Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday's Top Ten

I'm borrowing today's Top Ten from an email I received this week. I took a little literary license and made a few tweaks here and there. As is the way with email thingies, I don't know who wrote this. If it was you, speak up and I'll put up your name in the cyber equivalent of neon. So . . .

Top ten Random Thoughts on Life:

10. Keep some people's phone numbers in your phone contact list just so you know not to answer when they call.

  9. What a waste leaving the house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day.

  8. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment when you know that, for the rest of the day, you just aren't going to do anything productive.

  7. Map Quest needs to start their directions on Step #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my own darn neighborhood.

  6. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save changes to the manuscript that I swear I did not make any changes to.

  5. I hate it when I miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run like hell?

  4. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

  3. There is great need for a sarcasm font in email.

  2. Part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer's history if you die.

And the #1 Random Thought on Life:

  1. Bad decisions make good stories.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Prolific Blogger Award

Last week, Kimberly Loomis at The Perpetual Writer presented me with the Prolific Blogger Award.

Thank you, Kimberly. She's pretty darn prolific herself, so click over for a visit to her blog.

I don't have to tell you any more about myself, just pass the award to seven other prolific bloggers. So I'm choosing those who blog almost every day instead of my measly Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule.

Elspeth Antonelli at It's a Mystery
Arlee Bird at tossing it out
Mason Canyon at Thoughts in Progress
Elizabeth Spann Craig at Mystery Writing is Murder
Helen Ginger at Straight From Hel
Terry Odell at Terry's Place
Patricia Stoltey

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bad Hair and Writers

I've talked about my Hair from Hell here before. The other day, instead of making an extra stop to pick up some gel and/or mousse, I opted to grab something from the store I was in. I was in a hurry - what's new? - and I was out of everything that comes close to controlling the stuff that sprouts from my head.

I should've known better.

But I was derailed. The little can boasted a great name and claimed to work miracles. It was in the area with premium brands. So I thought I'd give it a shot.


The next morning I toweled try. Squirted some of the noo-goo into my hand. Rubbed it into my hair. Grabbed the brush. Flipped on the dryer.

Now I called this stuff noo-goo. I should have called it Nue-Glue. I've never had such a mess in my life. Well, yeah I have, but I'm not talking about those now. So this became The Mess.

In that short amount of time, the product was already drying in my hair. The brush didn't want to go through it, and I kept having to stop to pull it out. The brush, not my hair. Although at that point, my hair was a viable option. I gave up with the brush and used my fingers instead. The result - even when my hair was completely dry - was a sticky, heavy glob of brown covering my head.

Maybe this product works on some hair. But it doesn't work on mine. Needless to say, I made an extra trip to the store that carries the brand I use and purchased both gel and mousse. Then I came home and re-washed my hair.

I consider this a warning. I only thought I had Hair from Hell. Now I know what Hair from Hell REALLY looks like.

Since this is Writing Monday, how does this relate? I can think of a couple of ways.

One, don't be afraid to try something new. If you're coming up empty, do a mental switch and give it a go. You'll find out right away if your new direction will work for you or not.

Two, when you reread what you've written and it sounds sticky-gooey instead of pizzazz-popping, wash it out. Hit the delete key and insert the jazzy words you intended to be there in the first place.

I'm outta here for a few hours.

But first I have to fix my hair.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday's Top Ten

Top ten ways to survive the rest of winter:

10. Use these last few weeks to make favorite winter foods

  9. Wear favorite sweaters one more time

  8. Clean at least one closet

  7. Plan spring flowers and veggies

  6. Paint a room a bright cheerful color

  5. Get a different haircut

  4. Go for a walk on a sunny day

  3. Teach your dog a new trick

  2. Go shopping

And the #1 way to survive the rest of winter:

  1. Take your own Spring Break to someplace warm

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Today I'm going to write something about writing. I feel as if I haven't done this in a while, although it's only been a little over a week.

I always aim for non-specifics here because you can find jillions of places on the web with rules and guidelines and other how-to information. And many of them are written by writers with a lot more street cred than I have.

So mostly I talk about things I do, how I do them, what works for me. My goal isn't to see to it that you follow along doing what I do or writing how I write. I share these things so you'll have a jumping off point if something isn't working for you. For you to take from me and develop what works for you.

So with that said, let's chat about real deadlines and self-imposed ones.

For me there's one difference, which I'll talk about later in this post.

I do not enjoy butting against a wall at the last minute. For any reason. So for as far back as I can remember I've always done things ahead of time in case any problems developed. So if something was due on Friday, I'd have it done by Wednesday. That kind of thing.

Real deadlines have never been a problem.

Self-imposed ones aren't either. I need them for myself to stay on track. Left all day with nothing that must be done - which means nothing without a deadline - I'll find 20,000 things that keep me from writing. So I make my own deadlines.

Now I'll get to the difference.

