Monday, July 28, 2008

Technology update

That hard drive I was having trouble with last week the very first time I used it - failed. I too it back today and the guy at Circuit City hooked it up, refreshed it, tilted it, trying to get it to appear on their computer so he could get my files off it. No luck. I can't believe I deleted some of my files after I did the backup! At least it wasn't stuff I really cared about.

Technology Rage! That's what I've had this week. First the external hard drive, then my satellite internet - which isn't fast on the best of days - has slowed down to a sludgy crawl. I have to contact my congressman. We should be able to get real broadband like the rest of the country.

When there's rain in the midwest the internet slows down in Louisiana. Really, is there any way to make that right? Today the download speed was 336 and upload was so low it didn't even register. No WONDER I can't get any internet work done! Aaargh!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008

Revising strategy

Okay, started a new job this week and since training is taking up so much of my time, I've decided to take a chapter of OTHR with me everyday. I can revise it on my lunch hour. I'll be further along than if I let it sit at the house.

I seem to get more done when I have more to do. I'm sure you know what I mean. The adrenaline is pumping, organization mode stays in play, rather than relaxation mode.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Weekly Quote

Every secret of a writer's soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind is written large in his works.

Virginia Woolf

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Murphy's Law of Computers

Everyone has experienced those periods of PCR (PC Rage) even the most experienced. I think there should be a separate category for computer laws of Murph.

I finally set up my new external hard drive today and for the first time since I've had my Imac - 2 1/2 years - I set about creating a recurring backup. The weather was lovely (which - anyone who knows Louisiana weather knows that you don't do anything with bad weather approaching) so I said, why not now?

When I was in Jackson on my last postal training, I purchased the 750G My Book with the intention of creating automatic backups for both computers. So, at 4:00 this afternoon I hit the DO IT button.

At 5:20PM the lights went out. Not for long, but you know how that is. The backup was 35% complete. AAARRRGH! I mean, WHAT ARE THE ODDS that my very first time to use the damn thing...

Our electricity is about 5 times more likely to go out when it's sunny than in bad weather. So maybe next time I'll wait for a storm.

I'm sure you have a Murphy's law of computer tale to tell. Share.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I won!! Clap, clap.

Cool! I won one of the prizes on Angela James' blog

Better than I did at the GRW meeting. I bought six raffle tickets and didn't win a thing. That's my standard.

Thanks, Angie.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Day 4 S.C.

Yesterday, we visited our cousin, Carol, at her new home in Fancy Gap, Virginia. Carol does medical transcription and while awaiting the construction of their new home, they lived and worked out of their motor home. She used a Verizon internet card on her laptop which only worked because of the proximity of their property near the top of a ridge.

Carol is the sister of my heart. We spent so many good times together when my mother lived in Florida and I was visiting freguently. We took Word Perfect classes, explored used book stores, met often at Olive Garden, and, of course, went shopping together.

Carol just returned from Italy where she took an intense cooking class. Her new kitchen allows her to explore her culinary proficiency and serve meals like she served us - her famous chicken casserole, a corn and bacon dish, salad with raspberry vinagrette dressing and devils food cake with homemade chocolate gelato, an Italian ice cream. Scrumptious!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Day 2 Hartwell

I arrived in Hartwell around 10 AM yesterday morning prepared to explore the lake, to find out if the research I'd done on the internet was accurate.

I was disappointed to find that I wasn't able to get to the shoreline because of paid access to park roads and gated communities and marinas. So this picture is typical of what I was able to see, mostly from the highway.

I will visit another lake Friday on my way back to Atlanta in hopes of viewing examples of the foliage, housing, geographical environment and community to finish the world building for my series.

Today I drove around a local waterfront community gathering pictures and ideas for future books. Then I did a little shopping at the Home Goods store and Bed Bath and Beyond where I found some beautiful square dishes with a wine and cheese theme.

My cousin, Pete, for whom I named one of my characters, is visiting from Vietnam. The last time I saw him, he took me on a real insiders tour of D.C. I saw places I'd never known about growing up there. Tomorrow we will see our cousin, Carol, in Va who hasn't seen Pete in 40 years! It's a mini cousin reunion!

Last night he gave me the Google earth tour of the buildings he's built in Vietnam, commenting that the greatest thing that's happened in his lifetime is the internet. He used to have his sister order construction manuals and ship them to Vietnam. Now, everything he needs is online.

Gotta, go. I'm off my diet for this trip and we're fixing to go to an ice cream place for dessert. Later, gator.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Day1 Lavonia

I left at 3am Saturday morning to miss the Atlanta rush hour and breezed through Atlanta at 11:30 Saturday morning. A most pleasant drive listening to about 5 hours worth of recorded messages to myself from the past year.

