Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday's Top Ten

Top ten things I didn't include on this list:

10. Ways to prepare chicken

  9. Ways to cheat at solitaire

  8. Favorite scary movies

  7. Favorite books

  6. Beverages

  5. Cookies

  4. Ways to say I love you

  3. Favorite days of the week

  2. Things to blog about

And the #1 thing I didn't include on this list:

  1. Ways to maintain focus 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Award Day

Yesterday, VR Barkowski presented me with the Sweet Blog Award.

There better be chocolate in that box. If not, the bear's in serious trouble. I'll tear off his furry little ears, rip all that stuffing from his . . .


Oh. I'm supposed to be sweet. Sorry. Let me try again.

Ahem . . .

I love the sweet, adorable little bear with the cute round ears and pink tootsies. Thanks, VR!

The award wasn't given with any rules, but since VR passed it on to five bloggers, I'll do the same. Here are others who have blogs much sweeter than mine. Check them out, and you'll see I'm right:

A Novice Novelist

Coffee Rings Everywhere

Jane's Ride

Mystery Writing Is Murder
Elizabeth / Riley

Patricia Stoltey

Monday, April 26, 2010


For the past few days, the weather here in San Antonio has been perfect. I spent the weekend afternoons on the patio. Hanging out. Doing nothing.

Well, I did do something.

I cracked the cover of a new book.
I groomed Arf and Woof.
I listened to music.
I let my mind wander down new paths.
I listened to birds.
I watched butterflies.
I laughed with my live-in handyman.

In short, I recharged.

And boy, did I ever need it. With all that's gone on this month, my batteries were low. Every day I was hearing that grinding noise each time I turned the key.

This morning, I started right up.

Recharging, renewal, regrouping - whatever you choose to call this experience - is vital to the writing process.

Our bodies tire, grow weary, refuse to function properly without proper food, rest, and exercise. So do our minds and our imaginations.

So the next time you're chillin' . . .


You're feeding your soul.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday's Top Ten

Top ten ways to postpone writing:

10. Clean your house

  9. Do the laundry

  8. Do your nails

  7. Play solitaire

  6. Play with your pets

  5. Look for a new dinner recipe

  4. Shop for ingredients you don't have

  3. Read for pleasure

  2. Answer email

And the #1 way to postpone writing:

  1. Blog!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess scullery writer who went for a walk through the forest took her live-in handyman to the hospital for pain and swelling in his ankle.


After encountering ogres the emergency room and wolves surgeons and evil queens nurses, she found her way back home (with her live-in handyman).

The seven dwarfs and three little pigs Recuperation met them and hung around for ten days.

Then the party was over it was finally time for the stitches to come out.

And they lived happily ever after :)

That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.

Monday, April 19, 2010


I was so engrossed in something else that I completely lost track of time. It's almost ten, and I'm just starting this post. Yikes!

If I could say I'd been writing, losing track of time would be a good thing. Unfortunately, that's not the case. I was researching.

But you know what?

Researching can lead us into the most interesting territory. Detours, winding lanes, straight shots on the interstate, and whole neighborhoods filled with a different family in each house.

The things we learn when we take time to research can completely alter our thoughts. Not only in writing, but in our lives as well. But this is a writing post, so I'll stick to that.

Even if you don't plot ahead, you have a tiny glimmer of what's going to happen next. And even if you do plot, sometimes what's supposed to happen next doesn't. This is one of the things I love about writing.

But I digress.

For example ... you're researching ducks. The reason? Your protagonist is a wildlife biologist on vacation. She's hiking and comes upon a clearing with a pond. In the pond are two ducks.

Questions arise. She WILL know what kind of ducks these are and whether they are male, female, or one of each. So you look up different kinds of ducks that will be in her location at the right time of year.

None. Or none that look good enough to you to waste words describing. Maybe she doesn't see ducks. Or even a pond. Maybe she sees a mama bear with cubs. Danger! Yeah, that can work.

Oh. Brown bear or black bear? You're off again.

What's mama bear doing? Eating, resting, scratching her back? What do bears eat, anyway?

She needs to take a photo. Need to look up cameras.

When you're squirming in your chair because you need a little break, more than an hour has gone by and you've written ten words.

That you now need to delete.

Because you decided the protagonist needs to stay in town so the antagonist can photograph her from his truck a block away with his long lens zoom camera.

What are those things really called, anyway?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday's Top Ten

Three weeks ago, the Top Ten was about dogs. Two weeks ago, it was about cats.

The one about cats garnered fantastic comments, and I'm going to use those for today's Top Ten.

So in the order in which they were received, and with thanks and full credit to the commenters . . .

More top ten duties of The Cat:

10. Rub your fur all over Aubrie until she sniffles!
Aubrie Dionne at Flutey Words . . .

  9. Our cats lay on any open book/newspaper they fan find despite the readers' intent of doing actual reading.
Kimberly Loomis at The Perpetual Writer

  8. Get the humans to feed you as much as possible as early and late as possible. Develop that big belly!
Conda V. Douglas at Conda's Creative Center

  7. Stare accusingly at everyone as they enter your room.
Elspeth Antonelli at It's a Mystery

  6. Will let you pet it only if you've made an appointment beforehand.
Marisa Birns at Out of Order Alice

  5. "Yeah, you BETTER like it!"
Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams at Mystery Writing is Murder

  4. In a shocking admission, I must tell you that these attributes are not far removed from behaviors I exhibit every day.
Galen Kindley at Imagineering Fiction

  3. Selective application of fur - dark hairs to light clothing, light hairs to dark clothing. Best executed while clothes are still in laundry basket and warm from the dryer.
VR Barkowski

  2. One of my cats . . . usually demands to be feed at 5 a.m. She has food in her bowl, but she wants fresh.
Mason Canyon at Thoughts in Progress

And the #1 duty of The Cat:
  1. Whenever startled, immediately start grooming as if to say "Nothing bothers me".
Laura Eno at A Shift in Dimensions

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Still Catching Up

NOTE: I'm having a problem with links in my Followers box. I've clicked on the pictures of new followers who have joined here within the past week or two, and for the most part, there are no links showing to their blogs. I don't know if this is a Blogger problem or mine.

