Monday, May 30, 2011

Temporary Management

I'm dismayed to tell you that Blogger has assumed temporary management duties of Under the Tiki Hut.

This is the most recent post under Known Issues:

We're investigating an issue which is preventing login and comment posting for some users, and hope to have a fix released shortly.

Thanks for your patience in the meantime. — LATEST UPDATE ON TUESDAY, MAY 24, 2011

LABELS: comments, login, outstanding
What this means for me is that I cannot access ANY Blogger comments - not yours, not mine. Nor can I access my Dashboard.

How, you might ask, did I make this post? From Internet Explorer. S-L-O-W. And extremely prone to crashing at inopportune moments.

I use Google Chrome - which I love. LOVE! Except that I fear the issue is also related to it in someway because my iGoogle page is showing a glitch or two as well.

I'm going to give this issue until Friday to clear. If it hasn't by then, I will download Firefox and see what happens with it. If I start showing up on your blog, you'll know Chrome and Blogger are back in business. At least temporarily. I doubt it is as fast as Chrome, but I don't think it can be worse than Internet Explorer.

If any of you have other suggestions I'd love to hear them.

Needless to say, my Summer Project will be at least a week late in starting. I'm so thankful I didn't have a Guest Blogger post schedule.

Thanks so much for understanding.

P.S. ... I can't preview this from Internet Explorer, so I hope it's formatted correctly.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday's Top Ten

Based on last week's Top Ten comments, a few of the choices struck a chord. So in no particular order, I'll begin with . . .

The top ten things about cowboys:

10. Some of them play football

  9. Most drive pick-ups

  8. And ride horses

  7. And sometimes bulls

  6. All look good in tight jeans :)

  5. And know how to rope

  4. They work hard

  3. And play hard

  2. They're independent

 And the #1 thing about cowboys:

  1. They wear spurs and chaps . . . just sayin'

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Help Me Brainstorm

I want to try something different on Wednesdays over the summer. One of the things I've thought about is to invite Guest Bloggers to post. Another is haiku - mine in the post, yours in the comments. Yet another is to have Wednesdays be Character Day - everyone tells something about one of their characters - short, maybe 50 words? 100? This could probably be tweaked in some way to make it more fun.

Anyway, there are 14 Wednesdays in June, July, and August beginning next week, June 1.

I know, I needed more lead time - especially if we go the guest blogger route. That may be a next summer thingie. I've been trying to get to this, and the time slipped away. I have excuses, but no reasons other than family-in-transit still at my house. And a large wine bill. I may or may not be kidding about the wine.

Moving along, I'm now on top of the Summer Project. And trying not to fall off.

If none of the above three ideas appeal to you, what would you like Tiki Wednesdays to be? Speak up! Any and all suggestions are welcome because Under the Tiki Hut is all about you. I'm totally open because I want you to be here :)

This will be a learning experience; but I'm a quick learner, so it shouldn't be too painful.

Speak up. Please. What do you want out of Wednesdays?

Thanks for your help.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Creating: Writing Experiences

Otherwise known as recharging your batteries.

While we need those long breaks where we don't write but spend the time being a sponge and soaking up everything around us, we can also benefit from our daily excursions and everyday errands.

Last Friday I drove up to Austin to meet Hart Johnson of Confessions of a Watery Tart, who was in town for a convention. We sat at a little table on the sidewalk and, since you all know what a klutz I am, I'll fess up. I bumped the table and spilled my coffee and hers, and it all went more in her direction than mine. She didn't beat me with her bag.

But it's a good thing I made the coffee mess or I might not have turned my mug around and seen the lipstick imprint. Eewwww!

Anyway...Hart is a fantastic woman, and I had a wonderful time talking to her over coffee. In a new clean mug. Not only that, but I came away with a few new city impressions. Even better, I know there will be a coffee incident in my next manuscript :)

On Saturday I went to our local HEB, the big Texas supermarket chain. I walked in the door, and a woman on the right was cooking and giving free samples of something Asian. Normally I would have gone right over, but on Saturday the smells were a little wonky. No, thanks - I walked past. Fast.

I went out a different door - through the garden center. OMG! Fabulous floral scents. I don't know all the flowers that were blooming, but I actually stopped for a few seconds just to sniff the simple yet complex aroma. Sweet and floral, of course. A tang of spice, a touch of something pungent.

It's a good thing I'm not a bee. I would've been intoxicated from all the aromas. I wanna go here. No, here. Ooh, over here! Come to think of it, maybe that's what happens to butterflies as they loop around from flower to flower.

So the takeaway here is: Be Receptive.

Be receptive to everything, everywhere. Open your mind. Experience life.

