Friday, July 19, 2019
We celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing tomorrow, I guess. The Google Doodle video is well worth a watch.
One thing Mike Collins said that struck me hard--he was the astronaut that remained in orbit while Neil and Buzz explored the moon--was that our cell phones today are more powerful than the computers they had in 1969.
It's amazing to think that. And, yet, there still isn't a cure for cancer or even the common cold.
While the current space program is still going strong and attempting to get humans to Mars, it's funny to consider that even with how far technology has come, it's been 50 years since a human has set foot on another heavenly body.
Have a great weekend!!
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
(Don't mind the mess around the chair, eh??)
Thanks to my mother-in-law (Thanks, Mimi!!!) for allowing me to add this piece of exercise equipment to our collection. It'll now allow me to do some of the exercises I gave up by trading in my gym membership on that elliptical.
I spent some time searching out "chair gym" workout videos. I only found one so far, but it hit all the areas I like to target and I'm happy with it for now. I added some garden stepping stones to act as an aerobic step platform until I can buy one, and I do the stepping in between each of the lady's different sections to catch my breath, but keep my heart rate up. So far so good.
While my body is feeling achy from the more diligent workouts, I'm also feeling generally better over all. And that's the goal.
I've also been pretty good, though not perfect, about giving up bad carbs. It's harder on the days I work from home because all the food is there. So it'll be a struggle until those things are consumed.
Unfortunately, despite my diligence, I haven't seen a noticeable drop on the scale. Yet. I imagine it's just a matter of time.
Hope you're well. Talk to you Friday.
Monday, July 15, 2019
Yeah, I missed posting on Friday somehow. Got involved in various and sundry things early in my day and completely forgot.
I forget how much I like to be busy. Not too busy to breathe, but busy enough to have to prioritize.
I even ended up getting two inquiries regarding proofing services, although I'm not sure I'll actually get the jobs. I hope I do even though they'll cut into some of my conference prep time. But I could use the extra cash they'd provide. **fingers crossed**
The weekend was productive too. I did some proofing for that anthology I'm participating in. It's always an interesting endeavor to read other authors' work. You see writing ticks, if you will, that bother you and you have to ask yourself if you do that. If it bothers you in someone else's work, then eliminate it from your own.
For example, the use of italics, ellipses, and em dashes. I like these tools, but as I was reading along, I kept asking WHY? Why did the author choose to use the tool? Did it really do the job it's meant to? Most of the time the answer is no.
When I read italics, sometimes it's straightforward, and yes, that word or phrase needed to be italicized. Sometimes though, I think I would have italicized a different word. When I read my own work and I go back and forth between words, I end up not italicizing anything. The reader will often emphasize the word that makes the most sense to them while reading.
Book blurbs are a challenge. I've come up with a bit of process that seems to work well. I finished the one for the anthology book. I like it a lot, but it's long. Considering the book itself is only 15K words and I usually struggle with writing these for longer books, I had to laugh.
I sent it off to my trusted writer peeps to see what they thought. I got back a few suggested tweaks, which was great. And then-- I got a request from the anthology coordinator for a 300 character or less blurb for Amazon. I really had to get down to the nitty gritty of what was important info to impart to a reader. That was a challenge.
I did a bad, bad thing. I inadvertently deleted the file for the book (Snowball) I'm just about done with. Because of the software I use (Scrivener), once it's gone, it's gone. It doesn't go to the deleted-items folder. (Bad programming on their part.)
Luckily I had compiled/exported the entire thing to send to a friend, so the text itself is not lost. Thank the good Lord. That was 42K words I would not have had the heart to re-write. All I have to do is create a new Scrivener project and copy/paste the text back in. WHEW!
Hope you had good weekend.
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
GRL is the conference I go to. This year it's in Albuquerque. I've never been and looking forward to it. I'm also looking forward to the drive--I'm gonna take the more northern route and check out some Route 66 tourist spots--namely The Cadillac Ranch. I haven't decided about the drive back--if I want to take the more southern trip and hit Roswell, although I'm not much into aliens and such. So maybe not.
In the mean time...
I mentioned the other day I'm trying to get two books out, so there are plenty of things to populate my TO DO list.
Things like write the book / back cover blurbs for both books. Assign ISBNs for various formats of each book. And by format I mean the epub, mobi, pdf, and print formats. Yes, an ISBN is required for each one. After that, I have to create said formats, except for print right now. And you know, finish that second book. :0)
I'm so close to finishing the second major proofing pass. I'll read it through one more time to address any last notes I've made, but there shouldn't be anything major left. I've addressed them all during this second pass.
So far, in each book of my Ten Rigs series, I had the first chapter of the next book to use as a preview. I have a first chapter for book two of this new series, except I wrote it so long ago when I was still writing heterosexual couples. I don't know if the plot line as written will convert easily as a pregnancy is involved. So do I add an extra character or do I remove the pregnancy angle? Things to ponder. There will be no chapter preview in the short anthology book.
