Friday, February 26, 2010

Thwump

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The three older cats continue to terrorize Chaos. They've got the thwump down. The attacks are random and not all that frequent. I hate to say it, but I think the dog is getting used to them. Not sure why she at least doesn't bark at the cats or yelp.

Yoda is increasingly getting underfoot. I tend to think this is more kitty-behavior than premeditated assault, but we all have to be more careful, especially on the stairs.

The first 4-H fun match dog show is this weekend. Chaos and Mackenna will be competing. They have fun matches until it's time for the county fair in August. It's a lot of work and memorizing of info, but Mackenna is loving it. I can't wait to see how they do!

I'm reading my AAs (page proofs/galleys) for my September release, Wedding Date with the Best Man. They need to be in early next week so are on the top of my To Do list right now.

What are you up to?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fear

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In Bob Mayer's Warrior Writer workshop, he talked about fear. He provided a list of writer fears and wanted us to ask ourselves what we're afraid of with our writing. If we examine that fear we can figure out what we need to work on to reach our writing goals. It was an interesting exercise.

The last few days, as I've looked at the strategic writing goal I came up with at the workshop, I've tried to figure what is holding me back. By that I mean things beyond the business/publishing side and my family obligations. I mean what is it within me.

It's hard, because I'm more pragmatic about things like this. The mechanical engineer in me keeps bringing up Nora Roberts, all the books she's written and the amazing career she's made for herself. I remember hearing her speak at an RWA conference where she said something along the lines of a doctor doesn't get surgeon's block when talking about writer's block. I can easily extrapolate that to what she might say about writers' fears. (Of course that extrapolation might be wrong, but Nora has become that voice of discipline and reason in my mind when it comes to writing!)

I think about my own life. I have a fear of heights that results in physiological responses when I'm afraid. Yet I have no problem getting on a ski lift or gondola to go skiing. Why? My passion for skiing is stronger than my fear. I was terrified to try climbing, and though there have been times when I looked down and froze on a route or have ended up clipping onto an anchor with a trembling hand, I love climbing enough to keep doing it even though I get scared sometimes. Okay, a lot of times. The same is true with my writing.

Do I have fears surrounding my writing? Sure. But writing is both my passion and my job. Creativity is vital to a writer's work, but if I waited for the muse to strike, I'd still be unpublished. If my writing isn't good enough, well that's what revisions are for.

Worrying about succeeding or failing isn't going to get my book written. There are many times (probably at least once or twice a manuscript) I know I'm writing the worst book ever and my career will be over. I'm ready to drown my sorrows in a two-pound bag of peanut M&Ms, but instead I keep writing. Why? Well if this manuscript is the worst one ever written, the next one has to be better.

If fear is stopping you from pursuing your dream whether that's completing a manuscript, submitting it, selling it, making a bestseller list, figure how you can move beyond that. In March, Bob's new Warrior Writer book will be released. That might be a good first step. Get with your writer friends and critique partners to talk about what you fear. They probably know more about you than you think! When I looked at Bob's list of fears and checked the ones I thought might be relevant, my good friend Terri Reed called me on one of them. She was so right!

I'm not trying to downplay writer fears. But writers write. Writers submit. Writers sometimes get rejected. Writers sometime sell. That's just how it works. So get writing and submitting, because if you don't there are others who will!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Games

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Last night the kidlets realized the Olympics weren't going to be on next week, too. Lots of sad faces. Except for the youngest who said, I'm too young. I doubt I'll remember much. But next time I will! She's busy trying to figure out what Olympic sport she wants to do.

The ice skating competition last night was great. Hubby thinks it's not a sport (and I know a lot of people rank it up there with rhythmic gymnastics), but the top five dance teams really put on a show last night. Everyone was at the top of their game. And the Canadian pair, Virtue and Moir, really outdid themselves. It was worth staying up late to see the medal ceremony! Such joy from the gold medal winners!

Earlier on the evening, Michael Phelps talked about being at the Olympics and not competing. My son was hanging on every word he said. The London Olympics can't come too soon for him.

Tom Brokaw had a wonderful story on snowboarder Kevin Pearce and his family. If you didn't get a chance to see it, go here and watch. It's very touching and inspiring.

