Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Long-Term Spending Habits

I got in a conversation the other day with ... the fella, I think it was. We were talking about music and "oldies" and what music we had and liked back in the day--when we were in junior high and high school.

These days, the "must have" tech is an iPod or similar MP3 player. Back then, it was a portable record player, or for the really rich kids, a stereo. (This is pre-boombox days, folks. I'm old) And instead of a playlist, my friends had stacks of .45 rpm records. Singles.

I owned one. That's right. One lone .45 rpm single. (Dedicated to the One I Love by The Mamas and the Papas) And our ... you can't call it a stereo. It was an old cabinet-style radio with a turntable in the top. It was the equivalent of having one song on an old ... Walkman. Maybe. It's not so much that I was impoverished, though with multiple siblings and a dad with a college prof's salary, I didn't have a whole lot of disposable income. It's just that I chose to spend my money on different things.

This was the moment of epiphany. Because when I considered what I spent my disposable income on back in my high school days, I realized that it is exactly the same as what I spend my disposable income on Today. I buy books, and I buy earrings.

I have two massive piles of books in my office, and a rapidly growing pile on the table behind the recliner in the den of books I've read since the new year that I don't want to mix with the books I read Last Year. I don't just buy books. I buy BOOKS. Lots, and lots and lots of books. I buy books almost every week, three or four or five at a time. (I think I bought 5 at Target this week...) (Some weeks I'll get a couple at Target and 3 or 4 more at Barnes & Noble.) (Hmm. I bought those books at Target on Tuesday, and today I ordered 4 more at B&N online...) (And I just got a second panel of books to read for RWA's RITA contest.) (Hello, my name is Gail and I'm a bookaholic.)

And I buy earrings. I have an extensive earring wardrobe. I've become a bit more discerning in my earring purchases in the last...mumbledy-something years. (I'm a grandmother. You do the math.) But I own a pair of balsa-wood parrot-in-turquoise-straw-hat earrings, and I would snap up a pair of lady-bug earrings like I had when I was in high school in a New York minute. (I also have garnets, lots of Navajo silver, silver from Norway, turquoise slabs, green amber...lots of stuff.) I'm a sucker for cool earrings.

There are other things I tend to spend my money on. Office supplies--I can get all oogly over pens and notebooks. Yarns and fabric for crafting and quilting. Paint supplies. Flowering plants--indoors or out. Books about crafting and quilting and painting and gardening...though that's back to the books, isn't it? Thing is--all those things go back years and years and years too. I bought my first African violet when I started college. I learned to sew in high school. I took oil painting lessons in high school. And of course, I was writing things in notebooks. (Fan fiction for the original Star Trek, and for High Chaparral, which you trivia buffs may know something about.)

I haven't outgrown my addictions. I've just become better funded.

Oh, and I'm still writing. We'll be in Paris for the rest of the book.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


One of My Lovely MySpace friends told me that they pre-ordered The Eternal Rose from today. (Or maybe yesterday. Time is relative in cyberspace.) Anyway, I was totally shocked and thrilled, since I hadn't known until then that the books were available for pre-order. (Yay!!)

ISBN stands for something blah like "International Standard Book Number" (which might be right, or might not, because I'm totally guessing) but that is what makes a book "real." It's not the paper or the cover, tho those totally help in the "real"-making, but e-books, which have covers and type, but no paper, have ISBNs. The ISBN identifies the book to the public, and to bookstores and to anybody who wants to know about a book. Two books can have the same cover. Two authors can have the same name (which is frowned upon, but happens). Many, many books have the same plots. (FYI, there are only 16 plots. Or maybe only three. Depends on who you ask.)

But no book will ever, ever, ever have the same ISBN. It identifies one book and one book only. MINE. What is this secret number, you ask? Well, first of all, it's NOT a secret. (Share this news with your friends.) And secondly, there are actually two numbers. There are so many books, the ISBN people are switching from a 10-digit number to a 13-digit number.

That said, Here they are:
  • ISBN-10: 080957165X

  • ISBN-13: 978-0809571659

Go forth and pre-order. If you want to.

Oh, and I'll be posting a pre-pre-order excerpt from the book for my newsletter sometime next month, probably (depending on when I can remember to do it, and if I don't, nag me, 'kay?), so if you're not signed up for the newsletter and you want to be, send me an e-mail with "Subscribe" in the subject line, and I'll sign you up.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Dadgum! It's COLD!!!