Other things to prepare for are the book signings--do I have all the SWAG I need as well the signing accoutrements needed? That would my table signs and table runner, pens to sign with, etc, etc, etc...
Sounds like I need to borrow my kitchen table at some point and do a mock setup.
Hope your week is going well!
Catch you on Friday.
Monday, July 8, 2019
Where has the time gone? What have I accomplished?
Mostly I've accomplished living life, which is definitely a worthy endeavor. :0)
I wrote one whole, albeit short, book and am in the process of finishing another. I will have both of them published mid-October. The short book will be included in this anthology, coming to your retailer of choice any day now for probably $.99. Eleven short romances featuring heroes or heroines with some sort of disability. All royalties go to Pets for Vets.
I have seen all my babies at least once this year.
The youngest ........................................... The oldest
Of course, the middle one lives at home, so I see her all the time.
I have enjoyed yet another hockey post season but with my home town team taking part this time.
I have spent time with a handful of many of the wonderful women in my life and deepened our bonds of friendship.
As for my goals listed up and to the right, I've done a terrible job and I don't know that I'll do any batter moving forward. I'll revisit them later. Maybe.
Hope you had a wonderful Treason Day. Ours was crazy busier than usual or so it seemed because we were short a sales person, but we made it through.
Friday was spent recuperating and catching up on the sleep I lost the prior two nights.
Have a great week.
Wednesday, July 3, 2019
In the same spirit, there's these:
Have a great and safe Treason Day. Catch y'all on Friday.
Monday, July 1, 2019
I had to put my boy on a plane for his adopted home yesterday, but here's the latest selfie of the two of us. It was a short but sweet little visit and today we both are back to business as usual. School for him, working, writing, and exercising for me. Also for me: back to eating right. I've eaten so much junk for the last I-don't-even-know-how-long. I can feel it and I can see it in the pooch I've re-developed. I don't like it, so... back on the wagon.
I've completed the editing pass of "Snowball" I started while down at the lake last week. I'll go through it at least once more, but probably twice before I'll feel like it's where it needs to be. The first half probably only needs the one additional pass, but the second half has seen quite a bit of tweaking and will definitely need two more edits.
I'm also now percolating the next anthology submission I'm planning. I know more of one character than the other. I've got a couple of plot ideas, but I'm still hoping for a few more--especially the one that screams "I'M IT."
The new hockey season begins today, as does the period known as free-agency when teams can sign players from other teams whose contracts are expiring. The Stars have made a few trades these past couple of weeks and bought out a non-producing player in order to free up "cap space." Basically the NHL sets a limit on how much teams can spend on player contracts each year.
A lot of people in the know (mostly hockey reporters that I follow on Twitter.) have reported that the Stars will be signing two big names sometime today. And the Stars specific beat reporter thinks there might be something else in the works as well. Exciting times. We'll see how it plays out today and this week.
Hope you had a wonderful weekend.
Friday, June 28, 2019
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
So the NHL finally released the upcoming season's schedule for all teams...
There are some teams I have no desire to see, like Blackhawks or the Ducks or the Kings.
I didn't get my smaller swimsuit in time for the lake trip, but that's okay. I swam in the lake in shorts and a tee shirt and it worked out fine--especially after I got a little sunburned and opted for a long sleeved tee.
Here are a few more pictures from the trip.
Midsummers dinner by the lake...
Midsummer's eve sunset...
The view of the house from the boat.
There's apparently a dinner cruise on Lake Conroe.
(or was at some point, it looked a little dilapidated)
There's also a lighthouse.
And here's me enjoying being in the bow of the boat as we cruised along.
Monday, June 24, 2019
Another lake retreat is in the books and was a great success for all six of us. My goal was to read through and edit the whole of "Snowball," which I did. The book's not ready to go to my editor just yet, but it's that much closer. There were a couple of scenes which needed big tweaks. Those got made. Most of the book just needed a more consistent arc of one of the protagonists' feeling about the plot I dropped him in. That hasn't been completely accomplished yet, but it's closer.
Of course, our friendships were cemented and we talked about how our lives have changed since last year's trip. Mostly all for the better.
From left to right: Gina, Regina, Susie, Clover, Chrissy, and me...
Now if you're wondering why I'm wearing boots on a boat ride, it's because the boat was actually our mode of transportation to a restaurant on one of the many marinas around the lake where we had lunch.
While I was down in this area of Texas, I also got to see my beautiful Brown Eyed Girl.
As you can imagine, none of us wanted to return to our real lives, but that's what makes this weekend so special.
Hope you had a lovely weekend. Catch you Wednesday.
PS--Sonshine's in town and I get to see him Wednesday or Thursday. Yippee!!!!
Friday, June 21, 2019
The third annual Cowtown Critiquers lake treat has begun. I know it looks like the same picture I posted the other day, but I promise I took it yesterday when I arrived.
