Thursday, June 30, 2011

Plans of mice and me

Actually, I do not know what the mice are planning. But you might want to be afraid. They're kind of scary-looking, right?

As for me? Nah. No need for fear, or worry or any of that stuff--from you anyway. Me? Yeah, I'm a little nervous.

See, I quit the dayjob. I may have mentioned that in an earlier blog--snuck it in at the end. I'm still AT the dayjob. I'm not officially leaving until July 12. (That's my last day. So does that mean I'm leaving on the 13th?) Why, do you ask? So I can write more, and get into that self-publishing stuff.

I mentioned back in May that I wanted to do this, and since then, I have done very little toward that goal. Yes, I know other people work many more hours than I do, and get lots more done than I do. What can I say? Everyone is different.

I don't make that much at the dayjob, it's just part time, and I take off quite a bit to go see about the parents and help with grandkids or have them visit. And it's not as part time as it used to be. I'm working about 30 hours a week now, which cuts even more into my writing time. But still, I was chicken about taking the plunge.

So, I was walking up the steps into the newspaper office (that's where the dayjob is) one day a week or so ago, thinking "Gee, this job really gets in the way of the writing and publishing stuff I want to do. I could get a lot more done if I quit, but... What I really need is a sign." And when I got inside and signed into my e-mail, I found not just one, but TWO opportunities in writing and editing--one each.

I can take a hint. The "universe" does not need to smack me upside the head.

I still don't know for sure if the freelance copyediting opportunity will pan out like I want it to, but after copyediting here at the newspaper for around four years, plus my writing experience, I know I'm a good copyeditor, and a good editor besides. I imagine it will take a while to get that side of the work going like I want it, especially since I'm not a great salesman. However, I've already had someone approach me about doing a copyedit/proofing of a novel they'll be self-publishing. It may take off faster than I thought.

But even if it doesn't, that will just give me more time to write and publish, and self-publish. I'm not shutting down any avenues. They're all open right now. But I may start with a different story than the one I thought I would. We'll see. I'm not in a huge, huge hurry.

That said, we are at DAY 9.

I went out to get a shrimp po'boy for lunch yesterday and took the story to write with me, instead of a book to read. I am up to an actual love scene, and those always write slow. But it's moving forward!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I do not take pictures

Well, sometimes I take them. But then I don't get around to putting them up for anyone else to see. However, this time, I have not taken any pictures.

I can't find my camera. And while I finally have a phone that will take pictures--I traded up when the fella got a new one--I've forgotten where the camera button is. And I think I have to plug the phone into the computer to upload the pictures, because I don't have a data plan. (Too cheap.) Otherwise, you see, I would have taken a picture of the new car--a smaller SUV than the Silver Beast--and posted it for you. But I can't find my camera, and I forgot how to turn on the phone camera. (I've only had it a week or so! Come on... Gimme a break...)

But it's a lovely vehicle, and we're still negotiating who will be the primary driver. I have been the primary SUV driver over the past 20 years, starting with a big conversion van we got when the kids were 10, 8 and 2--we could put them in it, and they could almost not touch each other. Then I had a Suburban, then the Beast. The fella has mostly been driving sedans. I am ambivalent. I would like to drive the new vehicle, because it's new. Then again, I'd like to drive the Avalon, because it's a car and I've been driving a truck ForEVER. Though I do like to drive trucks--and I can park them. Mostly. (Okay, I still kinda suck at parallel parking.) And yeah, we just picked it up yesterday afternoon.

It's white, and loaded with all kinds of bells and whistles, and we got a good deal on it. (That is a picture of A car like we got. They have lots of pics online... This is not Our car. We do  not have any trees that look like that. They cut them all down after the hurricane, 'cause they were dead. Though the grass--looks green & brown in patches, mostly.)

We didn't trade the Beast, but once the grandkids go home after Pirate Week, we'll sell it. What? You think we're taking them to the beach and water park in the new car??? (Okay, we'll WALK to the beach, but I think fishing is in the plans somewhere... Fish gear in the new car? Ewww.)

I did get some writing done yesterday. Got my words and a bit more while the fella went down to church to help with something. So we're at Day 8. Go me!! It feels slow, though. I'm trying to write a novella! However, I am a "taker-outer." I write too much, then cut stuff.

Um--and tomorrow, I will try to remember to write a post about what I'm going to be doing now that I've quit my dayjob. I'm going to get organized here on this blog. Seriously! I am. Really!!!

