Monday, September 29, 2008

Just for fun.... what's your funky inner hair color?

What I'm Reading: Splendid by Julia Quinn and Brothers by Da Chen

What I'm Working On: Tonight's 1k

Your Hair Should Be Purple
Intense, thoughtful, and unconventional.
You're always philosophizing and inspiring others with your insights.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Nature of People

What I'm Reading: Splendid by Julia Quinn and Brothers by Da Chen

What I'm Working On: I wish it was writing........

I wish I had as much insight into people and myself twenty years ago as I do now. It would have saved a lot of frustration.

I used to think that I was pretty average all the way around. No one ever pointed out in any way that stuck that I was something out of the ordinary. Because I assumed I was the average gal, I also assumed that most people were quite a lot like me.

You know what they say about assuming, right?

I learned I assumed that most people were about as smart as me in my thinking-I’m-average-mode. Never mind that I was salutatorian of my high school class, got a nearly perfect score on the English section of the ACT, took the GRE half-drunk and still got over a 1200 that first time.

I don’t assume all people figure things out as fast as I do any more. I cut everyone some slack until I see what they can do. I’ve learned along the way that I’ve been blessed. Being gifted isn't something you can choose. It just is or isn't.

I did – until this weekend – sometimes still assume that most people share the same level of responsibility and compassion that I do.

Yeah, I was wrong there, too. And that's unfortunate because compassion and responsibility -- unlike intelligence -- are a choice.

A player on the football team of my favorite high school broke his leg Friday night. His parents were out of town at a meeting for his dad’s company that was mandatory. He didn’t have any family at the game. He didn’t have an adult to ride in the ambulance with him to the remote country hospital to which they needed to transport him. He didn’t have anyone to reassure his mom on the phone.

The coaches were busy coaching – as they should have been. They had 40 other boys to worry about. The one athletic trainer at the game had her hands full with other injuries. (Did I mention how sucky the refs were, letting the other team just slug and punch our team without throwing any flags?)

There were, however, some school officials at the game. These people drove their own cars to the game instead of catching a ride on the football bus like I did. (Did I mention my DH is one of the coaches?) They SHOULD have been the ones to step up and say, “I’ll go with him," especially since their titles at the school have something to do with sports.

But they didn’t.

So I did.

Never mind that the football bus is my only way to get home (2 hours away). Never mind that the player will also need to get home. Never mind that when I said I was going, my husband said, “As soon as I get off the bus at the school, I’ll get in the car and come get you.” (Two hours home. Two hours back. Then two more hours home. Yep, I married a good one!)

In the end, if I hadn’t gone, this high school age boy would have gone by himself. Other than getting home at 3 am, it wasn’t that big of a deal. Not really when you consider everything.

What’s everything? Well everything boils down to the fact that if it had been my DD or DS, I’d have hoped and prayed that someone cared enough to worry about how they’d get home later and just volunteered to go with her or him. I couldn’t imagine letting him go alone.

Doing what’s right isn’t always easy or convenient. Learning that many people that ought to care just don’t is pretty damn hard.

I spent my weekend being disappointed by a few members of the human race.

And that just sucks.


Epilogue: The kid broke his fibula. He was quite the brave trooper. His parents were really grateful I went with him, as was he. I might have been tired yesterday, but it didn’t matter. People matter.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


What I'm Reading: Splendid by Julia Quinn.

What I'm Working On: I think I just nailed the character grids for Seer. Now, I just need to find the time (and the motivation) to finish Slayer.

This is just a little fun something. What kind of bagel are you?

You Are a Chocolate Chip Bagel
You are creative, experimental, and self-aware.
You are a very bohemian person, and you tend to live a strange life.

Of all the types, you're the most likely to go for strange food combinations.
You tend to have coffee for breakfast. Anything with lots of coffee will do.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Environmental Republicans? (Sadly no.)

What I'm Reading: On the Ipod, it's The Hollow by Nora Roberts (book 2 of her most recent series -- I'm totally addicted.) For pure fun, it's Driven by Eve Kenin. For consideration for next summer's community book for my fav high school, it's Never Surrender by Jerry Boykin. And finally, for book club, it's Splendid by Julia Quinn.

What I'm Working On: Tonight, I wrote 500 words of a long scene. I don't know if I'll finish it, but I'm going to go back and work on it some more. At least I'm writing. I guess that extra catch-up rest yesterday was good for me. Woo Hoo!

A co-worker friend of mine is voting McCain. I don’t get it, but okay. He lives in a neighborhood none of my other friends can afford. He’s a former pro athlete with a gazillion dollars. Maybe that explains it. Probably not. (But unlike my neighborhood where almost every yard sign says OBAMA, in his neighborhood, almost every sign is for the other guy.)