It's going to be four lovely days of writing and relaxing and deepening my bond with some of the most important women in my life.
The goal, besides having a good time and decompressing, is to get my Snowball book as complete as I can possibly make it. I should make good progress since I'll have at least three more hours of writing each day than I normally would.
Have a great Friday and a great weekend.
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
As I mentioned at some point in the last couple of weeks, I switched projects from Book 7 of the first series called "A Certain Kind of Man" to Book 1 of the next series, called "A Snowball's Chance in Texas."
Last year at this time, I was hoping to have "Snowball" done by October for the conference I attend, so I had a cover made for it. For whatever reason, I didn't finish the book. Looking at what's written, I have no earthly idea why I couldn't finish it. But-- I'm gonna finish it this year and have a new book to take the conference.
Two, actually. :0)
Remember that 15K word thing I wrote back in March/April? Well, after 90 days of being a part of the anthology--more to come on that soon--it'll go on sale in October as a standalone. It's called "No Protocol for Love" and I've contracted a cover for it, which I should have by mid-July. I'm really excited about this book in and of itself as well as the opportunity to participate in a few more anthologies with these same authors. It's also a chance to expand my fan base a little. Maybe. I'm pretty sure I'm the only MM author in the collection, but I read across genres, so others do too. Now, whether they read my genre is anybody's guess, but we'll see.
I think I learned that I work better under someone else's deadlines. Despite all the excitement of post-season hockey, I still met the deadlines and got that bad boy written. So yeah. Gonna keep participating as long as they'll have me and I have ideas.
We're getting a lot of rain here in North Texas. I shouldn't complain because we always need the rain and other parts of the country have it worse in terms of way MOAR rain than they need or not enough rain, but yeesh.
Sonshine is coming home for a week's visit come Sunday. I'll be at the lake still and I'll miss a couple of days with him, but any time I get to see him is welcome. He'll get some one on one time with his dad though, so that's a good thing too.
All right, my friends... Friday will be busy as I'll be meeting my daughter and a friend, but I'll try to post something at some point. If I don't see you, have a great weekend.
Monday, June 17, 2019
I went ice skating yesterday! And unlike last time, I lasted close to an hour on the ice. I got some speed going and kinda sorted figured out taking the corners.
Mind you, I skated the whole time with a stack of five gallon buckets to keep myself upright and mostly balanced. A few more sessions on the ice and I should be able to forgo the buckets. :0)
Who's Connor McDavid you ask?
Well, Connor McDavid has won the fastest skater competition at the NHL All Star weekend for the past three years. He's a forward for the Edmonton Oilers when he's not winning skating events. :0)
I'm off to Lake Conroe come Thursday for four wonderful days of fun, sun (I hope), and writing with my favorite women on the planet. My swimsuit came in last week, but it was way too big, so I requested an exchange, which I don't think is going to arrive on time. I'll be wearing shorts and a tee-shirt this year, which, all things considered, matters little. I'll be there. That's what counts.
While I'm down in that neck of the woods, I get to see my Brown Eyed Girl and meet a friend for lunch. It's gonna be a great weekend.
My after-the-meeting meeting shrunk to two of us this past Saturday. On a good day there's five of us, but one gal works nights, so she's had to go home to sleep before her shift for months now. Another is planning to move and had to go view her new digs. And the other wasn't feeling well, so she ended up going home.
But C and I had a great few hours together and a really cute server to check in every once in a while to boot. Not only did I head home feeling buoyed as I always do, but C and I talked about that book 7 I was/am having issues with and I feel much better about it and she suggested a scene that's going to make it so much better--when I get to back to working on it after October.
Hope y'all had a wonderful weekend too. Come tell me what you did.
Friday, June 14, 2019
By the time the Blues scored their second goal in the first period, I was pretty confident they were taking home the Cup. Now, even TWO minutes in hockey is a long time wherein anything can happen. My beloved Stars scored three goals in seventy-one second just this past February. But sometimes you can tell whether a come back is possible. And many times we've heard that the team who scores first generally wins the game. You get an insurance goal and, well...
The joy of the winning team doesn't hit me nearly as hard as the grief of the losing team. It's one thing if you get swept in four games. It's hard, sure. It's heartbreaking to a degree. But when you duke it out to a game seven, trading wins back and forth and then you lose. That's heartbreaking. To see grown men, kneeling on the ice, shoulders shaking as they cry... wow, pulls at the heartstrings even if you don't like the team.
And the losing team can't leave the ice until the handshake line which takes a few minutes to get to while the winners are jumping around hugging, yelling, celebrating.
Scrivener is the writing application I use and I've had issues with it off an on for months. Nothing serious, I just feel like there are little bugs cropping up here and there. I'm waiting for the new Windows version to be released, so there probably are a few bugs since they're not updating the version I have.
