Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thankful for so much

Thanksgiving isn't quite here, but we're staying home with the boys (of all varieties--plus a couple of girlfriends) and I'll probably be spending most of the time cooking (at least before Thursday), so I figure I'll get my "Thankful" blog post in now.

So, first of all, I am supremely, supremely thankful that Hurricane Ike didn't leave us homeless like it did so many of our friends and co-workers. And that we have been able to help the little bit we have.

I'm thankful for my new book contract, that I'll have a book coming out in the new year and two more to write. (Ack!--but I'm still thankful.) I'm thankful for my readers. Y'all are the bestest.

I'm thankful for my family. I'm thankful that the spouse is in a (so far) recession-proof "industry." When people lose jobs, they tend to go back to school to learn how to do new stuff. Those who run the schools are needed. I'm thankful the kids are all in education too. I'm thankful my parents are (mostly) in the "cheerful" stage of memory loss, and that my sister is close by.

I'm thankful the island is sorta starting to get itself put back together. I'm trying to do business here, to support the folks struggling to hang in there. Mostly, I can. I think I can even get new lenses for my glasses here. I'm grateful I can still see. (Went to the opthalmalotlorthekrhksjht... okay, I got lost in there, somewhere. The eye doctor. Went today. I'm still a little sun-sensitive... but I can see!)

It really has been a good year. Maybe even a great year. Lots of ups and downs, but I think the ups are winning.

So, what are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Still plugging away

I'm plugging along--at life, as well as the writing. I'm very tired today. Had trouble sleeping last night after my local RWA chapter meeting. (I love getting to see everyone and talk writing at least once a month.) I think I drank too many Cokes with caffeine too late at night. Anyway, after tossing and turning, I got up and read Jeri Smith-Ready's THE REAWAKENED.

It was one of the two books I got at Borders' "Buy One Get One Half-Price" coupon thingie (My other book was AN INFAMOUS ARMY by Georgette Heyer. I have broad tastes.) and was really NOT the book to be reading in the middle of the night when one needs to go to sleep. I read the whole thing.

But I still got 3 pages written today. I was going to be happy with two. I got up late, didn't have much time to get writing in before heading off to work, and just didn't think I'd get much done. But hey! THREE pages. And I got 5 pages Monday and 6 pages Tuesday. I've been having so much trouble getting Anything written, for a while there I was happy to have a mere half-page done. Maybe it's because I'm able to be a little more consistent with getting to the desk, or maybe...I don't know. But I am pleased with my progress.

The workshop last night had me thinking a lot about my process. The author presenting the workshop claims to be a "pantser," someone to whom plotting does not come naturally. But dang, she plots her books WAY more than I do, and--while I Cannot write as a pure "fly into the mist" type, I can't write down what scenes go in what chapters either. If she is a pure organic writer, she's probably using this plotting-by-chapter method to keep herself on track, but my books don't have that much structure that early.

They have structure, but they don't have chapters. I don't know where my chapter breaks fall until I put the book into the computer on my 2nd draft. I know my turning points, and I write from one to the next, but if I tried to decide ahead of time what scenes will go into what chapter--I never know just how long a scene is going to be before I write it. It might expand way beyond what I think it will be once I get into it--and then have to be shortened. Or maybe not. I was thinking in an earlier place that I would get some action into the story by having a riot--but something else happened instead. And my heroine had to be rescued. Hmm. The scene I'm working on now will have a riot-ish occurrence--so this would probably be a good place to show her competence, and that she can rescue the hero as well... Okay, good. Thanks for helping me with that.

In other news, there is a brand new stoplight--not a post-hurricane repaired one, but a brand, spanking new one--on my way to work. I haven't decided yet if I like it. I seldom go through it during rush hour--and yes, we do have one. So the stop sign really worked better for me when I was using it. But everyone else is probably glad of not getting run over by rush hour. ;) On the rest of the island, we're still dealing with "sometimes the stoplights work, and sometimes they don't." Oh well.

I'm going to draw names for the ARC giveaway for my newsletter subscribers after Thanksgiving. The Texas grandboys, and our boys, will be home for the holiday, so I'm not going to think about promo stuff till then. I'll try to blog next week. Who knows. Maybe I'll make it back here before then.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


The writing is going better this week. (Knock on wood. I sure don't want to jinx anything by saying so.)

Yes, I only got 2 pages written yesterday, but I finished a love scene, and those Always take me longer. And today, I got 6.5 pages written. Aftermaths are always easier.

I was limited to 2 pages because I had to take the computer in to the shop. (There is a "spare" in the boy's room.) All the places on the island that I knew about got flooded, but a Computer Geeks shop on the mainland sounded good, so I carted it in (they even do housecalls, but I wanted to take it in) and left my baby in their hands. They've already called me to discuss what the problem probably is, so...maybe I'll have it back soon. I'm contemplating getting it upgraded. We'll see how much that will cost me.

And on the way back, I got to drive across the New Side of the Causeway. The southbound lanes are finished and I drove across. It was pouring rain, the wind was blowing really hard, so I was having to concentrate on staying in my lane, rather than looking around. I have a high profile vehicle, so the wind can really catch it and blow me around--and it did. But it was nice to have lots of room, normal width lanes, emergency lanes, and all that. It's really going to be nice when it's all done.

