Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday

funny pictures - Oh!  Gheesh!   Heres  it  comes  again.  Dat  fing  called  Mondae. Wen  i  rulez  da  wurld,  i  iz  gettin  rid  ob  itz.
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Mondays always get a bum rap. I usually don't mind them too much, but today I'm hoping the LOLcat above succeeds in getting rid of Mondays. I'm wishing it was still Sunday right now! More sleep might change my mind about today, but it was a busy weekend and I had a lot of catching up on words and page proofs to do last night!

It also doesn't help that it's raining and Finn's class is doing a water monitoring field trip at a creek today. Though maybe the time the trip rolls around the sun will be out. Fingers crossed. This class is older so probably won't need the same supervision as Rose's class. I would love the chance to sit in the car and write! I still have lots of catching up to do!

What's your Monday looking like?


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Paintball

funny pictures - I got camouflage, too...  I soldier with you, yes?
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Yesterday was full of camouflage and ninja wear at Warpaint International, a paintball place in Salem, Oregon. It was a lot of fun though it can hurt when those paintball hits. The two youngest members of our party had the most problems with getting hit which reaffirmed my thinking on who should play. The eleven to fourteen year olds admitted getting shot hurt, but they didn't break down like the ten and under crowd (my daughter and nephew) did when hit. I'm so glad I went with my gut on this and limited the guest list. Birthday parties and tears are no fun!

Here's a picture as they prepared to play. Notice the non-paint splattered clothing.

Unfortunately hubby has the after shot of the entire group shot (minus the two younger ones who didn't want to touch the guns again) on his iPhone and he's on a plane at the moment so I can't upload that one.

I splurged to make this a private party so they weren't playing against a squad of paintball experts and adults. Some guys that were there play all the time. And I saw when Finn's soccer team did this in the fall that a private party might be more fun for them. It was, and definitely worth the extra $$$.

Finn said he loved his birthday so that put a big smile on my face. I also have a feeling he's going to want to go back again. Though I highly doubt his little sister will ever want to play again. Too bad, because she was a natural at it and shot two people her first game!

Hope you have a great Sunday!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Twelve

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My son, Finn, turns twelve today. Hard to believe he's that old since he seems like such my little boy. His sisters tease him that he'll grow up to be like Ned in the movie Seventeen Again because Finn loves Legos and Star Wars Action Figures and GI Joe ones, too. I don't see a problem with this given I have Master Replica Light Sabers and still buy Star Wars things myself!

Last year Finn was sick on his birthday. Once he was well, he kept changing his mind what he wanted...go to the Space Needle in Seattle or a Laser Tag party...so so I told him he could do whatever he wanted to make up for it. He didn't want a big party. Instead, he wanted to go paint gunning and he wanted his cousins to go so that's what he'll be doing!

What are you up to today?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ninja Kitty Goes to the Vet

funny pictures - I'm a CAT?
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Yesterday was vet day for our dog Chaos and cat Yoda. Chaos was a little nervous, but did fine. She needs to lose four pounds, however. This wasn't a surprise, though I was happy hubby was with me to hear that. Let's just say there's a reason Chaos hangs out in the kitchen when hubby's cooking!

Yoda, however, did not have a good day. It started out a little noisily when he pulled down the curtains from the bathroom. The noise startled all the cats and me. (This is not the first time it's happened, either. He's been doing it since he was little. He's two now.) He spent the rest of the morning trying to figure out if he was in trouble or not, instead of napping. The one good thing about this is I always knew where he was. Often this isn't the case since he's a Ninja Kitty and has stealth movements and hiding places mastered.

Getting him into the cat carrier was not easy. It took multiple tries. He's a big, strong cat who fought me every step of the way. But I'm bigger so I won.

Yoda never makes a sound. He doesn't meow or anything. Well, on the drive to the vet, he was meowing. He was curled against the back of the carrier with wide eyes. I felt so bad for him. (He's never been outside the house except in a cat carrier. Since he arrived at our house he's been only been to the vet so is not used to any of this.) He's the most timid of all the cats. Whereas Beauty wants to visit with whoever enters the house, Yoda will hide until they leave.