I was going to do a blog about Maureen Dowd and her cluelessness, but I've never been able to read Dowd anyway (Oh, how I miss Molly Ivins! She's the only one who really ever got Texas politics) and we all know she needs a great big giant clue, so forget about her. I just want to get WARM.

We finally got the snow/ice melted off our back patio, and it decides to snow again. And get really, really cold. It's gotten warm enough to melt some of it off, especially off the streets, so I haven't had to do the 4-wheel drive thing, but it only stays that warm till for about 15 minutes, then gets cold again. Ugh. This time last year, my tulips were coming up. It snowed all morning yesterday, and most of the morning today. Good writing weather.

I actually got 7 pages written today, the most all week, but still not as many as I wanted. I may reach Paris soon. In fact, I'm hoping to get everyone there tomorrow. Cross your fingers.

I should have re-potted my plants this afternoon--I bought the potting soil so I could do it--but didn't get there. I went to the college basketball games, but missed the end of the women's game and the beginning of the men's because I went to community choir. All ladies tonight, but at least there was more than me and the director this time. (I forgot completely last week...) It was fun to sing, but I rusted the voice out doing it and didn't cheer at the ball game at all. I clapped really loud, tho.

Just agreed to write an article for the Published Authors RWA chapter website. Got to do that by Monday. Now, if I can get any revisions for Eternal Rose from my editor, I may have my ducks in a row.

Um--another painting. I think I finished this one last August or September. I painted it from this photo I took.

Let's see...I went on a reading binge earlier this week. I read Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs, Let There Be Suspects by Emilie Richards (a cute mystery with a minister's wife heroine), Catching Stanley by Deirdre Martin (hockey playing hero, neurotically shy dog trainer heroine), Howling Moon by C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp, (hero's a werewolf, heroine's a shapshifting jaguar with a serial killer jaguar after her), and Maelstrom by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Moon (living planet that's evolving the people and beings living on it). Hmm. No wonder I'm not getting much written this week. Reading too much...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Slow weekend

It's been a really slow weekend. We talked about getting tickets for the Sousa concert at the Amarillo Symphony, but when the fella had trouble getting home from Austin, it's just as well we didn't. Amarillo was socked in with fog and freezing drizzle most of the morning and early afternoon. He's been spending a lot of time in Austin, because the Texas legislature is meeting. They only meet for a few months every other year and all the business has to be done very quickly--the theory was that if they didn't meet too often, they couldn't cause too much trouble--and being in the junior college business, the fella feels the need to be present to make sure the gummint doesn't forget to fund the colleges. (They only pay for about 1/3 of the cost of running them, right now...but this isn't a government or educational blog).) Anyway, it means that for the next several months, he'll be in Austin almost as much as he's at home. And it's nice when he comes home again. :)

We spent the weekend just hanging out. We watched a couple of the movies I rented to watch while he was gone, and didn't watch at all. I read a book. We changed lightbulbs--this is a complicated process that involves getting out a ladder (high ceilings) and lots of cussing, so we tend to let a lot of lightbulbs burn out before we go round changing them. And okay, he does most of the work. I stand by ready to catch him in case the ladder wobbles, and throw away the old lightbulbs. But we replaced three of the four bulbs in the den, two of the three lights in the spare room, the light in the laundry room, one of the bathroom lights and... surely there was another one--oh yeah, one of the 4 bulbs on the ceiling fan fixture in our bedroom. (Told ya we wait till we're fumbling in the dark.) We can see again! (I really like the fluorescent fixtures in the bathrooms...)

I'm going to have to start going to basketball games with him again soon--except this week, it's on Thursday, which is choir night--okay, I completely forgot to go to the community choir this past week, but the fella was out of town, and it's harder to remember stuff when I don't have any schedule at all to keep... Anyway, I can go to the ball game, then sneak out for choir practice, then sneak back for the rest of the guys' game.

I've made an emergency hair cut appointment for tomorrow afternoon. I need to make myself a big sign to put on my desk so I don't forget to go. We're getting a family picture made early Tuesday morning, and my hair has reached that icky in-between too-long-to-be-short and too-short-to-be-long stage, where some of it wants to flip out, some of it wants to flip under, and some of it sorta wants to go sideways...(No I do not have photos!) and no way am I having my picture made with in-between hair...

