Devil in Blue Jeans, after starting completely over and restructuring only once.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Queen of Klutz-land

I'm writing this without benefit of the right-side shift key, so if I miss any capitalizations, that's why. I'm trying to compensate, but... And I had a hard time finding a split-arrangement keyboard that last time I had to replace one. (sigh)

Anyway, I have--after lo, this many years--decided that I must be the ruling monarch of Klutz-land. I am amazed that I have not killed myself, given all the things I've tripped over, fallen into, onto, between and down. The latest only reinforces the idea. I tried to step from one bathmat to the other in the in-laws upstairs bathroom, missed and went down in slow motion. Lovely bruise on the left knee, missing bits of skin on the right pinky fingers. (Owie!) The twisted knee is all better today.

I started my career as Queen of the Klutzes at an early age. I have vision issues which include poor depth perception, which explains much of the tripping-over-curbs, but cannot explain turning a swingset over on myself at the tender age of five or so...or flipping upside down in my sea-horse swim ring at about the same age. Then there was the young man in college whose face I pitched into when I lost my balance just as he was about to kiss me good night. And the Weimeraner that ran me down on the one day I wore a skirt to class that week (A short one!) in the middle of the mall where pretty much every student on campus passed that time of day. I was so embarrassed I didn't even get the name of the guy who helped me up.

In later years after I married and had children, I graduated to greater things. Like the time I took a header down the steps in church, between Sunday School and church, when everyone was moving past the stairs I fell down. I didn't just fall. I held on tight to the bannister, my head went down, my feet went up, and I did a lovely 360-degree flip, sliding the last few steps to land on the floor at the feet of the District Judge with my skirt up around my waist. Never jumped to my feet so fast in all my life.

I learned that I really cannot judge distances very well, and when stepping from one thing to another, like from a bus to the curb, or from a boat to a dock, I really ought to grab hold of something to be sure I know where everything is. But once, when we had an actual slip for our skiboat (before the motor gave up the ghost), I thought I could get off the boat while carrying the big waterski. The boat was tied up in the slip, front and back. How hard could it be? So I gauged my distance, calculated the size of the step I needed to take, held on tight to the ski and promptly fell between the boat and the dock. Only one leg went in the water, I came out with nothing more than bruises, but I learned my lesson. I make somebody come take my hand before I get off the dang boat, or I go off the side into water with nobody around.

Has nothing to do with writing, but lots to do with life. Besides, when there are little bits missing from the skin over your typing fingers, it Hurts!

Still working on the synopsis for Devil in Blue Jeans...