Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays to all!

December marked the publication of my first short story Nightmares and the Honorable Mention of another short Grayson House in the Verbs Crime Scene Contest. I finished the revision of Vengeance that I have an option on with a small publisher on the west coast and sent that off yesterday and all my holiday shopping is done.

Heavy, heavy sigh and a woohoo too!

I am gearing up for a very busy holiday season on the home front. This weekend I will have a handful of nine year old boys staying over for the celebration of my son's 9th birthday and I'm looking forward to taking them to see Bolt! I think I am going to welcome going to work on Monday if you know what I mean.

The following weekend we are having my husband's family over for our annual Christmas gathering. If everyone shows up it will be a crowd of thirty something people ranging in ages from one to 75. It is happening on the 21st which is my son's actual birthday so I'll be sure to have a second cake for that event.

Then comes Christmas. On Christmas eve, my family gathers at the house. My sister and her family spend the night and my folks re-join us in the morning for opening gifts. I always miss my brother on Christmas. He's in South Carolina and hasn't celebrated Christmas with us in quite a few years because of the distance, but we always call and say our hellos and I love yous.

My favorite Christmas tradition is watching It's a Wonderful Life with my sister after the children have gone to sleep. Our husbands usually end up downstairs drinking and playing pool, but for us, it is a few hours of nostalgia and hope in an otherwise nutty existence.

I would love to hear more about your holiday traditions!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa and any other holiday that I missed that occurs in December - Here's to wishing all a happy and safe 2009!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The beauty of writing!

I had the funniest conversation with my husband this week. I was extremely frustrated with a situation at work and was ranting, which I occassionally do, if you hadn't already noted that from the title of the blog. :) Anyhow, I was in rare form, enough so that when I sat down to write, he had some sideways comment:

"That's so not fair! You get to take your aggravations out by killing people in your books! Us normal people don't have that luxury!"

To which I replied with a smile. "It's going to be a massacre tonight!"

Of course I didn't write about a massacre that night, but I did scribe one really horrible death, which was satisfaction enough to diffuse the anger I was feeling. Sweet release on paper. There is nothing quite like it!

I can't imagine what it is like not having such a satisfying creative outlet!

Monday, October 20, 2008

I learned to shoot a gun today!

Finally, after years of wondering what it feels like to hold a gun in my hand, what it feels like to pull a trigger, it is no longer a mystery. So very worth the experience. I wish I had given it a go sooner!

I was lucky enough to be coached by a friend who had an assortment of handguns for me to try, so I could get the feel of each, a unique experience to be sure. My favorite was a toss up between the 9 mm and the .40 caliber semi-automatic. I liked the weight of the .40 caliber he had, but it had a hell of a kickback, so my control wasn't as evident. The 9mm was a bit heavier with less of a kickback, and I was able to get to the point that I was hitting the target paper, not within the 9 or 10 score area, but solidly in th 8 range.

Most accurate shot was the .22 - I actually hit within the bullseye circle - not dead center but still within that inner circle with the .22 once I figured out how to use the sights correctly and once I relaxed a bit. Most of the shots with the .22 after I figured things out were within the 9 and 10 circles. This one had very little kick compared to the 9mm and the .40 caliber.

Gives me a whole new appreciation for those that are adept at shooting and a feeling of awe for those that are considered experts. Kudos to police and armed service men and women who mastered this!

All I know is I want to do it again!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Stuck in the Mud

Ok, since the beginning of October, I've been in re-write mode. I've done a fair amount on the second half of the book, but the first half is still for the most part, unwritten. Oh, I've got eleven chapters done, but now I have to get from here to a critical scene in the middle of the book and it is coming S-L-O-W.

I need action and tension peppered with mystery sub story line.

It's not as fun as when the words flow. :(

I'm sure I'll get where I want and once I do, the faucet will turn on again, but for now, I'm getting a wee bit frustrated. On top of that, my other half has made every excuse not to read what I've written, even when I've asked him. Talk about wanting to take a hold of an iron pan and swing away.

Thanks for listening to me whine. It is much appreciated along with any advice on how you jump start the story when you're moving slowly.

Friday, October 3, 2008

I'm Jazzed!

Ok, so it isn't a contract in hand. But an oral option to purchase my book when I've made the requested edits is nothing to brush off.

How did this come about? I saw a publisher reply to some comments in one of the on line forums I am in and took a shot in the dark. I asked her what type of books she represents, and by reaching out, I struck gold.

You know that feeling - the zing that happens when you really connect with another person. You talk and it feels like you've known each other for years, but it's only been an hour . . . you are on the same exact page with your views and goals . . .

Well, that's what happened and even though I'm well aware (painfully so) of the risks involved with small vs big publishers, I can't help but fall back to that connection. Without it, any sort of relationship, whether it is personal or professional, falls flat.

So I embark on a new uncertain journey of revising the manuscript in hopes that by this time next year, I will have contract in hand and a concrete release date for my first book!

Can you believe it?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Our economy. . .

