Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hell's Belles or It's not you. It's me.

So I would have LOVED to show you a cute little picture of Belle being all kind and sweet. But this is more how she is. A blur. She does have her kind and sweet moments but pretty much from the time her sleepiness wears off after a nap (which is around a minute and a half) until we turn off the lights at night and lock her in the laundry room ... she's non-stop.

I took her to the vet for her final round of puppy shots and her rabies shot yesterday after Grace got out of school. I had taken her in my car each time until yesterday. I STARTED in the care but quickly realized the futility of that by the time we reached the mailbox and turned around for the truck. She rode in the back. With the deer blood. Nice.

She weighed 20 lbs at the vet. Well, we THINK she weighed 20 lbs. She would barely sit still long enough for the scale to register. It took two vet techs to give her her shots. She's a handful.

We have really been making an effort to take her on several walks a day which with the time change has grown more and more difficult. We are off today so she's been on two walks already. I still had to give her a time out in the laundry room just now for my own sanity. NOW she's napping. I have about ten minutes of peace and quiet before all hell breaks loose and it all starts again.

My problem is once again summed up in a Seinfeld episode ... I have no hand. You can watch the clip here   Upper Hand  and you'll understand immediately. Actually, I've NEVER had any hand. After dozens of junior high and high school kids during my three long dog years of teaching HS English, now somewhere around the fifth pet, a husband and a kid of my own you would THINK that somewhere along the way I would have acquired the necessary skills or at least come across some voodoo hypnosis tricks to ensure some minute amount of hand. Nope. No hand. Handless.

Grace and Belle both mind Bryon without question or fussing. I might as well be invisible. In fact, sometimes I wonder if maybe I'm not. One day years ago after an especially trying seventh grade, seventh hour English class I told the class in frustration, "What am I invisible? No, that can't be the case, I can hear myself talking. I can see myself. Yet, no one in this room is listening to me." I was literally saved by the bell.

The counselor's office was right next door to my classroom and the principal's office was across the hall. I walked into the counselor's office where several of my soldiers in arms were already gathered for our daily bitch and moan session after school. I walked in and one of them said, "Has anyone seen Mrs. Medley? She must be invisible."

Har de har har.

Still that was the perfect example of my complete inability to bend people of animals to my will. I could never be a politician ... or a coach ... or a lot of things.

If there was a conference I could go to so I could achieve hand on a regular basis, I would happily pay up.

I am signing up to take Belle to obedience class in Rogersville starting January 25. I figure it can't hurt.

I just hope we both survive until then.

Write In - Write On

This is what a Write-In Looks like. I was set up beside the girl in the red sweatshirt against the wall. I've mentioned several times that November is NaNoWriMO which I did not participate in. These folks did. There was actually about a dozen people that came to the Brown Egg last Saturday to participate in a twelve hour write-in. The Brown Egg is a new place one block from MSU and it just opened last month. I hope it lasts. It was super cool. I was BY FAR the oldest one there ... by a decade ... or two.

There was a very cute young man making and selling his zombie art while we worked. Who can resist zombie art? Not this girl. He's working on the piece I bought in this picture. I just wish I could remember his name. Timothy something. I can't read his writing where he signed my piece.

Here is the piece I bought. I'm going to hang it in my office over my writing desk. Seems appropriate.

 We spent half the day at the Brown Egg and then the second half a few blocks away further downtown at Boca Mocha . It was fun. I was just working on my revision and trying to get the word count up which is easier than you would imagine now that I can tell you what the other characters are up to.

I spent ten hours working on my novel and revised half the book and added seven thousand words for a current word count of 57, 627 words. I only need 22, 733 more to go. I have a couple of big fight scenes and the ending to finish so I'm feeling pretty confident.

I just need about eight more days like last Saturday to get it done.

Oh Deer

Bryon killed a nice buck last Sunday morning. He's hunted pretty hard this season but still not nearly as much as he wanted to. He killed a doe with his bow before gun season and then got another doe during gun season. He let a lot of bucks walk because he was just trophy hunting. Oh, we're still eating this guy but Bryon still doesn't have a wall hanger like his buddies.

This one isn't getting full mounted either. The guys at the packing plant were disgusted that he wasn't mounting it. He measured it about a 130 and 3/8s Boone - Crockett buck. He's holding out for a 140+ to full head mount. Still this one was the biggest he's ever shot. He said this was the 30th anniversary hunting with the .270 and he has shot a deer with his 300 WinMag every time he's taken it out; nine times out and killed deer with it nine times. That's pretty good shooting. And a good gun.

So we have two deer getting processed into brats, deer sausage and snack sticks and a nice antler rack getting ready to go up in his bar soon.

