Friday, December 31, 2010

Getting Lucky at Midnight?

Happy New Year!!!!!

Whether 2010 was a good year or one you prefer to forget, the passing of the torch from one year to the next deserves a little pause to consider what we leave behind.

2010 was a mixed bag for me, but rather than delete the 2010 entry from the calendar of my life,  I realized I want to remember every second of this year as life learned and friends loved.

Known as the most popular song that no one knows the words to.
Auld Lang Syne, a Scottish song first published by Robert Burns is the perfect choice for New Years celebrations.

We sing: 'Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And auld lang syne. For auld lang syne, my dear, For auld lang syne, We'll tak a cup of kindness yet, For auld lang sine!'
The song in its entirety embellishes that theme of old friends who have shared common interests in their youth, getting together for a good will drink, remembering the past with fondness and celebrating their friendships.
And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp, And surely I'll be mine, And we'll tak a cup o kindness yet, For auld lang syne!
We twa hae run about the braes, And pou'd the gowans fine, But we've wander'd monie a weary fit, Sin auld lang syne.
We twa hae paidl'd in the burn, Frae morning sun till dine, But seas between us braid hae roar'd Sin auld lang syne.
And there's a hand my trusty fiere, And gie's a hand o thine, And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught, For auld lang syne.

(The Scottish were also the originators of Hogmanay, where a popular tradition - first-footing - sprang up with neighbors visiting neighbors shortly after midnight with gifts and well wishes. One tale is that you'll be especially lucky if a tall, dark, and handsome man is the first to enter your house after the new year celebration - guess that's what they call 'getting lucky', eh? )

How will you remember 2010? How will you celebrate? Are there any traditions you've heard about that you'd like to start doing this New Years?
I will remember 2010 as the year I met some fabulous people at the Moonlight and Magnolias Conference in Atlanta - one of my best experiences in years.

Pop the cork on the best year yet to come - 2011!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

100 Books to Read, or Not

Found a list of books and this concept at Mind Muffins.
Whether you read printed versions or electronic, listen to CDs or Audible, we all have our favorites and those we could live without. 
This is a cool way to see the difference in our preferences. Try it.

My directions are thus: 
*  Copy the whole list to YOUR blog.
Bold the ones you’ve read, leave ones you haven’t alone
** Put a couple of astericks by the ones you recommend.
Highlight ten you have no interest in.
*  Leave ten blank from the ones you don’t expect to read.
*  It might be interesting to see if you read it in P - print, E - electronic, or L - listened to it.

Fill in the blanks with others you or a friend has recommended.
Leave a comment on this author’s site with a link to your list. Then share the love and carry on.

(I don't read many on Electronic yet, so I marked those I listened to with L, the rest are print. Personally, I love holding the book. the ones I read several times I gave details.)
So to begin....
 1. The DaVinci Code  L
 2. Pride and Prejudice  (re-read) P
 3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee) ** (It’s been too long).  P
 4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)** P
 5. Flirting with Danger, Suzanne Enochs**  P
 6. Warning Signs , Stephen White L
 7. The Lord of the Rings: (SAW THE MOVIES, does that count?)
 8.  Full Moon Rising   Keri Arthur **  P,L
 9.  Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)*** P,L,L,L
10. Darkborn  (Allison Sinclair) ** can’t wait for the third book! P
13. Nobody’s Baby But Mine (Susan Elizabeth Phillips)** L,P,L
14. Sweet Hush, Deborah Smith ** P

15. Last Man Standing David Baldacci** L,P
17. The Husband, Dean Koontz*** L,P
18. The Wolf and the Dove,   Kathleen Woodiwiss** P
19. Stanley   Jack Rosse (surprising! And delightful.)** P

20. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte Again, it’s been a lonnnng time P
21. Sphere of Influence,  Kyle Mills *** P,L,L,L
22. Cold Day in Paradise, Steve Hamilton ** P,L
23. It’s in His Kiss, Julia White P
24. Envy, Sandra Brown P,L
25.  Life of Pi, Yann Martel
26. Small Town Girl, Laverle Spencer** P
27. Peace is the Way, Deepok Chopra**  Awesome P,L
28. The Watchman, Robert Crais** L
East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Mistborn, Brandon Sanderson** L
31. Aint She Sweet? Susan Elizabeth Phillips** P,L,L
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks) I can’t do Nicolas Sparks, only one happy ending – NightsnR.
33. The Heir,  Grace Burrowes** her first book and it’s wonderful P
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin** brilliant writer but a reviewer said he didn’t know why Martin’s characters didn’t just kill themselves. It’s a bleak world. P,L
37. The Power of Now   Eckhart Tolle** L,P
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. Beautiful Lies, Lisa Unger** L
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho) no, but I’m reading Brida  L
41. T
he Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel) NOoo interest
The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Witches’ Bane (Susan Wittig Albert)** P
The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)(didn’t even see the movie)
45. The Bible (God, with some help from his friends)** P,L
46. Romeo, Romeo, Robin Kaye ** P
47. First Degree, David Rosenfelt**  All Andy Carpenter books, snarky lawyer humor, with his golden retriever soul mate he solves murders his clients are accused of. L,P
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. Dixie City Jam, James Lee Burke** L
50. Tairel Soul, C.L. Wilson** P,L
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Turn Coat, Jim Butcher** L
55. Lord of Scoundrels (Loretta Chase)** P
The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
58. Heather and Velvet, Medeiros ** P
The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky) mostly ** P
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand) **P
63. Blue Edge of Midnight, Jonothan King** P,L
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice) L
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. Ten Big Ones (Janet Evanovich)*** P, L,L,L
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)**
Original Sin, Allison Brennan ** P
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera, Marquez
  Ugh, the title
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75.  Eclipse Saga, Meyer ** P,L
76. The Summer Tree, Guy Gavriel Kay ??
77. Faeries Gone Wild, Mary Janice Davidson* P
78. The World According to Garp (John Irving) can’t remember
79. The Gift (Marianne Williamson)** P
80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)??
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)**
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier) (My father’s absolute favorite book.) P
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
86. Watership Down ,Richard Adams
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. The Help ( want to just haven't gotten to it yet)
89. Blindness, Jose Saramago
90. Material Evidence, Bill Kirton **P
91. Firebrand,  Gillian Roberts** P
92. Dragonfly and Amber,  Gabaldon, and all the rest ** P,L L
93. In From the Cold, Nora Roberts** P
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. When Darkness Falls (Kyle Mills) oddly prophetic, last of the Mark Beamons*** P,L,L
96. A Place to Call Home, Deborah Smith**
98. Naked in Death, (J.D.Robb)**P,L
100. Ivanhoe (Sir Walter Scott) and I can still remember gritting my teeth

Lots of books didn't make the list that should have. I don't know where my list of favorite books went from an earlier blog template.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A wish for you at Christmas Time

I've put a few cool vids up on the Blame It On The Muse blog today.

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukka! Happy Holidays.

Monday, December 20, 2010

So You Want to Write a Book

Did you miss me? Where have I been? Well, I have been busy.

I have been blogging on Blame It On The Muse and from now on, I'll post my blog there on my Marley blog, so you won't miss a thang!

Let's see, I was going to do Nano but then decided to enter the Golden Heart. For those of you who aren't familiar with the RWA's big contests - that's Romance Writers of America - there are two. The Rita is for published writers, the Golden Heart for unpublished. Everyone says if you only enter one contest, enter this one.

My motivation for entering had to do more with timing - the deadline for the contest and the entry requirements helped me get my synopsis and partial completed to fulfill the requests from the M&M conference in October.

In the middle of those preparations I took a trip to San Diego for my cousin's wedding and got sick in Sunny - ha ha - California. That might have been part of the problem, considering I left sunny and hot Louisiana as we touched down, on the rain blown tarmac the pilot announced sarcastically, "Welcome to Sunny San Diego." I was cold for four days.