Well, as much as a Virgo who is also an Enneagram 9 (fatal flaw: laziness) and an INFP hybrid pantser/plotter taker-outer can get...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I get pictures

See? I get pictures. The grandson needs things to keep him occupied, so they went to the zoo. He says the elephant is nice. 

He thinks his baby sister is nice too. So much, he keeps moving her while she's taking a nap. He puts her on Mom's bed, and she falls off. He may have figured out this is not a good thing, by now. We are hoping she gets too big for him to pick up soon. She's growing fast... 

Yesterday, I wrote. I'm counting Sunday as Day 6, because I wrote extra on Saturday. (I can take one day off a week, if I write extra the day before, but only one day per week.) And I wrote yesterday, so that's Day 7. Today, I don't have to head out to the mainland after the dayjob, like I thought I would, so I ought to be able to write more than just 100 words today. 

I took the registration paperwork out to the Texas A&M-Galveston campus yesterday for the other two grandboys' Sea Camp daycamp later in July. We love having them down, and I think they enjoy the Sea Camp. There's an overnight camp they can do as they get older, but for now, the daycamp is great. They'll do Pirate Week in the mornings and hang out with Gigi and Granddaddy in the afternoons. :)

The Gulf was green all the way into shore yesterday as I drove home. The Gulf is shallow, and a lot of the Mississippi's outflow comes our way, so we do have brown water a lot, but right now, it's green. Perfect time to swim, if I can get somebody to go with me. The rip currents have died back some... Maybe, if I'm persuasive...

Later Tuesday: I'm driving to the mainland after work after all.  We're heading up to pick up our new car. I also gave notice at the dayjob today. I'll be working through July 12.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tuna--not your canned stuff

Hoo-eee, that Ryan Reynolds is one hot cookie. Enjoyed the movie. A lot. Then we came home and the fella grilled some fresh tuna, caught out in the Gulf today--well, yesterday. The day we ate it. (Yellowfin tuna does live in the Gulf.) Oh my sweet heavenly days--that was some GREAT tuna. So fresh, grilled just right. SO good. And yeah, tuna is expensive, even (especially?) at the fish market. It was $13 a pound, and between the three of us (the boy is still here), we ate $25 worth of tuna--but you'd pay that for one restaurant meal, or more, for that much tuna steak. Anyway--YUM.

And now it is Saturday, and I have washed all the knives in the house (yeah, I'm bad. I let them stack up until every knife is dirty, then I wash them all at once. Knives do not go into the dishwasher.) and I have done my writing.

DAY 5. I have written. Enough that I can take Sunday off if I want to.

And the fella and I are going out to do some car shopping.

So, what's the local specialty meal where you're at? Being on a Gulf-Coast barrier island and all, we do eat a lot of seafood. Good thing I love it, huh?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Day 4

Today, I wrote.

And we're heading out to go see Green Lantern in about 15 minutes. Then we'll grill fresh tuna outside when we get home. (Does tuna live in the Gulf of Mexico? Wondering just how fresh it is...)

Got yelled at at the paper today by somebody on the phone. She called, wanting to know how to get in touch with the people conducting a recall of the city mayor. When I didn't know, because I didn't write the article, she called me stupid. Made me mad. The newspaper isn't recalling the mayor. I personally don't think he ought to be recalled, and when I said that, she said I didn't have a right to have an opinion. Not while I was at the newspaper. Which made me even angrier. Because I'm neither a reporter nor an editor. I'm an editorial assistant.

I put other people's pictures into the computer and correct their crappy grammar. I put letters to the editor in the system, and correct their even worse grammar. I do not change what they're saying, other than fixing the grammar, and I make them sound better and more intelligent than they did to start with. I do not report stories and I certainly do not keep track of all the information that the newspaper prints. Can y'all tell I'm a little incensed, still, at being called stupid? Oh, and then she threatened to report me to the publisher, and I should expect to be called on the carpet. I seriously doubt that will happen, but if it does, I don't much care. Don't get paid enough to put up with abuse.

Okay. End of that rant. I shall calm my ranty self down and get ready to go watch Ryan Reynolds and his six-pack.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Still writing (Day 3)

I did write last night, over 100 words. And I have written already today (at lunch).

See, the way the "100 words" thing works, is--you write at least that much every day, no matter what. And if you write, you get to post. You get to count the day, and add the days together. If you write more, great! But you don't get to brag about how many words you wrote, just that you wrote 100 words.