Anyway... my word count for my book--I switched from the book I've been complaining about to the other half-done book I mentioned a while back--was reported to be 38K-ish according to Scrivener's word count tabulator. I didn't think that was correct, but once I exported the thing into Word, I was very pleased to see I have indeed written that many words. After a read-through, it's missing a few scenes and things, but it's way more complete than I remembered, so YAY! I also have a book cover for it already, so I don't have to spend money on it at this point.
I've reached out my editor for a slot on her calendar in August, and between now and then it's going to be nose to the grindstone to get the book complete. Minus the holiday and Sonshine's visit of course.
And today is Friday, tomorrow is writers group, which I'm looking forward to as usual.
Have a GREAT weekend!!!
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Thank you, Google, for my birthday doodle. :0)
For my birthday, I get to watch the last game of the 2018-2019 NHL hockey season. Tonight is game seven of the Stanley Cup Final. Someone is walking away this year's Stanley Cup Champ.
Will it be the St. Louis Blues, who have never won a Stanley Cup? Ever.
Or will it be the Boston Bruins, who've won several over their history as one of the original six?
I haven't watched much hockey since my beloved Stars were knocked out of contention by said St. Louis Blues. But it's the last game of the season and I want to see the handshake line--one of my favorite hockey traditions--and I want to see who takes home the Cup.
Despite, the Stars loss, I want to see the Blues win. Mostly because I hate the Bruins. But also because, they're a Western Conference team. But mostly because they've never won and that would be a really cool thing to watch happen. Sadly for their fans, they aren't at playing at home tonight. Of course, they probably don't care as long as the team wins and brings the damn Stanley Cup home to St. Louis finally.
Three weeks ago, I couldn't imagine saying this, but...
LET'S GO BLUES!!!
Monday, June 10, 2019
How is it June?
Where has the year gone?
What have I accomplished?
The answers are: it just is; good question with no answer; and not a whole heck of a lot, to be honest.
I wrote a book, so that's definitely something. And a something I'm definitely proud of. The book will be part of anthology to be released in July. More details and a cover when I have them.
I spent a lot of time bonding with DD and at the same time living life, as it were. All that hockey and the playoffs were such great experiences. Sharing it with DD before she leaves home again was super and I'm grateful for the opportunity.
Sometimes things happen for a reason, and even though someone else was supposed to be president, I think maybe I'm here for a reason....
For the last several weeks, I've gotten a lot of writers-group-related tasks done, so there's that too. I want to start my tenure with as much in place and done as I can. I want my President-Elect to be able to easily step into the presidency come next fall, with us both having streamlined the duties of all board positions.
So that's what I've accomplished (along with gaining ten pounds, but whatever).
What are my goals going forward?
Two writers with whom I interact on a mostly daily work on their writing business plan / writing schedule every quarter. I'm sure many other writers do this too, I just don't know them or know this about them. Now, both these ladies write for income. I don't. But I'd still like to actively write/publish at least two books a year. One of my goals for the near future is to really think about my writing process and plan for those two books a year. Plan out the projects, from idea, to character building, to series planning.
I have ideas for two different series at the moment, one with six to nine books, the other with four or five books. At two books a year, I'm busy for the next five years at least. I'm good with that. Ideally, I'd like to publish three books a year, but I'm going to have to build up to that I think.
My other major goal, to lose those ten pounds, but I'm having an awful hard time overcoming my sweet tooth right now.
Hope you had a lovely weekend and may the coming week be productive.
Friday, June 7, 2019
It's been a rocky week. A major clusterfuck happened in the business we own, and DH spent the better part of the week angry and frustrated because no one in the companies involved could figure how to fix what someone in one of the two companies screwed up. It fell on him to figure out how to fix it...meaning he had to get high enough in the customer service food chain to find someone who knew how the different systems worked together. I know he's glad for the weekend for sure. Except it's almost fireworks season again and he'll be preparing for that.
On my end, I feel like I'm spinning my wheels a bit with Book 7. I keep writing and I'm churning out words, but I don't feel like I'm making progress. If I knew what the issue was I could probably solve it, you know? But I'm reaching the point where I'm wondering if it's time to move on to another project.
I hate to give up on my characters and for them to not get their happily ever after and for all those words to be for naught. (I'm at about 16K of a projected 35K.) Maybe I need a book/plot whisperer. So I plunked down $35 for some help. Kristen Lamb claims there's not a plot problem she can't solve, but what if it's an author problem and not a plot problem?? That one's a little harder to fix.
I meant to post Wednesday, but got busy with beginning-of-the-month tasks that needed to get done.
Wednesday's would-have-been topic? Office cleaning. I'd mentioned Monday that my 100 Things project seemed to be petering to a close, and it mostly is, but I got a wild hair on Tuesday while working from home to clean my home office. I'm talking about sorting through stuff, throwing stuff away, moving furniture and sweeping and dusting all surfaces. I stalled out at the bookshelf full of stuff in the corner. It was mostly full of paper and I undertook to go through it all.