I was livid this evening to hear that our representatives in congress started the finger pointing that led to the defeat of the bail out bill. This is not a by product of "This Administration"! It is something that has built up for years upon years, going back DECADES!

Let's break it down, what this comes down to is the over extension of credit. People bit off more than they could chew - morgages were sold, stripped, sold again and put into a pool of morgages and sold on the market, betting on the fact that the underlying morgage holder would stay solvent, continue paying the bills AND real estate values will only go up. Morgage backed securities were considered stable investments at one time and the big investment firms began investing in these pools, buying large shares of the mortgages to resell in their own funds. Low interest rate offers with balloon payments after X number of years were sold, without really examining the risk or the ability for that client to pay once the balloon payment came due. The people who bought were also betting the housing market would go up and they would be able to sell or refinance at the time of the balloon payment. That didn't happen, so you have defaults left and right, and investments (morgage pools) plummet, with them, the investment firm capital goes in the garbage. No cash flow or seriously stunted cash flow!
What does this mean to the average person if the bail out package doesn't come to pass?
It means money get's tight, even non-existence. Banks won't lend because they, themselves, can't borrow from other institutions. Without the lending flow, people will not be able to get loans for things like cars and college. But the worst aspect, that average Joe is not thinking about, is without short term lending, and banks will restrict short term lending in the same fashion as regular consumer loans, companies will not be able to maintain the cash flow they need to keep their operating budgets running.
That means jobs. Jobs go, interest rates sky rocket and inflation goes through the roof. The dollar will plummet and the mom and pop institutions will shut their doors, financial markets crumble and all you've got is chaos and anarchy.
And all this because of politics in Washington.
I think we should vote out every single sitting representative and put in new fresh, honest, every day people who fight for what we need and not what looks good on the record.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mutation Tag! I'm it!

Amy, over at Ambient Muse tagged me this week with a list of interesting questions. I agreed to this tagging game because the things you find out about people are insightful. The questions morph, basically, if there is something you want to add you can. The same goes for changing any existing question. Anything goes and the morphing of the list is as interesting as the answers themselves.

So here are the rules along with my answers. There were twenty questions originally, but Amy trimmed things down and I added a couple new ones in!
See the last question for the folks who I’m tagging.

People who have been tagged should post their answers on their blogs and replace any question they dislike with a new question.

Tag some more people to answer these questions if they’d like to. These people must state who they were tagged by and cannot tag the person who tagged them. Continue this game by sending it to other people.

1. If you have pets, do you see them as merely animals, or are they members of your family?

I had a German Shepherd for years. She was my first baby and definitely a bona fide member of the family. I still miss her, even though it’s been close to eight years since she’s been gone.

2. If you could have a dream come true, what would it be?

To make a modest living from writing.

3. What is the one thing most hated by you?

Disrespect. Nothing angers me more than blatant disregard for others.

4. What would you do with a billion dollars?

Buy my dream property: 99 Nubble, then buy back my grandfather’s property on a lake in New Hampshire, pay our debts, pay my family’s debt, put money aside for the kids college, and give a hefty chunk to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis. Invest the rest wisely and live off the interest for the rest of our lives.

5. What helps to pull you out of a bad mood?

Laughing. Chocolate. Writing. Quiet walks on the beach while mulling over the next story plot. Driving fast with Nickleback blaring.

6. Which is more blessed, loving someone or being loved by someone?

Amy’s answer sums up my feelings on this exactly! I don’t think one without the other is blessed at all. Unrequited love sucks, and being loved by someone who you just don’t love is uncomfortable. I think the ying needs a yang.

7. How do you unwind?

Jog on the beach. Daydream. Write.

8. What is your bedtime routine?

When my eyes get droopy – usually around 11pm. I close up the laptop, brush my teeth, head upstairs, give hubby a little lovin’ and drop to sleep for about six hours before another day begins.

9. If you could watch a creative person in the act of the creative process, who would it be?

Michelangelo. I would have loved to see the act of painting the Sistine Chapel.

10. What kinds of books do you buy?

I like a book that catches my interest early and doesn’t let go. I’m more geared to Thrillers and suspense than the softer side. In the past authors I’ve read have included Stephen King (the earlier books), Tom Clancy, John Grisham, Anne Rice, David Baldacci, James Patterson and more recently some of the new authors that I have met through Backspace and MySpace such as Allison Brennan and Alexandra Sokoloff. I’ve been a little slower on the reading since I started writing my own novels, but I still love a good book!

11. Where do you see yourself in ten years time?

99 Nubble. Seriously, I see myself with a little more time on my hands. My youngest will be heading off to college at that time.

12. What’s your fear?

Every parent’s biggest fear, losing their child.

13. What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?

I only know Amy through Backspace and I’ve since gotten a little insight from reading her blog. She is a thoughtful, kind hearted woman who likes to have fun and we share some of the same views on life.

14. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?

I hit the snooze button! The first thing I do when I finally drag my butt out of bed is brush my teeth and hop in the shower. Then I wake the family to get them moving before I head out to work.