When we arrived he kept himself plastered against the back of the carrier which made carrying it a little tricky. I should have brought the smaller carrier instead of the large one.

Forget Ninja kitty. The poor baby was completely terrified. The definition of a scaredy cat. So scared his temperature was elevated.

The vet tech told me I could let him run around in the exam room while we waited for the vet. I placed Yoda on the floor. He cowered and began searching. I had no idea what he was looking for, but soon realized he wanted to find a hiding place.

Guess what?

He found one.

Somehow he managed to squeeze himself into a crevice between the exam cabinet, a fire extinguisher and a computer printer. He was wedged in there good. I couldn't see his head, only a little bit of his tail and bottom. Getting him out of there was not easy, either.

But he survived his exam. He was a good kitty while the vet checked him and gave him a vaccine. And this time I had no trouble getting him back in his cat carrier.

Back home, he bolted out of it like a cannon ball. I didn't see him for a couple of hours, but then he joined me on the bed while I was reading my page proofs. He curled up and purred.

I'm really glad his appointments are only once a year!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Perfect

funny cat pictures - he's not perfect  but he's perfect for me
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I love this LOLcat! I wrote something like this in my lastest synopsis, too! Heros and heroines won't find someone perfect, but they can find someone perfect for them. (Us, too!)

Working hard on the current manuscript as well as reviewing AAs (page proofs/galleys) for my November release. I've cut my required page goal in half in order to have time to read through the AAs, but I hope to have those off this weekend so I can get back to writing only!

I'll be writing in between appointments. Today is appointment day. Chaos has her annual exam and shots. Yoda has his, too. Of course, they go to two different vet offices. Then I have a hair appointment this afternoon.

What do you have going on?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday Links

funny cat pictures - AAHH!...SANCTUARY!
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My cats would agree with the LOLcat above! Poor Chaos. They really don't like her.

Another crazy Wednesday today with the addition of lunch out with my parents. A belated birthday lunch for my oldest who turned 14 in March so I decided to share a couple links with you.

For any cat lovers out there, have you heard about Meow? He's a thirty-nine pound cat who was turned into a rescue group in New Mexico then transferred to the Santa Fe Humane Society. Meow's made quite a splash. He's even gone to New York to be featured on several television shows and met Hugh Grant.

For the cat and Star Trek fans, Here's one for you that I don't think I've shared here yet. It's called Cats in Space. Be sure to watch the Making of Cats in Space one, too. Very cute.

For animal lovers, here's something from BuzzFeed called 13 Pets Who Are Plotting to Take Over the World.

Remember my blog post from last week titled Make it With a Fireman? Well, I'm not the only one who liked it. Lots of thumbs up for the hottie firefighter and the kitten in a beret, including this one from Huff Post Women. The Jezebel link within that article is cute, too!

Remember, if you comment on the blog, you're entered to win a $10 gift eCard from Amazon or BN. I pick a winner at the beginning of each month from all the comments left here. Just check back to see if you won!

Have a nice Wednesday! I'm going to be able to start counting down the craziness as activities come to an end in May and I'll have totally free days by June.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Plot Thickens

funny cat pictures - DEH PLOT IZ THICKIN'N
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I'm writing the end of my book. I wish I could say that's all I have left to do on the manuscript, but my writing process doesn't work like that. After I finish the first three chapters, I write the end then I'll go back to chapter four and write the rest of the story.

Sometimes I only write the final scene. In this case, I've written several scenes, including a couple that lead up to the black moments for each of the characters. I thought I'd get to the end yesterday, but as sometimes happens life threw a curve ball that kept me from reaching my word count. I'm praying today will be better.

But there's another reason the ending has been coming a little slower than usual. I want the plot to thicken. I've been going back and forth in my mind about an external element in my story, trying to figure out what to do with it exactly. Should I go for a big dramatic event as the backdrop for my hero and heroine to overcome their obstacles and admit their love for each other? Or do I go with something more realistic and less...movie of the week/disaster film.