And I did. I threw out a shit ton of paper and saved four story ideas that could be re-worked at some point. I went through all kinds of cross stitch stuff as well and only saved a handful of hand-created patterns that will go into my pattern software at some point.
I've also been going great guns in terms of my writers group. Last Friday, I mention that I was going to be president again and I've been going great guns in securing nominees for other positions, getting all the admin ducks in row, and just generally gearing up. It's going pretty well.
My dear friend N reminded me that a lot of writers give up writing time when they take on volunteer positions in their various volunteer organizations. That was definitely the first thought I had when asked to step up, but as I write so early in the morning before anyone else I might need to interact with is probably awake and functioning, so I'm not terribly worried, and I have time during the day job as well. But I will be vigilant about the writing time for sure.
Hope you have wonderful weekend!!
Monday, June 3, 2019
I've bought/brought more things into the house this last few weeks than I've purged. But I do think I'm at the end of that project unless I get super cutthroat and I'm not really ready to go down that road just yet.
Someday, just not now.
In other news, I got to meet the Stars new head coach Jim Montgomery. He's fun and personable, unlike many/most NHL coaches. Not only is this his first year with the Stars, it's his first year in the NHL. He hasn't learned to be vague or to bury his personality. He did great things for the team this year, and I was super excited for the opportunity. Honestly, I was surprised more people didn't show up. Their loss!
DD, her BFF, and me with Coach Monty!!
A very good day was had by all.
Friday, May 31, 2019
I've been a member of my writers group since February of 2005. Fourteen years! Who'd-a-thunk??
In those fourteen years, I've served the chapter in one way or another except for maybe three?? of those years. I've served in just about every capacity there is to serve, except for Programs Director. I'd been asked to run for that position for this next year, and I'd agreed. But then stuff happened and the woman who'd been voted in as President Elect to serve as President come September 1 had to withdraw.
So guess who got asked to step in a serve as President? Yep, yours truly. This'll be my 4th stint as head honcho and I'm fine with it. I'm not dreading it. Quite the opposite, I'm looking forward to it for several reasons that I won't bore you with.
In the weeks leading up to the election of next year's board in late July/early August, I've got to recruit people to serve in the various positions. That's by far the hardest challenge of the position--getting chapter members to join the party.
Many refuse to serve, period. Some get turned off after the experience. New members don't qualify until they've been a member for a year. Then the same people cycle through positions until we can lure in some fresh blood. Sometimes a certain position (Treasurer) can be daunting. Sometimes it's a job outside of most members' skill set (website updating) even though neither job is actually all that difficult with a little hand holding and training.
I'm prepared to do a lot of hand holding if I can just a get a body to agree.
Anyway, wish me luck.
And, as always, have a great weekend.
DD, her BFF, and I are off to meet Dallas Stars new Head Coach Jim Montgomery tomorrow. Pics Monday!
Have a great day and great weekend.
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
I've been on the hunt for some ear buds for the last month or so. Not seriously, but keeping my eyes peeled when I'm in WalMart. I've had no luck, so this past Sunday, I went up and down every aisle in the electronics department so figure out where they were, once and for all.
You know where I found them? In a locked cabinet! What the hell, society?? Are people are so desperate for ear buds that they've become high-theft items and have to be under lock and key???
Apparently so. >>HUGE SIGH<<
I guess I'm going to have to order off the Internet at some point because I'm not waiting around Walmart for an associate who may or may not have a freaking key. Ridiculous.
Hope you're having a better week than I am. Aside from the fact it's a short week, it's started off pretty crappy.
Hopefully by the time we meet again Friday, things will have taken a turn for the better.
See you Friday.
Monday, May 27, 2019
I had half a notion to go visit my family in Omaha this year so that I go visit my dad's grave, but didn't plan far enough in advance. Probably next year, which'll put me at at least two visits a year.
Anyway, enjoy the three-day weekend.
Friday, May 24, 2019
My annual writers retreat to Lake Conroe is coming up soon. This'll be third year this group of us (minus one, sadly) has done this.
The lake house belongs to one woman's sister and brother-in-law, and this woman graciously allows us (her writer friends) to spend her allotted visit there with her rather than taking her family. We are all of us grateful for the opportunity to get away from home and spend this time together not just writing, but strengthening and deepening our bond as women and friends.
The chance to write without life's general distractions is also much welcomed by us all. The whole trip is a blessing.
But that's not really where all of this was meant to go. As I mentioned we go to Lake Conroe. The house itself, it right on the lake. Each afternoon, we don our swim gear and trek out for a couple hours of floating and chatting.
It's the swim gear I'm here to talk about. Finding a swimsuit that fits well and is flattering is a chore. One I hate and one I've not bothered much with because until three years ago, I didn't need one. The original one I bought was ill-fitting because I'd lost weight and the halter top was uncomfortable.