Write it down.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday's Top Ten

Top ten things I didn't make this Top Ten list about:

10. Things to do in the rain

  9. Ways to fix chicken

  8. Things about the sun

  7. Computer frustrations

  6. Things about cowboys

  5. Ways to keep the bugs out of your writing

  4. Things to do with the bats in your belfry

  3. Cooking secrets

  2. Things about music

And the #1 thing I didn't make this Top Ten list about:

 1. Reasons why I couldn't decide on this week's Top Ten list

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tag, You're It!

Last week RaShelle at A No. 2 Pencil, Stat! tagged me with a meme. RaShelle's blog totally rocks! Go see for yourself.

Now I have to answer some questions and do some things.

Do you think you're hot?
I had to stop laughing before I answered this one.
It comes and goes, and not in the way the question was meant.

Upload a picture or wallpaper you're using at the moment.

When was the last time you ate chicken meat?
Saturday at La Cabana - Enchiladas Verde.

The song(s) you listened to recently.
"Margaritaville" - Jimmy Buffett
"Cab Driver" - Daryl Hall
"Mean" - Taylor Swift

What were you thinking as you were doing this?
I need to have my head examined.

Do you have nicknames? What are they?

Tag eight blogger friends.
Okay ... everyone below - you're officially tagged.
E.Elle at The Writer's Funhouse
Summer at My Inner Fairy
Linda Kage
Rula at A Writer's Rush
Savannah Foxx
Laura at A Shift in Dimensions
Talei at Musings of an Aspiring Scribe
Tara at Feel of Something New

Who's listed as No. 1?
E.Elle runs a a cool blog, and she's hosting a contest.

Say something about No. 5.
Savannah Foxx is one of my newest blog friends. Check out her blog.

How did you get to know No. 3?
I've known Linda Kage for a while now. I don't remember how we met or who found who. Whom?

How about No. 4?
I first went to Rula's blog based on a comment I read by her on another blog ... maybe RaShelle's :)

Leave a message for No. 6.
I know who you are, and I saw what you did, Laura - LOL!

Leave a lovey-dovey message for No. 2.
Roses are red
Inner Fairies are green
Summer's blog is fun
And she's never mean

Do No. 7 and No .8 have any similarities?
Duh ... both their names begin with T - Talei and Tara. And they both like the beach. Like me!

Everyone is free to go visit now :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Creating: Writing Space

Where we write.

In a lagoon
On the moon
On a float
In a moat
On our back
In a shack

Doesn't matter. We're all different.

What does matter is that our writing space suits us. And works for us.

Most of us could probably write anytime, anyplace, with any type of writing implements. But I'm going to focus on finding the best writing space - the one where we are the most productive, the most creative. The writing space that, at the end of the day, lets us smile and say, "This was great. I can't wait to come back here tomorrow."

Are you a pack rat? Do you like all your finds - from a rock you picked up at Aunt Sally's when you were six to the latest useless gadget you bought last week - nearby within sight and easy reach so you can see and touch to bring the emotions surrounding everything to the surface? If so, maybe a small room with a locking door is for you.

Not a pack rat? Maybe you're the opposite. You like sleek, open, clean surfaces with plenty of space to spread out. All your memories are in your head and not attached to particular things. If so, an enclosed porch or sunroom might work well as your writing space.

These are only two examples. Not every pack rat has a spare room. Not every minimalist has a sunroom. I'm somewhere in between, and I don't have a spare room or a sunroom. But I am a writer. I'm creative. I know how to think outside the box. I know how to create something from nothing.

So do you.

Maybe you lose yourself curled up with your laptop in the recliner or one corner of your sofa. Or in a dark corner of Starbucks, with hustle and bustle around you while enjoying the wonderful aromas of coffee during your entire writing session.

Or you must have a desk, even if it's an old table you found in the attic or at a garage sale and refinished (or not). And your desk is in the kitchen or a corner of the living room or in the nursery.

Doesn't matter. We're all different.

Experiment to find the type of writing space that works best for you. Don't be afraid to try something different, something new, if your current writing space stops working, keeps you from creating and/or being productive.

Who knows? Maybe your locked-room self is really craving Starbucks. Find out.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday's Top Ten

Top ten ways to mangle a murder - or maybe Blogger:

10. Forget the bullets

  9. Show up when the target is on vacation

  8. The police arrive and arrest you for attempted murder

  7. Forget to add the poison

  6. Show up at the wrong location

  5. The intended victim intimidates you

  4. Forget your alibi

  3. Show up without a weapon

  2. Lousy shot

And the #1 way to mangle a murder:

  1. Your intended victim kills you - oops!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Island Fun

Today's photos of our recent Galveston trip are the last I'll put up. If you missed the others, you can view them here and here.

I saved the best for last. Pure pleasure . . . mostly beaches and Tiki Huts!

So without further commentary, I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Creating: Writing Attitude

Own it.

Two little words.

Joanne at Whole Latte Life often talks about owning your passion. Go visit her if you haven't. If you have, go visit again. You'll have fun.

I want to talk about showing that you own the fire that burns inside. Strut your stuff.