I came home, got my entry off (finishing my synopsis the morning I put it in the mail). Now it's time to get back to work, get the partial off, get Reluctant Defender, the new title, revised for the full submission. And start something new.

It is also my intention to be more active on Twitter, Facebook, and my blog.
I'm researching what the most effective use of my time and slow internet is and I'll  keep you updated on what I find out. There are some great software packages, new tools for self promo. Things are changing! More on that soon.

For my writer friends.  Therese Walsh posted the top mistakes writers make on queries and  used this video to make her point. Amy Atwell shared it on own GIAM loop's new daily newsletter.

Don't lie. How many of these comments do you remember someone saying? That's what makes it so funny!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

So here there I was last week in the middle of NaNoWriMo, having written almost 15000 words toward a new contemporary when two writer friends said, "Why aren't you entering the GH?" (for the second or third time).

The GH for the oblivious and possibly unconcerned is the Golden Heart contest. The ONE everyone says if you can only enter one, be it the GH. The Golden Heart is for unpublished writers; the contest submission is based on a completed manuscript.

One reason I was passing was that I've been making some changes to my novel and didn't feel I'd be able to generate a polished version of the entire MS by November 15th, the deadline for entries. But I discovered the actual contest entry isn't due in Houston until Dec 2 and the submission is actually the first 55 pages including a synopsis along with one copy of the completed manuscript on disk or hard copy. I said, this I could do. I can get a polished version of my partial and a synopsis together for the GH and get it to Houston by December 2nd. They won't judge the complete manuscript just check to see if it's truly complete.

My primary reason for finally entering was to put a burr under my butt to get my partials done for the requests I had at M&M. (I'd had a setback after returning from Atlanta and found myself dwelling on the issues that need to be addressed.) Even though I forgot I'm traveling to California for my cousin's wedding on Saturday and will most likely lose four days of work, I'm still very glad I entered. The stimulus has been great to get that partial revised and polished.

I'll let you know how I come out on November 29th, the date everything must be in the mail.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Honoring our Vets

   Daddy on elephant in Africa.

Last year I posted these pictures of relatives who've served in the armed forces of our country. This morning I sang the Star Spangled Banner at a lovely celebration of our vets in a small town in Louisiana. Brigadier General Curtis made some excellent comments on the sacrifices our service men and their families make for the rest of us.

I was surprised with a flag that had flown over the Capitol in daddy's honor. What a wonderful gift.

On the last day of World War I, November 11, 1918, Armistice Day was created to honor our living veterans of war. It later became Veterans Day to be celebrated on the eleventh day of November.

Chad on graduation day, eighteen years ago.

There's a fantastic privately run organizatition that makes a day trip to D.C. available to all veterans to see the memorials at no cost to the vet. What a wonderful honor! This is the link for Louisiana Honor Air but it's available in other states as well. Just google them under Honor Air.

I hope you'll share any of your personal stories or memories about your family members, whether they paid the 'ultimate sacrifice', retired from service or are currently serving.

Thank you Veterans!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Joie de Vive5

Shamelessly stealing this from Michael J Malone at May Contain Nuts who shared the original yessterday. I'm just a cheap sap who found herself with hair raising shivers of enjoyment as I watched the T-Mobile ad taken at Heathrow - several times.

and below, the video of the making of the ad is priceless, with singing actors coming up to unsuspecting travelers. Don't you wish you'd been there?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's Halloween

I'm blogging over at Blame It On the Muse today about your favorite halloween costumes.. Drop by.

Whew, 'wonder' what she was thinking?

Are you planning a Halloween party this year? Have an interesting costume? Post it on your blog and leave me a comment. I'd love to see it.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Great Mississippi Balloon Race

Looking for somewhere to go for a weekend with the family or with your best friend? The mid October Great Mississippi River Balloon Race is a great place to go. The area has much to offer besides the balloon races - carriage rides, tour of homes, entertainment, fine food, great fishing and hunting, a quaint mini-New Orleans style downtown, rich in history, even casinos. 
Balloons from the Louisiana side, near the ampitheatre.
The images below taken by the Natchez Democrat  go here to see the entire gallery for the weekend.