I write genre fiction, pure escapism, but I do like things to be plausible. One question I always ask people who help me with research is, "Is that possible?" Even if it's highly unlikely.

One reason for my hesitation (and I didn't figure it out until writing this blog just now) is that I've done this before. I used a natural disaster as the backdrop to a love amongst the ruins ending in one of my 2011 releases. (I'm writing published story #24 so you do tend to forget what you've done in the past. I wonder how writers like Nora Roberts with hundreds of plots do it!)

No wonder this dilemma has been slowing me down! Wish I would have figured it out sooner. Oh, well. Now to figure out another way to thicken the plot. Funny, but I think this may be the first time blogging has solved a writing problem for me! Thanks!

So a question for you...what book that you've read has the best ending? It doesn't have to be a romance, either!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Curious Cats

funny cat pictures - we haz dismantled ur interwebz.
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Aren't those kittens cute? I'm sure my cats have felt like making my computer unusable. That's why I have a special place to put it!

Speaking of cats, it's kitten season. That means for the next several months shelters everywhere will be bursting at the seam with cats. If you're in a position to foster cats (you don't just have to do kittens which can be some work, but older cats, too) contact your local animal shelter or rescue group. Fostering frees up space and allows shelters to take in animals who need homes and otherwise might get turned away. We're fostering a senior cat (age 13) named Miss Mousie.

I'm actually excited for Monday. I don't have to volunteer at school or drive for the carpool. I can spend my day writing. Woo-hoo!

How does your Monday look?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Drive By

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I heard another song on the radio that's perfect for my book soundtrack. It's Train's song Drive By. The video tells a little story which are my favorite kind of music videos!



Hope you enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Being a mom

funny cat pictures - Mama needs  a cocktail.
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I can so relate to the LOLcat above. I'm not a big drinker, but I sure needed some chocolate yesterday. My two youngest kidlets are eleven and nine. They can get along for about five minutes unless Beyblades or Legos are involved. If I had a dollar for each time I said "Don't touch each other" I could run away to a nice cabin in the mountains, complete with satellite Internet service, and live quite happily. Though I remember my sister and I doing the same thing if one of us crossed the imaginary line in the car and was on her side so I guess this is one of those phases kids go through. Just praying they outgrow it soon.

Yesterday we went to a bat exhibit at the World Forestry Center. We learned lots of interesting facts about bats from the presentation. Bats are really cute, especially these tiny white ones that make tents out of leaves to stay dry from the rain. We watched a video of a vampire bat stalking its prey. I didn't know that vampire bats don't suck blood but lap it up with their tongue like a kitten. They'll also share the blood with other bats. Unfortunately they only had pictures of bats, no real ones. Though the guy giving the presentation did have a bat jacket with a good and winged arms.

I have to admit I was a bit taken aback by some of the slides used in the presentation. I'm all for having fun, but when it's kids you have to be a little careful. The World Forestry Center used somewhat vintage looking Batman cartoon stills during the slide show and a few seemed a bit sexy for a kids' educational program. The Batman thing was a cute idea, if only more care had been put into selecting what was used. Wonder if I'm overreacting? Imagine two women with their legs kicked over their heads and their butts showing (one wearing only black panties which are somewhat thong-like.) I was thinking maybe I was only me who was felt this way until my nine year old commented, without any prompting, that the cartoons were "inappropriate" and told me which ones and why.

This morning, I'll be counting laps as my son swims in the annual Swim-a-Thon. His goal is 200 laps. He's done it twice before so this time he set a time goal. He wants to finish in less than an hour. I'm sure he will. The kid is great when he puts his mind to something. He hadn't started gathering any pledges for this fundraiser until yesterday, except for his grandparents who wrote a check on Easter Sunday. Amazingly, in a very short time he exceeded the required amount he was supposed to raise ($160.)