But if you miss a day, you have to start over on Day 1.

I am on Day 3. I posted to my 100 words loop that I was almost afraid to post, for fear that I would jinx myself. I'm hoping it will work the other way, though--which is why I'm posting here. If I post my writing days on my blog, I will be embarrassed to post that I didn't write anything. Or to ignore it and not post at all. I'm hoping that y'all will keep me honest. Even just the Idea of y'all.

And yeah, mostly, I will probably do just a little post. Or tag something at the end of a larger post about something else. And it's possible (maybe even probable) that I will not get around to actually making a blog every day. If I'm writing late at night, I may be just too tired to come to the blog and post. Or whatever. But I am going to try. Every. Single. Day.

Even weekends.

See me gritting my teeth in determination? Yeah. That.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


It's summertime. Summers can go fast, and they can go really, really slow. Sometimes both at the same time. It's like your brain slows down in the heat (and believe me, it can get REALLY hot here), and the world slows down too. And yet, there's more stuff to cram in those slow, leisurely hours. People coming to visit. Going to visit people elsewhere. Etc., etc., etc. It's exhausting. (The picture is my Twitter icon picture--it's from a while back, but the beach is pretty much the beach...)

We have deliberately not filled up our summer. I'm not even going to the RWA national conference this year, though I went every year for a while there. It's so exhausting. This year, we have the Dallas grandboys coming for a week of Seacamp (Texas A&M-Galveston has a fabulous program). This year, we signed them up early enough to get into Pirate week. (Arrrr.) But if their father doesn't get their paperwork back pretty darn quick--I may have to spank him. Or something. Anyway--that's pretty much all we have scheduled.

And I still haven't made it into the water yet. Beach-type water, I mean. The wind's been kicking up pretty strong, which makes the water rough, and dirty. I keep waiting for it to glass out for me.

Oh hey! It RAINED today. This is big news, because it hasn't rained here pretty much since, oh, October. (That one little thunderstorm doesn't count. One rainfall in 8 months? Nope. Doesn't count.) Of course, I left the dog outside, and can't get the boy up to go let her in, and she panics like the princess pitbull she is. So who knows where she is right now. Hopefully, she hasn't eaten another hole in the fence...

Yeah. Boring blogpost today, but I'm trying really hard to get better at this blog posting thing. Not succeeding a whole lot, but I'm trying.

Oh! I started writing something new yesterday. It's been a while since I've actually worked at writing anything, so it's kind of exciting to be interested in doing something new. I'm going to give this 100 words a day thing a try again. I did get 100 words yesterday. I'll have to report back today.

Y'all take care, and I hope you're having exactly the kind of summer you want.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

TBR Challenge: Hellbent & Heartfirst

The Book: Hellbent & Heartfirst by Kassandra Sims

The Particulars: Tor Paranormal Romance, mm paperback, 2008, Out of print, I think; not available digitally.

Why was it in my TBR pile? I picked it up at some RWA conference or other...where was the conference in '08? I don't remember. Nor do I really know why I haven't read it yet...

The Review: Okay, so when Wendy the SuperLibrarian (Really. She's RWA's Librarian of the Year.) mentioned on her blog earlier that this Wednesday (today) was the TBR Challenge day, and I realized that, not only have I not read anything from my TBR mountain, I hadn't read much of anything at all this month, I wandered over to my bookcase with its two shelves of TBRs (I have others stashed elsewhere.) and perused the contents. And that's a long-ass sentence. Anyway, this was the book I plucked therefrom, because I've already read pretty much all the short, easy, series contemporary romance novels on it, and I hadn't actually looked to see what the suggested read was for this month.

And I pretty much read it yesterday. I started about 3:30 p.m. when I went home to wait for the plumbers, and finished it this morning. I enjoyed it, a lot. And I think there will be spoilers in this review.

So--the heroine is a college professor who's gone home to the Biloxi area after Katrina to recover from her divorce and aimlessness by helping others, or something of the sort. She meets a guy at a bar--he's younger, drop-dead gorgeous and out of her league, but he seems somehow attracted to her. She's trying to help reunite people with their missing children, and there's a woman in hysterics because her little boy was staying with her aunt, and now the aunt says he was never there. Turns out that the guy's in town chasing boogey-men--a lamia, actually--snake woman that eats children and messes with people's minds--and the missing child is probably a victim. He tells the heroine what he does, and there's some scenes with her trying to wrap her mind around the fact that things that go bump really do. She goes with him to a voodoo witch and takes part in the magic that lets them track the lamia, and they kill it and run. I think the "hooking up" scenes take place before they visit the voodoo people.