Found a couple of my scenes I'd planned to use in one of the sequels and a taped speech by an insurance exec on being a 'ray of sunshine'.

I ate at Lone Star in Commerce. I just couldn't pass it up - the filet goes perfectly with my Six Week Body Makeover regime that I've been doing although I still ate twice as much as I should. I guess the good news is I didn't eat half what I used to eat. I ordered the small filet. And I didn't order dessert. Baby steps, lol.

I drove to Lavonia, GA To spend the night where I'd have wireless internet (faster speed than my home connection) so I could research my lake locations for the series and catch up on some other stuff. There was a baseball team so I had to lug my heavy suitcase up 25 steps to the second floor. My phone didn't work so I couldn't call down and complain that she'd forgotten to give me my wireless password and my TV remote wasn't working. Oh well.

Luckily once the boys settled in around 11pm the night was fairly quiet.

Today, I'll head out to the lakes and get some pictures, get some of my questions answered.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Heading out on research trip

Well, tomorrow morning at 3am I'm headed to South Carolina to research my series. I'm dragging my feet since I already submitted the partial on book one but it's still being revised so I have time to make some changes and I need to get the other books a little clearer in my head.

Do I include one book that was set in northern GA or set them all in Georgia rather than South Carolina? Decisions, decisions.

I have to opportunity to catch a Georgia Romance Writers meeting next Saturday on my way home and I'll get to see three of my cousins I haven't seen in at least eleven years. They are the brother and sisters of my heart since I was an only child. I even named characters after them in the series.

So watch the posts for pictures and reports.
Have a good week.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Justice for Spider

Every now and then somebody 'gets his'. I mentioned my sweet baby Spider in an earlier post and maybe the fact that her first owner abused her. Stuck her in a drawer for barking (most likely because she was hungry or needed to go out). I don't know if it contributed to her short life but I do know it was a crime to mistreat such a sweet little loveball.

Yesterday, I heard that the woman who mistreated my baby was seen in chains at the local jail.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The nature of the beast

You have to remember - originally they lived in caves and had us fetching stuff and cooking. Procreating and hunting for food was pretty much all they were interested in.

WAIT A MINUTE! Has anything changed?

CFM: Hey, where are you going?
Me: To the bathroom
CFM: Get me a cookie. (in the kitchen not the bathroom)
Me: Allright. So I go the extra mile to get him some cookies and when I get back to the living room -
CFM: Those are just those sugar cookies.
(I point out that they are the ONLY cookies.)
CFM: I wanted a Twinkie or a candy bar or something.
Me: Well, you should have said so. These are cookies and you asked for cookies.
(He's sitting in his recliner (his stone throne) with the 'gizmo' watching a western I taped for him.)

I believe underneath the sophisticated (wrong choice of words) veneer, he's still a caveman at heart. Me, caveman, you my woman. Retrieve.

It will be interesting to see how much is swept under the rug when I return from my trip to SC.

Monday, July 7, 2008


If I had to give young writers advice, I would say don't listen to writers talking about writing or themselves.

Lillian Hellman

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Two class acts

What did I do today? I watched the Wimbledon championship. Normally, that wouldn't be an all day experience but these two guys, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal went at it until I thought they were just going to turn the lights out and finish tomorrow.

Here's a daylight pic of Rafa who said the difference for him was staying positive and not giving up.

Rafa's blog show what a down to earth young man he is and gives an intimate look at his thoughts during Wimbledon.

Federer began the match unlike any he'd ever played by losing the first two sets. And Nadal had a chance to close it out in the Fourth set but got a little hurried and didn't take advantage. A rain delay gave Federer new life and he fought his way back into the match in the fifth when they had another rain delay. Then with less than an hour of daylight left they passed the longest championship match ever mark and were with in a game of having to take it up Monday when Nadal broke Federer's serve.

Unbelievable, awesome, enthralling, heart-wrenching and nerve-wracking. It was all of that as Rafa proved that his improvement on grass wasn't a fluke.

When they were interviewed these two humble, steady champions complimented each other rather than take credit themselves. I felt like one of Rafa's parents afraid to watch for fear that he'd lose, but he prevailed. If it had been a boxing match it would have been a draw. It was that close. At one point in the fifth set they had 178 winning strokes each!!

Surely Nadal will be number one tomorrow. And it doesn't hurt that he's such a cute hunk! Has anyone seen a picture of him without his shirt? Bet he looks dynamite in a speedo.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Upping the stakes

Recently my CP, Leah, and I got into a discussion about great contemporaries, specifically, what makes a great one.