Hope you have a nice day!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Proposal accepted!

funny cat pictures - Bring me a glass of wine, would you?
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I would love to be kicking back in a tub full of bubbles right now! I woke to an email from me editor. My revised proposal has been accepted. Hero's personality transplant worked so did the new chapters. Huge sigh of relief. And I'd love to celebrate! But unfortunately I have zero time to lounge around in hot, bubbly water right now. I'm going on a field trip with the kidlets to a bat exhibit at the World Forestry Center.

What are you up to today?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Make it with a Fireman

funny pictures of cats with captions
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The hero in my November 2011 release was a firefighter. I can't wait to write about one of his station buddies, who also happens to be a mountain rescuer. That's only one of the reasons, I totally love this video by Sauza Tequila. If you've been to my Facebook page, you've seen it there, but I had to share it here, too. Trust me it's worth a watch and for all you cat lovers, there's a cute kitten in it. Which is another reason I think this clip is great!



Clever, don't you think?

I'm not much of a drinker, but I wouldn't making one of those margaritas with a fireman. How about you?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wednesday

funny cat pictures - Gulliver's  cat  loved  to  terrorize  the  Lilliputians waiting  for  the  8:15  commuter  train.
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I'm guessing this is how all the Stormtroopers and other Star Wars (as well as Legos) figures around our house must feel when the cats are on the prowl.

Not much to say today. I have another crazy Wednesday ahead and need to get my word count in. Goal is 2000 words so I'd better start writing. By the time I get home tonight I'm usually too tired to accomplish anything.

How are things where you are?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I Won't Give Up

funny cat pictures - SHHHH....  singin not your strong suit
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The dog might not be able to sing, but Jason Mraz sure can. I was driving when his new song came on the radio. I knew immediately I Won't Give Up was perfect for the soundtrack of my current story (working title The Doctor's Wife.) It's a fractured marriage story. I couldn't believe how well the lyrics of the romantic ballad fit the story. Take a listen...


This story is set in Hood Hamlet on Mount Hood, but unlike the Christmas Magic books it does not take place in December. I've set it in springtime. May-June to be exact, which happens to be prime climbing season on Mount Hood. The hero, Cullen Gray, is a doctor who I introduced in my November 2011 release, Firefighter Under the Mistletoe.

My editor has the revised proposal. I've got my fingers crossed that it works better for her this time! While I wait to hear back from her, I'm working on the complete. The end actually, since I write the first three chapters than write the end, then go back to Chapter Four. So far so good!

What are you up to?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday Smile

funny pictures - Cyoot Kittehs of teh Day: Happy Family
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The pic above put a big smile on my face. Not bad for a Monday morning!

I had big plans for this week, but then I found out the school where my kids go two days a week combined weeks for volunteers due to Spring Break. That means I'm at school all day today and on Thursday. I thought I wouldn't be there for another two weeks so I've been rearranging things since I found out about this on Thursday. Guess I should have checked the calendar instead of assuming it April would work the same as the other months!

Yesterday, the kidlets and I saw Titanic in 3D. It was pretty cool. The kids have never seen the movie before so it was fun to see their reactions. I was pregnant with Mackenna the first time I saw it. She's fourteen now. She liked it the most of the three which didn't surprise me.

I also watched the Titanic miniseries on ABC. Must admit I was disappointed. I liked how they used real passengers, but there were too many story lines and characters to follow. I was completely lost after the first episode, but then figured out what they were doing with the next one. I really disliked the way each episode jumped back in time from the previous one. I didn't care about the characters. I wasn't drawn into the story or their lives. That tug of emotion just didn't happen. Strange given the scope of the tragedy.

Well, I need to get going! Hope you have a nice Monday.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The 100th Anniversary of the Titanic Sinking

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I've been obsessed with the Titanic since I was in high school. In case you're wondering this was before the Titanic had been discovered by Robert Ballard. I have a bookcase shelf full of Titanic books, and back in 1996, I did some passenger research on those with ties to Oregon that ended up on Encyclopedia Titanica.

On this Titanic Centenary, I thought I'd post a few links for you to peruse.