Real Deadlines - Nothing gets in the way. Whether it's writing or something else. It gets done. Everything else gets pushed behind The Project. Sometimes even sleep.

Self-Imposed Deadlines - I'm a little more flexible because I'm dealing only with myself. Sometimes Life gets in the way. I let it. I give myself permission to skip a day writing here and there. I spend evenings with my live-in handyman. When a neighbor visits I sit and chat. I play with Arf and Woof. I get as much done as I can toward my goal. The big thing is I don't ignore my goal or the deadline for accomplishing it. But I don't beat myself up over not writing on Thursday or only meeting half my goal on Monday.

Overall, I guess I stay focused. During a real deadline situation, my focus is very narrow. I'm 200% on that deadline. When that deadline is self-imposed, my focus broadens. I'm at about 80%.

For me that's what works.

Without a deadline, I'm toast.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Award Monday

I know Mondays are writing days, but I'm taking charge here and pushing the writing post to Wednesday.

The reason is because Cassandra Jade at Cassandra Jade in the Realm presented me with the beautiful and very springlike Picasso Award last week. Now Cassandra hails from the Land Down Under where it's summer. But I'd say everyone up here in the northern hemisphere needs a good dose of early spring. So here it is:

Isn't it pretty?

The award conditions are that I have to tell you seven things about myself and pass the award to seven bloggers.

So . . . about me:

1. I'm not much of a morning person.
2. I have green eyes.
3. My dress and decorating styles are casual.
4. I love salty snacks.
5. I cry easily with movies and books.
6. My patience with whiney people is pretty thin.
7. I love to laugh.

Pretty soon, y'all will know more about me than I know about myself.

Now I have to pass this on to seven other deserving bloggers. I choose:

1. Angela at Letters from Usedom
2. Carol Burnside at Carol Burnside's Road to Publication
3. Mason Canyon at Thoughts in Progress
4. Conda Douglas at Conda's Creative Center
5. Karen Jones Gowen at Coming Down the Mountain
6. Maryann Miller at It's Not All Gravy
7. Journaling Woman

Happy Monday!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday's Top Ten

Before the Top Ten, a little unfinished business. All the "creative writing" about me in Wednesday's post:
1. My mother taught me to play piano. She didn't teach me.
2. My father worked for the city. Oil, baby.
3. My childhood dream was to be a veterinarian. Not exactly.
4. My first job was at a flower shop. With MY black thumb?
5. My college major was art history. Uh, no.
6. My seven children all live at home. Ack! I'd be bonkers. C'
7. My live-in handyman was my sixth grade boyfriend. The winner!

- - - - - - - - - -

Now ... the Top Ten things NEVER to give as a Valentine's gift:

10. New Garbage Can

  9. Weed Eater

  8. Power Tool

  7. Vacuum

  6. New Mop

  5. Gift Card for Groceries

  4. Kitchen Appliance

  3. Gym Membership

  2. Self-Improvement Book

And the #1 thing NEVER to give as a Valentine Gift:

  1. ANY Spanx Garment

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I'm a Bald Faced Liar

Mason Canyon at Thoughts in Progress has presented me with Lesa's Bald Faced Liar "Creative Writer" Blogger Award. Thank you, Mason.

The rules for the award are simple:
1. Thank the person who gave this to you.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you.
4. Tell up to six outrageous lies about yourself, and at least one outrageous truth.
5. Nominate seven "Creative Writers" who might have fun coming up with outrageous lies.
6. Post links to the seven blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know you nominated them.

Telling lies and writing fiction should go together like beer and pretzels. But I dunno. All those lies are about people who don't really exist. Since I'm nearly always up for a challenge, what's not to like about this one!

I've been reading how other bloggers have answered these questions, and I can only say I think I've led a sheltered life. So . . .

Here we go - six outrageous lies and one outrageous truth. Maybe. Can you spot the real me?

1. My mother taught me to play piano.
2. My father worked for the city.
3. My childhood dream was to be a veterinarian.
4. My first job was at a flower shop.
5. My college major was art history.
6. My seven children all live at home.
7. My live-in handyman was my sixth grade boyfriend.

Who am I?

I'll post the answer on Friday.

- - - - - - - - - -

It seems the real truth is I'm a Ditzy Broad. While I was happily off doing something else, I remembered I forgot to pass the award along. Sorry 'bout that. Here are the seven bloggers I'm passing the award to:
1. Ann Elle Altman at All Write With Coffee
2. Marisa Burns at Out of Order Alice
3. Laura Eno at A Shift in Dimensions
4. Galen Kindley at Imagineering Fiction
5. Lynnette Labelle at Chatterbox Chit Chat
6. Kimberly Loomis at The Perpetual Writer
7. Kathy McIntosh at Well Placed Words

Monday, February 8, 2010

Lesson Plan

Although I kept plenty busy, I took last week off from my work in progress because after I finished the first draft, it need a little time to get happy with itself, as Emeril would say.

