Friday, February 27, 2009

It's Friday...It's Raining...It's a Good Day for Plotting

This is a perfect day to stay home from work, sit by a window and listen to the rain slashing the windows, and the wind whistling as it torments the branches in the trees. These are the things that tease the creative side of my brain. I can sit and type words that grow into an intriguing tale. But, alas, I must go to work, sit in my office far from any outside walls and windows. Perhaps this is the day I will plot the demise boss. Especially after I have to walk outside in this mess and have my hair blown so hard and pelted with rain that it becomes the thing nightmares are made of...but wait! Isn't that another plot?

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hero and Heroine...How Do I Name Thee?

When you sit down to write your book, how do you come up with names for your characters? Do you search the internet for names, scour the newspapers, read obituaries, think back through the names of everyone you've met over the years? Do you use A and B and then make changes in your ms when you are finished?

In I've always found names for my characters prior to writing out their character sketches. It's the way they become real for me. Their names are branded in my mind and I just have to tell their story. Sometimes I have to abandon the story because it doesn't seem strong enough, but if I try to start another, those names keep drawing me back like a magnet. It's the one thing that stops me from abandoning a work in progress.

The biggest problem I have is finding a name that is not one belonging to someone I know well. The first book I wrote in 2001, was subsequently published in 2006. One of the secondary characters was killed. Her name was Natalie. One of my dear friends at my current place of employment read the book and commented that I'd killed her daughter! I started working here in the middle of 2002, one year after completing that novel...I didn't know any Natalie's at that time. do you name your characters?

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Great Resource for Fiction Writers

In order to make this next book I'm working on be THE BEST ONE, I wanted to ensure that I did a better job with plotting. I googled plotting and stumbled across this great resource for writers that I thought I'd share with you. Not only is it a great site for writers, but also for readers and anyone interested in books. The links are at the top of the page for Writers, Readers, and lots more. But while you are there, why not take her test to learn your writing strengths and weaknesses?

I'm going to try her Notecarding: Plotting Under Pressure method. If you check it out, let me know what you think!

PERSONALThe shower is unusable shower. Hubby is putting the frame around the window. Yeah, our house is one that still has a window in the tub/shower. Worst part is it faces the front of the house. I've sprayed some stuff that makes the window look like it has been sitting on a vacant cabin for 100 years gathering dirt and cobwebs. I still have to find a way to cover that window. No one makes window shower curtains any longer. Guess I'll buy a shower liner and make my own.

I'm doing well on my blood sugar "diet" regime. I'm adding more complex carbs and cutting down on both sodium and sugar. Been doing well with staying within my diet foot counts. I've been exercising five days a week, usually walking on the treadmill while I watch an evening show. I'm giving myself the weekends off on the exercising though. Too much to do. But, I did learn that vacuuming for a half hour burns more calories than walking. How about that!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I'm Getting Used to Being A Pioneer Woman

Well, it's been we are into the third week of bathroom restoration. Poor hubby has a bad case of bronchitis. **sigh** I know he feels bad about not being able to do as much as he'd like to finish this project off. He did tell me last week that he isn't going to do any more large projects. I wanted to contract this one, but he wanted to save money.


Actually, I've kind of gotten used to walking downstairs to use the half bath to get ready for work. It saves time. Where I used to take a nice ten or fifteen minute shower, now I strip wash and dress in less than five minutes. It's cold down there! Have you ever stood in the cold in your birthday suit and washed your body. The water on your skin cools real quick. I told hubby I was getting used to being a pioneer woman and not to worry about how long it takes to finish. I love having a toilet sitting in my bedroom.

It's a crazy world at my house, but it's teaching me a lesson in patience.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Coming Soon....

Author Interviews in the Blog Studio!

The first interviews will begin in March. On March 5, I'll be interviewing Sharon Donovan, and on March 12, Pamela Thibodeaux will be in the studio with me.

For those who are interested...I still don't have a shower!

Have a great day, and thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What? We Have to Pay the City for the "Right" to Operate an Alarm System?

I am on my soapbox today. In our alarm monitoring bill this month is a license application. We need to have a license from the City of Columbus in order to have our home alarm system. What's with this?

We paid to have our system installed twenty years ago and we pay each month to have it monitored. Now we learn that we also have to pay the City of Columbus a licensing fee of $35.00 every two years in order to be able to use it! I'm really angry. BUT, if we don't pay it, then we cannot have the alarm system. We could go to court if we don't register.

So, what's a person to do? Our taxes pay for the police and fire personnel, we pay for our alarm system, we pay a monitoring system, and now we also have to pay the city for the "right" to use it?

