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2016 Goals

  • write to my grandmother every six weeks or so
  • call my moms every month or so
  • cook/eat better
  • clean out and organize my writng/craft room
  • re-institute the cleaning plan
  • publish six books by September 2017
  • reach 120 to 125 pounds
  • walk the dog three times a week

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

To blog or not to blog...

I want to post today, though at first I didn't have a topic in mind or a bee in my bonnet. Now I do. (:

Social media for writer/aspiring writer. Does using social media help aspiring writers generate sales once they've sold the book?

It's an interesting debate and I think the answer is yes and no. The problem is that most aspiring writers have a following of other writers and personal friends when they begin the journey. And that's okay. And eventually, I think, friends of friends and friends of other writers might find you and join the bandwagon. But that takes time.

Some people find social media fun to use. But it's time consuming, and so does an author spend his/her time working the media or do they spend the time writing the best damn book they can?

I guess that's for each individual to answer, but I'd think one would err on the side of writing the book. You can't have fans or sales if you have no product.

I know people who start blogging or tweeting or what-have-you and go great guns for a while and then their activity dwindles and you never see them online. That's frustrating for the followers.

Personally, I have an author website that has seen no updates in quite some time, but while this blog consists of my personal musings on a wide variety of topics, I post fairly regularly.

And the real kicker is that I have 8 followers. I don't know who half of them are, but it's kinda cool. :)

Have a good day.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Terminology

I hate the term "African American." Not only because it's politically correct, but because 99 times out of 100 it's an inaccurate label.

This past weekend, I worked with a teacher from my son's school who graciously came to help us out and work the register at Cowboys Stadium. He's black.

So I asked him what term he preferred: African American, black, or something else. I don't often come into contact with black adults I feel comfortable enough to ask this of. I ask the kids, and most of them prefer to just be called black. Okay.

So Mr. G who's in his sixties has been around a while--been through all the hubbub surrounding black Americans. He told me when he was a little boy about having to drink from a water fountain outside, about having to ride in the back of buses.

His preferred appellation: Negro.

He told me there are three major umbrella races in the world: Caucasian (Americans and Europeans), Mongoloid (the Asian peoples), and Negros (Africans). Also he says Europeans are/were much more accepting/less racist than us Americans.

Not that this is an exhaustive survey (yet) but I thought it interesting.
Monday, November 28, 2011

Not a good way to start the week...

My 3.5 day weekend was very relaxing. (I say 3.5 because I worked Cowboys Stadium on Saturday afternoon/evening.)

One of my critique partners and I met every morning at 8am via a chat room and did writing sprints and worked on our current WIPs. On Friday, we even did some cleaning sprints. :) I came away from the weekend with way more accomplished on my WIP than I'd planned or expected. So I'm excited and thankful for that.

If you want an easy online chat, Chatzy is awesome. You don't have to download anything and you don't have to create an account if you don't want to. And your chat room stays active as long as you use it at least once within every 14-day cycle. (So keep that link handy.)

Thanksgiving was a relaxing quiet affair. The food was delish--if I do say so myself.

So this morning it's back to the real world and I'm dropping kids off at school at ten after seven, stopping by the grocery store for lunch for the week, and taking my walk around the business park this morning. Now, unfortunately, I am my husband's alarm clock. But that requires him to keep his phone next to him when he sleeps and to ensure that the ringer is turned on. So I call him daily at 7:30. Only today he didn't answer. So I tried calling the home phone, hoping the incessant ringing would stir him enough to wake up and then call me to say he was awake. No dice.

And because I had no idea what was on his schedule this morning and he'd slept in until 10 or 11 or noon over the weekend, I didn't want to leave it to chance. Which meant I had to drive home to wake him. Luckily it's only six miles.

Then as I climb into the car, Sonshine texts me to say he's left his school ID at home and he can't go to class without. Lucky for him, I was going home anyway.

Just as I pull into the drive, my phone rings. There's hubby calling me to say he's up. Grrr... But I still had to get the school ID and all my other keys (po boxes and filing cabinet). I zip back by the school to give Sonshine his ID and finally get back to the office.

Whew...but now I'm behind on all my morning tasks which makes me cranky.

Ah, well...now I'm here, caught up and moving on to the next task.

Have a good week. :)
Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thansgiving

Well, it's that time of year again: Thanksgiving. When we're all supposed feel thankful for something. Of course, I do.

I'm thankful for my family: my husband, daughters, and Sonshine. My mom, step mother, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, in laws.

I'm thankful that my oldest daughter is on her way to recovery. She's been evaluated and approved for a halfway house. It's still about three months before she's back in town though.

I'm thankful for better financial circumstances than last year.

I'm thankful for my friends, real life and online.

I'm thankful for my health and that of my family.

I'm thankful for my dogs, Honey and Sam.
Friday, November 18, 2011

TGIF

Yep, thank goodness it's Friday. I'm dragging this morning. I was up till midnight thirty on Wednesday night and midnight last night. I'd love nothing more than to crawl back in my cozy silky fluffy bed and drift off for another hour or two. Unfortunately, I'm at work.