When I was a little girl, my mother signed me up for ballet almost as soon as I could walk. Actually she enrolled me because I had such trouble walking - I was a klutz. Or to hear her tell it ... a KLUTZ! Still am, but not quite so bad. Magic happened on the dance floor, and all my klutziness went away. I even showed a little promise. I wanted to be a ballerina, but life had better plans.

I still love dance in all its forms. I even love watching Dancing with the Stars. At the beginning of each season, especially, you can spot the Stars who don't own their performances. They're hesitant. Their faces are stiff, their movements wooden. They are not having fun. The best dancers are not always the most technically perfect. The best dancers are the ones whose movement touches your heart. They own it.

We're writers. We may, from time to time, write in our jammies. With pillow hair. Not caring that dust bunnies have taken control. Just saying this is possible :)

But when we sit down to write, all of our perfectly groomed self needs to go bye-bye. We must open our writing hearts and let the contents flow through our fingers to the screen or the paper. We have to own our words, our characters, our stories. It's our job to make them touch the reader's heart. When we do that, we own it.

Saying and doing live in two different worlds. We can begin by creating a positive attitude within ourselves. And by lots of hard work. We must know every word is the best we can make it. Every character is as fully formed as we can make her. Every story is the right story for that particular character.

We must be willing to share all the feelings and emotions stored away in the nooks and crannies of our hearts and souls. The good, the bad, the ugly. The sad, the funny. The inspired and the bizarre. All of them - without scrimping. For letting the reader empathize with our characters is the movement we create to make our stories touch their hearts. No matter that if doing so scares us silly. It's what shows our readers that we do, indeed, Own It.

How do you show that you own your work?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday's Top Ten

Top ten gifts not to buy your mother for Mother's Day:
Unless she requests one of these.

10. Rod and Reel

  9. Vacuum

  8. Tickets to the Monster Truck Show

  7. Lawnmower

  6. Cheap Cologne

  5. Power Screwdriver

  4. Swiffer Refills

  3. Wrinkle Cream

  2. Shotgun

The #1 gift not to buy your mother for Mother's Day:

  1. Diet Book

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Island Magic

One of the first things we did was take a tour of Galveston Island on the Duck. It's an old amphibian landing craft used by the Army that's been modified to carry tourists instead of troops. The guide was funny, and we saw lots of Galveston that we wouldn't otherwise have been able to see.

And, of course, the tour made us thirsty.

Inside, this fellow greeted us.

Near Galveston Harbor is The Strand, an area of mostly Victorian buildings filled with shops and eateries.

For those who like a little darker picture of island life . . . a Strand alley.

On our journey across Galveston, this little guy and his buddies kept us company.

And the end of a stormy day Under the Tiki Hut.

Next Wednesday will finish up with some more of my favorite shots.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Creating: Writing Time

I would be surprised if any of us always has plenty of uninterrupted time to write. I'm talking about five to seven days a week of whenever you want to write, you write. Or you have scheduled writing time that no one interrupts. Ever.

If any of you do live in that perfectly blissful paradise, I'd love to know your secret.

My writing world has been rocking along pretty darn good since the first of the year - for which I'm VERY thankful - but it certainly wasn't always perfect.

Then family arrived on our doorstep. It's a happy story. They are transferring to the San Antonio area and will stay with us until they can move to their new home.

In terms of my writing time, this means I'm getting lots of interrupts. More importantly, it means I can't spend the morning writing in my jammies :(

This might sound whiny and trivial to some of you. But it's a big deal. The reason is because I get a lot done in my jammies. Mornings were my time to drink coffee, blog, visit YOUR blogs, answer email. And most importantly, to write for one hour. That hour is the kick-start I need to keep the rest of my writing day rocking along.

I have a big coffee mug. By the time I drank two cups of coffee and munched on breakfast, everything was done and I would go shower and dress. This may be way TMI for some of you. Deal with it ... it's my story, not fiction :)

Last week: plenty of blogging but no morning writing. I did not meet my writing goals last week. That's because by the time I came downstairs to my office I had already showered and dressed. And done all the daily upstairs chores that I would normally do later in the day. By the time I came downstairs, I was already a teeny bit cranky because I was late getting to the coffeemaker. And by the time I got to my writing time, it was already the time that I would normally be starting on my SECOND HOUR of writing.

I have no idea why switching around when I got dressed made such a difference. Nobody changed the number of hours in the day or the number of hours between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. But the change in my routine severely affected my writing output.

So I figured out what to try. It concerns you.

For a few weeks, I'm not going to blog until later in the day. My posts will come up as usual in the mornings - like this one - but I won't be commenting back here or visiting your blogs until after I have my morning hour of writing done. This may mean that I'm again visiting at odd hours until I work into this new schedule. But I'll be there. And I'll answer here.

If anyone has a better suggestion, I'm all ears.

How do you deal with things that upset your schedule?

Is it always big things for you or do little things make a difference to you, too?