I need to write a "alumnus success story" article for Gwen Shuster-Haynes' marketing workshop. I'm not sure it got me to doing more things that what I was already doing, but I feel better about the things I'm accomplishing, and I think I'm focused better.

Okay. This weekend, I watched Sixteen Blocks with Bruce Willis (liked it), and Mrs. Henderson Presents with Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins. I also read Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and Tongue in Chic by Christina Dodd. (Dodd's title doesn't seem to have anything to do with the story, but it's cute, and I liked the book. I liked both books, actually.)

Back to work in the a.m.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Nothing new

Nothing much has happened since yesterday, except I did finally get boxes and stuff to mail out the goodies to the winners of the contest I held for my newsletter subscribers. They're all ready to mail and sitting stacked in the den.

Didn't call my sister for her birthday yesterday... (Happy Birthday Cathy!!) Didn't repot my plants which are all sitting with the new pots on the kitchen counters. I really ought to do that tomorrow. Never did get tickets to the Sousa concert the Amarillo Symphony is having. I guess I'm not as productive as I thought I was...except I did get lots of stuff mailed.

So now, I'm going to post another one of the paintings I finally took pictures of. I finished this one around Thanksgiving...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Staying busy

I finished a new painting last night. I carried it out onto the patio (which is finally almost melted off, after a month of snow & ice back there) to photograph it --along with the others I hadn't got round to taking pictures of. I'm really proud of how it turned out... Even if I did trace it with an opaque projector--it doesn't look like paint-by-numbers. Now I have to find photos of the other kids to paint...

Been mailing a lot of stuff lately, clearing the decks to get back to finishing a manuscript. I sent the revised synopsis for the Victorian steampunk fantasy I'm working on to my agent on Monday. Yesterday, I mailed off a couple of contest entries. Today, I finished revisions on a dark-ish paranormal and will be getting that in the mail this afternoon. Hopefully the editor will get back to me soon on any revisions wanted for The Eternal Rose. Until then, I'll be getting back to finishing the Victorian, New Blood.

Oh, I finished Kristi Gold's new book, Fall From Grace, last night--read it all in one huge gulp. Fabulous book--one I think she was born to write, and I know she's been wanting to write it for a long time. Wonderful, heartwarming story.

Let's see, what else do I have to tell you? The lump on my wrist is what was once known as a "Bible cyst" (aka a ganglion cyst) because once upon a time, to treat it, you'd lay your arm/wrist out on a table and get somebody to thump it hard with a big Bible and pop it. As long as it doesn't get to really hurting bad, I guess I'll just leave it be.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Super Sunday

Fixing to go to a Sunday school party at the local doctor's house (there's only one in town) for the Super Bowl. Spent the afternoon making Marshmallow Treats and Chex Mix. Since the fella's allergic to all wheat stuff, I leave out the wheat Chex and pretzels and bagel chips and just put in lots and lots of rice & corn chex, and extra nuts. We like it. :)

I have my Victorian synopsis all ready to send off to the agent. Spent Friday trying to condense my WWII story down to a 2-page synopsis. I had to put it into Times New Roman to get it down that short, but it works.

Only contests are that strict about length. Yeah, I'm going to enter this in a contest--it's a totally new genre for me--historical, non-romance. The Panhandle Professional Writers of Amarillo's Frontiers in Writing contest is a good all-genre contest for everything from poetry to screenplays to non-fiction articles, with cash prizes, and the only publication requirement is that the manuscript entered has not been contracted for publication. You can have other stuff published. So I'm entering. I have to finish the revisions on the entry pages, and get it mailed off by the end of the month.

I also have to finish judging three more contest entries, and read one more book for the RITA awards. I guess those are my goals for next week. Get my pages revised and get the contest entered. Finish all the judging.

And I have to go back to the doctor yet again. The neck lump is shrinking, but when we went to the high school basketball games Friday night--last district games of the season--and when I was clapping and hollering for the kids, this...thing that feels like a bone...came sprangling out of my wrist. I have yet another weird lump--this one's under the skin right at the base of my thumb. I tell ya, I'm getting tired of this lump/spot business! Oh well. At least I can still type...