Today, we were supposed to have a 70% chance of rain, but all the rain must have fallen yesterday. It's gorgeous outside...

And I'm driveling. So I'll stop.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

One Step Forward, Two--Sideways?

The traffic light at Ave. O has gone out again. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't.

I'm excited because I can go pick up mail more often, now that they have trailers with P.O. boxes in them at my post office. Of course this new substitute mailbox is so tiny, we have to pick it up often... I am waiting on books (no surprise) and meds, so I hope they get here soon. Soon-ish.

And the causeway is almost done! I think the southbound lanes, which have been under construction since long before we moved to town, have already opened. It will be another few weeks while they re-stripe the northbound lanes (both north- and southbound traffic have been traveling on that side) to give us emergency lanes and shoulders, but it is almost finished. I am not the only person who will be happy. The causeway suffered no damage in the storm--except for some newly planted palm trees that got smashed down and a busted up sign or two. The roadway--even the part under construction--was just fine. Okay, it had a lot of boats and sand strewn all over it, but once they moved the boats, no problem. (They were still moving boats early this week...) (Lots of boats on the causeway.)

I'm in a good mood. I got 6 pages written today. Doesn't sound like much, but that's my "usual" number (especially considering I only wrote 1.5 yesterday)--though I'm still striving to get more, even with the interruptions. The switch from Daylight time falling at the same time as returning from New York's Eastern time has me waking up early, so I get to work earlier and can get more done.

Also, I went to get the new LKHamilton book, Swallowing Darkness, the day it came out, as well as J.D. Robb's Salvation in Death, and am happily devouring same.

Life. It requires laundry. And groceries. And people who cook food. I had better go take care of some of those things.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Warmer weather

Back home again under sunny skies and WARM weather. It got up to 80F yesterday. But I need to finish the story, right? The one about the trip to NYC.

We're up to Friday, I believe. I had good intentions about writing in the mornings while I was there. But good intentions often flounder when faced by--well, good books. And a soft bed. And other temptations. I didn't write diddly-squat. Not one stinkin' word, much less a good word. But I shall persevere. (Just not today.)

See, right before I went to New York, I did some reviews (look me up on Good Reads or Shelfari) which I share with an online loop (Romance Readers Anonymous--look it up at Yahoo! Groups) and with Sarah at the Smart Bitches site, and when I sent it to Sarah, I mentioned that I would be in her neighborhood, and maybe we could get together sometime. She e-mailed me back, and when I checked e-mails online on the fella's laptop, I saw it, called her, and we set up lunch together on Friday. So I had TWO business lunches in NYC.

I left early, because of my getting-turned-around issues, so hopefully I wouldn't get too lost and would have time to find the place and not be late. And of course, despite my little out-and-in dance at the subway doors, I got there early, so I had time to walk around the block and look at all the fancy schmanzy jewelry stores. I was almost afraid to look at some of those things too closely in the windows, they were so fancy and expensive looking. It was really fun talking to Sarah. She thinks in a lot more depth than I do--or maybe she's more conscious of it than I am. It was a fabulous lunch. (I had pizza--I don't get to often, given then fella's allergies.) We'd never met in person, but it was as if we'd been friends--for months, anyway. Lots of fun.

She suggested walking down 5th Ave. to see the stores--so I did. Until my knees and hips gave out--I still shop till I drop, but the drop point comes a lot sooner these days.

Friday night, we went to see To Be or Not To Be--a play, not a musical. It was very good also. We just had the best time going to see plays and shows. Let's see--Friday was the dinner with his board of directors. Went to a Tuscan/Northern Italian restaurant and had a fabulous dinner (veal crepes for appetizer, beef w/polenta, etc.) in great company. We went before the show, which I liked a little better, I think, than going afterward.

Saturday, we slept kind of late, then went out to find something for the grandboys. We shopped around the hotel, in Times Square, (I got a Times Square mug for me--had tea in it today) then went down to Chinatown to shop some down there, and have lunch. (General Tso's chicken, this time.) Looked at a lot of stuff, but didn't find anything we really wanted to buy. So we rode the subway back uptown, stopped here and there. New York has some really fancy stores and boutiques. It also has a K-Mart. (We found at least one.) Saw Madison Square Garden. Got myself sorta un-turned around. Saw a fur wholesaler, but what would I do with a fur in Galveston? It barely gets cold enough for a sweater... We finally picked up some gifties for the grandboys, and went back to the hotel for a nap. I took one, anyway.

Saturday night's show was Hairspray. That was the fella's pick. We each picked one musical and got tickets before we left home. Then while we were in town, we decided on the two other plays. We sat on the extreme outside end, but we saw everything just fine. It was a fun show.

But when it was done, we had to go back to the hotel and pack up. Which meant I had to decide what to do with and where to put all those books I got. I've read 2-1/2 of them by now.

Sunday was taken up with getting home again. We left the hotel early to avoid the marathon. Yes, the NY marathon ran that Sunday (that's two marathons I've had to avoid this year), and for several days before hand, there were people in spandex wandering (and sometimes running) all over town. Speaking in all sorts of languages. Even Welsh.

Anyway, we're home again. My brain is more or less functioning. The post office has set up new boxes in trailers behind the downtown postoffice which is still closed, so I don't have to drive off the island any more to get the mail. Gradually, life is getting more and more back to normal. Now I just need to get back to a good writing schedule.