Life is good on the big cedars and the neighbors farm.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thirty Thankful Things

Last week at church, Pastor Gary asked us to come up with something to be thankful for every day in November. Seemed like a pretty easy task, yet I'm only just now getting around to really thinking about it. So here is my list of large and small things I'm thankful for. These are not necessarily in order of importance but more in the random order of my confused and often cluttered mind. One more I just thought of when I found the above photo on Google images ... Words With Friends and all the folks who play with me :)

1. Organization
2. Extended Family
3. Health
4. A wonderful home
5. Nice pets
6. Bryon
7. Grace
8. A school for Grace that is five minutes from my house
9. A great job that gives me lots of freedom
10. A really great job for Bryon
11. 30 acres of mostly peace and quiet in the woods
12. Farm animals that entertain us and feed us
13. The outdoors
14. The indoors
15. A toasty warm pellet stove on cold nights
16. Awesome technology like the iPhone, the Nook Color, my laptop and the iPad I hope to have one day
17. The internet
18. Books. Lots and lots of books
19. Fans of my blog
20. Food
21. Our garden
22. The grid
23. Awesome friends
24. Free time even though it seems scarce
25. Enough money to do most of the things we want to do
26. Small town life
27. Chocolate
28. People with a sense of humor
29.Vacation days
30. Sleeping in late

Friday, November 11, 2011

I think I can. I think I can.

I'm a little more jazzed about the rewrite now. This has been a crazy busy week with the university blood drive in Rolla occupying four days and driving 1,000 miles this week back and forth for work. Somehow, I have managed to start the rewrite.

I've only made it through the first twenty two pages of 179 in Word after I formatted it to fit Harlequin submissions standards but the good news is I've already added 2,000 words. At this rate, reaching 80,000+ is looking much more hopeful.

I feel like I have the bones of the story down pretty well and now, with the benefit of 3rd person point of view, I can flesh it out much better. See... LEMONS=LEMONADE.

I've had no offers for the use of a lake house or a patron saint willing to pay for an extended hotel stay. You could still be a hero here... just sayin' :)

Bryon, bless his heart, Googled around one night and discovered The Writer's Colony in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. I knew about it already but I thought it was pretty sweet that he was trying to find me a place to go to work on my story. He's a good man. I think I'll keep him another twenty one years and a half years.

The Writer's Colony seems like a pretty neat deal. They ask for donations ($45 a night) and you can stay for a week and up to three months. They feed you and they have WiFi and it sounds like a really creative atmosphere to really concentrate on your writing. You have to fill out a pretty extensive application complete with references to be considered for residency. I guess they don't just want vacationers looking for cheap hotel digs.

Unfortunately, the Writer's Colony is only open until mid December and then opens back up in March. There's just too much going on with the holidays to try to do it before mid December so I guess I'll just keep pressing on in dribs and drabs.

I really want this finished and ready for some serious editing by January. That is my goal.

It's good to have a goal.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Write & Wrong

So this month is National Novel Writing Month  in which I am not participating. Saturday was the Ozarks Romance Writers' meeting and several of those members were participating, so I had some writing envy. I decided I needed to love the one I'm with and work on my own already in progress novel.

I have waffled between rewriting it from third person or sticking with the first person point of view. Why I didn't just do that from the beginning I can not explain. Honestly, I didn't think it would really matter what point of view I used. I've read plenty of paranormal romances from both viewpoints.

Harelequin is probably the most new writer friendly publisher. Probably because they publish so many romances each much. Lots of awesome writers have cut their teeth in serial romance. In fact, so writer and submission friendly is Harlequin that they are having a free online conference all this week specifically on the how to's of writing romance. You can check it out at So You Think You Can Write if you are interested.

Last night I was trying to check out all of the events and podcasts from the first day and the main editor that accepts submissions for Harlequin Nocturne (the paranormal romance editor) had a podcast. She seemed great and gave good advice but also dropped a couple of bombshells. First, the word count for Harlequin Nocturne just got raised from 70,000 to 80-85,000. Yeah, I have 51,858 now. I've got some work to do.

Secondly, at the very end of the podcast she just happened to mention that submissions needed to be in third person point of view. Nowhere on the submission guidelines did it say that. Maybe it was supposed to assumed. Maybe I just didn't know what I didn't know what I didn't know. Now I know.

So my dilemma has been resolved for me. I have to rewrite it.

I guess the hardest part is committing to a course of action. Once there's a solid and clear plan, it's usually easier to proceed, right? It's good to have a plan.

So after all that waffling and hoping to take the easy way out, now I know, as with most of the things in life, there is no easy way out.

Bryon's pretty sure I'm windy enough to make it all work out. He's probably right. I just need someone to offer up their lake home to me for a long weekend so I can work on it without distraction. Either that or I'm going to have to check myself into a hotel.

Either way ... I got this. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011


This my pile of unread magazines.

It seems that no matter how much stuff actually gets done ... there is always more to do. It's like digging a hole in the sand with a plastic spoon. It just keeps filling back in. Somehow the stuff I really want to do is always last. Bryon has the same problem. I suspect it's universal.

Bryon and Grace both helped with a much needed house cleaning marathon today. Things look pretty great right now. It won't take long before it starts to go downhill and needs to be done all over again.

This was my pile of magazines on the end table in the living room. Bryon has a similar pile of unread hunting magazines in the bedroom. He's been reading lots of novels lately: Harlen Koben, Robin Cook, Dean Koontz, Michael Connelly and Michael Palmer mostly.