Lots of fun at the balloon festival this weekend. Still going on today in case you're close. Yesterday morning balloons were landing everywhere in Natchez - behind the Subway, by the highway, at the Mall, across the river in Louisiana. Perfect weather for the first time in four years brought crowds, bands, MANY MANY balloons, entertainment, a fair and a flea market to the Vidalia riverfront.
This is a great three day weekend for family or time without the kids.

On Saturday Sam Edwards of Lakeway, Texas won the barge drop which doesn't always take place every year because of weather, but is a crowd favorite. Only two balloons tried ti this year and only Sam was able to toss his beanbag onto the barge to win the event. The other balloon piloted by Tom Oberheide of Cary, Illinois came within three feet of landing on the barge then rose up and flew over the bridge before the wind just stopped. They had to tie a rope to a boat and slowly tow him to shore.

“(He) got hung out over the middle of the river and had to have a boat throw him a line and take him to land,” the public relations person said.

Safety is always first with traffic on the river temporarily shut down and coast guard rescue boats on guard. I noticed a helicopter flying around most of the day as well and wondered if it was part of a location operation since the balloons flew way across the river into Louisiana. I saw one parked in several freshly cut cotton fields.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Balloons everywhere!

 My new website was in some way inspired by the event happening this weekend in our area - The Great Mississippi Balloon Race. Though mine is in a fantasy universe, you can see the influence it had in my choosing it.

 The weather couldn't be more lovely, 78-83 degrees, sunny, hopefully light winds. People will be everywhere. This year I hope to catch the Moonglow an afterdark event where the balloonists fire up their balloons and the glow can be seen from across Mississippi on the riverfront.
 There will be sidewalk sales, street dancing, live music, booths, much fun. Casinos will probably fill up early.  If you ever have a chance to visit Natchez during October you can catch the festival and the October Pilgrimage of homes.
This is me headed out to enjoy the weekend. Hope yours is great, too.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Feel the Fear

This is one of the best cartoons I've ever seen.

I'm blogging today over at Blame It On the Muse

On how to live in your 'essence' as Michael Hauge puts it.

Stop by.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Moonlight and Magnolias pt 2

Though the draw to the GRW Atlanta conference was Allison Brennan and Michael Hauge, it was great meeting more members of this great RWA chapter. I joined GRW back in 2008 but living so far away wasn't able to go to meetings. Rejoining this year and making it to the M&M conference was a goal for 2010.

Here are some of the fabulous people who participated and volunteered to make this truly wonderful experience. (Please be patient while they load. I got some good ones and I'd appreciate it if you'd point me to some I've missed).

 Jana Oliver offered her time in the pitch practice sessions. She has a new Demon Trappers series coming out soon.
 Bestselling author Kate Brady and I shared an outlet! in the Michael Hauge workshop. Lovely lady. Her sequel to One Scream Away comes out soon.
I recognized Leslie Tentler from her website. She also helped with pitch practice.
 Nina Bruhns who has a new series with Nocturne started out writing some of my favorites Silhouette Intimate Suspense. She was most gracious in offering her expertise.
 THe lady in pink, Sally Kilpatrick was the chairman of the conference and did a fabulous job. She teaches teenagers so often we found ourselves sitting up straighter and listening for instructions, lol. Thanks for everything, Sally.
 Serissia Green has an urban fantasy series and generously offered advice on my current project. What a great picture of Serissia.
 Tamara McLean has a sexy book coming out with a clever cover.
 At registration we got some critical advice from Anna Steffl about our pitches and went straight to our room to work on them. Thanks Anna and Marilyn. You're the bomb!
 These lovely ladies, Ava Malone and Madeleine
 Suzanna Ives whose book Rakes and Radishes just came out with Carina Press, and Cadence Denton.
 Elise Lee, whose book High Stakes, is published by Sourcebooks
 Me and the token Scot, Mr. Kerr.
 Me and GIAMer friend Walt Mussell. Yes, Walt writes romance AND nonfiction AND does parenting articles. The only one I could talk football with. Go Auburn (and Maryland)!!
 Anna Steffl's sister. Don't they look alike? Cute dress!
 Cadence, Brenda Davis (a very cool lady) and me.
 Karen Hall (who I was really beginning to think was German she affected the accent so well) and Cadence.
And my favorite author pose of Cadence's. Now all she needs is the contract! You go, girl