15. What’s your favorite magazine?

Writer’s Digest, Fortune and People Magazine.

16. Formal wear or casual wear?

Definitely casual. Why do you think I weaseled my way into working at home two times a week?

17. Mountains or seashore?

Seashore! Of course if you’re talking Lake Tahoe – then it’s the mountains.

18. List people to tag: Richard Aaron at Richard Aaron's Blog, Amanda Ann over at A Letter For My Love's Blog, Cat Connor at Cat Connor's Blog, Terri Molina who blogs at Behind Brown Eyes and Kathie Leung at her blog Journal of Journies.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Having a mini-OMG attack!

It's almost October and I haven't thought a lick about Christmas - Yes I said Christmas. Yikes. In past years, by this time I have had all my shopping done or at least the list of things I plan on buying for friends and family.

It's almost October and that means Halloween - Ghosting in my neighborhood. Another thing to put some thought into - I need to put together 2 packages to Ghost my neighbors and then there is Halloween candy for all those kids (over 150 in my neighborhood). Again - Yikes. I'm unprepared.

Before we know it Halloween will have passed us by and then comes Thanksgiving - we host - of course - Another lovely crazy time. But again, no thought has gone into this either. I usually get my Christmas cards out the day after Thanksgiving complete with the family news letter and I haven't even contemplated that.

And then the big one. We are hosting my husbands crew again this year and always have my family overnight on Christmas eve. And again, no thought, no prep.

The grand planner has no plans! This realization leaves me a little edgy. I need to go plan gifts, meals, newsletters, and festivities. Yikes.

This time of year always elevates the stress factor. In addition to being the family chauffer to all the events that the kids are in, the planning and execution of all the events sometimes feels daunting, especially when I'm in the midst of editing a book and I'm sure there will be deadlines placed in that realm as well.

Anyone else stressed now that it is fall? I'd love to hear about some of your holiday shenanigans and your favorite stress busters!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Another season ends

Today was the last day at our summer season getaway in a quaint town in southern Maine. And as always, I'm a little sad that the season is ending. Weekends from the beginning of May to the beginning of October consist of a 2 hour drive Friday night to our cottage across from the beach. Saturday and Sunday morning 4 mile jogs (ok maybe not jogging the entire way, but certainly walking real fast) on the neverending beach. Saturday nights around the campfire with friends and days, just relaxing on the beach or on the deck with the ocean view.

A two day weekend with the family can seem like a whole vacation and by the time Monday morning rolls around, I'm relaxed and ready for another stressful week at work. The off season doesn't offer that kind of R&R.

It signals the long winter is about to begin and now I find myself counting the days until spring again!

Anyone else out there in the same boat?

Friday, September 12, 2008

I'm so excited!

I'm trying not to get overly excited about a relationship that is building. It could be the best thing that has happened to me so far, however, it could also end up fizzling out for various reasons.

Now the questions is: How do you suppress the excitement you're feeling when you know that there are risks involved that may ultimately result in a huge let down?

In case any of you are wondering, this relates to the professional side of life and not the personal front.

I'd be interested in hearing how you keep yourself grounded in the face of possible stellar news?

Friday, September 5, 2008

Big Publishing Houses versus Small Publishers

I'm interested in finding out how people feel about Large Publishing Houses versus a small unknown house. What are the advantages, disadvantages, pitfalls? Have you had good experiences with a small press? Horrific experiences with either? Let's hear from the masses!

Thanks for visiting and posting your comments!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Persistence . . .

Someone asked me today what the secret of my persistence was. He was blown away that I wrote 7 novels in a little over a year while juggling a full time job but what he didn't know is I've had the stories locked up in my head for twenty years and when I finally opened the gates, the flood began.

It has slowed a bit, but it could be that the current stories aren't fully baked in my head yet so it is coming in dribs.

So many people have commented "Where do you find the time?" I made the time and didn't sleep much for a while - but that eventually catches up with you, but the writing, the creative outlet, actually sustains me. It gives me energy, believe it or not. The day job saps the energy from me that writing puts right back.

Yes, my family has suffered. Mom isn't cleaning the house or cooking all that often, (I never liked either all that much anyway) but I'm happier and the excitement of finishing a novel or short story is contagious. And they get excited when an envelope comes in the mail and share the disappointment of rejections (there have been A LOT of rejections). I figure it is good to let them see both the disappointment and the resolve of ok - onto the next avenue. It's character building.

So what types of sacrifices do you make to do the things you love?

Monday, August 25, 2008

New to this Blogging world

Hi all,

Figured I'd get my feet wet and start a blog. It seems to me these things can be both very helpful and entirely useless depending on the forum. Today's blog will fall into the useless category I'm sure, but never the less, here I am.

Anyone else find writing these things a bit like leaving a voicemail? Aimless one sided banter where you don't say much at all?

I'm sure I'll have more useful things to say in the future, however, right now I'm in the middle of the GREAT PUBLISHING search.

In the meantime - Have a great day!

Thanks for taking a gander. . .