I just finished listening - again - to It Had to Be You, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, the first book in her 'Stars Football Team series'.

She is an incredible architect of plot and emotion but her books don't come out often enough. When I need an SEP fix, I re-read one or listen to an old one. I joined Audible and all of her books are now on unabridged audio, absolutely the best way to enjoy them.

So for the last two days I've been appreciating her incredible talent. What makes her books so special? What makes me hang, enthralled, from scene to scene to the very end?

If you've read anything about writing you've heard the advice from authors to up the stakes. SEP is a master, um, Mistress of upping the stakes. There isn't just one reason why Pheobe and Dan can't be involved there are three. That's the case with every situation and relationship. And the stakes just keep getting upped straight to the end.

Shirley Jump did a workshop for Killer Instincts called the Rule of Six, where the author carries the options for the scene or the plot point or character arc down six levels. Some carry it twenty.

Imagine the work that goes into designing your scenes with so many facets. Man, would I like to be sitting on her shoulder like a little leprechaun watching her plot her books.

Whatever she does, it's wrenchingly, beautifully done. And another one is finally on the way in February of 2009 - What I Did For Love. Hallelujah!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Fourth of July

Wish I was watching the fireworks in D.C. with friends and family.
Happy Birthday, America

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Daily Habits

I can get so distracted, probably ADD or ADHD or whatever they call it. And it plays havoc with focusing on my writing.

For instance, I can't cook french bread in the broiler. I place it on the rack, stand there for maybe 10 seconds, then I see a spider web in the corner of the room. Must get that spider web. I grab the broom, swipe it down, put the broom up. Hmm, what's this cap doing here by the broom? Must put it where it belongs, and on and on. Until I smell smoke.

I could probably cook bread if I got CFM to tape one hand to the stove. [grin] I used to try to dry the iron skillets on the stove until one morning he put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Do not dry the iron skillets. I'll dry them for you." That was years ago. It runs in Mom's side of the family. Not anything to do with Alzheimers (I hope). I have almost a photographic memory for things I see and hear but don't ask me where I put something. Out of sight - out of mind.

I believe I was the originator of the Day Runner type organizer. I took an address book. Fitted it with notebook paper and an alphabetical index and voila. I used one for years to set my tasks for the day, to keep track of everything about my life. I had a page under B for budget, S for songs I wanted to learn, C for Computer issues, P for (I know) passwords. But when I got out of sales, I set it aside.

Now, I'm going back to a daily goal system to stay on track with one addition - my whiteboard.

I've created two columns the one on the left for the task categories that I need to complete each and every day. Column two for the variables, my optional choices.

So this week it looks something like this:

Write 2000w or 2hrs
Revise, submit, critique
Other - pick one
Blog/ email
Read instruction/inspiration

Mind Jog - pick from list
OTHR more revisions
FIMB revisions
FIMB synopsis, query
Write forward RC, LMA, Rory, FF

Other Options
Straighten office
Computer backups
WORK - blaah

Blogs scheduled ahed
Wash, cleanup
Sports on TV

So far I've been able to stay on track except for writing forward because I can't seem to decide which story I'm going to pursue.

Is that a good excuse or what!

You probably already have good habits? Anything you can share?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Challenging the Mind

Yesterday my favorite Navy Guy called to tell me about his newest idea for a book but it's classifed so I can't tell you or... you know the drill.

I'd been revising FIMB trying to get the partial done to submit next week. I'd been searching my online thesaurus for just the right word when he called. So I asked NG about it.

He's always been a walking dictionary, even got into a discussion with a police officer about the word 'parking'. Got the guy so confused he didn't write the ticket.

So when I asked him for a positive word like ruthless, he said, "Okay, let me think."

Across the fiber optic lines I could hear his mental wheels. Then not only did he suggest a word but a better way to get the point across, "Let it come from their reactions to him," he said. I'm not surprised at his ability to come up with the appropriate phrase. He's a born writer who's only recently discovered that gift with a WIP on Kayak Fishing due out by Christmas.

When we got off the phone, he said, "Thanks for allowing me to challenge my mind." This from the ultimate self challenger. I thought, as if he needs additional challenges for his mind. But that's what he thrives on. It reminds me of the logo I used on my business card, "Challenge - as necessary as the air we breathe."

It's too bad it's becoming less and less common for people to want to 'think', to challenge themselves, to solve puzzles. As writers we must learn to explore our world at the deepest level so our stories will be rich and unique. So the work will prove itself in timeless popularity.