This year, I'm bound and determined to get something that fits and is comfortable and is cute. Another friend had a suit that was made specifically for mature women--with modest cut or *non* bikini cut leg openings. But do you know how hard those are to find?? Yeesh.
I spent some time the other day Google-searching and finally found some sites with bathing suits that appealed to me and had those modest-cut leg holes. Think (and search) Esther Williams style swimsuits.
I really like this one, but I realized the lack of straps wouldn't work well for the size of my bust.
(Image from ModCloth.com)
I'm leaning toward this one. It has straps and will hide what'll be left of my tummy, and of course the leg holes are also modest-cut. Also, it's green. Not Victory Green, exactly, but close and I love green in general.
(Image from ModCloth.com)
I'll let you what I end up with after a bit more searching and research...or I'll share a photo from my trip. :0)
Have a wonderful weekend.
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
"Darn," you're thinking, right? Y'all finally got a break from my hockey obsession and here we are again.
I just want to express my disappointment in the San Jose Sharks--who I'm sure are way more disappointed in themselves than I truly am--but I digress.
The Sharks were supposed to win the third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and send the St. Louis Blues home laden with disappointment. The Blues, you remember, won over my Dallas Stars in the second round of said playoffs and sent my boys home laden with that disappointment.
Instead, the Blues are moving on to the Stanley Cup Finals, playing the Boston Bruins. I hate the Bruins and I hate the Blues this year, so I don't know who'd I'd prefer to win. Not that it matters since it's not the Stars, the Golden Knights, or the Penguins.
Now back to whatever I was originally going to ramble on about... Um... No, seriously, blog topics are a crap shoot. Did I think of something and forget because I didn't make a note somewhere? Did something happen in the world that I have an opinion on? Is there anything exciting going on in my life that rates coverage? No, no, and no.
Let me roll the metaphorical dice and see what occurs to me...
I used to think life was busy with kids and that once they'd all grown up and moved away, life would be less busy, but that's not the case. It's not a bad thing, but anyone who has reached a certain age (it's different for everyone, I think) knows that time starts to pass faster. I do think you have to be at least 50 years old, though, yeah?
One of our speakers at writers group this past weekend talked about business plans. Now, several years ago, I put one together. It wasn't nearly as detailed as this person's but it served its purpose at the time.
Something she said struck a chord and is something I'd heard or considered before, but didn't really put into practice. Fast forward to two and a half months ago when an opportunity to participate in an anthology was passed along to me. I wanted to do it, but with all the hockey going on, could I pull it off?
I had to consider the deadlines, the scope of the project, if I could even come up with characters and a plot line, and how many days I'd be out of commission to write in the early morning because of a late night of hockey. I spent a weekend on characters and plot before I joined. If I didn't have that, there was no point. Then I figured up how many days were available to me and how many of them would be writing days. After that, I calculated how many words a day I had to write.
One of the woman's points when drawing up the business plan was how many books a year do you plan to write and or publish. You've obviously got to factor in your real life (day job, children, travel, etc) as well as how fast a writer are you.
It was a concept I'd considered previously but didn't do much with it, but I probably won't have the two books I wanted to publish out in the world this year. I will have the anthology I just mentioned and possibly another little volume of very short "coffee reads"--they're short enough to read while consuming a single cup of coffee--but not the two longer books I have despite both of them being half written.
The fact that they're both half-written and I can't seem to get them done maybe speaks to other issues. I'm trying to sort those...
Anyway. I need to try the approach of deciding on how many books to publish, how long they're going to be, plot and plan them, set deadlines maybe, sort daily word counts, and then--as Nike says--JUST DO IT.
Yeah, some of that ain't so easy. The plotting gets me every time.
Anyway, back to work. Have a great rest of your week.
Monday, May 20, 2019
Back in May 2005, the TV show series finale ended with a coin flip. The two main protagonists had finally declared their love for one another but had each been offered a promotion--to opposite end of the globe of course.
The coin toss would determine who would accept their promotion and who would pass so they could live happily ever after together.
A spinoff (NCIS: LA) of a spinoff (NCIS) that JAG launched way back in 2003 just aired their season finale featuring two special guest stars : David James Elliott and Catherine Bell reprising their roles as Harm and Mac fourteen years later.
The fans' question--who won the coin toss--was finally answered.
Unfortunately, the group of ladies I was with--my JAG ladies for the annual JAG meet--were not happy. Some were terribly disappointed, some were just plain angry.
If this episode's writer--who just so happened to be the biggest proponent of that Harm & Mac relationship back in the day and a writer on JAG who tended to write shippery episodes--couldn't give the fans what they wanted, then why bother bursting everyone's fantasies of how the coin flip ended. The winner of the coin flip didn't really matter.
What mattered was that Harm and Mac would be together and that they'd work out the logistics to make things work.