The first is from USA Today. It's an article about the memorial celebrated on the MS Balmoral, a cruise ship that has been retracing the Titanic's maiden voyage.

Fox News talks here about various events worldwide being held to mark the anniversary.

This one might make you laugh. It's a bunch of Titanic Memes.

And finally, here are some old blog posts of mine dealing with the Titanic:

I attended a Titanic dinner party in April 2007. This post describes the party and the pictures are at this Flickr page. If you want to know more about the background of the party, this post talks about how we won the dinner. This one is about my character and dress. And this one about the shoes I redid to make them more Edwardian.

And, of course even though isn't legit, who could forget the trailer for Titanic: The Sequel...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Warm and Comfy

funny cat pictures - It took me a long time to teach them their job is to keep me warm and comfy.
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Isn't that a cute pic! I wish the cats would cuddle with Chaos. She would keep them so warm!

Thanks for your well-wishes for Chaos. She didn't have to go back for another x-ray! YAY! She's back to normal, scavenging for food, as if nothing had happened Thursday night. Annoying, yes, but that's a Norwegian Elkhound for you!

Today is my parish's First Communion Retreat. I'm going to review my notes then head over there to help set up. Last year my youngest attended in preparation for hers. Has it really been a year since then? Wow!

Hope you have a nice Saturday!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Chaos Has a Feast

funny cat pictures - Dinnerz!
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Animals like to eat. Some, like cats, are smart enough to stop eating when they are full. Others, like certain dogs whose name begins with a C and ends with an S, don't know when to stop and will eat until they make themselves sick. Literally.

I spent much of last night at the Emergency vet with our Norwegian Elkhound Chaos. Her breed loves food. They act like they are starving most of the time and are masters at tricking humans into giving them more to eat. They are also prone to obesity because of these tendencies. We always check with each other to make sure we don't double-feed her. (Yes, we've been tricked more than once!)

When I arrived home after picking up kidlets from soccer and swim practices, the pantry door was open. The one thing I hadn't put into a container when I organized the pantry last week was Chaos' dog food. (I needed to wash what I wanted to store her food in, but got distracted with Easter.) But there wasn't a mess so I thought neither the cats nor the dog had been scavenging in there.

A little while later, Chaos wouldn't eat dinner. This is as close to Hell-Freezing-Over as our household gets. Immediately my daughter who shows Chaos in Jr. Handling was concerned. I looked over the dog and noticed she looked swollen. It was very clear she didn't feel well. Hubby agreed. He checked her abdomen and she started whimpering.

We replayed the last twenty-four hours. The pantry door being open earlier. She'd gotten into the garbage last night and found the ham bone. We thought she'd only had the bone about 3 minutes before we saw it, but who knew what she'd done with it during that time?

I called the animal hospital. A few minutes later, Mackenna, Chaos and I were on our way. After losing so many beloved cats these past months, it was a worrisome wait. I was scared something was seriously wrong with her.

The vet was nice and thorough. X-rays discovered Chaos' problem...she had gorged herself. Chaos hadn't left the pantry alone. She'd had a bountiful feast on her dog food. She was either very careful not to make a mess or she cleaned up after herself. I'm guessing the latter.

I was so relieved that it wasn't something more serious, but I was also annoyed with myself for not taking care of Chaos' food last week. (Want to guess what my procrastination cost me $-wise?) She may need another X-ray today depending on how she acts and what she does, but so far so good. She even wanted breakfast this morning!

I don't know about you, but I'm hoping for a very quiet Friday with time for a nap and no more visits to the vet!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Feline Besties

funny pictures - Cyoot Kittehs of teh Day: YOU LET  ME HUG YOU, AND YOU WILL LIKE IT!
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This pic reminds me of my two black cats, Yoda and Beauty. Fortunately, Beauty is getting bigger, but I doubt she'll ever be the same size as Yoda. Still she manages to hold her own against him! But when they go at it (running, chasing, wrestling), they make so much noise you'd think they were both big dogs! But when their not going at it, they're best friends

Today, author Cara Colter and I talk about writing for the Harlequin Romance line here at Harlequin's website.