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

We're back...from Moonlight and Magnolias, Part1

What a perfect name for a brilliant event put on my the most gracious writers and volunteers I've ever met. We drove in Sunday night at 10:30 on the last of the gas, adrenaline, and euphoria. I haven't had time to get anything done, not even unpacking, except to gather a few pictures I thought you might enjoy. 

Tomorrow, I'll post the majority of the pictures and links including many of our gracious GRW members. Meantime, check out the forum at the GRW site for links to other M&M blogs.

My lovely critique partner, Cadence Denton, on the first morning of our pitch appointments
 and in the background on her right, Leslie Tentler, who was 
one of the authors lending her advice in the pitch workshop.

In the Michael Hauge workshop with fellow writers and Blame It On the Muse bloggers, Robin Kaye, on the left and Grace Burroughs, right.

Me, and Michael Hauge at his book signing. He had to be tired but he suffered his adoring fans taking pictures with him graciously. (Lois L is in the background awaiting her turn.)

The most generous with her time toward other writers, Allison Brennan, presented her No Plotters Allowed workshop and delivered a wonderful keynote speech at the Maggies Dinner.

Cadence, a real sweetheart, Brenda Davis, and me at cocktail hour before the Maggies

Our fearless GiAM leader, Amy Atwell, who is always doing something on our behalf. 
It was wonderful to finally meet her.

Oops, you caught me and Thomas. We had to have a mini break on the way to dinner Friday.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Finally, it's here

Tomorrow morning we leave for the Moonlight and Magnolias conference in Atlanta. It can't possibly live up to the expectations we have or the excitement we are experiencing.

My CP, Cadence and I will be traveling together and will hopefully arrive late afternoon Thursday. Our appointments are Friday morning. Friday afternoon the fabulous Allison Brennan is presenting her workshop called 'NO PLOTTERS ALLOWED'. She is an awesome generous NYT bestselling author. And on Saturday and Sunday we'll attent Michael Hauge's screenwriting workshops. I blogged last year about his workshop and DVDs on the Hero's Journey - excellent if you've never heard him.

But the main goal this trip is networking. Several of our loop members and bloggers from Blame It On The Muse will be there as well as many other writers like ourselves. Kensington, Grand Central and Harlequin will be represented as well as three literary agencies, Marsal Lyon, Knight Agency, the Bent Agency.

Then there is the fact that it's Atlanta where I lived for three months back in 2006. I fell in love with it. I'd drive around at night just looking at the tops of the buildings with my compadre screaming, 'look at the road'. Can't wait.

Atlanta here we come.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Twenty Reasons to Date a Writer

I can't take credit for this, and admittedly, it's a blatant ploy to post during a month when I'm on a deadline to get my pitches and blurbs ready for the M&M conference in NINE days. But it's very thought provoking. What do you think? Ever been that writer someone dated? married? How did it go?
  1. Writers will romance you with words. 
  2. Writers will write about you. 
  3. Writers will take you to interesting events. 
  4. Writers will remind you that money doesn’t matter so much. 
  5. Writers will acknowledge you and dedicate things to you. 
  6. Writers will offer you an interesting perspective on things. 
  7. Writers are smart.
  8. Writers are really passionate. 
  9. Writers can think through their feelings. 
  10. Writers enjoy their solitude.  
  11. Writers are creative.
  12. Writers wear their hearts on their sleeves. 
  13. Writers will teach you cool new words. 
  14. Writers may be able to adjust their schedules for you. 
  15. Writers can find 1000 ways to tell you why they like you. 
  16. Writers communicate in a bunch of different ways. 
  17. Writers can work from anywhere. 
  18. Writers are surrounded by interesting people. 
  19. Writers are easy to buy gifts for. 
  20. Writers are sexy. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Better than Fiction

Randy Moss who plays for the Patriots and could supply his own TV show of replays was responding to a comment made by one of the players on the Jets, their opponent for Sunday's game. Revis, a defender on the Jets team said earlier this week that  Moss was a 'slouch'. 