I found it on YouTube since many mac users won't be able to watch it on the NBC site.



Better get to work if I want to watch tonight!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Intensive!

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I know just how this LOLcat feels! Last night I shared my pillow with Smalls and Chaos. The cat was on the top half of the pillow along my head. The dog on the right half and along my side. Not much room for me. Not much blanket either since the dog was laying on top of it. A snuggie may soon find its way onto my want to buy list.

I spent Thursday and Friday in bed trying to recover from whatever flattened me mid-week. The rest helped. I felt good enough to attend the Rose City Romance Writer's Winter Intensive. It was a two day writing workshop at the Red Lion at the Quay in Vancouver, Washington. I haven't been to anything like this since attending San Francisco RWA in 2008 so I was looking forward to seeing other romance writers and learning new things.

Saturday's workshop speaker was Michael Hauge. He's written books on screenplay writing and pitching. I attended a weekend workshop with him in Berkeley way back before I'd sold with author Barbara Freethy, who was a critique partner at the time. What I learned there about story structure helped me sell my first manuscript. Hearing some of that same info again, as well as knew info about a character's essence and identity, was awesome. I jotted down pages and pages of notes.

I used my current story idea (proposal I sent in a couple of weeks ago) to fill in the worksheets. When I was back home on Saturday night, I was still working on it. Had an epiphany in the shower on Sunday morning, but I'm still fiddling to get it right. Needless to say, what I heard really resonated with me and provided much food for thought.

It was funny though how the Mount Hood Christmas story really fit into his structure though I hadn't read his book in years, including the new character stuff I hadn't heard before. I guess some things just get internalized.

Sunday was Bob Mayer's Warrior Writer. I've been wanting to take this workshop for months, but neither had the time nor the money. I was so excited to see he was part of the RCRW's Winter Intensive.

Warrior Writer is all about you as an author. Bob uses his Army Special Forces and own experience as a NYT bestselling writer to help authors come up with a plan. Not for a manuscript, but themselves. It's career planning at it's finest and makes so much sense. Some of it I've already done, but other stuff I'd never considered before. I walked out of the workshop with a strategic goal for my writing. Now to come up with the tactical goals to get there!

Bob is starting up his own publishing house, Who Dares Wins, focusing on a niche market of Special Ops fiction and non-fiction, and it was interesting to hear his take on what's happening in the market.

There was so much information presented in the workshop, and all of it was delivered rapidly. Fortunately, there was a handout with most of the info. I think my hand would have given out if I would have had to scribble that fast! I can't wait to go through the handout, delve deeper and answer the questions he asks. I highly recommend every writer to check out his website and buy his new Warrior Writer book that'll be released soon! Good stuff that we all need to learn!

So what did you do this weekend?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Not again!

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Whatever bug I caught last week returned with a vengeance last night. I managed to catch the first round of half-pipe runs, but not the finals. I fell asleep which tells you just how badly I was feeling. The half-pipe was one of my must-see events. Sigh...

Congrats to Shaun White and Scott Lago! Hubby was planning to go to bed early, but stayed up so he could give me a full report. Shaun White is so awesome! Love that he put in that new Tomahawk trick even though he'd already won the gold. Wow! What a champion. Also loved the shout-outs for Kevin Pearce!

When I woke up this morning, I discovered my son is dressed like Shaun White during one of his interviews. Picture plaid button up shirt over white T-shirt. Only difference I'm told is Shaun's shirt was a darker blue. The kidlets want to go to Timberline and snowboard today. At least that was until they took a good look at me. Snowboarding would have to wait. They said I looked worse and asked if I wanted a cup of tea.

Okay, enough sitting up and drinking my nice cup of hot tea they made me. I'm going back to bed now. Talk to you when I'm feeling better.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Snowboarding

Tonight is the Olympic half-pipe competition. Shaun White is the defending gold medalist. Most expect him to repeat. It should be a great night to watch them ride!

I'll be thinking of Kevin Pearce. I blogged about him in this post last month. Here's a nice interview that was on MSNBC the other day. Still praying and riding for him!

What's been your favorite Olympic moment so far?

Olympic Spirit

Even big kitties want to attend the Olympics! I'd love to be there myself.