Argh! It's not the amount of money involved, it's the principle. I'm ticked. Especially since our mayor wants to tear down the city center mall and build a park. In light of the economy, WHY? Is this why they are now trying to collect license fees for alarm systems that have been installed for over twenty years? The lady at the bureau said that the law has been in effect since 1987. So, why is this the first we've heard of it?

I'm ticked...really ticked.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

High Blood Sugar

I went to the doctor last Wednesday for my six month checkup. He told me my cholesterol was fantastic, my blood pressure was fantastic, and I was doing a great job with my exercise and weight loss regime...but...

My blood sugar is high. If I don't get it down, I'll become diabetic. I've been concerned about the numbers for over a year, and they aren't getting any lower. My last count was 118, and 125 is considered diabetic.

I'm making a change to my diet and hoping that, combined with exercise, will help to bring it back in line.

Do any of you have any suggestions?

Also, I've reopened my Keeping Hope Alive blog. You'll find the link on my website (click here). I've issued a challenge that I hope everyone will accept. Stop by and check it out.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Suspicious Encounter...

My friend and I were so delighted that the yesterday and today we had such mild weather here in Ohio that we were able to walk outside on our breaks. Today, we decided to walk on the last half of our lunch hour. Our walk takes us around the back of our warehouse, and we never know what we might see there. Today, we saw a police car parked at one of the empty buildings, nearly hidden. As we drew closer, but not close enough to see the car number, the driver started the car and pulled away. He drove over a rope meant to keep cars from coming through and cruised through the upper parking lot where we couldn't really see him. When we turned our backs and started down the far side of the building, he cruised out of the upper parking lot and went back over the rope toward where he'd been parked earlier. By the time we returned he was nowhere to be seen. Suspicious in my eyes. Wonder what he was hiding?

I started working on a new manuscript today. I'd been struggling on how to start it. I have the entire book outlined, but those opening paragraphs are always a challenge. Well, our skies were very overcast today and the more thought I put into the opening, the more certain I became that it should begin with a tornado. What fun!

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What to Do When You are Addicted to Email

I have for a couple of years been unable to write anything beyond this blog when I'm sitting at my home computer. Even when I've finished everything that needs to be done, emails, blogs, and research, I stare at a blank screen and cannot write a single word. It's been a mystery I've been unable to unravel...until now.

I realized the main reason is that I'm addicted to email. When I'm on my laptop, I have no problems at all writing. My laptop is not hooked to the internet. I use it strictly for writing on my lunch hours at work or when we are camping.

So, I've decided when I move my office downstairs, I'm going to set up two stations. One will be my big desk where I conduct all my business and the business aspects of writing. The other will be set up for writing. No internet. No email. Nothing but me and my laptop.

If any of you writers might be having a similar problem to mine, you might want to give it a try.

Have a wonderful day, and thanks for stopping by!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Mundane Monday

What happened to the weekend? I woke up this morning and couldn't believe it was back to work Monday already. Let's see I vaguely remember figuring taxes on Saturday and then everything is a blur until church yesterday morning. That is vivid and clear and a happy memory...then all I remember is hammering, pounding, the whining of saws, and pieces of drywall the office, the hallway, the living room, and the stairs. And this morning there is the bottom half of a shower in my living room and a box with shower walls in the family room.

And, now I'm heading to the kitchen with a bathtowel and soap. I guess I'll have to stand in the sink, one foot on either side, and use the spray hose to take my shower...oh wait. Maybe I better not try that...

I think I'll just go back to bed and try again.

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Friday, February 06, 2009

My Hubby Is Stepping On My Last Nerve

We purchased the shower enclosure tonight. It's the beginning of the end for me...end of patience, that is. I become a snarky witch at the first sign of remodeling.

So, yesterday, hubby tells me that he cracked the first floor tile trying to remove it. He knows how I get. I think he's trying to kill me off. Here's what he said:

"So after I busted the tile and realized we didn't have any left downstairs, I went to Lowe's to see if they still carried our style. They didn't. So I purchased some maroon ones. I think that will look nice along that row next to the shower."

Okay, so my blood pressure zipped from 110 over 70 to 220 over 100. I mean, after all we have this pretty tile with blue, gray and cream marble like texture. Maroon? One row!!! I said a few choice words which I won't repeat here. And then...he laughed! He actually had the nerve to laugh after nearly giving me "the big one."