The problem of course is time. We have lots of shows we like to watch too. I used to read magazines during the commercials before the days of DVR. Now I don't even have to watch the commercials thankfully, but the magazines sure do pile up fast.

We haven't renewed most of our magazine subscriptions but we had a lot more than I realized and we are still receiving issues of most of them. I also love, love, love getting magazines in the mail. Or actually just mail in general. I do, however, think the magazine companies are supremely sneaky the way they constantly send you renewal notices like it's your last issue. I know I've renewed way, way early before because of those notices. Who has the time or inclination to keep a spreadsheet on them all?

I only recently realized you can check out back issues of magazines from the library. That's brilliant! How have I gone this long not realizing that? Of course they don't have all of the magazines I like. Honestly, I rarely use much out of any of them. I just like looking at them. And collecting them. And hoarding them.

I'm all for multitasking but your brain can only read one thing at a time no matter how talented you are.

I resisted checking out this website for a long time called Pinterest . It's sort of like an online magazine without the articles. Just the best stuff you might clip out. It's chock full of cool ideas in all sorts of categories. Beware though, it's a huge time suck once you go over to the dark side. They even make you request an "invitation" to join like it's a big special club or something and you might or might not be accepted.

Of course the last thing I need is something else to fragment my time even further. Most days I feel like Dug, the Talking Dog on Up! dashing off track at the first sign of a squirrel. Watch it here if you haven't seen it.

I might need an entire "stay home and read magazines" day to catch up.

I suppose there could be much, much worse problems to have, but sometimes all that clutter just adds up and instead of doing something about it, I'd just as soon throw it out and be done with it. There's definitely something to be said for a clean slate.

Oh look, a squirrel!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bad Hair Day

Today was not a good hair day.

I've a had a few of them this week. Every so often I think, "Dang, why does my hair look like crap?" Then I remember it's likely because I haven't had my hair cut in six months. Yeah, that usually does it.

I used to worry about my hair a lot. A whole lot. Obsessively. My mom will tell you that in high school I would sometimes wash and refix my hair twice a day when necessary. It was often necessary. It's not easy maintain the amount of lift you see achieved in the picture above. It takes a lot of hairspray my friend.

I've had hair self esteem issues for as long as I can remember. It's only been the last fifteen years of so that I've stopped fussing with it so much. Bryon would probably tell you I still fuss with with it but clearly it's not the priority it once was.

I'm not sure how a kid with hair as cute as the above pic could end up looking like this...
But I blame it on the old lady hair dresser my mom used to take me to. Her and Dorothy Hamill.
Dorothy Hamill had cute short hair ... mine was just ... unfortunate.

Seriously. I don't know which was worse ... the hair or the glasses.

 So I decided to grow my hair out long. No more Dorothy Hamill hair for me. Never to be short again. Ever. And yes, that was a Glamor Shot above. God help me.

Senior Picture above. 

Clearly, growing my hair out .. also meant growing it upward. Notice Bryon had hair then too. Nice acid wash jeans there too for us both.

So this was my passport photo a few months ago. Notice the complete lack of hair elevation and much smaller glasses.

Fifteen years from now Grace will look at that pic and say, "God Mom, what was going on with your hair?"

All I can tell you is I'm going to die an old lady with long hair because as God as my witness it will never be short again.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Write Stuff

This is my novel manuscript so far. Today at lunch I sat down to start to rewrite it from the third person perspective. I didn't even make it through the first two pages and decided that was just nuts. I like it like it is. I like my character's first person voice. I'm not rewriting it.

Tonight I started editing it instead. Like riding a bicycle, marking with a red pen came right back to my inner English teacher self. It's been a month since I really worked on it so now it's like reading someone ELSE's writing, which is pretty cool.

That was one of Stephen King's suggestions in On Writing. Let it sit, then read through as much as you can of your work in one sitting and with that distance from it, it will be like reading someone else's work. He is totally right. Well of course he is, he's Stephen King, duh.

It's easier to be critical of someone else's work and let the red ink flow. Sort of like grading one giant paper. But a lot more fun. With no pesky teenagers to interfere.

At the last ORA (Ozarks Romance Authors) meeting a published author showed us her editor's change requests letters for two of her novels. One had only about twenty changes. The other had over a hundred and twenty. I decided to try that with my own novel so I'm making notes with page numbers and notations in a spiral notebook as I go so I can go back and fix/add in the big stuff when I get through the whole manuscript.

Then when I have it as good as I can get it, I'll let a couple of people read it. Probably my two paranormal romance loving friends Dawn and Carla. After that, if I have the 75,000 words I need, I'll pitch it to Harlequin. I know, I know Harlequin sounds cheesy but if you haven't read a Harlequin romance lately, you don't know what you are missing.

Mine won't have a secret baby, or a Sheik so no worries there.

They have a line called Nocturne specifically for paranormal romance and they have some very noteworthy and respected authors. Seriously, you should check it out. It's not your mother's serial romance anymore.

I still think I can make it into a series if I can get away with doing the next book from one of the OTHER character's perspective, first person or third, I still haven't decided. That may be a big writing no no but I've made this bed and now I'm going to lie in it.

Speaking of bed ... time for some zzzzzzzzzzzzs.