As I posted yesterday, we're really enjoying the Olympics. It's so cute to see Olympic fever catch on with the kidlets.

My son already is a huge swimming fan and can tell you about different moments of Michael Phelps victories in Bejing. The other day he was going on and on about Ryan. It took me a minute to realize he meant Ryan Lochte, and he was talking about a relay race.

Yes, we have entered first name zone.

As the Olympic McDonald commercial came on last night, all three kidlets were yelling," J.R.!" In case you don't follow short track speed skating, that's J.R. Celski, a nineteen year old who won a bronze in the 1500m the other night.

We made them go to bed last night before the pairs ice skating was on. It was just too late, and I didn't want today to be a total wash because they were too tired. When my seven year old logged on to check her email this morning (she gets email from family and Build-a-Bear), there was a picture of China's Shen and Zhao who won gold. She cheered, saying "Oh, I'm so happy they won!"

Watching my three experience the Winter Olympics is almost as much fun as the games themselves!

Monday, February 15, 2010

TV

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This picture typifies life with our kitty, Yoda. He's into everything and would be climbing the walls if he could. We've spent the last few nights glued to the television, and he's right there. I put a basket on the hearth for him. It's now his fave new nap spot.

Are you enjoying the Olympic coverage? We're having fun eating in front of the TV and watching all the different sports. Our Olympics viewing was preempted last night due to the premiere of Starstruck on the Disney Channel. Even though the majority wanted to watch the Olympics, the oldest kidlet has been waiting for months for this movie so we let her watch it switching to NBC during commercials.

I'm really looking forward to the snowboarding and alpine skiing events as well as more ice skating!

Have a nice Monday!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Can it be?

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I can't believe tomorrow is February 14th? Where has the year gone?

Valentine's card and chocolate are on the tops of my To Do list today. I'll buy the kidlets something chocolate. I'll probably make hubby's card. Just seems a little more romantic. Considering we'll be watching 1) the Olympics (our choice) or 2) Starstruck (kidlets' choice) tomorrow night, it's not going to be a lot of hearts and violins around here.

I might have to pick up a Papa Murphy's heart shaped pepperoni pizza for dinner, too. That way no one has to cook!

Do you have any big plans for Valentine's Day?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cat love

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Yoda, our kitten, likes everyone. He wants to play, be held and petted. He doesn't mind being woken up or picked up or carried around.

The other three cats want what they want when they want it. They're good cats, and I love them dearly. But they decide when they want to be held or rubbed. If it's not the right time, they'll let you know.

But they're smart cats.

They know the quickest way to get what they want is to give us attention and affection. That alerts us that something isn't quite right in their world, such as an empty food bowl or jealously if they think Yoda or Chaos have been getting too much love or they want mommy back upstairs where they can see her.

They have also come to realize how much the kidlets can do for them now. If I'm not around, those cats find the nearest kid and shower them with affection. Of course, said kidlet is thrilled by the feline attention so the cat gets whatever it wants.

It's probably a good thing cats don't have thumbs or they might actually rule the world!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Super Sunday

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I didn't move a lot yesterday. I parked myself in a recliner at my parents' house with my proposal. I wrote and watched the Super Bowl with my family. Oh, and ate. My dad bought one of those large Subway sandwiches, made his famous salsa and also made sure we wouldn't run out of his homemade jerky. My mom's been back east with my Aunt and Uncle for a couple of weeks, and my dad's getting a little lonely. How do I know? He drove up to our house on Thursday to spend the day with us!

As for the game, I was happy the Saints was. Nothing against the Colts, but we wanted the Jets to win so New Orleans was due. I also like Drew Brees. Was there anything cuter than him gazing at his one year old son after their game? So sweet!

The commercials were a bit disappointing to me. Talking babies are just plain stupid (and so not fresh), IMHO. All those man/lost manhood commercials just didn't cut it for me. I did think the google.com one was clever since the search terms told a story. And a couple others did make me laugh, but I can't remember which ones at the moment.

Did you watch the game? What did you think about the game and the ads?

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Caturday

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I love this LOLcat! Both as a cat lover and a romance writer.