I'm not angry, but I am disappointed.
On the other hand, the current situation leaves the two characters in a position to find their way back to one another. There are rumblings and rumors (which may be just that by hopeful fans) that some sort of new show with our beloved hero and heroine is in the offing. We shall see.
As mentioned...it was JAG Meet weekend when a group of women who came together solely on the love of a TV show are still friends 20 years and long after the show has ended. I haven't been a part of the group for all 20 years, but I was on the fringes when that first group gathered at a local restaurant to meet. This year is the 20th anniversary. Amazing.
Here we are this year, with a handful of missing faces:
Now on a slightly different topic... It was this photo, nine years ago, that really spurred me hard into weight-loss/getting healthy mode:
See that big orange blob on the left? Yeah, that's me. I didn't want to look like that anymore, so in January of 2012 I finally knuckled down and made the commitment to do something about it.
In October of 2017, I reached my target weight--losing 63-ish pounds to get there. I knew it was going to be a long haul with various milestones and adjustments along the way.
While I do have to get back on the wagon of exercising and eating right again to lose the ten pounds I've gained over the last several months, I'm very pleased with myself for maintaining the weight loss over all and making the lifestyle changes necessary.
There are or shall I say *there will be* new physical-health related changes coming. But life is in flux and I have to figure out what the best path forward is going to be and what change I want to work on first.
As always, seeing these women was a wonderful time and a lovely weekend.
Hope you had a great weekend.
Friday, May 17, 2019
Remember these guys??
(images from Ebay)
I have happy memories of me playing with these. I think I even have a picture somewhere.
Have a great weekend everyone.
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
For today's post, I mean.
I've spent a good bit of the day trying to buy a plane ticket for my son to come home for a visit and to help at the fireworks store for a few days...
I checked flights the other day and thought prices were doable. I'd heard a few years ago that the ideal time frame to buy a plane ticket is something like 51 days. I've passed that by. But today, while searching for "best time of day" to buy a plane ticket, I saw it's two to three weeks and on a Sunday.
I checked this morning, mid-afternoon, and then again an hour later (as I'd botched the second attempt) and found the prices growing steadily higher each time I searched. Mid to late afternoon isn't an ideal time to buy flights it appears. I guess I'll be online Sunday morning (five weeks out), checking prices and hoping that they're lower than I've seen so far. Depending on what the fares are, I may just buy the ticket and be done with it. Keep your fingers crossed for me...
Hope your week is going well.
Monday, May 13, 2019
I'm still trying to sort out the work-in-progress and made a bit of progress, but not nearly as much as I hoped. So today, I turned my attention to a smaller project just so I could say I made progress on something.
The weekend was lovely. I heard from all three of my children and called both of my mothers. I went out to eat with some friends on Sunday evening and hung out for a bit afterwards.
I keep trying to get life back to normal, but life is not helping. There are events and activities on the calendar for the foreseeable future and I'm going to have to put my willpower to the test...
Cooking-wise, I'm doing okay. Since I'm back to being home Tuesdays and Thursdays, I cook and I cook decently healthy meals.
My snacking isn't the best it could be, but it's better.
Gym visits begin tomorrow night because tonight I have a movie date with DH. :0)
I finished up a letter to my Grandma and put it in the mail. Finally.
My car has finally gotten its oil change.
One of the next important things on the docket: the next phase in addressing the issues with my teeth. Meaning a consultation with a different periodontist. My first consult was okay. The second one comes highly recommended by a friend, so hopefully she'll have some alternative options to the first lady.
Hope you're all well. Have a great week.
Friday, May 10, 2019
As you know most of my life was on hiatus due to my hockey team's run in the post season. But that's over now and it's time to get life back on track. That includes eating better and cooking meals, as well as exercising at home or going to the gym again. The trick with the gym will be finding a good time to go.
My brain works so much better for the writing early in the morning. I can exercise without needing too much brain power, however, so it looks like I can exchange live hockey games or watching parties for trips to the gym. :0) Trips to the gym will also take less time.
Now that the short story is turned in, it's time to focus back on my other works-in-progress. I've chosen book seven of the original series. I've already opened the documents and read the thing through. Right now, I'm trying to get a handle on the character arcs using lessons from a couple of online classes whose lessons resonated for me.
Also, it's the weekend...
Another day or two to rest and recoop before I dive back into my regularly scheduled life.
Have a great weekend!!
Wednesday, May 8, 2019
I'm sad and disappointed.
The night started with good omens and ended with heartbreak.
The handshake line is the worst thing ever when you're the losing team.
Stars lost in double overtime...
That is all.
Monday, May 6, 2019
The short story is, for all intents and purposes, done. It even has a new title that I'm pretty pleased with. I turned in my second draft, as per the submission requirements, Sunday morning although it wasn't due until today.