But it's Friday, so tomorrow I can sleep in. And next week is Thanksgiving break for Sonshine so I don't have to do the school run each morning.

It looks to be a beautiful weekend, so I'm going to spend some time on the yard and see if I can't cross a few more items of my lists!

Thanksgiving will be spent at home this year so I'll be cooking. I'm thinking ham (yum), mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, rolls, corn, and pumpkin cake.

Happy Fall and Happy Friday!

Have a great weekend!
Monday, November 14, 2011

Where has the time gone...?

School started just yesterday and now it's almost Thanksgiving.

WHUT??

Where did my fall go?

Okay, so in Texas, fall comes later in the official season--trees are turning colors now and are so lovely to look at. The temps are fluctuating between on the chilly/cold side and on the perfect side.

It'll be Thanksgiving in a week and a half.

How did the second half of each year become so crazy?

Oh, right--a teenager in high school and involved in a group. In our case, marching band. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm glad my son has a group to be a part of. It's not one big happy family, nor is it a large group of nerds--there are clicks and groups in the band as in the school in general, and many of the kids are popular. But they come together with a common bond--love of music (some more than others)--and they can do it extremely well when they've got their acts together.

Fireworks season is in five weeks and, much as I hate to acknowledge it, Christmas is six weeks away. The new year in seven.

Over all, the year has been much approved over last, so I have no real complaints.

On a side note, DD and I worked on the back yard on Saturday. Most of the yard was mowed and the clippings bagged. We still have a bit to do, but it's amazing how much difference it made. I know my lawn--if I even have any left--is infested with weeds, but when it's cut and green, it still looks mighty nice.

All right, so it's Monday--and I have some stuff to do!

Hope you had a great weekend, and here's to a good week.
Thursday, November 10, 2011

Frustrated and Ready to Quit..

I won't, but I so want to.

As Band Booster president that is.

Last month we couldn't have either the board meeting or the regular meeting. The board meeting because we didn't have a quorum, the regular meeting because no parents sowed up. Oh, wait--one did, but she was 10 minutes late and we were just about to walk out the door. I haven't seen the treasurer in months and we don't have a budget.

I'm not hopeful about tonight's meetings. Really, what's the point? It's the same thing each month: we need people to become TABC certified and help us by working at Dallas Cowboys Stadium.

The band director has canceled a couple of fundraiser attempts--an arts/crafts fair for Christmas and a garage sale in the spring. I was going to recommend we kill the arts & craft fair anyway because we didn't really have enough time to plan it, but I think the garage sale would have been a big hit in our neighborhood. On the other hand, one less thing I have to worry about.

On the other hand, I have to revise and update the bylaws which is not a problem at all and write some policy and procedures. Not a big deal either.

So I'm going to get some feedback from the band director about what's next on the agenda and what she needs a hand with. We'll go from there.

I'm much rather be at home tonight, cozy, watching TV or reading, than at these meetings.

*sigh*
Monday, November 7, 2011

Fall Back and Other Random Things

We gained and hour of time yesterday and shifted our daylight hours backwards. It was a bit odd leaving the house this morning in the daylight. I felt as if I was running late. :)

My writers retreat was a lot of fun. About ten members of our chapter booked rooms at a local bed & breakfast to get together as writers and to do writerly things. Our president remained holed up in her room for pretty much the entire weekend and cranked out about 10K. Don't get me wrong, she wasn't unsociable. She joined us for breakfast both days, emerged periodically to get a beverage and to say hello, but she went there to write and that's what she did.

My critique partners and I shared adjoining rooms. We weren't quite as productive as Madam Prez, but we all got something accomplished and left the retreat happy with whatever progress we made.

I've been stalled out on a story, unable to make progress on it for quite some time. Occasionally I open it up and read through it and *want* to work on it, could never really do more than piddle with it. Something obviously wasn't working but I just couldn't figure it out. I'd also had a comment from a chapter mate last year which I didn't really want to acknowledge, but after asking my CPs for help, I changed a few details which actually addressed that comment and made the story better. So I'm excited that I can finally move forward with it.

I finished my Glee rewatch this weekend. And then, yesterday, I picked back up with Grey's Anatomy.

And now it's Monday morning again and work is calling.
Friday, November 4, 2011

It's Friday...

...and I'm leaving early.

One of my CPs will be picking me up at home at 1PM and we'll be off to the wilds of Irving!

I have officially started Christmas shopping. Actually, I started in October while at the U.I.L. competition--I bought Sonshine a t-shirt that says "trumpet" across the front. And last night I found a puzzle by one of my favorite artists, Charles Wysocki. Not that I'm a big "art" fiend, but I love Americana and that's his subject. I have three separate series of collector plates all featuring his work, not to mention calendars. Anyway--I bought the puzzle and told DD to stash it for a Christmas gift for me. :)

I also found a new purse. And I bought it. I'm so not really a purse ho, but I can rarely find a purse I like. I settled for the last one because I needed one so badly. So this time, I didn't hem and haw. I just bought it.


















Anywho--have a great weekend.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dispirited...

I'm feeling glum today and stressed out. Last night I watched another movie and some more Glee. There'll be no more comments on Glee as it's a re-watch and I've said what I need to say. If you try it and like, we can talk!