In a long running feud, Randy came back with "I'll be ready."  New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan said earlier in the week that his cornerback, Revis, was fully capable of covering Randy Moss one-on-one. 

But when it came down to the 'nutcuttin' , as they say in the south, in Sunday's game, Moss made a perfectly executed one handed catch in the end zone with only one man anywhere close. Guess who? Darrelle Revis. And to make it even more ironic, Revis suffered a hamstring trying to catch Moss. 

A beee-autiful catch.

Who says real life can't be better than fiction?

And tonight, Saints vs 49s. (I could cry - Chase, Hawaii Five-O and Castle come on at 9 during the football game.)

Do you have an example of life being stranger than fiction?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Yes I am Ready

Come on, you know what I'm ready for...

The entire 'who dat' nation is ready to break the records. We want to prove all the statistics that say most teams who win the SuperBowl don't even make it to the playoffs. We need to BE that team.

Are you with me? Yeah. Saints. Football. Finally. 

(I'm not talking about the Redskins until they figure out what to do with Haynesworth. The Ravens, now, they're going to be tough. Lots of great teams this year. Should be an stellar season.)

Addendum: YESSS!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Poetic License

So what is poetic license? Where did the phrase come from?

According to Wiki it's also known as narrative, historical or dramatic license, ' used to denote the distortion of fact, alteration of the conventions of grammar or language, or rewording of pre-existing text made by an artist to improve a piece of art.' 

I was reading Blue Bloods by De La Cruz yesterday and found an example. The author took a figure from American history, Miles Standish, and gave him a new name for his third life as a vampire leader. Do you have any favorite examples? How about from your own work?

The reason all this came to mind? My search for a pair of silver shoes. 

What's the connection? 

This shoe. Made by Poetic License. 

I've always loved shoes but having a very small, very narrow foot I've never found many that actually fit so I've concentrated on boots for the winter since I can buy a size six and it will stay on my foot with a sock. ;) I do have lots of shoes but mainly, okay here comes the rationalization, I get them on sale and they are half a size too big and I hope they'll work but most don't. 

I can't really relate to paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a shoe. But this shoe... what am I to do? I can visualize myself in these shoes at the conference. Would it give me more confidence (I'm also shorter than most people I meet) to be eye to eye with writing professionals? Call me crazy but yes.

A better question. Can I walk in them?

I can't help myself. These shoes are calling out, "order me. How can you lose? There's free shipping. It's only two days pay and you should be able to wear us more than once." Arrrgh!

I'll just have to buy more grey and silver clothing to wear them with.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Just don't ask me to... 10 amazing high crimes
Sorry except for blogging at BlameItOnTheMuse I haven't blogged in a couple weeks due to slow satellite which I've blogged about ad nauseam. Quick update: after nine months of trying to convince the tech support people there was something wrong with my modem, they changed it out. All it cost me is $115 and reupping for another year on my contract. 'Nuff said.

With the Atlanta conference coming up in a month, there's a lot to be done. Besides preparing pitches I have to make sure my car is serviced.

ON THAT NOTE: I have fairly new tires but last week I was driving through a small town nearby that's had a nightmare of road construction for five years. I came back with a flat tire. On the way home yesterday, I had another and another tire was very low.

At first the car felt like it was being buffeted by heavy wind but I didn't see the tree limbs moving, and it's not a great place to pull over - four lane with small shoulders - so I kept driving. Then I heard that familiar roaring sound and decided to pull into a closed car dealership where the surface was clean, level and concrete. I knew before I popped the trunk but verified that it was indeed a flat. No sooner had I popped the truck and picked up my phone than an SUV pulled in and a couple asked if I needed help.