The thing that upset me (as if voting for McCain isn’t upsetting enough) was a comment he made to his middle school daughter, who happens to be the new president of the Environmental Club at her school. He said, “How about calling it the Conservation Club instead? Republicans are really not environmentalists, but it’s okay to be interested in conservation. It’s just that environmentalist in the name will make people wonder, you know……” blah, blah, blah

I hope his daughter is strong willed. I hope she doesn’t seek his approval on this issue and take his insane idea back to her club.

I’m ashamed he won’t let her form her own idea and pursue her own agenda. However, I am proud of her for being involved and for taking a stand and making a difference.

I can’t imagine not caring about the environment. I can’t imagine not wanting your kids to better stewards of it than we’ve been. I just can’t imagine.

But recycling isn’t cheap or convenient sometimes. Giving up the gas-guzzling Hummer has to be easier now, but for some people the increase in the cost of gas isn’t that big a deal. Those same people don’t need affordable healthcare or help paying a mortgage because they lost a job.

But me? I’d like to see blue sky and trees when I’m a hundred and I’d like to live that long in a healthy environment.

So I say, go little girl! Go! (And when you have your mock school election, vote Obama.)


Sunday, September 21, 2008


What I'm Reading: On the Ipod, it's The Hollow by Nora Roberts (book 2 of her most recent series -- I'm totally addicted.) For pure fun, it's Driven by Eve Kenin. For consideration for next summer's community book for my fav high school, it's Never Surrender by Jerry Boykin. And finally, for book club, it's Splendid by Julia Quinn.

What I'm Working On: Combatting sheer and utter exhaustion. The part of me that believes I'm superwoman is frustrated, but the logical and sensible part of me is saying to rest. I've had activities everynight and all day for over a week now so I guess it's normal (and maybe even okay) that my creativity is shot. Nice me is trying to give me a break. Ball-buster me is, well, busting my balls (or would be if I had any). (Sigh)

I thought the following was cute. And funny thing.... I was actually voted Most Athletic along with Shane (the total tall, dark, blue-eyed hottie). He and I were also voted Most Representative so I got to sit on his lap twice for yearbook pictures. (Big grin.)

After this weekend of chaperoning my favorite high school's homecoming dance, I feel old. And grateful that I grew up in a more innocent time. (No wonder I'm tired.)

You Would Be Voted Most Athletic
When you were in school, you were quite the sports star.
Even if you weren't always on the winning team, you gave it your best.
You had school spirit. You were a good loser and a good winner.
And once you're successful in sports, you can be successful in anything!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Much clearer now????

What I'm Reading: On the Ipod, it's Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts. For pure fun, it's Driven by Eve Kenin. For consideration for next summer's community book for my fav high school, it's Never Surrender by Jerry Boykin. And finally, for book club, it's Splendid by Julia Quinn.

What I'm Working On: Edits on Slayer in order to send the first 20 pages in to a reader that I want to impress.

This was sent to me today by a fellow Obama supporter:

Let me see if I have this straight...

* If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're 'exotic, different.'
* Grow up in Alaska eating moose burgers, you're a quintessential American story.

* If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.
* Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.

* Graduate from Harvard Law School and you are unstable.
* Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.

* If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the st ate Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing astate of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.
* If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.

* If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.
* If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.

* If you teach responsible, and appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.
* If , while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant , you're very responsible.

* If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.
* If you're husband is nicknamed 'First Dude', with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rules of Writing

What I'm Reading: Wow. I'm back to several books at once. On the Ipod, it's Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts. For pure fun, it's Driven by Eve Kenin. For consideration for next summer's community book for my fav high school, it's Never Surrender by Jerry Boykin. And finally, for book club, it's Splendid by Julia Quinn. Whew!! This list should take me awhile.

What I'm Working On: I'm taking a quick break from working on plot issues in Seer that affect Slayer. After I get these worked out, I'll be tweaking the first 15 pages of Slayer for critical eyes and I'll be back to the rewrites on Slayer.

If you've been writing very long, you've probably discovered that there are alot of rules -- particularly if you are attempting to write commercial or genre fiction. Understanding the rules is good. Writing by them can be good, too. Sometimes.

Didn't you ever have rules growing up that you were really glad you broke -- some even if you got caught? My mom had a rule: No boys at the house without an adult present.

I get that one now that I'm a parent of a teenage girl, but back in the day, it was a stupid rule. I wasn't the kind of seventeen year old to shuck the clothes and experiment with my boyfriend. Both of us were mature enough to admit to not being ready for that, which in our minds also meant we were mature enough for some alone time.

And, of course, that's how we wound up at my house -- alone for a few hours -- one Sunday afternoon. We didn't do anything, except make out a little and watch a movie, but my mother was livid.

And, I got grounded.

For two weeks.

I'd do it all over again, though, even if I knew I'd get caught. Why? It was worth it. It made the story of my senior year 100x better.

I think writing is somewhat the same. The rules are there to keep you out of trouble, but sometimes breaking the rule makes the story 100x better.

One "rule" of the romance genre is "the hero and heroine" must meet in the first few pages -- at least by the end of chapter one. In the romance I'm reading now, Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts, the hero and heroine meet in the middle of chapter 3. And the first 2 chapters are backstory -- highly interesting, essential-to-the-story backstory, but they are still backstory. I'm thrilled she broke the rules. I was hooked on Blood Brothers in the first few pages and have no hang-ups or regrets about the couple not meeting until later.

It's good to read a book like that every once in awhile and be reminded to do what's right for the story -- not necessarily what the rules say.

And, it's good to remember some of those 17 year-old lessons.



Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Man Booker Shortlist and a note

What I'm Reading: Driven by Eve Kenin and Austenland by Shannon Hale (both quite good)

What I'm Working On: Series arcs (quite exciting stuff)

Well, I promised the Man Booker Short List and here it is:

Aravind Adiga The White Tiger (Atlantic)
Sebastian Barry The Secret Scripture (Faber and Faber)
Amitav Ghosh Sea of Poppies (John Murray)
Linda Grant The Clothes on Their Backs (Virago)
Philip Hensher The Northern Clemency (Fourth Estate)
Steve Toltz A Fraction of the Whole (Hamish Hamilton)

Read more about the books and the Man Booker at .

Of course this simple, sweet post keeps me from ranting about my parents. Really, how did a well-adjusted, reasonable, open-minded adult ever emerge from THAT?

I won't write about it here, but just remind me to avoid engaging in political talk with anyone who says (and I quote), "Drilling doesn't hurt the environment. Big oil companies don't hurt the environment. They leave things just like they found them. And I think we have far more fossil fuels that anyone lets on."

Really? REALLY?

Can anyone say Exxon Valdez?

And, dearest parental person, please try not to say those things in public. Educated people will think you're crazy (and slow).


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Man Booker Longlist

What I’m Reading: Austenland by Shannon Hale and Driven by Eve Kenin.

What I’m working on: Getting to the first turning point in my second draft of Slayer and plotting Seer.

I’m a sucker for the Man Booker Prize.

Yes, I know: This fact ups my already high geek measurement on the geek meter.

But I don’t care.

The long list has been out for awhile and I’m only really just looking at it a little over a month later, so I’m not completely hopeless. However, I will study each book and read some of them and get lost in the brilliance of a few.

I’ll never be eligible for a Man Booker prize. Maybe that’s the reason I’m so fascinated. In order to win, you have to be a citizen of England or Ireland. While there are lots of writing prizes out there and while I usually check out the winners in many of them, the Man Booker is the one I like best.

From last year’s list, I read The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng and Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones. Both were wonderful, but I loved, loved, loved The Gift of Rain. I still need to read the winner: Anne Enright’s The Gathering.

Here’s this year’s long list: 2008 Longlist. The shortlist will be announced this week on September 9th. I’ll post it when it comes out.

In the meantime, I’m off to my library’s website to request home delivery of the first title I’ll read: Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (Did you see the author’s picture? Quite a hottie.)


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Seven things I love

What I’m Reading: Austenland by Shannon Hale and Driven by Eve Kenin.

What I’m working on: Getting to the first turning point in my second draft of Slayer and plotting Seer.

Seven Things I Remembered I Love Today:

1) The trio of beagles who live in my neighborhood and howl at me whenever I walk past their house with my dogs on leash. (They are so cute. They always make me smile.)
2) Downloadable audio books. I love to listen to a good book while I walk.
3) An empty laundry basket.
4) An afternoon nap when I’m really tired.
5) A book that really grabs you – in the first 10 pages!!!!
6) Finishing a big project.
7) Saturdays.

Friday, September 5, 2008

An improvement

What I'm Reading: Nothing really. I'm between books. What a weird place to be.

What I'm Working On: My attitude and motivation.

I finally got a look for my blog that I can live with. I loved my original one -- red with a lily -- but it went haywire. Ah, but this is much better than what I had as a replacement for a few days.

Now that I've finally fixed the look of my blog, I can get back to writing.



Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I'm REALLY mad

Okay -- this is just a short post to say that I'M REALLY MAD. All my cool formatting, graphics, etc. for my blog have been lost. I so liked the looks of everything, too. Now I have to start over. I don't really like this look, but in a pinch, it's the best I can do.

I guess when I have time, I'll redo everything. And I have sooooo much free time already!

People say my eyes get greener when I'm mad -- well is this green enough for you?!?!