My Saturday will be spent resting (caught a cold) and writing (need to send off a proposal.) My hubby was gone all week, but got home last night. Huge sigh of relief on my part. I felt as if I were treading water by the time Thursday rolled around. Not sure how single parents do it. I'm definitely out of practice flying solo since the economy woes put an end to all his traveling.

What do you have going on? Whatever it is, I hope you have a lot of fun!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Smartz

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Somebody, perhaps one of my beloved furbabies, sure has soaked up my smartz. Seriously. I'm not sure what I was thinking last year when I agreed to be the crafts person for a girls group at a Catholic church in Portland. That's crafts for approx. 86 girls once a month.

Insane, I know. Several people told me not to do it. But I didn't listen.

I have only myself to blame. But it seemed like a good idea at the time. You see, my girls really liked attending the group. Stepping up when they needed someone seemed like the best thing for all of us at the time (this was pre-ski accident and gallbladder flare-up.) And even though the craft prep is a time suck, I do like crafting. I love coming up with project ideas, figuring out how to best make it work and shopping for materials. Unfortunately all that craft prep takes so much time the girls do not even want to be in the group next year. They would rather be doing something with me than watching me prepare something they will do with the moms that lead their groups.

Lesson learned.

Maybe if someone hadn't soaked up my smartz I would have learned it sooner!

Have you learned anything recently?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Collections

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It's funny how what you collect can make you a nerd. Certain things are no brainers such as Star Wars or Star Trek items, electronic things, computers, Pez dispensers, you get the idea.

The other day there was a picture in the paper about people who are devoted to a specific sports team. This woman's entire bedroom was done in Washington State University colors and memorabilia. Think red, silver and white. Cougars, too.

That seems more like loyalty to me. Not that I'm about to decorate my house in Cardinal red. But I red is my fave color!

I used to have a collection of horse figures when I was a kid and Madam Alexander dolls (still have those somewhere packed away in their original boxes, even.) Those don't seem all the nerd like to me, or maybe I just don't want to admit it!

What about beanie babies? The fight for rare little stuffed animals on eBay during its heydey seemed more OCD than nerdy.

The one collection I have and put out yearly, but no longer add to, is my Department 56 Christmas Villages. I used to belong to a Dept. 56 group (real life, not Internet) and they called themselves the Village Idiots. That one probably can lean to the nerd side.

Is it the thing you collect that makes a nerd? Or is it the collecting action that makes you one?

What do you collect?

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Meeting On-line

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I've met some really cool people on-line that have become real life friends. Many are writers. I only get to seem them when I make it to an RWA conference. A lot are climbers. I've met all but two of my climbing partners on-line at a climbing forum I belong to.

I remember the first time I met someone in person that I met on-line. Hubby said I should check her driver's license to make sure she was who she said she was. This was back in the mid-90's, too! We still exchange Christmas cards each year and sometimes chat on Sunday nights.

There was one guy, Callum, who I met on a Titanic email loop. We got together in summer of 1996 to go pub crawling when I was vactioning in London. I figured a pub crawl would include dinner. Nope. So we dashed into a Kentucky Fried Chicken to get something-anything-into our stomachs. There I met Robbie Williams. I had no idea it was Robbie Williams much to Callum's delight. He proceeded to tell this famous member of the English boy band Take That that I was from America and didn't have a clue who he was. Robbie was amused and took a picture with me. My friend, Leigh, who hubby and I were staying with in London sent me a CD of Take That. I realized I had heard one of the group's songs on the radio. And, of course, Robbie got more famous once he left the band and struck out on his own.

Not every meeting has gone well. I met one person who was totally different than their on-line persona. I couldn't believe it was the same person. I'm a little more cautious now, but overall I've had good experiences.

How about you? Have real-life meetings of on-line friends gone well for you?

Monday, February 01, 2010

I wish...

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It hasn't been boring around here. We had my eight year old nephew visiting for a couple of days. We saw St. Luke's Productioin of Vianney. Hubby was an extra in it! The two older kidlets participated in the CYO All-Star swim meet and did great! I was so proud of both of them!

I woke up to a nice email this morning. My revisions for my Christmas were accepted. Yay!

Currently I'm knee deep in craft preparation for Friday's girls' club meeting.

Are you bored or busy?