This morning I'm off to trudge around in the mud. Rose has another science field trip. I just hope it's not raining!

What are you up to today?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Zombie Apocalypse

funny pictures - That's what friends are for.
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I ran across something about the Zombie Apocalypse yesterday and thought I'd share!

Map of the Dead is your Zombie survival guide. You can type in your city and find out where resources are that could help you survive. It color codes areas based on whether it's a danger zone or not. The FAQ, located under the menu tab on the upper right, is worth a read. One of the things made me smile.

Enjoy! It's a crazy Wednesday around here so I'd better get busy! Watch out for any zombies!




Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Life of Riley

funny cat pictures - It's a delusion, but a helpful one.
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I'm sure my cats feel the same as the LOLcat above. They watch hubby and I work (both of us work from home) while they lounge around and probably laugh to themselves. I suppose I don't blame them. The most energy they exert is chasing a toy (or each other) or trying to capture the laser light or staring down the dog. The rest of the time they sleep, get petted and are fed. A pretty rough life!

We're slowly getting back into the swing of things now that Spring Break is over. The kids were at school yesterday. They have school at home with me the next two days. Except for Mackenna. Her class is headed up to the state capital for a tour. I'm curious to see what she thinks of Olympia compared to Washington DC.

I'm hoping to finish up my proposal. I am having to rewrite the third chapter completely. The overall plot has also changed thanks to my volcano expert. I want to finish this part so I can get on with the rest of the story.

It's been awhile since I mentioned the Climbing Cutie, who helps me with my Hood Hamlet books and got me climbing, but he's really been making a name for himself in the climbing world. Here's info on his latest FA (First Ascent) in Alaska. WTG, Cutie!

Hope you have a nice Tuesday!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Monday Morning

funny cat pictures - It's morning. Again.
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I can so relate to the LOLcat above! It's exactly how I feel this morning. I woke up at 4 am from a dead sleep with one thought on my mind...tulips.

I'd purchased three bundles of tulips to decorate for Easter, but cats and flowers don't mix so at night and when we were at Mass on Sunday, we put them in the garage. Last night I was so tired, I went upstairs and never went back down. I'd forgotten all about the flowers.

Fortunately hubby hadn't. He'd put them in the garage and put all the candy dishes and Easter baskets up so Chaos couldn't get into the chocolate. Of course, he wasn't too keen on my waking him up in a panic!

I fell right back to sleep. When the alarm went off two hours later, I thought no way. It wasn't until the phone rang this morning at 7-something that I finally got up. But I'm still dragging from all the standing in the kitchen yesterday cooking! (Menu included: Ham, Salmon, scalloped potatoes, cheesy potatoes (brought by my mom), baked beans, roasted asparagus, peas & carrots, broccoli salad, tossed salad and rolls.) The meal turned out well, and we had a great time! But tired or not, now it's time to write.

How was your yesterday?

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Happy Easter!

funny pictures - Cyoot Kittehs of teh Day: Hoppy Eestur!!!!1see more
Lolcats and funny pictures

He is Risen! Thank you, Jesus!

I hope you have a Blessed Easter Sunday!

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Random Saturday

funny cat pictures - Fancy Cat
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Too cute! I couldn't resist this LOLcat given I wrote two books with royal weddings. I love royalty and weddings so a wonderful combination. If you're curious about the stories they are Expecting Royal Twins (Kindle version on sale for $2.99) and Not-So-Perfect Princess. The second book features a black kitten who was modeled after my cat Yoda when he was younger!

All the kidlets are home and accounted for! I sure missed them. The cats, not so much. But they are enjoying the extra sets of hands to rub them. Hubby and I can only do so much!

The one thing I noticed when I picked up my daughter at the airport last night was she looked tired. It was 11 o'clock our time so even later for her body clock. The second thing I noticed was her lack of make-up. She's 14 and never goes out unless her hair is done and make-up on. She's even willing to get up early to make that happen. For those who know me, I promise she's my kid, but yes, I find it strange also.

I asked one of the chaperones about the lack of make-up because it was so not her. I was told she cried it all off in D.C. saying goodbye to the group of kids from Palm Springs who were part of her tour group. I guess everyone was crying, including the tour guide. My daughter's school group departed first and the California kids walked them to the door and stood at the window while the plane left. I was told everyone was crying both on the airplane and in the terminal. They all really bonded over the last eight days.

Today is going to be about prepping for the big family gathering tomorrow. I still have some eggs to stuff and some things to buy at the store. I also need to wash my new Easter tablecloth for the kitchen table that I got with my Kohl's cash a couple of days ago. It's so cute. I don't decorate until after the Easter Vigil tonight, but I'll have everything ready so it shouldn't take me too long. I love Easter! I'm really looking forward to tomorrow!

What are you up to?

Friday, April 06, 2012

Human Behavior

funny cat pictures - Sumtimes  hooman  behabior
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My cats, Spirit in particular, had a real problem with my behavior late last night. What kept her sitting on the staircase and meowing for a couple of hours? Or Beauty darting in and out, up and down, trying to figure out what was going on?

I decided to clean the pantry.

This might sound like normal behavior given it's spring and we're hosting my family's Easter celebration, but I'm not a cleaner. No one would ever accuse me of having an ounce of Domestic Goddess running through my veins. But I'd finished a chapter on the proposal and something took hold of me. An alien, a specter of a housekeeper, who knows? But I set to work.

What spurred this into action was a simple Ikea bookcase. I purchased it early in the week for my cookbooks which I kept in the pantry. I wanted them out of there so I could have more room for food. My recent Costco purchases were piling up on the pantry floor!

So I grabbed a screwdriver and set to work on the bookcase. I could only get so far (the screws just wouldn't go in) so hubby took over. I then organized all my cookbooks! Best part, they all fit. I got the small Billy Bookcase in a cherry wood finish.

With the cookbooks in their own place now, I took a good look at the other shelves and realized I had a big problem. My pantry became the catch all for things when I wasn't sure where to put them. Stuff that really didn't belong in a pantry so I had to find places for those things which meant organizing cupboards in addition to the pantry. The cats and dog weren't sure what had gotten into me, but neither did my hubby. He was, in a word, amazed, and soon joined in.

As I mentioned yesterday, I used to be big into couponing. Well, I learned last night without some semblance of organization, food will go bad. I couldn't believe how much was expired, everything from spices to canned food to cold medicine. Thank goodness most of that stuff was practically free!

Little Beauty was right there the entire time, even sharing the step stool with me. At one point, she was half-asleep, but her kitten curiosity kept her front and center where the action was instead of leading her to her cat tree or bed on the hearth.

But today, on this Good Friday, I know my efforts were worth the late night. Things are organized and I still have lots of room! And I can't wait to reward myself with some chocolate on Easter morning.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Budget Kitties

funny cat pictures - My budget needs an increase NOW.
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I had to laugh when I saw the above LOLcat this morning! One reason is I'm currently in budget mode. Thanks to Dave Ramsey, we're doing pretty well (no credit card debt, yay!) But my oldest is going to be attending a private Catholic high school in the fall, and I'm taking a look at our spending habits and seeing where I can cut back a little. It's scary to think of all that high school tuition when in four years she'll be heading off to college, and she has two siblings behind her, too!

Of course, if I let the cats have any say where I should cut the budget and where I should add to it, the humans would be living off rice & beans and they would be eating a completely raw food diet, snacking on grain free treats and have an unlimited supply of organic catnip and wheat grass at their disposal. Oh, and they'd want new toys delivered weekly and a second cat tree, one with more nests, for the upstairs.

They'd beg to differ, but we spend a lot on them. I never realized how expensive quality cat food could be.

I did the math and figured out it was better to buy the canned cat food I add to the raw food in bulk through Pet Food Direct rather than make my weekly run to the pet store. A couple of weeks ago, I ordered four cases when they were having a big sale to see how it worked. So far so good. A little research via google found me a pet store in Portland call Meats for Cats and Dogs that offers discounts on the raw cat food if you buy that in bulk. Given it's frozen and the amount my cats eat, that'll work great! They also said they could teach me to make my own which would be even cheaper. Just need to make the drive south at some point. Sooner rather than later.

So have you found any ways to cut your budget?



Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Hugs

funny cat pictures - One size fits all
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The kidlets are still away. One on the east coast (Washington D.C. now) and the other two at my parents. I'm missing my morning hugs a lot. That's how we always start are day as soon as they wake up. I've tried hugging the cats, but it's just not the same since they don't hug back. Sigh...

My local RWA chapter got a mention by one of the speakers this weekend. Check out this post Larry Brooks wrote on his Story Fix blog. It was waiting for me in my inbox this morning. If you're a writer, I highly recommend subscribing to his blog. That's what I've been doing for a long time now.

It was an interesting talk. Pretty much the same 3-Act structure that most story/plot gurus teach, but each has their own terms and nuances. Larry's division into four parts is something I'm still thinking about. But I've got a proposal due so will have to get back to it. I do know his 4-Rs (Delilah Marvelle, who I was sitting next to on Sunday, and I actually turned it into 5-Rs) is turning out to be a huge help with this proposal!

A couple years ago Michael Hauge presented his Story Mastery workshop at our chapter's Winter Intensive so Larry's type of plotting method wasn't new to most of us. (I think he was a little disappointed about that!) But what I've realized is each method of story structure has a place because the semantics (best word I could think of for this) are different. Story Fix's vocabulary and definitions might make clearer sense to one writer while another can't see beyond Story Mastery's terms and concepts. Add in Blake Snyder's Beat Sheet (and I'm sure there are others I've missed) and a writer can find a method they understand and what works for them.

And they should.

I'm a plotter, not a pantser. But I think even pansters can get something from these guys, even if it's only internalizing the structure.

I rarely talk about writing craft, so this my post for the quarter, possibly even the year!

Have a great Wednesday. I'm off to talk to a volcano scientist. It's research for my current manuscript!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Contest Oops Again!

funny cat pictures - And THEN you can have some pie.
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Oops I did it again! No, I didn't hang my cats out with the laundry, but I did forget to pick a winner for my March website contest. With the Spring Intensive on Sunday and my wedding anniversary yesterday, it completely slipped my mind. Sorry!

So here we go...

The winner of a $10 gift certificate (Amazon or BN.com) is Quilt Lady who commented on my post Arrived. Quilt Lady, please use the contact button on the menu bar above to send me your email address and whether you want a Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift certificate emailed to you. Please contact me within 7 days or I'll pick another winner. Thanks to everyone who entered!

A new contest started on April 1st. Here's how it works. To enter just post a comment. The more you comment, the more entries you'll have. The prize is a $10 electronic gift certificate to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Winners choice! If you enter, be sure to check back at the beginning of May to see if you won. The winner must contact me within the week or I select a new winner.

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Seventeen

funny pictures
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Seventeen years ago today, I married hubby. Hard to believe it's been that long, considering we're still using most of our wedding presents. Oh, a few things have gone by the wayside because they broke, but it's only in the last two weeks we replaced our blender. And only because the kidlets kept complaining about how it didn't work well making smoothies!

We don't have any big plans, but we are kidlet free at the moment. With the oldest kid (aka free babysitter) on the east coast, we did what any normal couple would do...call my parents to see if they wanted the two younger kids for a couple of days! (This is our spring break week!) Hubby drove them down yesterday. (I left my RWA chapter's Spring Intensive early so I could at least spend a little time with them.) I must admit last night was so quiet while hubby and I ate dinner and watched Once Upon a Time.

As for the Spring Intensive, if you're a writer and interested in knowing what went on, go here to the Rose City Romance Writer's Blog. There are recaps of the various workshops!

Enjoy your Monday! I plan to write and then spend time with hubby!