First movie attempt: Batman Forever starring Val Kilmer, Nicole Kidman, Tommy Lee Jones and Jim Carey. After about twenty minutes I had to stop. This version, a sequel to Batman Returns, was too cheesey, too comic book like, too many stupid cliche jokes and caricaturish and no. I'm not overly fond of Jim Carey either. I much prefer the remakes, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight starring Christian Bale as a more likeable, flawed, *human* superhero. (And I find him much more attractive to boot.)

Second movie: The Family Stone. Ah, Dermot Mulroney whom I love and first discovered way back in the mid-eighties in a series of ABC Afterschool Specials. Anyway, it's Christmas and Dermot's character Everett brings his stuffy, uptight girlfriend home to meet the family. Hilarity and calamity ensue. While I enjoyed the film, I didn't quite get it the first time around as there were a few key issues left too ambiguous, but now it's just a fun dramedy and I laughed throughout. And I want a house like the one the Stone family grew up/lives in:



Anyway, maybe more tomorrow, however we're on the downhill slide to my retreat weekend so I'll be busy prepping for that...
Tuesday, November 1, 2011

This and That--

This weekend is the annual writers retreat that my writing chapter sets up just for chapter members. My critique partners and I will all be attending and sharing two adjoining rooms between the five of us.

It's going to be a lot of fun.

I've attended every band event since school started, waited on humid buses with rowdy/antsy kids during rain delays, gotten wounded in the line of prop duty, served countless dinners and snacks, but I will be missing this Friday's football game. DD will be serving dinner and handing out snacks in my stead while I hang out with my writer buddies.

Food, friends, fun and writing!

I'm swinging back towards writer mode, though what I'll be writing remains to be seen. Probably nothing new. I have a dozen things in various stages of completion so I think I'm going to concentrate on finishing a few things. (What a concept, huh?)

I've also been in watching mode.

Last Friday, I re-watched The Notebook for the first time in many years, maybe for only the second time ever. The first time I watched it, I blubbered big time. This time, yep, I cried again, though the blubbering at the end wasn't quite as intense since I did know how it ended this time 'round. But why did this film evoke such strong emotions in me? Partly because of the chemistry between the younger leads. I had read previously and then again on Friday that Ryan Gosling (whom I think is really a spectacular actor) and Rachel McAdams had quite an adversarial relationship. There's a fine line between love and hate (I'm not saying they hated each other--they dated for three years) and that passionate emotion spilled onto the screen. Partly I think because the writers took the time to build the relationship. There are twelve steps to intimacy and romance writers are encouraged to include as many steps as possible in their books to create a believable relationship between the hero and heroine. No, you don't have to follow the steps in order, that's another blog post for people who are interested. Anyway, I don't know if the screenwriters followed them in order or included all of them, but they built a believable relationship--

This wasn't supposed to be a dissertation on The Notebook, just a little review. Many people think it overly sappy or whatever, but I like it. And I think it requires a bit more study and breakdown to see just why it works for me.

On Friday, after the movie I was still bored and needed something else to do. So I moved on to Glee. Glee is the FOX comedy about a high school glee club whose members all struggle for acceptance and popularity in their school. The kids are a mish-mash of religions and ethnicities; half girls, half boys; one kid in a wheel chair; and every sexual orientation.

They've sung songs from R&B to show tunes to pop to classic rock and from every decade since the 20s (Louis Armstrong's "When You're Smiling"). The story lines are very over the top, but it's funny, though I don't recommend it for youngish children. I wouldn't even recommend it for high schoolers, to be honest.

So anyway, I blew through season one over the weekend and have started season two.

Last night, we watched Miracle--the-based-on-a-true-story story of Herb Brooks who led the 1980 US Olympic Hockey team to victory over the highly favored Russian team overcoming tremendous odds to do so. Highly recommended!

Then, at the request of my son, we watched Facing the Giants, the second inspirational movie written, created, filmed, acted and produced by Sherwood Baptist Church in a subdivision of Albany, Georgia. The film doesn't match blockbuster quality and it's a bit slow at the beginning but it's a feel-good movie full of positive messages about God and faith.

As for writing mode, I've finished an exchange fic I signed up for and am ready to send it off--as soon as I come up with a title. Yesterday, I read through the first chapter of another fic that I am thinking of posting as a WIP hoping I'll be motivated/pressured to finish it. I'm still on the fence about that. I might wait until I have a few more chapters under my belt. I also did a read-through of one of my short original works-in-progress. That one needs some work and it's been teasing me, so I think that's what I'll be tinkering with for a little while.

And that's all folks. :)

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Jen FitzGerald
Thanks for stopping by one of my little corners of the world wide web. So, a little about me...My husband and I have been married for twenty years and we have three adult children although our youngest is still in high school. We've lived in Texas for fifteen years and for the rest of the story, click here.
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Jen's Glossary of Terms

  • DH = my husband
  • my Brown Eyed Girl = my oldest daughter
  • DD = my Darling Daughter (the younger one)
  • Sonshine or Marching Band Boy = my son
  • NT = the North Texas chapter of RWA
  • RWA = Romance Writers of America