I gratefully accepted after he informed me changing tires was what he does for a living. His wife got out and introduced herself and said that they had driven from a town approximately 45 miles away on the way to Natchez for a night out. The reason he pulled into this dealership was not because he saw my trunk up, but because he'd received a flyer in the mail about a sale on cars and they thought they'd just walk the closed lot without the hassle of a salesman around. His words to his wife, "Let's just get out of town and go spend time together and hope we don't see anyone with a flat!" We all laughed. She said, "So you're our blessing." Certainly it was the other way around. He even had his portable air gun in the trunk. How much more serendipitous could a flat be?

It reminded me of what Michael Hauge says in his workshop (which he's presenting in Atlanta). What does your character give lip service to? What does he SAY he wants and what is he willing to do to get it? To get your character's conflict right, fill in the blank. "I'll do anything you want me to, but just don't ask me to _____."

My man, George, may have wished NOT to change a flat on his night off, but he obviously enjoyed doing a good deed for someone who appreciated his kindness.  He could have kept driving or ignored me. Good good people. They are everywhere regardless of the negativity we hear on the media.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Let's Play results

Well, I thought some of you might like to see what two of our bloggers came up with given those varied story parts. Time travel, two protags - one a female trucker, the other an eleven year old boy, A exmoonshiner g-man, a villainous old lady, and some bizarre key words. The first line was "I place the baby shoes on the table with a sign, "never used". We figured it was a time travel since one of the settings was 1920's.  Title Love Finds a Way or whatever.

This was Hope's story.

Leo Brown, the bastard son of a bipolar Merry-maid, dreams of one day becoming a theoretical physicist. But when he and his best friend, Lola, mistake Stephen Hawkin’s A Brief History of Time, as a cookbook, their recipe sends them careening back in time. . .
. . .To a deserted road in the middle of nowhere, where they are picked up by Dove, a no-account, transgender, truck driver who runs hootch for the mysterious and nearsighted Granny Okie–the main bootlegger in East Bumdaddy, Oklahoma. Dove doesn’t love nothing, ‘cept her(his?) Tommy Gun. And she’s been slugged so many times by the men (women?) in her life that she’s slap-happy.
Soon the intrepid time travelers find themselves caught up in a dust bowl range war between Granny and the broad-shouldered, blue-eyed, holier than thou ex g-man, Meeker, who has taken up the cause of temperance.
Will Love Find A Way to help Meeker reform Dove and show her how good it is to be a woman? Will Love Find a Way to help Leo and Lola get back to the future, or will they miss the Love Boat and end up distressed and alone on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific during World War II? Will Love Find a Way to help Granny quit running hootch and go back to frying up chicken at the local diner?
Love Finds a Way is a yarn about booze, gals who are really guys, and a couple of good for nuthin’ kids. It’s sure to keep you turning pages.

and Cadence's
Dove Bartlett, long distance trucker and time traveler, has searched unsuccessfully through the threads of time and alternate worlds for the baby girl stolen from her fifteen years ago. She’s found no sign of heer daughter, Lola, and only knows that the baby had been kidnapped by an old lady in a black cardigan sweater.
In the 1920’s dust bowl of Oklahoma Dove places the last vestige of Lola – her baby shoes – on the yard sale table along with the hastily written sign: ‘Never used’. Dove was finally conceeding defeat, finally ready to move on with her life when fate stepped in in the guice of an eleven year old boy with an armload of Stephen Hawkings books.
Dove is stunned when the boy claims to know Lola and can find her, but first she must help him escape the G-man, an ex-moonshiner named Meeker Brown, who is chasing him.
There’s more to this story than the boy will tell, but Dove can’t stop now. Not when there’s the best chance she’s had for finding her lost daughter. But will she live to find her?

I'd love to know what Bill would have come up with had he not been on vacation.
We'll do it again. It was too fun not to.