Okay, so he was able to match the tiles. One hurdle down. I'm trying to psyche myself into staying calm during the storm. Then tonight he tells me that he's going to start tearing apart the bathroom this weekend! The tub comes out, the toilet comes out and the new shower enclosure goes in. But we will have no toilet upstairs, nor anyplace to shower for at least a week. When he says one week, I can count on at least two. At least we have a half bath downstairs, but even that will give me a pounding headache. He'll have to take out the ceiling tiles and saw through a floor joist to move the drain from the front of the "now tub" to the middle of the "new shower". **sigh** top things off, he'll have to cut a big hole in the wall of my office to access the pipe fixtures for the bathroom upstairs.

I'm trying to stay calm. I really am.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

My Husband Should be a Writer...NOT!

Have you ever known someone who could take one simple tiny little action and turn it into a long drawn out story? I live with that someone. For instance:

He says: "When I take an Alka Seltzer Plus, I break it up in tiny little pieces and then it dissolves real fast that way."

She says: "Ah."

He says: "First I break it in half. Then I break it into smaller pieces. It works great that way."

She says: "Ah."

He says: "Yep. Just break it in half and then into smaller pieces."

She ??: Oh, wait. She's asleep.

You should hear him tell a story about someone pulling in front of him while he's driving. It goes something like this:

He says: "You won't believe what happened to me today."

She says: "Really? What?"

He says: "I was driving to Anderson's to get that shut off valve. I found a neat one that all you have to do is just tighten the bolt on and it's done."

She says: "That's what happened to you?"

He says: "No. Anyway, I was driving to Anderson's this morning. Right after I finished eating breakfast. I had driven past the gas station and was waiting at the light. There was a lot of traffic this morning. I'm not sure if there was an accident or not."

She says: "What happened to you this morning?"

He says: "I'm getting to that. So, anyway, I pulled through the light and after I made the turn this gal next to one of those SUVs...I think it was a Toyota something. Not the biggest one, but the smaller one. I can't remember what that model is."

She thinks: "Is he ever going to get to the actual story of what happened to him?"

He says: "So she pulls right over in front of me, no turn signal, nothing. Just like she owned the road. I blasted my horn and rode right up on her bumper."

She says: "Ah."

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Preparing for Construction Mess

I love my ideas for remodeling and the end results. What I don't like is the mess in between. **sigh**

Since Mom is coming to live with us, we need to provide her a way to shower. We found a great shower insert which will fit exactly in the area where our now combo tub/shower is in the full bathroom upstairs. So, that means, hubby must take out one row of ceramic floor tiles, put shut-off valves on the pipes, reroute the drain system (which means work in the lower half-bath), and then he can take out the old and put in the new. Then he'll have to relay the tile. Ugh! He told me he'll have to make the bathroom access wall to the pipes (which is in my office) larger. Oh, no!

He's trying to prepare me...but I'm already freaking out. LOL!

We also have to move my office from upstairs to the downstairs spare bedroom and move that furniture upstairs. What was I thinking?

Oh, and I want to replace the ancient rod iron bannister with a wooden one. Hmm. That means we'll have to replace the carpet, too. It's time since it is over 20 years old. Not only am I going to have a big hole in my wallet, but I must have a hole in my head as well.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Feather Boas for Inspiration

There's just something you gotta love about a soft feather boa! Our writing group participates in a monthly Power Draft where we put aside everything we can and concentrate on our writing for eight days. Our reward for participating was a beautiful, soft, feathery boa. Woo hoo! Now that's inspiration to tickle a writer's imagination.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Mary Buckham Workshop

On Saturday I attended a conference our local RWA chapter hosted on Pacing, Power Openings, Power Endings, and Plot Points presented by Mary Buckham. Mary is a powerful presenter, witty, funny, and "spot on" at pinpointing problems with manuscripts. I've had problems with my current manuscript and Mary's presentation clearly pinpointed my mistakes. I needed a stronger opening and deeper conflict between my main characters. Mary explained why power openings are so important, and believe me it was an eye-opener.

Using her templates, I've been able to redefine the conflict and give my story a more powerful opening, some great twist points, and a powerful ending. If you haven't taken a Mary Buckham course, I highly recommend doing so. She will motivate you and open your eyes to mistakes you might be making.

Two other fellow chapter members and I met Mary for dinner on Friday evening before the conference. We shared stories about writing, our goals, our fears, and a lot of humorous stories about our "real lives." Mary is gracious, down-to-earth, and sincere. I mean, how many famous people would share one piece of carrot cake on a plate with three other ladies wielding forks? There is nothing like bonding over dessert, even it it isn't chocolate.

If you'd like to learn more about Mary Buckham, her books, and her workshops, please go to

Thanks for stopping by!