I tend to work better when my work is titled so I slapped a title that sorta fit when I started writing. As I plodded along and after a pretty hefty edit, the title fit even less, so after I turned the book in, I turned my creative energies to a new title and came up with one that fit much better now that book is done.
This morning I turned my efforts to an extra for the book. Basically, the epilogue that will feature an event mentioned in the book. I'll link to it at the end of this story if anyone wants to read it.
This group is doing another anthology for Valentine's Day, so I'm hoping to participate in that as well, but in the mean time, I need to work on one of the other million books I'm in the middle of.
Okay, just kidding, one of the two other books that really needs my attention.
But this anthology gave me a boost that I could conceive a plot and write a book start to finish, short as it was. Now to apply my enthusiasm to one of these other tales and get something else done in time for my conference in October.
Speaking of my conference in October...I'm trying to apply several lessons I've learned. One from last year's experience and a couple from a recent program of my writers group.
The first lesson is to get any ordering (books or swag) done early in case there are issues.
The second lesson is author branding is important. I had a notion of that last year and anytime I did something official like the book signing, I wore business casual in the colors of my publishing company. (Yes, I have one, with a name, a dba, a logo, a website, and everything.)
Unfortunately, there were issues with the table runner (graphics) I tried to order last summer (see lesson one) and I was trying to get a lot of ducks in rows, so that fell by the wayside.
The third lesson is that, in general, people at conferences feel more comfortable walking up to a stranger if they know their name. So I solved the graphics issue for the table runner and it has been ordered. I also ordered a small standup cardboard sign, and I'll be ordering some magnetic names tags.
The fourth lesson is that SWAG doesn't sell books, but it offers name recognition. People take your stuff and use it as applicable, so choose swag that people will use. Either get your name printed directly on the item as in the case of pens or slap a sticker on them in the case of many many other items. I still have pens and some paperboard coasters left from last year, but this new story doesn't fall under the series the coaster is specific to, so that means...do more *author* branding than book or series branding.
Anyway, hope you had as lovely a weekend as I did.
Friday, May 3, 2019
...until very late in the day. Apologies.
There is nothing in my head right now but work, writing as needed, and...
As DD and I were driving home from the game Wednesday night (or maybe VERY EARLY Thursday morning), she commented that her BFF said she hates how hockey is ruling our lives right now.
And that's the truth.
When's the next game? Do we have tickets? Is there a watching party? Are you going?
Oh, it's Mother's Day...what are we doing? I don't know, it depends on if Dallas makes it to the third round and if they play that day.
Oh, are you going to >>friend's house<< for annual JAG meet? Well, yes...as long as >>friend<< allows me one TV to watch the Stars if they're playing. (She will. She has three TVs in her very large living space.)
Also...how did it get to be May??? It was just January.
Best of all...the short story is finished, for the most part--yes, I remember sharing that already--and is being read by BFF Jenn. It's got to be turned in Monday...I'll be working on it this weekend to get it finalized.
On a somewhat unrelated note, I am working from home again two days a week. It's nice for may reasons, one being I can have windows and doors open to enjoy the weather unlike at the office. Two being I can set the iPod to shuffle, plug into the speaker, and listen to the eclectic assortment of music I've collected over the years. Three being, my fur babies are generally close at hand. Four being, I can spread the weekly chores out and not have to do them all on Saturday and Sunday.
Hope you have a super weekend!!
Monday, April 29, 2019
My short story is told!!
I have a cohesive tale from the beginning to the end that hits all the beats. I'm pretty sure anyway.
Now, I'm not done, mind you. There are still edits and tweaks to be made, but the with the exception of the second-to-last scene, there will be no more major changes.
I'm excited and definitely relieved. I can even take a short break from the whole thing after I finish transferring all the first-pass, start-to-finish edits I made over the weekend.
I did end up about 300 words over the limit. I'm not sure what the window is, because the coordinator did allow a little leeway. But I may be able to reduce that with the tweak to that scene mentioned above. And I have a few other places noted where statements could be removed if absolutely necessary.
I have a couple of friends who might beta read this for me just to give me a heads up on any major issues I might be blinded to, so that's on the agenda for today. Asking if they would help me out.
The weekend was lovely, if a bit windy, but that's one aspect of spring in North Texas.
DD and I enjoyed a lovely Saturday afternoon in Victory Plaza--a courtyard off one end of the American Airlines Center where the Dallas Stars play--watching the Stars game (they were playing in St. Louis). The Stars pulled out the win to even the series at one win a piece. A great position for the Stars to be in heading home for games 3 and 4 of the series Monday and Wednesday nights, respectively. DD and I will be there, cheering our boys on.
This will be the last series DD and I see in person. I squeezed in tickets to game 4 with blessings from DH, but I just can't keep up with the pace of it, nor the expense, more to the point. So after this, it'll be watch parties either at our house or DD's BFF's house.
Hope your weekend was delightful or productive or both.
And as always: