Monday, August 29, 2005

Writing Time

I have until Friday to make sure this proposal gets whipped into shape. I wish I could spend the entire week writing, but it's the last week before school starts so I made plans with the kidlets to do some fun things: blueberry picking, Oaks Amusement Park, the zoo and swimming. Of course, it's raining and more rain is forecasted this week.

Oh, well, that's one of the hazards of living in the Pacific Northwest. I'll take it (along with the earthquakes and volcanos) especially when I see what's going on in the Southeast right now. Hugs and prayers to all facing and having to pick up the pieces of Katrina's wrath.

One more thing... if you haven't entered my website contest, make sure you do before it ends on the 31st of August. There is a link here on my diary. The prize is a $10 gift certificate.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Happy Birthday To Me!

After the disappointment of my birthday last year, my wonderful hubby has completely redeemed himself.

He took the day off. I woke up not to "Mommy, I'm up. Come get me" but to silence. A rare occurrence around here. I glanced at the clock and it was 8 o'clock. That's late for me. No wonder I felt so rested.

I headed downstairs. The smell of freshly baked coffee cake hit me halfway down. The kidlets greeted me with "Happy Birthday Mommy." They had already been fed and were waiting to give me my presents.

And what presents! The best birthday presents ever!!

1) A Life-size Anakin Standee - yes, I got it. And yes, he is so hot! He even has a light saber. So very cool. "Hello Anakin," I said, my voice more sultry than I intended. "I'm Melissa." My hubby just sighed and said he'd let that pass since it was my birthday. I love this man so much!

2) A 60 GB iPod that was wrapped in a really cool star wars gift bag

3) A iBook G4 with 14 inch screen plus Word for Mac - this was a complete surprise. I'm still in shock. I needed a new computer, but planned on waiting until I had a new contract. But to use the iPod with my Mac Cube, we would have had to upgrade it so much that hubby decided to just get me a new computer instead. I honestly didn't know this (I may have an engineering degree, but I'm a complete technophobe now) or I wouldn't have asked for an iPod.

Now I must pack! We were supposed to be on the rode already and I haven't showered yet. As of last night, ROTS was playing in three theaters in Boise. Depending on when we arrive, I may try to catch a showing tonight. That would be a nice ending to an already perfect day!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Getting there

Huge progress on the proposal. I rewrote my synopsis! This is a big deal for me. I hate writing a synopsis. Until selling on proposal, I never wrote one until the book was completed. So sending in a synopsis based on little more than an idea to my new editor was very difficult for me. Especially when I only knew the characters names, the opening scene and the last scene.

I'm hoping it's better now that I've actually put conflict and character into it. The original version was 3 1/2 pages. The revised version turned out to be 9 pages. I was shooting for 5 or 6.

Of course I changed the story. I always do that. And I'll probably change it again once I get past the first three chapters and have to muddle through the middle. I hate middles. Almost as much as I hate openings. What I do love are the endings.

I always know how my stories will end before I begin writing them. I often write the last scene first. It's just a draft, but that gives me direction, a place I need to go.

Some writers say if they know how the story ends why write the book. I don't understand this thinking. I write romances. All my books end happily ever after. For me, it's all about the journey. I might know where I need to end up, but there's never only one way to get there.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Proposal and Pre-birthday Presents

I've been hard at work on the proposal! It's still not done, but I'm getting there which is why I still haven't gotten any pics on the blog. But I'll figure it out one of these days. We're heading out of town on Friday and I want the proposal finished! Or at least close enough that I don't feel compelled to work on it this weekend.

On the home front, Mackenna can now ride her bike without training wheels. Huge sigh of parental relief!

My b-day isn't until Friday but since we'll be driving to yet another Irish dance feis that day, my sister gave me my presents on Sunday when we celebrated her son's 6th b-day at Chuck E. Cheese down in Salem. When she handed me the presents--wrapped in Star Wars (Ep 1 TPM) wrapping paper, she told me that I didn't need any of these things, but she thought I would have fun with them.

So here's what I got:
1. A package of Dark Side Peanut M&Ms. (dark chocolate ones with Star Wars themed packaging. Very cute. And tasty!)
2. A puzzle with Anakin and Darth Vader on it
3. A "Sith Happens" t-shirt
4. An "Evolution" pack of Anakin action figures showing him as a padawan (Ep 2 AOTC), a Jedi (Ep 3 ROTS) and then Darth Vader (Ep 4 ANH).

As an extra bonus, my brother in law got me a gift he'd made all on his own--a long-sleeved white t-shirt with an ironed on decal he created. It has all of the Disney Princesses in a half circle. In the center is Princess Leia with a blaster. Near the top is a tie fighter. It's really cute. He also gave me extra iron-ons so I can make matching shirts for Mackenna and Rose.

At Chuck Es while Rose was on one of the little rides, Mackenna came up and said, "Mommy, they have a Star Wars game." She handed me one of her tokens and said, "go play it. I think you'll like it. And I'll watch Rose for you."

When we got home, she asked me what my favorite thing was. she was talking about the gifts I received. Finn answered before I got the chance. "Anakin," he said. "Mommy loves Anakin."

Yes, my family recognizes and acknowledges my Star Wars geekness! As well as my Hayden crush:)

We'll just have to see if the hubby comes through on Friday. I really want that life-sized Anakin standee!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

House Day

Friday turned out to be all out houses.

In the morning, I found a used video of the movie Life As A House (LAAH) for sale at Hollywood Video. I've tried renting the tape, but it's always been checked out. Fellow Hayden lovers from a yahoogroups list told me it was required viewing for any fan. Of course after I bought the tape I was told that listening to the commentary on the DVD was also necessary. Oh, well…

That afternoon the kids and I put on red hardhats and walked through our house that's being built. WOW! It's so big compared to the little cottage we had in Lake Oswego. We don't have enough furniture to fill it, but that will just leave more space for the kids to play, run and dance! The kids went into the rooms they'd picked out and luckily no one wanted to switch. Everyone was laughing and jumping around and just so happy. We also toured a house similar to ours that's almost done. Another WOW! It was so nice. Selling our first house, living in this apartment, everything we've had to do so far has definitely been worth it!

That evening I received a phone call from the woman who had purchased our little cottage. I hadn't heard from them since the day of the home inspection and it was so great to talk with her. She and her husband will be remodeling the house before they move in, and best yet, they are using the same contractor we used to remodel the upstairs back in 2000. (I actually dedicated my April book to Jon and the crew at Beals Design-Build.) Anyway, she sounded so excited about the house. That made an already great day that much better.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Vacation, Stitches and the Lost Kitty

Where has the week gone?

Our Sunriver vacation turned out great. We biked, swam, played at the playground and just relaxed. I wrote and read more chapters from the Harlequin Romances my editor had sent me to get a feel for the new line. We saw the meteor shower on Saturday night and had dinner with friends from our old neighborhood at their new house in Bend on Sunday. My five year old, Finn, learned to ride his bike without training wheels and is now a speed demon. The way he leans into the curves has me seeing more visits to the ER in the future. My oldest, Mackenna, is close to riding without training wheels, but she was more interested in bonding with her cousin. Rose went on her first pony ride on Monday. Now she wants a horse-a big horse. This will not surprise anyone who has met her. There's something about third children. I need to find the birth-order book that I used to use for my characters and see how it applies to my kids.

Rose's second stitch fell out on the drive home, leaving only one to be removed yesterday. More tears fell with that one removal than during the suturing! The doctor told me to keep antibiotic ointment on it. If anyone has other suggestions to help the skin from scaring too badly, please let me know!

Today I not only revised an old scene, I wrote a new one. Now to download it from my Alphasmart and see if it's any good.

Oh, and we averted a cat disaster today. Our former-outdoor-now-indoor-hissy-kitty, aka Smalls, escaped this morning. It was nearly an hour worth of searching until I found her. She'd crossed the road into another apartment complex. Poor baby actually seemed relieved when I trapped her on a second floor landing. Of course, she may have only been hungry since it was breakfast time. Still she only hissed at me once as I carried her home and didn't try to scratch me. That's an improvement.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Mommy, Rose is bleeding

I had big plans for yesterday. I was going to put my two-and-a-half year old down for a morning nap so I could finish packing for our Sunriver trip later that day, get a little writing done and play with my older two kids. I put Rose down for her nap and headed downstairs. When the crying started fifteen minutes later, I sent my oldest upstairs to tell Rosie that it was naptime. What happened next is still a blur.