She's astonished that he's interested in her, 'cause he's younger and so good-looking. And she has this luck--it swings from astonishingly good to horrifically bad, to balance out overall--and she's sure that the luck of having a guy like him will end in a horrible breakup. Then the book jumps ahead eight months.

Jimmy Wayne's been on the road for five of those months, and Jacyn (which I never really knew how to pronounce, and kept pulling an 'L' in it, and thinking Jaclyn) has moved to Nashville to room with an old friend and get over JW being gone. He called frequently, but never made it back to town. But she's still longing. He's longing too, and sure he's really screwed things up with her, and it breaks his heart, and he doesn't know why he hasn't gone back to her, but he hasn't, and can't seem to, and he's somewhere in Tennessee to meet a witch. Not a human who messes with magic, but a different species. And she breaks a compulsion that was put on him. One that was intended for Jacyn, but hit him instead (because of her luck, they assume), and has driven him away from her. And she tells him the murderer he's after is in Nashville. Where of course the murderer is hanging out with Jacyn, and they stumble across each other again. Of course. (Her luck acting again.) They defeat the bad guys--but I'm not sure exactly how, or exactly who does what. This part was really vague and confusing.

I liked the book. Sims writes some really beautiful, evocative stuff. But the paranormal elements... weren't real paranormal. The descriptions tended to be vague, which was strange, because Sims was so vivid about most everything else. She did describe the imp pretty well, but what Jacyn thought about the magic wasn't clear. And in the grand finale climax, the magic seems to be done by somebody who's been present (I'm not absolutely sure he's the one doing the magic), but his magical ability pops out of nowhere, hasn't even been foreshadowed. And Jacyn does some big magic, but what happens, or what she thinks/feels about it is really vague. Honestly, her feelings for Jimmy Wayne and his feelings for her are the only things that feel real at the end of the book--which may be what Sims was going for. I'm not sure about that either.

All of which sounds like I didn't like the book, but I did. Really. It wasn't until after I finished it and started to think about it and about what I would write here that it occurred to me that the magic stuff was kind of vague and unreal and confusing. And that this may have been Sims's intent. Either way, it was an enjoyable ride, and it would be interesting to read more books in this universe, more about Jacyn and J.W., but who knows if that's going to happen.

I just realized I've read another Kassandra Sims book, "Falling Upward." It also confused the heck out of me, and despite that, I enjoyed it. I'd be willing to read more Kassandra Sims--but hope that she'll quit rushing her endings.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Visitors in town

So, writers go to conferences and stuff. And they get to know each other, and sometimes they don't live very close to each other, so they don't actually see each other very often. And on the rare occasions when they're in the same place, they tend to like to get together. At least, I do.

So, when I tell you that a writer friend of mine was in Houston last night--which isn't exactly in town, but is a heck of a lot closer than Auckland, New Zealand, where she lives--I drove up to spend a little time visiting.

Nalini Singh is a NYT bestselling author, who's just had her first book published in hardcover. Kiss of Snow is a great book, and I'm delighted that she's doing so well. Still, the idea of driving into Houston--not through it, but onto the streets and trying to find a particular address and then a parking place, gave me the heebie-jeebies. I handle freeway traffic much better than I do streets with traffic lights, especially when I'm not real sure where I'm going. I almost backed out. More than once.

But I really wanted to go. I'm not going to the RWA conference this year--mostly because I just didn't get around to signing up--and the thing I miss most is seeing all the friends I only see once a year. So I gutted it up, and took the Beast (my vehicle is a very large SUV. Very. Large.) into the big city--and I actually found the store! And a place to park!! And I didn't get lost!!!

I got there quite a bit early, because if you don't get off the road by 5 p.m. or so, you have to deal with a LOT more traffic. But there were other paranormal romance fans at the store, and it was fun to chat with them about books and authors. I was even able to recommend my books to a couple of people. I didn't want to do too much of that, because it was Nalini's night and I wasn't going to steal any spotlight (not that I could...).

The plane was a little late--she had to come straight to the bookstore, but it was great to listen to her talk about her books and writing process. Then we went out to dinner and got to chat some, which was great. Then I had to go home. It was getting late, and it's close to an hour to get back to the island--without traffic. It was a great evening. I wish she'd had a little more time in town--she flew out this morning--but it was fun.