My plan was to begin on the second draft today. However, as often happens in my life - or so it seems - time either flies by or gets stuck.

I won't be starting until Wednesday. Or so. I hope to begin before next Monday, but I need to finish another project first. One of the items on my to-do list for last week was to change something that had been bothering me for a month or so in the manuscript that's now in the query process.

It was nothing huge, just a little tinkering with something in the third chapter that wasn't doing what it needed to do. But it ended up becoming more involved than I thought it would, and I need more time to pull everything together again before I send more queries. And I need to send a couple more.

So after this is done, it will be time to get my desk rearranged for Edit Mode. Pull out my checklist, arrange all the notes and stickies that accumulated during the first draft into some sort of order. Clear a space to write in, because the first pass I make is hard copy. Have more stickies and index cards handy for more notes. For the next draft. And change out some of the CD's I have here for more instrumental ones.

And if I miss anything?

There's always third draft.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday's Top Ten

Top ten Super Bowl foods:

10. Pickles

  9. Olives

  8. Popcorn

  7. Pretzels

  6. Dips

  5. Chips

  4. Jalapeno Poppers

  3. Pizza

  2. Wings

And the #1 Super Bowl food:

  1. Beer

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Over the Top Blog Award

Yesterday, Karen at Coming Down the Mountain: From Reclusive Writer to Published Author presented me with the Over the Top blog award. Thank you, Karen. I'll put the logo on the sidebar with my other awards.

This is a cool award. The rules are that I must mention Karen's name and blog. Happy to do so :) Also I must answer a string of questions with one-word only answers and pass the award to five other bloggers here and by leaving a comment on their blogs.

So first I'll answer the questions, then we'll talk about passing it on.

Your cell phone? Charging
Your Hair? Hellish
Your Mother? Mom
Your Father? Daddy
Your Favorite Food? Mexican
Your Dream Last Night? Forgotten
Your Favorite Drink? Margarita
Your Dream/Goal? Contracts
What Room Are You In? Office
Your Hobby? Reading
Your Fear? Spiders
Where Do You See Yourself In Six Years? Alive
Where Were You Last Night? Home
Something That You Aren't? Male
Muffins? No
Wish List Item? iPad
Where Did You Grow Up? Houston
Last Thing You Did? Sneezed
What Are You Wearing? Socks
Your TV? Off
Your Pets? Doggies
Friends? Everywhere
Your Life? Wild
Your Mood? Happy
Missing Someone? Yes
Vehicle? Lulu
Something You Aren't Wearing? Shoes
Your Favorite Store? SteinMart
Your Favorite Color? Red
When Was The Last Time You Laughed? Now
Last Time You Cried? Yesterday
Your Best Friend? John
One Place You Go To Over And Over Again? Bathroom
Facebook? Moi?
Favorite Place To Eat? Home

Now . . . was that a lot of questions or what! Especially when we're busy. So I'm going to change the rules a little bit and cut the questions to ten. Here are the questions the recipients will need to answer with one word only:

Your Hair?
Your Favorite Food?
Your Favorite Drink?
Your Hobby?
Your Fear?
Something You Aren't?
Where Did You Grow Up?
Your Life?
Your Mood?
Your Favorite Color?

And the five bloggers I'm passing the Over the Top Blog Award to are:

Elspeth Antonelli at It's a Mystery
Mason Canyon at Thoughts in Progress
Joanne DeMaio at Whole Latte Life
Cassandra Jade at Cassandra Jade in the Realm
Holly Ruggiero at Scribbles and Splashes

Please visit their blogs and you'll see for yourself how Over the Top they are - and in such awesome ways.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Freida Schultz Has Returned

From Wikipedia:
Grisaille (grɪʼzaɪ, -ʼzeɪl; French: gris, grey, French pronunciation: /ɡʁi.zaj/)
is a term for painting executed entirely in monochrome, usually in shades of grey or brown, particularly used in decoration to represent objects in relief.

That's what I see outside my window this morning.

Gray. Dense overcast. Fog. Drizzle. Cold.

And it's Monday.

What more could I ask?

I really don't feel like about writing about writing today, although that's what Monday's posts are supposed to be about. But since I completed the first draft of my manuscript last week, I'm trying to take a little non-writing time for myself and my live-in handyman.

Last Thursday night when I typed 'The End,' I told myself I wasn't going to think about anything writing-related for a week.

Guess who showed up ready to work early Friday morning?
Freida Schultz.

For those of you who are newer readers or for those with shorter memories, Freida is my inner editor.

Already I have a stack of new notes to incorporate into the second draft. And I'm sure more are coming before I open the manuscript again.

Freida is such a taskmaster:
You must do this.
You will do that.
Whatever this was meant to be, it's now meant to go. Cut it now.
What were you thinking?


I love Freida. Really I do. But don't I deserve a teeny little break?

And next week, when I'm ready to begin on the second draft, and I need her?

Freida said she'll be skiing.