I'm not sure how fast I made it up the stairs yesterday when I heard Rose was bleeding. Seconds later I was staring at a child covered from head to toe in red. The only thing on her face I could see where her blue eyes. She kept pointing to her knee, which was covered in blood, too.

As I washed her off, I managed to call my husband. The call went something like "Rose is covered in blood. She has to go to the hospital. Come home. Now."

I finally figured out that the cut wasn't on her knee but on her face, between her eyebrows. When you hear that head wounds bleed a lot, it's true.

My five year old son was upset his bed was covered in blood. My seven year old couldn't stop crying. Me? I just wanted the bleeding to stop and kept thinking I should have put her down in her crib not her brother's bed.

Rose needed three stitches. Not that many considering the amount of blood. They gave her something to make her loopy so the suturing went smoothly. We were on our way to Sunriver only an hour and half late. While Rose slept during the drive, I tried to write on my Alphasmart. I couldn't. I tried to brainstorm my book. I couldn't. I tried to sleep. I couldn't even do that.

We arrived in Sunriver, a resort community in Central Oregon. Rose seemed to be fine. I was the one suffering now. I was surrounded by family all of who had questions and comments. You mean, you didn't call a plastic surgeon in to stitch her. Just think if she would have hit her eye instead. Scars can be cool. Needless to say, all I wanted to do was hold onto my baby and have a good cry.

Tomorrow, I thought, everything will be back to normal. And then this morning we had to call the hospital. A stitch had come out. We ended up at a local hospital in Bend. They taped the missing suture. We were done.

Still no writing. I decided to take another day off. Mommy-guilt-trauma-whatever. So we napped and then went bike riding to a playground. All twelve of us. My family, my sister's family and my brother-in-law. The vacation had truly begun. I only hope tomorrow, the writing returns! And that the remaining sutures stay put.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Top of the World

Okay, we weren't exactly at the top of the world, only 7000 feet. We spent the weekend at Mt. Hood-golfing, playing croquet, hiking and even writing.

On Saturday we rode the Magic Mile chair lift at Timberline. I enjoyed the clear blue sky, fresh air and view. The kids learned what being above tree line meant and watched the die-hard skiers and snowboarders on Palmer Glacier. The oldest two learned to ski this past winter and wanted to ski themselves. We convinced them the snow would be better if we came back this winter.

Instead of taking the lift down, my adventurous-former-mountain-climbing hubby wanted to hike down. I reminded him that we had three kids with us. So? he replied. This shouldn't have surprised me considering he wanted to take three children under the age of six on an overnight backpacking trip a year ago. I convinced him that car camping with a cooler full of steaks and beer made much more sense than packing it in and carrying it out. But this time I figured the worse that could happen was if Mt. Hood decided to blow it's top and riding the lift or walking down wouldn't make any difference so we hiked down. My youngest, 2 1/2, was more interested in stopping every five feet and playing with the dirt and rocks or trying to pick wildflowers along the trail. She managed about half the trail and was carried the rest of the way down. No incidents or injuries or eruptions. Thank goodness.

On the writing front, I am getting the proposal done. Being on Mt. Hood did help, since my hero Chase, is a risk-taking adrenaline junkie. I received an email from my editor today asking about it. I now have a deadline. YAY! I can't do any writing without some sort of end date hanging over me. It's pathetic, but it's just how my brain works. And now I must write.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Not much to say today

I'm hoping to get photos from Reno posted next week. My webmistress, Barb, is going to try and move my diary from the website to the blog site this weekend. This will give me time to get all the pics taken when I didn't have my camera handy and, of course, figure out what Hayden shots should go up. Thanks to my hubby, I have a lot to choose from.

Meeting my muse has definitely helped my productivity. The proposal is coming together faster than I expected which is a very good thing. Now to keep it up! The kids are asleep so I'd better get back to Jane and Chase! I want to see what's going to happen next.