So please ... if you're following me and your blog is not listed in my blog roll and/or I haven't commented on yours, please post a comment with your blog address and I will add you to my blog roll and come comment on your blog. I'm going to continue posting this note at the top of my blog posts until the problem is corrected. Thanks.



It's amazing what a full seven hours of uninterrupted sleep can do. I feel ready to tackle the world this morning.

I've made a little headway with some of this and some of that both on the computer and in real life. I'm still too scattered to dive back into my second draft. I know that because I've moved things around in this post a jillion times to get them in somewhat the right order. Maybe tomorrow.

The doggies were awesome staying here alone for several days in a row. I think they knew something hadn't been right because of the looks and attention they gave me when I came home at night.

So yesterday afternoon I treated them to a little grooming session on the patio.  Since it's shedding season and canine hair is just everywhere, the grooming was long overdue.

Both of them enjoy the shedding blade, and they lined up for that. Actually they took turns, each one coming back several times for more. Woof likes getting brushed, too, but it's not Arf's thing. He just wanted all that loose undercoat outta there.

My live-in handyman is moving around more and more. He walked to the corner and back yesterday on his crutches. Can't keep a good man down!

Today I hope to make a larger dent in everything I left neglected over the past week. If I haven't made it to your blog yet, I will.

Maybe by next week, our lives around here will have returned to normal. Or at least closer to normal.

I'm ready!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Live-In Handyman

My live-in handyman will be released from the hospital later this morning. Yea! He's a very active person, and the forced down time was making him a little bonkers.

Still no growth on the cultures from his ankle. The doctors say that's good news because the more virulent bacteria are fast growers. He'll be coming home with a vat full of oral antibiotic, a stylish strap-on black boot, and crutches.

Thanks for all the comments on the previous post. I haven't read them yet, just saw they were there. I'll get over there later today.

Things will still be a bit hectic around here this week, what with a bum ankle, crutches, two high-energy dogs, and stairs. And one day he'll have to go for follow-up to get the stitches removed.

But I'll be here instead of at the hospital and will have time to catch up on comments and blog visits. You won't see me everywhere at once. I'll be the tortoise, I'm sure, between taking "this" upstairs, bringing "that" downstairs, and whatever else needs to be done for my injured hero.

Anyone know how to clone me for a week or two?

I plan to be back here with a new regular post sometime on Wednesday. Morning, I hope, but if his appointment for getting stitches removed is early that morning, I won't blog until afternoon.

See you then!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Quick Note

To All My Blog Friends,

Last night I had to deliver my live-in handyman to the emergency room. This morning, he had emergency surgery on his ankle for an acute infection. He'll be in the hospital for at least a couple of days.

So the top ten won't be here on Friday. Sorry about that - I hope you understand. Next week, God willing.

I hope he's back home and our lives are returned to something resembling normal by Monday so I can have time for a regular post.

I promise to answer all comments and make a new post as soon as I have a chance. And I hope that will be very soon.

Have a great weekend, and hug all those you love.

See you soon,

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Nothing to Sneeze At

The oak pollen here in San Antonio is everywhere. Sunday's count was about 40,000 grains per cubic meter of air. That's absurd.

I'm the allergy queen, but I'm fortunate that I don't over-react to pollen of any sort. It affects me a little - mostly with itchy eyes - but it's way down on the scale of things that make my body throw hissy fits.

Oak pollen here means Fiesta can't be far behind. I blogged a little about the annual Fiesta San Antonio last year. The link isn't to any of my posts but to the site for this year's celebration.

Fiesta is a fun time in San Antonio, and the events are citywide. It's right upon us this year, but if you're thinking about an April vacation next year, think about San Antonio.

Come celebrate with us!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Wandering Words

Apologies for the tardy post.
First, I got a late start.
Then an old friend called midway in the writing of this,
and we talked longer than I thought.


One of my friends is a poet. Every day he writes at least one poem that he sends to me. Most are short. A lot of them make me laugh. A few bring a tear. Some are profound.

Today's poem was about wandering words. He compares them to orphans searching for a home.

Think about that.

How many times do we use words familiar to us in our work? These words are like family.

I'm not especially talking about those that make our Search & Destroy lists - like just and was. I'm talking about other words that everyone knows.

I was going to give some examples here, but I realized that like our Search & Destroy lists, these words are probably different for each of us. My own tend to vary by project and even by chapter.

These are everyday words. Words that often are shortcuts. There's nothing wrong with them, but we use them more often than we should and rarely recognize that we do so.

So here you are, deep in the story, writing away, and you raise your gaze from the screen for a moment to give your eyes a rest. Look! On the horizon . . . see those words in the scraggly line?

Call to them.

When they approach, look them over. Have a chat with one or two. Do any look familiar? See if there are any in the bunch that might be willing to stick around for a bit, maybe do a little work for you.

Who knows?

You might even find a new member for your word family.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday's Top Ten

In order to give the opposing party equal air time . . .

The top ten duties of The Cat:

10. Never admit to a lapse in judgment

 9. Torment the oppressors

 8. Accept no prisoners

 7. Guard the dog

 6. Maintain decorum

 5. Hide all dog toys

 4. Demand running water

 3. Nap on the placemats

 2. Supervise food distribution

And the #1 duty of The Cat:

 1. Eat Cheezeburgerz