Go Saints! (Yeah, it's that time again. I know we didn't win last night, but we didn't do too badly for preseason against the 'Patriots'.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Let's Play, Part 2

Blogging over at Blame It On the Muse today, part 2 of our improv blog from last Monday. Come join us and show off your story-builidng talent.

The elements we came up with last week were:

A time travel by necessity.

Our first line is: “I placed the baby shoes on the table and propped up the sign: ‘Never used.’

Our first protagonist is a long distance trucker who desires freedom from all ties – emotional and physical.

The second protag is an eleven year old boy who carries around books by Stephen Hawking. He can’t understand them yet, but some day… His uncle was recently killed in Afghanistan and his Mom is pretty dislocated by her brother’s death. This leaves Leonard (he prefers Leo, more reminiscent of the Lion) at loose ends for most of the summer day. His best friend is thirteen year old girl cursed with the name Lola, whose Dad is a geologist, often on assignment…

The villain is a short-sighted old lady who always wears thick cardigans, summer and winter, indoors and out.
Antagonist is Meeker Brown, an ex-moonshiner, now G-man.

One setting: 1920’s dust bowl Oklahoma. Farms being blown away, dust getting into everything. Hobos riding the rails and bank robbers like Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde run wild.

Keywords: slug, fried chicken, blue-eyed, distress, aircraft carrier, transgender, hootch, broad shouldered, Merry Maids, g-men, Tommy-gun, good for nuthin no account, bastard
And an additional  first line  – Dove leveled the shotgun at Ruben’s chest.

Create a title, a back cover blurb, or mini synopsis and share it. There are so many options.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Blatant Internet Rant

Wildblue, er, stinks! 

So, I'm on the internet trying to do a quick blog because I've been blogging over at Blame it on the Muse with our other bloggers away at Nationals and have been ignoring my many fans here at the Marley Delarose blog. It takes so long to load the page I nearly fall asleep which reminds me that I never installed the little diagnostic program the representative told me about.

I'd called because as usual I went to a speedtest site to see why it was taking 30 seconds or more to load pages. It reported my download speed as 700 kbps and upload at DRUMROLLLLLL please, .03 kbps. Yes, you're reading that correctly. Now, according to them everything looks just peachy.  .03 is standard but I'm not using a recognized diagnostic.

In her very sweet, very trained - have I handled everything to your satisfaction today (obviously not) - kind of voice, she says, "What you need is the Wildblue Pulse diagnostic tool. Along with the optimizer."

Me: I have the optimizer on my Macs.

Her: And we recommend the latest version of Firefox as a browser.

Me: Okay, I can do that, it's already installed, just to see if it makes any difference (I say with my best I don't believe this for a second sarcasm.) Is Pulse available for Mac?

Her: Oh, of course. (NOT, I got to the site with her on the other end of the line and we see together that it is only available for Windows.

Me: No problem. I'll install it on my PC and run the diagnostic on the internet.

So today, I boot up the stupid PC and:
Make sure I have the Optimizer installed on the computer - check.
I have the latest version of Firefox - check.
I open Firefox and go to the Wildblue site and look for the Pulse program which I'd previously installed.

It won't run. So I look at the installation instructions.
"You must run FFClickonce for Firefox to use Pulse."
So, I download FFClickonce but the message next to the download button says, "This program is not updated to run with the newest version of Firefox." Click here to see a workaround which just tells me to make IE the default, install Pulse and then make Firefox the default.

This done, I run the Pulse program with my PC on wireless internet. After the program tests ten sites and the diagnostics report comes up I notice it says there is no internet service - uh-huh. Then there's a page where there are green check marks next to items no one including WB can identify. So I click on recommendations. 

Now, this is entertaining. First of all it tells me I'm not using an approved OS. 'click' here to see approved ones. Windows 7 is listed. Then it says my system isn't optimized. Right. Then it says no virus scan is installed. Un-freakin' believable. I teach computers in a world where no computer should be without virus software.

This is the service we get for $70 a month. They should just have a telephone dialog when you call tech support that says, you're screwed. There is no other internet available so either pay or go away.

What's the opposite of Joie de vive?  This is driving me to drink?